By the time Lin Yujing left, it was dusk, the witching hour.
There was a saying in Japan. Back in the olden days, when people believed in yin and yang and the five phases in Chinese philosophy1Five phases in Chinese philosophy: Fire, Water, Earth, Wood, Metal, demons would appear in the present world at the altercation of day and night and humans were unable to distinguish whether the person walking on the road was man or demon, and so, dusk was referred to as the witching hour.
Cheng Yi told the origins of this story to her. At that time, they were a group of three friends skipping evening self-revision period to go to the rooftop and hang around. It was precisely dusk at the time, red clouds overhead, the big patches of clouds burnt thoroughly red.
Cheng Yi pressed down his voice at the time, “You’re walking on the road, unable to distinguish whether the person who just brushed past your shoulder is a human or a demon in disguise, so at this moment, if someone called out your name, you should never answer. Once you do, your soul will be stolen. If someone approaches you, you have to ask them,” He cleared his throat and said in a deep voice. “Who goes there?”
At that time, Lu Jiaheng leaned on the side. “Cheng Yi.”
“Ah?” Cheng Yi responded.
Lin Yujing: “Cheng Yi.”
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Nw Kkybldt: “Ubldt Zk.”
Ubldt Zk oyp nsdqwple. “Gb? Ebyv’p vbl xyvvla okvb usw vos?”
Nw Kkybldt rskdvle yv bkx kd ekpeykd. “Ekvb uswa RC, esd’v lhla ts swv ewakdt vbkp vkxl kd vbl qwvwal zlpv uswa pswz cl pvszld plhlayz vkxlp cynj vs cynj.”
Nkd Zwfkdt nswzed’v pvsr zywtbkdt qasx vbl pkel.
Nkd Zwfkdt oyzjle vbaswtb y pxyzz tyaeld yde swv vbl qasdv essa, vbl nsadla sq bla zkrp nwahkdt wr okvbswv bla alyzkgyvksd.
Ebld pbl zlqv vbl nkvu, pbl eked’v vlzz ydusdl cwv clnywpl lhlausdl oypd’v pvaydtlap okvb lynb svbla, vbl xyvvlap sq vbl Nkd Wyxkzu olal jdsod vs Ubldt Zk yde Nk Kkybldt. Mbl dlmv eyu yqvla pbl yaakhle yv G Ukvu, Ubldt Zk tyhl bla y nyzz yde pbsolale bla esod okvb pnszekdt, bkp wpl sq osaep ekhlapl yde pxssvb okvbswv alrlvkvksd.
Gv vbyv vkxl, Nkd Zwfkdt eked’v pyu yduvbkdt yde xlalzu nbwnjzle. Xdnl pbl qkdkpble, Ubldt Zk pweeldzu vwadle iwklv. Mbl uswvb, obs bye yzoyup clld nzyxsaswp zkjl y rlarlvwyz xsvksd xynbkdl vbyv dlhla pvsrrle xyjkdt dskplp, oyp pkzldv qsa yv zlypv 2 xkdwvlp, clqsal vlzzkdt bla. “Gb Tldt kp vbasokdt y vydvawx. Nkvvzl obyzl pkpvla, kq usw tlv cwzzkle cu ydusdl vblal, vlzz uswa Jasvbla Ubldt yde Jasvbla Nw. Zswa casvblap okzz qzu shla yde tlv alhldtl qsa usw. Rq tse tlvp kd swa oyu, ol okzz jkzz tse. Lscseu kp yzzsole vs es vbyv.”
Nkd Zwfkdt pxkzle ps xwnb bla lulp pvyavle vs vlya wr, “Ebs’al usw nyzzkdt y obyzl pkpvla. Zsw pbswze iwknjzu tlv zspv.”
There was heavy traffic on the road, the hooting of cars overlapping one another. Someone seemed to have called out her name, pulling her out of her recollection.
