GC: Chapter 195

195. A Messy Engagement Party 01

Miao’s voice wasn’t loud but Cheng was standing not far away from her. When he heard what Miao said, he remembered the decades of effort his wife had put into this family. She’d sacrificed so much for his years of leniency. Those words pricked into his skin as if every spoken sound was a needle. He couldn’t bear to hold himself back anymore.

“You said Yan didn’t greet you just now,” said Cheng as he turned to look at Miao, a cold look on his face. “But from the minute you stepped through those doors until now, have you greeted your sister-in-law yet?”

Miao was stunned. It had never occurred to her that her older brother, the man who had never spoken a harsh word to her, would act so cold to her all for an outsider. She was hurt.

“What do you mean by that?” said Miao. “I am the daughter of the Yan family. I’m your younger sister!”

His eyes slid close as he softly said, “You still remember you’re my younger sister? You don’t have an ounce of respect for your sister-in-law. Have you ever thought of how I felt? You are a daughter of the Yan family, yet you won’t do your utmost for our father. My wife wasn’t born into the Yan family but she does her best for our father. Shouldn’t you respect her? Shouldn’t you be thankful?”

“She married into the Yan family so she’s part of the Yan family. Isn’t it her duty to take care of our father?” Miao pig-headedly said.

Cheng thought his younger sister disliked his wife because of jealousy. After Kong Wen married him, Miao wasn’t the only person he and his father would think of. Cheng didn’t expect his sister to think of his wife as someone akin to a servant. Miao justified all of Wen’s sacrifices and efforts as part of “her duty”! Cheng was furious. His chest felt heavy. His breaths came out a little harsher than usual.

“So you do still remember she married into the Yan family,” Cheng said, staring into his sister’s eyes. “However, have you ever treated her like family? Wen waved it all away because you’re young, but you are now the mother of two kids. Have you still not matured?”

“I am your sister,” Miao roared. “You and I are family! You’d say that of me? Are you still my brother? Have you…” already fallen to her?

For the first time ever, Cheng interrupted her. “I am your older brother. I am fine with loving you, doting you and tolerate your selfishness. Your sister-in-law has no duty to do that! She married me because she loved me! She owes nothing to our family!”

Due to his anger, Cheng’s voice was raised. Kong Wen and the old Mr Yan had yet to walk so far away that they couldn’t hear what was being said. Wen couldn’t stop her eyes from going red with tears. It had been decades. Finally, the day had come. Her husband had spoken up and defended her from Miao’s barbs.

The old Mr Yan might be an old man but his hearing had yet to deteriorate. Naturally, he heard every word.

“Your man finally knows he should protect you,” he whispered to Wen, a smile dancing on his lips as he patted her on the hand. “Happy?”

Wen’s tears vanished at the old Mr Yan’s teasing. She nodded. Then, after a pause, she said, “Ah-Cheng was too harsh.”

“Not at all,” said the old Mr Yan. “He did well. Miao-Miao’s not a young girl anymore. She should grow up. No one would indulge her forever. Let her brother scold her. It’d only do her some good.”

Wen nodded. She then continued to help the old Mr Yan slowly up the stairs.

Miao had just been humiliated by the brother who loved her since she was born, and it was done in front of her husband and two of the younger generation she looked down on. She was so angry that her charming face was nearly twisted out of shape. It felt like her brother’s heart had been utterly bewitched by Kong Wen. The man didn’t care for her at all. If they kept talking, she’d suffer. The guests of the party were sensible enough not to walk closer due to the tense atmosphere around the host family, but Miao still felt her cheeks burning. Never once in her entire life had she been so wronged. She was still in public. Her pride meant she refused to let a single tear drop. She also didn’t want to give those two snickering kids a chance to laugh at her. That shameful male bride; he might be silently standing there but he’s actually laughing hard on the inside, isn’t he? She just didn’t know what her father and brother were poisoned with to have made them agreed to something so disgraceful!

Through teary eyes, she determinedly tilted her head up high and said to her brother, “I know you’ve not thought of me as family since my wedding day. All of you may not like what I’ve said but every word of mine is for the sake of the Yan family. You’ll regret it sooner or later if you don’t listen to me! The Yan family will turn into a laughingstock because of your foolishness! Since this family no longer welcomes me, why would I need to run all the way here just for some engagement party?”

Cheng was still furious at his sister’s immaturity, but his heart still ached at the sight of tears in the eyes of the girl he’d doted on for years. There was a huge age gap between them. He had kind of doted on his sister like one would dote on a daughter instead. That meant if she wanted the stars, he would never compromise with the moon. He too was responsible for her childish nature. In a fit of rage, he had spoken too harshly. She must’ve been feeling extremely hurt. Hence, Cheng said nothing.

However, Yan could not keep quiet at such an implicit attack. “It looks like you didn’t take a single one of Grandfather’s words to heart,” Yan coldly harrumphed. “YouRan and I are getting properly married. There’s nothing for anyone to laugh about. The real joke here is your lack of manners and propriety. You are a daughter of the Yan family. From childhood, you were taught by the best teachers. Look at you now. Shouting and screaming at your nephew’s engagement party. You are the one who’s giving the people an excuse to laugh and gossip about us.”

Yan didn’t wait for a reply. “Aunt, you said just now that someone in the room might be laughing at me right now. Ha. Marriage is akin to someone drinking a glass of water. Only the person would know if the water was cold or hot. I am the only one who’d know if I’m happy. It didn’t matter what other people say. I have found someone I love. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, I will never waver. Not even if everyone points and lectures me for it. Why would I care about mockery that might not exist and belonged to people who don’t have the courage to tell me? I am the one who must live through my life. I don’t need to live my life based on what others think and I don’t need the blessings of everyone in the world. I further do not need to force myself to be as glorious as gold! Anyway…” Yan glanced at He Yuan who was doing his best impression of thin air. “Who can say for sure if it’s actual gold or mere mud?”

“You’re just a kid but your ego is huge,” Miao said with a smirk. “Is this how you should speak to your elders? Is that what you mean by ‘manners’?”

Yan squinted his eyes at her. “If you want to be respected as an elder, you must first act like an elder. Your words are sharp and biting. The moment you stepped through those doors, you began spitting out barbed words. You’ve caused a scene at my engagement party and you’re criticising me for my tone towards you? Every word you speak is an attack on my mother. Even the tone you speak is an attempt to insult YouRan. If I am still able to smile and welcome you, I wouldn’t be called well-mannered. I’d be called a doormat. I can still stand here and talk to you in a civil manner all because you are my elder.”

Miao clenched her teeth. She didn’t think this man, Xu YouRan, would be quite so capable despite his quiet demeanour. He was able to make a forever-silent kid speak so much for him. There wasn’t a single word from Yan that didn’t sting! As expected, whores who would do anything and everything to get into a rich family, even if they had to climb into another man’s bed, would never be simple people. She had underestimated him.

She was about to bark back in rage when a deep voice interrupted her, “I’m sorry. Did we come at the wrong time?”

Miao looked up. It was the tall and muscular Mu JingYuan who had approached with the Little Master Bai. Their hands were linked together.

The Yan family was having an internal fight. Anyone who would dare to step forward could never be some average joe. Miao could be as much of a bully as she wanted to be in her home, but she knew how powerful the Mu family was. Mu JingYuan was the head of the Mu family. Solely based on status, this man was someone who could fight toe-to-toe with her father. She had to back down. All she could do then was shut her mouth.

Cheng had been developing a headache from watching his taciturn son lambast his sister. When he saw JingYuan approaching them, he let out a sigh of relief.

“How could you be?” Cheng said with a smile. “Our entire family is ecstatic that you’re both here so early for my son’s engagement.”

“You don’t need to be so polite, Uncle Yan,” said JingYuan with a smile of his own. “The Yan and Mu families have always helped each other. YiHan is YouRan’s friend and he’s quite close to your youngest son. It’s expected of us to arrive early to help out.”

“Indeed,” Cheng laughed. “Every time YouRan came over, one out of three sentences he speaks would always be about YiHan.”

Cheng turned to his future son-in-law and said, “YouRan, YiHan’s here for you. We’re almost done with formalities today. You kids go play.”

YouRan responded with a nod and a hum before walking over to YiHan.

Only then did JingYuan turn to greet Yan Miao and her husband. “Mr He, Madam He. How have you been?”

“Mr He, Madam He,” YiHan followed suit with a smile.

He Yuan’s jaw ached at the sight of YiHan. He greeted the couple back awkwardly before going silent. He was adamant to play out his act of a dead dog to the bitter end.

Miao was extremely unhappy with her husband’s cowardice tonight. However, she knew she couldn’t demean her husband in public. She’ll take care of him when they went home later.

Throughout the night, Miao had been lectured and scolded. There wasn’t a single conversation she came out of as the better. She was already feeling hurt and upset but then came Mu JingYuan and Bai YiHan. Those two were also here to upset her. When they approached, the taller man pretended to not have seen her and kept talking to her brother. They might not have talked much but every word spoken made Xu YouRan seemed greater than ever. Mu JingYuan had a stable hold on the position of head of the Mu family at a young age. Would he have no sense? It was clear the couple came here as a show of power for Xu YouRan.

Mu JingYuan only remembered to greet her after he was done talking to her brother. It was obvious the man didn’t respect her at all. Also, what did they just call her? She may be married but most people still call her the Third Miss of the Yan family. That’s right. When people in high society spoke of the “Third Miss of the Yan family”, they didn’t mean Yan Pei. They meant her, Yan Miao! However, these two men had intentionally called her Madam He instead. They were reminding her of her status as a daughter who had been married out. Were they saying she was no longer a part of the Yan family?

If anyone had dared spoken like that to her, Miao would’ve taught them a lesson. However, the person in question was Mu JingYuan. All she dared to do was suppress the rage building up in her and force a smile on her face.

“How do you do, Mr Mu,” Miao greeted back.

“YiHan’s throat must’ve grown hoarse over the past few days,” JingYuan replied with an expressionless face. “Did you not hear him just now?”

Translator’s Note

Due to personal issues (mom’s medical treatments), I will be busy for the foreseeable future. Updates will be reduced to 1 chapter a week. I might try and get more chapters in when I find the time but it is unlikely.


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GC: Chapter 194

194. It Was Up to Him to Cherish His Own Wife

The old Mr Yan’s eyes lit up. He took a sip. The milk really was sweet. Afraid of his son’s nagging if the man found out he drank something sweet, the old Mr Yan hurriedly finished the glass of milk so the evidence would be destroyed.

“I was feeling a little hungry,” the old Mr Yan calmly said as he looked into his daughter-in-law’s eyes. “I’m fine with drinking milk. I can’t waste your efforts.”

Kong Wen accepted the empty glass with a smile.

Yan Miao disdainfully glanced at Kong Wen. This shallow woman who only knew how to make a big show of superficial gestures!

Wen ignored the look from Miao. She took a paper napkin and wiped away the milk residue from the corner of the old Mr Yan’s mouth. Her husband soon arrived with Yan and YouRan following behind him.

Frankly, Yan had noticed his aunt due to the loud commotion when she caused with her arrival. He was only too lazy to walk over to her. It was only when his father came looking for them did he pull YouRan along towards her.

“I know you don’t like her but she is your aunt after all,” said Cheng as they walked over. “She is your grandfather’s daughter. You have to give face or your grandfather will be upset. You don’t see each other often anyway. It’s only a few times a year. Can’t you leave her be?”

“Of course, I’m fine with seeing her,” said Yan. “I’m just afraid she’d say something nasty later.”

Cheng sighed. “She is your aunt. You are a man. Just be kinder to her.”

“The entire world is kind to her,” Yan said with a cold smirk. “Mother has let her have her way for years but nothing good ever came of it. On the contrary, my mother has been ridden roughshod over by her.”

Cheng sighed once more at the mention of his wife. “It’s my fault. If anyone else had dared to be so rude to your mother, I would never allow it. But your aunt…” He sighed again. “I don’t understand it. How did a cute, pretty little girl grow up to be meaner by the year?”

“Forget it,” said Yan. “My mom doesn’t blame you either. She knows it’s hard for you to be stuck in between them.”

Cheng nodded. “Your mother is doing it for my sake. I’ve failed her.”

“If she dares to say anything bad to YouRan later, you can’t fault me for turning the other cheek,” said Yan.

“You…”

Yan turned to look at his father as he solemnly said, “A man is responsible for protecting his own wife. Other people can’t help him.”

Cheng was stunned. He turned to look at his son’s stern gaze. He saw YouRan’s lips twitching upwards ever so slightly. Once more, he was pushed to reflect on his past actions.

