The traffic on the highway leaving Zhonghai was sparse.
The two female bodyguards sat in the front seats of the bright-red Porsche Cayenne that An Xin usually drove.
Seated behind them were Yang Chen and An Xin. Hand in hand, An Xin rested her head on Yang Chen’s shoulder half asleep.
She seemed to be exhausted after all that had happened. She was done with talking for the night. All she wanted to do was lean on Yang Chen and rest.
As Yang Chen pondered some things, his face started to reveal expressions of disgust.
After An Xin had regaled the issues with the An clan, the first thought that appeared in Yang Chen’s mind was—if I had known this, I would have fed that stupid fellow An Zaihuan to the sharks along with the Liu’s father and son.
This wasn’t a minor issue by any means. However, it wasn’t exactly something Yang Chen ever bothered himself with.
It all started from a conflict that had gained international attention in the past two months. It was the dispute between China and the Philippines on the ownership of an island.
Regardless of how the matter was picked apart, it clearly revealed that the Philippines were out to cause trouble for China. They were confident enough to pull such an act due to their backing by the US army.
And despite being reproached by numerous citizens for being useless, the higher officials in China stood firm. They refused to open against the Philippines. But it wasn’t as if the government had to obey every whim and fancy of its citizens.
That did not mean, however, that they were not actively trying to control the situation. They had sent marines to stand guard by the island in case of any sudden attacks.
As a matter of fact, Yang Chen understood why such a situation arose. The war was not between the Philippines and China like most people thought it was, but between the US who was lurking in the shadows of this conflict. The Philippines was just a pawn in their game.
Even though Blue Storm, the special organization from the US was not overwhelmingly powerful, the world belonged to the seven billion people living on it after all. Humans are social creatures, thus the real leader of the world was not determined by experts or organizations. It depended on the combined competitiveness in technology, economy, and culture of each country. These were the true fundamentals that had kept a society moving forward. Brute force could only kill, not create.
If China were to really get into a war with the Philippines, the number of losses in both funds and personnel would only make the US army stronger and happier.
It was a business deal that required zero capital for the US. They would benefit regardless of the outcome. There was no comprehensive reason for China to rush in head first into the matter.
Of course, the Chinese government was not too silly either. They banned various exports and imports between China and the Philippines. The sudden stop in the supply of various life necessities had led to woes from the citizens.
Currently, the army was still stuck on the waters in a confrontation against the Philippines army. Some of the soldiers might have many grievances, but orders were orders. So they could only stay put in their positions.
Yang Chen had witnessed numerous wars in his lifetime. He was aware of the damage a war could do. Thus, he just glimpsed through the provocative messages online, but in his heart, he hoped that they could make the opponent surrender without a war. After all, their soldiers were still humans made from flesh and blood. There wasn’t a need to make them fight against metal guns and cannons.
But then again, to Yang Chen, it was none of his business. As long as those people didn’t appear before him and disrupt his life, it was not in his place to interfere.
Yet, ever since the end of the previous month, An Zaihuan, the head of the An clan, had been quietly exporting banned production materials and chemicals to the Philippines. All because the An clan owned many of the ports and ferries in the southern provinces of China.
These materials made life easier in the Philippines. It was also used to make weapons for the impending war against China.
If the internal burdens in the Philippines were lessened, it also meant that the US could continue offering them long-term support.
Under normal circumstances, An Zaihuan wouldn’t have been capable of deceiving the customs and export the goods to the Philippines during such a crucial period. He was just a normal businessman. Yet, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had secretly gotten in contact with him, feeding him all the necessary information.
Spies from the FBI were in charge of handling the details, helping An Zaihuan escape the attention of the Chinese government while providing him with more than double the times of his usual profit.
Convinced, An Zaihuan accepted the marvelous deal that was offered to him.
An Zaihuan did so not because he had complete trust in the FBI, but because he knew that he still had the Rothschild clan as his backup. Besides, the reason he could obtain the customs exemption for his ferries was because of the Rothschild’s clan badge. It was just one of the many benefits enjoyed by those sheltered with the badge.
What he did not know, however, was that the FBI had chosen him precisely because they had found out about this.
The Rothschild clan did not belong to any specific country. Any business that could yield them exorbitant profits and did not pose any harm to the clan itself was welcomed.
