“Scarred face Xiao , we haven’t seen each other for quite a long time.”
A thirty-four years old strong looking man was sitting in one of Jin Ting’s luxurious private room. While leisurely enjoying a cigarette, he took the time to greet Xiao Li.
“I’m a law-abiding citizen, so it’s better if I don’t meet with you too often.”
Xiao Li smiled and also joked with him as he took a seat, “Commander Wu, why are you here so early?”
“It’s to give you guys this.” Wu Qing Hua opened the briefcase that was sitting at his side and took out a thick envelop and throwing it over, “How can I give you guys these secret documents right in front of Chief Zhou’s face when it’s taken from within his bureau?”
Giving him a quick glance, Xiao Li took the envelop and smiled: “I understand, if Chief Zhou doesn’t see it, means that he’s unaware of the situation.”
Wu Qing Hua nodded his head in agreement while puffing out some smokes, he asked: “Why don’t you open it and take a look?”
Xiao Li shook his head: “Commander Wu, you think too highly of me. Even if I look, I won’t understand these things.”
“What wouldn’t you understand?” Wu Qing Hua pinched the cigarette stub between his fingers and reached over to snatch the envelope back, “Or could it be, you guys have a specialist that could analyze these kind of things? Fuck! Gangs nowadays really does have a great number of competent people.” With that said, he opened the envelope: “Here, you can look at this laboratory test report. It’s from the blood test that was drawn from you that day.”
Xiao Li screwed his brows together and move in closer for a look; after a short moment later, he said: “Commander Wu, I really don’t understand what I’m looking at.”
“If you don’t understand the numbers then at least look at the conclusion below!” Wu Qing Hua widened his eyes, then pointed at the section containing the conclusion before reading it out loud: “This chemical compound can paralyze the nerves, making it impossible for an individual to control one’s own body even if the individual is mentally clear-headed. It is rare to see it in this province, but in the neighboring and some southern provinces, it is a very common and popular —–.“ He burst into a loud laughter before continuing to read again, “As seen amongst many cases, it is mainly used in bars, hahahahaha, I was thinking why was it so hard to find the motive for this crime, but as it turns out, it’s actually directed toward your ass!”
If the lightning in the room did not slightly conceal the details on his face, it would have been possible to see the darkness that rained down on Xiao Li. The veins on his temple stood out, thick as roots, while the tiny blue veins twitched and became clearer like roads on a map. But still he maintained a slight smile, allowing him to loudly continue on with his teasing laughter.
Wu Qing Hua laughed with such a brilliant and radiant smile until suddenly he recalled something. He lowered his head and flipped to the middle of the stack, then he pulled out a photograph and said: “Then who did this hero saved?”
Xiao Li took the photograph; it was a screenshot from a traffic monitor videotape in the vicinity of the Arc de Triomphe. Although the picture quality was not that good, but it was still clear enough to see that it was Qi Xiu Yuan carrying him on his back as he blocked a taxi ahead.
“You didn’t mention this when you gave your statement to the police; didn’t you say you got out of there by yourself?” Raising his brows, Wu Qing Hua looked at him suspiciously.
“This person is a friend of mine. He doesn’t have anything to do with this matter,” Xiao Li drummed his finger on the table, “Is it possible to not let him be implicated in this matter?”
Wu Qing Hua took a drag of his cigarette, narrowed his eyes and looked at him with a stern gaze before speaking to him in a more officious manner: “Scarred face Xiao ah, the matter this time is quite serious. Since the crime was committed by an outside hitman organization and not a local gang warfare, the bureau attached great importance to it,” he smiled, “Don’t think that, aside from covering up for you guys, our Interpol don’t dare to do anything else, especially when it comes to those small pesky criminals. We’re really serious in investigating them out ah.”
Xiao Li laughed faintly: “I think Commander Wu definitely has a way to work it out.”
Wu Qing Hua changed the topic: “But, if there is an order from the higher-ups to destroy the material relating to this person, then no one would dare mention it. They’re also very smart you know; they’ll understand what it means.”
Xiao Li said: “Then, we’ll be troubling you Commander Wu. Your aid will be of great help to us concerning this. We’ll definitely ‘thank you’ properly.”
Wu Qing Hua was waiting for him to say this particular sentence. With relieve he nodded his head: “That’s good, I’ll give them a call now.” He looked down at his watch, “Chief Zhou should be here with a few men soon. You don’t have to accompany me. Quick, put these documents back in order.”
