Ye Nantian was in an exceptionally good mood after his huge wins and the praise he received from Yi Qingchen.
He was reluctant to end the game of mahjong even when Zuo Xiaolan was calling them for dinner.
The four of them approached the dinner table filled with dishes that were prepared by Zuo Xiaolan. Each of the dishes were prepared exquisitely with the finest of taste.
Ye Ci frowned at the food on the table. She had never seen her mother preparing such a grand meal before. But Fleeting Time was able to enjoy such sumptuous food on his first visit much to her displeasure.
The anger in her heart drove Ye Ci to dig into her meal with her head lowered. She did not take part in the conversation of the other four individuals sitting by the dinner table.
Zuo Xiaolan stepped on Ye Ci’s foot from under the table, signaling her to improve her behavior. She frowned at her mother, but could not meet her intense gaze.
There was nothing she could do. Even a Queen has a mother. And a mother’s words hold the greatest power.
The only thing Ye Ci could do was obey. She lifted her head and forced herself to join in on the conversation.
“Aiya, I didn’t know what you like, Little Yi. I hope you don’t mind the simple dish.” Zuo Xiaolan smiled at Yi Qingchen as she placed more food on his plate.
Ye Ci could only grumble internally at her mother’s word. You call that simple, mom? Who are you kidding!
I’ve never had such a sumptuous meal for ages! Wow, it sure took you long enough to finally cook something simple, right mom?
Yi Qingchen smiled at Zuo Xiaolan as she passed him the food, “You’re being modest, auntie. Every single one of your dishes is like a signature dish in a high class restaurant. If you’re willing to teach me, I’ll surely be able to enjoy such wonderful food everyday.”
Signature dish? What a pretentious man you are, Yi Qingchen! You’re lying through your teeth! Do you think that my mom is stupid? Thought Ye Ci as she stared at Yi Qingchen.
“Aiya, I’m not as good as uncle here! But it’s true that my dishes were highly praised by many.” Ye Ci was apparently mistaken about her mother. She was grinning at Yi Qingchen because of his praise.
Ye Ci’s expression immediately darkened. Praised by many? How many are you talking about, mom? Three? Five? Or ten? Just how shameless can you get?
Ye Nantian nodded in agreement, “You can cook, Little Yi?”
“Yes. I live alone. It’ll be troublesome if I can’t cook. Takeouts are not good for one’s health.”
Yi Qingchen answered every single question directed at him truthfully.
“By the way, Little Yi, I heard from Tan Polang that you’re a world champion?”
“It’s not only that, mom! He’s a five-time world champion!” Tan Polang immediately spoke up when a subject of his interest was brought up.
Zuo Xiaolan and Ye Nantian would of course know about esports as it was not anything new. While they were not adept at playing computer games, they would still see news about esports on television from time to time.
They knew that it was not easy to be a world champion, and being a five-time world champion was indeed a very impressive feat. That was why the couple exclaimed in awe at Tan Polang’s words.
“Are you still in the pro scene? Will you be taking part this year?”
“No, uncle. I’m no longer a pro. In fact, I retired two years ago.” Yi Qingchen replied sincerely.
“Why did you retire?” Ye Nantian was confused, “Aren’t you the champion?”
A smile appeared on Yi Qingchen’s face and his gaze drifted towards Ye Ci, “I’m twenty six years old, and I don’t earn much by being a pro. I plan to get married eventually. How could I expect my wife to suffer with me because of my interest in the game? I need some economic stability in my life so that I can provide for my wife. I want her to be happy.”
Bullshit! That’s not what you said to me, you big fat liar! Ye Ci could feel the urge to curse at the man.
Tan Polang picked that exact moment to look at Ye Ci, and she immediately shot daggers at him. The boy shivered in fear and immediately turned away.
But Ye Nantian and his wife did not share Ye Ci’s opinion. They were very satisfied with his response, “That’s right. A man must bear the responsibility of providing for his family. It’d be bad if you can’t do even that.”
The conversation eventually drifted towards meaningless small talks between Ye Nantian, Zuo Xiaoland, and Yi QIngchen much to Ye Ci’s bewilderment. Mom! Dad! You’ve almost revealed his secret! This guy’s Fleeting Time! Why can’t you be more thorough with your line of questioning!
But those were words that never left Ye Ci’s mouth. She could do nothing but continue to stuff her mouth full of food and tried her best to ignore the occasional gaze that Yi QIngchen would cast her way.
He had even insisted upon helping with cleaning the dishes after dinner.
Zuo Xiaolan glared at Ye Ci who had plopped herself on the sofa and was munching on fresh fruit, “Why are you not helping him?”
Ye Ci rolled her eyes at her mother, “Why should I?”
“He’s a guest, and you’re the host! Haven’t I taught you about this before?” Zuo Xiaolan continued glaring at Ye Ci.
“He was the one who offered to clean them. It’s not like I asked him to, so why should I help?” Ye Ci would have offered to help if it was anybody else, but she refused to step into the kitchen because the guest today was Fleeting Time.
“Go over there and help him!” Zuo Xiaolan spoke through gritted teeth as she pulled Ye Ci up and shoved her towards the kitchen.
But Ye Ci refused to budge, “Polang was the one who invited him! Why don’t you send him into the kitchen? I did nothing wrong, so why must I do the cleaning?”
“Ye Ci, behave yourself.” Ye Nantian who was watching the television finally spoke up. His words were like the final nail on Ye Ci’s coffin.
Despite her seething anger, there was nothing she could do but to head into the kitchen.
“It’s okay, I’ll get them washed.” Yi Qingchen, who was observing the tug of war between mother and daughter, smiled at Ye Ci when Zuo Xiaolan left the kitchen.
“There’s no need! It’s not like I’ve never done it before!” Ye Ci turned around and shot Yi Qingchen a glare. She rolled up her sleeves and shoved him aside before submerging her hands into the basin.
“I’ll do it.” Yi Qingchen grabbed hold of Ye Ci’s hand without even thinking. And he was shocked by the contact. Ye Ci immediately pulled back her hand, her eyes widening in surprise.
This was a new experience for her, and she was not prepared for it. She could still feel the lingering heat of Yi Qingchen’s hand from the brief moment they touched.
Yi Qingchen lowered his head after a few seconds of shock. He stared into the basin and said in a shaky and very low voice, “W-would you mind helping me with cleaning them?”
Ye Ci did not respond, and instead walked up to the basin beside Yi Qingchen and turned open the tap.