Folsom’s words could be interpreted in another meaning. ‘Yeah, we’re trying to kill you but what can you do about that?’
There was a violent fire burning in Xia Lei’s soul, masked by his calmness on the surface.
“Xia Lei, still the same example.” Hattori Mei interjected, “The American Intelligence Department and Special Forces had tracked him for more than ten years, but he died in the end. I think you should consider your future cautiously. Your people may be able to protect you for now, that we believe. But have you ever thought about how they would treat you once you lose your value?”
Xia Lei averted his gaze to Hattori Mei. “Baseless assumptions? I don’t remember you as such a naive person.”
The woman shrugged. “The Chinese always say that bitter medicines cure diseases. A piece of honest advice may be unpleasant to the ear. I’m sure you understand what I mean. Plus, the Thunder Horse Organization’s development is bound to reach a peak. You’re not going to be able to keep breaking limits. Think about this carefully, when that day comes, how much value would you be left with?”
Folsom added on, “When the time comes, the most valuable thing about you is your body. The sound of AE capsules and advanced evolution makes my heartthrob, not to mention your country’s state apparatus. You won’t be facing one particular opponent in the future but the entirety of the state apparatus.”
“Ah, I see it now.” Xia Lei huffed out a burst of breathy laughter. “You are trying to convince me to betray my own country, right?”
“Human society is bound to be uniformized eventually. Perhaps everyone would be like you by then. There’s no point for you to mind your country, be it China or America. You need to stand at the height of humanity and examine your future. You should make the right choice,” said Folsom.
“Hahaha…” Xia Lei chortled uncontrollably.
“What are you laughing at?” There was wrath flickering in Folsom’s eyes.
With a smile, Xia Lei replied, “You drew me a gigantic pancake in an attempt to lure me over. Do you see me as someone who would betray my own country and people for the sake of my own interests?”
“Patriotism?” Hattori Mei chuckled mockingly. “You tickle my funny bone. Patriotism is a human virus. Ambles Pierce mentioned that patriotism is nothing but a pile of flammable garbage that could be ignited by an ambitious man to illuminate his name. This shouldn’t be too hard to understand with your IQ, right?”
Xia Lei was nonchalant. “He may be right but there would always be idiots who would offer their county and its people unconditional love.” He thought of Long Bing, a woman he truly loved. She was a woman who would willingly sacrifice her all for the sake of the country. On the other hand, while Xia Lei was unable to reach her level, he wasn’t about to betray it. Bribing him to do so with one trillion dollars would be impossible, let alone one hundred billion dollars.
Money… To a man who only had two years left to live, would all the money in the world make a difference? Was it even important?
“Mister Xia, I hope you can consider this seriously.” Folsom’s gaze was intense. “You should be more than aware of America’s current standing and its goal. You have threatened our strategic balance and national interest. It’s either you become one of us or you become our enemy. What happened in Russia is only the beginning. What follows next, you won’t be able to shoulder.”
It finally made sense to Xia Lei. This was why Folsom had utilized the debate segment during the Boao Forum to expose his secrets to the world. The American government was trying to force himself into a corner then offer him a rescue plan. Xia Lei was convinced that the American government had cued Lockheed Martin’s CEO to relay him a message. They were going to attack him!
To hit with a stick before offering a carrot was a tactic the American government excelled at.
Hattori Mei uttered, “There’s no need to answer us now. We’ll be giving you some time to ponder about it, but try to not take too long. It’ll be best if you could give us an answer before Madam Folsom leaves Hainan.”
Xia Lei replied, “There’s no need to wait, I can give you an answer now.”
Folsom and Hattori Mei looked at each other, before returning their gazes onto Xia Lei.
“My answer is simple. Bring it on!”
Folsom snorted, “You really think you’re someone who can fight against America?”
Xia Lei’s gaze was unwavering. “You want to kill me and I’ve seen what you’re capable of. Heck, you even dare to have the Japanese Land Self-Defense Force fire at me. You even have my secrets at the tip of your hands. However, I must say that I’ve been through worse, I am not afraid of your advances. I really must warn you that I’m not someone who would stay quiet and docile after someone hits me. If you hit me once, I’ll hit you once. If you hit me twice, I’ll hit you twice. It’s an eye for an eye.”
