Lin Chu hugged him tighter. "In conclusion, I was wrong just now and I'll remember to never repeat the same mistake in the future. Come to think of it, the one good thing that came from me relying too much on you is that I'd always ask for your permission before I do anything. Even though I'm trying to become more independent, I'll still remember to do so in the future."
Lin Chu really thought that she had made a huge mistake. If she thought lightly of it like it was just a careless mistake, it would probably be fine. However, it might also give him the impression that she did not respect his opinion.
If Yan Beicheng made a decision that would affect her without asking for her opinion, then she would be upset as well.
As she thought about all this, Yan Beicheng continued to stare at her with a soft look in his eyes, completely unbothered by her behavior. When she saw this, she became even angrier at herself.
Yan Beicheng could not bear looking at her faulting herself anymore. "Hey, you should be asleep now. It's almost half-past twelve," he quickly changed the topic as he pinched her nose.
In the past, there was no problem with staying up late, but now that she was pregnant she needed more rest.
"I'm checking Zhu Hexuan's reaction online," Lin Chu answered as she turned her phone toward Yan Beicheng to show him the screen.
There were tens of thousands of comments on the Jing City Post's article such that they had to turn off the comments section to avoid the netizens spamming their page.
However, this did not stop the netizens, who immediately turned to Hu Mingrui's Weibo account and continued leaving hateful comments condemning her behavior.
The next day, Lu Zhenghang's news had begun to slowly die down. The marketing accounts that Lin Chu had contacted gave her another friendly freebie and posted the screenshot of the successful transaction from the auction the night before.
"Sold at the sky-high price of nine million and one Yuan, can you guess who made the final bid?"
When she saw this, Lin Chu said her thanks, and with a smile, left the online drama behind.
To her surprise, that afternoon, a photo was posted online. It was a picture of Lu Zhenghang standing by the road looking stiff and stern as he bent over to pick something up.
A young man stood in front of him whilst wearing a cap that covered half of his face. The young man was unrecognizable, but in the captured moment, he seemed flustered and slightly embarrassed.
He was picking up a box that had dropped on the ground. The lid of the box had fallen off, and the item inside the box had dropped out as well. Although the picture was not very clear, the vague shape and outline of the item were easily recognizable. There was another picture posted underneath the first was, which was just a zoomed-in shot of the item. By the looks of it, it was his toy that was auctioned yesterday.
With that, netizens finally came to the realization that Lu Zhenghang was the buyer!
After this, it became obvious that he was the one who had custom made the toy according to his real-life measurements. If not, why the rush to buy it back?
It was nine million Yuan, for goodness sake!
To be honest, it was only natural that Lu Zhenghang did not want to be humiliated by having his toy randomly circulating the country, and since he did not want to risk it falling into the wrong hands, he had to do everything possible to buy it back.
No wonder there had been no news of Lu Zhenghang the entire day yesterday. The netizens recalled that although the seller did not mention the buyer's identity, they knew that a certain Xing was involved, which everyone knew must be related to President Lu's company, Xing Chuang. Thus, the full name was not required for the public to make an educated guess. Meanwhile, Lu Zhenghang made no effort to speak up or accuse anyone, but simply secretly spent nine million to buy it back.
Nine million… That was enough to buy a house in B City.
After all that, he was seen carrying a certain purchase today, and unfortunately for him, someone had bumped into him and knocked the box out of his hands. When the item accidentally fell out of the box for everyone around to see, he lost the last bits of dignity he had.
Netizens continued to speculate how a thing like that came into being in the first place. Judging from how nervous Lu Zhenghang looked, it must have belonged to him.
Finally, netizens started guessing. "Isn't anyone curious about why Lu Zhenghang had such a thing custom-made? I get it if a lady does it, but what would a guy do with a thing like that? Is he trying to boost his ego? Or is he so proud of his size that he can't help but custom-make one of these things so that he can stare at it at home every day?"
