Editor(s): Amelea and FistFullOfDollars
After he finished washing the clothes, Yu Hao laid down on his bed and looked at the stars on the ceiling.
10:45pm, Zhou Sheng wasn’t back yet. It was closing time for the dormitory building.
“Where are you going?”
Fu Liqun’s phone screen reflected his face that was as handsome as Wang Leehom, and they looked especially alike from the side.
Yu Hao, “To buy cigarettes.”
Fu Liqun, “But you don’t smoke.”
Ever since Fu Liqun broke up with Cen Shan, he would always speak in a flat tone that was neither sad nor happy, and it really resembled the male Siri voice on his phone.
“For coaxing someone.” Yu Hao said, then put on his shorts, slippers and T-shirt. When he reached the second floor, he slid down the heating pipe.
The dormitory curfew wouldn’t deter this group of sports students, especially Zhou Sheng, who was the first person to discover a way to get into the dormitory after 10pm.
Zhou Sheng was practically an expert at parkour -- he would leap onto roofs and vault over walls as if he was walking on level ground; he jumped from the first floor to the anti-theft window, then did one more flip to reach the second floor. But Yu Hao couldn’t do that. Zhou Sheng had tried to teach him the ropes several times before, but he could never get the hang of it. In the end, he could only change tack and teach him how to climb up the heating pipe while mocking him mercilessly.
Yu Hao bought a pack of Zhonghua for Zhou Sheng and stuffed it into his pocket. He remembered that Zhou Sheng’s lighter ran out of fuel a few days ago. The dormitory had been filled with the sounds of arduous flicking, so he bought a lighter as well.
He suddenly felt an impulse to tear it open and smoke one.
On this spring night, there was a a big ruckus erupting on campus. Male hormones meant that wild wolves had been confined within the physical bodies of men, and they were walking around in the corridor half naked. They would occasionally let loose a few howls as they had nowhere to vent the energy from their youthful bodies, so they were all feeling immeasurably dejected.
Yu Hao walked along the trail behind the dormitory and gradually left the dormitory area. The world then seemed to quieten; on this intoxicating spring night, only cigarettes, alcohol and sex could provide consolation, but he didn’t have even one of these three.
I need to get Zhou Sheng to smoke less. Yu Hao tore the packet of cigarettes open. He was sitting next to the field, and thought that smoking while he still needed to train for the Iron Man Triathlon wouldn’t be good for his heart. It would be best if he could find an electronic cigarette to gradually replace real cigarettes. But Yu Hao liked the subtle scent of smoke on him -- it mixed with Zhou Sheng’s natural odour and this mixture had turned into his signature scent.
He took a cigarette out, ruminated for awhile, then put it back away.
Within the deathly silence, Yu Hao suddenly looked up. He seemed to have caught a glimpse of a figure walking straight through the garden behind the basketball court, towards the dormitory building outside the field.
Yu Hao frowned as he watched; that figure hardly made a sound as it moved parallel to the building, and soon disappeared behind the dormitory.
Yu Hao felt that something was wrong -- that was the teacher’s dormitory building. It didn’t have a curfew, but those returning to the dormitory building wouldn’t usually pay such special attention to the sound of their footsteps. Only one kind of person would try their best to not make a sound as they moved -- someone who was trying to conceal something.
Yu Hao got up and looked through the barbed wire of the field. This time, he really did see it -- a figure had entered the dormitory building, but he didn’t go upstairs, and didn’t open the door! He just went into a space below the corner of the stairwell!
A chill suddenly shot down Yu Hao’s spine. Who’s that? There was a very narrow triangular space below the dormitory building’s stairwell, and it was usually used to store broomsticks and paraphernalia. Now it was approaching 11pm and someone had actually entered the place used to store broomsticks?!
He held his breath. Yu Hao carefully walked through the parking lot and made a detour along another path towards the back of the teacher’s dormitory building, then headed to the stairwell.
The figure stood quietly with its back to Yu Hao.
Yu Hao, “……”
His breathing quickened The figure turned around and faced him.
Chen Yekai stood quietly below the stairwell, as if he was a ghost.
“Chen Laoshi?” Yu Hao felt his hair stand on end, and his voice almost sounded like it didn’t belong to himself.
