Everyone present stopped in their tracks. Cai Yuncheng and Jiang Shan were dumbfounded, so was Yong Ye. But the latter was angry more than anything.
Meanwhile, Yang Chen had been observing the expression in Cai Ning’s eyes. He felt a sense of relief when he heard her finally speak her mind.
Cai Ning’s pupils eluded a sense of clarity and determination, which reminded Yang Chen of the incident when he went deep into the forest in the darkest hours of the night to rescue her from the hands of Lilith.
“What if… I tell you not to go. Would you agree?” Words slipped through his mouth.
Cai Ning moved her lips ever so slightly as she mumbled, “If you have a reason for it.”
“I do.” Yang Chen cracked a smile. “And the reason is, I don’t like it.“
Tears accumulated in her eyes, as she gave a bitter smile.
Jiang Shan was starting to feel that something was a little off. She glanced over at Yong Ye that was almost on the verge of erupting. She couldn’t wait to rid Yang Chen off her house. She immediately grabbed Cai Ning by the shoulder and taunted her. “What is the matter with you? It’s your wedding. Why are you asking him to make the decision?”
Cai Ning guiltily stared at her mother as she replied, “I’m sorry Mother. But I’m not going.”
“For what?” Yong Ye had enough as he raged. He yelled, “Just because this bastard said he doesn’t like that we go for our own wedding shoot? Cai Ning you better have a legitimate reason for this.”
Jiang Shan was furious. “What nonsense is this? You have to go.”
Cai Ning kept her silence, but was nervously biting on her lips.
“Since she has already made it clear that she doesn’t want to go, she shouldn’t have to go.” Yang Chen held her back, as he shielded her from the criticism. “Aunt, I believe this is ultimately her decision to make. I don’t think that this is the right call to make. This person involved isn’t even that into him. I hope you can understand.”
Jiang Shan was filled with anger as her finger trembled while pointing at Yang Chen. “You… what is it you want from us? Is your goal to destroy our family?”
“All I ever wanted was to have no regrets.” Yang Chen lost his smile. “Regardless of whether or not I know what all this is about, I strongly oppose Cai Ning from marrying this bastard. My reckless behaviour has led to all the mistreatment that Cai Ning had to bear over here in Beijing. But I’m a man of dignity and I will not let her carry the consequences of my actions any longer. This wedding will be called off one way or another.”
After he said what he had in mind, he felt free. The weight inside of him had finally been lifted.
Cai Ning stood behind Yang Chen as she struggled to hold her tears. She shut her eyes, as if she planned to let fate decide the future.
“You’re going to bear the responsibility? How? If you’re that great then why is our daughter going through all this! If it’s not because of Yanyan, I would have chased you out of the house ages ago!” Jiang Shan yelled as her face turned red.
Yang Chen shrugged like he had no care in the world. “No problem, if that’s what you, my mother-in-law, want then I’ll do it. But if I leave, he must leave too.” Yang Chen pouted his lips towards the direction where Yong Ye was standing.
“Yong Ye is the son-in-law whom I approve of. Why should he leave?” Jiang Shan rebuked.
Cai Yuncheng, who was still standing on the sidelines, started to worry if Yang Chen would actually get mad after all the yelling from his wife. That would have opened a can of worms that he would prefer not to deal with. He immediately sprang up to comfort his wife. Frowning, he concluded, “That’s enough. Don’t let the girls witness this side of you.”
Jiang Shan broke free from her husband’s grasp as she continued her fiery speech. “What? Just because you’re being a coward I have to be one too? This disgusting rascal destroyed everything I worked so hard to maintain. I’m just doing this to protect our daughter!”
Yong Ye was secretly pleased with how everything had progressed. As Yang Chen was continuously bombarded by Jiang Shan, he quickly remembered how he was a member of the Li clan. Regardless of how high and mighty Yang Chen was, he would never risk a conflict with the Li clan of Beijing. Moreover Cai Ning was still burdened by the court case. Without his ransom, she would surely be thrown into prison by now.
With a sinister grin, he taunted, “Yeah Uncle Cai, a marriage is decided between both clans. How can anyone just casually amend it whenever they want to. If Uncle were to stand by Yang Chen, then I suppose my clan would—”
Before Yong Ye could finish his sentence, Yang Chen dashed behind him and forcefully flipped his arm over his throat, choking him in the process.
Yong Ye didn’t manage to react before he realised his entire trachea was clamped. His face turned bright red as he suffocated, unable to spout another word.
The entire scene went from a heated conversation to an all-out combat!
“Ahh!” Jiang Shan screamed at the top of her lungs. She had no idea Yang Chen had such nimble reflexes, and was clearly not afraid to use them.
