translator: baumkuchen editor: glitterypanda
Neither Chi Xiaochi nor 061 knew about the Lord God’s scheme.
Cleaning finished, Chi Xiaochi went to the airport to pick up Shen Changqing’s parents.
The flight from Shen Changqing’s hometown to Vancouver took 18 hours, including the time taken to change planes.
Shen Changqing could now be considered half a celebrity in many cities, so it wouldn’t be good for him to appear at the airport. After skillfully shaking off the reporters following him with the ease of experience and arranging to meet up with his parents by the exit, he then waited for more than an hour before seeing the Shen parents coming out with the tide of people.
Both elders looked utterly travel-worn.
The sunglasses-clad Chi Xiaochi stepped out of his car.
He wasn’t dressed up like how he had for the public lens lately, wearing casual clothes, with a long scarf draped around his neck, succeeding in looking both appropriate and neat.
Other than being a little attention-grabbing due to him being taller than the average person, no one recognised him as that media darling who’d appeared in all kinds of news recently.
Upon seeing the Shen parents, he took off his sunglasses and strode over towards them.
Shen Changqing’s height had skipped a generation. His father was shorter than him by a whole head, not to mention his petite mother.
This one tall, one short, one neat, one disorderly, standing together in the same spot, would inevitably be rather conspicuously contradictory.
As soon as Madam Shen saw him, she started to prattle on out of habit, “Were you worried waiting? It’s all because of your Dad. He’s never left the country but still wanted to show off, saying that he could find the way, and in the end he followed the crowd and made a wrong turn, but still wouldn’t let me call you for the life of him……”
This was what was called a mother and son bond, even if they hadn’t met in over a year, a mere sentence could pull you into smoke and fire of the human world.
As the little leader of their group, being exposed by his wife before his son, Mister Shen couldn’t quite hold on to his face. He waved his hand, saying, “Why talk about this, why talk about this.”
Chi Xiaochi smiled.
In a small voice, he called out, “……Mom, Dad.”
Madam Shen looked at her son. “You’ve gotten thinner. Like when you were younger, you still don’t know how to have a good meal.”
Chi Xiaochi replied, as if inadvertently, “I’ve already gotten a little fatter than I was in the past.”
Whenever Chi Xiaochi spoke or acted, it was always for a distinct purpose. Shen Changqing’s parents might blame their son for not contacting them for so many years, so he decided to act a little pitiful first to ward that off.
When dealing with with the Cheng family’s relationship, just like now, he had used reason to judge what the other party might be feeling according to their personalities, and come up with the appropriate response.
……He’d long gotten used to doing things like this.
But upon seeing Madam Shen’s tears, Chi Xiaochi was stunned stiff.
That woman, her hair slightly unkempt, several tufts of white, ragged hair hanging before her forehead, spoke in an outburst, “You’re just like your dad, you never say anything.”
“……Why didn’t you say something, ah? Your dad and mom were always waiting for you at home, if you weren’t doing well, why didn’t you tell us? Your dad and mom would have taken you back home……”
Chi Xiaochi was wrapped tight in a warm embrace which smelled slightly of the economy class on-flight meal.
Cheng Jian from the previous world was also a close relative, but he wouldn’t have made such an intimate gesture towards Cheng Yuan.
Chi Xiaochi lowered his head, unexpectedly letting a slight helpless expression slip out.
Fortunately, there was 061. “At times like this, you need to hug back.”
Only then did Chi Xiaochi think of it. “……Oh.”
As he reached out his hands and wrapped them tightly around Madam Shen’s waist, Chi Xiaochi said to himself, “……My bad, I’ve never acted out this kind of thing before.”
061’s heart suddenly hurt a little for him.
What Chi Xiaochi had said was true. Probably by coincidence, or perhaps by avoiding such scripts on purpose, out of all the movie characters Chi Xiaochi had acted as, not a single one of them had had a big emotional moment with their parents.
Because he’d never acted it out before, he’d never experienced it before, he could only rely on his imagination.
Without warning, an image suddenly appeared in 061’s mind.
……A bowl of noodles with egg and shredded meat.
The egg was a double yolk, forming delicate white wisps in the fresh soup.
A yolk lay atop the noodles, the other yolk buried under steaming hot noodles.
The sudden appearance of this image disrupted his data stream.
061 ‘hmm’-ed lowly. “……Oh.”
Chi Xiaochi asked, “What’s wrong?”