The sound of a car drifted in from outside. Its bright headlights swept over the first floor of the dormitory building -- a car was coming, and it was about to illuminate the place where Yu Hao stood. Chen Yekai reacted instantly; he grabbed Yu Hao’s wrist and forcibly dragged him into the stairwell!
Yu Hao’s body collided with Chen Yekai’s. He could smell the lingering scent of alcohol emanating from his coat and shirt.
“Don’t make a sound.” Chen Yekai whispered very softly into Yu Hao’s ear.
The coat Chen Yekai was wearing was not the one he had worn when they went hiking today. It masked the scent of alcohol that he had at dinner. Yu Hao’s blood completely chilled. He didn’t know what Chen Yekai planned to do, but he didn’t utter a sound because of his trust in him. The car stalled outside the dormitory building. They heard the sound of a door closing, its alarm system activated and repetitive ringing resounded. Then, the insidious sound of a man’s footsteps approached the stairs.
“Okay, the most important thing is that she hasn’t woken up.” The man was on the phone. He sighed, “I really don’t know, what else is there to say?”
Yu Hao heard Chen Yekai’s heartbeat instantly shoot up to 160bpm. One of his hands remained in his pocket -- he has never taken it out. At this moment, Chen Yekai’s whole body was trembling.
Yu Hao held Chen Yekai’s hand through his coat and pressed down. He felt something in his coat pocket.
“Okay.” A man’s voice said, “Then, I’ll have to trouble you.”
The man passed by without noticing the two people hiding nearby in the darkness, then walked up the stairs.
“I hope so ba……”
The voice gradually faded. The electronic lock on the third floor beeped, then they heard the sound of a door closing.
Only then did Chen Yekai put his hand down. Neither of them spoke, and stood still within the darkness. Yu Hao held his wrist.
“Give it to me, Laoshi.” Yu Hao said.
Chen Yekai trembled constantly, but eventually, he slowly loosened his grip and allowed Yu Hao to pull his hand out of his pocket, revealing a sharp scalpel in his hand.
Through the coat pocket, the scalpel had cut into Yu Hao’s hand so it was bleeding a little, and it had dyed the corner of Chen Yekai’s clothes red.
“Yu Hao, why did you find me at such a time?” Chen Yekai’s voice was abnormally calm, “Is this really dictated by fate?”
Yu Hao whispered, “If that’s what you wish, then you can believe that it’s fate. Alright, it’s okay now, Laoshi, I’ll take care of the knife for now. Don’t think about anything else, forget about it ba.”
It was as if the allusions in Chen Yekai’s speech, his minute expressions and movements for the past few days, had all suddenly become clear with what had transpired tonight.
Yu Hao held the knife in his grasp and motioned for Chen Yekai to go up and return to his dormitory.
Chen Yekai said, “Come up for a cup of coffee ba.”
Yu Hao answered, “We’ll talk tomorrow, I’m sleepy. Good night.”
Chen Yekai, “Good night.”
Yu Hao couldn’t see Chen Yekai’s expression clearly in the dark, but he knew that tonight had -- to a certain extent -- changed Chen Yekai’s entire life completely.
“Where have you been?”
Yu Hao walked across the field with a heavy heart and was completely startled by Zhou Sheng. He subconsciously shifted his hand behind him.
Zhou Sheng had drunk quite a bit of alcohol, and was standing quietly underneath the basketball hoop.
“I’m asking you a question.” Zhou Sheng’s voice had an obvious hint of impatience, “Answer me!”
Yu Hao said, “I……went to buy cigarettes for you.”
“You came all the way here to buy cigarettes?” Zhou Sheng clearly didn’t believe him.
Yu Hao said, “I couldn’t sleep, so I came out for a walk too.”
Zhou Sheng, “Where’s the cigarettes?”
Yu Hao searched for the cigarettes and passed them to him. Zhou Sheng uttered a “hei” and bit one in his mouth as he swayed to and fro. He made a gesture of pressing a lighter, and Yu Hao took out a lighter.
Zhou Sheng gave Yu Hao a sidelong glance, and with a smile that didn’t look like a smile, he said, “Light it for me ah, why are you standing there like an idiot?”
“You’re drunk.” Yu Hao said, “Let’s go back first ba.”
Zhou Sheng stood in front of Yu Hao to block him. Yu Hao helplessly lit his cigarette for him.
