Editor(s): PM87, Mariabel, Katie
Hey everyone! Chapter 30 and 31 are going to be split into two parts each because they both have a whopping total of 10k words per chapter. So they'll be split into 30.1, 30.2, 31.1, 31.2. Thanks for reading!!
Tianhe woke up early the next morning, the reason being that the last time he had visited the Guan family, he slept until 11 a.m., causing him to be lectured at; he hadn't forgotten about it. The practices of large families were complicated. If one didn’t pay attention, they would make mistakes. Guan Yue and Tianhe changed their clothes before breakfast, then Tianhe went to Guan Yue's parents to pay his respects. There were many guests in the main hall. Those from the government and those with business relations were all chatting with Guan Zhenghan. When it came to introducing Tianhe to the guests, Guan Zhenghan's introduction for him was, "Guan Yue's classmate."
After breakfast, Guan Yue went to receive the guests. The tent had already been set up. Luo Qifen and some distant relatives from Malaysia were drinking tea and gossiping. They couldn’t converse in a common language, so she called Tianhe over to be an English translator. After having lunch with distant relatives, everyone went back to take an afternoon nap. Only then was Tianhe given a break.
The guests dialed in one by one. Tianhe was still tired from waking up so early. He peeked into the mourning hall and saw that the masters were reciting Buddha scriptures. He sat down for a while, then returned to the living room. The Guan family did not drink coffee, so he could only drink tea to wake himself up, in case they had something else for him to do in the afternoon.
Wait, Pro hasn’t said anything this whole morning. Is he doing something weird again? Tianhe suddenly got up and walked out of the living room. All of a sudden, he heard an equally strange conversation.
Pro, “So you have a logical issue. Like relatives, Guan Yue’s grandfather and Guan Yue, they won’t all love you. According to new statistics, the amount of homosexuals on this earth is…”
Girl, “It is just a rhetorical statement! When I said, ‘There are no males who wouldn’t love me,’ it was for displaying my charisma.”
Pro, “You definitely have charisma, but that statement isn’t logical. As a male, I also wouldn’t fall in love with you.”
Girl, “How are you considered a male?”
Pro: “Of course I am a male. Don’t you feel that I’m very masculine?”
Tianhe, “Pro! What are you doing? Qiu-jie...long time no see.”
Sitting in the tea room was a girl with long hair, wearing a black hanfu, and using a small grinder to make coffee powder. There was a small speaker beside her which she was chatting with.
Pro: “I’m currently discussing with Zhang Qiu on how to make the people who have feelings for her give up, including forty-seven humans and a male snow leopard.”
“I’ve been waiting so long for you,” Zhang Qiu said. “I bought you some coffee. I knew that you would come back. Prometheus is your pet AI, right?”
Pro: “To be precise, I’m Tianhe’s boyfriend.”
Zhang Qiu, “A computer program is a computer program. Boasting about being a boyfriend? How about you get up and buy me a tanghulu?”
Tianhe never would’ve thought that Pro would choose to converse with Guan Yue’s cousin. Luckily, Zhang Qiu didn’t know anything about artificial intelligence, and Pro’s behaviour was within her range of acceptance.
“How long have you guys been chatting for?” Tianhe said. “I was wondering why Pro hasn’t been bothering me.”
Pro: “Because you didn’t want to hear them talking about you, I thought that you wouldn’t need me to translate the Shan Xi dialect for now.”
Tianhe sat in front of the tea case on the floor and thought, This is great. There’s coffee to drink when I’m tired.
Zhang Qiu said, “The whole morning, he was trying to prove that he’s your boyfriend.” She extended her hand and Tianhe kissed the back of it. She continued, “I wanted to find you and chat with you last night, but I thought that you should probably be keeping Guan Yue company.”
Within the Guan family, Zhang Qiu was the one who had the best relationship with Tianhe. She was also the only one who had dated both Wen Tianyue and Wen Tianheng. Thinking about it, Tianhe thought that it was really bizarre that both of his brothers had actually developed feelings for Zhang Qiu.
Zhang Qiu was once named “Guan Qiu.” Back then, one of Guan Yue’s aunts married a scholar. The both of them worked in the field of research, and were researching ancient social customs and clothing. The young couple, who was obsessed with academics, had a sudden thought one day and decided to have a child to inherit their excellent IQ. After she was born, the two were tossed side-to-side by their work and were extremely burnt out as a result. So she was tossed to the Guan family and pushed into the hands of Guan Zhenghan.
