Under the influence of his grandfather and his mother, Qi Cong had been practicing calligraphy since childhood. Because he started practicing early and did it often, his characters were basically polished when he reached junior high. Later on, no matter how he changed, it just added some personal habits to his already fixed foundation.
But now, it was clear that the characters of “Suicide Note” on the envelope and on the brochure spread out in front of Qi Cong were obviously written by a different hand. The characters of “Suicide Note” on the envelope were written with too much force. The shape of the letters was rigid, and the structure was chaotic. It looked like it was written by a novice practitioner.
He deliberately wrote the two characters of “Suicide Note” on the brochure forcefully, but the font was round and the structure was perfect, the turning point of the pen was flexible and elegant, and the regular script retained a very strong personal style.
Qi Cong frowned.
Handwriting was something engraved in a person’s muscle memory. Even if he lost his memory, it should not regress so much. The strength and the direction of the strokes in the words “Suicide Note” on the envelope showed it was written mechanically, because he was about to commit suicide. It had a serious and solemn taste.
Something was wrong.
He picked up the envelope, turned it over, and opened it, pulling out the letter inside.
A large number of words appeared in front of him, and Qi Cong frowned again after only one glance. Before that, he thought it was just a special case that the words on the envelope were not well-written, but the words on the letter shattered his earlier thoughts.
With just a quick scan, he found at least seven or eight structural problems with the written characters, which were very strange to him. No matter the habit of using a pen or writing space, there was no trace of his inclinations.
This was not just a matter of regression in handwriting.
He read the content of the letter again, and his face wrinkled in disgust. Was this a suicide note or a love letter? The whole letter expressed love for Jiang Zhaoyan with words of sadness and lingering affection and didn’t even mention Qi Yin and Lin Hui. Was this letter really from him?
There was a knock on the door.
Qi Cong returned to his senses, contained his thoughts for the moment, and stuffed the letter back into the envelope, covering it with the brochure before getting up to open the door.
Shen Jia stood outside the door with a notepad and a pen. After Qi Cong opened the door, he saw Shen Jia looking like a thief, standing before the room where Qi Yin and Lin Hui were staying. He then placed the book and the pen in Qi Cong’s hand and said in a low voice, “Brother Cong, let me help you settle the account. In the past three years, the banking business and payment software have changed a lot. I’m afraid you won’t figure it out by yourself.”
Qi Cong nodded and let Shen Jia in.
They sat cross-legged on the bed, and Qi Cong took out all the cards from his wallet, lined them up, then took out his mobile phone and turned it on.
The phone screen did not light up.
Shen Jia leaned over and said, “It was left on for several days. There should be no battery left.”
“Give me a minute.” Qi Cong got up, took out the charger, charged the mobile phone, and turned it on.
A phone call immediately came in. The caller’s name, “Zhaoyan,” appeared on the screen.
Qi Cong paused, looked at the screen for two seconds, answered the phone, and put the mobile phone to his ear.
“Is that what you call goodbye? Why don’t you turn off your phone and try acting again?” A nice low male voice came out from the phone with a hint of anger in his voice. “Qi Cong, how many more times do you have to pretend to commit suicide? Would you please stop messing around? I told you, I’m not trying to kick you out of the company. I just want you to change your position. The R&D department is too important, and you can’t—”
This questioning made Qi Cong immediately confirm that Jiang Zhaoyan was indeed just as Shen Jia said, not a good man.
“Jiang Zhaoyan?” he interrupted in a cold voice
The phone was quiet for two seconds, and the tone suddenly softened. “I know you are angry. I hid it from you and Xia—”
“Cut the crap.” Qi Cong interrupted Jiang Zhaoyan again. “I really said goodbye to you forever. Leave me alone!”
Jiang Zhaoyan raised his voice, “What did you say—”
Qi Cong hung up the phone, looked for a bit, then pulled Jiang Zhaoyan’s number in the blacklist and turned around.
Shen Jia jumped excitedly. “Brother Cong, you were so awesome just now! Good job! That’s how you should treat scum. Just like this. Get him out of here!”
Qi Cong held on to the head of the bed and was nearly overthrown by Shen Jia. His expression softened a bit as he reached out and pulled Shen Jia off his body. “Alright, let’s settle the account.”
