Here I am going through piles upon piles of documents pertaining to the company's upcoming product launch. You see, I happen to be the HO CEO. HO is the name of the company I am working at, and no I am not a who... *cough*. Anyway, I have been in this position for 10 years. You would imagine a middle age woman if I have that long of a working experience and you are right. I am 35 this year and still single.
The company was founded by my great grandmother. A very feisty woman who holds grudges. The story as to why she decided to start it was quite funny. Well, not many would find her reason to be funny. My grandmother and I happen to be the few to have an odd sense of humor.
Back then, great grandmother or fondly called Lady Ho was a mother to a man of 22 years old. She had a happy family or so she thought. Her happiness was ruined after she, together with her then husband and son visited a lovely young woman and her family of a distant branch of the Ho clan. The purpose? Arrange marriage of course!
It so happened that great grandmother is the current 'Head' of the Ho clan. Unlike the norm, she did not inherit the position from her father. To be the Head of the clan one has to fit certain requirements such as having an 'ability' that is deemed needed by the clan's six Elders. Great grandmother's brother was one of these elders so he nominated and voted for her. Her ability, you asked? Knowing other people's abilities. Normal people would choose domineering abilities but the Elders back then were far from normal. The Ho clan was deteriorating as the former Head and Elders could not identify clan members' abilities because some would hide them either due to being embarrassed or want to be normal among other reasons. So, all six Elders voted to make great grandmother the next Head with that weak excuse.
The Ho clan members tend to marry their own. They do marry 'outsiders' but they will be given two choices. Either their spouse stays in the clan or they leave the clan and experience 'the purge'. *cough* ... the so called purge is not one family's annihilation but the removing of one's ability so that they can be among the 'normal' people. One day, while identifying clan members' abilities, great grandmother saw, you guess it. My grandmother.
Like any other mothers who want the best for their children, great grandmother decided by herself she wants to have Ho Lan as her daughter-in-law. So, Lady Ho brought her husband and son to meet Ho Lan and her parents. The two men thought they were merely visiting relatives. Boy were they wrong.
Grandmother's parents were surprised of course as Lady Ho tends not to leave her house let alone visit people. Great grandmother stated the purpose of their visit to her future-in-laws which shocked her two family members. They, knowing great grandmother's character decided to keep their opinions to themselves for now as not to incur her wrath to avoid them from becoming a joke to their so called in-laws.
If you expect a love at first sight story between my grandparents, then you are wrong. The few sentences grandmother said to grandfather were, "I am not marrying you. You are sleeping with your own sister, Fang Hua. I am not stupid enough to have a mistress living together in my house." I can imagine how awkward the situation was when grandmother told me how she first met grandfather.
Great grandmother sure was pissed knowing her husband not only cheated on her but also placed his illegitimate daughter near her family. She gave grandmother's parents a bow as an apology and left with two very paled faced men.
Once they arrived at their house, great grandmother ordered the butler to pack her husband's and Fang Hua's stuff and kick them out. Great grandfather panicked and begged his wife to forgive him and said he slept with Fang Hua's mother once because he was drunk and she asked him to take care of their daughter since she cannot afford to do so by herself. Instead of forgiving him, great grandmother summoned the Elders to inform them of the matter and give her decision.
As expected, great grandmother not only divorced her husband but also ordered 'the purge' to be carried out on the two individuals. I can understand her decision as great grandfather broke the clan's law. Having mistresses and illegitimate children were common back then. Heck, they are still happening now but to make your own decision to bring an outsider into the clan without the clan's Head permission is simply asking for trouble. Great grandmother was of course suspicious when Fang Hua was brought into the clan and hired by her husband as a cook even though she is at best a decent one but decided to believe in him.
I know some of you would say that great grandmother kicked them out simply because she got cheated on and abused her power. I can only say that you are only half right. Not many can accept their spouse to not only cheat on them but also have the affair comes to 'fruit'. Being members of the Ho clan sounds awesome as they have abilities but like Uncle Ben said, "With great power comes great responsibility." Living in the clan's grounds can mean accidents happening when there are dissatisfaction. A recent argument ended in a few burnt and frozen houses when two brothers fought for the right to woo a girl living next door. If you are curious as to who won, she chose neither as her house was one of the destroyed ones. Anyway, by keeping Fang Hua's identity a secret she is exempted from being identified an ability just like any other outsiders. For those with high imagination, do stop imagining great grandmother having laser like identification eyes. She can only do so by touching individuals with her bare hands.
Fang Hua's ability, you asked? Earthquake. You can imagine the clan's grounds shaking like mad until one of the guards knocked her unconscious with much difficulty. The few Elders who were at first against the Head's decision were shocked and gave the Head their approval. They thought the Head grew muddle headed and emotional after merely listening to a young woman's words. Little do they know that the young woman would be their next Head. How she became one is another story though.
So, 'the purge' was carried out and the two were 'escorted' outside the clan's grounds. That incident resulted in almost 20 deaths with roughly a hundred people trapped under buildings' rubble. Grandfather survived but became a changed person after the incident.
Nope, not going to tell you grandmother's ability just yet.
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