Reborn as a Substitute Chapter 18

“Shit!” Ji Sheng first hissed in pain and then roared angrily in a low voice, “You’re a dog, aren’t you!”

When Ji Sheng identified himself, Xie Xuanming relaxed and said with relief: “I’m sorry.”

His clenched fists loosened; he took the hand covering his mouth and nose and moved it down.

Xie Xuanming sniffed, sensed some blood and frowned: “Are you hurt?”

“You bit me.” Ji Sheng said indignantly and changed his words after noticing that the opponent’s body stiffened, “Just kidding, I split it during the fight just now.”

As he said it, he stroked Xie Xuanming’s wrist.

“Hey.” Xie Xuanming was taken aback and realized that he was checking the watch. He struggled to pull away his hand, “Don’t touch it, there are glass splinters…”

Ji Sheng let out an ”oh”, then let go and said, “Your watch is broken, I’m sorry.”

Xie Xuanming was still for a moment and said quietly, “It’s okay, I didn’t want it anymore.”


Ji Sheng was silent for two seconds. “It’s actually something very important, I think. You’ve been wearing it since I returned it to you.”

Xie Xuanming felt sudden pain in his heart, as if a carefully hidden wound had been poked fiercely. The pain that he thought could be ignored was accompanied by blood bubbling out.

Irritability and anger burst out at this moment, and Xie Xuanming felt strangely sad and annoyed, emotions that had begun to surface when the watch was broken, but not because of the loss of the watch.

Only at this moment did Xie Xuanming discover unwillingly that he still attached great importance to that woman. Her rare smile and her hideous face when she died hovered in his mind like ghosts, haunting him every moment whether his eyes were opened or closed.

Xie Xuanming stubbornly thought that he could do without the watch that the woman gave him and he could do without the woman’s love.

But the truth was that he was already empty-handed. He had neither the watch nor her love, he was just clutching the empty air, struggling like a child who couldn’t eat a candy and tried to be brave  saying he didn’t want it…

As if you could get it if you opened your mouth.

Xie Xuanming lowered his eyes in embarrassment. Even in the dark, he didn’t want to face Ji Sheng’s burning gaze. He nitpicked in a hoarse voice: “That’s because the box you gave me was too ugly and I didn’t want to use it. It’s just a watch, I don’t care at all.”

Illogical words.

An embarrassing stance that anyone could see through.

Xie Xuanming was extremely ashamed. He would rather go out and get beaten up again than stay in this small space and have his self-deception be tested.

He quietly touched the locker door, just about to use force—

When something warm touched his face, Xie Xuanming stopped.

Ji Sheng held his face, gently squeezed the soft flesh of his cheeks and breathed a sigh of relief: “You aren’t crying.”

Xie Xuanming was a little confused. The pads of the fingers on his cheeks were rough with the calluses left by years of practice. The fingertips faintly smelling with blood gently stroked his face.

That woman once held his face like this, when he was very young. He couldn’t remember the reason clearly, maybe it was because he had a fight with a kid at school who laughed at him for not having a father, or maybe it was because he lost his temper not getting a birthday gift…

It was so long ago that Xie Xuanming, in a daze, almost doubted the authenticity of his memory.

Frozen in place, Xie Xuanming let Ji Sheng knead him. Ji Sheng took advantage of the situation, pulled him in his arms and patted his back as if he was a child: “Okay, okay, you don’t care at all.”

Xie Xuanming put his chin on his shoulder in confusion, his jaw numb with the slight movements of Ji Sheng’s body as he spoke.

“Our Xiao Xie has had a lot of hard times, oh. Follow your brother in the future. Big brother will compensate you with a  watch, the unique kind in the world,” Ji Sheng whispered coaxingly.

Xie Xuanming’s throat was dry.

After a while, he let out an inaudible “en”.

The fight of the century at the OR bar ended with a 50/50 loss. Qingchu lost their position as a resident band because of the brawl, and Lizi was asked by the irate owner to pay for all the damages. The boss said that if they didn’t pay up within a month, he would tell the whole street that Lizi was up to no good, so that all the restaurants and bars on the street would be careful not to hire the band if they didn’t want to lose their business.

Su Jing was originally very angry when he knew that Qingchu had lost its job, but he laughed again when he heard about the punishment of Lizi.

He didn’t hesitate to taunt: “Fight, fight again, if you can fight like this, do you want to change your career and go underground to fight black boxing? You want to play in a band when you’re doing something so stupid that it’s not even worthy of the name? You’re not qualified to play in a band, you’re stupid, violent, magical dancing apes!”

His words made the members of Lizi glare at him. But because the boss had said that he would call the police if they made trouble again, they didn’t dare to reply, for fear that the little treacherous band on the opposite side would break out in another fit of madness and start a fight.

The Spartan-like lead singer stood among the members of his band with his tail between his legs, lectured by the boss and feeling wronged to death.

