Volume 1 –
Chapters 1 To 100
Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao chose a building materials company named ‘Forest Man’ in the end. This company was also newly-established but it was large-scale and had a comprehensive selection. Xia Lei could order the materials they needed for both the office building and workshop at the same time.
When Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao arrived a member of the sales staff attended to them but when he heard that Xia Lei was here to order new materials for building a company, he called one of the senior management from Forest Man over.
“Good day, I am Shentu Shi-Shan. Please let me know if you have any needs.” The senior manager of Forest Man introduced himself with a smile when he met them.
“Shentu?” Xia Lei had a bit of an odd reaction to Shentu Shi-Shan’s self-introduction. “May I ask if you’re a member of the Shentu clan?”
Shentu Shi-Shan looked at Xia Lei and asked tentatively, “Why, Mr Xia, you know about the Shentu clan?”
Xia Lei smiled, “Who doesn’t know about the Shentu clan in the territory of Hai-Zhu? I just didn’t expect that this company would also belong to the Shentu clan.”
“This company is a subsidiary of Vientiane Group,” said Shentu Shi-Shan. After a pause, he added, “Let’s not talk about non-business matters and cut to the chase. We can provide a full service for your company, from designing of the blueprints to the construction of the company. You just have to tell us your budget and we’ll do the rest.”
“We will take care of the blueprints ourselves. Your company just needs to provide the materials and construction,” said Xia Lei.
“That can be arranged as well. I’ll take you to see our products first and I shall prepare a quote after you have chosen what you like,” said Shentu Shi-Shan.
“Okay. Please lead the way,” said Xia Lei.
As they walked out of the reception room, Liang Si-Yao pulled at Xia Lei’s sleeve and asked in a quiet voice, “Is the Shentu clan very powerful?”
Xia Lei lowered his voice and replied, “They’re the richest clan in the whole of China. So, do you think they’re powerful or not?”
Liang Si-Yao’s little peach mouth opened in awe, “They’re really powerful, then. If you know someone in the Shentu clan you must mention that person. We may get some preferential price.”
Xia Lei froze for a moment – he’d thought of Shentu Tian-Yin again. He didn’t just know Shentu Tian-Yin; he had saved her life once. If he spoke of it, this Shentu Shi-Shan would probably give a call and ask about it and Shentu Tian-Yin would maybe give him a good price. However, he changed his mind as soon as the thought popped up in his head, “The other party is one of the elite and I’m just a small fry. I may know the person but the person wouldn’t know me.”
Liang Si-Yao smiled, “I don’t care about the elites.”
Shentu Shi-Shan brought Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao to the product showroom of Forest Man Company. The showroom held not just the various new products manufactured by Forest Man Company but also building models of condominiums, warehouses and so on, constructed from their new building materials.
Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao went around the showroom and picked some new building materials.
Just as Xia Lei was about to discuss the pricing of the materials he’d selected with Shentu Shi-Shan, a Forest Man employee suddenly came running over, saying excitedly, “Manager Shan, the Lady is here.”
Xia Lei’s heart thumped. ‘Is Shentu Tian-Yin here?’
Shentu Shi-Shan then said, “I do apologise to you both but I have to go off for a while. Please look around some more and we shall discuss the pricing afterwards.”
“Sure, no problem,” said Xia Lei.
Shentu Shi-Shan and the employee who had come bearing the message walked towards the exit of the showroom but a group of people walked in before they could walk out.
The person at the head of the group was the current person at the helm of the Shentu clan – Shentu Tian-Yin. Her assistant and bodyguard followed right after.
Shentu Tian-Yin wore a black dress and she was peerlessly cool and elegant. She did not like wearing clothing with a lot of exposure and the clothes she wore always covered most of her body but this did not affect her sexiness at all. A woman like her did not need to show off her body to receive the appreciation of men. She did not have to use sweet smiles to move people either so she was always cold as ice and seemed unapproachable to others. She was like this but one casual look from her was enough to make most men willing to grovel at her feet. She did not have to prove anything or do anything; her sexiness and beauty was enough to conquer all men.
