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Chapter 415 - Zhao Ji’s Experiences
Gongyi Tianheng faintly smiled: “Ladies and gentlemen, I will take my leave first.”
After he finished speaking, he brought along Gu Zuo, Gu Qi, and the Zhang Family’s grandfather and grandson pair. Together with Tian Hang, they boarded the Tian Family’s car.
If it was said that, just a little while ago, all the ancient martial artists were excitedly crowding around the entrance to depart with smiling expressions and many thoughts, then now, they waited until Tianheng and the others left completely before struggling free from that strange energy field and regaining the strength to speak.
At the same time, a dark and heavy shadow appeared in their hearts.
The Tian Family members who stayed behind facilitated even more social interactions. Countless ancient martial artists wanted to make discreet inquiries for information from the Tian Family, but they didn’t have an understanding of Tianheng and Gu Zuo at all — They only knew that these two people seemed to have appeared out of thin air. Even when it came to Gu Qi, because of his relations.h.i.+p with Tianheng and Gu Zuo, they didn’t dare to investigate too deeply. It was just the Zhang Family’s grandfather and grandson whose ident.i.ties they were certain of. Merely, it looked like the Zhang Family only had a cooperative relations.h.i.+p with those two people.
For a moment, it could be said that the members of the Tian Family were badly burned about the head.
Adhering to the concept of the same breath and branch, the Schools of Fist Intent and the Great Saber took the initiative to aid the Tian Family, and gradually allowed them to extricate themselves.
In the car, the atmosphere was still and silent.
Previously, Tian Hang only felt that Tianheng was a dangerous personage, and didn’t think that he would be this dangerous. Moreover, this fellow did things so candidly, which was very different from ordinary people.
As a result, he was deliberating how he should continue getting along with them.
As for Gu Qi, he was slowly calming down his own state of mind.
He had always felt that Tianheng was a refined and courteous person who possessed the n.o.ble elegance of an aristocratic family’s young master. However, this time around, he saw another side of Tianheng with his own eyes… Consequently, he gained a deeper and more profound realization of the other world that Gu Zuo and Tianheng mentioned, and how cruel that so-called “veneration of martial strength” really was.
That was a world where human lives were like specks of dust.
Gu Zuo noticed Gu Qi’s expression, and reached out to hug him.
— Dad, don’t worry.
Soon, they returned to the Tian Family’s household. Because they had to wait for any information, Gu Zuo and Tianheng didn’t mention anything about leaving. Since the Zhang Family’s grandfather and grandson established contact with many ancient martial artists, they similarly kept silent. Besides the constant social niceties, they listened to and obeyed the arrangements made by Gu Zuo and the others.
Naturally, the Tian Family wouldn’t urge anything. They were also thinking that, if this matter was handled well, they could obtain the other party’s timely rewards in return!
With this belief, the Tian Family’s members maintained a high efficiency. After one day, they brought back the information that Gu Zuo and the others wanted.
In the study room, Tianheng read the doc.u.ments in his hand. He lifted his eyes, and smiled: “Everyone has worked hard.”
In these materials, the ident.i.ties and origins of Zhao Hongying’s successive wives were introduced in detail as well as the bitter experiences they encountered after they were cast aside.
Among them, the one who attracted Tianheng’s attention the most was the information about Zhao Hongying’s first wife.
She was the Qian Family’s eldest daughter. The Qian Family itself used to be a large family with substantial properties in business and inestimable connections in politics.
In those years, the Zhao Family carefully selected, and chose to join the Qian Family in marriage. In addition, Zhao Hongying and Young Lady Qian Xi were already a freely-loving couple at their university. This was to everyone’s delight and satisfaction.
It stood to reason that, so long as Qian Xi could conceive, it wouldn’t matter if she didn’t give birth to a son within three years. Provided that she didn’t lose her fertility, she could continue having children, and the Zhao Family would give her face. Unfortunately, Qian Xi didn’t know that the Zhao Family had this draconian rule beforehand. At the time, her temperament was simple and pure, and she didn’t want to have a child this early in life. As a result, she had been secretly taking contraceptives the entire time.
