Peng Xingwang didn’t notice that his brother was gone, nor did he notice that his brother had a faint smell of disinfectant when he came home.

Because he was currently heartbroken.

The main reason for the heartbreak was because the other day when he went to Yang Kai’s house to play video games together, a group of people in his good friend’s house were also there playing mahjong.

The three aunts and six wives[1] there had always been crooked-mouthed.
When they saw another child there, they asked whose house he came from.

As soon as they heard that Boss Jiang recognized this child as his younger brother, they immediately had a lot to say about it.

On the surface, the little boy was playing the game SnowBros intently and his eyes never left the TV set.
But in fact, his ears were upright the whole time.

The old men and women sighed as they talked about Boss Jiang’s youth and promising future, then finally they turned the topic back to Peng Xingwang.

“Xingwang, hey, Xingwang!” An aunt was playing mahjong with the tiles in her hand and called to him with a smile, “Have you ever thought that your brother would not want you after he gets married?”

Peng Xingwang let out a sigh, indicating that he heard it.
But he continued to play the game with his back stiffened, pretending not to care at all.

Yang Kai was a little angry, even if his little white bear was eaten by a monster he had to retort, “That’s his family’s business, and why would Big brother not want him when he gets married?”

“Of course,” the neighbor next to him said, “Little chick.
Let me tell you, your brother is handsome and rich.
There must be many women who want to have children with him.”

“When he gets married and has a child, where can your brother find the time to take care of you? This goes without saying.”

Peng Xingwang had never faced such malice disguised as concern, after holding back for a while, he shot back, “No!”

“Brother doesn’t have a girlfriend yet!” His voice became much louder, “And my brother has always been very kind to me!”

“No matter how good a child is, it will never be as good as the biological one.” The aunt who was playing mahjong laughed, enjoying the process of torturing the child.
“You should know, oh my god! Your brother will definitely get married, maybe he is already talking about it now, but he secretly didn’t tell you!”

“Multiple sisters-in-law are fine,” someone next to him agreed, “Multiple people would love him dearly, isn’t that right?”


The neatly arranged mahjong tiles were knocked down with a bang.
Tiles were stirred up and flew away like broken pieces of porcelain.

Peng Xingwang didn’t take it to heart when he was at Yang Kai’s house.
But after he got home, he inexplicably began to think about what those uncles and aunts said, and gradually began to feel heartbroken.

Everything he saw would make him feel heartbroken, and everything he ate would make him feel more heartbroken.

Jiang Wang wasn’t at home, so he cooked his favorite pickled cabbage with beef noodles as usual.

He scooped it up with a fork and took a big bite, his heart broke again into two or three more pieces.

If he really came to have a sister-in-law, he won’t be able to make instant noodles at home like this in the future.

The summer vacation had just begun, and the cartoons on the children’s channel were broadcast in rotation.
Peng Xingwang’s eyes were already red, when he saw the legend of Nezha, his heart shattered again to the point of slag.

Nezha was so powerful that he was kicked out of the house.
It’s over.
He couldn’t do anything.
He can only pick up garbage in the end.

In the past few days, Jiang Wang ran back and forth from the bookstore and the hospital.
He was so busy that he was about to vomit blood.
He went to sleep directly when he arrived home.

The child quietly looked at his expression while preparing for the final exam, worried that he would be abandoned.

He just finished the exam and even thought he got a good score.
He deliberately went around to the man and said he bet that he answered all the questions right.

Jiang Wang hummed with dark circles under his eyes.
His limbs ached as he turned over and continued to sleep.

‘It’s over… I can’t even make my elder brother happy by passing my exams.’

The child went back to the room to read a book in his depressed state, and regarded every day he stayed there as his last.

Jiang Wang glared at the printing factory for three days in a row, he was so busy that he didn’t even have time to think about his biological mother’s return.
On the fourth day, all the books left the factory ahead of schedule to be packaged and loaded.
Finally, the stone hanging in his heart was slowly put down.

He was worried about the child in his heart, and felt a little embarrassed to think that he was not there for the child on the day of the final exam.

So he drove out with Peng Xingwang to eat pizza during the free time he had between work.

There wasn’t even a Pizza Hut in small cities these days, only local-branded pizzerias selling fast food such as chicken wings and egg tarts.

The first time the child ate pizza, he was not as happy and excited as Jiang Wang expected.
He ate it piece by piece with his eyes down as if he was doing homework, and even the corn kernels that fell on the plate were all eaten clean.

Jiang Wang vaguely felt something was wrong.

“What’s the matter, are you unhappy because of something?”

Peng Xingwang shook his head.

