“Have you had enough trouble?!” There was a sound of an impatient male voice.
“You said you didn’t like him.” Another young voice immediately cried out in reply.
“When did I ever say I liked him?”
“Then what are you doing here? Aren’t you looking for him?”
The first voice grew more and more impatient, “How many times have I said, I don’t like him! I approached him at first because I lost a bet to your second brother, and I came here tonight just to meet a friend. I didn’t know Shen Xi was here.”
The familiar conversation echoed in his ears once again. Shen Xi listened in a daze, habitually trying to wave his hand to dispel it, but his arms were weak and his body was filled with a sense of emptiness after getting high.
Shen Xi tried to open his eyes but they seemed to be covered with something, and he could not open them. Shen Xi struggled to get up but his body was not controlled by his brain and did not respond in any way. After struggling for a long time, a thought flashed through Shen Xi’s mind, “Where am I?”
“Where am I?” This question was like a bolt of lightning splitting the murkiness in Shen Xi’s mind, and Shen Xi came to his senses almost instantly.
His eyes snapped open and he was confronted with a magnificent, cumbersome crystal lamp above his head, the blinding light shining straight into his eyes. Shen Xi instinctively tried to raise his hand to shield himself from the light, but his body’s weakness prevented him from doing so. Shen Xi closed his eyes again, and everything returned to the previous darkness.
This time, his senses were extraordinarily clear, and the feeling of emptiness and powerlessness was like a tidal wave surging through his entire body. Shen Xi tentatively tried to move but stopped when he heard a sweet moan, accompanied by the man’s ragged breath.
The corners of Shen Xi’s mouth slowly curled up in a mocking smile. Sure enough, it was this dream again, this dream that had haunted him for ten years. With a flash of self-deprecation, Shen Xi gave up struggling and gradually adjusted to the blinding light. Anyway, it was a dream, it didn’t make any difference whether he could move or not.
Shen Xi stared at the crystal lamp above his head in boredom. Every time his dream started with him opening his eyes. Naturally, the first thing he saw each time was the lamp, magnificent to the extreme. And then what? Shen Xi tilted his head. What’s next?
“Ah! Brother Wenyao, use a little more force.” A greasy voice begged.
A sneer appeared on Shen Xi’s face. It was so boring. For ten years he kept repeating this dream; everything in the dream was deeply imprinted in his mind and he knew the follow up like the back of his hand. Next, it was time for Tian Wenyao to speak.
Sure enough, the first male voice said, “Xiao Rong, you are so violent every time you are in bed.”
“Brother Wenyao, ah!” The long, drawn out moans were interspersed with the man’s heavy breathing, and after a few violent thumps, the room began to quiet down.
The sneer on Shen Xi’s face faded away, a gloomy look faintly appearing in its stead. This next conversation, which he could practically recite backwards, was the dialogue that completely enraged the young Shen Xi and changed his fate.
“Brother Wenyao, did Second Brother say when Big Brother would be willing to see me?”
“What do you want to see Shen Ji for?” The man said carelessly
“As long as Big Brother accepts me, Father will accept me into the Shen family.”
“Even if he does accept you, it’s too late. Old man Shen had already made a will before he died. The family assets are divided into three, one for each of his three grandchildren. You will have nothing even if you are accepted.”
“Father doesn’t like Shen Xi.”
“You want Shen Xi’s share?” There was a hint of amusement in the man’s words.
“I won’t fight with Big Brother and Second Brother, but Shen Xi and I are both my grandfather’s grandsons.”
Shen Xi closed his eyes as the flames of anger in his heart rose again. He was the rightful third young master of the Shen family, but because his father disliked him, he was treated coldly and ostracised and even the things that belonged to him were coveted by Shen Rong, his father’s illegitimate son.
Recalling his childhood experience, Shen Xi clenched his fists fiercely. If he hadn’t clearly known that he was in a dream now, he wouldn’t be able to resist going out and beating the two of them up.
In his current state of mind, he was still furious, let alone his younger self back then. It was because of these words that, in a fit of rage, he recklessly drove his car into Tian Wenyao and Shen Rong in the early morning of the next day. As a result, Shen Rong was unharmed, just having some scratches, but Tian Wenyao’s legs were crushed and he was never able to walk again.
