The Chinese leader’s closest aides, including his personal connections and immediate subordinates who were either from his hometown or had worked with him closely, were called the Xi Clan. They were the people who had been helping the leader remove his political opponents as he slowly climbed into power.
Liu w.a.n.g was one of them. He was the drafter of the New Normal and served as the head coach of the Chinese economy behind the scenes. It was safe to say that his power was comparable to the power that the Guides had held during the Stage of Advent. In addition to his ability to impact the Chinese economy through his signature alone, he wielded enough power to single-handedly cause harm to individuals by simply pointing at them.
However, the man’s authority was solely derived from his social position, and he didn’t possess any supernatural abilities. In fact, the true possessor of such a power was the girl standing beside him. She was capable of physically breaking someone’s skull and extracting their spine without breaking a sweat.
Nevertheless, the girl was clearly rattled by being so close to him. Before we got into the waiting car, she asked me in a cautious manner if she could take a seat next to me and Liu w.a.n.g in the pa.s.senger seat. Then, she added that Liu w.a.n.g would serve as a guide to the gold bar storage.
What was interesting about it was that she actually referred to him as a ‘guide.’ Despite her fear of him, she still used that terminology as it was influenced by the combination of her experiences in the Stage of Advent and her present life on Earth. This was a transition period for her.
Anyway, I nodded because I had an issue to deliver to Chinese economic officials. The girl formally introduced herself when she sat next to me. Her voice no longer trembled as if she had mentally prepared herself.
“My name is Yang Ga-Hye. It’s an honor to have you here.”
Then, Liu w.a.n.g got on the pa.s.senger seat and lowered his head briefly. To non-speakers, Chinese often sounded noisy as it was a language with numerous tones, but Liu w.a.n.g lowered his voice and began to speak calmly. He spoke for a long time, but in essence, he conveyed his grat.i.tude for being able to accompany me and expressed his wholehearted commitment to serving me.
As we drove into downtown Beijing, I noticed that we were the only car on the road. Not a single civilian was in sight, and there were only police officers stationed in the area. The road was so empty and cleared up.
By the time the vehicle sped up after getting the officer’s salute, Liu w.a.n.g opened his mouth after carefully looking at me for a while.
Yang Ga-Hye interpreted, “He said he is a believer in the new type of major power relations.h.i.+p.”
The new type of major power relations.h.i.+p was the idea to respect each other without having conflict with the U.S. The leader’s purpose for sending a business figure from the Xi Clan was to gain my favor and alleviate the IMF’s demanding requests. The leader was obviously treating me as the owner of the club instead of the Awakened Odin.
Liu w.a.n.g began to describe how hard he had tried to prevent the incident. I knew it was all a lie, but I let him keep talking. The information he revealed was exclusive to the innermost circle of the leader, but it wasn’t what I had been expecting to hear.
When he started talking about the IMF, I finally interrupted, “The Small Golden Fish was comprised of two elements: new renminbi bills and gold. Do the Chinese authorities plan to continue issuing new renminbi bills?”
When Yang Ga-Hye translated what I said to Liu w.a.n.g, he suddenly became quiet.
The renminbi’s monetary plan had ended in failure. Reissuing the new renminbi currency, which was tied to gold, would only cause a national crisis. As a result, the Chinese government was withdrawing and returning to the existing old renminbi notes.
“I can just take over the gold, but how will you deal with my loss in regards to the new renminbi?” I asked ruthlessly.
Originally, the Small Golden Fish was a product made under the a.s.sumption of bankruptcy, just like China’s currency reform. It was aimed to puff up the bubble and then slam it. The problem arose there because I had bought them all.
I continued mercilessly, “I calculated, and the damage alone would be worth two trillion dollars.”
At last, Yang Ga-Hye realized why I came to China. For a moment, she couldn’t interpret my demands, but she soon stammered and started talking.
“Since you breached the contract and failed to fulfill it, we must now commence discussions regarding the reimburs.e.m.e.nt of six trillion dollars in accordance with international practice, which is three times my incurred losses. However, considering the circ.u.mstances of the authorities, I can accept five trillion U.S. dollars instead,” I said casually while looking out the window.
Liu w.a.n.g was articulate and cognizant that what he said next would determine a lot. Therefore, the car became as quiet as the street outside.
Liu w.a.n.g barely managed to suppress the urge to scream due to the stifling atmosphere in the car. The phrase ‘international practice’ had always been a powerful tool, and it had been employed several times during trade disputes with the U.S. prior to the Day of Advent.
