Quality Check: Kittsune
First Published on Ainushi.
Even after walking out of the meticulously decorated engagement party venue and getting in the car back to the house, I was still unable to gather my senses. What the heck was going on? Why did it feel like I was dreaming?
“Sweetie, are you still in a daze?” Seeing my blank look, Zhao Yi Bo cheerfully patted my cheeks and woke me up from my stupor.
“What in the world happened?” I asked stupidly.
“Nothing much. Just a comedy show.” Zhao Yi Xuan answered flatly.
“Sweetie, are you very disappointed? You’ve prepared for so long, but you never got a chance to go on stage. The show already ended.” Zhao Yi Bo inched closer to me with a teasing smile on his face.
“What are you talking about? I don’t understand.” I blinked my eyes, trying to act confused. An unsuccessful attempt to break the rules was bound to evoke a punishment, and I wasn’t stupid enough to confess.
“You know, those spicy photos and video recordings. You’ve been plotting for so long and you even sacrificed your image to put on that zesty show to obtain what you wanted. But in the end you never got to use it. Aren’t you disappointed?” Zhao Yi Bo refused to let me play dumb and went straight to the point.
“Y-you… two both… knew?” I stuttered in shock. I meticulously concealed my actions. How did they find out? This was too frightening.
“Isn’t there a saying that if you don’t want anyone to know about it, don’t do it in the first place? You managed to recruit us to co-star with you in that splendid performance, so how could we not know what the show was for?” He reached over and grabbed the little purse that my hands were tightly clenching and pulled out the manila envelope. He dumped out the pictures and began perusing through them, all while sharing these provocative photos with Zhao Yi Xuan.
“Hey! Don’t look!” Feeling embarrassed to the extreme, the heat immediately rushed to my face. I reached out with my arm and began to fight over the photos with them.
Perhaps Xia Mei Wei was right about me being the kind of person who was outwardly cold but passionate on the inside. During the actual act in itself I wasn’t embarrassed at all, but letting them see the stimulating shots that I had cut out right now was more than what I could bear. It felt like I was being exposed without my clothes in public.
“I never knew our sweet little Qing Xia was fond of keeping photos. If you had that kind of special hobby, you should have let us known. We’d be happy to support you with all our strength.” Zhao Yi Bo continued to harass me unfairly.
“Y-you… if you don’t give them back, don’t even think about getting on my bed in the future.” I threatened. If I didn’t get those photos back, I seriously thought I was embarrassed enough to jump out of the car and kill myself.
“Alright, you can have it back.” They reluctantly and unhappily returned the pictures, and the disappointed look on their faces suited their true age very well as two large sixteen year old boys.
“It’s a such a pity, sweetie! You struggled so hard to get a passport and visa to Japan, but it seems like it won’t have much use anymore. Hey, why don’t we go spend a few days at the hot springs in Japan?” Zhao Yi Xuan proposed, full of excitement.
They even knew about this? I was speechless. Since I was specifically afraid of them finding out about this, I had gone out of my way to commission via phone a travel company in Taiwan to handle the travel arrangements to Japan. To call them, I used a public phone at NT University between my classes. As for the fees, I found some work that I could do over the internet and secretly saved the wages. I even used Xia Mei Wei’s account to transfer the fees to the travel company. I was basically conducting espionage here, but how were they able to find out? Did this mean that if I were to run away from them someday, even if I escaped to outer space, they’d still find me and bring me back? That was seriously way too scary! My body felt cold thinking about it.
“Stop thinking about running away! This time, we’ll forgive you because you were jealous, but there won’t be a next time. If we see this another time, you’ll regret the mistake you made for the rest of your life.” Zhao Yi Bo’s voice suddenly became dark, and he gravely warned me beside my ears.
“I… I won’t… try to run.” My response trembled with fear. But how reliable were these words? I didn’t even know myself.
The next day, every major newspaper and news broadcast station reported on their front page that the engagement between Taiwan’s three largest companies failed to occur, but they did not go further to explain the reason behind the failure. There wasn’t a single word about me.
Mama Yu told me that the twins pressured the media and had them erase any references about me. After all this, if the news got out, it would have damaged my reputation very badly. Without knowing the full truth, the public would have assumed that I was a cheap and low-grade vixen who had shamelessly snatched away men who were already taken. The twins did not want to hear such ugly things said about me.
Hearing Mama Yu say this, I felt faintly moved deep inside.
With a man being so considerate towards me, it would be a lie to say that I wasn’t affected at all. However, every time I thought of the madness that happened between us, I felt like there was no way I could face my parents. When I thought about the malevolent look on their faces when they lost control, their cruel methods to punish someone who disobeyed, and their stifling need to control everything, the idea of running away would inevitably pop up again.
I was reluctant to part with their tenderness, afraid of facing the consequences if I failed to escape, and I overflowed with a yearning for freedom.
And day after day passed like this in perpetual contradiction.
Like usual, I continued to go to school. The Chen Yan Mei who had always been haughty had already disappeared. She and her father had been unable to bear the shame of what had happened at the engagement party so they began to use their business relations to attack the Zhao clan. However, Zhao Yi Bo and Zhao Yi Xuan had anticipated this outcome long before the turn of events occurred and they had made preparations. As a result, Heng Yuan Merchandise’s attack on the Zhao clan barely had any impact. Furthermore, the twins were never the kind of people to take hits without striking back, so they very quickly made their counterattack and severed Heng Yuan Merchandise’s supply chain. By offering better deals, they stole away Heng Yuan Merchandise’s business partners and business contracts. Under this assault, Heng Yuan Merchandise could barely stay afloat, and their teetering economic situation practically left them at the brink of bankruptcy. The twins had already made all the preparations to acquire Heng Yuan Merchandise.
In order to obtain enough economic support, Chen Yan Mei dropped out of school and was married to a banker in Singapore who was practically old enough to be her dad.
Though, I still think she was sacrificed in vain. When the twins set about on a task, they are absolutely meticulous and thorough in their planning. They were the kind of people who were harmless if they didn’t feel like acting, but if they started to act, it was inevitable that they would go to the ends of the earth to send their enemies to death. They wouldn’t leave a single inch for Heng Yuan Merchandise to breathe.
Without Chen Yan Mei to bother me, my life became significantly more peaceful. Since the Zhao twins were busy with work, they rarely came to school. Our contact at school decreased, so my classmates gradually forgot that I had a close relationship with them. I once again began a tranquil and relaxed university life.
TL: Happy “National Hugging Day”! Sorry that there are so few releases this time, but I exhausted my entire stockpile to release all the chapters that we did on Christmas. </3 The next release date will be be February 16 (Chinese New Year’s), which is about four weeks from now. I’m not exactly sure how many chapters I’ll have by then, but I think it will range from 7 to 10 chapters. School is on the busy end for me right now, so it may be on the lower side. We’re steadily approaching the end of BWA, which has quite a rollercoaster ending so stay tight! Hopefully we’ll be finished with the project by late February – early March. Thanks for reading!