Liang Siyao disappeared from the hospital like a fish slipping into the sea. She’d vanished.
Liang Siyao’s appearance gave Xia Lei something to think about, but he did not try to go look for her, nor meet with Liang Zhengchun. He had to be careful with how he was going to handle matters related to his father, Xia Changhe, and matters related to Liang Siyao. He had no choice in the matter, and it had to be this way.
The German engineers arrived in China on the eighth day of the first month.
And on that same day, Xia Lei went with Ling Han to a military compound. The German engineers had been assigned to this military compound; it was a sort of safety precaution to not let the Germans stay at a hotel. This exchange between the two countries was not something which could be disclosed, after all.
Xia Lei met with Philip and his assistant, Alida, in a meeting room in the military compound. There was also the leader of the engineering team, a man named Frank. He was one of the key engineers involved in the design and production of the Eurofighter Typhoon engine.
Both sides shook hands formally.
Frank had an odd look in his eyes when he looked at Xia Lei. When he shook hands with Xia Lei, he said, “Mr Xia, I’d thought that you would be a man in his forties or older. Your youthfulness is unexpected. The XL2500 sniper rifle and Gust assault rifles which you designed surprised me. You truly are a genius.”
Xia Lei was used to praise like this. He responded politely, “You are too kind, Mr Frank. I am just good at the mechanical aspects of this. I’m no genius.”
Frank laughed and said, “You are too humble, Mr Xia. How will we work with each other?”
This modesty was also pride.
Xia Lei gave him a smile. He waited for Ling Han to talk with Philip, and confirm when he would be going to Germany. This was also the reason why he had come with Ling Han to meet the German engineers.
The pleasantries were over, and both parties went to business.
“Our people are here, so according to our agreement, your side has to provide adequate security, and have appropriate confidentiality measures in place, as well as cover all of the expenses which our team would incur. Our engineers will start work immediately, once you have settled on a location to build the workshop.” Philip looked at Ling Han. “Are there any problems, Mr Ling?”
“No problems. We have chosen the location. There are also no problems with security and confidentiality measures. You can rest assured, Mr Philip,” said Ling Han.
Philip’s gaze went to Xia Lei. “So when will you be able to go to Germany, Mr Xia?”
Xia Lei thought for a bit. “In about a week. I’d like to go to Germany after the 15th. I would also need to make some arrangements.”
“That won’t do. Mr Xia, our people are already here, but you’re still in China. We don’t mind if you’re going to delay your departure for a few days, but please understand that this is a very important matter, and that my superiors are not that patient,” said Philip.
“When would you like me to depart, then?” said Xia Lei.
“Tomorrow. A plane going straight to Germany has been arranged,” said Philip.
“This…” Xia Lei was hesitant. Leaving tomorrow was outside of his calculations.
“Do as arranged, Xia Lei. The German side has already come here, so we should be sincere and reciprocate too. I understand if you’re worried about not having anyone to manage your company. How about this — you get your wife to manage your business for a bit. She is highly capable. Won’t you rest assured, then?”
Xia Lei could not put it off. He nodded. “All right. I’ll go back right now and make the arrangements. I shall go to Germany tomorrow.”
When he had to leave in the past, Thunder Horse Group was left without a leader, and the management fell to Qin Xiang, Zhou Xiaohong and Guan Lingshan, the people who had been there when the company had been founded. He was married to Shentu Tianyin now, he truly did not have to worry that Thunder Horse Group would be without a leader. Shentu Tianyin was very capable and fully able to manage Thunder Horse Group in his stead. She might even be better at it than him.
“That’s settled, then.” Philip stretched out a hand to Xia Lei and said with a smile, “The flight leaves at ten in the morning tomorrow. It will go straight to Germany, to Essen City. That is Annina’s hometown, and you can take her with you. There will be people to receive you on that end, of course.”
Xia Lei shook hands with Philip. “All right, then I’ll set off tomorrow. I hope we have a successful collaboration.”
“I hope we have a successful collaboration too. Goodbye, Mr Xia,” said Philip.
Xia Lei turned and left, and Ling Han went after him. “I’ll send you off.”
Xia Lei knew he had something to say, so he did not refuse. He slowed his walk to the car park.
Ling Han spoke as they walked. “I know you’re a little worried about safety, and honestly, I’m worried too, especially since Europe and America are so close they can share a pair of trousers. They wouldn’t dare to make any bold moves this time, however. If you get detained by the Germans, or by the Americans, we will detain their German engineers, and make our exchange public. The Germans will not be able to take the backlash from this, so you can rest assured.”
“Are you trying to reassure me?” Xia Lei gave a laugh. “Brother Ling, my major worries have been washed away by your words. Great. You can return to them. I’ll do a beautiful job on this.”
Ling Han patted Xia Lei on the shoulder. “You go about your own business, then. Remember to stop by Bureau 101 when you’re done. As for who you’re bringing on this mission… I won’t ask. Boss Shi will make the arrangements.”
“Goodbye.” Xia Lei left.
Who was he going to take with him? This question had plagued Xia Lei for the past few days. He wanted most to take Long Bing with him to Germany, and it was a must for him to take Annina. She had been away from her hometown for quite some time, so she should return to it. Plus, he wanted to help her realise her dream, and this was a chance for him to do so. It would be fairly difficult for him to go to Germany again and help her realise her dream if he missed this opportunity.
