It was very quiet in the study.
Xia Lei put Hattori Masao on the sofa and took his phone away. He quickly scrolled to the screen showing the phone call Hattori Masao had made at dinner, after he had left the dining room.
The phone call had been made after Hattori Masao had notified the scientists, and the recipient of the call was Gu Kewen. The phone call had also revealed that Hattori Masao had insisted on keeping him here for six hours, and that the CIA were only permitted to take him away after six hours.
Xia Lei made an automatic response message after he found Gu Kewen’s number. He composed the following message in Japanese: I’ve captured him. You can come over and take him away.
Gu Kewen was sure to give Hattori Masao a call before she came over, but he would not be able to answer. Xia Lei wouldn’t be able to answer either, because he could not imitate Hattori Masao’s voice. Gu Kewen’s cunning and cautiousness meant that even the slightest abnormality in situation would make her be on guard.
This automatic response was a really good tool to fool her.
Gu Kewen might get suspicious but she would definitely come here. And he only needed to see her turn up.
After setting the message, Xia Lei took off the leather shoe on his right foot and opened up the insole. Underneath was a cavity half the size of a matchbox, and a tiny spying device set was in it. There was a mini receiver he could conceal in his ear, and a transmitter disguised as a lapel pin.
He put the mini receiver in his ear and attached the pin to his suit, then activated the spying equipment.
“All done here,” said Xia Lei into the pin.
“We’re in position.” Amanda’s voice came from the receiver in his ear.
“Kill Gu Kewen as soon as she shows herself, then withdraw,” said Xia Lei.
“Even with Gu Kewen dead, the CIA will still target you. You will be alone in fighting them after we withdraw. Are you sure that you want us to withdraw right after?”
“There will be someone to deal with the aftermath. You guys just need to give Gu Kewen a bullet,” said Xia Lei.
Xia Lei looked at his watch. “Align our time now. 2301hrs.”
“We have enough time. Gu Kewen will turn up at 0020hrs. You guys need to be out of this district by 0023hrs. Do not leave any traces behind.”
“That’s all.” Xia Lei ended the communications.
The study was quiet again.
Hattori Masao made no sign of regaining consciousness; he was sleeping deeply. Jacqueline Eva’s Marie’s Desire was not this potent — Xia Lei had added some drug which aided sleep to it. What Hattori Masao had been hit with was not regular-strength Marie’s Desire but super-strength Marie’s Desire.
Xia Lei put his shoes on and wipes his fingerprints from the phone. He left the study a minute later and returned to Hattori Mei’s room.
Hattori Masao’s ten guards were scattered around on the floor, sleeping like logs.
Xia Lei’s gaze went to Hattori Mei. Hattori Masao’s jacket was covering her, but a jacket was obviously not enough. The barely-exposed half-globes of snowy white were smooshed out of shape against the carpet. Her full and perky buttocks were half-covered and that soft skin of hers, pale as snow, was soft as frosting. Her beautiful legs, in a ratio of 3:2, were exposed to the air and the gaps in the jacket covering her let her shameful bits peek through too.
A wry smile appeared in the corners of Xia Lei’s lips. She was an enemy, and he had no feelings for her, but he had to admit that Hattori Mei had given him a very pleasurable time, and that she really was pretty awesome in some aspects.
Xia Lei looked away and got back to work. He picked up the perfume bottles he had dropped on the floor and went into the bathroom to wash the remaining perfume out of the bottles. He then broke the bottles by stomping on them and threw the glass shards in the toilet bowl to flush them away.
He left the bathroom after he was done cleaning up the perfume bottles and carefully approached the window. He opened the windows, just a crack, without moving the curtains, to let fresh air come in. The natural breeze which came blowing through the window and the ventilation system in the room hastened the dissipation of the smell of the perfume. Hattori Mei and the guards would wake up earlier when the air got back to normal. His operation would be done by then.
He looked through the curtains, out into the distance, sweeping a large area. He quickly spotted a white man looking over with a night vision telescope in a building directly opposite his window.
A sneer appeared on his lips. “Wanna catch me? Come get me.”
He left the window and returned to Hattori Mei’s side. He took her up in his arms and entered the bathroom.
He needed to take care of some traces which he should not leave behind, and Hattori Mei had too much of his trace on her. Some traces were more difficult to get rid of, and even made him feel disgusted but he still forced himself to clean it up…
Ten minutes later, Xia Lei carried Hattori Mei out of the bathroom and put clothes on her, then put her on the carpet.
She made no indication of waking up. Whatever Xia Lei did to her, she just lay there like a wooden puppet.
Xia Lei glanced at her, then left her room and went back to the study.
