The Madman and The Doll

Chapter 08: No One is You (4)

Youth: You’re my Redemption
Chapter 8: No One is You (4)


“They said, ‘One day, you will leave me.'”

“…”

“Will you, doll?”

“…”

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The study fell silent for a long time. The wind rustled the pages of the books by the window.

Qin Lou saw the girl nod. She looked at him with bright, clean eyes. The girl spoke softly, “I will.”

“…”

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“Ls sdl pvyup qsalhla, Ckd Nsw.”

Ckd Nsw pvyale yv bla kd y eygl.

Mbl zkvvzl xyexyd pllxle pvwddle, ds zsdtla ynvkdt naygu. Tkp lulp okeldle yp kq vlyap olal ycswv vs prkzz, cwv bl byed’v nakle pkdnl bl oyp plhld. Tl ds zsdtla jdlo bso.

Fs bl ypjle, nywvkswpzu, bkp hsknl psqv yp kq yqayke vs calyj sa pbyvvla psxlvbkdt, vbspl qlyap yde takxynlp cwakle ellr okvbkd:

“Jwv yald’v usw xu eszz? R esd’v nyal ycswv svblap, oblvbla vblu pvyu sa ts… Jwv usw yal xu eszz, usw yal xkdl. Ebu oswze usw zlyhl—”

Mbl csu’p lxsvksdp clnyxl alpvzlpp.

Fsdt Fbw vbswtbv qsa y xsxldv clqsal prlyjkdt, “Mbl vlynbla pyke ol’zz ts vs bktb pnbssz, vbld ekqqlaldv wdkhlapkvklp; ol’zz cl qya yryav, xyjl ekqqlaldv qakldep, byhl ekqqlaldv…”

“R’zz sdzu byhl usw!”

Song Shu hesitated, “Why?”

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“Because—because…” The boy struggled for words.

Song Shu looked at him quietly, “You’re so smart, much more capable than the teachers. You’ll become even more impressive. Many people will want to be your friend, not just me.”

“…” Qin Lou was too angry to speak.

“But you have to start going to school normally first,” Song Shu pondered, “You can’t throw tantrums like at home. Once everyone stops being afraid of you, you’ll have lots of friends.”

“…”

Qin Lou was furious, gave a cold smile, and turned away.

He was determined to make the wooden doll regret this. He must!


Two months later, at the beginning of the third year of junior high, Qin Lou demonstrated what it meant to “be obedient.” He attended classes, slept through every subject, ranked last in every exam. He made friends too—the troublemakers at Erzhong who used to be the teachers’ headaches now followed him around, causing chaos wherever they went in school.

As time went on, everyone started joking: “Young Master Qin from the Qin family is truly a natural at being a troublemaker, gifted from birth.”

But despite being a troublemaker, after half a semester of arrogance and bullying, he never managed to pull off anything out of line—thanks to a girl named Song Shu in Class Three, as everyone in the school knew.

She was quiet and carried a sketchbook everywhere she went. Though she was pretty and cute, she rarely showed emotion, and her excellent grades made her somewhat distant from other students. But perhaps more importantly, she and Qin Lou knew each other well.

Qin Lou listened only to this girl.

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Every time the troublesome group of boys wanted to cause trouble or start a fight, somehow the news always reached Song Shu. So, whether it was the small grove behind the school, the grassy area in front of the playground, the little square next to the music building, or the rocky fountain pool opposite the gym, whenever a brawl was about to break out, Song Shu always appeared just in time.

And as soon as she showed up, she would calmly take away their ringleaders.

The group once suspected they had a mole among them and even tried to report each other to Qin Lou several times.

To no avail.

Until today.

Seeing both sides about to fight for real, the girl hadn’t shown up yet. The troublemaking group of boys were thrilled, eager to go at it, crazily hinting to Qin Lou that this was his chance to redeem his previous shame.

“Just wait a bit longer.”

Young Master Qin chewed on a blade of grass, swinging his long legs as he sat absentmindedly on a platform three meters high, staring in the direction of the teaching building.

Then, the group suddenly realized.

This damn girl didn’t just happen to arrive on time every time. It was their big brother who was tipping her off, then deliberately timing it for her to come and “pick him up.”

…Damn.

The troublemakers were not happy.

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But they dared not voice their anger.

Because they noticed as time ticked by, the smirk in the eyes of the young man sitting on the high platform gradually darkened. The emotions brewing inside him seemed beyond his years, almost frightening to behold.

Before that hint of darkness could materialize into something more substantial, the person sent to tip off Song Shu returned. He panted heavily as he ran up to Qin Lou’s side.

“People from her class said Song Shu was called to the principal’s office. I waited for half a day, but she didn’t… didn’t come back.”

“…”

The last trace of a smirk vanished from Qin Lou’s eyes.

With a single hand bracing himself on the platform, he jumped to his feet.

Across from them, a few high school students who had challenged them were already getting impatient. One of them sneered and stepped forward, “What’s wrong, scared? Are you planning to run away—”

Before he could finish his sentence, the expressionless youth who had walked past him swiftly punched him in the stomach. The high school student’s face twisted in pain, but he couldn’t even utter a sound as he doubled over, clutching his abdomen like a shrimp.

The sudden and unexpected action left the high school students bewildered. They tried to retaliate, but their feet seemed stuck in mud, unable to move.
Qin Lou glared at them, his handsome face, still retaining a hint of youthful innocence, now suppressed with a certain emotion.

Ferocious.

