Chang Baji and Hao Lei were riding a Mercedes S500 at the front, while Qin Sheng drove a Maserati with Han Bing at the back seat. All three man had a well-defined role in this. Their only mission was to ensure Han Bing’s safety no matter what happened. They did not wish to blow this matter up in Shanghai. After all, Shanghai was not Tianshui.
Han’s corporate office was situated in Zhongyin Tower within Lujiazui, which was not far from Tomson Golf Resort. For Hao Lei, who was in Shanghai for the very first time, the busy streets of Pudong was a refreshing and exciting sight. He could not take his eyes off all the skyscrapers. As for Chang Baji, this was not the first time he visited Shanghai, so he was not especially excited about the city sights. On the other hand, he was observing the surrounding cars to make sure he did not miss any danger. He was determined to do a good job since he had come all the way to Shanghai.
It was as Hao Lei had said, Chang Baji could probably be successful in whatever he laid his hand on and wherever he was. Hao Lei did not understand why he wanted to spend his life working. Moreover, he had rejected the offer of promotion by his boss.
The reason being that the Old Master Qin had once foretold that because he had a tough life for the first half of his life, if he did not conceal his capability and assume a humble and abased identity, he might die young bring bad luck to his parents and wife. However, if he hung on until he turned 40, he would strike rich and be blessed with many descendants.
Perhaps not many people would believe in fortune-telling, but Chang Baji did. Just as not many people would believe that there were people like his master who still existed. Chang Baji had seen with his eyes since he was young so there was an excuse not to believe.
In the first half of his life, Chang Baji had indeed had a hard life. At this juncture when he just passed his fortieth birthday, his master had instructed him to leave Xi An for Shanghai. He saw this as a sign, and this became the main reason he actually agreed and came to Shanghai.
In the Maserati, Qin Sheng could see that Han Bing was fidgety from anxiety. “In the director’s meetings, you may wait for the directors to voice out their opinions, then when they are done, just say out your decision. I will handle the rest,” Qin Sheng instructed.
At this juncture, Han Bing could only obey what Qin Sheng suggested. She nodded gently and said, “I know what to do, you can be at ease.”
Han Guoping’s company, being named after himself, was called Guoping Holding Group. All the directors of the group had arrived in the meeting room of Guoping Holding Group situated on the 33rd floor of Zhongyin Tower. The directors consisted of the elders and confidantes who had entered the society and worked hard alongside Han Guoping, as well as the senior management.
At the moment, three main groups led by Zheng Ping, Liu Hejun and Zhao Dongsheng respectively were in the mids of a heated argument. Although they were all waiting for Han Bing to arrive, in their hearts, they regarded Han Bing with contempt.
When the door of the meeting room was pushed open and Hao Bing entered with Qin Sheng and the two others, silence ensued. While Hao Lei and Chang Baji stood by the door, guarding, Han Bing sat down at Han Guoping’s usual seat and Qin Sheng stood behind her, wearing a severe expression on his face. As he scanned the room full of directors, he was sizing up each of them simultaneously, especially Liu Hejun and Zhao Dongsheng.
Conversely, the directors were sizing up on Qin Sheng and his men.
When the directors nominated Zheng Ping to facilitate the meeting, Han Bin nodded towards Zheng Ping and the meeting finally began.
The voices of discussion started to fill the room as the directors were not confident of Han Bing’s ability to shoulder the great pressure of taking over Master Han’s business.
“Quiet. Let’s begin the discussion since Han Bing is here. There is no fixed itinerary planned for this meeting, so we are open to any comments. We all know that the company is going through a rough patch at this moment and there are so many problems,” Zheng Ping stood up and addressed everyone in the room.
“As for Han Bing, you are finally back. We are at a lost of what to do if you haven’t returned. Many of our premises had been closed by the police for investigation, and our men were making a lot of troubles. You have to think of the solution to this first,” Liu Hejun was the first to speak up.
Han Bing remained silent…
“A number of the big banks had decided to withdraw their loans. They would have sued us at the courts had I not hang on. The tourist project at Chongming Island, as well as the Property in Su Zhou, had been put on hold. We need fundings urgently,” Zhao Dongsheng began speaking thoughtfully.
Han Bing remained silent…
“There is only a few million dollars left in the company’s account. With the shortage of funds, we don’t even have enough to pay our employees. The creditors are coming after me every day that I am going crazy,” Zheng Ping continued.
After the leaders of the three main authoritative groups finished speaking, the others began conferring with each other about other impending problems. The entire meeting room became extremely noisy. It seemed that everyone was trying to force an answer out of Han Bing. Trying hard to conceal her weakness, she bit her lips and tightened her fists although tears were welling up in her eyes. She maintained a brave front.
“Say something, Han Bing. You are representing Master Han,” Zheng Ping said, being unable to hold it any longer when the noise level came down.
