34th –【Why did you come back】
The light was switched on.
Chu Yu was revived and full of blood within a second.
He pulled open a drawer that was packed to the brim with neatly stacked blood tonic.
After taking one out, Chu Yu inserted the straw. Seeing Lu Shi sitting on the carpet and not getting up, he also sat down and moved the straw to Lu Shi’s lips. “Quick, drink.”
Lu Shi held his hand, bit the straw, and drank it all; his protruding Adam’s apple moved up and down.
Noticing that Lu Shi’s shoulder and collarbone were still showing, Chu Yu couldn’t help but reach out to help him pull the collar of his shirt.
He was a bit embarrassed when remembering that he’d just pressed this person on the ground.
Pinching the clear brown bottle of tonic in his hand, Chu Yu rubbed and kneaded it while hesitantly asking, “Your matters… did it go well?”
“Mm, it went well.”
Lu Shi got up, stood still, and gazed down at him. “Go to bed early, I’m leaving.”
After Chu Yu answered, he suddenly realized something was wrong. “Where are you going?”
Putting his hand on the doorknob, Lu Shi tilted his head to look at Chu Yu. He raised his index finger and lightly pressed it to his lips. “Shh, I never came back.”
Lu Shi took the opportunity to skip class, relying on the pretense of his leave of absence.
This was what Chu Yu concluded in the afternoon of the next day.
The desk behind him was empty.
The math teacher was discussing the monthly test. As he talked about the second last question, he habitually asked, “Lu Shi, tell me what your reasoning and solution to this question is.”
Dream-Ge raised his hand and reminded loudly, “Sir, the person you’re looking for isn’t here!”
“Lu Shi requested for a leave and has not returned?”
The math teacher turned to Dream-Ge. “Then can I ask Student Luo Jiaxuan to lower the binoculars in your hand and tell me your thoughts?”
The binoculars Chu Yu prepared for studying had been borrowed by Dream-Ge. The reason being because Dream-Ge suddenly realized that he seemed to be slightly nearsighted. But due to his height, sitting closer to the front would block the sight of those behind him, so Old Ye wouldn’t let him change seats.
Thus, he’d asked Chu Yu to lend him his binoculars.
Chu Yu didn’t need it anymore and generously lent it to Dream-Ge.
Dream-Ge stood up holding the binoculars. He scratched his head, picked up the test paper and stared at the question carefully, then answered, “This question, when I saw it at the time, I felt that it seemed very familiar! I’ve done it before! So I tried to remember and thought very hard, thinking, what was the standard solution we practiced before? It was a pity that I still couldn’t recall it even when the exam had finished and the papers were handed in. Therefore, Sir, I have no idea regarding this question.”
The math teacher praised, “Not bad, at least you are aware that you have done the problem before. You can sit down.”
After class, Dream-Ge dashed in quick small steps, hopping until he was beside Chu Yu’s desk. “Hey, School Flower, where did Lu-Shen go? Why is he still not back? I don’t think I’ve seen him for two or three days.”
Chu Yu, who was holding a comic book, raised his head faintly and said, “Why do you all ask me? I also don’t know ah.”
“In our class, you’re the most familiar with Lu-Shen. If even you, School Flower, don’t know, then Lu-Shen’s whereabouts are truly a mystery.”
Dream-Ge touched his chin, then went to pull at Zhang Yueshan’s desk. “Basketball court at noon? Coming or not?”
It was still too early to start preparing for the next monthly exams, and there wasn’t any urgent homework, so Zhang Yueshan readily agreed. “Coming!”
Chu Yu bowed his head and continued to read his comics.
However, Dream-Ge and Zhang Yueshan’s basketball appointment was never realized.
Dream-Ge, who was holding a basketball in his five fingers, stood in the hallway and stretched his free hand outside for a feel. “Isn’t it raining too much? Does God want to test whether my willpower is strong enough to slam dunk in the rain?”
Zhang Yueshan’s stand was resolute. “I’m not accompanying you to play in the rain.”
Dream-Ge’s fire was extinguished. “Alright then. What a pity that my generation’s future sports stars’ path has been hindered by the weather!”
The rain continuously poured until dusk and didn’t let up.
When Chu Yu went to the thermostatic botanical garden to start the irrigation system, by the time he stepped inside, the soles of his shoes were full of water.
The main switch was flipped on and the irrigation system started to operate. Chu Yu glanced at the glass greenhouse next door, walked over through the joint corridor, and also turned on its main switch in passing.
He stood there, listening to the fine shower of the sprinklers while muttering in a low voice, “Lu Shi, if you don’t come back, the plants in the greenhouse will get dehydrated and die.”
Exiting the thermostatic botanical garden, the sound of footsteps treading upon water came from afar and a person holding a blue checkered umbrella ran up.
It was Zhu Zhifei.
