Chapter 4 – Restraint

The sound of the wine glass breaking immediately attracted everyone’s attention.

Rhodes and Saunter turned their heads when they heard the noise. The hands they had on the females accompanying them froze, and the shock turned them to stone: “……”

Were they hallucinating?!

 

The hall was previously full of noise, but all that could be heard now was the sound of breathing.

It was surprising that Carlos appeared at Ji Ling’s coming of age banquet, but still somewhat understandable. However, Carlos appearing today in this vulgar entertainment complex that only rich playboys like them came to… was completely incomprehensible, and too out of place.

Ji Ling also couldn’t understand. His eyes were wide with shock and disbelief as he looked at the man who suddenly appeared.

He really couldn’t convince himself that this was just a chance encounter.

Carlos adjusted his cuffs gracefully, and lowered his eyes looking down on Nie Tianqi from a high position. He raised his thin lips and sounded in a low voice: “You still haven’t left yet? Are you waiting for me to ask you to go?”

Clearly, he had spoken in a calm and almost mild tone, however, Nie Tianqi could only feel a chill go through him to his heart. The next moment, he crawled away from Ji Ling, shaking and saying: “I…I’m going!”

As soon as he said that, he rushed out stumbling. He didn’t even dare ask for forgiveness!

All that was left beside Ji Ling was a figure leaving in haste…

Ji Ling: “……”

Carlos saw Nie Tianqi leave and withdrew his glance to look around. His brows wrinkled slightly.

In fact, he received notice as soon as Ji Ling went out. His boy was so beautiful and attractive. Who knew how many people coveted him? The messy private affairs of the aristocracy made him worry even more. Fearing that other people would come onto the youth…He decided to come in person after thinking about it.

He never expected to see such a scene. That Nie punk was really bold, daring to use such despicable means on his boy. He must be looking to die.

Last life, he neglected to look after him, and didn’t know if the boy was bullied and taken advantage of by others.

Thinking of this point, Carlos’ anger surged inside. He looked back at Ji Ling’s shocked and confused appearance, suddenly realizing that his expression may have frightened him, and hurriedly masked the frosty depths of his eyes.

After a pause, a gentle doting smile slowly emerged, and Carlos raised his hand to gently brush the soft hair on Ji Ling’s forehead. He jokingly said: “What, is it so surprising to see me? “

Ji Ling: “…” Not only was it surprising, but also very scary! It’s so terrifying when you smile.

As for Rhodes and the others, they could only shiver beside him for the moment, and try to reduce their presence.

They came here to have fun, but now they regretted it. What kind of bad luck had they been cursed with to meet this kind of boss when they only came out to drink and have a good time? This was much more oppressing than even having their own fathers there. After all, Archduke Carlos was much more terrible than their dads…

Who in the whole empire didn’t know Archduke Carlos was someone you absolutely couldn’t offend? Hidden under an elegant appearance was a terror and ruthlessness that made countless people tremble…

Ji Ling remained silent for a moment, but he sucked it up and boldly said, “What did you come here for?”

Carlos looked at him gently and said, “It’s very late. I came to take you home.”

His tone was flat, as if he and Ji Ling had always been closely interacting like this, completely unaware of how earth-shattering these words were!

Ji ling: “!!!

Are we that close? I call you uncle, but do you really think you’re my uncle?

That’s just me being polite, you understand?

When Carlos said this, everyone changed the way they looked at Ji Ling to a mix of both envious and complex expressions. No one expected that Ji Ling was so loved by Archduke Carlos.

Now it seemed that… Carlos was quite close with the Ji family, and he even came to pick Ji Ling up himself. This kind of doting treatment wasn’t even given to any of the younger generation that was related to him by blood!

Everyone’s views continuously changed. It would be a good idea to treat Ji Ling better later, and also more carefully. Nobody wanted to repeat the crime Nie Tianqi committed previously!

Ji Ling also recovered from the shock. At first, he thought Carlos was out of his mind, but he soon realized that this was probably one of Carlos’ schemes.

