“Qing-Ye,” Xiao Li said, standing up.
Li Shiqing calmly glanced at Han Jia and then at Qi Xiuyuan, “Come out and talk.”
Xiao Li watched as he turned and walked out before he quickly whispered to Qi Xiuyuan: “Stay here and don’t come out. This is our business.” He looked at him with an unsettling feeling and added, “If you follow me, it will only make it harder for me.”
He faced the door and was about to walk out when Qi Xiuyuan grabbed his arm anxiously. “Is that your boss? The one that you spoke of before? Isn’t he—”
Xiao Li felt a shock of electricity. He shook his hand away and sighed, “It has nothing to do with you.”
He didn’t look at Qi Xiuyuan’s expression as he left and Li Shiqing standing not too far. His bodyguard was standing near the entrance of the corridor to block anyone else from coming.
Xiao Li went over and slightly bowed, “Qing-Ye.”
Li Shiqing smacked him across the face. When Li Shiqing was young, he was also a very ruthless person and now that he was raging with anger, this smack was powerful enough that Xiao Li drew back two steps. Li Shiqing followed close after. His right hand clamped down on Xiao Li’s chin as he gritted his teeth. “I’ve really spoiled you!”
Xiao Li lowered his eyes as Li Shiqing’s right thumb pressed firmly on his lips. “Giving Han Jia as compensation was the result of my agreement with Lu Wu. But despite that, you’re forcing Lu Wu and I to become hostile with each other by running off on your own to save him.”
With his finger pressed on his lips, Xiao Li could not speak.
Li Shiqing stared at him and coldly said, “You saved him with such style and created such a huge commotion that by now, the whole province already knows that you’re the cause of the explosion at Luo Dong’s place. All you’ve done was saved a person that’s going to die!”
Xiao Li frowned, a sign of sadness appeared on his face.
Li Shiqing laughed grimly and released his chin, “I was afraid Han Jia would get killed by Luo Dong, so I requested Lu Wu to keep an eye on him. Luo Dong’s anger will eventually go away, and no matter what kind of condition he was in, you will get him back. But you, you have never thought of how things would end for me!”
Xiao Li lowered his head in silent.
“Why aren’t you talking?” Li Shiqing lashed out, “Do you think that you haven’t done anything wrong?!”
“Qing-Ye,” Xiao Li finally spoke in a low voice, “I can’t do that to Han Jia…”
Li Shiqing snorted, “How many years did it take for you to become a leader? Don’t tell me you’ve never sacrificed anyone before? So what if you have a great relationship with Han Jia? In the underworld, if you don’t have a cruel heart, even ten lives wouldn’t be enough!”
Once again, Xiao Li became silent. Li Shiqing looked at him and then sighed, “I can’t do anything if you’re like this.” He touched his red and swollen cheek, “I’ve already let Zicheng go and negotiate with Luo Dong. Luo Dong is a crafty and treacherous person and you cannot fight against him alone. You were unexpectedly able to escape from him this time, something must have happened for him to let you go. No matter what he has up his sleeves, I’ve already handed this matter to Zicheng. You have to go back with me.”
From the start, Xiao Li had tilted his head slightly to the side as to avoid Li Shiqing’s touch. “If Zicheng and Luo Dong’s negotiation fails…this is Luo Dong’s territory…”
Li Shiqing frowned, “If Luo Dong insists on wanting Han Jia, we can only hand him over. As long as we can get Han Jia back before he dies, that is good enough. How many times do I have to say it before you understand?”
“I can’t do that to Han Jia,” Xiao Li said with resolution. “Qing-Ye, if you’re worried that we’ll implicate the gang, at worst, I’ll leave the gang and take Han Jia away—”
Li Shiqing smacked him again with a strength more ruthless than the previous – Xiao Li hit the wall behind him with a lot thud.
“Xiao Li!” Qi Xiuyuan pushed open the door and ran over to support Xiao Li. His angry eyes attacked Li Shiqing, “What gives you the right to hit him?”
Li Shiqing hadn’t said anything yet when Xiao Li pushed Qi Xiuyuan aside. He cursed, “Fuck off! This has nothing to do with you!”
Li Shiqing looked at them coldly, “What rights do I have to hit him? Xiao Li, tell this friend of yours, what rights do I have.”
“He’s not my friend,” Xiao Li answered back with urgency. “He’s only here to take care of Han Jia. He has nothing to do with this.”
“Really?” Li Shiqing strolled over and calmly said, “But it seems like the person he was ‘taking care’ of was you, right?”
He kept a close eye on Qi Xiuyuan, matching the blade-like sharpness that hinted in his eyes – fear could not be seen. Li Shiqing remained unmoved. He sneered and looked at him before his hand gripped Xiao Li’s chin.
“Xiao Li,” he called out mockingly for Qi Xiuyuan to hear. “Did you forget, what you swore to me in front of your mother’s grave?”
Xiao Li leaned against the wall and looked at the empty space before him. A painful expression appeared on his face as if he was reminiscing about an unforgettable night.
“Go on, tell me.” Li Shiqing held Xiao Li’s chin firmly.
Qi Xiuyuan wanted to step forward to stop him, but Li Shiqing intense gaze nailed him to the ground.
“I swore to…I swore to follow Qing-Ye, to obey and never to betray you.” Xiao Li said as beads of sweat formed on his forehead.
“‘To obey and never betray’,” Li Shiqing repeated, drawing close to Xiao Li’s ear while staring at Qi Xiuyuan from the corner of his eyes as if to show off. “And, what if you can’t do it?”
Xiao Li gave up and closed his eyes, “If there is betrayal, my mother’s spirit will fall into the pit of hell and…would never be able to reincarnate.”
“Good,” Li Shiqing calmly said, his lips practically stuck to Xiao Li’s ear, his eyes glued to Qi Xiuyuan. “Good boy. Now, what should you do?”
“I’ll go with you.”
“What’s this about you wanting to leave the gang?”
Xiao Li clenched his fist then opened his eyes, “Qing-Ye…”
Li Shiqing still looked condescendingly at Qi Xiuyuan, “I never knew that you actually had this kind of thought. You want to leave the gang?”
“No,” Xiao Li trembled. “I absolutely won’t leave.”
“That’s good,” Li Shiqing retreated a couple of steps and faced Qi Xiuyuan with a faint smile. “Once you’re caught in the gang, it’s impossible to change. Don’t associate with people that don’t walk the same path as us.”
Xiao Li remained silent.
Finally, Li Shiqing released him with much satisfaction and smiled at Qi Xiuyuan, pretending to have just realized his existence. “You’re here to take care of Han Jia? Thanks for the trouble.”
Qi Xiuyuan was stunned by the series of actions that had happened. He looked at the painful expression on Xiao Li’s face and his brows tightened, not speaking.
“Xiao Li and I will be leaving first,” Li Shiqing politely said his goodbye. “If there’s another chance, I would like to personally express my gratitude.”
Qi Xiuyuan silently looked at Xiao again, however, Xiao Li never looked back. The shocked expression on Qi Xiuyuan’s face gradually faded away as if he had suddenly come to a decision. There was a warm and gentle smile instead.
“Okay,” He simply answered, but it was stern and resolute, and he had even stretched his hand out toward Li Shiqing. “I look forward to that day.”