Chapter 8: Chen Lan is Shot
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Chen Lan returned home; Meng Chuan got the news one month later.
When Chen Lan walked into the Queen’s bar, several people looked as though they just saw a ghost.
“Why, aren’t you happy to see me?” Chen Lan laughed as usual.
Li PanEn came to the Queen’s bar once before returning to city A; he paid the medical expenses for Chen Lan’s operation and for the truck that he crashed. The important part was that he told them that he and Chen Lan had split up, and he said that he would not come to city B often. Li PanEn asked them to take care of Chen Lan in his stead.
Meng Chuan was so angry that he hit him with a wooden stool, and he roared with his usually pleasant voice, “Don’t you know how to take care of your own people? Why should I help you?”
Li PanEn didn’t dodge, either. He took the hit head on.
Li PanEn didn’t show up after that day. Chen Lan’s hospital was too high-end. It was for the officials in the government, so they couldn’t get in. They also didn’t know when Chen Lan had been discharged.
“Welcome, welcome!” Fang Meng clapped his hands and immediately pulled the bartender who was mixing wine aside, “Come on, get out of the way and let the professionals do it.”
Chen Lan has resumed his daily work in the bar. Of course, Meng Chuan was very happy to see that Chen Lan was still so energetic, since at first, he thought that Chen Lan would cry or be depressed upon returning home.
However, after a few days of being relieved, Meng Chuan found out that he was not quite right. Although Chen Lan was still serious in mixing wine and he was still actively engaging with customers, he was in a strange mood. For example, he would stop in the middle of doing something, freeze for a moment, curl up the corner of his mouth inexplicably, and then he’d bow his head down to continue mixing wine.
“Do you think that he… What’s wrong with him?” One day after closing the store,
Meng Chuan finally couldn’t help it.
“Yes, he’s being too normal.”
“Seeing how he usually is, shouldn’t he take turns and cry to us, so as to extort us crazily?”
“Yeah, he didn’t cry or make trouble. Did he really break up with Xiao Pian’er? Is he just making fun of us?”
“That’s not true. His cell phone hasn’t rung once in nearly a month. Even if you round it off, Xiao Pian’er should have at least called twice in a day.”
When Meng Chuan heard Li PanEn’s name, he was upset, “Forget it, don’t care about him.”
Chen Lan was so normal that even Meng Chuan couldn’t find any faults on him, which made him feel uneasy. Whenever he saw Chen Lan mixing wine, the picture of him holding up a glass and laughing madly popped out of his mind.
Meng Chuan scratched his head, “If this goes on, even if Chen Lan hasn’t gone mad yet, he eventually might…”
Half a year later, just before Christmas, big news hit the Queen’s bar – Li PanEn was getting married.
“Oh,” that was Chen Lan’s reaction when he heard.
Fang Meng didn’t want to die. He asked Chen Lan carefully, “Hmm. Are you going to his wedding? ”
Chen Lan looked up and laughed again, “Go, why not? How can I not attend Xiao Pian’er’s wedding?”
“Are you sure you want to go? You’re not afraid of being stimulated? He is marrying someone else, though,” Meng Chuan was going to ask this even if he should die. Now Meng Chuan was even curious about where Chen Lan’s limit was. He had a hunch that he must break through this boundary, and only that could make Chen Lan take off that fake mask and finally move on.
Chen Lan chuckled and said to Meng Chuan, “There’s three months worth of salary you haven’t paid me yet. Give it to me when I get off work. I have to give Xiao Pian’er a big red packet.”
Li PanEn’s wedding is scheduled on the Lantern Festival. It was very close to Chen Lan’s birthday. After his birthday, the thirty-sixth year of his life would be over. It’s often said that many disasters would happen in one’s year of origin 1, a lot of disasters will take place. Chen Lan thought that the ancients did not deceive him. Throughout his year, he did everything from the things he should do to the things he should not have done, and he was even going to witness Xiao Pian’er’s wedding at the end of this year, what a perfect way to bring this tragic year to an end.
The first day, he arrived at city A. Meng Chuan was not sure about Chen Lan, so he asked Fang Meng to follow Chen Lan to the wedding and entrusted him with a heavy task—in case Chen Lan wanted to destroy the altar, he should not stop him. Remember to help.
