Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Xie XingMu cooked three bowls of noodles, covered it with eggs and shrimps, and called for Yu Chu and Chi DuoDuo who were watching TV.
“Can you change the bok choy? Uncle, can you not cover the noodles with bok choy in the future?” Chi DuoDuo complained discontentedly, plucking the two bok choy with a small fork.
Xie XingMu untied his apron and said, “What do you want to cover it with?”
“A candy or ice cream.” Chi DuoDuo rolled his eyes.
“Is that so? Eat up, no leftovers.”
Yu Chu sat down across from Xie XingMu, picked up some noodles and pushed them to his mouth, Xie XingMu looked up at him and said, “How does it taste? Is it good?”
Yu Chu didn’t answer, only looked at him with a watery eye, holding the noodles, piece by piece, slowly putting them into his mouth. Xie XingMu stopped eating the noodles and held up his chopsticks to stare at him. Yu Chu swallowed all the noodles into his mouth, then stuck out his tongue and licked his upper lip.
Xie XingMu’s chopsticks fell on the table.
“Uncle, hahahahahaha! Uncle, you can’t even hold your chopsticks!” Chi DuoDuo suddenly burst out laughing wildly, breaking the sticky atmosphere.
Xie XingMu expressionlessly picked up the chopsticks and said, “These chopsticks have oil, is it strange that I can’t hold them? Eat quickly, and don’t leave a single vegetable.”
When he finished, he stood up, went back to the kitchen to change his chopsticks, and then came back out and nudged Yu Chu’s bowl with his chopsticks, “You too, eat your noodles and don’t do anything else, and don’t leave any vegetables.”
His expression was very natural, as if nothing had just happened.
The ambiguity in the air was swept away, Yu Chu pouted and honestly began to eat the noodles.
“Do you remember what happened to you last time?” Xie XingMu suddenly.
Xie XingMu stirred the noodles with his chopsticks and said, “The thing about sending you to school.”
“I don’t want to go to school.” Yu Chu muttered.
Chi DuoDuo chimed in, “I don’t want to go to school either.”
“You don’t have the right to object.” Xie XingMu coldly said to Yu Chu, “I will hire a tutor for you to teach you everything.”
“So you can take the college entrance exam.”
Yu Chu put down his chopsticks and protested with a sullen face, “I’m not going to take the college entrance exam.”
“Then what do you want to do afterwards? You’re going to work at a restaurant? Or go gambling?” Xie XingMu took a vegetable from his bowl and threw it into his bowl.
“Who told you to be so backward in technology? There aren’t even any androids, or I could make skins for the androids.” Yu Chu also sneered.
Chi DuoDuo eyes glowed, “Xiao Chu, is Ultraman an android? Can you give him skin?”
Xie XingMu huffed like his teeth hurt, “If you don’t want to cram for the entrance exam, then what else do you want to do? Come on. Don’t mention androids.”
Yu Chu thought for a long time and said, “I want to make cakes.”
“A pastry chef?” Xie XingMu pondered for a moment and said, “Okay, pastry chef, go see what training courses are available, and I will send you to learn for a while.”
Chi DuoDuo eyes brightened, “Xiao Chu, wow! You want to make a cake? Chocolate cake is delicious.”
Yu Chu turned his head to look at him, picked up his chopsticks, Xie XingMu chewed the green vegetables, and threw one in his small bowl. Chi DuoDuo stared at his noodle bowl with a thunderstruck look on his face and looked up at Xie XingMu with some desperation.
Xie XingMu pretended not to see it, Chi DuoDuo could only eat the vegetables with resignation.
When he finished the bowl of noodles, Chi DuoDuo bit into his chopsticks and said, “Uncle, I’m full, but I can’t eat the rest.”
Xie XingMu looked at his bowl of noodles and thought it was about time, so he said, “Then you can stop eating, but go brush your teeth before playing.”
“Okay!” Chi DuoDuo happily got off the table.
Xie XingMu picked up Chi DuoDuo’s remaining bowl of noodles and looked at Yu Chu who was also biting his chopsticks, “You can’t eat anymore either?”
“Yes.” Yu Chu nodded his head. The bowl of noodles was indeed a bit much, and it was also covered with a lotus egg, so he really couldn’t finish it.
Xie XingMu reached for Yu Chu’s bowl and poured it into his own bowl with Chi DuoDuo’s remaining bowl of noodles, tossing it with chopsticks and then picking it up and bringing it to his mouth. Yu Chu saw his action and was shocked, “Ah, what are you doing?”
Xie XingMu took a bite of the noodles and said, “I’m not full yet, so you two have enough left over.”
“But that’s our leftovers.”
Xie XingMu wondered, “What’s wrong with that? You two aren’t outsiders.”
After saying that, he took a big bite and ate.