"I can only say that if someone custom-makes one of these as a replica of their own appendage, it means that they're extremely narcissistic. Perhaps he was just really confident with his size and meant to gift it to a special lady, but she had looked down on how small he was. This could be why she started to auction it off," another netizen guessed.
Lin Chu narrowed her eyes as she read the comments. "Don't tell me you're the one behind all of this," she turned to Yan Beicheng.
"What are you talking about? The bumping-into-him incident or the online comments?" Yan Beicheng asked with an innocent smile.
"..." Lin Chu paused for a second before coming to a realization. "You're the one behind everything, aren't you?"
The corner of Yan Beicheng's mouth twitched as he responded, "I can't just sit by while he insults and harasses you. Since he's oh-so confident with himself, I'm just giving him an opportunity to shine and show the world what he's got. He's always plotting such sly, disgusting tricks against you, but does he think that I'll just sit here and do nothing and not fight back?"
Lin Chu tried to hold back a laugh and quickly comforted him, "Exactly, you just never bother to waste your time on him, that's all."
Yan Beicheng arched an eyebrow as he grinned in satisfaction.
With all the drama going on across the internet, Yan Beicheng and Lin Chu decided to stay at the Family Mansion instead of going back to Ding City for the time being.
This was also to avoid the likelihood of them bumping into Lu Zhenghang. Lin Chu was pregnant after all, and it would be bad for her to feel nauseous if they were to bump into him.
However, since they were worried that Aunt Chen would be overwhelmed by the increased workload, Yan Beicheng requested that Aunt Zhuang come over as well.
Today's revenge was just the first step. Nevertheless, Lin Chu was no longer interested in how Yan Beicheng was going to deal with Xing Chuang.
"Is that why you came back to the bedroom so late last night? Were you busy doing all this?" Lin Chu's eyes twinkled as she quickly put the pieces together.
"Yeah, I had some help from a friend," Yan Beicheng responded, "He's a guy named Wen Ren. Have you heard of him? He's from Lanshan Institution too." After thinking for a moment, he decided to tell Lin Chu the whole story.
Lin Chu nodded. Lanshan Institution was probably the only institution around that was able to produce graduates who were able to manipulate information and news in a professional and efficient manner.
Lanshan Institution had already become synonymous with the Wen family because they owned every single building on Mount Lanshan in T City, whether it be on the mountain top or the mountainside. It was public knowledge that their hired mercenaries, bodyguards, and even teams of special forces would regularly visit Lanshan Institution for training.
Any family that was worth their salt in the social hierarchy, including the Eight Dominant Families, would send their children to the institution to practice martial arts. Although the training was not as intense as that of the mercenaries or bodyguards, the basics were covered so they were all quite skillful.
This was why all the families had some form of relation to Lanshan Institution.
"I asked for Wen Ren's help to deal with Lu Zhenghang because I know that it's impossible for Lu Zhenghang to escape from him," Yan Beicheng said with a soft laugh.
To be honest, Yan Beicheng knew that it was overkill to ask the Wen family to lend a hand with a matter as petty as this, but at least he could rest easy knowing that Lu Zhenghang would surely get what he deserved.
Soon after lunch, Aunt Zhuang arrived with her luggage. For the time being, they were going to stay at the mansion, so there were plenty of things to bring over.
The two elders were thrilled at the news too, excited that they could take care of their granddaughter-in-law.
When Yan Beicheng and Lin Chu stayed by themselves, although they could easily ask their driver to bring to visit Yan Beicheng and Lin Chu whenever they liked, it was still somewhat inconvenient. Both of them had to go to work during the day until late at night, and since the two elders slept early, they would be unable to stay long since they would not want to disrupt Lin Chu's rest.
Now that Lin Chu was staying with them, it was much more convenient for everyone. In Old Lady Yan's ideal scenario, she would bring Lin Chu to stroll around the neighborhood every day as Lin Chu's baby bump started growing.
