Ahn Geungan straightened. He looked serious. “You will. I know this more clearly than you.”
Xia Lei couldn’t help laughing. “You know me better than I know myself, Mr Ahn? You’re overestimating yourself, aren’t you? I do admire the thickness of your skin, though. It does take skill to say something like this to my face.”
Ahn Geungan did not get mad at this provocation. He said, “Mr Xia, what will you gain from giving those things to the Korean media? Only a rush from having your revenge. If you do that, I will fall and be thrown into prison but you won’t get anything out of it other than the satisfaction of putting me there. Cut a deal with me and you can gain much more. It’s not that I have thick skin but that I am not blinded by revenge.”
Xia Lei paused. He suddenly found that his enemy was no ordinary person. He’d killed his son but this man was actually apologising to him, and asking to make the exchange to protect himself! Could a man who was capable of doing such a thing be a simple man?
“You killed my son. I should hate you, but hate does not solve any problems. A man cannot live his life in hate either.” Ahn Geungan’s words were sincere. “Mr Xia, this is what I learnt from the philosophers of your country. I ask for you to accept and make the exchange with me. Name a price.”
“You want to buy what I have with money?” Xia Lei asked.
Ahn Geungan nodded. “Yes. Name a price.” After a pause, he added, “I hope it will be a reasonable price.”
“Do you think I lack money?” asked Xia Lei.
Ahn Geungan stared straight at Xia Lei. “Then what do you want?”
Xia Lei said nothing. He stared back at Ahn Geungan. He had his own thoughts on the matter. ‘If I want money, I’ll likely get a few tens of millions out of him or even more. Money doesn’t mean anything to me. Ahn Geungan is the leader of Korea’s Great National Party, and the chairman of Shinyeok Group. He is going to run for president too. I didn’t think he would win before, but seeing how he’s acting today. What if…’
“Mr Xia?” Ahn Geungan was unsettled, and he said probingly, “If you don’t want money, I can collaborate with you in business. You will profit, and also invest in Korea. With my help, your company will be able to make a name for itself in the Korean market.”
Xia Lei shook his head.
“What do you want, then?” A glimmer of savagery flashed in Ahn Geungan’s eyes.
Xia Lei laughed. “How about this, Mr Ahn - You go back to Korea and I’ll help you in the elections.”
“What?” Ahn Geungan was stunned. “What do you mean by that?”
“The only goal in life for you now is to become the president of Korea, isn’t it? I didn’t stutter. I will help you in the elections and make you the president of Korea,” said Xia Lei.
“Mr Xia, please don’t joke around like this. What can you help me with?” Ahn Geungan controlled the flames of anger in his heart. “I’ve already shown you my deepest sincerity. If you keep humiliating me like this, then one of us must die.”
“I am not humiliating you. You asked what I can help you with and I’m answering that question. I can help you keep your illegal activities secret. Isn’t this enough?”
Ahn Geungan abruptly understood Xia Lei’s motive and he could not hold back his anger any longer. “Xia Lei, you want to use that to keep me under your thumb? You want control of a Korean president! You’re too much!”
Xia Lei shrugged. “You don’t want it? Then rot in prison.”
“You…” At hearing the word ‘prison’, Ahn Geungan’s anger fizzled out.
Xia Lei spoke softly. “Be president or rot in prison. How can a smart man like yourself not know what to choose?”
Ahn Geungan screamed at Xia Lei, “Bastard! You can’t do this!”
“How about this,” said Xia Lei, “we shall reach an agreement. I will hold the evidence safe. If you’re victorious in the election, I just need you to do ten things for me. When those things are done, I’ll return all the evidence to you. If you don’t win the elections I’ll hand all that evidence to the Korean police and the Korean media. I’ll send you down to hell.”
“You’re not being fair. I can’t guarantee that I’ll win the election!”
“I did say that I’ll help you,” said Xia Lei. “I can get evidence of your illegal activities so I can get evidence of your opponents’. This is my sincere offer.”
Ahn Geungan was silent.
“I just have this one condition. I’ll give you a minute to consider it. I will leave this place after this minute is over, and I won’t make any deal with you if you come looking for me after,” said Xia Lei.
Ahn Geungan’s expression wavered, and his brows were heavy with thought.
Xia Lei looked at his watch a minute later. “Time’s up. Tell me what you’ve decided.”
Ahn Geungan sighed. “Deal.”
Given another choice, Ahn Geungan would not make a deal like this. The problem was, though, that he had no other choice. Reject Xia Lei’s offer, and he would lose all he had, plus get thrown in prison. Take the deal, and he would keep all he had, on top of getting to the position of president. What else could he do besides take Xia Lei’s deal?
