The three industry giants defeated by an small unknown military factory - this news spread like wildfire around the world. Xia Lei’s name also appeared on major search engines like Yahoo, Google, NetEase, Sina and so on...
The search ranking of the keyword ‘Xia Lei’ was rocketing to the top of search engines.
And this was just the beginning. With several large media platforms digging for more information, Xia Lei was the hottest topic around the world because he had forcefully overturned the prejudice of ‘Chinese manufacturing’ on its head - and he was also very handsome.
Night descended and the lights of Moscow lit up, illuminating the uniqueness of Eastern Europe. However, the streets were filled with few pedestrians and it looked lonely. The emptiness seemed related to Russia’s current poor economy; the masses had no extra money to squander.
“A toast.” The Russian reporter, Natalya, raised a glass to Xia Lei in a high-end restaurant. She was wearing a red evening gown which was low-cut and bared her shoulders. The deep V of her neckline drew the eye in and a seductive smile graced her lips. “To your victory.”
Xia Lei smiled and raised his glass to clink it lightly against hers, then drank the red wine in his glass.
Natalya picked up a bottle of Lafite and poured more for him.
“Are you trying to get me drunk, Miss Natalya?” said Xia Lei laughingly.
Natalya gave Xia Lei a suggestive look and her voice was cotton-soft; it sounded like it was dipped in honey. “What do you mean by that, Mr Xia? You’re a man. Are you afraid of getting drunk? Even if you do get drunk, are you worried that I’ll do something to you?”
She was sending signals. Very obvious signals.
If Xia Lei recalled right, his old classmate Chi Jingqiu was also this sort of coy and seductive woman but she paled in comparison to a stunner like Natalya. Natalya’s teasing made his left eye act like a naughty boy and it brusquely brushed aside the fabric to stare at Natalya’s bare breasts. His left eye had a close, intimate look at her snowy peaks.
‘A little too dark…’ sighed Xia Lei to himself. It was like he had seen a flaw in otherwise exquisite jade and he felt it a waste.
“Why aren’t you talking, Mr Xia?” Natalya looked straight at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei looked away from her breasts and coughed dryly. “Uh, thank you for your invitation. Honestly, your interview has helped to increase the attention on my company.”
“So how are you going to thank me?”
Xia Lei laughed. “This meal is on me, and…” He took out an envelope from his pocket and placed it lightly before Natalya. “A small token of appreciation. Please accept it.”
He was having a meal here with Natalya because she had conducted an exclusive interview with him after the challenge with the three industry giants. The interview had taken place at the Russian National TV Tower. This great favour had to be repaid so he had prepared 20,000 Euros in an envelope before coming to this high-end restaurant.
Natalya put the envelope in her handbag and took off her high heels, slowly stretching her foot to Xia Lei’s.
Xia Lei froze. He’d thought that Natalya had accidentally stretched her leg too far at first but her foot was travelling slowly up his calf.
“Miss Natalya, you…” Xia Lei grew nervous. “Miss Natalya, what are you doing?”
Natalya quirked her lips in a smile. “You’re a good actor. I’ll see how long more you can act.”
Xia Lei could just stand up and leave but she had done him a huge favour and there was also some possible use he could get out of her later, so he hesitated, not wanting to offend her. But if he let her do as she wanted, he would probably be unable to hold out for long, especially with her technique. His face was calm but inside, he was on pins and needles.
“Mr Xia, there is a hotel behind this restaurant. The rooms there are quite nice. I’m a little drunk now - how about you escort me to have some rest?” Natalya was taking the initiative.
Xia Lei braced himself. “This…”
At that moment, Tang Yuyan walked through the doors of the restaurant and marched over to them.
Natalya hurriedly withdrew her foot when she saw Tang Yuyan.
Xia Lei let out a breath of relief and quickly greeted Tang Yuyan. “You haven’t eaten yet, have you, Yuyan? Let’s eat together.”
Tang Yuyan glared at him and said in irritation, “You’re eating at this time? Our child has a fever. Come with me to the hospital now.”
She deliberately spoke in English to let Natalya hear.
“Huh?” The fork dropped from Xia Lei’s hand to clatter on the table.
When did he have a child with Tang Yuyan?
Natalya looked at Tang Yuyan in shock. She couldn’t believe it.
“My apologies, Miss Natalya. My husband can’t accompany you any longer,” said Tang Yuyan in a business-like manner.
“It’s fine, it’s fine. Children come first,” said Natalya. “How about I come with you?”
“No need.” Tang Yuyan rejected her offer right away. “We can go ourselves.”
