Chapter 33: A Decision
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The sky was as dark as ink, and the air pressure was low. It was almost New Year’s; the people who got off work were already back home, so the streets were quiet. It snowed a few days ago, and there were the remnants of snowmen built by kids
in the corners of the streets.
Li Sui took his luggage out from the car, and he froze reminiscing while standing on the street. At around this time the year before last, it was just as cold as it was now, and Lu Shang drove him all over town just to find an open store for a mobile phone. The two of them were still very close back then; two years had passed now and their relationship turned to this. Li Sui wrecked it with his own two hands.
Uncle Yuen got out of the car, handing Li Sui his passport and flight ticket, “Are you just going to go like this? Are you not going to tell him first?”
Li Sui had a pained smile on his face, “I don’t think he’d want to see me again. He’s sick now, and I don’t want to make him angry.”
Uncle Yuen didn’t know how to comfort him or what kind of advice to give, so he only said, “I’ve arranged people to pick you up at the airport overseas; you can call me if you have any problems when you get there.”
“Thank you, uncle Yuen,” Li Sui said.
As if Uncle Yuen had figured out what Li Sui wanted to say, he said, “If you want to know how he’s doing, you can call me as well, just don’t call too much.”
Li Sui gave Uncle Yuen a grateful look, after nodding his head, Li Sui picked up his things and got on the escalator.
As the escalator ascended, the familiar streets slowly disappeared from his vision. Li Sui turned his head back to look at the city, and a strong sense of reluctance rose in his heart; he just had this feeling that if he really took this step, he would never see Lu Shang again.
Lu Shang woke up in the middle of the night. He was still alone in the room; the room had dim lights, and he could vaguely see that it was snowing outside.
He was used to having a little puppy following around him everywhere, so he just couldn’t adjust to lying in the hospital room alone. He wondered where Li Sui was; according to his usual habits, he shouldn’t be too far away. Lu Shang had been awake for such a long time already, but there were still no signs of him—that was truly quite rare.
His chest was still fixed to the bed, so there was a limit to his mobility; Lu Shang extended his arm, trying his best to reach his phone on the table. Uncle Yuen happened to knock and enter as Lu Shang was doing that.
“Why is it you?” Lu Shang said subconsciously before he reacted and said, “What’s the matter?”
“I’ve sent him off.” Uncle Yuen said directly.
Lu Shang was slightly shocked, he only replied after a long while, “I see… I guess that’s good, too.” Lu Shang lay back down, his eyes darkened.
Lu Shang did arrange for that, getting Li Sui away from all this. But now, hearing from Uncle Yuen that Li Sui was gone, Lu Shang felt as if a huge gaping hole was in his recently operated heart, it was as if everything suddenly became empty.
Lu Shang always thought that after people come of age, it became harder to have strong feelings for someone, be it liking or hate. Sometimes, people would show affection towards each other for a second, and completely got rid of it in the next, as if all emotions were mere illusions. However, it was just because you had yet to meet the right person. One day, when you actually found the right one, all the calmness and open-mindedness you thought you had could all be turned upside-down in an instant.
The snowfall continued for the entire day, there weren’t any signs of it stopping soon. Lu Shang had severe postoperative responses, his consciousness was hazy for a long time. Leung ZiRui felt like this had to stop, so he forcibly woke Lu Shang up, trying to chat with him so that Lu Shang would feel better. Not only didn’t Lu Shang get better, he threw up on Leung ZiRui.
The next afternoon, Uncle Yuen rushed into the hospital room Lu Shang was in. Uncle Yuen saw that Lu Shang was resting, so he didn’t know if he should wake him up. Just as Uncle Yuen was hesitating, Lu Shang suddenly opened his eyes as if he had sensed something, “What’s wrong?”
“The person who was picking up Li Sui from the airport contacted me, they didn’t pick him up. I’ve checked the flight passengers’ records… he didn’t even board the plane.”
Lu Shang pondered for a bit, then asked, “Did you try calling him?”
T/N: lol postoperative response my ass, he’s all better the second he heard Li Sui didn’t go abroad.
“His cell was turned off, and he wasn’t in the house, either. Should I send people to search for him?”
Lu Shang dropped his eyes as he thought, Li Sui most likely didn’t want to leave but was afraid of getting kicked away, so he decided to hide somewhere. The kid was smart, so he probably wouldn’t go out of the Lu family’s turf, right?
“Ask Zuo to launch a search, and tell him to call me if he finds Li Sui.”
Uncle Yuen immediately did as he was told. Unexpectedly, after Uncle Yuen got through to Zuo Chao and explained what happened, Zuo Chao was obviously startled and asked, “Xiao Li Zi? He was here about ten minutes ago.”
After Lu Shang heard, he frowned and asked for the phone, he said, “What did he ask of you?”
