At eight o’clock in the evening, the night was dark and the autumn rain was slightly cool.

Inside the brightly lit banquet hall of a five-star hotel, a charity gala was taking place.

The guests were mostly social elites, including celebrities from the entertainment and fashion circles.
Fragrances filled the air, and there was a lively atmosphere.

Qi Xing stood in front of the dessert table, admiring the exquisite-looking food with great interest.
He enjoyed tasting them while being out of place among the others who were busy socializing with just a glass of wine in hand.

A few minutes later, someone approached him and greeted, “Qi Xing, why did you come today? I thought you weren’t interested in this kind of occasion.”

Qi Xing glanced at the person, who was one of his good friends, Yang Kaiming.
“You’re here too,” he said.

“Do you think I want to be here?” the person made a face.
“My dad forced me to come, saying that I should get to know more people and broaden my horizons.
Spare me, please.”

Qi Xing looked in the direction of his gaze.
The person’s father was enthusiastically chatting and carrying favor with a big shot in front of him but the response he received from the bigshot lacked excitement.

“It’s not interesting,” Qi Xing commented impartially.

“I agree,” Yang Kaiming showed no sympathy for his own father being ignored.
“Are you here alone, Qi Xing?”

Qi Xing casually nodded, “Yeah.”

The invitation was from his parents, but with their personalities, they had no interest in such fake social gatherings.
So he came alone.

Yang Kaiming looked around and spotted a certain small celebrity in the crowd, realizing something, he teased Qi Xing, “Qi Xing, did you come for that person? Have you chased after them all the way here?”

Qi Xing chewed the last bite of the pastry in his mouth leisurely, his cold eyes fixed on the person mentioned by Yang Kaiming.
The person was now by the side of a certain wealthy lady, nodding and bowing, trying to please her without any trace of shyness and reservation as when facing Qi Xing.

“I gave up,” Qi Xing put down his plate, his mind disinterested.

Yang Kaiming wanted to ask further, but suddenly there was a commotion at the entrance of the banquet hall, and people around hurriedly welcomed the arrival of an important guest.

Lowering his voice, Yang Kaiming said, “It’s the one from the Ye family.”

Qi Xing swallowed the last bite of the pastry slowly, “Who is it?”

“Don’t you know?” Yang Kaiming’s voice became even lower.
“It’s Ye Xingzhou, the new head of the Ye family.
After his father passed away, the Ye family has been in constant internal conflicts for the past few months.
It only settled recently.
This guy is an illegitimate child, but he’s talented.
None of his brothers, uncles, or even his father’s generation could outshine him.”

As the words fell, Qi Xing saw the man entering the banquet hall.
He was tall and had strong facial features.
A pair of silver-framed glasses sat perfectly on his high nose.
The curve of his lips was just right, showing a cultured and elegant demeanor.
He looked like a true gentleman.

The big shot who had been indifferent to Yang Kaiming’s father was now shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries with him.
The man, surrounded by the admiration of others, treated the big shot with respect as if he were a junior, which seemed to please the other party.

Yang Kaiming marveled, “This Ye Xingzhou seems to have a good nature.
He should be easy to get along with.
How did he stand out among the wolves and tigers in the Ye family?”

Qi Xing didn’t pay attention to what he was saying at all.
His attention was completely drawn to another person beside Ye Xingzhou.

The young man was dressed casually in a simple suit.
He had a gentle and handsome appearance, but his presence was far inferior to the person next to him.
However, the smiling expression in his eyes inexplicably aroused Qi Xing’s interest.

“Who is that?” he asked.

Only then did Yang Kaiming notice the person who came with Ye Xingzhou.
After observing for a moment, he said, “I remember now.
He is a great painter from the Lin family.
It seems he’s quite famous, having held exhibitions both domestically and internationally.”

“Lin family?” Qi Xing asked.

Yang Kaiming explained, “They’re also from the upper-class circle in Huai City, but their family has fallen in recent years.
I heard they’re just an empty shell now, but if he can come with Ye Xingzhou tonight, he must still have some influence.”

Qi Xing smiled, “He looks good.”

Yang Kaiming was taken aback, “You mean Ye Xingzhou?”

Qi Xing corrected him, “The person next to him.”

Yang Kaiming took a closer look at the person Qi Xing mentioned.
Indeed, he wasn’t bad, but in his opinion, he couldn’t compare to Ye Xingzhou, let alone Qi Xing himself.

“Qi Xing, are you saying that after giving up on that small celebrity, you’ve found a new crush?” Yang Kaiming asked.

Qi Xing raised an eyebrow, “Is there a problem?”

Yang Kaiming quickly reminded him, “People like them who consider themselves ‘old money’ in the upper-class circles of Huai City have always looked down on us nouveau riche.
It’s better for you, Qi Xing, not to get your hopes up.”

“What ‘old money’? If we go back a few decades, which family’s ancestors didn’t come from humble origins? They’re just thinking too highly of themselves.”

Qi Xing picked up his glass of red wine, took a step forward, and walked towards the person without hesitation.

Lin Zhinian had just finished exchanging ideas with a foreign art collector when he turned around and noticed someone staring at him without any reservations.
It was a young man with an extravagant and handsome appearance.
His expression paused slightly.

Qi Xing approached and raised his glass to signal him.
“Sir  Lin, I’ve long admired you.

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