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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GC: Chapter 185

185. The Qi Family’s Rage

“Force?” said YiHan. “He shouldn’t have the guts to clash with us. His only advantage is his status as YouRan’s birth father. He might try persistent persuasion, or he might use the public’s opinion.”

“Could he be so shameless?” Pei’s cheeks were puffed up. “If he does that, then he really does have a thick skin!”

“He’s not just thick-skinned,” said Yan, “I can tell from the way he does things that he only ever cares about profits. It doesn’t matter what the issue is. As long as he gains something from it, he doesn’t care about face or dignity. Emotions are further not something he’d need to consider.”

YiHan was about to speak when his phone rang. He pulled the phone out of his pocket and glanced at it. A smile grew on his face.

When Pei saw the look on YiHan’s face, her lips widened in a mischievous smile. “That face means it must be Mr Mu.”

YiHan calmly answered the call. “JingYuan, are you done with work?”

“Mn,” said JingYuan. “How did the meeting today go?”

“It went as expected,” said YiHan. “At first, Chu FangMing said he didn’t know of YouRan’s existence. When Yan frankly called out his lie, the man didn’t feel guilty about it at all. He even began to talk about how fathers and sons are tied and so on.”

“Just as we anticipated,” said JingYuan. “Are you at Nan Shan’s home?”

“Yes,” said YiHan. “YouRan was clear that he wouldn’t go back to the Chu family. Yan was firm and told Chu FangMing not to harass YouRan anymore. The man didn’t dare to force us to agree with him, but I feel like he wouldn’t be stopping. We were just discussing if he’d use public perception to push YouRan into going with him.”

“You’re right,” said YiHan. “Will you be coming over later?”

“I’m heading over to fetch you. I’ll be there soon,” said JingYuan.

YiHan hung up and turned to the others in the room with him. “JingYuan said word of this wouldn’t spread. This city doesn’t belong to the Chu family.”

“With those words, I can stop worrying,” said Pei with a nod.

***

For a while, Chu FangMing did nothing. Then, just as YiHan said, he began to make a move. He didn’t dare visit YouRan again. All he did was mail parcels to YouRan. There was a delivery nearly every day. Sometimes, it’s clothes. Sometimes, it’d be luxury goods. FangMing also sent YouRan a few types of food that most people can’t afford to buy or were hard to source. Inside these packages, there’d be cards with words of concern and care.

Each time YouRan received a parcel, he’d tell the courier to return it to the sender. The persistence of the other party slowly got on YouRan’s nerves.

Yan was also fuming with rage at the situation. It took a call to FangMing before the other man showed some restraint. FangMing was YouRan’s father. They couldn’t do much to the man. They couldn’t be harsh and they couldn’t be rid of him. It was seriously so frustrating.

But FangMing couldn’t be smug about it for long. A few days later, there was a blazing inferno set aflame in his own home. As a daughter of the Qi family, even if not one from the main family, Qi Jie grew up as a cherished little miss. She only married Chu FangMing because the man courted her and proposed to her of his own will. She didn’t think the man would start distancing himself from her after he was done borrowing her help in his fight to be family head. Because she refused to bear FangMing another child after giving him two daughters, FangMing was further dissatisfied with her. However, the man only tolerated her because she was from the Qi family. Years have passed and FangMing’s hold on his position was secure. As he grew used to being the revered head of the family, his patience for Qi Jie slowly vanished. Qi Jie too had been tolerating his antics for a long time now. But they’ve been married for years. They weren’t young anymore and they had two daughters. Unless it was necessary, she didn’t want their lives to change too much.

Never could she have imagined Chu FangMing to step over the line. His attitude gradually worsened. Qi Jie was wondering if she should teach the man a lesson when he set off a bomb in their lives!

Since their wedding day, Qi Jie kept a strict eye on FangMing. She knew all about the people he was surrounded by. She squashed every possibility he could use to cheat on her. She was so cautious about everything and everyone, but she never once looked into his relationships prior to their marriage!

She never expected Chu FangMing to have a child before they were even married. Decades have passed and the man never said a word. There wasn’t even a hint of this child. If the man hadn’t decided to publicise his want to welcome the kid into the Chu family, she would still be kept in the dark!

Qi Jie was a proud woman. She was someone who never once suffered or be at a disadvantage. How could she bear to be humiliated so? She immediately started up a big fight with FangMing. Not only did the man not show an ounce of remorse, he even ordered her to be more polite when YouRan entered their home and to try and win the kid over!

Was he requesting she bow down and prostrate herself before her husband’s bastard son? Qi Jie’s lungs nearly exploded with fury. She immediately headed to the Qi family home with her daughters in tow. She ran straight for the head of the Qi family, Qi MingYang. She cried and complained, turning her exquisite makeup into a blurry mess on her face.

If Qi Jie were to really lay out her lineage, she’d be considered Qi MingYang’s cousin once removed. But in the Qi family, the main and branch families are distinctly separated. Control over the main businesses was kept strictly within the main family line. Branch family members all had much more inferior positions. When talking before Qi MingYang, Qi Jie can’t try and use her status as an elder. In fact, she must flatter and grovel with every word she said. She only dared to push this incident into Qi MingYang’s attention because she knew the dignity of the Qi family was the most important to the man. This issue was clearly a slap in the face for the Qi family. Even if she wanted to tolerate it, Qi MingYang wouldn’t be willing to play along. Qi Jie kicking up a fuss was the perfect chance Qi MingYang was seeking. She also succeeded in fuelling the younger man’s anger.

As expected, when Qi Jie left the Qi family home, Qi MingYang’s face was gloomy and insidious.

Within a week, the Chu family’s businesses were dealt a blow. Chu FangMing was gritting his teeth with rage but Qi Jie wouldn’t answer any of his calls. Xu YouRan’s attitude didn’t change for the better either. FangMing’s head was pounding from the frustrating circumstances of his company. It was obvious Qi MingYang was truly enraged. In just a few days, the Chu family’s net worth shrank by a fifth. FangMing was panicking. His hair shed in bunches. He was the textbook example of someone who wanted to steal some chickens but only succeeded in losing his fistful of rice.

YiHan brought it up in the group chat with Pei and Yan. They were all gleefully laughing at FangMing’s misfortune.

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: JingYuan told you guys, right? Don’t jump the gun. Look. We didn’t even need to do anything. He’s already turned his whole life into a mess.]

[Pei the Third: It’s such a splendid sight to see! This is karma! Trying to steal chickens but lost his bait. He lost both the Lady and his soldiers!]

[Yan Yan: Mn.]

[Pei the Third: Qi MingYang is a spiteful man. Qi Jie is part of the Qi family after all. She bears the surname Qi. It’d be strange if he could tolerate such ridiculous humiliation!]

[Pei the Third: Chu FangMing was family head for only a few years and he’d already lost his way. Does he think women of the Qi family were easy prey for marriage? If you marry her, you must worship her! He’d thoroughly made an enemy out of them now. Hahaha! This makes me feel so happy!]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Does YouRan know of this? What does he think?]

[Yan Yan: He does but he’s not reacting much. He looks like he doesn’t care.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: That’s the best reaction. It means he has no expectations of Chu FangMing. He wouldn’t be upset because of the man’s suffering. Otherwise, YouRan would be burned out from stress at having such a stinkbug around. You can’t chase him away and you can’t even hit him.]

[Yan Yan: Mn, I think so too. He’s been working on his new book’s outline for the past few days. I don’t even dare talk too loudly for fear of disturbing him.]

[Pei the Third: That’s great! I look forward to it!]

[Yan Yan: Yes, me too.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: This is major. Let’s not bother him with rotten news about Chu FangMing.]

[Yan Yan: Mn. I told him once when he was taking a break. His reaction was mild. I haven’t talked to him about it since.]

[Pei the Third: Actually, I think it’s impossible for him not to yearn for a father. He just doesn’t have the courage to expect anything from Chu FangMing because he knows fully well what the man thinks of him.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Pei-Pei’s right.]

[Pei the Third: Poor Nan Shan. Damn that Chu FangMing. Nan Shan’s life has only just improved and he comes running in. He’s not willing to give Nan Shan any love so why must he bother Nan Shan?]

[Yan Yan: Value. In Chu FangMing’s eyes, what is a son? That’s just a tool he can use.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: In a few days, the man will be forced into a corner. He’ll be visiting you guys once more. We must be on our guard. We can’t let him ruin Nan Shan’s mood and affect his writing.]

[Yan Yan: Don’t worry. I’ll handle it.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Honestly, Chu FangMing is indisputably responsible for Aunty Xu’s early death. YouRan must hate him for it too.]

[Pei the Third: Of course. He must be feeling very conflicted when it comes to Chu FangMing. If only that man never appeared in his life!]

[Yan Yan: I’ll find a way to make him be too scared to harass YouRan anymore. We’ll just pretend the man never existed so YouRan doesn’t get upset.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: That’d be for the best.]

YiHan put down his phone and said to JingYuan, “Nan Shan’s working on the outline of his new book. This means his mood has recovered.”

“Mn,” said JingYuan, “I have something to tell you.”

“What is it?” asked YiHan.

“Come see for yourself,” said JingYuan as he waved YiHan over.

YiHan walked over. Curious, his eyes followed along JingYuan’s finger to the computer screen. His eyes went wide.

A press statement was shown on the screen. It was a well-written article on Nan Shan. The article spoke of how he was the bastard son of a rich and powerful family. It said the man could only become a renowned author because his family had been secretly helping him out, not because the man was a good writer. The family even bullied and harassed other writers. There was a lot of tampering and underhanded deals involved.

The more YiHan read, the stronger his jaw clenched. His fist banged against the table as he roared, “Which company wrote this? This is just nonsense!”

JingYuan gently massaged the hand YiHan hit the table with as he said, “Half-truths are more believable. A friend of mine saw this. Because I’ve informed him about this before, he stopped the draft from getting published and sent it to me.”

YiHan was worried. “Would other places also…”

“No,” said JingYuan. “Frankly, there are many articles of a similar nature. I’ve suppressed them all at first notice.”

“Thank goodness,” said YiHan, frowning. “If this draft was published, goodness knows just how big of an impact it’d have on Nan Shan. Just who is powerful enough to do this? Who could’ve drafted up such an article and have it nearly published despite your warnings?”

“The only one who can do this is someone from the Great Five Families.”

“Qi MingYang?” asked YiHan.

“That’s right. He’s narrow-hearted. He can’t hold his temper. To him, humiliating Qi Jie means slapping the Qi family in the face. He cannot tolerate the Chu family’s existence. Naturally, this means he won’t be lenient on Nan Shan too.”

Translator Notes:

Trying to steal chickens: Chinese proverb. This has been translating quite literally.

