Wolf Cub – Chapter 28

When Lin Shiyu arrived at the photography studio, there was only Zhao Bin in the vast studio, adjusting the equipment and lighting. Even the makeup artist, Xiao Ran, who usually did his makeup, was absent.

“Where is everyone else?” Lin Shiyu asked.

Zhao Bin set up the backdrop and replied, “They’re all shooting on location.”

He walked over, smiling, and suggested, “I can do some basic makeup for you. What do you think?”

Lin Shiyu sat in front of the makeup table and let Zhao Bin cleanse his face and apply makeup. Zhao Bin did a simple job of applying foundation and then, holding up a tube of lip gloss, he looked at Lin Shiyu’s lips, gently lifted his chin to face him, and casually asked, “Your complexion doesn’t look very good. Are you sick?”

When Xiao Ran applied makeup, she often gently lifted his chin to adjust the angle, and after doing it a few times, Lin Shiyu had become accustomed to this kind of physical contact. So when Zhao Bin held his chin, he didn’t shy away. He just replied, “I had a bit of a cold the past few days.”

The lip gloss, which was moist and soft, was applied to his lips. Lin Shiyu lowered his gaze slightly and didn’t notice the faintly peculiar expression in Zhao Bin’s eyes.

Lin Shiyu changed into a bright yellow raincoat, straight-legged capri pants, and knee-high rain boots, and stood in front of the lights. He felt a little cold. The studio’s air conditioning was set too high, and Lin Shiyu was wrapped up in the cold air, about to pull up the zipper on his coat when Zhao Bin suggested, “Why don’t you change into another outfit?”

He had no choice but to take the new clothes and change in the fitting room. Once he changed, he came out and looked at himself in the mirror. No matter how he looked at it, he felt something was wrong.

He wore a white shirt, light brown suspenders, high socks and brown oxfords, but the problem was that the pants were very short. The pant legs barely reached above his knees.

Lin Shiyu was still holding a checkered tie because he didn’t know how to tie it. He felt like he could immediately go to a prestigious elementary school and pass as a student there even while carrying a leather backpack.

“What kind of clothing is this?” Lin Shiyu asked. 

“English academy style, many kids dress like this.” Zhao Bin put down the camera and walked over, taking the tie. “I’ll help you put it on.”

The tie looped around Lin Shiyu’s neck, and Zhao Bin stood in front of him, slowly tying the knot, his breath becoming slightly heavier by the moment.

Lin Shiyu noticed. Puzzled, he glanced at Zhao Bin, who cleared his throat and fixed the tie, saying, “The air conditioning seems a bit low; I’ll raise it.”

The temperature in the studio increased slightly, but Lin Shiyu still felt cold. Zhao Bin had him sit on a high stool for the shoot, but the legs exposed to the air conditioning made him uncomfortable. He couldn’t help but fidget his legs, and felt a bit itchy in the nose.

The shutter sounded rapidly. Zhao Bin looked at Lin Shiyu, then walked over to him.

“The socks can be pulled down a bit.”

Lin Shiyu looked down at his feet, but Zhao Bin was already half-kneeling in front of him, holding his ankle.

Before Lin Shiyu could react, Zhao Bin’s fingers, with significant force, gripped his ankle and pulled down the edge of the sock.

Then those hands suddenly pressed against Lin Shiyu’s lower legs.

“Your legs are very fair,” Zhao Bin said, his heavy breathing palpable on the cold skin of Lin Shiyu’s legs. His voice sounded urgent, and his nose suddenly approached Lin Shiyu’s legs.

In the next moment, Zhao Bin grunted, hit by a kick to his chin by Lin Shiyu, causing him to fall backward. The camera fell heavily to the ground, making a clattering sound.

Lin Shiyu jumped off the high stool, looking at Zhao Bin in a mix of shock and anger. The lingering heat on his lower legs from the contact made him feel nauseated throughout his body. The kick was entirely instinctual, without any thought.

“Do you want to die?!” Lin Shiyu, filled with rage, raised a chair and struck Zhao Bin’s belly, causing him to cry out in pain.

Struggling to sit up, Zhao Bin’s jawbone was nearly shattered by Lin Shiyu’s kick. His teeth cut his tongue, and blood dripped from the corner of his mouth. He dragged the fallen camera back, blurting, “This camera costs twenty thousand…”

In the dim and confined environment, it felt like every corner was suffused with a nauseating odor. The air conditioning clung uncomfortably to his skin, and Zhao Bin’s creepy and intimidating gaze made Lin Shiyu’s skin crawl.

Without a word, Lin Shiyu walked out of the studio. Zhao Bin raised his voice, “It’s useless to find anyone; you have no evidence! You’re the one who injured me and damaged my camera!”

