I have trouble finding an image to match this chapter… Haha. After re-reading the chapter a few times and with what I could find online, I decided to go with the following picture. Somehow, it reminded me so much our scheming wolf boss, Li Zhicheng.
Chapter 24: I So Desire
One month ago.
It had still been early winter. Lin Jian had reported to Aida Corporation not long ago, while Li Zhicheng had just transferred to his new civilian job.
The Green Park Nursing Home sitting in the western part of City L had long been doused by the aura of winter. Withered tree leaves drifted on the river banks, while the jade-green surface of the river was soaked in the winter air.
Aida’s chairman, Xu Yong, lived in a small building sitting by itself on this river bank. Taking advantage of the sunlight’s presence, the home care worker and the assistant pushed his wheelchair on the lawn in front of the house to bask in the warm sun and drink a steaming cup of tea.
Very quickly, the long-awaited guest of the old man finally came.
Though the young man had finally shed his military uniform, his silhouette clothed in a casual suit was straighter and more martial than ordinary people, drawing a ramrod-straight outline on the small verdant hillside.
“Dad.” He stopped in front of Xu Yong’s wheelchair. He’d clearly grown into a mature, staid man already. Yet, he still hoarded his words as though he treasured them like gold, his eyes as tranquil and deep as before. And just like before, the shrewd father who’d moved unhindered in the business world still couldn’t read his son’s mind.
Xu Rong was a little melancholic. He patted the bench beside him. “Come and sit.”
They exchanged a few brief words. Xu Rong inquired whether he was already discharged from the army. He’d already persuaded his maternal grandfather, a figure of importance in the military, making him agree to his withdrawal from the army to join the business world. Xu Yong couldn’t help but be secretly delighted.
Meanwhile, what Li Zhicheng mostly inquired was to the nursing care worker and the assistant, about his father’s condition. A slight nod was the extent of his reaction after receiving a definite answer; he didn’t express too many emotions.
Xu Yong was old after all. Old, hence his state of mind was also simpler. He’d placed all his hopes and interest on his son. So he asked with a smile, “Why did you agree to come back this time and take over Aida?”
Li Zhicheng pushed them wheelchair himself all the way under a tall, remote tree before answering, “Before older brother’s passing, we had an agreement.”
Hearing him mention his elder son, who died three years ago in a car accident, Xu Yong’sheart constricted in spite of himself. He knew the two brothers had been separated at a young age because of the divorce, yet their relationship had always been great. If there ever had been someone who could break through the shell of this uncommunicative second son of his, then it would have been his brother.
“What… agreement?” Xu Yong’s voice was a little hoarse.
Li Zhicheng stood behind him, his peaked cap covering his eyes and hiding his face. His voice faint, his words weighting a thought pounds:
“If something happened to him, I’d come and protect Aida.”
So he came back.
A man only had one word. Though they were separated by life and death, thought countless challenges were waiting for him, he merely needed to cut his way through thistles and thorns, forging a bloody path out of the battlefield. That was all.
Father and son remained silent a moment. Then Li Zhicheng said, “I have three conditions.”
After Li Zhicheng’s departure, Xu Rong remained silent a long moment, sitting there under the shade of the tree.
Behind him, the assistant probed, “Charman, are you worried?”
Xu Rong actually smiled, “No, I’m merely a little rueful.”
He couldn’t help but be rueful when thinking of his three harsh conditions.
He was his son. A filial, devoted son at that, a man of his word. Even so, his military grandfather had trained him very well. His very nature was that of a fierce and powerful wolf now.
Perhaps he was really going to bring Aida back to life.
And though he’d come back because of a promise, he was still going to thoroughly occupy and control Aida, bringing it into his own sphere of authority like a wolf was wont to do. Even his own father wasn’t allowed to encroach even a finger.
At this time, Li Zhicheng was following the riverside, the brim of his hat lowered on his face while he strode slowly under the sunlight.
Fate was sometimes was a very wonderful thing. For example, just as he looked up, he happened to see a familiar woman standing under a tree not far away, looking somewhere else, seemingly in a daze.
Li Zhicheng’s previous impression of Lin Jian was that of a woman very noisy on the train, yet with a voice very pleasant to the ear. Coincidence had made her Aida’s person. This, in turn, made her his person. That was the reason why he acted to help.
Another impression of his was when he’d gone to Aida for the first time and learned from Gu Yanzhi that the previous CEO’s assistant was dragging her feet, unwilling to leave; a woman fallen on hard times. The dimples of her smile blossomed like a small wildflower on the picture.
But right now, she stood all alone under the tall tree, her face full of sorrow, tears sparkling in her eyes before she reigned them in. She looked like a small, abandoned pet, silent, full of grievance, yet still staunch and strong.
There was only one big street leading out of the nursing home. She walked slowly in front of him. Li Zhicheng noiselessly following behind her until she finally boarded a bus. Li Zhicheng looked at the vast and empty suburban sky, already pitch-black, looked at her sitting alone in the darkness of the bus. He remained silent, then boarded it as well.
It was the morning of the day after Aida’s victorious flanking, inside the director-general’s office on the top floor.
“Want to see?” Li Zhicheng’s voice was cool and clear like water. On his fair handsome face, his black eyes shone deep and serene.
Of course, Lin Jian wanted to see. In fact, her eyes even subconsciously followed the slip of paper in his hand.
His upright sitting posture was still the same, tall and imposing in his western suit in front of her. Sunlight filtered from behind his back, painting a faint glow on his black suit and his short hair. One of his hand rested on the coffee table in front of the sofa, while he held that slip paper containing cunning stratagems in his other hand. It softly comes to rest on the back of the sofa, a little away from her.
