In his dream, Qi Xiu Yuan saw himself chasing after something. He was running inside a dark and gloomy cave that was completely decorated with thick vines. Once he got to the end, he rushed passed a long, dazzling gold river that shone so bright that anyone looking at it would find it hard to open their eyes. Nearing the end of it, he then burst into one gorgeous hall after the next until an ear-piercing noise rung out incessantly within his vicinity. And, accompanying that, several hands, ranging in various colors appeared in front of him as he continued along the way. But even with all these adversaries trying to obstruct him, he did everything he could and ran, never once stopping.
He called out.
Xiao Li, stop.
But the silhouette ahead was not reluctant to leave at all as it moved further and further away.
Suddenly a pair of eyes shot open and it took a long time for Qi Xiu Yuan to be fully awake. His entire body was completely sore and ached painfully as if it was thrown into boiling hot water and left to simmer. Qi Xiu Yuan moved his head slightly to the left and right, trying to observe his location.
Everything around him was completely bright, making it possible to make out that this was a fairly high-level hospital room. He slowly shifted his body side to side until he was able to sit up only to see that his right arm was in a cast, and needles protruding from his hand that was connected to an IV tube. Then he turned his head just a bit more and saw his sister lying fast asleep on the sofa near the window.
Noting that his cellphone was sitting silently on the table beside the bed, he picked it up, and after turning it on, he immediately dialed Xiao Li’s number.
After the phone rung three times, the call finally went through and Xiao Li’s voice was exceptionally clear to his ear as he spoke, “You’re awake?”
“Just now.” The moment he spoke, he realized that it was difficult to speak and his voice was hoarse and unpleasant, “How are you?”
“I’m fine.” Xiao Li paused for a moment, “Sorry for getting you involved.”
Hearing his tone, Qi Xiu Yuan immediately felt a rather ominous feeling overtake him, “Xiao Li?”
“Qi Xiu Yuan,” Xiao Li sounded awfully calm, “We shouldn’t see each other anymore.”
Hearing those words, Qi Xiu Yuan turned pale with fright, “What’s going on?”
Xiao continued to say, “You don’t have to worry about the ambulance we called yesterday or the hospital bill. Just rest well and take care of yourself.” He paused for a moment, then spoke again, “After this, don’t call anymore.”
“Wait a minute.” Qi Xiu Yuan immediately interrupted him, “Xiao Li, don’t make me worry. What exactly happened?”
Silence clouded them for a moment when Xiao Li paused again, then he lowered his voice, “You…you nearly died.”
Qi Xiu Yuan was burning with impatient and anxiety, “But, I didn’t die……did you…did you make a deal with him?”
Xiao Li did not answer his question as his voice sank, “Since you’ve known me, you’ve been constantly injured, each time more serious than the previous. Will you only be afraid once you lose your life because of me?……even if you are not afraid, it will be very difficult for me.”
Lowering his head until a stabbing pain struck his backbone, Qi Xiu Yuan finally asked in a low voice, “Are you saying……I am a burden to you?”
Xiao Li went silent for a very long time before he answered, “Since you know this, then give up.”
“But I –-“
“Qi Xiu Yuan.” Xiao Li cut him off, “Being that we know each other, don’t make it difficult for me.”
When he hung up immediately after, his last words thrust Qi Xiu Yuan into the depth of an icy cave. His body goes cold and as traces of pain ran up his spine, he stared blankly at nothing for a while before he repeatedly dialed the number again. But this time, Xiao Li did not answer the call.
If he had known earlier that this man lives a life in a world that was completely differenced from him, and within that world, was a shadow that laid behind the Arc de Triomphe, an abduction to an old and abandon school, networking that was a result of a mixture of hatred derived from grievances and benefits, a brutal sneak attack on a rainy night, as well as the possibility of even more serious affairs that he has yet to discover. For him, this world was too chaotic to the point that he doesn’t know how to control it at all, and so much so that when facing it, he was unable to withstand a single blow.
But against all this, he fell in love with one of the men so strongly engulfed in that world.
He should have known earlier what the final outcome would be like, but he had no means to snatch that person away. Instead, he let him sink deeper into the darkness.
