Chapter 64: Ruined Fairy Tale
Translated by Shiya of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Gu Ting Yu followed the origin of the sound hurriedly, but he tripped over something and ended up falling face-down onto the floor.
A cascade of sounds echoed in the room, sounds of broken glass, sounds of metal hitting the floor, mixed with a low yet painful moan… Gu Ting Yu searched for the wall and used it as a support to stand back up. “… What’s going on?”
“Don’t—Don’t look!” the man screamed hurriedly, seeing that Gu Ting Yu was about to take his blindfold off.
“Um, then… you’re fine, right…?”
Gu Ting Yu had his eyes covered, so he couldn’t see a thing, but he could tell from the person’s tone that he was even more nervous than Gu Ting Yu himself.
“Who are you?” Gu Ting Yu leaned on the wall while steadily regaining his composure.
As he didn’t get a reply, Gu Ting Yu tried guessing carefully, “Are you a mermaid?”
“Then, do you know why I was brought here… and did you paint all those paintings?”
“Yes, I painted them.”
Gu Ting Yu finally understood—this person here would only answer the questions of his choosing and he would ignore all of the others.
Luckily, this person didn’t seem interested in harming him. Gu Ting Yu let out a sigh of relief as he thought about that. Though there were a lot of pent up questions and worries inside of him, he knew that the answers to this riddle weren’t far from him now.
“What is your name?” Gu Ting Yu asked, facing the direction where the voice had come from previously.
Unexpectedly, the man replied Gu Ting Yu promptly, and to add to his surprise, Nian Xing asked him back, “… and yours?”
Gu Ting Yu raised his eyebrows in shock, he hadn’t mentioned his own name for quite a long time now. After arriving and staying in this world for such a long period, except for Bai Zhi Ao, who especially called him “Da Shu”, most people just referred to him as “you”, “hey” or “human”…
“I’m Gu Ting Yu.” Oddly, he felt indescribably touched.
“Oh—Xiao Yu (i),” Nian Xing naturally ignored his full name and called him by a nickname instead.
“You led me here, what is your reason for doing that?”
Nian Xing didn’t say anything for quite a long while; wind blew in through the windows on the peak of the tower, and Gu Ting Yu could hear the sounds of paper flipping.
“I’m going to bed.”
“After I fall asleep, you can take the blindfold off.”
Gu Ting Yu couldn’t catch up with what Nian Xing meant, then he heard the sound of a gate-like thing closing, it seemed to be from somewhere very near him. He stood there, lost, for quite a while, until he finally decided to take the blindfold off carefully when both of his feet already felt sore and stiff.
T/N: Even though he could have sat down on the floor…
Nian Xing was a person of only a few words, but his voice was clear and pleasant; along with the comfortable smell of sea that came out of the room, Gu Ting Yu had already pictured how the room would be like.
Maybe was… mysterious, pure, clean and elegant. Perhaps it was an exquisite attic-like room… However, from all the things he imagined, none of them matched what was in front of him.
Extremely messy—the ivory white walls were covered with chaotic draft paintings, and the thing that made Gu Ting Yu trip earlier was one of the many glass vials scattered across the room’s floor. The room was never big to begin with, but now it was just so messy that any sort of movement was difficult.
However, that was nothing; in the place where the closing sound had come from, Gu Ting Yu found a huge shut shell. The shell refracted pearly lights, warm and soothing; its indentions formed a clear pattern.
Nian Xing was sleeping in the shell… But… Gu Ting Yu frowned—If he was a mermaid, why didn’t he stay in the water?
Gu Ting Yu sighed internally… Scrolls of paintings with unknown meanings, an extremely messy room, a mermaid who slept inside a shell… No matter how he looked at it, it was still weird. The sun hanging outside the window was still warm; Gu Ting Yu looked around the room again and made a decision.
He tidied up the whole room from floor to ceiling; it wasn’t because he liked cleaning, it was only because he didn’t want to trip and fall again.
The room was mostly filled with Nian Xing’s paintings: carefree mermaids, rare deep ocean creatures and also those red fish with wings… Nian Xing’s paintings were full of life, but every time Gu Ting Yu looked at them… he had this odd feeling.
The painting was just too beautiful, so beautiful that it was unreachable.
When orange beams of light rose from the horizon, Gu Ting Yu sat on the windowsill to enjoy the sunset, still holding the cleaning towel. His eyes drank in the sunset, refracting strange colors of gold. Gu Ting Yu suddenly thought of something terrifying——Did Nian Xing led him here just so that he could help clean the room up……
“Click-creak…” At the sound of the shell opening, Gu Ting Yu instinctively turned his head back after hearing the sound. When he saw the person in the shell, his jaw dropped in shock—the beautiful fairy tales in his mind were once again shattered!
Shouldn’t they have flowy hair, shouldn’t they be a little shy and have soft smiles? Shouldn’t they be beautiful creatures?!
