BXXD Chapter 2: If I didn’t let go of him soon, he was going to beat me up

I had always believed in the causality of karma, as well as appropriate retribution. Lao Ji’s death and my illness were the best proof of both of those concepts.

Because Lao Ji was unfaithful to his marriage and betrayed his family, his retribution was an unsightly death. I… also did something that I shouldn’t have, which was why I was being punished in such a way by God. So I didn’t really feel like I was being treated unjustly, nor did I blame the heavens or anyone else; on the contrary, it was a liberating “as expected, it came in the end” sort of feeling.

Ever since I was young, my mom was very strict with me. Later on, after my dad died and the entire family fell onto her shoulders, she grew even stricter and also started to have higher expectations for me.

I began learning the cello when I was four years old. My dad was still there at the time, so our family circumstances weren’t too bad, and it wasn’t a big deal to pick up an instrument as a way of cultivating an artistic mindset. But then my mother was left as the only pillar of the family, and our household income declined steeply. I originally shouldn’t have continued learning this type of money-squandering instrument, yet my mom didn’t allow me to quit.

This family had to remain the same, regardless if there was a man in it or not. Although she never voiced it out loud, I understood her obstinance. She insisted on showing outsiders that even if her man was dead, she—Bai Xiuying—could raise us into people worthy of respect all on her own.

My mother had to work extremely hard, and she didn’t have it easy. In order not to cause her trouble, I never let her worry about my studies or cello practice; I also never felt like it was too much work for me to take care of my younger sister or help out around the house, because those were all things that I—the sole male in the family—should’ve been doing. As long as I could ease my mother’s burdens and do something for this family, I was willing to give anything a try.

Consequently, I was overjoyed when I found out that my school had one guaranteed university admission spot open, which also included a hefty graduation scholarship. 

I wanted to obtain that spot. Even in my dreams, I wanted to.

But sometimes, things just didn’t proceed as one would hope. Though my grades were excellent, that wasn’t the only factor the school considered when making their selection.

Back then, the other most promising candidate was Lin Sheng. In terms of appearance, family background, and grades, he faintly one-upped me. Moreover, I was a person who only knew how to bury my head in my studies. I didn’t really understand the ways of the world, whereas he got along very well with the other people at school. All the teachers liked him too.

The things that some people strived desperately to obtain, that they toiled away endlessly for, were also things that other people could possess effortlessly. Never was I able to understand a truth more plainly than that—the disparity between two people could be so small and so large at the same time.

If I didn’t do something, I was going to lose. But how could I lose?

He clearly already had everything, so why did he still have to come and steal what was mine?

That unwillingness to concede burned incredibly bright in my chest. When I thought back on it, even I was a little surprised that I cared so deeply.

Then, the incident that led to my retribution arrived.

I don’t remember why I didn’t go home immediately after school that day; it was probably because I was practicing cello at school. As I was walking through the long hallway, I stopped in front of a classroom door. Through the glass window of the door, I saw Lin Sheng and Ran Qingzhuang inside the classroom.

The two of them were kissing, oblivious to the world and my arrival.

In an environment where guys and girls weren’t even allowed to date early, it was obvious just how world-shaking and utterly shocking a romantic relationship between two men was.

I could’ve chosen to walk away silently, to act like nothing had happened, but I didn’t.

I reported them.

This incident created quite a stir. One was a well-rounded student with a bright future, the other an orphaned troublemaker who was constantly picking fights and messing around. Almost all of the criticism was directed at Ran Qingzhuang.

He was the one who led Lin Sheng astray and lured him in. He was the malignant tumor, so he should be removed.

In the end, Ran Qingzhuang was forced to withdraw from the school, after which his whereabouts became unclear. Lin Sheng was sent overseas by his parents and never returned again. I was the only person who benefited from this incident, as I successfully obtained the guaranteed admission spot and entered the music department of a top-tier educational institution. And because of that generous scholarship, my mother was finally able to catch her breath for the first time in many years; she was temporarily freed from the heavy weight of living and didn’t need to worry so much about money anymore.

