Seeing the president with a deferential expression, Gao Shu curled up the corners of his mouth to reveal a mocking smile before he wiped it off his face quickly. "I don't drink tea," said he earnestly.
The fat president of the institute took out a handkerchief and wiped the sweat beads from his forehead with it. "Please sit down then," offered he.
He had no idea why someone from the Twirling Rain Company came to the institute and asked for him.
Gao Shu was a consultant in the PR department of the Twirling Rain Company. His position or his department in the company seemed to be ordinary, but he was in charge of urgent affairs of the company and had a tremendous power within the company. The reason he came to this regular institute below was because something significant had happened.
He had no intention to sit down. He asked while looking at the president of the institute, "Did you make the decision regarding the quota of exchange student for the University of Stargate?"
The fat president was taken aback, wondering how this matter had anything to do with the Twirling Rain Company. "Yes," he replied with an obsequious smile.
Seeing his facial expression, Gao Shu knew that this person had no idea. "Why isn't the quota given to the student who won the first place in yesterday's tests?" Gao Shu demanded.
Hearing this, the fat president grew cautious. "There are some reasons for it, but it's inconvenient to speak of them here…" said he. "But what is your business here, Consultant Gao?"
Gao Shu thought to himself expressionlessly: I'm here to give you a hard time, of course.
The reason Gao Shu came to the institute was because of what had happened a few days ago in the company.
He had suddenly received a notice from the CEO office requesting him to report to them immediately
He went to the highest floor of the headquarters building with some expectancy and more of caution. It didn't take long before he met the CEO whom he had seldom seen before.
The CEO placed a project application in front of him without saying anything.
He realized right away that this was not a regular project application; so he read it very meticulously. But he didn't find any fault with the application and all the processes were normal. Well…the only exception was that the approval process of the application proceeded a bit too fast. The heads of those departments were usually busy playing ball games and listening to operas; when did they become so diligent?
As he read the lines on the last page and the signature, Gao Shu had finally realized what lay at the heart of this project.
"My father-in-law is working hard for the populace of the federation right now; and I haven't seen him for two years. What do you think he intends to achieve by paying sudden attention to this project?"
Hearing the question directed at him by the CEO, Gao Shu answered after giving it a long and hard thought, "The chairman hasn't got involved in the specific affairs of the company for many years. The instruction he gave for the project seems concrete but actually rather unclear. We must do a good job with the project; but we can't let too many people know about it, not even the author."
The CEO shot him an appreciative glance before saying, "This is my intention."
They didn't dare to ask what was the relationship between the girl with silvery hair named Zong Lizi and the chairman, nor did they dare to check it out. However, they could come up with many imagined stories about the girl with silvery hair whose parents had both died and who had lived in the underground neighborhood since a young age; it could be a very exciting story.
The CEO had made a decision; they would buy the copyright of the novel "The Path toward Heaven" no matter how terribly it was written; but they had to do it in secret to avoid being discovered by the author.
The project was to be carried out by that studio; and the PR department Gao Shu worked for was to obtain the copyright of the novel quietly without drawing the suspicion of the author.
How could they persuade a young girl to sell the copyright?
It was of course the simplest to pay her a high price.
However, the chairman intended to give the girl money through a few middlemen; as his son-in-law and subordinate, how could they give her the money directly?
It was Gao Shu's specialty to deal with such a matter. After he learned that the girl wished to obtain the quota of exchange student for the University of Stargate, he planned to use it as an excuse to approach her.
When the testing apparatus of the New Era Institute was destroyed, he asked someone to sponsor a new one immediately to ensure the level-testing could proceed as scheduled.
As he was about to add an extra designated quota for exchange student at the New Era Institute the night before, he suddenly received the news that the girl had won the only quota herself.
Apart from feeling surprised and delighted, Gao Shu also took it for granted. He gave the University of Stargate a phone call to save the designated quota of exchange student for the next year.
Unexpectedly, the latest news this afternoon was that the girl hadn't gotten the quota!
Gao Shu was certain that the chairman wouldn't say anything if he couldn't settle the matter properly; but the CEO would fly to the Main Planet directly to apologize in person. And how would he end up as a result?
Gao Shu said while looking at the fat president with a pretentious calm expression, "President, please change the name of the exchange student; you'll be rewarded handsomely."
The president must have been bribed when he gave the quota to somebody else. "The name of the exchange student has already been sent; there is nothing I can do about it right now," he said indignantly.
Gao Shu said expressionlessly, "I've asked one of my friends at the Education Ministry to intercept it. You can check it yourself. It's still not too late to change it."
With a slightly changed expression, the president turned on the computer before asking, "What is your intention?"
