“Do you know why I hit you?” Rose asked coldly.
Chen Rong bit her lower lip in an attempt to control her tears. “I—I shouldn’t have helped Lei Zhen bed for mercy. His actions had granted him necessary consequences.”
“It isn’t wrong to beg for mercy. He was the founding member of the society. There are others who would do the same,” Rose answered.
Chen Rong was stunned. It was clear that she had no idea what the real reason was.
Slowly, Rose explained, “Don’t tell me that you were unaware of what Gao Yue from Green Dragon Society has done.”
Panic surfaced in Chen Rong’s eyes. She immediately knew what Rose was referring to.
“Sister Rose, please let me explain. It isn’t what you think it is!”
“Explain?” Rose snorted coldly. “I let you manage our partnership with Green Dragon Society. That did not mean I let you commit crimes with them or allow you to make every single decision on your own. The only reason Red Thorns Society managed to conquer the underworld of Zhonghai isn’t because of our power, but because what we do does not cross certain governmental boundaries.
“I only delegated a small amount of power to you. But what you did with it was more ruthless than anything I had ever done. Also, it doesn’t matter what your reasons were. The first thing you should have done was report the matter to me!”
Chen Rong paled even further. Shivering slightly, she muttered, “I—I just thought that rejecting Gao Yue’s request would hurt our relations with Green Dragon Society. He is a highly ranked member of their society. Not to mention we had just formed our partnership. So I wanted to please them a little in order to improve our partnership… I—I wanted to tell you but haven’t had the chance to…”
As Chen Rong spoke, her voice gradually faded into the background. She knew that Rose would not accept such a weak reason like that.
Indifference filled Rose’s eyes. She then shut her eyes before letting out a long sigh. “I expected great things from you in the beginning, you know that? Your ability to learn and adapt surpassed me when I was your age. However, it is exactly because I expected a lot from you that I’m deeply disappointed in you this time…”
In the end, Chen Rong couldn’t hold back the tears in her eyes anymore. Her teardrops fell uncontrollably as she sobbed. “Sister Rose… I’m… I’m sorry…”
“What’s there to feel sorry about? It is I who have granted you this power. It is also I who have failed in that regard.” Rose smiled bitterly. “You should apologize to the female university students whom Gao Yue had exploited instead. Along with the hundreds of civilians bullied by Lei Zhen and his men.”
Chen Rong nodded his head forcefully, but couldn’t speak a word. She herself wasn’t sure why she had did all those regretful things without thinking first. Now that she had been exposed by Rose, she felt that she couldn’t forgive herself!
“Rongrong.” Rose suddenly extended her arm and caressed Chen Rong’s cheek. It was was rather swollen as Rose had slapped her earlier.
Chen Rong barely raised her head and gazed upon Rose with her watery eyes.
“Do you know how mad I was when I realized my men from Red Thorns Society were collecting protection fees and blackmailing the public? I rarely leave the house. Yet I was able to encounter such a situation. I can’t help but imagine just how much has happened in the past few months when I was absent! I don’t even want to think about how many people see us as scum of the earth now.”
“It is true that many have treated us as scum since the start. ‘The word ‘filthy’ has been used to describe us in the past. But must we conform to their taunts and contaminate the world further as a result?”
Chen Rong remained silent. Ever since she had chosen to walk this path, she felt sinful on the inside. She even got rather guilty when she faced her elder brother Chen Bo.
However, when Rose said that, Chen Rong realized that her career wasn’t all that bad. It was the lack of effort to accept society as it is that made her work so unbearable.
At this moment, Yang Chen who had been standing aside walked over. Gently, he said, “Rose, I believe that’s enough. Rongrong isn’t a child anymore. I believe she understands your point. Your slap earlier was too hard. She doesn’t even dare to look at you now.”
Chen Rong looked at Yang Chen thankfully. She didn’t expect Yang Chen to still treat her so politely when she made a mistake.
Rose nodded her head and smiled faintly in silence.
Yang Chen then looked at Chen Rong. “Rongrong, you’ve been on this path for some time now. I can understand that no one is perfect. There is no one that isn’t tempted by anything in this world, am I right?”
Chen Rong wiped her swollen eyes and said, “Thank you, Brother Yang. I will change for the better.”
“That’s good. It’s all in the past now. I still believe you are capable of greater things than this. I believe your Sister Rose would still raise you as her inheritor. However, Rongrong, you mustn’t repeat a mistake like that again…”
Chen Rong hurriedly shook her head. “Absolutely not. I—I’ll try my best to keep them under control.”
