There was no change in the alloy part which Xia Lei was using his X-ray vision on, but Xia Lei’s own vision had entered a vortex. Cold and a strange terror washed over him, then darkness. He felt like he had been dropped into a dark abyss, frozen and unable to move.
He was familiar with this feeling. This was the same feeling he had whenever he used his X-ray vision on the ancient alloy. It was unbearable every time and there was no getting used to it.
Two minutes later, Xia Lei’s vision returned to normal. The ancient tomb had an added existence and Xia Lei was shocked again.
It was not an old man who had appeared, nor any other creature - it was Princess Yongmei. She was icy-pale and jade-boned, snow-white and clothless. With her exquisitely beautiful features and full-figured body, not one inch of her naked body was not tempting.
But Xia Lei knew she did not exist and was not real.
Xia Lei looked at the dust in the coffin, then at Princess Yongmei standing before him. He paused for a long while before saying, “Why is it you, and not him?”
A similar thing had happened in the ancient ruins in Afghanistan. He had taken the ancient alloy from Princess Yongmei’s mouth and she had appeared. Now, he had taken the alloy from the old man’s body so it should have been the old man who appeared but it was still Princess Yongmei.
“I remember your face.” Princess Yongmei was still using this line.
Xia Lei felt a headache coming on as soon as she spoke. He laughed dryly. “I know, you remember my face. I also know that you’ve waited for me for so very long, right?”
“They’re all dead,” said Princess Yongmei.
Poof! Xia Lei’s mind felt like it had been blown, and he was so shocked he could only stare blankly and gape.
Princess Yongmei said a line she had never said before!
“They’re all dead.” Princess Yongmei repeated the line.
Xia Lei snapped back to his senses. “Who’s all dead? What else do you know? Tell me everything!”
He had a feeling in that instant that this Princess Yongmei who had appeared here was more complete than the Princess Yongmei in China - maybe she had stronger communication power!
Sure enough, Princess Yongmei stared dumbly at Xia Lei and said another new line. “Take me home.”
“Wh, Where’s your home?” Xia Lei’s voice was shaking. He thought of the Daming Palace and the Forbidden City. That world-famous landmark was built by her father, Zhu Xi.
Princess Yongmei did not answer Xia Lei’s question. She walked towards him, her voice ghostly. “I’m so cold. I’m so cold…”
Xia Lei took a subconscious step backwards, then stopped. Princess Yongmei was not his enemy, he knew that better than anyone. She had used her hands because the CIA had hit him, and damaged Ramsbigg’s and Hank’s brains. The two of them had had hastened deaths.
She was not an enemy and did not have a physical body; avoiding her was meaningless. He was curious, too, about what she would do.
Princess Yongmei walked up to his side as he looked on curiously and slowly came close to his body. Then she snuggled in his arms.
Xia Lei did not know if Princess Yongmei felt warmer then, but he was freezing. She had no real body and was a type of manifestation of energy but this energy was extremely cold. He felt like he was in a freezer hugging a cylinder of liquid ammonia!
“T, Tell me… Guh…” Xia Lei couldn’t seem to control the chattering of his teeth. “Tell me who died? Who’s this old man? What are you looking for these metals for?”
He asked a string of questions and wanted to know the answer to every one of them.
“They’re all dead,” said Princess Yongmei. She seemed to feel a little better, snuggled in Xia Lei’s arms. She looked quite docile, like a kitty cat.
“Tell me. You tell me,” urged Xia Lei.
“I want to go home,” said Princess Yongmei.
Xia Lei did not give up. He repeated his questions but only got these two lines in response.
The light of hope he had seen was extinguished yet again.
This Princess Yongmei who had appeared here seemed more ‘complete’ but she was far from proper completion. She could say more lines and seemed more humane but this was not enough.
Xia Lei was in no mood to keep asking her questions because he was about to become a human icicle. He moved his gaze to a piece of ancient alloy and called forth the power of his eye.
Princess Yongmei disappeared, same as she did when he did the same in China.
Xia Lei stood quietly in the tomb for two minutes, then put the five alloy pieces into a special radiation-proof container and left the tomb.
“Xia Lei, Xia Lei?” Tang Yuyan and Long Bing’s voices came from beyond the entrance. They sounded excited, anxious, and they were shining their lights in his direction.
Xia Lei increased his pace when he saw the lights.
“It really is him! He’s out!” said Tang Yuyan excitedly.
Long Bing dangled her upper body eagerly into the pit and reached out a hand, ready to pull Xia Lei up.
Xia Lei grabbed Long Bing’s hand and climbed out.
