GC: Chapter 108

108. The Hidden Dragon

YiHan glanced at Qin An and back at JingYuan. Then, he smiled and interrupted Fang Yi before the man could say anymore, “It’s fine. He’s right. The more the merrier when it comes to barbeque. Or are you afraid you’d burn a hole through my wallet?”

Fang Yi chuckled in embarrassment as Qin An began poking the ground with the tip of a shoe.

“Officer Fang,” YiHan asked. “Since you like grilled skewers, you know where the best is. Why don’t you lead us?”

After a moment of serious consideration, the policeman said, “There’s a shop on West Hua Road that’s really nice and affordable, but it doesn’t have any private rooms.”

“Then, let’s go,” YiHan replied with a smile. “We’re eating barbeque, not private rooms.”

That response made Fang Yi burst out laughing. The awkwardness from before dissipated.

Qin An glanced at YiHan and chuckled, “I know the shop Lil Fang speaks of. I’ll lead the way. Get in my car, Lil Fang.”

“Then we’ll go get our car,” JingYuan said.

After the two men left, Qin An turned to Fang Yi and languidly asked, “Was that the third son of the Bai Family? He’s different to what the rumours say.”

“How very smart of you.” Yi could feel a headache coming on. “And how did you know he’s Little Master Bai?”

“How could you ask me that?” An smiled. “Everyone in the city knows of Mr Mu’s precious one, the Little Master Bai. The only one who could make the man worry would be him, right? Also, you called him Mr Bai. If I couldn’t make a guess from that, I’d be an idiot. Say, Mr Mu went off to get their car. Can’t Little Master Bai just wait here with us? Why must they go together? Did he think we’d gobble up his precious young man?”

“Haven’t you heard?” Yi sighed. “He was kidnapped a while ago. Little Master Bai nearly died. It’s natural for Mr Mu to be on his guard. Ever since the kidnapping, he’d never left the young man’s side. He even brings Little Master Bai along with him to the office. He’s just terrified the man would disappear once more. He’s not particularly on alert just because of us.”

“Never left his side? Mu JingYuan really is a fool when in love,” An mused, a hand tapping at his chin. “Huh? How did you know they’ve never left each other’s sides?”

Yi pushed the arm An had around his shoulders since the start of their meeting and said, “I’m in charge of Little Master Bai’s case. Of course I’d know a little of their private lives. Also, don’t go spouting nonsense. Fool when in love? The Mu and Bai families have always been close and Mr Mu doesn’t have any direct living relatives. It’s not strange for him to treat the younger man as a brother.”

An twisted and turned, hoping to keep lounging against Yi. “Oh, pure Little Fang. If Mr Mu really just thought of him as a younger brother, then what about the actual big brother? He never said anything about sticking to his younger brother’s side at all times. What does Mr Mu have to worry about? There was obviously something going on with the way they stood together. Look at the little glances they keep throwing at each other. Pew, pew, pew. If you hadn’t bumped into me today, you’d be the third-wheeling lightbulb for the rest of the night.”

“For real?” Yi gaped. “Don’t joke around.”

An finally succeeded in remaining lounged against the policeman with his arm around the other man’s shoulders. “Of course it’s true,” he said, satisfied with his achievement. “Let me tell you. My eyes are as sharp as an eagle’s and as bright as fresh snow. Also, I’d lie to anyone and everyone but you. You are…”

Yi look at An suspiciously when the young man just drifted off into silence. “But what?” Yi asked.

An cleared his throat and stood up straight. “But you’re my saviour,” he said. “Erm, they’re here. Let’s get in the car.”

Once they were in the car, Yi continued shooting suspicious looks at An.

“What are you looking at?” An cheerfully asked as he drove. “Did you just realise how handsome I am? It’s fine to for you to look longer. I won’t charge you.”

Speechless, Yi turned and stared out the window.

An glanced at him and said, “Hey, speaking of which, whose idea was it to eat barbeque? Why all of a sudden?”

“What?” Yi curiously asked. “Mr Bai asked me what I like to eat so I just said I like grilled skewers.”

“I just knew it was you,” An said, mirth laced through his voice. “But really, you. What were you thinking? You actually made the youngest son of the Bai family go eat barbeque with you. But it’s such a shock that he said yes.”

“What’s so weird about that?” Yi asked in confusion. “He’s human. He has to eat too, right?”

“Oh, you,” An chuckled. “You’re such a simple man. Think. What kind of person is Little Master Bai? A single piece of beef steak in a place he chooses would be worth your entire month’s salary. It might not even be enough to pay for it. He’s definitely someone who nit-picks a lot and only eats exquisitely cooked food. Mr Mu, I won’t say too much about him. What family does he come from? He’d probably never had barbeque before. You’re asking them to go have grilled skewers with you and it’s a shop that doesn’t even have private rooms. It’d be so noisy and their outfits would stink of smoke and meat later. It’s such a great honour they’d be willing to go with you. But then again, this Little Master Bai is quite interesting. He’s completely different to what the rumours say.”

Yi pondered hard at that. Guilt started rising in him. “What do we do then?” he uneasily asked. “Why don’t we go somewhere else later?”

Yi’s used of “we” made An feel very satisfied. “No need to do that. They agreed to follow you. That’s  something they’re doing because of you. If you change your mind at the last minute, it’d be awkward. Just leave it. They don’t mind so who are we to be worried on their behalf?”

That made sense to Yi. “Little Master Bai is a very nice young man.” Yi had to admit it. “He doesn’t act high and mighty at all. He even told me not to think of him as a son of the Bai family but as a normal friend. I really don’t understand why anyone would say such rotten things about someone so kind. They go on about how he’s arrogant and self-centred. I think they’re just jealous. They’re jealous of how he’s got a great family and a great personality. It’s probably because he wasn’t petty enough to argue with them over it and would ignore them. That’s why the rumours are so ridiculously far from the truth.”

An dotingly glanced at the furious Yi. “What you say makes sense,” he agreed. “How can an ordinary person really get to know Little Master Bai? They’re just lying. It’s fine that we know. He doesn’t even mind. Don’t get so angry over it.”

“You’re right,” Yi muttered after shooting the man driving a quick glare. “But that’s because Mr Bai is generous. He thinks of me as a friend. Of course I’d be angry on his behalf.”

“Okay, okay,” An chuckled. “I know you’re someone who have a strong sense of loyalty and justice. However, he wants to be your friend. You don’t need to be so formal with him. Only then can you two naturally get to know each other. Once social statuses are put aside, humans are all the same. We all have two legs, a stomach, and a head to top it all off. Everyone needs to eat, sleep and poop. Even an emperor’s crap stinks.”

“As if I need you to teach me how to make friends,” Yi barked out. “Anyway, we’re going to have dinner. Can you not talk about something so disgusting?”

“Oh, Lil Fang,” An guffawed, a hand reaching up to ruffle Yi’s hair. “Why are you so cute?”

“Go away!” Yi shouted. “You’re the one who’s cute! You’ll forever only be cute!”

“Shoot! How mean.” An cried in surprise.

Yi harrumphed and huffed. His face said all, “I’m just that mean.”

***

In the other car, YiHan was sitting on the passenger seat while JingYuan drove.

“Is there something wrong with that Qin An?” YiHan asked.

“Not bad.” JingYuan smiled and glanced at his lover. “You could tell something was up with him. As expected of my HanHan.”

“I’m asking you a proper question,” YiHan replied, shifting in his seat. “Just what’s weird about him?”

“Hm, you tell me first,” JingYuan hummed. This was a good chance to train up YiHan’s mind. “How did you realise something was off about him?”

“I didn’t actually,” YiHan said, scratching at his cheek. “I saw your expression. Your guard raised up when you saw him. There aren’t many people in this city who could get you to make that face and I know all of those people. This Qin An, however, I’ve never seen him before.”

“I see.” JingYuan couldn’t hold back from chuckling. “Alright. You’ve grown up. You should know about the underground world now. To outsiders, there are only five great families in this city. Unbeknownst to them, there’s a faction that can go head-on with all five families at the same time. That Qin An is the head of that faction.”

“What faction?” YiHan was surprised. “Why didn’t I know?”

“You were still young,” JingYuan said. “We just didn’t let you know. In this world, where there’s light, there’s dark. If white exists, black does too. If we five families exist in the light, then the Hidden Dragon Qin An leads is in the dark.”

“A triad gang?” YiHan exclaimed in realisation. “They’re called the Hidden Dragon?”

“You could say that,” JingYuan replied. “They’re the city’s greatest power in the dark. Qin An is the king of the underground kingdom. His name isn’t actually Qin An. It’s Qin Feng, as in the character used for the sharpness of a blade. He’s the bastard son of the last leader of the Hidden Dragon, Qin HaiTian. Three years ago, Qin Feng killed his father and ascended the dragon’s throne.”

“He’s that cruel?” YiHan was truly shocked. “He’s so dangerous. Wouldn’t Fang Yi be at a disadvantage? Why is he bothering Fang Yi?”

The sight of YiHan being so concerned for Fang Yi made JingYuan’s belly fill up with acrid sour jealousy. “He might be a man who can be cruel but he’s not a bloodthirsty man. The Hidden Dragon controls the entire underground in this city. It’s hard for them to avoid selling weapons illegally or other shady businesses but they never involve themselves in drugs and they would never force anyone innocent to be a prostitute. The hostesses and hosts in their clubs all do so willingly. Furthermore, he had no choice but to kill his father.

“His mother was just an ordinary university student. Qin HaiTian took a liking to her. When sweet talk and lying couldn’t get her to fall for him, he just took what he wanted. Her family had no power or connections and they didn’t dare say no. So they gave her to Qin HaiTian. When his mother gave birth to him, she was traumatised and hurt herself. From then on, she’d be sickly and fall ill. Combined with the harsh life of struggling to survive every day, the pressure built up quickly. She grew old quick wasn’t as beautiful as she was before giving birth to Qin Feng. By then, Qin HaiTian was sick of her. He only kept her by his side because she gave him a son.

“Qin HaiTian is a greedy and lustful man. As long as it’d make him money, he’d do anything. He’s also a brutal man. Perhaps it was karma. He’d done too many bad deeds. He never had another child. The only option he was to raise Qin Feng as his heir. Ever since he was a young child, Qin Feng had to go through his ‘training’. Qin HaiTian’s ‘training’ is no mere training. He would lock the small boy up with starving wolves and dogs. Compared to that man, Feng DeCheng can be considered the kindest father of all. Qin Feng’s mother had always been against putting her son through such savage training and she refused to let her son take over his bastard of a father’s job. She didn’t want a life of blood and darkness for him. But her words held no power. No one would listen to her. When Qin Feng was sixteen years old, she organised an escape attempt for him. In a fit of rage, Qin HaiTian strangled her to death.”

Translator’s Note:

Barbeque, not private rooms: There’s another pun in here where the term for private rooms has the character for bao and bread (包).


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GC: Chapter 107

107. Treat You to Barbeque

JingYuan placed his hands on his knee, fingers linked. “Feng Qun is clearly just a scapegoat,” he said. “The true mastermind is still eyeing YiHan from the dark. YiHan is still in a lot of danger. Ending the case this sloppily would upset the victim further instead.”

“I also told the higher-ups that,” Captain Chen sighed. “But this case has just blown up. The old Mr Yan called yesterday to ask about the case’s progress. The officials are under a lot of pressure.”

“If there’s a lot of pressure, then the police should do their all to solve the case,” JingYuan replied with an unamused smile. “Not try and wave us off with a vague excuse. Captain Chen, I believe in you. It’s only a matter of time to when this case would be resolved. We’re not in a hurry so what are your higher-ups panicking about?”

“Thank you, Mr Mu, for your confidence in me.” Captain Chen bitterly smiled. “However, there’s a lot of rumours and talk flying around now and the mastermind is doing their best to hide. Feng Qun is dead and all our leads have gone cold. If we want to drag the true mastermind from hiding, we’d need a lot of time. The higher-ups seriously can’t wait anymore. Actually, I also think it’s best to end the case early.”

“Oh?” JingYuan’s eyes gleamed. “You have a plan, Captain?”

“I do have some kind of a plan,” Chen Jing said with a nod. “Those men had confessed after undergoing several sessions of interrogation. Unfortunately, the information they provided wasn’t of any true help at all. The person who paid them certainly wasn’t Feng Qun but the money passed through the man’s hands. The mastermind never showed themselves. ‘That person’ contacted Feng Qun and told him to hire these men. Due to their paranoid nature born from being criminals, they didn’t trust or believe Feng Qun. He looked like someone who couldn’t pay up back then and since he’d fallen from grace overnight, Feng Qun kept muttering and mumbling to himself as if he were crazy. Thus, ‘that person’ had to appear before them and alleviate their concerns. They were told that as long as they did their job, they’d be paid. None of them wasn’t able to see what ‘that person’ looked like back then. The room they had their chat in had a barrier between them and ‘that person’, plus ‘that person’ used a voice changer. All we know is they exist. We have no way to investigate them. Everyone in the city is now on alert and the mastermind must be too. They wouldn’t slip up. Why don’t we act as though we’re ending the case to put ‘that person’ at ease? Fang Yi and I would then secretly continue our investigation. Perhaps we might be pleasantly surprised by the results.”

YiHan leaned back on his chair, smiled and said, “That is a perfect plan. We can continue investigating while giving the public and your bosses a resolution.”

“It’s our last resort,” Captain Chen replied. “It involves the dignity of the old Mr Yan, and the Bai and Mu families. My application to continue the investigation in secret would soon be approved. Mr Mu, Mr Bai, please don’t worry. I will do my best to find everyone involved and eliminate all future worries.”

“That’d be good.” JingYuan nodded. “We’ll be depending on you and Officer Fang then.”

“You’re too kind,” Captain Chen replied. “This is my duty. Thank you so much for your understanding.”

