Ji Sheng was probably a model of eating soft but not hard. As soon as Xie Xuanming showed weakness, he was helpless. He swallowed all the words he was about to say, reached out and patted him on the shoulder, and asked him to deposit the money back for a while.
“I threw away the card.” Xie Xuanming said frankly.
“…which trash can did you throw it in? Hurry up and see if you can pick it up.”
“I broke it and threw it away.”
“…” Ji Sheng facepalmed.
Xie Xuanming’s eyes were so innocent that Ji Sheng couldn’t scold him, so he could only nag, “Then you can hide the money first and go open a new account to deposit it in a couple of days.”
Xie Xuanming obediently said, “Okay.”
Ji Sheng wanted to say something else when the doorbell rang.
There was a brief argument at the door, and then the door of the bedroom was knocked on, with Sheng Kongzhi’s deep voice coming from outside: “Xiao Sheng, Brother Tan is here, come out.”
Xie Xuanming’s face changed as he turned to look at Ji Sheng.
Ji Sheng didn’t respond. He got up with an ‘oh’, lowered his head and asked Xie Xuanming, “Do you want to stay here? Or go out.”
“Go out.” Xie Xuanming looked down coldly.
Ji Sheng glanced at him a few times, then stopped talking and finally reached out and rubbed the back of his neck.
Li Tan huddled on the sofa. Both Sheng Kongzhi and Su Jing called last night to inform him of the situation. He was so guilty that he didn’t sleep all night. He asked for a leave of absence at work in the morning and came here immediately.
“Xiao Sheng, I’m sorry.” As soon as Ji Sheng walked out, Li Tan quickly got up and said guiltily, “I didn’t investigate who Zhao Wenhua was when I contacted him. I thought he was just a little muddled… I didn’t expect… I’m really sorry.”
Ji Sheng let out an ‘ah’, a little confused. He didn’t understand how everyone’s attitude had become so strange when he had just had a few more drinks.
He scratched his head and responded: “It’s okay, Brother Tan, you don’t have to apologise. I just drank too much and got drunk… It’s not that I haven’t been drunk before.”
His words were clearly a roundabout way of giving Li Tan a way out.
But it was clear that no one in the room had grasped the meaning.
The guilt on Li Tan’s face did not dissipate but his words were silenced by a cold snort from Su Jing in the corner, while Sheng Kongzhi, who was standing against the wall, looked unhappy, and Xie Xuanming, who was standing beside Ji Sheng and was most directly affected by last night’s situation, had a gloomy look in his eyes and stared at Li Tan coldly.
The atmosphere did not ease, but became more weird. Ji Sheng coughed and changed the subject: “Brother Tan, why do you come here early in the morning? Is there anything wrong?”
He asked the question badly; everyone here but him could guess that Li Tan had made the trip specifically to apologise and nothing more.
But Li Tan hesitated for a moment, then nodded and said, “There are some things.”
“Qingchu passed the registration for the band competition.”
There was two seconds of silence in the room. Ji Sheng was overjoyed. He took a couple of steps forward, patted Li Tan on the shoulder and said excitedly: “Yes, Brother Tan, we passed! I didn’t drink for nothing yesterday.”
The reaction of the rest of the people was not as happy as his. It was good to sign up for the band competition, but considering the chaos last night, it was hard to imagine the conditions for obtaining this qualification.
Su Jing took the lead in gloominess: “So, who will be asked to drink this time?”
Sheng Kongzhi also frowned and said, “Did Zhao Wenhua make any more conditions? If so, this opportunity is better left alone.”
Xie Xuanming said, “En.”
Ji Sheng also reacted a little. He glanced back at Xie Xuanming with injuries on his face and his expression changed: “This sign-up… Is that Xiao Xie was beaten and they want us to let things go? If so, I don’t agree to take this opportunity.”
“No.” Li Tan said helplessly, “It has nothing to do with that bastard surnamed Zhao. The organiser took the initiative to contact me, and I have agreed.”
“Organiser?” Ji Sheng was taken aback, “Why?” ”
“I don’t know.” Li Tan said, “Maybe he has seen our performance and thinks it has potential? Or some big boss recommended us, asking to give him face, and pushed the boat along the water.”
“Which big boss?”
“No idea.” Li Tan was a little impatient, “Anyway, now that we are eligible to participate in the competition, shall we go or not?”
Sheng Kongzhi and Su Jing glanced at each other. If it had nothing to do with Zhao Wenhua, this opportunity could be taken.
