Chapter 28: Beginning Work
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Translations
The water in the pond outside pattered, the bamboo wheel was spinning.
“Liu XinTian is too quiet recently. Ever since Tong Xin was investigated by the police, he hasn’t made any moves.”
Lu Shang glanced through the curtains at the bamboo watermill below, he let the curtains down, “What about Li Yan?”
“We haven’t received any word on him yet, but we have placed people near the places he might go to; once he surfaces, we will immediately take him into custody.”
“Don’t let him get away.”
After the meeting ended, Lu Shang and Meng XinYou stayed behind to talk.
“You went way overboard this time, flying military helicopters to the city directly. I was scolded by my grandpa because of that, you know.” Meng XinYou continued, “I didn’t even dare tell him it was you, so I had to take the blame for you.”
Lu Shang poured her a cup of tea, smiling, “Yeah, it’s my fault.”
Meng XinYou took the cup, which was handed to her, then with a regretful expression, she said, “This will be the last time I help you, Lu Shang. I’m getting married soon.”
“Is that so? Congratulations.”
Meng XinYou giggled, “Can’t you at least give me some kind of reaction? I don’t know, maybe show some sadness?”
“My little sister is getting married. It’s a cause for celebration.” Lu Shang’s phone rang after replying; he picked up the call.
The room was quiet, so Meng XinYou could hear everything on the other side of the phone.
After she heard Lu Shang scrupulously going through the details with the person on the other side of the phone, she couldn’t help but ask after Lu Shang hung up, “Aren’t you used to doing stuff under the table already? Why are you going through the trouble to registering him for a job interview?”
“I don’t want him to think that everything is easy.” Lu Shang smiled lightly as he replied.
Being a leader for such a long time, seeing Tong Yan’s development and all the people that came and passed, Lu Shang understood better than anyone how a talented individual was nurtured. At the same time, he knew what would break a person.
“The internship isn’t just so that he could get a certificate out of it, I want him to get some field experience.”
Meng XinYou stared at Lu Shang, feeling a little jealous, “If only you cared about me half as much as you cared for Li Sui, then I definitely wouldn’t get married.”
Lu Shang pursed his lips together slightly, but he just said, “If you are getting married, then I wish you the best. You can let Aunt Lu stay at my place, I won’t ill-treat her.”
Meng XinYou’s expression stiffened, then quickly returned to normal, “When did you notice?”
“The first year she began working in the Lu family.”
Meng XinYou said feeling a little depressed, “You ignored it for so long? Aren’t you even a bit wary since I’m observing you through her?”
Lu Shang didn’t reply. Though Lu Shang had announced his relationship with Li Sui was that of a benefactor, if Aunt Lu wasn’t there, he and Li Sui would definitely sleep in separate rooms. Only later on, it sort of became a habit for Lu Shang, so it continued.
“But she wasn’t sent to you by me,” Meng XinYou continued. “It was my father who did it. He is always wary of people; he is also used to being in control. So, when it came to my generation, a lot of things are out of our hands. I can only promise you that I won’t stand against you, but as for the rest, I’m afraid I can’t help you.”
Lu Shang replied, “I understand.” Emotions played no part in business, that held even more truth in politics. Moreover, clearing all the obstacles for one’s child was understandable.
Lu Shang had had this serious disease looming over him since he was a child; he had also considered that if one day he really died, what would happen to Tong Yan. Uncle Yuen might be able to keep some of his estate properties, but without the Lu family’s name, all the relations his family had built would be gone. No matter how much money there was, with those relations, the riches would just become a target.
Thinking about it, being resourceful was still the most reliable. No matter where one went, even if they threw everything away, they’d still have means to survive quite merrily. Once a person reached a higher level in society, there would be new restraints, but if someone wanted to harm another, they’d still have to consider if they were on par. That was why Lu Shang was in such a hurry to arrange all these for Li Sui, he wanted to nurture Li Sui into a truly independent person, independent from Lu Shang himself, and independent from Tong Yan.
