Zhou Yun Sheng won the piano competition’s youth division championship with undisputed strength, but many people felt that his performance was worth far more than that, he should’ve been the champion of this entire session. The local Vienna media tried to interview him, but on the next day, they learned that he’d already returned home due to physical discomfort. This was really regrettable.
Zhou Yun Sheng was not only a smash hit abroad, his home country was also on fire, most flights and buses replayed scenes of his performances over and over again, the editing focused on the standing ovation after his final performance, the wrinkled tear stained faces were particularly moving. Many music critics agreed: If Xue Zi Xuan’s a national treasure level pianist, then Xue Jing Yi is a world class treasure-level pianist. Although Xue Zi Xuan became famous at 13, when he was 16, he absolutely wasn’t at such a superb level of skill and unbelievable musical expressiveness.
The domestic media gave Zhou Yun Sheng a high degree of praise for his last performance, calling it a historical timepiece. Some Levine Empire netizens edited the historical video of Ivanov’s performance with his own, but whether it was skill or emotional effort, both showed surprising consistency. How can a teenage girl living in a peaceful era resonate with war era Ivanov? It was a mystery, and they could only use the word ‘talent’ to explain it. In any case, talent was the deciding factor in how far a person could travel on the artistic path.
Some people remained obscure for a lifetime, some people became world famous in their teens, it was a fact of life.
Zhou Yun Sheng, wearing a hoodie and large black sunglasses, was escorted back to the Xue house by Xue Zi Xuan. Xue Jing Yi was holed up in her room, watching a recording of his final performance, nervously clicking the fast forward, slow forward, rewind, pause and other buttons, her dark eyes boring a hole into the TV screen.
“Jing Yi, your letters are here.” Xue Rui knocked opened her door, waving several envelopes.
“The Curtis Music Academy admission letter?” Xue Jing Yi immediately turned off the TV.
“Not only that, there’s Julia Music College, Rochester Conservatory of Music, National Music Academy of China… …, whatever just pick one.” Xue Rui didn’t understand these things, so after the letters arrived he’d looked them up online, discovering that these were the world’s top music colleges. Ordinary people could test for a lifetime and not get the opportunity to enroll, Huang Yi only played three songs and easily got in, he must have some skill.
Xue Jing Yi took the stack of admission letters, opening them one by one. She was secretly both delighted and uneasy. After watching Huang Yi’s display of amazing talent, currently, forget about playing the piano, she couldn’t even sit on the piano stool without her chest squeezing and her fingers trembling. Her fear had become bone marrow deep.
“Daddy, Dr. Zhang said my condition is improving, when can you help me arrange the surgery?” She pretended to casually ask.
In order to spare her a conflicted mood, Xue Rui had never told her that she would be receiving Huang Yi’s heart, only implying that they’d found the donor they were looking for, so she could feel at ease. These days, she went to bed early and got up early, and ate and drank well, striving to restore her health to peak condition, determined to become able to withstand the risk of the heart transplant. She was eager for Huang Yi’s heart, like a demon, she firmly believed that all his amazing talent was buried in his heart, with it, all her wishes would come true, she would get Huang Yi’s everything.
“Dad will take you to the hospital for a physical tomorrow, if the doctor agrees, we’ll immediately schedule the surgery.” Xue Rui lovingly patted his daughter’s hair.
“If the doctor nods, how fast can they carry out the surgery? I want to live.” She clenched her fists.
“Probably the day after, anyway, the donor’s very fresh, it’s here any time you need it.” Xue Rui spoke such cruel words with a causal tone.
In two days, I can get Huang Yi’s heart- as long as Xue Jing Yi thought of this, her lips trembled in excitement. She reluctantly pushed down her excitement, and carefully returned the acceptance letters to their envelopes.
Speak of Cao Cao, and Cao Cao arrives. The steward’s voice as he greeted Xue Li Dani and Xue Zi Xuan echoed from downstairs.
“Your mother’s back, go greet her.” Xue Rui was going to support his daughter downstairs, but his cellphone suddenly rang, and he walked away to answer it in a quiet corner. Xue Jing Yi trotted downstairs without his help, flying into Xue Li Dani’s embrace, then she tried to hug Xue Zi Xuan, but was pushed away.
“Jing Yi, do you feel that well? You even ran all the way down.” Xue Li Dani was pleasantly surprised.
If she wants to get my heart as soon as possible, she can’t be sickly, right? Zhou Yun Sheng sneered inwardly, giving Xue Jing Yi a slight nod as greeting. Xue Jing Yi had no intention of getting closer to him, anyway, it was just a few more days, no need to put on an act, she had long grown tired of his existence.
