Qin Ye and Lin Han immediately grew flustered.
“It is our responsibility to check your notes after classes.” Zhou Xianlong explained expressionlessly, “Everyone, our visit to the Insignia University isn’t a pleasure trip on public expenses. If you can’t even be serious in class, how are you going to teach your own students later on? Those who’ve failed to take proper notes today shall be penalized with the deduction of one teaching credit. We’ll have such spot checks from time to time in future.”
You were just waiting to trip us up all this while?!
Five minutes later, Qin Ye and Lin Han stormed out of the lecture hall gnashing their teeth and grumbling incessantly, “S9527! I’m serious this time. I’m going to cut off all ties with you!”
“Oh, on what basis? Didn’t I get ganked by the professors precisely because of the sentry you’d planted?” “Oh? And which idiot was late for class to begin with, and even begged his young master to open the door for him?” “And you comply without thinking? Then what if I ask you to go run around the school stark naked?! How can a man as large as you have a brain that’s as barren as my chest?!”
Just like that, they continued to exchange complaint after complaint with each other over lunch. After lunch, Lin Han made a call and kept his phone, “Alright, I’ve made the arrangements. You go by yourself. I’m not accompanying you today.”
“So soon?” Qin Ye was surprised.
“I’m all about efficiency.” Lin Han responded disdainfully, “Three years ago, one of the old design professionals in the Soaring Dragon Developers purchased a haunted house, and he paid me two hundred thousand to dispose of the problem for him. I’ve just contacted him. There’s no need to visit the design institution. Large construction companies like the Soaring Dragon Developers generally have their own design departments. You can go straight to them.”
Qin Ye played strictly by the rules that entire afternoon.
No… in fact, the entire cohort played by the rules. Everyone took notes and listened wholeheartedly, and they even managed to glean several insights as a result.
As soon as the bell signifying the end of classes rang, Qin Ye immediately packed up his books, hailed a taxi and made his way straight to the designated location.
The Soaring Dragon Developers wasn’t located in downtown city. Their headquarters was based in Mount Tai City’s tech park, and it was in charge of their various offices located all over the four provinces around. The taxi drove for thirty minutes before it finally arrived at their destination.
It was a large ash-silver building. Qin Ye had already given Sun Kangliang a call while he was on the way there, and Sun Kangliang was already personally waiting for him as soon as he arrived.
“Mr Qin, what a rare sight! It’s truly our honour to have you here.” Sun Kangliang greeted Qin Ye warmly with a handshake, “You could’ve just called if you needed anything. There’s no need to have to go through the trouble to make this trip down.”
“Don’t you ever get tired of that?” Qin Ye casually joked with him. Qin Ye could feel his split personality worsen.
The world of adults was far too tiring.
Especially when he had to deal with businessmen. They couldn’t talk too much or too little - and there was just a certain sweet spot. Insiders would naturally understand the nuances of their interactions; while outsiders would find it… unbearable. While he was in Hell, Qin Ye always had the option of tyrannizing his subjects and strong-arming them to have things his way. But while he was in the mortal realm, he would have no choice but to feign civility and play along with the rules of pretension.
“Mr Qin sure is humorous.” Sun Kangliang laughed as he led Qin Ye up a flight of stairs and entered an empty elevator. Then, with a hushed voice, he continued, “You’d earlier mentioned that you’ve got something to discuss with our design department?”
The reason why Qin Ye had called upon Sun Kangliang was because he had wanted to resolve both issues of design drawings and construction materials all at once. Besides, he knew that Sun Kangliang was a direct shareholder of the company, and he naturally held a position of authority. Even a county governor wouldn’t be able to move things along in the company as quickly as he did. With him around, things in the design department would most certainly go on much more smoothly.
“I’ve got some groundwork to discuss.” Qin Ye glanced at Sun Kangliang, “Are you interested?”
Sun Kangliang smiled, “How large?”
“Approximately five square kilometers of development works. I’m hoping to come up with a design drawing.”
Sun Kangliang’s eyes lit up.
Five square kilometers… isn’t a small locality!
“No wonder Mr Qin was urgently sourcing funds. I’m not going to lie to you, the company has decided to issue you with a reward of one and a half million for your efforts. I’ve got to personally thank you as well. Here’s a red packet for one hundred thousand.” He mentioned everything in a single breath and ended the discussion there and then.
There was no need to be too eager to discuss the development works. Otherwise, there was always the danger of influencing negotiations on the price of future works.
It was sufficient to have acknowledged it. He was in the design department anyway, and he would know at a glance whether the project was potentially profitable. There was going to be more opportunity to discuss these matters in future anyway.