Aunt Zhuang came into the house with Shao Huai following from behind as he brought in all the luggage.
Then, Lin Chu heard familiar barking and saw Chu Xi dashing over. Before she could even react, Chu Xi was already by her side pawing at her knees.
Lin Chu began to laugh so hard tears nearly came out. Since she was pregnant, Yan Beicheng had forbidden her to carry Chu Xi so she could only reach out to pat its head. With that, Chu Xi continued to stand on its two hind legs as if it were standing up to hug her.
After sharing a heartfelt reunion, Lin Chu adoringly rubbed Chu Xi's head and said to it, "Go play on your own now."
With that, Chu Xi lowered its head to the ground so low that its nose nearly touched the floor and began to examine the new environment like it was a minesweeper.
"Aunt Zhuang, did you manage to buy it?" Lin Chu turned and looked at Aunt Zhuang, her eyes filled with hope.
Aunt Zhuang laughed as she raised a transparent plastic bag. It was filled with hawthorns. "Yes, I did. These aren't easy to find, mind you. I had to go to a wholesale market and search through several stalls; even if they did sell them, they only sold them in bulk. Nobody wanted to sell me just a few pieces of it! Luckily, I found a stall that sold candied haws and had some extra stock, so I just bought some from the owner. Initially, I didn't think of doing that, but now I know. If you crave it again, I can just go straight to a candied haw stall and buy some back for you."
Then, Aunt Zhuang headed to the kitchen to prepare the hawthorns for Lin Chu.
"Don't worry, go pack your things first," Lin Chu said as she helped carry the luggage into the house.
Since Yan Beicheng was not planning on staying long, he only brought the essentials. After all, their new place at Sheng Town had already been completely renovated and they were just waiting for the air purifiers to cleanse the air of the toxic smell before they moved in.
They estimated that they could move in next month.
Lin Chu quickly tidied up her things, and by the time she came out, Aunt Zhuang had already washed the hawthorns and left them on the coffee table. Her eyes immediately sparkled and she quickly picked one up and started eating it. She crunched on it happily, chewing slowly and making a crisp sound that sounded as if she were eating a sweet apple.
"Isn't it sour?" Yan Beicheng frowned as he gulped to wash away the sour taste he was imagining.
"No, not at all. It's very sweet," Lin Chu said as she shook the hawthorn in her hand. "It's soft and it tastes very good. It's just like eating an apple! I'm sure they must've added some sort of fertilizer or something when they planted these because they don't taste the same as I remember. They're not as sour as the ones I had when I was younger. Bitter gourds too, I used to hate them! They're so bitter but now I find them quite tolerable, even kids can accept the mild, bitter taste."
Yan Beicheng was still skeptical as he continued staring at her. She seemed to be enjoying the hawthorn, but was it really not sour at all?
After being overwhelmed with curiosity, he reached over to grab a piece of hawthorn. Yan Beicheng's face immediately scrunched up as he spat it out. The sour taste in his mouth was overwhelming and he could barely control his tears. "What? Isn't this sour?"
Lin Chu burst into laughter and finished the last few bits of the hawthorn. "I really don't find it sour at all."
"Even if you don't find it sour, don't think too lightly of it. Be careful, or you might just lose a tooth or two," Yan Beicheng said in a helpless tone as he shook his head. He quickly reached for a cup of tea, eager to wash away the sour taste in his mouth. "You don't feel it but trust me, your teeth are in pain."
Lin Chu was only eating it because she suddenly got a craving for it, so perhaps she just needed to have a quick bite. She planned on eating one more just to get her fix before stopping.
As she was just about to start eating the second one, Yan Huaian and Yu Zi walked in. Yan Ningbai was trailing behind, and much to her surprise, Mo Jinxi had tagged along as well.
"Big niece-in-law, I accidentally told Jinxi when we were on the phone and he insisted on visiting you to check on you so here he is now," Yan Ningbai exclaimed happily.
