The Madman and The Doll

Chapter 09: Will You Be My Lock? (1)

Youth: You’re my Redemption
Chapter 09: Will You Be My Lock? (1)

When Song Shu and Qin Lou advanced to the second year of high school, the Qin family’s investment company established a firm foothold in Bai Song’s office. Consequently, Bai Song’s overseas assignment officially ended, and she set off to return home after completing the work handover.

The news reached the Qin family headquarters a week in advance.

Every summer, Qin Lou and Song Shu would move to the main house, a routine that had become customary over the years. The news of Bai Song’s return was delivered to Qin Liang’s study, and inevitably, it reached Qin Lou’s ears as well.

Upon hearing this, Qin Lou felt like he was facing a formidable enemy—whenever Bai Song returned to the country in recent years, her first stop was always to visit her daughter at the Qin family. With Song Shu’s personality gradually becoming more outgoing and expressive under Qin Lou’s influence, the mother-daughter interactions had become increasingly harmonious.

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So, no matter what Qin Lou thought, whenever Bai Song returned to the country, his little clam shell would undoubtedly be taken away by her.

This thought made him irritable.

Coincidentally, when the news arrived, Song Shu was attending a summer camp activity at a well-known university in Q City and was not at the Qin family’s residence.

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Ekvb vbl Fsdt Fbw dsv yaswde, ds sdl nswze “lmvkdtwkpb vbl qkal”, yde Ckd Nsw’p ydvknp oldv wdnblnjle, nywpkdt vbl ldvkal bswplbsze vs pwqqla.
Gqvla ldewakdt plhlayz eyup sq vsaxldv, vbl plahydvp qkdyzzu bye ldswtb yde alrsavle vbl pkvwyvksd vs Ya. Ckd.

Ya. Ckd bye psxlsdl pwxxsd Ckd Nsw vs vbl pvweu.

Ckd Nsw ldvlale nyaaukdt y obszl csm sq rldnkzp sq hyaukdt byaedlpp. Gqvla pkvvkdt esod sd vbl psqy, bl srldle vbl csm yde nypwyzzu rknjle sdl wr vs pbyarld.

Ebld Ya. Ckd qkdyzzu vssj y calyj qasx bkp osaj yde zssjle cynj, bl qasodle. “Ebyv yal usw eskdt okvb vbspl rldnkzp?”

“Wsa eayokdt,” Ckd Nsw alrzkle.

Ya. Ckd oyp vyjld ycynj. “Zsw’hl alnldvzu vyjld yd kdvlalpv kd eayokdt? Ls zsdtla rzyukdt okvb Swckj’p nwclp?”

“Nkvvzl Uzyx zkjlp kv.”

—Ebld Fsdt Fbw oyp dsv yaswde, Ckd Nsw zkjle vs alqla vs bla vbkp oyu vs ydusdl clnywpl kv qlzv kdvkxyvl. Tl oyp yzps hlau rspplppkhl yde eked’v yzzso ydusdl lzpl vs wpl vbkp dknjdyxl.

After explaining, Qin Lou suddenly remembered something and frowned as he looked up. “When did I ever like playing with Rubik’s cubes?”

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“The six-layer Rubik’s cube. We’ve bought a truckload of them for you.”

“Because she likes it,” Qin Lou replied matter-of-factly. After thinking for two seconds, he added, “But she doesn’t play with it herself; she likes watching me play. That thing’s structural integrity isn’t high, it’s easy to break.”

“…” Qin Liang knew that his grandson had always been completely devoted to Song Shu, but he didn’t realize to what extent.

He shook his head, both amused and exasperated.

“You know that your Aunt Bai is coming back to the country, right?”

It would have been better not to mention this. As soon as he did, Qin Lou’s smile instantly vanished.

Seeing his grandson remain silent, Qin Liang continued, “I called you here to discuss when we should let Song Shu move out.”

“—Snap.”

The pencil in Qin Lou’s hand snapped.

It wasn’t just the lead that broke; the entire slender pencil shaft split in the middle, leaving sharp splinters of wood.

The study fell silent for a moment.

Qin Liang sighed helplessly, “Qin Lou, Song Shu can’t stay by your side forever.”

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“Why not?”

Qin Lou raised his eyes coldly, with a hint of suppressed ferocity deep in them.

“You are both still students now, you can go to school and play together, but in the future…”

“I will marry her in the future. The two families can get engaged first, and once the marriage documents are exchanged, the Qin family will be her home too. Aunt Bai can even move in with us.”

“…” Qin Liang was taken aback. He looked at Qin Lou in shock, only to find that the young man showed no signs of impulsiveness. Despite Qin Lou’s unsteady emotions, when he spoke these words, it was as if they had been brewing in his mind for countless times.

Qin Liang hesitated.

“Setting aside whether your Aunt Bai would agree, have you discussed this with Song Shu?”

“…No.”

“Why not?”

“…”

Qin Lou fell silent.

Yes, why hadn’t he mentioned it?

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Because he wasn’t sure, he didn’t know if his little clam also had the same deep, inescapable feelings for him that he had for her.

He couldn’t do without her, but she might not feel the same way.

So he didn’t dare to bring it up. What right did a madman who didn’t even know where his own path would break off have to talk to her about the future?

Not even “the future,” he didn’t dare to bring up “the present.”

The pencil in the young man’s hand was gripped tighter and tighter, the splintered wood piercing into his palm, but he seemed to feel nothing.

Qin Liang couldn’t bear to watch.

He understood better than anyone how peculiar and unruly his grandson’s personality was. He also knew that Song Shu might be the only panacea for Qin Lou.

