Translate: Sae/Nancy | Proofread: Anasofi
For Jian-dashao to be kind for once and do the things that an older brother should do such as picking up his younger brother after his college examination, of course, the main purpose was not for the sake of said brother.
Just as they turned the car onto the road toward the school where the exam took place, his head nearly exploded at the scene ahead.
A numberless number of cars blocked the entire street, making it practically impenetrable. Looking over everything, all he saw were cars and people. It was so bad that even the traffic police had to come and direct the traffic to clear the way.
In twenty minutes, Jian Suiying’s car moved forward less than ten meters.
“Fuck, the traffic is crazy… okay, you don’t have to go in this direction. I’ll get off and look for them myself. Just turn around up ahead and wait for us across the street.”
His chauffeur let out a sigh of relief; taking forever to just move forward would annoy anyone.
The moment Jian Suiying opened the car door, a gust of heatwave almost lifted him up and forced him back in.
He narrowed his eyes and looked up at the huge sun before he got out and walked toward the school gate.
Although his ankle was still slightly sore, it did not affect his walking and the main point was that the heat was unbearable.
Fortunately, the cars could not cross over the solid white lines on the road. Jian Suiying managed to wobble there and waited at the gate with a group of uncles and aunts who were stretching their necks, looking around with anxious expressions.
Soon, Jian-dashao’s long and slender legs started to act up as he made his way toward where the guardians were standing – that spot was exceptionally conspicuous.
After asking an aunt who was standing to the side, Jian Suiying came to know that there was still another two to three more minutes until the exam ended at noon. With that, he hurriedly found a shade of trees and waited patiently.
Just as he had nothing better to do than to look around, he heard someone calling for him from behind.
The person called out, ‘Jian-shao’; anyone that called him that was either a princeling,1 the descendant of a communist official who was not familiar with him, or someone who wanted to get close to him in order to curry favors.
He turned around for a look and saw that the person was tall and handsome with features that was similar to Li Yu’s. The only thing was that his features had a somewhat solemn and majestic presence so while his walk, although simple, exuded an unearthly strength. With one look, it was obvious that he was not a normal person. “Hey, if it isn’t Li-da gongzi.”2
The person that came was none other than Li Yu’s older brother, Li Xuan.
He was not particularly familiar with Li Xuan.
Li Xuan was different from him. Li Xuan’s grandfather was a government official and Jian Suiying’s paternal grandfather was a General in the army. Although they were regarded as the same type of people who aided in laying down the foundation of the country, a person who was educated and a person that only fought with guns and knives had never thought highly of each other since ancient times.
Even if their grandfathers got along, their friendship was not that profound. However, Li Xuan’s grandfather was different from his grandfather in the sense that he was extremely strict when it came to cultural education for his children and grandchildren.
Li Xuan and Jian Suiying were about the same age. As a child, when Jian Suiying was busy climbing trees with his muddy legs just to reach into a bird’s nest, he heard that Li Xuan was obediently sitting in front of the table studying English.
Therefore, a wild guy who caused trouble all day and couldn’t wear new pants for more than two days like him, naturally, could not hang out with a clever and obedient, good-natured guy who knew about books like Li Xuan.
The two had their own respective circles, thus, even if there were many interactions between these social circles, they only exchanged a few conventional greetings.
However, under the scorching sun and with a vast crowd of people, the two met with the same purpose: shortening the distance between them just a bit.
Li Xuan smiled and brushed through the crowd to shake hands with him. “Jian-shao, what a coincidence.”
Jian Suiying also smiled, “Exactly. Isn’t this called fate? You must be here to get Li Yu.”
“I came to wait for him, but not to pick him up. He told me that he was staying at your place with Sui Lin. I rushed over here once I got off the plane today and didn’t have enough time to call you. Sorry for troubling you.”
“There’s no need to say that, I’m no outsider. Isn’t your brother also mine? Besides, our brothers get along pretty well. Before the exam, the two hung out and talked quite a bit which helped them relax and not be so nervous.” Jian Suiying chuckled as he spoke, more or less trying to curry favor with Li Xuan.
For the children of prominent families whose predecessors had sweat and bled for the establishment of a new age in China, there was an unwritten rule that the older generation had their beliefs set on the children. That was, the older generation would only focus on supporting and promoting no more than one child.
What does that mean? For an old family like the Jian’s, the paternal grandfather had two sons and two daughters, but he chose the youngest son to take over, which was Jian Suiying’s uncle. The whole family, and the elderly in the family who already had a high position in the government, would focus on supporting and promoting the uncle to get to at least an X Commissioner position before he retired. All the while, the other children would do whatever they had to do and even if they also entered the government, promotions were limited. Therefore, his father was a government official for only a few years before he automatically left the position. His father held onto the money for the family while his uncle held the power and authority. That was the so-called check and balance mechanism which would ensure that their family would flourish for a long time.