“You’re doing all you can do for YiHan’s case,” JingYuan said. “I can still see that.”

Chen Jing’s ever-stern face cracked with a smile born from his heart. “It’s my duty,” he said.

“It’s getting late,” JingYuan commented, standing up from his chair. “You two should be off work soon, right? Why don’t we have a meal together?”

“Thank you for your offer, Mr Mu,” Captain Chen hurriedly said. “But it’s my wedding anniversary today. My wife is waiting for me at home with a feast she’d spent a lot of time preparing. I can’t bear to disappoint her. Please forgive me.”

JingYuan’s mind began imagining his and YiHan’s future wedding anniversary. On that long-awaited day, he’d prepare a feast of eight dishes and one soup. HanHan would gasp in awe and stare at him with admiration. The two would then lock eyes and smile. In the warm, gentle glow of candlelight, they’d dine and do something a little more after…

JingYuan’s mind wandered so deeply into his fantasy that a smile began spreading across his face. “A wedding anniversary certainly is a very important matter,” he agreed. “Best not to be late. You’d best head home early.”

Chen Jing had to go through what JingYuan said three times before he was sure the man wasn’t mocking him in a passive aggressive manner. He was touched upon realising it was serious. “Thank you so much for your understanding, Mr Mu. The one you marry will certainly be happy.”

“Of course,” JingYuan said in a matter-of-fact tone. “If a man can’t make his lover happy, then he’s not fit to be a lover.” As he said so, he shot a glance full of love at YiHan.”

YiHan’s heart skipped. He twisted his head and looked away, revealing bright red ears.

“Indeed,” Chen Jing said, nodding. “You’re so insightful, Mr Mu.”

YiHan cleared his throat, stood up and said, “Well, Captain Chen, you’d best be getting ready to be home on time. You can’t make your wife wait on such an important day. We’ll be off.”

“Take care, sirs,” Chen Jing said, standing up as well.

The couple nodded and left.

Li Sun knew the two powerful men didn’t want to see him and he wouldn’t even dare to let Tao Qi appear before JingYuan again. After Fang Yi was done with his questioning, he charged out the station with the reluctant Tao Qi in two.

When JingYuan and YiHan entered the reception area on their way out, it was to a peaceful room only occupied by Fang Yi packing up.

“Officer Fang,” YiHan asked, walking over. “Do you have anything on tonight?”

“No.” The policeman was stunned. “What is it, Mr Bai?”

“That’s great,” YiHan gleefully said, smile so wide that his dimples were showing. “Let’s go eat. It’s my treat tonight. I was going to invite Captain Chen too but it’s his wedding anniversary tonight. He can’t come so it’ll just be us three tonight.”

“How could I?” Fang Yi quickly refused. “As I’ve said, it’s my duty to hunt down clues and investigate all I can. You don’t need to take it to the heart, Mr Bai.”

“I know,” YiHan replied, carefree smile still on his face. “You’re a very responsible policeman, a true servant to the public. I didn’t mean anything by the offer. I just want to be friends. Don’t think of me as the Little Master Bai. Think of me as a normal friend. Well? Would you come?”

Fang Yi was a frank man. Upon hearing such a sincere plea, his impression of YiHan became much more favourable than before. He couldn’t help smiling back. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I? I’d be glad to be your friend!”

“That settles it. Let’s go!” YiHan patted Fang Yi on the shoulder. “What do you want to eat? Just tell me. I’ve got plenty of money!”

Fang Yi was stunned. “Really?” he dazedly asked.

“Of course,” YiHan replied.

“I like barbeque skewers the most!” said Fang Yi, the honest child.

JingYuan: …! You want to ask someone who’s so nit-picky that there’s no food he’d never criticise to go eat grilled skewers?

After a silent pause, Fang Yi realised what he said wasn’t really appropriate for someone of YiHan’s calibre. He was about to change his answer when YiHan suddenly laughed.

“Okay! We’ll have barbeque tonight!” YiHan then turned to JingYuan, his eyes gleaming bright. “Can we?”

JingYuan was shocked. He was going to refuse. He was afraid YiHan’s digestive system wouldn’t be used to it but upon seeing such happiness glimmering in those eyes, he hesitated. YiHan was likely afraid of disappointing Fang Yi. JingYuan can just keep a closer eye on YiHan. He won’t let the younger man have too much. And so, the words hovering on his tongue dropped back down to his throat.

“It’s fine to have some occasionally,” JingYuan said with a nod.

“You’re the best, JingYuan,” said YiHan. He the raised a hand, pointing out ahead and said in the grandest tone he could muster, “Let’s go!”

This was the first time YiHan had acted like a kid since his “incident”. It made JingYuan worry much less. Plus the “sweet talk” just now, JingYuan’s mood was soaring high. A doting smile hung on his face as his steady strides followed YiHan out.

At that moment, Fang Yi somehow felt a glow shining bright from his head…

The trio walked out the police station to find an SUV parked by the side. A rather handsome but thuggish young man was leaning against it. He was very tall, but lanky. The two long and slender legs wrapped in a pair of leather pants were extremely eye-catching. His eyes looked as if they’d never wake up. Squinted, those almond-shaped eyes stared unblinkingly at the police station entrance. When Fang Yi appeared in his sight, those sleepy eyes lit up. By the time the trio heard him calling out to Fang Yi, he was already on his way over.

Fang Yi shot an apologetic glance at YiHan. The younger man tilted his chin up, indicating he could go handle it.

The young man stopped before Fang Yi. He first scanned JingYuan and YiHan from top to toe. An intelligent glint flashed across his eyes before being suppressed again.

“Lil Fang, let’s go get dinner,” he said to Fang Yi with a roguish smile.

“Qin An, didn’t I tell you?” Fang Yi sighed. “Don’t come looking for me anymore.”

“How could I?” Qin An chuckled. “I’ve got to pay you back for saving my life.”

“Why can’t I get through to you?” Fang Yi sighed once more. “The wounds you had back then only looked terrifying. Even if I hadn’t saved you, you wouldn’t have died. You’d suffer more pain at most. Aren’t you afraid of being a laughingstock? How could you say I saved your life?”

“You just don’t like me because I’m a street thug,” Qin An muttered, his lips pushed out in a miserable pout. “You don’t want to be seen with me.”

“You too understand you’re a thug,” Fang Yi said in a defeated tone, head lowered into his palm. “Look. You’re a thug. I’m a policeman. We have nothing in common. How can we be friends? I’ve advised you to change your ways but you refused to.”

“So what if you’re police?” Qin An huffed. “I’ve not broken the law. Why can’t we be close?”

“If you weren’t fighting, where did the stab wounds come from?” Fang Yi asked, looking back up. “How did I find you again? You’re lucky I didn’t bring you back to the station for questioning.”

“What stab wounds?” Qin An blinked and innocently asked. “I don’t know. Either way, we’re friends. Let’s get dinner together.”

Fang Yi let out another sigh and shook his head. He didn’t know what else to say anymore. “Forget it. Whatever I say just goes out the other ear. I can’t do tonight though. I’ve already got plans.”

Qin An peeked around Fang Yi at JingYuan and YiHan. “With them?” he asked. “What a coincidence. You can just bring me along. The more the merrier. Mr Mu…you don’t mind me joining you, right?”

“Of course not,” JingYuan replied. His smile didn’t reach his eyes.

“How do you know Mr Mu?” Fang Yi curiously asked.

Qin An took advantage of his height and hung himself over Fang Yi’s shoulders. “I’m just a little thug,” he laughed. “How could I know him? He’s just incredibly famous. I’ve seen his picture in financial magazines.”

Fang Yi, a true innocent silly goose, replied with a simple “oh”. Now that he knew there was no way he could get rid of this clingy man, he turned to YiHan, “Mr Bai…”

Translator’s Notes:

  1. Feast of eight dishes and one soup: It’s only a common number used for family feasts. A round table in a Chines feast would typically only seat 10. Eight dishes and one soup would be just enough for 10 adults to dine on. There’s also some number speculation (on my end). Eight (八ba) can be a semi-homonym for prosperity (发/發 fa). There’s also 8+1=9 of which 9 is another lucky number. All personal speculation though.
  2. Glow shining bright: Reference to a lightbulb, the Chinese term for third-wheeler.
  3. Qin An: 秦安 He’s…important. Let’s applaud for a deed he’ll do in the future.


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GC: Chapter 106

106. Powerful Mr Li

On the third afternoon of YiHan following JingYuan into the office, YiHan received a call from Captain Chen Jing to invite him to the station to help clarify further details about the case.

However when YiHan and JingYuan arrived at the police station, they walked into a dramatic scene.

The centre of the drama was even someone they knew – Li Sun. He had clearly been drinking and he had an arm around a pretty, in a clean and pure way, girl.

“Don’t you fricking know who I am?” he arrogantly shouted. “You dare question me? Me! Who gave you the balls to do that? Do you even have the right to talk to me? With a single phone call, I can strip your police uniform away from you right now!”

Fang Yi who was standing opposite to him had a dark, stern look on him. “Mr Li, this is just routine questioning about Mr Bai’s kidnapping. Please cooperate with us.”

Li Sun was furious. His spit was flying everywhere. “Stop using Little Master Bai to threaten me! How is his kidnapping any of my flipping business? I’m not the kidnapper anyway!”

“The mastermind of this case, Feng Qun, was close to you, Mr Li,” Fang Yi patiently explained. “The police hoped to get some clues from the people he’s usually close to. This is also the duty of a citizen. Please cooperate.”

Li Sun instantly puffed out his chest. “Bullshit!” he screamed in rage. “Are you fricking saying I was colluding with Feng Qun? Are you flipping blind? You dog! I’m telling you right now that Bai YiHan’s kidnapping had nothing to do with me! Stop trying to throw blame at me! Also, you’re through at this job now! You don’t need to yap on here. You don’t need to come to work tomorrow! To hell with your questioning!”

The moment Li Sun was finished with his rant, he flung his arm out in a fit of rage as he turned to stomp out the door. Fang Yi was about to run after him when he saw the man, woman in tow, backing away from the door and towards him once more. The red flush of inebriation was gone. His face had turned pale white.

“L-Little Master B-Bai,” Li Sun stuttered as he retreated.

Fang Yi was pleasantly surprised. YiHan bounced over from the door with JingYuan calmly striding behind him. The young man gave Li Sun a side-eye that hinted at laughter as he passed the terrified man.

“Officer Fang,” YiHan greeted, a hand stretched out for a handshake.

“Mr Bai, why are you here?” Fang Yi happily asked. As if he was shocked by the honour, he hurriedly reached out and shook the stretched-out hand.

“Captain Chen called me,” YiHan replied. “He said there was something he’d like to discuss, so I came. That also meant I could come visit you. I’ve been wanting to treat you to a meal after I was discharged but I was scared you’d be busy with my case. I didn’t dare to disturb you. It’s why I only came to find you after so long.”

Li Sun’s face wasn’t just pale. It was a sickly pale green. Cold sweat was dripping down his face. Just who is this puny police officer? What about him made Little Master Bai treat him so courteously? If the man had such a strong background, why would he become some insignificant policeman? If he knew the man was close with Little Master Bai, he wouldn’t have dared to scold and insult the man! Not even if he was threatened with death!

It wasn’t just Li Sun. Everyone in the room silently gasped in shock. Many of them were now flipping through their memories in horror. Had they offended Fang Yi or done anything against him?

“You’re too polite, Mr Bai,” Fang Yi replied with a carefree smile and an embarrassed scratch to his chin. “You could’ve just called me.”

“Officer Ye, you seemed to have encounter a problem?” YiHan smiled back. “I heard a little of the commotion at the door. It’s quite lively here.” He then turned to Li Sun, his smile dampening. “You must be so very powerful, Mr Li. You could actually just fire a police officer, a public servant, just on a whim.”

“It’s a misunderstanding!” Li Sun hurriedly intercepted before Fang Yi could speak. “It’s all just a misunderstanding! Master Bai, I didn’t know this Officer Fang is your friend. It’s why I panicked and spoke too hastily.” He then gave Fang Yi a grovelling, apologetic smile. “It had a little too much to drink today, Officer Fang. My mind’s not all sober. Please forgive me for any transgressions I may have made. What I just said? That’s all just a joke. Don’t take it to heart.”

Fang Yi frowned. JingYuan’s piercing gaze swept at Li Sun and the woman beside him, Tao Qi, whose eyes gleaming up at him.

“Did you just forget about what YiHan said?” he darkly asked.

A spark burst to life in Li Sun’s mind. Upon remembering YiHan once told him to never appear before him again, he quickly let out an awkward chuckle.

“No, no. How could I ever dare to forget what Master Bai said? I’ll be going right now. Immediately,” as Li Sun said so he swiftly fled out the door, ignoring Tao Qi.

As for the woman, she internally scoffed and lambasted him for his heartlessness. To others, she was frozen on the spot. In actuality, she was hesitating. Should she follow suit or should she seize this chance to talk to the male lead? She believed that even if the story had yet to properly start, she was still the female lead. With the plot armour of a female lead, she could attract the male lead’s attention for sure. Once she succeeds, she wouldn’t have to bear through two agonising years.

And this Bai YiHan, he wasn’t looking at her at all. Did he not recognise her or was he playing the fool? Hmph. He must be pretending. She was the protagonist of this world. She was also the only woman in his life he’d ever properly loved. How could he not have carved the memory of her deep in his heart? She did wonder what he was thinking. He actually pretended he didn’t know her. It didn’t matter what he thought though because he was a short-lived bastard. In just a few years, he’ll die in a cruel death. Look at this exquisite young man. He was as pretty as a flower made of jade. She thought back to how the novel said Bai YiHan would die and she couldn’t resist the glee rising in her at that. He was born into a good family. He had great looks. He was loved and doted on. So what? He’ll just a grasshopper after the end of Autumn. He didn’t have many days left to live. In the story, he was the same as Feng Qun. They were dead from the start. Otherwise, as his first love plus her gorgeous looks and sexy body, it’d be a snap to have him as her conquest. She’s not an idiot like the original female lead!

