Three hours passed.
Kakuko Noke shut his notebook computer and removed the USB flash drive. He handed it to Hattori Masao.
“No problems?” asked Hattori Masao.
Kakuko Noke nodded. “No problems.”
“I am.” Kakuko Noke nodded again.
Hattori Masao smiled, and he relaxed. He was delighted. He walked towards Xia Lei.
Xia Lei had flipped through all of the drawings and information by then too.
He had actually stored all the information on the SSD and on the papers in his brain’s “warehouse” half an hour ago. He had used this half an hour to look through all of the information again to make sure that he had left nothing out.
However, no one knew that he had already looked through everything twice, and that he had memorised everything, even the punctuation!
In the eyes of the Japanese, Xia Lei was like a child, flipping through all that information and drawings and not reading them properly through all the fluttering of pages. Would they have believed that he had read everything through twice when they were seeing him like this?
Hattori Mei had spoken to Xia Lei once in a while in the beginning, but he had not said a word back in response. Later, Hattori Mei did not bother with him anymore and sat on the sofa, drinking tea. She seemed restless, and kept glancing over occasionally at Xia Lei like she had something on her mind.
When Hattori Masao walked towards Xia Lei, holding the USB, she stood from the sofa and followed him over.
Xia Lei was still buried in the drawings. Rustle. One page. Rustle. Another page. He didn’t look like he was looking at the drawings at all, but like he was looking for something small in the drawings.
Hattori Masao and Hattori Mei couldn’t help exchanging glances, and their faces filled with suspicion.
What was this guy doing?
“How’s it going, Xia Lei?” Hattori Masao spoke.
Xia Lei looked up at him with a sad face. “It’s too complicated. It’s tough for me to read and I don’t remember anything at all. I should have brought my experts over if I’d known. Now, I can’t even confirm that what you’ve given me is the real deal. I’m so worried.”
Hattori Masao wrinkled his brow and said, upset, “You’re saying hurtful things. Are you doubting my integrity? I can guarantee you on my family’s honour that what I’ve given you is authentic. It is very important and very valuable.”
“Since it’s so important and valuable, why is it in France? It should be in Japan,” said Xia Lei.
“We, the Hattori Family, have a laboratory in France. These resources are shared,” said Hattori Masao.
Xia Lei then remembered the results of the investigation Amanda had given him. She’s said that the Hattori family funded several laboratories, and supported many researchers. Based on that, it came as no surprise that the Hattori family would have a laboratory in France that shared resources. However, he was just asking the questions casually. He already knew that this data was authentic, and that it was highly valuable. He was just asking questions to put up a smokescreen and give them the false impression that he had understood nothing of it.
“I see. Uncle, I wouldn’t have known if you didn’t tell me.” After a pause, Xia Lei changed the topic. “Are your people done with their testing?”
“Yes, they’ve finished.”
“No problems. You are an honest man. I am happy about that.”
Xia Lei smiled. “I have no good traits except for my honesty. Ah, and one more. I am good at loving women.”
What he said made Hattori Mei roll her eyes. She had a right to comment on whether Xia Lei was good at loving women, and this roll of her eyes was her answer.
“All right, it’s late. Why don’t you sleep here tonight?” said Hattori Masao. “It’s not very convenient to go back so late either.”
“I won’t be staying. I have to bring these things back to have my experts have a look at them,” said Xia Lei.
Hattori Masao’s face darkened. “What’s with you? I was kind enough to offer to let you stay the night. Is my kindness so troubling to you?”
“That’s…” Xia Lei started to say something, then stopped.
Hattori Mei then held on to Xia Lei’s arm and admonished, “Geeze, you made my father unhappy. You can still bring these back to let your experts have a look at them tomorrow. Why the rush? Besides, it will be difficult to get a taxi back at this hour.”
“Don’t you have a car?” said Xia Lei.
“I’m not sending you back.”
Xia Lei smiled wryly. “Sure, I’ll listen to you. Which room will I stay in?”
“You’ll share a room with me, of course,” said Hattori Mei.
“Ahem.” Hattori Masao coughed dryly. “I’ll go back to my room first to rest. Good night.”
“Good night, father.” Hattori Mei bowed slightly to her father.
“Good night, Uncle.” Xia Lei also stood and bowed. This was also a show of courtesy.
Hattori Masao took two steps and suddenly turned around. “You two, make sure to take safety precautions. I don’t want a grandchild before the two of you are married.”
“Father!” Hattori Mei looked ashamed and angry.
“Isn’t it a good thing to have a grandchild?” muttered Xia Lei to himself.
A sneer of disgust appeared in the corners of Hattori Mei’s mouth for an instant, and she pulled intimately at Xia Lei’s hand. “Let’s go. We should go to our room and rest too.”