Chen Lan was very calm. It would seem that the one who was getting married was no more than a junior to Chen Lan. He got up in the morning and took a bath, blew his hair dry, shaved his beard and changed into a new suit.
Standing in front of the mirror, Chen Lan touched his face. It was good that he looked young. He looked like was going to fit in—as the groom’s best man, even.
Upon entering, Fang Meng dared not speak and followed Chen Lan with a trembling voice. The ones receiving the gifts at the reception were the groom’s parents. Seeing Chen Lan’s red packet, they couldn’t help but stare, “Are you sure?”
Chen Lan smiled politely, “It’s for Li PanEn.”
The woman took it, then handed it to the young lady beside her to count the money. She looked at the name again, then her heart trembled. She had to admit Chen Lan’s face was exceptional in dealing with the elders. There were surprised looks written on all of their faces. They most likely thought Chen Lan was younger than their son.
Li PanEn’s mother happened to take over working in the reception temporarily. Unexpectedly, she got the fortune of meeting the infamous Chen Lan herself. She had heard that it was her son who first pursued Chen Lan at the beginning, and later it turned out like this. Now when her son was getting married, he still gave them such a generous red packet, which made her even more embarrassed.
“Please, join the guests,” she stood up and said.
Chen Lan smiled and nodded to her, he was full of manners.
The wedding venue was decorated in a grandiose fashion. The hall was full of dignitaries. Every detail, including the little decorations at corners of the hall, hinted at the families’ background and identity. Fang Meng felt uncomfortable in the huge scene, and even Chen Lan was not used to it.
The wedding drew nigh, but they still haven’t seen a glimpse of the bride and the groom. Fang Meng couldn’t help wondering, thinking of what Meng Chuan said before Feng Meng left the bar; he was honestly a little excited about the task he was entrusted with. He was hoping to see things go wrong, but Chen Lan didn’t seem to think so. He took the initiative and walked to the main table where he heard a woman in elegant clothes standing up with her mobile phone.
“What did you say? He received a message and left?! What about the wedding?”
Chen Lan’s heart thumped, and couldn’t help blurting out, “Is it Li PanEn?”
The people hadn’t seen Chen Lan before, so no-one answered him. The woman’s expression was not good; she made another phone call, but the other end obviously hung up directly. She was so angry that she threw her cell phone on the table, and she shouted, “Who is this message from? Look! What’s the matter with your son?”
It’s a photo taken of a mobile phone screen, which seemed to have been taken and sent by the bride. Li PanEn’s mother was also confused. She held the mobile phone and stared at it for a while. She could vaguely guess that someone asked him for a sudden meeting, but with her son’s character, it was hard to believe that he would leave and go out for a personal appointment at this time. There was only one person who could make him go to an appointment now, and this person was now in front of her.
She was a little worried that it was Chen Lan’s trick, but she thought it was impossible as well. Chen Lan didn’t look like a person with a bad personality. Besides, breaking up and getting married were their own choices2. It was unbelievable that Chen Lan would pull such a trick now of all times.
She wasn’t great at thinking about psychological stuff, and she couldn’t think of any other possibilities. As such, she just handed the cell phone to Chen Lan, “Mr. Chen, why don’t you have a look?”
Chen Lan couldn’t help it. He took a look. There was only one text message on the screen—and the message came from his number.
There was only a short text: I have something to tell you; let’s meet where we met each other for the first time.
Then, Chen Lan noticed something unusual. It was actually not his number. It was only one digit different from his phone number, though. Someone is pretending to be him! A big alarm rang in his head. He didn’t wait for Li PanEn’s mother to respond and rushed out first.
Li PanEn must be in too much of a hurry to even look at it carefully. When he saw a message that looked like it was from Chen Lan, he would go there directly. Or even if he did notice that the number was wrong, Li PanEn might be intrigued. Chen Lan had to say that the person who sends the message was very smart. On the way there, Chen Lan anxiously analyzed who was behind this; was the culprit targeting him, or Li PanEn?
