Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
After a few conversations between the two kids, they naturally put their previous squirms behind them. After watching the Journey to the West, they took Puppy to the village for a stroll together. On the way to the village, they encountered a group of dirty children, and Shen Jize met their eyes and nodded his head.
He usually seemed quite aloof to outsiders, but only those who knew him well knew otherwise.
The two of them followed the path down the river bank, and when Shen Jize saw the river of clear water, he began to feel excited. He had enrolled in a swimming class and swam quite well. Now that there was no one at the river and the weather was hot, he wanted to go for a few laps.
But he didn’t bring his swimming trunks… He stood under a willow tree by the river and hesitated.
The dog that had been following him had no such worries and rushed towards the river with his tongue out, flopping into the water and swimming happily.
“Are you trying to get into the river?” Lu Rong was watching from the side.
Shen Jize looked around and mumbled in affirmation.
Lu Rong also felt hot, his forehead was sweating and his face was flushed, but he still warned him, “Grandpa forbids me to go down the river by myself, he must accompany me.”
“He forbade you to go down the river, but he didn’t say I couldn’t go down the river. Besides, I’m going down the river to get ideas.” Shen Jize glanced at him.
Lu Rong opened his mouth, seemed to think that this statement was wrong, but didn’t know how to refute, only said, “Don’t go into the river alone. It’s easy to drown.”
Shen Jize was hesitant to bring his swimming trunks, but was inexplicably provoked by these words and snickered, “Did you know I’ve won awards for swimming? I’m going to drown? That’s a joke.”
After saying this, he took off his T-shirt and shorts and sneakers and put them on the boulder next to him, wearing a pair of underwear to the river.
“You’re still wearing your pants.” Lu Rong reminded him.
Shen Jize’s heart had already pounded down the cool water, impatient to explain, so he did not say anything else.
The river seemed small, the middle was very deep, but the bottom was clear. Shen Jize leaned into the water, felt instant relief, and the hot summer air dissipated.
He did a butterfly, freestyle, and backstroke all over again, pretending not to care to look at the shore. Seeing Lu Rong looking at him, he felt more proud, and also raised his hands only to tread water with both feet.
“Come on, come down, the water is very comfortable.” Shen Jize wiped the water on his face and hooked his finger at Lu Rong. The pre-teenager’s boyish face was already very handsome, and had a perfect profile.
Lu Rong was already itching, and after a few seconds of hesitation, he decided to ignore Grandpa Cai’s instructions and stripped himself naked in three moves. He had been raised by Grandpa Cai to be delicate, unlike the village children who often ran around barefoot in the summer. After taking off his sandals and stepping on the rocks, it was so hot that he only took small steps forward with his heels.
Shen Jize saw him walking forward carefully with both hands up in the nude, holding his white, fleshy belly.
“Do you know how to swim?” He couldn’t resist shouting to Lu Rong.
“Yes, grandpa taught me.” Lu Rong walked to the river, stepped tremulously into the water, and hissed, “It’s cold.”
“It’s not cold when you get in the water.” Shen Jize was afraid that he would go ashore again, and it was no fun to swim alone.
The puppy had swum far away, and when he saw his master going into the water, he hurriedly swam back.
Lu Rong finally pounced into the water, hands and feet swimming over to Shen Jize.
Where Shen Jize was wasn’t too deep, only up to his chest. He stood in the water to watch Lu Rong, and couldn’t help but laugh, “You and Puppy swim the same.”
Lu Rong had both hands and feet under his body. Indeed, he was the same as the big yellow dog beside him, and Grandpa Cai had taught him to swim with no standard posture, the only requirement he had was to float.
He swam in front of Shen Jize and stood up after him, but while the water only reached Shen Jize’s chest, it reached the top of his head.
Caught off guard, Lu Rong drank a few mouthfuls of water, a series of bubbles floating on the surface.
Shen Jize scrambled to grab his arm and lift him up, bringing the boy to a shallower place to stand.
Cough, cough, cough.
Lu Rong choked and coughed for a while, his nose and eyes were red.
Shen Jize waited for him to finish coughing and said, “I just saved your life, you know?”