Yu Chu sat across the table and watched, remembering the phrase “you two aren’t outsiders”, his heart started thumping uncontrollably, the corners of the lips also curled up. After eating, the three of them went for a walk downstairs. Walking on the unoccupied boulevard, Chi DuoDuo held Xie XingMu in one hand and Yu Chu in the other.
The sun hadn’t yet set, but a few stars were already hanging in the sky, and Yu Chu looked up at the sky and felt a peace that he had never felt before. Xie XingMu removed a fallen leaf from Chi DuoDuo’s head and said, “Xiao Chu, can you help pick up DuoDuo for a few days?”
“Where are you going?” Yu Chu immediately asked.
Xie XingMu smiled, “Not going anywhere, I just have a new case at hand, so I’m probably going to be very busy, and I may not be able to go home.”
“Oh. Okay.” Yu Chu answered, holding back his loss.
Xie XingMu said, “The security level of the home lock is very high. As long as you go out, take a taxi, don’t go out alone after dark, and it will be fine.”
“Got it.” When the two of them were in a small forest, Chi DuoDuo let go of their hands and jumped to pick up the leaves. Yu Chu was about to follow, when Xie XingMu suddenly said, “Don’t move.”
After saying that, he squatted down and came up to tie his loose shoelaces.
“…The laces you had before had a loose buckle, so it easily slips off. Look, look at the technique. This way around, and then down a thread, so it’s very tight, the knot won’t fall apart…”
Yu Chu stood still and looked down at the top of Xie XingMu’s hair. The thick hair looked hard and tangled, reminding him of what he once said, saying that people with this hair have hard intestines.
That was obviously not true.
Because he had to take Chi DuoDuo to school the next day, Yu Chu set the alarm on his phone the previous night. He waited for the bell to ring just as he heard the sound of the door slam.
Xie XingMu had just gone out.
Yu Chu rolled up and looked down from the window. A few moments later, he watched the cross-country exit the underground garage, then drove out of the neighborhood. When the sight of the car disappeared, he retracted his eyes, began to change out of pajamas and washed up. After cleaning up, he went to the child’s room to wake Chi DuoDuo.
Chi DuoDuo, who was sitting on the edge of the bed in his bear pajamas, greeted him hazily, “Xiao Chu…” Then he fell backwards and tried to go back to sleep.
Yu Chu grabbed him and went to get the clothes that Xie XingMu had put on the chair in advance and put them into his hands, saying, “DuoDuo, you should change your clothes.”
Chi DuoDuo half squinted at the clothes and said blankly, “Yes, change.”
Yu Chu stood by the bed, watching Chi DuoDuo tugging at his pajamas, and said, “Can’t you get dressed?”
“I can.” Chi DuoDuo struggled to pull the collar of his pajamas over his head, and his face was pulled out of shape.
Yu Chu was a little suspicious, “Do you usually dress yourself?”
“Uncle did it for me.” Chi DuoDuo said with difficulty.
It turned out that he still couldn’t put on clothes. The child’s body was very soft, and the clothes weren’t easy to put on. Yu Chu took a lot of effort to put them on him, and a thin layer of sweat had formed on his forehead. Then he took him to the bathroom to wash up and squeeze toothpaste on the child’s toothbrush, when he caught a glimpse of Chi DuoDuo grabbing the collar of his T-shirt with his hands and twisting his neck from side to side.
“What’s wrong? Is your neck uncomfortable?” Yu Chu asked.
Chi DuoDuo said, “I feel weird.”
“Don’t move, let me look.” Yu Chu put down the toothbrush to feel his collar, and found that the clothes were inside out, and there were some wrinkles at the neck. So he put the clothes back on again. After washing up and leaving the bathroom, Yu Chu found that breakfast was already on the dining table, which Xie XingMu had prepared early in the morning.
There was congee, milk, custard bun and fried egg. There were also two empty bowls with clean chopsticks on them. The two of them went out, and Yu Chu took out his cell phone to check the time and found that Xie XingMu had sent a message to him.
The first was a transfer of two thousand dollars, followed by a voice message, Yu Chu clicked on it. Xie XingMu’s voice came out, “Your lunch is ready, so I put it in the refrigerator. I won’t be back for dinner so you two should go out to eat. This is the cost of food and a taxi for several days. Go to a good restaurant, one that is clean and sanitary. Don’t listen to Chi DuoDuo’s advice and eat burgers. If you leave, only take a taxi. Don’t shop alone, if there’s anything amiss, call me.”
Then came the transfer of five thousand dollars, also followed by another voice message, “This is your pocket money. You’re not allowed to spend it indiscriminately, and you’re not allowed to take it to gamble with. Every amount you spend, you need to report it.”
Yu Chu could see Xie XingMu in these two messages, driving while speaking, slightly wrinkling eyebrows, his handsome face looking solemn. Yu Chu smiled and nodded, then took Chi DuoDuo to the entrance of his classroom, but Chi DuoDuo didn’t go in, just stood in the same place without moving.
