Xia Lei also went to the police station. It was a case of self-defence but the whole incident had to be documented and explained. They had to sort out those who needed to be held responsible, those who needed to be hospitalised and those who needed to be thrown behind bars. These all needed time so by the time Xia Lei walked out of the police station, it was getting late.
Instead of going home, Xia Lei drove to Thunder Horse Workshop.
Thunder Horse Workshop was not closed and the lights were still on. Xia Lei saw Zhou Xiao-Hong cleaning up the rubbish in the workshop when he got out of the car. The rubbish bins by the road were already heaped full of brick rubble, some broken things and broken glass.
Zhou Xiao-Hong held broom and dustpan in her hands, sweeping the floor of the workshop carefully under the lamplight. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong when she was standing still but she limped when she moved.
Xia Lei suddenly recalled that a thug had hit her on the thigh with a metal pipe and began to get worried. He walked quickly into the workshop and asked in concern, “Xiao-Hong, you’ve injured your leg. Why are you still working?”
Zhou Xiao-Hong only realised that Xia Lei had come when he spoke and she hurriedly put down the broom and dustpan. “You’re here, Big Brother Lei. I’m fine… I’ll get some water for you.”
Xia Lei pulled her to a chair and sat her down. “Sit here. I’m not thirsty. You rest and I’ll clean up.”
“How can this do? I should be the one doing these odd jobs,” said Zhou Xiao-Hong
She made to stand up but Xia Lei pressed her down with a finger, laughing as he said, “What dirty jobs have I not done? I was like you. I did whatever dirty job or hard labour just to earn money. Just sit there and Iet me do the cleaning or I’ll get mad at you.”
This seemed to work. Zhou Xiao-Hong listened and sat without moving while looking at Xia Lei clean up.
Zhou Xiao-Hong was actually almost done when Xia Lei had arrived. She had only a few corners left, which Xia Lei cleaned up in ten minutes.
Xia Lei went to Zhou Xiao-Hong’s side and asked in concern, “Have you gone to see the doctor, Xiao-Hong?”
Zhou Xiao-Hong shook her head, “I haven’t. Doctors are expensive in the city…” She laughed in embarrassment, “I can’t bear to spend the money.”
Xia Lei frowned, “You dummy. Is money more important than your health? What if you had a serious injury and didn’t have it treated in time? What will you want money for if you lose your life?”
“For my mother and father’s living expenses. And my brother’s studies.” Zhou Xiao-Hong seemed quite cheerful about it.
“Won’t you care a little more for yourself?”
“I’m fine, Big Brother Lei, I’m really…” At that point, Zhou Xiao-Hong moved and the movement pulled at the leg injury. She was in such pain she couldn’t speak.
Xia Lei asked a little worriedly, “What? Does it hurt a lot?”
Zhou Xiao-Hong was about to deny it but a groan of pain escaped her lips.
“That’s it. I’m taking you to the hospital,” said Xia Lei.
“No, I really… Ah…” Zhou Xiao-Hong seemed to be in even greater pain.
Xia Lei was not going to blather on any more. He looked at Zhou Xiao-Hong’s left thigh and the material of her blue work-clothing disappeared instantly. A plump thigh entered the field of vision of his left eye.
The thigh area of Zhou Xiao-Hong’s upper femur was red and swollen. The skin had split where it had been hit by the metal pipe and the injury was red, obviously inflamed. Xia Lei’s frown deepened at the sight. An injury like this was not dangerous but if left untreated, it could fester and become infected. It could lead to the worst and most dangerous thing too and that was muscle necrosis and tetanus.
“Your injury is so bad and you still say it isn’t?” Xia Lei said accusingly.
“You didn’t… See my injury, so how do you know?” Zhou Xiao-Hong looked curiously at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei then discovered that he had let it slip and followed up with a plausible line, “You look to be in so much pain that I can guess without looking. How about this - it’s late and the outpatient doctors may be done working. I’ll go to the pharmacy and get some hydrogen peroxide and bandages. Oh, and some amoxicillin. You have to take some anti-inflammation medicine.”
Zhou Xiao-Hong’s curiosity increased, “How do you know all these, Big Brother Lei?”
“I learnt it from books, of course. You should read more too when you have the time. Learn something useful. Okay, you wait for me. I’ll go to the nearby pharmacy and buy some medicine for you.” Xia Lei left Thunder Horse Workshop and walked towards the closest pharmacy.
His medical knowledge was from books but it was just some simple information. He had never thought of becoming a doctor and he didn’t have the requirements to do so, so he never delved deeper.
Pharmacies these days sold all sorts of medicines and you could get whatever you need if you paid in cash or swiped your credit card. Xia Lei quickly bought the items he needed but found Zhou XIao-Hong missing when he got back to Thunder Horse Workshop.
Xia Lei went to the doorway of the inner room and asked, “Xiao-Hong, are you in there?”
“Mm… I’m here… You can come in.” Zhou Xiao-Hong’s voice was a little strange.
Xia Lei pushed open the door and walked in. The cramped room was lit by dusky lamplight and Zhou Xiao-Hong lay on the foldable bed, a thin blanket covering her legs. The exposed part of her legs were smooth and un-socked. Her face flushed red under the lamplight and she looked fairly shy and nervous.
