Shen Yun’s studio was officially established, named Niepan.
The name meant “Nirvana”, coming from “Nirvana Rebirth” (the concept of the phoenix experiencing the torment of the fire and the painful trial, and being reborn, achieving sublimation in the rebirth).
Although most people thought that such a non-mainstream name didn’t fit Shen Yun’s quiet and introverted temperament, he still insisted on using this name.
On the opening day, flower baskets from past cooperative partners and customers filled the entire corridor.
Zhou Lan, Fang Qin and Zhuang Yan were all there in person.
Shen Yun didn’t intend to be so high-profile, but their presence caused a sensation.
Especially Zhou Lan; the photo of the two of them hugging each other had been pulled out again, and the scandal of that year had also fermented again.
But no matter how much speculation there was, neither party responded.
This time, however, no one doubted Shen Yun’s strength as they had back then.
Back then, that kick was just a little bit short of trampling him to death.
But it failed to be fatal, and it was not so easy to rekindle the fire after it was extinguished.
A person who succeeds once can fake it; even if he succeeds twice, it still can be faked, but what about ten times?
Moreover, Shen Yun also showed his extraordinary talent in industrial design.
Although he hadn’t done a major project yet, he was now one of the alternative designers for some large-scale projects.
In home design, the success of Qinyin Miyu had not only made Shen Yun stand firm in the industry, but also rise to a higher level.
Zhuang Yan’s presence was also quite a surprise.
His stereotypical image of a man who never gives face easily had long been ingrained in the minds of people in the industry.
But he made an exception for Shen Yun.
When Shen Yun was at his lowest point, it was Zhuang Yan who gave him a project, took him to various events and introduced him to people.
Now in the most hectic time in the preparation of the new project, he took time out of his busy schedule to attend the opening ceremony of a small design studio.
Just to give Shen Yun a boost.
Zhuang Yan’s actions had surpassed the public’s perception of him.
For a while, there was a lot of speculation about the relationship between those three.
And interested people also found that Zhuang Yan and Zhou Lan were quite on bad terms.
Except for the politeness on the surface, the two of them had almost no communication throughout the process.
And Shen Yun was obviously closer to Zhuang Yan.
Another thing that attracted more attention to Niepan was that the construction department was led by Zhan Chenggong.
Zhan Chenggong was very famous in the industry.
Apart from his high level of skills, there was another reason for it. He had made it clear that he was not willing to be incorporated into any studio.
Many famous studios in China had offered him a lot of money to invite him to join their studios, but he had turned them down lightly.
As soon as Niepan opened its doors, it threw a heavy punch at Moxi.
Meng’s large and small projects in the coming year, basically without being tendered to the outside world, were directly given to Niepan.
Meng was Moxi’s biggest client; except for the coming spring’s Xincheng that had long been signed to Moxi, the other projects were almost completely wiped out.
When Zhao Chun learnt of this news, he was so angry that he smashed the water cup in his hand.
Broken pieces of porcelain and water stains splattered on the carpet in a sorry mess.
With Zhouquan it was even more so, and although Shen Yun hadn’t signed a contract, Zhou Lan didn’t look like he was planning to offer projects to anyone else.
Zhao Chun and Xu Moran understood that perhaps all their previous efforts had become useless.
Songmu had long been in Shen Yun’s pocket, and Zhao Chun hated it when he remembered how harsh Zhuang Yan had been to him versus how he promoted Shen Yun.
What magic power did Shen Yun have? Why did everyone look at him so favourably?
Although Zhao Chun was extremely resentful, he couldn’t help but feel a slight ripple in his heart, realising that these words were too familiar.
There was a time when he had often asked this question, only that time the name in it wasn’t Shen Yun, but Gao Xi.
Zhao Chun rubbed his face and leaned on the back of the chair wearily. Why were there so many roadblocks?
Niepan’s office wasn’t far from Zhouquan, and Shen Yun had been pulling a lot of all-nighters lately, sometimes so busy that he made do with a night in the office.
It had been more than a week since he returned to Zhou Lan’s house.
Every day at noon, Zhou Lan would come on time to pick up Shen Yun and go to lunch together.
