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    Chapter 130: Will

    The driver informed the others up front via walkie-talkie.

    In that instant, Shen Hongyuan felt a mix of fear and anticipation.

    He thought someone would call out to stop.

    Then say, "Hold on, Young Master hasn't returned yet. Where is he?"

    Surprisingly, that didn't happen.

    Everything went so smoothly it left him feeling empty inside.

    Shen Hongyuan sat in his stable seat.

    He watched as the motorhomes in front began moving one by one.

    He felt his own car gradually start up and hit the road.

    The dense foliage on either side of the car windows retreated gradually into the distance.

    As the speed increased, the trees eventually blended into a blur.

    At this moment, Shen Hongyuan experienced a strange sensation.

    It was as if a heavy burden had been lifted from his shoulders; after all these travels, he finally felt an unprecedented lightness.

    Yet, simultaneously, he sensed an indescribable stagnation throughout his body.

    It was as though his thoughts and consciousness had detached, leaving only an empty shell functioning like a machine.

    However, as they journeyed on, Shen Hongyuan found the experience unbearable.

    He swore he could hear the wails of a child.

    Unable to resist, he turned his head to look back, almost convinced he saw a weeping child running after the car.

    But rationally, Shen Hongyuan knew that it was impossible.

    How could a four-year-old child possibly keep up with such a fast car?

    Not until they arrived at the mountain villa did they realize that the young master was missing.

    The nanny, who had been hired for the trip, immediately realized the situation and said, "I saw Young Master enter Madam's RV with my own eyes! Didn't you know, Madam? How could you let such a little child get out of the car by himself?"

    Mrs. Shen was momentarily stunned, unable to react.

    "Lost? How is that possible?" she muttered. "Maybe he's playing hide-and-seek. Quickly, check the RV."

    At this moment, for some reason, Shen Hongyuan felt an inexplicable sense of calm.

    He calmly heard himself yelling in anger at Mrs. Shen and the nanny, "How did you watch over the child? How could you let Ranran run off on his own? If something happens to him, how will I face the old man?"

    Only when Shen Xingyu and Shen Xingzhuo, who had just gotten out of the car, saw the adults' reactions, did they understand the gravity of the situation.

    Shen Xingzhuo wept all the way, his voice hoarse and his eyes swollen.

    He didn't quite comprehend what it meant for his younger brother to be lost; he was still in a daze.

    Shen Xingyu's face turned pale on the spot. He turned around and started running back the way they came.

    Shen Hongyuan quickly instructed someone to stop him, saying, "How old are you? Don't make things worse. Leave it to Dad."

    By then, a light rain had begun to fall.

    The sky had already darkened.

    For an extremely fleeting moment, Shen Hongyuan did consider going back to look for the child.

    After all, young children couldn't run far. If they returned now, they'd likely find him still waiting in the same spot.

    But as the rain intensified and he saw the severe weather warning on his phone, Shen Hongyuan abandoned that idea.

    Clutching his phone with a worried expression, he stepped into the rain and said, "I'll arrange for people to search. You stay here and keep an eye on the other children."

    Yet, after standing in the rain for a while, Shen Hongyuan eventually put down his phone.

    He didn't make a single call nor ask for help from anyone.

    The torrential rain at night fell in fits and starts.

    In the vast villa, the atmosphere was stifling.

    Madam Shen was weeping in her room.

    Shen Xingzhuo ran a high fever that very night.

    The light in Shen Xingyu's room remained on as he would occasionally step out into the yard to check.

    Shen Hongyuan hid outside, allowing the rain to drench him.

    Even in the sweltering summer, the rain was still chilly when it hit the skin.

    One couldn't help but wonder if a four-year-old child would feel even colder after being caught in the rain.

    In Shen Hongyuan's mind, an unexpected image emerged: a child hugging his leg and calling him "daddy."

    Suddenly, he felt overwhelmed with sorrow and covered his face, weeping bitterly.

    That was his youngest son, after all.

    How could he not feel heartache?

    Shen Hongyuan then rationalized that it didn't matter. With their family's resources, finding another child wouldn't be difficult, right?

    It was just a temporary separation.

    Once the old patriarch couldn't hold on any longer and passed away, he would immediately bring the child back!

    Shen Hongyuan made this silent promise to himself over and over again.

