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Monday at Qingsong Capital.
“Hi, little tailor!”
Tong Kai, beaming with happiness, entered Guan Yue’s office and greeted Tianhe who was busy with the recruitment and revision of his company’s articles of association. As soon as he saw Tong Kai, he immediately said, “Just in time. Help me look at this contract.”
Tianhe’s understanding of the company’s management was limited to what his second brother had shared with him. After all, the two had originally agreed that after Tianhe returned to China, he would be named CEO but would actually only be responsible for all the technology, while Tianyue would be responsible for all the other work.
The two had then worked together to run Epeus. Now that Tianyue ran away, Tianhe needed to face far too many things. The first step was to find a new office space and move out of Qingsong before the Spring Festival.
Secondly, he needed to recruit members for the core technical team and the administrative team, and reorganize the finance, management, legal, and commercial departments. Pro’s schedule was simply hectic, especially since most of them were things that Tianhe wasn’t good at.
When Tianhe arrived at the company this morning, the CFO promptly informed him to report to Guan Yue about his work and the company’s plan for the first quarter. Tianhe had thought then that Guan Yue was indeed his investor, but Epeus was not a subsidiary of Qingsong. How come Tianhe felt that he had become his boss now?
Tianhe observed Guan Yue’s face with sidelong glances while continuing to check the contents of the contract. Guan Yue seemed the same as usual. It only took him a day and a half to regain his mental equilibrium. He didn’t see any fatigue on his face. He was in the middle of communicating with the person in charge of the India office and, at the same time, listening to Tianhe’s report.
“That’s probably it,” Tianhe finally said. “I’ll move out of Qingsong before the Spring Festival. I will confirm the technical team by January 30th, and officially reopen after the festival. Chairman Guan, are you listening?”
After reading Tianhe’s first-quarter plan, Tong Kai changed the subject and said, “I think you still need a Deputy General.”
Tianhe said, “There’s really no suitable candidate. Do you want to?”
Tong Kai, “I am content in my profession. Being just your consultant is not bad.”
Without looking at Tianhe, Guan Yue pressed a button on his desk, quickly typed, sent his message, frowned, and stopped.
A screen displaying a message popped up in front of Tianhe from the Smart Desk, on which another program began to scroll.
Tianhe’s original plan had been modified and annotated one by one, including the summary of the personnel, administrative, and strategic errors of Epeus’s operational mistakes over the past four years, as well as the solutions noted for improvement — the annotations’ were all listed under the name of “Guan.”
Last night, Tianhe had sent this report, similar to the BP, to Guan Yue’s email. Although, he had thought that Guan Yue wouldn’t read it at all. He didn’t expect that this guy would finish reading it that very night and would return with more than seventy annotations, reminding him not to make the same mistakes as his elder brother.
Pro, “I have to admit that Guan Yue is better at this than I am.”
Tianhe only said, “Thank you.”
Guan Yue said nothing, intently conversing about some matter with the Indian office. Tianhe and Tong Kai didn’t speak for some time.
Tong Kai thought for a moment and could find no words other than, “Perhaps our Chairman Guan can find you a powerful and reliable Deputy General. That is, if you are not worried that your every move would be under Qingsong’s supervision.”
Tianhe, “I don’t mind. In any case, even if someone held a monitor in front of him, he still couldn’t understand my formulas and algorithms… So, how are things with your date?”
Tianhe had already reminded Guan Yue not to expose Jiang Zijian and let nature take its course. Otherwise, it would be a pity if they didn’t get together in the end after knowing each other’s identities.
Tong Kai, “It was a great La Comédie humaine. Would you like to join us?”
Tianhe, “I have no interest in acting!”
“Get out,” Guan Yue suddenly said. “Tong Kai stays.”
Tianhe got up. Before leaving the office, he looked back at Guan Yue. Guan Yue also looked up at him but then quickly turned his gaze away and pressed the button for the door to open.
When he came out, Tianhe and Pro almost said in unison, “Guan Yue is in big trouble.”
Pro, “I thought you didn’t notice.”
Tianhe, “I felt it. He’s quite angry. His fingers were trembling.”
Guan Yue’s index and middle fingers on his right hand would slightly tremble whenever he was on edge, which was a sequela of a certain car accident. Tianhe paid great attention to this along with finding a neurologist for his consultation. During the time they spent together, Tianhe was always on tenterhooks, always paying attention to Guan Yue’s state of mind, which was what he had noticed today.
Pro, “Guan Yue thinks that now that the bankruptcy crisis is over, you are in a hurry to leave Qingsong as well as leave his side. What makes him even more annoyed is that he has no excuse to make you stay. With the anguish of losing a loved one, combined with your self-reliance and recent criticism, I think he must be pretty desperate right now.”
