The bustling gala hall was filled with celebrities and public figures all decked out in their best suits and dresses.
An Mu was dressed in a moonlight white western suit, holding on to a champagne glass while chatting with a recently-rising actress. The small smile on his face was akin to a fresh spring breeze against the skin. The actress returned An Mu’s smile with her own sweet smile, enjoying his presence immensely.
The actress was just about to use the fork in her hand to pick up another cube of steak from her plate for An Mu to try when she noticed the latter suddenly stiffening up. The smile on his face froze; his expression was one of helplessness.
Curious, the actress turned towards the direction of An Mu’s gaze and found yet another impressive-looking male specimen making his way towards them.
The smart, casual outfit he had on stood out drastically in this place where everyone was decked out in high-end brand name outfits – like three-piece Armani suits and Swarovski crystal-embedded floor-length gowns. It seemed none of these bothered the man at all; with a look of determination and an attitude of not caring for other people’s opinions, Lan Kuang ignored everyone else but An Mu.
Lan Kuang was significantly taller than An Mu; his build stronger and bigger, his presence alone was enough to make others feel small.
The actress knew better and quickly placed her plate of food onto the nearest table, lifted the hem of her dress, and made her escape as quickly as she could.
An Mu retracted his gaze and pushed all the anxiety he felt as deep into his thoughts as he could. Turning around, he began to walk away.
Lan Kuang had finally managed to find him; how could he allow this man to slip away from him so easily? Like an arrow released from a bow, he rushed forward to block off the escape route of An Mu, stopping only after seeing the ice-cold expression on his features.
An Mu wanted to ignore him, as he was afraid that Lan Kuang would see the flaws and differences, therefore his best bet was to turn away and seek an alternative escape route.
Lan Kuang had never known the feeling of defeat before An Mu. He knew he could not go after An Mu head-on and yet, An Mu would never allow him a chance if he was allowed to leave again. With frustrations building inside him, accompanied by the sight of An Mu leaving him again, Lan Kuang reached out quickly to grasp onto his arm, desperately whispering: “An Mu…”
An Mu froze in his tracks, but still refused to turn around to look at him, his voice cold as he asked: “Young Master Lan, what can I do for you?”
“Let us talk a little.” Lan Kuang refused to release his arm, walking about until he was in front of An Mu once again, staring directly into his eyes.
“If you want to discuss business, please contact my secretary,” An Mu said flippantly, trying to distance himself from the other as quickly as he could.
“You know that’s not what I want to talk about!” Lan Kuang said, his brows furrowed with exasperation, “It has been so long since then… Can you please just forget it?”
“I apologize… But what are you talking about? I don’t remember it anymore…” An Mu muttered. “Actually, you are correct. It has happened so long ago, I have long since forgotten all about it. So, if you would please, don’t come near me again!”
With that said, An Mu raised his other hand to push off the offending hand that was tightly holding on to his bicep.
Lan Kuang was not someone who could be brushed off so easily; his other hand came up to grip An Mu’s other wrist: “An Mu! I can repay you for all of it! I do not care how you treat me because of it. I will take it all. I just need you to stop pushing me away!”
“You… Let go!” With both his arms restrained, An Mu was getting a little annoyed.
“An Mu!” Lan Kuang had no intention of letting this man go, he was even thinking about taking him away to somewhere quiet to discuss the problem between them further.
The scuffle between them was starting to attract the attention of the people in the gala hall. Navigating between the throngs of people and getting stopped multiple times by actress A or movie star B, An Chen finally managed to locate An Mu – only to see him getting harassed by the infamous Lan Kuang.
His features darkened as his emotions got the better of him. An Chen felt the anger rising in his voice: “You! Lan family’s boy, remove your filthy hands now!” As he rushed over towards the pair, his knuckles were taut as he raised his fist.
Lan Kuang moved backwards quickly — the fist only just missing his nose, making him release his hold on An Mu. Taking two steps back, Lan Kuang looked at the newcomer with disdain.
An Chen placed himself directly before An Mu, using himself as a shield to block An Mu from Lan Kuang’s sight. His left hand was encircled An Mu, pushing him behind him and holding him there. With a pair of gleaming fiery orbs staring directly at Lan Kuang, he said: “I am warning you—”.
