Breaking the shell
Gaia Star’s auction of rare plants was held as scheduled. All the connoisseurs in the interstellar who were preparing to participate in the auction came to Gaia Star early by starship, fearing that they otherwise would be delayed on the road and risk missing the auction.
It goes without saying that in order to benefit the auction, Soma Auctions had promoted it online and begun to pay attention to the pre-heating on the star network from half a month ago. Their work had paid off and it had not been long before the name of the auction spread throughout the appreciation of the rare plants circle.
If someone belonged to this circle and did not know of the auction, then they may be too embarrassed to call themselves a rare plant connoisseur.
Originally, these connoisseurs had already been excited and couldn’t wait to participate in the auction immediately. However just a few days before the auction began, Soma Auctions released an official message on their website, saying that they had unexpectedly added an extraordinary treasure to their next upcoming auction. The big words behind it made everyone even more thrilled and they were itching to see what it was.
Even if it was boasting, just the fact that they dared to heighten everyone’s expectations and claim it on the official website, meant that even if the treasure didn’t live up to the big words it must still be an outstanding treasure, better than anything the auction normally displayed.
To further tickle them the auction house had ambiguously described it to have a flower like a blushing lotus, with a color like a treasured jade…. There was still a few days left to the auction and they were anxious enough to die!
The connoisseurs who came to the auction could be said to only have been appetizing. Because on the day the auction started, everyone rushed in with only one plant in mind, the one that had made them think about it day and night, the treasure that would show up in the final of the auction.
On the other hand, after successfully entrusting the plant to the auction house, Xie Tao did not pay attention to this matter any more, he just waited for the auction to close so that he could receive his money.
It was probably just a small income, therefore Xie Tao had thought about it and decided that when he got the money, he would first go onto the star network and buy some toys for the cubs in the branch.
He had heard that many nursing clubs would build special playgrounds for cubs. Since they didn’t have a playground, the least he could do was to buy them som toys.
Otherwise, these young cubs would have nothing to play with. Of course Xie Tao was willing to play with them but he couldn’t stay with them for too long since he had other work to do and they where simply to many for him to care for at once. He therefore felt that toys were a necessity.
On the second day after the auction ended, Soma Auctions sent their financial supervisor to visit their big client in person. On the two sides of the bustling commercial street, he found a broken old Cub Raising branch… The financial supervisor stood in front of the rusted iron gate and almost thought that he had gotten it wrong.
How could a big client stay in a place like this??
Generally a person who can sell that kind of treasured item should have a good background, right?
Although it was a surprise, the financial supervisor did not forget what he was here for today and quickly opened the gate and found the target of his trip.
“Hello, Mr. Xie, I am the financial supervisor of Soma Auctions.” The supervisor politely handed a business card to the human youth in front of him, as well as a dark purple crystal card, “The auction proceeds of 15% has already been deducted and the balance in this crystal card is now a total of 3.06 million.”
Xie Tao was prepared to reach out and pick up two cards, however his hands froze midair at his words, he was suddenly doubting his hearing. “..How much?”
The supervisor became a bit nervous. Did the client feel that the auction price had been too low and that they have not reached the expected amount? Was he dissatisfied?
“3.06 million.” The supervisor said this carefully and tried to make himself look more sincere as he spoke.
Thinking that the young man was unhappy with their service, the supervisor hurriedly tried to explain and put in some good words for their auction house: “In fact, the transaction price for this item is already the highest of all auctions in rare plants so far. Before this one, the highest record was only 1.17 million, so you can say that the transaction price for commission is quite unique.”
In today’s interstellar ages, the most valuable and most attractive events was the auctions of cutting-edge weapons such as rare resources and new mechs. Auctions of rare plants and the like, which only had the purpose of viewing and satisfying personal hobbies, often could not sell more than three million.
If you only looked at the money, the auction house should be able to collect more if they held a popular type of auction, like a StarCraft engine auction, but Soma was an ambitious auction house. In addition to earning money, the top management had also set their sights on fame.
After all, there were many trade planets in the interstellar, and the auction houses were even more numerous. If you wanted to stand out among the many auction houses, you had to establish a reputation. This time’s Qi Zhen plant auction was know to all in the rare plant appreciation circle, and even outsiders couldn’t help but join in the fun auction, which brought considerable attention to the auction house.
Now, after accumulating a reputation, was when Soma Auctions wanted to start to earn more money. Clients who can produce rare items was therefore very important and that was why the financial supervisor was so keen on explaining and changing Mr. Xie’s view on the matter.
Confirming that he really did not misunderstand or misheard, Xie Tao took the two cards from the other’s hand. He looked down at the purple crystal card and stroked his fingers across its surface. When he then turned it over he saw a number in the top right corner- 3060000.
Xie Tao was a little embarrassed but he still maintained a normal expression and gave a nod, indicating that he understood and was very satisfied with the transaction price.
