Chapter 1 Dark Aura

Li Tian peers in the rear view mirror and can see three black SUVs are chasing behind his silver Maserati as he winds through Crystal Ice Mountain. 

     He calls his assistant Yang James laughing, “That greedy motherf****r did manipulate Ping Cheng. The impulsive moron has his men following me, send a helicopter I am halfway up the mountain to Crystal Ice Mountain Resort.”

   “Will do.” Yang James pushes up his gold rimmed glasses, I knew the Boss should have brought some bodyguards with him, anyone knows when a fucker like Alexandre decides to play games it can be troublesome

     The Boss received the intel about Ping Qinhe inciting his brother why didn’t he change the meeting place?

   Li Tian turns up the music and lights a cigarette as bullets start flying towards his car. His sports car has bullet proof windows so as long as they don’t hit one of the tires he can make it to the curve in the road up ahead where a dirt fire road veers down into the forest.

      The SUVs won’t be able to turn around to come back easily because the road becomes very narrow at that point. He crushes his cigarette in the ashtray,  the helicopter should arrive and take them out soon. What a pain in the ass, it could have been a simple transaction, now by trying to neutralize me using that volatile idiot Ping Cheng, the French asshole has to complicate matters.

   The sound of a helicopter can be heard overhead as Li Tian rapidly approaches the treacherous curve on the mountain road. When he sees the fire road he turns the steering wheel sharply exiting at a high speed, his sports car swerves on the dirt before it comes abruptly to a stop.

     He can hear the sound of gunfire coming from overhead and sees a black SUV fly off the cliff. His lips turn up in a satisfied smile, one down… two to go…what a waste of manpower for a little revenge.

   He lazily takes a bottle of water and gets out of his car to wait for the call saying the situation has been taken care of by his head of security Chen Hu. 

     Li Tian is familiar with the mountain and this forest, when he was younger he would stay in the mountain village to learn martial arts from a Master who lives there. After his business is concluded with Alexandre he is meeting the Master and his wife for dinner before he returns to Catang City.

   While Li Tian languidly leans on the dirt covered sports car enjoying the crisp mountain air Chen Hu calls him. “Boss we took out the SUVs the road is clear.”

   Before Li Tian gets back into his car he makes a phone call, “Uncle Ping are you free for dinner tonight I have some business I would like to discuss with you.” He smokes his last cigarette blowing a smoke ring while  picturing the look on the old fart’s face.

   Ping Cheng clenches his teeth, according to my plan shouldn’t that arrogant young bastard be dead by now. He recovers and calmly replies,“Your Club… nine o’clock?”

   “Bring your sexy wife.”

   Li Tian’s mentioning Didi provokes him further, Ping Cheng hangs up the phone,the veins bulging on his forehead, “Bring the bitch in here!”

   One of his bodyguards drags Ping Didi into the living room pushing her to kneel in front of Ping Cheng, furious from Li Tian’s provocation he kicks her, “Slut! Why does Li Tian want me to bring you to his Club tonight when I meet him?”

   Tears are welling up in her eyes she was afraid when his bodyguard came to her bedroom telling her Ping Cheng wanted her to come to his study. Terrified holding her painful side she whimpers “Honey…I…I don’t know!”

   He slaps her cheek with a great deal of force knocking her down into a pitiful heap on the floor. His brother told him about last night, he wants the cheating bitch to admit it,“Have you crawled into that bastard’s bed behind my back?”

   “Cheng honey, I have never met him!”

   He grabs her by her slender neck forcing her to stand up ripping her gray silk dress down exposing red and purple marks on her neck and chest. Ping Cheng sneers, “Really? Qinhe saw you at the Black Jade Club last night coming out of Li Tian’s office.” He planned on sabotaging Li Tian’s meeting today with Alexandre and eliminating him after he was informed by his brother that his wife has been sleeping with his sworn enemy. 

    He was already infuriated  about losing the deal to Li Tian but hearing about his wife rolling with the bastard in bed pushed him over the edge.

   She pleads with him tears streaming down her face, “It isn’t what you think, yes… I was in his office but Li Tian wasn’t there. Last night I was invited to your brother’s private room at the Club, your brother said it was his wife’s birthday and she wanted me to go. 

