The original plan was to first return to Haizhu but Xia Lei changed his mind and went straight to Sichuan. He stayed in the city for two days, inspecting the construction site of the new factory and taking care of the paperwork. Zhou Xiao-Hong had done a good job; she was a local and handled local matters well. With Yin Hao helping, Xia Lei didn’t really have much to worry about as boss.
Xia Lei returned to Haizhu two days later.
Lu Sheng had been discharged and was back at work. Lu Sheng personally opened the gates for Xia Lei when he drove to the company and the two of them chatted for a bit.
Xia Lei called Qin Xiang to his office when he got in.
Guan Ling-Shan made tea for them both. “Have some tea, Chairman Xia, Big Sister Xiang.”
Qin Xiang didn’t mind Guan Ling-Shan calling him ‘Big Sister’ - he looked quite happy about it and had a bashful smile on his face. When Guan Ling-Shan put the cup of tea before him, he reached out and brushed his hand against hers, and a small item in her suit-jacket was transferred to his hand.
Guan Ling-Shan did not discover anything but Xia Lei had seen everything. Qin Xiang had actually stolen a sanitary pad.
Qin Xiang seemed to have been bitten by the item he stole and he threw it at Xia Lei’s leg.
Xia Lei acted like he’d been prodded by electricity and quickly snatched up the sanitary pad. He stood and patted Guan Ling-Shan on the shoulder. “Ling-Shan, it’s been hard on you.”
Guan Ling-Shan pushed her black-rimmed spectacles up the bridge of her nose and said a little shyly, “It is what I should do, Chairman Xia. I’m just afraid that I haven’t done it well enough.”
While she spoke, Xia Lei had already sneakily put the sanitary pad back into her jacket.
“Go on, go on, back to work. I’ll talk with Qin Xiang,” said Xia Lei.
“Yes, please do. I’ll go check on the reports from the financial department,” said Guan Ling-Shan.
Xia Lei glared at Qin Xiang after Guan Ling-Shan left. “What did you steal her sanitary pad for, you punk?”
Qin Xiang drew close to Xia Lei. “I don't know - my hands were just itchy.” He then held up a mobile phone in his hand and said with a smile, “Like now.”
The mobile phone in his hand belonged to Xia Lei.
Xia Lei smiled and opened his left hand to reveal a lipstick on the palm of his hand.
The result of their thieving competition was a draw.
“Fuck me, your skills are getting better and better. It’s like teaching the disciple and starving the Master.” Qin Xiang smiled wryly. He put the mobile phone in Xia Lei’s hand and took the lipstick from it.
“Let’s talk business. You’ll be going to Jingdu for a bit,” said Xia Lei.
“To build an orphanage. Angel Orphanage,” said Xia Lei.
Qin Xiang looked at Xia Lei in surprise. “Are you going into charity work? Most people who do that are trying to get capital for politics. Are you going to go into politics?”
“Up yours. What politics? I’m not interested,” said Xia Lei, “Go fix up the orphanage and the military factory over there will be more or less done too when it’s finished. I need someone I can trust to sit at the helm of the military factory.”
“Say no more. I’ll go book the tickets now.” Qin Xiang turned to leave.
“Hold on, why the rush? Take these plans. What orphanage are you going to build without them?” Xia Lei took out a document from his briefcase and handed it to Qin Xiang. “And you can take Auntie with you too. The treatment centres there are good. You can have her treated there and the company will pay for everything.”
Qin Xiang looked at Xia Lei and his eyes watered. “Boss, this lowly girlie has nothing to offer in return. How about I pay with my body?”
Goosebumps prickled all over Xia Lei’s back and he glared at him. “Piss off. I’m not on the market for you. Keep an eye on my sister when you get to Jingdu. Don’t let bad boys near her.”
“Understood.” Qin Xiang smiled, then sashayed off.
A supermarket supervisor to a military factory supervisor was a huge step up for Qin Xiang. This was like shooting to the top and he was, of course, happy to do so. To Xia Lei, however, he needed a person he could trust completely like Qin Xiang to be at the military factory and help him deal with matters there. And Annina - Xia Lei trusted her, of course, but she was a mechanical genius and not a business-minded person. Another important reason was that Annina’s status was too unique and he could not risk having her show her face. As the person in charge of the military factory, there was definitely going to be a lot of appearances.
Xia Lei entered work-mode after Qin Xiang left. He handled some company matters, held a meeting with the company management and listened to their reports; he was very busy.
He received a call from Shentu Tian-Yin at the end of the workday.
“You didn’t tell me when you got back.” Shentu Tian-Yin’s voice carried a hint of reproach.
Xia Lei spoke a little awkwardly, “Things at the company piled up and I had a lot of do. I was actually planning to go visit you and Uncle tomorrow.”
Haizhu was just too small and it was too easy for Shentu Tian-Yin to get information on a certain person.
“So are you still busy now?”
“I’m done. I’ve just finished work.”
