Stepping out of the hotel doors, Xiao Junyi’s motorcycle was parked at the side of the road. Unlike the Suzuki B-King and Honda CBR’s that were popular in Shanghai, this kid’s bike was An American style Honda CBX125. From the perspective of someone from a future generation, this style of bike was clearly more in line with Chen Yuanming’s aesthetics. It was just that riding motorcycles without a helmet was normal in this era, so it inevitably felt like he was courting death.
Watching Xiao Junyi straddle the motorcycle and discovering that his only accessory was the standard issue road mirror —Chen Yuanming shook his head slightly and sat behind him on the bike in resignation.
“Where are we going?” Chen Yuanming asked casually, as he grasped Xiao Junyi’s narrow waist.
Chen Yuanming was already familiar the sort of places this young master could take him. It ranged from song and dance halls and clubs to noble entertainment lounges and video game halls. The restaurants of his various connections were also not exempt. It would have been reasonable for this tentative exploratory behavior to be annoying, but Xiao Junyi made every invitation properly, and even the people who accompanied him were not those dandies Chen Yuanming had met the first time, but a more mature group that could hold conversations on various matters.
If used as a channel to expand interpersonal relationships, they could be of great benefit to Chen Yuanming, but the level that Xiao Junyi could reach was still too shallow. After all, these high-performing future talents had no mature business ideas and no established networks. When they could not reach their expected cooperation goals they could only talk about general things and their discussions would inevitably be reduced to simple catching up. Because Chen Yuanming was still confused about the future, such meet-ups undoubtedly caused him to be a little irritable, yet other than continuing to accept these invitations, did he have a better choice?
“You’ll know when we get there.” After Chen Yuanming sat down behind him, Xiao Junyi pressed down on the accelerator and the motorcycle roared forward.
It had almost been a week and the more he got along with Chen Yunaming the more mysterious the kid became. Previously, he had simply felt that the boy was a little too arrogant, but after this long period of contact, he instead found that Chen Yunaming was indeed as sophisticated as his uncle had said. While talking to people and after a round of wine, all the friends he had introduced to Chen Yuanming were evaluated as “interesting” and yet he seemed to still maintain a barrier from everyone, as if he really did not want to get closer. A sense of vigilance and indifference was hidden under Chen Yuanming’s bland expression and his decent and proper attitude. In fact, this person did not have any special hobbies like smoking, drinking, singing or dancing. Even women who were difficult to refuse at his age were left untouched. He was truly like a piece of ice or an emotionless machine. Apart from work and study, nothing could really touch his heart.
Thinking about the boy’s enthusiastic mood and genius-like reactions when he was talking to his uncle, compared to the helplessness and slight irritability he had shown these days in connection with his invitation, Xiao Junyi really felt like it was truly hard for a dog to bite a hedgehog. Was this a normal response from a 16-year-old? He had never seen such a child before. Nevertheless, since one path had reached a dead-end, he would try another.
The motorcycle quickly sped along the road, bypassed a street, and finally drove up the Zhongshan South Road. Sitting behind Xiao Junyi, Chen Yuanming slowly widened his eyes. In front of him, a huge bridge hovered above the ground like a dragon. The long and elegant bridge stretched away and crossed the turbulent Huangpu River
It had only been opened to traffic at the end of 1991, so at the moment it was still Shanghai’s first brand-new urban-city bridge. Although he had passed this bridge numerous times in the future, the shock of seeing such a bridge by the Huangpu River today was still present. At this time, it was only 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and the sky was not yet dark. The bridge that was supposed to be full of lights was like a sleeping dragon, laying silently across the river.
The motorcycle moved fast, and soon reached the bridge deck. Looking down from this height the two sides of the bridge were all in a mess. Currently, there was no Oriental Pearl tower and Jinmao tower in view. There was also no China Pavilion in the World-Expo Park which he had only visited once before his death in his last life. Currently there were only low rise buildings lined up in a row which stood in stark contrast to this magnificent bridge.
