As the sun had set, the sky gradually darkened.
At this time Li Mingxuan usually already returned to Shen Xi’s side, but today he accompanied his father to the hospital in a hurry.
In the quiet car, Li Xiyong did not say a word, keeping his eyes closed. Li Mingxuan quietly sat by his father’s side, the news he received earlier flashing through his mind. Shen Ji and Shen Cheng were suspected of misappropriating a large amount of Shen Group funds and the directors of Shen Group were forced to go to the hospital for a meeting. Shen Ji admitted the fact of embezzlement and was expelled from Shen Group by the board of directors, thus deprived of the Shen family inheritance rights in disguise. Li Mingxuan did not believe that Shen Ji would do such a thing and his brow furrowed subconsciously.
Li Mingxuan’s father, who had been resting, slowly opened his eyes, “Mingxuan, what do you think?”
Li Mingxuan knew what his father was asking. Although he did not know the details, from his uncle’s words he could tell that Shen Ji was framed. If it was only Shen Ji who was framed, it would have been fine, but Shen Cheng was also involved, so that the situation became uncontrollable. At this point, Li Mingxuan did not know what to say, so he answered in a low voice, “There must be someone behind this matter, and Uncle has handled it too hastily.”
Li Xiyong shook his head, “The situation was forced upon him, and your uncle had no choice. He probably didn’t expect Ah Ji to take the blame for this matter. It’s too unfortunate for Ah Ji.”
Li Xiyong’s words carried an unspeakable melancholy. In his heart he had one more thing to say: if Shen Cheng didn’t grow up fast, Shen Group would probably be doomed. Without Shen Ji, Shen Cheng could not bear the burden of Shen Group. Even if the Shen family still held most of the shares of Shen Group, once Shen Dehan passed away, in these circumstances, the Shen family would still be the Shen family, but it might not be the Shen family of Shen Group anymore.
Li Mingxuan vaguely guessed his father’s thoughts. As he watched Li Xiyong close his eyes again, a trace of worry surged in Li Mingxuan’s heart, and he swallowed the words that were already on his lips.
For the rest of the journey Li Xiyong did not speak again and the car fell back into silence.
As Li Xiyong and Li Mingxuan drove to the hospital, Gao Qiulin had already left and only Shen Dehan and Shen Cheng were left in the ward.
In the empty ward, Shen Dehan was sitting in the wheelchair in a depressed state of mind; his original spirit was gone and his whole body looked instantly aged by more than ten years.
Shen Cheng sat opposite his father with his head down, unable to say what he was feeling. What Shen Ji said not long ago was echoing in his mind. His elder brother had taken the blame for the incident and he was now innocent, but there was not much joy in his heart. From the time his elder brother confessed to instructing Chang Lei to the series of events that followed, everything was too sudden. He listened in a daze to his elder brother being expelled from Shen Group and Gao Qiulin even indicating that Shen Group would be his in the future.
In Shen Cheng’s secret thoughts that no one knew, he had once imagined such a day, but when this day came, he didn’t know why he couldn’t be happy at all. Perhaps it was because Shen Ji finally defended him, or perhaps it was because of Shen Dehan. After all, at that moment Shen Dehan had clearly intended to sacrifice him. Even if he was interrupted by Shen Ji later, it was, after all, true that Shen Dehan had chosen to sacrifice him at the critical moment without hesitation, and his despair at that moment was also too real. So it was normal for him to be depressed now, and he didn’t even know what attitude he should use to face his father.
Shen Cheng was so engrossed in his own thoughts that he did not notice his father’s eyes roaming over him, and the look in Shen Dehan’s eyes was one of deep disappointment. Shen Dehan was silent; he knew his son. Shen Cheng couldn’t bear the burden of Shen Group. Unlike Shen Ji, Shen Dehan was inevitably indulgent towards Shen Cheng because he had lost his mother at a young age and had almost been killed as a baby. And since he was the second son, he was not under pressure to inherit the family business, so Shen Dehan was not strict with him and let him do anything he wished, which led to his current character.
Shen Dehan thought that since Shen Ji and Shen Cheng were from the same mother and had a good relationship since childhood, the two brothers would be of one mind and one heart. He did not expect that one day there would be a division between Shen Ji and Shen Cheng. When he thought that if Shen Cheng hadn’t sided with Gao Qiulin and forced his hand, things might not have turned out this way and Shen Ji wouldn’t have had to confess for the sake of brotherly love and would not have been deprived of the inheritance rights to Shen Group in disguise, causing all the hard work that the Shen family had put into Shen Ji for so many years to be reduced to nothing. Shen Dehan couldn’t help coughing violently when he thought of this.
“Father!” Shen Cheng subconsciously looked over and unexpectedly met his father’s eyes. Shen Dehan’s eyes were full of disappointment, and Shen Cheng’s heart instantly went cold. It was true that in his father’s heart, only his elder brother was his father’s son, and he was nothing. Even now, his father only felt disappointment because of his elder brother’s expulsion, and disappointment because of his disregard for the greater good. Father had never even thought of explaining his previous actions, as if sacrificing him was a perfectly normal thing to do.
