Chapter 23 – This life is still long
The Supervision Committee’s inspection of the Shen family lasted three days. After three days, a group of people were kicked out of the Shen family in order to settle the small problems. In principle, it was not enough to solve the bigger problems, but with this, the Shen family would only have to pay a hefty fine.
After the inspection team left, vice president Chen finally breathed a sigh of relief and made a phone call to express his gratitude to Xing Zhongwan.
After Xing Zhongwan hung up the phone, he looked up at the indifferent man on the news and frowned. Qi Yun’s physical condition was reported to him regularly by Xue Qing. His injury has not healed but Qi Yun remained very headstrong about what he wanted to do. No one could persuade him to stay, and he couldn’t stop because of the current situation. The Supervision Committee’s investigation of the Shen family was settled very easily as they weren’t able to find a big problem, so the next problem now was Qi Yun’s safety.
Xing Zhongwan’s expression was not good. He has not slept well for the past few days under the tension and high pressure. Looking at the calendar on the desk, it was about time for him to return to Country X…
Qi Yun was in the living room changing his bandage dressings, as well as the cotton swabs on his wounds and couldn’t help but frown. When Shen Congxin came in, Qi Yun was putting on his coat and preparing to go out. He stepped forward to help him, “Let’s rest a little longer. There will be a press conference later and a memorial service along with a funeral tomorrow morning. Your injury…”
Qi Yun buttoned his coat and smoothed the wrinkles on his sleeves, “You don’t need to go to the memorial service tomorrow.”
Shen Congxin nodded obediently, “Big cousin, I think Gao Qiao is right. You really should go to the temple. Let’s walk around, this year has been too bad on you.”
Qi Yun was a little confused, “Gao Qiao?”
Shen Congxin said, “Yeah, I met him in the company yesterday. Didn’t their family cooperate with the Shen’s? He came to talk about a temple in the south of the Yangtze River that is very spiritual and asked me to take you for a walk.”
Qi Yun was stunned for a while. The corner of his mouth twitched and curled up. Shen Congxin wondered if there was anything funny. Why was his big cousin so happy when he, himself was about to die of worry?
“Please thank Gao Qiao for his kindness. I will definitely go over there to exorcise my bad luck.”
At Qi Zongcheng’s memorial service, Qi Yun sat in the next-of-kin seat and looked at the huge portrait in front of him. Was it sad that his relative just passed away after leaving so disgracefully, being pissed off to death? It’s just pathetic! In the last few years, he had witnessed Qi Yun’s hardships, but he didn’t forget to leave his only grandson in hell. Grandfather, you didn’t even want to leave me a chance to be a good person.
Qi Yun coldly watched people go up to pay their respects and offer flowers, but his thoughts had long since been empty. The string of Buddha beads in his hand were cold. He took off the beads on his wrist. He has never been willing to take it off for five years, but now he was no longer qualified to wear it. Qi Yun’s hands were destined to be covered with blood and he couldn’t afford to hold these beads with his heart still stuck in the past.
Qi Yun took Qi Zongcheng’s urn to Jiangnan the next day. Qi Zongcheng’s hometown was in the south of the Yangtze River, so the urn will naturally be brought back to his homeland. It is impossible to verify whether Qi Zongcheng had this wish before his death, but Qi Yun just used this as a guise to return to Jiangnan because there was someone he wanted to see.
Qi Yun’s secretary was seriously injured and still recuperating in the hospital. With only Shen Congxin by his side, the volunteers and teachers in the temple were all familiar with him. It was a place where all living beings were equal, and everyone had equal rights and positions did not matter.
Qi Yun lit some incense, knelt on the cushion and kowtowed respectfully. The wound on his abdomen has still not healed, but he didn’t care even if the movement aggravated his wound. It was winter in Jiangnan and it was raining. The joints of his legs, which were injured in his early years, were swollen again. This kind of wet and cold weather was terrible for Qi Yun. When he knelt down, the pain was so severe that he lost the strength to even get up. Shen Congxin rushed over to help him but Qi Yun stopped him and stood up little by little with his hands on the ground. The pain from the friction on his joints made his back soak up with sweat. He stood up straight, his back upright as if nothing happened. The volunteer passed him a lamp. Qi Yun took the brush and paused for a while before then writing three words. The volunteer asked him if he wanted to send the lamp to the shelves at the back as usual but Qi Yun refused, “Please help me get it back.”
The volunteer nodded and took it. He glanced to the back while holding the lamp offering. There was someone there. As soon as he knelt down and bowed, he already knew who that person was.
The volunteer came out very soon, “Sir, there is a ginkgo forest at the back of the temple. The scenery is very pretty.”
Qi Yun nodded, turned back and took a meaningful look at the lamp-offering altar before leaving the hall.
