Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The weather on the island changed at the drop of a hat. Earlier it was clear and cloudless, but now the wind was blowing harshly, the sky was full of gloomy clouds, and it looked like a storm was coming.
Yu Chu was lying on the window, looking out with great interest. The hired thug on duty at the gate put on his raincoat and was busy running around, fixing the trees that didn’t look too stable. There was a palm tree across the gate, and after the last gale, the main trunk became a little crooked. Two hired thugs were on each side, trying to nail down a wooden frame to support the trunk of the tree.
“Isn’t being a hired thug supposed to be easy, huh? Isn’t this the same as being a factory employee, since they aren’t just hired thugs, but also do these kinds of chores?” Yu Chu sighed, “Although I’m stuck on this island and can’t get out, it seems that they don’t have it much better, since they can only get off the island one day a month, right? I think, even if you went ashore on your day off, you’d be followed. It’s not like it would be comfortable and relaxing.”
The TV was on, and Zhou Mu was sitting on the sofa opposite the TV, but he was fiddling with something in his hands, and he said, “I’m used to it, and I don’t want to go ashore on my vacation day.”
Yu Chu hurriedly closed the window, but his head still got drenched by the rain. He ruffled a few strands of his hair, which was slightly wet, and asked, “What did you do before? Why did you come to this island?”
He thought that according to Zhou Mu’s temper, he wouldn’t answer, but unexpectedly he opened his mouth, “I used to work in Mr. Yu’s machine factory.”
Yu Chu looked at his back with a little surprise and continued to ask, “What about before you went to work in the machine factory?”
He didn’t care about the people around him, including not being too curious about what Yu ShiQing was actually doing. He felt that he was just a passerby in this world, and that these people were irrelevant to him. But Zhou Mu was different. There was an indescribable sense of contradiction in Zhou Mu that constantly drew him to find out more about him.
“Before, I ran a restaurant in my hometown, and once I broke a customer’s head open, so I fled to Haiyun City and joined Mr. Yu’s machinery factory.” Zhou Mu replied without looking at him, his tone was very flat.
A moment later, Yu Chu asked incredulously, “Is that it?”
“What else should there be?”
“Opening a restaurant and fighting with customers? Are you kidding me?”
Zhou Mu said, “You can ask Mr. Yu if you think I’m lying, he should know very well.”
Yu Chu was a little disappointed, because he thought that the mysterious Zhou Mu must have had a great past, and didn’t expect that he had a restaurant in a small town, and then fought with customers before fleeing to Haiyun. This experience couldn’t have been fabricated by Zhou Mu, because Yu ShiQing must have investigated him up to his ancestors, and only after all the facts matched would he have been accepted to the Island.
Zhou Mu raised his head, looked at him from the back of the sofa and said, “Sorry to disappoint you, I’m neither a big man who lost in a fire fight somewhere, nor am I carrying ten or so lives, nor am I a thief who climbs on walls and is wanted by the police.”
Yu Chu wasn’t embarrassed that he was seen through by him and simply walked over to the sofa and sat down beside him. Due to the sudden darkening of the weather, the room wasn’t well lit, and from Yu Chu’s perspective, Zhou Mu’s features were hidden in the gloom. The bridge of his nose was high and the contours of his face were more distinct. He was very focused on his left hand that was cupping a small piece of metal as his right hand was applying mechanical oil to it.
Yu Chu’s eyes fell on it and he couldn’t help but ask, “What are you doing?”
“The lock on your bathroom door got rusty from the dampness and the lock is a little uneven so I’m going to replace it with two homemade sliders. It will be better than the bought ones.” Zhou Mu replied.
Yu Chu stared at his long and nimble fingers for a while and suddenly asked, “You must be a good cook, right?”
“…Huh?” Zhou Mu didn’t respond for a moment.
“Didn’t you run a restaurant? You must be very good at cooking.”
Zhou Mu compared the length of the two pieces of metal and said, “I shouldn’t be too bad at it.”
“Was your business good?”
“Full of customers.”
Because it had been raining, they stayed inside. Yu Chu curled up on the couch watching TV and Zhou Mu listened to the TV.
