"I wanted to protect the weak you so that you would continue living on ba."
Editor(s): Amalea, FistFullOfDollars, Juurensha
Zhou Sheng was about to lie down when Yu Hao asked, “Then how would you explain Shi Ni’s dream? Why would there be another person who would dream of the same thing as me?”
“Also, you didn’t need to assault Shi Liang in the conference room, but you did, and you even did it in front of his daughter. Your intention was to create a firm impression in Shi Ni’s mind. She likes characters in cartoons and comics, and one of the heroes in them was Sun Wukong! Your red hair was also a unique feature of Sun Wukong. She unconsciously associated you with Sun Wukong, so you managed to appear in her dream, then you tried to save her.” Yu Hao nervously rattled on about the innumerable conjectures that he had thought of countless times.
Zhou Sheng didn’t know whether to cry or laugh, “You’re really overthinking things, Yu Hao! I just hit him because I saw you getting bullied!”
“If you were really just hitting him out of anger, you wouldn’t have acted like that. You wouldn’t laugh, and you wouldn’t discuss it beforehand with Liqun outside -- arranging for him to come in and hold Shi Liang back before you started hitting him.” Yu Hao didn’t dare to look at Zhou Sheng, “You had planned to hit him, but why did you conceive such a plan? Also, you even thought that the totem I gave you turned into the Shackle Curse? It’s because you thought you needed to find a way to solve my problem -- you couldn’t bear watching it any longer, so it had turned into your responsibility.”
Zhou Sheng said, “Yu Hao, don’t get so caught up in your dreams anymore. You don’t have hysteria, you just overthink too much! You’re always going on such wild goose chases, aren’t you just being foolish?”
Yu Hao said, “One last question. This is the one I really couldn’t figure out. Answer me ba, then I won’t ask you anything else.”
Zhou Sheng said patiently, “Say it.”
“When I was burning charcoal, what were you doing?” Yu Hao asked his last question, and Zhou Sheng really was taken aback. His expression showed that he was at a loss as he pondered, “I asked Fu Liqun to go look for you.”
But when he was startled for that brief moment, Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng’s gaze had met; a glint suddenly flashed through Zhou Sheng’s eyes, and an intuition stirred within Yu Hao. Then Zhou Sheng turned around and turned off the table lamp.
“You were sleeping!” It was as if Yu Hao had suddenly been knocked on the head with a stick -- he had figured it all out!
Yu Hao seriously looked into Zhou Sheng’s eyes in the darkness, “Based on your character, you definitely wouldn’t rely on someone else to come save me after you realised that I was carrying a pack of charcoal in my bag. It was a dire matter. You would follow me, all the way until you knew where I was going and what I was doing.”
Zhou Sheng said, “I wasn’t thinking so deeply then! After I played some soccer, I went back to my dorm to take a bath! I was in the middle of my bath when I realised that something wasn’t right, so I quickly went out to notify Fu Liqun! Which was why I caught a cold! Do you want to call him to ask? Here! I’ll give you my phone! Ask him!”
Zhou Sheng passed his phone to Yu Hao. Yu Hao found Fu Liqun’s number; his hand that he was holding the phone with couldn’t stop trembling. He looked up again at Zhou Sheng. Yu Hao thought that he really must be crazy this time, but he had to know, otherwise he might actually develop a mental disorder from this torturous ordeal.
Zhou Sheng was staring at Yu Hao’s hand, then looked into Yu Hao’s eyes.
The second before he was about to press the ‘call’ button, Zhou Sheng suddenly said, “Wait, forget it. Let’s stop this game.”
When Yu Hao heard that voice, he knew that Zhou Sheng had finally admitted it.
“General?” Yu Hao’s voice was trembling.
Zhou Sheng enunciated every word clearly, “Yu Hao, I really want to give you a good beating today.”
The moment he said this, Yu Hao recognised that familiar tone, it really is him! At this moment, all of his strength completely drained from him with a whoosh like a receding tide. He got up and knelt on the bed, then nervously moved a little closer to Zhou Sheng and Zhou Sheng smiled helplessly. He turned his head, pressed one hand on Yu Hao’s forehead and forcefully pushed him down.
“Good night.” Zhou Sheng said in an unquestionably overbearing tone, “Yu Hao! Forget everything that had happened in your dreams!”