Under the mounting force of Yang Chen’s strength, Yong Ye was unable to do anything. He gradually felt his head spinning before an intense killing aura resonated from Yang Chen, causing him to nearly pass out.
Yang Chen on the other hand, was acting like he was controlling a puppet, as he rotated Yong Ye’s torso to face Jiang Shan, before he emphasized. “Aunt, I think you’re misunderstanding this situation. I obey your demands not because I’m afraid of you, but because of my respect towards you as the mother of my lover.
“However, if I want to end this wedding, I will end it. It’s not an enquiry of your opinion, but a statement.
“What I say, will come to pass. I need no one’s consent.
“Because you’re Yanyan’s mother I will not harm you. But this bastard has nothing to do with me. Killing him would be much easier and quicker than ending Zeng Mao’s life back then.”
Jiang Shan felt a cold snap as she noticed the fearless eyes of Yang Chen. At that moment, she understood that he was determined to go through with his plan.
Cai Yuncheng got vocal on his distress, as he insisted, “Yang Chen, calm down. There’s no benefits in killing Yong Ye.”
“General Cai, whether or not he dies today is his own decision to make.” Yang Chen gave a soulless grin as he whispered into Yong Ye’s ears. “Hey, I’m asking you one last time. Do you still want to go for that wedding shoot with Cai Ning and proceed with the marriage?”
Yong Ye at that moment, felt that his neck was about to break as he gasped for air whenever he could. As for the marriage, that didn’t matter one bit in desperate moments like this. “N—no… I don’t…”
Jiang Shan’s expression went bitter. Never would she have expected that Yong Ye had no courage within him. Just a little pressure and he was willing to call off the whole marriage.
Nevermind that she knew he wasn’t a noble and righteous man. But this coward was far from what she would have expected for someone of the Li clan’s bloodline.
But she also understood that the demon holding Yong Ye by the neck was a killing machine.
Yong Ye was actually preoccupied with the idea of getting Cai Ning, but it was more lust than love. So ultimately to him, it was not worth risking his own life for that.
Yang Chen was finally satisfied as he laughed, “Oh, good to know that you’re so cooperative. Then why all the ruckus?” As he finished his sarcastic reply he subsequently tossed Yong Ye off to a corner.
Yong Ye, upon receiving his newfound freedom, instantly dashed out the house.
Jiang Shan was about to question Yong Ye for clarifications but he was not keen to stop for anything at the moment.
Cai Yunchen sighed, resigned to what had just taken place. “Well this marriage was a road paved with problems from the start. Now that Yong Ye himself has called it off, let’s pretend it never happened.”
“What problems are you talking about?” Jiang Shan was not done with her rant. “What do you even know about this? If Yong Ye doesn’t marry Ning’er then her military court case will never be settled.”
Cai Yunchen went silent as he stared towards Yang Chen.
Yang Chen waved his hands and replied, “No problem. If that case continues to persist, I’ll just clamp down the judge and force a decision. It’s not the first time I’ve done it anyway.”
“Huh, you think Beijing in its entirety is your backyard? Wait till Yong Ye goes back to his clan and seek revenge with his cousin Li Dun. Let’s see what he’ll do to you then!” Jiang Shan was enraged to no end. “Yang Chen, don’t blame our clan for whatever comes next. It’s all your fault for interfering with our business!”
“Shut up!” Cai Yunchen had enough. “Since when were you given the final say in this household?”
“So I’m supposed to rely on you? A coward?” Jiang Shan was not budging.
Cai Ning stood silently as she saw her parents engage in a fiery debate over her circumstance. Unable to succumb to the pressure, she quietly slipped to the back of the living room.
Yang Chen felt bad for her. All these years as the oldest child in her family, she had developed a personality of perseverance. Her father had always been a conservative, and her mother brash and uncompromising. She had to somehow balance them, her life, and still take care of her younger sister.
Yang Chen hesitated before leaving the couple engrossed in a heated argument behind and proceeded towards the direction which Cai Ning went.
The walkway at the back of the living room led straight towards the impluvium in the side garden. Underneath the Chinese parasol tree was Cai Ning gazing at the sky.
The sun bathed its light on the individual leaves, and onto Cai Ning’s face that was riddled with uncertainty, resembling that of a jade statue sunbathing in daylight.
Yang Chen had an unyielding sense of confusion as he stood a few steps behind her. He then asked if she was doing fine.
Cai Ning turned to face him, before cracking a smile. “Why?”
“Why didn’t you let me go?” Cai Ning tilted her head ever so slightly, before repeating the question.