Put My Socks On
The sea tossed before him, ceaselessly in motion.
Xia Lei and Qin Xiang sat on a reef, a pile of empty beer cans at their feet.
“Tell me, did you really want to kill He Lao-Qi tonight?” Qin Xiang threw away the empty beer can in his hand and asked while looking at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei was silent for a bit before answering, “Before you arrived, I was intent on entering his home and finishing him off.”
“And then?” Qin Xiang prompted.
“Then?” Xia Lei paused for a bit, then shook his head, “I didn’t think so far ahead. Ma Xiao-An died saving me. Am I still a man if I don’t seek revenge for him?”
“You didn’t think much, I’d say. If you’d really gone into He Lao-Qi’s home and killed him you’d be finished too. Gu Ke-Wen would have lost just a dog but destroyed a foe like you. With the Gu clan’s power, there is no place on Earth you can escape to if you kill He Lao-Qi. You’ll be sentenced to death if you’re caught. What will your sister do if you die? What about those people who depend on you for their livelihood? Have you thought about them?” said Qin Xiang.
Xia Lei growled, “He wanted to kill me. Ma Xiao-An died because he saved me. Should I just forget it?”
Qin Xiang sighed, “You’re a smart person. There are many ways for you to have your revenge. Why choose the path of mutual destruction?”
‘There are many ways for you to have your revenge. Why choose the path of mutual destruction?’ What Qin Xiang said echoed in Xia Lei’s head. He slowly calmed down. That’s right. Going into He Lao-Qi’s home to kill him was a mutually destructive way of revenge. An evil man like He Lao-Qi had sins aplenty to accompany him into and after death. But himself? What would Xia Xue do if he died? What about the hardworking employees of Thunder Horse Workshop? They had a taste of a life that was better than what they had - would they still need to go back to constructions sites to make a living?
“Think about it,” said Qin Xiang gently, “I believe you’ll find another way.”
Xia Lei suddenly thought of Long Bing and thought ‘If I call Long Bing and tell her that He Lao-Qi wants me dead, will she help me? But I don’t have evidence. It’ll be good if I have evidence.’
Long Bing may be able to help but he first needed some evidence.
He Lao-Qi was very sly and always had other people do the deed for him while he stood far, far away, unconnected. It would not be easy at all to find evidence of him committing a crime.
Qin Xiang seemed to sense the pain in Xia Lei’s heart. He spoke softly and comfortingly, “Don’t be too broken up about it and don’t worry. Don’t ever do something so foolish again. You have to think more and plan better.”
Xia Lei nodded, “I will. Thank you.”
Qin Xiang patted Xia Lei on the shoulder, “What’s with the polite tone? We’re friends.”
Xia Lei nodded again, “Yes, we’re friends.”
“Right, I finally found out He Lao-Qi’s real identity from a friend of mine today,” said Qin Xiang.
“Real identity?” Xia Lei froze.
“He Lao-Qi is very crafty and never spoke of his real name to anyone. He’s never let anyone see his identification documents either. People in the underworld only know him as He Lao-Qi but few know his real name. I’ve found his real name and it’s Huang Yi-Hu,” said Qin Xiang.
“Hold on,” Xia Lei was confused, “These are two different names. One’s surnamed He and the other’s surnamed Huang. How can one person have two?”
People would normally assume that even if He Lao-Qi was not really He Lao-Qi, he should be He-something, and definitely not Huang Yi-Hu. Names sometimes change but the surname wouldn’t.
“My reaction was much the same as yours at first but my friend was very sure that He Lao-Qi’s real name is Huang Yi-Hu,” said Qin Xiang.
Xia Lei spoke bewilderedly, “But according to the information you gave me, He Lao-Qi’s son is named He Jia-Hao. If he really is surnamed Huang, why is his son surnamed He?”
Qin Xiang shrugged, “I don’t know either. I’m not lying to you, I swear.”
“I didn’t mean that. This is very strange… Send me back now,” said Xia Lei.
“What are you going to do?” Qin Xiang looked a little worried.
“Relax. I’m not going to do anything foolish after tonight. I want to go look for Jiang Ru-Yi. She’s the Chief of North Police Station and has access rights to the household registration system. I want her to help me see if there are any assets under the name of Huang Yi-Hu,” said Xia Lei.
Qin Xiang was struck by a thought, “You want to start from his real identity?”
Xia Lei nodded, “If what you say is true, then He Lao-Qi is a fictional character. He’s done so many evil deeds and amassed so much wealth over the years - the assets are most definitely under the name of Huang Yi-Hu. He’s using this method to wash his dirty money clean. He’s the dreadful He Lao-Qi in the underworld and a regular businessman with no criminal record in the day.”
Qin Xiang chuckled, “I knew you were a smart one. Okay, I’ll send you back now.”
Back in his neighbourhood, Xia Lei hopped off the motorcycle. “You go back. I’ll let you know if I find out anything.”
“You’ll be the first to know if I find out anything on my end too. And be careful,” said Qin Xiang.
Xia Lei nodded, “You be careful too.”
“Bye, Lei.” Qin Xiang rode off on his motorcycle.
