The intelligence station was in the New City of Jerusalem. Xia Lei and his group alighted from the taxi at a spot further away from the intelligence station and walked over to it. Its front was an adult shop run by a Chinese business. People normally stayed away from shops like these and people rarely paid attention to these places, much less go in. One had to admit that this cover was very loud.
Xia Lei then found out that the expert group had been sent to the embassy when they got to the intelligence station. The embassy was just one street away from the intelligence station. The intelligence agents had already moved the experts to the embassy while Xia Lei and his team were hurrying over due to the urgency of the situation.
This was a very sensible move. The embassy land was practically the same as Chinese soil, and the Israeli people would not go in to investigate, much less arrest people. Considering Israel’s current relationship with China, it was also believed that the Israeli officials would not allow the Americans to enter the Chinese embassy and commit any crimes.
The agent who had brought the expert group to the intelligence station was named Liu Qiang. He had stayed behind and not followed the expert group into the embassy. He had stayed to report what had happened to Xia Lei and his team.
“We received the urgent news from the intelligence station and immediately started moving the members of the expert group.” Liu Qiang recalled the situation in a hidden underground room. He was still tense. “At that time we had already discovered the activity of the Israeli soldiers and police in the area. And CIA. They should be the leaders.”
Long Bing gnashed her teeth. Her voice was cold. “Continue.”
“Our plan was to move them all together but the situation then did not allow for it. Dou Yong made the decision. He and the others stayed to draw the attention of the CIA and the Israeli, and to give me and the expert group a chance to escape. I led the group to the back door of the hotel and Dou Yong and the others broke the windows in the rooms, then fired at the sky. We managed to escape in time but they…” Liu Qiang could not go on. This man of steel had tears in his eyes.
“Don’t be sad.” Tang Yuyan patted Liu Qiang on the shoulder. “Their blood was not shed for nothing. CIA… I will make them pay ten times the blood price!”
Xia Lei looked at a middle-aged man in the room with them and asked his question. “Mr Qiao, did you find out who leaked our location?”
The middle-aged man’s name was Qiao Ping and he was the chief of the intelligence station. His rank was equal to Long Bing and Tang Yuyan’s.
“I can’t find anything. Things like this can’t be found out quickly. It would be difficult to find out later too,” said Qiao Ping.
Xia Lei fell silent. He’d actually thought of some people, like Mu Jianfeng, Ye Kun, or Gu Kewen. However, there was no evidence though these people were suspicious so he dared not jump to conclusions. Mu Jianfeng and Ye Kun, in particular, were suspicious. They both had the motive and motivation to kill him, but both were bosses of military enterprises and the risk of doing so was too great. Those two would not dare to take such a risk. That left Gu Kewen. She had joined the CIA not long ago, and her rank in China was not very high either. How would she be able to get this level of industry intelligence?
Xia Lei could not think of anyone else other than these three.
Just then, Qiao Ping let out a sigh. “Good thing the expert group was moved in time and their mission details were not leaked, or there’ll be no saving the situation.” After a pause, he added, “With all that’s happened, I guess your mission has been cancelled. I’ll arrange for you guys to go home.”
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing looked at Xia Lei, waiting for his opinion. The higher-ups would not blame them for returning since something like this had happened. Continuing the mission would be very risky but if Xia Lei wanted to stay they would follow and remain to accompany him in carrying out the mission.
They could avoid danger if they went home but the mystery of the ancient alloy and bronze book would not be solved. This made Xia Lei hesitant. He thought for a bit. “I want to stay and complete the mission. Mr Qiao, can you do me a favour?”
“What do you need me to do?” asked Qiao Ping.
“I need a map of the drainage system in Jerusalem Old City,” said Xia Lei.
Qiao Ping stared blankly. “What do you need that type of map for?”
“To use it, of course,” said Xia Lei. “The older the better, for the map I want. Will you be able to obtain this?”
“Hold on, I’ll go ask my people and see if they can get it.” He left the hidden room.
“Liu Qiang, go rest. You go back with the expert group when they go back to China,” said Long Bing.
“No, Chief Long,” said Liu Qiang. “Let me stay and complete the mission with you. I don’t want Dou Yong and the others to have sacrificed in vain.”
Long Bing looked at Xia Lei. “You decide.”
“Stay if you want. One more person means one more set of helping hands,” said Xia Lei.
“Thank you,” said Liu Qiang.
Xia Lei did not say anything; he just nodded.
Qiao Ping soon returned to the hidden room, and he went straight to the point. “Sorry Mr Xia. We have no way of getting you maps like that. But one of our intelligence officers’ boyfriend works at the Jerusalem Museum and she goes in and out of there quite often. She says she saw a very old map in the archaeological section of the Jerusalem Museum. The map has the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on it and is similar in size to Jerusalem Old City. This might be the map you want.”