Yu Hao, “Wait……”
Zhou Sheng’s hold was so strong that Yu Hao couldn’t struggle against it at all; with this one push from Zhou Sheng, he had fallen onto the bed.
Yet nothing happened.
Yu Hao, “……”
Zhou Sheng, “……”
Zhou Sheng moved his hand away and looked into Yu Hao’s eyes, then murmured, “What the hell?!”
Yu Hao, “!!!”
Zhou Sheng, “Good night, Yu Hao. Forget everything ba.”
Immediately afterwards, Zhou Sheng used his hand that had the red bracelet tied onto it to press down again. Yu Hao gave up all futile resistance, but in the next moment, Yu Hao still didn’t feel the slightest bit drowsy.
“Damn it!” Zhou Sheng reacted instantly, “I shouldn’t have taken your fucking totem! I must’ve seriously taken the wrong medicine that day!”
Yu Hao grabbed Zhou Sheng’s hand and looked at him breathlessly. This time, it was Zhou Sheng’s turn to have a strange expression on his face. Yu Hao held his hand. Zhou Sheng’s fingers unconsciously curled up and Yu Hao buried his head onto the back of his hand. The room fell silent, and the two remained in this position as if they were sculptures.
After a long time passed, Zhou Sheng’s voice finally broke through the silence.
“Don’t cry.” Zhou Sheng said calmly, “I really can’t stand seeing people cry. This’ll be the only time, and if you cry again in front of me, I’ll seriously hit you next time.”
For a period of time, Yu Hao couldn’t tell if he was excited, happy, or sad.
Zhou Sheng said, “Fine, I’ll tell you. No one will believe you if you told them anyway, they’ll just think you’re crazy.”
Yu Hao calmed down and released Zhou Sheng’s hand, “Don’t say it. Don’t say anything, General.”
In the darkness, he couldn’t see Zhou Sheng’s expression clearly. He pressed his hand onto his palm, “I just wanted to find you, and say ‘thank you’ to you. You could call it stubbornness or my reluctance to give up. That song...was for you.”
“I heard it, and I know you sang it for me.” Zhou Sheng said, “I already felt like it was a bit dangerous that night, but I didn’t want……I didn’t want you to be haunted by this dream for the rest of your life. It was my fault, I said things that I shouldn’t have in the world of the consciousness.”
Yu Hao said, “Then I’ll just treat it as a dream ba. When I wake up tomorrow, I’ll no longer be so attached to this matter, and you can just pretend as if nothing had ever happened. No matter what I ask you, you just……”
Zhou Sheng suddenly gripped Yu Hao’s hand tightly and rubbed it with his fingers, then intertwined their fingers together.
“It doesn’t matter. Actually, this is our fate.” Zhou Sheng suddenly said, “It really doesn’t matter, I don’t blame you. Perhaps from the moment I saw you at the back of our college, everything you asked me today might have already been predestined.”
As he spoke, Zhou Sheng let go of his hand, releasing Yu Hao, “Sleep ba, Yu Hao. You’re the one who said so just now, that you didn’t want to know anything.”
Yu Hao said, “For me, this is enough. I’ll use my life to guarantee that I won’t say anything about this.”
“The main point is that even if you did, no one would believe you.” Zhou Sheng mocked, “Isn’t that how novels are written?”
Yu Hao said uneasily, “Believing and saying it out loud are two different matters. If you’re afraid that I’ll divulge this, I’ll apply for a transfer and go somewhere else……”
“No need! Ai!” Zhou Sheng’s voice sounded like he didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. He lay back down on the bed and sighed, “I really did wish that there’d be someone who I could share my secret with.”
Yu Hao got a shock. He couldn’t see Zhou Sheng’s expression and could only hear his voice. In this moment, his tone had completely matched with the one that belonged to General in his dreams.
Zhou Sheng whispered wearily, “I’ve been suppressing this in the bottom of my heart for many years. But now, someone finally managed to break into my world and became my true friend. That person is you, Yu Hao.”
Yu Hao was stunned.
Zhou Sheng looked at Yu Hao who was sitting in front of him and continued, “If something like this happened to you, would you tell someone about it? Would anyone believe you? But you’re really too smart. You unmasked this secret with your own inferences alone, and now I’m the one who feels a sense of relief instead……lie down ba, don’t keep sitting. Lie down and talk.”
Yu Hao laid down beside Zhou Sheng. Zhou Sheng leaned over a little and pressed the back of his hand against Yu Hao’s head to make him move closer to him.
