At 7:20 the next morning, Feng Yeran opened his eyes hazily, his head hurting. In a daze, he propped himself up, looked around, and found that he was the only one in the messy room. His impression of last night was already not very clear. Suddenly, he remembered that he had a video conference at eight o’clock, so he turned on his computer.
He was just closing his eyes to rest when he suddenly heard a slight push of a button. The computer had been forcibly shut down.
When he opened his eyes, he was startled.
Feng Hua was standing in front of him.
“How did you get in here?!”
“The door wasn’t closed.”
Yesterday’s vague memories came rushing back and Feng Yeran’s chest inexplicably tightened. The words seemed to come out without passing through his brain. “You were with that something Yi girl last night?”
“Jinyi. Yeah,” Feng Hua replied almost perfunctorily. He immediately added, “That’s not important.”
The clearly pronounced, intimate name and the soft, faint ‘yeah’ were just like a bucket of cold water pouring straight onto Feng Yeran. He almost immediately said sarcastically, ‘Didn’t you say you only like me? Your so-called liking is nothing more than that’, ‘Did you finally realise that your liking is wrong? I’ve always told you that your liking is changeable, that what you have for me is just an illusion’, ‘It’s funny, just now you said that all of you belongs to me, that you love only me, and immediately you’re with someone else’, ‘Is it interesting to play an adult like that’… but for the sake of his adult pride, he swallowed all those words down his throat.
He stiffly raised the corners of his mouth. “What are you doing here with me so early in the morning instead of being with her?”
“…You still don’t know.”
“Still don’t know what?”
It was just incongruous. Feng Yeran frowned at Feng Hua, only to find that he was staring straight at him, his eyelashes long, and his eyes, which looked dark blue in the gloom, filled with worry.
It was just as if he were being scalded by boiling water. Feng Yeran immediately averted his eyes.
His heart, chest, lungs, stomach, and even his every pore became strange, slightly trembling, tingling, too dull. That strange emotion rolled through his body again, as if there was another person living inside his body, eager to penetrate his skin and crawl out!
What was going on! He was becoming more and more unlike himself!
Suddenly remembering the computer that’d been turned off, he reached out to press the power on button again, but, sure enough, it was immediately stopped.
“What’re you doing?!”
“Don’t work so early in the morning. Get some rest first.”
“I have a video conference at eight!”
With that, Feng Yearn picked up his phone on the bed and was about to turn it on.
But Feng Hua actually tried to grab his phone.
At that moment, the doubts, the worries, all the negative emotions that’d been accumulating in his chest gathered together and instantly burst out in the form of anger!
He grabbed the pillow and smashed it hard on Feng Hua’s face, his voice just a little unsteady. “You’ve grown up now. You can be with whoever you like. But I also have my freedom. You came into my room early in the morning without my consent, turned off my computer, and tried to grab my phone. What exactly do you want?”
It didn’t hurt at all when the pillow hit his face, but this was the first time Feng Yeran had gotten so angry.
Feng Hua looked at Feng Yeran’s red eyes in surprise. His mouth opened for a long time, but not a single word came out.
“You should go. I still have a lot of work to do,” Feng Yeran said, about to turn on his phone.
Feng Hua’s brow furrowed tightly. He said, almost begging, “Ye’er, don’t turn on the phone.”
But his phone was already on.
85 text messages, 38 missed calls, and that didn’t include the messages about to explode on his social media apps.
Feng Hua sighed.
“Director! Is the news true? You show up now!”
“Yeran! I didn’t even see it before. Cheating with your sister-in-law, you’re so great!”
“Feng Yeran, did you really cheat with Chen Xuan? This is something you must never do! Which woman you like is your freedom, but making a scene to this extent will have a huge negative impact on the research institute!…”
It was obvious that Feng Yeran and Chen Xuan’s relationship had been exposed. After skimming over a large number of text messages, Feng Yeran’s expression didn’t change much, as if it wasn’t a particularly big blow to him. After all, he wasn’t the one who asked to keep it secret in the first place. A showdown was a better solution to this troublesome relationship.
And, in fact, their relationship wasn’t just exposed with words, but was also accompanied by a large number of clear, unpixelated photos, which included photos of the two eating out, walking and playing, as well as a small number of magnified sneak shots. The trending searches on the internet were full of similar headlines: “Famous Researcher Feng Yeran Cuckolds His Brother Feng Boran”, “Feng Boran’s Wife Cheats on Him”, “Feng Boran and Feng Yeran Fight Over Woman and Become Enemies”, “Feng Yeran and Chen Xuan’s Sex Photos Leaked”, “Feng Mu Faints and Is Rushed to Hospital”, “Chen Xuan Is Pregnant”… true and false, fake and real.
