Since the days of old, social hierarchy and different social circles were always there. For example, since the old days, there had always been distinction between the social status of being a official, farmer, manual worker and businessman. It was difficult for people from different strata to sit side by side, such as for the case of Ms Cheongsam, people in her circle would be talking about which company was preparing for IPO, or whose company had secured the investment which company, or which CEO had been expatriated, when the Paris Fashion Show was, or who was touring Europe. As for people in the similar circle as Qin Sheng, they would be talking about how to get their hands on some funds to tide over their need for cash, how the boss was always picking on them, how their meager their monthly salary was not enough to match their spending.
That was why he felt uneasy when Ms. Cheongsam invited him to her house for that meal, just for helping Xue Hao settle a small problem.
Ms Cheongsam had finally spoke her mind.
“Sister Xue, please feel free to tell me what I can do for you, I will try my best to help,” Qin Sheng said calmly, looking into Xue Qingyan’s eyes.
Xue Qingyan, still holding on the the glass of wine, sighed and said, “Nothing much really. It’s regarding Xue Hao. His parents were always busy with work. When his father was posted to work in Shanghai a few years ago, Xue Hao stayed on in Hangzhou and lived with the old master until he came to Shanghai to further his studies in high school. You would’ve realized that Xue Hao has a rather odd character. In fact, most of the time he keeps to himself so he did not have many friends in Shanghai. Both his parents and I would really like him to be more cheerful and positive, however, he does not communicate with us much. I could see he really approved of you and gets along well with you. This is why I’m asking you for help.”
“I don’t really get what you mean, Sister Xue,” Qin Sheng said. Although Xue Hao was odd, they had become friendly because Qin Sheng had not gone through the conventional way of making friends with him. In addition, Qin Sheng did not treat him as a little kid. They could talk and laugh together now that they were getting along quite well, Xue Hao was obviously unwilling to open up to other strangers.
“Xue Hao is doing well in his mathematics and politics, so I’m thinking to ask you to give him tuition on these subjects, given that you graduated from Fudan, you shouldn’t find it difficult. At the same time, you can communicate with us when something is going on with him. What do you think?” Xue Qinyan was aware that her brother was busy with his career, which was just beginning to take off. He obviously would not have the time to take care of Xue Hao’s affairs, so Xue Qingyan naturally wanted to help.
So this was it. Qin Sheng was so worried and thought it was some life-threatening task she wanted him to undertake. However, this also was putting Qin Sheng on a tight spot. After all, his life had just begun to settle down a bit more.
“This?” Qin Sheng started to worry.
Xue Qingyan was anxious as to whether Qin Sheng would reject the request, so she continued, “I’m not talking about giving him tuition everyday. I’m thinking the two days of weekend, when you’re free, perhaps you can give him some help. Only when you’re free, perhaps you can bring him out to cheer him up. Rest assured that I’ll pay you well.”
“Sister Xue, Xue Hao and I are friends, so you don’t need to pay me. I know you’re concerned about him, but you haven’t discussed this with him. I’m fine if he’s agreeable,” said Qin Sheng after hesitating for a moment and decided that he would help. He thought it would be beneficial to him anyways if he maintained a good relationship with Ms Cheongsam.
Xue Qingyan chuckled and said, “Rest assured, I will communicate with him and get back to you.”
It was a sumptuous dinner, but Qin Sheng was still not filled. After he departed from Green City Huangpu Bay and returned to Shilin Huayuan, he went on to eat another bowl of Hunan rice noodles just outside the gates of the community. Thereafter, he made a call to Chang Baji to check if he had left Jiang Xianbang’s villa, and eventually found that Chang Baji was already back in Shilin Huayuan.
Qin Sheng made a phone call to Han Bing to inform her that Chang Baji would be the general manager in Shangshan Ruoshui. She was agreeable to it because she was generally not busy nowadays and it was sufficient to have Hao Lei as both her chauffeur and body guard. It would be wasting Chang Baji’s talent to keep him as her driver anyways and she believed that the package offered by Shangshan Ruoshui would be much more desirable compared to if he remained Han Bing’s bodyguard.
