Chapter 8: Assassination Attempt
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Translation
Li Sui didn’t let Li Yan’s taunt get to him, but when he remembered the poor abandoned babies in the orphanage, he just couldn’t stop frowning. Disrespecting life was the thing he just couldn’t tolerate.
“Can’t you have some respect for life?” Li Sui said bewildered by Li Yan’s words.
Li Yan only found that funny, he laughed while saying, “Look at how Lu Shang pampered you, you dare talk back to me now?”
“This have nothing to do with Lu Lao Ban, I——”
“I raised you for three years, you never thanked me. How many years has Lu Shang had you, and you are already talking for him now?” Li Yan cut into Li Sui.
Li Sui looked straight into Li Yan, his hands balled into fists. He was used to compromising and being passive since childhood, for a long time in his life, he was a person who had no self-thoughts. Li Sui wouldn’t deny that he used to be terrified of Li Yan, even now when they met, his first reaction was to run away. But now, standing here, Li Sui just couldn’t grasp, he couldn’t grasp why he was afraid of Li Yan before.
Li Sui slowed his speech, speaking each word clearly, “Brother Yan, you gave me food before, I will remember that for my entire life. But even without your food, I don’t think I would’ve died either. The one I should be thanking for being alive now, isn’t you; being able to stay alive at your place, I have myself to thank.”
There was one more sentence which Li Sui didn’t say, if he were to be grateful to someone, it would only be Lu Shang. Lu Shang didn’t just provide him with food, Lu Shang taught Li Sui what self-respect was and what it was like to actually live.
Li Sui suddenly noticed, regarding Lu Shang’s care, his feelings had turned from insecurity to normal. It had naturally become his rock, Lu Shang was in Li Sui’s heart, he would subconsciously protect Lu Shang. Everyone says, “to boil a frog, you need warm water (i)”, Li Sui felt like that frog right now.
T/N: (i) It’s a saying in Chinese. It basically means if you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump away. However, if you boil it by slowly raising the temperature, it will not jump away, and it will be too late when the water gets boiled.
“I couldn’t find you anywhere, so I was worried you’ve left.” Li Sui heard a familiar voice from behind him. He snapped back from his thoughts and saw Li Yan taking his glasses off to greet Lu Shang.
Lu Shang wasn’t interested in talking, he spoke a few polite words and planned on leaving with Li Sui. Li Yan stepped up and blocked them, “Lu Lao Ban, the stocks are still opened to you, I’ve saved them up just for you.”
Li Yan said it like an invitation, but Lu Shang knew he was trying to get the return of his favor, the favor of letting Lu Shang take Li Sui. Li JinYao was a mobster by heart, he thought too much of words and promises, he also saw highly of human relationships. Like father, like son, as they say. These things were truly useful years ago, everyone was poor back then, so there was less conflict of interest. The times had change now, this is business, personal favors alone couldn’t do business. Lu Shang had a lot of feelings in this subject, as Liu XinTian “taught” him this firsthand.
If Lu Shang didn’t agree to his proposal, Li Yan really couldn’t do anything about it.
“Sorry, but I don’t want to talk about deals today.” He was playing dumb, not even leaving any room for negotiating.
On the way home, Lu Shang waited for Li Sui to speak first, but he didn’t. Lu Shang found it strange, this child always had his thoughts written on his face when facing Lu Shang, but today something was different. Could what Li Yan had said cause this much damage?
When it was bedtime, Lu Shang pulled Li Sui to the side of the bed. Ruffling Li Sui’s hair, he asked what Li Sui was thinking about. Li Sui wanted to speak but stopped, he spoke only after some time of thought, “Lu Lao Ban, why are you so kind to me?”
Li Sui had asked this question before as well, Lu Shang didn’t think much of it at the time, but now the question popped up again, and Lu Shang couldn’t help but feel a little weird. Lu Shang tried thinking about how Li Sui seemed out of it the whole day, it didn’t take him long to come up with the possible reason. “What do you want to ask?”
Li Sui asked very carefully, “Is it all because of the contract?”
Lu Shang’s eyes darkened, he fell silent for a while, then he nodded his head. Sadness crossed Li Sui’s eyes, but it was quickly hidden by Li Sui turning off lights.
“The paperwork is in my office, you can read it now, I can ask Uncle Yuen to get it for you tomorrow.”
“I don’t want to look at it.” Li Sui snugged into the blanket as he replied.
After that day, Li Sui wasn’t as close to Lu Shang as before. Though he would still warm Lu Shang’s legs when they slept together, and when Lu Shang couldn’t finish the food, Li Sui would still eat it all, something was off. It was as if this kid had hidden his tail, crawling back into the protection of his shell in just one night.
