When a group of men got together, there had to be alcohol. Otherwise, they would feel something was amiss and that the supposed climax in the atmosphere would never be reached or that the relationship would not progress to the next level. This was especially true for entertaining purposes, when alcohol must be served. This was the so-called ‘Wine-at-the-table culture’ in China.
However, the ones who drank end up suffering later on, especially the young men who tried too hard and thought the more one drank, the more mighty he was.
Such as the Qin Sheng, who had tried to be the hero. At this moment, he was squatting there vomiting, and could hardly get up. It was a very embarrassing moment for him. Although Xue Qingyan found the sight nauseating, she remained by Qin Sheng’s side to take care of him, offering him a bottle to rinse his mouth when he needed it.
It was only after about 10 minutes that Qin Sheng finally recovered.
“Are you feeling better?” Xue Qingyan asked with a pained expression. She knew exactly how it felt to have drunk too much alcohol because she had been through it herself.
Qin Seng took two big gulps of water and breathing a long sigh of relief, said, “Yes, finally I’m feeling better, let’s get going.”
Fortunately, the hotel where they were staying was Hotel Shangri La, which was next to Xuanwu Lake, so it was not too far from New Street. This meant that Qin Sheng did not have to suffer much longer before they reached the hotel. When they finally arrived, the two employees helped Qin Sheng up to his room, with Xue Qingyan’s room just next to his. Xue Qingyan did not go back to her room straight away but instructed the two employees to prepare some porridge for Qin Sheng before he went to bed. She believed this would make Qin Sheng feel better.
Once Qin Sheng entered his room, he first washed his face to make himself more awake. Xue Qingyan, who was sitting on the bed then did not know whether to laugh or cry. She said, “I thought you wouldn’t get drunk even after a thousand glasses of wine!”
“It’s all for you, my Big Sister. I’d rather be made drunk then to have you made drunk,” Qin Sheng said, drying his face with a towel.
“It is worthwhile?” Xue Qingyan said thoughtfully.
After dinner, Xue Qingyan received a message which but did not understand its implication. There was some discrepancy between what was discussed and what Qin Sheng said earlier.
“Of course it’s worth it. I’ve to perform well so you will look at me in a different light. Perhaps then you will make some recommendations for me, so I wouldn’t stay in Shangshan Ruoshui as an attendant forever. I’m making an investment,” Qin Sheng said directly.
Little did Xue Qingyan expect Qin Sheng to be so direct and this was making her feel a little embarrassed.
However, since Qin Sheng was so forthright, Xue Qingyan played along and said, “Don’t get angry with me, but I have got a question for you, Qin Sheng.”
“Please say it, Big Sister. Why should I get angry with such a beautiful lady?” Qin Sheng was still not totally clear-minded as seen from his glib tongue.
Looking at Qin Sheng intently and said, “Earlier, you said you were an orphan, but when I did some investigation, I found that not only are your parents still around, you even have a sister. Just that they are surnamed ‘Lin’ and you, ‘Qin’. Please don’t get angry with me, I just wanted to be safe. I hope you can understand.”
Qin Sheng quickly realized that Xue Qingyan must have done an investigation on him when he gave her his identity card. To people like Xue Qingyan, it was always wise to do so when a stranger came into their lives or when they were looking for someone whom they could trust. It was a double safety measure that they had to take.
“I totally understand. If I were you, I would’ve done the same thing. It’s always better to be cautious, so bad things don’t happen,” said Qin Sheng, smiling. “I was an orphan, but I still had to go to school. This was why my grandfather put me with the Lins. Uncle Lin and his wife are my adoptive parents. I lived with them during my schooling years.”
“I see,” Xue Qingyan nodded quietly. Her doubts were finally cleared after Qin Sheng’s explanation.
However, overcome with curiosity, she continued to ask, “Did your grandfather not tell you more about your real parents?”
