Chapter 215 - What Arena?
Chapter 215: What Arena?
Translator: Lonelytree Editor: Millman97
Ye Shuang sipped at the tea quietly. She had been listening to Elder Zuo yap about Zuo Yuanhang for such a long time, but she still did not have a clear idea about what he was really going for. When Elder Zuo finished, Ye Shuang had already almost finished the plate of snacks before her. Elder Zuo pulled back his gaze that looked at the horizon. When he saw the empty plate, he got quite startled. Then, he raised his head to ask, “What does Xiao Ye think?”
Think about what‽ It is common for those who are older to like to ramble. Ye Shuang did not think much of it and replied with a smile, “I’m sure the youngsters will have their own way to work things out.”
Elder Zuo was silent for quite a long moment and then waved his hand to signal for Ye Shuang to leave. After the door closed, a smaller door in the study opened, and Madam Zuo walked out to massage Elder Zuo’s shoulders. She asked with a smile, “So, did you find anything out?”
Elder Zuo laughed and shook his head with a broken smile. “Not yet.”
The personalities of Zuo Yuanhang and Zuo Feiyang could be said to be completely opposite from one another. One was a man who was tougher on himself than he was strict on others while the other was just happy to be alive. It was not to the stage of being foppish, but he had much left to be desired, at least in terms of wanting to make something of himself. Since his two sons held Ye Shuang in high regard, Elder Zuo was intrigued.
The incident where Zuo Feiyang was dragged to the underground casino happened just not that long ago, and when Elder Zuo heard about it for the first time, he had been given the shock of his life. He had been so mad that he had almost called Zuo Feiyang back to break his legs. If the boy had really fallen into the trap, even though abandoning their youngest son would have been equal to taking their lives, the elder would have been left with no choice but to sacrifice Zuo Feiyang, knowing the implication and chaos it would create. After all, he had lived for so long already, and how many times had he seen a gambling addiction ruining a person’s life‽
Because of that, Elder Zuo had a natural appreciation toward Ye Shuang. However, other than appreciation, suspicion and caution were there as well.
It was too much of a coincidence that he had been saved by this man. It was also a huge coincidence that he could recognize the man who was trying to entrap Zuo Feiyang. The other thing that had caused the elder’s concern was the thing that had been relayed to him by Zuo Feiyang and You Yang, the two kids. They had said that Ye Shuang himself knew a thing or two about gambling.
A good gambler, familiar with the layout of the casino, even knew an FBI agent…
When he heard the term FBI, Elder Zuo’s first reaction had been that the kids were just exaggerating. Of course, he knew that there was a possibility that these young children were that impressive, but he was more afraid that this was merely a bigger trap. Therefore, to confirm his suspicion, Elder Zuo had been trying to meet Ye Shuang in person.
“It is common for the young to go for fame and power. If he really had some goal and plan, I definitely would have been able to observe some things from the way I praised him.” Elder Zuo pulled his wife to sit at the seat that Ye Shuang had vacated earlier. He sighed and continued. “To prove that I have an interest in the young man, I talked about something important and private, or else it would have appeared that I was too distant and detached. I purposely pulled the young man over to chat with for a long time, just to see how he would react to my conversation.”
Of course, he could not reveal any important information just like that. Even if it was for the sake of testing someone out, using fresh meat as a lure was too much of a waste. Talking about something private during their first meeting might create the impression that he was getting old, but at most, Elder Zuo would suffer some loss of face. People might talk behind his back and laugh at him, but when one was Elder Zuo’s age, one would stop caring about such things.
“If he was really trying to get in our family’s good books, he would try to follow my thread of conversation and provide some advice; if he was being cautious, then he would bring the topic of conversation away or come up with a vague and meaningless answer.” Elder Zuo could not help but laugh at this point. “Perhaps I have been worrying too much—the kid’s reaction was none of the ones I’d predicted.”
The kid was just trying to get the conversation over with. He not only did not understand the meaning of Elder Zuo saying all those things but also did not show any interest in continuing the conversation with him. Ye Shuang had even sighed in relief, seemingly saying, Finally over, can I go now?
It was clear as day that he had zero interest in what Elder Zuo was saying.
