But what could FangMing do? He didn’t even dare to make an enemy of Yan family’s Third Miss, let alone the Bai and Mu families who back Bai YiHan. If he argued with Bai YiHan today, Mu JingYuan would be knocking on his door tomorrow!
All FangMing could do was smile. He thought that since YouRan was close to these people, acknowledging the kid as his son meant he’d gain the support of several great families. He was expecting them to gain huge support solely because of YouRan, but at least he’d be able to lean in closer. Just that tiny bit of support was enough to make FangMing’s income multiply. Look at He Yuan. That fool married the daughter of Yan family. In just a few years, his net worth rose as fast as the ocean’s tides. Regrettably, Qi Jie was only part of the Qi branch family. The Qi family might be one of the Great Five but they were one of the weakest. Qi Jie was also not from the main family. Her worth could never be compared to Yan Miao’s. She couldn’t give him much help at all but she had an explosive temper and big ego. He had had enough of her. He thought the sudden luck of the son he pretended didn’t exist was a gift from the gods. He didn’t think this brat, this traitorous son, would harbour so much animosity for him. The kid didn’t buy his plea at all. Instead, it resulted in the powerful kids he befriended turning hostile against him!
“Let’s not talk about whether they’re your children based on their gender,” Yan said. “It’s not the first day or the second that YouRan has been living ‘outside’ alone. Mr Chu, if it really hurts you to see it, you needn’t have waited until today. Furthermore,” he held YouRan’s hand as his blank voice turned soft, “YouRan and I are together now. While I haven’t had time to tell my family, this will not change. From today on, I will be with him. I’ll take care of him. In the future, we’ll be married. My family would be his family then. His loneliest days are gone. Mr Chu, if there truly is a kind, fatherly heart in you, you can stop worrying now.”
FangMing’s head went sent spinning by the news. No wonder Xu YouRan was so stubborn despite having nothing! He wasn’t even interested in the notion of being the Young Master Chu. These powerful kids were all so abnormally protective of Xu YouRan. It was all because the young man had seduced the Second Young Master of the Yan family! It was FangMing’s fault for not realising his isolated son could be so influential, thus unable to draw YouRan in earlier!
Yan didn’t bother waiting for a reply. “What happens today ends here,” continued Yan. “YouRan’s opinion is clear. He doesn’t want to return to the Chu family. Mr Chu, you should also know that you, who had not fulfilled an ounce of your duties as a father, has no right to ask him to do anything. I hope you won’t visit our home without YouRan’s approval in the future. We wouldn’t want you disturbing him as he’s writing.”
Yan stood up, pulling YouRan up with him as he did so. The two men took a few steps towards the exit before Yan turned around to face FangMing again.
“Mr Chu,” said Yan, “going our separate ways, as separate as well water is from river water. This is the greatest tolerance I’ll ever have for you, his biological father. I hope we can co-exist in peace.”
At this point in the conversation, YouRan had shown absolutely no signs of softening up while Yan Yan and the other two were as adamant as ever. FangMing knew there would be no positive outcome from this meal. When it came to these people, he didn’t dare throw his weight around because he was older. No matter how unwilling he was to let things be, he didn’t have the courage to continue his outrage. All he could do was stare as the other four occupants left the room. His face was a pale green from fury.
Of the table covered in expensive and exquisite dishes, not a single bite was taken. It was an obvious sign of how badly the meeting went. Chu FangMing sat there in the room, alone. His face was gloomy. With those powerful kids protecting Xu YouRan, it was entirely impossible for FangMing to do anything to his son. Damn it. That kid was his seed yet the kid refused to be of use to him. If YouRan returned to the Chu family, would he honestly treat him badly? Especially when he had those people backing him up. Was it not a win-win proposal? That brat dared to be so ungrateful as to turn his nose up at him! He would rather follow the Second Master Yan for nothing rather than help his own father!
Both men entered a marriage of convenience. FangMing gave up on Xu JinXuan, that beautiful and cultured woman, in order to marry a fierce and ugly daughter of the Qi branch family. While FangMing succeeded in becoming family head, that was all he achieved. But that fop, He Yuan, was lucky enough to seduce the only daughter of the Yan main family. In just a few years after marrying that woman, the He family grew big and strong. The Chu family, who was well ahead of the He family, was left in the dust! How could FangMing accept that?
If YouRan married into the Yan family as the Young Master Chu, would FangMing, the father-in-law, not benefit from it?
Also, YouRan got along well with people from the Bai and Mu families. If there was anything he needed, he only needed to speak up to them! With those ties, that ugly tiger back home wouldn’t dare act all smug before FangMing then!
FangMing recalled the girl who smiled so warmly at him all those years ago. Nostalgia tugged at his heart. Unfortunately, she’s long dead. If she could’ve waited until now, he would compensate her. Even if he couldn’t marry her, it was fine to just have her as his mistress. The witch who couldn’t bear him a son at all wouldn’t have the courage to say anything!
Frankly, he truly liked Xu JinXuan. But who asked her to be a powerless orphan girl who can’t give him any help? For the sake of the bigger picture, he had to suffer and let go of her. Later on, he was fighting against his older brother and when he was first acknowledged as the family head, his hold on the position was still shaky. He needed the Qi family’s support. At the very least, he couldn’t make an enemy of them. When it came to Qi Jie, he could only hold in his anger. He didn’t dare mention a single word about Xu JinXuan. He even had to be on his guard in case she asked for him and made Qi Jie unhappy. Thankfully, Xu JinXuan was a mature person. She kept to herself and stayed silent. She never once asked for him. She even bore him a son.