“Lately, I often thought that amongst the tens of millions of people in this world.” Zhou Sheng muttered, “If you would be the only one out of all of them who would give your own totem to me……” As he spoke, he turned his head around and smiled sadly at Yu Hao.
In this moment, Yu Hao thought that Zhou Sheng looked extremely handsome, that he was the most handsome guy that he had ever seen in his life.
“Sleep ba, don’t say anything anymore.” Zhou Sheng stretched his hand out and pressed it down on Yu Hao’s forehead, then rubbed it in passing to make him close his eyes. He turned around with his back facing Yu Hao, “This news actually isn’t more shocking than the fact that my Dad is Zhou Laichun. I’m serious.”
Yu Hao, “……”
It was as if Yu Hao had just accomplished a mission and ran a marathon. His consciousness felt much heavier, and he could no longer stay awake.
It was daybreak outside. Yu Hao said to Zhou Sheng, “Good night.”
“Un, good night.” Zhou Sheng said underneath the warm glow of the morning light.
It was a fine day on New Year’s Eve. The sunlight streamed into the kitchen through the windows. It shone upon Zhou Sheng until he was about to explode from impatience as he reluctantly cooked New Year’s Eve dinner for four people. But this year was at least better than the last——last year, he was so sick of cooking, but this year, Yu Hao was around to eat it.
For the sake of Yu Hao, this time he was a little more motivated to cook this meal.
Every chef has their own taboos, yet all liked the same thing -- the look of admiration in a foodie’s eyes. The first time Yu Hao saw Zhou Sheng cook, his jaw almost dropped off, and he even cleaned off the entire table of his dishes. Just because of this, Zhou Sheng was very willing to cook for him; Yu Hao is not like his mother who would be so picky towards everything on the table and would even think they weren’t good enough.
Zhou Sheng was prepared to make deep fried ribbonfish, diced chicken with sponge gourd and red peppers stuffed in cucumbers, roast a duck and cover it with a thin film of pastry, along with some spiced chicken with chili sauce, sweet and sour fish, steamed shrimp with egg tofu, sweet and sour pork ribs and Eight Treasure rice. Then one more stewed soup with ham and bamboo shoots and that would be enough.
While Zhou Sheng plucked the hairs of the duck, he thought that he would need to get Yu Hao to stop when he was full before he stuffed himself to death. However, he didn’t know what kind of gift Yu Hao would buy in return for celebrating the New Year here and eating all these meals at his home. Sometimes, Zhou Sheng would get pretty annoyed by this trait of Yu Hao’s. Every time he treated him to a meal or a drink, Yu Hao would always insist on gifting him with something in return. Yesterday, Zhou Sheng had inadvertently caught a glimpse of Yu Hao searching for shoes on Taobao. Yu Hao has never worn basketball shoes before, so it must have been for him. To put it politely, Yu Hao wasn’t someone who would freeload off others, but to put it in a more negative light, he just didn’t like owing other people favours.
Was it necessary though? They were so familiar with each other already anyway. Zhou Sheng thought while he was squeezing the shrimp, that the steamed egg tofu falls apart really easily, so he had to be careful.
The first time he saw Yu Hao was when they were at the field. At that time, Zhou Sheng had already run 20km and was going through a kind of out-of-body experience, while Yu Hao sat on the stands in a daze. Zhou Sheng ran round after round, seeing him with each round he ran. Yu Hao’s wilted appearance reminded him of a dirty dog at his old home who would limp over and bark for food.
Every day after Zhou Sheng got home, he would have packed something to feed it. It was a typical stray puppy -- its coat looked beautiful, but it was very dirty. Sometimes, even if Zhou Sheng didn’t bring any food, the puppy would still come and nuzzle against his trousers and follow him upstairs as it wagged its tail and barked noisily. Zhou Sheng wanted to raise it, but he had misgivings about his neurotic mother, so he gave up on that idea in the end.
Yu Hao -- who sat next to the field -- was just like that puppy, which always made Zhou Sheng want to go over to rub his head. And every time his body approached its limit, Zhou Sheng’s mind would be filled with Yu Hao’s appearance, round after round, Yu Hao Yu Hao Yu Hao……it was as if the impression of Yu Hao in his mind had been linked to the physical limits of his body like a conditioned reflex.
