Once Qin Sheng came out of the room where Jiang Xianbang kept his collections, he went to look for the steward to get Qing’er’s contact number. Thereafter, he headed to the garage to drive the Audi to pick Qing’er up from her music academy. The steward smiled at him while he drove off.
Qin Sheng started making a call to Qing’er during his drive there. Qing’er was Jiang Xianbang’s adopted daughter and a classic beauty. Qin Sheng had a rather good impression on her perhaps because she and Qin Sheng came from similar backgrounds and they share similar experiences because of this.
However, Qing’er did not have a good impression of Qin Sheng, and so she did not keep his contact number. After a few rings, she picked up the phone. “Hello, who’s this?”
“This is Qin Sheng. Uncle Jiang asked me to pick you up,” Qin Sheng went straight to the point. This beauty also was blessed with a beautiful voice and Qin Sheng was sure she was a good singer. Qin Sheng was especially attracted to girls who could sing beautifully, for example, Su Qin. Qing’er could easily score points with him if she could sing well.
Qing’er had just finished her class. When she heard that it was Qin Sheng coming to pick her up, she began to frown and said, “That’s not necessary. I can take a taxi home, thank you.”
Was this a rejection?
Qin Sheng was not surprised that she rejected him, after all, he had offended her time and again. However, he insisted, saying, “I’m about to arrive and anyways it’s not easy to get a taxi here. Moreover, you can’t make me come all this way for nothing.”
Qing’er hesitated for a moment and nodded, saying, “Alright then, wait for me at the east gate. I will give you a call when I come out.”
In Jiang Xianbang’s collections room, there were only him and Chang Baji. Jiang Xianbang walked up to Chang Baji and stretched out an arm, saying, “Old Chang, please take a seat.”
Chang Baji waited for Jiang Xianbang to take his seat before settling on the other yellow rosewood chair next to Jiang Xianbang. These pair of chairs originated from a fallen wealthy family in Zhejiang many years back. It was said that the furniture belonged to the governor of Zhejiang in those days, and was subsequently passed on to the general’s family, then they went around until they landed in this wealthy family. Later on, due to the decline of the family, the furniture was sold to keep their sustenance.
“Old Chang, I suppose Qin Sheng must have mentioned to you about my offer. Are you interested?” Jiang Xianbang said, smiling. However, his smile was a little forced and it definitely did not appear as relaxed as when he was joking around with Qin Sheng.
Chang Baji bluntly replied, “Not much interest.”
This answer caught Jiang Xianbang by surprise. He thought Chang Baji was really a weird guy. Nevertheless, he laughed and said, “This is interesting. Why did you agree to come meet me if you’re not interested?”
“These two are separate matters. I’m curious about you and there’s something I wanted to clarify too,” Chang Baji was one bit intimidated by Jiang Xianbang but was as poised. After all, the both of them had been through a lot in life and were mature and steady in their personalities.
“What about?” Jiang Xianbang asked quizzically.
“I heard from Qin Sheng that you helped out a lot in the matters regarding the Han family. Through some reliable sources, I knew that it’s unlike you to be implicated in troubles. Why would you get involved in this mess for Qin Sheng’s sake? I would also like to know why you make Qin Sheng work in Shangshan Ruoshui. What are your intentions?” Chang Baji asked, puzzled.
Jiang Xianbang burst out laughing and said, “I helped because I’m trying to get him out of trouble. Unless you think I should leave him to die in the street? With regards he joining Shangshan Ruoshui, this is really between me and him. To be more clear, I want to nurture him to be the successor. What do you think of this explanation?”
With regards the collectible items in the room, even Jiang Xianbang had no idea how much were they worth. They were just his toys and he would not allow these items to control him. Jiang Xianbang was never hesitant when it came the time to make use of them.
“Successor?” When Chang Baji heard his explanation, he burst out laughing too, and continued to say, “It doesn’t make sense for you to pass on your great heritage to a young man who is not a kinsman!”
