Shen Xi was woken up in the morning by the sound of Li Mingxuan talking on the phone.
The light in the bedroom was still blocked out by heavy curtains but it could be seen from the crack in the bedroom door to the living room. Li Mingxuan’s voice came in, the words “I can’t blame Xiao Xi for this” faintly heard.
Shen Xi sat up in a daze, just as Li Mingxuan finished his phone call and came back.
“Awake?” Without waiting for Shen Xi to answer, he walked up to Shen Xi’s side and said softly, “Did I wake you up?”
Shen Xi shook his head and said in a muffled voice, “What time is it?”
Li Mingxuan picked up the warm water he had prepared and handed it to Shen Xi, watching him drink it before saying, “It’s almost noon.”
“So late?” Shen Xi was surprised, then realised something, “Cousin, why didn’t you go to the office?”
Li Mingxuan took the glass of water from Shen Xi’s hand, smiled and rubbed his messy hair, “I have to go home later.” The news he heard yesterday was too shocking, and as it concerned Shen Xi, he had something he needed to confirm with his mother.
Shen Xi said, “Oh,” and reached out for Li Mingxuan to let him help him put on his clothes.
Li Mingxuan lowered his head and kissed him, “Where is Xiao Xi going today?”
Shen Xi said casually, “I’m going to the company.”
Li Mingxuan’s heart twitched and he gave Shen Xi a concerned look, saying nothing. From last night until now, Shen Xi had been acting as if nothing had happened, but the more he did so, the more worried Li Mingxuan was. He originally thought that Shen Xi would choose to stay alone in a quiet space, but instead, Shen Xi unexpectedly wanted to go to the company. Was he going to meet someone? Thinking about the fact that Shen Xi seemed to be secretly investigating what happened in the past, Li Mingxuan frowned slightly and a worry welled up in his heart.
After having lunch, the two walked downstairs and turned in different directions.
In the Li family’s living room, Shen Bixue looked torn, “Xiyong, what exactly do you think Xuan knows?”
Li Xiyong put down the book in his hand, “What did Dehan say?”
Shen Bixue smiled bitterly, “Big Brother was furious and refused to say anything, so we need to ask Mingxuan ourselves. But when I called Mingxuan, Mingxuan wouldn’t say anything either, he just said he had to come home later.”
Li Xiyong was not impressed, “Since Mingxuan will be back later, just ask him.”
Shen Bixue looked at Li Xiyong worriedly, “I heard from Big Brother that Mingxuan and Xiao Xi seem to know about what happened back then. I’m worried about what I should say if Mingxuan and Xiao Xi ask.”
Li Xiyong was helpless, “Since Dehan said they knew, if Mingxuan asks, you should tell the truth, there’s nothing to hide.”
Shen Bixue thought of Shen Dehan’s angry reaction on the phone and hesitated, “It’s a matter of face for Big Brother, let’s see what to say depending on the situation.”
When Li Mingxuan arrived home, he saw his parents sitting together in the living room, obviously looking like they were waiting for him.
Li Xiyong nodded and gestured for him to sit beside him, saying casually, “Xiao Xi didn’t come?”
“Xiao Xi went to the company,” Li Mingxuan said.
Li Xiyong nodded, and Shen Bixue couldn’t help but say, “What happened yesterday? Your uncle was furious.”
Li Mingxuan had come home because of yesterday’s incident, so he recounted what had happened, but of course what Shen Xi said to Shen Dehan was consciously concealed by him.
“Mom, did you already know about these things?”
Although Li Mingxuan had concealed many of Shen Xi’s original words, thinking about Shen Dehan’s reaction, Shen Bixue could almost imagine the scene in the ward at that time. In particular, Shen Dehan’s ruthless words gave Shen Bixue a headache.
“So Xiao Xi originally only suspected that he was not Dehan’s child, and your uncle said those words in a fit of anger?”
Li Mingxuan nodded, and Shen Bixue and Li Xiyong looked at each other, with Li Xiyong shaking his head speechlessly.
Li Mingxuan looked solemn, “Mom, I want to know what really happened back then.”
Shen Bixue was in a difficult position; she didn’t know whether to tell it or not. Once Li Mingxuan knew, it meant that Shen Xi would soon know.
Li Mingxuan frowned, “Mom, Xiao Xi has the right to know. Even if Uncle doesn’t say anything, what happened back then can be found out if one has the wish to do so. Instead of letting Xiao Xi learn from outsiders something that can be either true or false, we should just tell him the truth.”
