Xiao Yang and Qi Susu were blocked by a few members of the gang at a hotel near the train station. Originally, they had intended to take the train to a neighboring province in the morning but as a result of the blockage, they could only purchase tickets for the evening departure. By then, they did not dare to venture outside on the streets and opted to remain in their hotel room instead. Just as the two were planning their beautiful future together, loud bangs came from the door.
When the door was forced open, Xiao Yang immediately swung at Xiao Li without giving him a chance to speak. But before Xiao Yang could reach him, a swarm of men blocked his path and held him down firmly.
Frightened by the sudden encounter, Qi Susu cried out loudly.
Xiao Yang continued to struggle and shouted, “Why won’t you let me leave? If you weren’t in a gang, how would I have ended up resorting to this? Why do I have a brother like you? You don’t deserve to be my brother!”
Those words made Xiao Li’s complexion changed, “Let him go.”
When the subordinates released him, Xiao Yang immediately charged toward Xiao Li again. However, Xiao Li simply kicked his leg, knocking him to the floor.
By the time Qi Xiuyuan arrived, he could see Xiao Yang’s blood dripping on the floor.
Xiao Li gripped Xiao Yang’s collar tightly, “This is to teach you a lesson. As a person, you cannot be ungrateful. If I wasn’t in the gang, you would have fucking die in a ditch a long time ago. Do you really think you would still be alive and be able to study abroad or chase after girls?!”
Even though he was kicked until he bled, Xiao Yang’s scornful attitude did not lessen. “You fucking bastard! You willingly did those things yourself. I never asked for anything! Xiao Li, let me tell you, I would rather die in a ditch than use your dirty money!”
“I didn’t see you complaining when you spent those ‘dirty money’!” Xiao Li said loudly as his fist connected with Xiao Yang’s stomach.
The punch caused Xiao Yang’s body to curl. “Hit me! Beat me to death if you have the fucking balls to! As long as I’m alive, don’t even think about hearing any nice words from me.”
Xiao Li’s eyes were consumed with anger as he let his fist do all the talking. With one glance at Xiao Li, all the subordinates who had been with him for years could clearly see his murderous intent. They quickly rushed over to stopped Xiao Li and moved him away from Xiao Yang.
One even urged earnestly, “Li ge, don’t be angry. Yang ge is just a kid who said something in the heat of the moment.”
“Who the fuck is your Yang ge?” Xiao Yang shouted, “Xiao Li, you think you’re amazing just because you control these people? Sooner or later, you’ll die under their pathetic hands!”
Once those words came out of his mouth, all the subordinates’ faces froze.
Brushing his shirt, Xiao Li let the anger subsided and smiled. He calmly pushed through his subordinates and crouched down in front of Xiao Yang. “Xiao Yang, if you really don’t want to recognize this brother, that’s fine. Leave behind a finger. There will be nothing left between us after that. I’ll just take it as I fed and raised an unfamiliar dog.”
Xiao Yang spat the blood in his mouth on Xiao Li’s face. “That won’t work with me. Do you think I’m scared? You dare to threaten me? Chop off my finger? It’ll be better if you kill me! Didn’t our mother die because of you? If it wasn’t because of you, mom would have never—!”
Before Xiao Yang could continue, Xiao Li kicked him one last time, producing a blood-curdling screech. He stared in anger as Xiao Yang trembled painfully on the floor. None of Xiao Li’s subordinates stepped in or utter a word this time.
Standing to the side in fear, Qi Susu’s eyes widened but no tears came out. Amidst the silence, Qi Xiuyuan seemed to have awakened from a trance and walked slowly toward his sister.
Hearing the abrupt sound of Qi Xiuyuan’s footsteps, Xiao Li twisted his head around to look at him. Then he calmed down his pounding chest and put a smile on his face.
“Qi Laoshi, you and Qi Susu don’t have to worry anymore.” He sighed heavily then spoke with a pause in between each word for everyone to hear. “From this day on, I don’t have a brother.”
After those clear-cut words, Xiao Li left with his subordinates.
Seeing that the scene has finally come to an end, and how he could not have interfered, Qi Xiuyuan could only dial 112. The ambulance soon arrived and took Xiao Yang to the hospital before he and his sister went back home.
