The air in the old house carried a faint scent of sandalwood, which had a soothing effect. The cicadas outside the window were a bit loud, but it reminded him of the past. Lying on the bed, a lot of memories from his youth surfaced in his mind. Immersed in thoughts, he fell asleep and woke up late the next day.
He slowly got up from bed. The middle-aged man who was waiting in the hall saw him coming downstairs and nodded in greeting, “Young Master Yun.”
“Du Chuan.” Chu Yunhan searched in his head for a while before remembering his name. “Long time no see.”
Du Chuan was a steward personally selected by Chu Yu. He had been by Chu Yichen’s side since he was young, taking care of his daily life. In his impression, this man had always been polite, composed, unhurried, very organized, and made hardly any mistakes.
“Yes. Would you like to have breakfast now?”
“Yeah,” he replied and sat down at the dining table.
There was congee, a side dish, and two or three kinds of Chinese dim sum. This was a habit of the old man’s, and they still retained it. He ate slowly, bit into a shrimp, and asked, “Aunt Wang’s cooking?”
“Have you eaten? Do you want to sit down and eat together?”
“I have eaten, please enjoy your meal.”
The attempt to cotton up to him failed. Chu Yunhan pretended to ask casually, “How is Jiahui?”
“I am not familiar with Miss Zhou’s situation.”
“Did she come here to find me?”
He frowned. “No? Not even once?”
How was that possible? Jiahui loved inviting him out for a meal. He hadn’t contacted her for three months, and she hadn’t come looking for him even once?
“Did Chu Yichen tell her something?” Chu Yunhan raised an eyebrow. “What nonsense did he make up to deceive her?”
“I am not sure.”
He said angrily, “Interesting, you stay here with your master every day, but you don’t know anything?”
Du Chuan remained silent, his expression still polite, his conduct flawless.
Chu Yunhan knew that there was no point in arguing with him. He put down the spoon and said, “Arrange a car for me, I want to go out.”
“Young Master ordered that you need to stay at home for the time being.”
He was startled. “…What do you mean?”
“I cannot arrange for you to go out without Young Master’s permission.”
Chu Yunhan asked incredulously, “He wants to imprison me here?”
The lack of response was equivalent to a confirmation.
“Ha! So that’s what this ‘losing everything’ previously means.” He kicked the table leg angrily, trying to calm his emotions. “Did he say how long he intends to detain me?”
“I want to see him, where is he?”
“Young Master is out.”
“When is he coming back?”
“I am not sure.”
“…” He remained seated for a while, and said gloomily, “Notify me when he comes back, will you?”
“Yes, Young Master Yun,” the butler answered politely.
The phone was taken away by the bodyguards the night he was caught. There was no TV signal in his room, and the curved display could only be used for single-player games. Although he was told he could move freely within the mansion, the scope of movement was limited to his room and some “free access” public areas, such as the dining room, the library, the hot spring pools, etc. He wanted to enter the computer control room, but was coldly stopped by the bodyguards. Du Chuan euphemistically informed him that he needed to get permission to enter the computer room. Whose permission? One didn’t have to be a genius to figure it out. That person completely detained him, cutting off all connections between him and the outside world. Chu Yunhan waited patiently for three days, but Chu Yichen did not come back. Every time he asked Du Chuan, he received the same answer—the young master was busy.
Yeah, right. Busy. More like hiding and deliberately avoiding him.
At first, he was able to kill some time by playing games and reading books. As the days passed, he was bored no matter what he did. After all, in the past few years, he had had a free and unfettered life of traveling, horse riding, skiing, golfing, running and racing, chasing young models, and visiting bubble nightclubs. At this moment, he was restrained within this small square world with no entertainment. It was really unbearable, and what made him even more anxious was that there was no news of Jiahui and his mother.
Chu Yunhan paced around his room like a cat on a hot tin roof every day. As the days passed by, the restlessness in his heart surged repeatedly, and forcefully suppressing it over and over again was a real torture. Seeing that half a month had passed, yet Chu Yichen had no intention of showing up, he made the harsh decision to go on a hunger strike.
Sure enough, on the third day of his hunger strike, when his legs were already feeble, Du Chuan came upstairs to invite him down, saying that Chu Yichen was back.
The man was dressed in dark brown home clothes made of silk and sat on the large sofa in the study, reading documents. Hei Yu stood behind him, bending over to talk to him from time to time.
Chu Yunhan was already impatient. He sat down on the opposite sofa and asked bluntly, “How long do you intend to keep me locked up?”
The man flipped through the documents in his hands without even lifting his head, and said, “Why? Tired of living?”
