It was night. A Mitsubishi off-road vehicle exited the highway and entered Tokyo city.
This city was the largest in Asia and the second largest in the world. It was a huge forest, formed out of concrete and moulds. Tall buildings, never-ending traffic, and lights which blurred into each other; the hustle and bustle was like a dream of grotesque monstrosity.
Many Chinese had bad opinions about Japan, but they had to admit that it was a powerful country. The pragmatic attitude of the Japanese was worth learning from.
The Mitsubishi off-road vehicle went down a road. Xia Lei was driving and Long Bing sat in the back. She was in charge of keeping watch on Gu Kewu. Things had gone smoothly so far, and Gu Kewu was still unconscious. The poor man had been given several concussions by Long Bing since he was taken from the prison.
“It sure is a busy city,” sighed Xia Lei.
“You like cities?” Long Bing moved her gaze away from the window.
Xia Lei shook his head. “No, I like quiet and simple places, like a tranquil mountain village, or a little island with an amazing view. What about you?”
“Me too. I like quiet places with good scenery. Mountains and rivers, a house with a tiled roof. Oh, and a bamboo grove. I’d like to live in a place like that where I can read a book when I have time, and bask in the sun.”
“Why a bamboo grove?”
Long Bing thought for a bit. “I don’t know, but don’t they always have that in movies? A bamboo forest next to a tiled house or grass-roofed hut. It’s very pretty.”
Xia Lei laughed. “I didn’t expect you to like the classics. How about this – if we complete this mission successfully and go back to China, I’ll find a piece of land for you and make a tiled house for you like you want. Then I’ll have a bamboo grove planted next to it. What do you think?”
Long Bing paused, and said, “What, you’re buying me a house already? Is this a golden house to keep your mistress? Aren’t you afraid of Shentu Tianyin finding out and divorcing you?”
“Uh. Pretend I said nothing.” Xia Lei was embarrassed. He’d simply thought that he could easily help Long Bing fulfil this wish, and was not thinking of getting a house for a mistress at all. Besides, was a woman like Long Bing the delicate, sheltered type?
“No, you should mean what you say. Build a house like that for me when we get back. Build it close to your military factory, and plant a bamboo grove. Right, I want moso bamboo,” said Long Bing with a smile.
“Wh, Why build it close to my military factory?”
“It’s nice there, and it’s close to mountains and a river like I wanted. Oh, I get it. You’re afraid of me being too close and following you around, huh?”
“No, no, no, I don’t mean that.”
“What do you mean, then? Hm. You’re afraid of Shentu Tianyin getting suspicious?”
“Is giving you a house not enough?”
“I’m just kidding around with you. I have my own house, so I don’t want one from you. Besides, this relationship we have now is pretty good. I don’t want to change anything more,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei was speechless.
Men and women interacted a certain way before reaching a level in their relationship, and then interacted another way when they’d reached that level. What was stressing Xia Lei out was that he and Long Bing had somehow gone to the second type of interaction though nothing had really ‘happened’ between them yet.
They talked, they chatted, and they came to a street half an hour later with directions from the navigation system. Xia Lei parked the car in front of a video store, then alighted with Long Bing and went in.
The video store was not large, and it was full of various video material. There were regular movies sold there, as well as adult movies. Adult DVDs such as these could be put out on display and sold in Japan.
Some middle-aged uncles were in the store picking through the adult DVDs, and their gazes turned odd when they saw Long Bing come in behind Xia Lei. It was a normal thing for men to come to stores like these, but rare for a woman to shop for one.
Xia Lei casually picked a few normal DVDs, like “Mission Impossible 5” and “Fast and Furious 7”. Just as he turned towards the cashier, Long Bing swiftly grabbed two adult DVDs and shoved them into his hands, like she was moving something dirty.
Xia Lei looked down at the two DVDs she had chosen. Yui Hatano’s “Desire Search Officer” and Tokyo’s hot-selling “Girls in Jeans”. He looked back up at Long Bing’s face, dumbfounded.
Long Bing gave him a glare, but said nothing.
Xia Lei walked to the cashier.
A man in his early fifties was at the counter. He looked fairly normal. He scanned the DVDs, then said in Japanese, “It’s a total of 5,000 yen, sir. Thank you.”
Xia Lei took out his wallet, got 5,000 yen out of it, and handed it to the man. The first Japanese note had an X on it, written in pencil.
The man looked at that X, and his gaze went to Xia Lei’s face. His eyes turned wary.
Xia Lei said, “May I use your restroom, sir? I drank too much water and I can’t hold it for much longer. I’m really sorry to have to trouble you.”
“No problem. Go in through this door, and you’ll find the toilet at the end.” The man pointed at a door next to the cashier.
“Wait here for me,” said Xia Lei to Long Bing.
Long Bing nodded, and took the DVDs from Xia Lei.
