Chapter 57: So it was like this!
“I will kill you!” The veins on Li Yiteng’s hands suddenly bulged as he lifted up the gun and pointed it aggressively at Ma Haicheng.
Gu Yunlan and Xuanyuan Meng’s heart jumped in fright, then they immediately jumped down and ran straight over.
“Papa! No! I beg of you to accept us!” Li Zhuting fell on the ground behind him kneeling, tears already flowing down.
“You!” Li Yiteng turned his head around flusteredly. Seeing his daughter on the floor, he never would have imagined his own daughter would plead to accept them. Immediately his hands shook, as he turned the gun muzzle towards her instead, “Unfilial daughter! I will kill you together with him!”
“Uncle Li!” Gu Yunlan called out coldly, stopping the furious Li Yiteng.
“Who are you? How did you get in?” Ma Haicheng looked at the two cautiously.
“Big Sister Gu!” Li Zhuting looked at her in astonishment, then immediately kneeled and crawled towards her, “Big Sister Gu! I beg you please support us!”
“I am Gu Yunlan from Gu City!” Gu Yunlan ignored Li Zhuting at her feet, and directly entered the room. She looked at him coldly, “What is your purpose behind all this?”
“So it was Marshal Gu’s daughter, the Eldest Miss Gu. As for my purpose, what purpose can I have?” Ma Haicheng was direct and quick to announce his intent, making an inviting gesture towards Gu Yunlan, “Young Miss Gu, how about we sit down and talk about this?”
“Alright!” Gu Yunlan raised her brows, and directly sat down on the chair to the right, “You people sit as well! Zhuting, it’s better for you to stand up first!”
“Young Miss Gu acts fast. I’m guessing you must have already heard Chief Li’s words. Straightforward people like us have no need to resort to insinuations! Give Zhuting to me.I will release everyone else once you give Zhuting to me!” Ma Haicheng sat in the host’s seat, repeating what he had said to Li Yiteng before.
“I, Gu Yunlan, would never take a loss in a trade!” Gu Yunlan hooked up the corners of her mouth, “You’ve kidnapped girls from our Gu City, what’s the point of using our Gu City’s girls to trade for Li Zhuting? Won’t directly pressuring the stronghold’s master be enough?”
“She wasn’t willing! It was only because she said she wanted to be married properly! Otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered with these troublesome things!” Ma Haicheng helplessly shrugged his shoulders.
“Since you are helpless, why kidnap her? Why not directly go to Gu City and propose?” Gu Yunlan took a sip of tea.
“Kidnapping the girls wasn’t even originally part of my plan. It was because some people wanted me to do it, promising me I could directly get her like this! Moreover, Chief Li wouldn’t have agreed for us to be together.” Ma Haicheng defended himself.
Gu Yunlan understood something. As expected, somebody was using the kidnapping incident to fish in troubled waters. She immediately asked, “Who made you do this?”
Ma Haicheng hurriedly stood up, and took out a slip of paper from the drawer beside him and handed it to Gu Yunlan.
Gu Yunlan took it and looked. The handwriting was very messy; it described how to kidnap the girls, and within what age as well? Not a single character was missing comparing those people and the name of the eighteen girls on the list. She lifted her head and asked, “Who gave this to you?”
“I don’t know either, it was there when I woke up!” Ma Haicheng was very cooperative, not a single shred of falseness showed on his face.
Gu Yunlan immediately asked, “Zhuting, then how did you get here?”
“She gave me a letter as she left her home, saying that she’s at the Hazy Mountain Stronghold. Her grandfather didn’t understand and reported it to the authorities. Sp it became difficult to tell him, that’s why I got angry!” Li Yiteng sat on a chair, furious.
Gu Yunlan nodded her head, then turned to look at Li Zhuting, “Talk! How did you get here by yourself?”
“I… He and I have always known each other, and later kept up contact by exchanging letters. It was him who came to pick me up…” Li Zhuting lowered her head, and said weepingly, “Big Sister Gu, do you still remember one year ago at the Zi Household?”
Gu Yunlan nodded her head, of course she remembered. She almost fell into a coma when Bai Linlong mauled her up at that place.
“After you told me to escape, I got dizzy just as I ran out of the Zi Household. He was the one who saved me. When I woke up, I was worried that Papa would worry, so I was sent home.” Li Zhuting looked at Ma Haicheng with a really grateful look, “That night he was still worried about me, and climbed the wall to get in, searching room by room for me. He sat at my bedside and watched over me. Who knew, I was completely frightened and kept having nightmares. I would have a nightmare every night, yet he would still come to my side every night to comfort me. I gradually fell in love with him…”
“Traitor daughter!” Li Yiteng was so angry his hands shook, dropping the gun on the table. His voice trembled as he said, “If you were so scared, why didn’t you tell Papa! Papa could have found you the best doctor, instead you let a strange man into your chambers!”
“Papa! He’s not a stranger!” Li Zhuting stood up ferociously, and said with red eyes, “I told you before, I said: Papa, I’m having nightmares, and what did you say? You said who doesn’t have nightmares, you’ll be fine!”
Li Yiteng stared blankly. It seems that his daughter really did mention that. And back then, he really did reply to her like this.
“Then how did you think of eloping?” Gu Yunlan followed up by asking. Her head hurt slightly as she looked at this father-daughter pair. She then set her gaze on Ma Haizehng. His pupils were deep and impossible to tell what he was thinking. It was as if… as if he can’t bear to see Li Zhuting crying.
