The Remaining Life Has Its Limits

Chapter 5: Annihilation

That was the last scene in her memory, on that day.

Afterwards, everything turned into darkness, and she couldn’t remember anything.

It felt like she was trapped in a deep dream. In the dream, she saw Qin Nan again. She was in the water, swimming upwards, while Qin Nan stood on the shore, wearing a black windbreaker and holding a transparent umbrella.

Suddenly, she remembered. This was actually the first time she met him.

It was in the autumn of her 25th year, her third year back in the southern city.

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She had just failed the civil service exam and was job hunting while going on blind dates.

That afternoon, she had just finished one blind date, and the other party wasn’t quite satisfied with her, so they didn’t chat for long before leaving.

The bill was split evenly, and she didn’t want to spend the money in vain. Also, she didn’t want to go home too early to be nagged by her mother, so she stayed in the store after the other party left.

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Rv bye aykdle zktbvzu kd vbl yqvladssd. Fbl pyv cu vbl okdeso, oyvnbkdt vbl vayqqkn, yde vbld y uswdt xyd yaakhle.

Tl oyp olyakdt y czynj okdecalyjla yde bszekdt y vaydpryaldv wxcalzzy okvb y pwrlaxyajlv zsts sd kv, rascyczu y rasxsvksdyz kvlx. Tl pvsse swvpkel vbl okdeso, zlpp vbyd y xlvla yoyu qasx bla.

Fbl pyv cu vbl okdeso, scplahkdt bkx, yde bl pllxle nsxrzlvlzu wdyoyal, obknb xyel bla y ckv cszela, ps pbl pvyale yv bkx lhld xsal wdycypblezu.

Gv qkapv tzydnl, vbkp xyd pllxle elnldv yde bydepsxl, cwv wrsd nzspla kdprlnvksd, bkp lulp olal clywvkqwz, bkp dspl pvayktbv, rspplppkdt y jkde sq ldewakdt bydepsxldlpp vbyv qypnkdyvle bla qsa y xsxldv.

Vlabyrp clnywpl pbl pvyale qsa vss zsdt, bl oyp ekpvwacle yde vwadle bkp blye. Mbaswtb vbl aykd nwavykd yde vbl xkpvu qzssa-vs-nlkzkdt tzypp, bkp tygl xlv blap.

Mblka lulp xlv, yde pbl qasgl qsa y xsxldv, qllzkdt y rydkn yp kq pbl bye clld nywtbv rllrkdt. Fbl ralvldele dsvbkdt oyp oasdt yde vwadle bla blye, vaukdt vs yhske vbl lxcyaayppxldv.

Tsolhla, yqvla y obkzl, pbl blyae qssvpvlrp pvsr kd qasdv sq bla. Fbl pzsozu aykple bla blye yde pyo y uswdt xyd pvydekdt kd qasdv sq bla.

Tl eked’v prlyj, bkp caso qwaasole, pllxkdtzu vbkdjkdt sq yd srldkdt alxyaj.

She didn’t know where the courage came from. After taking a deep breath, she simply smiled and took the initiative, “Shall we get to know each other?”

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In her dream, Qin Nan smiled.

But in her ears, she heard some kind of panting. It sounded like some sticky creature crawling along her body, disturbing her from her sweet dream.

She slowly opened her eyes, feeling a darkness in front of her. It was as if someone had covered her eyes with black cloth, with only a little light seeping through the fabric into her eyes.

Beneath her was a narrow leather seat, and with every movement, it creaked and squeaked.

She had no ounce of strength left in her body; even with consciousness, she lacked any ability to resist.

Terror engulfed her entire being, yet within this sea of fear, she unexpectedly possessed a remarkable sense of rationality.

She knew exactly what she was facing, and in the very first moment, she understood that she must not awaken.

In that moment, her clear cognition told her that she had to feign unconsciousness, to make this person think she knew nothing, so there would be no chance of him recognizing her and calling for help, thus increasing her chances of survival.

In movies or other works of art, descriptions of such events are often filled with a kind of imaginative, seemingly inherent in human genetic makeup, glossing over all the pain and danger.

But in reality, actual cases of sexual assault are often accompanied by a great deal of violence and bloodshed, closely related to death.

She tried her best to remain calm, to keep herself composed, to recall all the relevant information she had learned and knew, to search for any possible means of escape.

She gritted her teeth, restraining herself from trembling, trying to relax as much as possible.

