Editor(s): Mariabel, fujoshisarah, PM87
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Three days later.
Pro, “If necessary, I can book you a ticket for next month.”
Tianhe realized that Pro was very suitable as an assistant, even though he was not an entity. He wouldn’t disturb him. He was familiar with the Internet. And, though he couldn’t carry his bag, he had no problems driving. He could also run multiple processes at the same time and chat with him while he’s driving.
“I’ll leave tomorrow,” Tianhe said. “I have to find the whereabouts of Second Brother.”
Pro, “You are restricted from leaving the country.”
Tianhe replied, “You know that’s not a problem for me.”
“What’s the use of finding him?” Pro asked. “What sort of explanation are you expecting from him?”
Tianhe also didn’t know what he would say if they found his brother. He thought about it and said, “He must have an explanation for me. Are there any results?”
“I can’t find his address in the local Water Department’s information database,” Pro said. “Their security level is too high.”
“Of course,” Tianhe replied. “The anti-hacking system is not to be trifled with.”
After we arrive in the U.S, look into it again. Believe me, I want to invade a system that is much faster than you.”
His real purpose was to borrow his junior schoolmate’s terminal, which was at his studio in New York.
Pro, “At present, only the entry records of his arrival in San Francisco can be found. He may have left the U.S. There’s a high probability that he won’t stay in San Francisco, waiting for you to come and find him. I suggest that you delay your trip until the end of the National Day holiday. At that time, you will have more options.”
“I think your credit has gone bankrupt too,” Tianhe reminded Pro while driving. “Last time, on the route you chose and gave me, we ran into Guan Yue halfway. When you suggested that I play polo, that messed things up, too. You also saved Guan Yue’s number on my phone and that made it impossible for me to save face in front of Wu Shun...”
“But my prediction of his trajectory was accurately fulfilled,” Pro said.
Tianhe, “My model airplane disappeared too! I have decided to go against your suggestions in the future.”
Pro, “You are now.”
Tianhe noted, “You’re just like Guan Yue.”
Pro, “Maybe. After all, I have his mood most of the time. Of course, I also inherited his love for you to a certain extent.”
Tianhe had mixed feelings when he heard these words. He was silent for a moment, then said, “Thank you, Pro. If you had an entity, there is a small probability that I would treat you as my boyfriend.”
“Although I don’t quite understand what that means, I will learn slowly. But you should seriously consider my suggestion,” Pro responded.
Tianhe stopped the car in front of the club and replied, “I will.”
He gave the car keys to the manager and entered Jiangyue Club. All the waiters in suits--no matter if they were coming or going--stopped and bowed slightly. Last July, his elder brother transferred all his shares to Jiang Chaosheng, Jiang Zijian’s father. Although the small private club had changed its owners, due to the good relationship between the Wen and the Jiang family, it seemed as if nothing had changed.
Jiangyue Club was surrounded by villas, located amid green hills and rivers, and faced the Quwen River. The weather was fine in autumn. The loft, surrounded by retro gauze curtains, was built near the river. Today, Jiang Zijian was in the club entertaining another friend whom Wu Shun had found, so he called Tianhe to eat crabs together with them.
Wu Shun looked over the railing and whistled down at him as he ascended the stairs. Tianhe looked up, waved at him, and laughed. There was also a middle-aged man sitting in the pavilion. After Jiang Zijian introduced him, Tianhe greeted him. Wu Shun smiled and said, “I will also join the meal today.”
Jiang Zijian smiled. “He is from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology...”
Tianhe, who suddenly remembered that he had seen this middle-aged man before, exclaimed in surprise, “Uncle Wang!”
Tianhe had met him when his father was still alive, more than ten years ago.
“You do remember me.” The middle-aged man surnamed Wang looked at Tianhe and said, “Your family’s unforgettable memory really is hereditary.”