“Mm, that’s great. I wanted to invite you to my birthday party.”
“Your… birthday?” Xia Lei was fairly surprised.
“Nn, I’m… a year older,” said Shentu Tian-Yin with a laugh.
Age was a woman’s secret and a woman like Shentu Tian-Yin was not going to reveal it either.
Xia Lei spoke apologetically, “I’m so sorry. Where are you? I’ll be right there.”
“Distinguished Gathering,” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
Xia Lei paused. “Why there?”
“Come here and you’ll find out.” Shentu Tian-Yin gave no explanation.
“Okay, I’ll go over right now.” Xia Lei hung up, his heart awash with confusion.
Distinguished Gathering was the Gu clan’s place so why was Shentu Tian-Yin’s birthday party being held there?
Xia Lei arrived at Distinguished Gathering an hour later. The car park was full of luxury cars and several well-dressed men and women were heading inside in pairs. Amongst the people were celebrities and big-name stars in the entertainment circles, as well as sports stars. This really was a cloud-high VIP event.
Xia Lei alighted from his car and picked up a bouquet of roses. He spotted Shentu Tian-Yin the the doorway greeting guests and walked over.
He’d wanted to get her a more substantial gift but had limited time; he just bought a bouquet of roses from a roadside florist shop on his way here. The roses were bright and fresh but the packaging was a little sub-par. He didn’t think much of it though - a woman like Shentu Tian-Yin had no lack of gifts. Getting her a bouquet of flowers as a token of good wishes was enough.
Shentu Tian-Yin spotted Xia Lei too and her gaze went naturally to the bouquet in his hands. She stared blankly for a bit, then looked fit to burst with joy.
“Happy birthday.” Xia Lei walked up to Shentu Tian-Yin, then handed the bouquet of roses to her.
Shentu Tian-Yin took a deep sniff of the fragrant roses and suddenly gave Xia Lei a light hug. “This is the best present I’ve received.”
Xia Lei said a little sheepishly, “I’d originally planned on buying you a dress or something, but… there wasn’t time.”
“I like the roses.” Shentu Tian-Yin leaned in to Xia Lei’s ear and said in a small voice, “Don’t tell me you don’t know what roses represent?”
Xia Lei paused. Roses represented love - even primary schoolers knew that. A man giving a woman roses meant that he wanted to woo this woman.
Xia Lei looked at Shentu Tian-Yin standing before him. She was as beautiful as ever, like a fairy unblemished by the common populace. The feeling he’d had when he first saw her washed over him all of a sudden. His mind was in a frazzled state in that instant and he could not figure out if he’d unwittingly bought roses which represented love, or subconsciously bought roses to confess his love.
He didn’t know what to say in the face of Shentu Tian-Yin’s playful yet provocative words.
“Let’s go in.” Shentu Tian-Yin knew Xia Lei well. Him giving her roses was already a huge step and she did not expect that she’d get everything she wanted at once.
Xia Lei let out an internal sigh of relief. He followed Shentu Tian-Yin into the club while saying, “Oh, right, why are you having your birthday party here?”
Shentu Tian-Yin’s lips turned up in a half-smile. “Gu Ding-Shan has gone missing and Gu Ke-Wu has been arrested. You know about this, don’t you?”
This was all Xia Lei’s doing, so how could he not know about it? “I know. But what does that have to do with you having your birthday party in this place?”
Shentu Tian-Yin lowered her voice, “The information I got was that you destroyed the Gu clan but you reacted too slowly.”
“Eh?” Xia Lei was confused. “Why was I slow?”
“The Gu clan’s assets are spread all over and worth tens of billions. Many of these assets are illegally-owned state assets and these have been severely undervalued. Many have been keeping a close watch on these assets and are prepared to grab them anytime. You destroyed the Gu clan but made no moves on your end - what is that if not a slow reaction?” asked Shentu Tian-Yin.
Xia Lei then realised what she’d meant by ‘reacting too slowly’.
Indeed, the Gu clan had acquired most of their assets illegally and these were severely undervalued. Now that the Gu clan had collapsed, these assets were like cake with no owner. Of course they’d attract a whole lot of predators, all ready to attack. And he, the orchestrator of the Gu clan’s fall, had made no moves. He really did react too slowly.
“Don’t you plan on doing something?”
Xia Lei thought for a bit. “How?”
“The Gu clan is finished. A lot of their assets will be returned to the state. Many assets, including their businesses, will be parcelled out for auction but these will be just the leftovers. The real big meat can only be grabbed from under the table. Let me give you a simple example - this property belonged to Gu Ke-Wu. It’s actual market value is 200 million but I purchased it at the price of 50 million.”
Xia Lei was thunderstruck. The Gu assets had already changed ownership in the scant few days of Gu Ding-Shan going missing and Gu Ke-Wu being held before sentencing!
Xia Lei suddenly felt like his head and finesse for business was not even worth mentioning when he was with Shentu Tian-Yin.Previous Chapter Next Chapter