Lu Shang wanted to talk to Li Sui about it, but he just couldn’t find the right time. Tong Yan’s shareholders meeting had gone on for around two months, finally it ended with a trail of chaos. Lu Shang got his stocks up to 40% with over half of the votes, the change would take effect within one month. As compensation, he had to take over the housing project at the shore.
That project was a double-edged sword. If he did well, it would boost his power over Tong Yan, but if he didn’t do it well, it would put Tong Yan in hot water.
The project at the shore was basically the last generations’ problem. Over ten years ago, Tong Yan chose a plot of land near the shore, hoping to develop it into a housing estate. Unfortunately, because of a storm and a tsunami, the land was soaked, ruining all the work done there. From that point on, it was as if the land was fighting with them, incidents happened from time to time. There were even rumors that everyone connected to this project would meet a horrific end, along the lines of divorce, if not death. As the rumor spread, no one dare take this project anymore.
Lu Shang inspected the plot of land with his father before, there weren’t any problems with the land, the water quality was great too. The only thing possibly bad about this plot of land was Fung Shui. Lu Shang was a materialist, his father died of acute heart failure, it had nothing to do with this project. The only problem he had with this land was whether it could profit. Whether he believed in the rumors didn’t matter, the problem was whether the buyers believed it, that was the most important thing he need to consider when developing housing estates.
Regarding the land’s use, Lu Shang had a meeting with the other executives for the whole day, starting from sunrise to sundown, no suitable proposal was decided. Tong Yan as one of the first corporations in the country, was truly long-lived. However, this longevity caused a lot of problems as well, because of some rules laid down a long time ago, Tong Yan never had any evolutionary changes. Making the company filled with freeloading corpses, but very little working higher-ups.
“They sprouted a bunch of rubbish, and at the end we are still the ones who have to deal with this mess. Say, why do we have to pay those rubbish?” After the meeting ended, Xe WeiLan said angrily while tidying up the documents.
Lu Shang also found this to be a huge headache, as the director, he was the clearest of the corporation’s frozen state. Every time Lu Shang wanted to push forward a new policy, there were always loads of obstacles that were extremely unfavorable to a corporation. Policies had to change along with the environment. If you couldn’t keep up, you would be eliminated.
“It would be so great if we can change the policies…” Xe WeiLan muttered, the idea lodged itself into Lu Shang’s mind.
Lu Shang turned around, asking, “What are the conditions?”
“To change the company’s policies, you’d need two thirds of all present shareholder’s voting rights.” Xe WeiLan said, “To transfer stocks, you only needed to get over half of the votes, to change policies, you will need 17 % more than that. Just getting the 6 % stocks was pushed to now, changing the policies is most likely impossible.”
Lu Shang fell into deep thought, the stocks he held now was far from two thirds of all shares. To change the policies equaled ripping control from other shareholders, that truly wasn’t something he could accomplish now. The shareholders wanted money and control; they could tolerate Lu Shang get 6 % more of the shares for money, but they would not let go of their control over Tong Yan for money.
“Lu Lao Ban, someone is here for you.” Uncle Yuen knocked and entered.
Lu Shang was in a meeting for the whole day, so he really didn’t want to meet with people anymore; he wanted Uncle Yuen to send him away. Then he saw Xe WeiLan give him a weird look, a teasing look to be exact.
Lu Shang turned his chair around to see Li Sui standing at the door, smiling at him. This kid was actually quite handsome, the thought creeped up on his mind unsuitably.
“Why did you come?” Lu Shang waved his hand calling him in.
“Brother Zuo, asked me to come get you.” Li Sui continued, “Happy birthday.”
Lu Shang smiled, “Thank you.”
“Oh my, I was so busy that I forgot, today is Lu Lao Ban’s birthday.” Xe WeiLan hit the back of his head, “Where did Zuo Chao book? Let’s go already. I need something to put my tiredness away.”
“Hot spring resort.” The hot spring resort was exactly the one they went with Yan Ke, there were a few dishes there that no other places provide, so they required advanced booking. Plus it was located at a secluded location, the resort’s owner also had relationships with many people, so it was a bit famous amongst politicians and rich people.
“Are you tired?” Li Sui saw Lu Shang rubbing his own forehead in the car.
Lu Shang replied, “I’m okay.”
Li Sui reached his hand out to hold Lu Shang’s, but Lu Shang was one step quicker, he held Li Sui’s hand and said, “I’m going to an island tomorrow, do you want to come with me?”
“Do you need me to go?”
“I can’t sleep without someone warming my bed.” Lu Shang smiled lightly.
The sky dimmed; streetlights shone on Lu Shang’s face. Li Sui’s heart moved, his fingers tightened a bit.
