Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
The emotions of life were just emotions. After all, life was composed of trivial daily routines, and those thrilling and close calls were just accidental adjustments in life, and these adjustments should be as few as possible.
When Lin Chen left the school hospital, he had a thick cast on his hand.
Xing Conglian took out a cigarette with one hand while the other was holding a bag of medicines prescribed by the doctor for Lin Chen’s hand. He lifted his pocket and examined the packaging of the medicine carefully, before he tentatively asked, “Seriously, you really don’t need to go to a big hospital? Is this really just a bone fracture?”
Hearing what he said, Lin Chen looked back at the crowded hall of the school hospital and said, “The one who just examined my hand is a retired old professor and an orthopedic expert from the school of medicine who’s just enjoying his pension. That level should be okay?”
“Well, that’s more than passable.” Xing Conglian quickly replied. He seemingly thought of something and asked again, “But if your school hospital is so great, why is Su Fengzi still clamoring to go to the city hospital?”
“He’s probably afraid his dad will find out.” Lin Chen curled his lips as he said it.
“Huh, who’s his dad?”
“Don’t you know Fengzi is the prince of Yongchuan University?”
“Yongchuan University, Pr–in–ce?” Xing Conglian reacted quickly and almost choked on the smoke. “Mr. Su’s son?”
“Yes, Fengzi is the young master of the principal’s family.” When Lin Chen said this, he also found it funny.
Su Fengzi grew up in the campus family compound since he was a child. Even the little nurse who gave him his shots at the school hospital had been harassed numerous times by him. If he were to run to the school hospital to suture up his terrible wound, that would be equivalent to directly going to his father’s office and saying, “I did a big thing today!”
Lin Chen was pleased to see Xing Conglian’s confused expression, as if something wasn’t quite right. When he first found out about this, his reaction was also relatively calm.
After all, for his highly respected teacher to give birth to such a son, anyone would doubt something was amiss.
“There really is no resemblance,” Xing Conglian said with deep emotion.
As the evening approached, the air was filled with the pleasant smell of spring grass and trees, which made people go silent.
Unknowingly, people were drawn to the water, so it was strange that they once again arrived at the lake.
At this time, the setting sun was setting westward, and the water surface was sparkling.
Since Xing Conglian’s phone hadn’t rung, it meant there was no news, and that was probably the best news.
He half-closed his eyes and sighed deeply.
“What?” Lin Chen asked.”
“It seems as if a generation has passed*.”
*(恍如隔世) Idiom referring to a feeling caused by a great change in people or scenery. This comes from the travelogue “Wu Chuanlu” written by Fan Chengda, a writer from the Song Dynasty.
“This idiom is too literary and artistic, so it’s not suitable for you to say.”
“Counting things, three days ago, we came here to hang out yet we’re unlucky enough to run into such a big case…”
Although he spoke casually, Lin Chen could clearly see the lazy look on his face.
Even Xing Conglian felt tired, so the experience in the past three days could be described as if a generation had passed.
Lin Chen stood by the lake, looking at the sunset, which wasn’t much different from when the sun rose that day. He wanted to say something, such as encouragement or relief, but even if he had thousands of words in his heart, he could only deeply sigh.
“What?” It was Xing Conglian who asked this time.
“I was thinking, I’m very hungry now, and the cafeteria is not far from us…”
“Eat if you’re hungry. Is there a problem? We’ve been at your school for so long, and you haven’t even invited me out for a meal yet.”
“But I didn’t bring any money.”
“Don’t you have a meal card or something?”
“I graduated from here long ago. How could I possess such a thing as a meal card?”
“But I didn’t bring any money…”
Hearing this, they both looked at each other and said at the same time, “Where’s Wang Chao?”
Wang Chao was still helping the second division.
As a premier technician, comrade Wang Chao was sitting in an office at Yongchuan University. Together with two technicians that Jiang Chao had transferred from who knows where, he was monitoring the dynamics of the live broadcast on the deep web. It was different from when he was working with Xing Conglian. At this moment, he rested his legs on the table and had snacks brought to him by a young lady from the second division. Three minutes had passed since the agreed-upon live broadcast time, but the website was still all black. In the message bar at right, curses from various languages flooded the chat box.
After all, these psychopaths from all over the world had been cheated out of a lot of money by this live broadcast website.
Wang Chao stuffed a potato chip into his mouth and took a sip of orange juice.
“A bunch of spicy chickens*.”
*(辣鸡) Internet slang for garbage (because it’s a homonym for it).
As he said this, his phone suddenly rang. When he glanced at the caller ID, he almost choked on the potato chips.
“Hey Captain. Is there anything I can do for you?”
Wang Chao thought his boss was calling to check in on the progress of the case, but instead of what he expected, he heard, “Do you have money?”
“Captain, when have I ever gone out and brought money? Isn’t my whole persona a maize weevil*?”
*Rice worm. Basically, he’s calling himself a mooch.
“Don’t you have a thousand in the second pocket of your backpack?” On the other end of the phone, there was a sneer from Xing Conglian. “Didn’t you say that was prepared for when you can’t suddenly handle my high-handed rule and you’ll run away from home?”
“That’s my money. Don’t even think about it. I’m telling you, I’ll really leave if you don’t treat me better!” He quickly and justly refused. What a joke! There was no reason for him to give up this money.
“Your brother A’Chen said he’s hungry and wanted to eat…”
“Oh, I’ll deliver it right away. Where are we meeting?”
The call ended with the teenager’s trailing voice.
Lin Chen looked at Xing Conglian’s smiling face. The words “brother A’Chen” were still echoing in his ears…
Due to Wang Chao’s personality, when people talk to him, they invariably used a brisk tone, and at this moment, Xing Conglian’s voice had a slight nasal sound due to drowsiness. In short, it sounded husky and sweet, so there was a strange feeling of intimacy*.
*Clarity: As explained before, usually when addressing someone with an A’ in front of their name, it’s a sign of intimacy that’s normally reserved for your loved ones. Wang Chao is using it as more of a nickname, and it fits his persona. Given that Lin Chen is aware of his feelings, hearing Xing Conglian say “A’Chen” is very significant (especially given his husky voice right now, as if he had just woken up from a nap kind of voice), even if Xing Conglian isn’t saying it in a romantic sense.
Lin Chen looked at him for a while, only to see his gentle gaze, with just the right amount of haze in his eyes, like crumbling gold; it was brilliant and warm.
Xing Conglian was truly handsome.
The wind was soft and the sunset gentle, which naturally eased the mood.
Lin Chen thought that this was already very good.
When Wang Chao came, they already knew what to order at the cafeteria. So when the teenager arrived with his “escape money”, they quickly charged 200 yen to the meal card and ordered a large variety of food.
Chicken glutinous rice, caged steamed rice, pepper beef tenderloin, bibimbap, Shaxian wontons…
In short, Xing Conglian basically ordered a whole slew of food that looked delicious.
They weren’t really that hungry, but it was interesting to see comrade Wang Chao’s pained face, so they ended up ordering more.
Lin Chen propped up his chin and observed Wang Chao carefully at the table as he held the change from the meal card full of heartache and thought it was quite amusing.
“Why did you withdraw it so quickly? I have to buy a pack of cigarettes from the commissary later,” Xing Conglian continued to tease him.
“Fuck me, you’re not allowed to use my noble money to buy things like cigarettes!”
“I’m just borrowing 20 yuan.”
“You never pay back the money you borrow from me!” Wang Chao said as he put the banknotes in his pockets, as if he would never touch it again.
“Hey, don’t be so stingy.”
“No, no. This is my capital to fight for a free life!”
Lin Chen smiled and looked at Xing Conglian. “Why is he like this?”
“Probably because of poverty.” Xing Conglian shook his head and said helplessly, “He’s been especially stingy since he was a child. His interests in life are to play games, have fun, and save money.”
“Don’t you pay him a salary and give him allowances?” Seeing Wang Chao’s looking like Grandet*, Lin Chen couldn’t help asking.
*Character from Eugenie Grandet, a novel by French author Honore de Balzac. He is portrayed as shrewd, vicious, frugal, and ruthless.
“Bah, he’s a member of the staff. The state pays him, and often he swindles money from me!”
“Then how can he be poor?”
Hearing Lin Chen ask him this, Xing Conglian just smiled. “Probably because he’s more special?”
“What do you use your salary for?” Lin Chen turned his head and asked the person in question.
“Saving the world,” Wang Chao answered rightfully.
“Saving the world?”
“It’s actually just donating money.” Xing Conglian chuckled.
“What do you mean, just donating money? I’m investing in the future of mankind!” When the teenager talked about “the future of mankind”, he almost raised his fork as he shouted it.
“What are you investing in?” Lin Chen rubbed Wang Chao’s head with interest.
“The United Nations Capital Development Fund and the United Nations Children Education Foundation. They aim to help young people in less developed countries obtain equal educational opportunities. The most recent donation project, The Hour of Code, is to provide a platform for children around the world to learn programming. A’Chen, would you like to donate some?!”
Lin Chen was surprised.
Before hearing what he said, Lin Chen always thought he was investing in projects such as “Nuannuan Development Foundation” or “100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams Development Association”, but he actually donated his salary to UNICEF every month. Wasn’t this too enlightening?
Logically, he should ask “why” now, but he thought for a bit. A young man like Wang Chao was carefree. When he saw the rising sun, it was a sunny day, and when he saw the sunset, it was a starry night. He embraced the most beautiful thing in the world, so it wasn’t surprising that Wang Chao would do this.
“Okay, you can help me donate this month’s salary.” Lin Chen paused for a moment before responding.
He sounded as happy as if someone had loaded 10,000 yuan onto his online gaming account. Wang Chao excitedly swept up the food on the table and grabbed a scoop of ice cream with Xing Conglian. “A’Chen, you’re really a good person. 10,000 times better than the Captain!” He stuffed two-thirds of the ice cream scoop into his mouth as he said this sincerely.
Although Xing Conglian seemed to have ordered a lot of food, the amount was perfect, as everything was cleanly eaten.
Wang Chao was driven back by Xing Conglian to continue to monitor the live broadcast website. In the end, Xing Conglian still managed to wriggle out 20 yen from him and bought two packs of cigarettes.
They continued to hang out as he smoked.
When he walked into the basketball gym, Xing Conglian suddenly said, “He was born in Africa.” He, of course, referred to Wang Chao.
Lin Chen was taken aback. This was the first time that Xing Conglian told him about Wang Chao’s past.
But Africa? This was surprising.
“That’s far away. How come he’s here.”
He remembered the teenager’s milky white skin, so he shouldn’t be the illegitimate son of some tribal leader.
“His parents were managers of a construction company aiding Africa. They were honest and ordinary people. During the genocide, they died protecting more than 100 local residents.”
When he talked about this, Xing Conglian’s face was calm, but his tone reminded Lin Chen of the fierce yellow sand in the vast wilderness, as well as guns and blood.
Lin Chen frowned and wanted to ask more, but Xing Conglian’s phone suddenly rang.
As if foreshadowing something, the anxious voice of the teenager came from the mic.
“Cap… Captain. The website is up again. Come quick. Quick. Hurry!”
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