Jolted back to his senses by Kong Wen’s shout, Yan Cheng frantically called for an ambulance. The couple didn’t dare move the old Mr Yan. They left him on top of Kong Wen until the paramedics arrived. The ambulance’s siren echoed throughout the city as the old Mr Yan was once more sent into the emergency theatre.
A few hours of emergency surgery later, the old Mr Yan was admitted to the ICU. Cheng and Wen sat outside in the hallway, bodies slumped over as strength left their bodies. Everyone in the Yan family was there, except Yan Miao. Even Bai YiHan and Mu JingYuan had rushed over. Cheng, a tough man through and through, finally lost control. Right before everyone’s eyes, he broke down sobbing as he held on tight to his wife, who was still in shock herself. Yan Ping sent his men to put Miao under house arrest. She was forbidden from visiting the old Mr Yan.
The old Mr Yan eventually recovered from the brink of danger a few days later. He was transferred to a normal ward where he’d stay for another month. Cheng stayed by his side the entire time, taking care of his father in every way including helping the elderly man relieve himself, wiping his father down and feeding the old Mr Yan. He never allowed anyone else to help out. Wen and Ping knew that Cheng was scared beyond his wits and still feeling guilty, so they didn’t try and fight him on it.
Cheng handed the flash drive to Ping who personally arranged for that shady “club” to be taken down. However, for the sake of Ping’s career, Miao’s involvement was kept secret. As for what would happen to Miao, the family had been debating non-stop about it. Unable to come to a conclusion, they had only placed her under house arrest with all of her shares and assets taken away. She was even more bankrupt than He Yuan. Miao began to cry and shout in her room every single day. She even went on a hunger strike. Upon noticing everyone ignoring her, she slowly calmed herself down.
It was nearly April by the time the old Mr Yan was healthy enough to be discharged from the hospital. By then, there was a new piece of shocking news in the city: the city’s university was moving.
The university was originally located in the middle of the city. It occupied a great deal of land but it was hard for them to expand any further. Furthermore, many of the campus buildings were old and required maintenance. The board decided to secretly purchase some land in the southern districts to rebuild their campus. The land was double the size of the original campus so as to provide for the university’s needs. In support of the city’s education sector, the city officials have started up two new public transport lines to the area. With various development projects like road expansions planned, the southern district’s restructuring was off to a blazing start.
The Yan family was the first to know. However, with JingYuan’s previous act of “lighting the beacons and pranking the nobles” for Bai YiHan’s happiness, JingYuan and the Bai family had taken more than half of the properties in the southern districts. By the time the Yan family acted, only a few properties remained in the edges of the district. With the Bai and Mu families working together, they could’ve bought everything in the area. However, JingYuan felt that they shouldn’t be too extreme. Everything would be fine if the southern district remained useless, but if YiHan was right and the area became a “treasure” in the future, it would be considered rude of them to leave nothing for everyone else. The properties they had acquired were already enough to make YiHan jump with joy. They had enough. The Yan family might’ve been hit with problem after problem, but they weren’t bad judges. Even if most of the profits had been taken and there were only scraps left behind, they wouldn’t turn their nose up on it. They were able to purchase the remaining lands before anyone else could act.
When the news was publicly announced, countless property developers swarmed to the area. Those who acted early and snapped up any ounce of scrap left would be beaming with ecstasy. Those unfortunate enough to miss out would be left fantasising and sighing at how no one could ever compete with the shrewdness of great families. After all, they were big for a reason.
The Chen and Qi families were left behind. If they couldn’t obtain large pieces of land, they wouldn’t bother scavenging for scraps with the crowd.
At the end of everything, the city’s hierarchy had been reshuffled. The Bai and Mu families were initially weaker than the Yan family. They were only able to stand on an equal footing to the Yan family due to their close friendship and years of helping each other. When YiHan and JingYuan’s engagement was announced, the two families showed signs of growing stronger than the Yan family as the Bai and Mu families were nearly joined by then. In the restructuring of the southern district, the Bai and Mu families profited most. Their net worth grew even higher. In a blink, they had turned into the most powerful families in the city. The Yan families acted swiftly, Combined with their deep roots in the city, the Yan family was right behind the two families in terms of influence. Next came the Chen family. While they weren’t able to obtain any lands, they had Bai XueQing.
Not only did XueQing own shares in the Bai Group, but she also played a big role in purchasing land in the southern district. This was a collaboration between the Bai and Mu families. The Bai family provided the finances while JingYuan provided manpower. XueQing was also a shareholder in this project. As the Bai and Chen families’ wedding day grew closer, the Bai family had stated that XueQing would be bringing with her everything that was hers. Furthermore, she would be bringing a few properties in the southern districts with her as her dowry. Of course, included in her dowry were many more minor assets here and there.
This series of events gave a big slap to the face of those who were jealous of the Bai family and how they’d used two children to garner the support of two up and coming powerful men. The Bai family wasn’t using their daughter to entice the Chen family. Instead, the Chen family had found gold!
The addition of XueQing to the Bai family was akin to giving a tiger wings, making them stronger than before. Of the original Five Great Families, the only family who gained nothing out of the restructuring was the Qi family. While they were weaker before, it wasn’t obvious. After such a major shake-up, the other four families had strode forward while the Qi family was left standing where they were. Although the other families still couldn’t compete with the Qi family, it still left a big gap between the Qi family and the other four. Now, people only said there were five great families in the city merely to be polite to the Qi family. Of course, other power struggles are happening in the city. The He family was exterminated. The Feng and Li families were too scared to do anything but lay low. Naturally, someone else would be there to fill in the holes left behind. In April that year, some rejoiced while others wept.
