Settings

TranXending Vision
Chapter 901 - Madam Folsom

The opening ceremony for the Boao Forum For Asia was held in the main hall. When Xia Lei had reached the hall, the venue was already packed. A brief glance around allowed him to spot a handful of familiar faces. They were the elites of Asia.
It didn’t take long for Xia Lei to locate his seat, it was also then when he realized that the seat next to him had a tag for Shentu Tianyin. He froze, was this just a coincidence?
“I thought you were coming later.” Shentu Tianyin’s voice rang from behind him.
Xia Lei flashed her a light smile. “Better an hour early than a minute late.”
“Where’s your fiancee and girlfriend?” She asked.
Fiancee and girlfriend? What was she trying to achieve by saying that?
Xia Lei began to speak, “Tianyin…”
“Who is the big sister amongst them?” She paused and delivered another sharp line. “So Jiang Ruyi is the third sister?”
Shentu Tianyin stared into his eyes. “Xia Lei, are you sure you want to live like this? Is this the lifestyle you want?”
“My life is not bad, actually. I’m quite comfortable with it. Life is short so why limit yourself to the societal norm? I like it and they don’t mind it.”
“I’ve got something that I wanted to ask for some time.”
“What is it? You’re free to ask whatever you want,” said Xia Lei.
“Who am I to you?”
Xia Lei thought for a while and answered carefully, “You’re my ex-wife and a friend.”
Shentu Tianyin’s lips itched to say something but an event staff approached them. “Mister Xia, please take a seat at the VIP seats.”
Xia Lei was stunned. “Why?”
The staff returned him a polite smile. “Mister Xia, you’re a very important special guest of the highest-profile this year. There will be a debate session between you and another important special guest later. A staff member will be attending to you later.”
“Who is the other important special guest?” asked Xia Lei.
“It’s Lockheed Martin’s CEO, Madam Folsom.” He replied.
Xia Lei answered, “Alright, I’ll come with you.” Before he left, he turned around to face Shentu Tianyin. “Tianyin, I’ll catch you later.” Xia Lei knew it but needed confirmation.
Shentu Tianyin’s expression was calm. “Goodbye.”
As soon as Xia Lei left with the staff member, Shentu Tianyin bit on her lower lip hard. She was unhappy and couldn’t find an ounce of will in her to force herself to act happy. She was the one who gave up on Xia Lei for the sake of the Vientiane Group. Back then, the only alternative to divorce was for her to let go of Vientiane and help Xia Lei. The Thunder Horse Organization was just a small startup in comparison to Vientiane. However, that wasn’t the case now. The current Thunder Horse Organization was worth a whopping one hundred billion and was steadily rising in fame. Based on Thunder Horse’s contribution to the nation and its global popularity, the enterprise was way head of Vientiane!
For someone who aimed for the best in her work, how could she not regret? For the sake of Vientiane, she had even sacrificed her love life and eternal happiness!
She wished to atone for her sins but there was no longer a chance for her to do so. Xia Lei was an easy target. She knew that because she was his ex-wife. Unfortunately for her, the women around Xia Lei were not easy to handle. Liang Siyao’s presence essentially accompanied him everywhere. Would she allow someone who robbed her of Xia Lei near him again? Not to mention, Fan Fan was someone she dared not offend. With those two around him, how would she be able to return to him?
Xia Lei followed the staff member along a corridor and into a room. The room seemed like a regular tea room that was occupied by a few familiar faces. Director Ma, who was the most influential e-commerce expert and a few other prominent business figures were present. It was practically impossible to not know of these people. On the other hand, Xia Lei may have enjoyed media exposure to a certain extent but his frequency paled in comparison.
Xia Lei’s eyes landed on a woman with short blonde hair. She seemed to be in her early fifties and her deep blue eyes were hollow. There was an air of wisdom and intelligence around her. Along with her thin and tall stature dressed with impeccable fashion sense, the woman looked like a cold-blooded, sharp and highly efficient corporate crocodile. Though this was his first time meeting her, Xia Lei knew who she was. She was Lockheed Martin’s CEO, Madam Folsom.
Aside from Madam Folsom, there were a few blonde Caucasians in the tea room. However, Xia Lei recognized none of them.
“Mister Xia, they’re all important guests of ours. Please enjoy your rest here while you wait for the commencement of the opening ceremony. Someone will be here to inform you of when to go up the stage.” The staff member left.
Xia Lei went forward to an empty couch.
When he first entered through the door, the man’s presence had actually garnered everyone’s attention. There were different expressions triggered by his appearance, there was respect, some were envy and some were upright jealousy.