It shouldn’t have been a big deal, but it seemed that someone was spicing up the topic behind the scenes. In addition, Feng Yeran was a popular figure in recent years. As a scientist, his name had become a household name due to his groundbreaking work, and his public image had always been a positive academic one. The excessive contrast obviously caused negative effects.
At first, Feng Yeran still looked as usual. He was just worried about Chen Xuan and sent her a lot of messages, but she didn’t reply.
However, after ten minutes, his face became redder and redder, and his veins were throbbing. He was obviously very angry. Then, his breathing became more and more rapid. He seemed to have a terrible stomachache, and he fell onto the chair on his butt. Feng Hua came forward to help him, but was pushed away.
His phone fell to the floor, and Feng Hua picked it up for him. The large headline on it was “Feng Yeran Steals His Brother’s Experimental Results”.
After a while, Feng Yeran seemed to remember something. He grabbed his phone and called Chen Xuan.
But, no matter how many times he called, all he heard was a cold voice.
“Sorry, the number you have dialled is switched off.”
* * *
Chen Xuan ran into the study and strode towards the man reading a book. She slammed the newspaper on the desk with an angry face. “What’s going on? I gave you the information you asked for, but why did you expose us? And even let people write these baffling things!”
The middle-aged man put down his book and looked up with an innocent expression. “You think I exposed it?”
The man took Chen Xuan’s hand and lowered his head to kiss it. “Why would I expose my wife? Show others my wife’s sex photos?”
“You didn’t care in the first place…” Chen Xuan lowered her eyes, which were overflowing with water, angry and hateful. “What am I supposed to do in the future??!”
“How could I not care?! Ah, my poor little girl, you have to believe me. It isn’t difficult to restore your reputation. I have my means. And, you have to believe me, it really wasn’t me this time—at least, it wasn’t me who exposed it at the very beginning. I admit, I just added a little spice to it, that’s nothing. But…” The man laughed. “But unexpectedly, it achieved the effect I wanted… Haha, it was a godsend. Now, you can search the names of me and that guy and see what comes up.”
The man excitedly typed in the two people’s names on the computer, and the smile on his face grew, even crazy with joy.
Chen Xuan was silent for some time with a pale face before saying, “Are you satisfied now?”
“Very satisfied… But, it’s not enough.”
“…What else do you want?”
“We need to wait, consider a few statements, and, also, we need a news conference to take back what belongs to us.”
“…That’s too much. He’s your brother! If it goes on like this, you’ll ruin his reputation!”
“That’s how cruel the world is. Where there are predators, there are prey. The same is true even for brothers, just like the wolf and the rabbit, the mantis and the cicada. He should’ve been plain and obscure, but he came out to fight me. I had to find a way to give him a little setback. It was unavoidable. Besides, it’s not that cruel. I’m just taking back what belongs to me so that he can stop being so arrogant and live his own life.”
“What, my dear, do you want to quit and become the prey?”
Chen Xuan took several steps backwards, her body trembling. “No, no… I don’t want to!”
“Yeah, how could I sacrifice you!”
Chen Xuan relaxed a little. Pulling out a weak smile, she asked, as if she’d turned into an innocent little girl, “…If you succeed, will you really treat me well?”
“Of course. I’ve always been true to my word. I will love only you for all my life, only treat you well and give you a lifetime of happiness.”
At that moment, Chen Xuan seemed to have forgotten everything.
She had become the predator in Feng Boran’s mouth, happily and innocently trampling her love for Feng Yeran under her feet.
Exactly as she did in high school.
* * *
Feng Hua carried the fainted Feng Yeran to the bed. He had already relieved Feng Yeran of the pain in his stomach.
He left the room, closed the door, and called Sean directly. He rarely called Sean. After all, it was usually Sean who came to harass him.
“Oh, you actually called me!” It was a cheerful voice.
“Did you do that?”
The other side paused for a few seconds, then suddenly laughed, unable to stop.
“Where are you?” Feng Hua’s voice was cold to the bone, but unfortunately, Sean, who was too excited, didn’t notice at all.
The two of them arranged a meeting time.
Half an hour later, in the small, shabby warehouse behind the research institute, with no one nearby, cold and messy.
As soon as Sean saw Feng Hua, he smiled, an excited look on his face. “I was just wondering when you’d call me? How is it? Isn’t it really, really great? The photos I took and the videos I recorded are all useful! I haven’t sent them all out yet. I’ll send them out bit by bit, tactfully—I’ve told you before, it’s absolutely the best way. You’ve taken your beloved up to the clouds, and then it’s time to drop him. Well, I know you can’t bear it, but it has to be like this. Once he’s dropped and lost everything, that sense of falling will drive him crazy. He’ll find out that everyone by his side has left him one by one, and that his so-called most beloved woman is actually the one who betrayed him and hurt him the most… There’s only one person still at his side, and that’s you! At that point, all your barriers will be gone. He’ll depend on you, crave you, and his world will have only you—”
He punched Sean hard in the face. Sean’s face was instantly deformed and blood splattered. His whole body slammed into the wall, and a crisp sound of breaking could be heard.