Xia Lei stood and said apologetically, “I’m sorry Miss Natalya, I’ll have to make a move first.”
“Nn, yes. Goodbye.” Natalya spoke normally but she was inwardly kicking herself. Why were all the good men already married?
The awkward situation in Xia Lei’s crotch went down after he walked out of the restaurant. He laughed and said, “When did we have a child, Yuyan? You didn’t have to go so far in helping me out of that situation, did you?”
“You think I wanted to say that? You think too highly of yourself.” Tang Yuyan rolled her eyes at Xia Lei. “You should have heard of the expression ‘one who is unaccountably solicitous is hiding evil intentions’? This Natalya gave you an exclusive interview and was trying to seduce you to her bed. Her motives aren’t that simple. The female spies in Russia are very skilled and you’ll get tricked if you’re not careful.”
“Is she a spy?” said Xia Lei in surprise.
“Even if she isn’t there’s also the possibility of her being some Russian bigwig’s pawn. Ling Han told me that she was interacting with a certain big man in the Russian military before she gave you that exclusive interview. You should avoid her for safety reasons,” said Tang Yuyan.
“What did she want from me?”
“You’re our national treasure now, buddy. Boss Shi gave me a call and was full of praise for you, saying you brought glory to the nation and that the higher-ups are very happy. He also ordered me to protect you well, no matter what. Plus, he specially reminded me to keep a close eye on you and definitely definitely not let any Russian woman poach you. He said that if you want to get a wife you’ve got to get a wife from your Motherland. Keep the goodies within the family, y’know?”
Xia Lei was speechless.
Boss Shi must’ve been drunk on joy to give this order and Tang Yuyan had swiftly carried it out, resulting in the scene earlier where she had said that their child had a fever. She was using this method to chase away Natalya, who had intentions of seducing Xia Lei to her bed.
Was it like that?
Xia Lei was not sure but his brain was already all fuzzy.
Meanwhile, South Korea, in an American military naval base.
A video was playing on a display screen in a meeting room. Xia Lei was in that video; he put the sniper rifle in position, aimed and fired, and the crowd cheered.
This was the video of the shot Xia Lei had made for 3,200 metres. It had been played dozens of times in the meeting room.
A burly black man pressed a button on the remote control in his hand and the video on the liquid crystal paused on Xia Lei’s face. Xia Lei looked calm and one could not tell what he was feeling in that moment.
The black man’s name was Ramsbigg and he was the director of CIA Asia. He had received the mission targeting Xia Lei from Goodson, the director of CIA Middle East.
Liang Siyao was also in this meeting room. She looked at Xia Lei’s face on the display, her face calm. She was thinking wistfully, ‘If I didn’t join the CIA and I weren’t an intelligence officer we would have been a blissful couple, wouldn’t we? If I were by his side when he achieved this honour he would have kissed me, right?’
Ramsbigg broke the silence in the room. “Liang Siyao, you interacted with Xia Lei for a period of time and you know him well. Tell me - how did he do it?”
Liang Siyao snapped back to reality. She shook her head. “How would I know? Didn’t Xia Lei say in the video that the Chinese standards of manufacturing have improved?”
“We know very well what the Chinese standards of manufacturing are, no discussion. I can confirm that even we can’t manufacture a sniper rifle with an effective shooting range of 3,200 metres. I have a feeling that the XL2500 that Thunder Horse Military Factory produced has nothing to do with China’s manufacturing standards, and all to do with Xia Lei’s ability,” said Ramsbigg.
Liang Siyao did not comment.
Ramsbigg continued, “Xia Lei is in Russia. It’s a restricted area for us and there’s practically no way we can move too overtly. However, I have received a new mission. Liang Siyao, you have to think of a way to get your hands on a XL2500. The military wants to analyse it.”
“Me?” Liang Siyao wrinkled her brows.
“You have one month. Get ready,” said Ramsbigg.
“You mean I’m to go to China?” Liang Siyao was pissed. “Bureau 101 already suspects me. If I appear in China then there’s no need for me to tell you what will happen, huh?”
Ramsbigg shrugged. “I don’t care about that. Your position will be terminated if you can’t complete the mission.”
“Humph!” Liang Siyao pushed her chair away and walked off. She slammed the door heavily on her way out.
After Liang Siyao made her exit, Ramsbigg said, “All right, now let’s talk about how we’re going to deal with Xia Lei.”
Out in the corridor, a faint smile appeared in the corners of Liang Siyao’s lips.Previous Chapter Next Chapter