Translator: O(n^n) oh baby
Quality Check: Kai
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter One Hundred and Eighty-Eight: Chasing Memories
“S-sir, I, I promise I’ll change my ways. I-I won’t gamble anymore, I swear,” Xiao Zihao stammered.
“Compared to your own life, it seems that you don’t care about your mother’s life at all,” Yan Jin said.
Cold sweat immediately began rolling off of Xiao Zihao. Shivering, he slid off the chair with a pom and knelt on the ground.
He was so scared that he couldn’t meet the gaze of the person in front of him.
If he looked into Yan Jin’s eyes, Yan Jin would be able to see all of his innermost thoughts from beginning to end. Xiao Zihao didn’t feel like he was talking to a human, but rather making a deal with the devil, a demon, or some other inhuman creature.
In all of the days his debt collectors had been chasing him for repayments, he had never been this scared.
Yan Jin continued to sip his coffee and didn’t pursue the previous topic. Instead, he said to the youth kneeling before his feet, “Whatever amount you owed the gambling dens has been transferred to me. How do you plan to repay me?”
“M-my mother will pay you back for me.”
“This card contains all of her remaining assets.” Yan Jin tapped the bank card on the table. “Unless you think that aside from her apartment, she still has another hidden stash of money?”
Xiao Zihao understood clearly that his tricks for dealing with debt collectors were useless before Yan Jin. Every lie he said would be instantly seen through. There was nothing he could do except silently await Yan Jin’s judgment.
Actually, Fang Wanqing wasn’t the first person Xiao Zihao thought of. Despite all his years overseas, he knew exactly how much money his mother had. Earlier, when he’d overheard that his mother was giving Yan Jin the money from selling the apartment, his heart had shattered. He’d almost rushed out of the neighboring booth to stop his mother.
Indeed, the first person he had thought of was his half-brother, the person who had acted as his moving ATM over the past four years, Xiao Yu.
But, unless he didn’t want his life anymore, he couldn’t bring up Xiao Yu’s name. The creditor in front of him was his brother’s fiance.
When he’d first heard of this news, Xiao Zihao had been elated at the thought of a never-ending source of wealth. However, he quickly realized he’d been too naive. He’d been treating this… monster as a regular person.
“Thought of your brother? You still think pretty quickly,” Yan Jin sneered.
Xiao Zihao trembled like a sieve.
I’ve been seen through. I’ve been seen through again.
I’ve been seen through by this monster.
This monster knows everything. He’s not human. He’s not human!
Xiao Zihao was already on the edge of collapsing.
“Would you like to guess what happened to the last person I fished out of a gambling den?”
“I’m willing to do anything. I’ll do anything. Please spare me!” Xiao Zihao heavily knocked his forehead to the ground. The cold ceramic tiling brought him a moment of clarity, but he was just as quickly submerged by his enveloping dread.
“I hope you can keep your promise. Otherwise, I can’t guarantee anything.” Yan Jin’s lips curled upwards.
Far away, Shao Yue sneezed.
“Caught a cold?” Chu Ge asked. He was sitting in the same office.
“No, maybe someone is badmouthing me.” Shao Yue’s intuition was scarily accurate. “It must be Yan Jin. Who knows what trouble he’s up to now.”
Chu Ge suddenly felt that his own nose began to itch.
“*Sigh*, I used to be one of the bigshots at University N. How could I have fallen so far as to be pushed around by this guy? It’s really too unfortunate.”
“I remember that. Yan Jin told me he found a very useful friend when he went to University N as an exchange student. Then, as expected, he got this person to work for him.”
“Hey, are you really saying this in front of the person himself? What very useful friend? That’s too much. Isn’t the Nan Family normally very polite? Mind your manners.”
“I renounced the name Nan a long time ago.” Chu Ge didn’t mind talking about his identity with people he already knew.
“*Sigh*, Why didn’t I think of changing names back then? It would have been such a good idea. Instead, I’ve been stuck with Yan Jin for such a long time because of a single mistake. I can’t even leave.” Shao Yue was extremely annoyed.
“It’s not too late to leave. If you go back to your family to claim your successorship, you’ll have access to millions of yuan. You can pay back your debt then,” Chu Ge said.
Shao Yue waved his hands. “You of all people are telling me this? If it were so easy to return home, what are you still doing here helping Yan Jin to clean up this mess?”
