Chapter 10: A Game of Prestige [10]

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

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

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

Idea is the key

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

There could be so many reasons behind Qi Wang’s refusal of the offer to join the Ministry of State Security. Among those that Yang Qingming could think of, Qi Wang might be thinking that he no longer has the vim and verve to keep up with the horde of younger crop of talents the Ministry keeps on retainer. It was either that, or, he might be feeling himself inferior without the higher qualification that most of the scientists and researchers here could boast of. He also wondered if Qi Wang thought himself to be at his limits and he could no longer produce anything new. Any one of those reasons could very well be logical to his declining of the Ministry’s offer.

Yet of all the reasons that Qi Wang could have cited, including those which Yang Qingming could have imagined, he never expected an answer as banal as ‘wanting to start his own business’.

Twenty years! For twenty years he has been the President of a business conglomerate! Is all that not enough?! Does he really want to head a business so badly?!

Nevertheless, Qi Wang refused to budge. No matter how hard Yang Qingming persuaded, Qi Wang adamantly refused to give in. All he ever wanted was money – money enough to recreate a business empire for himself.

Then again, Yang Qingming knew better than to doubt Qi Wang’s capability. The Qi Group today remained a standing monument to Qi Wang’s enterprising prowess. Yet still, here, right in his face, stood an offer far better and more enticing. Why does he still insist on having his own company?

After all, any Tom, Dick, and Harry could start his own business venture, but not everyone could ever be capable of developing new technology himself.

Defeated by Qi Wang’s obstinacy, Yang Qingming relayed his response to the Ministry.

The fact that he failed to make Qi Wang change his mind was no fault of his skills in persuasion, but rather Qi Wang’s doggedness to once again sit in the President’s chair of a multinational company.

With his ambitions lying elsewhere, and his generosity to surrender every detail of his research, the Ministry could find no ways to keep Qi Wang. Unless they retain him by force like thugs – but that was out of the question.

The higher echelons of the Ministry mulled over ways to respond after receiving Yang Qingming’s answer, while at the same time, they requested Qi Wang to stay at the Ministry for the time being.

They got no disagreement from him. Qi Wang consented to stay, but he requested a laptop to keep himself busy. Busy watching videos.

Zhang Liang came to visit him during lunchtime, bringing with him a mealset both delicious and nutritious.

There Qi Wang sat, opposite the table, facing him when he entered. Zhang Liang could not see what was playing on the computer screen, but he only saw how serious and somber Qi Wang looked, that even Zhang Liang himself could not help feeling tense.

Qi Wang could be reading research data of some sort, thought Zhang Liang at first. Being a member of the Ministry, he has had his share of experiences in escorting the Ministry’s R&D staffers. He knew a lot about them, including how not to disturb them when they are busy going through mounds of information. He would not want to cause any disruption that could jeopardize the birth of any new ideas.

Thinking the same, Zhang Liang slowed and softened his pace. Keeping quiet, he laid the tray of food as furtively as possible on the table.

Qi Wang gave not so much as a glance at him, keeping his eyes peeled on his laptop screen. But the creases on his forehead only seemed to deepen as if he was troubled by something.

That only made Zhang Liang feel more nervous. As he tried to tiptoe out, his eyes involuntarily spied the computer screen.

What he had initially thought would be a wall of unrecognizable formulas and mathematical calculations turned out to be a playing video – a cartoon animation depicting a battle between robots.

The dazzling display of explosions and the chaotic pandemonium in the scenes of battle could have made anyone watching the video feel anxious and flustered.

So Qi Wang’s watching an anime, he thought.

But surely there’s no need to look so serious as if he’s really pondering something important during one’s enjoyment of an anime film?

Zhang Liang found it odd. But he did not question it, knowing how introverted geniuses all have strange little quirks of their own, although he couldn’t deny that Qi Wang’s interest in cartoon animation felt a tad too childish for his taste. Nevertheless, he remained tight-lipped and slowly wheeled around to leave.

