689 I Belong to the Shadows
Jin Liwei's declaration made Iris and the others speechless. Even Lu Zihao couldn't hide his amazed disbelief.
"Liwei! You…you…" Iris didn't know what to say to him. All she could do at that moment was give him a complicated look.
He clasped their hands together and then looked at her straight in the eyes. "Long Xiulan, neither my entire wealth nor any wealth in the world is enough to measure my love for you. Not only are you the love of my life but you ARE my life. No matter how much money I earn or how many properties I obtain, they can never compare to you because you ARE my most precious wealth. What do I need riches for if I don't have you beside me? What's mine is all yours. If the unthinkable ever happens and we separate, life will become meaningless to me. So I don't care. Go ahead and take everything from me if you leave me because I know that I'll never be able to live without you."
Iris suddenly found it difficult to breathe. Her chest felt tight as emotions swirled within her, causing her eyes to water. She wanted to say something but was afraid that speaking would make her lose control and burst into tears, so she bit her lip instead, trying to hold back her emotions from making her into a mess in front of everyone.
Jin Liwei wrapped his other arm around her and pulled her in a tight embrace before pressing a firm yet gentle kiss on her forehead.
They embraced for quite some time as Iris tried her best to control her emotions. The others watched them in silence, giving them a moment to themselves. It was already very late in the evening but nobody complained.
Sitting by the window by himself, Lu Zihao also watched the scene in silence and didn't interrupt the couple. He wasn't so evil as to ruin the emotional moment for his sister. Deep inside, even he was moved by Jin Liwei's words and decision about the prenup. He knew that the man loved his sister but didn't expect that Jin Liwei would readily give up his everything including his life and billions worth of wealth for his sister.
A proud harrumph sounded within his consciousness. There were no words but he felt a smug "I told you so. That's my Third Brother!" from the original Lu Zihao's remnant. The feeling was faint, almost illusory, but he felt it as if it was his own. It was becoming more and more difficult to differentiate his own emotions from the remnant's inside him. He didn't like it one bit because it made him feel like he was losing control of himself, of his life, and of his fate.
Although he was now living as Lu Zihao in this second chance in life, he still considered himself as Nikolai Vetrov, the fallen crown prince of the former reigning criminal organization in the international underworld. Taking Lu Zihao's identity was just a means to achieve his final goal—revenge.
However, his relationships with Lu Zihao's sworn brothers and that noisy old man who always pestered him for great-grandbabies was causing him great confusion. He tried distancing himself from everyone because he didn't want the remnant's feelings to distract him from his final goal and veer him away from his road of revenge. Unfortunately, it didn't work because those sworn brothers and that noisy old man were all close to his sister and he couldn't stay away from her for too long, so he had no choice but to interact with them, too.
[This novel is a contracted work with W e b n o v e l . c o m (remove spaces). If you're not reading this chapter on W e b n o v e l, it has been stolen. It's very discouraging to see thieves profitting from my hard work. Please read this novel on W e b n o v e l. Thank you! -Arria]
Watching his sister in the arms of another man left a phantom bittersweet taste in the back of his mouth. It was at that moment that he finally realized that his beloved sister may not necessarily need him anymore. She now had a devoted man by her side who would love and protect her and even willingly offer his entire life and everything just to make her happy and safe.
An imperceptible sad sigh escaped from Lu Zihao's lips. He turned his head away from the scene of his sister being embraced by her lover and looked at the night sky outside the window instead. The others were too absorbed in watching the lovers' touching moment to notice his lonely image by the window.
'This is for the best. I made the right decision to leave my sister to this man. He'll be able to take care of her and keep her safe when the time comes that I'm no longer able to do so myself. Not to mention that he can make her happy in a way that I never could.'
His eyes dimmed, as an air of loneliness covered his figure like a blanket unnoticed by the others. The usual devilish aura surrounding him was nowhere to be felt. It was as if he absorbed all of his presence within him and made himself invisible.
'Yes, this is how I should be. I belong to the shadows.'
If this was before, he would have thought this with great confidence and even pride. Now, however, there was just sadness while he tried persuading himself that basking in the light and love like his sister wasn't meant for a corrupted man like him who had blood staining not only his hands but also his entire body and his very soul. Still, he wouldn't admit that he was sad even to himself. Emotions like sadness had no business affecting someone like him.
Minutes ticked by in complete silence. Even the usually vocal cat Popcorn was silent and didn't bother anyone. Nevertheless, the affectionate cat was the only one who sensed that something was wrong with his Uncle Haohao, so he jumped and curled on the man's lap and began rubbing his sleek, warm, fluffy, orange body to comfort his lonely uncle.
Lu Zihao didn't react at first and just looked down on the orange cat rubbing itself all over him. But after a few moments, his hand began stroking the cat's warm fur.
Lu Zihao began to feel better, the loneliness gradually dissipating, replaced by warmth.