Chapter 14: “Professor Xiao, you’re on earth, I’m in hell.”
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Xiao Ke used to think he could drink okay, but now when compared with Zhou Zui, he was simply turned into a crumb. After his drink was taken by Zhou Zui for him, Xiao Ke idly ate some more and listened to them talk about useless things. It was really relaxing, a relaxation he had never experienced before, and it was good that he didn’t block the drinks for the others before.
When he went back to bed, it was after midnight. He and Zhou Zui went upstairs together, and Zhou Zui asked from behind him, “Is everything okay?”
Xiao Ke looked back at him and said, ” It’s fine.”
Zhou Zui nodded his head and gave an “okay.”
Before Xiao Ke entered the door, he told him, “Good night, Teacher Zhou.”
Zhou Zui was called by this name and smiled, a very slight smile where only the edge of his mouth showed this slight smile, and he replied, “Good night. Go to sleep early.”
The water on the mountain was still not that convenient, and the water from the faucet was fine for washing, but taking a shower was too luxurious. Xiao Ke could only pack up and lie down, thinking he would fall asleep soon, but surprisingly, he could not fall asleep for a long time. This night after listening to them talk a lot, his mind was filled with a jumble of content. The last thing that flashed through his mind before he went to sleep was a scene from a long time ago, Lin An, and Zhou Zui.
Before going to sleep, the last thing that flashed through his mind was that he had to tell the florist to continue sending flowers when he got back, as he liked the way Zhou Zui cut the ribbon before throwing a handful of flowers into the bucket.
After sleeping until the next afternoon, Xiao Ke opened his eyes and had the feeling that he didn’t know what day it was. The environment was too unfamiliar, and everything in sight was unfamiliar. It took a long time for Xiao Ke to come back to his senses and remember that he was on the mountain and in the room next to Zhou Zui.
Xiao Ke got up and changed his clothes before he went out to look around, but he didn’t see anyone. In the kitchen, Jiang Tao’s mother heard him come out and greeted him, “You’re up? The food was ready earlier, but none of you were up.”
“Good morning, auntie.” Xiao Ke greeted.
“Ah, mornin’.” Auntie smiled very kindly and talked like Jiang Tao, but with a much heavier accent, “You guys were up too late last night. The rest of the group is not up yet.”
Xiao Ke smiled and nodded. “Yeah, I had too much to drink last night. Did we make too much noise and disturb your rest?”
“No,” Auntie waved her hand repeatedly. “We slept so well that we couldn’t hear anything.”
Xiao Ke went to the kitchen to have a bowl of congee, and he kept talking to Jiang Tao’s mother while he was eating. When asked what he did for a living, Xiao Ke said he was a teacher, and the aunt’s fondness for him immediately went up several degrees as she was basically in awe of him.
Xiao Ke ate a bowl of congee and was not used to being stared at so he did not know how to swallow.
Xiao Ke was a little surprised to see Zhou Zui coming back in from outside and greeted him, “Good morning…Good afternoon.”
“You’re up?” Zhou Zui had a rolled-up book and a pencil in his hand.
Xiao Ke nodded. “Yes, I just had something to eat.”
When he came out of his room, he wasn’t going out so he didn’t wear Zhou Zui’s down jacket from yesterday.
Zhou Zui looked at his clothes and said, “Don’t go out if you’re done. It’s cold outside.”
Xiao Ke thought for a moment and said with a smile, “It’s okay, your clothes are quite warm.”
Zhou Zui looked at him and didn’t say anything.
Xiao Ke asked, “Did you go out to paint?”
“No, I just went out for a walk.” Zhou Zui had a faint smile in the corner of his eyes and said, “I wanted to paint, but I couldn’t. My hands were freezing.”
Xiao Ke also laughed and said, “Yesterday, when I came up with Old Cao, his hands were all white, so how could you paint?”
“What are you painting so early in the morning?” Someone yawned and came down from upstairs. Xiao Ke looked up and saw that it was Lin Xuan. “So sentimental.”
