The patent was approved the same day, a hidden benefit of Xia Lei’s working for Bureau 101 as a consultant. The selfie stick had also been trademarked and its name was ‘Aimei*’.
Once these were settled, the sales department of Thunder Horse Manufacturing got busy looking for sales avenues for the company’s two products.
Beauty of Beauteous Supermarket became the testing ground of Thunder Horse Manufacturing’s new product once again. Qin Xiang opened a counter for Aimei and arranged for a promoter to push the product. The few hundred selfie sticks on the shelves were sold out on the day itself. The people who bought these sticks were mostly youngsters and there were some middle-aged consumers too but not many. This reaffirmed Liang Si-Yao’s statement about the product being one for youngsters.
Three days passed in the blink of an eye.
“Come with me after work, Lei,” said Liang Si-Yao in the office, “I’ve set the appointment with Lu Sheng and his boss has agreed to meet with us. We’re going to his home.”
“His home?” said Xia Lei, “I’d have thought it would be at a hotel and we could treat him to a meal.”
“I was expecting that too but this is his decision so I can’t do anything about it either. Lu Sheng is just his bodyguard too so it’s not up to him. So what if it’s his home? Nothing wrong about that,” said Liang Si-Yao.
“What’s Lu Sheng’s boss’ name?”
“His name’s Zhang Sen. He’s young and capable. Only in his thirties and already worth over a 100,000,000 yuan.”
Xia Lei smiled. “Impressive. So successful at 30-plus years old.”
Liang Si-Yao stared steadily at Xia Lei. “I think you’re more impressive than he is.”
“Me?” said Xia Lei, “Stop joking. How can I compare to him? I won’t be the one asking for favours if I were better.”
“Success isn’t measured by who’s asking for favours.” Liang Si-Yao was all smiles. “You know why I didn’t go to those big companies but to you?”
Xia Lei paused. “I’m your junior disciple. Who’ll you help if not me?”
“Sure, we’re one big family. This is one of the reasons too.” Her face reddened for some unknown reason and she added, “Another reason is that you are very innovative. I can see the potential of greatness in your innovativeness. Bill Gates, for example, and Jobs; they were in the same circumstances as you are in now. They started from scratch and slowly built their empires, bit by bit.”
“You’re comparing me to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs? You think too highly of me.” Xia Lei laughed. “But if I do reach those heights, I’ll get you anything you want.”
“I want the stars!”
“Then… We’ll book a spaceship to space to see the stars.”
“I want a castle!”
“I’ll buy you a plot of land and build one for you!”
“I want a prince!”
“Then I’ll…” Xia Lei couldn’t come up with anything more. Princes couldn’t be bought even if one were Bill Gates.
Liang Si-Yao blinked her large pretty eyes and pouted. “A castle without a prince is meaningless. How will I fill the castle with children and grandchildren alone?”
Xia Lei was speechless.
How was he to fulfil this wish?
Liang Si-Yao giggled. “All right, I’ll stop teasing you. I’m going to the workshop to get some samples. You get showered and changed and we’ll leave after that.”
Xia Lei left his workshop to shower after Liang Si-Yao walked off. He couldn’t turn up covered in grease when meeting someone like Zhang Sen.
An hour later, Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao came to a seaside villa. Rich people liked to live in areas with greenery or by the seaside and this Zhang Sen was no exception.
They spotted Lu Sheng standing in the gateway from afar. He was dressed in a black suit, had sunglasses on and even had an earpiece on with a cable extending from it. He looked like one of those special agents in Hollywood movies.
Xia Lei, looked through the windshield at Lu Sheng all dressed up and couldn’t help saying, “Fellow Disciple Lu looks cool. He looks like he was born for the job as a bodyguard.”
“Want to hire one too?” Liang Si-Yao smiled. “Though I think you’ll want a pretty girl for your bodyguard, eh?”
Xia Lei laughed. “I’m your father’s Last Disciple. My fists and my kicks shall be my bodyguard. What do I need a bodyguard for?”
He drove closer to the main gate and Lu Sheng opened it, then directed him to a parking spot.
Xia Lei parked and alighted with Liang Si-Yao. He greeted Lu Sheng warmly. “Fellow Disciple Lu, sorry for making you go through all this trouble.”
Lu Sheng gave a laugh. “No, no, not at all. We’re fellow disciples after all.”
“You look very handsome like this, Monk.” Liang Si-Yao smiled.
“Don’t mock me, Si-Yao. My boss made me wear this. I like loose clothing. This suit is tight-fitting and uncomfortable,” said Lu Sheng awkwardly. “Enough of that. Let’s chat next time. I’ll take you two to see my boss now.”
Lu Sheng brought them into the villa and up to the rooftop on the third floor. There was a swimming pool there and a balcony enclosed by glass facing the sea. Some young girls in bikinis were playing cards with a young man by the pool as they walked up to the rooftop. Behind the man and girls stood a stern-faced bodyguard in a suit.
Lu Sheng lowered his voice, “The one playing cards is my boss. You guys go over. I have to go downstairs.” He went down after he finished speaking.
At that moment, Zhang Sen suddenly let out a laugh. “You lose! Come here!”
The girl who’d lost looked displeased but still went obediently to Zhang Sen and bent over, facing the pool. Her legs were straight and her round buttocks in the air in a diving athlete’s starting posture.