Although they themselves came to the bar to provoke, it was clear that the opponents were the first to start. One was a mad dog, another was a monkey dancing with the mic stand, no matter how you looked at it, they were a crazy batch and they should’ve been the ones held accountable.

Now look at that mad dog punching hard, hitting people, and then coming back, soft and weak as if he was being bullied, green tea bitch.

Sparta gritted his teeth, but Su Jing was still not satisfied. After he insulted the Lizi band from head to toe, he still wanted more. He turned around and called his friends: “Lao Ji, what are you doing in a daze, come here and curse… Fuck!”

Only then did Su Jing see their own drummer and the underage lead singer standing together in the back. The minor’s face was pale (natural), the dried blood on his cheeks was conspicuous (smeared by Ji Sheng), and his eyes were pitifully red (rubbed by Ji Sheng).

Su Jing thought hard and came to the wrong conclusion that the child had been bullied. He was furious. If Li Tan hadn’t been fast enough to grab him, he would rush up and start a fight in a flash again.

“Fuck, shame on you, our lead singer is underage, do you know the underage protection law? Are you inhuman or legally blind, hitting so hard? You know how to bully honest kids and make them cry!”

Sparta: ……

He glanced at the wretched Xie Xuanming in disbelief. He really didn’t understand how the lunatic who had just swung a stool over his head had become an “honest kid”.

Xie Xuanming also: ……

He wiped his eyes in wonder and was about to say that the tears were caused by Ji Sheng poking a finger into his eye carelessly just now and he didn’t cry…

However, before he could open his mouth, Ji Sheng repeated the trick, blocking his mouth and pulling him in his arms, shouting, “That’s right, the child is crying, pay for it!”

Xie Xuanming: .

Xie Xuanming: ???

Then he watched Ji Sheng and Su Jing sing in unison, cursing Sparta until he took out five hundred from his pocket to avoid a disaster.

The Qingchu band, successfully getting five hundred through blackmail, retreated contentedly, and Xie Xuanming was dragged away, bewildered.

He thought he had to think seriously about whether the decision to join Qingchu was reasonable.

A band that beats, scolds and blackmails people was no place for decent people.

It was already past nine o’clock in the evening when they left the bar, but Ji Sheng had no plans to go back to the rental house. He patted Xie Xuanming: “Xiao Xie, give me the watch.”

Xie Xuanming: “What are you going to do?”

“The remaining shell of Hercules is also valuable. I have no job, so I’ll pawn it for food.” Ji Sheng took it for granted.

Xie Xuanming: ……

Xie Xuanming took off his watch, handed it over, and corrected: “Rolex.”

“Almost.” Ji Sheng smiled and put the watch in his pocket, said bye to Sheng Kongzhi, and walked away with Su Jing, saying that he had something to do, asking Sheng Kongzhi to order a takeaway and go back to eat by himself.

Xie Xuanming and Sheng Kongzhi walked back to the rental house together. Sheng Kongzhi asked some questions on the way. Xie Xuanming didn’t know him well, so he answered perfunctorily.

Xie Xuanming returned to the rental house and ordered a takeaway to fill his stomach. When he finished and was ready to go to bed, he suddenly found that there was an unread WeChat message reminder on the screen of his mobile phone. When he clicked in, it was Su Jing’s @message in the chat group for Qingchu.

Su Jing [Laughed me to death]

Su Jing 【Click to see the tortoise drummer who can bow and submit】

When he clicked on the video, he saw Ji Sheng squatting on the ground, firmly grasping a man’s leg.

“Brother Wang, please help me fix it. It can’t be helped, I’m really tight on cash!”

“Get lost, I still haven’t settled the score with you for abducting my daughter, ah, she’s a good girl, tricked into running to the bar every day by you! I’m giving you face by taking your business and you still have the fucking face to ask me for a discount.”

“I will persuade your daughter to correct her evil deeds, brother, just give me a discount!”

“Get out of here! My daughter is pure and flawless, what kind of evil deeds corrected, you fucking come to my door and scold my baby daughter, do you want to fight!”

“Brother! Uncle! Father! I didn’t mean that! Don’t throw me out! Give me a chance…”

Su Jing [The first time I saw someone kneeling down for fixing a watch, hahahahahaha]

Sheng Kongzhi 【Is it fixed? 】

Su Jing [No, the guy didn’t have the guts to touch a famous watch for fear of breaking it and being cheated out of money, so the kneeling was in vain]

The last one was the reason why Su Jing tagged Xie Xuanming.

Su Jing [@Xie Xuanming, by the way, this is the first time I see someone use their original name as their WeChat name]

Su Jing [@Xie Xuanming, Ji Sheng’s repairing your Rolex, hurry over and stop him, or the watch will be completely scrapped if you’re late]

Xie Xuanming glanced at the message from more than forty minutes ago.

He hesitated, clicked Ji Sheng’s private chat, deleted a message three or four times and finally sent it out: “Brother Ji, are you asleep?”

