Wolf Cub – Chapter 18.2

It’s kind of amusing, Zhou Qi thought.

The bus clanged as it arrived at a stop, and Lin Shiyu got off. Surprisingly, Zhou Qi also followed him down.

Lin Shiyu asked in confusion, “Why did you get off?”

Zhou Qi calmly replied, “Heading home.”

They continued to walk in the same direction after getting off the bus, all the way to the downhill intersection, passing by familiar shops. Lin Shiyu saw that Zhou Qi was consistently walking in the same direction and couldn’t help asking, “Where do you live?”

“In the Electric Power Residential Area,” Zhou Qi said. “How about you?”

Lin Shiyu made a somewhat awkward expression.

Zhou Qi was now a bit surprised. “That’s impossible; I’ve lived in the Residential Area for over ten years and have never seen you before.”

“I live across from your residential area.”

They both stopped walking at the same time. The streetlights cast a dim glow, and there were a few people in the old neighborhood.

Zhou Qi stood at the entrance of his Electric Power Residential Area, looking at the unassuming neighborhood behind Lin Shiyu, which didn’t even have a name.

He had occasionally entered the opposite neighborhood as a child, playing with the kids in the area because it was less populated, with tall trees and overgrown weeds, making it a favorite place for children to explore. To enter that neighborhood from the street, there was a steep slope, and sometimes Zhou Qi liked to ride his bicycle down it repeatedly.

Later, his parents told him not to go to places with fewer people, so he gradually stopped paying attention to this desolate neighborhood.

“You…” Zhou Qi paused and found another way to phrase the question. “You must be new here? I never saw you when we were kids.”

Lin Shiyu said, “I’ve been here for a few years.”

There was no more conversation between the two of them. Lin Shiyu apparently didn’t want to talk to Zhou Qi anymore, and he left with a casual remark, “I’m going back.” Then he turned and walked down the hill.

He didn’t show any surprise at all that his desk mate from the same class turned out to be a neighbor in the same residential area.

When Zhou Qi arrived home, there was no one in the living room. His mother, Qin Man, heard his voice and walked out of her room. “You’re back so late.”

Qin Man had always taken good care of her body and face, and her wavy hair draped over her shoulders. She was wearing a soft and elegant robe, and even at this moment, she had a facial mask on. As she gently patted her face with essence, she walked over. “Mom got you a new jacket. You can wear it when the weather gets colder. Come, try it on.”

Zhou Qi was pulled over to the coffee table and stood there while his mother held the new jacket in front of him, asking: “Has dad returned?”

“He’s in his room, probably watching TV.” Qin Man said. She had Zhou Qi try on the new jacket, looking from left to right, and nodded in satisfaction. “My son is handsome.”

Zhou Qi’s parents had been sleeping in separate rooms for several years. They didn’t quarrel, but their intimacy had waned over time, and they gradually became distant. Even when they sat at the same dining table, they couldn’t find anything to say to each other. Later, Zhou Qi’s father grew too lazy to eat at home because of his increasing workload and frequent business dinners. At first, Zhou Qi’s mother would inquire a bit, but eventually, she stopped asking altogether.

On the surface, they still appeared to be a harmonious and happy couple with the “Five Good Family” red plaque hanging on their door. Zhou Qi used to despise the plaque and once took it down, tossing it into some corner of the house. But the next day, his mother found it and hung it back on the door.

So Zhou Qi understood that they were both willing to maintain this facade, even if it meant being stubborn with each other to preserve their dignity. Regardless of whether this lie was meant to protect him or themselves, the impulse and inexplicable anger to unveil this cover had been nearly exhausted in the face of time and years of silent indifference.

Zhou Qi sat at his desk, writing the summary of the military training journal assigned by their school. He had earphones in, with songs on random shuffle, and Mayday’s “An Apple” began to play. As he listened, he felt the urge to take the guitar off the wall and strum along.

After two weeks of closed military training, Zhou Qi hadn’t touched his guitar for a while.

He hadn’t listened to more than a few songs when message notifications interrupted the music several times. Zhou Qi had to pick up his phone and check; it was Mao Silu messaging him.

Zhou Qi decided to call back with a voice message while continuing to work on his summary, “What’s up?”

Mao Silu’s voice came through. “Zhou Qi, there’s a commotion in the group chat. The class monitor and the entertainment committee are looking for you.”

“I turned off group chat notifications.”

“Okay, so, there’s this…the new student evening event, right? Each class has to perform something.”

Zhou Qi didn’t understand. “Why are they looking for me?”

“Well, you see…” Mao Silu sounded a bit embarrassed. “I mentioned casually that you can play the guitar, and they got all excited and started saying they wanted an accompaniment for a performance.”


“Hey, I just mentioned it casually. I didn’t expect them to get this worked up. I’m sorry, I can tell them you don’t want to participate now.”


Fifteen minutes later.

Zhou Qi’s phone kept vibrating with friend requests from the class monitor, the entertainment committee, and several others. The first thing they said was, “Zhou Qi! Seventh class’s success depends on you!”

The second message: “Perfect match, like a heavenly couple, a match made in heaven!”

The third: “You must agree to this task!”

Zhou Qi: ? 

A match made in heaven?

He couldn’t rely on Mao Silu to handle this situation. Zhou Qi opened the group chat with over a hundred unread messages and scrolled through the chat history. He saw everyone discussing what performance to do for the new student evening event. Mao Silu had mentioned that ‘Zhou Qi seems to know how to play the guitar,’ and then Tao Chen commented below, saying: ‘I’ve studied the violin for a few years.’

The atmosphere in the group suddenly became enthusiastic, and the topic swiftly shifted to how Zhou Qi’s guitar and Tao Chen’s violin could be used together to create a piece of music. Some were already thinking about what kind of clothing they should wear for the performance, how they should stand, and whether they should consider promotional activities for the Seventh Class after becoming famous.

Zhou Qi quickly intervened to stop the increasingly chaotic discussion, saying, “I’m not that good at playing. Find someone else.”

The group of students continued to chat, saying it didn’t matter if he played well or not; as long as they looked good, that was enough. They laughed and joked, and Zhou Qi thought maybe military training had driven them all crazy.

Then, at the next moment, their homeroom teacher, Mr. Li, spoke up in the group chat:

‘Whether you play well or not, we’ll find out when you perform. Tao Chen, Zhou Qi, bring your instruments to school next Monday, and we’ll evaluate your skills together.’


Edited by: Jaisland



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