Oh no, another long chapter, which is even longer than the last chapter:( I can’t wait to let lidge take over the translation. I plan to post this chapter earlier but lidge was on strike:P This chapter has a lot of interactions between Yi Chen and Mo Sheng plus some cute reminiscences of their time in university so you must not miss it.
Doesn’t Yi Chen look dashing and cool in the picture above? It is an often used picture of him. It is a free postcard given with the 7th anniversary of the deluxe edition of the novel which I bought:) According to decembi, the wording on the postcard is: “If in this world there was once such a person who had appeared, all others will become a compromise. I am not willing to compromise.” This is her favourite quote from this novel.
Chapter 3: Near (translated by peanuts and edited by lidge)
0.31: What was harder than for Hua Xian Zi wanting to become a lady ah?
“Ah Sheng, is this looking good or that one is better? Or else, how about this?” Hua Xian Zi was comparing clothes in the fashion store and asking Mo Sheng, her adviser, who was dragged here by her chain of calls early in the morning.
“Ah, this one.”
“That is what I wore here today.” Hua Xian Zi’s face darkened by half, “Ah Sheng, are you fully awake yet, so absent-minded and distracted early in the morning?”
“Uh ……” Mo Sheng laughed with a guilty conscience, quickly changed the topic and said seriously: “Xiao Hong, clothing is not the most critical factor for you to be a lady.”
“Then, what is?”
“Manners ah.” Mo Sheng gave an example, “For instant, if people ask what kind of music you like to listen to, you must never say heavy metal rock.”
“I do not listen to rock music.” Hua Xian Zi said happily: “My favorite is Richie Ren and Ah Niu‘s ‘Lang Hua Yi Duo Duo‘.”
This time, it was Mo Sheng’s face darkening. The images of three men with silly grins, wearing flower shorts, holding a guitar and chasing bikini clad women on the beach emerged in her mind. There was also Hua Xian Xi’s excited voice singing: “In particular, ‘beautiful girl becomes an old woman,’ this line directly expresses my hope for the future ……”
” ……Do not ever discuss music together.” Mo Sheng said firmly, “Maybe talk about movies? Aren‘t you going to a movie with him tonight? This can also display the taste and temperament of a lady.”
“Movie ah?” Hua Xian Zi’s eyes lit up, “I like ‘Journey to the West – A Chinese Odyssey‘. Luo Jia Ying looks very handsome, and his speech is very philosophical, especially the sentence ‘humans are born from parents, devils are born from demons’, which embodies ethics, love, medicine and religion. It is simply ‘the best interpretation of all beings are equal’……”
” ……Xiao Hong.” Mo Sheng said with difficulty, “I think, it is best you do not say anything tonight.”
Finally, Hua Xian Zi let her off, which was already two o’clock in the afternoon. Mo Sheng went home to sleep. When she woke up, the sky was already all dark and looking at the clock on the wall, it was already half past seven.
She was very hungry, but when she opened the refrigerator, there was nothing to eat. Mo Sheng picked up her purse and keys, ready to go to the supermarket.
Mo Sheng walked down the stairs, through the flowerbed, her footstep abruptly came to a stop, and she lifted her eyes.
Under the dim lights opposite the road, he stood there. The expression in his eyes through the fog-filled night, silently fixated on her.
2.38: He stood at a distance, in no hurry to approach her. Today, he was wearing casual clothing, a simple shirt and pants, yet he could still look rather distinguished. In the past, she had often looked infatuated at him and couldn’t help but asked: “Yi Chen, why do you look good in whatever you wear ah?” In reply, Yi Chen would give her an unhappy glare.
The past! The past again! Zhao Mo Sheng, have some pride! You should not think of it anymore!
Yi Chen stubbed out his cigarette and walked toward her.
“Can you accompany me for a walk?”
They walked in silence for a while, yet Yi Chen still had no intention to say anything. Thus, Mo Sheng could not help but asked: “Where are we going?”