Lost both the Lady and his soldiers: This is a Chinese proverb born from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms retelling of how Liu Bei married his wife, the younger sister of Sun Quan. Zhou Yu had allegedly planned to lure Liu Bei into a trap by offering Lady Sun’s hand in marriage to Liu Bei. In the end, Liu Bei was able to escape with his bride and his troops managed to defeat Zhou Yu’s men, who had chased after their fleeing prey. The translation of this phrase comes from an unknown source as Wikipedia’s citation only lists the name of the original text with no ISBN or translator.


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GC: Chapter 184

184. (Untitled)

But what could FangMing do? He didn’t even dare to make an enemy of Yan family’s Third Miss, let alone the Bai and Mu families who back Bai YiHan. If he argued with Bai YiHan today, Mu JingYuan would be knocking on his door tomorrow!

All FangMing could do was smile. He thought that since YouRan was close to these people, acknowledging the kid as his son meant he’d gain the support of several great families. He was expecting them to gain huge support solely because of YouRan, but at least he’d be able to lean in closer. Just that tiny bit of support was enough to make FangMing’s income multiply. Look at He Yuan. That fool married the daughter of Yan family. In just a few years, his net worth rose as fast as the ocean’s tides. Regrettably, Qi Jie was only part of the Qi branch family. The Qi family might be one of the Great Five but they were one of the weakest. Qi Jie was also not from the main family. Her worth could never be compared to Yan Miao’s. She couldn’t give him much help at all but she had an explosive temper and big ego. He had had enough of her. He thought the sudden luck of the son he pretended didn’t exist was a gift from the gods. He didn’t think this brat, this traitorous son, would harbour so much animosity for him. The kid didn’t buy his plea at all. Instead, it resulted in the powerful kids he befriended turning hostile against him!

“Let’s not talk about whether they’re your children based on their gender,” Yan said. “It’s not the first day or the second that YouRan has been living ‘outside’ alone. Mr Chu, if it really hurts you to see it, you needn’t have waited until today. Furthermore,” he held YouRan’s hand as his blank voice turned soft, “YouRan and I are together now. While I haven’t had time to tell my family, this will not change. From today on, I will be with him. I’ll take care of him. In the future, we’ll be married. My family would be his family then. His loneliest days are gone. Mr Chu, if there truly is a kind, fatherly heart in you, you can stop worrying now.”

FangMing’s head went sent spinning by the news. No wonder Xu YouRan was so stubborn despite having nothing! He wasn’t even interested in the notion of being the Young Master Chu. These powerful kids were all so abnormally protective of Xu YouRan. It was all because the young man had seduced the Second Young Master of the Yan family! It was FangMing’s fault for not realising his isolated son could be so influential, thus unable to draw YouRan in earlier!

Yan didn’t bother waiting for a reply. “What happens today ends here,” continued Yan. “YouRan’s opinion is clear. He doesn’t want to return to the Chu family. Mr Chu, you should also know that you, who had not fulfilled an ounce of your duties as a father, has no right to ask him to do anything. I hope you won’t visit our home without YouRan’s approval in the future. We wouldn’t want you disturbing him as he’s writing.”

Yan stood up, pulling YouRan up with him as he did so. The two men took a few steps towards the exit before Yan turned around to face FangMing again.

“Mr Chu,” said Yan, “going our separate ways, as separate as well water is from river water. This is the greatest tolerance I’ll ever have for you, his biological father. I hope we can co-exist in peace.”

At this point in the conversation, YouRan had shown absolutely no signs of softening up while Yan Yan and the other two were as adamant as ever. FangMing knew there would be no positive outcome from this meal. When it came to these people, he didn’t dare throw his weight around because he was older. No matter how unwilling he was to let things be, he didn’t have the courage to continue his outrage. All he could do was stare as the other four occupants left the room. His face was a pale green from fury.

Of the table covered in expensive and exquisite dishes, not a single bite was taken. It was an obvious sign of how badly the meeting went. Chu FangMing sat there in the room, alone. His face was gloomy. With those powerful kids protecting Xu YouRan, it was entirely impossible for FangMing to do anything to his son. Damn it. That kid was his seed yet the kid refused to be of use to him. If YouRan returned to the Chu family, would he honestly treat him badly? Especially when he had those people backing him up. Was it not a win-win proposal? That brat dared to be so ungrateful as to turn his nose up at him! He would rather follow the Second Master Yan for nothing rather than help his own father!

Both men entered a marriage of convenience. FangMing gave up on Xu JinXuan, that beautiful and cultured woman, in order to marry a fierce and ugly daughter of the Qi branch family. While FangMing succeeded in becoming family head, that was all he achieved. But that fop, He Yuan, was lucky enough to seduce the only daughter of the Yan main family. In just a few years after marrying that woman, the He family grew big and strong. The Chu family, who was well ahead of the He family, was left in the dust! How could FangMing accept that?

If YouRan married into the Yan family as the Young Master Chu, would FangMing, the father-in-law, not benefit from it?

Also, YouRan got along well with people from the Bai and Mu families. If there was anything he needed, he only needed to speak up to them! With those ties, that ugly tiger back home wouldn’t dare act all smug before FangMing then!

FangMing recalled the girl who smiled so warmly at him all those years ago. Nostalgia tugged at his heart. Unfortunately, she’s long dead. If she could’ve waited until now, he would compensate her. Even if he couldn’t marry her, it was fine to just have her as his mistress. The witch who couldn’t bear him a son at all wouldn’t have the courage to say anything!

Frankly, he truly liked Xu JinXuan. But who asked her to be a powerless orphan girl who can’t give him any help? For the sake of the bigger picture, he had to suffer and let go of her. Later on, he was fighting against his older brother and when he was first acknowledged as the family head, his hold on the position was still shaky. He needed the Qi family’s support. At the very least, he couldn’t make an enemy of them. When it came to Qi Jie, he could only hold in his anger. He didn’t dare mention a single word about Xu JinXuan. He even had to be on his guard in case she asked for him and made Qi Jie unhappy. Thankfully, Xu JinXuan was a mature person. She kept to herself and stayed silent. She never once asked for him. She even bore him a son.

What a shame she wasn’t destined to enjoy happiness. She was dead long before he could overpower Qi Jie. She was perfect in every way except for one thing. The only unsatisfactory thing about Xu JinXuan was her lack of a good family backing her up. Now, there’s another flaw to her. She didn’t raise his son properly. How did that woman raise his son? Look at that strong rebellious streak in YouRan! The younger man didn’t speak much but when he did, his words could incite anger strong enough to kill. Even so, there just had to be strong and powerful people backing the boy up. How could FangMing not be fuming with fury?

This won’t do. Even if FangMing couldn’t get a hold of YouRan now, he was the man’s father no matter what. The connection formed by their blood cannot be broken so easily. One must have filial piety for those who raised them, but what about those who are responsible for their birth? That meant YouRan can’t cut ties with FangMing!

YouRan grew up without a father. At a young age, his mother was gone. Who would think YouRan didn’t yearn for familial affection? The young man was being stubborn because of anger. As time went on, it’d be impossible for YouRan’s heart to remain as adamant. It’s such a shame the man had those powerful kids protecting him. If FangMing didn’t want to be their enemy, he’d have to avoid using force. Why else would he need to humiliate himself and gently persuade YouRan? Fine. Since the young man was the son Xu JinXuan gave to him and he was capable enough to befriend those kids, it’s not impossible for FangMing to forgive YouRan for having a small temper tantrum, if the kid knows his limits. After all, FangMing didn’t participate in raising him for the past few years. If YouRan was angry, he can just vent those emotions out. Hopefully, YouRan wouldn’t step over the line.

***

In YouRan’s home, the four people who had just met with FangMing lounged about in the living room.

“You guys must be tired from being dragged into my family matters,” YouRan said in a grateful tone.

“Nan Shan, what are you saying?” Pei said. “There’s no need to be so formal with us.”

YiHan stroked his chin with a hand as his other arm hung off the back of the sofa. “YouRan, what do you think of our meeting with Chu FangMing today? Do you want to go back to the Chu family? If you do, we can help you and we can ensure you won’t suffer at all once you’re there.”

Yan turned to look at YouRan as his hands reached out for YouRan’s. The other man held back. YouRan’s grip was tight. His knuckles turned white as he shook his head with a self-mocking smile.

“My family name is Xu. Why would I go to the Chu family? Anyway, he wants me not because I’m his son. It’s because I have value. I know that without you guys, he would never acknowledge me as his child.”

YiHan pursed his lips and kept quiet. YouRan’s mind was clear. He wasn’t thrown into a frenzy because of a family member’s arrival. While other people could tell that was the case, YouRan was in the middle of everything. Plus, he personally yearned and longed for familial love. It’d be hard for YouRan to have such a clear picture of the situation. YiHan knew YouRan wasn’t wrong. In YiHan’s past life, Chu FangMing never appeared. Not even when YouRan died. No one knew YouRan had a father at all. No one stepped up to collect YouRan’s ashes. No one knew where Yan Miao had the ashes be sent off to. They didn’t even know if YouRan had a proper burial.

YiHan patted YouRan on the arm and softly said, “It’s good that you can see things so clearly. While it sounds ugly, it is the truth. Chu FangMing is someone who wouldn’t wake up early unless there was something to gain. You didn’t grow up by his side. Anything he’d feel for you would be extremely limited.”

“YiHan, must you be so tactful?” Pei pouted. “I think he feels absolutely nothing for Nan Shan. Just recall what he said! It makes me so angry. Nan Shan, you were right to ignore him. If you’d fallen for his trap and went back to the Chu family with him, he might sell you off the very next day!”

“Don’t spout nonsense!” Yan barked as he glanced at YouRan.

“Why are you shouting at me?” Pei sulkily murmured. “It’s not nonsense. Good advice is hard to the ears.”

YouRan patted Yan on the back of his hand and said, “There’s no need to be so careful around me. Pei-Pei’s not wrong. I’m not that fragile either. For over twenty years, he’s ignored me. I don’t hold any childish fantasies about him anymore. Come to think of it, Pei-Pei’s strong and just words to him today really helped me vent out some of my anger.”

Pei’s heart jumped with joy at her idol’s praise. On the outside, she became even more demure and muttered, “Those words weren’t strong or just. I just didn’t have a filter. I said what I thought.”

“How rare for you to be so self-aware,” said Yan.

Pei shot Yan a glare. How dare he talk bad about her before Nan Shan! That was over the line.

“That’s good,” YiHan said with a smile. “Pei was the most suitable person to say those words. She’s just a girl. No matter what she says, Chu FangMing could only listen and not argue back.”

“The mere look of his lying face hurts me,” said Pei. “He went round and round but, in the end, the only thing he could say was Nan Shan was his son. He had no other points.”

“What else can he say other than that?” Yan coldly commented.

“True,” Pei nodded, “that’s the only thing he can say. I’ve mistakenly put the blame on him. Heh.”

“He won’t give up,” said YiHan. “Such a big, juicy piece of meat is dangling before his eyes but he just can’t get a bite of it. How could he accept that?”

“He has no choice but to accept it,” said Pei. “We aren’t scared of him, even if he wants to use force!”


