Chapter 103 - Despicable Person
Large round tables had been set up in the great hall of East Wind Heavy Industries. When Xia Lei followed Chi Jing-Qiu in, the great hall was already full of guests. A stage had been erected at the wall in front of the great hall and some musicians were performing the soothing ‘The Street Where Wind Resides’*. Elegant music, well-dressed guests, everything reeked of elegance.
Xia Lei quickly scanned the area and spotted a few familiar faces - Ning Yuan-Shan, Xu, Zheng-Yi, Xu Lang, Ren Wen-Qiang, Ning Jing and Hu Hou. He did not see Shentu Tian-Yin anywhere in the hall and found it strange, ‘Her car’s already here but she isn’t. What’s going on?’
“Let’s sit here.” Chi Jing-Qiu brought Xia Lei to a dining table.
The table already had several guests at it but Xia Lei knew none of them. He pulled a chair out for Chi Jing-Qiu and seated himself after she sat.
Chi Jing-Qiu said quietly, “There is a dance after the dinner party. Dance with me then.”
“Your father-in-law and your husband should be attending this dinner party too, right? Aren’t you afraid that they’d be unhappy with you if you danced with me?” said Xia Lei.
Chi Jing-Qiu twisted one side of her lips as she smiled, “It’s just a dance, not having sex with you. So what if they’re unhappy? I don’t care.”
Xia Lei was a little taken aback, “We’ll see.”
At that moment, the musicians stopped playing and left the stage. The huge LCD screen on stage started playing Vientaine Group’s promotional video for the wind power plant. The video showed a dark blue sea, clean beaches, countless wind turbines rotating, and an elegant woman standing on the beach. The woman’s back was to the camera and the sea breeze lifted the skirt of her long white dress, making it dance in the wind. Barefooted, she looked up at the waves of the dark blue sea. This scene was so very beautiful.
Xia Lei’s eyes were fixated on the big screen. The woman’s face had not been shown in the video but he knew that the woman was not an actress nor a model but the President of Vientiane Group, Shentu Tian-Yin.
Xia Lei could not tear his eyes away. Ripples stirred in his heart; warm, gentle ripples.
“Lei, you know Shentu Tian-Yin and have even helped her avert a crisis,” said Chi Jing-Qiu, “Why don’t you ask her for help? If she helps you, you’ll be set for life. Take that right there for example. Vientiane Group’s wind power project is not complete yet but many people are already trying to pull strings to buy shares for the project. This really is a sure-profit investment. I’d like to buy too but I have no connections.”
“Can’t you just buy it when it’s out on the market?” said Xia Lei.
“What you’re talking about is the secondary stock market. Who cares about that? How can those stocks ‘on the shelf’ be profitable? I’m talking about the primary markets. How about you go pull some strings with Shentu Tian-Yin so we can buy some?” said Chi Jing-Qiu.
“Go ask if you want to. I’m not that familiar with her,” said Xia Lei indifferently.
Chi Jing-Qiu sighed, “Ah, you don’t want to make money when you can. I really don’t get you.”
Xia Lei just kept watching the screen. Shentu Tian-Yin turned to the camera, a bright smile on her face. A row of words appeared on the screen: Love nature. Vientaine Wind Power. Let us work hard together.
The video stopped and the great hall filled with thunderous applause.
Xia Lei clapped too but he thought, ‘Putting aside the business aims, wind power is truly something that would benefit the environment. However, it looks like this sort of good thing can only be done by people of Shentu Tian-Yin’s level.’
Investing billions was indeed something no regular person can do.
Applause suddenly came from the great hall entrance and Xia Lei turned to see Shentu Tian-Yin enter, surrounded by followers.
Ning Yuan-Shan got up and went to welcome her.
All the guests stood and clapped, giving Shentu Tian-Yin the highest honours. Conversely, Shentu Tian-Yin was like a queen visiting a royal palace, noble and proud.
Xia Lei stood too; not because he respected Shentu Tian-Yin but because everyone else was standing. It seemed inappropriate for him to be the only one sitting.
“I’ve got to go do something. I’ll come back and accompany you later,” said Chi Jing-Qiu to Xia Lei before she walked to where Shentu Tian-Yin and Ning Yuan-Shan was. She was Ning Yuan-Shan’s secretary so she naturally had to do greetings and wait upon people.
Shentu Tian-Yin and Ning Yuan-Shan went up to the stage. Ning Yuan-Shan addressed the audience, then Shentu Tian-Yin stepped forward and spoke her thanks and something about making the environment better. The dinner party begun in earnest after that but Chi Jing-Qiu did not come back.
‘Did Ning Yuan-Shan invite me here just so I can have dinner?’ A trace of a bitter smile appeared in the corners of Xia Lei’s lips. He’d wanted to take the opportunity to acquaint himself with some potential clients but it looked like this hope was dashed now.
Just then, his mobile phone suddenly beeped, indicating a text message. Xia Lei took out his phone and looked at the screen. The message was from Ning Jing: Lei, why are you here? I saw you.
Xia Lei looked in the direction where he had spotted Ning Jing earlier and saw her. She was looking over at him. Their eyes met and Ning Jing shot him a smile.
Xia Lei nodded in response to her smile.
