Wolf Cub – Chapter 1.2

“No,” Lin Shiyu said.

Then he turned his head away, no longer saying a word.

Fifteen minutes before the end of class, Li Zhong appeared at the front door of the classroom, leaning half of his body inside before waving to the English teacher.

“There’s something,” Li Zhong said apologetically to the English teacher.

After obtaining permission, Li Zhong scanned the classroom and settled his gaze on Lin Shiyu. “Lin Shiyu, come out for a moment.”

The arm that had been resting motionless on the textbook finally moved. Lin Shiyu stood up amidst the gazes of the people around him and left the classroom.

At the end of the corridor, in the corner of the stairs where it was quiet. Li Zhong and Lin Shiyu stood face to face in the shadows. Li Zhong looked at Lin Shiyu for a while and sighed.

“You need to call your parents.” Li Zhong said. “Think about it. Otherwise, how can this matter be resolved?”

Lin Shiyu stood against the wall, avoiding eye contact and remaining silent. Li Zhong clicked his tongue and said, “Why are you being so stubborn? Speak up.”

“I don’t want to tell my mom,” Lin Shiyu finally spoke.

“Alright, then tell me first,” Li Zhong adjusted his glasses and calmly said, “Let’s start with an evaluation. First, tell me, why did you hit them?”

Li Zhong’s attitude was calm, without any intention to scold or protect anyone. It was like an ordinary conversation, which made Lin Shiyu let down his guard to some extent. He no longer appeared as aggressively resistant as before.

“They were bullying my little sister.” Lin Shiyu finally said.

“Your little sister?” Li Zhong was momentarily surprised. “Is she also from our school? What’s her name?”

“She’s not from our school, and she’s still young,” Lin Shiyu’s eyebrows furrowed again.

Li Zhong noticed that this child in front of him was difficult to communicate with. He became impatient after just a couple of sentences, and it took considerable effort to get him to say something. How long would it take to get through to him? Li Zhong rubbed his forehead and helplessly said, “Okay, so your sister knows about what happened. Let me talk to her. Does she have a phone? We can talk over the phone.”

“She doesn’t have a phone,” Lin Shiyu replied.

After a pause, Lin Shiyu added, “She can’t talk to you either.”

Doubts arose in Li Zhong’s mind. The statement “can’t talk to you” seemed unusual. Did it mean she couldn’t talk because she didn’t have a phone, or did it imply a lack of communication skills altogether? With these thoughts, Li Zhong became more cautious, realizing that the situation might not be as simple as he previously imagined.

He carefully chose his words and was about to speak when he suddenly noticed Lin Shiyu’s complexion.

It was very poor. His lips were pale, and his eyes constantly lowered. His face was also pale and it seemed that the reason for his furrowed brows wasn’t due to impatience from talking with him but rather discomfort in his body.

“Are you feeling unwell somewhere?” Li Zhong asked after observing Lin Shiyu’s demeanor.

Lin Shiyu adjusted his posture, cleared his throat, and said, “No.”

“Your complexion looks bad,” Li Zhong pointed out. “What’s wrong? It’s not low blood sugar from skipping breakfast, is it?”

“No,” Lin Shiyu denied, hesitated for a moment, and then explained, “I got kicked a few times during the fight, and now it hurts a bit.”

Li Zhong was truly at a loss with this child. Shouldn’t incidents like this be reported to the parents or teachers in a timely manner? Or shouldn’t he at least go to the hospital for a check-up?

“Where did you get kicked? Let me see if it’s serious or not,” Li Zhong calmly said.

“In the stomach.”

Li Zhong could no longer be bothered to waste time with him. He simply reached out and lifted the hem of his clothes, bending down to see a sizable bruise on Lin Shiyu’s abdomen that looked very prominent. He raised his hand and pressed around the bruise, observing Lin Shiyu’s expression. “Do you feel any pain?”

Lin Shiyu’s expression was clearly confused. “No.”

The bell for the end of class suddenly rang, and the quiet corridor became lively.

