Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Yu Chu sat on the sofa, changing the TV station with the remote control and listening to the sound coming from the bathroom. After a while, Chi DuoDuo came out of the shower with a dry towel over his head. He ran to Yu Chu and tried to throw off his slippers and climb up the sofa, but Xie XingMu, who came out after him, grabbed him by the back of his collar, “Let’s go to bed.”
The action of grabbing the back collar was so familiar that it made Yu Chu, who was eating a fruit platter, lurch.
Chi DuoDuo was carried in the air like a little chicken, pleading, “Uncle, let me play with Xiao Chu for a while.”
“No, you have to go to kindergarten tomorrow.” Xie XingMu raised him in his arms and walked coldly to the child’s room.
The sound of Chi DuoDuo’s laughter and the soft buzzing of the hair dryer came from the child’s room, and after a few moments, only Xie XingMu’s thick, gentle whispers remained, “…The little prince was sitting on the roof, looking at the sky full of stars, thinking, that flower will bloom tomorrow. It will surely be a beautiful flower, more beautiful than the stars in the sky…”
Yu Chu turned down the TV volume and carefully caught Xie XingMu’s intermittent tone.
“What does that flower look like?” Chi DuoDuo’s tone seemed quiet.
Xie XingMu said, “Reddish, with a pink golden border and a white blue hue.”
“What does a pink golden border look like? And what does the white blue hue look like?” Chi DuoDuo was asking.
Xie XingMu paused for a moment, explaining, “It’s the kind of thing that looks pink, but at a different angle it’s gold, and it looks blue, and the base is white.”
“…I can’t imagine it, Uncle.” Chi DuoDuo said in confusion.
“If you can’t imagine it, don’t think of it, but just know that it’s the most beautiful flower in the world.”
“Okay, Uncle. Is Xiao Chu the cat you gave me?”
“…Absolutely not! What are you talking about? Go to sleep.”
Yu Chu leaned back on the back of the sofa chair and couldn’t help but smile.
After putting Chi DuoDuo to sleep, Xie XingMu tucked him in, dimmed the bed light, then leaned down and dropped a soft kiss on his forehead, then tiptoed out of the child’s room and closed the door. When he came back, he saw Yu Chu looking at him with a smile on his face, so he gestured to the stairs and asked, “Want to go up to the roof for a drink?”
A drink? Sure. Yu Chu stood up.
“You go up first, and I’ll bring up the drinks.” Xie XingMu walked to the kitchen refrigerator.
Yu Chu had already been to the rooftop once in the afternoon with Chi DuoDuo, so he walked up the interior stairs. The rooftop was large, enveloped by a glass dome, with a fitness area on one side with a swimming pool and exercise equipment, and a lounge area on the other side, with a long pile carpet in the sunroom and a few cushions thrown around.
Yu Chu had just sat down on the carpet when Xie XingMu came up to the rooftop. He was carrying a tray, which he placed on a low table next to Yu Chu. The tray contained several cans of beer and a large clear glass full of orange liquid.
“I made the cocktail myself, try it.” Xie XingMu sat across from him on his knees and pushed the orange liquid to his face, while he opened the can of beer and took a sip.
“That’s a pretty big cocktail.” Yu Chu exclaimed.
He has seen this cup before, placed on the table to hold boiling water, its capacity was so big, it could be filled with three to four glasses of water.
“It’s fine, just drink up. Since we’re home anyway, you can just flop down for a nap if you get drunk.” Xie XingMu said.
Yeah, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a drink, so tonight I shall drink.
Yu Chu picked up the big, round, fat cup with both hands and took a sip. With a sweet and sour taste, it wasn’t bad, but there was no taste of alcohol. He smacked his lips and asked hesitantly, “Is this the cocktail you made?”
Xie XingMu said, “Yes.”
“Then how come it doesn’t smell like alcohol?” Yu Chu held it up to his nose again and sniffed.
A strong fruity aroma drifted into his nose, and indeed there was no hint of alcohol; it wasn’t a cocktail, it was just a glass of freshly squeezed juice.
Xie XingMu met his accusing gaze, and after a pause, extended the beer can in his hand and poured a small amount into his glass, saying, “This time it’s a cocktail, drink it.”
Yu Chu indignantly handed him the juice and said, “You drink this cocktail, I’ll drink beer.”
Xie XingMu didn’t take it and said soothingly, “Just drink this cocktail, fruit is good for you, and if you finish it obediently, I’ll give you a beer.”
Are you serious? If this large glass of juice goes down, my stomach will be full. How can I drink beer then?
Xie XingMu saw him holding the juice without saying anything and said, “What’s with the stinky face? Just like an alcoholic, cocktails can’t satisfy you anymore. How old are you now? Just a dozen years older than DuoDuo, do you know how much alcohol hurts people who are young? Okay, you’re still young, but for how long—”
“Shut up!” Yu Chu slammed the glass of juice down, splashing a few drops on the table, then asked with a sullen face, “Xie XingMu, why are you so nagging?”