The incident caused a stir in Zhongjing. He was arrested on the spot and barely reacted before he was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempted murder.
After sobering up, he couldn’t accept the fact that he was going to stay in prison for the rest of his life, so he gave up his self-esteem and begged his father to save him. At the time of the incident, he had taken a large amount of hallucinogenic drugs and had no control over his behaviour. He hoped his father would use it to help him file an appeal. But no matter how much he begged, all he got was a cold look from his father. In the end he simply never saw his father again, left with the lawyer’s words, “Mr. Shen hopes you’ll do well by yourself.”
“Do well by yourself.” Once again, a sneer appeared on Shen Xi’s face; indeed, he did well by himself.
Tian Wenyao was the only male heir of the Tian family. Hit by Shen Xi’s car, he was incapacitated for the rest of his life, so it was natural the Tian family hated Shen Xi to the bone… not to mention the fact that he had hurt his father’s favourite illegitimate son.
Shen Xi no longer wanted to remember how he survived the first three years in prison. Without the protection of the Shen family and with the Tian family’s hatred for him, if he hadn’t put his life on the line to secure his place in prison, he wouldn’t have survived the next few years. After all, he was not afraid of death, but others were, weren’t they? Even if the Tian family offered more money, a man had to live to spend it.
Shen Xi coolly hooked the corners of his mouth as he went down the memory lane, but in the next moment his eyes snapped open wide. No, shouldn’t he be dead already?
Shen Xi stared at the crystal lamp above his head. The scene of him falling to the ground and closing his eyes flashed through his mind again and again. The riot during the factory labor hours, the knife that stabbed him, the helpless feeling of his blood flowing out, Fang Luowei who was protecting him in the chaos and the sneering face of his murderer who saw him finally going down. Shen Xi closed his eyes fiercely and opened them once more. There was still the dazzling light, his body still felt weak and another gasp reached his ears.
A trace of disbelief flashed in Shen Xi’s eyes, and then he began to struggle with all his might.
“Move, move, fucking move for me.”
As if he was let out of confinement, Shen Xi clearly felt his strength begin to return and the sense of powerlessness in his body was subsiding. Struggling, Shen Xi lifted his hand and viciously pinched his leg. A sharp pain that came made Shen Xi freeze in shock.
There was a feeling! He actually felt something!
How could he feel anything in a dream? What’s more, wasn’t he already dead?
Countless thoughts surged in waves, and Shen Xi dumbly reached out and pinched his leg once again, still in pain. A look of disbelief appeared on Shen Xi’s face; it was not an illusion, he really felt it.
The groans and chants in his ears were unmistakably clear, and Shen Xi listened to them as if he was listening to a fairy’s voice. Slowly, a look of ecstasy appeared on Shen Xi’s face. This was not a dream. He was back. He was really back.
After the initial ecstasy, Shen Xi quickly calmed down. No matter why he died and why he was reborn, this time he had to do right by himself.
The moaning and groaning continued, and it looked like it wouldn’t stop for a while. Shen Xi lay there, moving his body carefully on the soft carpet, not making a single sound. The place where Shen Xi was lying was in the corner, and in front of Shen Xi, there was a set of huge European-style palace sofas, hiding Shen Xi’s entire figure safely.
Shen Xi’s fingers accidentally brushed over his pocket, and a certain metallic texture under his touch caught his attention. A thought flashed through Shen Xi’s mind as he remembered the mobile phone he had with him, and a strange smile appeared on his face.
After a while, the shaking of the king-size bed stopped once more, and a few grumpy knocks sounded outside the room.
“Wenyao, are you in there, hurry up and get your ass out here, it’s time for Lao Tzu to go home.” (Lao Tzu – an arrogant way to say “I”)
“Shen Cheng, have you not been weaned yet!”
The sound of dressing, the sound of greetings from inside and outside the room, Shen Rong’s slightly ingratiating laughter, until the door was closed and all sounds were isolated.
Shen Xi slowly sat up holding onto the sofa, glanced at the crumpled king-size bed, lowered his head and clicked on the video that he had just recorded on his phone. The corners of his mouth slowly curled up.