As countless past events passed before their eyes, the hesitation in Shen Xi’s eyes turned into determination.
“I like you, but we are not suitable to be together.”
In just one sentence from Shen Xi, Li Mingxuan seemed to feel that he had gone back and forth between heaven and hell. The ecstasy that overflowed his heart because of Shen Xi’s confession had not had time to bloom into a smile on his face when his expression was frozen because of the second half of the sentence.
At this moment, Li Mingxuan only felt that his heart was both hot and cold, and he hesitated for a while before saying dumbly, “Why?”
Why? Shen Xi looked at Li Mingxuan calmly, “I don’t want to have anything to do with the Shen family anymore. The past few years I have been imprisoned in the big cage of the Shen family. Whether I was happy or hateful, I couldn’t get away from the Shen family. Now that the dust has settled, I can finally break free from the confinement of the Shen family. No hatred, no ridiculous affection, I just want to be completely free from all ties with the Shen family and truly live my own life.”
Li Mingxuan did not expect the reason given by Shen Xi would be like this. A trace of bitterness flashed in his eyes as he whispered, “You do not want to have anything to do with the Shen family?”
Shen Xi nodded, silent.
Shen Xi’s silence caused Li Mingxuan’s eyes to gradually dim. His gaze swept over Shen Xi’s face affectionately. After a while, Li Mingxuan finally smiled bitterly, “I see.” Despite his reluctance, he knew it was time for him to leave. He reached out to hold Shen Xi in his arms once more. Shen Xi did not struggle. Li Mingxuan hid the bitterness on his face, lowered his head and kissed Shen Xi on his forehead, softly saying, “Happy birthday. Take care of your health.”
Li Mingxuan let go of Shen Xi, gave him a deep look, turned away and walked out. The door closed gently, cutting off their eye contact. Shen Xi lowered his eyes, not moving for a long time.
Fang Luowei appeared by his side at some point and said softly, “Why did you break up?” He had always seen clearly that the feelings between the two were still there, that’s why he couldn’t understand it.
Why did they break up? Shen Xi thought it was probably because he was afraid. He always remembered the words that Li Mingxuan had said to him, that he would never leave him no matter in life or in death. But in the end Li Mingxuan still left him. Now that he was faced with the choice again, despite his calm demeanour, he knew that the last time Li Mingxuan had abandoned him left a shadow on his heart after all. And there was the Shen family too. Apart from Li Mingxuan’s feelings, they still had many problems that could not be solved. He was afraid that one day, for other reasons, Li Mingxuan would choose to leave again. It was better to simply give up than to wait for Li Mingxuan to leave for those other reasons.
Fang Luowei couldn’t guess what Shen Xi was thinking. Seeing Shen Xi standing quietly at the door, Fang Luowei sighed and stayed with him.
Outside the door, separated by a wall, Li Mingxuan did not leave immediately. He did not believe the reason given by Shen Xi, but Shen Xi’s silence isolated him from all possible probing questions. A painful look appeared on Li Mingxuan’s face. He was afraid that this time he would really lose Shen Xi. As the sky grew lighter, there was a faint sound of someone moving upstairs. Li Mingxuan was awakened with a start, took one last look at the familiar door and slowly left.
He would not give up just like that!
The shares in Shen Xi’s hands were transferred to Wang Changlin the day after his birthday. Unlike before when he had been acting through an agent, this time Wang Changlin chose to handle all the formalities himself. No one had guessed that Shen Xi would sell his shares to Wang Changlin, even Li Mingxuan thought that Shen Xi would only transfer them to Lu Gesen. What was even more unexpected was that Wang Changlin did not just hold 20% of Shen Xi’s shares, but 54% of Shen Group shares. Even the combined shares of Shen Ji and Shen Cheng could not compete with Wang Changlin.
“What exactly does he want to do?” When he received the news that Wang Changlin had called a board meeting, Shen Ji’s face was gloomy. The so-called board of directors meeting was just a meeting between Wang Changlin, him and Ah Cheng. When he thought that his father’s most trusted man had eaten up half of Shen Group quietly, Shen Ji was speechless with hatred.
Even if Shen Cheng did not know how important the controlling stake in Shen Group was to them, he understood that losing the controlling stake would mean that they had lost Shen Group.
“Big Brother, what should we do?”
Shen Ji frowned and forced himself to calm down. He believed that Wang Changlin must have been the driving force behind Shen Group’s downfall, but what could Wang Changlin do with a company like this? Was he interested in fame or profit?
“Big Brother?” Shen Cheng watched Shen Ji who did not say anything and became anxious. Because he had been locked up for drug rehabilitation, Shen Cheng did not know the current situation of the Shen family and only thought that they had suffered heavy losses.
