Due to the large assets accumulated by Old Master Yan over the years, the Yans exerted great influence in Shanghai. Although the Yans were not an absolute authority, they were still a family which the others were cautious not to offend. On the otherside of the coin, the friends of the Yans were all figures of authority and they naturally despised people like Zhao Dongsheng. Put bluntly, the Yans would wonder if Zhou Dongsheng would be any value to their family.
It was really because of the long-time relationship between the Yans and Zhou Wenwu’s father that the Yans were backing Zhou Wenwu up. In the last couple years, the reason Zhou Wenwu had been doing so well was because he knew to suck up to the elders of the Yan family by sending gifts during every festive season, not missing even one of them. The Yans had also been closing one eye on the evil things he did as long as they were not done overboard. Yan Chaozong, however, was not especially impressed by him. While he had kept this matter a secret from the Old Master Yan, he had to do the necessary investigation since this would implicate the Yan family’s reputation.
However, he could not be certain if he would eventually find the murderer.
After the death of Zhou Wenwu, Qin Sheng felt that half the pressure was taken off him. The crisis was half resolved. Without Zhou Wenwu’s protection, Zhao Dongsheng would not be so audacious in his ways, but be more discreet in his dealings.
Qin Sheng had completely entrusted Hao Lei with Han Bing’s safety for now. While he and Chang Baji began following Zhao Dongsheng 24/7, they managed to familiarize themselves with Zhao Dongsheng’s daily routines. Chang Baji, however, had suggested that they wait and observe for a while more before they make any moves.
In the last few days, Zhao Dongsheng basically did not move around much. Apart from his own house and his office, he did not go anywhere else, which made Qin Sheng and Chang Baji wonder in puzzlement.
Soon, weekend arrived. Lin Xin had only met Qin Sheng once since he returned to Shanghai this time. Although she had asked him out many times through the phone, Qin Sheng had turned her down, telling her that he was too busy recently and this upset her quite a bit. When she called again this time, Qin Sheng felt bad if he turned her down again. At this moment, the crisis had been resolved and he finally found time to spend with Lin Xin. There was no excuse to reject her again, lest she became mad at him.
By the time Qin Sheng arrived at Fudan Univeristy in his car, Lin Xin was already waiting for him at the school gate. Many people knew Lin Xin because she was Fudan University’s campus belle. All the more because social media was so widespread nowadays.
No one could stand against the kismet of meeting one’s nemesis. When Qin Sheng finally arrived at Fudan University, he bumped into Tan Zhen, who was the rich man’s kid who previously confessed his affection for Lin Xin. While the two did not end up a pair, they became friends, at least it appeared to be so.
While Lin Xin was standing by Qin Sheng, Tan Zhen had just returned from his meal with his classmates, and they came face to face with each other. What an awkward moment, and the Mercedes S400 parked beside them made it worse. Some of the university students even gave Lin Xin a scornful look.
Qin Sheng, not wanting Lin Xin to feel uneasy, walked up to Tan Zhen and his classmates after he greeted Lin Xin, put his hand on Tan Zhen’s shoulder and led him to one side. Qin Sheng then offered him a cigarette, which Tan Zhen took without hesitation and lit up for a puff.
“So you are Tan Zhen?” Qin Sheng asked casually.
Tan Zhen was after all still an university student and he could hardly carry himself with poise before Qin Sheng. Moreover, he was given a tight slap by Qin Sheng on the last occasion. He blurted out bluntly, “Indeed my name is Tan Zhen, what do you want?”
“So you like Lin Xin?” Qin Sheng continued with his questions. It was normal for pretty girls to be surrounded by men who instinctly wanted to protect them. Among these protective men, some would just laugh it off if he were rejected by the pretty girl, while some would become jealous. Qin Sheng could not be sure which category Tan Zhen fell under, however, he did not seem to be like the latter. Lin Xin was still a naive girl so it would not do her good if someone in school come to bear a grudge against her. Qin Sheng wanted to test if Tan Zhen was such a person.
Tan Zhen was certain that Qin Sheng was his rival in love, and he would definitely not be kind to Qin Sehng. He coldly said, “Whether I like Lin Xin or not is none of your business. There is no need for you to show off even if you have won her heart. Do you think by driving a Mercedes, you can show yourself to be some rich guy?”
“Are you certain you want to speak to me in this manner?” Qin Sheng said, as he tried to not to laugh.
Tan Zhen snorted and said, “Why? Should I then treat you like my brother?”
“Do you think I’m Lin Xin’s boyfriend?” Qin Sheng continued to humor him.
Tan Zhen did not get Qin Sheng’s words. He frowned and asked, “What do you mean?”
“I’m actually Lin Xin’s cousin,” Qin Sheng said calmly.
For a while, Tan Zhen did not know how to react to this information. He stood there, dazed. He glared at Qin Sheng and his facial expression changed from that of shock to frustration, then to surprise, and finally elation.
After a long pause, when Tan Zhen recovered from his shock, his attitude turned around entirely and with a polite tone, he said to Qin Sheng, “Cousin, it’s my mistake. Please don’t take what I said to heart, I’m such an ignorant idiot.”
Lin Xin, who was standing a distance away, did not understand why the two man was chatting but refused to let her to go near them. Tan Zhen’s friends were all the more perplexed. Why were Tan Zhen and his rival in love enjoying talking to each other so much, were they sworn brothers or something?
“I love your attitude,” said Qin Sheng, patting Tan Zhen’s shoulders. Qin Sheng looked at Tan Zhen with approval and said, “Now can you answer my question of whether you have a soft spot for Lin Xin?”
