Chapter 9: Sweet-scented osmanthus
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Saturday was a cloudy day. When Wen Yu woke up, there was a layer of fog outside the window. By the time he was ready to go downstairs, it had already begun drizzling outside.
Zhao Zheng was reading a newspaper on the sofa in the living room. Wen Yu went downstairs and said, “Good morning, Uncle Zhao.”
“Mn, go eat breakfast.” Zhao Zheng nodded his head and looked at the rain outside the window “Don’t go out today.”
Wen Yu sat at the dining table drinking congee. Swallowing what he had in his mouth, he said, “I’m going to read at home, I have an exam soon.”
“That obedient?” Zhao Zheng looked over and said, “I’m afraid you’re going to play games behind my back.”
Wen Yu snorted and made a face. He reached out and grabbed a bun and chewed on it. Today it was steamed San Xian buns 1, enveloped in thin skin and a lot of stuffing. It was fresh and juicy.
“Uncle, the steamed buns are delicious. Have you eaten them?” Wen Yu asked vaguely.
“Yes.” Zhao Zheng closed the newspaper and stood up. The butler next to him took his coat and handed it to him. Zhao Zheng grabbed it and as he put it on, he said, “If you are bored, you can ask your friends to come over. Just ask him to arrange for you.” He pointed to the butler next to him.
The butler bowed.
Wen Yu wiped his hands and stood up to see Zhao Zheng out of the house. When he was gone, he returned to the table and finished the rest of the congee.
Last time after he talked to Gao Yang, he asked Uncle Zhao about inviting him over. Uncle Zhao had said to treat this as his home so it was natural for him to invite guests to play. What Uncle Zhao said warmed Wen Yu’s heart, but he was not that shameless to really treat this as his own home.
But Wen Yu didn’t expect that Uncle Zhao would take the initiative to mention it today. It must be because he didn’t invite his friends over to play after he asked him,Also, that he was afraid he would be embarrassed to do so.
Wen Yu called Gao Yang and asked if he would like to come over. The butler listened beside him and whispered, “Young master, you can send the general — ah, the driver to pick them up.”
Wen Yu nodded, and listened to Gao Yang speak over the phone, “That’s great, but eldest brother and second brother also want to come along.”
“Come together.” Wen Yu said.
When the butler heard about the arrangement, Wen Yu gave Meng Jiang (the driver) Gao Yang’s number. The driver was shocked and said, “There’s no need, I’m not used to using a phone.. And I don’t have that thing.”
This time it was Wen Yu’s turn to be stunned. He couldn’t help but look at Meng Jiang carefully. He was not very old and looked around twenty-eight or seven. He had strong eyebrows and big eyes; a traditional masculine look. But it was really strange that he didn’t have a mobile phone at this age.
“Don’t worry, young master, General Meng— 2 ah— he will definitely pick them up properly.” The butler wiped the sweat on his forehead without looking up. He had almost spilled the beans.
Wen Yu didn’t press on the matter and nodded, “Then I will trouble Meng Jiang.” He noticed the driver’s face was a little strange when he finished speaking, so he asked, “What’s the matter? Isn’t that your name?”
“You can also call me that.” Meng Jiang nodded expressionless and got on the car directly.
The butler said, “Young master, it’s cold outside. Let’s go back in first.”
Wen Yu was suspicious, but he couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so he nodded and went back to the villa. One hour later, his three dormitory brothers arrived. Gao Yang had brought along a bag of fruits. Wen Yu smiled at it and said, “It was definitely eldest brother’s idea to bring gifts.” After all, Gao Yang was not so ‘polite’.
“Ha ha ha ha ha, as long as you know, we brought all our favorites.” Gao Yang handed the fruits to Wen Yu, only for the butler to take it first. Wen Yu put away their umbrellas and said, “Come on in. Have you eaten?”
“We had just taken a few bites when the driver arrived, so we just continued to finish eating in the car.” Gao Yang said.
Eldest brother and second brother were a little alert today. When they entered the living room and the butler left, eldest brother sighed, “Alas, it’s poverty that has been restraining my imagination.”
Gao Yang nodded and was thrown an orange by second brother.
