217. Escape Will Be Tough
The expression on Qi MingYang’s face twisted before going back to his usual shrewd look. He slowly stood up and turned to look at Mu JingYuan.
“You keep such a close eye on Little Master Bai, Mr Mu,” said MingYang. “He doesn’t have any personal space. Wouldn’t he find it suffocating?”
“We are lovers.” JingYuan’s face was stormy. “You need not worry about how we usually act around each other. YiHan’s too breathtaking. I must be more careful. We don’t want people with ill intentions to eye him all the time and annoy him. As lovers, our duties include protecting each other, yes?”
JingYuan then turned to Bai YiHan and warmly asked, hand outstretched, “Are you done eating? Father’s calling for us. He has something to tell us.”
Nodding, YiHan stood up and held JingYuan’s hand.
“Pardon us,” JingYuan said to MingYang with a lopsided smile.
Watching the two men walk away, MingYang gradually sat back down and picked up his wine glass from the table. Sip by sip, he finished the dark red liquid it contained as he stared down at the half-eaten plate of food YiHan left behind. The man’s thoughts were a mystery for nothing showed on his face.
“So annoying. I’m still not full,” YiHan whispered when he had walked far enough away from MingYang. “Hmph! Anyone who disturbs me from my meal is an enemy of mine!”
In spite of his stormy face, JingYuan comfortingly clenched his hands around YiHan’s.
Looking up at JingYuan, YiHan softly said in belated realization, “You’re…angry?”
“Someone tried to steal my husband,” JingYuan said, turning back to glance at YiHan. “Shouldn’t I be angry?”
“But your husband’s very secure,” YiHan said, blinking.
“That’s a completely different matter,” responded JingYuan. “Even if my husband’s secure, how can I be calm when I know someone is eyeing him? I told you he’s going to try something with you, and you said I was being paranoid!”
“But after you said that, I’ve been avoiding him whenever I can,” YiHan innocently said. “This isn’t my fault. Really.”
JingYuan kissed YiHan on the back of the hand. “I know that, of course. However, some people are just masochists. The more you ignore him, the more he wants to get close to you. It’s extremely infuriating.”
“He even disrupted my meal,” YiHan agreed. “Oh, right. Did Father really call for us?”
“No,” JingYuan said, looking away. “Father doesn’t worry about us at all. There’s nothing for him to tell us. I didn’t want to talk to MingYang, so I lied.”
“You sure are fast to start calling him Father,” YiHan said, hiding a laugh.
Passing by a meal-laden table, JingYuan grabbed a clean fork, picked up one of the prawn balls and shoved it into YiHan’s smiling mouth. “I had planned on calling him that as soon as we had our marriage certificate but someone, I don’t remember who, said it was part of the wedding ceremony. That’s why I waited until today.”
“It’s actually all the same,” YiHan said, swallowing the savoury prawn ball. “We’re family no matter when you start calling him that.”
“I thought so too,” JingYuan answered, smiling.
Upon seeing YiHan enjoying his snack, JingYuan handed YiHan another prawn ball. He then looked up and squinted his eyes at the distant MingYang.
Not far away, Ma Bai and Ma Chen were chatting away.
“I’m already ecstatic that he wasn’t nervous enough to swing his left arm when his left foot steps out, tripping himself.” Chen TianYang’s mother didn’t hold back at all when making fun of her son.
“No, no. He looks so handsome today,” Ma Bai defended her son-in-law. “The two of them look so perfect together. They are such a treat for the eyes.”
“Speaking of eye candy, YiHan and JingYuan are the real feasts for the eyes,” Ma Chen said with a smile. “They both look so outstanding. They overshadowed everyone.”
“If HanHan heard that, his tail would be flicked up in pride as high as the clouds,” Ma Bai chuckled.
“In the blink of an eye, the kids have all grown up,” Ma Chen said, laughing as well. “We’re old now. Time flies by so quickly. The kids really did grow up the second I turned around. It feels like yesterday when I held my baby in my arms. Today, he has turned into a man, found the love of his life and started a new family.”
“Yes,” Ma Bai sighed along. “Children grow up way too fast.”
Looking at YiHan who was whispering something sweet to JingYuan and smiling so brightly that his dimples were showing, Ma Chen chuckled. “Speaking of which, YiHan has changed a lot this year. It seems like he became so level-headed and mature overnight. My husband even remarked to me that he’s seemed to have turned into a completely different person in the span of one short year.”
Following Ma Chen’s gaze to look at her youngest son, Ma Bai smiled and responded, “Yes. He seems to have grown up overnight. My husband and I are both very shocked. In the end, however, it’s all good.”
“Some people say some kids mature in a second, as if something suddenly clicked in them. YiHan was rather inconsiderate before, but he had a good heart. Now that he’s grown up, he’s even more likeable. See how the old Mr Yan smiles as soon as he sees YiHan? He’s an old man who has seen through dozens of people. He’s so perceptive that no one can hide their true personalities from him.”
“No matter how amazing he is, nothing can save him from a disobedient child,” Ma Bai sighed. “His health isn’t what it used to be.”
“Whose wouldn’t be? He’s an old man who has experienced near-death multiple times,” said Ma Chen. “Not even a body made of steel would be able to survive that. I think he’s doing alright.”
“True,” replied Ma Bai. “He didn’t even attend Yan Miao’s trial. Also, I think Yan Hui and Yan Yan intervened with the case. That’s why she was given such a heavy sentence. Still, in retrospect, I agree with them. Miao nearly killed their parents. If I were in their place… Those two brothers might even want her dead.”
