The businessmen who participated in the auction rushed to leave on their horse carriages long ago. Albert, however, still blankly stood in place without budging. I came to the trade centre together with him, so I didn’t leave, silently peering outside from the door, instead.
I heard footsteps approach me; however, I ignored it. Whoever it was halted in their tracks. I turned to see Melissa. Like me, she watched the roaring wind coiling into the black clouds collected the leaves and spun them as if it was trying to scrunch them. The weather gave humans a clear warning. Nevertheless, from the perspective of everyone, particularly Albert and Madam Melissa, the storm in the room before was far more terrifying compared to the typhoon outside.
“It’s awfully windy.” Melissa gently stroked her face.
“Uhm,” I mumbled with a nod. With my gaze on her pretty face, I stated, “You’ve won. You now possess over fifty percent of the total shares, which means that you have full control over the shipyard now. With that said, it’s still not yours. It belongs to Queen Sisi, the businessmen and investors at the imperial capital. You did manage to successfully earn a chunk and win everyone’s attention.”
The only reasons Melissa helped me were for me to give her the right to build a factory in addition to hopefully building a friendly relationship with Queen Sisi and the people in the imperial capital. That also helped her create a market to sell to as well as get loans from. She had achieved her goal at this stage by successfully acquiring the right to the shipyard. She didn’t look so happy, having said that. The scenery after the storm would be the look of peace on Melissa’s face.
Melissa pursed her lips and chuckled: “You do not look all smiles, either, no? You gave up so much to crush Albert, and you have succeeded. Albert spent a large sum of money but could not procure the majority of shares. In three more months, he will be bankrupt. He would have to sell all of his assets, at the very least. Henceforward, even his family will be unfortunate. Everybody will take advantage of his misfortune to kick the downed man.”
I chuckled, but my smile only lasted for a few seconds. I wasn’t happy, indeed. In saying that, it wasn’t because I was thinking about Lilia and Ross. I destroyed their life and, therefore, felt sorry for them while loathing myself.
“I will be leaving the house I lived in for so long for the imperial capital because of this matter. I also have to be that guy’s mistress. Do you know how putrid a man’s groin smells? I had to get on my knees in front of him to blow him to have ten thousand gold coins for those shares.”
Although Melissa’s voice sounded calm, I no longer wanted to listen any further. She made a painful decision, yet didn’t look upset. Eventually, she resumed, “But that is our nature. We are merchants; we do everything we can in our power to obtain what we want. We have to everything we want even if the price is steep. That is proof that we genuinely want it. I made a big sacrifice, but I obtained what I wanted. I am content with that. Obtaining our income but paying the big price… it cancels out in the end. That is called calmness.”
I smiled and folded my arms: “The imperial capital isn’t bad. It’s a great place, actually. I believe you’ll be able to live well and run a successful business there. You’re right, though. Sacrificing everything in exchange for what we want is our nature.”
Melissa nonchalantly walked out. She was drenched in the blink of an eye. However, she was able to stand steady in the rain and wind despite her small size, yet the large and tough trees swayed in the wind.
“You’re different,” Melissa suddenly shouted to me after spinning around. “You’re not a businessman. Businessmen will stop at nothing to get back their investment. We give up a lot, but we demand a positive return on investment. You are not a businessman. What exactly did you come here for?”
The life and vigour in Melissa’s gaze shined in spite of the torrential rainfall. I watched her walk into the rain and chuckled.
Ross then came running up to me in panic, stammering, “Sir Albert… Sir Albert still will not move… Lord Lin… what do we do? Lord Lin, what, what, what do we do?”
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