With TianYang’s leg fracture found, another was to be sent in for surgery. However, even at the doors of the operating theatre, TianYang could still be heard rambling on to the doctors.
“Arrange for a doctor to take care of XueQing’s wounds,” he said. “Her knees are scrapped. They’re still bleeding…”
XueQing was rendered speechless at that. She could do nothing but obediently let a nurse clean and dress her wounds.
As the nurse finished up, FuRen and Yan arrived at the hospital.
“How’s YiHan?” the two men frantically asked as they marched over. “What happened?”
JingYuan remained silent, his head still in his hands.
“Someone drove at me with a car today,” XueQing’s glum voice said. “Lil Bro rushed over and banged into the car, pushing it away. That’s the only reason I’m alive. YiHan’s been hurt on the head and he’s still inside. The doctors say he’s safe though.”
Yan let out a sigh of relief. “What about you?” he asked. “Are you hurt?”
“I’m fine,” she replied, massaging her forehead as she said so. “But TianYang broke his leg in saving me. He’s in the operating theatre over there.”
“Have you notified his parents?” FuRen asked.
“Aah!” XueQing lightly smacked her head. “I forgot.”
Yan patted her on the shoulder in consolation. Just then, footsteps echoed down the hallway. Chen Feng rushed over with two men right behind him. They were panting hard.
“How’s the Little Master?” Chen Feng pushed out between big gulps of air.
“How did you protect HanHan? Where did you go?” Yan barked.
Chen Feng stood up straight. “Little Master asked me to look into a few men,” he said in a frustrated tone. “I saw that he had no intentions of leaving the house so I went to get it done. I only knew Little Master got into an accident when the men I’d ordered to follow the targets called me.”
“You’re the one who called this afternoon,” JingYuan suddenly broke his silence and asked. “Who did he ask you to investigate?”
Chen Feng didn’t dare to hide anything. He immediately dug out the paper and handed it over.
“The person who drove at Miss XueQing today is this man,” Chen Feng said, pointing out Wei Quan’s name.
JingYuan stared so hard down at the handwritten piece of paper that it seemed like he was trying to bore a hole in Wei Quan’s name through sheer force of will.
After a pause, he said, “What did you find?”
Chen Feng told the Bai family and JingYuan everything he’d found out about Wei Quan.
“Woman?” Yan spoke up. “What woman?”
Chen Feng took out his phone and showed them the photo of the woman and Wei Quan heading into the rental car shop that afternoon. The lady in the picture only had a sliver of her side-profile showing but that didn’t prevent JingYuan from instantly recognising her.
“Tao Qi!” JingYuan spat out through gritted teeth. His eyes glared at the phone screen.
“Tao Qi? Why does this name sound so familiar? Ah, right,” XueQing gasped in shock. “Lil Bro’s girlfriend?”
It was only when the words left her mouth did she realise she’d misspoken. She hurriedly glanced at JingYuan. His face had turned a sickly green. His lips were pursed in a tight line.
“Why would this woman want me dead?” XueQing cautiously continued. “We don’t even know each other. Right?”
“That will be a question for her,” JingYuan darkly said.
“How did Lil Bro know there’s something wrong with this man? Why did he have Chen Feng investigate these men out of the blue?” Yan mused.
JingYuan tilted his head and supported it with a hand. “Ever since XueQing and TianYang confirmed their relationship, HanHan had been worried. About two weeks ago, he asked Jiang Hua to look into all of XueQing’s suitors. He said he was afraid the more easily agitated suitors might not accept the relationship and splash acid at XueQing and TianYang.”
“Jiang Hua…” Yan muttered. His heart started racing for some unknown reason. He looked at the paper Chen Feng handed over. He continued, “The organisation method used here is certainly Jiang Hua’s style.”
“He must’ve been traumatised by his kidnapping,” XueQing murmured. She was both touched and upset by the thought.
“I thought so too,” JingYuan said. “Who knew that HanHan’s blind guess really dug up a sinister plan and he just so happened to have found him.”