“Aren’t you the one who arranged it? He came to ask for Li Yan’s address; he wanted to ask him some questions.” After finishing, Zuo Chao began to realize something was up as well, so he asked, “Wait, you didn’t ask him to do it?”
Lu Shang sighed, then directly hung the phone up.
“Why would he go find Li Yan?” Uncle Yuen asked in confusion.
What other reason would there be except to “trouble” Li Yan? Lu Shang felt complicated; he thought that though the kid was still young, the amount of courage he had was definitely not small. Li Sui probably wanted to deal with the liability, Li Yan for him. Lu Shang would never ask him to kill a person though, that was not something Lu Shang would want to see. Moreover, that place was in Liu XinTian’s turf; no matter how strong Li Sui was, he was still no match for people with knives or even guns.
As Lu Shang was thinking, he called Zuo Chao again, “Does Liu XinTian know yet?”
“I don’t think so, he doesn’t really care for Li Yan either, he just provided him with a place to live in and a few bodyguards, he didn’t care about the rest. Xiao Li Zi didn’t drive his car, so I’m guessing that he hired a taxi. If I go after him now, I should be able to catch up. The only problem is that if I just bring my men over there, we will definitely get into a fight with Liu XinTian’s men.”
Lu Shang held his own forehead; his body had not fully recovered, so he’d feel dizzy whenever he used his brain too much. He only felt better after picking up the oxygen inhaler and taking a few breaths. Uncle Yuen placed a pillow behind Lu Shang, letting him rest more comfortably on it; Lu Shang contemplated for a while before he picked up his mobile phone again. Lu Shang scrolled through the contacts list in search of a person’s name, he was trying to find the number of a person whom he never thought he would call. After hesitating for a bit, he decided to dial the number.
“Director Liu, how about we make a deal?” Lu Shang didn’t talk much, he cut straight to the point, “The port trading area, you always wanted it, didn’t you?”
Hearing that, Uncle Yuen was shocked.
As Lu Shang expected, the person on the other end was tempted.
“What do you want in return?” Liu XinTian asked.
It was still snowing outside, and everything was blurry outside the window. After hanging the phone up, Lu Shang stared at the screen and asked, “Today is New Year’s Eve?”
Lu Shang removed the needle in his wrist, then pushed the blanket away, he was going to get out of bed. Before Uncle Yuen could stop him, Leung ZiRui who came over at an unknown time spoke up; he was leaning on the door frame, both of his hands inside the lab coat pockets. “What are you doing?”
“I’m worried.” Lu Shang said.
“It’s the middle of the night now, it’s still snowing outside. Are you crazy?”
“Li Sui won’t listen to Zuo Chao, so I must be there.”
Leung ZiRui was so angry that he almost choked to death, “You’re my patient, can’t you just listen to your doctor’s advice for once?”
Lu Shang looked at Leung ZiRui with pleading eyes, “Rui, let me go, I can’t live without him.”
Lu Shang seldom showed weakness towards anyone; Leung ZiRui knew that Lu Shang was poking at his soft spots, but at the same time he felt pleased that Lu Shang was telling him the truth. After cursing and scolding for a bit, Leung ZiRui said, “Only this one time, and you better stick your ass to bed when you come back!”
They drove very fast on the way, they were terrified of Li Sui doing anything before they got there. When Lu Shang got to the factory, Zuo Chao and his men had already surrounded the place.
“Where is he?”
“They are both inside.”
Pushing the door open, they were met with messy boxes, there was used amenities on the floor, the odor coming out from inside stank. Near the door, there were a few people kneeling on the ground, and their hands were tied up. Under the dim lights, Lu Shang could vaguely make out the bruises on their faces; those were probably Li Sui’s handywork, as Zuo Chao’s people seldom leave bruises at visible places.
Li Sui was obviously nervous, seeing that the one who entered was Lu Shang, he didn’t even know where to put his hands anymore. Lu Shang only glanced at Li Sui, he made sure that he was fine and quickly moved his eyes to Li Yan who was sitting on the ground.
“Such a huge commotion and I thought someone great came.” Li Yan obviously didn’t get any special treatment from Li Sui. One of his eyes was swelling to the point that he couldn’t even open it; even his legs were hurt, so much so that he couldn’t stand up anymore. No one would ever think that this proud rich kid who had enjoyed riches for most of his life would be in such a humiliating state.
“Stop retaliating and go turn yourself in, you’d get a lighter sentence if you do.” Lu Shang said.
“Turn myself in?” Li Yan laughed, “Lu Shang, don’t forget that I still have a huge gift in store. If my people send the documents to Liu XinTian, what do you think he’d do?”
Lu Shang’s expression was cold, “I’m afraid you lost that chance.”
Li Yan stared at Lu Shang in silence; Lu Shang continued, “This is Liu XinTian’s turf, how do you think I got in?”
Veins popped up on Li Yan’s head, he said with a freezing voice, “… he betrayed me.”
