Four days later.
The restaurant was completely silent. It should have been full of people around now, but there were no customers.
It was just full of the staff members. They were all wearing clean uniforms and waiting in a line.
One of the staff members who seemed to hold some power ran over to me and bowed as soon as I entered.
“Hello, we will be heading to the third floor. Please follow me.”
I followed that staff member to the third floor.
The third floor was empty as well.
‘I’m glad I wasn’t late.’
I sat down and waited for the other party to arrive. That same staff member came back up about ten minutes later.
I could see two people behind him. One of them was Li Xiang Nan, the woman in her forties who still managed to maintain her twenties-like beauty.
However, I bowed toward the middle-aged man standing next to her. He was a big dude that made me think of a fat Goliath.
“It’s been a while, sir.”
“Oh, player Kang Hwi Ram. Long time no see. You killed it out there during the Hainan Tournament. What do I have to do in order to play golf that well?”
Vice Premier Wang Kun happily shook my hand while patting my shoulder with his other hand.
“Thank you very much. I can look over your form sometime if you have the time.”
“Haha, that sounds good. Let’s sit. I’m so hungry that I feel like I’m about to die.”
I felt a bit hungry as well.
The staff members quickly brought the food in. There was a lot of food on the large table, including Wang Kun’s favorite freshwater shrimp dish and xiao longxia (crawfish).
There were so many dishes that just tasting each one was about to make me full.
The taste was naturally the best.
Maybe that was the reason. I had this battle instinct appear in my mind.
‘I will quickly make food developed from our Dandelion School fill this table.’
“Why are you not eating anymore?”
“I’ve eaten quite a bit, sir.”
“Eat some more. Young people shouldn’t get full so easily.”
Well, it was Wang Kun who had a seriously large appetite and not that I had a small one. He seemed to have eaten at least five people’s worth of food, but his chopsticks were still moving.
Wang Kun gobbled up food for a while longer before finally stopping his chopsticks.
We then got down to chatting about business.
Wang Kun was a no-nonsense type of person. He didn’t beat around the bush and instead bluntly led in with the most important question. (PR: No-nonsense but talked about gold and had a massive meal before getting down to business. Kek.)
“So, what is it that you want from me?”
“There is an auto company called China Lancer. It is a company with a factory in Guangzhou.”
“I’ve never heard about it. But what of it?”
“I wish to purchase that company.”
Wang Kun looked toward me with a bit of a flustered expression.
“Are you asking me to forcibly hand you that company?”
It wasn’t impossible. There weren’t many companies that could survive the pressure from someone at Wang Kun’s level.
But that would be an unreasonable request.
We’ve barely met three times. The only reason we met was because of Li Xiang Nan as well.
He has a decent impression of me because Li Xiang Nan talked me up, but we’re not at the relationship level where he would do something this big for me.
I quickly waved my hand.
“Of course not. I am almost done convincing the representative for China Lancer. They’re having a lot of financial difficulties because of a lack of talented technicians, so I can easily have things settled even tomorrow if I just give them a good price.”
Wang Kun’s expression that had stiffened a bit relaxed once more.
“Then it doesn’t look like you need my help for it.”
“The issue comes after I purchase China Lancer. I promise I will make China Lancer into China’s greatest, no, the world’s greatest auto company. But I need your help to do that, Vice Premier-nim. You know how it works. It is difficult for a business to succeed if the government starts putting a lot of different obstacles in front of it.”
The person I met not too long ago didn’t actually have that great of a connection in China. He was pretty useful, but his connections weren’t at the level that I needed to run a couple of businesses here.
I still took him on for now. He seemed slightly like a scammer when I met him, but his sociability was amazing. He was extremely talented at understanding how the Chinese people were feeling and doing what he needed to make them feel good.
I thought that he might be able to quickly build up his connections in China if I supported him well from behind.
If Wang Kun also becomes one of my supporters, then there would be nothing for me to worry about in terms of doing business in China.
“Ah! Haha. Is that it?”