Perhaps I would make the same choice again, even if I was given another chance to do it over, but thinking about it now—that was most likely a test given to me by the heavens. They placed two paths in front of me, and I picked the wrong one, turning me into a shameful snitch. That was why I deserved to be plagued by sickness, to suffer a miserable death.

This was my retribution.

I used dishonorable methods to secure my victory. In doing so, I destroyed a beautiful, fated relationship, and I altered the bright futures that should’ve belonged to those two people. I basked in a life that wasn’t originally mine for eight whole years. Now, it was time to pay it back.

To be able to meet Ran Qingzhuang in the final days of my life—it was definitely another revelation given to me by the heavens! If I could earn his forgiveness before I died, my sins would then be reduced.

I walked swiftly through the corridor. It had started raining at some point outside, and brilliant flashes of lightning streaked through the clouds, indicating the imminent arrival of a thunderstorm.

Raindrops splattered against the massive leaves of the Japanese banana trees in the courtyard. The constant pitter-patter was the most primitive form of music, contrasting distinctly with the melodious, lavish ballroom music floating over from afar. When the two sounds melded together and slipped into your ears, it created an entrancing and mystical dissociative feeling, as if you were simultaneously situated in two different dimensions.

“Yao-ge, it looks like the guests won’t be able to leave the island today. The sea is about to get stormy.”

“Considering what just happened recently, don’t lower your guard.”


I wandered around aimlessly. Since nobody stopped me, I unwittingly ended up making my way over to a set of open-air corridors built in the shape of a square. When I peered down from the second floor, I saw that it overlooked a courtyard filled with plants.

With the help of the dim lighting, I could see a few men in black suits standing underneath the eaves of the corridor diagonally below me. As they chatted idly with each other, smoke drifted around them sinuously—they were all smoking.

Since I was on the second floor, concealed by the vegetation and a curtain of rain, they didn’t notice me.

I half-narrowed my eyes in an attempt to see a little clearer, but I still wasn’t able to tell if Ran Qingzhuang was among them.

“Yao-ge, why didn’t you stay inside? Other people couldn’t get such a great opportunity even if they begged for it.”

The person called “Yao-ge” replied somewhat indifferently, “Too noisy.”

“Yao-ge doesn’t care about fame or fortune, unlike that rotten snake who only wants to show off in front of the eldest young master all day long and has his guard up against us like we’re thieves or something. Personal loyalty is the most important thing between brothers, but isn’t he something else? He acts like he’s in a palace drama with how he’s constantly suspecting this person or that person. If he messes up one day, I’m definitely going to set off firecrackers in celebration!”

“Count me in, that damn baldie has been a real eyesore for a while now.”

“His ma might as well have given birth to a hard-boiled egg instead!”

“Fuck, I love hard-boiled eggs, you’re not allowed to badmouth them!”

They started getting more and more into it, as if they were going to curse out the past eighteen generations of ancestors belonging to that “hard-boiled egg.” Probably because it was truly getting a bit too vulgar, Yao-ge tossed his cigarette butt onto the ground and said at last, “Enough of that.”

The smoke dissipated, gradually revealing that person’s appearance. His features were more defined and clear-cut than they had been in his youth, and he was extremely tall, 190 cm at the very least…

It was indeed Ran Qingzhuang.

“Let’s go walk around outside.” After the man said that, he turned around to leave.

No, I couldn’t let him leave again!

I completely forgot that I could just call out to him as a way of stopping him. Instead, I frantically rushed down the staircase behind me.

I was only on the second floor, but one flight of stairs had never felt so long before.

Fortunately, by the time I made it downstairs, they hadn’t gone very far.

From the other end of the long corridor, I panted heavily and didn’t give chase; I merely shouted his name at his back.

“Ran Qingzhuang!”

The man walking in the middle of the group instantly stopped and glanced behind him, both hands stuffed in his pockets. He narrowed his eyes as he looked in my direction.

Now that I was closer, I realized that there was a black tattoo on the back of his neck. It consisted of four numbers—0417.

Nan Xian once told me that all the people in Helian Group—from the upper echelons to the henchmen—bore unique numerical tattoos. This symbolized that they were a member of the organization.

Which meant… Ran Qingzhuang really was the Jin family’s lackey.

