Rebirth: Different Way Chapter 100

The first time Fang Luowei saw Shen Xi was at the door of Cell 302. When the guards brought him to the door of 302, the prisoners in the cell quickly stood up and looked at the guards beside him with ingratiating faces. At that time, Shen Xi, who stood up slowly leaning against the wall with an indifferent expression, undoubtedly looked very conspicuous.

To Fang Luowei’s surprise, the guard ignored Shen Xi’s behaviour, announced in an even tone that Fang Luowei would be a member of 302 and left. Fang Luowei stepped carefully into 302, facing the people in the cell cautiously and subconsciously avoiding Shen Xi. The guards’ attitude towards Shen Xi made him keenly aware not to mess with him. He thought Shen Xi was a legendary prison overlord and the guards were turning a blind eye to him out of respect. 

But soon afterwards he realised he was wrong. Shen Xi’s behaviour was not a provocation to the guards. He was injured and would not have been able to stand up if he had not been holding onto the wall. Just before Fang Luowei arrived, Shen Xi had had a vicious fight with the prisoner next door. The guards’ special treatment of Shen Xi was not out of respect but out of indifference. The guards had also suppressed the matter of Shen Xi’s fight not long ago. And since there was no fight, there was no injury, so naturally Shen Xi could not find a reason to go to the infirmary to get medicine and could only grit his teeth and endure the pain on his own.

Shen Xi’s story was nothing more than small gossip to Fang Luowei’s ears. He overheard a few words during the evening meal and left it behind him. At the moment he was still trying to adjust to life in prison and had no desire to think about unrelated people.

On his first night in prison, Fang Luowei couldn’t sleep. Not long ago, his grandparents were still by his side, he was still a signed singer, and although he was not doing well, he was at least working hard towards his dream. In less than a month’s time, his only family members were forced to die, and he was so desperate that he stabbed the man who was to blame for their death. He was no longer Fang Luowei, but number 24897. He no longer was in that small house in Zhongjing, but behind bars, and if there were no accidents, this would be the place where he would live for the rest of his life. Fang Luowei thought about it bitterly, moving gently to turn over. His enemy was stabbed to death, and the hatred that had been etched in his body seemed to be gradually quelled with the death of that man. For a while in the small cell of the detention centre he had been in a trance, unsure of the meaning of his life, but at his most painful moments, he kept going relying on his grandfather’s dying words.

“Xiao Wei, you must live well.”

“Must live well.” Fang Luowei murmured softly, cheering himself on for the long years to come.

A snicker sounded from below, and Fang Luowei rolled over to look. By the dim light from the corridor, Fang Luowei’s gaze fell straight into a pair of cold, sneering eyes. He moved his lips to say something, but Shen Xi only gave him a cold glance and turned his head away. Fang Luowei didn’t know when he drifted off to sleep, but Shen Xi’s snort seemed to ring in his ears the whole time.

When he was sentenced to life imprisonment, Fang Luowei had already envisaged what life in prison would be like. He thought it would be tough, but he didn’t expect it to be so tough, all because of this face of his. The first time he was blocked in the corner of the playground, Fang Luowei swung his fist. There was a second and a third time, until the fourth time, looking at the five men blocking his way, Fang Luowei clenched his fists. He wanted to live, but he had to live with dignity; he had his own bottom line and could not take a step back.

The result of the fight was obvious; he was no match for the opponents, so he could only grit his teeth and fight, hoping that the commotion would attract the attention of the others and someone would bring the guards. But to his despair, everyone who accidentally saw him left in a hurry with a scowl on their faces. No one was lending a hand, let alone call for the guards as he had hoped.

As his body was losing strength little by little, Fang Luowei was pinned to the ground and clearly saw the men grinning above him. At this moment, he also saw Shen Xi’s indifferent face. Perhaps it was the thought of what was about to happen that excited the men, but none of them noticed Shen Xi appearing behind them. A hard stone slammed down fiercely and the first man turned around clutching his bleeding head.

Shen Xi looked at the men with disgust and said in a cold voice, “Get lost!”

The men were obviously quite scared of Shen Xi, hesitantly looked at each other and quietly left.