“After confirming our mutual feelings, I tested Papa for what he’d think. ‘If maybe one day, I loved a bandit, what would you think?’” Li Zhuting looked at Li Yiteng with blame, “He said, ‘No! I, Li Yiteng’s daughter definitely cannot be married off to a bandit, or else I would break off our father-daughter relationship!’”
“I…” Li Yiteng once again was speechless. At that time, he was dizzy from busying over the first missing girl, hence his rough reply.
“Sit down and talk! Otherwise the stronghold master may end up kidnapping us too!” Xuanyuan Meng looked pityingly at Li Zhuting. Alright! She didn’t feel moved, but only pitied those crying, swollen eyes!
“Papa! Brother Cheng and I are serious about this, otherwise he wouldn’t have even asked for my opinion, and would’ve just directly kidnapped me right? There’d be no point in causing so much trouble!” Li Zhuting’s tears once again dripped down. She stood up, wanting to kneel in front of Li Yiteng. But Ma Haicheng suddenly pulled her up on her feet.
He said to her with creased brows, “Sit properly! Let me!”
He then pressed her onto the seat behind, and turned to kneel in front of Li Yiteng, “Uncle Li, please understand that Zhuting and I are really in love with each other, please accept us. Any condition you ask of us, I will agree to it!”
Li Yiteng leaned back on his chair dejectedly, he looked as if he instantly aged greatly. It was his fault for pushing his daughter away. It was him who was too careless, and was even responsible for so many girls disappearing from Gu City. How can he remedy this situation? He mumbled, “Ask Gu Yunlan!”
Gu Yunlan glanced at him worriedly, “Uncle Li! Don’t blame yourself, we all got played by someone! Ma Haicheng, you get up!”
Ma Haicheng turned to glance over at Li Zhuting. Only when he saw her nod did he stand up to sit beside Li Zhuting. He reached out his hands to help her wipe her tears.
Gu Yunlan’s pupils flashed; no matter whether his feelings are real or fake, at least he is willing to kneel for her and wipe her tears. Gu Yunlan smiled slightly as she thought of this, “Stronghold Master Ma, what would you do if I were to disagree? Kidnapping so many girls from our Gu City is not something that can be fixed just by agreeing!”
Ma Haicheng’s hands trembled as he smiled bitterly, “What else can I do? I was not in my right mind back then; I’ll have my men send them home along with gold as compensation. I will personally send Zhuting back, then go pay my respects everyday. I pray that Uncle Li could agree!”
“Pfft!” Xuanyuan Meng laughed out loud. The idea may be dumb, but it was feasible. It was the right thing to do even if it wasn’t heroic. Hopefully he will be forever faithful to Zhuting.
“Oh?” The bottom of Gu Yunlan’s heart moved, she asked, “If I told you to, would you disband the mountain stronghold and enter the Li Family?”
“No!” Li Zhuting immediately turned her head to look at Gu Yunlan behind her, “Big Sister! You can’t!”
The originally dejected Li Yiteng immediately pricked up his ears. He really loved his daughter, and was afraid that she would be sad. He feared her falling for tricks.
“I’m not asking you! Be quiet!” This was the first time Gu Yunlan was so stern towards her, “Do you think you’re innocent here? Stupid! So selfish! Do you even understand the extent this situation escalated? You tell me, how should this be fixed? Don’t forget about the other girls who are still missing; what if they are not found? Originally, if it’s your own family’s problem, I wouldn’t care. However, do you even understand how big of a disaster your actions have caused?”
Gu Yunlan was truly really angry. Everything that happened went beyond their control. Ever since Zhuting met with trouble, everything went absolutely wrong. Zhuting was scared silly. She leaving home, loving Ma Haicheng, the kidnapping, and the drama going on right now; It always felt as if someone was in the shadows, puppeteering everything.
She pressed on her aching forehead. There was also Jian Chen’s revival, a great disaster for the people. She can’t do anything about that, yet they had still offended him. The first person he would look for would be her…
Li Zhuting stared blankly, the tears flowed down from her eyes. This was the first time Big Sister Gu lashed out at her like this. But she didn’t feel wronged for it truly was all her fault. What Big Sister Gu said was right, it was all because of her unruliness!
“Yunlan!” Xuanyuan Meng glanced at the three people who fell silent, the atmosphere felt stiflingly aggrieved. She immediately went to relax the tension. She sat down by Li Zhuting and handed her a handkerchief to wipe her tears with, “Don’t blame her for scolding you. She probably hasn’t relaxed at all in the last few days working on your disappearance. Aside from the eighteen here, there’s another ten girls who are yet to be seen.”
“Ah?” Li Zhuting’s eyes still had some tears as she looked at her in surprise, “There are more disappearances!”
“Alright! We’ll end this here. You people still need to talk out your problems!” Xuanyuan Meng sighed, and glanced at Gu Yunlan who was still deep in thought.
“I… I won’t disband the mountain stronghold. These times are chaotic, there are wars everywhere. My brothers can only rely on one another to continue living!” Ma Haicheng took a deep breath, and looked at Li Zhuting with an honest gaze, “I am willing to marry into your family. However I alone cannot decide my brothers’ choices, but can only decide my own path. I will quit my position as the master of the stronghold, and marry into the Li Family!”
“Big Brother Cheng! No need for this!” Li Zhuting looked at him in shock, “Everything here is your home, your life! For me you’d be willing to…”
“Don’t you remember when I said that I’d be willing to regard anywhere as home for you?” Ma Haicheng looked at her gently, his gaze so gentle it was almost as if water could drip out.
“Enough! Stop being so corny!” Xuanyuan Meng waved her hands, interrupting the couple. People are watching!