The place where they first met was a bar in city A. Very few people knew about it. The only people Chen Lan could think of were the Lu brothers who had ambushed him before. But after Chen Lan’s sentence got changed, the two of them had gone abroad. Who else beside them would target Li PanEn?
If the assailant was targeting him, then it was easy to handle. However, if they were targeting Xiao Pian’er… Chen Lan didn’t even dare to think about the possibilities. He was even more worried now, “Driver, please hurry up.”
On the road to the bar, there was an incoming car. The car driver continuously pressed the horn. It was meant to force them to stop. Chen Lan rolled down the window, and all the swear words almost rolled off his lips, but when he saw the person in the car, he swallowed the words back.
“What the fuck do you want?!” Li ChengHuai swore before Chen Lan did.
Chen Lan said in his heart, are you actually retarded? Though he refrained from saying that out loud, he was not backing down either, “Someone wants to kill your son!”
“I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s from the Lu gang!”
Li ChengHuai cursed in a foreign language and stepped on the brakes. He drove a heavy-duty cross-country sports car and directly stopped the taxi in the middle of the road.
“Get in,” Li ChengHuai gestured with his chin.
Chen Lan glanced at him warily, but then he thought of Li PanEn’s situation, and thought to himself, “OK, I’m at your mercy then.” He opened the car door and jumped in.
“Where is it?”
“Drive straight, turn right at the second interval.”
They drove all the way there; Chen Lan’s face was white with fright. Li ChengHuai’s temper was even worse than his son’s. He drove his car as if he was deliberately trying to get into an accident for insurance fraud. No wonder Xiao Pian’er had to run away from home. Chen Lan would run too if he were in his shoes.
As a result, they arrived too early, and Li PanEn was still stuck on the road.
Chen Lan was in a hurry. The bar was very old. It looked as though it was going to collapse even back then, and Chen Lan didn’t expect that after so many years, it was still in the same state of decay. The exterior wall was too old to even look at due to a lack of maintenance. In this rapidly changing building complex, it was unique, almost like an alternative art installation.
It was currently noon, so there was no business at the bar. There was only a middle-aged man on duty sleeping behind the bar table. Chen Lan didn’t recognise the man from his silhouette, the man must have been newly hired.
Chen Lan turned around and found nothing different.
“Where is he?” Li ChengHuai lit a cigarette and leaned against the car door as he stared at Chen Lan.
Chen Lan ignored him, he raised his hand and knocked on the glass door of the bar. The uncle on duty inside turned over, got up and opened the door for him, “Who, who are you?”
Chen Lan was just about to speak when he glanced behind the other, and he shouted “Be careful!” Suddenly, Chen Lan turned to grab the on-duty man’s arm, quickly pulling him to the ground with him, the two of them rolled away from the bar.
A bullet whizzed passed by their heads. Li ChengHuai was playing with the cigarette ashes leisurely when the deadly bullet shot through the car window beside him. His reflex was not bad, allowing him to raise his arm up to block the shards of glasses that flew towards him. Some of the glass shards scratched up his arm.
“Fuck!” Li ChengHuai roared.
The gun obviously had a silencer. Chen Lan’s face was white. He climbed behind the outer wall of the bar and hid. How come he never thought that the people inside would have guns? When did they sneak in? The man on duty was lying on the ground motionless; Chen Lan was worried, so he poked him with his foot and found that he was just unconscious from the shock.
He couldn’t go in there rashly. The lights in the shop weren’t on. He couldn’t be sure how many people were in the shop or how many guns and bullets they had. Chen Lan felt flustered. He only thought that someone would find trouble for Xiao Pian’er, but he never thought that the other side wanted him dead.
Chen Lan thought of Xiao Pian’er. He must not be allowed to come here in the first place. He immediately took a hold of his mobile phone. However, it was far too late.
Li PanEn’s white suit was too dazzling. The moment he got out of the car, not only Chen Lan gasped, even Li ChengHuai knew this was bad.
Oh no! At that moment, Chen Lan’s head was buzzing, and immediately ran towards him.
Even Li ChengHuai didn’t see how Chen Lan managed to run such a long distance in such a short time; it was as though he teleported there in the blink of an eye.
