Editor(s): PM87, Mariabel, marshmallow
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There's quite a lot of flashbacks within this chapter, but I marked where each flashback begins and ends, hope that makes the reading experience better/easier. Thank you for reading!!
It was snowing in Taiyuan.
The large blanket of snow seemed to hide the clouds and cover the Earth. Music from a cello gently enveloped this ancient city with a long and rich history that dated back to five thousand years. It’s age was as old as the history of civilizations recorded in China.
Compared to the city’s majestic body and sprawling size, London was nothing more than a trading port that had been established by passing merchants on the banks of the Thames when Jesus was 47 years old. On the other hand, Berlin was nothing more than a small village that had been established around the linden tree planted in Prussia thousands of years ago. As for the short three-hundred-year existence of New York—it can only be said that the city was still a toddler.
Tianhe was wearing his earpiece as he sat in front of the mini bar in the car. Looking outside the window, he stared at the snow that filled the sky. Guan Yue had fallen asleep on the sofa.
Pro said, “This city is beautiful.”
“En,” Tianhe replied as he gazed at the drip coffee in the crystal cup in front of him. “It’s his hometown.”
Shan Xi was the founding territory of the Tang Dynasty, so it carried a dignified cultural atmosphere. Ever since the generation of Guan Yue’s grandfather, the Guan family had adhered to its ancestral teachings and relentlessly urged their children and grandchildren to receive education. Guan Yue seemed to have sucked away all of the IQ from the children of the Guan family and was also the most productive among them.
Tianhe was very aware of the fact that Guan Yue wanted to reacquire his Chinese nationality. However, the moment that happens, their wish of having a marriage recognized by law would also disappear.
Both China’s gods and Guan Yue’s ancestors would not waste their time on giving them their blessings; this was also the source of their conflicts.
Currently, they were both Chinese citizens and therefore unable to receive a marriage certificate from the Bureau of Civil Affairs. There were tens of millions of lovers in the world, and marriage was not necessary if they wanted to be together. However, many issues would arise when the two families’ assets and properties were involved. Marriage and the children’s inheritance rights would be cut and met with many problems. Too much trouble would occur if there was no marriage contract.
Of course, those were all insignificant.
Tianhe placed a warm towel on Guan Yue’s face. Guan Yue woke up and wiped his face as he rose. The iron gate leading to the Guan family residence opened, and the car drove in. Wearing a large overcoat and standing on crutches, their housekeeper waited out front.
“Young Master Wen, long time no see,” the housekeeper said. “Hello.”
“Hello, Mr. Gui.”
Tianhe was not used to being called “Young Master”. Within his family, it didn’t matter what position they held. Whether it be the driver or the cook, they all referred to him as “Tianhe”. At most, he would be called “Boss” or “Chairman Wen”, but he understood that this was a strict rule in the Guan family—one that was not to be compared to the rules of the Wen family.
Guan Yue said, “How is the situation?”
“Everyone is here. Just waiting for the Young Master,” the old housekeeper said. “The Master heard that Young Master Wen was also coming, so he immediately requested to see him. The Master also wanted to take a look at you.”
Tianhe didn’t say anything regarding the matter of his and Guan Yue’s breakup. He didn’t know if Guan Yue had mentioned anything, but from the looks of it, it seemed like he hadn’t. Tianhe didn’t say anything along the lines of “this doesn’t seem fitting” and decided to go along with Guan Yue, as he felt that there should at least be one person by his side while he was mourning the death of a family member. He nodded and answered, “In that case, I’ll be breaking the regulations.”
Guan Yue led Tianhe inside, and they changed out of their coats that were covered with snow. The servant waited for them to put on the woolen winter coats. When Tianhe visited several years ago, the Guan family had made one for him. It had become a bit small. Tianhe washed his face and hands, and then he followed Guan Yue and the housekeeper. As he walked along the long corridor, he felt as if he had entered a Chinese drama and had become the young lady of a large family.
In and out of the courtyard, there were people waiting for Guan Yue’s arrival. They all turned their gazes towards Guan Yue and Tianhe, who was standing behind him.
The old housekeeper said, “Young Master Wen, please wait a moment.”
Tianhe glanced into the room as Guan Yue stepped inside. Guan Yue’s father was kneeling on the floor while four doctors went in and out of the room. The life support system had been used up; there was even a faint sound of crying coming from inside.
“Grandpa,” Guan Yue said in Shan Xi dialect. “Yue has returned.”
Everyone quickly moved out of the way, gesturing for Guan Yue to go to his grandfather’s bedside. Tianhe quietly walked to the side of the courtyard and stood under the plum blossom tree.
