Discussion in 'Spoilers' started by Katra1212, Aug 21, 2020.
Thank you so much
Thank you ❤️
It's been a long time since I read this, so I might miss/muddle a few things.
First, you have to understand that this goes deeper than refusal. She can't and truthfully, she doesn't want to, even if she can. As for marriage, she had just opened her heart, she's not at that stage yet.
Due to the miscarriage 4 years ago, she became barren. Her uterus was removed. And the words 'to use everything to her advantage' for her revenge was extremely accurate in her circumstances. She used all of herself, treated her own whole existence as a tool. Her beauty, her wiles, her pain, ALL OF HER. Beautiful, ugly, false or truth to break and make the men fall for her. This goes the same for her barrenness.
How will it play a part in her scheme?
It wasn't only Xu Cheng Yan that treated life callous, even Xue Zhan, despite his gentle and cultured character hid a dark past he buried. Despite their difference outlook in life, their life values had molded them to behave coldly and distrustful. (Xue Zhan is a diff sort of black belly. He might not be so outwardly showy gentle, but his schemes and cautious nature def labeled him as such.) Xue Zhan's case is much more complicated so I'll just explain XCY side. (I'm not being biased, I swear?)
He treated women as toys and he loathe woman whose aim was to trap him. Either by the power that the woman will gain, money or simply reputation. He is scummy, but even if he slept around he always prevented pregnancy. Bec for him, marriage has to be a transaction. So a child is a proof of alliance, in other words, to have an illegitimate child would only cause disadvantages for him, it will make his bargaining chips lesser.
Zhao Yu and XCY relationship is that of sex transaction. Yes, ZY sleep with XCY, and he give her money. ZY has her own aims while XCY found her interesting. She had approached him with her clear intentions laid out. A gold digger and a two timer. A cheap, unscrupulous, and two faced woman. (XCY knew she's been with Xue Xian. He even went so far as to tease her in exposing her. The way she transformed when she's with Xua Xian and the moment she met XCY. Lol. I love her scumminess.) So similar to him. Both of them, XCY, in particular, established a relationship fully knowing their boundaries. Zhao Yu's only interest in his body and money, and he's satisfied with that. (He's engaged to Zhuang Yiquing, about to marry her. Geez. Zhao Yu and XCY even had sex while he was fitting his wedding attire while Zhuang Yiquing was outside of his room, knocking at his door.) They were simply meant to be together. As I said, him and MC's sex play was the hottest, he's open to everything, but he's extremely sensitive to protection. This is to insinuate she did not deserve (having his child) him. (I just love his sneering face. When he's with Zhao Yu, his scummy lewd face just oozes. I def stan him.)
Out of the men, Zhao Yu had been the most open (true) when she was with XCY. Her jadedness seeps through in her interaction with him. Although she was putting an act, but it was actually the false act that she had to insert when they're together. Once, she said, he doesn't need to wear a condom bec he has no need for worry. She has no intention of having a child. (Her cynicism was so thick during their dialogue here.) He thought she was lying, playing with her wiles. Because to him, all women's (with Zhao Yu's tramp like char) agenda was like that. Later, he (and even Xue Zhan) would even force her to drink contraceptive. When the truth of her past came out, how she can't have children anymore, and their rough treatment of her in forcing her to take pills led to the worsening of her health. (Like, she doesn't have a uterus and she was forced to take them) She led the men to believe that "their" (cold blue-blood) callousness led to her tragic circumstance. It may seem flat bec I'm summarizing it but her way of plotting made her scenario gut wretching to witness.
4 years ago when she found out she was pregnant, she was really hesitant. Inwardly, she's actually not against Zhuang Yiqing's deal to abort it bec she herself was not prepared, but Zhuang Yiqing's overbearing attitude and her mom and best friend refused it for her. That made the situation out of control. Back to the present, even if she had her revenge and is recovering to being a healthy, full fledge working adult woman, trauma is still within her. It's only been a few years, the scars of her past cannot be healed so easily. (The author realistically portrayed her recovery.) She isn't even prepared to having relationship, let along having a(n adopted) child.
After her revenge (basically main story ending) it showed the result of her actions, how revenge never did give her the closure she was expecting. All the sins she committed ate at her conscience. Before, Xue Zhan once made a deal with her, in exchange for his cooperation in bringing down Zhuang Yiqing, at the end, if she feels guilty, she has to live and make it up to him. To face her crime of using and hurting him (and so many people) He'd already overseen the possibility that she would be broken further. Out of guilt, she'll try to escape by suicide. He was truly afraid bec she was more than capable of it. (She's the most cold hearted and callous than any ML. Frick, even though she's amazeballs, I hated her at some point.) And she indeed attempted. If she was crazy and messed up while plotting Zhuang Yiqing's end. She was more broken after achieving her revenge. Life was meaningless for Zhao Yu at that point, and living was truly painful. The men were hovering over her, worried and yearning of her. But her life was simply so messy. She was so numb. That was the time when she tried to explore on just living, simple mundane life without any meaning or calculations attached. This part was painful to read bec it's about her trying to pick up pieces of herself. Broken, irreparable, with bloodied and broken hands. She was so scarred of life, of men, of relationships. So she refused relationship. She flat out told the ML's her rejection.