It was only a fleeting image. The chaotic data stream quickly re-stabilised.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
061 mjwf yjmx ab tlwrfio, ab olcv atja Jtl Wljbmtl tjv jigfjvs ygbeuta Zlrafg Vtfc jcv Zjvjw Vtfc bcab atf mjg, jcv kjr meggfcais qijmlcu atflg ieuujuf lcab atf agecx.
Ktf jlgqbga kjr, joafg jii, oliifv klat wjcs qfbqif mbwlcu jcv ublcu, cba j ubbv qijmf ab ajix jybea atf qjra.
061 didn’t reply to Chi Xiaochi’s question, rather, asking, “How are you, do you feel any discomfort?”
He had never touched Chi Xiaochi when he was in a fully-conscious state, exactly because he was worried about him having a reaction, but Madam Shen had just hugged him for so long……
Chi Xiaochi was silent.
He closed the trunk and got into the driver’s seat. After setting in, he lifted his hand and rubbed his stomach.
That place wasn’t going through any vomit-inducing undulations, calm, warm, and soft.
He spoke softly, “……So this is how it feels.”
……The feeling of a familial embrace, the feeling of having a home to return to, felt like this.
061’s heart softened. He replied, “En, it’s like this.”
Chi Xiaochi took his parents back to the Zhou home.
Upon seeing the magnificent villa, Mister Shen and Madam Shen unexpectedly didn’t have any of the praise they’d had in the past few times they’d come to visit. When she saw the outer walls of the villa from far away, Madam Shen picked out a number of faults. After coming in, she had another variety of criticisms. Finally, she gave a strong concluding statement, “The feng shui isn’t good.”
Chi Xiaochi smiled as he said, “Right, it isn’t very good. So I’m planning on selling it.”
Mister Shen said, “Surnamed Zhou agrees?”
“Whether he agrees or not, doesn’t matter much.” Chi Xiaochi steeped tea for the two elders. “This property no longer belongs to him.”
In the divorce agreement Zhao Guanlan had drawn up for him, he had asked for this house.
And Zhao Guanlan had promised him, everything in this agreement would be placed under Shen Changqing’s name, exactly as asked.
He’d already made plans on how to use this villa. After he gained possession of it, he would be able to directly sell it off, to pay for the rest of the price of that house in Melbourne.
Madam Shen said, “Yes, don’t stay here anymore. You should come home.”
Chi Xiaochi smiled, “When everything has been dealt with, I’ll go back, but I might take a trip around the world, to drive away my cares.”
Chi Xiaochi wouldn’t make any promises.
If Shen Changqing was still here, when he returned this body back to him, whether he wanted to go home, or travel around the world, would all be up to him to decide.
What Chi Xiaochi could do, was set up a peaceful little nest for him in his dream location, giving him a haven for him to hide away from the rest of the world.
Humans had the instincts of animals. After getting hurt, they would need a place which belonged to them, and that only they knew about to heal.
Chi Xiaochi had experience with regards to this, so he would stand up for Shen Changqing.
Seeing their son being so optimistic, Mister and Madam Shen met eyes, and let out sighs of relief.
Shen Changqing didn’t know how to cook, so Chi Xiaochi didn’t show off his cooking skills, taking Mister and Madam Shen to a Chinese restaurant with very good reviews for a meal.
After the meal, Chi Xiaochi got up and went to the front counter to settle the bill.
The owner was a middle-aged, plump man, a gold chain around his neck and a long, old Qinglong tattooed on his arm.
Despite the bad taste, he was really in line with some Westerner’s perception of Chinese people.
He spoke with a Southern accent, “Take back your money, it’s free.”
Chi Xiaochi, “……En.”
The man pushed the money back. “I saw you in the news. It’s been really rough on you. Next time you meet someone, you should keep your eyes open.”
Chi Xiaochi wedged his money under the golden “beckoning wealth” striped toad, then turned and walked back to his table.
Behind him, the man tried to call him back with “hey”s, but Chi Xiaochi only looked back and smiled at him.
Since Chi Xiaochi’s mind was set, the plump, tattooed man didn’t say anything else about everything being free of charge.
When the platter of post-meal fruit was sent over, there was a light pink sticky note stuck to the platter, on it, an image of Hello Kitty’s head.
When Chi Xiaochi had went to settle the bill just now, he’d seen that design of sticky note at the counter.
Chi Xiaochi took down the sticky note, storing it in his wallet.
When he got home, after settling Mister and Madam Shen in the guest room they were staying in together for the time being, Chi Xiaochi went back to his room to rest.
