Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao arrived at the office early the next day.
Xia Lei had an early meeting to go through details for the Expo and preparations for the materials for the manufacture of the automatic skateboard. He did not do any of these but Liang Si-Yao and the employees had done a good job organising these things and everything was progressing smoothly.
After the meeting, Xia Lei walked to his workshop, carrying the plastic box Ke Jie had sent to him, ready to start work on modifying Long Bing’s gun. He gave Jiang Ru-Yi a call on his way there but she didn’t pick up even after two calls.
Xia Lei smiled wryly and shook his head. ‘Really ignoring me? Sheesh, I didn’t even say anything that would set her off, did I? Whatever, she’s just like that. It’ll all be fine in a few days.’
Some employees looked at Xia Lei, pointing and discussing something in low voices.
Xia Lei put his phone away and asked with a smile, “What are you doing?”
A young man said, “Chairman Xia, we watched the video online and woah, I didn’t know you were so good at martial arts!”
A young female employee spoke excitedly with her eyes shining, “Chairman Xia, you were so handsome and cool when you defeated that American in the ring!”
“It’s all on the internet?” Xia Lei was surprised.
“Yeah, it’s gone viral. Many people are looking up your name. Some say you are the modern Wong Fei-Hung* and that you should be in movies.” The female employee’s eyes were still alight.
Xia Lei gave a laugh. “I won’t do that. Okay, you guys, disperse. Go on, to work, to work.”
The employees dispersed and Xia Lei went into his workshop.
Xia Lei opened the box and took out all the parts and the AS50. He put them on his work-table. He then disassembled the AS50 into its parts and examined each piece with his left eye, remembering the measurements. His left eye was more precise than any precision measuring tool and he needed to memorise the most accurate measurements for each part, then use these numbers for the parts Long Bing had given him and modify them.
He ‘measured’ them closely and it took him roughly an hour to finish with his measurements of the AS50. As he was about to ‘measure’ the parts Long Bing had given him, a knock came from the door.
Xia Lei’s left eye twitched and the door disappeared from his vision. He paused when he saw who was beyond the door, then stepped quickly to open it.
The one who’d knocked was the newly-hired head of security, Lu Sheng, and behind him stood Long Bing.
Long Bing was dressed in a well-ironed ladies’ suit. Her breasts were high, buttocks perky and she was sexy and mature. However, she was expressionless; colder than an iceberg and unapproachable.
She was indeed sexy and attractive but Xia Lei had never seen any man dare to approach her.
“Chairman Xia.” Lu Sheng had changed the way he addressed him. “This lady here said she wants to see you. I asked her to wait in the guest lounge while I inform you but she insisted on coming with me, so…”
“It’s all right, we know each other. Go about your duties, Big Brother Sheng,” said Xia Lei.
“Nn, yes.” Lu Sheng left with a smile. Xia Lei still called him ‘Big Brother Sheng’ and this made him feel rather chuffed and put him in a good mood.
Xia Lei looked at Long Bing. “Why didn’t you call me? I’d have gone to welcome you.”
Long Bing said nothing and walked straight into Xia Lei’s workshop.
“You’ve started modifying the gun?” Long Bing saw the pile of gun parts on the work-table.
“I’ve just begun. You don’t want it today, do you? There’s no way I can finish it so quickly,” said Xia Lei.
“It’s not urgent. I’ll take it when you’re done. I came today to tell you one thing and you have to be prepared,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei was curious. “You’re so serious - what in the world is it?”
Long Bing was silent for a bit before she said, “Our intelligence personnel received a report that America knows that we have got our hands on the latest intelligent lathe. They also know that you are the one who built it.”
“This…” Xia Lei said in surprise, “How is this possible?”
Long Bing opened her handbag and took out a stack of photographs. She put them before Xia Lei.
Xia Lei stared dumbly at it. The first photograph showed the incomplete intelligent lathe and his workshop in the background. He flipped through the other photographs - every photograph was of his intelligent lathe in different stages of completion. This meant that the person taking these had been observing his progress all along!
“This is just some of it. If I brought over all of them I’d need a rucksack for over a thousand photographs,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei frowned. “Could it have been that guy, Xiang Hong-Bin?”
“Not possible. He was arrested before you finished building that machine. There is no way he could have taken pictures of the progress you made after that. It’s another person - and he may be right beside you,” said Long Bing.
Faces surfaces in his mind instantly but Xia Lei could not think of a person who would do something like this. After half a beat of silence, he said, “Give me some time. If this person is by my side then I’ll definitely be able to find him.”
Long Bing spoke tonelessly, “Actually, we thought we could find that person without disturbing you when we received the report but we failed. We checked every single person in your company and there was no one who was particularly suspicious. This is why I have come to tell you of this. You have to be careful.”
Xia Lei nodded. “Is this serious?”
“There haven’t been any movements on the American side as yet but they cannot sit idly by when it is a matter like this. They will surely take action. Don’t worry, they can’t do anything to you even if they know that you’re the one who built the intelligent lathe. If there are international disputes, it’s for the nations to bother about, not you,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei relaxed at that. “Oh, right, is this gun modification you want me to do related to this?”
