GC: Chapter 165

165. We’ve Got to Get Them on Our Side

YiHan furiously grabbed an orange from the table before the couch. “That’s right. I don’t believe the Yan family can be swayed solely by Yan Miao’s words! Does she think she can bully others in such an outrageous manner just because she has power? My great Nan Shan has powerful backers too! Let’s think and make it so they have to suffer without complaints!”

JingYuan took the orange from YiHan and began peeling it. “Don’t worry. We will teach them a lesson.”

YiHan accepted the slice of orange offered and munched on it. Suddenly, he wondered, “Say, do you think we shouldn’t be so harsh against Yan Miao? After all, she has been cheated too.”

Handing over another slice, JingYuan smiled and answered, “She has been lied to but, from your description, her method of dealing with the issue is too extreme. It also feels like she’s rather tyrannical without any concern for what’s right and what’s wrong. She pushed all the blame onto Nan Shan. She made him bear the consequences of her husband’s mistake. You could see her ruin Nan Shan’s reputation, step by step, motion by motion. She was even the one to give the last push and force Nan Shan to jump to his death. Even if there was a great grudge between the two, it should all end once he’s dead. However, she insisted on ruining even a memorial service. It’s obvious just how toxic she is as a person.”

YiHan pondered on JingYuan’s words as he chomped on a new slice of orange and gulped it down. “You’re right,” he angrily said. “She’s not a good person either. I didn’t see her doing anything to He Yuan. After Nan Shan’s death, they went back to being lovey-dovey without a hitch. Nan Shan’s death couldn’t have been any more unjust than it already was!”

“Now that we are interfering in the matter,” said JingYuan. “As long as make our stances clear, they wouldn’t dare to push Nan Shan to his death, no matter how. Still, we can’t avoid his reputation being marred. A lover’s betrayal, a ruined reputation; these will all deal a serious blow to Nan Shan. What we need to do is to minimise the damage. If we can get Yan Pei and Yan Yan over to our side, they’d be a great help.”

“Yes,” said YiHan, “there’s Pei-Pei. But she didn’t do anything in the last – ahem – in the dream. Will she help us?”

“In your dream, Yan Pei and Yan Yan were merely his fans,” JingYuan chuckled. “On one hand, it’s their favourite author. On the other, it’s their aunt. They might be distant and they might not know the full truth, but they must not have thought Nan Shan would die. It’s understandable for them not to act. However, if we show them the truth of everything and explain clearly the situation along with the worst-case scenario, they might not stand to sit it out. Yan Yan has always been a neutral party. He’s also a quiet man of little words. I don’t know if he’ll act. Even if he doesn’t, he can at least be a neutral party and help no one. Yan Pei has a heroic air to her. Upon knowing of such an incident, and with us helping Nan Shan, she should be eager to help.”

“Now that you’ve analysed the situation, I feel more confident,” said YiHan with a fist pump. “I’ll pull Pei-Pei in first before I ask about Yan Yan.”

YiHan did as he said. He immediately stuffed the rest of his orange into JingYuan’s mouth and picked up his phone to call Yan Pei.

A mouth stuffed full of orange, JingYuan looked on in speechless mirth as YiHan spoke into the phone.

“YiHan?” Pei happily greeted. “Do you need something from me?”

“Pei-Pei, the last time we met,” said YiHan, “you told me you were a fan of Nan Shan’s books too. Right?”

“Yes!” said Pei. “I’m a diehard fan!”

Taking a deep inhale, YiHan asked, “I have news of Nan Shan himself. Do you want to know?”

“Really?” she excitedly cried out. “YiHan, you’re the best! Do you have a photo of him? Send it to me! Send it!”

“I do,” said YiHan, “and there are a few more issues. I can’t really explain it well over the phone. Why don’t you come and meet me? I’ll tell you then.”

“Okay,” replied Pei. “I don’t have class today anyway. I’ll be right there!”

“Ah, don’t hang up! Do you know where to meet me?” asked YiHan.

“Is there a need to ask?” Pei frankly shot back. “You and Mr Mu always act like it’s a shame you can’t glue yourselves together. You must be in Mr Mu’s office right now. I’ll call you once I arrive at the office.”

“There’s no need,” YiHan said. His face blushed red. “There’s a charming little cafe beside the office. I’ll wait for you there.”

“Alright!” Pei cheered. “It’s better that I don’t have to face that brooding man. I’ll be there soon! Nan Shan, I’m coming!”

Before YiHan hung up, he vaguely heard Pei shout “brother” but he didn’t pay attention to it. He then turned to JingYuan.

“I’ve asked Pei-Pei to meet me,” YiHan said.

“It’s certainly better to speak in person regarding this matter,” said JingYuan. “I’ll go with you.”

“It’s fine,” YiHan said with a wave of his hand. “I can just meet her by myself. Pei-Pei is a little scared of you. If you’re there, she might not speak as freely.”

“Why is she afraid of me?” JingYuan asked in exasperation.

YiHan laughed. He pinched JingYuan on the cheeks and said, “Well, you always look so stern. You always have a frown on. She’s just a little girl. Of course, she’ll be scared. I’m off.”

“She won’t be here so soon,” said JingYuan. “Why the hurry?”

“I need to think about what to say to her,” replied YiHan. “Do I tell her everything?”

“Don’t say anything about the dream,” said JingYuan. “Just tell her you accidentally found out.”

“Okay,” YiHan said, nodding. “I understand.”

***

The cafe was quiet when YiHan entered. There weren’t many customers around at this time of day. He sat down at the private room he’d booked and soon, Yan Pei arrived. It was easy to see just how eager she was.

YiHan raised his hand in a wave. Her eyes lit up as she pattered over to the table.

“Where is Nan Shan’s photo? Hand it over!” she exclaimed. She hadn’t even taken her seat yet.

YiHan let out a soft chuckle and dug out his phone. After finding the selfie he’d spent half a day begging Nan Shan for, he handed the phone over. Nan Shan was someone who never took selfies. He only agreed to do so after YiHan’s persistent “bugging”.

The first selfie anyone ever takes will never be good. In the photo, Nan Shan’s expression looked stiff and awkward. His eyes didn’t stand out. Still, Pei was overwhelmed by his good looks. She snatched the phone out of YiHan’s hands.

“So Nan Shan’s a young man,” Pei said, her eyes in the shape of hearts. “He’s so handsome. I thought he’d be a scruffy, unkempt middle-aged man.”

“He’s not a middle-aged man,” YiHan harrumphed, snatching his phone back, “but he fell for the trap of one.”

Pei hadn’t had her fill yet. She lunged forward to grab the phone as it left her grip.

“YiHan, if you’re a true friend,” she said as she struggled against YiHan’s grip on the phone, “you’ll send that photo to me!”

“No way!” YiHan coldly stated as he stood up and held the phone high above his head.

Pei was very much shorter than YiHan. She hopped and she jumped but she just couldn’t reach the phone. Her cheeks puffed up in fury.

“Bai YiHan!” she barked. “To think I thought of you as my very best buddy. How could you fool around so heartlessly? You’re cold-hearted and cruel. You’re heartless!”

Upon seeing YiHan remaining unaffected, Pei decided to try a softer approach. “YiHan-ge,” she tearily whimpered, “how could you bear to be so cruel to me?”

A chuckle burst out of YiHan as he once more handed his phone to her. “Pei-Pei, I’m not trying to be mean or petty but there needs to be some caution regarding certain issues. You can look at the photo here but I really can’t send it to you. This is to protect Nan Shan.”

Pei immediately began staring at the photo of her idol the moment she had her hands on the phone again. Swooning over the man in the picture was her first priority. Upon registering YiHan’s words, she hurriedly raised her right hand.

“I swear,” she said, “I will never ever let slip any information on Nan Shan or photos of him!”

“Of course, I believe you won’t do that but…” YiHan heaved another loud sigh.

“What is it?” Pei asked with a solemn face. “Is it that serious? Is Nan Shan in trouble? Just now, you said he’d fallen into the trap of a middle-aged man. What did you mean?”

YiHan gazed back with an equally solemn face. “Pei-Pei, I want you to promise me that, no matter what decision you make after hearing Nan Shan’s story, you will not tell anyone else what you’ve heard today. Starting from the moment you set a foot out of this room.”

“I promise,” replied Pei.

YiHan let out a sigh. “I’ve seen Nan Shan himself in person. I obtained this photo through a lot of begging and pleading. This is his first-ever selfie. Frankly, it’s not a great photo. He looks so much worse in it and it doesn’t show the full extent of the way he carries himself.”

“You know Nan Shan?” Pei gasped in shock. “You got this photo by asking. Are you two close? Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

“We haven’t actually known each other for long. It’s just because he doesn’t have any friends and I sincerely think of him as one. That’s why he’s so unguarded with me. He also doesn’t know that I know he is Nan Shan.”

“How could the great Nan Shan not have any friends?” Pei was even more surprised.

“Don’t rush,” said YiHan. “Hear me out. On the day of Zhang-ge’s bookshop reopening, it was still quite early when I left. Since Mu­­-,” he cleared his throat, “JingYuan wouldn’t be back yet, I asked the driver to take me around. We drove near the gate of a gated area. It looked so peaceful that I left the car and sat on the bench for a few minutes. I was still holding onto “The Blue Night” then. Coincidentally, that was where Nan Shan lives. He spotted me, book in hand, as he was returning from a grocery run. Perhaps he had nothing urgent on that day. He sat down beside me and we talked for a while. He said he’d read Nan Shan’s books before. I suggested we exchange contact information since we were both fans of the same author. He agreed. Later that day, I added him to the QQ fan group. Then…I think JingYuan likely saw that I was having such a good time chatting with him and felt a little uneasy. He privately investigated the man and found out he was Nan Shan.”

“Really? How fantastical,” Pei said. Her mouth was gaping wide open. “This is fate. Still, if Mr Mu is jealous, just say he’s jealous. No need to cover it up for him.”

YiHan drily cleared his throat and silently apologised to JingYuan, I’m sorry, Mu-Mu. I made you take the blame for it.

“Not only did his investigation revealed Nan Shan’s identity,” YiHan said, face slightly flushed, “it also revealed something that nearly made me go crazy with anger.”

“About Nan Shan?” Pei asked, brows furrowed. “A creepy middle-aged man?”

“That’s right,” said YiHan. “According to JingYuan’s findings, Nan Shan was raised in a single-parent household. He only knew his mother, who passed away when he was fifteen. Since then, he’d been living alone. He likes quiet places and he doesn’t like leaving his home. He didn’t have any friends and had a low EQ. His personality was very reactive and less pro-active. He rarely interacted with other people. As for his looks… Well, you’ve seen it.

“His needs are quite basic. He’s not interested in anything but writing novels. Hence, he turned into the target of a married bisexual man. That man lied and said he was single. He wooed Nan Shan and keeps brainwashing Nan Shan with the wrong idea of love. That man fooled Nan Shan into being his ‘mistress’. Nan Shan grew up rather lacking in the emotional department. He was easily taken in. He thought that was how all lovers acted, that they’d go on with their usual, separate lives. Lovers would only meet once in a while and they’d rarely stay the night at the other’s place. Until now, all Nan Shan knows of the man is his name and phone number. Even the name is fake. As for the phone number, heh, it’s most likely only ever given out to Nan Shan. Either way, Nan Shan rarely ever calls the man.

“When I bumped into Nan Shan, he was a very melancholic man. JingYuan said someone who was deeply in love shouldn’t be so melancholic. Nan Shan must’ve observed something was off with his lover too. But he was just like a man floating in the middle of the ocean, unwilling to let go of the only driftwood he could find. He had been suppressing his uneasiness all this time. JingYuan’s investigations also found the other man’s identity. Not only was he married, but he also had two kids. He was money and power but his wife was even more powerful with a higher social ranking. If she ever knows of Nan Shan, he would be on the receiving end of her rabid revenge. It wouldn’t matter if he was the victim in this situation. This ending is definitely something Nan Shan cannot accept. As for that man? Ha. He will give up Nan Shan without hesitation. He would make Nan Shan pay the price for the mistake he made.”

Translator’s Notes:

The Blue Night: The author likely made a typo as the Chinese text here states “The Blue Mountain” instead of the book’s previously stated title.

This will be the only chapter for today. Double-chapter updates will resume in another week or two.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 164

164. So It’s Him!

YiHan thought about the hints JingYuan had given him. Frown present on his brows, he asked, “It’s He Yuan?”

“That’s right. You’re so clever,” JingYuan praised.

“You’ve already led me straight to the answer,” YiHan huffed. “Can I not guess it? His wife is Yan Pei’s elder. The only relatives who can suppress Yan Pei would be someone within the immediate family. Combined with that age, it could only be her aunt, Yan Miao!”

“It’s actually him?” YiHan was so angry that he stomped his feet. “If not for these photos, I would never have believed it! He’d always been the model husband. He’s extraordinarily nice to Yan Pei’s aunt. He’s the kind that would never settle for the moon if his wife asked for the stars. They even have two kids now and the eldest is ten. So he’s gay! He even fooled Nan Shan into being his secret lover! No wonder the man is wrapped up in so many layers. If Yan Miao knew of this, she could chop his head off! How can be he so shameless? He might as well aim to be a god!

“It’s no wonder those two could protect themselves so well in the scandal! A whirlwind wrecked through the city but they were utterly unharmed! They still went on in being the ideal couple. Even when Yan Miao barged into Nan Shan’s home with a group of men, not a single hint of her identity could be found. The Yan family must’ve covered up everything! Yan Miao is the old Mr Yan’s youngest daughter, born during his older years. She’s the apple of the Yan family’s eye! No wonder Pei-Pei didn’t make a move. That is her aunt. How could she do anything? She must have been so pissed off when she heard Nan Shan committed suicide!”

