Jacqueline Eva did not disturb Xia Lei for the rest of the night, and he managed to sleep well. He was not one bit worried about anything going wrong with the deal with the French, because he knew what they were thinking.
On the surface, the avionics and stealth technology of the Eurofighter Typhoon was indeed of a higher level than the technology of Thunder Horse Group’s intelligent lathe and light weapons, and France would be on the losing end if they did an exchange like this. However, this was just the surface value, and the truth of it was not so.
Whichever war it was, the ones fighting it would be human. The quality of the light weapons could be the deciding factor. No matter how advanced a fighter jet was, there would be no winning the war without the advancement of ground troops. A real life example was the war of terrorism in Iraq and Syria. *
The light weapons of the Thunder Horse Group was different, especially the Gust assault rifle. It had a range of over 1,000 metres, and would not lose to some sniper rifles. Add its special characteristic of having virtually no recoil to its high accuracy… Every soldier would be highly equipped for battle. There was also the XL2500 and the Hellhound One-soldier Cannon.**
So if one looked at it from a practical point of view, the cost, the consumption and the needs of winning a war meant that the Thunder Horse Group technology was of a lot of use, and even more valuable than the Eurofighter Typhoon technology. Under pressure from America, the French would not have invited Xia Lei here if they were not able to see these benefits.
It was plain. He was the top in the world, and they could buy if they wanted, and get lost if they didn’t want to buy!
What was there to worry about when he had this backing him up?
Xia Lei had a dream that night too. He was the male lead in this dream, and Jacqueline Eva was the female lead.
Early the next morning, Xia Lei and Jacqueline Eva met in the living room.
“Good morning, Miss Eva.” Xia Lei greeted her, but it was just that. He did not mention negotiations and didn’t seem concerned at all.
Jacqueline Eva smiled faintly. “Good morning, Mr Xia. I have to make a short trip to the Equipment Department, so I won’t be joining you for breakfast.”
“What a shame.”
Jacqueline Eva did a small roll of her eyes. “Do you truly find it a shame? Don’t lie to me. You’d rather I not turn up at all, don’t you?”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“I made several calls last night and I relayed your requirements to them but they have not yet made a decision. They will hold a meeting and I will come to you as soon as we have the results of that meeting,” said Jacqueline Eva.
“Yep, no problem.” Xia Lei was in no rush.
Jacqueline Eva suddenly walked up to Xia Lei and curled her arm around his neck. “You. No man has ever treated me this way.”
Xia Lei put an innocent look on his face. “Did I do something to upset you?”
“The perfume is in my room. You get it yourself. Don’t worry, I didn’t add any drug to it.” Jacqueline Eva left the room after saying that.
Xia Lei stared blankly for a bit, then went to her room. He had promised Long Bing, Tang Yuyan and Liang Siyao that he would get them a bottle of French perfume each, so it would be a waste to not take the perfume Jacqueline Eva offered him.
After breakfast, Xia Lei went to the Parc des Expositions de Villepinte. The matter in Italy had been settled, so he would have to shift his attention to the international weapons exhibition.
He had left Paris four days ago, and he found that the Thunder Horse Group’s exhibition booth had changed a lot upon his return. There was a glass platform in the middle of the huge booth, and it sparkled like crystal under the lights. It looked pretty sci-fi. Around the platform were artistic walls made of glass surrounding the booth, like fans around a favourite performer.
The workers of the company in charge of decorating the booth were adding details to the walls; paintings with anti-war and peace messages. There were also photographs which encouraged environmental protection and the protection of endangered species. The overall feel of these details made the Thunder Horse Group’s booth seem not like an arms manufacturer, but an organisation for international peace.
The employees of Thunder Horse Group were also setting up the products for display. They had put the XL2500, Gust and Hellhound One-soldier Cannon in their respective places on the platform and were adjusting the positions to get the best angle for display. There was also someone testing the AV system. There would be information on the Thunder Horse Group displayed from different angles once the exhibition began, as well as the weapons they had on offer. It was not just the three light weapons the company had — the not-yet-manufactured defence system, tank and armoured vehicle and so on were on offer too.
The exhibition hall was a hive of activity, and this activity was going as planned. This made Xia Lei happy. He had not come to check on them, but his people had done the tasks he had assigned them very well.
Qing Caiyue walked up to welcome Xia Lei as soon as she saw him. She had a sweet smile on her face. “Good morning, Chairman Xia. Have a look — is the layout fine?”
Xia Lei gave a laugh and said, “Yes, it is. Well done. I’ll give you three days off after the exhibition is over. You guys have fun sightseeing in France, all expenses paid by the company.”
