Chapter 20: A Game of Prestige [18.3]

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- THIS TRANSLATION BELONGS TO konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

Qi Wang had no intention to prolong this spurious charade.

He placed a dossier – one that he specially compiled for this meeting – on the turntable and with a gentle push of his finger, he rotated the turntable to pass the dossier to Qi Qiuyu and Qi Ze.

“I stumbled upon something interesting not long ago.”

Qi Wang smiled suddenly, his gaze centering upon Qi Qiuyu and Qi Ze. Then he said casually, “The reason I built Hope Apex Technologies in the first place, was to create a legacy that I can leave to my child.”

Qi Ze’s eyes shot wide when he heard this and his head jerked up at once to look at Qi Wang.

Is it true?! Is he going to give me Hope Apex?!

Qi Qiuyu too couldn’t help betraying a hint of excitement.

I am right! Even after everything, Qi Wang still loves me! Giving Hope Apex to Qi Ze or me won’t make any difference, but it shows he still loves me! And still, he pretends as if he doesn't care at all! How petty he is!

Qi Ze could no longer rein in his trepidation. “Father, is it true? You’re willing to give Hope Apex to me?!”

Almighty dollar indeed. From the moment he entered this VIP room, Qi Ze had never once addressed Qi Wang with any respect. Only when Qi Wang revealed his wish of entrusting the company to his child, did he finally call him “Father”. All the while he had always seen Qi Wang as an enemy.

Qi Qiuyu began to relax, believing that she had triumphed.

Everything had turned out to be the best; she was going to get Hope Apex without having to remarry Qi Wang. After all, she did not want to spend the next rest of her life facing him.

But little did the mother and son noticed that Qi Wang had been observing their reactions to the tiniest detail. His smile was gone. “Aside from running Hope Apex Technologies, I still have a job at the Ministry of State Security.”

“The Ministry of State Security?!”

Qi Ze could not believe it.

The Ministry of State Security?! Is Father so talented and great?! If he’s really working there, that would mean he has powerful and influential contacts everywhere! If only these contacts are at my disposal, these contacts could be really useful!

Money cannot give one purpose, but power can. What was more, the Qis already more money than they’ll ever need. All they lacked now was power. With power and influence at their fingertips, the Qi Group could easily become the largest business leviathan in the country.

At the very first, Qi Ze was no amused with the notion of his mother remarrying Qi Wang. But now, he only wished that they could walk up the aisle and exchange their vows as soon as possible.

“You’re awesome, Father.”

Qi Ze could still remember the last time when he was suddenly arrested for investigating Hope Apex Technologies. The government was so protective of Qi Wang. Does that mean Qi Wang’s very indispensable to the government?

“Father…”

Qi Ze called Qi Wang “Father” once more, this time unbearably soft and gentle. He really loves me! He’s leaving me all that is good in him! I need to treat him better! I should never be rude to him again!

But Qi Wang’s hand came up abruptly.

“I wished to leave everything – my company and my contacts and influence – to my child. Everything, for he is all that will remain of me and my blood. My heir, whom I would gladly pave a way for.”

“But…”

Qi Wang paused, and that was when his voice turned frosty and frigid.

“Alas, I have no child.”

Qi Qiuyu’s face twisted with horror as she leaped to her feet.

“What do you mean by that!?”

She demanded loudly. “Qi Wang, Qi Ze grew up on your lap for decades! He is your son and you are his father! Are you refuting his existence?! What are you talking about?!”

Sharp and hard were the words that escaped her lips, but deep inside, dread grew like a wild thing inside her as she began to fear that Qi Wand had discovered something.

As if the sky was crashing down on him, Qi Ze sprang to his feet with indignation just like his mother.

“What’s the meaning of that, Father?! You have no child?! Then what am I?!”

In contrast to the flustered and agitated mother and son, Qi Wang looked relatively calm and collected.

“What’s the meaning? Take a look at this dossier and you’ll find out.”

Qi Qiuyu hardly moved an inch. She held Qi Wang from the other end of the table with an incredulous stare, gasping with disbelief at how distant and strange he had become.

Does he not love me?! If he does, then why does he dispute whose son Qi Ze really is?! He is the son that came out from my womb and for twenty years he had been calling him ‘Father’, so what if they don’t share the same blood?!”

Just because Qi Ze’s not of his blood, then he’s no son of his?!

Why is he being so petty and spiteful now?! Is blood really that important?!

Qi Ze reached for the dossier and flipped it open. On the first page, staring back up at him was a paternity test report.

He has no blood relationship with Qi Wang, but was, in fact, the biological son of Bai Qiujiang.

Qi Ze could not believe his eyes.

I’m not Qi Wang’s son?!

That’s impossible!

Qi Wang stood up. He looked at the dumbfounded Qi Ze and said, “I initially thought of giving everything to you. I’ve even drawn up the papers to transfer the shares to you already. Every piece is in place for me to bequeath to you the core proprietary technologies behind the Patriot Lite so that you can use it to further expand the QI Group. But alas, you are not my son.”

“Did you not ask me before if I remember whose father am I? I’m answering you now: of course I do. But it seems you don’t even know whose son you are.”

“I pray that you reunite with your father soon and spend time getting to know each other.”

With that last final wish, Qi Wang marched out the door.

He peered at his watch. Hmm… It’s time. I should have something to eat. That was the end of it. He no longer needed to bother himself with any more of this sordid affair.

The door of the VIP room barely closed behind when he heard Qi Ze’s shaking voice demanding answers.

“TELL ME THIS ISN’T TRUE, MOTHER! HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT BAI QIUJIANG’S MY FATHER!?”

Qi Wang did not stay to listen to Qi Qiuyu’s explanation. Needless to say, the can of worms could not have been spilled at any worse moment and this matter would be haunting her for quite some time.

