SWFM 318

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Chapter 318: Give it my all

 

Huang Yaming was not returning to his dormitory. Tan Yao decided to send him home first to the flat that Xu Tingsheng had previously rented for him to recuperate in. He still stayed there now.

Passing by the riverside residence, the car lights shone on the wall where a figure could be seen standing over by the front door.

Wearing a windbreaker, Lu Zhixin cocked her head as she carefully appraised this car which drove by, her eyes closing beneath the glow of the frontal lights of the car before she forced them open again, gazing into the car window.

Xu Tingsheng got off the car. Tan Yao continued sending Huang Yaming home.

“Waiting for me?” Xu Tingsheng walked over and asked.

“Yeah. You’re back,” Lu Zhixin nodded forcefully, her tense expression relaxing slightly as the corners of her mouth arched upwards, revealing a slight smile.

“Are you doing okay?” Lu Zhixin carefully appraised Xu Tingsheng, then asked.

Xu Tingsheng smiled, “Pretty good. Look, I’m so lucky. Even the heavens are on my side. Ding Sen wanted me dead, but ended up getting into an accident himself in the end. We won’t have to worry about him harming us again.”

This was a blatant lie that could not be any more obvious. In truth, both of them knew full well what had happened over the span of the past two days.

Xu Tingsheng was aware that Lu Zhixin felt worried and apologetic too.

Lu Zhixin already clearly knew what Xu Tingsheng had just gone through. She also knew that this was something that he was not accustomed to. She understood him very well.

He had still done it in the end, though. Even while feeling surprised, it was more of guilt and worry that Lu Zhixin felt.

Lu Zhixin walked over and hugged Xu Tingsheng, saying softly, “I’m sorry.”

This matter had arisen because of her, having resulted in such peril for Xu Tingsheng as a result as he had had to do something which he had initially been unwilling to do. Having always hoped to change Xu Tingsheng, making him more ambitious and ruthless in his methods, Lu Zhixin instead ended up worrying badly about how this incident might affect and change him.

Xu Tingsheng gave her a light pat on the back, saying, “It’s okay. It’s all over now.”

“Yeah,” After hesitating for a moment, Lu Zhixin asked, “Right, are, are you staying here tonight? I’m worried about you being alone. I want to accompany you. If you’re angry, you can scold me. If your state of mind is just too chaotic…I could accept…anything…”

Xu Tingsheng took a step back in retreat, letting her leave his embrace before he looked at her, deliberately asking in an easy, exaggerated manner, “Didn’t you only just say that we’ve never even held hands before? How can it be so fast?”

Lu Zhixin looked rather distressed as she rebutted in a small voice, “I…that day, you yourself…”

“You’re not to speak of that day again,” Xu Tingsheng feigned a stern tone.

Lu Zhixin smiled a little, raising her right hand and opening up her palm in front of Xu Tingsheng before saying, “I have scars on my hand because of you, from when I snatched the rose from you back then. Do you remember? The thorns pricked in, and they weren’t treated later. My hands also sweat easily, so scars were left behind. I see them every day.”

“Still, I think that if I had to choose again, I would still be willing to grab it like that despite the pain, tightly. And this time, too, because of me…anyway, it’s impossible for me to love anyone else again, Xu Tingsheng. I will give it my all…”

Xu Tingsheng held her hand, carefully examining that clear white palm of hers and smiling as he saw two inconspicuous notches, “Even these are considered scars? I have to take responsibility for this?”

Lu Zhixin had just been about to reply when Tan Yao drove past on his way back, seeing such a scene unfolding between the two.

“I really didn’t do it on purpose! There’s just this one road back. I can’t do anything about it!” He looked over and yelled.

Xu Tingsheng smiled as he swore, waving for him to stop as he called, “Wait for me! I’m going back too.”

He took a few steps towards the car before turning back and saying, “Relax, I’m fine. It’s just that I may come to the company less often for a while. Don’t tire yourself out too. Just make all the general arrangements. Our Directors are all pretty capable and responsible. Also, you’ve got to put in some effort in revising for finals. Don’t fail a module again…and embarrass Hucheng.”