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GC: Chapter 183

183. Don’t Need a Father

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Ahem. Okay, let’s get back to business. Nan Shan might tell us he doesn’t want to go but, deep in his heart, he still yearns for a father. We can’t underestimate Chu FangMing’s importance nor can we think of him as important.]

[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: Indeed. We either make Nan Shan utterly disappointed in his father or get someone else to do it.]

[Yan Yan: It’s very easy to make him disappointed in his father. After all, Chu FangMing is a heartless man. It’s not hard to make YouRan understand that. However, it’d be hard to avoid hurting YouRan then.]

[Pei the Third: My brother’s right. The best-case scenario is for the Qi family to be pushed over the edge and step in to handle Chu FangMing. The most we’ll be doing is just watch and not help.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: I’m just afraid of Nan Shan’s heart softening then. If he asks, it’d be hard for us to say no.]

[Yan Yan: Don’t worry. He won’t. He might long for familial love but he’s no fool. He wouldn’t butt in on Chu FangMing’s fight with his wife.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: That’d be the best.]

YiHan put down his phone and turned to JingYuan. “Say, why are people nowadays so thick-skinned? It’s been over twenty years of not hearing a word from him. He avoids Nan Shan as if his son was the plague. The moment he sees Nan Shan doing well, he starts scampering over. He even acts as though he’s a kind, generous father.”

“To Chu FangMing, his children are his possessions,” said JingYuan. “He can ignore Nan Shan but if Nan Shan rejects him, that’s being disrespectful.”

“A kind father has a dutiful son! If the father’s not kind, how can the son be filial?” YiHan exclaimed in rage. “He participated in Nan Shan’s birth but he never raised the man, and he still wants to act as though he’s a respected elder?”

“The world is a big place,” said JingYuan. “There are all sorts of people and minds. We can’t understand his logic and we don’t need to. Nan Shan doesn’t need him anyway. It doesn’t matter what the man thinks.”

“Mn, you’re right,” said YiHan. “What he thinks has nothing to do with Nan Shan. This leech-like father is best not to be acknowledged. If Nan Shan really did go with him, the man might actually sell him off one day.”

JingYuan nodded. “It’s good enough that Nan Shan wasn’t enthralled by the man’s sweet words. Let Yan handle the Chu family. We just need to assist by backing him up.”

“True,” YiHan said. “Now is a chance for Yan to show off.”

***

In the Regal Hotel, the door to the Yan family’s private room opened. Chu FangMing who’d arrived a while ago stood up to greet the new arrival. His two hands reached out for a handshake as he put on a smile.

“Second Young Master Yan, long time no see,” said Chu FangMing.

Yan briefly shook the other man’s hand as he calmly said, “Sorry for making you wait, Mr Chu.”

“No, no,” FangMing hurriedly said. “I’ve just arrived myself.”

Yan walked into the room with YouRan beside him, revealing Pei and YiHan to be following behind them.

FangMing froze in surprise. Then, he smiled and said, “The Little Master Bai and Miss Yan are here too. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Pei nodded but said nothing.

“We shouldn’t be involving ourselves in a Chu family matter, but this concerns my friend,” said YiHan. “I couldn’t bear to sit around at home, so I wanted to come along. Pardon me, Mr Chu, for overstepping.”

“What are you saying, Little Master Bai? You are a busy man. You’re someone I could never have invited. It is our honour that you pay so much attention to my and my son’s matters. How could you be overstepping?”

“It’s good that you don’t fault me for it,” YiHan replied with a superficial smile. “Pei-Pei and I are only here to listen in. Mr Chu, just think of us as part of the décor.”

“You’re such a joker, Little Master Bai,” FangMing hurriedly replied. How could he afford such expensive and important décor? If Mu JingYuan heard of this, there’d be hell to pay.

“Alright,” said Yan. “Everyone, sit.”

Yan pulled out a chair for YouRan before seating himself to YouRan’s right. Pei stepped forward to sit on YouRan’s other side while YiHan sat down on the free chair next to Pei. The only seat left for FangMing was the chair to Yan’s right.

Yan didn’t bother with niceties and skipped straight to the point. “Mr Chu, I didn’t invite you here today for anything grand. I mainly wished to talk to you about YouRan. A few days ago, you visited him. It has made him very anxious.”

“I, too, only just found out about YouRan,” FangMing said with a pained face. “As a father, I’ve owed him a lot over the past years. I feel very guilty about it. That’s why I risked a visit to him, hoping we can be reunited as a family. But there seems to be a few misconceptions YouRan has about me. It has hurt me deeply, so deeply that I had no appetite for the past few days.”

Yan’s face went dark. “What you’ve said is incorrect. From what I know, you already knew of him even when he was just a foetus in Madam Xu’s belly. Furthermore, from the moment you knew of his existence until he turned seven, you had someone secretly keep an eye on his and his mother’s every action. You were so afraid that when they encounter some difficulty in life, they would trouble you and your new wife. Were you not?”

FangMing didn’t expect the young man to be so frank about the situation. The other man just ripped apart his dignity and pleasantries. His face went pale and sickly.

“Let’s not talk in circles,” Yan continued. “I’ve already looked into what happened back then. You don’t need to play any cards. I asked to meet you today not for social niceties. In order to be head of the family, Mr Chu, you gave up on Madam Xu, who had no family, and chose to enter a marriage of convenience with someone from the Qi family. It indirectly resulted in her early death. This is in the past and Madam Xu has passed away for years. As juniors, we have no way to seek justice on her behalf. However, YouRan can’t just decide his fate purely from your words. From the day he was born until now, you knew of him yet you never once done your duty as a father. Now, you think you can bring him back into your family with a few words. Don’t you find it funny?”

When FangMing realised there was no point making his case from an emotional angle, all he could say was, “We are father and son. YouRan is my son so I can’t just let him go about with someone else’s surname. It’s normal for me to want to bring him back into the family. Mr Yan, that’s not impossible to understand, right?”

YouRan, who had remained silent this whole time, then spoke up. His voice was loud and clear as he said, “I’m not using someone else’s surname. I never had a father. My mother worked hard and suffered to raise me. It is entirely natural that I use my mother’s surname.”

Yan turned to YouRan and smiled. “Of course. Even if your mother didn’t raise you by herself and you had both parents, your mother bore you for ten months. It’s absolutely natural and logical for a child to want to take on the mother’s surname.”

FangMing choked. He shot a somewhat unkind glance at YouRan before swiftly acting normal. Still, YiHan caught that brief glance. YiHan’s face immediately darkened.

“Must you say that, YouRan?” FangMing asked with a smile/ “Don’t you want to go home with Dad?”

“When I was young and immature, I once asked my mother why other kids had a dad while I didn’t,” YouRan calmly said. “My mom told me my father loved me very much. Unfortunately, he’s no longer around. So I am her baby and hers alone. Even if I didn’t have a father, she could still give me all the love I’d ever want.

“I’ve always remembered those words. From then on, I never once asked her about my dad. My mother might’ve left me early but she did give me all the love in the world. Right now, I’m living a good life by myself and I’ve long since passed the age where I yearned for fatherly love. I am very satisfied with my life as is. I do not need a ‘father’ at all.”

FangMing was furious at how unappreciative YouRan was. However, he didn’t dare show it in front of the Yan family siblings and Bai YiHan. The only sign was his inability to maintain the “kind” smile on his face.

FangMing clenched his teeth. He forced a smile as he said, “You are my son after all. Aren’t you even going to admit you have a father? I am sorry for what happened before. I’m at fault. But as I’ve told you, I will compensate you. If you go home with me, you’ll be the young master of the Chu family. I’ll make up for all the fatherly love you lacked before.”

“Mr Chu, you’re funny,” Yan blandly said. “Love from a father isn’t the same as a piece of clothing. If there’s a hole in the shirt, you can patch it up. The lack of love from a father isn’t something you can make up for. It’s just like how you can’t rewind time. Mr Chu, you yourself said you had wronged YouRan. Then, of course, it is entirely up to YouRan whether he chooses to return to the Chu family or not. It is obvious that he has no interest in being the Young Master Chu. In that case, no one can force him to go against his will. We can all just act as if this connection never existed. We’ll go back to our own, separate lives, just like before. Isn’t that fine?”

“Second Young Master Yan, you’re joking,” FangMing said with a dry chuckle. “He is my son. How can I act as if there’s nothing between us?”

Pei, who hadn’t spoken a single word since stepping foot in the room, then spoke up, “Pardon me for interrupting but there’s something I don’t quite understand. Mr Chu, other than N-…Xu-ge being your son, do you have no other talking points? My brother’s words were clear. You might be his biological father, but you had never once fulfilled your duty in raising him. Xu-ge is an adult now. He doesn’t need anyone to raise him, yet you come here at this time to acknowledge him as your son. You hold your status as his father over his head, wanting him to fulfil his duty as a son? Mr Chu, you really are a genius in business. What a brilliant plan you have.”

FangMing’s face visibly twitched. He was rendered speechless by a girl’s words but he didn’t dare do or say anything that would offend her. His face turned a pale green from frustration.

Pei didn’t plan on letting the man go yet. Her bright voice continued, “Mr Chu, even if you have an excellent plan and you’re unwilling to let go of any usable resources due to how frugal you are, the Chu family is rich and powerful. You shouldn’t need the meagre amount of filial support Xu-ge can afford, right? Furthermore, you’re not at the age where you’d need your children to support you financially, no?”

“What are you saying, Miss Yan?” FangMing responded, smile as forced as before. “I just want him to go home. Of course, it’s to experience the joys of family.”

“If you wish to experience the joys of family,” said Pei, “your two daughters would be happy to cooperate with you.”

“Daughters and sons are two different matters,” FangMing said.

“I see,” Pei said. Her face darkened. “So, Mr Chu, you look down on girls, and your wife couldn’t bear you a son to continue your lineage. That’s why you turned your attention to Xu-ge?”

“Of course not,” FangMing hurriedly replied. “They’re all my children. It doesn’t matter if they’re a daughter or a son. How could I bear to let YouRan live alone outside?”

“Pei-Pei,” YiHan whispered, “we said we’d only be here as decorations. It’s not our place to butt in on YouRan’s family matters. Your brother’s right. Mr Chu is in the wrong here. The decision lies in YouRan’s hands. Why are you worrying? Mr Chu is an elder. You can’t be rude.”

FangMing: …Bai YiHan’s words made it extremely obvious Yan Pei spoke up to support YouRan. He wasn’t in the wrong. They were just telling him he wasn’t powerful enough to force YouRan to do anything.

Translator’s Notes:

Hell to pay: The literal translation here is “he’d ‘flip’ faces”. It’s the exact opposite of “turn the other cheek”.

Seating Arrangement: As usual with Chinese restaurants, the table here is round. Depending on table size, Chu FangMing sat directly opposite of YouRan or they were seated on the same half of the table, meaning Yan is always in Chu FangMing’s sight when the man wants to talk to Yan.

