Chapter 214 - This Is My Failure
Chapter 214: This Is My Failure
Translator: Lonelytree Editor: Millman97
There was still a long time until the next weekend. During this break period, Ye Shuang had no intention of returning to San Lin City to interact with Albert, so she temporarily stayed in Chaohai. She waited until the day she turned into Sister Shuang and then she went to Jing Hu City.
The group of young masters and young ladies in Jing Hu City welcomed Sister Shuang’s return. Even though Ye Shuang had not returned to this place for a long time already, she did spend a lot of time and effort to brush up on her existence there. The acting and energy that she had exhausted at this place was also the highest; therefore, the effect was naturally different from the other cities where she had just shown herself temporarily.
“Even though we have not met for so long, Miss Ye is still as charming as ever.” Mr. Lu held the glass of wine and greeted Ye Shuang, who sat across from him, with a smile. Other people wished to come over to join the conversation as well, but they knew that Mr. Lu did not wish to be interrupted at a time like this. Thus, they very cleverly left the private moment for the two.
“Mr. Lu, you’re too kind.” Ye Shuang tossed her gaze to the other point of attention inside the private clubhouse, and she commented with interest, “Looks like there have been some newcomers to this place. I do not seem to have any recollection of those two individuals…”
Mr. Lu followed Ye Shuang’s gaze, and then he smiled lightly. “Those are just passers-by, and the people here are merely acting in the capacity of hosts. The two are foreign investors; they have great popularity but not so great reputation. Miss Ye might not be familiar with their situation, but it would be best for you to avoid further interaction with them.”
Great popularity but not so great reputation… That was such an interesting analysis and criticism. There were quite a number of individuals in the upper society that had less than favorable reputations, but unlike the people from the entertainment business who were constantly under the spotlight, the upper society had greater leeway for people’s misgiving. If it was just a small mistake, then of course, it would not be worth it to bring it up. To be able to earn a horrible reputation and a reputation that was agreed by everyone in the community, then the person’s private life was truly depraved or the negative criticism on the individual was very high.
For example, An Zixuan could be said to have a less than favorable reputation among the people in the circle. However, most of that was still contained within San Lin City. What An Zixuan did had not been spread to other cities. In other words, if that person was about to spread the negative reputation that they enjoyed to a national stage, then the person’s family background and the horrible things that they had done would be both equally popular.
Just as they were continuing the conversation, the two individuals that were surrounded by the crowd walked over. On the surface, they were paying respect to Mr. Lu’s position at Jing Hu City, but they probably heard many things about Ye Shuang’s reputation from the crowd.
Mr. Lu stood up to welcome them. With a polite smile, he blocked them from getting too close to Ye Shuang, and the way he stood also blocked one of their gazes, which was studying Ye Shuang. After some brief preamble, the three took their seats. Mr. Lu naturally took the seat next to Ye Shuang and placed his arm on the sofa behind Ye Shuang’s back. Then, he made the introduction to the two newcomers with a smile. “This is Miss Ye Shuang… What were you gentlemen discussing earlier?”
The introduction was stopped halfway. Mr. Lu showed no sign of wanting to introduce the two men to Ye Shuang. That combined with his current attitude was telling the two men to stay away. The two who had just sat down looked at one another. When they turned back to face Ye Shuang, their earlier presumptuous and jumpy attitude had been taken back, and their tone became a lot more polite. “It was nothing interesting. We just wanted to ask if Mr. Lu and Miss Ye have any plans to go to Chaohai for a holiday.”
If this was just a normal socialite, they would not have been so cautious, but since this was someone that was valued by the local leader, they had to be more careful with their choice of words. The two might have a great time there, but they knew where their limit was and where to pause.
Ye Shuang had just came from Chaohai, so naturally, she was sensitive to the location’s name when it was brought up. Her eyes turned to look at Mr. Lu and smiled. The latter explained with a smile, “Is it a cruise party? That is indeed Chaohai’s specialty. I hear they will organize such an event annual and invite all the famous people from across the nation. The party will be a rave that will last for four days and three nights. The organizer should be the member of the private clubhouses in Chaohai, but we all know those places are all owned by the Si Hai Organization. Therefore, the real organizer should be the Si Hai Organization’s Zuo Yuanhang.”