     I have a good relationship with Karen and I was bored with you out of town so I agreed.{She doesn’t want to tell her husband his own brother attacked her while he was drunk, Ping Cheng won’t believe it.} 

     I was attacked and almost raped when I went to the bathroom, one of the Club’s security saved me then took me to the office to compose myself. The only person in the office was a woman who worked for Li Tian. I.. I.. ”

   Ping Cheng starts laughing, “Your acting ability has improved since I first met you Didi, that is quite a story.”

   She slowly moves over to him on her knees  then clutches onto his pant leg, her knuckles turning white “I’m not lying!”

   He kicks Didi away, his voice full of suspicion?“Take her back to her bedroom don’t let her leave. I will find out who is lying.”

   The muscular bodyguard quickly lifts her up by her thin arm, she glances at Ping Cheng with wide eyes wondering if he is going to have her killed. Whimpering she softly says, “Please Cheng, believe me..”

   After she leaves he flips the table over, who is trying to play him? This morning in a fit of rage he ordered his men to kill Li Tian after he was told Didi was in Li Tian’s bed last night.

   Li Tian hangs up the phone smiling, that impulsive psycho being played by his own brother… what a joke. He receives a call, “The road is clear.”

   He gets back into his Limited Edition Maserati and starts the engine, the car’s wheels spin as he screeches back onto the mountain road. Looking at his watch, Alexandre should be at the Tea House in Maran right about now waiting for me.

   Song Sara helps her grandmother into the Orchid Tea House, when a woman dressed in a green cheongsam approaches them smiling, “Please, follow me.” She takes them to a room with large windows, the view of the mountain covered in a light veil of fog is spectacular. The room is simply decorated with ancient style paintings on the wall and a few purple and white orchids on wooden shelves. A light frangrance from the flowers creates a tranquil atmosphere inside the room.

   “Grandma, I heard soaking in the mineral hot springs on Crystal Ice Mountain is beneficial to the body, I’m glad you were willing to come with me.”

   “Sara, I don’t want you spending your hard earned money on me.” Woo Hua glances around frowning, this place must be expensive.

   “Don’t worry Grandma, I received this trip from my boss, one of his clients owns this mountain resort. CEO Zhou gave it to me as a bonus for some work I did recently, I found an error in a contract that saved him millions.”

   “Sara, I am very proud of you getting such a wonderful job after graduation. It is much more secure of a position than being a designer.”

   She loves her grandmother but she has no idea how NOT wonderful the job can be. Sara would much rather pursue her dream of owning her own bakery cafe.“Order whatever you want, our meals are all included.”

   “Why didn’t you bring your friend… what is her name again?”

   “Han Bi? I wanted to spend time with you for your birthday. The Han family is extremely wealthy she can go to resorts whenever she wants.” Sara reaches across holding her grandmother’s wrinkled hand. “Now that I am working full time and baking cakes in my spare time I don’t have as much time to come visit you.”

   A woman comes into the room he voice is pleasant,  “Ladies, what tea would you like to order?”

   “We will have Wuyi, thank you.”

   Sara tells her grandmother, “I think you will like this particular tea it is sweet with a floral aroma.”

   A ruggedly handsome man is sitting in the next tea room listening to Sara. The girlish voice is sweet and melodious, not too many young women would bring their grandmother rather than their friend. But being able to listen to their conversation reminds him this might not be the best place to discuss business with Li Tian, the traditional walls are not soundproof. 

     Although he can clearly hear them  because of his high martial art skills the women still might be able to hear their conversation. He sips his Da Hong Pao tea as he looks at his limited edition Cartier watch, looks like that scheming weasel’s plan succeeded.

     Li Tian arrives at the Tea House when he enters the young woman at the front gasps when she sees him. He is tall at least 190 cm. tall dressed in a smoky gray Armani suit that is perfectly tailored to his lean body. She stares at his incredibly handsome face speechless, a short balding man rushes over seeing she isn’t properly greeting him, he pushes her away, he bows respectfully, “CEO Li, it has been too long since you graced us with your patronage. Come I have you in the Purple Room. I think you will enjoy the view.”

   He follows the manager down the hallway when they pass the first room a young girl comes hurrying out absent mindedly running into his chest, reflexively he touches the gun in his pocket. Sara needed to use the bathroom and was wondering which direction to walk when she ran into a hard wall. Holding her nose she whimpers, “Owww..” Li Tian looks down to see a petite girl dark haired girl whose slender body is plastered to his chest. She looks up into his dark face as he growls, “Do you know how to properly walk.” He takes her shoulders pushing her away. The manager panics, “Miss..”

