Queen of Shentu Empire
Five days later.
Xia Lei buried himself with work in the workshop. A box of precision parts which had been processed sat next to the manual lathe. In just a bit, Xia Lei would be done with his job because the part he held in his hand was the last one. One million yuan would be his once he was finished with this part.
‘Thunder Horse Workshop will have an upgrade in funds when I get this one million yuan. I can buy equipment and hire more skilled workers. I have no need to do the low-difficulty jobs. With my skills, I can be the ace of Thunder Horse Workshop and only accept higher-difficulty jobs or jobs others cannot complete. This way, we can make more money and I’ll have time to do other things too.’ As he worked, Xia Lei planned for the future and what he would do.
This one million had given him motivation. With his ability, he had no need to do rough and simple jobs. If he had to use his ability, it would be for times like this where the payout was large!
Indeed, if Xia Lei were to squat by the roadside holding a welding torch to mend a wok, what sort of Great Master would he be? If a client came to talk to him about some precision processing business worth tens of millions and saw him welding outside, would he still want to hire him?
Footsteps rang from behind him, breaking Xia Lei’s train of thought. He put down the part in his hands to take a look and caught sight of Ning Yuan-Shan and Chi Jing-Qiu bringing a group of people through the main doorway of the workshop.
Ning Yuan-Shan was talking to a young lady and Chi Jing-Qiu was close by, looking nervous. The lady had four suited young men following her and all four of them had stern faces and sturdy bodies. They were surveying their surroundings as they moved. These characteristics were that of professional bodyguards.
Xia Lei’s gaze landed on the young lady and it felt like his soul had been hooked in that instant.
The young lady surrounded by a crowd had a pair of bright raven eyes which seemed to hold a pool of clear springwater, giving the impression of intelligence – wise, clear and bright. Her lips were small and tender and carried the natural red of the most delicate rose petals. Her figure was also the best, the most perfect. Perfect proportions, plumpness where it should be – everything about her was impeccable, especially her legs. They were slender without losing their healthy plumpness, white and almost translucent like jade, as if nature decided to use the best of its resources to carefully craft her without any flaws. She also had a special bearing – irreproachable as a jade lotus flower blooming in an ancient palace, the strict solemnity of the palace emphasising and bringing out the brilliance of the existence that is her.
Chi Jing-Qiu was easy on the eyes too but next to this lady, she was instantly turned into a tacky, dull existence.
There was no ‘most beautiful’ woman in this world but Xia Lei felt that this woman whose name he did not know was the most perfect woman he’d seen in his life. He was captivated and his heart started to pound.
“This way please, Miss Shentu.” Ning Yuan-Shan was very polite and spoke as he guided her.
‘Who is this woman? Is she here to see me process the parts?’ Xia Lei was bursting with curiosity.
Ning Yuan-Shan passed Xia Lei with the lady and they continued walking deeper into the workshop. The lady enclosed in a crowd did not even spare Xia Lei a glance.
Xia Lei thought she was here to see him but she’d passed without even noticing him. His existence was like that of a street vendor to her.
Xia Lei watched the lady move further away and a bitter smile crooked the corners of his mouth, “She’s beautiful but too proud. What sort of man can get a woman like her?”
Chi Jing-Qiu hung back and waited for Ning Yuan-Shan and the lady to walk a bit of a distance away before she went to Xia Lei, “Stop staring. You can stare your whole life and it won’t make a difference.”
Only then did Xia Lei look away from the lady and he looked at Chi Jing-Qiu and said laughingly, “If you looked as beautiful as her I’d stare at you too.”
Chi Jing-Qiu was not angry at all, “That won’t piss me off. I know my place when I’m put up against her. Don’t you know who she is?”
“Who is she?”
“The head of Shentu clan, Shentu Tian-Yin.”
“Shentu clan?” Xia Lei shook his head, “Never heard of it.”
“You’ve got to increase your knowledge.” A faintly contemptuous smile appeared on the lips of Chi Jing-Qiu’s mouth, “I’ll give you a quick rundown and also some information. Shentu clan is the largest clan in the East region. The Shentu clan controls the Vientiane Group worth tens of billions in assets, which is involved in real estate, energy, home appliances and science and technology. What is the use of a man like you staring at a woman like that? You have no chance. Face reality and don’t be carried away by wishful thinking.”
Xia Lei laughed, “Don’t use those words to agitate me. No matter how lousy of a man I am, I’m still better than your man.”
“You-” Chi Jing-Qiu was temporarily at a loss for words.
“Okay, let’s not butt heads. We’re still ex-classmates.” Xia Lei smoothed things over, “Right, so what’s Shentu Tian Yin here for?”
Chi Jing-Qiu was still pissed but her tone softened a little, “She’s representing Vientaine Group to survey our company. Vientaine Group wants to build a wind power plant and needs a large number of wind generation equipment which our company is capable of producing. She’s the embodiment of wealth; don’t you see how Chairman Ning is escorting her like royalty?”
“I see. Chairman Ning must really want Vientaine Group as a client,” said Xia Lei.
Chi Jing-Qiu sighed, “Ah, we are both women but we have such different lives and fates. Lei, tell me, aren’t the Heavens lacking in fairness?”
“Don’t think too much about it. Be content with your own lot.”