He had always been a light sleeper. In the middle of the night, Chi Xiaochi was awakened by a slight sound from outside his room.
Chi Xiaochi asked 061, “A thief?”
“……No.” After 061 went to investigate, he said, “It’s Father Shen.”
Chi Xiaochi, somewhat surprised, got out of bed and went out.
The sight that appeared before him gave him a slight shock.
……It was already 2:30 am, but Mister Shen was actually in the bathroom, washing the toilet.
Upon seeing his son who’d suddenly appeared, Mister Shen, plastic toilet brush in hand, had a slightly embarrassed expression. “Why are you up? Was I too loud?”
“No,” Chi Xiaochi said, “It’s so late, why aren’t you sleeping? If you don’t sleep well and allow yourself to adjust to jetlag, it won’t be good for your heart.”
“I slept for too long in the plane, after sleeping for a while I couldn’t sleep any longer,” Mister Shen said, “When I got up at night, I saw the toilet was a little dirty, so I casually cleaned it a little for you.”
Chi Xiaochi looked at Mister Shen. A smile slowly appeared on his face.
“You should go sleep.” He reached for the toilet brush in Mister Shen’s hands. “I’ll do it.”
“I’m almost done, I’m almost done.” But Mister Shen wasn’t willing to give it to him, “I’m just doing it casually, I’ll be done soon. You’ve only just recovered, don’t strain yourself.”
Over the next ten days, Chi Xiaochi spent time together with Mister and Madam Shen, during which he accepted several media interviews, and then expressed to the rest of the world that he needed a break, and to please not disturb them.
Since his injury, Zhou Kai’s regret level had been increasing day by day.
Chi Xiaochi often heard about him from the hospital nurses.
Zhou Kai cried, Zhou Kai raged, Zhou Kai pointed at the doctor’s nose and scolded her, Zhou Kai begged the doctor to cure him quickly, Zhou Kai tried to contact his former subordinates from the company but was met with countless doors slammed shut in his face……
Chi Xiaochi expressed his deep sympathy towards his experiences, and redeemed another card.
Over these ten or so days, the stock in his storage had become very plentiful.
Right now, he had gathered a full deck of cards in his hands, all of which could be used to play Fight the Landlord.
On the sixteenth day since his admission to the hospital, probably because he finally recognised the reality that he’d already become a useless person, fully understood the stakes, and knew that if he didn’t agree to a divorce, Shen Changqing had a hundred different ways of making life hell for him, Zhou Kai relented, and decided to go ahead with the divorce.
The day Help was discharged from the hospital and came home, Chi Xiaochi finally let Zhou Kai’s regret level reach the maximum and meet the criteria for leaving this world.
Before he left, he specifically let his parents know that he wasn’t feeling well and needed to take a rest.
Returning to his bedroom, he laid down on the bed, and placed his hand on his chest.
He had nothing he needed to say to Shen Changqing.
Even if he was going to be someone else’s life mentor, he was more willing to use his actions to speak for him, rather than using his words.
For a foolish child like Cheng Yuan, he still needed to give him a few reminders, but Shen Changqing’s mistake was only a moment of blindness.
Compared to many people who could clearly run but continued to hope that their abusers would change, Shen Changqing had already done very well.
He said to Shen Changqing, who might still exist in his body, “I’m going to leave now.”
He said, “You have your parents, you have Help. Don’t be too consumed by hatred.”
Three years of a life not fit for humans was enough to drive a man crazy.
One of the most tragic things in this world was a warrior who slayed dragons becoming an evil dragon.
Chi Xiaochi pasted the sticky note which had already lost its stickiness onto Shen Changqing’s forehead, saying, “If there’s ever the chance in the future, let me give Help a hug.”
After that, Chi Xiaochi closed his eyes, and his consciousness left the world.
Half a day later.
Shen Changqing, who’d just woken up from his high fever, hugged his mother, who had been caring for him by his side and was so anxious that her lips had started to blister, bursting into bitter tears.
Madam Shen had felt like her son, who had been acting as if everything was fine for the past few days, was a little strange. Upon seeing Shen Changqing like this, a big stone in her heart also fell to the ground.
She caressed his back, crying more sadly than he was, “Okay, okay. Just cry it out, child.”
With not a small amount of effort, Shen Changqing caught his breath. Leaning over his mother’s shoulder, he turned and noticed a Hello Kitty sticky note on one side of his nightstand.
On it, were a few words.