A loud ‘bang’ echoed as Lin Shiyu forcefully kicked open the door and left the studio without looking back. As he moved away, he heard footsteps behind him. Frustrated, Lin Shiyu was about to say something, but then he saw Xiao Ran standing by the wall, holding her arm and looking up. There was a hint of confusion and fear in her gaze.

Lin Shiyu hadn’t expected to see her there and subconsciously stopped in front of her.

“Did you hit him?” Xiao Ran asked softly.

In his rage, Lin Shiyu thought she was questioning him, so he retorted, “So what if I did?”

He had no desire to stay there, and with that statement, he walked away without looking back. There were slow, hesitant steps behind him. Irritated, Lin Shiyu was about to turn around to say something, but Xiao Ran hurried to open the glass door, pushing him outside.

“Don’t come for a photo shoot anymore.” Xiao Ran gazed at him, her voice soft and her thin, white hand pushed him out further. “Go make money somewhere else; don’t come back here.”

The warmth of the autumn sun outside enveloped him, dispelling the coldness that had surrounded him. Lin Shiyu gradually regained his composure as he left the photo studio.

What did Xiao Ran’s words mean? Lin Shiyu didn’t understand. His mind was a mess. He was worried and uneasy about Zhao Bin’s behavior. Was Zhao Bin a homosexual? He was filled with suspicions and discomfort, thinking it wasn’t right; it was a form of harassment. How long had Zhao Bin been staring at him? What filthy thoughts were hidden behind the camera?

The more Lin Shiyu thought about it, the more nauseous he felt, wanting nothing more than to find a weapon and disable the man who had touched him.

There was a commercial building near the studio. Walking past a coffee shop with floor-to-ceiling windows, Lin Shiyu turned and saw his reflection in the window.

He realized he had left in the clothes that were meant for the photo shoot.

Lin Shiyu clenched his teeth and adjusted his tie while staring at the window. He needed to return to retrieve his own clothes. But that disgusting place…

“Lin Shiyu?”

A familiar and pleasant voice sounded, tinged with a bit of uncertainty. Lin Shiyu turned to see Zhong Qi walking out from the corner of the coffee shop, holding a phone and appearing as if he was making a call. Upon seeing Lin Shiyu turn, he paused for a moment.

Zhong Qi was dressed casually, carrying a bag over his shoulder and on the phone, saying, “I suddenly have something to do and can’t meet today; we’ll… um, arrange for another time.”

He hung up the call and glanced at Lin Shiyu’s face with makeup and at his shorts, questioning, “Aren’t you cold?”

Lin Shiyu felt significantly calmer upon seeing Zhong Qi. Despite still being somewhat annoyed, he replied, “I’m not cold.”

A gust of autumn wind blew, making Lin Shiyu sneeze.

Zhong Qi raised an eyebrow, signaling him to come to a sheltered corner, and then gently disentangled the tie, lowering his head.

“Shooting outdoors?”


“Then why are you dressed like this?”

“That photographer is a pervert,” Lin Shiyu eventually said, “so I hit him.”

Zhong Qi removed the tie, held it, and looked at Lin Shiyu, repeating, “A pervert.”


After a moment of silence, Zhong Qi spoke. “Your clothes?”

“Still in the studio.”

“Go get them.” Zhong Qi said. “Let’s go.”

Lin Shiyu was thus taken back to the photography studio by Zhong Qi. He pushed the door open and went in, with Zhong Qi following behind him.

The door of the studio had already been broken by Lin Shiyu’s kick and was just loosely closed. Lin Shiyu felt uncomfortable all over, but having Zhong Qi standing behind him eased his agitation slightly.

Lin Shiyu walked into the empty studio. Zhao Bin was seated at the workstation, engrossed in inspecting his camera. Upon hearing movement, he immediately looked up, his expression stiffening significantly upon seeing Lin Shiyu.

Without glancing at him, Lin Shiyu briskly walked into the changing room. Zhong Qi leisurely entered the studio, choosing to sit on the makeup table, facing Zhao Bin across a distance and observing him intently.

He had the appearance of an ordinary college student, very quiet, with slightly long hair and a sense of fashion, but was slender, not filling out his clothes properly.

Zhao Bin looked cautiously at Zhong Qi, a hint of blood not completely cleaned from the corner of his mouth. “I’m telling you, even if you tell someone about this, it won’t work. He injured me and damaged my camera. I can file for compensation from him.”

Zhong Qi was initially casually surveying the studio and looked towards Zhao Bin upon hearing this statement. “What happened?”

Zhao Bin was rendered speechless by his gaze.