“Cousin… I mean big brother, I really like Lin Xin. Actually it’s been two years since I’ve had feelings for her,” Tan Zhen bowed slightly, trying to sound sincere.
Qin Sheng nodded and said, “Some changes happened in Lin Xin’s family. She was determined to study hard during her university days and had expressed her wishes to stay away from any romantic relationships. I suppose you understand what I mean. However, if you keep up good behavior, I might give you a hand.”
“Please tell me, big brother, what should I do?” Tan Zhen was smart enought to understand what Qin Sheng was trying to say. He would like to think that he was a big step ahead of the rest of Lin Xin’s suitors.
Qin Sheng said matter-of-factly, “There’s is nothing much, just take care good care of Lin Xin in school on my behalf. Let me give you my mobile number so you can inform me when things happen to her.”
“Be of ease, brother, I know what to do,” Tan Zhen said, nodding.
Letting go his hold on Tan Zhen’s shoulders, Qin Sheng said to him, “Just remember what I say, and don’t let Lin Xin know about it. That’s all and you may go about your business now. I’m going to bring her out to shop around.”
Thereafter, Qin Sheng returned to Lin Xin’s side and he helped her into the car while she threw him a questioning look. As they drove away, Tan Zhen looked on from behind and shouted, “Drive slowly, brother!”
Tan Zhen’s good friends were looking perplexed, not knowing what had happened.
All the way to Xin Tian Di in the car, Lin Xin stared at Qin Sheng and pouted, until Qin Sheng could no longer stand it and said, laughing, “What are you doing, Xin Xin?”
“Tell me honestly, what did you say to Tan Zhen?” Lin Xin questioned.
When Qin Sheng agreed to go shopping with her, Lin Xin started preparing as early as possible. She had spent an entire hour going through her clothes to choose what to wear, and putting on make up. Eventually, she chose the minimalist style of a white T-shirt with short skirt. With her long flowy hair let down, her youthfulness was a welcomed sight to all.
Qin Sheng beat around the bush and answered, “Not much, I just warned him to stay away from you since I know you don’t want to get romantically involved in your university days. If he really likes you, he can wait until you two graduate and then talk about it again.”
“Really? Is that all you said?” Lin Xin said, doubtful. She was obviously not taken in by Qin Sheng’s words.
Qin Sheng lied through his teeth, saying, “Absolutely, I won’t lie to you!”
“Here’s the second question for you. What have you been doing this time since you are back in Shanghai? You had only visited me once and answered my numerous calls three to four times. You even turned down my invitations, which made me really upset. How could you, being my brother!” Lin Xin demanded for his explanation.
Qin Sheng, trying to juggle between driving and answering her question, said, “My dear lady, I’m already 25 years old turning 26. I won’t be able to get married if I don’t earn enough money. Your parents would kill me if I remain single my entire life!”
“So where are you working now and what do you do?” Lin Xin continued questioning, intending to get to the bottom of everything.
Luckily, Qin Sheng had thought through what he should say. With a sighing and moaning tone, he said, “I’m an assistant to the boss of a company and work from before dawn to after dark. It drains me. This car belongs to my boss and I had taken leave from work for today. It’s really not easy making a living in the great Shanghai. I have no idea when I could afford to buy a house in Shanghai and get married. Moreover, I have to prepare your dowry.”
“Really?” Qin Sheng was such a great actor, he could almost beat the new generation actors! Apparently Lin Xin was taken in by his words and said apologetically, “I’m sorry, big brother. I have wronged you. You don’t have to prepare my dowry, I can start earning money once I graduate.”
“Don’t worry too much, just concentrate on your studies and do well in them. I will provide for you since I have already promised Auntie Wang that these are the things I should do for you,” Qin Sheng was speaking the truth this time. The Lins were undergoing a rough patch and their family finances was almost exhausted because of Uncle Lin’s situation. Moreover Auntie Wang was not exactly in good health so they were in need of money for her medical expenses. As part of Lin’s family, Qin Sheng had to share the family’s burden.
Lin Xin was deeply touched. She shook her head and said, “Big brother, it’s alright. I can take up part time jobs to support myself and sponsor my tuition fees. You did the same in the past when you were a student and I don’t want you to be so tired.”
“Silly girl, if you were a boy, I won’t be bothered, but you are a girl! Moreover, you have me as your big brother. These are things a big brother should do for his little sister. Unless, you don’t treat me as your big brother,” Qin Sheng said, sounding upset.
Lin Qin quickly said, “That’s not what I mean, brother.”
“Then just listen to me. Although I’m not earning big money now, I’m still making enough. If you are feeling bad, then study hard. When you graduate from school and start to make money, you can return me what you owe, deal?” Qin Sheng said tenderly and Xin Xin was comforted by his words.
Lin Xin’s eyes welled up with tears as she said, biting her lips, “You are so kind to me, big brother.”
“Silly girl, although we are not real siblings, I had grown up with the Lins. I had long treated Uncle Lin and Auntie Wang as my own parents, and you, my blood sister. I’m aware of all of your kindness and will never forget any of it. Now is the time I pay back to your family. You have to remember that no matter what happens, you have a big brother in me. I will protect you and not allow anyone to bully you,” Qin Sheng said determinedly.
He had made this vow a long time ago, which was why he was stricken with guilt when he was not around during in Xi’an.
Lin Xin could no longer hold her tears but let them run down her cheeks. “Big brother…” she said with gratitude.