Xia Lei strode off. The four people from the Knights Hospitaller also changed their path and moved towards the exit, tailing Xia Lei.
Xia Lei walked towards the bathrooms. He made a call as he walked. “It’s me, Xia Lei.”
“I know it’s you. You want to know the result of the meeting? You’re being a little too anxious. They are still having the meeting and discussing it now. I will tell you the result in the evening.” Jacqueline Eva’s voice came from the phone.
“I’m not calling to ask about the result.” Xia Lei lowered his voice. “The people who kidnapped me are here again. They’re in the exhibition hall, tailing me. I’m in danger now — come save me!”
“Don’t be scared. I’ll send someone over right away!” Jacqueline Eva grew anxious too.
“Hurry!” Xia Lei hung up.
The bathroom was right before him, but Xia Lei suddenly changed direction and walked another way.
“Did he discover us?” said the young black man in Italian.
“Not possible.” Soren’s voice was firm. “He’s never seen us, but we have detailed information on him. Relax, Alfonso. Don’t make yourself nervous.”
The young black man named Alfonso wanted to say something more, but he shut his mouth. This wasn’t because he felt that Soren’s words made total sense, but because Soren was their team leader. Soren’s words were sometimes an order.
“Obayang, Jack.” Soren did not raise his voice. “You two approach from his right, and circle around to his front.”
The two young white men nodded, and increased their pace to move to Xia Lei’s right.
“Boss, are you going to make a move here?” asked Alfonso cautiously.
“We aren’t like those old farts who need to be careful even when walking down stairs. If it were us who’d carried out the mission the last time instead of them, would we have to go through this trouble today?” A cold glint appeared in Soren’s eyes. “His bodyguards are not with him and he’s alone. This is a chance to snatch him. Once we get him, we’ll be able to get the sacred item and give him what he deserves.”
“But there are a lot of French policemen and soldiers here. If it comes to exchanging fire…” Alfonso started to say more, but stopped. He was worried about the possibility of this scenario.
“Alfonso, you lack the spirit of a Knight. The sacred item is very important to us. We must have it, at any cost. It is our honour to receive the acknowledgement of our great leader. That group of old farts have always been holding us back and doubting us. It is time for us to prove to them that we have the strength and spirit of Knights.” These words seemed to lend Soren a halo around his head. (Increased defence, agility, strength and magic attributes.) *
Alfonso didn’t speak. He looked at Xia Lei’s back, his gaze calculating.
Xia Lei increased his pace.
Ahead of him were two empty exhibition booths, and two pathways which went between these booths.
Xia Lei walked between these two empty booths and made to turn right. Just then, two white men came walking over on the same path, from the other direction. Xia Lei turned around, but one black and one white man came up from behind him. There was no going forward and no place to retreat; he was trapped.
The four members of the Knights Hospitaller quickly surrounded him.
“Come with us!” Soren’s voice was cold. He spoke in Italian.
“Who are you guys?” Xia Lei replied in Italian, and he looked nervous.
Soren spoke fiercely. “Shut up. Come with us or you will die here.”
“Are you the French police? I didn’t break any laws. Why do I have to go with you guys?” Xia Lei put his hand out. “Let me see your ID.”
Soren shot a look at the people behind Xia Lei.
Obayang suddenly put his hand to his waist.
It was a movement like he was going for a gun.
Xia Lei wouldn’t let him. In the instant that Obayang reached for his waist, Xia Lei suddenly retaliated, and chopped at Obayang’s neck with a knife-hand.
“Guh!” Obayang gurgled and held his throat with both his hands as he backed away. The muscles of his respiratory tract contracted automatically and his brain was deprived of oxygen. He’d virtually lost his combat ability in an instant.
Xia Lei made to move forward.
Jack hurriedly backed away, and his hand went to his waist too, reaching for his gun as he dodged Xia Lei. However, Xia Lei did not attack him but reached for Soren’s neck instead.
Soren moved his head to one side to avoid him.
This was a feint too. Xia Lei’s hand dropped abruptly, searched, grabbed, and took Soren’s gun, easy as pie.
Wing Chun focused on close combat. The skills he had learnt from Qin Xiang also helped to increase the effectiveness of his moves!
This series of movements looked complicated but it was over in a second. Alfonso and Jack had only managed to pull their guns out after Xia Lei had Soren’s gun in his hand. However, the muzzle of the gun was already pressed to Soren’s head.
“Don’t make a move!” Xia Lei pivoted to his right like a compass, and around Soren’s body to stand behind him. His right hand stayed steady, keeping the muzzle pressed to Soren’s head.
He’d taken advantage of that millisecond.
Jack and Alfonso had guns, but they did not dare shoot. Even if it were not a member of the Knights Hospitaller in Xia Lei’s hands but an ordinary civilian, they had no guarantee of shooting Xia Lei, because Xia Lei was completely hidden behind Soren’s body, leaving no angles of attack.
“Don’t bother about me!” roared Soren. “Finish him!”
“Don’t move or I’ll kill him!” said Xia Lei coldly.
