“Keep dreaming.” Xiao Li looked at Luo Dong without disguising the disgust and hatred.
“It’s fine if you don’t want to kill him.” Luo Dong smiled smugly, “Whatever the outcome, you two still have a good friendship. I’ll allow you to be an affectionate couple in this lifetime.”
His eyes like that of a venomous snake glared at Xiao Li while a demented smile tugged at his lips. Xiao Li returned that contemptuous look with a stone-cold gaze that seemed to freeze the air around them. The imperious, bumptious old swindler and the strong, angered youth faced off, using their eyes to communicate the disdain and enmity that they had for each other as they advanced into a battle. In the overwhelming silence that took over, the room suddenly broke out in a weak fit of laughter.
Han Jia turned to look at Xiao Li – there seemed to be what looked like a smile on his lips. “Finish me off, Xiao Li.”
“What nonsense are you saying?” Xiao Li said in a low voice.
Even though he was pale, weak and in an extremely difficult situation, with just one of Han Jia’s smile, Jin Ting’s elegant and suave playboy mannerism appeared once again. “I’ve always told you, being human… and living, you have to enjoy the present while you can,” his voice was hoarse and came out slow, yet he still tried to keep it steady. “Because in such a moment, where you’re faced with death, you’ll look back and see that you’ve at least lived a few happy and comfortable days. Xiao Li, I’ve lived long enough… it was fucking worth it. I won’t have any regret even if I die.”
“Shut up!” Xiao Li struggled. Luo Dong gave a signal and the men holding Xiao Li down quickly released him, allowing him to quickly charge toward Han Jia’s side. He helped him up while making sure to be careful. “Today, either we go out together or we stay here together.”
“You don’t need your brother anymore?” Han Jia asked. “I’m not a good person. I deserve whatever happens to me today. You…when you go back, you must not think about revenge. If Qing-Ye didn’t favor you, there is no way it would’ve come to such a compromise…”
“Those words must be directed towards Dong-Ye, huh,” there was no trace of warmth in Luo Dong’s eyes as he looked at him. “Are you telling me Xiao Li won’t seek revenge or hinting that Xiao Li is Li Shiqing’s bitch? Which is it? Are you afraid Dong-Ye will make it difficult on him?”
Although Han Jia was having a hard time breathing, Xiao Li touched his cheek and whispered, “Don’t worry about this—”
Before he could finish his sentence, a loud muffled explosion came from the distant.
Xiao Li carefully held onto Han Jia’s weak body before he slowly raised his head to stare at Luo Dong. A twisted smile emerged on his face while he simultaneously said, “You should be worried that I’ll make it difficult for him.”
As he said the second half of that sentence, the explosion sounded one after another. Then, it got closer and even louder than before. Luo Dong was too shock to say anything as the sound of another explosion struck his ears. The loud explosion roared like a dragging storm causing the whole building to shake instantly. Within seconds, the wall broke apart, the window panels suddenly shattered under the tension giving way for the broken piece of glass and other debris to fly toward the center of the room. On top of that, the roof shook as if a thousand horses were trampling from above. Dust and pieces of building material fell, practically flying throughout the room. In just a minute, the entire room was suddenly lost in the chaos.
None of Luo Dong’s men knew what was happening. All they heard was Luo Dong bellowing out: “Don’t panic! Guard the door!”
A moment after the explosion ceased and the dust had settled, the crowd looked at the room to see if Xiao Li and Han Jia was there.
Luo Dong cursed, “Chase after them! Open fire upon sight. I want to see them dead!”
The men promptly responded before running out the door but once those men left, the only remaining person was Luo Dong’s most trusted subordinate. He carried Luo Dong, whose legs were not so agile, on his back and ran out after the others.
Once they arrived downstairs, they discovered that the building that Luo Dong had just purchased atop the center of this mountain had been destroyed at several areas. Starting at the east side where the kitchen was and following along a succession of other rooms – several explosions were lit, clearly, the explosions were placed there beforehand.
The men that had left was already down the mountain road. They can see now that someone had cleverly started a vehicle – there was obviously a camouflage vehicle there now that they had not seen before fleeing off right before their eyes. Luo Dong bellowed in rage and instructed the men: “Someone go to the kitchen. Check and see if the gas and everything there are safe or not. Don’t let another explosion go off and call the men that had gone down the mountain and tell them to block off that camouflage vehicle. I don’t care what they do, stop them at all cost. I don’t believe they can sprout wings!!”
Meanwhile, in that off-road vehicle, Xiao Li was in the back seat, holding tightly onto Han Jia while staring at the driver up front. “You were too slow!”
“Sorry, I’m not too skilled at laying down bombs. Before I retired, I mainly specialized in poison.” Ms. Zhang Juanjuan skillfully turned into a corner while apologizing, “Unfortunately, you didn’t give me much time, so there was no way for me to contact a friend that’s an actual expert.”
Listening to her apologize, Xiao Li did not ask any other questions. He turned back to Han Ji, “We’re okay now, Han Jia…Han Jia!”
Han Jia was covered in cold sweat, extremely pale and weak. Just as Xiao Li was about to turn him over for a look, he discovered a viscous layer of blood on his hands instead. His eyes widened slightly as he checked carefully. He didn’t know when or how but to his horror, there was a bullet lodged into Han Jia’s back, close his lungs.
“Drive faster.” Xiao Li tried to block Han Jia’s wound, “Han Jia, Han Jia.”
Han Jia could hear his voice. He wanted to answer but a mouthful of blood gushed out.
