GC: Chapter 211

211. Are You Even Human?

“Father,” said Yan Hui, “how do we handle this?”

Yan Cheng paced about the room. With gritted teeth, he then stared up at the ceiling. “That club,” he eventually said, “is it still in operation?”

“I followed the leads mentioned in the flash drive,” replied Hui. “My investigations revealed the club encountering difficulty after difficulty when trying to acquire ‘stock’ just before the new year celebrations. They thought it was just a coincidence at first but when the number of problems rose to the point of cutting off their ‘supply routes’, they laid down low, thinking it was because someone had taken notice of them. They have yet to venture out for more ‘supplies’ since. They are currently dormant.”

“Before the new year celebrations?” asked Cheng.

“Yes,” Hui said with a nod. “It was not long after Yan’s engagement party. I suspect JingYuan had been interfering with their operations to save the potential victims.”

“You’re not wrong,” said Cheng. “At that time, there could’ve been no possible culprit but him. It must’ve been because Miao insulted YiHan at the party. JingYuan was so furious that he wanted to teach Miao a lesson. One of the man’s habits is to thoroughly investigate his target before he makes a move. When he found out about this, he didn’t publicise the knowledge. For the sake of the Yan family’s face, he kept it a secret. However, now that he knew about it, he wouldn’t turn a blind eye to it. That’s why he secretly saved those people. I just wonder what he initially planned to use this for. But now that I think of it, if he acted on this, your au-no, Miao, would be in prison for sure.”

“Then,” said Hui, “we…”

“Keep this hidden for now,” said Cheng. “I’ll question her today behind closed doors. My greatest hope is that she doesn’t know anything about this. She was only tricked into this. If that’s the case, I will never forgive the one who tricked her!”

“What if she wasn’t tricked?” Hui tentatively asked.

“I don’t know either!” Cheng blurted in exasperation. “That’s my little sister! She’s so much younger than I am! I loved her like a daughter. Even if her actions and personality have disappointed me to the core, I can’t bear to see her in jail. But why must she do this?”

“Father, she has changed while you were ignorant to it. Perhaps she was lured into it. Perhaps she’s only revealing her true personality. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is that the aloof and self-centred little sister you speak of is not the same person as the woman she is now,” Hui said. He pointed to the flash drive and continued, “This is no longer something that can be explained away as being cold. This is a question of morality. It involves the very basic rules of ethics. The more power she has, the more she is capable of doing. You… Please think carefully about it.”

Cheng slumped into a chair, defeated. His voice was hoarse as he said, “You’re right but we can’t exclude the possibility that she was tricked. Don’t tell your grandfather about this just yet. His body might not be able to handle the knowledge. Wait until I’ve talked to her.”

However, Cheng’s hopes that his sister was tricked into the act would be dashed. When he arrived home, he called Miao into his study. Behind closed doors, he questioned her on her involvement. She denied it at first but when Cheng was able to list out the club’s internal organisational structure, their method of operation and even the exact number of shares she held, Miao knew she couldn’t hide it any longer. She came clean. No one tricked her. She herself joined the group. Cheng was so enraged that his hackles were raised and he nearly lost control of how loudly he was speaking. Miao, on the other hand, thought he was overreacting.

“The ‘stock’ comes from different countries and regions,” said Miao. “The search teams are scattered and their methods of transportation are very well hidden and organised. It would be hard for any problems to occur. Even if something did happen, with who I am, I can just push out a scapegoat to take the blame. In this world, the bold feast while the cowardly starve. What are you afraid of? You’re so timid. It must be hard for you to support the entire Yan family.”

“Is this a question of courage?” Cheng almost laughed from rage. “Yan Miao, do you not know the nature of the ‘stock’ you speak of? It’s humans! They are humans just like you and me! Tell me, just where is the line for you? Is this what Father taught you? Were you lacking in funds or something?”

“Are you even my brother?” Miao angrily barked. “How can those lowly peasants be compared to me?”

“Lowly peasants?” Cheng spat through gritted teeth. He smacked the table hard enough to have nearly shattered it. “Tell me, what is your standard for differentiating you and those ‘lowly peasants’? Is it status? How are you any different from them other than social ranking? Who do you think you are? God? An emperor? Someone who has the right to dictate whether other people live or die? Who gave me the power? Who gave you the right? Who taught you all these? Have you gone mad for money? Putting aside the fact that gold to you is like dirt, even if you were a beggar, you cannot do something so rotten, so wicked! Aren’t you afraid of karma?”

Miao was furious now. “I’ve only let you have your way over and over again because you are my brother. How could you speak of me so maliciously? I’m not fully participating in this anyway. I’ve never participated in the organisation’s activities. I’ve never gone out to capture people. I don’t even care what they usually do. This is only one of my many investments. It’s like investing in film production. I invest, they work and I gain dividends. What’s so bad about that? Also, why place yourself on a pedestal? Do you think underground dealings like this don’t exist everywhere? If you want to be the hero to save the citizens from disaster, why don’t you become Superman?”

Cheng couldn’t believe his ears. “Do you think this is just an ‘ordinary’ investment? Do you think it’s the same as investing in a movie? I see. Yan Miao, I have never truly known you as a person. How did our family nurture a person like you? Your heart is black through and through, do you know that? You speak so lightly of human lives. Are you even human? Do you think your hands are clean just because you didn’t capture these people yourself? Do you not provide the organisation protection? Does He Yuan know about this? Did he entice you to do it?”

“Don’t mention that scum!” Miao shrieked.

There was no pain left on Cheng’s face. All that’s left was a cold calm. “To think you’re still calling him scum,” he coldly scoffed. “At most, he was disloyal in love and in marriage. He might not be as upstanding but you are so much worse than him. Answer me this. Does he know about this? Is he involved in it?”

Miao knew from the look on her brother’s face that Cheng was beyond himself with anger. She had only just returned to this home. She still needed to depend on her big brother. She didn’t dare thoroughly offend the man. 

“He doesn’t know,” she harrumphed, saying the only thing she could at this moment. “I didn’t know his true personality back then. Naturally, I did this behind his back to avoid ruining my image in his eyes.”

“At least you know that it’s not good,” said Cheng. “I thought you’d be discussing it like discussing the sale of pork from a butchery you had just started.”

The more serene Cheng appeared, the more anxious Miao felt. She knew that her big brother was slowly turning into someone she couldn’t depend on yet she could only remain adamant and insist, “Many of those in there were captured from isolated mountain regions. They just need to go through a little hardship and they can earn big bucks. The more outstanding of them would even find important masters who’d give them gold and silver. Isn’t it much better than rolling around in the mud up in the mountains?”

“Ha,” Cheng burst out laughing. “So you think that you’re saving them too? What a way to earn money and enjoy luxuries. Why don’t you do it as well?”

“I’ve told you to not compare them to me!” Miao barked.

“Can’t I?” Cheng’s eyes coldly bore into hers. “How are you any different? True. Your heart is blacker than theirs. Why don’t you ask them if they enjoy earning gold and silver through that method? Why don’t you ask them if they wanted to do it?”

“How could people like them have the right to choose?” said Miao.

“Yan Miao, I don’t think I can get through to you at all,” Cheng calmly said. “You don’t even know what it means to be humane or what ethics are. Everyone says there are no honest men in business. When you’re in the business industry, it’s fine to be dishonest and shrewd. However, it’s one thing to be dishonest and another to be evil. You speak of human trafficking as if you’re talking about selling vegetables. That only means your heart is pure black. There’s no hope for you. People like you can never hold any power or you’ll bring harm to others!”

When Miao saw that her brother was about to leave the room, she hurriedly rushed forward to grab him by the arm. “Brother, what are you going to do? Do you want to expose your own little sister? Do you want me to go to jail? How can you be so cruel?”

“Am I as cruel as you, Miao-Miao?” Cheng helplessly sighed. “Have you ever once thought about Father, about me, about your second brother? Have you never thought about how knowledge of this would kill Father? Do you not know that your second brother is a civil servant? Don’t you know how badly he’d be affected if word of this matter gets out?”

“Since you know that, can’t you just not tell them?” asked Miao. “I promise you. I’ll withdraw from the organisation immediately. Okay?”

Cheng was in no mood to keep talking to her. He pulled his arm out of his grasp, strode to the exit and opened the door.

Just as the door opened, Cheng saw the old Mr Yan standing right outside, his face pale with anger!

The old Mr Yan had just left his room when he happened to witness Miao enter Cheng’s study. He waited in the hallway for a few minutes but the two never came out. Thinking to ask if something was wrong, the old Mr Yan walked over to the study’s door. Kong Wen, upon spotting the old Mr Yan’s movements, followed him along to support the elderly man. They had just reached the door when they heard Miao shriek from within the room. The old Mr Yan didn’t knock nor did he allow Wen to speak. Instead, he stood there at the door, listening. Wen watched as the elderly man’s face turned into all shades of the rainbow. She was panicking with anxiety but the old Mr Yan’s stern eyes kept her from saying a word. Frankly, the duo outside couldn’t clearly hear what was being said inside the room. They were only able to listen to a few lines spoken in raised voices. The majority of those lines were spoken by Miao but that was enough to piece together what was going on. Wen was stunned. When she saw Cheng opening the door, she glared at her husband before worriedly looking at the old Mr Yan. She was at a loss on what to do.

Cheng was also shocked senseless by the old Mr Yan’s presence. “Father,” he said, panicking, “why are you here? You…”

“Ah Cheng, your sister wasn’t like this when she was younger. She’s not my daughter.” That was all the old Mr Yan could say before he collapsed.

Wen dashed to support the old Mr Yan from behind and was squashed under the elderly man’s body. Cheng hurried forward to grab his father but he didn’t act fast enough. His heart pounded with fear as he watched his father collapse to the floor.

“Father!” he screamed.

“Hurry up and call the ambulance!” Wen shouted from where she laid, stuck under the old Mr Yan.

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GC: Chapter 210

210. Yan Miao’s Escape

“The Lu family has grown because of the hard work of its family members,” Mu JingYuan said. “No need to thank me.”

“No, no, no,” said Lu FengYu, shaking his head. “Mr Mu, you gave us the opportunity. That’s why we have the space to work hard. To us, saying thanks now is still a little too late.”


Later that night, the following voices could be heard in FengYu’s home.

“That’s enough!” said Zhu Xun. “Don’t go overboard!”

“Well, I am. What can you do?” said FengYu.

There was a moment of silence before Xun was heard saying, “Oh, go overboard. What can I do about you? Aahn! You fool! When will you stop? Again… Uhn, slow down…”

“Why do you think it’s okay to tell me to slow down?” FengYu’s words came out in harsh pants. “Remember how you tormented me last night? You insisted I beg you. I’ll make you regret it!”

“I shouldn’t have caved in and let you do it today!” said Xun.

“It’s too late for regrets!”



Not long after the engagement party, when everyone was still talking about it, another explosive news popped up in the city.

During one of Yan Cheng’s trips out of his home, when the car was still crawling its way past the front gates, a woman popped out of the greenery near the gates and slammed herself against Cheng’s car. With hair as messy as hair could ever be, the woman began crazily banging her hands against the car window.

At first, Cheng was frightened. Just as his bodyguard was about to get out of the car to chase the woman away, Cheng realised the woman who looked like a crazed maniac was actually his younger sister, the woman who was always as proud as a peacock!

Cheng was shocked. When the car door opened, Yan Miao threw herself into his embrace and began sobbing hard. Cheng couldn’t care about anything else then. He decided to bring her back home first. The old Mr Yan was also shocked by Miao’s appearance. When the woman cleaned herself up and told her tragic tale, the old Mr Yan was so furious that he flipped the table over and nearly had a heart attack.

No matter how disappointed he was in Yan Miao, she was still his daughter in the end. If she lived a good life, the old Mr Yan wouldn’t have cared much. To suffer a little is to learn a few life lessons. But to watch her be humiliated and insulted to this extreme? As her father, how could his heart not ache?

Cheng wrapped his arms around Miao. His face was also pale in anger.

Miao kept crying. She repeated over and over again about how He Yuan was a beast and how she was sorry. She shouldn’t have ignored her father and brother’s advice and misplaced her trust in that bastard, leading her to be treated like a dancing monkey for years. In the end, she was beaten up and imprisoned for a few months. She was only able to escape because the guards were distracted. She had to sneak out from the second-floor window. When she leapt out of the window, her legs hurt so much but she didn’t dare make a single sound. She had to go through so much torture just to escape, and even then she was able to do so because she was familiar with the lay of the land.

Miao kept apologising, for not knowing right from wrong back then, for thinking a beast was family while hurting her true family. Her weakened body knelt down on the floor. As tears and snot streamed down her face, Miao begged her father for forgiveness.

The old Mr Yan sighed. He pulled Miao up to her feet. Whatever. No parent in the world would start off with bad intentions. This was the daughter he had loved for over half of his life. In the end, he couldn’t bear to throw her away. All he could do was hope that she was truly reflecting on her actions, realising just who truly loved her.

He didn’t expect this daughter to be as filial as his two sons. All he hoped was for her to straighten up her attitude towards life and learn to be grateful, for her to remember the moments when other people were kind to her.