“First, it’s HanHan. He was the target for attack after attack,” FuRen mused. His brows scrunched together in a frown. “Then, it’s XueQing. The mastermind isn’t just targeting HanHan. They’re after the Bai family. HanHan, XueQing, Yan, even I, are all ‘their’ targets.”
JingYuan closed his eyes and said, “Everyone might be ‘their’ target, but this matter might not be ‘their’ doing. Uncle, what happened today and what happened to HanHan don’t seem to have been done by the same person. The mastermind behind the attacks targeting HanHan is very thorough. There was a plan for every step of the way. They also hid their identity extremely well. This person behind the incident this time, however, was clearly much more crass in their methods.”
“Just what did our family do to have made so many enemies?” XueQing exhaled in frustration. “They’ve all popped out of the woodwork and they all want the lives of us three siblings!”
“Calm down, XueQing,” FuRen said, patting her on the shoulder. “The police are still investigating HanHan’s case. They don’t have a lead yet but today’s incident…Chen Feng, you’ll handle it yourself. You must find me the woman in that photo before the police does. I’d like to ask her just what my family did to make an enemy of her!”
Chen Feng was already ill at ease with himself because a mistake on his part had put the Little Master in danger’s way. Upon hearing Bai FuRen’s order, he immediately stood to attention.
“Don’t worry, sir,” Chen Feng solemnly replied. “I’ll bring that woman to you even if I have to risk my life!” He then shot a look at the closed doors of the Emergency Room before marching off.
XueQing collapsed back on her chair. She’d instinctively shot to her feet when her emotions overwhelmed her.
“I’m so very tired of being stuck at such a disadvantage!” XueQing roared with a frustrated ruffle of her hair. “That man was definitely gunning for me yet HanHan was the one who’s hurt. TianYang also broke a leg! They’ve both gotten hurt in my place. Aaargh! I’d rather the one who was hurt is me!”
Yan leaned down and hugged his sister around the shoulders. “Don’t be like this, XueQing,” he softly said. “They love you. They don’t want you hurt. It’s why they’d do anything to protect you, even if they’re injured in the process. Being well is the best way to reciprocate.”
JingYuan nodded in agreement and patted XueQing on the shoulder.
The time they spent waiting was long and arduous. During the wait, Captain Chen Jing and Fang Yi had rushed into the hospital. After getting a detailed statement on what happened, they went to look in on Wei Quan.
YiHan’s car crashed into the silver Volkswagen on the passenger side. Wei Quan was merely knocked unconscious due to the impact. He suffered no major injuries. Not long after arriving at the hospital, he woke up. He quickly realised something was off with his surroundings and tried to run away. However, the Bai family bodyguards swiftly stopped his escape attempt and kept him confined to his ward.
Throughout the interrogation, Wei Quan acted like a delirious crazy man who kept mumbling and rambling utter nonsense. He even loudly proclaimed he had a history of mental illness. He can’t be held accountable. Also, he clearly remembered not having killed anyone anyway. When the man spoke, every sentence made sense. Combined with his occasional bursts of blather certainly matched how a mentally ill patient would act.
Captain Chen and Fang Yi decided to transfer Wei Quan back to the station for further questioning. Before they left, they asked the Bai family to contact them when YiHan and TianYang woke up so the police could get their statements too. The two police officers also assured the family they would do their best in finding and interrogating Tao Qi, the one suspected of pushing Wei Quan to commit the crime.
Thankfully, YiHan suffered no lasting injuries. The doctors said it was fortunate he had his safety belt on. While the front of the car was heavily dented, the driver’s seat suffered no damages. Thus, YiHan’s injuries merely came from the impact. He would suffer a slight concussion but completely fine otherwise.
YiHan woke up the next morning and was in a good enough mood to joke around.
“I didn’t have a smart mind to begin with,” YiHan said. “And after hitting my head so many times, I was probably going to be even more stupid than before.”
XueQing gently embraced him and whispered, “It doesn’t matter if you turn into a fool. I’ll protect you forever.”
Sadly, this heart-warming scene was ruthlessly shattered by JingYuan. He dragged XueQing aside and took her spot. He even shot a warning glare at her.
XueQing: …Damn it! Can’t I even hug my own little brother now? What has the world come to? Hmph. I’ll go to my boyfriend!