First, he’d pretend to be very familiar with Ji Ling, then he’d show kindness to him in public. That was all in order to let everyone misunderstand that he and the Ji family were in the same boat, making it a known fact so nobody could refute it… This was really too sinister and despicable!

But Carlos was capable of doing these kinds of things!

Fine…

Aren’t you supposed to pretend to be an amicable elder? I’d like to see how long you can keep it up. Don’t think I don’t know. You despise rich kids like me the most.

Ji Ling originally wanted to go home, but he suddenly changed his expression and refused willfully, “But I don’t want to go back yet.”

Everyone gasped. Unexpectedly, there was someone who dared to refuse Carlos!

Rhodes’ hand trembled uncontrollably. Although he was used to Ji Ling acting willful, today was the first time he was worried about that attitude. Bro, can you look at who you’re refusing before you refuse?

Ji Ling didn’t receive the brain waves Rhodes’ sent at all.

He finished speaking and looked at Carlos, waiting for him to show displeasure. As a result, even though he waited half a day, Carlos didn’t show any such signs. Instead, he sighed helplessly: “You ah…”

Then he raised his hand and touched Ji Ling’s head, like he was touching a cute little animal. Very naturally, he sat down beside him and smiled, “Then I’ll stay with you.”

Ji ling: “???”

Rhodes and Saunter: “!!!”

Why don’t you play according to the rules?

Ji Ling was dumbfounded. Seeing that Carlos was really going to stay with him, he involuntarily shivered inside. What was this?

But would he just give in now? No way!

With Carlos like this, Ji Ling got bolder and bolder. He was going to tear a crack in Carlos’ facade. Unhappily, he said, “But with you here like this, nobody can act freely. I can just go back by myself later… And why did you scare Nie Tianqi away? He’s my good friend! You went too far. “

When the words came out, he saw Carlos’ ever gentle eyes suddenly turn cold. The temperature around them instantly dipped!

Ji Ling was startled, but quickly raised his head, and stubbornly looked into Carlos’ eyes.

Hmph, I thought you could take it, but you already can’t keep it in anymore!

Carlos pursed his lips, and the anger, which he had suppressed with a lot of effort, resurfaced. If I hadn’t stopped Nie Tianqi just now, do you know what would’ve happened afterwards? And now you blame me for not driving him away? So… even if it happened, you wouldn’t have cared, would you?

He lowered his eyes slightly and looked at the young man’s face as he remembered it; fresh and alive, pure and innocent…

He hadn’t seen him so openly willful like this in a very long time. Carlos’ heart slowly filled with warm fuzzies, and his eyes expressed a nostalgic longing.

No, Ji Ling didn’t know anything. He just didn’t know how to guard against others. He had no idea how dangerous those who got close to him were. He didn’t understand how they schemed, or how they could hurt him…

Just like how Ji Ling had always believed in him, and never doubted that he might hurt him…

Ji Ling was never at fault.The blame all lied with those who had ulterior motives…

Including his own ruthless self.

The chill in Carlos’ eyes slowly dissipated. He looked around and asked lightly, “Am I making you uncomfortable by being here?”

Rhodes and Saunter: “……”

After a moment of silence, the hall suddenly rang with enthusiastic voices.

“How! How could that be?!”

“We’re all very happy that you came here.”

“Carlos, Your Excellency, my father often tells me that you’re the one he respects the most.”

“It’s a great honor to meet you!”

“Please enjoy your time and don’t mind us.”

“Your presence graces this place.”

Carlos turned his head and looked down at Ji Ling with a smile: “See, my being here doesn’t restrain anybody.”

Ji Ling: “……”

Fine, it looks like you’re ready to follow through all the way. Then you have to wait for me here today, okay? Just see how long I’ll make you wait. Was he the first person to make the villain, Carlos, wait for him?

Thinking this made him quite excited.

Ji Ling became stubborn once again. Because of the herb in the air, his brain was even more excited. He simply ignored Carlos and turned to Rhodes saying, “Come on, let’s continue drinking!”