Xiao Ke smiled, “In the morning?”
Lin Xuan also smiled and shook his arms. “It’s afternoon. The old dog, Fang Xi, was sleeping and rubbed against me. Two straight men rubbing against each other, and that made me dream all night.”
He walked next to Zhou Zui, bumped his shoulder and asked, “By the way, Old Zhou, last time I mentioned tattooing that person. They grumble all day long and are driving me crazy.”
Zhou Zui asked him, “Which one?”
Lin Xuan frowned and said, “Just my client. A young man running errands for the A side. If it’s convenient for you to give him the time, move it forward. You don’t have to charge less, how many kickbacks did you eat from me?
Zhou Zui said, “Okay. I will go back and find the day for him to do it.”
“Thanks, bro.” Lin Xuan winked at him. “Do it.”
This “do” was too ambiguous so Xiao Ke smiled and raised his eyebrows. “How do you do it?”
“You have to ask Old Zhou.” Lin Xuan coughed and smiled ambiguously at Zhou Zui, “It all depends on what tools are used.”
Zhou Zui looked at him and lightly said, “Don’t be pervy.”
Lin Xuan continued to joke, “Hey, to be honest, that man looks really good, and not too old. The charm value of our Old Zhou has made him just like a game, you can do it yourself.”
Zhou Zui did not say anything, so Xiao Ke did raise an eyebrow. ” That can not be, ah, he’s still a living person here.”
Lin Xuan laughed loudly and asked him, “Don’t you two still have a room to yourselves?”
Xiao Ke knew that he was deliberately talking about the situation and was very cooperative, “One person in one room is our reserve. We must give people the impression that we are decent people.”
“Hey Mom, is it this explosive to wake up from a nap?” Fang Xi also came down from upstairs, just in time to hear Xiao Ke’s sentence.
“Old Zhou, a sexually frigid person, still has the time to be immodest?” Fang Xi snickered and looked at Zhou Zui. “I’d really like to see what Old Zhou looks like when he’s not serious.”
The group has been talking about sexual frigidity for years in front of Zhou Zui, who ignored them and silently smoked in his chair.
Xiao Ke said to Fang Xi, “You have to be a true lover to watch. Do you want to watch?”
“I do not,” Fang Xi’s smile was quite dirty. Since Xiao Ke mentioned this, Fang Xi’s scale was even bigger so he threw Xiao Ke an ambiguous look. “I had the privilege to take a bath with your idol, and it was quite impressive when he was not serious. But when he is serious, he probably is not human. You could suffer from it so I will not watch.”
Xiao Ke still hadn’t spoken so Zhou Zui cleared his throat in the back while giving Fang Xi a look as he frowned.
Fang Xi then shook his head while smiling, and did not continue.
He was afraid that Professor Xiao would not be able to take it anymore, and that people who really loved them would not be allowed to say anything.
Fang Xi felt that these two people were really having a show, and it was quite wonderful.
Xiao Ke really did not expect Fang Xi to be able to talk about this at once. It wasn’t that he was unable to pick up the words, more that he did not dare to pick them up. The two of them actually have nothing to do with each other now, and even a little ambiguity doesn’t count.
Xiao Ke did not say anything and looked for a chair to sit down across the back while he rested his arm along the back of the chair. He was worried that Zhou Zui would feel offended and did not answer the question, but it seemed to the others that Xiao Ke felt embarrassed to be spoken to and that Fang Xi had choked him.
When he walked next to Xiao Ke, he grasped his hair by hand and waved it around.
It was a very smooth action which was to slightly comfort him as if Xiao Ke was embarrassed. This action was completely beyond Xiao Ke’s expectations which he did not anticipate so he did not react, and when he did, Zhou Zui had already gone upstairs.
Xiao Ke’s heart suddenly had a kind of indescribable feeling. He did not expect someone to stroke his head when he was 30 years old, but more importantly, he was touched and felt like it was very wonderful.
It was true that love made people younger.