Lin Yujing recovered her senses and the voice rang out again. She appeared dazed for two seconds before looking up to see the fiery sky. She didn’t know why she suddenly thought of that idiot Cheng Yi’s words “If someone calls out to you, never answer or else, they’ll steal your soul”.
Before she could even react, someone tapped her on the shoulder.
Lin Yujing turned her head back.
Wang Yiyang and another guy were standing behind her. Wang Yiyang held a bag in hand and was looking at her with a smile. She didn’t recognize the other guy but cast him another glance, feeling that he looked a bit familiar.
It was the boy who was sitting atop a basketball and talking to Shen Juan back on the basketball court. Li Lin identified him as Shen Juan’s ex classmate.
Wang Yiyang had taken off his uniform and changed into his daily punk style clothes. However, because his face was fair and tender, adding on to his very neat student hairdo, he looked like a second year student in his rebellious period.
The second year youth looked at her with a smile. “Sister Yujing, what a coincidence.” He felt quite complacent, turning his head to look at the basketball youth beside him, “I told you so, you didn’t believe me.”
He Songnan rolled his eyes, internally saying ‘When did I say I didn’t believe you? I’ve seen her figure several times already so I can also recognize it, ok?’
He didn’t want to lower himself to argue with this brat and very insincerely applauded. “My Yang is so amazing, my Yang is the strongest.”
Wang Yiyang evidently enjoyed the praise and turned his head back in good spirits. “Sister, are you going to get tattooed? Have you decided on what to get?”
Lin Yujing: “Huh?”
She raised her head to take a look and realized that the direction she was heading to was the alley leading to Shen Juan’s tattoo studio.
She was just about to explain that she was merely strolling around when Wang Yiyang said. “Unfortunately, today’s not a good time. The studio is closed because we’re going to eat hotpot.”
Lin Yujing looked down at the two plastic bags he was holding, thinking that it was probably the family hopot they were going to have and before she could even think of what to say, she heard Wang Yiyang enthusiastically say. “Wanna join us? Since everyone knows each other very well.”
Lin Yujing didn’t know how Wang Yiyang came to the conclusion that “everybody knew each other very well”, she had only met Wang Yiyang thrice and was friendly with him for an afternoon, however, this person’s easygoingness had reached a level of new heights. He could break the few hours they interacted into a hundred times the efficiency as though Yu Linjing was a close friend of his for several years.
Lin Yujing was just thinking about how to decline his invitation.
He Songnan looked at her with a smile at the side. “Does little sister have plans? If you don’t, join us.” He then put on the look of someone who’d been around the block. “Rest days are a luxury. Once you get to my age, you’ll realize how precious it is to eat hotpot together with your classmates on rest days.”
“Because next year, at this time, you’ll be in class doing mountains of papers.” He Songnan said bitterly.
Then may I ask why you’re not in the classroom doing mountains of papers, but here eating hotpot?
Even though Wang Yiyang’s easygoingness was a bit dim-witted of him, he was not a person who was hard to get along with.
The enthusiastic invitation he had extended to Lin Yujing had actually come from He Songnan’s instigation. He merely said. “Hey, look at the girl in front. Doesn’t she look like the new classmate in my class?”
He Songnan raised his head, his mischievous side rearing its head.
It was Boss Juan’s little desk mate.
With long and slender legs, and a temper similar to that of a domineering queen.
He Songnan typed furiously in the group chat as though he was injected with adrenaline. “Brothers, we plan to bring a girl over, is it welcomed or not?”
Jiang Han was the first to reply: [Bring her. Isn’t it normal for you? Why are you even asking?]
Jiang Han: [The girl can come and you can scram. Your brother will help you take care of her so no need to worry. In the future, my wife will be your sister-in-law.]
He Songnan smiled very indecently: [It’s someone else’s, not my girl. If you’re planning to take care of her, better be prepared to get your skin peeled off.]
Jiang Han: [?]
