Wang Shuxiu had some chicken soup in the evening and went to work, leaving the whole stewed chicken for Lu Lingxi. Lu Lingxi’s appetite wasn’t big, so he just ate a bit of meat while both chicken legs went into Dahei’s stomach. After eating and drinking enough, Dahei squinted in satisfaction and wandered off to the small yard at the back of the house.
The tomatoes in the yard had only been planted for two weeks but had already started to bear fruit. Although the tomatoes were only the size of a glass bead played by children and still green, Lu Lingxi was already amazed at the speed at which they were producing. Normal tomatoes took at least two or three months from planting to fruiting. Luckily, Wang Shuxiu didn’t care about them and only casually mentioned one day that the tomatoes in the backyard were growing a bit fast but said nothing else.
Last time, Yi Hang helped find some simple wooden planks to block the fence, so now you couldn’t see the inside from the outside. Lu Lingxi felt a bit guilty, but fortunately Wang Shuxiu and Yi Hang were both unconcerned and would only mutter a word or two, not thinking much of it. Lu Lingxi wondered what these tomatoes would look like when they grew up. Would they be edible? Would they be strange? The seeds awarded by the panel were a bit different from ordinary seeds, weren’t they?
After routinely watering the tomatoes, Lu Lingxi sat on the balcony and clicked on the white panel.
After all this hard work, the number of plant hearts on the panel was already 248/1000 (Level 1). 248 seemed like a lot, but it was still a long way from 1000. Lu Lingxi gave himself a pep talk and cheered himself up in his heart. He was a bit curious to know what kind of features would be unlocked when the panel was upgraded again. This time it was the mental scan, what would be next time?
He had to get up early the next day, so Lu Lingxi read a book and took a shower before going to bed early. Once again, Dahei abandoned his nest in the backyard and stayed at the head of Lu Lingxi’s bed. Lu Lingxi scratched Dahei’s chin, acquiescing to Dahei’s behaviour.
“If I knew, I wouldn’t have worked so hard to build you a nest, it’s much easier to just buy a mat.”
Dahei came over and affectionately stuck out his tongue and licked Lu Lingxi’s fingers. Lu Lingxi couldn’t help but laugh and stroked its head, “Sleep.”
Lu Lingxi had a good night’s sleep, but Yan Yue had insomnia once again. If he just continued to have insomnia as always, it would be fine, Yan Yue was used to it, after all. But he had slept well a few days ago because of Lu Lingxi, and after only two days of good times, he was back to his former lonely self.
At two in the morning, Yan Yue sat in front of his computer with a cold face. On the other end of the computer was Yan Yue’s assistant, An Jie. An Jie was a classmate of Yan Yue’s from university and had been following him for five years after graduation. This time, Yan Yue had purposely left An Jie abroad to take care of the overseas branch of Hopewell Group for him.
Having followed Yan Yue for a long time, An Jie could already tell from Yan Yue’s subtle expressions how he was feeling at the moment. For example, even though they were separated by the screen, An Jie seemed to be able to feel the discontent that was pervading Yan Yue’s mood. As a qualified assistant, An Jie also knew about Yan Yue’s insomnia. It wasn’t that he had never seen Yan Yue working in the middle of the night, but he always felt that the previous Yan Yue was at best cranky, and now he was like a volcano on the verge of eruption.
After reporting on some recent affairs, An Jie closed the information in his hand and gave Yan Yue a concerned look, “Boss, when are you coming back?”
Before Yan Yue returned to China, he had mentioned that he would stay in the country for about a month. Now it was almost a month, but Yan Yue had not made any move to return, so An Jie was a bit worried.
When going back was mentioned, Yan Yue frowned slightly and the first thing that came to his mind was Lu Lingxi.
“I have something to do, let’s talk about going back next time.”
Yan Yue had been staying abroad after graduation, and his development focus was also abroad. Compared with the mess of his so-called family members at home, Yan Yue preferred a foreign country where he had no relatives. According to Yan Yue’s plan, Yan Shihui would not give up his power for at least ten years. During this time he would do his best to develop his business abroad and prepare for the future. Yan Yue’s life was like a train with a clear destination, with him meticulously planning where the final stop would be and what stations he would stop at midway. The only exception was Lu Lingxi.
After meeting Lu Lingxi, Yan Yue suddenly wanted to overturn all his past arrangements. His destination was no longer what he had planned before. He just wanted to stay by the boy’s side or to tie the boy to his side.
Yan Yue rubbed his forehead with a headache. The boy would definitely not go abroad with him in the short term, so he himself would stay in the country. In that case, some things would have to be considered in the long run.
