The next morning Lu Xun woke up before Qian Wei did. Thus, while Qian Wei was still half-wandering in dreamland, she felt a gentle kiss land on her forehead. At the same time, there was a creak and some rustling from the other side of the bed and before long Lu Xun got up. Then she faintly heard the sound of an electric razor coming from the bathroom.
For some reason, although Qian Wei hadn’t felt any shyness while they were busy the night before, when she was suddenly faced with the light of the morning, she could feel her face begin to flush with embarrassment. She couldn’t help but use the quilt to cover her face, all the while thinking that her time with Lu Xun was really like a dream.
Eventually, Lu Xun came and coaxed the half-asleep Qian Wei until she began to wake up. She didn’t know why, but even after doing something so intimate last night she could still feel her face burning just from looking into his eyes now that it was morning.
Of course, Lu Xun’s eyes were single-minded and serious as usual, so Qian Wei was quickly defeated by his gaze. She pulled up the quilt and tried to cover her face: “I haven’t put on my makeup or washed my face yet, don’t look at me.”
Lu Xun smiled at her childish behavior. Then he reached down and gently pulled the quilt away and said: “Silly girl, you can hide from me now, but can you hide for the rest of your life?” Then he looked her in the eye and said earnestly, “And besides, in my eyes, you are always beautiful. No matter what.”
Qian Wei sighed. “You know, Lu Xun, I still don’t understand what you like about me. I can’t figure out why you would have fallen in love with someone like me back when we were 19. ” She had deliberated for a long time on this matter, and now Qian Wei finally brought up the question she had always been wondering about. “When we were still in college, truth be told, I never even knew you very well…”
Lu Xun sighed as well. “Qian Wei, I suppose this is just how you are. Always immediately running away after flirting around with me and then putting on an innocent face afterwards.”
“Huh? When did I ever flirt with you?”
Lu Xun seemed very helpless, and his tone was full of doting: “It’s fortunate that I’m a person with excellent mental resilience, otherwise, I think I might have already been angered to death by you.” Before continuing, he cleared his throat and averted his eyes a little, and his tone turned a little unnatural. “To be honest, I always thought that you were chasing me.”
Qian Wei: ???
“Back then, you would always wander around in front of me all day. For a long time, you would always appear wherever I happened to be, obviously following me and secretly watching me, but then whenever I would turn to look back at you, you would immediately look away and pretend to be uninterested. To tell you the truth, I had actually seen these same tricks many times before, even back then, and it was nothing new. There were really too many girls who would try to use this sort of tactic, and I had long learned that so long as I ignored them and gave them the cold shoulder they would eventually get bored and give up.” Lu Xun pressed his lips together, seemingly recalling about back then, “However, I really didn’t expect for you to be so amazing and for your… ‘perseverance’ to be so astounding. You would still follow me around every day despite how I ignored you and, even worse, you would always seem to be able to learn of my whereabouts and show up in front of me. To the point that I would randomly decide to go see a movie, then turn around and see that you were three rows behind me.”
When Qian Wei heard all this, she couldn’t stop herself for throwing in a correction: “Actually, rather than saying my ‘perseverance’ was astounding, what you want to say is that my thick-skinnedness was astounding right…”
“Well, don’t worry about these minor details.” Lu Xun coughed awkwardly. “In short, back then I thought of you as some sort of sticky candy that was stuck to the bottom of my shoe that I couldn’t get rid of. At first I was very uncomfortable to see you following me around all the time but, as time went on, I slowly became numb to the situation. I just got used to the reality that, no matter where I went, I could look up and immediately see you there. I remember being amazed because, after all, no girl had ever done something like this to me before. It was then I realized that you were really obsessed with me to the point of no return.”
“…” Qian Wei pondered for a moment. “So you just thought I was a crazy suitor back then? However, although you’re acting like it was annoying, I bet the truth is you were very happy, right? It probably increased your self-esteem and you began to think you were very attractive, ah.”
Lu Xun looked Qian Wei in the eye, took a deep breath, and said: “No. All I felt was annoyance. If there was anything else, maybe I felt that you were pitiful for spending so much energy on a hopeless love.”
Qian Wei was really surprised to find out that this was what her behavior had looked like in Lu Xun’s eyes.
