Without any warning, Xia Lei toppled over to the ground with a silent thud.
“Xia Lei!” Tang Yuyan threw herself over him, gathering him in her arms as she began to call his name desperately.
No response was elicited.
“What did you do to him?!” Tang Yuyan was seething with raw fury. She roared at her own grandfather.
“I had enough of you!” Tang Yunhai slammed his fist onto the dining table, causing the cutleries on it to rattle, then crash to the ground unceremoniously.
Tang Yuyan shivered at her grandfather’s violent outburst. But only for a moment. What followed next was her maniacal howl. “He’s my husband! He’s my husband! What the hell are you all trying to do?! What do you want from us?!”
“Shameless little brat!” Tang Tianlong too slammed the table, face contorted with absolute anger. “In the entirety of our history, no woman has ever acted as shameless as you have! Step aside!”
“No!” Tang Yuyan clawed onto him tighter. Her hovering form was like a protective female tiger. She looked ready to pounce on anyone who wished to do harm to Xia Lei.
Zhang Yumei reprimanded, “Yuyan, you need to remember this. The Tang blood flows within you. You need to consider things in accordance with our family’s interests.”
Tang Yuyan interjected her. “Mother, if something ever happens to him, I don’t wanna live anymore!”
“You…” Zhang Yumei was pissed beyond words.
Tang Bochuan left his seat. The man rounded the dining table and went towards Xia Lei and Tang Yuyan.
“Go away! Don’t come near him!” Tang Yuyan screamed at her brother.
Tang Bochuan was momentarily surprised but continued his trek over anyway.
Tang Yuyan reached her hand back and pulled out her gun. She aimed its muzzle at Tang Bochuan.
Tang Bochuan couldn’t believe his eyes. “You… You’re willing to point your gun on me for him?! I’m your brother!”
“You’re going out of line! You’re really asking for it!” Tang Tianlong had enough. He too began to close in on Tang Yuyan and Xia Lei, forehead full with tensed veins.
“Father, please! Please don’t force us into a corner! I’m begging you!” Tang Yuyan wailed, her sanity was beginning to crackle.
“Bochuan, Tianlong. Sit down.” Tang Yunhai finally spoke.
“Father…” Tang Tianlong was reluctant.
“Sit down! Now!” Tang Yunhai raised his voice.
Tang Bochuan and Tang Tianlong obediently returned to their seats. No one in the family had dared to overstep Tang Yunhai’s authority in the family.
Tang Yunhai stood and paced forward to Tang Yuyan and Xia Lei.
Tang Yuyan continued to sob. “Why…? Why are you treating me like this? Why?”
Tang Yunhai answered nonchalantly, “And how exactly are we treating you? Your parents had raised you. The Tang family had utilized a large number of resources to enable you to become the chief of Bureau 101. Yet, you’re telling me that the Tang family had forsaken you?”
Tang Yuyan willed to retort but she was out of arguments. The Tang family’s hand in her upbringing was something she could not be ungrateful about. They have done a lot for her. The blood flowing through her veins really was the Tang clan’s blood.
“Calm down, he’s just knocked out. He’ll come back to us soon.” Tang Yunhai crouched down beside Xia Lei. “Keep your gun away. Who are you going to shoot here? Everyone here is family, you know?”
Tang Yuyan worried her lip, a faint hint of blood seeping through the gaps of her tensely clenched teeth. Yeah, that was right. Who was she going to shoot with her pistol? Her father? Her mother? Her brother or her grandfather?
“Let me check his pulse.” Tang Yunhai extended an arm over and pressed his finger on Xia Lei’s jugular.
She watched him cautiously but soon realized that Tang Yunhai wasn’t about to do anything dangerous. Her raised arm slowly gave way.
Just as she let her guard down, Tang Yunhai abruptly grabbed the alloy necklace dangling off Xia Lei’s neck and ripped at it hard. Without much force, the necklace was undone. Tang Yunhai was quick to move away before Tang Yuyan had a chance at reclaiming the necklace.
Tang Yuyan’s hand did not reach in time. Suddenly, realization dawned upon her. “You… I see now… So you’re after the AE capsule!”
Tang Yunhai raised his palm and whipped it onto her cheek.
Smack! A crisp flesh-on-flesh sound rang out.
Tang Yunhai did not hold back this time. Tang Yuyan was sent doubling backwards from the force of his slap. Blood began to seep past her lips as an angry red palm mark began to fester atop her pale supple skin.
Tang Yunhai was not about to leave it at that. He picked up his crutch and pointed the tip at his granddaughter. “You whore! The Tang family does not have a daughter like you! Get out of this house!”
At that instant, Tang Yuyan felt like her world had shattered into pieces. Beads of tears broke free of its confines and travelled down the curve of her cheek. The love of her life had been drugged by her own family. She was armed and yet wasn’t able to protect her husband’s rights. And before she knew it, her beloved family had morphed into ugly greedy monsters. Everything felt like a sick joke and Tang Yuyan was absolutely wounded by it.
“Grandpa! Yuyan is just too clouded by love. There’s no need to stoop so low, she’ll understand soon.” While he spoke, Tang Bochuan winked at Tang Yunhai.
The older man tossed the alloy necklace at Tang Bochuan.
The man received it with ease and quickly opened the alloy pendant. Tang Bochuan removed the capsule within and then produced a normal capsule bottle from his pocket. He emptied all the pills onto the table and found a similar looking one. He then placed the capsule into the alloy pendant.