Both men rode the elevator all the way to the sixth floor.
As soon as the door opened, they entered a large open-concept office that was partitioned only by glass walls. Rows of tables were lined up neatly in the office space. There were dozens of computers set up on these tables, as well as rows of machines Qin Ye wasn’t too familiar with located at the corner of the room. Their users were busy drawing up designs on these machines.
The entire room was very quiet, and one could only occasionally hear someone whispering something to others. Qin Ye had already earlier informed Sun Kangliang of the employee he was looking for, so Sun Kangliang immediately made a call as soon as they arrived on the sixth floor. Seconds later, a thin man with greying hair who was approximately fifty years old walked out of the office space.
“Chief Sun.” He nodded towards Sun Kangliang casually. But when he turned to Qin Ye, he adjusted the expression on his face and nodded deeply.
“You must be Mr Qin, right? Mr Lin has already made mention of you.” He reached into his pocket, pulled out a cigarette and gesticulated at the discussion room nearby, “Shall we talk over there? Please let us know what instructions you might have. We will fulfill it no matter how troublesome it might be.”
“This is Deputy Chief Designer Li. If Mr Qin doesn’t mind, you may address him as Old Li.” Sun Kangliang smiled brightly, “You can charge the fees for Mr Qin’s drawings directly to the company’s finances. There’s no need to make an internal transfer of funds.”
Qin Ye didn’t force the issue either. Sun Kangliang didn’t hide his intentions to curry favour with Qin Ye. Given the present era they were living in… Provincial capital Mount Tai City was still doing fine with relatively few reports of supernatural incidents. But that didn’t change the fact that everyone had a yardstick in their heart. Experts like Qin Ye were invaluable, while the drawing fee of several hundred thousands was simply money.
In fact, Qin Ye’s assistance with the development project at Tianxi Fourth Street was in and of itself already worth millions to the company.
The group entered the discussion room. These were cubicle-type rooms with typical sofa sets placed before a tempered glass tea table, with pots of green plants around. It was simple, but effective. It couldn’t be described as exquisite, but it was far from being ugly.
As the three men settled down, an employee of the company brought in a pot of tea for them. Qin Ye took a sip and began, “It’s like this. I’ve got a piece of land that I’m looking to develop. You can think of it as a barren land. It’s flat, and I’ve already engaged people to prepare it for construction works. There’s no water source nearby. I want to build a district large enough to contain a million people. Do you think you can come up with a drawing fulfilling these requirements?”
Old Li pondered about it with furrowed brows. Several seconds later, he eased the tense expression on his face and responded, “It’s difficult… Let’s say we have ten thirty-storey buildings in each neighbourhood, each of which houses fifteen households per floor, with an average of three in each household, we’re talking about housing 13,500 persons in each neighbourhood. But… the total space occupied would span one hundred thousand square meters.”
He pushed up his glasses, picked up a piece of paper and began scribbling on it, “One square kilometer is equivalent to one million square meters. Five square kilometers is therefore equivalent to five million square kilometers. Assuming one hundred thousand square meters can only house 13,500 persons, a five square kilometer area… even if you designate the entire area for residential usage, it can at best hold only 675,000 persons. But… practically speaking, the actual population size it can accommodate is going to be one-third less than that.”
“Why’s that?” Qin Ye furrowed his brows. He had wanted to construct a massive district once and for all. That way, he could shelf all issues pertaining to the exploding Yin spirit population for some time and revisit it only later on.
Based on current construction speeds in the mortal realm at two years for the development of an entire neighbourhood, and taking into account the fact that Yin spirits are able to work without rest or food, it seemed like he would at best be able to complete a neighbourhood in a year’s time?
Wrong… Without the existence of the six paths of reincarnation, there was simply no way for Qin Ye to control the Yin spirits’ minds. As long as they retained the memories of their past lives, they would know frustration and exasperation. Under such circumstances, it would be considered decent if he could even motivate the Yin spirits to work two-thirds of the day. Therefore, he revised his estimate to completing the development of one neighbourhood in one year and four months.
How many Yin spirits enter Hell every year? And do I have to run everything by myself? Is the future Yama-King going to double up as a real estate agent now?
This was the reason why he had wanted to resolve the issue of housing once and for all. Unfortunately, his plans were dashed as quickly as they were conceived. The five square kilometers of space couldn’t all be designated as neighbourhoods. There were still many other buildings unique to Hell that needed to be constructed.
