The venue of the Expo was at the Hai-Zhu International Convention and Exhibition Centre. This was a huge, multi-purpose exhibition hall which was divided into six zones with a total of 30,000 square metres. Hai-Zhu City’s Expo was in the first exhibition hall and the other exhibition halls were occupied by business from other regions and foreign businesses. Every one of the 1,600 booths were filled - the dazzling array of products on display made one’s eyes blur. It was unprecedented.
Hu Hou had given Xia Lei an excellent spot, right near the door to the exhibition hall. A person who walked into Exhibition Hall One would see the booth at once.
Almost all of Thunder Horse Manufacturing’s beauties were gathered at the booth wearing sexy uniforms which Liang Si-Yao had customised from a clothing company. They were a sight to behold and were the most eye-catching in Hall One.
There was a booth and pretty girls but Thunder Horse Manufacturing had no products on display. This strange setup drew the attention of many in the same exhibition hall and discussions started.
“What’s Thunder Horse Manufacturing trying to display? Pretty girls?” said someone.
“That Xia Lei guy confidently guaranteed in front of Mayor Hu that he wouldn’t let him down. He must think that Hu Hou likes pretty girls, huh? Thunder Horse Manufacturing looks like some sort of entertainment business, haha…” sneered someone.
These words reached the ears of the girls and they were mad. They glared at the gossip-mongers.
Guan Ling-Shan paced anxiously in front of the booth. “Why aren’t Chairman Xia and Miss Liang here yet? It’s going to start soon, and our product still hasn’t been delivered… What if some accident happened? What do we do…?”
As she muttered to herself, Hu Hou walked into Hall One with a group of out-of-town businessmen. He talked to them about the businesses in Hai-Zhu City as he led them towards Thunder Horse Manufacturing’s booth.
He did not specially bring them to the Thunder Horse Manufacturing booth - it was right by the door. Anyone who walked in had to go past the booth.
Guan Ling-Shan’s face turned pale when she saw Hu Hou and the big group of businessmen. Mayor Hu was bringing businessmen around and showing them around Hall One and the first booth they came to was Thunder Horse Manufacturing. However, the booth was empty save for the group of pretty girls. What booth was this?
“Let me show you a new company in Hai-Zhu City, Thunder Horse Manufacturing. It is…” Hu Hou then saw the booth clearly mid-sentence and the empty booth was like a slap to his face, taking the words from his mouth.
Guan Ling-Shan braced herself and walked forward. “Mayor Hu, we…”
Hu Hou cut her short, his face dark with anger, “Xia Lei? Where is he? What is this?”
“Chairman Xia is…” Guan Ling-Shan didn’t know what to say.
Gu Ke-Wen walked over from Nice Moves Sports’ booth with a gloating smile on her face. “Mayor Hu, are these women the new products of Thunder Horse Manufacturing? Are they robots?” She reached out a hand, pinched Guan Ling-Shan’s face and laughed as she said, “Not a robot - it’s a person.”
Guan Ling-Shan swept Gu Ke-Wen’s hand away. “Please watch your words. Our Chairman Xia must have met with some accident. I’ll call him right away - he’ll be here soon.”
“Why call? Does he still dare to face Mayor Hu now? He must have gone in hiding already. I’ve said it before - what right does a company that processes screws for others have to participate in this Expo? Mayor Hu, you should bring your business friends to our company’s booth. Our automatic surfboard is an excellent product which has done well in the American and European markets,” said Gu Ke-Wen.
“No need to call him,” he said darkly to Guan Ling-Shan. “I apologise, gentlemen, there’s been a problem. Let’s first take a look elsewhere - Nice Moves Sports Equipment Company’s automatic surfboard is…”
At that moment, a hubbub of exclamations came from outside Hall One.
“Wow! So pretty!”
“What’s that? I’ve never seen it before!”
“Where can I buy that?”
“Hello? Are you here for the Expo? Which booth is yours?”
These voices came ringing from outside, interrupting Hu Hou in the middle of his sentence and drawing the attention of several out-of-town businesses. Hu Hou was the last to turn and look, and when he turned towards the doorway of Hall One, he saw Xia Lei roll in on a skateboard, wearing Adidas from head to toe.
The skateboard beneath Xia Lei’s feet flashed. The colours were dazzling and it moved not too fast or too slow; it was like he was standing on a rainbow and it was very eye-catching.
Behind Xia Lei was a large group of youths. They rolled into the exhibition hall on skateboards. Some circled around the businessmen while others performed difficult maneuvers in the free spaces on the exhibition hall floor. Their appearance charged the atmosphere in Hall One and even those on their way out of the hall were drawn back in.
Hu Hou had been stone-faced but a smile appeared on his face when he saw Xia Lei and Thunder Horse Manufacturing’s product, which looked like great fun. “This guy is full of surprises. He didn’t let me down,” said Hu Hou to himself.