When they arrived, all the food was on the table already. Meng XinYou was there too, he handed Lu Shang an expensive wristwatch, saying that it was a present from her father; Lu Shang phoned back to say thank you.
Leung ZiRui cried and complained to Lu Shang, saying that he had a report to write, so he couldn’t come. He also said he would accompany Lu Shang someday later.
With the company of a beautiful lady, all the men were quieter than usual. They only booked one room, as they didn’t even fill one table. Li Sui looked across the table, thinking how Lu Shang seemed to have a lot of friends and connections, but when it came down to it, he only had a handful of real friends.
Lu Shang didn’t fancy noisy places, so all of them just quietly ate, they didn’t even have alcohol.
“The squirrel fish (iii) here tastes pretty good, here try it.” Lu Shang got a piece for Li Sui.
T/N: (iii) Not a kind of fish, but a Chinese fish preparing method. The fish is cut, making the meat curl out into spikes-like things, then it is deep fried. It looks like a pinecone after it’s done, so it’s called squirrel fish.
“Squirrel fish?” Li Sui asked, “Then is this squirrel or fish?”
“Try guessing.” Zuo Chao laughed at Li Sui, “If you guess right, big bro will have alcohol with you.”
“Even if I got it right, there’s no wine here.”
Lu Shang smiled slightly, “If you guys want to drink, then drink.”
“I’ve been waiting for that all this time.” Zuo Chao loved alcohol, he just didn’t feel right without alcohol. Zuo Chao prepared red wine already, but since Lu Shang didn’t say they could drink, they stayed hidden under the table.
“Wine from ‘88. Who wants some?”
Everyone cheered, Li Sui asked a waiter to open the wine, but no one replied. So Li Sui went out to find a bottle opener himself.
“You are so caring of him.” Meng XinYou said after Li Sui left the room.
“Are you jealous?” Lu Shang asked.
“Yeah, a little.” Meng XinYou admitted willingly.
Though they were god sister and god brother to each other, Lu Shang knew a little of Meng XinYou’s feelings towards him. But both of them knew it was impossible, so they only ever joked about it. Meng XinYou wasn’t a person that put too much care in love either, she was from an important family, her role in the family was also important, she knew very well of what her goals in marriage would be. She would sometimes talk about falling in love and stuff, but this was just talk. She didn’t really believe in it either. However, sometimes she would imagine, if she were to be born in a normal family, then her perfect husband would probably be someone like Lu Shang. Someone that was elegant and polite, someone caring, but she didn’t have that luck, as Lu Shang’s affections were all given to someone else.
“Eh, why is he still not back yet?” Zuo Chao got impatient as he waited for the wine to be opened.
Lu Shang remembered the time when Li Sui almost went into the female hot springs, he stood up and said, “I’ll go find him.”
Just when Lu Shang got to the door, his phone rang; it was from Li Sui.
“Don’t move.” Li Sui seemed to be running.
“Someone’s chasing me, they have knives. I think they are after you and me.” Li Sui was panting, “I’ll lead them away for now…”
Lu Shang’s nerves tightened, “Where are you now?”
“I’m at… the changing room where you tidied up my clothes before…”
Lu Shang ordered, “Stay there, don’t move, hide yourself well.”
Everyone in the room felt that the atmosphere was wrong, they turned to Lu Shang. Zuo Chao stood up, “What’s wrong?”
“Changing room, section B. They have knives.”
After that, Zuo Chao immediately brought some men and rushed out, Lu Shang and Xe WeiLan followed.
When they reached the changing room, they heard someone fighting inside. Zuo Chao walked up to the door and kicked it down; he saw a waiter-like person dodging the chair Li Sui threw at him. Zuo Chao used to fight in underground boxing rings, he neutralized the assailant with one over the shoulder throw. The man knew he had lost, so he screamed and threw the knife. The direction he threw happened to be towards Lu Shang.
“Lu Shang!” Li Sui jumped out in an instant, he pushed Lu Shang down to the floor. The knife reflected lights of white, it scraped Li Sui’s arm, making a cut which quickly soaked his sleeve red.
“Fuck!” Zuo Chao was mad, he kicked on the man’s bottom, making the man curl up in pain, unable to stand up for a long time. Zuo Chao called for two of his men to pull the assailant out, “Hit him, I’ll come back after I get the name of whoever hired him out of his mouth.”
“Are you okay?” Lu Shang climbed up from the floor quickly, he pulled Li Sui’s arm out. The wound wasn’t deep, but it was long, so he bled quite a lot. Luckily the knife just scraped past him, if it were to fly straight at him, a large part of the knife might go into Li Sui’s arm.
“Xiao Li Zi (iv), are you alright?”
