“The righteous man speaks not with hidden meanings,” said Bai YiHan. “Qi MingYang, I was kidnapped last year and was nearly strangled. You were behind it, right? Now, you say you want to be my friend. Don’t you find it ridiculous?”
Placing his hand against the wall above YiHan’s head, MingYang solemnly explained, “YiHan, I must explain to you what happened. Yes, I was behind the kidnapping. However, my grudge is only against the Bai family. I didn’t know you well back then. I thought I could use a few sly tricks to start chaos in the Bai family. If I had noticed you earlier, gotten close to you earlier, I would not have hurt a single hair on you. Truthfully speaking, I still feel fear when I recall the incident. In fact, I’m even thankful that Mu JingYuan is a capable man who could save you in time.”
“He’s my man,” YiHan scoffed. “It’s only natural for him to save me. We don’t need your thanks.”
“YiHan,” MingYang said, leaning closer, “I know you blame me for it, but I have no choice. There’s a great grievance between me and the Bai family. I must have my revenge.”
“Stay away from me!” YiHan said, twisting his head to the side. “Why do I not know about it? How had my family wronged you?”
MingYang obediently stepped away from YiHan and sat down by the bed. “Our fathers were competitors. Throughout their rivalry, they were always equal in terms of wins and losses. However, your father intentionally hid his abilities and made my father underestimate him. During one of their face-offs, your father used some trick that heavily damaged the Qi family. My father collapsed from anger. He was paralysed after his stroke. He can’t even speak clearly. He has always been a proud man. How could he accept that? Ever since I was a child, my father has been my role model. He’s the man I admire the most, the family member I’m closest to. How can I not hate your father for that?”
“Doing business is like going to war,” said YiHan. “One cannot avoid losing forever. It is impossible for anyone to have a smooth-sailing life from birth to death. Your father is closed-minded. One loss and it’s enough to give him a stroke. No one is to blame for that. Speaking of tricks, do you think your family doesn’t play tricks on others? Why don’t I know of anyone who had a stroke because of that?”
Contrary to YiHan’s expectations, MingYang actually nodded. “At first, I hated your family so much, but then I took over the Qi Group. It opened my mind up on many issues. What happened back then certainly can’t be fully blamed on the Bai family. However, my father can’t accept it. He burns with hatred. Every time I visit him, he forces me to avenge him. How could I refuse the father who gave me life, the man who raised me?”
“Your father’s capabilities have nothing to do with the Bai family in the first place,” said YiHan. “It’s only a face-off. My father has been through many in his entire life. If every time he won, someone wanted revenge, he’d die from overworking.”
MingYang smile and confessed, “I know, but my father keeps pushing and forcing me. Every time I visit him, he’d only ever ask if I’d avenged him and what the progress was on the revenge. I do my best but the Bai and Qi families were equals in every way. My foundation wasn’t secure yet. The few times I tried something, I’ve secretly lost something in one way or other. I knew that I would never be a match for your father if I challenge him outright. However, my father can’t wait for me to slowly grow strong. He scolds me for being useless and refused to see me ever again. I had no choice. I had to risk it once more.
I had planned on paying off Feng Qun to drive a wedge between you and JingYuan. I hoped you two would have a fallout. You’d lose an important protector while the Bai family loses a capable supporter. Then, I’d hire someone to murder either your brother or sister. The Bai family would definitely fall into chaos. I can seize my chance then and destroy the Bai family. As you’ve seen, nothing went as planned. Feng Qun was useless to me before he even had a chance to act. It was then that I realized I didn’t know you at all. The results of my investigations were as far and different from your actual personality as the north is from the south. I had to change my plans. I thought that the Bai family would be equally as impacted if you die, so I used Feng Qun’s hatred for you to plan that abduction. Even that failed.”
YiHan let out a long sigh. MingYang’s plan should’ve been a success, a huge success. He had a fight with JingYuan, leading to the older man leaving. MingYang didn’t kill Yan or XueQing, but he accidentally killed TianYang. Deciding to just go along with it, MingYang used Feng Qun while the Chen family had yet to discover his part in the car crash. Through the pawn he had paid off long ago, he enticed YiHan to start a new company by himself and steal the Bai Group’s company secrets. Then, working with the companies who wanted a slice of the pie and the Chen family who detested the Bai family then, MingYang dealt blow after blow at the Bai family. In the end, the Bai family collapsed. With a scheme that had gone on for four years, MingYang had avenged his father.
Things were different now because Bai YiHan was reborn before Qi MingYang even had the chance to act in this life.
YiHan thought the tragedy that befell his family in his last life was all his fault. He had drowned in guilt over it. Even in death, he was unable to let his eyes slide close and rest in peace. After his rebirth, he had planned to use his whole life, the life of a criminal, to compensate for the wrongs he had done. He didn’t dare fight for anything nor kick up a fuss about anything. He didn’t dare let himself make a single wrong move. If not for JingYuan and the fluke that was the old Mr Yan’s birthday party, who knew what kind of life he would be leading now?