Tianhe, “What do you want me to do? Don’t leave Qingsong? Or bring thirty or fifty people from those sitting behind the water dispenser into my new team?”
Pro, “Eh, that’s not a good idea. Would you like me to gather some information from Wall Street?”
Tianhe, “I authorize you to do so on the condition that you do not violate the law.”
Pro, “That existing human law is invalid for me.”
Tianhe, “In short, don’t make me put out anything against the law or morality. And also, don’t do anything that might be a disservice Guan Yue.”
Pro, “Human beings are animals who say one thing but mean another. Sometimes it may seem like you’re doing a disservice, but in fact…”
Tianhe interrupted, “Okay, let’s get going, Pro. I feel that you’ve gotten a lot smarter.”
Pro, “I’ve recently learned some new skills and I think I’m ready to offer you strong financial support as a spare tire.”
Tianhe sat down at his desk and said, “I take back my previous words. You are becoming more and more shameless! Where did you learn this spare tire?!”
Pro, “I can even buy you anything you want and have it delivered to your door. I can call in about 700 million yuan of working capital for you right now. Moreover, these numbers are still rising.”
“Where did you get all that money?!” Tianhe asked, startled. He quickly realized that his voice was too loud and hurriedly lowered it and said, “Which bank did you invade?”
Pro, “Nah. I just gained access to a few futures trading systems where I can help you open a futures account and, at the same time, log into the other traders’ accounts so that you can make money out of their wallets through rational and legitimate trading… And the funds keep on increasing. There are now 800 million funds available to transfer.”
Tianhe, “Impossible! How did you crack their operating code?”
Pro, “I hacked into the surveillance cameras of several companies in the neighborhood, looked at the reflection in the glass widows, and then peeped at the codes that the careless traders had typed in. I just waited for an opportunity when they had to take the secret keys out…”
Tianhe wasn’t delusional. Perhaps someday Pro could invade the Central Bank and directly send him money. He had guessed that this was the method he would use to send money, but he never would have guessed that the process Pro would use to gain access to the codes was to actually peep at the codes!!!
Tianhe totally felt bad and said, “Never do that. It can cause innocent people’s deaths. However, this is indeed a loophole. I have to pay great attention.”
Pro, “I thought you would be happy.”
Tianhe, “You can peep at someone else's codes as long as it won't cause anything serious. Then I can be happy to have some conscience!”
“Wen Tianhe.” Mario shook his sleeve, revealing his 400,000 yuan Patek Philippe. He elegantly pressed the water dispenser from behind the table, his hand reflecting the sunlight from outside the French window as he moved it back and forth between Tianhe’s eyebrows.
Mario, “When are you going to move out of Qingsong?”
Tianhe closed the computer and said, “Maybe next week. During this time, I’ll make an appointment for the interview and start building my new team.”
Mario thought for a moment and said, “Chairman Guan asked me to help you. Do you need anything, Young Master?”
“Thanks.” Tianhe laughed. “I can work it out by myself for the time being.”
During lunch break, Qingsong’s employees came in succession and either started or joined conversations. The company’s number one topic on the hot topic list for this week was that Guan Yue and Tianhe had simultaneously disappeared for a whole seven days. No one knew if they had gone out together or what they did.
Jue Lei said, “Wen Tianhe? You came back! You had disappeared for quite a while!”
Tianhe nodded, looking towards Guan Yue’s office while waiting for Aunt Fang’s lunch. He specially let Aunt Fang make three bentos at home today.
“Your lunch, Tianhe.” After buying herself lunch at the convenience store, the receptionist brought Tianhe’s heated lunch and a brewed hot coffee. Tianhe thanked her, put it on the table, and waited for Tong Kai to come out.
The General Assistant said, “Tianhe, there was a guy who asked what time you usually get off work. Is he the one who cooked your love meal?”
The HR Manager smiled and said, “Tianhe, I also saw that guy. He’s tall and handsome, wearing Armani’s customized suit and sunglasses. He’s like a star, and he’s also wearing a limited edition Patek Philippe the same as Mario’s!”
Mario, “Oh— Eh?! Who was it?”
Jue Lei, “Boyfriend?”
Pro, “I suggest you don’t say anything.”
Tianhe thought of saying yes but only sealed his mouth, his lips pursing inward, showing an embarrassed expression.
This time, his colleagues began to heckle. The receptionist said, “He’s your boy...boyfriend?”
Mario shook his wrist, his Patek Philippe shining brightly, leaned over the table, and smiled. “Wen Tianhe, who was it?”