Of the four people in their dormitory, Gao Yang’s family was the richest, but he also had the best temperament. Eldest brother had the highest EQ, second brother was a top student and a bookworm, while Gao Yang and Wen Yu were somewhere in the middle. However, Gao Yang was extroverted and could make a lot of friends everywhere. He was generous and straightforward.
Gao Yang took over the orange and laughed. He started peeling the skin off the orange and ate it. Then muttered, “Let’s play games.” His purpose was clear.
Wen Yu’s hand itched too, as he led the three people upstairs to the game room. He said he was going to study for the exams but when they started playing the games, they all forgot about it. The four people were immersed in the game in the dark until the butler informed them that lunch was ready.
Seeing that time had gone by very fast, and that it was almost one o’clock, Wen Yu stretched his body and said, “Unknowingly, it’s already this time.”
Gao Yang was still in the mood, reluctant to part with playing, “After eating, let’s continue.”
Lunch was fancy, there were even fruits and hot tea after meal. After eating, they went back upstairs to play. When eldest brother looked out of the window, it was already dark, so he proposed to go back.
“I had such a great day today!” Gao Yang had appeased his addiction. He was too much of a game addict.
Wen Yu was also happy, but he thought about how Uncle Zhao would be back soon. Uncle Zhao liked the quiet and might be unhappy with the ruckusso he didn’t stop the three people from leaving. He said, “I’ll let Meng Jiang send you back.”
“Meng Jiang? The driver’s name? Such a great name.” Gao Yang said.
Just after seeing off Gao Yang and the other two, Zhao Zheng happened to return by car. Wen Yu’s gaze landed at his direction and looked at Zhao Zheng’s driver carefully as he got out of the car to open the door. Holding Wen Yu’s waist, Zhao Zheng asked, “What are you looking at?”
“Your driver and Meng Jiang look so much alike.” Wen Yu looked again. Zhao Zheng’s driver was about forty years old, and he had big eyes.
Zhao Zheng thought about who Wen Yu was calling ‘Meng Jiang’ and quickly caught on before responding, “They are brothers. Let’s go inside.”
At the dining table, Wen Yu talked about how his friends had come over to play today. Later, the topic came to the ‘chicken dinner game.’ 3 He was very excited. Zhao Zheng conveniently gave a small steamed bun to Wen Yu. Wen Yu nibbled at the steamed bun and said, “Let’s play a round later.”
“Okay.” Zhao Zheng patted Wen Yu’s head. “Now behave well and eat..”
“Ah, Uncle Zhao, don’t pat my head all the time. I’m not a child.” Wen Yu grumbled.
Zhao Zheng smiled and pointed to Wen Yu’s puffed up cheeks. “Isn’t this exactly like a child?”
In a flash, it was the beginning of December, and Beijing began to see snow. Wen Yu was wearing a thick down jacket and carrying his school bag to the library. As it was the end of the term, he was busy reviewing his lessons. Even the Internet addicted boy Gao Yang didn’t insist on gaming, but focused on going to the library with second brother, embracing temporary Buddhism. 4
Wen Yu was no exception. He planned to borrow two reference books for his thesis.
As soon as he arrived at the gate of the library, he heard someone call him from behind. They had a delicate voice. He didn’t need to look back to know that it was Ji TianTian. During this period of time, he didn’t know what happened to Ji TianTian. He remembered that she had asked to go to dinner together if he had nothing to do.
It was to compensate him for the incident last time on Xiang Mountain.
Wen Yu wanted to ignore her and didn’t want to have anything to do with Ji TianTian any longer. Naturally, he wouldn’t agree to go out to eat. After two clear rejections, he didn’t expect Ji TianTian to have not given up.
His feet quickened.
Behind him came a running sound, and Ji TianTian raised her voice and shouted, “Wen Yu, I’m calling you.”
The students looked at Wen Yu one after another, and Wen Yu had to stop. He finally turned around and said, “What a coincidence..” His tone was very cold.
Ji TianTian bit her lower lip. She pretended not to notice the insincerity in his tone, she said, “Do you hate me because I got you injured last time?” With tears gathering in her eyes, Wen Yu realized that Ji TianTian would cry within the next second.
