Li Shiqing sighed, “Get up and talk.”
Xiao Li remained kneeling on the floor with his head lowered without budging.
Looking at him, Li Shiqing softened his tone, “Then you can kneel there and talk, but you have to say something, not just tune the world out.”
Xiao Li, “Qing-Ye, it’s impossible for me to not care about my brother and I can’t implicate Han Jia. I can only come here and ask you.”
Li Shiqing, “What do you want to ask me?”
“Luo Dong didn’t look for me directly but went to you instead. That must mean, there is something in your possession that he wants.”
Li Shiqing went speechless before he sat up from his seat, “Xiao Li, do you know what you are asking of me?”
“Qing-Ye, I beg you, help my brother,” Xiao Li asked, uneasy.
“No,” Li Shiqing’s voice rose with severity, “You’re asking me to allow Luo Dong’s return!”
He stood up with his hands clasped behind his back and proceeded towards the side of the window. “Lu Wu and Luo Dong want you and Han Jia from me. That’s nothing more than them relying on their connections and power to coerce me. If I don’t hand you over, then I must give them the territory under my control. I can’t give either of you over, that is something I’ve told you before, however, more than anything, I can’t give them any territory. If it falls into Luo Dong’s hand, his grip in this area will only increase. Without giving you two or the territory away, he will kill the hostage. But if we remain unmoved by his homicidal tendencies, he won’t be able to do anything about it. Xiao Li, back when you had just become a leader of your own territory, Ma Quezi had captured Luo Dong’s daughter. Every day he would cut off one of her fingers and demanded that he withdrew his power from the northern cities. Do you remember what Luo Dong did at that time?”
Xiao Li remained silent then lowered his voice and replied, “He did nothing.”
“That’s right,” Li Shiqing sighed sorrowfully. “It’s precisely because he didn’t subject himself to such a threat that Ma Quezi couldn’t do anything to him. In the end, it instead led him to withdraw in that despicable manner and ultimately causing the gang factions to fall apart – losing its’ unity. Tell me, should we act like Luo Dong or should we act like Ma Quezi?”
Xiao Li did not reply, he could only look down and press his forehead to the floor, bowing with all the strength he had.
“Qing-Ye, I beg you, save my brother.”
When Li Shiqing heard his forehead struck the hard floor, his brows tightened. He walked toward the center of the room back and forth a few times and finally stopped in front of him. His hand gripped Xiao Li’s collar, stopping him from incessantly crashing his head against the floor.
Nevertheless, Xiao Li only said, “Please, Qing-Ye save my brother.
Li Shiqing lowered himself and reached out to caress his forehead, his thumb gently pressed down on the red inflamed skin. Suddenly, one of his brows rose in surprise, “Have you cried?”
Xiao Li was startled and then remembered the grievance he had already shared with Qi Xiuyuan. At that time, the emotions that he had kept hidden for all those years became hard to suppress, and to even his own surprise, he had actually shed tears.
But before he was able to reply, Li Shiqing crouched down and held his chin up. His voice softened, “I know you feel sorry for your brother, but I can’t bow down to Luo Dong. It took me five years to drive him out. If I give in to him this time, would I still have another five years to battle it out with him again?”
Xiao Li closed his eyes and placed his hand on top of Li Shiqing’s. “I will help you.”
Li Shiqing was ridden with shock and all he could hear was Xiao Li’s trembling voice.
“Qing-Ye, no matter how many years it takes, I will stay by your side and help you fight against him. Please, Qing-Ye. I beg you, save my brother.”
Li Shiqing looked as though he was burned with fire as he suddenly let go of his hand. He got up and paced around a couple of times, ultimately, stopping in track to point his finger directly at Xiao Li. “Do you realize exactly what you’re asking of me?” He ruthlessly kicked a nearby stool, and repeated, “Do you realize exactly what you’re asking of me?!!”
