Chapter 147 – Utilizing Value
No, it wasn’t that he wasn’t surprised; Wei Chen had already anticipated that the Chen family members would come over.
When he received a call from Chen Qing, asking Chen Li to return to the Chen family, Wei Chen was puzzled. He couldn’t understand why the Chen family, which had always treated Chen Li as insignificant, suddenly wanted him back. It wasn’t until Wu Zailin handed Wei Chen that invitation and made those cryptic remarks that Wei Chen finally realized.
The Chen family wanted to see Chen Li, but now they had discovered that Chen Li had gained a value they could exploit.
“Achen, you’ve finally returned. We’ve been waiting for you for a while,” Chen Qing greeted Wei Chen with a smile, hiding any displeasure. His gaze, however, lingered for a moment on the tightly intertwined hands of Wei Chen and Chen Li before subtly darkening.
Faced with Chen Qing’s sudden warmth, Wei Chen’s reaction was nonchalant. He merely nodded as a form of greeting. Simultaneously, he discreetly moved to the side, positioning himself protectively to shield Chen Li.
Wei Chen had already sensed that something was off with Chen Li. Chen Li’s condition had improved significantly. As long as Wei Chen was nearby, Chen Li wouldn’t react to strangers or others unless they got too close. However, this time, Chen Li had tensed up entirely. Every pore on his body seemed to be open, his hair stood on end, his pupils contracted, and his gaze began to scatter. He had entered a state of extreme fear.
For Chen Li, the Chen family represented an insurmountable psychological chasm. It could be said that most of Chen Li’s psychological trauma stemmed from the Chen family. Now, suddenly faced with the Chen family members, Chen Li’s psychological defenses crumbled instantaneously. He shrank behind Wei Chen, trembling all over. He was no longer aware of the people around him or the environment. He felt an endless darkness rushing toward him, ready to engulf him, like a tide of overwhelming blackness and gloom.
Chen Li kept his head lowered, gazing at his own toes. He clung tightly to Wei Chen’s hand, as if grasping onto the last straw. With this straw in hand, he felt like he was still alive.
Sensing Chen Li’s fear, just as Chen Qing approached, Wei Chen spoke coldly, “I apologize, but we must take our leave.” With that said, he turned and horizontally lifted Chen Li into his arms, ascending the stairs in swift strides.
At the staircase landing, Wei Chen happened to encounter both Old Master Wei and Chen Shihuai. The two of them looked at Wei Chen with confusion, but Wei Chen paid them no attention. He swiftly passed by them, cradling Chen Li in his arms, and headed for his own room.
Once the door to the room was closed, cutting off the outside world, Wei Chen gently placed Chen Li on the bed. He embraced him tightly, his large palm gently caressing Chen Li’s back. His voice, deep and tender, overflowed with affection, “Li Li, I’m here.”
Chen Li remained trapped within his fear, trembling all over, his gaze vacant and numb.
“Li Li, I’m here.”
Wei Chen repeated this again and again, his voice trembling as if it resonated with his emotions. Wei Chen felt his heart throbbing painfully, again and again, as if a heavy weight were colliding against it.
Perhaps Wei Chen’s emotions affected Chen Li, or maybe Wei Chen’s tender calls dispelled the darkness in Chen Li’s world. Chen Li’s hands moved; he raised his hand slowly, circling it around Wei Chen’s waist, his voice a soft and bewildered murmur.
The instant Wei Chen heard these words, he immediately responded, “Here, Li Li, I’m here.”
When Wei Chen’s deep and gentle voice entered Chen Li’s ears, Chen Li felt as though a beam of bright light had suddenly descended upon the world. His restless heart gradually calmed down.
“Achen.” Chen Li lifted his head from Wei Chen’s embrace, and his eyes slowly regained their radiance, reflecting Wei Chen’s appearance.
“Achen,” Chen Li called out once more.
“I’m here,” Wei Chen replied, his two words strong and resolute, like a force entering Chen Li’s heart, mending his wounded heart.
Then came a period of silence; the two of them held each other tightly, no words spoken, yet it was more eloquent than a thousand words.
“Thankfully you’re here.” After whispering these words, Chen Li slowly fell asleep in Wei Chen’s gentle embrace.
This embrace was the gentlest and most steadfast harbor for Chen Li. He firmly believed that as long as Wei Chen was here, no external threats or harm could touch him.
Wei Chen sensed Chen Li’s breath gradually lengthening. He gently laid Chen Li back onto the bed.
Perhaps leaving the familiar embrace left Chen Li unsettled. His eyes, which had just closed, opened again. He murmured Wei Chen’s name.
“I’m here.” Wei Chen held onto Chen Li’s hand, whispering softly.
Feeling the warmth in Wei Chen’s hand, Chen Li fell asleep again, knowing that Wei Chen was by his side, and this time he drifted off once more.
Wei Chen sat beside Chen Li, accompanying him until he fell into a deep slumber. Only then did Wei Chen gently extract his hand from Chen Li’s embrace. At this moment, his gaze turned icy, and he seemed like a sharp sword, cold and dangerous.
The Chen family members were still in the living room, not leaving. When Wei Chen came down, all their gazes focused on him, including Patriarch Wei.