The following matters were as one could well imagine.
Two years pa.s.sed. Qian Xi and Zhao Hongying’s feelings were very good, but she never got pregnant. It was also during this time that, because several affairs stirred up trouble, people related to the Qian Family were fired from their jobs and the Qian Family was shaken to a certain extent. Qian Xi was concerned about matters in the family, and didn’t have time to bother with contraceptives.
Later on, a series of accidents happened to the Qian Family. Not only did those large family properties collapse and fall apart, all of Qian Xi’s relatives were either thrown into prison or died from all sorts of disasters. She immediately understood that someone wanted to deal with the Qian Family.
Qian Xi wholeheartedly wished that the Zhao Family would take action, but because of all kinds of matters, the Zhao Family was hard-pressed to do anything. Although Qian Xi was beyond disappointed, she had only lost hope. At the same time, she also regarded Zhao Hongying and the past Zhao Family Head as her sole family members and her last straw.
It was just that, by chance, Qian Xi found out about that wretched rule of the Zhao Family. Afterwards, through many traces and clues, she realized that the cause of the Qian Family’s subsequent collapse largely wasn’t due to other people fighting over benefits. Instead, it was because of the Zhao Family!
At that time, Zhao Hongying had a dispute with someone else — It was due to his ungratefulness and that person finding fault with him.
If it wasn’t for Zhao Hongying’s lack of martial strength and his agitated mood, if it wasn’t for the fact that she coincidentally hid herself very well, she wouldn’t have speculated some things based on Zhao Hongying’s words.
The Qian Family’s benefits would lure people’s hearts. Moreover, it was only when the Qian Family fell completely that no one would be able to help this Eldest Daughter Qian out of this predicament, nor cause trouble for their Zhao Family.
Right away, Qian Xi’s mind was thrown into chaos. She hated the Zhao Family, but she also loathed her own blind ignorance for choosing such a shameless and despicable cheater. But for the time being, she couldn’t think of anything to do about it. She could only restrain herself, and wait for the Zhao Family to give her an ultimatum.
Sure enough, after the Qian Family didn’t have anything else worth exploiting, Zhao Hongying wanted to get a divorce.
Once Qian Xi deliberately cried in disbelief a few times, she “weakly and helplessly” agreed under the threats of the Zhao Family. After that, she left with the child she had conceived.
As it turned out, she realized that something was wrong the first time she accidentally vomited. She originally wanted to poison the entire Zhao Family and take them down with her, but because of this pregnancy, she gave up on her plan and chose to leave instead.
With no close relatives and a white-eyed wolf for an ex-spouse, the child in her belly was Qian Xi’s only source of comfort. She couldn’t bring herself to have an abortion. She was even more unwilling to bear the disgust of telling the Zhao Family, and leaving her own child in this filthy place.
Later on, Qian Xi tried every possible method to cover her tracks. After recuperating in a remote town for several months, she gave birth to a child.
However, Qian Xi’s luck was incredibly bad. Prior to the birth, because the caretaker she hired was negligent and inattentive, she accidentally slipped and fell. This caused her to go into labor prematurely. Since she lost a lot of blood due to postpartum hemorrhage, she only had enough time to see her own child for the last time before pa.s.sing away.
This child was Zhao Ji. After he was born, because his mother died and he had no other relatives, he was directly sent away by the small clinic. The person who carried him away greatly disliked inconveniences, and tossed him onto a snow mound at the base of a wall. If it wasn’t for the orphanage’s matron pa.s.sing through that place at the right time, Zhao Ji, who had just been born, would’ve certainly died — It was also because of this that Zhao Ji and Gu Qi always sent monetary donations to the orphanage after they grew up. Later on, after Zhao Ji was taken away, Gu Qi was worried that the orphanage would be implicated, and never took the initiative to make contact with them again.