Seeing that Zhu Zhifei was in a hurry, Chu Yu felt apprehensive and blurted out, “What happened to Lu Shi?”
“Yi, how did you know I’m looking for you because there’s something up with Lu-Ge?”
Zhu Zhifei came in a hurry and still had raindrops on his glasses, but he didn’t have time to care about it. “Shitou called me and said that Lu-Ge’s going street racing tonight!”
“In this downpour?”
“Yeah, the rain’s so heavy, there’s no knowing if it’ll stop tonight. That track is full of sharp curves and steep slopes, so if the water accumulates and someone slips, something bad will happen!”
Zhu Zhifei pushed up his glasses and spoke rapidly, “Shitou is anxious but can’t deter him. He called me and told me to take you over, see if you can dissuade Lu-Ge.”
Chu Yu thought that if he went over, he might not necessarily be able to dissuade him.
But he clutched the umbrella handle and stated, “Let’s go, I’ll go with you.”
It was a long way from the school to the abandoned highway, and the roads were clogged by traffic due to rain. By the time they got there, it was already completely dark.
The rain didn’t decrease in the slightest, and the dense rainfall was clearly visible under the lights. Millions of raindrops beat down on the trees and bushes, issuing muffled rustles.
Chu Yu followed Zhu Zhifei out of the car and walked for a while. When they arrived at the location, they found a lot of people gathered around, each wearing raincoats or holding umbrellas.
Despite the rain, nasty weather, and terrain conditions, these people only figured that the difficulty of the game had increased so the discussions sounded fervent.
Instead of squeezing into the crowd, Zhu Zhifei stood on the side of the road and took out his cellphone to make a call.
After a few minutes, Wei Guanglei walked out of the crowd, saw Chu Yu standing with Zhu Zhifei, and quickly walked over in a few strides.
The three stood under a street lamp.
The raindrops hit the umbrella’s surface, crackling.
Zhu Zhifei urgently asked, “Shitou, what the hell’s going on? Didn’t Lu-Ge ask for a leave because of his matters? Why did he run over here again?”
“How would I know?”
Wei Guanglei’s expression was dark and his brows were wrinkled. “I also didn’t know beforehand. I was chilling at home playing games in the afternoon. When I went to the store afterwards, I found something was wrong. As I opened the warehouse, I saw that the car parked inside had disappeared! I was terrified and hurriedly made calls until a friend of mine told me that there’s a race here this evening and Lu-Ge’s attending. My damn heartbeat almost stopped!”
It was terribly noisy around them, so he raised his voice slightly. “I guess when Lu-Ge returned, he must’ve gone mad like the previous few times. He was either looking for a fight, or looking for some stimulant to vent. But fuck me, running this track on a rainy day, is he fucking kidding?”
Chu Yu caught a point. “Previous few times?”
Zhu Zhifei explained, “En, Lu-Ge has been out temporarily for a day or two several times. Every time he comes back, his mood is like a ticking time bomb and can’t be provoked in any way.”
Wei Guanglei inhaled the muddy, fishy smell of the humid air and lit a cigarette. “I can’t stop him anymore. You two should work hard.”
Zhu Zhifei immediately saw through him. “Did you even dare try detering him?”
Wei Guanglei cast a side eye. “Do you?”
Zhu Zhifei shut up immediately.
The two unanimously turned their sights on Chu Yu.
Chu Yu took a half step back in vigilance. “Y-you, what are you guys looking at me for?”
Wei Guanglei stretched out his hands, placed them on Chu Yu’s shoulders, and pushed him forward. “Go go go, Young Master, come and see Lu-Ge with me!”
Beneath the rain canopy in the preparation area, Lu Shi had his hands in his pockets, staring at the small pits created by the raindrops in the soil.
His figure seemed dampened by the autumn rain and his whole body was cold.
So much so that there was even a slight hint of loneliness.
Hearing footsteps, Lu Shi turned his head and saw Chu Yu.
His eyes were a deep black, without emotions. He merely uttered with a low voice, “Why are you here?”
Chu Yu took a step closer to Lu Shi.
Having found no alibi, Chu Yu told the truth. “Zhu Zhifei said you were here to race. I was a little worried so I followed.”
Lu Shi responded.
His voice was clear and light, as if it could easily be overwhelmed by the sound of the rain.
Chu Yu didn’t know what to say.
His ears had been filled by Wei Guanglei telling him to advise Lu Shi not to go on the track or even touch the steering wheel. If he was in a bad mood, they should just play a game or have a barbecue or something.
But when he finally stood in front of Lu Shi, he felt that he couldn’t say anything.
The light from the street lamp outlined Lu Shi’s profile. Chu Yu hesitated. “You,” he shifted his eyes away, staring at the rain outside, “are you sad?”
“What makes you think that?”
You just seem really sad.
“I don’t know,” Chu Yu shook his head, “I just sensed it. That’s how I feel when I’m sad.”
Lu Shi took his hand out of his pocket and rubbed Chu Yu’s soft hair.
Someone was stomping in puddles on the ground and ran up in a black raincoat while shouting, “Number one, get ready to start in ten minutes!”
After speaking, he ran away.
Lu Shi gazed at Chu Yu.
Chu Yu tightened his fingers. “You’ll still race, right?”
He then questioned, “If you go and run a lap… you’ll be happy, right?”
Chu Yu took a half step back.
“I really want to persuade you not to go, but if you have to, just- just stay safe.”
Chu Yu’s thoughts diverged quickly and he cautiously added, “It’s always on the news; speeding on rainy days, overturning cars, serious injuries, severed hands, broken legs, and amnesia after hitting the head, right, there’s also disfigurement! Anyway, you must be careful!”
When he heard himself say the word disfigurement, his final tone shook a little.
Lu Shi nodded and complied. “Okay.”
The cars drove to the starting line, and a tall girl with a ponytail soaked in rain stood between them, holding up a small, green square flag.
A sharp whistle sounded, and after the third time, the green flag sharply swung down.
Simultaneously, the two cars rushed off the starting white line like an arrow, engines roaring. Their rear wheels kicked up a huge splash of water and the light from their taillights was rendered hazy by a curtain of rain.
It didn’t take long for the cars to disappear, only the faint sound of the engines could be heard.
Chu Yu sighed. “I have failed to live up to your expectations.”
Wei Guanglei bit a cigarette but didn’t light it. He tossed the lighter and caught it. “I didn’t have much hope to begin with, I just tried everything I could.”
Zhu Zhifei consoled as well. “School Flower is braver than me. Generally, when Lu-Ge is in a bad mood, I’m too terrified yet you even dared stand in front of him.”
Looking at the wet track, Chu Yu was a little concerned. “That… Driving on rainy days, has there been an accident before?”
“Why wouldn’t there be? Forget rainy days, even when street racing is scheduled on normal days, there’s plenty of accidents. Street racing is different from regular competitions. There aren’t that many protective measures, and although there’s more award money, it’s also that much more dangerous. Just this summer, didn’t it rain several days in a row? I watched a match with Lu-Ge where a red car’s tire slipped and the car directly flew. The racer is mostly alive, not dead, but severely injured. He’s still lying in the hospital till now.”
Chu Yu’s heart hung higher. “Did you see the scene of the accident? Then why did Lu Shi still—”
Zhu Zhifei took off his glasses and wiped them with the corner of his shirt. “Lu-Ge knows very well deep inside. In the past, when Shitou wanted to touch the steering wheel to drive one lap, Lu-Ge didn’t let him. So, I told Shitou that Lu-Ge’s probably a bit tired of the world, so much so that if he died the next second, it’s not a big deal, but—”
Wei Guanglei continued, “But there seems to be something that’s barely keeping him alive.”
Zhu Zhifei echoed, “Yes, exactly.”
With that, the three of them fell silent.
Wei Guanglei pressed the lighter, wanting to light the cigarette, but the butt of the stick had become a little moist due to the rain and didn’t light after two flicks.
At that moment, a surprised voice sounded from the loudspeaker that was announcing the races’ situation in real time. “What the fuck is going on? What’s wrong with number one?”
Lu Shi was number one.
Wei Guanglei’s hand trembled and the lighter hit the ground, splashing a bit of water and mud.
Immediately after, the vague sound of an engine seemed like an auditory hallucination.
From afar, a series of exclamations came from the crowd.
Chu Yu was stunned for two seconds before suddenly realizing something. He pushed through the crowd and ran to the front.
Nothing could be seen.
Alongside the track, Chu Yu continued to run forward. He stumbled but then hurriedly stood firm.
Around the corner, the curtain of rain was heavy, with only headlights breaking through the darkness, refracting fine raindrops as dense as a net.
Chu Yu propped his hand on the iron railings and subconsciously exerted force while leaning forward, not daring to blink as he stared.
As the rain fell, his hair and clothes— everything was drenched. Even his eyelashes were covered with water.
The rain flowed into his eyes and it was painful.
Nevertheless, Chu Yu’s eyes remained open.
Until a black, modified car stopped in front of him. Its glowing blue lights flashed and the rain unceasingly flowed down the windshield.
The window slowly lowered.
Lu Shi, who was sitting in the driver’s seat, turned his head to look at Chu Yu.
Chu Yu’s voice was dry and hoarse. He stared at Lu Shi unblinkingly through the torrent of rain. “You— why did you come back?”
“If I didn’t come back, someone would cry.”
The author has something to say: Here’s a heart made of an umbrella~ I hope the little fairies1the readers will not be blown away by the wind and rain~
staff shenanigansPlease don’t hesitate to dm me on discord if you know how to do chemical equilibrium… I’m dying…
- 1the readers