“I feel really good recently, my health’s much better. I’m going to the hospital for a physical tomorrow.” Xue Jing Yi handed over the pile of letters and happily asked, “Mama, do you know what this is?”
“An admission letter from Curtis Music Academy right? Oh, even Julia?” Xue Li Dani took a closer look, her expression very surprised. Almost all the world’s top music colleges’ admission letters were gathered here, and all were personally written and issued by the deans. They were filled with enthusiasm, even offering full scholarships. There was no doubt that they were competing for the boy, he had used his talent to conquer the world.
Xue Li Dani quickly glanced back at the boy, her eyes very complex.
“Mama, which college should I choose? I really liked Curtis at first, but now I think Julia is not so bad either. Can you give me some advice? Brother, what do you think?” Xue Jing Yi affectionately pulled Xue Zi Xuan’s clothes, but he shook her off.
“What kind of music school you should attend? Did you win these admissions letters with your own skill? If not, then continue practicing, don’t entertain these unrealistic fantasies.”
His words made Xue Jing Yi choke and flush. Xue Li Dani denounced a ‘you this child’ and quickly pulled her daughter into her bosom for comfort.
The atmosphere in the living room stagnated, and Zhou Yun Sheng’s next words made everyone collectively freeze, “I also want to go to a music school, can I?”
“You can’t! (No!)” Xue Li Dani and Xue Jing Yi screamed in unison.
Zhou Yun Sheng exposed a hurt expression, his white cheeks almost transparent.
“They mean not right now. You just represented Jing Yi in the competition, if you apply to the music schools as yourself, the substitution will be easily exposed. We have to protect Jing Yi’s future, so you’ll have to wait at least a year, after Jing Yi settles in school, I’ll enroll you.” Xue Rui hurried downstairs while giving a reasonable explanation, his mood clearly good.
Seeing the boy not replying, he continued in an even more patient and tolerant tone, “Xiao Yi ah, you’re Jing Yi’s only relative, do you have the heart to give her a bad reputation? You’re still young, a year isn’t long, it’ll be gone in a blink of an eye.
“Oh right, I received a call from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the prime minister of the Levine Empire wants you to play ‘My Empire’ at the 10th National Summit meeting next week. Instead of spending time studying for exams, it’s more fun to practice the piano, and who knows, maybe you’ll receive an interview with the national leaders. What do you say, isn’t that great?” At the end, Xue Rui’s eyes were practically shining.
It’s finally here. Zhou Yun Sheng sighed darkly in his heart. He’d performed so conspicuously in the competition for two reasons, one, to become famous, two, to win this performance opportunity. In the last world, Xue Jing Yi had shined in the competition, and later received this invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She and Xue Zi Xuan respectively played ‘Reminiscences de Don Juan’ and ‘My Empire’. When she suddenly suffered a heart attack, she endured the piercing pain to complete the performance, fear of her approaching death and strong desire to live giving her performance extremely powerful spiritual strength, infecting everyone present.
After the curtain, she collapsed on stage, the cameras broadcasting this scene clearly, then she instantly became world famous. Because of that, a gorgeous and brilliant life opened up for her. Her perseverance won the national leaders’ high praise, and they each visited her in the hospital, giving Xue Rui a fold-hold in the center circle of very powerful people, his business deals sailing smoothly. Then the Xue family became independent from the Xue Clan, becoming the leader of China’s rising social class. Their infinitely beautiful futures was the foil for Zhou Yun Sheng’s desolate and miserable outcome. So in this life, Zhou Yun Sheng had always stirred up Xue Jing Yi and Xue Zi Xuan with this performance opportunity in mind.
“But I don’t want to wait, I want to go to school now.” He finally opened, “Since I came here, you’ve made me wear the same hair, the same clothes, and even made me attend a banquet and participate in a competition instead of her. Jing Yi said she wanted to leave traces of her life in this world, and so do I.”
“But all you’ve done is make me feel like you’re wiping out all traces of my existence, turning me into Jing Yi’s shadow. I will not go to the performance, and even if I wanted to go, I will do it in my own name. I want to live honestly! I don’t want to wear these clothes, or this girly hairstyle. And I’m Huang Yi, not Xue Jin Yi!” He shouted these words, then turned and ran out.
Xue Rui absolutely hadn’t expected the usually well-behaved boy to suddenly learn how to resist today, he quickly waved to the butler and nurse to give chase. Xue Zi Xuan had already thrown away his luggage and ran out like the wind.