He had thought that everything was fine if their home was at peace. Growing up, Miao was doted on by the three men in her life. They all knew she was inconsiderate. When she was a kid, they let it slide. She was still young. When she grew up, they thought that it was forgivable for her since she was a woman. However, as their family grew bigger and as they all grew older, Cheng realised that not everyone had a duty to be unconditionally tolerant of his younger sister. For example, his wife, his sons and his niece. Miao got married later. While he wasn’t satisfied with the man she chose, he still let out a little sigh of relief. After her wedding, Miao rarely visited. Every time she did so though, she would always be rude to his wife. Thinking that his sister rarely visited anyway, they could just deal with it for a few days. Cheng knew It was bad for his wife. That’s why he would do his utmost best to compensate and comfort his wife after his sister’s visits were over. Deep down, he knew that compensations were useless when it came to certain matters. His father even implicitly hinted at him to be more protective of Wen. But he can’t encourage his wife to fight with his sister. All he could do was tell his wife there was no need for her to be so accommodating to Miao. However, every time Wen would reply that it was fine. She knew he was stuck in a bad situation. It wasn’t that stressful on her either way and his father would look after her. Miao didn’t come over often anyway.

But today, it suddenly occurred to him that, deep down, Wen might be hoping he’d speak up and keep her from harm. Being protected by him was different to being protected by his father.

Cheng silently watched from afar as Wen wiped away the milk residue from his father’s mouth with a smile. He shouldn’t let her be bullied any longer. His son was right. It was up to him to cherish his wife.

As the conversation involved the Yan family’s elder generations, YouRan was unable to chime in on the topic. He had objections to Yan calling him his “wife” but decided to forgive the man as Yan meant it with kindness and the phrase’s purpose was to act as an implicit message. YouRan even felt moved by Yan’s words. As his eyes flashed upwards to look around him, he spotted YiHan standing not far away from them and smiling at him. Warmth filled his heart as he smiled back and nodded in acknowledgement

After a glass of sweetened milk, the old Mr Yan was in a much better mood. He gestured for YouRan to stand by his side as he said, “YouRan, you haven’t met Miao before, yes? She’s my youngest daughter. Just call her ‘Auntie’ like Yan does.”

YouRan nodded in greeting and said to Miao, “Auntie.”

Miao looked away, pretending as if she heard nothing. As for He Yuan, his eyes had been flashing around the room ever since the three men joined them. He silently stood there, glad that the old Mr Yan didn’t even introduce him.

Yan’s smile fell as he asked, “Auntie, are you hard of hearing?”

“Miao-Miao, YouRan greeted you,” the old Mr Yan darkly said.

Miao was left with no choice. She returned YouRan’s greeting with a harrumph.

Only then did the old Mr Yan continue, “The man standing over there is your uncle-in-law.”

YouRan’s eyes bore into He Yuan as he carefully enunciated, “Uncle.”

“H-Hello,” blurted the other man.

Yan’s hand clenched YouRan’s. The sensation of his thumb gently rubbed the back of YouRan’s hand made YouRan turn and smile at Yan.

When Miao saw that her father was adamant in shielding YouRan, the rage that had yet to simmer down was stoked to flames once more. “My nephew’s wife is certainly a looker,” she said with a cold smirk. “His figure does not pale in comparison to a woman’s. Yan has good eyes.”

The old Mr Yan’s face drooped as he warning asked, “Miao-Miao, is that something that should come out of an elder’s mouth?”

“Why don’t you ask Yan if he’d ever thought of me as his aunt first?” Miao huffed. “It’s been so long and he’d yet to greet me.”

The only description applicable to Yan’s expression right now was dark and gloomy. “Auntie, your hearing is going but has your eyesight deteriorated too?” Yan barked. “Can you not tell the difference between a man and a woman? Just who were you calling my wife? An elder should act like an elder. Otherwise, it’s not our fault if we don’t respect you.”

“You see that, Father?” Miao angrily said. “Look at how your dear grandson just spoke to me. Does he even have an ounce of respect for me? What am I to call him if not Yan’s wife? Is he the husband and Yan’s the wife?”

“You really can’t differentiate a man from a woman,” Yan stated. “We’re both men. Where did this ‘wife’ come from?”

“How can you bear to say that?” Miao scornfully said. “The right way is before you but you simply had to marry a male wife like certain people. Have you ever thought of your family’s reputation?”

In a bold departure from Yan’s usual reluctance to speak, Yan refused to back down. “In your opinion, what is the right way? YouRan and I are true to each other. No matter where we go, we could stand up straight without shame or fear. Marriage is for those who have found their partner for life. It is not a tool to improve one’s reputation! Furthermore, a family’s reputation has to be won through hard work. It can’t be forced through superficial, political marriages.”

“Without shame or fear?” Miao snorted. “How do you know that none of your guests is laughing at you right now? And to think you had the audacity to send out invitations…”

“Enough!” the old Mr Yan roared. “Miao, do you remember what today is? Do you remember who you are? You are a daughter of the Yan family. Was this how I raised you?”

Upon seeing his father going livid with rage, Cheng quickly handed the old Mr Yan a glass of water. “Don’t be angry, Father. Don’t agitate your body.”

Cheng then looked up and sternly told his sister, “Miao-Miao, our father has stated multiple times his approval of Yan’s marriage. Do you plan on sending the old man to the hospital at Yan’s engagement party?”

Miao was startled when she realised her father was truly angry this time. However, she wasn’t afraid of her oldest brother. She stepped closer to her father and began patting him in the back.

“As I thought, none of you love me anymore once I’m married off,” Yan petulantly murmured. “I was only telling you what I think.”

“I was the one who sent out the invitations,” said the old Mr Yan. “I was also the one who selected their wedding date. What else do you have to say?”

Miao can be as bold and brash as she wanted but she never dared to fight with her father for long. She shot a scathing glare at the calm Kong Wen before turning to look away. She didn’t reply to her father. That woman must be jumping with joy at seeing her father berate her. Hmph. As for Xu YouRan, she didn’t think he was anyone worth proper treatment from her.

Cheng was used to mediating and pacifying everyone. When he noticed the tense silence stretching out between his father and sister, he instinctively wanted to break the ice. But then, he saw the look in Miao’s eyes. The glare he saw angered him. He turned around and put an arm across his wife’s shoulders. He said nothing.

When Miao saw the brother who’d always acted as the mediator refusing to speak, the anger and sorrow in her grew even more. Her emotions were so intense that she had to stomp her foot. She was even more adamant not to speak first now.

“Dad, are you tired?” Kong Wen softly asked. “Let me help you upstairs for a little rest.”

Cheng could tell his son wasn’t willing to back down. Miao had never learned to compromise. If the two started bickering again, his elderly father might really be hospitalised.

“Yes, Dad. You’ve had a tiring evening,” Cheng hurriedly chimed in. “Head up and rest for a while. Are you hungry? I’ll have the kitchen send you some food.”

The old Mr Yan shot a look at his son. “By the time you remember me, I would’ve been starved to death. Xiao-Wen has thought of that already. I had some warm milk. Combined with a belly full of anger, I’m not hungry anymore.”

“It’s my bad,” Cheng smiled as he helped the old Mr Yan to his feet. “I’m not as diligent as Xiao-Wen. We’ll help you up the stairs.”

“I can’t blame you for that,” the old Mr Yan harrumphed. “You’re an unsophisticated man. How could you be as attentive as Xiao-Wen? You stay here. I can go on my own. I’m not so old that I need someone to help me up the stairs.”

“Father, I just so happen to have a little headache,” said Wen. “If I help you up the stairs, I can seize the chance to rest too.” She turned to her husband. “Ah-Cheng, tell the kitchen to prepare some warm congee for Father later. Tell them to use the rice I’ve been soaking.”

“I’ve got it,” Cheng replied with a nod. “Don’t worry.”

Wen then turned to walk towards the staircase with one of her arms being used as support for the old Mr Yan.

Miao watched as the warm, homely scene played out before. It was as if they were rejecting her, casting her out. Her father and brother loved her the most! Now, their kindness and love have turned to Kong Wen!

Miao wasn’t someone who can accept being upset. She couldn’t resist letting out a haughty huff and muttered, “It’s all so fake. Just revolting!”

Translator’s Note:

Helped the old Mr Yan to his feet: No, a line wasn’t skipped. There was no mention of the old Mr Yan sitting down during the scene. There was only this line.


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GC: Chapter 193

193. Yan Miao’s Arrival

JingYuan held YiHan by the hand and said to Qi MingYang, “Someone is waiting for us out there. Pardon us, Mr Qi.”

“Please, Mr Mu, Little Master Bai,” replied Qi MingYang.

Once back in the main hall, JingYuan grabbed a plate of fruits from the buffet table and led YiHan to a little couch tucked away in a corner.

“Did Qi MingYang bump into you by chance or was it intentional?” JingYuan asked as he fed a piece of honeydew to YiHan.

YiHan first munched on the fruit offered and swallowed it before responding, “He came looking for me. He said he wanted to be my friend.”

“He’s plotting something involving you,” JingYuan said through gritted teeth.

YiHan nearly spat out the piece of fruit in his mouth. “Really, you,” YiHan laughed as he patted JingYuan on the shoulder. “Do you think I’m made of cake? Stop thinking about such nonsense. You’re making me blush.”

“My instincts are never wrong,” JingYuan huffed in anger upon realizing YiHan wasn’t worried at all. “They’ve helped me avoid danger countless times! Qi MingYang is definitely plotting something. He’s getting close to you for no reason.”

When YiHan saw JingYuan was upset, he started pacifying his lover, “Alright. I know he’s plotting something, but he’s known for being spiteful and he was polite the entire time. I can’t scold him for having a smile, right? Furthermore, we are only guessing that he’s plotting something. It’s not worth it to offend someone so narrow-hearted.”

“Avoid being with him alone in the future,” JingYuan said. “Not only is he a spiteful man, but he’s also crazy. Don’t let yourself suffer.”

YiHan picked up a strawberry from the plate as he replied, “I know. Frankly, I haven’t been all that polite when I talk to him. I wonder if he bears a grudge against me now. I don’t want to add another name to my list of enemies for no good reason. Just look at Chu FangMing. That man has been driven near insane and he didn’t even personally offend Qi MingYang.”

“Some enemies can’t be avoided,” JingYuan said. “I’ll walk around them but they simply insist on targeting me. Qi MingYang isn’t a generous man. He’s incredibly tolerant when it comes to you. He must be plotting something.”

“I was able to avoid spitting out the honeydew just now but you nearly made me spit out my strawberry too,” YiHan said. He couldn’t decide if he should be laughing or crying. “Can’t you let me eat in peace?”

“Okay,” JingYuan hurriedly said as he patted his lover on the back. “Focus on your food.”

As JingYuan watched YiHan’s cheeks bulge up and down, munching through the plate of fruits, JingYuan’s gaze darkened as he began sinking deep into thought.

YiHan gulped down his food and laughed, “Why so serious? Come now. Everyone says a cooked duck can’t fly. I’m the duck you’ve already eaten. What’s there to worry about? Okay, open up.”

JingYuan’s mouth enveloped the apple slice offered as he reached out to ruffle YiHan’s hair.

“We’re in public,” YiHan said as he stopped JingYuan. “Behave.”

“We’re in a quiet spot,” JingYuan said as his hand turned to hold YiHan’s. “No one would be here anytime soon. They wouldn’t see anything. Do you want anything else?”

“I’m done,” YiHan said, shaking his head. “It’s nice to only have a few slices of fruit.” He looked around. “Aren’t the people over there looking for you?”

JingYuan glanced in the direction YiHan was looking. “Ignore them. Focus on your food.”

“Why don’t you go take a look?” suggested YiHan. “I’ll take a breather here. I’ve been on my feet for the whole evening.”

“There’s no need,” said JingYuan. “I’m not invisible. They’ll come if it’s necessary.”

“As long as you’re aware of your actions,” YiHan said, nodding. “Does Yan Miao not plan on coming at all? The party will be over soon. It’d be quite nice if she doesn’t come anyway. Everything would be so peaceful. We wouldn’t have to deal with emergencies.”

“She should be here soon,” JingYuan replied as he looked at the time.

Just as JingYuan said so, the couple could hear people loudly whispering near the front doors. YiHan craned his neck to identify the source of the commotion.

“Not bad,” said YiHan as he gave his lover a thumbs up. “Your prediction’s so accurate that you can set up a stall by the road.”

JingYuan chuckled. YiHan stood up and said, “Come, we must back YouRan up. We can’t let him be bullied around. He doesn’t have much experience in arguing with other people.”

JingYuan got to his feet. “At the very least, he’s no match for Yan Miao,” he agreed as he straightened YiHan’s shirt collar.

YiHan nodded. The two men then walked towards YouRan.

Dressed in a champagne-coloured, strapless gown, Yan Maio stood tall and proud like a queen who was patrolling her lands. The moment she stepped through the doors, she became the centre of attention. With her arm linked in He Yuan’s, she responded to every greeting given with an elegant nod.

“Dad,” she said with a smile as she stopped before the old Mr Yan.

“Mn,” the old Mr Yan responded. “Traffic?”

Yan Miao froze. “Yan’s engagement party is a major event for the Yan family,” she said rather unhappily. “Naturally, I have to be more prepared.”

Kong Wen, Yan Cheng’s wife, snorted in laughter but kept quiet.