It happened so fast that Chen Lan had already rushed over and pushed Li PanEn to the ground. The sound of gunfire rang and the sounds of exclamation sounded all around at the same time. Time seemed to stand still for two seconds. When everyone came to their senses, Chen Lan seemed to have lost his strength, he was kneeling on the ground, blood gushing from his chest.
It seemed that their souls were taken away by others. Li PanEn’s body temperature suddenly plummeted. His body moved before he realised it. He shook his hands. He grabbed Chen Lan and was about to run away, but Li ChengHuai stopped him.
Li PanEn had never roared like this in his life before. His face was the epitome of fury, “Don’t stop me!” Li ChengHuai was so angry that his nostrils were emitting smoke; the sad fact that him, his father couldn’t beat him in a standoff! “Damn it, can you be nice to your old man? Use my car!”
Li ChengHuai was a police officer, but later he came into politics. In broad daylight, someone openly fired. The barrel of the gun was also aimed at his son. How could he forgive that? His temper and occupational diseases were provoked at the same time. He could not care about the wound on his arm. He pulled up his sleeve and tumbled into the bar hall in a professional way.
A fight began.
The blood on Chen Lan’s chest dripped all the way on the road.
Li PanEn’s mind was blank. His nerve system seems to be paralyzed all of a sudden. His brain kept looping the scene when Chen Lan pushed him out of the range of fire. However, his tear ducts were much more honest than his brain. He rushed to the car with Chen Lan in his arms. His tears wouldn’t stop at all.
Having suffered so many injuries in this one year, Chen Lan was no longer afraid of pain. Now that the bullet has entered his body, he watched the blood trickle out of himself. Instead, he had an unprecedented sense of happiness.
He wanted to sleep and close his eyes very much, but looking at Li PanEn’s tears, he felt reluctant to do so. He had not seen Xiao Pian’er up close for a long time. He raised his hand to touch Xiao Pian’er’s face, but when his hand was halfway there, he had no strength to move it further.
Li PanEn sensed his intention; he held his hand tightly, and started the car engine with another hand.
“Don’t worry, it will be OK. Let’s go to the hospital right away,” Li PanEn didn’t know whether this was to comfort Chen Lan or himself.
Chen Lan couldn’t seem to hear him. He raised his head a little and pulled out a smile, “I dirtied your clothes…”
Chen Lan had a typical Yang type body3. No matter how cold the winter was, his hands would always warm. But now, those hands were like ice. No matter how Li PanEn held onto them, he couldn’t bring any heat back into his skin. It was as though Chen Lan didn’t only have a hole in his body, but also in his soul. Li PanEn felt his consciousness leaking from the hole constantly at a terrifying rate.
“Yes, you know I can’t do the laundry. Will you help me do it?”
“Xiao Pian’er……” Chen Lan’s eyes are empty and his eyes are out of focus. “Can you, not get married… Uncle feels… sad seeing you marry someone else, so sad…”
“Hmn, I’m done with it, I won’t get married. I’ll listen to anything you say, my uncle.”
Li PanEn wiped the tears on his face. He stepped on the gas pedal to the fullest extent. Chen Lan’s clothes were almost completely soaked in blood. Redness flowed to the car mat and dyed a large portion of the car. The car was full of the stench of blood.
“Chen Lan, can you hear me? Please talk to me…” He held Chen Lan’s hand tightly, almost afraid to look at the blood on it.
“I’m a little tired. I want to go to bed. I’ll talk to you later…” Chen Lan had difficulty breathing. His eyes were closed.
Li PanEn panicked and held his hand tighter, “Don’t sleep, you can’t sleep, we’re almost there.”
He regretted so much that all his organs hurt. Why on earth did he let go? Why did he agree to his father’s terms? Why did he come back? If push came to shove, he could have just ran away with Chen Lan again. Li PanEn’s chest was numbed by the pain, he felt like he was going to vomit. He finally understood that Chen Lan was his air. Without his air, he couldn’t survive.
Li PanEn couldn’t cry, but repeated mechanically, “You, don’t sleep. Wake up, you said you were going to have a baby with me. Wake up, Chen Lan…”
As tough the man didn’t hear anything, his eyes were still closed.
