With a crisp sound, the exquisite tea cup with the logo of a five-star hotel was smashed to pieces on the expensive ceramic tiles that one could see one’s own reflection on.
“What nerve!” In front of outsiders, Yao Shengan had always comported himself with good breeding. But now the muscles on his cheek twitched fiercely, and he gritted his teeth as he cursed: “This Tao Mu really has some nerve.”
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“Grandpa.” Yao Wenxiao hesitated. He was Yao Shengan’s favorite grandson. When he was born, Sheng’an Group was already one of the few big corporations in Shanghai, and Yao Sheng’an was also a well-known big entrepreneur in Shanghai. Naturally, no one would talk about Yao Shengan’s past in front of the Yao family.
Therefore, Yao Wenxiao didn’t know about Yao Shengan’s past of studying under the Song family and then ruining the Song family.
“…..Is the news that Tao Mu broke on the Internet true?” Yao Wenxiao hesitated, and then finally asked.
“Why?” Yao Shengan was furious, and unreservedly vented his emotions on Yao Wenxiao: “You also want to condemn your grandpa for what I did in the past?”
Faced with such overly violent anger, Yao Wenxiao subconsciously startled. Looking at Yao Shengan, who looked like an enraged lion, Yao Wenxiao shook his head quickly: “Of course not. I just think that if this kind of thing is revealed by Tao Mu, we will be very passive. Moreover, it’s like he is afraid that others will not know, so he specially turned it into a program. Now many netizens are infected by the program and are very emotional. They are all calling for boycotts of the hotels and restaurants under the Sheng’an Group on the Internet. The stock price of the Sheng’an Group has also fallen by two percentage points, the business of all the hotels and restaurants is very bad now. The situation is very unfavorable for us.”
Some idle young netizens who had nothing better to do even went to the entrance of the hotel under the Sheng’an Group to pull up protest banners. When they encountered customers coming to dine, they would pull them aside to promote Yao Shengan’s ungrateful and shameful past. They were all teenagers and underage children who used their weekend breaks to act as tap water (TN: Internet slang term that refers to the Internet users who voluntarily post laudatory remarks online to promote a brand). There were even media reporters who were attracted to the scene of these children’s boycott of the Sheng’an Group as a news hotspot. The hotel security guards watched all of this, daring to neither beat or scold, so they could only call the police.
However, this group of children stood fifty meters away from the hotel to pull up banners for publicity. They did not occupy the hotel’s grounds, nor did they act excessively. The police couldn’t do much when they arrived.
All in all, the Sheng’an Group had now become a sewage rat that everyone shouted and beat at. The Yao family members who were still in Shanghai hardly dared to go out in public now. Not a small number of them complained secretly about their old man’s immoral actions.
Even several other major shareholders of Sheng’an Group had quite the complaints about this matter.
Yao Wenxiao also felt a bit of resentment——it was not that he felt Yao Shengan shouldn’t do what he did back then. But Yao Shengan clearly knew that Tao Mu was going to make a fuss about this matter, yet he didn’t tell him in advance, and as a result, he was now caught off guard by Tao Mu. And no matter what he did now in response, he had already lost the initiative.
Yao Shengan’s face sank again when he was reminded by his grandson. Although he had expected that Tao Mu would definitely make a fuss about the Song family, thinking about it in his head, it was not the same as experiencing personally the feeling of being scolded by millions of netizens.
Since Yao Sheng’an had founded the Sheng’an Group he had been living pampered for so many years. He had never been scolded like this before. Fortunately, for so many years, he had been shaping the philanthropic reputation of the Sheng’an Group. Although its impact was usually not obvious, it should be able to play some role at this time.
Thinking of this and the fact that he would need to make use of his grandson’s Yuxiao Media in the future, Yao Shengan’s expression became a little more calm, and he said: “On the Song family’s affair grandpa has certainly been at fault, but more of it is the tragedy of the times. Grandpa can swear with a clear conscience that while the Song family’s tragic past was in part because of my reason, I never thought of having the Song family be ruined. I can only say that the world is difficult and at times, manpower cannot put up much resistance against it.”