With that, Xu Tingsheng left behind a peeved Lu Zhixin and got on the car.

Xu Tingsheng and Tan Yao returned to their dormitory.

Li Xingming quickly leapt off from his bed, grabbing Tan Yao’s arm and clamouring, “The two of you were gone for two days. Where did you go? The heck…Starry Splendour, right? You clearly promised me that you would bring me along last time.”

Tan Yao smiled, promising, “Next time. We’ll call eight beauties for just you alone next time.”

The two began chatting.

Lu Xu was currently playing Counterstrike on LAN. Turning and finding that Xu Tingsheng was there too, he immediately pulled off his earphones in a very enthusiastic manner before getting up and pulling him over, “Bro Xu, you’re on! Help me kill that guy, qiangwang010. His mother, I can’t off him myself. I’ve been mocked by him for over an hour now.”

“You should have left the room then! Why’re you needlessly making things difficult for yourself?!”

Xu Tingsheng sat down as he replied, not putting on earphones as he just grabbed that mouse.

“That’s not cool. I’ve got to have it out with him. If I don’t vent it out now, I’ll be feeling terrible for a good couple of days afterwards.”

Xu Tingsheng smiled, not replying. Situations such as these were actually very common in university. In the peak of one’s youth and having much time to spare, there actually wasn’t anything much for one to feel competitive about besides games.

Take Old Wai for example. Ever since gaining free time with the decrease of his duties at Hucheng, he had started gaming as well. Some time ago, he had been PK-ed when playing Fantasy Westward Journey. Having asked for the reason, he had instead gotten scolded and mocked. Ever since then, for the whole of the next month and more, Old Wai would go and wait in ambush for that person whenever he was online, lunging over as soon as he was alone…

Then, when the other side formed a party to capture him, he would simply log off.

Just two days ago, that person had finally been unable to stand it any longer and had changed servers.

Xu Tingsheng casually rushed out as soon as the new round began, crouching behind a wall in the middle of the map.

Very coincidentally, qiangwang010 leapt over him, leaving himself wide open to Xu Tingsheng.

“Off him, off him…” Lu Xu yelled from beside him.

Xu Tingsheng did not shoot. He stood up and followed after him…at the instant when the other party discovered him, he sliced at his head with a knife, scoring a headshot. In Counterstrike, killing someone with a knife was an extremely great humiliation. Another form of humiliation would be whipping a person’s corpse.

“You should do the whipping yourself?”

Xu Tingsheng returned the mouse to Lu Xu who stood beside him. The person on the screen began jumping, crouching, shooting, knifing, performing all kinds of ‘corpse whipping’. As the new round began, Lu Xu hurriedly returned the mouse to Xu Tingsheng.

For the next six rounds, Xu Tingsheng kept an eye out for qiangwang010, killing him four times. Lu Xu was put in charge of the corpse whipping.

“Feeling good?” Xu Tingsheng asked.

Lu Xu replied, “Yeah.”

“Log out then.”

“Why aren’t we killing him anymore?”

“If you log out now and don’t go online for some time, or if you play on another account, he’ll be left angered for half a month, at least,” Xu Tingsheng smiled, “If you want to anger someone to death, the best way is to beat him up good and then run, disappearing without a trace and not even giving him any hope of taking revenge.”

Xu Tingsheng got up from the seat. Lu Xu promptly typed in some trash talk before logging out.

Seeing that Xu Tingsheng was now free, Zhang Ninglang now sat up on his bed, telling him, “ Bro Xu, that Assistant Professor Zhang who teaches French Literature said today that if you aren’t there again next time, he will fail you.”

“That serious?” Xu Tingsheng grew nervous.

As a university student, there was nothing that could make one more nervous than the prospect of failing a module. Xu Tingsheng had already passed the fourth level and did not intend to sit for the sixth. Therefore, his goal now was very simple. It was to not fail anything throughout these four years, thus graduating successfully.

Upon realising that he was feeling nervous and worried over his grades, Xu Tingsheng actually rejoiced inwardly over this a little.

