The Deputy of Xiao Qi Tong turned out to be a better cook than the Dragon Head Master - a little bit better. Half an hour later, several triad members sat at the table, facing a few plates of tar-black substance and eating the cakes they brought. They drank beer and chatted, while He Chusan stood alone by the stove, sighing and brushing oil onto the few surviving sausages.
After the sauce was applied, he squatted down and picked up the book that was kicked aside by Big Boss Xia, flipping through a few pages and starting to read again.
Before he could read much, the book was stomped into the sand, “I’m not going to burn the book, but you instead.”
“Then no one is able to grill the sausages.” He Chusan chuckled.
Xia Liuyi kicked him and squatted down next to him, stuffing a piece of cake into his mouth.
“Hm, it’s good.”
“Little Luo made it.”
“Do you like it? I’ll learn to make it for you.”
“No need.” Xia Liuyi had lost interest in cakes since the tragic teeth replacement on Children’s day this year.
“I can bake biscuits then. What do you think about biscuits?”
“Biscuits are better than cakes. You need to eat more hard things to grind your teeth. Don’t just eat soft food.”
Blue sky, white clouds, sea, and sand, two big men squatted behind a smoky stove, having a sticky love talk. Suddenly, they smelled something burnt and jumped up instantly.
“Are the sausages also burnt? Will we have anything to eat today, Big Boss!” said Cui Dongdong.
These gangsters grilled after over-burning everything and over-burnt everything after grilling. The result was an afternoon of half-burnt half-raw barbecue and a messy beach, with glasses and plates all over the table and sauces and food all over the ground. They then waved the beer bottles, splashed the waves in the sea, laughed, and chased each other. Little Ma held Big Scar Head, trying to get his head into the sea. Big Scar Head arched his back and threw Little Ma into the water instead. Cui Dongdong and the singsong girl enjoyed the show on the side, cheering them on.
Only He Chusan carried a big bag, squatting where they were and nicely picking up the rubbish.
Xia Liuyi came over with a cigarette in his mouth, sand all over his bare feet, “You can stop. Leave it there.”
“I’m coming soon,” said He Chusan.
Xia Liuyi squatted down next to him and picked up an empty beer bottle, giving him a hard-looking knock on the head, “F**king pretentious, only you have public morals!"
“A clean Hong Kong is built by everyone.” College Student He educated him with a head shake and put the bottle in his hand into the bag too.
Xia Liuyi slapped his head again, “Don’t chatter with me! Will you die from cleaning it later? Watch the sunset with me!”
“We can also watch it from here,” He Chusan showed a teasing smile, grabbing his hand.
Big Boss Xia flushed and subconsciously shook his hand off but couldn’t shake him away.
The sunset dyed the sea a vivid blood red. A seagull cried and glided across the sky, soaring over the evening tumble of the sea. He Chusan put down the rubbish bag in his hand, walking to Xia Liuyi with the red dusk at his back.
Xia Liuyi stepped back, mirroring his movements, glancing at the bodyguards that stood not far away from them.
He Chusan looked back at the bodyguard. He suddenly changed his face dramatically and screamed while pointing at somewhere, “Police!”
As soon as the bodyguards turned their heads, the Best Actor He pulled away Big Boss Xia’s cigarette, giving him a hard kiss on the mouth!
When the bodyguards, who didn't see anything, turned around, they only saw He Chusan curled up on the beach, covering his stomach and grimacing as he tried to get up. Big Boss Xia had already walked off in the distance in anger and embarrassment, walking and shaking his painful, bare, foot, which just kicked He Chusan.
“Come take the photo!” Cui Dongdong shouted in the sunset, “Hurry up! The sun is going down!”
Xia Liuyi took a few steps forward and looked back at He Chusan, who was still dawdling on the beach, going back and lifting him up in a rude manner, dragging him and running over to Cui Dongdong. He Chusan took the opportunity to rely on him. They pulled at each other and squeezed into the crowd in front of the camera. Cui Dongdong already had her arm around Xiao Luo, and Big Scar Head picked the least eye-catching position. A bodyguard held a large camera, “Big Boss, Big Sister, Mr. He, Miss Luo, Brother Ma, Brother Scar, please look at the camera together. I'll count one, two, three, and you’ll shout the slogan ......”
“One, two, three -”
"Rich!" Everyone shouted in unison. Little Ma suddenly leaped out and forced his head between his Big Boss and He Chusan, grinning broadly while shouting.
“Ka-chow!” The photo was framed.
In the evening, Xia Liuyi sent He Chusan back to his rented tung lau house in the Western District.
He Chusan got out of the car and invited him by climbing on the window, “It's still early, why don't you go up and take a seat?”
“I have an appointment tonight to talk about something.”
“Then I'll go see you next week?”
“What do you want to eat, I'll buy the ingredients and bring it.”
Little Ma impatiently poked his head out from the car, behind them, looking at He Chusan bending over and talking to Xia Liuyi by the car window, and impatiently sat back, “F**k, when will he finish?”
“Why are you in a hurry when the couple is saying goodbye?” Cui Dongdong said in his car.