Xiao Li agreed, then got up and fixed the documents off the table. He placed the envelope inside an opening in his suit and made his way back to his own lounge room. Once there, he quickly pulled out all the files concerning Qi Xiu Yuan and looked over it. After verifying that it would have any influence on the report analysis, he picked each sheet up and tore it into pieces before tossing it into the toilet.
His cellphone buzzed.
While pressing down on the toilet handle to flush it, he switched on the phone for a look.
It was a message from Qi Xiu Yuan.
“Why didn’t you say something when you got discharged from the hospital? If it’s convenience, give me a call, if not reply back. Take care of your health and be sure to remember not to drink any alcohol.”
Xiao Li glanced at his watch for a second, then smiled.
His finger pressed down on the green call button.
[at River of Hope Teahouse]
“In the end, that little brat didn’t even finish his assignment and even acted shameless with me,” said Qi Xiu Yuan grudgingly, “Then he ran out of my office and spread a rumor that I used the exam-oriented educational system to persecute him. He even had the nerve to say to me, ‘Qi laoshi, if you force me to write this assignment out, I’ll hurt myself!’”
Xiao Li was so amused, he laughed out heartily. After he finished his laughing session, he said: “There’s no need to talk nonsense with him Let me teach you, next time you can just do this —“ He stood up, placed one of his hand firmly on the table and with his other hand, he tightly grabbed Qi Xiu Yuan’s collar, pulling him slightly forward as if threatening him. Putting on a ferocious appearance, his smile was laced with a sinister aura before he continued to say: “Hurt yourself? Even if you fucking castrate yourself, you still have to finish your assignment first!”
Qi Xiu Yuan burst into a loud laughter, then a moment later he said: “Then, I’ll also teach you something. Next time, when a police officer speaks to you in such an officious manner, just follow along with what he said, and stifle him up for all that he knows.” He then put on a straight and stern expression and said respectfully, “Commander Wu, since it’s so difficult for you, then I won’t be causing you anymore trouble!”
The two look simultaneously looked at each other, smiled, then the sound of laughter rung out.
Outside, the wind coming from the direction of the river picked up and gently blew by.
Qi Xiu Yuan looked out for a quick second before turning back around, letting his gaze fall on Xiao Li: “Do you want to go play two games of billiards?”
Xiao Li looked at his watch: “Early tomorrow morning, I have to go stop someone and have a good conversation with them.”
“Then……” Qi Xiu Yuan’s voice warmed up, “How about going for a walk around the area near the river bank?”
“Okay ah.” Xiao Li energetically stood up.
Side by side, Qi Xiu Yuan walked out with him: “Xiao Li, why are you always wearing this T-shirt?”
Xiao Li lowered his head and looked at his own shirt: “Because all my other clothes are suits. This is the shirt that I wore before when I followed someone else as their subordinate.”
Qi Xiu Yuan’s brows perked up in astonishment: “When you were a gangster back then, you wore this kind of T-shirt? It’s very……”
“Very cultured, refined right?” Xiao Li laughed, “I saw that it had a huge mark down, so I bought a dozen or more all at once, to wear later on. I didn’t expect that the school students all liked wearing this kind of shirt. So when I wore it to beat someone up, I wasn’t happy about it no matter how hard I struck them, especially since it felt like I was wearing a school uniform.” He paused then let out a sorrowful sigh, “Afterward, when I became the leader, a very dedicated little brother  bought me clothes. He said that wearing a suit showed mannerism and style, so since then he would always buy me suits……”
Qi Xiu Yuan looked at him and said: “Let him buy you a little bit of something else would be fine. At least when you’re playing billiards, there’s no need to wear a suit.”
Xiao Li didn’t answer as his eyes wandered else; after a moment, he said in a low voice: “He’s dead.”
Qi Xiu Yuan no longer spoke. The silence built up around them in the manner of a soft breeze passing by. The two walked quietly down a short road; accompanying the sounds of their footsteps were the voices of other pedestrians enjoying the scenery and shops that aligned the plaza near the river bank.
Their voices were still sealed firmly as they themselves arrived at the river bank.
The moon was not out in the night sky above, however countless stars sprinkled across that inky darkness while the vast and might river stretched out as if reaching towards the starlight and rolled over into the furthest distant of the heavens.
Xiao Li stood at the side of the river bank rail and stared down at the water below as it moved gently in the same direction of the incoming wind. There was a softness in his eyes as he slowly allowed his voice to produced words that he normally would not use: “He is the fifth person near me to die. Before, I fought over power with someone, I said to my brothers ‘Everyone must do their best at all cost, once we seize the territory our days will be better.’ I never expected that even until now, people would still be dying.”
