He’s A Dog
Xia Lei went to the bank to withdraw 200,000 the next day and brought it to Thunder Horse Workshop. The employees had already started working earnestly though they were just some small orders.
Zhou Xiao-Hong did not listen to him and was not resting. She was holding a painting brush and metal ruler, drawing on the steel plate for Ma Xiao-An and the others, making it more convenient for them to cut the materials and save time.
Seeing her work hard reminded Xia Lei of the situation last night when he was bandaging her wound for her. That white thigh, that gap that appeared because of the bandaging…
‘I really need to find myself a woman. It’s not good for me to be so sensitive all the time.’ Xia Lei shook his head and smiled wryly as he chased the images in his head away. This wasn’t the first time he’d thought of getting himself a woman but it seemed to be just a mantra. It was easier said than done to find a woman to love and to be with.
He thought of Shentu Tian-Yin for no apparent reason; that haughty, queen-like woman. He smiled wryly again, and thought ‘I keep thinking of her for no reason. Does this mean that she is the woman I want? What a joke. I really should know my limits…’
Zhou Xiao-Hong was the first to see Xia Lei enter the workshop and she got to her feet, “I’ll make you tea, Big Brother Lei.”
“Didn’t I tell you to rest? Why are you working?” asked Xia Lei.
Zhou Xiao-Hong gave a small laugh, “Nah, I’m not doing heavy work. I’m just drawing. It’s no different from resting.”
“Be careful. Don’t get hurt again,” Xia Lei cautioned.
“Mm,” Zhou Xiao-Hong made a sound of agreement and went to make tea for Xia Lei.
Ma Xiao-An and the others greeted Xia Lei and he smiled as he greeted them back. What had happened yesterday definitely affected them but life was life. They were people who needed to earn money for their families so work was most important; they didn’t care so much about other things.
Zhou Xiao-Hong made tea for Xia Lei, then went back to the metal board to draw.
Xia Lei’s phone rang before he could take a sip of tea.
The call was from Qin Xiang. His voice was soft but sharp and very sissy, “Xia Lei, I’ll wait for you at Ju Shan Garden Teahouse.”
“Okay. I’ll be right there.” Xia Lei hung up and went straight out.
Ma Xiao-An came over and pulled him by the hand, then spoke in a low tone, “Lei, what are you doing?”
“Nothing,” said Xia Lei.
“Tell me if something’s up. We can handle it together,” said Ma Xiao-An.
Xia Lei smiled as he said, “There’s really nothing. You just have to help me take care of the workshop. I’ve actually been busy registering us as a company. We won’t be just a workshop in the future.”
Ma Xiao-An paused, then said in delight, “Really? That’s great! You have to appoint me as Workshop Director or I won’t let you off.”
“Is that all you want? Just Workshop Director? I’ll make you a Deputy Head,” smiled Xia Lei.
Ma Xiao-An shook his head instead, “I’m not cut from that cloth. I’ll be a Workshop Director.”
Xia Lei patted Ma XIao-An on the shoulder, “Let’s not talk about this yet. We can tell them when there’s a positive outcome or we’ll be laughed at if it doesn’t work out.”
“I know. Don’t worry, I won’t tell. I’m not a blabbermouth,” said Ma Xiao-An.
Xia Lei nodded and left the workshop.
Ma Xiao-An sent Xia Lei out the door, and turned around, guffawing, “You guy know what? Lei is preparing to start a company! We’re going to to be founders and doyens of the company!”
Cheers sounded from Thunder Horse Workshop and it was very lively.
Xia Lei watched Ma Xiao-An and the others cheer as he sat in the ratty-tatty Polo. He shook his head, then started the engine and entered traffic, heading towards Ju Shan Garden Teahouse. He did not tell the truth to Ma Xiao-An but it was for his own good. It was a dangerous affair to go up against He Lao-Qi so he did not want Ma Xiao-An to get involved. Lying to him was for his own good; it was a kind lie.
Xia Lei received another call before he got to Ju Shan Garden Teahouse. It was not from Qin Xiang but from an unknown number.
“Hello? Mr Xia?” It was a woman’s voice, gentle and pleasant.
“Yes. Who is this?” Xia Lei could not tell who it was and he was curious.
“Can’t you tell? I’m Liang Si-Yao. Remember me?” said the woman.
“Oh, so it’s Miss Liang. Of course I remember. Hello. What did you call me for?” Xia Lei found it surprising that Liang Si-Yao would call him.
“Nothing much. Just wanted to ask why you didn’t come to the school to practice today,” said Liang Si-Yao.
“I’m sorry, I’m busy with something at my workshop and I can’t make time. I’ll be there tomorrow,” said Xia Lei.
“Mm, okay. Oh right, have you thought about what I’d talked to you about yesterday?” said Liang Si-Yao.
Xia Lei remembered Liang Si-Yao calling him to Liang Zheng-Chun’s office to ask him to consider giving up his workshop and concentrate on Wing Chun before he left the school. This seemed to be Liang Si-Yao’s true motive in calling him. He thought for a bit before replying, “This isn’t a small matter. How about this, Miss Liang - let me think about it some more and we’ll talk at another time, okay?”
“Mm, okay. I won’t disturb you any longer. See you tomorrow,” said Liang Si-Yao.
“Goodbye, Miss Liang.” Xia Lei hung up.
Saying that he would think about it was just polite talk. He’d never thought about becoming a true practitioner of martial arts.
Xia Lei was no stranger to Ju Shan Garden Teahouse. He had followed Li Qing-Hua from Ju Shan Garden Teahouse and recorded a compromising video of him. That was also his first time using his X-ray vision to solve a problem.