It only took a moment for Tianhe to be summoned. He walked into the room since he had heard his name being called in Shan Xi dialect. He let himself in without the old housekeeper coming out to invite him and knelt down in front of the bed. He only saw Guan Yue, whose eyes were red, holding his grandfather’s hand.
The old man withdrew his withered hand from Guan Yue’s palms, said a few words in Shan Xi dialect, and placed his hands on Tianhe’s forehead. He weakly rubbed Tianhe’s forehead. Then, his hands fell down, and he passed away.
The whole room burst into tears. Those that sobbed, sobbed. Those that wailed, wailed. Tianhe’s eyes were wet. He turned to look at Guan Yue. He didn’t understand the last sentence grandfather had said to him, but it was probably something along the lines of, “Good boy, take care of each other from now on.” Everyone stood up, and the doctors turned off the life support. With tears in his eyes, Guan Yue bowed his head. His hands covered his grandpa’s face, settling the dead’s face. He took out an old coin that his father had given him and placed it in his grandpa’s mouth.
Tianhe and the younger generation walked out as the females of the family walked in and kowtowed, crying. They then stepped out, leaving only the male cousins, Guan Zhenghan, and Guan Yue.
“Young Master, please come to the side hall for tea,” a servant invited. Tianhe looked at the granddaughters, only to see a girl nod at him, using her mouth to gesture ‘wait a moment.’
Tianhe also nodded and followed the servant. As he walked, he suddenly heard Guan Yue’s loud cries from the room.
Tianhe stopped because he couldn’t bear what he was feeling. He knew that before Guan Yue’s grandfather passed away, Guan Yue had held in his tears so as not to upset his grandpa even more. However, the moment his grandfather’s heart stopped and the ventilator was removed, Guan Yue’s emotions had finally collapsed.
Pro, “I suggest you go to Guan Yue’s side right now. He must need you at this moment.”
Tianhe, “According to the rules of the Guan family, I cannot stay. They are treating me as a granddaughter-in-law that has not been accepted yet. I understand that he needs some comfort right now, but in the face of this matter of death, it is absolutely not allowed.”
Pro, “A person is more important than rules.”
Tianhe, “That’s what I think too, but it would be best to not add trouble for him right now.”
Tianhe arrived at the tearoom and sat down, looking around. This was Guan Zhenghan’s tearoom. There was even a pile of books on the side.
“Guan Yue’s grandparents were illiterate,” Tianhe said. “But they were very understanding.”
Pro, “I thought that they did not know about you two.”
Tianhe answered, “At that time, we did not tell his grandpa, but with so many relatives in the Guan family, someone must’ve mentioned it in front of him. I think he might have known already.”
For many years, ever since the generation of their grandfathers, the Guan family and the Wen family had been close friends.The Guan family once had the intention of marrying their eldest daughter to Wen Tianheng or Wen Tianyue. His father, Wen Yuankai had also brought Tianhe to visit the Guan family many times. When he was still a child, Tianhe was also taken by Guan Yue around the house to play, and the latter would teach him how to read Tang poetry. The Guan parents also adored Tianhe very much, but those memories were all vague for Tianhe now.
It was when they grew up that they decided to fall in love.
The day Guan Yue brought Tianhe home to his parents, Guan Zhenghan had almost run out of breath, downing a whole bottle of Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan. Of course, Guan Yue did not mention it to his grandpa, afraid that his heart would be unable to take it.
However, it seemed—based on today—that Guan Yue’s grandpa had not cared about the matter too much. Perhaps he had at one point, but right before he drew his last breath, he could only hope that his most beloved grandchild would be happy and that the rest would no longer be important.
Tianhe, “What I am most afraid of now is… um… the competition for family property, which will cause Guan Yue much more damage.”
Pro, “The concept of death truly makes me confused.”
Tianhe, “It’ll all pass. When my father died, I was confused too.”
Pro, “Did you get an answer yet?”
Tianhe, “No, perhaps the only way I will get an answer is when I meet death myself.”
The second group of relatives passed by outside the teahouse. Soon afterwards, it was the Guan family’s servants’ turn. Everyone went to the old head of the Guan family and bowed their heads.
Tianhe, “I remember that when Grandpa was still alive, practically no one went to visit him.”
Pro, “Why wasn’t there more interaction when he was still alive?”
At a loss, Tianhe answered, “I don’t know ah, humans are just like this.”