Qin Sheng sighed and said, “No. Although I did ask him, he never breathed a word about them. All he said was if one day, I can’t take it anymore, I should go look for an old man named Chen Changsheng in Beijing, and he will tell me everything about me.”
Xue Qingyan’s expression changed slightly when she heard this. The name Chen Changsheng seemed to ring a bell. Seemingly, he was some sage. How was he related to Qin Sheng’s grandfather and his family? Did Qin Sheng actually come from a complicated family? Xue Qingyan’s interest was kindled further.
“So have you been to look for that old man?” Xue Qingyan questioned, unable to understand what was on Qin Sheng’s mind.
Qin Sheng burped, then continued, “No. It’s been so many years and I’m used to being in this state. There has to be a reason for everything. If my real parents want to have me back, they would’ve looked for me years ago. Perhaps I shouldn’t have existed in their world. I guess I will just continue living in this way, so we don’t disrupt each other’s lives. Moreover, I rather like being in the state of being carefree.”
“Alright, if this is how you’re going to comfort yourself,” Xue Qingyan said helplessly. She just could not understand Qin Sheng’s thinking.
Qin Sheng’s stomach felt much better after chatting with Xue Qingyan and it was at this moment, her subordinates came back with the porridge. She urged Qin Sheng to finish up the porridge. “How’re you feeling now?” She asked after Qin Sheng was done eating.
“Comfy,” Qin Sheng said with a smile.
With a smile on her face, Xue Qingyan got up and said, “Since you are feeling much better now, I shall retire for the day. Tomorrow will be a busy day, so you rest early too.”
After sending Xue Qingyan out, Qin Sheng did a quick wash up and then stood at the window to take a moment to enjoy the beautiful night lights. He had always loved large windows which stood from the ceiling to the floor. It gave an unblocked vision which lifted one’s mood. Xuanwu Lake was right outside and his grandfather once told him that he had been to Nanjing a long time ago and stayed here for almost half a year. During which time, he traveled to many points in Nanjing in order to familiarize himself with the geomancy of this place. There were different layers to geomancy and only by making an onsite observation could who be able to have a thorough knowledge of its geomancy.
As he stood by the window, Qin Sheng smoked a stick of cigarette before he retired for the day. As he turned around to walk to his bed, he inadvertently saw a small, flashing red light coming from the aircon unit. His expression changed as he sensed something amiss. He carried a stool and placed it directly below the aircon to check it out. As he opened the aircon unit, he was stunned.
There he found a pinhole camera inside the aircon.
Infuriated, Qin Sheng pulled out the camera, stepped on it and tossed it into the dustbin. Extrapolating the fact that there was even a camera in his room, there must be another one in Xue Qingyan’s room. If Ms. Cheongsam was already sleeping, everything she did before that would have been captured by the camera.
Cursing under his breath in rage, Qin Sheng rushed to the room next door and stared knocking.
“Rap, rap, rap.”
The knocking on the door sounded really urgent, Xue Qingyan thought. Luckily, she had not gone to bed yet. In fact, she had just opened her laptop to browse through what she needed to do the next day. She was still thinking about how to recover her capital in a way that would not anger Du Jiang.
“Are you asleep, Big Sister?”
She wondered who it could be at this late hour when she heard Qin Sheng’s voice. She was puzzled as to what Qin Sheng wanted. Unless he was having some outrageous thoughts while he was not fully recovered from the alcohol, otherwise, why was he knocking on the door?
“What am I thinking?” Xue Qingyan snapped herself out of her thoughts, got up and opened the door for Qin Sheng.
Once the door was opened, Qin Sheng, who still smelt of alcohol, forced his way in. Xue Qingyan was shocked and thought he was really up to no good, but she truly was not strong enough to resist him with the strength of her arms.
“What’s happening to you?” asked Xue Qingyan, frowning.
Qin Sheng, seeing that Ms. Cheongsam was still wearing the set of clothes from dinner, breathed a sigh of relief. She obviously had not gone to bed. Closing the door behind him, Qin Sheng said, “Thank goodness, you haven’t gone to bed yet! Otherwise, those people would have seen everything about you.”
“What do you mean?” Xue Qingyan was even more confused than before.
Qin Sheng anxiously replied, “Don’t you understand what I’m trying to say already? There’s a pinhole camera in your room and mine room. We have been spied upon.”
“What?” Xue Qingyan cried out in shock.
Qin Sheng, who thought it unnecessary to explain in words, took a stool and put it under the aircon, and eventually pulled out a pinhole camera from it, and threw it onto the floor.
Xue Qingyan stared hard at the pinhole camera on the floor for a long time, totally dumbfounded.
Thereafter, Qin Sheng searched the entire room twice over and found two bugs attached to the bedside table and under the table respectively. By then, Xue Qingyan was speechless.
“Who was the one who arranged the room booking?” Qin Sheng asked, squinting.
Xue Qingyan replied, “The people in our office in Nanjing.”
“Damn it, there must be an undercover within our company’s office in Nanjing, who had an agreement with Du Jiang. Son of a bitch!” Qin Sheng cursed.
Xue Qingyan pondered for a few seconds, gritted her teeth and asked, “How did you find out about the camera?”
“By luck, I guess. I saw a blinking red light coming out from the aircon vent. Immediately, I could feel instinctively that something was wrong. That’s how I found out,” Qin Sheng explained.
Xue Qingyan was finally getting angry inside her. However, she tried not to burst out her anger but kept it under control. “We can’t stay in these rooms, let’s pack up and change to other rooms.”
Xue Qingyan did not feel at ease even though Qin Sheng had checked every corner of the room.
After some thought, Qin Sheng agreed with Ms. Cheongsam, and the two packed their bags and changed to two other rooms.
By the time things were settled, it was almost one in the morning.
Xue Qingyan was finally at ease after she settled into the new room. Thanking Qin Sheng profusely, she went back to her room to rest. She made up her mind to sift through all her employees in Nanjing after this episode. This was too much!
Du Jiang’s man, who was spying on Xue Qingyan and Qin Sheng had immediately informed Du Jiang when the pinhole cameras had been discovered. This man was none other than Du Jiang henchmen. They used to buddies when Du Jiang was still doing illegal business. He had been the one to help Du Jiang carry out those illegal things after Du Jiang had turn over a new leaf.
Now that they had been found out and his henchmen urgently wanted to report the incident to him. However, Du Jiang had not recovered from his drunkenness still, so his henchmen had to wait until the next day.
Qin Sheng was awake at six the next morning. He took a hot shower and went for a jog around Xuanwu Lake.
Sangbo, Houhu were the old names given to Xuanwu Lake. It had a history of over 2000 years. It used to be part of the royal gardens and was only opened to the public towards the end of the Qing Dynasty. Its radius was about five miles and the lake itself was divided into six sections, namely, Xuzhou, Huanzhou Yingzhou, Lingzhou, Liangzhou, and Cuizhou. Each section was connected by bridges and each section was surrounded by some hills as well as water bodies. A poet from the Sung Dynasty named Ouyang Xiu once wrote a phrase which meant the capital was not as beautiful as the lake at the back of it.
After jogging around Xuanwu Lake twice, Qin Sheng went back to his hotel room and took another shower before making a call to Xue Qingyan to wake her up for breakfast, thinking that she must have gotten out of bed by then. It was already 8am after all.
Xue Qingyan picked up the phone, chuckled as she said, “I was about to call you, but you beat me to it. So you’ve been up?”
“I was up since 6 am and I have run round Xuanwu Lake twice. The jog made my day,” Qin said as he chuckled.
Surprised, Xue Qingyan said, “Wow, you’re early.”
“I’m used to it.”
“What a good habit. Alright, let’s go for breakfast.”
After hanging up, Qin Sheng left his room only to bump into Xue Qingyan who was also coming out of her room. The two took their breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant and afterward set out to go to the company’s Nanjing office.