Arrival of the Old Leader
What sort of people want to investigate him? How did Long Bing end up investigating him? Xia Lei could not think of the answers to these two questions but he was not the least bit worried. His ability was hidden in his eye and there was no way for others to discover it anyway. And as for those mysterious powers, even he himself did not know why they appeared so where can Long Bing start investigating from?
Early the next morning, Xia Lei gave Long Bing a call but her mobile phone was off and he could not reach her. He was long used to this happening so he didn’t think much of it. He ate breakfast and went out.
He’d barely walked two steps from his building when a piece of watermelon rind came flying at his head. He heard a whoosh and squatted hurriedly as the watermelon rind shaved past his head and went on its trajectory. Xia Lei turned his head back to see Jiang Ru-Yi standing on her balcony.
Jiang Ru-Yi looked mad and she snatched up another watermelon rind and hurled it towards him.
Xia Lei jumped out of the way as he said, “Ru-Yi, what are you doing so early in the morning? Did I piss you off?”
“You didn’t but I’ll hit you because I feel like it. What are you going to do about it?” Jiang Ru-Yi swung her arm and a third piece came flying. She lost aim this time and the watermelon rind hit the wall next to her, splattering watermelon juice on her face and chest. The contrast between her snow white chest and red watermelon juice was very eye-catching.
Xia Lei laughed, “Look, the Heavens are punishing you for your bad deed.”
“What do you care?” Jiang Ru-Yi stopped throwing watermelon rinds and asked probingly, “Who was that woman last night?”
“She’s my Master’s daughter Liang Si-Yao, and also my assistant,” said Xia Lei.
Xia Lei did a Seeking Hand beginning pose and smiled as he said, “You didn’t know, did you? I’m learning Wing Chun now. My Master is the descendant of Yan Yong-Chun and his name is Liang Zheng-Chun.”
“Show-off.” Jiang Ru-Yi curled her lip, “If that woman is your Master’s daughter she should be your senior disciple. How did she become your assistant?”
“She’s a talented person who studied business in America. It is my great fortune for her to be willing to help me in my entrepreneurial venture,” said Xia Lei.
Jiang Ru-Yi suddenly lifted her leg and took off her slipper, then flung it at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei hurriedly dodged, “Are you crazy? Why hit me again?”
“You hired such a young and beautiful assistant. One look and I know that you have bad intentions. Shameless. Don’t tell people you know me,” scolded Jiang Ru-Yi.
Xia Lei was speechless.
Jiang Ru-Yi seemed to remember something all of a sudden, “Oh, that’s right. I cut off ties with you. I don’t want to talk to you. Shoo, shoo.”
Xia Lei shrugged wordlessly and turned to walk towards his Great Wall H6.
“Hey!” Jiang Ru-Yi said fiercely, “Give me my slipper back.”
“Aren’t you not talking to me? Now you’re asking me to give you your slipper?” Though he said that, Xia Lei still picked up Jiang Ru-Yi’s slipper and tossed it back to her.
Jiang Ru-Yi put on the slipper and said huffily, “I’ll tell Xue that you’ve become a bad person!”
Xia Lei smiled wryly and turned back to his car again.
“Bring some dishes back for me tonight. My fridge is empty. Get beef or mutton or wine or something like that. You pay for it first.” Jiang Ru-Yi’s voice came from behind him.
Xia Lei was speechless.
This was Jiang Ru-Yi’s ‘cutting ties with him’ and it hadn’t changed for over twenty years.
When Xia Lei drove to Thunder Horse Workshop, Liang Si-Yao was already in the workshop chatting with Zhou Xiao-Hong and the others.
“Boss Lei, when did you hire such a beautiful helper? And you didn’t tell us either, you rascal,” grumbled Chen A-Jiao good-naturedly when she saw Xia Lei.
“What helper? Call her Assistant.” Zhou Xiao-Hong corrected Chen A-Jiao’s mistake and then spoke sweetly, “Good morning, Big Brother Lei.”
XIa Lei had actually been planning to call Liang Si-Yao to come to the workshop when he was on his way and introduce her to the employees. He had not expected that she would find her own way here and start chatting with the employees.
Xia Lei smiled, “Looks like I don’t have to make introductions now.”
“Chairman Xia, I’ll start work today. Is that okay?” said Liang Si-Yao.
She called him ‘Chairman Xia’ in front of others but ‘Lei’ or ‘younger disciple’ when there were no others around. It seemed like she had already adjusted to her roles as senior disciple and assistant.
“Sure, no problem. Use my desk for now,” said Xia Lei a little awkwardly, “I feel like I’ve wronged you by making you work here.”
“There’s no need to talk about being wronged,” laughed Liang Si-Yao, “I’ll first draw up a plan for you. The company is still in its preparatory phase so you need a systematic plan.
“Okay. Thank you.” Xia Lei did need a plan like this.
Liang Si-Yao quickly entered work-mode. Her fingers flew across the keyboard and her ten pale fingers were like butterflies flitting about, dazzling one’s eyes.
“Look, Miss Liang is amazing.” Zhou Xiao-Hong learnt how to use the computer too but she used only one finger to type. She was miles behind compared to Liang Si-Yao.
“Could she be the future Mrs Boss?” quipped Chen A-Jiao as she drew on a metal sheet.
“Don’t say that, Big Sister A-Jiao. Though if Miss Liang and Big Brother Lei get together... They do fit quite well,” said Zhou Xiao-Hong.