Yan Miao had never experienced being slighted by her sister-in-law before. After all, she was the daughter of the Yan family. Kong Wen was only an outsider. How could that woman be compared to her? From the moment Kong Wen married into the family until now, Yan Miao had yet to come out of their interactions as the loser. Of course, Yan Miao wouldn’t be willing to act as if she heard nothing.

“What are you laughing at?” Yan Miao asked as she tilted her chin upwards.

“Nothing much,” Kong Wen calmly replied. “I merely think you look exceedingly pretty today.” From beside her, Yan Cheng soothingly patted his wife on the waist.

Yan Miao was about to speak when the old Mr Yan interrupted her, “Alright. Miao-Miao hasn’t met YouRan yet. Cheng, go call the couple over so they can greet their aunt.”

Yan Cheng responded in affirmation and walked towards Yan and YouRan.

Yan Miao shot a glance at Kong Wen before walking forward to link her arm in the old Mr Yan’s. “Dad, how have you been doing lately? I’ve missed you so much.”

Kong Wen looked away and said nothing.

No matter what happened, the old Mr Yan still cared for his daughter. He responded to Miao’s question with a pat on her hand.

It was only then did He Yuan walked forward. “Dad,” he greeted with a grin.

The old Mr Yan briefly glanced at the man and grunted in response.

The younger man was used to such treatment. He didn’t find it awkward at all. He then retreated to stand by his wife.

Yan Miao’s heart ached for her husband. She knew her father very much disliked her husband. Her father only allowed them to be married because she was too stubborn. It was way too hard to make her elderly father smile at her husband. Miao chewed on her lip in thought. Still, she didn’t have the courage to speak up.

Even so, her heart burned with rage. He Yuan was the head of the He family. He had looks. He had power. In the city, his social rank was only below the members of the Great Five. But her father just didn’t like him. The two had been married for years. Not once did the old Mr Yan smiled at He Yuan. However, when it came to her brother’s two sons constantly airing dirty laundry by getting married to men, her father didn’t get angry at all. Not only did the old Mr Yan accepted that guy named Zhang Su, but the old Mr Yan even praised Yan’s male bride. What right did they have? Was it because she was the old Mr Yan’s daughter? She has been married off for years now and she has been missing from this house since then. Was that why her father favoured his grandsons over her?

Yes, everyone says one was always closer to those with a generation gap between them. The elderly would forever love their grandchildren more. She had always been superior to her nephews and niece when they were younger, and she was absolutely more powerful and better. Even so, she had been married off for years. Now, she most likely couldn’t compare to her nephews and niece who’d been by her father’s side this whole time.

Dad, it’s just an engagement and the other person is…” Her mumble drifted off into silence as she bit down on her lip. “Why do we need to put in so much effort? Even I was humiliated. People keep asking me about them and I feel so embarrassed that I can’t even answer the questions. They’ve all grown up rotten, deciding to bring home a male bride. Have they ever thought about the Yan family’s dignity?”

“I remember telling you this,” the old Mr Yan said with squinted eyes, “These kids have clean and proper relationships. They’re formally registered as married couples and have formed their own families. What’s so humiliating about that?

“Hui had grown more mature after his marriage. Zhang Su is also a good kid. Those two are having a wonderful life. Yan’s the same too. While YouRan doesn’t like to talk, there’s not a single flaw in him I could pick on. He’s also loyal to Yan. He’s a good kid who focuses on life and doesn’t cause trouble. What could be so embarrassing when you have to talk about him? You’re still young. Why are you so much more conservative and stubborn than I am?”

Miao had just been admonished by her father before Kong Wen. That woman’s face showed nothing but Miao could still feel her face burning. She could feel the agitation and anger rushing in her veins. It was Yan Hui and the others who refused to follow the proper path. Why was she the conservative and stubborn one here? Her father has been taken in by her two shameful nephews!

Miao shot a harsh glare at Kong Wen. She just knew this woman wasn’t as gentle and kind as she appeared. Kong Wen was the best at being two-faced. On the surface, the woman gave in to her in everything. However, behind everyone’s back, she taught her two sons to work together and target their aunt! Her influence reached even Yan Pei. It’s why none of the younger generation cared for her! And now, her father – the man who loved her the most – has fallen to them!

Naturally, the old Mr Yan saw the glare. He was quite upset and dissatisfied about it. Ever since Kong Wen married his son, the woman had done her best in everything. There wasn’t a single thing in their home that was out of place. Kong Wen was respectful and caring to him and had always held back when it came to his daughter. She didn’t oppose her husband’s decision to stay behind and take care of an old man. On the contrary, the woman was in favour of Yan Cheng’s actions. All these years, she treated him as well as his blood-related son did. Kong Wen may look soft and weak but she was a strong woman on the inside. She’d taught her two sons well. There wasn’t a single fault the old Mr Yan could name. Every heart was made of flesh. It had been decades. The old Mr Yan had long since thought of her as his own daughter. He’d also spoken to his own daughter in private multiple times; Miao should be more respectful to her sister-in-law. It seemed like the girl never took his words to heart. Minutes have passed since Miao’s arrival and she had yet to properly greet her sister-in-law. He’d grown more and more disappointed in Miao.

A few moments later, a server walked up to them with a tray occupied by a single cup. Kong Wen took it and turned to the old Mr Yan.

“Father, you’re usually eating around this time but there’s nothing here that suits your tastes,” said Kong Wen. “So, I had the servants heat up a glass of milk. Drink it. I’ll have some better food cooked for you after the party’s over.”

“I’m not a kid anymore. Milk at my age?” the old Mr Yan protested. “I’ve also just eaten.”

“Age isn’t a factor when it comes to who can drink milk. Why can’t you have some?” said Kong Wen. “It’s good that you had food just now. If you haven’t had any food, I wouldn’t have dared to give you a warm glass of milk. Come, drink up while it’s hot.” She paused and leaned in close to his ear and whispered, “I’ve asked them to add in some sugar. Don’t tell Ah-Cheng.”

Translator’s Notes:

Plotting something: The author made a typo here so you might get something weird through MTL.


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GC: Chapter 192

192. I Only Want to Be Your Friend

JingYuan softly chuckled. “She dares to do so because she thinks too highly of herself. She thinks that no matter what she does, her family should always let her have her way.”

“Is she asking for the sun to only shine down on her? That’s so weird,” commented YiHan. “Right. Why do you know so much about her?”

JingYuan couldn’t resist tweaking YiHan’s nose as he replied, “If you understand your enemy and yourself, you can win all of your battles. If one wishes to be invincible, one needs to know their enemy. He Yuan is only a greedy coward with a silver tongue. Our true enemy is Yan Miao. She’s crueller than you can imagine her to be.”

YiHan nodded. “Mn, you’re right. Ever since I got together with you, my mind’s become worse.”

“Your mind’s not deteriorating,” JingYuan chuckled. “You’re just unwilling to use it. I’m happy you can be like this.”

YiHan’s eyes went wide. “Why are you happy?”

“This means you have complete faith in me,” JingYuan said as his smile deepened.

“Of course,” said YiHan, clearing his throat. “Who would I trust if not you? Well, um, I had too much juice. I’ll head to the bathrooms.”

“Okay,” JingYuan said, putting his glass down, “I’ll go with you.”

“It’s fine,” said YiHan. “It’s not like I haven’t been here before. Could I get lost going to the bathrooms? Wait here for me. I’ll be back soon.”

“I’ll go with you,” said JingYuan as he wrapped an arm around YiHan’s shoulders. “Let’s go.”

YiHan could do nothing but start his walk towards the bathrooms. He had only taken a few steps when a loud shout rang out.

“Mr Mu!”

The couple turned around to see a middle-aged man with a wineglass hurriedly walking over. The suited man quickly put his glass down and reached out with both hands to shake JingYuan’s hand.

“Mr Mu,” greeted the man, “it’s been a long time!”

“Mr Zhang,” JingYuan responded with a nod.

Mr Zhang then turned to shake YiHan’s hand. He smiled as he said, “You’ve grown more graceful and outstanding, Little Master Bai.”

“You’re exaggerating, Mr Zhang,” YiHan said with a polite smile.

“How could I be?” Mr Zhang guffawed. “I am speaking from the heart. When you and Mr Mu stand together, the sight is so divine that it makes one envious!”

“You’re too kind,” JingYuan said, a hint of a smile creeping up his face.

“No, no. I’m speaking the truth,” Mr Zhang hurriedly said. “Mr Mu, about the project regarding the Jade Water Gardens…”

YiHan stopped walking and listened to Mr Zhang, smile still present. When the other man finally stopped for a breath, YiHan patted JingYuan on the shoulder.

“You two talk first,” he said to JingYuan before turning to Mr Zhang and saying, “My apologies. Please pardon me.”

“It’s fine, Little Master Bai,” Mr Zhang hastily said.

JingYuan took a step in YiHan’s direction but was soon stopped by YiHan’s gaze.

“Wait here for me,” YiHan said.

JingYuan’s only option was to stop and watch as YiHan walked away. He then turned back to Mr Zhang and continued their conversation.

As YiHan was washing his hands at the sink after finishing up, the door to the bathrooms was pushed open. Instead of walking over to the urinals, the man then walked over to YiHan and stood behind him.

Flinging the water off his hands, YiHan looked up into the mirror. Behind him stood Qi MingYang. The other man was smiling at him through the mirror.

YiHan had to admit it. Qi MingYang was actually quite an attractive man. His eyebrows weren’t particularly bushy and they were slightly arched upwards. His eyes were similar to Qin Feng’s – a brilliant gaze hidden behind long and slender eyes. However, Qi MingYang’s eyes didn’t have that languid, sleepy quality Qin Feng’s eyes had. Beneath that high nose was a pair of pale lips as thin as the sharp edge of a knife. Such a face always exuded a strong and forceful aura, even if it was smiling.

The man was tall but still shorter than JingYuan. He didn’t have a big, sturdy bone structure. The dark, fitted suit he had accentuated his slim waist and long legs.

Through the mirror, YiHan could see how tall the other man was compared to himself. Qi MingYang was a head taller than him. If one were to ignore YiHan’s expression, the image in the mirror would appear quite romantic.

Frankly, YiHan had never seen Qi MingYang smile in such a way before. His opinion of the man was the same as JingYuan’s – the man was a double-edged sword. Lurking deep within the man was a maniac who would kill a thousand of his own men in order to kill eight hundred of his enemy’s men. People always say one’s appearance reveals one’s heart. That saying was most apt when applied to Qi MingYang. The man’s entire appearance was like an unsheathed blade. Even when the man smiled, his smiles would never reach his eyes. Combined with his sharp features, one always felt that every second spent with the man came with the risk of being cut.

But at this very moment, Qi MingYang was smiling so hard that his eyes were curved. His lips arched upwards in a natural manner. Warmth and joy shimmered in those eyes. Even the man’s foreboding eyebrows had gentled. The man appeared so much like the classic boy-next-door character.

Nevertheless, YiHan knew that the man’s crazy nature was still present. It didn’t matter what smile the man had on. Furthermore, what the other man felt or did was none of YiHan’s business.

YiHan flicked water off his hands again and slid around the other man to wipe his hands dry with a paper towel. As he increased the distance between them, he casually asked, “Mr Qi, why are you in the bathrooms if not to do your business?”

Only then did Qi MingYang speak, “I saw you heading in here. I came in just so I can speak with you.”

YiHan threw the wet paper towel into the bin and looked at the other man. “If there’s anything you wish to tell me, you didn’t need to come all the way here.” YiHan looked around the room. “I don’t think this is an ideal spot for a conversation. Is it? Anyway, I am only an unemployed man right now. Mr Qi, the weight of your entire family rests on your shoulders. You are an outstanding member of society. What can you talk about with a lazy, useless kid?”

“If you’re considered lazy and useless,” said the other man with a bitter smile, “wouldn’t the rest of this city be considered worse than trash? Looks like you’re very wary of me.” He raised his hands in a shrug. “I’m no lion or wolf. I only want to be your friend.”

“We both roam the same social circle,” YiHan politely said. “We’re always bumping into each other. Naturally, we’re all friends. What forced you to compare yourself to lions and wolves?”

Qi MingYang took a step towards YiHan. “You should know what I mean. Why try and go around in circles? Be blunter. I personally admire your personality and hope to become true friends with you. Just like…Qin Feng and Nan Shan.”

“Birds of a feather flock together,” YiHan said, smile still present. “I make friends for fun. Everyone hangs out together just to fool around. I’m not like you, Mr Qi. Your friends are all people in high places. It’d be a blow to your dignity to be friends with me. But I am honoured to be admired by you. Excuse me, JingYuan is still waiting for me. Please, Mr Qi, continue about your business. I’ll be off.”

YiHan took two steps towards the exit before turning around to face the man again. “Right,” he said in a low voice, “you mentioned Nan Shan just now. I still have to thank you. Thank you so much for keeping Xu YouRan’s identity as Nan Shan a secret. I, Bai YiHan, owe you one for this.”

“You don’t need to be so formal with me,” said the other man. “You two are true friends. I admire such friendships. Helping to keep such a minor matter a secret is nothing.” His eyes blinked in an innocent and mischievous manner as he continued, “I thought that since Nan Shan is so important to you, you wouldn’t want the world to know about this. I just didn’t want to step on your tail and make you hate me more.”