The side story told the ML's action in rekindling their relationship with MC. It's not a sudden wham bam we are together. It's a gradual process of supporting (stalking) her. Being with her without any expectation attached. The men just wanted to be with her, to accept them is her prerogative, it's ok if she did not reciprocate. They just wanted her to live well.
It was those little actions, of helping her (in 3 piece suit with a small apron, clearly having just finished work) being a waiter in her God parent's little resturant. Of accompanying her every night (merely like two friends talking while going home, guarding her silently), of asking what her dreams are (giving her the motivation and aspirations). Giving her the chance to control her life. Shang Lu provided her that, he gave her the coffee shop (not exactly give, it's in exchange for the Luxi rights she sold to him) she learnt to brew, or sometimes she would seat and observe how other people's lives went, it was a gradual process of recovery. Little by little, interactions with the ML's isn't so stale or stiff, and it became natural.
The men accompanied her everytime they had some free time. She was waiting for them to give up. It went on for a long time, till even she was touched. She thought her heart had gone cold. She felt she did not deserve their regards. That they're wasting their time and life. She was so broken that she thought she couldn't accomodate anyone on it. But the ML's were so resolute, so she took the first step. That was the moment the ML had been yearning. If they still accept her as who she is (a scarred heart that simply can't accomodate one man) then she'll try again.
This is not her being selfish, for Jui Sui, a large part of it may have started due to her guilt but her love was real. Jui Sui at first can't accept being part of the crowd, he had even tried to forget her. But he can't. She has long been engraved, and being apart from her was more painful for him. If he can accompany her for life, even with them not being in a love or sex relationship, just mere companionship, it would be fine for him. (But ofc he still says he still loves her and wish to be together but he will not push her.)
Xue Zhan was the first man to accept (even early on) to be part of the crowd. He knew Shang Lu and MC's history. He can't ever win against that. He was actually more alarmed with SL than any ML (even XCY lol) cause he knew MC can't ever abandon SL. He's the only man she's opened herself (the fact she accepted the coffee shop was a REALLY big deal). He was deeply afraid she'll only be with Shang Lu. So Xue Zhan and Shang Lu had a man to man convo. Lol. They bec best bro later. (Not exactly as friends, but as men who love the same woman.)
As you know, Shang Lu was her first man to accept, and to bed. It was also him who actually gave MC the green light. If you still love them, go for it. (oh, my honey is so sweet, he's letting her be as free. He doesn't want to constraint her. He will always be her support, in every way.)
Xu Cheng Yan's change became the greatest factor. Man, did I say I love his char development the most? His change was realistic, heartbreaking but uplifting. He wanted to be with MC, but he felt he did not deserve it. He just watches over her, afraid of meeting her, of seeing the hate in her eyes.
There was a time (in the main text) when he said to her, something like, you are disgusted by me, of what I represent, but look at you, aren't you discriminating me, of the things I had not even done. Then what about the things you've done? (If they calculate it, Zhao Yu did more harm to him. So why does she get to accept other men, or like, be okay/guilty of them, but not him?) Of all the men, she viewed him as the most evil, the one she hated the most. That time at the hospital when she laid it out with him, how his very existence and actions disgusted her. It hurt his pride and his feelings bec he'd alrealy fallen at that point. He abandoned his wedding bec of her. But he did not understand where her deep hate for him was coming from. Later when he understood, he tried to atone. Not for his sins, but for his family. He did not really do anything wrong but he felt responsible for being part of the elite. To prevent for the unfortunate ones that would be like her. Oh man, that moment when he realized where her hate was coming from was like a knife to my heart. When he saw that old man broke my heart. The last side story (currently, if Zhuang Ye doesn not get a part later) was actually XCY. You can tell how long it took for her to realize his change, to admit she was indeed being unfair/biased, and to understand her feelings for him.
If other ML did it with their actions, Ling Jianwei and Xue Xian were the ML straight forwarded/pushy enough to say they wanted to be with MC, repeatedly, urging her to be with them, LJ was the first to one to stalk her. He was the ML most afraid to be abandoned, he felt he has the least chance. Truthfully, even I feel like ZY gave in bec of his persistence. Xue Xian on the other hand, was going with the friends route. He was easy going but became more mature, he was also the most confident ML, he believed it's just a matter of time for MC. Hahaha!
As you can see the side stories are all about rekindling, it's at the pace where she had just opened her heart once more. To give one more chance at love, at the possibility of redemption. But marriage is far, still far from that. So is children.
Sorry, I can't help writing long.
The most gut wretching part was when Zhao Yu visited him in their collage love apartment. Where they created their most heartfelt memories. He said to her, she doesn't have to worry, he won't do anything drastic/kill himself. He will take care of himself bec he has to atone his sins for all his life. If you dig deeper, you'd realize how much despair it must have been for him. To remember their most happiest moment while feeling the most regret. To be forever yearning. That is a constant suffering that he will endure. He will not run away bec that's all he can do. He has fully given up on salvation or redemption. Zhao Yu and him was too hurt, her tragedy was so deeply entwined with him, he can't and won't ask for a chance.