As the defeated nation, China had no choice but to comply with it. However, five trillion dollars was an astronomical amount. That exceeded the two hundred and ten billion dollars they had gotten from the IMF when the government’s foreign exchange reserves became empty.
Basically, five trillion dollars was twenty times more than the amount they currently had! Although this wasn’t an act of physical violence, it was still a form of cruel violence that was certain to inflict severe damage. Even if Odin’s thunderbolt, which was frequently discussed by the Awakened, wouldn’t be able to impact the country more than this.
Liu w.a.n.g didn’t scream, but he turned his head to eye Odin. Then, he became speechless. The guy who had casually talked about five trillion dollars as if it wasn’t a big deal was now looking out the window with indifferent eyes.
Therefore, the only one Liu w.a.n.g could make eye contact with was Yang Ga-Hye, an Awakened he brought as an interpreter because she had been on the same stage as Odin in Act Two, Stage One. However, she didn’t meet his expectations at all.
The vast difference in their statuses, both in the Stage of Advent and on Earth, was so immense that she found it difficult to even make eye contact with Odin. The gulf between them was akin to that between heaven and earth.
Of course, Liu w.a.n.g had somewhat expected this, but he also believed that Yang Ga-Hye’s beauty would lighten up the mood.
Liu w.a.n.g s.h.i.+fted his gaze back to the driver’s seat and scrunched up his face, indicating that the weight on his shoulders was taking a toll on his entire body. His opponent was the owner of the club and a man with supernatural powers. The man obviously possessed a wealth of knowledge in economics and was adept at controlling figures, like Jonathan and Gillian, who were legendary in the financial industry.
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In fact, that was why Liu w.a.n.g couldn’t understand why Odin demanded that they give him five trillion dollars in capital right now. He should have known that this was impossible for them.
“... As you know, touching the slush funds of the old regime in addition to the current government creates a lot of issues. Please consider the situation of the authorities.”
“He asked if you mean you want to rebel now.”
Liu w.a.n.g became afraid to speak more. He felt a s.h.i.+ver run down his spine as he antic.i.p.ated what avaricious words the monster in the back seat would spew next.
“I saved you from drowning, but it’s like you are asking me to even take care of your stuff. If you are afraid of rebellion, then you should spare no money to hire Awakened. After all, there is one right here,” Yang Ga-Hye translated.
Then, she told Liu w.a.n.g her personal opinion for the first and last time, “You will have to thank Odin while he is being merciful. At least he is sparing your lives.”
The car stopped in front of the People’s Bank of China in Beijing. Since China had revealed its gold holdings, the gold bar storage located under the bank had briefly gained a reputation as the world’s largest gold warehouse. Under normal circ.u.mstances, they would have seized not only electronic devices but also any sheets of paper from individuals who entered there.
Places requiring high security had a similar structure. There was only one entrance at the Federal Reserve Bank’s gold bar vault in New York, the Cat Food Warehouse, the World Awakened a.s.sociation’s headquarters’ altar room, the Eight Evils and the Eight Virtues’ base, and my hideout in the past. In addition, there were people stationed there for twenty-four hours with security devices attached to them.
As a precaution against attacks from other Awakened, the Chinese government may have recruited the cooperative ones to safeguard this place. However, they had opted to station regular shooters instead, as they were wary of the consequences of their previous actions of detaining the Awakened.
Chinese soldiers armed with automatic firearms saluted Liu w.a.n.g whenever they saw him. Liu w.a.n.g had been silent for a while. As he stepped into the Golden Hall of Fame, a place where mere monetary value became meaningless, he was consumed by the notion that the country would need to generate five trillion dollars in the future. Therefore, only the sound of footsteps filled the air.
Liu w.a.n.g inserted a key into the final door of the storage room and entered the pa.s.sword. The lights in the ceiling illuminated a long corridor that resembled a gold prison or a brick factory warehouse. Hundreds of s.p.a.cious rooms were stacked with gold bars, and the spectacle was so enchanting that it could cause people to lose their sense of reality. Gold had become nothing in this warehouse.
There were fifteen thousand tons of gold bars, which was equivalent to 7500 trucks that could carry two tons each. The light from the ceiling reflected off the gold bars, causing them to gleam brilliantly.
However, it was that night that I received an urgent call from Jamie.
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