Chapter 38: His Eyes
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
On a holiday at the end of the month, Li Sui planned on going fishing with Lu Shang, but he got a last-minute notification—a conference about the future development of the economy was going to be held in the city, and they specifically invited Tong Yan to participate. So, without any other choice, Li Sui changed back to his formal attire and drove himself to the conference.
Lu Shang mentioned transferring Xiao Zhao to be Li Sui’s personal driver twice, but Li Sui refused on both occasions. Letting someone else drive the car felt weird to Li Sui. Plus, he wasn’t such an important person that he had to have a personal driver. Staying modest was a good thing; Li Sui didn’t want the extra attention.
After that, Lu Shang didn’t bring the subject up again.
Lu Shang woke up earlier than usual today, so he lay on the bed, looking at Li Sui putting his necktie on in front of the mirror. Lu Shang couldn’t but smile; even his eyes were smiling.
“What are you laughing at?” Li Sui asked as he looked at Lu Shang through the mirror.
Last night, they ‘exercised’ a bit too much, so naturally Lu Shang would stay in bed longer the next morning. Lu Shang had one of his arms under his head as he waved at Li Sui with the other hand, “Come over here, give me a kiss.”
Li Sui smiled too, his eyes curving along with his smile. Over the past years, Li Sui was changing almost every day—all except his eyes; those eyes were still as deep and clear as when they first met.
Li Sui leaned down and nibbled at Lu Shang’s lips gently for a while, then let go just before he got too engrossed in it. The tips of their noses touched as Li Sui said, “Okay, I’m going out now. Get some rest at home.”
“Hmn,” Lu Shang nodded; he watched through the window as Li Sui walked out of the house in huge strides, then got in his car to drive. His movements were rather captivating in Lu Shang’s eyes.
Being young was nice, he thought. Lu Shang sat up straight, then rubbed his waist a little. Then he thought of something and laughed slightly.
Lu Shang liked the kid’s pureness, but what made him really fall in love with Li Sui was still his charisma as a full-grown man.
After eating breakfast, Lu Shang searched through his wardrobe for a long time. Ever since Li Sui took over his work in Tong Yan, Lu Shang became more and more free and it had already been a while before he needed to pull an all-nighter. Actually, Lu Shang hadn’t even been to the company once for the past week. Before, Aunt Lu would always put his clothes in the front after ironing them, but before Lu Shang knew it, that place was long occupied by Li Sui’s clothes.
Lu Shang searched for quite a while before he finally found his own shirt from all the shirts that looked basically the same. After Lu Shang finished changing, Uncle Yuen had already driven the car out front, waiting for him.
Lu Shang closed the car door and said, “Go to the bamboo dojo.”
It rained for a bit last night, so there were fresh bamboo shoots all over the mountain. The air was cold, so much so that Lu Shang breaths turned white. Lu Shang got out of the car in front of the bamboo dojo, then walked past it to a tearoom behind the dojo, stepping on dried bamboo leaves that were covering the ground on the way.
In front of the tearoom, a skinny woman was starting a fire. She saw Lu Shang walking over, so she wiped the dirt on her hands away and smiled, “Lu Lao Ban, what brings you here?”
Lu Shang smiled back at her, then asked, “Is Zuo here?”
“He’s here, he’s here. I’ll go call him out for you.”
“No, there’s no need. I’ll just go in to have a talk with him.”
“Then I will go make some tea for you two.”
Lu Shang nodded his head slightly, “Thank you.”
Lu Shang changed his shoes at the doorway, then lifted the wooden curtain to enter. Zuo Chao seemed to have heard them outside, so he had already tidied himself up, crossing his legs and sitting behind the table.
Lu Shang had yet to walk in completely, but Zuo Chao already lifted his hand up, cutting him off, “Don’t try to persuade me.”
“Who said I’m here to persuade you?” Lu Shang sat down beside the table and continued, “I’m here to congratulate you on becoming a dad.”
Zuo Chao froze up, “What did you say?”
“Wasn’t your wife feeling unwell a few days back?” Lu Shang continued after a short pause, “ZiRui examined her yesterday; she has been pregnant for a month already.”
