215. Perfect Chemistry
“You mean,” the old Mr Yan sighed, “I have to treat you like a child forever. I must give you everything you want. Whatever you do, no matter right or wrong, must be praised. I must fully support you in who you want to marry, be they the right or wrong man for you. I should give you all of my shares. No matter how old you are, you can do whatever you want. Your two brothers and sisters-in-law must also love you like I do. Your nieces and nephews must also give you unconditional love and respect. They must let you have your way. If you hit anyone, the other person cannot fight back. If they fight back, they’ll have wronged you. I must get you whatever you want no matter who it belonged to. I will only do right by you if I maintain that attitude until the day you become an old woman, until the day I die. Is that it?”
“Why must you sound so pitiful?” Yan Miao coldly scoffed. “I never asked you to do that. You can’t be the saintly father you claim to be, yet you insist you are one. Isn’t that hilarious? Even a kid knows to not speak of things they can’t do!”
“I’m no saint,” the old Mr Yan sighed. “When you three were young, I’ve always thought that boys can only mature if they grow up with some bumps and bruises. Girls, on the other hand, had to be cherished and spoiled. I didn’t think my sons who grew up bumping and bruising themselves would all be very filial while my one and only daughter grew up to be my debt to pay. Tell me. Who should I complain to?”
When Cheng heard his father speaking in such a bleak tone, he couldn’t help but speak up, “The grace of birthing and raising another is greater than anything else in the world. Miao, you have the nerve to talk big before Father as if he owed you everything. I told you, you’re a white-eyed wolf. But you didn’t like hearing that.”
Meanwhile, Bai YiHan had called Chen Jing right after getting off the phone with Pei. “I suspect something has happened to the old Mr Yan,” he said as soon as the call was answered. “I hope Captain Chen can head over to the Yan family home with a squad of men. I’m still not sure what’s going on exactly though. If my guess is wrong, I will personally apologise and compensate you and your men.”
YiHan then hung up and turned to Mu JingYuan. “Hurry. We must head to the Yan family home. I’m positive something bad has happened.”
JingYuan had already sped up the car upon hearing YiHan’s words to Chen Jing. “Why do you say that?” he solemnly asked.
YiHan’s face was dark and serious as he replied, “Pei’s voice sounded like she might be crying. What she said wasn’t right either. I’ll explain it to you later. I hope I’m only being paranoid.”
JingYuan nodded and floored the gas pedal. The car soared away towards the Yan family home.
The old Mr Yan had been languidly speaking with Miao. Time ticked by and it was soon past ten. The people lined up against the wall watched with wide eyes as JingYuan snuck out of the kitchen on socked feet. The man’s pupils dilated at the sight in the room. However, he soon snapped back to his senses and silently drew closer to Miao whose attention was still locked onto the old Mr Yan.
Nevertheless, Miao was on alert the entire time. She soon noticed something off about Mrs Liu’s gaze. She instinctively looked back but JingYuan was already close behind her. Upon seeing Miao turn around, JingYuan strode forward and reached out for the hand with the knife. At the same time, Liu Yu stomped hard on the ground and pushed himself forward towards Miao. Startled, Miao’s hand reflexively swung the knife at Kong Wen’s neck. However, JingYuan’s strong arm grabbed her by the wrist and squeezed hard. Miao shrieked. The bloody knife fell to the ground before being kicked away by JingYuan. Miao had the lighter on her other hand. She was going to light it up when her hand, and the lighter, was held in a tight grip by Liu Yu. The man clamped down on her ulnar nerve, rendering her arm immobile. Under these circumstances, Miao was no match for Liu Yu. She could do nothing but watch as Liu Yu pried the lighter out of her fist. The two men then pressed her down against the floor where she struggled, screamed and shrieked in a crazed manner.
YiHan was initially waiting outside, forbidden from entering the abode by JingYuan. Miao’s shrieks made YiHan fear that JingYuan couldn’t handle the crazed woman alone. Disobeying his lover’s orders, YiHan boosted himself into the house through the kitchen window. What he saw in the house shocked him. He hurriedly ran over to untie the group by the wall.
“I’ll untie everyone else,” Cheng said as soon as he was free. “Go and open all the windows and doors now!”
Having just came from outside, YiHan could sense the strong scent of gasoline. He nodded and dashed off to do as he was told.
Cheng released everyone else and joined YiHan in helping the old Mr Yan up. Cheng stretched out his body, numbed from being tied up for ages. He knelt down, thinking to give the old Mr Yan a piggyback ride. However, the old Mr Yan refused the offer.
“Everyone, out!” said the elderly man with a wave of his hand. “Cheng, leave me. Go help your wife!”
“I’m fine, Father,” Wen quickly responded. “These are only flesh wounds. Let’s hurry.”
“You two, come out as well!” YiHan called to JingYuan. “Bring Yan Miao with you!”
“Don’t worry,” JingYuan calmly said. “Hurry out. It’s not good to breathe in too much of this air.”
Miao was struggling so hard that Liu Yu decided to just tie her up with the leftover rope. He hoisted her up on his shoulder and ran out of the house beside JingYuan.
