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    Chapter 138: Reality: A Rendezvous of Sharp Tongues

    Ming Yiyang immediately sensed that the other party was provoking trouble.

    He felt a bit annoyed, because back in the Intertwined World, he had already used "physical persuasion" twice to make this troublesome individual retreat.

    To his surprise, he now had to convince him all over again in the real world, without being able to follow the same process as before. It was truly bothersome.

    As he pondered how to quickly dissuade the man and prevent him from bothering himself and Yan Qiling, he suddenly heard a voice:

    "He's not an assistant."

    Unexpectedly, Yan Qiling spoke up first:

    "He's a shareholder of Jinhua. Yue Meng has a collaboration project with Jinhua, and he's here to look for potential business opportunities."

    After saying this, he raised his glass in the direction of someone in the crowd, a gentle and familiar smile playing on his lips.

    Lin Yongjian's expression darkened upon hearing these words. His diamond-shaped eyes followed the man's relaxed gaze, landing on a green-eyed, black-haired, and tanned man who stepped out from the crowd, sporting a neatly trimmed small beard on his chin.

    As Yan Qiling had mentioned, that was Wa Qima, the regional general manager of Jingtai Asia.

    But Wa Qima wasn't just a regional manager; he was also one of the key decision-makers in Jingtai.

    ...When did Yan Qiling get to know someone from Jingtai? Or was it possible that the seemingly unknown Ming Yiyang was actually a shareholder of the company?

    Lin Yongjian held his glass to his lips and took a careless sip.

    ...No, if Ming Yiyang truly was a shareholder of Jingtai, then this guy would have disclosed that fact when they first met. After all, such a social status would be worth bragging about compared to his other insignificant advantages.

    He couldn't understand the benefit of giving this person an exaggerated title. Did liking someone mean ignoring the truth just to save face for that person?

    His expression involuntarily softened before returning to normal after a brief moment of emotion leakage.

    He wasn't upset because Yan Qiling lied for Ming Yiyang; he was bothered by the reason behind the lie – "liking" Ming Yiyang.

    This reason was utterly unbearable!

    Lin Yongjian's professional skills kicked in promptly. By the time Wa Qima approached them, he could already maintain a natural demeanor to handle any questions thrown at him.

    Despite Wa Qima's radiant smile upon arrival, he greeted Yan Qiling first:

    "Mr. Yan, what a coincidence."

    Then, he looked up at the towering Ming Yiyang and asked,

    "Brother, did you come with Mr. Yan? Why didn't you tell me beforehand... If you had, I would have sent someone to pick you both up directly."

    Halfway through his sentence, Ava caught the subtle hint in his brother's gaze and promptly reacted, smoothly covering up any potential misunderstandings.

    Lin Yongjian's expression became nuanced upon hearing Ava's address. He suddenly realized that perhaps Yan Qiling hadn't been lying; Ming Yiyang's involvement in the Mei Corporation's affairs might not be mere speculation.

    He ventured a lighthearted question into the conversation:

    "...Is Mr. Ming Mr. Wa Qima's sibling?"

    Wa Qima wouldn't let Ming Yiyang answer such a question, so he turned with a smile, his emerald eyes scanning the person before him from head to toe, revealing an unmaskable curiosity beneath his polite words:

    "Oh, it's the young master of the Lin Corporation. Long time no see, the last time we met was at Yue Meng's bidding event. But given President Lin's current accomplishments, it's only natural for him to have a keen sense of fashion. You look better than ever."

    Lin Yongjian nodded gracefully, neither arrogant nor humble.

    "I'm merely personally interested in this area, as you're aware of my profession—it naturally requires sensitivity to such matters."

    He glanced meaningfully at Ming Yiyang.

    "I didn't expect Mr. Ming to be a shareholder of Jingmei; that does impress me…."

    Wa Qima nodded naturally, confirming the authenticity of the statement.

    "Yes, it's just that my brother doesn't often attend shareholders' meetings and is less visible in public. Speaking of which, Jingmei not only values its collaboration with Yue Meng but also hopes for future cooperation with the Lin Corporation."

    "I've heard that the Lin Corporation has plans to venture into fashion branding. If there's an opportunity, Jingmei would be more than willing to contribute, with our established channels both upstream and downstream. If President Lin has any intention, Jingmei's doors will always be open for you."

    "Mr. Wa Qima, you're too kind. If there's a need, Jingmei will certainly be given priority."

    "That's excellent."

    Ava raised her glass, clinking it against Lin Yongjian's. Amidst the crisp sound of the glasses meeting, the two exchanged a smile, silently forging a mutual understanding through their simple exchange of information.

    Wa Qima turned his head, his gaze first sweeping over Yan Qiling's smiling eyes, lingering hesitantly for a few seconds before shifting to Ming Yiyang, his expression warming into the special smile he reserved for family members.

    "Brother, I'll go first. Remember to come find me with Mr. Yan when the commercial performance starts," he said.

    Ming Yiyang raised his glass slightly in agreement, and upon seeing the matter resolved, Wa Qima turned and left.

