Quality Check: Kai
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter One Hundred and Nineteen: It Could Not Get Any Worse
Initially, Xiao Yu had planned to go on leave for a week and use it to sort out the aftermath of the accident and adjust his frame of mind. However, the events that had happened in the past two days had made him both physically and mentally exhausted. In addition, his bank balance had dropped two-digit places yesterday, making it a good idea for him to return to work earlier than planned.
His mobile and computer had been destroyed in the accident along with his car. From a certain perspective, it was a miracle that he came out of it unscathed. Xiao Yu did not regard those mere worldly possessions very highly after he had experienced both life and death.
However, he really could not live without a mobile which was why he had bought a new mobile yesterday. He would have computer access at work, so he wasn’t in a rush to get a new one and planned to get one later.
After Xiao Yu switched to his new device, he started receiving a lot of well meaning messages from his colleagues. Among them was one expressing Lin Zhou’s concern. If it was the Xiao Yu from before, he would probably return a call immediately to his senior. However, at this point, he felt disgusted just by seeing that account name.
While Xiao Yu was still a hamster, he had thought that if he could ever turn back into a human, he would surely confront Lin Zhou in person. But, to his surprise, ever since he had woken up at the hospital, he had only thought of Yan Jin, Chu Ge, and even Nannan whom he had not even met before. Yet, he had never once thought of Lin Zhou.
That being said, Xiao Yu was not so magnanimous to the extent that he would treat the things that his senior had done to him as nonexistent. Since he had decided to return to the office, he would definitely ask for an answer from Lin Zhou.
On Monday, Xiao Yu almost overslept and had a fruit pancake for breakfast that he bought on his way to SI. When the automated door took its customary three seconds to open, he felt like it was something he had last seen a lifetime ago.
It was a lifetime ago, after all, for he had not experienced such a daily life in more than half a year.
Xiao Yu hid in the toilet in a familiar manner to finish his breakfast before he touched up on his hair and strode his way jauntily to the human resource department.
“Hey Old Wu.” On his way to the HR department, Xiao Yu’s mood was instantly boosted when he met Old Wu: “Thank you so much for your help two days ago. Let me treat you to dinner after work.”
“What are you doing here?” Old Wu frowned in response.
Xiao Yu did not understand what Old Wu was trying to say at first, thinking that he must be referring to his car accident, and that he should be resting at home.
“Nah, I’m really doing fine. Perfectly fine physically and mentally.” Xiao Yu jumped twice on the spot to prove his point. “I have nothing to do at home anyway, so I thought I should come back earlier to make my contributions to the company.”
“No, you- haven’t you heard about it?” Old Wu looked around and pulled Xiao Yu aside as he spoke in a softer voice: “You offended Chairman Yan. The days ahead are going to be tough for you.”
Xiao Yu nodded his head in understanding. He was fully aware of that after the past two days’ experience. In fact, he would probably get a summons to court within the next few days.
“I’m alright, Old Wu. I’m well aware of the situation.” Xiao Yu believed that he understood what Old Wu was trying to say.
Three days ago, Xiao Yu thought that having to pay compensation for a Rolls Royce Phantom was the most tragic thing that had ever happened in his life. Two days ago, he realized that being accused of attempted homicide was much more tragic. On the same day, Xiao Yu overdrafted his advance salary and was now unable to make ends meet.
So, today, he tidied himself up neatly, as he arrived for work. He felt that his life which had hit rock bottom was going to move towards a better direction from that point on.
It couldn’t possibly get more tragic than it already was.
Hence, the always optimistic Xiao Yu was on a different channel from Old Wu right from the beginning.
He did not understand what Old Wu was trying to say, so he could only assume what Old Wu meant and respond according to his assumption.
Thankfully, Old Wu was one of those dependable people. He looked at the overly-optimistic Xiao Yu and said word for word: “Then you know that Chairman Yan had announced at the funeral yesterday to our SI colleagues, that for as long as you stayed here, the Yan family would not let SI off easily?”