T/N: (iv) A nickname of Li Sui, remember how pear water is Li Shui and sound like Li Sui. This here is written as little pear, which is calling Li Sui, and I’m guessing it’s said by Zuo Chao, since I don’t think Lu Shang would call him that.
“I’m fine.” Li Sui didn’t feel pain, but he felt weak, though he did bleed a lot, it was most likely shock that caused his flimsy state. When the knife flew towards Lu Shang, he felt his brain fry, rushing towards Lu Shang was basically his instinct.
“Come in first.” Meng XinYou finally reacted to the situation, she quickly tidied up a room for Li Sui and everyone to rest in. Then she found a real waiter to tidy up the mess.
Lu Shang brought Li Sui into the room, and in less than two minutes, Zuo Chao returned. Li Sui’s complexion wasn’t good, Lu Shang thought in silence, and asked two of Zuo Chao’s men to bring Li Sui to tend to his wounds.
After Li Sui left, everyone’s expression changed.
“You know who did this?” Lu Shang’s face went dark.
Zuo Chao felt at fault, Li Sui’s safety was always his responsibility. Recently, there weren’t any problems, so he let his guard down, he didn’t think something like this would happen here in the hot spring resort of all places.
“He sneaked in when the guards changed shifts.” Zuo Chao rubbed his face, that man was beaten half dead by him already. The name he got was a familiar but unexpected one.
“It’s Li Yan.” Blue veins could be seen on Li Yan’s forehead, he was furious, “We were guarding Liu XinTian all this time, and forgot about Li Yan.”
“Come to think of it, it seems like I have to buy Chan Zhaung’s (v) stocks now.” Lu Shang thought of something else.
T/N: (v) Chan Zhaung is the name of Li Yan’s new company that sells cosmetics, the company that Li Yan has been pestering Lu Shang to buy stocks from day one. In Chinese the characters hinted female cosmetics.
It might seem like the knife was pointing at Li Sui, but it was actually a warning to Lu Shang. Li Yan was still hung up on the “favor” he did for Lu Shang, he won’t stop until he got the money. The only problem was if he just wanted money, or if he wanted to pull Lu Shang into hot water.
“Chan Zhaung is definitely a shady company. Tong Yan finally got out of all the shady things a few years ago. If we stepped into it again, it doesn’t only mean all our hard work before will go down the drain, but also means we would have a really hard time getting clean again.” Xe WeiLan said.
“I have some information here; I was going to talk about it after dinner.” Meng XinYou said and attracted everyone’s gazes.
“According to my sources, the Li family is having financial problems. Last year, Li JinYao bought a ship for shipping merchandises, that ship sank at a river at the beginning of this year. They have a huge debt in their hands, their loaning period at the bank is also coming to an end. I overheard the people working for my dad, they said the banks were preparing for debt consolidation.”
“A ship sinking could cost them that much? The Li family should have enough money to handle that, right?” Zuo Chao asked.
Lu Shang scoffed lightly, his voice had zero temperature in it, “Of course, that’s because they were shipping something else.”
Meng XinYou nodded, “I heard that after the ship sank, a bunch of dead fish floated up downstream.”
“How many illegal drugs did that take? Is Li JinYao crazy?” Zuo Chao said.
“The Li family’s money will deplete, what they did will be discovered sooner or later. Plus the scandals with Li Yan playing with female actors and idols is coming out recently, those will cost them a lot too. No matter what, you definitely can’t have anything to do with Chan Zhuang. I think they must be quite desperate to try attacking us like this.” Meng XinYou said.
“So, from current information, I’d say the chances of them lacking money is bigger.” Xe WeiLan said.
Lu Shang nodded, “Problems that can be solved with money aren’t problems. We can just give them some money for now, calm them first, and let them slowly die out.”
“The problem is…” Meng XinYou looked around the room, “in whose name do we give them money?”
That meant if the scandal came out, this person may have to face the legal consequences as an accomplice or buyer. Moreover, he must not have any legal relationships with Tong Yan or Lu Shang, plus he had to not throw the blame back at Tong Yan or Lu Shang.
Everyone had one such person in mind, the second Meng XinYou finished speaking. Considering said person just saved Lu Shang and was injured, pushing said person out as a scapegoat was simply too heartless. Xe WeiLan chewed on his words, then pretended to analyze the situation, he said, “First of all, we need to make sure this has absolutely nothing to do with Tong Yan. As such everyone here can be excluded. The next thing is, that person needs to be loyal, he cannot be bought by anyone, and won’t stab back at us…”
Lu Shang cut him off, “You can stop speaking now.” Everyone raised their heads to look at Lu Shang, he paused. With a low voice, he said, “I’ll consider it, I’ll tell you my decision tomorrow.”