“I don’t have a wife and any children and I can’t bring these along with me when I die. What use is it for me to keep all these to myself?” Jiang Xianbang tried to clarify, knowing that Chang Baji was not aware of his situation.
After listening to Jiang Xianbang’s explanation, Chang Baji began to look at him in a different light. He was indeed an interesting man. However, still perplexed, Chang Baji continued, “Alright, but why Qin Sheng of all people? Are you two acquainted in some special way?”
There was a knock on the door and the steward came in with a pot of brewed tea. Jiang Xianbang handed Chang Baji a cup of tea and waited for the steward to leave the room before he started talking again. “Looks like Qin Sheng did not tell you about his grandfather, Old Master Qin?”
“Old Master Qin? I’ve heard about him alright. He and my master were close friends. In fact, I’ve come to Shanghai to help Qin Sheng on my master’s i nstructions. Otherwise, I would not have left everything back in Xi’an to come to an unfamiliar city to help a young lad.” Since Jiang Xianbang was the one to raise the topic of Old Master Qin, Chang Baji thought it unnecessary for him to keep the fact about his master a secret. Obviously, Jiang Xianbang and Old Master Qin were old friends.
Jiang Xianbang sipped on his tea and say cheerily, “I see. I’m curious as to why you chose to keep such a low profile when you could have been a celebrity in Xi’an given your capabilities?”
“People have different fates. I’m one of those with an aborminable life. An old saint had once advised that I live a humble so as to extend my lifespan. Even Old Master Qin said something similar. Now that I’ve reached forty years old and finally my life is beginning to turn for the better. Perhaps this was the reason my master wanted me to leave Xi’an and come to Shanghai to help Qin Sheng.” Jiang Xianbang believed in fate and luck. After all he had amassed his fortune through acquiring antiques and collectible from digging graves. He could totally relate to what Chang Baji’s reasoning.
Jiang Xianbang knew a thing or two about Zhou Yi, which tallied with his guesses about Chang Baji. Finally he saw the reason for Chang Baji keeping a low profile all his life and he nodded quietly.
“Now can you tell me about yourself?” Chang Baji was naturally curious about Jiang Xianbang’s story.
Sighing, Jiang Xianbang put down the cup of tea in his hand and said, “I had picked Qin Sheng to be my successor, firstly because I can see that he is intelligent and wise. Secondly, I have a long and deep relationship with Old Master Qin. I came from a humble background like you. In fact, I was an orphan who was fortunately taken in by an old man, who taught me to acquire these antiques from graves. I succeeded him after he passed away. Together with a few other friends, we continued running this business until one by one, they also passed away and eventually I was the only one left to run the business. Age is catching up with me and I won’t be living much longer, so I went around in the mountains to seek advise from some wise men. That was when by chance, I met Old Master Qin in Zhongnan Mountains and the crisis I was facing somehow resolved through our fatalistic acquiantance. As I persisted in being pious and charitable, my life made a turn around became smooth-sailing.”
“I see.” Chang Baji could finally see why Jiang Xianbang was willing risk offending some people to help Qin Sheng.
Jiang Xianbang laughed and said, “Let’s come back to what we were discussing. Now that I know everything, I wouldn’t be doing justice to you by letting you be a mere security manager then.”
“I’ll start working for you tomorrow,” Chang Baji interrupted Jiang Xianbang before he could continue talking.
Jiang Xianbang once again burst out laughing. Chang Baji did not disappoint him after all, he enjoyed dealing with people like Chang Baji. He thought in his heart that Qin Sheng would have an easier journey ahead with the help of Chang Baji.
“Why did uncle ask you to come to school to fetch me?” asked Qing’er once she got on the car.
“I suppose your uncle wants to hook us up?” Qin Sheng joked. Since Qing’er tried to avoid him, he thought it would be fun to tease her.
“I don’t like you because you are frivolous,” Qing’er said, displeased.
