“What does Young Master want to drink?”
Editor(s): Amalea, FistFullOfDollars, Juurensha
Medusa's eyes gleamed crimson. Zhou Sheng immediately raised his shield to block as the black dragon took the initiative and rushed forward!
The bell rang, and the audience erupted into an uproar!
During summer vacation, Zhou Sheng went out almost every day — either for a morning or night run. Meanwhile, Yu Hao started on his second job. He had to translate Chinese reports into English this time, assisting the World Health Organization in establishing a database for the Greater China region to improve accessibility.
Among them, the cases of crimes caused by psychological issues were just horrifying. Compared to the previous batch of manuscripts, the current one was more difficult for Yu Hao to go through. As he translated, he often stopped to wonder if the report was real. He checked the sources of the reports and the content of the newspaper clippings — they were all published by the local news media.
“Some people commit homicide.” Zhou Sheng said, “Like those cases with dismembered corpses, and in order to get away with the crime, they would bribe the doctor to give them a false diagnosis. Of course, it doesn’t rule out the fact that homicide can be committed by people who are actually psychotic, but nothing can be done about that. There are a lot of people who have been acquitted under the juvenile protection law as well.”
Yu Hao said, “That’s too cruel.”
Of the news that he had read previously, every single one of them had caused quite a sensation, like the case in Chongqing where a small girl had beaten up a one-and-a-half-year-old toddler in an elevator, or the rape and murder case in Changping’s New Oriental School. However, the media had merely exposed the tip of the iceberg.
What made him most uncomfortable were the cases he had never heard of before: the revenge killing in Tonghe, Heilongjiang Province; revenge for habitual theft of a minor in Dongguan……these cases were a little too much for his heart. Apart from the cruelty of the acts, what made him even more angry was how the criminals would only stay in the reformatory for one and a half years or even be released since they weren’t deemed guilty under juvenile protection laws.
“I’ll translate it in a few days.” Yu Hao said, “I don’t want to read these anymore, it makes me really upset.”
"Those are just the ones you know about." Zhou Sheng said, "There are still tons of cases out there in the world that you don't know about. I had a classmate in junior high; he was a pretty good guy, but we weren’t that close. He always bumped into me when we played basketball. I repeated a year while he went to high school, and he got into a pretty good school too. But because he was wooing a girl, he got surrounded by a bunch of people and got beat up in an alley. His skull was fractured, and he had to be admitted to ICU; after being bedridden for a month, he died.”
“What about the murderers?” Yu Hao asked.
“Ran away.” Zhou Sheng said, “Their parents helped. After keeping their distance for a year, they were captured and received a three-year sentence. The case wasn’t reported, the school and his parents had colluded to suppress it. Learning a bit of self-defence still has its use, at the very least you wouldn’t die in such a stifling way. If anyone dares lay a hand on Laozi, then let’s all die together ba.”
Yu Hao got a WeChat message. Zhou Sheng was playing games in the upper bunk and had just unleashed a big move. His gaze shifted from his phone screen; he ignored Sun Wukong for awhile and turned sideways to glance at Yu Hao, who had his head buried in his phone to reply to his messages.
“That rich guy again?” Zhou Sheng asked.
Yu Hao still hadn’t recovered from his depressed mood after translating those scripts, “Un……he asked me out for dinner.”
Half their summer vacation was over, and at the end of July, another guy looked for Yu Hao. Yu Hao had added him and just left his contact details in his phone. He didn’t expect that after such a long time passed, that guy would take the initiative to talk to him. He chatted with him for awhile. Yu Hao’s angelic nature was provoked because that guy happened to have fallen out of love, and he gave some comforting words to the other person. Unfortunately, that guy just droned endlessly about how meaningless life was.
Thus, Yu Hao put his knowledge of psychological treatments and guidance to practical use and chatted with him for two hours. The man felt better the next day and transferred a thousand to him. Yu Hao was immediately frightened and didn’t dare to accept it, but the other man kept sending him messages. Zhou Sheng wasn’t around during the day and was also ignoring him. Yu Hao translated documents in the dormitory and would sometimes reply to him in his spare time.
