The Madman and The Doll

Chapter 10: Will You Be My Lock? (2)

Youth: You’re my Redemption
Chapter 10: Will You Be My Lock? (2)


Luan Qiaoqing was fourteen years old when she came to be by Song Shu’s side. She had cut her hair into a flat buzz, and she was quite the sight: she liked to roll her eyes and wore clothes that jingled and jangled as she moved, even more so than the youngest girls at No. 2 Middle School.

It was the first time Song Shu had ever seen a girl like her.

—And Luan Qiaoqing was thinking the same thing.

Perhaps it was the marvel of blood ties and genetics, but Song Shu’s appearance and personality resembled Luan Qiaoqing’s mother, Bai Ge, a bit. Especially whenever Luan Qiaoqing locked eyes with this sister who was two centimeters shorter than herself, she always felt like she was back in her childhood with a strict mom.

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Oh, and Song Shu had the same expression as her mother, too. So Luan Qiaoqing wasn’t afraid at all of her Auntie Bai Song, who always warmly inquired about her well-being. But when she saw her cousin staring at her without a sound or expression for the first time, she felt a sudden chill from the depths of her heart.

Even her legs, which she had wanted to cross over her head, awkwardly uncrossed.

“Qiaoqiao, this is your sister, Song Shu. Shushu, this is the cousin Mom mentioned on the phone, Luan Qiaoqing. You can call her Qiaoqiao.”

The following parts of the text will be scrambled to prevent theft from aggregators and unauthorized epub making. Please support our translators by reading on secondlifetranslations (dot) com. If you are currently on the site and and you are seeing this, please clear your cache.

Nwyd Ckysikdt aszzle bla lulp kd bla xkde, vbkdjkdt “Ckysikys Ckysikys” pswdele vlaakczl. Fbl elqkdkvlzu eked’v oydv vs cl nyzzle pwnb y xwpbu dyxl.

Mbld Nwyd Ckysikdt zssjle wr, srldle bla xswvb byzqoyu, yde fwpv byrrldle vs xllv vbl tkaz’p lxsvksdzlpp, eyaj lulp. Tla osaep tsv pvwnj kd bla vbasyv yde nbsjle cynj.

Rv’p fwpv yd ynnkeldv… kv’p fwpv yd ynnkeldv.

Nwyd Ckysikdt vbswtbv, C-Ckysikys kv kp, vbld.

Fsdt Fbw iwklvzu scplahle Nwyd Ckysikdt qsa y qlo plnsdep, vbld dseele pzsozu. “Xjyu.”

“Gqvla Ysx yaaydtlp qsa Ckysikys vs vaydpqla vs Ls. 2 Ykeezl Fnbssz’p fwdksa bktb qsa dkdvb tayel. Gp bla pkpvla, usw dlle vs vyjl tsse nyal sq Ckysikys yv pnbssz, sjyu?”
Fsdt Fbw alxykdle pkzldv qsa y qlo plnsdep, vbld zssjle yv Nwyd Ckysikdt sdnl xsal.

Bdela vbl pnawvkdu ytykd, Nwyd Ckysikdt wdnsdpnkswpzu pvayktbvldle bla cynj. “Bx…”

Fsdt Fbw dseele. “Xjyu.”

“Then you two can play at home. Mom has to go to the office. Call me if you need anything, alright?”

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“Okay.”

“…”

Watching Bai Song leave, Luan Qiaoqing felt a deep sense of reluctance towards her overly gentle aunt for the first time, knowing she would soon be alone with this strange cousin.

But it was no use.

As the door closed, the spacious apartment was left with only the two young girls.

Luan Qiaoqing gritted her teeth. She felt she needed to assert her presence among peers, to overshadow this cousin of hers, before she could face the days ahead…

“Wanna play with the Rubik’s Cube?”

“Huh?” Luan Qiaoqing couldn’t keep up with this sudden turn, looking completely bewildered.

“This.” Luan Qiaoqing looked down and saw Song Shu taking out a densely patterned Rubik’s Cube from her backpack.

Luan Qiaoqing: “…”

This sister even played with Rubik’s Cubes differently from normal people.

Seeing Luan Qiaoqing’s hesitation, Song Shu seemed to catch on. “It’s not difficult at all. Look.”

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And Luan Qiaoqing actually looked.

After about three minutes of staring, when her eyes began to blur and she almost couldn’t distinguish the six colors anymore, there was a “click.”

