Trigger Warning: Self-harm
Before the first period, a study committee member came in at the last minute to collect everyone’s summer homework and along the way, distributed a signup form for extracurricular activities.
When Chu Yu handed in his homework, he incidentally glanced and found that Lu Shi’s test paper was no different from his own. He’d also chosen to fill in just the multiple-choice section, and only wrote either two lines of ideas for the big questions, or simply drew two supplementary lines and it was done. It looked entirely empty.
He suddenly had a new insight— it turned out that there was a common ground between the study god’s level and the study slag’s situation to a certain extent!
The study committee member raised his voice and urged them irritably, “Hurry up, finish filling out the club forms and submit them! It’s time to start class!”
The classroom was full of discussions. Zhang Yueshan held his pen and turned to ask Chu Yu, “Chu Yu, what did you fill in? I’m still in the middle of hesitating. Should I choose tennis, fencing, or taekwondo? I like them all!”
His gaze fell on Chu Yu’s form and was puzzled. “Gardening A? There’s such an option?”
His deskmate, who’d always attended the main school, chimed in with the inside story, “‘Gardening’ is a hidden option, it’s not on the list.”
At the bottom of the page, Chu Yu signed his name with a swish swish and put the cap back on his pen. “Indeed. It’s exclusive for water skiing1 Meaning, lazy behavior during work or studies. In water skiing, you just get to slide on the water surface while being pulled behind a boat, doing practically nothing but stand and hold the cable. This net slang fits really well in this situation, look out for Chu Yu’s explanation. .”
Zhang Yueshan was curious. “Why did you choose this extracurricular activity? Is it just pruning plants and trimming leaves?”
“No,” Chu Yu explained, “behind the school’s sports field and separated by a small forest, there are thermostatic botanical gardens and glass greenhouses. My duty would be to press the button which turns on the watering equipment inside these botanical gardens. When there’s enough moisture in the air and soil, the equipment will detect it and automatically stop running.”
Zhang Yueshan gasped in amazement, uncertain of how to respond for a long time, before finally commenting, “Sure enough, it’s exceedingly suitable for water skiing!”
Chu Yu was proud: Of course, I meticulously selected it for myself!
After receiving the summer homework, the study committee representative impatiently collected the forms. When he picked up the last two sheets, he inadvertently noted their responses— incredible, Gardening A for School Flower Chu, and Gardening B for Lu-Shen. Has maintaining the constant temperature in a botanical garden and greenhouse ever been so exciting?
The morning’s first period was math. Chu Yu couldn’t make sense of what he was hearing and also didn’t want to force himself, so he simply took out his manga and continued reading.
Two pages in and he suddenly remembered something. He stretched his hand into his desk compartment, and after blindly feeling around, he finally found a milk candy.
After tasting it, Chu Yu frowned and realized that last time wasn’t an illusion. The candy lacked the rich, milky sweet taste it used to have.
A deep and inexplicable anxiety emerged within Chu Yu’s heart as he stuffed some other fruit candy into his mouth.
Before this change, eating two candies together would make him unbearably cloyed but now, he only tasted a bit of sweetness.
Staring at the two wrappers in his hand, Chu Yu was stumped— Do I have a perpetual low-grade fever that’s numbing my tastebuds?
His good mood from his recovery fell back to the bottom in an instant.
After grieving for most of the morning, Chu Yu decided to stop his imagination from running wild, and comforted himself with the thought that maybe it was because of the neurological dysfunction. His sense of taste was just temporarily dulled, it would be fine in a few days.
He squeezed a piece of candy in his hand. He was entangled over whether to eat it or not when suddenly, he felt his throat become dry and itchy, indicating he was thirsty.
Fml, why is this feeling so familiar?
Just like last time, his throat became dry and itchy as his heartbeat started to accelerate; the blood vessels in his forehead throbbed as if they would explode within the next second. The familiar feeling of heat permeated his whole body – no – it was even hotter than yesterday, giving him the illusion that he’d be roasted in place that very moment!
Chu Yu was on the brink of despair for he thought the enemy had already retreated; he didn’t expect that it was gathering more troops to return much stronger less than twenty hours later!
He Zhihao went to find Chu Yu after lunch break, and saw him lying on the table looking all forlorn while facing the wall; like a withered flower.
He knocked his fingertips on the table twice. “What’s wrong? Not awake?”
Chu Yu, at a vexingly slow speed, turned his head to dispiritedly say, “Damn that tapping ah, if you have something to say, just say it. Quickly leave as soon as you finish.”
He Zhihao raised his brows. He knew how the young master’s temper was when provoked, so he absolutely couldn’t be offended. He quickly retracted his hand and said what he had to say, “Lin-Jiejie asked me to pass a message to you. She said that she really liked the gift and thanked you for remembering it for so long, also that the two of you should hang out together when you’re free.”
He placed the tiny cake he was holding onto Chu Yu’s table. “I slept on the yacht all night last night. Don’t you like eating sweets? This morning, Lin-Jiejie specially ordered the chef to make this cake so I could bring it to you.”
Chu Yu responded listlessly, “Oh, leave it there, you can go back.”
He Zhihao didn’t want to return yet. Wanting to gossip, he asked in a low voice, “Right, isn’t there a rumor that you’re at odds with that Lu Shi? Is it true or fake? How did he provoke you? Would you like your brother to find someone to fix him up?”
Chu Yu felt as if magma was flowing in his veins. He was afraid that even his breath was heated. Hearing He Zhihao still droning on like a fly in front of him, he burst with irritation for no reason and frowned. “Buzz off. Go and poke Lu Shi so you’ll be crushed to death without surviving even ten seconds, just like that? Right, he’ll crush you like an ant.”
His throat was dry, causing his voice to be slightly hoarse. He added, “He didn’t mess with me, we just don’t get along. You don’t need to worry about it so don’t pick a quarrel.”
He Zhihao shrugged. “All right, then I’m leaving.”
“Wait,” Chu Yu wrinkled his nose, disgusted, “quickly change your clothes, you stink and it’s giving me a headache.”
He Zhihao pulled at his collar, took a deep breath, and wondered. “Tell me, does my body still reek of blood? I drank too much and when I woke up this morning, I took a tumble and bled. I didn’t have time to change clothes after putting on bandages. Can you smell it again, where does it stink?”
“I won’t smell it, hurry up and go away.”
He Zhihao left and Chu Yu was about to resume laying down when out of the corner of his eyes— Eh! When did Lu Shi return to the classroom?
In the end, the cake was split between Zhang Yueshan and his deskmate. Chu Yu spent the afternoon lying down without an appetite. Without eating dinner or attending the self-study session at night, he went straight to the dormitory.
Jianing Private’s dormitories were luxurious, even the most substandard of them were four-person rooms with private bathrooms. Chu Yu lived on the fifth floor in a lavish single room with light-colored cashmere carpet on the floor. It was complete with a large bed and a desk, plus a storage rack, a wardrobe and a shoe cabinet. There was also a corner balcony where Aunt Lan left a pot of Strelitzia flowers.
Chu Yu fell on the bed with limp limbs and hugged the quilt before dazedly falling asleep.
He dreamed in the middle of the night; it was the same dream again.
The only difference was that everything had faded to black and white. In the twisted alley, Lu Shi was looking at him and on his left arm, there was bright red blood flowing down. This glaring red was the only color in the dream.
On the other side of the wall, Lu Shi awoke with a start from his own dream.
His ears seemed to be filled with the repulsed, shrill curses of the woman from his dream. “The filthy blood of a bastard flows through your body!”
Lu Shi sneered.
He was lying with his back on the bed. His surroundings were completely quiet, and only the slight sound of cold air coming from the air-conditioning’s vent could be heard.
Lu Shi got out of bed and stood up. He crossed his hands and pulled up the corner of his top, taking his white T-shirt off. He draped it on the back of a chair in passing and stepped into the bathroom.
A few minutes later, Lu Shi exited the bathroom with wet hair, while his body was surrounded by water vapor. After taking out a bottle of mineral water from a small fridge, he sat down in front of his desk and laid out a book of math competition exercises which he’d randomly picked from the shelf.
His fingers were long, and as he twisted the bottle cap, his knuckles protruded slightly; slim and strong.
He downed half the bottle of cold water until the lump of fire in his heart was pressed back down to the deepest place again.
Lu Shi had the habit of using a pencil when answering questions.
The pencil tip was making a rustling sound as it rubbed against the paper.
After completing two pages of questions, Lu Shi stopped and took out a sharpener from the drawer.
The blade was sharp, neatly shaving off a piece of sawdust and revealing the black graphite wrapped inside.
Lu Shi’s hand paused.
Under the white light of the lamp, Lu Shi’s left wrist, where he usually wore his watch, was covered with thin, messy scars. Some had faded with time and left only a shallow line, but others still glowed red.
He moved the sharpener, ultimately stopping above his wrist. With a bit of force from his right hand, the tip of the blade pierced his cold, white skin and swiped down. Crimson blood instantly spilled out.
Lu Shi’s thin eyelids drooped as his eyes reflected the color of the blood dripping out, his expression indifferent.
Xena: I grew up with this cute and harmless pencil sharpener, but Lu Shi was in hold of a spy-level dangerous weapon since he was a child????
- 1Meaning, lazy behavior during work or studies. In water skiing, you just get to slide on the water surface while being pulled behind a boat, doing practically nothing but stand and hold the cable. This net slang fits really well in this situation, look out for Chu Yu’s explanation.