Xiao Hong and Zhou Xiaoman stayed in Fengcheng, and one day later Xiao Feng brought home a carload of stuff. There were specialties from their hometown in the northwest and gifts that Xiao Hong had specially prepared for Wang Shuxiu and Lu Lingxi, all piled up in a messy way in the trunk.
Xiao Hong and Zhou Xiaoman were going to spend New Year here with Xiao Feng this time. The two brothers’ parents were gone. In the past Xiao Feng used to go back home, but now Xiao Feng also had the family, so Xiao Hong and Zhou Xiaoman simply came over. Now there were still two months before the New Year, and the two of them planned to go to Zhongjing after Xiao Feng got married.
Xiao Hong told Xiao Feng privately that travelling to Zhongjing was the second priority, mainly because Xiaoman wanted to check her body. The two had been married for ten years and had never had children. They had also been checked before, and the doctors all said that their health was fine. But if their bodies were fine, why couldn’t they have a child? Xiao Hong himself didn’t care. If they didn’t have children, then they didn’t have children. It was good to live a lifetime with just the two of them. But Zhou Xiaoman couldn’t get past this hurdle. She felt Xiao Hong was wronged for not having children.
“If you and Sister-in-law hurry up and have a baby, it’s good. Of course, it doesn’t matter if Sister-in-law doesn’t want to have one. Xiao Xi is a very good child and is no different from your own. We big men have big hearts. It doesn’t matter if there are children or not, whether they are biological or not, our wives are the ones who live with us a lifetime.”
Xiao Feng thought about his elder brother’s advice and shook his head with a smile. He didn’t plan to have children when he and Xiaohua got married. Xiaohua wasn’t too young; it was too dangerous to have children at this age. Just like what his elder brother said, Xiao Xi was very good, no different from his biological son. Xiao Feng hadn’t even thought about having a family before, but now that he had a wife and a kid, what else was there to wish for?
He didn’t think much about it. On the contrary, when he talked to Wang Shuxiu about his sister-in-law at night, Wang Shuxiu thought of something and hesitantly asked him, “Why don’t we have one?”
Xiao Feng was stunned, not expecting Wang Shuxiu to have this idea. “Is it not enough to have Xiao Xi? What’s the point of tossing and turning at your age?”
He said it casually and Wang Shuxiu was immediately dissatisfied: “You think I’m too old?”
Xiao Feng was surprised to learn that women, whether they were 20, 30 or 40, could never hear anyone saying that they were too old. He looked Wang Shuxiu up and down and thought that no one would believe Xiaohua if she went out and said she was in her early forties. But if she had a child, Xiao Feng mused, “…is indeed a bit too old.”
Xiao Feng didn’t have much experience in coaxing women, but he also knew that his next words would have a bearing on whether he slept in bed or on the floor tonight. “Didn’t we agree before? I will treat Xiao Xi like my own son. Since we already have Xiao Xi, there’s no need to have another one. Xiaohua, you are also at an advanced maternal age, which is not good for your health. Besides, if we have one, what will Xiao Xi think?”
What he said was all considered from Wang Shuxiu’s point of view. Wang Shuxiu was relieved but instead of the previous hesitation, she felt that she should have a child with Xiao Feng. Xiao Xi’s surname was still Lu. Even though he was good, he was still different from Xiao Feng’s own child. Marriage is like that, the two of them were considerate about each other. Xiao Feng thought of her in every way, and she couldn’t be selfish and think only of herself. When it came to her health, she didn’t know if it was just her illusion, but despite being so busy lately, she didn’t feel tired at all, as if she was back to her younger days, being in great spirits.
As for Xiao Xi, Wang Shuxiu glared at Xiao Feng, “It’s Xiao Xi who told me to have another child. He wants a younger brother or sister.”
Xiao Feng laughed and hugged Wang Shuxiu, “Alright, children can’t be born just because you want them, just let it be.”
The two reached a unity on this matter and decided not to plan anything intentionally. After all, the two were really old and it was hard to say whether they could have children or not.