The boy’s footsteps staggered, because he was focused on the competition, he recently lost a lot weight, his white shirt lifting in the wind, making him appear smaller and smaller, as if he would disappear in the blink of an eye. Xue Zi Xuan panicked at this impression, and called out the boy’s name while pursuing.
He was about to catch up when a car suddenly appeared around the corner, the boy glanced at the license plate, then immediately opened the door and jumped in.
It’s Xue Yan, he’s back. Xue Zi Xuan stared at the taillights drifting further away, his expression dazed.
“Finally out of that demons nest. Fortunately, cause I’m way too witty, I remembered to grab my knapsack on the way out.” Zhou Yun Sheng was lying on top of Xue Yan’s lap, catching his breath, playfully poking at the man’s leg muscles.
“Wrong place.” Xue Yan griped his wrist and led his hand up to a more intimate place.
Zhou Yun Sheng reddened, then squeezed in retaliation. Seeing the man’s painful yet pleased look, he snorted, then leaned up to kiss him, grinning. The two people hadn’t been together for a long time, they lingered in each other’s embrace, the car steadily pulling into the villa parking lot. Xue Lao Si waited for ten minutes, then pinched the bridge of his nose and said, “Kissing for half an hour, that’s plenty enough. We all just got off the plane with no dinner. You two can continue your physical activities after you’re full, there’s no need to waste time in an uncomfortable car.”
“You make sense.” Zhou Yun Sheng slung his knapsack over his shoulder and jumped out, then he bent down to carry his lover out.
If he wasn’t looking at it, Xue Lao Si would never believe the slim teenager could easily pick up his huge boss. The boss should be around 85 kilograms, this could classify him as a big guy, and his figure was completely different from the little lamb. But currently, the skinny little lamb was effortlessly carrying a huge beast in his arms, in a princess hold no less. The scene was too beautiful, Xue Lao Si didn’t dare look.
He got the wheelchair out of the trunk and pushed it over to the boy, then ran towards the house with his head lowered, afraid to receive an ‘I’ll kill you to safeguard my secret’ look from his boss.
“Put me down, how long do you plan to hold me?” Seeing the boy ignoring the wheelchair and walking straight towards the house, Xue Yan reminded him in a heavy voice.
“You’re my You Le Mei.” Zhou Yun Sheng unthinkingly said.
Unfortunately, Xue Yan completely didn’t get the reference.
Zhou Yun Sheng smiled helplessly and added, “So I can hold you in my palm.” The words fell and he grinned.
Xue Yan face palmed, wanting to laugh but trying to hold back, then he pinched the boy’s naughty lips and slowly said “I have to go to Germany for surgery in a few months.”
“To treat your legs? Am I hurting your self-esteem by carrying you?”
“No, it’s not about dignity. After your performance, everyone stood up to applaud you, but I could only sit. When you left the venue, Xue Zi Xuan could hug you and protect you from the crowd, but I could only sit. I feel like I can do very little for you with these legs. In the future, you have to pay a lot for me, so I want to be whole.” Love can make people stronger, Xue Yan now wanted to become the strongest man in the world, so he could protect his most precious treasure.
“Actually, you’ve already paid a lot for me.” Zhou Yun Sheng lowered his head to kiss his lover, his eyes slightly red.
“I’ll make dinner tonight, you just watch TV.” After helping his lover into stay at home clothes, putting on his slippers and carrying him to the downstairs sofa, Zhou Yun Sheng walked into the kitchen and opened the fridge.
“You know how?” Xue Lao Si exposed an extremely skeptical expression.
“Don’t forget, I’m a left behind child, I would’ve starved to death already if I couldn’t even cook.” Zhou Yun Sheng took out the ingredients he needed one by one, then tied his apron.
“To tell you the truth, you’re nothing like the left-behind child recorded in the data. You’re more like a son of nobility, or maybe an artist. In short, whether it’s outside or in, you’re able to bluff it, beating down all the other young talents. Are you really Huang Yi?” Xue Lao Si reclined in the kitchen doorway, his eyes suspicious.
“Think whatever you want, anyway, I’m me.” Zhou Yun Sheng sneered, then saw Xue Yan pushing his wheelchair over, and quickly pushed open the door to scold, “What’s so fun about watching someone cook? Turn back.”
Xue Lao Si scratched the bridge of his nose, then pushed his boss back into the living room.
Facts proved that Zhou Yun Sheng’s cooking was very superb, a few homey dishes were neatly placed on the table, the aroma filling the space. Xue Lao Si was truly starving, shoveling food into his mouth in between compliments. Zhou Yun Sheng didn’t take care of his own plate, adding food into Xue Yan’s bowl, Xue Yan was also busy adding food to Zhou Yun Sheng’s bowl, their chopsticks collided in the air a few times, issuing a crisp clicking sound, followed by the two’s cheerful laughter.