“You’re right,” agreed Ma Chen. “Twenty-five years in jail… After twenty-five years, she’d be an old woman. The world changes in fast and unpredictable ways. Even if she will be considered young still, the stage wouldn’t have space for her anymore.”
“That’s for the best,” Ma Bai said. “If someone is so egocentric that they overstep themselves to the extreme, it’s a disaster for their family. Without her tantrums, the old Mr Yan can live longer.”
Ma Chen nodded in vehement agreement.
By the end of the post-ceremony party, YiHan was exhausted. He hadn’t slept well last night due to nerves, and he’d been busy the whole day. He fell asleep on the drive home. JingYuan took off his jacket, covered YiHan with it and held his sleeping husband in his arms for the whole journey. The driver for the day was Wei Wu. Sitting in the passenger seat, Pan Wen kept glancing at his lover through the rear-view mirror. Wei Wu felt a burning sensation spreading across his face as his bronzed skin flushed pink. Pan Wen was chuckling the entire time.
“He’s driving,” JingYuan said in a low voice. “Don’t tease him.”
“Alright, boss,” Pan Wen replied, still chuckling.
“Boss,” Wei Wu spoke up, trying to break the awkward atmosphere in the car, “how did you know the Little Master would fall asleep on the way back?”
“It’s because lovers understand each other, silly billy,” Pan Wen whispered. “Don’t you also know when I’d be tired?”
Wei Wu let out an awkward cough and stopped talking.
Pan Wen shot his lover one last flirtatious glance before focusing on their surroundings.
A few minutes later, he suddenly hissed. “There’s someone following behind us.”
“How many?” JingYuan asked with a sharp gaze.
“Only one car,” Pan Wen said, voice serious and low as he stopped acting flippant. “They’re not far from us but they’re not close either. If it were someone else, they might not realize they were being followed. He must’ve thought to secretly follow us. However, he’s acting so shady that there’s no way he means well by it.”
“One car?” JingYuan asked. “Is it someone we know?”
While Pan Wen didn’t look reliable, he had a pair of astonishingly perceptive eyes. His memory is even more surprising. “It’s Qi MingYang’s car,” he said in frustration after taking a moment to scrutinise the car. “I’ve only seen this car once so I didn’t recognise it just now.”
JingYuan squinted his eyes into a frigid gaze. “He’s just like a piece of bandage that can’t be shaken of. Does he think I’m an easy target that’s made from dough?”
“Lose him first,” JingYuan said to Wei Wu. “Today is my wedding. It’s a good day. I’ll take care of him tomorrow.”
With a grunt of response and a few hard twists of the steering wheel, Wei Wu turned the car into a dragon swimming swiftly through a river. Soon, they disappeared from view of the car following them.
“My apologies for my lack of skill, Mr Qi,” said Li Guang, the driver of the car that had been following JingYuan and YiHan, as he smacked the steering wheel. “I’ve lost them.”
Head weakly leaning back against the seat, MingYang’s face twisted at the news and sighed. “They’ve discovered us, then. Wei Wu, Mu JingYuan’s subordinate, isn’t just a great fighter. He’s also skilled at racing cars. Even professional racers are no match for him, let alone you. It’s normal to have lost them.”
Carefully looking at MingYang’s face through the rear-view mirror, Li Guang softly said, “Then, since they’ve discovered us, will they…? Didn’t you say Little Master Bai is the apple of Mu JingYuan’s eye…?”
“Yes. I know. I must’ve been mad,” MingYang said, closing his eyes. “Let’s head back. JingYuan won’t rest easy about this.”
“You know their destination, sir,” Li Guang commented, baffled, as he turned the car around. “Why must we follow them through their journey? You’ve offended Mu JingYuan for nothing.”
“Do you think I haven’t offended him already today?” MingYang said, exhaustion clear in his voice. He didn’t even open his eyes. “His investigation about the previous incident has already led him to me. No matter what, there will be a battle of life and death between us.”
“Why did you do that at the start then?” asked Li Guang.
“There is a great grievance between the Bai and Qi families,” explained MingYang. “However, Bai FuRen is a sly old fox while the Qi family was plagued by internal and external problems. I can do nothing to them. If the proper channels don’t work, I can only take a few risks for an attempt. Everything depended upon sinister tricks. You die if you lose.”
“Revenge is a dish best served cold,” Li Guang said. “Why must you be so rushed, sir? Why act when you’re not fully prepared? It wouldn’t be very likely for you to win.”
“I’m not in a hurry,” answered MingYang. “My father is. He can’t wait another day. What else was I meant to do? The plan failed back then, and we gained nothing from when they restructured the southern districts. The other four families have left us far behind. Now, the Bai and Mu families are stronger than ever. The Bai and Chen families are also linked in marriage now. They can be considered the same party. The Yan family still owes YiHan their lives. Under the current circumstances, there’s absolutely no hope for any revenge. Since JingYuan suspects me already, it’s only a matter of time before he learns of the truth. For the Qi family, escape will be tough this time around.”
Steal my husband: JingYuan actually said, “Someone just tried to dig at my wall”, which is a common reference to someone trying to steal something/someone from you. Here’s the original translation of the conversation:
JingYuan: “Someone tried to dig at my wall. Shouldn’t I be angry?”
YiHan: “But your wall’s very sturdy and secure.”
JingYuan: “That’s a completely different matter. Even if my wall is secure, how can I be calm when I know someone is eyeing it?”