Shen Ji’s face regained its calmness and he said in a deep voice, “You don’t need to worry about this matter, just quit drugs with peace of mind.”
“Oh!” Shen Cheng reluctantly replied, and despite his anxiety no longer dared to ask.
Zhou Mingmei was also shocked by the news. Since a few days ago Shen Dehan arranged for bodyguards to drive her out of the house where she had lived and stopped all her financial sources, she was living with Wang Changlin. She had known Wang Changlin for more than twenty years and she had never felt that she could not see through him. But the only vague suspicion in her mind was that Wang Changlin and Shen Dehan seemed to have some old grudges. She had always thought that Wang Changlin wanted to support Shen Rong to fight with Shen Ji and Shen Cheng, which was in her interests. She had never imagined that Wang Changlin would take over most of Shen Group shares without saying a word, so he no longer needed Shen Rong at all.
Zhou Mingmei had a vague feeling of unease in her heart. She didn’t know that cooperating with Wang Changlin was like cooperating with a tiger to get its fur. She was confident that she could walk away from the deal, after all, she had Wang Changlin’s secrets in her hand. But now her natural sensitivity made her feel as if something was out of control.
After weighing her options in her mind, Zhou Mingmei made up her mind to leave Wang Changlin before it was too late. She no longer dared to think about Shen Group and only hoped that Wang Changlin would send her and Ah Rong away. With her mind made up, Zhou Mingmei went to Shen Rong’s room. She didn’t know what exactly Wang Changlin had done but Shen Rong did not go to the place arranged by Shen Dehan after he was discharged from the hospital, but lived with her at Wang Changlin’s house.
When Zhou Mingmei came in, Shen Rong was hanging up the phone with an excited look on his face.
“Mother!” Shen Rong whispered, trying his best to suppress the excitement on his face.
If the things were as usual, Zhou Mingmei would have been concerned about what Shen Rong was excited about, but at this time she had something on her mind and did not bother to ask more questions, just saying directly, “Ah Rong, I’m going to take you abroad to leave Zhongjing, so pack whatever you need quickly.”
“Go abroad?” The excitement on Shen Rong’s face turned into surprise, “Why? Isn’t it good to stay at Uncle Wang’s place?”
Zhou Mingmei frowned, “We can’t keep bothering your Uncle Wang. I still have some money on hand, so saving a little will be enough to clothe and feed us abroad.”
Zhou Mingmei boasted that Shen Rong had always been obedient; she did not expect Shen Rong to refuse outright, “I am not going, I want to stay in Zhongjing.”
Perhaps because Zhou Mingmei’s face was too ugly, Shen Rong hurriedly explained, “Have you heard, Mother? Uncle Wang is now the controlling shareholder of Shen Group. Didn’t he always say that he wanted to treat me as his son? Now that he has such a large amount of assets on hand and he doesn’t have his own son, am I not the best heir? Why do you want to leave instead? ”
Shen Rong felt that he had calculated everything very nicely. After he received a phone call from his friend who told him the news, Shen Rong made up his mind to please Wang Changlin. He did not believe that Wang Changlin, who acted so affectionately with him and did not have a son of his own, would not give Shen Group to him.
Zhou Mingmei looked at Shen Rong’s smug, stupid look and slapped him without even thinking about it.
“Mother!” Shen Rong covered his face and looked at Zhou Mingmei in disbelief.
Zhou Mingmei said in a cold voice, “How could I have such a stupid son like you! Wang Changlin has been carefully calculating for so many years. If he used to support you to fight with Shen Ji and the others, it made sense, but now he has already got everything in his hands. He is not feeble-minded to pass Shen Group he owns to Shen Dehan’s son again.”
“There are no buts, I will take you abroad as soon as possible.”
Shen Rong looked at her aggrieved, and then his eyes lit up, “Uncle Wang!”
Zhou Mingmei was startled; Wang Changlin had already walked in through the door with a smile on his face.
“What’s wrong? As soon as I come back, I hear you, Mingmei, and Ah Rong arguing?”
Zhou Mingmei smiled quietly, “Changlin, you’re back just in time, I have something to ask you.”
“What is it?” Wang Changlin said as he sat down next to Shen Rong in an intimate manner.
A trace of doubt rose in Zhou Mingmei’s eyes and she said as if naturally, “I want to take Ah Rong abroad. Changlin, you know that medicine abroad has always been more advanced than at home. I want to take Ah Rong out of the country to try and see if there is still hope for him to stand up.”
Wang Changlin nodded, “In that case, Ah Rong should go abroad. How about this, I’ll go with you after some time when I am free?”
Zhou Mingmei smiled and refused, “I’ll just take Ah Rong with me.”
Wang Changlin smiled and looked at Shen Rong. “Mingmei, I said that I always regarded A Rong as my own child. Don’t you believe me?”