“Eat properly, what’s with all the flirting?” Xue Lao Si scoffed.
“I haven’t even started the flirting yet, and you already can’t stand it?” Zhou Yun Sheng rolled his eyes and stacked the empty bowls into the dishwasher, then he removed three large cupcakes from the oven, arranging them on a platter.
“Here’s dessert, they’re still a little hot, eat slowly.” He stressed the ‘eat slowly ‘.
But Xue Lao Si didn’t listen, he directly picked up the cupcake and took two big bites.
Zhou Yun Sheng immediately covered his lover’s mouth and warned, “Don’t follow him, I don’t want you choking to death.”
Xue Yan naturally listened to his wife, taking small bites and chewing slowly. Zhou Yun Sheng rested his cheeks in his hands and watched him, eyes focused. Seeing his lover taking bite after bite, he couldn’t help but stretch his neck to look at the paper cup, muttering in his heart: Why hasn’t he eaten it yet?
At this time, Xue Yan’s mouth suddenly crunched, his front teeth clearly biting into something hard, he took it out to take a look, surprisingly, it was a men’s diamond ring.
Zhou Yun Sheng smiled brightly while pushing the diamond ring onto the other man’s ring finger, “I saw a news report once, someone’s fiancé choked and died from this kind of proposal, I was worried you’d also face such a tragedy. It’s good you didn’t choke, let’s get married.” Then he glanced at Xue Lao Si, who was covering his mouth to restrain his laughter, “Wasn’t everything I said reasonable?”
“It was very reasonable.” Xue Lao Si nodded vigorously, his cheeks puffed deep red.
Xue Yan was staring at the diamond ring, not knowing how to respond. His mind was dazzled by a sudden great sense of happiness.
“You haven’t said yes yet? Say yes so we can have a toast, settle the last family tree, and take advantage of this free time to have the invitations made. Old Gong, give me an answer.” Zhou Yun Sheng wrapped his arms around his lover’s neck, nibbling his ears, his mischievous smile especially coquettish. Xue Yan froze and turned his head, all he could think about was pressing him onto the table and fucking him, how could he be so lovable?
Xue Lao Si couldn’t hold back his laughter at ‘old gong’, he clutched his mouth and quickly ran out. No wonder he said he hadn’t started flirting yet, now that he’d started, it’d take nerves of steel to continue watching.
“Bro, I’ll bring a few invitation styles over tomorrow, so you two can pick it out together. I have something to do, see ya.”
The door slammed shut, and Xue Yan immediately pulled the boy over to straddle him, eagerly biting his rosy red lips. Love him, the only thing he wanted to do right now was love him fiercely.
Xue Zi Xuan walked back to the house and headed upstairs without a word.
“Huang Yi?” Xue Rui demanded impatiently.
“Xue Yan took him away.”
“Ungrateful little-! If I hadn’t brought him back, would his life even be worth living now? That thankless wretch wants to use Xue Yan to suppress me! I won’t fall for this trap! Jing Yi, you’ll go in his place, the 10th National Summit performance is very important, you have to work hard for the next week, practice, practice, practice.” Xue Rui commanded, this decision seemed perfectly logical to him.
Although Xue Li Dani and Xue Zi Xuan were among the best musicians in China, he himself was not interested in music, so he didn’t understand that the same song played by two different people would sound very different. This year coincided with the 70th anniversary of the victory in the anti-fascist war, and the 10th National Summit was the forerunner of the anti-fascist alliance.
‘My Empire’ was the most important song for the summit, with such great historical significance, it could never be rejected. Because Huang Yi was invited, Xue Rui could get invitations through him to attend the grand banquet hosted on the last night of the summit. This was his opportunity to get rid of the clan’s suppression, no matter what happened, he couldn’t miss it. So whether it was Huang Yi or Xue Jing Yi, it didn’t matter, one of the two had to perform on stage.
“What are you saying? Are you crazy? How could Jing Yi perform it?” Xue Li Dani shrieked in shock. What was that boy’s level? If you threw him into the last century, he’d still become one of the top pianists in Europe, rivalling Sears and all the other masters. How could Xue Jing Yi arbitrarily replace him? Forget about fully playing such an epic historical masterpiece like ‘My Empire’, she feared Xue Jing Yi wouldn’t even make it through the first bar.
She was her daughter, no one knew how much weight she could carry more than her, the girl had talent, but unless there was a miracle, she would never be able to reach Huang Yi’s level.