AND that time when ZY straight up asked him if he's in love with her. And you can really see his awkwardness with the way he confesses which is a complete 180 from his usual arrogant demeanor (stuttering n all) HAHAHAHA. Because he's not used to how mc change of attitude. I find it rlly cute honestly, I liked him when he was still scummy, and I still like him after his change, heck I think I like him even more now.
Like I said in my review, IF FL DOESN'T WANT HIM? I'M TAKING HIM(/･ω･(-ω-) I NEED MY OWN ADORABLY SCUMMY MASSAGE STICK ♡(˃͈ દ ˂͈ ༶ )
Ikrrr, I can't help but wish it turned out differently for him and her instead. Maybe they could've been happy with their baby.(Presuming he found out about her pregnancy before she aborts it) They could've had a perfect and pure love. But aaaaaaa. God dang it.
I wanna be isekai'd into Zhuang Yiqing ffs, that way I can support Tang Zi and Zhuang Ye. And hehe.. be with my bb XYC ( ´◡‿ゝ◡`)
Thank you so much
Thank you for such a comprehensive summary and wonderful insights, @Katra1212. Your use of English idioms is also amazing.
Anyway, it's only a summary yet it managed to make me cry. I don't know what I'll be if I read the whole novel.
Thank you so much for the spoilers @Katra1212! I have some more questions if you don't mind.
May I ask how each of the men reacted when they learned the whole truth? And how did they all find out exactly? Like did Zhao Yu/Tang Xi tell them separately? Or were they told all together, so they coordinate everything afterwards? Also, how did the men feel knowing that she was involved with the others? Like was there any sense of jealousy at first?
Sorry, for the many questions But thank you again if you could answer!
If not a HE, probably a few STDs
I might miss a few things since it's been a while since I last read this. Any readers who finished this is welcome to add more~
This is gonna be another long one. To summarize, your answer can be connected and answered by one character, it would be Xue Zhan.
(He's the hardest ML to describe bec he's simply too complicated. That's the reason why I never like explaining him. Cause it usually would depend on the reader how they'll see him. It will be very long but I'll try my best to explain more clearly in Xue Zhan's part.)
He's the first to find out, through a series of incident and suspicion. His and MC's development was complicated, to cut short, she used his nephew to move him, found out more about him, dig deeper into his secret and move closer to him. When she almost had him, one incident made her every plan overturned. A valid proof of duplicity was presented to Xue Zhan. It was at moment when she felt based on her observations of him, that she couldn't win Xue Zhan's trust (actually she almost had him, if not for that one incident connected to Xu Cheng Yan's associate and XCY himself) so she deviced a plot to let him found out, to let him connect himself her past, all the while using it to her advantage to affect him.
(In short she mixed truth and lies to win him over one last time. In the most grandest and most painful way. Self-harm. I did mentioned before that aside from Xu Cheng Yan, she used her barrenness to Xue Zhan.) There will be a part when Xue Zhan would connect the dots and he will force the truth out of her (moving acc to her intentions). The way she will relieve her past was gut-wretching.
How will he react? Out of words. Not the speechless kind, but the kind that the words were sucked out of him. Her past was like a hollowed bomb to him. He suspected but never that tragic, and never did he guessed how much of his own callous actions attributed to her suffering. It did not make everything she's done right, but he can't blame her. In the end he accepted that she lives for revenge. No one, not even him, can stop her at that point of time.
As for jealousy, he first found out her 3 boat paddling technique (three timing Xie Xian, Xu Cheng Yan, and him) before that, (moreover, the bust scene with XCY was so epic, like you guys have to read it cause I don't wanna remove the amazing scene.) so ofc there's a twisted jealousy, but at time, they were in a stand-off, high strung relationship, there was no trust. (They were just waiting for the other shoe (his or MC) to drop.) They were waiting who would slip off, who would achieve their goal first? Would Xue Zhan find out her past first or will Zhao Yu move/seduce him first?
It was then that MC betted with her past trauma, and she frinkin won. In the most painful way. Afterwards, jelousy itself was an emotion he did not deserve to feel. He was guilty of his actions, at the same time, he understood MC's situation too well. Zhuang YQ is too powerful to bring down, if he was given time, he can do it by himself, (slash dat, if MC had time, she wouldn't need any man. She can stream roll Zhuang YQ.) But Xu Cheng Yan's marriage prevented him to do that.
XCY has equal power/family standing to him, once XCY and Zhuang YQ tied the knot, he won't be able to touch her that easily. In that way, bec he simply can't abandon her, was guilty for her, and bec he simply cared for her, he chose to support her. Geez, there will even be a time where he'll drive her to Xu Cheng Yan's place, clearly knowing they'll be shaggin.
To know more, read Xue Zhan's part. His part was the most important, but also the most complicated. It's really hard to just summarize his and MC's relationship in just a few paragraphs.
Spoiler: Xue Zhan's part
If I were to describe him, Xue Zhan would be a fulcrum perhaps? His character was the pivot point that changed everything. From the carefully laid out plans of the MC, you can say he overturned it. I've said it before, he's an important ML bec he's the one that bared the real her. Her lies, her identity and her pain. It's not a sudden discovery but a gradual process that is way connected in the early part of the novel.
