They were miles and miles apart but the smell of a fight was in the air.
“Are you threatening me? Xia Lei, I have just this one condition. Get my brother out, then make the exchange. I’ll give you two minutes to think about it. If you refuse, I hand what I have to the media and the relevant authorities. Your Shentu Tianyin will be sent to prison!” After a pause, she added, “Oh, right, the amount she’s embezzled is enough to earn her death by shooting. Better hurry up and choose a nice burial spot for her. You can go to the graveyard to see her if you miss her.”
Xia Lei was in deep thought.
Shentu Tianyin looked at Xia Lei anxiously. Right in that moment, Xia Lei was her earth, her sky, her everything.
Two minutes were very short.
“Time’s up. What have you decided?” Gu Kewen’s tone was forceful.
“I agree to your condition,” said Xia Lei, “but you have to give me two months.”
“No. I can’t give you that much time. Two weeks, at most.”
“Gu Kewen, there’s no use hurrying it. You should be happy that I’ve even agreed to it. I know you have something which definitely threatens my wife but you should know my capabilities well too. I can still cover it up even if you give the information to the media and the authorities. Worse comes to worst, I’ll take the rap for her. You can’t do anything!”
The line was silent for a while before Gu Kewen spoke again. “Shentu Tianyin really did marry a good man, huh. How’s this - we’ll cool our heads a little. One month. Bring my brother to Japan after one month and we’ll make the exchange.”
“Deal. I’ll come to Japan a month later.” Xia Lei hung up.
“You’re really going to Japan?” asked Shentu Tianyin nervously.
Xia Lei nodded. “Yes. She’s a threat to you alive. I won’t allow anyone to threaten you.”
He’d made it clear - he was going to Japan to kill Gu Kewen!
Shentu Tianyin shook her head. “No, I don’t want you to go to Japan. It’s too dangerous. You said that Gu Kewen is already part of the CIA. She’s not alone. You may never come back if you go there.”
Xia Lei laughed and put on a relaxed front. “I’m willing to risk it for your sake. Don’t worry about this anymore. I’ll handle it.”
Shentu Tianyin put her arms around Xia Lei. She was touched and her heart filled with love for him. Her voice was small as she said, “It’s enough for you to say it. I don’t want you to risk it. Besides, Gu Kewen’s condition is unreasonable. There’s no way you can get an incarcerated man out of prison, and take him to Japan on top of that. Let me shoulder the responsibility of my own wrongs. What’s the meaning in me living if you leave me?”
Xia Lei stroked her silken raven-black hair. “Silly girl. Why would I leave you? I dared accept Gu Kewen’s condition because I have my own methods. Don’t worry.”
“Hubby, you… you believe what Gu Kewen said?” Shentu Tianyin looked up at Xia Lei in his arms and met his eyes. She seemed to be trying to look into his heart for an answer.
Xia Lei smiled. “I love you. I love all of you, not just your good side but your bad side too. You’re my wife, and I’ll accept all of you. I don’t care about what Gu Kewen said.”
"Love all of you and accept all of you" was Xia Lei’s proclamation of his love. It was more touching than a thousand sweet nothings. More importantly, Xia Lei was true to his word. No matter what Shentu Tianyin did, he was going to support her, and love her, cherish her, even risk his life for her!
This was a man’s resolve, and it was unshakable.
Shentu Tianyin looked at Xia Lei with emotion. There were no words to describe how touched and blessed she felt. There were no words, but she had a special female way of showing her feelings. Her hands went to Xia Lei’s chest again and she pushed him down, then lowered her chin…
Love was the most beautiful thing on Earth because it could be felt in body and soul. It was like they had ascended when they coupled.
The next day, Xia Lei brought Xia Xue out after breakfast.
Shentu Tianyin told Xia Lei to wait, then straightened his tie tenderly as she said, “Drive carefully. I’ll wait for you for dinner.”
Xia Lei nodded. “I’ll call you when I’m on my way back.”
Xia Xue giggled. “You two are so lovey-dovey. It makes me want to fall in love too.”
Xia Lei rolled his eyes at her. “What love? Study hard. Talk about love after you’ve graduated.”
Xia Xue pouted and put on a disgruntled expression.
Shentu Tianyin smacked Xia Lei lightly and put her arm around Xia Xue. “Come on. Xia Xue is an adult now. She must have quite a few suitors since she’s so pretty. What’s wrong with dating if there’s one among them whom she likes?”
“You’re taking her side,” said Xia Lei.
Xia Xue drew close and took Shentu Tianyin’s arm. “Sister-in-law’s the best. We’re comrades on the battle-line now. I’ll team up with you if my brother dares to bully you.”
Xia Lei smiled wryly but he was happy. His little family was getting along well, and it was a good thing.
Xia Lei sent Xia Xue to school, then drove towards Bureau 101’s headquarters.
He got a call from Annina on his way there.
“Lukas, I read the message you left. Why did you go off?” asked Annina. “Didn’t you want to talk to me about the Gust assault rifle?”