YiHan’s face dropped into a cold and blank stare as he forced out through his lips, “Thanks.”

The man burst out into a little chuckle. “Don’t worry, Little Master Bai,” the man warmly said. “I have no need to use this as blackmail. I might not be someone of great worth but I keep my word. Right here and now, I promise you. No matter what happens between us in the future, I will forever keep Nan Shan’s identity a secret. You can relax.”

YiHan nodded and turned to walk out of the bathroom. Just as he reached the door, he heard Qi MingYang call out from behind him.

“Little Master Bai!”

YiHan stopped. He didn’t turn around.

“I hope one day,” said the other man, “you wouldn’t call me ‘Mr Qi’ in the future and that you’ll permit me to call you by your name.”

YiHan’s head turned to look at the other man out of the corner of his eye. “You’re funny, Mr Qi. I call you Mr Qi because I respect you. Excuse me.”

 YiHan then pulled the door open and strode away. Not far away from the bathroom door, he bumped into JingYuan who had wandered over in search of him.

When JingYuan saw YiHan, a smile instinctively bloomed across his face as he walked over to hold YiHan’s hand. “You were in the bathrooms for so long that I thought you’d fallen into the toilets. I was rushing over to save you.”

“Relax,” said YiHan. There was also a smile on his face. “I’m a big boy. I won’t be flushed down.”

JingYuan pinched YiHan’s ear as he laughed, “Aah, you’re that unsanitary? You were actually thinking of taking a tour of the sewers?”

YiHan gave JingYuan a sidelong glance. “You’re the one who said I’d fall into the toilets. I’m the one who’s unsanitary now? I think you’re just trying to disgust me because you don’t want me to eat anything.”

“Okay, okay,” JingYuan softly chuckled. “It’s all my fault. My lord, please forgive me.”

YiHan held his head high as he said, “Alright. Since it’s your first time, I’ll let you go this time. Let’s head back.”

JingYuan nodded. He was about to lead YiHan back to the hall when his eyes went cold. His back straightened as the relaxed smile on his face vanished.

It was Qi MingYang walking out from the bathrooms. He had his signature smile on as he greeted, “What a coincidence, Mr Mu.”

“Mr Qi,” JingYuan said. “You’re in a good mood.”

The other man nodded. “I’m fine. I just so happened to bump into Little Master Bai. We had a little chat. It’s so wonderful talking to him. It makes one so happy.”

“YiHan has a good personality,” JingYuan said with a skin-deep smile. “He’s always so kind. He always avoids putting other people in a bad spot with his words. It might be a rare quality but I’m just a common man. I’m always worried he’d be bullied due to his kindness. After all, there are a lot of people in this world who are strangely illogical.”

“You’re right,” Qi MingYang said with a formal smile and a nod. “Little Master Bai is naturally great but I believe no one in the world could bear to make him unhappy.”

JingYuan looked back at the other man and slowly said, “Who knows? There’s no wrong with being wary. Right, Mr Qi?”

Qi MingYang’s smile didn’t falter as he said, “Of course.”

Translator Note:

 Qin Feng: Reminder, this is Qin An aka the gangster character.


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GC: Chapter 191

191. Nan Shan’s Engagement Party

YiHan was the type of person who’s deathly terrified of the cold. The moment winter arrived, he would never leave the house if it was possible. JingYuan understood his habits. When the days grew colder, JingYuan stopped asking YiHan to accompany him to the office. However, humans were all the same. It was easy to move from poverty to luxury but hard to move from luxury to poverty. It was unavoidable for the loneliness to multiply for JingYuan after getting used to having his lover beside him at work. When YiHan asked how he felt about it, JingYuan stated it was fine. But the moment JingYuan turned around and knew his man wouldn’t be following behind, JingYuan’s heart felt empty.

JingYuan’s heart ached at the thought of making YiHan face the dreaded cold, so how could YiHan’s heart not do the same when YiHan saw the man’s loneliness?

From the very first day of winter, the exact same scene could be seen every morning at their home’s entrance.

“Don’t go. It’s cold outside,” said JingYuan.

“No. There’s no meaning in staying home. I’d rather go out and play with you,” said YiHan.

“It’s freezing. There’s nothing to play with there,” said YiHan.

“It’s not going to be cold in the office and I’ll be in the car for the entire trip. I’ll only be exposed to the chill when I get on and off the car. What does it matter?” said YiHan.

“Even so, you’ll be cold. Go back to sleep. Didn’t you say a nap right after waking up is the best?” said JingYuan.

“I won’t sleep. I’m wide awake. I don’t want to stay at home,” said YiHan.

“If you’re bored, I can have a room renovated into an entertainment room for you,” said JingYuan.

“Entertainment room? I’m an adult now. Why would I be playing? I just want to be with you. Do you find me annoying now?” said YiHan.

“Of course not. Why did you think that?” said JingYuan.

“Then, why are you upset that I want to be with you?” asked YiHan.

“How can I be upset? I’m just worried you’d catch a cold!” said JingYuan.

“I’m not afraid of the cold! Let’s go or you’ll be late,” said YiHan.

“It’s cold outside­–” said JingYuan.

“Aah, stop nattering and let’s hurry! Go!” said YiHan.

“Wait! If you’re coming with me, at least put on your coat!” called JingYuan.

Pan Wen and Wei Wu who were hanging in the background: “…” Eyes to the nose, nose to the heart. Don’t speak. Don’t move. In the end, they’d leave the house together. If you take their words seriously, you’ve lost.

As for Chu FangMing, he’d been kept busy by the blows dealt that he didn’t have time to keep up with the matter. He Yuan pushed Yan Miao to call a few more times. When the man realised the calls did nothing, he stopped. He was feeling guilty after all. He didn’t dare go overboard.

Days slowly passed by in a rare tranquillity. Every day, YiHan and JingYuan left the house together. In the evenings, they returned home together. If YiHan was bored during the day, he’d open up the group chat to ask about updates. According to Pei, Yan Miao had called them a few more times. When she realised her family was being “stubborn”, she merely spat out that she was “just too disappointed” in them and never called again. It seemed like she decided not to bother with Yan and YouRan anymore.

As Pei said, “no one wanted her to bother with them”. The moment Yan Miao kept her mouth shut, the whole world was at peace.

***

Time will never stop. The calm and gentle days slowly slipped by. Then, it was time for Yan Yan’s engagement party. Dressed in suits made of the same cut but of different colours, YiHan and JingYuan left their home and arrived at the Yan family home early in the evening.

The couple first greeted the old Mr Yan before ascending the stairs to meet Yan and the others. As YiHan expected, YouRan was nervous and visibly so. YouRan was dressed in a pure white suit. He looked more handsome and elegant than usual. It was as if he belonged in a painting.

When the couple found YouRan, the man was sitting down on a sofa with his hands clenched tightly together. He was frowning and biting down on his lip. He looked uneasy. Yan was sitting by his side, whispering something to him. YiHan sighed. YouRan didn’t interact with people much. It would be hard for him to be comfortable with being the star of such a situation.

YiHan walked over to the sofa opposite YouRan and sat down. “What’s going on, Mr Groom? Embarrassed?”

YouRan pleadingly looked at YiHan. “I’m afraid my performance later will appear too petty. YiHan, I’m afraid of shaming Yan.”

“What are you talking about?” Yan softly scolded.

YiHan smiled. “YouRan, you’re only panicking because you care. Heed my advice. You don’t need to do anything later. You just need to walk beside Yan. He’ll introduce people to you. If they’re an elder, call them what Yan calls them. If they’re of a younger generation, speak if you want to. If you don’t want to, just nod and keep smiling. Leave everything to Yan. There’s nothing that can shame him.”

Yan nodded. “Yes. Just leave everything to me.”

“I know you’re not used to noisy situations but you must go through your engagement party and your wedding at the very least,” YiHan continued. “You’ll be going to show your face. Just take a stroll around the room. You can keep quiet most of the time. You only need to maintain a smile and no one will be able to say anything. I’ll let you in on a secret. I, too, despise mingling and schmoozing. When it comes to parties, I’ll slack off whenever possible. I’ll follow along and take a walk around the room. Give a little smile and everything’s great! Relax. Honestly, just face it how you normally will face anyone. Don’t stress yourself out.”

YouRan nodded. “At your engagement party, you looked so elegant and tranquil. I definitely can’t do that.”

“Don’t think like that,” said YiHan. “You can’t see yourself but you’re amazing. You don’t need to say anything. You just need to stand there and you’ll be the star of the show. You know the people of this world are always more forgiving when it comes to good news. Beautiful people are no different. Alright, relax. Think about it this way. After tonight, you and Yan will be properly engaged.”

YiHan leaned in close to YouRan’s ear and said, “Your boyfriend power, YouRan. You can’t falter.”

YouRan instantly perked up. His gaze became more determined. That’s right. If he felt uneasy, he’d pass along his bad mood to Yan. How could he do that? He had to be the strength behind Yan’s shoulders. He can’t be soft and weak.

YouRan apologetically looked at Yan and grabbed his lover’s hand. “Don’t worry.”

Yan: “…” Bai YiHan, just what did you say to him? Why does something feel weird?

No matter what YiHan said, it had a positive effect on YouRan. The man was calm after that. Throughout the night, he acted so natural that, combined with his ethereal aura and attractive looks, he looked like a deity one could look at but not touch.

When YouRan smiled, it was as warm as when snow first melts. But when he wasn’t smiling, he was as high and mighty as the flowers blooming on icy mountains. Everyone exclaimed in praise. As expected of someone who could be an equal to the Second Young Master Yan. The man was perfect in every way.

A glass of red wine in hand, YiHan looked at YouRan who stood in the middle of the crowd. “Humans really have limitless potential. YouRan’s pushing himself hard for Yan’s sake. Luckily, Yan understands YouRan well. Unless required in the future, Yan wouldn’t let him come to a crowded room like this without a fight.”

JingYuan tugged the wineglass out of YiHan’s hand and replaced it with a glass of grape juice. “He’s with Yan. It’d be hard for him to avoid such parties. But don’t you worry. Man’s social skills are all trained. He’s used to being alone. It’s normal for him to be uneasy. He’ll slowly get better. As you see from tonight, he’s done quite well and didn’t make any mistakes.”

YiHan gave in and drank his grape juice before proudly responding, “Of course. My Nan Shan’s the best.”

JingYuan looked at YiHan with a smile. He wiped a bead of grape juice away from YiHan’s mouth with a thumb as he warmly replied, “The people you approve of are naturally great people.”

YiHan grinned. He then looked around the room. “Chu FangMing didn’t come?”

“He had been badmouthing Nan Shan as much as he could,” JingYuan said. “The old Mr Yan was so angry that he personally spoke up. There’s a grudge between the two families now. There’s no way the Yan family would invite him to their party.”

“I know,” said YiHan, “but I thought he would seize this chance to come, even without an invitation, to see YouRan.”

“He wouldn’t,” said JingYuan. “He doesn’t dare meet Nan Shan now.”

“Why?” YiHan asked, confused.

“I didn’t have time to tell you yet but Chu FangMing went to the Qi family home once more yesterday morning,” JingYuan replied. “He knelt down before the gates and slapped himself over a dozen times. He cried and wailed about his mistakes and wrongdoings. Finally, his actions made Qi Jie cave in. She agreed to forgive him one more time. That very afternoon, Chu FangMing drove Qi Jie and their two daughters back to the Chu family home. He swore before the entire Qi family that he would never recognise Nan Shan as his son. He would never let Nan Shan take a single step into the Chu family home’s gates.”

“As if anyone wants to enter their home,” YiHan chuckled. “He could invite YouRan with a palanquin and all the bells and whistles that come with it, but YouRan would never go.”

“Of course,” said JingYuan. “He only said that so it didn’t reflect as badly on him. Everyone knows what the truth is. He has Qi Jie supervising him now. He’ll stop harassing Nan Shan.”

“I bet he’s finally learned his lesson this time,” said YiHan.

“That’s right,” said JingYuan. “The Chu family’s assets have shrunk by over half. They can barely be considered part of high society. Chu FangMing was nearly overthrown as the head of the family. He’s scared stiff.”

“Hmph,” YiHan pouted. “He’s just a scaredy-cat and he wants to fight with us?”

“He wouldn’t dare fight with us,” said JingYuan. “At most, he’ll try some tactics on Nan Shan. Unfortunately for him, Nan Shan isn’t someone he can touch.” He gestured at Yan with his chin. “Yan is very protective.”

YiHan laughed. “Are He Yuan and Yan Miao not here yet?”

“They must not be,” responded JingYuan after scanning the room once more.

“She really thinks she’s a princess,” said YiHan. “Fashionably late? She didn’t put on such airs when we were getting engaged. Why is she so spiteful when it comes to her family instead?”

“It’s not just spite,” said JingYuan. “She finds it humiliating. If it was possible, she wouldn’t want to attend this party. But she’s afraid of completely alienating the old Mr Yan. She can only come late to express her dissatisfaction.”

