The two-storey building was completely surrounded. Israeli soldiers, American Special Forces and CIA agents had appeared on the streets and on the roofs of the buildings around them. It was now impossible for even a bird to escape from this place.
Gu Kewen had appeared and the CIA Middle East director, Goodson, too.
“Didn’t you say that you could persuade Xia Lei to surrender?” Goodson’s face was dark with anger. “I believed you and gave you command but Xia Lei is still fighting now. Don’t you need to give me an explanation?”
“There’s someone helping them, otherwise Xia Lei would have been captured by us long ago,” said Gu Kewen.
“I don’t need excuses.” Goodson pointed at the surrounded building and said, “Xia Lei is inside. I’ll give you one more chance. Get him to come out and surrender.”
“Mr Goodson, you…” Gu Kewen hesitated.
Goodson frowned. “What, not willing to follow my orders?”
“No, I’ll… go.” Gu Kewen forced herself to nod, then walked towards the small building.
She was filled with regret and dismay. She knew that she was of no more use to them, and that was why Goodson ordered her to go to Xia Lei. And she - she could be shot dead by Xia Lei at any time!
‘To boil the hound once it caught the rabbit’ was an apt expression for her now.
However, she still had to brace herself to complete this practically impossible task even though she knew that she was being used as cannon fodder. If Xia Lei was going to surrender he would have done so in the forest, not wait till now.
Gu Kewen’s steps were slow; she was thinking of how she was going to persuade Xia Lei as she walked.
Goodson watched Gu Kewen walk towards the small building and a cruel sneer appeared on his lips. ‘Would I let a woman like you, who would betray anything, to stay in the CIA and grow? Dream on. Let Xia Lei transfer his anger to you, then I’ll capture him. This is the perfect ending.’
“Xia Lei.” Gu Kewen got close to the small building and she finally spoke. “Don’t be foolish. Come out and surrender. You’ve been surrounded and there’s no way out. Come out - I guarantee no one’s going to hurt you.”
Xia Lei watched Gu Kewen from under the windows of the small building. He just needed to point the XL2500 out of the window and squeeze the trigger to finished Gu Kewen off in that moment. However, when he moved to do so, a bit of conflicted feelings and hesitation pulled at his heart-strings.
This was not kindness. Gu Kewen had been involved in the kidnapping of Shentu Tianyin, and in the operation against the expert group. So many of his comrades had died - she could not be forgiven for these sins. He was conflicted and hesitant because he had lip-read the conversation between Goodson and Gu Kewen earlier. Goodson wanted to use him to kill off Gu Kewen so if Xia Lei did that, wouldn’t he be doing as the enemy wished?
‘Goodson must have some reason for wanting to kill Gu Kewen off, but what?’ thought Xia Lei.
Gu Kewen’s voice came again, “Xia Lei, you have no time to ponder. Come out and surrender. I guarantee that you will be unharmed. Those two women can live too.”
Xia Lei glanced back that the blasting equipment hidden under the coffee table. The display showed four minutes still. He also spotted two pretty heads poking out of the underground passage entrance.
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing also saw the blasting equipment under the coffee table and they understood Xia Lei’s plan immediately.
“Gu Kewen!” Xia Lei looked back and raised his voice. “You’re just a CIA dog! You’re not fit to negotiate with me. Get Goodson to come talk with me.”
“I’m representing him,” came Gu Kewen’s voice, “You can tell me what you want!”
“I want Goodson to come here and talk to me,” said Xia Lei.
On the street, Gu Kewen turned to look at the agents hiding behind Goodson. She gestured. “Mr Goodson, he wants to talk with you.”
Goodson did not move; his face was dark.
Xia Lei spoke again, “You tell him that if he doesn’t come over to talk with me I’ll fight to the death. I have explosives on me, and I can blast myself apart at any time. He won’t even get to pick up my corpse if I do that.”
Gu Kewen passed on Xia Lei’s words.
“Cover me, I’ll go over.” Goodson finally made his decision.
The CIA’s objective was to capture Xia Lei so he would have no way to give the higher-ups any results if he couldn’t even hand a body over. Going over to Xia Lei was a huge risk but he had to take this risk.
The group of CIA agents covered Goodson as he drew close to the building. They were a living human wall for Goodson.
“I’m here. What are your conditions? Say them!” said Goodson loudly.
“My conditions are simple. Let my colleagues go. Let them go, and I’ll surrender when I receive a message that they are safe.”
“No problem, I can promise that.” Goodson let out a quiet sigh of relief. “Get them to come out.”
“What did you say? I can’t hear you.” Xia Lei’s sounded irritated. “You’re too far away from me. You’re not being sincere. Come closer and talk!”
“You show yourself, and I’ll come over!” said Goodson cautiously.
Xia Lei showed himself in the window. A man and a gun, surrounded on all sides, but he still had a domineering presence.
Gu Kewen seemed to sense something and her gaze turned odd. She surreptitiously moved backwards, behind the group of agents, then further back.
