Land was extremely expensive in Seoul but it was nothing to Ahn Geungan. The Ahn residence was located in a wealthy district and occupied an area of over a hundred fields*. The landscape was meticulously manicured and a pleasure to look at, with over a hundred ancient-style buildings arranged beautifully. It looked like an ancient royal palace from far away and was very impressive.
Ahn Suhyeong showed off and specially circled his home once before entering the main gates. This one round took about ten minutes - the size of it was staggering.
Xia Lei sat in the car and quietly observed the Ahn residence and its surroundings. Whatever he saw was saved like a photograph he would never forget. This ability gave him the power to be a top-notch burglar.
The convoy entered the Ahn residence and travelled on an asphalt road for about 50 more metres before coming to the living quarters. An ancient-styled palace-like hall was right in front and it looked a lot like the Blue House, just smaller. Behind it was a continuous stretch of old-style rooms, scattered around various areas; edges of ponds, poking out from a grove of bamboo, all adding to the atmosphere.
Shentu Tian-Yin was also a woman worth tens of billions but her family residence paled in comparison to what she saw now. However, there was no comparing the Shentu clan and the Ahn clan when it came to history. The Shentu clan had established itself in the short 30 years following China’s reforms while the Ahn clan had built itself up through generations.
A group of people stood in front of the palace-like hall which resembled the Blue House. Leading the group was a middle-aged man, tall and thin. His facial features were thin too but his eyes were alight, giving one the impression of hale and hearty vigor, wisdom and farsightedness. It was just their first time meeting but Xia Lei recognised him immediately as Ahn Suhyeong’s father, Ahn Guengan.
He also recognised a woman next to Ahn Guengan. The plump, yet still attractive middle-aged woman was Ahn Suhyeong’s mother, Seo Soojin. Thanks to Tang Bo-Chuan’s information, he also knew that this woman used to be a famous celebrity in Korea.
Other than Ahn Guengan and Seo Soojin, he also recognised the household staff and important people behind them. It was Xia Lei’s first time here but he could recognise almost all of the Ahn household and those he did not know were unimportant servants and bodyguards.
Ahn Suhyeong and Shentu Tian-Yin alighted and Ahn Geungan walked over with his wife, greeting Shentu Tian-Yin with smiles.
“Miss Shentu, we are honoured that you would be able to grace our humble home.” Ahn Geungan could speak fluent Chinese and his Korean accent was slight.
Shentu Tian-Yin shook hands with Ahn Geungan and smiled. “Uncle Ahn, you must be kidding. This is no humble home you have. It is like an ancient royal palace. I am deeply honoured to be able to guest here.”
Ahn Geungan gave a laugh. “Hehe, you are good with words, Miss Shentu.”
Seo Soojin also went to Shentu Tian-Yin and shook hands with her, smiling as she said, “You are very pretty, Miss Shentu. I’ve seen plenty of young girls but this is my first time seeing such a beautiful and refined girl as yourself. It’s a real pleasure to meet you.”
Shentu Tian-Yin smiled as she said, “You’re too kind, Auntie Seo. I am not as wonderful as you say, but thank you for your high praise.”
“My mother speaks the truth,” said Ahn Suhyeong gently, “Tian-Yin, you are the most beautiful woman I’ve seen in my life.”
Shentu Tian-Yin just smiled and didn’t say anything.
Seo Soojin pretended to scold her son. “You bad child, why don’t you invite Miss Shentu in?”
Ahn Suhyeong followed with, “Let’s go in and have some tea, Tian-Yin. We’ll rest for a bit before I bring you on a stroll.”
“Sure.” Shentu Tian-Yin looked back at Xia Lei and Fu Ming-Mei standing behind her and said, “Ming-Mei, Lei, come here. I’ll introduce you two.”
The smile on Ahn Suhyeong’s face disappeared.
Ahn Geungan and Seo Soojin’s gazes went to Xia Lei but they did not react much, obviously not seeing him as anyone important. Seo Soojin seemed to have heard something about Xia Lei and her gaze was not friendly.
Xia Lei bit the bullet and walked over. He had to tolerate some disdain for the mission.
Shentu Tian-Yin did some simple introductions and the couple’s reaction was still fairly lukewarm. They just looked indifferently at Xia Lei and did not greet him.
Xia Lei smiled and said very politely, “Hello, Mr Ahn. Hello, Madam Seo.” He extended both hands to Ahn Geungan.
Holding out both hands for a handshake was one of the ways to express respect.
However, Ahn Geungan did not extend his own hand but said evenly, “I will have my staff arrange your accommodations. Let them know if you need anything.”
Seo Soojin waved a hand at an elderly man and he walked over. She spoke to him in Korean, and the elderly man gestured for Xia Lei, Fu Ming-Mei and the two assistants to follow him.
Xia Lei knew this elderly man’s identity. He was Choi Myeongho, butler to the Ahn family.
