13th -【Being as beautiful as flowers】
The heavy rain that began in the afternoon poured for several hours before gradually stopping.
Within a shrubbery dripping with water, a small brown frog leaped out, splashing puddles as it landed before soon disappearing into a flower bed.
Chu Yu, who was sitting on a flight of stairs, picked up a branch blown off by the strong wind, lowered his head, and poked at the water accumulated in a small puddle.
He was originally at a loss, and also somewhat indescribably scared.
But after listening to Lu Shi’s words, his mood strangely found a fulcrum of balance. At any rate, he’d been given a buffer period amongst the chaos to sort out his thoughts.
“I,” Chu Yu first emphasized, “I didn’t really cry just now.”
Lu Shi glanced at him and didn’t refute. With an indifferent voice, he said, “Yeah.”
Poking at the two shadows beneath the streetlamp with the branch in his hand, Chu Yu was a little lost in thought.
A gust of night wind blew past, and his soaked clothes that were brushed by it caused a slight chill. He involuntarily curled up, shivering as he came back to his senses. “I… I have a lot to say but my mind is very messy. I don’t know where I should start.”
Lu Shi bowed his head as he patiently and meticulously folded up the umbrella in a neat manner, his fingers curving into nice lines.
Fastening the umbrella shut, Lu Shi shifted his gaze and saw Chu Yu’s dense, curly eyelashes drooping and listless.
He took the initiative to say, “First of all, we can be sure that you aren’t an ‘ordinary’, ‘normal’ human being. Ordinary and normal human beings don’t have the ability to make wounds heal at a speed visible to the naked eye.”
Chu Yu nodded unhappily. “True.”
“In the restaurant on Qingchuan Road and in the hallway outside the classroom, you asked me the same question. You questioned if there was something delicious hidden on me, and it was because you smelled a very fragrant scent from my body.”
Lu Shi’s appearance was calm, as if he was solving a mathematical problem, analyzing each part point by point. “When did you first smell this so-called very fragrant scent?”
Chu Yu followed Lu Shi’s reasoning. “This, I remember! It was on Qingchuan Road. When you fought with that group of tattooed guys, wasn’t your left arm wounded and bleeding? It was then, the first time I smelled that fragrant smell which made my throat feel dry and itchy.”
“This never happened before?”
Chu Yu was quite certain. “Never ever.”
Lu Shi continued to question him, “Was there anything unusual after that?”
“Unusual? With regards to anything unusual, there’s actually a lot.” Chu Yu gradually sorted out his thoughts and began to enumerate the instances with his fingers. “I’m experiencing something a bit similar to a growth spurt; my nails and hair grow rapidly, so I have to cut them almost daily. I’m always thirsty but I don’t want to drink water, and awfully hungry but have no desire for food, making my appetite the worst and I even vomit after eating.
“Oh right, my fever started the night I returned home from Qingchuan Road. My veins had obviously felt like they were about to explode but the thermometer showed that my temperature was only at 36.5°C, so frustrating. Also,” Chu Yu hesitated, “I kept having the same dream repeatedly for many nights.”
“It was,” Chu Yu looked away, “it was a dream about you.”
Why was it so awkward to say this?
Lu Shi lifted his thin eyelids and looked at Chu Yu. “Me?”
“Yeah, I always dream of you.” After having spoken about it, Chu Yu just let the cracked jar fall to its destruction and described everything in detail, “It was roughly about you standing in that winding alley, expressionlessly gazing at me while the wound on your arm bled non-stop, the blood’s color a harsh red.”
“Nothing else in the dream left a deep impression on you and the most vivid image is just the bleeding wound, right?”
Chu Yu was taken aback and suddenly realized that this was indeed the case.
He vaguely remembered there seemed to be sunshine, but after carefully thinking about it, he couldn’t determine whether it was sunny or not. Neither could he clearly recall the surrounding environment.
“Yes, that’s right.”
The sleeves of Lu Shi’s white shirt were loosely folded over several times. Sitting casually, his voice drifted along the moist night breeze, very softly.
“I have two speculations and they both have a common premise, that is, since the beginning, this ‘blood-sucking’ characteristic has always been in a dormant state within your body, and my blood was what stimulated it. When you smelled the scent of my blood at that time, your ‘blood-sucking’ trait awakened from dormancy, so you began to thirst for blood and your body also underwent a series of changes.
“The first speculation is that you need to drink blood to survive. The blood doesn’t necessarily have to be mine, but anyone’s. Assuming this, me and my blood aren’t special to you. In other words, if my blood was exchanged with someone else’s on that same day, it would’ve similarly stimulated your ‘blood-sucking’ trait.”
Chu Yu put his hand on his chin, listening carefully. “Then what about the second one?”
