Xia Lei became silent.
On one side was the stock market battle, and on the other side was the dogged pursuit of the prosecutor's office; they had even signed the arrest warrant. Who would lead Vientiane Group if Shentu Tianyin was really arrested? Who would buy back shares of the Vientiane Group for her, and return it to the 51% absolute majority like before?
If Shentu Tianyin was arrested, Xia Lei would like to manage Vientiane Group for her in her stead, but that was not feasible. The Vientiane Group and the Thunder Horse Group were different. The Thunder Horse Group didn't have any stocks, and Xia Lei could decide everything. This was why Shentu Tianyin was able to manage his business for him while he was away in Germany. But in the same situation, he couldn't enter and help manage the Vientiane Group for Shentu Tianyin, because even if he ignored the profit-seeking stock holders, the Shentu clan would not agree to it!
"My uncle said that they would wait 48 hours. After 48 hours, they will start the process of arresting Shentu Tianyin even if the higher-ups didn't give them definitive orders. I know that you came to see Boss Shi about pleading leniency for Shentu Tianyin, but what I want to tell you is this — You'd best not get involved in this and be careful or you might be dragged in." Tang Yuyan's eyes were filled with worry.
"She's my wife, so how can I abandon her now that she’s in trouble?" Xia Lei stood and said, "Thank you for telling me this. Isn't there still 48 hours left? There's still leeway for change and I'll try my best. If there is no other way, then I'll.."
Tang Yuyan stared at Xia Lei. "If there’s no other way, then you'll what?"
"Nothing. I'm going." Xia Lei didn't say it and got ready to leave.
"Wait." Tang Yuyan suddenly reached out and grabbed Xia Lei's hand. "Shentu Tianyin is a very intelligent woman. There are many intelligent women who like you but she was the only one who became your wife. This explains something"
Xia Lei smiled wryly. "What are you trying to say?"
Tang Yuyan pouted. "What I'm trying to say is that she knows what she wants. She knew what she wanted from the beginning. But you. You don’t know what you want. You’re such a fool sometimes."
Xia Lei actually had a feeling like this before. He really was a fool sometimes when it came to feelings.
"I dare bet that Shentu Tianyin actually had a way to settle this problem long ago, and that her plan is in motion now. You just don't know about it."
"I don't believe it," said Xia Lei.
"All right, you won't listen no matter what I say. I'll just say this: be careful, and don't get thrown into a trap. You can leave now. I don't have anything else to say." Tang Yuyan let go of Xia Lei's hand.
Xia Lei looked at Tang Yuyan. He said nothing, but turned and left.
He didn't know why but his mood was terrible. He couldn't get Tang Yuyan's words out of his head.
Xia Lei didn't know where to go when he drove out of Bureau 101's headquarters. The Chevrolet Suburban sped through the streets, and the tall buildings on either side of the vehicle were like a forest. He was slowly getting lost in the middle of this forest of steel and concrete.
Xia Lei only drove back to Leiyin Home when it was the end of the workday.
Fu Mingmei was at the door. "Son in law, Tianyin's hiding in her room, crying. I can't calm her down, you go."
"I'll be right there," said Xia Lei.
"Son-in-law, Tianyin has never been hit by such a big blow. You have to support her. Apart from you, nobody can help her," said Fu Mingmei.
Xia Lei opened the door and saw Shentu Ren reading a newspaper on the sofa. He greeted him, "Father."
"Lei, come here." Shentu Ren beckoned Xia Lei over.
Xia Lei walked over.
Shentu Ren spoke again, "Mingmei, please leave the room. I need to talk with our Son-in-law."
"Nn." Fu Mingmei made a sound of acknowledgement and went out the door.
After Fu Mingmei left, Shentu Ren said, "Lei, this time... Tianyin is in big trouble this time. If Tianyin can't make it through this, then she's done for. The entire Shentu clan will be done for. It's all my fault for spoiling her and allowing her to become too arrogant.”
"She also did it for Vientiane Group. In fact, I can understand her. She's very intelligent and ambitious, but she lacks patience," said Xia Lei.
Shentu Ren sighed. "I spent several decades building Vientiane Group up, and she only needed a few years to expand the Vientiane Group to almost twice of what it was. She was too impatient for results. This is a business after all. Many of those Western family-owned companies took centuries to reach where they are today, but she wanted to use, what, a decade to do what it took several decades or even centuries for other companies to do? It’s like the case when a car will flip itself over if it drives too fast, much less an entire family business. It's not that I haven't told her these things before, but she just won't listen. How could this have happened otherwise?"
"Father, it's already happened. There's no use in reprimanding her. It's better for us to think of a way to fix this."
"I can't think of any way to fix it." Tears misted in Shentu Ren's aged eyes. "That's billions in national assets. A case like this would definitely result in a deferred death sentence at the very least, and could have a punishment as heavy as having her head.”
