"Team A and Team B lost communication . Team C and Sergeant Miller confirmed dead . "
Inside the consulate office with the report coming in from the phone, Zhang Youejie’s finger trembled .
Five lives, 20 something people captured . The supposedly-flawless mission ended in an overwhelming defeat .
Not to mention, it was the most severe loss suffered by the CIB .
The other side of the phone fell silent . Li Zhongping, who was still in Hucheng, waited for an order .
"Is it the work of the General Staff Department?"
"Should be," Li Zhongping responded in a low voice .
With a deep breath, Zhang Youjie deliberated before he ordered, "… Mission aborted, retreat . "
Although it was unfortunate, the mission did fail already . Without surprise, the UA embassy in Shangjing would receive a letter from the Han Congress, then the UA will be denounced by Hua in a news conference .
The muscles on Zhang Youjie face twitched uncontrollably, his heart dripped blood .
"What about the pawn left there?" asked Li Zhongping, referring to Miao Jun who had defected .
His previous plan was if Hua put Jiang Chen under house arrest, they would use Miao Jun to take out Dagger and bring the imprisoned Jiang Chen out .
But the plan never seemed to be in their control . Hua seemed to have used Jiang Chen as bait to take out Team A and B by using the PLA army stationed nearby . Right afterward, Team C that kidnapped the hostage was ambushed by a sniper .
Was the mission leaked?
The CIB, fooled by the General Staff Department .
Zhang Youjie inhaled deeply, trying hard to calm himself down .
Since losing was inevitable, minimizing loss was what he needed to consider .
"Take him out, he saw my face . Also, before taking him out, get him to take out Dagger . "
"Yes . "
Zhang Youjie hung up the phone and rubbed his sore nose before he left the office .
Miao Jun had never thought that he would join the military . He had never thought that after graduation, he'd be a secret agent in the intelligence department and become a part of the General Staff Department .
As for his dream, he wanted to become a businessman like his uncle . Or more simply, he wanted to be rich .
But things didn’t go as planned .
His original plan was to attend the business department at Wanghai University, and then start his own company after graduation .
He worked hard and indeed achieved stellar results .
He could vaguely recall the joy on his parents’ face when they were checking his score .
However, when it came time to apply for schools, his parents were against it .
He'd never imagined that his parents would plead with him, asking him to give up on his dream and to, instead, attend the Shangjing National Defense University .
There was no reason other than a parents’ concern for their son’s future .
"Your grandpa’s old comrade is now a General . With this connection, if you attended the National Defense University, you will have a glorious future in the army!"
"Business? Do you know how difficult it was for your uncle? He couldn’t even afford to eat at times! Business is not as easy as you think?"
"This is for you…"
Finally, Miao Jun decided to become a soldier .
What’s ironic was that with this route, the only way he could achieve his dream was to become a bodyguard for the rich after leaving the army .
It was not impossible to be rich by staying in the army . There were plenty of money to be found in the logistics department, and a non-combat position in the recruiting office also had some opportunities; however, as a personnel from the intelligence department… it would be dangerous if he became wealthy .
His parents' consideration made him step onto a path that he didn’t even like in the first place . He tried to make himself enjoy it, but he realized that despite how hard he tried or how many achievements he earned, everyone would attribute his success to his connection and would automatically ignore his hard work .
Indeed, with the help of his connection, he was promoted quickly and managed to be part of the General Staff Department at the age of 24 . But on the dinner table, his parents would only exclaim that his grandpa’s comrade was someone who changed his life, and they ignored the fact that he had almost died at the special training camp!
"Having a rough time? Everything you do will be rough! That is a given . "
If Miao Jun wanted to complain, his father would definitely "comfort" him like this .
No one mind having a rough time if it was a career that they were passionate about .
However, he only felt dread .
Reality has shown that no amount of forced love can substitute real love . The same is true for a career and country . Even though he had memorized to heart the idealogy of the army, even without truly accepting it, he still did not hesitate to speak the words he did not care about when he swore with everyone .
One million USD? The money was attractive, but that was not what attracted him the most .
A green card, a ticket to the free world… He was tempted .
Needless to say, the concept of it held a fatal attraction . Even if he would curse it because he couldn’t obtain it, he would still comfort himself that he had lived a fine life without it .
Even after dinner, he would always curse with his comrades about the despicable UA soldiers .
"Mr . Miao, I trust that you have completed our agreement . " Li Zhongping smiled .
Miao Jun looked at the weed on the side of the road as his throat moved . "Dagger is dead . "
"Is that so? Then congratulations . " Li Zhongping was relieved and drew out a pistol from his pocket .