The guy was called “Gothic Armour”, and his profile picture was Luffy. He’s bisexual and has had both boyfriends and girlfriends. His ex-girlfriend went abroad and didn’t want to come back, while Gothic Armour didn’t like the environment abroad and wouldn’t go with her, so they peacefully broke up.
Yu Hao did find him easy to talk to, like he was just a normal online friend.The topics they talked about barely touched upon love or dating. It was as if he was a straight guy he had befriended through a game as they talked about various things during their idle chats. Gothic Armour enumerated all his exes to Yu Hao — there were a dozen or so, and there were even two who had terminated pregnancies for him. One of them had cooked for him every day, while the other often bought things for him.
But there were no longer any feelings, and love was dead.
Gothic Armour asked Yu Hao:【Do you think I’m a scummy guy?】
Yu Hao thought, more importantly, are you even gay? Don’t tell me you’re just using me to pass time ba. However, even though this person has a rich relationship history, he was still a very earnest and persistent guy. Aside from his prolonged and short lovelorn sighs, he was quite upright when it came to his views on a lot of societal issues.
It was only when Gothic Armour asked him what he looked like one day that Yu Hao casually sent him a picture of him singing in the college.
Gothic Armour was instantly stunned:【You’re a celebrity?】
Yu Hao:【How could that be? Take a closer look, wouldn’t it be too sad if a celebrity performed on such a shabby stage?】
Gothic Armour:【Don’t lie to me, I’ve seen that person before. He’s been on ‘My Style, My Show’.】
Then he said a name and Yu Hao replied:【That really is me!】
Gothic Armour:【Take another photo then? You guys can’t look that alike. Do you have any brothers or cousins who are in showbiz?】
Yu Hao casually took a photo and suddenly wondered if he had been tricked, but the photo had already been sent.
From that day on, Gothic Armour began throwing money at him.
A 200 yuan red packet in the morning titled【Baby have you woken up】, followed by another 188 yuan red packet after a short while:【Baby why are you ignoring me?】Yu Hao accidentally fell into his trap once and accepted 180 yuan from him. That guy wouldn’t take it back when Yu Hao tried to return it to him, so he could only set it aside for now. After that, as soon as the message ‘the current version does not support checking this message, please check your message on the mobile phone’ appears on the WeChat on his desktop, Yu Hao would wonder, why are you sending me a red packet again? Do you have nowhere else to spend your money?
Zhou Sheng asked, “How much did he send you today?”
Yu Hao, “Don’t touch it!’
Zhou Sheng tapped the entire row of ‘Ba, by, Ha, ppy, Valentine’s, Day’, and 1,200 yuan entered his account. Yu Hao blew up and shouted, but Zhou Sheng tapped on the last red packet【Have dinner with me?】and said, “1400, not bad.”
Yu Hao, “AHHHHH—— YOU JUST RUINED ME——”
“Go ah.” Zhou Sheng said, “Won’t you be able to return it all to him if you treat him?”
Yu Hao held his forehead with one hand and really wanted to close his laptop, then smack Zhou Sheng with it.
The other party sent him a location:【When you arrive, just tell them ‘Mr. Zhang, last few digits of the mobile number is 2520’.】
Zhou Sheng looked at it and said, “It costs about 500 per person at this restaurant, and just casually ordering some dishes would jack the price up to a thousand. After you order, go to the bathroom in advance and settle the bill, then the matter will be over.”
Yu Hao, “I keep feeling like there’s something wrong with this; it’s not like he gave me those red packets for this meal.”
Zhou Sheng, “Who cares? At most you could just buy something else for him as a gift afterwards.”
So Yu Hao could only say, “Okay then.”
He definitely had to dress in simpler attire this time. Gothic Armour wanted to pick him up at his college tomorrow, but Yu Hao adamantly refused. Zhou Sheng said, “Gege will be coming over tomorrow. We’ll just eat outside somewhere and wait for you. After your blind date, let’s all celebrate Valentine’s together?”
“Okay, that’s great!” Yu Hao said immediately. He hadn’t seen Fu Liqun in a long time and missed him very much.
