Li Shi Qing’s villa was situated at the most prominent residential area of the city.
Xiao Li was scared and on edge during the entire way there and even when he quickly arrived, that sense of fright persisted, refusing to leave him. Entering the main gate, there were already two vehicles parked in front of the villa’s main door.
Just as he drove up and parked near them, he saw another two of Li Shi Qing’s men, Fan Peng and Liu Zi Cheng, emerging from the two parked vehicles.
When the two saw him, they looked at him with a sympathetic expression lining their faces. Since Liu Zi Cheng was a bit closer to him than the latter, he promptly said, “Quick go in. Qing Ye is waiting for you.”
As Xiao Li entered, with his heart hanging in suspense, Li Shi Qing was sitting on the sofa in the kitchen, smoking a cigar.
“Qing Ye,” Xiao Li slightly bowed, “My brother —”
Li Shi Qing waved his hand which caused Xiao Li to restraint his voice.
Sighing, Li Shi Qing signaled for him to come over, “First sit down, what do you want to drink?”
Sitting on the opposite seat from him, Xiao Li was a bit worried as he spoke, “There’s no need for that Qing Ye, what’s wrong with my brother?”
Li Shi Qing remained quiet for a moment before speaking again, “When you were ambushed a while ago, you said that you suspected that it was Luo Dong seeking revenge from you, correct?”
“After you told me, I made Zi Cheng investigate the matter. Since he was already doing some business there, he quickly found out something,” pausing for a second, Li Shi Qing went on to say, “When Luo Dong escaped to the neighboring province, he took a man as an adoptive father. That man is Lu Wu Ye.”
Xiao Li was dumbfounded for a moment, although the place was distant from each other, Lu Wu Ye’s name has wings of its and had spread widely throughout the Yangtze River.
Li Shi Qing’s brow slightly knitted together as he continued to speak, “Luo Dong was driven out of here by us but this time he has someone supporting him. If he wants to regain his territory here, then it’ll be troublesome for us. This is the reason why I sought out Sun Ze Yu, because through him, I can connect and meet with Lu Wu Ye. Contrary to what I had expected, Lu Wu Ye was really delighted and even his wordings were quite beautiful. He said, since his adoptive son was driven out, he doesn’t want to return to this hurtful place but that is if only we promise him a condition in return. Only then, would he not make things difficult for us.”
Seeming to know intuitively what it was, Xiao Li asked, “What condition?”
“He wants me to hand you and Han Jia over to him,” Li Shi Qing paused, then said, “He said Han Jia lied to Luo Dong quite miserably and had even sold him out to the police. And you…broke one of his leg causing him to become handicap. He won’t hold other people accountable but you two, he won’t let go. He has also mentioned that some time ago, when Han Jia’s business was toyed with and you got attacked, it was all his doings.”
Not surprise at this outcome, Xiao Li asked, “Qing Ye, why didn’t you mention this matter to us?”
Li Shi Qing merely gave him a quick glance, “I don’t want to hand either of you over to them, so why should I mention it?”
Xiao Li lowered his head and faintly said, “Thank you Qing Ye.”
“Don’t be so quick to thank me.” Li Shi Qing let out another long sigh, “You’re both my right hand man, if I were to hand both of you over to them so easily like that, I wouldn’t face any face. But, Qing Ye don’t have any capabilities, I’ve talked to him for quite a long time and he gained many profitable deals but throughout the whole ordeal, he didn’t give me any precise answer. Not until this morning……I received a case……”
He sighed again, “It’s on the table. You can look at it yourself.” After saying that, he twisted his head away. Unexpectedly, he couldn’t bear to see the expression on Xiao Li’s face.
Xiao Li had noticed early on that there was a black case on the tea table, but now that he heard Li Shi Qing’s words and the meanings behind it, it unexpectedly concerned him. A frightful kind of premonition rose from the pit of his stomach and he couldn’t help but to feel both of his hands trembling. All he could do was to keep the fear that stained his mind under control before he slowly opened that case.
Inside was a hand, cut from the wrist down. And due to the blood loss, it was pale and sickly white. At the back of the hand, were two characters, ‘Xiao Yang,’ carved impressively into it, most likely with a sharp knife.
