“We need to issue a warning to America,” one of the Air Force generals fumed. “This is a blatant act of war!”
“Do they really think we’re still in our past pathetic state of national development? Do they think that they can do whatever they want to us?”
“Japan… Are the Japanese involved in this?”
“Isn’t it obvious? The Americans and Japanese are allies. In Asia, the country most reluctant to see us advance is Japan.”
The generals’ discussion was heated. Their sworn duty was to protect the country, but a terrorist organization had threatened to destroy one of China’s most important talent. When dealing with this, their sensitivity would always be way intense more than that of civilians. It was only natural for them to react so strongly towards it.
Shi Boren glanced at Xia Lei. “What do you think about it?”
The generals went silent and placed their attention on Xia Lei.
The man answered, “There’s no point for negotiation. Thunder Horse’s existence has threatened America’s strategic benefits greatly. If Thunder Horse Organization wasn’t based in China, they would’ve probably long deployed their B52 and B2 on us. They don’t care about us at all. At most, they’d offer an official apology and call it a day.”
The meeting room was quiet, the past taunting everyone like a thorn in their hearts.
“Japan’s Land Self Defense Force had fired at me during the Russian tank biathlon. Not to mention, it was a round of fire from three Type 10 tanks. That was clearly an act of war, but did they care? No, not at all. With America’s support, they had all the courage in the world.” Xia Lei paused momentarily. “The general of the Japanese Land Self Defense Force, Hattori Masao, has a daughter named Hattori Mei who works for Lockheed Martin. She was Folsom’s personal assistant. Folsom had wrung out the secrets of the AE capsules during the Boao Forum For Asia and then this happened. Isn’t their goal obvious enough? They’re trying to create an opportunity for you to assault me.”
Shi Boren uttered, “We’re not idiots. No one would ever assault you. You’re a national hero. You need to remember that.”
Xia Lei smiled wryly at that. “And what’s with the Special Forces stationed all around my house?”
“Uh…” Shi Boren had the audacity to look sheepish. “That was to protect you.”
With schooled nonchalance, Xia Lei said, “Alright, I’ll believe that the Special Forces are there for my sake.”
“What are your plans?” asked Tang Yuyan.
Xia Lei replied, “I’ll continue to do my work. Thunder Horse Organization will carry on with its unmanned aircraft project, My time is precious and I don’t plan to waste it orbiting around the FA Organization.”
Hearing his words, the generals buzzed with excitement and glee.
“Mister Xia, is that true?!” One of them gushed rushedly.
Xia Lei answered, “Of course, Thunder Horse will be stepping into air force weapons. In the future, we won’t be solely producing land weaponry. The drone is just the beginning and I’m sure a fighter jet and strategic bomber would follow soon. Simply put, I want to make Thunder Horse surpass Lockheed Martin’s existence. They will never succeed in their efforts to get rid of us.”
“Good! Well said!” Another general slapped the tabletop. “The weapons produced by your company had made our army brothers stand proud and confident in battle. The Air Force has only been able to stare in envy. If the Thunder Horse Organization is going to produce advanced fighters for us, I’m sure we’ll be able to defend our borders away from those pesky bastards confidently!”
“Mister Xia, you may rest assured.” Another general spoke, “I will arrange for a troop to protect Thunder Horse’s premise from possible air assault. They’ll be bringing an S400 set over. I’d love to see the FA’s attempt to bomb you with their hijacked plane!”
“That…” Xia Lei seemed a little troubled. “Isn’t that a little too much? After all, the Thunder Horse Organization is just a private enterprise. Why are you protecting us to that extent?”
The S400 air defence missile was imported from Russia. Not only did it have long-range defence capabilities, but it also offered regional air defence capabilities. Its reaction speed was between two to five seconds. If the FA had only managed to hijack a civil aircraft, then the S400 missile would destroy it three hundred kilometres away! It was basically impossible for it to come near Thunder Horse Organization’s Jingdu headquarters!
“Mister Xia, your company is the pride of our country and the pride of China’s army. We look forward to your Air Force products. Now that you’re in trouble, how can we stay silent and do nothing? There’s no need to reject us. You’ll see a troop and a set of S400 here around this time tomorrow.” The Air Force general who suggested it was adamant, not allowing a word of refusal from Xia Lei.
There was no way Xia Lei could say no to that. The man was just pretending to be courteous for decency sake. Under such a threat, he certainly hoped for military involvement to help protect the Thunder Horse Organization. After all, his company had no air defence missiles to use for now.
Shi Boren interjected, “Though the military will protect the Thunder Horse Organization, it’s best to handle this by destroying FA’s plan at its early phases. The FA probably won’t hijack planes from Japanese airlines. They’re most likely going to target Chinese airlines. I will have my agents board planes and go undercover as flight attendants. As soon as the FA launches its operation, we will take them out there and then.”