Filial support: As part of filial responsibility laws (as ingrained by culture), children are required to support their parents emotionally and/or financially. It is mainly financial as most parents expect an “allowance” from their kids once the kids start working or when they (the parents) retire. In several countries (and US states), refusal of filial responsibility is a crime.


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GC: Chapter 182

182. Unwelcome Guest

“Indeed,” said YiHan, nodding. “Such behaviour is just reprehensible. He lied and exploited. He’d do anything and everything. He should be punished.”

“You’re not surprised at all,” said the old Mr Yan. “You know about this too, don’t you?”

YiHan drily laughed and nodded. “I pitied the man who was lied to by that scum. He only wanted love. He didn’t expect himself to somehow turn into the other ‘man’. Just who was the one who started it?”

“Yes,” said the old Mr Yan. He sighed. “When the forest is big, you can find all sorts of birds in there. Just the mere thought of someone like that makes me angry. Forget it. Let’s not talk about him.”

“Shall we play another round?” YiHan asked.

“Okay,” said the old Mr Yan.

YiHan rolled up his sleeves. “This round, I must win and compensate for the shame of before!”

“Kid, that might be a little hard!” the old Mr Yan guffawed. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll give you three moves!”

“There’s no need!” YiHan said with a wave of his hand. “I must win honourably!”

The old Mr Yan laughed harder. “Good! You’re ambitious! I can only take it seriously then!”

***

Chen Hong acted fast. Within two days, there was a new front door to YouRan’s apartment. The man moved back to his own home. As a newly-pronounced boyfriend, Yan moved as well. YouRan pretended he saw nothing, silently assenting to his existence.

The feeling of living with someone else in the same home wasn’t one YouRan was familiar with anymore, not since his mother’s death. He Yuan never stayed the night. Frankly, intimate moments between the two men were few and far between. For some reason, something in YouRan objected to it. He Yuan was upset, very upset, about this but he had to act as the kind, caring lover. Naturally, He Yuan couldn’t force himself on YouRan. Furthermore, He Yuan never stayed long on the days he did visit.

Hence, when YouRan woke up in the morning to an up-close view of Yan’s face, something strange rose in him. He felt the desire to kiss the other man.

Yan was woken up by the sensation of being stared at. He kept still and resisted the urge to look but he eventually caved in.

“What are you thinking about?” Yan sleepily murmured. His voice was raspy.

YouRan was deep in his thoughts. He replied by instinct, “I want to kiss you.”

Yan’s heart skipped. “Kiss me then,” he calmly said.

YouRan snapped out of his thoughts, realising what he’d just said. He had never said anything so daring before in his whole life. His cheeks were as red as a tomato. He let out an awkward little chuckle and began inching backwards.

“You, erm,” muttered YouRan, “you must’ve been mistaken.”

Yan held onto YouRan’s arm. “I wasn’t mistaken,” he softly said. “It is your right to kiss your own boyfriend. Come, kiss me however you like. I’d like it either way.”

YouRan froze as his mind whirred. In the end, he couldn’t bring himself to make a move.

Yan sighed and leaned forward to gently peck the edge of YouRan’s lips. “You owe me one. We’ll kiss once we’ve brushed our teeth.”

A chuckle burst out of YouRan. “Hurry up and get up,” he said as he nudged Yan. “Don’t you have work?”

Yan gave YouRan a tight hug before climbing out of bed to walk to the bathroom.

At work, Yan remained in a stranger, excited mood. He couldn’t resist messaging YiHan.

[Yan Yan: YiHan, are you there?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: I am. What is it?]

[Yan Yan: I have a question… Forget about it.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: What’s wrong? Ask away. Does it concern Nan Shan?]

[Yan Yan: Yes. He’s been staring at me in the mornings while I’m still asleep. I don’t know what he’s thinking.]

[Pei the Third: What else could he be thinking? He’s thinking about how he loves you. You’re just flaunting right now.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Pei-Pei’s right. However, I think there’s another reason for it. He’s rather insecure. When I just got together with JingYuan, I was the same. I would keep looking to confirm if he’s still there.]

[Mu JingYuan: Now?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Of course, I wouldn’t do that now. We’re married. My sense of security is through the roof!]

[Pei the Third: Crap! Mr Mu!]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: …!!]

[Pei the Third: Mr Mu, it’s not good for you to lurk all the time without saying a word!]

[Pei the Third: Mr Mu?]

[Pei the Third: Where is he?]

[Yan Yan: He’s off for some love.]

[Pei the Third: (┛⊙ω⊙)┛I choose to go die…]

[Yan Yan: You’re a girl. Be more ladylike.]

[Pei the Third: I’ll be more ladylike when I have a boyfriend.]

[Yan Yan: You wouldn’t find a man by acting like this.]

[Pei the Third: (┛⊙ω⊙)┛I choose to go die…]

***

When Yan clocked out of work, his steps were quick and light. His heart soared. However, his good mood only lasted until the moment he stepped through the apartment door.

There were two cups of water on the coffee table. YouRan was sitting alone on the sofa, spacing out with his head drooped. He didn’t even realise the door had opened.

Yan locked the door behind him and walked over to sit beside YouRan. “We had a guest? Who came?”

If it was He Yuan, YouRan wouldn’t have opened the door for the man, let alone serve him a glass of water. Anyway, He Yuan was currently hiding out in his private mansion to recover from his injuries. Someone was keeping an eye on him twenty-four seven. He couldn’t have come near this place. But He Yuan wasn’t close to anyone other than Yan, Pei and YiHan. There wouldn’t be anyone else visiting their home. From the state of YouRan, this guest’s arrival obviously didn’t make him happy.

YouRan was startled out of his thoughts by the sound of Yan’s voice. “You’re back,” he hurriedly said when he noticed Yan’s presence. “Are you hungry? I’ll go cook.”

Yan pulled the other man back down. “Who came?” he repeated once more as he glanced at the cups on the coffee table.

YouRan followed Yan’s haze to the cups of water. He bit down on his lip, hard.

Yan swiftly acted and saved YouRan’s lower lip from his teeth. “Was it an unwelcome guest?” he asked as he stroked YouRan’s abused lip. “Yan Miao?”

“No. It’s,” YouRan said with a bitter smile, “Chu FangMing.”

Yan was surprised. “Who?”

“Since you guys could find out about He Yuan, you should also know about Chu FangMing, right?” YouRan whispered. “Genetically speaking, he’s my father.”

Yan’s throat felt tight. “I thought…”

“You thought I didn’t know who my biological father was?” YouRan said. “I knew. My mother told me just before she passed away. She told me to stay away from him. If I ever see him, I must avoid him.”

Yan felt his heart ache. He wrapped his arms tight around YouRan. “Why is he here? Doesn’t he act like you don’t exist?”

YouRan sighed. “He said he was sorry. He’d only just found out about me and wanted me to return to the Chu family.”

“He can dream on!” Yan growled. But…

He looked down at YouRan, who was frowning, and asked, “What do you think? Do you want to be acknowledged as one of them?”

YouRan sighed once more. “Frankly, if you guys hadn’t appeared, I might’ve really been persuaded. But now…” YouRan paused and huffed in laughter. “I know that if you guys didn’t appear, he would never ever have talked to me.”

“No matter what you decide to do, I’ll always support you,” said Yan.

YouRan turned to look at Yan and smiled. “I think what we have now is great. I never knew what use I would have for a father. I’m an adult now. He’s even more unneeded.”

Yan pressed YouRan into his embrace as he said, “That’s right. You have me and that’s enough.”

YouRan softly hummed in response.

His eyes closed. He felt warm and safe, but…

Yan watched in confusion as YouRan reluctantly wrestled out of Yan’s embrace. The other man then wrapped his arms around Yan instead.

Yan who’d been forced into a cute and meek posture: “…” What’s the meaning of this?

YouRan: This is how a top should act. He must be careful. He can’t let Yan think his top was a soft and weak man!

***

The next day, it was as if someone threw an explosive into the chat group.

[Pei the Third: Nan Shan’s scummy father visited him?]

[Yan Yan: Mn. YouRan’s in an awfully bad mood.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Why did he visit?]

[Yan Yan: He wanted to acknowledge YouRan as his son and have YouRan return to the Chu family.]

[Pei the Third: Heh. Fat chance. Who does he think he is to visit Nan Shan?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Why did he visit so suddenly? From what I know, that man knew Nan Shan was his son before Nan Shan was even born. But that man had never thought of getting custody of Nan Shan.]

[Mu JingYuan: It’s easy to see why. He must’ve noticed how close Nan Shan is to us. He wants to use Nan Shan’s connections to benefit the Chu family.]

[Pei the Third: Right. Chu FangMing was there at your engagement party. Nan Shan’s invisible father slipped our mind for the moment but who would’ve thought he’d dare to appear before Nan Shan?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: What does Nan Shan think of this? He yearns for familial love, right? Even if he knows it’s all a ruse.]

[Yan Yan: Relax. He told me that he might’ve been swayed if we hadn’t appeared in his life. He wouldn’t be swayed now. He’s very rational. He knows what Chu FangMing’s motives are.]

[Pei the Third: *sob* Poor Nan Shan.]

[Yan Yan: Don’t worry. I’ll comfort him. But we can’t just let Chu FangMing be. That man is still Nan Shan’s father. If he kicks up a big fuss, it’ll be bad for YouRan.]

[Mu JingYuan: Don’t worry. It won’t be big.]

[Yan Yan: You can use forceful measures, but he is still YouRan’s father. It’d be bad if we’re too harsh on the man.]

[Mu JingYuan: Don’t let him continually harass Nan Shan. You can go straight to Chu FangMing with Nan Shan by your side. Sometimes, things are easier when everything’s out in the open.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Qi Jie is only a branch family member of the Qi family. She has no authority in the Qi family. As time goes by, there are lesser avenues she can help Chu FangMing with. Decades have gone by. Chu FangMing’s position as the head of the Chu family is now secure. They’ve been slowly drifting apart. That should be why Chu FangMing dared to publicly ask to acknowledge Nan Shan as his son.]

[Yan Yan: YiHan’s right. Even if Qi Jie isn’t part of the main family, her surname is still Qi. She couldn’t have helped Chu FangMing fight for the right to be family head otherwise. She’s still not someone he can embarrass. Chu FangMing has spent too many years as the head of the family. His ego’s starting to inflate. He doesn’t know his own limits anymore.]

[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: That’s right. So we must let the Qi family know. We don’t care how they plan on punishing Chu FangMing but they must not affect Nan Shan in any way.]

[Pei the Third: Pfft!]

[Pei the Third: Mr Mu?]

[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: Mn.]

[Pei the Third: What’s with you? I mean your name… Okay, fine. I understand. You want to show off.]

[HanHan’s Mu-Mu: HanHan thinks this is better.]