“You guys are the same after all, are you really that surprised?” Lu Shang continued, “If I were you, the second I found Liu XinTian, I’d give him that information instead of keeping it as a last resort.”
Just one wrong move and the whole match was set. Li Yan’s face was grim, his face lost all color. At the end of the day, Li Yan was just an inexperienced brat with an attitude. He was miles away from experienced snakes like Liu XinTian; without his father, the only thing Li Yan had left was his bad personality. He might have put a lot of thought into things, but his thoughts always remained superficial; he wanted to get the wolf but didn’t want to go all in, so he lost everything.
Liu XinTian, unlike Li Yan, was experienced. He only cared about profit, he’d only hurt people if it could benefit him. Li Yan’s actions were like erratic swings in Liu XinTian’s eyes. Li Yan seeking protection from Liu XinTian was truly a problem for Lu Shang, but finding profit, Liu XinTian sold Li Yan out without batting an eye, just as Lu Shang had expected.
“You deal with this.” Lu Shang didn’t want to talk with him anymore; he turned to give Zuo Chao orders, “Wait for his wounds to heal first, then send him to the police station, don’t get yourself into trouble for it.” After giving his orders, Lu Shang gave Li Sui a look and walked outside the factory.
It was late at night plus it was snowing, so no-one was on the streets. As they walked on the granite ground, they could hear intermittent laughter from the surrounding houses.
Lu Shang wasn’t walking quickly, his body had yet to recover; after coming out and breathing in the cold air, he was shivering all over, his breaths were unstable as well. Li Sui followed behind him, keeping himself at around two arms’ length from Lu Shang. Guilt was written all over Li Sui’s face, but as he was scared that Lu Shang would hate him more, Li Sui didn’t dare apologize.
The two of them just walked, and neither of them took the initiative to speak.
When did it begin? Even Lu Shang himself didn’t remember; he knew he was a pessimist at heart, and because of his health condition, he always thought the world was filled with dullness. After meeting Li Sui, he slowly felt that living was pretty fun, he even wanted to live a few more days.
Lu Shang sometimes thought that Leung ZiRui must have jinxed him or something, since everything he said came true. Leung ZiRui warned him about the dangers of raising a tiger. Lu Shang didn’t raise him into a tiger, instead he turned into a loyal dog, who even after being sent away came running back. Great doctor Leung also warned Lu Shang not to cave in; well, he didn’t cave in—he jumped head-first into it, he was also extremely willing to jump in, not even wanting to climb back out.
Lu Shang had lived for 26 years, he always thought his fate would be the same as his father, protecting his own fortune, leading a bland life, then passed away all alone on a quiet night. And now, Lu Shang looked at their long shadows under the streetlights, and he couldn’t but feel curious; if he’d tried leading a different life, would his destiny be slightly different as well?
The two of them walked to the side of the car; Lu Shang stopped, then he turned back to look at Li Sui and said, “I’m asking you—do you want us to be together?”
Li Sui froze, then answered, “Yes.”
“I have heart defects, I might die any second, aren’t you scared?”
Li Sui stared at Lu Shang, and his eyes were unwavering, “I am not scared.”
“I might not be able to go on trips, have sex, enjoy fine cuisines… with you like a normal person.”
“I don’t mind.”
“I might not even be able to stay with you for long, I might be dead in like a few years, and you will have to live in that shadow I leave behind for the rest of your life…”
“I want to.”
Lu Shang closed his eyes for a bit, then said, “Come over here.”
Li Sui walked two steps forward, then Lu Shang said, “You asked if I love you? I will give you my answer now.”
Li Sui’s body shook; before he realized it, his shoulders dropped, his lips were in contact with something soft and warm. Li Sui’s eyes widened, less than a centimeter away from him was the person he was dreaming about day and night, Li Sui even forgot to wink his eyes as he was in shock.
The soft tongue was like honey flowing out of a honeycomb, flowing through Li Sui’s mouth instantly. Li Sui’s shock turned to disbelief, then he began feeling overjoyed. At last, he felt like he had melted into a puddle of slightly bitter honey water as their tongues intertwined.
It was still snowing; the snow fluttered elegantly onto the vast land as New Year Flares exploded in the sky. The two of them kissed without a care in the world, as if there were no one but them.
After the kiss ended, Lu Shang let him go while panting a bit, he tilted his head and said, “The crazy biting you did before is not kissing—this is. Got it?”
It was as if Li Sui had forgotten how to breathe, the words were all stuck in his throat, his lips trembled as he felt so happy that all the cells inside of him were ready to run away. After a bit, Li Sui nodded his head gleefully, walking forward to hug Lu Shang, pushing him gently onto the side of the car. Li Sui put a hand on the back of Lu Shang’s head, then gladly tried out what he had just learned, continuing the kiss that had just ended.