When Xia Lei walked over, Konrad was talking in German and Shentu Tian-Feng was interpreting for him.
“Mr Konrad says we have to solve not just the undersea cabling problem but our electrical engineering problem. We need to improve our systems or else the power plant would run into stability issues.” Shentu Tian-Feng looked serious and professional. “This is a big investment of our Vientaine Group and the higher-ups also look favourably upon the environmentally friendly aspect of the project. We must solve these problems now or they will pop up again after the project’s completed and the plant is in operation. We’d be a laughingstock then.”
“I don’t know about these. Ask him which places have problems and how we can fix them,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
Shentu Tian-Feng said to Konrad in German, “You know what to say. Just say your piece.”
Xia Lei, who had just walked over, was struck by realisation. Something was afoot!
Konrad nodded, then spread the drawings in his hands, pointed at them and said, “This place here needs changing using our German equipment. Here too, there’s a problem here that must be corrected. I’m not looking down on your Chinese electrical engineers but their design standards are just not passable.”
Shentu Tian-Feng relayed Konrad’s words to Shentu Tian-Yin.
Shentu Tian-Yin’s frown deepened. “Why are there so many problems? Wasn’t it just the undersea cabling? Why is there also a problem with the electrical side? We have to buy equipment from Germany too… Ask him what it would cost to fix all these.”
Shentu Tian-Feng said to Konrad in German, “She asked you how much it’ll cost to solve the problems.”
“I did a rough calculation and about 30,000,000 euros are needed,” said Konrad.
“He said the rough budget is 30,000,000 euros,” said Shentu Tian-Feng to Shentu Tian-Yin.
“Why is it so expensive? 30,000,000 euros is more than 200,000,000 yuan. We’ve already invested billions - this is more than I’ve budgeted,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
“Tian-Yin, these potential problems have to be solved or it’ll lead to major problems. Spending money is a small thing compared to the success of the wind power plant. It will bring steady benefits to Vientaine Group,” said Shentu Tian-Feng.
Wind power was indeed a profitable investment since there was no need to buy wind and electricity production was the future of the development of the energy industry.
Xia Lei looked at the drawings in Konrad’s hands and discovered traces of changes made to the drawings in three areas and some German notations. “These drawings were modified by Mr Konrad, weren’t they?” he said.
“You’ve come at the right time, Honey. Look at this,” said Shentu Tian-Yin with a smile.
Shentu Yi looked at Xia Lei and did not hide his contempt. “Would a someone in the processing business know about electrical circuits in electrical engineering? Tian-Yin, it’s not like I don’t believe Xia Lei but this is impossible. I think Mr Xia should busy himself with something else and not bother with business like this. Don’t waste our time.”
Shentu Tian-Yin’s brows wrinkled and she looked displeased but did not react otherwise.
Shentu Tian-Feng also took a dig at him. “Xia Lei, want me to translate your words to Mr Konrad?”
“Do I need it?” Xia Lei smiled as he said, “There’s no need for you to interpret German, English, Spanish, French, oh, right, and Japanese and Russian.”
Was it such a big deal to know German?
Shentu Tian-Feng was frozen in place; he looked like he had swallowed a fly.
Xia Lei used German to speak directly to Konrad. “Mr Konrad, please let me have a look at your drawings.”
Konrad glanced at Shentu Tian-Feng, as if seeking his opinion. Shentu Tian-Feng gave a small nod and only then did Konrad hand over the drawings.
Xia Lei took hold of Konrad drawings and looked closely.
He had thrown himself into learning electrical engineering in his time in Germany and he’d used his left eye to memorise thousands of drawings. He had millions of words of text in his head on electrical engineering. Back in China, he had combined theory with practice in order to build Josef’s intelligent lathe and learnt electrical engineering for the second time. He had not done any professional tests but he was already a qualified electrical engineer, and with the power of his eye, there was simply no comparing any ordinary electrical engineer to him!
Xia Lei first looked at the original drawings the Chinese electrical engineers had done and at the areas which Konrad had modified. He had never done any electrical circuits for wind power but the theory was the same and the relevant calculations as well. He only needed his knowledge of electrical engineering to judge where the local engineers had gone wrong and whether Konrad’s modifications were needed.
Xia Lei was looking at the drawings seriously and his brain was continuously receiving information from his left eye about engineering and drawings.
“Humph.” Shentu Yi sneered. “Can you do it or not, Xia Lei? Our time is precious. Just say it if you can’t do it - we won’t laugh at you.”
Shentu Tian-Feng spoke up too, “Do you understand that, Xia Lei? Heh heh. You have to know that this isn’t like processing screws and nuts - this is electrical engineering.”
Shentu Tian-Yin looked at Xia Lei worriedly, afraid that he’d make a fool of himself.
At that moment, Xia Lei brought the drawings to Shentu Tian-Yin and said evenly, “Honey, this German electrical engineer is scamming you.”
“Scamming me?” Shentu Tian-Yin looked at Xia Lei in surprise.