When Xie XingMu was his bodyguard on the island he already felt that this person was a bit too much. He wiped the rock down before he sat down, didn’t let him sit on the edge of the water, because it was too cold but he couldn’t sit on the gravel because it was too hot. He didn’t expect that after this person stopped being his bodyguard, his mother-in-law aura would grow more and more.
After watching him fight so cleanly without understanding the situation, thinking he was just a cold face with a few words… Yu Chu was deceived by his appearance.
“You call this nagging?” Xie XingMu sat higher than him and looked askance at him from above, “I’m your bodyguard, I have to control your living habits and out of the ordinary behavior.”
“You’re not my bodyguard anymore, and even if you were, it was fake. You were only pretending to be my bodyguard to finish the job.” Yu Chu retorted.
“I am the captain of the Criminal Investigation Brigade and you’re an important witness in a serious case that we are investigating. The case isn’t solved, so I have the right to control your living habits. There are all kinds of things I have the right to control.”
Yu Chu stared at him and said, “I just want to drink some alcohol.”
“I gave you a drink.” Xie XingMu lifted his chin at the large glass of juice, “A nearly 1000ML cocktail.”
Yu Chu was furious and laughed, “A little beer mixed with it is a cocktail? Okay then, it’s a cocktail.” He stood up, picked up the large glass of juice, and under the watchful eyes of Xie XingMu, walked quickly to the other side of the rooftop by the borderless swimming pool, and poured it in with a splash.
He shook the glass and emptied the last bit of juice before turning back to Xie XingMu and saying, “Mn, now you have a pool of cocktails.”
Xie XingMu watched in silence as he walked back, then he opened a can of beer and handed it to him. Yu Chu sat down across from him, took it and leaned back, taking a big sip.
“You’ve been known to get drunk on two beers.” Xie XingMu’s voice sounded a little helpless.
Yu Chu said impatiently, “That might be true, but I don’t remember it anyway.”
“Even if you don’t want to drink the juice, you could’ve given it to me. How wasteful… and the water in the pool was changed just yesterday, but it needs to be changed again tomorrow…”
“I didn’t pour the juice, I poured the cocktail.” Yu Chu coldly took another sip of beer.
The two men stopped talking and looked up at the night sky. The city’s lights shone, and the night sky looked a little gray, with a few shining stars faintly visible hanging on it.
“Have you seen the stars on the island?” Xie XingMu suddenly spoke, “The stars there are particularly beautiful, each one seems to fall into your hands.”
Yu Chu said sullenly after a long time, “No, I don’t like Singwon Island.”
“Yu ShiQing is in custody, waiting for the trial. If you want to go see him, I will find a way for you.” Xie XingMu said.
Yu Chu said, “I don’t like Singwon Island and I don’t want to go to see Yu ShiQing.”
“Mn.” Xie XingMu nodded understandingly and added, “Singwon Island was seized and some items that could be used as evidence were shipped back to the bureau. I have instructed them to bring back the personal items that belong to you.”
Yu Chu said, “I don’t have any personal belongings.” After thinking about it, he added, “If you find a notebook, you can bring it to me.”
“A notebook?” Xie XingMu asked.
Yu Chu turned the beer can in his hand and said, “It’s some things I’ve been recording, not much use to you.”
“I see.” Xie XingMu suddenly reached out and patted him on the shoulder, then withdrew his hand.
The two began to drink in silence, and soon drained the cans of beer. Yu Chu was lying on the shag carpet, under a cloth cushion, when he stretched out his feet to stomp Xie XingMu, who was also half lying next to him, “Go, bring up some more beer.”
“It’s already finished, you’ve had three cans.” Xie XingMu said.
Yu Chu started to kick his hard thighs, “Go, go.”
Xie XingMu sighed lowly and said in a gentle tone, “It’s cold at night, too much beer is bad for your stomach.”
Yu Chu said, “Then change to another alcohol.” Seeing Xie XingMu not moving, he kicked a few more times, “Go on.”
Xie XingMu turned to look at him and said, “Then promise me you won’t go crazy when you’re drunk.”
“I won’t, go ahead.” Yu Chu wanted to say that when he often got drunk, he never went crazy, but then thought that this sentence would reveal that he wasn’t a good drinker, and promptly swallowed his words.
Xie XingMu stood up and walked downstairs, as Yu Chu watched his tall back disappear at the entrance of the stairs, before lying down on his back on the carpet, lazily half-squinting at the sky.
“…Little birds fly to the sky, dandelions float in the wind, I carry my luggage, no matter how far, I’ll always be in my mother’s…” He softly hummed a childhood nursery rhyme, halfway through it, slowly ending the tone. It had been a long time since he had relaxed and let go like this, a long time since he had hummed this song, the most recent time was a few years ago.
Why did he do it that time? It was probably when he finally got a permit to live at Cloud Top, to get away from the deep sea where life never lasted long… He just didn’t expect that although there was food and clothing at Cloud Top, it was still dangerous.
After he transmigrated here, everything was still life-threatening, Yu Chu’s mouth corner floated a bitter smile.