The day after the next day, Fu Liqun flew to Tokyo from Ying City and then flew over with Cen Shan. They arranged to meet up in the group chat. Zhou Sheng sent a message:【Yu Hao’s going for a blind date, let’s stand in a circle outside to watch tomorrow?】
Cen Shan sent a bunch of ellipses while Fu Liqun sent out a bunch of question marks. Yu Hao said, “Stop talking about it!!”
The next day, Yu Hao wore a white T-shirt, black shorts, and sandals. He intended to go dressed like this, just in case the other party thought that he came from a well-off family.
The restaurant was also a high-level clubhouse, and was called “Clear Clouds Autumn Moon”. It served exquisite Sichuan cuisine and was located in the center of the city by an artificial lake named Autumn River Lake. Those who entered and left the place were all beautiful girls who carried branded bags with arms hooked around their lover’s, and were successful figures who were immaculately dressed.
“Mr. Yu, this way please.” The manager came over with a menu and opened the door for Yu Hao.
“Mr. Yu! This way please!”
“Mr. Yu, happy holidays!” The attendants all bowed to Yu Hao one after another.
Yu Hao, “……”
He thought, how does that guy know that my surname is Yu? After he entered the room and saw “Gothic Armour”, he realised that he had never asked him for a picture before.
At first glance, he looked okay; he had thick eyebrows, big eyes, and appeared as if he wasn’t fully awake yet. He had an air of indolence, his skin wasn’t that good because he often stayed up late, and he didn’t seem to pay much attention to his image. The room was an extremely elegant room that had a view of the lake. Tatami mats covered the floor, and Gothic Armour was sitting in front of the table. He smiled when he saw Yu Hao, “You’re here?”
Yu Hao quickly greeted him and that person said, “You can just call me Zhang Liang. Sit ba.”
Yu Hao was a little distracted and suddenly realised why he was willing to meet the person named Vico and this Gothic Armour.
Because in them, he could find some tiny similarities with Zhou Sheng, and even if it was only very small, Yu Hao was unconsciously drawn to them because of it. Vico flaunted himself as a sports guy, and when he spoke he would occasionally flirt with Yu Hao in an improper manner, which slightly resembled the way Zhou Sheng would tease him. In a similar manner, this Zhang Liang always talked about how he wasn’t fully awake and would occasionally send him voice messages, which always sounded really lazy, and he had an indolent temperament akin to Zhou Sheng’s.
“What do you want to eat?” Zhang Liang rubbed the back of his neck again, “Order yourself?” As he spoke, he drank the gongfu tea in front of him.
Yu Hao said, “There’s nothing I can’t eat, I’ll treat you today ba?”
“You’re still studying.” Zhang Liang smiled, “How much money could you have? Let Gege do it ba, your clothes look pretty nice. Simple and clean, where did you buy them?”
Yu Hao looked down and said, “Taobao.”
“When I was your age,” Zhang Liang said, “I liked to buy stuff on Taobao too. Later on I liked to buy luxury goods, but now I like Taobao again. It’s fine as long as the items can be used, it’s not necessary to pursue quality.”
“Yes, yes.” Yu Hao quickly said and thought, why does everyone like to use the phrase ‘when I was your age’.
Zhang Liang said, “Do you work everyday?”
Yu Hao’s thoughts weren’t on the menu at all, “I translate as part of my work-study program.”
Zhang Liang asked, “No one pays for your tuition fees?”
Yu Hao saw that Zhang Liang seemed as if he was feeling about for his wallet and was afraid that he would start writing cheques for him any minute like they do in dramas, so he hastily said, “There is! There’s no problem with my tuition fees, I’m just earning some pocket money.”
“You don’t really spend much ba.” Zhang Liang laughed helplessly, “I’m always badgering you for counselling sessions, yet I haven’t paid you yet……”
Yu Hao said, “Why talk about ‘payment’ between friends? I’ve never done counselling for anyone before, don’t give me anymore money. It’s not easy to earn.”
Zhang Liang said, “My family has a few apartments that were demolished, and the spare money is just sitting around collecting interest. All I do is sleep and play games at home all day, ai……”
A handsome old man in a suit approached. He wore a breastplate with his name and position of senior manager inscribed upon it. The manager knelt down on one knee and poured tea for Yu Hao.