He had barely finished his sentence when An Mu interrupted him: “An Chen, let it go.”
An Chen naturally did not know nor understand the meaning behind An Mu’s words but he was not going to disobey him. Glaring furiously at Lan Kuang, An Chen took hold of An Mu’s hand and pulled him towards the nearest exit, stopping midway to turn around and give another warning glare at Lan Kuang.
Lan Kuang did not want to create a big scene in front of so many people, so he forced himself to calm down as he watched the An brothers leave before letting out a deep breath. He grabbed a bottle of brandy from the nearest waiter and headed towards the observatory.
As An Chen dragged An Mu down to the underground parking garage, he could not stop himself from grumbling: “Elder brother, the contract you had with Ran Feng Ge has long been completed hasn’t it? So why are you still protecting him? Now look what has happened! Lan Kuang, that annoying leech – it’s going to be hard to get rid of him now!”
“What are you trying to imply here? That this is all my fault?” An Mu asked, looking at the array of emotions that were currently morphing across his younger brother’s face. Had it not been for An Chen’s plotting and manipulation that time, along with the ministration of the other brothers, An Mu would never have had to employ Ran Feng Ge as a body double for his own protection.
“Eld-elder brother…” An Chen said as he looked at the unsmiling An Mu, a wave of cold chill running through his body as he finally muttered: “Has elder brother not already forgiven me for that? Why are you bringing this up again?”
“You are thinking too much,” An Mu replied gently, his lips pulling up into a smile.
Thinking back, An Mu recalled the look on An Chen’s face when the bloodied Ran Feng Ge, who had been pretending to be An Mu at the time, stumbled back home after escaping from Chasing Hawk; the shock and fear as he helped to carry his injured “brother”, the tremble in his voice as he cried out “elder brother” by the bed – his voice full of pain and remorse.
Only after An Chen found out that the badly injured person on the bed was not his precious elder brother An Mu, could he release the breath he held stifled in his chest.
However, to prevent Ran Feng Ge from being dragged any further into the mess between Chasing Hawk and the An Family, An Mu had sent him away and after which decided to inflict the same scar Ran Feng Ge had on his own body to prevent Lan Kuang from finding out about the body double. Ran Feng Ge did not need to have Lan Kuang coming after him after everything he had done for An Mu.
After passing out from the pain, he could recall hearing the pained voice of An Chen crying out for him: “Elder brother! What did you do?!”
At that time, An Mu thought that if all it took to get his brother back on his side was a little pain, then it was all worth it.
In actuality, both brothers were brutal in their ways. The only difference was that one was willing to go all out to the point of injuring himself while the other was willing to go all out with no remorse regardless of who was hurt in the process.
Proofreaders: Charlotte Grey, Lyrick
Su Yi Mo’s idea was a good one; unfortunately, they didn’t have the opportunity to test it out.
The surgery had taken two hours. In that time, if Lan Kuang really wanted to, he would have found them already. The only reason he hadn’t was because he had a run in with someone far more important – An Mu!
While Lan Kuang was on his way to the nearest hospital, An Mu had driven past him on the opposite side of the road. At the same time, another car that was following An Mu sped by as well.
Having spotted the two cars, Lan Kuang only hesitated for a moment before turning his car around at the earliest opportunity he had. Aggressively stepping down on the gas pedal, his car skid a little before Lan Kuang righted the car once again to chase after the cars ahead of him.
An Mu was on his way to attend a gala.
The An family had quite a reputation in ‘A’ City. Of course, it was nothing compared to the name they had built for themselves back in America and other countries. However, in order for businessmen to further their connections, they would always invite all sorts of big names even to their little parties.
An Mu was the eldest son of the An family. Moreover, he was named the heir by the Grand Master of the family. Therefore, whenever there were functions like this, they would always receive many invitations. This was further reinforced after An Mu had sincerely relayed to the press that the An family had already reached the pinnacle of business internationally, and from now on, the An family was ready to support their local businesses.
Such a lucrative opportunity was a godsend and all the local businesses were fighting to get into his good books.
Everyone who was anyone were trying to invite the eldest son of the An family to join them in their galas – not only was it a good way to make connections, it was also a way to form business partnerships.