For a month after that, Yu Hao would go to the field a few times per week. Zhou Sheng would see him carry a basketball once in awhile as he joined a group of people who were playing, but he would be knocked flying here and there by Fu Liqun. Gradually, Yu Hao began to give up on playing and chose to sit next to the field instead. Zhou Sheng thought that he must have felt that the others didn’t think his skills were good enough. Rather than saying that his teammates thought he wasn’t good enough, it was more like Yu Hao thought he wasn’t good enough -- he was always mindful of gains and losses, so if he felt like he was holding his teammates back, then he would gradually come less often.
“Why do you treat me so well?” When Yu Hao was sitting on the front bumper of his bicycle yesterday, he suddenly asked this.
I like you bei, Zhou Sheng thought in his heart, but student Yu Hao, please take note: I ‘like’ you, not ‘love’ you.
Zhou Sheng lifted the Beijing roast duck and hung it in the iron stove on the balcony to roast it. That iron stove was even older than him.
Why do I like you? Because I couldn’t overlook a lot of things, and I wanted to protect the weak you so that you would continue living on ba. Zhou Sheng secured the roast duck.
As for why it’s you, and not someone else, it’s because receiving a response is important. No matter how well someone treats another, if he gets no response in return, he’ll gradually come to find that person annoying. Zhou Sheng might say that he doesn’t mind not receiving any reciprocation, but at the bottom of his heart, he still hoped that this person would give him a kind of blazing trust that had no reservations, a sense of adoration, as well as friendship.
The moment when Yu Hao passed him his totem was the first time for Zhou Sheng to feel that strongly moved in his life. It was as if what he had given him was not just his totem, but his everything.
Zhou Sheng could also feel that every time Yu Hao saw him, he would be in a very good mood. And after he moved to their dormitory, although he never showed his happiness on his face, he could tell that Yu Hao did feel very excited about it.
When Zhou Sheng went to the cafe to look for him the other day, Yu Hao was originally quite listless, but he immediately brightened up when he saw him -- as if in his dark and gloomy world, a streak of sunlight had shone in. This sunlight had illuminated Yu Hao, and it had also illuminated the Zhou Sheng who was trying to suppress his rage.
If I don’t take care of you, who will? Zhou Sheng said in his heart. But he could guess what kind of feelings Yu Hao held for him, and these feelings had turned into his Shackle Curse.
Yu Hao held steadfast to his vow to find him, which made Zhou Sheng feel very surprised. But truthfully, he had longed for this outcome. Yu Hao was the first person who managed to find him in the real world, and Zhou Sheng’s wish had been fulfilled. What about the future though? Should he tell him about the origin of this power?
Zhou Sheng held his wrist up and looked at the bracelet that Yu Hao had woven for him. The red rope went through the golden wheel, and it looked like a gorgeous watch.
Forget it ba, Zhou Sheng thought. There were a lot of things that even he hadn’t figured out yet, and it’s not like he would meddle and enter other people’s dreams to wreck them.
Zhou Sheng first noticed that he seemed to hold special feelings for Yu Hao on the day after he was discharged: they were all sitting in the hot pot shop, and Yu Hao had sat directly opposite him -- that perplexed expression of his made Zhou Sheng’s heart ache. For a few days after that, every time Zhou Sheng entered the classroom and sat beside Yu Hao, Yu Hao’s eyes would light up, as if he had been waiting for him for a long time. Zhou Sheng knew that despite not saying anything, Yu Hao was very happy in his heart.
This made him think of a book that he had read when he was little.
“But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world.”
“But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow.”
Zhou Sheng rubbed his head. His dyed red hair had faded, and the colour that remained looked like a golden yellow. This was why Yu Hao would think of golden wheat fields whenever he saw him, and even the breeze that blew across the fields became gentle.
YH: Why do you treat me so well?
ZS: I like you bei. But student Yu Hao, please take note: I ‘like’ you, not ‘love’ you.
Ame: Cooks a feast like it’s no big deal, protecting him, waxing lyrical… AND HE SAYS IT’S NOT LOVE…
Zryuu: ^ (ﾉಥ益ಥ)ﾉ THIS CHAPTER WAS A ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONS. Also, ZS was reciting excerpts from ‘Little Prince’ and I actually went to translate the excerpts before realising that it had an English version…………
^ I ‘like’ you, not ‘love’ you. *FLIPS ALL THE TABLES* ZS STOP BEING SUCH A CONFUSED BOI
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Cat.