The mountain forest in the early summer wasn’t quiet. Some birds were chirping on the treetop like they were holding an election. They needed a bird with both integrity and talent to guide their flock. A gust of wind blew by, shaking the tree branches, and the birds flew away in fright.
Xia Lei and Long Bing were the only human beings in the forest. They wouldn’t be heard if they talked here. This was why Long Bing had insisted on going to the mountain to talk.
Long Bing stopped on a patch of soft grass in the mountain forest. “Liang Siyao contacted me,” she said.
This simple sentence frightened Xia Lei. He paused, then said, “When did this happen?”
“She contacted me an hour ago. You are the first person to know about this.” She looked straight at Xia Lei. “Is there anything you would like to tell me?”
Xia Lei laughed dryly. “Okay, I’ve met her once before this. She told me that she was preparing to defect from the CIA. She wants me to pull some strings and act as a bridge for her. I have been waiting for an appropriate opportunity to tell you, but that thing with Shentu Tianyin happened before I could talk to you.”
“I am your woman. What is there that you can’t tell me? If you have any difficulties, you should let me share the burden with you.” There was a hint of anger in Long Bing’s eyes.
“I’m sorry, Bing, I…” Xia Lei didn’t know how to explain this to her. He had his own difficulties. Liang Siyao was highly-ranked in the CIA after all, and he had been romantically involved with her. He had to wait for an appropriate time to tell her, and he couldn’t just blurt it out to her. If he had just blurted it out, he would end up in an unfavourable position on top of not being of help to Liang Siyao.
“Actually, I had already suspected that Liang Siyao was planning something when I saw your master, Liang Zhengchun appear during your wedding with Shentu Tianyin. She wouldn’t have her father return to China otherwise. I have been keeping an eye on Liang Zhengchun but Liang Siyao didn’t appear.”
“What did she say to you?” Xia Lei asked.
“She told me that she is no longer the director of the CIA in Asia. Gu Kewen has replaced her. This move against Shentu Tianyin was orchestrated by Gu Kewen. She did this because she is trying to demonstrate her strength to the high-ups of the CIA. Gu Kewen utilised the resources left behind by the Gu clan for this. You have seen it yourself. She is still able to stir up trouble even though she isn’t here,” said Long Bing.
“I can’t be bothered with Gu Kwen right now. What else did Liang Siyao say?”
“She asked me to talk to Boss Shi. She wants to join Bureau 101, but she has some conditions she wants me relay to Boss Shi before she joins. The first condition is that she wants immunity from prosecution. There shouldn’t be any persecution or conviction directed at her. Secondly, she wants to have the same position as Tang Yuyan and I. She will return to China and join Bureau 101 if the two conditions are met.”
“I understand the first condition, but the second condition… Will Boss Shi agree to it?” said Xia Lei.
“He probably will. She used to be a highly-ranked CIA officer. She holds information which is very valuable to us. Boss Shi will be fairly tempted by just this fact.”
“What are you planning to do?”
“This is the reason I came here. I will listen to you. You decide.”
Xia Lei felt a dull headache and his scalp was numb. He will definitely support LIang Siyao if she wanted to return so she could serve the country. However, he would be linked to the three female Section Chiefs of Bureau 101 once she returned and Shi Boren satisfied her conditions. The four of them would be hopelessly entangled with each other. Long Bing had asked him to decide this matter and he would feel guilty if he didn’t help Liang Siyao. But if he helped her out, would Long Bing think that there’s still some unfinished business between them?
This really was a headache!
“What’s your opinion on this?” Long Bing’s eyes seemed to look right into Xia Lei’s heart.
Xia Lei braced himself and said, “For both public and personal reasons, I support her. In my opinion... You should help her.”
The corners of Long Bing’s mouth curved into a smile. “No wonder so many women like you. You’re an affectionate and loyal man. Even though Shentu Tianyin betrayed you, you can still understand her and even took the blame for her. Liang Siyao has also betrayed you, but you are still willing to help her. Meeting you has been a great blessing in their lives.”
Xia Lei relaxed when he saw her smile. “You say they’re blessed to have met me, so what about you?” asked Xia Lei softly.
Long Bing suddenly squeezed herself into Xia Lei’s embrace. “I’m not as stupid as them. If I must face the same choices they’ve faced, I would choose you. You are mine both now and in the future,” said Long Bing passionately.
Xia Lei could not restrain his love — he was already passionately entangled with Long Bing.
Their passions ebbed away, and they gradually quieted down.
“I will talk to Boss Shi about Liang Siyao’s matter. Are you sure you don’t want me to tell him about Fan Yiming and Fan Fan?” Long Bing lay in Xia Lei’s embrace. She seemed very comfortable, and peaceful. Her voice was also very soft and laced with lazy seduction.
“You can just mention Liang Siyao’s matter to Boss Shi. Don’t say anything about Fan Yiming and Fan Fan. I will try my best to solve it myself,” said Xia Lei.
