Chapter 2: A Game of Prestige [2]

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

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

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

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

“Mr. Qi, are you all right?! I came as soon as I heard about you being hospitalized! The doctor said that the wounds are only superficial, but how are you feeling now? Anything wrong at all? How about a full checkup to be sure?”

Qi Wang was only just about to wonder his next course when the door of his ward swung open from outside to admit a tall man whose voice came ringing even before he reached the bed, looking positively worried.

Qi Wang’s brows piqued curiously as he looked up, his face betraying no emotions.

It was Bai Qiujiang, Qi Wang’s most trusted subordinate and the true father to his son. He must have known about Qi Qiuyu’s demand for a divorce with Qi Wang and he is here to cajole him into agreeing.

Qi Wang studied quietly the tall and handsome man standing before him, matching him with Original 1’s memories he had seen before.

Qi Wang knew how attractive Original 1’s body was too. He looked every part the smart and impressive scholar he used to be and people would have easily mistaken him as a lecturer. A businessman would be the last thing anyone would think him of when they look at him, especially without knowing his true identity as President of a rich business entity.

Yet standing together with a tall and beefy Bai Qiujiang, one might argue that Qi Wang looked a tad less masculine.

For twenty years this man has served alongside Original 1, assisting him to the best of his ability. He had never once betrayed Original 1’s trust and many of the latter’s accomplishments could have not been possible without his help.

To say that he was Original 1’s most trusted person was not an exaggeration, yet it was he who had hurt him the most.

Qi Wang took in closely the concerned expression of Bai Qiujiang. If not for Original 1’s memories, he would have been deceived as well.

Qi Wang was not afraid of what scum like him could do, only how they’d try to hoodwink others with skills comparable to Oscar Award winners. But it was also through his skill in deception that Original 1 suffered so much.

“Ah, you’re here, Qiujiang. I’m all right. My heart, however…”

Qi Wang’s voice failed, his face falling into deep furrows of pain. The once-invincible maven of the business world, the one whom people attributed to miracles commensurating with turning water into wine, was now as frail as a broken child.

Bai Qiujiang had never once clapped eyes on Qi Wang looking so weak and helpless. The latter had always been strong and undefeatable. Even when he first took the President’s chair without any prior experience in meeting room skirmishes, he remained fearless against the onset of the board of directors.

Yet in the face of Qi Qiuyu demanding for a divorce, he crumbled – betraying a weak self never once seen by anyone before.

Bai Qiujiang’s gaze darkened. He could not believe he was seeing this.

Qi Wang has always been an unscalable peak to him and Bai Qiujiang could not believe that such a figure would be beaten by something as trivial as romance.

But Qi Wang had always been the same. As President of the Qi Group, he transformed the entire company into a monstrous enterprise, yet he kept only a 2% stake in the company. The rest of the controlling stakes remained in Qi Qiuyu’s hand. The properties and assets that the couple had purchased through the years were all in Qi Qiuyu’s name and all Qi Wang retained was the cash in his private account and the money never reached even a tenth of Qi Qiuyu’s private wealth.

If only he were President, Bai Qiujiang mused. He would surely set aside more for himself.

Qi Wang might be a smart person, but to Bai Qiujiang, he was just too naive. But precisely because of this weakness, their treacherous plot worked.

Bai Qiujiang sat down beside Qi Wang and reached an arm to pat on his shoulder. Gravely, he said, “I understand what you’re going through. But perhaps it’s good for you to just separate for now. Qiuyu and you have been husband and wife for so long, she can’t live without you. It’s only a temporary blunder of hers, I’m sure. She will think of you again once you’re away and she’ll remember how you’ve been good to her and then, she will think things through again. The Qi Group cannot go on without you. Trust me and believe in the love you share with her—”

“I agree.”

“Maybe after cooling down, she’ll— What did— You agree?!”

Bai Qiujiang was about to go on consoling Qi Wang when the latter’s sudden remark caught him unawares. Looking absolutely shocked, he never thought Qi Wang would agree so willingly.

Did Qi Qiuyu not say that Qi Wang adamantly refused to divorce her?! Bai Qiujiang was only here to persuade Qi Wang only because she had failed to get him to agree. He did not expect that Qi Wang would cave in with just a few simple words.

This turned out to be unbelievably easy.

Qi Wang swiveled his gaze just in time to catch the shocked expression on Bai Qiujiang’s face.

Are you surprised? Are you overjoyed to hear this? You didn’t have to persuade me, nor did you have to hatch any scheme, and here I am, agreeing to what you want: a divorce.

God, I am just so kind and understanding!

An awkward silence pervaded the entire ward for several seconds before Bai Qiujiang could recollect himself. Very carefully, he asked, “Mr. Qi, are you sure of this?”

Knowing better than to believe everything so easily, Bai Qiujiang knew Qi Wang would never give up Qi Qiuyu so easily. Even without his love, she was the key to controlling the Qi Group. Would Qi Wang so easily forsake all that power and wealth?

Qi Wang sighed. He knew what Bai Qiujiang needed to see and how important it is to put up a perfect facade. He lowered, hanging his head over his shoulders in what looked like a true display of melancholy, his sigh fully articulating his sadness and defeat.

“I love Qiuyu. Even after so many years of marriage, I have never done anything against her. Hence, if a divorce is what she wants then I shall readily see it done.”

Is this his love for her?! Such a pure and deep love?!

Bai Qiujiang knew Qi Wang to be a man of his word and since he agreed to divorce Qi Qiuyu, Bai Qiujiang was certain he won’t be changing his word.