Xue Zhan, by nature is a cautious man. He had built a very sturdy wall against people. Aside from Xue Xian which is an important family to him, anyone who wishes to get close to him, would simply bounce off that wall. And MC was exactly stone-walled. If the novel is an otome, then I'd say, he's the hardest man for MC to capture. There's a hidden piece you need to find out before you can even move him.
That's the reason why MC decided to use his nephew, Xue Xian to move him. XX importance, is only to connect him to his uncle. Remember, MC needed pawns that has power, and XX don't have that yet. She's on a time limit, so she chose her targets smartly. Xue Zhan is the only ML she can't read properly. There were many times when she had to retract, replan her next moves bec she simply was not affecting him.
Xue Zhan is mysterious in a way bec he's pretty much isolated himself from baser desires. He also has the strongest desire for control. Control of the situation, of people, of his surroundings. His cautious nature has bled into his skin. He's actually a very old fashioned guy, and he believed in true love. But he himself did not believe it would come to him. There's a deeper meaning to his character. Why he became so close off, why he's so cautious. All of it is connected to the hidden piece-- his past, his trauma.
And really, it was lady luck for MC to found his weakness. (I'm saying it's luck, but many would think it's not. In my opinion, MC's greatest weapon is not her ability to psychoanalyze her targets but rather her observation. She's very sharp and can read the nuances of every move by attributing them to their attitude and purpose. She used that ability of observation to spot the integral link to move Xue Zhan. And the easiest way to do that is by using XX. It's hard to explain, but she had to squeeze out Xue Xian's worth, and indeed, he coughed out more than a few secrets. In his actions and through his admission.)
I'll drop a few hints to how she moved him. The malicious rumors about her in the company (she herself had concocted), the orange juice given to her by Xue Zhan's assistant, ordered via a jealous admirer of XZ. (she's allergic to it and was sent to the hospital. She nearly died. I swear, this girl is ruthless, especially on how she treat herself for the sake of revenge.) Remember the time he used XX and she used the plot of imitating his white moonlight? (I think the TL had caught up to this part, so I I won't be overtly explaining it.) Well, there will come a time when she'll use his abusive action to move Xue Zhan. She very early in spotted that he's susceptible to weak and oppressed women.
Why did I say earlier that it's ladyluck for MC to find his weakness? Bec she didn't know 'abuse' was basically a trigger on Xue Zhan. She just thought, since he views his nephew as the most important person, and he's weak to oppressed women. What would he do if his nephew was the one abusing/opressing his gf? She knew he would garner his attention by doing it like that. But what she did, was the jockpot.
Xue Zhan's dark past:
[[Xue Xian's mom and dad does not have a normal relationship. Outwardly they are the perfect match, the perfect family. But XX's dad, Xue Zhan's older brother is an abusive husband. (XX did not know this.) He's always abusing his wife, their father (Old Xue) knew but did not stop his son's atrocious actions.
Xue Zhan, on other hand, tried to stop it. His brother would promise not to do it, but then behind his back, he would still abuse his wife. It went on, until at one point it got so worse, that he snapped...and killed his brother. (I don't remember if it's when he's trying to defend his sis-in-law, but it was accidental murder. But it was a murder he did not regret. He did it not just bec of his sis-in-law but really to protect his nephew, bec his brother was really going off the rails at that point, it was only a matter of time when he'll also abuse XX. Xue Zhan really cares about his nephew.)
Also, there may be hints of sis-in-law and Xue Zhan's relationship (as in sexual comfort, before the incident. He don't really love her, but he pitied her, enough to comfort her in any way. Things might have changed tho if he did not kill his own bro but...it's already spilled water.) After that incident, sis-in-law and Xue Zhan went on their seperate ways and buried that secret. Even Old Xue did not know.
[But all of those act (uncle and mom's ambiguous relationship), plus his dad's murder was actually secretly witnessed by young Xue Xian. That's the reason why he's so scared of his uncle. He thought that behind that gentle mask hid a cold hearted murderer who could disregard family for his ambition. And he hated his mother bec he thought she was his accomplice.] - (Wholly unaware of the fact or real reason behind his uncle's action and mother's abuse.) Later on, as his uncle always gave into him at some point, he realized his uncle felt guilty of something to him, and what it was, he was most familiar with. That's why he turned out so spoiled.]]
Through a series of plotting and coincidence, MC found out Xue Zhan's dark past. From that point on, she finally understood Xue Zhan's complexity. But at that time, XZ was already suspicious of her. She can feel his change of character, and that he might have found something on her. Like for instance, a proof of her duplicity.
You see, she always used the weak facade/mask when facing XX and XZ. That's the personality she created/used to move them. A weak, easy and dormat female. One who can't refuse her boyfriend's abuse, and can't leave him. Xue Zhan knew XX was already obsessed with MC, so he offered to help her break it off from XX by pretending she's man hopped (led to make his nephew believe he seduced her or she seduced him, thereby making him a disposal bf. Lol. It was so true tho, on MC's side at least.)
Their relationship developed slowly and akwardly. MC had to balance the most appropriate distance she could cross in that wall (getting close to him, as in, making him care for her) and acting as if they are in a pretend relationship, while overtly seducing him at the same time. Although I'm making as if Xue Zhan was the epitome of protector for the weak, his agenda is more than what meets the eye on making that offer.
