“Mrs Liu is truly amazing!” Yan Pei said with a smile.
Scared witless, Mrs Liu had collapsed onto the ground the moment they were out of the house. She had been sobbing ever since. No matter how many times she wiped her tears away, she just couldn’t stop crying.
About ten minutes or so later, Chen Jing arrived at the scene with his men. He heaved a sigh of relief when he saw everyone safe and sound outside of the mansion.
“Little Master, what happened?” he asked, walking over to Bai YiHan.
“By the time we arrived,” explained YiHan, “Yan Miao had taken someone hostage while the gas was left on. She planned on committing suicide and taking everyone with her. Thankfully, JingYuan and Mr Liu over there were able to seize control of the situation through their combined efforts. As for the overall story, we’d have to ask Uncle Yan.”
Captain Chen nodded in response and went to question the Yan family members on the situation.
“You’ve breathed in the toxic air in the house for quite a while,” YiHan worriedly said to the old Mr Yan. “It’s bad for the body. You’d better go to the hospital for a health check-up.”
“Yes, YiHan’s absolutely right,” Yan Cheng said to his father. He had his hands full but he still found the time to listen in on his father’s conversation. “I’ll arrange for someone to drive you to the hospital.”
Once the hectic aftermath of the incident died down, Miao was arrested for attempting murder, and detained pending trial. Cheng had everyone in the family go through a thorough check-up. Fortunately, no one was truly hurt. Kong Wen had been sliced on her neck. Fortunately, nothing vital was hurt and the wounds were mere scratches. Liu Yu’s wrists suffered some minor injuries, but those were nothing to him.
The old Mr Yan’s condition post-incident was the most reassuring of them all. He didn’t suffer another distress from Miao. It seemed as if he had really let go. In the old Mr Yan’s words, he had risked his life three times for her. He no longer had the guts to hold any expectations of her. Without any expectations, there naturally wouldn’t be any disappointment. No matter what she did now, she would never be able to hurt him anymore.
Fear rose in YiHan when he found out about how the two men had taken down Miao. If Liu Yu hadn’t broken free of his bindings and stopped Miao from starting a fire, everyone in the house, including JingYuan, would’ve been gone. The thought of the possibility made him break out in a cold sweat. He couldn’t even fall asleep anymore, insisting on hugging his entire body around JingYuan before he could fall asleep. Often, he’d wake up in the middle of the night to ensure his lover was still in his arms. During the day, he remained stuck to JingYuan’s side. Even if JingYuan was just working in his office, YiHan would move his chair over to sit by the other man, making sure their legs always touched. His actions were both moving and heart-wrenching for JingYuan.
With solid evidence, there was no doubt Miao attempted murder. She was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison as she had tried to commit arson and blow up her family at the same time. It was aggravated murder. She kicked up a fuss and adamantly filed an appeal. However, her appeal was rejected.
During one of the dinners Yan Hui and Zhang Su attended at Hui’s new home, Miao’s case was brought up in conversation. Zhang Su commented on the severity of Miao’s sentence while Hui let out a cold laugh that spoke volumes.
“That’s karma for her,” Yan cryptically said with a harrumph. “Perhaps her prison life would be equally rocky.” He paused. “Oh, right. I think her plan to set fire to the family home has frightened YiHan. I hear JingYuan was particularly upset about it. Hehe.”
Zhang Su and Xu YouRan exchanged glances and chuckled. The group then changed the subject with no further comment on Miao’s situation.
No matter how much Miao cursed them out and cried out about her family’s heartlessness, no one cared as something more important had popped up. It was mid-June. The four couples’ wedding day was finally here.
Because this wedding involved four different families and had plenty of guests, it was held on an open-air grass plain in the outskirts east of the city. The Yan family arranged for landscapists to flatten the area beforehand, returf it and install a pink rose hedge wall along the perimeter. On the wedding day, numerous bodyguards were stationed on the outside of the rose wall to ensure the safety of the guests and stars of the wedding and the success of the wedding. A huge stage was erected in the centre of the venue, indicating to all that this was a “ginormous” wedding.
YiHan had been fidgeting with nerves since the night before the wedding, constantly afraid that there might be a mishap or that he might perform badly. In the end, JingYuan had to frighten him to bed by commenting on how he might be an ugly groom if he had dark circles from sleep deprivation. YiHan hurriedly jumped in bed and screwed his eyes shut. JingYuan patted YiHan on the back as one would comfort a kid. When YiHan finally calmed down and fell asleep, JingYuan moved YiHan’s hand to his chest and let out a soft sigh.
“I’m nervous too, little one,” whispered JingYuan.
Fortunately, everything went well on the day of the wedding. As the musicians struck up the wedding march, four wedding couples slowly walked down their respective red carpets in a rain of flower petals. Arm in arm, they walked up to the stage. The only bride, Bai XueQing, was dressed in an intricate lace wedding veil. She looked exquisite in her make-up. Every move she made was elegant and poised. Her beauty was so overwhelming that no one dared to let their eyes linger too long on her. During the entire walk down the aisle, Chen TianYang dazedly stared at XueQing. If not for her arm around his, who knew where he would’ve walked to. The sight drew the occasional muffled chuckle from the crowd while his moth facepalmed and let out a soft, resigned chuckle of her own.
YiHan was dressed in a white suit, dark red tie and pocket square. Dressed in the exact same outfit but black, which emphasized his long legs, JingYuan’s face was solemn as he linked hands with YiHan.
On the other hand, Bai Yan wore white while Jiang Hua wore black. The two men were of similar height. Hence, when they walked down the aisle side by side, their appearances complemented each other, especially when one had a stern face on while the other looked so gentle and warm.