[Pei the Third: No need to say any more. I get it. I shouldn’t have asked. This lonely, single lady has suffered 10,000 points of damage. /(ToT)/~~]


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 181

181. Not a Bad Start

YiHan recalled Yan’s previous words to He Yuan, “his lover is willing to work on his behalf”. He turned to YouRan and asked, a sneaky little grin plastered over his face, “I haven’t asked yet. What’s going on between you two? Things developed quickly.”

“It’s nothing,” YouRan replied with an awkward smile. “Yan only said that to He Yuan to protect me.”

“No!” Yan exclaimed.

YouRan turned to Yan. His eyes gleamed.

Yan cleared his throat. A bright red flush took over his fair face. “I’m currently trying to get you to be my boyfriend,” he said. “Once you say yes, we’ll be lovers, right? I wasn’t wrong. I merely said it a little too early.”

YouRan’s bright eyes widened. His jaw dropped, leaving his mouth slightly agape.

YiHan blinked. He took JingYuan by the hand and quietly backed out of the apartment.

After gently closing the door behind them, YiHan let out a long exhale. The two men returned to YouRan’s apartment and sat down on the sofa.

“Those two are so interesting,” YiHan said with a smirk. “I told you, Yan is usually as boring as a plank of wood but when he’s with Nan Shan, he’s so very lively. He’s so emotive that it’s like he’s a completely different person. I thought it was the effect of being with his idol. Now, I know it’s the power of love.”

“By the time you realise it, they’re already close to marriage,” JingYuan said, smiling. “Their love didn’t blossom overnight. Even Pei-Pei could tell. It’s not just Yan either. Nan Shan’s different when it comes to Yan. It’s only you who hasn’t noticed.”

YiHan’s eyes flicked over to the apartment door. “Really?” he gasped. “That’s good news. Yan might be boring but he’s quite dependable.”

“Even if he’s boring, he’s only like that when he’s with other people,” JingYuan tacked on. “When it comes to Nan Shan, he’s really an interesting guy.” As JingYuan said so, he took out his phone. He called Chen Hong and asked him to hire some workers to repair YouRan’s front door. When he was done, he turned back to YiHan. “It’s our fault for allowing He Yuan to slip in here. However, after today’s shock, he shouldn’t have the guts to bother Nan Shan anymore. But we can’t really keep this a secret from Yan Miao forever. After all, she is the daughter of the old Mr Yan. She is Yan and Pei’s aunt. Since they know, they can’t just let her be lied to for her whole life. We still have a tough battle ahead of us. It’s terrifying when a woman, who had smoothly sailed through life for decades, go mad. She wouldn’t have the mind to logical weigh the pros and cons of her actions.”

“But from what I’ve seen from Yan and Pei, they’re not that close to their aunt,” said YiHan.

“Relationships and feelings are two-way streets,” JingYuan said. His fingers fiddled around with YiHan’s. “Yan Miao had never thought much of her nephews and niece anyway. When they were kids, she’d frequently bully them. After her wedding, she was further estranged from them. However, since they’re family, we’ll just let her make the decision herself.”

YiHan frowned. “I’m guessing her decision wouldn’t be what we hope it’d be.”

JingYuan smoothed out the crease on YiHan’s brows and softly said, “You don’t need to worry about this. Leave it to me.”

YiHan reached out and embraced JingYuan. He didn’t say a word. JingYuan pecked YiHan on the cheek as his hands slowly patted the other man on the back. The two men didn’t speak anymore but warmth lingered in the air.”

***

The next day, the little chat group was very active.

[Pei the Third: Aaah! Something major happened and none of you called for me! Why? Is Nan Shan okay?]

[Yan Yan: He’s fine. He’s in a good mood.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: With you around, of course he’s in a good mood.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Was your confession yesterday a success?]

[Yan Yan: Mn.]

[Pei the Third: Whoa! Be honest with me! Just how did you win over our Nan Shan?]

[Yan Yan: …]

[Pei the Third: If you’re a man, quit stammering! If you don’t tell me, I’ll just ask Nan Shan. I’ll badmouth you! I’ll talk about that guy named Li or something and how he stubbornly chased after you. He even forced a kiss on you!]

[Yan Yan: That’s a lie. I kicked him away before he could even kiss me!]

[Pei the Third: I don’t care if he did or didn’t. Either way, I’ll say he kissed you.]

[Pei the Third: I’ll even mention how you keep letting rice slip out of your mouth during meals when you were a kid!]

[Yan Yan: Σ(°△°|||)︴Are you even my sister?]

[Pei the Third: Be honest and we’ll still be siblings.]

[Yan Yan: …alright. H-He assumed we had sex before and he was the top…]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: …]

[Pei the Third: Pfft…]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: You guys… When did that happen?]

[Yan Yan: On the night of your engagement party.]

[Pei the Third: You really had sex and you were the bottom? Σ(°△°|||)︴]

[Yan Yan: No. He had a little too much to drink and puked all over me. I accidentally strained a muscle on my leg when I cleaned up after him. The next day, I couldn’t walk normally so he thought…]

[Pei the Third: So he thought he had sex with you?]

[Yan Yan: Yes. He said that from then on, he…]

[Pei the Third: He fell in love with you? Damn, that actually works?]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Haha. That’s nice.]

[Yan Yan: I think I have a long path ahead of me still, but this is not a bad start.]

[Pei the Third: Brother, don’t be careless and charge! No retreats!]

[Yan Yan: Mn.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: Right, Pei-Pei. How are things going with your mission?]

[Pei the Third: I was just about to tell you about it. It seems to be going well. I’ve told my grandfather about Nan Shan’s story. Of course, I changed the names. He was so mad. He said that there are so many rotten minds these days. They’re not loyal to their marriages nor are they loyal to love. There’s no end to their greed. They’re just trash.]

[Mu-Mu’s HanHan: The old man’s right. Oh, yes. I’ll be visiting him tomorrow.]

[Pei the Third: That’s great. I’ll tell him later. He’ll be so happy. Now that he’s old, he really likes a lively atmosphere.]

***

The Yan family home.

The old Mr Yan and YiHan waged war over the Go board. Both men won some rounds and lost some. Mr Yan’s eyes shone bright. His body was tense as his eyes bore into the board. Someone ignorant might’ve thought it was a match of wits between two international champions. These were just two bad amateurs playing a game of Gomoku.

Minutes passed as the old Mr Yan thought hard. Then, his eyes lit up. With the addition of another white piece, the old Mr Yan now had two unblocked lines of three pieces. YiHan glanced around the board before throwing the black piece in his hand back to its bowl.

“I’ve lost,” YiHan said with a smile.

“You’re quite good already, Little YiHan,” laughed the old Mr Yan. “I practised hard. You’re probably so busy with JingYuan that you had no time to practise, right?”

YiHan blushed. “I, ahem, well, why don’t you try some of the tea I brought you today? I also gave one canister to my grandfather. He said it’s not bad.”

“Haha. Okay, I’ll try some.” The old Mr Yan’s smile was so wide that his eyes squinted.

YiHan had a servant bring out the tea set so he could personally prepare the tea for Mr Yan. The canister’s cap had just been popped off when the old Mr Yan smiled.

“Junshan Yinzhen leaves,” said Mr Yan. “Not bad.”

YiHan smiled as he prepared the tea. He rinsed, he poured, he served; all without a moment of hesitation or thought. His movements were as smooth as a flowing river. It was a pleasant sight to behold.

The old Mr Yan watched as the tea leaves sank and floated repeatedly. “Hm, not bad,” he commented. “You’ve done it quite properly.”

“Sometimes, I’d prepare tea for my grandfather,” YiHan said, embarrassed.

“Your grandfather’s lucky,” the old Mr Yan said as he accepted the teacup.

Mr Yan inhaled in the tea’s aroma and sighed, “Its fragrance is so distinct. It’s good.”

“As long as it’s to your liking,” said YiHan.

The old Mr Yan took a sip of the tea. “I hear you and that Mu family brat already have your marriage certificates.”

YiHan nodded.

“You two are in quite a rush,” the old Mr Yan said. There was the slightest hint of a smirk on his lips.

YiHan scratched his nose. “Yes. It’ll be him anyway. It doesn’t make a difference when we register. Please don’t laugh but, before we were registered, I was honestly anxious. I was always afraid something might happen. My nerves only calmed down after we had our certificates.”

The old Mr Yan patted YiHan on the hand. “Well, it is a consensual relationship between you two. Your family is in support of your relationship too. What could’ve happened? I understand. You’re only thinking about all that nonsense because you’re deeply in love with him. Thank goodness, that boy is true to you. Otherwise, I’m afraid you’d suffer.”

“I won’t,” YiHan solemnly said. “He really cares for me.”

“Look at you,” the old Mr Yan chuckled. “You’re so eager to defend him. I know. You’re an adult now and you’re a sensible young man. You understand it all. You’ve also heard a lot about this from your elders. Still, one is always inclined to nag a little more when one is old.”

“Go on,” YiHan said with a nod.

The old Mr Yan smiled at YiHan. “Marriage isn’t just about feelings. There’s also responsibility. You and Mu JingYuan have now formed a new household, so you must bear the responsibility of being family. You must both be tolerant, understanding and, of course, loyal. Loyalty is a necessity in marriage. But I don’t need to tell you this. Everyone could see just much you two love each other.

“Love is like a clap. It needs two hands. You love him. Don’t be preoccupied with being embarrassed. It must be spoken aloud, within reason. Only then can life grow sweeter. Also, when life grinds at you two, don’t ever bottle up how upset you feel. Such restraint, such secretive compromise, would only turn into a threat to your marriage. If you’re angry, argue. Both of you, open up and fight about it. Once the fight is done, leave it in the past. Furthermore, you must both be honest. You must know that a lie requires a hundred more lies to perfect it. There aren’t many secrets that can be kept secret for life. The truth would be exposed sooner or later. It’s absolutely not practical.”

YiHan nodded. “Yes, Grandpa Yan. I’ll remember. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.”

“Of course,” said the old Mr Yan. “Our Little YiHan deserves the best. The Mu brat isn’t bad. He’s mature, reserved. He’s good to you too. You’ve grown up together, loving each other. You know each other well.”

“Yesterday,” continued the old Mr Yan, “Pei-Pei visited me. She told me a real-life story. She said there was a gay man who married the daughter of a powerful family for the sake of his company’s future. Truthfully, there are a lot of people who still don’t accept same-sex marriage. Many homosexuals marry someone of the other gender, because of family or other reasons they are helpless against. There’s nothing society can do about it. However, this man dared to have an affair. Let’s step out of the situation. Even if it’s a love affair, at least find a consenting party. That man actually lied and said he was single. He swindled the other man out of his love. This is absolutely unforgivable. No one can truly know how low a man like this can go. I was so furious just listening to the story.”

