Chapter 4 Socialites

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Hua Jin remained silent and just stared at the man in the sports car.

The handsome man couldn’t help but smile stiffly at Hua Jin’s gaze.
He found it so unnerving that he started to squirm in his seat, before asking, “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Mister, are you aware that it’s every citizen’s responsibility to obey the traffic rules?” Hua Jin remarked while pointing to a nearby road sign that indicated “No Parking”.

With the attempted flirting turning into a traffic violation, the atmosphere quickly became awkward. 

Hua Jin’s matter-of-fact attitude didn’t anger the man in the slightest.
He merely said, “Okay,” then proceeded to drive away.

Watching the sports car disappear around the corner, Hua Jin started to have a coughing fit so she leaned on the fence behind her.
The air quality hadn’t been good lately and there were many allergens in the air which irritated her nose and eyes.
It was so bad sometimes that she couldn’t breathe when she went outside. 

She didn’t expect that there would be so many willow trees around this area, which basically made it a biohazard for people with allergies. 


Behind the fence she was leaning on was a huge artificial lake that was quite clean as one couldn’t see any plastics floating on its surface.
Facing the lake, she tried to take a breather, but someone had suddenly tapped her on the shoulder.
Hua Jin turned to look and saw an old couple, a man and his wife.
The smiling old lady was the one who tried to get her attention.

“Young lass, I wouldn’t recommend staying here to think as it’s too windy here that you might get a cold.” After saying this, the old lady pointed to a nearby bench.

“Thank you for the concern, but I’m fine, really.” Hua Jin managed to suppress the urge to cough, as she took out a handkerchief from her bag to cover her nose and mouth.
“Sorry, it’s just my allergies acting up.”

“Oh, if it’s just allergies, then it’s okay.” The old lady nodded a few times.
“In previous years, the willow trees would release their pollen after April, but this year, even though March is only ending, it’s in full bloom already.”

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She tilted her to cough a few times.
Hua Jin replied hoarsely, “Indeed.”

“All the more reason to not stay here any longer then as there are willow trees planted along the roads nearby, so you might get worse if you stay.” The old lady and her partner were too kind as they helped Hua Jin hail a taxi and coaxed her to leave as soon as possible.

Hua Jin was a little embarrassed to have been taken care of by two oldies.
She was already a young adult that’s been around for 24, almost 25 years.
Not only did they help her hail the cab, they even had to help her get in it due to her bad allergic reaction.
“I’m really sorry to be such a bother.”

“I’m just glad you’re okay,” the old lady replied, still smiling.
She waved at Hua Jin and had the driver go already.

The driver glanced at Hua Jin through the rearview mirror while they were on their way.
The busybody in him could not resist as he advised her, “Little girl, life may be long, but hope is abundant.
Don’t go hurt yourself because of little things.”

Hua Jin was a little perplexed when she heard him, but she just nodded with a wry smile.

When the conversation died down, Hua Jin took out a makeup mirror from her bag to look at her face.
Who was this woman with their eyes and nose so red? Who was this woman who had beautiful curls, but now looked so disheveled because of the wind?


Was the reason that uncle and aunty had been so worried for her was because they thought she might be suicidal? 


“A few days ago, there was also a heartbroken girl who jumped into the lake to commit suicide.
When she was found, her body was already white and swollen.
Some of her relatives cried beside the lake until they fainted.” The driver paused to sigh, “The girl and her family both ended up pitiful.
Isn’t drowning a really horrible way to die?”

“You know, the part of the lake where the little girl drowned was right where you got in my car.” The taxi driver remarked.
Seeing as Hua Jin failed to reply, he went ahead and two more pieces of his sage advice, “I thought you young people love to say online that there was nothing that food cannot solve.
If one meal wasn’t enough, then eat more than one.”

Hua Jin just listened to the uncle pour his heart out about the meaning of life, the importance of food, and even what’s popular on the Internet nowadays.
When she finally got off, Hua Jin felt like her body and mind had been cleansed and had ascended to a higher level. 


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When she got home, she removed her makeup and showered.
Hua Jin felt relieved when she saw her eyes were no longer as red and swollen as before.


Aunt Gao always said that the eyes and the hands were the most important things for an embroiderer, and if she wanted to go further in Shu Embroidery, and become a real master craftswoman, she must protect them at all cost.

Therefore, if it was not necessary, she would try to avoid staying up late at night to rush embroidery orders, because doing so is straining to the eyes.

Hua Jin opened her curtains intending to do some eye exercises, but her phone suddenly rang.
The number was unfamiliar, so she was hesitant to answer at first, but she eventually accepted the call.

“Hello, this is Hua Jin, an embroiderer for the Shu Embroidery Studio in Fan Hua.”

“Hello, hello.” The person who called stammered a bit, “I’m the person who ordered the custom dragon and phoenix quilt.
I would like to ask if there is any way for you to complete the order faster? I’m willing to pay more! Really, I really need it done quicker and money is no object!” 

“Sir, please calm down.” The moment she heard the other party’s frantic plea, Hua Jin remembered how the man was previously and he was acting erratic right now.
She tried to calm him down, by saying, “Can you please explain?”