Even Jiang Zijian and Wu Shun hadn’t known about this past event. They all laughed as they heard each other. Tianhe’s memory was quite good. He even remembered that his name was Wang Su. They had met twice at the family planning committee, once during a meal with his father, and once among the guests who came to pay their respects after his father died.
But Tianhe tacitly didn’t mention the past, just smiled sadly and gave Wu Shun a grateful look. It seemed that Wu Shun had asked his father to help him invite this man to meet up.
Wu Shun motioned for Tianhe to look at the table. As Tianhe sat down, he found an invitation letter on his plate.
Jiang Zijian smiled and explained, “Uncle Wang and his team will hold a Hi-Tech Summit at the end of this month, which is totally different from the one hosted by Ronghui...”
Wang Su informed him, “Ronghui has decided to co-host the summit convened by our government with us. I will only give them three minutes, but I will give you five minutes. You will have enough time to say whatever you want to say.”
“Thank you.” Tianhe looked down at the invitation, then at Wu Shun, Wang Su, and Jiang Zijian. He could only nod and repeat, “Thank you.”Mountains multiply, streams double back but no doubt, every cloud has a silver lining..
“The past is the past, young man,” Wang Su encouraged. “There’s still a long way to go. You have left many of your peers behind you. Don’t be discouraged when you get knocked down. Get up and fight again.”
Tianhe nodded. “I will definitely cherish this opportunity.”
After a brief chat, Wang Su drank two cups of tea, got up, and left. Wu Shun sent him out of the club. Jiang Zijian and Tianhe were relieved and relaxed.
“Ah,” Jiang Zijian said. “It’s no good to see that the young master Wen shows his true colors as soon as the official leaves.”
Wu Shun smiled. “They’re still an official.”
The three of them laughed. Tianhe was a bit uncomfortable when facing government officials. He knew that Jiang Zijian was too, but there was still a difference. Had their parents changed, they would not have any restrictions.
Wu Shun said, “I told you he wouldn’t stay for dinner. Jiang Zijian, you can also go.”
Jiang Zijian took a sip of tea and said, “I have to go to KFC and meet Xiao Kaikai. You guys talk. Although crabs aren’t good to eat, you can still eat them. Wu Shun, watch Tianhe and eat less. Don’t go home with a headache.”
Jiang Zijian was shamelessly getting along with Tong Kai-a new footbath star. At the appointed time, he ran faster than a rabbit, leaving Wu Shun and Tianhe sitting beside the river.
“It seems that this club is not open to the public?” Wu Shun watched Tianhe’s movements as he opened the invitation letter to take a look. There was also a gold-plated brooch for the guests.
“Didn’t Zijian tell you?” Tianhe held the brooch with his fingers and stared at it.
Wu Shun was startled. “It’s not your family again, is it?”
“Now, it isn’t.” Tianhe couldn’t help but laugh. He was in such a good mood that no amount of money could match the timely arrival of this invitation.
Wu Shun also laughed and said, “This is a government-sponsored technology summit. Ronghui has only three minutes.”
Tianhe hummed and looked up at Wu Shun.
Pro said in his earphone, “There are still three words he has yet to say. Is it, ‘you like it?’”
Pro added, “I just want to remind you, Tianhe, you’re a little tough to stop halfway now.”
Tianhe said, “This is too much of a favor.”
Wu Shun thought for a moment and replied, “I thought this whole situation felt strange. He arranged for the publicist to give me the invitation. It was unnecessary for him to come personally, but he insisted on meeting you. Unexpectedly, you already knew each other.”
Tianhe explained, “After my second brother took over, the relationship between the government and the company has been poor and we lost contact.”
After thinking about it, Tianhe added, “What I want to say is, thank you. Wu Shun, I don’t know how to thank...”
“Let’s eat crabs.” Wu Shun smiled and said, “After today, you have to prepare for the PPT. I can’t help with anything... Do you often have migraines?”
The manager came over to pour the rice wine and uncovered the steamer. Inside was the first batch of crabs raised by Jiang Zijian’s family on Jiangsu Crab Farm.
