Kero Junkyard was Raccoon's territory. Han Xiao planned to kill two birds with one stone. He put down his tools and called out to Lu Qian with a request.
"I wish to take the day off."
"Okay," replied Lu Qian, blinking. "Is something wrong?"
"No, why?" Han Xiao paused.
Han Xiao always looked lethargic and bored, and Lu Qian, being the observant woman that she was, had noticed the sudden change in air about him. If she had to describe the kind of feeling Han Xiao was giving her now, for some reason, dangerous was the word that came to mind.
"If you're facing any difficulties, I'll definitely help you," she said in a serious tone.
Not knowing what to say, Han Xiao stared at her, which caused her to shift about uncomfortably. She turned away from Han Xiao and twirled her hair, saying, "Don't you know its rude to stare?"
Han Xiao turned away too and replied, "I won't be back for dinner."
"I was actually thinking of letting you try my latest creation, black pepper pineapple baked ribs stew with parsley," responded Lu Qian dejectedly.
Han Xiao shuddered. What kind of cuisine from hell is that?
Han Xiao returned to his room to get ready. After a short while, he headed out with a backpack and a trolley.
"Boss, is that kid the target?"
A man wearing shades was tailing Han Xiao. Every time Han Xiao turned back, he would instantly vanish by making use of his surroundings, be it a public phone booth or a magazine stand. He was clearly a professional. He was using the mini receiver in his ear to communicate with his partner who was hiding in an old van two streets away. There was a total of five masked men in the van. They were none other than Han Xiao's assailants.
They were the Bee Sting Squad, a group of mercenaries who specialized in hunting bounties. They were decently well-known in underground networks, having successfully completed numerous missions. They had by chance 'stumbled' upon Han Xiao's trail.
For them, this mission was more important than any that they had ever taken on before. Bounty aside, they were hoping to gain favor with the Germinal Organization and earn their backing.
"How could this kid be worth one million? He looks so ordinary! This will be a piece of cake," said the number two of the squad, full of confidence.
"Don't forget that we are deep in Stardragon territory. Act swiftly," reminded the leader, Kelly, as he inspected his gun.
"The target is on the move."
A black, plateless Jeep was following Han Xiao from afar. Inside the Jeep was a team of Division 13 field agents, led by their mission captain, Li Hui. Besides him were 8 other fully equipped agents and Feng Jun, who was acting as an advisor. They were armed with tranquilizer guns.
Just as Han Xiao had expected, his assailants, the Bee Sting Squad, were indeed being used by Division 13 to test him, and these agents were, in fact, tasked to play the role of hero.
Feng Jun brought up a video feed of Han Xiao.
"The target seems to be headed to the District 7's Kero Junkyard. The Bee Sting Squad is following him. It would be ideal if the battle took place inside the junkyard."
Han Xiao arrived at the Junkyard, to Raccoon's surprise.
Why is he here?
"I've come to find some spare parts," Han Xiao casually lied. It was a reasonably convincing excuse.
Raccoon then invited Han Xiao for lunch, assuming he would decline, but unexpectedly, Han Xiao agreed, causing him to be visibly caught off-guard.
Han Xiao took his dust mask off, revealing his face to Raccoon. Raccoon found his face strangely familiar, but wrote it off.
Although Han Xiao was unquestionably famous in the criminal world, small-time crooks like Raccoon were, for the most part, largely irrelevant. Hence, they were often not privy to, or bothered with, the latest ongoings.
Although Han Xiao had been wearing the mask to keep his identity a secret, it didn't matter anymore.
A banquet table was set up by Raccoon's men. Han Xiao and Raccoon sat on opposite sides, facing each other as they conversed.
"How was the last batch of guns?"
"The 73-WASP is an excellent gun. Even the Six Nations' armies are using it. One of them is worth six to seven thousand on the black market. I've earned a lot thanks to you," answered Raccoon, as he puffed on a cigar. "And the quality of your guns is way better than those shitty second-hand guns on the market."
Although a batch of mass-produced guns wouldn't vary too much in quality, there would always be minor differences from gun to gun. These differences arose from the innate composition of the materials, but they could be minimized by a skilled mechanic. A gun expert would be able to tell a hand-made gun from a mass-produced one.
"What's in there?" asked Raccoon, pointing towards the stuffed bag and the push trolley.
"Some spare parts," replied Han Xiao. Raccoon was satisfied with the answer.
They continued chatting until dusk arrived, and the sky had transformed into a gorgeous hue of orange and indigo.
One of Raccoon's thugs suddenly ran into the room, saying, "Boss, someone is looking for you."
"Can't you see I'm with a guest?" replied an irritated Raccoon.
The thug whispered a few words into Raccoon's ear that made him look at Han Xiao contemplatively. He then got up from his seat and smiled at Han Xiao.
"Please excuse me for a moment," he said before leaving.
Han Xiao narrowed his eyes. Something's up.
Half an hour ago.
"Cousin, I travelled all the way here just so I could enjoy a good life under your care. Please don't abandon me!" pleaded Ma Jie as he chased after a young man.
He had come to the Western Capital intending to join his cousin's gang, but his cousin had deemed him unworthy and given him a janitor's position. Obviously, Ma Jie wouldn't settle for it, but what else could he do but beg?
"I've told you before, don't call me your cousin!" barked the irritated young man.
"Of course, of course. My bad. I'll slap myself," replied Ma Jie, after which he actually slapped himself.
"Just look at how pathetic you are. I let you watch the door precisely because we are relatives! Do you know how many wanderers out there have only spoilt food to eat? I'm going to see a big shot now; don't follow me!"
"Big shot?" Ma Jie's eyes lit up. "Who?"
"The boss of District 7, Mr. Raccoon! Each district other than District 1 has an underworld boss. Do you know how powerful they are?"
Before the pair realized, they had arrived at the entrance of the Junkyard. Ma Jie tried to follow him in, but the young man glared at him, causing him to give up. Just as Ma Jie was about to leave, he looked beyond the gates and noticed Han Xiao being welcomed. What the heck?
"Isn't that the kid who sneaked in with me?"
A thug stopped the young man.
"Don't loiter here," he said.
"I'm also one of the boss's men," replied the young man respectfully. "I've come to make a report."
Suddenly, Ma Jie interrupted them.
"Who is that guy?" he asked, pointing at Han Xiao.
"Who gave you the right to talk" snapped his infuriated cousin who motioned to slap him. However, the thug stopped him.
"That person is an important guest of the boss," he answered.
An important guest? Ma Jie was shocked, but his shock was immediately replaced by jealousy and bitterness. This is unfair! Why is that ignorant brat having it so much better than me
Scenes from their conversation replayed in his mind, causing him to feel embarrassed.
"You know Technician Han?"
"Not really, but we did talk a bit when we were being smuggled in."
The thug's eyes suddenly lit up.
"Follow me! The boss will want to see you!"
Ma Jie and the young man were stunned.