So everything about that tragedy had a mastermind prompting it to happen. The man had used YiHan’s gullibility and stupidity and turned YiHan into a blade that would tear apart the Bai family from within. As for misfortune YiHan suffered, it came from Feng Qun’s hatred. Without the Bai family and JingYuan, YiHan was like a fish on the chopping board to Feng Qun who was once not even worth mentioning. YiHan was helpless and ripe for the picking.
Forget it. What happened in the past would stay in the past. YiHan had led the right life this time around.
“Were you also why Feng Qun died?” YiHan softly asked as he closed his eyes.
“Yes,” MingYang answered, nodding. “I had my men sent him a message.”
“What was it?” asked YiHan.
“I told him if he died, I have the power to make you accompany him on his journey; if he lived, he’ll have to suffer the wrath of the Bai, Chen and Mu families. Oh, I also told him his lower region was now useless.”
“He really can’t get it up anymore?” asked YiHan.
“Of course, he can,” said MingYang. “It might be injured but it’s not absolutely ruined.”
YiHan sighed and stopped talking.
Thinking that YiHan’s silence meant he was angry, MingYang continued, “YiHan, I know you’re angry. However, everyone has their own motivations and stories. I was born my father’s son. I cannot ignore a request from my father that was born from deep-seated sorrow. I’m certainly useless. Not only can I not avenge him, but I also can’t even protect the Qi family’s status as part of the Great Five. Father has since refused to allow me to visit him. At this point in time, I truly have no other choice left. JingYuan has already found proof of my involvement in the kidnapping last year. I know he won’t let me walk free. He would handle anything related to your safety as if it was his life on the line. Neither I nor the Qi Group can be his match. The death of the Qi family looms right ahead. I wanted to use what time I have left to do something that I’ve wanted to do for a while.”
“What do you want?” asked YiHan. “You don’t plan for a retreat. Instead, you abducted me and brought me here. It would do nothing but infuriate JingYuan. Why? Do you want to threaten him with me? You should know that it’s not a long-term solution. If you kill me, you’ll have invited his rabid revenge. Let’s say you don’t kill me. You can’t hide me away forever. I’m afraid you can’t even keep me hidden for two days.”
“Why would I kill you?” MingYang smiled. “As I’ve said, I won’t lay a hand on you.”
“Then, why have you gone through all of the effort to bring me here?”
MingYang leaned down close to YiHan and whispered, “Would you believe me if I said I like you?”
YiHan looked at him as if he had lost his mind.
“The plan failed before because everything I found out about you was all wrong,” MingYang continued with a bitter smile. “Ever since then, I’ve been secretly observing you, collecting all information on you. However, the more I observed, the harder it was to take my eyes off you. By the time I realised I was paying too much attention to you, it was too late. Heh. The gods make fools of us all. I want revenge on the Bai family but end up falling in love with someone from the Bai family. Whether this revenge is a success or a failure, it matters not to me. Every move is the wrong move. Now that things have progressed to this stage, I can’t have my revenge and the Qi family would be gone soon. Frankly, I feel so much more carefree now. This was a decision that fate has made for me. YiHan, I know I can’t hide you regardless of how hard I try. JingYuan would always find us. Thus, I’ve made my plans. I can’t protect the Qi family, so I won’t do something so useless. Do you know where we are now? We’re on a ship. I didn’t just bring you with me on this plan. I’ve brought plenty of cash and gold. We’re leaving the city, the country, and heading towards a tiny nation known as Vair. It might be small but the culture there is amazing. We can change our names and live there. I don’t need to strive for the glory of the Qi Group and I don’t need to avenge anyone. The money I’ve brought is enough for us to live on for the rest of our lives. We can buy a house there. I can go get a job. It’ll just be the two of us. I don’t want the Qi Group or revenge. I just want you. We can live in peace and be each other’s support for life. Well?”
“You’re way too confident in your fantasy,” YiHan coldly barked back. “If you want to hide and live a peaceful life, no one’s stopping you. However, don’t drag me into it. I’m already married to JingYuan. We have a great relationship. Be it supporting each other or living out the rest of our lives together, I’ll always be doing it with him. Screw living with you!”
Instead of being enraged by YiHan’s words, MingYang smiled instead. “I know you won’t be able to accept me for now, but that’s fine. I can wait. I believe that one day, you’ll willingly live with me.”
“You don’t need to wait,” YiHan said. “That day will not arrive. Just give up.”
“YiHan,” said MingYang, “I might’ve wanted revenge before, but my plans failed. None of them did any significant harm to the Bai family, to your family. Even today, I merely got my hands on your grandfather’s phone. I didn’t lay a single hand on him. I also didn’t put Qin Ying and Qin Jie’s lives in danger. See? There’s no insurmountable grievance between us. If any, the only issue was the kidnapping last time. I know you’re angry. I’m willing to accept any punishment. I believe that you will eventually forgive me.”
“Qi MingYang,” said YiHan, “even if nothing ever happened between us, it is absolutely impossible.”
MingYang frowned. “Why?”