Chapter 19: The Prophecy
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The proposal Lu Shang made wasn’t a haunted house, but a theme park with horror as the main theme. The areas near the ocean would be constructed as the leisure area, hotels and restaurants would be built there. While the entertainment area, which will be located farther away from the sea, would consist mainly of attractions for fun. He decided on a “minimalist” design, keeping most of the original landscapes. There was even a portion of the land where they would keep as is. The part he decided to keep was where the waves broke the surrounding walls of the construction site ten years ago. The tattered ground and the broken bricks would serve the theme well, plus, it would save them construction costs.
Mere infrastructure wasn’t enough, Lu Shang also prepared a separate proposal. He planned on hiring a well-known internet novel writer to create a ghost story surrounding the shore. At the same time, their internet team would increase the hype around the author’s account, so that their theme park would have a backstory for advertising.
With the novel’s existence, the authenticity of all the ghost stories would actually plummet, people would think of it as a simple tale. All the ominous rumors about this plot of land would turn into a means of advertising, Lu Shang had truly considered this thoroughly.
“But why emphasize on ‘internet’ authors?”
“Youngsters are the main audience in these ghostly topics, they also tend to go on the internet more than bookstores.”
Li Sui nodded his head without fully comprehending.
Lu Shang sent the initial proposal to Liu XingMing, asking for a feasibility report. When Lu Shang had finished all his work and came to, it was already late at night. A nice aroma of food drifted out from the kitchen, that was when Lu Shang realized that he was a little hungry. “What are you making?”
“Pigeon soup.” Li Sui turned the stove off and opened the stone pot lid. A rich fragrance of meat and soup filled the kitchen, Li Sui skimmed the layer of oil atop away, and spooned out the soup into a bowl. He handed the bowl to Lu Shang, “Have a taste.”
The soup was clear and had the color of caramel, there weren’t any remnants of meat floating on the soup surface, clearly, they had been filtered away carefully beforehand. There was a scarce amount of oil in the soup, white steamed rolled out continuously. Lu Shang took a tiny sip, the scent that spread across his lips and tongue were fresh and mild, the soup had little salt, making the scent especially clean. There weren’t any numbing spices and all the ingredients’ original taste could be felt from the soup. The fragrance of Chinese mushroom added to the sweetness of the red jujubes; the taste seeped into the softness of the tender slices of pigeon meat. It was an amazing ensemble of culinary sensations. Amongst the different taste, Lu Shang could sense an odd flavor in the sweetness. He couldn’t make sense of the strange taste, but it was a little bitter, like Chinese medicine.
Lu Shang knew this soup was different from what he usually had, “You put medicine in here?”
“Hmn. I asked the caretakers; they are all medicinal herbs that you can eat.” Li Sui was afraid that Lu Shang would worry, so he added, “I only added a little.”
Lu Shang lowered his head and drank all the soup down.
Li Sui fidgeted, “Does it taste alright?”
“Umm. It tastes great.” Lu Shang handed the empty bowl to Li Sui, indicating that he wanted seconds.
It was as if Li Sui was extremely satisfied, he wore a bright smile, even his eyes were smiling. His eyes were big, distinct wrinkles formed at the corners of his eyes when he smiled. The overhead lights in the kitchen shone on Li Sui’s eyes, making them glimmer. His eyes exemplified the name Li Sui well, deep but bright eyes.
Lu Shang averted his gaze, then he remembered something. He extended his hand to pinch Li Sui’s arm a bit, “Has the wound from before healed yet?”
“They’ve healed already a long time ago. All’s that left is a tiny scar, once summer comes, you won’t even see it.” After saying that, Li Sui nonchalantly flexed his arm, exhibiting his bicep muscle.
Li Sui really had grown up, Lu Shang still remembered when he first brought Li Sui home, he was so thin and scrawny like an African refugee. In the blink of an eye, he had already grown into an adult. It was as if this kid had held back for the past ten years, once he entered a better environment, he was like a foreign invading plant, immediately sucking up all the nutrients he could get, and did all the growing he missed out in the past ten years.
