Jing-Du, North Group headquarters, North Building.
Gu Ding-Shan’s office was so humongous it could host a basketball match between the Rockets and the Cavaliers. Anyone who saw him there would feel like he or she was paying court to a king.
Gu Ke-Wu was not exempt from these feelings. He could feel the anger and dissatisfaction radiating from Gu Ding-Shan.
“I’ve already made calls and that punk’s factory has been sealed. Why did you still take the initiative to kill him off?” Gu Ding-Shan’s voice carried a note of anger, “Now Dong Wu’s dead and Qin Qi has been arrested. That punk’s still alive. You’re a disappointment!”
Gu Ke-Wu bit the bullet and explained, “Dad, I was just trying to solve the problem quickly. I’d planned it thoroughly; Dong Wu, Qin Qi and Luo Na’s failure was unexpected.”
Luo Na was the woman who had performed on camera with Hu Hou. She was Gu Ke-Wu’s underling and also someone who did the dirty work for him.
Gu Ding-Shan slammed his fist on the desk before him. “Impulsiveness!”
Gu Ke-Wu’s lips moved to explain himself but no words came out.
“We are not beating and murdering people now; that time has passed. I’ve told you more than once that there are many methods to devise someone’s end. There is no need to do it personally. Have you forgotten what I told you?”
“I haven’t,” said Gu Ke-Wu, “Dad, you know who my target is.”
“Shentu Tian-Yin?” A sneer appeared in the corners of Gu Ding-Shan’s lips, “She’s involved in this?”
“No. Dad, what I’m trying to say is that Shentu Tian-Yin would’ve been part of our Gu clan if it weren’t for that Xia Lei. Once I get married to Shentu Tian-Yin, I would need just three years to make the Shentu clan’s Vientaine Group ours. But that punk cut in and made Shentu Tian-Yin wary of me. My plan will have no chance of success if I don’t get rid of that punk.”
Gu Ke-Wu kept talking. “Dad, you’ve used your connections to seal that punk’s company but the information I received was that he’s reduced his product manufacturing to zero and is outsourcing. He’s getting companies from all over China to make parts for him and having the parts assembled somewhere out of our region. Your sealing of his factory is in vain. We don’t have the power to get so many companies to dance to our tune. Our clan’s power lies only in Jing-Du and Hai-Zhu and we don’t have much influence outside these regions. Plus, that punk went to Sichuan the day after his factory was sealed and opened a branch company there. The area there is under development and there are preferential policies for post-disaster rebuilding. I can guarantee that his branch company there will start production in three to five months and have an even greater output than his factory in Hai-Zhu.”
Gu Ding-Shan was silent, then he said, “I understand what you mean. The more capable that punk is the less chance you have of getting Shentu Tian-Yin - is that right?”
Gu Ke-Wu nodded.
“I’d thought that this was just a small matter but this punk is unexpectedly capable. I’ve underestimated him. What do you want to do?” said Gu Ding-Shan.
Hate flashed in Gu Ke-Wu’s eyes. “Huang Yi-Hu, Dong Wu, Qin Qi and Luo Na are all of the Gu clan and they’ve all fallen because of Xia Lei. If we continue to keep the peace then our clan’s prestige will be used to mop the floors. Besides, he is in the way of me getting Shentu Tian-Yin. I want to eliminate him - this is what I want to do.”
Gu Ding-Shan thought for a bit, then said, “Let’s talk about it again after the Spring Festival. Kidnapping the mayor and having someone die is no small matter. You’ll have to wait till everything has settled down before you can eliminate that punk. What’s important now is to take care of Qin Qi and Luo Na. Let them sit in prison for a few years; five million for each year they spend in there. And, their sentence will definitely not go over a period of five years.”
“Yes, I know what to do,” said Gu Ke-Wu. “Another thing, Dad. Hu Hou made the Trade and Commerce Bureau cancel the suspension. Should we overturn his authority and have Xia Lei’s company sealed again?”
Gu Ding-Shan shook his head. “Hu Hou nearly stepped through the gates of the Underworld. Even a cornered rabbit will bite and this is a very sensitive time. Don’t touch him for now. Didn’t you also say that it could not be stopped? So why bother?”
“Yes, I understand. I’ll go back to Hai-Zhu right now and settle Qin Qi and Luo Na’s matter,” said Gu Ke-Wu.
“I’ll return to Hai-Zhu during the Spring Festival. Make preparations,” said Gu Ding-Shan.
Gu Ke-Wu nodded, then turned and left Gu Ding-Shan’s office.
A faint sneer appeared on Gu Ding-Shan’s lips. “Xia Lei? An interesting little punk. I’d like to see if you are a monster with three heads and six arms.”
A young man walked out of the guest lounge and went to stand quietly behind Gu Ding-Shan.
Gu Ding-Shan was calm and imposing, with an aura of importance one would respect. This young man was well-built. He stood tall and straight and his expression was cold; he had a dangerous aura. If Gu Ding-Shan was a king on his throne, then this young man was his armed imperial guard.
This young man had a special name - Danny.
This was the same name as the bloody ‘attack dog’ character Jet Li had played in the movie directed by Luc Besson, ‘Unleashed’.
Gu Ding-Shan had taken him from the orphanage years ago and given him this name. This name was the best interpretation of his identity - he was Gu Ding-Shan’s attack dog.
