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Chapter 2: Seven Stars

Translated by Fefe of Exiled Rebels Scanlations

Editor: Addis


His vomit flowed powerfully like a waterfall. In those few turbid seconds, Tang Heng even suspected his stomach would twist into a braid and pour out too.

“Teacher Tang!” Manager Qi exclaimed. He dashed over and supported Tang Heng by the shoulder. “Teacher Tang? Are you alright, Teacher Tang?!”

Sun Jihao hurried over too. “Shidi?”

Tang Heng was bent over, hacking wildly, while waving his hand at them to say, Stay away from me. But Manager Qi must’ve interpreted it as I’m about to die, so he stuttered out, “Xiao Li, hurry hurry hurry—hurry and call 120! Teacher Tang has altitude sickness!”

Sun Jihao was a bit calmer. “It can’t be that serious. He was fine just now…”

The students ran out of the store when they heard the commotion, but Sun Jihao shooed them back. “Stop crowding around! You’re blocking the air!” He loomed over Tang Heng and asked, “Shidi, do you need to go to the hospital?”

Tang Heng rested his hands on his knees and rasped out, “I’m fine. Don’t call the ambulance.” After he spoke, he started throwing up again. He only managed to stop moments later.

Actually, it only lasted close to half a minute.

But Tang Heng was sure that he hadn’t been so pathetic in many, many years.

His nice white collared shirt had already become wrinkled and now, it stuck to his skin from all his cold sweat. His mouth tasted acrid from the vomit and tears streamed down his face. A few strands of hair clumped together and stuck to his eyelids. It was impossible to describe how humiliating he was right now.

Fortunately, his stomach felt better after throwing up. “I’m fine,” Tang Heng said in a raspy voice. “Give me a bottle of water.”

Manager Qi hurriedly offered him some water. Who knew where he got it from?

Tang Heng pushed off a wall with one hand while pouring water to rinse his mouth with the other. Manager Qi and Sun Jihao stood on the side, gaping. A few seconds later, Sun Jihao suddenly said, “Ah! I know, did you drink too much last night?”

Manager Qi: “Teacher Tang drank?”

“Drank some baijiu, but I thought he was fine. Hey, Shidi, you should’ve said that you can’t drink and I would’ve helped you out!” Sun Jihao shook his head and muttered to himself, “Some people are like this. It doesn’t show on their faces, you can’t tell if they’re drunk or not.”

Hearing this, Manager Qi raised his voice dramatically, “I’m so sorry, Teacher Tang. This place is poor and evil, haha, we can’t stop once we start drinking!”

Tang Heng was finally able to stand up straight, but his voice was still raspy. “You guys can go in. I’ll just… rest for a while. No need to worry about me.”

“Oh, right, you can rest.” Sun Jihao looked toward Manager Qi. “Let’s go in.”

“Teacher Tang, you…” Manager Qi clearly was still concerned. He looked up, suddenly thinking of something. “Xiao Li, you know Teacher Tang?”

As expected, he heard their conversation. That meant Sun Jihao must’ve heard too. He just didn’t have the chance to ask yet.

Tang Heng’s back was to Li Yuechi. He didn’t even dare to turn around. He just felt his nerves tighten and clatter frighteningly.

Li Yuechi chuckled. “Yeah, Tang…laoshi and I,” he paused, as if on purpose, and said more heavily, “We’re uni classmates. Didn’t expect to meet him here.”

“Yes.” Tang Heng turned around but still didn’t look at his face. “Didn’t expect it.”

“You two are—schoolmates?” Manager Qi’s eyes widened. He said excitedly, “What a coincidence! You can accompany Teacher Tang for a bit!”

On the side, Sun Jihao arched his eyebrows in surprise.

“Sure,” Li Yuechi agreed easily.

Manager Qi and Sun Jihao entered the small store and the alley quieted down. Only Tang Heng and Li Yuechi were left. In just a few seconds, the messy air and light seemed to be sucked away instantly. All that remained was the silence and darkness.

Tang Heng still stared at the ground, not looking up, but he knew Li Yuechi was looking at him.

It was like some transparent gel filled the space between them, pressing against their limbs so they couldn’t move. Only their eyes could pass through. Tang Heng realized with a start that they hadn’t met in six years.

Li Yuechi suddenly chuckled and walked towards Tang Heng. With only four steps, his really thin and really long shadow overlapped with Tang Heng’s shadow into the same grayness. It was so intimate.

“Tang—laoshi,” he purposely made his voice low, a bit teasingly. “Do I disgust you this much?”

Tang Heng didn’t reply. He just felt a thorn in his spine. He didn’t explain that he was carsick, despite the fact that Li Yuechi was the clearest about his carsickness six years ago. Tang Heng couldn’t say anything right now. It felt like a dream. He knew that Li Yuechi’s hometown was Shijiang, Tongren—but how could it be such a coincidence?