Rhodes glanced at Carlos quietly out of the corner of his eye. He didn’t dare to look more. Enduring the trembling of his hands, he gave a cheers to Ji Ling.

Ji Ling gulped down the fruit wine!

Speaking of which, the fine wine here tasted really good. The richness was accompanied by a fruity sweetness, a taste he liked very much. Even after downing this earth-shatteringly good wine, it wasn’t uncomfortable, just like drinking sweet nectar quenched thirst.

Not bad!

So Ji Ling filled another cup for himself.

Rhodes watched Ji Ling down drink after drink, so nervous he wanted to take his glass away. But because Carlos was on the side, he was too afraid to move, and could only look on anxiously. He forgot to tell Ji Ling that… although this wine tasted like fruit juice, it was still quite strong.

If he got drunk later and went crazy in front of Archduke Carlos, Rhodes feared he wouldn’t have much longer to live…

Really sad.

Really pitiful.

Speaking of which, why did he hold this party today?

There was no turning back in life.

Ji Ling didn’t care what Rhodes thought. Carlos was also fierce and cruel this time. Now that he’d appeared with this [kind] attitude, it was impossible for him to do anything to Ji Ling now. Otherwise, it would mean a complete fallout with Ji Ting. Although his father’s position was slightly inferior to Carlos’, he still had high status in the empire. In this case, it wouldn’t be effective for Carlos to offend him.

After all, Carlos acted without any feelings. He only pragmatically weighed pros and cons.

Ruin himself over this little thing? No, Ji Ling felt that he wouldn’t do something like that without benefit. Although he looked like he was provoking death, he was safe, at least for the moment, and could continue his rebirth save file.

Coupled with alcohol and this line of thinking, Ji Ling became more daring!

Carlos sat beside him, watching him drink cup after cup. A faint glow gradually emerged on Ji Ling’s face, but his aqua blue eyes became brighter and brighter. They were dazzling like a cluster of small sparks burning in a blue flame.

This boy was unlike anyone else. His willfulness was so unrestrained that it seemed to be ingrained in his body.

Carlos’ expression gradually turned to a peculiar one. Seeing that Ji Ling was becoming intoxicated, he finally raised his hand to cover Ji Ling’s glass. His voice was low and hoarse: “You’re drunk.”

But drunk people often felt that they weren’t drunk.

Ji Ling glared at Carlos with a faint red tint at the corner of his eyes, and exclaimed: “I’m not. Let go!”

Carlos looked at him deeply.

Ji Ling saw that he refused to let go, and unhappily pushed him. However, a powerful hand suddenly grabbed his wrist, and he was pulled into a pair of broad and strong arms. He cried out in alarm.

Carlos took the young man’s shoulder in one hand, lowered his head slightly, and whispered in his ear, “Don’t drink anymore.”

His hot breath fell on Ji Ling’s ear. Ji Ling twisted anxiously, and said gloomily while struggling: “Why do you care? Let go. I want to continue drinking!”

Carlos’ expression didn’t change. He looked up at Rhodes and the others, saying lightly, “He drank too much. I’ll take him back first.”

Rhodes and the others were both scared and flattered. They didn’t expect Carlos would talk to them. How could they dare say more? They nodded repeatedly: “Oh, okay, we’ll leave him to you!”

Carlos gave a slight nod, and then gazed down in his arms at the little fellow who looked like a small restless kitty. A smile flashed in his eyes, then he stretched out his hands and picked Ji Ling right up.

Ji Ling was dizzy, and his head bumped against Carlos’ neck. He rubbed his nose, only to find that Carlos had actually picked him up. Who said he was leaving? He hadn’t yet forced out this old bastard’s true self, so he shouted, “What’re you doing?!

But Carlos simply ignored him, and held him while he strode out.

He got onto the hover car and ordered the AI: “We’re going home.”

Ji Ling refused to settle down the whole way, and his fingernails inadvertently scratched across Carlos’ cheek, staying shocked for a bit after… Although he was drunk, he still instinctively felt there was something wrong.

