Chapter 21: An Outing
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Translations
Li Sui didn’t sleep well that night; he kept dreaming of people harming Lu Shang. Li Sui was powerless. Not only was he unable to protect Lu Shang, he dreamt that he cost Lu Shang his life. When he woke from his dreams, it was already bright outside and long past breakfast time. Li Sui immediately rolled up from the bed.
“Why didn’t you wake me?” Li Sui went down the stairs in a rush. Lu Shang was wearing a black suit, he was sitting in front of the dining table, and there was a bouquet of cornflowers in his hands.
“Don’t run. The floor is wet.” Lu Shang stared at his slippers, “We are not going to study today. Get changed, we are visiting the graveyard.”
Li Sui paused for a bit, then he saw Uncle Yuen wearing all black as well. He immediately nodded.
Their destination was a public graveyard in the countryside. Lu Shang didn’t say a word on the way, and affected by the atmosphere, Li Sui was silent as well. They got out of the car, and there was a flight of bluestone stairs in front of them. It looked endless. Climbing the stairs was hard for even normal, healthy people. Worrying that Lu Shang’s body couldn’t hold up, Li Sui guarded close behind Lu Shang the entire time.
The upper parts of the stairs were even steeper than before. Li Sui decided to directly hold Lu Shang’s hand, worried that he would fall off the staircase. As they reached higher, there were less tombs and the view became broader. When Lu Shang stopped ascending, there was only a handful of graves around them.
The grave had been cleaned recently, and in front of the gravestone, there was a bouquet of cornflowers—much like the ones in Lu Shang’s hands. It was obvious that someone was here before them. A monochromatic photograph of a man was on the gravestone; he looked a lot like Lu Shang. That must be Lu Shang’s father.
After Uncle Yuen put up incense, he moved aside, giving room to Lu Shang and Li Sui.
Lu Shang was not wearing a sad expression; his demeanor was still as calm as ever. Bowing down, he placed the flowers on the step of the gravestone, “I’ve come to visit you again. As you see, I’m still alive this year.” His tone sounded as though he had not expected that.
On the side, Li Sui trembled ever so slightly.
Lu Shang turned his head to Li Sui, “This is my father’s grave. Come and put up an incense.”
Li Sui walked over accordingly, lighting an incense and bowing in front of the grave.
In the meantime, Lu Shang didn’t say a word, he just stared silently at the gravestone. Li Sui had the feeling that Lu Shang must be talking to his father in his heart.
“You asked if I’m of mixed raced before.” Lu Shang pulled Li Sui up after he had placed the incense in, “I can’t answer that, because I’m a test tube baby.”
Li Sui was shocked, but Lu Shang continued, “My father was a soldier. He hid his coronary disease history to join the army, he had participated in a lot of top-secret missions. After the war ended, he returned to the city with his injuries and sickness, then he opened a company with a few of his comrades. He began his career in business, and that was the beginning of Tong Yan.”
“I inherited two things from him—one is my heart disease, another is my sexuality. Hm, my father was one too.” Lu Shang smiled slightly. “At that time, the techniques of in vitro fertilization were still not fully developed. That was also why my father felt indebted to me; he wanted me to be healthy. In truth, for the beginning years of my life, I was really healthy, but when I was around four to five years old, I showed signs of having coronary illnesses. Destiny is a funny thing. You just can’t run away from it.”
Lu Shang paused briefly, then continued, “We weren’t that close; after I went abroad to get medical treatments, we haven’t seen each other much.” Lu Shang extended his hand to dust off the photo, “He had a longstanding wish. He always wanted to find a cure, a cure that could rid me of my suffering from heart illnesses forever. He wanted me to live on healthily.”
He took a deep breath. “When I wasn’t in the country, he had many trials, some might even have been quite inhumane. Perhaps because his methods were wrong, his wish didn’t come true and he died with regrets.” After speaking, Lu Shang turned to him, asking, “Li Sui. Could you comprehend his actions?”
Li Sui wasn’t clear why Lu Shang decided to tell him this now, but he fell into silence for a while. Eventually, he answered, “If I were him, I would have done the same.”
Lu Shang stared back at the grave; a slight smile with an unknown meaning appeared on his face.
The trip down the stairs was easier than the way up, but even so, Lu Shang was feeling a bit uncomfortable. His chest hurt and his fingers were numb. Uncle Yuen was already waiting down at the car. He just got off the phone, and now he was looking at Lu Shang as if he had something to say. He did have something to say, but because Li Sui was there, he couldn’t.
“It’s fine, what is it?” Lu Shang opened the vehicle door and got on.
“The person in jail, we have the connections now. They say his sentence could be shortened but will require some money.”
