Chapter 30: The Truth
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Having serious hangovers and insomnia took a toll on Li Sui. The next morning, he felt as if his head was going to explode. Lu Shang wasn’t feeling any better than Li Sui; his face was as white as paper.
After Aunt Lu served breakfast, she noticed that the two of them were especially quiet today—they didn’t have a shred of communication. When their fingers touched as they reached for seconds, they backed away from each other at lightning speed.
Aunt Lu could sense the awkwardness in the air, but she had no idea what had occurred, so she just thought it was a tiny lovers’ squabble. Couples often ran into obstacles, this was nothing special in Aunt Lu’s eyes. Plus, the two were always close, so Aunt Lu wasn’t worry about them. After finishing her duties, she knowingly left the room promptly, hoping the two would clear things up soon.
The outside temperature lowered day by day; the previous layer of snow had yet to melt completely, but a new round of snow already began falling down from the sky.
Li Sui wasn’t at his best, so he made a lot of mistakes during work. When he finally finished all his work and returned home, it was already late at night. No-one was home, only the fireplace was still burning, making crackling sounds. Dinner was on the dining table, the plates still steaming hot, but it seemed like no one had touched them.
It was so late already, but Lu Shang was still not home. Li Sui had no idea where Lu Shang was, nor did he know what Lu Shang was doing. Li Sui was seldom apart from Lu Shang, so this made him feel extremely uncomfortable—as if he had just lost a keepsake which he’d always kept by his side. Li Sui wanted to call Lu Shang, so he pulled out his phone from his pocket. Then, he thought about how Lu Shang might feel if he actually called. He fidgeted with the phone for a while, feeling depressed, and eventually he decided to call Uncle Yuen instead.
“He went to HaiNan Island for work.” Uncle Yuen was a little shocked, he asked, “Did he not bring you along?”
Not only did Lu Shang not bring Li Sui along, Lu Shang didn’t even tell Li Sui he was going to the island. Lu Shang was obviously avoiding him.
“…… I see.”
After hanging the phone up, Li Sui stood in the empty house, his heart was just as empty as the house was.
It was already late at night, but the lights were still lit at the Golden Sands Shore project conference room. In the room were a few project leaders, all of them were calm on the surface, but in truth, they were all extremely worried.
None of them thought that such a tiny construction accident would bring Lu Shang here. Not only that, Lu Shang called all the project accountants and managers for questioning, in the middle of the night nonetheless.
Even if you looked at all the construction projects in the mainland, none would be completely clean, especially when it came to this kind of huge projects with so many parties involved. Tong Yan was no exception, the most important thing was to balance profit with the quality. As long as the final results were okay, every side would benefit, so everyone would be happy. Usually the higher ups won’t be too harsh either, they’d tend to let these little things slide.
T/N: I just know that a part of Lu Shang came since he’s in a bad mood and he’s here to blow off some steam.
Great example of not letting personal emotions interfere with your work, Lu Shang.
It wasn’t like Lu Shang didn’t understand that, but he still decided to review everything out of the blue. Lu Shang made a huge move, his demeanor seemed unforgiving, and that made everyone scared. Everyone in charge knew that Lu Shang was cracking down on them. Putting aside the worst-case scenario of Lu Shang catching every culprit out for now, even considering the best, Lu Shang would find one to two to punish as a warning.
In this freezing winter night, the people in charge were in the huge conference room, sweating in fear that the unfortunate punishment would be on their heads.
Liu XingMing felt like continuing wasn’t going to do any good, so he smiled as he said, “Director Lu, the task of checking the books won’t be finished anytime soon. You just got off the plane, and you must be really tired, too. How about we finish the checking tomorrow and rest for now?”
“What?” Lu Shang turned to him, staring at him coldly, then he said, “The injured workers are still in critical condition now, but we still have no idea what caused it. Rest? Maybe we should just go home for a feast and a massage first, then we can check what had happened, is that what you’re suggesting?”
After Lu Shang said that, even Liu XingMing didn’t dare to smile anymore.
“Xiao Ye, go order dinner.” Lu Shang said.
Lu Shang continued, “Call your family and tell them that until this problem is investigated completely, no-one is going home.”
For a long time, Lu Shang managed the company in an extremely humanitarian way. He seldom got mad, and he also seldom held anyone responsible directly. Though he seemed distant and hard to approach, he treated all his employees kindly. After getting used to that for a long time, everyone had the misconception that he was a person of zero fury and was easy to talk to. It was only today that they remembered this man was able to stabilize and manage Tong Yan all on his own—and that was ten years ago when he was still very young. A person with that kind of leadership skills was definitely not someone easy-going. Most of the time, people thought Lu Shang was easy-going only because he didn’t have the leisure to deal with every little problem. If Lu Shang were to put his mind to it though, no one would stand a chance against him.
When the investigation reached the materials’ purchasing records, the picture became clear. It was already late at night, everyone in the conference room turned from initial nervousness to giving up and preparing for the worst. Finally, everyone only had tiredness and sleepiness left. At long last, the accountant made a final conclusion, and that was when everyone woke up. Lu Shang picked up the report, flipping through the pages, then he scoffed, throwing the stack of paper on the desk towards Liu XingMing.