“You’re not going in?” Yu Chu asked.
Chi DuoDuo said, “Xiao Chu, you haven’t kissed me yet. Every time Uncle sends me into the classroom, he gives me a kiss.”
He nodded his little head. Yu Chu locked eyes with him for two seconds before leaning down and touching his lips to his forehead. Chi DuoDuo then cheerfully entered the classroom and said loudly, “Xiao Chu, come pick me up this afternoon!”
Yu Chu was hungry at home watching TV dramas, and remembered that Xie XingMu had made lunch for him, so he went to open the fridge and saw a plate of beef curry rice sealed in plastic wrap with a sticky note on it: Put it in the microwave and heat it up on high for two minutes.
After staring at the line of words for a few seconds, Yu Chu took out his cell phone and sent a rabbit-skin wiggle butt to Xie XingMu. After waiting for ten seconds or so, and not waiting for Xie XingMu to return the message, since he was obviously busy, Yu Chu put away his phone, put the rice in the microwave, and set the time for two minutes.
The sound of the rice being heated up and the message tone on the phone sounded at the same time, Yu Chu quickly took out his phone and saw that Xie XingMu had returned a message.
Xie XingMu: [Have you eaten yet?]
Yu Chu had a smile, pulled open the microwave oven, took a picture of the meal inside and sent it.
Xie XingMu: [There are homemade sauces on the table, go and get busy. Don’t forget to pick up DuoDuo, and water the greenery on the top floor. Don’t forget about it.]
Yu Chu just returned a ‘hmm’, then saw that Xie XingMu also sent a Sky Rabbit twisting buttocks to him. He immediately clicked on the expression bar and sent a Sky Rabbit swaying left and right.
Xie XingMu sent Sky Rabbit scratching the wall, and Yu Chu sent Sky Rabbit hugging and kissing the milk bottle in one breath, and Sky Rabbit flying out. There was no movement from Xie XingMu, so he should have returned to work. Yu Chu brought his meal to the table, and opened the sealed bottle on the table, where he grabbed the sauces.
In the afternoon, he had already watched the latest episodes of several TV dramas and played with his phone for a while before going to the penthouse to water the greenery Xie XingMu had mentioned.
Xie XingMu opened a small garden in the corner of the penthouse terrace, but Yu Chu didn’t check it, only knew that it grew lush. Now when he carried a small bucket of water, he noticed that all the green plants were vegetables.
Some of the vegetables Yu Chu didn’t know, but he recognized small onions, peppers and tomatoes. The peppers were growing well, the tomatoes were big and green with some red, and looked close to ripening.
Xie XingMu’s house was cleaned twice a week by the housekeeping aunt, so he thought that the housekeeping aunt was taking care of the vegetables during his stay on Singwon Island.
Yu Chu found it a bit funny, took a picture of this vegetable patch and sent it to Xie XingMu: [Is this the greenery? What are you doing with these?]
He knew Xie XingMu was busy and didn’t want him to reply to the message, so he sent it and then went into the vegetable patch and squatted down to water the vegetables.
He didn’t expect Xie XingMu to reply.
Xie XingMu: [These vegetables don’t have pesticides, so DuoDuo can eat them. I’m getting busy.]
Yu Chu wanted to say that if you are busy, don’t reply to my message, but thought he would reply if he sent it, so he just put away the phone. The result was that his phone had just been put away, Xie XingMu sent another message.
Xie XingMu: [There’s a small cucumber I have observed for several days, today it should be able to be eaten. Pick it and eat it.]
Xie XingMu: [No more, really getting busy.]
Yu Chu stared at the screen for a while this time, to make sure Xie XingMu didn’t send another message before putting the phone away, and began to look for that small cucumber. Finally, he found the shadow of a small cucumber behind a bush of green leaves, hanging tenderly in the air. He delicately plucked the cucumber, wiped it twice on his clothes, took a bite, and the fresh cucumber fragrance overflowed his mouth.
When it was almost time, he set off to pick up Chi DuoDuo. The kindergarten entrance had gathered a number of adults waiting to pick up their children, so he stood inside and stared at the tightly closed carved iron gate.
When the bell rang, the security guard opened the iron gate and the grandparents trotted inside like a small torrent, and Yu Chu also trotted inside following the flow of people. All the children were already sitting in their seats with their backpacks on, and the teacher was guarding the entrance to the classroom. There were a dozen parents in front of Yu Chu, and as he slowly moved forward, he looked through the glass window into the classroom and saw Chi DuoDuo.
Chi DuoDuo was sitting in his seat with his head hanging down, and he didn’t look too happy.
Yu Chu had already seen Chi DuoDuo when he brought him to school this morning, so when he saw him, he immediately called out to the classroom, “Chi DuoDuo.”