While Tianhe poured tea for himself, he realized that the teacup was strikingly familiar. As he looked at it, he realized that it was bought that year at the Sotheby’s auction house for Guan Yue’s father. This tea set was only 800,000 yuan, which wasn’t expensive, but Guan Zhenghan liked it very much. He especially made a small tea table and a short chair for it. The material was ancient Dalbergia odorifera and it had a very fine hollow carving. The price of one tea table could be compared to a Rolls Royce.
“The Guan family really is rich,” Tianhe said. “That year, when Guan Yue and I got together, I suspected that he wasn’t in the paper-printing business but rather in the money-printing business.”
In the year of his graduating from his undergraduate program, after confirming their relationship, Tianhe had felt that the person in front of him had really gone crazy. Always desperately pushing gifts on him, as if he could not express his love in any other way aside from buying something for him.
Although Guan Yue had always been like that, before, he would at least wait for Tianhe to say, “Buy this for me,” and then pull out his card.
While they were still in the honeymoon period, Tianhe had felt very touched. However, afterwards, he really couldn’t take it anymore and told Guan Yue to stop buying things for him; plus, the house had no more room. Guan Yue’s solution was to buy another house to put the things he liked inside.
“I only said it was pretty,” Tianhe said to Guan Yue, “but I don’t want to own it! The house is turning into an art museum!”
Once, Guan Yue had bought Tianhe a beautiful set of porcelain plates. The reason was that Tianhe had passed by the windows of the store, stopped for three seconds, and said to Guan Yue, “It’s so beautiful.”
The next day, the set of porcelain plates were packed and delivered to the house. On receiving the plates, the housekeeper warned the servants one by one, saying, “This was originally owned by the Duke of Windsor, which was later sold for charity. Tianhe, your taste is pretty good.”
“But I don’t want to share the same plate with the Duke of Windsor,” Tianhe said. “Arrange them with the bottom bit facing out so that all the guests will know that we have the plates of the Duke of Windsor.”
The housekeeper, who really liked this set, smiled and said, “We have to order another cabinet for this.”
Tianhe did not understand the tradition of “taking care of the house” and said with a wave of his hand, “Decide by yourself.”
Oil paintings from Russia, handmade furnishing from India, wool from Persia, blue and white porcelain from China, martial art swords from Japan, Buddhist statues from Nepal, Thangka from Tibet… Anything with a unit price of fewer than 100,000 pounds and less than 200,000 pounds, all Tianhe had to do was look at it, show an expression of surprise and praise, and when he woke up the next day, the object would have arrived in front of his eyes and in his own home.
If it was beyond this price, Guan Yue would hesitate for three seconds before nodding and saying, “Do you like it? If so, let the manager deliver it home.”
Just because I like it doesn’t mean I want it to appear in my house! Tianhe was falling apart.
At that time, Tianhe had no doubt that if there were prices set on objects in the museum and if Guan Yue had enough money, he would probably have given him the entire Louvre. Following along with this development, sooner or later, Guan Yue would have probably stolen the Mona Lisa just to make Tianhe happy. The Last Supper was painted on the wall, so that should be fine.
Flashback within flashback
Various luxury brands had often shown up at the door with all kinds of new styles for Tianhe to choose from; there would be twenty sets of new clothes at the same time. When they had gone out for dinner in the evenings, Tianhe would randomly walk into a store and it would be closed immediately once Guan Yue’s assistant had presented them his VIP status so that Tianhe could take a stroll without being disturbed.
Tianhe didn’t like anyone following him when he went out. It was only after he had persistently insisted a few times that Guan Yue agreed to let him be alone. For a period of time after that, Guan Yue was quiet and didn’t move much, and Tianhe thought that he had stopped. But when he entered college, he received special attention from his professors—only to find out later that Guan Yue had donated an entire set of computer servers to his class for their experiments.
“I want to give the whole world to you,” Guan Yue had said to Tianhe then. “It’s just that the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower are too expensive. Later, when Gege has his money, I will buy it for you.”
Tianhe held his forehead and, while glancing at the housekeeper, told everyone to temporarily avoid this man who was about to purchase the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. When everyone left, he took one of the porcelain plates and said to Guan Yue, “Have you not realized? Putting these things at home really, doesn’t… suit the style.”
Guan Yue glanced around with an inquiring expression, as if to say, Really? How come I think it’s pretty ok?
Tianhe was helpless. He’d wanted to change Guan Yue’s tastes but was afraid that he would say too much and upset him as the latter was a parvenu. In fact, Guan Yue’s tastes were quite acceptable in terms of the aesthetics of Chinese culture. As long as the things given to Tianhe had a touch of the East, of course, they would all be beautiful. It was just that things with a West touch really made him anxious.