Zhang Sen suddenly slapped the girl’s buttocks and kicked her. The girl let out a cry and fell into the pool with a splash.
Xia Lei watched, gobsmacked. This Zhang Sen was a real player, huh?
A look of disgust flashed in Liang Si-Yao’s eyes.
Xia Lei seemed to sense Liang Si-Yao’s shift in attitude and he spoke to her softly, “Go downstairs and wait for me if you don’t like it here. I’ll talk with him.”
Liang Si-Yao nodded. “Sure. I’ll go downstairs and chat with Monk.”
Xia Lei walked towards the pool after Liang Si-Yao left, wondering how he should approach a person like Zhang Sen.
Zhang Sen had actually seen Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao come to the rooftop long ago but he did not get up to greet them. When he saw Xia Lei walk towards the pool, he pushed the stacks of money worth of thousands of yuan at the girls playing cards with him and said, “I’m not playing anymore. Divide this money amongst yourselves.”
“Thank you, Big Brother Sen.” The girls thanked him coyly and went off with the money in their hands.
The girls got out of the pool and walked past Xia Lei, even winking sneakily at him. Their wet bikini bodies with well-mounded tops and clearly-outlined shapes between their legs were a sight to behold but Xia Lei had no feeling at all; he was not tempted and his left eye did not react.
Xia Lei walked to Zhang Sen and put a smile on his face as he said politely, “Mr Zhang, my name is Xia Lei. I came to…”
Zhang Sen cut him off mid-sentence. “I know what you came here for. The woman who came with you is Miss Liang, isn’t she?”
“You know her?”
“I’ve heard Lu Sheng talk about her so I know something. He said she’s a Wing Chun expert. Is she?”
“She is my Senior Disciple and she is indeed very skilled,” said Xia Lei.
“So this means you’re very skilled too, huh?” A strange look flashed in his eyes.
“I’m passable,” said Xia Lei. “Mr Zhang, your villa is beautiful; I envy you.”
If Zhang Sen wasn’t in a rush to discuss business then so was he. He had endured every type of scorn in his five years working at the lowest echelons of society. This was nothing.
Zhang Sen did not offer Xia Lei a seat. He waved a hand and the bodyguard behind him walked forward to stand before him.
“Mr Xia, my bodyguard here is from Thailand and is well versed in Muay Thai. How about this - you spar with my bodyguard and if you win, I’ll put your selfie stick or whatever on the online platform and open a counter for you. What do you think?” said Zhang Sen.
Xia Lei raised his eyebrows slightly and he quashed his anger. “Mr Zhang, I came to talk to you about business, not spar. If you think nothing of my little company you can just tell me. I’ll leave right away and I won’t disturb you further.”
Zhang Sen quirked his lips at his bodyguard.
It was a signal and the bodyguard suddenly raised his leg in a kick. His leg was like a fully-bent bow releasing a kick at Xia Lei’s neck.
Xia Lei’s temper flared. He went in for the attack instead of retreating, blocking the Thai bodyguard’s kick with his left hand and punching with his right, aiming for the place between the Thai bodyguard’s legs. That place was closest to him and was also worked best.
The Thai bodyguard was caught completely off guard by Xia Lei’s reaction speed and hurriedly reached to block Xia Lei’s punch. He was very quick and the bodyguard barely managed to block it but he still managed to attack him between his thighs. The great impact made the bodyguard’s mouth make an ‘O’ of pain in that instant.
Xia Lei took a step forward and pushed with both his palms. “Shoo!”
The Thai bodyguard lost his balance and fell into the pool with a splash.
Muay Thai was levels below Wing Chun. This Thai bodyguard had a good ambush speed but he was not faster than Xia Lei’s left eye!
“Nice! Good job!” Zhang Sen applauded and looked excited. “Who will win if you fight with Miss Liang? I want to be friends with Miss Liang. Can you introduce us? I like…”
Before he could finish, Xia Lei used Seeking Hand and grabbed him by the collar. He flung him into the pool as well.
“Gurgle…” Zhang Sen was unprepared and swallowed a mouthful of water. He popped his head out of the water and pointed at Xia Lei. “How dare you-”
Xia Lei caught hold of Zhang Sen’s pointing finger. “You can disrespect me but not my Senior Disciple. If you dare say anything dirty to her I’ll break your finger.”
Zhang Sen’s Thai bodyguard swam anxiously over, prepared to save his boss.
Xia Lei glared at him. “Be good and stay there. Come over if you want your boss’ finger broken.”
The Thai bodyguard stayed in the water and didn’t dare move.
Zhang Sen hesitated, then smiled wryly. “I really just want to be friends with her. Why hit me? I’ve always liked martial arts since I was a child but I just can’t learn very well.”
Xia Lei let go of his finger. He could take it for the sake of his company if this Zhang Sen slighted, belittled him and ridiculed him. A lot of small companies sent their female employees to sleep with their clients in order to secure sales or purchase orders - what was a little humiliation for the sake of his company’s expansion? However, Liang Si-Yao was different. Liang Zheng-Chun was like a father to him and Liang Si-Yao his sister, his family. Nobody was allowed to humiliate her, not even for business!
It was reckless, even stupid, but was he still a man if he lacked the courage to stand up to this? Xia Lei did not regret his actions, not one bit!
*Ai Mei (爱美) - literally means ‘love pretty’. It’s also a colloquial way of saying ‘vain’.Previous Chapter Next Chapter