“Huh?” Lu Rong was a bit confused. Was this considered saving his life?
“If I didn’t pick you up just now, you would have been breathing in water and sinking, and you would have drowned.”
Lu Rong thought he would just swim up and not drown, so he just said, “…Oh.”
“You aren’t allowed to go to the deep place, just swim here.” Shen Jize gave him the ground to draw.
Shen Jize was satisfied, and after staring at him for a while longer, he suddenly opened his mouth and asked, “Why are you so pale?”
He himself rarely sunbathed, his skin was quite pale, but Lu Rong was even paler if compared to him, and it was a little bright in the sun.
“I don’t know, I’ve always been like this.” Lu Rong also looked down at himself, and pressed each hand on the pink point on his chest, “Look, now it’s all white.”
Shen Jize was stunned, suddenly a little embarrassed, he turned his head to swim deeper, while he said, “Stay right here, don’t come over.”
“Got it.” Lu Rong played with Puppy in the shallow water, or swam around with both hands and feet in the water, within the limits set by Shen Jize.
From time to time he would look at Shen Jize, watching him use tall rocks at the river’s edge and splash in. Or dive under the water and surface a moment later, hair slicked back to reveal his forehead, his face glistening with droplets of water in the sun.
“Puppy, isn’t he pretty?” Lu Rong wrapped his arms around the wet dog’s head and asked softly next to his ear.
Puppy tossed his head, the water droplets flung everywhere.
“I think he’s better looking than everyone I’ve ever seen.” Lu Rong affirmed again.
When Lu Rong turned his head, he noticed Shen Jize was gone and figured he was diving again, so he patiently watched the water and waited.
Shen Jize looked best when he was just out of the water.
But this time, after waiting for a while, his heart began to panic, and there was still no sign of Shen Jize.
Shen Jize was sinking under the water, holding his breath, tearing at a few water plants wrapped around his ankles. But those water plants were unusually flexible, and he couldn’t rip them off. The breath held in his lungs was beginning to hurt.
He was anxious, his hands pulling indiscriminately, but the water plants tangled tighter and tighter. Panic set in and his hands and feet became too weak to use force.
As his consciousness faded, Shen Jize looked overhead and saw the light trailing through the water, his ears buzzing. He thought his parents would be devastated if he drowned, and it would be a shame for his classmates to know that he had drowned after school started…
He saw a white deer in the water swimming towards him with red striped hooves paddling through the light and darkness of the water and two potato-like silver horns shining with light spots on top of his head.
This is still a dream…
Shen Jize’s mind thought these words, then completely lost consciousness. His arms and legs stretched out as his body floated lightly in the water.
Lu Rong, who turned into a deer, quickly swam to his side and used his mouth to bite the edge of his underwear to drag him to the surface. After dragging a few times without moving, he noticed the water plants around his ankles.
He dived down again and used his teeth to crush the water plants, then pushed the boy out of the water and to the shore. Puppy had been wandering around in the water, barking anxiously as he swam. When he saw Lu Rong, he swam up and licked the deer’s antlers affectionately.
Lu Rong had just pushed Shen Jize into the shallow water when he noticed villagers passing by the river.
He sank himself into the water, reverted to a naked child, and when he emerged again shouted, “Uncle, someone drowned! Uncle, help! Someone is drowning…”
Shen Jize was just pulled out so just as the villager wanted to hang him upside down on the back of a donkey to spit out water, when the donkey came over, he opened his eyes.
He saw Lu Rong, whose face was covered with tears, leaning over his head, sobbing and blinking his eyelids, crying and asking, “Are you dead? Are you really dead?”
“I’m not dead yet.” Shen Jize finished breathlessly and began to choke and cough.
The villager also sighed with relief, “You’re not a good kid, what if you really drowned? The river swallows a few children every year, and this year it hasn’t yet happened. You almost made the number just now. Luckily Lu Rong was with you.”
He only knew that Lu Rong saved Shen Jize, but didn’t see the fawn.
Shen Jize slowly got up and sat down. Lu Rong went to help him, and thanked the villager. When the villager saw that nothing was wrong, he gave him a few words of advice and took the donkey away.
