Chen Rong yelled, “Touch me if you dare! Get any closer and I’ll shoot your beloved woman! A life for a life!”
Everyone retreated to a safe distance, afraid that Chen Rong would pull the trigger as she was clearly in an unsteady state.
Rose opened her mouth after being silent for a while. “Before you shoot, can you at least tell me why you’re doing this?”
“HAHA!” Chen Rong snickered. “Reason? Are you so oblivious to the truth?! All you have ever wanted was for me to be a guard dog for the rest of my life! I wanted so much more than that! Why are you the leader of the Red Thorns Society when it is I who toiled so hard to keep it afloat?! HAHA! Others might be clueless, but I am not. If it wasn’t for Yang Chen, you wouldn’t have won over the West Union Society! You tell me that I am smart and you praise my talents. For what? All you ever wanted was to keep me working for you!
“You’re a shameful woman. How can you stand there so full of pride when it was a man who had brought you through the ranks! I am the one who can truly bring the Red Thorns Society to new heights! Only me! Chen Rong! I was always the one planning strategies against other societies! All you are is stronger and braver than I am! I’m the true leader of the Red Thorns Society!
“You wanted to cut ties with the Green Dragon Society just because they were dealing with university students. You were so ready to change out our faithful hall master when you found out that their subordinates were charging protection fees! We’re gangsters for god's sake. Screw you! Those rotten government officers take bribes while we sell drugs and sex trafficking! What’s wrong with that? Do you think the Red Thorns Society is a charity organization? Are you so deluded as to think that our cashflow is bottomless?
“Other societies do business in fear of the government and their laws. We are above that of the government but still decide to earn petty profits. Are you blind or are you just plain stupid? If it wasn’t for me, we would’ve been losing more money than we were earning. You aren’t even involved enough to know that your legitimate business isn't providing enough funds to run out society.
“If you were to pass your post to me, I would have left it like that. I would have respectfully thanked you for bringing me into this world and let you leave in peace as the first-generation leader of the society. I was confident that when I was leader, I could gain control over the surrounding provinces in less than three years! But all you ever let me do was be your deputy! You talk a big game of passing down your post to me but when will that happen?!
“Must I wait until we are both old and grey before I would even see a chance of taking control? I will not live my life as a guard dog for a woman who relies on her man to bring her success!”
Chen Rong’s words rang out across the boat to the members who had now gathered several meters away.
Their faces were masked with confusion. Chen Rong’s words had struck a chord within them.
When Rose unified the underworld in Zhonghai, she got rid of any operations involved with drugs and women trafficking. This caused a major blow to the profits for many people but they dared not speak up. If their subordinates failed to produce profits, wouldn’t that reflect back on the leader as well?
Rose let out a deep sigh. “So… this was what you’ve always thought of me.”
“Why, am I wrong?” Chen Rong sneered. “Sister Rose… I call you sister because you’re older than me. But honestly, sometimes I think even a three-year-old is smarter than you!”
Rose’s lip curled into a faint smile. “Perhaps I have been too naive to think that things would just play out smoothly once I was gone.”
“Enough of your nonsense. Retreat if you want to live! If not, we can both die together!” Chen Rong snapped.
Rose sighed. “Rongrong, I always hoped that one day you would understand. But your impatience will be the cause of your downfall today.”
“What are you saying…” Chen Rong frowned.
“Have you ever thought about this? Among the twenty thousand or so members in the Red Thorns Society, how many of them truly wished to enter the underworld?” Rose asked.
This question shocked Chen Rong and it also made everyone else to look towards them.
Rose continued, “Willing to live their lives with illegal doings, to fight and kill in a society where tomorrow was never certain? They might appear fine but is that really how they are? Some of them can’t even return home and look at their family members in the eye because of the things that they have done. Given the chance, wouldn’t they give it all up for a good stable income and time with their families?”
“Why should I care?! Retreat immediately!” Chen Rose pushed the muzzle towards her temple.
Rose’s face was full of indifference. “Perhaps, to you and most other members, I’m stopping you from earning money by banning drugs and trafficking. But what makes you think that this will last forever? If it wasn’t for Yang Chen, or the collaboration with the Yuan and Fang clans and the other wealthy clans of Zhonghai, you really think that we could live under broad daylight so peacefully? The government might turn a blind eye for now but who’s to say they will continue to do so in the next ten, twenty years? Once Yang Chen and I are gone, will your measly members really be enough to face the full wrath of the military?”
Everyone’s face turned pale and some even blanked out.
Chen Rong’s hands started to tremble. “It’s too late to turn back the clock!”
