Chapter 1 – Astray Youth (1)

On a winter night, after evening classes, students walked together in the streets. As they entered the convenience store, the automatic door opened, bringing in a chill.

The person behind the counter kept their head down, briefly looking up at the entering customers.

It was the time when high school students finished their evening self-study sessions. Most of the customers were high schoolers still in their uniforms, layered with heavy down jackets. They talked about teachers who extended classes again and unfinished homework.

Placing their selected items on the counter, a few students watched as the tall but excessively thin cashier, wearing a mask, scanned the items. Then they heard him say, “That’s 52.50 yuan, please.”

Perhaps because of the mask, his voice sounded muffled.

Quietly scanning the QR code with their phones for payment, the students picked up their items and huddled together, leaving the convenience store.

At exactly nine thirty, it was time for shift change. The store manager came out from the back, glanced at the masked person, and asked, “Xiao Zhou, do you have a cold?”

Zhou Kaiji nodded, his voice muffled as he replied, “Yes.”

“Go home and rest well,” the manager said, “It seems like it’s starting to rain outside. Remember to take an umbrella.”

Zhou Kaiji nodded, then turned and entered the changing room, taking off his work uniform.

In the depths of the locker were his school uniform, which had become too small, and washed-out trousers, along with a not-so-thick jacket.

That was all the clothing he had.

Stuffing the school uniform into his backpack, he put on the jacket. It felt damp and sent a shiver down his spine.

Although he needed rest, he couldn’t afford to rest today. In half an hour, he had to go to another part-time job; he couldn’t skip it.

His parents had passed away, leaving behind a pile of debts. The community only supported him until adulthood, and the annual grants he received were not nearly enough to pay off the debts. He had no other way to earn money except by working.


As the changing room door closed, the convenience store’s automatic door opened and closed again. Standing under the rain shelter, Zhou Kaiji saw the fine raindrops under the streetlights and heard the sound of rain hitting the shelter.

The rain was getting heavier.

He didn’t have an umbrella, nor the money to buy one. So, he simply walked into the rain.

Rainwater soaked his head and neck, sending a chill through his body.

The streets were bustling with people. The weather forecast had predicted rain today, and the overcast sky had been brewing all day. Most people carried umbrellas, constantly passing by him. No one paid attention to him, or perhaps they did notice but quickly averted their gaze.

Through the rain curtain, the colors of the whole world seemed to have faded, as if obscured by a layer of shadow.

Zhou Kaiji maneuvered through the crowd, and a car slowly passed by on the roadside ahead.

He couldn’t see what kind of car it was, just that it didn’t seem like something an ordinary person would have access to.

The car stopped at the roadside, and the rear door opened, with a person getting out. The curious onlookers nearby slightly moved their umbrellas aside to take a look.

The car’s lights flickered, illuminating pale-colored eyes. The person was wearing a wool sweater with a warm-colored coat over it, and their movements getting out of the car were smooth and relaxed.

—Someone from a completely different world.

Zhou Kaiji shifted his gaze away, but the person looked over, and their light-colored pupils met his.

…It seemed like they were walking towards him.

Indeed, they were walking towards him.

Zhou Kaiji glanced around, and when he looked back, the raindrops that had been hitting him and his hair continuously disappeared. He heard the sound of rain hitting the umbrella.

The person standing in front of him held up the umbrella, smiled, and said, “Hello, Zhou Kaiji.”

“I’m your father’s secretary, Chen Luosong.”

The car parked by the roadside had its door open and then closed.

The car window blocked the bone-chilling cold outside, and the inside was warm, heated by the car’s heater.

The backseat had plenty of space, with warm light shining from above, and a faint fragrance lingering in the air. Zhou Kaiji sat on the seat, and whether it was his washed-out trousers or thin jacket, they seemed out of place in this setting.

The driver in the front seat turned around, looking somewhat peculiar, and greeted him. His lips moved slightly, but in the end, he just said, “Hello.”


The car door closed, and the person who had re-entered the car also sat in the backseat, casually reaching over to open a compartment and take out a towel.

Zhou Kaiji felt something on his head.

Chen Luosong casually placed the towel over the person’s head beside him and said, “Wipe your hair.”

After saying that, he leaned back and used his hand to fan a breeze.

—Just now, to prove his identity and assure that he wasn’t a fraud, he had to make some effort.

Zhou Kaiji, the high schooler with a strong awareness of fraud, raised his hand and touched the towel.

The towel was soft and warm. He asked, “What did you mean by those things you said just now?”

Chen Luosong introduced himself again without annoyance, “I’m Chen Luosong, the secretary of Guangsheng Group’s former chairman.”

The former chairman of Guangsheng Group had a car accident on a mountain road over a decade ago. His wife died on the spot, he fell into a coma, and their only son went missing in the accident. Over the past decade or so after the accident, the chairman also fell seriously ill in recent years, and eventually decided to leave all his assets to his son. Until they find the missing child, these assets and the group are all managed by the secretary.

The secretary was Chen Luosong. He had been investigating for some time and finally found a breakthrough from a couple passing near the accident scene more than ten years ago, which led him to this point.

That couple was who Zhou Kaiji thought were his parents, and it seemed they had accumulated quite a bit of debt over the years.

Zhou Kaiji’s eyes widened slightly, his thin back stiffened slightly, as if he were contemplating something.

The rain tapped against the car window, creating a series of sounds. Chen Luosong glanced sideways at the person sitting next to him, finding it hard to imagine that this would be the ruthless villain in the future.

—This world is a book, and the person beside me is the future major antagonist.

In every book, there are all sorts of antagonists, most of whom have tragic pasts that hardened their hearts, leading them to obstruct and provoke the protagonist until they become stepping stones for the protagonist’s eventual success and fame.

