It was the Chinese way to take a walk in the park and go pray at the temple on the first day of the Lunar New Year and the rich were no different.
Shentu Tian-Yin and Shentu Ren were already waiting when Xia Lei drove to the park. Shentu Ren was in a wheelchair and pushing it was his most loyal subordinate, Fu Chuan-Fu. Fu Ming-Mei and a few other bodyguards were also following behind and security was tight.
Xia Lei parked his car and walked over. Shentu Tian-Yin smiled at him. Her dimpled smile was exceptionally bright under the spring sun. With an exquisitely beautiful face and delicate, sexy body, her beauty was flawless.
Shentu Ren lifted a hand and waved at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei strode over and said with a smile, “Uncle Ren, you can wave now. You’re recovering well.”
“This is all thanks to you.” Shentu Ren smiled as he said, “I’d still be lying in bed waiting for death if it weren’t for you.”
“You’re too kind, Uncle Ren,” said Xia Lei.
“Right, what have you been busy with these days? You haven’t come to see me in a while.” Shentu Ren pretended to look unhappy.
“There were some problems at the company. I wanted to visit you too but I couldn’t find the time,” said Xia Lei.
“Has it been settled?” asked Shentu Ren.
“All settled,” said Xia Lei.
“That’s good. Feel free to tell me if you have any problems in the future. I’ll definitely help if I can,” said Shentu Ren.
“Yes, thank you,” said Xia Lei politely.
“Let’s go in,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
“You two go in first. I’d like Chuan-Fu to accompany me in basking in the sun. Oh, the sunshine’s lovely today. Warms you all up inside and it’s comfortable,” said Shentu Ren.
Shentu Tian-Yin looked at Xia Lei and gave him a small smile. “Let’s go in and walk around.”
“Nn, okay.” Xia Lei followed Shentu Tian-Yin through the gates of the park.
The park was lively and crowded with young and old, young couples and even some vendors selling things. Not one bodyguard from Shentu Tian-Yin’s entourage followed, not even her personal bodyguard Fu Ming-Mei. She still felt very safe with Xia Lei by her side. She walked with Xia Lei to the busiest part of the park.
“I want to eat a sugar figure.” Shentu Tian-Yin was like a little girl again when they passed a vendor. Her eyes sparkled and she did not walk further.
“Buy one if you want to eat it,” said Xia Lei with a laugh.
Shentu Tian-Yin looked embarrassed. “I didn’t bring any money.”
“I’ll get one for you.” Xia Lei walked to the vendor’s booth.
Shentu Tian-Yin drew close. “I want the phoenix figure.”
Xia Lei picked a phoenix figure up and handed it to Shentu Tian-Yin.
Shentu Tian-Yin bent and picked a dragon figure, then put it in Xia Lei’s hand. “You eat this one.”
Xia Lei laughed. “I haven’t eaten a sugar figure in years. It’s nice to try it again.”
Xia Lei paid and was pulled to another busy area by Shentu Tian-Yin. After making a circle, the two of them got into a cable car. The view from the cable car was wide and one could see the sea and the mountains surrounding the park. It was nice.
“Why didn’t you ask me for help the last time?” asked Shentu Tian-Yin as she watched the view beyond the window.
She was now the queen of Vientaine Group, a stark contrast to her girlish joy earlier; a great aura burst forth from her.
“I did think of asking you for help but I thought more about it and… it would mean a war between yourself and the Gu clan’s North Group. It’s like sacrificing a thousand of your own to kill 800 of the enemy, so why do something so disadvantageous? I can solve my problem,” said Xia Lei.
Xia Lei had not only solved his problem but had managed to do even better under the Gu clan’s assault. His branch company was being built quickly and the various outsourced companies were also busy completing orders for Thunder Horse Manufacturing. He would probably have maintained his previous status quo without the Gu clan’s attempt to shut him down and wouldn’t have thought of a branch company and outsourcing.
Shentu Tian-Yin looked away from the scenery and at Xia Lei. She smiled faintly as she said, “The Gu clan is large but they did not manage to trouble you. Gu Ding-Shan’s pride must be very hurt. But a person with his personality won’t just let it go. You have to be careful. Don’t forget about me the next time he makes trouble for you; don’t reject my help.”
Xia Lei grinned. “I’ll definitely ask you for help if I need it.”
“Nn… You’re not keeping in contact with Miss Liang?”
Xia Lei shook his head. He did not say anything; he did not know what he should say. He had not even told Long Bing of Liang Si-Yao’s identity, so how could he tell Shentu Tian-Yin?
Shentu Tian-Yin did not press the matter and quieted. She had told her father that she was Shentu Tian-Yin and that the man she liked should be the one wooing her but she had not received even a phone call from Xia Lei, much less him taking the initiative to invite her out for a meal or a movie. Her self-confidence was starting to crumble and this was probably the reason why she had invited Xia Lei out for a walk in the park on the first day of the Spring Festival. However, Xia Lei had not paid her a lot of attention nor buttered her up as she had expected. She was a little disappointed by that.