Carlos’ winced slightly from the pain. He lowered his head, and his gaze fell to the young boy’s vacant eyes.

Ji Ling stared at him, and subconsciously said what he was thinking: “Aren’t you angry?”

Carlos looked at him with a smile and said calmly, “Why would I be angry? You haven’t done anything wrong. “

Ji Ling’s eyes glazed over. He made a scene all night long and even scratched his face. How could he say that he didn’t do anything wrong? Was Carlos such a good-tempered man before? How come he was so different from how he remembered?

He wanted to think more on it, but he really was a little drunk and tired from the fussing about. His eyelids began to fight him involuntarily.

Carlos folded his arms slightly to make Ji Ling more comfortable in his embrace. His lips evoked a doting smile and he whispered: “Sleep. I’ll take you home.”

This low magnetic voice suddenly fell into Ji Ling’s ears. Clearly, it was from a terrible villain, but it seemed to have some magic quality to it that calmed him and made him sink into his weariness. He might actually have been really drunk today.

Ji Ling could no longer resist, and leaned into Carlos’ arms, soon falling asleep.

 

Carlos stared at the young man’s handsome side profile. His long eyelashes cast a light shadow, making him appear quiet like a sleeping angel.

It was such a beautiful sight, yet he couldn’t help but recall the youth’s final appearance in his previous life.

Last life, this young man who lost everything was exiled to that remote and isolated planet. He wasn’t allowed to set foot on Empire Star again, and was stripped of all the noble glory that originally belonged to him, forced to stay all alone in that neglected place.

Pale, melancholic, and fragile… There wasn’t a trace of that unrestrained willfulness left. He gave everything to love that person, but finally fell to meet such an end. No one cared for him, and this poor abandoned child was left alone to face despair.

Despite this, those setbacks didn’t erase the remaining clarity and beauty in his eyes.

After being betrayed mercilessly by him and hurt by his loved ones…

Ji Ling still asked him carefully with an expectant expression: “They deceived me, but you wouldn’t do that, would you, Uncle Carlos?”

Perhaps it wasn’t that Ji Ling was unwilling to accept reality, but that this hope was the only support his heart had left…

And he let him down.

A hint of pain emerged in Carlos’ eyes.

It was probably from that moment that he finally began to feel remorse for what he had done and regret his cold indifferent attitude… because he couldn’t calmly face those clear bright eyes and give him a definite answer.

That shouldn’t have been your end. How you are now, happy and carefree… was how you should’ve been, and how I hope you will continue to be.

Those beautiful eyes of yours will never again hold the resentment, jealousy, pain and despair of last life.

This time, I won’t let anyone hurt you again.

A solemn determination could be seen in Carlos’ eyes, like the deep dark sky devouring everything silently. He gazed down at the young man’s face, and for the first time, a strange longing surged in his heart… A longing for those fiery eyes to look at him more fiercely; a longing to be closer to him.

He was no longer content with just being a respected elder.

Carlos’ Adam’s apple stirred. After a long time, he lowered his head, and gently planted a restrained kiss on Ji Ling’s forehead.

In this life, you will only belong to me.

————————————

The next day, Ji Ling woke up groggy. That’s good wine for you. He drank that much, but didn’t get a hangover the next day… In fact, he seldom got drunk. If it wasn’t to provoke Carlos last night, he wouldn’t have indulged so much that he couldn’t even remember what happened.

But he harassed Carlos so much during the night. There had to be some results, right?

Ji Ling expectantly asked the system: [Did Carlos get angry after that yesterday? 

The system fell into an eerie silence.

Ji Ling didn’t understand: [What’s wrong with you? Was he angry or not? Is this such a difficult question to answer? 

System: [No, he didn’t. 

Ji Ling was shocked: [He didn’t get angry after all that?] This was illogical. The whole script of the book described how cruel and terrifying the villain Carlos was. It never said that he had such patience. Was it necessary for Carlos to act like this to him?

