121. The Conclusion of Wei Quan’s Case
“This is your destiny!” Tao Qi shrieked. “You’re all just characters in a book! Your fate is what it is! None of what you said is my doing anyway!”
“Yes,” YiHan agreed. “Except for this car crash, you didn’t cause the rest of it. You merely craved for them to happen once more. When those events didn’t occur as you wished, you’d personally act and pushed us all back towards the path you said fate has paved for us. Isn’t it so? You think we’re just names in a book you’ve read. We’re not made of flesh and blood. We don’t have emotions. Yes?”
“Don’t act all accusatory,” Tao Qi rebuked in dissatisfaction. “I’ve not done anything wrong. I’ve told you. This is your fate!”
YiHan didn’t burst into rage at that, instead he laughed, “Fate? I’ve also told you; character is destiny. There’s nothing in this world that can’t be changed. Difference choices lead to different results. A tiny butterfly flapping its wings could start a hurricane. Tao Qi, aren’t you curious? How did I know of Wei Quan’s actions the moment he acted? How did I appear in time to stop him?”
His lips twisted into a smile and he softly said, “Don’t think of yourself as the master of the world. You’re not the only one who can predict the future. I’ve had my men keep an eye on that Wei Quan for a while now. The second he stepped out of that door, I was notified. How could he have succeeded? You want to be the female lead? Not while being so naive.”
Tao Qi’s eyes were bulging out of their sockets by now. “You’re also a transmigrator?” she asked, voice trembling. “No wonder everything’s wrong. It’s all because of you, isn’t it? You changed the story! You’re the one who’d been targeting me this whole time!”
YiHan’s white teeth flashed in a bizarre grin. “I’m not some transmigrator,” he mysteriously said. “I’m just a mean ghost that’s crawled out of the depths of hell.” He paused. “Tell me, why would I repeat the same dance? As for you, I didn’t even know of your existence before I saw you. Who’d have the time to plot and scheme against you? I’d let it go if you were willing to behave and use your own advantages to make yourself a millionaire. However, you’re so obsessed with killing me off. Do you think I’d obediently tie myself up and wait for death?”
Tao Qi looked at YiHan in shock. “You’re…the original Bai YiHan?” she spat out through quivering teeth. Her chest heaved as her breaths came out in harsh pants. “You died and were reborn?”
“That’s right,” YiHan’s eyes coldly bore into her eyes. They were filled to the brim with terror. “You react fast. Is it because you too had gone through the same inexplicable events? Did it make you extremely sensitive to such matters? What unfortunate coincidence. The tragedy you hoped would happen involves those I hold dear. Hence, we’re destined to be enemies to the bitter end. Tao Qi, in this world, we cannot co-exist. If you want them to suffer, then I want you dead!”
The basement was freezing cold. The dim light shone down on Bai YiHan’s ghastly face. Tao Qi couldn’t help but think of the man’s death in the novel, those sentences describing his corpse, and then link those descriptions to the man standing before her. She felt as if she was really looking at a gruesome corpse, one standing right before her. Her face was already pale from the torment she’d been through in the past few days. The horror she felt now had turned it to an ashy grey. She let out a piercing shriek.
“Why do you want to hurt me?” she yelled, her voice hoarse. “I’m not the one who killed you! Don’t hurt me! I didn’t kill you! This is a book’s world! I just want you all to follow the plot! I just want to be the female lead! Was I wrong? You changed the story on your whim! You’ll definitely be punished!”
She screamed. She cried. Her body twisted in a futile attempt to curl up but because she’d been tied to the chair, she couldn’t move anything but her head. She rabidly struggled. She used up all the strength she could muster to stay away from Bai YiHan. When one was desperate with fear, that’s when they unleash their greatest potential. Her furious struggles toppled the heavy wooden chair she was on, bringing her along with it to the ground. There, on the ground, she continued her fervent wriggling, trying her best to inch back just a little more.
YiHan sat back down on his chair and silently watched her. He sat there still as a statue until she finally ran out of strength, until she could no longer cry.
Only then, did he speak, “Tao Qi, to you, we are all just names in your so-called book. We’re not humans made of flesh and blood. But to me, my family and lover are all precious existences, and I was reborn to protect them.
“My death and rebirth had made me understand there perhaps might really exist an energy we can’t comprehend or explain. If it really does exist, then I believe it didn’t bring me back to have tragedy repeat itself. It would want me to turn it around. Your transmigration might really be your chance to change your life. Unfortunately, you’re too greedy. It’s why you’re here now with all your plans coming to nothing.
“Do no wrong by me and I won’t do wrong by others. Tao Qi, I never once thought of killing anyone but you have crossed the line. I can’t let you go on any longer. In this world, either you die or I do!”
Tao Qi stared blankly up at him. Her snot-and-tear-stained face was once more covered in tears.
YiHan packed up the toolbox he’d brought with him, turned, and walked away towards the exit of the basement. He didn’t spare a single glance for the woman on the floor. When he reached the door, he paused.
He slowly turned his head around, eyes barely looking at the stunned woman, and said, “Thank you for telling me what happened afterwards.”
He then straightened himself and pressed the bell by the door. Light slowly spilled into the room as the door opened. Face welcoming the light, step by step, YiHan walked out.