      Before he can say anything else Sara quickly bows, “ I’m sorry.” Then rushes off past them while rubbing her sore nose, she suddenly feels very cold from his touch, the little voice in her head warns her he is a very dangerous man, avoid him. 

   Li Tian enters the room where Alexandre is waiting. Speaking English with a distinct French accent he sarcastically says, “Tian, I ordered that pretentious tea you enjoy.” I guess I shouldn’t be surprised you are here knowing your capabilities, Ping Qinhe is no match for you.

  Ignoring the sarcasm he responds, “Alexandre.” He sits down, “How was the trip from Odessa?”

     “Uneventful. We should eat then discuss business in my suite at the resort. The walls here are rather thin.”

   Sara finds the bathroom looking in the mirror her nose hurts from running into Li Tian’s strong chest, what an arrogant man, obviously it wasn’t intentional. She shivers thinking about the aura surrounding him wishing she wasn’t able to sense people’s auras so easily.

      That man’s was very dark and cold, she rubs her arms to warm herself up. If someone is a cheerful person she feels warm all over when she comes into contact with them but when she meets someone like Li Tian the coldness permeates her skin right to her bones.

     While she looks in the mirror a strange feeling comes over her, that man’s cold dark eyes seemed to capture her soul as he glared into her eyes. Sara shakes her head, Mom..why did you fill my head with all those superstitions when I was little! She laughs remembering her mother’s dire warnings because she was born at midnight on Winter Solstice. Ridiculous myths!

   When she gets back to the room her grandmother asks why she is shivering. Sara replies, “I accidentally ran into a sinister man in the hallway.”

   Her grandmother shakes her head, ever since Sara was young she has been sensitive to other people’s auras, “Meditate for a moment the chill from his dark aura should go away.”

   “En.” Sara closes her eyes trying to calm her qi. {Grandma between you and Mom I’m surprised I grew up to be normal}

   Alexandre bursts out laughing looking at the black lines on Li Tian’s forehead, “Did you happen to run into a little girl in the hallway?”

  Gritting his teeth he frowns,“Shut up let’s order.”

   Sara and her grandmother quietly enjoy their meal when they are finished Sara says, “Do you want to rest in the room then we can go to the hot spring?”

   “Yes, I am rather tired from the trip here. Thank you the meal was very delicious, but you didn’t eat much.”

   “I lost my appetite after that man’s negative energy surrounded me. Don’t worry I will eat after this unpleasant feeling from him touching me leaves my body.”

   Li Tian slams down his chopsticks, his dark eyes narrow as he glares towards the wall separating the rooms. Alexandre can’t help but grin, “You made a girl lose her appetite! Ha..ha..ha..” This arrogant bastard usually draws women like moths to a flame, what did he do to the little chick.

   “Hurry up and finish I want to get our business concluded.” Li Tian throws his napkin onto the table.

   Sara and her grandmother go to their room at the resort, Sara is praising Zhou Mo in her heart for giving her this trip. The luxurious room has two queen beds and the window faces a beautiful garden. “Grandma come look at the garden.” Woo Hua loves to work in her own small garden at her home outside the city.

   Her grandmother walks slowly with her cane over to the window. The view of the multicolored flowers is beautiful and there are large trees with leaves of red and gold. Woo Hua’s eyes light up ,“Oh Sara the flowers are lovely, I wonder who designed it.”

   “I will ask when I go to the lobby, while you rest I am going to see where the hot spring is located.” Sara helps her grandmother to the bed and puts a quilt over her.

    Sara has a glass of water waiting for her grandmother to fall asleep then changes out of her dress into a casual pair of pants and a thick blue sweater to go explore the area around the resort. After she is dressed she leaves excited to investigate the beautiful wooded area they passed as the bus pulled into the resort’s driveway.

    Li Tian follows Alexandre out of the tea house,”Instead of going to your suite why don’t we go to my private hot spring to talk.” He doesn’t trust Alexandre he could have more tricks up his sleeve.

   “Private hot spring?”

   “Yes, I owned the land this resort was built on a few years ago. A stipulation in the sale was I was to retain ownership of the smaller hot spring and the surrounding forest.”

   “I don’t have a problem with that it was a long flight I wouldn’t mind relaxing while we discuss terms and delivery.”

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