Shen Dehan’s coughing slowly stopped, and Shen Cheng lowered his head in silence, not looking at his father again.
Shen Dehan tried hard to soften his tone a little. Although he was worried that Shen Cheng would not be able to bear the burden of Shen Group, the matter had come to the point where there was no other choice.
“Ah Cheng, Shen Group’s future will depend on you.”
Shen Cheng agreed casually.
Shen Cheng’s casual attitude obviously made Shen Dehan dissatisfied. Shen Dehan frowned and tried to hold back his temper.
“Wang Changlin is an old employee in the company, you should ask him for more advice when you have time. Lu Gesen is a good young man, you should ask his advice if you encounter some problem, and also your elder brother, although he…”
“I see!” Shen Cheng fiercely stood up and looked at his father with mockery in his eyes, “I don’t know anything, I don’t understand anything, even if I stay in Shen Group, I am just a puppet. Although Big Brother can’t enter Shen Group, Shen Group is still his, I’m just a name, Father, you don’t need to emphasise it over and over again.”
Shen Cheng’s words made Shen Dehan’s face turn ugly, “Ah Cheng.”
Facing Shen Dehan’s anger, Shen Cheng suddenly smiled, his face looking extremely weird, “I know Father is disappointed in me. In your eyes Big Brother is your proud son, I’m just Big Brother’s spare tire. It doesn’t matter, if Father doesn’t like me, isn’t there still Shen Xi? He is also Father’s son. Father can give Shen Group to Shen Xi, I’m sure he would listen to Father very well.”
“Unfilial son!” Shen Dehan’s face flushed red with anger at these words, and he could not say anything else.
Shen Cheng didn’t care about his father’s angry scolding, turned around with an indifferent face and left the ward.
As soon as he left the ward that was suffocating him, the indifference on Shen Cheng’s face turned into bewilderment. He knew there were things he shouldn’t have said and he didn’t want to say them, but the disappointed look in his father’s eyes was like a nail that had been driven hard into his heart. A sour feeling welled up in Shen Cheng’s heart, and then he broke into laughter.
The bodyguards around him looked at Shen Cheng oddly; Shen Cheng curbed his laughter and paused, not knowing where to go for a moment.
He didn’t want to stay at the hospital, and originally he was going to go to Shen Ji’s place, but now he just wanted to hide far away from Shen Ji and never see him again. He fished out his mobile phone haphazardly and flipped through the phone numbers in it. The memory of his last drunken night flashed through his mind, and Shen Cheng pressed Zhang Qiu’s number without hesitation.
As Shen Cheng entered the elevator, Wang Changlin walked out from the side of the corridor. After a thoughtful glance at Shen Cheng’s back, Wang Changlin came up to the ward, gently pushed the door and walked in.
Shen Dehan’s emotions were still tinged with overexcitement, and Wang Changlin walked quickly to his side with a disapproving look on his face, “Dehan, didn’t the doctor tell you to control your emotions? Is there anything you can’t discuss calmly and peacefully with Ah Cheng?”
Shen Dehan couldn’t help but grunt, “Calmly and peacefully? This evil son is simply trying to piss me off.”
Wang Changlin patted Shen Dehan soothingly, “Don’t you know Ah Cheng’s direct temperament?”
Shen Dehan said, “His temperament is direct, but I am just afraid that he will be sold and will help the other party count the money.”
Wang Changlin smiled, easing the atmosphere, “How is it possible? Ah Ji will be watching from the side, Ah Ji won’t let anything happen to Ah Cheng.”
If it was in the past, Shen Dehan would think that Shen Ji could control Shen Cheng, but after today, Shen Dehan did not have any hope. Thinking of Shen Cheng’s heartbreaking words, Shen Dehan felt his breath stagnate in his chest, and couldn’t help but clutch his chest tightly, trying to ease it up.
Wang Changlin patted Shen Dehan’s back with concern. Shen Dehan slowly exhaled and shook his head weakly, “I’m fine.”
Gesturing for Wang Changlin to sit opposite him, Shen Dehan looked at Wang Changlin with trust in his eyes, “Changlin, I’m entrusting Ah Cheng to you.”
Wang Changlin looked slightly stunned, “Ah Cheng?”
Shen Dehan nodded, “You also know that I am not fit to go to the company now, so Ah Cheng needs you to take care of him at the company.”
Wang Changlin said, “Don’t worry, Dehan, I will take good care of Ah Cheng.”
Shen Dehan nodded in satisfaction, thought of something and pondered slightly, “Other than that, I hope, Changlin, you can keep an eye on Shen Xi for me.”
“Sanshao?” Wang Changlin’s heart stirred, “Although Sanshao is not as good as Ah Ji and Ah Cheng, he is also quite sensible now. I don’t know if there is anything that needs my attention.”
“Sensible?” Wang Changlin’s comment on Shen Xi obviously displeased Shen Dehan, “It’s just that he has learned to hold back and know how to pretend, exactly the same as his mother and that crazy uncle.”