    On the surface, it seemed that Lin Yongjian had gained the upper hand, but in reality, it was Ming Yiyang who walked away with a sense of triumph.

    The young man casually scratched his silver hair and looked down at Yan Qiling beside him.

    "Shall we explore elsewhere? It seems like there are others waiting to have a chat with Teacher Lin."

    Yan Qiling nodded, though he lowered his voice, it was still audible to those around them.

    "That's a good idea. Let's not disturb Teacher Lin any longer."

    Their harmonious exchange left Lin Yongjian with an unpleased expression. Perhaps realizing that he was dealing with a formidable opponent whose identity was both unknown and formidable, he abandoned his pretense. Supressing the rising anger and unease within him, he walked straight up to Yan Qiling.

    "Professor Yan, do you really like him that much? Bringing him along everywhere, to both cocktail parties and film sets?"

    "Professor Lin, how do you know I bring him everywhere with me?"

    Yan Qiling's gaze was unusually sharp, like a keen dagger, effortlessly slicing through the other's concealed desires beneath their facade of concern:

    "Some matters should be left at a certain point. Our relationship isn't close enough for us to share everything with each other."

    "You don't need to worry about how I found out."

    Lin Yongjian knew that continuing would only make the situation irreparable, but he couldn't help himself. The jealousy within him was like a monstrous force, pushing him to persist in his questioning to maintain the fragile stability he clung to:

    "Didn't you hate it when someone followed you? Look at yourself now... Have you kept your word?! How can you, how can you treat him like this..."

    "It's not about liking him, but I enjoy having him around."

    Yan Qiling interrupted uncommonly, his own words becoming straightforward. His dark eyes stared intently at the nearly-unhinged person before him.

    "I prefer taking the initiative rather than waiting for someone to throw themselves at me. Coincidentally, he enjoys it that way too."

    This statement was rather blunt and unsparing.

    Any person with a modicum of self-respect would find it hard to tolerate, let alone someone like Lin Yongjian, a privileged prodigy.

    Lin Yongjian was indeed deeply shaken by these words. He barely dared to believe that Yan Qiling could utter such sentiments. He instinctively bit his lip, unable to conceal his astonishment.

    An inferno raged within him, a molten ball searing through his heart, burning away all his moisture and sense of tranquility.

    But upon seeing Yan Qiling turn to leave, he mustered a daring gaze and spoke in a hoarse voice, "I also..."

    "Lord Lin," Yan Qiling addressed him politely, no longer using the title of 'Teacher Lin' as before, "You're of noble standing, entitled to your pride."

    "I have found my own place. Your constant presence is rather pointless," the man said with an icy composure that lacked his usual politeness.

    He led Ming Yiyang away from the crowd, leaving Lin Yongjian standing alone in his wake.

    Given Lin Yongjian's status, it wouldn't be long before someone else filled the void beside him.

    The moment Yan Qiling and the others left, other aspiring socialites eagerly stepped in to occupy the empty space, lavishing flattery upon Lin Yongjian as they boasted about their companies or ventures, all the while striving to curry favor with him.

    Listening to the elaborate and polished social jargon around him and observing the toasting and mingling, Lin Yongjian suddenly found the entire scene absurdly ridiculous.

    He knew that all of this was a result of the innate aura that accompanied him since birth.

    This aura had once filled him with disgust, driving him to seek escape. However, after losing it, he had desperately sought it out again and eventually placed it back on his head. He realized how powerful a tool it was, wielding unparalleled influence.

    In its grip, even the most upright person could become fawning, and the most chaste would willingly surrender themselves.

    But do those who truly choose this path truly deserve the prefixes of "justice" and "purity"?

    He once didn't believe in the notion that "loyalty is only due to insufficient price," but after experiencing life's vicissitudes, he came to firmly believe in it.

    However, after meeting Yan Qiling, he was moved by the other's indifference while simultaneously hoping to touch him with his mundane beliefs.

    What was he pursuing?

    The man's words, "how boring," echoed perpetually in his ears, casting a dull shadow over everything at the banquet, rendering it tasteless.

    Despite standing at the center of attention like the moon surrounded by stars, he couldn't help but follow the two figures engaging in socializing at the edge of the gathering.

    Ming Yiyang took on all the drinks Yan Qiling refused.

    The young man's face was expressionless, yet Ming could sense a subtle satisfaction from the fulfillment of a dominant possessiveness.

    Yan Qiling stood beside him, showing no trace of impatience.

    Even though he was the type of person who loathed being ordered around or disciplined the most in the world.

    Yet, in front of Ming Yiyang, all his previous stubbornness seemed to melt away like armor.

    It transformed into a tranquil, yet surging river that quietly embraced the other's intrusion into his territory without any sense of oppression or discomfort.

    What kind of emotion was this?

    Lin Yongjian realized that this was likely a realm he could never attain.

    In this world, there will never be another Yan Qiling.

    He stood there, cup in hand, adorned with glory.

    Yet, in the fleeting glances of the other, he felt like a clown.

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