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Chapter 53 Tigers part I
Soon the evening came. After dinner, Zhao Tie Zhu received a phone call from Lei Zi, who had already arrived at Golden World Square. Zhao Tie Zhou said goodbye to his tenants and drove to the square in his Chery QQ.
The underground boxing club at Golden World Square was abnormally quiet that day. Dozens of poker-faced men were either sitting cross-legged on the ground or taking a short nap in chairs. A few of them were practicing punching sandbags. In a dark corner, a gloomy old man was talking to another much younger.
“Are you sure Zhao Tie Zhu will be here tonight?” ask the old man in a deep voice.
“I am very sure about that,” the young man answered in a respectful tone, “He is in charge of security tonight.”
“Okay. You may leave now.” Upon hearing this, the young man bowed and withdrew. The old man looked even more somber.
“Zhao Tie Zhu, you murdered two of my apprentices. I thought you worked for the National Security Bureau so I couldn’t get my revenge. But it seems like someone in the NSB isn’t fond of you either. You will die here tonight!”
The old man’s imposing voice shocked the surrounding crowd, causing everyone to take a step away from him. A few people recognized the old man as Eagle, Huang Kai Ming. He ranked ninth among Dragons. It was puzzling why a Dragon master would show up on the day of a Tigers placement match. Perhaps his apprentice would take the placement match. The crowd was baffled and terrified.
Meanwhile, Zhao Tie Zhu had arrived at the square. After he parked, he was approached by Lei Zi.
“Tie Zhu, a Chery QQ? Good choice,” greeted Lei Zi, sarcastically.
“Of course,” responded Zhao Tie Zhu, “I’ve got decent taste in cars. Let’s keep moving now. How do we get to the boxing club?”
Lei Zi began to lower his voice. “Follow me. My grandfather told me how to get there yesterday. I never knew such an underground boxing club existed here. I also head that Golden World Square is a branch of a huge club in BJ. Things are complicated here.”
As they walked in the lounge, Sun Zhi, the general manager of Golden World Square, was already waiting for them. Spotting Zhao and Lei, he welcomed them warmly.
“Tie Zhu, do you still remember me?” Sun Zhi asked with a wide grin.
“Of course I do,” responded Zhao Tie Zhu, walking over to his friend.
“I didn’t know you work for the National Security Bureau,” exclaimed Sun Zhi, “You are such an outstanding young man! Follow me. I will show you the way to the boxing club.” And he led Zhao Tie Zhu and Lei Zi into the building.
After several turns, they stopped at an elevator. Sun Zhi pressed his finger on the fingerprint reader, and said, “Once you take the elevator down, you will reach the boxing club. I’m sorry I can’t escort you all the way there. I have to stay here to wait for other contestants.” Sun Zhi had worked very hard on this match. If everything went well, Golden World Square would receive huge benefits from BJ.
Lei Zi took out two golden dragon-shaped pins, putting one on himself and handing the other to Zhao Tie Zhu, saying, “Tie Zhu, put the pin on.”
“What is this for?” Zhao Tie Zhu asked.
“This is an identifier. This pin indicates that we are security guards, not contestants.”
“Lei Zi, do you think we can do this?” asked Zhao Tie Zhu hesitantly, “I mean, there are so many people in the match, but we are the only two security guards.”
“Of course!” exclaimed Lei ZI, “We stand for the government. I’m sure no one wants to fight against the National Security Bureau.”
Soon after, the elevator stopped and the door opened. Many people in the crowd turned back to look at Zhao and Lei vigilantly. Once they saw the pins, they all looked away and couldn’t care less.
“Ha, the pins are pretty useful.” Zhao Tie Zhu joked to Lei Zi. Suddenly, Zhao noticed that someone was watching him attentively from a corner. He glared back, and saw an old man was staring him fiercely. This old man’s look was more ominous than the men around him.
“When did I offend such a master?” Zhao Tie Zhu touched his nose and thought. It seemed like a bad start. More and more people appeared in the boxing club. And then, a few middle-aged men walked out of the elevator bearing courteous smiles.
“Oh my god. They are the heads of the province. I can see the secretary of a provincial Party Committee Zhang Yi Huang, Vice Secretary of a provincial Party Zhao Si Yang, and Governor Lu Jin Hui. Why would the governor and the secretary of the PPC show up together? What are they doing here?” Zhao Tie Zhu murmured.
“They are here to watch the match. I’ve heard that sometimes the government sends people to watch matches. But usually it wouldn’t be the heads of provincial government. “ Lei Zi answered.
The group passed by Zhao and Lei. Zhang Yi Huang, the secretary of PPC, glanced at Zhao and then smiled, “Young lad, you are going to be in charge of maintaining order here tonight. Good luck!”
“We will try our best.” Zhao Tie Zhu replied politely as he stood up.
Zhang Yi Huang walked away to the VIP seats. Lei Zi stared at his figure and whispered, “Damn. His guards are all super masters.” Zhao Tie Zhu nodded quietly. Lei Zi was right. That group of bodyguards seemed even more powerful than the gloomy old man. Maybe those people are the real security guards and will keep the order, Zhao Tie Zhu guessed.
More people arrived one after another. Among them were some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the province, and leaders of the local prominent families. Zhao Tie Zhu even spotted people from the Li family, though they weren’t aware Li Tian Feng’s murderer was also in the underground boxing club.
After everyone was seated in the auditorium, Zhao Tie Zhu glanced around and estimated that there were hundreds of onlookers.
“Why do so many people come to watch the match?” He asked.
“They come here to recruit,” replied Lei ZI, “Every time there’s a match, rich people show up to pick bodyguards from the candidates. You know, Tigers are all masters. They are way better in martial arts than normal bodyguards. But again, this phenomenon is only limited to Tigers. I barely hear of Dragons being hired.”
Soon, the match started. An old man with a white beard walked slowly onto the stage, which was located in the center of the boxing club. His voice was deep and penetrating. Although he wasn’t using any microphone, everyone could hear him clearly. He explained the rulse of the match.
“Two hundred people are here to attend the Tiger placement ranking. one hundred people will make it into the rank. Once the rank is filled, these one hundred contestants will be split into groups and the match will move into elimination rounds. Now let’s welcome the first group of contestants to the stage. The match time will last five minutes. If one side gets knocked off the stage, it counts as a loss. If anyone surrenders, that is also a loss. I will be the judge.”
Zhao Tie Zhu murmured to Lei Zi, “Who is this old guy?”
“No idea. I heard he retired from the central government, and he is a top master. Though he is not among the Dragons, my grandfather thinks that if he wanted to attend the Dragon matches, he would have made it to the top five easily.”
Zhao Tie Zhu couldn’t sense anything from this old man, and it kept him alert. Is this how a top master like? No emotional waves, and no split thoughts.
The matches began. After the knockout stage, three winners would be generated. These three people would be granted an opportunity to challenge the Tigers. And among Tigers, they could challenge the one whose ranking was higher. The top five of the Tigers were allowed to challenge Dragons.
(Hammy Chi and Werfy Lee)