Goodson and the group of agents did not notice Gu Kewen’s strange actions, but this did not escape Xia Lei’s attention.
‘Gu Kewen is a slippery one indeed. She must have sensed something, and she didn’t even draw attention to what she discovered. Is she hoping to get promoted if Goodson dies? If that’s the case, then she really is a dangerous woman. No wonder Goodson wants to use me to kill her off…’ Xia Lei thought many thoughts in that instant.
Goodson raised his voice. “Xia Lei, I’ve shown you my sincerity. Get your colleagues to show themselves, then you come with us.”
“Sure, give me a minute. I want to have a few words with them.” Xia Lei disappeared from the window.
Once away from the window, Xia Lei jumped into the passageway.
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing went to support Xia Lei right away.
“Go! The explosives are set to blow in one minute,” said Xia Lei as he ran. He was not staying one second more.
The passageway was not wide but it allowed for a person to move quickly while bent over. Xia Lei led the way, with Tang Yuyan and Long Bing following behind; the trio fled quickly.
Xia Changhe should have escaped from this passageway too but Xia Lei was not worried at all that he would bump into his old man here. Through their interactions, Xia Lei’s opinion of his old man was that he was way more powerful and old-school than Long Bing and Tang Yuyan as an agent. His old man was one who was still hale and hearty after being pursued all over the world by the CIA after all!
A minute passed in the blink of an eye.
“Xia Lei?” called Goodson, “Are you done talking? I don’t have that much patience!”
There was no response from the building.
Goodson looked back and saw Gu Kewen. She had already retreated at least dozens of metres, and there was a strange smile on her face.
“You…” Goodson abruptly realised something and he became nervous. He shouted, “Get clear!”
BOOM! The small building exploded just after Goodson yelled. He and the agents protecting him had no time to react. The violent shockwaves of the explosion sent heat blasting outwards, as well as countless bits of debris. A storm of flames engulfed Goodson and the agents protecting him.
Gu Kewen had already retreated to a safe enough distance but she was still thrown to the ground by the shockwave.
Another series of explosions.
The small building had been levelled. The buildings around it were also seriously damaged, and not left intact.
The terrifying blast died down. Gu Kewen’s finger twitched, and she opened her eyes. Several pieces of debris had pierced her body and it hurt like hell but a strange smile appeared in the corners of her mouth. “Xia Lei… We will meet again…”
Dirt trickled down in the passageway. It felt like the tunnel would collapse at any time and it was nerve-wracking.
“I don’t know who planned this but I have to admit that he’s very clever. He calculated everything,” said Long Bing appreciatively.
An image of Xia Changhe’s face appeared in Xia Lei’s head - he had a smile in the corners of his mouth. Sons would always see their fathers as role models and right now, Xia Lei was feeling very proud of Xia Changhe.
“Goodson and Gu Kewen were blasted dead?” came Tang Yuyan’s voice. She felt a rush from getting some revenge.
Xia Lei kept moving. “Goodson, I believe is dead. But Gu Kewen...”
“You mean she’s not dead?” Tang Yuyan was surprised.
“She’s very sly. She sensed something when I said I needed a minute to talk with you guys and then she backed away. I think she’ll escape this trap,” said Xia Lei.
“Damn! That woman… Why didn’t you shoot her?” Tang Yuyan’s voice was complaining, “You had plenty of opportunities to kill her when she came over.”
Xia Lei laughed dryly. “It’s not that I don’t want to kill her but I felt something was off earlier. I had a feeling Goodson was trying to use me to kill Gu Kewen, so I hesitated. I used her to get Goodson to approach later too so I did not shoot her. I’d planned to kill her and Goodson in the blast together, so there was no need to shoot her but I didn’t expect that she would sense that there were explosives in the building.”
“That bitch sure is tenacious. She’s definitely going to be a big problem in the future,” said Tang Yuyan.
“Hold on.” Long Bing seemed to remember something. “You said she sensed that there were explosives in the building. Why didn’t she warn Goodson? Goodson and those agents would have had time to leave if she’d warned them.”
Xia Lei was silent for a bit before he said, “Goodson wants her dead, so why would she warn him? I think she has her own motive, and that’s to replace Goodson. CIA’s Middle East and Asia directors are dead so she has a chance to get promoted.”
“Never mind, don’t talk about that bitch anymore.” Long Bing was annoyed and she changed the subject. “Where does this lead to?”
“I have no idea, but I think we should be fine. It’ll be difficult for the CIA to discover this tunnel, and we will be far far away by the time they find it,” said Xia Lei.
All of a sudden, Tang Yuyan, who was behind Xia Lei, raised her leg and kicked him in the butt.
She did not put much force behind her kick but a footprint was added to Xia Lei’s butt.
“What are you doing?” Xia Lei looked back at Tang Yuyan.
Tang Yuyan suddenly slapped Xia Lei’s buttocks. “You kicked my butt so I’m returning the kick. Oh, right, the slap just now was interest.”
Xia Lei was speechless.Previous Chapter Next Chapter