Outside the sanatorium was a large forest. Spring had come and brought with it a decent landscape of trees and flowers in its path.
Yang Chen sat on the edge of the forest in an ancient-looking pavilion. Evidently, no one came to this pavillion judging by how dirty the stools were. However, Yang Chen sat on one of them, unbothered.
Standing at the other side of the pavilion was a middle-aged man who was wearing a white shirt and a black suit pants. His face showed hardships and lament while he silently stood thinking of what next to say.
There was another young man standing with an upright posture and a cold face outside the pavilion. He would glance at Yang Chen occasionally with his gaze which was a little complicated.
One of them had been trying to get Tang Wan for decades but to no avail. He was none other than Tang Tang’s biological father—Fang Zhongping. The other man was his bodyguard, Dugu Zui, whom Yang Chen had once beaten in a fight without breaking sweat.
Yang Chen was shocked to see both of them coming out from the sanatorium. In fact, he assumed that he wouldn't have to deal with Fang Zhongping anymore for the rest of his life. He was a cultured man and Yang Chen didn’t really hate him although he was condescending due to his superior status.
However, the relationship between them was somewhat subtle because of Tang Wan.
Tang Wan didn’t love of Fang Zhongping who had chased her for a decade or more while she took the initiative to confess her feelings to Yang Chen whom she had known for less than a year. From Yang Chen’s perspective, that wasn’t something any man was willing to just let go.
Fang Zhongping would’ve probably thought of a way to get rid of Yang Chen if and only if the latter lacked the identity as a Yang clan member.
Therefore, Yang Chen was shocked when Fang Zhongping requested to talk to him.
After some time, Fang Zhongping seemed to have had enough of the the greenish scenery. He turned around and spoke in a slightly sad tone, “Speaking of my first time meeting Master Tang, I was just a little kid when my father brought me to Beijing for a visit. In the blink of an eye, twenty years have passed since then.”
Yang Chen quietly listened to what he said because he knew that Fang Zhongping wasn’t done yet.
“In my mind, I always remember the impression that Master Tang gives. He is serious in speech and manner, has an aura of natural dignity and power, and he is a hale and hearty senior. A few days ago, I wanted to pay him a visit as I had a meeting in Beijing. Unfortunately, I received the news that Master Tang had been sent to Zhonghai for treatment.” Fang Zhongping frowned and said, “I’m very upset to see Master Tang face such a situation.”
I really don’t think anyone would be happy to see this, Yang Chen thought.
“Tang Wan didn’t tell me about this,” Fang Zhongping said suddenly, “If I didn’t coincidentally hear about this, I wouldn’t have known that so much has happened to the Tang clan.”
Yang Chen blinked his eyes and said, “What are you trying to say?”
Fang Zhongping sighed. “Although I feel very frustrated, I have to admit that I’m inferior to you in her eyes.”
Yang Chen smiled. “She might have thought that you were too busy. Also, she needed my help.”
“You’re right. She needs your help but she doesn’t need me,” Fang Zhongping said bitterly. “To her, our Fang clan is just a rich and influential one in Zhonghai. For a woman like her, there’s no reason for her to pay any attention to us. My power is just simply dispensable for her.”
“She doesn’t look at you that way,” Yang Chen said with his brows furrowed.
“I know,” Fang Zhongping said with a smile. “I know that she doesn’t care about all of these. However, after the incident this time, I realized that you are indeed more capable. You’re the one who could help her through her difficulties. As for me, I appear weak and useless at times like these.”
Yang Chen remained silent. He was speaking the truth. Evidently, the enemies Tang Wan was faced with weren’t people a mere party secretary could deal with.
“I heard that you helped Tang Wan find Miss Jane from the Royal Academy of Sciences to treat Master Tang. I’ve heard of Miss Jane’s reputation. Not many people in this world could just invite her over. It looks like Tang Wan found the right person for help,” Fang Zhongping said.
“Jane is only my friend, not my subordinate,” Yang Chen said.
“Your relations with her don’t matter. I only want to say that… if Tang Wan encounters any other troubles later on, please be sure to continue helping her,” Fang Zhongping said sincerely.
Yang Chen laughed. “Is this all you want to say after asking me for a talk?”
“Yes. Although I know this is a little inappropriate, I would like to finish my words,” Fang Zhongping said bitterly, “Tang Wan… She has sacrificed a lot for the Tang clan. She has been supporting it all alone which is incredibly tough. Due to my incompetence, I couldn’t support her in any way even though I love her. Now that there is someone that she can depend on, I think… I should give up completely.”
Yang Chen thought for a while and said, “Listening to your tone, it sounds like you know something.”
Fang Zhongping hesitated for a while and shook his head. “I think Tang Wan didn’t want to tell you about it but since you ask, i don’t mind telling you. Do you know why Tang Wan doesn’t want to marry but she gives birth to Tang Tang at an early age?”