Xia Lei found Qin Xiang in a private room after walking into the hall. The way Qin Xiang was dressed made Xia Lei speechless - he was wearing womens’ pencil-trousers, matched with a ripped T-shirt. The two little pink dots on his flat chest were stood out like sore thumbs. This way of dressing and his made-up face, which was more beautiful than a woman’s, really accentuated his existence as a tranny.
Xia Lei stopped using his X-ray vision and walked into the private room QIn Xiang was in.
Qin Xiang looked at the bulging leather bag in Xia Lei’s hands. “You’ve really brought the money.”
Xia Lei sat opposite Qin Xiang and put the leather bag on the table.
“Have you thought about it? If I take your money and don’t help you then your money would be lost, you know?” said Qin Xiang.
Xia Lei pushed the money to Qin Xiang and spoke indifferently, “I’ve promised to give you 200,000. I’m not afraid that you’ll con me. I wouldn’t give you the money either if it wasn’t for your mother’s treatment. If you want to con me, you can take this money and leave right now. I won’t stop you.”
Qin Xiang pulled the string of the bag open and looked inside. He didn’t say anything and lifted the bag, headed towards the exit.
Xia Lei just sat there, not even looking at Qin Xiang.
Qin Xiang walked to the doorway of the private room, then suddenly turned back. He sat himself on the sofa, smiling, “You really can hold it in, huh. Not worried I’ll take your money for nothing?”
“You’d be an unredeemable fool if you did that. I’m helping you, not using you,” said Xia Lei.
Qin Xiang pursed his lips and smiled, “You’re really special, aren’t you? Thanks for your money. It’s important to me.”
“Take it for your mother’s treatment. She’s the one who needs it most,” said Xia Lei.
“Don’t worry about that. This money is for saving my mother’s life. I won’t spend it frivolously.” After a pause, he added, “I thought about it the whole night yesterday and I’ve sorted it out. We are indeed in the same boat. I’ll help you. What do you want to do?”
“Tell me about He Lao-Qi first. I’d like to understand more about him,” said Xia Lei.
“He’s the Gu clan’s dog,” said Qin Xiang.
Xia Lei was surprised. He’d thought that He Lao-Qi was working for the Gu Ke-Wen because she paid him. He did not expect that He Lao-Qi would be related to the Gu clan in this way.
Qin Xiang continued, “If you want to talk about He Lao-Qi, you have to start with the Gu clan. You know that the Gu clan is one of the most powerful families in Jing-Du, right? The Gu clan controls North Group, which is worth billions and has a wide reach. What you don’t know is that the Gu clan actually started here in Hai-Zhu. Gu Ke-Wen’s grandfather, Gu Ding-Shan is actually a figure in the underworld too. Nothing in the Gu clan’s coffers is clean. The Gu clan has always been vicious. Anyone who goes up against them would have a bad end.”
Xia Lei thought of Liu Ying - she was also one of the victims of the Gu clan’s capital expansion. He didn’t understand why a rich young lady like Gu Ke-Wen used such underhanded methods to snatch Liu Ying’s company and patent away back then but he understood now after hearing what Qin Xiang said. Gu Ding-Shan was a man of the underworld who stepped on the corpses of his opponents to reach higher - would his descendents be good, kind people?
Qin Xiang went on, “He Lao-Qi’s father was an underling of Gu Ding-Shan’s back then and he took a bullet for Gu Ding-Shan and died. From then on, He Lao-Qi became the Gu clan’s dog and ran errands for them. Nobody dares to disrespect He Lao-Qi here on Hai-Zhu territory because he has the backing of the Gu clan. He runs rampant here, terrorising and oppressing people.”
“Can the police do nothing to him? He’s been committing evil crimes for so many years,” said Xia Lei.
Qin Xiang smiled wryly, “The police need evidence to make an arrest. What can they base their arrest on without evidence? He Lao-Qi is very slippery. He’s never done bad deeds personally and always sends his underlings. Like me. He has dirt on me. I had to go steal Liu Ying’s patent because he told me to. Would I dare say that he had instructed me to steal it if I got caught?”
He Lao-Qi’s way of doing things seemed to have come from the Gu clan. When Gu Ke-Wen wanted something bad done, she made He Lao-Qi do it so that she wouldn’t get into any trouble herself.
Xia Lei was silent for a while before he spoke, “What dirt does he have on you?”
Qin Xiang looked at Xia Lei, seeming to be observing him.
Xia Lei smiled, “Aren’t we sort of friends now? You can just not tell me if you don’t trust me.”
Qin Xiang sighed. “Telling you is better than He Lao-Qi holding onto my strings.” He paused, then said, “I’m a burglar. Two years ago, I burgled a gold shop - I didn’t know it belonged to He Lao-Qi. I was recorded on a well-hidden camera when I did it and he managed to track me down even though my face was covered. He didn’t report me to the police, though. He gave me a copy of video. He’s been sending me to steal whatever he wants ever since.”
“You’re quite skilled. Didn’t you think of stealing that video?”
Qin Xiang smiled wryly, “Would that help? He knows it’s me. He’ll send someone to kill me. Living and being used by him is better than death.”
“Where does he live?”
Qin Xiang didn’t say anything. He took out a piece of copy-paper from his gaudy handbag and held it out to Xia Lei.
Xia Lei glanced at the paper - He Lao-Qi’s address, family members’ names, age and schedules of some bodyguards were written on it. It was quite detailed.
“How do you want to deal with him?” probed Qin Xiang.
“I have no plan now. Let’s leave it at this first. I’ll contact you if I need your help with anything.” Xia Lei put the copy-paper away.
“Okay. I’m going to the hospital to pay the fees. Bye.” Qin Xiang took the leather bag and left.
Xia Lei still sat in the private room, thinking deeply.
He Lao-Qi was actually the dog of the Gu clan. They were one entity. How can he fight them?
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