Wolf Cub – Chapter 6

On the third day of military training, Gao Jie fainted.

At that moment, the scene was chaotic. Gao Jie stood over 1.8 meters tall, with a solid body of fat, and showed no signs of heatstroke. He stood in place, swaying for a while and then fell straight down.

The way he fell was quite interesting, as he leaned heavily onto the person next to him. Mao Silu was standing beside him, and was already feeling dizzy from the sun when he suddenly felt a hot source pressing against him.

Instinctively, Mao Silu shouted, “Oh my god!” and reached out to support him.

Yet, he couldn’t hold him. Gao Jie’s fat body became very sweaty under the scorching sun, and slipped from Mao Silu’s hands and brought him down as well.

Quick to react, Zhong Qi immediately grabbed Mao Silu’s arm, but stabilizing two tall individuals over 1.8 meters tall was still challenging. He took a step back, bumping into Ruan Zhikai.

Like a twisted chain of dominoes, the boys in the back row of the formation caught one another and rolled on the ground.

Lin Shiyu turned around and saw a group of people with their feet on each other’s bellies, arms pressing against faces, falling together.

“What are you doing? Playing around with me?” Instructor Chen angrily approached. “Can’t you all even stand at attention without twisting your feet? Ridiculous! Stand up and do fifty squats over there! What’s wrong with this guy? Someone fainted?”

Finally, it was the instructor from the neighboring class who came to help Instructor Chen carry Gao Jie back. When Instructor Chen returned, his gaze towards them was unfriendly. “You’re passing out and crying even before the training begins. Did the school send you here for military training or acting? When you go back, eat properly and sleep well. If you can’t keep up with the physical demands, run two extra laps on the playground! If I see anyone fainting again, don’t think I’ll sympathize with you. When you wake up, I will only punish you!”

In order to show his anger, the harsh instructor made them stand in attention under the sun for another two hours, followed by marching in formation. Then, he drove them to the playground to run laps until he shouted to stop.

After a short break, he called the exhausted students to continue practicing defensive positions.

At the end of the day, everyone returned to the dormitory, completely exhausted.

“I can’t take it anymore.” Mao Silu tremblingly raised his hand. “Can someone help me go take a shower?”

Ruan Zhikai slumped on the bed. “Go by yourself.”

Zhong Qi acted as if nothing happened, sitting on a chair and scrolling through his phone. Inadvertently, he glanced at the nearby bed and noticed that Lin Shiyu had at some point curled up and fallen asleep.

He hadn’t even taken off his shoes and lay on the bed facing the wall, neatly folding the blanket aside. He didn’t rest his head on the pillow and had his sleeves loosely rolled up. It seemed like he was extremely tired, sleeping like this in a casual manner, only exposing the back of his head and his ears, breathing peacefully and quietly.

An image of a dirty and disheveled stray cat sleeping in a corner on the roadside inexplicably flashed through Zhong Qi’s mind.

The door flew open like a gust of wind, and Gao Jie’s voice, full of energy, resounded. “Guys, I’m back!”

He swaggered into the room, holding a basin in his hands, clearly having just finished a refreshingly hot shower, and showing no signs of weakness from fainting earlier in the day. “I have good news for you all,” he exclaimed. “I don’t need to participate in the training the whole time anymore. When I get tired, I can just sit aside and rest. Hahaha!”

Zhong Qi frowned slightly. “Keep your voice down.”

Even with this warning, Lin Shiyu had already been awakened by the commotion. He propped himself up on his arms and slowly sat up from the bed, with a hint of fatigue and irritability from lack of sleep on his forehead.

Mao Silu complained discontentedly. “Why? Didn’t you just faint from heatstroke?”

“My mom got a medical certificate for me, saying my eyes don’t work well, my retina is too loose, and my blood pressure is slightly high. Basically, I can’t engage in intense physical activities anymore. Haha!” Gao Jie replied.

“If you are sick or something, what’s there to be happy about?” Ruan Zhikai asked.

“Are your eyes that fragile?” Lin Shiyu questioned.

Gao Jie shrugged indifferently. “It’s natural, why would I lie to you?”

“Maybe it’s time to lose weight, buddy. High school students shouldn’t have high blood pressure.” Ruan Zhikai suggested.

“Oh, I do want to lose weight, but who’s going to control my mouth?” Gao Jie said nonchalantly. “By the way, aren’t you guys going to take a shower? If you don’t go soon, the lights will be turned off.”

Lin Shiyu rubbed his shoulder and took out a basin from under the bed, grabbing a few bathing items casually before walking out.

After a few days, Lin Shiyu had adapted to the large communal bath and it no longer felt as awkward as it did initially. The only thing that bothered him was the injuries on his body. The repetitive high-intensity training always made him feel a dull pain, despite taking his oral medication on time. However, he rarely used the topical ointments. He could easily apply them to the bruised area on his abdomen, but he couldn’t reach his back no matter what.

After finishing his shower, Lin Shiyu returned to the dormitory and took out the ointments from his bag, lost in thought.

The other residents of the dormitory had returned around the same time. After taking showers, the group of young men regained their energy, causing a ruckus in the room. Zhong Qi walked to his bed and arranged his belongings. He was about to climb onto his bunk when he suddenly heard a voice from the lower bunk. 

“Zhong Qi.”

Zhong Qi paused, let go of the railing, and looked down at Lin Shiyu.

Lin Shiyu’s expression looked like he found something a little difficult to say, but he still spoke. “Do me a favor.”

“What?” Zhong Qi asked.

“Help me apply the ointment.” Lin Shiyu said. ‘On my back… I can’t reach it myself.”