In spite of his whirling migraine, YiHan’s smile shone bright and showed off two deep dimples.
When TianYang came to, the first person he saw was his mother, sitting by his bed and staring at him in worry.
“Mom, why are you here?” he asked with a smile.
A slender, manicured finger reached out and gently poked him on the forehead.
“You broke a leg,” she said. “How could I not be here?”
TianYang answered her with another bright smile. He looked around then his shoulders drooped slightly in disappointment.
“XueQing hasn’t come to visit?” he asked. “Ah, right. She must be taking care of YiHan. How is he?”
“Look at you,” came the unhappy reply. “You just woke up and all you think about is Bai XueQing. If not for her, you wouldn’t be hurt. Does your leg not hurt anymore?”
“Mom, I know you’re worried for me but just like how my father loves you,” TianYang warmly replied, a hand reaching out to hold his mother’s hand. “I too love XueQing. Protecting one’s loved ones is part of being human, is it not? You’ve always told me I had to treat my future wife well.”
His mother was rendered speechless at that. Yes. That was just part of humanity and she certainly would tell her son that line over and over again, but her heart rejected the notion upon seeing her own son getting hurt over it.
She blinked hard. “Even so,” she said. “You love her so you wish to do all you can to protect her. But what about her? Does she love you? Look. She hasn’t even been by to see you.”
“If she’s not here,” he said, smile as bright as ever. “That means she must be with YiHan. Speaking of YiHan, you remind me of what happened back then. If YiHan hadn’t driven into that crazy man’s car in such a suicidal manner, XueQing would probably be fine but I would very much be dead. YiHan’s act saved me. You still haven’t told me. How is he now?”
His mother hurried over to cover his mouth. “What are you rambling on about?” She could feel her heart racing. “How could you talk about your death as if it’s nothing? Aren’t you afraid of cursing yourself? Don’t worry! Bai YiHan’s fine. Just a concussion. He just needs to rest.”
“That’s good,” TianYang let out a sigh of relief as he said so. “Did you know? When we first opened up that door, all we could see was YiHan sitting there in the driver’s seat with his face covered in blood. I nearly fainted from shock. If anything happens to YiHan, I’ll never be able to live the rest of my life in peace. When he banged into the silver car like a mad man, he was so crazed that it didn’t matter to him it was a suicidal move. Mom, he truly thinks of me as his brother-in-law, as family. I can feel it.”
“My son has always been a smart boy,” Mom commented, head nodding along. “You’ve never ever made me worry. Since you think so well of him, he must be a good kid. Relationships are about give and take. When you marry XueQing in the future, remember to treat him like he’s your own brother.”
“You think XueQing and I will get married too, don’t you?” TianYang asked, his two eyes twinkling. “I just know XueQing and I are the most suited for each other.”
His mother froze at that. “My foolish little son,” she sighed, ruffling his hair in exasperation. “Just look at you. The battle of love has yet to start but you’ve already lost.”
1. Scene where YiHan woke up: This scene originally had no quoted dialogue. However, all text was written in such a way they might as well be actual dialogue. It’s a storytelling technique some writers use to blur the line between dialogue and narration, which would make a horror story even more horrifying, a simple statement seem more questionable. Here, it’s simply used because the author wishes to speed time along and doesn’t want to spend too much time on setting the scene. However, all information needed for the scene were already written, so quotation marks are added for readability/consistency with the chapter’s style.
2. Fool/stupid: There’s always an issue when translating the word 傻 (sha). Not only does it mean for “stupid”, “foolish” and “silly”, it also means “retard”. How can the implications be translated without sounding offensive? How can the implication remain an implication when the English equivalent is explicit? How to best preserve the light-hearted tone that always has the chance of being passive-aggressive/mocking? Here, YiHan means to say “retard(ed)” but he clearly meant it in a light-hearted tone and his family had/would’ve no issues with YiHan saying that of himself.
Fun fact – “retard” being a slur (that needed to be erased) only came into the English public conscious around the late 2000s and early 2010s. This event (for political correctness) has yet to happen to the Chinese language.