Xia Lei’s gaze went out the window too and he inadvertently caught a glimpse of something and his gaze fixed on the ground.
A young man was holding a camera and taking pictures of him and Shentu Tian-Yin in the cable car.
Taking pictures of a cable car suspended in the air? Xia Lei had a sense of misgiving. The young man came into sharp focus in his left eye and the first impressions Xia Lei got when he saw the young man’s face were cold detachment and ruthlessness.
The young man seemed to have sensed Xia Lei watching him through the lenses of his camera. He turned his camera away and pretended to shoot other things. He took some shots, then mixed in with the crowd.
Xia Lei, however, had his eye on the young man. The young man walked in the opposite direction and Xia Lei lost sight of him as the cable car went on its way up towards the mountaintop.
‘That guy was obviously observing me and Tian-Yin. Is he from the Gu clan or from the CIA?’ wondered Xia Lei.
The Gu clan had been quiet recently and the CIA did not seem to have made any moves after Liang Si-Yao left China. It looked to be all peaceful on the surface but Xia Lei had not let down his guard for a single day. He knew that the Gu clan would not let him off and the CIA would not ‘give up’ on the only person who had taken AE pills.
“What are you looking at?” Shentu Tian-Yin broke the silence in the cable car.
“There was someone taking pictures of us,” said Xia Lei.
Shentu Tian-Yin looked out the window but all she saw was a thick patch of forest. There were many people all around but she could not even see the face of the closest person clearly. “Where?” she asked curiously.
“He’d already left when I discovered him, walking in the opposite direction,” said Xia Lei.
Shentu Tian-Yin looked again but it was too far away. “Maybe you’re so nervous that you made a mistake,” she said with a smile.
Would a person who didn’t need a scope on a sniper rifle make a mistake? Xia Lei was sure of what he had seen, but he could not guess if that person was from the Gu clan or the CIA. The latter situation worried him more.
“Oh, right, I heard you opened a branch company in Sichuan. How’s it progressing?” Shentu Tian-Yin changed the topic.
“It’s going all right. Production can start in two or three months,” said Xia Lei.
“You can ask me if you lack funds. I may not be able to help you in other matters but I can help you in this anytime,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
Xia Lei suddenly thought of Annina’s two plans - one needed 2.5 billion for an engine production base and the other was to make guns and needed three hundred million. He lacked the funds for both plans. How much would Shentu Tian-Yin lend him if he asked?
The thought of borrowing money crossed his mind but a protest surfaced in his head at the same time. ‘She may be able to lend me a few hundred million but billions are too much. She and Shentu Ren would think I helped them for money if I asked to borrow so much, won’t they? All for their money. Even if I did have the funds for the engine production base plan, the requirements for it have not been met yet. As for the sniper rifle plan, the government would give me a loan even if I lacked money, and it’ll be the type of loan with no interest either. There is no need for me to borrow money from her, and owe her a favour in the end, right?’
It was true. He did not have to worry about money at all if he picked Annina’s second plan of producing guns. Bureau 101 wished for him to do this, otherwise they wouldn’t have sent Annina to be a ‘spokesperson’ for it. He only had to nod and agree for the government to give him money and equipment.
There was another problem to consider when borrowing money from the Shentu clan - what should he say if Shentu Tian-Yin or Shentu Ren wanted shares?
There was a smile on Xia Lei’s face as he thought that and he said, “Thank you. I don’t need it for now. I’ll definitely come ask to borrow from you if we lack the funds. Don’t reject me what that time comes.”
Shentu Tian-Yin rolled her eyes at Xia Lei. “Try asking and see if I’ll lend it to you.”
“Then can you lend me ten yuan now?” said Xia Lei with a smile.
Shentu Tian-Yin paused as she remembered that she had no cash on her. She looked at Xia Lei in embarrassment, and her eyes filled with an adorable grumpiness.
Xia Lei chuckled. “I’m just joking. I’ll definitely ask you for help if I need a loan.”
The cable car stopped in the middle and Xia Lei and Shentu Tian-Yin went to the viewing platform. Xia Lei scanned the tourists on the platform but did not see that young man.
“Don’t go back home in the afternoon. Come to my place for a meal,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
“Sure. I can also give Uncle Ren a massage and do some acupuncture on him to help him in his recovery,” said Xia Lei.
Shentu Tian-Yin pursed her lips in a smile and said, “Father is full of praise for you; he talks about you all day. You should come visit more often.”
“Nn, I’ll come often in the future. Let’s go down. Your father and his group must have entered the park by now,” said Xia Lei.
The two of them took the cable car down and met Shentu Ren in the park. They laughed and chatted as they walked around the park. Xia Lei used his left eye to scan his surroundings again but did not spot the young man. He did not spot him but Xia Lei still had a strange feeling that the young man was hidden in some place he couldn’t see and was observing him.
‘A person even I cannot see - how great is his anti-surveillance ability? Who is he?’ That young man was like a ghost and his face lingered in Xia Lei’s mind.Previous Chapter Next Chapter