“I advise you to give up this foolish idea. Xue Jing Yi can’t do it.” Xue Zi Xuan said without turning his head as he walked upstairs. He was too exhausted, and the boy’s complaints were constantly reverberating in his mind. His declaration showed that he’d noticed something off about the Xue family, otherwise he wouldn’t have said something perceptive like ‘turning into Jing Yi’s shadow’. He must’ve always felt very uneasy, right? That’s why he suddenly exploded. Now what? How can I pacify him, and let him return to my side?
Except for this question, Xue Zi Xuan had no other considerations.
Xue Jing Yi originally wanted to refuse, but after hearing her mother and brother’s unanimous rejections, her ambitious heart suddenly heated up, she nodded, “Daddy, I’ll give it a try.” Was it the same ‘My Empire’? She just had to intensify her practice, and she could definitely play it too.
“Good girl. Dad doesn’t believe Huang Yi can play anything you can’t. It’s just pressing all the correct keys right? Simple, I know you can do it.” Xue Rui casually waved.
Xue Li Dani was rendered speechless, and Xue Zi Xuan spun around, staring at the father and daughter pair with incredulous eyes.
“This is a performance for the 10th National Summit, if something goes wrong it will cause a political disaster. Xue Jing Yi, think clearly, now is not the time to be fool-hardy. At your level, even if you practice for another ten years, you wouldn’t be able to catch up with Xiao Yi.” Listening carefully, his indifferent tone actually contained a hint of contempt.
“Yes ah, our whole family will be held accountable for any bad performances. Jing Yi, don’t act so willful.” Xue Li Dani pulled her daughter into her arms.
“I’m not being willful, just give me a couple days, I’ll practice seriously.” Xue Jing Yi said stubbornly. The more her mother and brother opposed her, the more it provoked her rebelliousness. These days, she hadn’t touched the piano, but in her dreams, she became Huang Yi, wearing a black tailcoat, sitting in the center of the concert hall, and indulging in the dance of fingertips. After waking up, the residual sensations felt so real, she could re-call it and feel the aftertaste all day long. She believed that these must be visions of her future self, a self more outstanding than Huang Yi.
She was so convinced that she refused to listen to anybody else’s advice.
Xue Rui was assured by her confidence, and immediately urged her into the piano room.
“Go on, let me see your level.” Xue Zi Xuan curled his lips, finally revealing an unmistakable look of contempt. He had to remind himself that he was also very fond of his sister, but she just kept using Xiao Yi, kept squeezing Xiao Yi, exploiting Xiao Yi’s talent to satisfy her own vanity, all these acts were gradually wearing thin his fondness. Her heart was already ugly, controlled by selfish desires, she would no longer be able to play pure music, he concluded this just by looking into her muddy eyes.
Xue Jing Yi foolhardily walked into the piano room, sat in front of the piano, and took a deep breath, using all her might to re-capture the feeling of being Huang Yi in her dreams. I’m Huang Yi, the world will be captivated by my music. She inwardly hypnotized herself, not noticing that the reality had been reversed. Huang Yi was no longer her shadow, all the days of intimidation had suppressed her spirit, making her become Huang Yi’s shadow. Her pride and self-confidence had been crushed, turning into paranoia and low self-esteem. Once she touched the piano, this paranoia and low self-esteem would break out like a flash flood.
She found a little inspiration, then looked at the score and pressed a few keys, then looked at the score again and pressed a few keys, playing out a sparse melody.
Not only did Xue Zi Xuan and Xue Li Dani scowl, even Xue Rui was stupefied. Was this his daughter’s level? He remembered her being more skilled!
Xue Jing Yi played until the second paragraph before being unable to continue. The song had already been completely deformed, like a frightened cat jumping over the keys, the rhythm was chaotic, not even a melody, just noise. She struggled for a while, but finally slowly stopped, then looked towards her parents and brother.
She was not Huang Yi, she couldn’t have Huang Yi’s unconstrained smoothness, his free spirit.
“Jing Yi, you confidently told me you could do it. I already promised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they’ve already announced the program, and now you show me you can’t do it? This is going to kill me, do you realize?!” Xue Rui was finally aware of the seriousness of the situation, his complexion immediately turned livid.
You Le Mei- A Chinese brand of milk tea. The author is referencing this 2008 commercial staring Jay Chou https://youtu.be/cb-PZVXH2_w?t=1m1s (don’t spam)
I think it goes:
Girl: What am I to you?
Boy: You’re my You Le Mei.
Girl: Ah, I’m your milk tea? O_O
Boy: That way, I can hold you in my palm.
Girl: *drops panties*
Super corny, so naturally it became a meme.