Ahn Suhyeong was smart and he’d used the connections of the collaboration between Shinyeok Group and Vientaine Group, his father’s authority, and the media and guests present - but he had not accounted for the sudden appearance of Xia Lei. And he had been outmaneuvered too!
How could the young master of the Shinyeok Group bear such humiliation?
“I want him dead!” Ahn Suhyeong screamed in shameful anger in a Bentley in the underground parking space. He smashed a fist into the steering wheel.
In the backseat of the Bentley, a tall, burly golden-haired man said in English, “Mr Ahn, the killers from the Russian Violent Bears were not able to finish Xia Lei off. You’ll have to spend a huge sum to get the best killer to do the job if you want him dead.”
Ahn Suhyeong looked back at him and said frostily, “Mr Hoffman, do you mean yourself?”
The golden-haired man named Hoffman replied evenly, “I’m good in this field but not exceptional. But I have connections. As long as you’re willing to spend money there will be someone who will be willing to take Xia Lei’s life.”
“I don’t care about the cost!” Ahn Suhyeong wanted nothing more than to have Xia Lei dead immediately, and for it to happen in front of him!
“All right, I’ll contact the middleman.” Hoffman took out his mobile phone.
At that moment, a woman walked over from the back of the car and knocked on the driver’s window.
Ahn Suhyeong looked up and was stunned…
Meanwhile, a Chevrolet Suburban moved out of a roadside parking space and into traffic. It left Angel Wings Building behind in the blink of an eye.
Xia Lei was driving and Shentu Tianyin was in the passenger seat. He looked at the road ahead and she looked at him. A smile stayed on her lips and she was blissful, serene.
Xia Lei proposing to her was a perfect ending for Shentu Tianyin. She had waited two years, and gone through ups and downs before things had led to this result.
But to Xia Lei, this development was fairly dramatic. He had not in his wildest dreams imagined that he would propose to Shentu Tianyin when he stood in front of Angel Wings Building and that he would become her fiance after stepping out of it.
Come to think of it, if it had not been for Ahn Suhyeong’s arrogant belief that he would attain Shentu Tianyin by proposing to her in that setup, Xia Lei would not have proposed to Shentu Tianyin then.
Life was unpredictable; life was like a play.
“You keep looking at me. I can’t concentrate on driving,” said Xia Lei with a laugh.
“I’m looking at my fiance. I can’t?” Shentu Tianyin said lightly, “It’s your fault for being so good-looking.”
Words like these coming from Shentu Tianyin’s mouth were very different from her usual self and it made Xia Lei chuckle.
Shentu Tianyin gave him a smack. “Why laugh at me? I’ll take my words back then - you’re so ugly.”
“It’s all right, you can be the pretty one. Men don’t depend on their looks to eat,” said Xia Lei with a smile.
The mantle of ‘fiance’ had been thrust upon him unexpectedly; Xia Lei was unprepared. He was not used to it in the beginning but the longer he spent with this status and in the company of Shentu Tianyin, the more comfortable he felt with it.
The two of them chatted and laughed in the car and also talked about an engagement banquet, but Shentu Tianyin decided in the end that this banquet should be decided by her father, Shentu Ren. Xia Lei did not object, and wondered if Shentu Ren would get too excited and choose a date which was soon - that would be too quick!
They chatted, they talked, and the Chevrolet Suburban came to Chow Sang Sang Jewellery Shop*.
The manager of the shop recognised Shentu Tianyin immediately and he showed her and Xia Lei to the VIP lounge when he heard that they were here for an engagement ring. He also called employees to take out some treasures of the shop from the vault for Xia Lei and Shentu Tianyin to pick from.
As Xia Lei and Shentu Tianyin browsed rings, the shop manager stared straight at the gemstone necklace around Shentu Tianyin’s neck in bedazzlement.
The female shop assistants waiting on Xia Lei and Shentu Tianyin whispered amongst themselves.
“Know what? That woman is Shentu Tianyin! The richest woman in China,” said one quietly.
“Ah, it’ll be great if I can be her friend,” said another softly.
“Isn’t that man Shentu Tianyin’s fiance? He’s really handsome.”
“Would Shentu Tianyin even look at him if he was average-looking? I think he’s probably her boy-toy.”
“He’s here to pick out a ring. It must be Shentu Tianyin footing the bill - I’ll bet on it!”
The female shop assistants spoke softly but their whispers did not escape Xia Lei’s sharp hearing. Their gossip made him uncomfortable, especially the part they said about him being a boy-toy. Did he look like someone who would be a boy-toy? He did not complain though - they were just low-level employees and it was meaningless to cause trouble for them.
He’d actually already expected gossip like this when Shentu Tianyin had accepted his proposal. There was no avoiding it - she was richer than him after all.