Qi Ze has always been arrogant, narrow-minded, and vain. He was an egotistical person with an immeasurable arrogance. He believed that no one else but him could be perfect while at the same time, he was also a hypocrite who demanded the highest standard of moral probity from everyone around him.

How would he react now, knowing at last that he was the offshoot of an illegitimate affair and the father that sired him was none other than the creature he had always reserved the greatest disdain and contempt for?

Qi Ze was more accepting of Bai Qiujiang in the original timeline because Qi Qiuyu managed to pound Original 1’s reputation into smithereens enough for him to be the most hated man in town. In contrast to the alleged monstrosity of all wickedness Original 1, Bai Qiujiang, in contrast, turned out to be purer and nobler, and that helped Qi Ze to embrace him into the family.

But now, everything was utterly different. Qi Wang managed to resurrect himself from the ashes that Qi Qiuyu reduced him into.

He was the President of Hope Apex Technologies and an immensely-valued researcher under the aegis of the Ministry of State Security. His creations – Patriot One and Patriot Lites – had rocked the world, propelling him to the global stage as one of the greatest inventors of the era.

And now, out of nowhere, Qi Wang told him that these blessings should be gifts that he should inherit, but because of his identity, he no longer has any right to them.

How will Qi Ze react upon knowing that such great gifts, which had been within his grasp, had slipped through his fingers?

The answer was clear and obvious enough.

What happened next was just as Qi Wang had expected. Unable to swallow the truth of his own identity, Qi Ze had a massive falling-out with Qi Qiuyu.

Qi Qiuyu loved her son. Yet despite whatever she tried in order to gain his forgiveness only hit an enormous wall; Qi Ze would just refuse to exonerate her. But he could not openly declare war on his own mother, not when she still remained the majority stakeholder of the Qi Group. Hence, he directed every iota of his fury, resentment, and frustration on Bai Qiujiang.

There was no longer any shred of rationale and mercy. Blinded by rage, Qi Ze hounded Bai Qiujiang like a rabid dog, branding him as a pariah and disgrace if not an immoral monster that he vehemently tried to crucify.

Still, Qi Qiuyu remained stalwartly supportive of Bai Qiujiang. That gave him the idea of avoiding any conflict with Qi Ze and he devoted all his faculties and effort in persuading Qi Qiuyu to finalize their marriage and ultimately, he triumphed. Qi Qiuyu agreed and they officially married.

She believed that by making it official with Bai Qiujiang, perhaps Qi Ze might warm up to Bai Qiujiang. After all, they were a true father and son and the man whom she loved. Perhaps Qi Ze might welcome him into the family out of respect and love for his mother.

But Qi Qiuyu had never been any more wrong. Qi Ze was no Qi Wang and he never gave a tinker’s cuss to what his mother thought.

In fact, their union only left Qi Ze feeling betrayed and the feeling only intensified with the following announcement of Qi Qiuyu’s pregnancy.

The doctors had deemed Qi Qiuyu impossible to have another child after Qi Ze and no one expected that she would once again become pregnant with another baby.

To Qi Qiuyu, this was a gift from Heaven and with most of her attention dedicated to nursing her pregnancy, she no longer batted an eye on Qi Ze. She underestimated his spitefulness, thinking that he would never harbor a grudge and she would talk to him once she was ready.

She did not realize that the rift between them was only growing instead of closing and by allowing the problem to fester, the damage slowly became irreparable.

This was not helped by Qi Xiaoyu’s efforts to incite Qi Ze against his mother. Qi Ze began to trust her words that Qi Qiuyu would never allow him to inherit the stake in the Qi Group.

“Remember Father? When he was still President, did he love Mother any less? No. But still, Mother cast him out into the streets because of Bai Qiujiang and he was given only ten million. What can you do with ten million? Do you want to walk down the same path as Father did before, being driven out of Qi Group like a dog? Would you be able to accept this when the time comes?”

Qi Ze listened to every poisoned word that Qi Xiaoyu whispered into his ear and began to set things into motion, using the pretense of making investments to divert funds and assets elsewhere.

The Qi Group dabbled mainly in industries that appeared strong and steady from the outside. Yet in truth, the company has but only a finite working capital to operate on. To siphon away the funds, Qi Ze began fabricating false accounts, and that marked the first crack of the dam. Qi Wang had expended decades to turn the Qi Group from a declining family enterprise into the business conglomerate it was today, but to undo all that hard work was in fact a cakewalk.

More so, when the one trying to bring down the company was none other than the President himself.

Qi Wang’s actions had kickstarted a flame of ambition inside Qi Ze. But ambition does not always come hand-in-hand with abilities and flair, and when the absence of the latter two was only a recipe for disaster.

Meanwhile, Qi Wang no longer shed any thought on the Qi Group; he has more matters to take care of.

He had given Patriot One a complete facelift and he had solved every little bug that had lingered since the last update and the droid was ready for mass-production.

Without an arsenal of weapon systems, Patriot One could be used for civilian functions, and as part of government initiative, every police station in towns and cities nationwide was issued a Patriot One droid.

As Patriot Ones began to operate all over the country, an all-new rendition of the Patriot Lite hit the markets.

In addition to the new Patriot Lite 2.0s, Hope Apex Technologies introduced another new series: Patriot Kids

The newly-launched Patriot Kids were barely the size of a button, although it functioned more like an intelligence security system rather than a communication device.

Its sales were somewhat sluggish at first as most parents felt that cell phones transmit radiation that could be detrimental to children. In spite of the tiny size of the Patriot Kids, they just did not want to risk their children’s wellbeing.

Until an incident took place that caused parents from all over the nation to begin rushing to their local stores to get their hands on one.

Author's Notes:

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----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

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