Chapter 26.1 – Shen Zhifan’s Secret (4)

The General's Cat always wants to climb into my bed
death
53 Chapters

Chapter 1 - The Nation’s Male God (1) Chapter 2 - The Nation’s Male God (2) Chapter 3 - The Nation’s Male God (3) Chapter 4 - The General’s Cat (1) Chapter 5 - The General’s Cat (2) Chapter 6 - The General’s Cat (3) Chapter 7 - The General’s Cat (4) Chapter 8 - Moonlight Forget-Me-Not (1) Chapter 9 - Moonlight Forget-Me-Not (2) Chapter 10 - The General’s Seduction (1) Chapter 11 - The General’s Seduction (2) Chapter 12 - The General’s Seduction (3) Chapter 13 - The General’s Seduction (4) Chapter 14 - The General’s Seduction (5) Chapter 15 - Faced With Homosexuality (1) Chapter 16 - Faced With Homosexuality (2) Chapter 17 - Number One Rookie (1) Chapter 18 - Number One Rookie (2) Chapter 19 - The General’s Secret (1) Chapter 20 - The General’s Secret (2) Chapter 21 - The General’s Secret (3) Chapter 22 - The General’s Secret (4) Chapter 23 - Shen Zhifan’s Secret (1) Chapter 24 - Shen Zhifan’s Secret (2) Chapter 25 - Shen Zhifan’s Secret (3) Chapter 26.1 - Shen Zhifan's Secret (4) Chapter 26.2 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 - Yi Jia’s Secret (1) Chapter 29.1 - The Cat’s Moe Special (1) Chapter 29.2 - The Cat's Moe Special (1) Chapter 29.3 - The Cat's Moe Special (1) Chapter 30.1 Chapter 30.2 Chapter 30.3 Chapter 31.1 Chapter 31.2 Chapter 31.3 Chapter 32 - Intoxication Play (1) Chapter 33 - Intoxication Play (2)  Chapter 34 - Drunken Aftermath (1) Chapter 35 - Drunken Aftermath (2) Chapter 36 - Lady Gu Qiu’s Worries (1) Chapter 37 - Lady Gu Qiu’s Worries (2) Chapter 38 - The Esteemed General’s Shamelessness (1) Chapter 39 - The Esteemed General’s Shamelessness (2) Chapter 40 - The Esteemed General’s Shamelessness (3) Chapter 41 - Uriah's Secret (1) Chapter 42 - Uriah's Secret (2) Chapter 43 - Yi Jia’s Secret (2) Chapter 44 - The General’s Confession (1) Chapter 45.1 - Ferdinand’s Words (1) Chapter 45.2

Chapter 26.1: Shen Zhifan’s Secret (4)

Translator: death, Vivi

Editor: Mimishijie

Death: Some of the next few chapters (26, 29, 30, 31) are about 10k words, split into two parts. I’ll be keeping these chapters split when I upload them, but these long chapters will be uploaded weekly instead of every fortnight so that I don’t double the time it takes for me to finish this story. That’s the plan for now. My stockpile~~QAQ

TL Note: I forgot to mention this in the last chapter, but when SZF’s diary talks about the year numbers e.g 31, 28, it refers to the interstellar calendar, not his age. At the beginning of the novel, he landed in the year 733 (the current year), seven years after he turned 16 (in the year 726).

(Part One)


Silently, Shen Zhifan continued to turn the pages.

To the Shen Zhifan of the past, the road forward had practically been an endless night. At any time, anything could have become the feather-light straw that broke the camel’s back.

Reading about himself making light of his own situation seemed somewhat cute, but when the him at the time wrote those words, the feelings in his heart could never be described as such. Rather, it was the feeling of not knowing whether he’d live or die tomorrow.

He never wrote that he would definitively do something tomorrow, or what he’d do after his next match.

Of course, it wasn’t that he didn’t want to dream of a beautiful future. It could be assumed that he was really too anxious and uneasy – when he didn’t even know if he could survive past the morrow, any plans he made would undoubtedly seem quite pitiful.

Therefore, he could only write as if he was disconnected from reality.
Writing about his illusory future, he would use more vague strokes to write. For example, if he could create a little magazine like “Mechanical Falcon”, he didn’t need to get by too well, as long as he could break away from his current predicament – barely making a simple living would be enough.