But except for the opening day, he never went upstairs, and Shen Yun always went down to the garage to find him.
As soon as Shen Yun got in the car, Zhou Lan took a look at his face.
His eyes were bloodshot, with deep blue shadows under them, fatigue written on his face.
He leaned over to fasten his seatbelt and said, “Why are you suffering like that?”
Shen Yun closed his eyes, leaned into the back of the seat, and asked, “What are we going to eat?”
Zhou Lan said, “Qu Yuan opened a new congee restaurant, I’ll take you to try.”
“Okay.” Shen Yun replied. His breathing slowly became steady. Zhou Lan frowned and looked at him. He had already fallen asleep.
Zhou Lan reached out and stroked his hair, muttering to himself, “If you didn’t have me, would you even eat?”
The two of them took the VIP elevator from the car parking lot to the sixth floor, and the waiter brought them directly to the door of a private room.
Shen Yun looked up; the name of the private room was “The Moon in the Sea.”
Zhou Lan pushed Shen Yun in. It was a large private room with a sofa, a tea table, and two soft couches behind the screen.
Zhou Lan smiled and said, “I specifically asked them to reserve this room.”
Shen Yun didn’t understand: “Why?”
Such a large room, it was a waste to give it to two people.
Zhou Lan, however, smiled and said, “This room is called The Moon in the Sea.”
Shen Yun nodded: “I saw it.”
The moon in the sea is the moon in the sky, the person in front of you is your beloved. (The words by Eileen Chang; the meaning is that you know that some things in this world are just like the moon in the water, no matter how hard you try, you can’t get them. But when your beloved is in front of you now, you still cling to them and can’t let go.)
Shen Yun couldn’t help but narrow his eyes slightly.
He knocked out a cigarette and slowly rotated it between his fingers, asking with a smile, “What’s the matter with the name?”
Zhou Lan didn’t answer, but only hugged him and gently bit his earlobe, “I miss you.”
Shen Yun looked at the door in embarrassment and pushed him. Zhou Lan kissed him and said, “Don’t worry, no one will come in if we don’t ring the bell.”
The hem of Shen Yun’s shirt was pulled out, and Zhou Lan’s hand burrowed into the shirt to make mischief.
Shen Yun hurriedly pushed him, “Zhou Lan, what are you doing? We are here to eat.”
Zhou Lan laughed softly as he unbuckled his belt, “You’ve been too tired lately, I’ll help you relax and unwind.”
His trousers were lowered to his thighs. Zhou Lan reached out and took hold of him. Shen Yun’s eyes widened and he exclaimed, “Zhou Lan!”
Zhou Lan’s hand moved skillfully, and he watched as the thing in his hand stood up, beautiful.
Like Shen Yun, the thing was fresh and innocent, very light in colour, pink and white. Zhou Lan couldn’t help but laugh in a low voice, “So cute.”
His hand gently stroked and slowly twisted it, jerking it up and down, occasionally exerting force and squeezing it heavily.
Shen Yun’s face was so red that it looked like it was dripping blood. He bit his lip and looked at Zhou Lan, his eyes covered with a layer of mist.
Zhou Lan lowered his head and used the tip of his tongue to lick away the teeth that bit his lip, looking intently at the expression on his face.
Shen Yun couldn’t stand his fiery gaze and closed his eyes, relaxing in his hand.
He leaned into Zhou Lan’s arms; the corners of his eyes were red, and even the mole was not immune.
With his eyes closed, only his eyelashes were trembling slightly.
The blushing lips opened slightly, revealing small white teeth, his body exuding a deadly allure.
Zhou Lan looked at him with fascination and lowered his head to nibble on the peach blossom mole that had turned scarlet.
Following that, his lips and tongue went down and blocked Shen Yun’s slightly opened lips, kissing him deeply.
He wanted to rub him into his skin and melt him into his arms.
Shen Yun, however, felt sad.
He silently cooperated with Zhou Lan, looking at his devoted and fervent eyes.
He suddenly wondered what would happen if the mole was removed.