He sat as paralysed in the pit after climbing out of the hole, and seemed exhausted. The continuous use of his X-ray vision was part of the reason and the other part was that Princess Yongmei had frozen his muscles and nerves with her bone-piercing cold when trying to get heat from his body; he had not recovered from that yet.
Long Bing reached out and pulled the oxygen mask off Xia Lei’s face. She also removed the tank and his bag as she asked in concern, “You’re very cold. Was it cold down there?”
Xia Lei took a deep breath to calm himself before replying. “It is cold down there. I’ve got the items. Let’s leave this place.”
“You have them? What did you take?” asked Tang Yuyan. She was rubbing Xia Lei’s hand gently, trying to warm it up.
Xia Lei hid nothing from them. “A new pointer needle, and five pieces of alloy. Nothing else other than that.”
“This ancient tomb seems really big. Not one piece of treasure?” Tang Yuyan seemed rather dissatisfied.
“I don’t know whose tomb it was. There was no body and there were only four stone statues in the tomb. You can go in and take a look if you don’t believe me,” said Xia Lei.
“No I won’t.” Tang Yuyan looked at Xia Lei and suddenly gave him a sly smile. “Did you hide the gems or whatever away? I’m going to search you.”
Xia Lei stretched out his arms and parted his legs, all ready to be searched by her. “Search me if you want.”
He had not one gem but two walnuts - Xia Lei wondered if she would dare touch them.
Tang Yuyan did not search Xia Lei in the end. She had been joking, helping him relax.
After a short rest, Xia Lei climbed out of the pit with the help of the two women. The trio threw their now-useless tools into the pit and went back the way they had come.
The ancient drainage system echoed with their steps and the sound travelled far.
“I really want to see the alloy pieces you excavated,” said Tang Yuyan.
Long Bing made no sound but she was curious too.
What the two women were actually curious about and wanted answers for was: Why was Xia Lei the only one who was not affected by the harmful effects of the alloy? He didn’t go mad, didn’t die, but the others who had come into contact with the alloy either went mad or died, no exceptions!
Xia Lei seemed to sense something. He thought for a bit and said, “I know you’re curious, not just about the alloy but about why I seem immune to it. Honestly, I don’t know what’s going on either. I want answers too. If you really want an answer, I think… it’s probably because I fixed the compass in the past.”
Long Bing and Tang Yuyan couldn’t help exchanging looks. Both said nothing but they had the same doubt. Was it really like that?
However, they could not find any other explanation.
The journey back was smooth and no accidents or incidents happened. The trio got to that drainage point, took off their rubber clothing and changed back into the clothes they had left in that spot.
Xia Lei had a feast for his eyes during this process.
Tang Yuyan did not scold Xia Lei this time. Instead, she said generously, “Xia Lei, can I ask you a question?”
“What question?” Xia Lei looked at her thigh and said with a wide smile. “Ask whatever you want.”
“Um, what size is Shentu Tianyin’s underwear?” said Tang Yuyan.
Xia Lei was speechless.
“If you two really get married then how’s the split of assets and management of it going to be? Will Thunder Horse Group and Vientaine Group merge?”
Xia Lei was speechless again.
He didn’t even worry about these, so why was she worrying?
Long Bing called Liu Qiang with the satellite phone and sounds of a car approaching came from above their heads a few minutes later. Three knocks came afterwards. This was Liu Qiang’s signal.
Xia Lei was the first to climb up. He reached out and pushed the manhole cover up.
The manhole cover was pushed aside and Xia Lei, Tang Yuyan and Long Bing climbed out of the manhole and into the car. Liu Qiang covered the manhole up again and went back into the driver’s seat. He started the engine and drove off.
“Any new development?” asked Long Bing.
“The expert group has departed through safe channels. The Israeli asked the embassy questions and requested information on the identities of my three colleagues. The embassy’s response was that it is unclear and that we have no agents active in Israel.”
This sort of response was not surprising. America would not identify Ramsbigg or the others, so China was not going to identify Dou Yong and the others. This was the world of agents. Even their final glory had to be sacrificed for the nation.
“We need to hurry back as soon as possible too,” said Xia Lei, “It is not safe here. The items in my bag are too important; they must not be lost.”
Long Bing nodded. “Go back to the intelligence station and arrange for the journey home immediately.”
A vehicle suddenly appeared on the road to the east as soon as the words fell from Long Bing’s lips. It had appeared out of nowhere and was going at breakneck speed, but it came to a screeching halt just as it seemed it would go roaring through the intersection!Previous Chapter Next Chapter