Because it was too sudden, Miao Jun didn’t manage to react .
He gulped and utter out with difficulty, "Why?"
"God will bring you eternal freedom . Okay, Mr . Miao, goodbye—"
A bullet penetrated Li Zhongping’s head, his blood splattering onto the car .
"Fu*k!" The CIB agents driving immediately pulled out his gun .
"What are you waiting for!" A thunderous roar came from the distance .
Miao Jun, surprised, unconsciously drew out his pistol .
Before the driver could do anything, Miao Jun shot him .
Breathing heavily, within the short few seconds, his entire back was drenched in cold sweat .
At the end of the alley, a figure staggered forward .
When Miao Jun saw the wrinkled face, he smiled wryly . He threw away his pistol and didn’t run . Instead, he raised both of his hands .
It was Dagger .
For some reason, seeing him still alive, Miao Jun felt relieved despite knowing that this meant that he'll be spending the rest of his life in prison .
"Sorry, I… plotted against you . " Due to his guilt, Miao Jun didn’t dare to look at his master in the face .
"You really think you could plot against me?" Dagger scorned while he covered his bleeding wound and sat on the engine cover .
He paused before the dried lips spoke trembling .
"I took the two daggers on purpose . If you really could escape, you wouldn’t have been caught in the first place . If you truly did escape, there was really one possibility…" The old face flashed with a cunning look fitting for his age as he gazed at the rookie for a long time .
"I defected," Miao Jun said with a bitter expression .
"Learn . " Dagger smile with his left hand still covering his wound, the right hand pressed against the engine cover .
"No need, there is no opportunity to use it even if I learn . " Miao Jun sighed and took out Dagger’s phone to call General Liu .
He was planning to confess .
But suddenly, Dagger, with keen eyes, snatched the phone and hung up the phone yet to be dialed .
With a perplexed expression on Miao Jun’s face, Dagger grinned and threw the phone away .
"Dying due to a comrade’s defecting . . . even if you don’t think it is embarrassing, I still think it is . 'Dagger suffered an honorable death . ' I’m more willing to have the last line written like this . "
Miao Jun was stunned as his eyes widened, "How is that possible, didn’t you purposely-"
"Although it is on purpose, they still hit the sweet spots," Dagger laughed, but he started to cough while laughing .
Blood stained Miao Jun’s clothes .
"Let me call an ambulance for you—"
"There is no need"—Dagger stopped Miao Jun—"I know my body . "
"I . . . " Miao Jun’s finger trembled and froze there not knowing what to do .
The apology was stuck in between in throat, it could not be squeezed out .
He knew that even if he apologized, it was useless .
He had killed him .
Disregarding Miao Jun’s expression, Dagger muttered to himself:
"I’m old and can’t even beat the young guys . Five years, the organization brought me back to the country . I was supposed to retire that night . But Old Liu found me and wanted me to use my experience abroad to provide some guidance on anti-espionage activities and train a few more newcomers for the state… I agreed .
"Five years, there were a total of 27 young men that trained under me . You should be the last one . " Dagger looked at Miao Jun pleasingly and nodded, "You are the most talented I have seen—for a new recruit . "
"Don’t apologize . " Dagger shook his head .
"27 people, only six stayed . My old superior wanted me to convince those talented to stay, but I never did that . The melon forcefully grown isn't sweet . "
His voice was filled with melancholy .
"If you want to be rich, don’t be a soldier . If you are reluctant, problems will arise, sooner or later . "
Miao Jun lowered his head, his face covered in embarrassment .
The voice turned more feeble and Dagger continued to mutter to himself:
"I know that my country might not be the best… You guys can go on the internet, the things you see, I know too .
"But even like this, I still firmly believe that it will become better .
"Before that, please protect it for me, until that day is here .
"But don’t force yourself . "
"Could… could I know your name?" Miao Jun asked while sobbing .
"My name? Haha . " Dagger grinned as if he had regained his life back, and his voice was again filled with energy .
He took out the pistol that he had used for many years and threw it in Miao Jun’s hand while shaking .
"Once you have enough authority, you can just flip through my document . If you retire, there is no need to know anymore .
"Return this to Old Liu for me, I have fought for him for half of my life . Return this gun to its rightful owner . "
Then, Dagger slowly closed his dried eyelids .
This time, he really stopped breathing .
Just like an aging shepherd finally welcoming its eternal peace .
Under the streetlight, on the empty road, a man kneeled on the ground howling in tears .