Chapter One – A Scum Top
When Zhuo Fan came out of the supermarket with big bags of fresh foods and vegetables, he saw a very familiar black private car parked at the door. The man in the car rolled down the window, cast a glimpse at him, and spat out two words: “Get in the car.”
Zhuo Fan sat in the car, two big bags in his arms. He looked at the other man through the rearview mirror, a touch of surprise in his gaze. “Why did you come and pick me up?”
The car was driving very fast. Xiao Han looked straight ahead at the road and said casually, “Chenli is coming home today on the 5 o’clock flight. I’ll pick him up. Then, we’ll have a meal together and welcome him back.”
At the sound of Chenli’s name, Zhuo Fan became very nervous. His hands tightened around the plastic bags. Turning to look at Xiao Han’s cold profile, he asked tentatively, “Shall I cook for both of you at home? I bought fresh spare ribs and…”
“No need. I’ve already booked a room at a French restaurant.” Xiao Han interrupted him, pulling at his tightly knotted tie, and flashed a rare helpless smile. “Chenli has stayed too long in France, and I think he may not be used to Chinese food anymore.”
Zhuo Fan froze a little when he saw that smile; Xiao Han had never spared him such a pampering, dazzling smile before.
“You seem to have mentioned before… that he looks a little like me?” Zhuo Fan asked tentatively.
“No,” Xiao Han corrected him. “You’re the one who looks like him, but only just a little bit.”
The chill from the groceries spread to his hands; it seemed like he had bought them for nothing. Yet, Xiao Han would certainly not care about such trifles. In fact, ever since he called for Zhao Fan to get into the car, he had not looked at him again.
Zhao Fan’s eyes gradually reddened. Why is Liang Chenli always the only one in your heart even though I am so nice to you?
Zhao Fan looked at his watch. It was now only 3:00 p.m. It would only take them about an hour to get to the airport. Driving so quickly… how eager he must be.
Xiao Han did not even bother to pay attention to the delicate girl-like mind of the man next to him. Speeding was just his attempt to vent his depressed mood today. Anxious to see Liang Chenli? Please, who was that?!
Just today, he had woken up to the shocking fact that he had transmigrated into a scum top in a modern scum/slag novel !
How did Xiao Han transmigrate? How would he know? Anyway, it happened.
Not only that, he also knew that the novel had the most cliched of plots about how a typical scum top, nursing an unrequited crush on his good friend, found a man who looked a little like his friend as a stand-in.
No questions, he just knew it.
The script first had him driving to the supermarket at 3:00 p.m. to pick Zhao Fan up, and then made him rush to the airport with his little lover to meet his crush. What fantastic writing — just how much worse could it get?!
Ah? Did you just ask what this ‘script’ was? What did you take me for, an encyclopedia?
From the rearview mirror, Xiao Han caught a glance of how sad his “little lover” looked while watching him. Immediately, he felt an ache in his balls.
Look here, little brother. We’ve only just met for the first time today. Don’t be so bitter and hateful, will you? I don’t even know you!
Even though he was crazily complaining in his heart, Xiao Han still maintained a cold and silent expression. He also remained indifferent towards Zhuo Fan’s attempts at conversation, in accordance with the demands of the script.
Yet, who would have thought that they would run into a traffic jam on the way? What a great turn of events. He could not even speed now.
“Fuck!” Xiao Han scolded in his heart and smacked the steering wheel. Noticing the action, Zhao Fan naturally thought that he was upset by the possibility of being late to his meeting with Liang Chenli. This idea saddened Zhao Fan even more.
The jam lasted for nearly an hour before they reached the airport. After he parked the car, Xiao Han finally looked at Zhuo Fan: “Get off.”
The latter put his things down and closed the door. He went around the car to walk side by side with Xiao Han. Then, he reached out and held Xiao Han’s arm.
