Have you ever noticed mysterious water stains on you before?
Even though it’s clearly not raining, a watermark suddenly appears next to you?
Do you ever feel like there is something watching you from within the waters?
Do you ever see anything in the condensation traces on a window?
Have you ever heard the saying that all sources of water are connected as one pathway?
Yes, do you hear the pattering sound of a bouncing ball?
The sound of dripping water could be heard from the kitchen.
Drip, drip…droplets of water felt into a paper bowl lying in a sink.
Because Mommy hadn’t been home for several days now, Daddy had been boiling noodles for her to eat recently.
Daddy had said that Mommy left with another Mister. He said that she might come back in a few days, but she might also never return. She just had to just be patient now. If Daddy had time, he would bring her out to eat something nice.
She held her soft pink teddy bear. She was originally supposed to be at school, but because she was sick, she had to stay at home alone during the day. There was warm water and some medicine next to her bed.
Daddy had said that as long as she was a good girl today, he would bring her out to eat McDonald’s for dinner, so she had to obediently eat her medicine later.
In a daze, she suddenly remembered the little ball her Mommy had bought for her before at the night market.
She really liked that ball, but it had disappeared two days ago. Every time Mommy saw her throw her ball all over the place, Mommy would help her put the ball away the cupboard. That meant…the ball was probably there.
She weakly sat herself up and got off the bed, hugging her teddy bear tightly as she slowly walked towards Mommy’s bedroom.
There were a lot of things in that big, big cabinet. There were clothes, blankets, her toys, and Mommy’s favorite things. Daddy would sometimes put stuff in there too.
When she was small, she loved to always go treasure hunting in here.
She struggled to open the bedroom door and walked straight to the cabinet. After placing down her teddy bear and pulling the cabinet doors opened, she saw the layers and layers of blanket. Behind the blankets were piles of stuff crammed together.
So, where would her ball be?
She crawled into the pile of blankets to flip through and search.
The air inside had a slight stench that would make anyone feel extremely uncomfortable.
While she was still searching through the cabinet, she heard a noise come from the living room. Someone was using a key to open the main door.
It should be Daddy coming home?
Just as she was thinking this, her hands that had been roaming around deep inside the cabinet felt a round ball wrapped in a plastic bag. Without thinking, she directly pulled the ball she had found out.
Weird, why did Mommy put her ball in a plastic bag?
The footsteps quickly crossed the living room and entered the bedroom.
With the ball in hand, she crawled out from the cabinet. Knowing there was someone standing behind her, she turned towards them with a huge smile.
“Daddy, welcome ho—”
Her voice abruptly cut off.
It was raining outside.
The raindrops that hit the window slid down like tears, sliding down and cutting the surface in clear streams.
The numerous buildings in the east side of Taichung City were all different styles because they had been constructed at varying points of time.
The east side had a ma.s.sive skysc.r.a.per that had only been built a short few years ago: the Lü Complex.
It was midnight when a phone repeatedly rang out through a certain person’s home. It then cut off, and automatically switched to voice mail.
“h.e.l.lo, this is Yan Si’s home. The owner of the phone is currently not home, please leave a message. If you are someone from the forensics team, press one to leave a message. If you are from the crime investigation team, press two to leave a message. If you are from another department in the police force, press three to leave a message. If you are a close friend, press eight to leave a message. Lastly, if you are from a scammer group, please follow my instructions: put do your phone and ram your head into a wall three times, then hang up and call the police to surrender yourself. This will lighten your sentence a bit when caught. I give you my blessing, amen. When you hear the beep, please leave your message. Thank you for calling, let’s meet next time.”
The beep sound then followed.
“Ah Si, can you change your answering machine so that it’s not full of nonsense?” The voice leaving a message sounded angry to the point where they wanted to smash the phone.
“It’s Yu Xia. The information you requested yesterday will be arriving today. I went looking for you, but you weren’t in your office, so I’ll ask Xiao Yu to bring it to you tomorrow. That’s all, bye.”
The surroundings immediately fell silent once more.
With a click, the door of the bathroom next to the living room opened.
Yan Si was wearing a white shirt as he dried his wet hair. He glanced at the answering machine and smiled.