Folsom threw her arms. “It seems that there’s no need to continue this conversation any longer.”
Xia Lei replied, “And I think there’s no need for you to stay in Hainan any longer. You attacked me during the Boao Forum today, so I must return you the same favour. Thunder Horse Organization shall begin a drone research project. With it, I shall single-handedly cripple the American air-force. This is my biggest goal.”
“Hmph.” Folsom decided she had enough, tossing a look at Hattori Mei.
Catching it, Hattori Mei gestured for Xia Lei to leave.
The man stood from his seat and headed towards the door. But before he exited it, he turned around and spared Folsom one last glance. “Madam Folsom, last question. Is the FA Organization working for America now?”
Folsom’s tone was unfriendly. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Xia Lei was not surprised, but the man noticed something odd about the glint in her eyes.
“This way, Mister Xia.” Hattori Mei blocked his line of sight.
“Better look out for yourself.” Xia Lei reached for the handle and left.
As soon as the click of the door was heard, Folsom let her emotions loose. “Who the hell does he think he is?! Superman? Even China wouldn’t dare to challenge America, yet he turns a blind eye to America’s state interest. He even dared to be hostile to the American government! This man is literally waltzing with the Grim Reaper!”
Hattori Mei listened attentively in silence.
Surrounded by his elite bodyguards, Xia Lei entered the stairway and descended a level down. Abruptly, he instructed them, “Wait for me here, I need to do something.”
“Mister Xia, but…” One of them seemed troubled.
Xia Lei offered no explanation, quickly walking towards the end of the corridor. The hoard of bodyguards stood at their spots, not daring to follow behind him.
Before long, the man came to stand in front of a hotel room. He extended an arm and rapped on the wooden door.
The door swung open to reveal a dishevelled man in pyjamas. The man looked at Xia Lei bewilderedly. “Who are you? What’s the matter?”
Xia Lei forced himself in with a push, squeezing his torso against the man deeper into the room.
“Kya!” A stark naked female shrieked from the bed, frantically pulling up the covers to hide.
The man was now enraged. “What the fuck...”
With a swift motion, Xia Lei pushed him onto the mattress. “Shut up. Let me stand here for a few minutes and you get ten thousand dollars.”
The man and woman immediately froze.
Xia Lei dug out his wallet and began to empty its contents onto the bed.
American dollar bills, Chinese RMB bills and Euros were scattered about on the sheets. With a glance, one could easily tell that the thick stack displayed would come to a total of more than ten thousand dollars. The sight of money seemed to calm them down.
Xia Lei lifted his chin and stared at the ceiling, his left eye effectively removing all obstacles to see Folsom and Hattori Mei standing above him. Focusing his vision on the two females, Xia Lei activated his lip-reading ability.
“Madam Folsom, I’ve informed the pilot and he’s arranging your departure now. We’ll be leaving China after he’s done,” said Hattori Mei.
Folsom nodded. “Why does Xia Lei think that the FA is working for the American government?”
“It’s no surprise that a smart man like him could guess it.” Hattori Mei hummed. “I’ve interacted with him before and he…”
“Go on.” Folsom’s eyes bore into Hattori Mei.
There was a brief moment of hesitation before the woman continued herself. “He seems to have some kind of instincts that allows him to detect any incoming danger. Before anything happens to him, he knows. I think that is also why he’s able to escape from our plans all the time.”
“The AE capsule…” There was a hint of excitement sandwiched in Folsom’s tone. “It used to be the highest level national secret of the United States. But now its existence is widely known by the world. I’m sure there would be many who would try to get the AE capsule from me. The poor man has no idea what’s waiting ahead of him.”
“Madam Folsom… In my opinion, even if Xia Lei chose to betray his country and become American, his final destiny wouldn’t be any better,” commented Hattori Mei.
“He’s a man who is about to change the course of human evolution. No matter where he goes or which country he serves, the only place he’ll end up at is in the laboratory.” Folsom spat disdain with every word. Her wisdom seemed to be one that could perceive the essence of the matter.
“What a pitiful man…” Hattori Mei drew a long sigh.
“Contact the FA member after we leave China. It’s about time they do something,” instructed Folsom.
To which Hattori Mei nodded obediently.
Beneath them, Xia Lei pulled his gaze away and left the hotel room. His icy glare was as sharp as knives.
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