But in all things, there are surprises. In this book, Zhou Kaiji is that surprise.

He used to be the heir of a large conglomerate, born as a prodigy, but ended up wandering outside and suffering greatly. When he hit rock bottom, he was even trampled by the male and female protagonists. After starting from an unconventional path and breaking away from the original storyline, he oppressed the male and female protagonists to the point where they couldn’t turn things around, causing the timeline to derail and the entire world to teeter on the brink of collapse.

Chen Luosong, an outstanding employee from the Quick Transmigration Bureau for Rectifying Villains, came here to rectify the villain and solve the problem from its root.

The events were too convoluted and bizarre for the future villain’s brain to process. After a moment of silence, he took off the towel from his head, not knowing where to put it, so he held it in his hand and said, “I should go now.”

He couldn’t wrap his head around everything that had happened, but he remembered he had a job to do. He should still make it on time if he hurried.

Chen Luosong looked at the mask on his face and said, “You have a cold.”

After saying that, he leaned forward slightly. Zhou Kaiji involuntarily moved back, but his retreat was ineffective. A slightly cold hand touched his forehead.

It had been a long time since he had contact with someone like this. He tightened his grip on the towel in his hand, showing some nervousness.

The contact lasted only a brief moment. Chen Luosong withdrew his hand objectively and remarked, “It’s a bit warm.”

“You might have a fever. You should rest for today.” He took out his phone and asked, “Do you have the contact information for your workplace?”

He asked so naturally that Zhou Kaiji responded without thinking, “I have the supervisor’s phone number, but he’s not easy to talk to.”

Chen Luosong nodded. “Let me have a look.”

He was evidently someone accustomed to giving orders, exuding a sense of indescribable authority. After a brief moment of quiet eye contact, Zhou Kaiji reluctantly took out his phone and opened his contacts.

His phone was old, with limited memory, and took a while to respond. He could only hang his head quietly and press his lips together in silence.

Chen Luosong was not in a hurry, patiently waiting. When the interface finally changed, he used his own phone to dial the number and leaned back slowly against the seat.

His voice was as gentle as his demeanor, with a slight smile and a lingering sense of relaxation.

Zhou Kaiji listened quietly to the voice coming through the phone.

The usually difficult-to-talk-to supervisor surprisingly agreed easily this time, brushing off the leave request and emphasizing the importance of resting for the day, noting that the store wasn’t busy.

After ending the call, Chen Luosong put away his phone and said, “It’s getting late. Come with me for now, and I’ll take you back to school tomorrow. Is that okay?”

Although he phrased it as a suggestion, the outcome seemed already decided, and Zhou Kaiji couldn’t possibly refuse.

The car parked by the roadside started again and merged into the flow of traffic along the road.

The car’s heater was working well, and the rainwater on his head had dried up. Shadows danced on the road, and Zhou Kaiji looked out the window. His eyes, half-closed before, completely shut after passing through a tunnel.

Navigating through bustling streets, the brightness around gradually eased, and the car’s speed slowed down.

When Zhou Kaiji woke up again, the vehicle had stopped in front of a brightly lit unfamiliar building.

Chen Luosong patted him and said, “We’re here.”

As the car door opened, the sound of rain filled his ears, and a person was already standing at the entrance.

It was an elderly man with graying hair. Chen Luosong said to the person beside him, “This is the butler. You can call him Uncle Zhang.”

Zhou Kaiji greeted, “Hello, Uncle Zhang.”

Uncle Zhang’s eyes widened slightly at first, showing a hint of surprise, but he quickly recovered and nodded with a smile. He noticed the mask and asked, “Are you having a cold?”

Chen Luosong nodded, “Running a bit of a fever.”

Uncle Zhang then went to arrange for medicine.

The house was quite large, which could be felt from outside, and it became even more apparent upon entering.

Zhou Kaiji didn’t look around much, holding onto his backpack strap, making no movements until the others spoke.

Chen Luosong glanced at the backpack still on Zhou Kaiji’s back, patted his shoulder, feeling it was slightly damp, and said, “Let me take you to your room. Go take a shower first.”

Zhou Kaiji agreed, “Okay.”

Chen Luosong chuckled with his hands behind his back.

The high schooler appeared nervous but surprisingly obedient.

Zhou Kaiji’s room was on the second floor. Chen Luosong opened the door and let him go in to put down his backpack first.

The room was spacious, with a private bathroom, an office area, and a sofa. The floor-to-ceiling windows were closed, and you could see the trees outside swaying in the wind.

This one room was larger than the house he had lived in for over a decade.

The backpack was damp, and the sofa was leather, so Zhou Kaiji placed his backpack on the glass table and followed the person in front.

Chen Luosong pointed out the locations of the towels and toiletries one by one, then rolled up his sleeves and personally demonstrated how to adjust the hot and cold water.

There were no new clothes suitable for a high school student of his height, so Chen Luosong wiped his hands and fetched his own clothes as a temporary solution.

Taking the dry and warm clothes, Zhou Kaiji held them gently, not daring to exert force, and said, “Thank you…”

He stopped midway through his sentence, as if pondering how to address him.

Chen Luosong said, “My surname is Chen. You can call me Brother Chen or Secretary Chen.”

Zhou Kaiji called out, “Secretary Chen.”

“Blockhead.” Chen Luosong couldn’t help but chuckle, lifted his hand to ruffle the high schooler’s hair randomly, and said, “Call me Brother Chen.”

Zhou Kaiji lowered his head after being ruffled, his mouth, which had been tense all along, finally twitched slightly, and he whispered, “Brother Chen.”

TOC >>


From the author of After Returning from the Infinite Game~<3

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