Xia Lei. This name blew about the world like a raging wind. The online searches for ‘Xia Lei and Gust assault rifle’ and XL2500 sniper rifle’ increased by the tens of millions. His picture, and images of the Gust assault rifle and XL2500 sniper rifle appeared on all the online and paper print media outlets.
Father of Rifles – this was the honorary title which China had bestowed upon him. This title also became the most cited keyword by the media.
All this extensive reporting meant that Xia Lei’s background was also dug up. Ordinary family, ordinary school, and only a high school diploma. His history of working on construction sites and his love life was also made public, and that made him a great aspiring figure to millions of youths. His inspirational life experiences also became an example for parents educating their children.
This sort of idolisation was not celebrity idol worship, since Xia Lei’s skills and capabilities were not the same as those so-called celebrities.
The launch of the Gust assault rifle seemed to place Xia Lei on an insurmountable peak. However, he knew that his journey had just begun, and he did not know where this road ended.
Bureau 101 Headquarters, Shi Boren’s office.
“Haha!” Shi Boren gave Xia Lei a rare hug. His serious face wrinkled with a smile, like a big happy child. “Boy, Boy! I have no words for your greatness. Our nation is honoured to have a talent like you!”
Xia Lei smiled too. “You’re praising me too much, Boss Shi. It is my honour to do what I can for the nation. And can you let me go? My bones are creaking.”
“Eh… my boy!” Shi Boren released Xia Lei and clapped him on the shoulder.
Xia Lei wrinkled his brows. That hurt.
Long Bing and Tang Yuyan looked wordless at the two men.
“Then you tell me.” Shi Boren looked at Xia Lei. “Everyone now knows that Ye Kun stole your technical drawings and manufactured the Shenwu assault rifle, but how is it that the Shenwu assault rifle’s performance is so much worse than the Gust assault rifle when it looks exactly the same?”
“Simple. I designed a shock absorber that’s right in the Gust assault rifle. It can reduce the recoil produced by shooting, and provide a stable shooting experience over sustained firing, even at high speeds. The gun barely even shakes,” said Xia Lei.
“I see. You’re a genius, Boy,” Shi Boren said admiringly.
Tang Yuyan said, “Uh, Xia Lei, the drawings you gave Ye Kun didn’t have the shock absorber, did they? You made this gun quite powerful so it was no wonder Hanwu Weapons’ assault rifle had problems without the shock absorber.”
Xia Lei laughed. “Give? He stole them, okay?”
Tang Yuyan pursed her lips. “Shentu Tianyin taught you bad habits. She was the one who came up with this, wasn’t she?”
She seemed to have a deep-rooted dislike for Shentu Tianyin to have linked this shortcoming to her. Xia Lei was perturbed by this and did not comment. The more Tang Yuyan behaved like this, the less he liked her.
How would his life had changed if he had chosen Tang Yuyan?
This question seemed moot, but he could not help thinking this whenever he met with Tang Yuyan. He would also recall the time he’d spent with her in Afghanistan, in Moscow and in Jerusalem.
A woman who had gone through bullet-rain and fire with you, who had been through great danger with you, and loved you deeply – could you forget her?
Some men could, but Xia Lei could not.
“Hey, how Shentu Tianyin is living life with Xia Lei is their own matter as husband and wife. Let’s not talk about that.” Long Bing of few words finally spoke up. She handed an envelope in her hand to Xia Lei. “It’s all prepared. Take a look. It’s what you need for your trip to Japan.”
Xia Lei opened the envelope and looked at its contents. A health insurance certificate, a driving license, a set of keys and two bank cards, one from the Central Bank of Japan and one from Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ.
The name on all these documents was ‘Katou Takasuke’ and the face was of another man too – the face of Katou Takasuke, who had made a USD 200,000,000 deal with Hanwu Weapons.
Xia Lei looked at the items and said, “There’s still a week to go. I’ll make preparations to leave in this week.”
Shi Boren laughed. “I don’t have to worry at all when you’re on the job. I’ll just wait to celebrate when you come back.”
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “You sure are relaxed, Boss Shi. Japan seems peaceful but it’s only because of support from America. This trip to Japan will be more dangerous than the one to Jerusalem.”
“That’s no problem. I believe in you.” Shi Boren reached out to clap Xia Lei on the shoulder, but he dodged. Shi Boren wrinkled his brows. “There’s still a week to go, but you have to make a decision now. Who’s going to be your support – Tang Yuyan or Long Bing?”