Soren’s subordinates hesitated and exchanged glances.
“Follow orders!” Soren was alight with a passion, and his eyes full of excitement. “It is my honour to die for the cause!”
The three subordinates did not hesitate anymore.
Obayang and Alfonso moved, each of them coming from either side of Xia Lei. Jack stayed on the path in the middle. The three of them worked well together. Xia Lei had Soren under his control, but he was unable to watch his sides and back at the same time. It would get dangerous for him if Obayang and Alfonso got behind him.
“Put down your weapon!” Soren sneered. “Or you’ll die here!”
Xia Lei looked nervous. He used his left hand to put pressure on Soren’s neck to force him to move backwards.
“It’s no use. Put the gun down and come with us. We just want the thing that you took out of the maze. We won’t hurt you.” Soren continued with his psychological attack on Xia Lei.
“Tell them to stay still!” said Xia Lei loudly.
Soren sneered. “Stop being foolish. Our perception of death is different from yours. Shoot and kill me if you have the guts. But you know what the result is if you shoot me. You will die too. So that’s why, put down the g…”
A bullet shot from the muzzle of the gun and through Soren’s cheek. Blood and pieces of meat exploded from Soren’s face. White teeth were suddenly exposed from under the shredded face.
“Argh—” screamed Soren. The power of faith could not protect one from the power of bullets. This shot had also taken away his glory.
This was Xia Lei’s response.
You think I won’t dare to shoot?
I’ll just try shooting you once, then!
Obayang and Alfonso froze in their tracks. All three subordinates had not expected that Xia Lei would be so ruthless as to dare to shoot Soren under the pressure of having three guns pointed at him!
“Kill him!” Blood gushed from Soren’s mouth. His words were garbled.
“Freeze!” A heavily armed Special Forces soldier had appeared all of a sudden and shouted out a warning in French.
A group of National Security agents and French National Gendarmerie were behind this soldier, drawing close. Guns forward, and men following right behind — they were imposing!
This was actually why Xia Lei had had the confidence to shoot Soren. He had seen the French forces arriving from the reflection in the column. If the backup had not arrived, he would not have chosen to shoot but to think of a way to drag for time instead. He had Soren as a hostage, so doing so would have been easy.
Soren’s face right then was drained of colour. It wasn’t entirely because Xia Lei had destroyed his face, but mainly because he had come to carry out his mission, full of confidence. He had planned on taking Xia Lei away and getting his hands on the sacred object, but he had not expected that he would be in dire straits in an instant.
“Put the gun down!” shouted a French National Security agent in French.
“Don’t shoot!” Obayang put both hands up.
Jack and Alfonso put their hands up but they did not put their guns down.
The three of them seemed to be still waiting for Soren to give them an order.
A large group of Special Forces soldiers who were armed to the teeth surrounded them.
“You will regret this, Xia Lei.” Soren’s voice carried a burning hatred.
Xia Lei suddenly let go of Soren but his movements were just half a beat too slow.
Soren grabbed Xia Lei’s wrist immediately, pressing it down and taking the gun from Xia Lei’s hand.
Xia Lei slammed heavily into Soren’s back and dove to the ground.
Soren took a step forward and turned abruptly to shoot at Xia Lei.
There was no sound of a gunshot.
Soren stared blankly, then pulled the trigger again. There still wasn’t any gunshot. He then realised that the gun had no bullets. He realised something, and his mind blanked.
Bang bang bang…
Gunshots rang out and bullets flew over like raindrops. Soren’s chest and head were torn apart. Obayang, Jack and Alfonso were not safe either. They became Swiss cheese in a second.
The gunshots ceased.
Xia Lei crawled to his feet. He looked at the bodies on the floor and a faint sneer appeared on his lips. ‘Sorry, I forgot to tell you that there was no clip in the gun.”
He had released the clip a few seconds earlier, when releasing Soren. He had been nimble with his fingers, and Soren did not even see him making this sly move.
This was his motive in releasing Soren. He’d used the French to make the kill. These Knights Hospitaller members were dead. The French Intelligence Department wouldn’t be able to get any information out of them either.
The French National Security agents and the French National Gendarmerie came forward. Some Special Forces soldiers prodded at the bodies on the floor with the muzzles of their guns. The barrels of their guns were still hot from firing, and burnt smells came from the bodies; terrible smells.
None of the bodies reacted.
Using the hot gun barrels to check if the targets were still alive was a cruel method, but very effective.
“Are you hurt, Mr Xia?” asked a middle-aged Frenchman in casual clothing.
“I was hit a few times by them, but I should be fine. Thank you,” said Xia Lei.
“Miss Eva is on her way here. She will arrive soon.”
“Mm, I got it,” said Xia Lei.
Whether she came or not was not important to him anymore, because he had used their hand to kill.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
*seriously. What is this guy smoking?
** talking about faith and suicide bombers. Huzzah. Refused to translate but you can see what it says here: 这就是信仰的力量。在中东，这样的力量能让一个人在身上捆满炸弹，然后冲进菜市场。