Chapter 11: Rainy Blue

A miserable reunion.

Su Hui was not interested in his grandfather’s birthday celebration.
And with being very picky with his food too, he held no anticipation towards the delicately crafted but boring food.

He wished it was more like when he was young — his family gathered around the dining table, a traditional shortcake placed on it as well as an ample feast that Auntie Chen made.

But this was many years ago.
After that, they practically never celebrated birthdays at home.
In this occasion that should be warm by all rights, Su Hui was always forced to meet many people he had no relation to.

His grandfather, Ji Tailu, demanded perfection and was draconian, intolerant of a single mistake.
He viewed his face, which he had assiduously crafted through the years, as a precious treasure far more important than anything else.

Even his mother was nearly chased out of home for dating and marrying Su Hui’s father without his approval.
He even left her with ruthless words: “If you don’t leave him, don’t ever come back for the rest of your life.”

Perhaps these words were too akin to a curse.
Before his mother left the family, his father, Su Jin, was involved in a car crash and passed away.
As if he was repaying his debts, he returned Ji Ya’nan back to the Ji family.

Ji Tailu was not sympathetic to the passing of Su Hui’s father, but repeatedly and incessantly demanded for Su Hui to change his surname to his own.
He believed that since Su Jin had left so early on, there was no need to leave any trace on his grandson.

But under Ji Ya’nan’s conviction, this demand was not fulfilled.
This was one of the rare times his mother held on, just like how she had willfully changed the “nan” character (男) in her name, which meant “man”, into another “nan” (楠).

Su Hui often heard from his grandmother that his mother was very opinionated about her original name when she grew up.
She believed that there was no need to compare her to a man [1].
The two were obstinate and fought about this numerous times.
Finally, under his grandmother’s mediation, each took a step back and had her change one character in her name.

These events in the past made Su Hui terribly curious.
How did his mother, who used to be quite rebellious regarding her name and love life, become like this today?

Maybe it was because of him.

Because her proud mother had a mentally ill child.

“I picked a set of clothes for you and put them in your room.
Just wear this set to the party, not anything else.
All right? And I’ve prepared the present for you too.
When you see your grandfather, give it to him.”

Su Hui listened to his mother’s voice on the phone and did not interrupt her — even if he personally believed that having someone else prepare a gift was extremely impolite.

He knew that his mother did not trust him.
Not many people did.

Even Auntie Chen whom he adored could not a hundred percent believe him when he told her, “I really did take my medicine”.
She would still repeat the question with a doubtful attitude.

At five o’clock, my hairstylist will go to our residence to cut your hair.
Your hair is too long at the moment.
It’s not proper.
Cutting it gives a much fresher look.”

“Okay,” Su Hui responded calmly.

Amidst the excitement from being in a mania episode and the desolation given by his family, Su Hui strolled from the garden back to his room.
This was the mandatory route he took whenever he wanted to escape.
It was like the journey of a dog bereaved of his owner squeezing itself through the flap in the door.

Before he slid open the glass door, he already caught sight of the clothes on the white clothes rack.
A white button up and black long pants, matched with a pair of expensive leather shoes.

He stood in front of the rack barefooted, putting on the clothes in accordance with his mother’s orders.

The servant outside the door was knocking on the door without a stop, informing him that the hairstylist had arrived and thereby requesting him to go out.
Su Hui was a little antsy, his fingers exerting more force in buttoning the shirt.
In the end, the second button snapped off.

Su Hui still went out like this.

Faced with the hairstylist, he offered a friendly smile, letting his face and hair to be done up like a mannequin in the display window.
All of the hairstylist’s praises seemed soulless.
Su Hui only wanted this to end quickly.

The haircut was just done when Auntie Chen walked over with Su Hui’s medication.
Using a slightly louder voice to overcome the noise from the hairdryer, she said, “Little Young Master, the mistress told me to count the medicine left.
I see that it looks the same as in the morning.
Did you forget to take it…”

Su Hui’s memory strength differed from normal people.
Because of his illness, he would frequently lose memories of a few sections of his life like a frameskip, so everyone at home was doubtful of his words.

But he obstinately said he had eaten.
Auntie Chen felt a little awkward and only repeated that the amount of medication was unchanged and that his mother had ordered that usually, it was fine if he missed or skipped out on taking medication, but that was absolutely not allowed today.