    The next morning, upon waking up, Shen Hongyuan switched on the news.

    It was then that he learned a small landslide had occurred at the foot of the mountain in the early hours of the day.

    Upon seeing this message, Shen Hongyuan sat in silence for a long while.

    What was supposed to be a leisurely journey had ended in such a manner.

    As the one who set the ball rolling, Shen Hongyuan initially felt a twinge of guilt.

    Gradually, he reached a state of self-justification—there was nothing he could do about it. Who told the child to run off on his own without listening?

    Nonetheless, changes occurred within the household.

    After their second son fell ill with a fever, he became disoriented and couldn't recall past events clearly.

    The mere mention of his younger brother would prompt him to burst into tears.

    Mysteriously, Madam Shen had become less sociable, constantly hiding in her room and declining even her usual gatherings.

    Their once hot-headed eldest son, who was in the midst of his rebellious phase, unexpectedly took an interest in the family's trivial matters, wanting to be involved in everything.

    It was as if he was afraid of having any idle moments.

    Unaware of the situation, the elder had someone come to fetch his youngest son back home.

    Shen Hongyuan had managed to dodge the issue with various excuses several times.

    However, all secrets eventually come to light.

    Shen Hongyuan was summoned by the elder.

    The elder's health had significantly improved over the past few days. Lying on his sickbed, he gazed at Shen Hongyuan.

    He spoke in a stern voice, "You've really made it big, haven't you? As your grandfather, I'm not even allowed to see my grandson?"

    Shen Hongyuan hesitated for a moment before replying, "If you want to see him, let Xin Zhuo come and accompany you. He's been nagging about missing you."

    The elder didn't respond, only fixing Shen Hongyuan with a piercing gaze.

    Under the elder's intense stare, Shen Hongyuan finally mustered the courage to speak up:

    "Ranran... He went missing during their trip. Auntie and his mother didn't keep a close eye on him. I've been searching, but the circumstances back then were too complicated..."

    Shen Hongyuan tried to explain himself, subconsciously wanting to distance himself from the situation.

    But he lifted his gaze.

    There, on the hospital bed, lay his father – a man driven by profit, firm in his dealings, and the one who had built the entire Shen Empire from scratch. In that instant, an unusually blank and bewildered expression appeared on the old man's face.

    Amidst his habitual fear, Shen Hongyuan felt a strange novelty.

    He never expected to see such an expression on his father's face one day.

    Silence flooded the room like a tidal wave.

    After a long while, the old man's withered, purplish lips quivered as he asked, "What did you say?"

    Shen Hongyuan had no choice but to repeat himself, "Ranran is missing. I didn't expect..."

    However, before he could finish his excuses, the elder suddenly stirred.

    The elderly man reached out and snatched his cane from the bedside, swinging it fiercely at Shen Hongyuan.

    The heavy mahogany cane flew through the air, its silver dragon head striking Hongyuan's face with a thud, causing him to clutch his nose and bend over in pain.

    Shen Hongyuan heard his father's strained voice yelling, "Go! Go find my Rran and bring him back!"

    A sour ache, tinged with the metallic scent of blood, filled Shen Hongyuan's nostrils.

    But in that instant, for some inexplicable reason, he felt an indescribable sense of satisfaction.

    What was the point of rushing? The child was already lost.

    It was too late for the old man to groom another grandson as his successor now.

    Illness can descend like a sudden mountain collapse.

    Grandfather Shen had been battling diabetes for decades, with frequent complications.

    Upon hearing about the disappearance of his youngest grandson, his heart troubles worsened, and he was soon bedridden once more.

    He could only instruct his assistant to have someone investigate.

    In the past, Shen Hongyuan had always been meek and submissive around the old man.

    When the old man expressed dissatisfaction with him and wanted to revoke his status as heir, he could only nod in agreement, suppressing his frustration.

    He would then devise various methods to win the old man's favor.

    But after this incident, Shen Hongyuan found a hint of pleasure in competing against his father.

    When the old man was searching for his grandson, Hongyuan secretly obstructed his efforts and spread ambiguous false information.

    Taking advantage of the old man's illness, he attended more events as the successor of the Shen family, spreading the news that his father's health was deteriorating rapidly.

    Through this, he even gained a reputation as a filial son.

