Chapter 653: Xu Ke’s choice
At 9 PM, an unexpected visitor suddenly came to the Qinghe Group’s headquarters. The president of Qinghe University’s Student Council, Xu Zhi, stood outside the security gate and said, “I’m the Xu clan’s Xu Zhi. I would like to meet my brother, Xu Ke.”
Xu Ke was Xu Zhi’s elder first cousin on his father’s side. Before Luoyang City was in trouble, the two of them had a very good relationship. Many of Xu Zhi’s friends knew Xu Zhi saw Xu Ke as his role model.
But at this moment, it did not matter who came to look for Xu Ke. The Rider who was guarding the entrance, Luo Yunxian, just looked up and said, “Xu Ke is not receiving any visitors today. Please come back tomorrow.”
As for whether the Qinghe Group would still be around tomorrow, they would have to wait until after tonight. Time would decide the outcome.
Xu Zhi stood at the gate and fell silent for a moment. “Can you let my brother know? He might be willing to see me?”
Luo Yunxian totally ignored him as the Riders were not the Qinghe Group’s subordinates. All they needed to do today was protect the Qinghe Group, and nothing else mattered to them.
In the past, Xu Zhi would be the center of attention wherever he went. But suddenly, he felt a little lonely. As expected, the adult world would not care about his achievements in school.
But then Xu Ke’s secretary came down from the elevator and said to Xu Zhi, “Follow me upstairs.”
Xu Zhi’s eyes lit up again at the secretary’s words. “OK.”
The elevator went all the way up to the top floor. When the elevator door opened, Xu Zhi saw Xu Ke standing by himself next to the floor-to-ceiling window of the 12th floor, overlooking the entirety of Luoyang City.
Today’s Luoyang City was no longer a sleepless city with bright lights. Most of the neon lights had been turned off, and the usual pedestrians were hiding in their homes, too scared to head out. As such, the streets looked utterly deserted.
Before Xu Zhi could walk over to Xu Ke, Xu Ke started laughing. “Look, a city without a strong military force is just so fragile.”
“It will definitely return to its former prosperity,” Xu Zhi said softly.
“Is there a reason you’re looking for me?” Xu Ke asked.
“Someone is looking to oppose you,” Xu Zhi said.
“They’re going to kill you.”
“I know that too.”
Finally, Xu Zhi could not help but say, “They’ve sent a lot more people here this time than you can imagine. The ones who died earlier were just some foreign superhumans who were hired by the three consortiums. Right now, their core strength might not even be shaken yet.”
Xu Ke asked with great interest, “What else do you know?”
“And… be careful of the people around you.” Xu Zhi sighed.
Xu Ke fell silent.
This time, he had no choice but to stay silent. No matter how many external enemies might descend on this city, it would not make him feel this nervous. It was this revelation that caused Xu Ke’s gaze to waver.
But Xu Zhi suddenly felt that Xu Ke already knew about this.
“I know that my uncle is involved, but he doesn’t represent my standpoint. My father went to the black market yesterday as he intends to stay out of this matter. I initially wanted to leave as well, but I somehow felt a little uneasy,” Xu Zhi said.
Xu Ke patted him on the shoulder and said with a smile, “Leave now while there’s still time. Get away from this troublesome place and come back tomorrow.”
Before today, even the work permit holders were stopped from entering Luoyang City as the gates had been closed.
However, Luoyang City suddenly reopened its gates today to allow all its residents to flee from the city. They were told they could come back again tomorrow. No matter who was controlling Luoyang City the next day, they would not make things difficult for the commoners.
Xu Ke did this because he did not want all of Luoyang City to perish together with him.
Li Yingyun, Zhang Qingxi, and the others had been running around all these days simply because they wanted to protect the Qinghe Group. All of them still had feelings for the Qinghe Group and Luoyang City.
But Xu Ke suddenly felt the city and its people were much more important than the Qinghe Group.
Actually, everyone already knew full well the Qinghe Group could not stand against the three consortiums since they had joined forces. Even with Ren Xiaosu on their side, it was still not enough to stop them.
Some people said that ever since the era of the “Rise of Gods” started, the time of the consortiums would eventually come to an end. Xu Ke also agreed with this statement. But at least for now, the consortiums were still standing strong.
At this moment, an explosive glow could be seen out in the distance through the floor-to-ceiling window. It lit up the entire stronghold and did not fade away.
Many other explosions went off elsewhere in the stronghold, and like they were the final salvo of fireworks going off.
Xu Zhi turned around and looked at Xu Ke. He suddenly felt that Xu Ke, who was frowning deeply, had made his decision
Xu Ke smiled at Xu Zhi. “Go back. This isn’t where you should be right now.”
After sending Xu Zhi away, Xu Ke changed into his combat uniform. He had kept this uniform in his wardrobe for some years and had not touched it again until now.
As he stood alone in his office on the top floor, he ironed away all the creases on his uniform in a ritual manner.
After he got changed, he headed downstairs. But instead of taking the elevator, he climbed down from the building’s façade with his bare hands. His movements were so agile he was like a lizard.
Before Qin Sheng became a Rider, even he was not aware that Xu Ke was also a Rider. It was only when he reached the top of that cliff and saw Xu Ke’s name that he realized this.
Xu Ke avoided Luo Yunxian and the other Riders’ line of sight and headed onto the streets alone. He was a little tired of being protected by others. Tonight, he was also a Rider.
Xu Ke turned around and looked at the brightly lit Qinghe Building that had been standing for decades. And Luoyang City had existed for even longer than the Qinghe Building.
Too many people had died in the past few days. The Riders had all been sleeping only a few hours every day as well. Even though Old Li was injured, he kept it from everyone. Luo Yunxian and Huang Xiaoyu had been keeping watch over the Qinghe Building without getting any rest and were so tired they could fall asleep even when standing upright.
Since the consortiums were only after the seven satellites and his life, Xu Ke was willing to give that up to them. There was no need for even more people to perish together with him.
The Riders were supposed to be carefree people. They were all born from their love for freedom and faith.
But because Xu Ke was the head of the Qinghe Group, he had tied down all the Riders to Luoyang City. After all, the Riders were all bound together for better or worse.
The Riders even had to work together with the Xu clan members they despised.
So if Xu Ke weren’t around anymore, everyone should be able to lead a better life, right?
But before that, as a Rider, Xu Ke had to die with dignity.
In other words, he needed the lives of his enemies to become his epitaph.
The outside of the Qinghe Building was filled with the various organizations’ spies keeping an eye on the situation. So the moment Xu Ke left the building by himself, the consortiums found about it before the two Riders, Luo Yunxian and Huang Xiaoyu, could even realize.
After Xu Ke got far away, he suddenly said to the shadowy figures behind him with a smile, “Tell your boss that Xu Ke will be waiting here. Let’s see just how many of you have come to Luoyang City.”
A nearby voice laughed and said, “The head of the Qinghe Group is indeed braver and tougher than we thought. Don’t worry, the people we’ve sent here tonight will definitely be more than enough to bury the entire Qinghe Group.”