With a click, the flame illuminated Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng’s faces. When Zhou Sheng leaned in, his eyes suddenly widened -- he saw Yu Hao’s hand that was holding the lighter covered in blood.
“Yu Hao——!” Zhou Sheng’s roar had violently awoken the three dormitory buildings to the core in the dead of the night.
Yu Hao, “Don’t get too agitated!”
Zhou Sheng roared hysterically, “Explain this clearly to me!!!”
Half an hour later, in a standard room of a small hotel outside the school.
“Are you crazy?!” Yu Hao finally couldn’t endure it anymore. No matter what, he had to retaliate once. He would explode from all his restraint if he kept holding himself back from calling Zhou Sheng out.
“I really didn’t know!” Zhou Sheng had half sobered up, “When I saw blood, the first thought I had was that you had slit your wrists!”
Yu Hao, “Is there something wrong with me?? Why the hell would I slit my wrists?!”
Zhou Sheng, “Haven’t you always been like that?”
Yu Hao, “Since when?!”
Yu Hao took a pillow and whacked Zhou Sheng with it, but Zhou Sheng kept dodging it. In the end, Yu Hao threw the pillow away furiously because he knew that Zhou Sheng was just letting him off easy. After all, he was someone who could take on an entire dormitory alone.
“Don’t move!” Zhou Sheng was meeker than usual now. He was standing at the corner of another bed as he admitted, embarrassed, “I was wrong I was wrong okay?! Be careful, your bandages could fall off!”
Yu Hao’s palm was wrapped in bandages, and now he actually did want to die. His phone was ringing endlessly from the constant stream of messages in both his WeChat and QQ group chats -- everyone in the dormitories and their entire cohort had heard Zhou Sheng shout Yu Hao’s name like he had lost it on the field in the middle of the night.
Fu Liqun gave Yu Hao a call and asked, “You found him ba?”
Yu Hao told Fu Liqun what had happened. Then he learned that Zhou Sheng was originally drunk. After he returned to the dormitory and found out that Yu Hao wasn’t around, he left again to go look for him.
“He was the one who shouted your name just now ba?” Fu Liqun asked.
“It was me!” Zhou Sheng said.
Fu Liqun said, “Snap out of your drunken fit, hurry and come back to sleep. Where are you? Should I come down to get you guys?”
“I brought him out and got a room.” Yu Hao said and motioned to Zhou Sheng to stop talking. Zhou Sheng nodded.
Fu Liqun said, “Okay, then I’ll really sleep now.” He hung up, leaving Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng to stare at each other speechlessly. Eventually, Zhou Sheng got up and packed away the iodine and bandages that had been used. Yu Hao said, “Don’t people slit wrists instead of palms? Why don’t you try it once for me to see?”
Zhou Sheng picked the scalpel up to scrutinise it carefully, “It’s the middle of the night, how would I have known where the cut was!”
Yu Hao held his phone in his left hand and slid up the screen to unlock it, and as expected, all he saw were @him: Zhou Sheng’s shouting your name downstairs, hurry and take him back. Zhou Sheng’s calling for you, he’s calling for you. You better explain this to me clearly……Yu Hao roared angrily in his heart, I heard it! I don’t need all of your reminders! Then he turned his phone off.
After Zhou Sheng finished packing up, he put his ID away and collapsed onto the bed. He was terribly exhausted.
Yu Hao said, “Are you still going to listen to my explanation?”
Zhou Sheng covered his face with a pillow, then outstretched a finger from beneath the blanket and pointed at Yu Hao’s bed.
“Sleep.” Zhou Sheng’s voice sounded somewhat stern, as if he had resumed his identity as General, “I’m sleepy, we’ll talk in the dream.”
This was the first time after Shi Ni’s matter concluded four months ago for Yu Hao to properly enter the dream world of his own accord again.
When he opened his eyes, he found himself sitting on the throne in the centre of the palace in his dream. He was flanked by military officers on either side, with a huge screen behind him. Floating clouds and mountain ranges were visible overhead -- it was the Mt. Tianqing that they had hiked in the morning.