“Wait, I have to take these things too.” Xia Lei extracted his hand to grab the huge bundle of drawings and papers.
“Geeze, you. Are you always so untrusting of others?” Hattori Mei said angrily, “Is there a difference between you bringing these to our room and leaving them here? Don’t worry about it. Leave them here and you can get them first thing tomorrow morning. Not one sheet will be missing.”
“Okay. I’m just too much of a loving man. I’ll listen to you.” Xia Lei put down the huge stack of drawings and papers, but he took the SSD and put it in the pocket of his suit.
“It’s not a problem for me to take this, right? It’s in my pocket and it won’t be all over your room,” said Xia Lei.
Hattori Mei could not be bothered to talk to Xia Lei any more. She turned and walked towards the door.
“Wait for me, babe. Don’t be mad.” Xia Lei chased after her.
The three Japanese men looked at each other; they could not figure out the situation. They obviously knew who Hattori Mei was, but why was she suddenly on such intimate terms with a Chinese fellow?
A few minutes after Xia Le left the study, Hattori Masao came back and put all the drawings and papers in the safe.
“Sir, he took the SSD,” said Kakuko Noke.
“He will return it to me soon. He won’t be able to take it away. Don’t concern yourselves with this. Just do your part,” said Hattori Masao.
“Sir, I’ll only dare say it after that Chinese fellow is gone.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“The technologies in this USB drive has already far surpassed what I’d imagined. The technologies are at least 30 years ahead of the current world. The person who designed all of these… I cannot imagine how his brain is wired.”
Hattori Masao immediately thought of Xia Lei’s Plan X. Excitement and greed flashed in his eyes.
Kakuko Noke went on. “The contents of the USB drive should be sent back to our home country as soon as possible. It can help make our Japanese military industry reach the peak of the world. Sir, I think we should return immediately, and build…”
Hattori Masao’s face darkened as he cut Kakuko Noke off. “Bastard! Do I need you to teach me what to do? I’ve said that you should just do your part and that’s it. Scram! Go back to the hotel, now!”
The three engineers bowed to Hattori Masao and left the study quickly with lowered heads.
Hattori Masao muttered darkly, “If the Japanese military industry reaches the peak of the world, the one planting the flag there shall be me, Hattori Masao!”
He glanced at his watch, then sat on the sofa. He pushed a wireless earbud into his ear and waited quietly for something.
About two minutes later, a woman’s voice suddenly came from the earbud. It was a strange sound, and it seemed like that woman was in great pain, as if she was at the point where she would kill herself to get rid of the pain. But there was also the feeling that she was extremely happy, so happy that her wits were scattered and that she babbled.
Hattori Masao frowned. He knew well what this sound was, and he knew the woman making these sounds. That woman was his daughter.
The sound of a mattress creaking came again. It was rather rhythmic. Thumpa, thumpa, thumpa. CreeAK, creeAK creeaaaak. It was like a wild stallion had been set loose on the bed of his daughter’s room. The stud was treating the bed like a grassy plain, beating hard on it with all its might. Thump thump thump thump thump thump thump thump… It was as if the stud was going to stamp out all the grass on that plain, stirring that plain up and turning it all into mush…
All these sounds provoked Hattori Masao as a father. Anger burned slowly in him. He clenched his fist and his knuckled cracked. Veins popped on his forehead in a green criss-cross which resembled the straw hat of the pirate Luffy, only it was blueish green.
“How much longer are you going to keep going?” It was the begging voice of a woman.
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s because of the beef I had for dinner.”
Hattori Masao got to his feet all of a sudden at that point, and stomped his way over to the painting of Hattori Hanzo. He drew the samurai sword, and charged towards the study room door.
But he still stopped in the doorway. What was happening right then was quite unbearable for him, but he knew the importance of “tolerance”.
The technologies he gained from Xia Lei would be able to bring the Hattori family great opportunities in advancements, and if he managed to get the even more valuable Plan X, then the Hattori family’s future progress would be immeasurable!
Hattori Masao calmed entirely when he thought about Plan X. The various noises coming over the earbud became a clear breeze, bringing him not anger, but tranquility.
He returned to the sofa and continued waiting.
This wait ended up being half an hour.
His daughter’s room was finally quiet again.
He looked at his watch, then stood.
At that moment, however, his daughter’s voice came from over the earbud again.
“Damn you, aren’t you going to let me rest?!”
“You’ve been resting all this while. Were you trying hard at all?”
“Go away, I want to go to the bathroom.”
“I’ll go with you.”
Hattori Masao stabbed the samurai sword into the carpet.
The sharp blade penetrated the carpet and went into the pine floorboards.
Poor daughter. Was she like the carpet, or was she like the pine floorboards?
This question made him want to go crazy.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I'm sorry you got involved in this, Luffy.