Because Yan Si had started to a.s.sist the forensics team last month and there were no single apartments available, he had asked the head to help him coordinate his living arrangement. For a considerably favorable price, he had been able to get this pretty nice building.
He grabbed a bottle of juice from the fridge and sat down on the sofa as he dialed back on the phone. The other end immediately picked up. “h.e.l.lo? This is Yan Si. Boss, your family’s Xiao Yu is coming over tomorrow? Around what time? What kind of snacks does he like, and what kind of drinks? I’ll prepare to welcome him.”
Yu Xia’s unhappy voice came from the other end of the line, “You’re not allowed to kidnap my son!”
“Oh, but your Ah Yin and Xiao Yu are so adorable. Can’t this Big Brother get them to come over and play more?” Yan Si swirled his bottle of juice as he stared at the snow-white wall in front of him.
A drop of water slid down and slowly began to pervade through.
“Are you some perverted uncle?” Yu Xia coldly snorted.
“How rude.” Yan Si sipped his drink as he stared at the wet pattern gradually dying the wall. “Alright, I’ll prepare some small cakes and wait for Xiao Lu to come then.”
“Don’t s.e.xually hara.s.s my son!”
“Heh, as if I have that kind of hobby.”
The sound of someone giving a report could be heard in the background. It seemed like Yu Xia was most likely working overtime tonight. “I’ll stop fooling around with you, we still have work to do here. I’ll hang up first, bye.”
“Thanks for your hard work, bye bye.”
After hanging up the phone, Yan Si studied the water stains forming on the living room wall. The snow-white surface was not spotted with faint yellow-orange as the droplets seeped through and began to spread.
A blurry face slowly materialised on the wall.
A woman’s face.
The droplets fell from her eyes.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not a profession in that field. If you’re going for a theophany, please try it with someone that can actually understand, alright?” He stood up from the sofa and threw the drink bottle into a small trash can in the corner.
The face on the wall grew more and more distinct.
Yan Si coldly glared at the warped face, somewhat unhappy. After all, n.o.body liked strange and unknown scribbles appearing on their walls.
Suddenly, a strange sound rang out, and the room was instantly submerged in darkness.
He narrowed his eyes and saw what seemed to be a formless shadow slowly approach him.
This was really such a dull situation.
He picked up the phone by his side and punched in a number. After a few rings, a middle-aged male voice blurred with sleepiness asked what he wanted in the middle of the night.
“h.e.l.lo? Landlord, your house is leaking water!”
“I’m screwed, I’m screwed! I overslept!”
It was early morning. Yu Tong had only just started preparing breakfast when he heard a world-shaking shout come from a certain somebody’s room. Banging sounds ensued as the person charged straight out of their room, rushed into the bathroom, then back out as clattering sounds from flipping through things mixed with muttered curses. The noise could even be said to be spectacular.
“Dad, I won’t be eating breakfast today, bye.” The person grabbed their backpack, clearly tight on time, and began to hurriedly race towards the front door.
“Stop right there.”
These words immediately made frantically running Yu Yin freeze in his tracks.
“Dad, do you need me for something? I really don’t have any time.” Yu Yin hopped from foot to foot as he ran a hand through his hair. However, he didn’t really dare to just make a break for it.
“I thought you don’t have to leave for work until seven today?” Yu Tong cracked an egg into a frying pan and elegantly removed his gla.s.ses so that they wouldn’t fog up as he moved on to prepare bread and soup.
“That’s right, it’s 7:10 right now. I overslept! I’ll grab breakfast myself outside, so I’ll be leaving first. Bye bye!” He slipped on a random pair of tennis shoes by the door and began to stride out—
“It’s only 6:10 right now.”
Yu Yin stopped in his tracks.
He raised his hand to look at his wrist.w.a.tch. The minute hand just happened to move forward that second. 6:11.
“Come back this instant and eat breakfast.” Yu Tong flipped the egg in the pan as he firmly stated these words with absolute dominance.
Yu Yin dropped his bag and kicked off his shoes before swaying back into the living room. With a crash, he fell onto the sofa. “Scared me to death…” He had thought that he was about to be late to his first day of work.