The basement was quiet once more. If not for the lightbulb still shining, one might’ve thought it was all just a hallucination. Tao Qi laid there on the floor. Images flashed through her mind as her emotions flickered between glazed astonishment and hysteria. She’d recall the joy she felt upon realising she’d transmigrated. She’d recall the ecstasy she’d felt at living in a mansion, owning luxury brand goods she’d never dared dream of owning. She’d recall the humiliation she’d suffered under Li Sun and Wei Quan. She’d recall the insidious and terrifying Bai YiHan. Finally, her mind settled on the kindly faces of her parents prior to her transmigration.
Tears rolled down her face once more. In this very moment, she missed her parents in another world more than ever. She finally understood it now. This world might mean she could be a female lead with all of the role’s glory and power, but it also meant she could never have someone who loved her as unconditionally as her parents. Deep in her heart, she knew even if she got married to the male lead after Bai YiHan’s death, all she’d obtain would be the name of being Madam Mu.
Back when she read the novel, she thought the cold, aloof and unromantic male lead was just even-tempered and socially awkward. Laughably, she even thought such a man would be very cool. It was only when she encountered the true Mu JingYuan, the one with Bai YiHan by his side, did she realise this man could also be kind and gentle. The man’s heart already had an owner. It was impossible for anyone else to step a foot in his heart, not even a sliver of an inch. However, humans only ever believed in what they wish were true. She wasn’t willing to face the truth. She was just deluding herself.
So, it didn’t matter if Chen TianYang and Bai YiHan died, did it? Was her existence doomed to be a joke forever? She regretted it so much now. Could she still go back home?
Her mouth opened wide in a soundless scream: Dad, Mom, save me! Didn’t you always say you loved me the most? Why won’t you come save me? I hate you! I hate this world! Why? Why can’t you be more kind to me? I’m just a girl. I just want to live a better life! Is that wrong?
With the admiring (?) gaze boring into him, YiHan left the basement and returned to his room. He took another shower to wash away the stench of the basement. As he walked out of the bathroom, a smile crept up his face at the sight of that familiar hair dryer. After drying his hair, he carefully pulled back the blankets and snuggled into the warm bed.
JingYuan was still in the same position YiHan had left him in. The older man was sound asleep. A kind of quiet innocence had settled upon those sharp brows. His long lashes fanned out against his lower eyelids, casting a faint shadow on his cheeks.
YiHan gazed warmly up at the man. A slim finger reached out and lightly tapped that straight nose. A giggle escaped his throat. He leaned up and pecked the other man on the lips.
“Look at you,” YiHan whispered. “All tall and strong. Only I know your lips are soft and tender. JingYuan, I really love you. This time, let me protect you. I won’t let you go through that agony anymore. Okay?”
There was no reaction from the other man. His breath remained calm and even.
“I’ll take your silence as a yes,” YiHan chuckled. “From today on, you are mine. You’re not allowed to flirt around anymore.”
YiHan gently rubbed his nose against JingYuan’s cheek. He huddled closer. His head wriggled close into the other’s chest. He let out a soft exhale. His arms tightly wrapped around the other’s waist.
When JingYuan opened his eyes the next morning, he gazed down at the sleeping face of YiHan in silence. It took him a long moment before he eventually rose and arranged for expert interrogators to head into the basement. YiHan had been up and about until late in the night. Thus, he slept well into the morning. It was nearly noon when he woke up. By the time he got dressed and headed downstairs, the interrogators were already done with their report.
At the sight of YiHan, JingYuan smiled and said, “You’re up. Let’s head back to the hospital for your follow-up.”
Guilt began to build in YiHan. Due to the trust the older man had for him and the effects of the sleeping pills, perhaps JingYuan wouldn’t realise there was something wrong with the glass of honey water last night. With how smart the man was, JingYuan could instantly see through YiHan’s tricks, as long as he spent a moment to think about it. YiHan thought the older man would be angry. He never imagined the man wouldn’t mention a single word about what had happened at all. Was the man planning on getting his just compensation later?
Today because of the guild he felt, YiHan was even more well-behaved. If JingYuan asked him to head east, he would never think about going west. If JingYuan told him to hit a dog, YiHan wouldn’t try and push a chicken. YiHan went through the tests and the results came back fine. He could be discharged from the hospital to rest in his own home. Upon noticing JingYuan’s good mood at YiHan’s test results, the younger man let out a breath he didn’t realise he’d been holding.
When the two men returned from the hospital, the Bai family had notified the police to take Tao Qi into custody. Captain Chen Jing personally led the men in charge of arresting the blanked-out woman. Officer Fang Yi was there too, but he didn’t leave with the squad. After sending off the captain’s car, he turned to YiHan.
“YiHan, there’s been a conclusion to Wei Quan’s case,” said Fang Yi.
“Forcefully sent into a mental hospital?” YiHan asked as he led the man into the house.
The officer sternly nodded. “Yes. His mother brought proof of his history of mental illness. Even so, she still caused a big ruckus crying and screaming at the station for nearly half the day.”
JingYuan followed behind the duo. He didn’t say a word but something flashed across his eyes.