“I just knew you’d be furious,” JingYuan said, gently patting the other man on the back. “Calm down a little, HanHan. This matter involves the Yan family. We must think up a proper plan on how to proceed. He Yuan should be bisexual. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have sired a daughter and a son. He must prefer men a little more. His marriage to Yan Miao, and courting her until she’s fawning over him, was all for a very obvious purpose. He wanted to borrow the Yan family’s might. As we can see, he has succeeded. Not only did he successfully become the head of the He family, but he has also raised his family status to the point where the He family could be the most powerful family in the city, if the five great families didn’t exist.”

“Why must he still go on lying to Nan Shan?” YiHan angrily asked. “Isn’t he afraid of everything crashing down on him?”

“HanHan,” JingYuan said, a hand running through the other’s hair, “you must understand. When a person has power and status, they will want to chase after the emotional comforts in life. He Yuan and Yan Miao have different financial and social statuses. Between both of them, He Yuan has always been the weaker party. He had to curry her favour. If the marriage was not born out of love, then as time goes by, it’ll feel very oppressive. Additionally, he’s a bisexual whose preferences leaned more towards men. When he saw the ethereal Nan Shan, well, it’s easy to tell what happened.”

“Nan Shan also detests leaving his home,” YiHan spat through gritted teeth. “He’s not emotionally savvy and very gullible. There was no target better than he.”

JingYuan nodded and said, “I can tell. He’s very cautious when he went to Nan Shan. He even deliberately put on an extremely average outfit. Nan Shan shouldn’t know who he is. The name he gave to Nan Shan must also be fake.”

“But he is famous, one way or another,” YiHan said. “The finance magazines would often publish his photo. Would Nan Shan still not recognise the man?”

“HanHan, let’s put aside the question of whether a person like Nan Shan would look at those types of magazines first. Even if he does look through them, He Yuan is not a dead object. He has a silver tongue. If he could wrap Yan Miao, a proud little miss, around his little finger, how could he not do the same with a man who’s innocent to the ways of the world like Nan Shan? Anyway, a person will look different in photos. With just a simple change to his outfit and hairstyle, he’s now unrecognisable to you, someone who has seen him in person multiple times. How could Nan Shan recognise the man with just a few photos in a magazine? Even if he did notice the similarity, he’ll just think the two men share the same name and look alike.”

YiHan glanced down at the photo again. “Indeed. Now that he’s changed his hairstyle, he gives a very different impression compared to how he usually is. With just these photos, I really still can’t see He Yuan in them.”

“Someone who mingles with businessmen will almost always be wearing a facade,” said JingYuan. “Perhaps it’s only before Nan Shan that the man can truly be himself.”

“Perhaps it’s why Nan Shan didn’t realise the other man’s emotions were faked,” replied YiHan. “How else could a veteran writer of detective stories be unable to tell the other was hiding something, even after being together for so long? It must be due to He Yuan being true to his own personality when he’s with Nan Shan.”

“You also cannot ignore the power of love,” said JingYuan. “When a person is in love with another, he’d subconsciously deny the truth that he’s unwilling to accept. Even if there were holes in He Yuan’s story, Nan Shan would make excuses up for the man. An act upheld for years will absolutely have a lot of weaknesses. Nan Shan writes extraordinary detective novels. That means he has an observant and detailed mind. However, his emotions have clouded his eyes. Because of how much he craves to be loved, he’d always been repressing his insecurity. Still, deep in his heart, he must’ve noticed it. Perhaps it didn’t occur to him that his lover is married with a family, but he would realise their relationship was off. There must be a lot of matters his lover is secretive about. Why else would someone deeply in love be so obviously melancholic? Furthermore, when you spoke of your hypothesis, his first reaction wasn’t anger. It was silence. His last message seemed more like he was comforting himself than rebuking the notion. After all, why would someone lost in the ocean be willing to let go of the only piece of plank floating in his vicinity?”

“That’s no plank,” YiHan spat out in anger. That’s a snake. Sooner or later, he’ll drag Nan Shan down to the bottom of the ocean! You’re right. It’s no wonder Nan Shan asked me how lovers usually interact with each other. He must’ve noticed something was wrong.”

JingYuan patted YiHan on the back to help him calm down. “But from your conversation, Nan Shan shouldn’t be an illogical man,” JingYuan said with a smile. “He’s also very much against being a homewrecker. That’s why I said to give him some time. Once he thinks things through, when he can’t lie to himself anymore, he will make the correct choice.”

“Will he leave He Yuan? Won’t He Yuan take revenge on him?” asked YiHan.

“We’ll know of the results once he acts,” answered JingYuan.

YiHan solemnly looked back at him, waiting for a continuation.

Unable to help himself, JingYuan kissed YiHan on the lips before continuing, “You spoke of your suspicions the day before yesterday. Nan Shan has been silent since then. That means he’s still thinking about it. Now that He Yuan has appeared, maybe Nan Shan will try confirming a few details with the man. Perhaps He Yuan will get into a fight with Nan Shan because he felt guilty. If He Yuan leaves Nan Shan’s home in a bad mood, that shows us Nan Shan is suspicious of him now.”

“Won’t Nan Shan be hurt or be taken advantage of?” YiHan worriedly asked. “Will He Yuan do something to him?”

“Not yet,” said JingYuan. “Based on how often He Yuan visits Nan Shan, that man must be mesmerised. He wouldn’t let go so easily. If he can make Nan Shan stay, he won’t do anything. Also, he has us, right? My men will keep watch. If anything happens, they can react in time. There’ll be a team dedicated to keeping track of He Yuan’s movements. Nan Shan won’t be hurt.”

YiHan leaned back against the couch and closed his eyes. Concentrating hard, he thought back to anything and everything that he knew in his past life about Nan Shan’s incident. Back then, all information he had came from the newspapers and news channels. The most prominent of those memories were two photos. One was the censored photo of the man’s bloody corpse. The other was of the trashed memorial ceremony Nan Shan’s diehard fans had organised.

The photo of Nan Shan was thrown on the ground, dirtied by black, dirty footprints and partially covered by a random assortment of items. The glass frame was cracked. White chrysanthemum flowers were scattered all over the floor, squashed and stomped on by countless feet. And then there were the faces of the fans. Some were crying. Some were terrified. Some were visibly brooding and fuming. Some were wracked with agony.

Wait!

YiHan’s eyes snapped open as he suddenly sat straight up.

JingYuan was frightened. He hurriedly stroked YiHan on the hair and asked, “What is it? Did you fall asleep?”

YiHan turned to JingYuan. His eyes looked straight into the other’s eyes as he said in a deep voice, “I just remembered something.”

“What is it?” asked JingYuan.

“In my dream,” YiHan said, a serious look on his face, “after Nan Shan’s suicide, his diehard fans once organised a small memorial service for him. I don’t know how but Yan Miao found out about it. She arranged for some men to charge in and trash everything up. This incident was on the news. In the photo the news report showed, there was a familiar face. I didn’t pay attention to it back then but now that I think of that photo, I suddenly remember who he is.”

“Who is it?”

“Yan Yan.”

JingYuan was surprised. “Him? How is he involved in this situation?”

“He was standing right in the middle of Nan Shan’s fans,” said YiHan. “His eyes were looking at the photo on the ground. He had a gloomy face on. From where he was standing, he should be a fan of Nan Shan’s books.”

“Then, can we take it as he’s also a fan of Nan Shan,” asked JingYuan, “but just like Yan Pei, he was unable to help Nan Shan due to Yan Miao’s involvement? After Nan Shan’s death, he felt guilty so he attended Nan Shan’s memorial service. He didn’t think his aunt would send some men over to ruin the ceremony. It made him feel so guilty and helpless. That’s why he had a gloomy face on.”

“I think so too,” YiHan said with a clap of his hands. “I’m thinking I should implicitly ask Pei-Pei if Yan Yan is a fan of Nan Shan’s books.”

“You want him to be an ally?” asked JingYuan.

“Everyone who attended that service was a diehard fan of Nan Shan,” YiHan replied. “The rest of the fans aren’t as fervent. They were either misled by the media or too cowardly to admit they were a fan of Nan Shan. Since Yan Yan publicly appeared in the memorial service, that meant he’s a diehard fan too. He is the Second Young Master of the Yan family. Without his approval, no media would dare to publish a clear photo of him. That photo might represent Yan Yan’s silent objection.”

JingYuan paused and thought about it. “You’re right. Since this issue involves Yan Miao, it has certainly become much more complicated. Nan Shan is a public figure. If we want to protect him, we’d best discreetly get rid of He Yuan and stop him from ever bothering Nan Shan again. We must also keep the entire incident a secret and avoid affecting Nan Shan’s reputation in any way. After all, we know Nan Shan had no choice but other people do not. They might not understand his situation. We can’t explain to everyone how hard the man’s life was. The best way to do so is to avoid letting this matter reach the public’s eyes. If a Yan family member can help protect Nan Shan, that’d be great.”

Translator’s Note: Due to a family emergency, this chapter will be all for today. Apologies for the late notice. Remember, falls in the toilets are terrible. Always keep an eye out for those prone to dizziness.

Additional T/N: Due to an exhausting 1.5 weeks of being the only and primary caregiver of my mom, there won’t be any updates this coming week. Updates will resume the week after.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 163

163. That Man

JingYuan glanced down at YiHan’s phone once more. “Well, you’ve said it already. Let it be,” JingYuan said, holding back a laugh as he did. “It’s not a bad idea to cut things off as soon as possible. Tell him means we can’t leave him any further delusions. It’s better to just rip off the band-aid. However, you two aren’t close enough yet. You can’t give him the emotional support he’ll need.”

YiHan’s eyes lit up. “If he can get into a true relationship right after, that’d be amazing. That is proper emotional support.”

“Of course, that’d be the best-case scenario,” JingYuan said with a shrug. “Unfortunately, that depends on luck. We can’t forcefully push him into a match.”

The lightbulb in YiHan’s eyes dimmed. “What do we do then?” he mumbled.

“Don’t worry,” said JingYuan. “What you just said must’ve felt like a tornado hitting him. Give him some time to think about it.”

Just then, YiHan’s phone chimed. It was a QQ notification sound. YiHan hurriedly clicked into it. As expected, it was Nan Shan.

[YouRan: Why do you say that?]

YiHan’s eyes pleaded JingYuan for help. “What do I do? What do I say?”

“Just go with what you think,” JingYuan said. Then, after a brief pause, he added, “Once you’ve spoken, do not leave a single shred of doubt.”

YiHan bit down at his lip. His fingers began clacking away as he composed his message.

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: If there’s nothing special going on in his life and he’ll usually be in his home, attending to his own business, and only ever visit every few days, plus if he rarely ever stays overnight, that means he should have his own family.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan:

think about it. If he’s married, he’ll have a wife and perhaps even kids. Of course, he’ll have to head home every day to be with his wife and kids. He can only visit his mistress when he’s free. He can’t even stay the night because frequently spending nights out of his home will arouse his wife’s suspicions.]

[YouRan: I’m not a mistress!]

That message was instantly deleted two seconds after it was sent.

YiHan: …

JingYuan saw the message too. “Looks like it’s even more unthinkable for him to want to be a mistress than we thought.”

After a while, Nan Shan sent another message.

[YouRan: You saw that?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: I trust you’re not.]

[YouRan: What?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: While we’ve only met once and we haven’t really talked much, I believe that you will never be a homewrecker.]

[YouRan: Thank you.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: He lied to you, didn’t he? He told you he was single? What do you know of his family or personal history?]

It was a very long time before YiHan received a reply.

[YouRan: I don’t know. I only know his name and phone number. He said his family’s not important. He wasn’t willing to talk about it so I didn’t ask any more questions. But I believe he didn’t lie to me.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: There aren’t a lot of things that is hard to talk about. If he loves you, his family is something you must both face one day. You’ll know sooner or later. Why can’t you ask? Has he ever mentioned marriage to you? How long have you two been together?]

The pause this time was longer than the last.

[YouRan: Nearly five years.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: It’s been nearly five years and you’ve never talked about marriage?]

YiHan waited and waited. His phone remained silent.

Staring down at the phone screen, which had gone dark long ago, YiHan frowned and said, “He’s not replying. Is he angry?”

“Don’t panic. Give him some time to consider it. If that person has been lying to him the whole time and he had been fooled, a single poke by you would certainly lead him to think of more holes in that man’s behaviour. His pause means he’s starting to feel uneasy. He only has a low EQ and rarely interacts with the outside world. He’s not dumb.”

“They say when lovers quarrel, you should always tell them to make up and not tell them to split,” YiHan sighed, throwing himself on the couch. “Yeh, I’ve only ever been doing all I can to get them to split up.”

“Because they’re not lovers,” said JingYuan, “and they’ll never be lovers.”

“Yes,” said YiHan. “Nan Shan is so unlucky to have met such a scumbag. His mother had it worse too. She also met a scumbag. Wait, no. At least when she was with Chu FangMing, the man was still single. She was only cheated on. Nan Shan, on the other hand, was cheated on by that scumbag and forced to be a ‘mistress’. Ugh. I don’t know which of the two is considered unluckier, but they’ve had all the bad luck in the world.”

“There are plenty of such situations happening all over the world,” said JingYuan. “We just don’t know of them.”

“True,” said YiHan. “There are too many men in the world who wish to enjoy being surrounded by multiple lovers. It’s not just the men either. There are women who are like that.”