“If you want to see…” he looked straight into her eyes, slowly saying: “Come get it yourself.”
He clearly hadn’t said anything excessive, but Lin Jian’s cheeks burned again all of a sudden.
Why did his unspoken words seem to say: if you want to see it, then come into my arms?
Lin Jian didn’t move. She looked at her tightly clenched hands resting on her knees.
Yes. That was exactly what he meant.
If his upcoming plans were written on this sheet of paper, then they would involve his own future, Aida’s future, a future that worth hundreds of millions. Why would he give it to her? Unless she was his… woman.
Unless she chose to go into his arms.
His meaning couldn’t be any clearer. Magnanimous and straightforward, emphatic and… bewitching.
A blush crept on Lin Jian’s cheeks.
She lifted her eyes, watched him calmly.
His was still that mostly impassible face, his eyes clear and deep, his frame tall and upright. A scene from a night long ago suddenly emerged in Lin Jian’s mind: him sitting silently beside her, eating roasted sweet potato, his tiger paw moving beside his mouth.
“Director Li,” she answered, her voice quiet yet steady. “I’m going to give it a pass. If there’s nothing else, I’m leaving first.”
She nodded at him, stood up, walked toward the door.
She could glimpse him from the corner of her eyes: sitting immobile there, looking at her.
His voice came to her ears the instant she reached the doorway: “Lin Jian.”
Lin Jian stopped in her tracks, looked back at him, her smile placid. “Is there anything else?”
He watched her quietly, his eyes shining brightly. “That night was my first time kissing a woman.”
Lin Jian’s heart thumped in her chest. She didn’t make a sound. She heard his warm and refreshing voice again: “It was also the first time I wanted to make a woman mine.”
Lin Jian suddenly looked up at him.
Cards were now laid on the table!
To her tactful evasion, his reaction was unexpected… to be even more upfront, rather than fall back!
Thump, thump, thump. Looking at his bright black eyes, Lin Jian’s vision seemed to shake just like the beat of her heart.
Great. How, should she answer now?
This same morning, Chen Zheng sat in his own office, dazed when he heard his subordinates report on Aida’s sales numbers from the previous day.
He had a little trouble believing his ears, yet the facts were arrayed so clearly in front of him. A certain conjecture flashed across his mind, a certain wild, ludicrous possibility. This possibility made his mood even sourer.
In the end, after a drawn-out silence, he finally strung all the clues together. Emotions came and went on his face, to finally stopped on a faint, icy smile.
A subordinate asked a tentative question: “Director Chen, what should we do?”
Chen Zheng grabbed the teacup on the table and threw it to the ground. His tone was cold when he said, “What to do? Is there anything we can do right now?”
He looked up, watched the blue winter sky outside the windows shining with unparalleled splendor.
With Li Zhicheng pointing the sword in their direction, any discerning person could tell that the middle-grade market Smecki originally occupied was now in imminent danger.
He swore to himself that, as soon as they were rid of the Ming Sheng deal, he would launch an all-out counterattack and recapture this territory.
At the same time, in Xin Baorui’s director-general’s office.
When Ning Weikai heard his assistant’s report about Aida’s recent trend in the past few days, his first reaction was surprised, followed by a slight smile.
“So that means the spy we planted in Aida has already been arrested by the police for altering the website’s data?” he asked quietly.
The assistant replied, “Yes. But whether he was the one to do it, I haven’t received any information either. It’s impossible to find out.”
Ning Weikai sat behind the dark executive desk that seemed to absorb light like water-based paint, his long and slender white fingers tapping lightly on the desk’s surface. He looked up at his assistant with a smile after a moment. “Yuan Jun, we have a rival now.”
The assistant Yuan Jun had followed him for many years, back when he’d started from scratch. His acumen was keen on this matters. He nodded after a moment of reflection, and said, “This Li Zhicheng is indeed someone difficult to deal with. That said, with Aida’s strength, they’re still far away from Xin Baorui even if this brand of theirs takes off. It would be no different than striking a stone with an egg.”
Zhu Weikai nodded. “That’s right. Fortunately, what I’m most proficient at is to bully the weak and kill them to the last.”
With a half-smile, Yuan Jun gave him the detailed material they’d gathered about everyone at Aida.
Ning Weikai read it carefully. A faint smile suddenly flickered to his lips when he reached the last page. “Lin Jian? Is that the girl Lin Jian from X University, 25 years old, looks smooth and slick but is, in fact, unbridled and aggressive?”
Yuan Jun was a little surprised. “Does director Ning know her?”
The Ning Weikai who liked to play down everything, who had a joke or a curse for everything actually remained silent this once. He looked a long while at the meager data pertaining to the woman, before finally raising his head.
“Why wouldn’t know I know her? She was my first love.” The smile on his face was even wider now. “When we separated back then, I broke this girl’s heart.”
Iya’s Comment: This chapter felt somewhat very subtle to me yet managed to develop more of the characters personalities, especially our male lead. There’s also that underlying sense of an even bigger storm brewing. *shivers* I haven’t read ahead, so I’m very apprehensive. Ding Mo is a master at building up her arcs, so I really looking forward to what she’s cooking up for our leads.
Also, anyone felt that Ning Weikai is like a broken record? He kept on saying revealing that he had a relationship with our female lead but he never elaborates. This is like the 10th times he brought it up! I mean…I need more details, dude!