“That’s not a problem. It’s even better if you don’t like me for now, because I welcome the challenge of conquering a goddess like you. Imagine the sense of achievement when I succeed!” Instead of being put off by what Qing’er said, Qin Sheng sounded determined.
“Are you not afraid that someone will beat you to death by talking like that?” said Qing’er with a sigh.
With an indifferent attitude, Qin Sheng said, “There’re so many people after my life these days. It doesn’t make a difference to have just one more. You can cut queue if you like, ain’t I nice to you?”
“I’m sick of your nonsense,” Qing’er gave up. She had not encountered such a repulsive man. Given a choice, she would not want to see him again, if not for the fact that Uncle Jiang was in good terms with him.
The music academy was not far from Jiang Xianbang’s villa so it did not take long to get back to the villa. Qing’er could not wait to get off the car the moment the car entered the garage. She could not stand being with Qin Sheng for one more second.
When Qin Sheng finally entered the house, Jiang Xianbang and Chang Baji were drinking in the living room while discussing serious business. This took Qin Sheng by surprise and he exclaimed, “What’s happened here?”
With a look of disapproval, Qing’er walked directly up to Jiang Xianbang and took away the wine glass he was holding. “Uncle, how can you be drinking alcohol again?” she cried.
“My spirits are high today, would you drink with this uncle?” Jiang Xianbang responded affectionately. He had always doted on Qing’er.
Chang Baji looked up to see Qing’er and asked, “This is…?”
“Oh, this is my adopted daughter, Qing’er,” Jiang Xianbang introduced. He gestured to Qing’er, saying, “This is Uncle Chang.”
“Hello, Uncle Chang!” Qing’er greeted him politely.
Chang Baji smiled and nodded at Qing’er, thinking in his heart what a pretty girl she was. Although she and Han Bing were pretty in different ways, Chang Baji thought she and Qin Sheng would make a good couple none the less.
Qin Sheng looked disgrunted as he realized that they had confused the way they addressed each other in terms of their generation.
“Qin Sheng, Old Chang had agreed to take over as Shangshan Ruoshui’s security manager, at the same time, he will be also double as the deputy general manager,” Jiang Xianbang said matter-of-factly. This was his impromptu decision. He knew that Chang Baji had agreed to come to work in Shangshan Ruoshui because of Qin Sheng. Jiang Xianbang thought by asking him to be the deputy general manager would show Chang Baji his sincerity.
While Chang Baji was stunned about the arrangement, he remained silent.
Qin Sheng, on the other hand, was rather used to the way Jiang Xianbang operated, so he simply said, “As you wish.”
“Since it’s almost dinner time, I’ve given instructions to the kitchen that a sumptuous meal be prepared for all of us. Let’s drink to our hearts’ content later!” It was almost 6pm and both Jiang Xianbang and Chang Baji were craving for some alcohol.
Qin Sheng looked at the time and realized that it was almost time to go meet Xue Hao and Ms Cheongsum. He did not plan to break the appointment with them, so he tried to excuse himself, saying, “You two go ahead with drinking. I’ve a date, so I’ll make a move first.”
“It’s almost dinner time! Eat first before you leave,” Jiang Xianbang said, frowning.
Qin Sheng chuckled and joked, “I’ve a date with a girl, believe it or not?”
Jiang Xianbang automatically turned to look at Qing’er and wonder what was wrong with this pretty girl. “Is Qing’er not attractive?” He thought.
Qing’er immediately blurted out, “Go quickly.”
Qin Sheng did not try to explain further, but walked straight out of the house to catch a taxi to Green City Huangpu Bay. At the gates, before calling Xue Hao, he bought some fruit as a gesture of courtesy. A moment later, Xue Hao came downstairs to fetch him.
Qin Sheng felt something was amiss. Was this not suppose to be a casual affair? Why did it feel as if Ms Cheongsum had prepared a banquet?