The evening sea breeze brought some coolness to Hai-Zhu City.
“What? Xia Lei was discharged?” Ma Xiao-An was so surprised his mouth hung open as he stood at the Nurses’ Station in the hospital.
“His eye is fine and the hospital is short of beds, so we let him be discharged,” said the nurse.
“His… His eye’s fine?” Surprise upon surprise was sprung upon Ma Xiao-An.
“What’s with you?,” grumbled the nurse as she then said impatiently, “If you have any questions you can ask him directly. I’m busy here, so don’t interrupt my work.”
“I’m sorry.” Ma Xiao-An turned to leave. He fished his mobile phone out and made a call to Xia Lei but Xia Lei had his phone switched off.
Ma Xiao-An stopped at the lift doors, mumbling to himself, “What is this guy doing?”
The lift doors opened suddenly and Chen Chuan-Hu stepped out with some young men.
At the sight of Chen Chuan-Hu, Ma Xiao-An nervously turned to leave but he was surrounded by the youths Chen Chuan-Hu had brought with him.
“Wh-What are you doing?” Ma Xiao-An’s voice was shaky.
“Doing?” Chen Chuan-Hu smiled meanly. “Fuck, you and Xia Lei worked together to cheat me of my money. I just called to ask the doctor about him and he told me Xia Lei’s eye had no problems at all and that he’s been discharged. He ruined my electric welding machine and my transformer. He even cheated me of 10,000 in hospital fees. What do you think I’ll do?”
“This is… is a misunderstanding.” Ma Xiao-An bravely ventured.
“Misunderstanding? Fuck you!” Chen Chuan-Hu said angrily, “Beat this guy up first, then take him and look for the other bastard, Xia Lei. He couldn’t have gone very far!”
The youths converged, punching and kicking Ma Xiao-An. They were merciless and brutal and Ma Xiao-An soon fell to the ground. However, they did not lessen their assault. The youths surrounded Ma Xiao-An and kicked at him aggressively.
Ma Xiao-An held his head in his arms and curled up and he silently thought, “Lei, run away quickly… Don’t stay at home…”
Xia Lei could not see what was happening. At the time of Ma Xiao-An’s suffering, Xia Lei had just walked through the doors and into the hall of Hotel Lisboa’s Casino in Macau.
Hai-Zhu City and Macau were separated by just a body of water and it was easy to get to Macau. Even if you did not have documents to cross, you can pay 200 to cross illegally on a boat. Xia Lei had gone to Macau via one of these boats. He had also switched his mobile phone off before leaving Hai-Zhu City as he did not want anyone to know he had gone to Macau.
Coming to Macau’s casinos was the quickest and most direct way to make use of the X-ray vision.
Xia Lei exchanged 8,000 for chips and headed to the blackjack tables.
A woman in a black evening dress was playing at the table and she had excellent curves on her waist and bottom. She was cool, beautiful and sexy but too aloof for people to approach easily. Xia Lei did not dare to look at her too much lest he triggered his X-ray vision and waste his chance to earn money.
The woman in the black evening dress glanced at Xia Lei, but only for a second. Xia Lei was quite handsome but he was dressed too plainly to warrant a second look.
When Xia Lei walked over, she had just finished playing one round with the dealer. The dealer had 19 while she had 17. The dealer won.
“What bad luck! I didn’t win even once. I’m not playing anymore.” The woman in black grumbled to herself, frowning. She looked quite dissatisfied.
Xia Lei sat at the table and placed his 8,000 yuan chips carefully on the table.
“Would you like to play, sir?” The female dealer smiled.
Xia Lei nodded.
“Please place your bet.” The female dealer maintained her smile.
Xia Lei did not hurry in placing his bet but stared hard at the card shuffler in front of the female dealer. In that instant, his left eye saw through the card shuffling machine and he saw the first card. The back of the card wavered between opaque and transparent as the numbers and card suit flashed in and out of his sight. The first card was an ace of spades.
“Sir?”, prompted the dealer, “Please place your bet.”
Xia Lei smiled, “I’m thinking how much to bet.”
The female dealer looked at his pathetic pile of chips and the corners of her mouth turned down in despise. To her, Xia Lei looked like a young worker from the mainland, here to try his luck. These sort of people always took a long time to think and consider before betting because the money they bet was their life and blood and if they lost, they would have nothing.
While the dealer was quietly looking down on Xia Lei, he was using his ability to look at four cards in the card shuffling machine. First was an ace of spades, nine of hearts second, king of spades third and ace of hearts fourth. According to the sequence of dealing cards, he would get a blackjack and receive triple the payout!
Xia Lei looked away from the card shuffling machine and pushed all his chips forward. “8,000. All in.”
The creases in the corners of the dealer’s mouth grew deeper. She dealt the cards to Xia Lei, all the while envisioning him leaving the table in defeat.
Xia Lei knew what his cards were going to be but he still pretended to be a gambler. He covered the hidden card with the upturned card and slowly inched the upturned card away while chanting to himself, “Ace of spades, ace of spades…”
The woman in the black evening dress looked at Xia Lei with a trace of mockery in her gaze.