A person’s needs would vary according to their environment. Those days he spent living in the dark, unable to see the light of day, pain and torment lived in his body like a second breath. Getting used to the agony was an extremely tragic thing but there were times when one had no choice but to do so.

This sort of ‘helplessness’, in comparison to ‘pain’, seemed to be even more despairing, to the point where you’d feel like you were choking.
That’s why, although his wish right now seemed rather pitiful, it was, in fact, just a little bit better than what it was in the past.

Inevitably, Shen Zhifan felt a bit like crying, but since he’d be crying for no reason, forget it.

Since there was no need, he didn’t know whether the Shen Zhifan of that time had cried or not, but he would guess that he hadn’t. He had forgotten, but his body still vaguely remembered.

If the Shen Zhifan who had personally experienced all of that darkness hadn’t cried, then the him now didn’t have the need nor right to shed tears here.

This isn’t empathy; it’s because I’m originally such a strange existence.

Humans were very strange. Usually the pitiful and tragic circumstances of strangers would make you shed tears, but when you were confronted with your own kind of despair, you would also suddenly realise in a flash there was nothing to cry about. As it turns out, the heartfelt compassion one would feel from before was simply because one had been high and away from the situation.

One would only be so clear-headed when one was personally stuck in the mud.

However, no matter how muddy or rough the road was, it could always be tread under one’s feet, step by step.
Shen Zhifan watched as that confused youth struggled in pain and hesitation bit by bit, forced along by the pulling of an unseen rope. Every inch of his flesh was worn down and inundated with thick, stinking blood.
But even so, the dapples of sunlight that would sometimes land on the ground would still have him go forward unflinchingly, step by step.

Staggering forward persistently, even small achievements could become something great.

In every matter of life and death, he had pulled through. It couldn’t be said to entirely be luck – his gifts had already slowly revealed him to be a brilliant talent.

But this wasn’t necessarily good. It meant that he was taken note of by the audience, as well as those fiercely malicious degenerates.

The most painful time was when he had become famous in the underground mech arena.

At that time, all the bones in his body were practically broken. He’d thought that he had already gotten used to it, but in just a day, he was beaten back down to his original form. Covered in blood, he became an extremely tragic sight, like he had been in the past. No, in fact, he was even worse off than the first time he started. If the blood could be washed off, one would easily see that his ashen-grey complex was a result of the extreme loss of blood.

“I thought that I was going to die yesterday – I was really going to die, so I couldn’t write anything. Honestly, sometimes I’m confused why I want to write all of this down. If I died today, then this diary would follow my death and vanish into the smoke, without a hint of meaning.”

“Today was a little better; alright, that’s what the doctor said, but I clearly feel that it hurts more than yesterday. I don’t know if I can live past today.”

Here, the page was in disorder, the handwriting almost illegible. It was clear that the Shen Zhifan of that time had been straining immensely, and his consciousness had been somewhat unclear.

“My eardrums were once again shattered, and it hurt even more because it was on top of my old injury. Niya was trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t hear at all. I saw her lips moving and I forced myself to give her a smile, but it was useless.
“Aibo was crying for me as well. I tried my best to comfort him, but perhaps I looked too pitiful, because I scared him into crying even more.”
“That doctor – fine – that quack doctor said my internal organs are completely filled with blood. No wonder I feel so bloated… How strange, even though I said it’s useless, I still can’t help but write all this…”

“I’m probably dying, right, maybe this time I’ll really die. I live, then I die – there’s nothing much to say.”

However, the words, ‘nothing much to say’ were evidently quickly crossed out and what followed was a bunch of messy scribbles.
“No, let me say a few more things. My little sister – Shen Zhirou, your brother always wanted to tell you, although you aren’t that beautiful, you’ll always be the cutest in your brother’s heart. It’s the kind of cute where I want to hug you. I don’t know how I should wish you well, but I hope that you definitely become happy…even if your brother dies, brother will always watch over you in the sky with mother and father.”

“Although you might think that it sounds like I’m trying to coax a child, please believe me.”

“You’re very smart and gentle, not one bit inferior to those beautiful women you look up to. You’re the light that has kept your brother fighting on…Brother loves you but I just don’t quite know how to show it. I promise, your brother loves you much more than you imagine.”

He repeatedly emphasised this even until his words were messed up to the point where Shen Zhifan himself was unable to understand it. However, one thing for sure was that he kept emphasising it.

“I know that you’ve always had a crush on that freckle-faced boy from the orphanage, but he isn’t a good person. He’d often use terrible and vulgar words to judge girls behind their backs, simply a beast.”