The two children were a bit scared after the scene just now, sitting shoulder to shoulder on the rock and froze, while the dog was lying next to them, basking in the sun.
A few moments later, Shen Jize, still a little pale, turned his head and explained to Lu Rong in a hoarse voice, “I’m actually a good swimmer, but I just got my feet tangled up in the water plants.”
Lu Rong sniffled and whispered, “Hmm.”
“You don’t believe it?”
“I believe it.”
Shen Jize thought he was still saved by him on shore, hesitated and said, “Of course you swam well too.”
Lu Rong ‘oh’ed listlessly.
“From now on you are my brother, I will cover you if anything happens.” Shen Jize extended his left hand to him.
“Oh.” Lu Rong’s eyes fell on his wrist and found a bright red mole the size of a grain of rice there, and subconsciously looked at it twice.
“This is my lucky mole, so I didn’t drown just now.” Shen Jize saw that he didn’ot know how to shake hands, so he grabbed his hand and shook it twice.
Lu Rong lifted the corners of his mouth, thinking, ‘It was clearly me who saved you, not the lucky mole.’
After getting dressed and going home, the door of the courtyard was opened and Grandpa Cai came in with a gloomy face before sitting down for a while. As soon as Lu Rong saw Grandpa Cai’s expression, he knew he had heard about the drowning and was back to sort them out.
“You two, come stand in the courtyard!” Grandpa Cai shouted angrily.
Lu Rong dawdled and didn’t get up, but Shen Jize felt really guilty, so he went out and stood in the courtyard in a disciplined manner.
“I told you to come out, what are you dilly-dallying for?!” Grandpa Cai shouted again at Lu Rong.
Lu Rong shivered and didn’t dare to sit still anymore, so he went out and stood beside Shen Jize.
Grandpa Cai walked straight to the kitchen and came out again with a spoon in his hand.
Before Shen Jize could react, Lu Rong, who was beside him, rushed out and wrapped his arms around Grandpa Cai’s waist under the eaves, shouting mournfully, “Grandpa! Grandpa! I was wrong, I won’t dare to do it again!”
Grandpa Cai used his other hand to pull his arm around him, “Go away, stand in the courtyard.”
Lu Rong’s tears fell, but he hung on to Grandpa Cai’s waist, “Grandpa! Grandpa! I was wrong! Your good grandson won’t dare to do it again!”
Grandpa Cai couldn’t pull off his hand, so he simply went forward, as Lu Rong’s two feet were dragging on the ground, but his arms didn’t loosen. Grandpa Cai insisted on walking two more steps, then finally stopped and looked down at Lu Rong with anger.
Lu Rong secretly raised his face and glanced at him, and fell down with a cry, sitting on the ground and hugging Grandpa Cai’s calf, while crying and rubbing his face, “Grandpa, I was wrong, I was really wrong.”
“I won’t get up.”
Lu Rong gave him a few more kisses on his calf and said sobbingly, “I will never sneak down to the river again, I promise…”
Seeing him spilling his guts like this, Grandpa Cai’s anger receded a little and helplessness appeared on his face, and he let out a long sigh. Lu Rong took the opportunity to tentatively raise his hand, pulling out the spoon in his hand a little and throwing it into the corner of the courtyard.
The dog on the side thought it was playing a game, and darted forward to catch the spoon and ran happily to his young master, waving his tail desperately.
“Go stand at the edge of the yard first.” Grandpa Cai held out his finger and pointed to the laundry table.
Lu Rong’s eyes lit up, knowing that the beating would be waived and that he would only be punished by standing. He quickly climbed up and called out in a long, whiny voice, “Grandpa～～”
Shen Jize was still standing in the middle of the courtyard, watching the scene in amazement.
His parents seldom beat him, but every time they did, it was always hard, and his ass was covered with cane marks. And even if it hurt, he wouldn’t say a word, let alone beg for mercy.
To men, a beating was nothing, begging for mercy was more humiliating. Even the indomitable Xiao Yong ran around the house, chased by his parents with slippers to get slapped. How could Lu Rong stoop to such a level?
Not only did he not run, but also stooped as low as to rub, to kiss, and softly shout ‘Grandfather!’.
…But really effective, huh?