“What?” Qin Ye wondered, “What did you discover?”
Gu Qing didn’t respond immediately. Instead, he blinked several times as he sniffed the air in bewilderment, before suddenly turning to Qin Ye in astonishment, “My lord… do you smell anything?”
Qin Ye nodded, “It’s the smell of red maple. It’s probably one of the few sources of scenery in Hell right now.”
“No!” Gu Qing frowned, “This fragrance… I’ve smelt it before… and quite often at that… Where exactly was it…”
He walked over to the tree stump and touched its surface, and then he actually lay his entire body on the stump and took a deep breath.
“Fetish?” Arthis exclaimed.
“No…” Qin Ye blinked several times, and then turned to Arthis abruptly, “These trees… do you know what species they are?”
“What kind of species of trees can Hell possibly have?” Arthis furrowed her brows, “It’s the same one everywhere. Didn’t you mention earlier that it was the red maple?”
“No. It’s not the red maple…” Gu Qing stared at the tree stumps everywhere, and then glanced at the endless red leaves just a little bit further away, and his voice grew somewhat dry and hoarse, “Oh dear heavens. This might… very possibly be… the fragrant rosewood trees, or fragrant rosewood for short. That’s incredible…”
I’ve never heard of it… Qin Ye pouted. What the hell is that? I can tell from its name that it’s hardly valuable at all. To think that I had hoped for a moment it was the Southsea Huanghuali…
Gu Qing turned around and trembled with great excitement, “Mr Qin, if this is truly the Southsea Huanghuali, the entire forest we can see is at least worth several hundred tons…”
“What?!” Qin Ye jumped in horror and stared at Gu Qing as though he had just seen a ghost. His lips twitched uncontrollably, “Say it again? What did you say it was?”
“I’m just saying that it’s a possibility! Perhaps it might be the fragrant rosewood.” Gu Qing’s breaths quickened with excitement, “Also known as the Southsea Huanghuali. Second only to the red sandalwood, the fragrant rosewood is one of the four most coveted species of woods out there! There’s a huge market for these trees out there!”
Qin Ye swept his gaze across the sea of “red maples” in front of his very eyes.
Bloody hell… how did the fragrant rosewood come to be known as the Southsea Huanghuali?!
If one wanted to show off their status, they wore bracelets made of Southsea Huanghuali.
If one wanted to flaunt their wealth, they used Southsea Huanghuali furniture.
In essence, these were things that an impoverished soul like him would never have known about. Yet, now…
His throat felt a little dry. A raging inferno blazed in the depths of his eyes as he swept his gaze around the five square kilometers of land around him. Previously, everything was a sea of crimson leaves, just like a great pool of blood. And yet now… it felt as though he was staring at a land filled with dazzling gold ingots!
“I’m rich… I’ve truly struck gold…” An electrifying sensation surged from his tailbone straight through his mind. He gulped anxiously, “Such a large plot of land filled with Southsea Huanghuali… is more than enough to sustain me for the rest of my life…”
“What’s that?” Arthis asked in bewilderment.
Qin Ye took several deep breaths and licked his lips avariciously, “One of the four great woods of Cathay. The market price out there is over ten million per ton. And this was the market price two years ago to boot!”
Arthis was recoiled in shock. She was completely flabbergasted.
The trio were silent for a long time. Nobody had ever even imagined the possibility that such a massive gold mine could have been hiding in plain sight all this while. After a long time, Arthis probed further with trembling in her voice, “Ten million… Hell notes?”
“It’s RMB!!!” Gu Qing and Qin Ye retorted in unison. Gu Qing finally snapped back from his rapture and cried out, “And that’s not all! Huanghuali wood is most commonly used in smaller objects like bracelets, trinkets, tea sets, and so on and so forth. However, Huanghuali wood furniture must all be made to order! And there’s at least a six month waiting time on these goods! The most precious and distinct part about the Huanghuali wood is the ‘ghost face’ that you can sometimes see on the pieces of wood. Furthermore, these ghost faces are most commonly located near the roots of the tree. Therefore, they are often dug up by the root, meaning there are less and less of these trees over time. They are currently a threatened species, and incredibly rare on the market! You can say…”
He drew a deep breath and looked at the patch of tree stumps in front of him with a quivering voice, “Once a province discovers just hundreds… No! Even if it were just dozens of Southsea Huanghuali trees, the furniture market in the entire province would go crazy over it! There’s no telling how many companies would be begging us to sell these to them, so that they can process it and resell these products to the rich and powerful. And to that end, even the profit arising from these transactions is incidental to them. After all, what matters most is their reputation! The fact that they have such wood in their hands… is sufficient to propel them from being a newcomer in the furniture market to becoming the leading seller in the province… or even an entire district!”
