Chapter 412 - Upstage

The next few days were spent on examining the alloy pieces and the bronze book. Xia Lei put more attention on the bronze book and he used his X-ray vision on all the ‘letters’ in the book. Every ‘letter’ had a syllable. There were 10,000 ‘letters’ so it was possible that this was an essay, or perhaps a record of history or something else. There were countless possibilities but no way to confirm it. 

Xia Lei memorised every single syllable, then tried to sound it out and record it on his phone. And so he had a file with an audio recording of all the syllables which he played over and over. In the beginning he felt like it sounded like a single person reading, but gradually started to think that this was a recording of a conversation, a ‘bronze tape’ of sorts. 

There was no way for him to confirm any of the possibilities. 

Afterwards, the study of the alloy pieces and the bronze book reached a stage of stagnation. 

Xia Lei called the Special Forces soldier on guard in the basement into the room after two hours of research memo-writing. He put the pieces of alloy and the bronze book into the safe under the soldier’s watchful gaze.

He did not put the research memo into the safe. It was a prop that he put out deliberately for display. What he wrote in there were some complicated material analysis notes, some research thoughts of his and so on. He believed that all these research memos would eventually be read by Ling Han and those elderly Scholars. 

His aim in doing this was also to show these people that ‘Yes, I am doing research, and very reliably too’. 

Xia Lei ran into Colonel Wu Xiaoguo when he walked out of the villa and he greeted him, then said, “Colonel Wu, I’ve put the items away. I need to look up some information and settle some other matters so I won’t be going into the basement for the next few days. I’d have to trouble you all to look after those items.” 

“Rest assured, Mr Xia. I have received my orders. If the items are there, I’m there. If the items are lost, I’m dead. I am only in charge of this, so there is no need for you to explain about other things,” said Wu Xiaoguo. 

“Mm, okay. See you, then.” Xia Lei left. 

As soon as he left, Wu Xiaoguo pulled out his mobile phone and made a call. “He’s gone. Said he’s going to look up some information and settle some other matters… Yes, I’ll go take a look in his laboratory and send it to you.” 

Wu Xiaoguo ended the call and entered the villa. 

Behind a wall, Xia Lei stopped using his X-ray vision and walked off. He’d guessed right. What he had written would soon be sent out to the eyes of others. 

‘Read it if you want. I don’t care even if you find out that I’m disregarding you. You guys were conducting research for about a year and people died and went mad. No scientist dares to research it now. Now that I’ve taken over the research, you expect me to be successful in some days? Wait on.” A small smile appeared in the corners of Xia Lei’s mouth. He was in no rush at all in this matter. 

If the higher-ups were anxious then let them be anxious. 

Xia Lei walked one round around the new factory area; it was a a pleasing, busy sight. 

The value of Thunder Horse Military Factory had risen at least tenfold with the investment capital of 5,000,000,000, and the creation of Flaming Dragon, the integrated intelligent lathe. Completing the purchase orders Ling Han had signed within the time limit was no problem at all with this level of production capacity. 

Once those orders were complete, and his manpower and equipment free to work on the next task, he was going to play another trump card of his - the assault rifle he and Annina had designed.

And once he started his production of this assault rifle, it would not be unthinkable for his Thunder Horse Military Factory to be a pillar in the industry, like China Industrial Group and Hanwu Weapons!

Qin Xiang found Xia Lei and he brought with him a bit of good news. “Lei, our lawyer called from the courts. He said that China Industrial Group withdrew their allegations of infringement for some unknown reason.” 

“This was just a farce anyway. That old fox Mu Jianfeng probably withdrew when he saw that he had no chance of winning against us,” said Xia Lei. 

“This is good too. Court cases are troublesome and a waste of money,” said Qin Xiang. 

Xia Lei stretched lazily and said laughingly, “Well, looks like our busiest time is past. It’s time to relax a little.” 

“Afraid not,” said Qin Xiang, “One more thing - Shentu Tianyin sent someone over with an invitation.” 

“An invitation for…?” 

“Vientaine Group and Shinyeok Group’s mobile phone collaboration project’s production line is complete. They’re going to have a groundbreaking ceremony and they’ve invited you to participate,” said Qin Xiang. 

Xia Lei quirked one side of his mouth in a smile. “Shentu Tianyin sure moves fast. Her mobile phone factory is going to start operations soon.” 

Qin Xiang gave a laugh. “Not as fast as you did. You were just a small roadside workshop owner two years ago but now you’re the head honcho of military weaponry. Think of the you two years ago, and me too - I feel like this is a dream.” 

“You can’t call me a head honcho yet. Give us two more years. We’ll make it.” Xia Lei patted Qin Xiang’s shoulder. “Oh, right, when did Shentu Tianyin say it was?” 

“Tomorrow.” Qin Xiang produced an invitation and put it in Xia Lei’s hands. “The one who delivered the invitation was that tigress, Fu Mingmei. She complained that your phone was always off and Shentu Tianyin sent her on an errand to deliver the invitation because she couldn’t get through to you on the phone. Fu Mingmei also wanted me to pass on a message. Want to hear it?” 