The weekend was actually very short and after eating a few meals and drinking twice, the time was basically over. Everyone got along with Xiao Ke for two days so they all added each other on WeChat, and made an appointment to go out together next time. These days, although Xiao Ke only said a few words to Zhou Zui, the relationship between the two was much closer than before they came.
After all, it was the ambiguity of a crowd that made one more ambiguous.
The group said their farewells to Jiang Tao’s mother, and they took some mushrooms and medicinal herbs from the mountains. Fang Xi stuffed an envelope containing 20,000 yuan under the chair before leaving. As a result, he was not able to go far before someone came up to him, which was Jiang Tao’s cousin, and since he did not know who had left the envelope, he could only put the envelope into Jiang Tao’s arms before running back.
Jiang Tao’s eyebrows were raised high, and he shouted as he asked, “What era is this? Who is it? Come out and get killed.”
Lin Xuan laughed and said, “Never mind whose it is, it’s just a token of appreciation.”
Jiang Tao shook his head, “Stop it brother, slapping my face?”
Fang Xi smiled in a bitchy manner and raised his hand, “T’was I.”
“Die quickly.” Jiang Tao slammed the envelope onto him. “Wasn’t it heavy carrying that all the way up the mountain?”
Fang Xi walked over and said, “Take it, Tao Zi. It would be wrong for so many of us to come up here empty-handed. But we also couldn’t bring anything too big. Otherwise, do you think that I would really give you money? I haven’t come to the mountains to see my aunt since a few years ago, so don’t push it.”
They were still arguing about this all the way to the parking lot, but they didn’t come to a conclusion.
On the way back, Xiao Ke and Zhou Zui still shared a car, and Zhou Zui was driving while Xiao Ke was sitting in the passenger seat when they went down the mountain. He asked Zhou Zui, “Do we need to do anything?”
Zhou Zui said, “No, it’s not a big deal. If we calculate these things too carefully, we’ll only create distance between each other.”
Xiao Ke actually felt the same way, and although he did not know these people before, the money was unlikely to be accepted according to his impression of Jiang Tao from the past two days.
On the mountain, there were specialized transportation services, and there were also people who carried unwell people that wanted to go up the mountain. After going down the mountain, Xiao Ke found a transporter to contact. When Xiao Ke said “Jiang family”, the person was quite familiar with them, as if they often send things to their home.
On the way back, Xiao Ke ordered a massage chair, and the leader estimated that two people had to carry it up. Xiao Ke contacted the man, who said it was fine, and then they found someone to carry it up together.
Xiao Ke hung up the phone, and Zhou Zui looked at him so Xiao Ke asked, “What’s wrong?”
Zhou Zui shook his head and didn’t say anything.
Professor Xiao looked youthful and small, but after all, he was already thirty years old, and he was very mature and proper in his dealings. It was comfortable to get along with him and was not exhausting.
Xiao Ke, who had not yet taken off his down jacket, hurriedly took it off and put it back on the back seat while telling Zhou Zui, “I’ll send the clothes to be washed before I give them back to you. Thank you for the clothes, I definitely felt warm.”
Zhou Zui said, “Keep it and wear it.”
Xiao Ke blinked and raised his eyebrows. “You don’t want it if I wear it, huh?”
“What a thing to say,” Zhou Zui lost his smile. ” What are you talking about?”
Xiao Ke also laughed, “I say, I am a handsome and innocent young man, and it doesn’t feel nice to be disliked.”
“Mn,” Zhou Zui surprisingly nodded in a cooperative manner, then said slowly, “You look good in it.”
“Really?” Xiao Ke looked happy with his eyes smiling in a downward curve. “You complimented me?”
Zhou Zui’s expression was relaxed as he also smiled. “Yes.”
“Just know that I am good looking,” Xiao Ke adjusted the seat back to lean back, and closed his eyes before he said, “Professor Xiao is a talented man, a hot commodity. Warrior Zhou, you have to think about it, there is no store past the village.”