“Ha-ha! Blackjack!” Xia Lei revealed his hidden card excitedly.
The female dealer looked at her cards and saw that she had 20 points. She looked as if she had swallowed a fly.
8,000 had become 24,000 – this money came easily. However, if he lacked the X-ray vision ability and had not seen the cards in advance, Xia Lei would never have dared to go all-in from the get-go.
“Sir, please place your bet,” said the female dealer.
Xia Lei turned his gaze to the card shuffling machine again and looked at the cards on top. He discovered that he would get a six of diamonds and a seven of clubs while the dealer would get nine of hearts and queen of diamonds for a total of 19 points. If he hit, the card he would get was nine of spades and he would go bust.
This game was a sure-lose.
Xia Lei put the smallest chip value allowed on the table – 500.
“Sir, your bet is very low for this round,” said the dealer, “You seem to have good luck and you had a blackjack earlier. Are you sure you want to bet just 500 for this round?”
“Just 500. Please deal.” Xia Lei was undeterred.
The female dealer propped her elbows on the blackjack table and leaned forward. Her open collar revealed a deep valley and snowy rounded platforms as she smiled seductively, “Sir, please believe me. You have such good luck! Betting more will also mean winning more. It’ll be such a waste not to take advantage of your good luck.”
A faint smile graced Xia Lei’s lips as his left eye swept over the female dealer’s bosom. He had a clear and uncovered view of her breasts, which were given volume by pads. Her actual size was much smaller. What was laughable was her trying to tempt him into betting more using her position as a dealer.
Xia Lei shook his head. “Fake. Too small.”
The female dealer paused. “What did you say?”
“Nothing. 500. Please deal,” said Xia Lei.
“Jerk!” The dealer cursed Xia Lei silently and dealt the cards.
Xia Lei went bust on purpose this round and lost 500.
The dealer’s brows were furrowed as she took Xia Lei’s 500 yuan chip. She had won this round but was not happy about it at all.
In the third round, Xia Lei suddenly pushed all his chips into the betting box.
In that round, he had 20 points while the dealer had 19 points. His winnings doubled again.
The woman in the black evening dress did not leave and she started to look at Xia Lei strangely.
Just like that, in a short span of over ten minutes, Xia Lei bet 11 times; he lost six, won five. The gambling chips in front of him totalled 210,000.
Whenever he lost, his bet was just 500 and when he won, he went all-in.
The big pile of chips in front of Xia Lei made the female dealer break out in sweat. This was not because she was shocked by 210,000 worth of chips but because the young man was just too strange. She could only get 500 when she won but he always raked in thousands and tens of thousands when he won. How could this keep happening?!
Just as the female dealer was about to press the button to call for a more skilled dealer, Xia Lei stood and said, “My luck isn’t too good today. Forget it, I’ll stop gambling.”
The female dealer glared at Xia Lei. His words were like a burning slap to her pride!
Xia Lei wanted to win more money too, but using his eye for over ten minutes had driven him to the brink of exhaustion and he could not use his ability any more. Another reason for him stopping was that he knew the money was easy but he could not be too greedy. The casino didn’t care if he won 200,000 but if he won millions or tens of millions, they would definitely take notice.
200,000 was enough for Xia Xue to go to school and just thinking about it made Xia Lei happy.
After changing his chips to cash, Xia Lei immediately put the money in two cards. One card had a value of 180,000 while the other had 30,000.
Xia Lei walked out of Hotel Lisboa’s Casino. A cool sea breeze kissed his cheek and his head cleared a little. His left eye had started to see hallucinations during his last round with the female dealer. She had obviously dealt paper cards to him but he had seen a vibrating egg – and a pink vibrating egg at that.
Good thing these hallucinations did not last long and disappear quickly.
Xia Lei got off the steps and looked about to hail a taxi to the harbour, where he could take a boat back to Hai-Zhu City. A woman also got off the steps and stood by the road, seemingly to wait for her ride. She was tall, and her heels made her as tall as Xia Lei. Though she was tall, she was not gangly and had all the right curves of a beautiful body.
Xia Lei looked at her more closely and suddenly discovered that this was the woman who had been watching him and the female dealer gamble.
“Does she have some sort of bad intention since she saw me win 200,000?” A thought popped up in Xia Lei’s mind. However, when he spied the Louie Vuitton bag on her shoulder, he dispelled that ridiculous notion. Her bag alone was worth tens of thousands – why would she have evil designs on his 200,000?
The woman neither spoke nor looked at Xia Lei.
“So icy and arrogant! I don’t know which man would be able to stand her.” Xia Lei thought to himself.
At that very coincidental moment, Xia Lei’s line of sight suddenly lit upon the rooftop of a high-rise building across the road and stayed there, refusing to budge.
A man wearing a baseball cap lay on the building’s rooftop, a sniper rifle in front of him. He was aiming at the woman in the black evening dress next to Xia Lei!
“Watch out!” Xia Lei grabbed the woman’s waist and they both tumbled to the ground.
Just as they hit the ground, a bullet smashed into the spot where the woman had stood, sending sparks flying in all directions.