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Chen Song woke up to the sound of a deafening gunshot. After springing out of bed, he sprawled to the closet to grab his revolver. As Chen Song made his way down his four-story villa, flashes of his daughter raced through his mind. Memories of her childhood and the danger she might be in filled Chen Song with rage and anger.
At the first floor, Chen Song saw unfamiliar shadows and heard shouting in Hokkien, “Where is he? Where is the leader?” Three men were crowding around and interrogating Siyu, the family chef.
“Go to hell,” Siyu barked back to the armed assailants. Letting out a half smile, Chen Song took aim and held his breath. Bang. One bullet hit two of the gangsters. Bang. Direct headshot to the third attacker. Holding a gun to the head of the last breathing man, Chen Song looked him cold in the eye before squeezing the trigger. A lotus tattoo was clearly visible on the wrists of all three men.
“Sir, it’s the damn Lotus Brothers. They’re trying to kill you again. We need to move to a safer house,” Siyu spit out, blood dripping from his shoulder. “Luckily, Arisa is at her friend’s house today.”
Breathing a sigh of relief, Chen Song pulled out his phone to call his gang’s doctor and bodyguards.
Being the leader of Bangkok’s biggest drug gang was no easy job. The Sun Xie gang was known to be the leading drug traffickers in South East Asia, however a recent war with the rival White Lotus brothers was hurting business.
When Chen Song was just seven-years-old, his parents passed away from a car accident, leaving him on his own to survive the terrifying streets of Bangkok. After getting caught stealing from a Sun Xie gang leader, Chen Song was forced to do crimes for the gang.
His fortune changed when he took a bullet for the leader, saving his life. Promotions after promotions came his way as he rose the ranks of the Sun Xie gang until he was eventually made the leader. After getting into a territorial dispute with the violent Lotus Brothers, Chen Song and his adopted daughter Arisa were in constant danger.
One week after the incident, the family had moved to a more secure location in the rural parts of Thailand. Chen Song was having his morning coffee when Arisa walked in looking sombre.
“Dad, I know you are under a lot of stress right now but I have to talk to you about something important.” Arisa couldn’t make eye contact with her father.
“Yes, Arisa what is it? How did your medical check-up go with Dr. Raj? For the amount of money we pay him, I hope your headaches are no longer a problem.”
“After doing tests on me, Dr. Raj said I have a brain tumour. Dad, I’m sorry for being such a burden on you.” A steady river was flowing from her eyes as she looked up to Chen Song. “You brought me off the streets to your home and gave me everything, and I only return the favour with bad news. I’m so sorry, Daddy, please forgive me,” Arisa sobbed.
Holding back tears of his own, Chen Song leaned in and gave his daughter a hug. “We’re going to get through this together, Arisa. God is testing us but we are strong. Ever since you came into my life, you’ve been the only person I truly care about. I love you, Arisa. It’s all going to be okay.”
Chen Song was heartbroken. He loved Arisa to bits and it was killing him that she was in trouble.
“Alfus, go bring Raj to my house, my new house. Put a bag around his head too; I don’t know who I can trust these days anyways,” Chen Song screamed at his phone still in shock from the troubling news.
A few hours had past and Chen Song was getting restless. He put out his cigarette and grabbed his jacket to leave when his men stormed in holding Raj. There was a black bag on his head and his arms were tied behind his back like a prisoner. Chen Song pulled out his revolver and pointed it at Raj’s head while his men unmasked him, “Fix her.”
Through his tears, Raj cried, “The only doctor Bangkok that can save your daughter is Tai Sen.” Silence filled the room. Tai Sen quit his job as a neurosurgeon to join his family crime syndicate, The Lotus Brothers.
Chen Song was lost for words but knew he had a choice to make. He could either go out and raid his rival gang’s hideout to force Tai Sen to help Arisa, or try asking for their help. Even though the gangs were in a war, there was still mutual respect between the leaders. His mind kept going back and forth, should he risk everything for his adopted daughter?
Blowing out a big puff of smoke, Chen Song looked outside at his city. Even after constant warnings from his men to stop poking his head out of the car, he couldn’t help but enjoy the senses of his city because he knew this might be his last chance. The car was headed towards the hideout of the Lotus Brothers Gang.
The rival gang members were already expecting them. They were given the directions and only one rule, no weapons. Chen Song was unable to guarantee his men’s safety upon arrival.
The car rolled up to the front of the house where a row of armed bodyguards waited to check them. Despite the nasty looks they were getting, Chen Song and his men obeyed their orders. Just as Chen Song expected, all the guards were armed.
The house had a tall fountain pouring down into a pool of koi fish. The smell of opium and cigarettes filled the room while soft traditional Chinese music played in the background. Behind the main hall was a large jade door with two large bouncers on patrol.
One of the guards walked towards Chen Song, “The boss is waiting for you, and only you, in the emerald room. Your men stay here.”
Chen Song’s men were horrified. They had utmost respect for their boss and would take a bullet for him any day. One voice raised from the pack, “Boss, I don’t think this is a good idea. Anything can happen if you go in there alone.”
“Don’t worry. Tai Sen will make a good decision after hearing what I have to say. There is no other choice.”
Tai Sen was seated on what appeared to be a throne at the end of a long room. While walking towards him, Chen Song noticed they weren’t alone. Around 20 men were on the upper floor of the room leaning against the railing looking at him intently.
“Tai Sen, I thought you said we were to meet alone. Am I wasting my time here?” Chen Song was visibly disappointed in his rival. Tai Sen yelled something in hokkien to his men and they immediately scurried away.
“Watch your tone, Chen Song. You are in my house. What brings you here?”
“My daughter Arisa has a brain tumour. You are the only doctor in the city qualified to help her. Please Tai Sen, name your price. I’m giving you a blank cheque.”
Tai Sen sensed Chen Song’s helplessness. “A blank cheque? You know there’s only one thing I want from you.” Chen Song clenched his fist. “Your drug empire.”
He knew this was coming but still wasn’t prepared to hear it. “What will happen to all my men? I can’t let them all go back to the streets.”
“You have my word. I will make sure they are all compensated. However, there’s only one way I can guarantee your empire will be mine. After the surgery, your family will no longer be welcome in Bangkok. Tai Sen was almost shaking in excitement; the whole city was his if Chen Song agreed.
“Wow, boss, how did you manage to convince Tia Sen to heal Arisa? Your negotiation is amazing, maybe you should be a politician!” One of Chen Song’s men joked in the car ride back to their house. Staring blankly out the window, Chen Song kept wondering if he had made the right decision. Giving up everything for Arisa, was it worth it?
The house was silent and dark. In the corner of his eye, a paper on the dining table caught Chen Song’s attention. It was a picture that Arisa drew when she was young, with a big house and the two of them hand in hand in glee. Holding back tears, he rushed upstairs to tell his daughter the good news.
Arisa’s was sleeping peacefully, her hand wrapped around her teddy bear. Chen Song walked to her and kissed her goodnight. Chen Song knew he made the right choice.