Unfortunately, Bai YiHan’s destiny was set. He’s not worth wasting her efforts on. The important person right now is the male lead. The almighty, powerful male lead! She wanted to walk up to him but then she paused. Nothing had happened yet. The Chen family hadn’t turned into the Bai family’s enemy yet. The Bai family wasn’t bankrupt. Bai YiHan wasn’t dead. Would appearing within the male lead’s sight, well before she was meant to, going to break the plot? She had to pause and think on it but before she could decide, she heard Bai YiHan shout, “Stop!”

Li Sun jumped. His face twisted for a few moments before he turned around and faced YiHan with a grinning face.

“What other orders do you have for me, Master Bai?” he asked.

“Do you think the police station is your backyard?” YiHan drawled. “You think you can come and go as you please? Since Officer Fang has a few questions for you, I think you should stay behind and cooperate with the officers. Right? It’s part of a citizen’s duty, don’t you think?”

“Yes, that’s true,” Li Sun hastily agreed. “Look at me. I’m so forgetful. What would you like to know, Officer Fang? I’ll tell you all I know!”

“Please take a seat and wait a while, Mr Li,” Fang Yi said. “I’ll be with you soon.”

“It’s okay,” Li Sun said. “Your work’s more important.”

Upon seeing the men ignoring her existence and were about to leave the room, she panicked. Unwittingly, she took a step forward but then Li Sun blocked her from doing anything more.

Fang Yi led YiHan and JingYuan further into the station. As JingYuan passed by Li Sun, he paused, leaned down and whispered into his ear, “I really don’t like how your woman’s looking at us. Don’t let me see her ever again.”

Li Sun’s face went pale once more. “I’ve got it. Don’t worry, Mr Mu.”

JingYuan glanced at him and marched towards where YiHan went.

That one glance raised Li Sun’s hackles. He turned around and glared hard at Tao Qi. He just knew she wasn’t a loyal one. The only thing that could ever make Mr Mu bend down to speak would be anything regarding Little Master Bai. Mr Mu must’ve discovered this slut was sneaking looks at Little Master Bai. This fool! Who in this city wouldn’t know Bai YiHan was Mu JingYuan’s heart? She actually dared to stare at him right under Mr Mu’s nose! Just where did she get the courage from? Look what happened now. Even if Li Sun himself wasn’t tired of her yet, he can’t let her stay.

***

“What’s with Li Sun?” YiHan asked Fang Yi as they walked.

Fang Yi sighed and said in a tired tone, “We’ve reached a dead-end with your case, Mr Bai. Captain Chen wanted to see if the people Feng Qun was in contact with while he was still alive could provide us with some information. Li Sun was once remarkably close to Feng Qun. We’ve summoned him a few times for a questioning but he wouldn’t come. Today, he was only brought in because he hurt someone in a car accident as he was drunk driving. In the end, his family pulled some strings and the case was dropped. I thought I could use this chance to get him to cooperate with us. I didn’t think he’d have such an explosive temper.”

“An explosive temper?” YiHan chuckled. “His temper is like a spring. It can stretch and shrink as needed.”

“Certainly,” Fang Yi laughed. He remembered the drastic changes Li Sun’s expressions went through. “He’s a guy who only know how to bully the weak and grovel to the strong. But I’m afraid he’ll bear a grudge against us. People who can bear to humiliate himself like that are very scary when they start scheming. They’ve got a dark heart.”

JingYuan who’d been silent then spoke up, “A dark heart needs to be accompanied with power. Just like the worst bugs in the world. It can only bite at the poor and powerless. One smack and it’s dead.”

YiHan looked up and looked dotingly (?) at JingYuan. His lips twitching upwards.

JingYuan: …

“You’re so funny, Mr Mu,” Fang Yi chuckled.

JingYuan didn’t reply back. While he said Li Sun was not a threat, he actually took note of the man. He didn’t want another Feng Qun. Also, that Tao Qi…what was that look she gave his HanHan? Pity? Mean-spirited glee? Was it because he was kidnapped? That’s unforgiveable!

YiHan’s kidnapping was still a thorn in JingYuan’s heart. It constantly reminded him there was someone secretly eyeing his HanHan. He wasn’t strong enough yet. He can’t protect HanHan completely. This made him very frustrated, so frustrated that he was extremely sensitive to how other people look at YiHan. He instantly detected the look that seemingly weak girl shot at YiHan. He didn’t know what Tao Qi thought. All he knew was that gaze wasn’t benevolent.

***

When Captain Chen saw them, he asked them a few questions about the details on-scene.

“This case,” Captain Chen said after the questions were done and a brief moment of hesitation. “While it seems like we haven’t found the mastermind behind it all, we’ve already reached a dead-end.” He pointed upwards and continued, “What the higher-ups mean to say is since all our evidence points to Feng Qun and he was captured on site, we should end the case as fast as possible. We can’t drag it on for too long in case the victim or the victim’s family become unsatisfied.”

Translator’s Note:

Flower made of jade: A Jade flower tree. There are two common versions of the jade tree – the kind made with carved jade leaves and flowers with a few wires to hold it together (usually flowers or grapes) and the kind where the trunk is made of wire while its leaves are tiny shards of jade (bonsai tree variety). The original idiom used here, however, usually refers to outstanding descendants/disciples and doesn’t actually refer to a jade tree.

The story goes that one day, an old minister (太傅) asked the younger generation of his family (male), “Why do you need to ask about what goes on at court? Why do you always want to nurture them (your sons) into outstanding young men?” Everyone kept quiet.

But then his nephew, a future general, replied, “Just like the irises, the orchids and the jade plant (the money plant that is either a succulent or a vine with large leafy leaves), one would always want them growing in one’s home!” That surprised the minister and from then on, he began to pay attention to this nephew.

The story above is one of those stories of a famous person when they’re a kid. 谢玄  was the kid.


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GC: Chapter 105

105. Half of Life’s Goals

YiHan turned and straddled JingYuan’s lap, pushing the man down onto the chair YiHan had been occupying before their embrace. He leaned in and laid his chin on JingYuan’s shoulder. As he looked down at his phone to reply to Yan Pei, he said to JingYuan, “It’s Yan Pei. I went to the Yan family manor today. We were there when she stopped by to visit the old Mr Yan. We talked a little. She’s quite interesting.”

“Yan Pei?” JingYuan frowned. “Yan Ping’s only daughter?”

“Yes, that’s her,” YiHan replied, nodding. “She’s a happy-go-lucky girl. She’s like a….a tiny sun!”

JingYuan’s heart dropped. Silently, he tightened his arms around YiHan and kissed the younger man on the ear.

“You’re a tiny sun too,” JingYuan said. “My sun.”

YiHan’s ears were particularly sensitive. They’re so sensitive that a single breeze could make his hair stand on end. JingYuan kissing him there and speaking so close into his ear made him shiver so hard that his instincts nearly made him throw away his phone.

“That tickles,” he whined, a hand rubbing vigorously at the ear JingYuan had spoken into.

JingYuan gave a low chuckle. He lowered his voice into a deep rumble and whispered, “Where?”

Shivers wrecked through YiHan’s body once more. The young man stared dazedly at the lips that had uttered those words. He stared and stared, and for some reason, something popped into his head that made his face gradually develop a rosy blush.

JingYuan slowly leaned in and kissed YiHan. He slowly licked and danced his tongue against YiHan’s lips. Gently, warmly, sensually. His hand snuck under YiHan’s shirt and snaked over the silky-smooth skin. YiHan’s phone dropped to the carpet, its screen flashing brightly but completely ignored. YiHan placed his hands on JingYuan’s chest. His eyelids drooped; long lashes fluttered as a feeble moan left his throat.

JingYuan scooped him up and strode over to the bed. He placed YiHan on the bed and deepened the kiss. If the kiss before on the chair was akin a gentle drizzle, this kiss would be a typhoon. His tongue breached into YiHan’s mouth, exploring every nook and cranny available. All YiHan could feel was the oxygen being sucked away from his lungs. His head grew heavy. Strength fled his limbs. All he could do was slump back on the bed and allowed JingYuan to do as he wished.

When JingYuan finally had enough of mere kissing and began attacking YiHan’s neck, YiHan was left panting hard as his eyes glistened up at the ceiling. Suddenly, a loud moan burst through his lips.

“Don’t like there,” YiHan said, a tremor in his voice. “Aaahn.”

YiHan never knew before he got together with JingYuan that the two red perky beans on a man’s chest could be so sensitive. He thought those were just useless decorations. JingYuan though seemed to have a particular fascination with it. Every time they got intimate, JingYuan would suck and bite at them, rendering YiHan trembling and immobile. He would only “give up” once they’re all red and swollen.

YiHan once tried to “punish” JingYuan with the same method. In the end…his waist was nearly snapped in half by a feral JingYuan.

JingYuan kissed and suckled, then he gave the two perky, swollen beans one last resigned kiss each before pulling YiHan up and buttoning him back up. He gave YiHan a quick peck on the cheek.

“We’ve got to go down for dinner later,” JingYuan hoarsely said. “We can’t go over the line. Let’s continue tonight.”

YiHan, blurry eyed from pleasure: …was this not over the line already?

That night, YiHan realised the “frolicking” session they had late in the afternoon really wasn’t over the line. It couldn’t even be considered an appetiser! He passed out twice that night. Twice! Even during the act, this man would be thrusting into him while murmuring, “Sleep, babe. Don’t worry about me.”

YiHan: …!@#$%^&*

Unfortunately, he didn’t have any strength left to complain.

The next day, JingYuan’s plan to bring YiHan wherever he went failed because YiHan was so deeply asleep that JingYuan couldn’t bear to wake him up. He’ll just go to work alone, but the little bundle on the bed made him so reluctant. In the end, he gave in and decided to skip work for half a day.

Chen Hong: …Boss, if you keep doing this, you’ll lose us!

In the afternoon, JingYuan personally tidied up YiHan and brought the woozy young man to work with him. Basically every employee of Mu Group knew Little Master Bai. After all, even an outsider would know Bai YiHan was Mu JingYuan’s one weakness. Naturally, JingYuan’s own staff would know. Every new employee of Little Master Bai would be taught the two essential rules of the office by their seniors. One, never ever offend Little Master Bai. Two, don’t even think about seducing the boss. These two minefields would leave any trespassers dying in a horrifying way.

YiHan followed JingYuan into the main office of the Mu Group. The employees they bumped into all gave him friendly greetings, which he returned with nods. The two of them got on JingYuan’s private elevator and went straight to the highest floor.

Chen Hong was waiting by the elevator entrance when the doors opened. He greeted them with the ideal elite secretary smile. First, he addressed YiHan, “Hello, Little Master.”

Then, he began rapidly briefing JingYuan on work while following a few steps behind. In spite of his rapid speech, his enunciation was clear, so clear that YiHan thought it a shame Chen Hong wasn’t a broadcaster.

Once they stepped into JingYuan’s office, JingYuan interrupted his secretary with a raised hand. He then gave his first order of the day, “Go get some drinks for YiHan and something to kill time with.”

Chen Hong wasn’t surprised at all by that. He immediately spun around and left. As the door closed behind him, YiHan collapsed onto the sofa. His legs were still wobbly. There wasn’t a single muscle in him that didn’t ache. JingYuan sat down beside him. His toasty hands massaged YiHan’s slim waist.

“Does it still hurt?” JingYuan asked in an upset tone. “It’s all my fault. I didn’t control myself.”

“Nice of you to know that,” YiHan groaned. “I already said I was done, but you kept going and going. My waist felt like it was being snapped.”

That made JingYuan’s blood boil in lust. His hands slowly moved lower and lower.

“I’m so sorry,” he solemnly said. “I’ll be more careful next time.”

YiHan rolled his eyes. As if he’d believe that! JingYuan would need to take that hand away from his behind first, and put the stick pressing against his thigh away!

YiHan really didn’t get it. Why and how did a proper great, tyrannical CEO become a big pervert?

When Chen Hong returned, he came with two more employees. The trio’s hands were piled high with various laptops, tablets, fruit juices of all flavours, snacks of all tastes and colours, magazines and more. They took over the entire coffee table before YiHan and every seat on the sofa he was sitting on.

Rows of black lines descended upon YiHan. He was only here for one afternoon. He wasn’t here for a picnic and he wasn’t going to camp here. What’s with this mountain of items used to pacify kids?

YiHan shot a begging glance at JingYuan. Save him. Unexpectedly, JingYuan looked as calm as ever. It  was clear he was very satisfied with Chen Hong’s actions. JingYuan even praised him with a “not bad”.

“It’s my duty,” Chen Hong replied, smile ever-present.

YiHan twisted his head back to stare at the items around him without saying a word. Forget it. There was no way YiHan could get through to him.

The whole afternoon, JingYuan studiously worked at the desk while YiHan was lounged across the couch to play some games and read some books. Snacks were something rather peculiar. When they’re not within YiHan’s sight, he didn’t care if he never had any. When they’re placed right before him however, it was very hard for him to hold back from eating some. Unwittingly, he’d decimated over half of the huge pile of snacks Chen Hong had gotten for him. Occasionally, JingYuan would raise his head to look at YiHan. His two puffed-up cheeks munching and crunching were so cute that JingYuan couldn’t help but snuck his phone out to take a lot of photos of YiHan snacking while reading. Of course, the camera app’s sound effects were turned off.

JingYuan was really into his photographer role when YiHan suddenly looked up at him. JingYuan swiftly slammed his phone on the table with the screen faced down and sat up straight. He flipped a page of the document on his desk.

“What is it?” JingYuan asked, a nonchalant smile on his face. “Bored?”

