Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Xie XingMu expected Yu Chu to jump for joy, and to his slight surprise, Yu Chu didn’t have a big reaction, only smiled and looked at him with those big black and white eyes. After a moment of consternation, Xie XingMu reacted and said, “Don’t worry, Yu ShiQing’s men are all captured too, and won’t pose a threat to you again.”
But Yu Chu still stared at him without saying anything.
Xie XingMu thought for a moment, took out his cell phone and said, “Let’s add each other on WeChat.”
Someone passed by, just in time to hear this sentence, and was surprised enough they looked at him. Xie XingMu didn’t pay attention to them, he unlocked his phone with his fingerprint, and said, “The WeChat you added before won’t be in use anymore, so add this one instead. If there’s anything, you can find me.”
Yu Chu then spoke slowly, “I don’t have a phone, the old one fell into the sea.”
Xie XingMu was startled, then immediately said, “Wait here for me.” After saying that, he turned around and went to the criminal investigation office.
Yu Chu watched him get the door to the room, then leaned back against the wall, half leaning, hands in the pockets of his pants, in the customary dashing pose. The police officers passing by looked at him strangely before they realized this posture and they stood up straight and hung their hands by their trouser legs.
After a while, Xie XingMu came out with a new cell phone in his hand and handed it to Yu Chu, “This is the prize I won at the annual meeting. I put a card in it with your former number.” After saying that, he opened the phone and pointed to the apps on it, “These are the ones you often use, they’re also installed.”
Yu Chu took the phone, opened WeChat and searched the contacts. There was a recently added contact, with the nickname ‘Xie XingMu’. Its avatar picture was of a strange droid, the very default kind before assembling its skin.
“What’s this?” He poked the droid with his finger.
“This is me.”
“I mean, what is this thing?”
Xie XingMu scratched the bridge of his nose and said indistinctly, “A Gundam.”
“Mn.” Yu Chu didn’t continue to ask, only thinking in his mind, How could such an intelligent person use such an online name?
Xie XingMu sent Yu Chu to the entrance of the Public Security Bureau, stopped in his tracks, he looked at the traffic on the street and asked, “What are your plans after?”
“I don’t have any plans, I’ll take one step at a time.” Yu Chu looked around and said absentmindedly.
“Do you want to go see Yu ShiQing? He’s being held temporarily at the detention center, awaiting arraignment.” Xie XingMu asked.
Yu Chu turned to him a little surprised, “Why should I go see Yu ShiQing?”
Xie XingMu was stunned and stared at him for a few seconds before he laughed, “Okay, then I’ll go see him.”
“But I want to ask you about someone.” Yu Chu asked him, “Do you know Zheng Bao and Rugosa from the island?”
“Zheng Bao I know, but who is Rugosa?” Xie XingMu struggled to remember.
“Rugosa is also called Chen Hua, the girl who took care of me before.”
Xie XingMu gave him a look and said, “They both came to the island for a short time and didn’t do anything to help Yu ShiQing, so they’ve been released.”
“Oh.” Yu Chu kicked a small stone at his feet and said, “Then I’m leaving.”
Xie XingMu didn’t say anything, just frowned and stared ahead, as if he was lost in thought, so Yu Chu walked down the sidewalk to the left, still clutching the new phone in his hand. He walked aimlessly, looking left and right all the way, gazing at the pedestrians on the street and the stores along the street in a new way. In front of an alley, he met a candy-painting vendor, and stood by the stall with a few children, watching with interest for a long time.
He walked all the way to the shopping center, aware of his hunger, then found that it was noon. He didn’t have a penny in his pocket, but didn’t panic, and walked forward for a while, then stopped in front of a hotel.
This hotel was hosting a banquet with a new bride and groom standing in front of the main door. The steps were also covered in thrown confetti, and next to it was a long table. Someone sitting there was responsible for receiving gifts, and the guests who had sent favors went into the hotel one after another. The bookkeeper responsible for registering the gifts was obviously very busy, waiting around for a few guests. Yu Chu stood on the sidewalk for a few seconds and then walked towards the hotel entrance.
When he was a child, he used to mingle with other small children for meals at these types of banquets. They would spread out, each following the adults who were going to the banquet, like the little kids in that family, strutting around and then looking for an empty table inside to eat a lot. The meal at the banquet was the most delicious they usually tasted, and they ate so much that their stomachs were rounded. When they left they could also take chicken legs, so their next day’s meal was also covered.
But a number of times, the hotel manager still recognized a few of them, blocking the front door, not letting them through, and called security guards to drive them away. Yu Chu was once caught when the manager grabbed him by the back of his shirt collar and slapped him hard.
The manager grabbed him by the back of his collar and slapped him so hard that he fell down the steps and passed out. When he woke up, he was left in a flower bed, heard voices in half his ears, and stumbled into the bridge where the children had gathered.
When he recovered, Yu Chu began to follow the manager and found that he often went on dates with a woman in a hotel room. He got the manager’s wife’s phone number and used a public terminal to call the manager’s wife when the man entered the hotel room one time.
Yu Chu stood across the road from the hotel and watched as the manager’s wife stormed into the hotel with a man. Half an hour later, the manager escaped with a face full of injuries and Yu Chu left, satisfied.
Then that manager also had frequent incidents at work, when guests found flies in the soup, or when the Union health department came to inspect the kitchen and found dead rats. He was also fired from the hotel after a short time.