Meng XinYou found that she was unfamiliar with the Lu Shang now. Everything that had happened, Lu Shang’s actions, they were all out of Meng XinYou’s predictions. It was as if Lu Shang had already made a decision, but as for what that decision was, even Meng XinYou couldn’t tell.
“Your actions in recent days are so abnormal, even I don’t understand anymore.” Worry surfaced on Meng XinYou’s face; she asked, “Don’t tell me that… you have given up on the heart transplant?”
Screeching of peacocks came from outside; the sound was not pleasant at all. Their conversation was interrupted as Lu Shang lifted up the bamboo curtain. Lu Shang saw Li Sui and Zuo Chao arguing around a peacock, so he raised his voice from the upper floor and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Lu Shang.” Li Sui raised his head quickly, “Brother Zuo wants to kill the peacock for hotpot.”
Lu Shang glanced at the beautiful blue feathers on the ground, and he said, “It’s a shame to kill it, just let it go.”
“Do you hear? He said to let it go.” Li Sui took the knife in Zuo Chao’s hand. The two of them fought for a bit, both with swift, eye-pleasing moves.
“I’m going back now,” Meng XinYou lifted the bamboo curtains at the door. She looked at Lu Shang one more time, then turned around and left.
During lunch, the peacock was lucky to have survived, as they had a pot of bamboo shoots and chicken stew instead. After the meal, they Lu Shang and Li Sui had no more plans, with nothing to do, Lu Shang brought Li Sui to get two tailor-made suits.
To be honest, there was really no need to wear something so formal for an intern position. However, once Lu Shang saw Li Sui put the suit on, Lu Shang decided that he won’t let Li Sui change out of them so soon. Lu Shang’s instincts weren’t wrong, no matter how Lu Shang looked at Li Sui now, he was sure that Li Sui belonged in the workplace.
Li Sui was used to wearing casual clothes; suits were a lot more uptight than his usual clothes, so he couldn’t stop fiddling with his tie. Li Sui asked, “Do I look weird in a suit?”
After the field trip, Li Sui’s skin was tanned a bit, he also built more muscle. The childishness in his angular face had faded, making his aura collected yet fierce.
“It suits you,” Lu Shang smiled and left a short comment.
Though Lu Shang and Li Sui were working in the same company now, to avoid any rumours, Lu Shang didn’t go in with Li Sui. Uncle Yuen drove them to a street nearby where Li Sui got off, then he walked to work on his own.
Li Sui noticed that he wasn’t the only intern, when he went to get the work pass, there were seven to eight other graduates starting as interns like him. All of them were under a female manager called Zhao’s management.
“Your job today is to understand the company’s working, grasp the company’s rules and system. You will also have to remember the names and faces of all the managers of different departments. When I ask you to deliver documents to the managers for signing, I don’t want any of you to be unable to remember who they are. Understand?”
Everyone nodded, then manager Zhao spoke again, “Also, read through the documents I gave you, each of you will have to hand in a report to me after reading the documents. Next week, the company is going to have a cultural week, you will have to team up to make a video, which will be played in the cultural week.”
None of them replied when they heard that they have to make a video except one. Li Sui glanced at his work pass; his name was Li Bai.
Though Li Sui had been to Tong Yan numerous times before, he mostly went straight up to the top floors housing the directors’ offices; the people here had never seen him before, which prevented a lot of unwanted trouble. After walking up and down the floors, Li Sui finally managed to familiarise with all the departments. Five o’clock had just passed, everyone in the office was already gone. Li Sui tidied up his documents and things; he wanted to wait for Lu Shang, but after some thought, he gave up on the idea, as he didn’t want anyone thinking that he colluded to get the position. Li Sui left through the back door.
The train station was just a five minutes’ walk away from Tong Yan. Not long after Li Sui turned at a corner, he saw a black private car parked at the road. The car window rolled down, showing half of a familiar face.
Li Sui didn’t expect Lu Shang to wait for him here, his heart skipped a few beats. Promptly, he got in the car.