Danny’s status and position was higher than Dong Wu and Qin Qi’s in the empire Gu Ding-Shan had created. More importantly, he was smarter, more powerful and more vicious than Dong Wu and Qin Qi!
Gu Ding-Shan glanced back at Danny. “Go to Hai-Zhu for a bit.”
Danny’s voice was emotionless. “You want me to kill that punk named Xia Lei?”
“No. I want you to investigate and find that punk’s weakness. His family, his friends, his rivals, what he’s doing - I want to know everything. He must die, of course, but when he dies is up to me,” said Gu Ding-Shan.
Danny nodded, then left Gu Ding-Shan’s office.
… … …
Thunder Horse Manufacturing’s canteen was abuzz with activity under the sky of night. Over four hundred people were having a meal together - it was a sight to see.
The production ban being lifted was worth celebrating. Xia Lei had planned on finding a good restaurant to treat his employees to a meal and maybe even Hu Hou too, but had found that the venue might not be too appropriate and decided to have the celebration in the company’s canteen.
“A toast to you, Mayor Hu.” Xia Lei raised his glass and said with a smile, “You’ve been of great help.”
A wry smile appeared on Hu Hou’s lips. He did not say anything but raised his glass and drained the white wine in it. He knew well that he had not actually helped Xia Lei much. Xia Lei had fought his own way out of this. And him? He owed Xia Lei his life.
Xia Lei drained the white wine in his glass too, then drew close to Hu Hou’s ear and said, “Don’t worry, Mayor Hu. It’s a very sensitive time now so the Gu clan will not disrupt the peace. They won’t come after you.”
Hu Hou sighed. “And later?”
Xia Lei thought for a bit and laughed as he said, “Later? The Gu clan may be finished later. He’s a corrupt and powerful man but aren’t the corrupt all being taken down now? They’re being taken down one by one - it’s just not his turn yet. I feel it’s just a matter of time.”
“I hope so. We are in the same boat now.” Hu Hou lowered his voice, “We need to take care of each other in the future. What do you say?”
Xia Lei smiled. “Of course. Big Brother Hu’s matters will be my matters.”
The way he addressed him had changed, reflecting Xia Lei’s change in attitude towards Hu Hou. Politics and business had always gone hand-in-hand since ancient times - politicians needed businessmen and businessmen needed politicians. Xia Lei was more than happy to form an alliance with someone like Hu Hou.
On Hu Hou’s end, he definitely would not have formed an alliance with Xia Lei in the past. The recent experience changed his way of thinking. A city mayor such as himself had been drugged, kidnapped and almost framed for murder. He was just a chess piece to be sacrificed any time in the eyes of those with power! He wanted to do good things for the people, to be a clean, trusted and respected official to the people, but if he had no real power then there was no way he could do it. An alliance with a dark horse such as Xia Lei gave him a chance to achieve what he needed.
People change, because of this or that reason; people all change.
Next to Xia Lei, Xia Xue said, “Big Sister Ru-Yi is here.”
Xia Lei looked over at the entrance and saw a heroically uniformed Jiang Ru-Yi walk over. She’d spotted him.
“I’ll go to another table, Brother. You chat with Big Sister Ru-Yi.” Xia Xue stood and walked to Jiang Ru-Yi.
Jiang Ru-Yi did not stand on ceremony either. She sat next to Xia Lei with aplomb and greeted Hu Hou, then spoke in Xia Lei’s ear, “That guy’s had all charges dropped. I asked my colleagues at the prosecutor's office and they said the most they can get him on are manslaughter charges. He’ll have just a few years in prison. And that mute woman - she doesn’t react no matter what we ask. We got a teacher from the deaf-dumb school to interpret and still no luck.”
Xia Lei was not surprised at all by the result. “I know. Those two can just pick their teeth and not bother about any result.” He poured a glass of wine for Jiang Ru-Yi. “You’re late. I’ll pour for you.”
Jiang Ru-Yi stopped talking about official matters and rolled her eyes at Xia Lei. “You think I have so much free time when there’s so much to do at the station? The agreement that we’d be eating at your place turned into eating at the canteen - I haven’t scolded you for that. Now you’re saying I’m late?”
Xia Lei smiled. “Another day. There’re so many employees; I have to think of their feelings too.”
“Then, has Liang Si-Yao called you recently?” Jiang Ru-Yi’s voice was small.
Xia Lei paused. “No. Why are you asking me this?”
“I’m caring about you. You broke up with her. I haven’t ever cared about you so I’m specially showing you some care now.” Jiang Ru-Yi smiled sweetly.
Liang Si-Yao’s face appeared in Xia Lei’s head, as clearly as if she were before him.
What was she doing now?
“You miss her?” Jiang Ru-Yi was quite intuitive and the corners or her mouth turned upwards. “You should try dating other women. It’ll help you shake off the pain of heartbreak.”
“Date…” Jiang Ru-Yi wanted to say the name she had become familiar with when she turned one, but the words stopped on the tip of her tongue. She abruptly kicked Xia Lei lightly in the back of his leg.
Wasn’t this hint obvious enough?
Xia Lei moved the tablecloth aside and bent to look about under the table, muttering, “Is there a dog under here?”
Jiang Ru-Yi was so angry she could drop dead.Previous Chapter Next Chapter