What actually happened was this: Qian Chuan had been very obsessed with Mo Zixin back then, and he had also been very paranoid that Lu Xun might be his romantic rival. So, because Qian Chuan knew that Qian Wei, Lu Xun, and Mo Zixin were all attending the same college, he began offering up half of his living expenses to Qian Wei every month as tribute so that she would help him keep an eye on things. Qian Chuan had been quite penniless back in those days, so it could be seen just how important the matter was to him.
Thanks to that, Qian Wei enjoyed Qian Chuan’s ‘tributes’ for over half a year and, according to his request, she closely monitored Lu Xun for that entire period of time. In fact, Qian Wei could still remember Qian Chuan’s two demands from back then. First, following the spirit of ‘know yourself, know your enemy, and you won’t fear the result of a hundred battles’, he had asked Qian Wei to closely monitor everything Lu Xun did and try to analyze his character, and to make regular reports on her findings. And second, if she ever saw an opportunity where Lu Xun and Mo Zixin might begin to talk and hit it off, Qian Wei was to jump out and destroy that opportunity.
However, Qian Wei had never expected that Lu Xun would misinterpret her behavior and think that she was infatuated with him…
“For instance, there was the time where Mo Zixin and I needed to rehearse the tango together for a competition. Back then, you started coming to our rehearsals every day, bringing drinks and refreshments, offering your opinions seriously, and showing all kinds of concern. However, you would mostly only interact with Mo Zixin and I couldn’t help but feel that you were very stupid. Obviously, you had come over because you wanted to see and to talk to me, but then when you actually arrived you would get cold feet and go pretend that you just wanted to talk to Mo Zixin. Of course, it was easy for me to see through your real motives at a glance. Because of that, I began to deliberately chat around and laugh with Mo Zixin while purposefully ignoring you in the hopes that you would finally give up. However, you would always act like you didn’t mind and happily come over every day – and it was really shocking to realize that someone could actually like me to such an extent.”
Lu Xun pursed his lips: “But what left perhaps the greatest impression on me was the time that a massive downpour started while we were rehearsing in the practice room. Because the sky had been clear before, neither Mo Zixin or I had brought an umbrella, and we were in a bit of a conundrum. But then you arrived to deliver the milk tea and other refreshments as usual and, when you learned what was going on, you ended up giving us your umbrella and running out into the rain by yourself.” Lu Xun suddenly turned his head away and cleared his throat awkwardly before continuing. “Until that point, I had only ever found you to be annoying, but on that day, when I saw your small back running away in the rain, I suddenly felt a little distressed in my heart. I suddenly realized that you hadn’t really done anything heinous or bad. You just liked me. And all you were doing was chasing me wholeheartedly despite me always giving you the cold shoulder, in your own naive and clumsy sort of way. I suddenly felt that, while you were still stupid, some parts of you were actually a little cute…”
As she listened to Lu Xun’s interpretation of what had happened back then, which was completely different from her own, Qian Wei felt amazed, but also warm in her heart. She suddenly leaned forward and kissed Lu Xun on the cheek before whispering coquettishly: “So which parts of me are cute?”
Lu Xun’s ears turned red, but he still pretended to be calm and spoke in an even tone: “I thought all of you was very cute. Although you could be a little noisy sometimes, your eyes always seemed to be full of smiles, and my mood would get better just by seeing you. I began to feel that you were actually quite beautiful. And, although you had been chasing me for so long, I realized that you were actually quite simple and naive. I began to suspect that your strangely forward actions that seemed at odds with your simple personality were just the result of your deep affections for me. ” Lu Xun coughed, “Anyway, I decided to put up with it and just let you chase me.”
Qian Wei really never would have guessed that under Lu Xun’s cold and icy exterior he had such a rich inner world that was filled with such dramatic twists and turns…
“In the end, I resolved myself. I decided that if you tried to chase me again, then I would definitely show some interest in return, and if you directly confessed then, out of consideration for how much you liked me, I would reluctantly agree to date you.”
Qian Wei looked at Lu Xun’s unhappy expression and didn’t even need to be told what had happened next. She suddenly wanted to laugh. Who would have thought that an icy person like Lu Xun would face such an inner struggle?
