The rain kept falling without end. Dawn came late, about an hour after it usually did. A layer of mist hung over the forest below the peak and the trees stood in a fog, full of mystery and a certain primitiveness.
Up on the huge rock, Xia Lei watched the forest down below; he was on high alert. The rain and the mist affected his vision. His left eye could see up to 4,000 metres under normal circumstances but he could only see about 1,000 metres now.
A mass of rock sat under the peak, with no vegetation. The wind also dispersed the fog in time, otherwise Ahn Suhyeong’s men could have sneaked close under its cover. Close combat was something he definitely couldn’t take.
Next to him, Jiang Ruyi was still asleep. She had stayed up with him right before dawn, till she could not hold on anymore. The periods of anxiousness and tiredness from climbing the peak had exhausted her body; it was already impressive enough that she had held on.
She slept quietly, with a faint smile on her lips. She seemed to be having a good dream.
Xia Lei looked at the smile on her lips and recalled the night he had spent with Jiang Ruyi.
They shared so many things; uncountable memories. They’d grown up together. She was like a mirror which had grown up with him. He looked at her and saw his past, the bitter, the sweet, the frustrations and the joy.
Shentu Tianyin would never be able to give him this.
Jiang Ruyi was a regular girl and she led a simple life too. She’d gone to school like normal and started working after university like normal. Without his interference, she would likely still be just a little pencil-pusher in the police station now, with a small salary and a normal life. However, it was because she was so normal that she seemed more real, and closer to others.
There were fewer than few women like Shentu Tianyin in this world. She was the queen in the castle, with vast resources and manpower. There were many women like Jiang Ruyi in this world and every guy had this sort of girl-next-door in his life who grew up together with him and argued but they grew into beautiful people because of their relationship.
Some men would marry girls like these, some men would marry others and meet once in a while, but would still have that feeling of closeness every time they met. Girls like these were a part of a man’s life and no one could erase them.
In that moment, the seeds the young Jiang Ruyi had planted all those years ago as children came out of dormancy and took root in Xia Lei’s heart. Xia Lei used to not have any feelings at all when he looked at Jiang Ruyi but he found her more and more pleasing to the eye now, and was developing some feelings for her.
A wry smile appeared in the corners of Xia Lei’s mouth and he thought, ‘She always squabbles with me but she always gives me some of her tasty sweets when she has them. She always stood on my side when I argued with someone, and helped me whether I was right or not. It must've been from that time that… I’ll never be able to shake her off, will I?’
“Lei, don’t get married… Don’t get married…” Jiang Ruyi’s dream seemed to have changed and the smile disappeared from her lips. Pain crossed her face.
Xia Lei couldn’t help stroking her hair and her cheek. “Shush, don’t fuss. Sleep, sleep.”
Jiang Ruyi mumbled a complaint, “Lei, you idiot. You heartless guy. I’ve liked you since I was 13 but you had no clue… You idiot. Idiot…”
This dream-speak made Xia Lei blank out in surprise. “Y, You’ve liked me since you were 13? This… Didn’t you mature too quickly?”
Girls reached puberty earlier than boys, but boys rarely noticed this.
Jiang Ruyi heard Xia Lei but she responded to the boy in her dream. “Lei, take me. I’ll have your children.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
Bam! A loud crash came from under the rock.
Xia Lei hurriedly went to look down.
The forest below the rock was still shrouded in fog and it was difficult to see what was going on among the trees. Xia Lei knew, however, that the person who had fired was in the forest and about 1,000 metres away from him. The enemy was in his shooting range, and he was in the enemy’s shooting range too.
Was it Hyena?
Bam! The rock was hit this time. The force of the bullet was not great enough to move this huge rock but the sparks which were thrown up at impact entered Xia Lei’s field of vision. This meant that the bullet had hit close to where he and Jiang Ruyi were hiding!
Xia Lei looked for Hyena; he turned his X-ray vision on. Unfortunately, the fog in the forest blocked his view. Add the distance and he was unable to find a target. However, he could analyse where Hyena was hiding because of the bullet trail.
Xia Lei put his finger on the trigger of the XL2500, ready to shoot.
‘Wait, Hyena is shooting now? This means he’s not aiming to kill but aiming to see my reaction and my condition’ thought Xia Lei. He relaxed his finger.
The rain kept falling and the wind blew strongly. An experienced killer would definitely use these natural occurrences to affect the outcome of the battle. Who was Hyena? The king of killers! Would he lack this experience?
Just as Xia Lei made this observation, Hyena shot a few more times again. Every shot hit the huge rock on the peak. Xia Lei did not react. Hyena would have no way of knowing his current condition if he did not react. However, if Ahn Suhyeong got any of his men to charge, Xia Lei would kill all who crossed the line he’d drawn!
His condition would only be known when he killed again.
A few minutes later, a Russian gunman came walking out of the forest holding a bulletproof shield. He stepped carefully towards the peak.
Xia Lei’s finger hooked around the trigger again but he refrained from shooting the Russian gunman when he saw that no one else had stepped out of the forest.
The Russian gunman crossed Xia Lei’s line and walked past corpses, onwards. He advanced for about 100 metres, then stopped and slowly retreated to the forest.
This was a sort of scout too. If Xia Lei killed this Russian gunman, then Hyena would easily be able to tell what condition Xia Lei was in.
A small sneer appeared in the corners of Xia Lei’s mouth when the Russian gunman returned to the forest. ‘Hyena is a top-tier killer with a terrifying amount of experience. Testing to see what condition I’m revealed his intentions.’ Xia Lei looked up at the sky and the rain falling out of it, then mumbled to himself, “They should be starting the attack tomorrow morning.”
People who were too clever would be tricked by their own cleverness. Experience was the same - having too much of it was not a good thing sometimes, and mistakes would arise.
In the forest, Hyena put his sniper rifle away. He could judge roughly where Xia Lei was but he could not see even a strand of Xia Lei’s hair. He was afraid of being exposed in front of Xia Lei, too. He knew how strong Xia Lei was, but once he revealed his goal, he would become Xia Lei’s first target.
He used these two methods to test Xia Lei’s reaction but received none, so he was not entirely sure what to do. After the Russian gunman returned, he tried figuring it out. ‘Did he really get sick after getting rained on for the whole night? Did he get a fever so bad he can’t fight? Why else would he just let a target go like that?’
Ahn Suhyeong walked over. “Mr Hyena, Xia Lei must be sick from the rain. The temperature during the night was quite cold - even a hardened man would succumb.” After a pause, he added, “How about we start the attack now? I’ll get my men to charge together and you find an opportunity to kill him in one shot.”
This suggestion was tempting.
Hyena thought for a bit, then shook his head. “Xia Lei is not that weak. He must be holding back from firing to lure us out. We should still wait till tomorrow morning. Our people have this peak surrounded so he has no way of escaping. It is too risky to act now and there are no guarantees. We have a better chance in finishing him off if we make our move tomorrow morning.”
“Fine, we’ll wait another 24 hours. I will have him killed tomorrow morning!” said Ahn Suhyeong.
Hyena looked up at the misty peak, pondering.
Up on the peak, Xia Lei was looking down at the forest below too and thinking, ‘If I’m right, they will charge up here tomorrow morning. Would Ahn Suhyeong turn up then? I’ll kill him if he appears!”
This was a contest between hunters and only the strongest would leave this deserted island alive!
Jiang Ruyi was still sleeping soundly and clueless of what had just happened. She felt no danger by Xia Lei’s side; all she sensed as calm and sweetness.
This was probably a ‘honeymoon’ to her.Previous Chapter Next Chapter