Chapter 10 - Gold? Really?
“You’re the owner of this shop? I thought you became a dance teacher?” Wu Jia asked as the three sat down.
“I failed the examination…” Li Yiming said.
“But with your skills…” Wu Jia’s words were cut short after remembering that skill was not the only criteria that mattered during a job search.
Li Yiming shrugged his shoulders, picked up the kettle of red tea and filled his guests’ cups.
Yang Wei was now in an awkward situation. He had planned to show off to Wu Jia to impress her, but now that her attention had shifted to the tea shop’s owner who had happened to be her old classmate, he found all of his plans and schemes to be disrupted.
“It’s not bad. I’ve always wanted to have a quiet life like this. Your shop looks nice, but the business…” Wu Jia quickly changed the subject of the conversation.
“It’s only been a few days since we took over, sorry. Jiawang, could you go get some snacks from the supermarket across?” Li Yiming asked.
Chen Jiawang quickly ran outside while Li Yiming and Wu Jia began chit-chatting about old times and what their other classmates were currently doing. With Wu Jia’s straight personality and warm smile, the mood of the conversation brightened, especially considering Li Yiming’s apparent apathy.
At this point, Yang Wei had gotten impatient. What he had in mind was to invite Wu Jia to this quiet, well-furnished tea house as part of a date, but he ended up being excluded from the conversation. What bothered him even more was how warmly Wu Jia smiled when she saw Li Yiming, and he suspected that she considered Li Yiming as more than just a friend.
“How’s business been?” Despite Yang Wei’s anxiousness to find an excuse to break up the conversation, he had enough common decency to refrain himself from interrupting them. After thinking about it over, he decided to subtly shift the conversation toward a more favorable direction.
“To be honest, you’re my first customers,” The casual conversation put Li Yiming at ease. Even since he became a guardian, he felt like his life had spiraled out of control. It had been far too long since he sat down and socialized with an old friend. This encounter with Wu Jia reminded him of the words inscribed onto the wooden screen at the entrance: Three millennia of recorded history, fraught with power, lust, and greed; Ninety thousand miles of meditation, only to return to gardening, wine, and poetry.
“Oh? That bracelet of yours looks nice! What is it made of? Rosewood?” Li Yiming’s answer made it difficult to further make fun of, so Yang Wei tried another approach. He looked at the wooden bracelet which Li Yiming put on the table and remarked.
Yang Wei had spent a considerable amount of time studying such accessories. In fact, he was able to tell that the bracelet was a replica and that someone had been playing around with it for a long time.
“This doesn’t look like it through…” Yang Wei pretended to be giving the item and honest appraisal as he picked up the trinket.
“I don’t know. The previous owner left this here.”
Yang Wei frowned and put the wooden bracelet down. With just an honest answer, Li Yiming had ruined his plans for a favorable conversation.
“You said that you wanted to be a dance teacher? I know a few people in the field… If you’re Wu Jia’s friend, then you’re my friend. Just say the word…” As Yang Wei’s frustration grew, his efforts to show himself off became more palpable.
“Thanks for the offer, but I’ve already given up on that. I’m getting used to my quiet life now.” Li Yiming picked up the wooden bracelet and started playing with it.
Wu Jia glanced at Yang Wei, a little disconcerted by the latter’s strange behavior. The man whom she knew had a soft and gentle manner showed an entirely different personality today. Although she did find it hard to resist his charm, especially given his handsome appearance and wealth, his lack of refinement stood out particularly when he talked with Li Yiming, who did not treat anyone condescendingly.
“I’m sorry, I need to go to the bathroom.” Wu Jia stood up with a smile. She realized that she needed a moment to compose herself and to think about how to deal with Yang Wei’s antagonizing Li Yiming.
“Wu Jia is my girlfriend.” As soon as she left the table, Yang Wei made his intentions clear in an aggressive manner.
“Oh? Congratulations.” Li Yiming nodded.
“I should introduce myself. Yang Wei. I’m the CEO of Yang’s Jewelry,” Yang Wei said as he took out a business card and put it down on the table. He thought of it as the best way to make Li Yiming appreciate the insurmountable difference in social status between the two.
“Yang’s Jewelry?” Li Yiming frowned at the business card. Rather than being taken aback by the revelation, his attention was attracted by the lavish its design.
What caught Li Yiming’s attention, in particular, was the icon on the top left of the card. It was a small, blue spear with an elegant design.
‘This… Yun Yiyuan’s spear?’ Li Yiming picked up the card to scrutinize it.
“That’s the logo for the Yunyu Group.” Yang Wei said with pride, as media reports about the group’s recent rise to eminence were seen all over the news recently.
“Yunyu group? Yang’s Jewelry belongs to that conglomerate?”
“My father occupies a place on the corporate board.” Yang Wei chuckled, as Yunyu Corporation’s investment in his family’s company was one of the most impressive business performance he had achieved so far.
Li Yiming sank into a long silence pondered about Yun Yiyuan’s careless attitude and Ying Mei’s cold smile. ‘So they’ve already made their move into the economy…?’
Yang Wei, upon seeing Li Yiming’s lack of response, mistakenly thought of it as meaning that he had attained victory. He raised his chin and leaned back against his chair, satisfied with his display of power.
“What were you talking about?” Wu Jia asked as she returned to the bathroom. Chen Jiawang, who had come back from his errand, was considerate enough to give her a napkin.
“It’s nothing. Oh, Jiajia, I’ve prepared a gift for you.” Yang Wei decided to push his advantage and took out a small, ornamented box out of his pocket — his father had always taught him to finish off a weakened opponent.
“A gift?” Wu Jia smiled.
“Open it and you’ll see.” Yang Wei said boastfully as he gently placed the box in Wu Jia’s hand.
“Wow! It’s so pretty!” Wu Jia opened the box and found a flower sculpted with gold inside.
“It’s a golden plum made by one of our finest designers. Do you like it?” Yang Wei said lovingly.
“Is it entirely made of gold?” Chen Jiawang asked out of curiosity, as he was naturally interested in gold.
“Of course. 24K gold. It’s a masterpiece. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it’s probably enough to buy this tea shop” Yang Wei’s ego was further inflated by Chen Jiawang’s question.
“I suppose.” Li Yiming nodded as he looked at the golden flower. Despite having very little to no knowledge on the subject, he could tell that it was worth quite a fortune.
Wu Jia found Yang Wei’s remark to be quite rude and glanced at Li Yiming.
“What do you mean? How much is this shop worth? I think that even if you add in all the furniture and the rent here, it wouldn’t be worth as much as a single golden leaf.” Yang Wei was enraged at seeing the girl he loved being so mindful of Li Yiming.
“This flower does indeed look expensive, but I think we have our own expensive-looking golden flower in the shop. Do you want to have a look at it, Mr. Yang?” Cheng Jiawang, who could not bear seeing Yang Wei act toward Li Yiming in such a condescending manner, suddenly suggested.
“Oh? A golden jewelry piece? Here? Well, if you’ll excuse me for intruding…” Yang Wei made an exaggerated laugh as he thought of it as a golden opportunity to humiliate Li Yiming.
“How…” Wu Jia wanted to interrupt the whole charade, but Chen Jiawang ran into the hallway before she could intervene.
Li Yiming shook his head. It seemed that despite his repeating to Chen Jiawang that the purpose of his talent was not for showing off, the latter had completely forgotten about it. However, this was not the time to give him a lecture.
“Take a look at this!” Chen Jiawang quickly came back with a pot in which a golden object shone with all of its luster.