Chapter 164 – The Light of One’s Destiny
This was a world filled with violence and loneliness. The cramped attic was his entire world. The scorching heat of summer and the biting cold of winter existed here in this tiny attic, without any measures to ward off the cold or heat.
The small attic seemed to have been abandoned by this modern world. Everything within it was the oldest and dirtiest.
After moving out of the Chen family’s old residence, Chen Li moved into this small attic. The confined space could only accommodate a single bed and a small cabinet.
Chen Li seemed numb to everything around him, oblivious to cold and heat, and even unaware of hunger. The servants occasionally remembered and fed him a bite, and he would eat if they did. He existed dully in this world, enduring the darkness and violence it bestowed upon him.
Chen Qing and Chen Yu were frequent visitors to this room. However, they didn’t come to console Chen Li or offer him guidance. They found a sense of presence in him, deriving pleasure from inflicting pain and violence.
At their tender age, they didn’t understand the consequences of their actions. They only knew that throwing things heavily at Chen Li would bring them an indescribable joy. Mocking him, taunting him – these actions validated their sense of superiority.
Du Lixun and Chen Qing’s father observed all of this but never intervened. They seemed blind to it all. As long as Chen Li remained alive, his well-being was of no concern to them. The caretakers were negligent, perhaps influenced by the family’s violent genes. Whenever something went wrong, Chen Li, the supposed master of the house, became the target of their frustration.
Chen Li lost count of how many times he was dragged out of the hospital barely alive, only to be thrown back into the attic after some semblance of recovery. He seemed to be the Chen family’s shame, yet circumstances forced them to retain this disgrace.
Chen Li lived like a person devoid of emotions, unaware of his surroundings. If there was any evidence of his existence, it was his art.
Amid his obliviousness to the world around him, Chen Li was fixated on his artwork. No one knew why. Perhaps he understood that the Chen family didn’t truly want him to die, so he used his life as leverage to acquire subpar art supplies. But that was enough. If left undisturbed, he could sit and paint all day, and his world would be confined to his art alone.
No, perhaps there was one more thing lingering in his world.
It was the marble he treasured, a small precious marble. Yet he didn’t dare take it out to look at it. He feared that if Chen Qing or Chen Yu saw it, they would destroy it – they had already destroyed many of his paintings. His art and that tiny marble were the only things that shone in his darkness, the only things that kept him struggling to survive.
But why did he hold his art and that marble so dearly?
Sometimes Chen Li wondered this. One person stood out vividly in his mind, injecting warmth into his icy heart. This person was the only one who shielded him when he was being beaten, the one who protected him. This person was the only one who played with him, who didn’t call him a fool. This person was the only one who showed him kindness.
Who was this person?
“Hello, my name is Wei Chen.”
In his memories, this person extended their hand towards him.
“I really think you’re a great artist. When you grow up, you’ll definitely become a famous painter.”
The person praised him, and it was the first time he had heard such praise. An artist? So, when he grows up, he’ll become an artist. Even though he didn’t really know what an artist was, if he kept painting, could he become one?
“Shall we play marbles together?”
This person extended an invitation to him, the first person to invite him to play.
Who was he?
His name was Wei Chen.
He was his big brother, Achen.
The memories filled with loneliness and chaotic violence stopped in that moment. A beam of light descended from the sky.
“Li Li, it’s Achen. I’m here.” A gentle voice seemed to echo in his ears, a voice that had resounded countless times in his dreams, dispelling all his fears.
His big brother Achen…
It was his Achen!
Chen Li’s unfocused gaze gradually focused, a focal point formed in his eyes. Yet, he couldn’t see anything around him; he could only see the person standing beside him.
The only light in his life, the person who illuminated his existence.
“Achen, my big brother…” In his memories, the little boy who had protected him merged with the person before his eyes.
It was his Big Brother Achen, also his Achen.
“Li Li, it’s me.” Hearing Chen Li’s response, Wei Chen felt as if the entire world had brightened. He gently, cautiously extended his hand and embraced Chen Li.
Chen Li softly called Wei Chen’s name. After the light was cast, the darkness that had been rushing toward him retreated. His world was illuminated once again.
Chen Li held onto Wei Chen’s clothes as if clutching at the last piece of driftwood for a drowning person. He didn’t speak, but tears flowed like a fountain.
Chen Li cried, uncontrollable tears.
Wei Chen couldn’t control his tears either. He held Chen Li tightly, providing him with the utmost sense of security.
Seeing this, Zhuge Yu, deeply relieved, knew that only Wei Chen could release Chen Li from that state.