Lu Shang rubbed his forehead and ordered, “Do as they say.”
Li Sui couldn’t win over his own curiosity, so he asked, “Who are you talking about?”
Their eyes met; Lu Shang stared at Li Sui with a complicated gaze. In the end, he didn’t answer, he just asked Uncle Yuen to drive them home.
If Lu Shang didn’t want to answer, there was no point in Li Sui asking further, so he just stayed silent. Maybe because it was Lu Shang’s father’s death anniversary, Li Sui could sense that Lu Shang was a bit unusual today.
When they returned home in the afternoon, Lu Shang went directly to bed without having lunch. At first, Li Sui thought he must be in a bad mood, but after seeing his pale complexion, he realized Lu Shang was feeling unwell. Hence, Li Sui called Leung ZiRui immediately.
“It’s fine. Insufficient blood supply, same old problem.” After Leung ZiRui examined him, he said, “There is a red medicine bottle in his drawer, give him two of those pills. Let him breathe in some oxygen, remember to keep his limbs warm. He should be fine with a good night’s rest.”
Lu Shang was half conscious, and he wasn’t cooperating with taking the medicine; the pills fell to the floor a few times. Li Sui didn’t know what to do, who would have thought that the Lu Lao Ban, who could kill people with just his eyes, was hopelessly afraid of bitter medicine? Li Sui put in a lot of effort to finally get Lu Shang to take the pills, he then turned the lights off and warmed Lu Shang’s legs under the blanket.
Around midnight, Lu Shang finally began to warm up. Li Sui was soaked in his own sweat. Li Sui’s legs had been nuzzling up to Lu Shang’s for half-a-day already, his member had reacted long ago with the continued contact. Li Sui sat at the side of the bed for a while; he couldn’t hold back and quietly kissed Lu Shang on the lips before he finally went to the shower room to clean himself up.
The next day when Lu Shang woke up, he was, as expected, feeling a lot better. Li Sui was still insecure, so no matter what, he was going to follow Lu Shang, not letting him leave the house alone. Originally, Lu Shang wasn’t going to bring Li Sui, but after some thought, he decided that it was for the best, so he lugged Li Sui along when he left the house.
“Where are we going?”
“The shooting range.”
The location was very remote; they basically drove all the way to the outskirts of the city. They got out of the car in front of a golf course, an employee led them around, and finally they entered a glass room. There was a middle-aged man inside; he just took a shot at the target, but noticing them, he took his earmuffs off.
“Director Yue, it’s a pleasure meeting you.” Lu Shang raised his hand for a handshake with the man.
“So, you are the one Xiao Ke (i) wants to introduce me to?” The middle-aged man laughed, then his gaze turned to Li Sui.
T/N: (i) Xiao Ke is Yan Ke; remember after going on the cruise ship, Yan Ke had dinner with Lu Shang, Li Sui, and SiMa JingRong. Lu Shang asked him for a meeting with Yue PengFei, SiMa JingRong’s father.
“This is Li Sui,” Lu Shang replied. He only told him Li Sui’s name but didn’t explain who he was.
Li Sui only found this man familiar, but there was nothing else. Li Sui nodded his head and greeted, “Director Yue.”
Yue PengFei’s eyes shifted across the two, and there was something unknown hidden in his gaze. He turned his head around to an employee, asking for a revolver. Turning back to Lu Shang, he arched his eyebrows and said, “I heard that you are quite skilled with a gun? Let’s compete.”
Lu Shang accepted with a smile, “It would be my pleasure.”
Each had ten rounds, the bullets were all sparkling clean. Li Sui was shocked to find that the bullets were all genuine ones. Yue PengFei was used to shooting, it was obvious that he had been warming up for a while already as well. He loaded the gun proficiently, then he took a stern stance.
Lu Shang used a warm towel to rub his wrist, then he loaded his gun at a steady pace, neither hurried nor slow. Lu Shang’s waist was slim, and his legs were long; when he raised his arm, a beautiful curve formed along his shoulder blades and waist. Lu Shang’s head tilted slightly to the side; his aura wasn’t menacing, he was a little detached even, but standing beside Yue PengFei, his stance was not at all inferior.
Li Sui’s eyes were glued to him, he stared at Lu Shang’s fine waist. In his mind, he began imagining what it would feel like to wrap his arms around him.
The two of them stood facing the target. It was just a simple shooting action, but they looked like two swordsmen preparing for battle.
Everything around them was silent, two loud “bangs” rang across the room. The bullets left the barrels of the gun separately, but holes bloomed on the targets afar almost at the same time.
Lu Shang took his earmuffs off, “Director Yue is as good as the rumors are.”