The manager seemed to have heard a bit of their gossiping too and sent them an angry glare. The female shop assistants shut their mouths.
“Miss Shentu, may I ask where you purchased the necklace you have around your neck?” The manager was deferential and humble.
Shentu Tianyin tilted her chin downwards to glance at the gemstone necklace around her neck and said, “You recognise this necklace?”
Xia Lei looked over at the manager. He wanted to know the answer to Shentu Tianyin’s question too.
“I saw this necklace in a handmade book about famous and valuable precious stones. The book belonged to my Master and was written in English. It is almost 200 years old.” After a pause, he said, “Miss Shentu, can you tell me where you purchased this necklace from?”
“My fiance gave this to me,” said Shentu Tianyin.
“Ah…” The manager looked surprised.
Shentu Tianyin wrinkled her brows.
The manager was an observant man and he said, “Please do not misunderstand, Miss Shentu. I don’t mean anything bad. I am just shocked because this necklace is valued at 20,000,000 US dollars on the European market*. Your fiance must love you very much to gift you such a valuable necklace.”
Shentu Tianyin was gobsmacked when she heard that, and the shop assistants too. No one dared to say that Xia Lei was a boy-toy now. 20,000,000 USD was 130,000,000 RMB - was he a person who lacked money if he could give such a valuable necklace as a gift?
Xia Lei had no idea how much it cost when he had given it to Shentu Tianyin but he did not feel the pinch either when he found out how much it was. If he was going to marry her, then he should get her the best in the world!
“Mr Manager, you said you saw this necklace in a book. How did the book describe it?” asked Xia Lei.
“It’s called ‘Sacred Heart’, Sir. It is a marriage gift from the last King of Jerusalem, Baldwin IV, to his older sister. Baldwin IV was already in the final stages of leprosy then and Jerusalem desperately needed a new King to preside over it. Baldwin IV had no heirs and so his only recourse was to get his sister a husband to manage the kingdom. Oh, right, did you watch that classic movie, ‘Kingdom of Heaven’? I like it very much and was deeply moved by this story. I did not expect to be able to see the coronation gift Baldwin IV gave to his sister Sibylla today,” said the manager.
The Holy Land, Jerusalem, Baldwin IV and his sister Sibylla - these people and stories had been buried in the sands of history 900 years ago. But this necklace had landed in Princess Yongmei’s hands - who knew of the background of that story?
Xia Lei quietly took note of the story. This could lead to some clue to uncovering the mysteries of the alloy and the bronze book. He did not change his expression and said evenly, “Thank you, your story is very interesting. Oh, Tianyin, have you picked something?”
Rings worth millions sat before Shentu Tianyin but she was embarrassed to ask for one of these rings after knowing that the ‘Sacred Heart’ which Xia Lei had given her was worth 20,000,000 USD.
“Never mind. We should just pick something cheaper,” said Shentu Tianyin. “You’ve already given me such an expensive gift; I’m more than satisfied.”
“How can that do? You’re my fiancee. People will laugh at me if you wear a ring that’s only a few thousand.”
Shentu Tianyin was a smart woman and she knew what Xia Lei meant. She let out a puffing laugh. “Mm, I am your woman, and also your face. I cannot sully your image. Hm, then this three million-yuan ring will do.”
Xia Lei smiled. Dumb women had their plus points and smart women had their plus points. Shentu Tianyin was showing the maximum value of her points.**
“Much much discount can you give us, Manager?” Shentu Tianyin was already starting to act like a wife.
“There’s… no discount.” What a joke - Shentu Tianyin needing a discount when buying an engagement ring? Chow Sang Sang’s manager had not got to his current position without wits.
“Thirty percent. We’ll go to another shop if you don’t give us a discount. Yours is not the only one in town,” said Shentu Tianyin.
“This…” The manager looked troubled.
Shentu Tianyin wrinkled her brows. “I’ll go back and check if your Chow Sang Sang shop rents from us, then talk to your boss about the issue of rent.”
“Miss Shentu, please hold on, I, I will call our boss and ask him about it.” The manager could not take it any longer - this was not a discount, it was highway robbery!
Half an hour later, Shentu Tianyin walked out of Chow Sang Sang, arm in arm with Xia Lei. She lifted her left hand to admire the engagement ring on her finger.
Sunlight shone on her face and a bit of her glamour fell away, but she became more charming too.
Xia Lei looked dumbly at her. His feelings seemed to return to the past, to that time on that island…
Love was the most complicated thing on Earth but sometimes it was simple, just like right now. One’s dream had come true and another had desires fulfilled - both were happy, both were blissful.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
* Chow Sang Sang is a real shop - http://www.chowsangsang.com/tc/home
* Wtf? Why is it in USD on the European market?
** Seriously… WTF. It pained me to type that out. Also, major facepalm at the asking for discounts.