Someone had leaked the secret of Annina working at Thunder Horse Military Factory. This person’s motives were definitely negative, as he was targeting Xia Lei and Thunder Horse Military Factory. But after Xia Lei’s intervention, it turned into a good thing. If this were successful, and if he could use the methods that he possessed to obtain Germany’s Eurofighter Typhoon’s engine technology, then he would have contributed even more to the country.
The official negotiations had not yet begun, but both parties were already preparing for it.
However, Xia Lei did not need to do these preparations. He would only act as an essential person to the negotiation. But before that, he had something that he needed to do himself, and that was to continue working on his Alloy X Project.
In the next few days, other than dealing with some important company affairs, Xia Lei kept himself locked in the laboratory under the villa, researching the ancient alloy. In these two days, he’d put steel bars, chopsticks, paper, plastic, and so on in the box. But no matter what material the object was made of, the result was the same. They would disappear in the box and then reappear after one minute. The objects which reappeared all looked as if they’d gone through a thousand years with extreme weathering. Some were reduced to powder, and some were heavily damaged.
As for Princess Yongmei, Xia Lei had tried to summon her at least 20 times, to no avail.
She had disappeared mysteriously just like that. He didn’t know if she’d disappeared completely or if something had happened to her. She could be waiting somewhere for a chance to come back to this world. But no matter what it was, Xia Lei could do nothing about it now.
He could not find the next treasure site, could not assemble a complete box, nor analyze the composition of the ancient alloy. Even Princess Yongmei had disappeared, and this made Xia Lei’s research come to a state of stagnation.
“Is it just gonna end like this?” Xia Lei looked at the two things on his work table — the incomplete ancient alloy box, and the bronze book, and gloom settled over him. He felt it unsatisfactory to end the project as it was, not only because it could revitalise this country’s aerospace industry, but for his own reasons as well.
The ancient alloy pieces were a mystery, but was his body not one as well?
‘Wait...I think I forgot another clue.’ A button in his head suddenly clicked when he was unable to make any progress, and his eyes moved to the alloy necklace around his neck.
Ancient alloy, Ming dynasty compass, the bronze book, the AE capsule... These things were not from the same era but they all shared one similarity. They all had something to do with AE.
Xia Lei took out the AE capsule inside the alloy necklace, and placed it on his workbench. His workbench now held three things related to AE — the ancient alloy box, the bronze book, and the AE capsule. If the Ming dynasty compass were here as well, then all the four things related to AE would be gathered in one place.
Looking at the three things on the table, Xia Lei smiled wryly. ‘I guess I’m one of them too. The ancient alloy box, bronze book, AE capsule, Ming dynasty compass, plus me. That’s five things related to AE.’
He didn’t mind thinking of himself as an “object” in this kind of situation.
He stood there silently for a while, then opened the last AE capsule and poured the powder out onto a sheet of paper.
The powder just looked like normal powder in the eyes if one looked at it normally. But in Xia Lei’s left eye, the powder seemed comprised of tiny crystals, each looking like moonlit gemstones which jewellers had cut and polished. Amongst the pure white were bits of blue light, very faint and difficult to see with the naked eye. What was stranger was that each “gem” had the same volume, the same hexagonal prism, and even their luster was identical.
This wasn’t Xia Lei’s first time studying this AE capsule. He had used his X-ray vision on it before but this was his first time studying it with his zoom-in vision.
Looking at the powder on the piece of paper, Xia Lei suddenly got a wild thought, ‘Could Princess Yongmei be hiding in one of these grains of powder? She’s a form of energy, so she could shrink unimaginably small. If this hypothesis is true, wouldn’t this mean that I would be eating her if I ate this powder?’
As soon as this idea settled in his head, another one popped out.
‘My research is at a standstill. If I eat this last AE capsule, what kind of changes would happen to my body? Would those unknown changes give me new clues?’ This idea gave Xia Lei an impulse to eat the capsule right away.
This impulse was very strong, and the magical, hexagonal gemstone-like powder were shining with a tempting light. Impulse and temptation took him, and Xia Lei’s head moved slowly toward the piece of paper on his workbench. Slowly, slowly, closer and closer. He stuck out his tongue. He only needed to give a light lick for the powder to go in his body...
Ring ring ring, ring ring ring!
His phone suddenly rang.
Xia Lei came to his senses with a start, and took two steps back. He stared blankly at the pile of powder and thought to himself, ‘What was wrong with me? It’s the last capsule. How would I study it if I ate it? It made my body evolve, but if my evolution has already reached the max that my body could bear and I still hastily eat it, I could end up not getting any benefits, but be destroyed!’