Ye Shuang had not been to such a high-scale party before, but she did not find it that difficult to pick up the thread of conversation. She smiled and said, “Mr. Zuo is famed for his self-discipline and diligence. I do find it hard to imagine how the man would act at a rave.”
As she expected, the three other individuals present had heard about Zuo Yuanhang’s habit before, so they shared a complicit smile. This was especially true for the two people who had just arrived. They probably thought that Ye Shuang’s identity was higher than they expected, so they became even more polite. “Chaohai’s development is mainly focused on tourism, and what about the local economy development? Fruits? Seafood‽ There is nothing unique about that. Even though Zuo Yuanhang himself might not enter the fray and play, he is a clever businessman. He knows how to arrange everything so that it has the best effect. We might enjoy the eggs, but there is no need to pay attention to what the hen looks like.”
The other man chimed in. “Yes, actually, going down there to relax is not such a bad idea. The procurement of the invitation will be quite difficult, but there are plenty of things to do on the cruise. The famed ladies from all the cities will be gathered… Cough! Forgive me, I forgot that Mr. Lu already has someone in his heart.”
He was only halfway through when his partner nudged him lightly, so the man quickly changed his words and looked at Ye Shuang apologetically, signaling to everyone present who this ‘someone in Mr. Lu’s heart’ was. Mr. Lu did not explain. He merely raised his wine glass to the two gentlemen, and they continued chatting.
“Actually, it is not a bad idea for Mr. Lu to bring Miss Ye down there to relax together. The party will not go overboard this time because I hear Zuo Yuanhang is going to make use of the opportunity to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. With the presence of Mrs. Zuo and his daughter, Zuo Yuanhang will naturally pay careful attention to this year’s guest list.”
Mr. Lu was about to open his lips to say something when Ye Shuang nodded with a smile. “Yes, I hear that Miss Zuo’s birthday is going to be next Sunday. I just did not expect it would be held on the cruise ship. Then I suppose I will be attending this cruise party since I have already received the invitation.”
If Albert was there, Han Chu would be there. If Han Chu was there, then Anthony could be there. Even though they were familiar with both of Ye Shuang’s identities, it was safer for her to attend the party with her original identity.
Ye Shuang originally did not give it too much consideration, but since Zuo Yuanhang’s so called ‘birthday party’ was of this scale, it was understandable that Sister Shuang’s identity was safer, and this way, she would not have attracted so much attention on the cruise.
The other three were baffled. The two who had a bad reputation among the circle, who had been trying to secure an invitation, were the most shocked.
Mr. Lu thought about it and said, “If I have time, perhaps I will pay it a visit as well.”
Therefore, the situation could not have been clearer. The person who had confirmed to have an invitation was Ye Shuang; the person who temporarily had not received the invitation but could secure it easily if he wanted to was Lu Shaoyue; the other two who had been trying their best to sneak their way into an invitation…
Looking at how expertly Ye Shuang tasted the wine and the way she conversed with Mr. Lu, the two did not dare act on their earlier presumption anymore. After a little more conversation, the two left Mr. Lu and Ye Shuang alone. When they were out of sight, they wiped the sweat on their foreheads. They exchanged a look and a bitter smile; they had been so close to get themselves in big trouble.
Who was it that said this woman had no power and influence‽
Ye Shuang chatted with Mr. Lu for a while longer then expanded her attention to focus on the suppressed sound of angry berating coming from the corner of the clubhouse. She initially did not have any interest in this type of verbal argument, but after listening to a small portion of it, Ye Shuang realized that the argument was somewhat related to her.
