"I saw you once by Jiaoyang’s side when I went to deliver her birthday present."
Hearing the name ‘Jiaoyang’, the expressions of the people present changed.
Sheng Jiaoyang racked her brains to recall the scene that Shen Zhining had mentioned. How strange, she didn’t have any impression of this. There was no recollection of these two together in her memories.
At that moment, Lin Yan’s gaze immediately shifted to Sheng Jiaoyang.
Without doubt, Sheng Jiaoyang understood his inquiring gaze. He wanted to know whether or not Shen Zhining knew her identity. But, how could she possibly answer him?
The way the two looked at each other with a kind of tacit understanding that seemed to say more made it hard for others to believe that there was nothing between them.
Shen Zhining’s gaze intensified and his grip around Sheng Jiaoyang's hand tightened, dragging her attention back to him.
"What's the matter?" Sheng Jiaoyang turned to look at Shen Zhining.
"I saw a few acquaintances earlier. Let’s go, I’ll introduce you to them," Shen Zhining calmly said.
Without waiting for Sheng Jiaoyang’s response, he said to Grandfather Lin, "Grandfather Lin, please excuse us."
"Okay, go ahead. You youngsters can go out and have fun later."
Shen Zhining glanced at Lin Yan before walking away with Sheng Jiaoyang.
"You know Lin Yan?" Shen Zhining vaguely asked.
Sheng Jiaoyang thought for a bit before replying, "Lina and I are good friends. I’ve been to her house before, so I’ve met her brother there."
Hearing this, Shen Zhining made no comment.
Afterwards, Sheng Jiaoyang saw Lina and Lin Yu enter the banquet hall, and her face immediately lit up.
Lina also saw her and quickly walked towards her. At the same time, she noticed that Shen Zhining and Sheng Jiaoyang were holding hands.
"Jiaojiao, I'll go and greet Grandfather first. I’ll look for you later." Lina winked at Sheng Jiaoyang and cast a meaningful look at the rumoured Demon King Shen before leaving.
Sheng Jiaoyang stared at Lina’s departing figure and turned to Shen Zhining. "I want to leave early today."
Shen Zhining nodded.
"President Shen!” Several people came over to chat.
Sheng Jiaoyang was a little absent-minded, so when Shen Zhining was chatting with the others, she just served as a pretty face. Only when the others casually asked her a question or two would she respond. When her mind occasionally wandered too far, she’d completely miss out on the others' words and inadvertently disregard them. Some of these people had attended Grandfather Yang's banquet and knew that she was the latter’s granddaughter, so they merely smiled when they were neglected.
A family of three was standing nearby, watching the scene from the sidelines.
"Dad, Mum, let's go and say hello. In any case, we are acquainted!" Pan Mingyue grabbed her parents’ hands and dragged them along without waiting for their response.
"President Shen." Pan Zihui smiled awkwardly.
Shen Zhining nodded. "President Pan, your family looks so harmonious that it makes me envious."
Sheng Jiaoyang looked at the three people with a forced smile. The different expressions on the three people were quite a wonderful sight. Pan Zihui’s was hesitant, Jiang Yin’s carried a layer of hidden disgust, and as for Pan Minyue…she had a lively look on her face.
"President Shen must be joking. We’re just living the life of an ordinary family of three. There’s nothing to be envious about," Pan Zihui said with a laugh.
"President Shen, you’re also very fortunate. Your girlfriend turned down her ex-boyfriend's request to get back together for your sake. I heard it in the bathroom earlier," Pan Mingyue said to Shen Zhining. Then, she turned to Sheng Jiaoyang and added, "Oops, Xu Jiaojiao, I'm so sorry. I was in the bathroom at that time and didn’t mean to eavesdrop."
"Mingyue!" Pan Zihui called out solemnly. He was worried that Pan Mingyue's words would bring trouble to Xu Jiaojiao.
"What? I meant well with those words. If I had a boyfriend, I’d be so happy to know that my boyfriend turned down his ex-girlfriend for me," Pan Mingyue said with a pout.
However, a trace of hidden craftiness was contained in her eyes. What she’d said was true, but she’d omitted the second half of the conversation. Although President Shen knew that Xu Jiaojiao had rejected her ex, he must still be worried. While worrying, he’d start suspecting that his girlfriend would change her mind one day due to her ex’s constant pestering. As such, suspicions would create a barrier between them.
"Honey, Mingyue didn’t say anything out of line, and Xu Jiaojiao is also her roommate. I’m sure that she wishes to see Xu Jiaojiao leading a better life," Jiang Yin said, going along with her daughter.
"Thank you very much for your concern," Sheng Jiaoyang said with a forced smile.
"President Shen, you're here too!" someone abruptly exclaimed.
It was the Zhao Family's father-and-daughter pair, who they’d had dinner and played golf with some time ago. Ms Zhao was beautifully dressed tonight. She appeared extremely cute and helpless with one of her arms hooked around her father's. She totally could pass herself off as her father’s lover if people were unaware of their relationship.
"Hello, President Zhao," Pan Zihui greeted.
"Oh, it's President Pan."
The two briefly exchanged pleasantries. Afterwards, Mr Zhao called the waiter over to serve wine. He handed a glass of wine to everyone present and made a toast.
"Leilei, the snacks here are great. Bring Ms Xu and Ms Pan along to try a few and chat amongst yourselves. You girls must have a lot to talk about."
