Chapter 42 - Stubborness
“You’re back!” Shao Xian said with a happy smile as she welcomed Sai Gao, who had saved her from the chaos of the Music Festival.
“Can you make some room for us in the garden? I have something I need to put there.”
“Oh? Did you buy anything? Is it some kind of potted plant?” Shao Xian opened a pack of wet tissue and gave it to him.
“It's a stone.” Sai Gao said as he pulled one sheet out.
“Is he your friend?” Shao Xian said as she looked at Fu Bo with a broad, warm smile.
“Yes, you could say that.” Sai Gao said as he turned back in frustration, only to see Fu Bo smiling back at him — it was the thirteenth time he had introduced Fu Bo to Shao Xian, only for her to forget about him a few minutes later. That was without counting the half a year they had lived together before the stone exhibition.
“Nice to meet you, I’m Shao Xian,” Shao Xian extended her hand.
“I’m Fu Bo.” Fu Bo wiped the sweat off his hands and answered the salutation.
“I’ll leave you to introducing yourself again, since you seem to enjoy it so much…” Sai Gao grumbled and made for the inside.
“Are you…” Shao Xian said hesitantly, as she was aware of the extraordinary powers Sai Gao possessed. Somehow she was able to retain all of her memories after the incident at the music festival.
“Well, I'm not a guardian. My situation is a lot like yours, actually.”
“Oh? You’ve met me before?”
“Well, I know about the Masked Challenger... want to play together sometimes?”
“Of course!” Shao Xian said, without remembering that Fu Bo could never play online games, since his account would always get deleted after a while.
“Is this the place to deliver the stone?” A voice was suddenly heard behind the door.
“Yes! Please bring it inside.” Fu Bo answered with a loud voice.
A crew of several men came in, dragging the stone along with them before finally setting it down to the designated location.
“That's a really big stone!” Shao Xian said after she paid the delivery crew.
“It's okay, we’re only leaving it here for a few days.” Fu Bo said as he caressed the stone.
“I really don't understand the way you spend money, but…” Shao Xian said as she made for the kitchen to prepare some tea.
“You wouldn't say that if you understood the value of this stone…” Fu Bo mumbled as he slid his finger slowly across the uneven surface of the stone. ‘The dimensions of the stone match the calendar’s… Also, these holes… Is this from the eight diagrams…?’
* * *
“You've brought me this far away just to have a look at her?” Tian Yan said as she played around with her ponytail, which she did not have a chance to wear ever since leaving Ying Mei’s company.
“Can you see anything?” Ying Mei said as she pushed Tian Yan’s wheelchair forward as she walked forward graciously.
One of the National Security agents who had been posted to guard Wu Jia stared in shock at the two’s incredible beauty. Wu Jia had not only awakened a lot later than Lin Lu, but she had also forgotten everything that happened. She had been told by National Security that after collapsing from a heat stroke, Li Yiming had brought him in and that she had to focus on recovering.
“She's very weak,” Tian Yan said as she rubbed the back of her head against Ying Mei’s hand, just like she used to do.
“You know that that's not what I'm asking about,” Ying Mei said as she gently tapped on Tian Yan’s head and brushed her hair to the side.
“Then there's nothing else. She has a good family, a nice upbringing, and if nothing else happens, she's going to have a happy life with two children.”
“A happy life... What about her past?”
“Nothing exceptional. But it seems like something occurred recently, that's probably why she's in the hospital.”
“So even you can't see what the reason is…?”
“Who is she?” Tian Yan asked hesitantly. She chose to look away from Ying Mei’s intense glare, hiding the fact that she recognized Wu Jia as being the girl in Li Yiming’s tea shop.
“Remember Guo Xiang?” Ying Mei’s lips curled up when she noticed Tian Yan’s uneasiness, and the sincerity of her smile gradually waned away.
“Yes…” Tian Yan’s body trembled, as the name was one which had changed her entire life.
“We suspect that she might have been one of his women.”
“That's impossible. She wouldn't be this clean if she has had anything to do with him.”