Therefore, her interest was piqued, and she finished listening to the whole argument. Ye Shuang could not help but smile. It looked like the fact that she was not moving around in an expensive ride and wearing expensive jewelry on her body still attracted unwanted attention. Even though this could be the issue of personal taste and personality, it was also true that she had gotten so close to Lu Shaoyue.
It was common for this type of mutual competitive attitude to exist within members of the same sex, especially when one of them saw the other as possible competition. Even though Ye Shuang herself did not see it that way, she would not escape the fate of being studied and nit-picked by others. This was not aided by the fact that there was plenty of room in terms of Ye Shuang’s background for other people to make stories about.
Lu Shaoyue saw Ye Shuang smile for no apparent reason, and he asked with a smile of his own, “What is on your mind that is so interesting?”
“It’s nothing,” Ye Shuang said and studied Lu Shaoyue with a meaningful gaze. “I have simply realized, the thing that happened earlier, the reason the two men came to us might have something to do with Mr. Lu.”
Lu Shaoyue glanced through the crowd subconsciously to search for the shadows of the two men. Not long after that, he found them at the corner booth, and sitting across from them was a good-looking woman. Different from Ye Shuang’s softer beauty, the woman’s facial features were not that impressive, but she had that scholarly presence that made her stand out.
Lu Shaoyue frowned slightly, but he soon relaxed. He moved his gaze away like he did not mind the thing that he saw and added with an apologetic smile, “Now I have a clear guess why the two would come over to ask about the cruise party.”
“Oh, I do wish to hear why.”
Ye Shuang still heard her name being mentioned at the corner booth. The woman lifted her head to look their way with confusion and disbelief in her eyes, but Lu Shaoyue had not turned back to look at them since. “That was Mrs. Zuo’s sister, not biological sister but cousin. Her father is a lecturer on the Qing Dynasty and is quite a famous scholar within the country. He was even invited once to appear on national television. That gives her the right to join our gathering, but I would not call her a necessary fixture here.”
To be able to enter the private clubhouse was one thing, but even if someone enjoyed some popularity in the outside would, it did not mean that they would be able to maintain a strong position among the upper social circle. The issue here was comparison. For example, the leader of a district was impressive, right? But if the district leader was placed in the national assembly, how many district leaders would there be‽ Then, what about the state leaders? Furthermore, district leaders were on rotation. They might be the leader this year, but what about the past leader and the leaders in the future‽
When a thing was rare, it would become precious. No one could guarantee their position would be the same everywhere. The most important thing was still the average level and where one stand in reference to this average level.
Ye Shuang nodded. “Looks like that socialite is quite interested in Mr. Lu.”
If not, she would not have asked the two men to interact with them earlier. Based on the information that Ye Shuang had gathered from the people at the private clubhouse, the reputation of those two was definitely not that good.
Salacious parties, drugs, casual sex, prostitution… Calling them a duo of depravity was not that far away from the truth. If one came from a family background that was strong enough to put them into place, then it was still fine. However, if one did not have the backbone and was unfortunate enough to get on their target list, the ending could only be less than positive.
Even though the two had their own code of honor and would not force anyone to do things that they did not want to, if someone was spotted hanging around these two people for too long, no matter how clean their record was, their reputation would be soured.
“I suppose.” Lu Shaoyue sipped the champagne and replied in a tone that showed that he did not give the girl much thought. “But the girls cultivated by Mrs. Zuo’s family… I don’t think I will be able to accept any of them.”
Ye Shuang nodded to show her mutual understanding. She sighed. “I also think I will also have a hard time communicating with her.”
The Mrs. Zuo that she had met earlier was the best example as well as the girl who had ordered the two guys with questionable reputations to come to ‘get to know’ her. In that instant, Ye Shuang felt like she had been transported back to palatial drama.
This type of person had an unusual stubbornness with regards to the education that they had received and believed that the experience they had inherited from their elders was wisdom that needed to be followed. To put it simply, Ye Shuang thought that these people were more than slightly disconnected from modern society. On the surface, they looked traditional and refined; however, upon closer interaction, one would realize how difficult it would be to communicate with them.
