Zhou Qin looked at Li Yuanbo and her father, Zhou Keqiang, feeling confused and frightened. She was like a nervous deer caught in the headlights. If there was any sign of trouble, she would immediately run away.
Zhou Qin looked at Zhou Keqiang and asked in a low voice, "Daddy, what's going on?"
Li Yuanbo, who was next to Zhou Keqiang, laughed. "Old Zhou, you have scared Qinqin!"
Hearing that, Li Yuanbo waved to Zhou Qin and said, "Qinqin, come on. Don't worry about this old guy. Come and sit next to me."
Zhou Qin had grown up in a compound and had a good relationship with Li Yuanbo, who had always regarded her as his own daughter as well. She calmed down a little, walked over, gently sat down beside him, and asked, "Uncle Li, what's going on?"
Li Yuanbo smiled and asked, "Qinqin, answer me honestly. What have you been busy with recently?"
Zhou Qin was stunned and didn't know how to answer this question. She replied with embarrassment, "Uncle Li, do I really have to answer this?"
"Hey!" Li Yuanbo said in an exaggerated tone. He pretended to be angry and replied, "Yes, you must!"
Zhou Qin thought for a second and asked tentatively, "Uncle Li, are you interrogating me on behalf of the organization?"
"Qinqin, how can you talk to your Uncle Li like this?" Zhou Keqiang said seriously. "If it weren't Uncle Li, would you have been able to live a peaceful life with your lover like this?"
Zhou Qin's face turned red in an instant. She retorted angrily, "Why do you ask me this when you know everything already? You're so annoying!"
Zhou Qin immediately stood up, and Li Yuanbo, who was next to her, began trying to smooth things over. "Oh, sit down! Qinqin, why are you so angry with your uncle? I have watched you grow up, and now you're going to make me look bad?"
Zhou Qin finally sat down again. Although she was ashamed, she inhaled deeply and secretly used Qi control to adjust her breath. Slowly, the flush on her face faded, and she became as calm as water.
Li Yuanbo was amazed as he watched her do this. He looked at Zhou Qin and said appreciatively, "Qinqin, I haven't seen you for a long time. You've changed a lot! You're so good at Qi-refining now. Where did you learn it? From your lover?"
When Zhou Qin heard these words, the technique she has used to make her heart calm down was rendered useless. She blushed again and said angrily, "Uncle Li! If you say such a thing again, I'll leave."
Li Yuanbo burst out laughing and said to Zhou Keqiang, "Just now I saw Qinqin do Qi-cultivation very well, so I thought she'd grown up. Well, it seems that she's still the same girl I've known after all!"
Zhou Keqiang laughed. He slid a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and handed it to Li Yuanbo, who signaled that he didn't smoke. Zhou Keqiang then took out one of the cigarettes, lit it, took a drag, and said, "Her temper will never change. I used to wonder if any man could make her surrender. Now, it seems that there really is a man who can conquer her, but his status is not good!"
After Zhou Qin heard her father's words, she was not angry at all. Instead, she just stared at the cigarette in his hand blanky. Her eyes were flashing as she thought about something, looking pensive.
Li Yuanbo laughed and said, "Qinqin, when will you bring your lover to see us?"
Zhou Qin still kept quiet. She continued to look at the cigarette in Zhou Keqiang's hand in a daze.
Zhou Keqiang said with faint annoyance, "Qinqin, Uncle Li is talking to you!"
Zhou Qin finally came to her senses. She looked at her father meaningfully and asked slowly, "You're in power again, right?"
This question immediately made Zhou Keqiang and Li Yuanbo freeze. The two elders, who were accustomed to heavy storms, looked at Zhou Qin in shock, unable to speak a word for a while.
Not until after the cigarette ash in Zhou Keqiang's hand had fallen down did he ask in surprise, "How did you know? Who told you?"
Li Yuanbo also said curiously, "Qinqin, you are very well-informed! Even I didn't know about this until just now. How did you know?"
Zhou Qin sneered, her smiled chilly. She pointed to the cigarette in Zhou Keqiang's hand and said, "Ever since I could remember, he has never asked for other people's permission to smoke. The only time he asked was when he went off-stage and accompanied me to the hospital. After his resignation, even if he wanted to smoke, he would hide to one side to do it. At that time, he still cared about my feelings. But now, he casually began smoking without regarding others. It can be seen that he has regained his pride as an official again, and will no longer consider others' feelings."
