Once the Hellhound One-soldier Cannon was released onto the market, the orders came nonstop. Thunder Horse Military Factory handled domestic orders with ease and even foreign customers, who had heard of the news and hurriedly flocked over to place their orders. The Hellhound Cannon hadn’t had too much publicity yet or undergone a battlefield testing but it had already won instant success and had its reputation known.
This was only the beginning. After more cannon products came out in the future, Thunder Horse Military Factory’s cannon products would undoubtedly became the highest-demanded products internationally. Of course, Thunder Horse Military Factory’s cannons couldn’t all be as stunning as the Hellhound. Later cannon products would be mostly conventional cannon products with improved performance levels. The Hellhound One-soldier Cannon was certainly one of Thunder Horse Military Factory’s flagship products. If foreign customers wanted to buy this type of product, they had to first buy Thunder Horse Military Factory’s conventional product.
Of course, these matters were all handled by Thunder Horse Military Factory’s marketing team; Xia Lei didn’t need to worry about these matters anymore.
On the third day of the Hellhound’s instant success, Xia Lei suddenly received a call.
This call was very unexpected because it was from Ning Jing’s mother, Zhang Huilan.
“Mr Xia, um…” Over the phone, Zhang Huilan’s voice seemed a bit awkward. “I called you a bit presumptuously. I, I…”
“Auntie Zhang, if anything’s the matter, you can just say it,” said Xia Lei softly.
Even now, he didn’t have any good feelings for Ning Jing’s mother, a woman who was obsessed with money and had treated her daughter like a product.
In the beginning, Zhang Huilan had despised Xia Lei in every possible way, and stubbornly matched Ning Jing and Ren Wenqiang together. At the time, Ren Wenqiang had come back to China after gaining overseas experience, with a respectable job and a pretty good income while Xia Lei was only a poor boy who had opened a small workshop by the road. But now, Xia Lei had the status of a billionaire and was hailed as the nation’s Father of Rifles. Zhang Huilan was actually so regretful she wanted to die.
Zhang Huilan was silent for a moment before saying, “It’s like this, Mr Xia. Today, I went to the hospital to see Ning Jing. She was awake for a little bit and said a few words to me.”
Xia Lei’s heart thumped. “She woke for a little bit? What did she say?”
“She said something about how the sky wasn’t the sky and time wasn’t the time… Oh, and something about some traveller…”
“Auntie Zhang, can you please say it more clearly?” Xia Lei was very anxious.
“I can’t remember it that well anymore. You should go see her and maybe she’ll tell you. The doctor said that her condition has improved and she should see people she’s familiar with and have them chat with her. This will be good for her recovery. And especially, the person she likes… I know, that that girl has always liked you.”
“All right, I will go see her immediately.” Xia Lei agreed immediately.
He wasn’t anxious purely because Ning Jing was his friend but also because of something else.
Ning Jing was among the first group of people to have interacted with the ancient alloy. Of the group, some died or went mad, but she was the only person to wake up. Why was this?
After Ning Jing awoke, she said some words. Even though Zhang Huilan hadn’t really said it clearly, it had stirred his sensitive senses. Sky isn’t sky, time isn’t time, and a traveller. Would someone who had just awoken from a mad state say these words? This was abnormal.
He had to go see Ning Jing and fully understand what had happened.
An hour later, Xia Lei drove into a guarded rehabilitation hospital. The people recuperating at this hospital weren’t normal. The guards at the gate were carrying real loaded firearms and normal people couldn’t even gain entry. However, he had the authority, so after he showed them the credentials that Bureau 101 had given him, he got into the rehabilitation hospital effortlessly.
A doctor named Wei Guanyi led him to a ward.
“Mr Xia, Dr. Ning’s condition isn’t stable yet. Do not upset her when you chat with her later. If her emotions get too stirred up, you will have to stop the conversation,” nagged Wei Guanyi.
Xia Lei nodded. “Yes, I got it. Thank you, doctor. I’ll let you continue with your work.”
Wei Guanyi turned to leave but after taking a step, he turned around. “Oh right, Mr Xia, I almost forgot something.”
“Dr. Ning drew some strange drawings this morning. You can come to my office later and I’ll give them to you,” said Wei Guanyi.
“All right, I will go to your office later to take a look at the drawings.” Xia Lei pushed the ward door open and walked in.
The ward was very spacious, with a sofa and television and a computer that was connected to the Internet. The environment was neat and cozy.
When Xia Lei entered, Ning Jing was standing in front of the window looking at the distant sky. She was very quiet, so quiet that she seemed like a statue. The sound from Xia Lei opening the door hadn’t caught her attention at all, and she didn’t look back at him even when he walked over to her.
Xia Lei wanted to call her name, but when the words came to his mouth, he stopped. He couldn’t bear to disturb her, even if she was only standing there blankly. In his memories, Ning Jing, was a well developed and seductive woman with an excellent figure. However, she had now become skinnier, and seeing her in this state made him sad.
The two of them stood there like that, one watching the distant sky blankly as the other quietly looked at the other’s back, remembering the past.
Some minutes passed before Ning Jing retracted her gaze from the faraway sky. She turned and saw Xia Lei, then brushed past him without a word. Her face didn’t show a surprised or excited expression, as if Xia Lei was just a flower vase or something.
Was this normal?
Ning Jing walked straight to the computer table and shook the mouse.
But Xia Lei found that the computer display screen was still pitch black, and hadn’t awoken at all.