Fang Luowei slowly stood up holding onto the wall and squeezed out a smile on his face with difficulty, “Thank you!” What he got in return was a cold look from Shen Xi who simply turned away. Fang Luowei was a bit confused as to why Shen Xi had saved him; after all, they were not familiar with each other and had never said a word to each other despite living together in 302. This question lingered in his mind until much later. When they got to know each other well, Fang Luowei got the answer. Shen Xi’s reason for taking action was very simple; it was because Fang Luowei resisted. He didn’t understand this answer at the time, but as time went on and he saw more scenes in prison, he gradually understood what Shen Xi meant.

There was too much bullying going on here, and what happened to him could happen to every man who still had a clean face. But apart from the very few who would fight back to death, most of the men would fight back a few times and then quietly choose to compromise. Some others would choose to join in the bullying of the weaker ones. On a few occasions, Fang Luowei would come across a humiliated looking man following several other men who had obviously just done it. He wanted to say something, but in the end said nothing. If a man did not even have the courage to resist, how long could he last here with the help of others?

After this incident, Fang Luowei intentionally showed his goodwill to Shen Xi, but Shen Xi did not respond to his gestures of kindness and remained alone. Shen Xi’s refusal aroused Fang Luowei’s curiosity, and his gaze unconsciously stopped on Shen Xi more and more often. He found that Shen Xi was a very special existence in the prison. Most of the people avoided him and did not want to get involved with him, but there were some people who were always looking for trouble with him. At first, Fang Luowei thought that Shen Xi, like him, was in trouble because of his face; but he soon realised that Shen Xi’s trouble was not just because of it. He couldn’t help but be curious about Shen Xi’s past, but apart from knowing that Shen Xi was locked up here five years ago for premeditated murder attempt and that he had offended the wrong people on the outside, he didn’t hear anything about Shen Xi. Shen Xi never talked about his past, and more often than not he just sat quietly alone and didn’t take the initiative to talk to anyone.

The turning point in their relationship came in the third month after Fang Luowei was imprisoned. It was a hot summer day, and after a long day’s work, everyone who came back from work went straight to the showers. The conditions in this area of the prison were not bad, and several large shower rooms were built in a row near the playground, enough for hundreds of people of the whole prison to wash together.

That day, Fang Luowei was delayed by something, and only when most of the people had finished washing did he rush to the showers with his clothes. Among the several shower rooms, he habitually went to the nearest one, but was stopped at the door by a strange man who gave him a sidelong glance and lifted his chin, “Go to the back.”

Fang Luowei’s heart thudded. The man’s words meant something was going on inside. He was no longer a rookie on his first day in prison; neither did he have the curiosity to pry into what was going on, nor would he argue with the other party hot-headed. He just carried his clothes and obediently turned to the second shower room, only to meet his fellow 302 cellmate, the man who slept in the bunk above Shen Xi, at the entrance.

The man had a cautious look on his face as he peeked at the place where Fang Luowei had come from, and Fang Luowei couldn’t help but ask, “What are you looking at?”

“Shhh!” The man whispered extremely quickly at Fang Luowei, “Shen Xi is going to be done this time, he is blocked inside.”

Fang Luowei heard the words “Shen Xi” so suddenly that he subconsciously turned around and looked over. Shen Xi was blocked inside; a few simple words revealed an incomparable danger. He simply dared not think what would happen inside, and after a moment’s hesitation, Fang Luowei lowered his head and made up his mind. The last time he was in a desperate situation and no matter what Shen Xi’s reason was for stepping in, this time he would take it as a repayment for Shen Xi’s helping hand.

Fang Luowei quickly turned around and left the place, going to the nearby playground. There were many good stones at the edge of the playground, and Fang Luowei patiently gathered them and wrapped them inside his clothes. All he could hope for now was that Shen Xi would last a little longer and try to hold out until he appeared. It’s not that he didn’t want to go to the guards, but for one thing, distant water couldn’t quench the thirst – the office building was too far away from the shower rooms; for another, through his observations during this time, he found that the guards had more of a permissive attitude towards Shen Xi’s troubles. It was evident from the fact that Shen Xi was frequently injured in fights and the guards turned a blind eye to it. Fang Luowei did not dare to bet on the guards’ intervention, so he had to find a way by himself.

The stones gathered inside his clothes were almost as big as a grown man’s two fists. Satisfied, Fang Luowei turned and walked briskly in the direction he had come from.