“I think that Nan Shan and his mother aren’t particularly unlucky. There are plenty of people in the world who’d encountered similar scumbags. However, they have families and friends by their sides. They have plenty of people who love them. Perhaps they lack romance but they aren’t lacking in love. Thus, most people can easily differentiate between what’s true and what’s fake. Even if they were careless, they’ll merely experience an unpleasant relationship. But Nan Shan and his mother are different. Nan Shan’s mother lost both of her parents at a young age. Because of her inheritance, she was exposed to the ugly truths behind her relatives’ smiles. She had been all by herself for years. She was only a young girl. It’s already a hard task for her to persevere that long. She craved love and a family more than the average person. She might even yearn more for them than Jiang Hua. He was abandoned as a baby. He had never once felt the warmth of a family. She’s different.

“She had once enjoyed the comfort of a family before losing it all. It’s like throwing someone who’d grown used to living in the south straight into the northern pole. She would recklessly flutter straight to a fire that could warm her up. This fire was Chu FangMing who was attracted by her beauty. Unfortunately, Chu FangMing wasn’t a good man. For his family inheritance, his marriage must be useful to his future. Xu JinXuan was clearly unable to do that. Hence, their relationship was destined to be doomed. When Chu FangMing broke up with her and swiftly got married, if she could be slightly more open-minded, her looks and good qualities would definitely allow her to find someone who loved her even more. She might possess the happiness she longed for then. But the second major loss in her life had shattered her world. She no longer believed in love yet she desperately needed a family. That was why she insisted on giving birth to Nan Shan. She ignored the possible consequences and her own health. She let herself die an early death. Because of how he grew up, Nan Shan repeated his mother’s tragic story. It gave that man a chance to take advantage of.

“They were unlucky. They couldn’t meet the right person at the right time. When they were stuck deep in the mud, no one gave them a hand and pulled them out. They sank deeper and deeper into the mud until Xu JinXuan died at a young age while Nan Shan committed suicide by jumping off a building.”

YiHan let out a deep sigh. “Yes. These two just had to exceptionally gorgeous. They were more likely to attract trash. If only they could appear a little more average, they might even achieve a peaceful life. What a pity. When a beautiful person who craves love meets trash, that’s a terrifying tragedy. However, there’s simply more trash than ever these days!”

“Alright, don’t be upset,” JingYuan said, walking over to sit down by YiHan’s side. “There are plenty of people like that. We can’t take care of all of them.”

“Indeed, I can’t get rid of most of the trash in the world,” YiHan furiously said, “but this one has barged right into my palms. I will never forgive him! Furthermore, the one he’s lying to is my idol! How utterly disgusting for him to cheat on a poor young man like Nan Shan!”

“Don’t worry,” JingYuan softly said, stroking YiHan’s hair back. “As the spouse of a fan, I will help your idol out. Having someone like you working hard to save him must be the luckiest thing to have ever happened to him in his entire cursed life.”

“No,” YiHan said, body leaning over to sprawl over JingYuan’s. “I’m not saving him. It’s his talent that saved him. Without his talent, he couldn’t have written such amazing books. I wouldn’t have known his existence then.”

JingYuan’s hands continued running through YiHan’s hair and replied, “Mn. Whatever you say is right.”

***

As per JingYuan’s expectations, that man was very enthralled with Nan Shan. By the third day, the men keeping thorough surveillance of Nan Shan’s home had found signs of the man. They immediately snapped a few photos of him and passed them onto their bosses.

There were many photographs of the man. There were some of his side profile, some of his back and even a picture of him turning back and looking straight at the camera. There were photos of him from all angles. That man had a cap and a mask on. His clothes were so average that one would never be able to pick him out from a crowd. If his destination wasn’t obviously Nan Shan’s home, it would be hard for anyone to have paid attention to him.

YiHan looked through the photos over and over again for a long time before angrily throwing them away. “What is this? Does he think he’s acting in one of the Infernal Affairs movies? He’s covered so much of himself up that I can’t even see his face. Looks like we’ll have to hire some professionals to find him.”

“There’s no need,” JingYuan darkly said after a long moment of silence. “I know him.”

“You do?” YiHan was surprised. “Who is it? Why don’t I know him?”

“If he changes his outfit and takes off his cap and mask, you’d recognise him too,” said JingYuan. “But you’re not familiar with him.”

“Oh, stop stalling and just tell me,” YiHan anxiously said. “Just who is it? You’re driving me to panic.”

JingYuan held up the only photo they had of the man’s face from the front. In the image, the man was wrapped up in layers of clothing. Only his eyes could be seen out of his entire face. Still, it was enough to give them some information. The man wasn’t particularly young nor was he old. He looked like he was in his mid or late thirties. He took great care of his skin. His figure was rather tall and muscular. While he had a mask on, it was clear that he had a sharp jawline. The tiny patch of skin around his eyes was as fair as can be.

“Speak,” YiHan urged. “Just who is this man? Are you close to him?”

JingYuan held YiHan by the hand and slowly said, “We’re not close but I’ve seen him plenty of times. You know how good my memory is. There aren’t many in our social circle whom I can’t recognise. No matter how tightly wrapped up he is, just a pair of eyes is enough if it’s someone I know.”

“Well, who is he then?” YiHan asked. “Is it really bad for you to name him?”

“Not that,” JingYuan solemnly said. “I had just never thought it could be him. He is actually connected to Yan Pei. No wonder Yan Pei didn’t save Nan Shan in your dream.”

YiHan’s heart froze. “This man is that powerful? He even outranks Pei-Pei by that much?”

“It’s not because he’s powerful or strong,” JingYuan said. “It’s his wife. She is one of Yan Pei’s older family members. You were right. This man’s wife is more powerful than he is. Everything makes sense now.”

Translator’s Note:

Get into a true relationship right after: This is called a rebound. In reality, approach all rebound relationships with caution. They rarely go right as the person who had a break-up is still carrying unresolved emotional baggage with them. It is not anyone’s responsibility to fix another person. Relationships are not there to make anyone a better person or to heal them up.

If only they could appear a little more average: Victim-blaming here, but it’s super common to hear musings like this, e.g. “If only she didn’t wear those clothes” or “if only he didn’t walk home that late”.

Infernal Affairs:  A series of crime-action films.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 162

162. Particularly Clingy

JingYuan pulled YiHan’s hand into his palm. With a doting hum in response to YiHan’s exclamation, JingYuan pulled YiHan out of the elevator. The two then entered JingYuan’s office.

Before YiHan’s special couch was a table filled with snacks, digital devices to entertain himself with like a tablet and a laptop, and books. JingYuan only sat down at his desk when YiHan awkwardly settled himself into his spot.

Chen Hong, who’d followed them in, immediately began reporting on the work of the day. “One more thing,” he said at the end of his list, “about your order, nothing unusual happened last night. That man didn’t appear at all.”

“Hm,” said JingYuan, “this isn’t something we can’t rush through. We can only wait. You may leave.”

After a swift response of confirmation, Chen Hong turned and left.

YiHan leisurely stretched out across the couch on his side. Flipping through a book from the pile before him, YiHan said, “Say, when do you think that scumbag will appear?”

“No need to worry,” JingYuan replied. “As long as he doesn’t realise anything unusual happening, he’ll soon appear. From the results of our previous investigations, he’ll visit Nan Shan at least twice a week. While he rarely ever stayed over, he visits the other quite frequently.”

YiHan placed the book back on the table. “From the looks of it,” YiHan pondered with a tilt of his head, “he’s quite enthralled by Nan Shan.”

JingYuan let out a little chuckle. “That’s why this person should be homosexual. Even if he’s bisexual, he much prefers men. He should also have quite a lot of power. That’s why he could keep him and his wife so well-protected. As for Nan Shan…” He paused. “In times of need, naturally, he can only be sacrificed.”

“Perhaps it’s his wife who has a higher social rank?” YiHan said, a cold smirk on his lips. “In terms of who’s more useful, Nan Shan could never compare to her. To men like him, there’s always a limit to how much they love another person. They only love themselves, just like Chu FangMing.”

“You’re right,” JingYuan replied. “If Nan Shan is truly, deeply, irrevocably in love with him, things will be troublesome. Once Nan Shan knows the truth, he’ll be severely hurt.”

YiHan angrily dug out his phone and said, “Men like that are too despicable. Not only did they use lies to lure another into marriage, they even hurt other people and cheat others out of therr love. This scumbag really is the embarrassment of all men.”

“There are actually quite a lot of these men,” said JingYuan. “Perhaps they couldn’t bear being looked at weirdly, perhaps for other reasons, many homosexuals would choose to get married to a woman instead.”

“Yes, I know,” said YiHan. “Some do it for their families, for their relatives. Some do it for reasons out of their control. They have no choice but to marry a woman. However, no matter what the reason is, once you’re married, you have a responsibility to the other person! Look at this man! He’s married but he still lies to Nan Shan to lure him into a relationship. Not only is he two-timing and cheating both the wife and Nan Shan of their affections, he even abandons Nan Shan when an issue pops up. He would even let his wife humiliate and push Nan Shan around while he hides behind her as if this whole matter had nothing to do with him. There’s no man viler than he.”

“You are absolutely right,” JingYuan said in a pacifying tone. “That’s why we must now drag him out so he can’t hide any longer. We’ll save Nan Shan from his suffering. Even if he ends up alone forever, it’d be much better than sacrificing himself for trash.”

“You’re right, Mu-Mu,” said YiHan. “As his fan, I must do my best to protect my idol! As the family member of a fan, it’s natural that you cannot stand by! If need be, I can contact Pei-Pei. She’s also a fan of Nan Shan. Wait. Say, why do you think Pei-Pei didn’t do anything for Nan Shan in the dream? She’s a fan. I was powerless then but she’s the young miss of the Yan family! If she steps in, Nan Shan would never have died in such a horrible manner! Did she not know because she wasn’t in the city then? Oh, poor Nan Shan.”

JingYuan thought about the question posed before saying, “We know nothing on that point but you’d best avoid telling Yan Pei anything about this for now.”

YiHan looked down in thought. Suddenly, he mumbled, “You suspect Yan Pei is connected to that trash somehow?”

“I’m not sure,” said JingYuan. “Don’t think too much about it. We’re not telling her because we want to be on our guards against what-ifs. We can settle this matter by ourselves. We don’t need to pull other people in, right?”

“Yes, you’re not wrong,” YiHan replied, nodding. “But Pei-Pei must not have known. She has a heroic and just heart in her. If she knew, she’d definitely make a move to save Nan Shan.” Having said so, he tapped into his chat with Nan Shan on QQ and his fingers flew across the screen as he typed.

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: What are you doing? I’m bored. Chat with me.”]

Soon, the other replied.

[YouRan: Nothing much. Chat about what?]

“Nan Shan is so interesting,” YiHan burst out into a muffled chuckled. “He doesn’t know how to chat at all. He only knows how to kill a conversation.”

“Do not praise other men before me!” JingYuan boomed with a dark look on his face.

“I’m not praising him,” YiHan said, surprised.

“You said he was interesting,” JingYuan replied.

“Can you be any more irrational?” YiHan sighed in exasperation. “That’s praise? Anyway, there are plenty of interesting men in this world but I am only interested in you.”

JingYuan gave a loud “humph” and went silent, flipping swiftly through the document before him.

Using his ultra-strong eyesight, YiHan saw the other man’s ears turning red. Deep in his heart, YiHan guffawed. Hah! He could get jealous over nothing and anything yet his skin was thin. JingYuan was way too naive to be beating him in this! Aah, why did JingYuan look so cute when he’s both proud and shy?

Hiding a smile behind pursed lips, YiHan looked back down on his phone.

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Say, why do you think Nan Shan hasn’t published a new novel yet? He’s not posting any works online either. I want to catch up on his new writing but there’s nothing for me to read. I can only wait in agony. I’ve re-read “The Blue Mountain” multiple times now.]

[YouRan: Writing a new book isn’t a fast process. Perhaps he’s busy with something else. He can’t use every moment of his day to write then.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: True. Perhaps he’s married or he’s in love, and he needs to give more time to his lover?]

[YouRan: That’s…possible. I don’t know either.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Hm, I can understand if that’s the case. Just like me and my future husband, we’re almost always by each other’s side. If he’s at work, I have to go with him too. He’s particularly clingy.]

[YouRan: Your…future husband? Aren’t you a man?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Yup. Can’t men have husbands? We’re going to be married soon. Do you hate gay people?]

[YouRan: No, no. That’s not what I meant. Congratulations.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Thanks. I was so afraid you couldn’t accept it. We get along so well. I truly cherish you as a friend. I was afraid of scaring you off.]

[YouRan: How could you? I’m the same.]

[YouRan: I meant, I too cherish you as a friend. I have very few friends.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: That’s great! Money is easy to come by but true friends are not! (shake hands)]

[YouRan: (shake hands)]

[YouRan: Can I ask you something?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Shoot.]

[YouRan: You and your lover… How do you usually interact with each other? Are you always together? Doesn’t he go home or go off to do something else?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: We live together. We’re lovers, of course, we have to be together. He said that wherever I am, that is his home. His family aren’t around anymore. I’ve moved out of my home to live with him. When I head back to my home, he’ll stay with my family too. Anyway, he doesn’t want to spend a single day apart from me. I also can’t bear to let him stay in a lonely home. As for other matters…he has to work too. But he’ll bring me with him. When he can’t bring me with him, we have our phones. A call, a short message; we’d do anything and everything to feel like we’re still together.]

