Chapter 145 - Everyone Knows

The sales department at JD did indeed send some people over. They looked at the two products from Thunder Horse Manufacturing and promptly set prices - 80 for the selfie stick and 90 for the shopping trolley. There was also an additional requirement that this 360-degree bendable selfie stick be exclusive to JD on online platforms. In exchange, JD would guarantee 30% of produced goods for a period of six months. This meant that if Thunder Horse manufacturing produced 200,000 selfie sticks within these six months and sold none, JD would buy 60,000 and give Thunder Horse Manufacturing 4,800,000 in payment. 

JD had essentially used 4,800,000 to buy exclusive rights to these products online and they did not have to worry that the products would not sell either. It was a smart move. Such an arrangement was also very cost-effective for Thunder Horse Manufacturing. Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao only had a short discussion after the JD representative showed them the plan; they signed the deal. 

A guaranteed sale of 30% of the goods for six months was like sending charcoal in snowy weather for Thunder Horse Manufacturing in its current situation; it helped solve a big problem. However, they still had to find a way to sell the remaining 70% and secure sales avenues for them. This was the job of Thunder Horse Manufacturing’s sales department and it looked like a difficult job but the youngsters there were not worried at all because if these products sold well on JD, customers from all over the country would be calling in to place orders without them having to step one foot outdoors. 

They couldn’t deny that Zhang Sen had been a great help this time. 

After signing the contract with JD, Xia Lei went back to his personal workshop again to work on the intelligent lathe. He did not work overtime and emerged from his workshop when it was time to go home. 

“So early today?” asked Liang Si-Yao when she saw him walk into the office. She was cleaning up in the office and getting ready to go home. She looked at him oddly; whenever she went to his workshop to tell him to stop working, he would sometimes be unwilling to go and prefer to stay on to work overtime but he’d actually walked out of the workshop on his own this time. 

“I actually want to work more but I feel like we should show Zhang Sen our appreciation for helping us out so much,” said Xia Lei. 

“How are you going to do that?”

“How about treating him to a meal?”

Liang Si-Yao shook her head. “He was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth and has quality meals all the time. What can we treat him to?”

“Then how about a gift worth tens of thousands?”

“What gift?”

Xia Lei thought for a bit. “He has no lack of clothes or watches for sure and gold jewellery is too cheesy. What about a yellow rosewood bracelet? A good bracelet would cost a few tens of thousands.”

“Not a bad idea. Where do we get this item?”

“I’ll ask Long Bing to help me buy one. She has a friend who is in the cultural items business and I won’t get fakes if she helps me. It’ll be an embarrassment if we spent tens of thousands to buy him a fake,” said Xia Lei. 

Liang Si-Yao pressed her lips in a straight line. “Long Bing again. Is she your mother? Why do you keep asking her for help?”

Xia Lei was speechless. 

The things he asked Long Bing to do were nothing much compared to what he’d done for Bureau 101. Buying an entire yellow rosewood tree would be a small thing, much less a yellow rosewood bracelet. There were things which he just could not explain or he’d be leaking information. He was missing the point, however. Whomever he bought the yellow rosewood bracelet from was not important to Liang Si-Yao - the important point was that she was jealous but he was totally unaware. 

Xia Lei’s phone suddenly rang at that moment. 

It was an unfamiliar number. Xia Lei accepted the call and heard Zhang Sen’s distinctively confident voice. “Xia Bro, where are you?” 

He was ‘Mr Xia’ yesterday and ‘Xia Bro’ today. Their relationship seemed to have progressed at the speed of a 100-metre dash. 

“Still at the company,” said Xia Lei, “Thanks, Zhang Bro. The JD people came and we’ve signed the deal. I was just about to call you to invite you to dinner and thank you. I didn’t expect that you’d call.” 

Since he called him ‘Xia Bro’, he shouldn’t be so formal either and added a ‘Bro’ to his greeting, also as a sign of acknowledgement of their ‘brotherhood’. 

“Why so formal? What’s there to ‘treat’ between us two?”

“Right. Heh heh.” Xia Lei laughed twice. He glanced at Liang Si-Yao and she rolled her eyes at him. 

“Well then,” said Zhang Sen, “I’m meeting some friends to go singing. Come over and play with us.”

“Uh…” Xia Lei was a little hesitant. He’d never gone for karaoke and knew none of the trending songs. It’d be an awkward disaster if he went.

“Nn, I have a friend who’s in the retail industry. I talked to him about your selfie stick and he’s very interested in it. Come. Who knows? This may turn out to be a good deal,” said Zhang Sen. 

“Sure, I’ll come. Where is it?” Xia Lei was convinced. 

“Tuberose KTV. I’ll get Lu Sheng to wait for you at the door.”

“Okay. Bye.” Xia Lei hung up. 

“What did Zhang Sen want?” asked Liang Si-Yao. 

“He invited me to go singing and I didn’t want to at first but he said he has a friend in the retail industry who’s interested in our selfie stick. He hinted that we may get a good business deal. Let’s go,” said Xia Lei. 

“I…” Liang Si-Yao was about to agree but changed her mind. “I’m not going. You go on your own. This won’t be complicated since Zhang Sen’s arranging it. I won’t be much help even if I went.” 