For several days in a row, Xiao Hong called Xiao Feng and his family to have dinner together in the evening, and Dahei and Xiaohei were there every time; except for Yan Yue, who had not yet been given a “name and status” and had to stay home alone. Yan Yue was upset, but there was no way to follow, so he could only turn his depression into work motivation. While Lu Lingxi was out for dinner, he convened a meeting at home with Dezhi’s people. For a while, Dezhi’s senior management called An Jie to ask if Yan Yue had been dumped. Their former workaholic boss had returned and even became more deranged, always preferring to pick meetings at four or five in the morning abroad, in the fancy name of taking care of the boss’s jet lag.
With this kind of perverted supervision from Yan Yue, the collaboration between Dezhi and N.T. went very smoothly. It wasn’t the first time the two had worked together, and although the last collaboration had fallen through due to N.T.’s own reasons, the two sides had built up a good mutual trust. This time, Yan Yue invited N.T. to invest in the research and development of donglingcao, and N.T. immediately agreed to it.
It must be said that Su Lang’s application documents were very good and quite stimulating. Even a fool would think that the project was extremely promising and would definitely make money if they invested. Of course, the premise of all this was that the research was progressing smoothly. In this regard, Su Lang’s colleague, Huo Weiping, the head of the institution, was very confident. He was the one who discovered the usefulness of donglingcao in the pre-treatment of leukaemia, and he himself was quite optimistic about the research on donglingcao. The only problem was the lack of money. After Su Lang approached Dezhi Investment, Huo Weiping specially asked his friends abroad to check and make sure that Deji Investment wasn’t a fraud but a real investment company. When Dezhi approached N.T., Huo Weiping was even more relieved. The three parties discussed the details of the cooperation several times and were almost ready to finalise the cooperation.
The fact that Yan Yue’s progress was going well meant that Huo Weiping had rejected Hopewell’s offer. Whether it was Yin Ya or Yan Shihui himself who sent someone over, Huo Weiping wasn’t interested in their proposals. He had no good feelings towards these large conglomerates. No matter how good the initial talks were, when the research results came out, they would always have a way to take them for themselves. At that time he would be an ordinary researcher and would have no right to say anything. Compared with these large companies, he was more willing to pull venture capital, so that it was clear at a glance who paid and who contributed.
Yan Shihui could still be calm about Huo Weiping’s indifference, but Yin Ya was a bit anxious. She was now struggling in Hopewell. If she missed the opportunity to develop biotechnology, she would be completely excluded from the central circle of Hopewell. Thinking about Lu Wei’an’s last proposal, Yin Ya made up her mind to go back to Fengcheng again.
Two days later, Yan Yue, N.T. and Huo Weiping signed a cooperation agreement, but only a day later another person in charge of Huo Weiping’s organisation, Zhang Jian, chose to break up with Huo Weiping and took his research materials to Hopewell in Zhongjing. Huo Weiping was furious and worried that this would affect his cooperation with Dezhi and N.T. Who knew that neither Yan Yue nor N.T. cared.
This kind of thing was very common and they were all prepared for it. Hopewell’s actions would only damage its reputation and be a little too short-sighted in the long run, especially for a new biotech company. Not to mention that the main force behind this research was still Huo Weiping, and Zhang Jian was just helping Huo Weiping before, as long as Huo Weiping didn’t lose his head, the final winner would inevitably be them. And Yan Yue didn’t mention that he still had the trump card – plant evolution – which was something Hopewell couldn’t do anyway.
The dust soon settled and Lu Lingxi only knew that Yan Yue had decided to invest in Su Lang’s research, not knowing what was going on behind the scenes. It was only when Elder Su came to the shop and talked about his righteous indignation that Lu Lingxi learned that Su Lang’s organisation had split into two parts and that the other person in charge had reneged on his trust and ran away with their research materials.
Lu Lingxi was a bit busy these days, and Yan Yue was also busy with the collaboration. The two of them only talked at night before going to bed, and Yan Yue didn’t even have time to make out with him, let alone talk about such disappointing things.
After seeing off Elder Su, Lu Lingxi took out the mutated donglingcao from behind the cashier’s desk. The donglingcao had grown well in the past few days, its colour was lush and very pleasing to the eye, but there was still no sign of evolution.
“Why don’t you evolve?” Lu Lingxi whispered to the donglingcao. He wasn’t in a hurry before, thinking that it would be good for the donglingcao to evolve slowly. But thinking about what Elder Su had told him, Lu Lingxi began to get a little anxious. Yan Yue didn’t say anything, so Lu Lingxi wondered if Yan Yue was afraid that he would worry. What if Yan Yue’s investment failed this time? It was fine if he lost to someone else, but if he lost to Hopewell, Yan Yue would be uncomfortable in his heart.