“Museum?” A bitter smile appeared on Xia Lei’s face. He’d just escaped from the tiger’s jaws earlier and he had to go to a museum now - there really was no rest for the weary.
“Mr Xia, I do not recommend going to the museum and stealing the map. The security there is very tight. You know that this place is in a constant state of war. Places like museums normally have military police and the Mossad guarding them. The Mossad in particular are very experienced and very difficult to shake off,” said Qiao Ping.
“No need to steal. I just need to take a look at the map,” said Xia Lei.
“You want to go now?” asked Qiao Ping.
“No, tomorrow. There’s surely going to be arrests being made under martial law outside right now. It’s too risky to go now,” said Xia Lei.
“Good, then I’ll arrange rooms for you,” said Qiao Ping.
About fifteen minutes later, Qiao Ping led Xia Lei, Long Bing, Tang Yuyan and Liu Qiang back to the surface, and up to the second floor of the sex goods shop. The underground rooms were for the intelligence station and this second floor was for accommodation. However, there were just two bedrooms.
Qiao Ping opened the door of one of them. “Sorry, I’ll have to ask all four of you to stay in one room. My people and I will stay in the other room.”
Long Bing and Tang Yuyan frowned.
Liu Qiang then said, “I’d better stay in that underground room from earlier. There’s a table there. Give me a blanket and I’ll be fine.”
Liu Qiang did not even want to think about sharing a room with two female Bureau 101 chiefs.
Xia Lei opened his mouth. “Me too, I’ll…”
Before he could finish, Tang Yuyan said, “You shouldn’t go. Stay with us.”
Xia Lei was very embarrassed but could not say anything.
Qiao Ping seemed to sense something was up and he quickly said, “You guys go in and rest. Call me if you need anything. Oh, right, your weapons have been delivered. They’re in the intelligence station. You can take them anytime.”
“We don’t need them for now,” said Long Bing. These words were like an invitation for him to leave.
Qiao Ping and Liu Qiang took the hint and left.
Xia Lei braced himself and entered the room. He was in trouble as soon as he stepped through the doorway. Adult toys were all over this room - electric tools, realistic dolls, translucent lingerie, and nurse outfits, school uniforms and so on. Every toy imaginable was available. The most outrageous was the wall by the bed, which was covered in long silicon shapes with electrical functions, in various colours, lengths and thicknesses. It was bedazzling.
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing were also so embarrassed they could die. The toys for female use made their faces and ears turn red. What made them even more embarrassed was that their minds were matching those tools to Xia Lei’s body and those images were very shameful indeed.
“Um…” Xia Lei broke the silence in the room. “This place should be a product display room, huh? Or a storage room.”
“What are you trying to say?” said Tang Yuyan crossly before muttering, “Pervert.”
Xia Lei shrugged awkwardly and pretended not to hear it. He walked to the window and moved a corner of the curtains aside to look at the street below.
A police car went past, sirens blaring. The policemen in the car were scanning the vehicles and pedestrians on the road with serious faces.
It was as he’d guessed. The whole city was under martial law.
Zuu Zuu Zzuu…
A strange sound suddenly came from behind him.
Xia Lei looked back to see Long Bing bolt up from the sofa. A long-shaped tool behind her butt had been turned on by accident and had started buzzing with movement.
This was quite a funny thing but Xia Lei and Tang Yuyan were not able to laugh. The sacrifices of the three Bureau 101 agents weighed heavily on their hearts like three stones.
“Shit!” Long Bing grabbed the thing and threw it in the corner of the room, saying in shameful anger, “How can anyone stay in this room?”
Tang Yuyan didn’t retort as usual. She sighed. “Just bear with it. We’ll switch to another place tomorrow.”
“You two sleep on the bed tonight. I’ll take the sofa,” said Xia Lei.
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing exchanged glances. They did not speak but both knew that it would be impossible for anything to happen with three of them in a room.
In the time afterwards, Xia Lei lay on the sofa and silently recalled everything he’d seen. All the buildings and streets were swiftly modeled in his head, and his thoughts flew about Jerusalem Old City like a bird, looking for something.
In the afternoon, Xia Lei got to a notebook computer and used the Google search engine to search for information on the Jerusalem Museum. He clicked on site after site and remembered all of their content.
If that Jerusalem Museum really had an ancient map, he needed to look at it just once to memorise it. He did not need to steal it. That was why it was not difficult to carry out his plan in the museum. The only danger was that he needed to avoid the Mossad and the CIA.
At night, Long Bing and Tang Yuyan lay on the bed to sleep and Xia Lei slept on the sofa, perfectly safe. However, sleeping in the same room, full of messy, interesting things, as two women was a very strange experience indeed.
That night, Xia Lei had a dream. He dreamt that Shentu Tianyin had given birth. He laughed loudly, and told the child to ‘call me Daddy’.
A slipper and a pair of women’s trousers then descended on his head...Previous Chapter Next Chapter