The exhibition hall was immediately filled with cheers.
Qing Caiyue looked at Xia Lei and her voice grew small. “Chairman Xia, you should give yourself three days off too. I’ll accompany you on your holiday in France.”
Xia Lei was a little tempted but that silver-coloured metal appeared in his mind’s eye, as well as the notebook which da Vinci had left behind. The mysteries left by da Vinci were waiting for him to solve them, so he wouldn’t have time to go sightseeing around France. Plus, he wouldn’t dare even if he did have the time because he could fall into the hands of the CIA and the FA.
Xia Lei then said, “I won’t be going. I have to hurry back, so you can just lead the group to have fun. Buy whatever you want to buy within the budget of 200,000 euros.”
“Huh? Thank you, Chairman Xia.” Disappointment crossed Qing Caiyue’s face when she heard that Xia Lei was going to hurry back, but a bright smile lit her face up when she heard the budget. Two hundred thousand euros was about 1.5 million Chinese yuan! This was a huge amount of money! How could she still be unhappy?
A big group of employees looked enviously at Qing Caiyue. Some of them whispered, saying that she and Xia Lei had an intimate relationship, of course. Why else would she have so much money as a reward? Some even said that that was not a reward, but a “mistress fee”.
Their whispers could barely be heard, but they did not escape Xia Lei’s lip-reading ability. He coughed awkwardly. “Do your work well, everyone. Once this exhibition is over, I will give each and every one of you a reward of 20,000 euros and three days off.”
The employees cheered again when they heard that. There were no more wagging tongues. Qing Caiyue had ten times their reward, but what was her rank compared to theirs? They were very satisfied with the 20,000 euros.
What they did not know was that this reward that Chairman Xia was giving them was but a hair on the hide of nine oxen. Once the deal with the French was made, the higher-ups would free Xia Lei from his debt of over two billion. Xia Lei’s net worth would double overnight, and if nothing went wrong, his wealth would grow to a third of Shentu Tianyin’s.
Surpassing Shentu Tianyin in wealth was just a matter of time, and not a very long time either.
Qing Caiyue directed the workers of the company decorating the booth, and the employees of Thunder Horse Group, and Xia Lei was left with nothing much to do. He made one round of the exhibition hall, then went to the other exhibition zones. He wanted to see how things were for his competitors.
He had not walked far when some young men entered his field of vision.
Three white men, one black man.
Xia Lei tensed when he saw their faces. These four were not tourists, nor staff of the Parc des Expositions de Villepinte — they were members of the Knights Hospitaller!
He had hidden in the grass in Bobbio, Italy, and the helicopter had been about 500 metres above him, but those 500 metres were like looking through a window to look at someone standing outside it to Xia Lei. He had seen the occupants of the helicopter clearly, and he remembered these four people. The black man was the gunner on the helicopter, one of the white men was the sniper and the other two were the bearers of the assault rifles. He’d thought that these people would never appear before him again, but they had come after him, all the way to Paris in just two days!
‘What’s going on here? I wore a mask when I went to Italy. Even if they did see my mask-face, they shouldn’t be able to find me. For them to come to me here… have they already figured out my identity? I’m in big trouble now…’ Xia Lei was surprised, and anxious.
The four people seemed to have not yet discovered Xia Lei. They walked past him and had no strange reactions to him. They were heading in the direction of the FN booth.
Xia Lei came to a halt at the entrance to a company’s booth and glanced at the four people out of the corner of his eye. The four did not look back, and they walked on at a normal pace.
Xia Lei found it strange. ‘They’re obviously the men from the helicopter and members of the Knights Hospitaller. They came all the way here, after me… so are they not here to kill me, but are after me for something else?’
This was also not really a possibility because he could see them clearly at 500 metres, but they could not see his face clearly. Those four had not even discovered him at that time. If they had, they would have turned that minigun at him and turned him into mincemeat!
Just as Xia Lei reached this conclusion, however, one of the young white men paused in his steps and made a small, sideways head movement.
He was telling the others to observe from the corners of their eyes.
Xia Lei pretended to not have seen that, and walked off with quick steps.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
* Text not included because I don’t want to spout out mindless stuff about war. Here is what I refused to translate: 美国及其盟友在叙利亚和伊拉克狂轰滥炸了一年多时间，恐怖分子的地盘不见减少反而是扩大了好几倍。谁能说美国的战斗机不先进，不强大？
**Modified to remove elements of war speculation. Here is what I refused to translate: 如果叙利亚和伊拉克的政府军配备了疾风突击步枪，人人都是狙击手，还愁无法赢得反恐战争吗？更别说还有XL2500狙击步枪和地狱犬单兵火炮了。