After knocking down the man guarding the door by surprise, Fang Luowei dared not delay any longer and hurried inside, shouting Shen Xi’s name as he ran. The scene inside was not what he had expected. He thought Shen Xi would be in a mess, he was even worried that he would see some embarrassing scene. However, the truth was, Shen Xi was in a mess indeed, but the men in the room were in an even bigger mess. In the empty shower room, Shen Xi and the other men were coldly confronting each other, all of them covered in blood, and one man was lying on the floor, dead or alive.

Fang Luowei’s eyes fell on the iron bar in Shen Xi’s hand. He didn’t know how Shen Xi had managed to break the iron bars of the bathroom’s water outlet. Compared to the opponent’s bare hands, Shen Xi, who had a weapon, obviously didn’t fall behind.

Fang Luowei’s presence quickly changed the tide of the battle, and with the two of them armed, the men on the opposite side were quickly beaten to the ground. Facing the men groaning on the floor, Fang Luowei tried to drag Shen Xi away, but Shen Xi walked up to the man in front of him. He rammed the iron bar in his hand into the leader’s lower body fiercely.

“Ah!” A harsh wail rang out in the room.

Fang Luowei looked at Shen Xi in shock, only to hear Shen Xi speak coldly to the man, “If you take money, you have to weigh whether you have the life to spend it.”

This sentence seemed to make Fang Luowei understand what was going on. He thought of the rumours he had heard about Shen Xi’s ruthlessness and swallowed back the words that were on his lips. Shen Xi did not rush to leave, but slowly and methodically rinsed the blood off his body. A foot-long bloody gash ran over his waist, and Fang Luowei could almost see the tender flesh turning inside out. Shen Xi washed the wound expressionlessly, haphazardly took his clothes and wrapped them around the gash.

“Aren’t you going to see a doctor?” Fang Luowei couldn’t help but speak up.

Shen Xi gave him an intent look, “I’m not injured, naturally I don’t need to see one.”

The shower room incident was a big deal, and Shen Xi took full responsibility for it alone, leaving Fang Luowei out of the matter. Because two people on the other side were seriously injured, Shen Xi was sent to confinement by the prison authorities for a fortnight. The prison authorities never mentioned the fact that Shen Xi was also injured, and Fang Luowei thought of Shen Xi saying that he was not injured. He could not say what he felt in his heart.

In prison, confinement was also privately referred to as a dark room. The only contact with the outside world was a book-sized opening in the heavy door. Fang Luowei heard from his cellmate that if it wasn’t for the need to find a way to serve food inside, the prison authorities would have preferred not to even have the opening in the door. For the inmates, their greatest fear was being locked up in the dark cell. In the deep, lonely darkness, time stretched infinitely. There was no one to talk to, you couldn’t tell day from night, you couldn’t feel the presence of light, so people weak at heart couldn’t last a week in there before they collapsed.

As Fang Luowei listened to the gossip, he could not help but worry for Shen Xi. He did not know if Shen Xi could survive these two weeks. Every night when he went to bed, he would habitually look at Shen Xi’s empty bunk, imagining what Shen Xi would look like now in the small dark room.

Perhaps because of these thoughts, time passed very slowly, and Fang Luowei only felt that these two weeks had been incredibly long. On the day Shen Xi’s confinement was over, Fang Luowei stayed quietly at 302 after finishing work, not bothering to take a shower.

When footsteps stopped at the door, Fang Luowei looked up and saw Shen Xi standing there quietly. Shen Xi’s face was no longer cold like before as he gave Fang Luowei an unprecedented smile.

“I’m Shen Xi.”

“I’m Fang Luowei.”

This day was the beginning of the two really getting to know each other.

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4 thoughts on “Rebirth: Different Way Chapter 100

  1. Lifetime imprisonment being bullied by guards and other prisoners alike with occasional solitary confinement…I’m so glad and amazed Shen Xi did not let hatred consume him and even managed to tone down his revenge after rebirth (not killing anyone). I think Fang Luowei being there helped him have a thin grasp on his sanity — if he was really struggling alone for years SX might have snapped and be hellbent on destruction like WCL.

    1. You’re completely right! I’m very surprised with some reviews casually saying: but he did committed a crime, that’s what he deserved. Really, a person saying that someone deserves to be raped (and SX escaped rape just by risking his life again and again)… I don’t know what kind of person it is. I also think that it is thanks to FLW that SX remained human.

  2. Man the fact that he lived like this for 10 years, i don’t blame him for wanting to destroy the Shen family. Especially that selfish dad of his and that abomination SR

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