It was the beginning of a new day. This morning, Chang Baji and Qin Sheng had come to Shangshan Ruoshui together. Jiang Xianbang had obviously informed Xu Lancheng through the phone and instructed him to contact Chang Baji. Xu Lancheng could only obey the boss’s orders, but he could not help being curious about the reason his boss wanted to add a deputy general manager.
The usual practice in Shangshan Ruoshui was to conduct a general meeting every Monday and all the employees would be present. Apart from that, the only other time they would have a meeting was when someone committed a grave mistake or if there was a major crisis.
In the hall at the ground floor of Shangshan Ruoshui, Xu Lancheng was standing right a the front and Chang Baji was by his side. Standing around them were the manager of each department. Xu Lancheng had the air of a respected superior when he dressed in a suit. He waited for everyone to arrive before he started making the announcement. “I’m sure all of you are curious about the reason we have called for a meeting today. You would have known that Chen Xiangyang, the manager of security department, had resigned due to personal reasons, so his position had been filled temporarily by Yuan Hua, the deputy manager. The security department is a major department and therefore is held in high esteem in Shangshan Ruoshui. We’re honored to have been able to employ Mr Chang Baji as our new manager. Let’s welcome Mr Chang Baji warmly with our applause as he joins our big family.”
At the start, everyone was wondering why they were calling a meeting, however, when they saw this stranger standing next to Xu Lancheng, they more or less guessed that he was to be the new manager for security department, and it turned out that their guess was correct.
Chang Baji slowly walked forward and waved at everyone, saying, “Thank you.”
“At the same time, Mr Chang Baji will also double as the deputy general manager of Shangshan Ruoshui. It is hoped that all of us can support him and bring Shangshan Ruoshui to the next level, to become a glamorous star. We shall invite Mr Chang Baji to speak a few words,” said Xu Lancheng. He had more or less completed his task after making the introduction speech.
Xu Lancheng handed the microphone to Chang Baji to say a few words. Fortunately, the two had had a half-hour talk in the office about Shangshan Ruoshui before this, when Xu Lancheng more or less ran through what there was to know about the place to Chang Baji.
It was out of everyone’s expectation that the new security manager also doubled as the deputy general manager. This was a first in Shangshan Ruoshui, and it looked like the status of the security department was going to be greatly elevated.
Chang Baji took over the microphone. He was not the least nervous or unfamiliar with such a setting. Wearing a smile on his face, he was ready to give the speech he already prepared for this occasion.
After half an hour when the meeting adjourned, Chang Baji officially became part of Shangshan Ruoshui.
Once the general meeting was adjourned, Chang Baji was to took over the security department immediately. There were altogether within the department and all of them were present today. They were divided into two groups, each led by a deputy manager, while the overall manager would oversee the entire department.
Apart from the Yuan Hua, the other deputy manager was Sun Chao. Each of them led a group of their members to stand on either side of Chang Baji, who was at the center. Yuan Hua had assumed that after Chen Xiangyang resigned, he would be his successor. He had even talked to Xu Lancheng about it, and Xu Lancheng had promised him to put in a good word for him to the boss. Little did he expect that another candidate would appear out of nowhere.
“My name is Chang Baji, as introduced, I will be the manager for the security department. You would know a lot better than what kind of place Shangshan Ruoshui is. Since I’ve taken up this job, I will try my best to be responsible and not allow any mistakes to be committed in the department,” said Chang Baji with a smile. However, the aura he exuberated was intimidating and no one dared to talk at that moment, even Yuan Hua and Sun Chao dared not even lift up their eyes to look at Chang Baji.
“I’m not sure how the previous manager used to treat you, but from this day onwards, I am imposing high and strict expectations on you. Apart from the two deputy managers, the rest of the personnel will be assessed anew. Those who do not live up to the expectation will be dismissed,” Chang Baji said abruptly with a severe expression on his face.
