A long flight is actually a very boring thing.
Shen Xi was originally planning to sleep all the way back to Zhongjing, but he didn’t expect to meet Li Mingxuan on the plane. After holding on for dear life, Shen Xi could not endure in the end and fell asleep without realising it.
When Li Mingxuan turned his head, he saw Shen Xi’s sleeping face leaning against the back of the chair. It seemed that because of the flight, Shen Xi slept very restlessly, his long eyelashes fluttering incessantly.
Li Mingxuan stared at Shen Xi with complicated eyes for half a second, then bent down and took out a prepared blanket from the table cabinet next to the seat and gently covered Shen Xi’s body.
This was the first time in his memory that Li Mingxuan had been so close to Shen Xi. Compared to the young man he remembered meeting outside the coffee house, the current Shen Xi had changed a lot. Perhaps because he was less repressed by the Shen family, or perhaps he had lived a good life abroad, but Shen Xi’s bearing had become peaceful instead of violent like in the past. In addition, he had grown up into a unique appearance of the Han family and no one would associate him with the pale, gloomy teenager from before.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Shen Ji would regularly follow Shen Xi’s movements, Li Mingxuan wouldn’t have recognised him at first glance.
Although Shen Xi called Li Mingxuan “Cousin”, their relationship was not much different from that of strangers.
When Shen Xi was born, Li Mingxuan was still a child. Due to the cold attitude of the adults towards Shen Xi, coupled with Shen Ji’s hatred of his younger brother, Li Mingxuan couldn’t help being affected and also rejected Shen Xi. By the time Shen Xi had grown from a baby to a child, Li Mingxuan and Shen Ji went to primary school together, hand in hand. How could a cousin who was not close to him at all be comparable to Shen Ji, with whom he played every day?
As Li Mingxuan grew, he began to understand things. By then he had learned about the complicated situation of his uncle’s family from his parents. Although it was inevitable that he had a touch of sympathy for Shen Xi, human hearts are biassed. Weighing his best friend against his younger cousin, the scales of his heart unsurprisingly chose to tilt.
Not long afterwards, Li Mingxuan went abroad to study and had no contact with Shen Xi at all. When he occasionally heard Shen Xi’s name, it was only from Shen Cheng’s words that Shen Xi had gotten into some kind of trouble again.
Li Mingxuan sighed in his heart. The words “blood bond” were nice to say but how could there be any love without a reason in this world? Any kind of relationship, be it affection or love, would soon scatter like a withered flower without the care and attention of both parties.
Wasn’t it the case with him and Shen Xi?
As his eyes fell back on Shen Xi’s sleeping face, Li Mingxuan only hoped that Shen Xi was telling the truth and was going back to China because he was tired of staying abroad, rather than because he was thinking of something he shouldn’t have.
The Li family and the Shen family were linked by marriage and business interests, so they could be said to be united in glory and in loss. Whether from a personal or business point of view, Li Mingxuan hoped that the Shen family would remain stable and that there would not be any upheaval, especially in terms of inheritance rights.
However, when he thought of Shen Xi’s choice to return to China at this moment, Li Mingxuan had a subtle feeling in his heart. He just wondered if Shen Xi was doing it intentionally or unintentionally.
There was also Shen Rong. Thinking about the phone call from Shen Ji in the middle of the night a few days ago, Li Mingxuan was very flabbergasted. He didn’t know what his uncle was thinking. It was just an illegitimate child, did he really want to recognize Shen Rong? If that were to happen, the Shen family would become a joke in Zhongjing.
Li Mingxuan shook his head and didn’t continue to think about it, opened the file beside him and started to read it.
The sleeping Shen Xi seemed to feel uncomfortable in this position and quickly moved to change his pose, turning his head towards the aisle. The blanket that originally covered Shen Xi’s body slid down to his lap as he moved.
Li Mingxuan, who caught a glimpse of all this out of the corner of his eye, didn’t think much of it, but leaned over, picked up the blanket on Shen Xi’s lap, covered him and immersed himself in his papers once again. He did not know that the moment he lowered his head, Shen Xi’s eyes suddenly opened, clear and without the slightest hint of drowsiness at all.
Ten years in prison forced Shen Xi to develop many habits, and being alert in his sleep was one of them. No matter how tired he was, Shen Xi would wake up instantly whenever someone got close to him.
The moment Li Mingxuan approached, Shen Xi was already awake. He did not open his eyes because he wanted to see what the other party was planning to do; but he didn’t expect Li Mingxuan’s actions. Shen Xi glanced at the blanket covering his body and lowered his head to hide the expression on his face.
Even the longest journey has its end. Shen Xi did not know when he fell asleep again. By the time he woke up, the plane was already over Zhongjing and ready to land.
“Awake?” Li Mingxuan’s voice sounded next to him.
Shen Xi nodded.
Li Mingxuan packed up the documents in his hands and looked at Shen Xi, “You didn’t tell Uncle about coming back, right? Do you want me to send you home?”
Shen Xi shook his head, “I’m not going home.”
“Not going home?” Li Mingxuan was slightly startled by Shen Xi’s words. He looked at Shen Xi’s expression; it didn’t seem that he lied. Li Mingxuan thought about it and said, “Uncle was unwell a few days ago and just got out of the hospital, so if you don’t have anything to do, you should go home and take a look.”
Shen Xi seemed surprised by the news, but quickly laughed at himself, “Father must not want to see me, so why should I go and make a nuisance of myself?”