Xiao Yu: “……”
Old Wu observed his junior’s expression and understood that he was indeed unaware. He sighed and patted his shoulder before offering some advice. “Go speak with Chairman Zhou. You might still have a chance to save yourself.”
“T-That serious?” Xiao Yu was like a ball that had been punctured, losing all of his previous lively energy before speaking again. “But YL and SI were competitors to begin with. Even if, even if Yan Jin was to say that…”
“You’re still too young.”
Xiao Yu had never felt that being referred to as ‘young’ was a bad thing. However, at this moment, without a doubt, he could feel the malice behind this word.
Yes, he could not understand.
From the moment Lawyer Hu had told him to become a witness who would pretend to have seen the ‘Mastermind’, he could not understand anything anymore.
He could not understand why he could not simply tell the truth He did not understand why he had to sponsor his step brother when he may already had to pay a huge sum of compensation already. Lastly, he could not understand why so many people had been pointing fingers at him on his way here.
“Go look for Chairman Zhou and see how much damage you can reverse. I have to go.” Old Wu patted Xiao Yu’s shoulder before leaving.
The pleasant mood from before had all disappeared, as Xiao Yu dragged his heavy feet to his department.
For the past two years he had been working with SI, his performance had been outstanding. He had quickly become the design department’s leader and had been promoted to being the company’s chief designer last year.
Yet in the past year, not only did he not bring any profits for the company, SI even had to retreat in defeat little by little before YL during his time as the company’s Chief Designer.
Before the accident, Xiao Yu could sense that the company would be demoting him which was why Xiao Yu had treated the Stars Designer Cup competition as his life-saving straw.
He originally thought that so long as he could prove his capability, his days should not get any worse from then on.
However, with all these messy events happening, his future seemed unclear again.
In SI, the designation as Chief Designer was in fact just a title with no actual position. Xiao Yu’s annual salary had remained stagnant after he had been put in charge. If they were to really compare salaries and benefits, the Designer Director, Lin Zhou, would probably be earning more than him.
That’s it, Lin Zhou.
Xiao Yu’s confusing thoughts finally experienced a breakthrough.
Regardless of how, he must find Lin Zhou and get an answer from him.
When Xiao Yu entered the design department, it was five minutes before eight a.m. when the majority of the employees had already arrived. Normally, everyone would be on their own at this time switching on their computers, tidying their desks, or playing their mobiles. No one would usually be interacting. However, today, Xiao Yu could hear discussions coming from inside while standing at the door.
“Did you go yesterday?”
“I did, it was my first time getting so close to Chairman Yan. He’s more handsome in person than in photos!”
“I’d say that it was not like a funeral, and more like a wedding ceremony.”
“Hahaha, I thought so too! The world of the rich is so hard to understand.”
Xiao Yu listened to the conversation for a whole minute. It was not the first time he had heard how much his female colleagues liked Yan Jin, so he did not think it was strange. However, he could not help but to be curious hearing them talking about Yan Jin’s pet funeral.
“Hey guys.” Xiao Yu pushed open the door and walked in before asking, “What are you all talking about? let me listen in too.”
At that moment, Xiao Yu’s mood was quite good. He smiled as he waited for people to gather around him to ask about his recovery or about the accident.
However, all he got was a few stammered ‘Chief Xiao’ and an office that instantly went silent.
Some colleagues who were closer to him smiled awkwardly at him. Those who were neutral to him stared at him as if he was an endangered animal, studying him from head to toe as they covered their mouths and spoke to the people sitting beside them in low voices he could not hear.
“Xiao Yu, why did you come back?” the only person that approached him was Lin Zhou. His office was not here, surprisingly he was here. Although, he was not surprised to see Xiao Yu here.
Seeing Lin Zhou’s face made Xiao Yu slightly breathless. He took a few deep breaths and managed to control the urge to raise his fist and punch Lin Zhou in the face.
“My office is here, where else could I go?” Xiao Yu answered coldly.
Lin Zhou turned back and looked at the office. He then turned to pull outside: “Let’s talk outside.”