Zuo Chao’s face turned from red to white, then red again. After a long while, he hit the table with his hands as if he had only just heard what Lu Shang said moments ago, “Are you for real!?”
Just then, a person walked into the tearoom, Zuo Chao raised his head and ran over. He held his wife’s hands and was so excited that he couldn’t even formulate a full sentence, “Dear, I… I a father?!”
The woman’s face immediately turned red, her expression that of a teenage girl going on her first date. She dodged Zuo Chao, then placed the tray of teapot and teacups on the table and quickly left the room.
Zuo Chao was so happy that he didn’t even know what to do, he just walked around inside the room. He wanted to go out to find his wife, but he also worried if it would seem like he was too immature.
“Sit down first.” Lu Shang laughed at the sight. “She’s a little weak, so tomorrow you should bring her to the hospital to let Leung ZiRui do a more in-depth examination. You should fix the things that need fixing and get rid of the things that you should get rid of.”
“Yes, yes…” Zuo Chao kept on nodding his head; he was still so excited that he didn’t even know where to place his hands, so he reached for the cigarette on his ear by habit. Then he remembered Lu Shang just said to fix the things he should fix, so he took the cigarette off his ear and threw it in the bin, “I’m quitting! I’m going to stop smoking. Yes, starting today, no cigarettes!”
Lu Shang picked up the teapot off the tray, then he poured himself a cup of tea, “You are going to be a father soon, so think before you do anything, and set a good example for your child.”
Zuo Chao rubbed his hand on his legs, then said, “Yes, you’re right… I was always too rash. I swear, this will be the end of that.”
“Also, you need to come up with a legal occupation. When your child grows up and ask what you do for a living, you have to be able to answer that,” Lu Shang said.
Though Zuo Chao wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box, he still understood what Lu Shang was hinting at; he sighed as he scratched his head, then he said honestly, “I don’t actually hate Xiao Li Zi, it’s just that this… is just too hurtful. I mean, the factory wasn’t very large, but it was still a factory I built, and he just shut it down like that. I didn’t see a single one of my brothers and employees after I got released, and that’s… that’s just too much.”
“He’s just a kid, so don’t be too harsh on him.” Lu Shang poured him a cup of tea as well, “Moreover, he did it for your sake.”
Though Lu Shang didn’t say it out loud, he actually agreed with how Li Sui handled the problem. Doing illegal things might seem easier to some, but when the winds change, the consequences might be huge, and this incident proved as much. Societies would naturally get more advanced, and almost everything would turn from disorderly to orderly, this was a general trend. People who profited from legal holes would eventually get into trouble.
This was an era that valued law and order after all, everything that didn’t conform to the law would eventually be wiped out and replaced. If anyone or group wanted to gain prosperity, following the legal procedure would be the only route.
Though Li Sui’s actions might seem too heartless, it wasn’t wrong. It was only too direct, so with Zuo Chao’s personality, it was but normal that he found it a little offensive.
“He’s already over 20 years old, you’re still calling him a kid…” Zuo Chao laughed.
Lu Shang didn’t find what he said odd, “In my book, he will always be a kid.”
Zuo Chao stared at him for a while and asked cautiously, “So, that’s it? You’ve decided on him? You’re not going to think about getting someone to have a child with you?”
“Me?” Lu Shang laughed a bit, then he shook his head; he sounded like he was laughing at himself as he said, “If the child were to be born like me, then they’d just be suffering their whole life.”
Zuo Chao froze a bit and tried to persuade him, “That’s not right. I mean, old man Lu had you. I guess it takes becoming a father to finally understand what responsibility is. Look, this morning I was still mad at Xiao Li Zi shutting my factory down, but now I’m already over it. Now that I think about it, he really wasn’t wrong, perhaps the gods have something big for me to do.”
Lu Shang was amused, “You’ve been a father how many minutes? Yet you are already lecturing me.” After a short pause, he added, “It’s enough that I have him.”
Zuo Chao saw that Lu Shang was resolute on the subject, so he stopped, and he only sighed, “When you first brought him to me, I never thought this would happen, you know…”
“If you’re over it, then the next time he calls, don’t ignore him.” Lu Shang put the teacup down, “It breaks my heart seeing him like that.”