“I always kept it from you because I was afraid you’d be sad, so I hope you don’t choose him, even if he has a nice face1Face – literally, the word SZF uses here is ‘skin’, so…dark humour anyone? . Faces aren’t important – if that’s how you choose, you may as well choose brother’s remains, that is, if you can get your hands on them.”
“Although, I’m guessing you won’t be able to, since I’ll probably be thrown into some kind of ditch, or worse, taken away by certain depraved, perverted people…I’ve never told you, but here, there are indeed people who lust after your brother’s charms, and all of them aren’t normal.”
“After writing for so long, I seem to have strayed. I feel like laughing and my breathing doesn’t hurt as much as before but my lungs feel extremely airy, just like when I had my four front teeth removed many years ago.”

“You must definitely grow smarter. Even if your brother is no longer here, you must continue living on. Although it’s tiring, it’s occasionally a blessed thing.”

“I know that you want to fall in love, but you mustn’t do it just for the sake of falling in love; that is extremely pointless. Although it sounds extremely cool, it isn’t one bit cool.”

“I probably won’t be able to see you when you get married – will you get married? I hear that marriage is when a girl is the most beautiful. I want to see, but it seems like I won’t get the chance.”

“You also mustn’t get married just for the sake of getting married. After your brother dies, there’ll be no one to force you, but if you’re afraid of growing old alone, just adopt a child from the orphanage. After you go there, you’ll realise there’s many children without a home just like us. Although there are bad kids, there are also good ones.”

“I hope that you’ll live well. It doesn’t matter how, as long as you live happily for your brother’s sake.”

“You must marry for love. Although I’m not sure what love is, if that person lets you be at ease and feel happy, and gives you a shoulder to lean on in times of difficulty, he’s probably the one.”

“Maybe I might survive.”

Having reached this point, he paused for a long time on the last word, until the word trailed off and blended with the final period.

“No, it’s too difficult. I don’t dare to stop writing, nor go to sleep. My consciousness and willpower are going against each other, but I cannot sleep. I have to at least finish writing. Although there’s no meaning to it, it might be the only lousy thing that can prove that I once existed, after my death.”

The words written here were indescribably light, Shen Zhifan had to struggle to make them out.
He’d thought that the entry for this day had ended due to the empty remainder of the page that followed and logically speaking, it should have finished here. Therefore, he instinctively turned over to the next page and was abruptly startled by its contents.

The whole page was full of the winding, messily written words, ‘I don’t want to die’.
All sorts of handwriting filled the page. Even though most of it had become a huge mess, he could make out the pauses between the words.
The words “I don’t want to die” were chaotically scribbled in both light and dark variations, each one more frantic than the previous. The words repeated and each word seemed to be scrambling to be the first, as if afraid that if they were a second later, it would be over.

But he believed that at the time, these were the thoughts he had. Incessantly writing them down, for fear that in the next second, he would be cut off, and it would be too late.

The whole page of “I don’t want to die” was so shocking that he could feel the deep despair and struggle that the youth had felt from that year piercing his heart. And he didn’t need to think to know that the dark blot at the top was a result of his blood having dried up after a long time.

At that time, he really knew that he was going to die. Just before that, he had been easily, fearlessly saying “I live, then I die – there’s nothing much to say”, but in the blink of an eye he was still so unwilling. So unwilling that he would clearly write down the truest words in his heart.

His fingers trembling, the diary nearly slipped out of his hands.

Shen Zhifan hurriedly grasped the diary steadily. He didn’t want to look at this any more and quickly flipped over.

The page from just then had already gone beyond Shen Zhifan’s expectations, but he hadn’t anticipated that it still wasn’t over.

He was taught the endless helplessness of what it meant to be human. The next page seemed to speak of all the bitterness and resentment he had endured, until he reached a line that seemed to miraculously clear up.
“There is…there’s a person, perhaps he’ll never know that I died in this kind of place, because he is a…a place that I absolutely cannot touch. Like the moon, yet also like the sun, but I wanted to talk about him, even though these feelings are even more useless than this diary.”

“Alright, he’s clearly much more important than what I’ve always imagined. Look, even my words suddenly become much more legible. I feel that this is the first time my writing has been this nice even compared to all the other times when I’ve been clear-headed.”

