“Grandfather Tang. I didn’t expect to meet you here.” Xia Lei greeted him first, and he put a smile on his face. “Yuyan, too. You’re beautiful tonight.”
“Thank you,” said Tang Yuyan. She then looked at Shentu Tianyin and said with a smile, “Aren’t you going to introduce us?”
Tang Yunhai spoke discontentedly, “That’s right, Boy. Why didn’t you tell me you got married? And you’re not making introductions? What’s this, eh?”
Xia Lei laughed awkwardly and made introductions. “This is my wife, Shentu Tianyin.” He then gestured at Tang Yuyan and Tang Yunhai with an open palm. “Tianyin, this is Grandfather Tang of the Tang clan. This is his granddaughter, Tang Yuyan.”
Shentu Tianyin smiled faintly. “Hello, Grandfather Tang. Hello, Miss Tang.”
She said nothing more than that. She was not cold, and not friendly either; her attitude was fairly neutral. She was Shentu Tianyin, the chairperson of Vientaine Group, the wife of Xia Lei. Whichever status it was, she had not obligation to pander to anyone. There were only two men she had been gentle to in her life, and they were her father, Shentu Ren, and her husband, Xia Lei.
“She’s extraordinary indeed.” Tang Yunhai gave a sigh. “Congratulations, Xia Lei. You found a good wife.”
“Thank you,” said Xia Lei politely.
Tang Yuyan was still staring at the “Sacred Heart” necklace around Shentu Tianyin’s neck. Shentu Tianyin did not know where that necklace had come from but she knew. This made her a little jealous, because the necklace Xia Lei had given Shentu Tianyin was obviously much better than hers.
But being jealous didn’t change anything. Xia Lei was already Shentu Tianyin’s husband. Could a gift from husband to wife be worse than a gift to a friend?
At that moment, Mu Jianfeng came close with a smile of familiarity. “Time sure passed quickly, Xia Lei. When I first saw you, you were running a roadside machining shop but you’re the Chairman of Thunder Horse Group now. You’re quite an impressive young man. I rarely admire others but you are one I do admire.”
“You’re too kind, Chairman Mu,” said Xia Lei evenly.
“I am speaking the truth, not being polite.” Mu Jianfeng laughed. “Xia Lei, I’ll have to say something in caution, though. ‘An outstanding person is more likely to be attacked by the jealous’ and ‘the wind shall make the forest bow’. You’re still young and you lack these experiences. I do look favourably upon you, young man, and I hope that you will make the right decisions in certain matters. Do not act on emotions.”
His words were subtly hinting at something but Xia Lei understood what he meant. Xia Lei laughed. “Thank you for your kind words, Chairman Mu. What you say does sound reasonable, but those are old ideals. The times are changing now, and I prefer the new lines of thought.”
“Oh, I’m interested. Tell me about them,” said Mu Jianfeng.
“Our country is reforming, and the market is also rapidly maturing. Some people want to monopolise the market for the benefit of a few and hinder the progress of the nation. This is undoubtedly a situation where one has overrated himself and is attempting the impossible, and also self-destruction,” said Xia Lei.
Mu Jianfeng’s face darkened. He understood what Xia Lei was getting at.
“Heh heh, what’s going on?” Tang Yunhai laughed. “I’m a practitioner of martial arts and I dislike these philosophical mumblings. Let’s just drink.”
Tang Yuyan waved and a waiter walked over with a serving tray.
Each of them got a glass of red wine, clinked glasses and drank. This looked like a scene of harmony, but each person had his or her own thoughts and plans.
“Miss Tianyin, your necklace is beautiful. It’s very valuable, isn’t it?” Tang Yuyan stood opposite Shentu Tianyin and started some girly chit-chat.
Shentu Tianyin spoke evenly, “My husband gave this to me and it is indeed very valuable. Oh yes, your necklace is not bad either. Where did you buy it from?”
“Oh, I didn’t buy it. Someone gave it to me as a gift.” Tang Yuyan glanced at Xia Lei and giggled. “Xia Lei gave it to me.”
Xia Lei had a fierce and sudden headache. Tang Yuyan had done this on purpose, and it was not the first time either. She had written “Tang Yuyan was here” on his buttocks the last time, and specially arranged for her subordinate to send him home to Shentu Tianyin. She had done that to make it known to Shentu Tianyin, hadn’t she? And it was plain to see now that Tang Yuyan still harboured feelings for Xia Lei even though he was married to Shentu Tianyin, and she was causing trouble for him whenever she could. He knew her motives, but he could not do anything about it.
How was Shentu Tianyin going to react to such a challenge?
Mu Jianfeng had a faint smile on his face as he looked on in schadenfreude.
Tang Yunhai gave Tang Yuyan a glare, but he did not say anything to his grandchild.
Only Xia Lei was nervous, and he couldn’t help observing the change in Shentu Tianyin’s expression out of the corner of his eye. He had a clear conscience about giving Tang Yuyan the necklace, since she had gone through life-and-death situations in Afghanistan with him. He had taken the gems from Princess Yongmei’s tomb and he didn’t want to take them all, so he had given some to Tang Yuyan. Additionally, he had also given gems to Long Bing and Annina, all as gifts. However, he was unable to do anything about it if Shentu Tianyin attached some other meaning to these gifts.