This was Shentu Tian-Yin. Xia Lei felt like a deer caught in headlights whenever he saw her.
“Is she Shentu Tian-Yin?” asked Liang Si-Yao quietly.
“Yes, she’s Shentu Tian-Yin,” said Xia Lei.
Liang Si-Yao gave a soft sigh of admiration, “She’s so beautiful.”
Liang Si-Yao had never seen Shentu Tian-Yin before but she could guess who she was at first glance. This wasn’t because Liang Si-Yao was very perceptive but because Shentu Tian-Yin’s presence was too powerful; one could easily tell that she was different from other people.
Shentu Shi-Shan welcomed her with a flattering smile, “Tian-Yin, you should have called ahead. I would have been able to make arrangements if you’d called ahead.”
Shentu Tian-Yin just glanced at him, indifferent, and wordlessly walked around him and towards Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao.
Shentu Shi-Shan froze on the spot, his face a mixture of embarrassment and hate.
Xia Lei saw it all and he found it strange. He thought ‘Shentu Shi-Shan is also part of the Shentu clan but Shentu Tian-Yin has this sort of attitude towards him. It’s as though he’s worse than a stranger to her. That’s weird.’
Shentu Tian-Yin took no notice of Shentu Shi-Shan but Shentu Shi-Shan persisted and caught up with her, putting on his flattering smile again, “Tian-Yin, are you here today for a routine inspection? I’ll get the finance department to prepare the accounts right away. I’ll escort you if you want to go to the workshop.”
“No need.” Shentu Tian-Yin finally talked to Shentu Shi-Shan but it was just two words.
Shentu Shi-Shan shot Xia Lei a look, asking him to leave. He did not know that Xia Lei and Shentu Tian-Yin actually knew each other.
Xia Lei had no intention of greeting Shentu Tian-Yin either. He said to Liang Si-Yao, “Si-Yao, let’s go out for a bit.”
Liang Si-Yao nodded and followed Xia Lei, who was heading towards the doorway.
When they were about to brush shoulders as they passed each other, Shentu Tian-Yin suddenly spoke, “Mr Xia, what are you doing here?”
Xia Lei paused and he stopped in his tracks. This was the first time Shentu Tian-Yin had taken the initiative to greet him first. She had not even looked him squarely in the eye, even back when he told her there was a bomb under her car.
Shentu Tian-Yin looked at Xia Lei as though she were waiting for him to speak.
Xia Lei then replied, “I’m here to buy some building materials.”
“Preparing to commence construction?” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
Why was she so talkative today? Xia Lei found it odd but kept a calm facade, “Yes, I already have the land so I’d like to build my workshop quickly.”
“I’ve heard about that piece of land. You gave Huang Yi-Hu’s face a good smacking and that’s like smacking the Gu clan’s face too. Well done.”
This seemed to be the reason why she was so chatty today. The Shentu clan and Gu clan seemed amiable on the surface but they were each other’s greatest rivals in the business world. Their quiet tussles over the years had also resulted in accumulated grudges. Someone who’d given the Gu clan’s dog a good smack and though it was the dog, the dog’s owner had also suffered a loss in dignity and she was pleased to see it.
Xia Lei did not say anything and smiled politely.
Liang Si-Yao cut in and said, “Hello, Miss Shentu. I am Chairman Xia’s assistant. Um, could you give us a little discount?”
Shentu Tian-Yin glanced at her, “Our prices are already the lowest in the market. There is no discount even if I were to come here and buy it myself.”
Liang Si-Yao had a smile on her face at first but Shentu Tian-Yin’s words made her feel bad and her smile disappeared.
Shentu Tian-Yin did not speak again and moved away.
Liang Si-Yao snorted quietly and said unhappily, “What’s so great about you? Being rich makes you great?”
Xia Lei patted her on her shoulder and smiled, “Don’t be mad. You’ll be richer than her one day.”