He thought that at most he would sacrifice himself, but had forgotten that person would also pay a price.
Captured by a wide nearly impenetrable net, what can an unarmed and defenseless man who loves him do to save him?
Qi Xiu Yuan stopped his incessant action of calling Xiao Li’s number as he stared self-loathingly at the two characters that appeared on the screen. All he could feel was endless throbs of pain strike his insides over and over again, causing his complexion to lose color while his body broke out in cold sweat.
“Ge.” A timid voice sounded off, Susu’s hand carefully supported him.
Hearing her voice, Qi Xiu Yuan was pulled out of his train of thought. He took a deep breath and picked his head up to look at her, “Who brought me here?”
“I don’t know. I saw this note and came to look for you here,” said Susu as she nervously took out a piece of paper, “It took me a while to find it too.”
Qi Xiu Yuan’s free hand reached out to take hold of the paper, laying it flat on the blanket.
This was the first time that he saw Xiao Li’s handwriting, and to his surprise, it was unexpectedly bold. Aside from his signature at the end, there were only four short sentences written on the paper——
「Don’t worry, Qi Xiu Yuan is at the nearest hospital.」
「Request a leave of absence from the school on his behalf.」
「Tell him not to wait for me.」
「There’s congee in the kitchen.」
A rather complicated expression played out on Qi Xiu Yuan’s face as he stared attentively at the paper. Then he suddenly smiled, but this smile soon faded away, transforming into a pale and painful look instead.
“Ge,” said Susu, a bit worried as she looked at him, “What happened? Is it because of the pervert that was stalking me? Did you get into a fight with him? Ge, it’s my fault……”
Qi Xiu Yuan looked as the tears in her eye glistened against the light and flowed down. He sighed and reached out to touch her hair, “Why are you admitting fault to something like this? If you’re wrong, then could it be that the pervert is right?”
Hearing him comfort her, Qi Susu felt even worse. Her tears burst out as she threw herself on him causing an overwhelming stab of pain to emerge at his stomach while at the same time knocking the IV bag stand down. The medicine bottle hanging on it nearly smash on his head, and when the two went to pick it up in the midst of the confusion, there was blood gushing out from the IV needle in his arm.
In the end, the nurse rushed in to settle this mess and took the time to reprimand the before taking her leave. Qi Susu was so scared she sat down on the chair beside Qi Xiu Yuan and continued to cry, all the while saying, “Ge, I’m useless. Please don’t be angry!”
At first Qi Xiu Yuan wanted to comfort her, but when he heard the word ‘useless’, his expression stiffened instead. He let her cry for a while before softly speaking to her again, “I’m a bit hungry.”
Susu wiped her tears, “Sorry, I didn’t think properly. You didn’t eat breakfast and it’s already lunchtime. Ge, I’m sorry……”
Qi Xiu Yuan sighed again, “What use is there to say sorry. Order some food from the hospital dining hall for me.”
When Susu nodded her head and got up to leave, Qi Xiu Yuan asked, “Did you bring money with you?”
“Yes, I did.” Susu pulled out her wallet and showed him.
“Ask the nurse to show you the way.”
Susu only said ‘yeah’ and pushed the door out to leave.
Bearing with the stabbing pain, Qi Xiu Yuan slowly leaned again the headboard. He stared at the clock hanging on the other side of the wall and started to count as the hand moved. Just when he counted up to four minutes and twelve seconds, someone pushed the door open and entered the room.
“The news traveled really fast to you,” said Qi Xiu Yuan in a slow and hoarse tone.
“You knew I was going to come?” asked the person that came in without no trace of politeness as he sat down beside him.
“The ambulance brought over such an ordinary patient, yet he’s somehow enjoying such a room?” Qi Xiu Yuan sighed, “I guessed a rather charitable person has helped out, but I didn’t think that the person was you.”
The person faintly smiled but did not say anything.
Qi Xiu Yuan gave him a quick glance before his eyes hang low in contemplation for a moment. Then he suddenly asked, “Does she look like him or not?”
“Didn’t you said that I didn’t look like my father or my mother? Then, does my sister look like them?” Qi Xiu Yuan smiled, “Didn’t you intentionally went to see her yesterday?”