“Are you not used to eating it?” Jiang Wang thought if he was wrong but he knew his own taste best.
When ordering pizza, he specifically told the waiter not to put green pepper on it.
“Why don’t you order a few more to eat?”

Peng Xingwang shook his head again, and said in a rare timid tone, “It’s delicious, thank you brother.”

No, something must have happened.

Jiang Wang could feel that he wouldn’t be able to get anything even if he asked, so after sending the child home, he called Ji Linqiu.

“Brother Jiang,” the other party was drowsy, and there was a slight laziness at the end of his tone, “I was catching up on sleep, what’s the matter?”

Jiang Wang realized that he had disturbed the others’ rest, but quickly said sorry twice and explained the ins and outs of his problem.

“I feel that he should be fine after a few days, but I still think something is wrong.
No one should be bullying him.” Jiang Wang didn’t want to appear neurotic in front of Teacher Ji, but he would rather act cautious, “Is it convenient for you to help me investigate it?”

“Brother Jiang gave me a ride back last weekend.
It’s not too late for me to thank you.” Ji Linqiu laughed, “Don’t worry, I will take him to the playground in the afternoon, you should be busy.”

So the gentle and considerate Teacher Ji took the child to the park playground in the afternoon.
They took the small plane ride twice for ten yuan, the carousel three times, and then went to ride the ferris wheel as they ate ice cream together.

Peng Xingwang knew that it was his elder brother who asked Teacher Ji to take care of him on his behalf.
He tried to act happier, but his smile still showed a little reluctance.

As the ferris wheel slowly rose, the child sat on the chair in a daze.
He let the ice cream melt and drip on his fingers.

Ji Linqiu took him into his arms and looked out the window together with Peng Xingwang.

“I’m scared.”

Peng Xingwang was taken aback for a moment, then nodded softly.

Ji Linqiu didn’t probe again, he took out a paper towel to wipe the child’s fingers.

The man moved very slowly, patiently and softly wiping the child’s fingertips one by one, as if trying to give him the warmth of his palms through the paper towel.

Peng Xingwang suddenly wanted to cry, but he held back, he did not want to lose face in front of Teacher Ji.

He lowered his head and said all the words he heard.

Ji Linqiu hugged him and they continued to ride on the ferris wheel for a second turn.
It felt as if both of them wanted to escape from this noisy and tiresome world for a while.

“So that’s how it is.” Ji Linqiu said softly.

“Teacher, don’t tell Brother about this, okay?” Peng Xingwang was very worried that he would hinder his eldest brother’s happy life, and tried to beg him, “If I really have a sister-in-law, I will definitely run away in advance so as not to affect their lives.
At that time, my brother would probably think I was lost.
After a few days he won’t look for me anymore.”

“Teacher Ji, I believe in you.
Don’t tell him.”

Ji Linqiu took Peng Xingwang to shower when they got home that night then accompanied him until he fell asleep.
Jiang Wang was on his way upstairs when he was about to leave.

The man had just sent the courier vehicle away, and his stubble had grown, he hadn’t bothered about shaving for a while.

As soon as he made contact with Ji Linqiu’s gaze, he inexplicably wanted to get close and hug him.

Probably because…

There was also a child who liked the teacher in his heart.

“It’s all clear to me now.” Ji Linqiu stood with him on the terrace of the building for a while, “But you still need to deal with it yourself.
I’m not good at participating in this kind of matter.”

Jiang Wang originally relied on cigarettes to raise up his spirit for the day, but now he suddenly felt nauseous when he smelled the smoke.
After listening to what Ji Linqiu said, he smoked the cigarette with a muffled voice.

From the ignition of the flame to the dispersal of the ashes, no coherent word was uttered.

“Why do people always want to hurt my child?” The man murmured, “If only I paid more attention.
I couldn’t protect him properly.
I’m at fault.”

Ji Linqiu laughed a little self-deprecatingly.

“If you are a teacher,” he said flatly, “You would have to be nervous all the time.”

“You have to worry about poking them with the tip of your pen or stumbling on the stairs and bumping into them.
Even if they make a mistake in answering questions in class, if you criticize them a little bit harshly, it may make the child never want to take the class again.”

“But what do children know? Parents could beat them, a car could accidentally hit them, and even if they ate two more apples, they could still cry in pain in the middle of the night.
The whole world is chaotic and dangerous, all the time.”

“Raising children is like this.”

Jiang Wang was startled, he extinguished the cigarette and looked at Ji Linqiu.

“Then why did you become a teacher?”

Ji Linqiu was also startled, and thought for a while before answering.

“Probably compensation.”

“I am kind to other children, just like I was kind to myself when I was a child.”