Shutting it in one quick go, Xiao Li flung the black case to the side and achingly held onto his own head before painfully letting out a thunderous roar.
When Li Shi Qing went over to embrace Xiao Li, he could feel him trembling all over. He couldn’t help but to feel a burst of pity for him, then all he could do was softly say, “Don’t feel too broken-hearted by it.”
Xiao Li shook his head, not saying anything. After a long while, remaining as calm and collective as possible, he struggled free of Li Shi Qing’s embrace, stood up and went to pick up that case.
As Li Shi Qing watched his silhouette, he asked, “Are you thinking of getting your brother back?”
Xiao Li nodded his head.
Seeing this, Li Shi Qing firmly said, “I called you here to tell you, I won’t agree with you doing anything like that.”
Xiao Li was shocked as he spun around.
Li Shi Qing merely sighed, “What Lu Wu and Luo Dong sent is your brother’s hand, that I have no choice but to tell you. But I hope that you don’t throw your life away. You have to understand, Luo Dong hates both you and Han Jia. You alone won’t be able to get your brother back. If you really go, do you think Han Jia will just go along with you?”
Xiao Li couldn’t say anything but to be stumped for words.
This prompted Li Shi Qing to quicken his speech, “I haven’t told Han Jia yet, so you should think over it clearly.”
Xiao Li’s expression was sealed with conflicting thoughts and pain as he lowered his head and looked at the case that was adored with his brother’s left hand.
Li Shi Qing continued on to say, “Moreover, if you both go, you’ll just throwing your lives away. Afterwards the gangs in this country will say, with just one sentence from Lu Wu, I, Li Shi Qing obediently sent two of my backbone to death. Wouldn’t that mean, in the future, my presence will be just a passing breeze?”
A shudder ran up Xiao Li spine, “Qing Ye, are you telling me not to care about my brother?”
Li Shi Qing stood up and lightly patted his shoulder, “Xiao Li there are things that aspirational men must do, and at times there will be sacrifices in order to obtain it. After all these years, how have the gang been towards you? How have Han Jia been towards you? How have I, Li Shi Qing been towards you? You should be well aware of it all. Compared to your brother, which is important and which isn’t. You need to think it over first.”
Xiao Li remained silent for a long while before he buried his face in is hands and said, “Qi Ye, there’s nothing else I can do……give me some time. I can’t think right now……”
Letting out another long sign, Li Shi Qing stared at him for a moment, “Come back and find me again tomorrow.”
Slowly nodding his head, Xiao Li carried the case and confusingly walked outside the door.
“Xiao Li.” Li Shi Qing called out.
Xiao Li’s footsteps halted.
“No matter how you want to take revenge in the future, I will help you. If you want Lu Wu’s life, I will help you get it.”
Not bothering to reply back, Xiao Li walked directly out of the door. He placed the case in the front passenger seat, then sat himself down for a long time.
As he sat there, endless thoughts rushed into his head.
Thoughts of when his brother was still but a kid hiding behind his back with an adorable appearance plastered on his face; thoughts of the promises he had made at his mother’s grave to protect and take care of his brother; thoughts of how his brother hates him more and more with each passing day and how he himself was powerless to change time; thoughts of how happy his brother was when he was together with his girlfriend.
As these thoughts continuously flood back into his head, he drove in the direction toward Jin Ting.
He cannot implicate Han Jia.
Han Jia is the friend that had gone through life’s joy and sorrow with him. He had always accompanied and remained by his side during the bloodiest years of his life. They were both quite familiar with each other’s past as well as the greatness that they enjoy now.
But, he does not have the right to ask Han Jia to give up his future for the sake of his own brother.
Just as he was almost at Jin Ting, Xiao Li stepped on the brake and turned his car around.
He doesn’t want to return to that cold and lonely mansion call ‘home’.
He doesn’t want to see his subordinates that called him ‘Li Ge’, worshipped him and would sincerely sacrifice their lives for him.
He doesn’t want to go to any debauched and corrupt places of entertainment.
As he drove around in all corners of the city, he suddenly thought that no matter how big the world is, there was actually no place that he could go to. No place that he belonged to.