Chapter 491: High up on the flagpole
Peng Wu acutely detected that this matter was connected to Hucheng. As for why it was Jin Twenty-four, that seemed unimportant in the grand scheme of things when everything was basically already settled.
HK and him, Peng Wu, had to fall. As they were the instigators, they had to be strung up, adorning their flagpole.
If Jin Twenty-four had only wanted to resolve Hucheng’s problems in C City, this was overkill. It was also risky and wholly unnecessary. Simply by negotiating alone, he would be able to get Peng Wu to stop. Even if he absolutely wanted make Peng Wu pay a price, he would have alternative methods available too.
Yet, he had chosen the riskiest, most forceful method. Even as the bureaucracy might target him and intervene, the more people knew about this the merrier.
Peng Wu’s greatest error was what he had once been most triumphant about. Not only would he be taking revenge on Hucheng himself, this would also serve as an inspiration to the other people Hucheng had offended. They would be able to exact vengeance at little cost.
Even a small group of individuals could manage it.
The gutter oil affair encompassed approximately thirty cities across seven provinces. As soon as this was emulated on a wide scale, Hucheng might be done for good.
Therefore, the thought of negotiating had never crossed Old Jin’s mind from the start. In truth, he would have refused even if Peng Wu had tried to approach him to negotiate regarding this.
This battle where the savage dragon crossed the seas and thrashed the local snakehead was essential, and it had to be big. It was to let those people who were raring to go know that truly, the cost of doing so would not be low at all. It was not that Hucheng could do nothing about it.
A meticulously planned blitzkrieg of such a great scale and on away territory, involving such characters...it was destined to become a legend within the ‘community’ that would hereafter spread like a wildfire.
This situation was one Old Jin was happy to see.
To put it simply, Old Jin’s goal was to intimidate by borrowing Peng Wu to suppress all who would seek to emulate him and go against them.
Of course, just this battle alone was not enough to resolve the problem.
The significance of this battle was like the drumbeat before the fall of the sabre in Peking operas as it was more for the dramatic effect of shock where all hopes of resistance had been lost.
Here, Old Jin had used his reputation in the community and domineering methods to make it feel as though HK was unable to withstand a single strike and had rapidly collapsed. As others saw it, having aggravated someone they shouldn’t have and suffered such a heavy blow, HK no longer seemed to have any hope of surviving.
This kind of mentality and atmosphere was scariest. The price of HK making one single misstep had been too great.
In this world, it had always been thus:
When the tree falls the monkeys scatter, when a wall topples everyone propels it to its doom.
Having suffered this tragic defeat and come to know who their opponent was, most of HK’s affiliated powers were unwilling to return to help them tide through it. This was itself problematic.
Aside from this, with their allies not doing anything, their opponents or enemies would definitely be raring to go. Having reigned supreme in this place for over a decade, HK and Peng Wu had many hated foes and sworn enemies for sure.
People were entering and exiting Peng Wu’s villa. All of them had hurried footsteps and frantic looks on their faces.
All of it was bad news without exception.
“Those who caused trouble at our joint this time seems to be that bunch of hooligans who used to run a casino machine hall...there’s been trouble elsewhere too. There are some foreign faces that seem to have come from a neighbouring county…”
Younger people who had just started out often knew not the extent of their limitations as they were more eager to ascend to positions of power and more willing to take risks. With such a rare opportunity having arisen in C City, they were all charging over without any care for the consequences.
Perhaps their next target would be Peng Wu himself.
“Just this trash alone have a death wish?” An arm in a cast, Old Three stood up and roared.
He liked visiting the entertainment centres. Having unfortunately been out last night, he had become HK’s highest-ranked tragic casualty.
Peng Wu looked at him, “Will you handle it?”
If it was normally, Old Three who had a bad temper would happily make use of this chance to relive the heroism and imposing might of his youth. Now, however...after looking left and right, he ceased to speak. There were simply no underlings he could command.
“Close them all for now. Get everyone back,” Peng Wu said defeatedly, “With so many people suddenly gaining the courage to move against us, it can’t be anything other than Jin Twenty-four being long prepared, inciting and giving them confidence behind the scenes. In other words, he must already have planned for this before acting against us. No wonder word around is that of the Binzhou Thirty, the scariest is Jin Twenty-four.”
“But that’s admitting weakness!” Old Three exclaimed furiously.
Peng Wu glanced at him, “Do you think we even have to admit anything? Does anyone still not know?”
“That’s true in principle. Still, if we do this, those people will only get more full of themselves. It wouldn’t be easy to take care of things then. How about using the government? At times like this, face doesn’t matter anymore. No one cares about rules these days anyway,” Another old-timer said.
Peng Wu forced a piteous smile, “I tried it long ago...they won’t move now. It’s easy to offer a little goodwill when times are good, but to expect aid during harsh times is often wishful thinking. What I’m most afraid of now is people kicking us when we’re down.”