The two of them sat down again on the bed. Qi Cong was responsible for calling the bank to check the account, and Shen Jia was responsible for recording it.
He wouldn’t know until he checked. He was shocked when he learned that he had nine credit cards in total. The total debt in all the cards added up to 980,000 yuan. Basically, all the credit cards were used to the maximum. In addition to the cards, Qi Cong also borrowed money from some shopping platforms and payment software.
What made Qi Cong even more afraid and angrier was that, the day before Qi Cong committed suicide, he downloaded seven or eight loan apps and borrowed more than 160,000 yuan in total and placed an order for a luxury watch for Jiang Zhaoyan. The delivery address of the watch was Jiang Zhaoyan’s company.
According to the chat records between Qi Cong and the customer service of the brand, this watch was a birthday gift that Qi Cong bought for Jiang Zhaoyan.
Qi Cong squeezed the card in his hand.
Shen Jia looked worried. “Brother?”
“It’s nothing.” Qi Cong let go of the card. “Can this order be canceled?”
Shen Jia nodded hurriedly. “Yes, the customer service said that this watch needs to be transferred from abroad, and the delivery will be relatively slow. I just took a look, the watch you bought hasn’t been shipped yet. You can cancel it directly.”
Qi Cong’s expression looked a bit better. “Then cancel it directly.”
A quarter of an hour later, the money from the purchase was returned to Qi Cong’s account. Qi Cong used this money to pay off the debts to the apps and then uninstalled them.
After another half an hour, the accounts were finally sorted out thoroughly. With the money paid in installments on various shopping platforms, Qi Cong owed more than 1.43 million yuan (about $202,900) in total.
Shen Jia put down his notepad filled with all kinds of numbers and looked at Qi Cong, hesitant to speak. Qi Cong was calmer than Shen Jia thought. He didn’t try to be brave and refuse to ask for help.
Instead, after collecting the cards from the bed, Qi Cong said, “JiaJia, can you lend me 1.5 million first? I want to clear these accounts first and then close these cards and accounts. After paying the debt, I want to rent a house for my parents, so that they can live more comfortably. I promise I will earn money and give it back to you as soon as possible.”
“No problem. I’ll transfer the money to you now!” Shen Jia hurriedly pulled out his cell phone.
After receiving Shen Jia’s money transfer, Qi Cong insisted on writing an IOU for 1.5 million to Shen Jia and then made an appointment with Shen Jia to go to the banks to close the accounts the next day.
It was already late when they finished these tasks. Qi Cong got up and sent Shen Jia back to his room. Before Shen Jia went inside, he suddenly opened his mouth and asked, “Why did I kill myself? On that day, I was taking out a loan to buy a gift for Jiang Zhaoyan, and the next day, I committed suicide. Something must have happened in-between.”
Shen Jia stopped and looked back, hesitated for a moment before saying, “Because Jiang Zhaoyan got engaged to the youngest son of the Anxia family, who is doing interior design.”
Qi Cong was stunned. “Engaged? Is it the one I know?”
“Yes, it’s the former partner of your family’s company, Amber Design Company.”
“. . .” Qi Cong pursed his lips hard and asked, “What does Jiang Zhaoyan do?”
“Smart houses. Brother Cong, Jiang Zhaoyan’s company was developed entirely by sucking the blood out of you and your family’s company.”
After seeing Shen Jia off, Qi Cong returned to his room, stood by the bed, looked at the pile of cards he had just put away and swore in a low voice.
. . .
As for closing the accounts, looking for a house to rent and moving in, Qi Cong spent two days to finish all of these things before Lin Hui went to work at his old friend’s educational institution.
The newly rented house was near Lin Hui’s workplace. It had two bedrooms and a living room with a large balcony. Its decorations were relatively new and came with a complete set of household appliances. Although it was not even comparable to the small villa the Qi family lived in before, it was much better than the old house Qi Yin and Lin Hui lived in previously.
Although he owed a lot of money, Qi Cong was not willing to let his parents suffer. After moving houses, he went to the supermarket and bought a lot of daily necessities for Qi Yin and Lin Hui, several sets of clothes to change into, and even a set of skincare products for Qi Yin. Then he bid farewell to them at the dinner table.
