The glow of the setting sun coloured the surface of the sea, and every wave seemed to be crowned by a layer of gold dust, sparkling brilliantly. A shark pranced out of the sea for a bit, chasing after the yacht for a distance before it gave up and left.
Xia Lei did not worry about getting into any danger after they entered Chinese waters. He was in his country’s waters now, and the Japanese vessels would definitely not dare to intrude. However, he could not relax. He had used his X-ray vision on the alloy pieces and the AE capsule more than once during this period of time, but Princess Yongmei did not appear.
What in the world happened?
This question haunted him, and he turned it over and over in his head to no avail.
A flurry of footsteps came from the direction of the cabin, and Long Bing rushed up to the deck. When she saw that the deck was empty, she seemed to awaken, and she turned and dashed to the cockpit. She stared blankly when she saw Xia Lei, and only snapped back to her senses after a pause, dashing into the cockpit and enveloping him in a hug.
Xia Lei patted Long Bing gently on the back. His voice was gentle as he said, “It’s all right now, it’s all right. No need to be anxious.”
Long Bing abruptly let go of Xia Lei and stared right at him. “What the hell happened? What about those Japanese soldiers?”
“For some unknown reason, they did not continue their chase. They turned around and went back,” said Xia Lei.
The truth was that those soldiers and the agents had all died, but Xia Lei could not tell Long Bing that. He also couldn’t tell her that the soul of a Ming dynasty princess had killed them. He would not believe it if someone else had told him this either.
Long Bing seemed to remember something, and she gave him a light punch. “You knocked me out!”
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “I didn’t want you to sacrifice yourself. I knocked you out and was prepared to fight to the death with them, but they withdrew unexpectedly, before I made any moves on our side.”
“That’s it?” Long Bing looked doubtfully at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei shrugged. “If it wasn’t like that, then it means I killed all those soldiers. Will you believe me if I said that?”
“I believe you. I’ll believe you, no matter what you say.” Long Bing suddenly hugged Xia Lei and kissed him on the lips.
Xia Lei had knocked her out to protect her. He had been willing to face the group of merciless Japanese soldier all on his own, and the surrounding four speed boats too. She was willing to die for him, and he was willing to go through the hell of fires for her too. How could she, as a woman, not be content and happy about this level of commitment? She did not care at all if Xia Lei’s explanation made sense!
This kiss was like a flame to kindling, and it started a bonfire in an instant.
After their passions abated, they stayed in each other’s arms still, unwilling to part.
“Oh, right, I called Boss Shi to ask him to send a receiving ship. We are already in our own waters, so why has the ship not turned up yet?” Long Bing’s chin was on Xia Lei’s chest, and her voice was soft and drowsy too.
“After the Japanese military vessels moved away, I called Boss Shi and told him there was no need to send the ship. That stretch of sea is disputed after all, and I don’t want there to be any trouble because of me.”
“Mm, you made the right decision. Oh, right, what are your plans after you return?”
“I’d like to go to my old home first, then back to Jingdu. How about you?”
“I’ll be going with you, of course. For the time that you spend outside of Jingdu, and before you report on the mission, you and I are still on the job, so I go where you go,” said Long Bing. She kept watch on any changes in Xia Lei’s expression out of the corner of her eye when she said that.
Xia Lei’s expression did change. His went from relaxed and happy to slightly troubled after hearing Long Bing’s words, and he seemed to be hiding something in his heart.
“What, you don’t like me going to your old home?” said Long Bing, testing.
Xia Lei snapped back to his senses and said quickly, “No, no, no, I don’t mean that at all, definitely not. I’ll welcome you gladly to my old home.”
“Like I believe you.” Long Bing glared at Xia Lei. “You’re afraid that I will get in the way of you and Jiang Ruyi if I went with you to your old home, right?”
A fine scattering of sweat appeared on Xia Lei’s forehead.
Long Bing had seen his little secret in one look. Chief Long of Bureau 101 had never been an easy woman to fool.
“Be honest with me. Nothing happened between the two of you?” Long Bing crawled up on top of Xia Lei, pressing him down. She looked down at him.
Xia Lei wanted to slap himself. Why had he talked about going back to his old home? Wouldn’t it have been all fine if he just flew straight back to JIngdu? Now Long Bing was pressing on with these questions like a weapon. How was he to answer?
“Me and her, we’re actually…”
“I want the truth.”
Xia Lei braced himself and nodded. “I didn’t want it to happen either. I’m not that sort of man who’s lusting after women all the time. After Tianyin and I signed the papers, Jiang Ruyu came looking for me. She was going to jump off a building if I didn’t agree to be with her. What else could I have done? She’s liked me since we were children, and waited for me for over 20 years. I owe her, and I couldn’t bear to hurt her, so I…”
“Which floor did she want to jump off of?”
“The floor where I lived.”