As a result, the Zhao Family basically didn’t know anything about Zhao Ji’s existence in the beginning.
Now, let’s talk about Zhao Hongying after Qian Xi left. At first, it was only natural that he had feelings for Qian Xi, but the one he liked even more was obviously himself. After divorcing Qian Xi, the Zhao Family quickly found him a second wife. She possessed a certain family background, and her appearance was beautiful and alluring. However, compared to Qian Xi’s comprehensive innate qualities, the second wife was slightly inferior.
Perhaps, due to the karmic retribution of committing so many heinous acts, things went wrong for the Zhao Family. The second wife also didn’t conceive in three years. Examinations were performed many times during those three years, and it was discovered that this wife had a small biological defect. If an ordinary man married this woman, the defect shouldn’t have had a large negative influence. As it happened, Zhao Hongying had cultivated a small amount of inner power. The combination of this bit of inner power and that small biological defect prevented this woman from being able to carry Zhao Hongying’s child.
The conclusion was naturally another divorce.
Following this, the Zhao Family searched for new candidates for Zhao Hongying. Meanwhile, Zhao Hongying started to openly indulge in his promiscuous life of drink and pleasure. During this period of time, he actually partook in several concubines. Among these concubines, some conceived. Merely, after getting pregnant, they weren’t able to give birth and miscarried. Once they fought with each other, all of them fell out of favor. It was just that the Zhao Family didn’t care about “b.a.s.t.a.r.d sons”. The fact that these concubines could conceive was proof that Zhao Hongying wasn’t impotent, which was enough.
With the Zhao Family’s robust background, candidates for the third wife were found. However, despite the Zhao Family’s best efforts in the selection, it was inevitable that this wife’s overall qualities were worse than those who came before. Regardless of appearance or temperament, the third wife couldn’t compare to the first two.
Of course, Zhao Hongying wasn’t really fond of this wife, but for the sake of obtaining a rightful heir as soon as possible, he graced the wife’s bed with his presence many times. Only, perhaps because he was too impatient, he wasn’t able to get this wife pregnant either.
Another three years pa.s.sed, and the third wife was also discarded.
Zhao Hongying still spent a life of debauchery. None of his concubines got pregnant again. On the contrary, a mistress he played love games with outside conceived a child. That child was Zhao Hewei. In addition to him, there were two women outside the family who also had children. Moreover, both of them were boys.
The Zhao Family had no choice but to choose a fourth wife for Zhao Hongying with all speed. Unfortunately, this time’s marriage was even more difficult than the previous ones. Several years pa.s.sed, and none of the candidates were suitable.
Eventually, Zhao Hongying still failed to get his fifth wife pregnant, but after a physical examination, it was found that there was nothing wrong with him. It could only be attributed to psychological effects.
Just like this, the b.a.s.t.a.r.d sons gradually grew up. Zhao Hongying married his sixth wife, but this was another fruitless endeavor. Finally, after another examination, it was discovered that there was a problem with his body due to the many years of his dissolute and loose lifestyle. There was almost no way for him to sire a child anymore!
At this time, the entire Zhao Family was about to go mad.
The Zhao Family didn’t acknowledge even the b.a.s.t.a.r.d sons, so they naturally wouldn’t approve of any test tube babies. It was to the point that they only held natural pregnancies in high regard. They wouldn’t allow a wife to have anything to do with in vitro fertilization. However, the probability of Zhao Hongying getting a woman pregnant had already become incredibly small… In other words, there was a chance that their Zhao Family would be cut short in this generation!
Zhao Hongying was incredibly anxious. The entire Zhao Family also felt an impending sense of urgency.
After that, Zhao Hongying frantically bedded the sixth wife, and no longer went outside to look for those springtime orioles and swallows. There were still no results.
Until one day, the Zhao Family found a twenty-something year old who greatly resembled Zhao Hongying.