Madam Zuo was equally tickled by the expression of defeat on her husband’s face. Elder Zuo had set up the arena to wait for his opponent to show their skill, but the kid not only did not throw any punches, not even noticing that an arena had been set up. She glanced at the empty plate that was left on the table and could not help but laugh. “This is also the first time that I’ve seen a guest really finish the plate of snacks.”
Elder Zuo was reminded by his wife and thought back to his snacks. His plate of green bean cakes, coconut cookies, fruit compote, and dates. Considering his high blood sugar level, Elder Zuo was limited to just having one plate every day. Elder Zuo stomped his foot and groused with regret. “Just what kind of child acts like this‽ He’s so large and handsome-looking but still insists on coming after an old man’s snacks!”
After Ye Shuang went downstairs, she was immediately captured by Zuo Feiyang. The latter was curious about why Ye Shuang had been summoned by his father as well, so he asked, “What did my father say to you?”
Ye Shuang thought about it and said, “There’s not really anything important. He was just complaining about how unworthy his sons were.”
” Not filial 1 ‽” Zuo Feiyang widened his eyes in shock. “Who is he talking about? Me or my big brother‽”
“It’s unworthy, meaning neither of you have inherited his good qualities of being sincere, hardworking, and kind.” One was too capable but had no popularity, and the other had too much popularity but not much capability. Ye Shuang sighed. “Actually, I don’t quite get why Elder Zuo summoned me to tell me these things. Perhaps he thought talking to you guys is too boring? Well, you know how the elders are. They easily feel lonely. Whenever you or your big brother are free, you should visit and accompany him more often.”
After Zuo Feiyang heard that, he was feeling guilty. His own father had succumbed to the stage of having to share his troubles with another family’s son—just how lonely was he? Therefore, Zuo Feiyang went to find his big brother with a mountain-load of pressure on his shoulders. Since Zuo Feiyang believed that he had spent more than enough time to accompany his father, if Elder Zuo was missing his son, then definitely, he was missing the one that was not at his side that often.
Zuo Yuanhang was actually a very filial son. Since he had already cleared his schedule that day to come to the family gathering, it meant that he did not have to work. Therefore, he abandoned the group of guests and followed his little brother to go upstairs to entertain his father.
Elder Zuo was feeling sorry about the loss of his snacks when he saw his two sons come to greet him. One of them asked him so many questions like they were in a business meeting while the other smiled at him with such flattery and obsequies that it seemed that he had regressed by a decade.
The fact that they were acting so out of the ordinary meant that something was wrong. What had possessed his sons so that day‽
Elder Zuo swiped the cold sweat from his head to try to remain calm. Behind him, Madam Zuo was smiling so brightly. Ignoring the multiple gazes that her husband was tossing her way, she went downstairs to greet the guests.
We’ve been married for so many years, and you’re abandoning me for strangers? How could you‽ his narrowed eyes demanded.
All of the hosts are upstairs; if I don’t go down, what are people going to say‽ her eyes replied.
After abandoning her husband, Madam Zuo went downstairs to greet the guests. From her years of being the hostess, even though she had already half-retired following Elder Zuo, people still gave her face. Furthermore, Madam Zuo was good at social gatherings and had plenty of experience, so she wandered around the room and managed to keep the atmosphere friendly even though all the hosts had disappeared.
Due to the test conducted by her husband earlier, Madam Zuo was rather intrigued by Ye Shuang as well. Therefore, while she made her round around the living room, she finally caught sight of Ye Shuang. The man was holding a glass of wine and listening to someone standing by his side with a smile.
It was unclear when Ye Shuang had assimilated into this crowd. The guests invited by the Zuo family that night were all powerful and influential people in Chaohai. Furthermore, this was a small, family gathering, meaning the guests already knew one another beforehand. It was natural for them to being to mingle and chat. If an outsider tried to enter this type of tight circle, it would be difficult. After all, it was common for people in the circle to think, We’re close friends, and you’re an outsider.
However, Ye Shuang was an exception. Madam Zuo could see that the young people around Ye Shuang were not just socializing with the man out of politeness; they really did enjoy conversing with the man.
Just what is so special about the young man that he is able to do something like this?Madam Zuo now understood why her husband had wanted to feel the man out.
