202. Fed to the Dogs
“Father, your words sound like you’re siding with outsiders,” Yan Miao darkly said. “I’ve only said one sentence about something that can’t be explicitly talked about. They keep going after me, a lone woman. How am I wrong? Your daughter is suffering. How can you not help your own family and defend outsiders?”
The old Mr Yan’s face went dark. “How are you wrong? I don’t even know where I should start from! Just one sentence? Do you still not realise how serious your words were? What did you say? You explicitly claimed Bai YiHan’s marriage to Mu JingYuan is just a business transaction!
“Is that something you can casually throw out? Have you witnessed them making the deal? How can you have the courage to claim that when it’s all based on your own unbacked hypothesis? Those weren’t mere words. It was clearly a declaration of war! Not only did your words insult Bai YiHan and the love the two men hold beloved, but you’ve also insulted the years of friendship between the Bai and Mu families! Even if the Five Great Families aren’t equal in power and we, the Yan family, dominate them, you cannot say something like that in a public situation!
“Miao-Miao, you’re no longer a child. Do you not know what should and should not be said? How dare you say that Mu JingYuan and the Bai family were being intolerant. The three families are acting together yet the He family is still standing. This is because they held back out of respect to the Yan family! Do you think that your useless husband can really hold off the three powerful families all by himself? You blame your brother and me for not helping out but it’s because we didn’t make a move that they were merciful!
“Can you look a little deeper, a little further when judging situations? Don’t just look at the surface. Also, do you truly not understand why the Chen family joined in? The Bai family has been insulted. Chen TianYang would fly into a rage on behalf of Bai XueQing. Isn’t that normal? Can you use your brain before you speak? Can you weigh the pros and cons of your words before you utter them?
“You speak without care or concern. It’s easy to see just how many people you offend on a regular basis and yet you don’t regret anything or reflect on yourself. How dare you say you’re suffering! Even with your brother and me around, this city will never be a place where you can just throw your weight around without consequences!”
When Miao heard her father blaming her in every word he spoke, her anger flew through the roof. It was clear that these powerful men were ganging up on her, a woman. Why was everyone saying it was her fault? She could brush it aside when those words are from outsiders who didn’t have the guts to say them to her face. When He Yuan exploded and mentioned it to her once, she had slapped him in retaliation. But now, it was her father who spoke those words. All she could do was raise her voice.
“You don’t have the balls to care about me because you’re afraid of those three families.” Miao’s voice trembled. “Why must you push all the blame onto me? Bai YiHan is the esteemed Little Master of the Bai family yet he must sully himself by lying beneath Mu JingYuan. Isn’t it obvious that it’s a business transaction? Why must you pretty up the facts?
“Also, how are they being merciful? The He Group could hold on until now because the He family is not a family that could be easily defeated on a whim! It only proves just how much effort Yuan has put into the company over the years! The He family’s in trouble. Again and again, I call home but you refuse to help me. It looks like your love for me is just something you speak of. It’s extremely limited. If these men even had an ounce of respect for the Yan family, as you mentioned, they could pretend that they didn’t hear me. They’d just laugh it off. Why are they being so serious over some words I mistakenly spoke? I am the daughter of the Yan family. They don’t respect you at all, so why are you defending them? Just who is confused and lost here?”
Pain flashed through the old Mr Yan’s eyes at Miao’s words. “Can you not feel for yourself whether my love for you is merely for show? Do you think you’re some god, that everyone must make way for you? Do you think that just because you are a daughter of the Yan family and the wife of the He family head, you can loudly gossip at your nephew’s engagement party? And because of that, the Bai and Mu families should just brush aside your words with a laugh? You have never once suffered or been wronged. As a daughter of the main branch of the Yan family, you think that you’re so high and mighty. But have you ever considered the fact that Bai YiHan’s status isn’t any lower than yours?
In fact, he might be even more important than you! The best evidence is how three families were simultaneously enraged by one sentence from you. You don’t think about how you should make up for your mistake. Instead, you’re actually complaining and grumbling about how they don’t let you have your way. They are not your father or your brothers. They aren’t obliged to do so! In all the years I’ve lived, among all the people I’ve met, you are the only person I know who would make your niece and nephews prioritise you over them!
“You say they don’t respect me at all. I won’t keep this from you. I, Yan JianChun, have yet to be so shameless as to be someone who can make Mu JingYuan personally hear his lover be insulted and yet merely laugh and forget! There is no one in this world who can do so!
“Not only that, you’re only a daughter of the Yan family and the matriarch of the He family. You are far from being an equal match for him! Even if your worth doubles and triples to the point where the Mub family can’t afford to have you as an enemy, Mu JingYuan would still defend Bai YiHan, even if it meant being critically injured in the process! You don’t even know what kind of person you’re talking to but you still have the audacity to speak unabashedly, to publicise your extreme guesses. I’ve already said so much. I don’t mind telling you this as well. From my understanding of Mu JingYuan, his possessiveness over Bai YiHan is greater than you could’ve ever imagined. Even if you didn’t say those words, solely based on that one judging glance, Mu JingYuan would never just laugh and forget the incident!”