“We have arrived.”
The bus stop? They are going to take the bus ah?
“Do you have coins?”
“Yes, I do.” Mo Sheng dug out a few coins from her purse and spread them out in her hand.
“Give me one.” Yi Chen took a coin from her hand, his fingers unintentionally touched her palm.
Mo Sheng was stunned and quickly withdrew her hand, but he seemed to feel nothing. He stood next to her, watching the bus heading towards them.
“Go up the bus ah.”
She did not have time to ask anything so just followed him into the bus. Of course, the public bus was very crowded on Saturday so they were separated by two or three people in between them. She had difficulty breathing and moving. The bus stopped after eight or nine stops. Suddenly, Yi Chen held out his hand and pulled her out of the bus. Then after getting down from the bus, he immediately released her hand and walked alone in front.
Mo Sheng looked around the unfamiliar landscape, lined with tall buildings, “Where is here?”
Yi Chen stopped walking and turned around. “Don’t you recognize?”
Should she recognize? A city was so big, and she had not been to all the places ah. But why would he look so displeased as if she had committed a heinous crime?
Looking at her apparently bewildered expression, the emotions showing in Yi Chen’s eyes gradually faded.
He coldly spit out the two words, swiftly turned back and quickened his pace.
Mo Sheng failed to understand the reason why until the quaint university gate appeared before her eyes.
Here, is actually C University?
Then this street, she looked at the bustling street she had just passed by a moment ago in shock, it was Lao Bei street?
The Lao Bei street where Yi Chen and her had walked past countless times?
How could it be!
Where was that downright lively night market? What about those hawkers shouting? Where have the wide variety of cheap and delicious snack stalls on both sides of the street gone?
“After returning from overseas, haven’t you come here for a look?” Yi Chen’s mood became more calm, and he asked in a soft voice.
“No, I ……” not that I didn’t want to come, but …… “have been too busy with work.” She mumbled because such reason, even to herself, felt ridiculous.
Yi Chen glanced at her and said softly: “You don‘t need to say anything, I understand.”
What did he understand? She did not understand.
They walked into C University, this more than hundred years old university did not change much. Mo Sheng was dazzled and felt like she was walking in an old dream. Those big trees, those dormitories which seemed rather old, those laughing students who walked past her …… a kind of melancholy and forlorn feeling swelled in her chest. She had gone away for so long, is it possible to reclaim what had been lost?
5.31: “Hey!” Mo Sheng pointed at a small grocery shop at the corner of the road, “The shop is still here. I wonder if the shop is still run by that old couple.”
“No.” Yi Chen said, “The shop has changed owner before I even graduate.”
“Oh.” Mo Sheng replied softly, looked up with a smile and said, “I will go and buy something to eat since I’m starving.”
The new owner of the small shop was a young woman. While looking after her child, she served them. Mo Sheng bought bread and a can of coke. Yi Chen also bought a can of beer and paid for everything. She remembered they used to have frequent arguments over who should pay. At that time, she was too young to know about a man’s pride and dignity. Being with her, Yi Chen should be very tired ah!
“When did you start to drink?” Initially, she simply asked only but after saying it, she recalled last night’s intense kiss with alcohol smell so Mo Sheng uneasily looked down to avoid looking at him.
“These past few years.” He was silent for a long while, then said indifferently.
Yes ah, these past few years.
“Let us find a place to sit down la.”
At eight o’clock plus, the field was still full of people who were exercising, mostly young students, but there were also some elderly professors having a walk around.
They sat at the side of the field, and Mo Sheng smilingly said: “I have my most painful memories on this field.”
Yi Chen gave a rare, slight smile. “Eight hundred meters.”
“Yes ah.” Mo Sheng admitted in embarrassment, “My best result in eight hundred meters is four minutes and ten seconds. I still remember at that time you said in disbelief …… ”
Suddenly, Yi Chen stopped to stare at her and asked, “What did I say?”