Having heard the clamor downstairs, another bedroom door on the second floor opened. Yu rubbed his sleepy eyes and walked to the bathroom with a yawn. After a long while, he also walked back out and sat down on the other end of the sofa and began to doze off again.
“Xiao Yu, come over and help me carry over the breakfast.” Yu Tong poked his head out of the kitchen and waved his hand.
Yu immediately walked over and carried out a huge plate of bread to the dining table.
“Ah Yin, are you subst.i.tuting at an elementary school?” Yu Tong asked as he ladled out some soup.
“Oh, yeah. Our teacher’s friend is taking three weeks leave. Because he’s a contracted arts & crafts teacher, the school agreed after some discussion that they would find someone to temporarily teach for three cla.s.ses. The feeds for subst.i.tuting count as mine alone.” This was actually really lucky on his part. Since Yu Yin had pretty good relations with people at school, he had been casually chatting with the teacher when the teacher asked if he had any interest in earning some pocket money. Since Yu Yin just happened to want to buy something, he agreed.
“Then what about your original job?”
“The times don’t conflict. My original job is just helping in the office, and it’s set for every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 2-8 PM when I don’t have cla.s.ses. This subst.i.tuting job is only for two sessions every Monday morning for three weeks. They don’t clash.” Yu Yin had already calculated the times. He stood up and walked over to help set the dining table.
“As long as you think you can do it, it’s fine,” Yu Tong nodded. He never tried to stop Yu Yin from working.
He flipped the egg from the frying pan onto a plate. “That’s right, your uncle won’t be coming home today. I heard that he’s going on an outside investigation, so you two need to remember to bring your keys with you when you head out.”
Yu Yin raised his head and saw Yu, who had nothing left to do, grab a book and sit down to read. Yu had been at this home for almost a month now, and he seemed to always be reading those books. He went from reading his own to reading Dad’s, and then reading Uncle’s. Who knew how much he actually was absorbing? After all, Dad’s and Uncle’s books were mostly original texts!
“Sigh, do you not think these books are very complicated?” Yu Yin asked as he sat next to Yu.
Yu looked up at him and shook his head, then raised the book to show the t.i.tle on the cover: Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales with a.n.a.lysis.
Yu Yin suddenly felt gooseb.u.mps on his skin.
“Xiao Yu got full marks on his school’s literature and language exam before.” Yu Tong walked over with the soup. He smiled as he looked at the two boys and continued, “Ah Yin, you should be reflecting on yourself.” When he had done the administrative work of looking through related doc.u.ments to the case, he’d naturally seen Yu’s school grades and records, so he could definitely confirm Yu’s ability.
Yu Yin rubbed his nose and snorted, “Everyone’s strengths are different. I like designing things.” Who said designing things required strong reading skills? All that was necessary was a creative and unique mind!
“Alright, I know. You two should get ready to eat. Ah Yin, keep watch on the time yourself.” Yu Tong urged his two mischievous children after placing the soup down.
Yu Yin glanced at his watch. It was around 6:35, so he still had plenty of time to slowly eat breakfast. “Right, Dad, does Yu not have to go to school yet?”
Yu was currently sitting next to him, pa.s.sing over a bowl with his usual expressionless face.
“I’ve discussed it with your Uncle. It depends on whether Yu is willing or not. If he wants to, he can join the high school affiliated with your university next semester. That way, if anything goes wrong, it would be easier to find you for help,” Yu Tong replied as he recalled the recent discussion. With a warm smile, he asked, “What do you think? Ah Yin.”
“Whatever, it’s not like it makes a difference to me,” Yu Yin shrugged. Li Dong’s college branch and high school branch were separated, so it wasn’t like they would always have to be stuck together. It didn’t really impact him.
“Oh? I wonder who was it that so strongly protested against Xiao Yu joining our family before~” Yu Tong teased his son.
“Dad, stop talking about senseless things.” Yu Yin turned away as he felt his face warm up. Now that he thought about it, he also felt that he’d been too petty when he’d so strongly opposed it. It was almost funny when he thought about how impish he’d acted.
“Hah, who was acting senseless first?”