The system said with a heavy tone: [No. 

Ji Ling absentmindedly asked again: [Then how did I get back last night? 

System: [He sent you back. 

Ji Ling: […]

The system spoke in his mind, ‘You were drunk yesterday and even scratched his cheek. I was considerate and didn’t say anything, lest you get scared.’

Ji Ling learned that his plan yesterday failed. Not only was Carlos not angry, but he also sent him back home. Ahhhhh! He felt like he was in a daze. He never expected that… Carlos would actually have such an accommodating side!

I even underestimated him by a lot!

Opening his communicator, Ji Ling saw Rhodes message, asking him cautiously if he was okay.

With a deadpan expression, he turned off the communicator. I’m not okay. Not okay at all! Nothing is okay!

My whole being is not okay!

  ………………

After something like that happened, Ji Ling was in even less of a mood to go out and play.

Carlos was really acting abnormal lately. Although he thought it shouldn’t be possible for him to appear again, Ji Ling still didn’t want to take any  risks. Thrills like that were not conducive to the healthy growth of his weak heart.

Originally, he was worried about how to refuse the coming invitations, but everyone seemed to have a tacit understanding this time, and no one even mentioned asking him out. It was even peaceful on Rhodes’ end.

Ji Ling wasn’t used to it at first, but soon realized that Carlos’ appearance shocked not only him, but everyone else as well, so much so that no one dared ask him to hang out anymore.

Now that he thought about it, this wasn’t completely without its benefits…

His feelings were complicated.

He stayed at home like this, and finally got his wish of living peacefully shut-in in his house. He counted the days and waited for Ning Yu’s return.

Everything was perfect, except for one minor hitch…

Although Carlos hadn’t appeared before him again in person, he didn’t miss any chance to make his presence remembered, and sent all sorts of gizmos to Ji Ling’s house every other day…

Beautiful jewelry, delicious snacks, exquisite clothing, etc…

All of them were specialties from different galaxies in the universe. Although these things were not as valuable as Blue Ocean Star, it was still a time-consuming and laborious process. He felt like an *over-extravagant princess. It was clear there was a lot of thought put in.

Not to mention… the food, at least, was very much to his liking.

Sitting at home, he could eat delicious food from all over the universe. It felt quite good. A real foodie never refused delicious food.

The system said helplessly: [“You look very relaxed.” 

Ji Ling threw a piece of fruit into his mouth: [What’s there not to be relaxed about? His aim is to dupe me in order to win over my father! There’s no way he’d send me poisonous food. Otherwise, the losses would outweigh the gains. 

The system was speechless.

Ji Ling ate happily. Whenever he was satisfied and content with the food, he’d get this feeling…

If I hadn’t already done the mission before and gained an omniscient perspective, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have seen through that villain’s objective and believed that he was actually sincere.

Tsk tsk, tsk. Better to eat them than not.

When I go back, I won’t be able to eat these kinds of thing anymore.

  ………………

The days went by, and Ning Yu’s return was approaching. Ji Ling felt like his vacation was coming to an end.

That night, he was lying in a tree looking at the stars again. Suddenly, he saw the lights in the distant banquet hall shine brightly. There was a clamor of faint voices coming from there. After thinking for a moment, he suddenly remembered something.

Another important supporting character was coming back today. That was Wen Yan, Speaker of the House, who would later become a power in the empire.

In the book, Ning Yu, an evolver from a civilian background, shined brilliantly in the army, while Wen Yan, an evolver from the spiritual system, chose the path of politics.

Every civilian who entered Empire Star with his own evolutionary strength was nothing but excellent. However, even if they were excellent amongst the civilian population, they’d become just another ordinary person upon entering Empire Star facing the many nobles. It was like a mortal walking around the heavens; even trivial things would be discriminated against.

Therefore, they usually chose to enter different factions and become subordinates or vassals of aristocrats in order to gain support… The nobles wouldn’t completely block their path to promotion either to maintain the stability of their rule. They’d bring these civilian evolvers into their own ranks and gradually assimilate them into part of the imperial aristocracy.