Then, Zhou Qin said to Zhou Keqiang with a sneer on her face, "So, you asked me to come back today. You want to force me to do something with your power again?"
Zhou Qin's words were like a sharp knife, slicing a shameful wound open in Zhou Keqiang's heart.
Zhou Keqiang stubbed out the cigarette in a hurry, looking embarrassed. "Qinqin, how could you say that about your own father?"
Li Yuanbo also sighed and said, "Qinqin, this is an old habit. It's understandable that it'd be hard to change immediately."
Zhou Qin smiled indifferently. "Rome was not built in a day. Don't beat around the bush. Tell me, why did you call me here today?"
Zhou Keqiang and Li Yuanbo looked at one another. They hadn't been expecting Zhou Qin to guess the matter of Zhou Keqiang's comeback from such a small thing, and they hadn't expected her to be so indifferent and hostile.
They smiled bitterly at the same time. Zhou Keqiang shook his head helplessly.
Li Yuanbo smiled and said, "Qinqin, you don't have to be so nervous. After the matter of the He family, who would dare to force you to do anything? They'd have to be unafraid of getting people killed, eh? You, Miss Zhou, are hot-tempered and unyielding. I'm afraid that half of the officials in China have heard about you. Who doesn't admire you? Everyone says that you are definitely out of the jurisdiction of the current officialdom."
He continued, "We asked you to come here today for a few reasons. First, the organization has re-entitled your father. He has been promoted and transferred to another province. It will take about ten days for the entitlement notice to be sent down. We want to know whether or not you want to go to the office with your father."
Zhou Qin's expression was cold, as if the person who had staged a comeback was not her own father but someone who had nothing to do with her. She answered in a lukewarm tone, "Why would I go with him?"
Zhou Keqiang said in a hurry, "What do you mean? You are my daughter! If you don't go with me, who will you stay with?"
Zhou Qin replied coldly, "That's none of your business!"
Zhou Keqiang was extremely angry. He said to Li Yuanbo, "Old Li, look at this child. She's deliberately trying to p*ss me off!"
Li Yuanbo tried to smooth things over with a smile. "Old Zhou, take it easy! Be patient. Kids these days are full of rebellious thoughts. Don't be so rude!"
Zhou Keqiang snorted and sat in his chair, sulking. Li Yuanbo smiled and said to Zhou Qin, "Qinqin, what you said just now wasn't right. Your father is going elsewhere to be an official. How could you say it has nothing to do with you? After all, you are his daughter. No matter how many conflicts there may be, you are related by blood."
Zhou Qin simply sneered. "It's he who will be the official, not me! It's correct for me to say that, isn't it?"
Li Yuanbo laughed and said, "You're already talking about the second thing I wanted to bring up! Let me ask you, have you ever thought of becoming an official?"
Zhou Qin immediately went on high-alert. Her eyes were filled with hostility as she asked in a low voice, "What? You'll find me another fiance?"
Zhou Keqiang was so angry that he jumped up. "Are you a hedgehog? Can't you talk politely?"
Zhou Qin did not show any weakness as she retorted, "If you had not looked for a husband for me in the first place, none of those things would have happened!"
Seeing that the father and daughter pair were going to start quarreling again, Li Yuanbo quickly cut in by saying, "Don't quarrel you two! Old Zhou, sit down! Qinqin, don't talk back! Listen to me!"
Zhou Keqiang forced himself to sit down in a sulk. Subconsciously, his hand moved to his pocket as he wanted to smoke, but as soon as he took out the cigarette, he remembered what Zhou Qin had said just now and immediately threw it away.
Zhou Qin also turned her head away, a stubborn and indifferent look on her face. She didn't look at her father, just stared at the door and didn't say a word.
Li Yuanbo smiled bitterly and said, "Qinqin, you have been overthinking. We just feel that it's a pity that you won't devote yourself to politics considering your talent and wisdom! Look! You deduced that Old Li is making a comeback from a small detail just now. It shows that your observation skills are extremely keen, and your reaction and reasoning ability are also very strong! You were born blessed with these talents. It'd be kind of a waste if you didn't become a government official!"
