Chapter 1: Brother, would you like to get your fortune told?

The Capital City at the end of June was like a steamer, it was too hot to breathe. At this time, people’s tempers were extremely short, as if the high temperature had unleashed their violence. They could explode at any second.

“Do you know how to drive?!”

“Who’s yelling? Am I the one who doesn’t know how to drive or is it you?!”

Two men were glaring at each other. After arguing for a few minutes, they couldn’t stand the heat under the sun and hid under the shade of the tree by the road.

But the area of the shade was limited. The two of them stood close to each other and they suddenly couldn’t continue the argument after looking at each other.

“Pa!” The two men heard a clap from behind them and turned around. They saw a young man sitting under the tree beside them. He had fair skin, round eyes and his hair was naturally slightly curled. On his left hand he held a half melted ice-cream and his right hand was slapping mosquitoes on his leg.

The young man raised his head. When he saw them, he smiled without speaking, revealing two small dimples on his cheeks. He looked like a shy university student.
Seeing his smile, the remaining anger within the two drivers disappeared without a trace. They looked at each other and the chubbier driver finally said, “Little brother, what are you doing here on a hot day like this?”

The young man picked up a wooden sign and placed it in front of them, “Big brothers, do you want to get your fortune told?”

The thinner driver stretched his neck and saw that the black old wooden sign between his palms had the words “Fortune-telling, three times a month. Accuracy comes with sincerity, get your fortune told when fate brings you here.”

That was too blunt. If the fortune-telling was not accurate, it was because the heart was not sincere. If the number of times had exceeded the limit of the month, it also didn’t matter since if there was fate he would do it. Young people nowadays had no patience, they couldn’t even put effort into scamming others.
But it seemed to be fate for them to meet on such a hot day. No one was there to watch their heated argument. It was clear how hot the day was. The thin driver wiped the sweat off his face and asked, “Little brother, how many times have you done it this month?”

Today was the last day of June. Had he not told fortune three times? This business was pathetic.
The ice-cream on the young man’s hand was almost completely melted. He threw the wooden sign casually to the side and quickly finished the ice-cream. Then, he turned around and tossed the box into the trash can that was two meters away.

“There is still one more left this month. Are you two interested?” The young man took out a piece of wet tissue to wipe his mouth and hands. He was not in a hurry to convince them and turned around to throw the tissue into the trash can.
“Little brother, you’re so young, but…why do you do this?”

The chubby driver saw that this young man was neatly dressed and he was young. He didn’t know what to say regarding him being in a deceptive business.

But this young man was calm. When he heard what the chubby driver said, his expression didn’t change and he just looked at them smilingly. The dimples on his cheek appeared faintly. No one could feel repulsed by him.

“How much does it cost?” The thin driver asked casually.

The young man opened his palms and stretched out all five fingers.


The young man shook his head, “500.”
The thin driver’s expression changed and was annoyed, “Little brother, it’s not that I don’t believe you, but 500 is too much.” If he went home and told his wife that he spent 500 on fortune-telling, his wife wouldn’t believe him.

Besides, if it wasn’t for the young man’s innocent face, he would have turned around and left when he gave such a greedy offer.
The young man smiled and did not say anything. He didn’t try to convince him of his accuracy in fortune-telling, nor did he say he could lower the price as though it was not him who wanted to tell their fortune.

The three of them stopped talking and the atmosphere was filled with awkwardness.
After two minutes, the chubby driver looked at the young man’s leg that had mosquito bites on it and touched his wallet a few times. He took out three red notes and gave it to him, “Little brother, this business is not easy. It’s so hot today, go home early and find a serious job, don’t do this anymore in the future.”

His own child was not much younger than this young man and was still playing video games in an air-conditioned room at home, but this young man came out alone to do this business. If his family background was good, they wouldn’t have let him suffer like this.

After he said that, he looked a bit awkward and said, “I don’t want my fortune told, you can have the money.”
The young man looked at the three hundred yuan in his hand and smiled. He kept the wooden sign and said, “Big brother, you’re kind, but I’ll be breaking the rules today.”

The chubby driver could only smile when he saw his serious expression, “Fine, fine. Let’s do it so you can go home early.” 
“Big brother’s parents have had high expectations for you since you’re born. You were loved by your parents, got married at twenty five, have a good relationship with your wife and have one son, am I right?” The young man leaned on the tree. His voice was gentle like the wind that made others feel at ease.
The chubby driver was stunned because he was so accurate. His parents did not have a child after being married for a long time. So when they finally had him, they loved him to bits. He met his wife when he was in university, so they got married within two years after graduating and had one son together.