Xiao Han stiffened, goose bumps instantly spreading across his left hand. Fortunately, he was wearing a suit so it was not discovered. However, the script wanted him to only pull away after seeing Liang Chenli. Hence, Xiao Han could only walk quickly to the arrival area with a cold face.
“Hey, Chenli, have you arrived yet?” Xiao Han held onto his phone, his eyes sweeping through the crowd. He had absolutely no idea how that fellow looked like.
“Ah-Han, I see you now! My wife and I are behind you.”
Liang Chenli’s excited voice came from the phone. Xiao Han turned his head and saw a tall man in a windbreaker waving to him, his arm around a hot blonde girl. Mn, seems like this guy’s the one.
Xiao Han resolutely shook away Zhuo Fan’s arm, and studied the approaching figures as they came close. No point giving any description though; they’re just a couple of calefares.
“Ah-Han, I haven’t seen you for many years. You’re still so handsome that my wife’s eyes are about to fall out. I’m getting jealous!” Liang Chenli patted Xiao Han while keeping one arm around his own wife, and pretended to be angry.
That was not a bad compliment. Xiao Han nodded to the blonde girl with a smile and said, “You married such a beautiful wife. I should be the jealous one.”
He swore that he was being sincere, but in Zhuo Fan’s ears it would no doubt be a thorn in his heart.
“Who’s this? He looks a little familiar,” Liang Chenli teased with a look at Xiao Han, finally remembering that there was still another living object next to him.
Xiao Han answered slowly, “This is Zhuo Fan, a friend of mine.”
He did not need to look to know that the other man must be looking absolutely crestfallen now. Xiao Han silently cursed the script tens of millions of times, but politely invited Liang Chenli and his wife to dinner.
Xiao Han had booked a room at the best French restaurant in the city, and even hired a musician to play the violin outside their room.
The room was elegant and quiet. Every dish on the table was delicate and delicious. Xiao Han cut a piece of steak and put it in his mouth.
It turned out that Liang Chenli was a huge talkaholic. He went back and forth with his wife, chatting incessantly. Both tried to tell this old friend of his all about their wonderful and interesting stories from abroad. Without showing much expression, Xiao Han cut the steak gracefully and quietly placed Chenli’s favorite food onto his plate, listening with relish.
Zhuo Fan sat quietly by the side and watched. The table full of delicacies seemed to have lost its flavor. He ate a bit of ice-cream, only to feel that his stomach was frozen, and it quickly started cramping.
His forehead beaded with sweat, Zhuo Fan gently tugged at Xiao Han’s clothes and whispered, “Xiao Han, I feel a little uncomfortable, I’m going to the washroom.”
“Mm.” Xiao Han gave a nod. His perfunctory attitude would make anyone wonder if he had even heard the other person properly.
Zhuo Fan silently walked to the washroom, holding his stomach. When Liang Chenli saw him leaving, he stood up and asked to go together. Zhuo Fan was even more depressed. He pretended that he did not hear the other man, and quickly left.
Xiao Han and the blonde beauty were left staring at each other. He was too lazy to be polite. He continued eating with his head bowed, listening to the foreign girl’s poor Chinese pronunciation, barely answering even one out of ten sentences she spoke.
“Chenli said you’ve already known each other for ten years?”
Xiao Han wiped his mouth with a napkin and corrected her, “It’s been ten years and three months.”
“Wow, you’ve actually remembered it so clearly!”
Out of the blue, Xiao Han enigmatically replied, “It is known”.
“Ah? What do you mean?” The foreign girl looked at him with a baffled face. With her Chinese proficiency, it was tough for her to understand this difficult syntax.
Of course, he had no interest in explaining it. By this point in the script, the plot was about to hit its climax. Xiao Han turned his head and glanced in the direction of the bathroom. He put down his knife and fork, wiped his hands, took the last napkin and pretended to spill some ice water on it by accident.
Looking at his watch, it was exactly 7:00p.m.
