214. Another Family Member Added
“I’m biting the hand that fed me?” asked Yan Miao. “Just who’s the confused one here? To think I still came back asking for help after being bullied. I trusted you and what did I get in return? You locked me up in my room just because I joined in on a little business venture. How are you any different to He Yuan?”
“Can that be considered a ‘little business venture’?” Yan Cheng loudly responded. “That is an inhumane trade!”
“Ah-Cheng, there’s no use talking to her about this,” the old Mr Yan interrupted. “You won’t get through to her. She only thinks about herself. Other people aren’t human to her. They’re things that can be categorised as either useful or useless.”
“See,” Miao angrily said. “No matter what happens, you guys only ever blame me. You would always push the blame on me. You know, between you and He Yuan, I despise you more! He had nothing to do with me. He only used me because he was black-hearted. But you are my family! I treated you like family. When I was in pain, I came to you first. What about you? You put on a kind face and said you’d give me some shares but then you’d take everything away from me just because of a simple, unimportant mistake! I have nothing now: no lover, no shares, no assets and no family. I hate you! I swore that I would make everyone who wronged me pay the price! I don’t want to live anyway. Haven’t you always said you love me, you cherish me? Why don’t we all die together?”
“You’re mad!” Kong Wen roared. “Yan Miao, you’re out of your mind! Your brother hasn’t done anything wrong by you! Let him go!”
“Wen, don’t speak!” the old Mr Yan barked.
As the elderly man expected, Miao flew off the handle the moment she heard Wen speak. “He hasn’t done anything wrong by me, but you?” Miao spat, hands clenching hard around Wen’s neck. “Ever since you married into our family, you’ve been antagonising me every single day. You drove a wedge between my brother and me. You taught Hui and the rest to stay away from me, to be hostile towards me. Wasn’t it all for what’s happening now? I have never done anything to you! Why must you do this to me?”
Wen’s neck pulsed in pain from the bleeding wounds Miao left and Miao’s strangling hold, yet the pain ignited the bloodlust in the woman who had been gentle and polite her whole life. She knew the old Mr Yan didn’t want her to speak because he was afraid she’d upset Miao further and cause more harm to herself. However, Wen was feeling contrary now. She insisted on angering Miao.
“I have done nothing to you and I have never provoked anyone to do anything!” Wen hoarsely shouted as she struggled against Miao’s stranglehold. “On the contrary, you have always been hostile towards me! Your own actions are also why Hui and the other kids don’t like you! Why don’t you think about how you’ve treated them? From the day they were born until now, have you ever acted like a proper elder? Look around. Which kid must compromise and make way for their aunt? Which kid had to let their aunt have anything nice, be it food or toy? No matter what relationship it is, one must always give before they can take! You don’t act like an aunt, yet you want to be respected as an aunt. Dream on!”
“They are boys,” Miao shrieked. “I might be in an older generation but I’m not much older than them! Why should I yield to their wants?”
“What about Pei-Pei then?” Wen kept pushing. “Pei-Pei is the youngest and she’s also a girl. Even so, you still fight with her over anything that catches your eye. Not only that, but you also had to upstage her. You are her aunt. Why don’t I see you doing anything for her? Why must she be close to you?”
“I’m only her aunt, not her mother,” Miao said, glaring back at Wen. “Why should I be nice to her?”
“You are so right,” Wen said. “You’re only their aunt, not their mother. Why should the children be nice to you?”
Cheng’s heart hurt at the sight of his wife who refused to keep talking even though she was on the brink of death. He understood his wife had been suppressing herself for so long that she couldn’t stop once she started.
“Wen, stop,” Cheng said, voice trembling. “She’s mad. She won’t listen to you. Why…”
“There certainly won’t be an understanding reached here,” Miao heatedly said. “We might as well all just die here then. There won’t be any grudges left unresolved then!”
“When I was in the kitchen just now,” Miao said, smiling as she pulled out a lighter, “I turned on the stove and left the gas on. Combined with the oil I’d just spilt, one little spark and all of us will be sent to the otherworld!”
Liu Yu took a few deep breaths. If the worst happened, he could go berserk. He wouldn’t have time to think too much. One life saved was better than nothing.
The old Mr Yan turned to calmly look at the man. That glance calmed Liu Yu’s agitation. He knew the elderly man wouldn’t give up on saving Kong Wen. If he moved now, Miao would drag Wen down to hell. Liu Yu let out a large exhale. He had to calm down and find another opportunity.
Just then, someone knocked on the front doors. “Grandfather, I’m here!” a young girl’s voice joyfully called out.
Miao’s gaze sharpened. As a big smile spread across her face, Cheng’s heart dropped.
“Pei-Pei, run!” Cheng shouted.
Liu Yu had his eyes trained on Miao’s hands. The moment her knife left Wen’s neck, he will take Miao down. However, while Miao’s eyes bore into the doors, her knife remained stuck to Wen’s bloody neck.
“Brother, you’d best not to scream and shout too much,” Miao softly said. “What if my hands shake? Your wife’s neck will be bleeding.”
Pei heard nothing of what’s going on inside. When no one answered the door, she pulled out her copy of the mansion’s keys and opened the door herself.
Upon hearing the door unlock, Cheng and the old Mr Yan both sighed.