“Boss Dongdong, don’t say ‘the couple’. That’s creepy! I think the brat of the Hes really looks like a gei-lou!*1 I must keep him away from Big Boss!”
“......” You finally found out, straight guy?
Ten minutes later, real gei-lou He Chusan stood alone by the road, watching Xia Liuyi’s cars disappear at the turning. Rubbing his mouth and thinking of the feeling, he sighed and went upstairs.
Taking out the flashlight from the file bag, he felt something was wrong at the moment he reached the first floor.
There was a familiar smell in the air, familiar and unsettling, but for a moment he couldn't remember what it was.
He hesitantly stopped, quietly took a deep breath, and was just about to turn and run away -when he was pressed onto the wall by two tough men!
Before he could call for help, his mouth was covered with a cloth, followed by his hands and feet being tied in the middle of the struggle. His eyes were covered with darkness and “flew” up in a daze!
“Umm…Umm…” He struggled desperately in the darkness, and only then did he remember what that smell was - The familiar smell of sacks!
But this time, the person who “invited” him over was certainly not asking him to write a script.
The cemetery at the bottom of the hill was a plain gray stone forest facing the sea. The dim light reflected the back of a lonely walking man. The angels carved on the stone monuments lining the road watched him with vacant eyes as he climbed to the end of the stairs.
There stood an old monument, and in front of the grave stood a man with a cold expression. Hearing footsteps, the man turned his head.
Lu Guangming, holding a bouquet of flowers, said while walking, “You're here as I guessed.”
Xie Jiahua watched him approach in silence.
Lu Guangming bent and put the flowers down, and then lowered his head and drew a cross. He then turned to Xie Jiahua and said, “Why didn't you answer my call?”
Xie Jiahua watched him play innocent with an expressionless face. Lu Guangming grimaced for a while, knowing he couldn’t pretend anymore, and took back the painful expression, smiling again, “What’s wrong? Did you find out anything?”
“You grew up in an orphanage and had no kinship with Tang Jiaqi. He cannot be your cousin.”
Lu Guangming narrowed his eyes and smiled like a fox, “Sorry, my apologies. You’re too hard to approach, and I mentioned Tang Jiaqi to let down your defenses and accept me. Didn’t we have a good talk after that?”
Xie Jiahua suddenly gave him a slap!
“You use a deceased person to cheat for information, don't you think you are despicable and shameless?!”
Lu Guangming’s head tilted from the slap. Moving the corners of his mouth slightly, he turned his head back, still smiling as if nothing had happened, “Don't be angry. I brought you a big gift today. Don't you want Xia Liuyi to collapse?”
He took out a roll of film from his pocket and handed it to Xie Jiahua.
Xie Jiahua's face was cold, and he didn't take it. The only two encounters they had had made him disgusted with Lu Guangming's words and actions. He did not believe Lu Guangming's “big gift”.
Lu Guangming said good-naturedly, “I found it in Xia Liuyi's 'friend's' house, the place where you arrested Xia Liuyi.”
Xie Jiahua remained silent.
“This ‘friend’s’ relationship with Xia Liuyi, which I assume you know, is indeed interesting. Although he is a white-collar man with an innocent background, he is very close to Xia Liuyi in his private life. Moreover, look at the photos he took secretly, from up and down, all the angles. They are almost all private portraits. It seems he’s deeply in love with Xia Liuyi.”
Xie Jiahua had already known He Chusan saved Xia Liuyi two years ago and they had an unusual friendship from A-Biao’s report. It was with this information he found Xia Liuyi at He Chusan’s place. He looked at Lu Guangming indifferently, waiting for his great speech.
Lu Guangming narrowed his eyes and smiled, “Xie-Sir, in fact, to bring down these triads, you do not have to do it yourself. Sit on the mountain and watch the tigers fight, waiting for them to defeat each other, and then you can kill them both. Is it not more convenient?”
Xie Jiahua frowned, “What did you do?”
“I found some way to inform Master Qiao of the Wo Yi Society about the relationship between these two people. I heard that he lost the fight with Xia Liuyi for Fat Qi’s territory and was looking for an opportunity to take revenge on Xia Liuyi...”
Before he finished his sentence, he was slapped again!
Tilting his head and remaining silent looking to a wrinkled portrait on the roadside for a while, he turned his head back stiffly, and Xie Jiahua had walked far away.
He raised his hand and wiped the blood dripping from the corner of his mouth, frowning and muttering, “Why do you slap on the same side every time?”
He was even more aggrieved after thinking about it for a while and shouted at Xie Jiahua's back, “Hey! What was this time for!”
He Chusan woke up in a room full of light, feeling dizzy for a while before he could observe the house's condition. It looked like an abandoned warehouse, and the air was thick with the floating smell of gasoline. His hands and feet were bound tightly with ropes, and he was pressed to the floor by several gangsters. A man in his forties with a sickly face sat in front of him with a placid smile.
“How long have you been Xia Liuyi’s?” Master Qiao opened his mouth, his voice was unusually hoarse and vague as if his throat had been cut.
Ordinarily, someone would be frightened after such an incident if they were not already terribly scared. However, this wholesome-looking young man first looked around cleverly and looked up to glance at him, and then answered with an innocent, obedient face, “I’ve never been his.”
