Justice Across The Dimensions

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Chapter 11: A Game of Prestige [11]

Qi Ze was the son of Qi Qiuyu with Bai Qiujiang.

Following the demise of Qi Qiuyu’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Qi, back in the days, Qi Wang was so caught up in his work to rebuild the Qi Group, and his attention on Qi Qiuyu began to wane. But so it happened that Qi Qiuyu was exactly the kind of woman who requires constant care and love from her husband and Qi Wang’s drifting away hardly helped matters.

That provided Bai Qiujiang the opportunity he sought to wedge himself between them.

He put up a very concerned and sympathetic front and cared for her, listening to her stories and talking to her about news and gossips that Qi Wang would never bat an eye on. Qi Qiuyu began to feel loved, comforted, and protected by a man who was not her husband.

That sowed the seed of disquiet and irritation inside Qi Qiuyu’s heart. Bai Qiujiang was also a busy man. Yet he could spend time talking to her and taking her out for dinners while listening to her stories and complaints with patience. He had even consoled her even in her most anguished moments, accompanying her through the vale of darkness and providing her with a refuge for her fragile little heart.

But Qi Wang was her husband. Why was he neglecting her?!

Perhaps she was just being spiteful, or simply felt a sense of vindictiveness towards Qi Wang for his thoughtlessness towards her; Qi Qiuyu started to realize Bai Qiujiang’s eagerness to step into her husband’s shoes, and instead of pushing him away, she gave him more chances to get closer, if not intimate.

What initially intended as an attempt to reignite the spark of Qi Wang’s interest in her began a downward spiral into a rabbit hole. The Qi Group was teetering on the brink of ruin and Qi Wang could have been praying to have more limbs so that he could do even more to keep the ship afloat. By devoting his full attention to the survival of the company, Qi Wang practically sat on his own hands as to the predicament of his marriage and Qi Qiuyu’s mood plummeted further down into the dumps.

Feeling perturbed, annoyed, and resentful, Qi Qiuyu took Bai Qiujiang out for a drink where they both got drunk, eventually passing the point of no return.

More often than not, the downward spiral of sin is not recognized by the person who is sliding backwards, until it is too late to reverse the immediate consequences. Instead of feeling remorseful and ashamed, Qi Qiuyu felt rather thrilled and satisfied with the act of spitefulness towards Qi Wang.

After all, why should she be concerned about Qi Wang when he clearly felt that the wellbeing of the Qi Group far outstripped hers?

Time passed quickly as she wallowed in her immoral indulgences and one day, she got pregnant. Afraid that the child might be Qi Wang’s, she ceased all contact with Bai Qiujiang. She concentrated on nursing her pregnancy but even after she had given birth, Qi Qiuyu could not shake off the guilt and paranoia now gnawing at her. She ultimately decided to run a paternity test using the hairs of the baby, Qi Ze, and Bai Qiujiang.

Qi Qiuyu had hoped that the baby was Qi Wang’s. After all, her fling with Bai Qiujiang was only a rendezvous of passion as short-lived as embers. Qi Wang once again warmed up to her when the Qi Group was finally restored to its smooth sailing days. He looked after her well and took great interest in her. Qi Qiuyu was only too happy to let go of a potato as hot as Bai Qiujiang.

But her prayers did not come answered: the baby was Bai Qiujiang’s.

Nevertheless, Qi Qiuyu wished to take the secret to her grave. Yet somehow, Bai Qiujiang managed to discover the truth without her telling him.

He truly loved her. That was what he told her as soon as they met, and he could live without being known as her man and the father to her son. He even vowed to take no other woman as wife. All he ever wanted was to be able to look after Qi Qiuyu and protect her, as long as she would not turn him away.

To be on the receiving end of such pleas melted Qi Qiuyu’s heart. She began to convince herself that she had committed a sin that virtually any woman would. The baby might not be Qi Wang’s, but he is nevertheless hers. So long as she kept her lips tight about this, Qi Wang would never find out.

