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The car went straight at Qin Qi.
Qin Qi could throw knives as effectively as guns threw bullets but it was impossible for him to use his throwing knives on a SUV coming at him at 80km/h. He hurriedly withdrew, avoiding the onslaught of the SUV's charge.
The driver of the SUV pulled on the emergency brake and the car came to a halt between Qin Qi and Shentu Tian-Yin.
The person in the driver's seat was Fu Chuan-Fu.
The door on the pa.s.senger's side suddenly opened and Jin DHu jumped out. He strode towards Qin Qi and the person behind him, Gu Ke-Wu.
Qin Qi reached to his waist and had a throwing knife ready in his hand.
Jin DHu grinned and unzipped his windbreaker. Wires wound about his body, attached to electrical leads. He held a an ugly-looking remote control device in his hand.
Qin Qi paled immediately. He did not dare throw the knives in his hand and quickly retreated.
Jin DHu kept walking forward.
"Don't come here!" Gu Ke-Wu was frightened too. "Are you crazy, Tian-Yin? Tell your people to stop!" he yelled nervously.
Over to one side, the fight between Xia Lei and old man Dong came to a stop. Xia Lei held what looked like a charred turkey leg in his hand and old man Dong held a grilled fish steak - it was a comical sight indeed.
"Come back," said Shentu Tian-Yin.
Jin DHu stopped and moved back.
"Please get in the car, Milady," said Fu Chuan-Fu.
Shentu Tian-Yin did not move. She looked at Xia Lei. "Lei, let's go!"
Xia Lei retreated till he was with their group. There was blood all over his body and the sight of it was frightening. They were not fatal wounds but he had no way of stopping the bleeding under old man Dong's a.s.sault and he had bled even more with his vigorous movements. He would have been defeated by old man Dong if it were not for the timely arrival of Fu Chuan-Fu and Jin DHu. He wouldn't have lasted for much longer.
Xia Lei walked to the side of the SUV and relaxed his nerves. His body seemed to deflate at that and he went down to the ground in a stumbling fall.
Shentu Tian-Yin hurriedly held him in her arms and asked anxiously, "Are you all right? Hold on, I'll take you to the hospital right away."
Xia Lei did not want her to worry and pretended to be relaxed. "I'm fine. I can just bandage my wounds myself; no need to go to the hospital."
Shentu Tian-Yin helped Xia Lei into the car.
Jin DHu had slowed his retreat considerably. He was trying to get more time for Xia Lei and Shentu Tian-Yin.
Gu Ke-Wu watched Shentu Tian-Yin help Xia Lei into the car before she herself got in. Things had escalated to this point but he was still not giving up. "Tian-Yin, I've never thought about hurting you. It's all because of that punk. Leave him. I won't pursue this matter if you agree to leave him and he will be safe too," said Gu Ke-Wu.
Gu Ke-Wu was using Xia Lei to threaten Shentu Tian-Yin so that she'd be with him. The thickness of his skin was remarkable and one had to admit that he was great at being thick-skinned.
Fu Chuan-Fu poked his head out from the driver's window and said coldly, "Gu Ke-Wu, I'll give you a warning. This ends here today. If you dare touch a hair on our son-in-law's head I'll return you the pain tenfold. If you dare harm Milady, I'll blast your vipers' nest apart, even at the expense of my aged life."
Gu Ke-Wen turned pale as he looked at Fu Chuan-Fu. He recognised him and also knew the origins of Fu Chuan-Fu. He knew very well that what Fu Chuan-Fu said were not empty words - he would really do what he said!
The mercenary leader who'd walked out of the chaos of war in South Asia was an experienced man. If he was going to end his life, n.o.body else could end it except himself!
The old man Dong sneered, "I'd like to see you try, Fu Chuan-Fu!"
"Dong Wu, I'd like to see YOU try!" Fu Chuan-Fu sneered as well.
The conversation between the two elderly men had the smell of gunpowder.
Qin Qi weighed the throwing knife in his hand, a smile on his face. "If I'd known you'd pull something like this I wouldn't play with knives. I should've brought guns." He looked at Dong Wu holding his battered sword and added in vexation, "It's all your fault. I said I wanted to bring guns but you said not to."
Dong Wu grunted. "Next time then. I won't stop you from arming yourself head to toe with guns next time."
This was obviously a disguised threat.
Fu Chuan-Fu turned the car about and Jin DHu got on. Fu Chuan-Fu then drove to the exit at a high speed.
"Their SUV is not fast - I'll take some men and give chase!" Gu Ke-Wu was still not giving up.
Dong Wu blocked his way with his ruined sword. "He may actually blast you to bits if you give chase. Fu Chuan-Fu is not one to hold back. I know him. If he brought one man with him you'll be sure that he'll have more men outside. Go, and you won't know how you've died."
"But…" Gu Ke-Wu had no place to vent his anger.
"Going to war with the Shentu clan is like having 800 of your own men perish for the sake of killing 1000 of theirs. It will hurt your side badly. You have to wait for your father's decision on this. However, it's much easier to deal with this punk named Xia Lei. You can handle him yourself."
