Chapter 389: Trust
Where had the news been leaked from? No one knew, and there was no way to investigate too.
It was not like this was some back alley incident. It had occurred in broad daylight. There were also just too many channels through which news could be spread. However much one locked them down, it would still be impossible to thoroughly conceal this matter.
Yet, media reports had suddenly appeared on a large scale as everyone just vaguely felt this: while it was unknown who the perpetrator was and what their goal might be, somebody was definitely ambitiously making a calculated move from behind the scenes.
Even if this was only a blow from a business competitor, trouble and crisis did indeed exist.
Coincidentally, in the year 2004, a major dairy corporation, ‘Junyao’, had just fallen into a crisis following the death of its leader. After making it through this crisis, while the corporation would still have some ventures in other areas, its performance in its main industry which had seen a boom afterwards would plummet due to the missed opportunities. One of the most renowned dairy brands coming into the 21st century had hence become an obscure, unknown name in less than a decade.
With this precedent, as many saw it, the future looked bleak for Xu Tingsheng’s two ‘superstar enterprises’ as well as Zhicheng Real Estate for those few in the know.
It had actually only been slightly over two years since Xu Tingsheng had embarked on his career. Also, he had never run a large scale modern enterprise in his previous life before. Considering their experience and expertise in the internet and real estate, the management of his companies was virtually under a select competent few. Their prospects and connections were tied fully to him as an efficient management system had never been set up for them.
Now that he had collapsed, a problem unavoidably rose to the surface.
The Black Horse Club was virtually like ‘a band of merry men’. Now that they were leaderless, the worst thing that could happen was actually an internal conflict. Fortunately, Fang Yuqing, Ye Qing and Wu Kun were currently still partying together with them. With two bigshots from commerce and the bureaucracy along with Wu Kun who was somewhat more related to the darker side of society, there should be no problem keeping everyone docile for the time being.
Of course, this was only temporary. In the long term, let alone maintaining the integrity and unity of the group as they stably suppressed any dissent with absolute authority, there was just no guarantee that the trio would not fall out before going their separate ways in the first place.
Xingchen Technologies was the most recent of all Xu Tingsheng’s enterprises to have been established. While Hu Chen and He Yutan who had been poached by Xu Tingsheng formed their most powerful team, their relationship with the company was the most professional as a sense of comradeship did not run deep in comparison.
They had pledged their allegiance to Xu Tingsheng due to what they saw in him and his Weibo project. Now that one of the two had been lost and Weibo itself was not difficult to replicate, with their future uncertain, there was no way of saying for sure that no such thoughts would come to mind for them.
Comparatively speaking, Hucheng appeared to be in the best state right now, at least as Mr Xu and the others saw it.
Firstly, Hucheng had been operating for longer and had established a comparatively wholesome management and supervisory system under Lu Zhixin’s rule. It could thus operate efficiently and stably.
Secondly, Hucheng was more like a closely knit community. Most of the shareholders saw one another as one big family. Even their employees, especially those from the middle and higher echelons, had a higher sense of belonging and loyalty due to having collectively faced some setbacks and tough predicaments in the past.
Therefore, the situation was still fully under control even despite the previous distribution of shares.
Thirdly, they had Lu Zhixin. As everyone saw it, this was the greatest reason that they could rest assured.
Due to her innate desire to be in control, Lu Zhixin had unconsciously bestowed herself with a powerful grasp of as well as influence over Hucheng when building its management structure.
In fact, Lu Zhixin was generally the one in charge of Hucheng most of the time as it was often the case that Xu Tingsheng did not really have any value, except for when it came to deciding on the future direction of their policies and crisis management.
Lu Zhixin should also be absolutely reliable as Xu Tingsheng’s most trusted longtime business partner.
On the fourth day, led by Mr Xu, all Xu Tingsheng’s close associates gathered around him who was still lying comatose on the hospital bed. They analysed the current situation and what dangers might exist, considering the plans they could conceivably execute in response.
Currently, a public notice sent out by Hucheng and a post on Xu Tingsheng’s own Weibo page had already expressed this: The media had made a mistake. Xu Tingsheng had never saved anyone in a fire. His civic-mindedness was really an erroneous praise as he had to express unworthiness at this. Meanwhile, he was merely suffering from a minor ailment as was prone to befall youngsters as it was no real problem at all.
Even so, the netizens and especially those media entities who claimed that they had to uphold professionalism for their articles unanimously declared: Just walk out of the front door, then, if you’re fine...didn’t you say you’re okay? In that case, just walk out of the front door and wave.”
Yet Xu Tingsheng was truly unable to walk!
Of course, some netizens also expressed their doubts: Courage and civic-mindedness is a good thing! Why would they deny it if it’s true?
A response would immediately come: Is money or social reputation more important? Didn’t you read the news on how his companies are currently in a state of unrest? They have to prioritise maintaining their stability, of course. We should tone it down a little too.
But in fact, who would tone it down? The uproar would only grow, the matter just intensifying.
Considering the current situation, from Xu Tingsheng’s standpoint, after Hucheng and the Xu family had released a public notice, there was already no way for them to further clarify things.
They could only maintain their silence.
The truth was just not on their side.
It was a fact that Xu Tingsheng was currently still in a comatose state.
Therefore, even if the Xu family let the specialists publicly announce the results of the diagnosis and prove that Xu Tingsheng’s vitals were all extremely stable as his life was in no danger at all, how would the general public who already had an extreme lack of faith in ‘experts’ in the first place and were also prone to strongly doubting everything they heard believe it?
Therefore, admitting that he was in a comatose state but explaining that his life was in no danger at all? In that case, they might as well let things go on as this current quagmire.