“Chen ZiXi!” shouted Li PanEn.
Chen Lan felt that one of his wings had already sprouted out, but he was shocked to be called; his head tilted to spit out a mouthful of blood.
“Cough, the blood almost suffocated your uncle to death” Chen Lan was lying on the car seat, coughing violently.
The first reaction after waking up for Chen Lan was, I led my life like that, but somehow I’m going to heaven and not hell!?
Li PanEn was so frightened by his sudden action that he wiped away his tears and drove to the hospital quickly.
During the emergency, there were many onlookers. The groom’s clothes were so dazzling that he simply took them off and threw them into the garbage bin, wearing only a shirt and waited outside the ward door.
After a while, Li ChengHuai also came; his face was injured.
“How is he?”
Li PanEn cried the entire way to the hospital, so now his throat hurt; he said hoarsely, “He lost too much blood. They are trying to save him now.”
Li ChengHuai seemed to be a little tired. He sat down beside Li PanEn, “Do you have cigarettes?”
“I don’t smoke,” Li PanEn glanced at him. He had never observed his father quietly at such a close distance. For a while, he felt a little strange. Li ChengHuai was also old. The corners of his eyes were wrinkled and his back is not as straight it used to be. When he was young, he was an excellent policeman. He once singled out a drug gang all by himself. Now he got hurt fighting just a lone assailant with a gun.
When Li PanEn was very young, he also enjoyed his father’s gentleness. But later, he grew up. Their personalities were too similar, and contradiction and disagreement became increasingly prominent. After that, he didn’t even have the chance to sit down and say a word.
Li PanEn thought that Li ChengHuai was not a good father.
Li ChengHuai thought that as his son, Li PanEn was a shame to the family name, as he did not follow his planned path. They looked at each other with disgust, so Li PanEn left—he left for six years, as neither side was willing to back down.
Li PanEn didn’t think that when they’d finally sit down to have a good talk, it would be at such a place.
“When he’s healed, I’ll take him away,” Li PanEn said straight to the point.
Li ChengHuai chuckled and Li PanEn didn’t know what it meant.
“I won’t get married. If you want to drive me out of the house or break ties with me, you should. Just think of it as you never had a son.”
“Is he more important to you than your father?” Li ChengHuai showed a trace of fatigue.
“It’s not the same,” Li PanEn said. “You’re always important to me, Dad.”
Li ChengHuai smiled and said, “I haven’t heard you call me that for a long time. You were only a few years old back when you used to call me that. It seems that the word is making my ears sting.”
There was a pause.
“You two really are strange. You are willing to get married to someone else for him. He was even willing to die for you,” said Li ChengHuai, shaking his head. “If I go on demanding more, it’d look like I’m the bad guy who was forcing a pair of lovebirds apart.”
Li PanEn was stunned. Li ChengHuai placed his coat on his own shoulder and got up. As he walked away, he said, “You deal with your own problems. I’ll go out for a smoke.”
Li PanEn said, “Say sorry to Mr. Mei for me.”
Li ChengHuai waved his hand, but did not turn his head, “Don’t worry, your father is still capable of handling this small matter.”
Li PanEn watched his silhouette disappear at the door, he only stopped looking after a long time.
Chen Lan woke up and found that he was in the hospital again. He wanted to jump up and take a selfie for himself. Did you see it? The third time, the third time! People only goes to HeiLan’s home twice a year4. Yet, he had been admitted to the hospital three times this year.
If this were a novel, he’d probably be a leading character. Also the kind that had a glittering protagonist’s aura.
Li PanEn put down his newspaper and smiled at him, “What’s that smile for?”
The sunshine was good, the air was good, the people were good, the joy of rebirth came late. Chen Lan was so happy that he almost cried and buried his face in the quilt.
“Oh, Xiao Pian’er, you’re not married. If you’re married, don’t come to see your uncle. How sad would your wife be if she knew you came to visit me.”
Li PanEn smiled, “My ‘wife’ is very sad.”
Chen Lan froze and said in a muffled voice, “What did you say?”