Shen Bixue smiled bitterly, “These matters involve the scandal of the Han and Shen families, and for the sake of your uncle’s face, I originally planned to keep it under wraps. Now that you know about it, there is nothing to hide.”
Shen Bixue’s words did not differ much from those of Shen Dehan, but they were more detailed than his.
“In detail, the affairs of the Han and Shen families all revolved around Han Rou. You know, Han Rou is the youngest daughter of Elder Han. She was pampered in the Han family, so she was spoiled and naive, ignorant of the world. No one knows how she came to like your uncle in the first place, after all, there was a more than ten year age difference between them and your uncle had two children. Now that I think about it, perhaps it was really fate.
“When she married your uncle, I didn’t really approve of it. Not that Han Rou was bad, but it had only been a year since Fang Yun died, and your uncle was so full of Fang Yun that he couldn’t tolerate anyone else, so there was no way they could be happy. What’s more, Han Rou had just turned twenty at the time, while Ah Ji was already six years old and had reached the age when he understood everything. Plus Ah Cheng, Han Rou had to become a mother as soon as she entered the house, and it was hard for her to adapt to this kind of life.
“But she insisted on marrying, and your uncle did not refuse, and everyone had no choice but to agree. After they married, problems started soon. Ah Ji refused to call her “Mother”, and your uncle’s heart was not on her, so the days after the marriage were nothing like Han Rou had envisioned in her heart. Her temperament was originally arrogant, but now she was aggrieved and naturally refused to bear it. She quarrelled with your uncle again and again, and the relationship became worse and worse. Your uncle felt that she treated Ah Ji and Ah Cheng badly and was worried that if she had a child of her own she would treat Ah Ji and Ah Cheng even worse, so he didn’t want her to have a child.”
Shen Bixue laughed bitterly when she said that, “It’s not that she didn’t want to be nice to Ah Ji and Ah Cheng, it’s just that she had a temper and didn’t have the patience to coax children after a few tries. But in your uncle’s eyes, she was the one who treated them badly. The more she felt aggrieved, the more she made a fuss in front of your uncle, and the more it was seen by outsiders as confirmation that she could not tolerate Ah Ji and Ah Cheng, so even Elder Han could not intervene. As time went on, the rift between her and your uncle grew bigger and bigger.
“Later, your uncle met Zhou Mingmei and refused to part with her. At that time, Han Rou had just gotten pregnant and was already emotionally unstable, and when she heard the news of Zhou Mingmei’s pregnancy, her relationship with your uncle broke down completely. In fact, at that time, she was already mentally unstable, but no one noticed. When your uncle said during an argument that he didn’t want the baby at all, she was irritated and secretly took A Cheng away, almost doing something to him. In the end, although Ah Cheng was fine, your uncle refused to trust her anymore and simply kept Ah Ji and Ah Cheng in our home until she died.”
Li Mingxuan had only vaguely known some of these things before, and to be honest he had always had a bad impression of Han Ruo; once when he was a child he had seen Han Ruo coming to his home and arguing with Shen Dehan, and Shen Ji’s distaste for Han Ruo had deeply affected him. Now as he listened to his mother recounting this inside story that he did not know, Li Mingxuan could only sigh silently.
Shen Bixue had already reached the end of her story, “Before Han Rou’s death, the Han family did not know about her pregnancy. It was only after her death that Elder Han learned about it. The Han family therefore acquiesced to your uncle’s statement to the public that Han Rou had passed away due to illness. Because of Han Rou’s pregnancy, your uncle began to have doubts about Shen Xi’s origin. Despite the DNA test proving that Shen Xi was indeed his son, your uncle still did not like him.
“Not long after, Han Yu died in a car accident, Elder Han became seriously ill and the Han family was in turmoil. By that time, Elder Han already knew that the Shen family was behind the Han family’s downfall, but he had no choice. He was worried that after his death, the Shen family would completely annex the Han family’s assets, and with your uncle’s dislike for Shen Xi, he was afraid that in the future Shen Xi would have nothing. Therefore, Elder Han took the initiative to announce to the public that he had used the Han family’s assets to obtain a third of the Shen family’s inheritance rights for Shen Xi. What Elder Han did made your grandfather and uncle look very passive. Public opinion at that time was very unfavourable to the Shen family, outsiders were spreading rumours like crazy about the Shen family’s intention to annex the Han family, and your grandfather was forced to agree to Elder Han’s plan.”
Li Mingxuan had not expected the inside story to actually be like this. He had wondered before why Grandpa had reached such an agreement with Elder Han. He knew full well that this would make the Shen family unstable and facilitate the claim that the Shen family was coveting the Han family’s assets. Only now, after hearing what his mother said, did he realise the real reason.