“But people can’t always be immersed in the memories of the past. Grandpa was still young at that time, with reckless and extreme thoughts, even if I did something wrong, it can still be excusable. Moreover, for so many years, the Sheng’an Group has been enthusiastic about charity, and our Yao family has also sponsored many Hope Primary Schools and various charities. I, Yao Sheng’an, dare not say that I have a clear conscience, but I dare to say that the Sheng’an Group has not let down the expectations of society. You must know that, for these years, just how many jobs had the Sheng’an Group provided for society and just how much tax had been created for the country? How many charitable donations have been organized by us? We cannot always look at things from one side. We must look at the problem with investigative eyes.”
After a pause, Yao Shengan asked: “Now Tao Mu is relying on FlyNews to expose the old things of the past. The purpose is clearly to smear the Yao family and the reputation of the Sheng’an Group on the Internet. Aren’t you also part of the media industry? Can you think of a way to reverse the situation?”
Yao Wenxiao smiled bitterly: “Of course there are ways. But no matter what we do now, Sheng’an Group is on a very passive front. It would have been nice if Grandpa could have told me this in advance.”
Yao Shengan’s eyes flickered. He also knew that his actions back then were not appropriate. When one grew older one cared more about reputation, and of course he didn’t want his younger generation to have any kind of bad thought of him because of this. That was why he had procrastinated on speaking of the matter again and again. Thinking about it now, it was indeed only a difference in thought that let Tao Mu take the lead. Yao Shengan inevitably regretted it.
However, as a man who created the Sheng’an Group from scratch, he was not one to dwell in regrets. The matter being what it was, no matter how regretful he was, it wouldn’t help anything. He must find a way to solve the problem.
Thinking of this, Yao Shengan couldn’t help but think of the Shen family who had returned to Shanghai after the National School Beauty and Hunk Selection Contest was over and had not made any movements since: “Are you still in touch with Shen Yu recently?”
After the end of the selection contest, the Shen family returned to Shanghai on the grounds of busy year end company affairs. Yao Shengan had to stay in the capital because his grandson was detained. Later, he was worried about what Tao Mu might do, so he acted first and wanted to push Tao Mu down. But in the end, Tao Mu bit back, and he was now in a dilemma.
When Yao Wenxiao heard Shen Yu’s name, a gentle and doting look flashed across his face: “Yes. We talk on the phone every night. Shen Yu has been particularly interested in acting recently. So he took on another film under the arrangements of his family. In this movie, it is said that the lead actor is Yan Sheng. When New Year is over, they will go to Hong Kong to shoot.”
Yao Shengan let out a “hmm” and slowly said, “The Shen family and the Yao family are family friends. Now the Yao family is in trouble, and there may be some financial problems. It is inevitable to ask for help from the Shen family at that time. You have to maintain a good relationship with Shen Yu. The Shen family loves this young son the most. At that time, with him helping us, the Shen family should not refuse our request.”
Yao Shengan also faintly felt the dissatisfaction of the Shen family after losing the bid for that piece of land in Shanghai. Even though he regretted his eagerness for quick success, he also inevitably had complaints about the Shen family’s domineering behavior——how could it be that just because the Shen family had a high position in the real estate industry in Shanghai, his Yao family should not be allowed to get a piece of the pie too?
Back then when the Shen family bid for land to develop real estate projects, whenever they encountered a shortage of capital, they would borrow some funds from Sheng’an Group. Had Yao Sheng’an ever said anything about this? Now because his Sheng’an Group also wanted to enter the real estate industry, the Shen family was so resistant. It really was…..the nature of a profit chasing businessman.
Of course, Yao Wenxiao did not know Yao Shengan’s complaints, and even reproached directly after hearing these words: “Grandpa, what are you talking about? I grew up with Yu Yu, and our friendship is sincere. It’s not for profit or anything. If you say this, Yu Yu will misunderstand me.”
“Of course I know that you are sincere friends.” Yao Shengan’s expression became more relaxed and said: “That’s what Grandpa said. If the Shen family is unwilling, don’t forget to ask Shen Yu to help Grandpa say a few good words.”
