Chapter 4.1: Specimen 39J at the Wing Kong Exchange

The Wing Kong Exchange had long since been abandoned. While Egg Shen had visited it in 1988 then subsequently destroyed the lower levels to kill the last of the Wu Shen wizards (that consequently set off an earthquake that damaged large portions of the city), it has stood largely untouched since Lo Pan’s death. A real estate development company tried to take it over long ago and build condos but they abandoned the project stating that the collapse of the lower levels made the foundation unstable. However, it is rumored that the real reason they left is that the building is haunted by the minions of Lo Pan. Most Chinatown residents are too scared to go inside the old Wing Kong Exchange. In the end, the only construction has been a chainlink fence around the building.

 "I hate this place,” Wang Chi whispered.

 “We should have burned it down long ago,” said Qiang Bai.

 Considered an outlaw by Chinatown police, Qiang Bai, also known as Tiger-heart, is the real leader of Chang Sing holding the highly respected title of Ironlord. Ironlord Tiger-heat is also one of the noble warriors who confronted Lo Pan and the Wing Kong alongside Egg Shen. As his reward, he received a large scar over his right eye. After Lem Lee died, the much less wise and much more ambitious Han Ling took over leadership of the Chang Shing. Han was not convinced by Egg Shen that Lo Pan was planning to marry and the ceremony needed to be stopped. Lo Pan used the Lords of Death as a distraction that Han Ling foolishly fell for and ordered the Chang Sing to another location. A few Chang Sing believed Egg Shen and followed him instead. Although Tiger-heart disobeyed Han Ling and joined Egg Shen, he tried honorably to rejoin the Chang Sing. But he became increasingly dismayed with Han’s decisions which seemed to benefit Han’s bank account rather than the citizens of Chinatown. He initially set off on his own but has been slowly joined by other Chang Sing disappointed with Han’s rule. He and the old Chang Sing continue to protect the citizens of Chinatown but they continually find themselves fighting against the Tong Elite, many of whom are Tiger-hearts’s old friends. This fact, has made Tige-heart cynical and distrusting. However, he is still a valued friend to Wang Chi as well as the unquestioned Ironlord of the Old Chang Sing

“Burn it?” Wang asked, “and have the whole block smell like Wing Kong?”

 All the Chang Sing laughed quietly.  

 “What are we looking for, here?” asked Duyi Zeng.

 Duyi Zeng, also known as Longshot, was trained in the ancient art of Chang Sing Archery. Before the invention of modern firearms, the Chang Sing were handy with the bow. In addition to the bow, the Chang Sing Archers also specialized in throwing weapons such as daggers and shuriken. But as street gangs of Chinatown began to arm themselves with handguns, the Chang Sing found themselves outmatched and quickly adapted to using guns themselves. As the divide between the Tong Elite and Chang Sing widened, the Chang Sing often found themselves fighting against the Tong Elite who because of their background knew the tactics and styles. The Chang Sing leadership needed a new tactic to cancel the Tong Elite’s edge. Renshu Zuang, one of the Chang Sing Elders, was one of the last to be trained in archery. He picked several of the young Chang Sing and began to train them in the old ways. Longshot was one of these original students. Like the other young Chang Sing, Longshot had a fascination with electronic gadgets and often tinkered in his spare time. After a few years, Longshot and a handful of his classmates invented specialty arrows, like high explosive and incendiary arrows. They developed specialty thrown weapons as well.

These high-tech arrows along with the forgotten art of archery confused the Tong Elite and evened the odds in Chang Sing and Tong Elite encounters. Seldom does a Chang Sing team go on a mission without at least one archer.

Ironmaster Longshot is small and short (even shorter than Wang Chi). He is often mistaken for someone younger. Consequently, Longshot tries to compensate for his dimunitive appearance by taking unnecessary risks in combat. Wang and Tiger-heart trust Longhshots’ capabilities and have repeatedly told him that he has nothing to prove. Whether Longshot believes his mentors is questionable. 

“I’m not sure,” responded Wang, “all I know is Chang sent his men here in a hurry.”

“Why? There’s nothing here he would want. It’s abandoned – nothing but dust and cobwebs,” stated Jia Cao.

Jia, also known as Destiny, was another talented young Chang Sing. She was one of the quickest and most acrobatic of the new recruits. Although well disciplined and averse to taking great risks, one can tell that Ironmaster Destiny enjoys combat. She often makes jokes and insults her opponent in combat.

“Maybe there’s more than dust and cobwebs inside. We’ll find out soon.”

“Tong Elite,” Ironlord Tiger-heart pointed to the main gate entrance some distance away, “along with the cops. About 15 in all. We’re going to need a diversion.”

 "Got it covered,” responded Wang.

A moment later a CNN news van pulled up to the gate. The cameraman and Lois Lee jumped out of the van and into the group of cops like well-trained paratroopers. Wang could see the Tong Elite and the cops were busily fighting off the questions of the nosey reporter.

“Now,” ordered Tiger-heart.

Tiger-heart, Destiny, Longshot, and Wang dashed for the fence. They headed for a part of the fence next to a lamp post with a broken light. The low light made it ideal for a break in. The fence was a standard chainlink fence with razor wire on top. Those untrained in Chang Sing techniques would find the fence a daunting obstacle. These four, however, were never concerned with it. With the power of his namesake, Tige-heart jumped up over the fence pouncing off the razor wire to get more height. Destiny and Longshot bounced off the fence then off the lamp post to get over the fence. Destiny elegantly performed a somersault before she landed on the ground. With the grace of a gazelle, Wang jumped over the fence effortlessly, clearing the razor wire by over a foot. All continued to run toward the Wing Kong Exchange building without a pause.

Wang and his team reached a wall at the Wing Kong Exchange taking a moment to look around to see if they were spotted. Reasonably sure they were unnoticed, Wang began feel along the wall for a door in the darkness.

“There should be a door around here,” remarked Wang, “OK here it is.”

“Stand back Wang,” ordered Tiger-heart.

He stood back and drew his iron bo. Ready to hack the lock.

Wang stopped him, “Hold it. It’s already opened.”

The four took a closer look at the door. Someone had hacked it open with a weapon. The lock was in pieces on the ground. Even more disconcerting, the marks were made recently.

The four slinked into the abandoned building. It was cold, dark, and dusty. The four split into two pairs consisting of Destiny with Tiger-heart and Longshot with Wang. The pair lead by Wang followed behind but not close to the pair lead by Tiger-heart. Wang was far enough not to make all four of them one convenient target but close enough to come to Tiger-heart quickly if he ran into trouble and vice versa. It was Tiger-heart’s and Wang’s job to perform the search. Destiny and Longshot were there to watch their backs. Each warrior walked with a sidestep. By leading with their side forward, they gave the smallest silhouette for someone to attack from the front. They turned often so as not to keep their back to any direction for any prolonged period of time.

Wang had the four run in with weapons holstered and sheathed. His mission was not to engage in combat but to search the warehouse quickly and quietly. Especially with the Tong Elite about to enter, speed was critical.

Tiger-heart stopped to look around a corner and signaled Wang to stop himself then asked, “Wang, what are we looking for, again?”

Longshot and Destiny also looked toward Wang having realized just how daunting their task was.

“Anything out of the ordinary that the Tong Elite would want,” Wang responded.

Tiger-heart shot him a look of confusion.

“Whoever broke into here before us would be a good thing to look for, too,” added Wang.

The End

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