Chapter 611 - Life-threatening Dinner

Book after book was piled up at the head of the bed, at least fifty of them. These were all science-related books in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, optics, and so on. Every book was very technical and difficult to understand. An ordinary person would need a few months, or longer to even finish comprehending one of the books, but Xia Lei only spent a fortnight to finish ‘gnawing’ through them. 

In these two weeks, Xia Lei’s head was like a ball-shaped sponge, soaking in the knowledge in the books. The quantity of knowledge stored in his brain had increased by several times in this period of time. Knowledge which others took a lifetime to acquire was obtained by Xia Lei in a fortnight. 

Rather than saying this was a miracle, it was better to say that his brain was a miracle. 

No matter what book it was, how complicated or profound the information was, his left eye just ‘scanned’ it and his brain would start operating like a huge computer, absorbing the information and understanding it from various angles. At the same time, this knowledge was constantly being arranged in combinations, and even evolve. It then transformed into his memory, becoming a part of his brain. 

However, this miracle was only known to Xia Lei. Other people would never believe this. 

If he had gone to the Academy of Science two weeks ago, he would definitely have been nervous. Now, he could enter the Academy easily, and chat casually with the scientists and old Fellows about scientific knowledge or questions regarding scientific experiments. The reason was simple. He had knowledge, and a belly full of it too!

In these two weeks, he had thrown all his energy into learning. This had let him forget the pain Shentu Tianyin had brought him, and could be considered a type of psychological therapy. 

On the morning of the sixteenth day, Tang Yuyan came to the detention room again. 

Tang Yuyan and Long Bing had come to see him several times over his imprisonment, but because of Bureau 101’s rules, visitation time was never over fifteen minutes every time they visited. 

“Ok, Lei, you completed your prison sentence so you’re released now.” Tang Yuyan spoke teasingly to Xia Lei as she walked into the detention room. 

Xia Lei put the book on advanced physics in his hand down and smiled. “Just in time. I’m done reading this book too. Let’s go.”

“What did you say?” Tang Yuyan’s gaze  swept over the wall of books at the head of the bed. She was shocked. “You’re saying… You finished reading all these books? How is this possible? I borrowed these books from the library for you. I can’t even understand any of the books if I read it for half a year. You are actually telling me that you finished reading them all?”

Xia Lei shrugged. “I’m boasting. Can’t I boast?”

Tang Yuyan punched Xia Lei lightly on the shoulder and said in annoyance, “I knew you were lying.”

This punch of hers hardly held any power, and it tickled Xia Lei. 

How was this beating someone up? She was simply teasing him. 

He knew that she was teasing him but Xia Lei didn’t dare to respond in any way. 

“Lei, come to my house. I prepared a fire pan for you. Once you jump over it, all the bad luck will disappear.”

“This, I....”

“Why are you hemming and hawing? My grandfather said he hasn’t seen you in a long time and he wants to have a few bouts with you. Are you not going to give the old man some of your time?” Tang Yuyan pouted. 

Xia Lei recalled how she had been taking good care of him over this period of time, even borrowing so many books for him, so he felt like he could not refuse this. He nodded. “Okay. I will go to your house but no need for jumping over fire pans and whatnot.”

Jumping over the fire pan was a type of custom, but people usually jumped in front of their own houses. Wouldn't he become part of the Tang family if he went to the Tang family to jump over the fire pan?

A smile appeared on Tang Yuyan’s face. “Sure. If you don’t want to jump, then don’t. I didn’t prepare it anyway.”

Just then, Long Bing suddenly appeared in the doorway. She frowned when she saw Tang Yuyan in the detention room. 

“Bing, you came too.” Xia Lei was a little awkward. He smiled and greeted Long Bing. 

Long Bing gave a soft grunt in response and said, “I came to pick you up. Come to my house today. I bought a lot of groceries. I’ll cook lunch for you.”

Xia Lei’s headache increased twofold. 

Tang Yuyan rolled her eyes at Long Bing. “I’ve already invited Xia Lei to eat at my house. How can he go to your house? I’m treating him to a meal. Must there be a first and a last when treating someone to a meal?”

Long Bing didn’t even look at Tang Yuyan. She stared at Xia Lei. 

Xia Lei understood her. He knew that she was waiting for him to make a decision. If he chose to go to Tang Yuyan’s house, she wouldn’t force him to her house, and she wouldn’t even complain about it. However, her fairness and reasonable attitude troubled him ever more. Tang Yuyan and him were friends, while Long Bing was his lover. He didn’t want to offend anyone but he would be wrong no matter who he chose. 

Click, clack...

The sound of the high heels came to their ears. The footsteps stopped in front of the detention room. 

The three people in the detention room all looked over at the same time.

An honoured guest had come to the door — Fan Fan. 

Xia Lei thought to himself, ‘If she also came to invite me to a meal, I will go on a hunger strike for three days.’

“Why are you here?” Tang Yuyan asked.

Fanfan smiled sweetly. “Hello, Section Chief Tang and Section Chief Long. Nn, hello, Fellow Xia.” She paused before she said, “I came to invite Fellow Xia to a meeting.”