Wen Yu stood still and didn’t know what Ji TianTian was thinking. He paused and said seriously, “I don’t hate you —”
As soon as he said this, Ji TianTian’s eyes brightened. Before she could say anything else, however, he continued, “I don’t like you either. You are a stranger to me.That’s all I need to borrow books and so I will leave first.”
Wen Yu didn’t want to deal with her any longer. Just now, he didn’t even notice that he was similar to Zhao Zheng.
Ji TianTian stood in the same place, her eyes showed that she thought this situation was unbelievable. She was biting her lips and unwillingness filled her heart. She thought of Wen Yu’s Uncle, the luxury cars, the butler, and the villa in Beijing…
Since she was a child, she always got what she wanted.. Wen Yu was no exception. There would always be a way.
Wen Yu did not think about Ji TianTian after clearing things with her.. He borrowed the book he needed and looked at the time on his mobile phone.He realized that Meng Jiang might have arrived. He hurried to the door and saw the familiar car.
“I just borrowed two books. I’m sorry to keep you waiting.” Wen Yu apologized as he got into the car.
“I just arrived,” said Meng Jiang, who was in the driver’s seat.
“Meng Jiang, you are really like my uncle. You do not talk very much, but now my uncle will say more than before.” Wen Yu said with a smile, thinking that like before, Meng Jiang would not respond.
Unexpectedly, Meng Jiang nodded his head and said, “Since the young master came, Master has been in a good mood.”
Wen Yu heard this and there was a kind of pride in his heart.
After dinner, his normal gaming time had now become time he needed to read his books and study. The floor lamp was switched on and Wen Yu was sitting on the sofa, with his legs folded beneath him, reading. After a while, he looked as if he had no backbone. 5 He tilted his head to rest it on Uncle Zhao’s shoulder.
Zhao Zheng felt Wen Yu’s curly hair sweep over his chin. His eyes slightly moved to Wen Yu’s face, and his cold and hard expression softened a little.
After staying mostly immobile for more than half a month, Wen Yu’s foot injury had healed. When he decided to move back to his apartment, he was stared down at by Uncle Zhao. With a smile, he had said, “I’m trying to be polite. I’m going to take my exams soon. After the exams, it will be winter break. I’ll be going home. I’ve been hanging out at Uncle’s place all these while.”
Wen Yu finished and put down his book and began to eat a midnight snack. He didn’t see how ugly Zhao Zheng’s face was now.
Ah. It seems that Wen Yu still doesn’t take this place as his real home.
Zhao Zheng looked at the happy face covered with curly hair, and his voice was low, “Do you want to go home during winter break?”
“Yes, I didn’t go back for the National Day this year because my parents and little brother went out. I will stay at home for the New Year.” Wen Yu said vaguely while eating the bowl of glutinous sweet dumplings in sweet rice wine. 6
Zhao Zheng’s eyes were cold, but he didn’t continue talking.
Wen Yu held the bowl, turned to Zhao Zheng, smiled and said, “Uncle, would you like to have a taste? It is sweet-scented osmanthus flavored. Not very sweet either.”
As soon as he finished speaking, he saw his Uncle Zhao naturally take the spoon and scoop a bite into his mouth. Wen Yu’s eyes widened.
“Uncle, this is my spoon.”
His saliva was still on it.
“You hate it?” Zhao Zheng’s voice was cold.
Wen Yu hurriedly shook his head. How could he dislike Uncle Zhao? Wasn’t it Uncle Zhao who disliked him?
- A type of pork bun called San Xian Bao (三鲜包). The name, which means three delicacies, uses pork, fresh shrimp and dried scallop in the filling to add a different texture and flavor.
- The character for Jiang is 将 which also means General, so Wen Yu thinks that the driver’s name is Meng Jiang when everyone else is actually calling him General Meng.
- The nickname of the China version of PUBG. ‘Winner winner, chicken dinner’
- To practice restraint.
- Hyperbole to describe a lazed sitting posture, as if ‘without backbone’.
- Tangyuan or tang yuan is a Chinese dessert that is a ball of glutinous rice flour and water that has been either boiled and served in a hot broth or syrup or else deep-fried. Tangyuan can be either small or large and filled or unfilled.