Lu Shang suddenly found that he could comprehend Leung ZiRui’s worry.
After the proposal was sent, Liu XingMing called excitedly, saying his praises first, then vaguely hurried Lu Shang for the funds. Lu Shang asked him not to worry about the funds and let him do the rest.
When the proposal went to the board members, they bickered for a period of time again and finally they gave an affirmative reply. This proposal was the most reasonable proposal to begin with, no one wanted to be responsible for this project either, so having Lu Shang to deal with this worked best for them. However, each of the board members represented a big shareholder of the company, so they must dish out something to show their worth, each of them made a lot of pointless suggestions. In Lu Shang’s eyes, all the comments were reasonable but nothing more and nothing less, so he ignored them and let Liu XingMing handle it. As the weather in recent days was great, Lu Shang brought Li Sui out to play instead. They visited all the tourist attractions on the island.
Li Sui noticed that Lu Shang seemed to be great at enjoying life. He was serious at work, but, apart from that, he wouldn’t let anything else worry him; he treated everything else the same. Later that day, he caught a glimpse of Lu Shang changing on the beach, seeing the vague scars, he was reminded of the reason behind that.
Li Sui had never seen Lu Shang’s naked body under the sun before. Under the bright sunlight, Li Sui could make out the small scars on his body; they were surgical scars. There were deeper scars and there were shallow ones, as if they were trying to express how much hardships the owner had been through. Li Sui couldn’t imagine how much Lu Shang must had suffered from his disease to reach his age now.
He remembered asking Leung ZiRui about the seriousness of Lu Shang’s disease, he couldn’t grasp what he meant at the time. Dr. Leung also couldn’t disclose patient information, so he only said, ‘Let me put it like this, if he wasn’t born in the Lu family but an average household, he’d be long dead by now.’
If a person had to walk at the rim of death for years, and his life was at threat every single second, even if it wasn’t Lu Shang but someone else, no matter what their personalities were, it would be hard for that person to care for anything.
“What are you thinking?” Lu Shang threw a beach volleyball at Li Sui’s face.
Li Sui snapped back from his thoughts, and caught the ball firmly, placing it beside his feet. He said, “I’m thinking, when will we go back home?”
“Hmn. I haven’t seen Uncle Yuen and Aunt Lu for such a long time already.”
Lu Shang sat beside him and grabbed a bottle of soda, “Then we can go back tomorrow.”
“Is your work here done already?”
“This isn’t something that could be finished so soon. For the construction work to be completed, it will take at least three to four years.”
“Then, let’s go back. I want to learn how to cook more dishes from Aunt Lu.”
Lu Shang laughed, “She probably won’t let you learn more.”
The setting sun soaked the sky red, reflecting onto the surface of the sea, it was sparkling as if a layer of gold flakes were floating.
“You’ve helped with this proposal too, what reward do you want when we get back?” Lu Shang asked.
Li Sui turned his head to see Lu Shang’s black hair, lights of gold reflected off the soft strands, a thin halo of light framed his face. He looked like a buddha statue made of gold, someone capable of anything. At that moment, as if he was encouraged by the holy light, his vocal cords clenched, and he said seriously, “I could ask for anything?”
“In my capabilities.” Lu Shang giggled, “If you want me to fetch you a magic lamp from the sea right now, then I can’t help you.”
“I really do want a magic lamp.” Li Sui stared at the sea, “Then I can make a wish so that your disease will heal.”
Lu Shang raised his head at this statement, their gazes met unintentionally. In that one second, it was as if their hearts had connected, Lu Shang had an intuition that Li Sui was about to say something important.
“Hey. Be careful——” Someone screamed from afar.
A shadow flashed by; a volleyball flew right pass their faces.
“Sourry……” The person walked over to pick the ball up, speaking weird Mandarin (i).
T/N: (i) Hai Nan Island has a lot of weird dialects.
A gust of wind picked up, Li Sui dug his fingers into the sand, pulling some soft sand up. Courage slipped through his grasp too fast, he had missed the opportunity, and now he couldn’t bring himself to say what was in his throat anymore. “Let’s save it for another time.”
