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The huge bouquet of 999 roses burst apart with Xia Lei's kick. Fresh, tender petals filled the air and Xia Lei's size 41 leather shoe went through petal after petal to land heavily on Gu Ke-Wu's shoulder.
Gu Ke-Wu groaned as he fell to the floor from his one-kneed, rose-holding position.
Jaws dropped in the Tian-Yin Pavilion and it was so quiet one could hear a pin drop.
No one could believe that someone had actually dared to kick Gu Ke-Wu, and in Distinguished Gathering on top of that!
Xia Lei, however, had done it without hesitation and without qualm.
He had not thought of fighting here with Gu Ke-Wu but Gu Ke-Wu had been just too much of an intolerable bully. Shentu Tian-Yin had already told him again and again that he was her fiancé but Gu Ke-Wu had still professed his love in front of an audience. This was highly disrespectful. He was not in a real relations.h.i.+p with Shentu Tian-Yin but Gu Ke-Wu's insult was real. Would he still be a man if he let this insult slide?
Another reason was that there was sure to be someone reporting to Shentu Tian-Feng in the group of people. If he did nothing when Gu Ke-Wu insulted him, the act he and Shentu Tian-Yin put up would be seen through.
Xia Lei knew that this kick would result in terrible consequences but he executed the kick cleanly without hesitation because of these two reasons.
Shentu Tian-Yin, too, looked at him in astonishment. She'd never imagined that Xia Lei would be so reckless as to kick Gu Ke-Wu to the floor in Distinguished Gathering!
"b.a.s.t.a.r.d!" Gu Ke-Wen reacted first. She cursed Xia Lei angrily and came towards him with a slap.
Xia Lei caught her hand and twisted. Gu Ke-Wen went tumbling to the floor.
Gu Ke-Wu climbed to his feet and dusted his shoulder off. He was so angry he laughed. "Xia Lei, in all my life you are the first to hit me and in my own place, at that. I'll kowtow to you if you can leave tonight in one piece." He whistled after he was done speaking.
Hurried footsteps came from all directions and tens of people came running in the blink of an eye. These were all Gu Ke-Wu's underlings, including the fierce bodyguards in the great hall.
Gu Ke-Wu reached out a hand and pulled Gu Ke-Wen to her feet.
Gu Ke-Wen pointed at Xia Lei and snarled, "Break his legs!"
The bodyguards surged forward. Each had a tool in his hands; metal pipes, baseball bats, machetes, b.u.t.terfly knives and so on.
"How dare you!" Shentu Tian-Yin was fl.u.s.tered but still maintained her imposing composure. "Gu Ke-Wu, if you dare touch him, I'll use all my resources to seek revenge on you!"
Gu Ke-Wu raised a hand and the underlings who were prepared to fight came to a stop but not before they surrounded Xia Lei and Shentu Tian-Yin.
"Shentu Tian-Yin, my brother was so good to you and yet you treat him like this!" cried Gu Ke-Wen angrily.
Shentu Tian-Yin did not back down. "That was just his one-sided love. What does it have to do with me? Don't confuse me with an easily persuaded teenage girl who hasn't experienced the real world. We all know very well what you and your brother are planning!"
"You…" Gu Ke-Wen was so mad she could not finish her sentence.
"Ke-Wen, hold your tongue." Gu Ke-Wu was calm. He looked at Shentu Tian-Yin. "Your words don't scare me, Tian-Yin. You can't deny that you are in some trouble now, can you? I know why you picked this punk. It's because he's brazen enough to help you deal with those people in your family. Why don't you choose me? Can't I compare to this punk with his beginnings in a construction site? Don't play around with him anymore; he isn't a match for you. I am the man you are fated to marry. I can guarantee that those who want to take advantage of you will have no good end if you agree to be with me!"
"We will never be together. I came today to attend a banquet with my fiancé. I didn't expect that you'd be so disrespectful. Forget it. Let's never contact each other again." Shentu Tian-Yin pulled Xia Lei by the hand. "Let's go, Lei."
"Trying to leave? Hahaha…" Gu Ke-Wu laughed loudly.
The bodyguards stood firm and did not let them through, each and every one of them staring at Xia Lei and Shentu Tian-Yin with aggression.
"What are you trying to do?" said Shentu Tian-Yin angrily.
"Do?" Gu Ke-Wu sneered. "No one dares. .h.i.t me, especially in front of so many of my friends. How can I hold my head up high in public if I just let you go? You heard it too earlier - my sister wants his legs broken. How about this, Xia Lei - you break your own legs and I'll let you crawl out of here. I'll keep my word. I'll let you keep your life too on Tian-Yin's account."
"I'll call the police!" Shentu Tian-Yin took her phone out of her clutch and was about to dial when she found that there was no signal.
"No signal, Big Sister Tian-Yin? Would you like me to get someone to power up the signal tower?" said Gu Ke-Wen mockingly.
"This was a set-up from the beginning!" Shentu Tian-Yin understood right away and regretted asking Xia Lei to accompany her here. Unfortunately, it was too late for regret. There was no way to contact anyone on the outside and neither the police nor Fu Chuan-Fu and his subordinates could come over to help.
This was a banquet set up with the aim of murdering a guest.*
Gu Ke-Wu shot a look at an underling.
The underling threw his machete to the floor close to Xia Lei's leg and sparks flew as it landed with a clang.
Gu Ke-Wen stared at Xia Lei and sneered, "Left leg, right leg, hamstrings. Break them all yourself and crawl out of here."
Xia Lei bent to pick the machete up and Shentu Tian-Yin gripped his hand tightly. "No!"
Xia Lei smiled. "Don't worry, it's going to be okay. I said that no one can hurt you with me by your side."