“You are getting off work so early today?”
Lu Shang smiled lightly, “Even if I leave early, they can’t do anything about it. So, how is it?”
“It’s fine,” Li Sui replied. “It’s also more challenging than I thought.”
After some thought, he asked, “The manager overseeing us, do you know her?”
Lu Shang knew what Li Sui was trying to ask, “Don’t worry, she doesn’t know you.”
That really make Li Sui feel more relieved. He wasn’t worried that the manager would do anything to him if she knew. However, as a newbie in the workplace, Li Sui wanted a fair challenge, the last thing he wanted was to get praises or promotions due to his relationship with Lu Shang. Lu Shang could clearly understand Li Sui’s thoughts of testing his own strength.
Li Sui began getting more and more busy, even busier than Lu Shang. During the day, Li Sui had to go to Tong Yan for work. After work, he had to rush to driving lessons. Then at night, he had to study for the exam Lu Shang had signed him up for. Usually, after going through the whole day, Li Sui would be so tired that he couldn’t even speak. Every time it came to that, Li Sui would begin to wonder how Lu Shang endured through all of these for so long.
Li Sui was still stuck in front of his computer even though it was way past his usual bedtime. It pained Lu Shang to see him wrecking his body like that, so he knocked on the door to the study, “Are you still not going to bed?”
Li Sui turned his head around, and with a sorry expression, he replied, “I am making a video, but I’m not familiar with this software. I tried a few times but still couldn’t get it to work properly.”
Lu Shang walked over to have a look at Li Sui’s computer. He was making a promotional video for the company’s cultural week. In past years, they’d hire someone specially to make the video, but it seemed that this time, it was given to the interns as their first challenge.
Lu Shang thought for a bit, then said after yawning a little, “Well then, I’m going to bed now.”
Li Sui stared at Lu Shang leaving in a trance; it seemed like Lu Shang was not planning to help him. Li Sui was quick in learning new things, but the technology was still a huge barrier. At the age when others were playing with computers, he was still homeless on the streets. Though Li Sui had worked hard, he had ten years less of experiences on computers—just his typing speed alone was a lot slower than everyone else’s.
It was late at night and autumn was approaching, so the weather was turning colder bit by bit. There were sometimes gusts of strong wind, blowing leaves around. Li Sui went to pour himself a glass of warm water, then he opened some online forums to read on other’s experience with the software.
Lu Shang read through half of a book on the bed, but there was still no sign of Li Sui. Lu Shang picked up a coat to keep himself warm, then opened the door to the study again. Li Sui’s head was leaning on the back of the chair, he was asleep. The monitor showed that the video had just completed processing and was currently loading.
Lu Shang waited for it to load and had a peek at the product; the graphics might not be exquisite, but the video was still well-made, the effort could be seen clearly, it was at a good enough level to be played on the big screen. For a newbie to be able to make this was quite extraordinary; it showed how much heart Li Sui had in his work.
After two weeks of consecutive intensive work, Li Sui was exhausted, and the eyebags under his eyes were evident. Lu Shang didn’t like seeing Li Sui suffer, but he didn’t interrupt him, either. Lu Shang left his coat behind, placing it on Li Sui, then he quietly left the study.
The cultural week had soon arrived after that, and an exhibition was set up in the company. Usually, Lu Shang wouldn’t attend something like that, but this time, he broke his usual habits and walked around the exhibition. Lu Shang’s appearance in the audience shocked the event host; he was very scared that he’d get his lines wrong.
After the end of the video, a long round of applause was given by the audience. Lu Shang stared at the name at the end of the video and frowned.
During dinner, Li Sui didn’t say a word while eating. Lu Shang knew that he was thinking about something, so he tried asking Li Sui about it.
“I’m fine,” Li Sui replied.
“Are you thinking about the video?”
Li Sui said, “You know already?”
Lu Shang nodded and said, “Yeah, I heard it from someone else.”