To switch a racoon for a prince was Tang Bochuan’s idea.
[Note: To switch a racoon for a prince is a Chinese idiom to describe a situation where one party exchanges an article without the other party’s knowledge.]
Placing in the new capsule, Tang Bochuan tossed the alloy necklace back onto Xia Lei’s limp body. “Yuyan, place the necklace back in place.”
Tang Yunhai said, “When he wakes up, tell him that he was too intoxicated and promptly passed out. You may bring him to your room but only this once. I don’t want to see you and him ever again in this house.”
“Yuyan, apologize to your grandfather!” Zhang Yumei rushedly chastised.
Tang Yuyan, on the other hand, was curled up pathetically on the ground like a dead log. She gave no response. Nothing was more lamentable than a dead heart. What she felt right now was even more tormenting than death itself.
Tang Bochuan too advised, “Yuyan, I’m sure you know the value of this capsule. This may be the key to restoring our family’s glory. Just do as grandpa says, tell him that he had gotten drunk when he wakes up and mention nothing about the AE capsule. If he finds out later, you need to cover it up for us. If it’s impossible to cover, you need to bear the responsibility. After all, you’re his woman. He won’t do anything to you.”
Tang Yuyan remained motionless on the ground. Her sobs had dissolved into quiet tears.
“Silly girl. Here, let me.” Zhang Yumei went over and locked the alloy necklace back to where it belonged. Xia Lei’s neck.
“Let’s go. Give her some space to calm down here,” said Tang Bochuan.
And with that, the dining hall was empty. The only ones left behind were an unconscious Xia Lei and a crumpled Tang Yuyan on the ground.
It took her a few minutes to muster the strength to clamber up and keep her gun away. She quietly picked Xia Lei up and brought him to her room. Her pace was excruciatingly slow, almost like she was a soulless doll.
Entering her room, she carefully placed Xia Lei on her bed. It was then she allowed herself to sob uncontrollably, arms wrapped around Xia Lei tightly. She sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. “I’m so sorry… I’m so so so sorry… I should’ve seen this coming, I really should’ve expected this… I shouldn’t have brought you home… I’m sorry…”
Xia Lei did not stir.
“Please wake up… Hey, wake up. Wake up and we’ll do all we can to get the capsule back…” Tang Yuyan shook his motionless body relentlessly.
“Sob…” Her actions not bearing any fruition, Tang Yuyan crumpled into a sobbing mess once again.
Just when things had seemed grim, she felt a light caress along her spine.
Tang Yuyan went frigid. She quickly lifted her upper body. Upon closer inspection, the man beneath her still hadn’t returned to his senses. She craned her neck around, only to find one of Xia Lei’s palm warm against her back.
“Hubby, you…” Tang Yuyan was shocked. “You’re alright?”
It was then that Xia Lei threw his eyes open. A smirk danced across his lips “Have you forgotten? I was able to withstand minus twenty-degree celsius on the snow mountain? I’ve got an amazing immune system.”
It didn’t take long for Tang Yuyan to piece things together. She was reminded of the time when Xia Lei had slit his wrist open to feed her blood. His blood was her antidote and if it was able to neutralize a lethal poison like that, what was the minor fainting medicine going to do to him?
Xia Lei’s hand was still smoothing along her spine gently.
The woman gnawed her lip briefly. “Why… Why did you pretend to be unconscious then? Your vulnerability allowed my grandpa to take away the AE capsule! You could’ve stopped him. Why didn’t you?”
Xia Lei answered cheekily, “If he liked it so much, I’ll just consider it as a dowry then.”
Tang Yuyan gaped at that. She had always been a sharp woman. It was clear what Xia Lei’s behaviour was pointing to. Everything was going according to his plan and things were still in his control!
“You…” It finally sunk in. Tang Yuyan probed, “The one my grandpa took away was not the AE capsule, right?”
Xia Lei smiled, “Well. That you’ll find out soon.”
“No, I must know now. Tell me.”
Xia Lei answered, “I know you’re someone who takes relationships and ties seriously. They’re your precious family members. For you to bring up cutting ties would be difficult for you. It is too unfair for me to ask this of you. If you went ahead with it, many would talk bad behind you. I don’t wish to upset you so I figured to play along with their demands. Now that your grandfather has chased you out of the family, everything is settled, no? He was the one who mentioned it, not you.”
Tang Yuyan had to admit that her heart melted at that. But she kept her emotions at bay and produced a frown instead. “That’s not the answer I’m after. Tell me, did my grandpa take away the AE capsule?”
“Hey, this is our consummation night. Are you really going to ask that now? Let’s do something else, yeah?” suggested Xia Lei.
While Tang Yuyan’s eyes were dripping with lust, her lips uttered something else. “You’re awful.”
“This is awful? Would you like me to amp it up a little?”
Tang Yuyan shook her head. “Nah. Unless you tell me what’s really going on.”
“Didn’t I say that you’ll find out soon? There’s no need to rush.”
At this point, Tang Yuyan frankly wasn’t that pressed any more. According to Xia Lei’s personality, he wouldn’t have the stomach to flirt with her if someone had taken away the real AE capsule. She relaxed and feigned vulnerability. “I had to take a slap from my grandpa for your sake. It still hurts, you know?” She belatedly added, “My heart hurts too.”
“Left or right sides?”
“I’ll massage them for you.”
And so the two of them closed their distance.
Suddenly, footsteps were heard from outside the door.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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