As he had said, as soon as HK’s protective umbrella deemed that they were done for, giving up, retreating and drawing a clear boundary between them, just any one or two of the things he had done in the past would be sufficient to render him dead.
One underling who had already run in and out several times by now panted as he reentered the living room once more.
“What now?” Old Three roared angrily, as if the bad news was all his fault since he was the one reporting it.
“Well, a car sent just sent this to our door...they said it’s an invitation card from Jin Twenty-four.”
The underling handed an envelope over.
Who still sent invitation cards in this day and age? Was this still before the revolutionary era?
So, it was not an invitation card.
Peng Wu held three photographs, with words behind all of them.
The first one was of a man in his thirties with numerous scars across his face. The words read: You should recognise this guy, right, Boss Peng? In 1999, his wife unfortunately died of a ‘car accident’. He alone managed to fortunately escape...he is in Thailand right now...he probably would really like to come back.
Three photographs, three people. So long as they had a chance, any of them would bear a smile on their face as they sent Peng Wu to his grave even at the cost of their own lives. Having managed to find these people, Jin Twenty-four would naturally be able to provide them with suitable opportunities too.
A piece of paper remained. Prostitution, gambling, drugs, assault incidents, homicides etcetera…
One by one, case by case, Peng Wu’s crimes were all listed here, bearing proof.
These had actually not been so great a secret before as there had been many rumours in C City as well as those who understood what was going on. When Peng Wu was flourishing and had a protective umbrella to shield him as he dictated his surroundings, all this had not actually posed a problem at all.
Now, however...with everyone gathered to propel the toppling wall to its doom, this had become potentially fatal.
By now, Peng Wu was well aware that he would not be able to escape Jin Twenty-four’s grasp.
The sole point of contention was that the information on this piece of paper was too detailed…
Both the crimes and the evidence were listed out in so much detail. This had to mean that…
Peng Wu scanned the old-timers who were in the living room with him. They had all fought with him and attained glory together, and he had treated them well as befitting that. Still, as monkeys scatter after trees fall, one of them had made the ‘rational’ choice to sell him out to save himself.
His gaze finally came to rest on Old Three...he had appeared too rash and too full of righteous indignation earlier...too much like a buffoon. While everyone knew of Old Three’s rashness that had been there ever since his youth, Peng Wu had always known that he was no buffoon, really. He was only ever rash in the times that he should be rash.
Earlier had clearly not been such a time.
Peng Wu closed his eyes, leaning backwards as he thought about it...forget it, he decided.
“In the future, my family...for the sake of old times, please do take care of them,” Peng Wu suddenly said.
It was nearly ten o'clock when Old Jin returned to the hotel.
After a bath and a change of clothes, he appeared in the living room.
Lu Zhixin said, “Thanks for all the trouble.”
Being an intelligent person, while she had been muddled about many things at first, she already understood everything now like why Old Jin had chosen to do this and the risks he had suffered in doing so.
“We’re all in it together,” Old Jin grinned widely, “Just make those shares of mine become more valuable, yeah?”
“That’s for sure,” Lu Zhixin smiled.
Someone now entered and reported, “Peng Wu’s here.”
“Invite him in,” Old Jin sat down and said.
After entering, Peng Wu immediately spotted Lu Zhixin whom he had looked up on the internet before. He smiled and nodded, maintaining the necessary image as befitting him. Next was Jin Twenty-Four.
“Jin Twenty-four?” Despite never having met him before, it was not hard for Peng Wu to deduce this.
“Hello, Boss Peng. Your reputation precedes you,” Old Jin got up and said.
“I thought it was just a minor matter,” Peng Wu said.
Old Jin said nothing.
“Sadly, though it is a minor matter, the effects it could cause are too great,” Peng Wu continued without any prompting.
Old Jin nodded.
“What do you think is most extravagant for those of the community, Boss Peng?” Old Jin suddenly asked.
Peng Wu raised his head and looked at him.
“That nothing happens to their family.”
Peng Wu nodded.
“Themselves...a restful death, a peaceful burial.”
Peng Wu nodded.
He understood that this was a promise Old Jin was making him.
Old Jin hesitated for a while, looking at Xu Tingsheng and Lu Zhixin…
“Let’s have it this way,” Old Jin retrieved that piece of paper listing Peng Wu’s crimes and placed it in front of him, “Choose one yourself. For a period of five to ten years, go turn yourself in...you will still be able to see your descendants when you’ve come out, living out the rest of your days.”
Peng Wu’s eyes suddenly shone, the glow in them reviving. Things had ended so much better than he had originally expected.
“Thank you. I’ll go settle things at home.”
Peng Wu bowed deeply and left the hotel.
Old Jin looked at Xu Tingsheng.
“This ain’t my style...while that may be so, I am an important shareholder of a celebrity online enterprise now, right?” He laughed uproariously and jokingly as Xu Tingsheng felt like he was once again seeing that Old Jin back from Nice.Previous Chapter Next Chapter