“Didn’t you say that you weren’t coming?” Wu Jia asked with a radiant smile.
“I had a change of plans.” Li Yiming looked at Wu Jia, who was dressed in a splendid blue gown.
“I see.” Wu Jia’s face flushed and looked away as she misunderstood what Li Yiming meant.
“Dad…” Yang Wei, who seemed a little embarrassed, greeted the old man who approached Li Yiming.
“So you know each other? Why didn’t you introduce him to me earlier?” The old man, Yang Yuxiong, was the one who called the shots behind Yang’s Jewelry. He searched his mind for someone who looked like Li Yiming, but found nothing.
“He’s Li Yiming. Wu Jia’s classmate.” Yang Wei said, slightly frustrated.
“Oh? Yiming? Did you come with your parents?” Yang Yuxiang suddenly took on the tone of an elder.
“No, sir. I came here with my friend.” Li Yiming nodded and replied politely.
“Oh? You came here by yourself?” Yang Yuxiong glanced at Lin Lu, comparing her to Wu Jia out of habit.
“Is she your friend?” Wu Jia finally examined Lin Lu from head to toe, and she was a little uncomfortable at seeing Lin Lu’s fingers around Li Yiming’s wrist.
“Lin Lu, this is Wu Jia, my high school classmate.” As Li Yiming introduced Lin Lu and Wu Jia to each other, he concentrated once again on trying to retain the very subtle nostalgia he felt when he saw Wu Jia. For him, any kind of emotion was a way out of the impasse he was facing.
Yang Yuxiong suddenly let out a cough, realizing that there was something more going on — he could clearly see the unease written all over his son’s face. In fact, in his early years, Yang Yuxiong himself was a playboy, so he had more than enough experience to tell that his son had lost face due to Li Yiming.
“So, Yiming, what do you do for a living?” Yang Yuxiong raised his chin proudly as he made ready to back his son up.
“I’m the owner of a tea house in the old neighborhood. Please, if you have time…”
“A tea house? Pure Water Herb Hall?” Yang Yuxiong was aware of the establishment in particular, since his remembered hearing about it when an old friend complained about someone who refused to emigrate.
‘I see… So my friend probably thought it that it was a good idea to impress him by inviting him over… A clever move? But what can an idiot like him learn? Maybe I’ll help him a bit with his life lessons…’ Yang Yuxiong started to scheme as he loved seeing arrogant fools like Li Yiming fall to their ruin.
“Yiming… Since you’re Jiajia’s friend, I’d like to take the time to give you a word of advice…” Yang Yuxiong faked a voice full of concern.
“Oh?” Li Yiming was unsure what the old man was getting at.
“How could you show up to a banquet dressed like this? This is a high-grade venue. Look around you, do you see anyone dressed like this? Surely you know from the movies and TV dramas you’ve seen that this is impolite. Son, go get some of your spare clothes for him! You should have known better than to stand by and watch! Someone who doesn’t know what’s going on would have thought him to be a paid escort of Ms. Lin’s!” Yang Yuxiong raised his chin proudly as he scolded both his son and Li Yiming.
While Li Yiming stayed impassive, most of the guardians who watched on gasped as they heard Yang Yuxiong. Some were wondering whether this was a message from Yun Yiyuan himself.
“You’re absolutely right. But I’m not here for the banquet,” Even such an insult could not provoke Li Yiming.
“Not here for the banquet? Are you just here to have a meal?! Hahaha!” Yang Yuxiong suddenly let out a loud laugh, but stopped a few seconds later when he realized that the people around him were quiet — too quiet. He had raised his voice on purpose to try to get the spectators to humiliate Li Yiming, but it had no effect whatsoever.
Despite Li Yiming’s poker face, even Wu Jia understood that Yang Yuxiong had been insulting Li Yiming the whole time and became slightly vexed. As for Lin Lu, she looked around left and right, not paying attention to the conversation at all. Yang Wei seemed to want to stop his father’s outburst, but he could not manage to find the right opportunity. As for the guardians who were around Li Yiming, most of them chose to take a few steps back to avoid being dragged into inevitable conflict.
“Haha!” A burst of loud laughter was suddenly heard. Yang Yuxiong turned around in surprise, euphoric to see Yun Yiyuan choosing to lend a helping hand so his joke would not fall flat.
“Well, well, Mr. Li, thank you for coming here today!” Just as Yang Yuxiong was about to use the momentum to crush Li Yiming once and for all, Yun Yiyuan’s words cut him short.
“I’m not here for the food. I’m here for someone.” Li Yiming answered Yang Yuxiong’s question.
“Who is it?” Yang Yuxion asked.
“I don’t even know the name. I’ll have to ask him,” Li Yiming said as he turned around to face Yun Yiyuan.
“I’m sorry, we have a very important guest today, so we need to adjust our schedule slightly. Can I ask those unconcerned to leave?” Yun Yiyuan said before staring into Li Yiming’s eyes.
‘What? This kid isn’t just some tea shop owner in the old district?’ Before Yang Yuxiong could fully understand the situation, a waiter approached him.
“Sir, please.” The waiter pointed at the door.
“What?” Yang Yuxiong was baffled beyond comprehension. Even Yang Wei, who knew more than his father about Li Yiming’s importance, never would have been able to imagine this outcome.
The one who had the most conflicted feelings about how the events unfolded was Wu Jia. The turnaround of events gave her a sense of relief, but she was also curious about the connection between Yun Yiyuan and Li Yiming.
“I’ll go then,” Wu Jia said as she secretly hoped for Li Yiming to tell her to stay.
“Alright, I’ll come find you later.” Li Yiming nodded. It was not that he did not understand Wu Jia’s feelings, but rather he did not think it would be a good idea for her to stay when even he could not predict what would ensue after his conversation with Yun Yiyuan.
Just as Wu Jia left, Lin Lu pulled on Li Yiming’s hand.
“Four o’clock,” Lin Lu said as she finally managed to spot her target when the crowd thinned out.
“So you’ve decided. Welcome!” Yun Yiyuan raised his hands with a smile.
“I’ve told you that I’m here to look for someone.” Li Yiming turned toward the guardian with the scar on his face.
“You’re here for him?” Yun Yiyuan frowned and looked at the middle-aged man in the distance. The person in question approached Yun Yiyuan when he noticed the attention. He was a recently awakened guardian who had gained Yun Yiyuan’s favor after accomplishing many missions with ease. Although he did not know Li Yiming, he knew that someone who could talk on even grounds with Yun Yiyuan was no simple figure.
“I’m going to take custody of him.” Li Yiming with an unbroken countenance.
“You’re coming to my place, and trying to take my people?” Yun Yiyuan’s countenance sank as he realized that Li Yiming was not coming to pledge allegiance.
“I’m not here to discuss my decision with you. If you want, we can fight it out.” Li Yiming said coldly as he looked at Yun Yiyuan. The moment Yun Yiyuan unleashed his aura, Li Yiming’s heart skipped a beat, and he suddenly felt a thirst for battle.
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