Jiang Zijian whistled and drove out. After he parked in his hotel's parking lot, he changed into the suit that the manager had lent him. He sprayed on some hair spray, carried a bag slung behind him, and strode across two blocks.
Suddenly, someone clapped him from behind. Jiang Zijian turned back and saw Tong Kai, who took out two old English textbooks and smiled. “I bought the books.”
Then he asked, “Where will we review? Starbucks?”
Jiang Zijian shivered and suggested, “How about another place this time? KFC is great. I just got two coupons for chicken … fried chicken wings.”
Tong Kai had graduated from Harvard University with a doctorate in Continental Law and Anglo-American Law at the same time.
On the other hand, Jiang Zijian had graduated from the Philosophy Department of Cambridge University with a Master’s degree.
Tong Kai originally wanted to tell him that he had studied law, but under Jiang Zijian’s persuasion, he finally learned “Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology.”
“If you have skills, you will never die from hunger,” Jiang Zijian had earnestly said. “Listen to me, I’ve been there.”
“Okay.” Tong Kai had a little friction with Jiang Zijian in the process of choosing what to study, but in the end he listened to Jiang Zijian. However, in retaliation, under his strong persuasion, Jiang Zijian reluctantly chose, “crayfish farming.”
At the same time, they both thought, "Why am I reading this?"
“What does be mean?” Tong Kai spread out the textbook as he encountered a problem on the first page.
“Be is the general name of am, is, and are which is called the verb be.”
“I see,” Tong Kai nodded and praised. “Brother knows a lot.”
“To be or not to be, that is the question!” Jiang Zijian said ruefully.
Tong Kai was awed. He knew Shakespeare! The two bowed their heads again and looked at the reading comprehension section of the self-study textbook. Both of them looked like they were reading a popular version of a kindergarten children’s book and thought to themselves, what a mess this is.
Jiang Zijian recently had a lingering fear of being dominated by the adult college entrance exam. He thought to himself, why the hell was he doing this stuff? When it’s all said and done, he still has to brace himself. His dad wanted to know whether he took an aquaculture examination, he truly didn’t know what to think about this.
Tong Kai started to feel regret. What’s wrong with this situation? He had to say that this “review self-study together”—Laozi already graduated four years ago! Yet he was actually reading a college English textbook. The world is too magical!
Tong Kai swiped his phone after a while to see if there was another mole at the head office on the US side again. The boss of the branch always moved him out every time something happened. Jiang Zijian, however, held on to his reading comprehension with great interest. The English sections in the book read just like Chinese short stories. It was not a bad time to look at the little jokes once in a while, it was as if they opened the door to a new world.
“Can’t read it?” Jiang Zijian noticed Tong Kai couldn’t sit still.
“It’s too difficult,” said Tong Kai. “I don’t know many words.”
Jiang Zijian, “Hold on, guess the context.”
“What does this mean?” Tong Kai pointed to the word ‘wish.’
Jiang Zijian replied, “Hope.” He soon realized that he spoke like he knew too much English.
“Oh. I thought it was washing.” Tong Kai laughed.
Jiang Zijian hurriedly remedied, “That’s watch.”
“Oh…” Tong Kai nodded. Jiang Zijian gave himself a thumbs up and continued to turn over the pages of the textbook. Tong Kai observed Jiang Zijian’s eyebrows and thought that this guy was just too handsome. He was born as a hotel doorman, and yet, he had been trained in etiquette, which made him very different from ordinary people. He didn’t talk or shake his legs when eating. He also didn’t speak a word when he stood. What a proper male god.
Even talking was fun. It’s good, but unfortunately, fate does not favor everyone fairly.
After knowing each other for more than a week, Tong Kai somewhat knew what Jiang Zijian’s family did at home, because Zijian had answered, “my father idles around and shakes his arms everywhere” and “my mother sometimes plays mahjong with her friends.”