After bantering for a while, Yu Yin headed out at 7 AM sharp.
Since today was the first day, he had to go report at the elementary school first. He wouldn’t have to leave so early for the next two cla.s.ses.
“Qiao Yuan Private Elementary…” Yue Yin glanced down at the map and register in his hands. He then put on his helmet, stuffed his things into his bag, and started his motorcycle.
He’d heard that kids nowadays were hard to teach, but he’d only be subst.i.tuting for three cla.s.ses…plus they were third graders, so it couldn’t be that bad, right?
Just as he’d started his engine and the bike had drifted forwards, a person suddenly appeared before him with a hitch-hiker’s thumb. “Yu? What are you doing?” He narrowed his eyes. Luckily he hadn’t fully accelerated, otherwise he would’ve sent the other person flying.
Yu pa.s.sed over what was in his hand.
The thing looked more familiar the more Yu Yin studied it. Suddenly, he remembered what it was. “An amulet?” The one he got during the leopard cat incident last time?
After handing over the amulet, Yu turned around and ran away.
“Hey….Oi!” Yu Yin didn’t know why Yu had given this to him now. But it was getting late, so after glancing at the amulet again, he just stuffed it into his backpack without any further thoughts and started the accelerator. He could think about it after he’d reported in.
The private elementary and the college were on opposite ends of his home, so it was backwards from his usual direction.
After crossing through downtown, he pa.s.sed a medium-sized pond. While it could be said to be a “pond”, it looked like a pool that had been filled with garbage. There was even a strange stench coming out from it…After circling the pond, he arrived at the elementary school about five minutes later.
The campus was medium-sized, with a circular playground about 200 meters in circ.u.mference. There were seven or eight basketball hoops as well as a small tennis court, a rostrum, and lastly, the school building.
As Yu Yin looked at the elementary school, he suddenly felt…
“How nostalgic.” His fading childhood years.
After parking his motorcycle, he took out his doc.u.ments to show to the security guard, who didn’t seem to completely believe him. He then asked where the office was and followed the path to find someone to report to first.
Alright, he knew that dying one’s hair wasn’t good conduct. He scratched his brown hair and shrugged.
Upon finding the office, Yu Yin discovered there was only one female teacher inside. She looked to be around 30 years old and had a neat and tidy appearance. A single glace was enough to tell that she was an astute teacher. “Um…excuse me, I’m looking for the third grade’s Cla.s.s Four academic advisor. I’m Yu Yin, who will be subst.i.tuting today.”
The female teacher turned around, “That would be me.”
She wasn’t ugly nor some old unmarried woman. Rather, she seemed capable and experienced, with a scholarly air. Her appearance could be said to be delicate and pretty as well. She was most likely a skilled teacher.
“h.e.l.lo, I’m Teacher He’s friend. I’ve come to subst.i.tute for the third grade’s arts & crafts cla.s.s,” Yu Yin politely greeted. The other person was his superior, so he couldn’t act casually or rudely. Otherwise, his typical interaction style would’ve resulted in him saying some random nonsense.
“h.e.l.lo, I’m the third grade’s Cla.s.s Four academic advisor, Qi Rui Xue. Please don’t hesitate to give me advice.” The cla.s.s advisor, Qi Rui Xue, extended her hand. With a friendly smile, she nodded and said, “I heard Teacher He say you were recommended to subst.i.tute because you are his friend’s prided student. Thank you in advance for your trouble.”
Unexpectedly, this advisor wasn’t hard to interact with. Yu Yin smiled in return, “You are too courteous. I will be the one asking for your advice the next three weeks.”
Honestly, could he really subst.i.tute just like this? He had felt a bit doubtful this whole time. However, since Teacher and the school had already set it all up, it shouldn’t matter much to him. To Yu Yin, it was just a chance to get some money.
Recently, he really urgently wanted to buy something, but his normal part-time job gave pay only monthly. Moreover, most of it was spent on just cell phone bills and daily spending. That was why he’d accepted this job.
“Although you will only be subst.i.tuting for three weeks, there are some things in our cla.s.s that you’ll have to watch out a bit for.” Qi Rui Xue gestured at him to sit down and pulled out a student roster, “Particularly these particular students.”
