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Chapter 17.1

It was a cool night in early spring.

As Tang Zhou drove away from the Tang House, the wind whooshed in through the window, filling his heart with a cold that bit to the bone.

He had no desire to stay at the Tang House and equally, no wish to face an empty house all alone.

He parked his car by the side of the river.

The breeze was more intense there, so intense it felt as if it had frozen half his brain.

From the storage compartment, Tang Zhou pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, tucked them in his pocket, then stepped out to stand in front of the river’s guardrail.

The river was in constant flux, tiny waves crashing onto the shore, creating a sparse cacophony.

Just as Tang Zhou was about to light a cigarette, something in the corner of his eye made him pause.

Not far off, someone was trying to climb over the guardrail.

Tang Zhou was horrified, and without thinking twice, hurriedly shouted, “Buddy, do you have a lighter?”

The man halted, turning his head towards Tang Zhou, his expression indiscernible under the dim light.

Tang Zhou kept his face composed, pretending as if he hadn’t noticed anything strange. Slowly, he edged closer, his gaze landing on a face that was young yet worn by life.

“Buddy, mind lending me a light?” He held up the cigarette between his fingers.

The man hesitated before saying, “I don’t have a lighter.”

His eyes were bloodshot and clearly lacked sleep, devoid of any brightness within.

Tang Zhou sighed, “I didn’t expect to run into someone this late at night.”

The man remained silent, one leg still perched on the guardrail, staring blankly at the river.

Tang Zhou pressed on, “Would you mind having a chat with me?”

The young man kept his head down, still silent. It seemed persuasion wouldn’t work on him for the moment.

Getting even closer, Tang Zhou tried to evoke sympathy in an attempt to bring the man back to his senses: “I’ve been thrown out of my house. I’m homeless now.”

He blathered on about his own misfortunes. Finally, the young man couldn’t hold back anymore and retorted, “Your car there could sell for a couple of millions.”

Tang Zhou: “…”

The young man continued, “And this cigarette, it’s pretty expensive too.”


“Actually, I’m not trying to end my life. I just want to go down there for a bath.”

Tang Zhou, maintaining his poker face, responded, “I’m afraid you’ll end up covered in mud.”

Who would believe that!

The young man said desolately, “It’s because I have no other option. I can’t even afford to pay the utility bills.”


In the contest of sharing miseries, Tang Zhou admitted defeat.

“Can I borrow a cigarette?” The young man moved his leg back down from the guardrail, his lifeless eyes fixed on Tang Zhou.


Tang Zhou passed him the cigarette in his hand.

“I also need a lighter.”

Tang Zhou was silent for a moment before pulling out the lighter from his pocket.

The young man glanced at it, “Limited edition, it’s not cheap.” He seemed to know his stuff, and there was no hint of envy or jealousy in his expression.

He took a light puff, the smoke surrounding him as he asked Tang Zhou softly, “Can I also borrow your bathroom for use?”

Tang Zhou wasn’t the overly compassionate type, and seeing that the man had no obvious intent of comitting s*icide, he was about to refuse, but then saw tears welling up in the young man’s eyes, quickly trailing down his cheeks.

“Actually, I didn’t want to jump down for a bath, I wanted to k**l myself.”

“My ex-boyfriend was a scammer, he took all my savings.”

“I couldn’t afford the rent, so the landlord kicked me out.”

“What’s the point of me living? I might as well end it all.”

Wiping away his tears, the young man asked Tang Zhou with a trembling voice, “Tell me, is there any reason for me to continue living?”

Tang Zhou replied expressionlessly, “Working as a labourer on a construction site can earn you a hundred or so per day. Collecting waste isn’t bad either, and neither is sweeping the streets. A lot of people live like this, so why belittle yourself? You’re no worse.”

The young man: “…”

Tang Zhou continued to suggest mercilessly, “With your looks, you could even work as an extra and make a living.”


The young man stared at him, taking a while to compose himself before saying solemnly, “I feel like we have a lot to talk about. You can definitely understand me.”

Tang Zhou raised an eyebrow, preparing to say goodbye.

“Actually, I’m a screenwriter.”

Tang Zhou thought to himself, ‘I can tell, you’re pretty good at spinning stories.’

“I’ve worked on a few scripts before, saved a bit of money from here and there. I planned to use it as a down payment, but it all got swindled away.”

Tang Zhou: ‘You could report it to the police.’

“I wrote a script and wanted to sell it to make some money, but I was met with nothing but rejections. Which investor or big time director would care about a script from a nobody like me?”

“I think you’re pretty well-off, and our mindsets seem to align. Why don’t you have a look at my script? If you’re interested, let’s cooperate.”

Tang Zhou felt that this was novel. This was the first time someone had tried to secure an investment in this manner. “What if I’m not interested?”

“Then I might as well jump into the river.” The young man took the last drag of the cigarette and gazed wearily at the river.

Tang Zhou did feel sympathetic towards him. If he could, he wouldn’t hesitate to help, after all, he himself had tasted the bitterness of despair and helplessness.

But considering the man’s peculiar demeanor, he asked cautiously, “What’s the name of your script?”

A bright smile appeared on the young man’s face, a sudden spark in his eyes, “It’s called ‘I’m Not a Hero’. The title isn’t important. Do you want to hear what it’s about?”

Tang Zhou cut him off, “No need.”

The light in the young man’s eyes died down instantly.

But then he heard Tang Zhou say, “I’m in.”

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