“What are you looking at? Looking so stupid.” While he was thinking, Xie XingMu’s voice suddenly sounded in his ear.
Yu Chu turned to look at him, only to see that the man had taken a seat next to him and placed a bottle of red wine and two tall clear glasses on the low table.
“Wondering what kind of wine you would bring up.” Yu Chu watched him uncork the red wine with a corkscrew, and his mood instantly improved.
Xie XingMu turned the corkscrew, saying, “This wine is from when I went to France last year on vacation. I bought it in a winery, the taste was particularly good with a low alcohol percentage, so you can try it. That winery’s wine is very good and the vineyard scenery is beautiful. I was with DuoDuo and I turned my back just for a second when he disappeared. I had a hard time finding him, but he ended up hiding behind a large wooden barrel in the cellar, stealing the wine and drinking it…”
Yu Chu listened to his bass-like rambling, looking at his silhouetted profile under the night sky. He suddenly lifted his foot, resting it on his thigh, and then slowly sliding up and down on his leg.
The words from Xie XingMu’s mouth disappeared abruptly, and his movements stalled. He reached out his right hand to grab his ankle as Yu Chu’s foot began to make its way to his middle part, and then flung his foot away with a gentle toss to the side.
“Don’t be ridiculous.” He said.
Yu Chu wasn’t bothered, just lay there on his back and watched Xie XingMu open the bottle and pour wine into the two glasses. He pushed one towards him, then picked up the other and sniffed it gently.
Yu Chu didn’t care about the glass of wine and was silent. He half sat up, both hands behind him, put his feet on Xie XingMu’s thighs again and stepped on some part of it when he grabbed his ankles. He stared at Xie XingMu, not letting go of any change in his expression, and stepped gently on his foot.
Xie XingMu didn’t grab his ankle this time, only stared at the glass of wine in his hand, the side lines of his face becoming tight, his chin to his Adam’s apple drawing an arc.
Yu Chu felt the touch of his feet begin to harden and the corners of his mouth curled into a mischievous smile. He couldn’t say exactly what he was doing this for, it seemed like he just wanted to see Xie XingMu lose his cool.
“Not bad, it’s quite something.” He spoke in a very soft voice with obvious compulsion.
Xie XingMu slowly looked at him, his face against the light, which made his contours look more distinct. In his pair of deep dark eyes, Yu Chu saw the usual familiar light, with some emotions he couldn’t understand. This kind of Xie XingMu was like when the two of them weren’t very familiar with each other on the island, so Yu Chu was stunned and stopped moving his feet.
A sudden flip in the sky, and when he blinked again, he was already lying on the carpet, and above him was Xie XingMu’s enlarged face.
Xie XingMu propped his hands next to his ears, his upper body enveloping Yu Chu, and asked, in a low tone, “When did you learn these tricks?”
He was so low and close that his hot breath hit Yu Chu’s neck, and Yu Chu heard the implied anger in his words and subconsciously replied, “I learned it.”
“Yu ShiQing told you to learn?” Xie XingMu asked through clenched teeth.
Yu Chu Mang asked, “Yu ShiQing?”
Xie XingMu stared at him for a few more seconds, emitting a stern aura. Yu Chu couldn’t help but feel a sense of dread at being pressed by a large beast, so he was just lying motionless.
“Are you familiar with this?” Xie XingMu asked again.
Yu Chu subconsciously perceived the danger and shook in panic, “Not familiar, I only know the theory, haven’t practiced.”
When he was a teenager, he knew from the covetous or adoring glances of others that he had a nice appearance and knew how to use his looks to achieve his goals. But he understood how to protect himself more, and knew he had to maintain a seemingly ambiguous distance, never blatantly tease people like this.
He only used his words, only having theoretical knowledge, no one had ever interested him to put it into practice. He didn’t know if it was the night and alcohol that made him let his guard down, or if Xie XingMu acted too harmlessly, so he overlooked that this person was very threatening inside and actually made the move to flirt with this person.
Xie XingMu looked down at him with a sullen gaze, as if to see if he was telling the truth. A few moments later he turned over and sat back up, picked up the glass of red wine and took a sip, making all the harshness of his body fade away, as if nothing had happened.
Yu Chu lay on the floor for a while, before slowly getting up, muttering, “Psycho.”
Neither of them spoke for the rest of the night, just slowly drank wine, and before they knew it, the large bottle of red wine was finished.
Xie XingMu looked at the lights in the distance and suddenly felt his shoulder sink as a soft body leaned on it. He thought Yu Chu was trying to do the same thing again, trying to make some small tricks to mess with him, so he frowned and turned to look at the person on his shoulder. Under such a slight movement, the person on the shoulder actually slid down and fell into his arms.
The person in his arms had fallen asleep under the light and starlight, his fair face was flushed with peach, his lips were slightly open, revealing a small pink tongue. His long eyelashes were hanging on his lower lid, shaped with dark and dense curves.
Xie XingMu watched Yu Chu for a moment, then suddenly curved his lips to reveal a smile and said, “Fruit juice won’t make you get drunk and act crazy.”