Lin Jie felt an inexplicable sense of guilt the moment his eyes met Ji Bonong's.
Why did it feel like he had defiled his daughter in front of him?
Logically speaking, he had only managed to fool… ahem, obtain a loyal customer through psychological counseling and received some not particularly expensive gifts…
Well, it really did sound like a scammer's routine. First, gaining her trust, then asking her for money through various means, bleeding her dry, and finally absconding with all the riches.
But even so, he had actually helped her solve the problem.
Moreover, Ji Bonong had come over in person for a visit and eventually left peacefully, allowing Ji Zhixiu to ask for his cooperation. That must be because he acknowledged Boss Lin was a good person... right?
Lin Jie quickly recalled the conversation he had with Ji Zhixiu at that time, as well as his words and actions. He was quite sure he hadn't spoken rudely to the top dog in the whole of Norzin and had displayed a certain degree of respect too.
Mhmm… And I even promised that I would give Ji Bonong a book when I see him.
This time, he had already placed the gift in his dream realm and brought it along. Because of Ji Bonong's status as a merchant, Lin Jie had specially chosen a book on economics, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations — The Wealth of Nations for short.
While this book did not seem to be very useful based on Norzin's currently deformed monopolistic business structure, it was said that the Ash Chamber of Commerce had found a second passageway to the underground which might mean that the monopoly of Rolle Resources might gradually be broken.
Besides, the book that was considered a fundamental economics work back on Earth and was known as the 'western bible of economics' would surely provide some insights.
At the very least, given Ji Bonong's ability, he should presumably be able to gain what he needed from it.
Lin Jie felt that his gift couldn't be any more appropriate and he would likely gain a new customer. So, the previous awkwardness wouldn't matter.
Moreover, he was currently a legitimate guest that had been invited to the banquet, so what was there to feel guilty about?
Shouldn't it be Ji Bonong who should be feeling guilty instead?
This top dog was really full of schemes. Previously, Lin Jie had been wondering why no one came to ask about Young Miss Ji's casual visits, nor was there the common television drama cliche of 'a large payout to stop pestering Young Miss Ji.' It turned out that her biological father had gone into battle himself... and even pretended to be a chauffeur to do his investigations!
He simply didn't show the most basic sincerity! I'll just take the suitcase of things that Blackie ate as compensation for deceiving me!
Boss Lin instantly stood a little straighter at the thought of this, covering his mouth, and gave a dry cough. He adjusted his expression and looked toward Ji Bonong with an awkward but polite smile while slightly raising the glass he had been using to cover his face a moment ago.
Ji Bonong, who was standing at the front center of the hall, froze for a moment, then his expression visibly changed.
This change could be described as complex, lasting for less than a second before it was concealed, so Lin Jie could vaguely make out some joy and...?
Lin Jie was a little surprised. There seemed to be excitement and agitation mixed in those emotions, as well as some that were much more difficult to comprehend but it made Ji Bonong's steel gray eyes light up.
But what could be so exciting about seeing Lin Jie?
However, Lin Jie's confusion only lasted for a moment, because Ji Bonong, acting like any typical host of a party, raised his glass and returned the compliment to Lin Jie.
It was as if that strange expression had all been an illusion.
Find the original at bit.ly/3Tfs4P4.
Lin Jie kept his smile on and put his glass down. Shaking his head, he wondered if he might have been seeing things...
The dignified president of Rolle Resource Development wouldn't lose his composure so easily, would he? But since it's like this, I'll just let bygones be bygones and I think the cooperation with Rolle Resource Development will go more smoothly in the future...
While Lin Jie thought this, he saw Ji Bonong already moving on. Thus, Lin Jie turned back to resume his chat with the two potential customers he had just met.
But all he saw was the two of them rooted to the ground with aghast expressions on their faces.
"What's the matter?" Lin Jie walked over and waved his hand in front of their faces. "Are you guys shocked by President Ji's appearance?"
Returning back to his senses first was Fitch who quickly shook his head. He certainly couldn't ask how Lin Jie had known the matter of the 'reverse lightning' even before the exports had announced it. Thus, he gave an awkward chuckle. "Nothing much, I was just thinking... uh since it's Miss Ji's birthday party, she would definitely be here in person for the opening dance of the banquet. I wonder if she'll bring her own dance partner or choose one of the guests later…"
Ermm… Lin Jie rubbed his chin. That's certainly a problem.
For some reason, he was feeling a sudden sinking premonition.
Next to him, Yedda looked hesitant. Lin Jie noticed her constant glances and couldn't help but ask, "Miss Yedda, is there something you wish to say? Don't worry, ask away if there's anything you wish to know."
Yedda surveyed her surroundings, then leaned closer and whispered, "Do you know Mr. Ji? I mean, not general acquaintances like the rest of us, or business partnerships. It appears that you have some personal ties with the president of Rolle Resource Development?"
She lowered her voice further. "Just now... I saw you raising a glass to Mr. Ji Bonong, and from your name, are you perhaps also from the Northern Lands?"
Yedda had thought that 'reverse lightning' was shocking enough, yet barely a minute later, she saw Lin Jie raise his glass in a particular direction. And when she looked over to that same direction, she saw Ji Bonong returning the gesture and that scene utterly destabilized her already gobsmacked mind once more.
That definitely wasn't a polite reciprocation because Ji Bonong wouldn't return a toast from just anyone given his status. Be it pride or arrogance, Ji Bonong had every right to it. Yet, he had reciprocated Lin Jie's gesture.
Unless he took the initiative to talk to someone, even representatives of the Central District would be ignored by him. There were probably only a handful of people that would garner a reaction from Ji Bonong... and it appeared that Lin Jie had actually done so.
Yedda's speculations went a step further. Mr. Lin is someone extraordinary. He's on familiar terms with Ji Bonong, and that probably explains to some extent how he knew about the lightning before the experts...
Lin Jie, on the other hand, was stumped. He didn't know how to address this issue of translation. "While our names have the same style, I'm not from the Northern Lands, and I don't really have much of a relation with Mr. Ji... To be precise, I know Miss Ji."
Yedda and Fitch were both astonished. "Lady Ji?"
Lin Jie nodded. "Miss Ji is a customer of my bookstore. Well, actually, our relationship isn't really anything special. I've sold a few books to her and helped her resolve some matters. She's just an ordinary customer, at most... a trustworthy friend. She was also the one who gave me my invitation."
Yedda suddenly had a strange look on her face. "Just a friend?"
"Yes..." Lin Jie nodded.
"So you've been here, Mr. Lin. I've been looking for you for quite a while." A lady's voice sounded from behind him.
Lin Jie turned and was met with the sight of a gorgeous young lady in a stunning black evening gown. A red rose adorned her chest, complementing her brilliant iron-gray eyes and pale white skin. Her slender hand lifted the short hair by her ear, revealing a red prismatic earring.
The crowd around the four of them had already parted, giving the spotlight to the true main character of this banquet.
With a somewhat apprehensive yet expectant expression on her face, she took a deep breath and extended her hand. "Mr. Lin, may I invite you to this first dance?"
Lin Jie raised an eyebrow as he looked at the outstretched hand wrapped in a black lace glove, feeling the gazes of all the other guests around him.
Though the place and vibe were completely different, it felt surprisingly like the time they first met.
At that time, Ji Zhixiu, who had stumbled into the bookstore all miserable and soaked, seemed to be wearing a similar black evening gown… Lin Jie wondered how she felt now that things were completely different from before...
Lin Jie took the hand and smiled helplessly. "Of course.”