The scenery outside the window had changed when he woke up. Under the cover of night were green plains, purple flowers and wild yellow chrysanthemums dotting it like a pattern on a flower carpet. Further off were rolling mountains, green at the foot and snowy at the peak. The sky was porcelain-blue even at night, so clean that there was not a speck of dust to mar it. It looked like the sky was close, and like one could just reach out and pick the stars from the sky.
Landscapes like these cannot be found in Jingdu or Haizhu.
Xia Lei climbed out of bed.
Ring ring ring, ring ring ring…
His mobile phone rang.
Xia Lei kept two phones on him at all times after returning to China. One was for regular communication and anyone could call him. The other was a secret satellite phone, and only the members of the Zodiac Team knew about it. The ringing was coming from the secret satellite phone.
Xia Lei picked up. “It’s me. Speak.”
“Boss, we’re behind you, about half an hour away.” It was Amanda. “If there are things that are inconvenient for you to do, we can do them for you.”
“Who came?” Xia Lei had not asked the Zodiac Team to follow him, so he did not know how many of them had come.
“Me, Bagu, Park Taeyong and Marcus. Alessio’s still recovering from his wound and E’er Demutu’s mother is really sick. He went back home to see her,” said Amanda.
“Got it. Keep your distance, and don’t let the Bureau 101 people discover you,” said Xia Lei.
“Roger.” Amanda hung up.
Xia Lei had not given the order to the Zodiac Team to follow him on his mission because this was Bureau 101’s operation. Getting them involved would only result in bad, not good. However, the Zodiac Team members had followed him anyway. He was not going to reject their good intentions in wanting to protect him.
Xia Lei came to the driver’s cab two minutes later.
Tang Yuyan looked tired. She was blinking her large eyes, and looked like she would fall asleep at any moment. But once Xia Lei stepped into the driver’s cab, she grew spirited right away. She smiled and said, “You sure are a lazy pig. You slept from morning to night! I wanted to wake you up to take over the driving but I couldn’t bear to disturb your sleep.”
Xia Lei was a little touched. If he didn’t consider her motives, she really was a good catch. She had the looks, and the body, had long legs and also practised martial arts. She was full of strange and mysterious thoughts too, so it was never boring with her. Add her family’s wealth and status, and he definitely was a great match with her. However, the Tang clan itself was what was making him falter. The family had been following their family traditions for hundreds of years. The Tang clan’s interests, and the factions leading them made Xia Lei give up on the idea of being with Tang Yuyan though she really was alluring.
“Let me drive then. Go to bed and rest,” said Xia Lei.
“I don’t want to sleep. I’ll chat with you.” Tang Yuyan stopped the vehicle and climbed into the passenger seat.
Xia Lei continued the drive. He saw that the destination marked on the navigation system was a little town called Dawang, in the southern tip of the western province. The area was close to the territory controlled by India, and it had belonged to China in the Han dynasty, but India occupied it now. The car was still 300 kilometres from their destination, and based on their current speed, they would probably need to drive for five more hours to get there.
Their destination was a place which was rather special, and Xia Lei had a suspicion. He asked probingly, “Yuyan, do we really have a mission?”
“Of course we do. What do you think we’re doing? Eloping?”
Xia Lei was at a little of a loss for words. ‘Is this a holiday trip, or not? If we are on holiday then we should go to Potala. We’re going to a small town in the western province now, so it must be for a mission. Argh, a mission should be a mission, but Boos Shi told me to bring a camera. Was he joking with me? Man, I’d hit him upside the head!’
Tang Yuyan patted Xia Lei on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, there won’t be any problems. You’re a national treasure now. Godfather dared to send you, so this means the mission is definitely not a dangerous one. He’s arranged everything and you just have to put the finishing touches to it.”
Xia Lei gave a laugh. Did he still need to put the finishing touches on it, with his stats? The contributions he had made to the nations were all so great that any one of them would cow others if used as a comparison. If this was a mission which only needed some finishing touches, then this really was a holiday. He would have plenty of time to go to Potala, Shigatse and anything else another time. Hm, then he really had misunderstood Boss Shi…
But at that moment, the hand Tang Yuyan had used to pat his shoulder slid down, and landed lightly on his thigh.
Xia Lei tensed his thigh for some reason too, and he couldn’t help trying to guess at what she wanted to do.
“Hey?” Tang Yuyan shook his thigh. “Say, if I really want to elope with you… Would you dare?”
Was this for real? Xia Lei’s head went numb. “Yuyan, please don’t make jokes like these.”
Tang Yuyan glared at Xia Lei. “Look at me. Do I look like I’m joking with you?”
Xia Lei did not look at her. He watched the road as he drove. “Heh heh, if you elope with me, then Grandfather Tang would probably give the order to hunt us down as the head of a martial arts order. Him and your father, and your brother too would want to kill me. And your mother. Your mother is a martial arts expert too, isn’t she? Would she let me off if I took her precious daughter away?”
“Head of a martial arts order, my ass!” Tang Yuyan pinched Xia Lei’s thigh and put on a fierce look. “I just want to hear one line from you. Would you dare elope with me?”