The scene before Xia Lei made him stare for a bit and he held the bag of medical supplies, not sure what to do.
“Big Brother Lei, you said… You’ll help me treat my wound. I, I can’t take my trousers off for you to treat me outside, right? So, so I came in here.” Zhou Xiao-Hong got redder and redder as she spoke. There wasn’t a spot on her face that wasn’t red by the time she was done speaking.
Xia Lei came to his senses and gave a dry cough, then went to the foldable bed. This mountain girl was shy so she wouldn’t take her trousers off outside, of course. That was why she had come in here to take them off. The patient had got all ready to receive treatment so he, as ‘doctor’ should not dawdle and treat her.
Xia Lei gently moved the blanket on her legs aside and a pair of pale, tender legs entered his field of vision. The injury on her left leg was obvious and in a bit of a sensitive area - it was almost to her underwear. His line of vision went to her wound but it could not help going to her mature area too. He started to feel awkward and was a little regretful for saying he would help her clean her wound. He should have brought her to the doctor. How embarrassing was this?
“Big Brother Lei?” Even Zhou Xiao-Hong’s neck was red. She suspected that Xia Lei was sneaking a look somewhere.
“Uh, sorry, I was thinking about how I’ll treat it,” said Xia Lei awkwardly.
“Are you done thinking?” A smile appeared at the corners of Zhou Xiao-Hong’s lips. She didn’t actually mind.
“Yes, yes.” Xia Lei took out a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and sprayed it on Zhou Xiao-Hong’s wound twice.
The white hydrogen peroxide wet Zhou Xiao-Hong’s thigh, her wound and her clothes.
“Ah, ah! It hurts, it hurts.” Zhou Xiao-Hong had tears of pain in her eyes when the hydrogen peroxide touched her wound.
“A big adult like you still afraid of pain? Bear with it for a bit, I’ll be done soon.” Xia Lei consoled her as he used a cotton bud to clean the wound.
Zhou Xiao-Hong clenched her teeth and watched Xia Lei clean her wound for her with tear-filled eyes; she was touched.
After cleaning her wound, Xia Lei applied some white powder on it and used bandages to wrap up her wound and thigh. When he was tying off the bandage, he tugged a little harder and the flesh of her thigh was pulled downwards. A gap appeared in the fabric above the thigh…
The two of them were silent in that instant and the atmosphere became weird.
“Um. Okay. I’m going back now. You rest. I’ll give you a few days off. Come back to work when your wound’s healed,” said Xia Lei. He dared not hang around.
“Big Brother Lei, I can still work. Really. I don’t need to take days off.” Zhou Xiao-Hong seemed anxious.
Xia Lei pulled the blanket over and covered Zhou Xiao-Hong with it, then patted her on her shoulder, “Being disobedient again? Rest. Your days will get better.”
Xia Lei left. Zhou Xiao-Hong clutched the blanket and giggled.
‘Your days will get better’ - Zhou Xiao-Hong was very happy every time Xia Lei said this to her.
Xia Lei closed the shutters and got into the car, headed for his home. However, he suddenly changed his mind at an intersection and turned the car in the direction of Beauty of Beauteous Hair Salon.
Chen Chuan-Hu had been sent by He Lao-Qi. Would He Lao-Qi just forget it since Chen Chuan-Hu got arrested?
‘I am probably a nobody in the eyes of someone like He Lao-Qi but I beat up so many of Chen Chuan-Hu’s underlings today. Would he still see me as a nobody? Will he send trash like Chen Chuan-Hu the next time? He won’t. He’s after me and I have no clue about who he is. This can’t do…’ Xia Lei pondered these thoughts as he drove.
The only thing he knew about He Lao-Qi so far is his name and that was definitely not enough.
Who was He Lao-Qi? Where did he live? Who did he hang out with? Xia Lei wanted answers to all these questions but he couldn’t just grab anyone off the street and ask him these questions. Qin Xiang was the best person to ask no matter how he thought about it.
Xia Lei had been to Beauty of Beauteous Hair Salon once and that was by coincidence but he remembered the route clearly. The Polo quietly approached Beauty of Beauteous Hair Salon and he stopped the car when it was 500 metres away. He stuck his head out the window and took at look at the situation in the salon from afar.
Normal people would only see some vague images from 500 metres away but it seemed like it was just five metres away for Xia Lei. He could see everything clearly from 500 metres away, even the beauty products in the window!
Xia Lei soon spotted Qin Xiang. He was doing the hair for a woman. His partner A-Lan was in front of the woman doing her nails. The three of them chatted gaily; the woman seemed to be a regular at Qin Xiang’s salon.
Xia Lei covered his right eye and focused with his left, then locked onto Qin Xiang’s lips. His mouth movements entered Xia Lei’s field of vision, clear as day.
“Big Sister Hua, I’m not buttering you up here. Your skin is great! Much better than mine. If you can get rid of your eye-bags you’ll look five years younger immediately. Your husband will pounce on you like a wolf.” Qin Xiang said sweet words to his customer, then added, “I just imported some beauty products from Korea. Do you want to try some?”
Xia Lei removed his hand from his right eye at that point. There was no point in lip-reading more. He willed his left eye back to normal and let it rest.
Spying on Qin Xiang was no use in this situation. He had to find another opportunity.
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