Wolf's Temptation - 21
I Will Only Be Taking That Arctic Wolf
Xu Bei’s mind cooks up a plethora of possibilities.
After this person heard such words, he might just choke him out within an inch of his life, slap him on the face with a swipe of his hand, or he might just send a punch right to his stomach or face. Of course, it’d be better if he didn’t go for his face… He might just…
To make a long story short, if the person in front of him is Ban Datong, Xu Bei could easily imagine a dozen scenarios of his miserable end.
But this person abruptly loosened his grip and let go of Xu Bei.
“You seem to know quite a lot.” The man looked at him and pulled his scarf down, exposing half of his face.
Xu Bei leaned against the wall and rolled his neck around, taking this opportunity to carefully look this person over.
You can’t make out his exact age just by looking at the uncovered half of his face. He could only give a rough estimate around the thirty-year mark. His complexion had a slight paleness to it, but not sickly so.
What attracted Xu Bei’s gaze the most was a scar on the left side of his face, about two inches long, which made the expressionless face he had to begin with all the more cold and detached, even a smidge of murderous intent seemed to be leaking through.
“Can I leave now?” Xu Bei asked, bowing his head and tidying up his disheveled clothes. He was able to gather that this man didn’t intend to do anything to him at the moment, but nothing could be for certain until he fully understood his aim.
“You can.” This person answered quite bluntly much to Xu Bei’s surprise.
Xu Bei hesitated for a moment and without saying much, he turned around and opened the big iron gate and walked through it. The voice of the man echoed after him: “I will only be taking that Arctic Wolf.”
“What did you say?” Xu Bei paused mid-motion in opening the gate, he turned his head back around, “Who are you taking away?”
“I just said.”
A spark of anger suddenly ignited in Xu Bei. What the hell is this? Laozi went through Hell and back with the full intent to sell this wolf off for a good price. Before he could even sell it off, it suddenly turned into a person. Granted, he was able to come to terms with it amidst great difficulty. Two peaceful days had yet to pass and yet some bemusing person who came charging in on Chinese New Year’s Eve came out saying such words to him!
Not only that, hearing the tone of voice he took towards Xu Bei, it was quite like he was saying that he wasn’t worth a second of his time. I’m only taking that Arctic wolf, only taking away, only! Only!
“Only my ass, douchebag.” Xu Bei couldn’t restrain himself and let the curse slip through his lips.
The man was struck dumb for a moment. He evidently could not keep up with Xu Bei’s all over the place thinking, but he didn’t seem much inclined to expend any effort into trying to follow Xu Bei’s line of thought regardless and began to straighten out his scarf to cover his face again.
Seeing that Xu Bei’s curse failed to garner any response from the other party, it made him a bit sour, so he tacked on: “Dream on.”
“How can you say that.” The man insipidly asked from behind the scarf enclosing his face.
“What more is there to say, do you think Laozi is a fool? You said you were just going to up and take it away, who do you think you are?” Xu Bei leaned against the gate and swept his gaze over the man, “That is Laozi’s man, you think you’ll just be able to take him away with a few words?”
“Your man?” The man squinted his eyes a bit.
“Ah, my man, whatever the hell you wanna call it, you’ll have to kill me first before you can even think about taking him.” Xu Bei sneered with the confidence of a man who gave no fucks. He was already entirely sure that this person would present no harm to him, so he spoke with a cocky confidence, as for why this person wanted to take the little wolf away, that was a problem for another day.
“It would be far too easy for me to kill you…” the man laughed from behind the scarf, and repeated himself once more, “Far too easy.”
“No need for you to demonstrate what an echo effect sounds like.” Xu Bei choked up a little with this shameless sentence.
“I will come back looking for you.” The man had seemed to want to say something further, but suddenly stopped and drew back at an alarming speed.
At the same time, Xu Bei felt a gust of wind whip past him, a lone figure came out from behind the door and ran past him.
“You…” Although Xu Bei finds it hard to believe, the only person with such speed is Lang Jiu.
He simply didn’t have time to stop or even come to a full realization of what was going on before Lang Jiu had already pounced on the man, nearly jumping over the iron gate right as he barreled through it, the height of which exceeded Xu Bei’s own height quite impressively.