When Yan Hui received a call from the old Mr Yan about how He Yuan had lied in his marriage, the man jumped in fright. He thought He Yuan’s affair with Nan Shan had been exposed. Thankfully, he was able to keep a hold of his emotions and didn’t react outwardly. When he heard the full story, he let out a sigh of relief. It was because He Yuan was caught red-handed by Yan Miao as he was starting another affair. Hui couldn’t help but admire the other man’s courage. He actually had the guts to treat the Yan family like fools.

Now that He Yuan’s actions were known to the Yan family, this was no longer Yan Miao’s private affairs. Even if it was for the sake of the Yan family’s reputation, Hui could never do nothing. Furthermore, he had disliked He Yuan for a very long time.

However, when the Yan family began investigating, they found out most of the He family’s assets had been transferred overseas. All that was left of the company was a shell that couldn’t even last more than one hit. He Yuan and the rest of his family had vanished.

The old Mr Yan was outraged. He demanded Yan Hui to find He Yuan. Hui followed the trail He Yuan had yet to cover up. As he hunted the man down, he called Mu JingYuan for help to speed the process up. JingYuan arranged for Pan Wen and Wei Wu, two of his bodyguards, to help Hui. These two men might not look all that reliable but they were extremely dependable when it came to work. They were outstanding at detective work and one-on-one combat. Every one of their subordinates was an elite in their own right. With the two men joining in, they soon captured He Yuan who had planned on running away when he realised Yan Miao had escaped, even though he wasn’t done weaselling away all of his family’s assets.

His parents and children had been sent away a few days ago. When He Yuan was found, his face was grey with defeat but hatred filled his eyes. Even when he was brought before Miao, he no longer grovelled like he used to. Instead, he smirked at her with frosty eyes.

Miao, who was already traumatised by the man, let out a shriek of fear then. He Yuan laughed at her reaction. He didn’t stop laughing, even when he was pushed down to the floor and beaten up. The crazed look on his face made everyone’s hair stand on end.

From then on, the He family ceased to exist in the city. While the Yan family showcased their overwhelming might, they had also been turned into a joke everyone gossiped about. Everyone in the Yan family hated He Yuan from the bottom of their hearts. The He family was exterminated. He Yuan’s parents and children were already sent away to safety. The man might be bankrupt but he was as free and alone as one can be. The mere sight of his arrogant and unconcerned attitude made everyone’s blood boil with anger.

Miao demanded He Yuan’s missing assets, parents and children to be hunted down as well. Let’s see how the man could laugh while everything he had was gone!

The old Mr Yan, however, thought Miao wasn’t thinking straight. He couldn’t say much about hunting down the parents. After all, it was very hard for them to not know about He Yuan cheating and lying his way to marrying Miao. But those two children had done nothing wrong and they were also her children. Even if they were to be hunted down, the children should be brought back into the Yan family to be properly raised with care. The blood of the Yan family still flowed in them.

Miao adamantly objected to the idea. She didn’t want to lay her eyes on the children at all. They were related to He Yuan. That alone disgusted her!

The old Mr Yan couldn’t understand why Miao thought so but the woman was so agitated that there was no way he could reason with her. He was also still upset at how his daughter had been tormented. No matter how unsatisfied he was at her demand, he remained silent.

He Yuan had lost everything. He was all alone now. The other members of the He family were also affected. They had all gone bankrupt overnight. How they wished he would die. As for the Yan family, no matter how much they hated the man, they couldn’t just kill him off as Miao suggested. Instead of being dejected, He Yuan acted so carefree and happy that it was as if he had been released from a great burden. His reaction made one felt as if their punches were aimed at balls of cotton instead. It was so infuriating.

Miao swiftly divorced the man and formally returned to the Yan family. Because of her sincere apologies and the pain the old Mr Yan felt at what she had to go through, the old Mr Yan planned on transferring the last of his company shares to her. It would at least give her something to be happy about, something she can use to have a brand new start.

When Hui called JingYuan, he grumbled about how Miao’s misfortunes were a blessing in disguise. Not only did she rid herself of scum, but she was now the Third Miss of the Yan family once more. Now that she had the old Mr Yan’s shares, she might be starting up trouble soon.

Contrary to Hui’s expectations, JingYuan told him to calm down. The man made a copy of the flash drive Jiang Hua gave him a while back and sent it to Hui via Pan Wen.

Not long after the delivery was made, JingYuan received the call he had been expecting.

“JingYuan, tell me! Where did you get this thing from?” Hui roared into the phone. “What the heck is this?”

“It is as you see,” JingYuan calmly replied, holding the phone slightly further away from his ear. “Make good use of it and Yan Miao can never bother you again.”

For the sake of the old Mr Yan’s health, Hui didn’t dare directly bring the flash drive home. Instead, he handed it over to his father.

There was a long moment of silence after Cheng was done watching the contents of the flash drive. He was in shock.

The flash drive’s contents could be roughly divided into two sections. The first held files related to He Yuan. The man once swore that he wasn’t having an affair with anyone but Xu YouRan. Of course, that was not the truth. When YouRan was still dating He Yuan, YouRan himself disliked doing anything sexual. When He Yuan needed an outlet for his lust, he had to go to someone else. However, he was afraid of being discovered back then so he kept it a well-hidden secret. The files related to He Yuan were all pictures and videos of the man being intimate with different men. When JingYuan found those files, he had planned on using them if the man’s affair with Nan Shan was ever exposed.

The other folder in the flash drive contained records of a den of darkness. On the surface, it was a club. In reality, it dealt with shady business. Through various means, they’d purchase various men and women to be kept in a secret part of the club where they’d go through inhumane “training”. Once they were “trained”, they’d be sent to all sorts of locations to be trafficked. This club provided these places with “stock” where some “members” could come and purchase “gifts” as bribes for important people.

While such acts were despicable, there was nothing to be done about the club. After all, this was a get-rich-quick scheme. Many people would put themselves at risk for the sake of money. The key information about this club was Yan Miao’s secret participation in the organisation. In fact, her involvement was major compared to the rest.

Cheng laid his head in his hands. After a few minutes of silence, he abruptly let out a roar of anger.

Frightened by the sudden roar, Hui cautiously asked, “Father, are you okay?”

“Where did you get this from?” Cheng didn’t look up.

Hui clenched his jaw. In the end, he decided to be honest. “JingYuan passed it to me.”

“Mu JingYuan?” Cheng asked, looking up. His eyes were bloodshot. “Yes, he’s always been a protective man. I was wondering why the man let Miao go so easily after the outrageous things she’d said. I see. It’s because he found this.”

“Father, Aunt–”

“Don’t call her your aunt!” Cheng loudly interrupted. “Remember. From today on, she is not your aunt.”

Hui pursed his lips. “If Grandfather knows about this, he might fall sick from anger. But if we don’t tell him, he’d be lied to by my a-…by Yan Miao. If Grandfather transfers his shares to her, this club’s ‘backing’ will grow stronger.”

Cheng stood up. He paced around the room in frustration. “Yan Miao, oh, Yan Miao,” he angrily said. “What a waste of Father’s hopes and teachings. You’ve actually done something like this! You’re always saying this is disgusting and that is revolting. I see now. You’re the vilest one of them all! I thought you were only cold-hearted. I didn’t think you could do something so sickening! You don’t listen to Father’s teachings. Just where did you learn something so frightening? Is the Yan family too poor for your expenditures? Why must you be involved with this?”

Translator’s Note: 

No parent in the world would start off with bad intentions: The proper translation of this idiom is “no parent in the world is wrong”. However, the exact translation of this phrase can be debated about. In the original text, the author intended to say that parents aren’t always the ones at fault. Some people also suggest that the author meant to say that no parent wanted to be wrong from the get-go. Either way, the core interpretation is that people must be responsible for their own lives; children have to learn and grow to be independent.

Pan Wen and Wei Wu: These are the guards who keep flirting while on duty.

Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 209

209. Don’t Add Anything Weird

“Mn,” Bai YiHan responded to Chen Hong. “Is anyone inside?”

“No,” Cheng Hong replied, shaking his head. “However, Mr Mu seemed rather upset just now.”

“Upset? Who had upset him?” YiHan curiously wondered as he pushed the doors open.

Outside, Hong looked at the closed doors and muttered, “Who would dare make him upset? The moment you left, his face went dark.”

Inside where YiHan couldn’t have heard Hong’s muttering, YiHan called out as he walked in, “Mu-Mu? I’m back!”

Mu JingYuan looked up the instant he heard his door click open. When he saw that the person walking through those doors was finally someone not Chen Hong, a smile swiftly appeared on his face.

“You’re back,” JingYuan warmly greeted. “You must be tired. It’s freezing outside. Are you cold?”

YiHan walked over to lean against JingYuan’s desk. He placed his hands on JingYuan’s cheek to hold the other man’s head still as he looked at the man’s face.

“I wasn’t out there for long and I was driving the whole time,” said YiHan. “I had air conditioning. Once I step out of my car, I’m indoors already. How could I be cold? Hm. Chen Hong said you were upset. What is it? Who did it? Tell me. I’ll beat him up!”

JingYuan grabbed YiHan’s hands and held them. “Not cold? Your hands are cool. And don’t listen to Hong’s nonsense. Who could be upsetting me here?”

YiHan carefully scanned JingYuan’s expression. True, the other man didn’t look unhappy. YiHan leaned in and loudly kissed JingYuan on the cheek.

“That’s good,” YiHan giddily said.

“Well? What did Yan and YouRan say?” JingYuan softly asked.

“Of course they’d say yes,” said YiHan. “They thought it was a good idea from the moment they heard about it. Everyone’s getting married one after another. If we all do it together, people wouldn’t be so busy trying to get to everywhere. Now, four couples are getting married; us, Brother and Jiang-ge, Sister and TianYang, and Yan and YouRan. We have to think carefully about where we’ll have the wedding. The venue must be big enough.”

“The wedding is in June,” JingYuan said, bopping YiHan on the nose with a finger. “We can just do it outdoors.”

“Yes, an outdoor wedding would be nice,” YiHan said, nodding. “We just have to adjust our plans a little.”

“Don’t panic,” JingYuan said, smiling. “This concerns three of the great families. You don’t need to worry about something as trivial as a venue. You know, the older generation of the Bai, Chen and Yan families have all stepped down. They have nothing to do. Even if you don’t need their help with the wedding, they wouldn’t just sit and watch.”

“True,” YiHan said after a pause for contemplation. “What can I do then?”

“You only need to wait and be the groom,” said JingYuan.

“The groom? You said you wanted to be wed to me. Were you serious?” YiHan jokingly asked.

“I was serious back then,” said JingYuan, “but didn’t you object to it?”

“Actually,” YiHan said, hand on his chin, “I had a thought about it later and it did sound quite nice. Why don’t we have a purely Chinese wedding? You’ll wear a red veil then.”

JingYuan frowned, seemingly fighting with himself. Just as YiHan was about to burst out laughing, JingYuan actually nodded.

“Okay,” said JingYuan. “As long as you’re happy.”

YiHan was shocked. “I said I’ll be putting the bride’s red veil on you.”

“I know,” said JingYuan, nodding once more. “I heard you.”

YiHan was so touched that he could feel tears brimming in his eyes. “Mu-Mu,” he softly said, “why are you so good to me?”

“Isn’t it expected for me to be nice to you?” JingYuan chuckled. He then picked up his phone to make a call.

“Who are you calling?” YiHan nonchalantly asked.

“To Aunt Bai,” said JingYuan. “If we are to have a traditional Chinese wedding, there will be a lot to prepare before the wedding.”

Just as JingYuan was done speaking, the other party had answered the call. JingYuan only managed to say “hey” before the phone was snatched away by YiHan who had been scared stiff.

“Ah, no. JingYuan dialled the wrong number just now,” YiHan awkwardly chuckled into the phone to his mother. “Yes, he had the wrong number.”

YiHan then hung up the call and glared at JingYuan. “Are you mad? I was joking. Why did you call?”

“If you like it, I don’t mind it,” JingYuan said.

YiHan’s eyes went wide. His pupils were almost the shape of perfectly round circles. “Please. It’s a group wedding. Do you know how many people would be there on that day? If you really put on a red veil, how would you be able to face those people in the future?”

“What’s so embarrassing about it?” asked JingYuan. “Would anyone even dare say anything?”

“No one would dare but they would be laughing themselves to death on the inside, okay?” replied YiHan.

“What does it matter if they laugh?” said JingYuan.

“What does it matter?” YiHan’s voice rose. “It matters a lot, okay? Just what day and age do you think this is? What do you think will happen to your face, your dignity?”

“You only get married once,” said JingYuan. “I have to make yours a happy one so that you regret nothing.”

YiHan wrapped his arms around JingYuan’s neck. “As long as I’m getting married to you, I’d be happy even if I had to be married in a sack. I was truly joking just now. I don’t really think that way. Don’t ever make any decisions like that on your own. I’m warning you.”

“Okay,” said JingYuan, hugging YiHan back. “If you don’t like it, we won’t do it. This is perfect already.”

“Yes, yes,” YiHan said, rapidly nodding. “It’s great to have two grooms. Don’t add anything weird.”

“Okay,” JingYuan said, smiling. Did YiHan think he could win? Hah. JingYuan didn’t think YiHan would’ve really made JingYuan put on a bride’s veil.


Bai Yan and Bai XueQing’s engagement party was held together. As expected, guests filled the halls. From the He family, only He Yuan attended the party. The man apologised for Yan Miao’s absence who he said couldn’t attend as she wasn’t feeling well.

