Land Up for Auction
Xia Lei had something to busy his hands with now that China Industrial Group had delivered the materials. Only he could process the parts China Industrial Group wanted so the Thunder Horse Workshop employees couldn't help even if they wanted to. Mu Jian-Feng and Jiang Xin were handling the matter of the piece of land so he didn't have to worry about it. On the other front, Liang Si-Yao was in charge of hiring so he didn't have to worry about that either or he'd have to split himself into three to get everything done.
Long Bing had appeared that one time and vanished mysteriously. Xia Lei gave her just one call and didn't call her again. This wasn't because he didn't want to see her but she was investigating him and it wasn't appropriate for him to ask her out for dinner or something, especially when he was the subject of her investigation.
Just like that, half a month passed in the blink of an eye.
For the past half-month, Xia Lei worked overtime to process the parts for China Industrial Group. Other than Zhou Xiao-Hong, who lived in the workshop, he was the first to arrive every day in the morning and the last to leave.
The half-month's busying meant that the purchase order he had accepted from Zhou Wei was completed and, like the last time when he processed parts for East Wind Heavy Industries, he completed the order ahead of time and with superior quality.
Liang Si-Yao had also had results in the same period of time. She had gone to several technical schools and got almost a hundred graduating students to sign on.
There was no machine plant nor dormitories yet but she did not let this hinder her. Her approach was simple - every signed worker would get 500 in living expenses before the machine plant was built. Liang Si-Yao's intelligence was apparent in using the expense of 50,000 a month to solve the problem of reserving manpower.
As for the highly-talented workers, Liang Si-Yao had her approach too. She went to Hai-Zhu's School of Science and Engineering to look for promising graduating students and used ideal and higher than average remuneration to attract the talents. When that didn't work, she took out a copy Xia Lei's order from China Industrial Group for the student to see and boasted about the strength of Thunder Horse Manufacturing. This worked like magic on the technology geeks. Why? Simple - Thunder Horse Manufacturing could process parts which were currently only obtainable through import from Europe and America. There was definitely a bright future ahead if one worked in a such an up-and-coming company!
Half a month later was also when the Hai-Zhu City government opened the auction market for land and put several pieces of land up for bidding.
Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao arrived at the auction hall bright and early.
The auction hall was already full of seated people and they were mostly real estate developers and some business executives who needed to expand their business. These people were all dressed in suits and had young, beautiful secretaries accompanying them. They were affluent and had spirit; everyone was a winner in life.
"Why isn't Elder Mu here yet?" Liang Si-Yao's eyes swept the hall but did not find Mu Jian-Feng, who should have been there. "Will he not come?" she asked worriedly.
Xia Lei did not look the least bit worried, "He may be stuck in a traffic jam. Don't worry, he'll come. We'd agreed on it when I delivered the goods to him yesterday."
Liang Si-Yao smiled wryly, "This is just too important for us so of course I'll worry and think of what could go wrong."
Xia Lei laughed, "What is there to worry about? With his status and connections, Elder Mu is just fulfilling a step of the process in coming here."
At that moment, a group of people walked through the entrance. They were led by Huang Yi-Hu and Li Yu-Lan. Behind the couple trailed a few bosses and four bodyguards. The bodyguards belonged to Huang Yi-Hu and Xia Lei recognised them right away. They were the four gun-toting bodyguards he had seen at the fishing village villa.
Xia Lei's gaze went to the waists of the four bodyguards. If Huang Yi-Hu's bodyguards had brought guns, it would give him a chance for revenge. He could make a police report about them bringing guns into a place like this to create trouble for Huang Yi-Hu.
Unfortunately, he did not spot any guns on them after he swept their bodies with his gaze. Even a rampaging bully like Huang Yi-Hu wouldn't dare rampage about in front of the government.
Huang Yi-Hu and Li Yu-Lan spotted Xia Lei as well and they walked over.
"Here to see the action, Mr Xia?" Li Yu-Lan spoke mockingly, "I asked at the register and they said nobody named Boss Xia Lei had put down a deposit."
Huang Yi-Hu spoke scornfully, "Boss? Someone who can't even afford the 50,000,000 deposit can be called 'boss'?"
"It's true that I can't pay the 50,000,000 deposit. That's because I don't know how to cheat. If I learn from you and steal and rob, I would probably be able to pay that 50,000,000 deposit and pretend to be a good person and come participate in the auction."
Huang Yi-Hu's four bodyguards stepped close.
Huang Yi-Hu glared at them and the four bodyguards stepped back.
Huang Yi-Hu looked at Xia Lei, "Punk, I'll wait for you to kneel and kowtow to me. Don't leave after the auction ends. I'll tell you the venue for your kneeling and kowtowing."
"I was about to remind you too. Don't hurry off after the auction. I'll take you to my friend's grave and have you kneel and kowtow to him."
"Humph!" Huang Yi-Hu snorted and took his people away with him.
Liang Si-Yao spoke angrily, "That guy is asking for a beating. And that woman next to him! I've never seen anyone so lowly."
"There's no need to get angry over these sort of people. Let's find a place to sit," said Xia Lei.
Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao chose seats in a corner and seated themselves to wait for the auction to begin. While waiting, Liang Si-Yao took out her laptop from her laptop bag and did some work. Xia Lei also took out a book and wrote in it with a pen. He wrote seriously and turned a page after he was done writing, then continued writing. He was not writing about any specific topic and just wrote whatever he could think of.
Bosses engaged other bosses in conversation in the auction hall and it was not quiet at all. Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao were an exception; the two of them concentrated on their own things and did not care about the people or goings-on around themselves.
At one point, Liang Si-Yao saw Xia Lei and the little book in his hand out of the corner of her eye. The messily scrawled contents of the book made her ask curiously, "What are you writing?"
Xia Lei smiled, "Nothing much. Just practicing writing."
"Practicing writing?" Liang Si-Yao looked at the sloppy handwriting in the book and became more curious, "I've seen your handwriting and it's clear. This handwriting now is so bad it looks like it belongs to a primary-schooler. Are you trying to write worse and worse? What sort of practice is this?"
Xia Lei leaned in to her ear and said in a low voice, "This isn't my handwriting; it's someone else's."
Liang Si-Yao paused, then suddenly remembered something, "You're imitating... Huang Yi-Hu's handwriting?"
Xia Lei nodded. He was practicing writing like Huang Yi-Hu and after half a month of practicing, he could not only duplicate the signature from the written pledge but also write other words in Huang Yi-Hu's handwriting.
"What are you planning to do by imitating his handwriting?" Liang Si-Yao looked worriedly at Xia Lei.
"Nothing. You don't have to bother about it." Xia Lei did not want to drag her into it.
"I know you want revenge for your friend but you have to be careful. Don't do anything unlawful," said Liang Si-Yao.
"I have my limits, don't worry," said Xia Lei.
Liang Si-Yao did not question Xia Lei any further on why he would imitate Huang Yi-Hu's handwriting. She turned the laptop on her lap to face Xia Lei and said, "Take a look. This is the draft of the staffing plan I have for the workers I have recruited during this period of time. We need some mid-level managers after the machine plant is built. We also need a product development department. I've already made arrangements based on talents from the profiles of some of the employees. Let's proceed as planned if you think it's okay."
Xia Lei only glanced at it and he smiled as he said, "I've already said that you can just call the shots on these matters."
"Aren't you afraid that I'll lie to you?" Liang Si-Yao looked at Xia Lei, all smiles.
"We're family. You won't lie to me. Even if you did, I wouldn't care," said Xia Lei.
Liang Si-Yao's cheeks reddened inexplicably for a moment. 'We're family' had a different meaning if one looked at it another way.
While the pair were talking quietly, the government worker presiding over the auction walked up to the podium. He tested the microphone, then said, "Please quiet down, everyone. The auction for numbered government-owned land shall begin soon. Please have your bidding paddles ready and abide by the rules."
The entire auction hall quieted down.
Liang Si-Yao looked reflexively at the doorway of the auction hall; there was still no trace of Mu Jian-Feng.
Xia Lei was beginning to feel some doubt and he thought 'We'd agreed yesterday. Is he going to stand me up? Impossible. Elder Mu does not speak lightly of promises. He wouldn't renegade on his words.'
No matter what Xia Lei or Liang Si-Yao thought, the doorway of the auction hall was still empty of the presence of Mu Jian-Feng and his assistant.
The land auction was about to begin. Helpers used slides to display the details of the land up for bidding to the people present and the various bosses raised their bidding paddles to bid on the pieces of land they had their eyes on.
Piece after piece of land was auctioned off and the auctioneer had gone from plot number one to plot number twelve.
Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao had looked at the auction hall doorway who knows how many times by then, but Mu Jian-Feng was still nowhere to be seen.
Huang Yi-Hu, who was seated in the front seats, looked back at Xia Lei and Liang Si-Yao. His look was full of ridicule and contempt. It was as if he was saying to Xia Lei - 'You lose!'
"Looks like Elder Mu is not coming. He lied to us," said Liang Si-Yao gloomily.
Xia Lei would have told her not to worry if it was half an hour ago but he himself was getting worried now.
Plot number twelve was quickly taken by a boss for 120,000,000 yuan. The auctioneer put plot number thirteen up on the slides and said, "We are now starting the auction for plot number thirteen. This plot of land is on the eastern side of Third Ring Road with an area of twenty-one acres. It is surrounded by schools and hospitals in a very good location. This piece of land is valued at 80,000,000. Bidding shall commence now."
The competition to raise one's bidding paddle had started.
Huang Yi-Hu was the first to raise his, "81,000,000."
Huang Yi-Hu was the only one with his paddle raised. Nobody competed with him.
Huang Yi-Hu was He Lao-Qi. Who would dare snatch land that He Lao-Qi wanted?
"Is there anyone else? If there is no one else, this gentleman here will win this piece of land for the price of 81,000,000." The auctioneer urged the other bosses to raise their bidding paddles but nobody did so. After waiting for one minute, he said helplessly, "81,000,000 going once... 81,000,000 going twice..."
"Hold it!" An elderly voice suddenly came from the doorway.