Ning Jing sat in the computer chair, and her hands flew over the keyboard.
Xia Lei couldn’t keep it in anymore. He walked over and probingly asked, “Ning Jing, do you still remember me?”
Ning Jing looked up and glanced at Xia Lei. “I remember.”
Xia Lei let out a small sigh. “Then do you still remember…”
“Take your pants off and get on the bed.” Ning Jing interrupted him.
“Ah?” Xia Lei stared blankly.
“Last time, I examined your uterus and the fetus’s situation had improved. This time, why don’t I take another look? The baby’s health is the most important thing. Listen to me, take off your pants and get on the bed. I’ll examine you.” Ning Jing walked up to Xia Lei, her expression as serious as an old doctor.
Xia Lei stood there unmoving. He had just breathed a small sigh of relief but now he felt as if he had been severely overinflated from the air of a front loader’s tire.
“Listen, take off your bottom, and get examined,” urged Ning Jing.
Xia Lei grasped her hand. “Ning Jing, it’s me. I’m Xia Lei. Do you still remember me? I’ve come to see you.”
Ning Jing suddenly paused, her expression lifeless.
It seemed to have helped. Xia Lei followed with, “Try to remember. I’m Xia Lei. Xia Lei. We met at Haizhu and you helped me make my first paycheck. We even went to Afghanistan to the White Hun tribe. Do you still remember the baby-faced tribal chief, Szlamy?”
Ning Jing took her hand out of Xia Lei’s hands and then cupped Xia Lei’s face, saying earnestly, “Don’t get emotional. You’re just having prenatal anxiety. You must calm down and remember to eat.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“Listen to me, and take off your trousers.” Ning Jing simply extended her hands to remove Xia Lei’s belt.
Xia Lei grabbed her hand again. He suddenly thought of something and said, “The sky isn’t the sky, time isn’t time, traveller.”
Ning Jing stared dumbly and then shook her head hard.
It was effective? Xia Lei’s heart thumped and he repeated, “The sky isn’t the sky, time isn’t time, traveller.”
Ning Jing slowly lifted her head and looked at Xia Lei.
The moment he saw her expression, Xia Lei was entirely dumbfounded. Her expression seemed like the deep night sky which one couldn’t see into the depths of, or a black hole that could swallow one’s soul!
And right then, Ning Jing replied in a strange accent, “The sky isn’t the sky, with no distance. Time isn’t time, a thousand years flashing by. The traveller comes from a faraway time and place. The sky isn’t a barrier to him, and time cannot erase his body. He looks for the starting point but is lost in a dark world. He is about to forget himself, the only thing that can…”
Ning Jing’s mouth closed when she got to that point.
“The only thing that can what?” Xia Lei was quite anxious.
“The only thing that can…” It was still the same words, and they seemed like a concluding remark.
“Hurry up and tell me. The only thing that can what?” Xia Lei became more anxious. He had a feeling that what Ning Jing was about to say had to do with the mysterious ancient alloy and the secret of AE!
“The only thing that can…” Ning Jing still didn’t finish.
Xia Lei’s emotions were a little out of control. He grabbed Ning Jing’s shoulders and shook her two times. “Say it, say it. Tell me! The only thing that can what?”
Ning Jing suddenly closed her eyes and fell limply into Xia Lei’s embrace.
“Ning Jing? Ning Jing? Hello? What’s wrong?” Xia Lei panicked. He hugged Ning Jing and called her name but Ning Jing didn’t have any reaction.
Her condition right now couldn’t even be considered an improvement, but going from an insane state to another state without rhyme or reason. Xia Lei didn’t believe in unscientific theories like ghost possession but Ning Jing’s behavior a moment ago really seemed like she had been possessed!
Before waiting for Ning Jing’s main doctor, Wei Guanyi to rush in, Xia Lei gave Ning Jing a check up himself. He quickly came to the conclusion that Ning Jing had only fainted and it wasn’t anything serious. He then breathed a sigh of relief.
After a few minutes, Xia Lei left the ward and went to Wei Guanyi’s office. Wei Guanyi gave him the few drawings that Ning Jing drew. When he saw these drawings, Xia Lei blanked yet again. The first drawing was the compass from the Ming dynasty. The second was of the bronze treasured book. The third was of the ancient alloy box that was missing a corner. The fourth was the complete ancient alloy box. The last... The last was of a naked man but strangely, he was faceless.
But the weirdest thing was on the last picture in the right hand bottom corner, Ning Jing had written a name — Xia Lei.
“I saw your name and I thought she wanted to give you this drawing. Mr Xia, you can take these drawings,” said Wei Guanyi.
Xia Lei snapped back to his senses. He nodded, almost subconsciously.
“Mr Xia, based on Dr. Ning’s condition, she clearly cannot take visitations any more. You can go home. Leave me your phone number. When her condition gets better, I will call you,” said Wei Guanyi.
Xia Lei thought for a moment and said, “Dr. Wei, what about this? I’ll leave my phone number with you and you will record whatever she says or does. At given times, call me or make it into a file and send it to my email.”
Wei Guanyi didn’t agree and even frowned.
“Of course, I wouldn’t let you do all that for nothing. I’ll hire you as Ning Jing’s personal doctor with a monthly income of 20,000. What do you think of that?” said Xia Lei.
“Mr Xia, hehe…” Wei Guanyi smiled. “Deal.”
Xia Lei’s gaze fell on the last drawing with his name on it. There wasn’t a face, but judging from the body build, it wasn’t even him.
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