Chen A-Jiao went close to her and said softly, “Xiao-Hong, you’re quite compatible with Boss Lei too. You have a big butt - perky too. You’ll give birth to a son for sure.”
Zhou Xiao-Hong’s face turned red immediately and she smacked Chen A-Jiao, sputtering, “I’ll ignore you if you keep talking nonsense, Big Sister A-Jiao.”
Chen A-Jiao sighed, “Ah, if only Xiao-An were still here. He’d definitely like this new Miss Liang. He’s a perverted fellow, I know…”
Zhou Xiao-Hong’s face darkened and her shyness from earlier was immediately overwritten by sorrow.
Sadness appeared in Xia Lei’s eyes too but he recovered quickly. He’d wanted to work on the parts for China Industrial Group but remembered that they had not sent the materials yet, so he could not begin the processing.
‘When will China Industrial Group send the materials over? Should I call Zhou Wei or Jiang Xin and ask? I can maybe test their response, inquire about the piece of land… Forget it, if I call now they will think I can’t do without them. I have to hold back and wait for them to plead with me’ thought Xia Lei.
Thunder Horse Manufacturing was still in its preparatory stage and the issue of land had to be settled first. Next was manpower - Chen A-Jiao, Wang You-Fu and the others were obviously not going to be enough after he built the new machine plant. He had no solution for these two troublesome problems though and just thinking about it was giving him a headache.
Everything was tough in the beginning, even setting up a stall by the roadside, let alone starting a company.
Xia Lei walked to the back of Liang Si-Yao and watched her type out the plan.
Liang Si-Yao felt someone behind her and turned back to look at Xia Lei, “Let’s not bother about the matter of the piece of land. We can’t do anything about it anyway. We can’t just wait around for it to be resolved either; we have to do other things. Hiring more workers or ordering equipment - which should we do first?”
Xia Lei thought for a bit, “I think… We should first hire more workers. Talent is one of the keys of new businesses after all and nothing can be done without people.”
Liang Si-Yao smiled, “It’s good you think that way. Me too. I’ll draft an employment advertisement now and send it later.”
“Where will you send it to?” Xia Lei asked curiously.
“Technical schools and Universities of Science and Technology,” said Liang Si-Yao, “We can get workers experienced in the basics from technical schools and higher-skilled talent from Universities of Science and Technology. These talents can help increase our competitiveness in the market and even design products for us.”
Xia Lei laughed, “So you’ve planned for everything.”
“Of course. After I sent you home last night, I went home and sorted through the company’s current situation. That’s right, about that woman last night…”
Xia Lei knew that she was talking about Jiang Ru-Yi already.
“Forget it. I don’t want to talk about that impolite person.” Liang Si-Yao turned the conversation back to work, “Fresh graduates don’t have ideal circumstances now so that gives us an advantage in hiring. Even so, we still have to have something that would attract the talent so we can recruit talented people.”
“You just do what you deem fit. You’re better at this than I am,” said Xia Lei.
“Okay, I’ll be in charge of hiring and you’ll take care of the matter of piece of land and building the machine plant. How does this sound?” said Liang Si-Yao.
Xia Lei nodded, “Let’s do it like this.”
Liang Si-Yao turned back to the keyboard and typed out a recruitment profile.
Seeing Liang Si-Yao hard at work made Xia Lei happy. He knew well that a talented returnee like Liang Si-Yao would not have come to work in a shell of a company like his if it were not for Liang Zheng-Chun, who found him to be a good fit for martial arts and chose him to be his Last Disciple to continue the practice of orthodox Wing Chun.
At that moment, a red Hongqi car stopped by the side of the road and two men alighted. One was Jiang Xin and the other was a familiar-looking elderly man. The elderly man looked close to sixty, with grizzled hair and a thin face. He had a pair of alert eyes and seemed cultured.
After Jiang Xin and the elderly man alighted, a small container truck stopped by the side of the road too.
‘They’re probably delivering the materials’ thought Xia Lei before he went to welcome them.
“Mr Xia,” greeted Jiang Xin with a smile from afar, “I’d planned on giving you a call before we came but Elder Mu didn’t let me, so we came straight over.”
Xia Lei did not know what sort of status this ‘Elder Mu’ had but he could guess that he was no simple man. Xia Lei spoke politely, “Hello, Elder Mu.” He then held out both his hands to shake with Elder Mu.
As Elder Mu shook hands with Xia Lei, Jiang Xin introduced him, “This is our China Industrial Group’s old leader, Mu Jian-Feng.” He spoke again, “Elder Mu, this is the Mr Xia I spoke to you about.”
Xia Lei and Mu Jian-Feng got acquainted in this fashion.
Mu Jian-Feng assessed Xia Lei carefully, then looked at the small, little Thunder Horse Workshop behind him. After half a beat, he spoke, “Boy, you have only a roadside workshop like this and you dare ask us, China Industrial Group, to procure land for a machining plant for you?”
Xia Lei stiffened and felt embarrassed. He wanted to know what was going through Mu Jian-Feng’s mind at that moment but he was expressionless and a wily old bird. Xia Lei could guess nothing.
While Xia Lei felt more awkwardly embarrassed, Mu Jian-Feng laughed, “However, putting aside your ability, having the bravery and courage to blackmail China Industrial Group is something I’d have to give you praise for. You’re good, boy. You’re a real talent. You’ve got a bright future ahead of you.”
Xia Lei let out a silent sigh of relief, “You’re too kind, Elder Mu.”
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