Arthis trembled all over, and then she immediately turned to Qin Ye and screamed, “I want the Blood Moon Yasuo skin!”
“Most certainly! I’ll even buy you two - one for your use, and one for display!” Qin Ye waved his hand heroically. This wave of euphoria had struck him too suddenly, and he was completely unprepared for it… So, as it turns out, it’s not as though Hell doesn’t have any natural resources. We’ve simply lacked the ability to properly identify it!
There are at least several hundred tons of Southsea Huanghuali in Hell right now. Given the market rate of ten million per ton…
Alright, say we round it up to a thousand tons, then we’re looking at… a whopping ten billion!!!
That would more than sufficiently fund the construction of Qin Gardens Phase 1. In fact, he would probably have enough surplus to consider the development of the next governmental building as well as other amenities!
Phew… It feels as though life has just reached a new high… a peak that I’ve never been to before…
“Err…” Gu Qing calmed down and took a deep breath, “Like I said… It’s a possibility…”
Two begrudging glares shot right over immediately.
The other two had already driven out all thoughts of this being a mere possibility. How could Gu Qing so casually redirect their focus back on reality? He should be hanged for that!
“Calm down.” Qin Ye pinched himself, “This isn’t a dream… so why am I not feeling any pain?”
“Because you’re pinching my arm… Kid, don’t you think that was a little too smooth?” Arthis cautioned coldly.
Qin Ye took several deep breaths to regulate his emotions before addressing Gu Qing once more, “Mr Gu, what made you think of taking a closer look at these trees? And how did you come to guess that these trees are none other than the fabled Southsea Huanghuali?”
Gu Qing took several moments to organize his thoughts, and then he explained, “It’s like this. The first step in development of Gambik was to invite them to submit all information pertaining to the land to be developed. The first piece of information that we look at is the terrain, followed closely by the availability and access to natural resources.”
“Mr Qin… Hell may not be the same as the mortal realm, but… the heavens will never stymie one’s path. Seriously.” He spoke earnestly, “Nature’s haunting work is far beyond what the human mind can fathom. The geographic conditions of Gambik County was incredibly harsh. It adjoined an incredibly dense rainforest. Nevertheless, the city was still built there because they discovered the presence of a massive oil field in the vicinity. Apart from that, there’s really nothing much else to talk about.”
He continued reminiscing, “When we first received this assignment, the first thing we did was to assemble a small team and head straight to Gambik for a ground inspection. The team was formed out of elites from all walks of life. After all, the development of a city would necessarily need to leave room for the future development of other industries. In that regard, the pioneer investors in the city would naturally be given the most preferential treatment in the form of top quality materials or the cheapest raw materials. This is why the various experts and elites don’t hesitate one bit to join our team to survey the grounds.”
“One of the things we were most concerned about was failing to identify the natural resources that were in fact available in the vicinity. However, our team of elites consisted of experts spanning a plethora of industries, ranging from medicine, to light industrial works, to even raw material specialists. To our dismay, we discovered that Gambik had nothing apart from crude oil.”
He cleared his throat, “But… just as we were about to return in disappointment… I wonder if you’ve heard about the company called Giant Genetics?”
Qin Ye thought for a moment, and then nodded his head.
It was Usonia’s leading pharmaceutical company, which had a whole host of brands and products under its name. Each product was the frontrunner in their respective field to boot.
Gu Qing continued, “They’re the ones that discovered large tracts of Alkebulan cherry oranges in the tropical rainforest located right behind Gambik!”
“It’s a sex tree. That term refers to none other but the Alkebulan cherry orange. The cherry orange’s potency is comparable to Viagra, and it is therefore also known as the number one natural aphrodisiac in the flora and fauna kingdom. Its rarity is comparable to authentic Changbaishan old mountain ginseng… Most cities in Alkebulan start out this way, and then they eventually rely on their own specialty produce to make a name for themselves on the market. Excavating the first bucket of gold will only promote a virtuous cycle that spurs development. Hell is currently in the nascent stages of development, so precious specialty produce like this is something we’ll need more than anything else!”