Although she didn’t want to ruin Lu Xun’s impression of her, Qian Wei still felt it was necessary to explain things: “Well… in fact, I wasn’t chasing you at all back then. I was just keeping an eye on you for Qian Chuan. He asked me to help him by destroying any chances for you and Mo Zixin to be alone, which was why I kept coming to the practice room every day to deliver milk tea and refreshments. Also, Qian Chaun instructed me to make sure to monitor you two and keep you from getting close, and also to take care of his future girlfriend. That was why I would always talk to Mo Zixin but not to you, it was out of consideration for the fact that she might have been my future sister-in-law and I wanted to have a good relationship with her in advance. That’s also the reason I gave her the umbrella that day, however, I never expected her to offer to share it with you…”
Lu Xun had an unpleasant face, “Of course I know that now. After all, you completely disappeared from my life the moment Qian Chuan and Mo Zixin got together. But back then I had no idea.”
“So what did you think back then?”
“At first, I began to reflect on whether I had maybe been too cold to you and exhausted all your patience and love.” Lu Xun sneered, “But then, not long after that, I saw that you were getting very close to Li Chongwen and sparks were flying between you two, and I realized it was just a matter of you finding someone new.”
“…” Qian Wei pondered for a moment, but even after thinking about it she really felt that she had never been very familiar with Li Chongwen when they had been students. However, she seemed to recall that she did have a few brief discussions with Li Chongwen because of a debate contest? It seemed that, in Lu Xun’s eyes, that looked like sparks were flying between them?
Qian Wei sighed in her heart. Men really were jealous creatures.
“But if you thought I had moved on and found someone new, then why did you write me a love letter after that?”
“I’m just despicable like that, okay?” Lu Xun stared at Qian Wei awkwardly. “Well, maybe I just finally decided to put down my pride. Back I thought that maybe I… no. The truth is, I wanted to snatch you back no matter what. And I decided that since you weren’t taking the initiative, it was fine for me to just do it.”
Qian Wei tried to recall the situation back then and tried to stimulate Lu Xun’s thought processes that might have led him to that conclusion, and she suddenly felt a little overjoyed. Lu Xun, ah, Lu Xun, the ever omnipotent and impeccable Lu Xun had unexpectedly faced such a dilemma. She suddenly felt very sympathetic for him. Just imagine it, a walking mass of pride like Lu Xun found himself liking someone for the first time, but then the other person suddenly found someone new. After that blow, he struggled for a long time and finally managed to readjust his mindset enough that he was willing to take the initiative and write a love letter but, unexpectedly, the other person just ignored it. It was his precious first love, but his love letter was like a stone cast into the dark sea, not making so much as a ripple… for a person like Lu Xun, could there even be a more fatal blow?
However, despite all that, he had kept firmly loving her for nine years.
“I just couldn’t understand. You had obviously liked me so much before. There was no ambiguity at all. Or was I supposed to think that because you never directly came out and confessed, that meant you didn’t really like me? So I wrote you the love letter, but you just completely ignored it, and I didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I began to suspect that maybe you were acting this way because of how badly I had treated you before…” Lu Xun lowered his head, “So I made a decision. I decided that I would wait for you. I decided to stay by your side and watch over you silently until the day you forgave me and began to like me again.”
All of this was obviously already long in the past, but Qian Wei couldn’t help choking up a bit. She was suddenly full of regret: “Ah, why did you never tell me any of this earlier? If I hadn’t asked and finally managed to solve the misunderstanding just now, I would never have known anything about it! It’s like your love letter all over again. If you just hadn’t been so prideful and had come to talk to me face to face, we might have been together years ago.”
Although Qian Wei hadn’t ever really brought up the nine years they had missed out on, she had some feelings of bitterness in her heart because of it. Nine years, ah! If they had only gotten together sooner… just how many precious memories could the two of them have made in nine years?
“En, it’s a pity that we didn’t get together when we were 19. However, I feel that the 28-year-old me has an incomparable advantage over the 19-year-old me.” Lu Xun reached down and gently patted Qian Wei’s head. “When I was 19, I was not as mature as I am not, and I might have made you suffer unhappiness. But age has made me more stable and more aware of my priorities. When I was 19, there would have been no way for me to guarantee how our future together might turn out, but now that I’m 28 I definitely have that confidence. I can now protect you. I can give you the life you want. I can stand up and be your tree, to always shield you from the winds and rains.” Lu Xun smiled faintly. “In fact, I’m grateful for our fate that brought us together at 28. 28 is also an excellent number. Now I have you, I have my career, and I can say that I’ve accomplished everything I’ve wanted to accomplish. So long as my original intentions never waver, so what if things took nine years in the end? If you feel regretful that we missed nine years together, then we can spend the next nine years making it up. We have a lifetime together, and if you still feel regret then from now on I can carefully listen to all the things you did with the imaginary me in your coma, and we can try them out together one by one.”