Xiao Li was well aware that there was a possibility that his lungs had been punctured. One of his hand was still pressed firmly against the wound while the other lightly lifted his head up to prevent him from choking on his own blood.
“If we go to the nearest hospital, we might not be able to lose them.” Zhang Juanjuan said calmly, quickly glancing at the rearview mirror.
“Look for a hospital first then we’ll talk again,” Xiao Li’s voice sank as he spoke.
Zhang Juanjuan kept silent. However, as the car sped up even more, Han Jia was awakened by the bumps.
Once he saw Xiao Li’s hazy figure, he immediately smiled. “I lied to you Xiao Li.” He breathed with difficulty and continued to speak intermittently, “I haven’t lived long enough yet. I don’t want to die at all. Xiao Li, Xiao Li,” he wanted to lift his hand up but couldn’t. “I’ve always mocked you, because I, I really envy you…I really do…”
“Don’t talk, just breathe,” Xiao Li comforted him, “I know.”
“You don’t know…” Han Jia stubbornly spoke, “I also want to have a younger brother. Even if, he’s ungrateful, it’ll still be good…I also want someone to love, someone to care about…to live happily and enjoy the present. That happiness… are empty and meaningless, Xiao Li. It feels empty to me…the happier it is, the emptier I feel. It hurts Xiao Li, Xiao Li. It hurts so much…”
Han Jia gasped for air – the pain seared his throat as he spoke but if he didn’t speak, it seemed as if he was dead. He had the expression of a gambler that was staking everything and incessantly allowed his voice to crawl out of his mouth.
“You’re right, don’t be like me. Don’t be someone like me…” his breath waned as he forced his voice out. He pleaded and gazed at Xiao Li, “I don’t want to die! Xiao Li, I don’t want to die like this…I don’t want to die…”
“You won’t die,” Xiao Li said, trying to steady his voice. “Calm down. Don’t waste your energy. “You have a chance to care about someone.” After a moment, he softly said, “Don’t you still have Jiang Xiaoning? Xiao Yang told me. Aren’t you with him now?”
Hearing that name, Han Jia’s eyes slightly widened. He gasped for breath then hissed, “Help me tell him. Tell him, tell him I’ve never loved him… I only saw his father’s shadow in him…” his voice slowly weakened, “I’m sorry Jiang Laoshi. He’s always been concerned for me, but I’ve never gone back to see him…I only…I don’t have any face to go back…”
Since he had been captured, Han Jia endured much torment. His spirit and body were already on the verge of collapsing yet he continued to say so many words. Some were thoughts that were hidden deep in his heart and others were personal private matters. Just hearing them, an ominous premonition struck him with great intensity causing his voice to sink.
“Say that to him yourself. It has nothing to do—”
An ear-piercing sound shot from the slashed tire. Zhang Juanjuan cursed out loud, “Fuck,” before she loudly warning Xiao Li. “Hold on. Fucking bunch of garbage trying to block my path!”
The off-road vehicle still needed to go around round before it arrived at the foot of the mountain. But to make matters worse, they could already see a group of people at the foot. It was obvious, they were waiting there to intercept them.
Ms. Zhang Juanjuan’s complexion ashened, she honestly didn’t know if she can charge pass them or not. Once she looked through the rearview mirror again, the uncertainty increased.
Fuck, do we have to hand him over?
Han Jia tried to take in a mouthful of air but spurted blood instead. His eyes slowly became lifeless yet his weak voice did not halt even when he coughed from choking on his own blood. “Xiao Li…I don’t want to die…I don’t want to die…I don’t want…”
The vehicle turned into the last curve, giving them a clear view of the expression on Luo Dong’s men.
Zhang Juanjuan pressed down on the accelerator as her body slid down from the driver seat. Her left hand grasped tightly onto the steering wheel while her right hand had already pulled out a weapon. She grumbled, “You’ve invited me to a really thrilling game.”
Xiao Li’s pistol had long been taken away from him by Luo Dong’s men. His right hand firmly gripped Han Jia’s wound while his left-hand protected Han Jia’s head to prevent him from suffering any stray bullet or another injury.
To their astonishment, Luo Dong’s men, as if they had just heard a preposterous command, separated to either side of the road, leaving a wide opening for the off-road vehicle to pass through.
As the vehicle flew passed the road, Xiao Li caught a glimpse of their expressions from the window. It was cold and hostile – the kind that he was used to. That expression had more than once appeared not only on the opponents’ face but also on his own men’s. He had even seen it on Han Jia and even on himself. There had never been any hesitation to use such a dark expression to face everything before oneself.
Xiao Li lowered his head to look at Han Jia’s pale face before he painfully shut his eyes.
Meanwhile, Luo Dong was giving his men a phone call. “Did you let that vehicle go? Then, withdraw. Withdraw as fast as you can… there’s no need to shadow them. Just take it as nothing happened! Hurry up!”
He closed the cover of his phone ruthlessly and then waved his hand as if any moment now, he was going to fling it away to vent his anger. When he eventually calmed down, he shoved the phone into his pocket.
Luo Dong’s confidant dared to ask, “Dong-Ye, it was clear we could have intercepted that vehicle. Why is it that after receiving that call, you…you were willing to let them go?”
“If I don’t let them go, there’s someone more ruthless that won’t let me go,” Luo Dong said with resentment. He looked at the ruins that lied on the floor of the villa and his face became unsightly. He muttered, “Being able to ask a professional killer for help is not strange. But what’s strange is, how was he able to ask such a strong person?”