When Qin Sheng returned to Shilin Huayuan, he changed into the glamorous suit prepared by Xia Ding. The outfit made him look like some rich man’s son, or a high-flying promising young man.
The moment Qin Sheng walked out of Shilin Huayuan, he received a call from Xia Ding, telling him that he was on the way the pick him up and would be arriving soon.
With the spare time he had in his hands, he went to his favourite bookshop to kill time. When Qin Sheng bumped into Xiaole, Xiaole started teasingly him, saying, “Wow, young man, are you going for a match-making session with this glamorous looking outfit?”
Qin Sheng was a patron here so after he greeted the other two shopkeepers, he answered, saying, “Do you think I need to go through the match-making process to look for someone to date? I, Brother Qin, is super popular. My admirers would form a long line going all the way to Pudong, queuing to come after me.”
“What? I haven’t come across a bragger like you!” Xiaole rolled his eyes in contempt. However, he went to get a glass of water for Qin Sheng without delay, as was his usual practise.
With a cup of water in his hands, Qin Sheng started roaming the bookshop. To him, the most interesting things about this place were the unwanted old books from customers. These old books had scribbling of notes left behind by their previous owners, which also tell of their thoughts. When Qin Sheng read these notes, he would be studying into their thoughts. Together with his own understanding, he was able to grasp the idea in the book in a more wholesome way. He had in fact cleared some doubts by doing so.
After 10 minutes of so, Xia Ding arrived at the entrance of the bookshop in his new Aston Martin. Qin Sheng teased Xiaole a bit more before he he left with Xia Ding.
The bookshop’s cashier, together with Xiaole, looked on as the Aston Martin Qin Sheng rode on sped away. “Wow, didn’t know Qin Sheng was actually a rich man. Do you want to date him, Xiaole?” teased Brother Liu, the cashier.
“Stop making fun of me, Brother Liu. How would it be possible for such rich people to fall in love with an ordinary girl like me,” Xiaole said coyly. The bookshop not exactly doing very well, but Xiaole had a pleasant personality and had built up good rapport with many of it patrons.
Brother Liu burst out laughing. “I was just teasing you, why take it so seriously? Looks like you really are interested in Qin Sheng.”
“That’s enough, Brother Liu. I’m going to ignore you if you don’t stop now,” Xiaole said, blushing, as she tried to walk away.
On the way to the charity banquet, Xia Ding sighed and said, “Hey Boss, I’m regretting that I made you wear this outfit. You would take away all the people’s attention from me. They would think that I’m your chauffeur or bodyguard.”
“Cut the nonsense. No one knows me there, in contrasts, you must know a lot of people there. I’m just there to enjoy the food experience the eye-opener, there’s no way I will take away the limelight from you,” Qin Sheng said reassuringly.
“How about I introduce some beautiful ladies to you later. Given your good looks and talents, surely there would be fair-skinned, rich, and beautiful ladies eyeing on you. We will then depend on you to live a comfortable life,” Xia Ding said with a laugh.
“Go to hell!” Qin Sheng scolded.
“Well, I guess since you beautiful Ms Han by your side, you wouldn’t lay eyes on other girls,” Xia Ding continued fooling around with Qin Sheng.
The banquet was starting at 7.30pm. Both the organizers and contractors were well-known organizations in Shanghai, so invited guests were either famous or rich people. Most had responded to the invitation with their courteous attendance.
The banquet was held at Yuerong Manor at the Bund. The organizer had reserved the manor’s banquet hall and its balcony for the occasion, and the auction at the end of the banquet would be held in the banquet hall itself. However, Qin Sheng thought it would be too cold for the ladies, who were dressed in gowns, to be at the balcony talking, given this kind of weather.
At the same time Xia Ding and Qin Sheng were heading to Yuerong Manor at the Bund, a beautiful and elegant lady emerged from Pudong Airport. Recently, she had been feeling rather down, so she came to Shanghai to relax and cheer herself up.
Her mother had passed away when she was still a child, but she due to her strained relationship with her father, she had always been closer to her maternal relatives, such as her maternal grandmother and her mother’s brother’s family. In the recent years, her maternal grandmother had been residing in Shanghai and she had come to see her as she missed her a great deal.
Outside the airport, her second aunt’s son was waiting to pick her up. He was a rich kid who was not interested in studies. In contrast with his older brother, who had graduated from the military school and proceeded to join the army in Xinjiang, this little brother was the family’s greatest worry. Fortunately, he had strict parents who managed to steer him from troubles. She had always felt helpless towards this little cousin.
“Long time no see, sister. I miss you so much, the most beautiful sister in the entire universe. You’ve become even more beautiful, putting all the women in the world to shame!” said Zhu Jiayou, who was an expert in blandishments. Perhaps his cousin would give him so pocket money if his flattery made her happy. He always reminded himself that this cousin of his was the general manager in his brother-in-law’s company, so she much be rich!
“Zhu Jiayou, stop rambling away with blandishments. Rest assured that I wouldn’t be giving you any pocket money this time. Little aunt had already fed me with the information on the trouble you’ve been causing. She had specially cautioned me not to give you any pocket money,” she snorted, while she welcomed his flattery. Since she lost her brother years ago, she had always treated this cousin as her own little brother. It was as if she wanted to pour all the love meant for his lost brother to him. Perhaps it was a form of repose for her.
