Hidden in a corner, a black-robed man was headed towards them. In his hand was a gust assault rifle produced by the Thunder Horse Military Factory.
Spotting the weapon, Xia Lei couldn’t help but shake in anger. He had paid the Knight Hospitaller fifty million USD and even channelled large batches of excellent equipment, yet this was the treatment he received? Judging from their responses tonight, it was clear that the Knight Hospitaller intended to take what they wanted by force. They certainly had no intention to go against the FA Organization!
They were faced with the choice to challenge a large-scale free special force organization or to go against a single Chinese businessman. From that, it was clear that the Knight Hospitaller had made the choice that would benefit them best.
Tsukino Kyoko finally released her grip on Xia Lei’s hand. She signed a message to him.
Xia Lei nodded. As soon as the gun-wielding black-robed man came near to the corner, Xia Lei made his sudden appearance.
On reflex, the man quickly readied his weapon. However, the sight of the same dark uniform had him relieved, immediately putting his weapon down. Soon enough, the man noticed that something was amiss. He raised his gust assault rifle again and opened his mouth to shout.
But before he could do so, a katana abruptly pierced through his opened jaw from underneath Xia Lei’s armpit. The brutal weapon exited from the back of his skull.
Sustaining the lethal injury, the black-robed man slumped against the ground with a heavy thud.
Tsukino Kyoko returned her bloodied katana back to its sheath. She then took the man's robes and quickly put them on. The garment was ridiculously big on her petite frame.
The two of them tossed the body into the drain on the inner side of the rock stairs and resumed their ascend. Soon enough, they came across a stable that was cut into the rocky walls. Upon closer inspection, there were a few warhorses inhabiting it. All its excreted products would be brought away via the drain, but the lack of ventilation in the tunnel had given the area a foul stench.
At the end of the stairs was a massive natural cavern. The stone ceiling was more than tens of metres in height with an impressive depth about three to four hundred metres. Its shape was rather odd, looking like an upside-down gyro due to its narrower top and broad bottom.
There was a new tunnelled stairway that led towards the bottom of the cliff, a guardrail was installed on one side for safety concerns. Venturing over to the edge of the cliff, they could see a few rooms which were dug into the rocks. The bottom of the cavern was wide and flat. Looking ahead, there was a church modelled after ancient Roman churches. The sacred prayer place was mind-blowingly majestic. It had lights projected from behind windows and doors, which helped add a touch of etherealness to it.
Aside from the church, there too were other buildings along the bottom of the cavern. Most of it was functional facilities like a canteen, warehouse, clinic and so on. Each of the erected establishments had the Knight Hospitaller signet displayed. The layout of the place was made that all buildings were built surrounding the church, making it look like a little town.
“That church must be the Knight Hospitallers true headquarters.” Xia Lei looked to Tsukino Kyoko. “Let’s head down.”
Tsukino Kyoko only nodded and trailed behind Xia Lei as they made their way down the stairs. She was aware of the inevitable danger awaiting them but paid no mind to it.
The little rock chambers on the side of the stairs were occupied. Weirdly, most of its inhabitants were women and children. The occupants of the chambers were seemingly unfazed by the two people passing across the front of their houses. Some had the mind to spare them a glance while there were also those who barely batted an eyelash. Despite the attention, Tsukino Kyoko and Xia Lei hadn’t raised any suspicion. The lighting was dim, rendering anyone unable to see their faces clearly. Plus, the two were dressed in black robes. It was only natural for the occupants to take them as Knight Hospitaller members.
Reaching the bottom, Xia Lei began his journey towards the church all while keeping his left sight in X-ray vision mode. The man was cautious of his surroundings. Tsukino Kyoko had separated herself from him as soon as they made it to the ground. This was her style. If she was made to operate under brightly lit conditions, her capabilities would be highly jeopardized.
As Xia Lei was nearing the church, a massive black-robed man suddenly exited the building to his side. The muscular man was also wielding a gust assault rifle. Other than the seemingly customary Knight Hospitaller signet, the establishment behind him had a signboard written in Italian that allowed Xia Lei to identify the place as a bar. The man had reeked of alcohol too.
“Hey! Brother, aren’t you supposed to be capturing the Chinese? Why are you back?” The black-robed man questioned loudly.
Xia Lei replied to him in Italian. “They told me they had enough men, so I was asked to return.”
“Which leader are you under?” The black-robed man pressed on.
At this moment, another two similar men exited the bar. Their appearances had allowed Xia Lei to confirm that these gunmen were the Holy Knights Arthur had mentioned. They were the elite fighters of the Knight Hospitaller.
“It’s Gaddafi,” mumbled Xia Lei.
“What? Who?” The man didn’t hear him clearly.
Abruptly, the two newly-exited men standing by his side fell to the ground.
The muscular black-robed man quickly turned around. At that split second, a katana was lodged right into his chest, stabbing through his torso. The moment he hit the ground, the man soon came to a realization that the bartender inside was already unconscious against the flooring, his crimson blood had formed a large pool. Unfortunately, this would be the very last sight bidding him farewell.
Tsukino Kyoko, who had emerged from the dark, quickly dragged the bodies with their legs into the bar.