The drain in the sink was slightly clogged and not draining fast enough, so he removed the pipe and cleaned it up, and the floor lamp switch was a little out of order, which he also fixed by taking it apart with his tools.
Yu Chu watched TV and ate snacks, and was amused by the comedic segments on the screen, and the two of them did their own work, each in peace with the other. But Zhou Mu, as he passed by the sofa, grabbed the ice water from Yu Chu’s hand which he had just taken out of the refrigerator and handed him a glass of hot, steaming water.
“You’re breaking the rules, don’t make an exception.” Yu Chu nudged him with his finger in the air.
Rugosa brought lunch to the room, and she was obviously upset about the two of them living together, pushing the food cart into the room with a sultry gaze towards Yu Chu and glaring at Zhou Mu several times.
Zhou Mu was a little confused. Waiting for Rugosa to leave the room, he was still frowning in thought. Yu Chu was aware, but didn’t tell him, and only enjoyed his confused look, feeling very pleased.
After lunch, Zhou Mu was lying on the sofa playing on his cell phone. Yu Chu went back to his bedroom to rest, and when he passed by him, he saw the mini-game on his phone.
Yu Chu closed his eyes and lay on the bed for half an hour, but he wasn’t even half asleep. The bedroom door wasn’t closed tightly, and he could hear noises from the direction of the living room. From time to time, Zhou Mu’s phone made sounds. After turning over again, Yu Chu faced the bookcase next to the other wall and met the eyes of a small cat behind the transparent glass door.
The bookcase was quite large, occupying half of the wall and had a total of four levels, neatly arranged with a variety of text books with half a palm-sized ceramic cat standing on one of the rows in the front. The cat painted blue wasn’t made very well, its neck was too short, and its four legs weren’t the same length, presumably made by the original Yu Chu.
Yu Chu stared at it for a while, when his mind suddenly flashed, so he quickly got up and went forward, opened the bookcase door and took out the ceramic cat.
He could tell right away that the key wasn’t inside the cat, since it was too light. He turned it face up, saw that the bottom was actually hollow, but there was nothing hidden inside. Yu Chu showed his disappointment as he put the cat back to its original position. He was reaching out to close the cabinet door when his eyes swept over the books behind the cat. He paused slightly and pulled out one of the books.
It was a thick notebook that looked a bit old, with a beige hard cover that was a bit yellowed and slightly torn around the edges, showing its age. In the middle of the notebook were two words, Yu Chu, which were much larger than normal, obviously written by a child.
He flipped it open in the middle, reading the page there.
I brought Tinker Bell and Dangdang back home, and they seemed happy. I looked it up, and Tinker Bell is called a Phoenix Snail. The name is nice, but not as nice as Tinker Bell.
The following was a pencil drawing, barely recognizable as two sea snails, and to reflect their happiness, the snails were painted with smiling, curved eyes.
Yu Chu touched the two snails with his fingers, and his soft fingers felt the slight indentation of the pencil drawing, then he turned to the next page.
2008.02.16 I don’t know if it’s considered sunny, but it was raining and the sun is out again.
Why does Mom want me to write a diary every day? My hands are tired, my feet are tired, my eyes are tired, and my mouth is tired. Well, I’ve finished my diary for today.
Today after school, I saw that Mom’s eyes were red, she had probably been crying. I knew it must’ve been Dad who had come. I want Dad to come to see me, but when he comes, Mom is sad.
Why does Mom hate Dad? I don’t quite understand. I finally asked her today and she said it’s because nothing is of her own volition. What does that mean?
I flew a kite today, my mood is just hahahahahahahahahahaha.
When Yu Chu saw this, the corners of his mouth hooked up silently. Through this childish handwriting, he seemed to see a soft little boy, who was quietly writing under the desk lamp. The little boy was unrelated to him, but because he was transmigrated and they were magically linked together, like a spiritual connection, he could even feel the happy mood of the little boy when reading this.
The little boy in the diary was so smart and sensitive that it was hard for Yu Chu to relate him to the ‘Yu Chu’ others knew.
Wooden, timid, dull, cowardly… either those years he had grown up and it had worn his spirit down, or— he was trying to hide himself.