Two days passed in the blink of an eye.
The Chinese weapons exhibition was not over, but Ye Kun and Mu Jianfeng were in no mood to keep participating. That exhibition had became a springboard for Thunder Horse Military Factory. The two chairmen of the government-backed corporations were concerned about one thing – according to rumours in the wind, the higher-ups had formed a small investigation team, and that team could turn up before them at any time.
In the Hanwu Weapons building, Ye Kun’s office was blanketed with a heavy atmosphere. Ye Kun and Mu Jianfeng had thoughts weighing heavily on their minds, but Ye Xiaoqi was acting like it had nothing to do with her; she was looking at herself in the mirror and putting lipstick on.
Today was the day Katou Takasuke was coming to collect the shipment, so she had to make herself pretty. Ye Kun’s financial support had more of less crumbled in her eyes, so she had to get her hands on this Katou Takasuke. A life of luxury and riches depended on Katou Takasuke, so she had to make herself as pretty as she could.
“Have you made sure about your secretary?” Mu Jianfeng looked at Ye Xiaoqi outside the office in distaste.
Ye Kun spoke in a low voice. “I’ve already given her 500,000. She shouldn’t say anything.”
“Humph!” Mu Jianfeng scoffed. “I want a definite answer, not a ‘maybe’.”
Ye Kun was quiet for a bit, then said, “Xiaoqi, come in.”
“What is it?” Ye Xiaoqi was not as respectful towards Ye Kun as she was before. She did not even get up, and continued putting lipstick on.
This attitude pissed Ye Kun off and he slapped the table. “I told you to come in here. Did you hear me?”
Ye Xiaoqi then stood and walked over. “What is it, Chairman Ye?” she said slowly.
“Call Katou Takasuke right away, and see how he reacts,” said Ye Kun.
Ye Xiaoqi did not move.
Mu Jianfeng said coldly, “Miss Ye, Ye Kun has been good to you. He hasn’t fallen yet and you’re giving him this attitude? Do you think you can act this way because your fledgling wings have grown?”
“I…” Ye Xiaoqi was not afraid of Ye Kun, but this Mu Jianfeng was still scary.
Mu Jianfeng’s eyes were cold. “Let me tell you this, Miss Ye. I will still be here though Ye Kun falls. One word and I can erase a woman like you, so you’d better be smart and not go overboard.”
Ye Xiaoqi was guilty and she put on a smile. “What are you talking about, Chairman Mu? I was not disrespecting Chairman Ye. I’m just a small officer worker – how can I go up against bigwigs like you?”
“It’s good that you understand this. You’re a smart woman, so you should know what you can say and what you can’t, right?” said Mu Jianfeng.
Ye Xiaoqi nodded. “I do, I do. Rest assured, I won’t say anything.”
“What are you waiting for, then? Call Katou Takasuke right now,” said Mu Jianfeng.
Ye Xiaoqi took out her phone and called Katou Takasuke’s number.
‘Bitch!’ cursed Ye Kun silently.
Ten seconds passed and the smile on Ye Xiaoqi’s face disappeared. The number she had dialled was not in service, and there was no way for her to reach Katou Takasuke. The number had been unavailable earlier but it was not in service now.
“What’s going on?” Ye Kun could not keep quiet any longer.
Ye Xiaoqi started. “Chairman Ye… I can’t get through.”
“Weren’t you and that Katou Takasuke intimate? Why can’t you get through to him?” said Mu Jianfeng.
“The number is out of service.” Ye Xiaoqi’s heart filled with disappointment as she uttered those words.
Just then, the phone on the office desk rang.
Ye Kun pressed the speaker button and said, “What is it?”
A man’s voice came from over the line. “Chairman Ye, several arab men have appeared at the door, a, and…”
“And Xia Lei of Thunder Horse Military Factory,” said the man. “He wants to meet with you. I don’t know if you want to see him, Chairman Ye, so I’ve called to ask.”
“Let him come up!” Ye Kun hung up.
Mu Jianfeng was quiet for a bit before he spoke. “Arab men? Could they be the clients who’ve purchased Shenwu assault rifles from Hanwu Weapons? But why is Xia Lei with them?”
Ye Kun’s face was full of anger. “I don’t know either. Damn it, that Xia Lei has actually come to my door! He’s just the owner of a small civilian company! How are he be so arrogant!”
Those were empty words, however. The Xia Lei now was not the Xia Lei of the past, and he had been given an honorary title by the nation. He now had uncountable bigwigs who would support him, so who could do anything to him now even if he swaggered about the Hanwu Weapons offices?
Xia Lei was led in by a Hanwu Weapons security guard a few minutes later. Along with him came three arab men, dressed in white robes and with white headscarves on.
One of them was obviously the boss, and the other two were assistants. The assistant were carrying briefcases and walking on either side of the man in front. Hierarchy was important in the arab world, and lesser-beings had no right to walk in front of their betters.
