“Go quickly, Xia Lei. Don’t come to our home again.” Zhang Hui-Lan flipped attitudes more easily than pages of a book. “And our Jing and you are never going to be together.”
Xia Lei looked at her and was silent for a bit before saying, “Ning Jing is a person, not your plaything and not your product. She has the right to like whomever she likes and the right to live the life she wants. You may be the mother who raised her but you should not treat her as your money tree.”
“What did you say?” Xia Lei’s last sentence triggered Zhang Hui-Lan’s anger and her face darkened as she pointed at him and scolded, “You! Get out!”
“If it weren’t for Ning Jing, I wouldn’t come into your house even if you carry me to it with eight palanquins. Having a mother like you makes me feel sorry for her,” said Xia Lei in a normal tone.
“You punk! You’re asking for a beating!” Ren Wen-Qiang suddenly threw the rose bouquet he was holding at Xia Lei. He’d long wanted to hit Xia Lei in return for making Shentu Tian-Yin kick him out of Vientienne Group. He had been conscious of his status earlier in front of Ning Jing’s parents and Ning Yuan-Shan but it now looked like they hoped that he would hit Xia Lei so he was not going to miss his chance.
Xia Lei moved his head aside and the roses brushed his cheek as they flew past. They hit the wall and petals scattered as they fell.
Ren Wen-Qiang rushed to make the first move; he grabbed Xia Lei’s shoulder and twisted, executing a shoulder-throw.
Xia Lei’s right leg went up instantly and sent a kick to the bend of Ren Wen-Qiang’s leg.
Ren Wen-Qiang wanted to throw Xia Lei from his shoulder but before he could complete his move, his right leg sank and he found himself on bended knee.
Judo versus Wing Chun?
There was no competition between these two martial arts.
In the instant Ren Wen-Qiang went on bended knee, Xia Lei did a Short Bridge elbow attack and smashed it into his back. A dull thud sounded and Ren Wen-Qiang’s body was pushed forward by the force of the blow before slamming heavily to the ground.
Just a second earlier, Ren Wen-Qiang was trying to throw Xia Lei to the ground but he was now the one who was lying on the ground.
“Damn it!” Ren Wen-Qiang rolled and sprang to his feet.
Xia Lei was faster. He moved forward and his right leg flashed as a kick landed on Ren Wen-Qiang’s face.
Ren Wen-Qiang fell to the ground again. He was buttocks-up the first time and buttocks-down the second. His handsome face had an added footprint - Xia Lei wore size 41 shoes and the depression in Ren Wen-Qiang’s face fit his shoe size. Blood streamed from his nose and his lips were torn. He looked like an alpaca had run across his face.
Ning Yuan-Shan, Chi Jing-Qiu and Ning Jing’s parents were gobsmacked.
They’d thought Xia Lei would’ve been beaten black and blue when Ren Wen-Qiang threw the rose bouquet at him in challenge; Ren Wen-Qiang was an eighth degree black belt in judo after all and Xia Lei hadn’t been learning Wing Chun for long. However, he was mercilessly defeated in the blink of an eye!
No one was willing to accept such an outcome.
Xia Lei did not follow up with more beating. He flexed his neck and said calmly, “Ren Wen-Qiang, you’re an eighth degree black belt in judo, aren’t you? Good. I’m done warming up. Get off the floor and let’s have a proper fight.”
What could be more demeaning than to ask for a proper fight after beating someone to the ground and calling it a warm-up?
Ren Wen-Qiang held his bleeding nose and looked at Xia Lei with eyes full of sinister hatred. He wished nothing more than to pulverise Xia Lei into meat sauce but he dared not crawl to his feet under Xia Lei’s disdainful gaze.
Xia Lei laughed. “You said you wanted to teach me a lesson - looks like you were just teasing.” He walked to Ren Wen-Qiang and slapped him gently on the face as his smile disappeared. “I hope this will be the last time I beat you up. Don’t challenge me if you have nothing to back it up with or you’ll end up in a worse state next time.”