A small sneer surfaced in the corners of Ahn Suhyeong’s lips. He said nothing but deep contempt and arrogance could be seen in his eyes.
It was plain that only Shentu Tian-Yin was of equal standing to them in their eyes and the only one that they were going to take care of was Shentu Tian-Yin. Xia Lei was just a low-level follower and not even worthy of a handshake.
Xia Lei retracted his hand awkwardly.
Dissatisfaction flashed in Shentu Tian-Yin’s eyes but she did not express it. The other party was a veteran politician in South Korea after all and the chairman of Shinyeok Group. She had to play to his game.
Xia Lei and Fu Ming-Mei followed Choi Myeongho to a section of houses.
“Lei, I’ll go over to you later.” Shentu Tian-Yin was worried that Xia Lei would be upset and so she said those words to make him feel better.
Xia Lei looked back at her and smiled. “It’s all right. You accompany Mr Ahn and chat, no need to bother about me.”
Shentu Tian-Yin was relieved to see that Xia Lei could still smile and she smiled and nodded.
Choi Myeongho brought Xia Lei, Fu Ming-Mei and the two assistant to some guest-rooms and opened a door at random while gesturing for Xia Lei to enter. He spoke in Korean, “This is your room, sir. Please enter.”
Xia Lei understood Korean but he shook his head and pretended not to understand. “Mister, what are you saying? I don’t understand.”
Choi Myeongho repeated his earlier line.
Xia Lei shook his head again. “I’m sorry, I still don’t understand.”
Choi Myeongho looked at Fu Ming-Mei and the two assistant and asked tentatively, “Ladies, do any of you understand Korean?”
Fu Ming-Mei shook her head but the two assistant nodded. Those who could be picked by Shentu Tian-Yin to be brought to South Korea as assistant must first know some Korean.
One of the assistants seemed to have understood Choi Myeongho’s intent, or maybe she finally figured out his words, because she translated what he had said for Xia Lei only after he asked directly.
Xia Lei looked like he had suddenly seen the light and he smiled sheepishly before entering the room.
Choi Myeongho then brought Fu Ming-Mei and the two assistants to other rooms.
Xia Lei closed the door and looked around the room, then activated his eye and scanned the room again. He relaxed only after confirming that there was no cameras or listening devices. He spoke into a button on his jacket, “The player is on the field.”
Long Bing’s voice came from the tiny receiver in his ear one second later. “The referee is in place.”
These were code words; a measure of security.
Xia Lei stayed quietly in his room for a bit after establishing initial contact, then used his X-ray vision to see the next room. Fu Ming-Mei was in the room next to his and she was in the midst of stripping for a shower. Her figure was not bad - she had obvious muscle bulges and one could tell that she had a regular, systemic exercise routine.
Xia Lei looked at Fu Ming-Mei for a few seconds before looking away. Normal men wouldn’t even bear to blink when looking at a pretty girl taking her clothes off but this was as natural as breathing to him. Seeing such a thing too many times had made it become part of the norm for Xia Lei.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to do that.” Xia Lei smiled wryly and shook his head to clear it of Fu Ming-Mei’s fair body.
Footsteps came from outside the door ten seconds later.
Xia Lei’s eye twitched and he saw Choi Myeongho.
Choi Myeongho came to Xia Lei’s door and reached out to knock on it.
‘What’s he here for?’ Xia Lei was curious. He walked over to open the door.
“Mr Xia, Young Master Ahn has invited you to tea,” said Choi Myeongho.
Xia Lei shook his head. “I don’t understand.”
“A fool. Why am I speaking Korean to a fool?” Choi Myeongho said with a smile, “Are you a fool?”
Xia Lei shook his head. “I don’t understand.” Inside, he grumbled, ‘What’s with these disparaging comments, you old dog? This butler matches the family he serves.’
Choi Myeongho did not speak further but made hand gestures. Drink tea. Walk with me.
“Oh, okay.” Xia Lei pretended to understood his gestures and he smiled.
Choi Myeongho muttered to himself as he walked. “A punk like this actually dares to compete with Young Master Ahn for women? Why doesn’t he first take a piss, then look at his own reflection in it to see if he’s worthy? Boy, you are the greatest fool of all. You’re a love rival and you dare come here? Your intelligence level is that of a pig. Are you worthy?”
Xia Lei would’ve dearly loved to kick that old man but he held himself in check. A kick would bring that instant gratification but other than that, what else?
They walked for several minutes before Choi Myeongho brought Xia Lei to the doors of a room and opened it. “Please wait inside, Mr Xia. Young Master Ahn will soon be here.”
“What did you say?” Xia Lei continued his act.
Choi Myeongho did more hand gestures but said, “Get your ass inside, you idiot. You’ll be crying later.”
Xia Lei was struck by a thought. Was this actually a trap?Previous Chapter Next Chapter
*The Blue House - is the residence of the president of South Korea in Seoul.
*Fields - This is an ancient classifier for areas of land and one ‘field’ is equal to one fifteenth of a hectare.