Long Bing suddenly sputtered with laughter. “I’d always thought she was an honest woman. So, she’s quite sneaky too. Your place is on the second floor. She won’t die if she jumps off from there.”
“It’s still dangerous even if it’s the second floor. How will I explain things to her parents if she breaks her leg or something? Her parents took care of me when I was younger too. Well, anyway, what’s done is done. There’s no righting it now.” Xia Lei told her his secret, and it felt like a rock had been lifted off his heart.
Long Bing looked silently at Xia Lei, and said nothing.
Her gaze made Xia Lei feel guilty, and he said tentatively, “You’re… not happy?”
Long Bing suddenly lowered her chin and pressed a kiss to Xia Lei’s lips.
Xia Lei let out a breath of relief. Why would Long Bing kiss him if she was unhappy?
Long Bing smiled faintly. “You are Shentu Tianyin’s husband. What can I do about that? What can being unhappy about that change? I’m happy that you can be honest with me about this, because you did not care to tell Shentu Tiantin this, but you told me.”
What sort of logic was this?
Xia Lei could not find the energy to puzzle out her logic anymore. He had to admit to the truth of what Long Bing had said, though. He dared to talk to Long Bing about this, but did not dare to tell Shentu Tianyin. She was Shentu Tianyin after all, and the queen of Vientaine Group was definitely not going to let other women enjoy her husband. Long Bing was different, however, and being together with her was freedom, and happiness.
“Jiang Ruyi has it good. I could already tell during that time in Haizhu. She likes you, and she wanted to draw your attention with whichever means necessary. I’d always thought that you would end up with her too, but fate toys with people. You ended up with Shentu Tianyin.” Long Bing wriggled, twisting her hips gently. Her smooth, naked skin was like the most delicious butter cake on Earth.
“Fate really is a strange thing. I don’t know what fate holds for me either. This mission let me think and feel a lot, and also come to understand a lot of things. Life is short, and difficult, so why do we have to keep holding back? There are people I cannot abandon, some people feelings I cannot let down… so I’m going to let nature take its course. Ten years are going to pass in the blink of an eye anyway. One day, I’m going to be old, and put in a coffin. Who’s going to be heckling me about my past then, huh?” The mission this time really did make Xia Lei feel this way.
“So to summarise, you mean ‘carpe diem’, right?”
“Yep, yep, that’s what I mean.”
“So what are you waiting for?”
“You…” Xia Lei reacted, but he was too late. He was going to claim a backache, but Long Bing’s warm softness sheathed him, swallowed him.
“Are you taking me back to your old place, or not?”
“Yes! Uuh, I’ll take you back, okay?”
“You’re not to tell Jiang Ruyi about me and you. Got it?”
Xia Lei and Long Bing appeared on the streets of Haizhu City early next morning. They had gone back to their original identities. Xia Lei specially bought a big pile of gifts, and he hailed a taxi to take Long Bing home.
On the way, Xia Lei gave Jiang Ruyi a call. “I’m back, Ruyi.”
Jiang Ruyi’s voice came from over the phone, and she sounded quite excited. “You’re dummy for going away for so long. I miss you so, so much. I was going to Jingdu to look for you because you didn’t come back.”
Xia Lei glanced at Long Bing out of the corner of his eye, and he said cautiously, “I was busy with work. How about this… I’ll come over to visit you once I get some time.”
“So did you miss me?”
“Then give me a kiss.”
Xia Lei paused. A little kiss was nothing if Long Bing was not around, but she was right next to him. Would this upset her?
While Xia Lei hesitated, Long Bing suddenly drew close, and gave him a smacking kiss on his cheek.
This exaggerated kissing sound reached Jiang Ruyi’s ear, and she giggled. “Good boy. I’ll take a day off right away and head home. Wait for me – no going to the company!”
“Sure.” Xia Lei hung up.
Long Bing smiled. “I’m not criticising you or anything but… you need to get thicker skin.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
Back in Xia Lei’s little neighbourhood, Xia Lei settled Long Bing in his home, then took the bags of gifts to the door, all prepared to go to Jiang Ruyi’s place.
Long Bing walked him to the door, and she leaned against the door frame as she said, “I’d really like to know what you’re feeling now.”
Xia Lei laughed dryly. “What I’m feeling now? What are you trying to get at?”
Long BIng spoke slowly, “Cheater. You’re going to your lover now, cheating on your wife and your girlfriend. How do you feel about that?”
Xia Lei’s feelings were a ball of tangled yarn, and he could not say it.
“Lei!” Jiang Ruyi’s voice suddenly came from downstairs.
Xia Lei jolted.
Long Bing waved her hand. “Go on, go on. Have fun. It’s not easy for you too. It’s rare for you to come back to your old home, so I’ll stay here with you in Haizhu for two more days. I’ll help you hold Boss Shi off.”
What a good woman!
Xia Lei was so moved he could cry.Previous Chapter Next Chapter