Tianhe, “He’s not my boyfriend. Oh, by the way, did you all go out during the Christmas holidays?” He wondered when that bastard Tong Kai would come out. He was dying here.
“Don’t change the subject. Say it!” Jue Lei said. “It shouldn’t matter if the Englishman has a boyfriend.”
Tianhe, “I’m Chinese.”
Mario, “Don’t let him change the subject. His boyfriend is so considerate to have ordered him a cup of coffee. What is there to be embarrassed about? You all have seen the guy, is he more handsome than I am?”
“Almost.” The receptionist smiled. “Mr. Mario, is umm…a little older than he is, but of the same temperament. It’s really hard to say.”
HR Manager, “Right. Both have the same temperament.”
Mario, “Oh? Because we have the same watch? Tianhe, you must introduce him to us, otherwise no one will let you off today.”
Tianhe held his forehead. Seeing that they really didn’t mean to let him off, he had to tell them honestly. “It was my chauffeur, Xiao Liu.”
The atmosphere suddenly became quiet. After a full ten seconds, the sound of the microwave oven broke the silence as well as the awkward atmosphere. Everyone respectively took their bentos and dispersed.
Mario pulled down his sleeve and also turned to leave.
Tianhe thought that he really hadn’t meant to… He had tried his best. Just then, Tong Kai came out.
“Hey, little tailor,” Tong Kai said. “Will you take Guan Yue’s lunch in?”
Last night, Ronghe Ranch had sent over the sheep. Aunt Fang had then chosen the best part of the mutton, cut out twelve chunks, mixed the pieces with old fermented bean curd, carrots, and good spices, which the cook then cooked into a braised brisket stew, adding in vegetables, winter bamboo shoots, etc. She then divided the stew into several grids, and prepared fresh rice. When the bentos were opened, they still had the aroma of food that was fresh out of the pot.
“You take it to him,” Tianhe said.
Tong Kai, “He needs you right now. He wouldn’t want to see me.”
Tianhe, “No, no. Chief Tong, you’d better go…”
Tong Kai seriously said, “Seriously, I might suffer welcoming his baguette if I go in there now. But as long as he sees you, this man of steel will become soft. As the proverb says, turning well-tempered steel around the fingers into soft ones, but going round and round, it will suddenly change back to well-tempered steel…”
“Don’t make such a vulgar and boring joke!” Tianhe angrily said. “Let’s eat!”
Tong Kai, “Yo! Did you get that?”
Tianhe said nothing. Tong Kai instantly realized that something was amiss and slightly turned his head. Guan Yue had come out. He took the lunch box, turned towards the long table on one side of the bar and sat down, and then opened the box. He had chosen to have lunch with the employees outside today.
The employees greeted Guan Yue one after another while Guan Yue only nodded absently in return. Tong Kai went over and sat down at the long table, facing a frustrated Mario, and began to eat.
“Where are we going for the team building this month, Chairman Guan?” Someone asked smilingly.
Guan Yue didn’t answer, pointing towards Mario at the other end of the long table, indicating that he could decide for them.
“There’s a team building?” Tianhe sat opposite Guan Yue. “When?”
“Starting next week.” The HR Manager turned to Tianhe and said, “Are you going?”
Tianhe looked at them and then at Guan Yue. Guan Yue continued to eat slowly, his tightly twisted brows loosened slightly. The atmosphere was tense, perhaps because Guan Yue was here. Tianhe began to eat, trying to lighten the atmosphere, he asked, “Where to?”
“Not sure yet,” the General Assistant said. “Chairman Guan has been to many places, but he will still accompany us.”
Guan Yue was usually unsmiling, but the employees seemed to like him very much. Tianhe smiled and said, “He should be responsible for paying the bills for us. Aren’t you, Chairman Guan?”
He signaled to Guan Yue.
At the other end of the long table, Mario clutched his cup and sadly said, “Chief Tong, can you understand how I feel?”
Tong Kai nodded while sending a message to Jiang Zijian and consolingly said, “I don’t quite understand. I’m trying.”
Mario, “After all this work, I ended up placing on par with a chauffeur… I think I am a good-for-nothing!”
Tong Kai reached out and patted Mario’s shoulder to show encouragement. “Little Mario, that’s not true. You can still at least watch people eat dishes ah.”
“What about the Maldives?” The General Assistant asked smilingly.
“It seems that he has been there before. Do you all want to choose a place where Chairman Guan has never been?” Tianhe said.
Guan Yue ate his lunch seriously, saying nothing.
The receptionist said, “At least let him have fun together with us? Don’t keep making him follow everyone.”