Li Sui straightened out his face and said, “Li Bai is the group leader. After I made the video, I gave it to Li Bai. He would organise the materials and give them to manager Zhao. I didn’t think he would just put his name in the video like that.”
“Well, he wasn’t entirely wrong for doing that. Don’t let that get you down.” Lu Shang said blandly, “This is what you have to learn, too. There are times when simple effort is not enough. When you have to work hard, then you should work hard. When you have to sell yourself, you should do everything you can to do that. And when you have to please people to get what you want, you have to do so as well.”
Li Sui nodded his head lightly.
Lu Shang’s teaching was heard by Leung ZiRui who was there to deliver additional medicines. After Li Sui went for a shower, he asked Lu Shang, “Who’d teach their kid stuff like that? Aren’t you afraid that he’d grow up to be an evil demon lord?”
Lu Shang tidied his pills into his medicine box as he said, “I’m more afraid that he’d become a frail white flower. I don’t want him to only stomp his feet in regret after being tricked by someone.”
“How protective, where is your conscience?” Leung ZiRui pounded his own chest after hearing Lu Shang’s teaching principles.
Lu Shang only laughed.
If this incident happened to someone else, of course he wouldn’t have said that. However, with Li Sui, it was different. Lu Shang dared teaching him with such gloomy topics because Lu Shang knew that the kid’s moral compass had matured. Even if Lu Shang didn’t say what was right and what was wrong, Li Sui would never do anything unjust.
In the blink of an eye, it was payday. Li Sui got money from the financial department; he could feel his hands tingling as this was the first time he got money for his work.
It was Friday, so as usual, Li Sui went to the roadside to wait for Uncle Yuen’s car. Not long after waiting there, he got a phone call from Lu Shang.
“Have you gotten off of work yet?”
“You sound pretty happy today.”
“Let’s go out for dinner. I will pay for it.”
Lu Shang was looking at the script for the meeting that night, after hearing Li Sui’s reply, he glanced at the date on his wristwatch. Lu Shang smiled, “Did you get your salary today?”
“Yes. What do you want for dinner?”
“Hmn…” Lu Shang felt like teasing him, “How about the western restaurant on top of Tong Yan?”
Li Sui choked a bit, he asked carefully, “… can we go to a cheaper restaurant?”
Lu Shang couldn’t stop himself from laughing this time. Uncle Yuen just happened to enter, hurrying Lu Shang to the meeting. Lu Shang lowered his head from Uncle Yuen, then he said, “I still have a meeting, Uncle Yuen can drive you home. We can talk about dinner later.”
“Okay. Uncle Yuen doesn’t have to drive me home, though; I will practice driving on the way back.”
After Li Sui hung up, he felt a layer of honey coating his heart. Li Sui thought, he must work hard to get money, or else he wouldn’t even be able to provide for the person he liked—Lu Lao Ban was very expensive, after all.
After Li Sui finished practising driving, Lu Shang was still stuck in the meeting. After some consideration, he decided to go to the supermarket to buy some ingredients for a western-style dinner. Li Sui had been to the restaurant on top of Tong Yan with Lu Shang before; it was extremely expensive, but the food tasted really good. They’d eaten there a few times before, so Li Sui still remembered the food served there.
Around ten at night, Lu Shang finally returned home in a hurry. He said, “You must be starving now.”
Li Sui shook his head, “I made dinner.”
Lu Shang took off his blazer as he saw the plates on the dining table; the beef steaks on the plates looked really good.
Li Sui scratched the back of his head, “I tried making them through my memories. I tasted them already, should be okay. Want to have some?”
Lu Shang smiled lightly, he sat down after washing his hands, cutting out a small piece of steak. Lu Shang immediately knew which restaurant Li Sui was trying to imitate, the quality of the meat was on par, but the taste was almost the same.
“It tastes lovely.”
“You like it?” Li Sui immediately smiled, “Try the prawns next.”