One afternoon, Guan Yue had taken Tianhe to London for dinner and to watch opera. By then, Tianhe was terribly afraid of going out. When he stopped at the door of a tapestry store, as long as he turned his head and glanced at the windows, Guan Yue too would turn and follow the direction of his sight, looking as though he was ready to purchase at his slightest indication of interest.
Tianhe hesitantly looked at Guan Yue. “I….. want to go in and take a look….”
Guan Yue opened the door for Tianhe, and Tianhe immediately raised his hand, signaling for him not to do anything crazy. Guan Yue nodded and stepped to the side, ready to pay whenever.
Tianhe then asked the clerk to fetch the wool tapestry from the window and carefully looked at the pattern. He didn’t want to own it; it was just that the pattern had attracted his attention. The pattern had reminded him of an image of a function which might inspire him to overcome the problem he was stuck on.
Tianhe looked at the tapestry, thinking intensely, while Guan Yue leaned sideways on the counter and began to observe Tianhe’s expression to judge his love for this thing.
“Thank you.” Tianhe smiled at the store clerk once he was done. As Guan Yue pulled out his card, Tianhe swiftly grabbed it and pulled Guan Yue away.
Guan Yue looked at Tianhe. The latter said, “I truly don’t need it. It was only that the pattern reminded me of something. Can we go back to when you would only buy it for me if I said I wanted it?”
Guan Yue put on his sunglasses and said seriously, “No, because I’m the president.”
Tianhe smiled. This phrase was something Tianhe had used to often tease him in the past. The PPE course was a subject to train politicians. So when Tianhe was little, he liked to call him “President”.
“Change it to another phrase. I’m tired of hearing this one.”
“I’m a husky. I don’t listen to commands.”
“Take off the sunglasses,” Tianhe said. “Are you not embarrassed?”
Guan Yue said with a straight face, “This way, I can openly look at you, and you wouldn’t know. This is enough to cover up my rudeness.”
Tianhe said, “Leave!” As he pulled Guan Yue away, he raised his hands to take off Guan Yue’s sunglasses. Guan Yue resisted a few times, but ultimately stopped and let Tianhe take off the glasses. He reached out and held Tianhe’s waist and gave him a kiss under the sun drenched streets.
Guan Yue, “Little child, don’t be mischievous.”
Tianhe was helpless. He held Guan Yue’s hand and interlocked his fingers with his as they walked past an ice cream shop. Tianhe stopped and looked at Guan Yue. How come you’re not buying it now?
Guan Yue, “You cannot consume cold stuff on an empty stomach before dinner. And if you have ice cream in one hand and a spoon in the other, then you can’t hold my hand.”
Tianhe had to give up. He’d always felt that Guan Yue was indeed a dedicated guardian, even stricter than Wen Tianyue.
Tianhe stopped in front of a handsome street artist. Guan Yue carefully guarded him from behind to prevent him from being squeezed by the crowd. Tianhe listened to the violin and looked at Guan Yue from the corner of his eyes, feeling that something was off.
“What do you want to do?” Tianhe said in Chinese vigilantly.
“How did you know?”
“I just wanted to politely invite him to come to our home to play the violin for you.”
Tianhe, “No need, it wouldn’t sound as good at home. Give me some cash, quick.”
Tianhe patted his body; there was no cash. Guan Yue spread his hands. Neither of them could do anything.
“I wish you happiness!” the performer said to Tianhe with a smile on his face. “Beautiful prince, Heaven’s darling!”
Tianhe stepped forward and hugged him. Guan Yue’s expression instantly turned black. He made a subconscious move as if to pull out a sword. He really wanted to stab the artist with such. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a fencing field.
Later on, after watching the opera, Tianhe and Guan Yue came out of the theater and stopped in front of the colorful fountain. Tianhe then took out a chocolate gold coin that had been given by the theater from Guan Yue’s pocket and stood in front of the fountain that was just outside the theater.
Guan Yue, “If you want to make a wish, you have to go to Rome.”
“If Rome is in your heart, then Rome is everywhere.” Tianhe looked at his handsome lover in front of him and said, “All roads lead to Rome.”
Guan Yue, “Make a wish.”
Tianhe said, “No matter what wish I make, it’ll come true?”
Guan Yue thought about it and said, “That cannot be guaranteed.”
Beethoven’s music was playing outside the theater. Surrounded by the music, Tianhe said softly, “I thought there would be a god in this world who would satisfy all my wishes.”
Guan Yue watched Tianhe’s expression as he lowered his head. Their breaths mingling, he came close to Tianhe’s ear and said in a deep voice, “There is only one wish that cannot be fulfilled and that is separating from you.”