Lu Shang opened the soda in his hands, making a fizzy sound. He laughed a little and said with a small voice, “You’ve learned your lesson.”
Li Sui arched his eyebrow, “You taught me well.”
Uncle Yuen booked a morning flight for the day after. The board members heard that Lu Shang was leaving, all of them begged him to stay, so Lu Shang couldn’t straight up refuse. Moreover, Lu Shang still needed them to work for the project, so he had to comfort them a little. Hence, Lu Shang allowed them to hold a farewell party for him, so they had to stay one more day.
After sightseeing for the whole day, both Lu Shang and Li Sui were exhausted. So they just packed up their more personal items and left the rest to the hotel workers. Lu Shang only reminded the worker to pack up the shell in the cupboard, then he went to bed. The worker was a rookie, so when he tidied the room, he even packed up the charging phone and the charger. So, the next morning, Lu Shang’s phone turned off on its own due to a lack of battery.
Liu XingMing was impatient, so when he failed to call Lu Shang, he dialed straight to Li Sui.
That happened to be an elderly phone’s perk, it could hold out a whole week after charging it full. Li Sui handed his phone to Lu Shang and went to make breakfast. Once they got back home, the kitchen won’t be his anymore. If he wanted to make a meal for Lu Shang, Aunt Lu might think he was trying to steal her job.
“A deserted island?” Lu Shang walked to the balcony, “Is the news reliable?”
“Reliable! My bro from the people’s procuratorate told me. It’s up for auction right now, I checked out the price already, and it’s quite a bargain. The paperwork is all legit too, but more importantly the island is located really close to the Golden Sand Shore construction site. If we could get it, it would be a great asset.”
“How is the development on the island?”
The person at the other end of the phone paused, then he replied, “They say it’s half-developed, but I haven’t verified that yet. I called you as soon as I got the news.”
Lu Shang said after thinking for a while, “Go arrange for a sighting, we can go have a look this afternoon. Remember to bring along people from the inspection company.”
“Okay.” Before Liu XingMing hung the phone up, he said, “By the way, last time, on the cruise ship, you asked me to find a person. I found him and gave the contact details to Uncle Yuen already. Sorry for being nosy, but that person is in charge of the jails, right? What do you need him for?”
Lu Shang paused, “It’s personal.”
Liu XingMing understandingly stopped asking, he hung the phone up and went to rent a ship.
A gust of wind blew onto the balcony, Lu Shang raised his head to look at the sky; the weather was really unstable recently. Lu Shang went inside and picked up his phone to check the weather forecast, he poked the power button a few times, then he remembered, it was out of battery. Lu Shang turned his head around and saw Li Sui’s tablet laying on the table, walking over, he naturally picked it up. When Lu Shang first bought the tablet, he added his fingerprint just in case if Li Sui didn’t know how to use it. As such, Lu Shang was able to unlock the tablet with ease, the screen turned on and showed the page Li Sui was browsing before, Lu Shang’s fingers stiffened——
<<Surgical Treatment for Innate Coronary Diseases>>, <<Treatment and Care for Coronary Disease Patient>>, <<Modern Interventional Therapy for Coronary Diseases>> …… Lu Shang scrolled down to find a few books about company law and enforcement.
It was obvious that Li Sui was trying to find a way to heal his disease. These books all had different reading frequency records, Li Sui made notes in a lot of these books, it showed how serious he was on the subject. Lu Shang also discovered a few healthcare recipes in the bookmarks, and they were exactly the food Li Sui made him in recent days.
Lu Shang silently put the tablet back to its original place, he stood still not knowing what to say.
It was quiet in the house; Lu Shang could hear the slight racket from the kitchen. Lu Shang’s eyelids lowered, feeling conflicted in his heart. If, in the future, this kid found out that the treatment he was so desperately searching for was…
“I’m going to make some soup dumplings; do you prefer sweet or salty ones?” Li Sui’s smiling head poked out from the kitchen all of a sudden.