“I protect other children, just like how I protected myself when I was a child.” He propped his chin and let the summer breeze blow the corner of his white shirt, “If I could go back to the past and take care of myself when I was seven or eight years old, I would probably always be spoiled.
It wouldn’t have mattered to me if I became a bad boy.”

Jiang Wang really wanted to say, ‘You seemed to have had a bad time when you were a kid, didn’t you?’

But he knew that this would cause the other party to think of more sad things, so he just nodded and did not speak anymore.

Since that day, Boss Jiang gained the habit of playing mahjong.

Boss Jiang used to be very cold that even the young and beautiful girls would not dare approach.
The retired uncles and aunts also dared not provoke him easily.

Unexpectedly, Jiang Wang suddenly changed his temper.
In the past, people didn’t bother to go to the teahouse to show their face even when they were warmly invited.
Now they find friends in the city to play cards and chat every day.
In four or five days alone, he skewered through seven or eight families, and his popularity and reputation continued to soar.

His card skills were both good and bad, and sometimes he acted confused, allowing his opponents to win a lot of money.

But when he finally found out something, he isolated a few people and would keep winning against them.

The old men and women who played cards with him originally wanted to make a fortune, but they almost lost their pants when they figured they’d been targeted.

But with the matter of playing mahjong, the more you play the more reputation you gain.
If you lose three or four times in a row, you would be laughed at by the neighbors.
In the end they didn’t know where to put their old faces.

Seven, eight hundred, then two, three thousand.
For Boss Jiang it was just a little bit of water, but for these old men and ladies, all their pensions for the whole month had already been soaked in the water.

——How many catties of pork, crab, and corn porridge can this money buy?

After going a few more times, the family couldn’t stand it any longer.
They all felt that they had really offended this person.

The family members who were targeted, vented their grievances in private.
But it was difficult to pretend to be stupid.

Boss Jiang was so f*cking protective.

Didn’t we just say a few words casually, does he intend to go after us until death?

On the surface, the hospitality had to be maintained, and the neighbors couldn’t talk about this kind of loss.
It was too damn shameful and embarrassing to say it.

After weighing their thoughts, several families gritted their teeth and bought some fruit snacks to visit the child.

Peng Xingwang was writing summer homework in the study room when he heard a knock on the door.
He asked Jiang Wang who it was.

The man was watching “My Fair Princess” on the sofa in the living room, and waved his hand to tell him to open the door.
“It’s for you.”

As soon as he opened the door, it was the faces of the old men and women from before, making Peng Xingwang’s hair almost stand up.

The neighbors hurriedly came in to apologize, and stuffed fruits and shrimp chips in the child’s arms.
Everything nice they could think of they said to him.

They didn’t even dare to be angry when they saw Jiang Wang turn his head but not acknowledge them.
They talked to Peng Xingwang in kind tones, they asked if he had a lot of homework during the summer vacation, and if he wanted to go out to play during the vacation.

After talking in circles for a long time they came back to carefully mention the previous things.

Peng Xingwang finally came back to his senses and listened to them explain and apologize with a weird expression.

“…That’s why,“ the old man at the front wanted to touch his shoulder, but he only smiled when the child dodged.
“We didn’t mean what we said.
No matter if your elder brother gets married or not, he will definitely be responsible for you.
Don’t think about the mess, ah.”

“It’s our group of people who didn’t have a handle in our mouths.
We just talk nonsense.
Don’t believe us.” The aunt next to him made a gesture of slapping herself, but in fact, there was no sound.
“Xingxing, you study well.
When you grow up, repay your elder brother and be obedient.”

Peng Xingwang asked rhetorically without blinking.

“So you said those things just to stimulate me, didn’t you?”

“Uh… how could that be.“ Several adults looked at each other, “We didn’t mean that.”

“Then what you said is true?”

“It’s not true, it’s not true!”

“What the hell is going on?” The child looked at them, “Auntie, Grandpa… You deliberately said those things before, do you really want to see me sad?”

Just now, he was thinking about how to deal with these people who were fooling him into calming down.
It seemed they finally realized what they had done.

With ugly expressions on their faces, they finally lowered their posture and admitted their mistakes, hurriedly leaving.

After the door was closed, Peng Xingwang looked at Jiang Wang, who was still watching “My Fair Princess”.

“I hate them.” The child felt annoyed, “Don’t play mahjong with them anymore.”

“No need,” the man didn’t look back, “They wouldn’t have the face to let me in again.”


520 (*ᴗ͈ˬᴗ͈)ꕤ.゚



↑1 This is an idiom, women with illegal or dishonest professions.

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