After that, it seemed that Lu Xun couldn’t help but commit several more ‘fouls’ while they were rehearsing, so their session predictably ended up being not very productive.
The very next day Qian Wei was back to trying to rehearse with Lu Xun, and the two people awkwardly stumbled through the many sweet yet embarrassing lines, which ended up being fun in a different sort of way, with Qian Wei having to take a break to laugh several times in the middle. Each time she would burst out laughing, Lu Xun would also have no choice but to stop and watch her helplessly for a while as she adjusted her mood until she could continue acting out her role. However, the both of them were happy to be enjoying this time together, even if they had to read such silly lines that would just act as support for someone else’s story and, truthfully, Qian Wei secretly felt that when it came to Lu Xun’s story, he would always be the protagonist.
“Then let’s call it a day here.” Lu Xun flipped through his script. “There’s only one more important scene to go over, so let’s just leave it for next week.”
“By the way, don’t forget about this weekend.” After he finished talking about the play, Lu Xun ‘casually’ brought up another topic.
Qian Wei acted surprised and said in a curious voice, “What’s going on this weekend? Did you want to get together and discuss the website’s problems with traffic some more?”
Lu Xun obviously cared a lot about this topic, but his face remained as unmoving as Mount Tai as he said: “Didn’t you say that you would come visit my house this weekend?”
Qian Wei deliberately continued to play dumb and said, “Hmm? Was there something like that? Why don’t I remember?”
Lu Xun’s expression finally showed a bit of nervousness: “That was the first and only time that I’ve ever invited a girl to my house, but you forgot?”
When she saw that Lu Xun’s expression had cracked, Qian Wei finally couldn’t hold in her laughter anymore, and Lu Xun realized that she was just playing with him. The little liar had clearly remembered everything in her heart, but she pretended that she had forgotten to tease him!
Finished laughing, Qian Wei gave a smile and a nod: “I remember. How could I forget? I’ve been nervous ever since you invited me, and I’ve even picked out gifts to give to your parents since a long time ago.”
At last Lu Xun’s expression returned to normal and, probably in order to keep up his image, he just awkwardly changed the subject: “But speaking of the website, ever since the last round of revisions, the traffic has been growing very fast, and there’s also another piece good news that I don’t know if you’ve heard.”
“Hmm? What’s the good news?”
“Our A University Law School has cemented our cooperation and even accepted the first two cases from our ‘legal clinic’ on the website.”
Qian Wei was a little excited to hear that: “That’s great news! I’ve heard our school has set up some pro bono funds for our ‘legal clinic’, so those two people should be able to use our services for free. Later, once their cases are successful, we can publicize them and promote their cases as examples of our excellent service. With some real world examples on hand, our influence on our potential clients and the other schools will definitely expand!”
“I’m not finished yet.” Lu Xun patted Qian Wei’s head with a smile. “There’s actually more good news. You see, one of the parties involved in one of these two cases was someone who had already approached Rui Yi Law Firm and was about to sign a contract with them. However, at the last moment a relative who had heard of our website recommended for them to check us out and, because our online consultation was free, they decided to use our website with the attitude of ‘trying-it-out’. Of course, as a result of the professional legal advice dispensed by a certain customer service representative, they were able to recognize that Rui Yi was just trying to cheat them, so they decided to stop working with them and come work with us instead.”
Qian Wei was simply exhilarated to hear this news: “That’s great! My ‘certain customer service representative’, you’re really the best! What about the other case?”
“Do you remember the middle-aged people who were protesting outside of Rui Yi Law Firm that day?” When he heard Qian Wei’s praise, Lu Xun seemed obviously very pleased with himself, and he smiled as he continued, “They found out about our platform at the recommendation of Lawyer Cheng. After investigating a bit, although some evidence wasn’t recorded or written down, these were actually some text messages and chat records backing up their claims. After going through those records and evidence, we’ve discovered that there is enough there to report Wang Yue to the Law Association and the Judicial Bureau. Moreover, those middle-aged people even went out and found some of Wang Yue’s other victims, and those people are also gathering evidence of his deception and planning to complain together. I’m afraid that in the face of so many complaints, Wang Yue will be at risk of losing his license. In addition, our website has added a new section with an ‘industry blacklist’ that will post testimonies from people who have been victimized by law firms like Rui Yi and lawyers like Wang Yue in order to warn other users about their deceptive practices. Also, almost as soon as that section of the website was created I was able to find even more people who had been deceived by Wang Yue.”