The interior of the palace was embellished with golden, red and silver materials that exhibited magnificence and resplendence. The sliding red lacquer doors carved with decorative patterns slid open automatically in succession, and outside the palace, gilded carpets were revealed within each layer. Yu Hao looked down upon himself and realised that his dressing was very inconsistent with the setting. It wasn’t a regalia, but instead, he was dressed in a black butler uniform from head to toe. In comparison, Zhou Sheng was adorned with a red and black dragon-plated armour and carried a shield on his back. He wore a three-inch long golden iron rod at his waist as he strode in.
“Welcome, General!” The military officers on both sides all knelt down on one knee in unison.
Yu Hao, “……”
“Yo, your interior decoration’s pretty beautiful.” Zhou Sheng pulled out a《Linear Algebra II》from the bookshelf on one side of the palace and flipped through it, “You’re still studying in your dream.”
Yu Hao, “Why are my NPCs kneeling down to you?”
Zhou Sheng, “Can’t they worship me?”
Yu Hao, “You’re so stuck-up.”
Zhou Sheng, “Wanna fight?”
Yu Hao, “You can defeat me here?”
Zhou Sheng, “You never know, let’s practice?”
Zhou Sheng walked over to the throne and Yu Hao thought that this crazy Zhou Sheng was really going to start a fight with him. He placed his left fist on his right chest and saluted Yu Hao by bowing slightly, then made a “please” gesture, “Little fox, let’s take a walk outside?”
“How am I like a fox?!”
Yu Hao then got up and left the palace with Zhou Sheng, and they headed to the rooftop. The capital in his dream had changed slightly compared to the last time he was here: the lanterns and fireworks had all disappeared, replaced by the warm glow of the sun, as well as the beautiful, fresh flowers of spring.
The scenery in his conscious world seemed to change based on how he felt during the four seasons in reality. Outside the palaces on a platform that faced the mountain ranges, an additional suspension bridge had appeared out of the blue. The suspension bridge led into the clouds, and it was the place that Yu Hao had walked through in the day.
“Recall what happened.” Zhou Sheng said to Yu Hao, “Imagine you have a screen in front of you, and let me see it. You don’t mind it ba?”
An image of the memory was projected in front of Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng, and it was shown from Yu Hao’s perspective -- it played out the entire timeline of what Yu Hao had caught a glimpse of underneath the stairwell in the middle of the night.
“That’s it.” Yu Hao said.
Zhou Sheng remained quiet for a long time. Yu Hao gave him a sidelong look and asked, “What should we do?”
“What can we do?” Zhou Sheng murmured, “He wanted to kill someone.”
Yu Hao said, “I didn’t dare ask, the knife is still in the room. Why does he bear such a huge grudge against Professor Lin? Don’t they have a teacher-student relationship?”
“You’ll have to ask him that.” Zhou Sheng mocked, “How would I know?”
Yu Hao sized Zhou Sheng up doubtfully. Zhou Sheng said, “This is a dream, you don’t need to give me such a meaningful look.”
“Do you know something?” Yu Hao asked.
Zhou Sheng pondered for a moment. Yu Hao thought that he was thinking it over, but Zhou Sheng said, “Look.”
Yu Hao then realised that a screen had manifested in front of Zhou Sheng. The screen played out memories from Zhou Sheng’s perspective of what had happened in the hospital.
In front of Zhou Sheng, a fierce-looking Professor Lin appeared who was listening to Zhou Sheng.
“When was this?” Yu Hao spent most of his time with Zhou Sheng, and he didn’t recall meeting Lin Xun with him.
“On the day we handed in my registration for the cycling competition.” Zhou Sheng said, “I was guarding Liang Laoshi in the hospital, and coincidentally, this guy came.”
Yu Hao remembered now. That day he had realised that Zhou Sheng looked a bit off, so it was because of this?
“What’s wrong? Student Zhou Sheng, if you have any difficulties, feel free to talk about it.”
“That……” Zhou Sheng said sincerely, “Why don’t I sell you a sandbag for cheap? We have lots of them in our boxing club, it won’t cost much to buy one. It’s not good to use your wife as a sandbag to practice your punches on everyday, Professor Lin!”
“Why are you always picking a fight wherever you go?” Yu Hao said helplessly.
Zhou Sheng said indifferently, “I just made a little crack at him by asking if he usually hits his wife at home.”
Yu Hao, “……”
Ame: People @ YH: Pick up ur man
Dollars: I love YH as a furious bun whacking an immovable Zhou Zhou with a pillow.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), juurensha.