“Young Master Yu.” The manager took over the tea pastries handed over by the attendant and said, “This is the chen pu that our restaurant especially prepared for you, we wish you a happy Valentine’s Day.”
Yu Hao, “……”
Zhang Liang, “……”
Zhang Liang looked at the tea in his hand, then looked at Yu Hao. Yu Hao was sitting down, and the moment the manager knelt down on one knee, he silently uttered ‘crap’ to himself. This was this third time experiencing this signature kneeling style of service, so this restaurant must be the ubiquitous——
Yun, Lai, Chun!
“The dishes have already been ordered for you.” The manager who wore golden-rimmed glasses looked very elegant and said, “What does Young Master want to drink?”
Zhang Liang was filled with doubts, but remained silent as he observed the manager. Yu Hao thought that things had become very troublesome. Zhou Sheng was going to tease him again.
“I’ll just have tea.” Yu Hao said.
“Suzhou’s Pingtan and Kunqu Opera were invited over today, which would you like to listen to?”
The manager’s voice was so damn Sue! He looked like he was approaching his forties, had an elegant demeanor, and spoke in an extremely gentle and refined tone. Yu Hao thought, and I even get to listen to Pingtan now?
“This one’s good.” Yu Hao said, “It's been a long time since I've heard it, is it convenient? Pingtan then.”
“I’ll call them in at once.” The manager smiled and said, “We will be just outside the door, please instruct us whenever you need to.”
Yu Hao’s grandmother used to sing some Pingtan when she had nothing to do, among which《Jade Dragonfly》and《Warring Changsha》had left very deep impressions on him.
Zhang Liang, “……”
Yu Hao said to Zhang Liang, “It’s been a long time since I listened to that……uh……that……”
Zhang Liang wore a bewildered expression on his face, “You’re the Young Master of Yun Lai Chun? And I was wondering why they led me straight into a private room when I reserved seats in the hall!”
Yu Hao immediately explained, “I’m not! It’s a bro of mine, he’s the Young Master! We live in the same dorm, he knew I was coming today……”
Zhang Liang observed Yu Hao doubtfully, “The same dorm? Which college do you attend?”
“An ordinary college.” Yu Hao said, “Very ordinary.”
Yu Hao didn’t want to divulge too much personal information to Zhang Liang, and it just so happens that the Pingtan gentleman came over with a guqin. He smiled and asked, “What does Young Master want to hear?”
“Yue Yun ba.” Yu Hao said.
“The bright galaxy desires for dawn, dancing in front of the thatched cottage at midnight……” The gentleman performing Pingtan sang.
Yu Hao couldn’t help himself from singing along, “Silver crown reflects the moon and gazes at limpid autumn waters, iron armour faces the wind and gazes at smoke——”
At the end of the song, Yu Hao clapped for him. Although he didn’t sing as well as his Grandma did, the lyrics were very close to his heart.
“Did you like it?” Yu Hao asked Zhang Liang.
“Didn’t understand it.” Zhang Liang said with a bewildered expression. He still hadn’t recovered from the “Young Master” form of address shock.
Yu Hao, “……”
“I’m not very cultured.” Zhang Liang admitted frankly, “I’m rather unrefined.”
Yu Hao said, “I’m unrefined too, but my grandmother sang this before.”
Zhang Liang, “Oh——your grandmother was quite elegant then. And I was wondering, looks like you’re the young master of a rich family.”
Yu Hao sometimes felt like his life was a play; one moment it was a poverty alleviation program, and the next day it became an ancient costume xuanhuan, then he would be acting in a variety show where he undergoes a transformation, then it would turn into a popcorn movie, and now he was in an Overbearing CEO romance drama.
“I’m really not.” Yu Hao said, “My bro’s teasing me on purpose.”
Yu Hao thought that he needed to immediately change the topic, and he didn’t know where Zhou Sheng and the rest were now. Then, he saw Fu Liqun and Cen Shan walk hand in hand outside their lake view room.
Cen Shan waved at him. Yu Hao smiled and waved back as he thought, where’s Zhou Sheng?
Zhang Liang turned around to look, “Your friend?”
“My sis-in-law.” Yu Hao said, “She should’ve come over for dinner because it’s Valentine’s.”