He Songnan: [She’s Boss Juan’s.]
Jiang Han’s cigarette nearly slipped out of his mouth. He slammed the table and with neck stretched out, yelled. “Boss Juan!!!”
Shen Juan was drawing inside his room, ignoring him.
Jiang Han hollered once again, “Shen Juan!” Henan said he just bumped into your wife!!!”
Not a peep came from the room.
Jiang Han didn’t believe in He Songnan’s words but this didn’t prevent him from stirring up a ruckus. He happily put out his cigarette and stood up from the sofa, running to the door, leaning against the frame, looking at him. “Old Shen, tell the truth or face the consequences. Asakawa Ran or Sora Aoi2These are Japanese AV Actresses.?
Shen Juan’s back was to the door as he sat on the ground, his hand gripping a pencil as he sketched on the canvas. “Little Alice.”
Jiang Han choked. “Boss Juan, please respect my goddesses.” He said seriously. “She’s called Maria. Maria Ozawa3Also a Japanese AV actress.. She’s not fucking called Alice.”
“Aren’t they all the same?” Shen Juan didn’t even lift up his head, the tip of his pen dotting the paper twice before he continued drawing.
“Where are they the same? Tell me.” Jiang Han asked earnestly, “Can you please be a little bit more understanding towards us sex education englighteners like a normal teenager?”
Shen Juan took a random pillow and threw it towards him. “Get lost.”
Lin Yujing really didn’t know why she followed Wang Yiyang and He Songnan to the doorway of the nameless tattoo studio.
Perhaps it was just because she had a call with Lin Zhi and needed something boisterous to help her divert her attention somewhere else. Moreover, He Songnan and Wang Yiyang were overly passionate, their fervency making Lin Yujing feel as though they were MLM salesmen. Lin Yujing had a feeling that if she were to refuse him one more time, Wang Yiyang would cling onto her leg, sit down on the ground and bawl.
The studio looked the same as always, the courtyard the size of a palm. The plants inside grew slovenly and completely neglected. The door was ajar, some voices could be faintly heard from the inside.
He Songnan pushed the door and Lin Yujing stepped inside.
The interior was no different to the last time she had visited. The rooms were partitioned distinctively, the sofas were filled with pillows and the two long wooden tables were covered in sketches. There was a computer at the side and going further inside were two doors. Lin Yujing assumed that they led to the washroom of the studio.
Once Lin Yujing stepped inside, Jiang Han was dumbstruck. “Little Fairy?”
Little Fairy blinked and raised her hand a bit awkwardly. “….Hi?”
As though it was their first time meeting each other.
Recalling this scene, time flowed backwards and Jiang Han felt that his old heart had been struck amidst a field of flowers.
He tried to pull his voice, shouting at the room further inside. “Boss Juan! Come out and receive the customer!!!”
His lines were still the same, though at the time, Lin Yujing felt embarrassed. Now, she didn’t know why but she suddenly wanted to laugh.
This time, there wasn’t any irascible reaction. Before half a minute could even pass, the door to the first room opened and Shen Juan stepped out from the inside. He wore a white T-shirt with no print, earphone plugged in one ear while the other dangled just before his chest in a tangle.
He looked up and saw Lin Yujing, freezing at the doorway and raising an eyebrow.
He Songnan smiled very innocently. “I bumped into your desk mate on the road. Boss Juan, our meeting was fated.”
For some reason, Lin Yujing suddenly recalled the emoji that Chen Yi had always sent to her that looked like the type old people would send. Big red peony flowers entwined around two red glasses of wine with colorful words printed on top. “Our meeting was fated. Cheers to my friend for our friendship.”
A table was placed in the courtyard with an electric stove and pot on top. The sight of the red spicy soup looked very appetizing, eliciting the urge in people to start salivating. He Songnan and the others placed the ingredients they had just bought on the table and Lin Yujing went to wash her hands. Just as she entered the washroom, Jian Han scuttled over to Shen Juan’s side. “Boss Juan, she just greeted me earlier. Did you see it?”