How can you not get tired? There’s nothing in this lousy place. He kept the words to himself and said in a low voice, “I want to go out to see Jiahui. You can send someone to follow along.” After saying that, there was no response from the other party, so he quickly added a promise, “I won’t cause you any trouble.”
“Jiahui went to Northern Europe to relax and won’t be back for a while.”
Chu Yunhan was started. “Why would she go there?”
Chu Yichen raised his eyes and looked at him indifferently, not answering.
That look made his heart beat like a drum, and it took him a long time to get it. His face grew hot. The reason for sending Jiahui far away was to prevent her from getting involved in the rebellion he had launched. With the brothers fighting each other, not only would she have been in a very awkward position, but she may have also got in danger if things had turned messy. He had thought of this in passing at that time, but the situation was urgent, and he was led by the nose by Hui Lang, so he had no way to take care of that much. Chu Yichen had obviously considered the problem more thoroughly than he had.
“Then…when will she be back?”
“You don’t need to know.” The man cut off the conversation. “You and her will never have a chance to meet again.”
Chu Yunhan sat stiffly, his throat dry. “You want to lock me up forever?”
“Now you understand what losing everything means?”
He felt a chill all over, his body turned cold from head to toes, as if he had fallen into an ice cellar. This guy really meant it. From the moment he made him choose between life and death, he intended to confine him for a lifetime.
Was this method cultivated by the so-called successor education? Truly ruthless.
What was the point of living as a prisoner even if you lived a long life? The words “Then forget it and just kill me” were on the tip of his tongue, but he couldn’t say them. He was afraid that the man’s casual reply “Okay” would really turn him into a cold corpse, and he was afraid of death.
He wanted to live, even if he was locked up.
He hated being like this, weak and stupid.
The rims of his eyes turned red. He got up and walked out. The man’s low voice sounded from behind, “If you find the hunger strike interesting, you can continue.”
He paused, gritted his teeth, and clenched his fists.
You wish I committed suicide, but I will not fulfill your wish.
He walked out of the study at a fast pace and said to Du Chuan, who was waiting in the hall, “I’m hungry, prepare a meal for me.”
The imprisonment continued. Except for eating and sleeping, Chu Yunhan spent every day thinking about how to escape. A full week passed before finally an opportunity arose. Early that morning, Du Chuan told him to stay in his room for the time being and not to go out. He also sent two bodyguards to guard the door. He figured that someone he knew must have arrived at the old house.
When he was a child, the old man would also forbid him to leave his room. He often sneaked out in the middle of the night to have fun with his friends, climbing down the balcony drain pipe. Now, he rummaged through the cabinet and found the rope he had used back then. He leaned over the balcony, looked around, and neatly slid down the drain pipe while nobody was watching.
After all, he had lived in this place for so long. A few days ago, he had checked out several hiding spots he could seek cover in on his escape route. After hiding behind a shelf in the storage room of the east building for a long time, he heard a sound in the garden outside, and saw the back of a pink dress through the small window. He was ecstatic and almost knocked the shelf down. After finally calming down, he leaned over the window and imitated a few bird calls.
This was a game they often played when they were young. Back then, he took Chu Minran to play all day, and it was always lively in the yard. Chu Yichen had a calm personality and spent most of his time reading, and only occasionally played with them. Zhou Jiahui was the daughter of Zhou Yuran, the younger brother of Chu Yunhan’s mother. The younger sibling was not in good health. He lay sick in bed most of the year and wasn’t able to look after his daughter. Zhou Yuran often asked her to spend time with him. The cute little girl would call out, “Big Brother Yunhan!” pleasing her father. Because of her young age, when playing hide-and-seek she could never find the people hiding, and sobbed anxiously. Chu Yunhan learned how to draw her attention, so that she could find him, and then helped her find the others.
The bird call was like a secret signal between the two, and he loved playing jokes like that after they grew up. As soon as he called twice, Zhou Jiahui turned around in surprise. It took her a long time to notice him at the small window.
Chu Yunhan hurriedly made a silent gesture, and desperately winked at her. Jiahui walked out under the pretext of answering the phone. She was very surprised to see him looking anxious, obviously not joking. She avoided being seen and quietly walked into the storage room.
“Why are you here? Brother Yichen said just now that you…” Interrupting her before she could finish speaking, Chu Yunhan said anxiously, “I don’t have time to explain. Lend me your mobile phone.”
When he got the phone, his hands were shaking. He hurriedly pressed a series of numbers and sent a message of only four words.
“Help me! Chu Yunhan.”