“Don’t you worry, Mr. Qi. Just wait till Qiuyu clears her mind and she’ll come back to you.”

Qi Wang said nothing. If anything, he rather looked even glummer. Clearly, he believed he had as much success in rekindling his love with Qi Qiuyu as plucking the Moon off the sky.

No amount of words could do any good, Bai Qiujiang knew. He stayed with Qi Wang a little longer and accompanied him until the nurse came by to make her rounds before he left.

“Qiujiang,” called Qi Wang before he left, “ Tell Qiuyu to come see me tomorrow about the details of the divorce.”

Bai Qiujiang nodded before advising Qi Wang to take some rest. He left the ward and went to his car. As soon as he was out of the hospital, he made a call to Qi Qiuyu.

“Qiuyu, he’s agreed. He’s agreed to it. The divorce, yes. We can call off the next step, I guess.”

Despite his treachery, Bai Qiujiang retained a minuscule bit of loyalty towards Qi Wang. With him now agreeing to an amicable divorce, he saw no reason to further force Qi Wang off the brink. Qi Qiuyu said something to him and he replied with a few this-and-that and on that hopeful note, they ended the call.

As he lowered his phone to return his focus back onto the road, the edges of his lips curled inadvertently with triumph.

Finally, after years of planning, the fruit is finally ripe for the picking!

...

The next morning, Qi Qiuyu came to the hospital. Qi Wang was still in bed, squinting at a book through his golden-rimmed glasses. His slender and fair fingers flipped a page as she entered, his mind so preoccupied that he hardly noticed someone coming in.

Qi Qiuyu stood by his bedpost and stared at the man still engrossed in his book with something resembling a troubled aspect on her face.

The ravages of Time seemed to have hardly left any imprints on Qi Wang, even after so many years of marriage. It was this same bookish looks of his that once kept her enthralled in him. She could still see the days when she once pursued him so vehemently, and the scent of inks and papers when she dove into his arms, succeeded in winning him finally.

The reminiscences of the love they once shared trickled into Qi Qiuyu’s heart like rivulets of raindrops. Her heart softened and so did her tone. This was the man she once loved with all her heart and soul, and since he has agreed to an amicable divorce, she too saw no reason to cause him more harm and pain.

“Qi Wang.”

The sudden call of his name from a voice he could not have been anymore familiar with made Qi Wang’s body shuddered uncontrollably. His fingers lost what strength it held and the book slipped from them, falling onto his blanket with a thud. As if oblivious to his book falling, Qi Wang only stared at her.

Qi Qiuyu shifted uneasily at being stared at by him as if she was trying to avert his gaze. In a low voice, she muttered, “I heard you agreed.”

That extinguished the light in his eyes, turning them vacant and stony. He pushed his spectacles up the bridge of his nose, trying to quickly quell what emotions swirling inside him.

“Hmm.”

One word. That was all he said before retreating into silence. Qi Qiuyu did not know what else to say and the strange stillness in the ward began to turn palpably awkward.

Biting hard, Qi Qiuyu steeled herself and produced the divorce papers she had prepared and handed them to Qi Wang.

Qi Wang took the papers and looked through them. In the agreement, it was mentioned that he would be free of all obligations and responsibility upon signing the papers. He would have nothing else apart from the ten million in his bank account. But to gain possession of that ten million, he would first have to surrender any shares he owns to Qi Qiuyu and resign from his position as President of the Group.

Compared to what they did to Original 1 before Qi Wang’s advent, this time, Qi Qiuyu and Bai Qiujiang were relatively merciful and compassionate. Qi Wang knew nothing he said would change anything, hence he signed his name on the divorce papers.

“Qiuyu—”

He looked up at Qi Qiuyu, his eyes filled with unspeakable sorrow even though he could not quite put them to words, but Qi Qiuyu hardly gave him any chance to.

“My lawyer will be coming later in the afternoon to arrange the transfer of the shares’ ownership and the relinquishment of your position as President to Qi Ze. I’ll wait till you’re out of here before we finalize the divorce. I’ll pay for the expenses here, for old time’s sake. Get some rest.”

As if afraid that Qi Wang would call at her, Qi Qiuyu cut him off with a long-winding blather, and with the final “Get some rest”, she marched out the door.

The room door clicked shut and Qi Wang wiped off the sad and mournful look from his face.

Just a simple playacting to soften their hearts, he mused. The situation seemed intensely favorable to him. What he needed to do now is rest. Returning himself to full health was his first priority. As for Bai Qiujiang and the rest of his treacherous brood, the time could come later.

Qi Wang was discharged a few days later from the hospital and he completed the divorce, leaving with the ten million he was promised with not so much as a look back at all.

It did not take long for news of his resignation to hit the streets, and neither did the news about his divorce from Qi Qiuyu.

News headlines such as “The Abdication of the Throne of the Qi Group” and “Qi Wang divorced” began to sprawl across the front pages of the local tabloids and at the same time, a new user with the pseudonym “Hope” uploaded a video on Site B:

The Guide to Building Your Own Droid.


Author’s Notes:

Thank you all for your warm support, I’d be sure to keep going!

The pseudonym “Hope” shares the same romanization/pinyin with the name of the MC, Qi Wang.

“Hope” in Chinese, is 期望.

“Site B” naturally refers to a certain prominent Chinese video-sharing website, where users can submit, view, and add overlaid commentary on videos. The site features a scrolling commenting system nicknamed "bullet curtain" (弹幕 Chinese: danmu; Japanese: danmaku), referring to the “bullet hell” subgenre of shoot 'em up video games.

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

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