The shore moved further and further away, till it disappeared from sight. The yacht kept moving forward, and the trembling of the compass grew stronger and stronger.
“We’re getting close,” said Xia Lei excitedly.
Long Bing lifted the binoculars. There was nothing on the waves in the distance. “There’s no sign of land. Is it really in the sea?”
“Whether it’s on an island or in the sea, we’re already here. We might even find the treasure location tonight, and get what we need,” said Xia Lei.
“Let’s hope so. We killed five American soldiers. It’s best if we leave as soon as we can,” said Long Bing.
The yacht moved one nautical mile further and the pointer needle of the compass started shaking intensely all of a sudden.
Xia Lei killed the engine and stopped the yacht. He and Long Bing went on deck. There was nothing on the horizon, just waves, going up and down, all around, and the water going deeper than the eye can see.
Xia Lei took the compass to check again, and quickly made a decision. “The treasure location is right below us. I’ll go down and take a look. You stay here and wait for me.”
“No, I want to go with you,” said Long Bing.
“Who’s going to look after the yacht if we both go down? And our weapons too. What if another boat comes, sees that there’s no one, and take our yacht? How will we get back?”
“But…” Long Bing didn’t feel comfortable about letting Xia Lei dive on his own.
“How about this – I go down first to take a look around. You come down to help me if there’s any trouble.”
“All right, let’s do that.” Long Bing felt that Xia Lei was being reasonable. They would be in trouble if they both went down and the yacht drifted off, or was taken.
Xia Lei took out a wetsuit. He removed his clothing and put it on. Just at that moment, a light shone from a distance, illuminating the yacht.
“That’s…” Long Bing shaded her eyes with her hand, but she could not see what was behind that bright light.
Xia Lei saw it, and his expression grew sombre. He’d spotted a destroyer with the Japanese flag on its side.
“What ship is it, Lei?” Long Bing was getting nervous.
Xia Lei frowned. “A Japanese destroyer.”
“You can see it?” Long Bing was surprised.
Xia Lei was in no mood to explain how he could see the Japanese destroyer from such a distance. “Are our guns hidden away?”
“They’re not. They’re all in the cockpit.”
“That’s not good. We’ve got to hide them, just in case.” Xia Lei went into the cockpit.
Destroyers did not usually pay attention to normal yachts, but exceptions occurred. It would be bad if the navy officers boarded their yacht and found guns, especially when the guns were the XL2500 and the Gust. Japan didn’t have these guns.
Another thing was that this yacht was definitely no match for a destroyer, even if it were stuffed full of guns. The danger which faced them was such that the guns were useless, and they could only rely on their wits, not their brawn.
Long Bing stood on deck, squinting at the snow-white light. She was going blind, and still wasn’t able to see what sort of vessel it was. ‘Strange. Even if he has good eyes, they can’t be that good. I still can’t see what sort of boat it is, and he said it was a destroyer. I wonder if his children will have his amazing eyesight? Hold on… What nonsense am I thinking about?’
Xia Lei walked out of the cockpit. He had put the guns in a big bag, and he went to the side of the yacht, then used a rope to tie the bag to the yacht. He threw the bag into the sea.
The bag quickly sank beneath the waves, and the rope was gradually pulled straight.
“I made a bowline knot. If someone boards and investigates, and I can’t get away, you have to come untie it. Let our guns sink to the bottom of the sea.”
Long Bing nodded to indicate that she understood.
Xia Lei stood next to Long Bing, shoulder to shoulder as they watched the destroyer come closer. He then saw the ensign on the side of the vessel – a Tachikaze-class destroyer.
A few minutes later, the Tachikaze-class destroyer got close to Xia Lei and Long Bing’s little yacht. The searchlights were trained on the yacht, and it was blinding. An amplified voice came from the destroyer, “Who are you and what are you doing here?”
Xia Lei responded in Japanese, “We are Japanese citizens! My wife and I are on our honeymoon!”
No further questions came from the destroyer, but it stopped.
Xia Lei lowered his voice. “Your Japanese is bad, so I’m going to tell them that you’re mute. Don’t speak.”
Long Bing nodded, and turned to the ship’s side. Xia Lei was going to handle the people on the destroyer, while she went to sink their equipment. Xia Lei did not need to tell her to do it, because the destroyer would not have stopped if its captain had no intention of boarding the yacht.
Long Bing was quick. She sank the equipment, and even went to the cockpit to throw the compass in the rubbish bin. She then took out the cake and red wine the lady-boss had given them, prepared to put on a show with Xia Lei.
Sure enough, just as Long Bing brought the cake and wine out on deck, a rubber speed boat was lowered from the destroyer and eight naval officers of the Self Defence Force came zooming over. The eight naval officers were in full gear, and their expressions were cold.
