Volume 1 –
Chapters 1 To 100
Unlocked In One Try
According to the habits of people, the first number of a code was always the most heavily pressed, and the pressure would lessen as the person presses, ending with the least pressure on the last number since the person’s mind would be on what to do next after entering the code. The number most heavily pressed would surely have the most obvious traces of sweat and the number least heavily pressed would have light and least obvious traces.
Xia Lei used this method and quickly ascertained that the first number was ‘9’ and the last number was ‘1’. That left him with four numbers, ‘2, 7, 3, 5’.
How were these numbers grouped?
Some data from the files he had seen in the police station appeared in Xia Lei’s mind. The image in his head showed Huang Yi-Hu’s date of birth – 9th December 1973.
Huang Yi-Hu’s birthday had the numbers ‘9’, ‘7’ and ‘3’, which matched the traces on the keypad but it did not all match. Xia Lei wondered ‘Does this mean he isn’t using his own birthday? What sort of secret number would a man like Huang Yi-Hu use?’
The birth date of Huang Yi-Hu’s son, Huang Xu, suddenly appeared in his head – 1st May 2000. The numbers ‘2’, ‘5’ and ‘1’ matched! A string of numbers ran through his head as he mixed and matched them. His left eye worked to match the traces on the keypad as he ran the numbers and about two minutes later, a combination of numbers were produced in his head – 973251. This code was a combination of Huang Yi-Hu and Huang Xu’s birthdays.
Xia Lei reached his hand out and entered ‘973251’ on the numerical keypad. The electronic key lock made a small click. It unlocked!
“How did you know the passcode?” Qin Xiang looked at Xia Lei in astonishment, refusing to believe the strange scene he’d just witnessed.
Xia Lei did not explain himself and reached to grab the turntable lock.
At that moment, footsteps could be heard from the corridor beyond the door, accompanied by sounds of people talking.
“Really, Big Bro is being too cautious in making us come check on the office in the middle of the night. Is that punk called Xia Lei so powerful? He’s actually made Big Bro a little neurotic,” came a man’s voice.
“Xia Lei is no simple guy. Have you forgotten? He used one million to take the land that Big Bro dearly wanted. You should know that even if he’s our Big Bro, he still has to spend 81 million to get that land,” came another man’s voice.
“That’s because he has someone to back him. Hey, you think he’ll come here to steal stuff at this time?”
“I don’t think so. He probably doesn’t even know of this place.”
The two men’s voices and footsteps approached Huang Yi-Hu’s office.
Xia Lei and Qin Xiang looked at each other. Xia Lei was fine but Qin Xiang looked nervous.
Qin Xiang took out a knife.
Xia Lei put a staying hand on Qin Xiang’s hand and pointed to the lounge.
Qin Xiang nodded and followed Xia Lei into the lounge to hide. Xia Lei did not forget to close the cabinet door before leaving the office. He had already unlocked the electronic key lock on the safe but one should not be able to tell that it had been.
They had barely hidden under the bed when the office door opened. Someone switched on the lights and walked in their direction after taking a brief look around.
“Told you that there’s nothing. Big Bro just doesn’t listen,” grumbled a man’s voice, “Look, we’ve wasted a trip here.”
“It’s better to be a little cautious. That weasel Qin Xiang betrayed Big Bro. He’s a master burglar and is good at stealing things so Big Bro used him to steal for him. Did you forget? Big Bro has dirt on him,” said another male voice.
“That punk deserves having his salon burnt down. Pity he wasn’t burnt to a crisp too.”
“It’s just a matter of time. Going up against our Big Bro spells a bad end. That Qin Xiang will die and that punk surnamed Xia won’t be able to escape either.”
The two of them talked in the doorway of the lounge and their gazes searched the room as they talked. However, they did not bend to look under the bed. The office and lounge looked normal after all.
Xia Lei and Qin Xiang lay flat under the bed. Qin Xiang looked fairly nervous worrying that Huang Yi-Hu’s underlings would walk to the bed, look under it and point a gun at him. Xia Lei, on the other hand, was way more relaxed because he could still see what Huang Yi-Hu’s underlings were doing even though he was under a bed. He could keep an eye on the two underlings at all times and be the quicker to subdue them so he was not very worried at all.
His left eye saw through the wooden planks, mattress and quilts, and Xia Lei recognised the two underlings talking in the doorway right away. They were two of Huang Yi-Hu’s close bodyguards who carried guns. Much could be said of the importance of the contents of the safe when Huang Yi-Hu sent two of his close bodyguards to protect it in the middle of the night.
“It’s very safe here. There’s nothing to worry about,” said a bodyguard, “Why don’t we have a drink? Big Bro’s alcohol is all top-notch. He doesn’t usually let us enter his lounge so today’s a good opportunity.”
“Heh heh, you read my mind. I’ve long wanted to have a glass of Big Bro’s Lafite,” laughed the voice of the other bodyguard.