Translator’s Note:

Tea leaves sank and floated: This is something that only happens with silver needle tea, specifically Junshan Yinzhen tea. The tea leaves are hollow as they’re actually tubes for nutrition, water etc and not just plain leaves. Hence, they would float. However, as the leaves brewed, water is slowly introduced into the leaves, causing them to sink to the bottom. But then, even at the bottom, there are still air bubbles trapped inside the leaves. These bubbles would be slowly pushed out, meaning the tea leaves would drift to the top of the water once more. The higher the quality, the longer this phenomenon would last. This cycle would repeat itself for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Nothing society can do about it: Reminder that this is an old story and a line spoken by an old man. Society can do something about it, but there are limits as to how fast things can progress. Furthermore, antipathy is considered a mild form of prejudice. Be careful of how sentiments like these are conveyed, especially in public.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 180

180. How It Felt to Be Worried About

Warning: This chapter features someone being suffocated repeatedly. Some might find it distasteful.

“That’s a nice fantasy,” Yan coldly said. “You came into YouRan’s home and hurt him. Now, you want to leave without consequences and even want me to help you keep this a secret? Isn’t that just ludicrous?”

“What happened today is my fault,” said He Yuan. “I can apologise and I can let him beat me up in return. As long as this matter can be left in the dark, I’m willing to let him vent his anger out in any way he wants to.”

Before Yan could speak, there was an angry shout coming from the front door, “Dream on!”

The three men looked at the door in unison to find YiHan marching into the apartment. The young man scanned the room before heading straight for YouRan. YiHan’s eyes scanned the injured man up and down. Upon realising the other man wasn’t severely injured, he let out a sigh of relief. When he noticed the big bruise on YouRan’s jaw, YiHan dashed for He Yuan. JingYuan, who was standing behind him, immediately grabbed YiHan and pulled him back.

YiHan’s legs kicked and scrambled as he roared, “Let me go! I’ll beat him up! I’ll kill him!”

JingYuan sighed. “You want to let out your anger? I’ll help you beat him up. You can’t win against him.”

He Yuan’s eyes popped out in surprise. He didn’t expect these two to arrive so quickly. He watched as Mu JingYuan released Bai YiHan. The taller man walked closer and closer.

“M-Mr Mu, t-there’s no need for you…” He Yuan stammered. He was filled with fright. “T-T-This is a misunderstandin–”

“I have always thought that violence has always been the lowliest strategy one could have, no matter the problem,” said JingYuan. “But today, if I let you walk out the door unharmed, HanHan’s anger won’t go away.”

The moment the last word was spoken, JingYuan swung a punch at He Yuan. The older man cried out in agony. It felt like his jaw was shattered.

“HanHan, look,” JingYuan said to YiHan. “Is this the right spot?”

YiHan had a good look at JingYuan’s bruise and compared it to He Yuan’s wound. “It’s fine,” he harrumphed. “It looks about right.”

He Yuan’s eyes were teary from pain. Afraid that the other man would hit him once more, He Yuan ignored the jaw-breaking pain and gasped, “Mr Mu! The He family can’t compete with the Mu family, but we’re not nobodies! Don’t you think you’ve gone overboard? I have the backing of the Yan family! What you did is a slap to the face for the Yan family!”

JingYuan turned back around to look at He Yuan. “I had never thought of the He family as nobodies. However, your family isn’t great enough to be used as a threat against me. Also, the Yan family? Isn’t there a Yan family member standing right there? Why don’t you ask him –- was my punch a slap to the Yan family’s face?”

Yan passed YouRan into YiHan’s care before standing up and saying, “From the second I stepped through the door, there wasn’t a minute when I didn’t wish I could punch you in the face. Finally, someone is here to help me take care of YouRan. Didn’t you just say you would let us beat you up? Anything if it’d soothe YouRan’s anger? What? Are you regretting what you said?”

He Yuan couldn’t resist slowly inching backwards. “I m-meant…”

Yan let out a huff. “You meant for YouRan to beat you up himself? You were thinking that since he was just a lanky, injured man, his punches wouldn’t hurt much. Weren’t you? If there’s anything he needs to do, his lover is willing to work on his behalf. It’ll be the same if a physical task like this is left to me.”

YiHan: “…!!!” He glanced at the cold, solemn look on Yan’s face, then at YouRan who had a hand covering his face. YiHan’s eyes went wide as he kept quiet.

JingYuan turned to look at the dazed YiHan. What he saw made his lips twitch. He then took a few steps back until he was right by YiHan’s side.

Yan stretched his wrists out and warmed them up. His joints loudly popped and cracked. It made He Yuan cry, but he had no tears to spare.

“From the second I knew of this, I’d wanted to give you a beating,” said Yan. “But just as JingYuan said, violence is a lowly strategy. It’s why I held back and didn’t make a move. Who would’ve thought you’d barge straight in and offer yourself up? I have to stop holding back then.”

He Yuan kept backing away. “I didn’t know. I didn’t know you…” His voice was trembling as he pleaded. “If I’d known, I would never dare to…”

“Now you know,” said Yan. “What a pity. It’s too late. Can you bear the pain on his behalf?”

Yan didn’t waste any more time talking. He walked straight up to He Yuan. His muscles bulged as he gave the older man a thorough beating. He Yuan’s pained cries were loud at first but slowly went soft. Tears and snot streaked all over his face.

Yan cracked his neck. “Don’t you love suffocating other people? Let me give you a taste of your own medicine. There are a lot of people who’d pay to experience near-death. I’ll let you experience it once for free. No need to thank me, but I’m not interested in touching your filthy mouth.”

Yan walked to the kitchen and dug out a transparent plastic bag. He placed it over He Yuan’s head and tied it around the neck. “We’ll start a timer. Let’s see how long you can last. You must properly experience what YouRan suffered just now.”

Yan glanced at the growing grimace on He Yuan’s face before carefully turning to look at YouRan.

The other man was spacing out, pondering on something unknown. YouRan didn’t seem to notice what Yan did.

Yan let out a breath as he relaxed a little in relief.

Every time He Yuan’s hands desperately scrambled and he was visibly on the brink of fainting, Yan would untie the bag and let the man breathe. Yan repeated the act twice. By then, He Yuan had given in and was curled up in a ball. He cried hard as he pleaded again and again for Yan to stop.

“Enough,” YouRan said.

Yan froze. With gritted teeth, he said to He Yuan, “I find what you said to me quite reasonable. It’s better if we don’t risk anything when it comes to YouRan. I won’t tell my aunt about this but you’d best remember your words. If you ever see YouRan, you will avoid him at all costs. If I ever find out you still lust after him, I will make you regret it. When I go mad, not even my aunt can stop me.” Yan leaned in close and whispered into the older man’s ear, “After all, things are different when it comes to my spouse, as compared to my idol.”

He Yuan was delirious by this point. He only knew he must keep nodding his head. All he wanted to do now was to leave this accursed place. How he loathed being unable to turn back time to when he had yet to step a foot in here. How he wished he could force himself to go back to that time with a single slap.

“If you don’t want to make Yan Miao suspicious, you’d best avoid going home with that face,” said JingYuan.

He Yuan was quivering as he replied, “I understand.”

JingYuan glanced down at He Yuan again. “There’s no escape from your own actions. He Yuan, you married Yan Miao and brought glory to the He family, yet you’re still not satisfied. You cheated, lied and toyed with other people’s emotions. All for your own desires. You think you’re a winner in life but you were just digging your own grave. You brought this on yourself. You can’t blame anyone for it. Nan Shan’s a soft-hearted man. Don’t you find it humiliating that he’s pleading for mercy on your behalf?”

Snot and tears dripped to the floor as He Yuan nodded. “YouRan, it’s all my fault. I’m sorry. Forgive me,” he moaned repeatedly.

YouRan turned and looked away.

Yan’s face grew darker.

“Why should he forgive you?” YiHan coldly huffed. “Because you have a thick skin and you’re shameless?”

“I hope you can understand this,” said JingYuan, “YouRan is someone you can’t touch. If you ever dare to aim for him again, HanHan, who holds Nan Shan dear to his heart, would definitely be upset.”

“I won’t! I won’t!” exclaimed He Yuan. “I promise! From now on, I’ll dodge and hide and avoid him to the best of my abilities!” Heh. Anyone who makes Bai YiHan unhappy would have their life taken away by Mu JingYuan. He knew that. He Yuan wasn’t that rich. He couldn’t afford to fight with the man.

Yan let out a huff. “Let’s take YouRan to the hospital.”

“Yes, that’s right,” said YiHan. “Let’s hurry.”

YouRan raised his hands and waved them before him. “There’s really no need. I’m fine now. It’s only a few scrapes and I’m only feeling a little feeble. There’s no need to go to the hospital.”

“If he doesn’t want to go, we can ask Dr Chen to come and check on him,” said JingYuan.

“Okay,” YiHan said, nodding.

YouRan’s apartment door was warped by the violent kicking. There were cracks around the door frame too. Because of the fight, the place was a mess.

“Let’s go to my place,” Yan said as he lifted YouRan up in a carry.

JingYuan turned to He Yuan who was still sprawled out on the floor. “As you can see, we don’t welcome you here.”

There wasn’t a muscle in He Yuan that didn’t ache with pain. Still, his reluctance to stay was greater. After a brief struggle, he eventually got to his feet and limped out of the apartment.

YiHan frowned. “Would He Yuan bear a grudge against Nan Shan after such a beating? Would he perhaps give us trouble?”

“Don’t worry,” JingYuan replied. “If he tries anything, I break his thing. It’ll forever be useless.”

He Yuan who had just stumbled into the lift: “…!!! /(ToT)/~~” The soft, gullible and easily fooled lover has suddenly turned into a plate of steel. His toes were broken from trying to kick it, okay? A grudge? Who would dare bear a grudge against you?

***

After a thorough checkup on YouRan’s wounds, Dr Chen turned to YiHan. “There’s no need to worry, Little Master. Mr Xu isn’t gravely injured. These are just flesh wounds. I’ll give him some cream for the bruise. He’ll be fine after a few days.”

YiHan’s entire being relaxed. “Sorry for troubling you, Dr Chen,” he said with a smile.

“This is no trouble,” Dr Chen chuckled. “When Mr Mu called me, I thought you were hurt. I was so scared that I ran all the way here!”

“I’m sorry,” JingYuan said to Dr Chen. A rare smile on his face. “It’s my fault. I wasn’t clear enough.”

Shocked by the apology, Dr Chen hurriedly waved his hands and said, “It’s fine. It’s fine. Thank goodness everyone’s alright. It just so happens I have some bruise cream here. Squeeze some out and warm it in your hands before spreading it on the wound. If that’s all, I’ll be off.”

After Dr Chen left, silence reigned in the apartment.

A few long moments later, YouRan spoke up. “You all knew about the matter with He Yuan already.”

“YouRan, don’t be mad,” said Yan in a panicked tone. “I really only meant to gather information about you. I didn’t mean anything bad by it!”

“Nan Shan, you know there is absolutely no way we’d disrespect you,” YiHan added. “It’s just…something we did out of a want to protect you, you know?”