Wang Changlin didn’t take this sentence well, but Shen Dehan didn’t expect Wang Changlin to say anything. There was disgust in his eyes, “Now that Ah Ji is no longer at Shen Group, I am worried that that unfilial son will think his chance has come and thus make some moves he shouldn’t make.”
Shen Dehan’s fear did not seem to be fake, and Wang Changlin felt suspicious. He had never been able to understand why Shen Dehan was so afraid of Shen Xi. In fact, even if Shen Dehan was worried about Shen Xi’s conflict with Shen Ji and Shen Cheng, Shen Xi did not have shares in Shen Group. Shen Xi could not do anything at all, as long as Shen Dehan did not allow him to enter Shen Group business. If Shen Dehan was simply afraid of Shen Xi because of Elder Shen’s will, it was even more unwarranted. Even if Elder Shen left word that the Shen family’s assets would be divided in three, how could it be done bypassing Shen Dehan, who had plenty of opportunities to make his move? The shares and the money were two entirely different things, so why should Shen Dehan be so anxious?
Thinking of all these things, Wang Changlin said naturally, “Sanshao has been very peaceful all these years and has been far away from Shen Group, so he doesn’t have any roots in Shen Group. Aren’t you overthinking it, Dehan?”
“Overthinking?” Shen Dehan thought of the word “retribution” that Shen Xi said to him that night. This word pierced his heart deeply. His tone became cold, “You also know what happened back then, Changlin. Han Yu, that madman, used the Han family to set up a trap to drag me down. If I hadn’t been more cautious, the Shen family would have been calculated by Han Yu. Over the years, there have been people who didn’t know the inside story and preach that the Shen family didn’t save the Han family from ruination in order to annex the Han family’s assets. That unfilial son clearly believes the same, and he has come back from abroad this time simply to calculate the Shen family just like that uncle of his.”
When Shen Dehan mentioned what happened back then, Wang Changlin’s eyes flashed as he said warmly, “No matter what, Sanshao is a member of the Shen family, and the Han family has long disappeared, so Sanshao can do nothing even if he wants to. Dehan, why do you have to take this matter to heart too much?”
Wang Changlin’s words “No matter what, Sanshao is a member of the Shen family” caused Shen Dehan’s face to change slightly, which didn’t went unnoticed by Wang Changlin, and some strange thought flashed in Wang Changlin’s mind but his face did not show it at all. Looking at Shen Dehan, it was obvious that he had a strong reaction to these words, but there was nothing wrong with these words, was there? Wang Changlin’s hands on his lap unconsciously clasped together. He had always seen Shen Dehan’s indifference towards Shen Xi over the years. Certainly it was due to his preference for Shen Ji and Shen Cheng and also due to his disgust for Han Rou. But what if what made Shen Dehan angry with Shen Xi for so many years was the fact that he had found out about the incident back then? So Han Rou’s suicide also made sense. Wang Changlin lowered his eyes silently, hiding complex emotions in his eyes.
In silence, Wang Changlin suddenly heard Shen Dehan say, “Shen Xi will soon be 23 years old.”
He was startled subconsciously, and Shen Dehan continued, “Once Shen Xi passes his 23rd birthday, he will own 20% of Shen Group shares.”
“What?” Wang Changlin was stunned but quickly reacted, “Elder Shen’s will from back then?”
Shen Dehan nodded, “Father directly bypassed me back then and divided Shen Group shares. Once Shen Xi passed the age of 23, the shares in my hands would be equally divided to Ah Ji, Ah Cheng and Shen Xi. All these years I was merely helping them take care of the company.”
Wang Changlin immediately understood why Shen Dehan was worried.
Shen Xi would soon turn 23, by then Shen Dehan would not have any more shares in his hands, and Shen Ji would not be able to participate in the management of Shen Group, leaving only Shen Cheng. If Shen Xi wanted to enter Shen Group with the shares in his hands, the board of directors might not refuse. And once Shen Xi entered Shen Group, he could completely unite with Gao Qiulin and the others to grasp the right to speak in Shen Group, which was something that Shen Dehan did not want to see.
Wang Changlin’s mind was working hard, but his face remained solemn, “Dehan, what do you mean?”
Shen Dehan said coldly, “I have no control over the announcement of the will, but after the will is announced, Shen Xi must not be allowed to enter Shen Group.”
Wang Chenglin looked at Shen Dehan and nodded somberly.
Shen Dehan wanted to order something else when there was a soft knock at the door.
Shen Dehan froze, then thought of Li Xiyong saying he was coming over earlier, and immediately stopped the conversation, never mentioning the will again.
As Li Xiyong walked in with Li Mingxuan, Wang Changlin greeted the two of them and then chose to say goodbye sensibly. Li Mingxuan gave Wang Changlin a covert look, not quite knowing why he cared so much about Wang Changlin.
After Wang Changlin left the ward, his expression became thoughtful. He had always thought that Shen Xi was already a waste, but he didn’t realise that there was still such a great use for Shen Xi. The 20% of Shen Group shares were apparently unknown to Shen Xi himself. It seemed that it was time to reveal to Shen Xi that he was Lu Gesen’s foster father.