They were all elites of China that held an impressive amount of wealth. Simply put, they were here because they were rich. Xia Lei was different from them because he possessed talent with his riches. The man was literally a national treasure! Xia Lei had brought development to the entire military industry with his sheer capabilities alone. He was a man no one could replicate!
“Mister Xia.” Director Ma approached him with a smile. “I’ve heard many good things about you. Would you like to be friends?”
Xia Lei actively reached an arm out with a polite smile. “Director Ma, I’m a fan of yours. I would love to.”
If this had taken place three years ago, Director Ma would’ve completely ignored him. With his current profound status, a figure like Director Ma had made the first reach to establish some network with him. This was life. Birds of a feather flock together.
With Director Ma’s lead, the other business superstars soon followed his example and greeted Xia Lei. Friendships were not the main point for now. These people had resources which he might need to tap into in the future.
Every Asian in the tea room had made an effort to converse with Xia Lei in an effort to establish contact. However, Madam Folsom and the handful of Caucasians made no move to the slight commotion. They kept to their circle and spoke in hushed tones. Occasionally, Xia Lei would catch them watching him out of the corner of their eyes. It wasn’t hard to tell that their quiet discussions had much to do with him.
In the meanwhile, Xia Lei watched Folsom intently. Weirdly, the woman was silent since the beginning. She said nothing and had on a face of unwavering nonchalance.
Xia Lei thought to himself darkly, “She wants to challenge me to a debate but what would it be about? I’ve never gotten into a public debate. I better not embarrass myself later. It’ll be awful if I brought humiliation to the country.”
At this moment, Fan Fan entered the room and threw a look at Xia Lei at a distance.
“I’m sorry, please excuse me for a moment.” Xia Lei left his new ‘friends’ behind to approach Fan Fan.
The woman wordlessly led him to the corridor outside. “The opening ceremony is about to begin. I know that you’ve never experienced public debate so I prepared some material for you.” She passed Xia Lei a thick folder.
He held onto it but made no move to open it. Instead, Xia Lei grasped her hands with a gentle smile. “You’re so thoughtful.”
“Siyao was the one who prepared it for you. She couldn’t come in so I came in her place,” mentioned Fan Fan.
“You both are the best.” There was a burst of warmth in Xia Lei’s heart, it brought some inexplicable comfort in the midst of such intense times.
“I’m glad to hear that. Don’t you dare try to meet Shentu Tianyin in secret, or else…”
“Or else…?”
“You’ll be sleeping on the sofa for the rest of your lives,” finished Fan Fan.
Xia Lei gulped and nodded his head.
“Look through the material. Get someone to reach me if you need anything,” reminded Fan Fan.
“Sure, see you later.” Xia Lei released her hand and sent her off with his gaze.
The man opened the folder to reveal its contents in the corridor, scanning through the material. Xia Lei had impeccable memory, which meant he could memorize all its contents without fail.
An usher to get on stage came not long after he returned to the room. Xia Lei let everyone else take the lead and followed the group at its tail.
Folsom purposely slowed her footsteps to match his. As soon as they were the only ones left in the room, she spoke, “Mister Xia, I believe you know who I am.”
Xia Lei replied, “Of course. You’re Madam Folsom, the CEO of Lockheed Martin. Your personal assistant, Beryl, had visited my office earlier to tell me that you wish to meet me. However, I don’t think you’re keen on seeing me. You didn’t strike a conversation just now.”
Folsom’s reply was cool. “How could we speak with such a crowd?”
Xia Lei smiled politely. “Why so? Are there any secrets between us?”
“Of course.” Folsom lowered her voice. “If you wish to know more about the AE Research Centre, come meet me some other time. I’m sure you can find out where I live.”
“What do you know?” Xia Lei’s utter shock was barely concealed.
“Come meet me. However, you must pass my test. We’re about to face each other in a debate. I hope you won’t perform shabbily. This debate is streamed live all over the globe.” Folsom’s lips curled into a subtle smirk, but it was of a mocking tone.
Questions lingered in Xia Lei’s heart. “Why does she know about the AE Research Centre? Does she know about the AE capsules?”
There were certain concerns, but thinking further into it made it easy to guess the probable source of Folsom’s intel. Xia Lei was viewed as America’s national enemy. It had only made sense for the American government to leak his secret information to the rival of the Thunder Horse Organization, Lockheed Martin. There was a good possibility that this was the truth.
“Mister Xia, I look forward to meeting you alone.” Folsom left him behind with wide steps.
Xia Lei remained silent.
To meet or not was a decision of his, not hers!
The story about the AE Research Centre?
His interest for that has been deep-seated for a long time!