“Okay, I will listen to you. Don’t dwell on this matter too much. Even if Bureau ZN has given instructions to Fan Yiming and Fan Fan to observe you, it would be for Alloy X Project. It is also for the benefit of this country, and not something that’s targeting you,” said Long Bing.
Her love for her own country really was above everything else.
Xia Lei kissed her forehead and said softly, “Bing, if there is a conflict of interest between the country and I, which side will you stand on?”
This wasn’t a ‘what if’ situation, but it was a situation that was bound to occur. The ancient alloy and the secret of AE represented the country’s interests, and it was an extraordinary interest. Their interest in this could change Xia Lei’s life and even destroy him. When that time came, when their conflict reached a critical point, which side would she choose to stand on, when he needed her to make a choice? Would she choose to defend the interests of the country, or would she choose him?
Long Bing raised her head and looked at Xia Lei, confusion and suspicion in her gaze. “Why are you asking me this?”
Xia Lei smiled. “I’m just randomly asking you this. Suppose that really happens. Tell me, which side you will stand on?”
Long Bing thought seriously about it, then she shook her head. “I don’t know. I will not allow that to happen.”
Xia Lei wasn’t surprised at all with her response. She was the most patriotic person he had ever met. She had dedicated her youth and everything she had and offered it to this country. Long Bing believed in, and would, defend this country’s interests. If he had made her abandon and betray her own country, it will be very unfair to her.
“I will not let that happen.” There was a smile on Xia Lei’s face, but his heart was bitter.
“Let’s not talk about these unpleasant things anymore. Oh right, did Shentu Tianyin contact you?”
“No, why are you mentioning her?”
“It’s because a colleague of mine who likes to speculate in the stock market said that the Vientiane Group’s stock value has increased. Too bad he’d thrown away all the shares he had the day Shentu Tianyin was reported to be in trouble.”
“Shentu Tianyin is very good at manipulating the stock prices. She made the stock prices drop herself. By my estimates, she has close to 70% of the Vientiane Group’s stocks now. Once the market value of the Vientiane Group restores itself, her net worth will increase again. She won,” said Xia Lei with a sigh.
“But she lost you.”
Xia Lei laughed bitterly. “Me? I’m not that important to her. The Vientiane Group is the most important thing to her.”
“What will you do if she contacts you?”
“I don’t know. I’ll see what it’s about first.”
“Then will you still come to my house tonight?”
“I will go to your house right now.”
Xia Lei suddenly turned over and pressed her below him. Long Bing squeaked and abruptly realised what house Xia Lei was talking about.
Xia Lei didn’t go to the villa to look for Fan Fan after sending Long Bing off. He went alone to his office.
Shentu Tianyin had launched the expansion plan for the Thunder Horse Military Factory while he’d been in Germany. These plans were still in progress, but there were still some things he had to personally handle. Besides, he’d promised Shi Boren that he would turn the technologies of Rheinmetall AG into genuine goods, so he would need to operate this himself.
Qin Xiang appeared in Xia Lei’s office soon after Xia Lei had done some work.
“I saw you bring back a girl.” Qin Xiang jumped right to the main point. “You’ve arranged for her to live in the villa. Even I can’t enter that place. Annina has just returned to Germany... Did you find someone to replace her? If you did, then you’re really a bad guy.”
Xia Lei looked wordlessly at him. “What are you saying? She is someone from the Academy of Science. She is the granddaughter of the dean of the Academy of Science and her name is Fan Fan.”
“Oh my, you’ve switched to courting high-end girls now?” Qin Xiang stuck an elegant finger up. “Does she scream out formulas and theorems when you do it with her?”
“Go to hell. If you’re this idle, I do have something that I want you to help me with,” said Xia Lei.
“It’s true that I’ve been quite bored. Tell me, what do you want me to steal?”
“What?” Qin Xiang gave Xia Lei an odd look. “Are you sick or something? A person like me? Do you want me to steal a woman’s or a man’s heart? I think you might as well just steal my heart then.”
Xia Lei rolled his eyes at Qin Xiang. “I’m not joking with you. Fan Fan will live here for the time being and I want you to pay close attention to her. I want you to see who she is contacting, what she is doing, and so on. I also want you to pay attention to her likes and dislikes. These are very important to me.”
“Are you really going to court her? Why are you going to all that trouble to court a woman, huh? Just have sex with her and you’re golden.”
“She isn’t an ordinary woman. Money and glory aren’t tempting enough for a woman like her. I need to conquer her heart, and that’s not an easy task.”
“Fine, I’ll help you.”
“You can’t tell anyone about this.”
“Okay, you can rest assured.” Qin Xiang put his hand on Xia Lei’s shoulder. “I can help you, but I have a condition.”
“Can you secretly record a video for me when you two are doing it?”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“How about it? I just want to see how you guys do it.”
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