Xiao Li pressed his head on the floor, seeming as though he could only say those words: “Qing-Ye, save my brother.”
“Shut up!!” Li Shiqing angrily rebuked.
Xiao Li went silent. Li Shiqing was adept at hiding his anger under a bush. His face always held a smile and even if he was angry, he won’t reveal it much. This kind of sudden anger was almost rare to see. After calming himself, Li Shiqing’s voice resumed its gentleness. “You said that it didn’t matter how many years, you will still keep me company?”
“Yes,” Xiao Li answered.
“How are you going to keep me company?”
Xiao Li froze before a hand reached out and grabbed the front of his jacket. Xiao Li couldn’t help but follow along and stood as that hand pulled him up. That hand then conveniently caressed the scar on his cheek. Li Shiqing stared at him with the same suggestive look in his eyes as the one from all those years ago – an insatiable, lecherous look.
“How do you intend to accompany me?” Li Shiqing leaned in close, “If you answer correctly, I will help your brother right away.”
Xiao Li’s eyes hung low as he started to undo his clothes. By the time, he undid the buttons on his shirt and threw it to the side, Li Shiqing’s hands had already started to touch the side of his waist. His leather belt loosened, allowing his pants to fall on the floor.
Suddenly, Xiao Li wanted to know what Qi Xiuyuan felt when he had undressed in front of him back then.
Xiao Li placed his hand at the edge of his underpants, but Li Shiqing stopped him. “Leave it. I’ll take it off myself.” He reached inside and grabbed hold of Xiao Li’s member. Xiao Li took in a deep breath and closed his eyes, however, an ear-piercing ring sounded off. Li Shiqing acted as if he did not hear anything while his other hand started to caress all the way down his Xiao Li’s back, incessantly kneading and punching his ass. The phone stopped ringing for a moment and quickly rang again. Li Shiqing angrily clicked his tongue and continued to fondly squeeze before he reluctantly answered the phone.
“What is it? What did you say?”
Xiao Li opened his eyes and watched as Li Shiqing’s complexion changed. He placed his phone down and gave him a glance, “Put your clothes on and come out with me.”
“Qing-Ye, my brother…” Xiao Li quickly said, picking up his pants.
“It’s because of your bastard of a brother.” Li Shiqing sighed, “Han Jia has gone missing after receiving a phone call from your brother today.”
Xiao Li’s eyes widened as Li Shiqing walked over, picked up his shirt and draped it over his shoulder for him. “Something else also went wrong. Let’s go have a look at Jin Ting first.”
Once at Jin Ting, they realized that things were more severe than they had imagined.
Han Jia had begun to organize some things early in the morning. The timing was roughly around the same as when Xiao Yang’s hand had appeared in front of Li Shiqing’s door. He conspicuously discussed things with a few of the men mainly about work distribution and the transfer of power.
Around nine that night, he received a phone call and as he walked by the exit of Jin Ting, the doorman heard him say: “Is this Xiao Yang? Don’t worry.” Once he walked out, he never returned. No one was able to get through to him. In looking for him, one of his attendants found some documents neatly sitting on a table in his personal lounge, all of which were related to the property’s deed and the paper works regarding Jin Ting’s financial affairs had disappeared. Everyone went into a panic and immediately called Li Shiqing’s home.
“Who else have seen those documents?” Li Shiqing frowned.
“Qing, Qing-Ye,” the attendant answered, trembling in fear. “Once I saw it, I immediately locked the door. No, no one else came up…”
Li Shiqing twisted his head and saw Xiao Li staring silently at the documents on the table.
He sighed, “Give Zicheng a call. We have to go and talk to Lu Wu.”
Xiao Li glanced at the attendant and walked out of the room to make the call.
Compared to the other leaders of the same ranking, Liu Zicheng was more open-minded, lively and full of wisdom – only when it was necessary would he become vicious and merciless. Everyone can clearly see that Li Shiqing intend for him to take over, and during crucial moments, he also relied heavily on him.
