Chapter 9: A Wine Banquet
The car was going down the familiar path to their house until it turned away on a corner.
Huo Ming Chen suddenly said,
“This time, your fight…… wait, actually it should be said that it was you being beaten up and it was all thanks to me and Fang Qi who passed on the message.
Let’s have dinner to thank him, which is perfect since we haven’t eaten dinner yet.”
It was obviously not a sudden thought that came to Huo Ming Chen’s mind.
He didn’t call Huo Ming Chen out, and instead slowly smoothed back his hair.
With his handsome face mismatched with bruises, he for once did not have the words to explain,
“You can’t just say that because I didn’t fight back, I don’t have any strength.”
“I never underestimated your strength.”
Huo Ming Chen brought his attention back to the road as he drove, and said honestly,
“You’re pretty strong in bed.”
“…… I’m so happy that I still have that kind of strength in your eyes.”
By the end of this conversation, they were at the restaurant.
Lu Qi felt that the bruises on his face affected his visuals too much, and at first would not get out of the car.
Huo Ming Chen stood by the passenger door and bent down to look at him through the window,
“If you don’t want to get out of the car, we can go home and have some fun in bed instead.”
Lu Qi crossed his arms, and lowered his eyes.
Sitting like a statue in the car, he thought that Huo Ming Chen was too childish,
“That won’t scare me.”
Even though he said that, he still reluctantly got out of the car, and was dragged to a private room on the second floor of the restaurant.
Huo Ming Chen had mentioned that they were having dinner with only Fang Qi, but once the door opened, Lu Qi found that it was not just Fang Qi inside.
Lu Qi scanned across the room at the familiar faces, Cheng Tian Qi, Chi Yi Ke, Zhao Shi Han.
He suddenly realized that while he thought he had already forgotten these faces, everything was still as clear as day.
Huo Ming Chen introduced them to him, one by one, and he explained with a rarely seen patience.
“These are all my best friends.
Fang Qi you already know.
This is Tian Qi, Yi Ke, Shi Han.”
“This is Lu Qi.
From now on, he’s the same as family, so please take good care of him.”
These were the children of some of the wealthiest and most powerful people here in the capital.
All gathered at this table.
Even though Lu Qi’s face was bruised, it did not affect his aura.
He put on an experienced perfectly angled smile, and acquainted himself with everyone, one by one.
Zhao Shi Han, as the only female in the room, very quickly pointed out the killer attractiveness of Lu Qi’s face.
“Oh my oh my, Ming Chen you know such a handsome fellow, you should have introduced him to me already.
Could be a celebrity with his looks.
I’ve been single all this time, didn’t you guys know?”
Of course she was only joking, as Zhao Shi Han had never seen Lu Qi in their circle before, and from Huo Ming Chen’s words to take care of him, it meant that he was only a commoner.
There was no way they could have any kind of relationship like that.
Huo Ming Chen smiled, with no emotion attached to it.
Fang Qi sweated internally and knocked on the table,
“Yah yah yah, this table is full of handsome lads, why do you keep staring at Lu Qi.
We aren’t that bad.”
Zhao Shi Han tossed her hair behind her shoulder, and dismissively scanned Fang Qi from top to bottom,
“I’m not that blind.”
Huo Ming Chen poked Lu Qi carefully under the table, his face still showing no emotion.
You couldn’t really say if he was happy or not.
“You are pretty charming with girls.
Li Zi Yan just left, and here comes another one.”
Lu Qi did not show any hesitation to be sitting at this table.
He ate whatever was there, and he drank whatever was on the table.
He was already quite familiar with everyone.
In his past life, he had only slowly met them after being with Huo Ming Chen for a long time.
This kind of formal meeting was the first.
He slowly wiped his mouth with a napkin after he drank a bowl of soup.
“I’m too handsome.
Can’t do anything about it.”
Some people still look handsome even when their faces are bruised, as it adds an extra layer of sternness and danger.
Huo Ming Chen propped up his chin with his hand, and took in the details of Lu Qi’s face from the side.
What Lu Qi said was the truth.
Still, he mockingly said,
“Who gave you that kind of self confidence?”
Of course, Lu Qi has never lost in a battle of words.
“Don’t know who said that even if my face was disfigured, I’d still be handsome.
That made me have self confidence.”
There were too many eyes on them, so he did not pass any food to Huo Ming Chen, and only focused on feeding himself.
Huo Ming Chen stared at his empty bowl for a long while, and suddenly switched their bowls.
Nonchalantly, he asked,
“Didn’t you find that my favorite foods were in your bowl?”
Lu Qi did not say what Huo Ming Chen wanted him to.
Instead he replied,
“Can’t I like them too?”
And then slowly filled up the empty bowl in front of him.
Zhao Shi Han was a person who could get a little crazy.