“She’s so much trouble,” said YiHan. “It’s better if she doesn’t come. That way, He Yuan wouldn’t try and kick up any fuss when he sees YouRan.”

“She wouldn’t not come,” said JingYuan. “As long as she’s not an utter idiot, she’ll understand she depends on the Yan family.”

“She knows she relies on the family, but she doesn’t think much of her family,” said YiHan as he took a big gulp of his juice. “What kind of logic is that?”


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GC: Chapter 190

190. Yan Miao’s Call

The act of the Chu family’s business partners turning their backs on the family, battered and defeated from the Qi family’s attacks, was like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Everyone in the Chu family now despises Chu FangMing. They revolted and called for him to be stripped of his role as the chairman of the board of directors.

The explosive state of the outside world did not reach the ears of Xu YouRan, the person involved in this debacle. Lately, his mind has been preoccupied with his latest book. Naturally, Yan wouldn’t bother him with such nonsense. Yan merely told YouRan the old Mr Yan made the announcement himself. YouRan was so moved that he went out and bought some gifts for the old Mr Yan to convey his gratitude. The presents he bought weren’t expensive or precious in the eyes of a family like the Yan family. One might even call them cheap. However, the old Mr Yan was ecstatic. He dragged YouRan over to the Go board for a few rounds. Throughout the games, he kept praising YouRan and calling him a good kid. The old Mr Yan had now taken YouRan in to be part of his family. In private, the old man even told Hui that Yan’s marriage to YouRan was a lucky and prosperous event.

***

YiHan’s group chat with the rest had been buzzing non-stop for the past few days. Everyone had remained in contact and had been sharing any and all information they’d heard.

[Pei the Third: Breaking news. My aunt called us last night and asked about Nan Shan.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: This matter has exploded and been going on for a while. Your aunt just found out about it?]

[Pei the Third: Tch. It’s good enough that she even finds out about it. When Hui married Zhang-ge, she only came back to comment “Disgusting. So shameful!”]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Well, she’s paying attention earlier this time. What did she say?]

[Pei the Third: What else but to oppose it? She said the marriage between Hui and Zhang-ge had already shamed the entire family. Now, Yan’s acting the same. She couldn’t bear being humiliated because of him. It’s disgusting. Something about how she can’t show her face outside now. Grandfather was so angry. He was brooding throughout the night. He ate less at dinner. My uncle tried to talk to him but it was useless. They both looked so unhappy.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: How can she be like that? What’s so embarrassing about Hui and Yan’s weddings? She’s so strange.]

[Pei the Third: Right? I was so pissed and scared that Grandfather would be swayed by her words. Luckily, he didn’t. He even said he was extremely disappointed in her. He said she didn’t care what kind of person Nan Shan was or whether Hui would be happy. The first thing she said was that it humiliated it.]

[Pei the Third: He said he regrets spoiling my aunt when she was young. It caused her to be so selfish and cold-hearted.]

[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: Some people are born like that. It doesn’t matter if they were spoiled or not.]

[Pei the Third: Mr Mu’s right. Honestly, I think so too. My parents give me everything I want but I’m not like her. I don’t just think about myself all the time.]

[Yan Yan: He Yuan came home.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: He’s all healed up?]

[Yan Yan: Mn. He was very smooth. Returning home all clean made him appear to have returned from an overseas business trip, just as he told Yan Miao.]

[Pei the Third: He’s quite a good liar.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Hey, do you guys think your aunt’s sudden call to oppose Yan’s marriage could’ve been linked to He Yuan? He did just come home.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Why else would the timing be so coincidental? The moment he returns, your aunt comes calling.]

[Yan Yan: I think so. He wants revenge for being beaten up but he doesn’t have the guts to do it, yet he can’t bear to see YouRan live a good life.]

[Pei the Third: My brother’s right. It’s clear that we were too merciful in our beating. We didn’t make him submit.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: He caved in back then but some people are like that. They don’t remember punishments. Once the scar heals, they forget all about the pain.]

[Yan Yan: Then, we can only keep beating him up until he whole

heartedly gives in.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: That’s right. Oh, yes. The people still don’t know that YouRan is Nan Shan, right? It’s best no one lets word of it leak.]

[Yan Yan: Relax. Right now, no one but us, our parents and Grandfather know of this. Everyone else only knows he has some blood ties to Chu FangMing. Not even our aunt knows he’s Nan Shan.]

[Pei the Third: Mn. When our aunt called, Grandfather didn’t mention it either. I don’t know if he forgot about it or what.]

[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: He mustn’t have forgotten. Your grandfather is protecting Nan Shan.]

[Pei the Third: Yeah, that must be it. Grandfather has such a great impression of Nan Shan. Whenever he mentions Nan Shan, he’s always smiling.]

[Yan Yan: YouRan and YiHan’s personalities have something in common. It’s not hard to understand why Grandfather thinks so well of YouRan. After all, he’s greatly fond of YiHan. It certainly is a pleasant surprise.]

[Pei the Third: The weirdest thing of all is that Grandfather never gets angry when Nan Shan wins in their games! He’d be laughing instead! Isn’t that just strange? My uncle was so jealous that his eyes turned green! Hahaha! When my uncle plays against Grandfather, a single win is enough to make Grandfather’s face turn sour!]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Haha! That’s amazing. Try and let your grandfather get to know YouRan a little better. That way, he won’t be fooled by He Yuan in the future.]

[Yan Yan: Mn. Our current situation is better than I expected.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: What about your aunt then?]

[Pei the Third: It’s fine. Grandfather said to ignore her.]

[Yan Yan: My aunt has almost turned into He Yuan’s puppet. Whatever the man says is true.]

[Pei the Third: The man knows how to appease people. He has her wrapped around his finger. That mouth just needs to open and flowers could bloom.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Then, do we tell her about He Yuan being bisexual?]

[Pei the Third: Let’s talk about it after Yan and Nan Shan are married.  We wouldn’t want any accidents happening.]

[Yan Yan: Frankly, even if we tell her, our aunt might not believe us. She would hate us instead.]

[Pei the Third: Mn, I think so too. But she is our aunt. Grandfather still cares for her. It wouldn’t be nice for us to keep her in the dark and let her live with a scumbag for the rest of her life.]

[Yan Yan: Yes. She finds Hui and Zhang-ge disgusting. YouRan and I are also disgusting. But He Yuan’s love is full of lies. Isn’t that more revolting?]

[Pei the Third: Yes. The revolting aspect has never been in a person’s sexuality or gender. It’s due to treachery! Unfortunately, she doesn’t understand that.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: If you tell her, she’d only hate you for ruining her perfect life. She wouldn’t thank you.]

[Pei the Third: Hmph! Who would want her gratitude? But there are some things that an upright citizen cannot do. She is from the Yan family. Telling her and letting her make her own choice is the best I can do.]

[Pei the Third: She even said my brothers’ marriages have humiliated the entire family. What’s truly humiliating is how she’s wrapped around He Yuan’s finger all because of his lies. Hui and Zhang-ge, Yan and Nan Shan; they’re all honest and loyal to each other. What’s so humiliating about them?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Alright, Pei-Pei. Everyone has their own opinions. Why be so angry?]

[Pei the Third: I’m just angry. Outsiders don’t get it. That’s fine. She is family but her words were so harsh and mean. She didn’t care if they were happy at all. All she cared about was if it affected her reputation. She never thought of us as family.]

[Pei the Third: She’s like that even before she was married. We were all younger than her but everything good or nice must be hers. I still remember a crystal sculpture my aunt gave Hui as a birthday present. She took a liking to it. Hui wouldn’t give it to her so she tried to snatch it from him. Because it was a present from my aunt, Hui wouldn’t let her have it no matter what. He kept it protected. I just so happened to be passing by. I went to help my brother but then she got angry. So, she broke the sculpture!]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: How…mean.]

[Pei the Third: Until now, I still remember the rage and sorrow I felt. Hui’s Chinese zodiac is the horse. The present was a beautiful little sculpture of a horse galloping. Hui loved it dearly. He was always so careful with it. In the end, our aunt shattered it. The shards scattered all around the floor. She even dared to be upset about it and stomped off. Through our tears, we got on our knees and began picking up the shards. Oh, the emotions from back then… I don’t even want to recall them. Even now, my heart aches at the thought of that sculpture. While my aunt bought Hui another when she heard of it, the feeling isn’t there anymore. What’s worse is that our aunt ran to complain to Grandfather. She said Hui and I were ganging up on her!]

[Yan Yan: There’s no need to talk about the past.]

[Pei the Third: Why can’t I talk about it? I’m fuming just thinking about it!]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: She’s worse than me.]

[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: What are you babbling about? You’re not like her. There’s nothing at all that’s similar between you two.]

[Pei the Third: Later, she got married. She rarely came back since then. Honestly speaking, we all let out a sigh of relief then. Without her, home was much warmer!]

[Yan Yan: Enough, Pei-Pei. Let’s not talk about unhappy stuff. Let’s talk about my engagement with YouRan.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: !!!]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: So fast! When do you plan on getting engaged?]

[Yan Yan: The engagement party will be held in early December. YouRan and I talked about it. We’ll use your method. After getting engaged, we’ll register for a marriage certificate first. I plan on registering on Christmas Eve.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Ooh, congratulations! That day is good. It’s a blessed day.]

[Yan Yan: Mn. Thank you, YiHan. YouRan has been busy with his new book so I took over on these matters.]

[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: Congratulations!]

[Yan Yan: Thanks.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: When’s the wedding? Is it still spring next year?]

[Yan Yan: It’s in summer. My parents and grandfather also said spring is too soon. We wouldn’t be well-prepared. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. I don’t want to have any regrets either because we rushed.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Right. That’s the logic.]

[Pei the Third: What? YiHan, you really believe him? He could only accept such a late wedding because it meant they could get registered this year.]

[Pei the Third: After all, the wedding is just ceremonial. The certificate is king!]

[Yan Yan: What nonsense are you talking about?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Hahaha! Pei-Pei, you can’t just speak the truth. Your brother will be fuming with embarrassment.]

[Pei the Third: I’m not scared! Come hit! You can’t get me. I’ll piss you off!]

[Pei the Third: If you dare touch me, I’ll tell Nan Shan! I’ll say you might look like a proper man but you just love bullying others!]

[Yan Yan: You think I can’t do anything about you?]

[Pei the Third: Haha! I’m off!]


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 189

189. I Leave My Brother in Your Hands

When YiHan and JingYuan arrived, the girl manning the cashier smiled and pointed them upstairs. The second floor of the book shop consisted of Zhang Su’s office, the workers’ breakroom and so on. The couple had just reached the top of the stairs when they heard laughter coming from within Zhang Su’s office.

YiHan chuckled. “Looks like everything went well.”

“Mn,” JingYuan responded.

When YiHan knocked on the office door, Pei’s gleeful voice called out, “YiHan, Mr Mu, you’re here! Come in.”

Hui, Zhang Su, Yan and YouRan were in the office as well. Hui languidly sat in one of the couches with his hand stretched out behind his husband, who was sitting next to him. A warm smile occupied Zhang Su’s face. There was also a faint smile hanging off YouRan’s lips. Yan’s eyes gleamed as he relaxed next to YouRan.

“Looks like everything went well last night,” YiHan said as he walked into the room.

Pei moved to sit near YiHan. “It was a huge success. Did you know? My aunt and uncle were so good to YouRan. During dinner, Grandfather even commented that now I’m the only one in the family who’s single.”

“That’s much better than we thought,” YiHan said.

“It’s actually quite normal,” said Hui. “With Su and me as examples, and with how they keep hearing about you and JingYuan, their ability to accept YouRan is much, much higher. Ah, there’s also one other reason.”

Hui snickered. “Yan is too stern and reserved. He had never cared for the other sex since he was a kid. He’d run far away the moment he sees a girl. Our parents were mentally prepared for this. Most importantly, YouRan’s not a bad man. He has a good aura around him. He looks so dependable that they feel safe marrying off Yan.”

Pei burst out laughing at Hui’s words. Zhang Su couldn’t resist laughing as well. Yan’s eyes widened but then YouRan’s hand snuck over to hold his. Yan’s lips closed without a word at his lover’s steady gaze.

YiHan was laughing as well. His shoulders shook and trembled. Beside him, JingYuan smiled as he looked at his lover.

Pei massaged her aching stomach and said to YouRan, “Nan San, I leave my brother in your hands. Take good care of him.”

“I will,” YouRan solemnly replied.

Yan shot a glare at his sister as he covered his face with his free hand.

Hui didn’t plan on letting his brother go that easily. “Brother, from now on, you’ll be forming a new family with YouRan. You must be more aware of your spending and have a better understanding of your finances. Don’t be a spendthrift or YouRan will be under immense stress.”

“It’s fine,” YouRan hurriedly interjected.

“Huh?” said Hui.

“He doesn’t need to control himself,” said YouRan. “I’ll work hard and take care of him.”

Hui reached out and patted YouRan on the shoulder as he mirthfully, and emphatically, said, “With you by his side, I can stop worrying. I leave my brother to you from now on.”

