Chapter 13 – The Lady Chief Can Act Spoilt
Szzt, szzt, szzt, szzt, szzt, szzt…
With some prior experience, Xia Lei was able to weld the key together more quickly than the pig iron pieces. He finished welding it in under five minutes and the result was even better than the first time.
The suited man used the red cloth and grasped the still-hot key in his hand excitedly as he inspected the welding and the pattern. He then spoke to the woman, “Give him 6,000. Let’s go.”
The sexy lady handed Xia Lei 6,000 yuan immediately.
Xia Lei offered the money to Uncle Jiang but he waved it away. “No, no, no. How can I take this money, young’un? I’d have no place to hide my old face in shame if I take it. You earned it, so you keep it.”
Xia Lei smiled. “I’ll keep it, then.”
During their exchange, the suited man and sexy lady had left without saying a word.
“So secretive. Who knows what they’re up to,” grumbled Uncle Jiang.
Xia Lei found it strange too. “That key looked like it was a few hundred years old. Why was it broken? And why did those two come to such an out-of-the-way place to look for a welder?” he thought.
“Come, young’un. Let’s continue our talk,” said Uncle Jiang.
Xia Lei smiled as he spoke, “Yes. Name your price, Uncle Jiang.”
“I was originally thinking of selling this place for 110,000 yuan. You’ve seen it yourself – the price is justified by this equipment, business traffic and two years’ rent. However, after seeing you at work, this old man is impressed by your skill. I’ve been in this line of work for my whole life and I’ve never seen anyone with better workmanship. Leaving the machine shop I spent half my life building to you must be some sort of fate. How about this – I will accept 105,000 yuan.”
“Deal. Thank you, Uncle Jiang.” Xia Lei agreed quickly.
The sun was almost gone from the sky when they were done with the paperwork. Xia Lei called Ma Xiao-An down to the shop and told him what had transpired. Ma Xiao-An was shocked.
“My goodness! Where did you get so much money? You took over this shop just like that? Isn’t this too sudden?” Ma Xiao-An’s expression was complicated.
“Don’t worry about the money. I’m only asking if you are interested in running this business with me,” said Xia Lei.
“Of course! I go where you go, as it has been the past few years. We brothers are always together! Why go work for others when I can work for you?” exclaimed Ma Xiao-An happily.
“Then let’s run this business together. You don’t work for me, though. We shall split the profits evenly,” said Xia Lei.
“No, that’s not right. The machine shop is yours – how can I take half of the profits? How about this – give me more when you earn more, less when you earn less and if you make a loss, I don’t want any money,” said Ma Xiao-An.
“You joker, you. Okay, then it’s settled. I’ll add some equipment to the set up and do some simple renovations to the shop and we can open for business,” grinned Xia Lei.
“Have you thought of the name?” asked Ma Xiao-An
Xia Lei thought for a moment. “Hm. My name means ‘thunder’ and your surname means ‘horse’, so let’s call it ‘Thunder Horse Workshop’.”
“Nah,” said Ma Xiao-An.
“Got something better?” Xia Lei looked at Ma Xiao-An curiously.
Ma Xiao-An grinned as he said, “You’re ‘thunder’ and the future missus Jiang’s surname is ‘river’ so you should call it ‘Thunder River Workshop’.”
“Fuck off!” Xia Lei made to smack Ma Xiao-An but he was prepared and avoided it.
The two of them were overjoyed to have their own workshop. It was like finally finding a home after drifting around for a long time.
They cleared the garbage, then went about cleaning up the workshop till Xia Xue called and reminded them to eat dinner and they went home on a battered Qianjiang 125 motorcycle.
That evening, Xia Lei spent thousands more ordering several pieces of equipment and tools online. The money he had earned in Macau was almost gone but he had a greater peace of mind. He may not earn a lot with his own workshop but the work and income would definitely be more stable than it was before. More importantly, he would be able to do great things and make a name for himself in his line of work using the power of his eye!
That night, Xia Lei had a good dream. He dreamt of Jiang Ru-Yi and of Long Bing. Snowy but firm skin, pink and soft – his eyes feasted on every nook and cranny. Afterwards, he shamefacedly changed into a fresh pair of underwear…
The next morning, Xia Lei went out after having a simple porridge breakfast. He was going down the stairs when he ran into Jiang Ru-Yi heading up and if he hadn’t moved aside, she would have crashed into his embrace.
“What’s wrong, Ru-Yi? Why are you so distracted in the morning?” asked Xia Lei.
“Ah, I was going to your place to talk to you about something.” Jiang Ru-Yi flashed a smile when she saw Xia Lei.