His eyes gradually became gloomy and indifferent, and then he turned his head sideways. Zhou Lan’s lips followed like a shadow, making him breathless.
Shen Yun pushed him. Zhou Lan raised his head, his eyes hazy, and said in a dark voice, “Shen Yun, I miss you.”
Shen Yun got up to straighten his clothes, and Zhou Lan pulled him over and helped him tidy up.
Shen Yun sat back in his seat, lowered his head and didn’t say anything.
Zhou Lan thought he was still shy, so he changed the subject. He said, “Shen Yun, you have taken on too many jobs.”
“Ah?” Shen Yun looked at him, bit his lip, and smiled, “I hooked up with a few more designers, so I’ll be fine after I’m busy for a while.”
“What do you mean ‘hooked up’?” Zhou Lan said with dissatisfaction.
Shen Yun lowered his head and smiled. Not wanting to say any more, he said, “I’m hungry.”
Zhou Lan really didn’t continue to ask. He rang the bell, and soon the dishes were served, a full table.
Shen Yun smiled, “You’re too wasteful, President Zhou.”
Zhou Lan didn’t say anything and served him some congee. Shen Yun was really hungry, wolfing down the food.
It was only halfway through eating that he realised Zhou Lan basically didn’t move his chopsticks.
Shen Yun raised his head and asked, “Why aren’t you eating?”
Zhou Lan looked at him and said, “You take on so many jobs, where do the funds come from?”
Shen Yun blinked and smiled, “President Zhuang was a guarantee for me for a bank loan, no problem, don’t worry.”
Zhou Lan was very sour in his heart and said coldly: “What’s wrong with me, Shen Yun, what am I?”
Shen Yun bit his lip and put down the chopsticks in his hand. How could he not know that Zhou Lan had already made preparations for him?
But he didn’t want to owe Zhou Lan anything. Sooner or later one day the two were going to turn their backs on each other.
The more involved he was now, the less clear he would be in the future.
He hoped that when that day came he could turn around and leave, instead of being entangled in those worldly rotten debts that he couldn’t get out of.
He lowered his eyes and said softly, “Zhou Lan, you’ve wasted this table of dishes.”
Zhou Lan laughed back in exasperation, “Yeah, I’m being unreasonable, huh? Do you know that I have long prepared money for you? Do you?”
He pointed at Shen Yun, “You’d rather find someone else to help you, beg a thousand times for a bank loan, than let me help you, Shen Yun, tell me, you…”
He was so angry that he couldn’t speak, aggrieved and uncomfortable.
Shen Yun, however, calmly looked at him and said, “Zhou Lan, this is a problem that I can solve myself. I… don’t want to owe you too much.”
Zhou Lan looked at him incredulously, “Shen Yun, ask yourself, have you ever owed me anything? You can’t wait to make me owe you!”
He stared at Shen Yun, who pursed his lips and looked back at him but didn’t say anything.
Zhou Lan was thirty percent angry and seventy percent hurt, “You just don’t want to be involved with me, do you?”
He stood up, walked behind Shen Yun, turned his seat half way round, squatted in front of him, held his knees, and looked up at him, “Shen Yun, why is there a debt between you and me? If the money I make is not for you, who is it for?”
Shen Yun narrowed his eyes; his gaze was like a sword, sharp and dark, staring at Zhou Lan.
It seemed as if he wanted to split him open and reveal the secrets inside.
Zhou Lan felt chills running down his spine from this stare. He thought Shen Yun was going to say something, but after a while of silence he got up abruptly and walked towards the door.
He gripped the door handle and finally said, “Zhou Lan, don’t come to pick me up for lunch in the future.”
He walked out of the private room as if fleeing for his life, and after taking two steps, he turned back to look at the words “The Moon in the Sea” on the door.
His pupils shrank, and then he left without hesitation.
Zhou Lan remained in a squatting position.
He had thought that Shen Yun would be touched, but in fact, he behaved like seeing snakes and scorpions.
The door was tightly shut, and he stared at it for a long time before getting up.
His legs were numb from squatting, and he sat down on a chair, looking at the table of food that had barely been touched.
He raised his hand and covered his eyes.