An Jie vaguely noticed something in Yan Yue’s expression. Although his face remained unchanged, his heart was full of gossip. Was the boss in a bad mood at the moment because he was troubled by love? This conclusion was quite frightening, and An Jie immediately said twice in his heart, “No way, no way.”
After the two of them finished talking about business. An Jie finally remembered that the time in China was now two in the morning and urged Yan Yue to rest earlier. After ending the video call, Yan Yue still did not feel like sleeping and casually picked up the information on Lu Yishui that had been investigated earlier and read it.
The information showed that Lu Yishui was very good at gambling and had been doing nothing for the last ten years but wandering around various poker tables and underground casinos. Over the years, Lu Yishui had lost and won, but basically he had lost more than he had won. He owed a lot of money and had been relying on his wife Wang Shuxiu’s income to support the family and pay off his debts.
The most recent time was a month ago, when Lu Yishui lost a little more than 200,000 on the gambling table. He borrowed money from a loan shark and lost again, and in a month the interest rolled up to more than 400,000. This amount of money was nothing to Yan Yue, but a gambler like Lu Yishui was like a dogskin plaster that couldn’t be torn off once it stuck to you. What Yan Yue was concerned about was not that Lu Yishui was sticking to him, but that Lu Yishui was pestering Lu Lingxi and Wang Shuxiu and wouldn’t leave them alone.
Yan Yue’s slender fingers habitually tapping in the desk stopped at another name shown on the file, Xiao Feng.
Xiao Feng was an interesting man. Forty years old and single, he had been in Fengcheng for just over ten years and had grown from a small-time gangster to his present position, with two chess and card parlours under him, and also being a part-time loan shark. The money Lu Yishui owed was Xiao Feng’s. These things were not the focus of Yan Yue’s attention; the point was that Xiao Feng did things in a very unexpected way. He had an elder brother who contracted a small private coal mine in his hometown in the northwest. About a quarter of the workers in the mine were people who owed Xiao Feng money. These people were fed and housed by Xiao Feng, and their wages were never deducted and paid monthly, but every time the wages were paid to them, they would soon return to Xiao Feng’s hands. When the money owed to Xiao Feng was paid back, the workers could leave from there. Before leaving, Xiao Feng also gave them a sum of money for the journey plus half a month’s living expenses to ensure that they would not starve to death on the road.
A small private coal mine? Yan Yue hooked the corner of his mouth. It was a good place.
At five o’clock in the morning, Lu Lingxi got up. He went to bed early last night and was in good spirits. After a simple wash up, Lu Lingxi took Dahei out. The appointment time between him and Grandpa Su was six o’clock, and it was almost time for him to have an early breakfast and sneak out.
At this time Wang Shuxiu had not yet returned from her night shift, so Lu Lingxi left a note for her in the living room. At first, Wang Shuxiu was not optimistic about Lu Lingxi’s job; she thought that the little bastard would not be able to bear hardship and would probably quit his job and go home in a few days. But half a month passed, and Lu Lingxi was actually enjoying his work. He had bought a lot of books and read them late at night every day.
Wang Shuxiu was shocked when she tidied up Lu Lingxi’s room the day before yesterday. There were actually more than a dozen books in the previously empty bookcase. Although all of them were about raising plants and gardening, Wang Shuxiu didn’t care. No matter what the little bastard read, as long as he read, it was a good thing. She calculated the money for the books and thought that Lu Lingxi had probably saved the meal money. She immediately called and scolded Lu Lingxi and left him an extra 200 yuan that night.
After this incident, Wang Shuxiu gave up. The little bastard was probably really unwilling to go back to school. It was better to learn a trade, but if not, she could take the little bastard back to her hometown to farm in the future, and they wouldn’t go hungry in any case.
Wang Shuxiu did not mention the matter of going to school again, but Lu Lingxi’s heart was unsettled and he kept trying to find an opportunity to talk to Wang Shuxiu about it. He also knew that his junior middle school education was a bit low, so he wanted to save some money to enrol in a night school to study in an adult college or something in the future, and choose horticulture or agriculture as his major, so that he could apply what he had learned. Of course, this was all planned for much later.
Lu Lingxi thought about it casually, leading Dahei straight to the bun shop at the entrance of the community.
When the owner of the bun shop, the chubby guy Tian Jun, saw Lu Lingxi coming, he smiled, “Yo, Xiao Xi is up so early today.”
“Brother Tian.” Lu Lingxi greeted him politely.
“Still two meat buns?” Tian Jun asked as he took the buns.
Lu Lingxi stroked Dahei’s head, “Six this time.”
Tian Jun took a look at Dahei, understood and casually said, “Eh yo, this dog is quite good at eating.”
Lu Lingxi smiled shyly and did not say anything.
