Chapter 197: Butterfly, Butterfly, Take Flight
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Xia Ling obediently walked over to him.
He suddenly frowned. “What happened to your leg?”
“Ah?” She gave a start and remembered the injury on the sole of her foot. Had he noticed it? She subconsciously took a step back and said, “It… It’s alright… Mr. Pei, my leg is fine. Really.” She was afraid he would discover that deep and long wound. What if he despised her for it?
His voice deepened as he commanded. “Come here.”
She stood rooted to the spot.
He stood up and walked toward her. Xia Ling realized that he was tall and well-built, such that she had to tilt her head up to see his face. He was like a king ruling over his kingdom, and there were charisma and presence in his steps. She wanted to back away but seemed to have been shackled to the ground unable to take another step.
He walked closer to her and squatted down, looking her in the eyes.
“Your leg is injured.” He said.
Xia Ling was unable to speak like something was stuck in her throat.
“You don’t want me to know?” His voice was gentle.
“My child should not be so timid.” He stretched out his hand and caressed her face. His dry fingers were warm. “From now on, I’m going to take good care of you. Come, Xiao Ling, let me look at your foot.”
As he spoke, he carried her in his arms and put her down in the armchair where he was seated.
After which, this tall, well-built self squatted down again and reached forward to remove the dance shoe from her left foot without a moment’s hesitation. He knew that she was injured down to exactly which foot… This was the first time that someone had been so attentive towards her.
Before he could remove the shoe, Xia Ling gave a muffled whine. He immediately stopped what he was doing.
“Is it painful?”
He raised his attractive eyebrows at her again, took out his mobile, and gave some instructions to the person on the other end of the line. Not long later, another young man walked into the room carrying a first-aid kit. She heard Pei Ziheng call him “Chu Chen.”
“Boss, let me.” Chu Chen said, glancing at Xia Ling’s foot.
“Scissors.” Pei Ziheng responded without lifting his head.
Chu Chen did not say another word and simply passed a pair of scissors to Pei Ziheng. Pei Ziheng then carefully lifted up Xia Ling’s foot and placed it gently on his lap and cut open the dance shoe with the scissors. The interior of the shoe was a bloody mess.
“You’ve lost a lot of blood, and the foot is very swollen.” He said gravely. “You must have been injured before you went onstage. Why did you still dance?”
“I… ” Xia Ling said in a low voice. “I was afraid you’d be unhappy…”
He had specifically asked to see her dance. If she had made him unhappy, what would happen to her sister Xia Yu?
Pei Ziheng’s hands stopped, and he lifted his head to look at Xia Ling, the expression in his eyes unreadable. After a while, he said, “Xia Ling, remember this. From now on, you belong to me, Pei Ziheng. You don’t have to force yourself to do anything, and you don’t have to care if anyone is happy or unhappy. You’re under my care and above everyone else. You can do anything you want. Do you understand?”
“There’s only one thing that will make me unhappy.” He continued slowly. “I don’t like it when you’re treading so carefully, trying to please others.”
“… Yes, Mr. Pei.”
“Call me Pei Ziheng. According to the law, I’m your legal guardian. Or you can call me Brother Pei.”
“Yes, Brother Pei.”
He smiled. It was a beautiful and gentle smile.
“Xiao Ling, you don’t know how pretty you are…” He said. “One day, I will make you evolve into a beautiful butterfly.”
That was the first time they had met eighteen years ago.
Xia Ling remembered every detail of that meeting clearly even now, a lifetime later.
Like Pei Ziheng had said, she slowly but surely came out of her cocoon and evolved into a beautiful butterfly in his hands. She became the arrogant Xia Ling, the shining Xia Ling whose beauty the whole world reveled at.
He gave her a new life.
Xia Ling had thought that she would be forever by his side. Yet, due to the circumstances, all the love and adoration became a pain. He had personally created her but had also been the one to destroy her.
Now, she was utterly disappointed and just wanted to be far away from all of this and live a new life.
“I will always be grateful that Pei Ziheng brought me out of the orphanage. He was a parent to me, and I will be ever grateful for the care that he gave me.” Xia Ling gave a sad smile. “Even though he imprisoned and tortured me… which child will speak badly of her parent? However, that’s where it will stop. Ah Kun, this is where it will stop… ” She closed her eyes and said, “Please don’t tell him who I am. Just let all that be forgotten with time.”
She already had Li Lei in this life, the bright sunlight that belonged to her now.
Feng Kun was quiet for a long time before he sighed. “As long as you are happy. I… respect your decision.”
Was she happy?
She did not know.
If there were really a memory wipe elixir that would make her forget everything in her past life, perhaps she and Li Lei would be an extremely happy couple. However, the Grandma Meng of the netherworld seemed to have forgotten to give her the elixir before she had crossed the Bridge of Begones. In this life, the effort that she was putting in to prevent herself from going back to that man was sapping her of all her energy, and she did not know if she would be able to grow old happily with someone else.
She did not know how long more she would be able to hold on to that ray of sunlight.
Would there be a day that Li Lei grew tired of her and leave her?
She was lost in her thoughts when someone knocked on the door.
Feng Kun stood up to open the door. Outside stood a tall, familiar silhouette — Li Lei.
Today, he was unusually dressed up. He was not in his usual casual outfit but donned a light khaki woolen long coat with an exquisitely woven round-necked sweater and shirt inside. These colors were hard to pull off when matched together, but on his frame, the attire seemed to have been designed just for him. It made him look charming and gentlemanly and extremely handsome.
His chiseled features and sharp eyes had a tinge of sharpness as he smilingly said to Feng Kun, “I’m here to pick up Xiao Ling.”
Feng Kun looked him over with interest. His impression of Li Lei was of someone that tended to be more casual and did not take such pains to dress himself up. What did he mean by this? Was he trying to stake his claim? It looked like he was really serious about Xiao Ling.
Feng Kun stood aside and allowed Li Lei to enter.
Actually, both of them had a short exchange last night.
Feng Kun had brought Xia Ling home from the bar. Before long, Li Lei arrived with several bodyguards wanting to bring Xiao Ling home. Li Lei had also questioned him for a long time about his relationship with Xiao Ling. Then, Feng Kun said, “I’m a big fan of Xiao Ling’s singing and invited her for a drink. We chatted for a long time, and she drank too much. I didn’t know where she’s staying, and I couldn’t just leave a girl to sleep at the bar. So I brought her home so that she could sleep for the night. I was going to bring her home in the morning when she woke up.”
Li Lei did not trust people from Imperial Entertainment and had wanted to take Xia Ling away there and then.
Feng Kun said, “The night wind is cold, and she’s not feeling well since she has drunk so much. If you carry her out now, there’s a high chance she’ll catch a cold.” He had promised and sworn that he would not touch Xiao Ling at all. He was not like Chu Chen, Pei Ziheng’s loyal dog, and was known in the industry to be a man of principle and good repute. Li Lei had agreed reluctantly on account of this and left.
However, when he was leaving last night, his parting gaze made a chill run down Feng Kun’s spine.
Feng Kun let this peacock into the work studio where Xia Ling was holding a cup of tea in a daze. As she turned her head and saw Li Lei, she gave a start before asking, “Boss? What are you doing here?”
“Call me Li Lei.” Big Boss Li was upset. How could she speak to him so formally in front of someone else, like they were not close at all?
Feng Kun smiled in amusement and crossed his arms in front of his chest as he leaned against the door waiting to watch the scene in front of him pan out.