YouRan let out a bitter laugh. “I don’t mean to accuse or blame you for anything. If you hadn’t rushed in and saved me, I would’ve died today.”

YouRan then looked at Yan and asked, “Before, you guys were always hanging around in my place or you would drive me to Zhang-ge’s place. Were you afraid of leaving me alone? Today, I had just left Zhang Su’s store and you immediately head home. Was it also because you were afraid He Yuan would come? You were afraid I’d suffer because you knew he’s not a good man, right?”

“I didn’t know he’d be here today,” Yan guiltily said. “I’m just anxious about letting you be alone. I came back to check in on you.”

YouRan nodded. “I know. Also, thank you for believing me.” His hand pressed against his chest. So this was how it felt to having someone worrying about you. This place, his chest, it was boiling hot.

In a show of loyalty, YiHan said, “Trust in you as a person is the most basic of all, okay?”

JingYuan smiled as he patted YiHan on the head and winked at him.

Translator’s Note:

The last line is a big mystery on my end as the actual translation had “him” instead of “YiHan”. It would be logical for YouRan to be the “him” as that’s the character they’re comforting. However, it’s not like JingYuan to pat anyone but YiHan on the head. Feel free to guess away at who this “him” should’ve been.


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 179

179. How Can You Be so Shameless?

Yan squinted his eyes. “I know about what happened between you two. You took advantage of his inexperience when it came to emotions. You fooled him for years. I was going to let bygones be bygones since YouRan didn’t want to bother with it anymore. I didn’t think you’d dare to bother him while I’m away. You even hurt him. He Yuan, this will not be the end.”

He Yuan’s heart dropped. Yan knew! And to think he’d been so careful, afraid that Yan would find out. Yes, YouRan had clung onto the man’s leg. He would’ve told Yan about this matter. One, it’d wash the blame off YouRan. Two, it’d garner YouRan some sympathy. With how things were going, it’s highly unlikely this matter would end well for He Yuan.

“Is that what he told you?” He Yuan couldn’t resist spitefully saying. “People who fall in love really have dumbed-down minds. Do you really think I fooled him? With my status, I can have any kind of lover I want. Why would I need to lie? He offered himself up because he knew who I am! Only a naïve brat like you would treasure a ragged thing like him.”

YouRan’s face had finally regained some semblance of a healthy flush but He Yuan’s words dashed it all away. YouRan was so angry that his entire body was trembling as he stuttered, “You’re lying…! How can you be so shameless…?”

Yan hurriedly patted YouRan on the chest to help him catch his breath. As he did so, he coldly chuckled and shot at He Yuan, “Lover? It’s not hard for you to find a lover but you have to pretend to be the best husband ever twenty-four hours a day. Look for a lover? Aren’t you afraid she’d cause the roof of your house to blow up? Anyone else might believe you, but me? Do you think I wouldn’t know all about you and your capabilities? Well? Panicking, are you? You want to cause a rift between us? Do you think he told me about this? I don’t mind telling you, but I looked up everything. He didn’t say a single word. Before YiHan’s engagement party, he didn’t even know your real name.”

Yan looked down to find YouRan looking rather upset. “I didn’t mean to investigate you,” he hurriedly explained. “It’s just… After I became your neighbour…. You know, I’m a fan. I just wanted to know a little more about you. Then, I found out about this. Don’t be angry. I’ll explain everything to you later, okay? I definitely didn’t have another motive.”

He Yuan had never thought there was anything bad about YouRan’s profession. He even found it great. The man would be typing away at home all day long. He rarely left the apartment. That dramatically reduced the chance of the man discovering he’d been lied to. To He Yuan’s surprise, his books had found a fan with such great status and power. The two men even became neighbours by some odd luck! Were the gods toying with him?

Yan, on the other hand, felt like he hadn’t done enough to provoke He Yuan. “Why do you think YiHan and the others are so close to him?” Yan said, adding more fuel to the fire. “It’s because YiHan is also his fan. Oh, there’s also Pei-Pei. When they found out I’d become YouRan’s neighbour, they nearly went crazy with joy. If they ever have time, they’d lounge around here. They didn’t want to leave at all. Yes, it seriously affected my bonding time with YouRan.”

He Yuan opened his mouth but was interrupted by Yan before he even said a word. “You don’t need to try and bad-mouth him to me,” Yan said. “I know everything about this matter. I know so much more about it than he does.”

He Yuan’s lips were trembling as he asked through gritted teeth, “So you plan on telling your aunt about this?”

“Should I not tell her?” Yan said with raised eyebrows. “Who would’ve thought a member of the Yan family would be fooled into marrying a gay, cheating man? I think she has the right to know about this.”

He Yuan looked at YouRan as he replied to Yan, “You should know that once Miao knows of his existence, she won’t stop until he’s dead. He can’t continue on being a writer then.”

Yan’s arms around YouRan tightened. “That’s none of your concern,” he calmly said. “If I can’t even protect my lover, I’m not fit to be part of the Yan family.”

He Yuan smirked. “Yan Miao is also part of the Yan family. She’s also your elder. Even if she’s not much older, she still belongs to an older generation. She is the youngest daughter of old Mr Yan. She’s the only daughter he has, the daughter he’d doted on for years. If she kicks up a fuss, even you would be powerless.”

Yan’s lips perked up into a smile. “If my status isn’t enough, what if the Bai and Mu families are involved? YiHan is also a diehard fan of YouRan. He knows about this too. You know how he’s treated in the Bai family. It would only be a request to protect a man. I believe Uncle Bai wouldn’t say no. Furthermore, he had just gotten engaged with Mr Mu. Everyone in the city knows what Mr Mu thinks of him. What YiHan thinks equals what Mr Mu thinks. Privately, Mr Mu even jokes about being the family of a fan.

“Of course, there’s Pei-Pei. Do you think that, with so many of us, YouRan can’t be shielded from harm?”

He Yuan gulped. Still, he persisted. “Stop trying to glorify him. He’s only an author you guys like. Would the Bai and Mu families make an enemy of the Yan family over him? This is no game.”

Yan coldly smiled. “Don’t believe me? Let’s see just how important YouRan is to YiHan.” As he said so, he dug out his phone to call YiHan. He even put the call on speakerphone.

He Yuan face went stark pale. Yan really had the guts to call Bai YiHan! The man wasn’t bluffing. He Yuan thought this matter was a well-kept secret. So many people knew!

The call was soon answered. “Yan?” came Bai YiHan’s voice from the other end of the call. “What is it?”

Yan immediately answered, “While we were away, He Yuan barged into YouRan’s home and injured him. He’s still here. YouRan is quite badly injured. He also fainted just now. Come and help me get YouRan to the hospital.”

YiHan’s voice instantly rose to a high-pitch shriek, “What did you say? Aaah! That makes me so angry! Don’t worry! I’ll be there soon!”

YiHan’s words were followed by a series of loud bangs and clattering. Something had fallen to the ground.

“What happened?” came the deep voice of Mu JingYuan.

“He Yuan barged into Nan Shan’s home and beat him up,” said YiHan’s panicked voice. “Yan says he’s badly hurt. I must get there now!”

“Don’t worry just yet,” JingYuan replied in a louder voice. “I’ll go with you. Yan is there now. They’ll be fine.”

Then, as if YiHan just realised he hadn’t hung up yet, he asked into the phone, “Yan, how’s the situation now? Are Nan Shan’s injuries severe? Has He Yuan ran off already?” His voice came in harsh pants as though he was walking briskly.

The expression on Yan’s face softened. He smiled at He Yuan, who had turned a ghastly pale shade, and calmly answered, “You don’t need to rush. He Yuan is still here. YouRan said he was merely suffocated. He’s fine now but he should go for a thorough check at the hospital. There’s a big bruise on his jaw. I don’t know if there are any other wounds on him.”

Quick footsteps can be heard from the other end of the call, as if YiHan was running. “What?” YiHan huffed out. “Nearly suffocated? That’s no big deal? My god! That’s murder! We must get him to the hospital now! Don’t worry. JingYuan and I will be there soon. Right. How is Nan Shan holding up? Did He Yuan agitate him?”

“He’s definitely angry but I’m here,” Yan steadily replied. “He’s safe now. He looks okay. You guys don’t need to race over here. Drive carefully.”

There was a loud bang from YiHan’s end as he closed the door. “Aaaargh!” YiHan hoarsely shouted. “I’m just so angry! We were so careful, but he still found a way to sneak in! I’m going to strangle him to death! Wait there. Don’t let him run away! We’ll be there right away!”

The call was ended then. Yan waved his phone. “Guaranteed to be authentic. You should’ve recognised Bai YiHan and Mu JingYuan’s voices, right? They’ll be here soon. Well? Do you still think we’re playing around?”

“How can it be?” He Yuan mumbled. “This…”

Yan’s gaze went cold. “Of course, someone like you wouldn’t understand it. If one sees some random stranger in need, there would be a passionate fellow who would help them. Furthermore, YouRan isn’t just the author we like. He is also their friend and my lover. You trespassed his home, insulted him and you nearly killed him. Isn’t it normal for them to worry and for me to be angry?

“He Yuan, no matter how much of a coward I can be, I could never have let this be. As I’ve said, this is not the end.”

He Yuan stuttered, “How can you not care about your aunt…”

“Hah! Are you a fool?” said Yan. “When she knows of the ugly side of your two-timing face, it’d be a question whether she still wants you or not. What do I have to worry about?”

The other man’s hands clawed at the floor. “Even if she doesn’t want me, she would still be angry. If this matter blows up until everyone knows, it’d be bad for YouRan too, right? Can he still be a writer then?”

Yan hesitated. Still, he insisted, “He is mine. He doesn’t need to do anything. Do you think I can’t afford to feed and clothe him?”

“Even if you’re okay with it, he wouldn’t be,” He Yuan hurriedly said. He could see Yan’s resolve wavering. “When I gave him money before, he wouldn’t accept a single cent. He’s not interested in anything but writing his stories. If he can’t continue on this path, it’d be a drastic blow to him. Do you really not mind?”

Yan looked down at YouRan. He sneakily winked at the man in his arms before looking up and glumly said, “With our protection, my aunt might not be able to kick up a fuss.”

Noticing the change in expression, He Yuan hurriedly said, “But it’s still very much a possibility, isn’t it? What if? If the situation gets out of control and news spreads, YouRan’s reputation would definitely take a hit.”

Yan glance at YouRan before smirking. “You would be concerned about the state of his reputation?”

“What will happen to him has nothing to do with me,” said He Yuan. “All I care about is if Miao would find out about this. I swear, I don’t have any other lovers. From now on, I will be doubly good to Miao. We already have two kids. How could we split up so easily? Her knowledge of this would benefit no one at all! Is there a need for everyone to suffer?

“But if you don’t say anything, I, Miao and our two kids would remain as the happy family everyone envies. Your aunt would live out a happy life. If a secret is locked away and left to rot, then we can absolutely think of it as having never existed before! And I swear, from now on, I will never ever visit YouRan again. Even if we meet by coincidence, I will take the long way round to avoid him. How about it?”