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing’s eyes went to Xia Lei, full of expectation.
Xia Lei was put on the spot. “I have to make this decision so early?”
“Of course. Decide on the person early and she’ll be able to prepare too,” said Shi Boren.
“Then I’ll…” Xia Lei looked at Tang Yuyan, then at Long Bing. He bit the bullet and said, “I’ll pick Long Bing.”
A smile appeared on Long Bing’s face.
“That was deliberate, wasn’t it, Xia Lei?” said Tang Yuyan huffily.
Xia Lei avoided her eyes, clueless as to how to explain it to her. He’d chosen Long Bing for the simple reason that Tang Yuyan was still trying to claim him as hers. An example of this was the previous experience of her writing ‘Tang Yuyan was here’ on his buttocks. If they went to Japan, just them, and Tang Yuyan went all out to ‘claim’ him… and if he couldn’t resist her temptations and something happened between them… The first to know would probably be Shentu Tianyin. He was sure that Tang Yuyan would do something like this.
There won’t be this sort of problem if he chose Long Bing.
Long Bing didn’t stay silent though Xia Lei said nothing. “What do you mean by that, Yuyan? Do you mean that he has to choose you?”
“You want a fight, Long Bing?” Tang Yuyan was in a bad mood.
Shi Boren coughed. “Okay, okay, you’re going on a mission, not a honeymoon. What’s there to fight about? Get out, all of you. I don’t want to see you.”
The three younger people left his office, and Tang Yuyan grabbed Xia Lei’s hand as soon as they stepped out. “Fine, don’t choose me. Give me one Gust assault rifle. No, two. One for my brother.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
An hour later, Xia Lei returned to Shentu Tianyin’s home.
Shentu Tianyin had gone to bed. Xia Lei sneaked quietly in and put a cloth bag on the bedside table. Shentu Tianyin awoke abruptly and switched the light on to look sleepily at Xia Lei. “Geeze, that Bureau 101 boss… His talk with you went on to this hour? Can’t he talk tomorrow?”
“Bureau 101 is not a normal department. There are no set working hours.” Xia Lei slid under the covers as he spoke.
It was warm under the covers and the sheets smelt of Shentu Tianyin’s mesmerising fragrance.
Xia Lei pulled the cloth bag over and put it on the covers.
Shentu Tianyin reached out to touch it. “It’s hard. What is it?”
Xia Lei grinned. “It’s hard. What do you think it is?”
Shentu Tianyin recalled the words she said, and pinched Xia Lei in embarrassment. “You perv! I’m talking about normal things. What are you talking about?”
Xia Lei kept a straight face as he said, “I was talking about normal things too, wasn’t I?”
“You did that on purpose, didn’t you?” Shentu Tianyin blushed.
Xia Lei up-ended the cloth bag, spilling its contents out on the covers.
They were gemstone necklaces. Various gems, gold, silver, and jade tumbled onto the covers, sparkling under the light.
“Wow…” Shentu Tianyin was the richest woman in China, but she was still stunned at the sight of all these precious gems. Her eyes glittered as she looked at the gemstone necklaces.
These necklaces were what were left after Xia Lei had picked some out as gifts, but every one was valuable and had high monetary value.
“You said the last time that I should leave this in your care. They’re yours now,” said Xia Lei.
Shentu Tianyin couldn’t help laughing. “I won’t have to buy necklaces for the rest of my life. Oh, this one’s for Xue. This one too. This shall be for our daughter when she gets married, and this for our son when he gets a wife…”
Xia Lei looked quietly at her, at her excitement, at her happiness. His heart was peaceful too, and content.
“Eh? How do you put these two gold flowers on?” Shentu Tianyin lifted two exquisitely made gold roses up, curious.
These two flowers looked like they were in the shape of ancient uncovered oil lamps, but there were two circular indentations in the gold flowers, and it looked like something could be placed inside.
Xia Lei whispered the answer to her.
Shentu Tianyin let out a short huff. “How shameless. I didn’t think the people in ancient times did things like this and that they actually designed this.”
Xia Lei laughed. “China was the most advanced civilisation for thousands of years. Ancient Chinese culture is not as backward as you think.”
Shentu Tianyin abruptly thrust the flowers in Xia Lei’s hands, then looked him straight in the eye. “What are you waiting for? Put it on for me and let’s test it out.”
Xia Lei was speechless.Previous Chapter Next Chapter