[YouRan: I see. Is that…what it’s like to be dating another person?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: How do I put this? It depends on the situation. Many couples don’t spend the whole day together. My man is just too clingy. However, the usual couples would meet every day too. Perhaps they’d split off to work during the day but they’ll be together in the evenings, unless it’s a long-distance relationship or due to unforeseen, special circumstances. Still, such relationships usually don’t last long so most people try to stay together as much as possible.]

[YouRan: Wouldn’t he… Could he usually be found in his own home or off attending to other matters, only visiting you once every few days?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: How can it be? Either way, we definitely couldn’t do that. If not for situations beyond our control, he would never be apart from me for a single day. Frankly, even if he was okay with it, I wouldn’t be.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: By the way, just a little secret advice. If you have friends whose lovers do what you say, you’d best warn them to be careful. Who knows? That person might be married already.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: YouRan? You there?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Did something come up?]

YiHan’s head snapped up as he cried out, “Mu-Mu, I might’ve caused a disaster.”

“What is it?” JingYuan gently asked, raising his head from his work.

“I was chatting with Nan Shan just now,” YiHan sighed. “We somehow started talking about how people are like when they’re in love or dating. I was too anxious and might’ve said something wrong. He won’t reply.”

“What did you say?” JingYuan asked.

YiHan pushed aside the snacks around him to stand up and show JingYuan his chatlog.

After a few moments of reading, JingYuan didn’t know whether to cry or to laugh. “Just what kind of man have you made me out to be? Do you think I’m especially clingy?”

“It was only so I can make him see what true love looks right,” YiHan hurriedly replied. “I didn’t want him to internalise that scumbag’s words and think their type of love is the norm.”

JingYuan looked back down at the phone and said, “From what he’d written, it certainly seems like it. He doesn’t have much experience in love. Naturally, whatever that man says will be correct to him. He actually doesn’t know what love should look like. That man misguided him on how love should be and fooled Nan Shan into being his lover.”

“This man is just disgusting!” YiHan angrily said. “But what’s important now is Nan Shan is ignoring me. What do I do?”

“You did move on too quickly,” JingYuan sighed. “What we’ve planned is still just based on a hypothesis of ours. It’s still too early for us to voice our opinion.”

“But it’s no guess that the man is married,” YiHan said. “Also, from Nan Shan’s words, our hypothesis is at least 80 or 90 per cent correct!”

“It certainly seems so,” JingYuan said with a nod. “Don’t panic. Give him some time. Slowly guide him to realising it himself. Don’t be too direct.”

YiHan’s face fell. “But I’ve already said it right to his face.”


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 161

161. You Have to Understand

YiHan and JingYuan scoured over the chat logs with Xu YouRan. After a thorough analysis, they’ve concluded that the man was interested in nothing but writing stories. He wasn’t materialistic nor did he want a grand quality of life. He also had quite a low emotional quotient. His personality was very reactive. He didn’t seem like the kind of person who’d throw caution to the wind, do anything and everything for love. The more YiHan got to know him, the more certain YiHan was that something fishy was going on with those crimes Xu YouRan was accused of.

Chen Hong was very efficient. By the third night, he arrived at their doorstep with Nan Shan’s file.

Nan Shan was the bastard son of Chu FangMing of the Chu family. While the Chu family can’t compete with the five great families in the city, they were considered one of the bigger clans. Chu FangMing was the second son of the family. As he married the daughter of the Qi family’s branch family, the Qi family helped him overthrow his older brother. In one swift move, Chu FangMing became the master of the house. Nan Shan’s mother was an orphan. Her name was Xu JinXuan. Her parents both passed away in a plane crash during a business trip. They left her with a house and a huge sum of insurance money. She was a talented student and majored in the arts. There was a sweet, elegant sort of beauty to her. She was a bright and intelligent woman, the kind that shone bright with every move. When Chu FangMing was a young man, he fell in love with her at first sight. He courted her with a passionate fervour. In the end, he won her over. He had his happy ending. Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last long. She, who craved for warmth, thought she was in a relationship aiming for marriage. However, Chu FangMing merely wanted a period of romance. This relationship would end with Chu FangMing marrying the Qi family’s daughter.

When the two broke up, Xu JinXuan drowned in despair. Then, she found out she was pregnant. She had planned on aborting this unwanted child but she desperately needed family then. She finally chose to give birth to the baby and that son was Nan Shan.

After the baby was born, Xu JinXuan named him Xu YouRan after a phrase from a classic poem, “leisurely meeting the Southern Mountain”. Because she was afraid Chu FangMing would find out about the boy, she decided not to publicise her newborn baby. The confinement lady she hired had a dubious character. JinXuan caught her secretly pinching YouRan hard, so she fired her. She didn’t bother hiring another confinement lady afterwards. In her confinement month, JinXuan had to take care of a baby all by herself. Combined with her depression, she fell ill. She didn’t care. Hence, when YouRan was still a little child, she was already in a terrible state of health. When he was fifteen years old, Xu JinXuan passed away.

Frankly, the woman was too naive. She thought she hid her child well but Chu FangMing knew of Xu YouRan’s existence early into the pregnancy. He just pretended not to as he was afraid of starting unwanted trouble. He was even prepared to turn the tables around and put the blame on her should she attempt to approach him with the child in tow. To his surprise, Xu JinXuan never once tried to seek him out, not even on her death bed. This made him frequently think of the beautiful and sensible young woman.

Xu YouRan inherited most of his looks from his mother. He was attractive but melancholy always hung around him. He didn’t like to talk much and he didn’t have any friends. He lived alone in the apartment his mother left to him. He began writing novels under the penname “Nan Shan” when he was still in university. After graduation, he began to work full-time on his novels. He rarely left his home. Xu YouRan’s life story was simple. One glance and everything could be understood. The only complicated issue in his life was his mysterious boyfriend. That man would frequently seek out YouRan but no one knew who that man was. All the investigators could find was they’ve been dating for a very long time. Their relationship started in YouRan’s university days.

“This mysterious man,” YiHan said, putting down the file, “is likely that married man.”

JingYuan leaned back against the back of the sofa as he peeled an orange. “The only thing we don’t know is if Nan Shan knows the other man is married.”

“How can he not?” YiHan asked. “Do you suspect he’s being lied to?”

JingYuan separated the oranges into little slices and carefully picked away the white pith. “It’s very likely,” he said as he handed YiHan a slice. “Look at how he lives his life. He’s an aloof man of little words. He’s always been alone. People like him are more likely to crave the warmth and love of another. Just like his mother. Someone just needs to appear and be slightly better to him than other people, spout a few lines of love, and he’ll easily fall into the trap. His personality is less proactive and more reactive. He never leaves his place unless it’s to buy what’s needed for him to survive. When the two meet, it’s always the other man who approaches him. If that man said he was single, do you think Nan Shan would believe him or not?”

YiHan finished his slice of orange and accepted another. He nodded and said, “You’re absolutely right. With how Nan Shan grew up, he would never have dated the other man if he knew that man was married. Now that I think of it, in the future, he’ll find out the boyfriend he thought he was mutually in love with was actually married for years. He would be referred to as the homewrecker. He’d be doxed and his reputation would be torn into shreds. Then, that man’s wife would appear in his home and humiliate him…

“How could he be able to handle such a series of attacks? No wonder he chose death.”

YiHan stuffed the rest of the orange into his mouth and gulped after a few haphazard chews. He then grabbed JingYuan’s hand and continued, “I can’t do this, Mu-Mu. My heart is so angry that it’s thumping hard. We cannot let Nan Shan suffer through that! I must protect my idol! Hand in hand, us husbands will be joined in stomping that scumbag to death!”

JingYuan ruffled YiHan’s hair in exasperation. He turned his hand to hold YiHan’s hand back and said, “Okay, we’ll stomp that scumbag but you have to chew properly before you swallow. You won’t risk choking then.”

“I have you, right?” YiHan said, sticking his tongue out at JingYuan. “I’m not scared.”

“What use would I be?” JingYuan asked. “I can’t choke on your behalf. You’d be the one suffering.”

“You’ll find a way to save me anyway!” YiHan insisted.

All JingYuan could reply to that was, “Okay, okay. I’ll have a way. I’d think of a plan.”

YiHan’s face went serious as he pumped his fist and said, “First, we must find out just who that man is, his identity and his family background. If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles!”

JingYuan chuckled. “Oh? You’ve learned how to use that proverb now. Don’t worry. I’ve already ordered Chen Hong to arrange some men to keep an eye on Nan Shan’s home every minute of the day. That man just needs to appear and we can get a photograph of him. Once we know who that person is, we can find out whether our hypothesis is correct. Only then can we plan the next step.”

Stuffing a slice of orange into YiHan’s mouth, JingYuan smiled and continued, “Leave this investigation to me. You have a mission too.”

YiHan sat up straight as his mouth furiously chewed.

“You are to get as close to Nan Shan as you can,” JingYuan said. “You are to support him in his times of need. He is lacking a friend. Once we find out who that man is and if our guess is correct, we’d need you to slowly guide him to realising the deception. Implicitly tell him to leave the other as soon as possible. He would certainly be hurt but we’ll do our best to reduce it to the minimum. We can only take care of that scumbag as we wish once Nan Shan has fully withdrawn from the situation. Of course, if we were wrong, you must advise him to let go of the relationship. That man has a wife yet wishes to date another man. There’s no way that man would be a good guy.”

YiHan gave a hard nod and solemnly swore, “Don’t worry. I promise I’ll complete the mission.”

“And one more important thing,” JingYuan solemnly said.

YiHan’s eyes gleamed up at JingYuan.

“Most importantly,” JingYuan said with a serious face, “support is only support. Comforting him must only be that. You can never ever let him fall in love with you! This is extremely crucial!”

YiHan was speechless. “Don’t worry. Your fiancée isn’t that alluring…”

“You are exceedingly wrong on that,” JingYuan said. “This is absolutely possible. Either way, you must be careful. If he ever leans towards that, I’ll personally strangle him to death.”

YiHan dropped his head into his free palm. “Do you think everyone is as blind as you are when it comes to finding their other half? You’re clearly the blossoming flower here yet you insist on planting yourself on crap…”

JingYuan let go of YiHan’s hand and looked deep into YiHan’s eyes. “I’ve read something before that is very appropriate as a response to your words. Even if I’m a blossoming flower, I am an old, wilting blossom; even if you’re crap, you’re the freshest, youngest crap there is. Anyway, flowers can only bloom better if they’re planted on dung. Nothing is a better combination than a flowering blossom and cow poop…”

YiHan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry but he was touched. “What are you saying? What’s with all that weird logic?”

JingYuan kissed YiHan on the lips and mumbled, “They’re not weird. They’re proper logic.”

YiHan’s mirthful eyes slowly slid shut and he opened his mouth without prompting.

A kiss later, JingYuan let out a quiet chuckle.

“What is it?” YiHan softly asked.

JingYuan licked his lips and laughed, “Tastes like oranges.”

YiHan blushed as his embarrassment turned into anger. “Well, I love oranges! My whole body stinks of oranges. I’ll suffocate you!”

JingYuan scooped YiHan up into his arms. As he walked to the bed, he nibbled on YiHan’s lips. “What a coincidence. I love oranges too. There’s a large orange here for me to eat. How nice.”

***

A night of passionate warring later, YiHan’s arms and legs were sore and his eyes were heavy. Those eyes remained closed throughout their morning routine as JingYuan dressed himself, cleaned them both up, and pack YiHan up to bring him along to the office. YiHan was even carried into the car by JingYuan. He had lost all dignity before the other people in the mansion. There was no fear of losing face at all. Getting out of the car was a different story. He still wanted to maintain a dignified image before the employees of Mu Group. He did his best to straighten his back and sulkily walked forward. The moment the elevator doors closed behind the couple, YiHan slumped over and tilted to the side. JingYuan caught him and held him up in his arms.

“If it hurts, why must you come?” JingYuan asked, heart aching. “You can rest for half a day at home. Once you’ve had enough sleep, I can go back and fetch you. Isn’t that nice?”

“You cruel thing,” YiHan griped. “I came all because you looked too pitiful when walking out the door all alone! How can you be so ungrateful?”

“How am I ungrateful?” JingYuan protested. “I’m so moved by it. I just feel bad for you.”

“I begged you for so long last night but you wouldn’t stop,” YiHan pouted. “You wouldn’t even slow down. Now you say you feel bad for me?”

A little laugh burst out of JingYuan. He then cleared his throat and said, “HanHan, that really can’t be slowed down or stopped. You have to understand.”

“What’s there to understand?” YiHan rolled his eyes and replied.

“I love you,” JingYuan wholeheartedly confessed. “I can’t stop myself at the sight of you, let alone in that kind of situation. Yo–”

The elevator doors were about to slide open so YiHan, face flushed red, slapped his hands across JingYuan’s mouth and exclaimed, “No more!”

Chen Hong lowered his head and stared at the floor. “Little Master Bai. Mr Mu,” he greeted.

Translator’s Note:

Confinement: This is referring to postpartum confinement. Despite Google’s labelling, this is not an archaic practice. Women who had just given birth are meant to stay indoors for a month after childbirth. There are various rules to it that’s related to Traditional Chinese Medicine logic. As women are often weakened during this recovery time, they’re advised to avoid any actions that might cause a cold, e.g. exposing oneself to cold winds and letting wet hair air dry instead of towelling/blow-drying their hair. This is also the time when the new mothers are fed protein-rich food and “heaty” food like ginger. Some of those special dishes are also considered helpful for breastmilk production.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 160

160. I’m Eager

JingYuan’s hand started a soft, rhythmic patting on YiHan’s back. “Yes, of course I will. I’m not so tyrannical as to stop you from making friends. You like his books. It’s normal for you to want to know him better. I’m not a dictator. As your future husband, I do trust you. HanHan, you are a free bird.”