Li Zhong let go of the hem of Lin Shiyu’s clothes. “Then it shouldn’t be serious. Why didn’t you say so earlier?”

Lin Shiyu returned to his cold and indifferent demeanor, not answering. Li Zhong stood in front of him with his hands on his hips, feeling that his patience had reached a whole new level in just a short ten minutes. “Lin Shiyu, when you’re injured, you should tell an adult. How can you keep something like this to yourself? What if something happens to your body?”

Lin Shiyu had an expressionless face. “Oh.”

One person looked at the other’s expression, while the other looked at the ground.

People quickly multiplied in the corridor. Some came out to use the restroom, get water, play around, or prepare for the next PE class. Young people were lively and full of energy, running up and down the corridor and stairs. Some students curiously glanced at this silent pair, but their attention didn’t linger for long as they quickly moved on to more interesting things.

Li Zhong surveyed the surroundings and saw Zhong Qi, who had just walked out of the classroom through the back door, and called out, “Zhong Qi!”

The tall boy, hearing the teacher’s voice, turned his head. Li Zhong waved at him. “Come here.”

Zhong Qi walked through the crowd and asked, “What’s up?”

“Accompany him to the infirmary. Have the doctor check his stomach and give him some medicine,” Li Zhong pushed Lin Shiyu towards Zhong Qi and said, “I have something else to do. The next class is math, right? I’ll go and inform Teacher Zhao.”

His expression clearly meant: ‘Watch over this guy and don’t let him wander off.’

Zhong Qi understood the intention and nodded. “Okay, I’ll accompany him.”

To get to the infirmary from the first-year building, they had to cross the basketball court. The two walked down the stairs, with Lin Shiyu in front and Zhong Qi behind. Groups of students chatting and laughing moved around them, making the most of the short break between classes. Some boys hurriedly ran down the stairs while hugging basketballs, seeking those few minutes of running and shooting, leaving a trail of lingering energy and continuous echoes.

“You can go back,” Lin Shiyu, walking in front, didn’t turn around, but the words were directed at Zhong Qi. “I can go by myself.”

If all the words Lin Shiyu had said to everyone so far were categorized and labeled, they would all fall into certain categories: denial, refusal, distance, and the like. In short, resisting malice and even goodwill.

Fortunately, Zhong Qi didn’t mind. He had no expectations and therefore didn’t hope for a response. He said, “Old Li asked me to accompany you.”

Lin Shiyu then stopped talking.

“Bruising, huh? It’s quite severe.”

The school nurse in the infirmary was a middle-aged woman in her forties. She examined Lin Shiyu’s abdomen, then stood up and went to the medicine cabinet to get some medication. “Take off your shirt, let me check if there are any more bruises elsewhere.”

Lin Shiyu sat on the bed without moving, while Zhong Qi stood nearby, crossing his arms and looking at him.

The nurse came back with the medication and, seeing the situation, exclaimed, “Come on, take it off! What are you shy about, like an old maiden?”

Lin Shiyu reluctantly took off his shirt, looking visibly uncomfortable.

The nurse brought the ointment and sat in front of Lin Shiyu, applying it to his bruises. Lin Shiyu sat sideways on the edge of the bed, placing his hands on either side of his body and propping himself up on the bed. He tilted his head slightly to the side.

As a person who appeared thin, it was only when he took off his shirt that it became apparent that his body beneath the fabric was actually quite muscular and well-built. There was no excessive thinness, but rather a thin layer of muscles covering his arms and abdomen, giving him a healthy and robust posture.

The light illuminated the smooth texture and pale complexion of Lin Shiyu’s bare back, creating a shallow area of light. The side of the boy’s face was dipped in backlight shadows, his eyelashes drooping, making it difficult to see his gaze.

Zhong Qi shifted his gaze and looked at the swaying tree shadows outside the window.

“Oh, you child.”

After the nurse finished applying the medicine to Lin Shiyu’s abdominal injury, she checked his back and couldn’t help but sigh in reproach. “What happened? It’s the same on your back.”

