Wolf Cub – Chapter 2.2

Zhong Qi rode his bike to the stationary store across the road from the school. He needed a set of measuring tools as his old ruler seemed to have disappeared somewhere, leaving him drawing construction lines in math class using his notebook. Borrowing from Lin Shiyu was out of the question since he only had a black ballpoint pen and didn’t use any other tools.

“Boss, how did the mirror end up like this?” someone asked at the counter near the entrance. “The glass inside is shattered. What’s the point of keeping it?”

The boss replied, “It just got dropped. I haven’t had the chance to replace it yet. You know, a few students were fighting in that alley a couple of days ago, and it was fierce. I went over with the mirror to try to mediate, but they turned on me. One of them even threw me against the wall with his arm, and the mirror fell and broke like this. I told myself that people shouldn’t meddle in other people’s affairs. As soon as you get involved, only problems arise.”

“Why were those students fighting?”

“Young people are like this, always making a fuss over trivial matters. Still, from what I saw, it seemed like two big guys were beating up a young kid, while a woman next to them was holding a little girl and crying. It was distressing to watch, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered to intervene.”

“Had the little girl been bullied?”

“Yeah, it looked like it. She was dirty, and there was a scar on her forehead.”

“What happened afterward?”

“You wouldn’t believe it, but that young kid could fight. He beat up those two big guys and chased them away. Well, it might also be because I was shouting and threatening to call the police if they didn’t stop. That might have also scared them off.”

Zhong Qi went to the front desk to pay the bill, and he noticed a mirror on the table. The tempered glass had an intact outer wall, but the inner layer of glass was completely shattered. The screw-on lid was also dented and thrown aside carelessly.

He recalled Lin Shiyu in the office that morning. He was standing there alone, looking thin and not particularly tall, with a face that appeared delicate when not speaking. He’d uttered the words, “If I see them again, I’ll beat them up.”

After Zhong Qi finished paying, he threw the ruler into his backpack and left.

The next evening, Li Zhong arrived at the entrance of the residential area on time. Lin Shiyu’s house was across from a residential area with electricity. Although it had been around for some years, the environment was good.

Lin Shiyu didn’t live there though. He lived in a small neighborhood without even a door number, with a small barbershop at the entrance. Dirty water mixed with foam always flowed out from under the barbershop’s door, forming a puddle on the small road next to the main road.

Li Zhong didn’t wait long before he saw Lin Shiyu’s figure appear not far away. The slope from the residential area to the main road was steep, and Lin Shiyu ran up in a few steps. He glanced at Li Zhong and called him “Teacher Li.”

Li Zhong chuckled. “It’s so much trouble just to call someone ‘teacher.'”

Lin Shiyu didn’t say anything and turned around, leading him down the slope. The neighborhood was filled with lush greenery, with tall and short grass on both sides of the road. The branches and trunks of the trees emitted a moist, earthy scent. The grass was littered with stones, bricks, and garbage in a disorderly manner. There were very few buildings, and their arrangement was irregular, unlike a properly planned and developed area. The walls and windows of the houses were also old, appearing covered in a layer of grayish-white mist from a distance. Dust spots appeared in the mist, giving an overall sense of dilapidation.

If it weren’t for a few cars parked downstairs that hadn’t gathered much dust, Li Zhong would have seriously doubted whether anyone actually lived in this neighborhood.

“There aren’t many people living here, huh?” Li Zhong said.

“Not many,” Lin Shiyu replied, walking ahead and then continued, “Many people have moved out, but some rent houses here as their studios.”

He led Li Zhong to a building, which was surrounded on three sides, forming a partially open courtyard. Inside the courtyard, there was a large tree providing cool shade in the hot weather. Lin Shiyu entered the residential building, which was unlit. The stairs were narrow and damp, and even in the daytime they looked dark and gloomy.

Li Zhong tried to step on the switch of the motion sensor light.

“The light is broken.” Lin Shiyu said

When they reached the entrance of Lin Shiyu’s home, the door was unlocked, partially ajar, with the light of a bright lamp seeping through from inside. Lin Shiyu opened the door, turned around, and waited for Li Zhong to enter.

Li Zhong walked into the house. On the shoe rack by the entrance, there were shoes for a boy, a woman, and a little girl. The living room was very small, less than a dozen square meters. The kitchen and bathroom were opposite each other, with a table in the middle serving as the dining area. Both rooms had their doors closed, and were presumably bedrooms.

It was a home that could be seen through at a glance.

A woman stood up from the sofa, followed by a little girl who jumped down from the sofa and came toward them.

“Big brother.” The girl ran to Lin Shiyu, without even looking at Li Zhong, and extended her hand towards the boy. The girl was short, appeared to be around seven or eight years old, chubby like a little ball, with the same fair complexion as her brother. Her face had two noticeable blushes, like intertwined red blood vessels. Her hair was cut very short, smoothly pressed against her scalp. Her eyes were very bright yet hazy, with a listless gaze and small lips slightly upturned.

There was also a conspicuous scar on her forehead.

Li Zhong looked at the girl’s appearance and felt that something was off, but he couldn’t explain it clearly.

Lin Shiyu held the girl’s hand, pointed in Li Zhong’s direction, and said, “Call him Teacher.”

The girl looked at Lin Shiyu, gazed at him for a while, then turned her head to look at Li Zhong.

Li Zhong waved at her and said, “Hello.”

Lin Shiyu repeated to the girl, saying, “Teacher.”

The girl hid behind Lin Shiyu and mumbled, “Teacher.”

Her pronunciation wasn’t very clear, and she struggled with speaking overall. After calling out, she didn’t know where to look and stood there absentmindedly.

The woman on the side said, “Hello, Teacher Li. Yesterday I heard Xiao Yu say you were coming.”

Li Zhong shifted his gaze and shook hands with the woman, saying, “Hello, hello.”

The woman was very thin, with a small frame. Her facial features still had traces of beauty, but there was no radiant expression. She appeared depressed, tired, and weak, like a fading white flower. Judging from their features, the siblings inherited their mother’s appearance, but the three of them had distinctly different temperaments.

“I’m Lin Hui, Xiao Yu mother.” The woman nervously rubbed her hands together and as she remembered something she spoke softly, “Please have a seat, please. Let me pour you some tea.”

Li Zhong said, “No need, plain water is fine.”

Lin Shiyu and Li Zhong sat on the sofa, while the girl followed behind Lin Shiyu and played with a ringing ball toy on the coffee table. Her attention seemed to be concentrated one moment and scattered the next. She was lost in thought, but when Lin Shiyu sat down on the sofa, she suddenly smiled foolishly and ran over to play in front of Lin Shiyu.

Li Zhong hesitated before speaking. “Your sister…”

Lin Shiyu calmly said, “She has Down Syndrome.”

Li Zhong nodded and asked, “What’s her name?”

“Lin Wanyue.”

When the girl heard her name, she glanced at Lin Shiyu, then turned her head and continued playing with her toy. 

“She is chubby and adorable.” Li Zhong smiled.


Edited by: Jaisland



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