Liu Ziqing worked for New York Sotheby's Art Auction Company. Although it enjoyed global fame, in China, China Guardian Auctions Co., Ltd ranked first in the auction circle. Undoubtedly, all auction companies valued this opportunity to go up on the list. There was a system in the circle to assess a company, but the records of the highest prices an auction house had ever kept would be valued most by collectors. Maybe a collector's article was worth only ¥5,000, but he would have an extremely high expectation of the auction house which had once sold it at the price of 50 million. It would still feel great even though the price was just ¥500 higher.
More articles, more customers. Since the auction house knew well about the psychology of their customer and would never miss such a dramatic event, when they heard of the ten best editions worth above two million each, they accepted Huang Xuan's terms readily. Liu Ziqing was praised greatly for facilitating the event and was all smiles when Huang Xuan met him again. Huang Xuan had been taught to share his snacks and benefits with others since his childhood, and now he thought that he should share the opportunity to make money with others too so as to eat more, benefit longer and earn faster.
Huang Xuan wired one million of the money he had just earned to his cousin. Presently there were 15 generators on the site. The money Huang Xuan had owed his cousin for diesel had been long overdue. Luckily, Zhang Haoji didn't care enough about such a small amount to demand payment which would result in either Huang Xuan's bankruptcy or Rolin's energy shortage.
After having played for a whole afternoon, Huang Xuan went home and found that everybody seemed busy. He was curious and seized Butler Zhou who was bossing the helpers around. "What's going on, Uncle Zhou? Where are my parents?"
"Today is the anniversary. Have you forgotten it?" Zhou Lintong was directing the packing of the gifts. Seeing Huang Xuan had seized him, he said, "My young master, have you forgotten what I told you this morning? I reminded you to take your cellphone with you. I couldn't get through to you the whole afternoon, I was worried to death."
"Anniversary!" Huang Xuan was startled. Either he had forgotten, or nobody had told him what it was about, but it didn't matter now. Obviously, this event was a big deal to the family, which had become a congress of the Huang Family on which the important matters of the next year would be discussed, and final decisions would be made. Every descendant of the family was requested to attend the anniversary and absence without good excuse would lead to the deduction of their allowances, which was terrifying.
Huang Xuan's phone had been muted which was why he had missed the Butler's calls. He threw his phone on the sofa angrily, rushed to his bedroom to get changed, and then picked up a glass of water and drank hastily. "What time is it?"
"Half past five. One hour away from the anniversary." Regardless of the packing of the gifts, Butler Zhou had two helpers go upstairs with him to help Huang Xuan get dressed. "I have been calling you since noon and sent several people to look for you just now. Nobody knew where you were," complained Butler Zhou.
"Does my mom know?" Huang Xuan and his mom were natural enemies.
"The family were worried to death. What do you think?!" Butler Zhou said seriously.
Huang Xuan shivered and shook his head as if he was trying not to think about the horrible consequence. He got dressed carefully and then said, "Alas, never mind if she has known about it. Let's go. Otherwise, somebody is going to start gossiping again."
"The car is ready," said Li Qing, Huang Qunsheng's private assistant. As sloppy as Huang Xuan was, Huang Qunsheng was barely able to look after himself. Therefore, people had been hired to take care of things for him, such as tidying his study.
Seeing he was running out of time, Huang Xuan waved his hands impatiently and dashed out of the room.
There were tens of cars parked in front of Huang Xuan's house, the owners of which were his relatives and friends. A lot of business partners of the family were going to have a buffet party in Sheraton Hotel in the city. Huang Xuan had heard that many issues regarding personnel arrangement and business contracts would be determined in the following few days.
Minors would have their own gathering place—a garden with a lotus pond in the middle, which Huang Xuan disliked but had to put up with for his allowance.