“Young Master Wei, it’s really not easy to invite you to take Chen Li home,” Chen Shihuai said as he looked at Wei Chen. His expression was taut, devoid of any smiles. His eyes brimmed with authority, fixing on Wei Chen.
“Well, it seems Patriarch Chen has made a trip in vain this time,” Wei Chen retorted, unfazed by Chen Shihuai’s imposing presence.
With Wei Chen’s words, an icy tension filled the entire living room. Wei Chen’s intention was clear: even if today the patriarch of the Chen family personally came here, he wouldn’t allow Chen Li to go back with them.
Everyone assumed that Wei Chen would yield to Chen Shihuai, but Wei Chen chose to stand his ground. Chen Qing stared at Wei Chen with an expression of disbelief. He couldn’t fathom that Wei Chen, for the sake of Chen Li, would directly confront his grandfather, with an unwavering determination.
Old Master Wei sat back in his chair, seemingly enjoying the spectacle before him.
“Young Master Wei, do you even realize who you’re talking to?” Chen Shihuai’s brows furrowed, and his gaze involuntarily turned fierce. Wei Chen was the first junior who dared to speak to him like this.
Wei Chen ignored Chen Shihuai and addressed Housekeeper Zhang, saying, “Uncle Zhang, if Master Chen and the others have no other matters, please see them off.”
Wei Chen’s stance on this matter was resolute. Chen Li must not return to the Chen family.
After uttering those words, Wei Chen turned and went back upstairs. His thoughts were still with Chen Li, and he didn’t have the time to deal with the Chen family.
Unable to hold back his anger, Chen Shihuai stood up. “Wei Chen!” His voice resonated, filled with anger, but Wei Chen’s resolute figure remained unyielding.
Chen Shihuai only withdrew his enraged gaze when Wei Chen’s figure disappeared around the corner. He then turned to Old Master Wei. “Truly a grandson of yours. He’s a chip off the old block.”
Old Master Wei modestly smiled. “Oh, come now, it’s nothing.” Then he turned to Housekeeper Zhang and said, “Old Zhang, see our guests off.”
Receiving orders from both Wei Chen and Old Master Wei, Housekeeper Zhang immediately walked toward Chen Shi Huai. “Master Chen, Young Master Chen, please.”
Since the host’s dismissal was so evident, Chen Shihuai had no reason to linger.
“Aqing, let’s go.” Chen Shihuai stood up, his anger undiminished.
“Alright.” Chen Qing’s mood wasn’t any better. Wei Chen’s protective stance toward Chen Li was quite a sore sight.
Under Housekeeper Zhang’s escort, the two of them left the Chen residence. When Housekeeper Zhang returned, Old Master Wei hadn’t gone to his room yet. He was sitting on the couch, in high spirits, with a smile on his face. It was hard to discern what he was thinking.
“Sir,” Housekeeper Zhang approached Old Master Wei respectfully.
“Old Zhang, did you see that?” Old Master Wei was in a good mood now, speaking with a smile. “When has Chen Shihuai ever suffered such humiliation? Achen truly lives up to being my grandson.”
“Young Master Wei has always been outstanding,” Housekeeper Zhang praised Wei Chen without hesitation.
Speaking of Wei Chen, the smile on Old Master Wei’s face faded. He was mocking Chen Shihuai now, but a few days ago, even his own grandson, Wei Chen, hadn’t shown him a friendly face.
Housekeeper Zhang didn’t know what the old master was thinking, so he silently stood by his side.
“Old Zhang, tell me, why did the Chen family suddenly want Chen Li to return?” Old Master Wei lightly tapped his knee with his fingers, asking Housekeeper Zhang, but in reality, he was asking himself.
Having been rivals with Chen Shihuai for so many years, Old Master Wei had a somewhat understanding of Chen Shihuai’s personality. Chen Li was the discarded member of the Chen family, his sole value being his past marriage to Wei Chen. Once they had exhausted this value, the Chen family shouldn’t have any more interest in him.
But now, they kept insisting on having Chen Li return to the Chen family repeatedly. This was quite unusual. Could it be that the Chen family had discovered some other form of utility in Chen Li?
Old Master Wei narrowed his eyes slightly, his gaze filled with inquiry.
Housekeeper Zhang stood by, maintaining a respectful expression and avoiding eye contact.
Old Master Wei pondered silently for a while but couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. He decided not to dwell on it and turned to ask Housekeeper Zhang, “The celebration for that person’s birthday is coming up in a few days. Have we received the invitation?”
Housekeeper Zhang shook his head. “It’s said that the person isn’t one for grand events. They only sent invitations to a few close friends.”
Old Master Wei knew that obtaining this invitation was quite challenging. The Chen family had managed to secure one through their connections with Beijing’s Chen family. He had been inquiring about it since last year but still hadn’t found a way to acquire that invitation.
“Never mind, never mind.” Old Master Wei waved his hand, deciding not to dwell on the invitation. Given that person’s nature, even if they attended the celebration and gave gifts, it didn’t necessarily mean they would make a different decision.
Since he had entrusted it to Wei Chen, he would let Wei Chen take full charge. After all, his grandson had wagered three years of his freedom on this matter.