Ren Wen-Qiang dared not look Xia Lei in the eye, even when faced with such contempt and insults.
“Xia Lei! You’re a hooligan!” Ning Yuan-Shan berated him, then said to Chi Jing-Qiu, “Jing-Qiu, call the police!”
At that moment, a voice called, “Ning Yuan-Shan!”
Who dared to call Ning Yuan-Shan by name in such a manner?
The group’s gazes moved to where the voice had come from and were met by the sight of Zhou Wei and some suited young men with stone-cold faces walking towards them. Other than Zhou Wei, nobody knew which department these young men belonged to.
“Department Head Zhou?” Ning Yuan-Shan looked at him suspiciously. “What did you come here for?”
Zhou Wei did not speak to Ning Yuan-Shan; he strode to Xia Lei’s side and moved his lips close to his ear. He spoke softly, “Is the item on him?”
Xia Lei nodded.
“Very good.” Zhou Wei suddenly pointed at Ning Yuan-Shan and said, “Seize him!”
Two stone-faced young men walked towards Ning Yuan-Shan and locked each of his arms in theirs without a second word.
“What are you doing?” Ning Yuan-Shan panicked.
At that moment, Ning Yuan-Shan’s wife, Yu Hui, ran out and hung onto Ning Yuan-Shan anxiously, not wanting Zhou Wei’s men to take him away. “Y, you must be mistaken. Our Yuan-Shan is a good person, not a bad person!”
“Good and bad are not defined by you. The law shall decide.” Zhou Wei gave his men a look and they grabbed hold of Yu Hui and shoved her aside.
Yu Hui cried and made a fuss, prompting Zhou Wei to say coldly, “If you make any more noise we shall take you away too and charge you with the obstruction of justice!”
Yu Hui froze in fear.
“Yu Hui, this doesn’t concern you! They can’t do anything to me!” said Ning Yuan-Shan.
Zhou Wei just smirked. He seemed to not want to bother to bicker with Ning Yuan-Shan.
Chi Jing-Qiu seemed to gain courage and she reached to push the men holding Ning Yuan-Shan as she said, “Who do you think you are? On what charges are you arresting Chairman Ning? You have no identification and no warrant - what you’re doing is illegal!”
Zhou Wei frowned. “Are you Chi Jing-Qiu?”
“I am!” Chi Jing-Qiu sounded tough.
“I was just looking for you. Arrest her too!”
Two more suited young men moved forward and restrained Chi Jing-Qiu.
Chi Jing-Qiu kicked both her feet and sputtered, “What are you doing? I, I’ll sue you!”
Zhou Wei raised his voice. “Chi Jing-Qiu, Ning Yuan-Shan, you have been arrested for stealing state secrets. Please come with me. You are under investigation."
“What impudence!” roared Ning Yuan-Shan, “Don’t you know who I am? You must be mistaken! How can I steal state secrets?”
“Mistaken?” Zhou Wei sneered. “You told Chi Jing-Qiu to bribe an employee of Thunder Horse Manufacturing to steal information from our company. That item must be on your person now, am I right?”
Ning Yuan-Shan and Chi Jing-Qiu froze. The two of them could not believe that this was the reason why Zhou Wei had brought men over to arrest them.
Zhou Wei looked at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei knew what that look meant. He walked to Ning Yuan-Shan; he knew where Ning Yuan-Shan had kept the memory card but he still fumbled about looking for it before finally retrieving it. He handed the reader-device to Zhou Wei.
Zhou Wei connected it to his phone and soon saw the drawings and pictures on it. He held the phone screen up to Ning Yuan-Shan. “This is the evidence. Do you have anything else to say?”
“You conspired to frame me for this! You’ll die horrible deaths!” Ning Yuan-Shan had totally lost control of his emotions.