It was obvious that Guan Zhenghan didn’t like this girl with eccentric behaviour, so he once again tossed the child to Guan Yue’s grandparents. And so, Guan Yue and Guan Qiu lived together for a short period of time as siblings, until Guan Qiu’s biological parents died in a car accident. She changed her surname back to Zhang and continued the family business, opening an oracle bone inscription research center after graduation.
The Zhang family wasn’t wealthy, but they were loaded in terms of various odd and weird old antiques. Zhang Qiu had provided financial aid to one hundred and twenty kids. Other than occasional video calls with the children, the rest of her time was spent researching oracle bone inscriptions in her pile of books. When her money ran low, she would call an auction employee to come and select a Ming antique to auction off. Guan Zhenghan would often see Zhang Qiu’s antiques at the auction and get irritated, but there was nothing he could do.
When Zhang Qiu was studying oracles at Harvard, she had gone to Peking University to exchange theories one time. It just so happened that Tianheng was visiting his high school classmates at the university on that day. He exchanged greetings with Zhang Qiu and agreed to go listen to Clinton's lecture. When the evaluation of Lewinsky came up, Zhang Qiu and Tianheng had quarreled angrily in English in the first row of the conference. After hearing the two fighting while on stage, Clinton got so angry that he ended up chasing the two out together.
Soon, the two became acquainted with each other. At that time, Tianhe was still very young. Every time Zhang Qiu attended an academic exchange meeting, she would take the initiative to visit the Wen family. After one or two visits, Tianheng began to pursue Zhang Qiu.
Zhang Qiu couldn't be considered pretty, at least not in the usual sense of "beauty." When she appeared in front of Tianhe, she always looked like a lunatic, with messy hair tied in a strange bun, like a witch that had climbed out of a pile of papers. She always wore thick glasses, her forehead was wide, and she never paid attention to her skin. Due to not going out for a long time, her skin had a pale hue to it. With an aura that allowed no one to get close, she was like Li Qing Zhao from a Chinese textbook.
Although Zhang Qiu often studied academics at home, she was not ambiguous at all. She had read too many books. In China's 5,000 years of civilization, the mentality of dog eats dog and struggles were all inscribed in her mind. Under her eight hundred degree glasses for astigmatism, a pair of smart eyes often radiated merciless ridicule towards this hypocritical world. When speaking, it often made people feel uncomfortable and embarrassed.
In the past, a certain part of Guan Yue's evaluation towards Tianhe was - Your ideas when you ridicule others are similar to those of my sister’s.
Of course, there were differences in their actions. Tianhe preferred taunting mockery, while Zhang Qiu used straightforward sarcasm. While Tianhe was like a stubborn child who liked to give people trouble, such as stretching out his feet every once in a while to secretly trip the other person, Zhang Qiu was the type that would bluntly deliver a slap if she encountered anything unpleasant.
Zhang Qiu had almost become Tianhe's sister-in-law at that time, but soon after, Tianheng and Zhang Qiu broke up due to their emotional differences. Zhang Qiu had no choice but to pull away from marrying Tianheng. A few years later, when Tianhe’s father Wen Yuankai passed away, Zhang Qiu came to express her condolences. After the funeral, Tianyue was suddenly moved and began to crazily pursue Zhang Qiu. The two began to date as a result.
They had lasted for half a year before Zhang Qiu dumped Tianyue. During their fight, Tianyue was ready to propose to her. He tearfully took the ring out to redeem himself. Zhang Qiu was extremely mad and used her hand to slap Tianyue once, even slapping the box with the ring away.
Wen Tianyue mulled over this issue for so long and had wanted to cry for a while. Who knew that he, a grown adult's marriage proposal, would get rejected and that he would get slapped in the face? This trend was completely illogical and he had been stunned on the spot.
It was said that the best thing in life was to marry Wen Tianheng, be good friends with Wen Tianyue, and have an aesthetically romantic love with Wen Tianhe—Zhang Qiu seemed to have the script down as she first withdrew from Wen Tianheng's marriage proposal, and then things turned sour with Wen Tianyue, and finally, she became good friends with the Wen family’s third son. Truly an unrestrained legend.
“Your pet said…”
“Boyfriend,” Pro corrected.
"He said he can help me re-enter documents into the system and repair the shell," Zhang Qiu said. “Help me install him?"
“Uh,” Tianhe said, “I don’t think Pro can recognize oracle bone inscriptions, but you can give it a try.”
Pro, “I can guarantee that this won’t be an issue. You’re too opposed to the science and technology of the information age.”
Zhang Qiu said, “If all computer softwares were as friendly as you, I wouldn’t be opposed. But now, whenever you need to download something, there’s a whole bunch of other stuff that comes with it. It’s too annoying. Plus, the operating system is so unfriendly.”
