One of Xiao Li’s subordinate guided them toward the dining area, “Qi Laoshi, please sit here.”
Without saying anything, Qi Xiuyuan silently looked at the table full of exotic delicacies from various places. There were also beautifully designed utensils that glimmered beneath the sunlight lying beside the plates, not to mention, the gorgeous dining table was decorated with several different kinds of fresh flowers that were displayed in exquisite looking vases.
Soon after, several of the gang members sat down beside them, evidently, they were joining them. The threatening atmosphere that befell Qi Xiuyuan made him felt as though he was in the middle of a feud between rival gangs.
He let out a deep sigh and impatiently said, “Mr. Li, I thought you wanted to discuss a serious matter with me, not have a meal.”
Xiao Li looked at him with uncanny eyes, “Qi Laoshi, you’ve just gotten out of work, you must be hungry by now. How about we eat first then talk after? If the food is not to your liking—”
Qi Xiuyuan leaned back into the chair and glared at him, “I’m not hungry.”
Xiao Li became silent for a moment before he nodded, accepting Qi Xiuyuan’s stern statement. “Then we can talk first. Lin Zi, take these away.”
The obedient yet fierce-looking subordinates wore expressions of disappointment as they picked up the plates and carried the delicious food, decors, and even the table away.
Under Xiao Li’s silent order, all the members stood up and moved further away.
Now, only the smooth and shiny floor separated the gang leader and the schoolteacher.
With fewer subordinates waiting on them, Qi Xiuyuan was a bit calmer. He gave Xiao Li a glance only to see that those piercing eyes were directed his way. His gaze suddenly darted to the floor beneath his feet in an escape to avoid eye contact in such a silent and unwavering atmosphere.
All Qi Xiuyuan could hear was Xiao Li’s voice as he continued to stare at the patterns on the floor, almost mesmerized by its delicate lines.
“Qi Laoshi, I assume you’ve already met Xiao Yang.”
A simple grunt escaped Qi Xiuyuan’s lips.
“Xiao Yang is a good kid. Ever since he was little, he has always been calm and kind-hearted. I can assure you that he has a very good head on his shoulder. Right now, he has a stable job with a considerably high income,” Xiao Li said honestly. “He has never been involved in any of my business, so there really no need for you to worry about anything.”
Staying silent, Qi Xiuyuan’s eyes remained on the patterns which by now seemed to have fully captivated his interest, rather than the conversation at hand.
“Qi Laoshi, Xiao Yang has mentioned you to me before. I also have a deep respect for you. I, myself, have chosen this path, but I would never let my brother follow the same path. He’s very determined and has worked hard toward his goals. Attending school, studying abroad, and even working, he has always relied on his own abilities—”
“That’s impossible,” Qi Xiuyuan said without hesitation.
“There’s no need to say any more nonsense. Where did he get the money to go abroad?” Qi Xiuyuan lifted his gaze and stared at Xiao Li with unwavering eyes. “At that time, he was just a student, where would he get that kind of money from? He just returned home and yet he already found a high paying job. Are you telling me that none of these have any connections with you?” He paused while a contemptuous smile appeared on his face. “Even if there were no economic relations, he has to have called you ‘brother’, right?”
Xiao Li’s brows pulled into a small frown. Whatever he had wanted to say remained in his mouth when Qi Xiuyuan stood up and walked over to stand in front of him.
Leaning close to him, Qi Xiuyuan boldly looked him in the eyes. “It hurts, doesn’t it?”
“It’s okay.” Xiao Li replied as he shifted back into the sofa just the slightest.
Qi Xiuyuan took another step forward and leaned in a bit closer. “Mr. Xiao, I may not know your gang’s rules, but I believe the person who gave you this wound must be in even more pain than you are right now. You must have certainly made him pay back a hundredfold for the pain he inflicted you. Perhaps, one of his arms or legs has been chopped off already. Personally, I don’t really care about those things. But what I care about is, when he wants you to repay him back a hundredfold of the pain you had caused him, how can you guarantee that the one closest to you won’t be implicated?” Qi Xiuyuan sternly said then let out a cold sneer full of dissatisfaction. “If that time comes and something bad was to happen to Xiao Yang, what will happen to Susu?”
Narrowing his eyes, Xiao Li’s gaze remained fixed on Qi Xiuyuan’s imposing face. He pursed lips as he suppressed the anger that rose within him and remained silent.
Qi Xiuyuan straightened up and took two steps back. He then sighed, “Mr. Xiao, we’re just an ordinary family. We don’t want to provoke any unnecessary trouble. You may only have your brother, but I also only have my sister.”
Xiao Li frowned and shifted his gaze. The expression in his eyes reminded Qi Xiuyuan of his students, especially when they went speechless after he had severely lectured them.
It was strange indeed for such a tall and intimidating gang leader to remain seated even though his appearance was shrouded with distress.
An inexplicable sensation caused Qi Xiuyuan’s heart to suddenly soften. So much so that the harsher and more offensive words that he had wanted to say refused to come out.
The room was overtaken by a heavy atmosphere that weighed down on both of them.
A moment later, Qi Xiuyuan took a deep breath and said, “Mr. Xiao, if there’s nothing else, I would like to go home. I still have to teach tomorrow.”
Hearing that, Xiao Li immediately stood up. “Qi Laoshi, I’ll have someone take you back.”
Thinking back to the Lincoln that ‘took’ him from the school gate and ‘transported’ him to here, the color on Qi Xiuyuan changed. “There’s no need to. I don’t want to attract any attention.”
Xiao Li understood what he meant and said, “Since Qi Laoshi doesn’t want to be seen in such an extravagant manner, I will tell them to change the car. Please don’t refuse. That way, I can be at ease.”
A few seconds later, Qi Xiuyuan found himself following a subordinate out the door only to see that there was a low-key black sedan already waiting at the front gate.
Giving the front door a glance, Qi Xiuyuan reluctantly went into the car.
Just as the car was about to leave, Xiao Li came out and knocked on the window.
Qi Xiuyuan was hesitant, but the chauffeur had already rolled down the window.
“Qi Laoshi, take this,” Xiao Li said then handed him a small box. “I’m sorry for making you lose your appetite. Please take this midnight snack with you.”
Qi Xiuyuan contemplated for a moment yet ended up taking the box and as he looked at Xiao Li’s sincere eyes, he couldn’t help but say, “thank you”.
On the way back, the chauffeur remained expressionless and did not say a single word. By then, Qi Xiuyuan was beyond nervous.
What Susu said were all true. He doesn’t resemble a gangster, Qi Xiuyuan thought.
No, that’s wrong, he told himself. If you were one of the people who had your arms and legs chopped off, you wouldn’t think like this.