The two bodyguards walked to the wine cabinet and retrieved an expensive bottle of Lafite and a bottle of Flying Maotai, then took some glasses to drink with.
‘Damn it, they’re drinking. We have to find some way to make them pass out if they’re not leaving’ thought Xia Lei. Doing that may alert more people but he was willing to take the risk; he only had this one chance.
The two bodyguards sat themselves on the sofa and started with the red wine, then moved on to the Chinese alcohol. Chinese people drank red wine for the fun of it and for fashion. The real addictive drink was still strong, distilled spirit*.
Xia Lei and Qin Xiang lay under the bed and waited.
A bodyguard switched on the television and put a DVD in to play. The DVD was an adult film from Japan and the room filled with seductive moans and cries, some intermittent Japanese and some strange sounds. Xia Lei understood some of the Japanese – ‘be gentle, Onii-chan’ or something like that. Add the not-man-not-woman Qin Xiang lying on the ground next to him and he felt very uncomfortable indeed.
Fortunately, this situation did not last long. Men became greedy when there was good alcohol. The bodyguards first polished off the bottle of red dry Lafite, then a bottle of Flying Maotai. The combination of the two different alcohol made them drunk and in half an hour, the two bodyguards flopped onto the sofa, sound asleep.
Xia Lei crawled carefully out from under the bed.
Qin XIang could not see the situation from under the bed and he was still quite worried. He hesitated and only crawled out himself when Xia Lei crawled out and nothing happened.
Huang Yi-Hu’s two bodyguards lay on the sofa in deep slumber. The empty bottles of Lafite dry red wine and Flying Maotai sat on the coffee table. Their snores were loud and clear and they showed no signs of awakening.
Xia Lei signalled to Qin Xiang, then moved quietly out of the lounge.
Once out of the lounge, Xia Lei went straight to Huang Yi-Hu’s office desk.
“What are you doing?” Qin Xiang grabbed Xia Lei’s hand nervously and said in a whisper, “You can get the code right for the electronic key lock somehow but there’s no haphazard way of unlocking the turntable. If you’re wrong it will sound the alarm and those two bodyguards in the lounge there definitely have guns!”
“Don’t you want to escape the clutches of Huang Yi-Hu? If you miss this chance we may not have another to steal what we want,” said Xia Lei.
Qin Xiang let go. Of course he wanted the evidence that Huang Yi-Hu had against him but he knew very well about the characteristics of these German-imported safes. The turntable lock was the real problem of the safe. The electronic key lock was just to enable the user to access the turntable. If the wrong code was entered into the turntable, the safe would automatically sound the alert. This was why he wanted to stop Xia Lei from trying but Xia Lei’s determination and confidence confused him – could Xia Lei actually open this safe?
Xia Lei squatted and opened the wooden cabinet door, then grasped the knob of the turntable. In that instant, his eye twitched and his vision drilled into the metal alloy. There was a toothed lock which moved when he twisted the knob and it quickly came to a groove. They fit together like a glove. Afterwards, he twisted it again and fit it into another groove where it matched. Just like that and in three consecutive moves, the safe clicked. It was unlocked!
Qin Xiang goggled at Xia Lei with his mouth agape, as if he were looking at a monster.
A Dottling safe imported from Germany was uncrackable even for Qin Xiang’s revered Master, let alone Qin Xiang himself. However, Xia Lei had cracked it so easily, and without using a stethoscope either!
Xia Lei did not notice Qin Xiang’s reaction and reached to pull open the safe door. The items in the safe revealed themselves. Xia Lei took out the leather-bound notebook, portable hard drive and paper documents, leaving the foreign currency, bullion bars and Huang Yi-Hu’s certificates.
Xia Lei put the items in his backpack, closed the safe door and got up to walk towards the window.
Qin Xiang came to his senses then and chased after Xia Lei.
The two of them traced their earlier route and came back to solid ground, then went over the wall and out of New Moon Real Estate.
In the car, Qin Xiang could not contain his astonishment and curiosity any longer and said, “Lei, what was that just now? How did you open a Dottling safe just like that?”
“I’ll tell you next time,” said Xia Lei. He started the engine and drove the Great Wall H6 slowly down the alley.
“No, you must tell me.”
“I’ll tell you next time,” said Xia Lei.
Qin Xiang rolled his eyes at Xia Lei in annoyance, “I know even if you don’t say it. You’re actually a hidden master thief, aren’t you?”
Xia Lei had actually not thought of a good explanation for what had happened earlier but Qin Xiang had made such an assumption on his own so Xia Lei was too lazy to think of a better story and simply nodded, “Yeah, no need to hide it from you anymore since you figured it out. But you have to keep this secret.”
“I knew it!” Qin Xiang gave Xia Lei a light punch, “You hid it so well!”
Xia Lei laughed dryly to himself. After the car exited the alley, he stepped on the accelerator, quickly entering the main road as the car darted forward.
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