Standing behind was Xing Zhongwan. He could see Qi Yun’s every move clearly after he entered the hall. He lost a lot of weight and there were a few more strands of white hair on his head. Xing Zhongwan stared at his head with a serious expression.
Qi Yun’s eyes were less obsessive but firmer than before. He had made up his mind. Xing Zhongwan leaned against the door with his hands down and looked at the safety lamp that Qi Yun asked the volunteer to bring inside. On the note, the words ‘live well’ were written. Xing Zhongwan raised his hand and gently stroked it. The undried ink left marks on his fair fingers. Xing Zhongwan’s eyes hurt and the corner of his nose was sour, but a smile emerged from the corner of his mouth. This is the only time he smiled from his heart ever since he returned to China.
Qi Yun, you really let go of it…
Behind the temple is a long path, with rows full of ginkgo biloba trees. There were very few people on this mountain road and they were even more scarce due to the rain today. Qi Yun asked Shen Congxin to wait in the car below. As he held an umbrella by himself, he looked up at a row of straight ginkgo trees before walking to the fence.
He paused for a moment and looked down at his already wet leather shoes before looking forward slowly. The drizzle hit his black umbrella without making a sound. The rain was light but every waterdrop was dense enough to slowly soak up dry objects. It was just like the heavy feelings his heart had unknowingly been soaked full with.
There was the sound of footsteps on fallen leaves on the other side of the fence. Qi Yun knew that he had come.
“Actually, I don’t remember how you looked when I first met you. I only vaguely remember that you were dirty, thin and not beautiful, but you took my hand and said you wanted to marry me. I was very angry at that time. This stinky boy was blind and couldn’t even tell apart male and female.”
A chuckle came from the other side of the wall and Qi Yun laughed lightly too. There were no traces of worldly troubles, adding a touch of warmth to this rainy winter solstice.
“When you came back, I actually wanted to ask you if your marriage proposal from that year still counted or not. If you still want to marry me, then go ahead and marry me.” The footsteps on the other side of the wall paused and did not answer.
Qi Yun stretched out his hand and brushed over the wet weeds beside him, “Since I met you, I have often wondered if we would have turned out differently if our circumstances weren’t so awkward when we first met. Without the paralyzed Qi Yun, or the forced Xing Zhongwan. If I pursued you earnestly.” He seemed to be amused by his own words.
“I’m guessing that I will be beaten up so badly that I’ll be searching for my teeth on the ground because of your irritable temper. Even if our ancestors had a good relationship, you won’t show me any courtesy. After all, the fairy sister of your dreams became a man and shattered the dreams of your first love. “
Xing Zhongwan at the other end of the wall laughed and replied, “You really know me. But if you weren’t injured, you’d be a thousand times more calculative and often try to judge if I were trying to hurt you or not. I have seen you like that before. At that time, when you went to the Xing family to break off the engagement with a face that looked like everyone there had a blood feud with you. Why are you so unlikable?”
Qi Yun, who remembered this couldn’t help but touch his face, “You managed to take care of me for so long even if I’m so unlikable.”
Xing Zhongwan touched his nose before pulling out a cigarette and holding it in his hand but he didn’t light it, “I must’ve owed you in my last life, so I came to repay the debt.”
Qi Yun looked halfway before and lowered his head, “Now that I think about it, the days when I was paralyzed on the bed were my happiest days. At that time, I tried desperately to get better and wanted to see you, but now I really think about it. I wish I was paralyzed like back then again. “
Xing Zhongwan tutted, “Don’t. No fool will take care of you if you are paralyzed again.”
Qi Yun paused, “Are you still angry? About the things I lied to you about.”
Xing Zhongwan sighed, biting his cigarette and looking up at the sky full of haze, “Yes. Still angry, very angry. But things have already happened, so there’s no meaning in that anymore. It’s been so many years and if I’m still holding onto that, it’ll only prove how much I don’t appreciate myself.”
Qi Yun turned to look at the moss-covered fence, “Thank you.”
Xing Zhongwan sighed, “Why are you thanking me? As a human, everyone is allowed to cry, make trouble and also act spoiled, but next time you can’t use this method if you meet someone you like. Be honest, love is something that can’t be calculated. People who love you will always stay for you, and those who don’t love you will cause the both of you to become tortured by one another.”
Qi Yun’s pace slowed down. He was towards the end of his life. Will he meet someone he likes again? It might be difficult.
“Shen Qinghong said the same thing to me back then. I don’t know how to love someone. I’ve troubled you during this time. I’m sorry. What you said to me in the small building that day was wrong. Saying that I deserve better, but in fact, I don’t. I have done so many wrong things in my life, and I can’t even remember some of the things that I need to atone for. I have spent my life’s worth of luck when I met you. I can’t stop now or make one wrong move. I forced myself into my current dilemma.”