YiHan buried his face into JingYuan’s abdomen. He then said in a muffled voice, “No. I don’t want freedom. I am yours. I am like Tripitaka and you are the circle Sun Wukong drew out. You can’t restrain me. I’m the one who doesn’t want to leave.”

JingYuan chuckled. “Little one, when did you learn how to sweet talk? You’ve turned me into a restraining circle. Okay. Being your circle has made life worth living. Come, let’s go eat. You must be hungry, right?”

YiHan clung onto JingYuan, unwilling to get off. As he was slowly shuffled along by JingYuan’s movements, he said, “It’s really not sweet talk. It’s the truth. Tell me. What do I do about Nan Shan? With you around, I don’t want to use my brain at all.”

“If you don’t want to use your brain, then don’t,” said JingYuan, dragging YiHan along with him out of the room. “This one is very willing to work on Your Majesty’s behalf.”

YiHan hummed and replied, “Teach me.”

“Right now, we have limited information on his personality, identity and true past,” said JingYuan. “As Sun Tzu wrote, ‘if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles’. From what you’ve said, he is safe for now. Don’t act too hastily just yet. I’ll gather all I can on him and we’ll plan the next step then.”

“Mn, mn. Okay. I’ll go with what you said,” YiHan said, nodding.

“You said you bumped into him today?” JingYuan asked. “Did you two talk? How did it feel?”

“We exchanged a few words,” YiHan replied. “I was holding onto ‘The Blue Night’. That’s a famous work of his and the book he’s most proud of. He saw it when passing by so he stopped and chatted with me. However, he didn’t know that I knew who he was. He only told me he was a fan of the book too. I got his contact number, just in case I needed it. As for him, I had a really good first impression of him. His skin was pasty pale, the kind you see on people who rarely get exposed to sunlight. I could instantly tell he rarely left his home. He had a refreshing air to him, constantly giving the impression of a calm, melancholic yet ethereal person. There’s always a hint of a frown on his brows. He looked very much like those gloomy poets.”

“You did very well and your observations were detailed,” JingYuan said. “This is crucial to analysing his personality. How about this? Keep in contact with him for now. Don’t do it too often and don’t make it sound intentional, but you must frequently remind him of your existence. Let him get used to you in his life. Once I have further information on him, we can discuss what we should do.”

YiHan’s head bobbed up and down like a chicken pecking at the grains scattered across the ground. “My amazing, strong husband-to-be,” said YiHan, eyes squinting in a smile, “I just love how you look when you’re strategizing and planning.”

JingYuan dragged YiHan to the dining table and pushed him into his seat, “My smart, cunning husband-to-be, hurry up and eat. We have something to do later.”

YiHan paused in thought. “There’s nothing,” he said in confusion. “Do you have something planned?”

JingYuan blinked back at his fiancée and smiled. “Big Mu-Mu’s exercise. Eat up. Have some more.”

YiHan: “…” You’re making me unable to look at the nickname with a straight mind, okay?

After dinner, the couple returned to their room. They had just finished their showers and had yet to proceed with Big Mu-Mu’s exercise when they received a call from Qin Feng.

The other man didn’t waste any time. He went straight to the point. “YiHan, did you speak to Lil Fang? Said a few nice words about me?”

“Those aren’t really nice words,” YiHan replied, a hand towelling his hair dry. “I just told him what I thought. Well? Did Ah-Yi soften up a little?”

“Mn,” Qin Feng whispered, excitement audible in his voice. “When he made noodles just now, he made me a bowl too.” He paused for a moment and added, “He even gave me an egg.”

JingYuan walked over to YiHan, took the towel from the younger man, and helped YiHan dry his hair. The younger man looked up to flash JingYuan a smile before returning his attention to the phone.

“I see, that’s good,” YiHan said. “Ah-Yi might be a bit hard to approach but he has a soft heart. It’s only a matter of time when his heart gives in. This bowl of noodles shows you’re not far from victory.”

Qin Feng’s voice dropped lower as he chuckled, “I can see it. Right now, Lil Fang’s heart is not as cold as his face. I thought it’d be some time before anything happened but after a meeting with you, he’s visible softened. I guessed you had helped plead my case. Mere thanks are not enough for such a big favour. If you ever need me, just let me know.”

“It’s not that serious,” YiHan laughed. “A big favour? It was only a few words of truth. Anyway, your identity was revealed to Ah-Yi because you saved me. It’s been bugging me this whole time.”

“That incident was merely the spark,” the other man continued, voice still in a whisper. “Lil Fang and I will be spending many days together. Even if I hadn’t acted that day, he would find out sooner or later. It was only a matter of time. I had thought of finding a proper time to confess about it to him, a time when he’s in a good mood.”

“Is it not convenient for you to speak?” YiHan curiously asked. “Why are you whispering? If it’s not a good time, we can just hang up and talk another day.”

“I’m hiding in Lil Fang’s bathroom currently,” Qin Feng chuckled. “I’m afraid he’d overhear our call and think we’re plotting together against him. That’d be troublesome then. You have to explain to him that I have never ever asked you to help plead my case. I am true when it comes to him.”

“I’ve got it,” YiHan chuckled back. “Don’t worry. I’m hanging up. We can’t let him overhear us.”

“Okay,” Qin Feng responded.

Right before YiHan hung up, he added, “Qin Feng, Fang Yi is a naive man. Don’t hurt him or I won’t forgive you.”

“Don’t worry,” Qin Feng seriously replied, something rare for him. He thought for a moment before continuing, “Lil Fang is so lucky to have you as a friend. Bye then.”

YiHan hung up and turned to JingYuan. “Qin Feng said Fang Yi’s attitude to him has visibly softened. The man even cooked him a bowl of noodles. Qin Feng was so ecstatic that he hid in the bathroom to call me and say thanks.”

JingYuan gently massaged YiHan’s head as he replied, “That’s good. With Qin Feng’s protection, Fang Yi’s path ahead will be much smoother. He won’t have to trip over unnecessary rocks now.”

“I can see Qin Feng feels deeply for Fang Yi,” YiHan said, a hand on his chin. “If Fang Yi can really get together with him, it’s a good thing too. But if Fang Yi doesn’t want to, they’d be at it for some time, especially with Qin Feng’s personality. Fang Yi will also be in danger then.”

“There’s no need to worry,” JingYuan said. “I think Qin Feng isn’t the kind of thug to be rash and impulsive. Fang Yi should also feel something for him. From the looks of it, those two are most likely going to get together.”

YiHan nodded. “With your confirmation, I feel much more relaxed. Qin Feng is absolutely a fierce beast. If Fang Yi is with him, Fang Yi will definitely be the weaker party. I’m really worried he’d suffer.”

“The weaker party?” JingYuan asked with a laugh. “I don’t think so. There’s a very apt saying: the one who falls in love first loses. Qin Feng has lost at the very start. Between the two of them, Fang Yi might be at a better advantage.”

“True,” YiHan said. “Qin Feng is quite a groveller. Mn, that’s good.”

“Little one,” JingYuan chuckled, “you’re so brave. In this entire city, not even the old Mr Yan would dare explicitly threaten the head of the Hidden Dragon. You just said it straight to his face. Aren’t you afraid he’d take offence?”

“He didn’t,” YiHan said. “He even said we’re friends. So what if I threatened him? If he really hurt Fang Yi, I would really be picking a fight!”

“It’s very good that you’d fight for your friends,” JingYuan said, trying to hold a laugh in. “But your figure’s quite small. You want to fight Qin Feng? He could take you down with just one finger. Do you know what kind of training he’d been put through since he was a child? Don’t be fooled by his lanky looks. I dare say that in this entire city, no one is his match, not unless they come in a mob.”

“Who said I’d be fighting him physically?” YiHan rebuked. “Have you heard of using one’s brain? JingYuan, between us two, whenever I hear of Qin Feng’s father, I get so angry. A tiger may be cruel but it doesn’t eat its cubs, yet that man would dare treat his son so badly. He’s just inhumane.”

JingYuan placed the towel down and moved to sit beside YiHan. “What one person treasures is different to what another treasures. We think our emotions and mental state is more important. Qin HaiTian wanted power and wealth. If Qin Feng weren’t his only child, Qin Feng would never have a chance to grow up. He would never have a chance to avenge his mother. What comes around goes around. Qin HaiTian scoffed at emotions. In the end, he died in the hands of his own son. That counts as karma.”

YiHan sighed. “Qin Feng is a pitiful man too. If not for an extreme amount of hatred, who would be willing to kill their own father? Qin HaiTian was not fit to be a parent! He deserved to die.”

JingYuan stood up and grabbed the hairdryer from its place. He then carefully blew YiHan’s hair dry. “If Qin Feng hadn’t gotten Qin HaiTian for a father, he could have led a vastly different life. Actually, it’s easy to see. Feelings and relationships are important to him too, but he is the head of the Hidden Dragon. He also has a fearsome reputation. No one dared to get close to him so no one noticed it.”

“That might not be so,” YiHan said. “why else would so many people be willing to follow him and help him overthrow his father?”

JingYuan froze. He chuckled, “True. HanHan, you’re still the wiser of us two.”

YiHan smiled. “I won’t accept such sweet talk. Finish blowing my hair dry and let’s sleep.”

“Okay,” JingYuan said, letting out a sly smile. “I didn’t think you’d be so eager. Don’t worry. I’ll be done soon.”

A look at JingYuan’s face and YiHan knew the other man’s mind was filled to the brim with perverted thoughts. “I’m not eager,” YiHan helplessly said. “Please, take your time.”

JingYuan leaned in close and said, “I’m eager.” His deep voice vibrated through YiHan’s ear and deep into his bones.

YiHan: “…!!” (*/w\*) That’s against the rules!

***

YiHan added Xu YouRan into the fan group of Nan Shan’s books. The two men would occasionally chat with each other. Even through the internet, YiHan could tell the other man was rather depressed. Xu YouRan only appeared excited when they discussed his books’ plots. When it came to everything else, he was rather uninterested. His books were usually plot focused. Rarely did the novels feature romantic relationships. When YiHan, seemingly nonchalantly, steered the topic of their conversations to what they thought of romance, the other man’s views were quite pessimistic. The man either held no expectations of relationships or the man’s past relationships didn’t make him happy.

Translator’s Note:

1. Free Bird: Technically, the line is “you’re free” but that has a slightly different implied meaning.

2. Ah-Yi: Ah (阿), the typical character used for nicknames.

3. A tiger may be cruel but it doesn’t eat its cubs: Chinese idiom used to decry how cruel humans can be.

4. Qin HaiTian: The author wrote Qin LianHai here. Uncertain if it’s another impromptu name change. Qin HaiTian will be the name used for Qin Feng’s father, if his name ever pops up again.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 159

159. Let’s Save Them

Book in hand, YiHan sat down on a bench the developers had placed in the strip of grass by the curb. Suddenly, a pang of sadness hit him. Humans are helpless to life’s twists and turns. No matter one’s status and wealth, there was no way to make the dead come alive. Just like JingYuan in YiHan’s last life. It didn’t matter if he was in agony or lonely. It didn’t matter how much more money and power he accumulated, JingYuan could never meet up again with the dead YiHan. If YiHan hadn’t died then – even if he became a crippled or a dirty rag, as long as he still lived – would JingYuan feel better? But he died. Nothing could change that.

Xu YouRan wasn’t like YiHan. At least there were plenty of people who mourned for him. What about YiHan? He had no funeral, no family to send him off. Forever alone, he couldn’t even have a proper burial. No one would know where he was buried. Naturally, no one would pray or make offerings for him. Aah, he shouldn’t have died if it was possible.

Through the incident with Chen TianYang, YiHan knew his fate, his destiny, could be changed. If he reached out a helping hand, perhaps Xu YouRan didn’t need to die…

Leaning back against the bench, YiHan’s eyes stared blankly into the distance. He should get to know the real Xu YouRan, find out whether there was another side to the story, find out if his beloved author was truly that depraved.

A man walked past in front of him. He paid no heed to the other man. However, that man soon came back and sat beside him.

“The Blue Night?” the other man softly asked. “You like Nan Shan’s books?” The man’s voice was very pleasing to the ear. There was a hint of refined melancholy in it.

YiHan looked up and froze, shocked.

He couldn’t believe his eyes. There are infinite possibilities and coincidences in life, but sitting before him was a living, breathing Xu YouRan!

The man was handsome in a refreshing way, just like the warmth of spring air blowing through the winter snow. There was a smidge of melancholy hanging in his brows. It somehow made those who see him feel protective. YiHan had seen photos of him before but in-person, the person felt so much more alive and real. For a moment, YiHan blanked out.

The man stretched out a hand and waved it before YiHan’s eyes. “Friend, what is it?” he asked.

YiHan felt embarrassment rise in him. He felt a sense of helpless panic, the kind that happens when meeting one’s idol for the first time. However, YiHan was someone who spends every day with JingYuan, someone with an oppressive aura. He had built up a strong mind from that. (Although, JingYuan never did put on an oppressive aura around YiHan. Only a seductive aura.) YiHan did his best to take in a few deep breaths.

“Yes,” YiHan said, mustering up the strength to smile at the other man. “I’m a fan of his books. Do you also like his books?”

Clearly, Xu YouRan had a lot of patience for his fans. “Mn,” he replied with a gentle smile. “Sort of. I’ve read all of his books.”

