"Seems like good times are always so short. Well, it’s time for lunch,” said Lin Jie as he put down his drink regrettably.
He was still hoping to continue his ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ project, but didn’t expect that just these three potential customers would take up the entire morning.
Though, such happy days were rarely seen in the bookstore. This made Lin Jie feel that he had made the right choice to come to this banquet.
"Alright, time to deliver the present first.”
Lin Jie turned around and called for Fitch and Greg to come along to the venue for lunch.
It had to be said that rich people really used the words luxury and enjoyment to the extreme.
The constructs within the manor were well-arranged and interspersed with man-made exquisite landscapes so that the guests who went back and forth between the villas would not find it boring.
Although it was quite tiring to have to walk around the huge manor, perhaps this was the price of socializing with the upper class.
Haa… this rare snowscape is a sight worth admiring, making being a little tired worth it, thought Lin Jie to himself as he headed along in good spirits.
He reached out and grabbed some falling snowflakes as he looked up at the somewhat gray sky… The white snowfall was now so thick that he had to hold an umbrella, with flowing traces from the thick clouds as if a snowstorm was brewing in the distance.
As a man-made city, Norzin had very few climate fluctuations due to its high altitude above ground level and the partial temperature regulator built within the sewer network.
At least in the past three years, Lin Jie hadn’t really seen snow, just some slight graupel in one year… He had wondered if snow even existed in this other world.
Lin Jie couldn't help but think about the continuous heavy rain from a few months back and wondered if the snowfall was a result of the rain’s aftermath.
"Charlotte?" A female voice suddenly came from the side.
Lin Jie turned his head and noticed a young lady in a gown approaching Charlotte. With a polite and warm smile, she said, "Charlotte, it's really you. I didn't expect to see you here. I heard that you were almost grounded because you were hanging out with some unknown people recently. When I didn't see you at the opening ball yesterday, I thought I wouldn't see you at this banquet.
"I immediately came over when I heard that people had seen you here. It’s great that you’re alright…”
The young lady in the gown clasped her hand together and tilted her head to the side as if feeling relieved at her friend being fine. Then, she turned toward Lin Jie beside them and asked, “This is?”
Oh… It looks like her objective is actually for me? Lin Jie rubbed his chin and smiled without saying a word.
While he, too, was putting on the same professional smile she had, this young lady was obviously being too deliberate and crass. She had come up to Charlotte in the name of concern, but before her good friend even responded, she was now asking about the identity of the stranger beside her.
Isn’t the amount of concern and worry shown here way too short for someone who’s supposedly a good friend? However, even though Lin Jie couldn't help but quibble in his heart, the other party seemed to be an acquaintance of Charlotte after all, and it wouldn’t be polite for him to speak.
Better let the young ladies solve it themselves.
Having received Lin Jie's encouraging gaze of acquiescence, Charlotte restrained the look of admiration toward Lin Jie. Even the distant smile she usually had when talking to others was gone. Instead, with a face devoid of expression, she replied, “This has nothing to do with you, Danae.”
Charlotte understood what Boss Lin meant. When she had accepted this book, the first thing she needed to do was to find someone to practice on once she decided on the study topic.
It can be hard to make great work when its stolen from tinyurl.com/37k7u89t.
That's right, this must surely be Boss Lin's arrangement.
This young lady aristocrat before her was the ‘best’ friend when she was the Charlotte of the past. In the eyes of anyone who knew them, the two girls had a very good relationship, but… deep down, the two of them knew very well that they were just using each other.
Despite being an ice-cold beauty, Charlotte was able to still get on well within her social circle. Of course, this wasn’t just solely because of her appearance. While cold, she wasn’t withdrawn, and it was her ‘good friend,’ Danae, whom she showed it to.
As long as Charlotte could be ‘thawed,’ it meant she could engage in normal communication and show off a ‘cuteness’ unlike her usual appearance. At the same time, there wasn’t a need to ruin her original image.
As for Danae, the fact that cold beauty Charlotte was her best friend was used to highlight her kindness and virtues that could even move this ‘glacier.’
Such a combination was most interesting and naturally supplemented the duo’s reputation. However, it was so hypocritical, boring, and deliberate. Everyone was merely dancing in their trap.
But it's different now. I don’t have to pretend any longer… I can be myself as long as I’m strong enough.
Charlotte could feel that book hugged to her chest resonating with her sentiments. It was pulsating hard, causing her brain to be clearer and more excited than ever. This would be the first step for her to completely break free from this shell…
Danae stiffened up momentarily, but she quickly recovered and responded gently, “How can you say that it has nothing to do with me? I’m your best friend… I’m just concerned about you and want to know who you’ve gotten to know recently, that’s all.”
Tsk tsk, I can smell the fakeness from here… Lin Jie thought to himself with relish. He had a premonition that this would be a scene where the friendship between the fake sisters would come crumbling down like a house of cards.
But it wasn’t a good thing for a talented and ambitious young lady like Charlotte to get stuck in such a dilemma. The right path was to get out of this predicament as soon as possible, and she needed strong medicine to quickly cut this Gordian knot.
Charlotte turned to Lin Jie and said respectfully, "I'm very sorry for wasting your time. I can resolve this on my own.”
Lin Jie gave Charlotte a pat on the shoulder. Although he very much wanted to see this prime-time drama plotline unfold, he could tell that Charlotte didn’t want others privy to her private matters. Thus, he said, “Do you want me to help bring your gift over?"
Charlotte shook her head. "I've already asked my servant to send it."
Lin Jie nodded and smiled. "Do you remember all that I said during our talk just now?"
Charlotte’s eyes met Lin Jie’s as she recited, “Pride and prejudice, or other desires born of the human heart, are the original sins that accompany wisdom in the human heart.
"In the eyes of others, I will never be the real me. I need to recognize myself, maintain myself, find my true self, and… dig out those original sins, digest them, and supplement myself."
Lin Jie nodded in satisfaction. "It looks like you understand very well. This is the study topic that you have to focus on in the future. I hope you can achieve something and hopefully break free from your shackles… Hmm, it’s about time. I’ll go see Miss Ji first.”
Charlotte nodded and watched Lin Jie head off first.
At first, Danae felt rather uneasy hearing their exchange, but when she saw the person she wanted to interact leave, she panicked and wanted to go forward and stop him.
Charlotte took two steps forward and pressed herself against the girl's face, looking into her eyes and whispering, “Danae, are you… jealous of me? Jealous that I'm once again one step ahead of you and have found someone even more mysterious and influential while you can only watch from the sidelines forever?”
Danae's face was twisted with fury for a second, but just as he composed herself and forced a gentle smile, she felt a sharp pain in her heart.
Her eyes widened, and she glanced down to discover that the book in Charlotte’s arms had turned into a strange mass of flesh and blood. Fibrous roots had pierced deeply into the center of Charlotte’s body, and a mouth lined up with sharp teeth cracked open in the center.
A thick, forked tongue protruded from mouth and passed through Danae’s heart, stirring up the insides, as if it was trying to dig out something…