Book 4 Chapter 27 - Unexpected Gain
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“You.. you really turned yourself in?” A satisfied smile appeared on Li Yiming’s face. He realized that he had done at least one good deed.
However, his smile seemed to be a smile from hell to his interlocutor, who trembled violently. The leader of the prisoners was the shop owner who had tried to extort money from Li Yiming. After Li Yiming left, his fear for his own safety superseded his fear of prison, and he turned himself in the next day. He had been living comfortably ever since, so he convinced himself that jail was nothing more than a temporary refuge.
“Boss!?! Who’s your boss? The boss is here!” The minion received a slap that sent him crashing on the floor, groaning in pain. Fatty then pointed at Li Yiming to make the change in status understood by all of his subordinates.
‘What’s happening?’ The question flashed through the minds of the inmates. All of them took two steps back when they realized that Li Yiming was going to be trouble. Although the guards would not punish them for having a little fun, it was not worth it to incur the wrath of a cold-blooded murderer, especially when they were yet to be convicted. [1. Note: does it make sense for these people to be detained when they’re not convicted? I’m interested by the question. If I have time, I’ll do a quick search on the matter and add a note. Leave a comment if you’re a little interested by the intricacies of Chinese criminal/civil law.]
‘You monster!’ The fat man never expected Li Yiming to follow him to prison. He had confessed to all his trivial crimes, but he shut his mouth about deeds involving important people. He shivered and looked at Li Yiming pleadingly. ‘It’s not that I don’t want to confess, I really can’t, please…’
By now, the henchmen had seen enough to understand that they needed to kneel down. All the years on the street taught them the importance of switching allegiance in a timely manner.
“Hmm…?” What are you guys doing?” This was not the first time Li Yiming had seen something like that. In Shangbei, the old guardian had begged for his life twice. However, it still remained impressive and unsettling to have a row of people fall to the ground at the same time.
“I...I…” Cold sweat dripped down Fatty’s neck from remembering his encounter with Li Yiming. ‘What a monster… He’ll swallow me whole.’
“Come on, stand up. Why kneel in the middle of the night? We’re not in a mourning hall.” Li Yiming helped his “friend” stand up. He was happy to see the fat gangster again, since he sincerely believed that the latter must have changed his ways and turned himself in.
“Get up… Get up!” The henchmen also followed suit. Most of them moved to the side and began to make guesses regarding Li Yiming’s identity.
“Go, go, shoo! All of you, go sleep and stop crowding around. Come, let’s talk.” Li Yiming waved his hand, dismissing the rest of the goons. He led his “old friend” to his bed and made him sit.
“Erm… Err... I have nothing to do with this. I’m just following orders. If I knew that you were the target, I never would’ve dared.” Fatty ended up half-squatting, too afraid to sit on the bed. Li Yiming’s gentle expression terrorized him even more. It was just like when Li Yiming pulled out a gun and a bag of white powder from behind his back and started to lecture him about the value of things in life.
“Oh? I’m being targeted?” Li Yiming’s was surprised by the revelation. ‘So he received the news before I even got in?’
Li Yiming has had his suspicions about the police’s sudden arrival and the videotape evidence that happened to be conveniently available. ‘Being filmed on camera while I took the scooter couldn’t have been a simple coincidence. Also, the black car… I get that Fu Bo couldn’t be traced down, but he wasn’t in that car, so what happened to all of the surveillance footage?’
Li Yiming gazed at the fat gangster. ‘Maybe staying in here won’t be such a waste of time after all.’
“Is Yunlong Group this powerful?” Li Yiming asked. ‘The only people that could be behind this are the guardians who orchestrated the kidnaping of Fu Bo. Everything points to Yunlong and the Guo family…’
“You… You knew?” Fatty was shocked. ‘He knows everything! Please don’t involve a small fry like me in your war!’
“Let’s talk about Yunlong first. You seem to be on good terms with them.” Li Yiming’s suspicions were confirmed by Fatty’s reaction.
“Hmm? Erm…?” Fatty countenance turned ashen. He had taken special care to avoid mentioning Yunlong when he turned himself in.
“It’s ok. The night is still young, we can have a nice, long chat.” Li Yiming made himself comfortable on his bed. The sheets didn’t seem so disgusting to him anymore.
“I really can’t. If I told you… When I leave this place…” Fatty begged.
“When you leave? Do you think you’ll be able to?” Li Yiming asked with a gentle smile.
Fatty’s heart skipped a beat ‘Talk and receive punishment for it when I get out… or keep my mouth shut and maybe not even be able to get out…’’ The back of his shirt was soon drenched in sweat. Once he weighed out the consequences, Fatty resolved himself and divulged everything.
Fatty was once a construction site manager that worked for Yunlong. He had been scapegoated for an incident of “convincing” residents to move out of their to-be-demolished homes. Following media exposure, he was forced to leave the job. Yunlong Group paid him back for his sacrifice and let him handle shady deals thereon. With a strong backer, Fatty eventually became an influential figure in the city’s underworld.