“Me too,” YiHan said. “I have a complete collection of his works. Ah, so you’re his fan too? Since we have the same favourite author, we’re kind of friends. Why don’t we exchange contact information? We can inform each other if there are any new updates from him.” YiHan blinked and let out a sly smile. “Are you in the chat group for his friends? I can invite you in.”

“Okay,” Xu YouRan replied with another beautiful and serene smile.

***

When YiHan returned to the Mu family home, YiHan excitedly searched around for JingYuan. Unfortunately, the man wasn’t home yet. Thus, book in hand, YiHan settled in and waited for his lover on the sofa. While he waited, he logged onto his QQ account on his phone and began chatting with his idol. When the sky grew dark, JingYuan returned.

The moment YiHan heard the door clack open, he leapt out of his seat and pounced on the man. JingYuan opened the door to be welcomed with an armful of YiHan.

“Be careful,” JingYuan said with a helpless little smile. “You’re an adult. Why do you still act like a kid?” He then carefully scanned YiHan’s face. “What has made you so happy?” he asked with a smile.

“Mu-Mu!” YiHan said, eyes squinting as he grinned. “I have to tell you. I met my idol today!”

“Idol?” JingYuan asked with a frown.

YiHan raised the book in his hand and showed it to JingYuan. “Nan Shan!”

After shooting a glance at the book, JingYuan said, “Oh, I know him. You’ve collected a lot of his books. You’ve met the author himself today? He lives in this city too?”

“I don’t have a lot of his books. I have all of them. All of them!” YiHan corrected. “He lives in Elegant Gardens in this city! I bumped into him today!”

“Elegant Gardens?” JingYuan asked, frown back on his face. “That’s not on the way to Zhang Su’s bookstore, right? Why are you over there?”

YiHan looked around them and pulled JingYuan by the hand up the stairs and into their room. He swiftly shut the door behind them. The whole time, he looked so secretive.

“What is it?” JingYuan sighed. “Why so mysterious?”

YiHan pulled him down on the sofa in their room and whispered, “Do you remember the dream I told you?”

JingYuan’s heart went cold. “Of course I do,” he said with a nod.

“There’s something I haven’t told you about. It doesn’t have anything to do with us.” YiHan then waved the book in his hand and continued, “It’s about this author, my idol, Nan Shan.”

“Tell me.”

“Nan Shan’s real name is Xu YouRan,” YiHan solemnly said. “In…the dream, he died too. He died about six months before I did. He was exposed as a homewrecker who seduced a married man. The entire situation escalated hard and then he was doxed as well. Things pushed him to commit suicide. I was so upset over it at that time. He’s really talented. From his books, I could tell he had a righteous moral compass carved into his bones. There’s no way I’d believe he’d be a homewrecker. Plus, the man he apparently seduced never even showed his face once. There wasn’t even anything anyone knew of him. Three days before Nan Shan jumped off his balcony, the other man’s wife barged into his apartment with some men. No one knew what happened and no one knew anything of the wife. There wasn’t a single piece of public information on who the married couple were. They were the start and end of the story that killed off Nan Shan. No matter what, it felt shady to me. I am Nan Shan’s fan. His death was so upsetting. It’s such a pity. However, in that dream, I was in a tough situation myself. I had no power to seek out the truth. Many of the events in my dreams have happened in reality too. You’ve said the dream was a warning. Then, if we don’t do anything, would Nan Shan really be pushed to suicide?”

“According to Tao Qi’s appearance and story,” JingYuan said, “and your dream, this incident really might happen. Just like the matter with Chen TianYang. Without your interference, he would’ve died back there. Was the sudden urge to get Jiang Hua to look into XueQing’s suitors, and the mad dash out when you found out about the man, also because of this dream?”

YiHan nodded and sprawled out over JingYuan’s lap. His mood visibly dipped. “When I saw Nan Shan’s book today, I was reminded of his death. I followed the address I remembered from the dream and I really bumped into him. Mu-Mu, he’s my idol. I like his books. I don’t want him to die. I want to read more of his writing.”

JingYuan stroked YiHan’s hair. “I know the kind of person you are, HanHan. If we just let things be and something did happen to Xu YouRan, you would feel uneasy. Go. Do what you want to do. As I’ve said before, you and I are forever on the same team. Let’s look into the truth together. Even if he truly is a homewrecker, it’s not a crime he deserves to die for. We’ll save him. Alright?”

YiHan sat up and hugged JingYuan around the neck. “Big Mu-Mu, why are you so nice to me? I feel like I love you more than I did yesterday.”

JingYuan hugged back. His fingers massaged the back of YiHan’s neck as he said, “You’re still calling me Big Mu-Mu? Are you thinking of that again?”

The younger man instantly bounced to his feet. He raised his hands in the air as he hurriedly said, “No. No, I absolutely did not mean that. It was just an expression of my respect and love for you. Please do not misunderstand me.”

JingYuan grabbed YiHan by the hands and pushed him back down on the sofa. “It’s just a joke,” he chuckled. “Look at how scared you are. Am I that scary?”

YiHan blinked and smiled back. “You’re not scary but I really want to eat a proper meal. I don’t want to have to gingerly sit on my chair. Going to sleep right after doing it in the best. From now on, we cannot do it before dinner.”

JingYuan let out another chuckle and gave YiHan a hard kiss. “Sure. From now on, we won’t do it before dinner. Doing it after dinner can also help with digestion.”

YiHan sighed and seriously replied, “Mr Mu JingYuan, you are truly getting more and more improper.”

JingYuan rubbed his forehead against YiHan’s and softly said, “This is a secret only you know in this whole wide world. You must know that I’ve always been extremely proper when I’m interacting with anyone else but you. Say, to avoid letting the world know of my true persona, should I consider eliminating all loose ends?”

YiHan was so entranced by JingYuan’s actions that it felt like his heart had died right then and there. He valiantly tilted his head up and kissed JingYuan on the cheek before huffing, “There’s no need to eliminate the loose end. You just need to seal his mouth shut.”

“Okay,” JingYuan huffed back as he slowly closed in on YiHan. “I’ll do as you say. I’m here to seal your mouth shut.” Saying so, he gently kissed YiHan on the lips and the two men exchanged a languid and tender kiss.

JingYuan then let go of YiHan and pulled the younger man into his embrace. “What’s your plan about Nan Shan?”

“I have no plans,” YiHan said, frustrated. “I really don’t know how I should get close to him.”

“That’ll depend on you,” JingYuan replied, resting his chin on YiHan’s head. “If you just want to save him, you don’t need to befriend him. You can just do your thing form the shadows and help him avoid death. If you wish to be friends with him, then that’s another topic.”

YiHan looked up and poked JingYuan’s chin up higher with a slim finger. “Mr Mu, if I say I want to be friends with him, I’m afraid you’ll die of jealousy. So, let’s forget about it.”

“Since you’ve said that,” JingYuan seriously replied, “won’t I be admitting I’m jealousy incarnate if I say that I’d be jealous? Don’t think I don’t know what you people say behind my back.”

YiHan burst out in a chuckle and said, “No, no. I didn’t mean that. I just don’t want you to be unhappy. I may have family and friends but no one can compare to you.”

JingYuan tweaked YiHan’s nose and laughingly scolded, “How dare you. You’ve learned to cover your verbal traps in pretty words.”

YiHan pulled the other man’s hand away from his nose and sprawled back over JingYuan’s lap. “Would you accept it then?” he laughed.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 158

158. Nan Shan

Yan Hui didn’t think a simple sentence spoken to fill the void would lead his lover’s anger to him. His demure and scholarly lover was now so furious that he could swear at Yan Hui. The man instantly knew his lover was serious in his rebuke.

“No, no,” Hui hurriedly pleaded for forgiveness. “I didn’t mean to say anything bad about him. I was merely commenting on how he’d matured. As for reputations, I just listen and forget about it. To properly know someone is to judge the other’s behaviours with our own eyes and not base our judgement solely on reputation. He’s actually not bad. Pei-Pei wouldn’t lose anything by being friends with him. Just as you said, he’s a pure young man. The social circles we move in may seem glamorous but it’s murky and dark. Such a man is more precious than gold. He’s an extremely rare find.”

“So Pei-Pei can be friends with him,” Zhang Su languidly said, “but I can’t?”

Hui gave a grovelling smile. “Of course you can. It’s your freedom who you befriend. How can I interfere with that? I know you think of him as a friend already and he seems to respect you a lot. It’s common knowledge among our circles that Little Master Bai despises waking up early. It’s such an honour and grand gesture for him to wake up bright and early just to attend your reopening party.”

The other man glanced at the flower bouquet placed beside them. It had a card with the words “A Gift From Bai YiHan” written on it.

“You wouldn’t interfere?” Zhang Su said with a chuckle. “Don’t think I don’t know how you secretly stopped Pei-Pei from getting close to me. What? Are you afraid I’ll teach your little sister bad behaviour?”

“Oh, you,” Hui softly said in exasperation. “I was afraid she’d teach you bad things. My dearest, I know. I was wrong. I went overboard last night. I’ve apologised already. Please calm down?”

The other man’s face flushed red as he coldly retorted, “We are in public! What are you rambling about?”

“Look at you,” Yan Hui whimpered. “From the moment we woke up, you’ve been barking back at me for every word I utter. You’re so angry and you’re filled to the brim with contempt for me. I feel so sad.”

At that, Zhang Su didn’t care if they were in public. “You’re sad?” he harshly whispered through gritted teeth. “Can you be any more shameless? You knew my shop had an opening party today yet you kept on until late into the night. No matter how much I begged, you just wouldn’t stop…” He paused. “Have you ever considered my feelings?”

Hui looked at his lover. The other man’s face was a sickly pale white. Hui’s heart ached as regret crept into his mind.

“Uncle,” Hui cried, face twisted in sorrow. “I was wrong. I had a few drinks last night. I wasn’t fully there, that’s why I lost control. I promise I’ll never touch alcohol again.”

“Never?” the unamused man coldly huffed. “Do you think I’m a fool?”

Hui tapped himself on the head. “That wasn’t right. It is rather hard for me to never drink again. After all, there are some business meetings I can’t refuse. However, I can promise that I’ll never enter your room again if I even take a sip of alcohol. Then, even if I go to you, I won’t touch you! How about it? See, the greatest punishment to me is being unable to see you. Forgive me this time?”

The furious man let out another cold huff and kept quiet. Hui wiped the beads of sweat off his brow.

“I know you don’t feel well,” Hui whispered. “Why don’t you head inside first and take a seat? I’ll help you welcome your customers.”

“How rare for you to know that I’m not feeling well,” Zhang Su finally replied. “But it’s fine. This shop is mine. It’s not right for me to slack off today. If you’re tired, you can head in.”

“I didn’t say I’m tired,” Hui said with a slight whine. “I’m just scared you’re hurting. I’m really sorry. I truly understand it’s my fault. I regret it too. It hurts more for me to see you hurt than for me to be hurt.”

The other man gave Hui the side-eye. “Are you trying to create a poem with that repetition?”

“Why wouldn’t you trust me?” Hui worriedly said. “I’m your lover. Would my heart not ache for you? If you’re truly angry, I’ll let you do the same to me!”

Zhang Su’s eyes shone bright. “For real?” he asked, head snapping to look at the other man.

“What did I say?” Hui asked, confused.

By now, there was a green gleam hiding in Zhang Su’s eyes. “Don’t think you can pull the wool over my eyes. I heard it loud and clear. Remember your words! I despise people who don’t keep their words the most!”

Hui’s mouth gaped wide open. His tongue was tied. What was said couldn’t be taken back again, just like spilled milk. He can’t be the kind of person his lover “hated the most”. Hui’s mouth opened and closed for a long time. In the end, all he could do was sigh. He was visibly wilted.

In contrast, his lover’s begrudging aura had disappeared into thin air. Zhang Su was as cheerful as a lark. Hui watched Su for a few moments before finally letting out a defeated smile. Forget it, he thought to himself. Look at how happy the other man was. Even if it was just for these few moments of joy, it would be worth it.

Meanwhile, Yan Pei had led YiHan around, showing him everything there was to see in the shop.

“Look, YiHan,” said Pei. She had been chattering non-stop since their tour started. “This section is mainly for educational materials. Here is where the books on finance are kept. This section is for books on healthy living and hobbies. Now, this is my favourite part of the shop. It’s mainly a section for stories and comics. Zhang-ge’s bookshop has everything you could ever need. He has most of the popular books. There are tables and chairs by the window for those who are here to read. Drinks and snacks would be provided to those who ask for it.”

“Are the books free to read?” YiHan asked.

Pei blinked back at him before slyly replying, “It’s free to read here but you must be careful. The book must be returned in perfect condition and they can’t be brought out of the shop. However, we do charge for drinks and snacks.”

“Oh, I see,” YiHan said with a nod.

He walked over to the section for novels and began to browse the shelves. His slender finger drifted past rows of book spines before finally stopping at a novel. It was titled “The Blue Night”. His finger stroked down the book’s spine as his eyes registered the name. Then, he carefully plucked it out from its place on the shelf.

Pei craned her neck to see what book YiHan had picked out. “YiHan,” she excitedly cried out, “you like Nan Shan’s books too? I’m also his fan!”

YiHan looked down at the name “Nan Shan” printed on the book’s cover as its author and let out a little sigh. He knew this “Nan Shan”. In his last life, that is.