An Mu was born with naturally genteel features. He did not exude any sense of entitlement or arrogance—regardless of the occasion, An Mu never lacked a smile for anyone. He gave people comfort and a sense of familiarity. This made people want to cooperate with him and his family.
This time round, it was another CEO that wished to bask in An Mu’s favor, so he had one of the first few invitations delivered directly into An Mu’s hands.
Having nothing much to do anyways, An Mu decided to accept the invitation. The An family had already announced their decision to join the Chinese market and so, making connections was an important part of the deal.
An Chen had originally prevented him from going to these nonsense parties and galas. Although it was said to be just a networking event, but in reality, only good came from using An Mu’s beautiful features.
Ever since An Chen realized that his brotherly feelings for An Mu had morphed into something else, he could never stand seeing his brother showing off that sweet, innocent smile. His brother could only show that to him – An Mu could only be gentle towards him!
However, An Mu never listened to him. Using that smile of his as a distraction, he had asked An Chen to help him grab something to eat. While An Chen was away, An Mu took the opportunity to slip into a car and drive off.
Because An Chen hadn’t received an invitation to this party, he was already unhappy. Now, seeing his brother leave without him, An Chen decided to follow. Gritting his teeth, An Chen silently vowed to himself: “This cannot go on… I will have to do something; brother needs to be more wary!”
One after another, three extremely flashy cars entered the parking garage.
An Mu was the first one to reach the lift, bringing him directly from the underground garage right up to the twentieth floor of the hotel. He was followed closely by An Chen with Lan Kuang catching up from behind.
An Mu was able to easily present the invitation that had been handed to him personally by the host. The two behind him, however, did not have the same experience.
An Chen was stopped promptly by the security standing guard outside the event hall. Without batting an eyelid, An Chen pointed towards An Mu who had just disappeared into the room, announcing: “I am here with my elder brother. Get out of my way now!”
The guards followed the direction in which An Chen had pointed towards, their gaze landing on An Mu, the man who was becoming increasingly popular in recent times. Stunned, they retraced their sights back onto An Chen and realized he was someone influential as well. The air around him was no less than any of the other important personnel mingling around in the room behind them. Everyone who was attending the event was either a rich, second-generation heir or some sort of public figure. Checking the background of each and every person would be very tedious and they would be treading on thin ice.
The guards at the door were already well-trained at spotting an aristocrat: first, by what they wore, second, by how they carried themselves. This man before them who was trying to get in did indeed look somewhat similar to An Mu. With only a moment’s hesitation, the guards made the decision to step aside and allow entrance to An Chen.
The next person they had to stop was Lan Kuang.
In actuality, it was not that Lan Kuang had not been given an invitation. Lan Kuang was a well-known figure in the business world – especially in the grey areas of the industry; there was no way he wouldn’t be given an invitation. It was all due to the recent troubles he had with Su Yi Mo that Lan Kuang did not bother with any of the events that were going on. The invitation that was sent to him prior had also been thrown aside without a second thought.
Lan Kuang only had to make a single phone call before the host of the event came out to escort him personally.
After ending the call, Lan Kuang placed his phone in his chest pocket. He did not even bother to look at his gracious host before saying, “I forgot the card.”
The host waved away the apology in haste: “Young Master Lan, please don’t say that! You don’t need an invitation to show up here. Please, please! Come in. Having you here is my honor!”
Lan Kuang gave the man a slight nod in reply, strutting into the room before the host. His search for An Mu had begun.
Proofreaders: Charlotte Grey, Lyrick
When the day’s work ended, Tang Feng left in a car accompanied by his assistant and agent without saying goodbye. After such a thing had just happened, it would be awkward and strange if he were to talk to anyone. In the end, this is still a film set, Tang Feng did not want Gino to eat his fists in full view of everyone.
Tang Feng just wanted to go back to his hotel to take a hot bath and have a good night’s sleep. Then in the morning he’d get up, eat his fill, and then beat Gino up.
Gino, what did that bastard take him as?
Tang Feng knew that Gino had some affection for him, but Gino had gone far too overboard with the things done to him today while borrowing the excuse of work, and had crossed the bottom line between them.
Even knowing the scene was well filmed, it was hard for Tang Feng to cheer up.
He was unsure if Lu Tian Chen knew what happened, after Tang Feng went back with a black face, Lu Tian Chen didn’t ask or say anything, just having a drink of wine with Tang Feng after he came out of the bathroom, then they each went back to their own separate beds to sleep.