Han Bing gave a depreciating laugh and said, “All of you have been talking so much, but I am totally clueless about what you were saying. What can I do?”
Zheng Ping, Zhao Dongsheng, and Liu Hejun turned to each other and were at a loss of words too. If they were to press her further, it would seem that they were bullying Han Bing.
“Actually, it’s quite simple, Han Bing. We are lacking in finance and necessary ties with people. There are only a few solutions to this problem. Firstly, appease the banks so they will not withdraw their loans to us. We have to act fast, otherwise, we would be bankrupted. Secondly, we look for stable consortiums to invest in our stocks. Thirdly, sell off some of our more profitable projects to amass funds. At the same time, we have to shrink the expanse of our investments. Fourthly, contact more banks and trusts funds to gain more funds,” Zhao Dongsheng said directly without consideration for Han Bing’s feelings, while Zheng Ping kept silent.
Han Bing sighed and said, “Uncle Zhao, I understand what you are saying, but I do not possess the capabilities to carry out all these suggestions.”
“What do you mean, Han Bing? You have to think about the solution. Are you going to allow the inheritance accumulated by Master Han over his lifetime to come to nothing?” Liu Hejun stood up and said, his face fallen when he heard Han Bing’s reply.
Zheng could not bear to force Han Bing any further. “So what are your plans, Han Bing?” he asked helplessly.
Han Bing stood up, turned around to look at Qing Sheng when he smiled and nodded. She plucked up all her courage and said, “Since the company is already in this state, there is nothing much I could do. Let’s just announce bankruptcy and restructuring. That will be the most harmonious way to end this.”
“What? Announce bankruptcy and restructure?”
This news came as a shock to everyone in the room. This meant that Han Bing would represent the Han family to withdraw from the company. Once Han family withdrew, the prerogative of decisions would be totally given to the creditors. The directors would then have no say in everything and eventually, Guoping Group would be restructured and may completely be withdrawn in Shanghai.
“This is Master Han’s hard-earned inheritance, Han Bing. Why would you do that?”
“What will we do if the company is restructured?”
“I am totally against it.”
This was like turning over the entire meeting room. Everyone was trying to give their opinions, but one collective opinion was that they were against Han Bing’s idea.
The meeting room had full-paneled windows that divided them people inside from the busy business district of Pudong. While bright sunlight penetrated through into the meeting room, the contrast between the brightness of the sun and the darkness of the hearts of people in the room was stark.
Han Bing had accomplished her mission and it was Qin Sheng’s turn to settle the rest. He stood up slowly beside Han Bing and bellowed, “Quiet!”
His voice was so loud that it stunned everyone so much so that each person turned and fixed their gaze upon Qin Sheng, whom they were sure was there to reap benefits.
Someone shouted, “Who do you think you are? Why do you think you are fit to speak here?”
Qin Sheng snorted and said, “I don’t think I am somebody, but at least I am better than you. Don’t think that I don’t know what you are thinking about. All of you had followed Master Han for so many years and you had enjoyed a good life, staying by him. However, when trouble came, none of you had stood up to shoulder any responsibilities. There were even some among you who betrayed the company. I’m sure all of you knew about what happened in Tian Shui. Both Old Wu and Chen Beiming had sacrificed their lives protecting Han Bing. Remember this, although I don’t know who was behind this right now, watch your steps when I find out.”
Qin Sheng’s words stunned all who were in the room.
“All of you are plotting for what you can get once Han Bing dies. You were going to divide Master Han’s wealth among yourselves. Aren’t you disappointed that Han Bing didn’t die? What is the big deal about restructuring? I am sure every one of you had already made plans for this. Moreover, what you acquired over all these years is sufficient to sustain your entire life. I am just not sure if you will live that long to spend this wealth. I suppose some of you have already colluded with Third Master Wu or Zhou Wenwu, looking at how you attempted to lay your hands on Han Bing.”
“Looks like you are very capable. Why don’t you go confront Third Master Wu and Zhou Wenwu directly?” A young man shouted.
“I will settle Third Master Wu and Zhou Wenwu, so you need not to worry about them. I have made clear the intentions for announcing bankruptcy and restructuring. You may do whatever you deem fit. However, if anyone dares try to lay their hands on Han Bing, watch out, unless you have nine lives!”
“Are you trying to threaten us? Do you even know what we do?” Zhao Dongsheng, who tried to keep his cool all this while, finally spoke up.
Qin Sheng walked up to Zhao Dongsheng and said, “No no, I am not trying to threaten anyone. I am actually declaring war against you all. If you dare try it, I will kill the chicken to warn the monkey.”
Everyone was stunned by his words. Who would have the guts to say such a thing to Zhao Dongsheng? Was he digging his own grave?