Translator: xallisonjanex, renkun27
From that day on, Duo La came almost every day. Ke Bu could hardly get close to Zhi Li. He was deeply aware that Zhi Li was not his alone. He was inexplicably afraid of his own possessiveness. Was he not like Duo La? It turned out that everyone was the same and could not help but want to have the feeling of having a loved one. He wanted to get rid of this way of thinking and did not want Zhi Li to be embarrassed. Duo La’s appearance was only temporary. Did he want to even deprive her of this little time? Despite his attempt to console himself, Ke Bu still found it difficult to hide his uneasiness. Even if Duo La did not act excessively, Ke Bu still did not believe that she had turned over a new leaf.
After the evening study, everyone started leaving the classroom. Su Youyan stayed late as usual to read a book. The classroom gradually quieted down, leaving only the sound of Su Youyan turning the pages of her book.
“What book are you reading?” a voice suddenly came over. Su Youyan looked up and thought, when did she appear? To her surprise, she did not sense Duo La’s presence. She was like a demon with an innocent smile. Even the super-observant Su Youyan could only make out a bit of her occasional perilous aura. Su Youyan closed the book: “Is there anything you need from me?”
“I just wanted to know, why do you like Elder Brother Zhi Li? Excuse me if I’m poking my nose into this. This little sister just wanted to check on her Elder Brother Zhi Li.”
“It seems that it is none of your business.” Su Youyan said indifferently.
Duo La was not angry. She sat on the table in front of Su Youyan while dangling her legs: “Indeed, but I really don’t understand what Elder Brother Zhi Li likes about you? The scar on your face is very ugly. Youyan, you’re uglier than I imagined.” Duo La squinted and smiled. She had uncovered Su Youyan’s scar. Su Youyan did not move. Then she stood up, saying, “Do you think I’ll be easily provoked by this?”
“I’m not trying to provoke you. I’m just telling the truth. Don’t want to talk about it? This scary thing, how ugly was your past? You think that if you’ll run to Elder Brother Zhi Li, you’ll be all right? This scar is a sign that you can’t escape. This imprint of the past will accompany you for a lifetime. You’re really pathetic. I think Elder Brother Zhi Li also pities you. After all, who would want such a woman like you? Pathetic. Youyan, you’re so pathetic.” Duo La’s words were like a magic spell, the kind that sows discord in the atmosphere.
“Are you talking about yourself? Is this all you’ve got? Can you rely on doing these things to keep Zhi Li? Have you kept him? Ridiculous.” A series of rhetorical questions were asked by Su Youyan. Duo La smiled even more happily. She leaned back slightly, then stood straight up, raised her hand, and slapped Su Youyan, saying, “I don’t remember having said that you can teach me this. Ugly.”
Su Youyan touched her face without any expression. She looked at Duo La’s smiling face and slapped Duo La with the back of her hand: “This is yours.” The crisp sound reverberated throughout the empty classroom. It happened to be just at this time that Ke Bu and Zhi Li came through the door of the classroom and saw that Su Youyan smiled as if she was chatting happily with Duo La. Why, against reason now, Ke Bu rushed over and stood in front of Su Youyan in panic: “Youyan, are you okay? This is all because of me, all because of me.” Ke Bu’s mind was filled with guilt. Did Zhi Li also have this unbearable feeling because of Duo La? Or it could even be worse—looking at the fact that Duo La, who was like his own sister, had committed suicide, yet Zhi Li took it so calmly. His dearly beloved Zhi Li, who was the last person that he wanted to be involved, was still drawn into this matter.
“Ke Bu, you’re so strange. It’s obviously me who was slapped, but you’re protecting her. Do you like her? The two of you are teaming up to bully an outsider like me. Elder Brother Zhi Li, this time Duo La behaved really well. I didn’t start it. I just wanted to chat with Youyan and she slapped me. Is it because I got in your way from being together since I arrived?”
Ke Bu stared at Zhi Li. Everyone stared at Zhi Li. What kind of expression would he use to face everyone in front of him? There was no expression in Zhi Li’s face nor in his eyes. Su Youyan stared at her own hand and opened her mouth with the intention to say something, but in the end, she did not say anything. Indeed, she felt the same as Ke Bu. She was unable to explain the situation and unable to say bad things about Duo La in front of Zhi Li. Saying out loud this kind of thing would only pressure Zhi Li.
Zhi Li stared at Su Youyan and then said to Duo La, “I will send you back.” Duo La jumped off the table very obediently. “Okay.” When Duo La walked to the door, she turned around and smiled. Ke Bu trembled with fear.
“Youyan, are you alright?”
“This is really a mistake, to even make a move, to actually slap Duo La in front of Zhi Li. Will he hate me?” It turned out that Su Youyan could also show this kind of expression—a sad one. This was Ke Bu’s first time seeing it. Zhi Li was someone who Youyan depended on—the beautiful epitome. She attached herself to Zhi Li to survive, and now, she made things difficult for Zhi Li, whom she had been protecting. Ke Bu tried comforting her as he pushed the book in front of Su Youyan: “No matter what, you’re still a girl who also has vulnerable moments. Stop overthinking. How can he hate you?” Ke Bu left Su Youyan and ran out. Duo La lived in the small town near the school. He needed to clear this up. He wanted to tell Duo La that Su Youyan was protecting him. Such a shameful matter should not have happened. He obviously knew that Duo La was a dangerous person.
