Rihanna was tall and full-figured. She had a pointed chin, thick lips, and big eyes, with eyeshadow on her eyelids. Her image was always associated with sexiness, and she looked like those bad girls on the streets who liked tattoos, cigarettes, and alcohol. She was representative of Western pop culture, and her songs held a type of energy which could cross global cultural barriers, resonating easily with youths.
Xia Lei liked the song she and Eminem had sung together, “The Monster”. This was also why he had been willing to step away from the painting to meet her. Another reason was that Shentu Tianyin knew many celebrities within the country, but he knew none. If he and Rihanna became friends, he would have more entertainment circle topics to talk about with Shentu Tianyin.
It was pure romance before they got married, but it wasn’t the same anymore after they were married. They still needed to live their lives, and these lives required them to run their businesses.
“Hello, Miss Rihanna.” Xia Lei smiled and stretched his hand out first. “Pleasure to meet you.”
Rihanna shook hands with Xia Lei and she smiled too. “Mr Xia, China’s Father of Rifles. I didn’t expect you to be this young. I saw some news about you on the internet but I didn’t think that I would meet you here.”
“Hm, what did America’s media say about me?” Xia Lei casually found a topic of conversation.
“They say that you’re a genius and the smartest person in the world.”
“They said that about me? Heh, I don’t think so. I’m just a normal person. Oh, I’m also your fan. I really enjoy listening to your songs.”
“Oh? Which of my songs have you heard?”
“The Monster, the song you sang with Eminem. There’s also “Princess of China”, which you and Coldplay collaborated on. I like your songs a lot.”
Rihanna smiled a faint, enchanting smile. “It looks like you really do listen to my songs. I am honoured that you like it. I really like guns because they give people power and a feeling of security. I have had an eye on your Gust assault rifle for a while now, and I’ve always wanted one but couldn’t buy one in America. Could you give me one, Mr Xia?”
Xia Lei smiled. “Of course. But I can’t go to America and personally give this to you. I can’t mail the gun to America either. How about this? If you have time, you can go to the United Arab Emirates. Prince Khalifa is my friend. I can give him a call, and he will fulfil your request on my behalf.”
“Prince Khalifa is your friend?” Rihanna looked a little shocked.
“Yes. You can go to Argentina too. I have some friendly relations with one of Argentina’s military generals. I can also get him to fulfil your request.”
Rihanna was speechless.
Xia Lei’s friends were just a group of struggling workmates on the construction site about three years ago. His junior and senior high schools friends had all got better connected friends, and he was even afraid of attending class reunions, because what awaited him at those events were eye-rolls and scorn. Now, however, he was standing in the house of the CEO of Rheinmetall AG, chatting with the international celebrity, Rihanna. The friends he mentioned were either the Prince of the Middle East or the South American general — he was very popular. Life is like a drama for Xia Lei.
Mueller was a world-class football star too. He was fairly famous, but his stardom was overshadowed when he stood next to Xia Lei.
Sylvia, who had introduced Rihanna and Xia Lei, was left out in the cold too, but she was not discomforted by it at all. This is because the two people chatting in front of her were her idol and the man she had a favourable opinion of. The Xia Lei who chatted cheerfully and wittily had an aura which was powerful, perfect, and natural. She looked at Xia Lei, and there was a faint excitement in her eyes.
He had a net worth of ten billion and was a handsome and cheery man who had become China’s Father of Rifles in his twenties. The Thunder House Group, which he founded, was the arms dealing world’s super dark horse. He was destined to be the one who attracted the opposite gender the most, no matter what events he appeared in.
While he conversed with Rihanna, Xia Lei’s gaze shifted out the window.
Outside the garden’s fences, a Chevrolet Suburban came slowly to a stop by the road. The car doors were opened and some people in black suits alighted. One of them said something into a walkie-talkie.
Almost an instinct, Xia Lei’s left eye immediately focused on the person’s lips. He used lip-reading to decipher his words.
“...already in position at the main entrance. We can go inside to capture him anytime.”
Based on their attire, body types, and characteristically cold looks, and the sentence he decoded from lip-reading, Xia Lei knew who they were almost immediately.
They were American CIA agents! He was surrounded!
Xia Lei’s gaze suddenly moved to Mark Armin.
Mark Armin shot Xia Lei a faint smile, and his smile seemed to have a blade hidden in it.
Xia Lei understood the situation immediately. The so-called birthday gathering was just a pretense in order to lure him out of Rheinmetall AG. Mark Armin was working with the CIA. Rheinmetall AG was one of the largest military factories in Europe, and the American military was one of their very important clients. If one looked at their relations at this level, it made sense for Rheinmetall AG to work with the CIA.
The CIA had been quiet before, but that was because Rheinmetall AG needed his XL2500 sniper rifle and Gust assault rifles’ production lines, and they needed the Thunder Dragon intelligent lathe. Now that these two projects were coming to an end, it wouldn’t have a big effect on the projects if they chose to make a move and capture him. All the parts that they needed him to process personally were all done, and they just needed to assemble and install them.
