My Nemesis Has Finally Gone Bankrupt - Chapter 58
Ji Ran wanted to tell him to move aside, but was also afraid this segment would be captured by the camera. In the event they did not mosaic his face, it would be utterly embarrassing.
He got up and gave his seat to Qin Man. When they passed each other, he whispered, “Can you do it?”
“What can I not do?” Qin Man returned.
Unfortunately, they did not know how effective the mic on He Suiran was. Their conversation was clearly captured.
He Suiran’s expression changed and he let out a smile after half a second. “It’s just a bowl of soup, surely you needn’t go to that extent.”
Qin Man sneered, the unfriendliness and malice in his eyes had vanished. “Since it’s a mission, there should be some degree of difficulty.”
The arm-wrestling competition between the other two had already ended.
Cheng Peng won without much difficulty. The male star was busy groping Cheng Peng’s hand and barely made any effort.
“Ah, I’m sorry.” The male star lowered his head in shame. “My strength is too small, I wasn’t able to win some crayfish for our team.”
Cheng Peng laughed. “You should have said so earlier. I would have let you win.”
The male star froze before his ears turned red.
Was Cheng Peng smiling at him? He still remembered that in the short period of time of their previous interaction, Cheng Peng rarely spoke to him.
Yue Wen Wen looked at him strangely — anyone with eyes could see that Cheng Peng was seducing this male star but Cheng Peng was famous for not getting back with his exes. He definitely was not one to take back an ex-lover, so why did he suddenly change his mind today?
Right in front of Chen An too…
Chen An’s face had turned pale. With his head lowered, he looked extremely pitiful.
He couldn’t understand the hearts of these people. Yue Wen Wen gave up and turned to look elsewhere.
The show host had reached out and held the hands of those in the second group. “3, 2, 1…”
The two men competed.
Ji Ran sat cross-legged. He couldn’t feel the strength of those two, but he could see their fists shake slightly. The two people were evenly-matched and he could not tell who would be victorious.
Yue Wen Wen asked in interest. “Ran Ran, who do you think will win?”
“How would I know?”
The answer came quickly. The two fists soon swayed to the left before inching closer to the ground level.
Once He Suiran’s hand was pushed down, it became harder for him to fight back. But he refused to give up and exerted more force until his face had turned red.
A racer’s hands were extremely important. They needed to hold the wheel firmly and accurately under great speed to execute a turn to grasp an opportunity for victory. How important was a bowl of soup for He Suiran to go to this extent?
If they hadn’t just gone out to eat last night, he would have thought that He Suiran had been starving for days.
Compared to He Suiran, Qin Man was much more at ease. His expression was unchanged, looking as if he wasn’t the one in an arm-wrestling match.
It didn’t take long for He Suiran’s arm to lay flat on the table and completely lose this game.
Qin Man slowly retracted his arm and turned to look at Ji Ran. “I won.”
Ji Ran gave him a light ‘en’ in response.
“Is there a prize?” Qin Man reminded him.
“Why should I have to give you a prize?”
“I competed in your place,” Qin Man opened his palms and acted pitiful. “Look, my hand is in this state.”
“Who asked you to do so?” Saying so, Ji Ran turned to wave at the boss. “Boss, one serving of eight treasure soup, make sure it’s thick.”
He coolly said, “I’ll supplement you to death.”
He Suiran was still holding his arm in a daze before he put on a smile.
“I lost.” He looked into the camera and tried to salvage his remaining dignity. “I underestimated him.”
Qin Man replied, “If you aren’t willing to accept it, we can have another go.”
“Another round? If you have too much energy, why don’t you just stay and help the boss feed the chickens?” Ji Ran looked at the staff swarming them and asked, “Are you done filming? We want to have dinner now.”
The staff froze, not expecting to be chased out.
Let’s not talk about the male star whose popularity has been rising in recent years. Just He Suiran alone, his news was constantly on the hot search lately. There was no reason for these people to not recognise him.
When ordinary people see an idol, shouldn’t they nervously agree to their requests before asking for an autograph?
“We’ve disturbed you. We’ll put the equipment away now.”
The male star reluctantly got up and cast his gaze towards Cheng Peng for half a day before leaving the booth.
“Bro Suiran, let’s go.”
“You guys can leave first.” He Suiran smiled, “I want to chat a little with my friend.”
The staff was surprised. “So you guys knew each other?”
“That’s right, we used to race together. Since it’s almost my ten-minute break, I’ll just have a short chat before going back. That shouldn’t eat into the others’ time, right?”
The staff hurriedly said it was fine and left.
He Suiran didn’t ask Ji Ran why he did not show up at the restaurant this morning. He only smiled, “It’s really fate to be able to meet you guys at such a faraway farmhouse.”
“Luckily I came directly from the restaurant and didn’t have the time to put this back.” He took out a palm-sized figurine from his pocket.
Previously, Ji Ran hadn’t been taking him seriously. The moment his eyes landed on the figurine, his back unconsciously straightened.