Lin Shiyu quickly changed back into his clothes, carrying his bag as he walked out. Without looking at Zhao Bin, he just said “Let’s go” as he passed by Zhong Qi and left without turning back. Zhong Qi got off the table and left along with him.

Once they were out of the studio, Lin Shiyu wanted to find a place to wash his face. Zhong Qi had a somewhat exasperated expression, telling him that plain water wouldn’t clean the makeup properly. Eventually, Zhong Qi came up with a solution, leading Lin Shiyu into the adjacent ground floor of the shopping mall and found a makeup counter. He politely asked if the counter staff could help remove the makeup.

Seeing that both were students with handsome appearances, the girl promptly fetched makeup wipes and cleaned Lin Shiyu’s face.

“Your skin is so good, handsome young man, this kind of thick foundation doesn’t suit you,” the counter girl said with a smile. “We recently got a new, very light foundation. Do you want to try it?”

Lin Shiyu threw a “No need” and ran away.

On their way home, Lin Shiyu was walking while simultaneously making calculations on his phone. Zhong Qi walked beside him, loosely holding a bottle of mineral water, and glancing at Lin Shiyu’s phone.

Lin Shiyu felt a bit frustrated while doing the calculations. He had planned to save up enough money from a month of photoshoots to buy a necklace, but now with the shoots interrupted, he hadn’t saved enough. If he had to save from his living expenses, he wasn’t sure how long it would take.

“How much did you earn?” Zhong Qi asked.

“Not much.” Lin Shiyu showed a rare dejected expression.

“Do you still want to continue shooting?”

“I don’t.”

In the bustling street, they passed by a jewelry store. Lin Shiyu couldn’t help but stop and look at the various gold and silver jewelry displayed in the window. A gold necklace quietly glistened under the light, delicate and perfect for his mother.

Yet looking at the price, Lin Shiyu clenched his fists.

He suddenly felt very angry and powerless. Thinking of Zhao Bin, who had used such a disgusting method to halt everything, and of the empty feeling around his father and the one scar left on Lin Hui’s neck. The man who made him hate to the core.

Why should he bear the cost of someone else’s mistake? Although he had completely cut ties with him and consciously avoided any interaction, that man had brazenly invaded his life again. The phrase “blood is thicker than water,” was supposed to be warm and affectionate, but felt more like a sorrowful curse, unbreakable and inescapable. Day and night, Lin Shiyu was haunted by chilling nightmares, as if his life was enveloped by that phrase.

Zhong Qi realized that Lin Shiyu had stopped and was lost in contemplation in front of the jewelry store display. Lin Shiyu was about 5’7″ and not particularly robust, making slightly oversized clothing look loose on him. As he looked at the displayed items, his eyelashes gently cast a shadow on his fair face. The lines of his nose and lips were cool-toned, while sunlight kissed the back of his neck, lending a touch of warmth to his autumn-touched appearance.

His gaze was calm and serious, his lips slightly downturned, as if observing something of great importance.

Zhong Qi didn’t hurry over to him.

He was looking at a necklace so attentively. Was it for his mother or his sister? Zhong Qi didn’t speculate further because according to Lin Shiyu’s nature, there wouldn’t be a third option.

Zhong Qi often saw all kinds of gold and silver jewelry in his mother’s dressing table or jewelry cabinet, most of which were worn only once and then stashed away. This was supposedly for retaining their value, but it was more a matter of a collector’s instinct for these ornaments, and she was always buying new ones.

Even valuable things weren’t worth mentioning, be it material possessions or emotions. This was the conclusion Zhong Qi came to about his parents from childhood to adulthood. His father didn’t enjoy staying at home, and was indifferent to maintaining intimate relationships within the family; his mother was fixated on all things glamorous, including personal appearance, her son’s achievements, her husband’s financial strength, and the external validation of their family.

As for how long it had been since they sat at a table to eat together, or how long it had been since they talked together, nobody cared.

‘Important.’ Through the process of trying hard but failing and then coldly observing, Zhong Qi realized that this word didn’t hold the weight it appeared to. Interactions between people might lack sincerity, and efforts made often go unanswered. All things operate under a set of cold, indifferent rules, and people merely conceal their true feelings, following the norms.

Lin Shiyu broke the rules Zhong Qi understood.

Lin Shiyu was like a wild animal emerging from the wilderness, charging ahead, stirring up chaos everywhere. However, on a closer look, one would find that he was simply walking his path with dedication, perhaps just so focused that he overlooked his surroundings.

It wasn’t that he didn’t care about others; he just cared too much about the people he valued.

Being cared for by Lin Shiyu was a stroke of luck.


Edited by: Jaisland



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