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‘Huh?’

Gu Yu was surprised by the gift but did not say anything, knowing that she would explain herself. As expected, after sipping at her tea, Jiang Xiaozhai smiled, "I’ll have another two boxes of Wake-up Incense. Furthermore, I enjoyed those you brought me last time and felt I should express my gratitude, or it wouldn’t feel right."

Seeing that he was about to decline, she stopped him. "Hey, that’s not for you. I’m showing respect to that plate of silver frost."

In the rainy night in Wudao River, the stick burnt to the end and the ash covered the entire plum blossom bronze plate, reminding one of snow and frost… it was an indescribable moment shared by the two of them alone.

Since she said that much, Gu Yu found it impossible to turn down the gift and could only accept it. He then opened his backpack and took out a porcelain jar wrapped in a plastic bag. "These are the incense cakes. They are not ready to be used yet. Open them in two days and throw one in when you make soup next time."



He was about to hand it to Xiaozhai. However, after weighing the jar and seeing the outfit she was in, he retrieved it and said, "Well, I’ll hold onto it for you for now."

"Teehee!"

Panpan was laughing uncontrollably beside them. "Oh my, you guys are so cloying that it’s giving me a toothache!"

Gu Yu was a little embarrassed at the comment. Jiang Xiaozhai, on the other hand, did not know what the word "bashful" meant. She smiled at her friend, "Panpan, open your mouth."

"Why?"

The girl was a bit confused and opened her mouth slightly. The next moment, a smooth and slender finger swiped across the tip of her tongue, leaving behind some tea stems.

A bitter taste immediately made its way into her mouth and took over her taste buds.

"Yuck! Bah!"

The girl grabbed the ashtray and spat into it. She complained angrily, "Do you have a death wish?"

"Tea stems are good for your toothache. Feeling better now?" Asked Xiaozhai with a laughter.

"Humph!"

Panpan was no match for her at all, so she folded her arms and sat back in her chair, making sure not to make a sound from then on.

It was almost noontime. The betting had been going on for over two hours and was coming to an end now. These a hundred or so people were very generous with their money, managing to open half of the raw materials. A lot of good stuff was discovered, though no rare treasures among it.

Unexpectedly, the 700,000-yuan old underwater wood did not end up in He Tian’s pocket, but was purchased by a bald guy. It was then cut open at the scene and turned out to be not only full of oil, but containing a tiger pattern as well. For a material of that size, the buyer could at least make twenty strings of beads out of it. Considering the current market price, the bald guy made a pretty sweet deal.

By then, apart from those with some wrapping-up to do, most guests had already left. The two young masters and Zeng Yuewei of course remained behind and made their way towards the tea room.

Zeng Yuewei spotted Gu Yu right away. She was about to greet him when she realized the awkward situation she was in and swallowed her words. The sharp-eyed He Tian noticed her reaction, though. "Do you know them, Wei Wei? Let’s go have a chat, then!"

Before she had time to say anything, he dragged her over to that table. Seeing that, Li Yang adjusted his glasses and followed them with a confused face.

"Mr. Li! Mr. He!"

Xiaozhai was the first to react and stood up immediately. Panpan was only half conscious of what was going on and followed suit. Gu Yu had no idea who the two men were and only nodded at them.

"Wei Wei, introduce us. This is…"

He Tian was making that cloying and weird sound again. Zeng Yuewei bit her lips and resigned herself to making the introduction. "This is Gu Yu, a friend of mine. This is Mr. He, He Tian, and this is Mr. Li, Li Yang."

"Hello, nice to meet you."

Gu Yu held out his hand, neither humble nor pushy. Li Yang gave him a slight shake while He Tian paid no attention to his gesture, asking instead, "Is he your friend as well, Miss Jiang?"

"Yes, he’s my friend."

"Ha, what a coincidence! This young fellow has a lot of friends and all of them just happen to be pretty girls."

He Tian’s tone was rather harsh. He then sized Gu Yu up, realizing that despite his dowdy clothes, Gu Yu was very good-looking and was giving off a serene feel just by standing there.

One had to admit that people with this type of temperament irritated these rich second generation kids the most. It was safe to call them their archenemies—the feud between them would never be resolved. That was just how the world worked. An idea dawned on He Tian right away as he said, "Enjoy yourselves. We’ll go inside."

Li Yang did not talk much. However, when he caught the glimpse of the fragrant rosewood in Gu Yu’s hand, a gloomy look immediately appeared on his face.

After those three entered their private room, Gu Yu asked in confusion, "Who are those people?"

