The next day at a little past five in the morning, Xia Lei arrived at Thunder Horse Manufacturing and went to his workshop to work on Long Bing’s gun. Once he started working, he kept going till half past eight, when it was time to start the workday. He put the disassembled AS50 sniper rifle and the parts he had processed into a big metal box, then locked it.
Liang Si-Yao was not in the office when he got there and he was just about to call her when she walked into the office with a takeaway bag. The bag had a cup of soy milk, one deep-fried dough stick and two steamed buns.
Xia Lei’s stomach growled at the sight of the food. He’d been at work since five in the morning and hadn’t eaten breakfast yet.
Liang Si-Yao rolled her eyes playfully at Xia Lei. “I heard from the gate guard that you were here at a little past five in the morning. Thought you surely haven’t had breakfast so I went and got you breakfast from a snack shop. Eat it while it’s hot.”
Xia Lei’s heart warmed. “Wifey’s the best.”
“I’m not your wifey.” Liang Si-Yao said that but she still felt happy inside.
Xia Lei inhaled the dough stick and the buns. He was just too hungry and there was no need to act all elegant in front of Liang Si-Yao.
Liang Si-Yao’s words took on a scolding tone, “Geeze, you. I know you’re busy modifying that gun for Long Bing but you can’t skip meals. Your body is most important. Will she even care if you’re exhausted? My heart aches for you.”
Xia Lei grinned. “Our Si-Yao’s the best.”
Liang Si-Yao circled round to Xia Lei’s back and sniffed, then pressed herself lightly on his back. “I didn’t call you last night; did you miss me?” she asked inquisitorially.
This was a roundabout way of asking what he had done last night or who he was with last night.
Xia Lei laughed and said, “I was at home. I’m an honest guy; you can relax.”
Liang Si-Yao smiled. “Of course I believe you but it doesn’t mean that other people will be honest if you’re honest. That Tian-Yin or that Ru-Yi, and that foreigner girl Annina - they’re not easy to deal with. I’ll have to keep a close eye on you or they’ll steal you away when my back’s turned.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“Feed me some soy milk.” Liang Si-Yao stretched her head over Xia Lei’s shoulder.
Xia Lei lifted the cup of soy milk and fed Liang Si-Yao some soy milk but the position she was in was awkward and she choked. She sputtered all over Xia Lei’s trousers. Black trousers, white soy milk - the imagery made one think certain thoughts.
“I’m sorry! I’ll help you wipe.” Liang Si-Yao knelt awkwardly between Xia Lei’s legs and used paper towels to wipe at the soy milk on his trousers.
Xia Lei did not object. Him and Liang Si-Yao were at the stage of cohabitation so there was nothing too awkward between them. Her wiping away soy milk from his trousers was nothing - it wouldn’t even be awkward if she unzipped him and ground some milk out of him.
At that very moment, Lu Sheng appeared in the doorway all of a sudden. He saw Liang Si-Yao kneeling between Xia Lei’s legs and the white fluid on Xia Lei’s trousers. He also saw the white liquid at the corners of Liang Si-Yao’s mouth and he became stone instantly, with a bizarre expression on his face.
Liang Si-Yao and Xia Lei hurriedly got to their feet. It wasn’t embarrassing if it was just the two if them in the office no matter what they did but it was a whole other story in front of others.
Xia Lei quickly explained themselves, holding up the cup of soy milk from the table and saying, “It, it’s soy milk. Soy milk spilt on my trousers.”
Liang Si-Yao’s pretty face was beet red. “We didn’t do anything.”
It would have actually been better if they had not explained anything - their explanations made it seem more fishy.
“Uhhurm, ahem.” Lu Sheng was embarrassed too and he changed the topic. “Mayor Hu has brought a big group of foreign and regional businessman to tour our company. They’re downstairs. Will you two go down now, or later? If later, I’ll go let them know and invite them to the guest lounge for a bit.”
Liang Si-Yao rolled her eyes at Lu Sheng. “What were you thinking, Monk? Why go down later? We’ll go down right now. Geeze, it’s not like we have other things to do.”
Xia Lei was in agreement, “Yep, right. We’ll go down right now.”
Lu Sheng shrugged. “I’ll be going down then.” As he walked off, he pointed at his own mouth and said, “Si-Yao, wipe your mouth clean.”
Liang Si-Yao was so mortified that she wanted to slam her head into a wall.
Xia Lei reached out and wiped the soy milk from the corners of her mouth. “Come on, let’s go down and have a look.”
Liang Si-Yao gave Xia Lei a punch of angry embarrassment. “It’s all your fault. The Monk thinks I gave you ‘that’. So embarrassing!”
“What's ‘that’?” said Xia Lei with a smile.
Liang Si-Yao glared at Xia Lei and said huffily, “Are you mocking me? I won’t give you ‘that’ anymore! Humph!”