Xia Lei relaxed once he heard that it was an invitation to a meeting. “What type of meeting?”

Fanfan said, “Fellow Xia, you haven’t been to the Academy of Science even once since you joined. You are a very important member of our Academy of Science. My grandfather has prepared a welcoming ceremony for you, followed by a tea party. Last of all is lunch. We shall have our lunch together. My grandfather also said that he has a lot of questions for you after reading that information from you. I think, whether it’s for public or personal reasons, you should show up briefly either way.”

Xia Lei pretended to be in a difficult situation. “Oh dear, I have two invitations to dinner too…”

Long Bing said, “Go to the Academy of Science. That is formal work.”

Tang Yuyan couldn’t really force Xia Lei to go to her house for a meal now that Long Bing had said this. “I’ll go with you,” she said.

Xia Lei had a secret headache but before he could respond, Fanfan said, “Sorry, but this is the internal gathering for the Academy of Science and there will be academic discussions. Outsiders should not go since it will be inconvenient.”

Tang Yuyan almost choked at these words. 

“How about this? Yuyan, we’ll do it another day. After all, I’m a member of the Academy of Science and Elder Fan is honouring me with this party, so I obviously have to go,” said Xia Lei.

No matter how unwilling Tang Yuyan was, she couldn’t stop Xia Lei from going, could she? Plus, even if she didn’t want to let him go, who was she to stop him from going?

“Please, Fellow Xia.” Fan Fan smiled sweetly, and her voice was sweet too. “I am your future assistant. Please look after me.”

“You’re being too polite. Let’s go.” Xia Lei squeezed past Tang Yuyan and Long Bing through the middle of them. 

Fan Fan followed Xia Lei out, and only Long Bing and Tang Yuyan were left in the detention room. 

“Are you going to keep arguing with me?” Tang Yuyan said angrily, “That little minx from the Academy of Science is stealing him away.”

Long Bing said flatly, “She came on official business. Why are you setting yourself against her?”

Tang Yuyan stared at Long Bing. “I’m not talking about that Fan Fan. Let’s talk.”

“Talk about what?”

“You know what I want to talk about.”

“Hey, I know. Xia Lei is divorced and you don’t like seeing other women by his side right?”

“No, how am I a woman like that? What I want to say is… My brother has been secretly in love with you for a long time. How about I act as the middleman for the two of you?”

Long Bing paused, then gave Tang Yuyan the middle finger. 

Tang Yuyan suddenly moved to bite Long Bing’s middle finger. 

Long Bing moved her finger back and turned around to leave. She had just walked a few steps when her phone rang. She took her phone out, glanced at the screen, and opened her message mailbox. 

Xia Lei had sent her a new message: I’m coming to your house tonight. 

The corners of Long Bing’s lips bent in a faint smile. 

Tang Yuyan came chasing from behind. “Who sent you a message?”

Long Bing put the phone away. 

“Hey? Are we still sisters?”

“Save your energy, Yuyan. Xia Lei just divorced.” Long Bing said, “If you’re a smart woman, don’t force him. Give him some time to recover.”

“Don’t think I don’t know that there’s something fishy between the two of you guys. I didn’t tell Shentu Tianyin because we are sisters. No, it’s because we are best friends. Tell me, was it Xia Lei who sent you a message?”

Long Bing was speechless. 

Bureau 101’s underground car park.

Xia Lei sat in the front passenger seat of a Volkswagen Beetle. Fan Fan started the car, and drove it towards the gate. 

The car was pink and the air inside was sweet-smelling too. It was a mellow jasmine smell, quite soothing. 

Xia Lei had not had the chance to touch women when he was shut in the detention room for half a month. The attractive scenery of spring colours before him battered at his psyche, but this was just an instinctive reaction. He wasn’t the type of man who would want to have sex with any pretty woman he saw. He took the initiative and found a topic to talk about to move his attention elsewhere. “Miss Fan, what major are you studying now?”

“Me? Heh heh.” Fan Fan laughed lightly. “I’m studying bioengineering. How about you?”

“Me?” For a moment, Xia Lei didn’t know how to respond to this question. 

He was a high schooler who had somehow became a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences. He was an expert in machinery and electrical engineering, but these were obviously not enough for him to have a right to join the Academy of Sciences as a Fellow. Any one of the Fellows from the Academy of Science represented a top figure from a certain field. 

“You don’t feel comfortable telling me?”

“No, it’s just that… I’m actually just a high-school graduate. I have never been to university.” Xia Lei didn’t want to hide his educational background. 

“Wow! You’re just a high school graduate, yet you created the world’s most advanced Thunder Dragon intelligent lathe and developed the XL2500 sniper rifle and the Gust assault rifle? They are the world’s most advanced firearms. You’re amazing. No wonder my grandfather sings your praises so highly whenever he mentions you. If it was up to me to say, I think you’re better than us who’ve been to college.” Fanfan shot Xia Lei a smile. 

Xia Lei smiled too. She really knew how to talk well. 

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