After hearing all that, Qian Wei felt very relieved: “Even if Wang Yue’s lawyer’s license isn’t ultimately revoked, at least his true nature has been exposed. Also, with all of those complaints he will definitely be penalized. I think the relevant punishment is that he will have to suspend his practice for not less than three months and not more than one year, right?”
“En, that’s right.”
At this moment, Qian Wei really felt that the efforts she and Lu Xun had been putting in these past weeks hadn’t been in vain. At the start, it was as if there had been a tiny spark in her heart and, with Lu Xun’s care, that tiny spark had grown and grown until it was big enough that it might even start a prairie fire. Her original intentions behind creating the website were being realized slowly but surely.
When it finally came to the day when Lu Xun and Qian Wei had agreed that she would go and visit his family, Qian Wei ended up feeling so nervous that she couldn’t even sleep. In the end, she got up very early and tried on a dozen or so sets of clothes before finally settling on an outfit that was actually fairly regular for her, before she headed downstairs.
When she got downstairs, she found that Lu Xun had been waiting there for a long time already, and the two of them exchanged shy and tender looks. Although Qian Wei was nominally just going over as a guest, they both tacitly felt that this was definitely her going over to meet his parents.
Unfortunately, the road at Gate A was under renovation and it was currently very inconvenient to get through, which meant that many taxis had chosen to avoid this congested and difficult section of the road. Qian Wei and Lu Xun waited at Gate A for a long time, but in the end they failed to get a taxi. Lu Xun looked at his watch and reluctantly decided to use the city’s public transportation instead.
“Well, let’s head over to the subway for now. We can get off at Cuiling Road Station and then transfer to the No. 23 bus. After three stops we’ll be at the gate of my community.”
Like that, they had a plan and headed off to the subway. Of course, it was the weekend, so there were a large number of college students traveling, and the subway was very crowded. In the bustle of the crowd, Qian Wei happened to see the corner of a piece of sheet music sticking out of Lu Xun’s bag.
She leaned over curiously, “What kind of song is this?”
Lu Xun’s face had a rare trace of nervousness, and he quickly stuffed the paper back into his bag: “It’s nothing.”
“So whenever I’ve been asking you out recently and you turned me down saying you were ‘busy’, you were practicing the piano?”
Lu Xun had originally just wanted to change the subject as quickly as possible, but in the end he was defeated by Qian Wei’s sparkling eyes, and he agreed with a face that was slightly red, “En.”
“Are you planning to play the piano at the New Year’s party at the end of the year? I heard that there aren’t enough programs for the New Year’s party right now and all the students who know musical instruments are scrambling to sign up and participate. Are you one of them? Does that mean that you’re going to play the piano in front of the whole school?”
“No.” Lu Xun subtly averted his eyes. “Since you’re coming over to my house today, I wanted to take the opportunity to play for you.”
Then he stared firmly into Qian Wei’s eyes: “Back when I first started learning the piano, I swore that I would only ever play for the person that I love.”
“Huh?” Qian Wei wanted to object, but his flirting was quite smooth and hard to refute. However, she remembered back when she knew the 28 year old Lu Xun, he had played the piano for her even though they were just ordinary colleagues. But what did that matter? It was enough to just hear him say ‘I will only play for the person that I love’, wasn’t it? When you loved someone it was enough to know that he was saying what he was saying to make you happy, even if it wasn’t necessarily true.
Unconsciously Qian Wei really did feel very happy.
“However, I haven’t touched the piano for a long time and, although I’ve been practicing as much as possible recently, I still may not put on my best performance when I play for you later.” Lu Xun spoke very solemnly, “I can play better. If you don’t believe it, you can come over to my house more often in the future and see for yourself.”
Qian Wei narrowed her eyes happily and said: “Alright.”
And like that, the two people rode the crowded subway for several stops, then changed to the bus, and then finally reached their destination.
When Qian Wei got off of the bus she breathed in the fresh air and heaved a sigh of relief, glad to be free of the crowded public transit. But when she looked around she felt that the surrounding environment was somewhat familiar. Although she couldn’t immediately recognize the streetscape around her, Qian Wei somehow felt that she had been here before. Lu Xun’s family home was located on the outskirts of City A, and the surrounding environment seemed very elegant, with one of City A’s small mountains rising in the background.
As she walked along with Lu Xun, Qian Wei only felt more and more that something was off. However, it wasn’t until she stood in front of the four words ‘Anlan Mountain Villa’* that she had a sudden realization.
“Does your family live in this Anlan Mountain Villa area?”
Lu Xun nodded and seemed somewhat surprised: “Why? What’s the matter?”
