There were three people in Shi Boren’s office. Other than Shi Boren and Tang Tianlong, there was another old man — A very weird old man. He was skinny, and gave people the impression that he was weak, but his eyes were like those of a hawk, keen, and powerful. It made people fear offending him.
Upon his first glance at this old man, Xia Lei felt as if he had seen him somewhere. It was a weird feeling, but he had forgotten where and when he had seen him. Before he could search his memories, Tang Tianlong came up to him. He had a smile on his face as he said, “Hehe, Xia Lei, I came as soon as I received your call. I have not even eaten breakfast. You do not know how anxious I am.”
Xia Lei laughed as he said, “Uncle Tang has not even eaten breakfast? It’s my bad. I should have called later.”
“Stop talking about breakfast. Have a seat, have a seat.” Shi Boren was impatient too.
Xia Lei sat down. His eyes moved to the old man and he asked inquiringly, “This person is...?”
Tang Tianlong and Shi Boren looked at each other but no one made introductions.
The old man answered calmly, “My last name is Zhongzhen. My first name is Wukui.”
Xia Lei was not interested in his weird name. What caught his interest was Shi Boren and Tang Tianlong’s reaction. It was obvious that the two knew who this old man was, yet neither stepped forward to introduce him. Why was that?
“Mr Xia, heroes rise from the youth indeed. I feel fortunate that our country can have a genius like you.” Zhongzhen Wukui complimented Xia Lei. However, there was not a hint of a smile on his face though he was complimenting him.
Just then, a short sequence of images appeared in Xia Lei’s brain. It was the Thunder Horse Military Factory’s core workshop, which was also the core workshop that the Thunder Dragon intelligent lathe second generation was located. Everyone who had been in the workshop surfaced in his brain. One by one, the faces appeared, some familiar, some unfamiliar. There were people conversing, some looking around, and some peeking at women…
A few seconds later, a face suddenly appeared in Xia Lei’s brain. It was the face of the old man in front of him, Zhongzhen Wukui.
‘He had actually come to see my second generation Thunder Dragon intelligent lathe! Just who is he?’ Xia Lei’s brain started running once again. All of the scenes began to play backwards.
This was a very strange process. It was like rewinding a HD video on a computer. Everyone's actions, voices, and the movement of their feet were rewound, no exceptions, no omissions.
The rewinding soon slowed and the scene played normally.
In Xia Lei’s brain, Fan Fan and Ling Han were talking about something. Zhongzhen Wukui appeared in front of them. He only looked at them and they immediately shut their mouths. Xia Lei realised that Fan Fan and Ling Han both had an expression of reverence, and their eyes dared not look upon Zhongzhen Wukui’s face either.
‘Could this Zhongzhen Wukui be… Fan Fan and Ling Han’s boss? The director of the ZN Bureau?’ This thought passed through his head and he started to feel anxious.
He had not expected that this Zhongzhen Wukui would join in on this negotiation too. In his plan, he only needed to talk with Shi Boren and Tang Tianlong, then set everything straight to propose his conditions. As for the higher-ups, he did not need to do anything because naturally Shi Boren and Tang Tianlong would take care of it. But now, if this Zhongzhen Wukui really was the boss of the ZN Bureau, his participation in this negotiation would add some uncertainty to the outcome.
Whether it was the replay of his memories or his analysis of the man’s identity, it had all been done in an extremely short amount of time. Xia Lei felt nervous, but he still smiled and said courteously, “Mr Zhongzhen, you flatter me. It is an honour for me to be able to serve my country. I was taught by my father since my youth that passion for our motherland must exceed passion for life. He trained my patriotic sentiments from an early age. All that I am doing now is following my father’s teachings.”
“Xia Lei, didn’t your father go missing?” said Shi Boren suddenly.
Xia Lei replied, “He is missing but not dead. He could still come back even if he is missing. I have always held the hope that one day I could see my father. If someone is willing to grant me this wish, I am willing to do anything for him.”
Tang Tianlong coughed. “Why don’t we get to business. Let us have these conversations at the wine table, all right?”
Shi Boren chuckled. “Right, right. Let us get to business.”
Zhongzhen Wukui kept his gaze on Xia Lei, his gaze never leaving him for even a second. When Xia Lei had previously mentioned his father, the corner of his mouth had twitched as if he had wanted to say something, but he did not in the end.
“Then I will stop with the small talk. Xia Lei, if you have any requests, say it now.” Tang Tianlong did not waste any words and immediately dived into the main topic.
Xia Lei was silent for a moment and then smiled. “I want to first hear about the details of this negotiation. Uncle Tang, you were not clear enough on the phone the last time. I want to fully understand something as important as this.”
Tang Tianlong smiled wryly. “Xia Lei, was I not clear enough last time?”