“What did she say?” 

Qin Xiang pursed his lips and laughed. “She said: What did you buy a phone for when you aren’t even turning it on? You should go back to the primitive times and be like a neanderthal who wears only one leaf.” 

Xia Lei smiled wryly and casually stuffed the invitation into his trouser-pocket. “All right, I’ll go over first and have a look.” 

“Go on, go on, look for the right chance to confirm some things between yourself and Shentu Tianyin. Don’t drag things on. You’re not getting any younger and she neither - you can’t let her keep waiting for you, eh?” 

Xia Lei knew what he meant and he gave Qin Xiang a glare of annoyance.

Qin Xiang fluttered his manicured hands and put on an innocent face. “You mean you’re only going to marry her when she turns 30?” 

“I’m not going to chat any more with you. I’m off.” Xia Lei turned to escape the conversation. He did not want to talk about things like this with Qin Xiang; it was embarrassing.

Qin Xiang looked at Xia Lei’s back and sighed. He muttered to himself, “It’s for your own good, you know. You won’t have so many women bothering you if you get married. You can’t run away from the day that you’ll be married and become a father, so why not have it happen earlier?” 

Angel Wings Building. 

Fu Mingmei was waiting for Xia Lei inside and she rolled her eyes at him just as he walked into the lobby of building. “Oh, isn’t this our big Hero Xia Lei? What, you have time to come over today now?” 

Xia Lei didn’t mind Fu Mingmei’s snarky attitude. He laughed and said, “So sorry, I was just too busy recently. But I’m here now, right after I finished what I was busy with. Look, I brought you a gift too.” He shoved the huge bag of snacks he had in Fu Mingmei’s hands. He had bought a pile of nuts and chocolate from the supermarket. 

Fu Mingmei was less angry then, but she still gave Xia Lei a glare. “Argh, you! I have no words. You didn’t contact Tianyin for such a long time - don’t you think she’s forgotten you already? Which woman can stand something like this?” 

Xia Lei just listened and did not comment. He didn’t actually feel anything. Shentu Tianyin and he were just good friends at this point, not lovers. It would be terrible of him to not contact her for months if they were lovers - it might even lead to a breakup. 

“Did you buy a gift only for me?” Fu Mingmei scowled. “You! Don’t you know how to buy Tianyin a bouquet of flowers?” 

Xia Lei smiled. “I did bring a gift. Don’t you worry about it.” 

Fu Mingmei thought for a bit, then smiled abruptly. “Oh wow, you didn’t bring a ring to propose to her with, did you?” 

Xia Lei was speechless. 

He didn’t bring any proposal ring but he did bring a fairly luxurious necklace. It was one of the items he had taken from Princess Yongmei’s burial tomb, and he had picked the prettiest one before he came here. He had not given it to her before now because he felt that Shentu Tianyin had no want of necklaces of precious gems. He was giving it to her now because he had not contacted her for two months and he was using it as a way to show how apologetic he was. 

“What is it? Can I see?” Fu Mingmei was curious one. 

“Why the rush? You’ll see it in a bit,” said Xia Lei. 

Fu Mingmei pursed her lips in discontent. 

There was a crowd of people when they got to Shentu Tianyin’s office. There were reporters and important people of the business world in Jingdu. Shentu Tianyin was fielding questions from the reporters, calm and in control of the entire situation. 

Xia Lei also saw someone he didn’t want to see - Ahn Suhyeong. 

Ahn Suhyeong stood by Shentu Tianyin in a white suit. He was handsome and his body well proportioned, and he looked like a perfect match standing together with Shentu Tianyin. He seemed to be playing the role right then, a willing supporter of her power. 

Xia Lei outclassed Ahn Suhyeong in many aspects but he was outclassed himself when it came to courting women. 

Ahn Suhyeong’s gaze went to Xia Lei as soon as he stepped through the doorway. Their gazes clashed in the air and there was no sound, but the air seemed to fill with the smell of gunpowder. 

Xia Lei was definitely not going to forget what had happened in Moscow. Ahn Suhyeong had ordered a hit on him, and nearly succeeded. 

Shentu Tianyin also spotted Xia Lei. She paused, then smiled at Xia Lei in welcome. 

Xia Lei smiled back but did not speak since she was being interviewed. He stood in a corner where there was nobody to wait for the interviewing to be over. 

However, one of the reporters discovered him and said, “Isn’t that Thunder Horse Military Factory’s Xia Lei?” 

Several other reporters looked over at those words, and started to surround him. 

“Why are you here, Director Xia?” 

“Mr Xia, has your Thunder Horse Military Factory had any new developments after the light weapons exhibition in Russia?” 

“Director Xia, are you here because of the mobile phone collaboration between Vientaine Group and Shinyeok Group?” 

“Mr Xia, I heard you used to be Shentu Tianyin’s fiancé. Is this true?” 

“Have you two broken up?” 

“Are the two of you secretly dating?” 

Questions came at Xia Lei like a flood and he did not know how to respond. 

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