Li Yuehci laughed again and asked, “What’re you here for?” His tone was like they really were only old classmates.

Tang Heng forced out one word. “Work.”

Li Yuechi uttered, “Oh.” He paused and imitated Manager Qi, “This place is poor and evil. You must’ve been troubled.”

Poor and evil? Tang Heng clearly remembered that, back then, Li Yuechi had said, I’ll bring you to my home in the future. In the summer, the mountains are really cool…

Tang Heng lowered his eyes without saying anything. After a moment of struggling, he forced himself to say, “Do you have cigarettes?” Smoking would be better than standing here awkwardly.

“You smoke?” Li Yuechi asked. He didn’t laugh this time.

“My stomach feels unwell,” Tang Heng said.

“You’ll feel better if you smoke?”


“When did you start smoking?”

“I forgot.” Tang Heng was suddenly annoyed. “Do you have any or not? Give me one.”

Li Yuechi stuck his left hand into his pocket. “Huanguoshu or Hongtashan?”


“Don’t have either.”


Taken aback, Tang Heng asked in return, “Don’t you smoke?”

“I quit.” Li Yuechi pulled his hand out of his pocket. It was empty. “Didn’t have cigs inside, so I quit.”

Tang Heng fell silent.

The night wind poured over him like a basin of freezing water, making him shiver slightly. He couldn’t help but lift his face slowly, his eyes climbing up inch by inch, starting from the tips of Li Yuechi’s white running shoes to his sharp jaw. Finally, he arrived at his face.

It was a face that you couldn’t help but take a second glance of.

He’d caressed that face with a warm palm many, many deep nights six years ago. Someone must’ve made a brush from the tail of a wild stallion from the northern wilderness and dipped it into the thickest, darkest ink, and sketched out those black eyelashes, straight nose and slightly downturned lips. He’d studied and caressed this face countless times before.

Six years without meeting.

Li Yuechi met Tang Heng’s gaze and said calmly, “I was released two years ago.”

“Two years ago… when?” He remembered Li Yuechi’s sentence was four years and nine months.

“Winter,” Li Yuechi said. “I behaved well, so they shortened it by two months.”


That meant it was four years and seven months. Tang Heng’s lips twitched, but he couldn’t say anything. He didn’t know what he should say, what he could say—should he congratulate Li Yuechi for “regaining freedom” or “things went well?”

At the end, he could only look towards the small shop before them and ask, “You opened this with your girlfriend?” Earlier, Manager Qi had said that Li Yuechi went to find his girlfriend.

Li Yuechi’s eyes moved away from Tang Heng too and turned to gaze at the sign of the shop. “Yes,” he said briskly.

“Not bad,” Tang Heng said.

Li Yuechi didn’t reply.

At that moment, the students’ laughter streamed out from the shop. It was noisy. Then they heard Sun Jihao’s loud voice, “Are you done shopping? Get ready to go back!”

After that was Manager Qi’s voice. “I’ll have the driver pick us up!”

The stagnant air seemed to start flowing again. Tang Heng let out a subtle sigh of relief. He couldn’t describe what he was feeling.

Li Yuechi turned around, seemingly wanting to say something. Tang Heng quickly spoke before he could, “I have work these few days. If I’m free, I’ll treat you to a drink.” After hesitating for a second, he added, “Invite your girlfriend too.”

Li Yuechi stared at him and then let out a cold smirk. “You threw up from drinking and you still want more?”

“It’s not because of drinking—”

“And you want to invite my girlfriend?” His voice was very low. “You want to confirm if I really like women or not?”

His words nailed Tang Heng to the ground.

“No need,” Tang Heng said, word by word. “You like women. I know.” Learned that six years ago.

Expressionless, Li Yuechi stuck his left hand into his pocket again and actually pulled a dainty white pack of cigarettes. He held it up to Tang Heng and said coldly, “I don’t smoke Huangguoshu or Hongtashan anymore. If you want to smoke, take this.”

Sun Jihao’s voice streamed out of the shop again. “Stop dilly-dallying! Come on!”

Tang Heng subconsciously grabbed the pack and stuffed it into his pocket. His actions were so fast that it was somehow pathetic.

Li Yuechi turned and entered the shop without saying anything. Then Tang Heng heard him greet the others warmly, “Is there anything you want to eat? We’re doing a sale currently…”

On the way back, Tang Heng sat in shotgun. He felt much better after throwing up. He cracked open the window and let the evening breeze lift his fringe.

Sun Jihao and Manager Qi were chatting in the back row. “Sun-laoshi,” Manager Qi asked. “What do you think about our beef jerky? They’re mass-producing it now and I heard they want to sell it to Macao too.”