Zhou Qin was silent for a while before she slowly said, "Uncle Li, if you'd said this to me before, I would definitely have taken your kind advice, but now..."
"What now?" Li Yuanbo asked quickly.
Zhou Qin subconsciously clenched her fists. She could feel a power beyond what was ordinarily flowing through her veins. She was no longer the ordinary Zhou Qin. She had stepped past the boundaries of the cultivation world. How could she turn back?
Zhou Qin shook her head and said, "I can't do it now. Uncle Li, don't ask me why. Anyway, I can't do it. I don't want to be in politics. I just want to go my own way."
The road Zhou Qin was referring to was the road of cultivation. Li Yuanbo and Zhou Keqiang looked at each other disappointedly, thinking that Zhou Qin was talking about the road of love.
The two old men sighed at the same time. Zhou Keqiang laughed disappointedly and said, "I said it wouldn't work. You must call her back."
Li Yuanbo smiled bitterly and said, "Young people always like to try out some special paths. Alas, if it were my child, I would definitely drive them back from this road, but you are different. You are so hot-tempered that even I don't dare to control you. I don't want to see you stay in bed for the rest of your life. Forget it! The road has been chosen by you, and we won't force you. One day, if you want to come back, remember that you can tell me anytime!"
Zhou Qin smiled and stood up. "Uncle Li, thank you for your concern. As you said, I have chosen my own path. No matter how lonely I get, I will go on. I will never regret it." Then, she nodded to Zhou Keqiang and said, "If there is nothing else, I'll leave now."
Zhou Keqiang said, "Won't you at least have dinner here?"
Zhou Qin shook her head slightly and replied, "No, I have something to do." Then, she turned around and went out of the door, not once looking back. She was unrestrained, showing no sign of hesitation or sloppiness.
Zhou Keqiang let out a long sigh. "I told you, but you didn't believe me! Her character is not suitable for politics! What is politics about? Compromise! Have you ever seen her compromise? I haven't! Especially when she met that boy called Li Yundong! It really annoys me. She came and left as she pleased."
Li Yuanbo laughed and said, "You're wrong. Who was born to be a government official? Qinqin was also well-behaved in the past! However, love can change a person. Alas, it's her destiny. There's no other way!"
Zhou Keqiang snorted and stood up. He put his hands on his hips and muttered darkly, "Hum, Li Yundong, you'd better not fall into my hands in the future, or I'll teach you a lesson!"
Li Yuanbo nodded at him and said with a smile, "You see, that villainous temper is back again! Before you were reinstated, you always told me how good he was, but now it's backfired. All the good things have become bad. You can't be like this. I have to criticize you!"
Zhou Keqiang laughed. Right when he was about to speak, he suddenly heard someone knocking on the door. Zhou Keqiang called in a loud voice, "Come in!"
"Excuse me!" A secretary dressed in military uniform came in with a file in his hand. "Chief, I've brought the file you requested."
"Hmm," Zhou Keqiang said and pointed to the table. "Put it down here!"
After putting down the file, the secretary saluted to Zhou Keqiang and turned to leave.
Li Yuanbo laughed. "Oh, what treasure is it? Let's have a look!" He did not wait for Zhou Keqiang's consent and went ahead to open it by himself. He took a closer look and asked in surprise, "Huh? Are you investigating Li Yundong?"
Zhou Keqiang laughed and replied, "Naturally. Who is my daughter spending all this time with? How can I rest assured if I don't check it out?"
Li Yuanbo looked at the information for a while before suddenly smiling. "Your future son-in-law seems to be in deep trouble now."
Zhou Keqiang let out a cry of surprise and asked, "What's going on? Let me have a look."
He snatched the file and only looked at it for a few seconds before he sneered and said, "Hum, this group of b*stards. When they saw that I was about to step down, they turned their backs on me? How dare they embarrass the one my daughter has taken a fancy to?"
Li Yuanbo laughed and said, "Old Zhou, you just said you were going to teach him a lesson!"
Zhou Keqiang snorted and said unreasonably, "This group of b*stards bullied my daughter's favorite boy. Isn't that practically the same as bullying my daughter? And bullying my daughter means they're bullying me! Hum, these wretches. They thought that if I fell, I would never stand back up again! Well, I'd like to see who dares to bully me!"