YiHan shook his head. “They always say the men seriously working are the most handsome,” he replied with a smile of his own. “They weren’t wrong. You’re so…mesmerising when you’re focusing on work.”

“It’s none of my business if other people are charmed,” the guilty Mr Mu calmly replied. “The only one I want to mesmerise is you. Well? Are you?”

YiHan cleared his throat and did his best to suppress his twitching lips. He failed. “I was,” he replied, eyes squinting as he grinned. “In my eyes, you’re the most handsome man ever.”

A suspicious red blush overtook JingYuan’s chiselled face. His eyes glinted. Just like YiHan, he couldn’t stop his smile.

“That’s good,” he said. “That’s half of my life’s goals done.”

“What’s the other half?” YiHan asked, curious. “Is it to build up a ginormous business empire?”

JingYuan shook his head, mysterious as ever.

YiHan guessed and guessed but all he got were JingYuan’s head shaking with an unchanging smile.

“Stop playing hard to get already,” YiHan said in exasperation. “Just tell me.”

JingYuan blinked. He remained silent.

YiHan was so done at that point. He got up, walked over and bent down to peck JingYuan on the lips. “Tell me,” he coaxed. “I really want to know.”

The man on the chair reached up pressed YiHan down for a deeper kiss. Their noses brushed against each other’s as JingYuan softly said, “The other half consists of loving you, protecting you, grow old with you and do my best to live just a little longer than you so you’ll never feel lonely.”

YiHan was stunned. Tears slowly welled in his eyes. This was probably the best thing one could ever hear from a lover, right?

He didn’t think he’d be as easily moved to tears as those girls in dramas, but the emotions whirling in him were pushing hard to burst out. In the end, he couldn’t bear to stop a tear from blazing down his cheek.

YiHan held on tighter to JingYuan. Tighter. Tighter.

Mu JingYuan, I’m not a strong man. It’s the harsh cruel reality that made me strong. Your love removed the armour I’d put on and transformed me back to my weak self. If you ever take back your love, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forge another armour for myself. I would be shredded to pieces by the hurricane that is life.

***

The next day when YiHan followed JingYuan into the office, he instantly found something off about the place. The couch he’d spent his previous afternoon on has changed. The black luxurious leather couch has been replaced with a softer, more comfortable apple green fabric couch. It even had couch cushions!

While this couch was nice and looked very cosy, it just didn’t fit in with the office’s decor! With it here, the whole office looked weird. Fine. He knew JingYuan did it for him. Look at JingYuan’s gaze. The man’s begging for praise. Ah, it’s so sweet. What should he do?

Two days of being “kept at arm’s length” by JingYuan had the couple as happy as can be. The staff at Mu Group felt like their boss was the same as usual but something felt off. Something somewhere changed somewhat. His room presence was much stronger now. He looked so much happier and at ease now as if the warm winds of Spring were blowing. Of course, the winds only seemed to blow around one person. That would be Little Master Bai who’d always be next to him. The two seemed to be in their own world. No one else could step into it. While there weren’t any public displays of affection, just one step or a wave of their hand would make any onlookers feel like they’d develop cavities. A minor portion of the female staff secretly created a group chat. They were tacitly known as the new “shippers” of their boss with Little Master Bai.


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GC: Chapter 104

104. Would Rather He Wasn’t a Good Kid

When YiHan arrived home from his trip out to the Yan family manor, he immediately went up to his room to change. Soon, Ma knocked on his door and entered.

“HanHan, Aunt Yang prepared some fruit dessert soup. Come down and have some?” Ma asked.

“Okay,” YiHan answered as he turned and followed his mother downstairs. Just as he took a sip, he heard a notification sound off from his phone. He took a glance and saw that it’s a voice message from JingYuan. JingYuan’s profile picture on the app made him chuckle no matter how many times he’d look at it. Ma nonchalantly peaked at YiHan’s screen then she looked at her youngest son’s face. Deep down, she let out a heavy sigh. She didn’t realise it before but ever since Yan and XueQing mentioned the possibility of YiHan being in love with JingYuan, she’d been keeping a close eye on every move and expression YiHan made. As expected, there were just so many signs like the reluctance from this morning’s parting and this grin that he couldn’t even hide properly.

Ma raised a hand and patted her little son on the head. “Slow down,” she gently said. “What’s with the rush? It’s just dessert.”

YiHan was wolfing down the soup so he could get back to his room and listen to JingYuan’s message. At Ma’s comment, he looked up, smiled and scooped more soup into his mouth. Aunt Yang was ecstatic to see the Little Master loving her soup. She happily poured another ladleful of soup into his bowl.

“There’s plenty left,” said Aunt Yang. “If you like it, then have some more.”

Shocked at having more soup to get through now, YiHan choked. He coughed and coughed and frightened Ma and Aunt Yang so much that they hurried over to smack his back and help the soup go down. In their panic, someone’s hand accidentally tapped on the notification on the phone and JingYuan’s voice soothing voice rang through the room.

“HanHan, what are you doing?” JingYuan’s message asked. “Are you home yet? What did you have for lunch?”

Finally, YiHan had stopped choking. He’d also let out a sigh of relief. Thank goodness JingYuan didn’t say anything over the line. Still, the concerned mother tone JingYuan used really didn’t fit the man’s image. The image of JingYuan, all proper in his suit and in the office, saying something so demure househusband made YiHan chuckle once more.

He picked up his phone and spoke into it, “I just got home. I’m having some fruit dessert soup with Ma right now. What are you doing?”

JingYuan soon replied, “I’m working. I’m so envious. Have my portion for me? Once you’re done, remember to exercise a little. Then, you can go sleep.”

“Sleep right after eating? Do you think you’re raising a pig?” YiHan laughed.

The reply YiHan got was a low chuckle from JingYuan’s deep voice. “Of course not,” JingYuan said in the next message. “Who could bear to eat a piggy that looked like you?”

YiHan giggled. He left the room, bopping his head at Ma and Aunt Yang to announce his departure, and walked up the stairs back to his room. During the entire journey, he happily exchanged voice messages with JingYuan.

“Little Master sure is close to Mr Mu. I’ve never seen him ever talk this much with the Young Master,” Aunt Yang commented.

Ma: You’ve struck gold. They’re certainly very “close”. They’re so close they might as well be family.

She watched her giddy little son skip upstairs. If HanHan got better but JingYuan truly fell for him, they could just get together then. How nice would it be? Still, the thought made her feel so guilty.

The possible reaction her youngest son will have when he eventually finds out the perfect future he’d found was just a lie…it made her heart ache.

***

YiHan chatted with JingYuan for a few minutes before setting him free to get back to work. The strange frustration lurking within YiHan was soothed. Ever since he’d started dating JingYuan, they’d been by each other’s side nearly every waking moment. It’s been over half a day since they’d last seen each other. Frustration had been gradually building up in the back of his mind. He knew it wasn’t good for him to do that. Not even the most loving married couple could be together 24/7. For some reason though, the more grounded he felt when around JingYuan, the emptier he was when they’re parted. Sometimes he’d even think the perfect future ahead of them was just a façade, as if it’d all disappear when he woke up.

YiHan scrolled through this phone, replaying the messages JingYuan had just sent him over and over again. His ears were filled with JingYuan’s voice and his heart finally was at ease.

He must control myself, he told himself. He must do his best to adapt to the life he has now. He can’t let his family and JingYuan feel the unease within him. Everything right now was real. He had been reborn. He’d travelled back to the past before he was hurt. He should seize the chance granted by the gods to get stronger so he didn’t have to rely on his family’s protection to survive.

He looked down and stared at JingYuan’s profile picture once more. His lips started twitching upwards. Just then, his phone beeped with a new notification. He swiped out of the chat with JingYuan and looked at the notification. It was a friend request from Yan Pei.

He clicked “accept” and soon he received his first message from Yan Pei. First, it was a polite greeting asking how he was doing. Then, she said that she felt like they were destined to be friends. She hoped to be able to better their relationship and that they’d be best buds or something.

YiHan let out an amused huff. This girl is so straightforward. She’s so cute. Mn. It wasn’t a bad idea to have more friends. His brother did say he was quite bad at picking who to befriend. His friends often end up being drinking buddies who’re only ever bad influences or they’d be leeches leeching off him. It certainly was as Yan said upon reflection. Thus, since he’s been reborn, he’d cut off all ties with those “friends”. This one, however, felt like he’d be a good connection. It should be…good. Right? They didn’t talk much but Pei didn’t feel like a mean person. She was a carefree and honest girl.

Also, it was clear as day that the old Mr Yan loved his granddaughter dearly. There was nothing to be lost from making friends with the Yan family. YiHan’s somewhat dull mind whirred and eventually he received the “safe” signal. Happily, he then replied to Pei with a smiley sticker and a cheery “yeah!”.

On the other side of the chat, Pei squealed at the cute sticker YiHan replied with. Her heart quivered. How, oh, how are you so cute? This was the ultimate cute “bottom”! Oh gods, she was suffocating. As someone diagnosed with the terminal disease known as being a serious fujoshi, encountering an ultra-adorable bottom was the greatest thing to have ever happened to her. Wasn’t it? The first time she laid eyes on him in campus grounds, she knew he was a bottom. She had even written a smut novel featuring him as the main character. It’s over ten thousand characters long and was hidden deep within her hard drive. She didn’t think she’d meet him one more time. Upon closer inspection, he looked even more like a “bottom” than he was before! No, she can’t do it anymore! She. Must. Be. His. Friend!

Hmph! Her older brother, Yan Hui, was such a scrooge. He actually hid his husband and wouldn’t let her meet him. Fine, whatever. She won’t stare then. She had a new target now. Who’d care about him?

 Meanwhile, YiHan has discovered Yan Pei really was a talkative person. She chattered on and on and on. She might even be delirious with joy just having a one-sided with him where he didn’t reply at all. Still she wasn’t the kind of annoying chatterbox commonly found. Her chatter sounded like a hundred gorgeous birds tweeting. There was no risk of an awkward silence with her. She was also very funny. Her words frequently made YiHan burst out laughing. Time slipped by and the afternoon soon drew to an end.

JingYuan swiftly resolved all urgent paperwork. He picked up his suit and strode off, leaving behind the shadowy figure of his back to everyone in the Mu Group. Chen Hong reached out in the famed Erkang gesture, a hand stretched out in an attempt to stop his boss from leaving: Boss, stay a while longer. When you’re not around, I’d be run into the ground!

However, JingYuan can’t read his poor secretary’s mind. His determined strides brought him out of the office. He never looked back.

He returned to the Bai family home to find Ma watching television in the downstairs living room.

“Really, you. Why did you rush back in such a hurry?” Ma said with a smile. “You must have work just piling up.”

“It’s fine,” JingYuan replied with a smile of his own. “When HanHan’s not by my side, I just feel uneasy.”

“Are you all done with work?” Ma asked.

“Not yet,” said JingYuan. “I plan on taking HanHan with me to the office tomorrow. That way, I won’t be missing out on either of them. He might find it boring though.”

“That’s a good plan.” Ma nodded. “You won’t be skipping out on work then. You can’t be out of the office all the time. HanHan can’t go out and play now and he can’t just laze around at home all day long. It’d be good for him to go out with you. If he really gets bored, then go talk to him. He’s a very good kid these days.”

“I’d rather he wasn’t,” JingYuan sighed.

“Yes. HanHan was so much more carefree before. He was like a miniature sun. Wherever he went, he brought warmth and light with him,” Ma sighed as she nodded again. “Let’s not talk about it anymore. He’s upstairs. He hasn’t been down the whole afternoon. I wonder if he fell asleep. Go and check on him.”

JingYuan nodded and walked up to YiHan’s room. He knocked on the door and not long after, the door was opened. YiHan’s smiling face appeared from behind the door. His eyes were shining bright. He didn’t look like he had just woken up from a nap. The smile on YiHan’s face made JingYuan’s lips twitch up unwittingly.

“Were you waiting by the door?” JingYuan asked. “You’re so quick to the door.”

YiHan shifted to let JingYuan in. As he closed the door behind them, he said, “I knew it was you by the way you knocked on the door. Of course I’d be quick to open the door.”

“Oh?” JingYuan curiously asked. “You knew it was me just by how I knocked? How could you tell?”

YiHan cheerfully bustled about pouring a glass of water for JingYuan.

“The way you knock and the way you walk sound so very different to other people’s,” YiHan said in a matter-of-fact tone. “Naturally, I could tell.”

JingYuan felt like he was just shot through the heart with an arrow. It felt pleasantly numb. He had heard someone once said if couples could differentiate their partner’s footsteps from other people’s, that meant the love they held for each other was deeply ingrained into their bones. Everything about their other half would always be unique. His little lover knew him by the way he knocked. Was that proof YiHan truly loved him?

Overwhelmed by his emotions, JingYuan pulled YiHan into an embrace and lightly pecked him on the top of his head. In this very moment, he felt like he was the happiest man on earth.

YiHan blinked, dazed. Reflexively, his arms went around JingYuan’s waist. He didn’t know why his lover suddenly got so emotional. Still, a hug’s a hug. He leaned into the hug and rubbed his cheeks against JingYuan’s chest and took a deep breath, savouring his lover’s scent. It made him feel so much calmer and grounded.

Gentle silences were meant to be broken, however. A WeChat notification soon interrupted the pair of lovers. In the silent room, it sounded extraordinarily loud. It made YiHan flinch. He reached out and tapped into the notification. It’s from Yan Pei:

Last night, there was a power outage at the university. So they had to let us go early. By the time we reached the school gates, the power suddenly came back on. Everyone began sprinting out of the campus. At that moment, I felt like I’d just won a race against light.

A chuckle burst out of YiHan. He raised his phone up to show the message to JingYuan. “Look at this,” he said while laughing. “It’s hilarious.”