Mark Armin walked over. He first greeted Rihanna with a smile, then moved close to Xia Lei’s ears and said with a laugh, “Sorry, Mr Xia. I’m afraid I won’t be able to enjoy my birthday cake with you.”
Xia Lei icily replied, “We have an agreement. You guys need to ensure my safety.”
Mark Armin answered flatly, “There is no agreement in the world that won’t change. Not only did Russia and Ukraine had an agreement, but they also had a brother-like friendship, but what happened in the end? They are now on the edge of war. Mr Xia, you are a very intelligent person, but you are still too young and lack experience. There is no absolute integrity in this world. As long as the price is high enough, any agreements can be destroyed.”
“Don’t forget that your people from the German side are still in China.” Xiao Lei took out his satellite phone.
Mark Armin smiled faintly. “You’re still so obviously immature. Even an army can become cannon fodder for the country’s profits, much less some engineers. Compared to what you’re worth, their worth can be neglected and disregarded.”
“What are you guys talking about?” Sylvia watched as Mark Armin and Xia Lei talked in low voices. She could not hear them clearly.
Next to them, Rihanna looked a little lost too. Her level of German fluency was clearly not as high as Xia Lei’s.
Xia Lei was in no frame of mind to think about Sylvia. He dialled Ling Han’s phone number on his satellite phone with practiced ease.
Mark Armin said, “It’s best if you don’t do that. You need to consider your three companions.”
Xia Lei’s heart sank to the depths of an ice valley. He understood that Mark Armin had meant Long Bing, Tang Yuyan, and Liu Zhengnan. He had been lured here, while Long Bing, Tang Yuyan, and Liu Zhengnan had remained at Rheinmetall AG. Although Long Bing and Tang Yuyan were both Bureau 101’s elite agents, they didn’t have permission to carry weapons, and they would have to face Germany’s Special Forces soldiers and America’s CIA agents too!
An image of Germany’s Special Forces soldiers and CIA agents surrounding the factory living quarters and capturing Long Bing, Tang Yuyan, and Liu Zhengna appeared in his mind. He was full of anger but couldn’t do anything.
Mark Armin stretched his hand out towards Xia Lei. “Give it to me.”
Xia Lei abruptly pressed the dial button, and held the satellite phone to his ear. He spoke in a heavy voice, “Brother Ling, we have been captured. Arrest those German people.”
“You—” Mark Armin stared angrily at Xia Lei. He had not imagined that Xia Lei would be so unconcerned about the threat, and that he would dare to call to China to arrest the German engineers!
Ling Han’s voice echoed from the satellite phone, “I got it. No matter what you do, you must return. Don’t mind Long Bing and Tang Yuyan, just escape by yourself!”
If Long Bing and Tang Yuyan were sacrificed, there would be a new Long Bing and Tang Yuyan to take over their jobs in Bureau 101. However, if Xia Lei were taken, this world would not have a replacement for him, and he was extremely important to China!
This was Ling Han’s decision, his choice.
But Xia Lei hung up, and placed the satellite phone in Mark Armin’s hand.
Mark Armin was still pissed. “Do you know what stupid thing you have done? You will regret this!”
Xia Lei coldly replied, “Let me tell you this — if my companions are injured in any way, I will kill everyone here. Including you.”
Mark Armin was stunned and he couldn’t help taking a step back.
Sylvia heard this clearly. She looked at Xia Lei in shock. “What… What is wrong with you guys?”
At that moment, the CIA agents walked into the living room. The leader was a blonde young man who wore black framed glasses and looked like a scholarly type. He and the other CIA agents looked straight at Xia Lei the moment he stepped through the door, locking-on to his position.
Sylvia stared at the blonde young man. She paused, then blurted out a name. “Adolf Hillman…”
It wasn’t just the people from the CIA — even the people from the AE Research Center had come.
Xia Lei’s gaze swept those CIA agents, across Adolf Hillman, and through the wall. He saw the big group of CIA agents standing outside the door. The German Special Forces soldiers who had escorted him here, didn’t stop CIA agents from surrounding him, and cooperated with the CIA instead. Some of Germany’s Special Forces machine-gunner soldiers aimed the heavy machine guns of the Mercedes-Benz G-class military-use off-road vehicle at the house, sealing all the exits.
Xia Lei looked around himself. A large number of CIA agents, as well as German Special Forces soldiers had appeared on both sides and the back of the house.
This was an inescapable net, and it was time to close the net.
Adolf Hillman walked towards Xia Lei. He looked at him like he was special, like he was looking at an exceptionally rare treasure.
Xiao Lei stared at Adolf Hillman coldly.
“Hillman, what is going on?” Sylvia hadn’t understood the situation. “Why are you here? Who are these people?”
Adolf Hillman did not seem to have heard Sylvia’s voice. He looked at Xia Lei and said with a smile, “We finally meet, Xia Lei.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter