Come December, the weather was still as cold, but Jianing Private’s atmosphere had changed from inside to outside.
It would be Christmas at the end of December, and a few days later would be the New Year’s Eve Cultural Gala.
Zhang Yueshan was clasping a thermos cup while muttering, “Apple, apple, apple…”
Chu Yu was so annoyed that he took off the tissue earplugs in his ears. “Class Rep, if you want to eat apples, I’ll buy you a box right away! If one box is not enough, then ten! Even one truck is fine! I beseech you, stop chanting, you’ve been chanting all morning!”
Zhang Yueshan looked tangled as he sighed. “School Flower, you don’t understand, I want to send apples on Christmas Eve.”1Chinese young people send apples as presents to their friends, because Christmas Eve had been translated to Chinese into “Ping’an Ye” that indicates a peaceful night. Apple in Chinese is pronounced as “Ping guo”, which sounds like peace. It is said that eating an apple will make for a peaceful and safe new year. –china educational tours
“It’s you giving away an apple, and not giving away a person’s head on Christmas Eve!”
Zhang Yueshan glared. “My gosh, don’t speak like it’s some horror movie, okay? It’s also not Halloween!” His shoulders then dropped. “Ai, you don’t understand.”
Chu Yu lifted his chin. “What do I not understand? Isn’t giving apples just a marketing method that apple sellers came up with? And for what? That’s right, for a sense of tradition!”
Li Hua moved his draft paper away, turned his head, and spoke profoundly, “In the distant Jianing Private, a beautiful legend had been handed down. That is, on Christmas Eve, buy two apples and give one of them to someone you like. If the other party accepts and eats it, it means that you’ve broken out of the ranks of singles and will soon reap sweet love.”
After speaking, he pointed to one side. “Look.”
Looking in the direction Li Hua’s finger pointed at, Chu Yu saw Dream-Ge gnawing an apple in big bites with a not so good expression and wrinkled brows.
Chu Yu was puzzled. “Dream-Ge doesn’t look good while eating that apple. Why on earth look at him? And what’s that much bitterness and hatred for?”
“This is the fourth apple Dream-Ge ate today. He has eaten twenty apples in the past three days. He’s trying to find out for himself which variety of apple is the most delicious. Afterwards, he’ll choose the most delicious apple and give it to the girl he likes.”
Chu Yu secretly took a breath—Damn, isn’t this eating till you fucking vomit?
After Li Hua’s enlightening session, he sat down again and continued to do his homework. Zhang Yueshan, who had his brows creased, lay down on Chu Yu’s table, and sighed every now and then. “School Flower, I’m so anxious.”
“I can see that.”
“Should I give an apple?”
Chu Yu remembered when they were trapped in the cave, Zhang Yueshan had told him he’d always had a crush on a girl, but didn’t dare to confess.
Thinking of this, Chu Yu also followed and lay on the desk. Zhang Yueshan and his gaze met, and he put out an idea. “I think so, why not just give one? If you’re afraid, just be more subtle. For example, give an apple along with a banana!”
“What is the principle behind giving a banana?”
Chu Yu was initially talking nonsense, but he really wanted to give some kind of reason. “Probably… yes, banana means to quickly peel my clothes and show you my soft, snow-white, sweet heart at once!”
Zhang Yueshan couldn’t stop laughing. “Wtf, you’re so talented, School Flower!”
Chu Yu was proud. “Of course!”
He urged again, “Isn’t there that saying, ‘You confessed to me at our graduation dinner, I cried, where the fuck have you been in the last three years?’ If you don’t say it, how will the other person know you like her? Isn’t this the reasoning behind it?”
Zhang Yueshan was quickly persuaded, his ears a little hot. “T-then I will ask Dream-Ge for advice in a while, as to which kind of apple is delicious!”
He then took Chu Yu’s hand with both hands and said affectionately, “School Flower, you are the lighthouse that pointed me to my life’s direction!”
Chu Yu laughed. “Scram, why the heck is it lighthouse, lighthouse is too fucking ugly! Majority rejection!”
For the extracurricular activities that afternoon, Chu Yu strolled to the thermostatic botanical garden and turned on the irrigation equipment inside. After making sure that there was no problem, he passed through the corridor to the glass greenhouse.
Lu Shi was inspecting the damage to the irrigation equipment. Like a little tail, Chu Yu blindly followed suit before opening his mouth. “Uhm…what do you like—what season do you like!”
Lu Shi bowed his head, wrote a note in the record book, and replied casually, “I like them all.”
“Then do you like—like sunny or rainy days?”
“D-do you like sugar in your coffee?”
Chu Yu opened his mouth to ask again but Lu Shi suddenly straightened up and put the pencil in his hand to the middle of his lips. “Shh—Chu Yu, think well, what do you really want to ask?”
Lu Shi’s lip lines were distinct and somewhat thin, seemingly a bit cold. But Chu Yu knew that when he smiled, his lips were particularly beautiful.
Chu Yu admitted that he himself was as if stirred up by this action.
His brain entered a muddled state again. Chu Yu heard himself stumblingly ask, “Lu Shi, do you like apples?”
The corners of Lu Shi’s lips hooked up into a smile. “I don’t like it.”
“But it depends on who gives it.”
There was still a lot of time before the extracurricular activities were over. Chu Yu wandered around the greenhouse twice, touching petals in the east and caressing leaves in the west, then finally sat down near Lu Shi.
Seeing Lu Shi plug in his earphones, he became curious. “What are you listening to?”
Lu Shi didn’t answer and instead stuffed an earphone directly into Chu Yu’s ear.
“Mrs. Lu, don’t get excited, calm down—”
“How dare that woman! How dare she prance around in front of me! How dare she! And you want me to calm down? What calm down…”
The female voice coming from the earphones was hysterical.
Chu Yu was taken aback, and leaned close to Lu Shi, asking in a whisper, “What’s happening?”
“Remember the name Iris?”
“I remember, the current lover!”
“Hm, Lu Shaochu isn’t at home. Iris visited Fang Weiyun and told her that Lu Shaochu often tells her that Fang Weiyun is old and aging, eccentric, and annoying. If not for his misgivings about how people talk and the Lu family‘s face, she would’ve been divorced a long time ago.”
“So Fang Weiyun exploded?”
“Yes. Dr. Sun – who’s talking to Fang Weiyun on the phone – is Fang Weiyun’s personal psychiatrist. But Fang Weiyun dared not go to Dr. Sun’s clinic even once, nor does she dare meet him, for fear of people finding out that she might have a psychological problem.”
Chu Yu understood.
On the contrary, Fang Weiyun’s scruples made it convenient for Lu Shi. By simply monitoring her phone, he could know about the conversation between Fang Weiyun and her psychiatrist.
He pondered for a while. “But… something’s not right, why did that Iris suddenly go to Fang Weiyun to prance around? Is she simply that confident?”
“Because of me.”
Having said that, Lu Shi stretched out his hand to loosely encircle Chu Yu’s fair wrist. The finger pads of his thumb slowly traced along the blue-green veins under the other’s skin.
“I disclosed the news to Iris. I’m not Fang Weiyun’s son. Fang Weiyun has been married into the Lu family for more than ten years now, yet hasn’t given birth at all. Lu Shaochu and her are merely a superficial couple. They put out an impression of deep affection for the sake of face.”
Chu Yu instantly understood.
Therefore, as the favored lover, Iris blatantly ran to provoke Fang Weiyun.
And Lu Shi’s purpose was probably… to stimulate Fang Weiyun and make her divulge more information?
In the earphones, the call hasn’t been hung up yet.
Fang Weiyun suddenly started shaking as she spoke. “And- and that woman who came to my door really looks like her! Especially the mole under the eye, it’s particularly similar! Impossible, impossible, she’s already dead… already dead! She has turned into a water ghost long ago!”
Dr. Sun seemed to have been frightened by Fang Weiyun’s shrieks, but quickly regained his professionalism. “Mrs. Lu, how are you doing? Please be sure to calm down. Who did you say Iris looks like? Who’s already dead?”
Within ten seconds, Fang Weiyun quickly realized that she had lost control of her speech. As if she’d touched an untouchable red line, she abruptly calmed down, and her voice rapidly changed back to the usual soft low voice. “Dr. Sun, what are you talking about? I don’t understand.”
Chu Yu instantly got goosebumps due to the before and after change in tone and mood.
But he had to lament, Fang Weiyun really kept her secrets tightly guarded at all times, not even a trace of wind could pass through2Wind is related to gossip sometimes, and keeping secrets to putting up walls. Wind passing through walls is secrets being leaked..
Dr. Sun seemed to have long been used to Fang Weiyun’s mood swings. “It’s fine if you’ve calmed down. I didn’t say anything just now. You heard me wrong.”
The phone was hung up and the sounds in the earphones disappeared right after. Chu Yu couldn’t help but rub his arms. “How scary!”
He exhaled, finding it strange. “But, why does Fang Weiyun think Iris looks like your mother? The mole under their eyes are in the same position? How coincidental is that?”
Lu Shi was still stroking Chu Yu’s wrist inch by inch. With lowered eyelids, his voice was slow and soft. “Because it wasn’t a coincidence in the first place.”
Lifting his eyes, Lu Shi stared fixedly into Chu Yu’s eyes. “Because I found that person. It was me who secretly gave this woman named Iris the opportunity, who delivered her to Lu Shaochu, and who let her succeed in replacing Feng Luwei to become Lu Shaochu’s current lover.
It was me who revealed the news to Iris and gave her the confidence to drop a visit and provoke her.”
Chu Yu’s pupils shrank slightly.
Lu Shi rubbed his finger pads on the protruding bone of Chu Yu’s wrist, as if he was caressing an ancient treasure.
“Although Lu Shaochu is both fickle in love and unfaithful, he’s extremely sensitive to how others regard him and prides himself on being devoted in front of outsiders. Thus, he’ll only have one lover at a time. And each of his lovers, most of them, have a time limit which only lasts up to three months. After this time period, they will be abandoned. But Iris is different, she’s smart, and she’s been with Lu Shaochu for four months already.”
Chu Yu promptly sorted out the overall context.
Iris’ favor that exceeded the “rules” gave Fang Weiyun a sense of crisis. She didn’t even dare to go on vacation because of worry that once she left, the position of “Mrs. Lu” would be taken away.
Moreover, Iris visited, pranced around, and provoked her, which threatened Fang Weiyun’s long-held dignity as the “legal wife”. It also made her feel a deeper sense of crisis, causing her to be subconsciously aware that this Iris and Lu Shaochu’s previous lovers were different.
Why did Iris dare to visit and provoke her? It must be because Lu Shaochu gave her the confidence.
In that case, while she wasn’t aware, did Lu Shaochu really leak some information to Iris?
Fang Weiyun was scared.
She was younger than herself, and more capable of grabbing men’s hearts than herself. Her momentum was torrential.
Furthermore, the mole under Iris’ eyes that looked exactly like Jiang Yueman’s became the last straw that crushed Fang Weiyun, making her unable to control her emotions and maintain her sanity.
The woman who came to the door really looked like her. Especially the mole under the eye which had the most resemblance. It was impossible, she was already dead, she had turned into a water ghost long ago—
Chu Yu suddenly stood up, the earphone plugged in his ears was pulled by the cord and fell out. He ignored it and said to Lu Shi, “Water ghost! Fang Weiyun said the word water ghost!”
Lu Shi’s expression was undisturbed as he pulled Chu Yu’s wrist to make him sit next to him again.
Chu Yu’s mind worked quickly. “Could it be, on a rainy day, she—”
At this point, Chu Yu abruptly stopped talking.
From what he heard, it was very possible that Lu Shi’s mother was killed by Fang Weiyun on a rainy day 17 years ago and then thrown into the water.
Until now, she may have been sleeping3As in eternal rest. in a certain river, or in a certain watercourse.
That’s why Fang Weiyun couldn’t sleep on rainy days, and said that Jiang Yueman had become a water ghost long ago.
How could Lu Shi miss all these things he could think of?
Chu Yu’s voice lowered. “Lu Shi—”
That sad feeling surged up again.
Chu Yu felt an emerging pain in his throat. He shouted, “Lu Shi.”
Lu Shi moved down Chu Yu’s wrist and touched the soft lines on the palm of his hand.
This was the second time Lu Shi asked Chu Yu if he was afraid or not after that fight where he pierced a man’s hand valley point.
His voice was soft and slow, with a hint of self-depreciation.
“My methods are very dirty, like that of a snake or rat hiding in the dark without ever seeing the sun. I’m even plotting against my own biological father.”
I will show you my real and filthy self, without any masks, with every disguise cut open, dripping blood.
If you’re looking at me only, what I want you to see must be the truest me.
If you’re giving love to me, then I want you to fall in love with only the truest me.
The author has something to say: Here’s a heart made of petals~
Xena relating to Chu YuWhile translating this bit –> “Lu Shi’s mother was killed by Fang Weiyun on a rainy day 17 years ago and then thrown into the water.”
again! The first time was when I was reading the novel.
One more compensation chapter and I’m off my guilt???
- 1Chinese young people send apples as presents to their friends, because Christmas Eve had been translated to Chinese into “Ping’an Ye” that indicates a peaceful night. Apple in Chinese is pronounced as “Ping guo”, which sounds like peace. It is said that eating an apple will make for a peaceful and safe new year. –china educational tours
- 2Wind is related to gossip sometimes, and keeping secrets to putting up walls. Wind passing through walls is secrets being leaked.
- 3As in eternal rest.