The doctor also heaved a sigh of relief. Turning to Zhuge Yu to understand the patient’s condition, he asked, “Professor Zhuge, does your student cry often?”
Zhuge Yu shook his head. “My student’s emotions are usually quite subdued. Perhaps he doesn’t even understand many emotions yet, and I’ve never seen him cry before.”
The doctor nodded and patted Zhuge Yu on the shoulder, saying, “The patient crying this time is beneficial for his condition. Crying can be a way to release emotions. Perhaps this time he cried, he released the emotions buried in his heart. Maybe the next time he faces a similar stimulus, he won’t react as strongly. Perhaps this incident was serendipitous.”
Zhuge Yu listened in a daze, trying to grasp the idea that crying could be helpful for the condition. How could such a serious matter suddenly have a positive impact on the patient’s health? But ultimately, he trusted the doctor. He contemplated it and it seemed to make sense.
The doctor continued, “That gentleman is crucial for the patient. Whether the patient’s condition can improve or even be cured is closely related to that gentleman. I can assure you that as long as that gentleman remains by the patient’s side, the patient’s condition will undoubtedly improve.” This was the conclusion drawn by the doctor based on the current situation.
Zhuge Yu agreed deeply. For Chen Li, Wei Chen was the light in this world, the one who allowed Chen Li to live freely.
“I think we don’t need to stay here any longer,” the doctor said. “If possible, please tell that gentleman later to bring the patient to the hospital for a psychological examination. I’d be glad to develop a rehabilitation plan for the patient’s mental well-being. Here’s my business card.”
“Thank you for your help,” Zhuge Yu shook hands with the doctor and escorted him to the ambulance.
The ambulance departed with its sirens blaring.
Zhuge Yu left the space to Chen Li and Wei Chen. He turned to disperse the surrounding classmates. He knew they were concerned about Chen Li, but with Wei Chen present, Chen Li would be fine.
Seeing Zhuge Yu’s lack of concern, the classmates left one by one. Many were curious about the relationship between the gentleman and Chen Li. They had been curious for a while now; this gentleman picked up Chen Li every day after school. Chen Li was only relaxed when he was with this gentleman.
This time was no different. Even though Chen Li’s situation had been urgent just moments ago, the doctor had been helpless. However, as soon as this gentleman arrived, Chen Li’s emotions immediately relaxed. The danger seemed to vanish.
Everyone was curious, but no one voiced their curiosity. Regardless of the nature of the relationship between this gentleman and Chen Li, it was clear that this person was the most important one in Chen Li’s life.
Everyone left sensibly, leaving the space solely for Wei Chen and Chen Li.
Chen Li continued to cry, unable to stop the tears. His tears flowed ceaselessly like a broken thread, streaming from his eyes.
Wei Chen remained silent, holding Chen Li in his arms. Occasionally, he pressed his lips against Chen Li’s forehead.
He knew Chen Li was releasing, this being one of Chen Li’s rare moments of crying. Yet, this time, he cried for the dark years he had endured.
This was good. He was letting it out, not allowing those years to imprison him any longer.
Wei Chen’s large palm covered Chen Li’s head, gently rubbing it. The warmth from Wei Chen’s palm spread onto Chen Li’s skin from his warm palm. It warmed Chen Li’s heart, thawing his cold and numb heart, bit by bit. He felt as if his heart had been ignited, as if he had come back to life. The familiar warmth enveloped Chen Li again, and all the fear that had just filled him disappeared in the warmth of this moment. The painful memories of the past receded like a tide, replaced by the sweet memories of being with Wei Chen.
“Achen.” Chen Li lifted his head from Wei Chen’s chest, his teary eyes meeting Wei Chen’s still-moist eyes. Chen Li’s voice was soft, filled with deep affection as he called Wei Chen’s name. Wei Chen was the only light in his heart, the light that led him away from darkness and pain.
“Yeah, I’m here,” Wei Chen responded. But in the next moment, their lips met in a warm kiss, the taste slightly salty from their tears. Chen Li rose onto his tiptoes and fervently met Wei Chen’s lips. As their lips and tongues intertwined, sparks seemed to fly, illuminating their entire world.
Wei Chen held the back of Chen Li’s head, not letting Chen Li break the kiss. His tongue forcefully entered Chen Li’s parted lips, seeking Chen Li’s tongue. They passionately entwined, as if through this act, they were proving their existence to one another.
Chen Li responded with equal fervor, feeling Wei Chen and the light he brought into his life.