Chapter 5 – Justification

Although Ji Ling was shorter than Lord Richard, his contemptuous look and haughty expression still made the tall middle-aged aristocrat red in the face. There were angry flames in his eyes like he wanted to bite him!

But Ji Ling wasn’t afraid. He was even in the mood to raise his chin, and provoke him with a sneer.

 

A mere lord dared to bully civilians. This guy was nothing in front of his father, so Ji Ling assumed that he wouldn’t dare do anything to him. Otherwise, with the original’s constant arrogance, he would’ve been killed off long ago. Wasn’t it because he had a strong backer behind him?

This was how the imperial aristocracy’s hierarchy worked.

Lord Richard’s face turned from red to white, and white and red. He almost ground his teeth to dust. Wine dripped down his face, making him feel humiliated… but he still put up with it in the end.

He didn’t dare touch Ji Ling.

Not only was Ji Ling the only child of Duke Ji Ting and Madam Marina, but there was also that rumor circulating widely among imperial nobles lately; Grand Duke Carlos was extremely fond of Ji Ling as well.

At the same time, he was in the heart of two grand dukes, and one of them was the terrifying and blood-thirsty Grand Duke Carlos.

Even if he had the heart of a lion, he wouldn’t dare show his dissatisfaction to Ji Ling. In his eyes, those ordinary civilians were the lowest beings, but in the eyes of this high noble Ji Ling… wouldn’t he also be considered too low as well?

After a while, Lord Richard gave a distorted smile, seemingly humble, and bowed, “My apologies. I didn’t realize he was one of your people.”

Ji Ling snorted and twitched his brow: “Now you know.”

Lord Richard bowed his head in shame and said: “Yes, I was at fault today. I humbly ask your forgiveness for my presumptuous and ignorant behavior.”

Ji Ling glanced at him, and saw Lord Richard’s forehead drip in cold sweat.

As long as he couldn’t get Ji Ling’s pardon today, he’d find himself driven to a dead end. If Ji Ling casually spoke so much as one phrase about him to Duke Ji Ting or Grand Duke Carlos, he’d die a miserable death.

Ji Ling watched the tall middle-aged man trembling slightly and sweating heavily. Finally, he waved, disgusted, and said, “Get out.”

Lord Richard acted as if he was granted amnesty, because this meant Ji Ling didn’t care about it anymore. He respectfully faced Ji Ling, bent over, and flew away from this place where he was shamed!

Ji Ling looked at his figure leaving in haste and gave a contemptuous laugh.

Another wonderful day of bullying… so nice.

After dealing with Lord Richard, Ji Ling turned around triumphantly. However, he was startled to face Wen Yan’s black eyes searing with heat.

This was a man whose mind was an unfathomable depth, and wouldn’t even bat an eye if the world collapsed… This man was someone whose mood you could never read, but staring into his eyes now, they seemed to contain a kind of strong and extremely complex emotion. It was so deep it was scary!

Ji Ling:? ? ?

I did the same thing last life. My behavior should’ve totally been within your expectations, but now you look so incredibly touched. What the heck is wrong with you?!

Is it necessary to act so realistically?

After what happened with Carlos, Ji Ling was very sensitive to these behaviors that didn’t happen last life. He looked at Wen Yan warily…

and decided to hurry up and finish the plot line, so he could get out of there.

So then Ji Ling looked at the direction Lord Richard left, and with his hands behind his back, he sneered contemptuously: “What a fool! If you’re going to beat a dog, you need to see who its owner is. He didn’t even know something so simple.”

His tone, expression and bearing seemed to be pointing at Lord Richard, but in fact, his statement showed he didn’t even consider Wen Yan to be equal as another human at all!

This was also why Wen Yan could manipulate the original without hesitation. The original only stood up for him, because Wen Yan buttered him up all happy. In other words, the way he looked at Wen Yan was no different from the other nobles. He fought for Wen Yan based only on the premise that “*you need to see who the owner is before beating a dog,” without even knowing that in Wen Yan’s eyes, the laughable pet was actually him.