Madam Zuo walked toward the group of youngsters. When she was close enough, Madam Zuo heard Ye Shuang say, “It is better to rent a cruise ship. It is fine for Mr. Zuo, who has his personal harbor, but it is not worth it for the rest of us. Maintaining it will cost a great amount of money, and that is not yet considering the license and the harbor fee. How about the gas and cleaning? Unless you plan to go out into the open sea often, if you’re just using it for those one or two annual cruises, then it is definitely not worth it.”
One of the young men sighed. “If only we had Mr. Zuo’s background. Think about how exciting it would be to host a cruise party every year.”
Ye Shuang smiled. “I’m sure Mr. Zuo will invite all of you for his annual party. It is actually much more relaxing to be the guest than the host for a cruise party.”
“I suppose you have a point,” another young man said excitedly. “Hey, have you heard? This time Celebrity XX will be invited to the party as well.”
Ye Shuang took a sip of the wine and added, “You’re talking about that XX? I fear she will not have the time. According to insider information, she is currently staying at home to nourish the fetus, so she will not be wandering around for the next two months. I believe she will borrow some big event to release this news. Now that you mention it, it might be Mr. Zuo’s invitation. ‘Invitation to a lavish cruise party but unable to attend due to pregnancy’ or something like that.”
“Wow! You know about that as well‽”
It was then that Madam Zuo appeared beside them. She smiled and said kindly, “I hope you all are having a good time.”
The group of youngsters hurried to make their greeting. The terms ‘Madam Zuo’ and ‘Auntie’ were repeated so many times. After Madam Zuo waved her hands to show that she was there to talk to Ye Shuang, the rest of the group talked for a few more minutes before they dispersed on their own.
“Xiao Ye is quite impressive. You seem to know almost anything and everything.” Madam Zuo had been listening to the group conversation earlier. She realized that it was Ye Shuang who was handling the tempo and rhythm of the conversation. No matter the topic that was started, he would be able to pick it up with some interesting tidbits.
More importantly, Ye Shuang knew how to hold himself back. When he was done, he would take a step back and give other people their chance to speak. That way, everyone would have a chance to give their view, and there would be no awkwardness of being ignored or abandoned. At the same time, a habit was cultivated that they would turn subconsciously to wait to listen for what Ye Shuang had to say whenever they finished a topic.
After this went on for a while, the small group naturally held Ye Shuang at its center. Even though the other people might not have realized it, Ye Shuang had already acquired the leader’s position. Ye Shuang smiled. She put the wine glass down and very gentlemanly held Madam Zuo’s shoulders as she led the old lady to the center of the room. She added politely, “It’s just that I have some random interests, but in terms of mastery, of course, it is not able to rival the professionals.”
Madam Zuo had helped her husband take down the world when she was young, so she was not a common woman who only knew how to cook and do laundry. After she heard what Ye Shuang had to say, the smile on her face grew deeper. “Then what does Xiao Ye think after having these conversations with so many people?”
Ye Shuang thought about it. “Not much, but I feel like Madam Zuo is quite similar to Mrs. Zuo—you’re both wonderful support to your husbands.”
Madam Zuo glanced at Mrs. Zuo, who was welcoming the employees from the Si Hai Organization graciously. She nodded and then shook her head, sighing. “This daughter-in-law of mine was taught by her mother and family rules. There is nothing really wrong with that, but she is lacking when it comes to human interaction. When Yuanhang was going to marry her, we thought nothing of it, but we discovered later that combining these two together was like putting two negatives together—it did not turn positive but created a vicious cycle.”
More complaining‽ Ye Shuang glanced at Madam Zuo with confusion and realized that the Zuo family’s members were all so easy to get close to outsiders.
The younger generation aside, Madam Zuo and Elder Zuo sure were unique in their own way. They had met for the first time and had not seen each other at other occasions. Even though she had helped their youngest son once, there was no reason for them to share their problem with her during their first meeting, right?
Ye Shuang thought about it but could not come up with an answer. Since she could not figure it out, she decided to just ignore it. After all, it was not going to affect her negatively, perhaps this was their natural personality.
Madam Zuo noticed the silence from the man beside her. However, unlike her husband, she did not treat face as something that important, so she continued her question. “Xiao Ye, what do you think about our Si Hai Organization?”
Ye Shuang did not know how to answer. She shrugged and told Madam Zuo in a helpless voice, “Madam Zuo, if you have any questions, please just ask me directly. Both Elder Zuo and yourself like to go around in circles. I’m afraid that I might fail to understand what you’re trying to say and end up wasting your time.”