Yan Beicheng cast a threatening look at him. "Is there a lock that we can shut your mouth with? If you're still a small child, we could ignore it since children say what they like, but you're a boy now, how can you be such a blabbermouth?"
Yan Ningbai shrunk under his stern glare. "I… I was too excited, and Jin Xi's my best friend, I couldn't resist telling him, but I've already told Jinxi that he can't tell the other kids."
Mo Jinxi immediately shook his head hard. "I swear I didn't tell anyone."
Yan Huaian heaved a heavy sigh and called Yan Ningbai over. "A secret's a secret because even if it rots in your stomach, you're not allowed to tell anyone. If you tell someone, it's not a secret anymore, is it? If you tell someone that you're going to share a secret with them but that they can't tell anyone else, then the person will do the same to others. If this keeps happening then poof, the secret will no longer be a secret. Do you understand now?"
Yan Ningbai clutched his trousers and licked his mouth reluctantly as he nodded his small, round head. The enthusiasm and playfulness that he had displayed merely seconds ago immediately disappeared as he quietened down.
Looking from aside, Lin Chu could not bear to see his sad little face, and just as she was about to interrupt, Yan Beicheng stopped her.
"He's not just an ordinary child from an average family. He's part of the Yan family and that means he's destined to take up a lot of responsibility," Yan Beicheng whispered to Lin Chu, "Don't be fooled by Ningbai's usual happy-go-lucky personality, Yan Huaian and Yu Zi are actually very strict with him and are demanding as well. You can't spare the lectures because of his young age, especially because he's a Yan. If he does something wrong, we can't just brush it off because of his age. We have to bring it up right away and say what has to be said. Besides, he's going to grow up to be a man, and a man should never be such a blabbermouth."
Lin Chu sighed in response but remained quiet after that.
Yan Ningbai's eyes were turning red as he tried to stop the tears from pouring. "I promise to never spill anyone's secrets ever again. If I promise not to say it, then nobody will ever hear it from me," he said as he nodded obediently.
Yan Huaian nodded in response and tussled Yan Ningbai's soft hair. "Alright, daddy's not scolding you. Daddy's just trying to reason with you, okay?" He comforted.
Yan Ningbai continued to nod his head gloomily.
Mo Jinxi who was sitting beside him was getting nervous too. He grabbed the sofa's armrest and interrupted, "It's all my fault."
"It has nothing to do with you, Ningbai was the one who shared the secret with you," Yan Huaian said, "But whatever I said to Ningbai goes the same to you as well. You're a boy too, and if you promise someone to keep a secret, you have to keep your word."
Mo Jinxi nodded solemnly. "I'll wait for Chu Chu to share the news, then she can share it whenever she feels ready."
"Alright, good boy," Yan Huaian praised.
"Okay, don't be sad anymore," Lin Chu said to the two little boys. Since Yan Huaian had already given them a small lecture, she did not want to make him seem like the bad guy so she quickly tried to brush aside the matter. "Hey, I want you guys to be happy for me. Don't stay upset over this matter, okay? I don't want to be the reason you guys are upset."
Yan Ningbai bit his small, red lips and gave her an embarrassed, awkward smile. Then, he felt guilty again and looked down at his small belly before sneaking a glance at Lin Chu's stomach.
His cautious yet pitiful manner was so adorable that at that moment, Lin Chu wished desperately to have her child right there and then. She hoped to have a little guy as cute as him.
Seeing that Yan Ningbai was still slightly tense after the small lecture, Lin Chu came up with an idea to make him feel better. "Oh, Chu Xi's here too! Chu Xi will be staying with us here during our stay."
Sure enough, a look of surprise appeared on Yan Ningbai's face, and it was as if the dark clouds over his head instantly drifted away. His face lit up as he turned around and set out to find his small companion with newfound excitement.
Right then, Chu Xi bounded over happily with its tongue dangling in the air.
