Chapter 40

Translator: XHu

Editor: Isabelle

Quality Check: Kittsune

First Published on Ainushi.

 

When the flowers of the royal poinciana tree [1] were blooming, I put on my graduation gown and graduated from NT University’s informatics department. I was admitted into NT University for graduate school, so I would still be spending three more years here.

I chose to not look for employment because I knew that if I actually wanted to work, I would be forced to work for the Zhao family business. Then, I wouldn’t even have the time or space to breathe. This was why I chose to continue my studies. After experiencing everything that I had, I no longer had the passion or motivation to study. Or perhaps a better way to put it was that I had lost all aspirations or hopes for the future. Nonetheless, I continued to work hard and passed the exam for graduate school.

Zhao Yi Bo told me that if I wanted to enter NT University’s graduate school to continue my studies, it wasn’t necessary for me to take the entrance exam. The Zhao clan had donated such a hefty sum to NT University every year that I could be exempt from the entrance exam. However, I refused because I wanted to test my own capabilities. It might seem like I wanted to be a goody two-shoes, but actually I just didn’t want to get too used to depending on special privileges to achieve things. This was because I intended to return to a normal lifestyle one day and I didn’t want to experience a huge drop in living standards at that point.

The majority of my classmates in the graduate school were familiar faces. Only a few were people who came from another school. Even though I had known most of my classmates for four years, I wasn’t really friends with them. The only person I was on good terms with was Xia Mei We but she had graduated, married an American, and subsequently immigrated to the United States. Amidst this crowd, I was surprised to discover one unusual person — Yan Shui Lin. That is, the girl who had almost been engaged to Zhao Yi Xuan. She had unexpectedly matriculated into NT University. I hope she wasn’t here after me.

“Hey, do you still remember me?” She took the initiative to call out to me.

“Mh.” I responded noncommittally, and began to retreat backwards. Even though she looked good-natured, I was still afraid of her. When a woman was publicly dumped by her fiance on the day of her engagement party in front of a crowd of guests, it was impossible for her to not care. The fact that she could act like nothing happened while meeting the rumored third party who ruined it all must mean that she was hiding her true plans. Perhaps she was even waiting for my guard to drop, so she could take out a hidden bottle of sulfuric acid and dump it on me. At that point she’d raise her head up and cackle at my misfortune.

“Don’t be scared of me. I didn’t come here to settle an account with you,” she hurriedly explained. “Actually, I really wanted to thank you. If it weren’t for you, I would have been engaged to that cold bastard, Zhao Yi Xuan.”

I looked at her doubtfully. So she didn’t want to be engaged with Zhao Yi Xuan from the beginning? What surprised me even more was her blunt and forthright manner. When a rich girl was that obviously direct, I couldn’t help but feel skeptical.

“On the day of the engagement party, you looked so pretty! You totally stole the spotlight from us two brides-to-be.” She had a dazzling smile as she recalled the day of the engagement party.

It was true that I stole the thunder of the two brides-to-be, but it wasn’t because my outfit was particularly stunning. Rather, it was because I had some kind of dubious relationship with the two grooms-to-be. I scoffed at myself.

“In fact, I took the entrance exam for NT University because of you!” Her words seemed fake yet genuine at the same time.

As I looked at the unfathomable glitter in her eyes, I suddenly had a feeling of alarm rise up inside of me. It was almost as if I was a poor lamb that had been caught in a lion’s sight.

I hurriedly searched for an excuse to leave. Please God, please don’t put any more dangerous things in my life. I’ve already had more than enough people who are difficult to handle.

“Tomorrow’s the weekend. Let’s go sightseeing in Jiayi, and then you can go visit your parents while you’re there.” At dinner, Zhao Yi Bo suddenly made a proposal.

“Pwfuu…” A mouthful of soup that I hadn’t swallowed yet spurted out of my mouth and sprayed over Zhao Yi Xuan’s face who was sitting across from me.

“Haha~~” Seeing the sorry state of Zhao Yi Xuan’s face, Zhao Yi Bo burst out into laughter. Zhao Yi Xuan gloomily glared at him for a moment, then stood up to go to the bathroom to clean himself up. His face was soaked with soup.

I didn’t have the energy to go check on the disaster that I had left on him, and instead I anxiously looked at Zhao Yi Bo, wondering what in the world he was planning.

“What if I say I don’t want to go? What will you do?”

“You don’t want to go? Then that’s a pity. In that case, it’ll just be me and Xuan who will go to your home to pay a visit to your parents, in place of an unfilial daughter like you who hasn’t gone home to pay her respects to her parents for so long.” He feigned remorse as he looked at me.

It seemed like seeing my parents was their main objective for going to Jiayi. But why did they want to meet my parents? I randomly guessed around, but the bulk of it were all bad things.

It’s been three years since I’ve last gone home. Since they kept such a close eye on me, it was impossible for them to let me go home all alone for a few days. Furthermore, I didn’t want my parents to know about my situation, so I always found an excuse to stay in Taipei whenever summer or winter vacation arrived.

My mom had already called multiple times to complain. She kept mentioning things like, “Can’t my daughter be a little considerate? She won’t even come back,” or, “A woman is bound to leave the family.”

I felt extremely guilty. This year, my little brother also passed the entrance exam for a university in Tainan, and he would be leaving home soon. Only my two parents would be left in the house and they would probably feel very lonely.

I did want to go home to see them.

“I need the two of you to promise me that you won’t say anything reckless when you come to my house. Don’t tell my mom and dad about our relationship.” I demanded. If my parents found out that I was living with two men in Taipei, sleeping around promiscuously, and furthermore engaging in a improper relationship with the two brothers simultaneously, they’d definitely beat me to death.

“Okay.” They agreed.

I relaxed and prepared to go home to visit my parents.

But was I reassured too easily? How could a lamb trust anything a wolf said?

 

Translator’s Notes:

  1. Royal Poinciana Tree: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delonix_regia [back]

 

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