After a few seconds of silence in the living room, Ji Sheng smiled and said, “Go, don’t we need those fifteen thousand?”
At the end of the meeting, Xie Xuanming’s mobile phone suddenly vibrated.
He seemed to think of something, and his expression changed slightly.
“I’ll answer the phone.” He said, walking out.
Xie Xuanming walked all the way to the opposite end of the corridor before stopping.
When he picked up the phone, the familiar voice made him frown suddenly.
“Xuanming, it’s dad.”
Since the funeral, Xie Xuanming’s father had called him many times to persuade him to go home. Xie Xuanming didn’t bother and simply blacklisted the number to get some time off.
Now that the cheap dad changed his number and called, Xie Xuanming didn’t know what he was going to say, so he didn’t bother to talk. He listened silently to the man full of delusions of intimacy eagerly speaking on the other end of the phone.
“Dad was busy these days and had no time to contact you. In the last two days, I found out that you participated in some folk music events. This is very good… Dad is a tolerant person. If you like music, your family can send you to study abroad. Schools such as Berkeley and Juilliard… are all good choices. Which one do you like, dad can contact the school now, and you can go there directly when you go home.”
Sure enough, he still persuaded him to go back to Xie’s house, just in a different way.
Xie Xuanming sneered: “I’m not going back. The Xie family is not my family.”
There was silence for two seconds on the other end of the phone, and then the man said, “Xuanming, your father understands your mood, but you also have to understand your father. Dad is worried about you, afraid that you will have a bad time outside, hungry and frozen…”
“It’s summer and I can’t freeze.” Xie Xuanming interrupted coldly, “If you’re really afraid that I won’t have a good time, it’s more effective to send money directly.”
“In terms of money, dad will naturally not be stingy. I am very supportive of your hobbies. But the friends you have around you – dad still has to warn you as someone who has been there – see the good and the bad, these unmotivated people are fine to be around but there is no point in making a deep friendship.”
Xie Xuanming’s face darkened: “These unmotivated people have given me two bites of food when I was hungry, which is much more than some people who gave birth but didn’t raise.”
“Xuanming, don’t talk to dad like this, you have to understand dad. Dad also has hardships.”
“Bullshit.“ Xie Xuanming finally couldn’t help it. The man called himself ”dad” in every sentence, making him extremely nauseous. He growled, “What the fuck is wrong with you? You haven’t cared about me for over ten years, and then you show up as a wild father after forcing my mother to die. I’m sick of you, why should I understand you! Why should I call someone I’ve only met once a father, do you deserve it? Do you think you’re worthy?”
There was silence on the other end of the phone, then the man spoke.
“Xuanming, dad used to be a bit negligent in the past. But you have to believe that dad loves you.
“It’s almost your birthday, right? Dad saw that you didn’t touch the money in your account much and changed it to the gift that you might like.
“Xuanming, happy birthday, and at the same time, enter the compe…”
Xie Xuanming hung up the phone abruptly before he could finish speaking. He held the phone tightly in his hand, the blue veins on the back of his hand pulsating. He didn’t throw the phone away in the end, he just shoved it rudely into his pocket.
He gasped for breath; above his clenched fists, the muscles of his forearms couldn’t stop trembling with anger.
His chest fluctuated violently more than a dozen times until he finally calmed down.
Xie Xuanming was not naive enough to think that man called to wish him happy birthday. The “gift” in his mouth —— Qingchu’s eligibility for the competition, when compared with the man’s previous words, was not so much a gift as a naked threat.
In a little band competition, if the man could ask to give him face and sign Qingchu up for the competition, he could just as easily kick Qingchu out, and even block Qingchu in the entire industry without giving it a chance to develop.
Xie Xuanming’s expression was gloomy.
This was forcing him to go back to Xie’s house.
The man still had some tolerance for him now, delusional to exchange ”fatherly love” for his enlightenment, but one day he would lose his patience…
Xie Xuanming thought of his mother’s grey-purple hypoxic face again, and the desire to throw up became even more intense.
He then thought of the hemp rope hidden in the cabinet in the room, the rough, suffocating feel of it real and clear…
He thought for a long time, and finally walked back slowly, hesitated between the two doors and walked to the right.
When Xie Xuanming entered, the members of the band were in the living room. Having to fill in the preliminary round track on the registration form, the members were arguing over the selection of a song.
