Liang Si-Yao had left and Annina too - to Jing-Du. Xia Lei was single again and though he had yet to walk out of his cloud of sadness, he still felt a little relieved.
There was no hurdle that could not be crossed in this world and some problems were not much if one thought through them. Some people and some events were fated to appear in one’s life, or to leave - there was no need to wish for something else and just it was all right to follow the natural order of things.
Xia Lei went to the Liang household that night. Liang Si-Yao had left but Xia Lei needed to give Liang Zheng-Chun an explanation.
Liang Zheng-Chun opened the door for Xia Lei and looked at him calmly.
Xia Lei had thought that he’d greet him with an unhappy face but he did not. Xia Lei relaxed a little and spoke a little cautiously, “Have you eaten, Master? I’ll make food for you if you haven’t.”
“I’ve eaten. Come in.” Liang Zheng-Chun moved to open up the path for Xia Lei.
Xia Lei was going to give Liang Zheng-Chun an explanation but he was at a loss for words after walking through the door. He had been in love with Liang Zheng-Chun’s daughter and was even at the point of talking about marriage when this had happened. Could Liang Zheng-Chun, as a father, be happy about something like this?
Liang Zheng-Chun gestured for Xia Lei to sit and made a cup of tea for him.
Xia Lei hurriedly received the cup. “Master, I should be the one making tea. How could I let you make me tea?”
“It’s just a cup of tea, no need to fuss,” said Liang Zheng-Chun.
Xia Lei sat down again and said awkwardly, “Master, I came today to…”
He still could not say it.
Liang Zheng-Chun sighed. “You don’t have to say it. I know. You young people - I don’t know what to say.”
Xia Lei hung his head. Who would have thought that he and Liang Si-Yao would end like this? His relationship with Liang Si-Yao had been pre-determined to have no end, so who could he complain to about his heart’s suffering?
“Si-Yao told me. It’s her fault and nothing to do with you. I don’t blame you either. You’re a good young man, I didn’t judge wrong. It’s Si-Yao who is not fortunate enough.” Liang Zheng-Chun straightened Xia Lei out.
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “Master, I am relieved that you think that way. I was afraid that you’d be upset.”
“I’ll be upset if you didn’t come. I feel a bit better now that you’ve come here,” said Liang Zheng-Chun.
“You are my Master. Even if Si-Yao and I could not become husband and wife, you are still my Master. Your home is my home, so of course I’ll come,” said Xia Lei.
“Ah… That ignorant girl.” Liang Zheng-Chun let out a long sigh. “Oh, yes, she left you a letter. I’ve had it with me all this while. Read it.” He took out a yellow envelope and handed it to Xia Lei.
Xia Lei took the letter out of the envelope.
‘Lei, I know it’s too late to say anything now and any explanation I offer won’t make up for the pain I’ve caused you. But whatever the case, please forgive me. I’ve told my father about my job in America otherwise he wouldn’t listen to you with that temper of his. I’ve already arranged for a visa for him and he will come to America soon. There is no way he can stay on in China because of his relation to me. I don’t know when we will have a chance to meet again after this separation. But it doesn’t matter if we cannot see each other. I will remember you, till my hair’s all grey, I’ll remember you.
I want to warn you that me failing my mission does not mean that your troubles are over. Patch has not been terminated. The American military and the AE Research Centre will not give up like this. They will choose someone even more capable to complete this mission. Be very careful.
I’d suggest selling the company. Find a Third Tier city in China and live in seclusion. Don’t show yourself again. Your life now is like a target under the sun - you’re in the light, and they’re in the shadows. It will be difficult to defend against them.
Last of all, please remember me at my best.’
Xia Lei’s eyes were wet with tears after reading Liang Si-Yao’s letter.
Liang Zheng-Chun patted him on the shoulder. “Don’t be too sad. I know Si-Yao let you down.”
Xia Lei raised his head to look at Liang Zheng-Chun. “Master, you’re going to America?”
Liang Zheng-Chun smiled bitterly. “I have to go even if I don’t want to because something like this has happened. I’ve lived on this land for most of my life, but I have to turn my back on my home now… Ah, forget it, let’s not talk about it. Let us Master and disciple have a few drinks tonight. We’ll probably not have the chance to do so later.”
“I’ll get the alcohol, Master.” Xia Lei got up to get the alcohol and also to grab the opportunity to wipe the tears which had fallen from his eyes.
Two men and a bottle of Maotai. Time ticked away under the electric lights, not stopping for anyone no matter how hard one wished for it to stop.
It was past one in the morning when Xia Lei left the Liang household. Liang Zheng-Chun sent him to the door and shoved a string-bound book into his hands. The book was very thin, old and one glance told Xia Lei that it had seen some years.
“Master, this… what…” Xia Lei could see that it was Liang Zheng-Chun’s family heirloom - generations of Wing Chun practitioners had compiled and revised these secrets.
“Take it. Practise well. You must spread the greatness of our Wing Chun. You can definitely do it,” said Liang Zheng-Chun.
“Master, something so valuable… I cannot take it.” Xia Lei was flattered beyond words.
