For a long time, Lin ChengYu stood by the gate of the Jiang family home.
He didn’t dare to go back in, fearing that Jiang Xiao would lose his temper again.

Uncle Yue held his tongue.
Grandpa Lin was curious about Lin ChengYu’s all-consuming search for that person, but he never asked about it.
The elder Lin was a true man of action.
His consistent principle was to say less and do more.

As far as he was concerned, Lin ChengYu was young, infected with a temporary fever.
After being rejected so many times, he’d get over it without much trouble.
He wouldn’t think about someone so far away once he was back in Liujiang, and his feelings would fade over time.
That was true of most passions.
The elder Lin wasn’t optimistic, which wasn’t surprising.

As Yue Cheng thought about this, he decided to remind the child of something.
“There was a phone call from home just now.
They said the old man isn’t doing well.
He’s in the hospital.
General Manager Lin is there….”

His words were vague, leaving it for Lin ChengYu to fill in the blanks.

When Lin ChengYu heard certain key words in those sentences, he instantly turned his head and gazed at Yue Cheng.

“When did it happen?”

“Last night,” Uncle Yue said in a faint voice.
“So you’d better go back at once.”

If he stayed here, he’d just make himself a nuisance.

The person Yue Cheng had mentioned, General Manager Lin, was Lin RongJia’s father and Lin ChengYu’s paternal uncle.
His name was Lin Feng. 

Yue Cheng was directly involved with company matters.
At present, his relationship with Lin Feng wasn’t bad.
You could even call it cordial.
However, he’d followed Grandpa Lin first, and later he worked for the eldest Lin son for many years.
His overall bias was in favor of Lin ChengYu.

Later on, he was framed by Lin Feng and sent to prison.
That was the reason Lin ChengYu lost all his money after Yongjiang Company went bankrupt.

Lin ChengYu was taken aback.
According to his memory, Grandpa was supposed to be healthy and in decent shape at this point in time.
The first thing Lin ChengYu did when he was reborn was change his usual doctor.
The new doctor gave Grandpa a thorough examination, and the change prevented Lin Feng from making certain moves.

Lin ChengYu was only fourteen years old, a long way from adulthood.
Meanwhile, Lin Feng had taken charge of most things in the company, although major decisions needed the approval of Grandpa Lin.
Lin Feng wasn’t yet in a position to cover the sky with one hand.
Although Lin Feng had been channeling company funds to himself for a while, he needed time to implement everything he’d planned.

In principle, there shouldn’t be any major problems right now.

But it was useless to try to predict everything with logic.
Lin ChengYu had never imagined his own uncle would be responsible for the company’s bankruptcy in his last life.
Lin Feng had his own reasons for maliciously managing Yongjiang Company and trying to bring it down.
He had too few shares in his hands.
Grandpa Lin doted on Lin ChengYu and was waiting for him to take over the company when he became an adult.
Ever since Lin Feng was a child, he felt that his older brother was unfairly favored, and he resented it.

Lin ChengYu didn’t tell Jiang Xiao about any of this in his last life.
To be honest, Lin ChengYu hadn’t even entered the company at that age.
Things happened so suddenly that he wasn’t clear about a lot of details.

But he knew that Yongjiang Company had been involved in a real estate development project at the time, called Mingyue Bay Ecological Zone.

This was a key development project in Shen City, a first-tier city, and it was too large to be handled by Yongjiang alone.
Mingyue Bay Ecological Zone occupied a large area with beautiful beaches and two small islands.
In addition to the premium beachfront hotels in which Yongjiang was the main investor, there were high-end villas, beach tourist areas, amusement parks, shopping malls, and a range of supporting facilities.
According to the municipal project plan, there would be two new highways, a bridge and a subway entrance, and an airport built nearby.
This was a hen that was going to lay a lot of golden eggs.

Yongjiang spent a lot of money to acquire land.
At the time, Grandpa Lin praised Lin Feng for his insight.
He was getting older and his health was deteriorating, and it was natural to give Lin Feng greater control of the company.

But there were multiple difficulties in the construction of the Mingyue Bay project.
One problem followed another.

After Lin Feng took power, he launched a major expansion.
He bought several tracts of land outside the ecological zone, under the excuse that he was setting it aside for future projects.
When the Mingyue Bay project was completed, the value would certainly rise, but the price he paid was actually a bit too high, so the value wouldn’t increase very much.
Moreover, he began to dabble in high-end residential development where Yongjiang lacked expertise.
He poured large sums of money into all of this.

Yongjiang’s cash flow had already turned negative.
The beachfront hotels in Mingyue Bay had to be rushed to completion, but the companies working nearby weren’t in a hurry.
Although two highways and a subway line were planned, there were repeated discussions which delayed construction.
By the time the hotel was completed, the city hadn’t even begun to build the municipal services, and the supporting facilities were still in progress.
The high-end hotels by the ocean didn’t have much consumer traffic, and they had extremely high maintenance costs.
They lost money every day.

If cash flow had been sufficient, all these things would be minor problems.
It wasn’t difficult to wait one or two years, and Yongjiang understood the nuances.
After the ecological zone was built up, it was impossible for the hotel not to make money.