“When I liked him, I was only fourteen. Saying ‘liked’ is a bit one-sided, actually, it was quite complicated, how should I say it…adored, longed for, inconceivable? Yes, for me at that time, it was really inconceivable. All around me were fourteen-year-old boys just like me – we were all without ambitions and just getting by. In fact, I originally thought there was nothing wrong with it. After all, thinking about it now, passing those vague, messy days was quite comfortable.”

“But one day, I saw him. I couldn’t imagine that he was only five years older than me yet he was such an outstanding person… It’s too unimaginable. To think that the world has people like me, and then, there are those like him.”

“I know, the biggest difference between us is our identities. Although I’ve already grown up, I still can’t understand why this society, which advocates for humanity that sounds good in theory but fails in practice, exists. To put it in other words, the distance between us is perhaps, like him and his dog, that is, if he had a dog.”

“That’s why even though I wish to be able to meet him, I know that it is simply a fantasy.”

“That’s why, I never expected to really get the chance to see him. That was something that happened two years ago, he probably doesn’t remember.”

“I’m sure it was him, even though it was like a dream, I really…it was definitely him. Naturally, he probably doesn’t remember me, after all, we were only together for three days.”

“And at that time, he was completely covered in blood and unconscious…he was probably unconscious, right? Of course, hopefully he could remember.”

“So much time has passed, I’ve also forgotten what I felt at that time. Thinking about it still makes me feel… excited. Great, keep this up and I won’t be falling asleep.”
“Anyway, when I saw him, I even stole a kiss from him. It doesn’t matter since he wouldn’t know anyway.”
“He looks even more handsome than he did on the “Mechanical Falcon”. That photo made his face too big.
“I…in short, those three days are hard to describe, so I won’t write it.”

…What happened in those three days?

Why didn’t he write about it?

Seeing this, Shen Zhifan was furious. This was too illogical.

“He probably doesn’t remember me and even more so, doesn’t know my feelings for him. If I were to die in a place like this, I’d actually rather he doesn’t know how pitiful I look right now.”

“I probably like him more than I imagined. Superficially, he’s the lover of my dreams. I like both his appearance and his figure, even if it’s a secret love that will come to nothing. Going a bit deeper, he’s a huge influence on me. Although we’ve never spoken a word to each other, and most of what I know about him was from “Mechanical Falcon”, this kind of unreliable source. But he’s still the bright light that gives me direction, helping me escape from that blank state of being willing to do anything.”

“Perhaps, he’s the summit that I’ll never reach. To chase after something unattainable is extremely unbearable; the feeling of utter helplessness. But if it’s him, I’ll endure it gladly.

“That’s why the only time I’ve felt the most alive was during those three days. To be able to touch him, I feel extremely alive.

“I probably really am dying, otherwise why would I be so happy writing about this. I’m not tired at all, it’s probably my dying flash.”

“Alright, he’ll probably never know of my existence. Although it’s a little sad, ending it like this is fine.”

“It’s almost dawn, I need to go soon.”

“This is really goodbye.”
“Fuck, the doctor came. He actually said I was fine?”
“This quack, don’t joke around. Right now, I’m peppered with holes, my lungs are leaking air, and I can’t even say a complete sentence, alright? This is fine?”

“Okay, I’ll admit, I’m not angry at all. I just feel like laughing, if only my chest didn’t hurt so much. I want to laugh until the entire mech arena can hear me.”

“I’ll probably live. Thank you world, thank you little sister, thank you Niya and Aibo, thank you…”

“Thank you.”

“For letting me live.”

  • 1
    Face – literally, the word SZF uses here is ‘skin’, so…dark humour anyone? 

death

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9 thoughts on “Chapter 26.1 – Shen Zhifan’s Secret (4)”

  1. We read about his tragic past and here I am, laughing bc of the "goodbye, I'm almost dead" and "fuck what? I'm going to live?" lololol

    Thx for the ch (ㅅ˘ㅂ˘)

    Reply
  2. Why DId ThiS NovEL gEt So FrEAKinG SaD anD DaRk?

    Aaahhh, I wanna give Shen Zhifan a bear hug~~~~~

    Thank you 4 the chapter <3

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the chapter 😊😍I'm a sobbing mess rn but still, thanks a lot. We will get through this somehow QAQ

    Reply
  4. jesus this really clawed at my heart. i had to keep reminding myself that it’s just fiction, because that part where he kept writing “i don’t want to die”…. oh my god that hurts.

    Reply

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