As dawn broke, the American Nasdaq stock market had finally come to a close.
Yu Lei International was in a really difficult predicament and it was only due to the Athena Team's unwavering effort that they managed to stabilize the situation and haven’t yet lost the fight.
Even so, anyone came to the same realization that Yu Lei would once again be given fresh new challenges the next day when the stock market had reopened. If Yu Lei wasn't able to gather enough capital to join the fight, then they would have truly been considered to have lost the fight with the last of their defences torn apart.
The war without smoke and jolting metal projectiles had only just begun.
Within one of the presidential suites of a five-star hotel in Zhonghai through the wide glass doors and the mist, the rising sun could be seen.
The gentle light of dawn gently and gradually covered the busy city.
An energetic old man with whitening hair, clad in white silk pajamas, stood in front of the window. He had just finished his morning wash up routine.
The old man turned back and sat by a round glass table, on which a large basket of fruits was placed, as well as a cup of steaming-hot milk and a few slices of garlic-flavored toasts.
Before the old man could pick up a piece of bread, someone had knocked on the room door and reported, "Master, Mr Gao is here."
The old man furrowed his brow, annoyed that his breakfast had been disrupted. But still he said, "Let him in."
Through the door came a smart-looking man in a suit . However, he wore a sleazy smile as he bowed and said, "Apologies for disturbing your meal, Elder Mao. I, Guoxiong, really shouldn't have done so. Perhaps I should come back at a better time."
The old man known as Mao put his bread down and placed his hands against his arm rest. With an expression that bordered on a smile, he looked at Gao Guoxiong and said, "You sound like you bring good news."
Gao Guoxiong seemed as if his eyes flared up. "That's right. The stock market had just closed and the southeast-asian brokers we hired got the initiative. Yu Lei would have lost about three billion by now."
"This time, you have managed to catch Yu Lei off guard. That isn't anything worth gloating about," the old man said, as if speaking to himself, "The real fight will begin in two days. In terms of capital, the tycoons from Singapore and Malaysia you contacted are definitely better than the financially tight Yu Lei. Additionally, I've already applied some pressure, so Yu Lei will find it hard-pressed to borrow funds from the bank. If nothing goes wrong, that little girl Lin Ruoxi's surrender is at hand. It is only a matter of time."
"Elder Mao truly is wise. That really is the key. Otherwise, I would still be behind bars thanks to that sinister woman Lin Ruoxi. And even if I were able to borrow enough funds, competing with her would still prove to be a difficult task," Gao Guoxiong said with a savage look, "Don't worry, Elder Mao. Even if Lin Ruoxi has any other business tricks up her sleeve, she wouldn't have enough capital to execute them. There is nothing left that she can do. Additionally, this is only part of our strategy on the stock market. We still haven't used our other trump cards yet. When we successfully bury that mine in Yu Lei, there's no way that Lin Ruoxi will be able to hold on."
"Why, aren't you a harsh one..." Elder Mao laughed coldly as he looked at the thick stack of documents not far away and sighed. "I didn't think that Lin Ruoxi would have that kind of background. It's pretty impressive for you to have been able to obtain that information. While those things might not be too useful usually, they would be able to deal her a fatal blow at a crucial time like this."
Gao Guoxiong snickered and thought, Lin Ruoxi, I will make sure that retribution will be served for the humiliation that you have caused me... I will make you suffer. I will make you beg for death’s sweet release.
Right at that moment, the bodyguard outside the door gave another knock. "Master, Mr Ning Guodong of the Ning clan wishes to see you."
"Ning Guodong?" Elder Mao revealed a doubtful look. "Let him in."
Ning Guodong looked handsome and gentle clad in a suit by Versace. He stepped into the room unhurriedly without giving the slightest look at Gao Guoxiong, as if he couldn't be bothered to spare him even a look.
"Elder Mao, you really are unpredictable. You've come to Zhonghai all of a sudden from Beijing and even secretly drummed up chaos in the process," Ning Guodong said with a sinister smile.
The old man drummed on the chair with his fingers. "Child of the Nings, I'm truly curious. Even though Premier Ning hasn’t said a word, you were able to realize the problem so soon. What in the world is going on?"
"It's simple," Ning Guodong said as he picked up a small banana from the table and peeled it, "Recently, I've taken an interest in Yu Lei International's Lin Ruoxi. So, I began to take note of the things surrounding her. When the war took place at the American stock exchange yesterday night, I sent my people to check the situation out and someone reported to me during dawn that Elder Mao was pulling some strings in the background. Oh, it was also reported that there was a mess of people involved.
"After that, I checked out why you would do something like that and I only just realized that Lin Ruoxi actually had that kind of grudge with your family. Elder Mao, you're still a senior in every regard. How could you bully a weak girl like her? This is not appropriate for someone in your standing."
"Stop wasting your words with me. You're no different from that father of yours," said Elder Mao as he shook his head, "Tell me the real reason you came."
Ning Guodong bit into his banana and laughed. "Well, there's nothing, really. It's something I have to deal with, but it's nothing too serious. Yu Lei is being suppressed right now because they lack any political backing. Right now, the banks are being pressured by you to not lend them any funds. But, you should be well aware that the face of the Ning clan is worth more than yours."
Something flashed through that old man's eyes. "So?"
