Quality Check: Tezuka
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter Sixty-Eight: Winner II
SI’s chairman, Zhou Jinrong, was once the most outstanding of the young entrepreneurs in City S.
The Zhou family had been in business for three generations. Zhou Jinrong was the youngest among the siblings in his generation. He had been showered with attention ever since he was born, with everything and anything he wanted at the snap of his fingers. It was the same even when he had reached adulthood as he brought SI to the peak.
He had always been living with flattery and envy from others, and that made Zhou Jinrong so unavoidably arrogant that he believed no-one else mattered. In his eyes, those who were more talented than him did not have a better family background than him. Those who were richer than him did not have more capabilities than him. That established theory had been in place for thirty years until Yan Jin appeared.
When Yan Jin came back from overseas, Zhou Jinrong had sent an invitation to him. Seeing that they were in the same business, the Zhou family deemed it necessary to do so as the leader of the City S jewelry industry. Never had they expect that the welcome party that Zhou Jinrong had spent great efforts to hold, would be stood up by Yan Jin.
Thus, the feud with Yan Jin had since begun.
And it was mainly one-sided feelings.
Zhou Jinrong was furious because he had lost face. He then created a lot trouble for the up-and-coming company, YL.
Some succeeded while some were avoided dauntingly.
As time went by, Zhou Jinrong’s hostility against Yan Jin did not decrease at all. Instead, it got even worse.
And such malicious intentions had finally reached its peak when YL and SI were named the two largest jewelry companies in City S.
Zhou Jinrong was not willing to accept this truth at all. SI was the legacy of several generations of the Zhou family. How could it be so easily caught up to?
In the eyes of the outsiders, the reason YL could rise abruptly to that powerful position was no doubt because of the Yan family’s profound background and enormous wealth. Although Yan Jin’s personal capability and shocking way of doing things was important as well, that was just an addition to something that was already perfected.
Background plus capability – that was what every outsider and most business insiders perceived.
But what was the actual truth?
Only a handful of people knew – what foundation could YL have? That was just an industry that the Yan family had abandoned. Leaving such a thing to their young master could only mean that problems had been brewing within the Yan family.
And among those handful of people, Zhou Jinrong was included.
In the past, he thought that Yan Jin was just a second-generation wealthy kid that returned from overseas, that he did not possess any capability to manage a company. The moment that Yan Jin returned to the country, he would lose out in his family’s power struggle. Without any connections and assistance, it would be a matter of time before he hit a dead end.
Never had anyone expected that when the YL that no one had anticipated landed in Yan Jin’s hands, it would be forcefully changed from something rotten into something magical. It was as if the reason Yan Jin had taken over YL was not to fulfil the unfair conditions given by his family’s internal power struggle, but to bring YL to greater heights of development instead.
YL had risen abruptly within a short one-year time frame and had ended up on par with SI. To everyone else, it was just another interesting matter to see. But for Zhou Jinrong, it was like saying that he was not as good as Yan Jin.
Zhou Jinrong refused to accept that.
On what basis? He had the entire resources and connections of the Zhou family. He had operated the company for years. So how could he be inferior to Yan Jin who had no one to rely on in this country?
Soon, Yan Jin’s name appeared on the City S Young Entrepreneurs list. All sorts of entertainment news were starting to report on this mysterious yet low-profile chairman. The glory that was originally shining on Zhou Jinrong, was stripped away overnight.
Zhou Jinrong tried to find ways to get his momentum back through his business. However, YL’s current position clearly told him that it was impossible.
Later, he could only try all means to look for Yan Jin’s weakness and defeat him from that aspect. However, there was none. No matter where he searched, there was none.
That person was just like an instrument that operated precisely. Every part of it was moving on routine with no hint of a flaw.
Regardless of whether it was his work or his personal life, Yan Jin was like an invulnerable saint.
“Hey Chairman Yan, why are you alone?”
That peculiar tone was simply unbearable to the ears. Yan Jin frowned slightly with no intentions to respond to it. He merely nodded his head as a gesture and answered, “Chairman Zhou.”