“Not feeling well?” YiHan pouted as he whispered to JingYuan. “I think it’s just her emotions that aren’t feeling well. She looks down on same-sex marriages in the first place. Now that there’s a grudge between our families, I think it’s good enough that she allowed He Yuan to attend.”

JingYuan held YiHan’s hand, playing with his fingers, as his deep voice replied, “Speaking of her, there’s not been a word of her actions for a very long time. It’s not like her at all.”

“It’s better without her clowning around,” YiHan said. “The world is at peace then. I would have developed a headache if she really did come. But I’m not part of the Yan family. If she makes a fuss at my brother and sister’s party, I would personally throw her out.”

“You don’t need to do it yourself,” JingYuan said with a smile. “Just leave the hard labour to me.”

“No,” YiHan disdainfully said. “I don’t want you to touch her.”

YiHan turned to look at Yan and YouRan on the other side of the entrance. “YouRan has been looking rather down lately. He’s like that too when I visited them last time. From the way Yan acts, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything worrying. I really don’t get it.”

“Won’t you know if you ask him?” said JingYuan.

“I’ve asked him,” said YiHan. “He looked like he had a lot to say but he wouldn’t tell me anything.”

“Then, it’s more likely something that’s happened between the two of them,” said JingYuan with a muffled chuckle. “That’s why he didn’t think it’d be okay telling you. He’s fine. It’s most likely a couple’s thing.”

“Oh, yes, why didn’t I think of that?” YiHan gasped in realisation. “But now that you put it like that, I’m curious.”

The two men were softly chatting and laughing away when someone approached them.

“Mr Mu. Little Master Bai,” the other person cautiously greeted.

YiHan turned around to find two men standing behind him. “Lu FengYu? Zhu Xun? How did you two bump into each other?” YiHan asked, surprised.

A red blush swiftly overtook Lu FengYu’s face as he shyly replied, “We didn’t bump into each other. We came together.”

One look at FengYu’s expression and YiHan knew what the other man meant. “You two…” he said with a smile. “When did it happen?”

FengYu glanced at Xun before looking away and whispered, “It’s…”

Zhu Xun had changed a lot since the last time YiHan saw him. The man looked more muscular. His entire being was beaming with the aura of confidence. 

“Back at the bar when we both helped Secretary Jiang hold that guy back, his tie clip was lost in the scuffle,” Xun said upon noticing FengYu was tongue-tied. “I found it. We’ve been in contact with each other since then. You know what he once felt for Secretary Jiang before, right? When Mr Bai got together with Secretary Jiang, he was so depressed that he’d often ask me out to bars to drink, to chat, to vent. After hanging out for a while, we thought we might as well get together since we find each other to be okay.”

FengYu threw Xun an angry look. However, he didn’t say anything as they were still talking to YiHan and JingYuan. Still, he grumbled internally.

The heck to finding each other to be okay, thought FengYu. It was clearly this shameless man who took an interest in FengYu first. Not only did the other man seduce him in all manner possible, Xun even laid a trap for him. FengYu was so exhausted by having to handle the other man’s advances that FengYu didn’t have much time to properly experience the bitterness that came with falling out of love. 

To think FengYu thought of Xun as a brother, a friend. This man wanted to roll in the hay with him the entire time! If not for the fact that Xun truly liked him, FengYu would never have gotten together with the man! When they first met, Xun was so pure and virtuous. FengYu never expected Xun to somehow change over time. This man was like a wolf in sheep’s clothing! Hmph!

Xun turned to look at FengYu before letting out a slight smile. Could he have told FengYu that he had inadvertently joined a fujoshi chat group where there’d be a bunch of people giving him ideas day after day? Crossdressing, swimwear parties, getting the other drunk, putting on a raspy voice, walking around in a bathrobe etc. Xun had done all he could in order to woo FengYu. He had never acted so boldly and crazy before in his entire life. 

Xun glanced at YiHan. If this man hadn’t given him a stable job that gave him the confidence to make a big gamble, if not for the encouragement and support of his mother who only ever wanted him to be happy, Xun could never have had the courage to go after the person he liked as if his life depended on it. More importantly, Xun succeeded. At least, he had succeeded by half. He knew this man still couldn’t completely let go of Jiang Hua yet but it didn’t matter. Xun could wait. He already had the man’s body. Would his heart be any further? Even if Xun never obtained the man’s heart, he had already done all he could. He had no regrets.

YiHan looked at the two men before him. “What happy news,” he said, smiling. “Congratulations, you two. When will you be getting married? Don’t forget about JingYuan and me then.”

“Of course,” FengYu replied with a natural smile of his own. “When we get married, I’ll definitely hand the invitations to you and Mr Mu in person as early as possible. We’re here today because I wish to seize this chance to thank Mr Mu’s support for the Lu family, for me.”

Xun looked at  FengYu with surprise. He didn’t think FengYu could speak of marrying him in such a natural manner. Frankly, not even Xun himself dared to think about something so far off in their future. Noticing Xun’s faze, FengYu glanced back at the man. This fool could be a genius at times and an absolute moron at times. Since he liked Xun so much, Xun would deal with it and take the man in. There was no need to be so moved by it!

Translator’s Note:

Lu FengYu and Zhu Xun: Does anyone remember this couple from Bai Yan and Jiang Hua’s arc? Zhu Xun was the bartender while Lu FengYu was the person with a crush who had moved to another city to work.

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GC: Chapter 208

208. Let’s Do It Together

Room by room, Xu YouRan thoroughly toured the mansion. Yan Yan followed behind him, whispering into his ear about each room’s intended purpose. When Yan saw YouRan eventually walking towards the study room Yan had set up for YouRan, Yan gently bit down on his lips. He looked exactly like a kid who was waiting for his teacher to announce his test results.

YouRan pushed the door open. What he saw stunned him. For a few moments, he stood there by the doorway before entering the study room. This place might be called a study room but it looked like a miniature library. It was brightly lit with three walls occupied by tall bookcases that were mostly filled to the brim with books. One of those huge shelves was left empty so that he could slowly add his favourite books to the collection. There was a ladder leaning against one of the bookcases which could be slid around and used to reach the books high up. 

A desk stood in the middle of the room. It was very big, one of the extremely long kinds of desks. A computer was placed on one end of the table. Beside the computer was a photo of the couple. The other end of the desk was empty. YouRan could use that end to write and draw. He could decorate the desk with trinkets he liked. The chair Yan chose had a tall back and wheels. It looked so very soft and comfortable. There was a small table placed against the wall with the windows. A tea set, similar to the set YouRan had in his home, sat on top of the table. Two chairs were placed by the table. The table-and-chairs set gave off a sense of relaxed leisure. Not far off from the table was a bean bag chair that looked very much out of place. The colour of the chair was plain and muted. It was also very soft, a place that YouRan could curl up in and read.

YouRan walked over to the bean bag chair and ran a hand over it.

“This chair doesn’t fit in with the aesthetics of this room but it’s very useful,” Yan softly said. “When you’re tired, you can lay down on it and read or take a nap. There’s a secret compartment behind it that holds a throw blanket. I’ve tested it out. It’s extremely comfortable.”

YouRan chuckled. “Other people use secret compartments to store important items. Why do you use it to store a throw blanket instead?”

“It’s also an important item,” Yan solemnly replied. “It can stop you from catching a cold. Of course, I’d be watching over you. If you fall asleep, I’ll pull it over you. Don’t worry.”

YouRan turned to gently embrace Yan. “Yan, being with you has been the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me,” he whispered. “I have no regrets.”

Yan hugged YouRan back, arms tight around the other man. “Me too, YouRan. I love you. We’re married now.”

“Yes,” YouRan said, resting his cheek against Yan’s chest. “We’re married and I have a home once more.”


The new year rolled around. The Bai family home was bustling with life this year. The old Mr Bai had been invited to stay for the celebrations. Bai YiHan and Mu JingYuan both returned to the Bai family home for celebrations. Jiang Hua had no family. Naturally, the man followed Bai Yan home for the festivities. Worried that Aunt Yang might be stressed out from cooking for so many, Ma assigned to her a few helpers for the night. As the clock struck twelve and well-wishes were given to the elder generation, the Bai family happily dug into their dinner. The old Mr Bai was the first to head to bed as his body couldn’t handle staying awake any longer. The younger generation stayed up all night. Some spent the time watching television while others chatted away. 

By the time dawn broke, YiHan had been up all night having fun. With a smile still on his face, he fell asleep where he sat. When JingYuan noticed the man leaning against his shoulder had gone quiet, he raised a hand in a request for silence. He then leaned down to carefully lift up his lover and carried YiHan up the stairs to their bedroom. Hua walked ahead of JingYuan and opened up YiHan’s bedroom door for the couple. JingYuan nodded to Hua with a smile as he walked through the doorway. Hua smiled back before softly closing the door behind him as he left.

JingYuan tenderly laid his lover out on the bed. His hands were light as he helped YiHan out of his clothes and tucked the younger man in. JingYuan then changed into his sleepwear as well. He briskly cleaned himself up before joining YiHan in bed. Even though YiHan was deep in his dreams, the young man sensed JingYuan’s presence and instinctively rolled into the older man’s embrace. YiHan’s hands and legs wrapped themselves around JingYuan.

“Happy New Year, my little one,” JingYuan whispered, smiling as he kissed YiHan on the forehead.

Around noon on the first day of the new year, the Bai family members had just woken up when Chen TianYang arrived at their home. The man greeted the elders of the family before turning to look at XueQing with gleaming eyes. Confused by the man’s gaze, XueQing was about to speak when a loud bang was heard. Chen TianYang had dropped to one knee before her. Even YiHan who was standing near them couldn’t help but worry about how much that had hurt. However, TianYang acted as if he had felt nothing. His eyes were bright as he pulled out an exquisite ring box from his pockets. He held it up to XueQing with two hands.

“XueQing, I love you,” said TianYang. His voice was usually clear and firm but it was trembling with nervousness today. “I hope you can give me a chance to protect you and take care of you for the rest of my life, to stay by your side forever as your lawfully wedded partner. Will you marry me?”

Never could XueQing have imagined that the man would be proposing to her out of the blue on the first day of a new year. She was completely unprepared. The marriage proposal she had envisioned looked nothing like this. Even if she couldn’t have a bouquet of flowers and romantic candlelight, she should at least be dressed up nicely. She shouldn’t be in clothes that she’d wear at home, clothes she had yet to find the time to change out of. Her hair hadn’t even been styled to perfection. The only thing that brought her some relief was her habit of putting on some light makeup whenever she left her room. She still looked okay. At least she wasn’t an utter mess. Otherwise, the once-in-a-lifetime marriage proposal might have been part of her dark and unspoken past.

When TianYang saw that XueQing was taken aback, he was even more nervous. He held the box in his hand out to XueQing once more.

“Will you, XueQing?” he anxiously asked.

XueQing snapped out of her thoughts then. She took the box and opened it to reveal a pair of diamond rings in matching styles. She carefully handed the ring meant for a lady to TianYang.

“Help me put it on,” she softly said, holding out her left hand.

TianYang’s eyes went red as he joyfully agreed. He gently held XueQing’s fair and slender finger. With quivering hands, he delicately slid the ring onto her ring finger. Looking down at the hand wearing the ring he had selected himself, TianYang’s hands lifted the finger to his lips for a soft and reverent kiss.

XueQing turned her hand to hold TianYang’s hand and pulled him up. She took the remaining ring out of the box and slid it onto his finger.

“I do,” she said.

With a loud cheer, TianYang lifted XueQing up into his arms and spun her round and round, laughing the entire time.

XueQing had never thought it possible for the Young Master Chen to do something so childish. It surprised her. She remained stunned, even by the time her feet touched the ground once more.

On the second day of the new year, XueQing visited the Chen family home. Once the fifteenth day had passed, the couple’s parents formally met up to discuss the wedding. TianYang had been in a great mood the entire time. He felt so happy that it felt like he could float even as his feet remained walking on the ground. He smiled at everyone he saw.

Once the new year celebrations had died down, the Bai family made a joyous announcement once more. Bai XueQing and Chen TianYang were formally engaged. The couple’s engagement party would be held together with Bai Yan and Jiang Hua’s. Then, after a few rounds of discussion between the families, they decided to hold all three weddings together in one go. They were already having a wedding and the timings all matched up. Why not have them be held at the same time? YiHan gleefully rushed over to ask Yan and YouRan if they wanted to join in as well. The couple gladly said yes. However, for some strange reason, YouRan felt rather down to YiHan. That shouldn’t happen. These two men were currently in their honeymoon period. Why would YouRan be so glum?

YiHan asked Yan about it but the other man merely smiled in response. Why did that smile seem so savage though? Still, it was clear from Yan’s response that everything was going well between the couple. Nothing was wrong. YiHan decided to stop worrying and left.

YouRan frowned as he massaged his waist. While he had gone over the line at first, YouRan had let Yan have his way many times now. That should be over now. Today should be his turn to be on top, right? At that thought, YouRan’s eyes turned to look at Yan’s crotch. His gaze subconsciously burned with lust.

Yan had noticed the other man’s expression. He let out a slight smile. He didn’t think that misunderstanding could’ve turned into something so useful. This was such a pleasant surprise. His injury back then was very much worth it. YouRan, my little fool, there’s no such thing as letting someone else have this. Tonight, let’s continue with what our talents have dictated.