As with any newly appointed manager, he would be full of vigor and aspiration and this was Chang Baji’s first vigorous step, which was to restructure the security department.
“Manager Chang, most of our personnel are longtime employees and their attitude towards work…” Sun Chao blurted out as he frowned. He was aware that a number of them would be made redundant after the assessment. In his mind, Shangshan Ruoshui had not got into trouble for this before and there was no need to go through with such restructuring.
Chang Baji looked intently at Sun Chao and said, “What do you mean? To me, there is no difference between a longtime employee or a newbie. You are well aware of the kind of remuneration the employees are getting in Shangshan Ruoshui. Since this is a high-paying job, there is an expectation for the quality of work, you’re not here just to pass time!”
“Manager Chang, I think it would be wise to discuss with Manager Xu before making the decision,” Yuan Hua said, unconvinced.
Chang Baji had expected the reaction of insubordination from them anyways, so he replied, “I’ve already discussed with Manager Xu and he is agreeable.”
Yuan Hua had nothing more to say since Manager Xu was agreeable, however there were still some among the security personnel who were not happy with the decision. Chang Baji continued, “I know you are not totally satisfied about my demands. I know you would be questioning my authority.”
“If you like, you can challenge me. To me, all 24 four of you are garbage,” Chang Baji’s domineering character was suddenly apparent.
Immediately, the entire security department was infuriated by the statement Chang Baji made and especially Yuan Hua and Sun Chao were ashen faced.
While the security department was still conducting their meeting, the other department had started their day of work. However, some busybodies were peering through the windows upstairs to see what kind of a person this deputy general manager was.
“We are here to do our work, not to be humiliated by you,” someone who could not bear it any longer cried out to Chang Baji.
Not only did Chang Baji expect such a reaction, in fact he was glad someone reacted. He smiled and said, “Good, I like you. Everyone is here to do work, not to be humiliated. Precisely for this reason, I would not allow any of you to bring shame to Shangshan Ruoshui. To continue working here, you have to be approved by me. When you’re being approved by me, you will be my brothers. From then on, I will stand up for you no matter who bullied you, including Manager Xu. On the other hand, if you fail to receive my approval, please leave. This place is not a shelter for the worthless people.
Garbage, worthless people… the terms Chang Baji used were razor-sharp so much so that these people were offended and provoked to anger, including Xun Chao. Never had they been so infuriated. Yuan Hua was the only one who maintained his composure as he fixed his gaze on Chang Baji.
“We can’t be judged based on your words. I want to know how you would consider a person worthy, what should we do to win your approval?” another person cried out.
Chang Baji slowly removed his jacket and threw it onto the ground. With a cold voice, he said, “Since you are all security guards of Shangshan Ruoshui, you must at least be able to fight. Otherwise what would happen if some violent, brutal guy turns up to make trouble? You might even lose your life! That is why to win my approval, you must be able to beat me. But like I said, you are all useless because I believe none of you can beat me.”
“Alright, I will try to see who is the real useless person here,” the first security guard who could not hold in his emotion came forward. So far, he was among the top few in terms of fighting skills in every assessment, which was why he had the guts to stand up to Chang Baji.
Pointing at him, Chang Baji said, “Ok, let’s start from you.”
With a wave of his arm, Chang Baji had the rest retreat five meters.
That particular security personnel glared at Chang Baji, but Chang Baji maintained his cool mannerism and looked back at him with contempt. Provoked by Chang Baji’s heck-care look, the security personnel in question cried out suddenly as he charged towards Chang Baji.
Chang Baji remained glued to the ground.
In the twinkling of an eye, the security personnel had already come close to Chang Baji and lifting his leg, aimed his kick at Chang Baji’s waist.
At this instant, Chang Baji did not try to dodge his opponent’s kick but clipping the man’s leg with his arms, he pushed him backwards with a great force.
Following that, he turned at lightning speed and gave the man a flying kick on his shoulder. The man flew backwards through the air like a kite whose string just snapped.
One move, just one single move.
There was a sudden outcry from the spectators…