Therefore, even though they knew that An Zaihuan was making use of the clan’s privileges, the Rothschild clan wasn’t opposed to it. They were happy as long as the profits from his endeavors kept rolling in. And if anything went wrong, as long as they pinned all the responsibility on An Zaihuan, the Chinese government wouldn’t dare to touch the Rothschild clan.
But no secrets could be kept forever. An Zaihuan had been carrying out his business dealings for about half a month secretly behind his family before traces of his dealings were finally discovered by the National Defense Department and National Security Bureau.
The special units in the National Defense Department had their eyes on An Zaihuan, and assets were frozen in response.
Realizing that the situation had been compromised, the Rothschild clan shirked their responsibility immediately and blamed everything on An Zaihuan. They also secretly declared to the Chinese government that they would not plead for An Zaihuan just because they were business partners.
Seeing that An Zaihuan had hit a dead end and was about to be arrested, the US chose not to abandon him as the Rothschild clan did. They deployed special agents from the FBI to smuggle An Zaihuan out of the country. In the end, he managed to escape and slip quietly away to the US.
Although it seemed like an arduous but fruitless effort, it was actually a fervent quest for talent. If the Americans wanted people to continue working with them in future wars, they had to make sure that their allies knew that they were willing to look out for them. If not, who in their right minds would work for a betraying a country? Therefore, they were willing to rescue An Zaihuan despite him having exhausted his value.
Since it was only a war between normal human beings, organizations like the Yellow Flame Iron Brigade did not get involved. An Zaihuan would not have been able to escape if they did.
After An Xin had finished speaking her mind, she fell into a comfortable silence while resting on Yang Chen’s shoulders with her eyes shut for quite a while. Finally, she continued saying, “Some time ago, he thought that he was going to be arrested. At that time, he asked me to plead for your help on the matter. But, how could I? If not for you, my father and I would have been swallowed whole by the Liu clan. Not only did he not reflect on his actions, he even committed such treacherous actions to betray the country.”
“But you couldn’t leave him alone. He is still family after all. That’s why you felt torn. You drank incessantly at night and often came late for work in the day,” Yang Chen said before he let out a long sigh. He realized that he was still too careless, having not paid enough attention to the woman beside him.
An Xin nodded her head with tears in her eyes. “Sorry… I know it’s wrong of me to keep it from you. But it happened during Yu Lei’s crisis. You don’t belong to me alone, so I can’t ask you to ignore Sister Lin and the others just to help me and that man. Back then, I’ve already felt sorry towards your mother and Boss Lin because of the matter about Lu Min. Now that this matter involves the National Defense Department and FBI, I… I really didn’t dare to ask…”
Yang Chen caressed An Xin’s hair. This woman was the most ‘unqualified’ third party. She seemed to always worry that he might abandon her. This resulted in her making things difficult for herself while trying to please him.
“It’s nothing. I will help you through this slowly. All you have to do is stay by my side,” Yang Chen said to console her. He pulled out his phone, pondered for a while, and dialed a number.
The call got through, and a man’s laughter could be heard. “My dear friend, Your Majesty Pluto, what brings you to call me at this hour? Your wife has just put up a superb business performance that surprised everyone. Shouldn’t you be celebrating it with her right now?”
“Edward, why didn’t you tell me about the matter in the An clan?” Yang Chen went straight to the point. Even though he knew no one else from the Rothschild clan, this longtime friend of his did not even inform Yang Chen about it. It infuriated Yang Chen slightly since Edward was certainly aware of the situation.
Edward let out a bitter smile on the other end of the phone. “Right to brass tacks huh? I had originally wanted to just let it slide under the radar. Yang Chen, I hope you can understand that even though I am your friend, I’m still one of the upcoming successors of the clan. The future of my clan is still my number one consideration.”
“Just because An Zaihuan’s business is profitable?” Yang Chen frowned.
“That’s right,” Edward admitted up front. “In the eyes of our Rothschild clan, country, race, and territory are all meaningless. Our wealth was and still is, the reason we have survived this long. As long as we can gain profit, we’re willing to commit as many unforgivable sins as we can. Although An Zaihuan’s actions will make things awkward for China, that is none of our concern. Our concern is profit. Whatever happens to him depends on his destiny. If I had told you about it beforehand, you definitely would have stopped it. I could not let your actions devastate the profitability of our clan…
“As a member of the Rothschild, I can’t do that. And I hope that you can understand. At the same time, as your friend, I owe you an apology.”