Lu Tian Chen had been taking advantage of Charles’ being away to occasionally join Tang Feng in bed, just to hold each other or to cuddle, with at most an innocent peck on the lips. As long as Tang Feng didn’t indicate anything, Lu Tian Chen also would not casually do anything too intimate to the man.
This evening, it was obvious with a glance that Tang Feng wasn’t in a good mood, Lu Tian Chen wisely did not disturb the him.
In the middle of the night, Lu Tian Chen crawled over from his bed, lying beside Tang Feng to hold the man from behind. The half-asleep half-awake man also just hummed twice in his dream, then leaned back into Lu Tian Chen’s embrace.
Lu Tian Chen quietly asked “Who on earth are you?”, lined with a little moonlight, Lu Tian Chen kissed the back of Tang Feng’s neck gently.
Tang Feng who did not have to get up early the next morning woke up naturally after his sleep. He vaguely remembered that someone climbed into his bed yesterday in the middle of the night, that person was probably Lu Tian Chen.
When he got up in the morning, there was no one in the bed next to him, or on the other bed. But when he stretched his hands to touch the sheets, there was still a little residual warmth. Lu Tian Chen should not have been gone for too long.
Stretching leisurely, Tang Feng got up from bed to go to the bathroom to take a bath, slowly transitioning from the half-dream half-awake state to sobriety. He went back to the bedside to put clothes on, at the same time, he picked up the phone to see if anyone had been looking for him, only to find that his phone had been turned off.
Maybe Lu Tian Chen turned off his phone.
Then what about Lu Tian Chen, that guy?
After Tang Feng finished grooming he did not directly call Lu Tian Chen, instead he called his agent Xiaoyu; she usually knew where Lu Tian Chen was.
“Xiaoyu, do you know where President Lu is?” Tang Feng asked. According to Xiaoyu’s habits, she should have told Lu Tian Chen about what happened on the set yesterday. Tang Feng knew Lu Tian Chen wasn’t one to just sit back and watch.
Lu Tian Chen didn’t greet him this morning before leaving, maybe to deal with the thing regarding Gino. Furthermore, Lu Tian Chen was now his boss; he had a valid reason to fight for his employees’ rights.
“President Lu, President Lu, he …” there was some stuttering between the words of Xiaoyu on the other end of the phone.
“What’s the matter, did something happen? Tell me where he is.” Listening to Xiaoyu stuttering, Tang Feng could guess what may have happened.
Lu Tian Chen didn’t do anything rash, did he?
“Gino came to the hotel just now, President Lu wouldn’t let him come up, and then the two of them went to the hotel gym. It seems like President Lu beat Gino up, the agent over on Gino’s side is now rushing over. Tang Feng, you would have found out about this matter sooner or later, but you must not … Hello, hello?”
Tang Feng had long since hung up the phone, pulled open the hotel room door and ran towards the hotel gym. Even if Gino should be beat up it should be him doing the beating right.
He is now in a very complicated mood. On the one hand, he was angry at Gino’s childish tantrum and impulsive unprofessional behaviour yesterday, on the other hand, there is some concern that Gino would be handicapped by Lu Tian Chen.
Tang Feng had consulted Lu Tian Chen on martial arts before. He very clearly understood that beneath Lu Tian Chen’s seemingly gentlemanly outward appearance was a skilled fighter with unmatched fierceness. Since he can evenly match Charles without falling behind, and since Charles can easily beat Gino up, Lu Tian Chen can naturally do so as well.
Lu Tian Chen wasn’t someone that angered easily but once angered he was terrifying.
Like a volcano, which is usually peaceful and quiet, once it erupts, it is enough to shake the ground and destroy the sky.
Sometimes when you really don’t want something to happen, fate has other plans, allowing it to occur despite the best laid plans. When Tang Feng arrived at the gym, the sight that greeted him happened to be the last thing he wanted to see.
There weren’t many people in the gym, it can be said that there was no one. A few people of unknown origins stood at the door. When Tang Feng went in, they just glanced at the man allowing him to enter without obstruction.
When Tang Feng found Lu Tian Chen and Gino on the boxing ring stage, Lu Tian Chen was walking to the ring side, grabbing his coat that was hanging on the post to put it on, only lightly glancing towards Tang Feng’s arrival.
