Chapter 32: The Crystal Rose
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Xia Ling opened the box. On the luxurious black silk base lay a rose made of Viennese crystal. The beautiful petals spread out in layers, the color exceedingly pretty and the workmanship exquisite. Every cut was perfectly executed. The sunlight shone in from the large glass window, reflecting off this elegantly cut red rose, making the rose look like there was water flowing through it — exceedingly beautiful and untouchable.
“This is a personal gift from Chairman Pei,” said Chu Chen.
She knew exactly what giving her a rose meant.
An emptiness and dread filled her heart. She had just been killed for a few months, her body was still warm, and he was already looking for a new lover to take her place? Ha, what was her unchanging love for him for over a decade worth to him at all? And all the pain, unwillingness and quarrels when he had announced his engagement to Wang Jingwan, what did that count for?
Without Wang Jingwan, there would still be a Li Jingwan or Ye Jingwan.
Pei Ziheng would never have a lack of women to choose from as long as he wanted them.
Only she had naively believed the fairy tale of just the two of them being together for the rest of their lives.
Time was cruel. The human heart was even crueler.
The bright red crystal rose lay in the black silk box, its beauty almost blinding. Xia Ling closed the box and pushed it back to Chu Chen, saying, “Mr. Chu, my apologies. I cannot accept this gift.”
Chu Chen was not surprised. “Is it because of Wei Shaoyin? Don’t worry, that can be settled easily.” He said.
She was slightly taken aback and saw the meaningful look in his eyes. She realized that he had misunderstood. This was probably because of how Wei Shaoyin had taken care of her during the end-of-year music show, giving Chu Chen the wrong idea.
Xia Ling’s tone of voice turned cold as she said, “This has nothing to do with Wei Shaoyin. Not everyone is this dirty.”
“You find this dirty?” Chu Chen laughed as he continued, “Miss Ye, no, little girl… you are completely unfathomable. You are but 16 this year, or 17 perhaps? What do you know about the ugliness of the world? Let me tell you, being noticed by Chairman Pei is something that many people can only dream about. It would boost you right to the top, don’t you understand?”
Of course, she understood. She understood more clearly than anyone else.
She had been a lowly orphan, as insignificant as a speck of dust. How did she become the big star that the whole world worshipped? That little Xia Ling who had to tolerate the looks of disdain from others just to enjoy a sweet. How did she become that person that everyone pandered to?
Every incident was clearly etched in Xia Ling’s mind.
However, what she was even more clear about was the price she had to pay for this treatment.
She looked straight into Chu Chen’s eyes and slowly said, “Mr. Chu, please don’t waste your time. This offer… I will politely reject.”
Coldness entered Chu Chen’s eyes as well as he looked at her for a moment. “Ye Xingling, you might want to reconsider while I am still being friendly.” He had many methods to get his way. This was also the reason Pei Ziheng had chosen him to be Xia Ling’s manager. Regardless of the problem she was met with, he would always have a way to resolve it and ensure that things panned out like he would like it to.
Xia Ling used to be in awe of this ability of his, but now she only felt unsafe.
She unknowingly clenched her fingers together, her hands holding the glass on the table more tightly. She said, “Chu Chen, what are you trying to do? Don’t forget, Skyart Entertainment’s Big Boss is Li Lei. He won’t allow you to have your way.” She subconsciously used Li Lei’s title, hoping that this would scare Chu Chen away. However, she didn’t harbor high hopes that this would work. If Chu Chen was so easily scared, how could he possibly have obtained the status he had in the entertainment industry?
As expected, Chu Chen just smiled.
“Don’t be silly, Ye Xingling.” He said. “If you are really Wei Shaoyin’s person, Li Lei would perhaps help you out, giving face to his favorite general. But you said so yourself that you have no relation with Wei Shaoyin. Then, why would Big Boss Li help you? Even if he has all the money and power in the world, he would not be so free as to care about the personal business of a small trainee, would he?”
She wanted to tell Chu Chen that Li Lei was so free that he wanted to pay for her services. Why wouldn’t he care about this?
However, she realized in resignation that Chu Chen was right. Why would Big Boss Li help her? She had not agreed to his request, and if she was thick-skinned enough to go beg him for help, would that not be looking for an insult.
Yet, she could not back down on this issue. “Manager Chu,” Xia Ling looked at him and said, “no matter how many times you ask me, my answer is going to be the same. I reject this offer.”
Chu Chen did not try to persuade her anymore.
He pulled out some money to settle the bill. Slapping it on the table, he got up and said, “Good luck to you, Ye Xingling.”
Outside the large glass windows, the sun was setting bit by bit. She watched as he walked away and finished her water, which had long turned cold, slowly and quietly. She left without touching the crystal rose that Chu Chen had left behind.
She returned to the training camp. The next day was a normal day.
She got up and washed up, changing into a clean set of dancewear. She went for her practice as per normal. In the dance studio, the scene was still the same familiar one — strict coaches holding classes, trainees perspiring hard and putting in their all… everything was wondrously simple. In that instant, it made her feel like her encounter with Pei Ziheng and Chu Chen was but her hallucination.
She returned to her dormitory after a day of training.
As she pushed the door open, she saw that there was something on her bed. It was an exquisite, long rectangular box that was half open, revealing the black silk base and the blood red, sparkling Viennese crystal rose.
A chill ran over her body as she looked at it.
Her roommate, Lan Lan, walked in from behind her, wrapped in a bath towel. As she toweled her dripping hair, she asked, “Xingling, aren’t you going to take a shower?” Seeing that she did not move, Lan Lan followed her gaze to the rose. “You’re looking at that? I don’t know which of your admirers sent this. I was in the dormitory the entire day and only left in the afternoon to grab lunch, and this just appeared on your bed.” Lan Lan looked at the crystal rose again, her eyes filled with envy and jealousy.
The other two roommates also crowded over, saying, “Yeah yeah, I even asked the supervisor and people in the neighboring dorms. None of them saw anyone come in. It’s really weird.”
The rose silently emitted a cold, inorganic shimmer.
Xia Ling’s roommates continued to exclaim. “Such a beautiful rose. This crystal looks really expensive. I wonder who had so much money to spend to pay through the nose in here… and didn’t even leave a name.”
Xia Ling did not have time to care about them, simply staring at the rose without a word, like she was staring at a scary demon. When she left the cafe yesterday, she had unmistakably abandoned it on the table. How did it appear on her bed today without anyone knowing what had happened?!
This was Skyart Entertainment. Even though it was just a small training camp, but the security was still very tight.
Chu Chen, no, she should say Pei Ziheng… if he wanted to do anything here, it was like entering no man’s land.
At this moment, Xia Ling understood one thing. Pei Ziheng would not easily give up. This beautiful, cold crystal rose was his way of indicating that he would not take no for an answer, and also a silent warning.