She firmly grabbed Lin Shiyu’s arm and asked him to turn around, so now Lin Shiyu was completely facing away from her and Zhong Qi. It was only then that Zhong Qi noticed several conspicuous bruises on his back, a mix of blue and red, indicating that the person who had done it hadn’t held back.

It was hard for Lin Shiyu, standing silently in the classroom and enduring scolding, attending most of his classes, and then walking into the clinic as if nothing had happened.

“Who did you fight with?” the nurse asked while applying the ointment.

She glanced at Zhong Qi, who had been standing quietly beside him the whole time and for some reason she misunderstood. “Did you fight with him?”

Before Zhong Qi could say anything, Lin Shiyu spoke up. “It’s not him.”

“Well, then you did fight.” The nurse nodded. “You look like such a quiet child, how can you be so fierce? Don’t think just because you have a good physique and you’re young that you can do impulsive things like this. Look, the injury is on your own body, too. Who knows if there are any bone fractures or internal injuries? After school, it’s best that you go to the hospital and get an X-ray for a check-up.”

After applying the ointment to Lin Shiyu, the nurse stood up, took out two boxes of oral medication from the medicine cabinet, and wrote down the frequency and dosage for taking the medication on the boxes. She put the medication in a bag and handed it to Lin Shiyu, repeating once again, “Understood?”

Lin Shiyu put on his clothes, took the bag reluctantly, and said, “I understand.”

When the two of them left the infirmary, the class bell had already rung a long time earlier. The entire school was once again quiet, with tall, lush trees casting shadows on the building.

They didn’t go straight back to the school building. Lin Shiyu turned a corner and walked up the walkway next to the basketball court. Zhong Qi had one foot to step in the other direction but seeing this and remembering Old Li’s instructions, he had to turn and follow. “Where to?”

“Thirsty, I’m going to buy water.”

Behind the office building at the end of the tree-lined path, there was a small convenience store. The storefront was small, but it was always crowded during break time, and even more so during meal times. However, at this moment, it was still quiet as the students and teachers were in class, so there was no one in front of the convenience store.

Lin Shiyu bought two bottles of mineral water and handed one to Zhong Qi.

Zhong Qi took the bottle of mineral water but Lin Shiyu didn’t show any additional expression. After handing him the water bottle, he unscrewed the one in his own hand and took a sip. He then turned around and walked towards the first year building.

Tiny droplets of water fell from the water bottle. As if conveying a subtle signal and indicating a small and initial step, expressed in an unconscious and awkward manner.

Zhong Qi had received similar signals before, whether subtle or direct, but Lin Shiyu’s gesture could only be considered the most basic, without any ulterior motives, and probably just a way to show gratitude.

He rarely responded. However, when Zhong Qi took the water bottle, a rare hesitation arose in his heart. He wondered whether he should respond. From an entire week of no communication to buying him water, considering everything, it could be seen as a rare qualitative leap.

Lin Shiyu walked ahead of Zhong Qi, but after taking only a few steps, the bag containing the medication “plopped” onto the ground.

Zhong Qi heard Lin Shiyu mutter something unintelligible and squatted down to pick up the bag before standing up again.

Normally, bending over would have been enough; there was no need for the extra action of squatting down and standing up.

Zhong Qi asked, “Are you in a lot of pain?”

Lin Shiyu replied flatly, “No.”

Another denial. In just one day, Zhong Qi had quickly become accustomed to Lin Shiyu’s attitude. Perhaps the bottle of water had served as a good buffer, as Zhong Qi didn’t ignore him but instead said, “You should go to the hospital now and get checked. I’ll inform Old Li.”

However, nothing ever goes smoothly. While a bottle of water handed over might briefly show goodwill, it couldn’t represent everything.

Lin Shiyu turned his head to the side and looked at Zhong Qi, feeling that prickling sensation all over his body once again.

“No need for you to care,” Lin Shiyu said coldly and expressionlessly.


Edited by: Jaisland



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