Yan Yan and YouRan were also dressed in black and white. Contrary to how Yan Yan’s usual dour appearance, he had a bright smile on. YouRan, however, had a very serious face on. He focused intently on every step he took.
The wedding went smoothly. The four couples made their vows simultaneously. Under the cover of the romantic flower shower, the sincere words “I do” spoken at the same time by four different voices warmed everyone’s heart. TianYang’s mother couldn’t resist facepalming again when she saw her foolish son’s hands fumbling and trembling during the ring exchange.
JingYuan solemnly slid the ring carved with the initials of their names onto YiHan’s ring finger.
“HanHan, I love you,” he whispered as he gently kissed YiHan on the forehead.
“I love you too, and only you. In life and in death, it will never change,” YiHan whispered back, nuzzling against his cheek.
“In life and in death,” JingYuan sighed as he pulled YiHan into his arms.
Influenced by JingYuan’s composed appearance during the entire ceremony, YiHan’s anxiety melted away. As for whether JingYuan truly felt as composed as he appeared, that was something only he and the gods knew.
After the ceremony ended and the party began, YiHan kept sensing someone’s stare following him around, never to stray from his back. However, every time he turned around to search for the stare’s owner, he would find nothing. But then again, he was one of the stars of the wedding. It was normal for people to focus on him. Thus, he stopped obsessing over the mysterious stare.
Once all the mingling and socializing were done, YiHan was starving. JingYuan loaded a plate full of food for him and found him a table on the edges of the party to eat at. Just then, Hui called for JingYuan to come over. YiHan waved his new husband off as he sat there gobbling down his food.
He was enjoying his meal when a shadow loomed over him. He looked up to find Qi MingYang smiling at him with a glass of wine in hand.
“I’m tired of standing, Little Master Bai,” said MingYang. “Could I sit here with you?”
Swallowing down his mouthful of food, YiHan wiped his lips with a napkin, sat up straight and answered, “Of course, you can. However, if you’re tired, we have many caravans over there where guests can rest in.”
MingYang placed his glass down on the table and moved to sit down opposite YiHan. His gaze bore into YiHan as he said, “It’s fine. I can just rest here for a while. It just so happens I can use this chance to chat with you.”
“Please, Mr Qi,” YiHan said with a smile, “talk away.”
“Little Master, why must you be so polite with me?” MingYang asked with a somewhat disappointed smile. “I just want to be friends. Is that so hard?”
“As I’ve said before, we belong to the same circles,” YiHan said, maintaining the same polite smile. “Naturally, we’re all friends.”
“And I’ve also said before that you don’t need to use polite niceties as an excuse,” MingYang said, looking right into YiHan’s eyes. “From the head of the Hidden Dragon to Xu YouRan, a nobody, it’s clear to see that you befriend others solely based on feelings. You care not for their family background. I truly wish to befriend you. Why must you simply reject me and keep me at a distance?”
YiHan’s smile vanished. “Since you’ve put it out in the open, I don’t need to be so polite then. Mr Qi, be honest. Do you approach me time after time because you want to be my friend or because you have another motive? You’ve also said that I make friends solely based on feelings, not family background. But we’re not close and I’m definitely not someone who can accept all who approach me.
“You are a complex man. Every move you make has a deeper meaning behind it. You are someone who will go on to do great things while I am just a mere peasant who only cares for my own plot of land. While my birthright and tie to JingYuan might be of use to you, I am unfortunately a man with no ambition. I don’t have a bright mind either. I can’t work with you on creating some grand empire together. Naturally, I wouldn’t dare to take up your time and energy.”
MingYang’s hand on the table twitched as if he wanted to reach out to YiHan, but he suppressed the urge. “You misunderstand me,” he glumly said, pulling his hand back. “I only want to be your friend. I have absolutely no intention on using you or some other ulterior purpose. I just…find it too lonely. I want to have a friend like you to whom I can have heartfelt talks with and a friendship where both parties would do anything to help and protect each other. I think that if I have someone like you by my side, I can definitely live out the rest of my life in joy.”
Linking his hands in front of him on the table, YiHan calmly responded, “If you find it lonely, why not be like me and find a lover you can be intimate with? Wouldn’t it be nice to support each other for life, never to betray the other? I believe that with your looks and family background, you can definitely have anyone you want, be they as a friend or as a lover. It didn’t need to be me, yes?”
Looking up, YiHan noticed JingYuan striding towards them from behind MingYang. He couldn’t help but smile. Did this man keep an eye on him every moment of the day?
“What if I hope it can be you and I only want it to be you?” MingYang muttered, eyes fixed on YiHan’s smile.
Before YiHan could do more than frown, JingYuan spoke up from behind MingYang, “Then, we can only say sorry to Mr Qi’s ‘hope’. After YiHan’s marriage to me, he would be very busy. We must eat our meals together, go to work together, go home together, and go on vacations together. He so very much wishes to spend every second by my side and wouldn’t have the time for anyone else. You’d best select someone else to be your friend. I believe that with your status, it shouldn’t be hard to make a friend.”
Aggravated murder: I am no lawyer and the author definitely wasn’t either. Do not take this statement at face value and research on local laws first.
Advent Calendar: Apologies for the delayed and missing Advent chapters. I had hoped to have everything translated before I post these chapters. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to translate the last arc of the story before Christmas. For now, and since this is a good place to leave off, Merry Christmas and enjoy the chapters. There’s less than 5 chapters left to the main story and the last arc/climax of the story is here. I’