Lu Xun raised an eyebrow, “And that isn’t even mentioning that a 19 year old can’t even do the most important thing in a relationship.”
“What most important thing?”
“Well, at 19, we weren’t at the legal age to be married.”
Qian Wei smiled up at him but then, just when she was feeling moved, she suddenly remembered something that made her mood turn a bit sour. She really regretted that she had allowed herself to get carried away by her emotions and had foolishly run over to Lu Xun and told her she wanted to marry him at the airport. Because of that, didn’t it seem that Lu Xun now had no intentions to properly propose to her?
Although it could already be considered a rare blessing that they had finally managed to find each other after nine years, experiencing ‘rare blessings’ was one thing, and marriage proposals were entirely another. A woman often really looked forward to receiving their marriage proposal, and Qian Wei was no exception, so she inevitably felt a bit aggrieved. She sighed. She could only blame herself for her moment of carelessness. Now, because of that, she wouldn’t ever get to experience the proposal.
“By the way, during our old law school’s recent career fair, they invited me in my capacity as an outstanding alumnus to give a short speech and offer some career advice to our little brothers and sisters at the law school later this afternoon. Please come with me, okay?”
After they finished a quick breakfast from the hotel cafeteria, Lu Xun suddenly smiled and extended this invitation to her while they were driving back to the firm.
Qian Wei nodded and made a vague sound of agreement, but inside she was still lamenting over the matter of the proposal inside.
Unfortunately, in the end they were both working adults. No matter what kind of important life events might be happening in their private time, they had to deal with a lawyer’s professional responsibilities as soon as they stepped into the office. Thus, as soon as they returned to the firm, Qian Wei and Lu Xun were both swamped with a multitude of things to do on behalf of various clients and could only devote themselves wholeheartedly to their work.
Lu Xun’s speech was scheduled for three o ‘clock in the afternoon but they had plenty to do before that time. Lu Xun had a meeting with an important client regarding investments, and Qian Wei needed to go to court and perform a cross-examination, so the two ended up separating.
Qian Wei’s cross-examination ended sooner than she had expected, so in the end she arrived at the school earlier than Lu Xun did.
Although she had stayed in City A after her graduation, Qian Wei seldom went back to her old school because of time constraints. It had been a long time since she had last been here, and she felt a little nostalgic as she walked around the old campus. Everywhere she looked there were the carefree and youthful faces of young people drowning in the fearlessness of youth. There were little pairs of lovers riding bicycles side by side, boys playing basketball, and girls sitting in the shade quietly reading their books. Everything was still so familiar. After all, the structure of the campus hadn’t changed that much in the past nine years, but the people on the campus had changed one after another.
She and Lu Xun had once idly passed the days of their youth in this place while ignorantly growing up together. She suddenly wondered, nine years ago, did she ever dream that a day like today might come?
Maybe Forrest Gump was right, and life really was like a box of chocolates where you would never know what you might get next. Back then, facing the flawless ice prince Lu Xun, she had silently developed an inferiority complex and never even dreamed there was any possibility between the two of them. However, who could have guessed that that same flawless ice prince would spend the next nine years silently loving her?
The venue for Lu Xun’s speech was to be the school auditorium, and Lu Xun himself was obviously very well-known on campus and beyond. In addition to the students from University A, this speech also managed to pull in students from various other colleges and universities in the area.
Qian Wei arrived at the auditorium a full ten minutes early but by that time the auditorium, which could hold thousands of people, was already almost full, and Qian Wei could only find a seat near the back.
“You know who Lu Xun is, right? He’s the most powerful walking advertisement for University A’s Law School in the school’s entire history. Many of the girls who have attended our law school over the years were deceived into enrolling because they saw his face on the law school’s official website. Obviously, Lu Xun graduated several years ago, both those old law professors are just too sly, and they never stopped using his face to draw in new blood. Even I was tricked! Back when I first entered the law school, I thought that all the boys would look as good as him but, in the end… well, I’m already a senior and let’s just say that the spring of love still hasn’t bloomed!”