He wanted to use MC to hone his nephew. (Xue Xian was a playboy who disregard his responsibilities.) He wanted to use this as a way of making him mature. Of making him own his actions and to change for the better. It's killing three birds with one stone. (Yes three, then what's the last?) The last is to erase his suspicion, he made that offer to observe MC more closely. Given that he saw how MC had a large influence on his nephew, he wanted to make sure of MC's true agenda. Whether she was being true or merely using Xue Xian for her goal. His instinct was very sharp and despite his lackadaisical appearance, he was secretly on guard against her all this time.
And really, she almost captured him. But that word, almost, made her chest of moves overturned. She never went out of character, her background was perfectly made, her reason realistic and sympathetic. She moved Xue Zhan. It was at that point when XZ was eased off observing her. If not for one single unmemorable moment she never saw coming. And this incident was connected to Xu Cheng Yan, and no, it's not XCY that exposed her (although he will prove it in the end), it was his brother/cousin.
There was a time when XCY made MC accompany him in a race betting(?) or something. It's a type of gathering between his close friends/relatives. And those friends knew MC was XCY's new candy (new girl he's f*ck*ing). Later on, when he accompanied Xue Zhan (this is a seperate gathering) she met this man coincidently and he hit on her. At that time, they are alone, so she used her scummy face to reject the Ahole. And THAT is the incident that blindsided her.
How? No one witnessed them. No one, save for the fact that the establishment was owned by Xue Zhan himself, (MC did not know, actually, it was one of the hidden establishment XZ owned) and that cctv video was sent to his desk. MC slipped just once, and every effort to moving him went down the drain hole.
By that point, Xue Zhan realized she's duplicous. And that she's sleeping not just with Xue Xian but also the infamous Xu Cheng Yan, and him, at the point. Paddling three boats with that slim arms. It impressed him, how she was able to manipulate even him. That was the moment, when little by little, his treatment to MC changed. (MC was late to notice it, he was really overt. But once she realized, she reacted and deviced a plot immediately.) Xue Zhan was slowly connecting the dots. Tang Xi, the malicious romours she manipulated, her deliberate self-harm to move him, Xu Cheng Yan, and him. He realized she was way deeper than what he first thought. She wasn't just a gold digger, or a social butterfly out for reputation. She was so deep she could hide such things that made it even for him to discover, her ambitions so high that he couldn't imagine why she's going so far.
This was at point of climax in the novel, a part I love so much. It was like a race for them, whether Xue Zhan would found out everything, or if she could move or seduce him first. (And , I really want to express my admiration and cuss at the same time here.) Since MC thought he'll found out anyway, why not add a few distortion to her somewhat morbid past. Connect it to him, make him guilty. Bec despite his hot and cold char, Xue Zhan's very nature and dark past made it that he will care for the abused and weak. (Remember, I said she'll use her barenness to move Xue Zhan?)
At this time, Xue Zhan had slowly stripped off his gentleman persona, he was really rough and 'almost' (dub-con) 'raped' MC. (When in fact, MC goaded him, she wanted that result.) He's suspicious of MC's every little action, but at that time when he 'raped' her, he went overboard (he was feeling betrayed at that point, cause he really came to care for her. At that time he almost (wanted) to trust her, he was slapped by the proof that she's only using him.) he did not use protection. He went so far as to force feed her pills. MC's health worsened, she got sick. She would play as if no one was the wiser, when in fact, Xue Zhan knew. She would create instances that would prick his consciousness, so much so that she was hospitalized. There, she let him on to her biggest and most painful chest piece, her past. Xue Zhan would found out her barenness, then as if tainting her world red, he found the connection to her past.
Tang Xi was not her best friend, it was her. It was that moment when he tried to force the truth out of her. (It was all along moving to MC's plot, she knew this was the tipping point, so she vetted a winning move) So MC puked out her story (why did I use this word? Bec that's the only word I could think of appropriate enough to describe the outpouring of emotions accompanied by her reminiscence), the pain, the trauma, it was her worse and most familiar fear, one she did not need to play an act. Bec an act would not move Xue Zhan at that point, only genuine emotion of pain and tragedy would right that flipped chest board. That part was gut wretching, how she had to relieve that part to tell him.
Xue Zhan...he was out of words. What he saw, he simply can't overturn as acting anymore, her pain was too real. It was too palpable. She was traumatized. The more words that came out of her mouth, the more life drained out of her. She was like an onion, every layer of it was like a mask, and each layer was as if pealed by knife. She let him see the most deepest part she hid from anyone, until nothing was left but a husk of an irrevocable broken woman.
He came to realize, she live solely for revenge. It doesn't make any of her actions right nor justified but no one, not even Xue Zhan can let out a word of blame. Because even him, he never treated MC right. Add on with his rough treatment, how he attributed to her worsening health, now with the truth laid out in front of him, he was conflicted, he was wallowing in guilt but at the same time, he understood. He also knew he can't stop her, she's already beyond the pont of stopping, and there's no way anyone could stop her. He knew there was deeper intentions to her actions. Either he drop her, just like how she's expecting (or so what she's showing) or he support her. It was not an easy decision for him.
