Justice Across The DimensionsChapters List
Chapter 14: A Game of Prestige 
After some small talk, Qi Wang brought Han Duoduo and Chen Yang away from the train station.
Chen Yang bent down to reach for the luggage on the ground but before he could, two burly men in suits appeared mysteriously out of nowhere and had beaten him to it.
A flustered Chen Yang stuttered. He did not know these people so what were they going to do with his bags?!
"We're with Mr. Qi."
That was what they just said. Nothing more, and they strode off with his things.
Chen Yang was stuck there, staring blankly at the men walking away. In measured paces, they walked abreast with clockwork precision.
Definitely not the way most people would walk.
A strange, inexplicable sensation budded inside Chen Yang. He jerked his head left and right and looked around. The train station exit was practically filled to the gunnels with people jostling in and out but he could make out those people.
People prowling amidst the busy rushes of commuters like the stones that flow past the rapids of a river.
Chen Yang began to realize what was going on as his gaze slowly panned back to Qi Wang and Han Duoduo walking in front of him.
These people are escorts to Qi Wang.
Then he remembered about what happened to the Hope videos at Site B and how he had failed abysmally to locate even the shortest snippet of Qi Wang's glorious moment during the National Droid-building Competition anywhere on the Internet. He would have utterly nothing about Patriot One if he had not downloaded the Hope videos right before they were removed off Site B.
All those signs indicated that Qi Wang was no longer the same person he was before, having undergone a dramatic transformation of sorts.
Chen Yang swallowed hard as he began to feel his hands trembling.
For the first time, he realized this was the closest he has ever been to the legendary Qi Wang!
Chen Yang stopped in his tracks, rooted at the spot, and utterly lost for words until Qi Wang finally realized that they were one person short. He stopped, looked back, and saw the youthful and dashing youngster left behind, alone and quivering with excitement. Qi Wang's lips curled into a smile, "Hey, there. Come on, catch up."
The handsome face of the man he admired so greatly smiling at him melted Chen Yang's mind. His eyes twinkled as he quickly trotted after the man beckoning at him, with adoration and awe permeating through every fiber of his being.
One could suppose that this must be how wild-eyed fans would behave upon meeting their idols.
In fact, Qi Wang liked Chen Yang too. They talked a lot during their way to the restaurant. Although the young man's ideas still bore imprints of frivolous silliness, Qi Wang nevertheless thought him a promising talent given the knowledge that he has acquired at such a young age.
The talk of scientific application of AI, and the complex exchange of techspeak about power source and transmission of power between her uncle and Chen Yang impressed Han Duoduo not one bit. If anything, being put together with the two of them made her feel like the biggest fool in the world.
This is frustrating! How am I failing to understand every word they say?!
Qi Wang and his companions did not adjourn to any starred hotels. They found a little restaurant well-acclaimed for its delicacies, and instead of requesting a private room, they found a spot in the main hall and just sat down.
The midday sun was nearly overhead, but strangely, the restaurant was empty beside them.
They made their orders and food did not take long to arrive.
Han Duoduo was left in a dismal mood after having her confidence in her intelligence and knowledge utterly trampled into the dirt during the journey here. However, the timely arrival of food and its delicious aroma managed to restore her back to her usual vim and vigor. She fished up her chopsticks quickly and began gobbling down food with ravenous abandon.
Qi Wang stroked Han Duoduo's head, her mouth so filled with food that her puffy cheeks looked bloated like a hamster, but she looked as cheerful as a lark.
What would have seemed like a warm family moment immediately came to a curtain fall at the inopportune entrance of a young man and woman into the restaurant and what they saw left them disgusted as a toad.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THIS!? AN OLD MAN LIKE QI WANG AND A YOUNG GIRL LIKE THAT?! HOW UNSHAMEFUL! DOING THIS IN PUBLIC!?
Qi Ze was so disgusted that he spun around, eager to leave.
He would not have come to a shabby restaurant like this if not for the promise he had made to Qi Xiaoyu that they would come to this restaurant to try their famous braised beef.