Liang Zheng-Chun was saddened. “You are my Last Disciple so who else can I pass it down to? With that wench Si-Yao’s identity, I won’t hand it to her, not even over my dead body. I won’t teach either after I go to America; I’ll raise two birds and tend to them daily. I have no son. It is useless to keep this with me. I can rest assured if it’s with you. But you must promise me that you will spread the greatness of Wing Chun and let the whole world know about it.”
Xia Lei could not hold back the tears in his eyes any longer and they fell. He went to his knees before Liang Zheng-Chun and said in a choked voice, “I promise you, Master, that I will definitely take Wing Chun to new heights.”
Liang Zheng-Chun was calmly accepting of Xia Lei’s kneeling. He helped Xia Lei to his feet and gave him a meaningful look. “Go. Hurry back.”
Xia Lei nodded. “When do you leave, Master? I’ll send you off.”
Liang Zheng-Chun shook his head. “I don’t want you to send me off. Do not contact either Si-Yao or myself in the future or it’ll bring you trouble.” He pushed Xia Lei and nagged, “Go, go. Go, quick.”
It was then that Xia Lei discovered that Liang Zheng-Chun also had tears in his eyes. His heart was wrenched by pain again and the world seemed devoid of light.
The black BMW M6 galloped under the sky of night.
“ARGH-” Xia Lei let out a roar of anger.
He swore to himself that he would not suffer this pain again.
Xia Lei was sleepless that night.
He had only done two things the whole night - one was to memorise everything in the Wing Chun secret manual and the other was to consider taking that last AE capsule. However, he still had not made his decision the next morning.
Eating the twelfth AE pill was undoubtedly the smartest choice because his father, Xia Chang-He, would definitely not harm him. His father must have his reasons to want him to eat the last AE pill. However, this was the last pill and if he took it, there was no finding a thirteenth. This also meant that there would be no way of knowing how it was made and its secrets. After much hesitation, he decided in the end to keep the last AE pill to wait for a chance to unravel its secrets before he had to decide again whether to eat it.
After knowing the story behind the AE pill, Xia Lei could not leave it in his home anymore. Early the next morning, he brought Xia Xue with him to Thunder Horse Manufacturing and closed himself in his personal workshop. He spent two hours to make a necklace from titanium alloy and sealed the last AE capsule in a crescent-shaped pendant.
Xia Lei walked out of the workshop with the necklace around his neck. He looked at the crescent pendant in his hand and a smile appeared on his lips. He could have it on his person at any time and others wouldn’t be able to see it. The chances of it being stolen or robbed from him was practically zero, and this made him more at ease.
Guan Ling-Shan came out of the office and said shyly, “The necklace is beautiful, Chairman Xia.”
Xia Lei smiled. “Thanks. How do you find your new job position?”
Guan Ling-Shan nodded. “It’s okay. I’m just worried that I won’t do as well as Miss Liang did.”
“It’s fine. I believe that you will do a good job,” said Xia Lei.
“Right, Chairman Xia, the battery company called earlier. They said that the delivery for our recent orders has to be postponed due to problems with their raw materials,” said Guan Ling-Shan, “This is a breach of contract and I said I cannot make a decision and that I had to talk to you, Chairman Xia, and the person on the other end hung up.”
Xia Lei wrinkled his brows. “Hung up on you? What sort of attitude is that? We’ve paid the deposit and signed the contract, so how can they delay it as they want? How are we to complete our many orders when they have a delay?”
Guan Ling-Shan looked upset as well. “Yeah, they’re obviously bullying us because we are a small company. What do we do, Chairman Xia? We can take legal action.”
“Try contacting them again and pushing them to hurry. I’ll think of something on my end. Taking legal action means that we’ll still have to do business with them even when things have turned sour and that’s not good. We should not take this route unless we have no other choice.” Xia Lei quickly made a decision.
“Yes, I’ll contact them right away.” Guan Ling-Shan went off.
Xia Lei mulled over it by himself. ‘BYD is such a large company - how can it have problems with raw materials? The batteries we want aren’t that big either so it’s impossible that they aren’t able to finish them. What’s going on?’
“Chairman Xia.” Lu Sheng walked over.
Xia Lei put his thoughts aside. “What is it, Big Brother Sheng?”
Lu Sheng’s expression was a little strange. “I was actually the last to know. What happened with you all? I called Si-Yao but she did not answer. I called Master but he didn’t answer either. I have no choice but to be thick-skinned and come ask you.”
Xia Lei was silent for a bit before saying, “We broke up.”
“Huh?” Lu Sheng stood dumbly.
Xia Lei patted him on the shoulder. “Don’t ask. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
“I understand, it’s okay. Don’t be too sad either,” consoled Lu Sheng.
Xia Lei gave a short laugh. “I’m not as weak as you think. I’m all fine already.”
Lu Sheng’s lips moved as if to say something but he did not speak.
At that moment, a silver Rolls Royce Phantom appeared in the gateway of the factory. A security guard came out of the security post and walked to the car to ask questions.
Xia Lei knew that Shentu Tian-Yin had come when he saw the car. He walked over without waiting for the security guard to report to him.Previous Chapter Next Chapter