He raised his head and watched as Lang Jiu’s hand came down mid-air and ruthlessly swept towards that man.
Fingertips made contact against the person’s face, drawing a silver arc that shone with cold light. Soon after steadily falling to the ground, he kept a hand to the floor as support as if he planned to follow up with another attack.
This time he did not come into contact with this person. He drew back at a faster speed than Lang Jiu. After Lang Jiu landed on the ground, he had already withdrawn more than ten meters back. When Lang Jiu had been about to charge at him again, he turned his body around and flashed out of the parking lot like a puff of black smoke.
“Don’t chase!” Xu Bei finally reacted, yelling before Lang Jiu chased him out.
Lang Jiu came to a stop and slowly turned around. Xu Bei could see the smoldering anger in his eyes that had yet to be completely snuffed out, his taupe eyes indeed had a bit of red to them.
This look made Xu Bei’s insides shrivel some. Although he didn’t know what the reason for Lang Jiu’s wrath was, it was the first time where he felt faintly disturbed. There had never once been an instance in the past where he felt that this little wolf was any different from other dogs. Although he had seen the small thing get irked several times, each of those times had resembled that of a child’s temper tantrum.
But today’s incident finally made Xu Bei come to the sudden realization that this is not only a wolf but also a dangerous wolf.
“Who the hell are you trying to scare to death, ah! Didn’t I tell you to wait for me and to stay where you are!” Xu Bei felt a cold sweat blanket over his forehead, he walked to Lang Jiu’s side and took his hand, “What were you holding in your hand just now?”
“Holding nothing.” The bloody red color in Lang Jiu’s eyes faded and he returned to his usual appearance.
Xu Bei grabbed his hand and looked it over for a long time. That stripe of silvery light that Lang Jiu drew in the air just now was still flashing through his mind: “You weren’t holding anything? Didn’t you just have something in your hands?”
“Nothing.” Lang Jiu pulled his hand back, looking a little uneasy.
“Then what the hell was that thing giving off that silver light…” Xu Bei still couldn’t make heads or tails out of it, that arc of light definitely seemed to be metal.
“Nothing,” Lang Jiu cut Xu Bei off a little defensively, and then suddenly hugged Xu Bei, “He said he’d kill you.”
Xu Bei felt that he was suffocating just a tad. Lang Jiu was almost the same height as him. This hug was tightly wrapped around his arms as if he were tied up. He strenuously raised his arm and jabbed Lang Jiu’s waist: “I say, son, let go.”
“No.” This is the first time Lang Jiu has directly rebelled against Xu Bei.
“Fucker!” Xu Bei struggled for a little bit and failed to break free, so he had no choice but to switch to a softer tone of voice, “He didn’t say he’d kill me, he just wanted to take you away.”
Lang Jiu froze, his hands relaxed a little, Xu Bei hurriedly took advantage of this opportunity to struggle with all of his might a few more times without success.
Just as he began to wonder if he should slide down, Lang Jiu’s grip tightened again. This time he held him so tightly that it could be seen as two puzzle pieces clicking perfectly together at the seams, Xu Bei never thought that his own body could be squeezed with such ease…
“Not going.” Lang Jiu spoke in his ear, there was a bit of sadness in his slightly hoarse voice.
Xu Bei was not a person with an easily softened heart, but the two of them have not been separated ever since the day he first picked up that little wolf. They have been together for such a long time, day and night. Having called him “son” for such a long time, suddenly hearing Lang Jiu speak like this pained his heart just a bit.
“You’re not going anywhere, I never said I would let you go, ah,” Xu Bei had originally wanted to pat Lang Jiu’s back, but his arm was tightly bound and his hand could only touch his waist, so he had to pat his waist for a bit, “He’s all gone, you see? And you’re still here too, right?”
Lang Jiu stopped speaking, Xu Bei took a breath: “But the most important thing now is not who wants to take you away, it’s that you quickly let go of Laozi, or your dad is going to be taken away by the King of Hell…”
Xu Bei took Lang Jiu back to the arcade and sat down by the machine they were by just a moment ago, lighting up a cigarette. His mind is a bit jumbled right now and he needed to sort things out. Lang Jiu followed closely after him as if he feared that he would disappear again.