“Yeah…I’ll remind you earlier when it’s coming to his lesson next week,” Zhang Ninglang said.

“Okay,” Xu Tingsheng nodded.

“Also, in the next two weeks, some of the professors will probably be going to lecture on the important points for finals. If you’re free, you lot should attend for a bit,” This was said to all those in their dorm room.

In the end, they all answered shamelessly, “Nah, so what? Don’t we have you, Lil’ Bro?”

“Right, is that third year dude still chasing your long plait girl?” Tan Yao suddenly asked.

Zhang Ninglang smiled, “Yes, he is. Still, it’s all fine. Things are pretty good between us.’

“Wasn’t he intercepting you when you were walking together some time back?”

“He hasn’t been doing so any longer, recently,” Zhang Ninglang said.

Having been overseas for a while, this was the first time Xu Tingsheng had heard about this as he asked Tan Yao, “Intercepting what? What’s all that?”

“I hear that the dude’s family is pretty rich. He drives a Porsche. There were several times when he directly stopped the car in front of Lil’ Bro and long plait, asking lil’ sister-in-law to get on his car,” Tan Yao said rather furiously, “Tingsheng, how about Yaming and I find someone to take care of him outside?”

Xu Tingsheng looked at Zhang Ninglang, “Why didn’t you tell us about it?”

Zhang Ninglang smiled, replying, “I was going to tell you, but you happened to be overseas. Also, he seems to have stopped doing it this week. Seeing that you guys are both so busy, I thought never mind.”

Xu Tingsheng and Tan Yao exchanged looks. Since Zhang Ninglang had considered telling Xu Tingsheng about this matter even with his personality, that could only mean that the other party must have really gone overboard in his actions.

“You must tell me if it happens again. It doesn’t matter where I am. If I’m not in the dormitory, give me a call,” Xu Tingsheng said.

If Zhang Ninglang’s university life, his university romance included, could always remain this simple and blissful, Xu Tingsheng actually wished that it would go on like this. Thus, he did not wish to pursue that earlier matter. Still, if such a thing happened again, he was also not going to just stand by and do nothing.

“Righto,” Zhang Ninglang nodded.

The lights were turned off for the night.

Xu Tingsheng lay on his bed. He had been in Starry Splendour ever since yesterday, having met with total darkness. Now, merely an hour into returning to his dorm room, they had talked about women, games, taking attendance in class, failing a module, finals, a roommate’s relationship…

All at once, he felt like a university student again, his life having returned to how it originally was, the way he liked it. Just like this, Xu Tingsheng’s originally tense, repressed mood slowly calmed amidst the trivialities of university life that could not be any more normal.
……

It was actually Lu Zhixin who was feeling the least calm that night.

Lu Zhixin had said to Xu Tingsheng earlier that she would give it her all…Xu Tingsheng had interrupted her then, not letting her finish. Actually, even if she had not been interrupted, she still would not have fully conveyed all of it.

What she could say was that she would give it her all to compete for and treasure Xu Tingsheng as a person, regarding their illusory, ephemeral relationship.

What was to remain unspoken was that she would give it her all in protecting Xu Tingsheng, in definitely never allowing such a situation to occur again.

As Lu Zhixin saw it, at the end of the day, Ding Sen had only dared to act so audaciously and rashly, attempting a lethal blow, because Xu Tingsheng was still not powerful enough. If the wealth and power that Xu Tingsheng possessed was intimidating enough, even if he was similarly unprepared, the other side would still have to weigh the matter, hesitating as they feared what might come of this. Many would not even dare to have such dangerous thoughts.

If it was Ye Qing who had come into conflict with Ding Sen, he might never have thought about using a method such as this in the first place.

Lu Zhixin wanted Xu Tingsheng to develop and grow stronger more quickly.

“You shouldered such a great evil for me this time, such a deep sin. All future evils and sins-let me bear them.”

Early the next morning, when Xu Tingsheng was eating breakfast with Fu Cheng, Lu Zhixin began making calls to some of her people.

The first thing.