Chi Jing-Qiu shook her head, “I would be willing to have a lifespan of only twenty years if I can live like how Shentu Tian Yin lives. Living in this limbo and having to face that spineless coward every day is driving me crazy.”
“You’d better catch up or you’ll get scolded.” Xia Lei did not want to broach that topic.
Chi Jing-Qiu didn’t look bothered, “I don’t care. I actually want to talk to you about some business. Do you want to make money?”
“Who doesn’t? Say your piece,” said Xia Lei.
“You have the skill and your own workshop. I have contacts and connections. If we cooperate, we’ll definitely profit.”
“I’ll pull orders for you and you pay me commission.”
Xia Lei was tempted. Chi Jing-Qiu was working in a large state-owned enterprise like East Wind Heavy Industries as the Chairman’s secretary and her husband and herself had some sort of standing in the industry after all. Her contacts were surely not small fish and the orders she could secure wouldn’t be paltry sums like a few thousand. Though he was indeed tempted by the offer, he kept a straight face and asked, “How much commission do you want?”
“15%,” said Chi Jing-Qiu right away.
Xia Lei chuckled, “You have a big appetite, huh? You’re just flapping your lips but not doing any of the labour and you’re asking for 15%? I’m providing manpower, equipment and materials – I’m probably not going to make much more than you, eh?”
“So how much will you pay?” Chi Jing-Qiu looked intently at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei held out a hand, “5%”
“Too little. 10%”
“8%, take it or leave it.”
“Deal.” Chi Jing-Qiu held out a hand to Xia Lei.
Xia Lei hesitated, then stretched his own hand out and shook her hand. Her little hand was soft and pliable, invoking a stab of excitement in him.
“Wait for me to contact you.” Chi Jing-Qiu shook hands and left, walking briskly back to the group of people.
Watching her swaying bum, Xia Lei thought, ‘8% is 8%. You’ll refer the client and I’ll remember that person. When I build up my own contacts I won’t need to pay you a commission any longer.’
First love? Old classmates? That didn’t exist any more – it was all business to Xia Lei.
Ning Yuan-Shan had moved far off with Shentu Tian-Yin and the little crowd. Xia Lei went back to work but the image of Shentu Tian-Yin kept appearing in his head while he was standing in front of the lathe and holding the control lever. He felt funny – like his spiritual and carnal aspects had some parts missing.*
‘The lady of the Shentu clan is worth tens of billions – why am I being so stupid? That witch Chi Jing-Qiu was right; there’s no use thinking of her. I’d better just get down to work. I’ll get this one million yuan, use it to buy new equipment and hire people, then work with Chi Jing-Qiu.’ Xia Lei quickly focused his thoughts and calmed himself. His gaze locked on the last part to be processed and he slowly lowered the blade – back to work.
Ten minutes later, the processing was done. Xia Lei placed it in the box, cleaned up and called Ning Yuan-Shan.
“Sorry to disturb you when you have an important guest, Uncle Ning but I wanted to give you a call,” begun Xia Lei when the call connected, “I’ve finished the order. The last few parts are next to the lathe. You can send someone to pick them up.”
“Mm, not bad, not bad. I’ll send someone over right away. You’ve really helped me out this time,” said Ning Yuan-Shan with a chuckle, “I’ve already prepared the cheque. Someone from the finance department will deliver it to you.”
“Thank you, Uncle Ning. I’ll leave you to your work now, goodbye.” Xia Lei hung up.
After hanging up, a person came to pick up the precision parts within minutes. Xia Lei watched them finish inspecting the parts and made sure everything was in order before leaving the workshop. He’d not gone far when someone from the finance department of East Wind Heavy Industries delivered a cheque for a million yuan to him.
Ning Yuan-Shan really was a man who was swift and decisive and was not sloppy in doing things.
The cheque was almost weightless but Xia Lei felt like it weighed tens of kilograms. His face was full of smiles too – this was the biggest paycheck yet in his life.
His work was done, the checks were done, the money had been paid and Xia Lei had no further need to go to the villa. He headed straight to the main doorway of East Wind Heavy Industries.
As he passed the car park, Xia Lei spotted a limited edition Rolls Royce Phantom. It had a solemn air, lending it the image of emperor of cars.
‘This must be Shentu Tian-Yin’s vehicle. Only women of her caliber can have cars like that.’ Xia Lei wanted to buy a car too and the desire to own one had grown after Long Bing had bestowed a license upon him. The Rolls Royce Phantom before his eyes, however, was out of the question.
Just then, a female worker wearing the work clothes of an employee of East Wind Heavy Industries entered the car park from an entrance to the side of him, pushing a cleaning trolley. As she walked, she used a pair of metal tongs to pick up rubbish from the ground and threw them into a plastic pail on the cleaning trolley.
Perhaps it was the effect of the Rolls Royce Phantom, but its presence made the female worker look petty and lowly, and Xia Lei could not help taking a closer look at her. The female worker looked very young – perky buttocks, big bosom – very sexy.
Xia Lei thought it weird, ‘Cleaning jobs are usually done by older aunt-like women. She’s so young and sexy – why is she doing rough work like this?’
*三魂七魄 – three finer spirits and several baser instincts that motivate a human being. Also can be explained as the three immortal souls and seven mortal forms in Daoism, contrasting the spiritual and carnal side of man.