Why did this one have a stubble all over his face, had dazed eyes and an expression that just screamed sleepy… His hair was all tangled and oily, it looked like a broom which got slapped on the head. Gu Ting Yu completely underestimated Nian Xing, the messiness of the room was nothing compared to what was inside the shell—
Books, balls of crumpled paper, paints and glass vials were piled into a little mountain inside the shell; they had completely buried the lower half of Nian Xing’s body.
A whole minute had past, Nian Xing stared at Gu Ting Yu and Gu Ting Yu stared back at Nian Xing.
“Ahahahah…Didn’t I say not to look!! Blindfold yourself quickly! Blindfold yourself!”
A glass vial came flying towards Gu Ting Yu’s head; if he hadn’t reacted quickly enough, his head would have had a hole in it.
“What are you doing?” Gu Ting Yu was nice enough to help him tidy up the room, and it wasn’t like he looked at Nian Xing on purpose. If a man didn’t want others to see what a mess he was, then shouldn’t he try fixing himself instead?
Seeing Gu Ting Yu walking towards him, Nian Xing abruptly screamed with panic in his eyes.
Gu Ting Yu could never stand a messy and dirty room, it reminded him of his childhood home, the apartment which had scribbles drawn with lipstick covering the walls and bed sheets soaked with urine, one of the many apartments inside the Tong Zi Lou (ii)…
He grabbed Nian Xing’s arm and tried to forcefully pull him out of the shell, but then he hesitated.
If Nian Xing was a merman, then would there be a pair of legs, or a fishtail under the pile of junk…?
“Go away!” Nian Xing broke free from Gu Ting Yu, his cold fingers were shivering, “Go see a killer whale, you seaweed!”
“…”, Gu Ting Yu was speechless.
“Go see a killer whale” meant to go die, “seaweed” meant lowlife.
So… did Nian Xing just use the merfolk language to scold him?
“You should really get up and exercise.”
“Stop your squid ink-squirting(iii)!”
Gu Ting Yu was completely shocked by now.
Nian Xing pulled on the upper part of the shell and attempted to close it shut, but of course Gu Ting Yu wouldn’t let him do that. While he was competing in arm strength with Nian Xing, he got to see a foul-mouthed, oily-headed and messy merman up close, and at that moment he thought Anderson was the world’s biggest liar.
Gu Ting Yu felt a sudden pain at his abdomen area—Nian Xing punched him with so much force that the whole shell rolled over from their pushing and pulling.
Gu Ting Yu fell onto the ground; he was annoyed. He started to wonder what exactly he was doing. From the moment he stepped foot in this place, the only relatively meaningful thing he did was to help a lazy merman clean his room.
And this particular merman didn’t even thank him for it.
However, when he moved his gaze towards Nian Xing who was on the floor, he couldn’t avert his eyes anymore.
Don’t look at me.
Don’t you dare look at me!
Nian Xing continued to struggle silently, trying to cover his legs with strips of scrap paper.
A pair of human legs—they seemed to have been cut off from the kneecap down… The horrific sight was just impossible to cover up with tiny strips of scrap paper. Nian Xing looked even more helpless than a person forced to take off his clothes in the streets.
Gu Ting Yu suddenly felt like a heartless torturer; even though he did not do it on purpose, he did rub salt into Nian Xing’s wounds.
It was as if he heard blood spattering; those paintings—every single one of them reflected Nian Xing’s wishes to swim in the deep sea, because for the rest of his life, he could no longer dive into the ocean. A merman who had lost his tail could only curl up on a tower, looking at the nearby, yet forever distant sea.
Gu Ting Yu took off his long coat and used it to cover Nian Xing’s legs, then he said softly, “I’m sorry.”
Nian Xing punched him again and said, “You seaweed, I said don’t look, don’t look repeatedly, yet you still looked!”
“Nian Xing… I’m sorry.”
“Apologizing is as useless as squid ink! Go get eaten by sharks!”
“Get eaten by a sea turtle!!”
“Wait… What are you doing?”
“I’m going down to get water to help you wash your hair, is that okay?”
“… after you wash my hair, go get eaten by a killer whale.”
(i) “Xiao” means little in Chinese, it is usually added in front of a person’s name; when a person is called Xiao-something, it means that they are close. Basically, Xiao Yu is a nickname for Gu Ting Yu that Nian Xing came up with.
(ii) “Tong Zi Lou” is a kind of apartment building that’s tube-shaped, it’s a building with the central part empty and apartments on the four sides. It’s usually for people who can’t afford better apartments, since it is cheaper than most other apartments. However, the sanitary conditions of such buildings are usually below average, tenants have to share one bathroom on each floor. So it actually suggested that Gu Ting Yu’s family was quite poor and that someone in his family lack the ability to take care of themselves, hence the urine-soaked bed sheets.
(iii) In Chinese if someone is talking nonsense, people would say, “stop your dog farting”, kind of like “stop your bullshit”, so here it’s turned into a squid squirting ink.