Lin Ruoxi covered her face out of embarrassment. She slapped the bed and pouted to get out of the awkward situation, “Who said I wouldn’t bring her there?! I just wanted to win once but I ended up losing consecutively! It’s embarrassing...”

Her stubborn face reminded Yang Chen of the time when Lin Ruoxi went ring tossing with An Xin, she also insisted on a rematch after losing.

She was also doing the same thing with her daughter! 

“Uh…Ruoxi, do you really miss me so much that you’ve forgotten how to play five-in-a-row?” Yang Chen asked with raised eyebrows as he sat on the bed with Lanlan in his arms. 

Lin Ruoxi gave him a side-eye, “Who missed you?! I was playing seriously!”

“Aren’t you the best at calculative games like this? It’s not testing your agility or singing skill, how did you lose to Lanlan?” Yang Chen asked in disbelief.

“You can just call me scheming, stiff and tone-deaf, you don’t have to beat around the bush.” Lin Ruoxi huffed, “Do you really think it’s easy to play with Lanlan? She’s really good at five-in-a-row, I’ve never won once after I taught her how to play.” 

“Seriously?” Yang Chen was surprised. 

He looked at the five-in-a-row roughly and spotted something odd.

All the black pieces were placed in the middle, surrounded by white pieces.

All the paths for the black pieces to reach up to five were blocked but the white pieces had plenty of places to move about.

It was a complete defeat!

“Did you say you taught Lanlan how to play?” Yang Chen asked.

Lin Ruoxi nodded.

“When was it?”

“Last night. I brought her to the toy shop before we got home and we bought this game board. I went to sleep after teaching her and when we played this morning, I lost completely.

Yang Chen pondered. He looked down at Lanlan who was in his arms. She was still pouting from earlier.

“Lanlan, come play one round with daddy, I’ll bring you to the zoo if you win.” Yang Chen smiled.

Lanlan pouted her lips higher, “Hmph, I don’t wanna! Adults always lie!”

“That’s your mom, daddy doesn’t lie.” Yang Chen said with a straight face.

Lin Ruoxi pinched Yang Chen’s waist when she heard that, “What are you talking about?! Who’s a liar?!”

Both of them turned around and looked at Lin Ruoxi from head to toe.

Lin Ruoxi blushed out of embarrassment. Their attitude almost drove her crazy!

“Fine, fine, fine…” Yang Chen said it three times. 

Lin Ruoxi clenched her jaw and forced the words out, “Go ahead, play, liar mommy will watch at the side.”

Yang Chen grinned, knowing that she was just throwing a tantrum.

Yang Chen took over the board game and put Lanlan on the bed to start a new round.

Yang Chen started the game and placed his piece on the centre of the board. 

Lanlan followed suit and placed her piece four to five steps away from Yang Chen’s. 

With furrowed brows, Yang Chen connected another piece to his first piece.

Lanlan placed her piece at another irrelevant spot, which was far away from her initial piece. 

It was as if Lanlan didn’t plan on connecting her pieces and she was just doing whatever she wanted.

Yang Chen curled his lips. This was really interesting, it seemed like Lanlan was more special than he thought.

When Yang Chen connected three of his black pieces, Lanlan finally placed one white piece to block his way.

Yang Chen continued to plan his moves, placing pieces to spots that would help him win.

On the other hand, Lanlan cocked her head and placed her white pieces randomly.

Lin Ruoxi, who was watching them from the side furrowed her brows. She couldn’t get used to Lanlan’s way of playing previously and even when she was watching as a bystander, she still couldn’t figure out what she was trying to do.

The game went on and whenever Yang Chen tried to make four pieces in a row, Lanlan would intercept with a white piece. Most of the time she was just randomly putting pieces at the outer circle.

A few minutes had passed and Yang Chen threw his pieces back to the container. 

“Why? Are you not playing anymore?” Lin Ruoxi was engrossed in their game.

Yang Chen shook his head, “I lost.”

“You lost?”

Lin Ruoxi was taken aback but she soon realised that Lanlan had made two rows of four! 

She didn’t even know how it happened but Lanlan had somehow won with her seemingly messy way of playing!

Lanlan was smiling and looking at Yang Chen with an expectant gaze.

Yang Chen smiled and touched her hair, “Alright, daddy will keep his promise. I’ll bring you to Beijing tomorrow and we’ll go to the zoo to see the elephants, okay?”

Lanlan cheered and jumped into his arms. She pecked his cheeks and flattered him, “Daddy’s the best! Daddy’s better than shameless mommy!”

“You…you rascal!” Lin Ruoxi was enraged, “Who brought you to places when your daddy wasn’t around? How could you badmouth me so soon?! You sway too easily!!”

Lanlan puffed her cheeks and rubbed her head against Yang Chen’s chest, pretending she didn’t hear her.

Yang Chen chuckled while shaking his head. He patted  Lanlan’s butt and asked, “Lanlan, can you tell daddy what were you thinking about during the game?”

“What…” Lanlan was puzzled. 

“I mean, how do you think the five-in-a-row should be played?” Yang Chen changed his question.

Lanlan cocked her head and pondered, “I don’t know, I was trying to put four and five in a row but mommy kept blocking my path so I gave up on it and blocked mommy’s pieces instead. I can put my pieces wherever I want as long as mommy‘s pieces are blocked and then I win just like that!”

Lin Ruoxi was astonished. No wonder she was placing her pieces everywhere, it turned out she was just doing whatever she wanted!

Yang Chen clucked his tongue and smiled secretively.

“Why are you smiling like that?!” Lin Ruoxi was confused, “Is there a problem?”

Yang Chen chuckled, “Our daughter is a prodigy, at least she has strong perception.”

Lin Ruoxi still couldn’t understand him, “What are you talking about?”

Yang Chen put Lanlan back on the bed and explained to her, “Normally when we’re playing five-in-a-row, even the adults are thinking about a way to block the opponent’s path and make two rows of four or form three pieces secretly but that’s not how she does it. She’s thinking of stopping the opponent from winning so she won’t lose. That’s why she was putting the pieces randomly. It might look like it’s hard for her to connect her own pieces but her opponent wouldn’t be able to predict her movements. In the end, as long as she doesn’t block her own path, her opponent wouldn’t win even if she can’t get two rows of four…this kind of method eases things for her since all she had to care about was to block her opponent‘s path. She could also confuse her opponent, killing two birds with one stone. In other words, our daughter came up with her own method, she would never lose as long as she doesn’t make any mistakes.”

Lin Ruoxi was astonished. After glancing at her daughter who seemed lost, Lin Ruoxi voiced her disbelief, “It might not be that complicated, she did this because she’s lazy.”

Yang Chen disagreed with her, “There are plenty of revolution, innovation and creation that occurred because lazy people wanted to make things easier for themselves. Five-in-a-row may be something small but from here we can comprehend it as going the opposite way, changing the perspective and starting to put ourselves in the opponent’s shoes. To explain it in a more mystical manner, it’s the ‘Dao’ that exists between Heaven and Earth. It’s simple but it has also been ignored. Dao talks about letting things happen naturally and returning to the originality of life.”