Yang Chen was stunned. He hadn’t thought of that question before. If Tang Wan didn’t like Fang Zhongping, she could’ve chosen another man. However, that just couldn’t be justified. After all, Tang Wan was only around twenty when she gave birth to Tang Tang via assisted reproductive technology.
As for choosing her man, Tang Wan had chosen Fang Zhongping which evidently had proven him to be her most trusted man.
Yang Chen shook his head as he couldn’t understand why.
Fang Zhongping pondered for a while before saying, “Actually, the story starts from Tang Wan’s father, Uncle Tang Lun…”
“Tang Lun?” Yang Chen frowned. He recalled back to the day when he first met Master Tang and the old man was calling for ‘Lun’. He asked Tang Wan who that ‘Lun’ was but she wasn’t willing to talk about it. He finally found out that the man was Tang Wan’s father!
Fang Zhongping gradually revealed everything that has happened all those years ago. Tang Zhechen’s eldest son was Tang Wan’s father Tang Lun. He was once the most talented young man in the Tang clan and was Master Tang’s favorite. Without a doubt, Tang Lun was considered a worthy successor to the clan. Many people even thought that Tang Lun would achieve more than his father.
However, things turned out quite differently than expected. Tang Lun seemed to have it all from the outside but deep down there were undersides that were planted deep in his heart. Perhaps it was caused by all the stress that was accumulated since he was little and his psychology needed a vent. It ended up resulting in domestic violence.
Not long after the birth of Tang Wan’s younger brother Tang Jue, Tang Lun’s mental illness had reached an unprecedented level.
Although no outsiders were informed about the issue, some of the core figures at home gradually discovered a series of problems between Tang Lun and his wife. However, Master Tang sealed off every rumour and gossip to maintain the facade of the clan while he tried to recover the eldest son’s psychological condition.
One morning, Tang Lun’s wife was nowhere to be found by the family members of the Tang clan. In the end, it was discovered that Tang Lun cruelly murdered his wife and then committed suicide in the room… The incident twenty years ago had been a shocking one to the upper class of Beijing. If it wasn’t for Master Tang who had handled the situation with the utmost care, the reputation of the Tang clan would be thoroughly wiped out back then.
Even so, that unfortunate incident had caused psychological changes in Master Tang, Tang Wan, and her brother.
The scene of her father cruelly abusing her mother was trauma inducing to Tang Wan, who was already a sensible child then. She naturally kept her distance with men as she grew up. Although it didn't cause an attitude distortion, it was still unacceptable.
In addition to the cliques and factions that were formed within the clan, even with the protection of Tang Zhechen, the growth of the two siblings was full of hardships.
Although Tang Jue was obedient to Tang Wan’s words, she was still lacking in power. Tang Wan grew up with her younger brother. So she was naturally worried that Tang Jue could get oppressed by the clan members if she were to get married.
However, it wasn’t easy to stay unmarried as she was the young lady from a wealthy and influential clan. Often, her identity was far more attractive than herself.
Tang Wan was indeed a real beauty to begin with. It caused countless men to come and seek for marriage.
In the end, Tang Wan who had just turned twenty decisively chose a path that no one else could think of—receiving an artificial impregnation and giving birth to a child.
It was an act that could be regarded as a scandal, but it wasn’t opposed by Master Tang. The old man suppressed the public’s anger and even handed over the Maple Group to Tang Wan, making her one of the most powerful successors in the Tang clan.
This way, Tang Wan wouldn’t have had to face the stress that came with marriage. After all, no one would risk being criticized by going after Tang Wan as they would seem to just be aiming for her family background instead. On the other hand, Tang Wan could finally stay in the Tang clan while taking care of the enterprise and at the same time looking after his only brother Tang Jue. However, due to the overwhelming opposition of her clan members, Tang Wan was forced to stay in Jiangnan for quite a few years… Following Fang Zhongping’s narration, Yang Chen could roughly deduce the series of events that caused the consequences to take place.
Thinking back to the first few times when Yang Chen met Tang Wan, she was indeed keeping a distance with men because of the trauma left in her memories.
“She’s a poor woman.” Fang Zhongping sighed.
Yang Chen raised his head and looked at him. “You’re also a poor man.”
Fang Zhongping was startled before laughing. “You’re right. We’re in the same boat.”
Yang Chen looked at Fang Zhongping who appeared to be crying and laughing at the same time. He felt bad for him but no one could ever be forced to love. He stood up and said, “I will take my leave if that is all.”
Fang Zhongping turned away, seemingly unwilling to face Yang Chen, before nodding his head.
Yang Chen walked slowly to his car and opened the door. He looked back at the man who was standing in the pavilion and took another glance at the seemingly peaceful and quiet sanatorium before boarding the car.