Vol. 1: Chapter three – meeting the Family (Part 1)

The next day, Li Xinwen felt much better. After spending the whole night absorbing spiritual energy, he concluded that he would be able to establish the foundation that night. And his path to cultivation could truly begin. This speed even made Li Xinwen sigh in jealousy since he had spent two years in his last life to even establish this foundation. ‘Experience does make a difference,’ he lamented.

Early in the afternoon, he received another visitor. They had actually met on the day he woke up in this world. It was the quietly adopted brother. This was the younger brother, whom they affectionately call Sun Xiao. Li Xinwen noticed how timid the boy was as he entered the room. Sun Xiao was fourteen years old; he was taller than average and had a lean frame. He wore a dark navy cardigan over a white shirt, a matching dark navy pant and carried a black backpack.

When Sun Xiao was young, he and his family got into a car accident where he was the only survivor. That was four years ago.

Their family had been headed to JiangJing city, XuanChang district, for a long-awaited vacation when his father was able to take a break from his busy schedule. However, as they were traversing HanCheng Highway, the driver of an oncoming truck fell asleep while driving and apparently lost control of the vehicle. When the driver came to, it was already too late. Sun Xiao’s father tried his best to avoid colliding with the truck, but it was unavoidable. His mother did all she could to keep Sun Xiao safe using her own body as a shield to make sure he would survive.

After hearing about the accident, Li Xinwen along with his mother frantically rushed to the hospital and found the boy almost unscathed. She ran to the boy and embraced Sun Xiao while sobbing. Li Xinwen had never seen his mother break down like that before. Perhaps it was because she had such close relations with the Sun couple –  especially with Sun Xiao’s mother who treated her like a sister. Sun Xiao had no other relatives left, and knowing this, their mother immediately made the decision to take Sun Xiao into the family. Li Xinwen and Li Jinghua did not have any problems with their mother’s decision, as they were both close to Sun Xiao. It was unfortunate that after the accident, Sun Xiao closed himself off from everyone and his mentality seemed to have regressed to that of a 10-year-old.

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Ah’Xiao, did you come straight from school?” Li Xinwen asked with a smile. Sun Xiao only answered with a nod before sitting down by Li Xinwen’s bedside. The young boy continued to sit quietly staring at the floor and Li Xinwen didn’t push any further. But after a while, the boy finally spoke.

“Xin-gege… You won’t leave Ah’Xiao right?” Sun Xiao’s cracked, timid voice as he uttered those words shook Li Xinwen’s heart to the core making his eyes water.

He noticed that Sun Xiao wore a mixed expression of fear and deep sadness.”Ah’Xiao, what’s wrong? Gege won’t leave you. Why do you look scared?” Li Xinwen asked.

“I-its… It’s nothing…” Sun Xiao replied as he shook his head.

Li Xinwen knew that something was bothering Sun Xiao. ‘Such a brave little soul… trying to suppress his fears,’ Li Xinwen thought. This prompted him to comfort Sun Xiao. He sat up slowly, taking care not to aggravate his wound, and asked Sun Xiao to sit beside him, patting the space on his bed.

Sun Xiao hesitated but sat beside Li Xinwen after a little coaxing. Li XenWen pulled Sun Xiao into a hug and squeezed just enough so that he’d feel comforted. “It’s alright. Gege won’t leave Ah’Xiao.” 

Taking the boy’s hand he placed it on the spot where his heart was. “See? My heart is still beating, and I am still alive. Don’t worry okay?” he added, trying his hardest to reassure his little brother.

Sun Xiao just nodded his head and let Li Xinwen hug him. As the young boy listened to his elder brother’s heartbeat, he felt calmer. His arms snaked around Li Xinwen to return the hug. “Thank you, Xin-gege…” he mumbled in a soft voice.

After a while Sun Xiao pulled away and excused himself, saying that he had schoolwork to do. It seemed that the boy came because he was worried something might happen to Li Xinwen. After saying their goodbyes, Li Xinwen was left alone.

At around three in the afternoon, Li Xinwen saw a new face. But this time, he wasn’t ignorant of the person’s identity. The one before him was a middle-aged woman, probably in her forties. And this woman was the original Li Xinwen’s manager.

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“Hello, Manager Su…” Li Xinwen greeted his visitor.

“Xinwen, you look better. I’m glad that you’re finally out of your coma.” Her tone was serious and her movements brisk and precise. She dressed professionally, not a hair out of place and she made it clear from her arrival that she was there for business. She set down the leather envelope case and the paper bag she was holding and stood at the foot of Li Xinwen’s hospital bed.

“Because of your accident, the filming for [Death to My Destiny] has been put on hold. Also, with the news that you were in a coma, the production team decided to replace you,” she said as a matter of fact almost devoid of any feeling of concern.   

“Oh…” Li Xinwen wasn’t sure how to feel or respond to the news of being replaced for the movie. After all, acting was as foreign to him as the milk chocolate drink Jinghua had introduced the other day. In addition, he doubted he’d do a good job as it was neither his passion nor his interest. His main priority at this time was cultivation.

“That’s alright since the doctor also advised that I rest until I have fully recovered and…”

“About that,” Manager Su interjected before Li Xinwen was able to finish his sentence. “I actually talked to your doctor before coming to your room to inquire about your condition. And the doctor confirmed that you are forbidden, at least in the meantime, from exerting too much effort. In which case it won’t do us any good in the long run if we push with you filming for the movie. I’ve reported this to the company executives, and they have agreed to give you a year-long break to allow you to recuperate from your injuries. You are, after all, one of the company’s rising stars.” Again, these words were said as though they were only a matter of fact. It was amazing how straightforward this woman was.

“We’ll be holding a press conference next week to show the public, and your fans, that you are on your way to recovery, and also to announce that you’ll be on a year-long hiatus but will be back once you are at full capacity. I’ll be back in a weeks’ time to come to pick you up. I’ll have the stylist bring your clothes and prepare you for the conference 3 hours before we depart for the venue.” All of these things she mentioned in lightning speed. She made her way towards the table where she had laid her leather envelope case and picked it up to leave.

Before completely stepping out of the room, she turned and tilted her head towards the paper bag and advised Li Xinwen, “Oh, and I brought you a little something to congratulate you on your recovery.” And with that, she shut the door behind her, leaving Li Xinwen dumbfounded in her wake.

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