Although the world was big and people shared similarities, the Zhao Family was already tipping over into insanity. Naturally, they wouldn’t let go of any traces. All of Zhao Hongying’s illegitimate children were within the grasping range of the Zhao Family. It was the same for the succession of wives. The only one they couldn’t find was the long-lost Eldest Daughter Qian.
A faint hope surfaced in the Zhao Family’s minds, and they thought of a way to get a sample of the young man’s hair. Ultimately, they confirmed that this young man was the son of Zhao Hongying and Qian Xi!
As for Qian Xi, she was a true wife. Even though she was cast aside while she was still pregnant, her child was conceived within the bounds of marriage. This was an appropriate “rightful heir”.
At the same time, in order to retrieve this rightful heir, the Zhao Family needed to acknowledge Qian Xi’s status as a true wife once again. The current three year period was nearly over, so Zhao Hongying conveniently divorced his sixth wife.
After that, without the slightest hesitation, the Zhao Family took action against that young man. It seemed that they threatened him somehow, and brought him away. At that time, the Zhao Family issued a statement that they had recovered their rightful heir. It was just that this person had been living in seclusion, and no one had heard anything about him.
No mention of a marriage, no talk of a child, nothing at all…
The lengthy pages of information ended here. Gongyi Tianheng put down the doc.u.ments, and thought pensively.
Soon after, he looked at Tian Mu, who delivered the materials. He said: “Tian Family Head, I’m afraid that such complete information would’ve been hard to investigate… Unless the one who brought out the information was someone within the Zhao Family.”
Since Tian Mu provided the doc.u.ments, he didn’t have any intentions of hiding anything. At once, he said: “Indeed. Not long after the Tian Family started to investigate, someone took the initiative to find our doorstep, and handed over very detailed information. After we confirmed the material’s authenticity, we supplemented a few things, and got this pile of papers.”
A flowing light flashed through Tianheng’s eyes. His smiling expression didn’t change: “Since it’s like this, would the Tian Family be able to arrange for us to meet that kind-hearted individual from the Zhao Family who gave the information?”
Tian Mu nodded his head: “That person also mentioned the same thing. He wants to see you guys, too.” Speaking up to here, he paused, “Especially Mister Gu Qi.”
Tianheng also nodded: “Good. I’ll have to ask your Tian Family to set up a meeting place. Afterwards, we will certainly be very grateful.”
What Tian Mu was waiting for was precisely these words. He quickly said goodbye to Tianheng and the others, and swiftly left the room.
Once he departed, Gu Zuo spoke up: “A member of the Zhao Family? Big brother, what do you think this guy wants to do?”
What was the purpose of sending this information so eagerly? Was this person resentful towards the Zhao Family Head, or was there something he wanted to get from them? Moreover, how was that person so certain that what they primarily wanted was information about Grandmother Qian Xi?
Gu Qi also furrowed his brows: “That person specially mentioned me, so it’s probably someone who knows me?”
Shortly thereafter, Tianheng and Gu Zuo made a guess.
Gu Zuo said: “Fourteen years ago?”
Tianheng faintly nodded: “It’s highly possible.”
Before long, the Tian Family had already made arrangements.
The meeting place wasn’t anything special. It was just inside a certain house with a courtyard that belonged to the Tian Family. After all, now that everyone wanted to build connections with the Tian Family, it wasn’t strange to receive a few visitors.
Tianheng, Gu Zuo, and Gu Qi arrived at that house. Sure enough, the moment they entered through the doorway, they saw a person waiting there. After that person heard the door open, he stood up and called out to greet them: “Mister Gongyi, Mister Gu Zuo.”
Then, he spoke to the third member: “Mister Gu Qi, long time no see.”
Gu Qi stared blankly: “…It’s you?”
Gu Zuo curiously asked: “Dad?”
Gu Qi promptly explained to him: “This is the person who helped us move to another place back then.”