“You said: Zhao Mo Sheng, you run so slowly, how did you manage to catch me?”
“…… Hey, is that Professor Zhou from your faculty?” Mo Sheng pointed at the old man who was strolling nearby.
Yi Chen turned around to look, nodded his head and stood up, “I will go and say hi.”
Mo Sheng watched him walk over. When Professor Zhou saw him, he looked very happy, said a few words with him and approvingly patted him on the shoulder.
This old professor’s hair was getting less and less la!
How she would know this famous professor of the Law Faculty was simply because of her relationship with Yi Chen.
At that time, Yi Chen was busy with university and tutoring work so even as his girlfriend, she also did not manage to see him often. In order to spend more time with him, when she did not have lessons, she will attend his classes. From beginning to end, she attended this Professor Zhou’s criminal law lectures for an entire semester. However, even now she was still unclear about the most basic principles of “presumption of innocence” in criminal law. Not like Yi Chen, who was dragged by her to attend only a few of her advanced mathematics classes, yet tutored her for the semester’s final exam.
She did not know what Yi Chen said, but Professor Zhou unexpectedly looked in her direction and smilingly nodded his head as greeting before walking away.
When Yi Chen came back, Mo Sheng curiously asked: “What did you say to him?”
“I said I’ve come back with a friend to look around.” Yi Chen glanced at her oddly, “Professor Zhou can still remember you.”
“Really?” Mo Sheng mumbled: “I probably left a deep impression on him.”
She was the butt of a joke in this professor’s class before.
During class, Professor Zhou never looked at the attendance rollbook so he simply pointed randomly when asking people to answer his questions. Once, Mo Sheng was unfortunately picked by him. She could still remember that his question was “In your opinion, how should A, B, C and D, these four people, be sentenced?”
She was confused, silently thought who were these four people, what crime did they commit, how should they be punished? She had not listened to the professor’s lecture. Desperate, she pulled at Yi Chen’s shirt under the table for help, but he replied harshly: “I haven’t heard anything.”
Oh! Yes, they quarreled recently so Yi Chen was still angry with her. But seeing that she was dying also didn’t rescue her, he was just being too petty la.
8.21: As a result of her anxiety, she actually said: “Put all of them in jail.”
After a few seconds of silence throughout the classroom, everyone burst into laughter. The guys in the front shouted: “Professor, she is not from our faculty.”
“Oh?” Professor Zhou was touched and said: “Student, are you very interested in the criminal law I teach?”
The students burst into laughter again and rowdily shouted: “Professor, she followed her boyfriend here!”
The old man was very open-minded so he went so far as to question closely with great interest: “She is whose girlfriend?” The tone of his voice was amused.
Yi Chen resigned to fate and stood up, feeling humiliated. “Mine.”
Naturally, Professor Zhou knew He Yi Chen. Hence, this old man with a sense of humor earnestly said to him: “Student He, an educated family is very important, only one person being educated is not enough. It would not be good if the girlfriend of a gifted student in the Faculty of Law does not know anything about laws, right? This is also rather embarrassing for us lawyers, ah.”
Mo Sheng could still remember the sounds of laughter that broke out in the classroom at that time.
Yi Chen chuckled: “Indeed, a deep impression.”
Mo Sheng foolishly stared at him, was he really laughing? Finally, he no longer put on a cold face and treating her like a stranger?
“Well …… ” She abruptly turned away to conceal her emotions, no longer looking at him and unnaturally said: “Who told you to see me in trouble yet did nothing!”
She was still bearing a grudge on this incident? Yi Chen was experiencing mixed feelings and was silent. He really did not hear anything ah. She thought he was that calm and rational to the point where he could be having a cold war with her and still concentrate on his lectures?
If he could be calm and rational enough, he would not be standing here together with her now.
