Chapter 3.2: Giants
The Xu Family servants whispered words of gossip amongst each other—said Shen Lang was a toad lusting after swan flesh; said the poor boy’s fantasy and infatuation towards the young lady was growing out of hand. [I] As they continued gossiping more and more, their disdain towards Shen Lang only grew more bitter each and every day.
The meals sent to him also fared no better. First, it was cold then sour and bitter. Though he was born in poverty, he’d never experienced such treatment like this. His loving parents and caring little brother spoiled him too much. He’d always eat the better food out of them. In this Xu Family House, his living condition was no better than that of a pig. Not only so, he’d been driven to live in a small, cramp wooden house. He did not even receive proper bedding and was forced to sleep on the cold, hard floor instead.
Shen Lang was mentally retarded yet innocently pure to the touch. He won’t complain even if he was bullied to death, only enduring the pain silently.
Later on, when Xu Qianqian discovered her husband’s poor living conditions, she grew mad with anger. She ordered the punishment of the servants sent to care for his well-being. Each of them was whipped a dozen times as she publically announced that if anyone dared to bring harm to even a strand of his hair, they will answer to her wrath before facing expulsion from the Xu Family House.
Shen Lang quickly returned back to the gorgeous scenic courtyard and ate delicious food. Every other day or so, Xu Qianqian would drop by to speak to him. In those days, he was brimming with pure happiness. Though the two had been married for several months, he never once laid a finger on his wife, let alone sleep together. So long as he’s able to see her, able to hear her voice, he was content and happy.
Then, half a month ago, Shen Lang was stuck with a serious illness. Xu Qianqian hurriedly invited several world-famous physicians to find the cause of his ailments, yet they were unable to. They were unsure what he was suffering from. From that moment on, he grew weaker each and every day. Suddenly, he died.
As his soul died, the Shen Lang of the modern world crossed into this world, quickly occupying the body whose name was also Shen Lang hence why this short life he lived was a complete comedic tragedy.
Shen Lang sighed inwardly. While pondering over a certain matter, he soon found there were other things in his mind besides the combined memory of his past and current life now merged together as one.
The surrounding air brimmed with a sort of mysterious spiritual energy. He suddenly felt the urge to concentrate his soul so as to explore the depths of his mind.
Meanwhile, a light footstep came from the outside.
“This waste should be dead. It’s truly a wonder how he’s able to resist death for so long.”
“It is much better to die than to ruin the life of our young lady.”
“Yes… such a useless thing. This dumb boy who wished to marry our young lady… it is already a blessing he is able to experience a short blissful moment. Let it be like this.”
“But even if he is dead, he truly did live a worthwhile life. Our young lady is magnanimous, even going as far as to visit him daily or so.”
“Of course! Our young lady is a kind-hearted person who is able to converse with for more than an incense of her time. It truly is a wonder how she is able to stand speaking to such a dumb, useless waste.”
Xu Qianqian once ordered a decree that none should slander nor bully Shen Lang lest they wish to face her wrath and suffer from direct expulsion from the Xu Family. Naturally, those lowly servants dare not anything out of fear. But in these recent days, Shen Lang’s soon to die. Whether he hears of it or not, it bears no difference. Thus their courage gradually increased.
The servants laughed and giggled about as they opened the door slowly. Every half an hour or so, they’d enter the room to look at Shen Lang’s weak and dying figure.
“Let’s go in.” After opening the door, a servant girl spoke arrogantly, her nose held high. The next second, she immediately yelped a cry of sudden shock and surprise. She turned around quickly, not daring to look at Shen Lang. She’d gone to check on him half an hour ago. His skin was so pale and his condition so weak. He looked as if he’d die any moment, yet what she saw was completely different.
“You… you’re not dead…?” She blurted out.
“Yes…” Shen Lang replied.
Several of the servants stared at Shen Lang wide-eyed in amazement. Soon after, they were brought back to reality. The head servant instructed the servant girl to hurry and notify the family head and the young lady that Shen Lang was not dead.
The servant girl nodded and hurried out.
… … …
[I] A toad lusting after a swan’s flesh means that one is aspiring after something one is not worthy of.