Thanks to Somebody for the Ko-fi!
In the esports circle, there were a few teams that could be considered “powerhouses.” The label of “powerhouse” didn’t refer only to the players’ strengths; it also referred to the capital investors backing the clubs.
Most teams were backed by large corporations from a variety of industries—real estate, aviation, sports products, and even food.
For example, PUD was supported by a famous domestic e-commerce company, so they had ample financial resources and could sign on Korean import players as they pleased.
Some other teams were backed by rich and powerful people, and there were some retired players who also created teams and acted as their owners. Of course, most of the time it was still just the young rich elite coming in to play around. However, esports had developed rapidly in the past few years, and gradually they had shifted from playing around to actually investing.
TTC belonged to the latter category.
But even among that category, TTC could be considered unique.
Other teams’ wealthy owners were each more famous than the last. If they weren’t the original entrepreneurs that became extraordinarily rich, then they were their children, and everyone knew their names.
But the outside world didn’t know anything about TTC’s owner. Even his rumored name was vague and uncertain. They only knew one thing for sure—he was a nouveau riche.
After all, TTC was the only team that had a home stadium built next to the river, and the LPL had also been persuaded to make an exception and allow the stadium to serve as competition grounds. In addition, rumor had it that TTC’s two mansion-like bases were merely real estate property that the owner had allocated to them with a wave of his hand.
Before joining the team, Jian Rong had once investigated this, but his search was fruitless. After entering the team, he had never met the owner, so he ended up tossing this person to the back of his mind.
He remembered that at the very end of an article, its anonymous poster had guessed that TTC’s owner must be some big, low-key, powerful capitalist who negotiated deals worth billions every day. The owner must have had a keen intuition for business opportunities and foresaw that the esports industry would definitely become exceptional one day, which was why he chose to invest early on.
Jian Rong stared at the owner’s back and couldn’t help but think—
Perhaps after the big boss washed his hands of his previous life, he contacted some fortune-telling master. Then, that master recommended him to do more good deeds, which led him to invest in the esports industry during its most arduous years.
As a result, the crime boss crooked his finger and came to aid the poor esports circle.
In the movies, people who looked like this had tempers greater than the sky.
So after the owner went inside, Jian Rong stood in the entryway and asked woodenly, “Am I going to be kicked out?”
“No.” Lu Boyuan was amused. He closed the door and said, “The owner is a very good person.”
Jian Rong only believed him for ten seconds.
“I heard that someone mailed dead rats to the base?” The owner randomly found an empty seat at the dining table and sat down. He hiked one leg over the other and slapped the table. “Which grandson was it? What’s his name? Where’s he now? Daring to send that kind of unlucky crap to laozi’s club, laozi’s gonna crush that grandson.”
Jian Rong: “.”
The other members were long since used to the owner’s style. Only Jian Rong and Pine, who had joined the team less than two years ago, looked slightly unnerved.
Xiao Bai explained, “That person was a gambling addict. He placed bets on us but lost until he went bankrupt. In a moment of despair, he came to get revenge…”
“Son of a bitch, got what he deserved.” The owner sneered coldly. “He also stabbed someone?”
“He missed!” Xiao Bai grinned. “He was sent flying by my ge’s kick.”
“You only kicked him once?” The owner furrowed his brows and looked at Lu Boyuan, unsatisfied. “Your temper’s getting better and better as the years go by, huh?”
Lu Boyuan took the hot peppers that the auntie handed him and put them in front of Jian Rong. “With that one kick, I was almost banned from competing.”
The owner clicked his tongue, very displeased. “They really keep creating more and more of these bullshit rules.”
“Exactly.” Xiao Bai asked like he was a lackey, “Boss, have you eaten lunch yet?”
Jian Rong’s train of thought stuttered… boss?
Damn. He really was a retired crime boss??
Was TTC’s background… really so freaking complicated?
No wonder nobody in the outside world knew who TTC’s owner was. Of course he would hide this kind of background if he could.
This boss also said that he just got back to Shanghai… it couldn’t be that he got involved in something big previously and had to escape overseas, right.
Jian Rong glanced at the owner, who had already finished off one cigarette. There was another unlit cigarette stuck behind his ear, and he was currently toying absent-mindedly with the prayer beads wrapped around his right wrist. He had pushed the black sunglasses on top of his bald head.
The aura he exuded made it seem like he was carrying the weight of three lives on his back.
“I ate already, my daughter just made me a bowl of noodles. It tasted so damn bad.” The owner’s gaze floated over to Jian Rong. “What’s he called again… Soso?”
Jian Rong said, very naturally, “Soft. You can just call me Jian Rong, sir.”