The road to topping his top was long. YouRan was still scouting the path ahead. Who knew when he’d actually succeed?

On the way back home, YiHan bumped into Qi MingYang again. Well, it was “again” because, since Yan’s engagement party, he had already bumped into the other man by “coincidence” way too many times. It made him suspect the encounters were all Qi MingYang’s doing. YiHan had to mention it to JingYuan now.

Qi MingYang was smiling wide. He rolled down his window and looked at YiHan while the two men were waiting for the red light to turn green. 

“What a coincidence, Little Master Bai,” he said to YiHan. “Since we’re so lucky to see each other, why don’t we get a drink together?”

“Ah, it’s you, Mr Qi,” YiHan said, smiling back. “We’ve bumped into each other so many times that it’s nothing rare now. My apologies. JingYuan is still waiting for me. Another day perhaps.”

“Bumping into each other multiple times means we are fated to meet,” Qi MingYang said, still smiling. “Since you’re busy today, when should we go for a drink instead?”

YiHan: I refuse to believe that you can’t tell I was only being polite when I said that…

“I’m afraid I won’t be free anytime soon,” YiHan said. “As you know, my brother and sister’s engagement party is happening soon. I have a lot to do. The Qi Group is a big company but you wouldn’t have much free time either, right?”

“Work hasn’t been busy lately,” MingYang said. “I can be there whenever you say so. However, the engagement party of Mr Bai and Miss Bai is certainly a major joyous occasion. I haven’t congratulated you for it yet.”

“Thank you,” said YiHan.

“You don’t have to be so polite with me,” MingYang warmly said. “What happy news for the Bai family. I’m happy for you too. If there’s anything you need my help with, just say the word.”

“Thank you for your offer,” YiHan said. “If we need help, I’ll definitely ask you for some.”

The traffic light turned green. “See you, Mr Qi,” said YiHan, looking back at the road. His car then flew past as YiHan stepped on the gas pedal.

MingYang watched as the back of YiHan’s car grew further and further away. He chuckled and chuckled until he was interrupted by a constant stream of honks from behind him. Only then did he move his car forward.

When YiHan walked through the Mu Group office, everyone who saw him respectfully greeted him. YiHan nodded to all who greeted him and rode JingYuan’s private lift up to the top floor. 

“Little Master, you’re back,” said Chen Hong with a smile as he noticed YiHan walking into the office.

Translator’s Note:

New Year’s Eve Dinner: Some readers might be confused as to why the reunion dinner (technically supper here) only started at midnight. In some regions, specifically in areas where the local tradition insists the meal consist of dumplings (aka some of the northern regions of China like SiChuan), the New Year’s Eve Dinner must only start after midnight. However, due to certain New Year’s TV programmes, some people might not realize it’s a local tradition instead of a national (China) tradition.

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GC: Chapter 207

207. This Is My Home

Since that day, He Yuan never returned home. Without a single servant in the mansion, the place was filthy and messy. How could Yan Miao bear to stay there? She packed a few outfits and moved into a top-tier hotel room. She had only been there for a few days when she saw her husband at the hotel! He had his arms wrapped around a handsome young man with a slim waist and features that somewhat resembled Xu YouRan. The two men had their arms around each other. They were chattering happily as they walked out of the lift and were faced with Yan Miao who had just left her hotel room. 

When Miao saw them, she was so furious that her composure cracked. Homosexuals were the kind of people she had looked down on the most in her entire life. To Miao, her two nephews were the embarrassment of the family. He Yuan had always agreed with her. She had always been proud of her husband. Never could she have imagined her “homophobic” husband would be playing around with men! She was so disgusted that she felt like puking right then and there. The thought that the man might’ve been having sex with men before the couple had turned hostile against each other made her wish she could skin him alive.

With a shriek of rage, Miao charged at the two men, arms swinging crazily at them. When Yuan saw her, he felt some guilt at first. However, when her hands hit him, the guilt was replaced by rage. His face had just finished healing. Now, it was bleeding again. The prey he had hooked a few moments ago had also been frightened away. In a fit of rage, Yuan dragged her to one side and began slapping her hard. In a real fight, Yan Miao would never be a match for He Yuan. Soon, there was blood dripping from the corner of her mouth. However, even if she couldn’t beat him in a fight, she would never stop shouting at him. Her shrill voice repeated over and over again phrases like “disgusting”, “pervert” and “die a horrible death”. When Yuan noticed they had caused a rather loud commotion, he dragged her out of the hotel and back to their mansion. She was being too embarrassing.

The moment Yuan stepped through the mansion doors, he was greeted with the messy state of the house. “You’ve kicked up a fuss and chased away all of our servants again?” he coldly asked. “No wonder you’d be at the hotel. Yan Miao, I thought that I could let you be Madam He on the basis that your surname is still Yan. I didn’t think that you wouldn’t stop with the antics, even at this stage. In that case, you can’t say I’m heartless for what I’ll do next.”

Miao was still screaming at the man and trying her best to twist her arm out of his grip, disgusted by his touch. 

“What? You find me disgusting?” Yuan coldly laughed. “I’ll have you know that I swung both ways from the start, although I prefer men more. I don’t need to tell you again why I married you. In the past decades, I’ve stayed by your side, rarely straying away for a taste of something new. Look at how much I’ve sacrificed for you.”

“He Yuan, you will die a horrible death!” Miao angrily shouted. “You disgusting liar!”

“Yes, I’m a liar. I’ve lied to you, to…” said Yuan. “But what does it matter? You know about it too late. If you found out before the Yan family gave up on you, I might have been scared. But now? Just who are you? Look at you. You can have a good life but you won’t settle for it. You insist on causing trouble. I hope you’re happy. I don’t even have a reason to let you move around freely now.”

He dragged Miao by the arm up into the second-floor bedroom and threw her to the floor. Then, he slammed the door shut behind him. As Miao frantically cried and shouted, he called a few of his trusted men to guard the mansion while he himself returned to the He family home.

Yuan knew things had gone bad. One must not be fooled by his nonchalant words when speaking to Yan Miao. His heart had honestly sunken so far down that it was at the bottom of a cliff. Yan Miao now knew about his sexuality. She would never stop at just this. No matter how disappointed the old Mr Yan was with her, she was still the daughter he had loved and pampered for decades. If the cause was something else, it would’ve been fine. However, the old Mr Yan would definitely never ignore something like a homosexual marrying his daughter. Furthermore, such dirty laundry would affect the Yan family’s reputation. Even if the Yan family cared not for Yan Miao, they would still kill him. 

He had taken Miao’s phone away, cutting her off from all contact. However, locking Miao up and preventing her from contacting the Yan family was not a plan that would work for long. He can’t lock her up forever. Sooner or later, he would be exposed. The only solution he had now was to lock Miao up as long as possible. He would use this period to send the He family’s assets, his parents and his children overseas. He could find a small country that wasn’t well-known. Everyone would start a new life under a new name. Anything was fine, even if they had to buy up a large farm and be a farm owner. It was best if the Yan family could never find him. If he stayed here, not only would his reputation be sullied, he would also be faced with a terrible future.

He Yuan actually knew from the moment he decided to wed Yan Miao that this marriage was a gamble and an exchange. He would use his marriage to gain wealth beyond his dreams. He had planned on hiding his true sexuality his whole life if nothing bad happened along the way. But nothing in the world was easy. One lifetime was too long for him. Yan Miao’s savage personality made life unbearable. In terms of his career, he had gotten what he wanted. However, he didn’t feel happy. No matter how grand he appeared to the outside world, he would always have his head bowed down when he was home. 

Time and time again, he wondered if he had made the wrong decision. If he had known his place and developed the family business slowly and not dreamed of shooting to the top, could he have had a better life? But it was too late for him once he started feeling the pangs of regret. He had already married Yan Miao. It was like riding a tiger. Getting off was a hard task. All Yuan could do was use his whole life to pay the price for his one gigantic mistake. Still, the more he tried to suppress himself, the more painful life felt. The more painful life was, the more he wanted to break free of it. But he didn’t dare do it. 

If he broke away from Yan Miao, he wouldn’t be greeted with a life of freedom. He would be facing a neverending hell. It wouldn’t be just him either. His family, his parents, would all be dragged down to hell. He didn’t have the guts to do it. He had only married Miao for a few years and he had already wished countless times that he could just kill off Miao and be done with it.

Just as the beast within him grew more and more rabid, he met Xu YouRan. The young man was standing in the shade of a tree. He was slim. Held between those slender fingers was a book. His soft black hair gently laid on his forehead. His eyes were closed. Tranquillity was written all over his face. Sunlight, scattered by the leaves of the tree, shone on his pale cheeks. He looked so peaceful, so beautiful. Yuan was stunned. His feet seemed to have been nailed to the ground. He was unable to walk away.

Then, as if the young man had sensed a strong gaze on him, he opened his eyes, revealing a set of ethereal and melancholic eyes. He looked at Yuan, seemingly curious as to why this stranger was staring at him. Still, Xu YouRan nodded to Yuan in greeting before leaving his spot, book in hand.

That was the first time He Yuan encountered Xu YouRan. Since then, more than once he had wondered what would’ve happened if he met the young man before he decided to marry Yan Miao. Everything would be different then. He would be at peace with his situation. He would be okay with slowly and steadily building up the He family. He’d have a normal relationship with the young man before marrying him. How nice that would’ve been.

But Yuan knew that it was all just a fantasy. If that truly happened, he would also begrudge the young man for being unable to help him with his business. A smooth-going relationship wouldn’t be cherished by anyone. In the end, they’ll turn into a couple who hated each other. He had also thought about how great it would be if YouRan had a similar background to Yan Miao. But no matter how many what-ifs he asked, this world would never grant any of them. Reality was set in stone. He could not change anything.

His relationship with YouRan did not have a perfect start and it ended just as badly. Even so, to Yuan, his life was much better when he had YouRan. The young man comforted the beast within him. Yuan no longer woke up in the middle of the night with the strong urge to strangle Yan Miao. He had more patience to play along with Yan Miao’s antics. Yuan knew it was unfair to the young man but he had no choice. Xu YouRan was like a cure. It was only with him can Yuan’s mind be at peace. It was only him who could ensure Yuan could once more put on a flawless fake smile. 

Deep down, Yuan knew that if Miao ever found out about YouRan, he wouldn’t be able to protect YouRan. Yuan might even push the man into harm’s way in order to protect him and his family. Still, he could not deny that his time with YouRan was the happiest he had been since getting married. All he could do for YouRan was to respect him to the best of his abilities. YouRan was against having sex, so he didn’t force the man. YouRan didn’t really love him. What the young man felt was more towards a thirst for family. Yuan didn’t try to force the issue as he was at peace whenever he was with YouRan.

To be honest, it was good that he had split up from YouRan. If their relationship had gone on, what awaited the young man would not be anything nice. Bai YiHan once worried that Yuan would bear a grudge against them, against YouRan, but Yuan really didn’t hate them. In fact, he was thankful that they had helped him make a decision. YouRan was spared. While he couldn’t bear parting from the young man, he felt somewhat glad and relieved. If Yan Yan and the others didn’t appear, his affair with YouRan wouldn’t have ended, couldn’t have ended, until one of them was destroyed.

Breaking up with YouRan awakened the beast within Yuan. He grew more and more impatient when it came to Miao. This recent incident had turned his decades of hard work and suffering into a joke. Yan Miao had destroyed everything she had brought to him. While he was still furious about it, he was, secretly, a little happy about it. So be it. No matter what happens, everything can have an end. A lifetime was just too long. Yuan could not endure it.

His hands, the hands he had just beaten Miao up with, tightened around the steering wheel. On his handsome face, there was a hint of a crazed smile.


No matter how important a person was, no matter how earth-shattering an incident was, nothing could stall the flow of time. Time wouldn’t be affected by anyone or anything. It would only move at its own pace and slowly march forward. As everyone was preoccupied with incident after incident, Christmas eventually arrived.

As per their plans, Yan Yan and Xu YouRan obtained their marriage certificate on Christmas Eve. They had already bought their new house. It was a small mansion, not too big. The place might be rather remote but it was very peaceful and extremely safe. Even after the renovations were done, Yan didn’t let YouRan step foot in the place before they formally moved in. Yan, YiHan and Zhang Su were in charge of decorating the place. When Yan Pei had some spare time, she’d tag along to provide some decoration ideas, in her usual chattering manner. They worked non-stop. Finally, they were able to finish up before the year was over.

The moment YouRan walked through the front door and set eyes upon the decorated house, he thought, “This is my home.”

Yan had been right behind him. He nervously watched as YouRan took a stroll around the ground floor. As YouRan turned to slowly walk up the stairs, Yan couldn’t help but hold his breath. The first floor was basically just the living room, kitchen, guest room, storage room and what-not. The second floor was the main event. It primarily consisted of their bedrooms, some guest rooms, a gym and the two men’s study rooms. It was where the couple would spend most of their time.

Translator’s Note:

A homosexual marrying Yan Miao: Reminder that he is technically bisexual. The original text translates to “fake marriage” with the implicit meaning of a gay person lying to a woman and marrying her to use her as a beard. It was much more succinct and accurate (to context) to change the translation to “a homosexual marrying his daughter” instead.He Yuan, the character: Let me just grumble a little here on just how toxic He Yuan sounds. His mindset is of a classic abuser who thinks his actions aren’t abusive as he had to make some “sacrifices” for him to take those actions. While Yan Miao is quite bad herself, it doesn’t excuse He Yuan’s actions.

