The day after Gu Yanting left, things took a turn for the worse for the company.
The old boss who had talked to Tang Yi late last Friday was the boss of the industry’s giant company, Kaisheng Software, and he told Tang Yi that on Monday he would consider the cooperation plan and then in less than a day’s time, he would appoint two special people in charge to come over, visit Tang Yi and Ning Zeyu, and confirm and add to the details of the plan.
All of this went on silently, and after a weekend of fermentation, the lawyer’s letter incident with Huayuan Group finally triggered panic among the company’s employees, which might have been fuelled by Yan Ke and others, but no matter what, there was indeed a group of people who didn’t hesitate to give up on ER at the moment of great distress and find new masters for themselves as quickly as possible.
Tang Yi was silent through the whole process, acting more and more like a helpless old boss in deep trouble. He was waiting for the end of the day on Tuesday before he walked to the personnel department with a blank face, looked at the pile of various applications on the table, and expressed his meaning to the personnel manager who was pulling his hair out in distress at the time.
He said, “Approve all of them and tell them to complete the handover procedures and leave within two days.”
The personnel manager asked with trepidation, “What about their salaries and downpayments for this month?”
Tang Yi said with an expressionless face, “I’ve already said hello to the Ministry of Finance, and they’ll all be paid.”
The group of people who were going to wrangle with the company over the severance procedures didn’t expect this to happen. They had been tense, anxious and angry when the company had the problems, but that little bit of nostalgic feelings about the company was soon replaced by personal hidden worries, and eventually intensified with various rumours about the company – they began to worry that the company would delay approval and keep them to continue working, and that the company would use some pretext to withhold the bonuses. After all, the people who were leaving had already cut off all the good relations with the company and the only thing that mattered to them was that they would not suffer any losses.
It was only a matter of days before they went from facing enemies together to facing the company as an enemy. After all, compared with the illusory sense of company honour, the question of whether you can eat enough and wear warm clothes will always be more realistic. People are materialistic creatures, and you can’t drink chicken soup (feel-good sentiments) for the rest of your life.
The people who left the company were both amazed and numbed by the quick severance procedures, and the buzz continued until Thursday, when calm gradually returned to the personnel department.
Ning Zeyu and Tang Yi together were doing the last bit of preparation before Kaisheng moved in. Seeing that nearly one-third of the company’s people were gone, Ning Zeyu was silent for a while and asked, “If they come back later, how do you plan to deal with them?”
Tang Yi received a text message, and Ning Zeyu happened to see a faint helpless smile on his face when he opened it. Tang Yi casually poked it twice, and after replying, he looked up, smiled and said, “This is the first time the company has been in distress, and it is also the first time in my career that you and I have been forced to make the last stand.”
His voice was clear and cold, and Ning Zeyu stopped what he was doing and also looked up and smiled, nodding and saying, “Yeah.” They had indeed been pushed to the limit these two weeks, almost collapsing to the point of never getting up again.
Tang Yi lowered his eyes and scribbled something quickly on the paper, and after a long time said indifferently, “So this batch of people will never be hired.”
Kaisheng Software’s actions were very swift. Tang Yi and Ning Zeyu set up a new project department in the company as quickly as possible, and within two days, a representative was sent over. On the day the project department, named “Xinkai”, was set up, the two companies simultaneously called the media to issue a statement, claiming that they had become new strategic partners.
The confidentiality of Tang Yi and Kaisheng Software was extreme, and as soon as the announcement was made, the technical support staff of the “Xinkai” project department were quickly put to work on projects of all sizes under Tang Yi. By the time the seemingly inconspicuous report caught everyone’s attention, 80% of the projects under ER had already resumed work and were on schedule.
The first people to be affected were naturally the people who remained. The urgent needs of the projects were solved, and all the remaining personnel couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. Tang Yi simply took advantage of the resignation storm to reorganise the company. Unlike in the past, he conducted three brainstorming sessions throughout the company before this reorganisation. From management loopholes in various departments to reform and innovation in business models, the cumulative number of suggestions received was close to 2,000. This time everyone had a sense of excitement after surviving the catastrophe and an unprecedented sense of collective honour of the company. Although most of the suggestions were destined to be shot down, this sense of participation gave the crowd a great feeling of satisfaction.
Among those who reacted afterwards, apart from Zhou Dongchuan and those from Huayuan’s side, there was also Shen Fan, who had also never heard Tang Yi talk about it in detail.
There were no accompanying pictures on the real-time news, and he repeatedly opened the page of the report, feeling incredulous several times. Finally he checked with Tang Yi and when he learnt that the matter had been satisfactorily resolved without his help, he sighed with mixed feelings for a long time.
Tang Yi’s voice had changed to a relaxed one, with a slight upsurge in his tone from start to finish. Shen Fan suddenly stalled for a moment as he was about to hang up, and asked after a while, “You don’t have a problem with me because of Lin Rui’s matter, do you?”
Tang Yi paused and said in surprise, “No.”
“That’s good. No matter what, the relationship between brothers is the closest.” Shen Fan hesitated and said, “What I said that day may be a bit unpleasant, but it’s still for your own good.”
