Sha Qing - Chapter 54.1
Arc 5: Luna Twin Islands
Chapter 54.1: The “Top? or Bottom?” Question (1)
Sha Qing wiped the seawater off his face and said breathlessly, “As much as I’d like to continue, we have to move along.”
The tide had indeed risen, and the water level was already on top of the cave. Leo didn’t even have time to react to what happened to them just now as he hastily sucked in a full breath and sank back into the water.
Fortunately, they were not far from the place where they rested earlier, so a few minutes later they were able to reach that area’s marker , which was a large rock. They climbed up as the tide rose beneath their feet as if it was chasing them, until their shoulders hit the hard edges of the rock. The water stopped rising at the highest point, completely devouring the last breathable space below them.
The shelter was about 1.5 meters in height, and a maximum area of 5 square meters. The ground, or to be precise, the rock surface, was irregular, with flat sides and a long indentation in the middle, which must have been a natural crack during the rock formation.
In this ‘cave within a cave’-like place, they could not stand up straight at all, and their heads were at the top of the intersection of two large rocks, so they could only sit, or simply lie down and let their clothes get damp from the wet rock surface. Fortunately, they could continue to breathe with their lungs instead of being only left to pray for God to let them evolve with some temporary gills.
The troublesome thing was that they had neither a flashlight nor fire— just a pitch dark, damp, and cold surroundings coupled with a deafening silence enough to break the average person’s spirit.
They had to stay in this environment for at least twelve hours.
After groping around, Sha Qing sighed: “With less than 10 cubic meters of space, there isn’t enough oxygen storage to sustain the two of us until the tide subsides , so i guess the third way to die is through asphyxiation because of hypoxia 1.”
He fumbled around again carefully, and finally, when he touched the rock above him, he cried out happily, “Fresh water! There’s a little stream of fresh water seeping in from here!! Do you know what that means?”
“…… what?” Leo spoke, seemingly distracted.
“It means that there are cracks in the rocks above, and quite a lot at that! Rainwater is able to slowly seep down through these cracks because it is above sea level. Now we have two pieces of good news: one is that we can collect some drinking water; the other is that we’ll have some supply of air— albeit weak, it’s already enough to support the two of us.”
Even though he couldn’t see him, Sha Qing could still hear Leo’s absent-mindedness with his responses. He sat down approximately a meter away from Leo, and asked: “Are you angry? Because of… that kiss?”
The other party was silent for a moment, then replied: “It’s not anger, but a…… a very complicated emotion that I can’t explain at all ……. nevermind. It was a close call between life and death, and both of us were obviously not thinking straight at that moment. Let’s just forget about it.b
“I was very much clear-headed,” Sha Qing pointed out, “and not just earlier, but also at that time in the Murder Castle. Agent, how long are you going to keep lying to yourself before you admit that you feel the same way about me too?”
“Feel the same wa—— what kind of ‘feelings’ are you talking about?” One could tell that Leo was really pissed off by the tone of his voice.
He then continued saying unceremoniously: “The desire for flesh? Lust? Oh, as you can see, I’m bent, and it looks like you are too, but so what? When I’m on an adrenaline rush, and when I’m at a really close distance with a young man, who looks good,has a nice figure and with the same sexual preference as mine, not having any kind of reactions wouldn’t be normal! You’ve been to nightclubs, haven’t you? The feeling of wanting to address a physical need, seeing someone, buying them a beer and then having sex with them in a bathroom cubicle, and then going home then going straight to sleep, not remembering what their partner that night looked like — is that the feeling you’re talking about?”
To him, that kiss was just like a one-night stand, no, it was even worse than that— it was only like some quick bathroom fuck? Anger rushed through Sha Qing. He squeezed his knuckles one by one, trying to quench his rising emotions, and said in an unprecedented and unusually sincere tone: “You know that’s not what I meant …… Do you think we are strangers who have only met twice? No, Leo— I started paying attention to you over a year ago, when you first took over my case.”
“It’s a great honor that the renowned Serial Killer Sha Qing is following me on Twitter2.”
“Shut up! Don’t use that tone on me …… Okay, will you hear me out first?” Sha Qing took a deep breath. He knew that what he was about to say next was crucial, and that a large part of it would affect whether or not the other person would be moved by him, so he made his voice as softly as possible, like putting a furry sheath on a sharp knife then tying a few sweet bowknots on it:
“At first, I just wanted to see if the FBI agent who was trying to catch me was another idiot — which, obviously, wasn’t. You’re strong, good at what you do, and courageous. You’re very mobile, and what’s even more commendable is that you have a keen intuition about the nature of things. To be honest, my job has become a lot more difficult since your intervention, and I have to clean up the scene over and over again at the end of each case so as not to leave any traces of my identity. Of course, sometimes I leave a little harmless clue on purpose to keep you motivated to continue the pursuit.”
“Like that graffiti, the one with the upside-down wolf?”
“Exactly. I don’t know when it started, but I eventually got used to—and even enjoyed— your chases. You made me improve my attention to details and roused some excitement within me during those moments when I feel bored. The feeling of being up against a rival— where you have to give it your all or else it’ll result in your defeat; constantly trying to get the upper hand and at the same time you can’t help but admire your opponent for his brilliant performance— is even better than making love! Don’t you think so too?”
“No, I haven’t abused myself to the point of wanting to have some sexual relationship with my sworn enemy,” Leo snapped back, “So, the reason you feel ‘that way‘ about me is because of some sort of …… a mixture of your thirst to conquer, appreciation of others’ abilities, and other messed up desires? You’re treating it like a game, like there’s some kind of additional loot and rewards for challenging the game boss, is that it?”
Sha Qing swept the damp hair on his forehead towards the top of his head in frustration, and felt for the first time that his communication skills weren’t as good as he thought it was.
He didn’t know how to express it in a way that would make Leo understand that his feelings ,that everything, wasn’t merely a matter of ‘thinking highly about other people’s talent’—it’s more than that. It’s like an irresistible attraction, like the earth’s gravitational pull; that even if they were destined to be life-long enemies, they had this kind of love-hate entanglement —the kind he could never forget.
The federal agent across from him obviously did not reciprocate his enthusiasm, or was perhaps better at hiding his feelings than he was. Sha Qing was more willing to believe the latter, because that would make him feel like everything wasn’t just his own wishful thinking…
“I thought you’d understand,” he muttered quietly, like an aggrieved child “….Then why else would you delay getting a lover? Do you remember when you were asked out to have dinner? As soon as you received a report on my whereabouts, you immediately left your date and ran off, leaving nothing but the words “sorry”. How many times have you cut off a potential relationships that didn’t even have time to start budding just so you could chase after me? To you, I’m clearly more important than those dates, and for me, you’re willing to waste even your spare time to the point where no girl would dare marry you. Isn’t that right?”
Upon recalling the tearful eyes of all those good women, and every opportunity to have a normal marriage and family that passed by, Leo suddenly had the urge to punch the serial killer across him.
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