Chen Yuanming clenched his fingers involuntarily; the past was not something he should be thinking of. Were they going to … Pudong?
He didn’t guess wrong. The nearly 1km long bridge passed by in a flash and the motorcycle touched the ground in Pudong shortly after. Just across the river, they seemed to have entered a completely different world. Now, it was 1993, the clarion call for construction in Pudong had just sounded. It was basically a noisy construction site. All kinds of construction vehicles shuttled around Pudong like worker bees and the world-famous Shanghai construction speed was being performed here.
A small change each year and a big change every three years. A tide of construction smeared across the city like a big invisible hand. In Chen Yuanming’s eyes, there was little in common between this place and the Shanghai he had later come to know. However, as the motorcycle drove across the uneven roads in Pudong a long-lost sense of familiarity began to stir in his heart. Not far ahead, the skeleton of a building stood upright on a construction site by the Huangpu River. A mechanical boom hovered in the air, and several columns propped up a huge sphere. There was no grouting and no painting, yet the steel skeleton was like a strange beast, showing its magnificence to the world …
The motorcycle was stopped not too far from the construction site. Chen Yuanming reacted a moment later and got off the bike.
“How is this?” Standing next to Chen Yuanming, Xiao Junyi asked with a smile, and there was no lack of self-satisfaction in his tone. “The Oriental Pearl TV Tower has only been under construction for the past two years. I told my buddies that we should climb the tower and tour around.”
Since you don’t like leisure and entertainment, let’s take a look at serious things. This Oriental Pearl tower will be the landmark of Pudong in the future and may even become one of the landmarks of the new Shanghai. How many people will not be curious about such a wonderful scene?
Chen Yuanming did not speak. In fact, his mind had flown away from the magnificent construction site in front of him and was on a more splendid scene, where the Oriental Pearl Tower and Jin Mao Tower were shining, and the entire Shanghai was like a city of stars. Countless lights had formed a colorful galaxy which covered everything as far as the eye could see. Sitting in the revolving restaurant in the upper sphere of the Oriental peal, the man who had brought him there whispered in his ear. Shock and sweetness were interwoven, awe and humility coexisted. He was like a child who had received a treasure in his heart for the first time, and was confused by it all …
An arm rested on his shoulder, and Chen Yuanming who was suddenly surprised was freed from his illusions. The young man beside him seemed to have long guessed that he would lose his composure and looked on in amusement.
“Surprised? It gets even more shocking. Follow me.”
Xiao Junyi dragged the reluctant teenager toward the construction site. A small foreman came out to meet them and after saying hello, handed out two safety helmets. It was not too dirty so Xiao Junyi threw one to Chen Yuanming and simply put the other on his head.
Chen Yuanming hesitated for a moment while holding the helmet, and eventually brought it along as he stepped onto the elevator behind the young man. This elevator was very similar to the 360-degree fully transparent sightseeing elevator of the future and as it rose to midair the view from within covered the surrounding area. However, it lacked the necessary protective measures so cold February winds blew across everyone’s face.
But no one was concerned about the temperature. The elevator rose slowly. With this slow and bumpy motion, the whole of Shanghai slowly appeared in front of them. The old, the new, the past and the future. Complex and changeable ideas had blended together and were mixed and matched into a unique style. Chen Yuanming paid close attention in an attempt to find something familiar, but he could not find it. The differences in Pudong were too great, and everything he knew had not yet appeared.
After some time, the elevator finally creaked to a stop, and they boarded a temporary platform. At this time, the first large sphere was basically complete, but the second sphere had not yet been built. Standing at this height, there was nothing to support them either above or below. Overhead, sunset was approaching and beneath their feet was a vast abyss. The strong cold wind whistled past and seemed to want to roll people up and toss them down, while annihilating everything in this world.