Long Bing and Annina were pretty much confirmed on the list of people going to Germany, and there was just one who was unconfirmed — Tang Yuyan.
Tang Yuyan definitely wanted to go, whether it was because of politics or some other reason. But if he brought Tang Yuyan, he would have no idea how he’d handle three women. Annina was his friend with benefits, and the type one couldn’t shake off too. Long Bing was his lover, and he had deep feelings and a close relationship with her. If it were just Annina and Long Bing who were coming along, then he would have little to no problems, because Long Bing wouldn’t be jealous even if he slept with Annina. Annina wouldn’t complain either if he slept with Long Bing. However, the situation would get complicated if Tang Yuyan was added to the mix. She was grabbing at evidence of his indiscretions, so would she let go of any evidence on this trip to Germany?
Just thinking of it gave Xia Lei a headache.
Xia Lei drove straight to Vientaine Group’s headquarters in Jingdu, to Angel Wings Building.
Shentu Tianyin was in her office, reading and old wire-bound book. She was so absorbed in it that she did not notice that Xia Lei had gone to her side.
Xia Lei went behind her, and reached out and covered her eyes. He deliberately changed his voice and said, “Guess who.”
Shentu Tianyin giggled. “The bodyguards at the door didn’t stop you, and you dare come in here and cover my eyes? This pervert here is surnamed Xia, isn’t he?”
Xia Lei moved his hands away from Shentu Tianyin’s eyes and said, “When did I become a pervert?”
Shentu Tianyin rolled her eyes at him. “Aren’t you? You’ve become a little too much for me, ever since we came back from the check-up.”
The topic, and her soft voice made Xia Lei have an urge. He put his arms around her slender shoulders. “What are you reading?”
“A medical book. I got Uncle Fu to get it for me,” said Shentu Tianyin. “There are some Chinese herb percentage combinations in here which can make you stronger.”
“To make which part of me stronger?”
“Oh, you! Over there.” Shentu Tianyin moved her elbow back to touch Xia Lei.
Xia Lei had a smirk on his face. “Aren’t I strong enough?”
“I’d still like to be pregnant with our child as soon as possible. Father nags at me every day, and I am so annoyed,” said Shentu Tianyin. “Sometimes I suspect that he’s the reincarnation of Tangseng.”
They flirted for a bit, and Xia Lei let go of Shentu Tianyin. He cut straight to the chase. “Wifey, I have to go to Germany tomorrow.”
“Huh?” Shentu Tianyin paused. “What are you going to Germany for?”
“I was notified at the last minute. This is very important to our nation. I can’t tell you what I’m going to Germany for right now, but I will tell you later,” said Xia Lei.
“It’s all right, I understand.”
“Could you help me manage Thunder Horse Group while I’m away?”
“Of course. You are my husband, and your company is my company. Who else is going to manage it, if not me? Don’t worry about it and go. I’ll take care of things here,” said Shentu Tianyin. She was clingy when she should be, and not clingy when she shouldn’t. She was accommodating and generous, and open-minded. This was one of her charms too.
“Time’s tight. I have to go to Bureau 101 now so I won’t be hanging around. I’m off,” said Xia Lei.
Shentu Tianyin stood and gave Xia Lei a kiss. Her eyes were filled with reluctance and a yearning. “Will you be back tonight?”
Xia Lei nodded. “Of course.”
“Go, then. I’ll be waiting for you at home,” said Shentu Tianyin.
Xia Lei gave Shentu Tianyin a reluctant look too, then turned and left her office.
Xia Lei arrived at Bureau 101 half an hour later. He walked into Shi Boren’s office to find that Tang Yuyan, Long Bing, and Tang Bochuan were all inside.
As soon as Xia Lei stepped through the door, Tang Bochuan said, “Xia Bro, I won’t cause you any trouble. Treat me like air, okay? I withdraw. Just pick two to go with you.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“Big Brother Lei.” Tang Yuyan’s voice was as sweet as honey. “You’re so handsome today.”
Xia Lei laughed dryly. “Come on, stop that. It’s making me uncomfortable.”
Shi Boren suddenly spoke up. “I agree with Bochuan’s suggestion. Xia Lei, take Long Bing and Tang Yuyan with you on this trip to Germany.”
“Boss Shi, this…”
“What’s this? This is an order.” Shi Boren’s tone was stern. “That’s decided, then. I’m sending two beauties with you on your mission, Boy. What problem do you have with that?”
Xia Lei didn’t know what to say.
“Let me warn you, Boy, that I am sending Bureau 101’s two most beautiful girls with you. You’d better keep a tight hold on yourself, and not make any political mistakes. If you try to act like James Bond and mess around, I’m going to make you pay when you come back!”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“Dismissed!” Shi Boren slipped out the door before Xia Lei could speak, and was gone so quickly not even his shadow remained.
Tang Bochuan had slipped away too.
There was just Long Bing, Tang Yuyan and Xia Lei left in the office.
The two women looked at Xia Lei, and Xia Lei looked back at them.
No one spoke.
This was a strange scene indeed.Previous Chapter Next Chapter