JingYuan read through the message but he still didn’t understand what was so funny about it. He pulled YiHan closer. The younger man was still busy laughing.

“Who is it?” JingYuan asked. “Who’d message you jokes?”

Translator’s Notes:

  1. Best buds: Beijing slang (铁磁) which means “bros” or “best bros”. As with the English translation, this term is solely (often) used between male friends. MTL might translate it as “ferromagnetic/magnetic”.
  2. Amused huff/chuckle: The writer likes to write “smile” for a lot of things. It’s mostly a Chinese-language issue though. It’s often only implicitly told whether it’s an actual smile, smirk, chuckle, huff or laugh.
  3. Terminal disease known as being a serious fujoshi: The actual line reads “as someone with terminal fujoshi-ism” with “fujoshi-ism” being a mashed up word of “fujo” from the word fujoshi and the “disease” character commonly used for cancer.
  4. Erkang gesture:


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GC: Chapter 103

103. Expert in Gomoku

“Feng Qun’s dead. The other four men insist the kidnapping was just born out of a grudge between YiHan and Feng Qun. The mastermind behind it all was Feng Qun,” FuRen solemnly said.

“How did Feng Qun die?” asked a frowning Yan Cheng.

“During a time when he was all alone in his room, he shattered his glass of water and used one of the shards to slit his throat. The nurses couldn’t save him in time. The nurse who first found him said there was blood everywhere. Half of the room was stained red,” FuRen replied. When he heard of how Feng Qun died, his body went cold with fear. All his mind could think about was how his youngest son had tried to commit suicide using the same method.

“From the way he cowered that evening, he doesn’t seem like someone who’d kill himself,” the old Mr Yan mused as he stroked his beard. “Have you investigated everyone he’d been in contact with yet?”

“We have,” FuRen said with a nod. “But we found nothing. Now that he’s dead, the others have been keeping their mouths shut tight. They are criminals after all.”

“That’s quite troublesome,” the old Mr Yan said.

The conversation had brought the air in the room down to a heavy stutter. Upon sensing it, YiHan smiled and interjected, “No matter how troublesome a problem is, there’ll always be a way to resolve it. We must believe in Captain Chen.”

“True, true,” the old Mr Yan guffawed. “You’re so young yet you’re so calm and steady. You certainly know how the world works. Yes, you’ve got a good head.”

A bead of sweat trickled down the back of FuRen’s head. He knew his family well. He particularly knew just what kind of person his youngest son was. Calm? Steady? Even as an audience, he could feel his face flushing from embarrassment.

YiHan let out a little chuckle through pursed lips. His dimples flickered in and out of sight. “Pardon me. It’s my first time visiting and I didn’t know what you like, sir. I got you a Go game set. Is it to your liking?”

Yan Cheng went pale. His father loved to play Go. However, the old man was a sore loser and a sore winner. If he won, he’d scold his opponent for being dumb. If he lost, he’d get mad. He also loved takebacks. Every time Cheng played chess with his father, he’d suffer so much that he wished he were dead. If the old Mr Yan took a liking to this new chess set, Cheng would be captured for several rounds now.

Oblivious to his son’s sorrow, the old Mr Yan happily exclaimed, “How could I not like it? I love Go the most. Come, show it to me.”

YiHan rose and placed the Go game set on the coffee table in front of the old Mr Yan. The board was stained with deep glossy amber lacquer. It shone and shimmered under the sunlight. The stones were made of jade. They were delicate and chill to the touch. The bowls were made of the same wood and lacquered with the same amber shade as the board, but their finishing was matte. It made them look even more exquisite.

Truthfully, this Go game set wasn’t worth much but it showed how much thought YiHan had placed in selecting his gift. The Yan family is a rich and powerful force. How could they lack anything? The old Mr Yan was now an old man. All he wanted now was merely sincerity.

The old Mr Yan took a stone and fiddled with it. Then, he joyfully said, “Come, play a round with me.”

Yan Cheng, a face full of deep-seated exhaustion, was about to stand up when the old Mr Yan barked at him, “You stay and talk to FuRen. I don’t like playing with you. You’re bad at it and you’re so rude during the game!”

Yan Cheng: …May I ask you something? Are you sure you’re not talking about yourself?

The old Mr Yan patted YiHan on the shoulder and said, “Let’s go, young YiHan. Let’s go play a round.”

“Grandpa Yan, I don’t know how to play,” he awkwardly replied as he slowly stood up.

“It’s fine,” the old Mr Yan kindly said. “I’ll teach you.”

“Go looks really hard. I’m afraid I can’t really get it in just one round,” YiHan said, scratching his head.

 The old Mr Yan paused and thought about it. “True. It’d take you a while to learn Go now. Well, what games do you know then?” he asked.

“Gomoku?” YiHan tentatively asked.

When he saw the old Mr Yan staring blankly at him in confusion, he explained, “It’s a remarkably simple game. Both players take turns putting down a stone each. The first person to line up five stones in a row, wins. Be it horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

Excited realisation visibly dawned the old Mr Yan’s face. “It sounds quite interesting,” he said, ushering YiHan over to the small table placed beside the window. “Come, come. Let’s try it out.”

As YiHan is younger, the old Mr Yan generously let him play black, the first to go. Unbeknownst to himself, the old Mr Yan was a bad player. However, YiHan was worse. The only people he’d ever beaten in strategic board games like chess were his family members and JingYuan. That’s because they would wreck their brains and do their best to let him win so he’d be happy.

Place two bad players on the same chessboard and, unexpectedly, a fierce tug-of-war would occur. Both old and young eyes focused hard on the board and stones before them. It actually felt like a game between two expert players. There would never be a clear winner. It was a very thrilling scene to watch.

Cheng and FuRen looked at each other and traded exasperated smiles. Yan Cheng could see just how ecstatic his father was by today’s guests. Perhaps they should invite the Bai family child over more often. The young boy sure can cheer his old father up.

Mrs Yan and Ma Bai chatted away amicably in a corner. Yan Cheng and Bai FuRen discussed about their businesses. The old man and young man bent over a Go board, intently competing against each other under the bright morning rays. It was a harmonious sight to behold.

Time flew by and noon was inching closer. If the Bai family stayed any longer, they’d be having lunch with the Yan family. Ma Bai shot a glance at FuRen. It was about time for them to leave, wasn’t it?

FuRen then side-eyed the pair happily playing away at Gomoku as if to say, I want to go too. But look how into the game these two are. If we interrupt them, it’d be rude, right?

Ma raised a brow: What do we do then? We’re here to thank the Yan family. Are we going to mooch a meal off them now?

FuRen glanced back at her with a helpless look: What can I do? I’m also at a loss!

As the Bai couple’s silent conversation came to a standstill, footsteps echoed from the front door.

“I’m back, Grandfather!” a girl’s voice cheerfully called out.

The old Mr Yan and YiHan had just finished another round of Gomoku. YiHan was hanging his head over his defeat while Mr Yan was proudly puffing his chest at his win.

“You’re back, Pei-Pei? Come over to Grandfather!” the old Mr Yan said, laughing.

YiHan turned and saw a young girl walking over to them. She was dressed in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt with her long hair tied up in a high ponytail. With a cheery and cute face, fair and slightly flushed skin, and a pair of wide eyes which glistened and danced so playfully that a prank could be pounce any moment now, she was the prime example of youth.

As Yan Pei walked over to her grandfather, she greeted Ma and Pa Bai. She seemed like a nice and sweet girl but when she looked over at YiHan, he saw…green light gleaming in them?

“YiHan-ge,” Yan Pei greeted with a smile.

Oh, my. That soft, sweet little “ge” spoken by a girl made YiHan’s little heart keel over. It was just so cute. For a moment, YiHan felt a sense of pride and responsibility. He felt like an older brother. He finally understood what his older siblings felt around him now.

However, this beautiful sight wasn’t perfect. Why was there something off about her smile, something that made his hair stand? Was he just mistaken?

The two actually knew each other before this meeting. They studied in the same university. YiHan was in the batch earlier than Pei. So while they knew each other, they rarely talked.

“Ms Yan Pei,” YiHan politely greeted back.

“You don’t need to be such a stranger, YiHan-ge,” Pei giggled. “You can just call me Pei-Pei.”

YiHan had no choice but to greet her again, “Pei-Pei.”

Only then was Yan Pei satisfied.

The old Mr Yan was in a great mood then so he pulled Pei over. “Look, Pei-Pei,” he said, pointing to the finished game on the Go board. “Your YiHan-ge is also an expert in Gomoku. It took me a lot of effort to defeat him!”

Yan Cheng, Kong Wen, Bai FuRen, Hua XiaoRan, Bai YiHan: Figurative black lines streaked down foreheads as awkward silence reigned.

Pei stared down at the messy Go board; a slender finger curled under her chin. “Grandpa,” she said. “You two are too experienced. I don’t understand this at all.”

“It’s fine,” the old Mr Yan said. “Have your YiHan-ge teach you later. Once you know how to play the game, you’ll understand it.”

For all that YiHan’s a rotten player at Gomoku, he knew just how bad he was. What the old Mr Yan said was so awkward and embarrassing that his pale cheeks were stained red.

He looked up at Pei, only to see the green gleam in her eye that she’d yet to blink away in time. He could feel his behind clench hard at it. But by the time he tried to search for it again, Yan Pei was back to her cutesy girl-next-door image. Perhaps he was overthinking it.

“Mr Yan,” FuRen addressed with a smile. “Thanks is not enough for what you’ve done for YiHan. It was all thanks to your help he’s fine. If you have any need, please just call for me. It’s getting late now. We should head back. We’ll come visit you another day.”

“You just arrived and now you want to leave?” the old Mr Yan sighed. “I’m a retired old man. What could I need you for? I’d rather have YiHan play a few rounds with me!”

Ma Bai: …we’ve been here for the whole morning. We didn’t just arrive.

“Mr Yan, it’s YiHan’s honour to have your esteemed regard,” FuRen said with a gentlemanly smile. “If you don’t think he’s too bothersome, I’ll have him come over often to play with you.”

“Fine, have him come over whenever he’s free,” the old Mr Yan said, finally pacified. “I’m old. I just like it when it’s lively.”

“Little YiHan, do you like playing over at my place? My chef knows how to cook a lot of delicious food,” the old Mr Yan asked YiHan, eyes squinting as he grinned. He looked just like the Big Bad Wolf enticing the innocent little rabbit.

Bai YiHan, the tiny bunny, had just started nodding when the old Mr Yan immediately slapped his leg as he glanced at the clock.

“Aah,” the old Mr Yan exclaimed. “It’s nearly time for lunch all of a sudden. FuRen, how about you and your family stay and have lunch first? Cheng, look at you. I’m an old foggy, are you one too? Hurry up. Kong Wen, go tell the kitchens to prepare more food!”

Kong Wen responded in affirmative and left for the kitchens.

FuRen: …

Then, just as FuRen was about to say something, the old Mr Yan hurriedly spoke, “FuRen, sit. And you, XiaoRan, girl, sit down. Let’s talk until lunch is ready.”

Ma Bai opened her mouth to speak when the old Mr Yan sternly interrupted once more, “Come now. It’s the first time young YiHan came over. I can’t have him going home hungry, can I? The kid’s body is still growing. He can’t go hungry.”

Ma Bai: …what you said made so much sense that I’m speechless!

YiHan: …I’m an adult, okay? How am I a kid? I don’t have a growing body!

Pei and Cheng looked at each other, their lips pursed as they did their best to suppress their laughter: Father’s/Grandpa’s shameless ways never fail!

The three helpless members of the Bai family were forced to stay for lunch. YiHan played a few more rounds of Gomoku with the old Mr Yan. The whole time, the old man had a smile on his face. The entire time during lunch, YiHan would feel a gaze boring into him, scanning him up and down. It made him uneasy but whenever he looked up to catch the person doing it, the gaze would disappear. It was as if everything was just his imagination.

After lunch, the Bai family was asked to stay behind for some tea before they were finally allowed to leave. When their car exited the Yan family manor gates, all three of them simultaneously wiped away the non-existent sweat off their brows and let out a long sigh.

“They always say the elderly are like old kids. They’re not wrong,” Ma commented with a smile.

FuRen nodded in agreement.

Translator’s Notes:

  1. Go game set: Previously translated to chess. It’s only elaborated in this chapter that it’s a go game set instead. This is because 棋 (qi) could mean various types of board games – chess, checkers, draughts, Baduk/Go/Weiqi, etc.
  2. Ge: Suffix for brother. Commonly used as a term of respect and/or affection for males older than the person regardless of relation.


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GC: Chapter 102

102. When Did You Become so Naughty?

JingYuan blinked. His face was so close that YiHan could clearly see those long lashes sweep down like two luxurious fans. YiHan’s heart twitched with every stroke of those eyelashes. Then, he heard his boyfriend’s deep voice say, “Would there be secrets between us still? I’d be so terribly upset if so.”

Mesmerised by the beauty before his eyes, YiHan’s mind swooned. “There’s no secret,” YiHan’s dazed voice said. “I just called Jiang-ge to ask him help me investigate all of XueQing’s suitors.”

“What are you investigating them for?” JingYuan curiously asked, pulling back slightly.

It was only then that YiHan snapped back to his senses and realised his lips had let slip what he’d been doing. This Mu JingYuan must be an impostor! He actually used his own beauty to seduce him into speaking! Was this still the President Mu who would only ever have a slight smile on? The one whose smile would never reach his eyes?

YiHan’s eyes whirled and darted around. “I was just thinking,” he spurted. “XueQing and TianYang are together now. Would there be one of those extremist suitors who’d try and splash TianYang with acid or something. I’ve seen it happen on television.”

JingYuan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Dramas are always overexaggerating,” he said. “How could there be so many insane people in real life?”

YiHan: There truly are! I guarantee it! But he won’t be throwing acid around. He’d try and attempt murder by car!