“Lu Tian Chen.” Tang Feng’s gaze landed on the back of Lu Tian Chen’s hand, where his knuckles were stained with some blood. It didn’t look like it belonged to Lu Tian Chen, then it can only be…
“I can still fight! I haven’t lost yet!” A clamour sounded from behind Lu Tian Chen. Tang Feng walked closer and found Gino lying on the ground. This Hollywood superstar looked a little embarrassed, but the blazing flames in his eyes seemed to tell all of them that he wouldn’t easily bow his head and concede.
Lu Tian Chen, with his back to Gino, raised his lips into a condescending sneer: “No, you lost from the beginning.”
“What are you guys doing?” Tang Feng started to walk up to them.
Lu Tian Chen quickly moved forward to stop the man, noticing Tang Feng’s tightly scrunched brow and said, “Let’s go.”
Tang Feng could see Gino behind Lu Tian Chen. The youth’s hair was rather matted; the corners of his mouth were also bleeding, panting heavily presumably because of adrenaline and over exertion from the fight. When he met Tang Feng’s gaze, his pupils slightly constricted, before slowly lowering his head to avoid the man’s eyes.
“This is what he deserves.” Lu Tian Chen said.
“Then it should be me beating him up.” Tang Feng hadn’t actually wanted to beat Gino up this badly.
Lu Tian Chen shrugged it off: “Are you treating him like a child? Don’t forget how lethal the child is.” He paused, his eyes glancing back slightly, “Furthermore, he is a wayward child with the strength of an adult.”
“I know …”
“Then don’t give him any delusions.” This was the first time Lu Tian Chen had spoken with a stern tone to Tang Feng since they started to get along.
Tang Feng nodded, reaching out to pat Lu Tian Chen on the shoulder: “I know what to do.”
Lu Tian Chen looked at the other man, even if Tang Feng didn’t do these things, he would still help this man to complete them.
“I’ll be waiting for you outside.” Lu Tian Chen decided to hand this place over to Tang Feng. He immediately jumped out of the ring and left.
“Do you think I’m a failure? I lost when I fought with Charles, and when I fought with this Mr. Lu, I was beaten till I’m black and blue.” Leaning against the boxing ring’s pole, Gino bitterly laughed in self-pity.
Tang Feng walked over, condescendingly staring down at the youth. He had no intention of comforting Gino. “That’s right. You really are a failure. Not because you couldn’t beat them in a fight, but because you didn’t know exactly what you wanted from the start. I believe the people by your side should’ve called you a willful child more than once, but why haven’t you changed at all?”
“I’m working on it!”
“Obviously you’re not working hard enough!” Tang Feng loudly reprimanded.
“Then what the hell do you want me to do?!” Gino was too emotional; he lowered his head and covered his face.
“Throwing this kind of question at me, is it because if it’s me telling you what to do it would allow you to be able to do it? Then go and be a mature adult. You’re already long past the age of being a willful child immersed in your fantasy dreams. Yesterday’s event really infuriated me. Then let me ask you a question too. What do you even see me as?”
Gino fiercely raised his head, shouting: “I like you!”
“So, you did that kind of thing to me in front of everyone yesterday, is this the way you like someone?” Tang Feng sighed in frustration. “The things you like, other people may not necessarily like them.”
“I’m sorry, yesterday…. I was too impulsive yesterday.”
“Impulse is never an excuse or a reason. Gino, stop finding excuses for yourself. I don’t want to comfort you, or give you reasons and advice. You’re already an adult. Just like what you said before, you’re even older than me. As a man, think about what you should do.” Tang Feng sighed. He looked at the Gino in front of him, continuing: “Think about what consequences your actions will bring.”
“Are you still mad at me?” Gino’s voice quieted.
“If a man were to do that kind of thing to you, will you be mad?” Tang Feng asked instead.
“I think I’ll kill him.” Once the positions were reversed, Gino couldn’t take it anymore, and vigorously shook his head.
“Then that’s that” Tang Feng looked at Gino one last time, then turned around to leave.
Gino just stared after the man leaving. Even though he let Lu Tian Chen beat him up, Gino hadn’t received any comfort, nor had he received the forgiveness that he had imagined.