“This is my second time here.” Xiao Junyi didn’t care about his companion’s almost impolite silence and said to himself. “Last time, the construction site over there has not yet started, but now the foundation pits are already tens of meters deep. How long has it been? Standing here and looking at Shanghai always creates a strong desire in me to participate in this unparalleled change, to control or build something with both hands … “
As he spoke, he turned his head, and the pair of peach blossoms, which were always overflowing with mischief, held a bit seriousness and looked straight at Chen Yuanming. “Do you know? This time the investment in Pudong’s construction has exceeded 20 billion yuan, and this is just the beginning. How much more of the country still needs to be built and how much money should be invested in it?”
Chen Yuanming didn’t respond, but he did know the answer. More than 60 billion yuan will be invested in the second Pudong development, and more than 100 billion yuan will be invested in the third Pudong development. A single Shanghai had consumed such a huge amount of capital. What about the rest of the county? Looking at the blank canvas in front of him, Chen Yuanming smiled, “Why, are you interested in real estate?”
Xiao Junyi shook his head. “No. At least not yet. Shanghai is mainly attracting foreign investment. The construction of villas in Beijing has begun to slow down. Hainan …” He paused slightly, “that’s not development. That is pure waste and fraud. The government will not let it go unchecked.”
Chen Yuanming glanced at the young man opposite him with some surprise. Had he also realized that the situation in Hainan was not good? If he drew this conclusion based on speculation, then his observation and deductive ability was excellent.
“Since you don’t want to do real estate, then what do you want to do?”
Chen Yuanming looked at the view in front of him and asked this question. But while he was asking the other party, it was like he was asking himself. What he had wanted most in his previous life was just to have money. To no longer have to bow his knees and no longer have to wake up early to meet darkness, all so his family could live a good and upright life and be respected. If possible, he would find a like-minded lover and no longer care about the eyes of the world…. An uncomplicated but reassuring life goal.
In this life, however, he was already rich. As long as he found the right path, he will certainly make more money and will have no worries about food or clothing. And he could take care of not just his family, but also all his friends and relatives. His gains had already surpassed that of most people in this era. But while sitting on this pile of money, he was a bit lost. He knew many things that could make more money quickly. They were simple, profitable, and not dangerous. But that was not what he really wanted. There always seemed to be a hole in his heart, that was roaring, causing him to be panicked all day long and filled his heart with anxiety.
If the goal of his previous life was completed, what should he live for in this life?
“What to do? Naturally, its family first, then the world.” Xiao Junyi was extremely straightforward, “Do something really big. Just like old man’s family motto: ‘To be down to earth and to the country and the people.’”
His voice was loud and honest. It was like a roar amidst the cold wind.
It was simple, but it was also complicated. In the mouths of young people, it was courage and fearlessness, in the mouths of the founding fathers, it weighed more than a thousand pounds. Chen Yuanming froze for a moment, then suddenly smiled. He reached out and held onto the steel bracket beside him. His hand was no longer immature, and the skin that had once been scorched by the sun had slowly turned pale after long period indoor care. The thick calluses on his palm would fall off a little by little and the depression in his heart would be smoothed out inch by inch. Time always takes everything away, leaving no trace, but was this enough?
Currently his body was still very young. He was only 16 years old. Really young. Even if he could still only live up till 32 years again, he still had 16 years to hug and enjoy. With such a new life, why should he always indulge in the past. He could do something more meaningful, couldn’t he??
Xiao Junyi gave a slight glance at the teenager who suddenly showed a smile and was stunned. He had never seen such an expression on this boy. His tightly wrapped shell seemed suddenly seemed to have been cracked by a thin seam, revealing a more authentic and amiable human being. A living man.
Was there anything wrong with what he had just said? After thinking about it for a long time, Xiao Junyi could not come up with an answer, but the tense atmosphere between the two had really relaxed. Xiao Junyi just groaned slightly and laughed. Whatever it was, he had tried his best over the past few days, and he had finally succeeded! This child … no, maybe he shouldn’t be considered a child anymore. This Chen Yuanming was one of the most special people he had ever met. For such a character, he really wanted to befriend him and not for the sake of his family or for his uncle.