Old Li began to draw on the piece of paper once more, “Think about it. If everything was built up, where are the roads going to be? Roads are things that are commonly seen across all construction projects. But it is precisely because of their ubiquitous nature that most newbies end up taking them for granted and underestimating the amount of space to be allocated to such infrastructure. In practice, roads generally take up a third of the space in any development. This means that the final built up area will be a third smaller than the total land space available for development.”
“And then there’s still other things to consider, including greenery, public facilities… According to the proportion of present day developments, most localities generally only set aside half of their land space for residential developments. The other half are reserved for facilities and other usage. Therefore, even if we developed every inch of the five square kilometers available to you, we would at best be able to accommodate 340,000 people. And this is an estimate that’s a little on the higher side of things… There are still other facilities that haven’t been provided for, for instance community centers, telecommunications stations, surveillance control rooms, courier or delivery collection points… Having all that taken into account, I posit that 300,000 citizens would be the most accurate estimation.”
Qin Ye mulled over these things. After a long time, he responded, “Then… what if I decide to construct everything like ancient cathayan buildings?”
“Then you’re looking at even less!” Old Li exclaimed with certainty, “It’s possible to do so, but ancient cathayan buildings generally require the usage of more wood in their construction. This means that buildings cannot be as tall or large. Otherwise, the support beams and walls wouldn’t be able to support its weight. You could model it after the Yellow Crane Tower, but unfortunately, we don’t have the expertise to come up with such a design. You won’t find such expertise in the provincial design institution either. I know, because I was there before I was headhunted for my current role. For that, you’ll have to approach the national design institution. And you’ll have to look for a specialist in ancient architecture there to boot.”
Qin Ye furrowed his brows and tapped the armrest on his sofa rhythmically. After several moments, he finally responded, “Then, what kind of ancient architecture are you able to design?”
That’s right. He was considering whether to reestablish Hell with a mix of ancient cathayan architecture and modern day architecture. But he quickly disposed of that idea.
Hell was something that had existed in parallel with Cathay’s existence for thousands of years. It was almost a spiritual existence that was symbolic on so many levels.
How could he just incorporate a modern high-rise building and destroy the homogeneity of the realm like that?
To hell with that thought!
Ancient Cathay is ancient Cathay! That was the style that best represented Cathay after all! It was pointless to blindly pursue globalization. This was by no means just any other city on the ground. This was Hell - Cathay’s Hell! There was no need to vie for any rankings in terms of globalization efforts! Furthermore, if the former King Yanluo was able to construct Hell eons ago with the limited technology he had access to, Qin Ye refused to believe that he wasn’t able to do so with the aid of modern day technology!
He was going to make his mark in Hell by constructing wonders like the Great Wall of Cathay!
Old Li deliberated for several moments before responding, “Four-storeys.”
“Four-storeyed ancient cathayan buildings and infrastructure covering the area of ten thousand square meters. This is my limit.”
Without further prompting from Qin Ye, he explained, “This is approximately the footprint of one of the larger buildings these days. When it comes to the ancient cathayan style, we need to pay particular attention to one thing - magnificence.”
He took a deep breath, “Back then… I’d wanted to construct a plaza like that as well. But everything in modern day Cathay is all about globalization and international architecture, and I rarely get the opportunity to put into practice the things I’ve learnt in college. Nevertheless, I can still clearly recall what my lecturer used to say - ‘the most luxurious style in the world is the ancient cathayan architecture!’”
“Why don’t antique decors look good in modern day homes? It’s because the modern day homes are too small.”
“The effectiveness of ancient cathayan architecture is predicated on the size of the development. Something smaller than one hundred square meters would only look contrived and suffocating if designed in the ancient cathayan style. Red-lacquer, wooden materials, and intricately carved patterns are all design flairs that would shrink the perception of space. These would only appear grand, magnificent and splendorous with sufficient space in tow.”
Then, almost as though filled with excitement, his pen strokes grew heavier, “Therefore, if I were to design a neighbourhood with that style in mind, a single floor of the building would house at best six to seven households. After all, the fundamental purpose of high-rise buildings is to maximize land use by housing the most number of people within the smallest amount of space. Unfortunately, such concepts have no place in the principles which undergird ancient cathayan architecture.”
Qin Ye nodded deeply.
He was now facing yet another huge problem.
The top priority for Hell’s redevelopment project had already been decided. Of the three basic necessities of food, clothes and shelter, the former two weren’t an issue to Yin spirits at all. Therefore, the focus naturally fell to considerations of shelter.
If he wanted to pacify the citizens of Hell, the first thing he had to do was to construct his residential districts.
But given what Old Li had just mentioned, he… had no choice but to go down the path of a high-end boutique ancient cathayan residential development!
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