Upon hearing Hou Guanyu's response, Ji Li Zhao remained calm and collected. This was something he had already predicted. After all, he is Hou Guanyu and his children are his most important possessions. Much more, Hou Wei Yan isn't only his daughter but the daughter of the terrifying lady of the Xing Household. Her value is so high he can't simply agree.
However, that does not mean he will give up Hou Wei Yan. She's too precious to him that even if the whole clan would attack him, he would still go for it.
Besides, as long as he wants something, he will definitely find ways to acquire it.
"Why?" he asked as though an innocent child.
Hou Guanyu took hold of the teacup and slowly sipped its content. Noticing its empty, Li Zhao took the initiative and poured him tea. Guanyu looked at him lovingly, this child, he'd want to accept but...
"I have no say on this, the one she will marry lays in her hand"
Receiving such a reply made Li Zhao smile knowingly. Of course, he'd answer that, but he wasn't a typical man. He doesn't face people without preparation.
"I know your tradition, Mr. Hou"
Guanyu was taken aback by his reply.
"Interesting. What do you actually know?" he had used such an excuse for people wanting to pursue her daughter long ago.
All of them made useless pursue as she replied no. None of them had the audacity to actually investigate and challenge him.
"The Hous always decide who will marry who. Especially the daughters of your household. You had even oriented and instilled in her mind that she's already betrothed forcing her to leave behind the men she got slightly close with during high school"
"Wei Wei once had a study buddy but all of a sudden she began distancing herself because you reminded her of her role as the lady of the Hou household. This made her even afraid of approaching men in fear of disappointing or angering the clan" he said as he sipped his tea. He took a peek at Guanyu who diverted his eyes in an instant.
Not done yet, Ji Li Zhao continued to speak. "You often pull some people away from her. People whom your family viewed as unworthy of her. Once you even forced a student to transfer abroad because he started courting Wei Yan and asked her to run away with him. You also secretly brewed a misunderstanding between her and her newfound friend and threatened him in secret so he won't mindlessly approach her any longer"
"But I doubt these occurrences ended when she left the country. Her marriage, it's one of the reasons why she has to come back here, isn't it?" Ji Li Zhao calmly said as he remembered Wei Yan's crying face before him.
She was an obedient daughter, raised as the lady of the house, and educated by the best. Her parents supervised her and from the young age of 4, the family had already taught her that her decision on marrying someone doesn't lie in her hands but on them. As her friend, she had cried and complained a couple of times about it to Ji Li Zhao but she still followed anyway.
He will use this opportunity to his fullest.
"How did you know all this?" he asked quite intrigued.
"I didn't start my investigation when she came back. I've been silently observing and gathering information ever since Madame Xing left the household" he honestly said.
He had his influence and he utilized all of it to gather information regarding the Hou Household. He knew his road on getting Hou Wei Yan has walls he needs to break. As such, he needs to know everything so he can crash any wall that obscures him from traversing with Wei Yan.
"Why are you doing this?" Guanyu felt as though his been plotting something sinister. For him to devote time and resources to spy on them, he must have already gathered a lot.
Aside from that, someone in his Household had already betrayed him since Ji Li Zhao got hold of such information. [Who in the world is it?]
Ji Li Zhao could read his expression really well. He looked at Hou Guanyu with a determined and honest look you can't brush off.
"I told you, Mr. Hou. I want your daughter. I love her, that's enough reason for me to do this"
He only wants Hou Wei Yan. What will he get if he destroys their family? What will he get if he takes over their company?
He won't get Wei Yan, that's for sure.
Guanyu looked at him, dissatisfied. Their household has great value as well. Is he really only after Wei Yan? "Why not love someone else? In the near future, if I allow my daughter to be your wife you might love someone else"
Li Zhao somehow felt offended. Did what he witnessed not enough? Is he viewed as a playboy because he has the money? Just because some women brewed a rumor, does that make him an easy man to fall for lust? Just because there are many women out there, does that mean he'll get swayed? Just because he has a heart, was he obliged to love someone else?
"In this lifetime I will only love Hou Wei Yan" he honestly spoke.
"Mr. Hou, after my mother left me, I forgot the feeling of love until she showed up and enlightened me to love again. I get things even though I don't really want them...but for the first time, I actually wanted something...I found a reason to continue living so I can be with her"
His mother at the early age of 8 left him without even saying goodbye. At that young age, he can only feel rage and emptiness. His heart was drained of love and he felt as though women only existed to hurt men. But then he met Wei Yan.
All the hatred he had, slowly died down as he spent time with her.