Meanwhile, Bai Qiujiang knew very well not to tempt Fate. Staying by Qi Wang’s side, he could continue serving him with what remained of his loyalty. He had been Qi Wang’s trusted subordinate and they enjoyed a great relationship, and he could never allow his greed to deepen the wedge between them.

On that note, Qi Qiuyu relented. She acquiesced to his request and continued her affair with him.

Bai Qiujiang might not look as dashing and smart as Qi Wang, but he was blessed with very good stamina and honeyed lips, allowing him to enthrall Qi Qiuyu much more easily than Qi Wang’s dull and uninteresting disposition ever could.

Thus began the erosion of her love for Qi Wang. As Bai Qiujiang eased himself more comfortably into the role of husband and lover to Qi Qiuyu, the seed of disquiet and irritation now fully blossomed into resentment and loathing.

Right when it became certain that the Qi Group has become the greatest business conglomerate in the field, Qi Qiuyu announced her decision to divorce Qi Wang.

She first decided that a marriage ceremony to finalize things could wait. They would give sometime before they officially tie the knot and properly appear in public as man and wife. Perhaps that would be the right time to reveal the secret of Qi Ze’s heritage to him.

But who would have guessed that Qi Ze would be meting out one blunder after another with the clockwork efficiency of a Swiss watch? The company’s shares began to leap into a bottomless freefall all thanks to his foolhardiness, with much of the company’s worth now in a deficit of tens of billions.

Qi Qiuyu knew little about business, moreover managing a large corporation, but that did not prevent her from knowing how the board members would react.

The Qi Group might be a business empire as sturdy as an oak, but problems, if left to fester, could be just as harmful as a nest of termites.

Qi Qiuyu had not yet revealed to Qi Ze about his true father. But she trusted in the inexplicable, yet mysterious psychological bond that fathers share with their sons. However, instead of trusting his father Bai Qiujiang, Qi Ze suspected him of causing him harm!

How could a father betray his own!?

If only I could tell him the truth! If only I could!

But not yet. Not now.

Qi Qiuyu shut her eyes, hoping to calm herself. A look of deep weariness wiped across her face as she raised a hand to rub her temples. 

Slowly, she uttered, “Your father now lives in the low-cost suburbs. Go to him this afternoon and ask for his help. He could claim no career beyond the nurturing of the Qi Group to its present greatness, and it is his third parent and his third child. And with his first child asking him for help, so yes, he will say yes. I’m certain of it.”

It was the best viable option Qi Qiuyu could come up for now.

Of all the people Qi Wang could be resentful of, including her, Qi Wang would never begrudge his own son. So long as Qi Ze approach Qi Wang subtly and carefully, he would surely agree to help.

She did not forget about the two million, but she knew better than to mention it.

After being father to Qi Ze for so many years, surely he can’t stand being a beggar to his son?

Qi Ze might not be his flesh and blood, but he grew up by Qi Wang’s knees all his life. The twenty years’ worth of love and care did not make him any lesser of a parent than any true father could be.

On that note, Qi Qiuyu was positive that Qi Wang would agree to help Qi Ze. That was all her son needed – one final push to reach the top and Qi Ze’s position would be as solid as a rock.

Yet for all Qi Qiuyu’s deliberations for his sake, Qi Ze only seemed nowhere near pleased to hear the solution involving Qi Wang.

“Never. I’ll never ask him for help even if I’m dying.”

Qi Qiuyu stared at the grotesque face of her own son, now contorting with hatred and grudge at the very mention of the father he has had for the past twenty years. She deflated his ego with one sentence, “All right. If that’s the case, we’ll call it quits with your relationship with Xiaoyu. She seems a perfect match for the son of the Wangs—”

“NEVER! XIAOYU IS MINE!” Qi Ze roared before she could finish.

“Then go to your father,” Qi Qiuyu said placidly, “Speak to him and get help from him, lest you can say your goodbyes to Xiaoyu – for good.”

Qi Ze beheld his mother who callously forced him to look for his father and felt himself awash with disappointment.

Why?! Why has Mother become like this?!

She knows how much I hate him! She knows how much I love Xiaoyu! Yet why! Why force me to such ends?!

