The process was so excruciating that it felt like hot needles going into his eyes and radiating along the nerves. Xia Lei felt like his head was about to explode at any moment.
Amidst the fiery sensation of pain and agony, he caught glimpses of powdered jewel spots every now and then. They seemed to be rapidly multiplying and before long began gushing in his mind like a tsunami at its peak. It cannot be true, it must be an illusion!
But what kind of illusion could this be?
Next, a far more bizarre illusion appeared. Through flashes of a scene at play, there seemed to be a person walking on the white light! All Xia Lei could see was his silhouette but not a full glimpse of his face. That man strode forward, towards a structure resembling a door, maybe even a portal in front.
Who was that?
Where was he going?
Xia Lei just couldn’t comprehend any of the scenes that flashed by his eyes.
Not long after, the illusions vanished and Xia Lei snapped back into reality. The clear night sky with the crescent moon and showering stars, away from the light pollution of the city were breathtaking to behold. The crystal skull in his hand was just as cold and mysterious as before.
“Huh…” Xia Lei exhaled from the trippy experience. He realised that his hands and feet were ice-cold, his back drenched in a cold sweat. Despite him maintaining the exact position this whole time, his mind had already wandered thousands of miles away and back.
A multitude of perceptions.
The ancient alloys, silver metals, crystal skull, even faceless warrior statues within the pyramid. They weren’t human.
Even though he had yet grasped the full extent of this mystery, the connections between each clue seemed to be hinting towards an obvious fact. All these things were extraterrestrial.
This mysterious civilization once graced the earth way back in the ice ages, leaving their footprints all over the planet. They might have gone extinct or they could still exist, just not on this planet.
“Right, that should be it! These things wouldn’t just exist in the world, somebody must have made them. It’s pretty clear that humans don’t possess such technologies. It must be a higher civilization.
If there really was a superior race, it seems like they might have gone extinct. Or maybe not, they could still live among us. Regardless, Zhu Xuanyue and the man in the black cloak might just be one of the surviving few.”
Xia Lei went into deep contemplation.
His assumptions might have been verified a long time ago. Taking on the identity of a hunter, everything on this planet can be rounded up and classified as one. A viable food source. Like poultry and fish, waiting to be feasted upon at will.
Naturally, he was the only exception.
“I wonder how’s she doing right now, that Zhu Xuanyue, is she still in the USA?” If the man in the black cloak is a member of the race, then why are they mutually antagonising one another to their deaths?” Thinking about Zhu Xuanyue, the undeniable question promptly followed.
Before long, a series of unanswered questions began to saturate his mind. Some he could solve on this own, others not so much. Minutes later, Xia Lei snapped out of his thoughts and proceeded to wrap his crystal skull and meticulously placed it back into his backpack. He carried his own on one shoulder and Kyoko’s on another as he brisk-walked back towards the Jewish settlement.
Just when he made it into the fringes of the settlement, several vehicles with blinding headlights came speeding in from the roads leading in from Jerusalem.
“Who’d make a hassle to siege an outskirt settlement this late at night?” Xia Lei instantly dialled his vigilance up a notch as his left eye twitched.
The leading vehicle was a military-grade all-terrain, paired with a heavy-duty rotary cannon on its roof. Even when it was still far from where the settlement was, the weapon handler was on full alert. Inside the vehicle were fully armed Israeli special ops, all equipped with top tier weapons and equipment.
Right behind the military all-terrain were two black sedans and a police vehicle.
Xia Lei withdrew his vision and began sprinting towards Dr Haimer’s house.
The reason behind the special ops and police forces visiting the settlement at wee hours of the night were still unknown, but Xia Lei was certain that it was about time Tsukino Kyoko and himself made an exit as quickly as they could.
Dr Haimer’s house was pitch black.
Xia Lei halted his footsteps. When he had first left earlier that night, Dr Haimer and Mina were already long asleep, but the lights in the living room were on. Kyoko naturally wouldn’t have crawled out of bed to turn it off. So if it weren't the couple, then who else could it possibly be?
The wall before him vanished from his sight as he gave the interior of the house a quick scan.
No one was in the living room.
Dr Haimer and Mina’s room were also vacant.
But when his vision got to Tsukino Kyoko’s room, he instantly identified three people. Kyoko on the bed and the two behind the back of the door were none other than Dr Haimer and Mina.
The couple were each armed with an assault rifle and a desert eagle pistol respectively, ready to shoot.
Xia Lei gently turned the doorknob and entered the building. With muted footsteps, he made his way towards Kyoko’s room, armed with the Viper with a silencer equipped.
Out of the blue, Tsukino Kyoko blurted. “It’s pointless, he’ll kill you both.”
“What are you talking about?” Mina sneered. “You speak English?”