Xia Lei opened that door and entered a narrow corridor. There was no toilet at the end of it, but a security door with an electronic lock. He walked up to the door and entered his Bureau 101 passcode. The heavy security door let out a soft click, and opened.
Behind the door was a room which was about ten square metres. It was empty save for a large bag on the floor. Xia Lei went to it and opened the bag to reveal a pile of gun parts and ammunition.
These gun parts had been shipped from China, and could be assembled into an XL2500 sniper rifle and a Gust assault rifle, plus two handguns.
Xia Lei glanced at them, then zipped the bag closed again. He took the bag out of the room.
This was one of Bureau 101’s intelligence stations.*
Xia Lei and Long Bing left the video store and got into the car. They drove out of the neighbourhood. Xia Lei had driven slowly on the way there, but he was almost speeding on his way out. He parked the car in a roadside parking space after putting a distance of about ten kilometres between himself and that video store.
Xia Lei took out the satellite phone and dialled Gu Kewen’s number. He went straight to the point. “I’m in Tokyo.”
“You were pretty quick,” said Gu Kewen.
“Tell me the place and time.”
“What’s the rush?” said Gu Kewen. Her voice was playful. “I’m not rushing even though my brother’s in your hands. HOw about this? You look for a hotel to stay in. I recommend…”
Xia Lei cut her off. “Don’t play games with me. You wanted me to come to Tokyo and I did. If you’re not going to make the exchange then I’ll kill your brother right now.”
“All right. I’m in the Mount Fuji area, in Oshino Hakkai. Come over. I’ll contact you again when you get here.” Gu Kewen cut the call right after she was done speaking.
The Mitsubishi off-road vehicle zoomed towards Mount Fuji, aided by the navigation system.
Xia Lei was annoyed. “That bitch Gu Kewen. Her brother’s in our hands but she still dares to jerk me around. Isn’t she afraid that I’ll kill her brother?”
“What can’t a woman like Gu Kewen do for her own agenda? I feel like she doesn’t care about her brother. If she really was concerned about him, she would have agreed to come to you in Hokkaido this morning, and make the trade with you in Hokkaido,” said Long Bing.
“So what you mean is…” Xia Lei seemed to realise something. “Has Gu Kewu just been a cover for something else all this while? Her true motive is not to save her brother, but to deal with me?”
Long Bing was silent for a bit before she said, “Let’s go back, Xia Lei. Don’t meet with Gu Kewen; it’s too dangerous. I can predict the danger. She’s not alone. She must have some trap set at that place and she’s just waiting for you to step into it. Let’s leave Tokyo and find somewhere isolated to kill Gu Kewu, then go to Okinawa and do what we should be doing.”
Xia Lei placed his foot on the brake pedal, but hesitated and did not step down.
Leaving Tokyo was the best choice to make, sure, but if he gave up on the exchange, killed Gu Kewu and left Tokyo, Gu Kewen would release all the dirt she had on Shentu Tianyin and land her in huge trouble. He had promised Shentu Tianyin that he would solve this problem for her – how could he just leave like this?
Xia Lei put his right foot back on the accelerator and pushed down. The Mitsubishi roared forward on the road like a beast.
Long Bing sighed. “Ay, Shentu Tianyin sure is fortunate to have married a man like you. You’re cleaning her shit up, and solving her problems for her. You know you could die here, but you’re still going. There aren’t many men like you on Earth.”
Xia Lei laughed dryly. “Are you praising me or mocking me?”
“Both,” said Long Bing.
“Right, you get down first at Oshino Hakkai. Take the assault rifle and look for sniping spots. I’ll go meet with Gu Kewen,” said Xia Lei.
“This is your plan?”
“Do you have a better idea?”
Long Bing thought for a bit. “Have you heard of this idiom which goes ‘the onlooker sees more of the game’?”
Xia Lei paused. “Of course I have. What are you trying to say?”
“I’m saying that your head’s in a mess because Shentu Tianyin is involved. This is what Gu Kewen wants. You’re anxious to get rid of Gu Kewen and destroy the evidence she has against Shentu Tianyin, and this makes it difficult for you to reach your goal. You’ll fall into the trap Gu Kewen prepared for you.”
Xia Lei knew his situation. Gu Kewen had been in Japan for a while, and had plenty of time to prepare. She wouldn’t just come all dressed prettily to meet him, make the exchange, and walk off, would she? However, he still had to go even though he knew it was a trap. He had no choice.
“I want you to live. Don’t get into unnecessary danger because of Shentu Tianyin. How about you listen to me.”
“What’s your plan?”
Long Bing thought for a bit. “I heard the hot springs there are pretty good. Let’s choose a hot-springs hotel and stay there. Enjoy some Japanese hot springs culture.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
This was her plan?Previous Chapter Next Chapter
*Wait, wasn’t the previous intelligence station also a porn shop?