In those days, real estate projects had a clear upward trend every year.
Although it wouldn’t experience a sudden spike in value, it had good prospects.
A one-time loss wasn’t a big deal.

Later, with the consent of the board of directors, Lin Feng borrowed a large sum of money from another company in the industry, calling it business cooperation.
The reason he gave for not getting a bank loan was because the need was so urgent.
The company had existing loans, and it would take the bank a long time to evaluate a request for such a large sum of money.
Even so, it wasn’t certain that a loan would be approved.
At the time, this statement seemed to make sense.
After he borrowed the money, he continued to invest in development, but Yongjiang ran into a series of problems.

First there was a problem at the construction site.
In order to save money, the small-time contractor cut corners around safety.
Two people died and four more were injured at the site.
Not only was it necessary to pay out compensation and pension costs, they had to spend a large sum to suppress public opinion.
After that, the media exposed hygiene problems at the hotel.
This seemingly factual news appeared on the front page of several major newspapers.
Hotel traffic plummeted, a large number of customers complained, and the company’s reputation was in tatters.

Yongjiang Company had suddenly fallen into a situation of internal and external adversity.
Revenue dropped sharply, there was a lot of debt, and there was no short-term return on investment.
The bank considered the company high-risk, so it wasn’t willing to approve additional loans.
Cash flow dried up.

Meanwhile, four or five construction sites were in development at the same time, burning money, and the company fell into arrears.
A contractor led the migrant workers to carry banners and picket the doors, shouting until their voices were hoarse, and so the miserable situation of Yongjiang worsened yet again.
Employees began to abandon the company, which was now in a state of confusion.

Back then, Lin ChengYu had just become an adult.
He didn’t even have a chance to get involved with company affairs, and the succession of incidents caught him off guard.
He didn’t understand how things had turned out this way.
Because of his grandfather’s advice, he believed in Lin Feng, who was apparently exhausting himself for the company, yet the company had become like this in his hands.
Lin ChengYu didn’t find fault with him but comforted his uncle.
The family could eventually make a comeback.

At the time, Yongjiang’s biggest outstanding debt was the loan that Lin Feng had taken out with the other company.
When the loan came due it couldn’t be paid, and according to the contract, it had to be paid off with capital.
Previously, all parties had lost a lot of money, and the construction money was still owed.
The company hadn’t completed the development of the land it bought before, and the location was remote, so selling wouldn’t cover much debt.
In the end, the company used its hotels to compensate the other party.
Because Yongjiang’s reputation was damaged, it was pressured to lower the price during negotiations.
Several parties worked in tandem to bring it down, and Lin Feng agreed to the other party’s terms without much struggle.

However, Lin ChengYu calculated incorrectly back then.
Yongjiang should have been paid far more than what it received from the sale.
He went to see Uncle Yue, but Uncle Yue had been sent to prison by Lin Feng on the grounds of corporate malfeasance.
There was a problem with the company’s accounts.
Someone had swallowed a lot of money, but the money couldn’t be recovered because Yue Cheng didn’t do it.
In fact, he took the fall for someone else.

As for who was responsible, it wasn’t until Lin Feng changed camps overnight that Lin ChengYu realized the truth.
Lin Feng became a director of the company that acquired most of Yongjiang’s assets after the bankruptcy.

Later, when he examined things carefully, Lin ChengYu also found an unknown building materials company on Yongjiang’s books, which had cooperated with them for several years with numerous large transactions.
Naturally, the accounting was seamless and the money couldn’t be traced.
However, the company was actually controlled by Lin Feng’s wife’s family, and a lot of the company’s money had been transferred out long ago.

Internal trouble and outside aggression, planned for a long time.
The only surprise was that Yongjiang hadn’t failed long ago.

From the original extravagant spending to the subsequent lack of management, and even the storm of negative news, Lin Feng was the driver.
The other company was also secretly helping him until they finally managed to swallow the ripe plum that remained of Yongjiang.

Lin Feng was put in charge of the former projects of Yongjiang Company.
He changed the names of the hotels and the decoration style.
After the news faded from people’s memory, the business went on to make money.

In the next few years, the price of the land increased several times.
After the completion of the municipal transportation projects, Mingyue Bay became a center for tourism and recreation in Shen City.
It was prosperous for more than ten years running.

Lin Feng had planned it all for a long time.
He finally owned all of Yongjiang.
He got everything he wanted and revealed his hatred for his brother and his nephew.
He would rather hand Yongjiang over to someone else’s company than leave his family’s property to Lin ChengYu.

Even if eighteen-year-old Lin ChengYu knew about it, it was too late.
He sold what was left of his belongings, including the car his grandfather gave him on his birthday, along with anything else that had value.
He wanted to free Uncle Yue from prison, but he didn’t succeed.
The money went down the drain.

And Grandpa Lin had a heart attack when he found out what happened.
He stayed in an intensive care unit for three months, but he never recovered.

Lin ChengYu was a sophomore in college.
Because of the turmoil in his family he missed class for an entire semester.
Although he wasn’t asked to leave, he voluntarily withdrew from school.
Lin Feng, the son of the elder Lin, was one of the rightful heirs.
Grandpa Lin was delirious and couldn’t make a will.
Lin Feng relied on his blood relationship to put the family mansion in his name.

