I’m going to request virtual cookies for those scientific terms I ended up researching. Who knew I would be reading technical papers so I could translate a romance c-novel that talks about reincarnation? >_<
Sometimes, you’re going to have to be bold to get what you want. Will anything come out of Shi Yi’s act of boldness?
Chapter 1.4 – The Unfathomable Past (4)
The following day, the videographer took them to visit some well-known places in Xi’an. Amongst the tides of tourists, as Shi Yi viewed these historical sites, she had a persistent feeling of familiarity but she could no longer distinctly remember anything.
She had the impression that when she was a child, her memories from her past life were very vivid.
Slowly, though, from preschool to primary to middle through to high school, over time, all those memories gradually faded. When she thought about them again, they seemed more like a bizarre dream. If she had not over and over again told herself, “I need to see him,” all those memories regarding Zhousheng Chen would have been doomed to disappear without a trace as well.
By the time their last day had arrived, the two of them were even more tired than if they had been at work. On their final day, taking advantage of the time when Xiao Shuai went home to visit his parents, they lay in the hotel, resting and also organizing their work materials for when they went back.
Shi Yi took the information her manager had sent over out to the hotel front desk to print.
The young girl working at the front desk was very polite when she heard her request and took her USB flash drive from her. “May I ask which room you are in? When it is done printing, I will send a staff member to deliver it up.”
“Thank you. Room 1212.” After she finished telling her, though, she felt it was not the best plan. “Don’t worry about it. I will just stay here and wait. You don’t need to make a copy of it, just print it directly from there.”
“1212?” When the young girl heard the room number, she quickly asked, “Miss Shi?”
“There is a book here for you. A gentleman brought it here not long ago, and we just haven’t had the chance to deliver it up to you.” The girl picked up a large manila envelope from off to the side and placed it on the reception counter. “That gentleman’s surname is Zhousheng.” After stating this, she muttered very cutely, “That surname is rather strange.”
Shi Yi looked down at the envelope. There was no writing on it. “He just left?”
She weighed it in her hand and felt through the envelope. It should be a book inside. Xi’an city notes?
“About ten minutes ago.” The girl took the USB flash drive, then motioned for someone to attend to the front desk while she stepped out from behind the counter. “If the document is very important, guests are allowed do the printing themselves. Miss Shi, please come this way.”
When she heard Zhousheng Chen’s name, she had started feeling disconcerted.
The girl opened up the file on the flash drive and, seeing that it was a long segment of script from a television drama, she could not help looking Shi Yi over a few more times. She sighed inwardly, no wonder this female guest was so pretty. She was an actress. But this face did not seem like it had had much exposure yet, so she was probably a newcomer?
The girl stared in appreciation at Shi Yi’s face, thinking to herself that if such a truly beautiful woman really did show up on the screens in the cinemas, it would be so pleasurable to the eyes.
Shi Yi did not notice the expression on the young girl’s face for her eyes were fixated on the envelope and she was lost in thought.
After she hurriedly printed off her document, the instant she entered the elevator, she tore open the envelope. Sure enough, it was the book he had mentioned at Qinglong Temple. The pages were not all that new-looking, and the corners showed signs of wear. It did appear as if someone had brought it to him for him to read. On the cover of the book was a blue sticky note:
A colleague at the research institute gave me this book. If you like it, then there is no need to return it.
His handwriting was beautiful, thought not the same as what was in her memory.
She returned to her room, still looking at the note and re-reading it over and over again. She could not help sending him an email, asking him whether the laboratory had a telephone and if it was convenient for her to call him.
After the email was sent, she opened the book and was surprised to discover that some pages had been notated with white sticky notes of simple annotations of any differences in opinion he may have had from the book. Perhaps people who came from a science background tended to be more serious. If it was a tourist attraction, there would be notations of whether it was free admission or what the admission price was, as well as the opening hours. If it was a restaurant, there would certainly be comments regarding what specialty dishes there were known to be especially tasty.
Shi Yi knew that these notes undoubtedly had already been written previously and were not there for her sake.
However, when she saw these “exclusive notes” written on the stickies inside the book of city descriptions, she could not help thinking that, he had not removed his annotations, so at the very least, it was to make things easier for her when she read the book.
She glanced at her email inbox. Zhousheng Chen’s email had already come back.
There were no unnecessary words, just a string of numbers. Shi Yi picked up her mobile phone, and after inputting the number, she coughed a couple of times to ensure that her voice was in its best shape before she finally dialed.
“You received the book already?”
This was the first thing Zhousheng Chen said.
“Yes, thank you.” She had simply wanted to call Zhousheng Chen, but when the call was picked up, she did not know what to say.
