Tea Leaves and Gold Pins

Blood-Soaked Article

Match Sixteen: Blood-Soaked Article:

January 7th, 1999.

This little urban legend from Japan had managed to find its way to China at the Liao doorstep. At seven in the morning, the main Liao house got a knock on the door.

"Coming!" Bik called as she hurried to the front door. She slid it open for a startling surprise. The nurse backed away with her hand over her mouth.

"Oh dear lord!" she gasped. One of their translators stood before him with his clothes covered in blood. His eyes looked glassy and shot. His lips trembled as if mumbling something to her. He clutched a newspaper article in his right fist. Bik recognized the man. He was the one that Khai had sent to Japan for a business dealing. He seemed to have just gotten back this morning. But, what the hell was this?

"Oi!" the nurse yelled. "What the hell happened?! Oi! Oi!" He didn't answer her, screaming. The man stumbled into the threshold. He only said one clear thing to her.

"Akuma ga watashi o shutoku sa sete wa ikenai." Then, he collapsed to the floor and died. Panicked, Bik tried to go to work to save the man's life.

"Help!" she cried. "I need assistance! Help!" It was too late, however. The man had already gone. But, he had left the paper that he tightly held in his hand. Hen-to took it from his hand. The writing was all in Japanese with numbers on it.

"92464444?" Fei asked. "What could that mean?" Bik only shook his head.

"The bigger question is why does he have it with him?" Khai asked. So, he had his people research the number on the paper.

Turns out, the number led to a storage locker at the airport. However, just like the paper in the dead translator's hand, it was all in Japanese. Khai looked at it with a puzzled look on his face.

"What the hell is this?" he asked.

"No idea," Fei said. The master shrugged to himself.

"Well then," he said. "We'll have someone translate so that we can understand this paper." The job was given to another translator that worked for the Liao. The last time they heard from him was that night. Three weeks later, Khai and the families all wondered what happened to him. The translator didn't answer any of their calls They all thought that he was busy on the first day. And on the second day. Then, the third day passed. After a week, they all became worried.

"Maybe we should call?" Hen-to asked his boss. At first, Khai shook his head.

"Naw," he said. "Just give him a couple of days. He'll come up with something." Even his advisors weren't too sure about that. Their boss started to question his words the next day when the translator's son called him.

"I haven't heard from my days since last week," he said. "Have you guys heard from him?" Khai frowned at his question.

"I haven't heard from him since I gave him a job to do," he said. "I'm sure that he's fine."

"You sure?" the son asked. Khai went quiet from there. That night, he joined in with calling the missing translator. He even went as far as to call the police. The cops went over to the man's apartment. Oh, they found him alright. The translator had hanged himself in his office two weeks ago. The cops took away the body and confiscated his notes. Khai had big concerns about this.

"What exactly happened?" he asked. The main officer gave him a grim look.

"We believe that these notes have driven him to that point," he said. The master gave him a rather lost look.

"Huh?" he asked. The man shook his head. "Don't be ridiculous! Notes can't do that to a person!" The cop shrugged at him.

"That's all we can tell you at the moment," he said.

"Well," Khai said. "When do I get the notes back?"

"We'll let his son deal with you there," the cop said. The clan leader kept a serious face.

"Very well," he said. After six days, the son realized the notes to the Liao clan. It took two more translators to attempt suicide for Khai to abandon the translation all together. Yet, the curiosity didn't die away. He just had to find out what his first translator tried to tell Bik before he died. So, he called Fei and Hen-to to read what pages the second translator had worked on. By the sixth page, the three men all began to see the truth. They backed away trembling.

"Ho-win!" Khai gasped. "How the hell did you…" He turned to Fei and Hen-to with a pale face. "What should we do with these… these…" Hen-to held up his hand.

"Destroy them!" he gasped.

"But…" his boss said.

"Please!" the men yelled at him. Khai breathed to calm down again.

"Okay," he said. The three men burned the fire in the grill pit that evening.

Present Day.


I sat in the truck as I watched Fei and Hen-to talking to each other outside. The former had the file blue in his hand. I had my window cracked open so that I could be noisy and listen in.

"I thought we burned this!" Hen-to whispered.

"Yes we did!" Fei hissed back. "We were all there when our lord burned it all those years ago!"

"So how did our lady find it?"

"I don't know! But, she mustn't know about what happened!"

"But what if she finds out?"

Fei twisted his face in confusion. "Well… uh…"

Hen-to tapped his foot as he waited. Fei bit his lower lip as he shut his eyes.

"Then…" he began.

"Then?" Hen-to asked. Fei opened his eyes and looked at him.

"I guess I have no choice but to tell her when the time comes."

"And the file?"

"I'm going to destroy it, of course!"

"But how?"

"I don't know. I'll burn it in the woods or something."

"But what if it comes back again?"

Fei drew his mouth closed, nervously. I sat back in the seat. What were they talking about? Why were they so desperate to get rid of that file? What are they hiding from me? Something is telling me to walk away from this, but yet I didn't seem to know how. These questions wouldn't let my mind rest. I somehow just had to find the answers—at all costs.

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