Listening to Xiao Li with an understanding expression, Qi Xiu Yuan wanted to placed his own on Xiao Li’s shoulder, but he didn’t dare to. All he could do was let out a saddened sigh and say: “Don’t feel so sad.”
Xiao Li replied back, his voice somewhat softened: “I’m not feeling so sad. There’s a saying in the underworld: ‘What you are fond of will be the cause of your death.  Today it is him. Tomorrow it will be you.’ I’ve already mentally prepared for this. But Hong Tou  have been with me for such a long time. He lost his life because of me and I don’t even remember that his grandfather had already passed away……in his life time……”
He suddenly stopped. His face stiffened as a hollow smile graced his lips then he mocked himself: “What am I doing telling you these things?”
Qi Xiu Yuan quickly lowered his voice: “Because you can’t say it to your brothers ah. It’s like when I’m stressed at work, if I say it to my colleagues, it’ll be pointless; if I tell Susu, she wouldn’t understand; if I tell my students, they’re just be unsettled. But talking with you, I’ll be able to relaxed more. There’s a saying, ‘courtesy demands reciprocity.’ So long as you’re willing to speak, I’m willing to listen at all times.”
Xiao Li seemed to have accepted his explanation and his stiffened body loosened up.
Just as Qi Xiu Yuan let out a sigh of relieve, he saw Xiao Li suddenly turn around and approached him. One of Xiao Li’s hand unexpectedly stretched out toward the back of his neck collar.
Qi Xiu Yuan’s heart leaped out of his chest.
It was thrashing so loud, like wild horses on a scorching desert land, that he was afraid Xiao Li would hear it.
His eyes remained fixed on Xiao Li who faced him and moved in closer. The closer Xiao Li moved in, the closer his face was to touching Qi Xiu Yuan’s face. However, just as if it seemed as though Xiao Li was leaning in to kiss him, his neck moved to the side, and slightly turned instead.
The temperature and humidity emitting from Xiao Li’s body enveloped him. A moment later, he couldn’t even let this surprise kick in yet when — slightly warm fingers touched the back of his neck.
It seemed as if.
He could feel the rough outline of each fingerprints imprinting its mark on him. Xiao Li’s warm breaths lightly sprinkled over his neck.
It seemed as if.
Electric current had sparked off from that area, so much so that Qi Xiu Yuan could feel the nerves in his hands tingling and his legs weaken, becoming slightly numb.
In that split second, he did not know if the evening sky sang or wept.
It seemed as if.
All his senses were cruelty turned off……erased. And all that remained in this entire world was Xiao Li’s temperature and scent. Xiao Li’s scent………
“180, 96A,” read Xiao Li out loud, “Later on, I’ll buy some shirts according to this size. The last time I wore your clothes, it fitted quite well.”
Then Xiao Li loosened his hand, raised his head and moved back one step. Looking at Qi Xiu Yuan, he became a bit puzzled and ask: “What’s wrong?”
Qi Xiu Yuan suddenly grabbed Xiao Li’s wrist, “Xiao Li, there’s no need to be a leader of a gang. Come with me……” he paused and instinctively recounted his own desires. However, seeing in Xiao Li’s eyes, welling with an unclear emotion, not the one that he so sought for, he stiffly pulled his excitement back and suppressed it before changing his tone of voice, “Come and be a teacher with me would be good enough. I think that you would be quite good at teaching physical education.”
“You mean bring the students with me to cut people down?” Xiao Li laughed out loud.
Qi Xiu Yuan let his laughter slip out as well, as he unwillingly let Xiao Li’s hand go.
 Scarred face Xiao –刀疤[Dāobā: means ‘a scar from a knife wound] so, Wu Qing Hua is calling Xiao Li, ‘Xiao with the scar made from a knife’, it’s too long to write that so I’ll just keep it as Scarred face Xiao. Or would you guys preferred the Chinese ‘Dāobā’?
 Little brother – younger/lower rank subordinate
 ‘What you are fond of will be the cause of your death’ [酱里虫，酱里死] The idiom is, a “bug that’s born in the soy sauce will die in the soy sauce.”
For example: If you’re stingy and miserable you’ll die in that manner. A bookwarm will be only know so much as they are stifled by the knowledge in the book etc etc.
So, towards some things, there should be a limit to it, only when you are not extreme about it, is it the best thing to appreciate.
 Hong Tou – Xiao Li’s close subordinate that died in the bathroom.
 courtesy demands reciprocity – idiom [礼尚往来]lǐshàngwǎnglái, basically means deal with a man as he deals with you; pay a man back in his own coins; give as good as one goes; return politeness with politeness.