Snow came down from the sky, and they danced about in the air. Biting cold wind whooshed, making the snow spiral up, up to the treetops, the roofs. A thick layer of snow covered the the hill, measuring half a foot deep. Xia Lei frowned after he got to the base of the hill behind Heart of Oshino. It was impossible for him to leave no traces if he wanted to climb the hill to get to a good sniping spot. Anyone could find him if one followed his footprints in the snow.
Long Bing’s voice suddenly spoke in his ear. “Where are you?”
“Behind a hotel called Heart of Oshino. I think Gu Kewen is inside.” Xia Lei lowered his voice. “I’m getting ready to climb up a hill and find a sniping spot to kill her and solve the problem.”
“Wait. I hear talking. I’ll transfer the line in and you listen.”
Long Bing’s Japanese was only at a beginner’s level, so she could not translate complicated sentences.
“Okay. Do the transfer,” said Xia Lei as he felt carefully for footholds on the hill. He climbed, step by step, up the hill. Long Bing wanted him to wait but he would not. The time and opportunity could pass, and he didn’t want to miss it. There would be dire consequences if Gu Kewen escaped again this time!
A conversation came in over the receiver.
“Boss, my men and I have searched all the hotels in Oshino Hakkai. We’ve even gone asking around the villagers’ homes. The person you want is not here.” It was the leader’s voice.
“Then have you seen anyone suspicious? Similar build?” It was Gu Kewen’s voice.
Xia Lei’s heart thumped, and he stopped in his tracks. He couldn’t help looking at the Heart of Oshino hotel down the hill. Gu Kewen was in there! He could finish her off in one shot.
“Similar build?” said the thug. “Boss, I haven’t seen the punk. You’ve only given me a picture, so how would I know what build he has?”
“He’s about 185 centimetres tall, strong, but well-proportioned and shaped quite pleasingly. Oh right, he also has a woman with him. So, two people, a man and a woman. Think again. Was there anyone who fit this description?” said Gu Kewen.
Xia Lei cursed when he heard that. This Gu Kewen was craftier than a fox, and much smarter too! An enemy like this had to be eliminated!
“185… A man and a woman…” The leader seemed to remember something and said excitedly, “Come to think of it, there was someone like that!”
“Where is he!” Gu Kewen’s voice was anxious.
“He’s in the hotel close to the village entrance. He said he’s from Hokkaido. His Japanese was great but he didn’t have an accent of someone from Hokkaido. Oh yeah, there was a woman with him too. She’s very pretty. He said she’s his girlfriend, but that woman didn’t say a word the whole time. The guy even gave me some money to get me to leave. He’s generous, and the room he was in was also the most expensive in the hotel.” The leader said everything he knew.
“It’s most likely him!” Gu Kewen suddenly shouted, “Go! Take your men, and surround that hotel immediately. Don’t rush in. Wait for instructions!”
“He only has one woman with him. My men and I can take care of him easily,” said the thug.
“You and your men? I’m not trying to erode your confidence, but this guy has killed nearly 100 American Special Forces soldiers and CIA agents!”
“Hurry, go. I’ll pay you 10,000,000 yen more after the job’s done!”
“Let’s move! Men, contact the others searching in other areas. Get them all and surround that hotel!” said the leader.
There were always fools who would brave danger for the reward.
Up on the hill, Xia Lei’s mood had been ruined completely. He grabbed the communications device and said, “Long Bing, quick! Leave that hotel!”
“What happened?” Long Bing had not understood the Japanese conversation between Gu Kewen and the thug.
“Gu Kewen knows our location!” said Xia Lei anxiously, “Leave that place now. Leave from the window I used, then hide!”
“Keep communications open!” said Long Bing. Sounds of packing up came from over the line.
Xia Lei didn’t care about leaving footprints any longer. He stomped on the snow, inhaling and gathering power in his abdomen as he moved through the snow. This was the Tang Qinggong martial art he had learnt from Tang Yuyan, and it was most useful now.
All of the Tang Qinggong he had learnt was not the true martial art, but he could get to up to 60% of the true form just from observation and study with his ability. This level was enough for practical uses, and the result was that he left just a string of shallow footprints in the snow, and these prints would soon be covered with snow.
However, there were drawbacks to this too, and that was that it drained too much of his physical strength. This was why he had not used this martial art to get to a sniping spot from the start. It was not going to be a quick and simple battle, and he needed enough energy to expand upon his operations!
Xia Lei climbed up the 50-metre hill in three minutes. Once he got to the sniping spot he was aiming for, he threw himself to the ground, gasping. His lungs burned and his legs trembled – signs of physical exhaustion.