Wang Kun’s expression brightened up. He seems to have figured out exactly what I’m looking for.
In simple terms, I was just asking him to help me make sure that the government doesn’t interfere with my business. That’s all I need.
But I might as well go big if I’m going to do something. The business can become more successful if Wang Kun puts in a little more support.
But there was no need to ask him for it. I just had to make it so that Wang Kun would have a reason to support me.
How you ask?
I just need to make him have the mentality of an investor.
“I will provide you with 10 billion won worth of stocks if you help me. It should grow to ten times that amount in around three years once I start to grow the business.”
Wang Kun flinched as he tried to move his chopsticks again in order to eat some more food. Wang Kun had a net worth of over a trillion wons, but receiving 10 billion won worth of bribe money wasn’t small. Furthermore, I was saying that it would grow to 100 billion won in three years.
Wang Kun put down his chopsticks. He then reached his hand out toward me.
“Hao. (Chinese for good.) You’ve got guts for a youngster. You are qualified to be one of my people.”
I reached both of my hands out to grab his hand.
Li Xiang Nan clapped from the side as if she was extremely happy.
Yes, this was great! This was really good.
I finally had the foundation to sell to the world’s largest automobile market.
200 million vehicles in service. 3 million new automobile registrations per year. And the internal combustion locomotives would be banned starting in 2030. It’ll become a world for the electric cars.
In other words, it’ll be my world.
Of course, things could always change. China itself was a variable. They may try to take away all of my Chinese businesses sometime in the future.
However, it won’t be easy. Only the body of the vehicles would be built in China while the core components, such as the battery, will be built elsewhere and imported in.
Basically, the Chinese company is just a shell of a company on its own.
But there was an unexpected development.
“Then can I ask you for a favor now?”
I knew it. I had a feeling that things were going too well.
A request from Wang Kun, the number two person in China. I’m sure that it wouldn’t be an easy thing to do. I started to get nervous.
“I, as well as the President-nim, are very interested in the Dandelion School that you established in Shanghai. As such, we were wondering if you could create some more branches throughout China.”
I was wondering what kind of favor he would ask for.
Something like that is obviously fine. I can gather more talented individuals the more Dandelion Schools I build and also create a lot more new businesses.
Most importantly, I could use the Dandelion School to quickly build my connections with the Chinese power players.
The fact that my image would become even better is just an extra bonus.
“I will open at least ten more within the next five years. In terms of students, there should be about 50,000 students. I ask for your continued support, Vice Premier-nim.”
“From me? Of course. Hahaha.”
* * *
Everybody was breathing heavily. That was how rough the terrain was.
Even well-trained soldiers were like this, so how would someone like Eruni, who has never had any training at all, fare? I’m sure that she probably feels like she’s about to die.
But Eruni was doing better than I had expected. She bit down on her lips and didn’t complain even once as she followed us.
Of course, I helped her out by carrying her in almost impossible to cross areas.
But the issue was Bernard. He was a magician and maintaining his youth with the Immortality Potion, but there was no way his stamina was at that same youngster level.
“Huff. Huff. How much farther do we have to go?”
How would I know?
I don’t even know how long it has taken us to get here. The sun is always at its peak and there is no night, day, nor different seasons here. That is why I don’t know if it has been one year or two years.
I just know that it feels like it has been quite a while. It had to have been at least over two years already. (PR: Couldn’t you have tracked using the time you’ve slept in reality?)
I was completely wrong to think that we could take care of things within one year if we were fast.
That got me a bit worried. It was because Humbley would spin things into motion when the time comes.
Then the Jeppi tribe will try to take over the continent and I needed to cut them off before it was too late.
‘Do I need to create a portal here and return?’
There should still be some time left.
But it will be dangerous if we waste too much time.
The only thing I could do was badger Chief.
“Chief. Is there still a far way to go?”
“Caw! We are almost there. There is cave once we get up there. Caw! The Demons’ Mine is past that cave. That is Chief’s hometown. Caw!”
I raised my head toward where Chief was pointing.
Proofreader: Borderline Masochist