After Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue returned to Fengcheng, their life was the same as before. They spent most of their time at Tiny Garden, and every few days they would visit the plant nursery.
Taking advantage of the fact that the current household registration policy in Fengcheng was not too strict, Yan Yue moved his household registration over to the house in the community without any problems. Lu Lingxi also moved his household registration out of his home and settled with Yan Yue. The day he got his household registration, Yan Yue looked at its contents with satisfaction. The column for the head of the household was filled in with his name, followed by Lu Lingxi’s name as the family member.
“Xiao Xi, we are now a family.”
As soon as he got into the car, Yan Yue couldn’t help but hug Lu Lingxi, smiling at him and lowering his head to kiss him fervently.
Lu Lingxi blushed a little; there were many people outside the household registration office and he didn’t know if he should push Yan Yue away. In fact, he was happy in his heart. It was hard to describe the happiness he felt when he saw his name and Yan Yue’s name side by side on the same household registration book.
Yan Yue couldn’t stop himself from kissing Lu Lingxi greedily. Finally, his sanity prevailed and he reluctantly let go of Lu Lingxi when someone passed the car. He tenderly tidied up Lu Lingxi’s messed up hair and discussed, “Shall we treat Ah Kang and the others to a meal at noon, as a celebration?”
“Celebration?” Who knows what Lu Lingxi thought about but the tips of his ears turned red all of a sudden.
Yan Yue was so softened by the look on his face that he moved over, grabbed Lu Lingxi and kissed him several times. “That’s it then, I’ll call Ah Kang and Fang Lei and the others.”
Lu Lingxi nodded with a red face and added after a moment’s thought, “Let’s call Yi Hang and the others as well.”
The place for the meal was chosen in the new branch of the small restaurant. Lu Lingxi called Yi Hang first and asked him to reserve a private room. The new branch of the small restaurant had opened not long ago, and although the floor space was several times that of the first restaurant, it was still crowded with customers and was always full whenever you went there. With the increase in visitors to Fengcheng, the fame of Xiaohua’s Home Cooking Restaurant had even spread outside the city. There were customers who came from afar and who waited a long time just to have a meal at Xiaohua’s Home Cooking Restaurant.
When he received Lu Lingxi’s call, Yi Hang readily agreed. In particular, Lu Lingxi’s reason for inviting him for dinner made him unable to hold back his laughter. Speaking of which, Yi Hang had really never thought that Lu Lingxi would like men. Even when Yan Yue and Lu Lingxi went everywhere together at the beginning, Yi Hang didn’t suspect anything. It was only when Lu Lingxi took the initiative to confess to him that it dawned on Yi Hang. No wonder Yan Yue had a displeased look on his face whenever Yi Hang approached Lu Lingxi.
After settling on a place for dinner, Yan Yue informed An Jie and the others. When they heard that he and Lu Lingxi were going to treat them to dinner, everyone was enthusiastic. Even Fang Lei, who was the busiest, promised to be on time and not to delay the meal.
Yan Yue smiled as he hung up the phone and looked at Lu Lingxi, “We’ll go over first.”
Lu Lingxi nodded obediently.
When the two of them arrived, Su Lang, who lived the closest, was already there. He was alone in the room, holding his phone and reading something. Hearing the sound of the door opening, Su Lang put away his phone and looked over with a smile, “Why are you so slow?”
“The street is full of people and the traffic jam is terrible.” Yan Yue explained.
Su Lang laughed, “I go out on my bike now, it’s much faster than driving.”
Yan Yue’s heart stirred; the idea of riding a bicycle was a good one. Xiao Xi could sit in the front and he could hold Xiao Xi in his arms all the time. He was thinking whether he should go and buy a bicycle later, when Su Lang started talking about the business, “By the way, I’m going to go to N.T.’s headquarters next week to apply for a foreign patent for the donglingcao medicine as well.”
Some time ago Su Lang had already applied for a domestic patent for the donglingcao medicine in the name of Tiny Garden Technology Company and was now preparing for the official production. Their research team was so ambitious that they wanted to apply for the foreign patent too.
Yan Yue naturally didn’t object to this. Lu Lingxi listened and asked, “How is Xiaobao doing now?”
Su Lang smiled, his eyes gentle, “Xiaobao has almost recovered and will be able to live like an ordinary person in the future.”