Lu Shi’s eyes were dark and tranquil as he gazed at Chu Yu’s subtle expression. “The second is that you need to suck my blood to survive. Assuming this, my blood is special to you.”
Chu Yu subconsciously turned away again and stopped looking at Lu Shi.
He was quite sure that Lu Shi’s blood was absolutely special to him.
Because whether it was smelling He Zhihao’s blood or the blood of those countless patients in the hospital, he not only felt no appetite, but even just breathing it in made him nauseated.
There was only Lu Shi’s blood.
His blood was fragrant, like an explosion of flavor on the tip of the tongue. After swallowing it, the discomfort in his body would immediately be relieved and simultaneously, such immense pleasure and satisfaction would arise that after only experiencing it once, it was engraved in his bones.
Moreover, he vaguely sensed that if he didn’t suck blood – Lu Shi’s blood – he might… not survive.
His fingers holding the branch tightened, Chu Yu wasn’t ready to admit this out loud.
After all, he and Lu Shi had only known each other for less than a month.
Before that, they had very little contact, and their understanding of each other was even poorer.
He didn’t ‘trust’ Lu Shi enough yet.
“Your second guess is correct, your blood is very special to me. Other people’s blood smells bitter and gross while yours… is different.”
Chu Yu didn’t explain this issue in detail. “Right, about that dream.”
Lu Shi complied with his wish and followed the change in topic. “Hm?”
Chu Yu pondered his wording. “At sunset, in the botanical garden when I consumed a lot of your blood, my consciousness wasn’t so clear. However, I’m sure that I saw an image from my dream. It was a picture of you bleeding, but very quickly, the image fragmented and suddenly shattered. I sort of feel like… I’ll no longer have the same dream in the future.”
Lu Shi asked, “What do you think?”
“I was thinking, could this dream be a symbol or an instruction of sorts? It’s not normal to have the same dream over and over again.” After saying this, Chu Yu pulled the corners of his mouth again. “But of course, where, what part of me is normal right now?”
Lu Shi ignored the latter half of his speech and only objectively analyzed. “You started to have this dream after being triggered by my blood, then its image shattered and concluded the moment you drank a large quantity of it. If we’re assuming this dream to be a unique guide, then logically, it holds.”
Chu Yu understood what Lu Shi meant.
After having awakened his ‘blood-sucking’ characteristic, the dream’s purpose was to repeatedly remind him that he needed blood, Lu Shi’s blood.
When he’d drunk it till he was satiated, the reminder no longer held meaning.
Chu Yu raised his head. “What?”
“So, it’s very possible that this trait of yours has matured. Or, you’ve completed a certain process of your change.”
Chu Yu nodded. “That makes sense!”
“It’s not necessarily correct. It’s just a rough guess based on what we currently know.”
Lu Shi looked at Chu Yu. He was almost certain that his blood was special to him.
Not just the smell, but possibly, Chu Yu could only consume his blood.
This conjecture made Lu Shi’s eyes, that were as deep as the night sky, to faintly be embellished with dotted starlight.
“Let’s go and head back, we have class tomorrow.”
Lu Shi got up, completely ignoring his soaked black trousers. He held the umbrella in his right hand and walked towards the outside of the street park.
It was night. The rain had commenced again and the surroundings were frighteningly quiet.
Chu Yu, who was timid and afraid of ghosts, quickly stood up, threw away the branch in his hand, and chased after him. “Wait for me, I’ll go with you!”
The two went back to school and came to a crossroad. Seeing Lu Shi head towards the cafeteria, Chu Yu followed for two steps and paused— right, he was full, but Lu Shi probably hadn’t eaten yet.
Not to mention, he sucked so much of his blood.
For a moment, guilt welled up in his heart and Chu Yu hurriedly pulled out his school card. “Do you want—”
“No need, I have my own.”
Lu Shi looked at Chu Yu’s soaked clothes that were already drip-drying on his body. “You go back and take a bath first.”
“Huh? Oh, okay.”
Chu Yu didn’t follow again and stood in place as he watched the warm light of the dim street lamp. After Lu Shi had slowly walked a distance, he returned to his senses and walked back to the dormitory.
After taking a hot shower and putting on pajamas, Chu Yu finally felt that his whole body was warm again.
He held his phone, locking and unlocking the screen, back and forth several times before holding his breath to dial a number.
“Hello Young Master, I am President Shi’s assistant. President Shi is in a meeting right now which is expected to end 48 minutes later. If you have an urgent matter, I can pass it on for you.”
The expression on his face that hadn’t yet adjusted, stagnated slightly. However, for as long as he could remember, these same words would be heard whenever he called his mother nine out of ten times. Not only could he recite the words by heart, but he could also mimic the tone of voice with ten out of ten accuracy.
Merely, Chu Yu hadn’t gotten used to the disappointment.