"I don't really care who runs Yu Lei or whether it's destroyed or not," said Ning Guodong as he took a few steps forward. "All I want now is that woman to be the mistress of the Ning clan. So, I can't let anything happen to Lin Ruoxi. However, I want to make her submit to me completely."
Elder Mao gave it some thought and shot a glance at Gao Guoxiong.
Gao Guoxiong didn't hesitate at all and obediently moved to the side and brought Ning Guodong the copied documents.
Ning Guodong received them and gave them a casual flip-through. At first, he looked doubtful, before he froze completely.
Elder Mao squinted and said, "If it hadn't been for this, I wouldn't have come to Zhonghai all the way from Beijing. It's because of this that I can truly be considered vitorious. I came here only with the aim of harvesting my fruits of triumph. But since you like that girlie so much, I'll leave that with you. You may hold her life in your hands when the time comes."
Ning Guodong's hands shivered as he rolled up the document.
At the old, western district of Zhonghai beside a quiet river stood a rather old row of villas.
Those villas were decorated with 19th-century-style, floral-patterned gates. Beyond the gates were all sorts of overgrowth and bushes with some small red flowers amidst them and beyond them was a patch of grass that was just greening as well as some other small plants.
Within one of the villas at a corner of the river, Guo Xuehua woke up early in the morning and went to the yard to start trimming the branches there.
Even though the villa was cleaned regularly, the plants which bordered the house were seldom tended to. As Wang Ma and Zhenxiu were preparing breakfast in the kitchen, Guo Xuehua stepped out alone to help with the work.
When she walked on the path beside the neighboring villa, Guo Xuehua saw that there was a girl of a tender age bending down to water some plants.
She looked to be around 23 to 24 years of age. Her skin was fair and clear and her long, wavy hair glistened under the first light of dawn. Her curvy figure could be seen vaguely underneath the loose, flowy cotton dress she wore.
Guo Xuehua looked at the young girl amidst the dawn and could feel her slightly laid-back aura. She couldn't help but stare for a little longer.
At that moment, that girl seemed to have noticed someone's gaze on her. She looked up and met Guo Xuehua's eyes.
She had no makeup on. Her quiet, elegant look carried a sense of grace and charm like beautiful mountains in the distance, ever so attracting.
She truly is a beautiful young lady, thought Guo Xuehua with awe. She smiled in a friendly fashion and said, "Good morning."
The girl seemed rather surprised, but she still bowed and said, "Good morning to you too."
"We've just moved here not long ago. Looks like we're neighbors," said Guo Xuehua with a smile.
The girl widened her eyes with realization and casually said, "Actually, I've just moved here not long ago too. This is my old home, but I haven't lived here for quite a while. I have only decided to move back into this house after I had someone to accompany me."
"Is that so? It seems we have a rather fateful connection," said Guo Xuehua. The more she looked at the girl, the more she found herself liking her. For some reason, she thought about her cold daughter-in-law. If my son Yang Chen had married this girl before Ruoxi, I would probably have a grandchild by now, huh? She's so well-kempt and sincere. Even though the girl was far from comparison to Lin Ruoxi in terms of looks, she gave off a familiar aura and didn't make others feel the need to distance themselves.
However, Guo Xuehua then mocked herself, Haha, a mother who has no right to speak, shouldn't be criticizing my son's choice of a partner.
Right at that moment, outside the iron gates of Guo Xuehua's villa, a motorcycle spulled up. A slender middle-aged man dressed in a large green overcoat took out a stack of letters from his sack and shouted, "Delivery! Please come collect your letters."
There wasn't anybody else on the streets right then. The postman's voice rang clear.
Guo Xuehua gave the postman a look and furrowed her brow before she complained, "Can't he just put it in the mailbox? Seriously..." However, she still put her cutters down and stepped towards the gate.
The woman in the other yard looked at the postman before her brows twitched. An odd look could be seen in her eyes.
Guo Xuehua soon arrived at the gate and unlocked it. She pushed the latch of the old-style gate aside and pushed it open.
"Why are there so many letters? I’ve only just recently moved in not too long ago," asked Guo Xuehua as she looked suspiciously at the thick stack of papers in the postman's hand.
The postman lowered his head without saying a single word. He took two steps forward to approach her and leaped all of a sudden!
A white handcuff appeared in the 'postman's' hand and he sent it straight for Guo Xuehua's nose!
Guo Xuehua paled in shock. Though she wanted to evade it, she wasn't able to keep up with the speed of that man!
A loud sound rang out as the man leaping for Guo Xuehua was knocked back and sent flying into the gates before he passed out.
"Madam, are you alright?"
The girl had appeared beside Guo Xuehua before she noticed and sent that man flying!
Guo Xuehua almost fell to the ground and she was supported by that girl all this time. After being dazzled for a while, she snapped out of it and looked at the girl with horror.
"Madam, he's already out cold. You're fine," said the girl with a warm smile.
Guo Xuehua breathed out in relief. Looking at the fainted postman, she wondered why someone had suddenly tried to attack her. But she was even more awed by the mysterious appearance of that girl beside her that saved her from her predicament. Thankfully, she patted on that girl's slender arm and said, "Thank you, Miss. I haven't asked for your name yet."
"I'm Rose," said Rose with a flowery bright smile.