"If memory serves me correctly, Green Pine should have been a larger auction company, right?" Garen asked, perplexed. "How did it end up like this?"
The fatty glanced at him and nodded in affirmation. "True, Green Pine was very famous before, with fixed customer bases both inside and outside the country. The only thing is recently, the company’s source of liquid funds were all frozen, so we couldn’t make ends meet for a while. Our previous competitors also piled on the pressure, and then there were multiple serious mistakes with the purchase of merchandise, so we lost a considerable sum there as well. In other words, it was like all our misfortune from before befell us all at once, and everything that could go wrong did go wrong. My god…" Speaking of what happened in the past, the fatty’s face was presently still unhappy and depressed.
He led Garen and Cynthia into an office on the third floor and knocked the door. "Big Sis, there are more people here."
"Bring them in… One more won’t make a difference." A tired voice came from within.
The door was pushed open, and the two of them walked in while the fatty stayed behind to close the door.
The room was empty, with only a large, long table in the middle. A young woman was sprawled on it, writing something on the table and looking deeply exhausted.
The woman was very young. Even her gold-rimmed glasses and black professional lady’s outfit could not hide her air of childish youth. Her blonde hair was tied into a bundle, and her dark blue eyes showed a deep-seated weariness.
She raised her head and pushed up her glasses, looking at Garen and Cynthia carefully. Her expression was first of confusion, and then she frowned. She looked obviously hesitant.
"May I ask, you are…?"
Garen couldn’t help but laugh. "You don’t recognize even me anymore?" His voice hadn’t changed at all from before.
As soon as he spoke, Fenistine’s eyes widened, and she stood abruptly. "You!! You’re Garen!! Why are you suddenly here, why didn’t you tell me beforehand?!!"
Garen shook his head. "I just had something to see you for, but it seems that you’ve hit a wall yourself."
Fenistine smiled wryly. "It’s just a small matter, didn’t you go to university? Why do you have time to come here?"
Garen casually pulled a bench to the table and sat down. "Forget about me, what about you? What on earth are you doing now? How did you end up like this?"
Fenistine wiped her face, sitting down as she said helplessly, "I don’t know either. Starting from three months ago, it’s like I fell into a run of bad luck, and nothing good at all happened to me. Even good things ended up becoming bad. By the time I realized it, things have become like this."
Garen frowned as he said, "Explain it to me in detail."
He already had a hunch at this point. He could vaguely sense a thick air of Antique of Tragedy on Fenistine. It was highly likely that this thing was causing her run of bad luck.
As Fenistine slowly described the events leading up to this, he also gradually understood what had been happening.Navici
The root cause of it all was going to Navici, in the Jade Mountain Province near the border.
Fenistine waited but never got Garen to agree to go with her, so she decided to go alone and excavate clues about the mysterious incident from that secret underground vault they had found.
He still remembered the message on that paper slip.
"Navici Tsunami Mountain, number 174, the third tree, six feet under. I left the item there. --Charlie."
According to Fenistine’s story, she had gone alone to find the object mentioned in that message. In the end, she brought it back and kept it in a secret vault.
"What is it? What made you so nervous?" Garen asked in confusion.
Fenistine glanced at Cynthia, who was standing behind Garen.
"Cynthia, leave for now." Garen waved at her.
Cynthia nodded, turned around and left the room, closing the door behind her. With that, only Garen and Fenistine were left in the room.
"Who knew? You’re doing pretty well yourself, huh?" Fenistine looked rather surprised to see that. "I thought she was your girlfriend. To think, she’s your lackey?"
"I’m not particularly well, it is what it is." Garen was still sorting out what he had just heard. "Do you still have the item you excavated?"
"No, I sold it long ago. At first I suspected it was due to an Antique of Tragedy as well, but I’m still the same after selling it." She bent her body down a little, lowering her voice, "I’m telling you… The thing I found was a tiny, really small wooden carving. According to my deductions, that thing is definitely a very formidable Antique of Tragedy!"
Garen watched Fenistine and her expression of mystery in exasperation. He really wanted to say that he had discovered that a long time ago, but seeing how Fenistine was trying so hard to build up the suspense, he couldn’t bring himself to interrupt her.
There was a thick air of potential misfortune from the Antique of Tragedy surrounding Fenistine. It had evidently accumulated after she spent too much time with the Antique of Tragedy, and it would take at least a few months of bad luck for it to dissipate. Garen mused it over, but decided to immediately reach out his hand anyway.
With a ‘smack’, he accurately grabbed Fenistine’s wrist.
"Don’t panic, I’ll check your condition. I know some Eastern medicine."
Fenistine’s face reddened in an instant, and she opened her mouth to say something, but she never did say it. In the end, she just let Garen hold her wrist.
As soon as the two of them touched, that thick air of misfortune was quickly absorbed by Garen until there was not a trace left.