Yue PengFei smiled as he shook his head, “You are quite good yourself.”
The electronic scoreboard displayed their individual scores. Li Sui looked at the board, Yue PengFei got a “9” while Lu Shang got an “8”.
Then it was the next round, this time Li Sui was more focused on their marksmanship. Lu Shang’s fingers were fine and long, his hand was steady, and his grasp was firm. His eyes were completely focused on the target, not having a speck of hesitation.
The two of them were evenly matched, their scores were always neck-to-neck. For the first few rounds, Lu Shang held the gun with one hand, but starting from the fifth round, he used his other hand to lightly support the gun. Li Sui had never touched a gun in his life, but he knew that guns would recoil after each shot. Though the barrel of Lu Shang’s gun wasn’t big, it would still shake and possibly harm his wrist.
After they had finished their rounds, Lu Shang handed the gun back to the employee. He rubbed his sore wrist while saying, “Director Yue’s marksmanship is admirable, I will have to admit my defeat.”
To Yue PengFei, the match was a satisfying one; he seldom met opponents near his level. Even if there were skilled competitors, some would rather lose to him on purpose because of his status. Lu Shang had lost with two points behind him, but the thrill of a real competition made Yue PengFei quite joyous.
“You are exaggerating. I have been warming-up for over half-an-hour before you arrived.” Yue PengFei smiled; obviously he wasn’t fed up with shooting yet. His eyes were on the sniper rifle on the wall; he called for an employee to get it down for him.
A female assistant-like person walked in, she entered after knocking, “The young master is here.”
Yue PengFei just said an “Ah,” and put the rifle down, looking a little disappointed. He patted Lu Shang’s shoulder and said, “I am going out a bit. You guys have fun.”
Li Sui took the chance, walking up to Lu Shang, he wrapped his wrist in a warm towel, massaging it lightly, “Does it hurt?”
Lu Shang shook his head, smiling, “Do you want to try?”
“I don’t know how.”
“Here. Hold it. I’ll teach you.”
The gun was heavier than Li Sui had imagined it to be. He loaded the gun according to Lu Shang’s directions and tried imitating Lu Shang’s stance as he held the gun up.
“Put this finger here. Raise your arm up.” Lu Shang stood beside Li Sui, one of his hands placed on Li Sui’s waist, the other holding Li Sui’s wrist. They were standing so close they could almost hear each other’s heartbeats.
“Relax. Focus. Don’t move your body.” Lu Shang’s mouth was right beside Li Sui’s ear; it sounded like he was smiling. “Hold tight.” After saying that, he put the earmuffs on Li Sui and stepped back. Li Sui stared at the target, then he pulled the trigger.
The target shook, and a “1” turned up on the scoreboard. Li Sui made a shocked expression.
“Not bad for your first shot.” Lu Shang said behind him, “Don’t just stare at the target. You have to look at the direction of the barrel. Now, try again.”
Perhaps every man had an inborn passion for guns and weapons. After Li Sui took the first shot, he felt his blood boiling. Before Lu Shang finished talking, he had already loaded the gun again and raised it to aim.
After his first try, he shifted his body a little. Separating his legs, one at the front and one at the back, he tried imaging Lu Shang’s posture in his mind, his eyes sharpened. He held his breath as he aimed; when his whole body was sturdy and calm, he pulled the trigger decisively.
The scoreboard indicated a “6”.
The sound of clapping came from behind him; Li Sui took his earmuffs off and saw Lu Shang smiling. “Not bad. You have talents.”
Being praised by Lu Shang, let’s not even begin with how happy Li Sui was, he could almost feel a huge tail growing out of his back and wagging crazily. Outside the glass window, someone knocked lightly. Lu Shang saw that it was Yue PengFei and knew he had something to talk about, so he said, “Keep practicing here.”
The glass walls had great sound-proof properties. Li Sui saw the two going out to the corridors to chat, trying to listen in from inside the room, he realized he could hear absolutely nothing, so he gave up and focused on practicing.
“Tong Yan is a good company, but your company’s inner workings are too complicated. I don’t want to have anything to do with that,” Yue PengFei said quite directly.
Lu Shang expressed that he understood his worries, then said, “What if a proxy holds the shares instead?”
“Not in my capacity, nor in Tong Yan’s capacity, but the funds I will invest in Mu Sheng will be the same.”
Yue PengFei wavered, he asked, “And I wonder whom Lu Lao Ban might have in mind to be the proxy?”
Lu Shang looked at the person inside the glass room, “That child.”
Yue PengFei was shocked, “From what I know, he has no legal relationship with you. Aren’t you afraid that he would take the money and flee? 80 million yuan is not a small amount. Lu Lao Ban, I think you should consider this more carefully.”