After half a minute, he walked towards the hotel pretending to have delivered the gift, passing the bride and groom with a coy smile.
On this occasion, the bride and groom couldn’t recognize all their friends and relatives, so they all smiled back at Yu Chu and watched him enter the front door of the hotel, before moving on to greet other guests with a smile.
Yu Chu went up the red carpeted stairs to the second floor and found an empty table in the noisy lobby. The table was filled up in a few moments as guests arrived one after another and took their seats around it.
Yu Chu opened the candy box in front of him, peeled a piece of candy, put it in his mouth, and started playing with his new phone.
The guests at the table all knew each other, and they were just waiting for the banquet to start, cracking melon seeds. He looked at the apps in his new phone, but apart from a few basic apps that came with the phone, there was only WeChat. He then looked for an app store and downloaded a video app for watching TV shows.
Straight after a burst of rousing music was played, the MC opened the show on stage before Yu Chu put away his phone. After the master of ceremonies finished his speech, the groom came on stage, and then the music switched and the bride, wearing a white wedding dress, entered.
Yu Chu and the people around him stood up and applauded.
After the two parties exchanged rings and said their vows, the waiters came out in full force, crisscrossing the hall and bringing a hot dish to the table. As the banquet began, Yu Chu unwrapped his chopsticks and ate his meal while watching the show on stage.
He was like a child who had gobbled up the food at the banquet, but the dishes looked wrong and tasted mediocre.
As he stepped out of the hotel, Yu Chu squinted against the dazzling sunlight and wondered where he would go for lunch. Just before he took a step to the left, the back of his neck was tightened, and his collar was pulled by someone.
Yu Chu reflexively tried to elbow the back, but the familiar feeling made him stop, and he asked, “What are you doing?”
Xie XingMu asked in return, “What are you doing?”
Yu Chu struggled but didn’t break free and didn’t move again, only frowned, “Don’t just pull my collar like that, okay? Let go.”
The two of them were in a strange position, people passing by were stopping to look at them, so Xie XingMu let go, lifted Yu Chu by the collar and went to the next alley. Yu Chu could only follow on tiptoe.
In the alley, Xie XingMu let go, and Yu Chu finished straightening his clothes. The gold chain on his neck came out of his collar and was dangling in front of his chest.
“You still keep Yu ShiQing’s things?” Xie XingMu stared at the gold chain and asked, looking a bit complicated.
Yu Chu tucked the gold chain into his collar before asking, “Why can’t I keep it? When I won’t have food to eat, I can exchange it for some money.”
“When you don’t have food to eat, you go to people’s banquets?” Xie XingMu asked. He looked at Yu Chu with his eyes slightly downcast, his voice very flat, and his face without expression.
Yu Chu said, “You’re stalking me.”
He knew Xie XingMu’s stalking skills very well. When he had tried to escape from the island he was caught time and time again. If Xie XingMu didn’t take the initiative to show up, he would be very difficult to be found.
“I didn’t follow you, the premise of stalking is to hide the trail. I was walking openly on the street.” Xie XingMu said.
“Isn’t that still stalking?”
The sun was bright and Xie XingMu’s forehead oozed with little beads of sweat. He turned around to find if there was any place to sit around here. He questioned, “Did you have enough to eat just now?”
“No, the food at the banquet was hard to swallow,” Yu Chu said.
“You’ve gotten this far and are still picky about food,” Xie XingMu snickered.
Yu Chu said, “I didn’t have anything to eat today.”
Xie XingMu thought about it and asked, “Do you want to eat something light? There’s a congee store down the street, it’s pretty good. We can go and sit down.”
Yu Chu followed him towards the congee store, passing by the entrance of the hotel. Xie XingMu saw that the person who was receiving the gift money was still sitting there, counting the accounts with another person, so he took out the money clip from his pocket and handed five sheets to Yu Chu from it.
“What do you want me to do with it?” Yu Chu asked as he took the money.
Xie XingMu sidled up to him, “Go and pay for the meal you just had.”
Yu Chu watched so many days of drama, and also knew the value of the money, so he muttered, “I told you that the meal wasn’t good. I just ate a little, so how can it be worth five hundred?”
After saying that, he took out three of them and stuffed them in his pants pocket, and walked over with the remaining two.
The bookkeeper in charge of collecting the gift money was about to put the gift book in the bag next to him when he saw a good-looking young man standing in front of him and said, “I’m sorry I’m late, here’s my gift money.”
“Ah, okay.” He spread out the gift book again, looked at the bills from Yu Chu’s hand, and asked, “Two hundred?”
In recent years, Haiyun City’s number of gifts gradually climbed and today, none of the wedding gifts were less than five hundred, but he saw this young man looked younger, probably still studying, so the gift of less than five hundred could be understood.
“What name should I write?” The tip of the bookkeeper’s pen swished on the paper book.
Yu Chu didn’t answer him, when Xie XingMu’s voice sounded, “Meal Money1.”
The bookkeeper lifted his head up, “Cao Fan or Qian Kun Qian?”
“The character for ‘meal’ and the character for ‘money’.” Xie XingMu said.
The bookkeeper froze for a moment, and didn’t ask again, as the pen flew on the paper, recording it: Meal Money – exactly two hundred yuan.