YouRan earnestly nodded.

Yan brazenly smacked Hui’s hand away as he said, “We plan on getting married.”

“We know that,” said YiHan.

“I mean to say,” Yan emphasised, “we plan on getting married soon. It’s cold in the winter so we’ll have it during spring next year. Spring is when everything comes back to life. It has good implications.”

Pei’s eyes went wide. “Whoa! Brother, do you need to be so rushed? Has Nan Shan agreed to it?”

YouRan nodded.

“We talked about it when we went home last night,” said Yan.

“Why the hurry? Won’t it be too soon to get married in spring next year?” asked Hui.

“It’s him for the rest of my life. It doesn’t matter when we get married. The earlier we’re married, the more secure we feel,” replied Yan.

YiHan looked up at JingYuan and smiled. “They think exactly like us.”

“There’s nothing bad about it,” said JingYuan. “Look at how safe we feel in our relationship.”

“True,” YiHan said with a nod.

“How about this? Spring is too soon. It’s better to have more time to prepare when it comes to a wedding. Why don’t you two set the date in summer, just like YiHan and JingYuan? Well?” suggested Hui.

Yan gave the idea a thought but insistently replied, “It’ll be spring.”

Hui sighed, “Why are you so stubborn? Think about it. Marriage is no trivial matter. Do you want to buy a new place? Do you need to renovate it? Does it need redecorating? And then there’s the team involved in making the wedding happen, the wedding’s location, invitation cards, and so on. There’s a whole bunch of stuff and they all require time to plan. Marriage is one of the greatest events in a person’s life. You wouldn’t want it to be flawed, right?

YouRan was shocked. “We’d need to buy a new place? I don’t have enough savings!” He looked at Yan, pleading for help as panic crawled across his face.

Yan gave YouRan’s hands a squeeze. “We don’t need to buy a new place. YouRan’s apartment is just nice.”

Hui sighed again. “The place you’re living in is good but your area isn’t that safe and your apartments aren’t that big. No matter if you plan on adopting a child or finding a surrogate, your duo will become a trio. Your family might even grow bigger than that. Your apartments are too small for that.”

“We’ll connect my apartment to the one next to mine then,” said Yan.

YouRan shook his head. “Your brother’s right. Our area isn’t safe. If we live there for long, it’ll be easy for someone mean-spirited to target us.”

“No worries,” Hui said with a wave of his hand. “I, your brother, will give you a home. Think of it as Yan’s dowry!”

“There’s no need,” Yan disdainfully said. “I’ll buy one myself.”

YouRan let out a defeated sigh.

Yan was surprised, confused.

“YouRan,” said Zhang Su, “did you forget everything YiHan and I told you? A family is made up of two people. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Yan is part of the family. He should be putting in his share of the work when it comes to your futures.”

“I know,” said YouRan. “I just feel so useless.”

“How could you be useless?” Yan hurriedly said. “My life is only filled with colours because I have you. It’s because of you that I have this urgent impulse to start a family. To me, you are the most important.”

JingYuan and Hui simultaneously nodded in understanding. The three men glanced at each other in the eyes.

Yan Pei, the only single “dog” in the room: “…” Look at how freely you scatter your acts of love. Don’t you think it’s unfair to me? /(ToT)/~~

***

Qi MingYang wasn’t a man who was called narrow-hearted for nothing. The Qi family kept targeting the Chu family but it never once dealt a decisive blow. It was as if the Qi family was a cat toying with a mouse. It stressed out Chu FangMing so much that he broke down and sought to plead with Qi Jie. However, the woman wouldn’t even let him see her. She didn’t even answer his calls. Their two daughters were under strict protection by their mother so he didn’t even have a chance to come in contact with them. It was obvious the two girls were much closer to their mother. They were also only a few years younger than YouRan. When they were told of the entire story, they were furious. They wholeheartedly supported their mother. Their father’s betrayal could not be forgiven. They weren’t willing to look at Chu FangMing. The man had no choice. He repeatedly tried to visit YouRan but Yan foiled all of his plans. There was no way Chu FangMing could speak to YouRan in person. At his wits’ end, he began to tell everyone about how YouRan cruelly refused to acknowledge his biological father.

This matter between the Qi and Chu families was no longer a secret among their social circles. Everyone knew the cause of the issue was Chu FangMing’s bastard son. That boy popped out of nowhere and was very close to the Little Master Bai and the Yan family siblings. Chu FangMing planed on publicly welcoming the bastard back into the Chu family. Unexpectedly, the son refused and the man’s wife was so enraged that she moved back in with her birth family. Chu FangMing was disliked by both parties. Not only was he hated by everyone, but he had also been beaten into a pile of mess by the Qi family. He had turned into a joke among the high society.

Frankly speaking, children born out of wedlock were nothing new to those who frequent these social circles. Giving up on love for the sake of a political marriage was nothing new either. Nevertheless, when someone has caused harm to another, that person would usually compensate the other. It didn’t matter if the other party accepted it or not. It was at least a show of respect. Putting aside the matter of compensation, the person who abandoned the other party had no right to ask them to do anything. Furthermore, Chu FangMing was only involved in the bastard son’s birth and not in raising the kid. What made him think he could ask the kid to fulfil his filial obligations? The kid didn’t even want to use his father’s surname. It was clear what the kid thought. Furthermore, he had the support of the Bai and Yan families. Who would dare say anything? Putting aside the Yan family, if anyone upset Bai YiHan, they wouldn’t even have time to wait for the Bai family to kick up a fuss. Mu JingYuan would be the first to move. The Little Master Bai didn’t exactly have the best tempers. While the young man had grown much more mature over the past six months, who would dare test the waters just because of a single sentence spoken out of boredom?

Under the current circumstances, Chu FangMing’s attempts to slander Xu YouRan turned into laughable scenes where the speaker had the guts to speak but no one dared to listen to him. The moment Chu FangMing got started, everyone began to conjure up all sorts of excuses to leave. How they wished they had doors over their ears so they could shut out every word.

What surprised the public was that the first to speak up on behalf of Xu YouRan wasn’t Bai YiHan. It was the Yan family, specifically the old Mr Yan himself. He announced Xu YouRan’s relationship with the Yan family’s second son, Yan Yan, and that there was going to be an engagement party.

A single stone can cause thousands of ripples. The announcement sent a shockwave roaring through the high society that had just been through the engagement of the Bai and Mu families. People everywhere nervously wiped away the sweat off their brows. Thank goodness none of them were mean enough to gossip about Xu YouRan. Otherwise, they would’ve died due to unknown causes. Being close to someone was very different to being engaged to them! Got it?

Not only that, but it was also the old Mr Yan who spoke up. That gave the announcement so much more weight. The old Mr Yan was clearly showing his support for Xu YouRan, raising the young man’s worth. In an instant, the outside world was flooded with praises of Xu YouRan. While no one knew just what the man marrying Yan Yan looked like nor did they know what kind of person he was, it didn’t affect his surge in status. The bastard son of the Chu family? What is a bastard son? Can you eat it?

Everyone sane could see that Chu FangMing was stubbornly clinging onto the son he’d been ignoring for years because that son was going to be married to Yan Yan. As if the man would bother acknowledging the son if the young man was penniless. Too many people knew the whole story. Now, there was nothing left to hide Chu FangMing’s humiliation. The man has now turned into an absolute joke. Companies with ties to his did all they could to cut those ties, even if it’d hurt them. No one thought it a joke. That man had offended three of the Great Five in one fell swoop. Among them was Qi MingYang. If you plucked a strand of his hair, he would chase you down three blocks just to cut you up. He wouldn’t stop until you were dead. Who would want to continue their partnership with Chu FangMing? Did they want to die?


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 188

188. You’re Amazing

“Yeah,” YiHan said, nodding. “If we must name the one thing he craves the most, it definitely wouldn’t be bejewelled cufflinks or tailored suits. It would be your writing. If you write him a book, he’d be so happy he could die.”

“Okay,” YouRan said with a nod. “I’ll discuss it with him before I go further with this idea.”

“That’s it,” Zhang Su said with a smile and nod. “When two people are dating, they must get used to discussing everything with each other. I fully understand your concerns. It’s like my marriage to Hui. To an outsider, I’m a sparrow who’d risen to be a phoenix. This shop has just become a hobby. In reality, it’s the opposite. I am serious when it comes to running this bookshop, even more so than before I met him. Our minds aren’t that different at all but there must be a limit to everything. How you are now is good enough. There’s no need to put too much pressure on yourself. Yan wouldn’t be happy about it either.”

YouRan solemnly nodded. He took a sip of his cup of green tea. “I only knew what love is like after getting together with Yan. Every day, we’d meet. We’d have our meals together. We’d sleep together. When I wake up in the morning, he’d be there by my side.” He chuckled. “I’m always thinking about him and he’s always thinking about me. I can’t help but want to give him the best but I can never find a way to. If I do nothing, I’m afraid of making him suffer. If I do something, I’m afraid of mucking it up. He’s so nice to me, so considerate of my feelings. I want to make him feel happy when he’s with me too. I think love, even marriage, is something that requires a lot of in-depth studying. I might be studying for a long time.”

“It’s not a long time,” YiHan commented. “This is a question we might all be pondering for the rest of our lives. What should we do so our partners can feel happy at every moment of the day? YouRan, it is a blessing and an honour that Yan fell in love with you but it’s even more of a blessing for him. You don’t need to be so nervous. You’re doing just fine as you are now.”

Zhang Su nodded.

YouRan nodded in response and smiled as he said, “Frankly, it feels like I’ve been reborn. Everything feels so new; new emotions, a new me. When I recall my life before, it feels like a dream to me. The life I have now is so bright and colourful. I’m so engrossed that I can’t pull myself away from it. The sun feels warmer than usual. Even the breeze feels warm. I sometimes can’t believe it. This is mine. All of this started from the morning I opened my apartment door to find Yan standing before me.”

YiHan smiled. “If Yan heard that, he’d be so happy he could fly.”

“Yes,” laughed Zhang Su. “You two really are born to be together. A few days ago, Yan called me. I found it strange. He rarely calls me. Something must’ve happened, I thought. But it turns out he called me to ask how he should speak so you wouldn’t be repulsed by the way he talks. He said because your personality is somewhat similar to mine, he wanted to ask me what words and phrases I disliked the most. He wanted to avoid using them. When he spoke to me, he sounded so serious that it sounded like he was asking about something very important. I was stunned.”

YouRan was surprised. It took him a while before he could speak. “Something like that happened?”

“Would I lie to you?” asked Zhang Su.

YiHan was laughing so hard that his shoulders were shaking.

YouRan’s face flushed red. Still, he asked, “How… What did you tell him?”

Zhang Su shrugged. “I also told him not to be so nervous. He said he’s always nervous when he’s talking to you. He’s afraid of saying the wrong thing. He doesn’t dare to touch you as he wishes. He’s afraid you’d be disgusted.” As Zhang Su spoke, his smile grew and he started softly chuckling.

YouRan’s face was bright red as he stammered, “Just what was he babbling about…”

“See,” YiHan said, smiling. “You’re both new to love and the other person is so important that you’re both always so cautious. You now know what he thinks. Don’t you feel a weight lifting off your shoulders? I’ve once heard someone said that when you know the other person is more nervous than you are, you stop being nervous.

YouRan was speechless. There was a long pause before a loud laugh burst through his lips.

That evening, when YiHan was enjoying JingYuan’s after-shower hair drying service, YiHan looked at the man in the mirror who was earnestly blowing his hair dry. A low chuckle rose in YiHan’s chest.

When JingYuan saw YiHan laughing, he couldn’t help but smile as well. “What are you laughing about? Did you have fun today?”

“I went to Zhang-ge’s bookshop today,” replied YiHan after pausing to gather his thoughts. “I talked to YouRan and Zhang-ge. YouRan’s all nervous because he’s meeting the Yan family this weekend. Zhang-ge and I took turns to counsel him. Finally, he relaxed a little. He’s so emotive today. Perhaps it’s because he’s happy with his current life. He said a lot of things today. He opened up his heart to us. It’s meant to be an emotional moment, but I was so evil. I laughed.”

“Oh?” hummed JingYuan. “What did he say to make you laugh so hard?”

YiHan’s shoulders trembled as he chuckled. “He didn’t say anything. It’s Zhang-ge. Yan called Zhang-ge and asked him how should Yan speak so as to avoid making YouRan upset with him. Haha. The thought of that man asking that so seriously. It’s so funny. It’s not just me. Zhang-ge laughed too.”

JingYuan ran his hand through YiHan’s hair. He placed the hairdryer down on the table and hugged YiHan from behind. “It looks like Yan has really fallen this time. A person is only so cautious when they are deeply in love.”

“Yes,” YiHan said, nodding. “Right. This afternoon, Fang Yi called me. He said he regrets making peace with Qin Feng now. Qin Feng has turned into a big, clingy follower. The man’s following him everywhere. Fang Yi has developed a headache from the man’s chatter and Qin Feng insists on feeding Fang Yi dark, inedible goops. It’s literal hell right now. Haha, I nearly died laughing.”

