C21 – I’ve Finally Found You

“It seems we’re not well-acquainted,” remarked Chen Yaru, her nervousness replaced by a trace of disdain.

Xu Shaoning felt an unexpected pang of discomfort hearing her tone. He wasn’t accustomed to being addressed that way.

“Aren’t you going to introduce me to him?” Xu Shaoning’s gaze shifted towards Zhang Xiaoloong.

“This is my boyfriend,” Chen Yaru replied, her eyes reflecting a lover’s affection towards Zhang Xiaoloong, then added nonchalantly, “but I see no reason for both of you to get acquainted.”

Xu Shaoning’s discomfort deepened. “Actually, there are certain misconceptions I’ve wanted to address with you. I hope you’d…”

“There’s no need. Whether or not it’s a misunderstanding, we know where we stand,” Chen Yaru’s tone grew colder. “At this point, whether it’s a misconception or not is irrelevant to me. I’m also not interested in hearing about your busy schedule, Young Master Xu. We won’t keep you.”

With that, she took Zhang Xiaoloong’s arm, preparing to exit.

Despite the possible affront to the Wang Family, the sight of Xu Shaoning had sapped Chen Yaru’s desire to stay.

Surprisingly, Xu Shaoning halted their departure with an assertive gesture, his eyes fixing on Zhang Xiaoloong. “I realize this might be inappropriate, but I’m curious. Who are you? As far as I’m aware, Yaru hasn’t had someone like you in her life.”

Wang Changyu, appearing seemingly from nowhere, interjected with a sneer, “Young Master Xu, spare me the trouble. I overheard that he identifies as a farmer. He’s probably here as a stand-in. I’d wager Miss Chen purchased his attire. Would he dare admit that to you?”

So that’s how it is!

Many wore expressions of sudden understanding. All were aware that taking a woman away from a young master of the Xu Family on such an occasion wasn’t a wise move. Most people with sense wouldn’t consider it. However, if one were merely a decoy, they’d likely be an unsuspecting youth from a rural area. It all made sense now.

“Wang Changyu, you have no right to speak of him that way!” Chen Yaru’s anger was palpable.

Her meeting with Zhang Xiaoloong had been brief. Yet, the sincerity in his gaze had touched her deeply. Merely moments before, being in his embrace had granted her a feeling of safety she’d never known, extinguishing her fear of Xu Shaoning.

She was now certain of her feelings for Zhang Xiaoloong. His background, whether he was a farmer or anything else, didn’t matter. She admired him for who he was.

And since she held him in such regard, how could she bear others belittling him?

“Yaru, why must you react this way?” Xu Shaoning’s face mirrored that of a lovelorn suitor.

Wang Changyu, eyeing Zhang Xiaoloong with blatant scorn, chuckled, “Young Master Xu fails to see it. Miss Chen might appear upset with you. Yet deep down, she still harbors feelings for you. She’s using the ‘farmer’ as a decoy to incite your jealousy. Surely, someone of Miss Chen Yaru’s stature wouldn’t genuinely fall for a farmer. Isn’t that laughable?”

Several attendees found humor in Wang Changyu’s words. However, many were privy to the fact: Wang Changyu had once ardently pursued Chen Yaru. His sudden halt in advances coincided with the Wang Family aligning with the Xu Family and Xu Shaoning’s unexpected return.

But Wang Changyu’s intent wasn’t solely to assist Xu Shaoning. His evident animosity towards the “farmer” raised questions: Could Zhang Xiaoloong truly be Chen Yaru’s recent love interest?

Chen Yaru responded, her anger evident, “My feelings, my choices, are of no concern to Young Master Yu. Don’t feign sympathy for my sake. Zhang Xiaoloong isn’t a facade. I admire him, regardless of his status. Is that clear?”

Wang Changyu feigned shock, “Miss Chen, can this be true? So, he is genuinely a farmer? You’d prefer him over Young Master Xu? What of Young Master Xu’s reputation?”

The voice that silenced him belonged to Xu Shaoning himself.

Following his rebuke, he looked tenderly at Chen Yaru, “As Yaru rightly pointed out, her heart’s desire is her own prerogative. She doesn’t owe anyone a justification. I, Xu Shaoning, would never manipulate my status to coerce someone.”

His gaze then settled on Zhang Xiaoloong, carrying an implicit message, “And as for being a farmer, it’s said that every family has its roots in farming. Without farmers, we wouldn’t have sustenance.”

Before he could complete his thought, Wang Changyu interjected, “Young Master Xu, you’re giving them too much credit. Putting others aside, the past three generations of your lineage have been undeniably superior. When it comes to food, we pay for it. Are we indebted to them? These farmers audaciously flaunt their money. We pay, thus establishing our authority. They serve us. Clearly, they stand beneath us in stature.”

Chen Yaru’s demeanor darkened further. Although Xu Shaoning appeared to defend the farmers, this only enabled Wang Changyu to demean Zhang Xiaoloong.

Most of the attendees hailed from business dynasties, with only a handful originating from farming backgrounds. Xu Shaoning’s remarks risked alienating many. Consequently, they found themselves agreeing more with Wang Changyu. This heightened disdain for farmers only intensified their scorn for Zhang Xiaoloong.

Chen Yaru, seething, tried to respond but was cut off.

With a nonchalant smile, Zhang Xiaoloong remarked, “Both of you have valid points, yet you’re mistaken too.”

Xu Shaoning, intrigued, gazed at the composed farmer and asked, “So, what’s your perspective, Mr. Zhang?”

Although his tone remained civil, a hint of hostility lingered. The onlookers turned their attention, curious about the source of Zhang Xiaoloong’s audacity.

Zhang Xiaoloong met the gazes of his skeptics, even challenging some. “You’re right. Yaru is free to choose her heart’s desire. A farmer stands equal, not beneath anyone else. As Young Master Yu mentioned, city folks pay, and farmers provide food. It’s a just transaction. The city dwellers don’t owe farmers anything, and vice versa. Farmers sustain themselves without resorting to city-produced beverages. I believe I run a beverage enterprise, don’t I?”

The closing statement, a veiled jab at Wang Changyu, elicited hearty laughter from Chen Yaru.

“Said well,” someone applauded. “Zhang Xiaoloong, I have finally found you.”

Step Into A Different WORLD!

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