He didn’t even realize how stupid he was.

Ji Ling followed his own character setting completely. After doing his good work, he was ready to draw aggro… This way, Wen Yan would become good friends with Ning Yu later according to the plot. He’d pretend to help him deal with Ning Yu on the surface, when actually, he was helping Ning Yu deal with him.

Ji Ling finished that sentence, and glanced lightly at Wen Yan, satisfied with how deeply he captured the role of a rich kid.

In the face of this kind of subconscious shaming, Wen Yan would never express displeasure outwardly. He would only leave respectfully as usual. The original never noticed anything wrong, but Ji Ling knew that this was a form of disdain for him.

However, this time, Ji Ling waited for ages, and still didn’t hear Wen Yan say anything.

Just when he was getting a little confused, Wen Yan suddenly looked away respectfully, bowed his head slightly and said, “You are absolutely right.”

Ji Ling: “…?”

Wen Yan looked at the blond boy’s proud and bright face. His beautiful blue eyes seemed to be shining with starlight, countless times more dazzling than the eternal stars in the universe… Wen Yan’s inner emotions surged, and he lowered his eyes to hide the burning gaze he could barely conceal.

Ji Ling came here again.

Like in the previous life, he appeared before him like an angel from heaven.

He thought he’d never see him again.

It was all because he didn’t stop him that day. If he had… would the outcome have been different?

Wen Yan closed his eyes painfully, recalling the events of his last life. When he finally hurried over, he only made it in time to see a cold corpse. Those beautiful eyes would never open again.

After more than ten years, he had never forgotten that scene.

He woke up with nightmares on countless nights.

The young man’s willfulness, arrogance, laughter, and anger… Each expression was so clearly engraved in his memory that it did not fade away even with the passage of time.

It was then that he finally realized that the feelings he had for him were not only despicable, selfish and possessive, but he also harbored longing and yearning for him… all because he had unconsciously fallen in love with Ji Ling long ago.

His whole life he’d been playing with people’s hearts, thinking that he could see through everything. When in fact, it was the most difficult to see what was closest… Ironically, he couldn’t even understand his own heart.

He couldn’t even understand the kindness of a simple boy.

Although he always said that he wouldn’t forgive others’ remarks, Ji Ling wasn’t really like those ugly nobles. It was just that ever since he was young, Ji Ling  lived in a world with no respect for ordinary civilians, and no one taught him how to respect people. Despite this, Ji Ling still stood up for him and extended his hand to him time and time again… If he really looked down on him from the bottom of his heart, why would he go so far?

  

He just didn’t know how to express his good intentions, and hid his good heart behind arrogance.

In essence, Ji Ling was completely different from those aristocrats.

Even though he was born into that kind of world, he still didn’t let his pure white heart get tainted by the darkness outside.

After Ji Ling’s death, it took him a long time to understand such a simple truth.

Wen Yan’s chest heaved slightly, masking the pain of self-deprecation in his eyes. He took a deep breath, and lifted his line of sight again. All that remained in his dark eyes was the deep black of the starry sky. He whispered, “I’ll take you back.”

Although Wen Yan soon returned to normal, Ji Ling thought about the look in his eyes just now and got goosebumps all over. He just wanted to get away earlier, so he waved his hand and pretended not to care: “No need.”

Wen Yan looked at him persistently, and insisted again: “Please allow me to send you back to show my gratitude.”

Ji Ling: “……”

It would be unreasonable to refuse again.

Ji Ling could only walk back subconsciously. All along the way, he didn’t dare look at the people around him. He returned to his bedroom with difficulty, and hadn’t even had time to send Wen Yan away when he had already followed him directly inside.

Ji Ling: “……”

You weren’t busying yourself today with your political struggle,  nor were you anxiously currying favor with my father. Spending so much time on me…Are you sick in the head? Isn’t it a waste of your time? Ji Ling rolled his eyes and thought up a plan. He went straight to the bed and sat down. In an impatient tone, he said coldly: “I want to rest. You can go out now.”