Lu Shang tidied up his expression, raising his head, he replied to Li Sui with a light smile, “Salty ones.”
“Then I’ll boil some with the soup from yesterday.”
The curtains drifted along with the wind, forming a pretty parabola. Lu Shang recalled Li Sui asking to learn about his company and healthcare. He was sick in bed at the time, so he didn’t give it much thought. Lu Shang didn’t give him a positive response the first time, so Li Sui didn’t bring the subject up again.
It wasn’t that Lu Shang didn’t want him to learn, it was just that he didn’t have the time or heart to teach someone. Moreover, he found this meaningless, even Leung ZiRui couldn’t do anything about his disease, what could a kid accomplish?
SiMa JingRong crossed his mind all of a sudden, then Lu Shang found his ideas a little too subjective. He shouldn’t rip Li Sui of the choice, no matter what the future holds for the two of them, Li Sui should have the right to be educated.
After lunch, the two took a little nap together. Lu Shang had a change of clothes and Li Sui asked seriously once again, “Do you really not need me there?”
“I don’t.” Lu Shang put his coat on, “We are leaving tomorrow morning, so we will get home by afternoon. Make a call to Aunt Lu, ask her to prepare lunch, tell her what you want to eat.”
“Okay…” Li Sui leaned on the doorframe, not leaving.
Lu Shang had been the one following along recently, so he wasn’t used to leaving Li Sui behind either. Lu Shang stepped on the carpet, “Then, I’m going out.”
Xiao Zhao’s car was already waiting at the entrance, Li Sui stared at the leaving car, he went back in only after it disappeared from his sight.
“Xiao Li isn’t coming?” Xiao Zhao asked the moment Lu Shang got in the vehicle.
“Let’s go.” Lu Shang said. Lu Shang felt the familiar gaze sticking on him, but he didn’t turn back. He didn’t want to be too close to Li Sui right now, ever since he saw the book titles on his tablet, he felt a sense of guilt. He needed some space if he wanted to keep a sane mind.
Li Sui did as Lu Shang directed, he ruffled through his treasured book gallery to find a few dishes. Then he called Aunt Lu to tell her about the dishes.
“All healthy food?” Aunt Lu laughed once she heard Li Sui’s food request, “How’s Lu Lao Ban recently?”
“He’s a lot better now, the climate here seems to suit him.”
The two talked on the phone for a while more, then Li Sui hung up. He finally had the solid feeling of going home. After tidying up everything, Li Sui walked around the house. With nothing else to do, he decided to take out his tablet and do some more reading.
These professional books were too difficult for Li Sui to read, whenever he came across new vocabularies, he would have to go online to look them up, so progress was slow. However, studying was never a quick task. If he wanted to increase the pace, the only thing he could do was focus so that he could learn more efficiently.
After going through half the book, Li Sui found that his throat was parched, and his lips were dry. He lifted his head from the tablet and noticed that the wind was blowing hard outside. Li Sui rushed to the balcony, he saw the somber sky, the black clouds were rolling fast, a tempest was coming.
Unrest swelled in Li Sui’s heart, he stomped around the room anxiously. A message popped up on his phone, it was from the observatory. They had issued a typhoon signal, reminding ships to quickly return to the port.
It was barely noon, but the sky was already as dark as night. The wind blew over a few trees on the side of the roads, as if an invisible hand was plucking them out from the ground. Remembering that Lu Shang might still be at sea, Li Sui was even more worried, he immediately tried calling Lu Shang.
No one picked up the phone, Li Sui froze. He dialed again, but it was the same as before, no one picked up. A dark hue covered his face as if he was wearing a black mask, the prophecy spoken by the female attendant came back to haunt him. She said that a person would get swept away by the sea every four years, that made Li Sui even more distressed.
Li Sui turned to call Xiao Zhao instead, but the reply Xiao Zhao gave was worrying, “I didn’t go with them. A person in the group was old and he felt unwell, so Lu Lao Ban asked me to bring him back first. I don’t know when they headed out to sea either.”