Night fell and the lamps lit up. A black BMW M6 drove into Distinguished Gathering. There were just two people in the car - Xia Lei and Shentu Tian-Yin. Shentu Tian-Yin did not bring any bodyguards this time. She did not take her Rolls Royce Phantom either but Xia Lei’s car. This was akin to her giving the outside world a message - I am taken.
The car stopped and Xia Lei and Shentu Tian-Yin alighted. Large diamond rings graced both their ring fingers. They walked to the great hall of Distinguished Gathering hand-in-hand, a talented man and a beautiful woman. They looked like newlyweds.
Shentu Tian-Yin looked out the corners of her eyes at the rings on their fingers from time to time. The bright diamonds sparkled under the lights and her face glowed with a sweet smile.
Xia Lei, on the other hand, felt rather odd. He was holding her soft hand and wearing an engagement ring - he felt a jumble of emotions in that moment. Was it real? Was it not? ‘What am I thinking? This is just an act. Si-Yao is my real girlfriend. She loves me and is so good to me. I cannot do anything to disappoint her,’ he thought guiltily to himself after these feelings popped out.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Shentu Tian-Yin’s voice interrupted his thoughts.
Xia Lei gave a laugh. “Nothing.”
“Thinking of Miss Liang, aren’t you?”
Xia Lei was speechless.
“I have no doubt that I am a lamb to the slaughter today. You have to protect me from those butchers,” said Shentu Tian-Yin with a smile.
This seemed like a joke but it was the stark truth. Gu Ke-Wu viewed Shentu Tian-Yin as prey. Judging from his personality and propensity to use certain methods, would he sit idly by and watch Shentu Tian-Yin date another man? He would act first!
Xia Lei held her hand in a light grip. “Don’t worry. No one can harm you with me around.”
The smile on Shentu Tian-Yin’s cheeks grew wider, her dimples deepening like the blooming of lilies.
Brother and sister, Gu Ke-Wu and Gu Ke-Wen, seemed to have received a report from the doorman and they stepped out of the great hall in welcome. One sibling was in a suit and the other in a gorgeous evening dress. They were giants among men and their air of luxury was overpowering.
Gu Ke-Wu’s face darkened at the sight of the two of them holding hands and looking intimate. His eyes were full of hatred and hostility when he looked at Xia Lei but all this flashed by in an instant. His face was full of smiles the next instant and he spoke gracefully, “Why have you arrived only now, Tian-Yin? I waited so long for you.”
“My fiancé and I had something to tend to so we are late. My apologies,” said Shentu Tian-Yin indifferently.
“Your fiancé?” Gu Ke-Wu looked at Xia Lei and laughed in an exaggerated manner. “Mr Xia, is it? Tian-Yin, please stop joking, eh?”
Gu Ke-Wen spoke up, “You’re awesome, Big Sister Tian-Yin. You’re using this method to chase away those pestering you, right? My brother is sincere though - he won’t back down. He won’t give up even if you’re married.”
Shentu Tian-Yin wrinkled her brows. “Do I look like I’m joking? I don’t want to hear things like this. If you have nothing else to say, I’m leaving.”
Gu Ke-Wen and Gu Ke-Wu exchanged looks. The siblings were unable to confirm the truth of the matter but they were able to glean some answers from the way Shentu Tian-Yin looked at Xia Lei. There were some things which couldn’t be faked, like feelings.
The Gu siblings did not greet Xia Lei but he still stretched out his hand elegantly in greeting. “Hello, Mr Gu.”
Gu Ke-Wu shook hands with Xia Lei. “Go in and take a seat. Make yourself at home.”
“All right.” Xia Lei extended his hand to Gu Ke-Wen. “Hello, Miss Gu.”
Gu Ke-Wen twisted her lips in dissatisfaction but still shook Xia Lei’s hand. If not for Shentu Tian-Yin’s presence, she’d have preferred to claw his face to shreds than to shake hands with him.
Shentu Tian-Yin took hold of Xia Lei’s hand again and entered the great hall with the Gu siblings.
There were no guests in the great hall but there were more than ten icy-faced suited bodyguards. They occupied the four corners of the great hall and all of them looked at Xia Lei with cold stares. This was an obvious message to Xia Lei - The Gu clan is not to be trifled with!
Xia Lei scoffed at such a set-up. Using bodyguards to threaten him? The Gu siblings were too naive.
“Didn’t you say that there’ll be other guests? Why is it just us?” said Shentu Tian-Yin. Unlike Xia Lei, the bodyguards’ burly bodies and icy faces made her nervous.
“Of course there are other guests, but they’re not here. Come with me,” said Gu Ke-Wu with a smile.
The four of them walked through the great hall and along a shaded path to an ancient-styled loft. A plaque hung on the door to the loft and on it were engraved the words ‘Tian-Yin Pavilion’.
Xia Lei remembered this place. He’d heard about it from the lips of Gu Ke-Wen when he had accompanied Liu Ying the last time. He was not able to come here then; it was his first time here. Giving a name like that to a place like this was an obvious show of his feelings towards Shentu Tian-Yin. Xia Lei knew too, that Gu Ke-Wu had brought him and Shentu Tian-Yin to this place to give him an indirect warning - Shentu Tian-Yin is mine! Stay away!