Guanyu looked at him in disbelief. His daughter forgot about him. Although it was accidental...but he was forgotten twice. After all that he had made, he was actually forgotten twice. At first, he thought he wanted Wei Yan to exact revenge for forgetting and wasting his effort...but he instead declared such a thing.
"You...even after she forgot about you, you felt no remorse?"
"No. It was my fault that she got in that accident, I deserve this punishment" he honestly said. This sense of guilt made him suck up his jealousy during his high school days.
For a short time, he had spent high school with her as a senior. There were many men surrounding her and Wei Yan is too kind to just shoo all of them away. Every time he sees her smiling at somebody else, he felt especially jealous. But what can he do? She doesn't remember and it was his fault that she can't. So for that whole time, he silently followed her around and was just glad he can see her smile.
"I see. But you know, her mother is the one who holds more authority" Guanyu said with a slight tinge of fear.
[Oh, such a woman she is]
Even after their divorce, she's still so frightening and influential that their family tries their best not to offend her. The matter is not only because she has a frightening attitude. It's because she has the great family of Xing behind her.
Ji Li Zhao understood him. He had met Madame Xing a couple of times, and each time she showed him her terrifying side. But she's born from the Xing. She has higher education and is very smart.
"I don't think that's the case as long as Mr. Hou is reasonable"
"Oh-ho? What are you suggesting? Facing her mother is a very big deal to me" he said, now interested. He stood up against her a couple of times, but he always gets defeated and receives another bump in his head.
Yes, she's brutal and very good at verbally destroying him.
Ji Li Zhao smiled at him. "Allow me to marry Wei Yan and she'll have the best path in life. I will give her only the best things and the best care. As of current, I'm paving a path for her in the medical field. I'm sure you can't find anybody else who would go to such lengths other than me to provide her with everything"
Well, some men tried but they are no match for his perseverance. Only after a year of her sudden disappearance no one then paid attention to her. Those that tried to pursue her to the best of their abilities stopped and forgot.
But, this emperor persevered and waited even though he could have pursued someone else. He could have already been married and have children by now.
He nodded his head at his statement. But that stubborn ex-wife of his has problems. [She always has]
"Indeed, but her mother really doesn't want you"
"I understand, but it's not hers to decide, am I right?" Ji Li Zhao interjected. Even if she doesn't want him there are things she simply can't alter even if she has the power.
"..." Guanyu did not say a single word and only sipped his tea. He does know a lot.
"Your family is shackled by tradition. As Wei Yan's father, you have the right to choose who she will marry, but if you fail there's always a person who has a higher authority to take care of such matters. Mr. Hou Tian Lang will choose her partner if you don't choose soon" he blurted out, referring to the Great Elder of the Hou Family. Hou Guanyu's father and his future grandfather-in-law, Hou Tian Lang.
"You can't stop him, neither can Madame Xing. The great elder would rather give up his everything than destroy the tradition and Madame Xing pays him great respect for everything that he has done for her. So rather than getting the possibility of sending your daughter to an unknown man...who may have different motives on her...why not accept my proposal?"
He took a look at Ji Li Zhao who was smiling at him. "And you're someone who has no other motives on us?"
Ji Li Zhao immediately turned serious. "Jian Lan Conglomerate is yours, it's not mine to take. My only motive for doing this is for me to love your daughter without getting afraid that you'd give her away to someone else"
Why would he want Jian Lan? He has HILL and Tianshi to support him on his road to pampering Hou Wei Yan. What more can he ask for?
"Fair enough" he replied with a nod.
"It will be hard to convince her tyrant mother" he added and looked at the flowers.
Women are beautiful roses. Unfortunately, his ex-wife is a flower with so many thorns you'd never want to pick it up.
He felt his fear and this is something that greatly involves him. "If you need my help, I can meet the Madame---"
Hou Guanyu immediately stopped him.
"Then how am I suppose to carry out the favor you asked? Let me handle this matter, I'm sure my father would be delighted to have you as his grandson-in-law...he'll back me up" he said with security.
His father only wishes the best for his grandchildren. With such a great man and a golden heart, there's no reason for the great elder to decline.
Ji Li Zhao stood up and bowed down. "Thank you, for allowing such selfish wish"
Guanyu instantly made him sit back down. "What about the second favor? What do you want?"
This is only the first favor and it's already quite hard as it involves his ex-wife. His second favor might be harder than the first.
"It's simple. Only consider me as your son-in-law" he said seriously.
Silence fell on the garden as Guanyu digested what he had just heard. Only consider Ji Li Zhao as his son-in-law? There's a lot of favors out there than he can do, but he didn't expect this.
