The leader, escorted by two fully armed Israeli militants as they strived towards the rubble. All three appeared to be at ease, but Xia Lei was neurotic as he held his breath.
Tsukino Kyoko reached out and tapped Xia Lei on the shoulder.
Xia Lei turned back to glance over to her, only to watch as Tsukino Kyoko squeezed through from the back. Chest to chest, legs crossed, they were skin tight with one another.
“What are you doing?” Xia Lei whispered with as little sound as he could make, yet with a stern tone he said.
“If they spot us, you have to shoot at them.” Tsukino Kyoko replied.
Xia Lei was stunned beyond belief before realizing her true intention. She wanted to act as a human shield for himself while securing however more valuable moments for him to retaliate against their enemies.
Upon realisation of the situation, he was slightly irked by her reckless actions, yet gradually more touched and indebted by her sincerity of heart.
Tsukino Kyoko lifted her lip ever so slightly for a half-smile before she inched towards the front. Her voluptuous breasts were squished out of shape from the restricted space that she had to turn around, but it hardly mattered to her. It might even be the reason she was smirking.
She made her way across and laid flat on Xia Lei’s torso. She too had her Viper pistol in hand, ready for combat.
The three Israeli soldiers stopped before the pile of rubble.
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“How terrifying, that’s half the mountain gone,” One of the soldiers remarked.
“Wrong place at the wrong time and you’d probably be a meatloaf by now,” The other one replied.
The leader closely examined the crumbled rocks, before he frowned. “ Colonel Kante demolished the roads leading to this valley just a week ago. Now the mountain collapsed onto itself. I wonder what secret lies within this…”
“Secrets? I guess only Mossad Intelligence Officer Kerns will know, he was the one requesting Colonel Kante to seal this valley off after all. Even the demolition of the freeways was probably also his idea. Those Mossad fellows always act all mysterious. Who knows what they are planning,” A soldier took to reply.
“The crumbling of a mountain huh...would it mean the interior of the mountain was actually empty? Who knows, there might’ve been a secret base or a biochemical weapon research centre in there,” Another Israeli soldier added.
“Alright, cut it out. This is Mossad’s business so we should steer clear of it. Let’s go take a look over at the far right corner. Once clear let’s leave this place,” The leader ordered as the conversation came to an end.
The two other militants obeyed his orders as they left the pile of debris and headed towards the right corner.
Watching them move further and further away, Xia Lei once again let out a sigh of relief. His palms and back were soaking wet from cold sweat, even his feet were trembling from immense anxiety.
Right then, Kyoko collapsed backwards. Petrified, Xia Lei reactively held onto her. “Kyoko, are you okay?”
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Tsukino Kyoko was unresponsive, with both eyes closed. It was already a miracle that she lasted that long. Moments ago, just like Xia Lei, after an intense moment of extreme anxiety and eventual relief, Xia Lei might still be visibly shaken, but that was too much a toll on the already sickly Kyoko.
Xia Lei held her in his embrace, as tight as he could. He had already lost Amanda, Park Taeyong and the others. He wouldn't want to experience that again.
About ten minutes later, the Black Hawk chopper finally took off, heading towards Jerusalem.
Xia Lei dragged Tsukino from within the cracks and set her on his back. He now had two options, one was to head towards the Gaza Strip, and the other was to Jerusalem.
From the standpoint of their personal safety, the Gaza Strip would pose the least risk of hostile encounters. He might even reunite with Sa’im, Yelena and Anjum Khan. But eyeing from Kyoko’s perspective, she required urgent medication and treatment, which would lead them to Jerusalem instead.
Xia Lei piggybacked Tsukino Kyoko as they strode towards the mouth of the valley. Towards that direction, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was the first to catch this idea as it shimmered under the golden sunlight.
Even though he was a single person bearing the weight of two, Xia Lei was hardly hindered as he made intermittent dashes throughout the journey, occasionally slowing down when the fatigue caught up to him. He would brisk-walk for the next couple of minutes before he resumed his jog.
Along the way, he would keep close attention to all activities within a four-kilometre range.
He however was hardly worried of being exposed to the Israelis, given how his left eye had a vision range further than that of common telescopes.
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Making out of the valley, Xia Lei strayed off the road and chose an unpaved landscape.
The shepherd’s jeep was long gone, but it was unclear who drove it off. Was it Sa’im and the others, or was it the Israelis?
Xia Lei was distraught every time the three of them crossed his mind. But at that instance, his main focus was Tsukino Kyoko’s life.
About half an hour later, within the far corners of the barren landscape, he began noticing Israeli settlements. It was a farmland community with settlement houses, and the plots of soil rich lands offered to support their livelihoods.
A quick glance ahead and he witnessed colourful patches of persimmons and strawberries, red peppers along with some Israeli farmers mending their crops. It was a tranquil sight to behold.
Israel’s agriculture is among the most advanced in the world. Every settlement was well equipped with its own schools and hospitals, essentially making them a township of their own.
“Kyoko’s condition is getting worse, if I carry her to Jerusalem, she might not even last till then. Besides, Jerusalem is ladened with Mossad’s intel, not to mention the CIA, who knows what we’ll face there?
Maybe I should head towards the settlements first. See if we can at least stabilize her condition.” Xia Lei came to a decision with Kyoko in mind as he sprinted towards the settlements.
Coming close within five hundred meters, he gently put her down on the ground, before hastily gathering the weapons, explosives and infiltration equipment in their possession and buried them deep in a well-dug hole.
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After meticulously sealing the hole and memorizing it, he carried Kyoko on his back once again and headed into the housing area.