“…I don’t deny this,” Tang Yi sighed with a smile, “I feel uncomfortable, but not to the point I would have a problem with you over this. But don’t say it’s for my good either.”
He was indeed upset that day. He didn’t have many people close to him, so he naturally wanted Shen Fan to be on the same page as him in everything, but he knew in his heart that such a request was a bit harsh, and even impossible, so he let it go after being interrupted by Gu Yanting.
Shen Fan was silent on the other end for a while, and then he asked calmly, “Tang Yi, don’t you want to forgive Lin Rui?”
“What do you mean?” Tang Yi was taken aback for a moment.
“I’m not speaking for Lin Rui. No matter how good he is personally, he can’t compare to you.” Shen Fan sighed, “It’s just that if you think about it, Lin Rui didn’t do anything unforgivable, and now you’re still holding a grudge against him after two years. It can only mean that you haven’t let go of Gu Yanting.”
“I was happy when you and Zhou Hao broke up, but then I thought about it and realised something was wrong. These two years – I, as an observer, have to say that Zhou Hao’s kindness to you reached a level that is unattainable by ordinary people. You can’t even accept such a man. Apart from not letting go of Gu Yanting, what else can it be because of?”
“Zhou Hao and I have different standpoints and our three views are incompatible.” Tang Yi was a bit helpless, “One moment you get me a dog to prevent me from rolling in bed with Zhou Hao, and now you’re speaking for him after we break up. Shen Fan, are you okay?”
“I’m not speaking for him,” Shen Fan said, “It’s just that Gu Yanting is more unreliable than Zhou Hao. Lin Rui has been single for the past two years. I’ve heard him talk about Gu Yanting, and he never seemed to have any emotion in his words. Gu Yanting has been rejected before, pressing his hot face to the guy’s cold buttocks, so if Lin Rui changes his mind and shows him some affection, how do you know you won’t be the one to be abandoned at that time?”
“……” Tang Yi held the phone and asked after a moment, “What do you know?”
“Nothing,” Shen Fan said, “it’s just that I hope you don’t repeat the mistake of falling into the same pit twice. Besides, Zhou Dongchuan sensed the wind wasn’t right during the weekend. The reason why he was a step slower this time was that someone was helping you.” He paused and sighed, “You know who it is.”
Tang Yi: “……”
Zhou Hao hadn’t contacted him since they parted that day. Tang Yi thought the two of them had just sort of turned over a new leaf. How could he have imagined that there would be more involvement later? Shen Fan’s point was clear; he was certain that the fundamental conflict between Gu Yanting and Tang Yi had not been resolved, and the balance of his scales gradually tilted towards his old enemy Zhou Hao’s side. Tang Yi felt helpless, but there was no denying that he also had a hidden worry.
Gu Yanting used gags and tricks to spend the weekend, and compared to the serious talk of getting back together, the last few days had been more akin to “reunion after an absence is sweeter than being newlyweds”. Gu Yanting said he wanted to keep his distance from Lin Rui, but in all fairness, Tang Yi wasn’t sure about it. But he couldn’t resist Gu Yanting’s approach either.
On Saturday it was already afternoon when he finished sleeping. When he walked out of the bedroom, Gu Yanting had already taken a shower and changed into clean clothes, and was sitting on the sofa reading a book. Fanfan lay quietly at his feet. The light in the afternoon was not too bright or too dry, it seemed to be like the glow of a vintage filter, full of a peaceful and distant meaning.
Tang Yi looked back on the past two years, and no matter how smooth and successful he had seemed to outsiders, there had been no afternoon when he had felt the kind of peace that made him want to live and work together like that for the rest of his life. He was also worried about Lin Rui’s problem, but regardless of whether Gu Yanting could deliver on his promise, Tang Yi really wanted to stand with him this time to see if the two of them could work it out together.
After Gu Yanting returned to Huayuan, he seemed to be busy. He would send a text message every day when he ate and slept, but otherwise had very little time to contact Tang Yi, and Tang Yi was so busy these days that he always took a long time to reply. Tang Yi had originally agreed to talk on the phone tonight, but when he saw that it was still early, he dialled the number he hadn’t dialled for a long time.
Zhou Hao answered quickly, and Tang Yi tensed for a moment when the call was connected. Then a low, strong voice came from the other end of the line, “Tang Yi?”
“En, it’s me,” Tang Yi slowly breathed out and said after a pause, “Thank you.”
Zhou Hao quickly understood and said softly, “No need.”
The two seemed to have nothing more to say, and Tang Yi hesitated for a moment with the phone in his hand, waiting for a while before he couldn’t help but ask, “Didn’t you say that you wanted to keep public and private affairs separate?”
There was a long silence on the other end of the phone. Tang Yi lowered his eyes and tapped the desktop, and only after a long time did he hear Zhou Hao slowly say, “The curtain of war has been drawn. I can only try to make your sacrifices less needless.”
“……” Tang Yi froze, “What?”
“Huayuan has already noticed my father’s intentions and officially joined the war.” Zhou Hao paused and said, “Tang Yi, just take good care of the company after this crisis passes, and leave the rest of the matters alone.”