“I know.” Yao Wenxiao nodded. He originally intended to discuss countermeasures with his grandpa. But these words evoked his longing for Shen Yu and at this moment, there were no more thoughts but to go into his bedroom to call Shen Yu.
Unsurprisingly, when Tao Mu broke the old grievances between Yao Sheng’an and the Song family, a group of netizens called for a boycott of the hotels and restaurants owned by the Sheng’an Group. Even the share price of the Sheng’an Group was affected. As a result, a press conference was held.
At the press conference, Yao Shengan, the gray-haired chairman of Sheng’an Group, did not shy away from his faults in the past. He admitted that he really was impulsive back then. But the tragedy of the Song family was actually caused more by that era, and not by people. After all, he had not personally harmed anyone in the Song family. No one in the Song family died directly because of Yao Shengan.
“In those days, there were actually a lot of such regrets. I don’t deny that I was really a coward at the beginning. Because I was also reported by others, I thought about ‘making up for my crimes with meritorious services’ and let myself live a little better. In fact, in those days, there were also many people like me. We were both perpetrators and victims.” In front of all the media reporters, Yao Shengan said sincerely and frankly: “I admit that it is my cowardice that indirectly caused the tragedy of the Song family. Today, I am willing to apologize to the Song family for my mistakes back then.”
When Yao Shengan said this, he bowed deeply. Then his tone changed: “However, the Sheng’an Group has been established for so many years, including Yao myself, we have been shouldering the social mission of greater ability meaning greater responsibility, and have taken keen interest in charity. For so many years, towards the number of Hope Primary Schools, Sheng’an Group has donated a total of…..the charitable funds donated have totaled…..”
“I believe that the good deeds done by Sheng’an Group will not be discounted by my actions in those years. The good deeds I have done will not change in nature because of the mistakes of the past. In this life, can one not make any mistakes? I hope that everyone can acknowledge the wealth created by the Sheng’an Group for society as well as the job positions provided, and have more tolerance and understanding for Yao. I, Yao Shengan, once again declare that I will spend my lifetime on philanthropy and contributing to society.”
As soon as this interview came out, some netizens were immediately persuaded.
“I feel that Chairman Yao is right. That era was very special. Chairman Yao just succumbed to the times and made choices that most people would make. As the saying goes, ‘look out for yourself, or heaven and earth will combine to destroy you’. Just how many people can stand up and be a hero when facing danger? Anyway, if it was met, I wouldn’t be able to do it.”
“The tragedy of the Song family is the sorrow of the times. Of course, there are indirect factors from Yao Shengan, but Yao Shengan did not personally kill anyone, nor did he violate the law. Moreover, the Sheng’an Group has really been keen on charity for so many years. There is a Hope Primary School in my hometown and it was donated by the Sheng’an Group. The road from our village to the town was also donated and built by the Sheng’an Group. One person did one wrong thing and did 10,000 good deeds. How could it be because of this one wrong thing those ten thousand good things are obliterated?”
“When I watched the program “Life in the Market” when it first came out, many netizens were infected by the program and they were calling for boycotts of restaurants and hotels owned by the Sheng’an Group. The shops where business had been so prosperous that there were very long lines outside, now have no one entering. And in so many days, the stock price of Sheng’an Group has plummeted by nearly 10%. Even if it is punishment, this should be enough, right?”
That Yao Wenxiao could be hailed by the media as “the most promising young talent in Shanghai, the most anticipated business genius of this century”, naturally had his abilities. At least in matters other than Shen Yu, Yao Wenxiao was still quite capable.
A simple press conference, coupled with the constant misleading of the public carried out by the FlyNews accounts, instantly reversed the situation of “being universally condemned” created by Tao Mu.
Fortunately, Tao Mu, who had experienced his previous life, had long been familiar with all of Yao Wenxiao’s methods. After Yao Wenxiao triumphantly made his first move, Tao Mu’s response followed soon after.
