Editor(s): Mariabel, fujoshisarah, GlitteryPanda
The sun shone bright on the first day of September. On Wen Tianhe's first day of being the CEO, the company went bankrupt.
The incident started three and a half hours ago when Tianhe sent off his second brother, Wen Tianyue, at the airport.
His second brother, with eyes full of tears, sincerely told his brother, "Baby, I'll be back in a month at the latest. Until then, the company will be yours to handle."
Tianhe unpleasantly replied, "Don't call me whatever pet name you want at the airport! Don't worry, I can handle it. Take care of yourself in Silicon Valley. Remember to ask for Mark Zuckerberg's signature. I like him very much."
"Wait for me to get settled, then you can come over. Let's get together in Saison for a meal. In passing, I'll ask to see Steve Jobs."
"Jobs is dead." Tianhe said blankly.
"I meant Cook, you two must have a lot in common." Wen Tianyue immediately changed his tune.
"Come on, hurry up and get going," Tianhe ordered. "And no drinking on the plane."
When the call for boarding was announced, Tianhe watched through the glass wall as his elder brother staggered onto the business class of the plane. He walked out of the VIP lounge, climbed into the car, and directed the driver, "To the company. Notify the director, the meeting will be held at ten."
The driver looked at Tianhe from the rearview mirror and played a song. Halfway through the melodious music of the fourth Partita in D major, the car came to a stop on an elevated road. Morning rush hour had begun and was creating endless traffic jams.
"Boss, have a nap first if you are sleepy."
Tianhe had had a long talk with his elder brother before his departure. This morning, he was very spirited because it was the big day on which he would officially take over the company. He plucked his hair in the back mirror and looked at himself.
Wen Tianhe: 23 years old, a Leo, 180cm tall, 18 cm long, a net worth of 1.8 billion, 1,800 square meters in large villas and 18 self-owned houses around the world, and a Master's degree in Computer Science at Cambridge. He was the youngest son of the founder of Epeus Information Technology Co. Ltd., a long-legged, handsome man who liked to wear a shirt and didn’t like ties; GAY-- a bottom.
Maybe 18 cm doesn't do much.
Tianhe’s eyebrows and eyes were inherited from his Germanic mother, while his nose and lips were from his father, combining the most attractive traits of his two parents into one. When he was studying in Cambridge, his fair skin and exquisite facial features often caused many unnecessary troubles. Great looking leather bags are still the same, but interesting souls are one in a million. Tianhe was not a vulgar person who only looked at appearances. Many times, he even hoped to look a little more ordinary. That way, professors would pay more attention to his code and marvel at his talent, rather than always staring at his face.
Liu Chao, the driver, turned his head towards the backseat and said, "Boss, the supervisors are ready."
"Very well." Tianhe gracefully lowered his forehead. "Can I change the song now? I need music other than Johann Bach."
"I heard Bach can calm people down." Xiao Liu said sincerely.
Tianhe, "Aunt Fang would always listen to Bach while she did housework. Some people say that God is responsible for washing the world and Bach is responsible for washing clothes. This song always reminds me of a drum washing machine."
Xiao Liu then changed it to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Apparently, there were no traffic jams now, but he still drove slowly. He hoped their Bentley would never reach its destination.
"Is it inconvenient to drive faster? If you don't feel well, you can have a rest and I'll drive." Tianhe politely said.
Xiao Liu slightly quickened his speed and looked at Tianhe with pity from the rearview mirror.
Wisteria New District, Hi-Tech Park, General Manager's Office, Epeus Information Technology Co., Ltd.
"Second Boss is now in the garage. Get ready!"
"I'm afraid the second boss will fight with the shareholders," the Chief Financial Officer said solemnly.
The Deputy General patted the CFO on the shoulder. "If you just tell him the truth then there won’t be a fight. When it does comes to blows, let’s just pretend to stop them and hold him down. It won’t do any good to let the shareholders fight, would it?”
"How can you do this to the second boss?" The CFO said incredulously.
"Creditors also need to vent their emotions. Besides, the boss still has a few things to say today." The Deputy General replied.
“Shall we close the windows? What if the boss jumps off the building?" The CFO thought and asked.
"Right! Right! Just in case!" The Deputy General exclaimed.
The General Assistant scoffed. "No way. Second boss is an elegant person. He won't jump off a building. It's too ugly. He needs a rope."
"Hanging is more ugly!" The Deputy General said, "It'll be incontinent! For someone of his style, he could only have strewn his bed with beach rose’s petals shipped from Paris..."
"He’s here! He just entered the elevator!"
All the senior executives dispersed from in front of the water dispenser as the General Assistant knocked on the door of the conference room, where a group of representatives of the banks, the investors, and the heads of the three funds were seated.
"Our second boss will arrive soon," said the General Assistant. "Five more minutes."
"Alright." The bank credit manager in his fifties pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the sweat from his bald head.
The head of the sub-branch bank asked towards the General Assistant, "The second boss is the real legal entity in your company, right?"