Wen Yan smiled and then, without warning… knelt down on one knee before Ji ling in an almost submissive posture. He lowered his head, and his voice was low and hoarse saying: “I will serve you.”

Ji Ling: “!”

Wen Yan lowered his eyelashes.

Last life, I thought this kind of feeling was just possessiveness at work. I was eager to conquer you. In order to get you, who was so beautiful and high above, I didn’t hesitate to betray you and sell you out, if only for the day I’d be able to pull you down from the altar on high, trample you under my feet, and look at you, who was so holy and untouchable… as you submitted under one of the lower beings you so despised.

My heart was so ugly and dirty. Inferiority and jealousy blinded my eyes. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I actually loved you… and I almost did something that I’d regret for a lifetime.

If it wasn’t for your death, I might not even know what I really wanted to this day.

When I finally understood…

I had already lost my chance to make up for it.

This pain has tormented me for ten years … I never imagined at the time that a person like me could be saved.

I have a chance to re-do everything, and make up for my regrets.

 

Ji Ling looked with glassy-eyes at the silver-haired man kneeling on one knee in front of him. His back was straight, his head was slightly lowered, and his silver eyelashes quivered. His light-colored lips closed together, and he softly raised Ji Ling’s foot onto his knee…

It was just like a loyal servant serving his master…

up until when his boots were taken off. Wen Yan’s cool fingertip accidentally passed over his ankle, and Ji Ling was startled all of a sudden. He immediately jolted out of the confusing image in front of him! What followed was blood-curdling fear!

No matter how obedient Wen Yan acted now, Ji Ling would never forget that he was a terrible villain!

The more submissive he was now, the more ruthless the revenge that was probably brewing in his heart.

Ji Ling knew full well how cruel and complicated this person was because he had gone through the book. He heard that after Wen Yan won the election, many nobles came out in person and protested for a re-election. After all, letting a few low-ranking civilians enter parliament was already their biggest political compromise. There was no way they could tolerate an ordinary civilian becoming Speaker of the House!

However, not long after, the protest leaders that could be killed were killed, and those that could be exiled were exiled. In the end, this dispute concluded with the support of Grand Duke Carlos.

After Wen Yan became the speaker, he had to face all kinds of infighting and conspiracy. However, he never lost even once. When Ji Ling died last life, Wen Yan was still alive and well; you could even say his power was heaven-defying.

As an ordinary civilian, he was able to rise above numerous imperial nobles in the end… It wasn’t described in detail in the book, but the process was actually littered with blood shed.

Moreover, the description of Wen Yan in the book was quite mysterious. He was not only good friends with Ning Yu, but also seemed to collude secretly with Carlos. No one knew what he really wanted…

But the people who blocked his way all died.

Ji Ling thought that he was putting his life at stake trying to act out this plot. He unexpectedly had this vicious villain in front of him kneeling and taking off his shoes. Although he appeared haughty at the moment, he actually felt like he was facing a beast that was ready to bite at any time. Maybe in the next moment… he’d be sent back to the re-spawn point.

Ji Ling’s lips shook for a moment. He considered the terrible consequences that would come if he got on his knees to beg for mercy. With difficulty, he endured the chills he was getting and kicked Wen Yan lightly on the shoulder. He said without looking, “All right. You can go…”

But before he could take his foot back, Wen Yan grabbed it in his hand.

Ji Ling froze, thinking, I was already so careful. I didn’t even dare to really kick you, and you still couldn’t take it?!

As a result, in the next moment, Wen Yan bowed his head and landed a gentle kiss on the back of his foot. His expression was devout as if he were treating his only god and belief. His voice was soft and hoarse: “Be careful not to hurt your foot.”

Ji ling: “???”

Wen Yan’s action just now had already caused him to crash completely. His eyes stared straight and he was speechless.