Lin Hui frowned. “Are you leaving tomorrow?”
Shen Jia, who had buried his face in his bowl, also raised his head when he heard this question. He wanted to speak, but choked on food and burped instead.
Qi Cong conveniently poured Shen Jia a glass of water and replied, “Well, JiaJia has been in Haicheng for so long and missed a lot of work in Beishi, so it’s time to go back.”
Shen Jia quickly swallowed the food and said hurriedly, “I didn’t—”
Qi Cong looked at Shen Jia. “You answered several calls behind my back today, and I heard people scolding you on the other side of the phone.”
Shen Jia stalled and said weakly, “That was my agent. He has a bit of a bad temper.”
“And I also want to start working as soon as possible. It’s not good to sit back and do nothing.” Qi Cong looked at Qi Yin and Lin Hui again. “Mom, Dad, I have been under your protection for so many years, and it’s time for me to go out.”
Lin Hui wanted to speak but was blocked by Qi Yin. Qi Yin smiled at Qi Cong and said, “Go if you want. Mom is waiting for you to find your own happiness.”
The matter of leaving was settled.
After dinner, Qi Cong and Shen Jia went together to do one last thing before leaving Haicheng, namely to return to Qi Cong’s rented apartment and pack Qi Cong’s luggage.
Shen Jia wilted a little and said while driving, “Brother Cong, I think Uncle bought a lot of meat and vegetables. He obviously wanted to replenish your body. I also think it’s better to take care of your body first.”
“I want to make money quickly.” Qi Cong fastened his seat belt and looked at the heavy traffic ahead. “I don’t want to be left behind by the times.”
Shen Jia glanced at Qi Cong’s quiet profile and moved his mouth, but didn’t speak in the end.
By the time they arrived at the apartment, it was completely dark. It was dinnertime. The elevator was crowded with residents who came back for dinner or went down to get takeout. Shen Jia pressed his hat down nervously and hid behind Qi Cong for fear of being recognized.
In the past two days, when they were outside, Shen Jia behaved just like this when they were in a crowded place.
Qi Cong felt it was somewhat funny and said in a low voice, “You look more suspicious this way.”
“It’s better to be suspicious than to be recognized and chased.”
The elevator arrived, and Shen Jia hurriedly walked in with Qi Cong.
The elevator was soon full. The door closed, and the smell of food filled the elevator. No one spoke.
“Eh, the poster was changed?”
He didn’t know who said these words, but the people in the elevator became agitated, so he looked at the poster on the right side of the elevator. Several of the quiet-til-now sardines became excited.
“I can’t believe they changed the poster of Heaven Asked. Who changed it? It was okay.”
“Is Heaven Asked coming out?”
“Yes. I don’t know who set the schedule for September 1st. It’s school start.”
The crowd buzzed, and Qi Cong looked sideways at the elevator poster.
It was a poster with a bleak overall style. In the endless Gobi, a dilapidated dirt house stood alone on top of a slope. There was a flag flying on the roof, and a man with black hair and a sword was standing on top of the flagpole. He was tall and had an awe-inspiring temperament. A black hood covered most of his face, and only the slight curve of the chin was visible.
Qi Cong’s eyes widened slightly. This chin . . .
“Brother Cong? Brother Cong? We are here.” Shen Jia gently poked Qi Cong’s back.
Qi Cong returned to his senses and saw that the elevator door had opened. The others in the elevator were looking at him, and as he said sorry in a low voice, he walked out with Shen Jia. The elevator door closed, and it kept going up.
Shen Jia stood up and breathed a sigh of relief. “That was close. Just now, a girl was staring at me all the time and wanted to rub against me. She almost scared me to death.”
Qi Cong’s mind was full of the image of that curved chin, and he couldn’t help asking, “The poster in the elevator just now . . .”
A sudden male voice interrupted Qi Cong’s words, and he looked in the direction of the voice.
A tall man with handsome facial features wearing a black suit on a hot day stood in the corner of the corridor. His face was full of impatience as he asked, “Why did you change the apartment code?”
Edited by : Faro