“Sit down.” Xu Bei lightly tapped Lang Jiu.
“Hungry.” Lang Jiu sat down and looked at him, holding a hand to his stomach.
“I’ll take you out to eat in a bit, you need to answer a couple of questions first.” Xu Bei felt around the two chocolates, peeled the wrappers off, and stuffed them into Lang Jiu’s mouth. Lang Jiu was quite improper when he ate them, he kept the finger bringing the piece of chocolate up to his mouth, the tip of his tongue traced a stripe across his finger. He then remembered that they were no longer at home and that Lang Jiu was not currently not a wolf, so he quickly retracted his hand and looked around in a bit of embarrassment.
“En.” Lang Jiu had no sense of self-awareness, he ate with gusto.
“That person just now, was that the wolf you spoke of when we came out?”
“Do not know.”
“Didn’t you smell it, how can you not know?”
“You mean there wasn’t a scent on that person?”
“Alright then, do you have any brothers, sisters, parents, or whatnot? Uncles, aunts…” Xu Bei scratched his head, that person was quite obviously no Auntie. “In short, that is the same as you, are there any more?”
“Do not know.”
“Why don’t you know? What about your mom, how about your dad?” Xu Bei was a little anxious. Could it be that when he picked up the little wolf, it was too young to remember anything?
“My mom?” Lang Jiu doesn’t seem to know what this means. He takes out a piece of chocolate from Xu Bei’s pocket, looks at him, and says, “My dad…”
“Okay, okay, okay… stop,” Xu Bei waved his hand, “I’m your dad.”
Xu Bei interrogated for a long time and ultimately came to the conclusion that Lang Jiu didn’t know much about himself after all. He has no memory of what happened before he picked him up and he is even more lost when it comes to his past, he really shouldn’t have named him Huhu…
(TN: Yay complicated names jokes. So here, Xu Bei refers to his brain being even more (jiànghu) 浆糊 about his past, direct translation: paste. I translated it as lost, muddle-headed would also get the same meaning across. Now (húhu) 糊糊 as we all know was Lang Jiu’s starting name from the beginning, it means sticky and whatnot. Using the same character from paste, he’s saying he shouldn’t have named him Huhu since now he doesn’t remember anything.)
However, Lang Jiu is very clear and very persistent about one thing, and that is— not going.
“Not going.” He emphasized this bit repeatedly.
“I’ve got it, no one’s making you go,” Xu Bei held a cigarette in his mouth and led him to find a place to eat, “No one can make away with what your dad doesn’t want to let go of. Be pleased.”
“You said that wrong.”
“I should hire a Chinese language teacher for you, I’ll just say you are a returning Chinese from abroad…”
The place where Xu Bei took Lang Jiu to eat was a dumpling eatery. This eatery was quite old. Xu Bei had always eaten here as a child. After passing down ownership from the parents to the son, the eatery has expanded and now has now turned into a boîtes. However, the name is still Northeast Dumpling Eatery, they just stiffly added three words at the back, it became the Northeast Dumpling Eatery & Liqueur Establishment.
Xu Bei wants to laugh every time he eats here.
At the end of the day, a small town is a small town. For New Year’s Eve dinner, most people eat at home, so there aren’t too many people in the restaurant. Xu Bei found a corner spot and ordered around two pounds of dumplings and another seven or eight dishes.
As the waiter kindly pointed out to him, saying, “Bro, the two of you may not be able to finish off this much food.” Xu Bei said that it wasn’t a big deal, it wasn’t so much food that they couldn’t finish off.
Lang Jiu may not even take notice if he eats two pounds of dumplings.
“Son, do you know,” Xu Bei pointed out the window, ” Right across the street over there is my home.”
“Do you understand what a home is? My mom, my little brother, and… my dad,” It was a bit difficult for Xu Bei to get the words out, it was especially awkward due to changing the way he addressed him from old bastard to dad, “But I haven’t been back for a long time. I can’t remember how long it’s been.”
Lang Jiu leaned against the window and looked at him. It took a very long time before he spoke: “Home.”
“En, home is a family unit, parents, children, and so on.”