Xia Lei had to admit that Gu Ke-Wu had put a lot of thought into this meeting.
The door to Tian-Yin Pavilion was shut tightly and Gu Ke-Wu and Gu Ke-Wen did not open the door to go in. Instead, they stood by the door and smiled as they looked at Xia Lei and Shentu Tian-Yin.
“Please, go in.” Gu Ke-Wu had a warm smile on his face.
“What are you up to?” said Shentu Tian-Yin.
Gu Ke-Wen laughed. “Just go in, Big Sister Tian-Yin. My brother prepared a special gift for you.”
Shentu Tian-Yin glanced at Xia Lei.
Xia Lei nodded.
Shentu Tian-Yin then let go of his hand, walked up to the door and pushed it open.
The lights in the loft and the lamps outside suddenly went out the moment the door opened.
Xia Lei took a step forward anxiously and stood in front of Shentu Tian-Yin to protect her.
Shentu Tian-Yin was nervous when the lights went out but with Xia Lei protecting her, she was not afraid - she was touched.
It was a sea of darkness before him but his left eye was not affected. He could see the situation in the loft clearly. Over ten people were gathered around a long table and each person had a lighter in hand to light candles on the table.
These men and women seemed to have practiced this quite a bit. Their movements were coordinated and unified; over ten candles seemed to light up at almost the same time, forming a heart-shape.
The candlelight chased away the darkness, revealing a poster on the wall behind the table. The printed poster depicted Shentu Tian-Yin with cheesy text next to her image.
‘Tian-Yin, this is the 999th day that we’ve known each other. I remember every day I met with you. Your smile, your voice, your everything captivates me. Please allow me to confess my love for you on this special day.’
At that moment, a sweet little girl pushed a little cart filled with roses out from a room in the loft. There was no need to count; the humongous bouquet of roses must number 999.
Xia Lei then discovered that there were celebrities among the guests who had lit the candles, and they were well-known people, too. *
A candlelit dinner, a huge poster declaring his love, 999 red roses and a group of famous celebrities - this dinner was as romantic and stylish as can be. How many women in this world could withstand temptation like this?
Gu Ke-Wu walked into the loft to pick up the bouquet of roses and knelt on one knee in front of Shentu Tian-Yin. He confessed with feeling, “Tian-Yin, I have never wavered in my love for you. I fell deeply in love with you the moment I laid eyes on you and I cannot stop loving you. I cannot imagine what joy I can have if I do not have you in my life. Please take pity on my sincere heart and be mine.”
A few of Gu Ke-Wu’s friends and the celebrities burst out in applause and some even urged Shentu Tian-Yin to react.
“Accept his flowers, Miss Tian-Yin.”
“Miss Tian-Yin, Ke-Wu is a romantic. You have to cherish a man like him.”
“Ke-Wu is the only man in this world who suits you, Miss Tian-Yin. You’ll be the happiest couple on Earth if you two are together.”
Everyone was talking at once and the atmosphere was lively and joyful.
They seemed to have overlooked the fact that Shentu Tian-Yin had come with her fiancé and that she had a diamond engagement ring on her finger.
The one who ignored ‘Xia Lei the fiancé’ the most were not the guests but Gu Ke-Wu. What was this when a man confesses his love to another man’s fiancée right in front of him? This was not simply overlooking the matter now but an outright trampling over his honour!
Xia Lei had yet to react when Shentu Tian-Yin got anxious and angry. “Gu Ke-Wu, did you invite me here to watch you put on a show? I am already engaged to Xia Lei. How can you do this!”
Gu Ke-Wu did not seem mad at all. “You’re mine. I shall marry only you in my lifetime. Besides, you’re just engaged. I’m still going to go after you even when you’re married. I’ll chase you until I have you!”
“Wow! Such a romantic and passionate man!” *
“Accept the flowers! How can you reject such a romantic confession?” urged someone.
Shentu Tian-Yin spoke angrily, “You are being too disrespectful by doing this! I’ve already said very clearly that I’m engaged to Xia Lei! I will not accept any confession from anyone other than him!”
Everyone looked at Xia Lei. They did not say a word but their thoughts seemed to say: What can you do even if you’re ignored and disrespected** like this?
Gu Ke-Wu glared at Xia Lei and the smile disappeared from his face. “Xia Lei, leave now if you know what’s good for you. Leave now and you’ll be safe for the rest of your life. Our past grievances will be buried. You can try saying ‘no’ if you dare.”
Xia Lei suddenly gave a kick as soon as he finished his sentence.
*The author put in the names of some Chinese celebrities which I frankly don’t give two bleeps about. They’re not important to the plot either.
**Also substituted ‘disrespected’ for ‘cuckolded’ since it didn’t make sense to say he was cuckolded when the dictionary definition is 'a man whose wife is unfaithful'.
*** Same line of reasoning for changing the title entirely.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Wuxiaworld translators' meetup in Thailand! Expect delays in releases for the week... Sorry >_<!