“This book is quite well written. It is not like those normal travel diaries that are written just for the sake of publishing and making money and use large passages of writing describing personal emotions that are flowery but impractical.” It was fortunate that there was no awkward silence from him, and he very naturally explained to her, “Nor is it like many of those city overview and travel guides which basically consist of indirect advertisements in half of the book.”
She gave an “mm” in acknowledgement and told him, “Alright, I will definitely read through it carefully.”
Looking back, this was actually the first time the two of them had spoken on the phone since they had met.
They talked, from how jam-packed the 400 bus route was the day before yesterday to yesterday’s one day tour around the city, until finally, it was Zhousheng Chen who first posed the suggestion that they should end the conversation. “I think I need to start working now.”
“I have always been curious what a scientific research institute would be like.” She put on her brazenness and requested, “Would it be convenient to let me have a look?”
Xiaoyu, who had been eavesdropping on the whole conversation, immediately glared at her: Can you act a little more reserved, please?
She pouted her lips: I really am curious.
Xiaoyu rolled her eyes, shaking her head as she sighed and laughed.
“It is dry and uninteresting.” Zhousheng Chen seemed as if he was going to decline her request, but after pausing for several seconds, he carried on, “But you are lucky. Today is Sunday and most of the researchers are off work today. It should not be a problem if I bring you around for a look.”
She quickly said “okay” and wrote down the address that Zhousheng Chen gave her.
He concluded by saying to her, “When you get to the entrance, call this same phone number. I will come down to get you.”
Shi Yi hung up the phone and, with make-up bag in hand, dashed into the washroom.
Xiaoyu hopped off the bed and, still in her bare feet, chased her to the washroom door where she looked her in the eye through the reflection in the mirror. “Can you tell me what it is about him that makes you like him so much?”
Under the yellow glow of the light, she used a cotton pad dipped in make-up remover to thoroughly cleanse her face. Her every move was careful and meticulous, utterly revealing her nervousness as well as eager excitement. After she had finished, she turned on the faucet and returned the gaze in the mirror with a serious expression. “I feel I must have known him in my previous life and on top of that, owed him a huge debt.”
A laugh escaped from Xiaoyu. “Oh, so it’s a fate that spans a previous life and this life…”
Shi Yi smiled. It was far more than just a debt.
If he remembered even a little, he probably would not wish to see her.
Once she sat in the taxi, she showed the driver the text message Zhousheng Chen had sent her. The driver immediately smiled and told her just one hour ago, he had driven a male patron from here over to the same location, so he was very familiar with the route. Shi Yi was able to guess who he was talking about but had not expected that such a coincidence would occur.
It was actually not very far.
Shi Yi stepped out of the taxi and had just pulled out her mobile phone when she received a call from her manager, Mei Lin, who wanted to discuss her next voice-acting project. Mei Lin was a workaholic and she did not dare be rash by interrupting her, so she had no choice but to pace aimlessly back and forth in front of that sign that stated “Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an Branch” and carry out her phone conversation.
Because of her unique voice, when she first entered the industry, she was presented with some good opportunities and did the voice-acting for several relatively famous roles. Coupled with Mei Lin’s connections, her asking price started to gradually rise. Plus, many producers who had actually seen her in person repeatedly tried to persuade her to switch to acting in front of the camera.
Naturally, to Mei Lin, a voice actor was not as valuable as a celebrity who showed her face on camera.
However, no matter how hard she persuaded her, Shi Yi was not interested, and in the end, after growing wearing of trying to convince her, Mei Lin gave up on the idea. Occasionally, though, she would bring up the topic as a joke to test Shi Yi’s interest.
“It was just yesterday that Du Yunchuan asked me whether you are someone’s mistress and that’s why you have no interest in money or fame. I laughed so hard at that and told him that our Shi Yi has an upright and respectable face that is made for being someone’s legal wife. If she is to get married, it will most definitely be properly and legitimately.” Manager Mei Lin had finished discussing business and was now starting to gossip and carry out idle chatter. “Shi Yi, tell the truth. Have you already married some anonymous rich and powerful person? Otherwise, how come all year round, you can be out having fun and vacations and can turn down roles whenever you want?”
Her head lowered, Shi Yi slowly, step after step, strode up and down as she answered with a smile, “I have no interest in rich men.”
Mei Lin laughed, “Then what type do you like? Tell me, so big sister here can help you keep an eye out.”
Her eyes drifted over to those gates, half a person tall, that were closed shut, and then she saw, on those large empty grounds in front of the building, a figure had already appeared. He was walking very quickly and coming closer in her direction. He was still dressed in a white laboratory coat, and inside was a light, checkered button-up shirt. When Shi Yi’s eyes fell on him, Zhousheng Chen also seemed to notice her. Raising his right arm, he pointed at the small, closed door that was beside the gates.