As expected, once he heard about the situation, Liu Zicheng rushed out the door and made his way to Jin Ting. On his way, he didn’t hang up the call and cursed, “Luo Dong, that fucking son of a bitch! He should have died in the trash can. He should have been taken care of since the beginning. Fuck, we were too negligent. Since he didn’t contact you, and directly challenged Qing-Ye, that can only mean that he didn’t contact Han Jia either.” He stopped and added, “That fucking pervert suffered losses under Han Jia’s hand. I’m afraid… he has met with an accident… that motherfucker, he has the balls to mess with Han Jia. Does he fucking think we’re dead?”
Xiao Li was quiet as he about what he and Han Jia had recently discussed. The last words Han Jia had said unexpectedly sounded like a warning and a good-bye.
He hung up the phone and returned to Han Jia’s lounge.
At that moment, Li Shiqing was handing something to Han Jia’s attendant. The attendant looked as though he was suppressing his excitements as he held onto that pile of documents – the overwhelming flattery that drew on his face was obvious.
“Qing-Ye don’t worry. I’ll definitely handle it well.”
Xiao Li was displeased with his expression, especially that of someone who was ready to simply substitute for Han Jia for the time being.
“Zicheng is on his way here.”
Li Shiqing allowed one of his men to look over the documents with Han Jia’s attendant and directed Xiao Li and some other people to come out.
“Zicheng and I will bring more manpower with us to go and meet with Lu Wu. You have to stay here and keep watch. Find some people to ask around for any news on Han Jia’s whereabouts. Stay in contact at all times. “
“Qing-Ye,” Xiao Li said. “I will go too.”
“Listen to me,” Li Shiqing’s voice softened, “With how things are and the position that you’re in, you won’t be able to come back. If Lu Wu wants to hold you back by force, I won’t be able to protect you.”
Xiao Li hesitated at first and then reluctantly agreed. He gave Fan Peng and Feng Qiang a call. Luo Dong had been in the city plundering and seizing control by force from other people, therefore, it was possible that he was still in the city now; with the remnant of his influence scattered everywhere, discovering his tracks would require a great amount of manpower.
Liu Zicheng arrived at Jin Ting in a mere twenty minutes from how far he was – it was obvious the number of red lights he must had passed. He only brought two of his men along while the rest were Xiao Li’s men. With Xiao Li having already chosen a few skilled men as Li Shiqing’s bodyguards, over twenty people separated into eight cars and set off in a grandiose manner.
Xiao Li waited until the fleet of cars disappear before he returned to his lounge and changed into some convenient clothes. He grabbed his gun and called Lin Zi over, “Keep your phone on. If something happens, call Qing-Ye or your Cheng Ge directly.”
“Li ge, you’re——”
“I’m not happy right now. I want to go out for a drive and get some fresh air.”
Lin Zi stared at him and said, “I’ll go too.”
Xiao Li widened his eyes and glanced at him, “Shou Zi and the others have gone with Qing-Ye, if you go for a drive as well, who’s going to keep guard here?”
Lin Zi wanted to say more but he remained silent and followed behind Xiao Li. When he went out to get his car, he stopped and said: “Li ge, take care of yourself.”
Xiao Li let out a small laugh, “Take care of myself for what? I’m just going for a drive.”
He got into his car and calculated all the places that he knew used to be Luo Dong’s. Before he had destroyed all those places one by one, now he had to go and investigate them.
The way of the underworld was as such: forever wrapped in a long and endless darkness that was dotted with blood and death. The norm was that people constantly fought one another as they embraced illegal money with open arms, only to ultimately become sacrifices for the sake of attaining such wealth – horrible, unbelievable, yet no one turned their head away from it. They are incapable of turning away.
Xiao Li’s car passed by the riverbank – not so long ago, his tears had flowed her. However, his expression had hardened into a block of ice as his eyes focused at the darkness ahead, not even once glancing there.