Learn and Apply
Xia Lei saw Long Bing sitting in the living room watching television as soon as he opened the door.
“Why so late?” Long Bing looked at Xia Lei.
“A colleague treated me to a drink and something happened,” said Xia Lei. He told her about Annina offending the black gang members.
When Long Bing heard the part where he had stepped in to help Annina, her brows wrinkled and said reproachfully, “How could you be so reckless?”
“I know this can draw the attention of others but if I don’t help her in that situation she’d have been assaulted by that group of black youths and sold to a black market brothel. Her life would’ve been over. I cannot stand by and let this sort of thing happen,” said Xia Lei awkwardly.
“I knew it. You’re too kind. What is one German woman compared to what we have to accomplish here?”
Xia Lei nodded, “I understand. There won’t be anything like this again.”
“Was she the one who sent you back?”
“No, she wanted to but I told her it was too far away and asked her to send me to the train stop instead. I took the train back myself.”
“You did the right thing.” Long Bing paused for a while, then asked, “You are certain those black people didn’t see your face?”
“I’m sure. I acted quickly - not even two minutes passed when I took care of them. I ran away right after and circled back to the bar, then went to the washroom. Annina could not tell that it was me who had helped her when she got back to the bar.”
“Not bad. Right, so what did you gain today?”
Xia Lei laughed, “Results so quickly? Krew assigned me to be Annina’s assistant. I had to repair her motorcycle to gain her trust. She has an advanced high-precision lathe in her work shed and I used it a few times and got some knowledge of a few things but it is a far cry from being enough.”
Long Bing thought for a bit, “Find an opportunity to take it apart.”
“Take it apart?” Xia Lei looked surprised.
“How else are you going to see its structure?” said Long Bing/
Xia Lei paused, then nodded. He didn’t actually need to take it apart because of his eye.
“Okay, let’s go to bed.” Long Bing switched off the television.
Her voice was soft and she looked languidly lazy. The way she behaved was very much like a newly-wed wife tired from watching Korean dramas, calling her husband to bed.
Xia Lei subconsciously nodded, “Mm.”
Long Bing walked to Xia Lei and she sniffed delicately, then wrinkled her brows, “What’s this smell?”
“Eh… Rubbish. I hid behind some rubbish bins,” explained Xia Lei awkwardly.
“Go wash up. I don’t want to spend the whole night smelling this from you,” said Long Bing.
This line could make a person think of many things but Xia Lei thought of her scissor-hands.
“Go, go.” Long Bing pushed Xia Lei gently.
Xia Lei obediently went to the shower and thought as he went, ‘If I keep going like this my body will go haywire…’
Xia Lei did not go to the bedroom after his shower. He used the notebook computer allotted to him by Long Bing to search for more information on CNC on German websites to gain a better understanding of the subject. He’d thought he could find some relevant software program but he found nothing. He bit the bullet and started learning about integrated circuits.
After integrated circuits, there was the programming aspect. Even if he did have eidetic memory, it was very difficult to have an adequate understanding of these two subjects.
This bout of learning lasted two hours and Xia Lei himself could not say how many bits of information on integrated circuits he had memorised in that period of time. When he closed his eyes, his mind was full of transistors, resistors, capacitors and the like.
‘I’ll digest this information tomorrow.’ Xie Lei stretched lazily and closed the notebook computer, then returned to the bedroom.
Long Bing seemed to be asleep; her eyes were shut and her breathing was slow and even.
Xia Lei climbed carefully into bed and lay motionless.
Xia Lei fell asleep somehow that night and Long Bing woke sometime later.
The next morning, Xia Lei went to the manufacturing plant three minutes earlier than the first time. There were no workers in the workshop when he went past it and everything was still and quiet.
Xia Lei’s gaze landed on a large CNC machine tool. It was a comprehensive high-precision CNC tool and could do the job of several lathes. He was instantly attracted to the machine and his steps turned towards it but he quickly discovered that there was a surveillance camera installed on the wall of the workshop and gave up on his course of action.