Zhang Liang responded with an “oh”. Fortunately, the dishes were served, effectively defusing the awkwardness. Just like in ‘Dawn of Spring in an Empty Mountain’, the manager divided up and plated the dishes from beside them. Yu Hao smiled, “Have you decided to contact your ex-girlfriend to reconcile?”
Zhang Liang, “You really want me to look for her to reconcile?”
“Go ba.” Yu Hao said, “It is not easy for two people to fall in love.”
Zhang Liang shook his head and smiled helplessly. In the end, Yu Hao made some brief idle chat, and they finished their meal. The manager wore white gloves as he held a bottle of wine to show to Yu Hao.
Yu Hao, “???”
Before Yu Hao could even ask what it was, the manager picked up the wine and placed it in front of Zhang Liang.
“This is the wine that Young Master specially prepared for you.” The manager said, “There must be good wine on a good day. Take it back for a drink, this is just an expression of our goodwill.”
Zhang Liang laughed, “There’s no need to be so polite.”
“No no.” Yu Hao realised immediately that this was Zhou Sheng’s return gift because he didn't want to accept his red packets without giving anything in return, “Accept it ba, it’s just a bottle of wine.”
“Then okay.” Zhang Liang didn’t even mention anything about the next date before he went out with the wine. There weren’t many people in the hall. Yu Hao caught a glimpse of Zhou Sheng, Fu Liqun, and Cen Shan at one glance.
“I’ll send you back?” Zhang Liang asked.
Zhou Sheng was wearing a casual suit as he waited in the lobby.
“Done talking?” Zhou Sheng asked Yu Hao with one hand stuffed into his pocket.
Yu Hao, “……that’s the true Young Master.”
Zhang Liang promptly went up to shake hands. Zhou Sheng looked calm as he forcefully returned the handshake. Zhang Liang’s facial features instantly became a little twisted. Cen Shan said, “Yu Hao, let’s go stargazing, shall we?”
Zhou Sheng said, “Did you have a good meal?”
Zhang Liang could only say, “It’s not bad.”
Zhou Sheng said, “You are welcome to visit us often in the future. Oh do you also want to go stargazing?”
Zhang Liang quickly refused, “No no.”
Fu Liqun was following behind, and he was laughing so hard that he swayed unsteadily from side to side. After they left, a Bentley was parked at the entrance. Fu Liqun fished the keys out, pressed it, then got into the driver’s seat. Zhou Sheng opened the door for Cen Shan first and said, “Sis-in-law, you first.” Cen Shan sat inside. Zhou Sheng then opened the door for Yu Hao, revealing a blinding diamond watch on his wrist.
“Little Young Master, get in ah.” Zhou Sheng said to Yu Hao.
“Then……see you next time?” Yu Hao said to Zhang Liang.
“See you next time! See you next time!” Zhang Liang was carrying a bag and raised his hand towards Yu Hao.
Zhou Sheng got in the car. Fu Liqun drove and began laughing wildly.
Fu Liqun, “Hahahahaha!”
Yu Hao, “All of you knock it off!!”
Cen Shan said, “Was it that fun? You guys really are just a bunch of kids.”
Zhou Sheng took his watch off and said, “Gege, go by the back door and wait there for a bit.”
When they arrived at the back gate, Zhou Sheng whistled and asked someone to call the manager over. He took off the watch and said, “Return this to my Dad, thanks Uncle Lin!”
The manager smiled as he accepted it. Fu Liqun turned the steering wheel and drove the Bentley away.
“Where did this car come from?” Zhou Sheng asked, “Woah fuck! Sis-in-law, you’re too cool!”
Cen Shan laughed and said, “I borrowed it from my Dad too.”
Fu Liqun and Zhou Sheng burst out laughing, and Yu Hao was absolutely baffled, “What the hell are you guys trying to do?”
Zhou Sheng said solemnly, “Nothing much, are you full? Let’s go eat some stir-fry?”
Fu Liqun burped, “I really can’t eat anymore, Young Master.”
Yu Hao said, “I can’t either, I ate a lot today somehow.”
Zhou Sheng, “Looking at the situation now……you’ll need to blacklist this one too ba?”
