The woman’s first reaction was to slap Xia Lei when he jumped on top of her but before her slap could connect, she saw the sparks from the bullet striking the ground. In that instant, she seemed to understand what was going on. She suddenly spread her legs and wrapped them around Xia Lei’s waist, then flipped them both so she was on top and Xia Lei below.
A man lying below a woman – the woman’s shapely snow white legs were exposed and her black lace panties were showing too. Her open-legs posture pulled the lace panties tight, clearly outlining the sight of something nosebleed-worthy right in front of Xia Lei’s eyes. Xia Lei grew even more nervous.
The woman’s legs suddenly tightened around Xia Lei as she rolled herself and him to a flower bed next to them.
TZING! Sparks flew in the spot they’d just vacated as they rolled behind the flower bed. The bullet ricocheted off the road and shattered the glass window of a shop by the road.
Xia Lei broke out in cold sweat.
The pedestrian walks were full of people running away, diving to the ground for cover and screaming.
With the flower bed for cover, Xia Lei and the woman were safer for now.
“Who are you?” The woman’s voice was as cold as she was.
Xia Lei stared blankly at her for a bit, then replied, “I don’t know you but I saw someone aim a gun at you so I pushed you out of the line of fire.”
“I saw the building. It was quite far away, and dark too. I couldn’t see anything, but you did. So, how did you see it?” Her gaze bored into Xia Lei, and it was as though she could see into his soul.
Xia Lei being able see the sniper on the rooftop was all thanks to the power of his left eye, of course. His eye could not only see through people and objects, but also zoom in on far-away things so he could see them clearly. He had actually seen the sniper very clearly and if the sniper didn’t have a baseball cap covering most of his face, he would have been able to see his face too!
“Answer me!” The woman’s voice became more commanding.
His left eye’s ability was a secret; Xia Lei would definitely not tell this woman. Her attitude also made him very uncomfortable. “I saw what I saw. It was just a coincidence, so what’s so strange about it? And! Do you plan to keep straddling me?”
The woman then realised she had been on top of Xia Lei since earlier, and her face was almost touching his. She awkwardly crawled off Xia Lei’s body but did not stand. She crouched next to Xia Lei and reminded him, “Stay low, don’t move.”
Xia Lei kept still – he did not want to experience having his brains blown out. He started to regret saving the woman in the heat of the moment. He didn’t even know her name. Wouldn’t he be screwed if the sniper thought he was her ally?
“Thanks for saving me just now.” The woman extended a hand, “I’m Long Bing”
Just as he was thinking about how he didn’t know her name, she introduced herself. Xia Lei was pacified somewhat and he stretched his hand out to shake hers. “I’m Xia Lei.”
“Where are you from?”
Xia Lei hesitated before answering, “Hai-Zhu City. You?”
“I knew you were a mainlander when I saw you in the casino.” Long Bing replied, “I’m from Jing-Du.”
“Why did that sniper want to kill you?” Xia Lei looked at her, eager for an answer.
Long Bing’s brows wrinkled slightly. “You have no need to know.”
Just then, the sirens of some police cars wailed in the night, growing louder as they drew closer. The sound made people anxious.
“He’s gone,” said Long Bing suddenly.
“How do you know that?” Xia Lei was disbelieving. He became more and more curious about Long Bing’s identity.
“I just know from experience,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei crawled forward two metres and carefully poked his head out of the flower bed to look at the rooftop of the building opposite. The sniper was gone, and he had no idea when.
“Believe me now?” Long Bing got up from the ground and patted the dust off her evening dress.
“What the heck do you do?” Xia Lei was sure that this woman before him was not a normal person, simply because she could tell that a sniper was gone from experience. If she were normal, would she have this sort of experience and confidence?
“You’ll know if you get a chance to know. Go now, quickly. You don’t have travel documents. You’ll get in trouble if you’re caught,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei was astonished and he thought to himself, “This woman is so prickly!”
“Hold on, this is my namecard. If you need my help with anything you can call this number,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei held her card and looked at it. There was nothing on the card besides her name and phone number. “Weird people have weird name cards too,” thought Xia Lei. Though he was thinking that, he pasted a smile on his face and said, “All right then, I’ll invite you to tea someday.”
“Don’t be mistaken. I’m just repaying the favour,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei’s smile froze on his face. He shrugged, embarrassed, then turned to leave.
As soon as he left, a few police cars stopped by the road. The police officers who alighted from the cars all carried guns and they had their cars positioned to make a barrier. They looked nervously about, clearly unsure of the situation.
Long Bing looked up at the building opposite and at the rooftop, but all she could see was a blurry outline. She could not even see the fence around the edge of the rooftop, let alone a person hiding there.
Long Bing looked away from the building and in the direction Xia Lei had left. After a beat, she spoke. “I have perfect 20/20 vision and I couldn’t see anything up there. How did he see it? Is his vision better than 20/20? How is this possible? His behaviour in the casino was strange too… This man… I must investigate his background!”
Xia Lei could not hear Long Bing. He was in a taxi, headed for the harbour.