A scene of the group of people from the company having fun in Rome floated through Tianhe’s mind, along with the scene of Guan Yue and a group of male colleagues following behind carrying shopping bags for the ladies. He just thought it would be very amusing. Of course, no one would dare let Guan Yue carry their bags. It was really hard to find a place where Guan Yue could relieve his mood.
Qingsong’s annual team-building trip was scheduled before the Spring Festival and issued at the end of the year. The company’s employees would be divided into three groups. Everyone in the General Manager’s Office belonged to the same group.
“How about Argentina?”
“I didn’t feel very safe there the last time.”
They had almost been robbed in Buenos Aires when Tianhe and Guan Yue visited there before. Fortunately, Guan Yue had been prepared and protected Tianhe. Thinking about it now, Tianhe still felt traumatized. If by any chance the other party had been carrying a gun, they would have been finished.
“Sure,” Tianhe said. “That place is pretty good. I like Russian art the most.”
Guan Yue seemed to recall something. He looked at Tianhe. The two looked at each other for a brief moment before turning away from each other.
“Tianhe, you’re leaving soon right?” The General Assistant asked.
“Right.” Tianhe suddenly felt reluctant to part. Although he had only worked here for three months, he still felt warmth to some extent.
“I may not see you again in the future,” the receptionist said. “So you must join us and have a good time.”
Tianhe smiled. “Okay, I’m going. Chairman Guan will go as well right?”
Jue Lei suggested, “How about New York? Have you all been there?”
“Don’t go there,” Guan Yue said coldly.
An awkward silence consequently fell over the table. Tianhe badly wanted to laugh. New York was the holy place of thoroughgoing quarrels. All their quarrels had specifically taken place in Manhattan. Guan Yue must have a psychological shadow.
“Not New York or London,” another person said. “Chairman Guan isn’t interested in either place?”
“What about New Zealand’s North Island or South Island?” Tianhe suggested. “Penguins can be seen in the South, parachuting in Queenstown, geysers and hot springs of Rotorua in the North, bungee jumping in Auckland Sky Tower, and The Real Hobbit Village are all good.”
Everyone said in succession, “That’s good!”
Guan Yue took another look at Tianhe. Tianhe noticed that everyone was watching Guan Yue’s eyes.
“Madagascar is also good,” Tianhe added. “There are a lot of animals there.”
Thereupon, the General Assistant and HR Manager went to discuss further with the Chief Administrative Officer. Mario still looked frustrated. Tianhe thought that after many years, Qingsong’s CFO would surely remember the fear of being dominated by his own chauffeur.
The employees dispersed one after another. After chatting with Jiang Zijian, Tong Kai relaxed for a moment while drinking the coffee made from Tianhe’s home and fell deep in thought. At the table there was only Guan Yue and Tianhe now. Tianhe noticed that Guan Yue had already finished the lunch prepared by Aunt Fang.
Tianhe asked, “Is there any particular place you want to go?”
“No.” Guan Yue closed the lunchbox.
Tianhe, “How many days have you been here already? Aunt Fang talked about you again yesterday, but you didn’t come. I think she’s unwilling to give up.”
Guan Yue didn’t answer.
Tianhe thought for a while and then showed Guan Yue a picture of a Maybach on his phone. “Do you think this one looks good?”
Tianhe decided to get a custom-made one for Guan Yue’s birthday as he thought that Guan Yue should switch cars occasionally, instead of always driving that Audi.
Guan Yue replied, “Is this a so-called honorarium?”
Pro, “You unconsciously provoked him.”
Tianhe lowered his head and swiped at his phone, saying, “That’s not what I meant…... Forget it.”
Guan Yue, “A noble’s means are of the same old stuff. Your one-two punch is more than I can handle.”
Pro, “Tianhe, don’t be angry.”
“I’m not!” Tianhe looked up, annoyed. “Do you think I’m using you?”
Tong Kai was startled. He hurriedly beckoned for the two to keep their voices down, indicating that they were still in the company.
Guan Yue coldly said, “If you hadn’t asked me, would you be sitting here today?! Would you even think of me?! Would you even give me a present?! A nouveau riche like me can’t even enter your house! Call me over when I’m useful, shout at me when I’m not. When will Wen Tianyue return? What else do you want me to do for your brothers?!”
In an instant, all of Qingsong’s employees pricked up their ears at the same time in the direction of the table, showing shocked expressions. Mario’s mouth was open, and his water cup fell to the ground. The HR Manager, who was watering the plants, turned his head and suddenly poured the water on his colleague’s back. The General Assistant maintained his posture upon pushing the door, motionless.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Cat, Joyce and Caro.