Ji Sheng replied in seconds: “No.”

Xie Xuanming breathed an inexplicable sigh of relief and wanted to reply again but didn’t know what to say. Fortunately, Ji Sheng didn’t give him time to hesitate.

“You aren’t sleeping, come here, Su Jing is awake, let him open the door for you.”

Su Jing really didn’t sleep. He opened the door to Xie Xuanming: “Yo, Xiao Xie, here you are.”

“Brother Su.” Xie Xuanming was usually well-behaved and could even be said to be a little shy, “Did you and Brother Ji go to repair the watch just now?” 

“En.” Su Jing said, “People don’t want to touch that brand when they see it, for fear of blasphemy. Your Brother Ji is working on it.” 

“Oh.” Xie Xuanming said, “He asked me to come over.” 

“Then it’s probably done and he wants to show off as soon as possible.” Su Jing paused for a moment and added, “Or maybe it’s completely fucked up.”

Sheng Kongzhi sat up on the sofa, wrapped in a quilt and looking about to go to sleep. When he saw Xie Xuanming, he greeted him: “Xiao Xie.”

Xie Xuanming nodded at him and entered the room.

There was only one bedroom in the rental house. Su Jing and Ji Sheng slept in the bedroom and Sheng Kongzhi slept on the sofa. Now Su Jing was having a midnight snack outside and Ji Sheng was the only one in the bedroom.

Xie Xuanming knocked on the door and pushed it open after hearing “come in”.

There was a small table lamp lit in the room, and Ji Sheng sat at the table, blocking most of the light.

Halfway through the door opening, it hit something on the floor. Xie Xuanming bent over and picked it up.

A takeaway; it hadn’t been opened and the bag was full of vapour. When Xie Xuanming touched it, it was already cold.

Xie Xuanming walked in with the takeaway, came up to the table and put it in the corner of the table: “Brother Ji, I’ll put the takeaway here.”

Ji Sheng didn’t raise his head and said “hmm”, still focusing on the business at hand.

With a screwdriver in his hand, he carefully fiddled with the six-figure watch; but no matter how hard he tried, his clumsy movements were full of naive weirdness reminiscent of a new age orangutan playing with needlework.

Ji Sheng’s forehead was covered in sweat, his brows furrowed, his hand holding the tool strained as he screwed the screws into the watch ring.

After the last screw was tightened, he let out a cheer and stretched out, his fingers dangerously close to Xie Xuanming’s eyes.

There were a few band-aids on those long fingers, covering the scabs that had been received in the fight. However, some new wounds were exposed, obviously caused by some kind of a sharp metal tool.

Xie Xuanming moved his gaze, first looking at the screwdriver and then at a few crumpled bloodied tissues in the corner of the table.

He wanted to take a better look but Ji Sheng had already leaned over, dangled his fingers in front of him and said with a smile: “Sleepy? After standing for a while, you started dozing off.”

“No.” Xie Xuanming returned to his senses, “You asked me to come over…”

“Here.” Ji Sheng stuffed the watch he had just repaired in his hand and said triumphantly, “I said I’ll compensate you. The guy who repairs watches avenged his personal grievances and refused to do it, so I could only get started by myself. I also saved money… Take a look, if you are dissatisfied, I will change it again.”

Xie Xuanming lowered his head.

The watch in his palm was heavier than before, the strap had significant scratches, the screws on the watch ring were uneven, and a cheap plastic covered the dial, its brown transparent texture making the watch inexplicably acquire a steampunk vibe.

To treat a pure mountain flower like this…

This could no longer be regarded as blasphemy, it could be called a complete insult.

If the watch repairer who refused to repair it looked at it now, he might have fainted with anger at Ji Sheng’s too bold approach.

Xie Xuanming clutched the watch and said dryly, “It looks good.”

As if afraid that his words would be misunderstood, he quickly added: “I like it very much.”

A hand covered in band-aids stretched out, blocking the light of the lamp.

Ji Sheng leaned over with a smile: “I drew a few strokes on it… look.”

Xie Xuanming looked down.

In the shadow, a few familiar fluorescent lines appeared on the surface of the brown plastic, still picturing the two random curves… 

In front of two green mountains, there was a small quaint house.

Ji Sheng said smiling: “Fortunately, your name is ‘Xuan’ (pavilion). If it was ‘city’, ‘building’, ‘court’, ‘tower’… then I really wouldn’t be able to do it.”

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5 thoughts on “Reborn as a Substitute Chapter 18

  1. Player Ji Sheng (F̶i̶r̶s̶t̶ ̶R̶u̶n̶):

    ! H̤i̤d̤d̤e̤n̤ ̤S̤S̤S̤ ̤e̤v̤e̤n̤t̤ !

    [Quest aborted!] Perform at OR Bar
    – resident band position lost
    – five-figure Rolex watch lost
    + badly-repaired Rolex watch obtained
    + 500 blackmail money obtained

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