Lei? Xia Lei smiled wryly as he shook his head. He really wasn’t used to intimate way of calling his name. Then again, being friends with Qin Xiang meant that he’d have to adapt to some of Qin Xiang’s unnatural habits.
Xia Lei did not go home but went straight to Jiang Ru-Yi’s door. He checked the time on his mobile phone as he stood before her door - it was already midnight. It didn’t seem very appropriate to be knocking on a single female’s door at this time. He hesitated with his hand raised but still knocked in the end.
He thought Jiang Ru-Yi had already gone to bed but her voice came from behind the door after three knocks. “Who is it?”
Xia Lei lowered his voice, “It’s me, Xia Lei.”
The door opened quickly and Jiang Ru-Yi appeared in the doorway. She was wearing a thin nightdress and the light made it translucent. Her bra and lace side-tie panties were clearly visible under the nightdress, giving off a hazy sense of beauty.
Xia Lei spoke a little awkwardly, “It’s late. Why aren’t you asleep?”
Jiang Ru-Yi rolled her eyes at Xia Lei, “Xiao-An is gone. I was feeling down and worried that you’d do something stupid so I couldn’t sleep no matter how I tried. I was just about to fall asleep and here you come knocking. Are you not going to let me sleep?”
Xia Lei did not wait for her to finish speaking and went around her and into her home.
Jiang Ru-Yi was surprised, “It’s the middle of the night and you enter my home without my permission? What are you trying to do?”
“Don’t yell. Shut the door, quick. Tongues will wag if the neighbours hear me bickering with you at this hour,” said Xia Lei.
“You dare to come here at this hour and you’re still worried that the neighbours would spread rumours?” Jiang Ru-Yi’s tongue was sharp but she was still quick to shut the door.
“Let’s go to your room,” said Xia Lei.
“Huh? You’re really… Shameless!” Jiang Ru-Yi’s face turned red immediately, “I, I’m not ready. This is too sudden.”
“What nonsense are you talking about? I want you to help me check someone’s information. Isn’t your computer in your room?” said Xia Lei.
Jiang Ru-Yi suddenly snatched up a pillow from the sofa and threw it forcefully at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei caught the pillow and put it on the other sofa. “Stop playing. This is important. I wouldn’t come to your place at this time otherwise.”
Jiang Ru-Yi put her skewed thoughts away, “Who do you want me to check up on?”
“Huang Yi-Hu,” said Xia Lei, “Help me check this person’s information and the assets he has under his name. Just give me whatever you have on him.”
“Huang Yi-Hu? Lei, what are you investigating this person for?” It was the first time Jiang Ru-Yi had heard the name Huang Yi-Hu. She knew almost all the people Xia Lei knew so this made her feel that something was very strange.
Xia Lei told her about the information he had received from Qin Xiang.
“Why haven’t you given up?” said Jiang Ru-Yi, “Why are you still looking into that He Lao-Qi? You want to take revenge for Xiao-An? This is too dangerous - I won’t allow you to do something so stupid.”
Xia Lei suddenly went up to Jiang Ru-Yi and grabbed her by her shoulders, staring straight into her eyes, “Ru-Yi, we’ve known each other for years. Will you not help me with this?”
“It’s not… I’m protecting you… You… Why don’t you understand?” Xia Lei’s eyes were so full of aggression it made her panic.
“He Lao-Qi wants me dead. Ma Xiao-An died saving me this time. Would I be lucky enough to escape death next time? Why don’t you understand? It’s not that I want revenge; he will not rest until I’m dead. It is the same as awaiting death if I do nothing. Who will argue with you when I’m dead?” said Xia Lei.
“Rubbish! Stop talking about death and dying all the time. It’s unlucky,” said Jiang Ru-Yi, “But I think it’s best if you hand this matter over to us police…”
Xia Lei cut her off, “Help me and I’ll transfer the car ownership to you.”
Jiang Ru-Yi froze, then suddenly pouted. “You should’ve said so earlier, really…” She paused, then added, “Treat me to Italian cuisine too.”
Xia Lei was a little fazed, “You greedy pig! Fine, deal.”
“Get my uniform from my room. We have to go to the police station for this. We can’t access the police network from my home computer.” Jiang Ru-Yi sat on the sofa, behaving like a spoilt rich brat waiting for someone to wait on her.
Xia Lei wanted to kick her butt but he went to her room obediently and brought her her uniform, shoes and socks.
Jiang Ru-Yi lifted her jade-white leg in the air in a gentle bend, “Put my socks on.”
“Can you stop playing around?” snapped Xia Lei.
“Are you going to put it on, or not?” Jiang Ru-Yi stretched her foot to Xia Lei and touched it to his knee.
Xia Lei sighed and got to his knees gloomily to put the sock on for her.
Jiang Ru-Yi stretched out her other foot and rested it on his knee. Her straightened jade-like leg exposed an unfettered view of the lace side-tie panties she had on under her nightdress. Xia Lei was all tensed up but Jiang Ru-Yi did not care that he had seen anything and seemed to be enjoying the whole process.
Thankfully, Jiang Ru-Yi did not make him put on her pants or clothes for her.
A few minutes later, Jiang Ru-Yi brought Xia Lei out with her and they got into the Great Wall H6, driving out of the neighbourhood and towards North Police Station.
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