According to Fatty, Yunlong had an endless amount of powerful backers. Most of the time, he only played the role of the bad guy on the stage. Residents who were adamant about staying in their old homes often changed their mind the very next day and willingly signed the paperwork. Fatty was perceptive and knew his place. He knew that he was but a facade to cover up the people who were really moving the pieces. [2. This is a social issue in China present to this day. Essentially since the real estate in big cities is so valuable, often there’s a lot of money to be made for revelopping old neighborhood in big cities and appealing to mid/high-end consumers. (“Old” usually mean 30-40 years+.) The only issue is when people don’t agree to move out of their homes for the amount of money that is offered to them. Well… you can imagine the kind of “convincing” that happens. I guess this problem of rich crowding out the poor is present in every big city in the world, but unlike Silicon Valley, for example, people don’t wait for your lease to end and then raise the rent 10 fold to try to get you out.]
What’s more was that many large projects or policy changes would end up favoring Yunlong. Even the contracts that were already given to Yunlong would be amended with more profitable terms. These mysterious incidents convinced Fatty that Yunlong was the biggest fish in the pond, and even though he feared his masters, he was convinced that he would be able to do anything he wanted as long as he was under Yunlong’s umbrella.
‘Indeed, guardians are one of the strongest backers one can ever have.’ Li Yiming smiled coldly.
“Did you receive your instructions from Guo Tai?” Li Yiming asked halfheartedly. ‘Guo Tai doesn’t look like a guardian. Why is he involved then?’
“No way! He is the big boss after all. I’ve only seen him once. Usually his assistant, Brother Dao, gives the jobs.”
“Brother Dao? The assistant with hands full of calluses?” Li Yiming remembered from his encounter with Guo Tai.
“Yeah. Yeah, that’s him.” Fatty nodded. He was surprised by Li Yiming’s knowledge of Yunlong Group. ‘Well it seems like Brother Dao does leave a strong impression on people.’
“What about Guo Xiang? How much do you know about him?” Li Yiming realized that it must be more than a simple coincidence for Guo Xiang to show up time after time in the domains.
“Young Master Guo?” Fatty peeked at Li Yiming.
Li Yiming stared back at him silently.
“Young Master Guo... I’m quite familiar with him. He comes over to me quite often.” Fatty replied hesitantly.
“Nothing much. Trivial things. I own a few reputable nightclubs in Hangzhou, so he often makes me set up the venues for him.”
“Doesn’t seem like you think too highly of him.” Li Yiming noticed the change from respectful reverence to contempt.
“I’m confused as to why a man as great as the big boss would have such a useless son.” Fatty spoke without reserve, wanting to please Li Yiming. “Despite being the inheritor of an influential company, the only things on his mind are women and parties. On top of it, with how much money he has, it would be easy for him to find any kind of girl he wants, but he likes to use drugs and do it forcibly.”
“Oh?” Li Yiming was surprised. ‘I always thought that Guo Xiang was just a playboy, but who knew that there was such a sinister side to him?’
“Yeah. Who knows how many women he’s already ruined in my nightclub?” Fatty answered with disgust. Although he was a gangster, he was an old-fashioned criminal with his own bottom line.
“Guo Tai doesn’t care?” Li Yiming did not think that Guo Tai would be the kind of person to spoil his son like that.
“That’s the most frustrating part. Big Boss spoils his son too much. Once Young Master Guo raped a college student in a bathroom while her boyfriend was right outside. After that, the girl made a ruckus about suicide, and her family called the police. However, on that very night, her family went to remove their complaint, and Guo Xiang came back to the nightclub as if nothing happened on the next day.”
Fury burned in Li Yiming’s heart. ‘Can guardians just do whatever pleases them in the real world? Isn’t Heaven’s Laws supposed to reign them in?’
“Are there a lot of cover-ups like this?” Li Yiming’s tone turned glacial.
“Once in a while. But usually money is enough to silence them. After all, the girls that frequent my nightclubs are usually there for something... There was a beautiful girl recently though. I think she’s a dance major in university? She has to be one of the most attractive girls I’ve seen in a while” Fatty continued on, not noticing the change in Li Yiming’s demeanor.
Li Yiming furrowed his brows. He had a bad feeling about the ending of the tale.
Maybe it's because I'm a selfish asshole, but it seems to me that there's gotta be something in it for me to work like a dog and risk my life to save the world. Pretty sure that the satisfaction of a job well done at the end of the day isn't exactly enough incentives to make me want to become a guardian. Now, I'm certainly not condoning Guo Xiang's actions, but isn't the point of becoming a guardian to be able to do whatever you want when you're not about to die to a Chinese hydra or some crazy dragondogs thingy? Please enlighten me with your thoughts, O readers. :P
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