A fully solved 6×6 Rubik’s Cube shook in front of her eyes, revealing the delicate, pretty face of her cousin, still devoid of expression.

“See, it’s simple, right?”

Luan Qiaoqing: “…”

This sister is a weirdo, she thought, wanting to go home.


Luan Qiaoqing really did run away.

When Bai Song left that morning, she gave Song Shu and Luan Qiaoqing each some spending money, telling them to go to the amusement park together and then stroll hand in hand through the streets afterward.
Luan Qiaoqing expressed deep disdain for the idea of holding hands, but Song Shu glanced at her.

Luan Qiaoqing stayed silent for two seconds, obediently lifted her hand to take the money, and politely thanked her, “Thank you, Auntie.”

“Qiaoqiao is so well-behaved.”

Inside, Qiaoqiao was tearing up.

But then, she suddenly realized something—she already knew her father’s new address, she just hadn’t had the time or money to go there. Now, it seemed like she had both.

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Luan Qiaoqing started to plan.

At the amusement park, Luan Qiaoqing found it was crowded, perfect for her to slip away. Her eyes darted around as she grabbed Song Shu’s hand, “Sister, my stomach hurts, I need to go to the restroom.” As she spoke, Luan Qiaoqing even placed her hand on her stomach and pretended to rub it.

“I’ll go with you,” her sister said expressionlessly.

Luan Qiaoqing hesitated, “No need, no need, I can go by myself. Sister, you wait here for me, I’ll be back soon!”

With that, Luan Qiaoqing tried to run away, but she was stopped by a firm grip.

Feeling guilty, she turned back. Song Shu calmly stared at her for two seconds, nodded slowly, and then let go of her hand.

“Be careful on the way.”

Luan Qiaoqing was scared and turned to run. After she had run quite a distance, she glanced back. The girl who was two centimeters shorter than her was still standing quietly in the crowd, watching her direction.

At that time, Song Shu was about fifteen or sixteen years old, already showing the beginnings of her beauty, attracting the covert or overt attention of many passing boys. Yet, she seemed oblivious to everyone’s gaze, focusing only in one direction.

Luan Qiaoqing suddenly felt a bit guilty.

But she still wanted to go home. If there was a chance in the future, she thought she would still be willing to accompany this cousin to play in the amusement park.

Holding hands and strolling through the streets… might not be so bad after all.

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With the money Bai Song had given her, Luan Qiaoqing ran to the amusement park entrance and hailed a taxi, heading straight for her father’s new address.

It was an upscale residential area, with neatly arranged buildings and dignified exteriors. Luan Qiaoqing was a bit scared as she came here for the first time, but she mustered up her courage and walked in.

Following the difficult search for her father’s new home according to the house number, she stood in front of a beautiful villa and a small gate in the courtyard. Luan Qiaoqing took a deep breath and pressed the doorbell on the metal gate outside the courtyard.

Soon, the door on the steps inside opened, revealing a woman’s figure.

“Who is it?”

“…!”

Luan Qiaoqing swiftly crouched down behind the bushes beside the door. She hugged her knees, wide-eyed and bewildered, recalling the person she had just seen.

It was her new stepmother, she knew. The woman didn’t like her, and she didn’t like the woman either. But before coming back, she had thought about it—she could endure it for the sake of her father.

But…

Why was the aunt’s belly protruding?

Before Luan Qiaoqing could understand this question, she heard a familiar male voice coming from behind the bushes, tinged with a hint of reluctant reproach.

“Didn’t I say I’d come to open the door? You’re pregnant, be careful.”

“I heard a noise, couldn’t help it.”

“No, with so many steps here, what if I accidentally hurt you or the baby? I’d feel so devastated.”

“You always know what to say.”

“Come on, let me say a few words to the baby too…”

“Oh, stop messing around. I just saw someone outside.”

“Really? …There’s no one. I told you, you must have misheard again. Let’s go, let’s go. It’s so hot outside, don’t let the baby get too hot…”

“…”

The voices faded away.

Finally, with a “bang,” the sweet words of that family of three vanished, leaving only silence locked outside the door.

Luan Qiaoqing crouched behind the bushes.

Her legs and feet had gone numb from crouching for so long. The sky outside gradually darkened, and raindrops pattered loudly on the tiles in front of her, leaving various-shaped water stains one after another.

Eventually, Luan Qiaoqing managed to stand up, supporting herself with her knees.