Once something reaches its maximum capacity, the effects would be reversed. This wasn’t an old philosophy, but the law of nature.
Organisms get strong, then weaken. Life starts with birth and ends with death. No one can escape this law of nature.
He had consumed the AE capsules, and obtained some incredible superpowers. His eye, his brain, and his body’s auto detoxification and super immune ability, and maybe more he did not know about — these were not abilities he was born with. They had been given to him by the capsule. The him now could still live life like a normal person, but there’s a possibility that if he took the last AE capsule and evolved to the last stage, he would turn into an unknown form. And when that happened, he would not be able to live life as he was living now.
This possibility of this occurring was fairly high. The reason was simple — he had surpassed the law of nature, so he was no longer part of the natural world.
It was not just the law of nature — even if you were to explain this possibility using “birds of a feather flock together,” the risks of consuming the last capsule so hastily was also very high. A simple example would be that a single goat definitely wouldn’t survive in a wolf pack. A billionaire definitely won’t live in dirty and smelly slum.
Princess Yongmei had always said he was ‘The One’. This actually was also an example, a warning!
Ring ring ring, ring ring ring...
The phone kept ringing.
Xia Lei shook his head hard, and calmed himself. He took out his phone. It was Ling Han calling.
“What are you doing?” was Lin Han’s first sentence.
“I’m in the laboratory,” said Xia Lei.
“Quickly come out, the negotiators from Germany have arrived. I brought to your company, so hurry up and get ready to receive them. If it goes well, we can get this done by today. Oh, right, we’re in your office,” said Ling Han.
“Okay, I’ll be right out.” Xia Lei hung up.
A few minutes later, Xia Lei walked out of the villa. The alloy necklace was back around his neck, and the last AE capsule hidden in the pendant as always.
Maybe he would eat the last AE capsule, but definitely not now.
Arriving at the office, Xia Lei saw Ling Han and some negotiators from the Chinese side, as well as negotiators from Germany. The members from both parties added up were enough for a football match. Annina was among them, and Alida was discussing something with her in a low voice. She looked a little nervous.
Xia Lei’s gaze suddenly stopped on one of the Germans’ faces, and he was stunned. This person was Josef, Germany’s top electrical engineer, and a talented mechanic. Josef’s presence surprised him, yet didn’t at the same time. He was surprised, but looking at the current situation, it was not surprising that Germany had sent someone who had created Germany’s most advanced intelligent lathe to inspect Thunder Horse Military Factory’s products, so Josef’s arrival was quite normal indeed.
Josef did not see Xia Lei who appeared in the doorway. His eyes were fixed on Annina. He liked Annina and this was something which had not changed to this day.
It was Philip who saw Xia Lei first. He greeted him warmly. “Mr Xia, we meet again.”
Everyone in the room looked at Xia Lei, including Josef.
Josef looked at Xia Lei with a complicated look in his eyes. Xia Lei had been killed in his house! Shot down! But now he was here in front of him, and as China’s “Father of Rifles” too!
Xia Lei avoided Josef’s gaze. He smiled and greeted Philip. “Mr Philip, you guys sure are quick. Why didn’t you send notice before coming? I could’ve prepared for your arrival. Look, you came so suddenly that we didn’t have anything prepared to greet you.”
Philip said, “This was not up to me.”
“Xia Lei, get your workers to move out. The German party wants a tour of your workshop,” said Ling Han.
“No problem, I’ll tell them to have a meeting in the hall.” Xia Lei walked to the front of his desk and called Qin Xiang with the landline.
He knew what Ling Han’s intention was. The negotiations this time were very important, and very special, so it couldn’t be done in public. They could only talk about covertly. The result of this negotiation would also not be reported anywhere.
Once the workers left, Xia Lei brought the members of the German party away from the office building and towards the workshop.
Josef walked up to Annina, lowered his voice and said in German, “Annina, what’s going on here? Didn’t he die? How’s he alive?”
“This… I don’t know either. Oh yeah, how’s your mother doing these days?” said Annina.
“My mother? She’s good. Oh yeah, is he Lukas?”
“No way. Lukas is dead.”
“But they look exactly the same.”
“Chinese people all look pretty similar. Sometimes I can’t distinguish them either. Oh yeah, how’s your father?”
Josef was speechless.Previous Chapter Next Chapter