Chapter 698

Although Thunder Horse Military Factory was still small and new, its presence at the exhibition was a threat to the Western military industries’ big dogs. America’s Barrett Company, Belgium’s HK Company, and even Germany’s Rheinmetall AG, which claimed to be friends with Thunder Horse Group, as well as Germany’s FN Company. They all viewed the Thunder Horse Group as their most threatening rival. Be it the past, present or future, they would never be Xia Lei’s friends — only rivals and enemies! 

How could they miss the opportunity to attack their enemy was it was right before them?

“When did our Thunder Horse Group allow people like you guys to criticise us?” Before Xia Lei could speak, Qing Caiyue retorted, “Our Thunder Horse Group has its own tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery, and defense system. They just haven’t been shipped over.”

“Really?” Joe Barton sneered. “Haven’t been shipped over, or haven’t been made? China isn't the best in its manufacturing industry but rather in the art of talking, huh?”

“It’s you guys who are better at talking, right?” Qing Caiyue was sharp-tongued. “I know that Barret’s sniper rifles were completely defeated by Thunder Horse Group’s XL2500 sniper rifles at the weapons exhibition in Russia. Both were sniper rifles but why are you guys so lacking? The rifles you guys created are far behind us, yet you guys dared to speak loftily about yourselves. I don’t understand this. Sir, where is confidence to mock Thunder Horse Group coming from?”

Joe Barton was tongue-tied and could not speak.

What a clever mouth she had! Xia Lei couldn’t help admiring her. If it were him, he wouldn’t be able to talk smack like her. 

One shouldn’t ever argue with women because they were naturally gifted in this. 

“Hehe.” Mark Armin laughed dryly. “Why do we need to sow unhappiness amongst us? We’re all from the same field so we should progress together, hand in hand, not go against one another.”

“Mr Xia, who is this woman? We came to talk to you, yet you let a woman run her mouth like this. Is this what a gentleman should do?” said Ileva. 

Qing Caiyue was about to retort when Xia Lei spoke. “Is it because you think she isn’t of a rank high enough to speak? Let me tell you that she is Thunder Horse Group’s marketing director and my head secretary. She probably ranks higher than you. I don’t know what you want to talk about, and I have no interest in it. If you must talk, then the Chairman of your HK Company should be the one coming over to talk to me, not you.”

“You…” Ileva was at a loss for words too.

“And you.” Xia Lei looked at Joe Barton. “Are you the Chairman of the Barrett Company? You’re not. You’re not, so leave and do your job. If I want to talk, I will only talk with the Chairman of your Barrett Company.”

Joe Barton’s face couldn’t get any uglier at this affront. 

It was true. Whether it was Joe Barton or Ileva, they were just senior executives of HK Company and Barrett Company. Although Thunder Horse Group was small in size, Xia Lei was the chairman. If one compared the ranks, they were way below him. What right did they have to criticise them openly?

Qing Caiyue smiled to herself, because she knew that Xia Lei was backing her up and bolstering her standing. 

Just then, a few more people walked into the exhibition hall. However, it wasn’t people from an arms company but Jacqueline Eva. There were several heavily armed Gendarmerie Special Forces soldiers behind her. 

“Mr Xia, are you satisfied with your booth space?” Jacqueline Eva greeted Xia Lei from afar. 

Xia Lei didn’t bother with Joe Barton anymore and he walked over to her. “I’m very satisfied.”

The main star had left so there was no need for Joe Barton and the others to stay. They walked off angrily. Mueller from FN Company was secretly glad that he hadn’t provoked Xia Lei and the woman with a sharp tongue, or he would be full of anger right now. Mark Armin wanted to talk a bit more with Xia Lei when leaving, but he gave up on the thought because the people around him were so mad. 

Qing Caiyue remembered the scene where Xia Lei backed her up and bolstered her position as she watched Joe Barton and the others leave. The smile on her face grew more apparent.

“Ms. Qing, you have a way with words indeed.” An employee of the Thunder Horse Group standing behind Qing Caiyue flattered her. 

Qing Caiyue glared at him. 

The employee who had attempted to flatter her shut his mouth.

He was complimenting her sharp tongue too, but her reaction was completely different. 

Not far from them, Jacqueline Eva and Xia Lei continued their conversation. The atmosphere around them seemed pleasant. 

“Mr Xia, if you guys need any help, just let me know. We will resolve any problems for you,” said Jacqueline Eva. 

“Thank you, but I don’t need any help. We can settle it ourselves,” said Xia Lei. 

“You don’t need to be polite with me.” Jacqueline Eva smiled. “Do you have time?”

“Is there a problem?” Xia Lei had guessed Jacqueline Eva’s motive a long time ago. The French government had always wanted to work with him and were anxious about getting rid of a hot potato like him. This was why it was better for the French government to start the negotiation as soon as possible. 

As expected, Jacqueline Eva said, “We want to discuss a collaboration with you. If possible, I’d like to bring you to the weapons equipment department. They are all prepared.” 

Xia Lei thought for a moment. “How about tomorrow? Even if we are going to talk, I need to prepare for it. Plus, you’ve seen that I need to decorate that huge exhibition booth. I need to assign work to my people.”