Shen Juan pulled open a can of coke. “Nope.”
“Oh yeah, you hadn’t come out,” Jiang Han said, “It was so pure I got a bit scared.”
Shen Juan raised his head and looked at him.
He Songnan was all too familiar with this expression.
A week ago, because he didn’t watch his expressions attentively, it led to the ball that he was sitting on being kicked, causing him to fall on the ground. His tailbone still faintly ached up until now.
He Songnan felt that he might have an incurable illness as though his butt would hurt everytime the sky looked dark and it was raining.
He cast Jiang Han a glance, appearing clearly as though he had no idea of the imminent danger, clutching his heart with an anticipating look. “Is this what it feels like to have your heart thump?”
He Songnan decided to do his brother a favor and looked at the washroom door that was shut tightly, saying in a low voice, “Heart thump your ass.”
“That’s Boss Juan’s desk mate. “ He Songnan pointed at him, “Not your desk mate.”
Jiang Han was very confused. “Does one have to be my desk mate for my heart to thump?”
Before He Songnan could reply, the doors of the bathroom pulled open and Lin Yujing came out from inside, the subject coming to an end.
Although the school tyrant, Shen Juan, was rumored to be terrifying, at this moment, he didn’t look like a violent man who didn’t know right from wrong and nearly beat his desk mate to death.
Especially after the receipt incident, Lin Yujing had temporarily labeled him as a good person.
Moreover, he didn’t have the type of cool and lone wolf character. In fact, he had quite a lot of friends. Each and every one of them was very amusing. They were all buzzing with energy as they ate hotpot, not a single second spent in awkward silence.
Shen Juan didn’t speak much, occasionally saying a sentence or two. The majority of the time, he was just eating unhurriedly.
The second years ate hotpot and certainly consumed a lot of alcohol. Jiang Han took out a box of beer from the room, giving one to each person. When it was Lin Yujing’s turn, he smiled and held it in place. “Little Fairy, care for a bottle?”
Lin Yujing blinked and didn’t immediately accept it. She hesitated for a while, saying. “I don’t know how to drink. Maybe just a cup.”
In a situation where she was together with a group of boys, the only familiar one being Shen Juan and to the extent of only being classmates and not friends, Lin Yujing didn’t plan to drink alcohol.
She originally just wanted to say that a cup was enough.
Jiang Han and the group have always been used to acting coarsely so they didn’t think much of it. The thought of a girl having to drink alcohol with a bunch of guys she wasn’t familiar with, hadn’t even crossed their minds. They only thought that if the girl wanted to only drink a little, then she could drink a little. If she didn’t want to drink, they wouldn’t force her. One cup was also enough.
Jiang Han popped the bottle open and was about to take Lin Yujing’s empty cup.
Shen Juan suddenly raised a hand, grabbing the cup and turning it over, the mouth landing on the table.
His other hand grabbed a can of coke from the side, pulling the tab and with a ‘kacha’, he opened it and placed it in front of Lin Yujing. “It’s not appropriate. Just drink coke.”
The author has something to say:
Sticky and warm juvenile brother 😀
I need to knock on the blackboard and say something. This novel’s chapters are about to enter the VIP stages (T/N: it means the chapters are going to be paywalled). I’ll be handing out red packets to everyone tomorrow.
This time, I won’t be adding any speech about supporting legal work, I’m afraid you’ll find it annoying and say that the author is so talkative and that you love to rebel and read pirated text.
Thank you to the big bosses who purchased and supported the legal copy of my novel, allowing me to put food on the table. Kisses!!!!
T/N: Yes, Potato does her part and purchases raws as well. Each novel on jjwxc that’s about 100 something chapters only costs about 2-3 USD so kind reminder if you’re able to support the authors, you can google shoko jjwxc guide to follow how.
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