“Eh…is there some kind of problem?” Yu Yin had a slight foreboding feeling. c.r.a.p, it’s not another pit of fire, is it?
Teacher, I have faith in your job recommendation.
“It’s not exactly a problem. Every cla.s.s has a few uncooperative students, so our cla.s.s naturally has some too. You’ll have to watch out for these four boys specifically. They bully their cla.s.smates, and don’t really listen to the teacher so they’re hard to discipline,” Qi Rui Xue told him while pointing at their names on the student roster.
Mini cla.s.s overlords huh…
Yu Yin studied the pictures on the paper. One of the somewhat tall and st.u.r.dy boys was particularly eye-catching. He just looked like he deserved a good spanking; the others all had the typical troublemaker appearance. The more he looked, the more he began to feel that this part-time money wouldn’t be easy to earn.
“The leader is called Zhao Liang Yi, his father is in the building industry. His statue is a lot larger than a typical child’s, and he frequently bullies the others. If you really cannot stop him, you can ask the cla.s.s representative to go find me or the director to sort it out. It’s best to not allow the students to say you did anything to him, or else the parents will start making a fuss over you, and the one in trouble will just be yourself,” Qi Rui Xue said in an experienced tone. She then wrote down two phone numbers and pa.s.sed them to him. “The first is the director’s, the second is mine. As long as you call us, we will try our best to quickly come and help.”
Yu Yin accepted the numbers with a faint feeling of having been scammed.
Teacher, I finally know why you don’t come yourself and looked for students to come subst.i.tute instead. It’s because you’re afraid of dying from either the children’s hara.s.sment, or your own heart suddenly failing from stress. That’s probably why you looked for students with stronger hearts!
Yu Yin was starting to think that this was indeed the case. If he’d know this earlier, he would’ve extorted more money as subsidy from Teacher to compensate for the mental difficulty!
“I’ll bring you to see the cla.s.sroom first.” Qi Yui Xue stood up, and Yu Yin hurriedly followed her out of the teachers’ office. “Our cla.s.sroom is next to the playground, so it’s hard for the students to stay seated after the cla.s.s ends. Since you’ll be subst.i.tuting for two arts & crafts cla.s.ses in a row, you’ll need to consider the time into your plans.”
“Oh. I understand.” Yu Yin had worked part-time at a cram school before, so he was well experienced in such matters.
After walking through the hallway, the two entered one after another into the cla.s.sroom with the sign “Third Year’s Cla.s.s Four” hanging oat the entrance. Because it was still early, there weren’t any students yet. The room was absolutely empty aside from some shadows from trees. The lights in the room were off, but the room was still very bright.
“This is our cla.s.sroom. When you’re on break, you can just go to the teachers’ office. There’s a sofa there for you to rest. If you have any matters to ask about, you can find us there to ask us too.” With the formal introduction finished, Qi Yui Xue turned around and asked, “Well then, Teacher Yu, do you have any other questions?”
Yu Yin surveyed the room. “I don’t think I do.” It was just some naughty students in the cla.s.s. Fine, he had already committed that to memory.
“Good, then you can prepare for your first cla.s.s now.”
Just as Yu Yin was about to turn around and leave the room, he suddenly heard a strange sound.
Gurgle, gurgle…it sounded like water.
He turned around. The light in the room had suddenly diminished.
Although the temperature hadn’t dropped, he could already feel his unnatural gooseb.u.mps forming on his body.
A distorted voice that sounded as if it was coming from underwater echoed out from the back. He turned around and looked at the seat next to the window in the last row, where a girl who had materialised at some point was now sitting. She had two soaking wet braids, and her head was lowered so that her expression was hidden.
“Teacher Yu? Do you still have a question?” A person suddenly clapped onto his shoulder. When he turned around and saw Qi Yue Xue’s confused gaze, Yu Yin hurriedly shook his head. When he turned back around, the girl had already disappeared.
“Not really. Oh right, whose seat is that in that corner?” After the girl had disappeared, Yu Yin suddenly noticed that there was a cup on the desk, with a chrysanthemum flower which seemed to be a payment of respect to the dead.
