“This is my friend. He came here to do business but killed himself after it failed. So, I want to take him back to put him to rest. Can I ask you to you help me call for a horse carriage so that I can take him home?”
The owner of the horse carriage’s crew glanced over to Albert, who I covered with a sheet of cloth, and calmly nodded. It was just a matter of paying him more. I guess transporting corpses had become a norm for the city. I mean, he didn’t even bother asking how the dead died. Of course, it had nothing to do with me. Ross could prove my innocence.
Ross and I hired another horse carriage for transporting goods instead ones for transporting living beings. Ross and I sat at the storage to the rear. I didn’t know what they transported, but I saw traces of something dark red. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say they transported a corpse of some form before.
After he got on, Ross wrapped his arms around his knees and shut himself in. If he still had his tail, he’d probably have wrapped it around himself as a prison of sorts. I gently pinched Ross’ ears that had flopped down. I didn’t say anything as I had nothing I could do to comfort him. He was just a kid, yet he saw a corpse of a man who committed suicide about three days ago, not to mention it was his brother-in-law.
Hearing Ross sob, I asked myself, “Should I comfort Ross? What if his sorrow leads him to the dark side? I still need to help him grow, so I can’t let him lose faith in me and leave me.”
Ross gradually raised his head, silver trails running down both cheeks: “Lord Lin, is it my fault? Why… Why have I kept seeing those I am familiar with leave one after another; not to mention they all committed suicide? Why…? Why…? Sir Achilles… Mr. Albert… Why… did they both commit suicide in front of me…? Why has everyone who helped me… left…?”
I froze and blankly looked at him after his last remarks. I suddenly realised that I might have been too cruel to Ross. None of it, whether that was from the beginning when Albert killed Achilles’ lover, leading to Achilles’ suicide or Albert’s suicide, which I set up, had anything to do with Ross. Ross was a kid, a kind and somewhat weak kid, yet he had witnessed humanity’s darkest side. He saw the blood and bones left behind after our fighting. When Ross saw Achilles dead, he was hurt once. This time, he saw Albert’s tragic death. It finally dawned on me that I had neglected him for as long as he’d been following me.
Ross was innocent. He shouldn’t have been dragged into the fight between us three, but we forced a child to witness the most tragic scene in the world twice for our own selfish ends. Albert did it for the minute number of shares. Achilles did it to force me to avenge him. I set up Albert to justify my greed for Achilles’ fortune. It was the greed of three selfish men that instilled misery in Ross.
“I am so scared… Lord Lin… I am really scared…” Ross gripped my arm tight, sobs overpowering his speech. Nevertheless, his tears expressed everything he wanted to voice.
I pulled the boy. Wait. Would it be more appropriate to call him a male cat? I could clearly feel how small and weak he truly was with my arms around his small and thin body.
Wailing, Ross bellowed, “Lord Lin! I am truly scared! Lord Lin! I only have you and my sister left! I am scared! I only have you and my sister left! You will not leave me, too, will you, Lord Lin?! I am scared! Lord Lin, you will not leave me, right?! Lord Lin! You will not leave me, right?! Please… Please do not leave me, too. I beg you…”
“I know, Ross. It won’t happen to me because I know that there are people who have my back and love me no matter what. That’s why I won’t make them sad; I promise.”
I was different to Achilles and Albert. I knew that there would always be a pair of hands that would embrace me from behind. Regardless of what sort of failure I faced or what challenge was coming, I wasn’t going to fall prey to despair as Achilles and Albert did. I still had people who needed my care. I would never let myself collapse.
I swore to myself, “I will always fight on as I did when I went bankrupt. Although I may fall temporarily, I’ll eventually get back on my feet. I did before, and I’ll do it again. I’ll never let anybody force me to commit suicide. I will never commit suicide.”
“That’s part of being a businessman,” I softly conveyed next to Ross’ ear. “It’s part of being a businessman and having assets. Capital comes as a blood. If capital wants to develop, it’ll destroy everything humanity ever created. I don’t like it, either. Who can escape it, though? If we can’t change, we’ll become part of it, the worst part of it. Ross, the reason I don’t feel you’re suited to being a businessman is because you hesitate to put all your eggs in the basket when you have a chance at profit. A normal businessman won’t hesitate, but you will.”
Perhaps Melissa was correct. Maybe I wasn’t suited to being a businessman as, compared to other businessmen, I faltered a little when my conscience took a prick. Having said that, when it came to having the fortitude to put everything on the line, I didn’t pale in comparison to anyone. Ross, in contrast, was different to us.
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