For the time being, Huang Xuan had sixteen male cousins and twelve female cousins on the paternal side and many distant relatives. Four of the male cousins were the sons of his uncles; the other twelve were the grandsons of his first grandfather, second grandfather, and fourth grandfather. The number of the people in this family changed every year, generally with a growing tendency.
Huang Xuan walked into the garden with a sullen face. He would be sixteen in July, almost the oldest among the children, except the few male cousins who were two years older than him.
On seeing him, two of his younger male cousins waved their hands gladly. They were his third uncle's sons. Since the two families associated frequently, they were very close. Like Huang Xuan, these two guys hated studying and loved making trouble too.
"Brother, let's go somewhere to have fun tonight." One of the two boys was thirteen, the other fourteen, which were the most troublesome ages. Sensing they were trying to break the rule, Huang Xuan rejected them: "I must go home tonight. You two behave yourselves."
Hearing Huang Xuan's words, the two boys walked around him, as if they were looking at a stranger. "Brother, have you been beaten stupid by our aunt?"
"Nonsense!" With a pop, Huang Xuan hit Huang Zhi on his head. "I am busy tonight. Go play somewhere else."
"Busy with fighting Illidan?" They also played World of Warcraft occasionally and knew their cousin's absurdity.
"More or less." "The things I have been doing recently are much more interesting than that," Huang Xuan thought to himself.
A few more boys joined them at the moment. Huang Zhi and Huang Ling had stopped pursuing the topic and were talking to each other about something else enthusiastically. Huang Xuan looked at them with a sudden strange feeling.
"I used to be like them," he thought. He had loved fooling around, been reckless and headstrong. Either because he was getting older or because of Rolin, he had begun getting tired of that kind of life, which seemed premature at his age. A gap had emerged between his peers and himself.
It was such a big clan that nobody could spare enough energy to take care of all the children. Huang Xuan's grandfather, Huang Jindi was a strict person and busy with work, and hence, wasn't close to his offspring.
With so many people and affairs in the family, over time, the children had formed their own groups. The ones who were close by blood and in a relationship were in one group; the ones whose fathers and grandfathers were close were in another. The ones closer by blood were closer in a relationship. Apparently, the thoughts of the older generation had inevitably influenced the kids. Such division would eventually have an impact on their future relationship, just like on Huang Xuan's father's generation.
At the other end of the pond, a dozen kids were gathering around, enjoying their barbecue and talking about their recent lives and the newly-opened entertainment spot. These were the youths who had come of age but hadn't got married yet. However, in Huang Xuan's generation, something was different.
Huang Jindi was the third among his siblings, with two elder brothers and a younger one. Although he had led the family and preserved its status and strength, strictly speaking, not much had been built on them.
Therefore, as the head of the clan, Huang Jindi had been facing many doubts, most from his two elder brothers, i.e. Huang Xuan's first and second grandfathers.
Huang Jindi was nearly ten years younger than his elder brothers. Since the first two kids of his were both daughters, although Huang Xuan was the first-born grandson of the family, he was fifteen years younger than his oldest male cousin.
Because the four most honored seniors of the family were in two different factions, when Huang Xuan was playing at one end of the pond, his older male cousins went to the other and formed their own group.
Huang Xuan spat on the ground with disgust. He had never been harmonious with them and even had several fights with them. With the health of Huang Jindi getting worse, the people of the two factions had become enemies.
Seeing Huang Xuan spitting, Huang Ling craned his head and said, "Brother, shall we add some sauce for them?"
"What sauce?" Huang Xuan laughed. They were all from the third branch of the family. They had never won the war between the two factions since their two feisty sisters had got married, and pranks had been their tools ever since. Huang Xuan had always behaved as the commander during guerrilla wars.
"How about black dog blood mixed with poop?" Huang Zhi proposed in excitement. "I have heard Taoist priests use that a lot."
"We have used poop a lot. It's not fun anymore," objected the youngest son of Huang Xuan's fifth uncle, Huang Song. "Let's use laxative instead. We used too little last time, so they got off easily."