She saw a window not far away with thin curtains drawn. Inside, a man and a woman leaned against each other, their figures bathed in warm light.

She looked up.

Other buildings, rooms, one light after another—this was probably what they meant by “the lights of a thousand homes” in books.

But the books didn’t mention that those looking at the lights from outside stood in pouring rain, under a dark and gloomy sky.

None of those lights inside belonged to her.

“…”

Luan Qiaoqing had turned herself into a drenched rat.

She didn’t know where she was going. The rain curtain was heavy, obscuring everything in a vast expanse of white. Pedestrians hurried past her, rarely willing to hesitate and glance at the drenched child.
Luan Qiaoqing could only stagger blindly, continuing until she reached the outskirts of the upscale community. There, next to the gate, was the only 24-hour convenience store. Luan Qiaoqing felt her pockets, unsure if they would accept her soaked money.

She looked up and froze in the rain.

Frozen like a fool.

She looked like a fool when she saw her reflection in the convenience store’s glass.

What made her look like a fool was the reflection inside, sitting on a high stool in the store’s resting area, legs swinging, a beautiful girl with no expression on her face.

The girl saw her too.

She jumped off the chair, pushed open the convenience store door, and stood under the eaves, waving at her.

Luan Qiaoqing’s first reaction upon snapping out of her daze was to marvel at how this girl, who was already in her second year of high school, could still swing her legs while sitting on a high stool. Just how short was she?

Her second reaction, upon seeing that face devoid of emotion but still calling out to her warmly and reassuringly, was to rush forward with a loud “wow1cry.”

—She thought the whole world had abandoned her.

But apparently not.

Thank goodness… not.

Luan Qiaoqing hugged Song Shu, who was two centimeters shorter than her, crying with snot and tears flowing freely. Even though the person she held did not speak or struggle, Luan Qiaoqing felt that all her grievances had found an outlet:

“Mom, Dad has another child! He doesn’t want me anymore! Wah—”

Passersby seeking shelter from the rain turned to look over, their eyes toward the two teenagers seeming like they were looking at two idiots.

Song Shu remained calm and composed, so she noticed. But she didn’t say anything, just sighed softly in her heart.

She remembered that year in the Qin family’s small building.

From that day on, the father who embraced Song Ruyu with a smile on his face, who affectionately comforted his children, and who reserved only disgust and the coldest of rejections for her…

Song Shu gently touched the wet head of the girl in her arms.

“Then we don’t need him either.”

Those who have disappointed us, let’s abandon them all.


Since that day, Luan Qiaoqing harbored more complex emotions towards Song Shu, best described as a mix of love and hatred.

Her love stemmed from the care and comfort she had never experienced before from an elder sister, despite her sister’s lack of expression.

As for hatred…

Luan Qiaoqing still vividly remembered after sobbing breathlessly, asking Song Shu in confusion why she hadn’t gotten wet despite following her. Song Shu calmly took out an umbrella from her bag and slowly opened it beside her, drenched like a drowned rat.

“The weather forecast said it would rain today.”

“…”

Looking at her sister’s delicate yet emotionless face, Luan Qiaoqing never had such a profound realization that her sister might be a devil.

In the end, Luan Qiaoqing did enter Q City’s No. 2 Middle School where her devilish sister was studying.

No. 2 Middle School is a prestigious provincial key high school known throughout the country for its top students. As for Luan Qiaoqing’s grades… it’s better left unmentioned.

So when Luan Qiaoqing entered the junior high section and saw Song Shu’s name repeatedly among the outstanding student representatives honored by the school, she would always recall that first encounter in the afternoon, dominated by the terrifying Rubik’s Cube with its densely packed squares, a fear that almost triggered her fear of intense patterns.

Due to the vast difference in their academic performance, Luan Qiaoqing never mentioned to anyone that the beautiful top student in the senior year of the high school section was actually her sister. She kept this secret tightly guarded.

Until an “accident” occurred—

Luan Qiaoqing had always believed that an outstanding Little Miss should have a rich history of relationships. Starting from kindergarten, she never tired of having little boyfriends. Perhaps it was due to the excellent genes of the Bai family; even with a boyish haircut, Luan Qiaoqing’s “glorious” romantic history remained undeterred.

Then, Luan Qiaoqing encountered her first setback at No. 2 Middle School. The day after she successfully held hands with a fair-skinned little boy, a group of Little Misses blocked her at the classroom door. They exchanged harsh words and arranged a time and place for a “duel”—this was their usual procedure.