What about the restaurant's signature recipe or century-old reputation? Those things meant hardly anything to him. As President as a multi-million conglomerate, only the well-polished floors of a richly-furnished hotel and the plush cushions of its furniture suited his regal position and stature. At any rate, there was no reason for him being in this dingy little restaurant at all!
Qi Xiaoyu did not miss seeing Qi Wang stroking Han Duoduo's hair too. Disgust filled her gaze momentarily. But unlike Qi Ze, Qi Xiaoyu, who has better faculties in schemes and plots, has a better appreciation of Qi Wang's wizardry in business.
She knew how Qi Ze's position had begun wavering since his projects went under, and his recent standstill in providing convincing results had barely won him any brownie points with the rest of the board.
Then Qi Qiuyu and Bai Qiujiang both told her about their respective visits to Qi Wang. They told her how Qi Wang could be the only person who could repair Qi Ze's fractured standing and reputation in the company.
Qi Xiaoyu has just as much interest in helping Qi Ze maintain his position in the company as any other Larry, Curly, and Moe by the streets. After all, with Qi Qiuyu still the biggest shareholder of the Qi Group, the reins would still belong to Qi Ze so long as she remained.
But she could wait no longer. The fact that the entire showbiz industry had shut their doors in her face only made her more hungry. No matter how hard Qi Ze tried with both carrot or stick, nobody budged. Perhaps Qi Xiaoyu might feel more satisfied if she managed to at least had one full go at acting. But that movie did not happen, and that only made Qi Xiaoyu more hungry and horny to be a star like an itch that she could scratch.
The more the entertainment industry rejected her, the greater her need to be one of them. If no film production groups wanted her, then she would make Qi Ze finance one himself. She would become a star or die trying.
But starting a film company required cash and without any persuasive results, Qi Ze could ill afford to justify pouring cash into a new subsidiary company. However, if Qi Wang were to confer his blessings for such an endeavor, the board might just follow his lead and give him their nods.
"Wait, Qi Ze. That's Father. We've not seen him in ages. Since we happen upon him today, shouldn't you speak to him? Perhaps he might be able to help you?"
That hardly improved Qi Ze's mood. Clearly, he did not wish to approach the man he once called his father.
But after almost a half-year's worth of rigorous baptism of fire, Qi Ze began to realize the massive dichotomy between his and Qi Wang's abilities, as much as he would do anything to avoid confessing about.
Nevertheless, he was sure that he would surpass Qi Wang's legend. He was young. Given enough opportunities, he was sure he would recreate a legend of his own.
"All right. I'll speak to him. But only it's because you asked."
Reluctantly, he and Qi Xiaoyu came to Qi Wang's table.
"Father. Fancy finding you here. Having lunch?"
Qi Xiaoyu made the first move by calling Qi Wang cheerfully, putting up the sweetest smile she could manage.
Wow, pretty swell play-acting.
That was the first that came to mind the moment Qi Wang clapped eyes on her. Placidly, he said to them, "You. That's almost a year. I almost forgot that I have a daughter."
Qi Xiaoyu could not help feeling defeated by Qi Wang's cold shoulder.
She convinced herself that she did not avoid contacting Qi Wang on purpose. It was her foster mother, Qi Qiuyu, who had made it flat that they were all to cut off contact with Qi Wang. Surely a foster daughter like her needed to follow her guardian's directions?
Qi Ze looked visibly displeased at the cold treatment Qi Wang gave his girlfriend. "That's not fair, Father. Did we not try to call you? But your phone's not working and you vanished on your own! Is that our fault now?"
Qi Wang's brows piqued with amusement at Qi Ze's self-righteous speech, and he immediately realized that the poor little boy must not have found who his real father was.
It must be so, he mused. Or else, this poor foolish whelp would never be so proud and confident before me.
Han Duoduo finished chewing her food and was about to protest and speak in Qi Wang's defense if he had not shoved a piece of spare rib into her mouth.
Qi Ze saw how gentle and loving Qi Wang was to Han Duoduo and saw how aloof he behaved towards them. With exasperation and frustration blowing off the rafters, he growled, "Have you forgotten whose father you are, Father?"
"Of course not."
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Terribly sorry for the late update. A few difficulties have resulted in me taking up more work.
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