With his lower back leaning against the edge of his desk, Chu Yu squeezed a triangular ruler in his hand as his eyelashes lowered to hide his emotions.
“Then I will call back in 48 minutes.”
The call was hung up and the phone automatically returned to the home screen.
Chu Yu stood there for a while, thinking about going and asking Lu Shi if he’d finished his supper, but immediately realized that he didn’t have Lu Shi’s number.
Lying down on the bed, Chu Yu aimlessly tapped on the phone’s interface and suddenly caught sight of QQ’s 99+ notifications. Tapping on it, it was the class group chat.
[Study Committee Member – Fang Ziqi]: Study appointment, father and son match, whoever puts down the pen first is the son1a set phrase made into a meme: I can’t find the exact son 儿子 (erzi) and only found goose 鹅几 (e ji), which is a homonym. There are also others like dog match where the loser is the dog and red packet match where the first to put the pen down will give the other party a red packet. You can basically change it to whatever bc that’s how memes work right?. Coming or not?
[Class Rep – Zhang Yueshan]: Son, come.
[Commoner – Li Hua]: Answering English test papers? You guys want to write a letter to me again?
What followed was a string of hahaha, mixed with a few ‘coming’ in response to Study Committee Member.
Chu Yu tapped the screen to type.
[School Flower – Chu Yu]: I’ll come too.
[School Flower – Chu Yu]: Wait, why is my title School Flower?
[Study Committee Member – Fang Ziqi]: Because the School Flower is you, and you are the School Flower. We’re responsible for studying hard while you’re responsible for being as beautiful as flowers!
[School Flower – Chu Yu]: Scram, I love studying, studying makes me happy!
After sending two emoticons, Chu Yu moved to the class group chat’s homepage and searched for Lu Shi’s name from the member list.
Chu Yu tapped open a temporary conversation, then his fingertips hovered on the keyboard, not knowing what to type.
He was really unfamiliar with Lu Shi. Although they now had this strange bond acting as a connection, his familiarity with him hadn’t increased.
Chu Yu struggled for a long time, but after thinking it over, he decided to forget about it. Maybe it’d be annoying if he suddenly messaged him.
Seeing that it was time, Chu Yu dialed the phone number again.
The assistant who answered the phone was the same one as before. After saying a few words, the phone was handed over to Shi Yaling.
Chu Yu was subconsciously nervous.
Shi Yaling didn’t beat around the bush. “What’s the matter?”
Her attitude surprisingly made Chu Yu relax a little bit.
His heart abruptly skipped half a beat and Chu Yu paused.
He couldn’t say it, at least, not all of it for the time being. He couldn’t expose Lu Shi’s existence.
Chu Yu knew his mother’s pattern of thought and working style very well.
If… if she knew he thirsted for blood, would die if he didn’t drink it, and could only accept Lu Shi’s blood, then he wouldn’t be able to control or get involved in what would happen next.
Whether it was for the sake of the Chu family or for him, his mother would never allow him to possess such a fatal weakness that was held in Lu Shi’s hands.
In order to eliminate this risk, his mother would definitely find a way to control Lu Shi in advance.
Perhaps, starting from tomorrow, Lu Shi would forcefully be ‘bound’ to him, have his freedom restricted, and become his mobile blood bank until he no longer needed blood or died.
He recalled when they were on the flight of steps in the street park and it was raining heavily. Lu Shi held an umbrella and was gently patting his soaked hair, his expression calm as he told him not to be afraid.
“Recently what? I’m very busy, don’t waste my time.”
Chu Yu took slow, deep breaths until his excessively fast heartbeat returned to normal, then he spoke with a tense voice, “I’ve felt very unwell recently as if I’ve fallen ill. I always feel thirsty and hungry, but I have no appetite. I can’t eat anything, and I vomit what I do eat. Also, my whole body has been feverish for a long time now with a bit of a rapid heart rate.”
After speaking, he became nervous once more.
He was being contradictory.
However, if his mother knew something about blood-sucking, wouldn’t she be able to discern hints from the symptoms he’d just mentioned?
“Chu Yu, if you aren’t feeling well, you should go to the family doctor, not me.” The ringing of a phone was heard on Shi Yaling’s side and the assistant whispered a report. Shi Yaling then arranged work related affairs one by one.
Chu Yu waited quietly.
He shifted his fingers only to realize that because he was too anxious, his knuckles were now stiff.
After more than half a minute, Shi Yaling’s voice reverberated in the receiver, “Is there anything else?”
“Nothing.” Chu Yu turned sideways, curled up, and spoke by the mic, “Pay attention to your health. You’re too busy at work, you also need to take appropriate breaks.”
The call was hung up.
Facing the air, Chu Yu finished his words, “Good night, Mom.”