As for the Li family, Li Xuan’s grandfather chose Li Xuan and Li Yu’s father, who then chose Li Xuan. Therefore, if Li Yu wanted to take a career path as a government official, it would certainly not flourish like that of Li Xuan’s. In short, the head of the Li family will inevitably be Li Xuan.
Li Xuan was very determined to work hard so as to not fall short. Since he was small, the word ‘excellent’ had never once been separated from his character. Riding on a smooth wave toward the top, he was already a section chief for someone under thirty years old, and after two more years, he would undoubtedly get promoted again. With an undeniably bright future and a prospering career, he was the best among his peers.
Although Jian Suiying was also proud of his current career, his uncle was not his father, and he had to back down one day. Since his cousin was still young, the next successor had not yet been chosen. In the deep pool of the officialdom and bureaucracy of Beijing, it was necessary to start accumulating and developing one’s own network from an early age. The broader and wider his network spread out, the longer his, Jian Suiying’s, and the Jian’s family foundation would last.
Having a good relationship with Li Xuan, the future head of the Li family, was exactly what Jian Suiying had been looking forward to. And Li Xuan obviously had the same idea.
Since he heard that Li Xuan had been transferred to Guangxi3 some time ago, he did not expect to encounter him that day.
Li Xuan smiled and agreed with him. “Yes, I know that from experience. It is definitely important to maintain a positive mindset before the examination. Your place is close to the examination’s location which saves the risk of being late. Thank you for letting him stay there.”
“Don’t mention it, it’s not big there. It’s only a bed and some food.”
The two looked at each other and laughed, then started to chat about random topics.
After a short while, Jian Suiying cleverly directed the topic to Beihai.4
The other day, he actually wasn’t speaking nonsense with his father when he said he wanted a piece of land in Beihai. He recently obtained a project to produce fodder5 which could reduce the cost to a very low price. It was a very competitive product in the marketplace, but the raw materials needed to be imported from Southeast Asia, and the harbor closest to his factory was the Beihai Harbor.
Initially, that was a small project he never had his eyes on, but it couldn’t be helped that the project belonged to one of his close friend’s wife’s sister-in-law who wanted him to invest and assist in it. He contemplated but didn’t want to spend the money. If he could request the piece of land from the government in the name of saving energy and reusing environmentally-friendly waste products, then he could use the land as collateral to raise funding. That inadvertently meant he would gain something valuable from nothing. In the future, if he could assist the company in going public6, then he could make a huge profit out of it. If the request for the land did not go through, there were still plenty of projects in his hands. Besides, he wasn’t going to waste his own money on something that could potentially go wrong. Holding a mood of ‘giving it a try’, he was going to actively try and help them out at the very least. If it all worked out, that would be great, but if in the case that it didn’t, he would have justified himself to the other person.
As he thought about it, he still felt that the relationship with Li Xuan was more reliable than the cost of the aforementioned, so he subtly sounded him out a bit.
Unfortunately, this was not a place to discuss such matters as Li Xuan absentmindedly stared at the school entrance where a wave of students was pouring out. He did not answer directly and cleverly suggested that they should find another opportunity to gather together for a meal and further expand on the topic again.
Jian Suiying also knew that the timing was not appropriate, but he had casually said it anyway in order to leave an impression of that matter on Li Xuan. Afterward, he also concentrated on the school entrance.
In a short while, Jian Suiying saw a pair of red lips, and a handsome and outstanding young man’s appearance at the entrance. He was even more excited than Li Xuan as he shouted loudly from far away. “Li Yu, Li Yu!”
Li Xuan was shocked as he glanced at him confusingly.
However, Li Yu did not hear him at all since there were too many people.
Li Xuan also shouted a couple of times and wanted to push through the crowd. However, all the parents who were eagerly awaiting their children, began to squeeze into the school gate toward the entrance of the building, making it quite strenuous to pass through.
Seeing that, Jian Suiying quickly took out his phone and gave Li Yu a call.
From far away, he looked as Li Yu took out his cellphone and frowned, seemingly hesitant before finally answering. “Jian-ge…”
“Look to your left.”
Li Yu froze before he turned his head and saw Jian Suiying waving at him with his older brother standing beside him.
He smiled brightly at his brother and hurriedly raced through the crowd. “Ge, how come you’re here?”
“Mom and dad didn’t want to come. They said that when they brought me to take the exam back then, it was really frightening since there were too many people. Not only that, the car couldn’t move either, so they told me to come and see how you did instead.”
Li Yu smiled, exposing his white teeth. “I think it went pretty well.” He looked as though he thought of someone and quickly turned to look at Jian Suiying. “Jian-ge, Suilin and I were not on the same examination site.” Just as he said that, his cellphone rang. “Hey, Suilin. Your Ge is here, my Ge is also here. We’re on the left side of the school.”
In a short while, Jian Suilin exhaustedly came over with a calm expression.
Jian Suiying asked thoughtfully in a rare tone, “How was the exam?”
Jian Suilin smiled faintly, “It’s alright. It shouldn’t be that bad.”
“Ha, ha, that’s good. Don’t think about it anymore since it’s over, and you still have to prepare for the other exams.”