“That’s good.” Lu Lingxi was a little surprised.
Su Lang’s eyes flashed strangely when he saw Lu Lingxi’s smile, but the strangeness quickly disappeared without a trace. Fang Lei and Ye Kang arrived one after another, and everyone got together, joking and chatting. Su Lang watched Yan Yue and Lu Lingxi holding hands across the table, picked up the phone and deleted a few photos in it. The background of the photos was the primary school in Jing’an District, Zhongjing, where Lu Lingxi was standing at the entrance with Yan Yue, talking to the old man who was guarding the door. Su Lang didn’t tell anyone about it but he happened to have been in Zhongjing a few days ago. For some reason that was hard to explain, he took an afternoon off to go to that primary school in Jing’an District.
He never expected to meet Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue at the entrance of the primary school. At that moment, Su Lang thought a lot. The familiarity he faintly felt in Lu Lingxi, his inexplicable closeness to Lu Lingxi, and Lu Lingxi’s abnormal attention to donglingcao… Many questions haunted his mind and the answer was about to come out, but Su Lang didn’t dare to think about it further.
He hurriedly left that primary school and left Zhongjing to go back to Fengcheng. He sometimes wondered if he was dreaming, but the photos in his phone reminded him of the reality of his memories. Su Lang didn’t contact Yan Yue for several days in a row, not knowing whether he should share his doubts or not. When Yan Yue called today, Su Lang suddenly felt relieved when he looked at Lu Lingxi’s smiling face. It didn’t really matter if the answer was what he had in mind; Lu Lingxi was happy and that was enough.
Time passed in a flash, and it was soon the end of August. Amongst all the news in Fengcheng, the local people were most concerned about the demolition and renovation of Nancheng. News of several major consortia in Zhongjing competing for the Nancheng project were at the forefront, with the Ye family and Hopewell the most likely winners. The two families had been going head-to-head at every turn, fighting all the way from Zhongjing to Fengcheng.
In early September, the Fengcheng government’s auction for the Nancheng demolition and renovation project officially began. Yan Shihui brought Yan Hai to Fengcheng personally. Elder Ye of the Ye family was also present at the auction, and he nodded at Yan Shihui from afar, with the look of a man who was bound to win.
“Dad?” Yan Hai called out nervously.
Yan Shihui waved his hand, “This kind of auction is fair, whoever pays the most money will win. Even if the Ye family does something secretly, once we have the money in place, Ye Cheng can’t take us down.” He was so confident that for this project he had not only syphoned off all the liquidity that Hopewell had, but had also mortgaged all his shares in Hopewell to secure a large loan, larger than ever before. He knew that several of his competitors were strong, but he absolutely had to win the project.
The auction soon began.
Hopewell, the Ye family, the Li family… more than a dozen companies, large and small, all tried to win the project, and the bids on the entire project soared. As the amount became larger and larger, one by one, some companies withdrew from the competition, and finally only Hopewell and the Ye family were left to compete.
Ye Kang was a little nervous; he had grown up in the Ye family seeing a lot of such scenes, but this time the situation was special and he was always mindful of Yan Yue’s warning, afraid that the Ye family would fall if they were not careful.
“Three billion.” Elder Ye said quietly as he raised his card one last time.
Ye Kang’s heart beat wildly and he immediately looked in Yan Shihui’s direction. From his perspective, Yan Shihui’s face looked a little bad. Although everyone knew that this piece of land was worth a lot of money and could definitely earn it back later if it was operated well, it was important to know that three billion was not the entire investment of this project but just the money for a piece of land in Nancheng. The compensation for demolition and relocation at a later stage was an unpredictable bottomless pit. To be honest, based on the Ye family’s strength it was already a bit strenuous now, and Ye Kang suspected it would be even more strenuous for Hopewell with its financial situation.
Just as Ye Kang focused on Yan Shihui, the eyes of the whole room basically were on Yan Shihui too. Yan Shihui took a deep breath; the amount of money in the competition for the project had far exceeded his expectations by now, and the funds in his hands were no longer enough for this bid. Yan Shihui gave a veiled glance at Elder Ye, who still looked as if he was winning. He wondered if Elder Ye had some inside information, such as the rumours of a “capital relocation” that were secretly circulating in Zhongjing. After a few seconds of hesitation, Yan Shihui decisively raised his card and offered a higher amount than the Ye family.