As he watched Lu Lingxi walk away, Tian Jun shook his head and sighed. Wang Xiaohua had suffered enough. They were all from the same neighbourhood, and everyone knew what was going on in each other’s homes. Wang Xiaohua had a strong character, a woman who supported a family, and Lu Yishui was too rotten to support anything. Even if there was a son, Lu Lingxi before had been no good. Who would think that after Lu Lingxi had almost walked through the ghost gate, he would be transformed to a new person? Now, everyone said that it was good that Lu Lingxi had amnesia, so he didn’t remember what happened in the past. A few joked that it would be good if their little bastards also lost their memory one day.
Lu Lingxi didn’t know about Brother Tian’s lamentations; he was squatting by the roadside feeding Dahei a bun. After eating two, Dahei refused to eat more.
“What’s wrong? Not tasty?” Lu Lingxi found it strange. Dahei’s usual meal was four buns, two was not enough for him to eat at all.
Dahei took the bun in his mouth and pushed it to Lu Lingxi, signalling him to wrap it up.
Lu Lingxi looked at Dahei’s behaviour and suddenly remembered Brother Tian’s words from before. He didn’t know whether to cry or to laugh. “Is it because of what Brother Tian said?”
Dahei whimpered, aggrieved. Lu Lingxi really couldn’t hold it in anymore and couldn’t stop laughing as he squatted by the road.
Dahei was even more aggrieved.
Lu Lingxi hurriedly stroked Dahei’s head and coaxed, “Brother Tian was joking. Praising you for your ability to eat means that you are in good health. I hope Dahei will eat more and grow stronger so that he can protect me in the future.”
After a long time of coaxing, Dahei seemed to accept this reason, licked Lu Lingxi’s fingers and ate the remaining two buns. Lu Lingxi was happy and looked at Dahei with amusement, deciding that he needed to praise Dahei more in the future to protect Dahei’s sensitive little mind.
One man and one dog finished eating the buns and slowly walked up to the street corner next to the gardening shop.
“Xiao Lu, here.” Su Weizheng seemed to have just come over and waved at Lu Lingxi as he walked.
“Grandpa Su.” Lu Lingxi tugged Dahei and ran to Su Weizheng’s side.
Su Weizheng looked at Lu Lingxi with a smile, “Let’s go, it’s just over the river, we’ll be there after a short walk.”
The flower market was not far from the gardening shop, but it was not really a flower market, but more like a place for flower lovers to communicate. There were indeed all kinds of flowers in it, as Su Weizheng said. Most of them were raised by the farmers nearby for sale, while a few came from several large plant nurseries around Fengcheng. Lu Lingxi heard Su Weizheng say that the flower market started out as a gathering of flower enthusiasts, but later became famous. More people came and the market grew bigger and bigger. All the flower lovers in Fengcheng knew about this place.
Su Weizheng enthusiastically pulled Lu Lingxi to look around, from time to time commenting in a few words. The flowers in this stall were raised well, and the flowers in that stall were not blooming well. Lu Lingxi had just finished reading an illustrated book on flowers, and after doing a mental scan, he recognised at least half of the flowers there.
Two people and the dog were looking around in excitement when they turned around the corner and came across several people squatting on the ground, looking at something.
“Come on, let’s go over and see what’s going on.” Su Weizheng, an old man with a young heart, pulled Lu Lingxi over.
When they got closer, they found that there were quite a few rotten flowers and plants piled up in the corner. They were probably all cleaned out from the surrounding stalls. A few old men about Su Weizheng’s age were squatting there, picking and choosing with their faces full of pity.
“Look at this one, it’s of really good quality, but unfortunately the roots are all rotten.”
“That one definitely won’t survive, it’s bound to die. If there was even a slight possibility, those people wouldn’t be able to throw it away.”
“Look at this one, it’s a rare wild orchid, isn’t it? Who the hell picked it? If you don’t know how to take care of it, don’t touch it. Look, the roots are all broken, what a waste.”
“This one is a bit of a shame, but the quality is better than that one just now, and the price would definitely be more than that if you raised it well.”
The old man who spoke stretched out his hand and showed three fingers.
Lu Lingxi’s mind whirled between three thousand and thirty thousand. Su Weizheng saw that he was listening carefully and followed with a sigh, “What a pity, if one raised it until it bloomed, it would be worth more than three hundred thousand.”
Lu Lingxi: “……”
Almost subconsciously Lu Lingxi did a mental scan and the white panel surfaced.
Plant name: Wild Spring Orchid
Plant need: None
Plant viability: Dead
Lu Lingxi was sorry to see that it was dead and was about to withdraw his mental scan when a sentence suddenly appeared in the bottom of the white panel.
“The plant is dead, consume a power of nature to save it?”
Lu Lingxi: “……”