The melancholic expression that was on his face just seconds ago was immediately replaced with a bright grin, which made Mo Jinxi heave a sigh of relief as well. He still felt like he was the reason Yan Ningbai got lectured by his father.
Chu Xi ran over to greet the two boys before licking them all over.
After that, Mo Jinxi ran over to Lin Chu to give her a hug, but as he approached her, he slowed down as he was worried he would bump into her.
With one arm on the sofa's armrest, his other arm paused in midair as he stopped in his tracks. His eyes sparkled as he contemplated reaching his arm out. "Chu Chu, Ningbai said that a baby sister is in your stomach right now, but it doesn't look big at all. How can you fit her inside?" He asked with his innocent eyes wide open.
Mo Jinxi looked at Lin Chu's flat stomach with confusion. How could it possibly fit a small human?
He knew how big a baby was from watching television, and no matter how small the baby was, it would not be able to fit in Lin Chu's stomach.
"Well, she's not grown up yet. Just wait a couple more months and as my stomach gets bigger, the baby inside will grow as well. Look at the other pregnant women, they're all the same," Lin Chu responded with a laugh.
Mo Jinxi nodded clearly as his eyes darted toward Lin Chu's stomach. His eyes seem to gleam with hope.
The look in his eyes did not fool Yan Beicheng. 'How can that little rascal be thinking about my daughter when she hasn't even been born yet!' He thought to himself angrily.
The gender of the baby was still unclear, but here he was calling it his baby sister!
"How are you so sure it'll be a little girl? It might be a boy too," Yan Beicheng said coolly with an unhappy look on his face. He had always been cold toward Mo Jinxi, but the young boy was already used to the behavior, so he thought nothing of it.
Because of this, Lin Chu greatly admired the child. If Yan Beicheng treated someone else like this, that person would have been scared to death. On the other hand, Mo Jinxi had learned how to be immune to his icy tone.
"I… I just have a feeling it's going to be a girl," he answered hesitantly.
Yan Beicheng sneered in response. "Well, it's not like the baby will magically turn into a girl just because you continue saying so."
He narrowed his eyes at Mo Jinxi. Ever since he found out about Mo Jinxi's intentions toward his future daughter, he desperately hoped that his firstborn child would be a boy. If Lin Chu and he had a son, Mo Jinxi would surely be devastated!
It was not because Mo Jinxi was an orphan. After all, he never cared about Lin Chu's status so why would he start judging people's backgrounds now?
The sole reason was that as a father, he would not wish for his own precious daughter to be stolen away by some rascal. He would never approve of any boy for his daughter, and nobody would ever be good enough for her. He was determined to never share his daughter with any other men.
Yan Beicheng continued to go deep into thought. What if they only tried again for a baby in another two years? If it turned out to be a girl, Mo Jinxi would be too old for her and he would not be shameless enough to try to rock the cradle either.
Lin Chu suddenly looked at Yan Beicheng as if she knew what he was thinking and flashed him a sarcastic smile.
The smirk seemed to say, "The old cow that rocked the cradle is right here in front of me."
Yan Beicheng immediately felt guilty and looked away. He remembered back when he was fifteen years old and was just about to step into adulthood. Lin Chu was around Yan Ningbai and Mo Jinxi's age and was still as innocent and ignorant as them.
If he were to be described as a cattle that was eating tender grass, in his case, the grass was especially tender.* (TN: In a relationship, when the guy is significantly older than the girl, he's referred to as an old cow eating tender grass)
Mo Jinxi was still not discouraged after Yan Beicheng's words. He turned to Lin Chu eagerly. "Chu Chu, can I feel your stomach?"
"Yeah, of course," Lin Chu agreed happily. "Just be aware that it's not exactly bulging so you probably won't feel anything. Let's wait for another four months. By then, my stomach will be this big."
Lin Chu traced a shape in front of her abdomen and continued, "Then, you'll be able to feel movements on my stomach when the baby stretches its arms or when it kicks around."