Qi Yue Xue noticed the same thing. She walked over with a frown and grabbed the bottled flower and dumped it into the trash can with one fell swoop. “It belongs to a girl in our cla.s.s. She’s on the introverted side and is often bullied by those boys in the cla.s.s. She got sick a few days ago and has been absent since then. I’m not sure if her condition has improved a bit or not.” She knelt down to pick up some test papers and textbooks that had been dropped all over the ground, and placed them back into the desk drawer.
“Bullied?” Yu Yin followed her lead and helped clean up the things, noticing some words that had been written on the desk: “Go die, ugly girl”, “Your mom ran away with someone else”, etc. Why are elementary students so nasty now?
“Mm, apparently her mother ran off and had an affair, leaving behind her and her father. When the other students heard of this, they started using it to deride her.” Qi Yue Xue sighed, stood back up, and tried to wipe off the words on the desk. However, they didn’t come off no matter how many times she tried, so she could only leave it there. “You know, children nowadays are not as pure as before. That’s why there are sometimes situations that are difficult to control.”
“Oh.” Yu Yin didn’t continue pursuing the topic; it didn’t seem to be anything good.
He picked up the last textbook next to his foot. Its cover had traces of tape after having been ripped apart. It looked like this little girl had really been bullied badly. Yu Yin helpless sighed to himself, and placed the textbook back into the desk.
In that instant, a pair of hands suddenly appeared and grabbed his wrist, forcefully pulling it into the desk drawer.
“!” Yu Yin jumped in shock, and immediately withdrew his hand. Because he used too much force, he ended up crashing into the chair behind him.
“What’s wrong?” Teacher Qi asked. She had been contemplating the matter just now but she was startled back to her senses.
Yu Yin looked down at his hand, momentarily stunned. His right wrist now had a b.l.o.o.d.y cut that seemed to be wet with some kind of liquid. “I accidentally cut myself…”
“Don’t tell me it’s another one of those boys’ pranks!” Qi Yue Xue hurriedly took out a tissue to wipe away the blood as she unhappily frowned, “I really ought to find a time to properly talk with their parents…”
“It’s just a minor scratch, not a big deal.” Yu Yin glanced at the drawer once more, but there was nothing inside.
“You should go to the infirmary first.”
It was only his first day of subst.i.tuting, but Yun Yin was already starting to feel wary of this cla.s.s.
It wasn’t just his imagination, there was truly…
Something wrong with this place.
Yu was obediently sitting alone at home, reading a book. Just then, an alarm went off, bringing him back to his senses. He raised his head to look at the clock. It was about time; he had agreed to help Yu Xia deliver some doc.u.ments to Yan Si, and now was a good time to head out.
He placed the book back onto Yu Yin’s bookshelf and ran to his own room to grab a jacket, as well as the bag of doc.u.ments and a written down address and phone number. After exiting the villa, he walked to the side of the road and waved down a taxi.
“Student, are you late for cla.s.s?” The taxi driver asked when he saw Yu’s appearance and approximate age.
Yu shook his head and pa.s.sed the slip of paper with the address to the driver.
“Oh, you’re heading to this place? Alright, get on.” Having noticed that Yu was possibly mute, the taxi driver kindly opened the door to let him in. After looking at the paper again to confirm the address, he pa.s.sed it back and said, “The drive to this building will probably take a dozen or so minutes.”
Yu nodded and put the paper away. With the bag of doc.u.ments in his arms, he turned his head to look outside the window.
That taxi quickly took off.
Perhaps because it was past rush hour, there weren’t many cars on the road. After a few traffic lights, they soon reached the road the address was on. After turning the corner, they saw a building with the sign: “Lu Complex”.
“This is it. Your total is 240 yuan.”
After paying the fare, Yu got off the car and looked around. He walked up to the office and showed the paper with the written address to the staff.
“Oh, so you’re the reserved visitor that Mr. Yan had mentioned.” The middle-aged guard saw the address and opened the gate. “Keep walking down, it’s the building on the right. You can take the elevator directly up to the third floor,” he kindly directed Yu.