Li Mingxuan sighed and didn’t say anything else.
The hatch soon opened and the two walked out.
Shen Xi purposely did not catch up with Li Mingxuan who was in front of him but followed him a step behind.
Glancing at Li Mingxuan’s back, Shen Xi turned on his mobile phone and a text message from Lao K popped up, “Done!”
Shen Xi quickly deleted it and slowly followed Li Mingxuan along the long corridor bridge into the airport hall.
As soon as the two of them showed up, numerous flashes flickered around them. Amidst the chaos, Shen Xi grabbed Li Mingxuan’s arm and said in a low voice, “What’s going on?”
Li Mingxuan subconsciously turned around under the sound of countless clicks as the reporters went crazy.
“Quickly, quickly, here, the two of them are together.”
“Make way, make way, be careful of the camera.”
In the blink of an eye, the two were surrounded by a crowd, dozens of microphones scrambling to be the first to approach them.
“Sanshao, we received a record of Mr. Shen’s secret hospitalisation a few days ago, it is said that Mr. Shen will die soon. Is this news true?”
“Sanshao, are you coming back this time for the inheritance rights of the Shen family?
“Sanshao, you are with Li Shao. Did Li Shao specially go abroad to pick you up? Does this mean that the Li family is on your side?”
“I heard that Mr. Shen intends to recognize Shen Rong before he dies. Do you have any comments? Sanshao, is Mr. Shen really going to die soon?”
One by one, questions were piled up in front of Shen Xi, who lowered his head expressionlessly and did not say a word.
Li Mingxuan glanced at the reporters around him with an ugly look, coldly striding forward, not forgetting to protect Shen Xi at his side. Shen Xi followed closely behind Li Mingxuan, which in the eyes of the reporters reinforced the rumour that Li Mingxuan had deliberately gone abroad to fetch Shen Xi.
As the two of them walked forward, the reporters also followed closely, constantly asking questions to Shen Xi. Seeing that the reporters were not going to give up, Li Mingxuan whispered to Shen Xi, “Forget about the luggage for now, there is someone outside to pick me up, I will take you with me.”
Shen Xi had no problem with this. He originally wanted to make it look like the two of them were coming back from abroad together, and now not only had he achieved the effect he wanted, but the result also greatly exceeded expectations.
However, in just a few short steps, the two of them finally broke out of the crowd of reporters and got into the private car waiting outside.
Almost as soon as the door was closed, the car started. Obviously the driver knew that it would be very difficult to get away in case he was trapped here.
It was not until they had completely gotten rid of the reporters behind them that Li Mingxuan secretly breathed a sigh of relief. Then his expression became uneasy. Who on earth let out the news of his uncle’s hospitalisation? Who said he was dying soon? Who had leaked his own itinerary? And Shen Xi, was his appearance on this flight intentional or a genuine accident?
Li Mingxuan gazed at Shen Xi thoughtfully, but unexpectedly Shen Xi looked up directly at him, “Is it true what the reporters said? Is Father really going to die soon or is he just unwell as Cousin said?”
Shen Xi’s eyes were very direct, revealing an emotion that Li Mingxuan could not understand. Li Mingxuan shook his head, “Uncle’s health is fine, what the reporters said is just a rumour.”
Shen Xi suddenly laughed. “Anyway, no one will tell me whether it’s true or not. If this news was true and I hadn’t made it back in time, it would be really…”
Shen Xi didn’t continue, turned away and looked out the window as if nothing happened. But his profile still revealed an expression of disappointment and self-deprecation, mixed with indescribable sadness. This look was imprinted in Li Mingxuan’s eyes, and even he, who had been standing firmly on Shen Ji’s side, could not help but feel a trace of guilt towards Shen Xi. Shen Xi’s return to China was really unintentional, and he was overthinking.
As the car became quiet, Li Mingxuan took the initiative to say, “I’ll take you home.”
Shen Xi flatly refused, “Don’t, it’ll be troublesome if Father really thinks that I heard that he is about to die and come back to fight for the inheritance. I’d better stay in a hotel.”
Shen Xi’s words were playful, but there was an indescribable loss on his face. Li Mingxuan didn’t know what to say for a while, and the car was quiet again.
The car soon stopped in front of the most prestigious hotel in Zhongjing. Li Mingxuan watched Shen Xi enter the hotel before picking up the phone and dialling. “I’m back.”
The background at the other end of the phone seemed very noisy. Li Mingxuan frowned slightly and finally heard Shen Ji’s voice, “I saw the news.”
Li Mingxuan froze, “What do you think?”
There was anger in Shen Ji’s voice, “Someone must be behind this, no matter who it is, I will find him.”
“Did something happen?” Li Mingxuan sensed that something was wrong.
“Father also saw the news and fainted from anger.”
A worried look appeared on Li Mingxuan’s face, “Is Uncle alright?”
Shen Ji smiled bitterly, “It doesn’t look good. I’m preparing to take him to the hospital, let’s talk about it later.”
Hanging up the phone, Li Mingxuan opened his notebook and searched up. It had just happened, and it was already all over the internet. If someone said that there was no one behind this scheme, he would never believe it. Just who would the schemer be?
Shen Xi? This thought flashed through Li Mingxuan’s mind, and then he recalled the complex look on Shen Xi’s face from before, a mixture of frustration and self-deprecation, as well as unspeakable melancholy. With a sigh, Li Mingxuan skipped Shen Xi and turned his thoughts to other suspects.