Gao Shu replied expressionlessly, "The company hopes that the student Zong Lizi will obtain this quota."
Hearing the firm answer with an indifferent expression, the president felt he was insulted considerably. "It's the exchange student for the University of Stargate!" he yelled angrily. "Regardless of how powerful the Twirling Rain Company is, you can't control them. It's not something your company can dictate."
"Our company is the largest sponsor of the University of Stargate. But what you said is true; it's not something our company can decide alone. The military, the government and the Science Academy can do it as well."
Gao Shu leaned his body forward slightly and said while staring into his eyes, "But don't forget that it's something we can decide, not you rats in the underground."
The president had gradually come back to his senses; his breathing grew increasingly more rapid.
Gao Shu looked at him expressionlessly while saying, "If you don't want to find that this institute will have no exchange student from next year on, and if you don't wish to lose the opportunity for your kids to go to the upper world, you don't have to accept my advice."
The president took out the handkerchief and wiped the sweat beads off his face and neck mindlessly. "You…you give me a minute, please," he said in a hoarse voice.
Having said that, he rushed to the president office. He waved his damp handkerchief at the figure heading toward the other side of the grassy ground strenuously. "Student Zong, wait a second, please!" he shouted.
Zong Lizi had already arrived before the row of trees; and she would descend the cliff along the stone steps or jump off the cliff after she rounded the trees.
Hearing the shout behind her, Zong Lizi spun her head around and saw the fat president in the window. She couldn't help feeling disgusted and furrowing her eyebrows; but she was also curious.
The black market and the night market sounded similar; but they were two completely different things.
However, the night market was a part of the black market in the underground neighborhood.
It was the same barbecue stall, and many high-grade vegetables and steaks were ordered. But the wine ordered was the sort with a lower percentage of alcohol even though it was the expensive rice wine. The eggplant was the first to be brought out.
Zong Lizi was unaware that the reason the owner of the stall brought out the freshly barbecued and most expensive eggplant first was because he was worried that she might not be able to taste it fresh after she got drunk again. She said after staring at Jing Jiu for a long time, "Thank you."
It was a tedious gesture of showing gratitude.
"I don't even know why; but the novel you wrote has drawn attention of the Twirling Rain Company. They have sent someone to the institute and told the president that it was a contribution to the society and worth more credits; hence, the quota of exchange student has been returned to me."
She said in a low voice after checking the surroundings, "I'm certain that the Twirling Rain Company must have pressured him."
Jing Jiu uttered "hmm". He found out the day before that the instruction and signature he had counterfeited had such a consequence.
"But I don't understand why they did it. They are the Twirling Rain Company! Did they do it simply for the copyright of the novel?"
Zong Lizi split the eggplant in half with her chopsticks and took one bite, then mumbled, "I didn't endorse it."
"Why?" asked Jing Jiu.
Feeling puzzled, Zong Lizi said, "It's your novel, and you should be the one who makes the final decision. Yet, the price they offered is really good."
Jing Jiu said, "Endorse it. They're just trying to please you."
"Why did they try to please me?" pressed Zong Lizi, feeling baffled.
Jing Jiu returned, "It's a good novel to begin with; but you didn't believe me."
After some thought, Zong Lizi still found his speculation was not reliable; but she didn't bother thinking about the issue further. She raised the glass of rice wine and said proudly, "All in all, I still need to thank you. Let's drink three glasses in a row!"
Jing Jiu thought she would be drunk after three glasses based on her tolerance level of alcohol; but he didn't bother stopping her.
It was then that the owner of the barbecue stall came out with a plate of barbecued mushrooms. Seeing Zong Lizi drink the wine, he turned slowly around and looked at Jing Jiu expressionlessly.
Jing Jiu stared back expressionlessly, indicating that it had nothing to do with him.
Zong Lizi finished drinking three glasses of rice wine in a short time. She had done better than the other day; she didn't fall down even though her face was slightly red and her eyes were a bit glassy.
After Jing Jiu was sure that she was not drunk, he said with a great deal of patience again, "You don't have to thank me. I'm using you only."
Zong Lizi had just finished eating a string of beef tendons; she said while waving her hand, "I know, I know. It's boring to mention it all the time."
Having said this, she dumped another glass of rice wine and then collapsed to the table with a thud.
The Cultivation method of this world was truly inferior; a Cultivation practitioner could get drunk by drinking wine.
Thinking of this, Jing Jiu came before the table and put her on his shoulder; then, he turned to the owner of the barbecue stall expressionlessly.
The owner of the barbecue stall nodded expressionlessly.
Jing Jiu turned around expressionlessly and headed toward the other end of the dim street.
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