This ‘mighty one’ was young, perhaps 30 or so in age. He had blue eyes, and his face was long and thin. He had a thick beard, and he gave one the impression of healthy handsomeness.
Xia Lei did introductions when they arrived. “Chairman Ye, Chairman Mu, let me introduce you to Khalifa Muhammad Azter, a prince of the UAE. According to their custom, you may address him as ‘Prince Khalifa’ or ‘Mr Khalifa’.”
Mu Jianfeng and Ye Kun were stunned. Xia Lei had introduced a prince as soon as he turned up – what was going on?
Prince Khalifa gave a slight nod, and said in stilted Chinese, “Harrlow, jentlemun.”
Ye Kun was in no mood to entertain a prince. He looked at Xia Lei and said in a somewhat rude tone of voice, “What did you come here for, Xia Lei? You can’t be so arrogant to think that you’d be welcome here, aren’t you?”
Xia Lei shrugged. “I came here to assist Prince Khalifa in settling some matters with your company, so I can’t do anything about it if I’m not welcome. Let’s not waste words and go straight to business. We both know about the purchase order – how are you going to settle it?”
Mu Jianfeng, Ye Kun and Ye Xiaoqi all looked at each other. All three of them knew that it was Katou Takasuke who had signed the deal with them – so how did Xia Lei get dragged into this?
Just then, one of Prince Khalifa’s assistants said, “Let me first introduce myself. I am Ali Khan, assistant to his Royal Highness. Our prince does not speak Chinese well, so he cannot speak directly to you. Our Royal Highness has conferred the rights to handle this entire matter to Mr Xia Lei. He shall represent our prince in negotiating with you.”
“What is going on here?” Ye Kun’s face turned dark. “What about that Japanese man? Katou Takasuke? You know who I’m talking about.”
“Katou Takasuke? Heh. That unlucky soul was kidnapped by terrorists when he returned to the UAE, and we received a ransom note. We do not deal with terrorists, however, and especially not for a Japanese man. He is just a worker to our prince,” said Ali Khan.
“How could you?” Ye Xiaoqi was emotional and losing it. “Save him! Save him right now!”
Ali Khan spoke disinterestedly, “Miss, we’re sorry but we have our morals. It’s been days, so it’s too late now. That terrorist gave us a time limit of 48 hours. He is probably dead now.”
“You… Whuuuh…” Ye Xiaoqi let out a wail and cried in despair.
Her last source, her ticket to a life of luxury and riches, was gone. This was a tragedy, especially to women like her.
“Stop crying!” said Ye Kun angrily. “It’s not as if your father is dead. What are you so heartbroken for?”
“I…” Ye Xiaoqi couldn’t speak but her crying stopped.
“Hold on!” Mu Jianfeng stared at Xia Lei. “Even if Katou Takasuke is dead, this shouldn’t have been put in your hands.”
“You’ve heard it yourself, Chairman Mu. Prince Khalifa has given me full rights to handle this matter. How could I refuse?”
“How did this Prince Khalifa find you?” Mu Jianfeng’s gaze went to Prince Khalifa. He was doubting this person identity.
Xia Lei laughed. “I know what you’re thinking, Chairman Mu. This Prince Khalifa is the real deal, let me tell you that. You can check with the UAE. Katou Takasuke was just a high-flying employee who worked for him. Katou Takasuke signed the contract with you on behalf of Prince Khalifa’s arms dealing company, and you know the name of the company too. It’s Desert Guardian. So, though Katou Takasuke is dead, the contract is still very much valid and has legal weight. We have come now with the aim of negotiating how this business should be handled.”
Mu Jianfeng and Ye Kun could not help exchanging glances. They had been thinking of how they could lie to Katou Takasuke before Xia Lei turned up, and sell the Shenwu assault rifles to the Middle East, but Xia Lei had been unexpectedly involved now. All their earlier scheming had been for naught!
“All right, I’ll be frank so you won’t harbour ill-will. Desert Guardian reached out to Thunder Horse Military Factory to purchase our XL2500 sniper rifles. Who wouldn’t like clients from the Middle East? They have a problem now, so I’m glad to help them solve this problem. I have some advantage to be gained here, right?”
Ye Kun growled, “The guns are in the warehouse and can be shipped at any time. Have you prepared the payment? According to the contract, you people must pay 50% of the total purchase price, and the remaining about later at the next shipment.”
Xia Lei chuckled. “Mr Ali Khan, please interpret this for your Royal Highness. Chairman Ye wants you to accept those horribly defective assault rifles, and pay 50% of the total order. Are you going to accept that?”
Ali Khan conveyed the words to Prince Khalifa.
“International Court of Justice.” Prince Khalifa uttered just four words, but they were as clear as day.
Ye Kun and Mu Jianfeng’s expressions turned ugly.