The person in front of them was forty-something years old, so he ought to be regarded as Gu Qi’s peer. The smiling expression he wore on his face was very amiable.
At the same time, another person walked out from the back of the room.
And this person was an even more familiar person they had seen not long ago — Zhao Hewei.
Several people were quite surprised, but after thinking about it, it wasn’t that shocking.
Back then, he was the one who helped Zhao Ji move Gu Qi and prevented the Zhao Family from finding any information about their hidden residence. Apart from a person within the Zhao Family, how could someone from outside handle such strictly-controlled measures like releasing conflicting pieces of information or interfering with surveillance?
In addition, the previous doc.u.ments also had to be mentioned. Zhao Hewei was an illegitimate child of the Zhao Family, but he was also the b.a.s.t.a.r.d son of a mistress whom Zhao Hongying played love games with. What if the mistress didn’t know that she was being treated as a mistress? What if, instead, she was maliciously deceived by Zhao Hongying? It would be perfectly normal for her child to bear resentment and hostility towards the Zhao Family.
Zhao Hewei faced Gu Qi, and revealed a smile: “h.e.l.lo, Brother Qi.” Then, he looked at Gu Zuo, and his expression became a little strange, “I never expected that little tike of a nephew back then would be able to do what he’s doing right now. Anyway, I recognized Brother Qi, and discovered that there seemed to be an undercurrent of fluctuations in the news about the Zhao Family. So I just connected the matters together.”
Gu Zuo and Zhao Hewei met each other’s gazes.
Zhao Hewei sighed: “Nephew Xiao Zuo has caused such a huge scene. He must be looking for the whereabouts of my elder brother, right? I saw that your wings are fully grown, so I specially came here to show my sincerity.”
That middle-aged man who helped Gu Qi move also said: “Originally, second young master was being watched extremely closely. So after getting into contact with the eldest young master, he asked me to come out to handle it.”
Since the matter had reached this stage, the overall context was already clear.
From Zhao Hewei’s mouth, they listened to an even more detailed story.
The tale still needed to begin from the moment Zhao Ji was taken away.
At that time, for the safety of Gu Qi and Gu Zuo, Zhao Ji had no choice but to follow the Zhao Family. After arriving at the Zhao Family household, he gradually learned about the so-called rules as well as his own entire life history.
Of course, with regards to Qian Xi who took away the Zhao Family’s rightful heir, the Zhao Family had nothing good to say. They tried to instill countless negative views about Qian Xi in him. This was to give Zhao Ji a sense of belonging to the Zhao Family and ill will towards Qian Xi. Every generation of the Zhao Family was cold and exacting. As a result, they never expected that, some day in the future, their family would have a rightful heir who had such strong feelings for another person. Moreover, that person wasn’t a woman, but a man who couldn’t bear children!
They believed that they could use all sorts of convincing words and benefits to “brainwash” Zhao Ji. Then, he would obediently comply with their arrangements, take a wife, and have children for the next generation to inherit — That’s right. Currently, Zhao Ji was considered too old to practice martial arts or learn anything worthwhile. What’s more, Zhao Ji’s feelings for the Zhao Family weren’t deep enough for them to let Zhao Ji become the next head of the family. Therefore, the only reason why they brought back Zhao Ji was to breed Zhao Ji’s “rightful heir” and raise Zhao Hongying’s “rightful grandson”!
When Gu Zuo heard this, his complexion turned dark and unsightly.
Because of the Zhao Family’s outlandish rules, he already guessed some of the experiences his father might’ve gone through, but when they were really confirmed by Zhao Hewei’s words, he couldn’t help becoming furious.
Gu Qi’s breathing hitched.
He naturally felt brokenhearted, but it was quickly replaced with worry.
Tianheng reached out a hand, pulled Gu Zuo into an embrace, and kissed the top of his head: “Ah Zuo, don’t be anxious. So long as Uncle Zhao is still alive…”
Gu Zuo slowly let out a sigh, and looked at Zhao Hewei.