“Impossible!” Miao shouted repeatedly in disbelief. “Why would you be here? How did you find out?”
Now that everyone was out, YiHan stopped worrying and was in the mood to talk to Miao. “We have to wait for the house to air out and cleaned. It’s fine to have a little chat with you.”
Miao stared at YiHan, waiting for the answer.
“I promised Pei-Pei we’d visit Grandpa today. When I called her just now, her voice sounded wrong,” YiHan said, pride evident in his voice. “She’s always so lively and rambunctious. I’ve known her for so long yet I’ve never heard her talk to me with that kind of voice. Also, there’s what we talked about. It’s true that Grandpa Yan and I always trade losses and wins in our chess sessions. Last time was also different. However, it wasn’t Grandpa Yan who lost all of the matches. It was me with my bad luck. By the time I left, he was clearly in a good mood. Why would he feel unwell as soon as I left? If he wasn’t feeling well then, he definitely wouldn’t have waited until today to tell me not to come. He would’ve told me earlier. Furthermore, when I said I won’t play chess with Grandpa Yan anymore, Pei-Pei agreed to it way too fast. After all, she knows he loves our chess sessions. How can she not ask him for his opinion first? I intentionally said the opposite of what had happened but Pei-Pei kept going along with what I said. Combined with the unusual tone of her voice, of course, I can make a guess that she was talking to me while being threatened.”
Now that Pei was out of danger, she was back to her usual energetic self. “That’s right!” she loudly stated. “I was a little confused as to why YiHan said Grandfather kept losing the last time but then I saw Grandfather winking at me, so I reflexively just went along with whatever YiHan said.”
Miao turned to look at the old Mr Yan in incredulity. However, he didn’t look back at her. Instead, the old man patted YiHan on the shoulder.
“Little YiHan and I have a tacit understanding of each other,” said the old Mr Yan. “When I heard him lie about the chess session, I knew he had sensed something and was trying to probe for more information. Pei-Pei’s a smart girl as well. She instantly knew what I was trying to tell her.”
“Did you understand what I meant by my last sentence, Grandpa Yan?” YiHan turned and smiled at the old Mr Yan.
“Of course,” the old man guffawed. “You were telling me to not worry, that you’ve realised what was going on. You would be arriving around ten and I should try and stall for time.”
“We have perfect chemistry!” YiHan said, smiling.
“Little YiHan, you were so obvious,” said the old Mr Yan. “You and the wedding are both so important to JingYuan that he would never decide on wedding outfits alone. You’re also coming over. Unless he had something exceptionally important going on, he would most likely drive you here himself. Why would he go look at wedding outfits alone? Since that’s not logical, it naturally means you were telling me the time you’d arrive.”
Letting out a laugh, JingYuan commented, “You, sir, are wise and very discerning.”
The old Mr Yan let out a soft sigh and replied to JingYuan, “The only person I could never read is my daughter. Truthfully, I kind of knew what she was like. I just never wanted to believe it. I keep thinking she can change. Ping is right — indecisiveness leads to disaster. I’ve always been too soft on her. That’s why she had the chance to do this.”
“Too soft on me?” Miao broke out in harsh laughter. “Hahaha! So, I’m like this all because you were too soft on me?”
Stepping up to her, Cheng slapped her in the face and roared, “You decided every move you made! You said every single word yourself! You were the one who did the wrong thing! No one else is to blame!”
Miao was stunned by the slap. Not once in her entire life had Cheng laid a hand on her. “You would dare hit me?” she mumbled as she stared at him.
Breaking out laughing from rage, he responded, “You wanted to kill me. So what if I hit you? Well? Will you hate me? You hate me so much that you wanted me to die. It doesn’t matter if you despise me more.”
A bright red slap mark appeared on Miao’s cheek as she glared at Cheng.
“You have the courage to act so unrestrained all because you know deep down that we love you,” said Cheng. “You think you we should forgive you no matter what you do. However, there is a limit to everything. There’s also a line to my love for you. You can be ungrateful and never pay anything back. It’s fine. I am your big brother. At most, I’d feel a little disappointed and disheartened. But you shouldn’t have hurt Father repeatedly! You shouldn’t want to kill your own family! Since you wish us dead, we are enemies! Yan Miao, from today on, I reject you as part of the Yan family. I disown you as my sister. Whether you live or die, it doesn’t matter to me and it doesn’t matter to Father. He gave you life, but he doesn’t owe you an entire lifetime. Everyone has their own life to lead. Since you refused to listen to advice and went on the wrong path, you must bear the consequences. No one can save you from that.”
Tears streaked down Miao’s cheeks. Looking at her father who refused to even look at her, she knew her family truly didn’t want her anymore.
“You’re not bad,” JingYuan said to Liu Yu. “You actually broke free of the ropes yourself. Without you, we might’ve been in trouble today.”
“Mrs Liu was smart,” the other man said with a smile. “She shoved a knife into my hands. Unfortunately, it wasn’t sharpened. It took a lot of effort before I cut myself free. It even cost us the best chance we had in saving everyone.”