“But he has a hunch that things could still take a favourable turn.”
Translated by: DMlations/Zryuu
Edited by: Amelea, FistFullOfDollars and Juurensha
“Then, what about a new school and environment?” Liang Jinmin asked.
Yu Hao understood the implication. With Liang Jinmin’s care, after he retakes the college entrance examination, as long as he passes the admission cut-off point, the college would admit him with her help. The reallocation of his major afterwards would proceed smoothly as well. And more importantly, after he finished his studies, he would be able to obtain a university degree!
“I’ve asked Zhou Sheng.” Liang Jinmin, “Zhou Sheng has already given me a reply, but he said that he didn’t want to influence your decision, so I wanted to hear your thoughts first.”
Yu Hao thought, no wonder Zhou Sheng would suddenly say something like that today.
“Depends on Zhou Sheng ba.” It only took Yu Hao a short moment to think it through, and he continued, “If he wants to drop out and retake the exam, then it’s not a big deal for me to go elsewhere. It’s just that……I think, studying in this college doesn’t mean that I won’t have a future path. If I do well, I can take the postgraduate examination at one of the first-tier universities.”
For a long time Yu Hao hadn’t been able to imagine his future, prospects, or his ideal life. But now, it all suddenly became clear.
“It’s not that I don’t have an opinion on it.” Yu Hao smiled, “It’s just that, I’m not very good at expressing myself. My thoughts tend to be similar to Zhou Sheng’s; only he can express it more clearly. After we graduate, if we have the opportunity to apply to be a graduate student under you and my grades meet the criteria, you’ll accept me too, won’t you?”
Liang Jinmin smiled, “I understand now. I have nothing else I can offer you guys to show my gratitude. I just thought that I should at least exert my humble efforts to the utmost in order to protect two kids who are about to endure a retaliation from evil because they protected me.”
“No.” Yu Hao suddenly said, “You don’t understand, Liang Laoshi.”
Liang Jinmin was stunned.
Yu Hao said, “Will it end just like that? You intend to make a clean break from your past, right? You plan to stay far away from him for the rest of your life and forget your past so that you won’t be hurt again?”
Liang Jinmin continued staring at Yu Hao in a daze.
Yu Hao knew the reason for this in his heart —— Liang Jinmin has not been able to defeat the metallic monster entrenched in her dreamscape’s city until now.
“There must be a way.” Yu Hao thought about it for awhile, “I think, this may not be over yet……” He frowned and shook his head. He had the nagging sensation that he had overlooked something which could completely could completely turn their situation around. If there was really nothing he could do, then so be it. It’s not like he would be unable to accept reality when confronted with hopelessness.
But he has a hunch that things could still take a favourable turn.
If only I was as smart as Zhou Sheng……Yu Hao has repeatedly discussed this case with Zhou Sheng over and over again, but their answers arrived at the same conclusion each time.
While they spoke, the waiter pulled open the partition and Chen Yekai came in.
“Sorry, I came late.” Chen Yekai smiled, “Are you almost finished with your meal? I’m starving, let me eat a little first.”
Liang Jinmin’s expression returned to normal and she seemed to consider Yu Hao’s words. Yu Hao passed the menu to Chen Yekai and asked him to order. Chen Yekai was wearing a navy shirt that he hadn’t worn in a long time and a pair of black casual pants. A fragrant, refreshing cologne scent wafted from his body, mixed with the warmth of his body in summer, thoroughly revealing the sex appeal of an intellectual.
“What were you talking about?” Chen Yekai ordered sushi, “This restaurant’s uni is quite good. Yu Hao, have a taste.”
“Just some idle conversation.” Yu Hao said, “It was nothing important.”
Liang Jinmin said, “Nicky, Yu Hao doesn’t want to restart his undergraduate course in your Alma mater.”
“I guessed as much.” Chen Yekai arduously swallowed his sushi, took a sip of his tea, and said, “Actually, I don’t want to return to my Alma mater either. I’ve decided to stay here, Liang Laoshi.”
“Ah?” Yu Hao said, “No no, please do whatever you want!”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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“That……” Liang Jinmin seemed a little disheartened, and could only nod.
“Do you want to bring some food back for Fu Liqun and Zhou Sheng?” Chen Yekai asked.
Yu Hao saw that the cost of the sushi in this restaurant started from 128 per pair. He hastily said, “No need. Zhou Sheng must have eaten already, and I can just get some scallion pancakes for Fu Liqun……”
“Nicky.” Liang Jinmin suddenly said.
