Qin Sheng had promised Han Guoping that he would protect Han Bing. Now that Han Guoping had passed away, Qin Sheng could well shed his responsibility of protecting Han Bing. After all, it was merely an agreement. In the present society, whoever took this seriously could eventually be made to pay with his own life or be admonished.
However, Han Bing had nobody to rely on at this time. Qin Sheng could bear to just stand around and watch her perish. He would be stricken with guilt for the rest of his life.
There are things a man could do and others a man should not do, but most importantly, he must be able to bear responsibilities.
Qin Sheng had made up his mind to wade through the murky waters no matter what obstacles he would face. His only goal was to safeguard Han Bing.
“Thank you, Uncle Jiang. I really appreciate your kind consideration for my sake,” Qin Sheng shook his head and let out a helpless chuckle as he continued, “I can’t bring myself to just stand around and watch Han Bing die. No one shall lay a finger on Han Bing, unless I am dead.”
“Why are you so stubborn?” Jiang Xianbang did not see this coming. Not only did he failed in dissuading Qin Sheng, he had actually spurred Qin Sheng to be even more determined to carry through with his decision.
“What is there to fear if I am just one person. At most, I would lose my life,” Qin Sheng said coldly and continued, “I will continue fighting as long as I still have the breath in me. If I lose out in terms of my ability, family background, I would even put my life on stake. What can they do to me?”
“You…” Jiang Xianbang pointed his finger at Qin Sheng, being rendered speechless with rage.
Qin Sheng got up, gave Jiang Xianbang a bow and turned to leave.
Jiang Xianbang looked towards Qin Sheng as he walked away, deep in thought. He had done all he could. What more could he do if Qin Sheng had made up his mind? There was no way he could predict the outcome, but at least his conscience was clear.
Jiang Xianbang eventually accepted the reality after a while. Qin Sheng would not be the Qin Sheng he knew if he agreed to what he said.
All Jiang Xianbang could do now was to contact his friend in Gan Xiao as soon as possible. This was the least he could do for Qin Sheng. After firming up the contact, he sent a message to Qin Sheng which contained a contact number and a short message to say that he needed to look for him.
“Sigh, what have I done,” Jiang Xianbang did not know whether to cry or to laugh.
What evil had he done? He had done far too much evil to deserve the life he was living now. He would not be doing Qin Sheng such big favors if not to repay him.
Perhaps this was Karma.
Instead of going back to Tangchen Golf Course directly, he called Xia Ding on the phone to inquire about his whereabouts and what he was doing.
When Xia Ding replied that he was not doing much at home, Qin Sheng got up to go to him immediately.
When he arrived at the gates, he bumped into Xia Ding, who was at that moment seeing a beautiful elegant lady out from his house. The lady was wearing a V-neck black dress, showing her cleavage. She was not the same lady as last time.
Finally, it was Xia Ding’s chauffeur who drove her home. When Xia Ding caught sight of Qin Sheng, he walked up to him and said, “Boss, what’s up? You don’t look good.”
“You are such a playboy. You are going to tire your body out!” Qin Sheng said, clearly displeased.
Xia Ding shook his head and broke out in laughter, “If I say I was drinking red wine and chatting about life in general, would you believe? I am telling the truth!”
“My foot!” Qin Sheng gave him the finger as he scolded.
Instead of getting angry, Xia Ding merely laughed and put his arm around Qin Sheng’s shoulder, he led him into his house. They sat themselves down on the balcony and Xia Ding fetched the leftover red wine. The two men ate peanuts and drank wine while they enjoyed Great Shanghai’s night sights.
Qin Sheng could faintly remember the time he first arrived at Shanghai, when he beheld the skyline standing at Lu Jia Zui. His first reaction was that of awe, and then his wish to find his place in this big city.
Six years had since passed. This time when he returned to Shanghai, the sense of awe in him had disappeared. What was left was his ambitious heart camouflaged under his calm demeanor.
“What are you thinking about, Boss?” Xia Ding asked Qin Sheng, who was deep in thought.
Qin Sheng paused and replied frankly, “Number Three, I have to make a trip to Gan Su tomorrow morning. I would be back soonest by the night after, or it could take three to four days. This could be a dangerous trip for me.”
“Why am I feeling that you are behaving mysteriously on your turn this time, Boss?” Xia Ding responded, feeling puzzled.
Qin Sheng continued, “Please do me a favor if I don’t return. Firstly please take care of my sister’s family. You know she is studying at Fudan University, so she is our junior in school. Last year, her father was put in jail and her mother is recuperating from a serious illness.”
Qin Sheng sounded as if he were giving instructions of preparation for his death. This freaked Xia Ding out.