“Walk slowly on the road, there are a lot of good people in this world.”
Next to it was also a very ugly smiley face, reminding one of that tacky gold chain and dragon.
Shen Changqing’s heart moved slightly. A warmth entered his heart, reigniting a little flame in that heart that had wanted to die for so many years.
Two days later.
Shen Changqing, holding a big envelope that was stuffed to the brim with one arm, came to the door of Zhou Kai’s ward on his own. He took a deep breath, pushed open the door, and entered.
In the beginning, Shen Changqing thought that when he saw Zhou Kai, he would be afraid, he would want to escape, his legs would go weak. But, when he saw that old man past his prime in the bed who’d been drying out, dispirited for who knows how long, who was like a completely different man from the one in his memories, Shen Changqing was relieved.
……Without any expensive perfume to cover it up, the room was filled with that particular smell of an old man.
That crazed violent abuser was now, to put it frankly, nothing more than a hunk of meat past its expiry.
Upon seeing who his visitor was, Zhou Kai, who’d just gotten up and hadn’t had the time to wash up and had messy hair and a dirty face, let out what he thought was a malevolent smile. “You still know to come?”
These worlds were cold and threatening, but given that he was incapable of urinating or defecating by himself and could only rely on a catheter to pee, a bag half full of which was hanging by his bed, it was impossible for Shen Changqing to feel any fear whatsoever anymore.
Zhou Kai tried to hold onto his face, and bluffed, “You dare come here on your own today? Where’s your lover?”
In the face of these familiar insults, Shen Changqing was so calm he surprised himself.
He walked up to Zhou Kai’s bed and said, “Don’t worry, this will be the last time I see you. I have already applied for a restraining order from the courts. In the future, as long as you get within a hundred metres of me, I will have the right to call the police. I have already handed over all rights to manage the divorce arrangements to Lawyer Zhao.”
Zhou Kai stared at him. “Then why are you here?”
Shen Changqing began to open the large envelope he’d brought.
“……In the past, I always thought I had no choice.
“Later on, someone told me that there is always a choice, there is always a way.”
Upon seeing what was in the envelope, Zhou Kai’s pupils shrank sharply.
That was his precious stamp collection! The stamp collection his father had given to him!
He dared not believe it. “……Shen Changqing, what are you going to do?!”
“……I’m doing something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time,” Shen Changqing said, “I always didn’t know why you could care so much about a book of dead things, but couldn’t treat living human beings like people.”
He opened up the first page, and took out a stamp.
Zhou Kai couldn’t move. He could only shake his head desperately, a despairing, defeated expression emerging on his face. “Don’t…… I’m begging you, please don’t……”
Shen Changqing said, “You clearly know what ‘one and only’ means, so why did you have to destroy my one and only hope.”
He raised his hands high, pinched each side of the stamp with each hand, and slowly pulled on each end.
A slight tearing sound was heard, practically tearing Zhou Kai’s apart straight down the middle.
Shen Changqing stared at him, threw the pieces of the stamp into his face, and took out the next stamp.
Zhou Kai roared uncontrollably, screamed, and finally, turned to non-stop pleading.
Just like how he had treated him countless times in the past, Shen Changqing ignored him.
The soundproofing of the ward was too good. By the time a nurse noticed his abnormal blood pressure and heart rate, and rushed to the ward, the sight before her gave her a shock.
—— A blank stamp album had been thrown onto the bed. Zhou Kai was holding up the stamp album in both hands, his strength exhausted, tears falling nonstop.
The bed was littered with fragments of stamps worth millions, blown about the room by wind coming in from the open window.
While Shen Changqing’s figure had already disappeared from the room.
Shen Changqing walked out of the ward building,
Help, his leash held by Madam Shen, was waiting downstairs. He was nodding his head and wagging his tail in a friendly manner at a passing female dog, but after spotting Shen Changqing, he tried to leap onto Shen Changqing in joy, tugging against his leash.
Shen Changqing crouched down and buried his face in the thick fur of Help’s neck, rubbing it against him in a tender and cautious manner.
He said softly, “Come, Help, let’s go home.”
The author has something to say:
Xiao Shen finally vented his anger qwq
In life, Mister Zhou was also a man with dignity, let’s all spit on him before we leave.
baum: Surprise!! we’re posting the last chapter of this arc early, cause we’d feel bad making you guys wait a whole week for just one chapter <3
I’m so proud of Shen Changqing T T The stamp part is just so satisfying hahahaha
Anyways, see you guys next week with the new arc~