Li Xuan patted Li Yu’s shoulder, “What your Jian-ge said is true. Once you’re done, there’s no need to think about it. Lao-Er,7 you’ve caused trouble by staying at your Jian-ge’s place. Have you thanked your Jian-ge properly?”
“Aiya.” Jian Suiying patted Li Xuan’s shoulder, “You shouldn’t say that.”
Li Xuan started to laugh, “I’ll be the host for today’s lunch. Suilin, where do you want to eat?”
Jian Suilin smiled, “Li-dage, I’m not picky.”
Jian Suiying, “There’s no need to go out. I’ve already had a table of food prepared. Go, go, go, let’s go rest at my place.”
When Li Xuan insisted on speaking politely, Jian Suiying also insisted on having him go eat at his place.
Li Xuan also took advantage of the situation and went along, “Okay then. Once we’re done eating, you guys can rest up.”
Jian Suiying led the three across the street, where the chauffeur had been waiting for them.
When they got in the car, they became a bit worried since none of the four were less than 180cm tall. One had to sit in the front seat and the other three had to squeeze in the back seat— with three squeezing in together, how was it bearable? What part would be unbearable, you can imagine it yourself.
Jian Suiying regretted bringing this small car, so he insisted on having Li Xuan sit in the front passenger street.
However, Li Xuan’s courteous nature would not have it as he insisted for Jian Suiying to sit there instead.
Since the two were not that familiar with each other, they had to give the other face, so that later they could have a better relationship.
In the end, Jian Suiying stubbornly pushed Li Xuan into the front seat before he happily ran to the back seat and squeezed in between his brother and Li Yu.
Li Yu’s arm was stuck to the side of his waist and his thigh was also close to his thigh. And, as the fresh and cool scent of Li Yu’s body floated into his nose, he really wanted to turn his head and kiss Li Yu’s cheek.
He was so happy that the only thing missing was a smile.
1 princelings – also translated as the Party’s Crown Princes, are the descendants of prominent and influential senior communist officials in the People’s Republic of China. It is not a political party, but an informal, and often derogatory, categorization to signify those benefiting from nepotism and cronyism, by analogy with crown princes in hereditary monarchies. Many of its members hold high-level political and business positions in the upper echelons of power. However, there is no discernible political cohesion within the group, and as such they should not be compared to other informal groupings such as the Shanghai clique or the Tuanpai (“Youth League clique”), which resemble intra-party factions with some degree of affinity on policy issues.
2 Li-da gongzi – Li is the surname, Da is big/older and Gongzi is a term to address the son of an official. The title translates to ‘The older son of the official Li,’ or ‘Li, the older son of the official’. Sometimes, Gongzi can be seen translated to Mr., but it doesn’t clarify the brother’s age so…
Also, when you see Jian-dashao – Jian is the surname, Da is big/older and Shao is from the word 大少爷 Dashaoye which means the eldest son (of a rich family). The title is too long to write each time, so I’ll just use the Chinese, just keep it in mind 🙂 if you see Jian-shao, Jian-dashao = Jian Suiying.
3 Guangxi – an autonomous region located in southern China. It is bounded by the Chinese provinces of Yunnan to the west, Guizhou to the north, Hunan to the northeast, and Guangdong to the southeast; the Gulf of Tonkin (Beibu Gulf) and Vietnam border it to the south and southwest. Nanning, the capital, is about 75 miles (120 km) southwest of the region’s geographic center. The name Guangxi dates to the Song dynasty (960–1279), when the region was known as Guangnan Xilu, or “Wide South, Western Route” (i.e., the western half of all territory south of the Nan Mountains). The Yuan dynasty (1206–1368) contracted the name to Guangxi (“Western Expanse”)—as opposed to Guangdong (“Eastern Expanse”) to the east—when it created a province out of this territory. In 1958 the province was transformed into the Zhuang Autonomous Region of Guangxi—a step designed to help foster the cultural autonomy of the Zhuang, or Zhuangjia, people, who constitute the largest minority living in the region.
4 北海; pinyin: Běihǎi) is a prefecture-level city in the south of Guangxi, People’s Republic of China. The name of the city means “north of the sea” in Chinese, signifying its status as a seaport on the north shore of the Gulf of Tonkin, which has granted it historical importance as a port of international trade for Guangxi, Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Guizhou, and Yunnan. Between the years 2006 and 2020, Beihai is predicted to be the world’s fastest-growing city. Beihai has a large shipyard, but most of the money generated in the city is derived from trade. In addition, it governs the small islands of Weizhou and Xieyang, and is directly west of Leizhou Peninsula.
5 fodder – a type of animal feed; coarse food for livestock, composed of entire plants, including leaves, stalks, and grain, of such forages as corn and sorghum.
6 going public – is the process of selling shares that were formerly privately held to new investors for the first time. Otherwise known as an initial public offering (IPO).
7 Lao-Er: second-eldest child in a family; many people used this as a term of endearment.