“On this point, you can rest easy. Director Yue,” Lu Shang said, “I’ve been in this business for 10 years and I never agree to unprofitable deals.”
Yue PengFei didn’t push further, “If you say so, then…”
“But I have a condition.” Lu Shang said, “He will only be holding your company’s shares, he will not be a legal representative of your company, and he will not be a part of your board meetings, either. Any possible legal mishaps of your company will have nothing to do with him.”
Yue PengFei’s expression shifted, “So you don’t trust me.”
Lu Shang laughed, “That’s too much. As a parent, I must think with my child’s best interests in mind, I hope you could understand that.”
Yue PengFei considered in silent for a while, then he looked at Li Sui inside the room, “Well. I’m fine with that, but I have a condition as well.”
The scoreboard showed a “0”.
Li Sui took his earmuff off; his gaze went to the two outside uncontrollably. Outside the glass room, Lu Shang was chatting with another person, smiling and laughing, that made Li Sui anxious.
“Sir, do you want more bullets?” an employee asked.
“No, thanks.” Li Sui handed the gun to the employee, then he pushed open the door and went out.
“Are you tired?” Lu Shang asked while smiling as he saw Li Sui come out.
“Hm.” Li Sui rubbed his wrists pretending to be tired. “What were you guys talking about?”
Lu Shang glanced at Yue PengFei, he said, “Your Uncle Yue just mentioned a training camp, he wanted to put his sons, big and small SiMa in the camp. He wants to train them, but he’s afraid that they would fight at the campsite and do stupid things. So, he wants to find someone to tag along. After some thought, I think you can go with them. You guys are around the same age, so you should be able to communicate with them better. What do you think?”
Li Sui asked, “Training camp?”
“This is one of Mu Sheng’s projects; it’s still in the trial period. It is basically a taste of being in the military camps, it will be held for a month.” Yue PengFei continued to explain, “My two sons are pampered too much, they couldn’t stand any hardships. Those two lack manliness—especially the big one, he only knows how to throw tantrums.”
When he talked about his sons, a slight expression of anger surfaced on his face. Quickly, he realised his ill-manner, so he coughed a bit and changed the subject, “If Xiao Li were to go as well, then I would be a lot more assured. I heard from JingRong that you saved him in Hai Nan before, I will have to thank you for that.”
Li Sui finally remembered; this director Yue was Yue PengFei. Also, the person whom SiMa JingRong claimed to be his father, the father who wanted to take the inheritance his son got from his mother. Li Sui immediately replied, “You’re exaggerating. I… didn’t do much.” Just scolded him a bit, also with pretty harsh words.
Lu Shang looked at the two, he smiled and said, “Well then, it’s decided. I’ll bring him over for the camp.”
Just like that, it was confirmed.
On the way back, Li Sui didn’t look very happy. He just sat in the backseat, seeming down, not saying a word.
Lu Shang poked his hand a few times, asking, “Are you mad?”
Li Sui turned his head to Lu Shang, asking a little listlessly, “Are you fed up with me already?”
Lu Shang held his hand, comforting him, “You are just going to get some training, there’s nothing wrong with that. There will be a trainer in the camp, he will teach you some simple fighting techniques.”
“But I will have to leave home for a month. Also, it would interfere with my studies.” Li Sui fought back. There was one more sentence he left unsaid in his heart—— I won’t be able to see you for an entire month.
“It’s fine. You can bring a few books.” Lu Shang refuted.
Training was not the real focus of the camp, Yue PengFei only wanted to examine Li Sui’s personality and abilities. Yue PengFei established Mu Sheng up from the ground with his own two hands, he will hand the company down to big and small SiMa in the future. So, the investors of the company now will become his son’s future business partner. As a father, it was understandable for him to think ahead for his sons.
“If you can complete the training camp, then you will have a seat in Mu Sheng as a shareholder.”
When Yue PengFei first mentioned the training camp, Lu Shang had already decided to let Li Sui attend; it happened to be just the thing Lu Shang was looking for. A while back, Lu Shang watched a live broadcast, he heard a lot of other parents’ experiences. In the beginning, he just thought Li Sui was more mature than other children his age, but when Lu Shang compared Li Sui to the cases on the broadcast, he noticed Li Sui was too attached to him. Li Sui would follow Lu Shang anywhere, his eyes were always alert of anything that got near Lu Shang, he showed extreme possessiveness. Lu Shang did not find that annoying, but he was a homosexual, so even if he had very few desires, Li Sui’s relentless assaults were still too much.
Li Sui didn’t say anything, but his expression read “I will miss you a lot”.
Lu Shang smiled lightly, “You should go. We need someone who could fight in the family.”