Xia Lei grew anxious and enveloped her in an embrace with his arms around her waist, taking her with him as he walked towards the door and coaxing her, “Okay, okay, our Si-Yao is the most big-hearted. How about… I give you ‘that’ first?”
“Shush, shush! No more talking about it; so embarrassing. You’re so shameless.” Every spot on her face was red and her knees had gone weak for some reason.
The two of them exited the office while flirting with each other, then went into ‘business mode’. They went downstairs and saw Hu Hou and the group he’d brought right away. The Expo was not yet over and the employees of Thunder Horse Manufacturing were still at the booth. Hu Hou bringing the foreign and regional merchants here to the plant was a testament to of how popular the automatic skateboard from Thunder Horse Manufacturing was.
But Xia Lei knew that it was not the only reason because he saw Annina in the group of foreign businessmen, and the two German agents. The aim of these two agents was easy to guess - they wanted to come to Thunder Horse Manufacturing to see it for themselves and search for the evidence they wanted.
Xia Lei thought to himself, ‘They know I can build an intelligent lathe like that so do they think I have one at my company? It makes sense for them to turn up here for that reason. But that means… Long Bing said that there’s a spy close to me so this guess of mine doesn’t add up. Those pictures were taken by the spy so if it’s someone from my company then it’s impossible that he wouldn’t know that there isn’t an intelligent lathe here. These two German agents don’t have any need to come here, but they are here. Does this prove that that spy is not someone from my company?’
These were all just guesses. The identity of that spy was still a mystery and that meant that anything was possible.
Liang Si-Yao saw Annina and a look of displeasure crossed her face. “Why’s she here too?”
Xia Lei leaned in to her ear, “The two men next to her are German special agents.”
“Wha?” Liang Si-Yao’s petite mouth widened and she couldn’t close her jaw; she became nervous.
“I’ll tell you more tonight. Just pretend that you don’t know anything,” said Xia Lei.
“Nn,” said Liang Si-Yao obediently.
Liang Si-Yao did not know the whole truth of what had happened when Xia Lei had gone to Germany but she could guess. Xia Lei went to Germany and built the most advanced intelligent lathe in the world when he came back. China Industrial Group had also given him 200,000,000. Could the nature of this matter be any more obvious now that German agents have come chasing to the company? Did she even need to guess?
“Xia Lei, look, I invited myself here and brought you a whole lot of customers - you won’t blame me for this surprise, will you?” Hu Hou walked over and greeted Xia Lei.
Xia Lei smiled and said, “No, I won’t, Mayor Hu. You did this for my benefit and for my company’s benefit. How can I blame you for your hard work? I haven’t even thanked you yet.”
“All right, all right, enough formalities between us.” Hu Hou was all smiles. “These businessmen are very interested in your automatic skateboard. Some are German businessmen; they contacted me last night and asked me to bring them here for a look. They even said not to let you know in advance because they wanted to see your company’s ‘real face’. I think this is a good thing too so I took the initiative and agreed to it. They’re all here already so just take them around and let them have a look.”
“Okay, sure. I’ll take them on a tour right away.” Xia Lei then said, “Si-Yao, go about your duties. I can handle them on my own.”
Liang Si-Yao made another sound of agreement and went back to the office by herself.
Annina went to Xia Lei’s side only after Liang Si-Yao entered the office building. She spoke in German, “Lukas, is your nose okay?”
“It’s fine. Look, I’ve even removed the gauze.” Xia Lei didn’t bother pretending not to know German and spoke directly to Annina.
The interpreter, Andreas, who was standing next to them stared at Xia Lei in amazement. He had still needed an interpreter to understand Annina yesterday but he could speak fluently in the span of just one night! This was unbelievable!
Xia Lei could not be bothered with the feelings of an interpreter and he raised his voice to say, “Ladies and gentlemen, please follow me. We’ll start from Workshop One. Do not hesitate to ask should you have any questions. I shall fulfil your requests.” He said that in Chinese, then repeated it in German and English.
The German special agents had already tracked him this far - continuing to pretend not to know any German was just superfluous.
“He’s an outstanding young talent indeed. He even knows German and English and has no need for an interpreter. Impressive,” said a domestic merchant.
“No wonder he could research and produce such an exceptional product. There’s no going wrong with establishing connections with a person like this,” said another domestic merchant.
The group of businessmen were in discussion and it was all about Xia Lei’s capabilities.
One should be in the limelight when one should in the business world. The business wouldn’t do very well either if a business owner lacked charm.
As Xia Lei walked the big group of businessmen to Workshop One, the two German agents’ gazes went to Xia Lei’s personal workshop. Unfortunately for them, the workshop door was shut and they could see nothing.
One of the German agents went to Annina and gave her a command in a low voice.
Annina hesitated, but still nodded in the end.Previous Chapter Next Chapter