There's also his responsibility to his company, by supporting her, he's putting it at stake.
In the end, he couldn't disregard his feelings for her. He felt responsible, at the same time, he wanted to at least give her a reprieve. By supporting her, she wouldn't have to suffer so much.
Actually after the big reveal, and his compliance as an accomplice, he flat out asked her who else (has she been sleeping with)? He said, aside from XX, XCY and me, and oh that LJW, did you also.... That moment was so funny. And when she admitted and also said said JS and Shang Lu's name. Hahaha.... He was speechless. Like really, damn, there was a lot more than he thought. He had to take a moment to catch his breath. His brain is so over strained. Hahaha.
How will the other found out? After Xue Zhan and Shang Lu cooperated, and the scene of Xu Cheng Yan's marriage sabotage was accomplished. Xue Xian, Ling Jianwei and Xu Cheng Yan will found out at the hospital. (This is a diff instance of hospitalization. She was stabbed at (near) the heart by Zhuang YQ's goons. (Or so she let XCY believe, but the stabbed wound was true, it was a fatal injury.) She clearly did not need to go that far, she only needed to act, but her revenge was so close, she won't do anything less to jeopardize it.
Xue Xian, at that time was going crazy. He truly fell in love with MC. His act of redemption, trying to be better so MC will go back to him was the result of Xue Zhan's calculated move (the pretend relationship). He will do anything, truly anything, just to have MC back.
Spoiler: Xue Xian's part
At first, he thought Zhao Yu was merely doing that to throw tantrum, then he realized she truly wanted to break up with him/truly fell in love with his uncle. But aside from a small alarm, he's still assured he can win her back. Bec he's sure that his uncle would never do that to him. He would never rob him, again of the person he cared/love. But at some point he came to realize that things weren't going the way he expected. That's when he went crazy. He did not go to work, he almost starved himself. In short, he was not able to function well anymore.
When he found out about her accident, he raced to the hospital. There, he overheard the truth when Xue Zhan and MC was talking. He demanded to know the truth, and so he was told. And he...was inconsolable. He was hurt for MC, for her tragedy. Hurt that she used him, and that she HAD to use him, just to get revenge. He truly realized how blessed he was compared to her, and how weak he was, that he was only able to be a disposable chess piece in her revenge. If she used him and it brought a bigger advantage to her, he would actually feel much more happier. That's how he fell so hapless in love, a fool, that he forgives her of everything. As for jealousy, ofc he was jealous, much more when he found out she was actually two timing him with Xu Cheng Yan. But at the end, his worries overpowered his jealousy. His care would make it, that he will accept her, so she can just be with him.
Xua Zhan knew early on that Shang Lun was MC's accomplice or at least a person who knew (her past) and would help MC. You can only see his jelousy through his tells. Read the last paragraph of Shang Lu's part if you want to know more.
Spoiler: Shang Lu's part
But Shang Lu actually didn't know, she never told him the truth and he never asked (rather, he doesn't have the power to help her so he didn't ask), MC and him were at their lowest when they met. Shang Lu only had enough power to hide her in the states. When the news of his engagement arrived, that's when their arrangement ended. He needed that marriage alliance to start his own revenge. To Tang Xi, he gave her the tools, the knowledge (remember her psychology lessons?) and enough rest/time for her revenge. And so she left US, and came back to China as Zhao Yu. She knew Shang Lu would soon come back, but their relationship was supposed to end on that night of their farewell. She knew he can't help her, and she also doesn't want to use him anymore.
Their first meeting back in China, when she found out Zhuang YQ new murder, she coincidently saw the blood her on her way out, she collapsed. (She was with Xue Xian/Xu Cheng Yan, I forgot) Shang Lu her appearance and hid her. He still did not know her past, ofc he suspected. It was only their second meeting when he offered his help did it imply that he knew it. He found out on his own, after connecting the dots. They never talked about it, there is an unspoken camaraderie between them that doesn't need one to speak their horrors out loud. MC herself did not asked for his past, but she suspected and connected the dots to guess. They were too much alike, even the time when Shang Lu concocted the car accident where he nearly died, just so he can pin it on his half-brother. They each had their own heavy baggage to carry. That's why despite clearly knowing her actions, of how she'll sleep with men to achieve it, he can't stop her. He will just be there when she needs it. When she feels like she can't take it, come to him, he said. He will take care of her, accept her in any way, he just wish she will be happy.
But Shang Lu isn't a perfect man. I did not like him that much compared to Xu Cheng Yan or even Xue Zhan. At first, it's bec he's much too coward for my taste, he always backs off, too weak, his backstory was also not drawn out. Him and Ling Jinwei was the two ML that fizzled in the background, only appearing when the story needed it. I felt like the author is giving him too much favor when she has not given him a detailed backstory, even LJW backstory was somehow explained.
He was MC's fall out support, but at the same time, he was too patient to MC. He was too caring, as if she's made out of glass. At that time, MC's past was not yet shown, Zhao Yu was clearly rocking me with her awesome skills and manipulation, despite a few hiccups of weakness and depressing thoughts, and ofc that dark undertone sizzling on the surface, I simply deemed it unacceptable, to treat such a strong woman like porcelain. Later on as the story progressed, only then will you understand why he's acting that way. It might have been bec he knew and suspected MC's past, that's why he's so malleable. He moves accordingly to MC.