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GC: Chapter 206

206. Hitting Walls

“He Yuan, you bastard!” Yan Miao screeched, still on the floor as her anger made her forget about standing up. “The words you said to me at the start of our relationship were sweeter than a song, but you only married me for my status! To think I’d given you two children, to think I’d come back to my family time and again to beg my father to help the He family. I see. All of my effort and love had been fed to a dog instead! Even a freaking dog is better than you! If I give a dog a bone, it would at least wag its tail. You are an utterly ungrateful bastard!”

“I’m a bastard?” He Yuan coldly smirked. “And how much better are you? With all of your bad habits, no one could’ve ever liked you! I do my best to sweetly coax you, to provide for you. All that I’ve done to give you years of a comfortable life is enough to pay you back! Frankly, I truly admire your father and brothers. They’ve only abandoned you now. If I had a daughter like you, I would’ve thrown you straight into the toilet bowl and let you drown to your death!”

Miao crawled to her feet and flung herself at the man, arms stretched out to attack him. “How dare you mention my father! Your intentions were never kind from the start. Now, you’ve hit me. If my father finds out, he’ll never forgive you!”

There was no way Yuan would allow her to hit him once more. He grabbed Miao’s arms and twisted them behind her. The pain was so great that Miao yelped.

“He Yuan, you will die a horrible death!” she shouted, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Yuan pressed her against the table. “Do you still not know what’s going on? Your brother has stepped back from power. The Yan Group is entirely in Yan Hui’s hands. You’ve foolishly oppressed your sister-in-law for years yet you’ve always been so proud of it. Why didn’t you think about how she is the mother of Yan Hui? The young man wouldn’t even want to look at you now. Do you think he’d buy your act?”

“He wouldn’t dare!” Miao shouted. “I am his aunt!”

“Ha,” Yuan scoffed. “You really think you’re all that. Aunt? The world of business is a cruel one. Even a father could turn into an enemy, let alone an aunt! Furthermore, Yan Hui’s hatred for you is carved deep into his bones. You’re lucky if he doesn’t do anything to you.”

“He Yuan, you bastard!” Miao loudly cried. Her arms were in a lot of pain. “How dare you do this to me! My father will never forgive you!”

Yuan flung her away. “Now you know how great your father is?” he said in disgust. “When I asked you to visit him and plead with him, you angered him so much that he was hospitalised. I begged you to visit him and apologise but you refused every time. You’re only afraid now? It’s too late! Your brother announced his retirement and your father didn’t object. In fact, he even expressed his support of Yan Hui. Don’t you know what this means? It means he doesn’t want you anymore! Are you dumb? You’re not dumb. You just think you’re God!”

Miao fell to the ground. Her arms were still throbbing in pain. She knew that He Yuan would never let her hit and shout at him again. It was impossible for her to win if she fought him once more. She didn’t have the courage to argue with him again. All she could do was shake her head over and over again.

“Impossible!” she said. “I don’t believe it. I am my father’s daughter, my brother’s sister. What right do they have to not help me? How can they? How dare you treat me like this. You’ll regret it. I’ll make you regret it!”

“You really think you’re God?” Yuan scoffed. “What right? No one in this world is bound by duty to be nice to another person at all times. It is only ever up to whether the person is willing to be nice or not. Your father brought you into this world. He doesn’t owe you anything. You nearly killed him by angering him but you wouldn’t even visit him. He’s already kind enough to stop at not helping you. If it were me, I wouldn’t have cared if you lived or died ages ago! Do you know why the three families stopped? It was because your father was hospitalised. Bai YiHan felt so guilty that he pleaded with his family and Mu JingYuan. That’s why they’ve spared me. This is the last time your father will help you.”

Upon hearing Bai YiHan’s name, Miao hurriedly said in a loud voice, “Yes, this entire incident started because of Bai YiHan. He egged the three families on to attack us. Why don’t you all hate him instead? Why blame me? Just because of a few kind words from him, you think he’s your saviour? He Yuan, you’re being quite ridiculous!”

“I really can’t get anything through to you at all,” said Yuan. “You don’t even know where you went wrong. You don’t even know why things have developed to what it is now. Yan Miao, I’m warning you. You’d best behave and go back home. Be a proper Madam He and don’t embarrass me by starting any troubles again. It’s up to you whether or not you’re willing to admit your faults but you must know that the Yan family no longer cares for you. You are no longer the high and mighty Third Miss Yan. Get a hold of that rotten temper and stay low. Not only are you useless to the He family now, but you are also a hot potato I can’t get rid of. I don’t need to tolerate you any longer. If you upset me again, I have plenty of ways to take care of you! Now, go back! I’m annoyed just by looking at you!”

Miao stood up, wiped away the tear streaks on her face. “He Yuan, who do you think you are?” she coldly laughed. “How dare you order me around. I’ve told you, you will regret what you’ve done to me today!”

Miao then strode out of the office with her head held high.

The employees eavesdropping outside the office swiftly hurried back to their seats, to their work, to their thoughts. No one dared to look up.

Even so, Miao still felt as though there were blades pricking at her back. It was as if she could hear everyone laughing at her. Her head was held high but she felt immensely humiliated. How could she listen to that scum, He Yuan, and head home to be a trophy wife? There was no way her father and brother would truly abandon her.

Yuan looked at Miao’s retreating figure with squinted eyes. He knew the woman would never obediently go home. She’d definitely head to the Yan family home and try to get an answer. That was good too. It’d make her lose hope. It’d humble her. Yan Miao, oh, Yan Miao, for years you have threatened and bossed me around. It was time for you to know the exact same brand of humiliation I did. Good times were just around the corner. Don’t worry.

Miao tidied herself up, covering up her red and swollen face with plenty of powder. She couldn’t let anyone see her in such a disgraceful state, not even if it was her own father.

She drove to the Yasn family home but was stopped at the gates. She couldn’t even get into the estate. The guard on duty kept telling her in a monotone voice that it was done under the family’s orders. He could not let her in without prior permission from his employers. 

However, after a brief phone call by the guard to the main home, the man then said that the orders actually came from the old Mr Yan himself. The elderly man had said that Miao was an adult now while he was an old man. He couldn’t help her much in the future and asked that she go home and take care.

Miao couldn’t believe it. She threw a great tantrum at the gates for a long while. Never could she have thought that the guard who never deserved a glance from her had the guts to stop her. She was steaming with anger but this nobody who she never once looked at before couldn’t be bribed or threatened. The man didn’t care at all.

Infuriated, Miao charged to the Yan Group office but was also stopped at the doors. Yan Hui had passed the order that she was not to enter the building without his permission. Miao knew Yan Hui didn’t care for her and she knew she had to improve her relationship with Yan Hui in the future. After all, the past governor isn’t as powerful as the current governor. She suppressed her anger and waited for the receptionist to inform Yan Hui of her arrival. To her surprise, Yan Hui only replied with one word: no.

When Miao heard the receptionist’s reply, combined with the walls she had hit that day, she finally knew that what He Yuan said was true. The Yan family had really abandoned her. She looked at the receptionist’s lowered head then at the other people in the lobby who had been paying attention to her while not looking at her. Even the security guard scanned her up and down from the corner of his eye. Miao felt as if her dignity, her face had been stripped away, blood dripping everywhere. She wanted to rage and shout but she didn’t have the protection of being the Third Miss of the Yan family anymore. Even He Yuan despised her. To put it bluntly, she was now just an ordinary woman. What could she do to anyone?

All Miao could do was hold her head high and walk out of the building under the crowd’s gaze. Her cheeks burned while her back was scorched by the eyes of the nobodies she usually looked down on. In that instant, she felt as if everyone in the world was filled with evil intentions. Everyone was laughing at her. Everyone was enjoying her suffering. Never in Miao’s life had she suffered humiliation like this. In the shadows of her proud figure was a hatred that stemmed from deep within her heart. It was aimed at He Yuan, at the Bai, Chen and Mu families. Most of all, she hated her own father and brother. They kept saying they loved her but they’d abandon her without warning, leaving her in her current situation. She hated them. She swore that she would make everyone pay the price for this!

Miao thought what she had suffered was the most she had to endure. She didn’t think there would be something even worse waiting for her, something that would make her go crazy. After leaving the Yan Group office, she had nowhere left to go but home. The mansion was empty with only a few servants who looked at her as if she was a tigress. She was already at her breaking point. The servants’ gazes felt even more unbearable to her. Miao charged at the servants, shouting insults and throwing whatever she could at them. Thinking Miao had gone mad, the servants ran out screeching. Miao ran after them and, with a loud bang, slammed the doors shut behind them. Finally, she was the only person remaining in the house. Sitting on the floor, she couldn’t help but cry. She sobbed hard. As she cried, she raged. She raged at her father and brother for their cold hearts. She raged at Yan Hui for being mean. She raged at Kong Wen for her schemes. She raged at Mu JingYuan for making a mountain out of a molehill. She raged at He Yuan for his beastly nature. 

When she was done crying and raging, she was hungry but she had chased off the servants. The people by her side had disappeared when she wasn’t looking. Who could arrange a meal for her? The house had plenty of rice and vegetables but they wouldn’t automatically turn into a feast just because she was Third Miss Yan. Cook? Was that a joke? There was no way in her life would she enter such a place. In the end, she had to order takeaway from a hotel. She forced herself to take a few bites of the food before throwing them to one side.

This was only the first day. The second day was the same. Without anyone to clean the place, and combined with the tantrum she had just thrown, the mansion had turned into a mess. There was no way she’d clean the house so she waited for the servants to return. However, they weren’t masochists. Who would be willing to come back?

Miao then thought of her two children. They were a good way of making He Yuan regret his actions but they’ve long since run off to He Yuan’s parents. Miao never thought anything of her in-laws before. She rarely even greeted them as “Father” or “Mother”. Every time they met, the old couple would be very cautious around her. When she went to their place for her children, she didn’t think she’d instead be chased out of the gates by the servants. She wasn’t even able to see her children. She was so angry that she started shouting. However, no one in the He family wanted to see her. Finally, she grew tired of shouting. All that she could do was leave.

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GC: Chapter 205

205. You Dare Hit Me!

The old Mr Yan’s eyes slid shut as he let out a heavy sigh. “So be it. I’m old now. An old man should enjoy a life of peace and quiet. I should spend my days in leisure, playing chess and taking care of flowers. Let the young ones resolve their own issues.”

Yan Cheng pulled Yan Ping up from the floor. Cheng then wearily sat down by the bed. “It’s my fault,” he softly said. “I spoiled her too much.”

“Pei is a girl. I love my daughter the most. I’ve been spoiling her since the moment she was born,” Ping calmly said. “I would give her anything as long as it’s within my means. And then there’s Bai YiHan who just walked out. The love of many had been focused on a single person. A simple sneeze would make a whole group of people panic. None of them were doted on more than Miao but they’re all considerate people. Pei might look like a naughty brat but she’s very dutiful and loving. YiHan might’ve been a proud kid before but it could be seen that he does know to be appreciative of others. He truly cares for the Bai family and for Mu JingYuan. I don’t think I need to talk about how he is now. Why is it only Miao who treats our love as if it’s a debt we owe her? One’s personality is set from birth. She is naturally cold-hearted. She only ever cares about herself. This cannot be changed, It has nothing to do with spoiling her.”

After a few moments of silence, the old Mr Yan said to Cheng, “You’re settled on what’s going to happen to the company?”

“Yes,” Cheng replied. “I’m sorry, Father. While you were asleep last night, I was so anxious about it that I didn’t find the time to talk to you about it and finalised the decision myself. I envy Bai FuRen and Chen GuangQi for being able to retire so young and live a carefree life. I’ve also owed Wen a lot over the years. When I don’t need to work, I can have more time to spend with her and take care of you by her side. Well?”

“Oh, you,” the old Mr Yan said, smiling. “It’s good to be filial but don’t be foolish. You’re nearly fifty this year. I’ve long since stepped back from power, from the company. You can make your own decisions. You don’t have to discuss everything with me beforehand. You’re right. Ever since your marriage to Wen, you haven’t been able to take her on a vacation. She has to take care of the children and the home while taking care of me. You can’t even spend time with her. She has certainly suffered injustice. It’s good that you’re stepping back. While you’re both young, go see the world and have fun. Go wherever your hearts desire to make up for the lost time.”

“That won’t do,” Cheng said. “If we’re gone, you–”

“I will be an old fart who cares about nothing in the future,” the old Mr Yan interrupted, smile dropping off his face. “What can happen to me? Must I have someone taking care of me all the time? Anyway, there’ll still be Liu and the rest. Do you think I’d starve?”

Cheng was about to respond when Ping spoke up, “Brother, don’t worry. Once work is back to normal, you can go have a vacation with your wife. Father still has me, doesn’t he? I’ll either ask him to move in with me then or I’ll move back to the family home along with my wife and Pei-Pei. Either way, he won’t be home alone. Also, with me around, let’s see what kind of fuss Miao would kick up. I’m not insulting you, Brother, but you really can’t stop Miao.”

“I’ll think about it,” Cheng sighed.

“No need to think. It’s settled,” the old Mr Yan firmly stated.