The eyes of the audience shifted back to Elder Ye. A hint of cunning flashed in the old man’s eyes and he made a gesture of giving up. Not surprisingly, Hopewell took the land. Yan Shihui nodded at Elder Ye with a sense of satisfaction. Without a word, the old man dragged Ye Kang straight out of the venue. In the eyes of the people around, it was more like the old man was angry at losing the competition.
Outside the venue, Elder Ye got into his car slowly and narrowed his eyes at Ye Kang, “I did such a big favour to the Yue kid, how is he going to thank me?”
Ye Kang felt that he was simply going to be scared to death by the old man. Sniffing somewhat helplessly, he said, “What does Grandpa want?”
Elder Ye had some regrets; he had always been quite optimistic about Yan Yue. “It’s a pity that the Yue kid doesn’t like girls, your little cousin has just graduated, she is quite a good match for the Yue kid.” Speaking of this, Elder Ye suddenly gave Ye Kang a suspicious look, “Ah Kang, you’ve been avoiding dating, you don’t like boys too, do you? Who do you like? Ah Yue? Or that assistant next to Ah Yue? You don’t like that cop, do you?”
“……” Ye Kang turned his head with a distorted expression; that was why he was hiding and wouldn’t go home. The old man was thinking of catching him for a blind date all the time, and once he objected, there was no telling who the old man would matchmake him with.
Ye Kang almost woefully rolled out of the car and hurriedly told the old man that he was going to find Yan Yue. The old man sighed, “Actually, Ah Kang and the Yue kid are quite a good match, it’s a pity that someone else has gotten to him first.”
The driver who had been silently acting as a background: “……”
After the bidding was over, the development of Nancheng was quickly put on the agenda. Yan Shihui gritted his teeth and borrowed another sum of money, speedily relocating a third of the residents within the development area. With all eyes on him, Yan Shihui shovelled the first spade of soil and the engineering team soon followed, digging according to his directions.
One metre, two metres, three metres, four metres, when the digging reached five metres, the excavator suddenly came to a halt. The driver poked his head out and gestured to the ground, “Something doesn’t feel right.”
“What’s wrong?” Yan Shihui asked when he saw it stop.
The next moment, a torrent of water rushed up into the sky, and the mud faded away, revealing the gnarled roots that looked like a dragon beneath.
A bad feeling arose in Yan Shihui’s heart, “Try digging around.”
The team spread out to the surrounding area, and for thousands of metres, the ground was full of roots several people thick, like a dragon lying in the dark brown soil in endless coils. Before Yan Shihui could think of a solution, the news had already spread. The entire city of Fengcheng was immediately shaken, and countless crowds of people came to the scene. The expert group sent people to secure the scene as quickly as possible and began further investigations. As for Yan Shihui’s project, who would care?
While the eyes of the whole of Fengcheng were fixed on Nancheng, Lu Lingxi’s family was in the midst of chaos.
Ten months (meaning lunar months) into her pregnancy, the child in Wang Shuxiu’s belly was finally about to be born.
“Quick, I’ll take Xiaohua to the hospital first, Xiao Xi, you pack up and follow.” Xiao Feng carrieded Wang Shuxiu and hurriedly ran towards the car. Everything just started and he was already covered in sweat.
Lu Lingxi nodded as he darted around to sort out the things he had prepared beforehand. Clothes, towels, baby blankets, diapers… “What else?” He asked nervously, rushing to Yan Yue.
Yan Yue checked against the list, “Is there a milk bottle missing?”
“Huh? Right.” Lu Lingxi hurriedly searched for the bottle. The family had prepared four baby bottles alone. They were of different sizes and models. He simply took them all with him so that they could use whichever one the doctor ordered.
After a lot of fussing, the two of them arrived at the hospital with a big bag and a small bag. Wang Shuxiu was in good condition and had already been sent to the delivery room.
Lu Lingxi was apprehensive and nervous, “Is Mom going to be okay?”
“She will definitely be fine.” Yan Yue’s voice had a calming power.
Lu Lingxi breathed a sigh of relief and gently leaned into Yan Yue’s arms as he waited for the new life to be born.