The people most surprised were father-and-son, Shentu Yi and Shentu Tian-Feng.
“Explain yourself, Xia Lei!” said Shentu Tian-Feng angrily.
Xia Lei did not take his anger to heart. He pointed to the parts Konrad had modified and said, “The Chinese electrical engineers have done the circuitry in a simple way; this German engineer is making the circuits more complicated. Here, and here, don’t need any changes at all. Our country’s wind power standards are already very advanced so there’s no need to pursue German methods or use German equipment. There’s no need to spend 200,000,000 at all.”
“There won’t be any problems?” Shentu Tian-Yin was still uncertain.
“There won’t. The Chinese electrical engineers’ drawings have no problems,” said Xia Lei.
“Punk!” Shentu Yi could not hold back his anger. He pointed at Xia Lei. “Who do you think you are? You’re just a high-school graduate. How dare you spew nonsense when you only know a small bit about electrical circuits! Are you more knowledgeable than a German engineer? You’re a disgrace!”
Xia Lei was not angry. He spoke calmly, “I was only speaking the truth. There was no need to spend money, so why spend it?”
“Even if we have to spend money it’s our Vientaine Group’s money, not yours. Or is it because you think that Vientiane Group will be yours one day?” Shentu Yi’s words were becoming uglier.
“Enough!” Shentu Tian-Yin had had enough. “Second Uncle! Vientaine Group has a lot of money but it shall not be spent in this way. You two have repeatedly recommended this German electrical engineer and presented me with a plan to spend 200,000,000 yuan. What is the meaning of this?”
“I…” Shentu Yi could not say anything.
Shentu Tian-Yin did not say it but the meaning was clear - You two were after the kickback!
Shentu Tian-Feng put on a smiling face. “Tian-Yin, we did this for the good of the company. We don’t understand electrical engineering either. How about this - I ask Mr Konrad to modify it and come up with another plan, yes?”
“Another plan?” Shentu Tian-Yin gave a cold laugh. “Xia Lei has already said very clearly that there are no problems with the drawings of the Chinese electrical engineers. I don’t want to see another scammer engineer. Tell him to leave and never appear before me again.”
Shentu Tian-Feng grew antsy. “Tian-Yin, even if the electrical engineering has no problems there’s still the problem of the undersea cables to solve. Konrad is an expert - you can’t send him away.”
Shentu Tian-Yin was firm. “I’ve made myself clear. I will not trust a liar. About the undersea cables - I’d rather believe in our local engineers. I’ve decided that I’ll hire the best team in China to help us solve our problem.”
Shentu Tian-Feng and Shentu Yi exchanged looks. Their eyes were full of hate. Xia Lei was like a reckless dung beetle to them - he was stinking up the place no matter where he turned up!
Xia Lei looked fine but he was laughing bitterly inside. He wouldn’t have offended Shentu Yi and Shentu Tian-Feng if it were not for Shentu Tian-Yin, much less become their enemy. It looked now like he had gained two more enemies.
“What are you saying?” Konrad’s Chinese was terrible. He could catch a few words here and there if the conversation went slowly but it was all a haze when people talked faster.
“I asked you to make a plan - what sort of plan did you make?” said Shentu Tian-Feng angrily. He pointed at Xia Lei and snarled, “This person! He said your plans were not necessary at all and that you were asking for 30,000,000 euros for no reason!”
Konrad understood him since he spoke in German and he looked at Xia Lei in surprise but did not say anything. The reason he held his tongue was because he knew very well that there was no need for his corrections. However, Shentu Yi and Shentu Tian-Feng wanted a plan which they could get a kickback from and he had forced some changes. He hadn’t expected this young Chinese man to see right through it so quickly.
“Leave. Go back to Germany,” said Shentu Tian-Feng.
Shentu Tian-Yin held Xia Lei’s arm. “Lei, let’s go. I’ll take you to the back of the island for a walk. The landscape there is very pretty.”
Xia Lei gave a laugh. “Sure. How about we go swimming?”
Shentu Tian-Yin gave him a gentle hit and said flirtatiously, “You naughty man.”
Their lovey-dovey actions were like rubbing salt into Shentu Yi and Shentu Tian-Feng’s wounds. Father-and-son watched Shentu Tian-Yin and Xia Lei walk off with barely-contained flames in their eyes.
Konrad suddenly spoke. “What was that young man’s name?”
“Xia Lei!” Shentu Tian-Feng looked at Konrad. “What are you asking this for?”
Konrad shrugged. “Nothing much. He’s very talented for his age. I think he’s an exceptional person and an excellent electrical engineer.”
Shentu Tian-Feng snorted. “He’s ruined our plan and you’re here praising him. You’ve failed. Our cooperation ends here. Leave.”
“Then, my commission…”
“You made me look bad and you still have the gall to ask for a commission!” Shentu Tian-Feng suddenly shouted angrily at Konrad. “Get out!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter