Ji Ran no longer asked about the project. Once he went back to work, he passed the file over to Xu Lin to hand over to Ji Wei.
Qin Man frowned. “You’re not going to wait for me to consider?”
“There’s nothing to consider. Only a fool would sign it. Are you a fool?”
After Xu Lin left, Qin Man asked him, “Will Uncle make things difficult for you?”
However, Ji Ran didn’t care. “He won’t.”
In the last twenty years, their relationship was purely based on money. Ji Guo Zheng never cared about him and neither did he scold him; they were just like two strangers who might not even wave to each other on the same street.
As he was tidying up the weekly report, a call from Cheng Peng came.
“Are you free to talk?” Cheng Peng’s tone seemed a little down.
“I am.” Ji Ran put down his pen and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” Cheng Peng didn’t elaborate further and simply told him, “I haven’t gotten the staff ID yet, but I’ve found new information.”
Ji Ran’s heart skipped, expression growing grim. “Go on.”
“The perpetrator bought a new property in Zhongyu District.”
Ji Ran suddenly stood up. He took his phone and walked out until he reached the balcony.
“How could he afford it? Whose name is it under?”
“Of course not, it’s under his daughter’s name. The prices of property at Zhongyu have recently been rising. I did a rough calculation, but she shouldn’t have been able to afford it. Of course, eliminating all other possibilities, the chances of this happening is still very slim.”
After so many years, this matter finally made a little progress. How could he not be excited?
He maintained his calm. “Continue to investigate where the money came from as well as his daughter. Investigate them all.”
“I understand. But it may also be that we are too sensitive to this matter. You just need to work hard, I will keep you updated.”
“I’m hanging up. I still have an auction to attend in a few days,” Cheng Peng said, “By the way, will Yong Shi participate in the auction for the land at Wang Xing? Your father should have already told you about this.”
“Yeah, but I already refused. I don’t know if they are participating. Why, are you also interested in that land?”
“Nah, I have my eyes on another piece of land. The one at Wang Xing is too large, it’s useless for me.” Cheng Peng cleared his throat, “I’m hanging up.”
Ji Ran couldn’t help asking one more question. “You’re really fine?”
“What else could there be?”
“En, then it’s been hard on you. I’ll treat you to a meal some other time. Thanks.”
“We’re brothers, no need for it.”
When Ji Ran returned to the office, Qin Man looked up from the document he was reading. “You went out to smoke again?”
His excitement from earlier hadn’t yet subsided, so he was in a rather good mood. “What?
“Nothing.” Qin Man moved his chair and faced Ji Ran. He crossed his legs and sank into contemplation. “Haven’t you been smoking too much?”
“You’ve been mooching off my cigarettes everyday, how do you not feel any shame while saying those words?
Qin Man laughed, “But I’ve held back.”
Ji Ran internally called his bullshit. Back on the balcony, who was the one who insisted on wanting to have a taste?
The door was pushed open and Qu Ran came in with a sealed bag. “Assistant Qin, here is your parcel.”
Qin Man took it with surprise. “Mine?”
He couldn’t think of who would deliver something to him at Yong Shi. With narrowed eyes, he noticed the words ‘Man Cheng Middle School’ printed on it.
Opening it, he found that it was an invitation letter from his alma mater.
Ji Ran also saw it. He lifted his head and said, “You valedictorians sure are amazing. After graduating for so many years, the school still thinks about sending you these.”
“It’s also my first time receiving it. Maybe it’s because this year’s anniversary is the end of a whole decade, so they decided to have a grander celebration.”
Qin Man opened it up and noticed the design of the card was rather casual with an image of the school messily printed in a corner. He scanned the contents of the card and asked, “Are you going?”
“Me?” Ji Ran sneered, “Do you think they will invite me?”
“Why not? You used to be present under the national flag every week.”
Ji Ran was too skinny back in school. He was dragged to the flag-raising ceremony practically every week and criticized.
At first, he would obediently go. Later, he would simply skip the ceremony. The teachers knew his family’s background and didn’t care about him.
Ji Ran asked him, “…Are you itching for a beating?”
“Do you want to go back and have a look?” Qin Man picked up the card. “The invitation says that you can take a family member.”
Ji Ran was taken aback before he said, “Who is your family? I won’t go, what’s so good about that stupid place?”
Qin Man nodded and stuffed the invitation back into the envelope.
Ji Ran’s eyes couldn’t help but be drawn to it. “When is the celebration? If it’s a work day, remember to apply for leave with me.”
“Not sure, I didn’t look carefully.”
Ji Ran paused. “You aren’t going?”
“What’s the point of me going if you aren’t? ”
They had also invited him to give a speech on stage and answer any college entrance examination questions raised by the students on the spot.
He was tired of writing speeches and wasn’t interested in memorising one.
Ji Ran said, “…I’m not your classmate. Why does it matter to you whether I go?”
Qin Man smiled, but did not answer. Instead, he threw those things aside.
On the way home after work, Ji Ran received a call from Yue Wen Wen.
“Ran Ran, did you see Weibo today?”
Now, whenever Ji Ran heard the word ‘Weibo’, he would only feel annoyed.
Luckily, he wasn’t driving. He leaned backwards and asked impolitely, “I haven’t, what’s wrong? Is Laozi trending again?”
“It’s not you,” Yue Wen Wen laughed, “It’s Gu Zhe.”
Ji Ran raised an eyebrow. “What happened to him?”
“His bad deeds are trending.” Yue Wen Wen coughed lightly and began to recall, “He was revealed to be a second generation of the wealthy Gu family with a bad personality. He had drugged many women and even beat up one of the women’s boyfriends. The police have already begun the investigation.”
“Although his name was not clearly stated in the news, netizens, like the last time, had put up all of Gu Zhe’s information in the comments.”
Fair enough. A fool like Gu Zhe only knew how to use such lowly methods.
“What’s there to be happy for? This matter will probably be suppressed by his dad in the next few days.”
Gu Zhe was his father’s only child. He didn’t need to think about it to know that the other party would not let him off.
“It’s not that easy. It’s a fact that Gu Zhe did all these and it was even reported by those girls with evidence. Now, the police have issued a report and Gu Zhe’s detainment has been written in blue!” Yue Wen Wen continued, “No matter how powerful his father is, it’s impossible to snatch someone from the police station.”
Ji Ran asked suspiciously, “Really?”
“How could it be fake? Alright, hang up for now. I want to curse him a little more before the hot search disappears. I even used my main account to control the momentum. My fans are also very strong. Thousands of comments below are all scolding Gu Zhe. I’m very happy!”
Ji Ran’s heart shook. “Wait.”
“Do you know if it’s possible to leave the hot search up for a little longer?”
“Probably, but you’d need to spend some money since the other side will also think of ways to remove it…” Yue Wen Wen froze. “Ran Ran, you aren’t thinking of…?”
If one had to say what Ji Ran’s creed in life was, it would be–
I won’t offend those who don’t offend me.
But if someone offends me, they must die.
“Go and help me tell them, the price doesn’t matter. Don’t let this hot search disappear. Money is not a problem.”
Thinking of how his drink had been drugged at the bar that day, Ji Ran sneered, “Even if my family goes bankrupt, I must have Gu Zhe stay there for another day.”
Qin Man held the steering wheel, a smile forming at the corner of his lips.
What a vengeful man.
He wanted to say there wasn’t a need. Even if Ji Ran didn’t do anything, Gu Zhe wouldn’t be able to come out of the trending topic in a short period of time.
However, thinking about it, he decided to let it go. It was not a bad idea to give his junior brother a chance to vent – it was better than having him swallow his unhappiness.
Gu Zhe stayed on the hot search for three entire days. Regardless of position, his name never disappeared and in fact, more dirt on him was dug up.
Due to this, Ji Ran’s friends on WeChat learnt of another rumour…
“Are you there? Buddy? Want to talk about being drugged?”
Ji Ran was lying on the sofa in the living room playing with his mobile phone. He couldn’t help but sigh when he swiped away this line of words for the Nth time. After he rejected the other party’s invitation, he continued to scroll through Weibo.
This platform was really powerful. A simple post like this had tens of thousands of comments and reposts.
He was already prepared to spend a lot of money on Gu Zhe, but he didn’t expect not to use them at all. Perhaps the nature of this matter was too bad and it touched the bottom line of women. Gu Zhe’s attention and enthusiasm had always been high.
“Still looking at this?” Qin Man sat next to him while reading a file. He carelessly glanced towards Ji Ran’s screen and asked, “Are you having fun?”
Ji Ran answered honestly, “Yeah.”
Although he had also experienced the pain of being lynched online, he never thought of himself as a good person. Moreover, he did not abide by the principle of not doing unto others what he didn’t want for himself. Therefore, he would not feel guilty for the abuse Gu Zhe received.
In fact, the girls who were hurt by him didn’t deserve what happened to them either.
Ji Ran threw his phone aside and got up to get a glass of water. Halfway there, the doorbell suddenly rang.
He walked to the peephole and peered.
It was Gu Cheng. He was tall and expressionless, with several burly men behind him exerting great pressure.
Ji Ran had seen Gu Cheng at a parent-teacher conference before and could recognise him at a glance.
Qin Man asked, “Who is it?”
“A delivery.” Ji Ran replied flatly. “I’ll go get it.”
He walked to the main door and looked at this group of muscle-heads through the metal gate. His expression remained unchanged, without any hint of panic.
With them here, Ji Ran didn’t bother to ask how they found his address. “What is it?”
Gu Cheng unexpectedly raised his eyebrows. He didn’t expect Ji Ran to be so calm and unperturbed.
“Are you free? Let’s have a chat.”
Ji Ran glanced at the people behind him. “Just a chat?”
Gu Cheng lifted a hand and the people behind him immediately returned to the car. “Don’t worry, I didn’t plan to do anything this time, at least. It’s just a habit to bring them everywhere.”
The implication in these words was that he couldn’t guarantee it the next time.
Ji Ran sneered. Who was he trying to scare?
“If you have anything you want to say, just say it here.”
Gu Cheng frowned. “Let’s go in and talk. It’s inconvenient here.”
“My boyfriend and I are having fun and getting high. It’s even more inconvenient for an old man like you to come in.” Ji Ran crossed his arms and said lazily, “Just spit it out quickly. You’re already nearing sixty, can you not beat around the bush?”
Gu Cheng, who just turned 40 this year: “…”