Children were playing by the paved roads of the settlement. Some were impersonating the national guard, others as Hamas militias. It was a merry sight.
A Jewish woman with an apron on came running out from the house, demanding her children to get in for dinner. Noticing Xia Lei with Tsukino Kyoko on his back, she was stunned. After a moment of pause, she hurried towards their direction.
Xia Lei respectfully greeted her, before engaging her in Hebrew. “Dear madam, my girlfriend here needs immediate medical attention. Could you please help us out?”
“Oh, you speak Hebrew, too! What happened to her?” The Hebrew woman brought herself forward.
Xia Lei continued. “I think she got bitten by a snake or a scorpion or the like. I tried to suck out as much poison from her wound but it doesn’t seem to help much. Please help me.”
“Where are you both from?” The Jewish woman took to asking.
“We’re from China on a trip to Israel. We live in Shanghai, but my grandpa had the opportunity to offer Jewish people with some help back in the years. It’s part of his dying wish for us to come back and meet the Jewish people that he had previously offered support to. Right, part of his will is to pass this to the relatives of those Jewish people.”
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“Fifty thousand American dollars,” Xia Lei replied.
“You’re a good person I can see that. Follow me,” The Jewish woman hinted before she began leading the way.
Xia Lei tailed behind her as he followed up with a question. “Ma’am, mind if I ask, are you taking me to the hospital?”
“Oh my, I’m sorry to tell you that there are no hospitals around here, only a clinic. But my husband is a doctor, and the clinic is here in my home. Come, I’m sure he can help.”
When she turned towards the house, Xia Lei breathed a sigh of relief. He had no intention to lie to the honest Jewish woman but he had no other choice. Back in World War II, Jewish people were slaughtered by the masses by the Fascist German army and in turn, was scattered all over the planet. Some of which made their way to Shanghai, China, where they were sheltered and fed by the Chinese people.
The Jews were compassionate and grateful people, and they returned a lot of the favour after the war. The Chinese people had always received a certain amount of warmth during their visits to Israel. His lie played right into the sympathy of the earnest Jewish woman and had ignited the respect and gratitude amongst her.
She must be thinking at this point. A man who came all this way from China to deliver fifty thousand dollars. Why else would she reject an opportunity to offer her help?
Xia Lei followed the Jewish woman into her home. Sure enough, there was a clinic in there. The shelves were filled with medication and blood test equipment alike.
Xia Lei gently laid Tsukino Kyoko on the patient bed, before the Jewish woman noted. “You both stay here a minute alright, I’ll get my husband. He’s out in the fields now.”
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She then proceeded to leave the house to get her husband.
But Xia Lei was anxious. He knew he couldn’t wait for the doctor’s return so he grabbed a needle syringe and jabbed it on her finger. He then dripped a few drops of blood on the testing kit to investigate her blood content.
He might not be a doctor, but his technique on first aid was far superior to most ordinary people and some doctors.
The blood sample results were promptly revealed and in her blood, he identified the toxins that had broken down the potassium and Acetylcholine. A large dose of it was more than enough to damage the neural system, leaving the victim with a lasting condition similar to that of Alzheimer’s!
If it disintegrates the potassium from the body, electrolytes would quickly diminish which would effectively stop her heart. Disrupting the Acetylcholine in the system further deteriorates the functioning of the brain, amplifying the damage on its victim!
If it were not for its prolonged exposure in the hot desert air, a toxin of this capacity would have killed Kyoko long ago.
After finding the nature of the toxin, Xia Lei began his counter procedures to find a cure. He salvaged through the medical inventory and found a syringe of potassium chloride and promptly jabbed it into her vein. He then fed her medication to slow down the dissociation of the Acetylcholine.
Both medications used were common oral medication regularly utilized on neural related treatment, simply due to how ubiquitous conditions such as arrhythmia and dementia were among humankind. Given that he was in a clinic, it was hardly a tough find.
After he was done, a Jewish couple came into the room.
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‘Is she the patient?” The man said as he approached Tsukino Kyoko with huge strides.
“She is, but…”
“What?” The man pulled open her eyelids to examine her pupils, then held onto the pulse to check her heartbeat.
Xia Lei then continued. “Truth is, I’m also a doctor. I was worried that her condition might worsen, so I took some of your equipment and medication to treat her. If the lord had his way, she would have been long gone.”
“Oh?” The man gazed towards Xia Lei starry-eyed. “You’re a doctor too?”
Xia Lei nodded in response. “Yes I am, I’m a doctor from China. I work at a hospital in Shanghai. My name’s Zhou Qiang by the way, pleasure to meet you.”
“Pleasure’s mine. I like your culture! My name is Haimer, and this is my wife, Mina,” Haimer offered to shake Xia Lei’s hand, and hinted to his wife to do the same.
Xia Lei chatted a little with the couple.
“Ugh…” Tsukino Kyoko lying on the hospital bed abruptly regained her consciousness. Struggling to focus her vision, she noticed the silhouette of Haimer and Mina.
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She did not do it to offer her greetings, but held them in an offensive stance!
Xia Lei hurriedly grasped onto her arms. With his own hands pressing down onto her shoulder, he quickly remarked, “Oh babe you’re awake! Praise the Lord, you’re finally awake…”
Kyoko was dumbfounded.
Xia Lei was unfazed as he continued. “Babe I was so afraid I’d never see you again, thank god we met these good people along the way. Mr Haimer here offered to help with his medicine. You can thank him when you feel better.”
Tsukino Kyoko eventually seemed to grasp the entire situation as she mumbled. “Thank you.”
Xia Lei gasped from presumed revelation. “Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, my girlfriend doesn’t speak Hebrew.”
Kyoko cracked a smile.
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