Seeing the young man nod, the supervisor secretly sighed with relief and then smiled as he eagerly said: “To be honest, I have seen a lot of items during my years in the business and there have been lot of rare plants, but I have never seen such a magnificent and fascinating treasure. It has already fascinated and attracted the interest of many people, even outside the appreciation circle.”
On the star network, there had even been a wave of appreciation for the precious plant since yesterday. Some people who usually did not pay attention to this circle were now somewhat interested.
Xie Tao nodded with an emotionless face as he listened to the other praising the simple plant that he had raised on earth. His mood was very complicated…
“If you have any more items to be auctioned in the future, we hope that you will consider using Soma Auctions again. In terms of commission rate, we are willing to give you a discount and lower it by one third.” This was main purpose of his visit today.
Xie Tao did not refuse and returned the sentence “I will”.
When the other left, he directly went to the office and used the old connector to log onto his newly-created Xingyou account that he made just few days ago.
Xingyou had a similar function as Weibo had on the earth. After logging in, Xie Tao actually saw the word “Qi Zhen” on the hot list, and he curiously clicked on it to see the plant that he had already auctioned.
There were countless praises, and reading them through, Xie Tao’s eye couldn’t help but slightly twitch when he read “This may be a rare specie that has been nurtured by countless botanists on an undeveloped planet,”
No… this is actually just…
A normal plant, not worth more than a few dollars.
After searching some more, he turned off the connector and took deep breath in order to settle his complex mood. He then did as he had read and put his finger in the center of the crystal card for three seconds, binding ownership.
Standing up, Xie Tao tightened his grip on the crystal card worth more than three million, and decided to go to the president in order to discuss the development of their club.
The amount from the auction had been completely beyond Xie Tao’s expectations. With this money, Xie Tao felt that he could be the investor of this nursing club.
The president was very old however when he heard Xie Tao’s thoughts, he lifted his head and looked at the other with an almost childlike excitement.
He didn’t know where he came from, but the youths actions was tantamount to sending charcoal in snowy weather. The old president who had been worried about the survival of the club finally saw hope.
Of course, the old president did not reject Xie Tao’s investment proposal. He nodded almost immediately and accepted the contract.
During their conversation, Xie Tao had happened to glance out of the window and seen Xia Qi and Zhao Chuan once again arguing. Maybe it was because of this that he stopped himself as he was about to leave and brought up one more matter.
“I will remind you again, if you keep your current work attitude, you will eventually be dismissed.” Xia Qi coldly stated this. Recently Zhao Chuan had been more and more excessive, if only he would be little more serious about his job, then she would not need to always be on alert and babysit him too.
Some people were good talkers but not willing to listen, they always thought that they were right, it was really frustrating.
The word “dismissal” had originally been a bit shocking for Zhao Chuan to hear, but after repeatedly hearing it from Xia Qi, he was already immune. Besides, after working at this Cub Raising branch for two years, Zhao Chuan knew that with the clubs conditions, no new employees could be found and since they had insufficient staff, they would definitely not dismiss him.
Therefore Zhao Chuan had never taken it seriously and never tried to change, still keeping that horrible attitude. But suddenly the human youth came up with him and with an emotionless face said one sentence.
“You are fired.” Xie Tao said this clearly and slowly so that he would not mishear.
There was no anger in the voice of the youth, only a very ordinary statement, and his face, although it didn’t express any clear emotions, it didn’t look cold, it was rather calm, neutral.
“You said that YOU fire ME?” Zhao Chuan laughed as if he heard something ridiculous. “You are just a new employee. You should learn how to respect your predecessors, or are you thinking of yourself as the president?
Xie Tao was not annoyed. He only said: “I can really count as at least half of the president.”
Zhao Chuan only thought that the other was delirious and originally wanted to laugh at him, but then the old president appeared and his words made the laugh stifle in his throat.
“If Xiao Tao said that you are fired, then you are fired. You have one day to pack and leave. This month’s salary will be transferred to your crystal card.” Although the human youth was now the biggest investor in their club, he was still the president. The formal dismissal still needed to be done by the him and he had only agreed because of this employee’s poor work and attitude.
It was only now that Zhao Chuan really began to panic. He still hadn’t figured out how the young human being in the front of him came to have such a big influence but he let it go and instead focused on what was most important. He quickly changed his face and put on a pitiful expression. “President, you can’t fire me and just push me out. Where can I go? I don’t even have a place to go outside. Don’t even talk about work. If you fire me, isn’t it just like pushing me of a cliff, I…”
“We are a nursing association, not a poverty alleviation association.” Xie Tao suddenly interrupted his words.
“You–” Zhao Chuan wanted to swear but as he was unsure of the human’s backing and the reason for the sudden closeness to the president, Zhao Chuan had to swallow his words back and beg. “I don’t want to leave, don’t dismiss me!”
