Chapter 194: A Clarion Call for War

Leng Haoyun kept his eyes on the little boy.

The boy did not seem happy about what he just said.

Why would he be upset? Wasn’t I quite friendly?

An Baobei pouted as he looked at Leng Haoyun.

“I’m An Yichen, not An Yichen little friend. Please don’t give me extra names. Also, it’s no surprise that you’re so cold, even your surname means ‘cold’! Okay, I’ve said my piece, Uncle Leng!” [1]

Leng Haoyun was at a loss for words as he faced the boy. He suddenly felt like laughing.

For the past five years, this boy was the very first person who could make him laugh.

Such an adorable kid, so interesting and lovable!

Wanting to tease the boy, he made a face on purpose and looked at An Baobei seriously.

“An Yichen, that’s a good name. But has your dad ever taught you that you should treat others with respect and be polite to them? Do you know you look exactly like a little old man when you were talking earlier?”

An Baobei stared at him incredulously. He called me a little old man!

His brows furrowed deeply as he regarded Leng Haoyun with resentment.

Leng Haoyun smirked. Did he go too far with this? A mere child might not be able to understand what I just said.

He then tried to salvage the situation by speaking gently.

“Uncle was just joking. You look adorable, and I think it’s fate that we could meet here, so...”

This is why I acted completely differently from how I usually am. He finished the sentence in his head instead.

What An Baobei said next came as a surprise. “I don’t have a dad!”

He spoke clearly, enunciating every word.

Stunned at what he just heard, Leng Haoyun realized that he should not have made that comment about his dad. It had hurt the boy so!

Given his lack of experience in communicating with children, he was rather flustered, unsure what he should do. But he liked this boy, and he really felt it was fate that brought them together.

It was rare that he felt such a sense of familiarity with any stranger.

He began to apologize profusely. “I’m sorry, Uncle didn’t know that, I didn’t say that on purpose, really!”

An Baobei looked at him calmly, shaking his head. “It’s not your fault. I’m just telling you the facts. It’s not your fault that I don’t have a father anyway!”

He fell silent after this, sitting in a corner on the sofa like a miniature, unspeaking knight.

Leng Haoyun looked at him helplessly. Eventually, he asked a waiter to clean up the mess on the ground so An Baobei would not accidentally injure himself.

Seeing An Baobei gazing out the window with a slightly drooping head made Leng Haoyun feel sad for some reason.

He glanced at An Baobei one last time before making his way towards the private room he reserved.

Just as Leng Haoyun left, Leng Xiyao returned from the restroom.

The waiter had already cleaned up the shattered cutlery on the ground, so things were exactly as they had looked before she left, nothing changed.

However, Leng Xiyao could tell that An Baobei was a little upset. He was no longer as happy as he was when they just entered.

“Baobei? What’s wrong?” She asked in concern.

This child was mature beyond his age. She sometimes wondered if it was her who affected the boy.

An Baobei shook his head. “It’s nothing, Mummy. Your mobile phone rang!”

Leng Xiyao did not pursue the matter. Since An Baobei told her someone called, she made a return call immediately.

After the call, she asked An Baobei, “Baobei, let’s go back a little earlier after we finish our meal, okay?”

An Baobei nodded in silence.

Leng Xiyao sighed.

The earlier call was from her informant, someone she had tasked to find out more about the An Group and Leng Haoyun. Although she knew that person very well in the past, she knew that time would change everyone.

Why wouldn’t he have changed if I have already changed so much?

You will never be defeated if you know your enemy and know yourself. I will not lose this time!

The information had already been sent to her home, so she wanted to return and take a look at it quickly in order to prepare for the board meeting tomorrow.

Leng Haoyun exited his room only after Leng Xiyao and An Baobei left after having their meal.

He caught a glimpse of Leng Xiyao’s departing figure and found it rather familiar, but he did not think too much about it.

The Leng Xiyao five years ago had a bob haircut while the current Leng Xiyao had a head of long, silky hair.

No one would be able to tell she was the same person from five years ago if one did not see her in person.

Leng Haoyun took another glance before settling the bill and leaving the restaurant.

……

The general meeting took place as scheduled.

When Leng Haoyun arrived at the meeting room, the legendary Anne, An Zhenguo’s only granddaughter and the only heir to the An Group, had not yet arrived.