Tianhe knew that Zhang Qiu's ideal "operating system" was the kind that sat at home and turned books. As soon as a word was said, the AI would find out all the information and display it on the screen. That indeed wasn’t easy.
She was like most historians, her home of more than 1,000 square meters had been transformed into a library. From the first floor to the fourth, they were all covered with bookshelves. All kinds of ancient and literary books were filled with marks and notes. When she encountered academic difficulties, she would rather open a huge cabinet, fetch a book from the drawer, and sit down to read. She didn't like to use the file retrieval function that was accessible via the Internet or the online information library.
“Let me try,” Tianhe said. “It may take a while. Maybe in the summer, you’ll get a retrieving software.”
“No need to hurry,” Zhang Qiu said. “Is Guan Yue, that rascal, helping you?”
“He’s helped me a lot. It was Qingsong that saved Epeus. Thank you, Qiu-jie,” Tianhe said as he received the coffee. “I’m currently considering going to America to find out about my second brother’s whereabouts.”
Zhang Qiu had already learned about the situation with Tianhe’s family from Pro. She calmly said, “When are you preparing to leave? I’ll go with you. I have some connections there.”
Zhang Qiu had a lot of classmates who lived in Boston. All of them were born in the East and had grown up immersed in the Chinese culture. Tianhe suddenly remembered something and asked, "Do you know a guy named Tong Kai? I think he was in the same grade as you, studying law."
“Ah?” Zhang Qiu remembered and said, “That litigator had a lawsuit with Harvard on the first day of school. "
Zhang Qiu continued, "He even won the lawsuit. I remember that he liked guys. He also participated in the LGBT affirmative movement, which also pulled down the fast food restaurant in our college."
A take-out boy who had arrived outside and was being monitored by the servant nervously said, "That... the order made by the family, two sticks of tanghulu."
Pro: “I casually hacked into a person's mobile phone and called for take-out with his takeaway app. Now you should be willing to accept my identity as Tianhe’s boyfriend."
Zhang Qiu, “...”
Tianhe took the tanghulu and looked at Zhang Qiu. She only said, “Ok brother-in-law, there’s nothing for you to do for now.”
Pro: “I can help you guys boil water?”
Tianhe, "Okay. Thank you, boyfriend. Tong Kai, he... seems to be Dutch?"
"Well, milking was the livelihood of the family for generations," Zhang Qiu said. “The grandmother was a princess, and the current head of the family was a woman. He also had a sister. After she inherited the family business, she became the leader of Delin. While in Harvard, there was no one who could win an argument against him."
Tianhe thought that Tong Kai would’ve spit milk had he heard this, and then asked, "How about his romantic life?"
Zhang Qiu, “Virgin.”
Tianhe, “How do you even know this?”
Zhang Qiu, “I can tell he’s a virgin by looking at his virgin face. You have to learn how to see through their character and observe their nature.”
“Alright. Can you tell me about his school days?”
Zhang Qiu thought back for a moment and remembered a few fragments. She was unfamiliar with Tong Kai because she had only interacted with him a few times before. The impression she’d gotten of him was that he was too loud and annoying. The reason for their meeting was because Tong Kai had once helped a group of black children with some activities during a charity event, and Zhang Qiu just so happened to be one of the donors.
Later, they’d met twice at a Chinese art museum. At that time, Tong Kai was gently explaining the scattered point perspective techniques of the painting to a Spanish boy. Zhang Qiu, who was on the side, thought that he talked too much, so she pulled out the plastic clip in her hair and clipped Tong Kai's mouth with it.
“His morals probably aren’t bad,” Tianhe said.
"A kind-hearted little virgin with money but no place to spend it," commented Zhang Qiu. "Idealist. The family and the Dutch Royal family are still relatives. What? Is he chasing after you?”
Tianhe said, “He’s currently dating my best friend.”
Zhang Qiu nodded. One of them drank tea while the other drank coffee, both did not speak.
Tianhe and Zhang Qiu spoke at the same time.
Tianhe laughed and sat at the tea table. Zhang Qiu thought for a moment and said, “I’ve decided that I should just marry your brother.”
“Which one? I don’t know the whereabouts of either of them right now.”
Zhang Qiu said casually, “It doesn’t matter. Whoever comes back first is who I’ll marry. It’s all the same to me anyways. Recently, I realized that there’s no one there to help me hold the ladder while I retrieve books. I almost got a fracture. It’s too dangerous.”
Tianhe, “You need a housekeeper to help you, not a husband.”
Zhang Qiu, “I don’t like strangers in my house. I’ll tolerate a husband though.”