Banquets like this, apart from being the perfect place for people to broaden their network, it was nothing more than a place for the men to talk about business and for the women to gossip about this and that while comparing their happiness. As for the second and third generation nouveaux riches, they had their own circles.
Sheng Jiaoyang happily relaxed and proceeded to the dining area while chatting with Zhao Lei. Walking beside them, Pan Mingyue was overlooked.
Seeing that she couldn’t get a word in, Pan Mingyue walked away to find her friends.
Zhao Lei waited until Pan Mingyue had walked away before asking, "Hey, did something happen between you and Ms Pan?"
"No, it’s just that I don’t feel like talking to her," Sheng Jiaoyang replied indifferently.
"And you still say nothing happened?" Zhao Lei raised an eyebrow.
Sheng Jiaoyang smiled. "I don't have the time to bother with her."
"What are you beauties talking about?"
Seeing someone approaching, Sheng Jiaoyang retracted her smile. It was Yuan Neng, who’d been following her like a ghost lately.
Zhao Lei didn’t know Yuan Neng. She noticed that his eyes were fixed on Xu Jiaojiao. She immediately understood that he was here for the person standing next to her, so she didn’t butt in.
Although no one answered him, Yuan Neng didn’t get mad. With a glass of wine in his hand, he circled around Sheng Jiaoyang. Afterwards, he smiled slightly and said, "How strange, you’re obviously not as beautiful as to make people fall in love with you at first sight. However, you can still attract so many people and make them like you. I think you should publish a book that specialises in teaching others to attract the opposite sex. It’s guaranteed to become a best-seller!"
"You like me?" Sheng Jiaoyang raised her chin slightly and cast a haughty glance at Yuan Neng.
"Pfft, you’re thinking too much. I’m not someone who can be seduced that easily."
"Last time you beat me, but I think you were just lucky. If you have the abilities, you should play another game with me. If you can beat me again, this time, I’ll willingly admit defeat,” Yuan Neng said.
Zhao Lei was enthusiastically watching from the sidelines. Hearing Yuan Neng’s words, she curiously asked, "What game did you play last time?"
Wow~ Zhao Lei had a whole new level of respect for Sheng Jiaoyang and thought: Xu Jiaojiao is really an interesting girl, she’s good at so many things.
"What's the point of playing with nothing at stake? Let’s bet on something. Whoever loses has to agree to three requests from the other party.” Sheng Jiaoyang sneered.
"Okay, in that case, it’s best of three,” Yuan Neng made up his mind and agreed.
After asking the waiter to bring them a deck of cards, they sat down in the leisure area next to the dining area and waited. Yuan Neng also called over the friends who’d come to the birthday banquet today to join in the fun. This gathering consequently attracted many other bystanders.
Hearing the shouts and cheers coming from the leisure area, the people who were talking nearby became curious and frequently glanced at the group of youngsters huddled together.
"What are they doing over there?" Grandfather Lin curiously asked.
"Grandfather, I'll go and have a look." Lin Yu spontaneously went to check on the situation.
Soon after, he returned and reported, "Jiaojiao and Neng are playing cards over there."
"Jiaojiao? Are you talking about Xu Jiaojiao?" Lina asked in astonishment.
"Yes." Lin Yu nodded. After a while, he frowned and said, "It seems that they made a bet."
"I'll go and have a look." Lina couldn't sit still any longer. She immediately got up and walked over.
"Grandfather, I'm also going." Lin Yan bade farewell and followed suit.
"Yan!" Lin Xuejun slightly frowned. When she saw that Lin Yan didn’t stop, she got up.
Grandfather Lin held her down and smilingly said, "Xiao Yan is still young, so it's normal for him to join in the fun. Xiao Yu, you should go over and watch them play, but make sure that they keep it down."
"Yes, Grandfather." Lin Yu nodded.
The majority of the youngsters who’d come today had gathered around the leisure area. Their presence made the banquet hall appear especially crowded and boisterous.
As soon as Lin Yan and Lina appeared, the crowd let them through.
Upon seeing the scene, Lina immediately laughed.
Sheng Jiaoyang sat there, calm and collected, while Yuan Neng was breaking out in a cold sweat.
"Please note that the second round is coming to an end!" Sheng Jiaoyang tapped her finger on the table.
She’d already won the first game.
And, this was the second round.
Yuan Neng raised his hand and wiped his forehead. His complexion was slightly pale as he glanced at Xu Jiaojiao. He’d underestimated his opponent too much. Fudge! This b*tch really had skills!
Sheng Jiaoyang seldom did anything she was unsure of. She dared to bet with Yuan Neng because she knew that she’d win. She wasn’t sure if Yuan Neng had given his all last time and how good he was at this game, but she, at least, had a good grasp of his level. Therefore, she wasn’t worried nor did she feel an ounce of pressure when playing cards with him!
"Oh, she won again!" the onlookers exclaimed.
Sheng Jiaoyang pushed her cards to the middle of the table and composedly said, "You lost!"
Yuan Neng had a complicated expression. Afterwards, he clenched his teeth and asked, "What do you want me to do?"
Sheng Jiaoyang didn't say it right away. She looked around and waved to Lin Yu. "Since Lin Yu is here, he can be the witness."Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Yuna | Editor: Purpledragon | TLC: GraceYuna's Corner:
The glossary is ready and can be found here: ROF Glossary. It can be found in the table of contents for future reference.