“Un.” Chen Yekai continued flipping through the menu and didn’t look at Liang Jinmin, “I’ll order ba, it’s my treat today.” As he spoke, he called for the bill.
Yu Hao, “?”
After Liang Jinmin called for Chen Yekai, she fell silent again. For a moment, the three said nothing. After the waiter came over, Chen Yekai ordered some takeout and smiled as he lowered his head to message Zhou Sheng.
“Yu Hao, you na……” The corners of Chen Yekai’s lips were slightly upturned.
“What is it, Chen Laoshi?” Yu Hao asked uneasily.
“Don’t call me Chen Laoshi anymore.” Chen Yekai said, “I resigned a long time ago, just call me whatever ba. In any case, I don’t want to hear the title ‘laoshi’ anymore, I’m tired.”
Yu Hao laughed. He suddenly noticed that Liang Jinmin, who had just been sitting quietly, now seemed to have unshed tears glimmering in her eyes.
After the takeout was delivered to their table, Chen Yekai said, “Let’s go, I’ll send the both of you back.”
Chen Yekai went to get the car while Yu Hao and Liang Jinmin stood under a street lamp. At night, all the office buildings in this business district were lit up, seeming like towering crystals in the dark.
“You’re right, Yu Hao.” Liang Jinmin said, “I’m the one who doesn’t understand.”
Yu Hao turned his head to the side and looked into Liang Jinmin’s eyes.
“When I was unconscious, I saw an Archangel with pure white wings dressed in a black suit, as well as a warrior clad in armour.” Liang Jinmin looked at the busy roads and said in a daze, “The Archangel looked like you, while the other warrior wore a helmet that covered his face. The two of you held a lamp and guided me out of the darkness……perhaps, that was some kind of providence ba.”
Chen Yekai drove up and stopped at the curb, “Let’s go pick up Zhou Sheng on the way later? He’s not far from here.”
Yu Hao was about to get into the car when Liang Jinmin said, “Wait. Yu Hao, Nicky, would you guys be willing to come to my house for a drink?”
Yu Hao looked at Chen Yekai, and Chen Yekai also had a slightly baffled expression. He didn’t know why Liang Jinmin would suddenly extend such an invitation.
“Just like before.” Liang Jinmin said.
“I can, depending on Yu Hao.” Chen Yekai said, “His reply would definitely be ‘it depends on Zhou Sheng’. Let’s decide after we pick him up.”
Yu Hao said, “You understand me too well.”
Yu Hao got in the car. Chen Yekai started driving and crossed two intersections, then picked up Zhou Sheng in front of a hotel. Zhou Sheng was carrying a sports bag slung over one shoulder and had just attended a reception in the hotel. After he heard it, he said, “Okay ah, Liang Laoshi. First time meeting you, do treat me kindly.”
Liang Jinmin smiled as she nodded at him. Chen Yekai drove past the back of the college and passed through a road with no street lamps. A bright moon appeared between the mountains on the horizon, its silver light spilling over all the earth.
This was the townhouse with its own courtyard that the college had prepared for Lin Xun. It was separated from the college by a mountain, and the buildings faced each other across a distance.
The house was extremely spacious, and it had already been cleaned by someone. Liang Jinmin turned on the floor lamp and a warm yellow glow flooded the room.
“What do you guys want to drink?” Liang Jinmin asked, “Whisky? Nicky, don’t drive later. Call a cab instead.”
Zhou Sheng and Yu Hao had a tour of the wine cabinet in Liang Jinmin’s house. “Yo, Liang Laoshi, you have quite a collection of good wine.”
Liang Jinmin said lightly, “Just open whichever you take a fancy to ba. It probably isn’t as good as the wine you’ve had, but do put up with it.”
Yu Hao used his gaze as a signal, and Zhou Sheng nodded, “This bottle costs over 4,000.”
Chen Yekai said, “I remember that there’s a bottle of Macallan, I’ll drink that ba. Do you want some too, Young Master Zhou?”
Yu Hao said, “I don’t really mind what wine I drink, just don’t open something too expensive.”
“Open this bottle of Canadian Ice wine.” Zhou Sheng knew that Yu Hao was afraid that it would be a waste, so he said, “It’s not expensive, a little over a thousand. I’ll mix something up for you. It’s sweet, so you can just treat it as fruit juice.”