After catching up with her friends from Jing Hu City again, Ye Shuang bade everyone farewell and returned to her hotel. In this period of downtime, other than expanding her pool of potential clients, Ye Shuang also went to do some research on Mrs. Zuo’s family.
Mrs. Zuo’s maternal family was not that famous; there were just one or two known scholars or female family members who had married into powerful families. Of the more recent generation, Mrs. Zuo could be considered the most successful example because she managed to marry Zuo Yuanhang.
However, other than that, if one wanted to say if Mrs. Zuo’s maternal family had any standing in the upper society, it would be difficult. They did not have any trade or skill that was inherited through the family, nor did they possess something that could represent that their family image. The only thing special about them was a book that proved that they belonged to the royal lineage.
If people were to give them face, the family could be considered a scholarly lineage or a royal lineage. But if face was not given, to put it plainly, they were an obsolete group of people, people who refused to admit that they had been forgotten and abandoned by time. After reading the information, Ye Shuang tossed them aside. Since they were not friends and would not be friends in the future, there was no need for her to get to know them more than that.
After a few days of relaxation in Jing Hu City, she changed into Brother Shuang. When she returned to Chaohai with that identity, An Zixuan had already returned to San Lin City. However, Zuo Feiyang was very happy with her arrival. Under his big brother’s influence, the unfortunate child had trouble finding people who would play with him and would also not take advantage of him.
Originally, there was You Yang. He had thought that he had finally found some more people that he could play with, but it turned out that it was just some schemers who were trying to set up a trap for him to fall into the abyss of gambling addiction. Therefore, after he was pulled back from the abyss, the already-cautious Zuo Feiyang’s caution was given another upgrade. After one took a look around, there was only Brother Shuang that he could communicate with. Therefore, when he heard that the man had returned to the city, there was no way Zuo Feiyang was not going to go to the airport to welcome him.
“Brother Ye, why did you disappear again a few days ago?” Zuo Feiyang brought You Yang to come fetch Ye Shuang. As he drove, he could not help his curiosity and asked, “Initially, me and Xiao Yang planned to ask you to go on a cruise with us, but we turned around, and you had already disappeared. When we asked around, people said you have already left Chaohai for work.”
“Well, I am not a native of Chaohai anyway.” Ye Shuang, who sat in the backseat, shrugged and explained with a smile, “I needed to leave the city for a few days to go to another city for work. Since everything here has been arranged, what was the point of me staying around?”
“Then, how about my cousin’s birthday party this weekend?” Zuo Feiyang still had not given up. “On that day, my big brother will be having a huge party on the cruise, and the gambling god will be coming as well. So, will you be there?”
Ye Shuang shook her head. “My partner and her friends will be going to the party. The gambling god you’re talking about is Albert, right? My partner will handle everything at the party; I still have something else to do.”
Zuo Feiyang felt like just releasing his grasp on the steering wheel—he was that disappointed. You Yang’s both eyes filled with disappointment as well. “But we have not even seen your partner before, how will that be fun?”
It’s best that it is not fun… Ye Shuang curved her lips into a smile and turned her head to look out the car window.
That night, she was invited to Zuo Feiyang’s parents’ home for dinner. One could call it a small family gathering. Other than Zuo Yuanhang, who purposely cleared his schedule to attend with his wife, son and daughter, close family friends of the Zuo family like people from You Yang’s family were also invited.
Originally, Ye Shuang could not be counted as family friend, but her timing was so perfect. Her increased recent interaction with the Si Hai Organization also meant that there was an additional reason for her to be invited.
In any case, the crowd was quite large that night. In the large house, other than the staff like maids and chefs, around forty people were invited. Since the official dinner had not started yet, Ye Shuang wandered around the courtyard with a plate of dainty cakes in her hand. She did not have much time to admire the landscape when she was approached by one of the maids. “Mr. Ye, our old master would like to have an audience with you.”