Sun Jihao chuckled. “Pretty good. The packaging is nice too, but… People in Macao like blander things. They probably can’t take the spiciness.”

“They have original flavor too, it’s not spicy. Did you not try it earlier?” Manager Qi immediately added, “I’ll have Xiao Li bring some over tomorrow. Everyone can try it.”

“No, it’s not suitable,” Sun Jihao rejected. Then he said, “The store looks nice. The owner—Xiao Li, right—does he have an online store too? I saw a bunch of cardboard boxes piled up.”

“Yeah, Xiao Li is our famous…” Manager Qi paused, “famous university graduate.”

“He came back as an entrepreneur after graduating?”

“Ah, well, sure,” Manager Qi mumbled.

Tang Heng didn’t join in and just listened. He knew that Manager Qi was probably worried—indeed, no one would guess that Tang Heng and this store owner of a remote city would be schoolmates. Since they had this connection, Manager Qi probably was unsure if he knew about Li Yuechi getting imprisoned or not, so he didn’t dare to say too much.

Sun Jihao didn’t know anything though. “Shidi,” he called comfortably. “You’ve known that Li-laoban since long ago?”

“Yeah, we met during undergrad,” Tang Heng replied. “But we’re not close.”

Sun Jihao naturally thought that Tang Heng and Li Yuechi were undergrad classmates, so he lamented, “He graduated from your school, but he’s still willing to come back and start a business. That’s not easy.”

“Yeah,” Tang Heng said. “Not easy.”

“Xiao Li is very talented,” Manager Qi quickly chimed in. “He started a Taobao store and even people from Chongqing order from him. Now, in addition to being sold in supermarkets, the factory also sells products at his place. University students are different from the rest, really.”

Yeah, a university student. Inside, Tang Heng replied, Unfortunately, a university student who went to jail. Otherwise, how could someone as proud as Li Yuechi be willing to come to this remote place and open a store?

These years, he’d occasionally wondered what Li Yuechi would do after being released. Probably continue striving in a big city? He didn’t expect to meet him here.

As they chatted, the car stopped before the hotel. The students went back to their own rooms. Manager Qi also left after making some more small talk with them. It was past 10:30 now and the grand hotel was quiet. Tang Heng and Sun Jihao walked out of the elevator, their reflections showing faintly on the marble floor.

Sun Jihao yawned and asked lazily, “Shidi, you came to Guizhou before?”

Tang Heng was silent. He’d really heard that sentence—I didn’t expect you to come to Guizhou again. Li Yuechi’s unclear expression appeared in his mind again.

“I came once. To Guiyang,” Tang Heng said quietly.

“Oh, for vacation?”

“To mourn.”

Sun Jihao stopped in his tracks. “…Huh?”

“I dated someone before. From Guizhou.” Tang Heng was expressionless. “Died and I went to mourn.”


After a pause, Sun Jihao patted Tang Heng’s shoulder. “It’s all in the past,” he said awkwardly. “Shidi, uh… My condolences.”

Tang Heng nodded. “I’m fine.”

As if wanting to escape from this awkward situation, Sun Jihao stuffed the motion sickness medicine into Tang Heng’s hands, swept his card and hurriedly entered his room. Only Tang Heng was left in the hall. He reached over to dig out his room card, but his finger was poked by a sharp corner. It was that pack of cigarettes.

The dainty white box had the words Seven Stars.

Tang Heng opened the lid. There were only two cigarettes inside—long and slender.

Seven Stars women’s cigarettes. Tang Heng knew that Li Yuechi wouldn’t buy this kind. Six years ago, Li Yuechi smoked Huangguoshu the most—five-kuai per pack. Sometimes, he’d smoke Hongtashan, 7.5 kuai per package. At that time, Tang Heng was still a vocal in the band. He didn’t smoke to protect his vocal chords, but he loved stealing Li Yuechi’s cigarettes and smoke a little, then purposely leave a ring of teeth marks on the filter tip.

Li Yuechi would then smile at him helplessly.

Tang Heng tightened his grip, grasping the white pack hard, squeezing it flat. A few seconds later, he let go suddenly and exhaled.

These cigarettes belonged to Li Yuechi’s girlfriend.


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August 26, 2023 7:12 am

Mortifyingly embarrassing to throw up outside like that. I really felt for him. Pretty mean for his colleagues to assume and talk about it being due to drink. He wasn’t even drunk.

Wow, that was awkward with Li Yuechi.

So even though they were lovers (I assume), it seems TS became aware back then that LY liked women too; but it feels like it wasn’t agreeable to TS.

Lies often come back to bite one on the bum, but not usually that quickly!

Thanks Fefe and Addis, for the chapter.

Last edited 1 month ago by WangXian31

Official LMW release!

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