However, YiHan couldn’t say that. All he could do was drily laugh along and say, “It’s just a precaution. It’s always better to be careful.”

At that, JingYuan went quiet. His arms retreated from the back of the chair to wrap around YiHan. His hand gently patted the younger man on the back. “I know,” he comforted. “The kidnapping terrified you. You’re still scared from it. I am too. I keep thinking everything and everyone is an enemy lately. You’re right. It’s best to be careful. You have to promise me though. From now on, if you ever feel scared or upset, you must tell me. Don’t force yourself to act as if you’re fine and nothing’s going on. It’ll only make my heart ache. I’d feel so very useless.”

Warmth blossomed in YiHan. He hugged JingYuan back. “I understand,” he mumbled into JingYuan’s chest. “How could you be useless? You’re the best. You were so very handsome that day when you charged in and stood before me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget about it.”

JingYuan chuckled as the two remained locked in an embrace. YiHan could clearly feel JingYuan’s chest rumble and those powerful thumps vibrating through the older man’s chest. All of those made him feel so safe and secure that he wished they could continue the hug until the end of time, never to part.

JingYuan dotingly continued his light patting. “Alright,” he said. “Go change up. Your parents are going to take you to visit the old Mr Yan later. To thank him. He had a hand in your rescue. Chen Jing and Fang Yi was only assigned to your case after Mr Yan pressured the police force. You were only rescued on time because we had them on the team. The old Mr Yan’s not us. There’s no tie between you and him. He’s helped us so much that we owe him a big favour.”

“I should really go thank him in person then,” YiHan nodded and said. “What present should I prepare?”

“You don’t need to worry about that,” JingYuan replied, a hand reaching up to smooth down YiHan’s hair. “Your parents have already prepared a gift. Actually, on the night you were rescued, your father had called the old Mr Yan to thank him already. Your parents and I also went to thank him in person when you were hospitalised, but the one being rescued was you. You’re fine now. Naturally, you’ll have to visit him yourself. Tie all loose ends up into a happy ending.”

“It’s what I should do,” YiHan said with a serious nod.

JingYuan looked down at the younger man. Eventually, he caved into the urge and hugged him hard once more before turning around to help YiHan look for an outfit. He might be a pervert, he thought to himself. Why else would he find every single one of YiHan’s expressions to be ridiculously adorable? Before they started dating, he could still control himself. Now, he was losing hold of that control.

When YiHan turned and changed into his new outfit, JingYuan’s eyes stayed locked onto the skin exposed. His gazing burning into it until, at last, he gave in and pushed YiHan onto the bed for a passionate make out session. He only let YiHan free when the other man’s nipples were nearly suckled swollen. JingYuan felt like he’d been transformed into a depraved amalgamation of touch deprivation and a rabid kissing monster. The self-control he was so proud of had long since left him, particularly whenever YiHan would look at him with an innocent face. Every cell in his body screamed at him to pounce.

If they didn’t have proper business to attend to later, JingYuan would’ve loved to have his little one right then and there. But reality is cruel. Ma and Pa were still waiting downstairs. He did his best to calm down his breathing. As he inhaled and exhaled in sharp bursts, he helped YiHan smarten up with as best of a poker face as he could muster. From now on, he will stay far away whenever YiHan was changing. There’s nothing worse than being able to see him but not gobble him up!

YiHan blushed bright red. He didn’t know where to put his hands. The “calm” look on JingYuan’s face made him think perhaps he was overreacting. They’re lovers. It’s normal to be affectionate with each other. YiHan, oh YiHan, you can’t be so shy like a little girl. Act like the boyfriend you are!

Whatever. YiHan then nonchalantly pecked JingYuan, who’d finally calmed down, on the corner of his lips, patted JingYuan on the back at the waist, and left the room with his head held high. (He’d wanted to pat JingYuan on the butt but he didn’t really dare do it at the last minute. Mn. He’ll pat JingYuan on the butt next time.)

JingYuan: …HanHan, when did you become so naughty?

While JingYuan told YiHan his parents would be preparing a gift for the old Mr Yan so he didn’t need to worry about it, YiHan still felt that it was better to personally pick a gift out. The old man at the party looked so kind and affectionate. After all, the most important part about the gift was the intent. The old Mr Yan would lack for nothing, especially with his social status. YiHan thought about it and rummaged around his belongings for a Go game set. This was a present he’d planned on giving his grandfather during his birthday. They’re both old men. Most of them have the same hobbies. Perhaps the old Mr Yan would like this. He’ll just get another set for his grandfather later.

At the thought of his grandfather, YiHan’s heart throbbed. He had yet to see his grandfather since his rebirth. The kidnapping was also kept a secret from him. After all, Grandpa loved him the most. They were all afraid they’d scare him too badly and he’d collapse. In YiHan’s past life, Grandpa died because he was so furious at YiHan that he had a stroke. YiHan’s greatest regret was his grandfather. Thus, no matter how much he missed Grandpa, he felt too ashamed to see him. However, Grandpa’s birthday was soon. No matter what YiHan thought, he would have to face him one day.

With heavy heart and mind, YiHan followed Ma and Pa into the car. JingYuan stood by the car window.

“HanHan, when you’re at the Yan family home with your parents, I’ll be heading into the office. They just called me. There’s something I needed to do,” said JingYuan.

YiHan pursed his lips. “Will you…will you be back tonight?” he asked.

JingYuan had planned on coming back the next morning but at the sight of a droopy YiHan, he instantly changed his mind and said, “Of course. I’ll be back as soon as I’m done.”

YiHan perked up and smiled. “If you’re busy…”

JingYuan reached through the window and straightened YiHan’s collar, saying, “It’s nothing important. I’ll be back before dinner, latest. The only one at home is me. If I go back, it’s rather lonely.”

(Chen Hong: Boss, don’t you feel guilty saying that? Nothing important? How long has it been since you came to properly work? There’s a mountain of important documents waiting for you, okay?)

YiHan nodded. “Then don’t go back. Our guest rooms would be free anyway,” he said, sympathy in his eyes.

JingYuan smiled back and waved at YiHan. “Well, see you tonight.”

“See you tonight,” YiHan said. His eyes stayed on the other man’s figure as the car drove off and out of sight.

Ma and Pa looked at each other and sighed at the same time.

At the Yan family manor, Yan Cheng and his wife were waiting for the Bai family at the door. After a brief session of polite niceties, the couple ushered the Bai family into the main living room.

The old Mr Yan’s wife passed away at a young age. She left behind two sons and a daughter. Yan Cheng, the eldest son, married the only daughter of the Kong family, Kong Wen. The couple then gave birth to two sons, Yan Hui and Yan Yan. Yan Cheng’s eldest son, Yan Hui, was an excellent man. He was the top of his generation but he insisted on marrying a man. That both exasperated and enraged the whole Yan family. On the other hand, Yan Cheng’s second son, Yan Yan, was average. The issue was he’s so average that he blended into the crowd.

The old Mr Yan’s second son, Yan Ping, was a government official. He held a rather high post and had wed Zhou Xiao, a university teacher of no particular background. The two only had one daughter, Yan Pei. The girl had a fiery temper that often gave her family migraines.

Old Mr Yan’s only daughter, Yan Miao, married the eldest son of the He family, He Yuan. He Yuan was quite a handsome man but he always gave off the impression of greasy fried food that left a slimy, oily feeling on one’s tongue. The old Mr Yan wasn’t happy about the marriage back then but his beloved daughter loved the man. So, he gave his blessings. Yan Miao then gave birth to a daughter, He YingYing, and a son, He Rong. Because of that, she was well-respected by her in-laws.

Yan Ping and his wife had their own property. They’d rarely be seen at the Yan family manor. They only ever shooed their bored daughter over to spend some time with her grandfather. A son wouldn’t spend much time at their old family home, let alone a married off daughter like Yan Miao. After her wedding, the times she’d be seen in her old home dwindled. She would only ever visit during the major festivities and whenever she needed something from her father.

Yan Cheng was a filial son. Not only did he refuse to move out of the family manor, he did his best to be home on time every evening. He did everything himself for his father. Because Yan Hui married a man, he and his family got into a fight. So they too moved out. Hence, only the old Mr Yan, Yan Cheng and his wife lived in the great Yan family manor. Yan Yan worked at his own company.

After the initial greetings, Kong Wen, Yan Cheng’s wife, pulled Ma aside to chat.

The old Mr Yan then waved YiHan over. He patted the seat beside him and said, “YiHan? Child, come here.”

YiHan walked over, sat down by the old Mr Yan and smiled at him. “How are you, Grandpa Yan?”

The old Mr Yan returned YiHan’s smile with a benevolent one of his own. “Good,” he said. “I’m an old man savouring the last years of my tranquil life. What could be bad about my life? As for you, are you okay? All healed up?”

“They’re just light wounds,” YiHan sweetly replied. “I’m all fine now. I came this time to thank you, Grandpa Yan. I could only return safely because of your help.”

The old man patted him on the hand and said, “It’s good that you’re all fine now. You don’t need to come here just to thank me. I merely made a phone call. First impressions are all humans are about. The first time I laid eyes on you, I knew you were a good kid. Of course I’d help you if you’re in danger.” Then, he turned to FuRen. “What about the kidnappers? How’s the investigation going?”

“Nothing yet,” FuRen glumly replied.

The Old Mr Yan frowned. “How could there be nothing after so long?” he asked.

Translator’s Notes:

  1. Shy like a girl: It’s been a while so here’s another reminder that JingYuan’s acting rather predatory here and caving into pressure like YiHan isn’t healthy for the relationship. In this instance, it’s less “wrong” because it’s YiHan convincing himself and we all know YiHan’s not all okay in the head. However, JingYuan’s behaviour (suckling on nipples without prior warning) can get you smacked in the head with sexual assault accusations if your significant other isn’t into it. Communication is key. If you don’t like it, speak up. If you’re worried you might’ve done something wrong, ask. Mistakes and miscommunications can lead to a Bad End for you and your relationship.
  2. Yan Yan: They’re pronounced the same, just different characters (Yán Yán). It’s a terrible naming choice as we also have a Bai Yan. Never name your characters like this.
  3. Go game set: Previously translated as chess.


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GC: Chapter 101

101. I’m Going up in Smoke!

One by one, days flew past YiHan. The longer he went without a plan, the more panicked he was over the upcoming tragedy. In the end, he just gave up on planning and went with the most ham-fisted method possible: investigate every single one of XueQing’s suitors. Anyone who had ever felt anything for her must go through a thorough background check. With such a big net cast, there’s no way that rotten fish would be missed!

It’s such a pity, aggravatingly so, that TianYang died not long after JingYuan left. Back then, YiHan drifted around all day long in a dazed state. Once he confirmed his sister was safe and the culprit was arrested, he paid no heed to everything that happened after, like the culprit’s identity. He didn’t even bother remembering what that crazy man’s name was. All he remembered was his family procuring evidence of the culprit’s insanity and the man being sent to a mental asylum. Not long after, the man committed suicide.

He didn’t think too much about it but now that he thought back to it, it was strange. How could the culprit have escaped punishment with just a piece of paper stating he was mentally ill after having killed off the Chen family’s heir? With how powerful the Chen family was, it’s improbable. Did the man really commit suicide? He can’t say for sure. However, murderers must pay one way or another. The Chen family had the right and strength to avenge their family member. He can’t judge them for that. Perhaps the man did not fully comprehend what he was doing but there was no way he’d lost all control over himself. He drove off with the aim to kill someone. His death wasn’t wrongful no matter what.

If only he remembered that crazy man’s name. He’d only need to track the guy down, keep an eye on the man and nip the danger in the bud. Now, he had to search for any signs of the man amidst a sea of humans. Thankfully while XueQing had a lot of suitors, they always fit a certain criteria. Soon, he will find that unstable man!

Having settled on a plan, YiHan picked up his phone and dialled in a number. After three rings, a man’s voice warmly answered, “YiHan? You’ve not called me for a long time. Do you need something?”

Nostalgia rose in YiHan. It’s been so long since he’d heard this man’s voice.

“How’ve you been doing, Jiang-ge?” YiHan replied with a smile.

“It’s the same old thing with me. Go to work and earn money for my eventual retirement.” Jiang Hua’s voice was as soothing as the spring showers.

“Stop pulling my leg, Jiang-ge. You’re thinking of retirement now?” YiHan chuckled.

Jiang Hua chuckled too. “You know my secret,” he sighed. “Someone like me is destined to never have a family. I’ll die alone. Of course I must prepare earlier. I wouldn’t want to be a penniless and homeless old man.”

YiHan was reminded of what happened in his last life and heaved a heavy sigh internally.

Jiang Hua was an orphan. He was only able to afford university with financial assistance from the Bai Group. He’s smart. He’d always been the best of his peers. After graduation, he joined the Bai Group. With his capabilities, he could be the executive manager of a department. However, he chose to be Bai Yan’s secretary. He’d been working with Yan for years and was now Yan’s right-hand man in everything. When the Bai family fell into troubled times, he didn’t abandon them. He did everything and pulled all the strings he could to help the company, yet he wasn’t able to save the Bai Group. After the family went bankrupt, he would always think up of ways to help Yan rise again. To raise the money needed, he accepted the invitation of the company that’d been eyeing him up forever. He fervently worked and worked and was known as the most handsome bachelor in the industry who’s the least marriageable due to his frugal nature. He wouldn’t attend parties. He didn’t smoke. He didn’t drink. He wouldn’t go out and play with the other men. He was even stingy when it came to how much he spent on food and drink. Every cent possibly saved would be saved. He was infamous for someone who only cared for money. Human relations were nothing to him. As long as there was money to be earned and it wasn’t illegal, he would do it no matter how tiring it’d be. He even secretly sold off the apartment and car he’d bought after years of savings. When he went to Yan with the money, Yan rejected the money. They got into such a big argument that they nearly fought. YiHan was hiding around the corner then. It was the first time he’d seen the eyes of this gentle and kind man go red in rage. That was the last time YiHan ever saw him.