Yi Chen gloomily sighed, “It is getting late, I will send you back.”
They still took the bus. When they reached the downstairs of Mo Sheng‘s home, she stopped walking and said: “I am home.”
“Yes.” He also stopped walking.
Mo Sheng took two steps before turning back. He was still standing under the streetlight. “You?”
His eyes looked past her into the far distant, as if he wanted to say something but did not. The two of them were silent. He paused for a long while before saying: “I’m sorry about yesterday.”
“…… It is nothing.” Mo Sheng felt rather uncomfortable and uneasily said, “You were drunk yesterday.”
“Really?” Yi Chen paused before continuing, his voice slightly mocking. Suddenly, he lowered his head, and his cold lips touched hers but left right away. He looked at her with his deep and puzzling eyes and whispered: “Mo Sheng, I’m always clear-headed.”
That’s right, he’s always clear-headed, looking at himself sinking.
10.07: “You look distracted today.” When they were discussing a difficult case, Xiang Heng suddenly blurted out.
Yi Chen calmly lifted his eyes to look at him: “I think my proposal is quite good.”
“It is quite good.” Not just quite good, more like great, “But you still look distracted.”
“Okay.” Yi Chen put down the pen in his hand, “What do you want to ask?”
Xiang Heng started to laugh as it was rare to see him losing his cool like this, “Our university junior, Zhao has come back?”
Yi Chen raised his eyebrows. “How do you know?” Had he been acting so obvious? Yi Chen’s face blushed slightly then paled.
“That day, I saw her downstairs.” Xiang Heng solved his doubts, “She seems …… to have changed a lot.”
Yes, a lot. Yi Chen stopped talking.
At this time, Lao Yuan pushed open the door and shouted: “Hey, the people from Lian He is treating dinner today so both of you must go with me.”
Lian He Law Firm and Yuan Xiang He were two of the big four law firms in A city. Although they opposed each other with equal harshness in court, they still had quite a good relationship privately. This time, Lao Yuan helped them a little so they arranged a banquet in De Yue Lou as a way to thank him.
Speaking of which, those people from Lian He actually had bad intentions. Who did not know the rose from Lian He, Pi Li, was very interested in He Yi Chen from Yuan Xiang He? By getting them together, it was obvious they wanted to see a good show. Xu Pi Li specialized in attack whereas Yi Chen’s defense had always been watertight. Thus, one can infer the dinner tonight would surely be very lively and fascinating. Lao Yuan already started to look forward to it.
11.21: De Yue Lou was located in the most bustling part of the city. When darkness fell, the city lit up surrounded in bright lights. After three rounds of drinks, Lao Yuan and several lawyers from Lian He who were good in talking big, making jokes and noises, began to become rowdy. Xiang Heng sat by the windows. While listening to them chatting idly with his ears, his eyes unconsciously glanced out the windows.
The neon lights in the city at night. On the wide road, a place buzzing with activity and people streaming past like running water.
Wait, that was ……
“Lao Xiang, you are not talking so what are you looking at?” Lawyer Li turned his head and followed his line of vision to look downward. On the opposite side of the main street, there was a woman holding a camera in her hands taking pictures. Her hair was neither long nor short, and she was wearing a loose light blue shirt and jeans. There were 2 more cameras on her neck.
“Is she the type you like?” Lawyer Li was interested to know and asked. He could not see her face, but she seemed like a student.
“That is not my type,” Xiang Heng replied, but his eyes turned to the direction of Yi Chen and Pi Li. Pi Li sat close to Yi Chen and whispered something, not sure what Yi Chen’s reply was, but she covered her mouth hiding a smile, her eyes never leaving Yi Chen.
“If she can be included …… that can be fun la!” Xiang Heng thought suddenly.
“Yi Chen.” Xiang Heng tried to attract his attention, then pointed out the window.
Not only He Yi Chen, but everyone also looked out the windows.
“What is it?” Someone asked.