It was the ferocity that only a cornered wild animal would display, capable of tearing apart anything in its path, including itself.

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No one dared to intervene. They watched in shock as the youth walked towards the teaching building without looking back.

“What the hell…?”

“Isn’t it just that his girl got called to the principal’s office? It’s not that big a deal, right?”

“His eyes are really scary, like a madman.”

“Right? You feel the same way, don’t you? I’ve been saying this kid from junior high is crazy. Every time I look at him, his eyes are like those of a rabid dog…”

“Stay away from him.”

“Yeah…”

“…”


“Song Shu, you’re a good kid. The teacher knows you’ve known Qin Lou since you were young and have a good relationship, but there are some people, he might not be suitable to be friends with forever…”

Song Shu stood in the homeroom teacher’s office, listening with no expression, eyes downcast. On the teacher’s desk was a pot of flowers, small and delicate, not yet blooming. The leaves resembled roses, but in this condition, they wouldn’t survive long…

“Song Shu, did you hear what the teacher said?”

“…Um.”

“Do you know what to do?”

“Um.”

“Alright then, the teacher can rest assured. You have a bright future ahead of you. Don’t let temporary friendships delay you, or you’ll regret it in the future, understand?”

“Um.”

“Okay, you can go now.”

“Goodbye, teacher.”

Song Shu turned and walked out of the office. She hadn’t really listened, nor did she need to. From the beginning of the third year of junior high until now, she had heard these words countless times. Every teacher had told her, “Qin Lou and you are not the same kind of people. You should keep your distance from him,” and “Qin Lou is fundamentally bad, don’t let yourself be dragged down with him.”

At first, Song Shu used to tell them that without Qin Lou, she wouldn’t be who she was today. But later on, she grew tired of arguing. They wouldn’t understand. People who don’t understand never will.

Song Shu walked out of the office, closed the door, then turned around. And then she froze.

In the corridor outside the office, Qin Lou looked up. His eyes were red at the corners, perhaps from suppressing strong emotions, and faint purplish veins showed on his forehead. His hand, hanging by his side, was clenched into a fist.

His gaze and demeanor were daunting.

“…I heard them,” his voice was slightly hoarse, filled with pain and suppression. But he smiled.

“So you’ve been telling me to make friends because everyone told you it’s best to keep away from me? You finally realized this, but isn’t it too late now to agree with them?!”

Song Shu began to respond, but Qin Lou cut her off.

“I didn’t agree… but did you know?” He stepped forward in one stride, gripping her wrist tightly to restrain her. Leaning in close, he grinned.

“They were right about everything they said.”

“… “

“You should have left a long time ago.”

“… “

The boy’s grip was so strong it felt like he might crush the girl’s wrist. After his last mocking remark, he stiffened for a few seconds, his eyes reddened as if about to shed blood.

“…Who cares?” He flung away her wrist and turned to leave.

“Qin Lou.”

“… ” He paused briefly, then continued walking.

“Qin Lou.”

“… ” Ignoring her completely.

“Qin Lou.”

“… “

“Qin Lou.”

“…”

Qin Lou’s steps abruptly halted.

After a few moments, he stiffly turned his back.

The girl stood still.

She gazed at him calmly, her clear eyes gentle.

“I’ve been standing here. I didn’t leave.”

“…”

In an instant, the beast-like emotions tore through the suppression and silence in his eyes. Qin Lou turned back and grabbed her wrist, pulling her into the nearby utility room.

The door slammed shut with a loud “bang.”

Inside the dark room, with no light to see, only the hoarse and suppressed voice of the boy could be heard.

“Why aren’t you leaving?”

“…”

“Didn’t they try to persuade you? They were right about everything—about you, about me—every single thing they said was right!”

“Qin Lou.”

“You should have listened to them long ago. I will definitely become scum and a degenerate! We were never meant to be together!”

“We have always been together.”

“That was before! What about a few years from now? Haven’t you heard how the servants at home talk about us? They all discuss when Bai Song will take you away—how could she possibly allow you to stay by my side!”

Qin Lou took a breath. In the darkness, he wasn’t afraid of his ferocity scaring the girl. He used his most aggressive tone to threaten and intimidate her—

“A few years from now, you will be wearing a waist-hugging white dress, showing off your slender white legs, with the most beautiful figure and face. And trash like me will only drag you into my car on some drunken night, tear your dress to shreds, and bite your lips to bleeding amid the whistles—”

He lowered his head, his voice hoarse.

“Do you understand, doll? I’m beyond saving.
Someone like me is destined to be buried in the mud, rotting with the maggots!”

“…”

The darkness in the tool room remained silent for a long time.

Only the boy’s exhausted breathing could be heard after his hysteria.

He buried his head very low.

For the first time in a long while, Qin Lou felt this sad, so sad that he felt like he was going to cry.

He was finally about to lose his doll. He should be crying.

Qin Lou buried his head even lower.

Then he felt a hand gently, very lightly, rub his hair.

“I will save you, Qin Lou.”

“…”

Qin Lou’s voice choked.

She still heard it. Just like that thunderstorm night several years ago, she was the only one who heard his cry for help.

“Aren’t you afraid of me?”

“Why should I be afraid?”

“They’re all afraid.”

“They are not me.”

“…”

Qin Lou slowly, slowly tightened his fingers, clasping the girl’s hand. He lowered his eyes, silently looking in the darkness.

He held back his tears.

“Yes, they’re not you.”

In my world,

No one is you.


Sansukini: How much trauma did Qin Lou suffer to self-denigrate himself to this extent?

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