“No. I was disadvantaged in my last mission because of my sniper rifle. The parts you see are parts from my sniper rifle. Getting the latest sniper rifle is no problem but I’ve used this one for many years. I’m used to it and I’ve grown attached so I asked you help me modify it. You can even build something like an intelligent lathe so I believe that you can modify this into the best sniper rifle in the world,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei laughed. “I thought you’d need it for some dangerous mission so I was quite worried for you. So that’s why. I won’t hurry then. I’ll be able to make it better with more time.”
“Which mission won’t I need guns? I don’t have as much free time as this consultant,” said Long Bing. She then looked at Xia Lei. “Let me ask you something.”
“How does it feel to be with Liang Si-Yao?”
Xia Lei paused, then said awkwardly, “I definitely can’t hide something like this from you but why are you asking about this?”
“Just curious. I think it must be interesting for someone like you to be in a relationship. Never mind if you don’t want to talk about it,” said Long Bing evenly.
“There’s nothing unmentionable. I feel… How do I say it? Love is by feeling - bliss, sweetness and all that, but I feel completeness most of all.”
“Completeness?” Long Bing looked interested. “What do you mean?”
“You know my background. My parents aren’t around anymore and I have just my sister. I’ve always felt very lonely; you won’t understand. I’ve always felt like I was missing something and was incomplete and this feeling didn’t go away no matter how much money I made… Till Si-Yao appeared, and my Master Liang Zheng-Chun. I now feel like I have a complete family. It’s this feeling. Completeness,” said Xia Lei.
Long Bing smiled for the first time. “So that’s it. You have my blessings.”
“Thank you.” Xia Lei smiled too. “Don’t go off, stay. I’ll call Si-Yao and we can go out for a meal together.”
“No need. I’m on the clock. No meals, no alcohol,” said Long Bing.
Xia Lei was not perturbed by her response. He smiled and said, “Do what you want then. I’ll give you a call when I’m finished with the sniper rifle.”
Long Bing walked towards the door and looked back in the doorway. “Right, you performed well at the martial arts seminar. Boss Shi was in admiration.”
“Boss Shi knows too?” Xia Lei said in surprise.
“His god-daughter told him. Oh, and she recorded a video too,” said Long Bing.
“Boss Shi’s god-daughter?” Xia Lei broke out in sweat. “Who?”
“I’m asking about her name.” Xia Lei was not satisfied with her answer.
“You two will meet.” Long Bing opened the door and left.
Xia Lei wanted to send her off through the gates but Long Bing had closed the door behind herself; she didn’t want him to send her off.
Xia Lei fell into deep thought after Long Bing left. Two things circled in his head. One was the mysterious spy close to him. This made him feel rather worried. The other was that there were people from Bureau 101 at the martial arts seminar, and the god-daughter of Boss Shi at that. This made perplexed him - who was she?
“Could it be her?” The image of Tang Yu-Yan popped up in Xia Lei’s head but he shook his head in the end. “The Tang Sect is a martial arts group. How could Tang Yu-Yan be Boss Shi’s god-daughter? Besides, Long Bing did not mention Tang Bo-Chuan at all. If Tang Yu-Yan is his god-daughter, then won’t Tang Bo-Chuan be his god-son?”
He felt like it could be her, yet not be her. Matters like these were not easy to conclude.
Xia Lei threw the photographs Long Bing left behind in the bin, then set them alight. The stack of photographs burned and blue smoke plumed from them.
“Lei, it’s me.” Liang Si-Yao’s voice came from beyond the door.
Xia Lei turned to open the door.
Liang Si-Yao saw the embers in the bin and asked curiously, “What’re you burning?”
“Some photographs,” said Xia Lei.
“Photographs? What photographs?” Liang Si-Yao looked at the bin but could not see anything.
“Don’t ask; it has to do with Long Bing. You have to be more careful now,” said Xia Lei.
“What happened?” Liang Si-Yao grew a little nervous.
“There’s a spy here, I don’t know who. Be more wary and tell me if you see anyone suspicious. But be very careful - don’t do anything even if you do discover something. Tell me and I’ll take care of it with Long Bing,” said Xia Lei.
“Oh my goodness… We can make a spy movie already.” Liang Si-Yao tapped herself on her bosom. “Okay, I’ll keep a lookout. I’ll tell you first thing if I apprehend him.”
“Be very careful,” nagged Xia Lei.
“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Liang Si-Yao couldn’t help the smile on her face with Xia Lei showing such concern for her. “Oh, right, Mayor Hu Hou’s secretary called just now. We should go to the venue this afternoon to set up the booth. The Expo’s tomorrow. Let’s go over to have a look now if you’re not busy.”
“Nn, let’s go take a look,” said Xia Lei.
Liang Si-Yao looked at the AS50 sniper rifle and the pile of parts on the work table, just a glance, and hung onto Xia Lei’s arm as they left the workshop.
*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wong_Fei-hungPrevious Chapter Next Chapter