Nan Shan, Southern Mountain, is just the author’s pen name. His real name was Xu YouRan. He’s a well-known author who gained his fame mostly from writing detective stories. He might be extremely famous but he didn’t write a lot. Even so, every one of his books sold like hotcakes. Unfortunately, he died at a very young age. He died about 6 months before YiHan did. Perhaps the gods were jealous of his genius. The man was only 28 years old when he passed away and the man died in quite a horrible manner. One could say he died humiliated without an ounce of dignity. He had committed suicide. He jumped from the 24th floor of a tall building. When his corpse was found, nothing was left whole. The photo of his body was just a bloody red block of mosaic. What a shame no one pitied him. His die-hard fans had secretly organised a simple remembrance ceremony for him. When it was discovered, people rabidly trashed the whole place. The entire ceremony devolved into chaos while photos of Xu YouRan before his death were thrown on the ground and stomped on. Marked by countless footprints and glass shards, the once-handsome face was rendered ragged.

YiHan really liked his books. Despite being in a rather tough situation himself, YiHan was still dejected when he heard about the other’s death. As for why Xu YouRan was held in such contempt, that was because he’d been found out to be a homosexual. Not only that, he had seduced a married man. He was considered a homewrecker. Many people were disgusted. As he was somewhat of a public figure, the situation escalated. At first, it was just verbal harassment. The keyboard warriors’ fingers flew across their keyboards. Then, somehow, he was doxed. Someone leaked his real identity. Images of the man were plastered all over the internet. Things turned into physical harassment. Someone was fanning the flames, constantly agitating the masses. It had gotten so bad that whenever Xu YouRan stepped out of his apartment, he’d be beaten up. His front door was always covered in degrading graffiti. The married man’s wife even barged into his home with a few of her men. No one knew what happened that day. All anyone knew was that Xu YouRan decided to jump from his balcony three days later. He didn’t have to deal with the humiliation and pointing. As for the “lover”, the man had never once shown his face. No one knew who the man was.

YiHan spaced out, staring down at the familiar book in his hands. It was a book he’d reread multiple times. Pei called out to him several times but his mind didn’t react to it.

“Hey, YiHan,” Pei said, nudging him in bemusement. “Earth to YiHan! What is it?”

Snapping back to his sense, YiHan’s fingers slowly stroked the book in his hands as he smiled at Pei and said, “I’m also his…his fan. What a pity we don’t know anything about him in real life. I really want to know the true him.”

Pei dropped her chin into her open hands. “Who doesn’t? What you just said is what every fan of his wishes. Unfortunately, no one knows his real identity.”

“Perhaps it’s better we don’t know,” YiHan softly sighed. “It is a type of protection for him.”

“True,” Pei said, nodding. “As his fan, we just need to support his works. He is a writer, after all. He’s not an idol. Haha.”

YiHan nodded. His fingers continued stroking the book’s cover. He actually knew Xu YouRan’s address. After all, it was all leaked online. While he couldn’t do anything back then, he remembered the man’s address. From the start of everything until now, he still believed Xu YouRan wasn’t the kind of man they say he was. YiHan could tell from the man’s writing. Anyone who can write such beautiful and intricate stories would never be a homewrecker. Maybe there was another story hiding deeper within. Anyway, when everything escalated then, it wasn’t that hard to find out the source of all the hatred. Many people hypothesised it was the man’s wife behind it all. However, since she had the moral high ground, no one said anything bad about her actions.

When it was time to leave, YiHan took the book with him. Sitting in his car, his fingers continued their slow strokes across the book’s cover.

“Pan Wen,” YiHan said, “please take me to ‘Elegant Gardens’ first.” Xu YouRan’s home address was in a place called Elegant Gardens. It’s an average and average district of the city that wasn’t freshly built nor was it an old residential area.

Pan Wen hummed in response. With practised hands, the car was smoothly turned towards the new destination. When they arrived, YiHan got out with the book still in his hands while Pan Wen waited in the car. YiHan then slipped past the guards by following a middle-aged woman with a big basket full of her groceries. He didn’t know what he could be doing here or what he can do for Xu YouRan. Did he want to befriend the man and get close to him? Then, find out the true story? He didn’t even know who’s right and who’s wrong. What does the truth matter? All YiHan knew was that YouRan must not be forced to death, even if his crime was real. The man was still young. He was so talented. He shouldn’t die in what should’ve been the prime of his life, just like…YiHan.

One by one, YiHan searched through the rows of towers until he found the building Xu YouRan lived in. Perhaps the man was writing down a draft of his next book. Perhaps he was sleeping after staying up late last night from writing. No matter what the man was doing, it was good. The man was still alive and not just a censored, bloody blob.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 157

157. Can’t Eat Spicy Food

JingYuan sat down on the sofa of the living room and patted the seat beside him. “HanHan, come sit here. What does that girl want with you now?”

YiHan smiled and sat down by JingYuan. “Zhang Su’s bookshop has been expanded. He’d bought the two neighbouring shop lots and combined them all. The renovation’s all done now. The reopening day is tomorrow. I’ll be visiting for a ‘shop-warming’ gathering. Pei-Pei was afraid I’d forget so she called. Thank goodness for her reminder. I thought it was the day after tomorrow. If not for her call, I’d have missed out.”

JingYuan hummed. “Zhang Su is a nice man. It’d be good for you to interact more with him. However,” JingYuan paused, “are you and Yan Pei close? You called her Pei-Pei. What an affectionate nickname.”

YiHan dropped his head into his palm as he sighed, “I only think of her as a younger sister. It’s just a nickname. You mind that too? Do your subordinates know how petty you can be?”

“You had never given me a nickname that cutely repeated one of my characters. You were never that affectionate,” JingYuan solemnly stated. “It took a lot of effort to make you just call me by my name. Yan Pei did nothing yet you called her Pei-Pei without prompting.”

YiHan stared at the other man, mouth gaping wide in shock. “What would you like me to call you then? Jing-Jing? Yuan-Yuan? Doesn’t it make your skin crawl? It doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well.”

JingYuan shifted to look straight into YiHan’s eyes. His face remained serious as he said, “How can a nickname from a lover make my skin crawl?”

YiHan’s head dropped back into his palm. “Just how did we get on this topic? JingYuan, putting aside how it makes my skin crawl, if I truly call you Jing-Jing or Yuan-Yuan and if the world knows of it, I’m afraid the Mu Group’s stock prices will plummet.”

JingYuan twisted his head to look away. His posture straightened as he deeply said, “If you’re not willing to, I don’t intend on forcing you to do it. It’s quite undignified for me to ask this of my fiancée. If I stubbornly insist on it, I’d be so tragically pitiful.”

For some unknown reason, YiHan actually fell for JingYuan’s ploy this time. In a sudden show of his manly boyfriend nature, YiHan turned JingYuan’s head back to look at him. Ignoring the weak and imperceptible “struggling”, YiHan kissed JingYuan on the lips.

“I didn’t say I’m unwilling,” YiHan said. “Don’t put words in my mouth. I never gave you a childish nickname like that because I respect you. I’m afraid you’d be upset. After all, if anyone else heard it, it might destroy your reputation. Just a little bit, maybe. But if you don’t mind it, I’ll think about it. I want a unique nickname for you that only I can address you by. Okay?”

JingYuan cleared his throat and replied, “It is your right to have a unique nickname for me. I am your future husband. Why would I say no to something so trivial? Have your ponder.”

YiHan sprawled across JingYuan’s lap. His arms wrapped around the other man’s waist as he went quiet, lost in his thoughts.

“Mu-Mu!” YiHan excitedly gasped. “Mu, as in the character for ‘wood’. It’s a homonym of your surname and it’s easy to say. This is my unique nickname for you. How about it?”

Slender fingers combed through YiHan’s hair as JingYuan calmly replied, “As long as you’re happy. I have no comments.”

“My Big Mu-Mu,” YiHan smiled up at him, “why are you so nice?”

JingYuan roughly ruffled YiHan’s hair as he angrily said, “If it’s Mu-Mu, then call me Mu-Mu. What the heck is this Big Mu-Mu?”

YiHan rubbed at his nose and glanced down at JingYuan’s crotch region as he giggled, “Big Mu-Mu means a big Mu-Mu. You know.”

The other man’s ears were flushed red as he stroke YiHan’s chin and said, “That’s enough out of you. The sun is still up. Why are you so improper?”

YiHan turned to face away from JingYuan and hopped out of the man’s lap to stand a few steps away from the sofa. “Just who is the improper one here? Did I say anything? You’re the one whose mind fell into the gutter. Is that my fault?”

JingYuan’s anger, laced with embarrassment, led the man to leap to his feet and reach out to grab YiHan. The younger man scrammed the instant JingYuan got to his feet. YiHan scrambled up the stairs but JingYuan’s legs were longer than his. With a few large strides, skipping a few steps along the way, JingYuan caught up to YiHan. Just as the older man reached out for him, YiHan darted into their room and slammed the door shut. He swiftly locked the door and guffawed.

“Trying to catch me?” YiHan laughed. “Are you as agile as I am?”

No one replied. YiHan leaned into the door and placed his ear against the wood. Nothing still.

“Did I make him sulk in anger?” YiHan mused. “No way. I’ve got it. He must be trying to fool me into opening the door. Dream on.”

YiHan straightened up. He’d only taken two steps away from the door when he heard a soft clack coming from behind him. His body froze as his head stiffly turned to look behind him.

JingYuan had opened the door and was walking into the room. The man jiggled the key in his hand as he smiled. “My cute, naive fiancée, don’t you know there’s something in this world called a backup key?”

YiHan slowly retreated as he apologetically chuckled back, “My strong and mighty fiancée, spare this puny one just once?”

With a swipe of JingYuan’s foot, the door closed shut. The man walked closer and closer. “That won’t do. After all, you did say I am ‘Big’ Mu-Mu. As your betrothed, I must respond to your words and show you the strength of ‘Big’ Mu-Mu.”

By now, YiHan had retreated to the bed in the room. The bedframe bumped against his calves, making him trip backwards to sit on the bed. “I’ve already witnessed the might of Big Mu-Mu. Well, erm, I’m hungry. What are we having for dinner?”

JingYuan pushed YiHan back against the bed. Kneeling with one knee on the bed, JingYuan hovered over YiHan. “It’s still too early for dinner. You can have some afternoon tea first…”

Upon realising his pleas were futile, YiHan’s brows furrowed as he barked, “What are you doing? It’s still daytime! Are you trying to let the whole world know we’re having sex? You’re shameless!”

Dipping his head down, JingYuan sealed the nattering mouth shut with a kiss. The couple’s breaths mingled together. After a few whines from YiHan to signify his protest, YiHan eventually opened his teeth to welcome JingYuan’s invading tongue. YiHan’s hands snaked up to wrap around the other’s neck…

By the time they were done, it was dark out and YiHan had lost all desire to head down for dinner. All he wanted to do was nod off to sleep right then and there. JingYuan washed him up and did his best to coax the younger man awake but YiHan just didn’t want to open his eyes.

JingYuan could do nothing but help YiHan into his clothes and carry him down to the dinner table. When Ms Liu noticed the couple had left their room, she quickly set the table and carried the food out of the kitchen. If there were no witnesses around, YiHan would’ve happily continued playing dead in JingYuan’s arms. However, Ms Liu was there now. His skin wasn’t thick enough that he could keep lazing around in his lover’s embrace. YiHan hopped to his feet and walked over to the dining table, trying his best to not let anyone notice he was limping. When YiHan sat down, his face twisted in discomfort and he shot a glare at JingYuan. The older man gently smiled back and sat next to YiHan. JingYuan then slid his left arm around YiHan’s back to massage at the man’s waist. His right arm was then occupied with grabbing food from the serving dishes and placing them into YiHan’s bowl.

YiHan silently ate whatever he was given. Then, he turned to JingYuan and deliberately placed a slice of raw ginger in the other man’s bowl.

“Ginger can warm you up. It’s good for you. Have some,” YiHan gleefully said.

JingYuan gave YiHan an exasperated glance but he still raised the ginger slice to his mouth. YiHan hurriedly stopped him, blocking the ginger slice with his own chopsticks.

“Are you a fool?” YiHan angrily asked. “You were really going to eat it? This thing tastes so bad and its taste lingers in the mouth for so long.”

At this very moment, JingYuan’s usual dark eyes could be seen gleaming as bright as the stars. He happily said, “I just knew you couldn’t bear to make me eat it.”

YiHan gave him the side-eye. “What if I hadn’t stopped you?”

JingYuan shrugged. “I won’t die from eating a slice of raw ginger. It’ll just taste bad. “

YiHan’s chopsticks grabbed the ginger slice from JingYuan’s and threw it on the table. “I should’ve let you eat it,” he fumed, “and die from the spiciness!”

JingYuan leaned in to whisper in YiHan’s ear, “I’m fine with eating spicy food but you absolutely cannot right now. You’ll suffer.”

YiHan’s face was as red as a tomato as he angrily barked, “Go away!”

****

Early the next morning, YiHan arrived at Zhang Su’s bookshop. He had wanted to drive himself but JingYuan adamantly refused to let him do so. YiHan knew the other man was just terrified from how YiHan had crashed his car to save TianYang. Ando, the younger man didn’t insist on driving and obediently let his lover arrange for a driver. The driver’s someone he knew too – the brawny Barbie, Pan Wen.

When YiHan stepped through the door of the bookshop, the entrance was packed with chattering crowds. Pei was smiling brightly near the door while Yan Hui and Zhang Su were standing next to each other. The place was filled with plenty of teenagers in uniforms. As for people who were from YiHan’s and Pei’s social ranks? There weren’t many. Merely a few sprinkled here and there, and all of them blended in well with the crowd.

“YiHan, you’re here early,” Pei cheerfully greeted when she spotted him. “I thought you wouldn’t be up so early.”

“It’s the grand opening of Zhang-ge’s bookshop,” YiHan replied with a smile. “I wouldn’t dare to laze in bed. Did you receive my bouquet?”