“Fire! The restaurant is on fire!” Several loud shouts and the blazing light of the fire disrupted the tranquil environment. The fire happened in a strange, abrupt and rapid manner. While the guests were panicking, the fire spread to the room in the blink of an eye
Don’t ask why a fire happened so easily in such a high-end Western restaurant. If the script says it’s on fire, don’t expect it to rain.
Thick smoke from the fire enveloped the surroundings. As everyone rushed to the exit, only Xiao Han crouched and headed in the direction of washroom, looking particularly odd and unexpected in contrast.
He covered his mouth and nose with the wet napkin, squinting his eyes he kicked the bathroom door open. Since the environment inside had been relatively sealed, thick smoke instantly spilled out now, stinging his eyes. Xiao Han resisted his impulse to cough and kicked at the doors of the cubicles one by one, naturally shouting Liang Chenli’s name.
When he got to the third cubicle, he finally found the unconscious guy sprawled on the toilet bowl cover. Without a word, Xiao Han grabbed him and walked out. When he reached the washroom exit, he stopped, casting glance at a cubicle to his side — he knew that Zhuo Fan was in there.
In that short instant, the fire exploded swiftly and violently, increasing the temperature drastically. Xiao Han’s expression, however, was terribly cold. The sprinklers on the ceiling finally came on. Holding onto Liang Chenli, Xiao Han struggled over to wet their clothes. Meanwhile, the huge fire was now in front of them.
Pulling the other man along, Xiao Han rushed through the washroom doorway. Turning to the side, here was a french window on the right. He crashed into it without hesitation and the two of them fell onto the ground that was full of glass shards. Fortunately, the restaurant was on the first floor. Besides looking wretched from some slight burns, a few glass shards, and wet patches, there were no serious burns.
As soon as they came out, the firefighters finally arrived, and the police quickly cordoned off the area to prevent irrational idiots from going in to their deaths.
Liang Chenli was still in a coma due to oxygen deprivation. Xiao Han brought him to an ambulance and refused the nurse’s suggestion that he should go to the hospital together with them.
The fire was still spreading up and around.
Xiao Han’s face had been smeared with dust from the smoke. He stood outside the circle in a safe area and coldly watched the ongoings inside.
He knew that Zhuo Fan was in the cubicle next to Liang Chenli. He also knew that Zhuo Fan was conscious at that moment and could hear his calls for Liang Chenli. He even knew that the other man would be rescued safely in the end.
Above all, he knew that after this event, the script would start heading in the direction of a classic plot: the trash bottom would lose heart completely, while the slag top would repent and turn into a loyal dog.
The fire was reflected in Xiao Han’s eyes. Slowly, his eyebrows creased.
In his mind, he carefully recalled the situation just now. He had been calm because he had already known the plot in advance. But in reality, in the case of a sudden incident, our male protagonist might not have had time to think so much. It was reasonable to instantly call out the name of a good friend whom he had secretly loved for the past ten years. As for saving his friend and not Zhuo Fan, it was not his fault that that he found Liang Chenli first. Besides, given the situation at that time, it was not that he did not want to save Zhuo Fan, but that he was unable to do so.
It’s still that age-old question: if your mother and your wife fall into the river at the same time, who do you save first?
If the script had arranged for him to see the unconscious Zhuo Fan first, what would have happened then? But judging from the script’s nature, such a thing would only happen if the sun rose from the west.
While Xiao Han was thinking, his eyes continued looking towards the entrance.
You ask why Liang Chenli was unconscious, while Zhuo Fan heard Xiao Han’s shouts? Here’s the explanation given by the script: the door to Liang Chenli’s cubicle was broken, while Zhuo Fang harboured thoughts of testing Xiao Han.
This test indeed revealed the so-called “distance” and “sincerity” in Xiao Han’s attitude.
As for logic, what is it? Can you eat it?