Miao scoffed. “Father, you only need one word to tell me whether you care for me or not? Why must you say such unpleasant words? Yes, when I was young, you certainly loved me a lot. However, ever since my marriage, my place in this house lowers by the day. My brothers have only focused on their wives ever since they were married. As for you, Father, I really daren’t say whether or not you still think of me as your daughter. You said those brats prioritise me over themselves? What an utter joke! When have they ever respected me as their aunt?”
The old Mr Yan closed his eyes in disappointment. He had lost all will to speak.
Kong Wen couldn’t help but walk back into the room. “Miao-Miao,” she said, “you have to be careful when speaking to him. Father nearly had a heart attack a few days ago because of your incident. He hasn’t been feeling well lately. We can forget about you upsetting ‘outsiders’ but your brother and I would never allow you to make him fall sick from anger.”
“He is my father,” Miao angrily said. “I don’t need an outsider like you worrying.”
The old Mr Yan’s hand came up to support his head. He was about to speak when he heard Wen speak, “In your eyes, I am certainly an outsider. However, your brother isn’t an outsider at all. I’ve called him a while ago. He should be back soon. If you’re not afraid of his anger, you can keep upsetting Father.”
Miao’s face twisted as she coldly retorted, “What an interesting statement. I’m having a conversation with my father. When was it your turn to interrupt? Do you think I’ll be scared if you threaten me with my big brother? I’m warning you. He is my brother. Do you think you can make him completely side with you just because you used a few tricks?”
“Yan Miao!” the old Mr Yan boomed. “Do you know who you’re speaking to? She is your sister-in-law! Can you know your place a little? Where is your respect for your brother? Other people grow more mature as they age. Why have you grown more childish instead? Who taught you to bicker and fight with your big brother’s wife at every turn? Who told you she’s an outsider?”
Miao shot to her feet. “Father!” she screeched. “I see. You and my brother have both been completely enthralled by this woman! Every word from you shows your bias for her, for an outsider! Do you still think of me as your daughter?”
“If I did not,” the old Mr Yan angrily said, “I wouldn’t have said a single word to you today. I would’ve let you just die!”
Never in Miao’s life had she heard something so harsh. “Aren’t you already watching me die with cold eyes? When I’m in trouble, you and my brother act like cowards and just stand back and watch. What use do I have for family like you?”
The old Mr Yan was so furious that he couldn’t catch his breath. His face went white. Seeing something off about the elderly man’s complexion, Wen hurriedly rushed over, thinking to help the man catch his breath. Just then, the doors slammed open with a loud bang and in walked Yan Cheng with a stormy expression on his face.
“Yan Miao!” Cheng said through gritted teeth. “Is this how you talk to Father? Don’t you know that he’s old now and he can’t be too agitated?”
The man strode into the room. It was a cold, wintry day but there was a sheer layer of sweat on his face. His breathing was harsh and uneven. It was obvious he had run home.
Wen poured out a glass of warm water and handed it to the old Mr Yan. “Father,” she softly said as she gently patted his chest, “how do you feel?”
The old Mr Yan patted Wen on the arm. He shook his head but said nothing. He looked very exhausted.
Cheng spent a moment carefully scanning his father’s face. As he did so, his face grew darker.
“Yan Miao,” Cheng said to his sister who had been standing to one side, “I thought you were just a little brash, a little reckless, but you at least love and respect Father. I never thought you would upset him so badly. What? Did you think you can fly higher because you think your wing feathers have hardened?”
When Miao saw her father go pale, fear had risen in her heart. However, her temper rose higher as she heard her brother harshly reprimand her.
“Was I wrong?” asked Miao. “When my family’s in trouble, all of you just hide away and laugh at me. I have no choice but to beg you in person. To ensure you’re not involved, you actually push all the blame to me. You’re all big, powerful men in this city. None of you can be touched. So, I’m the only one who’s easy to bully, is that it? Even if you don’t think anything of me, I am still part of the Yan family. Do you think the Yan family will look good if you let outsiders bully me? What use do I have for a father and brother who wouldn’t help with anything?”
The old Mr Yan’s eyes had slid shut.
Cheng was so furious that he took two steps forward, hand raised high. But that hand never fell. The man’s eyes were red.
Even though the slap never happened, Miao still cried out, “You actually want to hit me! Go on! It’ll be perfect if you kill me as well. The outsiders wouldn’t have to do anything then!”
Cheng’s raised hand slowly clenched into a tight fist. “Miao-Miao,” he slowly spat out through gritted teeth, “answer me this. What is a family in your eyes? What about the decades Father and I spent doting on you? Just once we don’t make up for your mistake and we’re considered useless. Tell me, then! What use do Father and I have for a daughter, a sister like you?
“For decades, you have enjoyed the status and love that came with being a daughter of the Yan family. Father fulfilled every whim you ever had. Let me ask you another question. What have you ever done for him? He hasn’t even tasted a single bite of food made by you! Don’t you feel guilty for saying what you said? You… Do you have a heart? I think the love, the blood, sweat and tears Father spent on you had all been fed to the dogs!”