She saw Lu Qi had his head down and was just eating, giving off a very obedient look, and she wanted to tease him.
“Ah, little brother1 Lu Qi, we are meeting for the first time today, we cannot not have a drink right.
You have to drink a bottle for us to be considered brothers.”
She held a bottle of wine in her hands, and it did not look light in alcohol content.
Sitting beside her, Cheng Tian Qi silently edged away from her.
Chi Yi Ke’s face twitched and he felt an oncoming headache.
It was quite evident that she’s done this a million times before.
“You crazy woman, let’s video call your parents so they can see you like this.”
“Only a three year old would tell on me to my parents.”
Zhao Shi Han did not care.
She filled a glass of wine up to the top and passed it to Lu Qi, looking like a rambunctious female gangster .
“Drink if you are a man!”
Lu Qi smiled and was just about to receive it when Huo Ming Chen forcibly stole it out of her hands.
“Look at his bruised face.
He just came out from the hospital.
I’ll drink for him.”
He tossed down the entire drink in one go.
Lu Qi watched from the side, and who knew what he was thinking.
He didn’t utter a sound.
When Zhao Shi Han heard that Lu Qi went to the hospital because of a fight, she didn’t try to get him to drink again.
Instead, she turned her sights on Huo Ming Chen,
Fang Qi laughed but didn’t say anything to that quip.
It’s been quite a while since Huo Ming Chen drank the glass of wine, and he still has not recovered.
He cursed as he rubbed his head, voice a little coarse,
“What the fuck was in that wine.”
Zhao Shi Han was an alcoholic, and drank another glass of wine before responding,
“It’s just Heng Shui Lao Bai Gan2, only 67% alcohol, eh it’s alright.”
Huo Ming Chen felt his head hurt even more when he heard that.
Thankfully, his alcohol tolerance has always been higher than average, and so he drank another glass.
On the other hand, if Lu Qi drank the amount Huo Ming Chen had consumed there was an 80% chance that he would need to go to the hospital again.
“Drink some soup.”
Huo Ming Chen opened one eye, and as soon as he saw Lu Qi pass him a bowl of soup, he straightened himself up.
He drank the soup in one go, seeming as if he was a drunk pretending not to be drunk.
“At least you show some conscience.
Didn’t waste my efforts to cover for you.”
Lu Qi sighed, and looked at the table full of intoxicated people,
“I don’t have many things, but I really don’t have a conscience.”
Huo Ming Chen felt that Lu Qi always had to challenge him.
Staring at him, he dully said,
“What, eaten up by dogs?”
“Why are you eating up my conscience?”
The moment he said that, Huo Ming Chen kicked him.
It didn’t really hurt, and Lu Qi couldn’t stop laughing.
He thought in his heart that this was definitely a cat with claws.
He instinctively patted his pockets, but they were empty, so he gave up.
The group drank for a while, and by then, there were only a few who could stand up.
Zhao Shi Han has a driver coming to pick her up, and the others decided to stay at a hotel nearby for the night.
After tidying up the aftermath, Lu Qi drove home with Huo Ming Chen in the passenger seat.
Huo Ming Chen’s eyes were already drooping, and he yawned a few times before saying,
Zhao Shi Han was in a bad mood.
Normally, she doesn’t drink as much as this.”
Lu Qi asked off-handedly,
“Her crush married someone else, about two days ago.”
“She has such a good family background, why didn’t she fight for him?”
Huo Ming Chen narrowed his eyes, and said,
“You don’t understand, there are some things you just can’t fight for.”
“That man was older than her by quite a few years.
He used to be Shi Han’s piano teacher, and his family background is quite average.
She is the only precious daughter of the Zhao family, do you think it was even possible? They already picked someone out of our group as her fiancé, probably going to get married soon.”
“How’s his personality?”
“Not bad, but it’s still not someone she liked, so what’s the point of a good personality?”
Lu Qi didn’t know why, but he didn’t speak.
After a long while, he finally said,
“How about you then? Are you going to get married in the future?”
The author has something to say:
Author (raises the microphone): Will you both get married in the future?
Huo Ming Chen: Sex – male, love – men, what do you think?
Lu Qi: Sex – male, love – money, what do you think?
*1 brother: it was briefly mentioned in chapter 4 (Fang Qi saying Huo Ming Chen was a close friend like a brother to him) but brother is a direct translation of 兄弟.
Which is like what I translated as in Chp4 – very close (best) friend that could be so close to you like a blood related brother.
In the upcoming chapters, it’d be used more interchangeably between an actual brother vs a best/extremely close friend that is like a brother (just as a side note).
*2 the wine they are drinking are called baijui – “white wine” with a very distinctive taste and looks clear (very different from a western white wine).
There’s quite a few versions of the 67% alcohol they could be referring to but here are some pictures of some of the baijui of that brand Zhao Shi Han mentioned.
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