Zhou Zui didn’t respond to this, but on his face, there was still a slight smile. Xiao Ke also no longer spoke. He knew to moderately ruffle feathers then stop.
They all slept late last night and got up early today. Xiao Ke slept for the first half of the drive while Zhou Zui slept during the second half so they did not talk much before getting home.
After getting off the highway to the city where they live, Xiao Ke was suddenly a bit reluctant to drive until the end after looking at the gradually familiar street scene. He glanced at Zhou Zui, who was still asleep with his clothes covering his nose so only half of his face was exposed.
Xiao Ke drove the car straight to his own home feeling quite tired. He had not eaten so he was ready to order take-out. The car drove into the city before Xiao Ke woke up Zhou Zui, “Teacher Zhou, wake up.”
Zhou Zui slowly woke up and glanced outside and was a little surprised that he had slept so deeply for so long. He adjusted his seat, sat up and cleared his throat before he said with a frown, “I slept too long.”
“If you slept,” Xiao Ke said with a smile. “It means I’m a steady driver.”
Zhou Zui picked up the water and took two sips. He looked less than eager to talk as he had just woken up. For some reason, Xiao Ke felt that Zhou Zui’s mood was not as good as before since his eyebrows were very low. He wondered if he had had an unhappy dream.
Xiao Ke was driving along the route to his house when Zhou Zui asked, “Aren’t you going to eat?”
“No,” Xiao Ke said. “I think you’re tired, so let’s go back and take a shower and get some rest.”
“Yeah.” Zhou Zui answered, but didn’t say much.
The car drove to the downstairs of Xiao Ke’s building, and Xiao Ke took off his seat belt but did not rush to get out of the car. The two of them did not make a sound so they sat quietly while listening to each other’s breathing, and the atmosphere was quiet and soft.
However in the end, they couldn’t keep sitting down like this. Xiao Ke looked at Zhou Zui and smiled, “I’m leaving. Thanks, Boss Zhou for taking me out for a break.”
Zhou Zui shook his head. Xiao Ke opened the door to get out of the car, but Zhou Zui called out to him, “Professor Xiao.”
Xiao Ke turned around with his hand still on the handle, “Hm?”
Zhou Zui looked at him, and Xiao Ke’s eyes were as direct and simple as ever. Zhou Zui opened his mouth, and his voice was low and deep, “I’m really not a good person.”
Xiao Ke blinked his eyes with the corners of his mouth that pulled out a smile, “So?”
Zhou Zui looked at him with deep dark eyes.
Xiao Ke asked a direct question, “Are you rejecting me?”
Zhou Zui frowned, as if he didn’t know what to say. Xiao Ke took his hand off the handle and looked at Zhou Zui seriously before he said, “Boss Zhou, I’m not messing with you, and I’m not joking. I want to pursue you, I am interested in you, this is not something I would lie about. At the age of thirty, I don’t like to move if I don’t have feelings. I can’t say it casually, but I’m giving you my heart, you know this.”
“I know.” Zhou Zui nodded and looked at him. “But I really can’t afford it.”
Xiao Ke’s heart gradually sank as he knew Zhou Zui still had something to say.
He didn’t rush but sat quietly and waited. Zhou Zui lowered his head, and Xiao Ke looked at the side of his face and sat for a long time. Then Zhou Zui opened his mouth, and after waiting for so long, Xiao Ke heard the words –
“We don’t belong to the same world, nor do we live the same kind of life. Professor Xiao, you’re on Earth and I’m in hell.”
Oh crap; it seemed to be going quite well. That can’t be it for them though, as the story doesn’t end here ☺️
I wonder what ZZ’s ex was like and what happened between them that it caused ZZ so much trauma. I’ve a bad feeling it was something tragic and ZZ blames himself.
Thanks for translating and editing.
😭 😭 😭 Thank you so much for translating!! It’s my favorite novel, looking forward to your wonderful work 💜
Even someone in hell can be saved. And loved. ZZ has lost his way. XK is the perfect person to help him find his way back.