Li PanEn helped pull him up from the quilt and said with a smile, “My ‘wife’ is so sad that he is currently burying his head in a quilt blanket and refused to raise his head.”
Chen Lan didn’t reply.
“Don’t move, what kind of a mental patient are you? You move around like you have a death wish,” Li PanEn put him back in place and said softly, “Take a rest. Once you’re healed, I’ll take you on a trip. Let’s go on our honeymoon, shall we?”
“You… Are you really not married? Because of me?”
“I didn’t plan to marry her. I can’t do this. I talked to my parents, and the marriage arrangement is over.”
“Then your father…”
Li PanEn smiled with a little softness on his lips, “He said he wanted to invite you for a drink.”
As a matter of fact, after the last quarrel, the female side also received some rumors. After knowing that Li PanEn was a homosexual and had a boyfriend who can block bullets, who would dare marry him? As soon as Li ChengHuai mentioned that he had to cancel the marriage, the female side agreed without hesitation. To be honest, she was afraid that the male side would say no.
As for Li ChengHuai, he seemed to have figured it out. He decided to retire after this year’s work and go overseas to do business. Maybe he himself was hurt in that event, and he could understand how dangerous it was at that time. Chen Lan had no hesitation to take the bullet for his son.
What kind of feeling did Chen Lan have when he did such a thing for his son, something even he as a father could not? What right did he have to reprimand Chen Lan for being with his son?
“Then, was the shooter caught?”
Li PanEn nodded with shame, “It was Zeng JianMin.”
“It’s my fault. After you were taken out by Lu YunSheng, I went to him in a hurry. When questioning him about you, I dislocated his arm.”
Chen Lan was surprised.
“After that, Fang Meng called 1205. He was timid and slipped away after the call. Zeng JianMin was not very lucky. Before the ambulance came, some other people noticed him. It seemed that they had been hunting him for revenge for quite a while; they severed his tendons. He thought it was me who caused it. He wanted revenge, so he bought a gun and came to kill me.”
“Arrested for now; he attempted homicide, the law will punish him.”
Before Chen Lan spoke, Li PanEn took the lead in picking up his hand and slapped himself, “It’s my fault. I will never be impulsive again.”
Everything in the world was like this. There was a cause and a consequence. That impulse almost indirectly killed Chen Lan; this lesson was too profound.
It’s true that everything you do will have an absolute impact on your future. Venting your hatred on other people will only lead to constant butterfly effect, which will not benefit you, and even worse, it might hurt those around you.
Chen Lan was worried about the safety of Xiao Pian’er. He quickly stopped his hand and said, “it’s good to know that you’re wrong. Later, if you need to be impulsive, you can be impulsive to your uncle. You are still allowed to have an impulse.”
Can we leave the flirting until after you get out of the hospital?
Chen Lan sighed and said, “It’s worth it. I heard so many loving, whole-hearted words from you today. It’s totally worth getting shot at. You usually don’t say those.”
“If you like it, I’ll say it every day.”
“Never mind,” said Chen Lan with a crooked smile. “Let your uncle flirt with you instead.”
The sadly-still-single owner of a bar was visiting Chen Lan, and he was currently standing outside the door, he covered his face in pain, “Blinding.”
- I made this name up, since there isn’t an official translation for this (本命年): As you might have already known, there are 12 Chinese zodiacs, each year is represented by a zodiac, the 12 zodiacs take turns rotating. Let’s say your zodiac is rabbit because you were born in a year that was represented by the rabbit, then after 12 years, that year will again be a year represented by the rabbit. That year is considered as one’s year of origin (本命年). As this year was Chen Lan’s 36th year in life, then this year is his year of origin (36 is a multiple of 12).
- Mother, your idea of choice is warped
- Yang type body (陽性體質): There’s Yin and Yang, basically Yin is like shaded, so it’s cold, but Yang is like the sun, so it’s warm.
- HeiLan’s home (海瀾之家) is a brand that sells men’s clothing. They had a famous advertisement saying, “HeiLan’s home, you only need to go there twice a year (海瀾之家一年才進兩次呢).” They wanted to say that their clothes are durable and sell it to men, who they think hate shopping.
- Equivalent to 911 call