Actually, even some amongst their group were already themselves beginning to feel doubt now. All vitals stable, life in no danger at all? No danger...get him to wake up then. Didn’t you say that he should wake up very soon? And how many days has it been already?
Little Xiang Ning knew nothing about this at all as she said rather timidly upon knocking on the door and seeing everyone’s sombre expressions, “Uncle, Auntie, I’m, I’m here again.”
In truth, she had already been discharged. She still persisted in coming everyday, nevertheless. Having arrived, she would stay by Xu Tingsheng’s side for the entire day.
Huang Yaming was currently in a terrible mood. He thought about how Xu Tingsheng had ended up in such a state just because of a juvenile girl like her, resulting in a major career crisis as it was even unknown whether he himself could recover.
“What’re you looking at? How the heck is that going to help? Isn’t it all because of you that things are like this? Get out!” Huang Yaming hollered.
Little Xiang Ning dared not speak as she looked at Huang Yaming. Facing Huang Yaming’s clear hostility and violent air, she actually felt a bit scared, or very scared to be precise. Still, glancing at Xu Tingsheng who lay on the sickbed, she stubbornly stayed at the doorway, her head lowered as she adamantly refused to leave.
To be honest, those presently in the room who could still maintain goodwill and enthusiasm towards her right now were already getting fewer and fewer.
When she had said her name that day, as the results of Xu Tingsheng’s diagnosis had been extremely positive, everyone had mostly just felt surprised and intrigued as negative thoughts had not really sprung to mind.
The way she had acted then had caused everyone’s hearts to ache.
Therefore, their attitudes towards her had still been pretty much okay at the time.
Things were different now. Xu Tingsheng was still in a coma and a career crisis had befallen…
Having actually been in high spirits before, their mindsets had now changed to: Isn’t this all because of this little girl? Just how is she worth it?
They had virtually never interacted with Xiang Ning before this as their prior relationship points with her were literally zero. Additionally, they were unable to understand why Xu Tingsheng was so enamoured with Xiang Ning, why he cared so much about her.
Little Xiang Ning stood at the doorway for a while and listened to the ongoing discussion. While she couldn’t understand much, she grasped one thing, which was that they had to let everyone outside think that nothing had happened to Xu Tingsheng.
“Uncle, Auntie, everyone…”
“What do you want now?” Huang Yaming asked exasperatedly.
“Don’t be like this, Yaming. Let the kid come in,” Mr Xiang said.
“Yeah, be careful that Tingsheng doesn’t find trouble with you when he wakes up,” Li Linlin added.
“No, it’s not that,” Little Xiang Ning said, “I just wanted to say that some reporters wanted to interview my Mum and Dad yesterday. They were afraid of saying something wrong, so they refused. Do you think it would be better if I ask them to accept the interview instead?”
“You think that things aren’t chaotic enough?”
“No. I can ask them to say that it wasn’t Xu Tingsheng.”
“What do you plan on saying then?”
“When we were downstairs, Xu Tingsheng already couldn’t run any longer. It was someone from the restaurant who came in and carried me out. Can we just say that it was him? Someone took a photo of it at the time.”
No one had captured an image of Xu Tingsheng amidst the roiling smoke. Someone, however, had taken a photograph of the cooking apprentice who had rushed out from the entrance with Little Xiang Ning in his arms.
Mr Xiang considered this for a moment. It seemed like the best plan for obscuring the vision of the general public. Also, it would be able to win them quite a bit of time.
“Zhixin,” Mr Xu called in a low tone.
“Zhixin,” Mr Xu raised his voice slightly.
“...Huh?” Lu Zhixin finally showed a reaction.
Seeing this, Mr Xu thought for a moment before saying, “Sorry, the burden on you has really been great recently. Still, we’ve got no choice. There are many things we’re all just not as familiar with as you are...because of that, we can only request of you to persevere and persevere on.”
Glancing at Mr Xu, Lu Zhixin shook her head, replying, “It’s, it’s fine.”
“Arrange for some media company that we have a relationship with for an interview like what the young lady has said. Next, you should settle things properly with the person from the restaurant, getting him to accept an interview. The featured photo on the article will just display him. As for the young lady’s family, there’s no need to show them,” Mr Xu said.
Lu Zhixin nodded, “Alright, I’ll go get that settled then.”
“Yep. After this matter has been settled, I’ll authorise two people to come over from Happy Shoppers to accompany you to Shenghai. I hope that you can watch over Xingchen Technologies. It’d be impossible for the truth to be hidden from those people.”
“Huh? ...I, here, what about Hucheng?”
“We have many of our own here at Hucheng. We’ll have to depend on you over there.”
“Uncle Xu...you trust me?”
“Of course! You’re Xu Tingsheng’s best business partner. However things may go elsewhere in the future, the Xu family will definitely repay you. I as a father will definitely make sure of it, that is a promise.”
‘However things may go elsewhere in the future’- everyone could basically understand what this referred to.
While it was impossible to promise things regarding relationships, the repayment that Mr Xu was promising would definitely be substantial.
Lu Zhixin exited the room. Getting into her car, her mood was a complex one.
As she received a call from her father, Lu Pingyuan, and heard him endlessly chattering on and on about his master scheme, Lu Zhixin forced a smile, saying, “I’ll be heading off to Xingchen Technologies immediately. Hucheng...will temporarily be taken charge of by someone else.”
“What, they suspect you?” Lu Pingyuan who was happily scheming to induce a financial problem for Hucheng was stunned.
“No, it’s because they trust me too much,” After saying so, Lu Zhixin hung up, feeling very much tempted to just raise her head and laugh out loud, and then a few times more for good measure.
Trust. Her steeled resolve which had only been set after an incomparable inner struggle, all her father’s scheming. They had thusly been broken, just by that one thing- trust.
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