The old Mr Yan stayed in the hospital for about two weeks. Over that time, YiHan had visited the elderly man a few times. Sometimes, he was alone. Sometimes, JingYuan would be by his side. Of the other guests, there were quite a number of them. Some were able to enter the sick room, some were stopped at the door. Even Qi MingYang visited the old man. It was only Yan Miao who didn’t come or send word of concern. The old Mr Yan and Yan Cheng didn’t say anything but from then on, they truly let go of all hope for her. They wouldn’t even mention her in their conversations.

In those two weeks, the Bai, Chen and Mu families eventually ended their assault on the He family. While they didn’t push the He family to the brink of no return, their target still sustained serious injuries. Because Yan Miao was unable to provide a rescue team and had broken off all amicable relationships with the Yan family, her status in the He family wasn’t what it used to be. How could she be relied on? 

Every day, she’d throw a tantrum without a care for their situation. She would even punch and kick He Yuan, shouting about how he’s a coward who can’t protect his wife. At first, He Yuan could still tolerate the treatment and gently soothe her anger. However, he was still the head of a household no matter what. He had been servile for years because of Miao’s identity. Now that the Yan family had thoroughly given up on her, he didn’t have much patience left for her. He had advised her multiple times to visit the old Mr Yan and apologise to them but Miao strongly objected every single time. If he said any more, he would be greeted with a hard slap. He Yuan had dropped by the hospital a few times but he had always been kicked out. He couldn’t even meet anyone from the Yan family. Most importantly, there has been a transition of power in the Yan family.

Yan Cheng formally announced his retirement and transferred most of his shares to his sons and sons-in-law. He had also handed the power down to his two sons. Now, the Yan Group was headed by Yan Hui with Yan Yan as his support. The two young men’s capabilities were outstanding. The two brothers were united in their views and they were quite methodical. The company didn’t suffer much change due to the new changes.

Miao didn’t know anything about it beforehand. She only found out after the Yan Group made a formal statement. Miao was so mad that she began smashing pans and plates. She screamed about how her big brother and father were so cruel and heartless. How could they transfer shares over to Zhang Su and Xu YouRan, those two outsiders, yet none to her? On the other hand, He Yuan felt a chill overtake him. Yan Cheng has retired. Yan Hui was in power. What did that mean? At the very least, to the He family, it meant that the Yan family, their powerful backer, was now no longer a party they could use as protection.

To be honest, over the past few years, He Yuan’s mind had always been worrying about this. He was even more anxious after the other great families’ heads started to retire and hand the power over to the younger generation. Yan Miao felt that it didn’t matter who was in control of the Yan family. She would always be the daughter of the main Yan family branch. She didn’t need to worry at all. But He Yuan knew that Yan Hui wouldn’t help the He family ever. Putting aside the grudges in the past, Yan Hui would never treat Yan Miao and the He family well, solely based on the disrespect and hatred Yan Miao always threw towards the young man’s mother, Kong Wen. There’s also how Yan Miao never had anything nice to say whenever Zhang Su was mentioned. The He family would be lucky if Yan Hui didn’t target them for revenge.

He Yuan knew how serious this change would be. He would often tell Miao to be nicer to her family and be more polite to Kong Wen. Even if the woman can’t win over Yan Hui and Yan Yan, they should at least be able to coexist peacefully. The two most important people of the Yan family were the old Mr Yan and Yan Cheng. Miao absolutely cannot ever let go of them. However, Miao was a proud woman. She would listen if he tried persuading her on other matters, but as soon as it involved having her be more polite or apologise, her anger would immediately go through the roof. Additionally, she herself didn’t realise the danger at all. She would always say that it’d be better if her brother stepped back from power. She was the two brothers’ aunt. Would they dare disobey her? When the change happened, it would be easier for the He family to get the Yan family to do anything. She didn’t even have to act cute in front of the old Mr Yan then. She just needed to give orders. There was no way to change her mind about it.

Deep down, He Yuan would be coldly laughing at the woman. Who did she think she was? If Yan Hui obeyed her orders, He Yuan would cut off his head and hand it over to be kicked around like a ball.

He Yuan thought that Yan Cheng wouldn’t retire that early. He still had time. He didn’t think the other man would retire as soon as retirement was mentioned, no warnings given. Yan Miao was furious that her big brother didn’t transfer any shares to her but He Yuan knew that everything was over. Yan Cheng had handed his power over to Yan Hui when the man knew that the mere mention of his son’s name would have Miao rolling her eyes. It was a signal that the Yan family had given up on Yan Miao.

While the three great families have stopped their assault, the He family did not emerge from the storm with the glory they once had. They had become even poorer than before He Yuan’s marriage to Yan Miao. All those years of hard work, all those years of suppressing his feelings… Now, it was back to step one. 

He Yuan was so enraged that he nearly ground his teeth down to nothing. Naturally, he had also lost all patience for Yan Miao who had been abandoned by her family and turned into a useless hot potato. Instead, all of the past resentment resurfaced and combined with the current hatred. Every time he looked at Yan Miao, his gaze would be dark and foreboding. How he loathed that he cannot strangle her to death just then and there. But even if the Yan family wouldn’t help her anymore, the woman was still part of the Yan family. He Yuan could not lay a hand on her. To prevent himself from accidentally slapping her out of a window, He Yuan began to avoid his home. Their children had long since hidden themselves away from home due to Yan Miao’s tantrums… The servants of their home would avoid her in any way possible. If they couldn’t do so, they’d quit. These servants were healthy people. Why can’t they find work elsewhere? Why must they be servile and risk being injured just to serve a crazy woman?

Now, all that was left of the huge mansion was Yan Miao, the owner, and a handful of servants. It was only then did Yan Miao start to panic. She cleaned up her act and ran off to the He Group office in search of He Yuan. However, the man who had doted on her and obeyed her every whim basically ignored her the entire time. This was the greatest and most mortifying humiliation she had ever suffered. With her temper, how could she be fine with that? She started to scream and shout on the spot. In her rage, she even left bleeding scratch marks on He Yuan’s cheek.

The mere sight of Yan Miao would already stress out He Yuan. The burning pain on his face and the curious gaze of his workers peeking out from their cubicles was enough to make him lose his mind. To hell with pros and cons! To hell with being part of the Yan family! This woman had become addicted to beating him up. Just because he didn’t hit back, this woman was now using his dignity as fodder for gossip!

He Yuan’s eyes went red as he slapped right back. Caused by the rage brimming in him, no strength was held back from the slap. How could a pampered rich madam like Yan Miao be able to take the hit? She swayed back unsteadily on her heels. Her shoes clacked backwards a few steps before the woman tripped and fell to the ground. Her left cheek was one big bruise while blood dripped from the corner of her mouth. Yan Miao’s mind was buzzing as she sat there, dazed. It took her a few long moments before she snapped back to her senses. He Yuan who had grovelled before her had just hit her!

“He Yuan, you dare hit me!” Miao looked back at the man and roared, her voice a shrill shriek laced with disbelief.

Yuan had already dealt the blow. It was too late to bother thinking about what he could gain from the woman. So, he just let go.

“Hit you?” Yuan coldly said, squinting down at the dishevelled woman on the ground. “Did you know? Ever since the day we were wed, there hasn’t been a moment where I didn’t think about beating you to death! However, you were useful back then. I had to tolerate you and let you have your way. I had to act like I wished I could build a pedestal and worship you. So many years have passed. You order me around, beat and shout at me. I put up with it all. You just had to be the Third Miss of the Yan family after all. For the sake of the He Group, I endured. 

Do you know how oppressive those years were for me? At first, I consoled myself; you were pretty at least and you had a high social ranking. I’m not making a loss. But eventually, all I want to do when I see your face is to tear it to pieces! You’re a tyrant, proud and unreasonable. You are the most despicable woman in the world. You are full of bad habits yet you think the whole wide world should let you have your way. You think you’re the best thing ever but look around. Who doesn’t run away from you? 

Other people may be able to avoid you but I can’t. I had no choice. I chose this path. I had use for you. Your status may be useful but you are a huge problem. You’ve offended nearly everyone we’ve been in contact with. You even had the courage to offend Mu JingYuan, leading to the He family suffering major losses! Yet you have the gall to kick up a fuss. When I tell you to apologise, you say I’m a coward. You caused this mess yet you won’t take responsibility. Do I have to be responsible for your mess then? What an utter joke! 

It’s already hard enough that I had to deal with your rubbish temper. You don’t listen to me, you don’t listen to your father, and you definitely don’t listen to your brother. Your mouth has no filter. It causes trouble everywhere it goes. They’ve already distanced themselves from you. However, you don’t rush over to the Yan family home to apologise. Instead, you have the time to come here and cause a scene. You have quite the positive mindset there. Look at you now. Do you still think you’re the high and mighty Third Miss Yan? They don’t want you anymore. Are you still dreaming?”

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GC: Chapter 204

204. Two Separate Families

Yan Cheng stood in silence for a few moments, jaws clenched tight. His hands reached up to roughly scrub at his face as he wearily said, “You’re both right. Your grandfather’s an old man now. He should be enjoying a peaceful life. Every day, I have to go to the office. Work is so busy that it’s inevitable that I can’t spend much time with him. When Mu ChuanYu and his wife passed away, Mu JingYuan became a family head while he’s still a young man. Then, Qi Kun was paralysed. Qi MingYang also took control of the Qi Group at a young age. The Bai and Chen family have both handed the power down to the younger generation. You’re both adults now and you’re not any weaker than them. Either of you could act independently and hold your front. The Yan family cannot be left behind. This city is yours in the end. From tomorrow onwards, I’ll be transferring my shares over to you two. Your grandfather needs someone to take care of him. I won’t be heading into the office tomorrow. If you ever encounter something you can’t resolve, you can ask me. Bai FuRen is right. We should retire while we’re not so old that we can’t support you from behind the scenes. Once we’re old, you guys are capable enough to do anything. We don’t need to worry at all.”

“Father, that’s not what we meant!” Yan Hui and Yan Yan gasped.

“I know,” Cheng said, tiredly waving his hand. “Frankly, I’ve had the idea for quite a while. I envied Bai FuRen for he could retire early and enjoy a tranquil life behind the scenes. I just couldn’t help but worry about your aunt. What happened today has been a warning to me. I can’t take care of her matters anymore. I’m getting old. It’s time for me to retire. I was so busy with work over the past few decades that I couldn’t properly spend time with your mother. I owe her a lot. I’ll have spare time in the future. I can also focus on being with your mother and taking care of your grandfather by her side. We can dabble in gardening and raise a cat or dog. I’ll lead a life of leisure.”

Hui and Yan both objected to the idea. The three men debated about it for a long while but Cheng was adamant. And so, the decision was finalised.

The next morning, Bai YiHan, who had been notified of the situation, rushed over to the hospital to check in on the old Mr Yan. The elderly man had stabilised by then. He was leaning against the headboard and enjoying a cup of warm water with the help of his son.

“Little YiHan,” the old Mr Yan looked up and said with a smile, “you’re here. News spreads fast.”

YiHan walked over to the bed and placed the flowers and basket of fruits on the bedside table. “Grandpa Yan, I’m sorry,” YiHan apologised. “This started because of me. How do you feel now?” YiHan then turned and greeted Cheng, “Uncle Yan.”

“Silly boy,” the old Mr Yan said with a smile, “how can this be blamed on you? I still have to apologise to you. I didn’t raise my daughter properly. It’s why you had to suffer that injustice.”

“It’s none of your fault,” YiHan said with a wave of his hand. “You’ve gone through a very risky situation this time. I was shocked when I heard the news. Are you alright now?”

“Don’t worry, YiHan,” Cheng warmly answered. “He’s stable now. He only needs to stay for a few days of treatment and he has to be more careful with his health from now on.”

“With a bad heart, the worst is extreme emotions.” YiHan nodded in agreement. “You must be cautious. Grandpa Yan, you must try and relax. Don’t worry so much about everything. When you’re sick, Uncle Yan, Hui and the rest suffer the most.”

The old Mr Yan nodded with a smile.

YiHan carefully scanned the elderly man’s face. The old Mr Yan’s smile didn’t look as sincere as it used to be. There’s always a hint of bitterness in it now. YiHan couldn’t help but let out a sigh.

“Grandpa Yan, don’t panic,” YiHan said. “I’ll talk to JingYuan and my siblings about the He Group. JingYuan is truly angry this time. He’s a little too harsh in his actions. However, he did say that he wouldn’t do anything significant to the He Group, even if it’s just for your sake. It’s just that…he’s finding it rather hard to calm down.”

“I know you’re a good kid,” the old Mr Yan said, patting YiHan on the hand. “You don’t hold grudges and you’re not vengeful when other people offend you. If not for that Mu boy, I would be worried that you might be bullied. You don’t need to worry about me when it comes to the He Group. After this incident, I’ve thought things through. I’m old now. I can’t do anything and I don’t want to. I only want to live a few more years in peace. Once I’ve seen enough of this world, I can go and be with Grandma Yan.”

“Don’t speak of nonsense!” YiHan and Cheng simultaneously said.

“Okay, okay,” the old Mr Yan said, smile never faltering. “I won’t speak of it. I’m old now. It’s certainly bad luck for me to say things like that. Relax. Even if it’s for sake of the love of Cheng and the other kids, I will try my best to live a few years more.”

Cheng placed the cup down to look away. He swiftly raised a hand to wipe at his face.

