188 A Lackey, a Friend, a Fan, or a Pet 2 in 1
City planning would often bring many changes. The changing of the function of the city center, the transference of management, the update of the business sector and residential area, the transformation of the environment… as well as the revision of the roadmaps through the city.
As its name suggested, San Lin City had many mountains and forests. The earliest highways and roads were built around the geographical conditions; therefore, they had many twists and turns. After the city grew to a certain size, new straight roads were fixed to save travelling time, and the roads became wider and flatter. This was the reason the earlier roads had been abandoned.
Yao Zhixing and his racers often had their races on these abandoned highways. A not so bad route could be bought for several ten thousand. Of course, this meant that maintenance of the roads fell on the shoulders of the racers as well, and most of the money for maintenance came from the racing bets; it could be considered to be shared by everyone.
Every time before a race started, Yao Zhixing's group would close and check the route to ensure there was not a civilian car that had accidentally entered the race track, so since they did not need to worry about running into civilians, the officials would often pretend not to notice about their activity. After all, this was better than having them race on the normal city streets.
Therefore, with it being half underground and half official, whenever it was midnight or sometimes in the morning, one could the sound of car engines cutting through the air on these routes.
The empty highway was free of people and cars. The end of the road twisted and turned into the mountains and jungles. The place was silent and chilly under the glow of this wintry sun. From afar, it looked like a sleeping viper. Suddenly, a humming motor and grinding tires shattered this silence. The sounds echoed down the route from the start of the highway.
Then a race car blasted out from a twist in the road. With a roar that sounded like it would tear through the air, it made a stable yet swift drift around the corner and shot forward without decreasing its speed. It was like a beast that was trying to break through the limits of space and time.
The race car that was as unruly as an uncaged beast used a beautiful drift to come to a halt at the end of the road. The front of the car aligned perfectly with the parking line that was drawn on the road, and it was the size of a palm away from knocking into the placed rail. It gave the security guards who had been hired by the racers quite a scare. They had thought they were going to be rammed into by the car!
Then, a large, handsome man with a majestic presence pushed the door open and stepped out of the car. He had a light smile on his face like the life and death racing that happened earlier was just their imagination. He gracefully showed the security guards a card to clarify his racer identity.
Then, the passenger seat's car opened, and a man with his two legs shaking and his clean face incredibly pale toppled out of the car. He needed to hold the car itself for support, or he would have had trouble standing upright. Actually, even though he was holding the car, he had trouble finding firm ground. His quivering lips were open, but it was unknown whether he was trying to scream or suck back the soul that had been flung out of his body due to the high speed. He sounded so weak that tears could be heard lacing through his voice.
"Bro… Bro… Brother Ye…"
Ye Shuang raised an eyebrow and turned to glance at An Zixuan. She still had that smile that was as warm as the coming of spring on her face. As she waited for the security guard to check the card, she took a step backward to give An Zixuan some support. An Zixuan's body was as soft as a cooked noodle, and he practically collapsed into Ye Shuang's arms.
The security guard checked the number on the card and confirmed that the card indeed belonged to a member of the racers. He immediately returned the card to the handsome man in a polite manner. If it was not a member, then he would have jotted down the plate number for this car and reported it to Yao Zhixing. The man would then have handled it in private. This stretch of road had been privately purchased, so if they did not take a good care of it and let anyone to come here and race, they could get in serious trouble if there was an accident.
Ye Shuang nodded at the security guard and turned around to help An Zixuan get back into the passenger seat. An Zixuan saw the car like it was a death machine. He gripped Ye Shuang's arm tightly, or else he would have crumbled to the ground already. His lips moved as he tried to request for a lighter punishment. "Wait a minute, let me rest for five… No, just one minute!"
Ye Shuang shoved the man inside the car and walked around it to get into the driver's seat. The security guard did not have the heart to look at the pained and pale expression on An Zixuan's face. They quickly ran over to help raise the bar to allow Ye Shuang's car to pass through. After driving past that roadblock, to give An Zixuan some time to recover, Ye Shuang purposely slowed the car down. Compared to the high speed earlier, the current speed was not much different from a walk in the park.
"Now are you feeling better‽" After a while, when color eventually returned to An Zixuan's face, Ye Shuang finally broke the silence in the car. An Zixuan's soul gradually returned as the car was moving with a speed that was lower than normal. However, when he heard Ye Shuang say that, there was still the desire for tears to come to his eyes. "I'm feeling much better."
So please don't do that crazy thing again.
A small smile appeared on Ye Shuang's lips. She did not turn her head around but continued to speak in a calm and even tone. "Life is filled with challenges and hurdles, and your tolerance will decide your ability to withstand pressure."
The slightly low voice slowly swam through the interior of the car. "For example, when you are young, a break-up might cause you immense pain, but when you are older, looking back, you will realize how dumb and juvenile you were for acting that way when you were young.