JingYuan chuckled as well. He kissed YiHan on the cheek and said, “I never thought the legendary cruel Qin Feng would be so talented at being clingy.”

YiHan stood up and pressed JingYuan down on the chair he’d vacated. Lifting the hairdryer, YiHan began drying JingYuan’s hair. His smile shone brightly.

JingYuan’s face softened. His body and heart relaxed as he savoured the feeling of YiHan’s fingers running through his hair.

Once their hair was dry, the two men curled up under the covers. Out of habit, JingYuan began patting YiHan on the back to lull him to sleep.

YiHan closed his eyes. Then, something popped into his head and his eyes opened once more.

“Right,” said YiHan, “I met Qi MingYang today.”

JingYuan’s hand stopped. In the dark, his eyes gleamed as he murmured, “He went looking for you? What did he say?”

“He said he was passing by. He decided to say hi when he saw me,” said YiHan.

“Just to say hi?” asked JingYuan.

“Of course not,” said YiHan. “Just as you predicted, he talked to me about Nan Shan. He said something about how Nan Shan’s existence is a slap to the Qi family’s face.”

“How did you reply to him?” asked JingYuan.

“How else?” said YiHan. “I told him I’m definitely involving myself in Nan Shan’s business. If he must act against Nan Shan, what happens will be up to who’s smarter and stronger.”

JingYuan began patting YiHan on the back once more. “Then?”

YiHan snuggled in closer to JingYuan’s neck. His eyes lowered into slits as he said, “We talked. He then said that he can pretend Nan Shan doesn’t exist if Nan Shan refuses to acknowledge Chu FangMing. He even said it was because of me. I’m not that powerful. He just doesn’t want to be our enemy because of Qi Jie. And he wants to frame it as a favour for me. Hmph.”

“You were right and your responses were great,” JingYuan softly said. “HanHan, you’re amazing.”

YiHan smiled. “Alright, you. Are you trying to pacify a kid? Are you going to give me a little flower or sticker? It’s late. Let’s sleep. We have to head into the office tomorrow.”

Hand rhythmically patting YiHan on the back, JingYuan kissed YiHan on the forehead. “Okay. Sleep then.”

***

The family meeting that weekend went smoothly. In order to make YouRan feel more relaxed, Pei, Hui and Zhang Su all went back to the family home. With so many familiar faces around him, YouRan felt much safer. Pei was talented at brightening up any room she entered. With her enticing laughs from everyone, the evening went by without a hitch.

Yan was usually a reserved man of little words. His appearance was as average as can be but everyone knew just how terrifying he could be when he turned stubborn. His attitude was obvious. He has settled upon this man. This relationship’s goal was marriage. After the experience with Hui, the old Mr Yan and Yan Yan’s parents were much more tolerant when it came to having a son-in-law instead of a daughter-in-law. Furthermore, they didn’t think much of the situation now that high society had Bai YiHan and Mu JingYuan as pioneers.

Not only that, but the Yan family could also see that Yan Hui and Zhang Su were happy together. Ever since his wedding, Hui’s smile shone brighter than before. “Happiness” was clearly written on Hui’s face. What parent doesn’t want their children to be happy? Zhang Su was a reliable man. He had a positive impact on Hui. The younger man had always been serious when it came to managing his bookshop. He had a clean and crisp aura around him, reminiscent of the smell of books. Every frown and smile made anyone looking at him feel relaxed. Yan Hui usually appeared like a classy elite executive but when he stood next to Zhang Su, the younger man looked like a thug. As time went by, the Yan family began to think Yan Hui was better off with Zhang Su than if he was with a girl. The feeling was so strong that they were sometimes thankful that they didn’t force the couple apart. Who knew what would’ve happened to their family then? Yan Hui was right back then. The couple could look for a surrogate. Many heterosexual couples who’re unable to reproduce had done the same. With that problem solved, what difference did it make if the lover was male or female? While something still felt off, the passing of time led the Yan family to witness Yan Hui and Zhang Su’s lives grow better. The more the family saw of the couple’s happiness, the more logical Yan Hui’s words felt.

Hence, when Yan Yan announced to his family that he had fallen in love and that it was a man, his family’s reactions weren’t as explosive as when Yan Hui came out to them. In fact, the Yan family even thought it expected of Yan. The man had never cared for women. After having gone through Hui’s coming out, their parents had begun guessing about Yan. And so, when Yan told them, they had a sense of relief, a sense of “ah, just as I thought.”

What surprised them wasn’t the fact that both of their sons chose men for their brides but that both sons-in-law had careers related to books. One of them owned a bookshop while the other man was a writer. Was it fate?

The family meeting happened on Saturday evening. On Sunday, without a word to each other, the group gathered in Zhang Su’s bookshop. Okay, that place had already turned into their meetup spot.


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GC: Chapter 187

187. I Will Be Involved in This

“You’re doing it for the Qi family’s reputation,” YiHan said, “while I’m doing this for my friend. We both have our own separate outlooks on the situation. This is unavoidable. Either way, I will be involved in this matter. I don’t care what happens to Chu FangMing but I must protect Nan Shan. If we can coexist in peace, the only thing I can say is ‘sorry’. Whether Nan Shan is safe or pushed into danger, it’ll depend on who wins.”

Qi MingYang blinked. Suddenly, he smiled. “Little Master Bai, there’s no need to be angry. In this city, it’s as easy as pie for you to protect anyone you want. I have absolutely no intention of being your enemy. However, my cousin was humiliated. It is hard for me to accept that.”

“Mr Qi,” YiHan calmly said, “it is natural for you to wish to protect your own family but every injustice has its perpetrator and every debt its debtor. Chu FangMing is a cold-hearted man. He cheated on his spouse and in his love with Aunt Xu. This is none of Nan Shan’s business. Actually, it’s not just Madam Chu who’s the victim. Nan Shan is a victim too. Until now, he has to deal with Chu FangMing’s constant harassment. Even I would like to teach the man a lesson. Speaking of which, you are helping Madam Chu vent her anger while I am indignant on Nan Shan’s behalf. Our wants do not clash. Nan Shan’s surname is Xu, not Chu. He is Xu JinXuan’s son. Other than his unbreakable blood tie to Chu FangMing, he has nothing to do with the man. Nan Shan refuses to have anything to do with him. As long as you think of Nan Shan as non-existent, everyone can exist in harmony. I won’t keep it a secret, Mr Qi, but when I was talking to Yan Yan and Yan Pei yesterday, we were all praising you for how swift and decisive your actions were. Pei-Pei was saying it made her happy to witness what you’ve done. All in all, if you don’t lay a finger on Nan Shan, we don’t care about what happens to anyone else. Furthermore, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. To a certain extent, we are united in our goals.”

Qi MingYang thought about YiHan’s words before giving a little shrug. “Your words are logical. Since you’ve spoken, I will pretend he doesn’t exist as long as he does not return to the Chu family. One can’t choose who they’re born to, but they can choose what their lives would be like. I only hope his heart doesn’t soften and make him stand beside his father. After all, Chu FangMing is his only living family member.”

“Chu FangMing can’t be considered as Nan Shan’s family,” YiHan solemnly said. “Nan Shan feels nothing for him anyway. Nan Shan’s mother passed away at a young age. It’s hard to declare Chu FangMing completely innocent in her death. If we were to really go through their past, Chu FangMing would more likely be Nan Shan’s enemy. If someone must be named as Nan Shan’s family, the Yan siblings and I should be named. Oh, right. Nan Shan and Yan Yan are in a relationship and Yan’s parents are informed of it. Soon, Nan Shan would be meeting with his elders in the Yan family and he’ll have many more family members.”

“Oh?” commented Qi MingYang. “That’s good news. The Second Young Master of the Yan family has settled down. The old Mr Yan has less to worry about now.”

“Yes,” said YiHan. “The old Mr Yan is so very eager to meet Yan Yan’s lover. Alright. We’ve come to an agreement now and I can’t stay here for long. JingYuan’s waiting for me. I’m sorry but please excuse me.”

YiHan nodded his head and stood up to walk out of the café. “Oh, right,” said YiHan, turning back to look at Qi MingYang after having taken a few steps away from the table. “Thank you so much for the coffee, Mr Qi.” YiHan then turned and strode out of the doors.

Qi MingYang’s eyes squinted as he watched YiHan walk away. When the other man vanished from his sight, he turned to look down at the cup of untouched coffee. A smile, brimming with eager interest, grew across his mouth and he stroked his chin.

“The Little Master Bai,” he mumbled. “Bai YiHan. How have I never realised just how interesting you are? Thankfully… It would’ve been a pity otherwise.”

YiHan drove away from the parking lot and headed to Zhang Su’s bookshop as planned. The store was very peaceful in the mornings. As expected, YouRan was there.

YouRan was sitting in his designated seat. The man was engrossed in the book held up by slender arms. The warm rays of the winter sun splayed around him. It made him appear so extraordinarily beautiful and gentle that it was as if he belonged in a painting. It made all around him reluctant to break this one moment of pleasant peace.

When Zhang Su walked down the stairs, he spotted YiHan standing between the bookshelves. “YiHan, you’re here,” he greeted with a smile. “Why did JingYuan let you out today?”

YiHan turned and smiled back. “Zhang-ge,” he greeted. “Pei-Pei invited me out today. She needed to prepare for some school event. I was asked to help her pick up some stuff. But then something came up at the last minute and she couldn’t go with me anymore. I was already out of the house by then, so I decided to come here and hang out.”

Hearing voices, YouRan looked up. When he saw YiHan, his eyes lit up. “YiHan, why are you here?”

It was only then did YiHan walk over to sit at YouRan’s table. “Pei-Pei stood me up. I can only seek shelter with you.”

Zhang Su sat down too. “Don’t let JingYuan hear such pitiful words or Pei-Pei would be in trouble.”

“It’s not that bad,” YiHan awkwardly said. He then looked at the smiling YouRan and asked, “YouRan, so when does Yan plan on having you meet his family?”

YouRan closed the book in his hands. His fingers nervously stroked it as he replied, “Yan said this weekend.”

“It’s Wednesday already,” said YiHan. “That’s not far away.”

YouRan nodded. Anxiety filled his face as his mind grew heavy.

YiHan exchanged a look with Zhang Su before softly asking, “YouRan, are you nervous?”

YouRan bit down on his lips and nodded. His fingers continuously stroked the book as he replied, “I have never met anyone else’s elders. I’m afraid of saying something wrong. Also, I’m a man. Would Yan’s parents accept me?”

Zhang Su let out a chuckle. “Listen to what you’re saying. Am I not a man? Relax. The Yan family is extremely easy to get along with. Let me tell you a secret. If you can make the old Mr Yan happy, you’ve eighty per cent succeeded in winning them over.”

YouRan nodded gratefully. The man was still nervous though.

YiHan smiled and said, “YouRan, relax a little. You’re only meeting his parents. Yan has already told them about you. You’re only going to be meeting them and share a meal with them. As long as you can handle that, you’ll have no problems.”

YiHan paused in thought before continuing, “The old Mr Yan is a very nice man. Yes. He loves to play chess and Go. Play a few rounds with him and he’ll be happy. Oh, right. Remember not to win all the time but you can’t lose too obviously.”

YouRan nodded again.

“The old Mr Yan loves YiHan the most,” Zhang Su added. “He’s closer to YiHan than he is to Hui or Yan. YiHan has spoken so well of you before the old Mr Yan that this weekend will be a success.”

“Thank you, YiHan,” said YouRan. “You’ve done so much for me that I find it hard to just accept.”

“It’s nothing,” YiHan said. “No need to be so formal with me. I’ve only been slightly more diligent in visiting the Yan family. First, I recommended your books to him. Of course, Pei-Pei has done that already. I merely needed to strengthen that recommendation, and also try to improve the old Mr Yan’s impression of you. Naturally, none of the things I’ve said to him was an exaggeration. They were all facts. Yan is so worried about this. You two had only just started dating and he’s already rushing to bring you home. Anyone could see he’s into you. The Yan family has always believed in individual freedom. For Yan’s sake, they won’t trouble you. Don’t worry.”

YouRan hummed in response as his body slackened.

“Look,” said Zhang Su. “So many people have prepared for you. It’s impossible for the meeting to go wrong. Yan even told his family that he’ll be moving in with you from now on. His older brother laughed so hard at him for that.”

YouRan nodded. “He told me about that. I’ll work hard as the breadwinner. I’ve been thinking about starting up a side business.” He’ll be a man with a family from now on. He must bear the burden of feeding his family. He can’t go on in that state where the family only has just enough food.

YiHan was shocked. He nearly wailed as he said, “Please don’t, YouRan. I’m still waiting for your new book! Ever since Yan told us you were working on the outline, all three of us have been eagerly waiting for it. Please, don’t, don’t, don’t turn to anything else.”

A chuckle burst out of YouRan. “I’m only thinking about it. There will be a new book anyway.” He waved the book he was holding. “Look at me. I’m reading for my story. However, I’ve only started on the outline. If you start waiting from now, you’d be waiting for a very long time.”