Near where Qian Wei was sitting, a senior girl from the law school was relating Lu Xun’s glorious deeds to several freshman girls who were listening attentively.
A girl next to her suddenly joined the discussion: “You know, if Lu Xun had been willing to go to the entertainment industry, I’m sure he would have instantly debuted as the center of an idol group! In fact, I’ve even seen him in person before, and he is even more handsome in real life than in a picture! He’s tall and rich and, apart from being very aloof, he might be the perfect man!”
One freshman seemed curious: “Is he married then?”
“Nope! Still not married! I actually have a sister who works as the legal director at one of his client’s companies, so my information is absolutely reliable. Not only is he unmarried, he’s even single! The sister I know actually liked him for a long time, and she spent three years chasing him and dropping him all kinds of hints but, in the end, he never responded with anything but frosty aloofness. He seems like the type of man who has no feelings at all and only loves his work, so that sister finally gave up.”
Several girls all joined in and began to discuss Lu Xun enthusiastically, exchanging all kinds of true and false rumors about Lu Xun’s time at the university with worshipful tones of admiration.
Qian Wei sat among this group of girls and couldn’t help but smile a bit, feeling a sort of secret happiness in her heart. No one else knew but Lu Xun, who was considered aloof and only able to love work, was actually hers, and hers alone.
Soon, all the seats in the auditorium were filled up, but people kept coming in and even the aisleways were full of spectators. Then, Lu Xun finally entered the scene. He looked a bit tired and travelworn, but he arrived at exactly 3:00 p.m. on the dot, not a minute early or late.
The students in the auditorium all welcomed this young and handsome alumnus with warm applause.
“Wow, he’s more handsome than I thought!”
“Oh my god! I can lick this face for a year! “
Many girls were shocked by his face, and Qian Wei heard all sorts of strange whispers.
“Good afternoon everyone. I’m Lu Xun. I graduated from University A’s Law School seven years ago and these days I work as a commercial lawyer. I’m very honored to come and speak to you all today…”
“Mr. Wu Xiaobo said that the conscience of today’s society relies on the youth, and specifically the youth of the legal profession and in the media. This is his expectation for us, and it is his belief that so long as our country’s lawyers and journalists continue to have conscience, continue to stick to their moral bottom line, continue to adhere to their own professional ethics, and continue to chase after the truth, it means that our society as a whole will continue to have a conscience. “
“Each of you will soon graduate from law school and then grow into legal professionals. You will enter the courts as judges, lawyers, clerks, and various other legal professionals of all stripes. Each of you will become your own separate and independent individual, doing ordinary jobs for our legal system. For us, the law is just a tool we use to support ourselves and survive, and the vaunted ‘justice system’ is just our ordinary nine-to-five job. No single one of us can bear the weight of ‘being the conscience of the country’. It’s just too much for any one person. However, as long as each individual legal professional who is working their ordinary legal job remembers to believe in the law, remembers to believe in goodness, and remembers to seek truth and justice, then our power as ordinary legal professionals will certainly condense together and eventually, together, we will change this society for the better. This isn’t the power of the so-called ‘legal profession’, but rather, it’s the power of us individuals working within the profession, the individuals who are committed to persisting, and to maintaining our beliefs…”
From there, Lu Xun’s speech was lively and interesting, and he quickly had the students engaged. He started with interesting stories from when he was still a student at University A Law School, then moved on to talking about his journey from being an ignorant fresh graduate to being the partner in a law firm. During the speech, he interspersed in a lot of little anecdotes about his own inner struggles with the job and also the interesting dilemmas he had encountered during the course of his work, which was both fascinating and also seemed to make him more approachable. Finally, he naturally transitioned the subject into his beliefs about the ‘meaning’ of working in the legal profession. During the course of his speech, everyone listened to Lu Xun silently and seriously. There was no one playing around with their phone or gossiping with their neighbors, instead, the whole auditorium had transformed into a gathering of nothing but serious young law students.