"Furthermore, why is there a language barrier between a man and a woman? Because women like to talk about gossip, the price of meat, the things that happened to the family, and so on, whereas a man's nature dictates that their goal is set much further than females. They need to expand their territory, so they think the women's topics are frivolous and boring. The men cannot understand what the importance is in discussing stuff like which supermarket's potatoes are cheaper by several cents!
"If the limit in your eyes is only one meter, you will feel claustrophobic within this one meter. The space will be so small that you'll find difficulty breathing."
Ye Shuang kept her hands on the steering wheel as she made a turn. The car made a beautiful turn as it drove into the traffic that headed into the city.
"However, if you can put your sight further, this one meter will appear so insignificant. Now, you are so concerned about people's gazes and are wrapped in pain and shame due to it. However, if you're standing at a spot that is beyond their reach, will these gazes that cannot even reach you continue to be so important‽
"What you care about dictates where your limitation is. If you're feeling excited or down for ten dollars, then the standard of your valuation will revolve around ten dollars. If your emotions are disturbed by the criticism of a normal person, then you are putting yourself to be nothing more than a normal person."
Ye Shuang cared about her friends. Even though she was not really that close to An Zixuan, since he was one of her fans, Ye Shuang felt like she could not just ignore the man. If it was within her power and would benefit both parties, she was glad to extend an olive branch.
I suppose it was no different from the feeling of, 'Since you admire me so much, in the future, I'll be looking out for you.' No matter the position, be it a lackey, a friend, a fan, or a pet, at the very least, Ye Shuang had considered An Zixuan a part of her social circle. Of course, they were not close enough for Ye Shuang to go out of her way to help him, but since she was so bored…
An Zixuan was rather quiet. He probably understood what she was saying, or perhaps he simply did not have the energy to counter or had used every ounce of energy within him in that scream earlier and his brain was still in shut down mode. Ye Shuang looked at the man, and she thought about it before asking, "I heard that Tony has been trying to teach you how to snipe the market."
An Zixuan had to say something since Ye Shuang asked a question. He contemplated it for a while before answering with some hesitance, "Yes…"
Then confusion came over his face, and he turned to Ye Shuang with a lost expression. "Do you think I should learn it?"
Ye Shuang shrugged and asked him back flatly, "Do you have any interest in it?"
An Zixuan was silently for a very long time. "Before this, the family said I had to inherit the family business, so I went to enroll in courses for business management. Then Anthony said I have the talent, so I started to learn how to snipe. Actually, it's not really the matter of interest, but since I have the talent and resources, it would be such a waste not to pick up the skill, right?"
"Understood." Ye Shuang nodded. She had finished her analysis on An Zixuan. The man was the type that had no definite views of his own but was very good at taking orders. If someone pointed him in a direction, he would do his best to charge down it.
Earlier, she had heard from Anthony that An Zixuan was a very good student; he was very hardworking and active in asking questions and trying to learn. On the surface, it looked like the man was very interested in this, but actually, he was merely operating on his habit of giving his all when he was tasked to do something.
Interest and pursuit were two completely different things. An Zixuan was the kind that had a clear distinction between the two. He could not find anything that interested him in life, but he could follow a very close and hardworking pursuit based on the direction given by others. Therefore, when his family told him that he would be inheriting the family business, he came up with all these tricks and tactics to resolve all the issues that stood in his way.
However, in reality, if his family told him to go down another route, this man probably would have put in the same amount of effort. He would be so hardworking that others would have the impression that this was his interest.
"Actually, it is not such a bad thing." Ye Shuang thought about it and smiled when she noticed the nervousness that appeared on An Zixuan's face. "A person's interests can naturally change by time and one's environment. Sometimes, it can even be purposely directed in a certain direction. If there's something that you do not like now, it doesn't mean that you won't like it later. It is a good thing if you have a goal to work toward. To be honest, how many people in the world can live however they like? Most of the people in life are like cows being led by the nose."
As this sentence ended, An Zixuan suddenly realized that the car had stopped. Then Ye Shuang cut the ignition and pulled out the key. She pushed at the door, signaling non-verbally to An Zixuan that it was time to get out from the car. It was then that An Zixuan realized that they had arrived at a restaurant.
The restaurant was not that high-end, but it was not a place where people would just wander in either due to the taste and price of the food served. However, if for Ye Shuang, An Zixuan still had the belief that a more high class place would be more matching to his presence. Therefore, An Zixuan blinked as they walked to the door of the restaurant. He suggested, "I know a good restaurant that is near this place…"
"Oh, that won't be necessary." Ye Shuang was wearing a thick scarf and tinted sunglasses. After scanning the room for an empty table, she walked directly to a table next to the window and sat down. Then she waved for the waitress' attention for the menu.
