Chapter 97 – Why Are You Telling Me Now?

“I could be fired from the factory and return to the countryside.”

“And you, Cao Jiandang, will earn merit for it.”

“Let me guess why you did this, is it because of the workshop director position? Or is it because…”

Xu Aiguo leaned close to Cao Jiandang’s ear and whispered two words softly: housing allocation.

Cao Jiandang’s eyes widened instantly, looking at Xu Aiguo with a mix of astonishment, fear, and panic in his eyes!

How could this be, how could this be, how could Xu Aiguo know about these things?

These were all just thoughts in his mind, he had never told anyone about them, why would Xu Aiguo know!

“You know everything, don’t you?” Cao Jiandang asked, his voice slightly hoarse.

He stared directly at Xu Aiguo, “You knew I swapped the keys, you knew I would come tonight, didn’t you!”

Cao Jiandang almost spoke with certainty, “You brought the factory director and others here specifically to wait and trap me, didn’t you!”

Cao Jiandang almost spoke with certainty, his expression turning accusatory after a sudden realization, “Xu Aiguo, I treated you as a friend, and this is how you treat me?”

Looking at Cao Jiandang’s face, which seemed as if he had been betrayed, Xu Aiguo couldn’t help but find it amusing.

This Cao Jiandang really knew how to turn the tables.

“Consider me a friend? If you considered me a friend, would you still switch the keys and set fire to the warehouse despite knowing that I’m responsible for it?”

“Do you know what consequences I would face after mishandling the warehouse?”

“Cao Jiandang, the one who truly acts maliciously and betrays the relationship of friendship is you, not me.”

“I, Xu Aiguo, have a clear conscience!”

Xu Aiguo directly tore off Cao Jiandang’s facade of pretending to be innocent. He didn’t want to see Cao Jiandang wearing a mask of innocence while causing harm to others and pretending to be wronged.

Upon hearing these words, Cao Jiandang was momentarily speechless.

However, it was the last sentence that seemed to strike a nerve with him.

It made him explode instantly.

It was also possible that at this moment, Cao Jiandang had already lost his temper.

“You have a clear conscience? Dare you say that, Xu Aiguo?”

“You have a clear conscience? Then how did you get into the textile factory in the first place?”

“You have a clear conscience? It’s obvious that the workshop director position was a competition between us, so why did everyone and even the higher-ups assume it was yours?”

“Why did the deputy factory director hand over this batch of fabric to you for safekeeping?”

“Clearly, I’m not inferior either, I’ve also won the award for outstanding worker!”

“Xu Aiguo, dare you say that all these things don’t weigh on your conscience?!”

By the end, Cao Jiandang almost shouted, speaking each word with a sense of righteousness, as if he were the righteous judge, and Xu Aiguo was the one who had violated justice and rules.

Xu Aiguo didn’t expect that beneath Cao Jiandang’s always smiling demeanor toward him, there were so many grievances and unwillingness hidden.

He was momentarily stunned.

Not because of Cao Jiandang’s accusations.

But because he realized that Cao Jiandang truly hadn’t regarded him as a friend, while he had foolishly considered him a friend for so many years.

Thinking back to how he had always extended a helping hand whenever Cao Jiandang faced difficulties, he found it laughable!

Xu Aiguo was about to say something when Deputy Factory Director Li spoke up at that moment.

“Cao Jiandang, you don’t need to harbor so much resentment. Why do both the workers in the factory and we, the leaders, recognize Comrade Xu Aiguo? It’s because the eyes of the masses are sharp; everyone can see that Comrade Xu Aiguo is superior to you! Just like now, if you can come up with arson, what makes you think you’re capable of anything good?”

After saying this, Deputy Factory Director Li sighed softly.

“Actually, we have been observing your efforts and performance all along. We indeed intended to appoint Comrade Xu Aiguo as the workshop director of the 6th workshop where you both are currently stationed.”

“But, Comrade Cao Jiandang, originally we planned to transfer you to the 11th workshop as the workshop director. The former director of the 11th workshop is no longer suitable for the role due to certain reasons, and we were planning to transfer you there. However, now…”

“Moreover, we had planned that once you both became workshop directors, there are three sets of welfare housing specially reserved by the factory for you to draw lots and allocate among yourselves.”

“But now you…”

Deputy Factory Director Li’s words hit Cao Jiandang’s mind like a thunderbolt, making it difficult for him to accept for a moment.

“Impossible, impossible…” He muttered, constantly denying it.

Yes, Cao Jiandang refused to believe.

Or more accurately, he refused to accept this reality.

Cao Jiandang’s eyes widened significantly, and at this moment, he appeared completely stunned.

So, he also had the opportunity to become a workshop director and have a chance at housing allocation.

So, the higher-ups actually acknowledged him. Even if he didn’t intentionally commit arson or harm Xu Aiguo, he could still become a workshop director.

“Why are you telling me this now?”

“Why are you telling me this now!”

Cao Jiandang squatted on the ground, crying bitterly.

Deputy Factory Director Li sighed, “Originally, we were planning to tell you tomorrow, but I didn’t expect…”

The rest of the sentence remained unspoken by Deputy Factory Director Li, but Cao Jiandang understood.

Cao Jiandang truly collapsed into tears.

Perhaps he cried for his futile efforts.

Cried for realizing that he didn’t need to do all this, that he could have obtained everything he wanted without these actions.

Cried for his future.

Or perhaps, he cried for losing Xu Aiguo as a friend completely.

No one could clearly articulate Cao Jiandang’s feelings at that moment, not even Cao Jiandang himself.

In the end, Deputy Factory Director Li let Cao Jiandang go.

It wasn’t an irreparable situation; Deputy Factory Director Li didn’t want to involve the police. After all, Cao Jiandang had worked in the textile factory for many years and had done well.

But what Cao Jiandang did tonight must be punished.

As for what punishment, that would be decided tomorrow.

Cao Jiandang covered his face, tears streaming down, as he left.

Xu Aiguo watched his retreating figure, unable to come back to his senses for a long time.

There was a moment when he looked at Cao Jiandang’s slightly hunched back and wondered if he had made a mistake tonight?

After all, he knew about the difficulties in Cao Jiandang’s family.

Cao Jiandang might have resorted to this out of desperation.

But this thought only lasted for a moment; he quickly dismissed it.

Why should he forgive someone who has unjustly trapped him? He hadn’t done anything wrong.

If Cao Jiandang’s plan had succeeded tonight, the consequences would have been severe.

Well, that’s it.

“Comrade Aiguo, thanks to you tonight, otherwise, our factory would have suffered significant losses, and Cao Jiandang’s plot would have succeeded,” Deputy Factory Director Li patted Xu Aiguo’s shoulder and said.

Xu Aiguo shook his head, then remembered something and said, “By the way, Deputy Factory Director Li, there’s something I might need your help with…”

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