Previous IndexNext

GC: Chapter 178

178. Is That so Hard to Understand?

He Yuan stood up and slowly walked closer to YouRan. His face darkened as he said, “You’re disgusted at the sight of me? Who do you think you are? With a snap of my fingers, countless beautiful men and women would fall before me. You say you’re disgusted just by looking at me? What are you pretending to be so high and mighty for? Oh, are you upset I never gave you any money? That’s because it was a game. As a normal white-collar worker whose salary isn’t that great, how could I have that much money? It wasn’t like I didn’t give any. You just didn’t want it. Oh, was it too little? But since everything’s out in the open now, money is naturally not a problem. However, if you still won’t wise up, I don’t think you want to know just what I can do.”

YouRan clenched his teeth. “I don’t care about your money and I don’t want you. I’m fine living alone. I’ll thank you as long as you stay away from me!”

He Yuan chuckled. “Looks like you still don’t understand what I can do to you. Let me give you an example. At the very least…” He leaned in close and slowly spoke into YouRan’s ear, “I. Can. Ruin. Your. Entire. Life.”

Looking into YouRan’s wide eyes, He Yuan’s lips widened into a cold smirk. “Don’t you like writing novels? With a single word, I can make the world be filled with evidence of your bad deeds. What’s true? What’s false? As long as I say it’s a fact, it’s a fact. When everyone thinks you’re an evil man who’s rotten to the core, do you think anyone would read your books?”

YouRan couldn’t hold back anymore. “You’re shameless!” he roared as he slapped the other man. He Yuan never thought YouRan would have the guts to hit him. Caught off-guard, the slap landed squarely on his cheek. In a fit of intense rage, He Yuan hit back with a punch to YouRan’s jaw. 

YouRan was a thin man. He was no match for He Yuan. That one punch forced him back several steps. He Yuan seized his chance to kick YouRan on the stomach and push him onto the ground.

The agony emitting from his abdomen sapped away YouRan’s ability to climb back up to his feet. YouRan struggled to stand but then He Yuan grabbed YouRan by the hair and pulled his head back. Gazing down at the face that mesmerised him, He Yuan couldn’t resist the urge to stroke it. His grip on YouRan’s hair loosened slightly.

“Why must you fight with me over this?” He Yuan softly asked. “Wouldn’t it be nice for us to go back to how things were? I really do like you.”

Pain had painted YouRan’s face a stark white. A mocking smile grew on his face. “Dream. On! Even if you kill me, I will never be a lover to a vile cheater like you. The thought of having been with you made me wish I can peel off my skin.”

Anger, born from humiliation, made He Yuan tug hard at YouRan’s hair, drawing a pained moan from the other man. “You ungrateful thing,” He Yuan spat through gritted teeth. “If you won’t take what I’ve given you out of kindness, you will be punished. Since this is what you think, I don’t need to hold back from you anymore. Do you think I wouldn’t dare to kill you?”

“Come on, then,” YouRan mockingly said.

He Yuan had been suppressing his emotions for the past few days. YouRan’s words were the trigger to make his rage burst. He pushed YouRan back onto the ground before dragging him up again by the collar of his shirt.

“What a shame to just kill you,” He Yuan sneered. “Why don’t I put you to full use?” As he said so, he began tearing away at YouRan’s clothing. The other man did his best to struggle away. Fortunately, it was a cold day and YouRan had put on more layers than usual. When he arrived back home, he was in such a hurry to write that he didn’t take off his knitted layer. His sweater had no buttons. It had to be pulled off over the man’s head. Under YouRan’s intense struggle, He Yuan could do nothing about the sweater for now. Fuming, he turned his attention to YouRan’s pants.

The two men were in a soundless struggle when someone began knocking on the door. He Yuan rose. His face twisted.

YouRan took the opportunity to push the man away and darted for the door. He Yuan hurriedly grabbed YouRan by the ankle and tugged. Unbalanced, YouRan fell to the floor with a loud bang. He knew the person on the other side of the door was most likely Yan or the others. He opened his mouth to scream for help when He Yuan’s hands covered his mouth and nose. All he could do was let out helpless, muffled calls.

He Yuan was frankly panicking too. He had been lying in wait for days. Finally, YouRan was alone. He Yuan planned on breaking things off with the man and seal off the man’s mouth, threaten him to not speak of what happened between them. However, the sight of the man made He Yuan reluctant to part with the man. After all, he really liked this man. There was no one else more suited to his tastes than Xu YouRan. That was why he tried to risk continuing their relationship. He didn’t think YouRan would be so stubborn. The younger man wasn’t afraid of his threats. YouRan even did all he could to agitate him. Even more unthinkable, someone else was here after such a short amount of time. Damn it. Weren’t these people meant to be at work or in class?

When the person outside the apartment heard nothing, they called out, “YouRan? Are you home?” It was Yan Yan.

YouRan’s eyes were red. He mustered up all the strength he could to struggle out of He Yuan’s hold, to get He Yuan’s hands away from his mouth. But He Yuan’s hands seemed to be welded to his face. YouRan couldn’t get them off no matter how hard he tried. In He Yuan’s attempt to keep YouRan from making a sound, even YouRan’s nose was covered. YouRan had no way to breathe. He struggled hard. He could feel his vision slowly going dark. Would he be suffocated to death here, today?

He Yuan kept a tight hold on YouRan’s mouth and nose, hoping the person outside the apartment would leave when he heard nothing. He didn’t realise YouRan’s struggles getting weaker and weaker.

Yan was certain YouRan was home but no matter how long he knocked, there was no response. He did just hear a faint bang coming from within. Yan raised his voice and called out once more. There was still no response. His heart went cold. Something must’ve happened. If it wasn’t He Yuan, it would’ve meant YouRan fell and was knocked unconscious. 

Yan’s thoughts made him break out in a cold sweat. He didn’t bother wasting his energy knocking on the door and began to kick down the door. A few hard stomps later, the dust of the door frame and walls were all shaken off but the security door was as sturdy as ever. There was no way Yan could kick it down quick enough. It’d take too long if he asked the security guards for the backup key. Trepidation burned in his eyes. How he wished he could shatter this darned door with a single kick.

When He Yuan realised Yan Yan didn’t leave and instead began to frantically charge at the door, He Yuan felt his heart fly out of his throat. This door couldn’t hold on for long. Even if Yan Yan couldn’t kick it down now, the loud ruckus he’s causing would attract the guards of the area. As long as Yan, an apartment owner, states his suspicions of something happening to his neighbour, the guards will get a copy of the key and open the door. What should he do?

As He Yuan panicked, he suddenly realised it had been a while since he felt any struggling from YouRan. Stunned, he looked down to find YouRan’s face a pale white. The other man’s eyes were closed. There was no way to know if the man was dead or alive. Shocked, He Yuan hurriedly let go.

Finally, YouRan had the space to breathe. The additional ear-shattering banging on the door slowly woke up his drowsy mind.

“Xu YouRan!” He Yuan said, smacking the other man in the face. “Wake up! Don’t play dead!”

YouRan kept his eyes closed. He didn’t move. Just as He Yuan was beyond himself with panic at the thought of the younger man being dead, YouRan burst into motion. Perhaps it was an extraordinary rush of adrenaline and strength that came from a human’s instinctual yearning for life. In one swift move, YouRan rose up and flung the unprepared He Yuan to the side. Without regard for anything else, he crawled to his feet and ran for the door. He Yuan hastily followed suit and tackled YouRan. The two men weren’t far from the door. That tackle slammed both men against the door. He Yuan held back nothing. A pained exhale left YouRan’s lips. Still, YouRan’s hand scrambled for the door handle. YouRan pressed down on the door handle with one hard push.

On the other side of the door, Yan’s foot just so happened to have landed on the door in a kick. The door was slammed open, flinging the two men in the apartment away from the doorway.

YouRan immediately slid down to the floor, unconscious. He had used up all of his strength in the last struggle. When he saw the door open, he was so relieved that he fainted.

Yan charged into the apartment. He saw YouRan lying on the ground, clothes in disarray, while one of his slim wrists was in He Yuan’s grip. Yan felt his blood rushing to his head. His eyes went red with blood. He strode into the apartment, kicked He Yuan away and snatched YouRan from the other man’s grasp.

“YouRan!” Yan shouted again and again as he shook the man in his arms. There was no reply. Yan was so angry that he felt like he could kill someone. He didn’t know just how hurt YouRan was. The man wouldn’t wake up no matter how hard Yan shook him. Yan couldn’t help but feel anxiety rise in him.

He Yuan was shocked stiff at the sight of Yan Yan. When he was kicked to the ground, his entire body hurt. It was as if all of his organs had been twisted together. He couldn’t find the strength to stand up.

Yan insistently attempted to wake YouRan up but nothing happened. Just as he was about to call for an ambulance, he heard YouRan cough. The man slowly opened his eyes.

“YouRan!” Yan happily cried. “YouRan, how do you feel? Where are you hurt? I’ll take you to the hospital now! It’ll be fine. Don’t worry!”

YouRan slowly shook his head. His body felt so weak and powerless. Even an attempt to raise his hand was too much for him. Still, he raised his hand to hold Yan’s hand, the hand that was going to embrace him.

“I’m fine,” YouRan softly said. “He nearly suffocated me. I just haven’t recovered. I’m fine after a little rest.”

Yan hurriedly lifted YouRan up into a carry. As his hand patted YouRan’s back in a soothing gesture, Yan coldly stared at He Yuan. There were a few moments of silence.

Then, in the most spine-chilling voice he had ever used in his whole life, Yan said, “How is the head of the  He family so free as to come to my lover’s home?”

When those words were spoken, it wasn’t just He Yuan who was stunned. YouRan, who was busy trying to catch his breath, was too. YouRan’s breath caught in his throat. Stuck, YouRan’s eyes went wide.

Yan patted YouRan on the chest. “Exhale,” Yan whispered.

Without thinking, YouRan exhaled as Yan told him to. A tinge of healthy pink eventually returned to YouRan’s pale face.

He Yuan had fallen to sit on the ground when he realised he was cornered. When he heard what Yan said, his eyes popped out of his head in surprise.

“Your lover?” said He Yuan. “Are you joking?”

“Do you think I’m in the mood to joke with you?” Yan smirked.

“How can it be possible?” He Yuan’s jaw dropped in shock.

“How can it not be?” Yan asked. “Don’t you know he’s Nan Shan?”

“Nan Shan?” He Yuan was confused.

Yan tilted his chin up and coldly stated, “That’s right. I am a fan of Nan Shan’s books. Perhaps it was a gift from the gods. I moved out and, coincidentally, I became his neighbour. After interacting with him in such close quarters, my admiration for him turned into love. Is that so hard to understand?”

He Yuan’s head was sent spinning by Yan’s answer. “You…”


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