Chapter 1 A gentleman would not take someone else's love
Chapter 1 A gentleman would not take someone else’s loveChapter 1 A gentleman would not take someone else’s love
"One hundred twenty-five million going once, 125 million going twice . . ."
The auctioneer on the stage was wearing a well-fitting suit, though he’d put on a little weight. He looked soft and gentle. While calmly reporting, his eyes swept over the set of cups—each of which were printed with the seal of “Qianlong Royal System” on the bottom. If someone had been standing next to him, he would’ve seen his legs trembling slightly with excitement. As expected, it was the highest transaction record for this spring shoot. In a year of continuous downturns in the antiques market, it was not easy to be able to climb to such a high price, especially at such a small auction. What auctioneer Liu Ying valued was the ten percent commission he enjoyed from the fifteen percent commission to be paid by the collector to the auction company. In his last auction, he had recommended to the company a sky-high item that had later been accused of being a fraudulent imitation. As a punishment, he had not received any bonus for half a year, and his salary had been reduced.
"Two hundred fifty million," Tang Jing said as he lazily raised the card in his hand. He sat in the penultimate row, so his words were not loud, and the microphone’s “on” button seemed to be forgotten. However, this faint voice was passed to the auctioneer's ear.
"No. 108 bid for 250 million. . . !" When the auctioneer shouted the words, the audience was stunned. The auctioneer only reported the price out of conditioned reflex, and he was shocked when his brain properly processed it. He simply stood there, speechless.
It was true that there were many second-generation or even three-generation from well-off families. The watches, jades, and emeralds worn by them showed their backgrounds. However, it was the first time for many of them to see a bid of more than one billion yuan.
A lot of eyes cast onto Tang Jing. The so-called rich were those who thought they were rich because most people they met had less money. When someone richer came, they would then regard themselves as poor. A real noble could not be evaluated by money, unlike the upstarts who deliberately wore RMB to enter a room. However, this young man was not like any rich man they’d met, which surprised them. Tang Jing wore a white shirt, dark blue casual trousers, and a pair of royal blue titanium striped glasses. Judging by his low-key appearance, he seemed to be a student who just graduated from the music school and just finished his four-handed bombing for the master degree. Taking him to the cafe to talk about life and ideals seemed much more fitting. But, he accidentally appeared on such an occasion.
There were several lovely young women wearing evening gowns sitting a few rows ahead of him who all turned back to catch a glimpse of him. They were tempted. Among the families where they could choose a successor to marry, few had a man as good-looking as Tang Jing—not to mention the literary atmosphere he evoked. He responded to their eyes with a meaningful smile. Some of the girls turned their faces back shyly, not seeing the last haze on his face.
Tang Jing naturally noticed the messages hidden behind these gazes. He believed that at the banquet after the auction, with just a glass of red wine and a tempting look, he could choose one of these girls, pick a super five-star hotel, and spend a night of ecstasy together. If this scene had happened last night and he was being looked at by these arrogant women, he might still be a bit wary and flattered. It was a pity that the situation had to appear at an occasion like today. He recognized two of them. These two had witnessed his death last night. At that time, with his right eye taken and his throat cut, he’d been lying on the cold asphalt of the street. The muddy rainwater mixed with the rancid food in the dumped trash can had spilled on him. He’d heard their footsteps, stretched out his bloody right hand to them, and muttered "Help me, call the police. . ." He’d got only two sentences as a return: "Get your hand off me! If you get blood on these Hermes crystal shoes I just bought, I’ll have to throw them away," and "It reeks here, so why not take off your shoes? Let's go."
Those were the last things he’d heard before his death. In the streets of Beijing in early February, their words were colder than the rain on the ground.
"One day, I will add you all to me, but not now."
Auctioneer Liu Ying exchanged a subtle look with the No. 23 collector under the stage—the one who had bid 125 million. Originally, it was not easy for the auction company and the seller to hype up the price to such a high level. They had the confidence to do so precisely because there was a long-term old customer who used to review the auction preview catalog, therefore they wanted this collection to have a must-have tone. As the vice president of a listed company, No. 23 purchased with not his own money, but the company’s. They found he cared less about the price in the previous auctions. Therefore, under the temptation of high profits, the auction company privately tried, on the highest price they could accept—120 million—to add another five million, by asking someone to pretend to be a willing collector and play the shill. Throughout the process of this auction, Liu Ying tried to hold his sweat; he was afraid that he would slip up, give away the ruse, and let No. 23 give up. Who knew that at this time he would kill a bite? This was Tang Jing’s first time coming to their auction; Liu Ying had looked for someone to investigate the background of this person. The only thing he knew about him was that he was a son of a returning Chinese expatriate and he had frozen a few dollars on the auction account. The collection market had been cold for two years, and there were many people who didn’t pay after the fake shot. He did not believe that he would really take out 250 million, so he couldn’t afford offending No. 23. They could draw water on the basket. However, he couldn't do anything but go along with the process, so the meaning of that look was very complicated.
Fortunately, No. 23 understood him and slightly nodded. Liu Ying just let go of his heart. After all, No. 23 understood him, which meant that if the handsome second-generation just bid on a whim, patted the rear of a beautiful vixen and escorted her away later, the Twelve Flower God Teacups could still be privately sold to No. 23
The auctioneer continued. “Two hundred fifty million going once, 250 million going twice, 250 million going a third time . . .” There was no suspense, since no further bids were coming in. "Congratulations to the collector of No. 108. This set of Qianlong Royal System Colored Enamel Twelve Flower God Teacups is now yours, " Liu Ying said, raising the gavel in his hand, ready to close this round.
"Wait a minute!" Tang Jing shouted.
Liu Ying pushed the glasses and knew he was going to have more tricks, but he didn't expect it to be so fast.
"A gentleman would not take someone else’s love," Tang Jing said slowly.
"Please bring your microphone close to your lips. I can't hear you clearly." Liu Ying quickly regretted speaking that extra sentence.
"Yes? Oh, it’s probably because my lips only know Chanel’s Red Maple lipstick, and the microphone is not its type," Tang Jing said jokingly. "Frankly, I have a very good habit—to help people realize their will. I am willing to spend 250 million to buy this set of Flower God Teacups, not because I like them, but because during the short two days of previewing, I concluded that collector No. 23 likes them very much. Therefore, I want to give this set of Flower God Teacups to him as a present."
The crowd was again at a loss.
Bidding more than 100 million against No. 23, just to give it back to him? To a middle-aged man with a beer belly and signs of baldness? Was this boy a bit crazy?
"But, I have a condition. That is, No. 23 must go to the stage, kneel on the ground, and kowtow to me three times, saying, ‘Master Tang, I lost because I am not as rich as you.’"
Uh . . . Uh . . .
The arguments of the crowd could no longer be stopped. Liu Ying’s gavel couldn’t make them quiet. Even he himself, deep down, did not want to let this good show end so soon, either.
Now everyone understood that this was not a competition, nor a fight between the rich, but defiance.
From the beginning until now, No. 23, for the first time, turned back to look at Tang Jing.