Tianhe hugged Guan Yue’s neck and buried himself in his shoulder. He looked at him sideways with a smile, and Guan Yue kissed his lips.
“I want a birthday present,” Tianhe said.
Guan Yue shook his finger and said, “No, God has already chosen it for you.”
Tianhe was a bit dejected and said, “Don’t be like this! You… God hasn’t asked me what I want yet!”
Guan Yue said, “You can wish ‘give me another one’. You’re Heaven’s darling, I think he wouldn’t mind.”
Tianhe thought about it while he fiddled with a golden button and said, “I hope that the president will temporarily set aside his studies and take me to travel around the world.”
Guan Yue thought about it and said suspiciously, “You just want to skip school.”
Tianhe glanced at Guan Yue who then indicated for Tianhe to throw the golden coin. Tianhe already knew Guan Yue’s answer. With a flick of his finger, he threw the chocolate over his head and towards the fountain. Guan Yue stretched his hand quickly and caught the chocolate gold coin!
Guan Yue looked down at Tianhe and saw that Tianhe was angry. The two looked at each other for a moment. Guan Yue couldn’t help but kiss Tianhe’s lips as he threw the chocolate gold coin into the fountain. Then, he led him away.
“Is it ok if the chocolate gold coin doesn’t sink?” Tianhe had asked when he was dragged into the car by Guan Yue.
“If we go home right now, it’ll be fine,” Guan Yue had replied.
“Why are you rushing to go home?”
“What do you think?”
With a smile, Tianhe entertained himself, scooped out the tea leaves, poured boiling water, and continued to make tea.
Pro, “Did you go in the end?”
“Of course,” Tianhe said. “It counted as the second birthday present.”
Pro, “He had already prepared the first birthday gift.”
Tianhe, “Mmn, he gifted me an island.”
On his birthday that year, Guan Yue had bought a small island in the Atlantic Ocean for Tianhe and personally designed the island emblem. He had named it “Midgard”, which meant the atrium of the world’s tree in Norse mythology. From that year onwards, every summer vacation, Tianhe and Guan Yue would go to the island to spend the holiday.
Guan Yue had also bought Tianhe a set of hydroflight equipment. He drove him out on the yacht and let him play in the sea. He watched as Tianhe sprayed water on the sea and flew around, yelling happily everywhere.
“Actually, I don’t crave material goods,” Tianhe had said. “All I wanted was….”
Guan Yue, “What you want are gorgeous, short-lived, and beautiful things. For example, giving you a firework show in Dubai.”
“No!” Tianhe became mad.
That day, from the moment they left the house and until they reached the port, Tianhe ignored Guan Yue.
Guan Yue had actually always known. As they got out of the car, he indifferently said, “All you want is to be with me.”
This phrase dissolved Tianhe’s anger. He said, “All I want is to be with you, no matter where we go.”
Guan Yue said, “Then do you agree to die with me one day?”
Tianhe, “Of course, ah. How about you? Do you agree to follow me to the ends of the world one day?”
Later, on the noisy dock, the magnificent luxury cruise ship “Dickens” appeared in front of Tianhe. After the steward sent their luggage up, he’d stood on the dock and said goodbye to Tianhe.
The whistle sounded, and Tianhe, who was wearing sportswear, stood on the wide balcony outside the cruise ship’s penthouse suite while the sea breeze was blowing. After setting sail for their 240-day journey around the world, Guan Yue also changed into his sportswear and came towards Tianhe.
“Just like now,” Tianhe said. “Without anyone else, only you and me. Let’s take a bag, go to Brazil, go to Argentina, go to Madagascar, and Cape of Good Hope.”
Guan Yue, “You’re just trying to find a way to order me around so that I can serve you.”
“Correct.” Tianhe gave Guan Yue an admiring expression, but suddenly he became alert.
Tianhe suspiciously looked at Guan Yue. “You didn’t buy this ship right?”
“Bought it,” Guan Yue said expressionlessly. He gestured for Tianhe to look at the guests on the deck and said, “It took a lot of thought. I invited so many actors to come and accompany me in the act, and the pay was very high.”
Tianhe laughed. He knew that Guan Yue would not do such a boring thing. Guan Yue hugged Tianhe and carried him to their room. He threw him on the bed and pulled down the zipper of his sportswear, exposing his beautiful chest and abdominal muscles. He had hugged him and kissed him as the sea breeze surrounded them. He had taken off his underwear and the two had made love under the bright sunlight slanting into the suite, every inch of their skin touching as they explored each other’s bodies.
yummers: Things start to pick up after this chapter~
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Joyce, Cat and Caro.