With only one glance, Yi Chen spotted Zhao Mo Sheng, who was taking camera angles in the crowd. He put down his wine glass right away. “I’m going out for a while.”
Except Xiang Heng who was calm and composed, the rest of the people were lining up against the windows. He Yi Chen’s tall figure quickly crossed the street and stopped a few steps behind an unfamiliar woman, but he was just quietly watching and did not disturb her. The woman seemed unaware of his presence until she turned around after taking some pictures – Ah! Such a pity! Her back was facing them so they could not see her facial expression. Then both of them said a few words.
Everyone’s jaws almost fell off – He Yi Chen! He, he, he……
13.00: He actually forcefully grabbed her hand?
He Yi Chen! The He Yi Chen who had always been cool towards women surprisingly took such drastic action, how could it be!
Everyone also tacitly understood and very sympathetically looked at the only woman present, beautiful woman Xu whose face was turning gloomy.
It was thought He Yi Chen treated women coldly because of his cold and detached personality. However, it appears that if needed, he can act as intensely as anyone.
This is really too much of a blow against the female self-esteem!
Although he was always annoyed by Xu Pi Li‘s sharp tongue, after all they still came from the same firm so inevitably there will be colleague camaraderie. A fat lawyer Zhang made discreet inquiries about the enemy. “Lao Xiang, who is she?”
Xiang Heng’s expression was somewhat enigmatic, “Why do you ask me? You should be asking Yi Chen.”
Lawyer Zhang politely declined, “I dare not count on getting any information from He Yi Chen’s mouth.”
Xiang Heng smiled and said: “His coat is still here so he will need to come back to take it.”
A moment later, Yi Chen really came back and very apologetically said: “Lao Li, I have something so I need to go first.” Lao Li was considered the host of tonight’s dinner.
Before Lao Li could say anything, Xiang Heng said something first: “You leaving like this is rather sudden and not giving face to the host so why not ask Zhao Mo Sheng to come and join us since I have not seen her for a few years.” He turned around and asked Lao Li: “Do you mind having an additional person?”
Lao Li nodded his head repeatedly: “Can bring family members, can bring family members.”
Yi Chen pondered.
Xu Pi Li said with a bit of anger: “Lawyer He has a girlfriend but why the need for secrecy, is it so shameful meh?”
Mo Sheng was still foolishly in a daze on the sidewalk on the other side of the road, thinking about what sort of relationship Yi Chen and her had since they were not like friends, yet they were also not like lovers …… Before she could figure out what they were, her phone rang. When she picked up, it was Yi Chen.
“I cannot leave……”
Oh, that is good, Mo Sheng was relieved.
“…… You come over la!”
14.34: He hung up the phone. Mo Sheng did not even have the chance to discuss it with him. She looked at De Yue Lou across the road, packed her things and crossed the road.
0.31: Yi Chen was waiting for her at the door. Mo Sheng hesitated and said: “Is it appropriate for me to go in ah?”
Yi Chen acted coolly: “It is all right, just a few peers.”
However, she should appear in what capacity ah?
She swallowed back that sentence. These days, Yi Chen occasionally looked for her but will also deliberately keep his distance. However, such contacts have already made her uneasy.
It should not be like this, she should stay farther away from him ……
When they got nearer, that group of people rudely sized Mo Sheng up and down. She looked pretty good and her clothes very casual but the hair a bit short and lacked a little charm. Compare to those women around Yi Chen, she was average.
Xiang Heng was the first to greet her.
“Zhao Mo Sheng, why come back home so fast?” His smile and gentle words actually were slightly thorny, “I thought you wanted to make Yi Chen painstakingly guard the cold cave for 18 years.” (reference to Yang Guo waiting for the Little Dragon maiden in Return of the Condor Heroes)
Indeed, a dagger hidden in smiles, a needle concealed in silk floss (friendly manner belying hypocritical intention). What else could Mo Sheng say but the stereotyped and repetitive phase, “Senior Xiang, long time no see.”