Wen Yan slowly raised his head, and looked at Ji Ling’s lovely vacant expression. His lips turned to a very shallow smile, and the depths of his dark eyes showed affection.

How could he misunderstand the kindness of this young man again? Besides the few merciless words, when had Ji Ling ever really insulted and humiliated him? For example, this time… even though he was impatient to drive him away, it was just a gentle kick; A proud [tsundere], awkward and lovely kick that warmed his cold heart.

Wen Yan slowly let go and stood up: “Please rest. I will withdraw first.”

Before leaving, he gently closed the door for Ji Ling.

Then, he stood alone with his back to the door. He raised his hand to look at his palm that still carried traces of remnant heat from the boy.

The moment he touched him, he wished he could disregard everything and hold him in his arms… kiss his eyes, the tip of his nose, and his lips.

He’d always thought he was restrained enough, and patient enough…

But just now, he knew that if he didn’t release his hand in time, he might not be able to control himself, and do something to frighten the boy…

So he decisively left the scene.

Now was not the right time. Showing his feelings now would only make Ji Ling fear and loathe him. In the end, he’d only get farther and farther away.

Wen Yan’s hand hung uselessly by his side. He slowly tightened it with a profound look in his eyes.

In order to be qualified to stand by your side one day… I will definitely go further and rise higher.

Becoming speaker was only the first step.

  ………………

Ji Ling dreamt at night that Wen Yan was on his knees taking off his shoes. He kissed the back of his little foot with a respectful and devout expression. Then he raised his head, suddenly revealing a grim smile, saying ruthlessly: “Everyone who has offended me will not meet a good end.” Then Ji Ling looked down and saw that the foot that had just been kissed began to decay rapidly, revealing dense white bones, and immediately screamed in horror! Ahhhhh!

Ji Ling suddenly opened his eyes. His whole body was dripping in cold sweat… F*ck, what a terrifying nightmare!

Was this a case of ‘what happens during the day is reflected at night?’

Ji Ling couldn’t sleep anymore, and said to the system with lingering fear: [System, tell me, what was he thinking today? 

System: [I don’t know. 

Ji Ling: [Don’t you think your answer is too perfunctory? 

The system said sincerely: [I really don’t know what he was he thinking. If I knew, I wouldn’t need a host like you to do the mission. 

Ji Ling: […]

After a long while, Ji Ling spoke again: [Do you know why his behavior this time is different from last time? Is it maybe the butterfly effect again? 

The system replied: [Possibly. 

The system thought for a moment, then added: [It doesn’t matter. In the worst case, we can just start again.” 

Ji Ling: […]

Ha ha, he shouldn’t have had any expectations for this *trashy system!

Ji Ling got up the next day with two panda eyes. He was absent-minded even when eating breakfast. His spoon poked at his bowl repeatedly.

Madam Marina saw Ji Ling like this and her heart ached as she said, “What’s wrong with you, precious?”

Ji Ling smiled reluctantly and said, “Nothing.”

However, Madam Marina was still extremely worried. She felt that Ji Ling had something on his mind. However, her child had grown up and if he didn’t want to say, she wouldn’t force him. She said, “If anything is making you unhappy, please tell mommy, okay?”

Ji Ling nodded cutely, but still firmly refused to say anything.

Madam Marina and Duke Ji Ting looked at each other, shook their heads and didn’t say more.

Ji Ling didn’t want his parents to watch him with concerned eyes. After breakfast, he  quickly slipped out, and thought about how abnormal the bosses’ behaviors were lately. His heart was filled with worries that he couldn’t unload.

Didn’t we say that it’d be easier for the second run?

Didn’t we agree that after going through the plot once, it’d be an easy comp?

Why do I feel like I’ve unlocked the hard mode doing this for the second time?

How hateful!

Ji Ling picked up the snacks Carlos sent and ate in distress. At times like these, he could only cope with his sorrows by eating.