What a shame she wasn’t destined to enjoy happiness. She was dead long before he could overpower Qi Jie. She was perfect in every way except for one thing. The only unsatisfactory thing about Xu JinXuan was her lack of a good family backing her up. Now, there’s another flaw to her. She didn’t raise his son properly. How did that woman raise his son? Look at that strong rebellious streak in YouRan! The younger man didn’t speak much but when he did, his words could incite anger strong enough to kill. Even so, there just had to be strong and powerful people backing the boy up. How could FangMing not be fuming with fury?
This won’t do. Even if FangMing couldn’t get a hold of YouRan now, he was the man’s father no matter what. The connection formed by their blood cannot be broken so easily. One must have filial piety for those who raised them, but what about those who are responsible for their birth? That meant YouRan can’t cut ties with FangMing!
YouRan grew up without a father. At a young age, his mother was gone. Who would think YouRan didn’t yearn for familial affection? The young man was being stubborn because of anger. As time went on, it’d be impossible for YouRan’s heart to remain as adamant. It’s such a shame the man had those powerful kids protecting him. If FangMing didn’t want to be their enemy, he’d have to avoid using force. Why else would he need to humiliate himself and gently persuade YouRan? Fine. Since the young man was the son Xu JinXuan gave to him and he was capable enough to befriend those kids, it’s not impossible for FangMing to forgive YouRan for having a small temper tantrum, if the kid knows his limits. After all, FangMing didn’t participate in raising him for the past few years. If YouRan was angry, he can just vent those emotions out. Hopefully, YouRan wouldn’t step over the line.
In YouRan’s home, the four people who had just met with FangMing lounged about in the living room.
“You guys must be tired from being dragged into my family matters,” YouRan said in a grateful tone.
“Nan Shan, what are you saying?” Pei said. “There’s no need to be so formal with us.”
YiHan stroked his chin with a hand as his other arm hung off the back of the sofa. “YouRan, what do you think of our meeting with Chu FangMing today? Do you want to go back to the Chu family? If you do, we can help you and we can ensure you won’t suffer at all once you’re there.”
Yan turned to look at YouRan as his hands reached out for YouRan’s. The other man held back. YouRan’s grip was tight. His knuckles turned white as he shook his head with a self-mocking smile.
“My family name is Xu. Why would I go to the Chu family? Anyway, he wants me not because I’m his son. It’s because I have value. I know that without you guys, he would never acknowledge me as his child.”
YiHan pursed his lips and kept quiet. YouRan’s mind was clear. He wasn’t thrown into a frenzy because of a family member’s arrival. While other people could tell that was the case, YouRan was in the middle of everything. Plus, he personally yearned and longed for familial love. It’d be hard for YouRan to have such a clear picture of the situation. YiHan knew YouRan wasn’t wrong. In YiHan’s past life, Chu FangMing never appeared. Not even when YouRan died. No one knew YouRan had a father at all. No one stepped up to collect YouRan’s ashes. No one knew where Yan Miao had the ashes be sent off to. They didn’t even know if YouRan had a proper burial.
YiHan patted YouRan on the arm and softly said, “It’s good that you can see things so clearly. While it sounds ugly, it is the truth. Chu FangMing is someone who wouldn’t wake up early unless there was something to gain. You didn’t grow up by his side. Anything he’d feel for you would be extremely limited.”
“YiHan, must you be so tactful?” Pei pouted. “I think he feels absolutely nothing for Nan Shan. Just recall what he said! It makes me so angry. Nan Shan, you were right to ignore him. If you’d fallen for his trap and went back to the Chu family with him, he might sell you off the very next day!”
“Don’t spout nonsense!” Yan barked as he glanced at YouRan.
“Why are you shouting at me?” Pei sulkily murmured. “It’s not nonsense. Good advice is hard to the ears.”
YouRan patted Yan on the back of his hand and said, “There’s no need to be so careful around me. Pei-Pei’s not wrong. I’m not that fragile either. For over twenty years, he’s ignored me. I don’t hold any childish fantasies about him anymore. Come to think of it, Pei-Pei’s strong and just words to him today really helped me vent out some of my anger.”
Pei’s heart jumped with joy at her idol’s praise. On the outside, she became even more demure and muttered, “Those words weren’t strong or just. I just didn’t have a filter. I said what I thought.”
“How rare for you to be so self-aware,” said Yan.
Pei shot Yan a glare. How dare he talk bad about her before Nan Shan! That was over the line.
“That’s good,” YiHan said with a smile. “Pei was the most suitable person to say those words. She’s just a girl. No matter what she says, Chu FangMing could only listen and not argue back.”
“The mere look of his lying face hurts me,” said Pei. “He went round and round but, in the end, the only thing he could say was Nan Shan was his son. He had no other points.”
“What else can he say other than that?” Yan coldly commented.
“True,” Pei nodded, “that’s the only thing he can say. I’ve mistakenly put the blame on him. Heh.”
“He won’t give up,” said YiHan. “Such a big, juicy piece of meat is dangling before his eyes but he just can’t get a bite of it. How could he accept that?”
“He has no choice but to accept it,” said Pei. “We aren’t scared of him, even if he wants to use force!”