“Then perhaps I'm making a mistake.” Ying Mei smiled and pushed the wheelchair forward. As the two stopped in front of the elevator, Tian Yan glanced back at Wu Jia’s ward. Ying Mei seemed to have noticed Tian Yan’s reluctance to leave, as she chose to wait patiently in the hallway instead of entering the elevator right away.
“Come in, you could probably fit.” A young doctor in the elevator tried to make more space while showing a friendly smile.
“It's okay, we'll wait for the next one.” Ying Mei politely refused the invitation.
“Alright.” The doctor looked at the few patients in the elevator with frustration and pressed the button to close the door.
As Ying Mei and Tian Yan waited for the elevator to come back in silence, the previously feeling of harmony between the two slowly faded away, replaced by a growing sense of hostility and distrust.
“You’ve grown,” Ying Mei sighed. She could tell from Tian Yan’s occasional glances that the latter was hiding something from her.
“It happens to everyone sooner or later.” Tian Yan kept her smile. Hearing Ying Mei breaking the silence brought to her a sense of relief as Tian Yan had been aware of the change in Ying Mei’s mood.
“That’s good. I just don't know if you’ll like the room I’ve prepared for you. It's the same as your old one, and I even bought a mountain of dolls.” Ying Mei took a deep breath and produced her usual professional smile.
“I'm afraid that I won't be able to see it.”
“Someone's here for me.” Tian Yan began tapping at her wheelchair’s handle.
“What?” Ying Mei looked at the elevator, which had just arrived at their floor. The young doctor from earlier was still in it with his radiant smile. However, Tian Yan was referring to the toned, rather sloppy man who came from the stairs. “Li Huaibei?”
“Are you ready to leave?” Li Huaibei asked Tian Yan.
“Let’s go. See you around, Sis Ying… It was nice to see you again.” Tian Yan said while staring at the ground.
“Take care of yourself.” Ying Mei sighed as she watched Li Huaibei push Tian Yan into the elevator. At first, she hesitated about bringing Tian Yan to Yun Yiyuan. When she finally made up her mind after seeing that Tian Yan was refusing to tell her the truth, the situation was already out of her control.
“I will.” Tian Yan said without looking back at her.
“Excuse me…” The young doctor squeezed himself toward the exit when he realized that Ying Mei was not going to enter the elevator. On his way up, he had abused his power as an employee to deny access to the elevator from everyone else along the way, just so that he could have a chance at a ride with the two beauties he saw earlier. Seeing Li Huaibei made him think that he no longer had a chance with Tian Yan, but Ying Mei was still available.
“Are you okay?” Li Huaibei asked, noticing Tian Yan’s low mood.
“That girl in the seventeenth ward…”
“What about her?”
“Ying Mei thinks that she’s one of Guo Xiang’s women. I don't think it was a question meant to test me.”
“I had a look at her. She has nothing to do with Guo Xiang.”
“So she made a mistake?” Li Huaibei frowned, not understanding what Tian Yan was getting at.
“She could have easily looked into that girl’s past without me. Besides, we have seen her before.”
“Pure Water Herb Hall…”
“Li Yiming?” Li Huaibei’s countenance shifted.
“If my guess is right, that girl's fate has been changed.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“As far as I know, Guo Xiang and Li Yiming have interacted with each other only once, at the Guo Mansion. You were also there, try to remember what happened on that day,” Tian Yan said as she stared at Li Huaibei with her silver irises.
Li Huaibei took a deep breath and closed his eyes, only to spit out a mouthful of blood. A gust of wind blew up from his right hand, turning his sleeve into shreds and creating many fissures on the walls of the elevator.
“Someone has changed my memory….” Li Huaibei shriveled as a drop of cold sweat rolled down his forehead. Despite trying his hardest, he had only managed to come to the realization that his memories had been altered, and he had almost been grievously injured in the process.
“Then there’s no mistake…” Tian Yan gained a confident air as she searched for her handkerchief. However, as she searched for it in her pocket, she suddenly froze.
“What is it?” Li Huaibei said as he wiped away the blood from the corner of his mouth.
“Sis Ying…” Tian Yan realized that the piece of paper she had carefully kept from Fu Bo had vanished.
“I think that I know who might just be behind this…”