“I do. I’m saying, why would you both do this?” Kyoko replied in English. “We’re not the bad guys here, so why do you want to kill us?”
“Stop lying, you both must be spies,” Mina replied
“How can you so confidently tell?” Tsukino Kyoko struggled as she brought herself into sitting position.
“Lie down!” Dr Haimer ordered brusquely. “You better not be plotting anything or I’ll blow your brains off!”
Kyoko returned to her lying position as she continued. “You’re not a doctor are you? And you, you were never just a housewife. Who the hell are you people?”
“Shut up!” Mina strode up to Kyoko and punched her on the head.
Tsukino Kyoko collapsed onto the bed again. She was still far from recovery and was visibly unfit for battle. Otherwise, with her capabilities and her killer instinct, murdering these two were hardly a challenge.
“Did Mossad send you?” Kyoko was not ready to just obey their demands, completely oblivious of their threats.
Xia Lei tweaked the tip of his lip for a half-smile. He finally came into a comprehension that Kyoko was aware that he had returned into the house. What she was doing was to draw attention and spite towards herself while creating an opening for Xia Lei to sneak up on them both.
Mina slammed a second punch on her forehead as she scorned. “I know what you’re trying to do. But so what if you knew? Tonight, you and your partner will die!”
“What can you both possibly be up to, undercover in an outskirt settlement like this?” Kyoko proceeded with her aimless blabbering.
“Finish her!” Haimer scowled. “I’m sick of her yapping, that son of a bitch will return very soon. We just need to keep one alive.”
Mina nodded obediently and cucked the desert eagle towards her head.
The house shook from the impact! A bullet bore its way through the wooden door and shot through the back of Mina’s skull! She had her finger on the trigger but was outmatched by the sheer speed and accuracy of Xia Lei’s bullet.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Haimer pulled the trigger towards the door, the wooden door splintered and porous as a result.
The delayed shot came through and down went Haimer.
Haimer decidedly turned around to face the enemy behind the door, but he made a critical decision to ignore the woman lying on the bed. Tsukino Kyoko, despite being frail, was still a stone-cold killer nonetheless. With the desert eagle in hand, she could kill him just as effortlessly.
Xia Lei cranked open the door, before firing an extra shot to his head. “Let’s get out of here, they called reinforcements. I reckon they’d arrive within five minutes.”
Tsukino Kyoko crawled out of bed. Upon putting both feet on the ground however, she began wobbling and collapsed onto the ground.
Xia Lei reactively reached out to assist her. “I think it’s better if I carry you. We’ll use their car to escape and head towards Gaza.”
Kyoko had other ideas. “You leave with the car, I’ll cut them off.”
Xia Lei seemed to have missed her remark as he dug through Haimer’s corpse and retrieved a pair of car keys.
“Boss, I don’t think you heard what I said, I’m serious!”
Smack! Xia Lei was not having it as he spanked her on her voluptuous booty and bent down before her. “Let’s go!”
Tsukino Kyoko was caught off guard but had quickly taken heed of his reminder as she climbed onto his back. Xia Lei then piggybacked her on their way towards the car, while retrieving time bombs from her backpack. Each was laid at secluded corners and all set at the exact same time, five minutes and thirty seconds.
Leaving the house and towards the garage, he gently sat Tsukino Kyoko down next to the driver's seat, started the car and dashed out of the garage.
Haimer and Mina’s vehicle was an Israeli made Desert Raider, a multi-terrain powerhouse of a vehicle. Even though it was made for commercial everyday use, all that was lacking as compared to the military ones was the absence of built-in weapons. In terms of specifications, it could speed through the Gobi desert without a hitch. Reaching Gaza was hardly an issue.
Moments after the Desert Raider left the settlement, the reinforcement vehicles steered into the area.
Xia Lei steered the vehicle off the paved road and over a sand dune, before turning back to look at the direction of the settlement.
In his vision, several Israeli special ops and police officers hopped off their respective vehicles and began surrounding the house.
The occupants of the two black sedans were the last to exit. A few men dressed in dapper black suits stepped out of the cars armed to the teeth with machine guns.
One middle-aged soldier pointed at the door which led an Israeli special op soldier breaking through it with his shoulder. The moment the door was open the black-suited men marched in and subsequently the special ops and the ultimately the police.
Xia Lei thought to himself at the sight of the scene. Could those guys be from Mossad? So Mossad planted eyes nearby just to secure the secrets lying within the pyramid? Or is there something else?
Before he could formulate deductions for his enquiries, a thundering bang was heard from afar. The magnitude of the explosion was so strong fire erupted into the air, launching projectiles of shattered bricks and debris along the process. Given the extent of the detonation, it was visible even from where Xia Lei and Kyoko were, miles away from what remained of the house.
Reigniting the Desert Raider, they headed towards the Gaza Strip.