“The doctor said that my wife… doesn’t have many days left.
Recently, she’s been unable to eat and has been relying on painkillers to barely be able to fall asleep.” The man choked on a sob, as he continued, “I just want her to be covered in something beautiful before she… she…”

The sounds of sobbing could be heard on the other line.
Hua Jin couldn’t help but put on a determined expression as she glanced at the mostly finished quilt.
“Will five days do? I can finish the dragon and phoenix quilt in five days, and will send it to you immediately after, so could you please give me your delivery address?”

“Thank you, thank you!” The man couldn’t stop thanking her because he didn’t know what else he could say. 

After Hua Jin hung up, she looked at the sun shining brightly outside.
She took a deep breath before sitting down before her embroidery work station.

There were many legends pertaining to the dragon and the phoenix.
Some say that the two were born to be fated enemies from birth, where one will not suffer the other’s presence, thus they were known as the Battle of the Dragon and the Phoenix .
More popularly, the two were traditionally known as bringers of fortune, so together, the two were also known as The Prosperity of the Dragon and the Phoenix.

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Knowing this, when depicting the dragon and the phoenix in any artform, merely depicting the two mythical beasts was not enough.
The most important thing is to capture the beauty in their dissonant harmony, so when people see them, they’ll feel happy.

Traditionally, the dragon scales and the phoenix feathers were highlights of an embroidery piece, which Shu Embroidery greatly complements, since the technique specifically calls for the use of brightly colored thread.
It is simply perfect for making dragons and phoenixes.

For five days, Hua Jin spent most of her free time and energy on embroidering the dragon and phoenix quilt.
When it was finished, it was already 4 in the morning of the fifth day.
Having only slept for two to three hours, she even struggled to get up when her alarm clock rang.

Seriously ill patients who find sleeping or eating already difficult, every waking moment was precious.
Hua Jin could not afford to waste any more time. 

She directly took a taxi to the hospital, and while she was on her way, she tried to call the customer to say she was on her way.
The other party took a long time to answer though, and when he finally did, he sounded tired and desperate.

“You’ve been a good husband.
I’ll bring it up myself so you don’t have to come down.”

The hospital was crowded with beds.
The people who were sick, along with their family members, all wore haggard expressions on their faces.
When Hua Jin finally found the man who ordered the custom quilt, he was leaning against a wall, a few pieces of paper were crumpled in his fist.
When he saw her arrive, he had tried to smile but ultimately couldn’t. 

When she handed over the quilt, Hua Jin saw that the pieces of paper he was holding were pamphlets from the hospital about a critical illness.
Close to where he stood was a hospital bed with a woman with an obvious jaundice.
She also looked so thin as she slept there, hooked up on a ventilator.

The man took a stack of money from his bag and tried to give it to Hua Jin.
She merely took two pieces from it, before handing it back over, “I don’t need the rest.”

“How’s that possible?” The man was so stunned that he reverted back to speaking his natural dialect.
“It’s only right that I pay what I said I would pay.
I know it isn’t easy for you young people to make money.”

“You’ve already made a deposit, and the two hundred yuan is the remaining balance.” Hua Jin decided not to charge anything extra.
“It’s rare to meet someone from the same hometown after being away for so long.
Keep the rest of the money to take good care of your wife and children who are still going to school.”

The man couldn’t help but get emotional, but after he regained his composure, he said, “Thank you.”

He stared at Hua Jin deeply, as if he wanted to etch her appearance in his heart.

Hua Jin left without bothering the man and his wife.
The hospital corridors not only smelled strongly of bleach, it was also very confusing, so Hua Jin quickly found that she was lost.
When she finally found an elevator to go down, it wasn’t the right one as it only stopped on even-numbered floors and not the odd-numbered ones.

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Hua Jin had no choice but to get out on the second floor.
When she exited the elevator, she heard someone yell at her, “Wait! Wait! Please hold it for me!”

If not for the fact that the other party was running towards her, she would have mistaken the person as a huge pineapple.
He was sporting a golden yellow coat, golden yellow hair, and even gold sneakers!

It was really too dazzling! One wouldn’t be able to resist trying to help, and she was no exception.
Unfortunately, the elevator had already closed its doors and gone up a floor.

The ‘pineapple’ gasped for air as he stood panting beside the elevator door.
He turned towards Hua Jin to say, “Thanks for trying, Beauty.”

“No worries.” she replied as she took a double take on the other party’s getup.
There weren’t many young people who were as unique as him–a rare species deserving of protection.

The hospital elevators were almost always full, so Hua Jin decided to just take the stairs down to the ground floor.
When she found one, it smelled even more strongly of bleach that she became dizzy while going down it.

“Beauty, it seems we’re fated to be together~ But I’ve got to tell you that the cost of trying to feel me up by feigning falling down the stairs will be expensive.” Someone had given her a hand, before quickly letting go.

When she had steadied herself on the handrails, Hua Jin was finally able to see ‘Dreamy Eyes’ again.

It was the guy in the sports car she had met outside the hotel five days ago. 

This time, the guy was wearing a white shirt and a blue suit.
He looked a lot more decent.

“Expensive? Weren’t you the one who reached out without being asked?” Hua Jin took out some chocolates from her bag as she thought her blood sugar level was too low, probably due to her staying up late consecutively in addition to not having had breakfast yet.

She divided the chocolate into two halves, giving the other half to the man in front of her.
“Although I’m not too keen on men who are too forward, I am very satisfied with your appearance.
Take this as your reward.”

Weren’t they all socialites? Who wouldn’t take an easy opening?

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