“Steady, steady.” Xia Lei whispered to Long Bing, who was lighting candles.
Long Bing said nothing. She nodded lightly.
This situation before them was sure-death if it were a battle. There was no running, and the enemy could just fire a missile and blast the yacht to pieces.
Xia Lei was started to regret having been so hasty now. If he’d come tomorrow, he wouldn’t be in this situation now.
The rubber speed boat quickly got to the side of the yacht. A naval officer hooked the rope on the side of the yacht, secured the rubber speed boat, and all eight officers boarded the yacht.
Xia Lei was nervous as heck but he still put on a mask of calm. He smiled and walked to the eight officers in welcome when they boarded. “Good work, guys. You came at the right time – have some cake.”
“Thank you for your kind offer, but we are on the job now. Do you have identification documents? Please show them to us,” said an officer.
Xia Lei took his driving licence out from the clothes he had taken off.
“Katou Takasuke?” The officer looked at the driving licence. “From Hokkaido?”
“Yes, yes, from a small fishing village. I’m a fisherman too. When I was I child, my grandfather often told me that he went to Iturup Island to fish as a young lad, but the Russians took over the island now. I hate Russians. I had a dream too, when I was a child, that I’ll be able to take up arms one day and take our island back! But this dream never came true because I was sickly,” said Xia Lei.
The Kuril Islands dispute was something which pained the Japanese for a long time. Xia Lei talked about it because he wanted to seem close to the Japanese naval officers, to build commanderie and make it so that they wouldn’t cause trouble for him. In actual fact, he had nothing to do with the Kuril Islands dispute, not even if half the islands of Japan were taken by the Russians.
The officer smiled at Xia Lei’s words. “Ah, so you’re a patriotic young man. It’s all right if you can’t join the military. You’ll have a chance in the future.” As he spoke, he handed the driving licence back to Xia Lei.
One of the naval officers said to Long Bing, “Miss, can I have your identification?”
Long Bing did not move. She looked pleadingly at Xia Lei with a nervous look on her face.
The leading officer said, “Miss, where is your identification?”
Xia Lei bowed. “I do apologise. My wife is deaf-mute. I’ll tell her that you need her identification documents.”
“I see. Do excuse us.” The leading officer was reasonable too.
Xia Lei gestured to Long Bing and she pretended to react to the gesturing. She took out her health insurance certificate and handed it to the officer with both hands.
THe officer looked at the document, then at Long Bing.
The picture and the person were the same. They had ‘refreshed’ the pictures on the identification documents on their way to Tokyo. They would be in trouble if they’d kept their old pictures on the documents.
Xia Lei smiled and said, “Officer, my wife and I are from the same village. We grew up together. She’s a good woman – she just can’t talk. It is my great fortune to have married her, and I will take care of her my whole life.”
The officer handed Long Bing’s health certificate to Xia Lei. “I apologise for disturbing you. However, we have to inspect your yacht.”
“No problem, no problem,” said Xia Lei. “We rented this yacht. Heh heh, I wanted to experience what it’s like to be a rich person. But I’ll work hard, and give her the life of true luxury.”
Nobody paid attention to Xia Lei anymore. The leading officer gave the order, and the officers started to inspect the yacht.
A few minutes later, an officer picked up the compass from the rubbish bin.
Xia Lei and Long Bing felt like there were hands around their hearts. They were so nervous their hearts could burst. Fortunately, the officer only took a look at it, and threw it back into the bin. He must have thought it was an ornament, or a busted nautical compass or something. Others had thrown it away, so he was not interested in taking a second look at it.
“Officer, we are ordinary people. Why are you searching our yacht?” asked Xia Lei.
The leading officer said, “We are conducting military exercises in these parts, and you’ve stumbled into our zone, so we have to check. You might not know this, but the Chinese are good at collecting information now, and we have to try to avoid the worst.”
“Oh, so that’s what this is.” Xia Lei gave a laugh.
“Sir, nothing suspicious.” An officer returned to the deck and spoke loudly.
The other officers reported the same. Nothing was out of place. However, this was just as to be expected, and they were not surprised.
“You should leave,” said the leading officer. “Leave this area quickly. This is a military exercise zone, so it’s dangerous for you to stay here.”
“No problem. But can my wife and I finish our cake before we go?” Xia Lei said cautiously, “My wife has lit the candles. We should make a wish, or it’ll bring bad luck if we stop it part-way.”
The leading officer frowned. “You should hurry, then.”
“Yes, of course. We won’t give you any trouble.” Xia Lei smiled and said, “I wish you success in your military exercise.”
The rubber speed boat departed.
Xia Lei and Long Bing sank to their buttocks on the deck, their backs covered in cold sweat.Previous Chapter Next Chapter