“I’ll be at the factory in the afternoon. Just do what needs to be done first,” said Xia Lei.
“No problem. I’ll wait for you at the factory.”
“Don’t tire yourself out. You should rest when it’s time to rest,” said Xia Lei in concern.
“Heh heh.” Annina’s laugh was sweet. “Thank you. I knew you still cared for me. Oh, right, bring some toys back for me.”
“Toys? What toys?” Xia Lei was confused.
Annina lowered her voice. “Y’know… Toys women use. I can’t go out and I don’t know where they sell these toys. Bring a few types back for me.”
Her words struck him like lightning bolts and he was too stunned to formulate a response.
“You’re not buying them for me?” said Annina. “Then give me the real thing.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
However, he was not repulsed by Annina’s adult conversation topic and he did not reject it. It was all fine to talk about anything as long as she was happy. As for lending her the real thing… He’d have to consider it carefully.
Xia Lei bumped into Tang Yuyan in the Bureau 101 building and they went into the secret lift together.
For some reason, the lift filled with a slight awkwardness, tinged by sourness.
“Uh, Xia Lei, can I ask you something?” Tang Yuyan broke the silence in the lift.
“What?” said Xia Lei casually.
“I know you’ve signed the certificate with Shentu Tianyin. You’re her husband now. Are you happy?” Tang Yuyan looked straight at Xia Lei, waiting for his answer.
Xia Lei paused, then said with a smile, “Why ask me such a strange question?”
Tang Yuyan stretched out her leg and kicked Xia Lei, then rolled her eyes at him. “Are we married or something? Is it such a chore to answer my question? Don’t forget that we’re comrades who’ve fought together with our lives on the line.”
Xia Lei felt like he was having a headache and he didn’t know what to say.
“Not saying anything? Fine. We’re not friends anymore,” said Tang Yuyan.
Xia Lei laughed dryly. “Okay, okay, I’ll say something. It’s going okay. It’s just like that. I feel like I’ve shouldered more responsibility. I’m very happy too, of course.”
The lift doors opened.
Tang Yuyan walked out of the lift, then looked back and rolled her eyes at Xia Lei. “Don’t invite me to your wedding banquet. I’ll treat you to alcohol when you get divorced.”
“What the hell? Who invites people to a drink like that?” Xia Lei kicked at her.
Tang Yuyan avoided it nimbly. She had a smile on her face but her heart hurt.
Xia Lei came to Shi Boren’s office.
Shi Boren was surprised to see Xia Lei. “You rarely come here of your own initiative, Boy. What is it?”
Xia Lei cut straight to the chase. “Boss Shi, didn’t you tell me to plan for the trip to Japan? I have a plan now.”
“Hm? A plan, so quick? Speak, speak.” Shi Boren was interested.
“You should know about Gu Kewen’s identity, Boss Shi,” said Xia Lei.
Shi Boren nodded. “I do. The top target of Tang Yuyan’s task force is Gu Kewen. She shall not live to see the sun rise on another day if she ever comes back to China. But your mission in going to Japan is to search for treasure. How is this related to Gu Kewen?”
“Gu Kewen went after me, Tang Yuyan and Long Bing the last time in Jerusalem. She’s gone to Japan now, and she has become a threat to me and the people involved in the Alloy X Project. She must be terminated if I go to Japan to search for treasure, otherwise she’ll be a threat.”
“It won’t be difficult to kill her, but she is in Japan. This will be troublesome,” said Shi Boren. “You coming here to talk to me means that you already have some ideas. Tell me - what are you thinking of doing?”
“It’s simple. Give me her brother. I’ll lure her out, then kill her,” said Xia Lei.
Shi Boren was silent, watching Xia Lei.
Xia Lei was unsettled by this but he kept his veneer of calm. “I know my plan doesn’t sit well with the rules, and it’s not glorious either. However, I’m willing to do any sort of dirty work for the Alloy X Project. Boss Shi, I am just making a suggestion. The decision is yours. It’s fine if anything happens to me, but losses faced by our country would be unimaginable if the Alloy X Project fails.”
Shi Boren finally spoke. “I can hand Gu Kewu to you, but…”
“Send both Gu Kewen and Gu Kewu to eternal sleep,” said Shi Boren. “Do it well, and thoroughly. Leave no traces and no loose ends.”
Xia Lei smiled immediately. “No problem. It’s agreed, then. I’ll take Gu Kewu with me when I leave.”
“Tell no one about this.”
“Rest assured, Boss Shi. I won’t even tell my wife,” said Xia Lei with a smile.
“Your wife, your wife. The word irks me.” Shi Boren frowned. “Go check on Yuyan. She’s been in a bad mood recently. She used to be lively and lovable but she seems so distracted now, always staring into space. Go spend some time with her and chat with her.”
“Oh no! I just remembered that there’s a meeting I have hold at work! I’ll be going off first, Boss Shi! Bye.” Xia Lei turned and left, not daring to stay a second longer.
Shi Boren stared at the empty doorway for quite a while before he snapped back to his senses.Previous Chapter Next Chapter