"They are NPCs that you can get super equipment from," Xiaozhai leant on her chin and said slowly. [1]

"What?"

He turned to look at her. Expressing with one eye ‘Sis are you serious?’ and the other ‘Do I look like an idiot to you?’

He was about to make some of his favorite sarcastic comments when Panpan interrupted, "Hey, it’s this hour already. Shall we go and have lunch?"

Xiaozhai ignored her and asked Gu Yu instead, "Do you want to have this cut open?"

"I’ll cut it when I go back home. It takes too much time here…"

He paused and said awkwardly, "Um, I need to go to the toilet."

"We’ll wait for you downstairs."

Xiaozhai took over the fragrant rosewood in the most natural manner, in the same way that a boyfriend instinctively took his girlfriend’s handbag when she needed to use the bathroom.

Panpan was frowning, though. She found the man too gay to be a match for her girl. [2]

The two went downstairs while Gu Yu went to the bathroom on his own. It just so happened that when he walked out, Zeng Yuewei was walking in.

As soon as she saw him, she pulled him into a corner and asked, "Why are you here?"

"I was meeting up with my friend."

"Forget about your meeting. Listen to me now. Go to the bus station and buy a ticket back to Bai Town," she looked rather anxious.

"I…"

He was utterly baffled. Seeing that she pointed at the private room not far away, it dawned on him right away. He asked in amazement, "Have I pissed them off in some way?"

"Tsk, do you think they need a reason to mess with someone? I know people like them too well. They are having a bad day and you just happen to be a punching bag nearby. Anyway, go back as soon as possible. You’ll be fine once you’re on that bus."

Zeng Yuewei was sincerely trying to warn him. However, the sincerer she was, the more absent-minded Gu Yu became, for the conversation in that room was coming clearly into his ears.

"Don’t worry, I’ve let Old Dog know. He’s an expert, he’s never screwed up."

"Nothing went well ever since this morning, damn it! That woman was giving me an attitude since the minute she got into my car. If she pisses me off, I don’t give a damn who she is!"

"Well, I thought you said you were taking it slow?"

"There’s a limit to that! Her old lady has some connections, but it makes no difference to me. Just some extra effort if things get out of hand. Hear me out here. What’s her deal anyway? She knew very well that I was holding her up but she still tried to get close to me. Is she pretending to say no when she wants to say yes?"

"I think it’s more like welcoming you with an intention to refuse."

"Whatever! She knew I wanted to sleep with her. Instead of running away, she was following my orders. She’s asking for it!"

Gu Yu fell silent.

Zeng Yuewei was even more anxious now. "What are you waiting for? Don’t be afraid. The worst they can do is to have some thugs come after you. If you leave now, they won’t find you."

Meanwhile, the conversation in the room went on.

"Just admit your defeat. That woman is no angel. The way I see it, she picked that rotten one on purpose just to shirk you."

"Not necessarily. Maybe she really doesn’t know anything at all."

"Did she tell you that? Come on, is it your first time with women? You can only believe half of what they say. If it were to me, I’d just take her. I really hate that attitude of yours."

"It’s called bonding."

"F**k! Bonding my ass!"

Gu Yu listened in silence, suddenly finding this turns of event rather strange.

The woman in front of him was strong-willed and scheming, but she was not a bad person. The two men over there had glamorous looks, successful careers and significant social status, yet there was nothing good in them.

Right now, this woman on the verge of falling into an abyss was wholeheartedly trying to help him. Those two men were deciding his destiny today in their usual way, just like grinding an ant.

Gu Yu had lived 21 years, which was not long enough to provide him with a lot of life experience. He was far from seeing through the so-called affairs of human life and human nature. Yet at that moment, he suddenly learnt something. It wasn’t an epiphany, just some understanding of the world.

Inside the private room, the two men had changed their subject. To them, those were just petty things that they would not waste much time on.

As they talked, He Tian felt a cold sensation on his arms, as if a breeze had swept past him. The coldness moved downwards and dissipated. He rubbed his arms, feeling a bit strange.

"What…"

Before Li Yang could finish his sentence, he also felt a coldness at his neck. Unlike He Tian, he looked towards the doorway first and realized that the door was ajar. Zeng Yuewei did not fully close it when she went out.

He stood up and closed the door and felt it again before returning to his seat. He smiled, "It’s nothing, just the wind."

[1] ED/N: NPC, Non-playable characters, computer-directed characters in games. One of the slang meanings in English is "unimportant characters in life", so perhaps that’s what the author meant, since it was in English in the raws.

[2] ED/N: Yep, "her girl", and "gay" was in the raws in English as well.

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