His breaths quickened and his face flushed slightly as he gently ran his hand across the stump, shuddering, “That trip taught me that some things may have been there all along, and it’s only our ignorance or perhaps negligence that stymies our ability to discover them. Thus, from that time forward, whenever I receive an assignment to plan for the next city, I would scrutinize each and every line of the specifications and details submitted by the locals, assessing the type, quantity and species of the specialty produce. After all, what kind of investments would a brand new city be able to attract? It’s their specialty produce that would become its first bucket of gold! That is what its first trade route will be built upon! And it’s exactly the same for us right now!”
“I’d only noticed the possibility of the species of this wood by chance. Nature works in mysterious ways. I happened to have a set of Southsea Huanghuali furniture at home, and that’s why the scent felt so familiar to me. I guess you could also say that my profession contributed some ways in this discovery as well.”
Qin Ye and Arthis nodded their heads. Then, Arthis queried, “Then, could you quickly take a look and ascertain its species?”
If it is, this could mean a turning point for the new Hell!
With the financial support that he needs, the hundreds of thousands of Yin spirits under his command would be able to turn the present land of lethargy into a blazing furnace of construction works!
Gu Qing nodded his head and crouched down once more. This time, Arthis and Qin Ye followed suit as well. With so much riding on the line, who could be bothered about trivialities like the face of a future King Yanluo?
Why would I remain standing… Isn’t it perfectly reasonable to be crouching down to the monolithic mountain of wealth before me right now? Look at how kindly the god of wealth is shining upon me…
Wealth moves mountains… I guess that’s where the saying got its meaning from…
Nobody said a word. Nobody dared to interrupt Gu Qing right now. His confirmation of his earlier suspicion could very well mean that a seemingly barren land was in fact a sprawling gold mine waiting to be tapped upon!
After some time, Gu Qing gently stroked the stump and spoke of his own volition, “There are two types of Huanghuali - the Southsea Huanghuali, and the Great Viet Huanghuali. That said, the price for the Southsea Huanghuali is generally higher than the Great Viet Huanghuali. Its grains are generally more beautiful, and its colour more mellow. Furthermore, it takes well to wood-processing works, and its hardness is moderate. Therefore, it doesn’t deform easily. The first point of identification is in terms of its fragrance.”
He closed his eyes and continued, “Both have a fragrance about them, but the Southsea ones generally possess a stronger scent. Furthermore, there isn’t the slight astringency to the smell that the Great Viet Huanghuali has. Lastly… the Southsea Huanghuali possesses a fragrance that is… mesmerizing and highly addictive.”
Qin Ye took a deep breath.
Indeed, there was a fragrance in the air that was considerably strong. To think that he had mistaken this tree for a red maple… Screw the red maple!
Qin Ye took another look at the tree stumps around him, and his heart cringed in pain.
To think that I’ve been busying myself with quests and missions in the mortal realm all this while when there had been a mountain of gold lying right under my nose?!
I blame Arthis for having a voluptuous chest and a peabrain! How could she not know a single thing about the fragrant rosewood?! Trash!
“This fragrance… There’s no mistaking it.” Gu Qing nodded, “The fragrance of the Southsea Huanghuali doesn’t linger in the air like the fragrance of incense. Rather, it’s a thing of natural beauty, and it fades away like the fragrance of flowers. It comes and goes quite arbitrarily. That said, its fragrance is generally more distinct on rainy days, while fainter on sunny days. The most amazing thing about the Southsea Huanghuali is that its fragrance would linger on one’s body, giving off a gentle puff of freshness even after an extended period of time. The most fragrant parts are where the knots in the trees are, especially close to the bottom of the tree where the trunk meets the roots. This is why it is also known as the sinking fragrance.”
“And that deals with the first point of identification - fragrance. The second point of identification is in terms of colour. Apart from the most common golden-yellow hue, the Southsea Huanghuali comes in various other colours, including purple, brown, red, black, or any combination of these colours. The colour tone is generally on the darker side. This is also one of the distinguishing factors between a genuine good and a counterfeit one.”
“Thirdly, we look at the grain. The grain of the Southsea Huanghuali tends to be fine and dense, and the dark lines tend to be distinct and well-defined, like a tiger’s stripes. More often than not, the grains appear in the shape of a crab’s claws, look like ox’s hair, or appear like tiger stripes. They tend to be irregular, but not chaotic. In fact, the flowing pattern of the grain often gives the sense of flowing beauty to its observer. And the fourth thing we look at…”
He smiled and stroked the stump again, “Is its ‘ghost face’.”
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