Zuo Chao felt a bit guilty, he waved his hand and said, “Well, sorry, it’s my bad, okay? I will invite him over for a drink tonight.”
The two of them chatted for a while; Lu Shang knew that Zuo Chao’s mind had flown over to his wife already, so he didn’t prolong the conversation. Lu Shang stood up and was going to leave.
“I dug up some bamboo shoots earlier, do you want some?” Zuo Chao asked as he followed Lu Shang out.
“Maybe next time.” Lu Shang saw the blue peacocks outside and pointed at them, “Are those tasty?”
Zuo Chao immediately nodded, “With some carrots and spices they’re perfect for making soup; their meat is full of flavor, too.”
Lu Shang took a deep breath and said, “Save one for me, and kill it next time I come here with Li Sui.” After a bit, he turned back and emphasized, “Don’t let Li Sui see you do it.”
Zuo Chao saw Lu Shang off to the front yard, “The car factory is gone, so I have less manpower now. I won’t loosen up on the guards at important locations, but you guys need to be careful as well.”
“Hmn. After two months, when your wife’s health condition is more stabilized, you should open a car repair factory; I will ask Uncle Yuen to help you deal with the registrations.” After a short pause Lu Shang said, “As for…”
He suddenly stopped. His body shook, and he took in two gasps of air. He leaned down and supported himself with one hand on the floor, while his other hand pressed on the bridge of his nose, his eyebrows furrowing.
Zuo Chao was terrified by that, “What’s wrong? Are you feeling unwell?”
Lu Shang raised his hand up to stop him, he closed his eyes and shook his head. When the whiteness on his face subsided, he finally stood up, holding onto a bamboo growing on the side for support.
Zuo Chao was worried that Lu Shang would faint, so he said, “Are you really okay? Don’t try to put on a tough face.”
After Lu Shang calmed his breathing down, he said meekly, “… Ask Uncle Yuen to drive the car in here, I can’t walk over.”
When Uncle Yuen got out of the car and saw Lu Shang’s paper-white face, he was just as shocked as Zuo Chao was. The two of them barely managed to get Lu Shang in the car.
Before Lu Shang left, Zuo Chao asked with worry, “Does Xiao Li Zi know?”
Lu Shang leaned on the seat, his lips were turning purple and his eyes lacked focus. Lu Shang said in a soft but stern voice, “Don’t tell him. If anyone is going to tell him, it has to be me.”
Zuo Chao had something else he wanted to say, but he hesitated; this was still Lu Shang’s personal matters after all. During the brief hesitation, Lu Shang already rolled the window up and asked Uncle Yuen to drive away.
“Should I call Dr. Leung?” Uncle Yuen asked from the front seat.
Lu Shang looked at the view outside the car, and he was in an extremely depressed mood; he seldom showed such a helpless expression in front of anyone. After a bit, as if giving up, he muttered softly, “Hmn.”
That night, Li Sui was invited to have dinner at Zuo Chao’s. When Li Sui phoned Lu Shang that he wasn’t going to be home for dinner, he seemed ecstatic, as if the clouds which were plaguing his mind were suddenly gone—he was obviously very happy.
“Don’t drink too much.” Lu Shang was infected by his enthusiasm and he laughed a bit as well.
After he hung up, the house returned to its former silence. Lu Shang sat on the sofa, feeling cold all over; he didn’t dare move around, so he just wrapped himself tighter in the blanket.
Who knew how much time had passed, but around the time when Lu Shang almost fell asleep, he heard the sound of a car engine stopping at the front yard. Soon, the door opened, and Leung ZiRui walked inside in a hurry, “What’s wrong?”
Lu Shang shrugged a little and said, “Nothing, I’m just inviting you for dinner.”
“Quit the nonsense. I’ve known you for years, and you always avoid me as much as you can. When have you ever invited me for dinner?” Leung ZiRui was probably hungry, though, so he picked up an apple from the basket on the dining table and stuffed it in his mouth, “So tell me, where are you feeling unwell?”
Lu Shang seemed hesitant, but it also appeared that he didn’t know what to say.
“My eyes,” Lu Shang chewed on his words a bit and continued, “seemed to have some problems…”
Leung ZiRui froze, his expression changed, “What do you mean?”