Zhao Hewei said: “Elder brother is still alive. Moreover, he also hasn’t taken a wife or sired children.”
Gu Zuo suddenly remembered the doc.u.ments. In those materials, there was a special write-up about not getting married or having children. Was it Zhao Hewei who purposefully wrote this to console his dad’s heart? But so many years had pa.s.sed. If his father didn’t act in accordance with the Zhao Family’s demands, even if he didn’t die, his days certainly wouldn’t be pleasant.
Gu Qi hurriedly asked: “Zhao Ji, how is he doing?”
Zhao Hewei looked at Gu Qi, and then looked at Gu Zuo, before saying: “After all these years, elder brother really didn’t suffer those hards.h.i.+ps for you guys in vain.”
When these words were uttered, Gu Zuo and Gu Qi felt even more worried.
Zhao Hewei didn’t have any intentions of leaving them in suspense, and quickly explained what followed.
After finding Zhao Ji, the Zhao Family promptly brought him to a private hospital, and conducted extremely rigorous inspections. They found that Zhao Ji’s body was in very good condition, and his ability to sire children was also quite strong. They were incomparably happy.
However, with regards to the Zhao Family’s proposal to take a wife and have children, Zhao Ji wasn’t willing to cooperate. It was because he bluntly said that he was h.o.m.os.e.xual. He was only interested in men.
Naturally, the Zhao Family was also unwilling. They even wanted to use Gu Qi and Gu Zuo to threaten Zhao Ji. However, Zhao Ji was no longer threatened. On the contrary, because he realized his own importance, he threatened the Zhao Family in turn. He stated that he wanted to see with his own eyes the real scenes of Gu Qi and Gu Zuo, well and unharmed, every so often. Otherwise, he would commit suicide.
Due to this, Zhao Ji and the Zhao Family were in a deadlock.
However, Zhao Ji didn’t intend to completely turn against and make enemies of the Zhao Family, which would’ve caused the deaths of his partner and son. Later on, he suggested that he would obediently stay with the Zhao Family, but for the time being, he absolutely wouldn’t get married and sire children.
The Zhao Family didn’t think that Zhao Ji would be so unruly, but as the saying went, one refrained from shooting at the rat for fear of breaking the vase. There was nothing they could do about Zhao Ji. Later on, Zhao Hongying secretly took a seventh wife without publicizing it. He decided that he would keep trying for another rightful heir while thinking of other methods to control Zhao Ji.
If Zhao Hongying could sire another son, Zhao Ji would have no further use — A child obtained this way was naturally even better. However, if Zhao Hongying couldn’t produce an heir, then so long as Zhao Ji was still alive, they could always compel him to reproduce later on.
Moreover, the Zhao Family wasn’t willing to have a falling out with Zhao Ji too much. In their opinion, Zhao Ji was currently a young and impulsive man who placed too much importance on his emotions. When all was said and done, the blood of the Zhao Family ran through his veins. If they waited a few years, those memories would fade and he would forget them. It wouldn’t be that repulsive to start his own family by then, right?
The Zhao Family could still wait a trifling couple of years.
Merely, Zhao Ji didn’t think so. He also wasn’t prepared to place Gu Qi and Gu Zuo’s lives right under the watchful eyes of the Zhao Family. As a result, while he pretended to be obedient, he secretly got in touch with Zhao Hewei, who wanted to get revenge for his mother. Because Zhao Hewei had been acting honestly the whole time and managed some forces of his own, Zhao Ji thought of a method to send Gu Zuo and Gu Qi away through Zhao Hewei.
Of course, the Zhao Family was furious. Though they searched many times, they lost their way due to Zhao Hewei. Gu Qi hid deeply and didn’t come out. In the end, the Zhao Family wasn’t able to find these two people.
T/N: Thanks for the corrections, Charysa.
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