He had come to the manufacturing plant half an hour early to observe the advanced lathes in the workshop. It was a good opportunity to get hold of some secrets while no one else was around in the workshop but if he was caught on camera and someone too note of him, his good opportunity would turn into a disadvantage.
Xia Lei did not halt his steps but slowed them considerably. He also kept his gaze focused on that lathe and used his X-ray and zoom-in abilities to inspect the internal structure of the machine. It was not very convenient to do this and it used up a lot of energy but it was the safest.
He looked away when he was about parallel to the machine. It would attract attention if he looked back at it after coming up even with it. Xia Lei had been influenced by Long Bing during this period of time and he paid attention to details like these.
Past the workshop and in the work shed, he found that Annina had not arrived yet. There was no security camera in the work shed so Xia Lei went directly to the lathe and used his X-ray vision to see its integrated circuits and memorised everything he saw.
Half an hour passed quickly and Annina turned up for work five minutes before the official work hours. Tight black T-shirt, jeans shorts, tall and leggy with a substantial chest - her body screamed sexy.
“Lukas, morning.” Annina greeted Xia Lei warmly.
Xia Lei smiled and returned her greeting, “Good morning, Miss Annina.”
“You don’t have to be so polite. Just call me ‘Annina’,” she said, “Look, I’m not calling you ‘Mr’ anymore. I want us to be friends and friends aren’t so formal with each other.”
She was a vivacious woman and spoke her mind.
Xia Let put a smile on his face, “Sure. It’s my honour to be able to have a friend like you.”
“Let’s start working after i’m changed.” Annina opened her locker and did not cover herself at all; she took off her tight black T-shirt and jeans shorts right in front of Xia Lei. She was dressed in only a black bikini.
She was wearing clothing but Xia Lei still looked away, embarrassed.
Annina behaved normally all throughout and continued with the repair of the tank engine with Xia Lei’s assistance after changing into work clothes. As Xia Lei assisted, he recalled the information on integrated circuits he had memorised last night and compared the images with the circuit board of the machine he had used his X-ray vision on earlier. He matched then one by one, using the actual thing as reference to help himself understand and absorb knowledge of what he had memorised.
This way of learning was undeniably a short-cut and only someone like him could take it.
“Lukas, remember me telling you about the person who helped me?” Annina broke the silence between them.
Xia Lei took himself out of study mode and said casually, “Yeah. You said he was awesome.”
Annina looked straight at Xia Lei and her gaze was strange, “He was someone who knew martial arts. I think he is most likely Chinese. What do you think?”
“Martial arts is not just from China. Japan has judo, kendo. Korea has taekwondo. It’s sometimes difficult to tell which is which. The person who helped you could be Japanese or Korean, not just Chinese.”
“Then…” Annina said probingly, “Was it you, Lukas?”
Xia Lei cussed internally and put on a surprised expression, “Me? Haha.. If I were as amazing as that guy I’d rescue you for sure. But I was in the washroom and didn’t even know what had happened. I actually still feel a little guilty for not helping you when you were in trouble.”
The corners of Annina’s lips turned up, just a tiny bit, and she seemed dissatisfied with his answer.
Xia Lei avoided her gaze and thought to himself, ‘She’s asking questions. Did I let it slip somehow? Has she discovered something?’
At that moment, a young man walked into the work shed. “Annina, it’s my birthday today. I’m having a grill party at seven at my place tonight. You coming?”
Annina raised her head and gave the young man a look. “Happy birthday, Josef. I’ll be there.”
The young man named Josef looked Xia Lei up and down but did not extend an invitation and left the work shed.
After Josef left, Annina said, “He’s an electrical engineer in our plant. He’s pretty good but he doesn’t quite have manners. He should have invited you just now.”
“It’s all right. We don’t know each other after all so it’s normal for him not to invite me.” Xia Lei said that but he was thinking ‘If he’s an electrical engineer then he must have a lot of electrical engineering drawings. It’ll be good if I can see those drawings.’
‘Josef’ - Xia Lei took note of his name.