But humans are selfish, where are those traits in him? Aside from a few, when he would frown when he knew MC had slept and will have more sex with men, his antsy feelings of incompetence, or his offer of taking an back (even when he marry, and ofc, that engagement did not went through after he got enough power. Lol. His ex-fiance will visit MC on the side stories and it was amazing how much sour MC felt. She truly love and was quite possessive of him, all the other men did not had that kind of regard, or did they?). But there were many character much more flawed than him, so I didn't rate him high, but in my opinion, he was the sweetest, the most ideal husband, one who has an ocean worth of patience.
Xu Cheng Yan found out at the hospital. At first, he didn't know, he was fooled by her acting, no, by their (Shang Lu, Xue Zhan, Ling Jinwei bro) behind maneuverings that he was blindsided.
Spoiler: Xu Cheng Yan's part
I did mention previously in my summary that there will be a turning point in MC and XCY's relationship (the comedic yet pitiful angry bathroom sex scene- again, I won't spoil this, you have to read, it's that important.) which will later transform his perception of MC. At that time, he became quite possessive. I don't know if this is my delusion, but I remember (it's very faint, so correct me if I'm wrong here. Check my underline words) him asking MC to quit working at Houcan, he was clearly being jealous of her relationship to other men. He knew she was tapping, not just Xue Xian but also Xue Zhan (nephew and uncle duo. When he first found out, even he was amazed of her large guts. Xue Zhan is not an easy man to fool-- LOL. And indeed, later on, they were busted.). He's demanding exclusivity, maybe even work for him, like, be his sexsetary?
[This was before Xue Zhan found out MC's past, in connection to when he was just suspicious and wanted a valid proof of her cheating.]
The sex bust with Xu Cheng Yan and MC was so epic. At that time, MC was called to Xu Cheng Yan's office to deliver a document, she was tasked as a liaison. (But she didn't have to deliver it directly to the CEO office tho. XCY just wanted to have some office sex) Xue Zhan followed her movement, and damn, (he bypassed the receptionist, XCY and MC wasn't given a warning at all.) he waited outside at the CEO door, and so they were busted, while hearing the two of them having sex.
XCY, with his scum like face, and daredevil attitude tied up MC and proceed to have marathon sex with her, unprotected sex! [See here, his change of attitude shows in his action, he doesn't care if she got pregnant, he'll take care of her. It's the bastard way of love, but it was true Xu Cheng Yan's love. (All the while Xue Zhan was outside the door, listening, he didn't disturb them) Until, XCY finished and opened the door, showing MC's messy and leaky appearance. That moment for me was sooo hearstopping. XCY thought Xue Zhan would abandon MC, so he did that. (How wrong he was.) That moment when MC was carried out by Xue Zhan (goosebumps, XZ at that time was so eerily gentle, removing her restraints, wiping off her sweat and XCY cum stains on her. His anger was unfelt but he was boiling inside. That's when everything changed with Xue Zhan and MC.)
Xu Cheng Yan, back in his office was so angry, he fired off the receptionist, his secretary and all those personnels that made all his plans disarray.
Past forward to the hospital scene after Xu Cheng Yan broke his marriage.
He felt strange, Zhuang YQ worsening situation was too fast, as if someone was manipulating it. He felt his situation (like the fact Zhuang YQ wouldn't be too stupid to do it on their wedding, the news getting to him just in thr right time was too bizarrr. Zhuang YQ words, of not understanding his threats, blaming her unjustly (Zhuang YQ knew XCY has a mistress he's keeping, she wanted to knew who, but XCY is hiding her too well.) So when XCY blamed her for hurting Zhao Yu, and that she will regret it, (Zhuang YQ was at a loss)
It was only later when MC's plot bec the reason for her downfall that she guessed it. If, perhaps, she found out early on who MC was, she would indeed try to kill MC, but her identity as Tang Xi needed to be kept as long as possible so that (XCY above suspiciouns) was the only holes MC left behind.
Zhuang YQ confronted XCY, gloating, that Zhao Yu was deceiving and only using him. XCY at first did not believe her, but he's not dumb, he's actually extremely sharp. So when he disregarded his feelings for her, he saw the irregularity. Her breaking down, her fear of blood, her crazy pursuance of power. And suddenly he recalled her words when they first met, when he asked what's her agenda. She said, I came to break your marriage. He thought it was a jest. Now, it became a reality.
His pride was really hurt. He was the one who did it prev, but now he was one being toyed/played with. But more than his shredded pride, it was the question of WHY she did it that ate at him. Why did she use him? Why go so far to ruin Zhuang YQ. And then at the hospital, oh
, ahem, excuse me. Just can't help it. That confrontation scene was intense. Hehe... I won't spoil this part. It's better to read it. Just take it that MC's words were so sharp here, it basically dug his heart flesh.
As for how he reacted when he found out MC's past. Astounded, or more like, aghast? Then he walked out. He needed to think. He also wanted to prove her words wrong. Later, he'll meet the old man and... it'll break your heart. He transformed for me, to a mere character, to a fully fleshed out man, ridden with guilt, love and sorrow.