Although these civilian evolvers seemed to be accepted on the surface, the inferiority ingrained in their body couldn’t be erased. In the eyes of nobles, these civilians were still of a lower race.

The inferior label of their blood wouldn’t disappear because of their strength.

Wen Yan faced such a predicament. After he became an evolver, he was brought under the authority of the Ji family, and suddenly transferred to be planet lord of one of their territories. He returned a few years later, entered parliament as a civilian and became an ordinary member of parliament.

Generally speaking, this was pretty much the end of the ladder civilians could climb…

But not for Wen Yan.

Ji Ling knew that in the next general election, Wen Yan would overcome all the opponents who despised him in an unexpected way, and become the first civilian speaker in history!

He would firmly establish his position too.

Ji Ling looked at the lights in the distance. After a moment of silence, he jumped down from the tree. Although he was somewhat afraid of this person’s scheming mind and didn’t want to get too close, the story required him to be present.

It was described in the original plot: Wen Yan lay dormant until he was elected Speaker of the House. He easily won the trust of the Ji family’s young master, and gradually gained more influence using the Ji family to achieve his goals. In short, while taking advantage of him on one hand, he looked down on him on the other hand. He completely played young master Ji for a fool.

Having said that, this great young master Ji Ling, ‘arrogant and stupid,’  still faithfully came to the banquet hall.

The door was open, and there were well-dressed men and women coming and going inside. They were partially his father, Ji Ting’s subordinates, and partially aristocrats with many ties to the Ji family. His father occasionally held banquets like this to give everyone a platform to voice their feelings, a kind of routine political activity.

Generally speaking, Ji Ling didn’t attend this kind of banquet. All his character thought about was love. His heart couldn’t hold anything other than Jing Sui. He never took part in these complicated things. His appearance today should just be a coincidence.

Ji Ling followed his memory from last life, and walked in. As expected, he did indeed spot a tall and handsome man.

His long silver hair was meticulously tied behind his head, and hanging down his back. His face was beautiful, but his narrow long eyes made him look more feminine. His dark eyes appeared bottomless, and he never seemed to show much extra emotion. He always had a faint smile on his face, and acted relaxed with the appropriate discretion, so that people couldn’t see through his thoughts.

Going by his appearance alone, Wen Yan didn’t lose to any imperial aristocrats at all. You could even say he was better.

For example, even now, faced with the heckling and harassment by others, he still appeared emotionless. He only looked at the other party lightly.

Lord Richard stared at Wen Yan’s calm dark eyes. Although this Wen Yan didn’t say a word, he somehow felt scorned and it made him extremely furious!

Clearly, they were the aristocracy high above him, but were being treated like this by a lowly civilian. It was outrageous.

Lord Richard looked at Wen Yan coldly and said with a cynical expression: “Hey, I told you you weren’t welcome here. I think it’d be better if you went home.”

Wen Yan said flatly, “Please give way. I have something to request of the duke.”

Lord Richard hissed, “The duke is very busy. I don’t think he has time to see you. You only entered parliament to show your efforts for those stupid lower links. With your identity, do you really think the duke would endorse you?”

These words were very mean, but Wen Yan remained calm. His dark eyes showed neither anger nor any other emotion.

Finally, Lord Richard was infuriated and said harshly: “As a filthy lower being, you should know best. Don’t think that being a member of parliament makes you one of us. Now get out of here immediately, understand?”

Ji Ling came to the front, and coincidentally saw this scene. Ha…

Even without the original plot, he couldn’t stand this kind of behavior!

Ji Ling picked up a glass of wine nearby, and splashed it directly onto Lord Richard’s face. He stood in the middle of the two men, blocking Wen Yan off behind him. Then he raised his eyebrow contemptuously and looked at Lord Richard, saying in a slightly raised voice. “Who do you think you are? You dare make trouble for one of my people?”

“The one who should be getting out of here… is you.” Ji Ling said coldly.

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