In fact, he hadn’t taken a proper look. But at a glance, he recognised Chester Kenelly’s uniform.
Seeing the light in Ji Ran’s eyes, Qin Man narrowed his eyes and tapped lightly on the table with his index finger.
“What’s this?” Ji Ran asked.
“Kennelly’s figurine,” He Suiran said, “Actually, the company wanted to make and sell these before he passed away. But as you know, Kennelly didn’t like it, so they never released it. Now the company came back onto this project. The previous designs were limited to 500 pieces to be given to fans around the world. There aren’t only figurines, but also race car models – those are more complicated to manufacture, so there is a lower quantity. But if you want it, I can get it for you when the time comes. ”
Ji Ran stared at the figurine for a few seconds before he asked. “How much?”
“Free, it’s a gift for you.” He Suiran said.
“In that case, I don’t want it.”
Once he spoke, everyone froze.
Everyone knew Ji Ran was a fan of Kenelly and his fanaticism only increased after Kenelly’s death.
Ji Ran drank his water.
It was true that he really wanted this figurine. But he wasn’t one to receive something for nothing and he didn’t have the habit of taking advantage of others.
Moreover, they weren’t on close terms. There were only a few hundred of these figurines in the world, so their price must not be low. He didn’t want to owe He Suiran a favour.
“Then…” He Suiran was inevitably surprised, but he quickly composed himself. “Then, five hundred dollars. You can have it. This is something the club gave to every member and I was barely a stranger to Kenelly. This thing is useless and frankly a waste of space.”
What difference was this and giving it to him for free?
“No need, take it back.”
He Suiran wanted to continue, but someone from the team came over and said the actors were hungry. Without him, they could not start eating.
Thus, He Suiran could only temporarily leave.
“Ran Ran, don’t you like Kenelly a lot? Why did you refuse his figurine?” Yue Wen Wen asked after he left.
“There’s 500 in the whole world,” Ji Ran said.
“I can buy one on my own, no need for him to give it to me.”
Qin Man picked up a baby crayfish, shelled it, and put it in Ji Ran’s bowl. “Have a taste.”
Ji Ran didn’t like eating seafood most of the time because he hated shelling them. Now, he discourteously stuffed the crayfish into his mouth.
While they were eating, Cheng Peng suddenly called a waiter over.
“Send two portions of crayfish to the next booth, under my tab.”
Yue Wen Wen asked, “Huh? Do you feel bad for not letting them win some crayfish?”
Cheng Peng smiled but did not reply.
Chen An picked up a crab. Despite his unusual way of talking, his hands were very swift and he easily shelled a bowl full of crab.
Biting his lips, he pushed the bowl over to Cheng Peng.
“D-Do you want to eat?”
“No,” Cheng Peng replied.
“I shelled it for you.” Chen An whispered, “I- I’m a-allergic to seafood. I can’t eat it.”
Cheng Peng pushed the bowl over to Ji Ran. “Wanna eat?”
Ji Ran wasn’t polite. He took the bowl and looked at Chen An. “Thanks.”
Chen An blinked awkwardly and sat there silently.
Although he had ordered the Eight Treasures Soup for Qin Man, Ji Ran himself drank quite a few bowls.
As per his instructions, the kitchen prepared it with extra ingredients so the soup was extra thick and he couldn’t stop drinking it.
Qin Man silently scooped a fourth bowl for him.
When his phone rang, Qin Man swept a glance over it, wiped his hands, and got up. “I’ll go out and take this.”
It was Liu Chen informing him that the piece of land he was after had been obtained.
Qin Man hummed in agreement and suddenly asked, “What about the matter I asked you to investigate previously? Is there a lead?”
“Not yet. This matter… isn’t easy to investigate. Ms Zhao does not seem to have any close friends and the entertainment company she was in has already folded. I’m currently trying to reach her former manager.”
“Got it, pay more attention.”
Qin Man wanted to say more, but from his peripheral vision, he saw a familiar figure. He paused. “I have something else, so I’ll hang up for now.”
He Suiran waited for him to hang up before slowly approaching. He reached out a hand. “I forgot to introduce myself earlier. It’s an honour to meet you, Qin Man.”
The two men who had just arm wrestled previously shook hands, the air thick with hypocrisy.
He Suiran said, “I heard about your family, is everything alright?”
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“It’s fine,” Qin Man answered carelessly.
There was no need to go about in circles when speaking to a smart person, thus He Suiran decided to go straight for the question. “May I ask what is your relationship with Ji Ran?”
Qin Man sneered, “This doesn’t seem to be something you should be concerned with.”
“It really is something I should be concerned with.” He Suiran laughed and confessed, “I don’t like to interfere in others’ relationships. That’s why I need to be clear in order to take the next step.”
Qin Man looked at him quietly. “Do you think you have the opportunity to take the next step?”
“Opportunities depend on one to fight for them. In this world, there are many opportunities which do not belong to me. But now, they are in my hands.”
Qin Man did not refute. “Has he ever looked at you properly?”