Lu Xun was always a man with undeniable charisma, and he had a temperament that made people look up to him and want to follow in his footsteps. Thus, when he spoke like this, unreservedly, hot-bloodedly, like a missionary trying to convert the flock, he was undeniably fascinating. He firmly conveyed his strong beliefs, his thoughts on conscience and his commitment to persistence, as well as a reminder that these gathered future legal professionals should also do everything that they could to persist as well. He told them that for him, being a lawyer was a way to make money and put food on the table, yes, but it was also a profession with a higher spiritual calling. It was a career, rather than just a simple job.
As his words slowed and seemed to be coming to an end, the auditorium exploded with a huge round of applause.
“Perhaps the world is cruel, and perhaps society will hurt you, will make you lament and suspect the fairness of the world, but despite that it was necessary to press on. To say ‘Even ten years of ice won’t cool the heat of my blood!’”
Lu Xun’s speech was so inspiring that some girls even burst into tears directly. In fact, law had always been the major with nearly the lowest employment rate for graduates, and many law students felt insecure or confused about the future, and maybe Lu Xun’s words this time were able to bring some encouragement to those struggling souls.
Qian Wei looked around and felt a little choked up. She wondered how many of these young faces would ultimately choose to stick with the law thanks to Lu Xun’s words today. How many of them would become future prosecutors, judges, and lawyers?
China’s legal environment was far from perfect, and there was really too much that needed to be improved but, at this moment, Qian Wei felt full of hope. If every law school graduate could really stick to their conscience and the tenants of the law, wouldn’t the future of their country become something to look forward to?
Qian Wei had once been disappointed in the legal profession and the justice system as a whole but, at this moment, her heart, like the heart of every student present, was suddenly full of faith and hope.
As long as the individuals inside the justice system continued to persist, the conscience and justice of the law would never disappear.
“In addition, while I’m here I’d like to mention the most important person in my heart who has kept my spirit from flagging, apart from all of you of course.” The main topic of the speech was finished, but Lu Xun continued talking. However, he did not make any closing remarks, instead, he smiled and said, “I love this place, my alma mater. I love it because, while I was here, I not only learned the professional knowledge that made me the lawyer I am today, and not only did I find my iron faith in the ability of us small individuals within the justice system’s ability to persist and change the world for the better, but I also found the woman that I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
The atmosphere that had been slowly been heating up for a while was suddenly pushed to a crescendo because of Lu Xun’s words. The girls blushed and the boys whistled.
“Qian Wei, I’d like to invite you to walk with me and open a new chapter in both our lives together.” Lu Xun looked over, and the crowd parted like a sea until he could look directly into Qian Wei’s eyes. “I fell in love with you while we were in University A together at the age of 19 and now, 9 years later, I would like to propose to you here on the University A campus. I would like you to walk with me from this place the entire way, from your schoolchildren’s clothes all the way to your wedding dress.” Lu Xun smiled, and his voice dropped an octave, “Qian Wei, will you marry me?”
“In my work as a lawyer, I recommend for all of my clients to sign a prenuptial agreement no matter their circumstance, but I really want to tell you that for me, you are already my law. Even without a prenup, everything I have is already yours.”
The scene completely went wild, and there was a round of warm applause from all around.
Among all the clamor, Qian Wei tried to smile and agree but she found that, as she smiled, she couldn’t help but burst into tears.
She had really never expected for Lu Xun to propose in such a way.
However, she suddenly felt that, in her heart at least, this was indeed the best marriage proposal she could have received. It wasn’t crude or vulgar, it wasn’t stuffy or traditional, and it wasn’t boring and ordinary, instead, it was high-profile, arrogant, and unruly! It was just like him. And Lu Xun had love for her, he had dreams with her, he had a career with her, and he had already painted a future with her in his heart. Everything she wanted, Lu Xun had, and Lu Xun was willing to give to her. He came to her and put everything on the line, held out his heart and presented it unreservedly in front of her.
Qian Wei looked up again and saw, through her tears, that Lu Xun was coming down from the stage and walking towards her.
Suddenly, Qian Wei remembered that when she had been very young, she had read a fairy tale. The fairy tale had said that, in the end, everyone would find a person who would break through the noisy crowd around us, who would approach through thorns and hardships and, relying on their courage and love, who would walk firmly and steadily to stand by her side.
In the end, it turned out to be true.
-end of text-
TL NOTE: There is one more epilogue chapter after this, which I will upload tomorrow.