Shentu Tian-Yin was motionless as her doe-like eyes filled with tears. She was a strong woman and never showed her true emotions but she was a completely different person when she was with Xia Lei.
Xia Lei picked up the machete and waved it about, then looked at Gu Ke-Wu and said evenly, "Gu Ke-Wu, I dare kick you because I'm not afraid of what you'll do to me. I'm sorry but I can't break my own legs and crawl out of here. Can I trouble you to do it yourself?"
Viciousness flashed in Gu Ke-Wu's eyes and he waved his hand.
The underlings closest to Xia Lei suddenly charged forward, swinging the baseball bats, machetes and pipes in their hands at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei pushed Shentu Tian-Yin into Tian-Yin Pavilion and raised the machete in his hand, chopping it down on the arm of an underling who was about to brain him with a baseball bat.
"Argh---" screamed the man. The baseball bat dropped from his hand to the floor.
Xia Lei twisted his body to the side and nimbly dodged attacks from two other people. He counterattacked with a chop to the arm of an underling who attacked him from the back.
The machete struck bone with a thunk. The underling fainted without so much as a scream.
Xia Lei's machete flashed as the underling fainted dead away and chopped at the third underling's thigh. His attack was quick and vicious - just like the professional killers and special agents in movies!
Everyone was stunned and scared silly by the sight.
The one who was most shocked was Gu Ke-Wu. He'd never imagined that Xia Lei would not just dare to kick him, but to also slash others in this venue! The Xia Lei he saw right now was like a wildman; laws and political support meant nothing to him. He'd chop anyone who angered him!
Three people were taken out in an instant. Xia Lei suddenly leapt to the s.p.a.ce in front of Gu Ke-Wu and raised his arm. The blood-stained machete in his hand landed on Gu Ke-Wu's neck.
"No---" Gu Ke-Wen's heart almost jumped out of her throat in that instant.
Gu Ke-Wu was so scared that his legs went weak and he broke out in cold sweat. He was sure that his head would have gone flying in that instant!
However, Xia Lei's machete rested on Gu Ke-Wu's neck and he didn't swing it downwards. His aim in chopping at people was not to kill them; all his chops were in non-vital areas. It looked brutal but he had used his left eye to focus on each target and identified non-lethal areas before he had executed his chops. The chops were vicious but not lethal.
The situation was like that but he looked like a bloodthirsty lunatic in the eyes of others.
No one knew what a lunatic would do so n.o.body could say for sure if Xia Lei would actually chop Gu Ke-Wu's head off.
"Y, You… Don't be hasty!" Gu Ke-Wu had not just weak knees but a weak voice too.
Xia Lei went behind Gu Ke-Wu and said coldly, "Didn't you want my hamstrings? Pick up a machete and let's have a duel."
"Y, You're insane!" Gu Ke-Wu continued trembling.
"You don't dare to? Don't talk big when you don't dare to do it, then. Gu Ke-Wu, other people are afraid of you but those are others. I'm warning you for the last time - don't p.i.s.s me off. Get your men to back off!" sneered Xia Lei.
Gu Ke-Wu did not make a sound; he was hesitating.
"How dare you! Let my brother go!" Gu Ke-Wen screamed recklessly at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei twisted his body to the side and kicked Gu Ke-Wen in the face with a thump of his foot.
The kick shut her up. She fell heavily to the floor and didn't get up again.
Xia Lei never hit women but a specimen like Gu Ke-Wen was an exception.
Seeing his own sister get kicked into unconsciousness made Gu Ke-Wu's eyes spit flames. "Xia Lei! Do you know what you're doing? You're dead!"
Xia Lei slapped Gu Ke-Wu upside his head. "f.u.c.ker. You think you're a prince? Think you can screw me over whenever you like?"
It was a forceful slap. Gu Ke-Wu's head rang with the blow and he saw stars.
Xia Lei lifted a hand, pointed at the group of Gu Ke-Wu's underlings and said coldly, "I'm leaving this place now. You can come take a swing at me but I can guarantee that I won't go easy on you. I will chop at you with no regard for your lives. It is against the law for you to kill me. It is self-defence if I kill you."
The group of underlings did not dare move.
One of the reasons why they didn't move was because Gu Ke-Wu was being held 'hostage' and it was like them not daring to shoot at the rat for fear of breaking the vases. The other more important reason was that Xia Lei was brutal and skilled - who would dare take the risk of being chopped to death?
"Let's go, Tian-Yin." Xia Lei gestured to Shentu Tian-Yin.
Shentu Tian-Yin did not know what to think anymore. She nodded, then stood obediently behind Xia Lei.
Xia Lei dragged Gu Ke-Wu before him and walked towards the group of underlings blocking his way.
The underlings did not dare let him through without Gu Ke-Wu's order but they did not dare to attack Xia Lei either.
Xia Lei let loose another heavy slap on the back of Gu Ke-Wu's head and raised his voice. "Tell your dogs to make way! You hear me, f.u.c.ker? Are you a r.e.t.a.r.ded pig who doesn't speak the human language?" He slapped him another time after he was done speaking.
Gu Ke-Wu felt like the back of his head was ready to explode. He could not bear the pain and ringing in his head any longer and folded. "Let him through!" he shouted.
He might suffer some brain damage and end up disabled if he let himself be slapped a few more times.
The group of underlings made way.
Xia Lei kept his grip on Gu Ke-Wu as he led Shentu Tian-Yin through the great hall and to the carpark.
Shentu Tian-Yin woke up from her state of shock and retrieved the car keys from Xia Lei's belt without instruction. She opened the car door and sat herself in the driver's seat as she said anxiously, "Get in, quick!"
*鸿门宴 - was a historical event that took place in 206 BC at the Hong Gate (Chinese: 鴻門; literally: "Swan goose Gate") outside Xianyang, the capital of the Qin dynasty