So he broke the silence with his laughter. "You're really something. Why do you want this?"
Li Zhao looked sadly at the sky. "If Wei Wei doesn't like me and if she divorces me...I will woo her over and over again. I need assurance that you'd only accept me and see me as her only husband"
He does have such silly thoughts. But no matter what situation arises, even if Wei Yan pushes him away or forgets him a thousand times, he will continue loving her and making her fall for him over and over again.
Guanyu understood him. As a husband, if your wife decides to leave you you'd want to find out why and salvage the marriage. But that is a road he decided not to take. So he pays great respect to this man in front of him who fears no rejection at all.
"Of course, of course. From now on, you're my one and only son-in-law...Xiao Zhao"
"Thank you, Mr. Hou" Ji Li Zhao said with sincerity.
Guanyu clicked his tongue at his reply. "Alas, call me father. You're officially my son-in-law now"
"Alright father" he answered with no shyness at all.
Finally, he got past the first phase!
Now that the talk regarding his favors is through...they must move on to the next things to settle. "So tell me, what are you planning?"
Now that he has his permission to take Wei Yan, what is his next move? He can already tell what it is but it's best if it truly comes from his mouth.
"I'm going to marry Wei Yan" Ji Li Zhao answered with a sense of warmth. He's doing all of this so he can marry her, nothing else.
"I thought so. When are you planning to do it?" He didn't feel it has to be soon but considering Li Zhao's age, it's best to not delay it. Of course, it is also because he wants grandchildren.
"When she comes back to the Hou Household" he wants to marry her soon and the best opportunity is when she finally decides to return to her home.
Quite intrigued, Guanyu asked. "How will you hold the wedding? Do you plan on making it grand?"
He's the emperor, would he spend a lot of money on their wedding or would he rather choose it to go simple and only invite those important to them? Which road will he take?
He looked at Guanyu in an apologetic manner. "Father, I'm sorry but as for now all I can do for Wei Wei is pamper her behind the scenes. Once she returns to the Hou Household, my men will take her to sign our marriage certificate and become legally my wife"
Guanyu was surprised. For him to choose this, there must be a great reason. "Why? What's the matter?"
"There's still some rats I need to catch until I ensure that things are cleared, I would hide for the meantime so they won't involve her" he answered now having coldness in his voice.
He wants to spend his most precious time with her as her husband but he has to hide her away to ensure her safety.
Not quite convinced, he looked at him seriously. "Is that really the reason? Xiao Zhao, I know you have more fears than that"
To be honest, he's hiding because he can't bear watching her break down when she remembers. So he must make sure she's his wife first and slowly reveal himself to not frighten her. He'll linger around her from time to time and if his constant appearance does no harm, he'll reveal himself then.
"But I'll trust you on this. I believe your plan is already in motion?" Guanyu asked again.
Li Zhao nodded his head and sipped his tea. Those rats have no right to hurt her nor even plan on doing so. He'll give them no chance to do as they please around him any longer now that he's a married man.
"Yes, he's slowly falling for my trap. I'm really sorry about this, father"
Guanyu smiled at him. "As long as you take care of her and love her it doesn't matter to me whether your wedding is grand or held in secret. But let me accompany her as she signs the contract"
His most beloved daughter is getting married, he can't miss it for the world. As such, Ji Li Zhao doesn't have a single thought of disallowing him. "Yes, of course"
"But it might take Wei Yan awhile to get home" Guanyu said because of her situation. After her return, she devoted herself to her job and knew her family will understand. Besides, no one was rushing her to come home even though he misses her so much.
With the current state of his family, he couldn't simply make her rush home.
Ji Li Zhao smiled and gave him an assuring smile. "I have made some arrangements regarding that matter. She'll be home soon"
This made Guanyu slightly laugh. "You're so eager to marry her. Well, no matter. I do understand where all of this is coming from"
He stood up and so did Ji Li Zhao. Guanyu took hold of his hands as though entrusting his daughter.
"Please, Xiao Zhao. Take care of my Wei Wei well. Even though she has us and her friends she never relied on anybody and stood up for herself all alone...don't let her feel that anymore. Teach her how to rely on you" this is the thing that truly worried him most.
He doesn't want her to turn like her mother who'd rather chose to be alone than to rely on a husband or a family.
"I will not disappoint you on this, Father" he answered with sincerity. Of course, he can't allow her to be alone or even feel alone.
As her husband, he'll do his very best to give her everything that she needs so she can no longer think of acting alone.
Stay tuned for more interaction and affection. Also, thank you so so much for your support. You guys are the reason why I'm all pumped up.