Liang Si-Yao’s temper came and went easily, “Sure. Give me a salary of fifty or sixty billion a year. Maybe I’ll be richer than her in some years, about ten years or so.”
“You may as well sell me off,” said Xia Lei.
“Sure! To whom? How about the circus?” Liang Si-Yao giggled, “I’ll tie a rope around your neck and make you perform monkey acts to make money for me. How about that?”
“You dare call me a monkey? I’ll smack you!” Xia Lei chased after her to give her a playful smack.
The two of them headed out, laughing and joking, the incident from earlier forgotten.
When the two of them walked out, Shentu Tian-Yin stopped walking and looked at Xia Lei’s back, then said, “Fifth Uncle, give this Mr Xia the cost price.”
Shentu Shi-Shan was shocked, “Tian-Yin, didn’t you just say there was no discount? Why do you want to give him a discount now?”
“Have the finance department prepare the accounts. I’m going to inspect the workshop,” said Shentu Tian-Yin instead.
Shentu Shi-Shan paused, then said, “Yes. Wang, tell the finance department to prepare the accounts. I’ll escort Tian-Yin to the workshop.” He thought quietly to himself ‘Looks like Tian-Yin knows the young man surnamed Xia. Why didn’t she just give the discount to him directly? Giving him the cost price but not letting him know about it… What is this about?’
Shentu Tian-Yin spoke again, “Go talk with Mr Xia first, Fifth Uncle. I can go to the workshop myself.”
“This… All right. I’ll go right now.” Shentu Shi-Shan turned and headed towards the door.
Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao stood in the product showroom for less than two minutes before Shentu Shi-Shan came walking out.
“Mr Xia, Miss Liang, please come with me to my office. Let’s have a talk.” Shentu Shi-Shan’s attitude was glaringly better than it was before.
“Don’t you have to accompany Miss Tian-Yin?” said Xia Lei.
“She doesn’t need me to accompany her.” Shentu Shi-Shan led the way and asked probingly, “That’s right, Mr Xia, how do you know our Tian-Yin?”
Xia Lei considered telling Shentu Shi-Shan what had happened at East Wind Heavy Industries for a second but he quashed the thought and said, “We don’t really know each other. We’ve only met once.”
“I see,” said Shentu Shi-Shan but he did not believe what Xia Lei said.
In Shentu Shi-Shan’s office, Xia Lei handed a list to him.
Shentu Shi-Shan went tippity-tap on a calculator and said casually, “The materials fee is 7,000,000 and the construction cost is 20% of the materials fee. The total is 8,400,000.”
“Eh? So much?” Xia Lei was shocked.
A strange smile appeared on Shentu Shi-Shan’s face, “You are in luck. Today is the company’s second year anniversary and according to usual practice, you will get a 40% discount.” He went tippity-tap on the calculator again and said, “The total is 5,040,000. This number is not auspicious so you should pay 40,000 more to make the total 5,080,000. What do you think?”
Xia Lei was still frozen and his soul had flown off to goodness-knows-where.
Liang Si-Yao, however, reacted quickly and said, “Good, 5,080,000. This number is very good. When shall we make payment?”
“You can make payment now or later, after the construction is finished. How would you like to make payment, Mr Xia?” said Shentu Shi-Shan.
Xia Lei did not utter a word and thought of Shentu Tian-Yin at that moment. He was not a fool – he knew Shentu Shi-Shan was giving him a discount because Shentu Tian-Yin told him to do so.
Liang Si-Yao kicked Xia Lei under the desk, “When would you like to make payment, Chairman Xia?”
Xia Lei came back to his senses, “The full amount. Right now.”
“All right, I’ll get my secretary to draw up the agreement immediately.” Shentu Shi-Shan stood and stretched out a hand to Xia Lei, “To a happy collaboration.”
Xia Lei also stood and shook hands with Shentu Shi-Shan, “To a happy collaboration.” However, he thought to himself ‘I must return her this favour one day.’
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