The most glamorous city lasting over six dynasties and Jinling was where the emperors appointed as their capital city.
Nanjing was an interesting city. Poet Wang Anshi said in his poem that Nanjing was once the capital city of the emperors, however, he lamented on the city’s loss of formal riches and glory over 400 years. Poet Xin Qiji also sang praises to the glorious city of Nanjing his poems，where he mentioned how the impressionable youngsters had once been so passionate for this city, and how even the sparrows of today would be able to recognize the glory left behind by the premiers Wand Dao and Xie An.
In the eyes of many geomancy experts, Nanjing was a desirable capital city for emperors of various dynasties. To the east of Nanjing, there was Zhong Mountains and to the west, there was the Rock Mountains. These two mountains were likened to a dragon and a tiger respectively. Therefore the terrain was majestic but harsh. The city was also guarded by the Qinhuai River in the south and Xuanwu Lake in the north. In Fengshui, these elements coincided with the four beasts, namely, the green dragon, white tiger, sparrow and Xuanwu, which defined the boundaries of Nanjing. Unfortunately as legend had it, Shihuangdi dug on the mountains and River Qinhuai in an attempt to dissipate the aura of the emperor. As a result, subsequent emperors who made Nanjing their capital did not live a long life. For this reason, the second generation of the Ming Dynasty decided to move the capital to Beijing. In those years, Nanjing’s economy clearly fell behind that of the three cities of Su, Xi and Chang. In Nanjing, there was a shortage of talents both in the cultural scene as well as entrepreneurship, who could bring about a nationwide influence.
If the map of China were to be put on grid of Bagua, the Chinese divinatory symbols, Nanjing was located right at a dead gate. This was the actual reason for the short reign of the various dynasties. The city was filled with an atmosphere of death because of the various landmarks such as the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Yuhuatai Martyrs Park, Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, as well as the various ditches where the bodies of about 10,000 victims of the Nanjing Massacre were dumped, were dispersed all around the city. The ancient people had believed that Yangtze River acted as the barrier for enemy invasions from the north, but neglected the fact that based on Fengshui, the river that went cross from west to east would have strong currents that washed away good luck. It was in fact a taboo in Fengshui. After all, the most desirable landscape in terms of Fengshui would be one that could gather all wind and water.
For these reasons, Nanjing was a city of complication and contradictions. At least that was the kind of uneasiness Qin Sheng felt every time he visited.
It was 8 pm when their high-speed train arrived at Nanjing. Xue Qingyan who sat by the window had been catching up on her sleep this entire train journey. Qin Sheng, on the other hand, was enjoying himself reading a book about the political victories and failures in history of China. He wondered who this book belonged to as there were notes written all over the pages, especially in the chapter on the state of global politics. Qin Sheng was especially interested in the relationships and contradictions between the socialism, conservatism and liberalism. He was beginning think that the 10 dollars he spent on the book had been so worthwhile.
“Finally we’re here! Travelling for work is so dreadful,” Xue Qingyan said and stretched her arms lazily after the train came to a stop, her voice sounding alluring.
Qin Sheng shoved the book into his bag and went on to help Xue Qingyan unload her luggage. The two joined the line to alight the train. “Why don’t you quit your job, Big Sister Xue? And return to nature, look for a nice place with mountain and lake to retire?”
“Stop your nonsense. This is my destiny, to be slogging my life away. Anyways I’m used to it. People tend to complain either way, be it too busy or too bored with nothing to do,” said Xue Qingyan, shaking her head.
The truth was that human beings tend to complain about anything.
“Looks like you are quite into reading?” There were not many youngers who liked to read nowadays. Most were too playful, and some, too busy and could not find time to read. The truth was the more one loved reading, the more likely he was a successful person. This had been the case since the time past. Although there were still some youngsters who liked reading, many only pretended to be so. When Xue Qingyan woke up a number of times during the train ride, she realized that Qin Sheng was reading, and seeing the many notes on the pages of the book, she thought Qin Sheng must have read the book over many times. One could truly grasp the author’s message by at least read the book three times, so she knew he was really reading and not just pretending to read.