Yu Hao immediately motioned ‘okay, that one then’ and thought of Fu Liqun who was back at their dormitory still waiting for his dinner……yet he himself was accompanying them here to drink wines that cost tens of thousands of yuan. It really fits the proverb ‘while the rich wine and dine, the poor die of cold by the roadside’.
Chen Yekai poured a glass of wine for Liang Jinmin, then he, Zhou Sheng, and Yu Hao sat on the sofa. Chen Yekai and Liang Jinmin were sitting on single-person sofas, while Zhou Sheng leaned against a long sofa and left a seat for Yu Hao.
Under the warm light of the floor lamp, Liang Jinmin lit a cigarette and exhaled a puff of smoke gracefully.
“For Takin.” Liang Jinmin raised her glass slightly in the darkness unlit by the floor lamp.
“For Takin.” The rest raised their glasses one after another.
“What does Laoshi want to talk about today?” Chen Yekai swirled the wine in his glass gently, and the ball of ice in his glass collided against the walls of the glass with a crisp sound.
Yu Hao drank a sip of the ice wine that Zhou Sheng mixed for him. It was quite sweet, but not too sweet, and tasted really good. He cast his eyes around the room, paying attention to the furnishings, and was struck by the thought that in the past, Lin Xun had abused Liang Jinmin in this very house and hit her with such force that she lost consciousness, then dragged her to the garage, and placed her in the passenger seat to fabricate a car accident.
After the accident, Huang Ting promptly sealed this house off and had undertaken a thorough investigation of every corner in this house. Unexpectedly, nothing was found.
Yu Hao thought, could there have been some clues that had been overlooked? But with the professionalism of the police, if they couldn’t find anything after checking it thoroughly, then it was even less likely for him to find anything.
Just as he was thinking about it, Zhou Sheng lifted his leg and gently nudged Yu Hao. His gaze seemed to convey that he had something he wanted to say. Yu Hao understood immediately — Zhou Sheng had the same thought as him right now. He hasn’t given up yet either.
“To talk about my failure of a life.” Liang Jinmin set down her glass and said lightly, “To talk about the understanding and feelings us mayfly-like individuals have towards fate, within this vast world, throughout the history of human civilisation.”
“Let’s begin today’s lesson with one of Delphi’s oracle ba. There’s a famous inscription on the Temple of Apollo: know thyself. What does being human mean? Are souls good or evil by nature? We slaughter one another in this world and launch crusades, on large scales that could encompass an entire ethnic group and country, or on small scales that could involve just one family……”
Lighting, wine, sofas……in this dead of night, Yu Hao could vaguely imagine Liang Jinmin’s late-night classes discussing topics ranging from the bricks of ancient civilizations, to firearms and war in the steam age; from Maya in the Pre-Classical Age to China’s Yin and Shang dynasties, from Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan; from Tutankhamun’s golden statue to Napoleon’s Battle of Waterloo……that all glisten in the grand river of history, just like a dream — vast and boundless, with no end in sight.
And the power of knowledge, which guides human beings to transcend individual limitations, stands at the end of this river, overseeing all the scenes of carnage while shrouded in fog.
Using mainstream academic theories, Liang Jinmin spoke about the beginning of the universe to the birth of stars, then about the energy released by nuclear fusion; the melting of ice into water and photosynthesis of plants that provide the prerequisites for the birth of intelligent lifeforms on a planet, then to the legends of the sun god in various civilizations. Therefore, the sun was worshipped as the Supreme God in ancient civilization, and ‘light’ was also considered as the origin of all living things.
This was the first time Yu Hao listened to a lecture through this sort of method. Liang Jinmin maintained the salon method of teaching that she used abroad as she spoke to them about everything under the sun. Chen Yekai would occasionally express his views, and Zhou Sheng also became engrossed in listening to her. For a moment, the two of them forgot what they were most concerned about and were immersed in the sea of Liang Jinmin’s knowledge.
Yu Hao suddenly felt a little regret for actually rejecting Liang Jinmin’s offer to transfer to another school. If he studied under a teacher like her, he might actually become quite an erudite person.
“……under the influence of this phototaxis.” Liang Jinmin said in the end, “We live in the day, and when we fall asleep and enter our dreams at night, our dreams release the most primitive desires in our heart that are hidden in our imperceptible personalities. Our personalities are moulded from the impressions we formed of the environment we grew up in, as well as of the world and of ourselves.”
Chen Yekai added, “That’s one of the more influential views in the field of psychology at present.”