Gu Ke-Wen, on the other hand, looked thunderously at Xia Lei and the skateboard. She had to admit that the skateboard beneath his feet was very pretty and trendy. A product like this would easily capture the young consumers market and even make skateboarding popular! But she also had a feeling that the skateboard Thunder Horse Manufacturing had made was infringing on the rights of the automatic surfboard from Nice Moves!
Gu Ke-Wen’s face darkened at that thought. Not only had Xia Lei copied her product and disregarded her, he was also displaying this product right in front of her at this Expo!
At that moment, Xia Lei skated to Hu Hou and stepped lightly on the back of the skateboard; the skateboard stopped. Xia Lei said with a smile, “My apologies, I was stuck in traffic. I had the employees skate over on the skateboards. We could have come earlier but I thought we’d attract more merchants if we skated around the exhibition hall first. That’s why I didn’t hurry here and went around before coming.”
Hu Hou’s anger had subsided long ago. He smiled as he shook hands with Xia Lei. “You’ve done well. Quick, set up your booth. I think you’ll gain much today.”
“Nn, yes. I’ll make the arrangements right away.” Xia Lei turned to his employees and said, “Get started on your duties now. Chop-chop.”
The girls of Thunder Horse Manufacturing hurried about setting up the display for the product. The girls also took on the roles of models and went to stand next to the skateboard. The product was attractive, the people were attractive - the booth became even more eye-catching.
The people who were planning to go with Hu Hou to look at Nice Moves’ automatic surfboard all gathered around Thunder Horse Manufacturing. Add the tourists and merchants from other regions who’d come from outside, attracted by the skateboard and Thunder Horse Manufacturing’s booth became the busiest booth in Hall One.
This was fairly normal. Nice Moves Sports Equipment Company had sold very few surfboards domestically because China is vast and over ninety percent of its territory is far away from the ocean. There was no surfing with no sea so who would buy an automatic surfboard? Automatic skateboards were different though - they could be sold in all domestic markets!
The busy scene before him made Xia Lei smile in satisfaction. He’d made the right bet on this treasure.
Commotion came from the doorway.
Four people dressed as the Ninja Turtles came rolling into the exhibition hall on skateboards; Leo with the twin katanas, Raphael with the sai, Michelangelo with the nunchucks and Donatello with the bo. They were not the main attraction, however. The main attraction was Liang Si-Yao, right behind the four, dressed as Chang’e.
Liang Si-Yao was in ancient-style white robes with a lot of streamers. These streamers floated in the air behind her as she rolled on the skateboard, dancing in the air. The automatic skateboard beneath her feet glowed blue, making her look like a Celestial beauty.
“Woah, this skateboard can be used like that too?” A tourist looked at Liang Si-Yao enviously.
“What company is this? Animation? They have talent!” said someone.
“They’re selling skateboards. Come on, let’s go see. Go around the park on this and it’ll turn heads, 100%!”
“Girl-magnet wonder item, haha!”
Many things were said about it and many people went to the booth to ask the employees how they could get their hands on an automatic skateboard.
The four Ninja Turtles upped their speed and sped to the booth. Words of praise came from all around them.
Liang Si-Yao rolled over to Xia Lei instead and went in circles around him. She had a smile on her face and her eyes were full of love. Who knew - she might have imagined Xia Lei as the Heavenly Marshal drooling at her beauty.
“You’re beautiful.” Xia Lei couldn’t help saying words of admiration that sprung from his love-filled heart.
Liang Si-Yao pouted her cherry lips. “Time was limited, otherwise I’d have got you a Dong Yong* costume and we could show it off.”
“You’re Chang’e, so how is she related to Dong Yong? That’s the Seventh Fairy, you know?” said Xia Lei with a smile.
Liang Si-Yao said shamefully, “Sorry, I went abroad years ago and I’ve confused these two legends. The one you should be dressing up as is Zhu Ba-Jie, right? Haha! You don’t even need makeup to be him.”
Xia Lei glared at her in fake-anger.
Liang Si-Yao giggled, “Heehee, you’re MY Zhu Ba-Jie, okay?”
While they flirted, Gu Ke-Wen suddenly came over with a group of Nice Moves Sports employees.
“Xia Lei!” Gu Ke-Wen said loudly, “Give me an explanation, or I’ll see you in court!”
Xia Lei knew well what she wanted him to explain but he pretended not to know. “Oh, isn’t this the Second Miss of the Gu clan? What explanation do you want? See me in court? I don’t owe you money, do I?”
Gu Ke-Wen pointed angrily at the automatic surfboard beneath Liang Si-Yao’s feet. “I’m talking about this thing! I knew you were shameless but I didn’t expect you to be so daring as to copy my company’s product!”
Chang’e - Chang'e is the Chinese goddess of the Moon. She is the subject of several legends in Chinese mythology.
Zhu Ba-Jie - Zhu Bajie is a major character of the novel Journey to the West. Zhu means "swine", and Bajie means "eight precepts". In many English versions of the story, Zhu Bajie is called "Pigsy" or "Pig".
* Dong Yong - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tian_Xian_PeiPrevious Chapter Next Chapter