Tao Mu once again broke the news that Yao Shengan was not reported on at all, but coveted the Song family’s ancestral recipe book and took the initiative to “expose and report against” the Song family. He found witnesses who still remembered the old events of that time and even directly participated in the whole thing and pointed out that Yao Shengan led a group of people to smash the Song family’s ancestral hall, and took advantage of the chaos to spirit away the Song family’s ancestral recipe book.
Evn to this day, the recipe book passed down in the Song family was still being detained by Yao Shengan. Yao Shengan spoke earnestly at the press conference, saying that he would apologize for his actions back then, but he never mentioned this ancestral recipe book. It could be seen that the apology that was mentioned was just an act. There was no sincerity at all.
In addition, Tao Mu also told FlyNews Entertainment to reveal that Yao Shengan had been targeting competitors for many years in order to get Sheng’an Group to gain a foothold in Shanghai, including instigating kitchen staff at competing restaurants to add medicine to the dishes and cause food poisoning to the diners. The restaurant had its reputation damaged and went bankrupt to compensate the customers and finally had to close down. However, Yao Shengan took the opportunity to buy the other restaurant at a low price. There were also other such nasty methods.
Tao Mu was forced out of the entertainment industry by Yao Wenxiao in his last life. But he had never been a person who sat around resigned to his fate, and naturally he would find someone to secretly investigate Yao Wenxiao and even the black materials of the Sheng’an Group. Yao Shengan was able to betray his teacher and benefactor back then, cruelly causing the death of the shifu who had raised him just for a recipe book, which showed that this person was not a good person at all. Yao Shengan’s success was not found upon righteousness, and had tasted the sweetness of crooked ways. Naturally, he would not stop using dirty methods.
Tao Mu found a lot of illicit materials about the Sheng’an Group. However, he was blacklisted from the Internet by Shen Yu’s admirers in his previous life, and there was no platform to speak on. In addition, his own image was very bad, and no one believed his words at all. On the contrary, the Sheng’an Group managed to wipe out these old things because of his actions that inadvertently alerted them. Basically, they used money to eliminate disasters, exchange benefits, and dropped heavy money in exchange for the forgiveness of the victims’ family.
The family members of the victims no longer mentioned the events of the past, and others naturally had no position to pursue them.
In this life, Tao Mu used the foresight of hisnrebirth to preemptively expose the black materials of the Sheng’an Group when FlyNews had the most presence and best reputation. He contacted several catering groups that had lost in the competition with Yao Sheng’an and had to move to other provinces but had preserved their strength, and jointly sued the Sheng’an Group. And they also applied to the court for property preservation measures to freeze the bank account of Sheng’an Group——
Tao Mu instigated those catering groups to sue Sheng’an Group in order to freeze the account of Sheng’an Group and cut off the capital flow of Sheng’an Group. As for whether the lawsuit was won or lost, no one cared at all.
Sure enough, the huge capital flow of Sheng’an Group was immediately cut off by this method. Coupled with the frequent scandals, Sheng’an Group’s stock market prices had also plummeted, the stocks having dropped to their limit down price within a few days and forcing Yao Shengan to apply to the Shanghai Stock Exchange for trading suspension.
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Tao Mu also did not let go of the few FlyNews accounts under Yao Wenxiao. Direct evidence proved that these FlyNews accounts were all water army raised by Yao Wenxiao. These water army accounts misled the public and spoke for the Sheng’an Group on the Internet, deliberately inducing the direction of public opinion. The pitiful netizens were once again played for a fool.
The kind-hearted netizens who were originally genuinely defending the Sheng’an Group once again felt the heartache of having their IQ treated with contempt. Under such grief and anger, a part of the netizens instantly went from passersby to antis and spared no effort in hating on the Sheng’an Group.
TN: Normally I dislike splitting chapters but this one is just too long to translate in one sitting. TBH, even though I chose to translate VCF and it is one of my favorite BLs, I have to agree with the reviews on NU that says VCF can be full of tedious and unnecessary details at times with long paragraphs and chapters. This flaw is even more obvious when translating it. But I’m the one who chose to translate it so even if a few brain cells die along the way I gotta finish it ╮(╯ ∀ ╰)╭
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