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She kept telling herself to stay calm, to stay composed, not to let fear overwhelm her.

She detached herself from all her emotions and consciousness, to remember all the relevant details.

What did he smell like? Approximately how much did he weigh? What was the density of his body hair? What kind of sound did he vaguely emit? Everything she could touch or perceive, she tried to remember.

But this process made her feel nauseous, unbearable in her agony.

She clenched her teeth.

What supported her was her telling herself that she could survive, could seek revenge, could make this person pay the price for what he had done.

Time passed very slowly.

So long that she felt like she was almost hopeless.

There was no pleasure, no excitement, only continuous pain emanating from her body, and an indescribable spiritual humiliation.

She could hardly bear it any longer.

She could no longer maintain her initial rationality to record. In order to alleviate the pain at this moment, she began desperately recalling all the wonderful experiences she had in her life.

She remembered her childhood, standing on the rooftop gazing into the distance, watching the city sprawl endlessly towards the horizon, with the morning sunlight casting its glow into every corner of the world.

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She recalled the senior year oath-taking ceremony, where she, as a representative, solemnly pledged with everyone in that mediocre high school, where only twenty undergraduate students graduated each year.

She remembered riding bicycles with classmates in college, and remembered the first time she saw Qin Nan on a rainy day.

She even recalled a detail from her wedding day, when she and Qin Nan were surrounded by their relatives and friends for a group photo.

The photographer shouted, “Say cheese!”

Qin Nan stood by her side, quietly pulling her close.

Qin Nan…

The pain began to intensify, and she couldn’t help but tremble.

The person above reached out and grabbed her neck. In her blurred consciousness, she vaguely heard him ask in a low voice, “Still pretending?”

She had no strength left. The other person seemed to intentionally change their voice, or perhaps she was too nervous to recognize who it was.

Fear overwhelmed her, and she felt death looming over her head.

She stiffened her body as she was flipped over by the other person and forced to kneel down, assuming an even more humiliating posture.

“Shout,” the other person commanded her, “or else I’ll kill you!”

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She dared not resist. Trembling, she let out the first, brief, and urgent “ah.”

As the “ah” escaped her lips, in an instant, she felt as if some defense line within her had completely collapsed.

She couldn’t help but cry out, screaming one scream after another.

She felt pain, intense pain.

Not physical pain, but a kind of pain that spread from her heart to her fingertips, the pain of her spine being broken and her spirit crumbling completely.

Was this an assault on her body?

It seemed like it, yet also seemed like something more.

It felt like every humiliation in her life was being manifested through this act.

She was being trampled upon, humiliated, told that all her efforts were futile, all her resistance was in vain.

She wasn’t worthy.

She had no right to happiness, and all her hopes would be crushed to dust in this world.

Even surviving was a form of mercy, a stroke of luck, an unknown.

She cried out, the scene before her constantly shifting, feeling her spirit crumbling bit by bit until finally, she forgot everything.

The final moments were particularly intense, and particularly painful. She felt like she was about to die.

There was a glimmer of light before her.

She reached out desperately towards it.

Behind that faint light, she heard her sixteen-year-old self, reciting passionately from her Monday speech, a voice she hadn’t heard in her dream.

“We struggle, we strive, we resist, we endure through the darkest times, and a brighter future is within reach.”

“There is no hardship we cannot overcome, no despair we cannot endure.”

“We change our lives through learning, we change our destiny through effort.”

“Let me go…”

“I am Ye Sibei from Class 7 of the first year, and I will never give up, striving to become a better version of myself.”

Tears blurred her vision, pain permeated her entire being.

She felt the light dimming slightly.

In that moment, she finally broke down, as if her flesh was being torn apart, she screamed in agony, “Let me go!!”

“Let me go!!!”

It was fate, it was despair, it was the silent gaze of gods and Buddhas.

It was suffering, it was condemnation, it was humiliation, it was unspeakable revulsion.

Like mountains collapsing upon her, ruthlessly crashing onto her flesh.

She wasn’t the indestructible Monkey King with an immortal body, when Mount Wuzhi pressed down on him, the only outcome was the faintest, most hidden, most insignificant glimmer of hope, crushed into dust in the darkness.

My deities.

At that moment, she thought.

If you exist in this world, please open your eyes.

Give me a glimmer, a thread, a tiny ray of light.

Save Ye Sibei.

My gods.


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Mily [Translator]

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