“I dare not accept to be called senior, but really long time.” Xiang Heng smiled yet not a smile.
Yi Chen gave a brief introduction. Mo Sheng had just sat down, but that beautiful female lawyer already rudely opened fire at her.
“Miss Zhao, I heard He Yi Chen is well-known for being hard to get so what method did you use to get him into your hands?”
Not hearsay, but her own experience la. The people on the dinner table turned quiet.
After hearing that, Xiang Heng nearly spit out his tea, this Xu Pi Li!
In fact, she was not malicious, just accustomed to being straightforward. This was because she often mixed with a group of men so she spoke in such manner. Since she even dared to scold a judge in court as poor quality and lacked common sense, don’t expect her to be mild and tactful. Today, this kind of questioning could be considered polite. Merely, Zhao Mo Sheng had not seen this kind of questioning so it made her uncomfortable.
He was about to speak out to help her but saw He Yi Chen looking indifferent like a spectator so he could not be bothered. Other people’s girlfriend, other people also did not feel distressed so why should he be nosy to meddle in other people’s business?
Mo Sheng was stunned, before quickly calming down. Seeing everyone was not talking, she could not help feeling sorry because she thought that her presence spoiled the atmosphere. How would she know these people purely wanted to see a good show, waiting excitedly with bated breath……
Thus, she half-jokingly said:
2.32: “Actually, Yi Chen is very easy to chase.” She summed up her previous experience, “The crucial point is you need to have a thick skin to shamelessly pester him. First try crying, then try screaming and lastly threaten to kill oneself, guarantee he will hold up his hands to surrender.”
Everyone looked incredulously at Yi Chen. The great lawyer He actually likes this kind of style?
Xu Pi Li disapprovingly glared at her: “Don’t you feel that by doing that, there is no women’s dignity?”
“Uh …… At that time, I did not think that far.” Mo Sheng smiled.
“The man you managed to get through this kind of shameless method, how much feelings will he have for you? Without spiritual understanding, he inevitably will get bored of you one day, then abandon you.” Xu Pi Li was aggressive.
“Ah!” Lao Yuan, who had not been talking suddenly exclaimed, interrupting Xu Pi Li’s offensive. He stared excitedly at Mo Sheng, “I remember now. You’re the woman who dumped Yi Chen to go to America, right?”
Ah?! Except Xiang Heng and Yi Chen, the rest of the people looked at Zhao Mo Sheng in disbelief. She dumped He Yi Chen?
Mo Sheng was also dumbfounded. She dumped Yi Chen? What? Why say something like that? But also, why the expression in the eyes of this tall and sturdy big guy seemed like …… worship?
“No, I did not ……”
“You still want to deny?” Lao Yuan adopted a roundabout tactic. “Have you been to America?”
“Are you his previous girlfriend?”
“There you are.” Lao Yuan’s bear paw slammed on the wooden table. “The evidence is clear. Guilty as charged!”
Mo Sheng was dumbstruck. Why all the current lawyers treat human life as if it were not worth a straw?
She was about to explain but was pulled up by Yi Chen. “Excuse me, we will go first.”
Nobody stopped them, but they just stared and watched them walk away.
Once they left the front doors of De Yue Lou, the cold wind outside blew and finally her extremely confused train of thoughts started to clear a little. Watching that person walking in front, she could not help but asked: “Yi Chen, why didn’t you say something?”
“What to say?”
“They seem to think …… I broke up with you, but obviously that was not the case. Why didn’t you explain?” How could the proud and arrogant He Yi Chen tolerate such misunderstanding!
4.20: “How to explain?” Yi Chen’s stopped walking. In that moment, under the gloomy streetlight, she thought this arrogant man seemed so lonely. His hoarse voice sounded exceptionally clear in the windy night, “Even I think that too.”