Shi Yi looked at him and quickly nodded as she ended her phone conversation. “The person I like must be a professor, and preferably, his research is in polymer chemistry,” she said in a low tone, almost like it was a joke.
“What are you talking about? Professor? Wha…?” Mei Lin was completely taken aback by this.
“I have to stop talking now. I’ll call you tonight.” Seeing Zhousheng Chen approaching, she hurriedly hung up the phone and jogged over to the smaller door where she stood nicely and waited for him.
Here in this place, he seemed different from normal. She could not describe that feeling, only that he appeared quite a bit more solemn and serious.
“When did you arrive?” he asked her while pulling out a sign-in book from the small window of the security office. He signed his own name and noted the time. “Did you bring your identity card?”
“Yes.” She looked down, pulled out her identity card from her bag, and handed it to him through the fence.
When all the proper procedures had been completed, someone from within the security office unlocked the door and let her in.
It was as he had said, that because it was the weekend, there were not many people there.
As the two of them were walking together, occasionally someone would pass by and nod in hello, but there was not much verbal communication. Shi Yi seemed to be affected by this quiet atmosphere so that even her steps were careful and soft. Unfortunately, she was wearing high heels, and as she strolled down the marble floor, she could not completely prevent her feet from making noise.
The more she focused on that noise, the more careful she tried to be. The more careful she tried to be, the louder the noise appeared.
“The female researchers here also like to wear high heels.” He stopped outside a double-pane glass door and input his password and fingerprint. “You don’t have to be too concerned about it.” She nodded in response and gave an embarrassed little smile.
When the glass door had been unlocked by the password, he reached out and pushed it open, leading her in and past many rooms with walls of frosted glass. Finally, they stopped in front of an office. Only after they had pushed open the door and entered that enclosed room did Shi Yi at last feel like a great load had been taken off of her. “I’ve always thought that going into research institutes of this sort would feel like you are trying to steal national classified information.”
“And so?” He was sitting behind his work desk as he laughed, “Are you disappointed?”
“I wouldn’t call it disappointment.” Her gaze swept around his office and she took a sniff. “The smell in here is very unique. What do you normally do? I mean, what types of experiments do you work on?”
“Halogen-free, flame-retardant silane crosslinked polyolefin elastomer, abbreviated POE, composite materials.”
Besides the last words, “composite materials,” she did not understand any of it.
She pointed to the white paper beside his hand. “Could you write it down for me? Those words that you just said.”
Zhousheng Chen did not seem to care one way or the other as he took out a pen and wrote down the words.
Shi Yi stared at that paper in silence for a while but still did not comprehend. “Is there a more simplified way of saying it to try to help me understand?”
Zhousheng Chen contemplated briefly and then told her in more straightforward terms, “Simply put, it is to develop an outer material for wires and cables that is corrosion-resistant, high heat-resistant, resistant to thermal aging, and flame-retardant. Do you understand now?”
He was smiling slightly.
“Yes.” Shi Yi mulled over this carefully and could not help laughing, “But once you explain it this way, it right away sounds like there’s no real technology involved. Doesn’t this sort of thing exist already?”
“More or less. But those are all essentially based on technology that has been around for a dozen or more years. The world has not had any major breakthrough in this to date, so the first to do it can be considered to have moved forward by a dozen plus years of technology.” Zhousheng Chen handed her a small bottle of purified water. “For example, nowadays, in China’s first-tier cities, most of the outer sheaths of their wires and cables are old and deteriorated. Approximately 80% of them need to be replaced. This will consume an extremely large amount of resources. If the technology can be advanced such that even if it is just to prolong this by one year, that would be an astronomical figure in terms of savings and revenue.”
Shi Yi sighed admiringly, “When you explain it that way, it suddenly seems so grand and important.”
She had wanted to continue asking questions, but there was an unexpected knock on the office door. After Zhousheng Chen answered, “Come in,” the door was immediately pushed open from the outside and then He Shan’s head peeked in. The grin on his face was rather smug as he said, “Sure enough, it’s Shi Yi.”
She was a little surprised as well as somewhat embarrassed. “How did you know I’m here?”
“We have surveillance cameras in the lab. I had just come back in from outside when I heard some senior brothers say that Teacher Zhousheng had brought a fairy-like beauty with him, so I guessed that it was you.”
Surveillance cameras? Very strict security, indeed.
Zhousheng Chen gave an amused “mm-hmm,” and asked, “And so?”
“So,” He Shan told him seriously, “because it has been such hard work for Teacher Zhousheng to teach and lead us, we would like to treat you, Teacher, out for dinner, and at the same time, we can also be a host to our guest.”
End of Chapter 1
1 of 1 Prologue
4 of 56 Main story segments
0 of 3 Epilogues