Despite Xu Tingsheng’s ‘Hucheng’s fifty schools’ dream, they would temporarily pause the proceedings of acquiring a training institute in Xihu City. At the same time, they refused to continue renewing the agreement for student recruitment. When the other side was totally helpless and was forced to approach them on their own, they would push down the price, acquiring them more cheaply.

Their current liquid assets were fully invested into advancing the Hundred Cities Plan.

As Lu Zhixin saw it, with the current turbulent advent of Internet economics, wasting their cash on actual schools was not a wise choice at all. Currently being supported by over four hundred thousand orders of ‘Are You Hungry’ everyday, Hucheng’s first task now was to snatch territory online.

Their core services encompassing fiftyish cities? That was far from enough.

A hundred cities in three years? Lu Zhixin intended to complete it in a year.

Here, Lu Zhixin would rather Hucheng not gain any more physical training institutes within this one year.

The second thing.

Getting the Principal of Hucheng’s training institute in Yanzhou, Tang Guangyi, to go into the logistics department to retire, making use of his total inability to give up on face and finding a way to get him to propose retiring into a backup department on his own accord.

At the same time, they had to prevent him from meeting Xu Tingsheng over this period of time.

Tang Guangyi had been repeatedly invited by Xu Tingsheng upon the initial establishment of the training institute, having finally agreed to stay due to his promises. As the Hucheng of back then had not had any talents available anyway, Lu Zhixin had not been opposed to this.

Things were different now, however. The current Hucheng was full of talents. Tang Guangyi was rigid in his handling of affairs, incapable and inefficient. Lu Zhixin had always believed that he as a principal actually severely hindered the profits and development of Hucheng’s training institute in Yanzhou. She had never brought it up before, though, being worried that Xu Tingsheng might disagree.

Now, she intended to take care of this problem without going through Xu Tingsheng.

The third thing.

Dialling the number, Lu Zhixin asked, “Sis Yufei, for the takeaway platform, are those lawyer letters for the two companies that violated the contract ready? How goes the preparations of lawyers Zhang and Niu?”

Tang Yufei answered, “They’re ready, the evidence sufficient. Both of your lawyers say that we’ve got victory securely in our grasp. Still, those two companies looked for us yesterday, hoping that we can settle. They’re willing to come back. As for why they registered for their operations on Youxin platform, they say it’s because we have too many consumers and too much competition. They only thought to give it a try because they’re not that familiar with the law…what do you think?”

“Reject the settlement. Reject coming back. Send out the lawyer letters for compensation. Get that lawsuit started, and best if things become big,” Lu Zhixin said, “I want to flay one to warn a hundred.”

“…Okay.”

Right after Tang Yufei had responded, the busy tone sounded on the phone.

Even though Lu Zhixin had addressed her as Sis Yufei at the start of the call, Tang Yufei was actually well aware that this Lu Zhixin was not her bosom friend Lu Zhixin who was five years younger than her, also not being that Lu Zhixin who had been teased into blushing by her that night. This was the Lu Zhixin who was tough and decisive, only seeking for efficiency in affairs.

Therefore, even though Tang Yufei actually had her own thoughts on the matter, she still held herself back from voicing them and persuading Lu Zhixin against this. Moreover, Lu Zhixin’s actions were actually correct when considering the spirit of business as well as contracts.

The fourth thing.

Lu Zhixin made another call.

“Have you investigated clearly? Can you confirm that it’s that person who registered with us before?” The person Lu Zhixin spoke of was that ‘fake teacher’ who had previously registered with Hucheng due to Apple’s oversight. He had once been jailed for violating students, having long since been stripped of his teaching qualifications. In the trouble that had ensued, Lu Zhixin had personally gone to rectify the tricky situation.

“Yes, we can confirm that that one who registered on Youxin Platform is indeed him,” The other party replied.

“Has he accepted a job?” Lu Zhixin asked.

“Yes, two. He’s already conducted lessons for both,” Came the reply.

“Contact the media that we are on good terms with and directly expose the matter. Spend money to get them to report on it in full force. Then, form a group and direct a public outcry on the internet…I want Youxin dead with this one.”


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