After she had the menu in her hands, she turned to smile at the confounded An Zixuan, who had sat down across from her. She coughed and said in a whispered tone, "Actually, I just wanted to find someone to walk the streets with me, but earlier, I saw a familiar person walk in. I'm sorry, but I'll need you to accompany me for a little while longer."
"It's okay. After all, I have nowhere else to go to." An Zixuan was both a little excited and a little bit disappointed. Who is this familiar person? So annoying.
However, Ye Shuang did not have any intention of explaining. After taking a look at the menu and based on the smells that drifted out from the kitchen, she very quickly decided the few dishes that were famous at this restaurant. She matched them to the name of the dishes on the menu and raised her hand to call the waitress over. "Fish and chips, Chinese yam ribs, Tofu soup…"
Ye Shuang listed off the dishes without taking a breath. She sounded and looked so graceful that it felt like she was ordering escargot cooked with red wine sauce at the most high-class restaurant. The waitress was getting confused by the list of food, and An Zixuan was even more so. Of course, they did not realize that the man who seemed to be focusing on reading the menu actually had his attention elsewhere.
The thing that Ye Shuang was paying attention to was really the conversation of the people two tables away from them.
"Are you serious, Brother Zhou‽" The unfamiliar voice gasped in shock even though he still kept his volume to a minimum. "Then why didn't you take revenge on that woman‽ Yao Zhixing and the other people didn't stop her‽"
Then, a completely unfamiliar voice sighed. He sounded down and disappointed, but in reality, he was adding oil to the fire. "The woman is not that simple. She is cruel and ruthless. Now my mother is afraid of leaving the house. I was also taught a lesson by Yao Zhixing, and now, I've even caused trouble for Brother Zhou."
Ye Shuang smiled when she heard it, but in reality, she wanted to laugh. The mother that did not dare step out of the house now was probably the mistress. She had probably been warned by the real wife. Furthermore, it was not her who asked Yao Zhixing to teach anyone a lesson, so what was with this pushing of blame onto her‽
The waitress did not realize she was not in a good mood. Looking at this familiar looking handsome man, she smiled kindly, and it felt like her whole person was going to float into the air. The sweetness in her voice was tuned to the maximum. "Sir, would you like to try our yogurt custard‽ It is our chef's recommended. It is smooth and nice with the fragrance of fruits… I recommend it a lot. I guarantee you won't regret it."
The waitress' tone annoyed An Zixuan almost immediately. He raised his eyes slowly and scoffed coldly. He was just about to start his sarcasm machine when Ye Shuang closed the menu and stopped the impending war with a smile. "That's all. Actually, add two servings of yogurt custard. Thank you very much."
The waitress walked away unwillingly with the menu, regret apparent on her face. An Zixuan pouted and started talking with Ye Shuang. It was kind of childish, the whole event. It was like children fighting to see who was better friends with Ye Shuang. Since one had talked to her, then the other also need to talk.
Ye Shuang chatted with An Zixuan, but her attention was really placed at the table behind them. In the car, she had seen Zhou Yue and two people walk into this restaurant together, and she had instantly been reminded of what happened during New Year's Eve. She was thus interested to hear what they had to say. She understood that the chance of it was very low; therefore, she was really surprised when she found out they were indeed talking about the stuff that happened on New Year's Eve.
She did not hear a peep out of Zhou Yue, but the other two kept talking. After taking away all the acting and self-mocking, all that remained was that they were trying to incite Zhou Yue to take revenge against her on their behalf. Ye Shuang was also quite interested to see if this Zhou Yue still had the guts to do that after what happened that night.
Just as that thought entered her mind, Zhou Yue's voice suddenly appeared for the first time. It was rich with anger and annoyance. "Are you two done‽ Are you that happy seeing me getting punched? Repeatedly, nonstop? Aren't you tired? Reliving that memory is that fun for you two?"
The two's voices immediately got stuck in their throat. Without even turning around, Ye Shuang could read their emotions from the awkward atmosphere that spread through the room.
That is not the point! We are not excited! We are trying to incite your competitiveness. We have wasted so much saliva, but how come you keep focusing on the insult of being punched? Where is the counter-attack after the humiliation‽
Ye Shuang smiled lightly as she picked up the free tea placed before her to talk a sip. At least, currently, Zhou Yue did not have any intention of launching a counter attack. Now that question became—how long could the two hold on? If they continued to incite provocation, things might change in the near future.
An Zixuan was instantly excited when he saw the smile that suddenly appeared on Ye Shuang's lips. He was glad that the conversation had finally garnered the man's attention and interest.
As if they had finally noticed the annoyance that surrounded Zhou Yue, the pair that had been busy fanning the flames immediately apologized and moved the topic of conversation away. After a few snippets of conversation, the thread was slowly being silently led back to another direction.