Master Qiao lifted his chin, and the 49er behind He Chusan smashed down a pole immediately! He Chusan grunted, trembling and gritting his teeth. A strand of blood trickled down his forehead and dripped down his cheek to the ground.
“I heard that you have an unusual relationship with him,” Master Qiao continued with his placid smile, “I can’t imagine Xia Liuyi favors this type.”
He Chusan gasped and strained to explain, “I'm really not his, or I should have moved to his place. Why else would I live alone in such a shabby house and be caught by you.”
Master Qiao lifted the corners of his mouth, “Yah, Xia Liuyi is so petty with you. Even I would think you don’t deserve it.”
He raised his hand, and the man behind him took out a cell phone, pressed the number, and offered it to him.
After a few rings, Xia Liuyi's grumpy voice came out, obviously interrupted in the middle of a conversation, “Hello?”
“This is Qiao Xing.”
Xia Liuyi changed his subdued tone, “Master Qiao.”
“Double-Knife Xia,” Master Qiao called him by his title, “Long time no see.”
“Master Qiao looking for me when it’s so late. What’s the matter?”
“I caught someone, and I heard that he has a relationship with you. Unfortunately, he didn’t admit it, so I can only ask you directly.”
Master Qiao said while angling his chin at He Chusan again. The 49er acted instantly and gave He Chusan another smash on the shoulder! He Chusan gritted his teeth to hold back a cry of pain but his wound was stepped on. He couldn’t help screaming.
Master Qiao took back the cell he had stretched towards He Chusan and continued with a smirk, “How is it? You…”
“Beep–” The other end simply beeped. Xia Liuyi had hung up the phone.
Master Qiao froze for a moment and brought the cell phone to his eyes to take a close look. He frowned and handed it to the underling. His underling pressed the number again, telling his big boss in confusion after listening for a while “It seems to be turned off.”
This group of triad men who had never encountered such treatment from the families of hostages looked at each other, and after a long time of silence, Master Qiao suddenly laughed.
He stood up and walked over to He Chusan, hooked his chin up with a cane, and looked at his half-bleeding face, “Interesting. You either really have nothing to do with him at all, or you are very important to him."
He Chusan also did not know what happened on Xia Liuyi’s side, but after a moment of surprise from these triad people, he caught on to the situation immediately. He was forced to look up to this “Master Qiao”, whose identity he did not know, and used his expertise as the Best Actor. Writing the script and acting it at the same time, he actively tried to save himself, “Cough…In fact, the ‘relationship’ between him and me is not what you think. I am his financial advisor.”
Master Qiao looked at him with a smirk and did not say whether he believed or not but waited for him to continue.
He Chusan gulped and continued, “Yes, I've known him for a long time. We used to live in Snapdragon Walled City, and I was the only college student there. He once hired me to write a script. Later, I entered the investment company, still seeing him in secret to provide him accounting advice…cough, basically, do the accounting for him.”
“Search it up if you don’t believe me. I am He Chusan, the investment adviser of Xinda Company, and I have the top performance this quarter in the company. Xia Liuyi trusts my ability and often asks me to help him with accounting. I am also close to his Deputy Cui Dongdong. Cui Dongdong bought a lot of financial products from me privately and just made about three million last month…”
He bragged about it fervently and then started talking to Master Qiao about his own importance, “Really, look at me. Do I look like someone for ‘sale’? I’m a tall man with coarse skin. Even if Xia Liuyi likes men, he should prefer those lovely little bunnies, right? He must have hung up on you to discuss with Cui Dongdong. I know a lot about their accounting matters. He does value my little life.”
Master Qiao looked at him with disbelief. Best Actor He didn’t even blink while telling his nonsense, his eyes so bright, full of sincere beguilement, “Wait a little longer if you don’t believe me. No later than tomorrow, he will call you and talk to you about the conditions.”
Master Qiao smiled, the cane poking heavily at his throat and suffocating him, “Alright. I’ll wait for tomorrow. If Xia Liuyi doesn’t call, you’ll be a stone in the sea.”
He waved his hand, and several tough men came forward to pick up He Chusan, dragging him to a nearby dark room with his toes off the ground. They closed the door and locked it.
He Chusan twisted on the cold floor like a caterpillar. Xia Liuyi, in a nightclub in Tsim Sha Tsui, sat on a sofa with a gloomy face, not saying a word.
The few subordinates who were talking to him watched him crack the brick-like cell phone while listening to the call. Although they didn’t know what happened, they were scared and quiet and dared not ask a thing.
They have never seen their Big Boss be like this. His face was pale and dark, his eyes poisonous as if he wanted to skin someone alive. A murderous atmosphere hovered in the room, giving them chills.
After a long time, Xia Liuyi scattered the pieces of the cell phone on the floor and expressionlessly ordered,
“Call Cui Dongdong here.”
- *Gei-lou（基佬）literally means “gay guy”. It is a Cantonese word with a neutral meaning and is also used as slang in Mandarin. It can be negative or teasing sometimes but is not equal to the f-word. ↑
TN: Edited by our best editor Mio Rio