Why? He clearly said that he wasn’t going to walk down the same old path as his father…

Perhaps it was from the nerves, or perhaps I had chased after him in too much of a panic just now. Either way, even my knees were trembling at that moment.

He stared at me for quite a while as his eyes traced slowly over my face and body, making me feel very uneasy. Finally, he seemed to recognize me, and he said something to the people next to him before he walked towards me all by himself. Meanwhile, the others swiftly departed.

“What awful luck this is.” He slipped a cigarette between his lips, ducked his head, and lit it with a click. He stopped about two meters away from me and exhaled white smoke from his nose and mouth as he spoke. “Running into you here.”

The choking smell of smoke floated towards me and bloomed against my glasses, making it seem like I was surrounded by fog.

His words truly weren’t very pleasant to hear.

I pursed my lips. As if I didn’t notice his unfriendliness, I forced a fake smile onto my face. “What a coincidence, I didn’t expect to see you here. Do… do you work here?”

He didn’t say a single word as he smoked his cigarette. His gaze traveled down and landed on the purple boutonniere pinned on my chest—a small bundle of grape hyacinths. When we arrived at the island, each person in the ensemble received a similar spray, whereas the honored guests in the ballroom wore golden wheat boutonnieres. 

“I-I came with my friend…” I touched the boutonniere and said, “We’re performing for the party in the ballroom…”

“What exactly do you want to say?” Ran Qingzhuang tilted his head to the side and interrupted me impatiently.

I stared at him blankly, a little stumped by his question.

The rain started coming down harder and harder. The wall sconces in the hallway emulated the leaping motion of candle flames, casting flickering shadows across Ran Qingzhuang’s face.

“I… I just wanted to tell you… I’m sorry.” I wasn’t sure if my regret was conveyed to him properly or not. The rain was too loud, and my voice was too small.

He looked at me for a long moment, the cigarette cinched between his fingers, raised next to his lips.

The rain breached the hallway, slightly dampening half of my body. Tiny droplets of water also sprayed across my glasses.

“You’re sick.” After spitting out those two words with faint revulsion, Ran Qingzhuang took a few steps back before he turned around and began striding away.

He didn’t even think that I was worth paying attention to…

My vision was warped by the rain, and Ran Qingzhuang’s figure gradually grew blurry. I was briefly stunned before I abruptly sprinted after him, spurred by a burst of courage that came out of nowhere, and grabbed onto his wrist from behind.

Ran Qingzhuang lowered his head and glanced down at his hand. Then he said coldly, “Let go.”

I gave an uncontrollable quiver, but I continued to hold on to him tightly without loosening my grip.

“Can you forgive me?”

Can you pardon me, absolve me of my sins, so that I can die peacefully without any regrets?

Ran Qingzhuang’s jaw tightened, and he looked up to meet my eyes squarely. He didn’t speak, but his frightening expression was already a warning in and of itself—if I didn’t let go of him soon, he was going to beat me up.

“How about this? You can give me your phone number. We can—I can contact you when you’re in a better mood…” I kept one hand on him as I slipped my other hand into my pocket in an attempt to pull out my phone. Unexpectedly, right as I tugged it out, my body was pushed roughly away.

I collided firmly against the white wall nearby as my phone slid out of my hand and smashed onto the ground a short distance away.

A piercing pain radiated from my shoulder. I covered the injured area with my hand and lifted my head to look helplessly at Ran Qingzhuang.

He adjusted his sleeve as if he had flicked some dirty object away from him. Then, he walked towards the other end of the corridor without sparing me a second glance.

Once he disappeared completely from my line of sight, I finally managed to leave my static state. I churned back to life, like an old-fashioned mechanical gear that had been freshly oiled.

I picked up my phone from the ground and inspected it. Sure enough, the screen was cracked all the way from the upper left corner to the bottom right corner; two little cracks branched out in the middle like deer antlers. Luckily, it wasn’t very severe, so I could still get by with using my phone.

“But I really am sick…”

Standing in the dim corridor, I mumbled quietly to myself as I sighed and wiped away the wet spots on the screen bit by bit with the palm of my hand. 

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