In all honesty, the person who benefited the most from the restructuring was Bai YiHan, as it was YiHan who proposed purchasing property in the southern district. JingYuan initially thought this purchase would most likely lead to no profits or losses. In order to make YiHan happy, he registered most of the purchases under YiHan’s name. If the gamble paid off, the profits would go to YiHan. The younger man would be ecstatic then and he could gain some pocket money. If the gamble failed, then it’d be JingYuan’s loss. He’ll sneakily pay back the losses incurred. JingYuan never imagined the gamble could’ve paid off this much. YiHan owned nearly half the shares in this project. YiHan’s net worth rose as fast as the high tides crashing in. Solely based on this project, YiHan would be able to live in luxury for several lifetimes, even if he lost JingYuan or the Bai family in the future.
JingYuan turned to look at YiHan. The young man was sitting on the sofa. As he read through his novel and munched on some chips, he’d occasionally look up to shoot JingYuan a goofy smile. JingYuan let out a soft chuckle, shoulders shaking up and down. What was this meant to be? Fool’s luck?
YiHan looked at JingYuan and tilted his head. The other man looked so handsome when he was smiling.
“What has made you so happy that you’re smiling like that?” YiHan asked, subconsciously chuckling as well.
“Come here,” said JingYuan, stretching one hand out.
YiHan placed down his potato chip and wiped his hands clean with a wet wipe. “What is it?” he asked, walking over to the older man.
“Do you know what has changed with you?” JingYuan asked, holding the other man by the hand.
YiHan’s eyes darted down to look at himself. “No. What is it?” he asked. He pinched himself on the waist. “Have I grown fat?” he dejectedly asked. “I’ve told you to not give me so much food. You insisted on letting me eat!”
JingYuan grabbed YiHan’s hands, preventing the younger man from tormenting his own waist. “You have not,” JingYuan said, laughter evident in his voice. “Nothing has happened. You’re fine as you are.”
“Really?” YiHan asked, giving JingYuan a sceptical look. “Don’t try to pacify me. I’m a man. Even if I’ve really grown fat, I won’t collapse from shock.”
“It’s true,” JingYuan solemnly said. “I guarantee you, I am the authority on whether you have grown fat.”
“Then, what has changed with me?” YiHan asked.
JingYuan held YiHan’s hands and looked into the younger man’s bright and confused eyes. He then let out another chuckle before leaning his forehead against the younger man’s stomach.
“I misspoke,” JingYuan softly said. “You haven’t changed. You haven’t changed at all.”
YiHan looked down in bewilderment at the man who had abruptly gone emotional and was rubbing his cheeks against YiHan’s stomach.
In the middle of May, the weather grew warmer. Mrs Liu, a servant of the Yan family, brought the tray of food up to the innermost room on the second floor. The man guarding the door opened the door. Sighing, Mrs Liu stepped in while the man closed the door behind her.
Not long after, a shriek could be heard from within. The man was about to open the door when Mrs Liu dashed out.
“The Third Miss has committed suicide!” shouted Mrs Liu. “Someone, help! She’s killed herself!”
Wen just so happened to be heading up the stairs then. “What did you say?” she gasped in shock.
“Miss Miao has committed suicide!” Mrs Liu said, panicking.
Wen quickly walked into the room to find Miao all dressed up and lying still on the bed. There were a few empty bottles of medicine messily strewn about the bedside table.
Startled, Wen hurriedly walked to Miao. She was about to check if the other woman was still alive when the man at the door noticed something out of the corner of his eye.
“Madam, don’t go near her!” he hollered.
Wen was taken aback. By the time she wanted to retreat back to the door, it was too late. Miao leapt out of bed. The hand that was hiding by her side was actually holding a sharpened toothbrush!
Miao wrapped an arm around Wen’s neck and aimed the sharpened end of the toothbrush at Wen’s throat. “My dear sister-in-law, you’d best not move,” Miao coldly said. “Otherwise, don’t blame me if this pierces your throat.”
The guard who had taken two steps forward upon realising the situation halted. His two eyes bore into the weapon in Miao’s hand.
“You too. Behave,” Miao said, looking up at the man. “Take one more step and I’ll tear a hole in her throat!”
Mrs Liu was stunned. “T-T…” she stammered, “Third Miss, you…”
“There, there, Mrs Liu,” Miao “gently” said. “Thank you for being concerned for me. You summoned my sister-in-law without even checking if I’m dead. You’ve helped me. I won’t forget you. Now, all of you, throw away your phones and raise up your hands. Then, walk back out.”
Mrs Liu stared at Wen, sobbing as her trembling hands threw her phone on the floor. Her quivering feet shuffled backwards. The guard had no other choice. He could only throw his phone away as well and slowly backed out of the room.
Miao held onto Wen as she forced the other two to walk backwards down the stairs. Downstairs, Cheng and the old Mr Yan had just returned from their stroll outside. Cheng was helping his father out of his shoes when his father suddenly patted him hard on the shoulder. He looked up to find his father glaring at something behind Cheng. He looked back. The sight made Cheng’s brain buzz with shock!
Wen had only just been feeling thankful that the two men were out of the house. She didn’t think they’d return just as this was happening. She couldn’t hesitate.
“Cheng!” she shouted. “Get Father out of here!”
Lighting the beacons and pranking the nobles: An idiom/quote from an old story. There once was a queen who rarely laughed. In an attempt to hear her laugh, the king pranked his vassal subjects/nobles by lighting the emergency beacons when there were no enemies to fight. The sight of the baffled nobles made the queen burst out laughing. Since then, the king would frequently prank his subjects using the beacons. When war eventually came and the emergency beacons were lit for an actual emergency, no one came to help, for the king’s subjects had all lost trust in the beacons.