The words “my own child” made Shen Rong’s heart flutter. He felt that Wang Changlin seemed to be hinting at something and immediately looked at Zhou Mingmei eagerly, hoping that Zhou Mingmei would nod in agreement. The doubts in Zhou Mingmei’s eyes deepened, but she smiled and nodded, “Fine, then I’ll have to trouble you, Changlin.”
Throughout the day, Zhou Mingmei was distracted, and when Wang Changlin left Shen Rong’s room to go to his study to work, Zhou Mingmei once again appeared in front of Shen Rong.
Shen Rong yawned and looked at her, “Mother, you are here, help me get the medicine on the table.”
Zhou Mingmei turned in the direction of Shen Rong’s finger, but froze when she saw the small bottle on the table, “What medicine is this? How come I don’t know?”
Shen Rong waved his hand carelessly, “Isn’t this what the doctor prescribed? I’ve been taking it all the time.”
Zhou Mingmei’s expression was full of suspicion, “You’ve been taking it?”
Shen Rong yawned again, nodded and said eagerly, “Mother, hurry up, it’s time for me to take my medicine.”
Shen Rong’s reaction made Zhou Mingmei suddenly realise something. She rushed to him, grabbing him fiercely, “Tell me, have you been feeling physically weak and very uninspired recently, but every time you take this medicine you feel energised, don’t you?”
Shen Rong looked at her in surprise, her words spinning in his mind, and suddenly his face changed drastically as he looked in horror at the medicine in Zhou Mingmei’s hand and said in a trembling voice, “Mother?”
Zhou Mingmei’s expression turned hideous as she turned and barged straight into the study.
“Wang Changlin, what exactly did you give Ah Rong?”
Wang Changlin had long anticipated Zhou Mingmei’s arrival and looked at her complacently, smiling slightly, “Mingmei, you are so smart, can’t you guess?”
This statement obviously confirmed her guess, and Zhou Mingmei looked at him with her eyes spitting fire, “Wang Changlin!”
Wang Changlin didn’t care about Zhou Mingmei’s anger, “I remember the doctor mentioned earlier that there were drug residues in Ah Rong’s body and there was a high chance that he was addicted to drugs. You didn’t think that Ah Rong was just lucky enough not to get addicted, did you?” Ignoring Zhou Mingmei’s resentful gaze, Wang Changlin said unhurriedly, “It would be for your own good if I kept it from you. Don’t you think it was good that you didn’t know before that something was wrong? As long as there is a steady supply of drugs for Ah Rong, he is no different from a normal person. In fact, if you hadn’t decided to take Ah Rong away today, I would have kept it a secret.”
“Why?” Zhou Mingmei said in a cold voice, “Haven’t we always worked well together? It’s not like Ah Rong was in your way, why are you treating Ah Rong like this?”
Wang Changlin laughed lightly, “Who is to blame that he is Shen Dehan’s son?”
Hearing the malice in Wang Changlin’s tone, Zhou Mingmei snapped, “Don’t forget that I still have a handle on you in my hand. Who sent me to Shen Dehan back then, how the Han family went bankrupt and why Han Rou jumped out of the window, if I tell all this, do you think that stupid bastard Lu Gesen will still listen to you as before? And Shen Xi, he will definitely join forces with Lu Gesen against you.”
Her words made Wang Changlin laugh out loud, “You think I would still care about that by now? Shen Xi’s shares have already been transferred to my hands, so what if you tell? Not to mention, do you think you can walk out of the study?”
“What do you mean?” Zhou Mingmei took a step back.
Wang Changlin pressed a button on the desk; a small door on the side of the study opened and a strange man of about thirty walked out.
Zhou Mingmei’s face changed drastically. She didn’t know that there were other people around Wang Changlin. Wang Changlin gestured in her direction, “Take her out and lock her up.”
The man smiled and walked towards Zhou Mingmei. Zhou Mingmei reacted extremely fast and turned around to run. The man grabbed her. Zhou Mingmei struggled a lot; a trace of impatience flashed in the man’s eyes. A small knife appeared in his hand very quickly and he suddenly stabbed Zhou Mingmei.
Zhou Mingmei’s body fell down softly and Wang Changlin said unhappily, “Didn’t I warn you not to use the knife casually?”
The man did not take Wang Changlin’s words seriously.
Wang Changlin frowned, “Since it’s already like this, drag her next door and deal with the body. We won’t be staying here for much longer anyway.”
The man nodded and was about to move when he seemed to hear something. He turned and yanked the study door open.
Outside the study door, Shen Rong looked at Wang Changlin, pale-faced, desperately turning the wheelchair under him, trying to get out of here.
The man laughed and slapped Shen Rong hard. Shen Rong’s eyes went black and he fell heavily to the ground.