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Chapter 5: The Feeling of Liking Someone (Part 2)
In the beginning, his expressionlessness frightened me, but now, it has already… I glanced at him and immediately understood that this person whom I cannot underestimate at all, definitely did not know how to use an MP3.
I passed one end of the earpiece to Wu Julan, prompting him to put it on.
Wu Julan took and toyed with it in his hand before he slowly put it in his ear. This was the first time he revealed a surprised and happy expression.
I softly asked, “Is it nice?”
Wu Julan smiled and nodded his head. I said, “The song is called ‘Starry Night in the Summer Ocean’. I like this song a lot.”
The two of us sat next to each other under the window in the kitchen, each with an earpiece in, as we listened to music together, and read together. The sounds from the renovation outside were noisy and ear-splitting, but the little paradise inside was gentle and warm, blooming with flowers, and peaceful.
At night, after the workers had packed up and left, the house once again returned its serenity.
As it was not convenient for me to move around while Wu Julan was unfamiliar with the neighbourhood, after dinner and shower, we just sat on the sofa and watched the TV together.
I handed over the remote control to Wu Julan for him to choose. I noticed that Wu Julan was only interested in animal and nature-related programmes. After he had looked through the channels, he began watching ‘Animal World’.
I rarely watch nature-related programmes and presumed that these nature-related programmes were very boring. But after watching it, I realised that it was not boring, but quite interesting. The battles between living things and mother nature, the battles between predator and prey were bloody, ruthless yet thrilling and touching.
This episode of ‘Animal World’ featured the battle between the lions and elephants on the African grasslands. According to the narrator’s elaboration, lions actually rarely attack the elephants because, unlike the weak zebras or goats, attacking the elephants requires them to fork out a massive price. Furthermore, the elephant’s flesh is much more difficult to swallow than the zebra’s or goat’s. So the lions and elephants tend to not interfere in each other’s business.
But due to the lack of food, the starving lions who were on the edge of death, decided to hunt for elephants. Their target was the smallest elephant in the group. To protect the little elephant, the adult elephants would walk on the outside and use their bodies to block the lions’ sharp claws. Although the lions are scheming and ferocious, the elephants are not any weaker. In the previous two hunts, the lions have failed. There were even some lions who got injured. But when facing death, the lions had no choice, but to raise another attack. According to their body strength, this was their final attack. If they fail to succeed, they would be unable to start another hunt and can only wait quietly for their death in the African grasslands that rely on their own abilities for survival.
Thousands of miles of pursuit, days and nights of attacks, neither side can retreat for it means death. I watched with great worry, not knowing which side I was hoping for to win. If the elephants survive, the lions would die. Both sides were respectable powerhouses who were fighting for their survival.
In the final attack, after endless brutal killings, the lions not only succeeded in killing a little elephant but also knocked out an adult elephant. Eventually, the elephant pack left in sorrow.
[Editor’s notes: I’m actually so sad.]
The lions who were still alive distributed the food and calmly couched on the ground as they quietly watched the sun rising up. Their ears stood up warily while they laid lazily. Their eyes were not filled with the pains of survival, nor were they filled with any joy of victory, as if this was just another day.
I was astonished because their gaze and posture were just like Wu Julan’s – unafraid, indifferent, cold and calm; wary and lazy, ferocious and comfortable were all weirdly embodied in him.
However, Wu Julan didn’t have any reaction. Even when the credits were shown, he just switched off the TV and went to prepare to sleep.
I prompted him, “Any thoughts after watching it?”
Wu Julan glanced at me coldly and said, “None.”
At that moment, I truly understood some reasons for his difficult personality.
He never spent a thought on his interpersonal skills – he would never say any harmless lies just to appease people. I initially thought he didn’t know but I later realised that it was not that he didn’t know, or rather he was like those lions – who didn’t not know how to hunt for elephants, but was there a need to do so when food is sufficient? Since there was no need, naturally they wouldn’t. Similarly, when there is a need, they would naturally do so. This was the ruthless conclusion I had after analysing the results rationally and calmly. Wu Julan would never fake his words just to make me feel happy, nor would he sugarcoat his words to please the workers, because our reactions were unimportant and it didn’t affect him. But he would tell Jiang Yisheng that he was my cousin only because this lie would save him from a lot of unnecessary trouble.
My gaze at Wu Julan was complicated. What exactly had he gone through to become a person like this? A human world equivalent of the African grasslands?
Wu Julan didn’t have any expression and said, “It’s getting late. You should rest.”
I was well aware that he noticed my strange gaze, but he completely didn’t care. I couldn’t clearly tell my feeling so I stood up in frustration, wore a cold face, and dumped the words ‘Mind your own business’ at him before returning to the study.
I laid on my bed and flipped around. I wasn’t able to fall asleep as I felt angry and resentful. I thought that even though we didn’t meet for long, our relationship was… So it turned out that to Wu Julan, I was unimportant, I was nothing.
As anger continued to boil, I gradually calmed down.
Did Wu Julan have the obligation to take note of my emotions?
None at all! Even my parents didn’t care about my emotions, so why should I expect that from Wu Julan?
Wu Julan treated everyone the same and he didn’t treat me any worse. I am the boss and he is my worker. Has he ever failed in delivering his work?
Never! He washes clothes, does the cooking and the cleaning! He even handled well in other areas beyond his responsibilities, such as monitoring the renovations and looking after me, who had difficulties moving around.
So what other unhappiness do I have?
I shouldn’t have any!
As the boss, I should only take note of Wu Julan’s work and not about his character.
After reasoning rationally, I was no longer angry and deeply regretted throwing my temper at Wu Julan for no reason. As for the resentment I had at the bottom of my heart, I chose to ignore it.
I gently opened the study’s door and looked across the long walkway. It was pitch dark and silent. I was unable to tell whether Wu Julan had slept.
Just when I was hesitating, Wu Julan’s voice appeared from the darkness, “Why aren’t you sleeping?”
I took a few steps forward to close our distance but did not go too close considering that he was sleeping, “I have something to tell you.”
The blinds weren’t completely drawn so the moonlight pierced through the gaps of the blinds, slicing the darkness into staggers. As I happened to stand under the crossings of darkness and moonlights, I felt as if the world had become shadowy and confusing.
I could hear my voice amidst the darkness – at times it was clear, and at times it was a blur. It was also in a stagger, just like my confusing state of mind.
“Sorry… about earlier. I… I was unreasonable, please forgive me. I shouldn’t have…disturbed your sleep. But grandpa has always taught me not to bear my anger overnight as it is harmful to the body and heart.” As I said, I tried hard to look towards the sofa. But in the darkness, where I was under the light and he was in the dark, I could only vaguely see that he had never moved. If he hadn’t spoken a word, I would have thought that he was sound asleep.
After I finished my words, Wu Julan never replied.
Under the silent darkness, when I started to feel awkward, Wu Julan’s voice finally came over, “I forgive you.”
It was cold, just like his usual expression. Yet somehow or rather, there was something more in it. I said, “Thank you!”
I waited for a bit. Seeing that Wu Julan didn’t have anything to say, I collected my mind, and said with a smile, “Goodnight! Sweet dreams!”
T/N: Sorry for the long wait. We’re slowly getting back to this… (hopefully)
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