"That’s right, he is the legal representative. The transfer procedures were completed last month." The General Assistant said.
After the General Assistant left, everyone looked at each other.
"Who will begin?" Asked the bank credit manager.
"Let’s start with the bank first," the investor said. "This family owes the most money to the bank.”
"Come on." The heart of the sub-branch head couldn't stand it and suggested, "Let’s ask the Panda Fund first."
"No, no, you should go first."
"You first, you first..."
The Panda Fund's head said, "I suggest you all stop having unrealistic dreams. Given the current financial situation of this company, even if Warren Buffett reincarnates, I don't think it can be saved."
"Warren Buffett isn't dead yet," said the Conrad Fund's head. "It's unlucky to say that since our family had just entrusted more than 7 billion yuan to him."
The Panda Fund's head sneered. "Where in your family did you find 7 billion? Why haven't I heard of it? I think it was your boss who asked Ma Huateng to transfer back more than 7 billion QQ coins?"
The voice of the head of the Conrad Fund suddenly rose by an octave. "I think everyone is like your family. If Tencent Holdings has invested in it, I will brush and read the business documents of my family every day!"
"Alright." The head of the sub-branch said earnestly, "Everyone is here to collect debts, so don't create internal strife. I remember when you had almost fought in order to invest in Epeus. If you had known today, why bother?"
Everyone in the room became silent. It was like they were waiting for Buffett's funeral.
When Tianhe entered the company, all the employees on the General Manager's office floor went from bright to dim.
"Second boss, here’s your coffee."
"Thank you. I don't drink Starbucks. And don't call me second boss anymore." Tianhe smiled to the General Assistant and asked the CEO, "Mecy, are the directors in the conference room?"
The CFO immediately replied, "A few guests are here today. They want to see you first. They were already seated in the conference room so it was inconvenient of us to move rooms."
Tianhe pushed the door to enter the conference room and turned back to say, "Inform the director that the regular meeting will be postponed to the afternoon… What is this—?"
In the conference room, the group of shareholders' representatives seemed to have seen Buffett uncovering his own coffin. They jumped up and shouted, "Surprise!"
"Everyone… Good afternoon. Today is not the quarterly shareholders' meeting, is it? Why is the bank here?" Tianhe didn't understand the situation. The CFO and the Deputy General followed him in and closed the door.
Inside, the driver asked the General Assistant, "Did you recheck the windows? The locks in the corridor?"
The General Assistant replied, "Even the men's toilet has been checked, there is no problem."
Outside, all the employees looked up one after another at the door of the large conference room.
"What?" Tianhe thought he heard it wrong and repeated, "How is that possible?"
The room was dead silent. Everyone looked at the sub-branch head who wiped his sweat and said, "Your brother didn't tell you?"
"I just saw him off three and a half hours ago!" Tianhe had gone through numerous storms and rocky waves. However, in the face of impending insolvency and demands for restitution, he couldn’t keep his mind on track.
"Wait, I'll call him. No, no...he should be on the plane to San Francisco..."
"You're the company's legal entity now, right?" The head of the fund said. "The shareholders have gotten a preliminary understanding of Epeus's financial situation. Meixi’s director had seen the list of assets and also complied with the first round of stocktaking."
"Wait." Tianhe couldn't grasp the information he had just received and said, "Pour me some water."
"This debt is two years overdue..."
"During your brother's time as the legal representative and CEO, he successively mortgaged all his real estate and cars to the bank..."
"To ease financial pressure, last June, Wen Tianyue illegally took sixty million yuan from the company funds out of the country and went to Macau. What happened next is obvious..."
"You see, little brother, I'm going to retire next year. For the sake of this company, I can't be counted on in this old age of mine... What to do next? There must be a saying..."
"This isn't like the time you two brothers raised funds together. Not only has the company not stopped gambling, but now it isn’t returning emails, answering the phone, or replying to curses on WeChat. One angry complaint was a minute long... Did you hear it? Does it sound very scholarly? It's humiliating!"
"Last year, your company also invested 180 million yuan in a science fiction film. Just to let the little actors bring funds into the group, they were promised four billion at the box office. Finally, the director made a PPT on a web game and was the first to run away. Is this how your investors taught you to play?"
"What I really don't understand is why Wen Tianyue wanted to guarantee loans for a company with no prospect of performance?"
"The server unit in Toronto burns through fourteen million USD in rent each year, not even including the electricity bill. Look at you, you develop and use powerful servers to build your own personal server! When I first came here, I also saw your employees playing World of Warcraft..."
Tianhe felt dizzy from all the noise. He took the water handed to him by the Deputy General, drank it in one gulp and put the cup down heavily.
The conference room became quiet once more.
Tianhe stared at the empty cup. Half a minute later, his eyes turned to the representatives of all the shareholders.
"Ah, I see." Tianhe flushed and said, "You've come to the wrong company!"