Most of the shareholders were already there, and everyone was waiting for Anne to arrive.

The meeting was supposed to start at ten o’clock in the morning.

It was ten minutes to ten, but Anne had yet to arrive.

Some of the shareholders were unhappy about this.

Someone then started criticising her.

“It’s just as President Leng said, what can a wee lass like her do? Does she think it’s that easy to become the chairman of the An Group? Just because you hold the majority of the shares doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be able to do a good job. Everyone here will be affected. I think the girl is afraid now, and she’s running away at the last minute!”

Another shareholder chipped in.

“That’s for sure. How much experience would a young girl like her have? She probably doesn’t know a single thing about how to operate in the business world. She’ll just be an extra person here at the board meeting, she probably can’t do much.”

Her detractors seemed to be getting more daring with the comments as yet another person spoke.

“President Leng could stay in his position for so many years because he has the skills, the connections and the experience. Some mere girl wouldn’t be able to compare to him! I wonder where she gets her confidence from!”

A different voice then chimed in.

“But I’ve heard that Anne is an internationally renowned jewelry designer!”

Someone else instantly retorted.

“What do you know? Having a jewelry designer take over as our chairman is akin to getting a mourner to sing at a wedding. We need to put the right people at the top, and I think President Leng is the man for the job. Let’s just talk about how many shares he holds. He’s the second largest shareholder in the An Group, and it’s a mere one percent difference compared to what that girl holds. How can she even hold a candle to President Leng!”

He then stole a glance at Leng Haoyun after saying his piece, as if trying to signal to Leng Haoyun, President Leng, I’m on your side.

Majority of those at the meeting were leaning towards Leng Haoyun.

Half of the remaining twenty percent had a neutral stance, while the other half were shareholders who had seen An Group grow through the years.

Even though they knew that Leng Haoyun was a better choice in terms of his ability in taking the company to greater heights, to them, Anne had all the right to take over while Leng Haoyun was nothing but an outsider.

Letting Leng Haoyun take over was basically giving up the company to somebody else, and they did not wish for that to happen.

Leng Haoyun remained silent throughout, despite the fervent discussion.

There was no change in his stony expression no matter what the shareholders said to get into his good books.

He shut his eyes to pretend that he was resting, and no one could tell how he was feeling.

He was, in fact, rather unhappy.

It was five minutes to ten, and the other contender for the position of Chairman had yet to appear.

One possibility was that his opponent was strong enough to be able to convince everyone here in mere seconds.

But, the fact was that she was just a young girl.

Another possibility was that she got scared and decided not to turn up at the last minute.

His brows creased slightly at the thought. If that was really the case, then why did she even choose to compete with me!

In the business world, it did not matter if you were male or female. It was all about ability and tactics. Someone like her without a sense of urgency would never be able to convince the shareholders here, much less take up the position of Chairman of the An Group.

Leng Haoyun had analyzed the situation in his head, and to him, Anne had zero chance of victory.

It was two minutes to ten, and she was still nowhere to be seen.

The shareholders began to discuss among themselves. Most of them had already decided on who they wanted to support before Anne arrived, and they were simply waiting for the clarion call that signalled the start of the war!

-

Leng Xiyao viewed today’s board meeting with great importance. She knew that her chances of victory were slim, but she would trudge forward bravely even if it was a one in a million chance.

She left the house at eight in the morning.

It would probably take her about half an hour to get from the An family home to the An Group, and she left early to give herself plenty of time. However, she forgot about a practical problem.

It was the morning rush hour at eight, and a half hour journey would take an hour to complete.

She only realized this after she began her commute. What was worse was that after travelling a short distance, an accident further down the road created a traffic jam.

She thus decided to alight and take a cab instead.

She arrived at An Group at nine fifty sharp, but when she was right outside the meeting room, she suddenly realized she looked extremely frazzled. If she appeared as she was, no one would have a good first impression of her, and her image would go up in flames.

Leng Xiyao refused to let that happen. She looked at the time and saw that she had five minutes left. She rushed to the washroom to touch up her makeup and adjust her outfit before finally entering the meeting room with just a minute to spare.




[1] As explained in the dialogue itself, 'Leng' is a word that means 'cold / chilly'.

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