By comparison, Lin ChengYu’s meeting with Jiang Xiao really wasn’t much.

The night when Jiang Xiao met him, Lin ChengYu was beaten up by a group of local thugs.
It wasn’t an accident.
When other people saw he’d fallen on hard times, they envied him for his previous good fortune, so they found someone to kick him when he was down.

Lin ChengYu had trained in martial arts, but he couldn’t defend himself against so many opponents.
He fought back only to be beaten more severely.
He was punched in the head several times.
When Jiang Xiao rescued him, he was still in a daze.
Later, he was carried home and given medicine, but he didn’t notice much of his surroundings.
When he woke up the next day, he took a shower to clean up and felt a little more clear-headed.

The first time he saw Jiang Xiao wasn’t in the middle of the night, it was in the sunlit morning, like something that was fated. Lin ChengYu brought endless darkness to Jiang Xiao, but Jiang Xiao brought him brilliant morning sunshine.

When he came out of the bathroom, Jiang Xiao was drinking soy milk at the dining table.
When Jiang Xiao saw him, he was stunned.
Milk got caught in his throat and he burst out coughing.
His face turned red until the blood rushed all the way down his neck.
He spilled soy milk all over the table.

Lin ChengYu looked at him and smiled a little.
That was the beginning of their story.

Two people who had nothing came together, but as Jiang Xiao said later, they were never the same.

When Jiang Xiao fell for someone, he cherished them more and more.
He worked so hard for everything that he appreciated what he had, so Jiang Xiao was good to Lin ChengYu with all his heart.
But Lin ChengYu had fallen from the peak to the trough, and he was betrayed by relatives he’d trusted.
He always scrutinized his emotions.
It was a form of unconscious self-protection, but there was also conscious detachment and anxiety.

His own relatives had stabbed him in the back.
Weren’t other people even less trustworthy?

Lin ChengYu chose not to rely on anyone, but he didn’t notice how Jiang Xiao softened him little by little by, and in the process let Jiang Xiao melt into his life.

Jiang Xiao was an enthusiastic person.
He could make himself happy even if Lin ChengYu gave very little response.
So their relationship stumbled along for more than ten years, but the balance was always tilted, and the two sides paid in unequally.
After Jiang Xiao left, Lin ChengYu’s balance instantly collapsed.

His little sun was gone, and with it went all the warmth in his life.
He finally realized that he hadn’t seen clearly, but it was too late for regret.

Lin ChengYu had never realized how important this person was to him until he was gone.
The wounds in his heart were inflicted on Jiang Xiao, but Jiang Xiao shouldn’t have had to suffer them, and he had never apologized.

When Uncle Yue told him his grandfather was in the hospital and Lin Feng had made certain moves, Lin ChengYu instantly remembered all kinds of things that happened in his last life.

This was the source of his shadow.
Now that he was doing it over, he would never let those things happen again.

This life didn’t exactly match his memory, but maybe it wasn’t possible for everything to go well.
It could be the butterfly effect.
His biggest disappointment was that he hadn’t made a good first impression on Jiang Xiao.

“Jiang Xiao didn’t want to see me.
He got angry.” Lin ChengYu was a little frustrated.
“I can go back to Liujiang, but Uncle Yue, don’t withdraw the people here just yet.
Have them keep watch for now.
If anything happens to the Jiang family, first help them out, then tell me.
I want to leave contact information directly with Jiang Xiao.
Uncle Yue, he really is good-tempered and kind.
It’s my fault for being too impatient. He must have misunderstood, that’s why he got so angry. When he has time to calm down, I’ll see if I can bring him to Liujiang to see the school.”

Yue Cheng smiled a little and thought of giving some advice.
“Children at that age learn what’s good for them after a little suffering.”

“I don’t want to make him suffer.” Lin ChengYu immediately shook his head.
He gave a bitter smile.
“I will always treat him well, and he’ll realize it someday.
I can’t be in a rush.”

That was how Jiang Xiao had always treated him.
This time, he would do it himself.

Except this Jiang Xiao wasn’t the Jiang Xiao that Lin ChengYu thought.


TL Notes:

cover the sky with one hand – 一手遮天 – shut out the heavens with one palm, hide the truth (from the masses), hoodwink (the public)

internal and external adversity – 内忧外患 – domestic trouble and foreign invasion

in the short term – adapted from 左一榔头右一棒槌 – a hammer on the left and a mallet on the right – lacking global perspective, immersed in the small picture, impatient and not focused, unable to complete one thing wholeheartedly

kick him when he was down – 落井下石 – drop stones on a man who has fallen into a well – to maltreat an injured person, add insult to injury, add to the misfortunes of a man who is already unfortunate, twist the knife


Transliterated names, titles, and places—new in this chapter:

Lin Feng – 蔺峰 – ML’s paternal uncle Mingyue Bay Ecological Zone – 明月湾生态区 – A development project that ML’s family’s company was working on Shen City – 深城  – location of the Mingyue Bay Ecological Zone project

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