“That’s right.” Liang Jinmin nodded, “Take myself as an example: my family has always been filled with violence. My father was a frustrated intellectual. Because his brother stayed in the United States, he was strongly criticised and treated unfairly in the 1970s. On the other hand, my mother was the descendant of landowners. My maternal grandparents’ entire family fled to Hong Kong, and only my mother stayed behind for my father. You guys didn’t live through that era, so you can’t understand what that meant……”
“I’ve read a little about it.” Yu Hao recalled the reports he translated, and some had included the history of that period.
Liang Jinmin smiled slightly, “My parents have two daughters, and I was the younger one. Ever since I was able to comprehend things, my family was saturated with omnipresent violence. My father even suffered from severe hysteria……”
“Dissociative disorder.” Chen Yekai explained to Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng, “Also known as hysteria.”
Liang Jinmin said calmly, “My father would beat our mother and us throughout the night. My mother submitted meekly to the maltreatment, while my sister and I were always filled with dread. We would always look forward to the advent of morning, when the sun would rise……”
“……but whenever the storm passed, my father would resume his intellectual and gentle self. He taught us how to read and study and always urged us to take our studies seriously……I couldn’t even tell which one was the real him. It was as if he had been split into two sides — a God and a Devil. Whenever the sun set, our nightmares would begin. In that era, mental illness was not taken seriously, and many people in China didn’t even have any knowledge in this area at all.”
“Later on, I thought about it. Throughout my married life with Lin Xun, the psychological shadow cast over my heart because of my own family may have affected my entire life.” Liang Jinmin took out a second cigarette from the cigarette pack. Zhou Sheng took out a lighter and lit it for her.
“But of course, that is a story for another time.” Liang Jinmin continued, “After we grew up a little, our father’s violence alleviated. From his face, you could see the kind of disappointment and desolation that a middle-aged man would have upon realizing that he wouldn’t be able to change his circumstances. But when he was seriously ill and bedridden, he would still call our mother over to scold and hit her from time to time. One day, my elder sister couldn’t stand it anymore. When we were washing the dishes, she put down the dishes, stuffed my mouth, tied me to a chair with a belt, then walked silently over to the bed and suffocated him to death with rubber gloves.”
Yu Hao, “……”
It was also Chen Yekai’s first time hearing Liang Jinmin describe her past, and he was momentarily speechless.
Zhou Sheng said, “Your elder sister didn’t want to drag you down with her, so she tied you up.”
Liang Jinmin said, “Yes. But that incident didn’t cause too much trouble. My father had a brain tumour and often had hysterical thoughts that people wanted to harm him. During his final days, he had already deteriorated to the point where he couldn’t even fall asleep anymore. When news of his death spread, it was clear that everyone — including our neighbours and relatives — was relieved.
“Later on, my elder sister married, and my mother lived with her. My maternal grandparents who fled to Hong Kong had already passed away, and my two uncles found my mother and gave her a large inheritance from their father. That inheritance was enough for us to live a very good life. I got into college and met Lin Xun. At that time, he was absolutely dashing, and though his appearance was merely average and his family background wasn’t considered excellent, he had a quality to him that I found impossible to stay away from.”
“The air of an intellectual.” Chen Yekai said.
“That’s right.” Liang Jinmin said to Chen Yekai, “The temperament of a scholar is also very evident in you. That kind of air would infatuate many women.”
Zhou Sheng said, “Looks like I don’t have it.”
Liang Jinmin said, “Take note, that is just one characteristic of a human. The number of books someone reads has little to do with whether or not they’re kind.”
Chen Yekai smiled, “Loyal people are the ones who slaughter dogs, while heartless ones are scholars.”
Liang Jinmin said, “It’s not appropriate to generalise across any group.”
“It’s a joke.” Chen Yekai laughed.
Liang Jinmin said, “I felt it from Lin Xun — the kind of romanticism when my father would teach my sister and I how to read in the afternoon, the same kind of frustrated intellectual temperament, and a kind of silent pride. To openly possess nothing, yet always in pursuit of freedom in one’s thoughts and soul……”
Liang Jinmin pulled out a drawer in the coffee table, rummaged through it, and took out a framed photograph. She passed it around to the others — the picture was of Lin Xun and Liang Jinmin when they had just arrived at Stanford University in San Francisco, and they were standing in front of the college’s gate.
Juurensha: So much philosophy in this chapter….
Dollars: Fu Liqun is still back at the flat with no food. Just sayin’.
Zryuu: ^ … I forgot too…