Xia Lei held Shentu Ren's hand in his. "Father, don't fret anymore. You still have me, don’t you? I know some people, and I also contributed a lot to this country. I already sent them a plea for leniency, and I'm just waiting to hear back from them now. I believe the higher-ups will definitely take my contributions into consideration and treat this case leniently."
"Treat leniently? Then wouldn't that still be a prison sentence?"
"I… I'll fight my hardest to not let Tianyin be put in prison."
"Ay!" Shentu Ren gave a long sigh. "Back then, when I knew that Tianyin had taken the Gu clan's remaining assets, I should've had her resell them. But I didn't, because I knew that many people were doing the same. It was rare for something to happen and the probability was low. If somebody must be blamed, I should be blamed for gambling on luck. This disaster was brought on by greed."
Xia Lei had also tried to persuade Shentu Tianyin against it but she just didn't listen. In fact, she also said that she wasn't the only one embezzling national assets and that many people were doing it. The few that were caught were just very unlucky. Truthfully, if it wasn't for Gu Kewen, she wouldn't have any trouble. Although there was some risk, the return was huge. This was why she still did it even though she was fully aware of the risk.
"Why don't you go talk to her." Shentu Ren's voice was choked up. "If Tianyin... if something happens to Tianyin, I, I won't be able to live."
"Father, don't think like that. Just leave everything to me. Take a good rest. I'll go see Tianyin." Xia Lei comforted Shentu Ren before getting up to leave.
Inside the room, Shentu Tianyin was sitting blankly on the bed. Tears fell silently from the corners of her eyes. She didn't seem to have noticed Xia Lei entering as she sat there, completely motionless.
Xia Lei walked over and sat beside her. "Tianyin, I'm back."
Shentu Tianyin came back to her senses. She moved her eyes to look at Xia Lei and suddenly let out a cry as she jumped into Xia Lei's embrace, wailing.
Xia Lei held her gently and said in a gentle voice, "Don't cry. The Shentu Tianyin I know isn't a woman who cries."
Shentu Tianyin lifted her head from Xia Lei's embrace. "Do you want to take a bath? Let me run the water."
Xia Lei paused. "I don't want to bathe. Let's chat for a bit."
Shentu Tianyin nodded. "Nn. Did you get any news from your side?"
"I talked with Boss Shi and he said that he'll help speak for me. Don't worry, even in the worst case scenario, you won't die. There are ups and downs in life. Get through this hurdle and you’ll be all right,” said Xia Lei comfortingly.
"Is that what Boss Shi said?"
"Yes. I told him that if you aren't treated leniently, I won't produce anymore firearms, artillery, or do anything to help them. I'm very useful to them and there are many things which only I can do for them, so they will take me into consideration and treat your case with leniency no matter what," said Xia Lei.
He mentioned his worth in the military field and his value in Bureau 101, but didn't say anything about the Alloy X Project. This was, in fact, his greatest value to them. If the ancient alloy and AE's secret could be unravelled, it would be of enormous strategic worth to the country!
"Treated leniently would still mean that I am being punished, wouldn’t it? Hubby, I’d rather die than go to prison," said Shentu Tianyin.
Xia Lei sighed to himself. She definitely wouldn't be able to endure being imprisoned with her pride. But this crime was so big. If it had been somebody else, that somebody would probably have been arrested long ago, and it would either be the death penalty or the deferred death penalty, with no third choice in court. In fact, it was already rather difficult for him to have gotten Shi Boren to speak on his behalf. He wouldn't have known what to do if Shi Boren wanted more.
But a person's dignity could not be sold once, then twice, then over and over again or it wouldn't be dignity anymore, but shamelessness. So for Xia Lei, this was a very thorny problem because he didn't hold the initiative in this situation. Moreover, he had worked desperately hard to establish a good reputation in preparation for his father, to smoothen things out later. He just didn't expect that all of his merits and his value would be used like this now.
However, Xia Lei had no complaints. To him, Shentu Tianyin, Xia Changhe and Xia Xue were the same; they were all his family.
After a bit of silence, Xia Lei said, "Tianyin, I don't want you to go to prison either. I'm willing to go to prison for you, but... we're both just ordinary people, and there are things you just can't make happen with money. If, and I'm saying IF the higher-ups sentence you to two or three years in prison, would you be willing to accept it?"
"No! I would rather die than go to prison. Never mind two or three years, even two or three months would be impossible. Hubby, the country values you very much with the contributions you've brought to them. They need you. I don't believe that they would arrest me and sentence me." Shentu Tianyin's eyes were teary, but the look in them was determined, and confident.
For some reason, Xia Lei suddenly felt that the woman before him had become a bit of a stranger. It was a very strange feeling.
"Hubby, let's go to bed. I still have to grapple with the stock market tomorrow, so let's sleep earlier." Shentu Tianyin seemed very tired.
Xia Lei nodded subconsciously, but he knew that neither he nor Shentu Tianyin would be able to sleep tonight.Previous Chapter Next Chapter