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.”
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.