Jiang Hua said he was destined to die alone because he’s gay. He knew he was gay from the start. He’d had a tough childhood. He loved to have a family and he’d always been serious about relationships. He thought that if he were to date someone, then they must be loyal to each other for life. But then the messy and superficial nature of high society let him down while he fell in love with Bai Yan, a straight man. Jiang Hua’s like a swan. Once he’s decided on someone, it’d be for life. His feelings can’t be changed. All he could do was stay by the other’s side, forever alone.

YiHan didn’t know what happened to the man after YiHan died, but he really hoped the man could live a good life. Jiang Hua had always treated him well and it wasn’t just because he was Yan’s younger brother. It was why after having discovered Jiang Hua’s secret, YiHan said nothing and didn’t treat the man any differently. Same-sex marriage might be legal but it still wasn’t widely accepted. There were way too many people who can’t bear the thought of it.

Jiang Hua’s a gentle and kind man. Calling a man “gentle and kind” always made one think the man was a “sissy”, but Jiang Hua somehow embodied a mysteriously perfect combination of masculinity and gentleness that made him so uniquely mesmerising. If Jiang Hua hadn’t been so insistent, who knew how many would be trailing behind his every move.

Unfortunately, YiHan had been too self-centred in his last life. He was too busy drowning himself in his sorrows that he didn’t listen to a single word of Jiang Hua’s advice. Slowly, the two drifted apart. That really felt like an entire lifetime ago.

Someone who’d sell off the apartment and car he’d work so hard for, take out the savings he’d been preparing for his retirement and give everything he had to Yan just so he could regain his glory…Jiang Hua must’ve been absolutely in love with Yan, right?

It’s a pity Yan was an old-schooled and solemn straight man. All of Jiang Hua’s passion was wasted.

“Don’t be scared,” YiHan said into the phone, laughing. “You can depend on me in the future.”

Jiang Hua paused. “Okay,” he replied with a smile. “My future will depend on you now. Alright. Tell me. What did you call me for?”

“Can’t I call you if I don’t need anything?” YiHan asked, a hand scratching at his cheek in embarrassment.

Hua remained silent. He merely let out a low chuckle. YiHan cleared his throat.

“Well, there is a little something,” YiHan said.

“Tell me,” Hua slowly replied.

“I was hoping you could help me look into my sister’s suitors,” YiHan said. “All of them. Secretly or publicly. I want their names, their history, their details. Everything.”

“What did you want that for?” Hua curiously asked.

“I can’t tell you yet,” YiHan stammered. “Once I find him, I’ll definitely tell you.”

Hua decided not to pursue it any further. “Fine,” he said. “Give me two weeks. I’ll have the information for you by then. Don’t go fooling around with the information. I don’t want to be the accomplice to a crime.”

“Would I ever fool around?” YiHan said with a dry laugh. “I’m the most obedient kid…”

“Okay, okay,” Hua guffawed. How rare it was for him to laugh in such a carefree style. “You’re the nicest kid around. I know. Be patient.”

Even YiHan found what he said to be rather embarrassing. “Okay,” he replied, his finger scraped at his desk. “See you later, Jiang-ge.”

Jiang Hua hung up and walked back to his desk in a great mood. While he can’t have a family, it wasn’t that bad to have such a little brother.

Then, Bai Yan appeared and walked by him.

“Send me the meeting notes,” Yan rumbled.

Smile still on his lips, Jiang Hua replied in affirmative. His slender fingers danced across his keyboard, as lithe as a pianist playing a quick and light melody on the piano.

By now, Yan had walked past Hua. He turned around to look at Hua, mystified.

“You’re happy? What happened?” Yan asked.

This secretary of his was a very smart and capable man. He also had a great temper. He was the best secretary Yan could’ve ever found. While the man always had a warm smile on, Yan knew it was just a facial expression. When necessary, it could turn into the man’s weapon. He knew the other was rarely ever genuinely happy. What could’ve gotten the man in such a good mood? Still, this smile made him glow.

Hua looked up. His almond-shaped eyes gleamed and glistened with laughter as he looked at Yan. His fair and smooth skin shone under the bright white light. Those elegant lips parted, “Nothing much, Mr Bai.”

Yan blanked out for a second. For a moment, he felt as if he was just shocked by electricity. The urge to shiver hard was strong. He cleared his throat and regained his composure.

“That’s good then,” he solemnly said. Then, he turned and strode off.

Hua looked back down to his monitor and clicked “send”. He lifted a hand to his cheeks. Was he happy? He was. After all, someone said they’d financially support him when he grew old and wrinkly. Even if it’s just talk, he was ecstatic at it.

On the other side of the room, the beautiful assistants all clutched at their hearts. My idol, Jiang Hua, please smile once more!

***

When JingYuan pushed through the door, YiHan was still stuck in his memories of the past. Everyone all said that disasters would show one’s true face. They weren’t wrong. When the Bai family was at its strongest, there was no lack of people yearning to offer up their help. When the Bai family fell from grace, how many came to help them in their time of need?

The Chen and Qi families split the Bai family’s assets for themselves. It was good enough that the Yan family just stood back, watched, and didn’t involve themselves. The “best bros” that followed him around and kept going on about how they’d take a knife for him, they all scattered like the wind. The companies that competed with each other to gain Yan’s favour were all too afraid to accept his application. It was only once he’d personally experienced it all did he understand just how rare and precious were those who would never abandon them, like Jiang Hua. YiHan truly planned on supporting him until his death. He didn’t say all that as a joke.

Just as YiHan was sighing over his thoughts, JingYuan hugged him across the shoulders from behind. The older man lightly kissed him on the cheek and the deep voice that was uniquely JingYuan’s rang from beside his ear, “What are you thinking about? What’s made you blank out?”

As the man spoke, JingYuan’s breath gently blew across YiHan’s ear. Combined with the voice so smooth and sensual that it could make anyone pregnant just by listening to it, YiHan’s whole body turned numb. The cheek JingYuan’s breath blew on was swiftly covered in a heavy blush. Logically, YiHan should’ve gotten used to being so intimate with JingYuan. They’d been dating for some time already. But for some reason, every time JingYuan leaned in close and did something so very affectionate, YiHan’s skin couldn’t help heating up. His heart would race. His breathing would turn into heavy pants.

“It’s nothing,” YiHan said, awkwardly pulling away and clearing his throat.

JingYuan walked around to look at YiHan head-on. He reached out and trapped the younger man between his arms and the chair, then slowly leaned in until their noses gently touched. JingYuan gave an inquisitive low nasally hum. That short hum felt like it rang for miles and echoed in YiHan’s ears.

All YiHan could see was JingYuan’s handsome face, enlarged. Every breath he took was filled with JingYuan’s scent. His ears were filled with the hum that made his insides quiver. His heart thumped hard and loud. His body was unable to sustain itself merely on the oxygen provided through his nose. Unknown to him, his lips had parted.

JingYuan let out a soft chuckle. His tip of his tongue reached out and licked at YiHan’s gaping lips. His nose rubbed against YiHan’s.

YiHan: …crap. I’m going up in smoke!

Translator’s Note:

Ge: suffix used for older males, usually as a sign of affection or respect. It’s used for brothers, cousins, friends and even lovers. Because it’s a little weird for YiHan to refer to Jiang Hua by his first name, as the use of the suffix by YiHan is mean to show just how much he likes Jiang Hua as a brother figure instead of as just his brother’s


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GC: Chapter 100

100. The Novel’s Ending

Mild trigger: She might not be the good guy here but it’s still rape.

The kind female lead didn’t argue back. She silently accepted everything. She knew Mu JingYuan didn’t like her at all because when he wasn’t in his right mind, he would be calling out “YiHan” and “HanHan”. People all said he always paid attention to her but she knew she’d never be able to get into his heart. No one else can.

The silence lasted until she found herself pregnant. A tiny life was now involved. She had to go to the man to discuss about the child. However, the only reaction he had was to coldly order her to abort it. She was incredibly sad over it. In the time she’d been working in the Mu Group, she’d fallen deeply in love with this aloof and powerful man. It was why she didn’t try struggling hard that night. It was why she didn’t argue back about how he treated her afterwards. She thought that she’d never be able to get him because of their boss-employee relationship and the difference in family background. It was enough for her to just have a perfect night to recall. The baby’s arrival might’ve been outside of her expectations, but it’s her family. It’s her flesh and blood. She’ll do her best to protect it.

From the start, Bai XueQing, the evil female side character, would often bully the female lead because she was secretly in love with Mu JingYuan yet she’d never be able to have him. Upon finding out the female lead was pregnant with JingYuan’s child, her bullying worsened. She’d constantly create trouble for the female lead, mock her, humiliate her, she would even attempt to murder the child in Tao Qi’s womb. While JingYuan wasn’t willing to accept the female lead and their child, but he still helped her out by publicly humiliating XueQing. However, that only made XueQing worse.

After a series of tormenting experiences, the male lead remained firm as ever while the female lead fell into a spiral of dejection. To save her child, she snuck out of the city and, through a lot of pain and suffering, finally gave birth to a baby boy. She then raised the child that looked so very much like JingYuan herself. During this time, she got to know the male side character, Zhang QingYang. The man fell in love with her kind and stubborn nature. He didn’t mind that she already had a child and fervently courted her.

Zhang QingYang came from a good family. Naturally, his parents didn’t want their son to get married with a woman who already had a child out of wedlock. After trying to talk their son out of the idea, to no avail, they would secretly arrange meetings with the female lead to mock her, talk down on her, throw money at her to get her to leave, etc. Of course, the female lead wasn’t a greedy woman. Naturally, her stubbornness resulted in humiliation for Zhang QingYang’s materialistic parents for their disdain of the poor. She then told Zhang QingYang she was already in love with someone else. In spite of being deeply hurt by the man, she would never fall in love with anyone else. QingYang wasn’t willing to give up however. He persisted in his pursuit and the female lead would refuse him over and over again. But her rejections only made him fall deeper in love with her.

Three years later, Mu JingYuan would find her and force her back to the capital with him. He’d lock her up with him. While she loved him, she had her own pride too. And so started the series of conflicts and imprisonment. Zhang QingYang would rush over and risk himself to save her but his family would never be strong enough to compete against the male lead. After countless attempts and fights, he still failed at saving her. Out of any ideas, he decided to sidestep Mu JingYuan and approach the Bai family. Then, the evil female supporting character, Bai XueQing, would do her best to stop him from meeting the Bai family parents. Nevertheless, those who work hard will get what they’re aiming for in the end. He finally got a meeting with Ma and Pa.

When the Bai family was told about the full story, the rational Bai family parents decided to take XueQing to task and mediated between the two lead characters. Mu JingYuan had always treated the Bai family as his own. After a brief stalemate, he finally decided to let Tao Qi go. Yet after coming in close contact with JingYuan, the kind female lead realised the man’s life wasn’t as grand as everyone thought. He’d never be able to fall asleep at night. Deep in the night, he would be roaming through the empty house like a ghost. At dawn, he’d be smoking out at the balcony. Even if he did fall asleep, he’d be bombarded by nightmares. Pained roars would rip through his throat and he’d wake up drenched in sweat. Then, he’d sit in the living room and blank out until the sun rose. He had a big bone structure and it wasn’t as obvious when he was clothed in work clothes, but he was very thin and lanky. When he changed out of his suits, his shirts would hang loosely off his wide shoulders. He would frequently mutter and mumble to himself as he looked at a pile of items all alone while sadness took over his entire being.

Some people look strong and powerful in public. It’s only once one got close to them would their fragility be seen. At the sight of her beloved living such a tough life, the female lead’s heart softened and she decided to forgive him. She promised to stay by his side.

As for Zhang QingYang, after having gone through so much, he felt that as long as Tao Qi was doing fine, he would respect her wishes. Afraid that he’d bring trouble to the female lead, he then left the nation.

Actually, the story’s ending is an open ending so its readers could imagine whatever they like to happen. However, Tao Qi the reader self-righteously thought that the male lead must’ve fallen in love with the female lead early on. Why else would he search for her after she left? As for the pain and fragility afterwards, it was all just a scheme. A plan to use weakness as bait. As expected, the soft-hearted woman fell for it and promised to stay with him. But who knew what she was thinking then? Only a fool would insist on walking away from a future as Mrs CEO!

As for the current Tao Qi, she’d transmigrated into the start of the worst part of the female lead’s life. She opened her eyes to the night her virginity was taken away by Li Sun. Her whole body was aching and exhausted. She didn’t even have the strength to struggle. She could only lay there and let him thrust into her. When she later received the original Tao Qi’s memories and understood what her exact situation was, she was both ecstatic and furious!

She was ecstatic that her dream of transmigrating into one of her favourite novels was realised. She didn’t even have to fight with the novel’s female lead for opportunities to better her situation because she was the female lead.

She was furious because if the Gods favoured her so much as to let her travel into a CEO-romance novel, why didn’t they put her in at the start of the main plot but at the start of a dark time before the plot?

Deep within Tao Qi, she’s actually rather disdainful of the female lead. She thought the character was stupid and weak. If it were her, she’d have the male lead dancing within her palms quickly. She wouldn’t need to suffer three whole years. But if she didn’t go through the arc, she would never be able to meet the foolish lovestruck male supporting character. What a pity that’d be.