"Xia Lei!" The memory of Xia Lei kicking him to the ground resurfaced in Gu Ke-Wu's mind. This was a great disgrace to him. He gritted his teeth and snarled, "I wouldn't have had my mask torn off in front of Shentu Tian-Yin if it weren't for that punk! He ruined everything. I want him dead!"
"Okay, I'll help you with that," said Qin Qi.
"Count me in. That punk ruined my green-tipped family heirloom sword. I must settle this score with him!" said Dong Wu
An SUV sped on the roads under the night sky.
Shentu Tian-Yin nearly tore her dress to shreds in order to bandage Xia Lei's wounds. Her pair of beautiful legs were exposed to the air in all their youthful glory. She, on the other hand, could not bother about decency at this time.
Xia Lei used his silver needles to pierce himself in over ten places, using the acupuncture method to help stem the flow of blood. His condition stabilised after he inserted the needles and his wounds still had some blood but it was not an issue anymore.
"Uncle Fu, how did you know that something would happen at Distinguished Gathering?" Xia Lei couldn't figue it out because the signal tower had been turned off and there had been no way for Shentu Tian-Yin to call for help.
"Milday did not let us follow when she went to Distinguished Gathering with you, saying your protection was enough. I thought it over and you are capable but you are still just one person, so I brought Jin DHu and the others with me. We were outside and we came prepared. Once I found out that something had happened inside, I drove the car in. Good thing I came and I was prepared or you would have been trapped inside," said Fu Chuan-Fu. He sighed. "You still lack experience. You must be more careful than careful when you deal with the Gu clan. They are wolves who'll eat you up without leaving any bones behind."
"I'll keep that in mind. Thank you, Uncle Fu." Xia Lei felt a pang of guilt. He'd said that he would protect Shentu Tian-Yin well but she would've ended up in the clutches of Gu Ke-Wu tonight if it hadn't been for Fu Chuan-Fu following them in secret due to his uneasiness. And him - he would probably have had his hamstrings cut, then thrown into some ditch after enough humiliation, wouldn't he?
A thought rang loud in his head, 'Something like this must not be allowed to happen again!'
The SUV had not gone far when a pickup truck came from a side road and stuck close to Fu Chuan-Fu's tail. Xia Lei looked in the mirrors and discovered the pickup truck. He saw Pak Tai-Ji in the driver seat, Jin Zhen-Huan in the pa.s.senger seat and he did not see Pak Can-Lie but guessed that he should also be on the pickup truck.
Fu Chuan-Fu was indeed an experienced man. He not only helped Xia Lei and Shentu Tian-Yin out of danger but also prevented Gu Ke-Wu from sending men after them. He'd arranged everything nicely.
'Experience is really important. Long Bing taught me some before but I thought what she showed me was useless. I should've learnt properly from her. We wouldn't have been in such danger if I also had as much experience as Uncle Fu.' thought Xia Lei to himself.
He thought of Long Bing at this moment for some unknown reason - a woman who didn't even blink when killing someone.
"Are you feeling better?" Shentu Tian-Yin's voice brought him out of his thoughts.
Xia Lei smiled. "I'm fine, really. Don't worry. I'm more or less a doctor now; I know my condition very well."
"There's blood on your face. I'll wipe it away for you." Shentu Tian-Yin reached to wipe the bloodstain with her sleeve.
Xia Lei was motionless, feeling a little awkward at having her wipe his face.
Shentu Tian-Yin finished wiping the blood on his face and held his hands next. "Your hands are so cold. Put them on my leg; I'll warm you up."
Xia Lei surreptiously glanced at her legs. She'd torn away almost all of the skirt of her dress and her legs were covered by just a strip of black lace. How could he be comfortable with reaching over to warm his hand on her legs in a situation like this?
Shentu Tian-Yin grabbed his hand and placed it on her thigh without giving him a chance to find an excuse to reject the offer. She put her own hands on his, holding his hand tightly in place so that she could give him some warmth from her body heat. His hand just so happened to be placed right before that strip of black lace where it was all warm and smooth skin…
Fu Chuan-Fu glanced in the mirror and a faint smile appeared on his lips before he looked away again. "Mr Xia, you should let the person next to you be more careful so as not to be taken advantage of. You should know what I mean."
Xia Lei made a sound of agreement. "I will."
"Milady," said Fu Chuan-Fu, "Shall we return to the residence, or someplace else?"
"Let's go to my father's place. It is clean and there are many rooms. DHu and the rest can also stay there," said Shentu Tian-Yin.
"Yes, Milady. We shall go there," said Fu Chuan-Fu.
Xia Lei hesitated, then forced himself to say, "Please take me to the Liang household."
Fu Chuan-Fu did not respond but Shentu Tian-Yin said, "No, you're in this state and you want to go to the Liang household? Besides, you're covered in blood; you'll scare the neighbours."
Words Xia Lei wanted to say were stopped in his throat.
The SUV galloped on the roads as the cityscape was left behind.
Xia Lei's brain, however, did not register the cityscape but nervousness and awkwardness. This was due to his hand being warmed on Shentu Tian-Yin's thigh, and the more-than-once sliding of his hand when the car braked, resulting in his hand touching the black lace side-tie which he should not touch...