“I think it needs to be pop.” Li Tan said, “Think about that, the Jinyinhai band, you know, I have heard them live, and their pop songs are so on top that you can hum them after listening to them once.”
“Nonsense.” Su Jing said sulkily, “Their whole songs are just three chords of the most basic kind. If you can’t hum this again, you can quit the circle, complete musical illiteracy, certified.”
Li Tan was choked by him all morning and also became a bit angry: “Can you kid stop butting in everything, I just want to express that the songs are popular and catchy… “Stray dog” is good, but it’s too niche. Let alone the audience, we are a fucking band but only Xiao Sheng can sing it with the right feeling.”
“I agree with Brother Tan.” Sheng Kongzhi said, “It is indeed necessary to consider the popularity of participating in the competition, and the style of “Stray dog” is relatively depressing and crazy. Xiao Xie is too well-behaved to probably show the feeling easily.”
Su Jing sulked again: “Look at his bruised face, does he look well-behaved? Man Xiao Xie is the guy who dared to beat up a bunch of bastards by himself.”
Ji Sheng saw Xie Xuanming coming in at this moment, straightened up and waved his hand: “Xiao Xie! Come here, we’re talking about you.”
Xie Xuanming sat down beside him.
He calmed down and sat quietly as usual. Sheng Kongzhi looked at him twice and said helplessly: “The key is that Xiao Xie is neither “Stray’ nor “dog’, which is very inconsistent with the atmosphere of the song.”
“I think he is quite a ‘dog’.” Ji Sheng said, stretched out his hand to hold Xie Xuanming’s chin and shook his head twice, “That dirty puppy feeling, kind of wretched and cute.”
Xie Xuanming let him fiddle with his face without saying a word even when his injuries were squeezed.
Su Jing couldn’t bear to look at it.
This obedient and quiet Xiao Xie was a far cry from the hostile Xie Xuanming last night.
“Quite a dog.” Su Jing spat, “And recognising the owner.”
Ji Sheng smiled triumphantly: “Of course the child I picked up listens to me. If you have the ability, you can also pick one up on the street.”
Su Jing rolled his eyes: “Cut the crap, you hurry up and take your stand, now two against one, ‘Stray Dog’ two and ‘Green Plum’ one, yours are two key votes.”
“Green Plum” was also Qingchu’s original song in a pop style. Xie Xuanming sang it several times during their gigs.
Ji Sheng unhurriedly turned his head and asked Xie Xuanming, “Which song do you want to sing, “Stray dog” or “Green Plum”?”
Xie Xuanming said: “Stray dog.”
“Then I will also vote for “Stray dog”.” Ji Sheng said with a smile, “Xiao Xie is so cute, I want to be with Xiao Xie.”
Su Jing slapped the table and stood up: “I can’t bear it anymore, Ji Sheng, it’s disgusting to describe a man as cute.”
“Thank you.” Ji Sheng was polite and sweet, “You are also very beautiful.”
“Fuck!” Su Jing kicked the table, swept his eyes over Xie Xuanming’s face, stopped suddenly and asked in disbelief, “Why are you blushing like Bukubukuchagama?(1)”
Xie Xuanming’s answer was simple: “Hot.”
Su Jing looked at Xie Xuanming, whose ears were feverishly red, then at Ji Sheng, who was yelling at him to stop bullying Xiao Xie, and was speechless.
“Just fucking spoil him.” Su Jing said, “I’ll be the first to laugh at you when it backfires one day.”
“Shit, cursing is cursing, Su Jing, why are you still cursing?”
“The curse is on you, you shallow wanker pool that can be filled with two glasses of wine.”
“You little treacherous keyboardist who looks more delicate than a girl!”
Looking at Ji Sheng and Su Jing, fighting like two cats, Xie Xuanming lowered his head and quietly touched his chin that had just been kneaded by Ji Sheng.
The hemp rope flashed a few times and gradually faded out of his mind.
The author has something to say：
Xie Xuanming in his own eyes: evil dog of hell!
Xie Xuanming in Ji Sheng’s eyes: little pomeranian yip yip~
1. Character of light novel Overlord, looks like pink slime
5 thoughts on “Reborn as a Substitute Chapter 23”
dang- somehow the curse worked hahaha i feel reluctant to say it but it kinda does 😅
Concealing from someone that they were drugged is a really repulsive and contemptible deception.
Pay attention who the initiator not to say anything is, and think why 🙂
So damn cute!! I love their old band except the scum
Ah, there are two scums, unfortunately 🙁 🙁