The voice that had been filled with indignation earlier asked cautiously, "Brother Zhou, should I call someone?"
"Who can you call?" Zhou Yue did not hold back and did not sound like he was going to save face for the two. "Bunch of useless people, their one finger will be able to bury the lot of you."
The voice of indignation chocked once more, and after the pretense of contrition, he added with a sigh, "So be it. I'm sure my mom is used to a life like this already."
The sentence seemed to be hinting at something. Without turning around, Ye Shuang could not tell whether the two had exchanged a glance or not, but the voice of indignation was quickly reminded, and he added, "That's right, Brother Zhou! I hear that woman has a little brother, right‽ Furthermore, we know about her father and mother…"
The cup in Ye Shuang's hand was squeezed until it shattered. The waitress who was eagerly serving the food was shocked, and she said in a fluster, "Why would the cup suddenly crack? Sir, are you injured? Did your hand get scalded‽"
An Zixuan jumped up from the chair almost in the same instant. The flame of anger appeared on his face immediately. "Brother Ye, quick let me look at your hand… What are you guys doing‽ How can you serve your customer a cracked cup! Will you be able to pay for the compensation if the customer is injured‽"
Seeing as the commotion was growing big, Ye Shuang immediately tried to console An Zixuan and opened her palm to pick out the pieces. The palm that was as perfect as it was carved out from white jade did not show any trace of redness. The she picked up the paper towel to wipe down the water from the table and her hand. She smiled lightly. "It's alright. I'm fine. Please continue to serve the food."
"How can that be fine…" An Zixuan wanted to say something more, but when he accepted the gaze that travelled his way, for some reason, even though he could not read negative emotions from the man's eyes, his subconscious told him there was a dangerous emotion hiding just beneath the surface. His mouth clamped up immediately, and he silently sat down. An Zixuan closed his eyes to try to draw himself to a place of calmness. After the flames in his heart were suppressed, he turned to look at the panicking waitress. "Didn't you hear the man? Serve the food."
I knew we shouldn't have come to this restaurant! This waitress who only knows how to seduce the customer is the worst!
An Zixuan did not dare push the blame onto Ye Shuang, so he shoved the blame onto the innocent waitress. In his mind, if not for the waitress, Ye Shuang definitely would not have brushed such a serious incident off. Ye Shuang did not even give him the chance to berate the waitress.
Humph! What recommendation of dessert, that sweet smile is obviously trying to seduce the man!
The waitress put down the rest of the dishes in a hurry and quickly ran away to grab the table cloth. She carefully swiped the broken pieces into a tray and used the cloth to wipe down the rest of the tea that splashed onto the table. She cleaned the place setting before Ye Shuang, apologizing profusely before she retreated.
The commotion still attracted the attention of the other customers in the room. Thankfully, due to the time of the day, the number of customers was not that great. Since Ye Shuang had calmed the situation down effectively and quickly, they only turned to look before turning back. Zhou Yue's table also followed suit. The yell by An Zixuan earlier was quite loud, but since nothing else had happened after that, the three quickly turned their attention back to their own issue.
It was then that Zhou Yue was reminded of what the other man at the table said earlier. He frowned and scolded, "Aren't you two ashamed of fixating on a woman‽ For every grievance, someone is responsible; for every debt, there is a debtor. If you are capable, then go find Yao Zhixing to hash it out. Why are you slowly moving away from that original target‽"
The two were deeply shocked. They did not expect Zhou Yue to say something as logical as that. What happened to the man who would punch anyone that he felt had looked at him the wrong way‽
Of course, they knew Zhou Yue had been taught a serious lesson during the New Year's Eve party. He had been taught a serious lesson by a woman, and the lackey who had been sent to tamper with the car was behind bars. However, they did not know there was a difference of variation to the term 'taught a lesson'.
Would someone almost kill a person when they teach another person a lesson‽
After sharing a look, the two were still unsatisfied. For Zhou Yue, his target was Yao Zhixing, but it was a different story for these two. They were most annoyed at Ye Shuang, the guardian of the first wife.
If not for this woman, would they and their mothers have been blacklisted after so many years of glory? Would they have lost their bright future?
Normally, they would not go after Yao Zhixing, but since they had Zhou Yue to help them spearhead the assault, they would not give up on such a valuable chess piece.
The voice with indignation had a low IQ, and he still did not get it after so many hints. Therefore, the voice with sadness decided he would need to do this himself. He poured a glass of wine for Zhou Yue and said softly, "There is more than one way to deal with someone. Her family members must have normal occupations, right? They go to school, don't they‽ In that case, we only need to talk to the relevant people."
He did not go further than that. Zhou Yue picked up the glass of wine and had a face of contemplation.MountainForestEscargot is snail as a dish.