“Seems like neither of our companies will get anything good from this Autumn Release Conference, don’t you think?” Zhou Jinrong revealed a regretful expression: “Who would had guessed that the competition would be that intense.”
“I did not expect it either.” Yan Jin replied.
That was the truth. In the past few conferences, SI would normally be in the top five positions. YL would be slightly behind, but they would be at least in the top ten. Even if the ranking had a difference of several placings, there was not much of a difference just from the exhibition booth alone.
Frankly speaking, even with the mystery designer trying his hardest to save the desperate crisis, Yan Jin was really disappointed with YL’s performance this time.
They had ranked nineteenth in the corporate ranking. Putting aside the fact that they were squeeze out of the top ten, if it were not because City N had two companies pulling out from the competition last minute, YL could even fall from the top twenty placing.
Yan Jin had already begun to consider how many employee bonuses he should be deducting.
“Chairman Yan, to tell you the truth, one of our designers in SI had entered the Ragnarok competition on his own accord. We didn’t expect his ranking to be so decent.”
Zhou Jinrong put on his smiling face. However, hidden underneath that smile, he was full of evil intentions.
Yan Jin was flabbergasted for a moment. He asked: “The individual work that ranked seventeenth belonged to one of SI’s employees?”
“Why yes, it does. Such an honor…”
Because of the huge commotion with the mystery designer, many people did not notice the evaluation for the last few individual works. But Yan Jin had paid attention until the end, it was natural that he did not miss the individual work that had scored higher than YL’s work.
Very coincidentally, that design and the mystery designer’s design had some similarities – they were both couple rings.
If the mystery designer had not appeared, that exquisite couple rings would surely astonish people and make them gasp in admiration.
And that was also what people called ‘being born under an unlucky star’. The mystery designer’s work had made an appearance a step ahead in the most brilliant way and completely overshined that couple rings’ glory.
Plus, from a personal perspective, the couple ring had made Yan Jin feel very unpleasant.
Or more accurately, he did not like that design.
Yan Jin’s talent in designing was average, like most people, or maybe even not as high. In addition to his lack of professional training, his words on the designing aspects were naturally incomparable to those professional designers and judges. However, Yan Jin had something that no one else had – it was an intuition that even he could not explain in words.
And that intuition which had been with him for twenty-eight years had never once been wrong.
Of course, Yan Jin was not silly enough to show such a subjective ‘dislike’ in front of Zhou Jinrong.
Which was why he merely listened quietly to Zhou Jinrong’s blabbering until he heard the sentence “If Chairman Yan would want that exhibition booth, we can discuss on a good price for it.”
What Zhou Jinrong was implying was that he wanted to sell SI’s individual work exhibition booth rights to Yan Jin.
“Exhibition booth?” Yan Jin thought about the meaning behind those two words. He felt puzzled: “They’re both outside of the top ten, what’s the difference?”
“You shouldn’t say that, Chairman Yan.” Zhou Jinrong smiled: “This is a matter of face. If SI’s individual work can beat YL’s, it wouldn’t sound nice to others.”
Yan Jin smiled too – he understood Zhou Jinrong’s motive.
Trading exhibition booths was a farce, to seize the opportunity to be sarcastic was the truth.
“I thank you for your good intentions, Chairman Zhou.” Yan Jin leaned against the wall as he held his mobile in one hand and tucked the other inside his pocket. That position had never changed since Zhou Jinrong had begun speaking to him.
“Face isn’t important, winning is the key, isn’t it?”
The smile that Zhou Jinrong had maintained on his face finally cracked: “If I’m not mistaken, although there was some accident, wasn’t SI’s final ranking still higher than YL’s by a few seats?”
Yan Jin chuckled: “Final? It isn’t the final moment yet, right?”
There was barely any difference in his tone. It was as if Yan Jin was saying a truth that everyone knew. However, the aura around him was a feeling that only winners would have – an arrogance that was aloof and remote.
Zhou Jinrong did not understand. He did not understand what Yan Jin meant by that, yet it did not stop him from getting incessantly angry.