“Is there a small temple near your house, that is particularly spiritual with a history of over a hundred years?”
Lu Xun was a bit shocked: “There is a small temple, and it is indeed an old building, but I haven’t heard anything about it being particularly spiritual. However, just last year, the government classified our area as a ‘new area’ of City A and they started to publicize that this small temple was a good place for making wishes, just as a tourism gimmick really. So it’s been a bit more popular recently.”
Now it was Qian Wei’s turn to be surprised: “Huh?”
“Would you like to go take a look? Although it’s mostly a gimmick, the temple does have a certain artistry to it, and the surrounding environment is pretty good.” Lu Xun looked at his watch. “It’s still early. Maybe we can hold off on going inside my house for now. My parents probably still haven’t finished cleaning up yet, and also I ordered a batch of hairy crabs from the seafood shop nearby that I still need to go and pick up. Why don’t you go take a look at the temple and wait for me?”
Qian Wei nodded idly, her mind full of confusion. She somehow felt that the scattered and incomprehensible pieces were all coming together and forming a completed image of the puzzle that had been plaguing her mind all this time. She slowly walked towards the path toward the Anlan Mountain Villa and, before long, the familiar little temple appeared in front of her again. It seemed Lu Xun was right and, probably because the city had just begun to promote this small temple, there were only a few people in the temple at the moment. Qian Wei distantly remembered that when she had come here in her last life she had needed to wait in line to make a wish.
Qian Wei stood before the temple’s altar and put her hands together. Even though she knew that the temple’s so-called ‘spirituality’ was nothing more than a propaganda push from the city, Qian Wei still made her wish seriously. After all, when a person makes a wish, they aren’t really pinning all of their hopes on gods or spirits, sometimes it was just a method to express their own determination to do something or a way to encourage themselves.
However, no matter what the reason, it seemed that fate had really gifted her a second chance at life. So Qian Wei could only seriously express her gratitude to the God of the underworld and, at the same time, she also wanted to express her concern for the other ‘her’. She didn’t know if her current 19-year-old self and her past 28-year-old self existed in parallel worlds or what, but she knew that here in the world of the 19-year-old her, she had already gained love, friendship, family affection, and a goal that she wanted to fight for. However, she was still worried about the world of the 28-year-old her, although she was dead there, what about Lu Xun? What kind of life was Lu Xun living over there?
“In any case, if there are really parallel worlds, I just hope Lu Xun will be happy. I hope he finds a person to love him and a person that he loves.” …even if that person isn’t me. Qian Wei silently added that last bit in her heart.
Even though just the thought of that scenario made her feel a bit sour, Qian Wei felt that if a person really loved someone then they should want that person to be happy no matter what. Qian Wei didn’t want the 28-year-old Lu Xun to be alone for his whole life. After all, he was so gentle, so handsome, and so perfect. His eyes, his words, his ambitions for the future, his happiness, and his troubles all deserved another good person to share with.
When she walked out of the small temple, Qian Wei had her head lowered. Because of the lesson she learned in her previous life, she was walking very cautiously and didn’t dare to look at her phone. Coincidentally, this small temple seemed to be under construction again, just like back then. Probably because the small temple was going to be promoted by the city as a scenic spot, the road outside was being renovated and there was a deep construction pit dug out. But Qian Wei felt very pleased that everything seemed to be going better this time, and the edges of the pit were properly cordoned off and clearly marked.
Qian Wei breathed a sigh of relief. Then, when she looked up, she saw that Lu Xun was already waiting for her at the intersection up ahead while carrying a box of hairy crabs. Qian Wei waved to him and sped up a bit as she headed over.
However, just as Qian Wei was walking past the edge of the construction pit, a man suddenly rushed out from behind her and, before she could react, the man reached out and pushed her into the pit. As she fell, Qian Wei took a fleeting glance backward and caught a brief glance of a man wearing a mask and a hat. She remembered the shrewd but greasy-seeming eyes behind that mask. It was Wang Yue!
Wang Yue took one final glance at Qian Wei, his eyes full of something twisted and poisonous, before turning and running away.
In her ears, Qian Wei could hear Lu Xun’s heartbroken cry, but she had no time to think about anything as she fell heavily into the bottom of the pit. She wanted to open her eyes again to take one last look at her Lu Xun, but it was all in vain and, in the midst of great agony, her world was completely plunged into darkness and silence.
*it’s (安澜山庄) but I’m sticking with the translation I used way back in chapter 1 or whenever it was we last saw this place