Although they were not talking, their eyes were trained on the ground under their feet. All those vehicles and mechanical booms were still working tirelessly in order to create a new miracle. The cold wind and the warmth in their hearts were intertwined. The two stood on the high platform for a long time until they were finally ushered out by the construction staff.
Xiao Junyi sneezed vigorously when he sat on the motorcycle. Compared with Chen Yuanming’s winter clothes, his leather clothes were not sufficiently cold-resistant.
Chen Yuanming smiled slightly. “Let’s find a place to eat.”
Rubbing his nose, Xiao Junyi also laughed, “There is a restaurant on the Bund, Cantonese cuisine. It also has karaoke equipment in it. The atmosphere is good, should we go there?”
“You are the host, naturally you have the final say.” Chen Yuanming also didn’t care and straddled the motorcycle.
“That white snake show that was broadcast on TV recently has become very popular, and new new batch of laser discs have been released, but I haven’t had an opportunity to check them out. However, I think laser discs will likely be phased out soon. I heard my aunt say that her relatives are developing a new product … “
Chen Yuanming’s movement suddenly paused, “What did you say?”
“No, no, your aunt’s relative!” It was unusually rare, for Chen Yuanming’s voice to carry a sense of urgency. “What can replace a laser disc?”
Xiao Junyi turned his head in surprise and squinted at the teenager sitting behind his him. What happened? But the seriousness in the Chen Yuanming’s eyes made him helpless and forced him to respond a bit seriously. After thinking about it for a while, he finally remembered the name, “It should be called “videopactdisc”, a video disc? It is said to be about the same size as a cd, but it has image effects … “
It really was VCD! Chen Yuanming’s heart was heated. Yes, why didn’t he think of it at this point!
Xiao Junyi naturally detected the other party’s strong interest and raised an eyebrow. “Want to find a place to talk about it in detail?”
Xiao Junyi smiled slightly and did not talk nonsense. He pressed down on the accelerator and sped towards the Nanpu Bridge.
The author has something to say:
Hey ~~ People had already guessed
Well, the main line is really starting to open, First comes the VCD wars! Don’t disdain this technical content, this is really a big deal!
This is absolutely the sort of chapter that I love in this novel (You can probably tell from my many footnotes). I was born in the late 80’s and was too young to pay attention to the changes in China in the early 90’s. My first impression of shanghai was of the fully formed skyline during New Year’s Eve celebrations so I especially love how, by translating this novel, I have had to take the time to look up the city’s history and witness the changes with my own eyes.
A plus is the developing relationship between our protagonists. Xiao Junyi’s move from disdain to fascination and likewise how serendipitous it is for Xiao Junyi to be the one to clear the fog in Yuanming’s mind over his future. Their relationship is truly written in the stars.
The author has taken time to craft a well-researched and well-structured story and we benefit.
If you love this novel as I do, do rate it five stars on novel updates so that more people will give it a chance. It would be a shame for the novel to remain covered in dust.
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The 1993 Suzuki B-king may have looked more like this
 The raws said Honda King, but I did not find any Honda bikes of that name.
Honda CBX 125 (it resembled the American muscle motorbike the Harley Davidson)
 Difficult to get along with a defensive person
Nanpu Bridge (It does resemble a dragon)
Shanghai skyline showing the oriental pearl TV tower
China Pavilion in Shanghai
A view of the shanghai skyline taken in 1993 as the oriental pearl tower was being constructed. Credit: https://shanghaiphoto.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/pudong-in-1993/
The Shanghai skyline now. Credit: Wikipedia
Pudong under construction probably looked something like this.
I imagine this is how far construction had proceeded when CY and XJ climbed the oriental pearl tower.
a 1992 TV series starring Angie Chiu and Cecilia Yip. It is based on the Chinese folk legend Legend of the White Snake. First shown on Taiwan Television in 1992, the series was broadcast on China Central Television in 1993 and became a major hit. It remained popular for more than 20 years, and was still one of the most replayed TV series in 2016. Credit: Wikipedia
Zhao Yazhi. Also known as Angie Chiu is a powerhouse actress from Hong Kong.