”From the moment I founded the Red Thorns Society, I never planned to live in the underworld forever. If it wasn’t for my family background, I wouldn’t have chosen a life like this. I had to be prepared for the future of not only myself but the people and families who rely on this society to live. I chose not to challenge the country for a small round of temporary profit. Everything you said sounds like you’re wishing the best for them. But the truth is, you’re jeopardizing their futures to earn a quick buck!”
“Shut up! Nonsense!” Chen Rong trembled with rage. “You… you were the one who brought me down this path! You told me! You said that this was a path of no return! There’s nothing left for us to do but get rid of our obstacles and pave a way for our members!”
Rose’s gaze turned cold. “Is that so…”
It sounded like a sigh but at that exact moment, Rose initiated a counter-attack against Chen Rong!
Her elbow went to Chen Rong’s throat and knocked the wind out of her!
When Chen Rong dropped her hand to gasp for air, Rose slipped behind her and turned the tables!
She snatched the handgun away from Chen Rong and shot near her head!
Yang Chen watched on with a sense of gratification knowing that Rose’s body was now perfect for cultivation practice.
The crowd cheered and Rose’s supporters were delighted to witness Rose’s sudden outburst!
Chen Rong, on the other hand, was shocked at the turnabout!
“Don’t forget it was I who taught you what you know. From how to run an empire, to how to hold a simple gun.” Rose’s gaze was deadly cold.
Chen Rong laughed foolishly as she turned around and stared at Rose. “I lost and there’s nothing I can do to change that. You were the one who brought me down this path, now you will be the one to take me out of it. Life in the underworld was always life or death anyways.”
Rose emotionlessly replied, “Let me part with you some knowledge for closure before you die. The reason I am in this position is not that I am almighty, but because I am willing to sacrifice my life for my subordinates’ futures. But you… you sacrifice them instead for a better future for yourself. The underworld is a path of no return, but I never said it was one of darkness and pain. You chose not to give it a chance and went down the wrong path as a result.”
“Also, if you had waited another month, I was ready to pass on my mantle to you.”
Chen Rong pupils constricted as she tried not to have a meltdown. “I… don’t… believe… you!”
Rose no longer spoke as she gently squeezed the trigger...
“I don’t need you to!”
Chen Rong smiled brightly before jumping right into the sea!
Her action surprised everyone, including Rose and Yang Chen.
This simple young woman who came from the outskirts to the city had chosen to end her own life after choosing to walk down a dark path.
No one screamed or shouted. No one felt any pain or joy from her suicide.
Yang Chen let go of the rope with zero hesitation, At this point, Situ Mingze was already a corpse when he fell into the sea due to excessive blood loss.
Yang Chen jumped back onto the cruise ship and pulled Rose into his arms. He stroked her back while saying, “Can you not be so cool in front of me, my heart can only take so much in one day.”
Rose glanced at him sweetly before tossing the handgun into the sea. She shifted her gaze to the crowd.
“From the moment I was mature enough to rationalize, my life had been linked with the underworld. I have grown tired and weary of living like this. I’m officially resigning from my post as the leader of the Red Thorns Society and I’ll only claim what’s rightfully mine and I’ll leave the new leader in charge of all operations,” Rose announced.
The crowd gasped in disbelief.
Xiao Zhao and the elderly who had been with Rose from the beginning started persuading her to stay!
Rose raised her hand and gestured everyone to keep quiet before saying, ”From now on, the leader of the Red Thorns Society will be Xiao Zhao, Zhao Mingbo!”
The crowd immediately fell silent as all their attentions were focused on a panicking Xiao Zhao.
Yang Chen gave a thumbs up to Rose. “I think the fatty is a good candidate too.”
Rose was determined to retire, but passing on the post to Xiao Zhao wasn’t convincing enough for everyone.
Rose said, “I know many are dissatisfied with my decision, but you guys would soon understand if you would just cooperate for a couple of months. If it doesn't work out, I’m sure we’ll find something or someone else. It is not my business if someone chooses to revolt against the new management, but let me tell you this. It’s quite hard to predict what the government would do if Yang Chen and I were to suddenly up and leave.”
Everyone shivered in fear when they realized that if Rose were to quit, it meant that Yang Chen would relinquish his protection over the Red Thorns Society!
Rose nodded with a smile when she saw that there were no more signs of complaint.
Yang Chen walked towards Xiao Zhao and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Xiao Zhao, I’m sure you are aware that I hate having my peaceful life disrupted in any way. If a riot ever breaks out due to the Red Thorns Society, I’ll be looking for you. You have a wife and kid, correct? So be sure to work hard for your family’s sake.”
A shiver went down Xiao Zhao’s spine when he was reminded of what Yang Chen could do when he was crossed. He quickly nodded a fervent yes.