These thoughts were messy. Lu Lingxi wanted to do something to help Yan Yue, but he didn’t know what to do. The only thing he could do seemed to be to evolve the donglingcao as soon as possible. But why didn’t the plant evolve? As Lu Lingxi thought about it, the white panel suddenly floated in front of him.
Plant name: Mutated donglingcao
Plant needs: none
Plant vitality: very high
The plant is disturbed by the host’s mental interference. Forcibly start the evolution?
A small green line at the bottom of the panel caught Lu Lingxi’s attention. After being taken aback for a moment, he reacted quickly. The host should be referring to him, and his mental interference could be referring to his strong desire to make the donglingcao evolve?
In any case, Lu Lingxi decisively chose “yes”.
The host forcibly initiates the plant evolution; deducting the power of nature -5. The plant meets the evolution conditions and begins to evolve.
Lu Lingxi: “……”
Since he used up all the power of nature last time, he tried his best but had not collected any power of nature again. Unexpectedly, now he actually owed the panel five points of power of nature at once. Fortunately, donglingcao finally evolved, although the panel didn’t indicate the direction of donglingcao’s evolution. Lu Lingxi carefully put the donglingcao’s flowerpot behind the cashier’s desk, ready to take it home to Yan Yue in the evening.
When it was almost time to leave work, Wang Shuxiu called again, talking about dinner together in the evening. Lu Lingxi found an excuse to decline. When she heard that something was going on at the shop, Wang Shuxiu didn’t say anything. Lu Lingxi breathed a sigh of relief and sent a text message to Yan Yue, saying that he would be able to go home after work tonight.
Yan Yue’s text message came back quickly, “I’ll pick you up.”
Lu Lingxi put his phone away and thought about going to see donglingcao. Its look was simply astonishing. The donglingcao, which was still lush and luxuriant at noon, quickly withered in the afternoon, and all of its leaves fell off clean.
The white panel floated in front of him as the mental scan spread out.
Plant Name: First-class mutated donglingcao
Plant needs: none
Plant vitality: very high
The panel showed that there was nothing wrong with the donglingcao, but why had all the leaves fallen off? Lu Lingxi looked at the bare donglingcao and suddenly his mind was blessed with a thought. He thought of the reason why the donglingcao wouldn’t evolve. Unlike most plants that fall into dormancy in winter, the unique properties of the donglingcao itself dictated that it would grow in a different form in winter. He had kept it in the shop at a room temperature of over 20 degrees, so it would not have evolved without going through the necessary growth stages.
With this in mind, Lu Lingxi simply placed the donglingcao outside Tiny Garden. In a short while, the plant was covered with thin, cicada-wing-like ice flakes of various shapes. Unlike the glittering white ice flakes Lu Lingxi had seen in the picture, the ice flakes in front of him had a hint of light blue, shining under the light with an indescribable beauty.
As soon as Yan Yue got out of the car, he saw Lu Lingxi squatting in front of the shop looking at something.
“Big Brother Yan.” Lu Lingxi’s eyes lit up and he excitedly pulled Yan Yue over to look at the donglingcao. “Look, the donglingcao has evolved.” He said, reaching out to poke the ice flakes on top of the donglingcao, and as he did so, the ice flakes trembled slightly as if they were butterflies spreading their wings.
Yan Yue’s lips curled up, forming a soft arc. He rubbed Lu Lingxi’s hair and praised without mincing words, “Xiao Xi is really great.”
Lu Lingxi smiled, “Big Brother Yan, do you think donglingcao looks good like this?”
“It looks good.”
“I think it looks pretty good, too.” Lu Lingxi said seriously, “I’ve heard that many places choose to cultivate donglingcao and use it as a landscape plant in winter. If there’s no progress on Dr. Su’s side of the research, we can try to work in that direction as well.”
He spoke in a serious manner, and Yan Yue’s heart suddenly throbbed. Lu Lingxi obviously knew from somewhere that something had happened to Huo Weiping’s institution and used this way to gently comfort him. Yan Yue felt his heart to be a soft mess; his eyes were warm as he looked at Lu Lingxi, “Okay, we’ll do as Xiao Xi says.”