Qin Ran always had this thought that if her little brother had not gone missing, he would be around 25 years old by now. She was clueless as to whether he was still alive, or how he was at this moment, which university he had graduated from, what job he was doing, whether he had a girlfriend, whether his girl friend was pretty, whether he was already married with kids, who would be her nephews and nieces?
Whenever she thought about these things, she would start to feel miserable. No one understood why she was still single given that she had already passed 30 years old. The truth was she had vowed never to get married until she found her little brother.
“Big sister, oh my big sister, I’m not just trying to flatter you. All my words are straight from my heart. How can I not miss you having not seen you for such a long time” moaned Zhu Jiayou, who had just graduated from the university. He continued to explain that he was short of money because he did not get any from his parents, and he would try ways and means to get money from his relatives. However, his maternal grandmother was a clever woman who would not be easily taken in by his pleading, he could only resort to pleading from this cousin of his.
Qin Ran was so amused by his cousin that she eventually gave in and said, “Alright. I’ll be spending some time in Shanghai, so I will give it some consideration if you behave.”
“Rest assured, big sister. I will do whatever you ask me to do,” Zhu Jiayou said gleefully.
Qin Ran shook her head and said, “Alright, drive carefully now. Are grandmother and auntie at home?”
“Grandma is home, but auntie had gone to Yuerong Manor at the Bund to attend a charity auction. She had instructed me to bring you straight there once you get picked up.”
“What do I at Yuerong Manor?” asked Qin Ran quizzically.
“I haven’t any idea either, just following instructions,” replied Zhu Jiayou. Qin Ran was thinking in her heart what a sweet talker Zhu Jiayou was.
Qin Ran pondered for a second and made up her mind. “Forget that, I’m not going. I want to go see grandmother first,” She said.
“Don’t make things difficult for me, big sister. This is auntie’s instruction for me. If I go against her, she’ll give me a hard time later on.”
Vexed by the boy, Qin Ran finally gave in and agreed to go, while still puzzling over auntie’s motive.
At the Bund, Qin Sheng and Xia Ding just arrived at Yuerong Manor and registered themselves at the reception using their identity cards. Qin Sheng observed that there were a quite a number of celebrities who came to attend this banquet and auction. At this moment , the popular celebrities were surrounded by people who were taking turns to take photographs with them.
“Boss, if any of the celebrities catches your eyes, just let me know. I will help you get acquainted. Don’t imagine them to be pure and innocent. Each has their story behind the glamour they enjoyed now. I have a few friends who are in the entertainment business, who were not entirely dignified in their work, some even turned to become pimps,” Xia Ding said with contempt when he caught Qin Sheng stealing a glance at a celebrity some distance away. It had always been that these socialites and their pimps were all just putting on an act.
“Now aren’t you the one sounding like a pimp?”
“Ha ha, I’m concerned about you. If it were other people, I won’t be bothered at all,” Xia Ding said, indignant.
The two each grabbed a glass of champagne and started wondering around the hall. “How about I introduce you to some of my friends, Boss?” asked Xia Ding excitedly.
“It’s alright, you go ahead with what you need to do. I can walk around, lest I intrude your rendezvous,” Qin Sheng knew Xia Ding was here on a mission for the old master, which comprised going around to greet many people. Qin Sheng thought he would give Xia Ding trouble if he followed him around.
“Sounds good. I’ll let you roam around on your own while I go around to say hello to the elders and friends. The activities on the ground floor are mostly for the older people, so after this, let’s go upstairs to the balcony where the younger people hang around,” said Xia Ding cheerfully. In Xia Ding’s mind, he was thinking that Qin Sheng was fit to be the Boss, because he was always more thoughtful and cautious. This was why he had asked Qin Sheng to accompany him today. He had always thought that Qin Sheng would rise to the top through good education and cultivation, because Qin Sheng possessed the a high EQ and skill of learning through observation. He was sure Qin Sheng would go far in life, compared to his second brother.
Xia Ding wondered off and Qin Sheng began roaming around. He had come with an empty stomach and since there was free flow of delicacies and great wine, he thought he should fill up his stomach first, anyways the main purpose of this function was to allow the guests to build up human resource networks. For this reason, the organizer had reserved the entire banquet hall as well as the veranda upstairs so that guests of different ages and social circles might mingle with each other.
Qin Sheng found a secluded corner and stood at a vantage point where he began observing the guests. He observed the interaction between people from different social circles, and that apparently, they were all doing so to gain some benefits and status out of this. One one hand, no one took notice of him, and on the other hand, he did not know anyone there. It was also obvious that the people would approach people whom they were familiar with, before they move on to look for other preys.
However, Qin Sheng was wrong about one thing. There was in fact one man who knew him, who spotted him when Qin Sheng first entered the banquet hall.
This man was in no hurry to say hello to Qin Sheng, but had been quietly watching him. When Qin Sheng settled himself into a secluded corner of the room and gobble down some food, this man almost burst out laughing as he thought that Qin Sheng was indeed an interesting character who behaved differently from the normal people.
This man, after chatting with a few important elders and friends, eventually found an opportunity to walk up to Qin Sheng. “How many days have you gone without food?” said the man teasingly.
Qin Sheng, who had just stuffed his mouth with a piece of cake, was taken aback. Someone was definitely talking to him. He lifted his head to finally see who it was who was talking and he almost burst out laughing too.
How embarrassing could this get…