“Your old master?” Ye Shuang licked the butter from the fork and focused on the maid. She smiled politely and asked, “There are so many respectable elders at this gathering tonight, which one would you be referring to?”
The female maid was blushing too much to look at Ye Shuang directly. “It is Elder Zuo, Mr. Zuo Yuanhang and Mr. Zuo Feiyang’s father.”
“Do you know why he would ask to see me?” Ye Shuang finished the cake and dropped the paper plate in the nearby dustbin.
“I’m sorry, I have no clue.” The maid looked so apologetic that it felt like she was shamed for her failure to answer Ye Shuang’s question. Ye Shuang thought about it and waved for Zuo Feiyang, who was not far away to come over.
Zuo Feiyang excused himself from this group of friends and came over with You Yang. “Brother Ye, how can I help you?”
“Something’s up.” Ye Shuang nodded. “Didn’t you say your father wished to meet me last time‽ He has informed one of the maids to come find me again. I think this should be more than your little foray to the casino?”
It had been quite some time since Zuo Feiyang’s adventure to the underground casino. Even though Elder Zuo might have been seriously worried in the beginning, he would have found out everything after grabbing someone to ask. After so long, he would have already found out everything that he wanted to know, in which case, why would he be so insistent on meeting Ye Shuang‽
Zuo Feiyang grumbled with You Yang and then scratched his head to reveal a confused look. “I also don’t know. Perhaps my dad is just curious? Or maybe it’s just his old age.”
“…” Ye Shuang held her patience in check as she looked at Zuo Feiyang. Then she turned to tell the maid, “Then, please lead the way.”
Elder Zuo was in the study on the second floor. Even though the party was happening just downstairs, with Elder Zuo’s age and status, no one would force him to stay for the entirety of the party to entertain the guests. The current representative of the Zuo family was Zuo Yuanhang; Elder Zuo was no different from a mascot. He was only required to show up for important occasions.
The elder looked energized and healthy. He was hale and bright-eyed. Even at his age, his body was still strong, and he looked much better physically compared to people with beer bellies in their thirties. His hair might be white, but it was not thin or sparse. In conclusion, he did not look old and senile.
The maid led Ye Shuang to the door and knocked three times on it. She heard the answer from the elder before opening the door. From this detail, one could see that Elder Zuo still maintained his dignity at home. Even though it was a guest that he had invited, they would need to get his permission before they were allowed entry. Everyone was still respectful toward Elder Zuo.
The maid left after leaving Ye Shuang in the study. Elder Zuo sat in the chair on the balcony and studied Ye Shuang closely with his incisive gaze. Ye Shuang walked to the old man with a smile on her face. With a signal from Elder Zuo, she took the seat next to Elder Zuo. Then, with Elder Zuo looking at her, she picked up the tea pot and poured out two cups of tea. She was perfectly calm and collected.
Three minutes later, Ye Shuang took a sip of the tea with the accompaniment of the great view on the balcony. Elder Zuo also picked up his own cup and commented, “Young man, you have quite the presence and grace.”
Elder Zuo nodded and asked with his head lowered, “What is your opinion of my son?”
“Your meaning is…” Ye Shuang was slightly confused.
“My eldest son received elite education when he was young—this is a policy that was inherited from the foreigners.” Before answering, Elder Zuo had already wandered away from the topic. Ye Shuang looked calm on the surface, but she was on the verge of losing it.
I hate this kind of non-sequitur the most. You might think it will make you sound mysterious, but what is the point if I don’t understand what you’re trying to say‽
She did not promise anything or say anything. However, the man did not care about what she thought. He had already laid everything down on the table, so what was she going to do? Reject the wish of an old man?
Ye Shuang could only sit there patiently and listen to the old man grumble. “Yuanhang had a hard time when he was young, but his education was very successful. He has achieved many things that his peers have not. However, probably due to this childhood education, Yuanhang is also very different from his peers in term of his personality.
“This is my failure.
“I’ve always known that Yuanhang missed out as a child, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that he would replicate the same method to educate his own son and daughter…”