But before he could reach the door, Qi Wang spoke suddenly, “Zhang Liang. You’re a soldier. What if you’re given a mobile armor reaching a hundred meters tall and eighty tonnes in weight? What can you do with it on the battlefield?"

“Huh?!”

Have I heard correctly?!

***

At the Ministry’s research center, scientists and experts pored through the data from Qi Wang’s research, day and night. According to the dissertations he has written, the cost of building one Patriot One droid did not cost much – not much, in comparison to other weapon systems of similar function and class.

After a lengthy examination of his facts, they concluded unanimously that Patriot One carried more potential than it was previously given credit for.

Patriot One was built with technology never before thought possible, but yet its existence right before their very eyes has disproved all these impossibilities.

Hence, every analyst, scientist, and expert adjudged Qi Wang a genius – the kind that only appears once in centuries. Keep him and the country shall benefit from all that he has to offer, they said.

He has immeasurable potential and when given time and resources, he would surely conjure more wonders and miracles to marvel the world,” so it was written in their evaluation report.

The higher echelons of the Ministry convened once more to discuss the findings and evaluations on Qi Wang’s work and a decision came swiftly – they needed to keep Qi Wang here, in the Ministry, no matter what cost it takes.

So he wants to start a new business venture and be President of his company, eh?

So be it then. The government shall give you its wholehearted support.

The next morning, Yang Qingming came to speak with Qi Wang when he got up and he delivered the Ministry’s new offer.

“Qi Wang, the Ministry would love to have you and if you join them, they’ll finance you and support you in your new business venture.”

Qi Wang nodded his agreement readily at last. There was nothing more to be said especially with the government now agreeing to bankroll his new venture, and he promptly presented to them his business model proposal.

As much as he wished to revive his career in business, Qi Wang wished to be a capable and responsible leader. At the same time, he vowed to not squander the capital that the government has entrusted to him.

That would appear to be even more aptly enunciated in Qi Wang’s business proposal, for after reading the business model and technology that would be the bread and butter of this new business venture, the Ministry was in great confidence that their funds were in good hands.

To their amazement, Qi Wang turned out more than they demanded from the get-go. From the proposal, they could practically feel the ripples that Qi Wang’s new venture would cause in the market.

Without any doubt, their deal with Qi Wang would most undoubtedly bear rich fruits.

With the apparatuses of the government at work, starting a new business venture immediately turned into a cakewalk.

But ever since he submitted his business model proposal and the new innovations he would employ in his new venture, Qi Wang never once stepped out of his lab. He locked himself inside day in, day out, keeping himself busy with research and experiments.

Cut off from society outside, he turned into a hermit of sorts, not knowing what happened outside.

The Ministry quickly swooped down on everything related to Patriot One – from the videos Qi Wang had uploaded to Site B as Hope, to every footage recorded from the National Droid-building Competition. It was to the point that nothing about Qi Wang’s prized invention existed on the Internet, and that even included forum and message board discussions involving Patriot One, which were also promptly deleted.

Gradually, those who had heard of Patriot One realized what was going on, and talks about Patriot One began to fade.

With no graphical proof, along with a number of intentional allegations aimed to mislead anyone still bent on sniffing the trail of Patriot One, more and more people began to dismiss the sensation of Patriot One as merely a contrivance of modern cinematic special effects.

With fresh news and other unique surprises stirring the Internet pot on a daily basis, the attention of netizens online was easily led astray with the legend of Patriot One, and Qi Wang slowly turning into a myth.

**

“GET OUT! ALL OF YOU! GET OUT!”

The once neat and luxurious office suite now looked as if a battle had just been waged inside. Livid with his eyes bloodshot, Qi Ze grabbed at anything within his reach and smashed them savagely like a manic beast. His secretary had only just attempted to steal a glance around the doorframe, only to be caught by Qi Ze who immediately gave him such an earful that he quickly ducked away like a frightened chicken.

He stood alone amidst the mess he wrought by his own hands and slammed his fists into his desk. He rested his weight on his arm, his shoulder sagging as his nostrils flared heavily. He looked more like a beast than man – a cornered beast, savage and beaten. No one could ever dispute that.