“Very well,” he relented, “I’ll go. Just don’t regret this.”

With that, he fished out his car keys and stormed out the door.

Qi Ze’s car revved into the squalid neighborhood. Seeing everything all crummy and shabby around him, he could not help feeling disgusted as he got off.

Qi Ze remembered the dossier he had his secretaries compile for him about what Qi Wang had been up to.

A middle-aged man well past his prime, with the twilight of his years staring him in the face, had spent ten million to build a useless tinpot robot, he could still remember his thoughts after finishing the dossier then.

What a ludicrous and humorous fantasy worthy of the name! As if that tin can could renew his hopes! Well, he got what he deserves. He squandered all his money and this shoddy, run-down neighborhood is the best place for him now.

Didn’t Bai Qiujiang said that he now drinks instant coffee?! Good Heavens Almighty, what a life!

How pitiful he is now, I wonder. How ludicrously laughable it is.

He? A wretched man who can hardly provide for himself to help me?!

Disdain and doubt filled every fiber of his being. He never once believed that the old senile still wielded any faculties that could still be of any use to him. But he has come, and to just go back empty-handed would do little to please his mother. Following the instructions Qi Qiuyu left for him, he found Qi Wang’s home.

He took in the dilapidated sight of the door in front of him and swallowed what frustration still clinging to him and jammed his finger at the doorbell button.

The doorbell buzzed and buzzed, still, no one came to the door. Feeling his patience utterly spent, he rummaged his pocket angrily for his phone and tried calling Qi Wang.

Nevertheless, he failed to get Qi Wang to answer at all.

Damned old fool! Not answering his door or his calls!? Where in the hell is he now!?

That was the last straw. Qi Ze viciously landed a kick into the door to vent his anger before leaving the place.

He would never come again. Never.

With enough resentment and hatred filling up his belly, Qi Ze went back to his office to find Qi Qiuyu still there waiting for him and he took everything out on his mother like a badly-spoilt child.

“You wanted me to find Father. But he answers neither phone nor door, for Heaven’s sake! I say he’s trying to avoid me! I’ve been to see him once, but never again! NEVER!”

What?! Qi Wang’s missing?!

Qi Qiuyu could not believe what she was hearing. Ignoring any more venting of her son’s anger, Qi Qiuyu hurried out of his office and left the headquarters.

“Qiujiang, Qi Ze can’t seem to find Qi Wang. Think of something quick.”

Bai Qiujiang immediately drove to Qi Wang’s neighborhood right after the call. But he too, failed to locate Qi Wang.

What’s going on? He was still here the last time I came. What has happened and where is he now?!

It was not without great difficulty that Bai Qiujiang finally discovered that Qi Wang had terminated his lease of the shabby little flat, but no one seemed to know where he is.

He was gone. Missing.

That very notion filled Bai Qiujiang with a strange foreboding. Everything seemed to be spiraling out of control and even after his repeated attempts to locate Qi Wang, he just can’t seem to find anything beyond hearing useless reports of “we’ve tried everything”. It rather felt as if someone or something was trying to destroy all traces of Qi Wang everywhere so that he could not be found.

Without Qi Wang, Bai Qiujiang could find no other ways to resolve the matter of the projects still bleeding money than to cut their losses and sell off the projects.

And with the termination of the projects, every shred of reputation Qi Ze has managed to garner had all but evaporated.

Once hailed as the “next Qi Wang”, Qi Ze only turned out to be a massive disappointment.

What happened next rubbed more salt to his wounds: the projects were sold to another corporation that managed to resuscitate them all and make good profit, all made possible thanks to the earlier investments the Qi Group had poured in.

This caused Qi Ze’s standing in the company to plummet even further as more people began to wonder if he lacked the aptitude to be entrusted with the company’s future.

Evidently, the projects should have been deriving profits. But how on earth could he have bungled them all?

That was not all. Just as Qi Ze struggled to get back on his feet, more disaster came knocking on his door in a series of unfortunate events – all thanks to Qi Xiaoyu.

Author’s Notes:

Thank you all for your support! I’ll be sure to keep on going!

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

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