Quality Check: Kittsune
First Published on Ainushi.
Time flew by like running water. In a blink of an eye, I completed my PhD and graduated from university. My mom started to urge me to get married, saying that when she was twenty-seven, she had already given birth to my little brother.
But I didn't want to get married to the twins! Even though I lived with them for close to ten years, my thinking did not change. However, my opinion never seemed to matter very much. On my birthday, a yellow and white dual-colored ring was forced onto my left ring finger.
They started making preparations for the wedding.
In this world, there are no walls that can completely block the wind. After spending so much time with the twins, practically the entire business world in Taipei knew that I had some kind of illicit relationship with the CEOs of the Zhao family business. However, since they feared the immense power of the Zhao clan, nobody dared to recklessly say things. The employees within the Zhao family business also started to treat me as the wife of the CEO. However, as long as the twins didn't clearly announce it, I would hide like an ostrich, pretending like nothing had happened. I continue to live my life while deceiving myself.
My mom and dad were kept in the dark the whole time. They always felt like Zhao Yi Xuan would be an excellent son-in-law, given that he was rich, attractive, well-behaved, and there was never any bad gossip about him. Most importantly, he absolutely adored me. Their attitude already changed from the wait-and-see approach from the beginning and were now actively fanning the flames.
However, I didn't want to continue further in this tangle with the twins. I really didn't want to! After living all these years, I felt very exhausted. I had always dreamed of being able to escape from their control one day, but I never found a realistic opportunity to act. I discovered that I had a personality not unlike Ah Q . Every time I felt like the oppressiveness was getting too much, I would fantasize about the day when I would run away into the whole wide world. However, as soon as I thought about the aftermath of running away and what life would be like, I was unable to bring myself to actually do it.
By the night before the wedding, all the invitation cards had been sent out. Lately, the twins' moods were extremely good because the wedding was drawing close. However, my own mental state became increasingly fidgety day after day.
"You truly want to get get married with them?" Yan Shui Lin seriously asked me. "You don't look very much like a bride-to-be. Your face looks unhappy and you look more like a criminal that's about to be sent to the gallows for the death penalty."
"Is it really that bad?" I smiled wryly.
"Definitely!" She nodded her head with certainty.
"…" I had no words to say.
"Qing Xia, don't do something that will make you unhappy." She suddenly gripped my hand tightly. "If you truly don't want to marry, then run away. I can help you run away from their control."
I looked at her with astonishment. Run? Run where? Did she have the ability to help me? Did she dare to fight directly against the Zhao brothers?
After she obtained her Master's degree, she did not continue to study and was seized by her parents to help out with the family business. However, our friendship did not end because of this. She was naturally talented at business, and under the leadership of her and her second brother, Jue Shi Shipping flourished. However, they wouldn't be able to compete directly against the Zhao clan. After the Zhao family business acquired the bankrupt Heng Yuan Merchandise, it expanded several times larger. The Zhao brothers' bold style and merciless methods made them completely invincible in the business world, and essentially nobody dared to provoke them upfront.
"They won't forgive you for it," I whispered.
"If it's for you, I'm not afraid," she whispered. "Qing Xia, did you know? I've been in love with you since the beginning."
I blankly froze. Where the heck did this sudden development come from?! A woman loving a woman?! Furthermore, it's my best friend liking me?! How am I supposed to react?
"When I saw you for the first time at the engagement party, I only thought you were fascinating. The way that you coldly looked at all the chaos unfold made it seem like you were a complete spectator. I wanted to know what about you was so captivating, so much so that Zhao Yi Bo and Zhao Yi Xuan would dump exquisite women like Chen Yan Mei and me off to the side on the spot. Furthermore, someone who was even able to drive them to rush forward in an angry fury sparing no costs to take down Heng Yuan Merchandise. That was why I hired a private detective to investigate your background."
This was more surprising news to me. I had no idea that there were private detectives tailing me.
"From that data, I began to know and understand you better. My feelings towards you started to slowly change. After I found out that you were planning to pursue your PhD at NT University, I also took the entrance exam and became your classmate. The only reason I went there was because of you." Her eyes were fueled with intensity, but I only felt goosebumps.
"The more I spent time with you, the more I fell in love with you. I was jealous of them, and jealous of how they possessed you. Once, I even considered using questionable methods to acquire you, but I didn't want you to be sad. Therefore I suppressed my feelings and forced myself to be satisfied just from accompanying you in silence. As long as you were happy, I would be fine even if you never knew about how I felt. But you weren't happy, and there was only pain in your eyes. That's why, you should run! I won't stop at any cost to help you!" Her expression was unyielding as she spoke.
But I did not agree to her help.
After her confession, I walked home in a daze.
Her feelings really startled me, and I didn't know how I should have responded. I was about to get married to two men simultaneously, and my best friend of six years suddenly confessed to me. What the hell was going with this world?
I knew that I had no way of accepting her feelings, and there was no way I could reciprocate them. However, these feelings etched a deep impression on me. She loved me equally deeply and as passionately as Zhao Yi Bo and Zhao Yi Xuan, but she put my feelings before her own.
I blankly sat in the living room and stared for quite a long period of time, before I finally came to my conclusion — I'm going to run!
I went to my room and packed up some clothes. Then I walked out of the Zhao family home without looking back.
But I didn't go looking for Yan Shui Lin. If I accepted her help, it would bring her terrible misfortune, and she didn't have the power to shelter me fully. I didn't want her to be harmed.
The world is so big, where should I go?
- This is a reference to Ah Q, a character in Lu Xun’s novella: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_True_Story_of_Ah_Q Ah Q is a character who is famous for deluding himself to think that he is winning even though that is nothing close to what is actually the case. [back]
TL: Happy Valentines Day! We have a bigger release this month, so we’re releasing a set of the chapters a few days early! There are four more chapters to be released on Chinese New Years, which is this Friday! Please enjoy the feel-good happiness… while it lasts…………………..