Considering the opponent’s overwhelming numbers, Luan Qiaoqing felt a bit embarrassed to go alone, so she thought of sending the time and place to Song Shu. Before noon, as school was about to end, her desk mate, with a pale face and without anyone noticing, told her: “You’re finished. Don’t you know who those girls are?”

Luan Qiaoqing considered herself capable of taking on five in a fight and wasn’t afraid at all. “What’s so special about them?”

“They’ve recognized an older brother in the senior section. He’s one of Qin Lou’s lackeys!”

“Qin Lou? Who’s that?”

“If you don’t even know Qin Lou, what are you doing at No. 2 Middle School?”

Her desk mate glared at her disdainfully, then eyes twinkling, recounted the legendary tale of Senior Qin Lou.

But in the end, her desk mate solemnly advised again, “If Brother Lou really shows up, just apologize and admit your mistake. I haven’t seen it myself, but I’ve heard people say he’s not normal when he gets angry. Even the teachers at school fear him.”

“Alright, alright, I got it…”

Luan Qiaoqing glanced at the time, not wanting to linger any longer. She bid farewell to her desk mate and headed straight to the battleground.

The place they agreed to meet was at the southwest corner of the school, behind the multimedia classroom building where there was a small sports field. This field was situated almost one floor below ground level, about three to four meters lower than the average ground level of the school.

As lunchtime approached, students were all heading towards the northeast corner where the cafeteria was located, leaving this area nearly deserted.

When Luan Qiaoqing arrived, she saw the group of Little Misses standing under a tree, accompanied by a senior section male student who was likely the “older brother” her desk mate mentioned.

Upon seeing Luan Qiaoqing arrive alone, the older brother chuckled and turned to the girls, “Didn’t you say she brought people too? It’s just one girl, and she tricked me into calling Brother Lou over. Trying to play games with us?”

With that said, he turned and looked towards the raised platform.

“Brother Lou, sorry about this, my group of sisters was just messing around…”

Following this voice, Luan Qiaoqing turned her head and noticed another person under the shade of the tree.

A young man in a white shirt, his long legs swinging, sitting on the platform that was three to four meters high. When he heard the voice, he set down the book in his hand and lifted his eyes. His features were extremely handsome, outlined by the light and shadow under the tree—thin lips, a straight and fair nose, and dark ink-like eyes.

Luan Qiaoqing had never seen such a good-looking young man before.

But he didn’t seem very friendly.

He gave her a cold glance, then looked away, closed the book in his hand with a snap, and tossed it over to the male student who had spoken.

“Are you deliberately here to sabotage me again since I can’t see Little Clam Shell today despite memorizing Song of Everlasting Sorrow2Chang Hen Ge by ninth century poet Bai Juyi?”

The boy caught the book with a wry smile. “No, Lou Ge, I promise not to waste your time next time. Please continue memorizing.”

Luan Qiaoqing marveled at the unpredictability of the world. It was her first time encountering such a diligent delinquent. She wondered what he meant by “Little Clam Shell.”

“Qiaoqiao.”

Startled by the flat voice, Luan Qiaoqing felt a chill down her spine. She swiftly turned around and reflexively exclaimed, “Sister!”

Silence suddenly fell in the air. It was the first time Luan Qiaoqing clearly saw an expression on Song Shu’s face—she was gazing towards a direction behind her, slowly furrowing her brows.

“Have you finished memorizing ‘The Song of Everlasting Sorrow’?”

“…”

The question clearly wasn’t directed at her.

Luan Qiaoqing turned her head to look.

There, she saw the stunning young man she had admired standing up at some point. Unexpectedly, the emotions in his ink-black eyes couldn’t be restrained—they flickered intensely when he looked at the quiet, frowning girl beside Luan Qiaoqing.

Her desk mate was right; this young man was indeed a madman, Luan Qiaoqing thought.

Trying to describe his gaze and expression would be like describing an addict.

It was an uncontrollable yearning.


Sansukini: I guess I like this novel because of the subtle angst. The first arc will set the foundation for the rest of the story. I think this story was well thought out. It first sets the emotional backstory, why are the characters so attached, then the second arc will give their actions reasonable causes. Like I mentioned in another translation of mine (ARIES), I sometimes like novels that touches my feelings. I hope you’re enjoying this one too.

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