It was obviously not the ‘final moment’ per se but what was the difference? SI and YL had already been thrown out of the top ten and Mr. Mystery had gone missing… If they had to come out with an outcome, it would still be unclear. However, even if the corporate scores were to be changed, it would only be within the top few places. There would be no chance for those who were outside of the top ten. How could there be leeway for a turnaround?
It was just some word play. What did he mean by that?
SI had beat YL – there was no doubt.
Zhou Jinrong’s only regret was that SI just had to be thrown out of the top ten and that made the success taste bittersweet.
But Yan Jin’s attitude made Zhou Jinrong feel that Yan Jin was the winner.
Unhurt and calm, eminent and unapproachable.
Compared to him, Zhou Jinrong was like a jumping clown. Even if he was wearing a mask, he could not hide that twisted look of envy.
On what basis? It was already at this point. How could he not admit defeat?
“Since Chairman Yan says so, then we shall see tonight.” Zhou Jinrong spoke through his gritted teeth while fuming with rage.
An exchange of conversation with no gains and an unclear outcome.
But Zhou Jinrong was, without a doubt, insanely angry.
Autumn Release Conference? Ragnarok? Those things were thrown out of his mind long ago.
The Zhou Jinrong right now only wanted to tear apart Yan Jin’s pretentious, calm and collected mask. He wanted to reveal what was beneath it, the ugly face that belonged to a loser just like how he had imagined it.
At the emergency meeting with the internal staffs, the organizers provided two solutions for this evaluation mishap. One of them was to re-evaluate everything.
This solution made the guests cringed. They had not expected that things would develop to this point. Under the glaring gaze of the public, with the scores already revealed, if they were to announce that they would be re-evaluating everything again, they would waste more time and effort and also be embarrassed by it.
They were merely guests invited by the organizers. The conference outcome would not directly affect their personal benefits. But if they were to change the scores, it would be as good as admitting that their evaluation had issues – and that would surely cause an impact to their reputation.
Hence, the guests subsequently chose the second solution, to demote.
It seemed like a good solution to demote the individual work who had ranked first. But as to how they should demote, using what kind of reason, and which rank should they demote to, were all issues.
“What is there to change? It’s so troublesome. Just leave it as it is.”
“Hey Old Chen, you can’t say that. If this was just a design competition, it wouldn’t have mattered. But the problem now is that the rank also involves an exhibition booth.”
“That’s true…” The guests agreed.
“Then maybe we shouldn’t change it? What if that person didn’t want the exhibition booth right from the start?”
“Of course that person wouldn’t want it. But he can sell it to the companies! This is a business worth a few billions, it’s an easy deal to earn big bucks. Which idiot wouldn’t want it?”
“… How about this, we leave the ranking but demote the exhibition booth placing?
They did not know which person had suddenly thought of this idea, but it actually gained consensus with everyone.
“Hey, that idea isn’t too bad.”
“Fine, let’s do it that way.”
Demote the exhibition booth placing, but not the actual rank – it seemed like the best solution to solve the problem.
The organizers suggested to demote the design to third place, but some guests were still disagreeable to it – they thought that the rank was still too high.
“That won’t work. the treatment for the top three are too great, there were so many corporates fighting over it.”
“Yeah, if this goes on, could the conference still be held successfully?”
“At least the fifth place. Otherwise what difference would it make to not demote it?”
“This design doesn’t seem as good. It’s not worth the rank!”
Amidst the intense debate, only Nan Chan remained silent right from the start.
The Autumn Release Conference’s techniques were amazing. Even the meeting table was utilizing the high-quality material that was compatible with hologram technology. The top three works silently laid on the meeting table. In front of everyone was a copy of it. Even if they were unable to touch it, it was a kind a mystical experience.
She played with the hologram on her palm as if touching a gentle yet icy-cold moonlight:
“To face the heart towards the bright moon. For the bright moon to illuminate the channel. Isn’t that interesting?”
She raised her head and calmly faced everyone in the room.
“Isn’t it interesting?” Nan Chan repeated again, as if the problem that they were discussion now was something unrelated at all.
And that sentence was just like the other sentence that was the source of all these troubles.
— “But there is something I found quite interesting.”
The room fell into silence.
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