In the novel, Li Sun’s participation was merely stuck to the phrase “two years later”. It was a breezy process. In reality, she’d have to go through it day after day after day. In less than two months, Tao Qi was out of her patience and very much frustrated with the situation. While she was able to use her skills on the bed from before the transmigration to capture Li Sun’s attention, he only thought of her as a tool for his release. She never felt any pleasure from such an unskilled man. Every time Li Sun had his way with her, it felt like torture. Not only that, he would often humiliate her through his words and actions during the deed. Sometimes, it even turned into abuse. It disgusted her so very much. At the thought of the main plotline being far off in the future, her temper became even more annoyed than usual. Must she really bear through it all and wait for the plot to start? As she is now, she wouldn’t even know where YiHan and JingYuan are in their relationship!

She sighed and turned off the shower. As she was stuck in her thoughts, the door behind her suddenly opened. The chilly air-conditioning air blew straight in and hurled itself against her dripping body. Shocked by the shift in temperature, she sneezed.

“You little slut,” Li Sun said with a smarmy smirk. He was the one who just opened the door. “You got up in the middle of the night and made all that noise just to seduce me. Was it not enough? I’m in a good mood today so I’ll satisfy you, you vixen. At least then you wouldn’t go cheating on me just because you couldn’t bear the loneliness!”  

As he mocked and teased her in the most unsavoury way possible, he swiftly tore off the only cloth on his body, threw it on the floor, pulled Tao Qi’s naked body closer and pushed her legs wide open.

Tao Qi was shoved back against the wall. Behind her were cold ceramic tiles. Before her was a crude beast. Anger rose in her. She wanted to scream and shout but she didn’t dare to fight back. Instead she put on a submissive smile and proactively curled a hickey-covered leg around Li Sun’s waist to let him do as he wished.

Li Sun had been having a bad time recently. His family’s company wasn’t doing well at every aspect. Every path was closing off. His old man went around asking for favours. Then, one day, he came back and beat Li sun black and blue. His father said it was all because he was ignorant enough to make an enemy of Mu JingYuan. That was the only reason why the company was being struck off of deals. Their family wasn’t the only one. Everyone else who was at Hong Ming were also affected. Some were beaten up by their parents. Some were under house arrest. No one was spared. In the next few weeks, Li Sun was stuck between his house and the university. His pocket money was significantly reduced. How could Li Sun bear that? The only thing he could do to wile time away was torment his lover.

Having sex upright against the wall wasn’t the most comfortable position. In fact, it was one of the most uncomfortable positions. After one round, Tao Qi was so exhausted that she didn’t have the courage nor the strength to wash herself up again. She dragged herself back to the bed. Just before she fell asleep, she fumed. One day, soon, she’ll be a powerful woman. She will definitely snip off Li Sun’s penis. Only then would the disgust and anger in her be quelled!

***

After YiHan was discharged from the hospital, the entire Bai family, JingYuan and TianYang all had a grand family meeting in the Bai family home. The topic of the meeting was XueQing’s public announcement of her relationship with Chen TianYang.

Ma and Pa were “shocked beyond belief”. They scolded her for how flippant she was about love. JingYuan then confessed that XueQing and TianYang were in love with each other long before he got engaged with XueQing. However, TianYang didn’t dare to confess this whole time. JingYuan merely acted out a charade with XueQing to give TianYang a push. Now that “the loved finally became lovers”, he could back out of the whole act.

XueQing drily chuckled. TianYang “blushed with embarrassment”. Ma, Pa and Yan were rendered “speechless and bemused whether they should laugh or cry”. And so the curtains fell on the show.

Having watched his sister finally “gotten what she desired”, a huge burden was lifted from YiHan’s shoulders. The shadow lurking over his mind since his reincarnation lessened. TianYang and XueQing have started dating. Next year, TianYang would be facing a life-or-death tragedy. Pressure began building up over YiHan once more. He knew he wasn’t smart. But things kept happening one after another and he couldn’t think of any good plan to help TianYang and his sister avoid that tragic ending.


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GC: Chapter 99

99. Two Tao Qis

In an empty sick ward just a wall away from YiHan, JingYuan stood facing the window as he flipped through the document in his hands.

Chen Hong, JingYuan’s secretary, stood a few steps behind the man by the window. “This woman, Tao Qi,” he said, clear voice echoing. “There’s nothing special about her. She’s currently in her second year at university. Her father, Tao JianFei, is a truck driver. His income depends on taking on long routes. Her mother, Tang Jing, is a housewife. She has never held a job. Tao Qi is their eldest daughter. She also has a younger brother. When he was younger and unbeknownst to his family, he skipped school for a little business venture. He earned some money through it so he thought he was a genius businessman. He was no ordinary man. Unfortunately, he’s ambitious but careless and unskilled. The bit of money he earned through luck was quickly used up and under his family’s advice, “brought himself down” to find a job. However, he was rejected at every turn. He refused to admit it’s because he was incapable. He insists it’s because society is too corrupted. It’s why no one was accepting a talented man like him. All day long, he’d sigh about how unfair life was. He wouldn’t study or work. All he does is stay at home, leeching off his parents, waiting for the lucky chance in his life to bring him up to his peak. He’s the kind that can never be made into anything just like slippery mud.

“Tao Qi’s parents are the kind who think only sons are important while girls are useless. They dote on their son and ignore Tao Qi the whole time. It was rather hard for her to even get into university. She had incredibly good grades. Her high school arranged a guaranteed spot for her in university but her parents didn’t want her to go as a way to lessen the financial burden on themselves. They only let her go after she cried and cried and told them she’d work hard to earn all the money needed for university.

“Two months ago, Tao JianFei caused a crash from exhaustion. Someone nearly died then. Thus, the family’s finances had been on a downhill. They can’t afford the expensive surgery fees. In order to pay for the father’s medical fees, Tao Qi decided to be the son of Li ZiFa, Li Sun’s lover. Tao JianFei has now been discharged from the hospital but he can’t drive a truck ever again and he can’t do hard labour. With the family’s breadwinner down, she had to continue staying by Li Sun’s side so the family won’t go bankrupt. But recently, she’s been sending less and less money home. Her brother even came to ask about it a few times but she’d always wave him off. Her classmates and friends all say she’d changed dramatically recently. She’d gotten a lot tougher with her family. Before, she would never lay a single finger on her younger brother. The general consensus is she’d changed due to the immense pressure of having so many things happen to her family at once. They’re all very sympathetic to her. Mn. Everyone seems to like her. She’s got good social skills. While she’d gotten much more temperamental and impulsive lately no one has yet to express dissatisfaction with her.”

He paused, then continued, “Li Sun had once bragged that when Tao Qi was a virgin when they first got together. She’s very pure and naive out of the bed but in it, she’s an exceptional beast.”

“You don’t need to say that,” JingYuan said with a frown.

Chen Hong smiled. He said nothing but, in his heart, he was pumping his fist and holding up a victory sign. Boss, that flash of satisfaction in your eyes betrayed you. Don’t think I don’t know just how much you’re bothered by the question of whether or not the Little Master had sex with her before. The role of President Mu’s secretary was one everyone yearned for, but I could stay as calm as the eye of the storm. It’s not only because I’m extremely talented but because I’m very good at observing micro-expressions.

The hand holding onto the document shifted to behind JingYuan’s back. His gaze staring out through the window into the distance. “Changed dramatically?” he whispered. “Interesting. Chen Hong, have the men keep a close eye on her. If she does anything out of the ordinary, notify me at once.”

Chen Hong, top-class secretary, smiled and replied, “Yes, Mr Mu.”

****

After a round of one-sided orgasmic fun, Li Sun sprawled out on the bed and snored away. Tao Qi sat up stared down at her aching body to see blood-stained bite marks all over her fair, plump breasts. She felt like puking on the inside. She just couldn’t bear sleeping without washing so she slowly walked over to the bathroom.

Warm water flowed down and over the body tainted with marks of sex. It didn’t make her feel any better though. She scrubbed hard at the places Li Sun had touched, hate strong in her eyes.

Why? Why did she had to transmigrate in at this time? Why didn’t she transmigrate to the time just as the main plot was about to start?

She herself was named Tao Qi before. She was also a university student but unlike the Tao Qi here, she was at the end of her fourth year and was working hard for her future career. She was born into an ordinary salaryman family. Her parents loved her and gave her the best they could. Only she wasn’t happy. Because no matter how much they made sure she’d want for nothing, they can’t give her the luxurious life she wanted. Every time she saw her rich classmates wearing a skirt that cost as much as her yearly allowance, watches she might never be able to afford her whole life, she would despise how unfair life was. She was no worse than any of them. Why were their lives as different as heaven and earth? Was it all just because she was born into an ordinary household?

She can’t accept that. She wanted to fight with fate about it but reality is cruel. She’s not exceptional at all. In the crowd, she’d be as average as the most average grain of sand in the desert. Reeling in sugar daddies was a skill too. She would throw away her dignity to serve a fat rich guy, but they’d always look down on her. They’d just use her and throw her away.

Beaten down by life, she drowned herself in novels. It wasn’t just for leisure. It was so she could imagine herself as the protagonist. She’d fantasise about being unconditionally doted on by presidents, tyrannical masters, emperors, talented men, geniuses and so on. Only images of her being loved by cool and rich men would make her happy.

She dreamed of being able to transmigrate into the worlds of those novels, overthrow the female lead and have the male lead to herself. From then on, she’d have all the love she’d want and live out a life where gold was as common as dirt. She’d frequently look down at contempt as the female leads’ stupidity. She always thought that if it were her, the process wouldn’t be so long and painful. She’d quickly have the male lead be hers.

The last book she’d read was this world’s novel, “Sweet, Pregnant Body Double Wife Runs Away”.

The male lead of the novel, Mu JingYuan, had been secretly in love with his childhood friend Bai YiHan since he was a kid. However, Bai YiHan was a troublemaker. He’d just eat and play. He was skilled at nothing. There was one time where he nearly took drugs. Slowly, JingYuan grew disappointed at him. When he realised YiHan even toyed with his emotions as if it were all a game, he left the nation in dejection. His company gradually shifted their focus overseas. He thought that YiHan would be a carefree rich kid his whole life under the Bai family’s protection. The two could then live their own lives and forget about each other. Who knew that two years later, he’d receive a call from the Bai family parents and be told YiHan was dead.

In less than a year from JingYuan’s departure, the Bai family went bankrupt. YiHan was killed. His last wish was to be able to see him once more. He rushed back only to be met with the tortured corpse of his most beloved. He went all in with the investigation. He soon found the mastermind behind it all and began his rabid revenge spree.

These were all the set-up for the main plot. The prologue. Scenes merely written and done in a few sentences. With the lead’s help, the Bai family soon rose again but JingYuan fell into a spiral of numbness after the revenge was over. He turned into a mindless and tormented man. Just then, the female lead appeared and the main plot would formally start.

The female lead was one of those “white lotus flowers”, a saint through and through. Her parents were very misogynistic. They spoiled their useless son rotten while thoroughly ignoring their excellent daughter. She was only able to get into university because she worked hard and earned the money for it herself. The moment she started university, she fell in love with Bai YiHan, the third son of the Bai family. Back then, he wasn’t as much of a troublemaker as he was later. He was merely a little arrogant. During university, he hid his own identity so she didn’t even know he was the third son of the great Bai family. After some hesitation, she decided to be brave and confess her love to him. She even became his girlfriend. At first, it was just an innocent schoolyard romance. The furthest they’d gone was holding hands. However, that man was just a playboy. In less than three months, he broke up with her. She was sad but didn’t say anything. Most first loves end up in tragedy after all.

Life was fickle and unpredictable. In her second year, her father got involved in a car accident. To save her father, she had to sell herself and be the lover of the rich kid who kept lusting after her, Li Sun. From then she started over two years of humiliation.

After graduating from university, she was able to join the Mu Group due her exceptional results. Li Sun slowly grew tired of her and she was finally able to free herself from the beast. With her own talents, she slowly carved out a place for herself in the office and became one of their many full-time employees. However, her family was always bothering her, always demanding money from her. Most of her income went to her family and that rubbish younger brother of hers. Yet she was very happy as every cent she earned was gotten through her own hard work, not through selling her own body. She was satisfied.

Over two years would pass and that would be when Mu JingYuan finished his revenge. President Mu, aching and numb from his loss, would see her by coincidence. Naturally, he’d be reminded of her past relationship with YiHan. Speaking of which, Bai YiHan might be a playboy and reckless kid but in his short life, the only proper relationship he’d ever had was with Tao Qi. JingYuan had always envied her for it. She was the only one in this world who knew YiHan well outside of his family and JingYuan. The sight of her would make him recall that sweet smile of YiHan. Because of that, he’d unwittingly be drawn to her and pay attention to her. After some time, rumours began to spread in the office. For some unknown reason, he never stepped up and clarified anything so everyone began to believe in those rumours. While the two looked like they’d never interacted, Mr Mu thought differently about Tao Qi.

Mu JingYuan was a handsome man with an unordinary net worth. There were many women in the office who lusted over him. Of course, that made them very jealous of the female lead who could make Mu JingYuan look at her “differently”. She began to be the social outcast and target for bullying. They were all hoping to push her out of the company. Contrary to their expectations, the bull-headed woman took it as a chance to show off just how great she was. With the help of the friends she’d attracted through her own innate qualities, she was still able to solidify her place in the office.

The first climax of the story would be the annual company party. The old but well-loved trope would appear. A nameless “slutty vixen” hoping to get in with the top would drug Mu JingYuan with a strong aphrodisiac in an attempt to get in bed with him. The man would then be mesmerised by the female lead. A series of miscommunication and mistakes would ensue, leading to the “slutty vixen” ending up with nothing for all her efforts while the female lead was forced to receive the fruits of her labour. By accident, the two main characters would go a round under the sheets. JingYuan’s reputation as a cold, emotionless and harsh man was not just mere hearsay. Even though investigation showed the person who drugged him wasn’t Tao Qi, all he left her with was still a cheque and the dejecting sight of his back.

Translator’s Note:

Slippery mud: A little nod to the actual phrase used here, “the rotten (slippery) mud will never stick to the wall”.


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