The Lu Complex was split into two: the Lu Building, and the Lu Business. One was on the right, one was on the left, and there was one resident on every floor. It could be cla.s.sified as a decent, high-cla.s.s area. Yan Si lived in Lu Building. When he’d first moved in, he had even been mocked by Yu Xia, who said it sounded like some kind of “shady” place.
After nodding to the guard in thanks, Yu pa.s.sed through the European-styled courtyard. He didn’t look around much, and simply walked straight into the Lu Building’s elevator.
Perhaps because most of the building’s residents were all at work, the elevator lobby was completely silent, which gave off a slightly eerie feeling.
After confirming the address once more, Yu pressed the elevator b.u.t.ton. After a moment, the elevator doors automatically opened before him.
The inside of the elevator was very s.p.a.cious. The three walls were covered in mirrors. Each one reflected his body and violet eyes, and the images spread across each other, displaying multiple of him.
Yu furrowed his brows, stepped inside, and pressed the b.u.t.ton. He made sure to keep his back to the mirrors so he wouldn’t have to look at the seemingly endless mirrors behind him.
He didn’t like mirrors. For a while, he had been forced to stare at himself in a mirror nearly all the time, to the point where it made him feel disgusted. But, but….
Yu suddenly withdrew from his thoughts, suddenly remembering that he was no longer in that place.
He heard the pulleys start to move, and the sound of the elevator going up.
It was quiet, very quiet.
Did going to the third floor take that long?
He abruptly noticed that this had been going on for over ten seconds. Frantically lifting his head, he saw that the indicator lights had long pa.s.sed the third floor. Now the lights were flashing from the fifth floor, to the sixth floor….and it kept continuing to go up.
He turned around, and his numerous reflections in the mirror did as well.
The b.u.t.tons for all the floors next to the door were all lit up, as if it were part of some prank.
This situation…probably counted as an elevator malfunction, right?
As Yu calmly a.n.a.lysed the situation with his arms crossed, he lifted his gaze and noticed there was a red emergency b.u.t.ton near the top. Without hesitation, he pressed it.
The speaker began to crackle.
It seemed as if there was interference, as the voice from the other end cut in and out, and the sounds of static drowned out the words.
Yu watched the indicator lights on top. The elevator jerked to a halt at the seventh floor, and the entire box shook. Unable to keep his balance, he ended up crashing against one of the mirrors.
“Who…who…elevator…elevator…” The static coming through the speaker was still very strong, and it was soon impossible to hear the voice at all.
Yu shook his head and supported himself up against the mirror.
When he looked up, he saw a pair of hands reach out from behind his hundreds of reflections.
The mirror couldn’t be “malfunctioning”!
He blinked, and the hands suddenly vanished. However, the elevator began to continue rising once more.
He glanced at the b.u.t.tons; the top floor was the fifteenth level.
Yu forcefully shut his eyes. The speaker next to him had already stopped transmitting any sound. Aside from the elevator pulley continuing to rotate, there were no other noises to be heard within the elevator.
He couldn’t make any sound either.
He began to open his eyes; he needed to calmly contemplate possible ways for him to leave the elevator.
But as soon as he opened them, he was completely shocked.
A sixteenth floor had appeared on the indicator lights, and more were appearing.
All the lights in the elevator suddenly went out with a pop that sounded like fuses short-circuiting. The yellow emergency lights turned on amidst the darkness.
He leaned against the elevator door, not daring to make any movements.
Just then, the elevator stopped. It was at the twenty-sixth floor.
A drop of water fell on the top of his hair.
Yu heard a noise.
From outside the elevator came the sound of a small bouncing ball.
TL Note: I haven’t really read the V1 translations since I read the raws, but I’m sure there are a few discrepancies. For clarification on how I will be translating some of the characters’ nicknames:
虞佟 – Yu Tong (referred to as 大爸 = Dad)
虞夏 – Yu Xia (referred to as 二爸 = Uncle)
Yu Tong and Yu Xia are twins. Yu Yin is Yu Tong’s biological son, but the twins live together and raise Yu Yin together.
少荻聿 – Shao Di Yu (referred to as just 聿 = Yu, or 小聿 = Xiao “Little” Yu)