This was a stark contrast to the Qi Ze during the first unveiling of his initial projects. He looked so confident and suave then – kingly, even. Yet now, he looked as beaten as a rabid dog after a brawl with other strays.

His mind harked back to the faces of the board of directors he had been desperately fending off just now and he felt awash with disgust and hatred.

Once hailed by these very same sycophants as a prodigy in the making, Qi Ze once enjoyed being the “Chosen One” who would one day propel the Qi Group into greater heights. Yet now, after just a few blunders that amounted to losses of several tens of billions, they directed their blame at him like peasants brandishing their pitchforks during the Inquisition!

To make things worse, voices of dissent began to rise among the board members, saying how such woe would not have befallen the Qi Group if Qi Wang still reigned. Some even expressed confidently how the former President would have spared the company from such an embattled state.

I am the President of the Qi Group! I am the rightful heir to the throne of this empire! What does Qi Wang think he is?! As if he had not erred before when he first managed this company?!

If Qi Wang failed to be perfect, why should they demand me to be!?

Qi Qiuyu slid through the doors quietly and was dumbstruck to find nothing remotely resembling a rich office suite, but instead the aftermath of a typhoon.

“DID I NOT ASK YOU TO GET OUT!? WHO LET YOU IN!?” Qi Ze roared when he sensed someone came in. He swiped his pen holder up from his desk, about to hurl it at whoever came in.

“What is this, Qi Ze?! Is this how I brought you up?!”

Qi Qiuyu’s fierce reprimand – like a bucket of ice water flung into his face – somehow worked; the deranged Qi Ze quickly calmed down. When he looked up to see his mother standing not far away, tears began pouring out of his bloodshot eyes.

“Mother…”

Qi Ze whimpered sorrowfully, a little child who wished for Mummy’s loving and tender consolation. Little did he expect that instead of soft and soothing words, his mother came as a championing voice sympathetic to the Inquisition of him.

“Did your Uncle Bai not told you before?! He asked you to retract the funding from all those projects of yours! Why did you not listen?!”

Ever since their visits to Qi Wang failed in getting him to help, Bai Qiujiang and Qi Qiuyu both conspire to leave Qi Wang alone for some time. In time, destitution would put him in his place, they thought. Perhaps by then, he might agree to help them.

Qi Qiuyu had never once interfered in any decisions of the company, hence she had Bai Qiujiang relay her instructions to Qi Ze, ordering him to retract all funding from the projects for now.

It was not until the shareholder meeting this morning did Qi Qiuyu finally realize that Qi Ze had disobeyed the orders that Bai Qiujiang gave him. Instead, he injected more capital into the projects, causing a bleed that had cost the company several billion to aggravate into a hemorrhage so massive, that it wound up with one extra digit in the shortfall.

How could Qi Ze have been so foolish?!

Qi Qiuyu might be the single largest stakeholder of the Qi Group, but the rest of the board exercised enough collective strength to countermand her, and she knew she could not fend them off for long.

Qi Qiuyu’s reprimands might have worked if only she had left Bai Qiujiang out of the conversation. But she did not, and that caused Qi Ze to lash out with more rage.

“I won’t take any orders from that sniveling turncoat, Mother! He’s Qi Wang’s former subordinate! How could you take his word over mine! For so many years of serving Qi Wang, do you expect him to give me his wholehearted loyalty?! For all we know, this predicament could very well be his work!”

Qi Ze’s ego had burgeoned so great since he assumed the President’s chair, that he could no longer tolerate any orders or reprimands from anyone else – last but not least, Bai Qiujiang who was formerly Qi Wang’s assistant.

But Qi Qiuyu was so exasperated and frustrated when she heard what her son babbled about that she nearly fainted.

You useless wretch! Bai Qiujiang’s your true father! He would never wish harm upon his own son!


Author’s Notes:

New update! Do stay tuned if you like this story! Thank you!

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

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