“A person like me ought to read more to make up for my hideous appearance,” said Qin Sheng, smiling shyly.
Xue Qingyan studied Qin Sheng’s face and did not find his ugly looking, although he was not exactly good looking either. However, he did give a good impression when people looked at him because there was a certain attraction from his clear eyes. She laughed and said, “There’s no need to be overly modest. Although you are not exceptionally handsome, you’re still not too bad. Anyways, it’s a good thing to like to read. Not only would you be enriched with knowledge, you won’t be phased out so easily.”
The two continued chatting while they made their way out of the station. Xue Qingyan had already made arrangements for someone from the subsidiary company in Nanjing to pick them up, and indeed this man walked up to them and politely greeted her saying, “Manager Xue!”
“Let’s go,” Xue Qingyan beckoned Qin Sheng as one of the men took over the luggage from Qin Sheng.
Just when they were about to go, a woman and two other men walked up to them as they smiled and said to Xue Qingyan, “You must be Manager Xue. Manager Du had instructed us to come fetch you to Jinling Hotel for a welcome celebration.”
Immediately, Xue Qingyan’s expression changed slightly. Only the people in the company were aware of her trip to Nanjing, so how did Du Jiang know about it? There had to be a spy who leaked her itinerary.
“There’s no need for that. I want to go to the hotel to rest for now. We’ll meet you at your company tomorrow.” Xue Qingyan gently turned the offer down.
That lady obviously was being put on the spot and the two men behind her looked displeased and said, “Manager Du had been waiting for you for a long time, and you should give him some face. Moreover, you are making life difficult for us if Manager Du doesn’t get to meet you.”
The lady and the two men took turns trying to persuade her, putting her on the spot. If she did not comply and go to meet Manager Du now, he might not agree to work with her later on. This was really getting tricky.
Xue Qingyan was being cornered to agree, saying, “Let’s go then, since Manager Du is so hospitable.”
The lady and two men broke out in smiles once Xue Qingyan agreed to follow them. Xue Qingyan instructed the company’s personnel to bring her luggage to the hotel and told him that she would return to the hotel after having her dinner.
Since the company had sent two cars to pick them up, Xue Qingyan decided not to take the car sent by Manager Du. Qin Sheng offered to drive the company car, which was a Passat, with Xue Qingyan as the only passenger in the car.
“How is your capacity for drinking alcohol?” Xue Qingyan dreaded occasions such as this the most. Not only would they ended up not achieving anything, she would be exhausted from an evening of drinking and it would be impossible for her to be at her best the subsequent work day.
Qin Sheng was not confident to give a definite answer. To play safe, he modestly answered by saying, “I should be able to consume two bottles of wine without feeling uncomfortable.”
“If they want me to drink, you’ll have to stand in for me. It would be even better if you could make them drunk, then we can excuse ourselves earlier,” Xue Qingyan had put her trust in Qin Sheng. She felt bad towards him, but if everything went well, she would compensate him well.
Qin Sheng gave a quiet laugh, saying, “Don’t worry about it, Big Sister. I’ll settle this.”
Qin Sheng had unintentionally changed the way he addressed Xue Qingyan to ‘Big Sister’ and Xue Qingyan did not take it to heart. To her, it was only a matter of how one addressed another.
Jinling Hotel was one of the oldest hotel in Nanjing and the first five-star hotel there. It was common for business people to choose to entertain important guests at such a well-established hotel.
After arriving at Jinling Hotel, Manager Du’s man led Qin Sheng and Xue Qingyan into a room in the hotel’s Chinese restaurant. Seated in the room were Du Jiang, his deputy manager and the general manager of the Nanjing office of Xue Qingyan’s company. The three men were seemingly enjoying a good conversation when Xue Qingyan pushed the door of the room open. When she saw the general manager of her company, she instantly knew that he was the one who told Du Jiang about her trip to Nanjing.
“Hi, Manager Xue, finally you are here!” A smiling Du Jiang walked up to Xue Qingyan and offered her a handshake.