“Why should we talk outside?” Xiao Yu was not a person with bad temper, but that didn’t mean that didn’t have one. “Some things should be said in front of everyone.”
Lin Zhou frowned: “Our company is having some…”
“How long do you still plan to lie to me?” Xiao Yu gritted his teeth as he stared at Lin Zhou: “From that five, no, that six deals that you gave to Yan Jin from SI, the carpet from cathedral times, the rings from the cruise, the Autumn Release Conference Moonlit Manacles, Heart Lock…”
Lin Zhou’s gaze turned cold instantly.
If the vibe he gave earlier was warm like the spring, gentle and cultivated, then right now, he was without a doubt tearing off the meaningless facade that he had been wearing all along.
He raised his voice and interrupted Xiao Yu’s sentence saying, “You are no longer a staff of SI. There’s no place for you here. I hope you will stop being unreasonable.”
Even though he had had some suspicions, hearing the words from Lin Zhou made Xiao Yu’s anger shoot up to its peak.
“Why did you have to do something like that? Have I done anything wrong to you? You plagiarized so many works of mine…”
“Xiao Yu, stop believing in your own lies!” Lin Zhou was not acting panicky. Instead, he spoke with righteousness: “You believe that your capabilities are outstanding and that even I could not stand stand in your way. You unsuccessfully slandered the mystery designer for stealing for your work and finally walked down the path of no return. As your senior, seeing you becoming what you are today, I cannot avoid responsibility for it. I hope you can acknowledge your problem. You are still young. If you correct yourself, there’s still hope for the better.”
Lin Zhou’s voice was echoing in the entire office, effectively putting Xiao Yu in a daze.
He thought he had mustered enough vigor for that moment but was instantly overwhelmed by Lin Zhou. He did not even have a chance to point out Lin Zhou’s crime and was instead assaulted by countless baseless accusation.
Everyone in the office heard what Lin Zhou had said, but none of them stood up to correct him.
Amongst the buzzing sound in Xiao Yu’s ears, he even heard voices jeering.
“That’s exactly how it is.”
“He actually had the face to come back after creating so much trouble.”
“How could someone have so little self-awareness and not understand the situation. I would just fade away if it was me.”
“If it wasn’t for Director Lin, our design department would be ruined by him. How could he make a false counter charge against us?”
This was probably the most humiliating and helpless moment of Xiao Yu’s entire life.
So, he made a move that was once-in-a-lifetime and reckless. Disregarding the consequences,
he grabbed the display vase near him.
The office was filled with various degree of screaming as Lin Zhou’s body fell to the floor.
Until Xiao Yu was pinned down by several people and completely immobilized, he spared no pains or efforts to beat up Lin Zhou.
“Help! Oh gosh! Security!”
“I’m calling the police.”
“Ohmygod, I actually worked with a person like him. *sobs*”
While Xiao Yu was pulled away, he earned a few punches as well, but he was still not worse off than Lin Zhou.
Until security arrived, everything was a mess. The office was in complete disorder, the running employees and the flowers and soil scattered all over the floor.
Xiao Yu, immobilized, stared at Lin Zhou with a deadly glare.
Lin Zhou got up from the floor with difficulty. Fresh blood rolled off from his forehead to his cheeks. He had to reach out to wipe the blood before he could open his eyes to see.
His whole body was hurting, but his heart had never felt so relaxed before.
At this moment, he was no longer that nice senior who was forever gentle and patient, selflessly watching as his junior overtook him, watching him earn the success that he had been dreaming about, and watching him abandon him and head towards a place that he could never be able to reach.
Instead, he would be a winner, battered and exhausted, who had advanced gradually and entrenched himself at every step, exhausting every trick he had…
Lin Zhou got up with the help of the bystanders. He had wounds all over his body, especially his face. For a moment, he looked more like a car accident victim than Xiao Yu.
That was the last question Xiao Yu asked as he was ushered out of the office.
He did not hear Lin Zhou’s answer.
Instead, he saw a smile on Lin Zhou’s face,
A smile that belonged to a winner.