Yang Chen smiled but his eyes revealed coldness. “I’m your elder brother’s friend. Which makes me responsible for your well- being. Not to mention it was I who have sent you to Rose. However, you should remember that if you intentionally pull off something so unforgivable, I… Brother Yang, will not hesitate to send you to hell. Even your brother will not be able to change your fate…”
Rose felt a chill run up her spine, freezing her in her tracks!
She could tell that Yang Chen wasn’t just frightening her. The previously tender man was warning to kill her if she repeated her mistake…
Yang Chen stopped speaking. Holding Rose’s arm, he turned around and bid farewell to Old Li.
Old Li had been stunned long ago, his mind going blank. He finally realized that Yang Chen existed in a separate class from mere mortals like himself. Yang Chen did not change only after marrying an impressive wife, but he himself wielded unimaginable powers!
Old Li pondered about the past as his forehead was covered in cold sweat. He was strongly against her daughter Li Jingjing from interacting with Yang Chen back then. But had it not been their friendship, Yang Chen might’ve slain him and his wife already!
His mind was filled with questions. Old Li failed to realize that Yang Chen had said goodbye and left with Rose long ago.
Due to the conflict, the street was rendered empty. Chen Rong who was petrified stood at the same position absentmindedly, being shone upon by the lights under the night sky, wondering what was to come of her next.
Walking to the parking area, Rose held Yang Chen’s arm as they walked. Softly, she said, “You didn’t have to frighten her like that. The child knows what to do.”
Yang Chen looked at Rose and answered, “Who told you I was just frightening her?”
Rose was surprised. “Wi—will you really kill her?”
“If she goes back to the grey area even after her second chance, being the one who has sent her here, I must also be the one to right my wrong,” Yang Chen said. “Of course, I too believe that she wouldn’t repeat her mistake.”
Rose nodded her head. From her eyes it was obvious that she felt worried for Chen Rong. Deep down her heart, she treated Chen Rong as her own sister, but she knew that Yang Chen’s decision was final.
After the series of events, Rose was rather tired. Yang Chen sent her home and drove back to his place.
In the living hall, Guo Xuehua was once again watching Korean drama with Wang Ma. Lin Ruoxi was nowhere to be seen. He guessed that she was in the study room dealing with work, which allowed him to breathe slightly easier. It could be said that he was quite afraid of her.
He couldn’t be bothered about what was happening in the drama on the television. The main actress was crying resentfully after getting slapped by her mother-in-law.
Guo Xuehua and Wang Ma were both holding pity in their gazes, as if their own daughter was the one being hit.
Yang Chen sighed helplessly and walked upstairs slowly. He didn’t want to disturb the two elders. Entering his own room, he planned to take a shower and go to bed early.
As he was about to step into the bathroom, his phone rang. It was a call from a strange number.
Yang Chen frowned, assuming that it was a mistake. But he still picked it up regardless.
“Hi, who’s speaking?” Yang Chen lay on his bed lazily.
The call was completely silent for a while before a gentle and familiar voice could be heard.
Yang Chen laughed. “I thought it was a wrong number. But it turned out to be Hui Lin instead. Tsk tsk, why did you suddenly call me? Is this number yours?”
Hui Lin hadn’t returned home since she won the championship of Star of Yu Lei. The company had filled her work schedule fully to utilize the fame she had gathered from the competition by promoting her in different cities. Naturally, her time was filled with activities like concerts and fan meetings.
Moreover, due to her exceptional voice in addition to her talent in music, she was provided with the opportunity to work with many famous music producers. She had several albums that she had to prepare for. The process in song recording alone was tedious, so she had no spare time to come home and ‘visit her relatives’.
Hui Lin answered, “This is my new number. I asked my manager Sister Jenny to get me a new phone.”
Yang Chen was unaware of any manager called Jenny in his company. He was ashamed to call himself the director of the company. “I haven’t seen you in a while. What have you been busy with?”
“I have returned to Beijing. But I have spent most of my days in the recording studio for my new album,” Hui Lin answered softly. “Brother Yang… are Elder Sister, Aunt Guo, Wang Ma, and Zhenxiu doing fine?”
Yang Chen felt a little downhearted after listening to what she said. That kid has stayed in this house for quite a while already. I believe she’s formed a strong bond with the people here. Now that she’s suddenly away from home, although she was originally from Beijing, the only people she got to meet were employees. I guess she’s feeling lonely there. After Lin Zhiguo left, Abbess Yun Miao has to take over the Lin clan in addition to fulfilling her duties within Yellow Flame Iron Brigade—her time could not be sat constantly watching over her granddaughter, he thought.