For Jui Sui and Zhuang Ye, the wedding incident and Zhuang YQ crime affected them greatly. As to how Jui Sui found out, it's when he saw men, Xue Zhan, Xian, and Xu Cheng Yan were hovering over her. He felt it was weird. Then Zhuang Ye, found out who Zhao Yu was and visited her, and lo and behold, he called her Tang Xi in front of him. JS was so familiar with TX that he could recite her history with Zhuang Ye. And wala~ they made full circle. Lol.
Sorry, I'm stopping here, Jui Sui's part was quite large, (so I'll write his part, Zhuang Ye and LJ later) To summarize, he's the ML most adamant for monogamy. He also was the one who tried to stay away, really forget MC.
LJW was meh. I felt he has the least presence. How he reacted was, ofc he had an inkling, that's why he begged his older bro to help her bring down Zhuang YQ. He was jealous cause MC has so many great men (his self confidence is so small) to choose. I think his greatest worry was that, MC only felt that pity and guilt to him, not love. For breaking their friendship, for using him, and for scarring his life. MC never wanted to do it, but she had to, cause she wanted to survive to get revenge. She deemed her revenge higher than their friendship, and the fact that, he indeed couldn't have been of help, even if she did try to ask for it in the past.
Zhuang Ye's situation was just three words: betrayal, suffering, self-atonement.
Thx for the spoilers!
Oh my gosh, thank you for the spoiler. I wish there is side story about her ex, he definitely deserved his redemption. I wish this novel has many alternate-ending or open-ending later on, it's kinda hurting to make these men a part of the crowd lmao. I feel like it's also impossible to end with all of them as you know they are from high society. I really ROOT for XCY for her endgame although he is a jerk, their dynamic is just lit. This novel is pretty much realistic minus a bunch of handsome men with power lmao. I love that there is no married man involved in her harem. Her principle is like, i might be fucking around with men, but if he's married already, got to stop.
However, do you know who Tang Xi loves?
Welcome. Hmm... Hard to say, I get what you mean, when, it would have been better for her to choose one or have alternative ending but in a monogamous situation. Before I read the side stories, even I wished for that. But, all the male leads are so entwined with her, both of their history and emotions. So for the story to truly have a HE, being a crowd is the only end game. As for it being unrealistic, you have to understand that even the men are scarred too. They (aside from SL, I guess?) carry each their own psychological baggage, (before -Tang Xi/Zhao Yu) and after Zhao Yu made a mess of their lives. Both MC and MLs (Yes, even SL) felt guilty of each other. So for the men to live proper lives away from MC, to move on, have wife and kids seems quite far fetched in my opinion. Aside from SL, MC is the thorn and the cure that is imbedded deep into the ML's heart flesh. To leave her, is to make it fester, a deep pain that will accompany them throughout their lives. So it's not really that surprising. (Omf... Just say in it the way the author portrayed them in my perspective.)
As for not targeting married men, he he the author prob didn't want to go to the deep end during MC revenge phase. You can consider it her giving a bit of a leeway to MC. (Cause, say for instance, XCY wasn't merely engaged but married to Zhuang YQ? I wouldn't be surprised if she used a more drastic approach to reach her end.) As for breaking off with Shang Lu when he got engaged, it's cause she doesn't want to hinder him in his road to revenge. And truthfully, SL couldn't help her anymore by that point.
Who Tang Xi loves? Def Zhuang Ye.
Who Zhao Yu loves? Now, that's complicated. It depends on the readers.
How can you even measure?
The more complicated she felt on a particular ML, the deeper the love? Then XCY wins.
Or the least complicated she felt on a particular ML? Then Shang Lu. (actually, he's the author fav char. in my opinion. I even suspected before that he'd be the endgame.)
The one she cared the most? Then Ji Sui.
The one she needs? Xue Zhan.
The one that always made her laugh and free? Xue Xian.
How about the add on? Ling Jinwei. (Sorry bud. Ya just seems that way.)
(Did I forget someone?)
Bottomline, how to judge this is very subjective. This is only my opinion, based on the MC and ML's interaction in my own understanding. I have my own biases too. (Can't deny when I'm being blantlant.) The only thing I can say for sure is that, the author is very good at creating a balanced relationship in a somewhat complicated manner. (Well, aside from LJW? Like, shoulda accompanied Zhuang Ye, at least my heart will go to you.)
Thank you for the spoilers!
More spoilers for Ji Sui's part please
Thank you for the spoilers. I couldn't wait for the translations so came to spoil myself. I can't help but love most of the MLs in here. Female lead's interaction with them is all so different yet intriguing. But of all the meat on her plate, I like the duck XCY. Definitely my favorite ML but I do feel for Zhuang Ye. He was also innocent and now he can never go back to her.
when will "returning" be returning in translationnnnnnnnnnnnnn *screams in pain* someone please pick this up T_T
such a great novel that i dont want to MLT! the mc is such a smartie i do not want to read her speech in broken english lmao..
Slightly off topic, but has anyone noticed that Throwawaybthang Translations’ website doesn’t work anymore?!? I happened to go back to check out some of the older chapters today and I keep getting “server cannot be found” notifications. I hope the original translator is okay?
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