Out of courtesy, Xue Qingyan took his hand and replied, “My apologies for making you wait.”
“Don’t worry about it, this should be the way. I had wanted to go to pick you up personally, but I was caught up with something, please accept my apology,” Du Jiang held on tightly to Xue Qingyan’s hand, and caressing it, not willing to let go of it, thereby behaving like a typical hooligan.
Qin Sheng remained calm as he sized up Du Jiang. He had a licentious and cunning look, which made Qin Sheng think that he was the one creating problem for Ms. Cheongsam’s company. To Qin Sheng, such people were not down-to-earth, but rather, they would be the ones looking for shortcuts and dishonest means to accomplish something.
Du Jiang still had not let go of her hand and this irritated Xue Qingyan, although she tried not to show it on her face. Finally Du Jiang let go of her hand smiling in an embarrassed way, he said, “Come, come, Manager Xue, please take a seat.”
At this moment, the other two men stood up to greet Xue Qingyan. Xue Qingyan gave Du Jiang’s deputy manager a quick handshake, after which she turned to her manager in the Nanjing office and said sarcastically, “I didn’t expect you to be here, Manager Li.”
“Manager Xue, I had wanted to go to the station to pick you up, but I was so tied down with work that I had to send my secretary to do it. After the last meeting of the day, Manager Du kept calling me on the phone to say that he would like to give a welcome dinner, so I came over to join you.” This Manager Li was also a rather guileful character. He knew he was at fault for not informing Xue Qingyan that he would be here, so he quickly tried to explain himself.
Xue Qingyan just played along with him and said, “I see…”
As Du Jiang approached, he was interrupted by Qin Sheng.
“Hi Manager Du, I’m Manager Xue’s assistance.” Qin Sheng stretch out his hand to greet Manager Du and in response Du Jiang shook his hand loosely, as an indication that while he esteemed Xue Qingyan, he could not be bothered about Qin Sheng, who was only her assistant. However, Qin Sheng held his hand so tightly that Du Jiang was unable to retract. Qin Sheng gradually tightened his grip on Du Jiang’s hand that it was beginning to turn red, but no one took notice of it.
Du Jiang looked down at his hand, and then looked up at Qin Sheng, glared at him severely as if he were saying, “What are you trying to do?” But Qin Sheng just stared at Du Jiang and smiled.
Just when Du Jiang was about to explode and the others about to realize what was happening, Qin Sheng let go of Du Jiang’s hand and sat down beside Xue Qingyan, with all smiles. This left Du Jiang fuming but helpless.
Qin Sheng’s intention was to give him a warning of sorts.
Du Jiang cursed under his breath for a while, but did not take it too seriously. After he sat down and ordered the dishes, he asked, “Manager Xue, this is a welcome dinner for you since you’ve traveled such distance to be our guest. What shall we drink?”
“Manager Du, since we still have many matters to discuss tomorrow, let’s not have any alcohol tonight. We can always have another celebration after we have accomplished our tasks. What do you say?” Xue Qingyan said with a smile.
Naturally Du Jiang was not going to agree to this. He said, “That’ll not do. This welcome dinner and the celebration afterwards are two different matter, we have to learn to enjoy ourselves to the fullest. I’ve heard so much about Manager Xue being a great beauty and finally I get to meet you in person today. Indeed, you’ve not disappointed me. This is good reason for celebrating, how can we miss out on the alcohol?”
Xue Qingyan had known from earlier that there was no way of escape from drinking alcohol. Left with no other choice, she glanced at Qin Sheng and said, “Alright, we shall oblige, but let’s just drink a little.”
“Don’t worry about.” Du Jiang gave a hearty laugh.
Before the dishes were served, three bottles of Maotai wine had been served onto the table, and Du Jiang let the waiter pour the alcohol immediately. When everyone’s glass was filled, Du Jiang lifted up his glass for a toast.
Both Qin Sheng and Xue Qingyan had not taken their dinner yet and it was easiest to get drunk with an empty stomach. Apparently, Du Jiang was up to something no good.