The Tang Qinggong was a secret martial art, passed down through history. Martial arts like these were not for people to play around with. Jumping over walls didn’t count, since that took just a second or two and was over in the blink of an eye. Longer minutes of sustaining this state, like Xia Lei had done, was a little too much for him to handle!
His body reacted violently to this treatment of it, but Xia Lei had no time to rest. He opened the bag holding the XL2500 and positioned it on the rock in front of him. He didn’t bother using the scope, and locked-on to the Heart of Oshino hotel.
At that moment, the leader came out of the hotel with his men. More of his men came gathering, coming from both left and right of the hotel. There was 23 of them in all.
These Japanese gangsters were using walkie-talkies, and they started moving towards the hotel close to the village entrance before they had all gathered in one place. From what could be seen of their speed, they would need just five minutes to surround that hotel. Five minutes, plus the three minutes from before, meant that Xia Lei could confirm that Long Bing was at least 100 metres away from the hotel by now.
“Where are you?” said Xia Lei into his communications device.
Long Bing’s voice came from over the line. “I’m on the west side of the village. I can see Heart of Oshino. Are you on the hill behind it?”
“Yes, about 50 metres above sea level, 2 o’clock from Heart of Oshino. Can you circle over here?” Xia Lei reported his own position.
“No. They will discover that car and find Gu Kewu. We won’t have a card to play if they get Gu Kewu,” said Long Bing.
“Why even bother about Gu Kewu at this point? Your safety is what’s most important! Leave that place, get up the hill, and come to me!” Xia Lei’s voice was stern.
Long Bing was silent for a bit. “All right. Give me 20 minutes.”
“Be careful,” nagged Xia Lei. He stopped talking, and focused on the Heart of Oshino hotel.
Gu Kewen was very crafty and she did not show herself. She knew that he was already here, but she was still so calm!
‘Let’s see how long you can keep hiding. It’s not use – you think I won’t be able to find you if you hide in the hotel? I’ll be able to find you even if I went room by room. I’ll kill you off in one shot!’ Xia Lei was burning with anger, and his eyes gleamed with killing intent.
Darkness, guns, and a man thirsting for a kill. All these made for an especially cold place on that hill.
Bzz bzz bzz, bzz bzz bzz...
The satellite phone in his pocket rang all of a sudden.
Xia Lei hesitated, then took the phone out and answered it. He spoke coldly, “Can’t sleep, Gu Kewen?”
Gu Kewen’s voice came over the line. “I’m lonely. How can a lonely woman sleep? Xia Lei, why didn’t you come look for me when you’re already here? Come over and accompany me. I guarantee that no one will harm you. I can also give you the most wonderful thing. Heh heh… Remember that time, at Distinguished Gathering? I was willing to work for you, and sleep with you but you rejected me. That was the biggest mistake you made in your life. You don’t know what you’re missing out on. I’m not as beautiful as Shentu Tianyin, true, but I know a man’s heart better than she does. I’ll let you experience what other men can only dream about…”
Xia Lei cut her off. “No, you’re wrong. It was the best decision I made in my life.”
“Fine.” Gu Kewen sighed. “Fine. Looks like we can only be enemies. You’ll regret this. I guarantee that.”
Xia Lei shifted his gun muzzle to point at a room. There were no lights on in that room and the doors and windows were shut. There was a thin layer of mist on the window, indicating that the room was warm though the air outside was cold.
Gu Kewen was still talking. “What, we’re already at this stage. Aren’t you coming out to meet me? Are you planning on being a coward? You don’t dare to come out and deal with a weak girl like me? My impression of you is that you’re an excellent specimen of a man, so what’s wrong with you today? Have you become cowardly and weak after marrying Shentu Tianyin?”
“Let’s meet, then. Fine. I’m already here in this village, and I’m in the hotel close to the village entrance. Come over and let’s complete this exchange. Let me remind you that your brother is still in my hands, so don’t you try any tricks.”
“I know you’re the best sniper in the world. You’re asking me to come out? What if you’re hiding somewhere to shoot me as soon as I show myself? Let me tell you, Xia Lei, that I can survive to this day not because my beauty and body but my smarts. I’m in Heart of Oshino. YOU come to ME!”
Xia Lei was not responding to Gu Kewen anymore. He took a deep breath and held it. His left eye twitched, and the walls of the room he was looking at about 60 metres away disappeared from his sight.
The two women in the room entered his field of sight in that second.
One was a statuesque mixed-blood woman, and the other… was Gu Kewen!Previous Chapter Next Chapter