Two hours later, the representatives of the shareholders left the room. Tianhe sat at one end of the table looking like a sculpture.
"Boss?" The CFO inquired tentatively.
"I urgently need to listen to Bach," Tianhe said.
"Not good! The director is about to jump off the building! The windows of the women's toilet aren't locked yet. Come on men, hold him down—"
Deputy General, “...”
Another hour later, Tianhe waved his hand wearily at the bento on the table. "No, thank you."
"I’m always craving rice." The Deputy General opened Yoshinoya's lunch box, already starving, and said, "Director Wen, don't take it out on your body."
The CFO looked at the packed lunch on the table anxiously. He had still paid for lunch, but now that they were broke, he didn't know if he would even be reimbursed for it. He was owed three months’ salary and didn't even know when it would be paid. Wen Tianyue vowed that his brother had a solution. Now it seemed it was all a hoax.
"You always knew?" Tianhe muttered.
"Mr. Wen said that after you take over as owner, the money will be paid soon." The Deputy General said. "Would you like to convene the small shareholders of the company to hold a meeting?"
"No, I don't think round E of financing has been completed yet. Isn't it supposed to be listed next year?" Tianhe calmly replied.
"We've raised sixty million yuan from series E funding so far and it is all in Macau."
"You are the Chief Financial Officer," Tianhe said incredulously. "How could you let him gamble sixty million in Macau?! This is a dereliction of duty!"
"What could I have done?" The CFO cried out. "It’s always been Mr. Wen who makes the final decision, and it's only been a day or two since he embezzled the company's funds. I didn't know he used the money to play slot machines!"
"What slot machine can play sixty million?" Tianhe asked despairingly.
Deputy General, "In the VIP room, the starting gamble was 100,000 displayed as 10. He thought the values were from 10,000, so he pressed a pile of zeros. It soon started shaking and a ball dropped out. The casino was full of cheers; thus, he thought he was gonna..."
"Alright, stop it." The CFO interrupted.
"Oh, right! I also brought a lot of almond cakes." The Deputy General remembered. "They're in the company's refrigerator, would you like some? It's already been three months, but they haven't expired yet. The performance bonus was issued last month, but it hasn't been fully paid yet."
Tianhe, "...What now?"
"Can we get new financing?" The CFO asked.
Tianhe looked at the CFO blankly. The Deputy General beside him offered a plan. "Don’t you still have another big brother?"
"My eldest brother is studying at the space shuttle," Tianhe replied. "We haven't been in contact for fifteen years."
The CFO thought for a moment. "Then what about your mother's side?"
"Impossible." Tianhe retorted. "My maternal uncle will not give me a cent, and she has remarried."
The Deputy General also thought and said, "Your father's reputation is still well known. You can either ask an old friend for help and go into series F funding. First, you pay off some debts and then apply for a debt-to-equity swap for the rest."
"I'll be honest. Now that the wind is changing outside it won’t be easy to fool buyers." The CFO said.
The Deputy General responded, "Then, we can only find a way to go public and hope for investors..."
CFO, "With the current accounts, the audit won’t allow us to go public and the security firms will not approve it. After the implementation of the IQ access system by the CSRC, management is much stricter than before."
The CFO blinked his eyes at the Deputy General who just couldn't see it. Neither of them was willing to say those two words.
"How much in all?" Tianhe was a little distracted and asked. "I didn't hear you clearly just now."
"1.4 billion." The Deputy General replied. "From June to today, the company has not made its payments."
The CFO watched the Deputy General finish two large servings of plum meat, then got up and said, "Why don't I send the debt details to your home first? You’ll have to look at it in the next few days before consulting your private financial advisor."
"So, you want to file for bankruptcy, right?" Tianhe asked heavily.
The two men looked at each other and said nothing.
The General Assistant knocked on the door and came in, "Mr. Wen's phone has been shut off."
"He’s still on the plane," Tianhe said. "This time, maybe we can still talk about new investments. Let's all wait and see. There's still hope."
"Yes, yes." Both simultaneously responded.
"If we can find a way to get the wages worked out first, the employees will not have many reservations," the Deputy General said. "It's most important to stabilize people's hearts. Everyone has feelings for Epeus. You mustn't forget it, huh?"
Tianhe met the Deputy General's worried eyes and replied, "The wages will definitely be paid...but now I think... I have to go back and rest first."
Tianhe felt dizzy when he stood up. The Deputy General opened the door and sent him out. A group of reporters appeared out of nowhere and immediately surrounded him, cameras flashing wildly.
"Director Wen! How are you feeling? Is now a good time for an interview?"
"Will Epeus file for bankruptcy?"
"Do you have any hope of introducing the landmark artificial intelligence that is to be released in the fourth quarter?"
"Director Wen, are you alright?"
"Don't do this! We've always been courteous towards everyone. Don’t go too far!" The General Assistant pushed away the reporter. The driver loyally protected Tianhe, entered the elevator, and ran off.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Joyce and Caro.