    One day, the old man summoned him to the hospital room.

    The old man lay on the bed, his expression cold and composed.

    It seemed to have returned to its former strict and severe demeanor.

    Absolutely no trace of the breakdown that occurred when he wielded the cane could be detected.

    Shen Hongyuan was not surprised by his father's state.

    He understood his father best.

    So what if there were occasional emotional fluctuations? In the end, his father would always prioritize the bigger picture.

    Because whether it was him as a son or his grandson, all family members combined were less significant in the old man's eyes than the Shen Corporation he had built from scratch.

    The company was the most cherished asset for Elder Shen.

    In comparison to the company's interests, everyone and everything else had to take a back seat.

    Shen Hongyuan even speculated that the elder probably already guessed that he was responsible for losing the child.

    Yet, even so, for the sake of the Shen family's reputation and to ensure the company's continuous operation, the old man would still protect his son.

    After all, he was already old, and this son was his only child.

    Shen Hongyuan entered with a lowered head, calling out, "Father."

    There were still caregivers and nurses in the ward; in front of outsiders, he remained the obedient and submissive son.

    The elder Shen glanced at him and said, "You're here."

    "Yes, Father," Shen Hongyuan replied.

    The elder Shen didn't say anything else. He lay quietly in bed, his gaze seemingly fixed on some indistinct point.

    Shen Hongyuan noticed that there were two other people in the room, the old man's lawyers.

    Soon, the elder Shen raised his hand and waved it gently.

    All non-essential personnel were dismissed from the ward, leaving only the lawyer and Shen Hongyuan behind.

    Once the door to the hospital room closed, Shen Hongyuan noticed the lawyer setting up a video camera.

    Observing Shen Hongyuan's confusion, the lawyer explained, "The old man wishes to disclose his will."

    Shen Hongyuan froze for a moment, then felt a surge of excitement and a hint of pride.

    He mused that, in the end, he had emerged victorious this time.

    Never would he have imagined that there would come a day when he'd witness his father conceding to him.

    Shen Hongyuan promptly responded, "Father, what are you saying? You're still in good health. I consulted a doctor, and they said that you're...]

    The elderly Mr. Shen closed his eyes briefly and raised his hand to interrupt him.

    But not a single word escaped his lips.

    This formidable man, who had been dominant for most of his life, was unusually quiet at this moment.

    Until the lawyer turned on the recorder and began conducting a few simple tests to verify that the elder still possessed sound judgment.

    The elder cooperated fully.

    Shen Hongyuan waited patiently by the side.

    Finally, he heard the elder speak:

    "I am Shen Hanshan, and I hold sixty percent of the shares in the Shen Corporation. Five percent of these I bequeath to my eldest grandson, Shen Xingyu, and another five percent to my second grandson, Shen Xingzhuo..."

    In between, there were also mentions of other real estate assets being divided.

    Shen Hongyuan wasn't particularly surprised by the elder's distribution.

    He had provoked the elder, so it was only fitting that the elder would express his displeasure.

    Besides, the two sons combined held only ten percent, which was insignificant.

    Suddenly, Shen Hongyuan sensed the old man's gaze upon him.

    The elderly man lay in bed, turning his gaze sideways to look at him.

    Due to his illness, his eyes had a slight yellow tinge, obscuring the emotions in his pupils.

    Soon, Shen Hongyuan heard the old man's subsequent words:

    "I'll be leaving the remaining fifty percent of the shares and all my other assets under my name to my youngest grandson, Shen Xingran."

    The old man's voice was raspy and low, reflecting the weakness that came with a long-term illness.

    Yet, his tone was unusually resolute.

    Shen Hongyuan could sense an earnest malevolence beneath those words.

    It took him several seconds to process this before he abruptly stood up from his chair.

    Both lawyers, who had known the elder Shen for a long time, were also taken aback by the old man's pronouncement.

    None of them expected Shen Hanshan to leave such a will.

    A lawyer promptly stepped forward to reevaluate the elder's mental clarity.

    The old man calmly completed the test.

    He repeated his will and added, "Should my youngest grandson pass away, all shares and assets belonging to him shall be donated."

    At that very moment, Shen Hongyuan was struck with utmost astonishment and resentment.

    He had always assumed that the elder took in his grandson merely to groom a puppet to his liking, someone who would conform to his wishes.