“Uh oh. Don’t smile at me – smiling at me means trouble for me,” said Xia Lei, “I’ll have you know that I’ve got no time to go shopping and buy clothing with you today. If you really need someone to go with you, you can take Xue.”
“Buy clothing? This big sister won’t be happy even if you get me empress gear.” Jiang Ru-Yi frowned.
Jiang Ru-Yi spoke quickly, “Remember the call that I got about a case after we had lunch yesterday? The case is hard to deal with and the higher-ups have decreed that it has to be solved in one week or I’ll lose my Chief position.”
“What case? Surely it can’t be that serious?”
“How is it not? Professor Zhang Bo-Qing, leading scholar of Hai-Zhu City’s archaeological community was murdered in his home two days ago. His maid found his body when she returned from her hometown yesterday. The murderer seems to be a professional – there were no clues left at the crime scene. Even the surveillance monitors were taken. I have no leads at all!” Jiang Ru-Yi looked like she was about to burst into tears. “What should I do, Lei?”
“This does seem like a big problem but I can’t be of help”, said Xia Lei.
“Who says you can’t? I’m here because I want your help.”
Xia Lei was surprised. “Me? I’m neither a police officer nor a private investigator, so what help can I give?”
“Don’t you know a powerful woman? That woman who pointed a gun at Li Qing-Hua’s head. I spent the whole of last night thinking – she’s impressive and has great backing so she can definitely get me through this difficult case.”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“Help me, please, Lei? You wouldn’t bear to see me be Chief for just one week, would you?” Jiang Ru-Yi held onto Xia Lei’s hand and swayed it gently, pleading sweetly.
Xia Lei didn’t know how to react. “I’m really not that close with her. She can’t help you like this either, can she?” He suddenly remembered something and asked, “Hold on, you said that an item was missing. What is it?”
Xia Lei’s heart thumped as he anxiously asked, “What sort of key?”
“It looks like a metal key hundreds of years old.” Jiang Ru-Yi stared at Xia Lei. “Why are you asking?”
Xia Lei smiled as he said, “I just so happened to have seen that key.”
Jiang Ru-Yi was surprised, “You saw the key? How?”
Xia Lei recounted the events of yesterday.
“Quick, quick! Come with me!” Jiang Ru-Yi pulled Xia Lei towards the carpark.
“Where are you taking me?”
Jiang Ru-Yi spoke excitedly, “To the station! I have pictures of the key in my office and some of Professor Zhang’s research information on it that you can take a look at. More importantly, I need you to describe those two people so we can get a sketch.”
Xia Lei sighed inwardly. He wanted to go to his workshop but it looked like he wouldn’t be going now.
Half an hour later, Xia Lei and Jiang Ru-Yi arrived at the North Police Station. Every police officer’s gaze was on them once they stepped into the police station, and quite a few seemed to be rejoicing in Jiang Ru-Yi’s misfortune. If she lost her position of Chief after just one week, these people would have a lot to laugh about for a long time.
“Move, move. I don’t like these guys.” Jiang Ru-Yi prodded Xia Lei quietly.
“You’re their Chief – their superior! How can a Chief be threatened by subordinates? You should be firmer with them.”
“We’ll talk about threats after this case is solved.” Jiang Ru-Yi pushed Xia Lei’s shoulder and kept walking, ignoring the unfriendly stares of her colleagues.
In her office, she took out a document file and handed it to Xia Lei.
The file contained some photographs of the body, the crime scene and the key.
When Xia Lei saw the key in the photograph, he was shocked.
The length, the colour, the patterns – all were exactly the same as the key he had welded yesterday!
An image of the suited man and sexy lady appeared in his head. Their clothing, height, appearance, stance and everything appeared in his head. It was like he had returned to the day before and was looking at the two of them in Uncle Jiang’s machine shop!
“What’s going on? How can I remember so clearly? It’s like looking at a photograph… even if I have a good memory it shouldn’t be so detailed, right?” Xia Lei was shaken.
Jiang Ru-Yi stared keenly at Xia Lei. “Did you think of something?”
Xia Lei didn’t seem to have heard her. He closed his eyes and tried to recall the patterns he had welded. The image of the key appeared in his mind and the the complicated patterns were as clear as day. Every detail was as crystal clear as he if he had a high quality picture of it!
Xia Lei opened his eyes 30 seconds later and looked at the photograph of the key. The patterns on the key he had recalled were exactly the same as in the photograph, and his memory had left out nothing about it!
He suddenly understood that it was not his memory but his left eye. It had saved all images he had seen. He just had to recall an image for it to display a crystal clear picture of it!
He had unexpectedly uncovered another ability – eidetic memory!