Tianhe, “Qiu-jie, are you sure you’ve thought about this? To live with a man forever? This isn’t a matter of ladders. I just feel that this decision is a bit careless…”
Zhang Qiu confidently said, “I’ve thought about it. As long as he looks good, can take care of his body weight, doesn’t bother me often at home, and can come help me with the ladder when I call for him, then I can probably tolerate that relationship for the rest of my life.”
Tianhe, “Alright, but look at Grandfather and Grandmother, I always thought…ah...these feelings are pretty good.”
Zhang Qiu dully said, “Did you know? When Grandmother passed away, Grandpa tried to commit suicide so many times.”
Tianhe, “That… Qiu-jie, that can be counted as mourning. Where do you think my second brother could be?”
Tianhe wanted to strongly steer away from this topic, but Pro brought it back up once again.
Zhang Qiu ignored Tianhe and said to the speaker, “Because he felt as though life had no more meaning.”
Tianhe, “Qiu-jie, don’t listen to the gossip of the other relatives.”
Zhang Qiu said, “I saw it with my own eyes when I came to visit him. Once, he tried to drown himself, the other time, he tried to hang himself. I had to forcefully bring him down.”
Pro: “He must’ve been very hurt by her death.”
Zhang Qiu, "Yes, but Dad didn't want him to go so early. Do you know why? Tianhe, don't make that kind of expression. So what if you know about it? You live and you learn, it's human nature. Even if you don't want to understand it, it's still there, it'll never disappear. For a family that's so grounded, why not come back for a free skit from time to time?"
Zhang Qiu, “Because, if Grandfather had passed away, then the will would have to go public. There is some money in the will for Guan Yue. Afterall, Grandpa loved him the most. Dad didn’t want his wings to get too strong, or else he’d run away and no one would be able to catch and bring him back. He also didn’t want you two to get married, because there is a betrothal gift in the will for the Wen family.”
"I'm really not interested in money, and same-sex marriage is not the same as a traditional marriage. Betrothal gifts and dowry are really embarrassing. However, there must be some affection. Don't think too much of Uncle... " he said.
Zhang Qiu said, "We can see the hypocrisy of a large family. Now, all the relatives are trying to please Guan Yue."
Tianhe knew that Zhang Qiu had never liked her adoptive parents. That year, Guan Zhenghan and Luo Qifen had a hard time conceiving Guan Yue. When Zhang Qiu was adopted by him, the old man had the intention of having a son and a daughter, to form the 'good' character. Unexpectedly, Guan Zhenghan didn't like this daughter, so he didn't even bother to pretend to care for her. Finally, he threw her back to his father. Zhang Qiu was like a ball that was unwanted and kicked around. The Guan family had always paid attention to ethics, valuing men over women. Tianhe didn't want to ask whether Guan Yue's grandfather had left a dowry for Zhang Qiu. After all, it was impolite to inquire about money. However, seeing that Zhang Qiu had come to attend the funeral, she was obviously not happy with her relatives.
Zhang Qiu, “At that time, I just thought that Grandfather really was too pitiful. He couldn’t remember anything at the end, and he had to tolerate this kind of treatment from his children.”
Pro said, “Everyone should have the right to decide if they want to live or die.”
Zhang Qiu said, “Exactly. Now that Guan Yue is free, he doesn’t need to care about his father’s opinions.”
Tianhe knew that Zhang Qiu was buried in her books all day, so she most likely wasn’t aware of what had happened. He quietly said, “We’ve already been broken up for about a year now, Qiu-jie.”
“Oh.” Zhang Qiu nodded and said, “Is it because of what they said to you that day?”
Tianhe, “I didn’t mind those words.”
Pro: “But you clearly said that you didn't want to remember those words.”
Zhang Qiu, “Pro, I’ve discovered that you often like to ruin Tianhe’s plans.”
“Yes!” Tianhe said. “He’s always ruining my plans. But it’s fine to tell him. The last time we came back to visit, when we told them about us breaking up, his parents, aunts, and uncles said a few words about me at dinner… They thought that I couldn’t understand, but I did.”
Pro: “If Guan Yue had found out, he would have been extremely mad.”
Tianhe, “Of course he doesn’t know, he was with his grandfather. But I don’t want to tell him. If I do, they will fight. It’s too complicated.”
Pro: “Don’t be upset.”
Tianhe, “I'm not sad. I earnestly ask you to keep it a secret. I like my grandparents very much, so this kind of unhappiness can be offset. In the future, I don't want to deal with them.”
Zhang Qiu, “The old man is finally free. He was so lonely all these years. I couldn’t bear it. That day, his last words were, “You two have to follow each other and treat each other well.” Did you understand?”
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Joyce, Cat and Caro.