“You, me.” Lang Jiu thought for a while, it seemed he didn’t know how to convey it, he frowned and leaned down on the table.
Xu Bei had taken the alcohol to pour it into his glass. Hearing those words, his hand slightly trembled. He poured a full glass of alcohol and pushed it in front of Lang Jiu, his throat was a little tight: “I know what you’re trying to say, you and I are a family.”
Lang Jiu smiled happily, exposing his dimples and two teeth. He took a mouthful, proceeded to lower his head and spit it all out on the floor, then poured all the liquid in his glass under the table all in one smooth and natural motion.
“Oh, I forgot I never taught you how to drink,” Xu Bei was stunned for a moment and laughed a bit, “But, you did get accustomed to eating liquor chocolates all the time, more or less… Of course, 62 percent is a bit high.”
Two pounds of dumplings were not enough to fill and the seven or eight dishes also proved inadequate. Another two pounds were added and were swept clean by Lang Jiu. In order not to arouse suspicion, Xu Bei had to pack the other two pounds away with them.
The wind on the edge of the river was very strong, plus the surface of the river was already frozen. The wind swept across the ice’s surface and made Xu Bei cold enough to hop on his feet. On all of the previous final days of the lunar year, he would come out to set off fireworks on his own, he would never have chosen such a miserable place as this. With Lang Jiu in tow, he didn’t dare to go to crowded places.
Xu Bei set up the fireworks on the ground as he hopped from the cold while Lang Jiu crouched on the sidelines and watched. When he moved over to arrange things by his side, he suddenly reached out and touched Xu Bei’s face: “You’re cold.”
Xu Bei was lifting up the firework fuze. Being touched by Lang Jiu, he nearly yanked the fuze off: “What the hell are you doing? It’s quite rude to be playing hooligan now, just hold out your hand, ah!”
“I’m not.” Lang Jiu frowned, his expression very serious.
“Okay, okay, you’re not,” Xu Bei squeezed his hand as if he were a hand warmer, he was even a bit reluctant to loosen his grip in all honesty, “I’m not cold, don’t attack me so suddenly, I’m not used to… people touching me.”
At the stroke of twelve, the sounds of firecrackers could be heard in the distance.
Xu Bei wasn’t a big fan of the sound of firecrackers during the New Year, the sound comes with a feeling of liveliness and bustling with excitement, but a bit of sadness always tags along with it. Lang Jiu leaned against him, he didn’t seem to be too comfortable with this sound.
“Come, look.” Xu Bei took out his Zippo and jogged all the way to the end of the fireworks procession, lighting them one by one.
Xu Bei only bought one kind of firework, called Blazing Trees Silver Flowers, with twenty of them in one unit. The sparks that they gave off were silver. In the wake of his footsteps, the fireworks behind him sprayed dazzling sparks one by one.
Lang Jiu covered his eyes with his hands. Xu Bei stood beside him and patted him on the shoulder: “Does it look nice? As a kid, these were the only ones your dad thought were pleasing to the eye.”
“Looks nice.” Lang Jiu said while taking a few steps back.
Xu Bei glanced back at him: “Afraid of fire?”
“Then stand a bit farther away,” Xu Bei also took a few steps back, the cold wind blew right through him, he hopped up and down in place once more and cursed, “Fuck!”
“Hug.” Lang Jiu said from behind him.
“Hug? You’re kidding, just a few fireworks and you’re scared enough to need Laozi to hold you?”
“I hug, you are cold,” Lang Jiu opened the zipper of his down-filled jacket and pulled Xu Bei in his embrace, “It is not cold like this.”
Xu Bei wanted to break free out of habit, but with the warmth emanating from Lang Jiu quickly surrounding him, he suddenly recalled that when Qiao Qian came to save his life that day, he seemed to have wrapped the little wolf up in his clothes just like this.
“Okay, it’s not cold like this,” Xu Bei sighed, leaned into Lang Jiu’s body, and looked at the silver sparks that filled his vision, “Son, ah, come back home with me tomorrow, we’re going to do a little home visit.”
(TN: Found family trope! Except they’re actually gonna become family with the whole spousal thing… really hope the whole Dad and Son thing doesn’t stick around lol…)