He Suiran did not mind. “Perhaps, not in the past. But now, I am confident I can make him look at me. At least there is one area where I am superior to you.”
“Racing.” He Suiran smiled. “He belongs on the race track and one day, he will return. Both of us are the same.”
Saying so, he leaned against the wall. “That’s why I’m asking, what’s the relationship between you two?”
Qin Man raised an eyebrow. “We have a very close relationship.”
That sounded like they weren’t lovers.
He Suiran nodded. “I understand, let’s have a fair battle, then?”
Qin Man seemed to have heard a joke. “Fair battle?”
He Suiran, “Did I misunderstand, don’t you like Ji Ran?”
“You really did misunderstand.” Qin Man turned around.
He Suiran was somewhat in disbelief before he relaxed. Ever since he had such thoughts, Qin Man had become his number one rival.
He froze. “Is that so? It seems that I have overstepped…”
A voice interrupted him.
“You got the order wrong. It’s not that he belongs to the race track, but that the track belongs to him. It is not only through competitions that he can prove his love for racing. At most, you two can only be considered… people with the same interests? Taking a step back — Even if he does return to the track, in his eyes, you aren’t even a teammate.”
Qin Man turned back, his eyes filled with mockery and disdain. Then, he ridiculed, “And… you want to have a fair battle with me? Aren’t you thinking too highly of yourself? What do you want to use to compete with me? Chester Kenelly’s figurine?”
He Suiran was stunned, but he reacted swiftly. “That was just the start… that’s right. In the beginning, I couldn’t even be considered his teammate. But what about you? He thought about how to provoke you everyday, anyone who heard it knows how much he hates you.”
Unexpectedly, Qin Man did not get angry. Instead, he laughed. “I have the ability to make him think of me every day. What about you?”
He Suiran choked for a minute before he abruptly laughed. “You’ve said so much. So why aren’t you guys together yet?”
Qin Man raised an eyebrow.
He Suiran felt like he had grasped the key point and grew bolder. “We both have an unrequited love, who’s to say who’s better? Fair enough, such matters have never been fair, we’ll see who Ji Ran falls for. Don’t tell me you think you have the confidence to…”
Qin Man smiled and continued, “If there is a day where he falls for someone, that person will be me.”
He Suiran thought of countless rebuttals, but once he saw the other man’s gaze, he found himself unable to speak.
With a face full of unwavering confidence, Qin Man looked like he was merely stating a fact.
A shout came from behind. It was the staff calling He Suiran back.
He Suiran retracted his gaze, looking rather battered. He had never been defeated by his opponent on the racetrack, so why was it that he found himself unable to speak in front of Qin Man?
He gritted his teeth, but his confidence was already lacking. “No way, just you wait.”
With quick steps, He Suiran returned to the rental car, his track shoes emitting a crisp sound as it landed on the grass.
Behind a wall.
Ji Ran was awoken by the fading footsteps and unconsciously shrank back into the shadows.
Wide eyes and reddened ears.
He had heard everything earlier.
Right now, it felt like there were two cars in his heart, barrelling towards each other, seemingly as if it would charge out of his heart in the next second—
What did Qin Man’s words mean?
When He Suiran asked whether Qin Man liked him, why did Qin Man not deny it?
Qin Man had a crush on him?
Ji Ran’s breath seemed to have gone up a notch. He understood every single word they had spoken but why was it that when strung into a sentence, his brain was completely unable to make any sense of it?
How was it possible? If Qin Man liked him, money would fall from the sky and even a sow could climb a tree.
After He Suiran left, his mind was still in a mess and he even forgot he was still eavesdropping.
He pulled out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket to redirect his thoughts. The moment he lit it, a pair of footsteps sounded.
“Why are you here?” Qin Man turned a corner and saw him, looking surprised.
“Smoking.” Ji Ran looked at him and answered stiffly. He closed the lighter and put it back into his pocket.
“Aren’t you going to smoke?” Qin Man looked at the unlit cigarette between his lips and laughed quietly.
“Not smoking any more.” Ji Ran returned to his senses and dropped the cigarette.
“What’s wrong?” Qin Man could tell something was off.
Ji Ran licked his lips.
Fuck. Why was there no clear winner between the two cars in his heart? They were colliding so fiercely that his heart was about to explode.
No, wait, what did Qin Man mean?
There was the sound of conversation coming from the entrance. It was Yue Wen Wen and the others who had come out.
Qin Man looked over there and said, “Let’s go, then.”
“You like me?”
His voice, accompanied by the cries of the cicadas abundant in the countryside, landed in Qin Man’s ears.
Unnamed flowers blossomed among the two’s feet and carried a faint, lingering, scent.
“I heard everything.”
Ji Ran didn’t know how red his face was.
He couldn’t hold it in. If he didn’t ask now, there was no way he could sleep tonight.
After letting it out, he no longer felt as nervous.
Thus, he gritted his teeth and looked straight into Qin Man’s eyes, and repeated. “Do you like me?”