    Observing how the elder treated his grandson with a lack of affection and strictness, Shen Hongyuan saw echoes of his own suffering childhood in the young boy's life.

    This made him harbor a tinge of sympathy for his younger son.

    But now...


    Why was he so strict with him, constantly guarding against and obstructing him as if he were terrified that his son would ruin the Shen Corporation he had built from scratch?

    Yet, he had given such a valuable asset to an unknown four-year-old whose whereabouts and fate were a mystery?

    He'd rather donate it all for nothing than leave it to him?

    Was the old man planning to have the entire Shen Corporation accompany his grandson to the grave?

    Then, what did he, as the son, mean to his father?

    After verifying and signing the will, the old man lay there in silence.

    Shen Hongyuan dashed out of the ward like a madman.

    He smoked an entire pack of cigarettes on the way.

    Driving to the foot of the hill where the child had gone missing, Shen Hongyuan found the area devastated by the landslide.

    Amidst the ruins, he searched tirelessly but only discovered a small yellow duck-shaped backpack buried in the mud.

    Staring at the backpack for a long while, Shen Hongyuan felt the irony of fate mocking him.

    Motivated by the desire for gain, he finally arranged for people to search for his youngest son's whereabouts.

    Ironically, finding the child was like searching for a needle in a haystack after such an easy disappearance.

    After a month of relentless searching, Shen Hongyuan arrived at his elderly father's bedside with a boy in tow.

    The old man's health remained frail, yet he clung to life stubbornly.

    Catching a glimpse of a child's figure out of the corner of his eye, he struggled to prop himself up for a better look.

    What he saw was an unfamiliar child.

    Bearded Shen Hongyuan supported the child's shoulder and asked gently,

    "Tell Grandpa, what's your name now?"

    The child hesitated before replying, "I... My name is Shen Xingran."

    "You brute!"

    Old Master Shen picked up an object from the table and threw it, but he then passed out.

    Shen Hongyuan immediately scooped up his "Shen Xingran" tenderly and carried him outside.

    The next day, Old Master Shen passed away from low blood sugar.

    Shen Hongyuan bribed the lawyer to delete the footage and alter the date on the will,

    pushing it back to after he had adopted Shen Xingran.

    However, altering an established will would inevitably appear unsightly.

    Shen Hongyuan grew bolder and simply forged a new one.

    Fifty percent of the elder Shen's shares were now assigned to him.

    Upon the announcement of this will, consistent with the elder Shen's style, none of the board members harbored any suspicions.

    In fact, they were even touched by the elder Shen's decision to allocate ten percent of his shares to his two grandsons, believing that he had softened with age.

    Thus, Shen Hongyuan smoothly ascended to the position of chairman of the Shen Corporation.

    He meticulously concealed all evidence of his deception.

    As he observed his eldest son's increasing excellence, Shen Hongyuan sometimes couldn't help but feel a twinge of envy.

    Nonetheless, he took comfort in the fact that he had molded his eldest son into a slave to the Shen family.

    At times, when looking at his good-for-nothing second son, Shen Hongyuan wondered if the elder Shen had viewed him similarly back then, as he now viewed Shen Xingzhuo.

    As Shen Hongyuan scolded his second son, he couldn't help but feel that he was a much better father than his own.

    As for Shen Xingran...

    Shen Hongyuan personally indulged him, introducing him to various social circles.

    He watched the orphan, under his nurturing, shine brightly in the crowd.

    He observed as the boy became the center of attention, with the name "Shen Xingran" firmly placed on his forehead and imprinted in others' hearts.

    He was "Shen Xingran."

    The "Shen Xingran" under Shen Hongyuan's control, his trump card.

    Until not long after Shen Xingran entered university.

    Shen Hongyuan received a call from Madam Shen, summoning him to a paternity testing center.

    There, he saw a timid and inexperienced youth, lacking in sophistication and upbringing, deeply scarred by poverty and the absence of love, someone who was utterly unbecoming.

    Within Shen Hongyuan's heart, fear battled with an abrupt surge of pleasure.

    He thought to himself, Father, look, is this the heir you fancy?

    1 Comment

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    1. Rebecca Is Cool
      Apr 25, '24 at 8:25 pm

      Just wow