Chu Ge received a critical strike.
Avoiding Shao Yue’s eyes, he said untruthfully, “Well, I’m the kind of person who would take a knife for my friends.”
“… Can you repeat that while looking at me?”
“My problems are more complicated. It’s hard to explain.” Chu Ge forcefully changed the topic. “There’s something I’ve always been very curious about. How did you end up owing Yan Jin so much money?”
“Let’s not talk about this. Whenever I remember what happened, I always feel scammed.” Shao Yue’s face warped in distaste just from thinking about it. “My original intention had been to not fight over the inheritance so that everyone would still get along. I hadn’t expected that giving it up so easily would provoke those two old bastards to unleash their own secret scheme. Not only was I forced to accept my cousin’s debt, I was also expelled from the family. You know the rest. Yan Jin was the only one who quickly reached out to help me. I was forced to sell myself into slavery and work endlessly for him.”
“Did you really need his help though? Couldn’t you have settled that amount on your own? Perhaps you would have needed to limit any expenses for a while, but at least you wouldn’t still be in debt right now then, right?” Chu Ge said.
“Settle the debt on my own? How? By crawling back home like an obedient dog after repaying my cousin’s debt?” Shao Yue laughed. “Those debt collectors chased me around for half a month. Even my own mother didn’t want to save me and instead was probably hoping I’d die. My last semblance of dignity had been stripped away; who would I be pretending to be friendly for? And, why should I have to repay other people’s debts? Those people wanted me dead anyways.”
“So then you decided to break off from the Shao Family?”
“It was just a turning point. I had made mental preparations for being abandoned by the Shao Family long ago. The only thing I hadn’t considered was that they would be so heartless.” Shao Yue sighed. “Thankfully, Yan Jin didn’t let me down.”
“Huh? You’re referring to when Yan Jin sold you to the He Family?”
“Damn, can you not rub salt onto my wounds?” Shao Yue was almost about to jump out of his seat. “That guy can really get people angry with his obsession for matchmaking. He’s been single for so long that it’s like he’s got some mental disorder. It wasn’t anyone else’s business in the first place…”
“I agree on that point. If it weren’t for him causing trouble, Nan Wei wouldn’t have been taken away by that fox.” Chu Ge felt a pang in his heart. How could his adorable little brother be married off just like that?
“Speaking of which, both of you are fortunate to have been able to hide your relationship for so long. You two have been working together in the same office and sit so close. After you publicly announce your relationship, you should properly thank Yan Jin at your wedding feast. He was the matchmaker for you two, after all.”
“Get lost! I wasn’t referring to that.” Shao Yue finally realized that their conversation had gone off-topic and quickly corrected it. “Do you want to hear what happened back then or not?”
Chu Ge said with a straight face, “I’m actually more interested in when you two will be getting married.”
Shao Yue: …
Friendship ended with Chu Ge.
Truthfully, Shao Yue hadn’t needed to continue his story. Chu Ge could pretty much guess the rest.
Whether it was the Nan Family or the Shao Family, the best way to retaliate against these greedy families was undoubtedly to make them realize the value of the pieces they had lost.
After being held on their bed and “consoled”, Xiao Yu temporarily forgot what had made him so flustered earlier. He was fighting a losing battle with his eyelids and was about to fall asleep.
Yan Jin sneakily chose this moment to tell Xiao Yu that he had already met with Fang Wanqing after returning from his trip and that she wanted to attend their wedding. Xiao Yu instantly woke up from his drowsiness.
“Is that for real?” Xiao Yu couldn’t believe it.
“Absolutely,” Yan Jin said.
“That can’t be right. The last time she called me, she was still asking when I would introduce my significant other to her.”
“She didn’t specify a gender?”
“Of course she did. She even said to hurry up and have a child.” Xiao Yu prodded Yan Jin’s stomach. “Why don’t you give birth to one and let me see?”
“… If you don’t believe me, why don’t you call her and confirm?”
Xiao Yu said doubtfully, “You aren’t trolling me, right? How am I going to end the call once I start it? Even if there weren’t any issue before, now there’ll be one.”
Yan Jin thought for a moment. Then, he pointed at his coat. “There’s an ATM card in my wallet. Your Auntie Fang already gave me your dowry. I heard she sold her apartment for it.”