Chi DuoDuo looked up and saw Yu Chu, and then a smile appeared on his face.
Yu Chu took Chi DuoDuo and walked outside the school, avoiding the crowd around him, and said, “Did you have a fight today?”
Chi DuoDuo said, “I didn’t fight. Fighting is not right.”
Yu Chu looked down at him and said, “So you just took a beating and you didn’t fight back?”
Chi DuoDuo deflated.
“Doesn’t your uncle teach you how to fight?” Yu Chu suddenly got a little angry and said with a sullen face.
“No, my uncle told me not to fight, and to tell him if anything happens, so he can go find someone else’s father to fight.” Chi DuoDuo hanging head, “But I’m more afraid to say something. Afraid that he will kill the father of other children.”
Yu Chu: …
But Chi DuoDuo soon put this behind him and was excited to discuss with Yu Chu what to have for dinner, “Xiao Chu, let’s go eat burgers?”
Yu Chu remembered Xie XingMu’s order not to eat burgers and immediately wanted to refuse, but then Chi DuoDuo looked at him with a hopeful face. He hesitated, then said, “I can take you to eat burgers, but you can’t tell your uncle.”
“Okay, I won’t tell him.” Chi DuoDuo said happily.
The two went to a nearby fast food restaurant and bought a whole bunch of food piled high on the table, Chi DuoDuo’s mouth was covered in ketchup, holding a French fry toward Yu Chu, “Xiao Chu, are you afraid of uncle?”
Yu Chu looked down and sipped his Coke, without looking up, he said, “No.”
Chi DuoDuo didn’t believe him, “Then why can’t we tell him?”
Yu Chu lifted his skin and looked at him, “That’s because I’m afraid he’s naggy, you know?”
After dinner and a taxi back home, Yu Chu took Chi DuoDuo to the fitness area on the top floor, moved his neck and said, “Chi DuoDuo, come on, I’ll teach you a little bit about fighting.”
Chi DuoDuo was very excited and jumped in place twice, but he also wrung his hands a little nervously, “But Xiao Chu, both the teacher and uncle said it’s not right to fight.”
Yu Chu thought about it for a moment and coaxed, “You’re not taught to beat someone to the ground and make them cry, but when someone bullies you, you should have a way to control him so he can’t do anything.”
“You mean… that doesn’t count as fighting?”
“Not really, it’s called self-defense.”
“Self-defense… What is it?”
“It’s not a fighting style in any case.”
Chi DuoDuo came trotting happily, “That’s good, then let’s learn. Xiao Chu, you teach.”
Yu Chu taught him seriously, not taking Chi DuoDuo for a five year old, “Like this, grab the two arms and sweep the calf with your foot… If they reach out to you, grab their arms and turn around, then put your back against their chest… Since you’re a kid, you can get up right away…”
Chi DuoDuo learned the move, fell to the ground and quickly got up, not even screaming in pain. After Yu Chu taught him, he let him practice, and when he was done, he also taught him some means for self-defense.
“If a bad guy chokes you like this, you bite down on his hand… Of course it’s not for you to deal with kids. It’s for bad guys, bad guys, understand?”
Chi DuoDuo was exhausted from practice, so Yu Chu took him to the bath, filling the tub with water as he usually saw Xie XingMu do, throwing two more plastic duckies in, and carrying the stripped Chi DuoDuo in.
He squeezed out a dollop of shampoo and rubbed it on Chi DuoDuo’s head, while Chi DuoDuo looked down and squeezed the ducklings. Without waiting for Yu Chu to answer, he said to himself, “Xiao Chu, you won’t leave, will you? You and Uncle will always be together.”
Yu Chu stopped moving and said, “Do you really want us to be together?”
“Yes, the three of us will always be together.” Chi DuoDuo said seriously.
A strange soft emotion came over Yu Chu, making him suddenly a bit overwhelmed. He gently twirled Chi DuoDuo’s hair in his hand, and after a moment, he whispered softly, “Okay, the three of us will always be together.”
“Then you have to keep your word, you can’t sneak away.”
Yu Chu wondered, “Why do you think I’ll sneak away?”
“You’re the cat given by Uncle. The cat at my classmate’s ran away, but you shouldn’t.” Chi DuoDuo said.
“Did your uncle give you a cat?” Yu Chu thought for a while before responding, “You don’t know what the cat looks like?”
“No.” Chi DuoDuo lowered his head and patted his little belly.
“I don’t look anything like a cat.”
Chi DuoDuo retorted, “You do! The cat in Mimi’s Wanderings looked like you when she became human.”
Yu Chu swept away the softness in his heart, turned on the nozzle and rinsed the foam off Chi DuoDuo’s body, covered him with a bath towel and carried him back to the child’s room.
“Xiao Chu, can you also—”
Yu Chu interrupted coldly, “No.”