The light of dawn tore through the darkness, signalling the beginning of a new day.
Bureau 101 headquarters.
Shi Boren's Hongqi sedan sped into the car park at 0800 hrs. He alighted and was about to walk to the building when his eyes were drawn to a Chevrolet Suburban parked at the side. He immediately recognised it as Xia Lei's car. Only Xia Lei had a Chevrolet Suburban at Bureau 101.
'When did this rascal become so proactive?' Shi Boren was a little bewildered. He went up to the window of the car to peer in, and was stunned.
Xia Lei was curled up in the backseat of his Chevrolet Suburban, clutching an empty bottle of baijiu.
The baijiu was Beijing Erguotou, a strong drink with a very high alcohol content.
"You little…" Shi Boren smacked the car door.
Xia Lei did not respond.
Shi Boren could only curl his hands into fists and bang on the car door.
Boom boom boom…
Xia Lei finally opened his eyes. He looked outside the window, then rubbed his eyes.
"Open up!" Shi Boren glared at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei climbed up from the seat and opened the door.
Shi Boren grabbed Xia Lei's hand and dragged him out of the car.
Xia Lei swayed, and stabilised himself by leaning against the car. It seemed he was still hungover.
"What are drinking to forget, Boy?" Shi Boren said angrily, "Are you making yourself despondent to gain the enemy’s confidence? Just look at you. You’re wasted, all because of a woman. Is it worth it?"
"Shut up! You listen to me first!" Shi Boren interrupted Xia Lei, and pointed straight at his nose. "I made everything clear to you yesterday. It's useless to pretend to be pitiful or painful. Shentu Tianyin committed too big a crime. She’s lucky that she’s even keeping her head on her shoulders."
"No." Xia Lei seemed to sober up instantly. "I have come to turn myself in.”
“Huh?” Shi Boren stared blankly.
“Boss Shi, I’ve come to turn myself in.” Xia Lei repeated himself.
“What did you do?” Shi Boren clearly hadn’t figured out what was going on yet.
Xia Lei was about to explain when Tang Yuyan and Long Bing’s car zoomed through the gates and stopped in the car park.
“Hey! Godfather, Lei, what are you guys talking about over there?” Tang Yuyan asked.
Shi Boren and Xia Lei’s every move seemed to get on her nerves in this time of unusual happenings. She was ready for some gossip at any time.
Long Bing didn’t speak. She got out of the car and walked towards Xia Lei and Shi Boren.
Tang Yuyan exited the car after Long Bing and hurried over to get to Xia Lei and Shi Boren before Long Bing did.
“Morning, Godfather.” Tang Yuyan smiled sweetly. “Lei, good morning to you too.”
Shi Boren glared at Tang Yuyan. “Step aside. We’re talking business right now.”
“All right, I’ll wait nearby. You guys can talk.” Tang Yuyan took a step back, just one step.
Long Bing stopped behind Tang Yuyan. She saw the empty bottle on the seat of the Chevrolet Suburban, and worry came into her eyes.
“Say it, hurry up and tell me what’s the matter,” urged Shi Boren.
Xia Lei paused before saying, “Actually, I was the one who told Shentu Tianyin to purchase those assets.”
Shi Boren’s mouth opened, and his chin almost hit the ground.
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing were rooted to the spot in shock. Their expressions made it look like they had eaten a boiling hot dumpling.
Xia Lei took a deep breath. “Those assets were transferred under the name of my Thunder Horse Group. I came to turn myself in over this.”
“Wait.” Shi Boren said in a heavy voice, “Was this Shentu Tianyin’s idea, or your’s?”
Xia Lei avoided Shi Boren’s intense gaze. “Boss Shi, this wasn’t anyone’s idea. It’s the truth. There has to be someone to take responsibility for this and that’s me. I’ve come to turn myself in, so arrest me. I’m willing to take any punishment.”
“You little— ARRRGH!” Shi Boren was so angry that he swung a fist at Xia Lei.
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing acted at the same time before his fist could hit Xia Lei. One person held onto his hand while the other dragged him away forcibly.
“Xia Lei! What do you mean by this?” Tang Yuyan spoke quickly. “Hurry and take back what you said. Do you really want to become the scapegoat for this crime? Are you stupid?!”
Xia Lei laughed dryly. “I’m not taking the blame for anyone. I did it. Shentu Tianyin has the transaction documents between our two companies and my power of attorney that I entrusted to Vientiane Group. Shentu Tianyin didn’t do anything wrong here. I am the one who did wrong.”
Shi Boren swung his arms, and he shook off Tang Yuyan and Long Bing immediately. He was like an angry bear as he roared at Xia Lei, “Boy, do you think that by taking on this matter, no one will kill you? Do you think nothing will happen to Shentu Tianyin? Those assets were transferred from the Vientiane Group to the Thunder Horse Group and those are your shared marital assets. How could you be so stupid!”
Xia Lei said, “I’ve already divorced her.”
“Huh?” Tang Yuyan’s and Long Bing’s chins dropped to the ground.
Shi Boren’s angry expression froze on his face, as if a cold wind from Siberia had hit him. He didn’t move for quite a few seconds.
Xia Lei held his hands out. “Arrest me. I’ve already confessed everything, loud and clear. I know what I’m doing and I’m willing to take all the punishments.”
Shi Boren didn’t move. and Long Bing didn’t move either.
Arrest Xia Lei. Who would do something like that?
“Ahem.” Tang Yuyan came to her senses first. A baffling smile appeared on her face. “Hey, Godfather, I think… Our Bureau 101 can be the scapegoat. Xia Lei is still young, and since when have young people not made mistakes? We can plead for him and at least reduce it to detention. How does that sound?”