“Boss Shi has a point. We should be working at this from all angles.” One of the generals agreed.
Shi Boren glanced at Long Bing. “Long Bing, I’ll be handing this mission to you. Will that be alright?”
Long Bing froze.
“Long Bing?” Tang Yuyan urged, “Boss Shi is asking you, are you alright with the mission?”
“I…” Long Bing hesitated.
This was the first time she had shown doubt in the entirety of her career. If she wasn’t pregnant, she would’ve accepted the mission in a heartbeat. But things were complicated now that she was carrying Xia Lei’s offspring. To protect her child from possible danger was every mother’s natural instinct. This mission was bound to have elements of physical combat, what if the child was harmed?
Shi Boren furrowed his brows. “What’s the matter, Long Bing? Do you not wish to accept this mission? You weren’t like this in the past, what happened?”
Tang Yuyan’s gaze landed quietly on Long Bing’s abdomen. She recalled how Xia Lei had snuck a caress against the surface of it and studied Long Bing’s expression. In that split second, she understood what was going on. The revelation clenched at her heart and there was an ever-lasting sourness that gripped her mind. Tang Yuyan felt the desperate need to run out and cry to her heart’s content.
Xia Lei had refused to marry her and abandoned her in public to meet Fan Fan. He was surrounded by not one Fan Fan but many other women. What worse was that he had even impregnated both Liang Siyao and Long Bing with his seed!
All this took a toll on Tang Yuyan greatly.
Xia Lei understood Long Bing’s response as clear as day. He wasn’t keen on having her involved in such a dangerous mission as well. He interjected, “Boss Shi, Long Bing has worked hard over these years. It’s about time she takes a break, you could still assign smaller missions to her.”
The older man glared at Xia Lei. “You’re Thunder Horse’s decision-maker. What happens in Bureau 101 is not up to your jurisdiction. Yuyan, what’s your say on this assignment?”
Xia Lei averted his gaze onto Tang Yuyan, worried that she would insist on Long Bing taking up the mission. From what he had gathered about her, Tang Yuyan might actually do that.
Instead, Tang Yuyan was silent. “Godfather, we’ll talk about this when we return. Let’s go.”
The woman was reluctant to remain another second here, immediately heading for the door after uttering her words.
“Boss Shi, we’re going to head back to start on our preparation. That’s all for today.” The Air Force generals left their seats.
Xia Lei stood and bid them farewell.
Long Bing should’ve left with Tang Yuyan and Shi Boren but the woman had chosen to remain in the room. She blinked her big eyes at Xia Lei, watching him click the door shut and approach her. T
However, before Xia Lei could gather her in his arms, she stopped him with a push against his chest. “Be careful, you need to be gentle to me in the future.”
Xia Lei chuckled. “Our child should still be in its early stages, right? Your stomach is still flat.”
“You still need to be gentle,” insisted Long Bing. It was rare for her to pout.
“Alright, I promise to be gentle.” There was a soft smile on his face. “But I must admit that I’m curious. It hasn’t been long since we used the antidote. How did you find out that you’re expecting?”
His curiosity was piqued ever since hearing it from Liang Siyao when he was in Mexico. It was perplexing how soon Long Bing had found out about it.
Long Bing answered, “My period was supposed to come two days after you left but it was late. I wasn’t too bothered by it. I was talking to Fan Fan about it not long after and as soon as she learnt that my period was late, she ran a test on me. I knew I was pregnant then.” Long Bing could feel her cheeks heat up.
Xia Lei wrapped her in his arms. This time, his motion was much gentler. “I’m so lucky, I’m going to be a father.”
“Once again.” Long Bing rolled her eyes.
Xia Lei had nothing to retort.
“I need to head back now,” announced Long Bing.
Xia Lei called out to her. “Hey, promise me. Don’t accept this mission. It’s too dangerous. If you’re going to Japan, the FA isn’t the only party you’re facing. You’d be coming face to face with high tech personnel and the Hattori clan’s elite fighters. There might be some CIA members involved as well.”
Long Bing heaved a sigh. “I can’t say no. If Boss Shi and Tang Yuyan ordered me to go, I must heed their instructions.”
“Then you could resign from your job. Come here to my place. You can do whatever you want.”
But that offer elicited a bitter smile from her. “Other than being a special agent and killing enemies, what else am I good at? There’s no need for you to worry about this, I can handle it myself.” She turned to leave.
Xia Lei uttered, “You’re my lover and you’re the mother to my child. I must take care of you.”
Long Bing bit the insides of her cheek, her heart beaming with joy. She turned around and said, “I’ll be visiting you tonight.”