“I completely forgot. This should be Jian Rong’s first time meeting Boss, right?” Yuan Qian looked at Jian Rong and introduced considerately, “Our boss’ is surnamed Fu1, you can call him Fu-ge, or you can call him Boss like the rest of us.”
Jian Rong nodded. “Boss.”
Fu-ge flapped his hand. “If everyone calls me that, you make it sound like we’re a gang or something.”
Though he said that, he was beaming; he was clearly very pleased to be referred to as ‘boss.’ He rotated his prayer beads and looked at Lu Boyuan. “You know, this new brat is pretty similar to how you used to be.”
Jian Rong: “?”
This was Jian Rong’s first time hearing something like that.
“No way.” Xiao Bai scrutinized the two of them. “Eyes, nose, lips, none of them look that similar.”
“You young folk only know to look at appearances.” Fu-ge leaned back in his chair. “Earlier, that scowl on his face and the look in his eyes, they were a mirror image of yours when you were younger. But he’s not as fierce as you were…”
“Is that so.” Lu Boyuan asked breezily, “Do you want to game for a while after lunch?”
Fu-ge’s attention was effortlessly diverted. “I do want to, but Lao Ding won’t agree. He said that you guys have to practice today, tsk, what kind of owner am I… oh, that’s right, how’s your hand doing?”
Sensing Jian Rong’s eyes drift toward him, Lu Boyuan sighed. “Very well. Even if the objective of the competition was changed to tug-of-war, I could still keep tugging for a few seasons.”
Fu-ge plucked off the cigarette behind his ear and put it in his mouth. While he was at it, he picked up his pack and tossed it to Lu Boyuan. “Try one, this cigarette flavor isn’t bad. If you like it, I’ll send some over to the base…”
“He quit smoking.” Ding-ge came downstairs at that moment and rushed over to confiscate the cigarettes. “You should also smoke a little less. A kid from the LPL got lung cancer last year, he was barely in his twenties!”
“That’s just because he wasn’t in good shape. Look at these guys, they’re all big and strong…” Fu-ge swept his gaze over everyone present before pausing. “Except that little bluenette, the rest of them would be fine even if they smoked for sixty years.”
Jian Rong: “?”
“I wanted to say something earlier.” Fu-ge frowned. “Little bluenette, how come you’re so skinny? Short and small, like a girl. When you guys all go out to compete, they’re gonna think that laozi mistreats the team.”
Those words were equivalent to holding a concert with ten thousand people in Jian Rong’s minefield.
Everyone else sucked in a breath of air, afraid that Jian Rong would start going at the owner in a fit of fury.
“We’re feeding him.” Lu Boyuan’s voice was mild. “He’s already gained much more weight compared to when he first got here.”
Fu-ge was totally unaware of the surrounding atmosphere. He said, “Feed him, feed him a lot. Once he becomes like Xiao Bai, pale and plump, that’s what’s healthy. If the food expenses aren’t enough, come ask me for more. Little bluenette, remember to eat properly every day, got it?”
The little bluenette gripped his chopsticks tightly. A long, long time later, he squeezed out through clenched teeth: “…got it, boss.”
Fu-ge nodded with satisfaction. “Oh right, I haven’t given you all a raise in over half a year, have I? I’ll let them know to increase your monthly income by twenty percent.”
After he finished the cigarette, Fu-ge really did end up calling Ding-ge over to the meeting room to discuss the raise.
After the owner left, Xiao Bai patted his chest. “Shit, just now I was super afraid you were gonna smash your bowl over Boss’ head.”
Jian Rong ducked his head and ate. “Do you think I’m a dumbass?”
Xiao Bai went silent for a moment. Very insincerely, he said, “Of course… not.”
Jian Rong was too lazy to explain anything to him.
“Fu-ge is from Guangdong.” Lu Boyuan, who was next to him, suddenly spoke quietly. “I’m not clear on what happened in the past, but six years ago, when I just met him, he owned a dozen or so buildings that he rented out in Guangdong.”
Jian Rong paused. Abruptly, he felt like today’s rice tasted a little sour.
“Not long after he bought the team, those buildings ended up being demolished2… then he threw himself into real estate.” Lu Boyuan concluded simply, “He makes a living doing honest work, not anything else. Don’t worry, you didn’t enter a den of thieves.”
After his thoughts were exposed once more, Jian Rong unconsciously remembered what happened last night.
When he recalled the videos he was looking at the previous night, that groundless sense of guilt surged through him again. Jian Rong cleared his throat before he lowered his head and shoveled food into his mouth. “I didn’t think that.”
- It’s literally the ‘Fu’ for rich ^
- I think this is referring to China’s mass urbanization projects in Guangdong (Shenzhen, Guangzhou, etc), resulting in many ‘urban villages’ being wiped out. Here’s an article on it! ^