YiHan blinked. “Don’t be like that. As your friends, do we have to wait until the book is published before we can read it? How about we read as you write? I promise we won’t let anything leak!”

“I’m really not in the habit of showing my unfinished drafts to other people,” YouRan hesitantly said.

“We can wait until you’re done,” YiHan hurriedly said. “Once you’re done with the book, we’d like to read it immediately. You can slowly work on publication then, okay?”

“Alright,” YouRan nodded, abashed.

“Yay!” YiHan cheered.

Zhang Su let out a sigh and changed the topic. “YouRan, you don’t actually need to start a side business or anything. Isn’t what you have now good enough?”

YiHan nodded in agreement.

“No way,” said YouRan. “I won’t be alone now. It’s best to have more income.”

“Yan is the Second Young Master of the Yan family,” Zhang Su said, exasperated. “He owns some of the Yan Group’s shares. He also holds a rather important position in the company. Are you afraid he won’t have enough money to spend?”

“I know he doesn’t need money but that’s his business,” YouRan stubbornly said. “Feeding the family is my business. I don’t want to be short on money when I buy him presents.”

He sighed before mournfully continuing, “I initially thought my income was enough for us to live on but then I looked up the brands of his clothes. I realised I can’t even afford to buy him a shirt.”

“Yes,” YiHan said, holding back a laugh. “In that sense, Yan certainly spends a lot. However, a home is made up of two people. It can’t be just you who pays for everything. He’s a man too. He has to pull his own weight. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.”

“He was raised in luxury,” YouRan anxiously said. “I can’t make him live a lesser life than what he had, right? But I really can’t afford to buy any of what he usually uses or wears.”

“YiHan’s right,” said Zhang Su, holding back a laugh of his own too. “A family is made up of two people. Of course, you have to both feed the family. The money you two earn would be used to pay for the bills first before being split up. The more you earn, the more you spend. If you earn less, you spend less. It’s not like there’s not enough to live on. He’s also not the kind of person who’d die if he’s separated from luxury goods. You don’t need to worry over such things.”

Translator’s Note:

Individual freedom: The noun used here is “democratic” or, more literally, “by the people”. It’s a rather weird term to translate here as there are multiple ways it can be interpreted and there’s no one succinct answer.


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GC: Chapter 186

186. Qi MingYang’s Stance

“Do we have to fight him then?” asked YiHan.

“Qi MingYang wouldn’t clash with us on the surface,” replied JingYuan. “These articles are just him telling us his stance on this. He’s waiting for us to speak up.”

YiHan didn’t get it.

JingYuan held YiHan’s hand. “Qi MingYang might be an intolerant man but he’s very prudent. He won’t just take this lying down but he’ll also do his homework beforehand. It’s no secret Nan Shan has us by his side. He attacked Chu FangMing as fast as lightning and as fierce as thunder. However, when it came to Nan Shan, he only ordered a few articles to be published every week. He knew those articles would be struck out and suppressed. It’s just a show of his convictions. It’s not his style to withdraw without a battle but he’ll leave himself room to turn around.”

YiHan let out an exasperated chuckle. “His organs and intestines must be all twisted up in a knot. It’s just revenge yet there are so many issues linked to it. Wouldn’t he get tired of living life like that? Anyway, how does he know those drafts would be struck out? The moment one article passes, he’ll have publicly turned into our enemy.”

JingYuan shrugged and smiled. “It’s like how I can guess his intentions. He must’ve expected me to prepare for this earlier.”

YiHan leaned against JingYuan’s desk. “Qi MingYang is quite a detail-oriented man. He’s as strong as you and my brother. But he’s too narrow-hearted, too easily angered. Such a personality has restricted his abilities. It’s as if he’s from a poor household, causing the entire Qi family to appear weaker among the Great Five.”

“They only look weak among the Great Five,” said JingYuan. “In this city, the Qi family is part of the top ranks in society. Furthermore, a starved camel is still bigger than a horse. Even if the Qi family is on the decline, it is still a powerful force to the Chu family. It’s not a family Chu FangMing can push around. He’s gotten too used to a smooth life where only Qi Jie would anger him. He is eager to be rid of Qi Jie. When he saw Nan Shan getting close to us, he hurriedly rushed over. He wants our help to apply pressure on Qi Jie.”

“Unfortunately, Nan Shan didn’t buy his act,” YiHan said with a smile and a shrug.

“With us around, he can’t force Nan Shan to do anything,” JingYuan said, nodding. “His plead on emotions have failed. He couldn’t get Nan Shan on his side and Qi Jie has turned into an enemy. He really has lost both his lady and his troops.”

YiHan pursed his lips. “Serves him right. What about Qi MingYang then? What do we do? Do we contact him?”

“We don’t need to do that,” JingYuan said with a smile. “He is wary of us after all. He wouldn’t dare to try and stamp out Nan Shan. We don’t need to say anything. He’ll come looking for us.”

“Will he?” YiHan doubtfully asked.

“He will,” JingYuan answered. “He’ll test the waters, see what we think, before deciding on his next move. No matter how angry he is, he wouldn’t make an enemy out of us for the sake of Qi Jie. He knows what will benefit him and what won’t.”

***

In the mall car park, YiHan leaned against his car as he spoke into his phone, “Comrade Yan Pei, you were the one who asked me out. Now, you’re leaving me hanging?” YiHan was both amused and upset.

“I’m sorry, YiHan,” Pei begged. “I didn’t mean to. Something last-minute came up in school. I have no choice either. Forgive me.”

“Alright,” YiHan said, smiling. “I’ll forgive you this one time.”

“I just knew you’re the best,” Pei giggled. “Let’s meet up another day.”

“If you dare leave me hanging again,” said YiHan with a harrumph, “the consequences will be dire. You know I’m one of the laziest persons in the world.”

“I won’t. I won’t,” Pei quickly said. “Today’s an accident. Next time, this would absolutely not happen again!”

“Okay, then,” said YiHan. “Go do your thing. I’ll hang out in Zhang-ge’s bookshop for a while.”

“Mr Mu has finally allowed you to drive on your own?” Pei teased.

“Don’t mention it,” said YiHan. “He only said yes after a lot of begging and pleading. It’s kind of exasperating.”

Pei laughed. “He’s just concerned about you. He’s afraid it won’t be safe if you drive…pfft!”

YiHan’s eyes squinted. “Friend, you’re very naughty…”

Pei’s laughter stopped. “Aah,” she loudly exclaimed. “Someone’s calling for me. I must go. See you another day. Bye-bye!”

Pei hung up. YiHan sighed and shook his head. His family’s always thought of him as a kid. They wouldn’t let him drive. They even made it so he had to have a driver whenever he left the house. It’s so inconvenient. What’s worse was that JingYuan fully inherited this habit. Combined with the car accident last time, the man had refused to let YiHan drive at all. Pei had laughed at him so many times over this. Even Yan had a constipated look whenever the topic was brought up. For a long time, YiHan had tried every trick he could. Finally, JingYuan relented. Even so, he was so very anxious. YiHan hadn’t left their home for long but he’d already received three calls from JingYuan. The older man was so worried that it left YiHan in both tears and laughter. YiHan was nearly twenty-five. Did the man still think he was a kid? If other people knew of it, how could YiHan ever dare show his face again?

YiHan put his phone away. He was about to step into his car when a Bentley slowly rolled up to him. The car parked in a spot near his. The Bentley’s door opened and out walked Qi MingYang.

“Little Master Bai,” Qi MingYang greeted with a wave, “long time no see.”

YiHan politely smiled back. “It’s been a while, Mr Qi.”

“Are you waiting for someone?” asked the other man as he walked over. “Is there anything I can help you with?”

“You’re too kind, Mr Qi,” YiHan said. “There’s no need, though. I’m about to leave. Mr Qi, you must be busy, unlike me. I’m just a free man who always has time to wander around. What brings you here?”

“No, no,” said Qi MingYang. “You’re too humble. I won’t lie. I was passing by when I saw someone who looked like you out of the corner of my eye. I turned in to test my luck. I didn’t think it’d really be you.”

“Oh?” YiHan raised an eyebrow. “Is there something you need from me?”

“It’s nothing.” The other man smiled. “I thought we can catch up since we’ve bumped into each other.”

“Thank you, Mr Qi,” said YiHan, “but I have something to attend to. I won’t keep you from your work. Pardon me.”

A hand rose to block YiHan’s way. “Please, stay,” said Qi MingYang. “I have something I’d like to confirm with you.”

“Do tell, Mr Qi,” said YiHan.

“May I have the honour of inviting you to a cup of coffee?” asked the man.

“You’re too kind.” YiHan smiled. “Thank you, Mr Qi.”

“This way,” said Qi MingYang, arm turning to indicate the way.

Near the mall was a pleasant little coffee shop. The two walked in and found a table.

“Please, Mr Qi, tell me what’s on your mind,” said YiHan.

“Why the hurry?” asked Qi MingYang. “Little Master Bai, you’ve always been glued to Mr Mu’s side. I snuck in a little break today out of my busy schedule. It’s a rare opportunity, being able to enjoy a cup of coffee with you.”

“Now, that’s not quite right,” YiHan said as he put on a shallow smile. “I admit that I’m not anymore extremely important. Our relationship has also not progressed to the point of being confidantes. You didn’t invite me here just to have a cup of coffee and catch up, did you?”

The man didn’t get angry. Instead, he softly chuckled and said, “Little Master Bai, you really are a frank man. Very well. I won’t go around in circles. It was a coincidence I bumped into you today. I have something I’d like to inform you about.”

“What is it?” asked YiHan.

Qi MingYang’s smile disappeared. “You should already know of the Qi family’s recent movements,” he lazily said. “This is just some dirty laundry, some family matters. When something like this has reached this stage, there’s no need for it to be a secret. Not within our social circle. Chu FangMing has crossed the line. If I just let him go, wouldn’t it tell other people that the Qi family has no one left to defend it?”

“I certainly know of it,” said YiHan. “But since Chu FangMing dared to challenge the Qi family, it’s entirely expected for him to be taught a little lesson. That has nothing to do with me.”

A faint hint of a smile returned to Qi MingYang’s face. “You are a logical man. I trust you already know what I meant. I’m not speaking of Chu FangMing.”

YiHan’s eyes squinted. “You are speaking of Nan Shan then?”

“Yes,” said Qi MingYang. “He is Chu FangMing’s bastard son. His existence is a slap to the Qi family’s face. I wanted to take care of him as well, but I’d unintentionally heard someone say you are acquainted with him. Since I’ve bumped into you, I thought I should let you know.”

“Then, you should also know that Nan Shan and I are not merely ‘acquainted’,” said YiHan. “I won’t keep it a secret from you. Yan Pei, Yan Yana and I are all fans of his books to start with. You know what he relies on to make a living. At first, we were attracted by his writing. Somehow, we befriended him and were slowly sucked in by his personality. As of now, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that we are the best of friends. There’s a common saying: one could take two stabs to the chest for a friend. I, Bai YiHan, am not particularly capable but I also wish to emulate the chivalry of the past. I can’t use my body as a shield but I can draw my sword and help out.”

“Must you say that?” Qi MingYang asked, frowning. “The Qi and Bai families might not be close but there is no grudge between us. Why must you ruin the peace for some random person?”

YiHan shook his finger. “No, no, no. Nan Shan isn’t some random person to me. It’s impossible for me to just sit and do nothing when it comes to him.”

“He’s just a disgraceful bastard. Why must you protect him so?”

YiHan’s lips twitched into what one can consider a smile. “Mr Qi, you are a scrupulous man. You would never fight a battle you know you can’t win. I trust you’ve already found out all there is about Nan Shan. You wouldn’t be ignorant to how he came to be a ‘bastard son’, right? I know that when it comes to the dignity of the Qi family, right and wrong doesn’t matter much. I won’t go on about how the man is innocent. I don’t even want to mention how he has no intentions of returning to the Chu family. No one can choose who they’re born to. He has no choice in being the child of Chu FangMing.  If possible, he wishes the man would never appear before his eyes again. But perhaps you don’t understand what kind of person I am yet. I, Bai YiHan, don’t make friends based on their identity. I don’t care whose son he is. As long as he is to my liking, I will help my friend regardless of logic and rationale, especially not when Nan Shan isn’t the party who is in the wrong.”

“Little Master Bai, I admire your ethics but this issue involved the honour of the Qi family,” said Qi MingYang. “Thus, there are less I have to worry about when it comes to the feelings and relationships of other people.”

Translator’s Notes:

Poor household: The phrase, 小家子气, is more accurately translated as someone with the mindset of a peasant. The literal translation would be “tiny household temper”. The actual meaning is “petty” or “small-minded”.

The updates are finally here! My apologies for the missing chapters from last week. There were some technical difficulties. Word of warning : when buying new laptops from brands that are infamous for poor build quality (Asus), bad after-sales service techs (Asus), bad software compatibilities with Windows OS and its own software (Asus), always remember to keep all paperwork in a file easily accessible because you’ll be going back to them multiple times in hopes of getting the faulty part properly fixed and not just “replaced”.


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