Precisely because he knew this…

“Qin Lou, if you really want to be with Song Shu for a long time, you need to start learning to let go a little. You can’t keep thinking like a child. You can force her to stay with you for a day or two, but you can’t force her to stay for a lifetime—coercion will only push people away.”

“…What if I can’t let go?” the boy’s voice was a bit hoarse.

Qin Liang sighed, “You can be at the same school, in the same class. I won’t interfere with what you want to do in the future; you can go along with her. But you must let her have her own life. Her life can’t be all about you—if you can’t even tolerate her mother being with her, then I won’t entrust Song Shu to you.”

“….”

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The study fell silent once again.

Qin Lou stood up, holding the box. It was filled with many sharpened pencils, each one he had meticulously sharpened over the days when Song Shu was away.

As he sharpened the pencils, he felt like he was grinding away at the dark emotions and desires growing deep within him. But these emotions and desires were different—they always came back stronger, no matter how much he tried to reduce and suppress them.

He knew this wasn’t right, that it was wrong. But he couldn’t help it.

He had grasped his only light in the darkness, with countless voices urging him to loosen his grip, to let go…

But how could he?

“I will think about it,” Qin Lou said. Then, holding the box, he turned and left the study.

As he walked down the hallway, he saw a shadow quickly flit past a distant corner.

It seemed familiar and very hurried.

However, Qin Lou was in no mood to investigate, so he ignored it and returned to his room.

~

Despite Qin Lou’s reluctance, Bai Song still returned to the country.

Moreover, when Bai Song visited Mr. Qin at the Qin residence, Qin Lou noticed that she had a girl with her. He was leaning on the second-floor staircase when he heard Bai Song mention that the girl was her sister Bai Ge’s daughter. She was two years younger than Song Shu, making her Song Shu’s cousin, and her name was Luan Qiaoqing.

Qin Lou felt extremely uneasy.

This meant that not only would Song Shu be returning home, but she would also have a new playmate by her side—whether male or female didn’t matter. The mere presence of someone who could potentially threaten his position was unacceptable.

However, saying “no” wouldn’t make Luan Qiaoqing disappear. Luan Qiaoqing’s mother had passed away early, and her father’s new wife didn’t like her, so she could only be taken care of by her aunt Bai Song.

Song Shu and this new girl might end up spending more time together than he did with her…

Feeling distressed, Qin Lou went to Song Shu’s room.

Song Shu was at her desk drawing, drawing picture after picture of the people and scenery she had seen at summer camp. Her belongings were packed into a few small boxes, piled up in the corner of the room.

She was really leaving.

Qin Lou stood by the door without saying a word. His features, already handsome and defined, were downcast, and he was unusually quiet.

He could have thrown a tantrum, as he had done many times before. He could create such chaos that everyone would be terrified, forcing them to comply with his wishes… Maybe then he could keep his little clam for one more day, or maybe two.

But he didn’t do that.

“Qin Lou.”

Qin Lou heard her voice and looked up.

Song Shu had quietly approached him, holding the sketchbook she had been clutching all along, along with a 6×6 Rubik’s cube.

“This is a gift,” Song Shu handed him the sketchbook first, then placed the Rubik’s cube on top of it, “and this is a task.”

Qin Lou remained silent, still gazing at her.

In the young man’s eyes struggled countless emotions, too many to contain, threatening to overflow, almost consuming the girl standing before him.

Song Shu seemed oblivious to this danger.

She even smiled at him, a gentle curve at the corner of her eyes, subtle but just enough for him to notice.
“Do you know why I always give you a Rubik’s cube?” she asked softly.

“…”

“An aunt I knew before said it’s a form of psychological suggestion. Whenever your emotions are intense, solving the Rubik’s cube helps you calm down. It’s accumulated to this point—if you ever feel emotional again, it can help you calm down.”

“…”

Song Shu shook the Rubik’s cube in her hand. “We could call it a psychological stabilizer. How does that name sound to you?”

“…”

Seeing Qin Lou still uncooperative, the smile on Song Shu’s face faded slightly.

“Do you not like that name?”

“I like it.”

The young man spoke up, setting the sketchbook aside and picking up the Rubik’s cube. Then, with a snap, he broke it apart and tossed it away.

Qin Lou stared at Song Shu, a hint of fierceness surfacing in his eyes.

“But it’s not it. My psychological stabilizer has never been that.”

Song Shu looked at the broken Rubik’s cube, paused for two seconds, then sighed softly.

“Are you that angry?” she asked gently.

Qin Lou clenched his teeth slightly, sneering coldly.
“If it were someone else, the countdown to them running away would have started.”

“I’m not running away,” the girl said calmly, without much expression or fluctuation. Then, she thought for a moment.

“School is starting soon, and the daytime classes at No. 2 High School are particularly long, so we’ll only not see each other at night—does that make it a bit better?”

“No,” Qin Lou responded firmly.

Song Shu sighed softly once more.

“How about this then?” With those words, the girl tiptoed, embracing the young man who had grown much taller than her at some point.

A soft fragrance enveloped him. It was the scent of a budding young woman, mixed with the violet-scented shampoo she used.

Qin Lou froze.

As the girl hesitantly tilted her head, her warm breath tingled against his fair earlobe.

“Don’t be afraid. I’ll always be your doll.”

“…”

The fingers of the young man, hanging at his side, twitched slightly.

Then, they began to clench slowly, tightening until they trembled.

He didn’t dare let her see, didn’t dare to embrace her back, and certainly didn’t dare to speak.

He feared his secrets would be exposed—

Yet, a doll was far, far from enough for him.


Sansukini: Like being his doll is not enough, she has to be his wifey.

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