The room’s door opened once more, making way for a burly middle-aged man with a thermal jug.

“Second Uncle Yan,” YiHan greeted with a smile.

“Mn,” Yan Ping replied. “You’ve come, Little YiHan. My father and Pei-Pei have mentioned you a lot lately. You’re very kind to be here so early.”

Yan Ping’s figure wasn’t elegant and slender like his brother’s. Instead, the man had a rough look to him with the aura and dignity of someone who had always had the upper hand. He had a very strong presence.

YiHan had only met Ping a few times. At Yan’s engagement party, the man came and went in a hurry. Ping didn’t even see Yan Miao, who had come late. If the man was there that night, perhaps Miao might’ve held back a little. The woman wasn’t afraid of her father and she definitely wasn’t afraid of her big brother. The person she was most afraid of was her second brother. No matter what Miao thought of her second brother’s words, she would never dare to explicitly defy them.

Honestly, it wasn’t any wonder that Miao would be afraid of Ping. Faced with the man himself, YiHan was always subconsciously a little nervous.

“Grandpa Yan is sick,” YiHan said, smiling. “I’m partly responsible. I have to visit him.”

A tiny smile appeared on Ping’s usually stern face. The man placed the jug down on the table as his large hand patted YiHan on the shoulder. “Little guy, don’t take on the responsibility all the time. My father’s illness can’t be blamed on you no matter what. Don’t overthink it.”

“Yes,” Cheng said. “This kid apologised the moment he stepped through the door. My father’s right, actually. It’s the Yan family who should apologise. What do you have to be sorry for?”

YiHan dipped his head, a smile on his lips as he rubbed his ear with a hand. The old Mr Yan was smiling as he nodded in agreement.

“Little YiHan,” Ping said, sitting down, “you must understand that Yan Miao isn’t one of us from now on. There are no major connections between us. You can even think of us as two completely separate families. Don’t think too much about it.”

YiHan’s eyes darted up. “I understand, Second Uncle Yan,” he said, a smile slowly spreading on his face.

“YiHan’s a smart kid,” Ping said to the old Mr Yan, smiling. “He’s just too honest.”

The old Mr Yan had remained silent when Ping mentioned the phrase “two completely separate families”. Cheng didn’t react as well. 

“Yes,” the old Mr Yan replied. “I was just saying that without the Mu kid, Little YiHan would absolutely be bullied.”

“No way,” Ping said. “Do you not know just how much the Bai family treasures him? In the worst-case scenario, he still has you.”

“Second Uncle Yan is right,” YiHan said to the old Mr Yan. “When I was kidnapped last time, it was all thanks to you that I was rescued in time.”

Ping nodded. “That time was certainly dangerous. Be it pressure from my father or the timely rescue of JingYuan and his team, not one of them can be subtracted. Speaking of which, have they still not found the mastermind?”

YiHan shook his head. “This case is quite the troublesome one. Feng Qun died while the rest of the kidnappers had very limited knowledge of the situation. All of our leads have essentially been cut off. However, JingYuan mentioned before that they’d found a lead. I believe the truth will be found soon.”

“The faster they do so, the better,” the old Mr Yan said. “With such a mastermind hiding in the shadows, it makes one feel like they’re choking, unable to eat or sleep in peace.”

“JingYuan and my brother have been keeping close tabs on this investigation,” YiHan said. “The police may have closed the case but Officer Chen and Fang Yi have secretly continued the investigation. However, ever since that incident, it’s as if ‘that person’ never existed. He’s gone into hiding and hasn’t made a move since. To find him is an extremely tough task. But don’t worry, Grandpa Yan. I believe in Officer Chen’s capabilities. It’s only a matter of time before we find the mastermind. Don’t think too much about this case. We don’t want your mood to be affected. Right now, the most important thing you must do is let go and relax. Don’t think about anything. Don’t worry about anything. Focus on your treatment and get better soon. Once you’re back home, I’ll go over and play chess with you.”

The old Mr Yan’s head kept nodding. “Yes, okay. Little YiHan, you must stay true to your word. Ever since you and JingYuan were registered, you rarely come visit me anymore.”

At the sight of YiHan blushing, the three men of the Yan family, rather unkindly, broke out in laughter.

Even when YiHan was gone, the smile on the old Mr Yan’s face did not fade away. The elderly man turned to Cheng and said, “Look, this child has more of a heart than your little sister.”

At that, the room immediately quieted down.

Ping’s relaxed gaze disappeared. “Miao hasn’t made a move at all?” he rumbled.

“I haven’t called her,” Cheng instinctively replied. He was afraid that Miao might say something to anger their father if she came.

Ping harrumphed. “So you called Bai YiHan? He’s received the news so why wouldn’t Miao know?”

Cheng cautiously glanced at the old Mr Yan. Deep down, he begrudged his little brother for his words. It was fine if they all knew what was going on but if they explicitly acknowledged it, their father might be upset again.

Thankfully, the old Mr Yan was lost in thought and his expression didn’t change at all.

As if he didn’t understand what his big brother meant by that look, Ping knelt by the old Mr Yan’s bed, grabbed his father by the hand and said, “In the past few years, I’ve slowly opened my eyes to Miao’s true personality. My heart has already grown cold to her. In her eyes, in her heart, we are nothing. We haven’t lost her because we never had her. However, you still have us – Big Brother, Sister-in-Law, me, Zhou Xiao, Yan Hui, Yan Yan and Yan Pei. We’re all together, happy and healthy. Well, Father?”

“Ping, what are you saying?” Cheng exclaimed in panic.

Ping turned to look at his brother. “I’ve wanted to say this for a long time but I was afraid our father would be upset. However, after this incident, I’ve realised I was wrong. If we don’t cut things off, chaos would ensue instead. I don’t want to see our father be hospitalised once more because of her matters! I’m fine if she doesn’t bother to take care of our father but how dare she shout and scream at our father, hurting his heart and risking his life! I cannot forgive her actions. She is over thirty now. Her life’s direction is set. She should already have her future path planned out. The Yan family owes her nothing. We, her father and brothers, don’t owe her anything either! Conversely, she still owes Father a debt of gratitude for he raised her. Either way, I don’t plan on caring for her. Low-quality mud cannot stick to a wall. In the end, all we receive for our effort is a bundle full of blame.”

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GC: Chapter 203

203. Debt

“Do you love me because I’m useful? How is that even considered love?” Yan Miao shrilly cried. “Father is the head of the Yan family. He has everything he could ever want. What can I do for him? There are so many servants here. Would food cooked by me be needed? It’s like you’re trying to find bones in a chicken egg! You’re all afraid of those three families. You’ve all abandoned me! You are my father, my big brother, yet you don’t treat me half as well as He Yuan does! How could you say you love me? Your love for me is so minuscule that it can’t even be seen! I hate you! I hate all of you!”

Through bloodshot eyes, Yan Cheng looked at her as though it was the first time he had ever seen her. It was a long time before he spoke.

“Father and I offered up our hearts to you, but you don’t see them,” Cheng said in a choked voice. “He Yuan only has a slick tongue yet you treat him like treasure. Since you hate us, why are you still here? Go back home.”

Tears streaked down Miao’s cheek as she raised her chin high and said, “Look! Look, look, look! You’re not going to pretend to be the great big brother anymore? You’ve finally shown your true self. You all find me bothersome so you want to use this chance to kick me out of the family! However, my surname is still Yan. This is also my home! What right do you have to chase me out?”

The old Mr Yan stood up and slowly walked towards the staircase. Exhaustion laced his voice as he said, “Have you really thought of this place as home? Since I’m useless, why are you still here? Go back. Go.”

When Miao saw that her father was saying the same thing as well, she angrily stomped her foot and shouted, “You are not my father or brother anymore! I never want to come back to this house ever again! I hate all of you!”

Miao then ran out, crying. Mrs Liu was an old servant at the Yan family home. She had watched Miao grow up. When she saw that Miao had forgotten to put on her coat or change back into her heels, Mrs Liu hurriedly grabbed Miao’s coat and heels before chasing after a woman. Instead of gratitude, Mrs Liu was instead greeted by a kick. As Mrs Liu fell to the ground, the enraged Miao snatched up her belongings and ran off.

With a hand on Kong Wen’s arm for support and another on the stairway railing, the old Mr Yan walked up the stairs one step at a time. “Children are born to us because of past debts. SuMei, I couldn’t raise our daughter into a good woman. I’m so sorry…”

Cheng watched as his father hunched forward. It seemed like the elderly man had aged further in just a few moments. It was as if all of the old Mr Yan’s energy had been sapped away in an instant. Looking at the back of his weakened father, Cheng’s hands clenched into fists, veins throbbing visibly. Two streaks of tears soundlessly rolled down that strong and steadfast face.

For the entire afternoon, the old Mr Yan’s mood never recovered. Cheng didn’t return to the office. Instead, he spent the day at home with his father. Wen had mentioned a few times that they should call for the family doctor but the elderly man refused to do so. As the man was in a bad mood, the couple didn’t dare force the man to agree. All they could do was keep a wary eye on his condition. Early that evening, the old Mr Yan chased his son and daughter-in-law off to bed. However, how could they sleep? Every so often, they’d sneak over to check in on him. 

Around midnight, the old Mr Yan started to feel some discomfort. He felt like he couldn’t breathe, as if something was restricting his lungs. His breaths came out in short bursts. He couldn’t catch his breath. Thankfully, Cheng and his wife soon found him. They disregarded the elderly man’s objections and rushed him straight into the hospital. According to the doctor, the man had luckily arrived within the time window for treatment. If they had been any later, the old Mr Yan might’ve lost his life. 

The couple was so terrified by the information that they broke out in cold sweat. They stayed by the old man’s bed, too afraid to close their eyes. A few hours later, Yan Hui, Zhang Su, Yan Yan and Xu YouRan came charging into the sick room. It was only then that Cheng and Wen were able to have a moment of respite. When the two brothers heard the cause of the old Mr Yan’s illness, they were so furious that their faces went pale.

As dawn crawled closer, the old Mr Yan eventually fell asleep. Wen had been wound up for the entire day. Exhausted, the woman took a brief nap on the sofa. Zhang Su and Xu YouRan stood guard by the elderly man’s bed while Cheng and his two sons walked out of the room for a chat. The three men’s faces had similarly unpleasant expressions.

“Father,” Yan Hui said, first to break the silence, “I know as part of the younger generation, I shouldn’t say this. However, if I don’t say this now, I’m afraid I might burst one day.”

“I know what you want to say,” Cheng responded, jaw clenched.

“Everyone knows you and Grandfather love Aunt dearly,” said Hui. “The three of us as kids did our best to let her have her way. No one ever dared to fight with her for anything she takes a liking to. We don’t even need to talk about her attitude when it comes to Mother. The woman never looks Mother in the eye. If Mother says one word, she can come up with ten different retorts. At the mere mention of Mother, she’ll always be mentioning the word ‘outsider’ over and over again. She makes it feel like my mother, the woman who had been married into the Yan family for over twenty years, who had raised us two, handled all of the housework and taken care of Grandfather, will always be an ‘outsider’. 

“I won’t mention the past. There’s no use in bringing it up now. But Pei-Pei is also a girl yet our Aunt insists on overshadowing Pei-Pei in everything. Even now, when people speak of the Third Miss of the Yan family, they still refer to our Aunt. It’s fine. Pei-Pei is still a student. It’s better for her to stay low. When I married Su, she refused to attend as it was too humiliating. She came for Yan’s engagement party but she might as well have not attended. She only arrived as the party was about to end. 

“Heh. She even kicked up a big fuss that evening and nearly pissed off the Bai and Mu families so much that they turned hostile. She humiliated the Yan family. Even so, it’s our fault in the first place. It’s a family member who crashed the party. There was nowhere for us to complain to or do anything about. Our aunt feels like she’s been wronged but, be objective here, are your son and his lover not wronged as well?

“We can put that aside. We’re family, after all. It’s fine to suffer a little injustice. However, she actually came to our home today and shouted and argued so much that Grandfather is now hospitalised from anger! Father, pardon me for my unpleasant words but what if you and Mother didn’t find him in time? If anything ever happened to Grandfather… Where would we find the cure for regret? Even if we beat our aunt up, could she have revived Grandfather?”

Hui violently ran a hand over his face to wipe away the tears brimming in his eyes and continued, “Father, if you still insist on unconditionally spoiling her, I can do nothing about it. However, let me put it out there now. From today on, I, Yan Hui, have nothing to do with her. Even if I have to beg for food, I will never beg her!”

Cheng’s lips twitched but he didn’t speak in the end.

Yan, who had always been rather reserved, then spoke up, “Actually, Father, you and Grandfather dote on her so unconditionally but have you ever thought about what she thinks of you? If she even cared an ounce about Grandfather, she wouldn’t have infuriated him this badly despite knowing that he’s so old that his heart has weakened. None of us was home. In our aunt’s eyes, Mother, to put it bluntly, is just a servant. Mother couldn’t have stopped her. If Mother hadn’t called you today, who knows what might’ve happened? 

“Just as Brother said, there is no cure for regret in this world. This time, Mother called you just in time. When Grandfather was feeling unwell, we were able to act in time. That’s why Grandfather is safe this time. But what about next time? And the time after that? Do we have to have someone home at all times just to prevent her from doing this again? Don’t you think you and Grandfather’s love for her has all been for nothing? In my opinion, she just thinks of our family as a long-term meal ticket. When we’re useful, she comes back. When she doesn’t need us, she won’t even visit our doorway. No matter what kind of help she requires, it is expected of us. Just once we don’t help her and she holds a grudge against us.”