“Wait!” Chi Jing-Qiu suddenly thought of something. “This was sold to me by a worker of Thunder Horse Manufacturing. I had no idea what was on it! And you said that is your company secret but why is it with Xia Lei? You’re conspiring with each other to frame us!”
“I believe you know what that is. We have tasked Xia Lei with its completion but it belongs to us. What you stole were not ordinary industry secrets but state secrets!” After a pause, he snorted. “I really don’t understand people like you. You act so high and mighty even though you stole something; you really are thick-skinned. And you, Ning Yuan-Shan, who do you think you are? The emperor? You dare steal from us? Take them away!”
Ning Yuan-Shan was finally scared and his lips trembled but he did not say anything.
He knew more clearly than anyone there what sort of company China Industrial Group was. Stealing from them was like asking for death! What he didn’t understand was that the lathe was obviously being built by Xia Lei, so how did it become the property of China Industrial Group?
He looked at Chi Jing-Qiu next to him and hatred flashed in his eyes. If it were not for this greedy, ambitious woman, he wouldn’t have fallen into this trap!
Chi Jing-Qiu could not bother with Ning Yuan-Shan at that moment. She looked at Xia Lei with tears in her eyes and pleaded, “Lei, Lei, we’re old classmates… You… talk to them. This is just a misunderstanding. Don’t arrest me. Don’t arrest me, please?”
Xia Lei looked at Chi Jing-Qiu quietly. It would be simple enough for him to have her released; it would take but a word. However, he was not moved by her tears. He was not stone-hearted but he wasn’t stupid enough to rescue an enemy who would bury him if given the chance.
“Lei, I was wrong, okay? Help me. Put in a good word for me, I beg you…” Chi Jing-Qiu was still pleading with him even though she had been towed a distance away by the stone-faced young men.
‘You knew this day would come; why did you even begin? I wouldn’t have destroyed you if you weren’t bent on destroying me,’ thought Xia Lei to himself.
“Let’s go, Chairman Xia,” said Zhou Wei.
Xia Lei nodded and followed Zhou Wei to the entrance of the neighbourhood.
Zhang Hui-Lan suddenly trotted up to him with a smile of flattery on her face. “Little Lei, this must be a misunderstanding. Your Uncle Yuan-Shan is not a bad man. Say something to help him.”
Xia Lei stopped walking. He looked at Zhang Hui-Lan. “I am but a weak man with no status. You should look for someone with clout. Goodbye.”
Zhang Hui-Lan’s smile froze on her face.
Xia Lei spoke no further and turned away.
Behind the window on the second floor, Ning Jing stood quietly watching Xia Lei’s back. She smiled all of a sudden. She turned and walked out of the room as Xia Lei drove through the entrance to the neighbourhood in his BMW M6.
“That hateful punk!” Zhang Hui-Lan spat on the ground in front of the door. “He shall get his retribution!”
Ren Wen-Qiang massaged his swollen nose and said comfortingly, “Chairman Ning will be fine, Auntie. Don’t worry.”
“You’re the better man.” Zhang Hui-Lan’s tone become much gentler. “Come in, sit. You too, Sister-in-law. Let’s discuss how we can get him out.”
Yu Hui nodded woodenly.
Ning Jing came down the stairs carrying a bag.
“Jing, quick, make Wen-Qiang some tea,” said Zhang Hui-Lan.
Ning Jing strode to the door instead.
Ning Yuan-Hai blocked her way. “Where are you going at this hour? Didn’t you see that Wen-Qiang is here?”
Ning Jing suddenly pushed Ning Yuan-Hai away and walked out the door without a backward glance.
Everyone in the house was stunned.
Out the door, Ning Jing looked back with tears in her eyes and a smile on her lips. “Lei is right. I am a person and not your belonging, nor your plaything. I should have my own life. I’ve had enough. From today on, I’m moving out. You do whatever you want!”
Ning Jing turned and ran after she was done speaking.
Ning Yuan-Hai was still frozen on the spot. Strangely enough, there was no heart attack.Previous Chapter Next Chapter