“What’s the name of that mountain ahead? It looks really majestic… ARGH!” Xia Lei looked down to see a jade-like claw grabbing the muscle of his inner thigh, close to his the base. He was this close to being grabbed by his manhood. Plus, he wasn’t sure if she was using some Tang technique of strengthening her muscles or not, but the force being used here could be summed it in one word — OUCH!
“You know how many days I had to wheedle my godfather to convince him to let you go on this mission with me?” Tang Yuyan got more agitated as she spoke. “I didn’t lower myself to go chasing after you in the past because you married Shentu Tianyin. But you’re divorced now, and single, so what are you waiting for? Never mind if you didn’t take the initiative. Are you still going to avoid me when I’m being so proactive? Just when will you stop running away?”
“How am I going to drive if you don’t let go?”
“Stop changing the subject. I’m not pulling at your dick here.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“Talk! I’ll confiscate your tools if you don’t make things clear today.”
Xia Lei didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. “Okay, I do owe you an explanation. Let’s have a proper talk… Can you please let go?”
Tang Yuyan let go at that. She pretended to be calm and like she did not care, but her ears were red. After all, she had not grabbed his dick, but his dick had been right by her hand. Just that proximity had made her panicky, and a little afraid.
“Yuyan, after Shentu Tianyin and I divorced, I decided not to marry another woman again. I know that you’re good to me, but after that experience… I’m tired. My heart has been hurt enough and I don’t want to experience that for a second time.”
“Shentu Tianyin lied to you. This doesn’t mean that all women will lie to you.”
“There was one more. You forgot.”
“Liang Siyao? Liang Siyao and Shentu Tianyin are cut from the same cloth. How can you compare me to them?” Tang Yuyan glared at Xia Lei. “We Tang women are stubborn, and we take our love seriously. If I lie to you, there will be no need to teach me a lesson. The Tang family code will destroy me for you.”
“Yuyan, this is not a matter about lying. It’s about…”
Tang Yuyan cut him off. “This is an excuse you gave yourself. I’m not listening to it!”
Xia Lei sighed. “Yuyan, why don’t you understand? I don’t want to marry.”
“You don’t want to marry? So you want to hang around with those women all day? Those two German women, Long Bing, and that woman from your hometown called Jiang Ruyi or something. Don’t you deny it. I, Tang Yuyan, am not a woman you can easily fool.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“You are abandoning yourself. Don’t you want a family? A beautiful, generous wife, and lively and adorable son, a smart, pretty daughter? You make so much money, you built a house but you don’t want children. Who did you make this money for then?”
“What you say makes sense, but…”
“There is no ‘but’. I can forgive your past. I don’t care how many relationships you’ve had with women in the past. You just have to stay true to me after we are married.”
It wasn’t easy for the young lady of the Tang Sect to be so understanding of him. Xia Lei knew her well and he was touched and grateful. However, marrying her would mean cutting off his relationship to Long BIng, and to Jiang Ruyi. Silvia and Annina need not be mentioned. It wouldn’t matter much even if he broke off his ambiguous relationship with them now, because Western women were more open about things like these. Breaking up and changing partners were not big things. But Long Bing and Jiang Ruyi were different. He could not and dared not wound their hearts.
“I’ve already made myself clear enough. Are you still going to keep silent?” Tang Yuyan’s tone changed to one of hurt, and tears appeared in her eyes.
Xia Lei was silent for a while longer before he said, “You know very well that I have relationships with so many women and you still want to marry me? Aren’t you like a moth flying at a flame? I’m not a pure man anymore. I am not worthy of you.”
“What I want is not a virgin. I want a man who can stand tall and indomitable. I want a husband!” The tears in her eyes welled.
Xia Lei was most bothered by women crying, and his hardened heart softened. “Yuyan, um… Give me some time. This is something that’s for life. Must you force me to make a decision in a few minutes?”
“How long do you need?”
“Fuck you! You can go galavanting about for three years while I keep my body chaste for you? You think I’m an idiot? How many ‘three years’ would a woman have?”
“One year then.”
“That won’t work either. End of the year. You have to give me a concrete answer at the end of this year. Marry me, or not. If you don’t, I’m going to marry someone else and I’m not going to wait for you,” said Tang Yuyan.
“Sure. You will definitely have many suitors. Just let me know who they are, and I’ll help you screen them. I’ll pick someone ten times better than me.”
Tang Yuyan suddenly reached her hand straight out.
A terrible scream came from inside the Ford E450.
It’s said that damage to the scrotum was more painful than childbirth. Xia Lei didn’t know about it before, but he knew it now.
This was not a fair comparison because he could not find a similar place on Tang Yuyan’s body to attack.
Their journey was filled with lots of noise as the Ford E50 jolted forward. Five hours later, a small town on a plateau came into view. It was a typical town of the western province, with tiled buildings and round tents. There was a stone temple at the entrance of the town, and the main hall had a pointed spire which went towering up into the sky. Countless prayer flags hung from the ropes, dancing lightly in the night wind.
This was Dawang Town. They were at their destination.
For some reason, however, Xia Lei had a bad feeling when he saw this ordinary-looking plateau town.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
742/754 = 12 more to go~
Also, he really should just stay away from women.