"Alright, it’s fine now." Garen released Fenistine’s hand, and smiled as though nothing happened. "Your condition now isn’t that great, do you need my help?"
"Can you?" Fenistine recovered in an instant, looking at Garen half-believingly. "You have to know, I need a substantial amount of money right now."
"It’s fine, just tell me."
Fenistine knew that Garen had inherited the White Cloud Gate, but the White Cloud Gate was merely a trifle. How much money could a local gate like that fork out?
"I need at least two hundred million in liquid assets, to have a proper turnover," she said in a low voice.
"Two hundred million, no problem." Garen had thought it would be a huge sum, and didn’t expect it to be so little. All else aside, just the Black Mark Association that he recently merged with alone could squeeze out the money for Fenistine to use. That wasn’t counting the White Cloud Gate’s power and assets that, in total, had enough financial power to match a provincial government.
To him right now, two hundred million was merely the tip of the iceberg.
But Fenistine was slightly dazed. Her little mouth hung open, her eyes widened, and she looked at Garen dumbly.
"Hey hey hey, you’re not kidding, are you? That’s two hundred million! Not two hundred! I know you inherited the White Cloud Gate, but even if it’s the White Cloud Gate… that’s still too much, right? Why does your expression tell me that two hundred million is two hundred!"
"I’m not kidding." Garen shook his head. "I’ll transfer it over to you in a moment, how about using a Confederal bank account?"
Fenistine stood up, and walked a circle around Garen.
"You little punk… Not bad!"
"Alright, stop fooling around." Garen was speechless. "It’s just that you weren’t aware of it. The truth is regular martial arts sects aren’t all that meets the eye, you just didn’t know about it."
"Fine, I didn’t know anything. But are you sure you’re not kidding?" Fenistine still couldn’t quite believe it.
"No, no," Garen replied helplessly. "Oh, yeah, your family has local connections. Do you know about a woman called Black Orchid? She has a lot of power, and is a martial artist herself."
"Black Orchid, huh. If you didn’t get the name wrong, there is a woman with a lot of power here and a name like that in Yang Liu City. Just the one. She’s the mastermind behind the private rose-colored places here in Yang Liu City." Unsurprisingly, Fenistine did know.
According to the information Garen had gathered, Black Orchid had a decent influence and reputation among Yang Liu City locals, which was why she could convince the Lieutenant General into putting a word in for the Behemoth Gate. So it was very normal for him to get such an answer from Fenistine, who had some base work here.
"How well do you know her?" Garen was still rather unhappy about having a woman take his first night. And he had another layer of concerns behind that.
"That woman, Black Orchid, is very mysterious." Fenistine thought back with a gaze of concentration. "I first saw her at a banquet. She was very beautiful, with a great aura. Back then, she was standing next to the leader of a powerful clan, and they had a great presence. I heard Father say that this woman had methods, and a fierce determination to achieve whatever she set her sights on, together with a lot of hidden power and influences."
"How much do you know about her as a person?"
"Personally? Her?" Fenistine wasn’t stupid, and she immediately sensed something amiss. "Did you offend her?!"
"Mind your own business, just tell me." Garen shook his head.
Fenistine glanced at Garen half-believingly.
"Black Orchid is a powerful woman, and has perfected her martial arts to an amazing degree. She once demonstrated catching a bullet with her bare hands, she’s basically a humanoid monster! And she’s cruel and cold, very decisive. It’s just that previously she took a trip to the Fourth Military Hospital, and apparently fell ill.
"One of my older brothers mentioned that she was injured by someone, though. After escaping with a grievous injury, she nearly died on the road."
"Injured?" Garen frowned. "How do you know such a secret? For elite fighters like Black Orchid, she would definitely hide the fact that she was hurt."
"She got hurt and nearly died, but the captain of the special forces team that protected her was my older brother’s best friend. It was a secret back then, but a lot of time has passed since then, so it’s a secret no more. Any limitations had also been removed." Fenistine replied simply.
"Do you know who injured her?"
Garen tried to make some inferences.
The largest possibility was that Black Orchid’s injury had affected her abilities, so she wasn’t strong enough to hold up the huge Behemoth Gate on her own anymore. That was why she used the conflict with the White Cloud Gate to retreat, hiding the fact that her own condition was far from great.
And his concerns were related to his own natural-born special powers.
He hadn’t realized it yesterday, but after calming down, he noticed it immediately. Were those natural-born powers hereditary or were they unique to only him?
Judging by Black Orchid’s personality, even if she did have his child, the child’s education would have nothing to do with him. God forbid there one day be appear a monstrous enemy with the same powers as himself, now wouldn’t that be fun.
After obtaining some relevant information from Fenistine’s side, Garen asked Cynthia to send a telegram, informing the White Cloud Gate headquarters to transfer two million over to Fenistine’s company accounts.
As for himself, he returned to the hotel they had decided on.