“Secondly, I will give a handphone number to call. Please thank the lady who answers the call on my behalf. Tell her that I won’t be able to treat her to the hotpot meal I promised her.”
“Thirdly, I would like you to track down an old man living in Beijing named Chen Changsheng. He knows my family background. My grandfather once told me that if I manage to meet up with him, he will tell me everything about myself. But it’s alright even if you can’t find him.”
Qin Sheng became quiet after giving these instructions. Xia Ding was in a daze for a moment. Then he stammered, “Boss, what’s happened? Don’t just shoulder everything alone. You still have us, your brothers!”
“Don’t ask too much. I will explain to you in detail if I come back alive,” Qin Sheng did not wish to disclose further information in fear of implicating Xia Ding and the other brothers.
Qin Sheng remained silent no matter how hard Xia Ding tried to get something out of him until Xia Ding finally gave up. He could only pray for Qin Sheng’s safety and wait patiently for his return.
Qin Sheng did not linger at Xia Ding’s for long. It was only ten thirty by the time he made his way back to his villa at Tang Chen Golf Course.
Chen Beiming had organized ten over bodyguards to stand guard outside and within the villa. These were his trusted subordinates. Moreover, he believed there would not be any foul play around this area since it had been occupied by many wealthy big shots.
Inside the villa, Han Bing was wide awake. She had been staying in the villa for the last few days. This was the first time apart from festive seasons that she had stayed here over such a long duration.
“What are the plans for tomorrow?” Qin Sheng asked Han Bing in a whisper, sitting down next to her on the sofa on the second-floor living area.
It was only when Han Bing heard his voice that she realized Qin Sheng was back. She exclaimed excitedly, “You’re are back?”
Qin Sheng nodded and his face broke out into a smile.
“There is an airport in Tianshui. Tomorrow we will take my father’s private jet to fly to Tianshui directly. When we arrive, there will be someone waiting to bring us to my home. There are still some traditional practices we have to carry out for the burial but everything has been prepared. The morning after tomorrow will be the burial and we will stay for another half a day afterward before we fly back to Shanghai the day after,” Han Bing had everything planned out with Chen Beiming and the relatives in her hometown.
Qin Sheng frowned and said, “Are we staying there for two nights?”
“Indeed. Is there a problem?” Han Bing asked casually.
Shaking his head, Qin Sheng replied, “Nothing, just asking.”
Qin Sheng thought they would be back by the night after tomorrow. Staying one more night was not in his plans, but he was alright with this arrangement since anyways he was prepared for the worst.
“It’s getting late, I am going to bed. Don’t stay up too late too,” Han Bing got up and returned to her bedroom.
After Han Bing left the sofa, Old Wu, who hardly talked to Qin Sheng, came over and slowly sat down opposite Qin Sheng. Old Wu bent over as he sat. Although his wrinkled face told of his age, his body still looked fit and tough and his eyes were still bright with wit.
“You didn’t need to be enmeshed in this,” Old Wu whose hair was completely gray said, smiling.
Qin Sheng had been quietly observing this old man since he came up the stairs. He was aware that the old man was looking at him too.
“I have made a promise to Uncle Han,” Qin Sheng said flatly.
Old Wu fiddled with the old beads in his hands and said, “You may not make it back from this trip to Tianshui.”
“I am aware of that, but I still have to make the trip, otherwise my heart will not be at peace,” Qin Sheng did not try to conceal his thoughts. It was best to be direct and open with this shrewd old man; otherwise, he would make himself look childish.
“Not bad, young lad. It seemed like Guoping was right about you,” Old Wu complimented Qing Sheng to his surprise.
He said with a laugh, “Old man, every man has only one life to live. If he leads an unaccomplished and uninteresting life, he must as well die earlier.”
“To die a good death is better than living a useless life, is this how you youngsters think?” Old Wu seemed not to want to continue his conversation with Qin Sheng. Although he had just sat down a moment ago, he quickly got up to leave after speaking those few words.
After Old Wu left, Qin Sheng went back to the room to rest.
When Qin Sheng got up early the next morning, Han Bing was still sleeping soundly. However, Chen Beiming was already exercising with Old Wu in the garden.
Han Bing woke up only after Qin Sheng finished eating his breakfast. She looked pale and exhausted with dark circles around a pair of swollen eyes. Obviously, she had either slept very little or had a sleepless night.
After breakfast and packing up, Han Bing and her companions were driven to the airport by the family’s bodyguards. Han Bing held on tightly to the urns containing the ashes of her parents throughout the trip.
When the family’s private jet G450 took off, Qin Sheng was filled with mixed feelings as he looked out of the window into the foggy sky of Shanghai. Twenty years ago was the first time he set foot on Shanghai. Twenty years later on this day, he was going to leave this city for good.
His departure this time meant that he was not coming back again.