The thin driver was annoyed when he saw the chubby driver’s shocked expression. All fortune tellers liked to play similar tricks by describing your childhood and family. The truth was that one could guess that as long as they were observant and could deduce it from their appearance and behaviour. It was completely unrelated to fortune-telling.
The thin driver thought that he would continue saying nonsense, but this young man did not say anything else anymore.

“No one has a perfect destiny. Those who are almost perfect already have the heaven’s blessing,” the young man glanced at the chubby driver. “If you believe me, take another route home today, you’d avoid a big misfortune.”

After he said that he took the wooden sign and the three hundred yuan and left slowly like a mysterious sage.

The thin driver thought that this didn’t seem right…

But he didn’t have the time to think more about it as the traffic police had come over to deal with the incident. After sharing the experience of hiding from the sun under the same tree, both of them compromised and the matter was settled quickly.
After being out for the whole day, it was already after 9 in the evening when the chubby driver was going home. Since his car was sent for repair, he had to take public transportation. After getting off the bus, as he was about to go into an alley, he tripped on a brick and remembered what the young man with the dimples said early in the afternoon.

He looked at the empty alley and hesitated for two seconds. Finally, he decided to take a longer route home.
After a few steps, he heard a loud sound coming from the alley as though something heavy had fallen down. His heart trembled and he quickly turned around and ran home. He was shocked by what happened in the alley.

Not far from the entrance of the alley, there was a lot of fallen debris. The balcony of a house had collapsed.

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If he had taken this route…

On a hot summer night like this, he couldn’t help but shiver.
“Qian Qian, you’re our reborn parents!”

“Yes, I love you so much.”

“Go away, I don’t love you.” Qi Yan was disgusted by his roommates and pushed them aside. Then he put dinner that he brought home on the table and said, “Share it among yourselves, I’m going to shower.”

His roommates watched him take out a wooden sign. They were calm as they were long used to Qi Yan pretending to be a fortune-teller.
After showering, his three roommates already finished dinner. The whole house smelled like food. He stretched his leg and kicked the stool that was in his way. He walked to his desk, turned on his computer and donated three hundred yuan to a charity.

His teachers had instructed him to tell fortune three times a month and the money earned cannot be used on himself, but only for charity.
“I will be going home the day after tomorrow,” The eldest one smiled forcefully. “My family has found me a job. The salary is not high, but it’s stable.” It’s not that he was unhappy with his family’s arrangement, but he was reluctant to leave his brothers so soon.

At the mention of this, the four of them became quiet.

The four of them had lived in the same house for four years. Now that they would be going their separate ways, how could they be happy?
“Let’s have a nice meal tomorrow, my treat!” Wang Hang was the third eldest among them, a native of Capital City and his family was well-off. “When I’m rich in the future I won’t forget you!”

Only allowed on

“Sure, let’s have a big meal tomorrow.”

“We only eat the expensive stuff!”
Qi Yan turned off his computer, “First we have a few cups of Wuyi Dahongpao, and then get one of each kind of rare seafood. What do you think?”

“Qian Qian is right, let’s order a few more. If we can’t finish it we’ll just bring it back for supper.”

Talking about food, the atmosphere in the room became more relaxed.

For the industrious and brave Chinese people, there was nothing that food could not solve. If one meal failed, then two meals could solve it.
The brothers chatted late at night before going to bed. As the graduation season was approaching, there were four people in their dormitory. Some went back to their hometown, some continued to study, and some went home to inherit their family’s business. Each decided on a different path.

Qi Yan turned over on the bed and fell asleep, then he had a dream.

Someone kept talking beside his ear, and then slapped him on the forehead.

Qi Yan abruptly sat up from the bed, the old air conditioner in the bedroom was still blowing. The sound was loud, but the cooling effect was not strong. Turning it down to 24 degrees was only as cool as 27 degrees. He yawned, wiped his forehead, glanced outside the window that was still dark, lied back down and continued sleeping.

Outside the window, the half-moon penetrated the clouds and the bright moonlight entered from the window, casting a faint light on the sleeping Qi Yan.

- my thoughts:
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