“Okay, tomorrow it is.” Jacqueline Eva was not expecting Xia Lei to go to the French weapons equipment department with her right now. The French government found it acceptable to reach a negotiation stage before the main weapons exhibition began. Not counting today, they still had eight days left. There was still plenty of time left. 

“Okay. If there isn’t anything else, I’m going to manage the setup now,” said Xia Lei. 

“Oh, right.” Jacqueline Eva moved close to speak softly in Xia Lei ear. “Didn’t you ask me for that perfume last night?” 

“Marie’s Desire?” 

“I knew you would still remember its name. I have it. Come to my place tonight.”

“To your place?”

“If you agree, I can drive over and pick you up from the hotel at five in the afternoon. We can have dinner together.”

“Uh…”

Jacqueline Eva curled the corners of her lips up. “Mr Xia, I’m a woman. Don’t put me in a difficult position.”

Xia Lei smiled. “Okay. I will be waiting for you at five in the afternoon at the hotel.”

“Then it’s settled. Goodbye.” Jacqueline Eva bid him farewell, but suddenly kissed Xia Lei on the cheek. 

Xia Lei’s body stiffened slightly and his expression turned awkward. Cheek-kissing was not really common etiquette in the Western society. The ordinary etiquette was to rub one’s cheeks with another then peck their cheeks. The nature of the action was clearly different.

Jacqueline Eva left.

Qing Caiyue came over. “Director Xia, who was that woman?”

“She’s probably a staff member in the French government. I’m not sure,” said Xia Lei. His gaze was still on Jacqueline Eva’s plump butt but he wasn’t thinking of his date with her tonight. He was thinking about how to go to Italy. 

Qing Caiyue clearly wasn’t satisfied with the response, but she didn’t ask more. 

Xia Lei suddenly thought of something and a smile appeared on his face. “Let me tell you something, Caiyue.”

Qing Caiyue turned her attention to him. “What is it?”

“Remember this.” Xia Lei said softly in her ear, “No matter what happens or what you hear, don’t bother about it. You just need to complete the work I give you. Decorate the exhibition hall, attend the weapons exhibition, and chat with the clients.”

“Director Xia, you…” Qing Caiyue was nervous and confused. What made her nervous was how Xia Lei was talking to her. She could feel his warm breath blowing on her ear. That was a sensitive place and the tickling feeling made her heart flutter. What made her confused was what Xia Lei had said to her. She couldn’t understand why he had said that. 

“You don’t understand?”

Qing Caiyue nodded. 

“Let me give you an example.” Xia Lei’s voice was low. “If you hear that I got captured or kidnapped, just pretend that you didn’t hear anything, and keep on doing what you’re supposed to.”

“Um… How can I do that?” Qing Caiyue said in surprise. “How can I not care if something happens to you? How can I do nothing about it?”

“Then what would you do?”

“I will stop my activities at the exhibition and go to the embassy to find our ambassador. I will go to the French government and cause a ruckus. I don’t believe that they will be unreasonable and ignore the laws.”

Xia Lei was speechless. 

“I really will do that!” Qing Caiyue had clearly misunderstood, and thought that Xia Lei didn’t believe that she would have the resolve to do what she claimed. 

Xia Lei suddenly placed his lips on Qing Caiyue’s ear. “Listen to me. No matter what you hear, or no matter what happens, don’t do anything about it.”

Qing Caiyue’s face flushed right away and she quivered for no apparent reason. 

“This is very important to me. Do not act on your own. Do you understand?”

Qing Caiyue nodded, almost subconsciously. 

“And you cannot tell anyone. Got it?”

Qing Caiyue nodded again. Xia Lei had made it so clear that she should have understood, even if she had the brain of a pig.

Xia Lei left Qing Caiyue but his gaze was on her ears, which were translucent, delicate as ice and snow. He had verified this with his lips already. A red mark had appeared on her ear, and the redness quickly travelled to her face and neck. The redness made her skin even more delicate and beautiful. 

“Director Xia, you…” Qing Caiyue bit her cherry lip but said it in the end. “You’re such a bad man.”

Xia Lei pretended to be stunned. “Oh, you’re talking about earlier? Sorry, it was accidental.” 

He had done it on purpose, and not accidentally. Qing Caiyue the vixen had been trying to seduce him. He hadn’t ‘eaten’ her yet but he ‘tasted’ her a bit. He was giving her a sweet taste so that she would listen to him. The structure of personnel in Thunder Horse Group had grown more complicated with the increase in its employees, so as the Chairman of the Thunder Horse Group, his main job was to be in charge of his employees. This was also a skill in managing people.

“Accidental? But you…” Qing Caiyue couldn’t continue. She wanted to say ‘you claimed it to be accidental yet you placed your lips on my ears for more than a minute. If you had done it on purpose, wouldn’t you be eating me?!’

“Remember what I told you. This is very important to me.” Xia Lei reminded her again.

“Mm, I will remember it.” Qing Caiyue was obedient again.

“That’s it.” Xia Lei walked towards Yelena.

Yelena stood in a corner like an observer. As Xia Lei’s other secretary, she always seemed a little unconventional.

Xia Lei walked to Yelena’s side and said softly in Russian, “Tell our people that we have a mission tonight.” 

“What do you want to do?” Yelena’s eyes filled with misgiving.

Xia Lei moved his head close to Yelena’s ear...

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