Yan Hui reached out his hand for a handshake as he smiled and said, “We’ve received it first thing in the morning. Thank you so much, Little Master Bai, for honouring my husband so.”

 YiHan shook the man’s hand. “We’re all friends. No need to be so formal and distant.”

“Little Master Bai, it’s exhausting to just stand for the whole time,” Zhang Su greeted. “Come sit down inside. Pei-Pei, lead him to a seat.”

Pei linked arms with YiHan as she joyfully replied, “Don’t worry, Zhang-ge. Leave him to me.” She then turned to YiHan and said, “Come! I’ll show you around the inside of the shop. It’s super nice. I’m telling you now, I was involved in designing the place!”

Arm in arm, the two walked away. Pei was chattering non-stop the whole time but not once did YiHan interrupt her. He merely listened with a smile.

Watching the two go, Hui commented to his husband, “Those two are quite close with each other. I didn’t expect that.”

“Pei-Pei’s a happy-go-lucky girl,” replied the other man. “She’s also very honest and frank. Rarely would anyone dislike her. Little Master Bai’s not bad himself. He’s a gentleman who knows to compromise. Most of all, he has no superficial facade at all. Perhaps it’s because the Bai family has protected him well. He’s very pure. The two are quite similar. What’s so surprising about those two getting along well?”

Hui chuckled. “You haven’t known him for long. You don’t know what they say of him before. He wasn’t like this back then. While he can’t be called bad or evil, there are two ways of describing him. If one were to be nice, they’d say he was a little wild. If one were frank, they’d call him arrogant. He always acted as if he was only beneath the gods. He didn’t care for rules and no one could rein him in. Before the older generation, he’s alright. Among his peers though, it’d be polite to merely say he was arrogant and impulsive. Hm. Perhaps he has finally matured. He’s changed quite a lot.”

“I have heard of his reputation before,” Zhang Su said with a cold smirk, “but even if we don’t consider how quickly humans adapt and change, who could say for certain all of those rumours were true? He has no power in the Bai Group but everyone in the family dotes on him. It’s not an exaggeration to say he could rule this city without being stopped. So many people who are jealous of him. However, none of them would dare let out a peep to his face. They’d do everything they can to curry his favour. How many of them would speak well of him behind his back? He was much too young back then. Mr Mu and the Bai family had also protected him well. Too well, in fact. He doesn’t get many of the tricks and twists of interacting with other people. He also isn’t one to bring himself to just do it for the sake of pleasantries. It’d be strange if his reputation was better.” He glanced at Hui and turned back to observe the two kids. “People like you, who speak badly of others because that’s what the group says, will have great reputations. Unfortunately, your true behaviours are not any better.”

Translator’s Note:

Are you trying to let the whole world know we’re having sex: This is a paraphrase of an idiom/phrase, “openly having sex during the day”. It’s considered improper to have sex during the day, let alone letting anyone else know of it.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 156

156. She’s Dead

Fang Yi pursed his lips as he chuckled, “You’re strange, YiHan. People are always second-guessing themselves right before the wedding. The closer it was to the wedding, the stronger the pre-wedding jitters. I’d never heard of anyone who was as impatient as you. Say, since you’re both so anxious, why didn’t you set the wedding date closer to now?”

“There’s no helping it,” YiHan sighed. “I’m afraid of the cold. I never like to leave the house in winter. I have a habit of never planning anything major in the winter. Of course, JingYuan knew of it. He said he didn’t want us to have any regrets about our wedding. Spring is warm but extremely windy. So we settled for summer.”

Fang Yi’s shoulders shook as he chuckled, “You two are so funny. By the same logic, it’s hot in the summer. It’s windy in autumn too. Then, it’s back to the freezing winter. What will you do then? Who cares about when you have the wedding? You’ll be getting registered next month. You’ll be spouses in the eyes of the law. The wedding is just a ceremony to announce it to the world.”

“That’s what JingYuan said too,” YiHan said with a smile.

Fang Yi looked up in the air for a moment, then said, “Right, I just remembered I have something to do. I have to go. Are you going to stay a while longer?”

YiHan nodded. “Oh, then go attend to it. I’ll be staying here. JingYuan said he’ll be dropping by to fetch me later. Also, please reconsider the issue with Qin Feng.”

Fang Yi hummed in reply and nodded to him in farewell before leaving the cafe.

YiHan slouched down, boredom visible in his posture. Head perched on one hand, he added a cube of sugar to his cup of coffee, then another, and another. Suddenly, a low-pitched voice rang out from beside his ear.

“You’ve ruined a perfectly fine cup of coffee,” said the voice.

That voice was so deeply familiar to YiHan that it felt like it’d been carved into his bones. And yet, he’d feel a tingle run down his spine every time he heard it.

“You’re here,” said YiHan, dodging away from where the voice came from and rubbed at the ear it had spoken into. “Do you want a cup of coffee?”

JingYuan sat down in a chair beside YiHan. He glanced at the cup of coffee, filled with a tiny mountain of cubed sugars, and let out a low chuckle.

“I’ve been here for a while,” said JingYuan. “What a shame a certain someone didn’t notice me.”

“Huh?” YiHan was surprised. “When did you arrive?”

JingYuan ran a hand through YiHan’s hair. His gaze was gentle and warm as he softly replied, “When you said you were also eager to get married.”

A red flush slowly crept up YiHan’s ears as he muttered, “It was a slip of the tongue.”

The smile on JingYuan’s face didn’t falter. “Okay. My HanHan can say whatever he likes. Oh, right. I’ve something to tell you. Tao Qi is dead.”

YiHan stared at him, stunned. “How did she die? When?”

“Today,” said JingYuan. “I’d just received a call telling me Wei Quan snuck out of his room, navigated his way around the nurses and into Tao Qi’s room. He wanted to have sex with her but she refused. The man was angry with her in the first place. He thinks he’s only locked up in a psychiatric hospital because of Tao Qi. To him, it was considered quite a big compromise for him to go to her for sex. He didn’t think she’d be so fervently against it. In Wei Quan’s eyes, that is betrayal. In a fit of rage, he strangled her to death.”

YiHan was so shocked that he needed a few moments to regain his composure. “How will Wei Quan be punished?”

“Well, he was a dangerous individual when he was admitted,” said JingYuan. “Losing control and killing Tao Qi ignited the fury in him. He ended up hurting two of the aides who tried to restrain him. He’s now sedated and sent to a special ward where he’ll likely be living the rest of his life tied to a bed.”

YiHan went silent. Then, he asked, “Did Wei Quan…succeed? I mean, with Tao Qi.”

JingYuan hugged YiHan across the shoulders as he replied, “Yes, he did. No matter how cunning Tao Qi was, her physical strength is still that of a girl’s. How can she fight against Wei Quan? My man told me Tao Qi died in an…extremely horrible manner. Her eyes were wide open, almost popping out of the sockets. Disbelief, rage, upset; those were written all over her face.”

YiHan sighed.

“HanHan,” continued JingYuan, “you’re not sympathising with her, are you? Day after day, all Tao Qi thought about was how you and TianYang should die.”

“I’m not,” YiHan replied. “I just think that it’s way too simple for someone to die. Then, once someone is dead, all grudges and hatred would come to an end. She was also just a girl, a young woman. The way she died…” He sighed.

“This is an accident. Not only is Wei Quan insane, but he’s also a trashy human being. Tao Qi herself is to blame for this too. How did she have the guts to offend someone like that? Did she really think she’s the protagonist? Did she think she can control anyone in the world if she wished to?”

YiHan nodded. “True. We must all be responsible for our own actions. The gods don’t care about your gender. What goes around, comes around. It’s karma. When I talked to her privately, I’ve told her only one of us may live. I was only bluffing. I didn’t think those words would come true.”

JingYuan tightened his embrace around YiHan. “Little one, you really dare to say anything that comes into your mind, huh? Only one of you may live? How can she be compared to you? She’s just a pretty snake, someone with an evil and toxic mind. She has no respect for the lives of others. All she thinks about is how to kill other people. She’s delusional, thinking the whole world spins around her. She didn’t die innocent. Let’s not think about it. Let’s not ruin our mood for the day. Come, it’s time to head home.”

YiHan nodded. The two then left the cafe, shoulder to shoulder.

There was something else JingYuan had yet to tell YiHan about Tao Qi. Ever since JingYuan’s visit, she has been drowning in self-doubt. Her mind slowly began to crack. Sometimes she’d suspect the whole transmigration experience was just something she made up. No such thing happened. She was always either sobbing or laughing. Her mood swung wildly in an unstable manner. Sometimes, she’d be hysterically crying and shouting. It was as if she’d experienced a mental breakdown. Frankly, death released her from the pain.

On the way back, YiHan remained silent as his mood dipped.

JingYuan repeatedly glanced back at YiHan, so much so that YiHan couldn’t help but speak up, “Why are you looking at me instead of the road?”

With a hand on the steering wheel and another freed to hold YiHan’s hand, JingYuan asked, “Are you still upset over Tao Qi? Don’t think about it. She’s not worth it. Okay?”

YiHan sighed and said, “JingYuan, where do you think the real Tao Qi has gone to?”

JingYuan blanked out. He didn’t think about that before.

YiHan wasn’t expecting an answer out of the other man anyway. He continued, “The original Tao Qi was a great girl. Smart and hardworking, she was one of the best university students in the city. She may be demure and soft on the outside but she was strong on the inside. She’s very kind and sensible. She knew how to support herself. She would never try and blame anyone or anything for a mistake she made. She was truly someone filled to the brim with the right virtues. Who’d have thought a girl like her would suddenly have her soul swapped with another? I thought that she might one day return to her own body and chase this incessantly scheming Tao Qi back to where she belonged. However, now that Tao Qi’s dead, that girl will never return.”

JingYuan gathered his thoughts before speaking, “HanHan, I know you feel like you owe the original Tao Qi something but what happened to her is none of your fault. No one could’ve known or wanted this to happen. Put it out of your mind, please?”

YiHan nodded. “Back then, I agreed to date her because I wanted to hide from you. But she was serious about it. When we broke up, I apologised to her. I came clean to her, saying I prefer men. She joked about how her mind can rest easy then as it was not a question of her charm. She was merely born the wrong sex. She’s such an open-minded person. It’s such a pity this happened.”

JingYuan chuckled. “HanHan, you’ve already done your best by her. I know you’ve been financially supporting her parents for a while now. If her soul is still around, she’d thank you.”

“You knew?” YiHan turned to look at JingYuan in surprise. “Yes, it was after I found out her soul had been replaced with another’s. I pitied her. The original Tao Qi was a dutiful daughter, yet this Tao Qi wouldn’t even give her parents a single cent. Her father couldn’t work after his accident and her mother had always been a housewife. Let’s not even talk about her younger brother. It’s good enough that he hadn’t caused any major trouble. There wasn’t a single source of income in that family. If the original Tao Qi were still around, she’d take up the burden of supporting her family. However, she’s gone. She must’ve been very anxious about her family when she left. Heh. Actually, Tao Qi’s parents are truly senseless. If I give them too much in one go, they’d give it all to the brother so he can splurge on himself. I can only give them bit by bit. I don’t even dare give them much, just enough for them to live a normal life. I have enough money. It’s just to help out poor Tao Qi.”

YiHan paused. Then, he continued, “I’m truly so superficial in my kindness. I only helped her after she’s gone. The fake Tao Qi told me that in the story, the original Tao Qi was my rival for you! Hmph!”

“HanHan, what’s with the jealousy?” JingYuan asked, stuck between crying and laughing. “This accusation fell out of thin air, okay? This Tao Qi was hysterical and delusional. Whatever she said has no chance of happening. Can’t you forget about it?”

“How can I?” YiHan asked with a mean little smile. “I’ll remember it well. Once in a while, I’ll have to go through what you’ve done.”

“Aha, so that’s the trap waiting for me,” JingYuan sighed. “I won’t ever again bring up what you’ve done in the past, okay?”

“It’s fine,” YiHan said. “You can bring it up. We can compare and­ – What was it again? Oh, yes. – hurt each other.”

“Don’t,” JingYuan laughed. “HanHan, Your Majesty, have mercy! I would never dare to go against my superiors.”

“Alright then,” YiHan said, holding back his smile. “We’ll spare you. This time.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty!” JingYuan said, playing along.

The two men had just returned to the Mu family home when YiHan’s phone rang. YiHan dug it out as JingYuan craned his neck to look at the screen. The caller was Yan Pei.

“Her again,” JingYuan pouted. “What does she want this time?”

YiHan chuckled at JingYuan’s words as he answered the call, “Pei-Pei, what is it?”

“YiHan, do you remember about Zhang-ge’s bookshop being renovated? Its expansion?” Yan Pei cheerfully asked. “The renovations are all done now. They’re reopening tomorrow. Are you coming?”

“Is it tomorrow?” YiHan said, lightly smacking himself in the head. “Why did I think it’s the day after tomorrow?”

“Hahaha,” Pei laughed. “I knew your memory’s not that good. You’re getting married now so your memory’s even worse. Well? Aren’t I a good friend? I even called and reminded you.”

“Thank you so much, Queen Pei-Pei,” YiHan chuckled. “I did remember the wrong date. If not for you, I would’ve missed out on the reopening.”

“No need to thank me,” came the proud reply. “See you tomorrow then.”

Translator’s Note:

Tao Qi is to blame for this too: Reminder here that victim-blaming should never be done, especially when it’s a systemic issue. It might seem okay here because we only think of Tao Qi as an “evil character” but no one deserves to be raped or murdered.


Previous IndexNext