Half an hour later, Ahn Geungan left Bailu Town. Xia Lei walked towards Thunder Horse Military Factory.
Xia Lei smiled rather merrily on his way back. He couldn’t help envisioning Ahn Geungan as president. Ahn Geungan would be in charge of the fate of Korea then, and he would be in control of his fate. Xia Lei would have this trump card in his hand then, and it was difficult to imagine what he would be able to obtain when that time came.
‘If I ask for the technology of the F35 fighter jet America sold to South Korea, Ahn Geungan would probably have to give it to me obediently then, huh?’ thought Xia Lei.
This was just a thought and out of reach in reality but just the thought of it was rather exciting.
Back in Thunder Horse Military Factory, Xia Lei’s thoughts moved away from Ahn Geungan. Ahn Geungan’s existence was just a sort of hidden investment to him. If Ahn Geungan could win in the elections then that would be good but Xia Lei wouldn’t lose anything either if he couldn’t win. The launch of the assault rifle was the most important thing for him to settle now. Time was tight, and he had to be busy for some time again.
The upper management of Thunder Horse Military Factory came to see him once he got back. Xia Xue was there too, and they were as close as ever in their meeting.
“What are you doing here instead of at school?” In his office, Xia Lei put on a stern look.
“Brother, are you so busy that you forgot? Today’s Saturday. There are no classes. I came over to help out, so you have to pay me wages.”
Xia Lei couldn’t keep the stern act. He smiled. “Didn’t I give you a card? The limit on that card is a million yuan. Is that money not enough for your expenses?”
“I’m not short on cash. I’m short on love.” Xia Xue pouted. “You, on the other hand, have signed the papers with Shentu Tianyin but I’m the last to know about it. Do you still have this little sister in your heart?”
“Don’t say things like that. Don’t you know what sort of person your brother is? How about this - we’ll go to Shentu Tianyin’s place in the evening. You can go see your sister-in-law.”
“Nn.” Xia Xue smiled then. “My sister-in-law is the wealthiest woman in China and super duper impressive. I will definitely learn a lot from her. But… I’m quite nervous about meeting such an impressive woman.”
“You silly goose. She’s your sister-in-law. She might be intimidating but she’s still your sister-in-law - what are you nervous about? Besides, she’s all fierce outside but very gentle at home. I don’t think you’ll have any problem getting along with her.”
“Okay. I’ll do some work, then we’ll go to Sister-in-law’s place after work.” Xia Xue went off happily.
Xia Lei stayed for a bit in the office, then went out too. He went to Annina’s villa. She was the only one who had not come to see him on his return. This was not because he was married to Shentu Tianyin but because she had stayed up late into the night and was exhausted.
The villa was under guard by Wu Xiaoguo and his soldiers, and not even a sparrow could fly in. However, Xia Lei had the highest authority there and he could enter and exit without any restrictions.
Xia Lei entered Annina’s room. She was in deep sleep on the bed and did not sense him entering at all. There was a large pile of drawings and documents on the desk in the room and a half-cup of already cold coffee.
Xia Lei couldn’t help the soft sigh and the tinge of guilt which hit him. He had drawn clear boundaries between himself and Annina because he wanted to be with Shentu Tianyin, but he had accepted Jiang Ruyi. Looking at it this way, it was unfair to Annina. This German woman had lost everything, clung onto him for dear life, worked for him - how could he do this to her?
However, one Shentu Tianyin and one Jiang Ruyi were enough of a headache for him. If he added one Annina to the mix, he wasn’t sure if his heart could take more messing up.
Xia Lei watched Annina silently for a while, then walked to the desk and wrote on a piece of paper with a pen: I’m back. You’re asleep so I don’t want to disturb you. Have a good rest. Don’t tire yourself out. I want to talk with you about the Gust assault rifle tomorrow.
He left Annina’s room and went to his basement laboratory.
He put the seven pieces of ancient alloy, the bronze book and the compass on his work table. His left eye twitched and Princess Yongmei appeared in his underground laboratory. She was clothless and breathtakingly beautiful.
“Don’t trap me in there again!” Princess Yongmei shouted at Xia Lei as soon as she appeared; she seemed furious.
“You…” This was his first time seeing her so angry. Xia Lei was shocked and didn’t know how to respond.
“I don’t want to stay in such a cold place ever again! Never!” Princess Yongmei seemed to be on edge and the temperature in the underground laboratory plummeted.
Some liquid left in a glass on the worktable was frozen in the blink of an eye.Previous Chapter Next Chapter