Pei locked the door behind her. The sight that greeted her after walking past the foyer drew a shriek out of her mouth.
“Aunt, what are you doing?” Pei screamed, taking a few steps back.
“Behave, Pei-Pei,” said Miao. “Since you’re here, you can accompany us.” Miao gestured to the knife in her hand. “As usual, throw your phone away.”
Pei was terrified to the point of tears at the sight of her grandfather and uncle tied up together while her aunt’s neck was covered in blood. Her hands were trembling as she pulled her phone out of her bag. She was about to put it on the floor when it suddenly rang. Startled, Pei’s hands accidentally pressed on the button to answer the call.
“Pei-Pei, are you there yet?” YiHan asked over the phone. “Tell Grandpa Yan that I’ll be there soon.”
With the call answered, Miao didn’t dare speak too loudly in case Bai YiHan realised something was wrong. Glaring at Pei, she moved her knife closer to Wen’s neck and mouthed, “Go on speakerphone and tell him to go back.”
Blood flowed once more from Wen’s neck. Frightened, Pei did as she was told and put YiHan on speaker.
“It’s fine!” Pei loudly replied. “You don’t need to come!”
Miao bared her teeth at Pei in a wicked grin. Tears streaked faster down Pei’s cheeks.
“What is it?” YiHan asked. “Didn’t we promise Grandpa to play chess with him today?”
“Grandfather, he…” Pei did her best to speak calmly without crying, too afraid her voice would betray her. “He doesn’t feel well. The doctor said he needs to rest. He said you don’t need to come now.”
“What?” gasped YiHan. “He was feeling well a few days ago. Why is he sick now? When did it happen?”
“He was unwell not long after you left last time,” Pei said. “It’s nothing major but the doctor said he had to rest in peace and quiet. Guests are discouraged.”
“Oh, I see,” YiHan said. There was a moment of pause before he continued, “Is it because he was too emotional during our last chess session?”
Pei stared at her aunt’s neck while working hard to make her voice sound normal. “P-Perhaps.”
There was another pause on YiHan’s end. “I understand. We’ve always traded losses and wins during our chess sessions, but he kept losing last time. Maybe he was too wound up from then. His heart isn’t in the best health. It would fall ill occasionally. That’s my fault. When I visit him in the future, I’ll try to stay away from chess so that he doesn’t get so agitated.”
Pei’s teary eyes blinked. “Okay,” she said, glancing at the old Mr Yan whose eyes were shining brightly. “The doctor also said that he shouldn’t be playing these games since he has a bad heart.”
“Okay, then,” said YiHan. “I won’t be visiting today. JingYuan had an appointment with the wedding outfit designer at ten. I’ll go sit in as well. I wonder if it’ll be too late if I rush over now. Tell Grandpa Yan to rest well. Everything will get better. Relax.”
Pei turned to look at the clock on the wall. It was nine-fifty. Looking back down at her grandfather who winked at her, she gently gnawed on her lower lip in thought.
“No problem,” Pei said into the phone, nodding her head emphatically. “You won’t be late. Go on. See you.”
“See you,” YiHan said before hanging up.
“You did well in making him go back,” Miao chuckled. She cocked her head at the remaining loose rope on the floor. “Now, throw the phone aside and tie yourself up as well.”
Pei slowly shuffled over, picked up the rope and tied her hands up. She glanced up at Miao before tying her hands up. She moved over to sit down by her grandfather’s feet.
“Alright,” said Miao, “that’s another family member added. When we’re down there, we can be one big happy family. No one would be lonely. How nice.” She sniffed the air, sensing the faint taste of gasoline. A crazed smile appeared on her face. “Very good. With this amount of gas in the air, I only need to wait a few more minutes before a single spark and then, bang! Any and all grudges will vanish into thin air.”
The old Mr Yan hadn’t felt like talking to Pei in the first place but, at this moment, he actually responded, “Miao, I don’t know just why or how we’ve come to this. Tell me. What must I do to be considered to have done well by you?”
“What must you do?” Miao asked. “You did so well when I was a kid, but when I grew up, you began to dislike me. Nothing I did was right to you. You distanced yourselves even further after I was married. Every time I came asking for help, you’d sigh and lecture me first. I know you didn’t want to help me at all. Every time you helped, you only gave as much help as I asked for. If I don’t come begging, you would never help me on your own accord. I know I haven’t been visiting home often after my marriage, so you were slowly enticed by Kong Wen to her side. And then there’s Hui and the others. They are your grandchildren after all. They would be closer to you than I ever could, right? Your love for me slowly disappeared but you still insisted you loved me and cherished me. Frankly, you were lying the entire time!
“You’d help me with some minor, inconsequential matters. However, when the Bai, Chen and Mu families ganged up on me, all of you turned into cowards. You shrank back into your shell while pushing me out alone to deal with them. From then on, I knew that my family, my father, my brother are all unreliable! Still, I had hope deep down. After I discovered He Yuan’s scandalous nature, he locked me up. The first thing I did upon my escape was coming to you. But you? You actually locked me up just like He Yuan did over some insignificant people! You even stole away my shares and assets! Father, I didn’t want to hate you but how can I not after how you’ve treated me?”
Apologies for the missing updates for the advent. I was caught up in a reading binge. Have some extra chapters to make up for it.