Sean wailed in pain, “It hurts, it hurts, it hurts… God, it’s bleeding… I’m getting crippled by you, you lunatic! What’re you doing… Aren’t I helping you? I haven’t slept for days, just to help you… you thankless wretch…”
“Pull back what you sent out right now.”
“…How could I pull it back? It’s all spread out now! Ah… I know you can’t bear it now, but think about it. It’s really a foolproof way! I’m the one who exposed them, not you. It’s got nothing to do with you. You can play the role of saviour, eh? Don’t you want to have all of him?”
“I don’t care what way you use! Pull it all back!”
“I told you there’s no way to pull it back!”
Sean stood up and wiped the blood from his face. “You’re a little too fucking heavy-handed, aren’t you? Do you still think of me as a friend?”
“I don’t have a friend like you.”
Sean froze for a moment. He sneered. “Oh? Years of friendship just gone in an instant?”
“I refused you before when you said you’d expose them. You actually did such a stupid thing without permission. Not killing you is already a mercy to you.”
When Sean heard this, he was instantly angry. “What? You were even thinking of killing someone, brat?”
“Why don’t you fucking kill yourself? You wimp! You’ve liked someone for so many years and you don’t even dare lift a finger?! I’ve never seen such a fucking wimp before!”
He threw another punch at Sean, but Sean caught it with one hand.
Feng Hua was surprised.
Sean, in his impression, had always been a somewhat delicate, even weak, red-haired man, but at that moment, he seemed to have become tall and strong. He tightly gripped on Feng Hua’s fist, and the veins on his wheat-coloured arms throbbed, just like a professional boxer.
“I fucking despise you! Are you still a man if you don’t dare do what you obviously want to do most!”
After saying that, he gave Feng Hua a straight hook. Feng Hua took a couple steps back, slightly wide-eyed. It was the first time he’d been hit, though it didn’t particularly hurt, just hot and tasting of rust in his mouth.
Sean seemed completely provoked by Feng Hua, like an uncontrollable beast.
He growled with red eyes, and his voice was filled with sarcastic, savage laughter. “If you can’t stand it at first, what can you do later? Things like scandals are like snowballs. They’ll get bigger and bigger…”
“Hahaha… Say, have you looked around on the internet? What are those netizens saying about your dear Feng Yeran now? Shall I recite it to you? Well… ‘Feng Yeran stole Feng Boran’s experimental results’, ‘Feng Hua should have belonged to Feng Boran’, ‘Feng Yeran misbehaved as a child, drank, smoked and clubbed in high school, and robbed Feng Boran’s girlfriend Chen Xuan’, ‘Feng Yeran’s chronic alcoholism led to terminal illness’, ‘Feng Yeran used Chen Xuan to obtain information’…”
Feng Hua couldn’t bear it. His temples throbbed and his blood seemed to boil all over his body.
It wasn’t just anger, but also worry, remorse, despair.
He hadn’t stopped Sean’s stupid behaviour in time. It was him who had befriended Sean, it was him who had brought disaster to his Ye’er.
Now, it seemed that he didn’t care at all if Ye’er could love him. What he cared more about was whether he could bear the blow—with such a weak body, would he be unable to stand up due to this blow—obviously, he should think like that, but what was even more frightening was that in the bottom of his heart, he was actually, as Sean had said, secretly looking forward to how this would progress…
There seemed to be a dark voice echoing in his mind…
“Destroy him, break his wings and his limbs, and make him belong to you alone!”
He feared this voice, and was even less willing to admit that it actually originated from himself!
So, he decided that this voice had been spurred on by Sean, that it had been imposed on him by Sean.
The two of them, like two beasts, fought in the warehouse, smashing almost everything that could be broken, until they were bruised and bleeding.
Finally, Sean was trampled underfoot by Feng Hua.
Both of them were exhausted, but the excitement of hatred seemed to have inexplicably dissipated a lot, and they became friends again.
Sean gasped as he joked, “You… don’t… really want to… kill me, right?”
“I don’t want to get my hands dirty.” Feng Hua ordered coldly, “Delete the photos and videos you’re holding and don’t upload any more.”
“Okay, okay… But, do you still want to save him? It’s come to this. No person can save him…”
“I’m not human.”