Everyone was looking at Shentu Tianyin’s reaction. She reached out a hand and held Xia Lei’s arm. She smiled faintly as she said breezily, “Well, it’s fortunate that he’s given me the most valuable, or I’d be jealous.”
These words almost made Tang Yuyan choke.
Xia Lei let out a breath of relief. Before he could calm down, however, Shentu Tianyin quietly pinched him on his waist. This pinch was hard, and it stung.
She said she was not jealous but it was a lie. She could tell that the necklace Xia Lei had given Tang Yuyan was worth millions at least. In a normal context, a man giving a woman such an expensive necklace was not something normal at all. She was not magnanimous enough to allow Xia Lei to visit several flowers at once, much less this wildflower called Tang Yuyan, who was trying to challenge this cultured rose that was Shentu Tianyin.
A wry smile appeared in the corners of Xia Lei’s mouth. He was starting to regret bringing Shentu Tianyin to this banquet now.
Just at that moment, music started in the grand hall, and quite a few guests begun to ballroom dance on the dance floor.
Tang Yuyan smiled. “Would you care for a dance, Xia Lei?”
Shentu Tianyin’s expression was ice itself. She could see that this Tang Yuyan liked her husband, and it wasn’t a normal level of ‘like’ either! How dare this Tang Yuyan try to challenge the relationship between her and Xia Lei so openly like this!
Shentu Tianyin glanced at Xia Lei, and some nervousness sprang in her heart.
Xia Lei gave a cough. “Uh, Yuyan, my foot’s lame. I can’t dance. So sorry.”
“Your foot’s lame? You looked perfectly fine earlier.” Tang Yuyan was not giving up.
Xia Lei did not want to say more about it and he changed the topic. “Grandfather Tang, you’re not in the arms dealing business. Why have you come today?”
“I am a martial artist, and also a military man. I like weapons. Our country is holding such a large weapons exhibition, so of course I’ll come to participate in the activities. I heard the sniper rifle you’re producing is good, Boy. I hope I see it at the exhibition tomorrow. Oh, right, do you have a testing range? I want to try out your Thunder Horse Military Factory guns tomorrow,” said Tang Yunhai.
“Of course. Our company will provide the best customer service for our clients, and that includes a live test. Only guns which have been properly tested live are the best guns.”
Tang Yuyan seemed to remember something. “Oh, right, I remember you developed an assault rifle. It was very impressive. Will you be bringing it out at the exhibition tomorrow?”
She seemed to have stopped meddling in his love affairs.
“Of course I will. It is our company’s main item. My plan is to take over the domestic market, then enter the international military market. The American and European manufacturers have dominated this market for too long. I want to show the world the true capabilities of Chinese manufacturing, and let the world hear our voice.”
Mu Jianfeng had a mysterious smile on his face, and he spoke lightly. “Young man, it’s good to have ideals but not all your ideals will become reality. I think you’ve set your target too high, and you won’t even be able to dominate the domestic market. Don’t forget that Thunder Horse Military Factory’s influence is not even a tenth of Hanwu Weapons’. From what I know, Hanwu Weapons will also have an excellent product that they’re going to showcase at the exhibition. They are confident that they will get that large order from the Chinese military.”
“Elder Mu, that’s not right. This world belongs to the young’uns. Our Chinese youth should have their own ideas and the daring to carry them out, to fight. If their ideals and drive are taken away, then what can our country do? How will it grow strong?” said Tang Yunhai.
Mu Jianfeng did not argue with Tang Yunhai.
A staff member of the exhibition walked over just then and handed a letter to Xia Lei. “Mr Xia, this is the booth space that the management has assigned to Thunder Horse Military Factory. Please take a look. You can let your people enter the exhibition area to start setting up the booth after the banquet.”
“Thank you,” said Xia Lei.
“You’re welcome.” The staff member walked off.
Xia Lei opened the letter. There was the layout of the exhibition area in there, and Thunder Horse Military Factory had been assigned to a far-off corner next to the public toilets. The booth space was also pitifully small.
This was outright insulting!
“How can they do something like this?” Shentu Tianyin was angry too.
Mu Jianfeng did not even look at the paper. “Xia Lei, how about I talk to someone to see if you can get assigned to another space?”
Xia Lei took a deep breath and did his best to calm the flames of anger in his heart. “You must know something of this, Chairman Mu. It’s all right. There’s no need for you to speak on my behalf. I am confident that I can still triumph and win that big military contract even if my booth is in the toilet.”
“Oh, really. Then congratulations in advance. Hehehe.” Mu Jianfeng chuckled.
“Hubby, accompany me to the bathroom,” said Shentu Tianyin softly.
Xia Lei nodded, and he walked towards the bathrooms with Shentu Tianyin on his arm.
Tang Yuyan watched Xia Lei’s legs and pursed her lips. “His leg’s totally fine, yet he says it’s lame. Really. He’s even accompanying Shentu Tianyin to the bathroom. What a henpecked man.”
Tang Yunhai gave Tang Yuyan a glare. “You wench. Why are you trying to cause trouble for Xia Lei in front of Shentu Tianyin? I know you like Xia Lei but this is not the way to show how you like him. This is foolishness, you know that? If you keep doing this you’ll ruin your chances of getting the man, and even ruin your friendship with him.”
Tang Yuyan sighed. “I’m just not willing to give up. Okay, okay, I know what to do. I won’t act like this again.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter