Wolf's Temptation - 17
Do You Really Think There Are Werewolves?
Despite Lang Jiu having eaten eight Chinese burgers prior to saying he was in pain, he still looked like a starving ghost had descended upon this world. If it wasn’t for Xu Bei snatching one, it would have been impossible to ever get a single bite.
So his first thought was that this fellow had overeaten.
But Lang Jiu clearly said his bones hurt, and not only that, his face blanched white and his expression looked quite pained, which immediately made Xu Bei a bit worried.
“Bone pain? Are you sure you even know what a bone is…” He placed careless touches on the bones of Lang Jiu’s arm and pressed down, “Which bone?”
“Everywhere.” As soon as Lang Jiu finished speaking, he tossed his bun to the ground and sat right on the floor, wrapping his arms around his knees as he buried his face in between them.
Xu Bei had no choice but to drag him to the bed. There was certainly something going on with Lang Jiu. He wouldn’t play pretend, he probably doesn’t even understand what playing pretend is: “Go lie down in bed. What in the world is going on with you…”
When Lang Jiu collapsed on the bed, cold sweat rolled down his cheeks. He looked at Xu Bei somewhat helplessly. This look made Xu Bei think of Xu Ling for no apparent reason and feeling his heart being pulled, he began to feel somewhat panicked.
Xu Bei had never taken care of a sick person before. Whenever he was ill, except for Qiao Qian, no one had ever taken care of him, and Qiao Qian’s ability to take care of people was really nothing much to sneeze at. He was without a point of reference so this current situation was quite a big headache for him.
After covering Lang Jiu with a quilt, he turned around to go pour a cup of hot water. He himself didn’t know why he wanted to have Lang Jiu drink water, but apart from the Chinese burgers there was only water in the room: “Drink some water, I’ll go downstairs and get you some painkillers, and then…”
Xu Bei spoke while he handed the cup over to Lang Jiu. When Lang Jiu reached his hand out to accept it, he took a moment and then went on to put the cup in his hand on the table. He grabbed Lang Jiu’s hand and his voice wavered a bit: “What the fuck is going on, ah!”
All the knuckles on Lang Jiu’s fingers were a bluish-purple as if he went boxing without wearing protective gear. Xu Bei moved his gaze all the way along his hand, and there was a faint bluish-purple blooming on his arm.
“Fucking hell, don’t scare me, my son…” He jumped onto the bed and lifted the quilt right up.
In just these few short minutes, Lang Jiu’s body was covered in lilac marks as if he had been erratically beaten with a rod.
Xu Bei’s fingers briefly skimmed over his body, Lang Jiu quickly caught his hand, his body crumpled into a ball, and said with his brows wrinkled: “It hurts.”
“I know, I know,” Xu Bei recovered Lang Jiu with the quilt and patted his face. “Hold on for a bit, I’ll give your Uncle Qiao a call…”
Xu Bei hadn’t thought of how to explain Lang Jiu to Qiao Qian, but he could only call on Qiao Qian in this situation. He needs a trustworthy person to drive Lang Jiu over to Ye Minmin.
Lang Jiu was experiencing a large amount of bleeding under his skin for unknown reasons.
“Bleeuurrgghh!” Qiao Qian unexpectantly answered the phone quickly, but the sound he heard from the phone made Xu Bei lose all hope.
“Fuck me, are you hungover even without going to bed?” Xu Bei cursed under his breath.
“En, I was catching illicit cigarettes until more than three last night and then I went to have a drink with the leader…” There was a clear drunken lilt coming through Qiao Qian’s voice, “I’m telling you, it’s not a hangover, I’m just drunk and haven’t had the time to go to bed… ”
“Your guy’s tobacco bureau is really fucking corrupt.”
“Have you run into trouble again? Did you get hurt again… Where are you, I’ll come over right now.” Qiao Qian was drunk as drunk could be, but he still intuitively felt that something was up with Xu Bei.
“Do you always have to assume that I’m wounded! I should be asking where you are, forget about it, I can’t count on you when you’re drunk like this, I have to send someone over to Minmin right away…” Xu Bei spoke to Qiao Qian with his heart distracted and his thoughts in turmoil, he glanced back to the bed, and froze yet again, “Motherfucking son of a bitch!”
“Don’t curse me out, I’m in the county. I’ll get going now, report your location!”
“…I’m not cussing you out. It’s nothing. You go have a hangover. I’ll call you again later.”
Xu Bei tossed his phone away and looked at the large white-furred paws exposed from under the quilt. He couldn’t wrap his head around it for quite a long while and felt that he was about to collapse. How could he turn back into a wolf within the span of those few sentences?
“Huhu, ah,” Xu Bei dragged the little wolf out from under the quilt, “What’s the big idea, ah, do you want to mess with your Dad to death?”
The little wolf’s body was soft and very obediently didn’t struggle. It looked a bit spent, but Xu Bei was put a bit at ease by its taupe eyes that shone as they locked on him just as they always would.
Xu Bei hesitated for a breath and turned the little wolf over on the bed to have it lay down on its belly: “Let Dad check, you were just bleeding out under your skin…”
The little wolf’s belly was smooth and there weren’t any abnormalities. Xu Bei stroked it a few times, and then lowered his head and repeatedly both threaded through and poked through its fur for a long time. Finally, he said helplessly: “This is fucking impossible to see anything, you can only see fur, let’s shave it off my son!”
The little wolf didn’t respond, it simply lightly stepped on his hind legs, rolled over, continued to lie down on its stomach, and shut its eyes.
Xu Bei poked it quite a few times with his fingers, and the little wolf never moved from beginning to end. A few minutes later it made a soft snoring sound, Xu Bei moved closer to take a look, it slept quite soundly. When it slept, its ears usually still roved around, but its ears falling asleep today were drooped down on either side of its head.
There really were no bruises on the little wolf. Those frightening bluish-purple bruises on its skin from just now seemed to have disappeared after returning to its wolf state. Xu Bei laid down beside it with great patience and picked through its fur strand by strand like he was scouring for lice. It was no surprise to find that below all of the roots of its fur was all pink skin without the slightest variation in color.
The internal bleeding appeared inexplicably, then disappeared even more inexplicably than it came.
Xu Bei drew closer to the little wolf and laid down sideways behind it. The little wolf had sunken into a very deep sleep, and it didn’t move an inch even if he locked his arms around it. Xu Bei sighed and threaded his fingers through its fur. These past few days have been hectic and only now did he have time to calm down and take a moment to think about the strange changes of this little wolf.
He can almost entirely deduce that the little wolf will become a human after eating the alcohol-filled chocolates, but it is the chocolate or the alcohol inside that is in play? It is impossible to determine at this time. After the little wolf becomes a human, the time it maintains its human form isn’t set. Sometimes it ’s long and sometimes it’s short… Today has been the longest, and then severe bleeding appeared on its body under the skin…
If these instances are linked together, could it be understood like this— if the little wolf turns into a human for too long, then symptoms of bleeding will occur?
Xu Bei couldn’t work out the reason why in the end, so he blankly stared at the ceiling for a while, got up and ate a Chinese burger.
Qiao Qian’s phone call came in and Xu Bei hesitated to answer: “Didn’t I tell you to get some rest…”
“I’m already sober now, completely,” Qiao Qian interrupted him, “What’s going on?”
“There was a small mishap just now, it’s resolved itself,” Xu Bei glanced at the little wolf who was lightly snoring in its sleep, “It’s all right.”
“You said that someone needed to be sent over to Minmin’s place, but now everything’s fine a second later? Is it that a dead person doesn’t need to be sent over!” Qiao Qian is flaming with anger. “Xiao Bei, how long have the two of us known each other for? There’s not one little thing I don’t know about you, why are you putting on airs with me now…”
“That’s good,” Xu Bei said with a newfound determination, “Do you still remember the werewolf I told you about last time, uh, or Wolfman?”
“Werewolf works, what about it.”
“Do you think that such a thing really exists?”
“Werewolves ah, fucking hell!”
“Do you think so?”
“I don’t think so,” Xu Bei took a cup and drank a large mouthful of water. “I know so.”
As soon as this sentence came out, there was nothing but radio silence on Qiao Qian’s end. Xu Bei waited for a bit, and after ensuring that Qiao Qian really did not intend to speak, he added: “It’s that Arctic Wolf I brought back from Beiling last time. “
Qiao Qian’s silence stretched for eons before opening his mouth slowly: “Why is that you feel I should be the one getting some rest…”
“That Arctic Wolf can become human if he eats alcohol-filled chocolates.” Xu Bei kept the words rolling, in any case, he had already begun speaking, he didn’t plan to stop, whether Qiao Qian believed it or not, he had to finish his words, “I’m not playing around with you.”
“You really… haven’t tricked me with such an outrageous claim before,” the sound of a lighter coming to life came from Qiao Qian’s end, “This claim is really completely outrageous, are you telling me that you expect me to believe this?”
“Whether you believe it or not, what’s happened has happened.”
“Alright then, I’ll drive back to the city now, where are you,” Qiao Qian didn’t hesitate, “I want to see this werewolf with my own two eyes.”
“It’s nighttime, there was a bit of a situation just now. It’s asleep right now. I want it to get some more sleep…” Xu Bei pinched the little wolf’s ears, and the little wolf’s ears twitched. “ Come to the Agritainment farmhouse by the riverbank in the evening, there aren’t a lot of people around.”
(TN: It’s those kinds of farm establishments that offer horse rides, corn mazes, tractor rides, etc. to the public.)
Xu Bei stood guard over the bedside until noon, the little wolf laid on its stomach on the bed from beginning to the end without moving an inch, and it slept deeply. Several times, Xu Bei thought it was dead and would walk over to poke it, it would only pop its ears up in response.
At lunchtime, Xu Bei honestly had no appetite, he took the sandwiched meat bun and went to eat it, but put it back down again. Chen Xiaoyu came up and said that grandpa had prepared the game board and tea. Xu Bei blocked the door and did not let her in: “I was just about to head down, let’s go.”
He put a hand on Chen Xiaoyu’s shoulder and pushed her towards the downstairs. Chen Xiaoyu happily leaned on his arm and kept turning her head around: “What about that handsome guy? Can’t he come down…”
“He’s asleep, don’t concern yourself with him.” Xu Bei shut the door with his foot and really wanted to throw Chen Xiaoyu, who wasn’t readily heading down, over his shoulder to take her downstairs.
The old man landlord was sitting in the room waiting for Xu Bei, there was a Go board in front of him, and beside him was a pot of tea.
(TN: Wei-Ch’i means “surrounding game” or “surrounding chess” and the object is simply to capture territory by placing down counters on the board. In English, it is commonly referred to as Go and it’s a pretty old game tracing back to the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE).)
Although Xu Bei was lacking in both academic and practical ability, he was a master at playing Go. The old man was particularly inclined to play a game with him. In fact, Xu Bei had no interest in playing games with this old man. The first reason why he was willing to come down and play with him a few times was that this old man’s rent was about as cheap as slum housing, and the second was because the old man never asked about his personal affairs, and there was even a granddaughter with nothing to do who helped him clean up his room.
“Xiao Bei came back so early in the morning,” the old man smiled from ear to ear at the sight of Xu Bei. “You have been away for so long this time, I’ve gotten rusty ah, there hasn’t been anyone to go two sets with me.”
Xu Bei smiled, sat down opposite to the old man, reached out and touched the game piece: “Yo, gramps put down quite the investment, ah, you’ve switched to Yunzi?”
(TN: Yunzi specifically refers to special playing stones made of “yunzi” material, the game pieces essentially. Apparently pretty pricey too, a lot of its compounds are confidential but there’s stuff like jade and agate in them.)
“My son gave it to me, how are they? It feels pretty good, right?” The old man looked at him cheerfully.
“En, it’s pretty nice,” Xu Bei pulled a white piece in front of himself, and pressed it in between his fingers to take a look, “but it would be a bit of a waste to use Yunzi to play a game of Gomoku ah…”
(TN: A game that is played with Go pieces on a Go Board, it’s a five-in-a-row type of deal.)
While the two were drinking tea and chatting, they started a game of Gomoku. The old man always lost. Xu Bei won two games and deliberately lost two games to make the old man happy. After more than a dozen rounds, the outcome was basically a draw.
“If I were ten years younger again, I wouldn’t let you win so many games.” The old man took a sip of tea and looked at Xu Bei contentedly.
“That’s…” Xu Bei was glad, thinking about saying something else along those lines to make the old man happy, and suddenly heard a muffled sound from upstairs.
Xu Bei’s room was just above the old man’s room, so when the muffled sound came, he shot up and ran to the door: “I’ll go up and see…”
Xu Bei ran upstairs like the wind. The little wolf didn’t know of him coming down. It would have woken up without a person in sight, so maybe something happened.
Just as he had rushed up to the door and opened it, a black unidentifiable object flew towards Xu Bei’s face, Xu Bei tilted his head to the side, and the object slammed into the corridor with a bang. He glanced back. It was a Chinese burger.
“What was that for!” Xu Bei entered the room and froze in place as soon as he shut the door.
The sole two stools in the room were both lying on the ground. The little wolf was arrogantly standing on the table full of vigor with a bag full of wrapped Chinese burgers in his mouth. There was only one Chinese burger in the bag, and the rest were thrown to the ground, the juices, meat, and what not were strewn on the ground.
Seeing Xu Bei entering the room, the little wolf paused, and happily shook the bag in its mouth a few times more, and tossed the last Chinese burger on the floor. It then jumped off the table and waded through the hideous mess on the floor. It ran around Xu Bei in a circle, biting his trouser legs and licking his hands.
Xu Bei was already unable to find the will to be angry, he only felt that there were four words flashing in his head, too deep for tears.
He crouched beside the door, looking at the little wolf that came up to him and licked his face. He squeezed its mouth shut: “Classmate Lang Huhu, did you fucking go to sleep to recover your strength just to start tormenting me? Will you become ill every day if you don’t make trouble for your Dad? You can’t just let me have it easy, can you? At first, I used to just guard against Ban Datong, but now I even have to sit on the edge of my seat all day long thinking of you…”
The little wolf didn’t move. It fixedly looked at Xu Bei and watched him for a moment. It seemed a bit remorseful. It flew into Xu Bei’s arms and buried its head into his clothes and didn’t move.
Xu Bei sighed, “Son, ah, don’t you know, I don’t want to eat Chinese burgers ever again in my life…”
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