If Zhuo Fan were the protagonist, there would be a long description of how much his heart hurt while he was in the fire, detailing all his hopeless despair and gut-wrenching heartbreak (so on and so forth; thousand-word long description omitted here). All these would have laid a solid psychological foundation for his harsh abuse of the scum top in the future.
Right now, however, Xiao Han only wanted to say: fuck your mother.
Zhou Fan is a grown man, for goodness sake. Yet, not only is he relying on others instead of saving himself, he’s even whining and complaining to himself non-stop.
Saving Zhou Fan would have been a matter of love; failing to have saved him was a matter of course.
Of course, if Zhuo Fan had been a weak girl, Xiao Han felt that he could understand it a little.
If they were lovers, it was certainly natural for Zhou Fan to feel sad and disappointed, and a breakup was a reasonable outcome. However, Xiao Han read ahead and saw the upcoming developments in the plot: kneeling in front of Zhuo Fan to confess his mistakes and repent, suffering all kinds of verbal and physical abuse from Zhuo Fan’s friends and family, as if “everything was his fault” since “he deserved to be abused for being a scum top.” Furthermore, he still had to grovel at their feet and rush to fawn over their uncaring faces. These details sickened him so much that he felt he might as well have died in the fire and settled the issue for good.
Quickly, the firefighters carried a few people out one after another. In a glance, Xiao Han saw Zhuo Fan. Only when his ambulance disappeared from sight did Xiao Han finally sigh in relief, and flag down a taxi to go to the hospital to clean up.
What, you ask where did the blonde girl go? Who cares, that’s not the point.
The fantastic script made sure that Zhuo Fan and Liang Chenli were admitted into the same hospital.
Xiao Han went to see Liang Chenli. He was not seriously injured, and could check out of the hospital in less than two days. After that, came the climax of course — a face to face meeting with Zhuo Fan.
In Xiao Han’s heart, he was completely unwilling to cheapen himself according to the script. No matter how the original scum top felt about Zhuo Fan, it had nothing to do with himself.
As for his inner monologue described in the script, such as “always thinking of Zhuo Fan in a daze”, “being unaccustomed to an empty room without Zhuo Fan”, “feeling self-reproachful, worried and anxious” — he did not have a single one of these emotions. Instead, he remained unaffected; everything he ate still tasted good to him, and he even put on a little weight.
Isn’t this scummier than a scumbag?! What is he to do about it now?
By the time he slowly walked to the entrance of the ward, he saw another stranger. The man was wearing a white shirt, a suit coat over his arm. The knot of his tie was meticulous. Behind his glasses was a pair of long and narrow eyes. He was gently talking to the nurse.
Seeing Xiao Han’s approach, the man slowly stood up. The moment he took off his glasses, his gentle appearance was immediately replaced by a sense of fierceness.
“You are Xiao Han?”
If there wasn’t hidden hostility in his words, Xiao Han might have felt that the man’s voice was very pleasant to the ears.
He knew the man’s identity almost immediately: the perfect, infatuated second male lead that every scum top/trash bottom novel must have — Wen Muyan.
To put a literary touch to it, such men are tragic supporting male characters. To put it more crudely, they are just side dudes.
Furthermore, they remain as side dudes forever, only used as a plot device to enrage the scum top. Despite being devoted to the trash bottoms, unfortunately, in the end, they could only laugh bitterly and watch their loved ones throw themselves into the arms of the scum top who have transformed into loyal dogs.
Thinking of that, Xiao Han could not help looking at him sympathetically.
Seeing such a look from Xiao Han, the accusations Wen Muyan had prepared suddenly turned into puzzlement.
He could not help reaching up and touching his own face. Had the sesame sauce from his noodles gotten onto his face?
The author has something to say: This novel is a satirical piece, and there will be all sorts of crazy developments in the future. There’s a clear pairing, there’s smut, and those of you readers who can’t tell who is the top, please slap your mouth three hundred times!