“I can’t see where you are now, everything around me is blurry.” Lu Shang raised his hand and pointed around the air, “I could just deduce which direction you are at from your voice.”
Leung ZiRui’s expression turned serious; he took out a torch from his pocket, then waved it around Lu Shang’s eyes, “Can you see it?”
Lu Shang nodded, “There’s light.”
Leung ZiRui opened Lu Shang’s eyelids and had carefully examined his eyes, he turned the torch off, after taking in a deep breath, he asked, “When did this first begin?”
“Two years ago, right after Li Sui went abroad, I felt my vision deteriorating—but it was fine if I wore glasses, so I didn’t put much thought into it. Around six months ago, when I was driving, I started seeing double.” Lu Shang tried to remember everything, trying to describe it as best as he could, “That happened a few times after that as well, but mostly at night and it usually continued for 5 to 20 seconds. This is the first time it has continued for so long and during the day.”
After finishing, Lu Shang waited for a long time but still didn’t get any reply from Leung ZiRui. That was a bit unsettling, as he was still not used to his loss of vision, so he asked, “Are you listening?”
“I’m here.” Leung ZiRui put his hand on Lu Shang’s shoulders to calm Lu Shang down, “I’m thinking about your past conditions… This shouldn’t happen.”
“Is it because of my heart again?” Lu Shang asked.
Leung ZiRui sighed, “Yes, most likely. Your eyes are fine, the only possible reason is that your heart isn’t pumping blood to your eyes efficiently enough.”
“Is there any treatment?”
Leung ZiRui’s expression turned grim, he didn’t answer Lu Shang’s question, “Lu Shang, two years ago when you decided that you are giving up on a heart transplant, I have already told you this. There will be many complications during the final stages of your disease. Even if I heal your eyes now, you could lose your hearing the next day. This is the consequence of giving up, you do understand that, right?”
“Is that so?” Lu Shang closed his eyes but laughed, “That sounds horrible.”
Leung ZiRui took another deep breath; he sounded depressed, “The process of heart failure would be very painful.”
The two of them fell into silence, in the corner of the room, the wood crackled. Lu Shang rubbed his eyes and said, “I chose this path myself and I’m willing to carry the consequences. Now, just find a way for me to get my vision back for now. Li Sui will be home soon.”
“I can prescribe you some medicine, but these will not solve the root of the problem; they can only ease your symptoms but cannot cure them. The problem is still your heart.” Leung ZiRui then added, “Also, don’t always think of hiding your problems. You can’t hide this from him.”
Lu Shang’s gaze seemed lost; he raised his head, and his eyes drooped as he said, “Rui, to be honest, I’m really disappointed in myself. I thought I could stay by his side healthily for much longer than this.”
“Stop that,” Leung ZiRui cut him off. The one thing he was scared of the most was Lu Shang showing weakness. As Lu Shang’s personal doctor, Leung ZiRui witnessed Lu Shang stumbling his way to reach this point in his life. In this world, besides Lu Shang himself, there was probably no-one who understood how hard it was for Lu Shang to be alive and sitting here right now more clearly than Leung ZiRui.
Lu Shang had huge mental strength; what kind of a situation must he be in for him to ask for Leung ZiRui’s help…
“I’m not giving up, so you can’t give up, either.” Leung ZiRui tightened his grip on Lu Shang’s shoulder a bit, “There will be a way, I’m sure of it. I predicted that you would die in a year if you don’t get a heart transplant before, but you are still here, living and kicking.”
“Hmn. You also predicted that I won’t live to see my twentieth birthday,” Lu Shang laughed.
“Yeah. So what could a bit of lost vision do,” Leung ZiRui tried comforting Lu Shang, but then he added, “There’s one thing you should remember, though. Don’t hide it from Li Sui; as your family, he has the right to know and he will have to know eventually.”
“I’m only afraid that he would…”
Leung ZiRui cut him off again as he warned, “Listen. This isn’t a small problem, and anything could happen; you need someone to take care of you.”
“… Don’t tell him yet,” Lu Shang sighed and said with extreme difficulty, “I… will find a time to tell him.”