He had just run up to the school gate when he saw Zhi Li coming from ahead. He looked up and saw Ke Bu. One person was on the stairs, while the other was down the stairs. Ke Bu wanted to say something, but he could not say anything about Duo La. What else could he say? Ke Bu went down the stairs, step by step, and Zhi Li stood still. What was he thinking about? Ke Bu was not clear about this. Even though he had known Zhi Li for so many years, he still could not see through Zhi Li’s unfathomable heart. Ke Bu was finally at the last step, and his throat was blocked by emotions that he could not name. “She definitely didn’t want it to be like this. She definitely didn’t want to make things difficult for you. She wanted to get along with Duo La. Don’t blame Youyan.”
Zhi Li pulled Ke Bu into his embrace. In this position, Ke Bu’s chin reached Zhi Li’s shoulders: “Don’t speak Ke Bu, don’t speak.” With mere simple words, Ke Bu was flooded with emotions. He clinged on to Zhi Li. Finally, in Zhi Li’s arms, Ke Bu was able to calm down. He looked up and said: “Youyan’s still in the classroom.”
“Okay, be good and go back to your dorm room.”
“I understand.” After he separated from Zhi Li, the warmth in his chest lived on and supported him in the frigid air. Zhi Li arrived at the classroom and Su Youyan raised her head, saying, “Sorry.” Apart from apologizing, Su Youyan could not think of anything else to say. Zhi Li placed his hand on Su Youyan’s head and said softly: “I’ve wronged you.” Su Youyan looked at Zhi Li with astonishment. Zhi Li unsubtly teased her: “Are you crying?”
“Don’t be narcissistic. Who would cry for a child like you?”
Ke Bu lied. Ke Bu lied to Zhi Li. The truth was, he did not go back to his dorm room. He wanted to find Duo La. Not long after he looked for her, Duo La unexpectedly came back. She strolled gracefully with her hands behind her back: “Isn’t this Ke Bu? What are you doing here?”
“I was about to ask you, why did you come back here?”
Duo La shrugged: “I couldn’t sleep, so I came back. It seems you have something to say to me.”
“Enough, Duo La. That’s enough. It’s not Youyan who’s dating Zhi Li. It’s me. Don’t bother her anymore. You can do whatever you like to me.” Duo La was not suprised by Ke Bu’s words, saying, “I know. Do you think I’m that too stupid to distinguish this kind of thing?”
“You know? Then why did you talk to Youyan?”
“Why? She got too close to Elder Brother Zhi Li. No matter what feelings she has, she’s not allowed. No one’s allowed, let alone that ugly woman.”
“Don’t talk about Youyan like that.”
“About you liking Elder Brother Zhi Li, I already knew it from the first time I saw you two together. So shameless. You’re obviously a man. You even dare to talk about love. How disgusting. I want to save Elder Brother Zhi Li from this disgusting thing. I saw the expression in your eyes when you and Elder Brother Zhi Li were on the roof of that building from the bridge in senior high school. Those pampering eyes. I swear, only you, Ke Bu, only you. I want to completely destroy you.” The expression in her eyes came back again. It was full of hate. Ke Bu could not help but feel his stomach tighten. It was that expression in his nightmares. She really meant it. She would exhaust every possible way to destroy him.
“Then what are you going to do? Commit suicide again?”
“Commit suicide?” Duo La snorted and sneered. “With that kind of shallow wound, do you really think I’ll die? Do you think I really planned to die?” Duo La came closer to Ke Bu’s ear. With a cold tone, she stung Ke Bu’s eardrum, saying, “I did that on purpose.”
Ke Bu opened his eyes wide in disbelief: “Why? Just so Zhi Li wouldn’t be able to scold you?”
“How can I do it for such a shallow reason? I said those words on purpose and I went abroad to recuperate on purpose; to let him know that I’ll commit suicide. I became like that and it’s all because of him. It’s all his fault. I…I want to make Elder Brother Zhi Li feel guilty because of me for the rest of his life, so he can’t forget me for the rest of his life, so he can’t erase me.” Duo La grinned and bared her canine teeth, and with a lovely look on her face, she said these words.
Ke Bu took a step back. He was very scared. This girl was really scary. Even as a man, he was afraid of Duo La. Despite the embarrassment, he could only admit that he was afraid of Duo La. He was afraid of her graceful walk, with her hands behind her back, which was her signature move. He was afraid of her eyes and her smile. He was even afraid of her canine teeth which she occasionally bared when she was ready to tear up her prey. The reason why she could get away from him completely was because she saw right through Ke Bu’s weakness—that he could not speak out—that he could not tell Zhi Li. It was thoroughly evil to force him to tell Zhi Li that his lovely sister had done these things. These words sowed discord in their relationship. No matter what he said, it would only make Zhi Li sad. Must Zhi Li have to choose? Between Ke Bu and his deep guilt toward his relative, who was like his own sister, such cruelty—he did not want it!
This unspeakable sorrow felt painful in Ke Bu’s chest.