Zhao Chuan had began to use his tricks and was very president, which made Xia Qi and the president both scrunch their eyebrows. If he refused to go, how could they drive him out?
However, Xie Tao was more blunt than them. “You really don’t want to leave?”
Asking this, Xie Tao waved to Muka cub, who had come out of the building when he heard Xie Tao’s voice, signaling for it to come closer.
Seeing the dangerous Muka cub approaching, Zhao Chuan suddenly had a bad feeling.
Then, when Zhao Chuan did not pay attention, Xie Tao grabbed his arm and lifted it up. In front of this Muka cub, Zhao Chuan’s arm was then pulled down so that his hand slapped Xie Tao’s shoulder.
It clearly didn’t hurt at all but, Xie Tao did a lively performance on the spot and shouted in pain as he held his own shoulder and backed off.
“Grrr–” Seeing that the youth was attacked. The Muka cub suddenly loudly growled, threatening him. His pupils contacted and he hurriedly hid the youth behind him. His scared eyes were staring at the one who had attacked the youth and he continued to issue a deep growl in the back of his throat.
The more it stared at Zhao Chuan, the more frightened he became and this obvious gesture of aggression reminded Zhao Chuan of when he had been chased by this Muka cub. He only managed to endure for a couple of seconds before he dashed to escape.
“Solved.” Xie Tao nonchalantly said.
“You’re awesome.” Xie Tao reached out and patted the foreleg of the Muka cub as he slowed down his speech and praised him.
The young Muka cub, who was praised by the young man, turned his head slightly and made a low snarling, he then bowed his head and snuggled into his arms.
The youth did not have the ability to fight, so it was necessary to protect him. In the Muka race, the loss of combat ability basically meant death. Therefore, in the mind of this Muka cub, if he does not want the young man to die, then he must be “protected.” While protecting, he also need to provide the other with living resources so that he can survive.
Xie Tao did not know what the cub was thinking and was stuck in his own thoughts. Now that there was a considerable amount of money, he could use it to really made changes around here. Xie Tao made a rough plan in his heart.
One day passed quickly. After entering the hatching room and putting the nutrient solution on the three eggs inside, Xie Tao went back to his room and laid down on the mattress. He was eager to starts his plans but it would have to wait until tomorrow, right now he needed some sleep.
Although Xia Qi had said that the nutrient solution could be applied once every few days, in the past few days, Xie Tao had still gone to the hatching room every day and applied it as he gently spoke to the eggs.
(T/N: I guess the crack was too small for him to notice?)
When he closed his eyes, he was still thinking about the development of the club, but the sleepiness came very quickly. It didn’t take long for Xie Tao to go to sleep, and his breathing gradually became shallow.
The club during the night was quiet and dark, and in this quiet night there was only one place that still had light, and something was happening at this time –
[This egg has not hatched for so many years, it should be a dead egg.]
[It’s a dead egg, but I have heard that there was still a little life reaction in the test.]
[When there is no life reaction, I will immediately throw this egg away.]
[Since all other Knoxs have died, it is better to leave this cub to do so too.]
[Sorry, our club can’t accept this egg, you have to send it to another nursing club.]
[Considering the complaints from parents, it is not convenient for our club to keep this egg, you…]
[Hurry up and get born, ok?]
“Kre.” A crisp sound suddenly appeared in the quiet hatching chamber. With the appearance of this sound, a clear crack appeared on the black egg.
This crisp sound repeatedly echoed in the empty room, then with a push, a piece of the eggshell fell of, creating a gaping hole and out of this dark hole a white paw suddenly emerged. Gripping the edge of the shell a small round cub climbed out and landed on the red cushion.
There was still a certain scent in the hatching room, and although he had left the warmth of the egg he still felt warm and cozy as he smelled it.
But the scent left in the room was too light, almost impossible to feel. This made the cub issue a low humming sound in disappointment.
It was strange, despite being in a heat preservation room, the cub still felt a cold feeling that seemed to pass directly to his innermost heart. Like some kind of dark pulse hiding deep in his soul. The only thing that made this feeling retreat was that comfortable smell.
Beyond the bright hatching room was only darkness, but even though the cub was facing this world for the first time, he still choose to walk into the scary night.
[Hurry up and get born, ok?]
“Meah.” The cub responded to the memory with a light joyful voice and then moved the tip of his tail as he began his search.
I hope that he can find Xie Tao soon, I mean how cute wouldn’t it be if Xie Tao woke up with a new fluff ball by his side!（≧∇≦）
(By the way, if you are wondering why the cub could so easily leave the room, it’s because he awakened his abilities when he hatched.)
 – Xīng Yóu means Star trip. The name was originally Yóu Xīng Chà Bu Dūo which means something like “Trip star, not bad”, but as it was too long and didn’t feel good, so I chose to change it a bit and use the pinyin.
 – Sending charcoal in snowy weather is an expression that means to send help in someone’s time of need.