  ………………

Although Hardy was born on Empire Star and had the status of an “imperial aristocrat,” not every noble amongst the vast quantity of imperial aristocrats had hereditary titles and rich territories.

There were many people like Hardy on Empire Star. Although they seemingly had superior backgrounds, they didn’t actually have any privileges or family glory. They were members of the lowest tier of imperial aristocracy, and their living conditions weren’t much better than ordinary civilians.

For an ordinary aristocrat like Hardy, getting a job at the duke’s mansion was already considered good.

Since many high-ranking, powerful and influential imperial nobles disdained the idea of using lower links to serve them, they were more inclined to employ people with noble status like Hardy. That’s why they were more likely to get employment opportunities with the rich and powerful families compared to ordinary civilians, and be considered dignified servants.

Hardy had been working at the duke’s residence for a long time now.

Recently, he’d been coming by Ji Ling’s quite often, because there’d be gifts almost every day from Grand Duke Carlos. Hardy always delivered them to the young master personally.

Every time he looked at these gifts, he couldn’t help but feel in his heart that while they were both imperial aristocrats, the difference between them was like heaven and earth.

Today, they had received another gift from Grand Duke Carlos. He was about to deliver it to the young master, when he was stopped halfway by a tall, silver-haired man.

Hardy recognized him, and his eyes suddenly changed to show complex envy and admiration. Wen Yan, was a high-level evolver from a civilian background. He was not only fortunate enough to enter parliament and become a member, but he also had a bit of respect from the duke and the young master. His status was even higher than that of an ordinary aristocrat like him.

Although he was a little jealous, Wen Yan had always acted appropriately when handling matters. He treated the servants with respect and courtesy in his everyday interactions, and occasionally, even sent gifts to give Hardy some face. That’s why he asked politely, “What can I do for you?”

Wen Yan glanced at the gift box in his hand and asked with a smile: “Is this a gift for the young master?”

Hardy said: “Yes, this is from Grand Duke Carlos for the young master. Lately, his people have been delivering gifts here every day.”

A cold tint flashed through Wen Yan’s eyes and he asked, “From Grand Duke Carlos? He didn’t seem so hospitable before. “

Hardy laughed and said, “Yes, who knows why he suddenly became so attentive to the young master? Last time at the young master’s coming of age banquet, he even gifted him Blue Ocean Star! That incident caused quite a stir in the entire Empire Star. Who doesn’t know how much His Excellency Carlos cares for the young master now… ” He lowered his voice, “Many people outside say that this is because His Excellency Carlos and His Excellency Ji Ting are allied, but I don’t know if it’s true or false. “

Wen Yan looked pensive and smiled a moment later: “I see. Whether it’s true or false is not something for us to fret about… I was just about to go to the young master. Why don’t you give me the things, and I’ll help you send them over?”

Hardy didn’t doubt him at all. He smiled and handed the gifts to him saying, “Okay. I’ll have to trouble you then.”

Wen Yan smiled: “It’s nothing.”

He watched Hardy leave. After a while, he weighed the box in his hands, and his expression turned cold.

After his rebirth, he’d been constantly coming and going from other places. He also hadn’t decided on how he’d face Ji Ling. For a time, he was busy and hadn’t paid attention to Ji Ling’s affairs. When he got up this morning to check on the state of things, he’d found that much had changed on Empire Star compared to last life.

Carlos not only appeared at Ji Ling’s coming of age ceremony, but also presented a hefty gift in public.

What caused Carlos to change like this?

If he could be reborn, then… why couldn’t other people?

Wen Yan stayed on the spot for a moment, then turned to leave with the giftbox.

But the direction he headed in wasn’t towards Ji Ling. He silently left the Ji residence through the back door. Remembering what Carlos did last life to Ji Ling and how he stabbed him in the back, Wen Yan’s phoenix eyes flashed coldly. His thin lips pursed, and he dictated each word clearly to command the hover car OS.

“To the residence of Grand Duke Carlos.”

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