Madam Zuo nodded. “In that case, I will ask you directly. Who do you think the traitor at the Si Hai Organization is?”
Then she paused. Seeing the contemplation on Ye Shuang’s face, Madam Zuo also started to think.
The talk of a traitor was something that had been bothering Elder Zuo and Madam Zuo. The Si Hai Organization had so many hotels under their name, and that was not counting the other investments and international businesses. To manage so many departments that did not seem to be connected was not easy and definitely not doable by someone who had normal power.
Even if they had a high position, at most, they would be able to assess the information within their job scope easily. To find out the managers for the other product chain in the Si Hai Organization and have enough ability to make them interested, that person had to be someone close to Zuo Yuanhang’s status. For example, the information and personal data of the people who were approached—this was not information that was assessable to anyone.
Such a powerful traitor was a deadly danger for the Si Hai Organization—that was obvious to all. However, other than that, the two elders of the Zuo family were worried that people might make up of this opportunity to create chaos. The six people that had been selected out by Zuo Yuanhang, if any one of them was touched, it would create a ripple effect throughout the Si Hai Organization.
“I’ll be honest. I hope Madam Zuo won’t think that I am trying to sow discord. Anyone has the possibility to turn because few people are willing to stay under another person’s rule forever. However, we are all business people and know what kind of choice will be the most beneficial for us.” Ye Shuang thought about it and led Madam Zuo to the corner and lowered her voice. “I’ve met the few people at the party today. There are two clever people with ambition, an idiot with ambition, a loyal employee with no ambition, and an opportunist looking for an opening.”
Of the six, one of them was absent. Apparently, they were sick and thus resting at home.
Madam Zuo thought about it and asked, “Who is this opportunist?”
“I’m not going to give a name just in case you might think I’m trying to turn some enemies. I can only tell you the man has left to make two calls in the middle of the party. It sounded like it was for the sake of business. Other than the Si Hai Organization, he has invested plenty to start another chain hotel business in Chaohai.” Ye Shuang smiled. “Technically, there is nothing wrong with this; it is his prerogative to invest in his business. After all, the Si Hai Organization belongs to your family and not his. It is not that hard to understand the man wanting to start something of his own.”
Even though Madam Zuo did not care that much about the company, when she was playing mahjong with her sisters, she would still receive some news. There had been a recent brand rising up in Chaohai, so after some comparison, she understood what hotel Ye Shuang was referring to.
At the beginning, she had already discussed this with her husband, saying that this hotel’s management and design was so similar to their own. Even the advertisement method and promotional effects were very familiar. She did not know what was happening then, but now she finally understood everything.
“It is normal for this to happen eventually.” Madam Zuo sighed. She patted Ye Shuang’s hand. No matter which side this child was standing on, at least this information was beneficial to her family. “Your ears sure are sensitive. How did you manage to catch so much information from a phone call?”
Ye Shuang smiled but did not say anything. It was impossible for her to tell Madam Zuo that the man actually was talking on the phone at the gate outside the house. Furthermore, all the information had been revealed by the person on the other side of the line. The man only gave simple responses like, “Okay”, “Yes”, and “Understood”. Other people would not have suspected that there was something wrong. Therefore, it was not that the man was not careful; he was just unlucky to have run into an alien like Ye Shuang.
Seeing Madam Zuo’s low mood, Ye Shuang held the lady and walked around the party. “It is normal for people to do something like this. If you have the ability, who would want to work for others forever? He has his own family to look after. However, I think you don’t need to worry about him. I don’t think he is the traitor. At least for now, he needs to rely on the channels provided to him by the Si Hai Organization to survive. He is not going to harm you before his own business has found its footing.”
It was not simple to discern who the traitor was. After all, Ye Shuang did not have that much information on her hands. Furthermore, she was not going to get to know everyone at a party. At most, she could only have an impression of people. To get to the bottom of the truth, she would have to wait until the cruise. With the cooperation from Zuo Feiyang and the people from the Xi Hwa Organization, she would be able to find out who the real culprit was.
Madam Zuo walked around the party with Ye Shuang, but she still could not tell what Ye Shuang was after. She could only sigh and retreat.