When he had arrived, Xia Lei had only 9,000+ yuan but he was leaving now with 210,000. This was peanuts to the rich but it was a fortune to Xia Lei. He could pay for Xia Xue’s education now and use the remainder to do some small business or change something in their lives – there were many possibilities.
When he stepped onto the jetty at Hai-Zhu City harbour, Xia Lei switched his mobile phone on and saw that he had several missed calls from Ma Xiao-An. He grinned and thought to himself, “That fatty must have gone to see me at the hospital and got worried about me when he couldn’t find me after I got discharged. I should buy an iPhone 6 Plus for him when I get back and make him happy.”
Xia Lei was using a cheap, lousy locally-made phone himself but he was good to his friends and was willing to spend on them.
While waiting for public transportation by the road, Xia Lei called Ma Xiao-An. “Hello, Xiao-An? It’s me, Lei. Where are you? I’ll come get you and we’ll go for a drink.”
“Drink… drink…” Ma Xiao-An’s voice seemed disjointed over the phone, as if he had something in his mouth. “Drink, my… my foot! I’m in… in… hospital.”
“You’re in hospital?” Xia Lei was surprised. “What’s wrong? What happened? Which hospital are you in?”
“The… the one you left… you… be careful… when you come here… Don’t get discovered…” Ma Xiao-An started to wheeze before he could finish one sentence.
“Wait for me! I’ll be right there!” Xia Lei hung up and rushed to hail an incoming taxi.
Half an hour later, Xia Lei arrived at the hospital he had left that morning. He went to the nurses’ station to inquire and found Ma Xiao-An’s ward.
Ma Xiao-An’s head, arms and legs were bound in bandages and the half of his face that could be seen was swollen. You could tell from one look that he had been beaten up severely by someone.
“Xiao-An, tell me who did this to you!” Xia Lei was anxious and angry all at once.
Ma Xiao-An smiled bitterly, “Who… else could it be?”
Xia Lei suddenly thought of a person. “Was it Chen Chuan-Hu?”
Ma Xiao-An nodded, then told Xia Lei what had happened in short bursts.
It turned out that Chen Chuan-Hu wanted to beat Ma Xiao-An up, then make him bring him and his lackeys to Xia Lei’s place. His lackeys, however, had been too enthusiastic in their beating. Ma Xiao-An vomited blood and could not even walk. Chen Chuan-Hu had left the hospital with his lackeys while Ma Xiao-An was left to lie in the hospital’s bed.
“Bastard! Who gave him the right to do this? Is he above the law? Is there no one who can keep villains like him in check?” After listening to Ma Xiao-An, Xia Lei could not control his emotions and punched his fist in the hospital bed.
“Law?” Ma Xiao-An laughed bitterly. “Lei, you know what…? After Chen Chuan-Hu had me beaten up… he said… He said his uncle was the Chief of Police and we can try to sue him any-anytime.”
“So he can do as he pleases because his uncle is the Chief of Police?” said Xia Lei indignantly.
“I called the police… An officer came, asked a few questions and left… He had ab-absolutely no intention of looking into Chen Chuan-Hu…” Ma Xiao-An continued, “Afterwards, an… old doctor told me that Chen Chuan-Hu’s uncle is Li Qing-Hua, the Chief of Police of this area. Chen Chuan-Hu always has some construction business going. Li Qing-Hua is actually the mastermind and Chen Chuan-Hu just runs errands for him. The two of them have mutual interests since one has manpower and one has authority… they profit legally and illegally. We can’t win… Be careful, he said you cheated him of 10,000 in hospital fees and he wants you to pay for the electric welding machine and transformer too… Lei, take Xia Xue and hide for a few days.”
“Hide? Why must we hide? I was injured at his construction site. If I hadn’t been lucky I would have lost my eye – can 10,000 buy me my eye? Furthermore, he had you beaten till you ended up in this state. It’s him who is wrong, not you, not me and not Xia Xue. Why must we hide? I’m not afraid of him. I’ll seek justice for you!” Xia Lei got more and more worked up as he spoke.
“Lei… you… you listen to me…” Ma Xiao-An said worriedly, “For-forget it… I’m fine.”
“Don’t worry about it. Rest and recover here in peace,” said Xia Lei.
Just then, a nurse walked in. She took one look at Xia Lei and asked, “You’re the guardian of Bed 19? You’d better pay the fees owing for treatment or the pharmacy will not dispense medication.”
“How much do we owe?” Xia Lei knew without asking that Chen Chuan-Hu had not paid a cent for landing Ma Xiao-An in hospital.
“You owe 1,200 but he still needs further medication. I recommend you pay a little more – 7,000 is best,” said the nurse.
“The money… I’ll find some way… Lei, don’t mind it.” Ma Xiao-An was in so much pain he had to force words past his clenched teeth.
“I’ll give you guys 8,000. Take better care of my friend.” As he spoke, Xia Lei took the bill and went to pay it.
Tears filled Ma Xiao-An’s eyes. “Lei… Don’t… That money is… for Xia Xue’s school fees…”
But Xia Lei had already walked out the door without looking back.