“The embezzlement of state-owned assets came up to a several billion. You think the courts are run by your family? Put him in detention? You brainless girl, get out of the way! I don’t want to see you!” Shi Boren was so hopping mad he was done with everything.
Tang Yuyan shrugged. “Then I guess you’ll have to execute him via firing squad. I won’t stop you.”
Shi Boren was speechless.
Even though he was very angry and itched to beat Xia Lei up, he knew very clearly that Xia Lei had now become Shentu Tianyin’s scapegoat, and his superiors wouldn’t really do anything to Xia Lei. The fellow in front of him was a genius — an outstanding genius in the past hundred-over years of Chinese history. He wasn’t just a genius who was good at researching, but a genius who could manufacture things. His Thunder Horse Military Factory had already become a dark horse on the international level, and it was only a matter of time before it could be the world leader in the global arms market. More importantly, he was the only one who could do the Alloy X Project. No one else could do it!
Who could actually punish someone like this, someone who had steeled his heart to become Shentu Tianyin’s scapegoat?
The four people didn’t speak anymore.
Just then, some cars came through the gates and drove into the car park.
“What’s he doing here?” Shi Boren saw a familiar license plate.
Xia Lei looked over too, and saw the head of the Academy of Science, Fan Yiming, in the first car. He spotted Ling Han too, in the other car. This was unexpected, even for Xia Lei. Fan Yiming and Ling Han definitely hadn’t come here for the matter of him becoming a scapegoat for Shentu Tianyin. They were probably here to get him to join the Academy of Science.
Xia Lei laughed bitterly to himself. ‘They sure know how to pick the time, looking for me now.’
Fan Yiming got out of the car and said from a distance, “Hey, Little Shi… Mr Xia is here too, huh. What a coincidence, what a coincidence.”
Only someone like Fan Yiming would call Shi Boren ‘Little Shi’.
Shi Boren ignored Fan Yiming, but lowered his voice in warning to Xia Lei, “You rascal, you’re not allowed to go to the Academy of Science!” Then, before Xia Lei could speak, he said to Tang Yuyan and Long Bing, “Take him away and put him in detention.”
“All righty then~” Tang Yuyan moved close and seized one of Xia Lei’s arms.
“We should greet him, at least, right?” Xia Lei asked.
“Greet, my ass. Take him away!” urged Shi Boren.
Long Bing also reached her hand out to seize Xia Lei’s other arm. She brought Xia Lei away with Tang Yuyan.
“Hey! Where are you guys taking Mr Xia? Hold up!” Fan Yiming yelled in anxiousness. His steps quickened too, as he jogged over.
A woman chased hastily after Fan Yiming. She held on to his hand, as if afraid that he would trip and fall.
She was a young, sexy and beautiful woman. She was wearing black-rimmed spectacles, and her skin was fair and clear. She looked like a very highly educated young lady.
The woman with Fan Yiming had to at least have a Ph.D. How could a woman with this type of an education be lacking the charm of a highly intelligent lady?
Long Bing and Tang Yuyan continued to escort Xia Lei forward, to the lobby. They wouldn’t listen to Fan Yiming without Shi Boren’s orders.
Shi Boren smiled as he went up to them in welcome. “Elder Fan, what brought you here? Haha, what a rare visitor!”
“Where are you taking my guy?” Fan Yiming didn’t exchange greetings with Shi Boren and seemed rather angry.
“Your guy? When did your guy end up over here with me?” Shi Boren pretended to be confused.
The woman next to Fan Yiming rolled her eyes at Shi Boren. She looked like acted like an angry kitty.
Just then, Ling Han walked over. He coughed first and said, “Boss Shi, this is hard to put out there, but… The superiors have already given their comments. Xia Lei has to go to the Academy of Science. He does indeed belong to Elder Fan now.”
Fan Yiming then said, “Fan Fan, show the transfer papers to Little Shi.”
“Yes, Grandfather.” Fan Fan took out the transfer papers and opened it up to show Shi Boren its contents.
Xia Lei had indeed been transferred to the Academy of Science. It was written in black and white.
Ling Han called out, “Xia Lei, come over here for a second.”
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing glanced back at Shi Boren.
Shi Boren nodded helplessly.
Tang Yuyan and Long Bing escorted Xia Lei over.
“What’s this all about?” Ling Han looked at the two female section chiefs escorting Xia Lei with an odd look on his face. “Why are you guys escorting him?”
Shi Boren coughed. “This boy here volunteered to be the scapegoat for Shentu Tianyin. I’m deciding how to deal with him. Since it’s like this, you guys can take him away. But my orders come first. Even if the higher-ups order an investigation, he is still someone from Bureau 101.”
“Scapegoat? What scapegoat? Why don’t I see a goat?” Fan Yiming was an old scientist who practically lived like a hermit. He clearly didn’t know what “scapegoat” meant.
His granddaughter Fan Fan whispered, “Grandpa, the scapegoat they’re talking about isn’t the type which bleats. It’s… Forget it, you can go look it up yourself.”
Ling Han said nothing. He seemed to have already guessed what had happened. He looked at Xia Lei, his eyes filled with disappointment, questioning the truth.
Xia Lei did not avoid Ling Han’s eyes. He had made his choice, and he would not regret it.
If he couldn’t even protect the woman he loved, then what was the point of him having done so much?
If he had to make his choice again, he would become Shentu Tianyin’s scapegoat without a second thought. He was duty-bound not to turn back.
The stubbornness and unswerving determination in Xia Lei’s eyes seemed to explain something to Ling Han. He smiled wryly. “Let’s discuss this in the office. This is not a suitable place to talk.”
Xia Lei silently breathed a sigh of relief.Previous Chapter Next Chapter