“Come on, please go, Senior Disciple. Take it as you accompanying me. I’ve never gone to a karaoke bar and I don’t know any songs. I’ll be awkward on my own,” said Xia Lei. 

“It’ll be awkward if I go,” said Liang Si-Yao. 

“Why?” Xia Lei didn’t understand. 

Liang Si-Yao’s cheeks turned red. “Are you stupid? A playboy like Zhang Sen would have girls to accompany him to sing and drink alcohol at the karaoke bar. A bunch of men at a place like that - won’t a woman like me stick out like a sore thumb?”

“No way, really?” 

“How is it not? Zhang Sen knows how our relationship is and he didn’t invite me. This means he’s thought about it. I’ll just spoil the mood if I go. You should just go yourself.” Liang Si-Yao was a straightforward woman but there were times when she thought more about the details too. 

Xia Lei scratched his nose awkwardly. “Um, I really didn’t think of that. Okay, I’ll go alone.” 

Liang Si-Yao rolled her eyes at Xia Lei. “You men are beasts.” 

Xia Lei smiled wryly. “I’m going to discuss business, Senior Disciple. You know I’m not that sort of person.”

“You can be influenced too. You did something so bad to me last night - you dare not own up to it?”

Xia Lei felt like he would never be rid of this smear on his reputation. 

“Okay, okay, I know you’re not that sort of person. Talk business and go. Don’t loiter in a place like that. If the women keep sticking to you, you can say that you’re… you’re sick.”

Xia Lei was speechless. 

Liang Si-Yao’s face reddened again but she still nagged at him. “Those women are dirty; don’t touch them. I won’t talk to you if you touch them.”

“I asked you to go with me but you refused. Of course I won’t touch those women. I guarantee it, don’t worry,” said Xia Lei. 

Liang Si-Yao’s face reddened further. “What am I to you? What are you guaranteeing?”

It was very awkward for Xia Lei too. 

Liang Si-Yao reached out and straightened Xia Lei’s tie. “Go on, don’t keep him waiting. I’ll call a taxi home.”

“Stay safe,” nagged Xia Lei. He walked to the office door. 

“Buy me a pair of stockings if you have the time,” said Liang Si-Yao suddenly.

“What?” Xia Lei turned to look at Liang Si-Yao. The expression on his face was a mixture of as if he’d seen a strange creature and a trace of horror. 

“Aren’t you going to pay me back for wetting my stockings? You made me say it! Just the thought of it is making me turn red in embarrassment on your behalf,” said Liang Si-Yao with a red face. 

Xia Lei froze for a few seconds before he nodded. He wanted to explain and tell her that it was actually her who had wet his trousers but quashed the thought after some consideration. He actually understood her intention - buying the stockings for her was a way to make him leave the karaoke bar earlier. He’d at least have an excuse to do so, won’t he?

Liang Si-Yao watched him go and stared blankly into space for a bit before she said, “Dummy. You’re so smart and can learn things so quickly. Why haven’t you learnt how to pick up women?” 

That was true. Xia Lei could master whatever he learnt but he was weak against women and had never put in any effort to study this seriously. 

Xia Lei left the company and came alone to Tuberose KTV. Lu Sheng spotted him before he finished parking and walked towards him. 

Xia Lei alighted and smiled as he greeted him. “Hello, Fellow Disciple Lu.” 

Lu Sheng gave him a small grin. “No need to be so formal between us Fellow Disciples. My boss is waiting for you inside. I’ll bring you there.” 

Xia Lei followed Lu Sheng and walked towards the rooms of Tuberose KTV. “Did you know that Master is attending the martial arts conference?” 

“I didn’t. This is a big thing! I’ll talk with Master later. I’d like to participate,” said Lu Sheng in surprise. 

“I didn’t have the time or I’d have accompanied him. It’ll be best if you accompanied Master, Fellow Disciple Lu. Will Zhang Sen give you time off?” said Xia Lei. 

“Time off? I’d quit if I have to. It’s just a bodyguard job, nothing precious.” He clapped Xia Lei on the shoulder and smiled. “I’ll go to your company if I’m out of work. You’d give me a department manager position at least, right?”

“You can have whatever position you want if you come to my company,” said Xia Lei with a smile. 

“You said it - no bluffing!” Lu Sheng looked serious about it. 

“No bluffing.” 

“Hahaha, you’re my good Fellow Disciple indeed! Man of your word! No wonder Si-Yao likes you so much.”

“There’s nothing between us.” 

“Everyone can see it except you, you blockhead. Forget it, let’s talk about something else.” It was no secret that Lu Sheng liked Liang Si-Yao at the martial arts school and he wasn’t comfortable at all talking about who Liang Si-Yao liked with Xia Lei. The base reason for him wanting to go to Xia Lei’s company was also because Liang Si-Yao was there. 

Liking someone, being unable to be with her but being able to see her every day was a sort of happiness too. 

What Lu Sheng said earlier kept repeating itself in Xia Lei’s head. ‘Everyone knows except you!’ 

This sentence was like a stone falling into the lake of his heart, sending ripples out from where it fell; his heart wouldn’t be calm any longer. 

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