“My brother’s not wrong,” said Hui. “Heh. Aunt is already over thirty. To her, it’s not just us who are part of the younger generation. Mu JingYuan, Bai Yan and Qi MingYang are too. However, some of us are family heads while others are independent powers. To think thrice before acting is a basic skill. Even Mu JingYuan, who came into power young and is quite powerful, wouldn’t dare to act as brazenly as our aunt. She is a daughter of the main branch of a great family. Does she not even understand this logic? He is the head of a great family. Is he any less powerful than her? She can’t handle the insults and injustice. Does that mean that other people can? 

“In the end, she just doesn’t care about what happens to the Yan family. She also doesn’t care if her actions and words would create enemies for the Yan family. This is already proven in how she’d create trouble at her family’s own banquet for the sake of her emotions. Frankly, there have been countless other incidents like this. What does it matter? If she gets into a mess, she has you and Grandfather to help her clean up. If she needs anything, she just needs to ask her father and brother. Why bother upsetting herself? In her eyes, you two are likely hands used to clean up her messes and to obtain an infinite amount of help from.

“Just as Yan said, we don’t help her once and she holds a grudge against us, even if it’s for her own good. Honestly, she just needs to use her mind a little and she can clearly understand the current situation. The Bai and Mu families are furious right now and the Yan family is the party in the wrong. If we act now and go against them, it would undoubtedly fuel their rage. While they’ve targeted the He family, they have left the He family some hope. Once Mu JingYuan calms down, based on our close friendship with Bai YiHan, we just need to talk to YiHan and this matter could be de-escalated. This is the best solution. 

“But has our aunt ever considered this? She stubbornly insists you two act. When our logic is explained to her, she refuses to listen. She is a daughter of the Yan family, someone raised by Grandfather himself. Does she really not understand anything? She just doesn’t want to understand. She thinks she has the right to be selfish and kick up a fuss. She thinks everyone has to let her have her way. Mother told me just now that she kept moaning to Grandfather; why must the Bai and Mu families go after her? Ha. Who does she think she is? What’s her relationship with them? We can forgive her for constantly fighting with us, always wanting to one-up us. What duty do other people have to let her win?”

Yan continued on where Hui left off, “Mother heard the majority of what they discussed. Aunt said that the He family could hold on until now because of the years of hard work He Yuan put into the company, growing the company into a powerful force that isn’t easily swayed. She really has the guts to claim that. The He family could be what they are now because you and Grandfather have been helping them in all manner of ways. 

“It’s all because of He Yuan? I’m not looking down on him but the man really doesn’t have the capability. The three families are acting together. Even if it’s one of the Great Five, that family could very likely be defeated, let alone the He family. With just one sentence, our aunt has thrown away the years of work you and Grandfather had put in. It’s evident there’s probably nothing left of love or familial ties. Everyone says you can’t clap with one hand. You two have let this clap go on for years. It’s about time you stop. A while ago, Grandfather spent his days laughing in joy like a kid. Look at him now. His brows are locked in a frown. His skin looks pale. He’s an old man. His body can’t handle the strain. Your heart aches for the sister who doesn’t care about you at all, but does it not ache for the father who raised you?”

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GC: Chapter 202

202. Fed to the Dogs

“Father, your words sound like you’re siding with outsiders,” Yan Miao darkly said. “I’ve only said one sentence about something that can’t be explicitly talked about. They keep going after me, a lone woman. How am I wrong? Your daughter is suffering. How can you not help your own family and defend outsiders?”

The old Mr Yan’s face went dark. “How are you wrong? I don’t even know where I should start from! Just one sentence? Do you still not realise how serious your words were? What did you say? You explicitly claimed Bai YiHan’s marriage to Mu JingYuan is just a business transaction! 

“Is that something you can casually throw out? Have you witnessed them making the deal? How can you have the courage to claim that when it’s all based on your own unbacked hypothesis? Those weren’t mere words. It was clearly a declaration of war! Not only did your words insult Bai YiHan and the love the two men hold beloved, but you’ve also insulted the years of friendship between the Bai and Mu families! Even if the Five Great Families aren’t equal in power and we, the Yan family, dominate them, you cannot say something like that in a public situation! 

“Miao-Miao, you’re no longer a child. Do you not know what should and should not be said? How dare you say that Mu JingYuan and the Bai family were being intolerant. The three families are acting together yet the He family is still standing. This is because they held back out of respect to the Yan family! Do you think that your useless husband can really hold off the three powerful families all by himself? You blame your brother and me for not helping out but it’s because we didn’t make a move that they were merciful! 

“Can you look a little deeper, a little further when judging situations? Don’t just look at the surface. Also, do you truly not understand why the Chen family joined in? The Bai family has been insulted. Chen TianYang would fly into a rage on behalf of Bai XueQing. Isn’t that normal? Can you use your brain before you speak? Can you weigh the pros and cons of your words before you utter them? 

“You speak without care or concern. It’s easy to see just how many people you offend on a regular basis and yet you don’t regret anything or reflect on yourself. How dare you say you’re suffering! Even with your brother and me around, this city will never be a place where you can just throw your weight around without consequences!”

When Miao heard her father blaming her in every word he spoke, her anger flew through the roof. It was clear that these powerful men were ganging up on her, a woman. Why was everyone saying it was her fault? She could brush it aside when those words are from outsiders who didn’t have the guts to say them to her face. When He Yuan exploded and mentioned it to her once, she had slapped him in retaliation. But now, it was her father who spoke those words. All she could do was raise her voice.

“You don’t have the balls to care about me because you’re afraid of those three families.” Miao’s voice trembled. “Why must you push all the blame onto me? Bai YiHan is the esteemed Little Master of the Bai family yet he must sully himself by lying beneath Mu JingYuan. Isn’t it obvious that it’s a business transaction? Why must you pretty up the facts?

“Also, how are they being merciful? The He Group could hold on until now because the He family is not a family that could be easily defeated on a whim! It only proves just how much effort Yuan has put into the company over the years! The He family’s in trouble. Again and again, I call home but you refuse to help me. It looks like your love for me is just something you speak of. It’s extremely limited. If these men even had an ounce of respect for the Yan family, as you mentioned, they could pretend that they didn’t hear me. They’d just laugh it off. Why are they being so serious over some words I mistakenly spoke? I am the daughter of the Yan family. They don’t respect you at all, so why are you defending them? Just who is confused and lost here?”

Pain flashed through the old Mr Yan’s eyes at Miao’s words. “Can you not feel for yourself whether my love for you is merely for show? Do you think you’re some god, that everyone must make way for you? Do you think that just because you are a daughter of the Yan family and the wife of the He family head, you can loudly gossip at your nephew’s engagement party? And because of that, the Bai and Mu families should just brush aside your words with a laugh? You have never once suffered or been wronged. As a daughter of the main branch of the Yan family, you think that you’re so high and mighty. But have you ever considered the fact that Bai YiHan’s status isn’t any lower than yours? 

In fact, he might be even more important than you! The best evidence is how three families were simultaneously enraged by one sentence from you. You don’t think about how you should make up for your mistake. Instead, you’re actually complaining and grumbling about how they don’t let you have your way. They are not your father or your brothers. They aren’t obliged to do so! In all the years I’ve lived, among all the people I’ve met, you are the only person I know who would make your niece and nephews prioritise you over them!

“You say they don’t respect me at all. I won’t keep this from you. I, Yan JianChun, have yet to be so shameless as to be someone who can make Mu JingYuan personally hear his lover be insulted and yet merely laugh and forget! There is no one in this world who can do so!

“Not only that, you’re only a daughter of the Yan family and the matriarch of the He family. You are far from being an equal match for him! Even if your worth doubles and triples to the point where the Mub family can’t afford to have you as an enemy, Mu JingYuan would still defend Bai YiHan, even if it meant being critically injured in the process! You don’t even know what kind of person you’re talking to but you still have the audacity to speak unabashedly, to publicise your extreme guesses. I’ve already said so much. I don’t mind telling you this as well. From my understanding of Mu JingYuan, his possessiveness over Bai YiHan is greater than you could’ve ever imagined. Even if you didn’t say those words, solely based on that one judging glance, Mu JingYuan would never just laugh and forget the incident!”

Miao scoffed. “Father, you only need one word to tell me whether you care for me or not? Why must you say such unpleasant words? Yes, when I was young, you certainly loved me a lot. However, ever since my marriage, my place in this house lowers by the day. My brothers have only focused on their wives ever since they were married. As for you, Father, I really daren’t say whether or not you still think of me as your daughter. You said those brats prioritise me over themselves? What an utter joke! When have they ever respected me as their aunt?”

The old Mr Yan closed his eyes in disappointment. He had lost all will to speak.

Kong Wen couldn’t help but walk back into the room. “Miao-Miao,” she said, “you have to be careful when speaking to him. Father nearly had a heart attack a few days ago because of your incident. He hasn’t been feeling well lately. We can forget about you upsetting ‘outsiders’ but your brother and I would never allow you to make him fall sick from anger.”

“He is my father,” Miao angrily said. “I don’t need an outsider like you worrying.”

The old Mr Yan’s hand came up to support his head. He was about to speak when he heard Wen speak, “In your eyes, I am certainly an outsider. However, your brother isn’t an outsider at all. I’ve called him a while ago. He should be back soon. If you’re not afraid of his anger, you can keep upsetting Father.”

Miao’s face twisted as she coldly retorted, “What an interesting statement. I’m having a conversation with my father. When was it your turn to interrupt? Do you think I’ll be scared if you threaten me with my big brother? I’m warning you. He is my brother. Do you think you can make him completely side with you just because you used a few tricks?”

“Yan Miao!” the old Mr Yan boomed. “Do you know who you’re speaking to? She is your sister-in-law! Can you know your place a little? Where is your respect for your brother? Other people grow more mature as they age. Why have you grown more childish instead? Who taught you to bicker and fight with your big brother’s wife at every turn? Who told you she’s an outsider?”

Miao shot to her feet. “Father!” she screeched. “I see. You and my brother have both been completely enthralled by this woman! Every word from you shows your bias for her, for an outsider! Do you still think of me as your daughter?”

“If I did not,” the old Mr Yan angrily said, “I wouldn’t have said a single word to you today. I would’ve let you just die!”

Never in Miao’s life had she heard something so harsh. “Aren’t you already watching me die with cold eyes? When I’m in trouble, you and my brother act like cowards and just stand back and watch. What use do I have for family like you?”

The old Mr Yan was so furious that he couldn’t catch his breath. His face went white. Seeing something off about the elderly man’s complexion, Wen hurriedly rushed over, thinking to help the man catch his breath. Just then, the doors slammed open with a loud bang and in walked Yan Cheng with a stormy expression on his face.

“Yan Miao!” Cheng said through gritted teeth. “Is this how you talk to Father? Don’t you know that he’s old now and he can’t be too agitated?”

The man strode into the room. It was a cold, wintry day but there was a sheer layer of sweat on his face. His breathing was harsh and uneven. It was obvious he had run home.

Wen poured out a glass of warm water and handed it to the old Mr Yan. “Father,” she softly said as she gently patted his chest, “how do you feel?”

The old Mr Yan patted Wen on the arm. He shook his head but said nothing. He looked very exhausted.

Cheng spent a moment carefully scanning his father’s face. As he did so, his face grew darker. 

“Yan Miao,” Cheng said to his sister who had been standing to one side, “I thought you were just a little brash, a little reckless, but you at least love and respect Father. I never thought you would upset him so badly. What? Did you think you can fly higher because you think your wing feathers have hardened?”

When Miao saw her father go pale, fear had risen in her heart. However, her temper rose higher as she heard her brother harshly reprimand her. 

“Was I wrong?” asked Miao. “When my family’s in trouble, all of you just hide away and laugh at me. I have no choice but to beg you in person. To ensure you’re not involved, you actually push all the blame to me. You’re all big, powerful men in this city. None of you can be touched. So, I’m the only one who’s easy to bully, is that it? Even if you don’t think anything of me, I am still part of the Yan family. Do you think the Yan family will look good if you let outsiders bully me? What use do I have for a father and brother who wouldn’t help with anything?”

The old Mr Yan’s eyes had slid shut.

Cheng was so furious that he took two steps forward, hand raised high. But that hand never fell. The man’s eyes were red.

Even though the slap never happened, Miao still cried out, “You actually want to hit me! Go on! It’ll be perfect if you kill me as well. The outsiders wouldn’t have to do anything then!”

Cheng’s raised hand slowly clenched into a tight fist. “Miao-Miao,” he slowly spat out through gritted teeth, “answer me this. What is a family in your eyes? What about the decades Father and I spent doting on you? Just once we don’t make up for your mistake and we’re considered useless. Tell me, then! What use do Father and I have for a daughter, a sister like you?

“For decades, you have enjoyed the status and love that came with being a daughter of the Yan family. Father fulfilled every whim you ever had. Let me ask you another question. What have you ever done for him? He hasn’t even tasted a single bite of food made by you! Don’t you feel guilty for saying what you said? You… Do you have a heart? I think the love, the blood, sweat and tears Father spent on you had all been fed to the dogs!”

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