“Using such petty tricks.”
Liu XingMing picked up the report; after seeing the contents, his face turned pale. “I will immediately contact the material suppliers,” he said.
“There’s no need to contact them anymore, cancel our contract with them and ask them to get the hell out.”
After finishing the order, Lu Shang scanned everyone in the room, “I don’t know who took the money. The price doesn’t matter, but the materials must be replaced. After the construction is done, each and every one of you will have to sign for its completion. If anything happens, everyone here will be responsible—no one can run away from that. I’m making an amusement park here, not a killing machine. If I can’t ensure the safety of the users, why build an amusement park? I should have just built a graveyard.”
Lu Shang’s words were sharp, and everyone seated in the room was drenched in cold sweat. The conference room was terrifyingly quiet; at that exact moment, Lu Shang’s phone vibrated, cutting into his speech.
Lu Shang frowned; he picked up the phone and looked at the caller’s ID. For a split second, he froze.
“Director Lu. So, what suppliers are we changing to?” someone in the room asked.
Lu Shang secretly turned his phone off, then he said, “Send out a notice, we are opening a public bid.”
Li Sui waited for the whole night, yet he didn’t get a reply to his call. Li Sui had a hard-to-describe feeling—he was anxious, and at the same time, he was worried. It was as if he was a child who had done something wrong, wanting to apologize but just couldn’t through to the other.
Li Sui didn’t want to stop contacting Lu Shang, but he wouldn’t dare contact him relentlessly, afraid that Lu Shang would find him annoying. For the next couple of days, Li Sui chose the time slots when Lu Shang was off work to message him, most of the contents were just reporting daily stuff or nuisances with work as a pretext. Unfortunately, the messages he sent were like rocks thrown into the ocean, they sank and never returned.
It was as if Lu Shang was intentionally ignoring him—no matter what Li Sui tried, he didn’t succeed. Li Sui couldn’t but feel glum.
On a certain day, SiMa JingRong called Li Sui; he was inviting Li Sui over for dinner at the SiMa family for the New Years. Having dinner or not didn’t matter to Li Sui, but he was finally able to find someone whom he could talk to, and that mattered a lot to him. Li Sui changed the subject, coating the facts a little. He told SiMa JingRong what had occurred through the phone, hoping for some advice.
After hearing what Li Sui had to say, SiMa JingRong laughed, “Isn’t it normal that he’s angry? I mean, think about it. If he didn’t get angry at all, and didn’t care about it one bit as if nothing had happened, would you be happy with that?”
What SiMa JingRong said enlightened him, and Li Sui immediately stood up.
“If he’s hiding from you, that means he cares about you. If he really just sees you as a kid he had just picked up, would he let you do that to him? With his resources, you would have been long thrown into a lake as fish bait if he wanted to.”
Li Sui’s breathing sped up, he said in a hurry, “Do, do you mean…”
“Go apologize, little bro!” SiMa JingRong said.
Li Sui deflated, he said, “He hasn’t replied to a single message I sent him.”
“Then go in person, give him flowers, presents, money… Give him whatever he likes, make him happy, cheer him up. There aren’t problems that money can’t solve in this world…”
Li Sui found what he said reasonable at the beginning, but the more SiMa JingRong talked, the crazier it seemed. Knowing that SiMa JingRong had no intention of stopping, Li Sui cut him off and turned around to find Aunt Lu.
“Things he likes?” Aunt Lu was cutting mushrooms in the kitchen as she was shocked by Li Sui’s sudden question.
Li Sui nodded his head, asking with a little shyness, “You’ve taken care of him for so many years, have you noticed if he was particularly interested in anything?”
“Well…” Aunt Lu went into a deep thought, then she said, “Ah! Yes, I remember that he used to like fishing. When his health was a bit better a few years back, he often went to QingMing lake to fish.”
This was the first time Li Sui ever heard of that before, so he was a little shocked. Lu Shang seldom talked about his past, and he seldom showed interest in anything. Lu Shang always gave off a distant atmosphere, Li Sui never knew Lu Shang had a hobby.
Li Sui smiled, and he said, “Thank you, Aunt Lu.”
Opening a bid wasn’t an easy task; the construction was in progress, so time was everything, the bidding couldn’t be pushed back, not even a day. Normally, people would just give up, but for some reason, Lu Shang was especially stubborn on the subject, torturing them for two entire weeks. Finally… he tortured himself to sickness.
Affected by the seasonal winds, temperature fluctuated a lot on the island. Lu Shang’s immune system was weak to begin with, plus he had been going back and forth from the construction site and the company for weeks. He didn’t get enough rest, so he caught a heavy cold; his heart naturally began protesting as well.
HaiNan Island was different from Lu Shang’s home; the hospital here had never treated such a complicated patient before, so they didn’t dare make a diagnosis right away. The hospital just prescribed him some anti-inflammatory medicines and some painkillers.