“Hm.” Lu Shang looked at Li Sui, he couldn’t help feeling bliss in his heart. He had a sudden thought, if one day he went bankrupt and had to wander the streets, homeless, he was sure that he wouldn’t starve as long as Li Sui was there.
“Here. Cream of mushroom soup.” Li Sui placed a bowl of soup on the table for Lu Shang.
Some of the black pepper sauce was on the corner of Lu Shang’s mouth. Li Sui stared at it, wanting to wipe it away with his hands. Luckily, he stopped before he acted on the thought; instead, he picked up a piece of tissue and handed it to Lu Shang.
Both of them were hungry after a long day, for the first time, Lu Shang actually finished the whole steak, while the rest went into Li Sui’s stomach. When it was time to wash the dishes, Lu Shang wanted to help, but Li Sui drove him out the kitchen. After all, who knew what Lu Shang would think if he saw the failed steaks in the rubbish bin.
At night, before going to bed, Li Sui gave his wallet to Lu Shang.
“This is?” Lu Shang looked confused.
“For you. From now on, all the money I earn will be yours.”
It had always been Lu Shang providing for the kid; he had never dreamed of the day when his child would give him money. Lu Shang had a slight smile on his face, he didn’t reject the money, “I will help you do some investments with it, then.”
The internship lasted three months; as Li Sui didn’t have official education, he couldn’t keep up with others at the beginning, so his performance was always the last amongst all the interns. After Li Sui got used to everything, his ability began to show. When the internship was nearing its end, he was already one of the top performers. At the very end, there was a selection section. A total of three projects sent invitations to Li Sui, offering him a permanent position, making him the most wanted intern among the batch.
The interns were actually below the company’s working requirements; Tong Yan took them in only because the government was calling for higher undergraduates’ employment. Tong Yan decided to invite interns, nurturing them and trying to find new talents.
Though Li Sui might be lacking in education, when it came to life experiences, Li Sui was a lot more knowledgeable. Workplace was different from the school; at work, their integrated strengths were tested—not just knowledge from books, but both their EQ and IQ would be put to the test. Li Sui was good at observing people, and he would react according to his observations; just this ability was a lot better than the undergraduates who’d just left their shells. Moreover, Li Sui was good-looking to begin with, he was humble and hard-working, so a few of the seniors took quite a liking to him.
When Uncle Yuen gave Lu Shang the internship report, Lu Shang was quite shocked to see the score. Lu Shang was never worried that Li Sui would fall behind others, but he never thought he would be so good at it. This kid was like a hunter in the woods, if given enough time, his talents would eventually show.
No-one was born with knowledge; if a person didn’t give his heart in anything, they would fail even a simple task. For people who were quick in learning, as long as they worked hard, they could learn numerous things from just one simple job. People like that could grow at an extremely fast pace.
“His results are pretty good. Do you want to save a position for him to work in?” Uncle Yuen asked.
“No,” Lu Shang shook his head.
Uncle Yuen wasn’t expecting that, Lu Shang just said, “That’s above him.”
It meant that this wasn’t the right time. Uncle Yuen understood the second Lu Shang rejected—Lu Shang never planned on letting Li Sui work from the bottom.
“Ask him to run errands for you for a while, and after the end of the year, register for a place in an overseas university for him. It’s time for him to have a look at the world now.” Lu Shang smiled, looking at the internship report.
The internship was approaching its end; Li Sui only had a road test left for his driving license. Li Sui was busy every day, and running back and forth, he didn’t have much time to care about others. When he finally got a breather, he noticed that Li Bai hadn’t been around. Li Sui happened to bring the topic up with his colleagues at the lounge area. The others looked shocked, as if it was a huge incident.
“He was fired.”
“Fired? When did that happen?”
“It’s been half a month already, I think. I heard it’s because of his conduct.”
Li Sui had a lot on his mind, he went silent after hearing that.
T/N: lol Lu Shang fired Wang Wei and Li Bai because of Li Sui. More importantly, the two names! Wang Wei and Li Bai are both super famous Chinese poets, to be honest, no one would call themselves those names. I wonder if the author hated them too much for having to recite their poems or something.