“Sss…” Xiao Yu exhaled a breath of cold air. He got up, walked over, and found Yan Jin’s wallet. Then, he lay back down onto the bed and took out the card out of the wallet in front of Yan Jin.
“Wow, you really do have it.” Xiao Yu already pretty much believed Yan Jin. He didn’t suspect that Yan Jin had applied for a new card and put some money on it to trick him because he was quite familiar with the card’s number. He had frequently added money to that account. Each time he had done so, he’d re-confirm the account number with Fang Wanqing. Furthermore, there was a slip of paper attached to the back of the card which had the card’s withdrawal pin. The handwriting matched Fang Wanqing’s.
“Now do you believe me?” Yan Jin moved next to him and wrapped an arm around Xiao Yu’s waist. “I worked so hard for you. Do I get a reward?”
“You expect to be rewarded for this?” Xiao Yu swatted at Yan Jin’s chest with his palm and angrily said, “Hurry up and tell me everything! How did you get in touch with Auntie Fang? What did you say to her? Otherwise, you’ll hear no end of it from me!”
“Can you be reasonable?” Yan Jin caught Xiao Yu’s hand and rubbed it on his face. “Clearly, I did something for you that you hadn’t dared to do yourself. Anything less than tears of gratitude is essentially a stab in the back. Are you the snake in ‘The Farmer and the Snake’? Can you show me your tail?” [TLN: The Farmer and the Snake is one of Aesop’s fables where a farmer rescues a snake and then the snake kills the farmer.]
The arm Yan Jin had around Xiao Yu’s waist began to slide lower. His intentions were clear.
“You think about this day and night! You’re the snake! You’re definitely the snake, a lustful snake!” Xiao Yu angrily pushed Yan Jin’s mischievous hand away.
“Your temper is still running so hot even after hearing such a good piece of news. I’ll help cool you down, alright?” Yan Jin said seductively.
“Quit messing around!” Xiao Yu exploded from the teasing. If he had his hamster ears on top of his head, they would definitely be standing straight up. “Hurry up and explain yourself!”
“Okay, okay, I’ll tell you.” Perhaps he’d teased him too much. With an eye on Xiao Yu, Yan Jin hurriedly retracted his arms and pushed himself into a sitting position against the headboard. Smiling, he asked, “What do you want to know?”
Xiao Yu inhaled deeply.
“First, first tell me how you got in touch with Auntie Fang. I don’t remember giving you her contact details.”
“It wasn’t hard to find. Anyone who really wants that information would be able to find it fairly quickly.” Halfway through, Yan Jin realized that Xiao Yu’s expression had turned ugly and quickly added, “I had a good reason this time. I didn’t specifically go investigate anything you’d done!”
Xiao Yu pouted. His expression clearly said “Keep digging your own grave.”
Yan Jin looked at Xiao Yu’s disbelieving expression and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “I really did have a special reason this time. Do you remember that before my trip, you asked me to check on your half brother?”
“Xiao Zihao? I remember.” Xiao Yu suddenly remembered this incident and quickly connected the dots. “You contacted Auntie Fang because of Xiao Zihao?”
“Wow, children really can be educated.” Yan Jin sighed in admiration. “I’ve finally proven my innocence.”
Although Xiao Yu felt that something wasn’t quite right, when he heard about Xiao Zihao, his attention was shifted away. “What were the results of your investigation? What’s Xiao Zihao been up to these days? Is he doing alright?”
Xiao Yu’s relationship with his younger brother couldn’t be considered too good. Ever since he was a child, Xiao Zihao had been pampered by Fang Wanqing and ultimately grew up without any moral sense. Fang Wanqing was a very reasonable and wise woman. Xiao Yu didn’t know why she had spoiled Xiao Zihao so much. As a child, Xiao Yu had been Xiao Zihao’s scapegoat on many occasions.
However, when their father had passed away, the young Xiao Zihao had stood in front of Xiao Yu and declared to the scheming relatives who were planning to adopt Xiao Yu, “Big brother is part of our family! Now and forever!”
Many years later, Xiao Zihao had long since forgotten the promise he had made. Instead, he had only treated his inarticulate brother as his own ATM. Nonetheless, Xiao Yu had never forgotten how moved he had felt. To him, Xiao Zihao would always be his little brother, and Fang Wanqing would always be his mother.