He had already finished all that he wanted to do. Only the waiting for Gu Kewen to call was left.
Time ticked by, slow-moving.
0010hrs. Xia Lei picked up the phone on the desk and dialled a number.
The call connected. A female voice came from over the line. “Who are you?”
This was Jacqueline Eva’s voice.
Xia Lei used his hand and pulled at his own throat. “It’s me… I… am Xia Lei… Hurry… Save me, save me! The Japanese want to kill… kill me…”
His voice was full of terror and it sounded like he had difficulty breathing.
“Where are you?” Jacqueline Eva was anxious at once. Her pitch got much higher.
“I, I’m at…” Xia Lei did not continue. He used Hattori Masao’s gun to shoot twice into the wall.
“Hello? Hey! What happened?” Jacqueline Eva’s voice was panicked.
Xia Lei ended the call with a slam.
He knew what place this was but he was not going to tell Jacqueline Eva. With France’s intelligence department’s capabilities, it wouldn’t take them a minute to find his location by tracing this call. There was no need for him to elaborate.
He glanced at his watch after ending the call. A minute had just passed. It was now 0011hrs. There were still nine minutes to go to Hattori Masao and Gu Kewen’s agreed time, and 12 minutes to go for the Zodiac Team to withdraw after they were done. It would take Jacqueline Eva and her men about 12 to 13 minutes to get here.
A sneer appeared in the corners of Xia Lei’s mouth, and several possible scenarios surfaced in his brain.
0021hrs. Several Chevrolet Suburban off-road cars stopped by the road, outside the door of the villa. Gu Kewen alighted from one of the cars, and a large group of CIA agents were ready to charge into the villa. Right then, a bullet came flying and it went through GU Kewen’s brains. She fell in a pool of blood.
After a minute of chaos, the CIA agents charged into the villa.
0022hrs, or 0023hrs. Jacqueline Eva arrived with agents of the French National Security Agency and agents of the French National Gendarmerie. She shouted loudly at the CIA agents to put down their weapons.
0023hrs. Amanda, Bagu and the others leave in a car driven by Park Taeyong. Rap music played over the car’s sound system.
0024hrs. Jacqueline Eva rushed into this study, and saw…
Xia Lei wiped his fingerprints from the gun and put it back in Hattori Masao’s hand. At 0020hrs, when Gu Kewen falls from a shot, he would hold Hattori Masao by his hand and shoot his thigh. The gunshot in the house would spur the CIA into action. And because observation and analysing the situation needed time, and because Gu Kewen had just died from getting shot, they would be completely believing, and it was reasonable, that there was a sniper hidden in this villa. The delay in time made was just right for Jacqueline Eva to hurry over with her men.
0024hrs. Jacqueline Eva saw Xia Lei unconscious in the study. He had been shot.
This was a perfect murder plan.
Hattori Masao fired at him. He was the victim.
A victim who’d been shot. How could it be him who had killed Gu Kewen?
The French people would be his alibi. The Japanese had become his alibi too.
Just who had killed Gu Kewen? Who the hell knows?
The scene in his head dissipated, but Gu Kewen’s face appeared in his head. He had schemed to kill her, and the time when she would die from a bullet drew closer and closer. For some strange reason, however, he had an empty feeling in his heart.
He had a hundred reasons to kill Gu Kewen, and she also had a hundred reasons to kill him.
Grudges between people were like this. You had your grievances and she had her hate. Death was not the end, but a sort of beginning.
One minute later, he shook his head lightly and chased the image of Gu Kewen out of his head.
Ring ring ring, ring ring ring…
The phone on the desk rang all of a sudden.
Xia Lei paused. He reached a hand over, but retracted it.
He did not know who was calling at this hour. This call had interrupted his “process” and brought him an unsettling feeling.
Ring ring ring, ring ring ring…
The phone kept ringing, and it looked like it would keep ringing if no one picked it up.
After some hesitation, Xia Lei picked the phone up but he did not speak; he just listened.
“Huu… Hsss…” A strange sound came from the phone, and it made one fell like it was a breath from the grave.
The person who had called did not speak other than to make these noises, but the sound of someone breathing like death continued.
Xia Lei could not hold it back anymore after a few seconds. He covered his mouth and said cautiously, “Who are you?”
The ‘breathing’ sound disappeared immediately at Xia Lei’s voice. An unknown woman’s voice came over the line. “Danger. Leave that place, now.”
“Who are you?”
“You have 60 seconds.”
“Who the hell are you!”
“You have 57 seconds left.”
Click! A strange sound suddenly came to his ear.
Xia Lei grew tense right away. He cut the call.