He whispered, “Grandfather never liked Xiao Xi, is it also because of this matter?”
Shen Bixue sighed, “It’s not that your grandfather didn’t like Xiao Xi. Although he was upset because he was set up by Elder Han, it was more that he was embarrassed about this matter. According to custom, Ah Ji was the heir of the Shen family, and both Ah Cheng and Xiao Xi would be separated in the future. However, Elder Han had secured a third of the inheritance for Xiao Xi, and it would make the situation difficult for Ah Ji and Ah Cheng in the future. In desperation, your grandfather had to say that each of the three brothers would receive one third of the Shen family’s assets. But in this way, if the three of them were to fight each other, the Shen family would inevitably fall apart.”
“Therefore, Grandpa acquiesced to Uncle’s attitude of raising Shen Xi as a waste, in order to ensure the integrity of the Shen family,” Li Mingxuan continued his mother’s words.
Shen Bixue nodded with a bitter smile.
Li Mingxuan thought of Elder Han behind this matter. He probably had thought what response the Shen family would have when he had calculated Grandpa back then. But at that time he could no longer trust the Shen family, and if he did nothing, who could have said what would happen to Shen Xi. So he would rather Shen Xi be raised worthless, hoping that Shen Xi would be clothed and fed for the rest of his life. Perhaps with the death of Han Rou and Han Yu, Elder Han’s only wish for Shen Xi was that he would grow up in peace and happiness, and whether or not he would be successful was no longer in his mind.
Li Mingxuan could no longer judge who was right and who was wrong in the whole matter. Perhaps Shen Xi was right in his resentment and Shen Dehan was the one to bear the greatest responsibility.
Shen Bixue sighed and looked at Li Mingxuan, “Mingxuan, find some time to tell Xiao Xi all this. No matter who is right and who is wrong between the Han and the Shen families, Xiao Xi is the most innocent.”
Li Mingxuan nodded but had no intention to end the conversation, “Mom, what you have told is the reason why Uncle doesn’t like Xiao Xi. I want to know why Uncle is so afraid of Xiao Xi?”
“What?” Shen Bixue subconsciously looked at Li Xiyong.
Li Mingxuan’s gaze moved to Li Xiyong as he said firmly, “I want to know the reason why Uncle is afraid of Xiao Xi.”
Li Xiyong had not been listening to Shen Bixue’s story before but was sitting by himself reading a book. At this moment, after hearing Li Mingxuan’s words, Li Xiyong closed the book in his hand and became serious, “What do you think?”
Li Mingxuan said softly, “Grandpa’s will.”
Appreciation flashed in Li Xiyong’s eyes as he gestured for him to continue.
Li Mingxuan looked at Shen Bixue, “The last time Mother hurriedly wanted to transfer the shares in her hands that were originally intended to be transferred to Ah Ji to Ah Cheng, she had already known Uncle’s concern. But the shares are all in Uncle’s hands, and Xiao Xi has no shares, so what does Uncle have to worry about? The only explanation is that Xiao Xi actually has shares in his hands, or that Xiao Xi will soon have shares, which is why Uncle is so anxious. And it can only be related to Grandpa’s will.”
Li Xiyong nodded, “You guessed right. Your grandfather did leave a will, and the shares in his hands were divided into three. When Shen Xi reaches the age of 23, Ah Ji, Ah Cheng and Shen Xi would each get one third of them.”
Although Li Mingxuan had a vague suspicion, he was still shocked, “When Xiao Xi is 23?”
Li Xiyong gave him a meaningful look, “Now you know why your mother was in such a hurry.”
Li Mingxuan nodded with a bitter smile. He finally understood where his uncle’s constant fear of Shen Xi was coming from.
While Li Mingxuan was listening to Shen Bixue’s story, Lao K was also listening to Shen Xi telling what happened yesterday.
“In that case, the Han family’s downfall back then was indeed the Shen family’s doing. Do we need to continue to investigate further?”
Shen Xi looked out the window in silence, “There is no need to investigate the Han family. Help me find out about that man, I want to know who he is.”
According to Shen Dehan’s words, he didn’t know who the man was either, which meant that the man hadn’t appeared after his mother’s death. Shen Xi thought bitterly that his mother always seemed to be unlucky in her life. He didn’t know if his mother had liked that man, but he wanted to know who that man was. Where had he been all these years? Did he know that his mother had been pregnant by him and had even jumped out of the window because of it?
With a sigh, Lao K patted Shen Xi’s shoulder vigorously and said softly, “Leave this matter to me.”
Shen Xi nodded and once again looked out the window in silence.