Tong Kai had made up his mind then to help the poor. He imagined that if they got together, he could introduce Jiang Zijian’s unemployed father to his company as a driver, and his mother as a cook. Then, he could buy a 100-square-meter house for Jiang Zijian in his name.
This was like the perfect arrangement for a daughter-in-law’s family.
Of course, Jiang Chaosheng–the hotel tycoon–didn’t know that he would have a bright future as a driver for a law firm. His wife, who liked to play mahjong with rich ladies, had not cooked for a long time and may need to practice her skills first.
Jiang Zijian looked up and sneaked a glance at Tong Kai.
Tong Kai’s eyes were overflowing with student spirit. Although he didn’t like the clothes he was wearing, they were fine as long as he could change into this year’s Hugo Boss’ new winter collection later. He would look just like a male model, soft but sharp. Supposedly, these two qualities should not appear in the same person. What’s even rarer was that when Tong Kai was serious, he exuded a strong magnetism and steadiness, along with a sense of harmony. His was a kind of calm aura that was solely formed by aristocratic men who had been used to a good life ever since childhood.
Just like a ray of sunshine that shone into Jiang Zijian’s life, Tong Kai was full of vitality; he was an unstoppable force. Tong Kai told Zijian that his parents were farmers in Henan Province and he had a sister who was already married. So Jiang Zijian planned to accompany Tong Kai in the upcoming year, buy the foot bath center for him after taking the self-examination, and confess to him along the way. He also planned to buy a piece of land in Henan and ask Tianhe to help design a full-automatic farming system to grow some food for his hotel. They could also go to Tong Kai’s house and call his friends on the way.
The biggest problems now were, one, neither party knew what the other’s position in bed was. They would always hint at the subject with a few words but soon diverted from the topic.
Two, after a week together, they discovered that the other’s character needed some adjustments, such as…
“How many mistakes did you make?” With the reading comprehension done, they began to work out the answers. Tong Kai made four mistakes while Zijian made three.
“You should choose B,” Jiang Zijian said. “This sentence means ‘it will not rain tomorrow.’”
“That’s wrong! How is that possible?” Tong Kai argued. “He said, ‘If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I’ll wash the clothes today. I hope it won’t rain tomorrow…’”
“You have to judge with context,.” Jiang Zijian explained.
“That’s the context!” Tong Kai had already put his acting script behind him as he was distracted by the four mistakes in the reading comprehension section for the adult self-examination! Are you kidding?! All things have to be distinguished between right and wrong. His occupational disease broke out and he started arguing with Jiang Zijian.
Jiang Zijian argued back, “You have to think about the original intention of the person who wrote this article! The original intention!”
“Once the article is written, it has nothing to do with the original writer!”
“How could it not matter?! What about the writer’s thoughts? You must seriously consider it!”
“We only need to recognizefait accompli and provide evidence, right?”
The two quarreled in KFC. Tong Kai pointed hard at option C as Jiang Zijian exclaimed, “Listen to me!”
“Listen to me first!”
Who doesn’t listen to whom? They all wanted to overwhelm each other professionally. Suddenly, Tong Kai realized and said, “You know a lot!”
That said, Jiang Zijian recovered his senses and laughed. “Haha, ah yes. Actually, I read it once before I came here and thought about it…”
Jiang Zijian’s explanation moved Tong Kai, making him think he was really brave. In order to teach him English, Jiang Zijian had even prepared lessons at home.
“You’re a quick learner,” Jiang Zijian also found out.
Tong Kai sheepishly smiled. “You taught me well.”
Jiang Zijian reached out to grab the coke while Tong Kai tried to pass it over. Their fingers touched and they immediately shrank back.
Thunder and lightning flashed outside, while music played through the store’s loudspeakers, the rain sliding down the floor-to-ceiling glass windows. “It’s really raining this time.”
“Hmm!” Tong Kai nodded.
Autumn had arrived in Taiyuan. The parks and roads were full of colorful red leaves.