When they arrived home and finally had a chance to look at his home phone, he saw several missed calls from his superiors and colleagues. Surprisingly, there were also text messages from his students expressing their concerns since he did not seem to be in a good spirit earlier that day.
Having already skipped half a day of work, Qi Xiuyuan couldn’t help but wonder how the afternoon classes were adjusting. He quickly gave the director a call and apologized several times before asking for a few days of leave. Hearing the urgency in his voice, the director did not find the need to blame him and had even said a few words of concerns before hanging.
For the entire day, Qi Susu moved around the apartment, refusing to stay still. During dinner, she only ate a few bites then reported that she was not feeling well. As night approached, they discovered she had a slight fever. Qi Xiuyuan fed her medicine and was about to leave when she clung on to his arm.
As her trembling hands tightened, all Qi Xiuyuan could hear her mumble was, ‘Ah-Yang’ and ‘Li ge was very scary,’ which were then followed by sobs and more incoherent words. As she lied on the sofa in the living room, she tossed and turned before eventually falling asleep at midnight.
Qi Xiuyuan carried his sister back to her room, then went to the living room, only to end up walking around in circles in search of a cigarette to satisfy his sudden craving. When he could not find it, his body dropped on the couch for a much-needed rest. However, the event from earlier came kicking in.
Are Xiao Li and Xiao Yang really brothers who were on bad terms with each other or were they putting up an act? If it was just an act, then their script was extremely heartless. But if it’s not, how can they pick such a time to break off their relationship? Regardless of whether it was an act or not, blood has been shed. If the people in their circles knew they had severed their relationship, does it mean that Xiao Li’s affairs will no longer implicate Xiao Yang? That means, if Susu insists on being with Xiao Yang, how can I not consent?
With those thoughts in mind, Qi Xiuyuan soon fell asleep on the couch.
For some reason, he dreamt of the moments Xiao Li turned to look at him repeatedly. In an unknown room, Xiao Li’s eyes gaze attentively at him like two sharpen blades while his footsteps resonated. It was as if its intention was to inflict severe wounds on his body. But as Qi Xiuyuan took in those eyes, all he could see was pain and anger that caused him to back up as to avoid it. However, in the end, all he could do was look back at Xiao Li and let their eyes locked.
Due to his sympathetic nature, Qi Xiuyuan went to the hospital to visit Xiao Yang with a bag of fruits.
Xiao Yang informed him that aside from one broken rib, all other wounds will heal quickly. Qi Xiuyuan did not mention Susu and Xiao Yang did not dare ask. In truth, the two did not know what to speak about since they were not familiar with each other. With that, Qi Xiuyuan ended up leaving earlier than expected. When he turned around to bid farewell, he saw that in the sick ward of four people, only Xiao Yang’s bed seemed cold and lonely.
For a few days, Qi Susu did not get off her bed. But for some reason when she finally did, she seemed more cheerful. Perhaps, having experienced such scenes clarified her thoughts. After graduating more than half a year ago, she has been idling around at home, but now she was unexpectedly searching for a job – not by posting her resume online but actively leaving the house for interviews. One day, she returned home with a cheerful smile, saying that a real estate marketing center was willing to let her intern as a selling agent.
Qi Xiuyuan thought, this is just like you… might as well say you’re going to cause trouble.
Who could have guessed that Qi Susu’s brightened up after she started working? One weekend, Qi Xiuyuan went to her workplace for a look. When he saw his sister from the distance, chatting and laughing with her colleagues, he didn’t go but instead drove back home.
Qi Xiuyuan had asked Qi Susu before if she was still in contact with Xiao Yang. That day, his sister who had never lied to him before hesitated for the first time and said ‘no’ with strangeness in her eyes. Honestly, it was no different than sticking a piece of paper with the words ‘I’m lying’ on her forehead. Although Qi Xiuyuan knew the truth, he did not push for it. He was too strict back then and the backlash of it caused himself to have lingering fears that something worse might happen. Besides, it was easier to control things since she was home for three meals a day.
After some time, Qi Xiuyuan felt that life was returning to normal. His job was stable again and there were no more rioting events to ruin it.
The only thing was, once in a while he would recall the gang leader he had only met twice.