Qi Yun stopped to face the wall, he knew that Wanwan was listening quietly from there, “I was always forcing you every step of the way. That pressure almost landed you in someone else’s trap again. When you meet me, all I ever bring you is trouble.”
Xing Zhongwan was stunned, “You can’t say that you’re trouble. You never give yourself a little leeway when you do things. It’s too ruthless, hurting others and hurting yourself.”
Qi Yun’s hand brushed over the moss-covered wall, before finally turning around to look at the road that was about to end, “This is the first time we have opened our hearts to talk, if we were like that earlier, could we have actually become friends and called each other out to meet up for a drink together during our troubled times?”
Xing Zhongwan’s eyes were red and his hands holding the umbrella handle cracked because of the force. Nevertheless, he endured it.
Qi Yun looked at the black car that was waiting for him not far ahead, “Return and don’t come back. This is a place full of tough decisions. Stay in country X. I will visit auntie’s [/mfn]Xing Zhongwan’s mother[/mfn] tomb from time to time for you. Don’t worry.”
Xing Zhongwan couldn’t hold the cigarette in his hand anymore. His eyes were red and dripping with tears. He pressed his fist tightly against his lips and there was a deep, red circle bite mark on it.
“If… and I mean if.” Qi Yun said carefully.
“If we meet again next time, can you call me bro even just once?”
Xing Zhongwan squatted down, his eyes were stuffy and he couldn’t stand at all. Squatting down relieved the pain in his heart.
Qi Yun smiled, “I also want to call out to you one last time.”
Xing Zhongwan buried his head between his knees, and the soft sound from the other side of the wall made him unable to hold back any longer.
“May you be well. Have a safe journey.”
Qi Yun stared at the wall in a daze, a line of tears slid down the white and slender chin. He then turned around and walked towards the black car. Step by step, firm and steady, without looking back.
The two people holding umbrellas finished walking through the path separated by a wall and walked to opposite sides. They were never travelers on the same path.
Xue Qing took Xing Zhongwan’s umbrella and wiped the raindrops on his shoulders, “Cry it out if you’re unhappy. Don’t hold back, I won’t laugh at you.”
Xing Zhongwan didn’t speak, turned around and got into the car. There were two boxes in the car. One of them contained a bracelet. It was the bracelet that he broke. Even so, it is now being held by Xing Zhongwan. When Shen Congxin sent it, he said it was Qi Yun’s decision to do so. This was what belonged to his Xing family, so please be sure to accept it as it is now returned to the original owner. In the other box was the Buddha beads he gave to Qi Yun five years ago. The reason why he gave the beads to Qi Yun was because he wanted to take away his anger so that there was more room for everything else. So that there was more peace in his heart and less obsession. It was obvious that he returned the beads because the path he was about to tread was drenched in blood, so he no longer deserved it.
Qi Yun was about to make his move, but he endured so long just to wait for him to leave and return to Country X again.
If you don’t advance, you can only retreat, and Qi Yun has no way to retreat, so he can only move forward. The two people who didn’t want to drag each other down could only part ways, maybe one day in the future, they will be able to really meet and give a toast to each other with a smile.
Xing Zhongwan bent down and buried his face in his hands. Xue Qing couldn’t see his expression but could understand his heartache. There were too many uncontrollable things in life, but he had done his best to get this far. After caring and liking a person, even if that person has caused him harm, after the complicated feelings have been lost over the years, only the joy from before is left. They haven’t faced each other for a long time, but now they can do something for each other, even if they had to live well in different corners of the world, it was the best outcome for each of them. Xue Qing turned around and didn’t speak again. She ordered the driver to drive to the airport.
Xing Zhongwan raised his face. The redness in his eyes did not fade away, but he could not shed a single tear.
Qi Yun, if I could go back to that time, I would still say those words, ‘Sister Fairy, how about I marry you when I grow up?’
Qi Yun was sitting in the car as the rain got heavier. The sound of raindrops hitting the glass window was loud. Shen Congxin opened the car door and sat beside Qi Yun, “Big cousin, they’re gone.”
Qi Yun stared at his soaked trousers. Gone? Just leave, it will be safer to go back to Country X now. Then, he’ll be able to make a move soon…
“The Romance of the Western Chamber” was playing in the car and Qi Yun smiled. He didn’t know if he would ever have the chance to hear him sing the Western Chamber in his life again.
T/N: A little sentimental this chapter… With Qi Yun and Xing Zhongwan walking down opposite sides of the same wall. If only Qi Yun did not have to go through with it… But don’t worry, they will triumph above all and get their happily ever after~
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