The bourne supremacy, p.121
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       The Bourne Supremacy, p.121

         Part #2 of Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum
 
Page 121

 

  D'Anjou shook his hands at his sides, then raised his right and massaged his mouth. 'Your trust is as compassionate and convincing as your treatment of prisoners,' he said in English.

  'I forgot. ' The orator raised his eyebrows. 'You understand us. '

  'Somewhat more than you think,' Echo replied.

  'Good. I prefer speaking English. In a sense, this is between us, isn't itT

  There's nothing between us. I try never to deal with madmen, they're so unpredictable. ' D'Anjou glanced over at the impostor by the tree. 'I've made mistakes, of course. But somehow I think that one will be rectified. '

  'You can live,' said the orator.

  'For how long?'

  'Longer than tonight. The remainder is up to you, your health and your abilities. '

  'No, it's not. It's all ended when I walk off that plane in Kai Tak. You won't miss as you did yesterday evening. There'll be no security forces, no bulletproof limousines, just one man walking in or out of the terminal, and another with a silenced pistol or a knife. As your rather unconvincing fellow "prisoner" put it, I've been here tonight. I've seen. I've heard.

  And what I've seen and heard marks me for death . . . Incidentally, if he wonders why I didn't confide in him, tell him he was far too obvious, too anxious - and that suddenly loosened mouthpiece. Really! He could never become a pupil of mine. Like you, he has unctuous words, but he's fundamentally stupid. '

  'Like me?'

  'Yes, and there's no excuse for you. You're a well-educated man, a world traveller - it's in your speech. Where did you study? Was it Oxford? Cambridge?'

  The London School of Economics,' said Sheng Chou Yang, unable to stop himself. 'Well done. You're still proud of the old place, as the English say. Yet for all that you're hollow. A clown. You're not a scholar, not even a student, only a zealot with no sense of reality. You're a fool. '

  'You dare say this to me?'

  'Kai sai zuan,' said Echo, turning to the crowd. 'Shenjing bing! he added, laughing, explaining that he was conversing with a crazy corkscrew.

  'Stop that!'

  'Wei shemme?' continued the enfeebled Frenchman, asking Why - including the crowd as he spoke in Chinese. 'You're taking these people to their oblivion because of your lunatic theories of changing lead into gold! Piss into wine! But as that unfortunate woman said - whose gold, whose wine! Yours or theirsT D'Anjou swept his hand towards the crowd.

  'I warn you!' cried Sheng in English.

  'You see!' shouted Echo hoarsely, weakly in Mandarin. 'He will not talk with me in your language! He hides from you! This spindly-legged little man with the big sword - is it to make up for what he lacks elsewhere? Does he hack women with his blade because he has no other equipment and can do nothing else with them? And look at that balloon head with the foolish flat top-'

  'Enough?

  '. . . and the eyes of a screeching, disobedient, ugly child! As I say, he's nothing more than a crazy corkscrew. Why give him your time? He'll give you only piss in return, no wine at all!'

  Td stop it if I were you,' said Sheng, stepping forward with his sword. They'll kill you before I do. '

  'Somehow I doubt that,' answered d'Anjou in English. 'Your anger clouds your hearing, Monsieur Windbag. Did you not detect a snicker or two? I did. '

  'Gou le!' roared Sheng Chou Yang, ordering Echo to be silent. 'You will give us the information we must have,' he continued, his shrill Chinese the bark of a man accustomed to being obeyed. The games are finished and we will not tolerate you any longer! Where is the killer you brought from Macao?'

  'Over there,' said d'Anjou casually, gesturing his head towards the impostor.

  _ 'Not him! The one who came before. This madman you called back from the grave to avenge you! Where is your rendezvous? Where do you meet? Your base here in Beijing, where is it?'

  There is no rendezvous,' answered Echo, reverting to English. 'No base of operations, no plans to meet. '

  There were plans! You people always concern yourselves with contingencies, emergencies. It's how you survive!' 'Survived. Past tense, I fear. '

  Sheng raised his sword. 'You tell us or you die -unpleasantly, monsieur. '

  'I'll tell you this much. If he could hear my voice, I would explain to him that you are the one he must kill. For you are the man who will bring all Asia to its knees with millions drowning in oceans of their brothers' blood. He must tend to his own business, I understand that, but I would tell him with my last breath that you must be part of that business! I would tell him to move. Quickly?

  Mesmerized by d'Anjou's performance, Bourne winced as if struck. Echo was sending a final signal! Move! Now! Jason reached into his left front pocket and pulled out the contents as he crawled swiftly through the woods beyond the staging area of the savage rituals. He found a large rock rising several feet out of the ground. The air was still behind it and its size more than enough to conceal his work. As he started he could hear d'Anjou's voice; it was weak and tremulous, but nevertheless defiant. Echo was finding resources within himself not only to face his final moments but also to buy Delta the precious few he needed.

  '. . . Don't be hasty, mon general Genghis Khan, or whoever you are. I am an old man and your minions have done their work. As you observed, I'm not going anywhere. On the other hand, I'm not sure I care for where you intend to send me. . . We were not clever enough to perceive the trap you set for us. If we had been, we would never have walked into it, so why do you think we were clever enough to agree on a rendezvous?'

  'Because you did walk into it,' said Sheng Chou Yang, calmly. 'You followed - he followed - the man from Macao into the mausoleum. The madman expected to come out. Your contingencies would include both chaos and a rendezvous. '

  'On the surface your logic might appear unassailable-'

  'Where?' shouted Sheng.

  'My inducement?'

  'Your lifer

  'Oh, yes, you mentioned that. '

  'Your time runs short. '

  'I shall know my time, monsieur!' A last message. Delta understood.

  Bourne struck a match, cupping the flame, and lit the thin wax candle, the fuse embedded an eighth of an inch below the top. He quickly crawled deeper into the woods, unravelling the string attached to the two double rolls of fireworks. He reached the end and started back towards the tree.

  '. . . What guarantee do I have for my life!' persisted Echo, perversely enjoying himself, a master of chess plotting his own inevitable death.

  The truth,' replied Sheng. 'It's all you need. '

  'But my former pupil tells you that I'll lie - as you have lied so consistently this evening. ' D'Anjou paused and repeated his statement in Mandarin. 'Liao jie?' he said to the onlookers, asking if they understood.

  'Stop that!'

  'You repeat yourself incessantly. You really must learn to control it. It's such a tiresome habit. '

  'And my patience is at an end! Where is your madman?

  'In your line of work, mon general, patience is not only a virtue but a necessity. '

  'Hold I'll' shouted the impostor, springing away from the tree, astonishing everyone. 'He's stalling you! He's playing with you. I know him!'

 
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