Zhong Qi understood.

He bent down and sat on Lin Shiyu’s bed, extending his hands. “Give me the ointment.”

Lin Shiyu took out the ointment but instead of handing it directly to Zhong Qi, he whispered, “Let’s apply it outside.”

Zhong Qi’s broad shoulders blocked a large part of Lin Shiyu’s figure as he sat on the lower bunk, leaning towards the outer side. They also blocked his voice. A bright incandescent light cast a shadow in front of him, silently enveloping Lin Shiyu.

“It’s no different outside.” Zhong Qi said. “Even if they see, what does it matter?”

Lin Shiyu was taken aback, gripping the medicine bottle tightly. He didn’t expect Zhong Qi to hit the mark of his true thoughts so directly. Without even asking anything, he still bluntly uncovered his intentions.

“It’s just a bruise.” Zhong Qi reached out and grasped the other end of the medicine bottle. His pitch-black eyes looked calmly at Lin Shiyu from within the shadows. ‘Maybe their curiosity isn’t as strong as you imagine.”

With slight force, he took the medicine bottle from Lin Shiyu’s hand.

“Turn around.” Zhong Qi said.

An instinctive perception of danger momentarily crossed Lin Shiyu’s defensive line, causing him to subconsciously erect a high wall of defense. However, the person in front of him was Zhong Qi, the one who took him to the infirmary, sat next to him playing boring games, and tossed him a box of milk; his desk mate.

What is this? Lin Shiyu asked himself in his mind. It’s not like it was a significant sacrifice. Was he really going to be moved by such an effortlessly extended gesture?

Humans are such fickle and subtle beings, with good often carrying evil, and evil always clinging to good. Being deceived by appearances was foolish and weak. Lin Shiyu had enough of foolishness and refused to act weak.

Yet, when the doubt faded away, a certain thought about Zhong Qi resurfaced deep within his heart.

It wasn’t about the details of his actions, but about Zhong Qi as a person. Maintaining a distance, being cold yet appropriately friendly, not just towards him, but towards everyone.

Lin Shiyu needed that distance, while awkwardly hoping that Zhong Qi’s coldness was a genuine display, not something hypocritical or concealed. Although Lin Shiyu knew that holding hope for others was the last thing he should do.

“Turn around,” Zhong Qi repeated.

Lin Shiyu stared into his eyes, finding nothing on his face—no mockery or teasing, just a calm demeanor as he held the medicine, without saying anything else.

Lin Shiyu turned around, facing away from Zhong Qi.

“Take off your shirt,” Zhong Qi said.

Lin Shiyu lifted his shirt and tossed it aside.

His back and neck had already developed some discoloration, but it made his fair and delicate skin appear even more pristine beneath the cover of clothes. The muscles on his back were thin and slender, with the scapula slightly protruding. Starting from the back of his neck, the spine formed a delicate bony structure on his skin, continuing down to the area below his waist, and disappearing under his pants.

There was a conspicuous bruise in the middle of his back, which had faded considerably but still stood out distinctly against the flat and clean surface.

Zhong Qi opened the medicine and began applying the ointment on Lin Shiyu.

As soon as Zhong Qi’s fingers touched his skin, Lin Shiyu couldn’t help but flinch and turn his head to ask, ‘Why do you have calluses on your hands?”

“From playing the guitar.” Zhong Qi squeezed out some ointment onto his hand. “They’re not thick calluses, you’re just too sensitive.”

“Hey, what are you two doing?” Gao Jie couldn’t see well and thought they were doing something strange as he sat across from them. “Why are you undressing?”

Zhong Qi replied, “Applying medicine.”

Mao Silu and Gao Jie leaned closer to look. “What happened to your back? How did you get this bruise?”

With his back turned to them, Lin Shiyu’s fingers tightened slightly as he said, “I bumped into something accidentally.”

Mao Silu breathed a sigh of relief. “You scared me. I thought that heartless instructor beat you up.”

Gao Jie’s attention drifted even further away. “What brand is this external medicine? It looks effective. I want to buy one too.”

“Why would you buy it?”

“Don’t I have poor eyesight? I often bump into things. Applying some medicine would help heal it faster.”

Zhong Qi casually handed over the medicine bottle he had in his hand. Mao Silu and Gao Jie held the medicine, and the topic shifted from discussing how to quickly treat bruises to treating severe nearsightedness. They didn’t care at all about how Lin Shiyu got injured, as long as Lin Shiyu gave an explanation, they believed it.

Zhong Qi lightly rubbed Lin Shiyu’s back, spreading the medicine, and then withdrew his hand. “Done.”

He grabbed a piece of paper to wipe off the remaining ointment on his hand. Lin Shiyu retrieved his clothes and got dressed saying, “Thanks.”

Zhong Qi made a “Hmm” sound and stood up, returning to the upper bunk.

After the lights were turned off, Lin Shiyu still lay in the same position, gazing at the night sky through the gap in the window. The weather had been good these past few days, with bright sunshine during the day and a sky full of stars at night. Lin Shiyu watched the tranquil starlight twinkling and gradually felt his eyelids grow heavy.

The area where the medicine had been applied on his back emitted a slight warmth, becoming an effective accelerator for inducing sleep in Lin Shiyu’s relaxed state. He could hear Gao Jie snoring, Mao Silu occasionally mumbling, sounds of someone turning over and the creaking of other bed frames.

Everyone was asleep, and no one was prying into secrets, or intruding into personal boundaries.

For Lin Shiyu, this night felt safe.  


Edited by: Jaisland



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