After the private plane landed, the extended Rolls-Royce limo sped up on the highway. Guan Yue sat in the car and watched the maple leaves fly along the roadside.
The car stopped in front of a mountain; Guan Yue’s family compound was located within, on nearly a hundred acres of land. The perimeter’s peripheral security guard opened the big iron gate and allowed the car to pass. After it arrived at the courtyard, the driver rushed out and opened the car door. Guan Yue stood outside and breathed in the fresh air. A shuttle car came over but Guan Yue waved it aside and walked in.
As evening approached, the wind echoed through the eaves of the roofs of the mansions on the property. There were hundreds of interconnected mansions; they circled around each other layer by layer, clustering around the largest mansion at the center, like the Forbidden City. Guan Zhenghan took ownership of the compound from his father and remained loyal to the old times, even after he became the head of the house.
The old housekeeper who was waiting on crutches outside the hall smiled. “Young Master is back. Why didn’t you tell us in advance?”
“Said it,” Guan Yue replied.
As soon as the “young master” called, the distance between time and space instantly shortened, as if crossing back to the time before liberation.
“I just received the call right before you boarded the plane. You haven’t been back for over a year.” The old housekeeper sighed.
Guan Yue entered the nave where four servants were waiting for him. They had prepared hot water for him to wash his hands, while another servant took his suit jacket. Taiyuan’s weather was cooler than the south. It was already chilly at dusk. Another servant took out an open-breasted mink vest and shook it out to wait on him.
“I’m going to see Grandpa,” Guan Yue said.
The old housekeeper nodded and waved his crutch, and replied, “Taiye is about to eat his meal and will take his medicine after.”
Guan Yue stepped out of the newest courtyard and went through the cloister to the older one. The house occupied a double-happiness structure and had a corridor that crossed through tens of meters of alleyways. The old housekeeper followed and Guan Yue slowed down his pace.
The housekeeper smiled and said, “I’m suddenly in high spirits. You know, I bought your magazine interviews from this year and read them to Taiye.”
A little embarrassed, Guan Yue paused and nodded.
Guan Yue’s grandfather had a weak heart due to Parkinson’s disease. He was ninety-seven years old and squinting in his room. One of his aunts was feeding him porridge. His grandfather wore a bib around his neck because he spilled a lot onto his body.
“Grandpa.” Guan Yue entered the old courtyard and greeted in Shanxi dialect. He knelt down and kowtowed first. When the old man cried an “oh” and “um,” Guan Yue then stood aside. As the old housekeeper explained the recent situation, he watched the old man who had a thick felt coat, white hair, and chicken skin. Guan Yue just listened in silence. Grandpa reached out his hand to hold onto Guan Yue and looked at him blankly, unable to recognize his grandson.
The old man refused to continue eating the porridge. Guan Yue washed his hands again and took the bowl. “I’ll do it.”
“I was still talking about Young Master yesterday,” The aunt said. “Today you came. It’s like you guys have telepathy between two generations.”
Guan Yue nodded and began to feed his Grandpa. Ever since his grandmother died, the old man slowly began to forget. Parkinson’s disease comes and goes. At first, everyone in the family was in such a fuss that they especially invited doctors from the US to come for a consultation. However, this disease could only be treated with a proactive treatment. Plus, with heart problems, it was difficult and no one was willing to operate. How old was the patient?
“Ninety-seven-years-old. How can one become an immortal?” This was Guan Yue’s father's original words. “It’s even hard to say whether one can live to 97.”
This disease could be inherited, but Guan Yue didn’t want to do genetic testing. When Guan Yue saw his grandfather, he sometimes saw his old self. He just doesn’t know who will accompany him in the future when he looks back on his short life. What will he think when he can only eat porridge?
Joyce: *insert facepalm pikachu face* every Zijian and Kaikai’s convo. BTW, all italic texts were originally written in English. Also, this chapter took me a week to translate. Sorry for the slowness. Thank u for waiting! <3
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Cat, Joyce and Caro.