After Autumn ended, Li Sui got his driving licence. The red race car was too eye-catching, so Li Sui traded the car with Lu Shang, receiving a normal black car.
“Trading a 2 million Yuan car for a 200 thousand Yuan one. Don’t you find that a loss?”
Li Sui glanced at Lu Shang sitting in the co-driver seat; for some reason, he remembered the phrase, a lovely car with a beauty in it, what more did he want? Li Sui squealed in his heart, definitely not a loss.
When winter came, Lu Shang’s health obviously deteriorated; he was never seen without his medicine nearby. The fireplace began burning early in the day, making the whole room warm and almost hot. To Li Sui the temperature was too high, so he only wore shorts and short-sleeved clothes at home.
At night, when neither of them were busy, Lu Shang would sometimes talk about work with Li Sui. Lu Shang’s health was bad, so he shouldn’t overwork himself. Li Sui would help him type up documents as Lu Shang read out what he needed done; this was also typing practice for Li Sui. After typing an important line, Li Sui waited for Lu Shang to tell him the next line, but nothing came. Li Sui turned to his side to see Lu Shang sleeping in his wheelchair.
His heart wasn’t pumping blood efficiently enough, so Lu Shang got tired really easily; it also made his skin look pale. Lu Shang was sleeping next to him, so unguarded, his chest moving slightly as he breathed, his robe was disheveled, lying loosely on his skin, even the knot on his waist was loose.
The scene was simply too alluring, Li Sui stopped breathing for a second. Unable to stop his urges, he moved closer to Lu Shang, then leaned down to Lu Shang’s neck, taking in his scent. Illicit memories broke out from their cages; Li Sui tried holding himself back, but his sane mind was too weak under the growing lust. Li Sui soon gave in to his desires, moving to kiss Lu Shang’s earlobes.
The cold scent was like a poison penetrating straight into his mind; it spread through his brain in mere seconds. Li Sui knew he was nulling thirst with additive poison, but he couldn’t shake this off. Li Sui took a little bite on the tender skin—what wouldn’t he give to just swallow it whole? The person whom he fantasized about day and night was right in front of him, and that made Li Sui feel an immense eagerness. Letting the earlobe go, Li Sui moved to Lu Shang’s neck, leaving breathes of hotness as he moved down to Lu Shang’s naked collar bones, landing a kiss there softly.
Li Sui’s hand went for the band on Lu Shang’s waist, he was planning on tying the knot back, but as his fingers entangled with the piece of cloth, it just became looser and looser. Following through the gap of the robe, Li Sui’s hand reached Lu Shang’s thin waist, caressing it lightly.
All the while, Li Sui could hear the pumping blood in his ear; he felt like his brain had drowned, but in the depths of his consciousness, there was an immense satisfaction that made him go crazy. Li Sui used every bit of his might, but he was only able to stop his hand from moving further down.
The person under him seemed to have felt something, his eyelashes trembled a bit. Li Sui pulled his hand out from the robe, returning to the band on Lu Shang’s waist. Li Sui didn’t back away, he stayed at the same position, observing Lu Shang, looking at his slowly opened eyes.
Li Sui was too close to Lu Shang, he could feel the movements in Lu Shang’s vocal cords.
Li Sui kept staring at him, looking unfazed, he said, “The knot is loose.” After saying that, Li Sui tied it for him with one hand, tying a little bow.
Lu Shang seemed to be very tired, he didn’t mind and just fell asleep again.
Li Sui stared at him for a long while, relaxing his tensed fingers. He went to pick Lu Shang up from the wheelchair, bringing him to bed and carefully pulling up the blanket on Lu Shang.
After finishing all the above actions, the beast that was roaring in his heart finally began to quiet down. Li Sui stood beside the bed, he sighed as he pinched his forehead.
T/N: We are almost there, Li Sui’s restraints are almost at their limit.