“Hahahaha——” Cen Shan finally couldn’t hold it back anymore and laughed so hard in the passenger seat until her stomach hurt, “Aiya oh my goodness, you guys are way too amusing.”
Yu Hao said, “Why are we amusing? Zhou Sheng! I didn’t want to date him! I was just making a friend!”
Fu Liqun said, “So, to the riverside or the observatory on Mt. Yunding?”
“Shifu, let’s go to the sandbank and have some wine bei.” Cen Shan suggested.
“Beep beep, accepted a passenger with numbers ending in 250.” Fu Liqun said, “There’s a camera three kilometers ahead.”
“You’re the 250!” Cen Shan and Zhou Sheng retorted in unison.
Yu Hao leaned on the car window and looked up at the stars. The sky was clear and cloudless on the night of Valentine’s but the lights from the city were too bright, so he couldn’t see the Milky Way clearly. Fu Liqun drove across the river bridge and onto the sand bank opposite. Once they entered the sandbank, there were fewer lights. They turned into a silent, desolate row of cafes in the Wenchuang area, and the Milky Way suddenly appeared in the sky.
Fu Liqun, “Beep beep, no more orders will be received.”
The open air balcony of the cafe was lit with candles, and soft music played. A lot of guests were stargazing as they drank. On the third floor, the shop manager had set up sofas, tables, two bottles of wine, and mosquito repellent incense everywhere. After your eyes got accustomed to the dark, the Milky Way’s splendour and beauty were unparalleled as it stretched across the expanse of the dome of the night.
“It’s really beautiful.” Yu Hao said, “How did you guys find this place? Yi? Why is our table the only one on the rooftop? Are there no other guests?”
“Your sis-in-law is a hipster when it comes to the arts.” Fu Liqun said, “She knows how to find all these strange places.”
“This Wenchuang area should have been opened by your acquaintance ba?” Zhou Sheng exposed the secret.
Cen Shan laughed and said, “It’s not as luxurious as Yun Lai Chun though.”
“Yun Lai Chun only has three branches in Ying City.” Zhou Sheng said, “There’s only a small restaurant left you haven’t been to in the suburbs. How could it be compared to sis-in-law’s huge conglomeration that’s everywhere?”
Fu Liqun laughed so hard he ended up leaning over the table. Yu Hao uttered in surprise, “Sis-in-law! Your family opened this shop?”
Cen Shan said, “It’s all my Dad’s, what does it have to do with me? Ai——”
Zhou Sheng, “Ai——”
Fu Liqun, “Ai——”
Yu Hao heard the underlying meaning behind those three “ai”s and thought, I’m the one who should be uttering the most ‘ai’s, what are you guys sighing for? If my Dad was an official, boss Zhou would itch to start beating the drums and stuff me and Zhou Sheng into a bridal chamber……but then again would they be able to accept a marriage between their sons? I guess not ba. But they would definitely be delighted and hope that we could get closer, ai——
“Still going on more blind dates?” Zhou Sheng asked, “You’ve gone on blind dates with both poor and rich ones, yet they’re all so ugly.”
Fu Liqun said, “That guy should be a scum guy ba? He already knew that you wouldn’t accept red packets yet he kept sending them to you……”
Yu Hao said, “Okay, don’t talk about it anymore, I was wrong.”
Cen Shan drank some wine and stared at the Milky Way quietly. She said, “Yu Hao, can you tell which star is your father?”
Yu Hao looked for awhile and said, “He didn’t blink at me today, can’t find him.”
Cen Shan said, “I forgot which star is my mother too.”
Yu Hao said, “But they’re definitely there, they wouldn’t lie to us.”
All four of them were quiet. Cen Shan said, “Yeah, I believe that too.” She smiled and raised her glass at Yu Hao.
Yu Hao smiled too, and Zhou Sheng said, “Cheers! To wish Vico and Zhang Liang good health!”
Yu Hao, “Quit it!”
The four of them raised their glasses that reflected the Milky Way within.
Juurensha: Well, at least this blind date wasn’t as sleazy as I worried it would be. And as always, his outings after are fun.
Dollars: I 100% endorse ZS’s epic trolling of HaoHao’s blind dates.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Kum.