Xia Lei kept away his vision and continued his journey to the church’s entrance. Tsukino Kyoko was already long gone from the bar when he reached the door, she had run off sneakily towards a lighted house.
Her role in this operation was to get rid of all possible threats to Xia Lei. Xia Lei’s earlier strategy had successfully taken down most of the Holy Knights, so it was now her turn to get rid of the remaining ones. Tsukino Kyoko’s job was to create an ideal operating environment for Xia Lei.
This was also the reason why Xia Lei had only chosen to bring her along. However, Anjum Khan, Sa’im and the rest had their own roles to play. They were tasked to get rid of all exiting Holy Knights instead.
That was Xia Lei’s flawless plan.
With a push against the wooden door, Xia Lei entered the church. The grand hall was completely void of worshippers. There was a hanging cross in the centre of the large wall ahead. Jesus, nailed to the cross, gazed at Xia Lei as he made his way across the floor.
Hurriedly, Xia Lei passed through the hall into the inner parts of the church. After a quick scan with his left eye, his eyes quickly focused themselves on a room. It was a study, which had its door guarded by a black-robed gunman holding a gust assault rifle.
Inside the study, a bald old man was making a call at his desk. Weirdly, the office was well-lit by a bulb instead of the oil lamps Xia Lei had encountered along his way. There was also a computer set up on top of his table.
The office had probably gotten its electrical supply from on top of the mountain, or perhaps, there was a generator built around the area.
Carefully, Xia Lei walked towards the study.
Hearing his footsteps, the black-robed man responded with a quick glance over.
Swoosh! A silver glimmer flew towards him. Before he knew it, there was already an Italian military knife lodged snugly in his left socket. The merciless weapon had stabbed into his brain through his eye.
Caught by surprise, the black-robed man began to fall with nothing more than a gurgle from his throat.
Xia Lei rushed over and caught the body. Gently, he laid the black-robed man to the ground.
After taking care of the guard, Xia Lei had no intentions to barge into the study just yet. He stood quietly at the door, pretending that he was the guard while spying on the old man with his X-ray vision. At the same time, he tried to lip the old man’s lips.
“… You want peace? That’s not a problem, we had never wished to fight you in the first place. Yes, it’s all because of Xia Lei. Your Dark Mona had killed his men, which drove him insane. Of course, we need an armistice agreement. We’re also willing to compensate for your losses caused by the operation back then. Five million USD is all we can afford to pay. We won’t come in between your feud with Xia Lei and you shall not involve yourselves in our feud with Xia Lei. Join forces? I’ll think about it first… Goodbye, my friend.” With that, the bald old man ended his call.
Hearing that, Xia Lei didn’t need anything else to identify the old man before him. This elderly man was none other than the true leader of the Knight Hospitaller, Angelo!
There were two authority figures in the Knight Hospitaller. The one known by the public was merely a puppet leader, Walton. Clearly, Walton wouldn’t be here. The man was most definitely in Rome, where the Malta Palace was. This place was the Knight Hospitallers real headquarters, it only made sense for the real leader to be stationed here.
“Trying to work with me at a time like this? Haha.” Angelo’s breathy cackle echoed about the study. “We’re close to getting our hands on Xia Lei, there’s no point for us to collaborate. The five million USD is just for a ceasefire.”
Xia Lei could feel his rage bubbling. He had paid the Knight Hospitaller fifty million USD for the operation. It was their commitment to wage a war against the FA Organization. Watching the display unfold, the Knight Hospitaller had literally zero genuineness to work with him. Not only did they breach his trust and swallowed his funds and weapons, but they had also made countless attempts to capture him!
His earlier decision to work with the Knight Hospitaller was akin to getting blood from a stone. Now, Xia Lei was here to put an end to this!
Extending an arm to grab the handle, Xia Lei pushed the door open.
“Why did you enter my office?” Angelo turned around to look at Xia Lei bewilderedly. As soon as he noticed the corpse behind the man, something clicked in the old man. Frantically, he reached an arm over to open a drawer.
Xia Lei strode and leapt over the table to land a hard kick against Angelo’s chest.
Falling to his side, Angelo dodged the attack. The old man quickly lunged over to punch Xia Lei on the side of his skull.
Though Angelo’s age was apparent, his elderliness hadn’t hindered his agility. The old man’s responses were quick. The power exerted into his desperate punch was no different from that of a wrestling champion.
Unfortunately, his opponent was Xia Lei.
Xia Lei leaned his back flat on top of the table to avoid the incoming fist. Taking advantage of his position, he quickly pressed the silenced Viper pistol taut in an angle underneath Angelo’s ribs.
Immediately, Angelo’s body froze. Though the old man’s arm was extended forward, he didn’t dare to move another inch. An inch was all it took for a bullet to lay waste to his body.
Slowly, Xia Lei began to get up from the desk all while keeping his pistol on Angelo. “Angelo, it’s a pleasure to meet once again.”
“Who are you?” Angelo seemed calm, completely voided of anxiety.
Xia Lei reached an arm to his face and peeled off his human face mask.
“It’s you!” Angelo’s eyes widened in unmasked horror. The old man had foreseen many scenarios, but none of them had included having Xia Lei before him.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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