Lu Shang had taken so much medicine before even when he was still a kid. Taking medicine was like eating rice to him, normal medicine basically had no effect on him, so every night, he would still suffer from a fever, but when he had woken up every morning, his fever would have subsided. Overworking in the day and having poor rest at night, Lu Shang was so tired and exhausted that he got even skinnier than before. His face was pale to begin with, but now it just turned even whiter.
The New Year’s was approaching. Most of the workers on the site were hired from another city, so each day they were counting when they could finally go home. In the entire year, this period was when the workers would slack off the most. Lu Shang knew in his heart that this matter should be dealt with quickly, so even with his health at stake, he forced himself to work. Lu Shang personally directed personnel from different departments, finalizing a supplier who could immediately provide them with the required raw materials. Although the price was higher than their expectation, the materials were high quality ones, and they would make it here just on time.
After slapping people in the face, giving them some candies would patch things up—Lu Shang understood that tactic clearly. Before the holidays, Lu Shang especially asked Liu XingMing to hand out New Year’s supplies to all the employees. For the construction workers, Lu Shang arranged to give them red packets (i) directly. A lot of the construction site workers are from other cities, so they had to rush back home for New Year’s. Even if Lu Shang gave them New Year’s supplies, they wouldn’t be able to bring them home; giving them money directly would be a lot more convenient.
T/N: (i) Chinese people give red packets to family and friends on New Year’s; inside the red packets there are money, so basically the workers are given money in a red envelope.
Except for Lu Shang, not many people would have put that much thought into these matters. After Lu Shang finished all his work, he was utterly exhausted, and his heart began protesting as well. He didn’t even have the strength to attend the year’s end party, he just half-fainted away on the hotel sofa. Uncle Yuen was worried, so he went to the hotel to check up on him.
“Are we heading back tomorrow?”
Lu Shang lay on the sofa, pinching his own forehead, he replied, “Hm.”
Uncle Yuen swallowed saliva and said while gauging Lu Shang’s reaction, “The kid said he was coming here, but I stopped him.”
Lu Shang didn’t show any expression on his face, he just gave a light “umm” distantly.
Before Uncle Yuen left, Lu Shang said, “Tomorrow, ask Liu XingMing to come here, I need to talk with him.”
The weather was poor; it was dry and cold, and when the wind blew on people’s faces, it felt like blades slashing past their skin. Li Sui walked through the streets amongst the flying leaves, and he couldn’t help but think it was a good thing that Lu Shang was at HaiNan Island. With this weather, if Lu Shang were here, he would be very cold, and his limbs would be like ice again.
Li Sui was really happy today. For the past two weeks, he visited numerous fishing supplies stores. Finally, he found a high-quality fishing pole, the pole was made of carbon steel composite, strengthened by boron nanofibers. The handle was covered in a layer of jade clear in color. Warm when held, it wouldn’t be hot during the summer or cold during the winter. The most important thing was, the shop owner told Li Sui that he could help carve words on the side of the handle. After some thought, Li Sui asked the owner to carve the initials “LS” on the handle.
That stood for both Lu Shang and him.
The fishing supply shop was quite remote, so it would be a long trip back home. Li Sui carefully loaded the fishing pole into the car’s trunk. When he closed the trunk door, he sensed something odd.
Someone was following him.
His enemies were at fault, while Li Sui was justified by self-defense. Li Sui turned the car lights off, then reached for the glass hammer in the car.
This part of town didn’t have streetlights, the second Li Sui turned the car lights off, everything was plunged into darkness. Right after Li Sui picked up the hammer, he heard someone’s unfriendly laughter from the forest.
“How sensitive. I didn’t think you’d notice so soon.”
Li Sui was shocked; he immediately turned around to see a person walking out from the trees. The person was wearing a hat and layers of clothing. Li Sui couldn’t see his face. However, there was no need to see it; that voice, Li Sui was extremely familiar with it.
“It’s you,” Li Sui instinctively stiffened hearing the voice.
Li Yan snapped his fingers as he walked out from the shadows, that was when Li Sui saw a motorcycle a little further from Li Yan. Two against one and the two didn’t seem difficult to take on.
“Don’t be scared,” Li Yan said. “I’m not here for trouble.”
Li Sui stared at Li Yan in silence. Lu Shang taught him to refrain from speaking before knowing the enemy’s true intentions so that he wouldn’t accidentally expose his own weaknesses.
T/N: I almost typed “Lu Shang taught him not to follow strangers” …
“You’ve grown so much, but the more you’ve grown, the more boring you’ve become.” Li Yan sighed, “You don’t have to be so tense, I can’t do much to you now. Let’s just say you’ve followed the right person—for now, anyways.”
“What exactly are you trying to say?”
“Nothing special. I had nothing else to do and just happened to run into you here. So, as your former boss, I just want to talk about your reflections on jumping ships.” Li Yan continued after a short pause, “Do you know why I said, ‘for now’?”
Seeing that Li Sui wasn’t speaking, Li Yan laughed and said, “That’s because he isn’t a good guy either. You’ll know sooner or later.”
Li Sui glared at him, then turned around to leave.
“Aren’t you curious as to why Lu Shang took you in back then?” Li Yan said from behind Li Sui.