Seeming to sense something, Ren Wen-Qiang, who was seated at the same table as Ning Jing, looked over in the same direction and saw Xia Lei. He looked back at Ning Jing, his gaze full of displeasure. Ning Jing hung her head.
Xu Lang, seated next to Ren Wen-Qiang, saw Xia Lei as well and he leaned in to Ren Wen-Qiang, the two of them discussing something in low voices.
What could those two be talking about? Perhaps out of boredom, Xia Lei focused his eye on Ren Wen-Qiang and Xu Lang and lip-read their conversation.
“Why is that Xia Lei fellow here?” Xu Lang said in disdain, “How can a little workshop operator attend a dinner party like this? What is Uncle Ning doing? Didn’t he review the guestlist?”
A faint sneer appeared on Ren Wen-Qiang’s lips, “He probably begged Chairman Ning to let him attend. People out of the marketplace like him have no dignity and will do anything for the sake of meeting their goal.”
“I don’t know why but he pisses me off,” said Xu Lang.
Ren Wen-Qiang lowered his voice, “He’s like a fly. I hate him too. How about we make fun of him tonight? Embarrass him in front of everyone and let him know his place.”
“Sure, any good ideas, Brother Ren?”
Ren Wen-Qiang put his lips close to Xu Lang’s ear, “I’ll get Ning Jing to invite that guy over, then spike a bottle of wine. I’ll pour him a glass from the spiked bottle and you’ll insist on pouring some other wine for me. Get what I mean?”
Xu Lang nodded, “I get it. But what drug are you going to use on him?”
“Why do you have that? And why do you have it on you now?”
“It adds to the fun. Don’t ask about it.” As he spoke, Ren Wen-Qiang looked at Ning Jing out of the corner of his eye.
Ning Jing’s head was still bowed and she did not dare to look either Xia Lei or Ren Wen-Qiang in the eye.
“Okay. This is a good idea. I can’t wait to see that punk make a fool of himself. Heh heh,” Xu Lang laughed.
Ren Wen-Qiang smiled and finished his conversation with Xu Lang. He leaned to Ning Jing’s ear and said, “Ning Jing, I saw Mr Xia. He’s by himself over there and has no one he’s familiar with. Go invite him over. We know each other so we can have a drink together and have a good time.”
A smile appeared on Ning Jing’s face, “Have you guys made up?”
“That’s long past. Am I so petty? Go on, I’d like to give my greetings and apologise to him too. We’ll be friends after that,” said Ren Wen-Qiang.
“Okay, I’ll go invite him over right now.” Ning Jing got up and walked towards Xia Lei.
Xia Lei gave an internal sigh. Ning Jing was too naive and too weak. He could clearly tell that she did not like Ren Wen-Qiang at all but was with him due to pressure from her parents.
‘Ren Wen-Qiang has a drug like Kamsutram Oil not because he knew I was coming and he’d planned to use it on me. He was planning to use it on you. How could you not see through a person like him after spending so much time with him?’ Xia Lei felt sorry for Ning Jing and pitied her.
Ning Jing walked over with a joyful smile, “Lei, what a coincidence. Did you read the message I sent you?”
“I read it. Hello, Big Sister Ning.” As he spoke, he looked at Ren Wen-Qiang and the table in the way disappeared from his sight.
Under the table, Ren Wen-Qiang pulled out a small glass bottle from his trouser pocket. Xu Lang handed an open bottle of red wine to him under the table. Ren Wen-Qiang poured the brown liquid drug into the bottle of red wine and gently shook it to mix the drug and red wine.
Xia Lei focused his eye on the bottle in Ren Wen-Qiang’s hand and the code on the bottle entered his sight. He stopped using his eye when Ren Wen-Qiang put the spiked bottle of wine by his feet.
“Come sit with me. We haven’t seen each other in a long time and I’d like to chat with you,” said Ning Jing.
“Ren Wen-Qiang doesn’t get along well with me. It’s not nice if I go over, isn’t it?” said Xia Lei.
“No, no. He asked me to invite you over. He said he would apologise too,” said Ning Jing.
“No, forget it, it’s not right if I go. How about this - you come sit with me and we chat,” said Xia Lei.
Ning Jing glanced at Ren Wen-Qiang subconsciously and made to say something but held back. Her happy expression from earlier was instantly turned into one of pain.
Xia Lei could not help himself, saying, “Big Sister Ning, I’m not criticizing you but people like Ren Wen-Qiang are sneaky and cunning. You won’t find happiness if you’re with him.”
Tears moistened Ning Jing’s eyes, “You know that I don’t like him at all but he has endeared himself to my parents. And my father has a heart problem, so I… I…”
Xia Lei stood, “Okay, I’ll accompany you there.”
Ning Jing smiled again, “Nn.”
Xia Lei went with her but his steps were slow, “Big Sister Ning, please listen to a bit of advice. You are the one looking for your other half, not your parents. You have to have your own opinion or you’ll spend the next part of your life in tears. Do you want that sort of future?”
Ning Jing bit her lip and gave a slight nod.
Xia Lei gave another internal sigh, thinking, ‘I can only help you so much. You have to depend on yourself for the rest of it.’
*The Street Where Wind Resides
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