“Yeah, they’re all doing well. What could happen to them while I’m here?” Yang Chen asked, “How about you? You must call me immediately if there’s anything you’re dissatisfied with. I’ll help you take care of any troubles that you may have. You don’t have to suffer in silnce. You’re a superstar and not a stress reliever for anyone, do you understand?”
Yang Chen was most worried that Hui Lin was as naive as before. That would result in she being bullied in the entertainment industry. Should Lin Ruoxi find out about that, she’d feel a major headache.
Hui Lin happily hummed in acknowledgement. “Thank you, Brother Yang. Then… does it mean that… I could call you more often in the future?”
Yang Chen was slightly shocked. Smiling, he answered, “Of course you can. You’re the busy one here, while I pretty much do nothing all day. As long as you’re free, you could even call me at midnight.”
Hui Lin was all the more pleased. She then said, “Then… will Brother Yang come to Beijing to visit me?”
Yang Chen felt that it was a coincidence. “Now that you reminded me, I have to visit Beijing soon. I might be there awhile, so I’ll definitely pay you a visit. No matter what, you’re the future star of our company. Being the company’s boss, it would only be right for me to check up on you, wouldn’t it?”
Hui Lin chuckled. She then hesitated before asking, “Will Elder Sister and the others come as well?”
“Erm…” Yang Chen was going to the Cai clan in Beijing to talk about his relationship with Cai Yan. If he brought Lin Ruoxi there, wouldn’t he be asking for death? Thus, he said, “I’ll be going alone. What is it? Would you only be glad if your elder sister went?”
Hui Lin hurriedly denied, “No, that’s not the case. It’s fine if Elder Sister is busy at work. I’m happy enough that Brother Yang can come and see me. When you visit, I’ll bring Brother Yang to my home. Grandma is still in Beijing; she’ll definitely be happy to see Brother Yang!”
Yang Chen exuded cold sweat. “It’s still early now… We—we’ll talk about it when the time comes…”
Why the heck should I visit Yun Miao? What if she forces me to marry Hui Lin? he thought.
Yang Chen vaguely felt that Hui Lin had similar intentions for him. However, It wasn’t right for him to brutally draw a line between them. It was becoming increasingly hard to be a man these days.
The call finally ended after they chatted a bit more, and Yang Chen gave Hui Lin encouragement.
In the end, Yang Chen wondered if Hui Lin had made a call to everyone or just to him alone. But he couldn’t go ahead and ask. It wouldn’t be good if he was the only one who received a call from him.
Yang Chen didn’t want to think about it too much. Removing his clothes and pants, leaving only his underwear, he planned to take a shower in the bathroom.
At this moment, someone neared his room.
Yang Chen was surprised. Judging from the footsteps, he felt that it wasn’t Lin Ruoxi. As he wondered whether it was Guo Xuehua or Wang Ma, the door was suddenly pushed open!
Since Yang Chen was never in the habit of locking his door since, he didn't expect anyone to barge into a room without knocking on the door beforehand!
Guo Xuehua could be seen standing by the door. Her face initially contained a smile, but it soon displayed shock, followed by a little awkwardness. However, she didn’t back off.
Yang Chen was rather embarrassed. “Mom, why didn’t you knock first before coming in?”
Guo Xuehua found it funny. “There’s nothing shameful here anyway. Is it inappropriate for your mother to see you half-naked?”
Yang Chen thought, No wonder Ning Guangyao didn’t choose you back then, and went for my mother-in-law instead. It sure seems like perversion runs in the family.
He dared not speak his mind aloud of course. Yang Chen giggled and said, “I was going to take a shower. Mom, what do you want to tell me?”
“I’ll go straight to the point then. Since Ruoxi isn’t home now, I wanna ask if you’ve set the place and venue to see that mother-in-law of yours. I think we should make the meeting as soon as possible.” Guo Xuehua was rather worried.
Yang Chen wasn’t against having it early of course. He briefly explained what Ma Guifang told him. She wanted Guo Xuehua to pick both the time and venue.
Guo Xuehua nodded and contemplated for a while. “How about tomorrow? Ruoxi will be at work, so that is taken care of. I feel like a special agent now, trying to hide from my own daughter-in-law and help you deceive others. Sigh, let’s go to Dragonwell Teahouse for lunch.”
Yang Chen smiled shamelessly. He didn’t find anything about this situation inappropriate. Since he wasn’t required to show up in the office every day, he agreed to Guo Xuehua’s suggestion. When the time came, he would pick Ma Guifang up while Guo Xuehua would drive there alone.
Ma Guifang actually lived next door, but Yang Chen was too embarrassed to tell his mother, afraid that she would find out two of his lovers lived together. He felt that she could find it hard to accept, so he wanted to explain during the meeting.