Xia Lei put on a show of patience. “Let me understand the details first.”
“All right, then let me tell you about it in detail.” Tang Tianlong explained, “After you left, the German government was quiet for a while. As for the specific cause, you should know without my saying, it was the bitter wine they brewed themselves.”
Xia Lei nodded.
“But they will not give up. We have also expected that they would contact us on their own and sure enough, they sent a special envoy to come to talk with us a week ago. The negotiation result was that they will exchange their submarine technology for your technology, including a Thunder Dragon intelligent lathe.”
Xia Lei said, “I remember that you said that technical staff would come to tour and inspect my factory and the Thunder Dragon intelligent lathe. How did it become them wanting my technology?”
“You must have remembered incorrectly. What I said was a technology exchange. What this exchange includes is some transfer of technology.” Tang Tianlong’s expression took on an awkward tinge.
They sure were doing as they pleased. If they said something was one way, then that became truth.
“What specific technology do they want?” asked Xia Lei.
“Well, mainly the Thunder Dragon intelligent lathe’s technology. What they care most about is your intelligent lathe technology. This time, they clearly asked for the whole blueprint, electrical engineering behind it, and the control program. Of course, the XL2500 sniper rifle and the Gust assault rifle is also a part of it. They want all the technologies — you cannot leave any out.”
The corners of Xia Lei’s mouth curved into a cold smile. “They sure want a lot. They probably even asked for the technology for my second generation Thunder Dragon intelligent lathe, right?”
Tang Tianlong paused, then said, “That’s right, they mentioned it but we rejected it. We told them clearly that we will not sell the technology for the second generation Thunder Dragon intelligent lathe. It is now a flagpole of our manufacturing industry. How would anyone sell their flagpole?”
It did not matter if it was a flagpole or some other pole — all had been created by Xia Lei. Now, these things were being taken out and sold, yet he could not even make the decision.
“Then did they ask for the Hellbound One-soldier Cannon’s technology?” asked Xia Lei.
Tang Tianlong smiled wryly. “You really are like the roundworm in the Germans’ stomachs. All right, their appetites are huge and they did mention that they want the technology for the Hellbound, but we did not agree. It was they who came to request things of us, not us requesting something of them.”
Zhongzhen Wukui then spoke up. “Mr Xia, I know that these technologies are important to you and those military factories. But you need to know that their submarine technology is even more important and valuable to us. To us, this deal is very cost-effective. I hope that you can put the interests of the general public first and agree to this good deal.”
The overseer had finally spoken. He could have lost his patience, or become dissatisfied with Xia Lei’s attitude.
Xia Lei smiled. “Mr Zhongzhen, of course I approve of this deal. Remember the last time? Did I not help our country get a Eurofighter Typhoon’s engine technology?”
“If that is the case, then everything is easier.” Zhongzhen Wukui stared straight at Xia Lei. “I heard that you have a request, or rather a condition. Go ahead. I want to hear it.”
Things still came back to the starting line after going in a big circle. Xia Lei could have said it all in one go before Tang Tianlong asked about his request, but he did not. He deliberately went in this circle because he needed to wear away these people’s patience. He wanted to let them know that he was not the “good boy” they thought he was. He also had his own opinions!
“Say it. You are usually pretty quick with what you want to say. Why are you being hesitant now?” Shi Boren’s voice was very loud. “It is some girl that caught your eye isn’t it? No problem, don’t be embarrassed and just say it. How about I be your matchmaker? Is it my goddaughter?”
Tang Tianlong stared at Shi Boren awkwardly. He, the biological father, was still in the room. How did it come to Shi Boren the stepfather deciding on Tang Yuyan’s marriage?
But Xia Lei only smiled. Would he even need Shi Boren to be the matchmaker if he wanted to marry Tang Yuyan? He only needed a phone call to call Tang Yuyan out. Eat some food, watch a movie, then order a room at a hotel. He could even save money on condoms.
Zhongzhen Wukui had urged him, and Tang Tianlong, and Shi Boren too. However, Xia Lei still looked like he was in no hurry. He slowly opened his briefcase and took out a few files from the inside, and a large envelope. After he took these things out, he did not give them to anyone but held them tightly in his hand.
“What is this?” asked Shi Boren.
Xia Lei did not respond to that question but replied, “I do not ask for fame or profit. I only ask for one person.”
“Did some girl… Really catch your eye?” Shi Boren’s expression was quite comical.
Tang Tianlong suddenly laughed.
Xia Lei finally said, “I want my father.”
“Huh?” Shi Boren and Tang Tianlong immediately stood still, stunned.
Only Zhongzhen Wukui stayed calm, but a coldness flashed in his eyes.Previous Chapter Next Chapter