It was as if Su Hui wouldn’t be let out if he didn’t take the medicine.
He didn’t want to go anyway, nor did he want to throw a tantrum at Auntie Chen, so he just entered the garden like a little kid, searching everywhere for the watering can to take care of his flowers and plants.

But Auntie Chen misunderstood.
She thought that he wanted to search for a rope again, so the fear led her to immediately dial Ji Yanan’s number.

His mother swiftly changed her mind, returning home before heading to the hotel.
She forced Su Hui to swallow two pills by using some unpleasant but effective methods in front of the hairstylist who hadn’t had the time to make an escape yet.

Seated at the back of the car, Su Hui had his head turned to look at the traffic outside the window, not moving.
He had the thought of opening the door and bolting.
But he couldn’t open it.

“You did bring the present, right? That’s a plotosaurus inkstone I had a friend purchase from a renowned craftsman with a large sum of money.
I heard it’s still an acceptable gift.
Your grandfather should appreciate it too.
He likes calligraphy too, so he’d be able to make use of it too.”

Su Hui did not look back.
He remembered that heavy gift box and was reminded of a handmade gift he made once.
He spent an entire month on it, and his grandfather did not outright say he did not like it — that would not be appropriate of his upbringing — but Su Hui could tell.
He directly put it in his drawer, along with the wrapping box, without unwrapping it to exhibit it.

Compared to an inkstone of immeasurable worth, what he had made was certainly cheaply priced.

When he got out of the car, Su Hui could feel an obvious dizziness.
He tried to recover on the spot.
But as he walked to the hotel elevator, he was quietly chided by his mother.

“We’re all waiting for you.
Be faster.”

“Mom, I don’t feel so good.” Su Hui walked to her side.

“Where?” Ji Ya’nan looked at him in concern but noticed that Su Hui’s collar was unbuttoned.
“Why didn’t you wear your clothes properly?”

She wanted to fix it, only to discover that the button had vanished entirely.
She was a little displeasured then.
“Where’s the button?”

A nausea welled up in him.
Su Hui held it back.
“I kind of… want to vomit.”

“You really don’t behave yourself.
You even manage to tear off the buttons when wearing clothes.” Ji Ya’nan could only pull down the shirt from behind him so that the collar raised some.

The elevator arrived.
She grabbed Su Hui’s hand.
“Drink some tea to push the nausea down later.
Did you secretly eat something you shouldn’t? I’ve already repeated countless times.
When you’re outside, you can’t just eat anything…”

 What welcomed them in the hallway were guests who were in the middle of a call.
Seeing Ji Ya’nan, they smiled and greeted them.
So, she fell quiet, offering a smile and stopped nagging at Su Hui.

They had booked the biggest room which had the size of two suites.
The inside was adorned with every mode of entertainment.

At the center of the round dining table was a purple butterfly orchid.
Some guests had already seated themselves down.
The moment Ji Ya’nan entered, the ones who were close to her approached her with smiles, conversing with the mother-son pair.

An auntie whom they were not too close with approached Su Hui and embraced him very intimately.
The thick illustrious perfume triggered Su Hui’s lungs.
Irises and violets.
A thick scent of cosmetics assaulted him.

He wanted to throw up badly.

Su Hui held back his discomfort and was pulled to sit down next to his grandfather by Ji Ya’nan who then handed the inkstone to him as though she was handing over homework.

The shame of having someone handle the matters made Su Hui feel as if he was sitting on pins and needles.

Those all-familiar people who had worked with his grandfather took a look at that inkstone one by one, each giving Su Hui a thumbs-up and pouring praises on him.
Su Hui did not respond, simply seated with lowered eyes.

“There are still two years before Xiao Hui graduates, aren’t there? When that time comes, will you be working at the central bank or…”

Su Hui wanted to answer that he hadn’t thought about it, but Ji Tailu chuckled.
“He still has the heart of a child and lacks many accomplishments, much unlike your own grandson who built a career so quickly.
How young and promising.”

The people began to compliment each other then.
It was a scene that he could not be more familiar with.
The dizziness was intensifying.
He supported himself on the chair, but even taking a few gulps of tea did not suppress the repulsion and nausea.
Even though he didn’t eat anything at all, he fiercely wanted to throw up.

Not far away, his grandmother freed herself from chatting with the other elderly women, heading towards Su Hui and gently pulling him into his arms.
“Why is our Xiao Hui thinner than before? Eat more.”

Seeing his grandmother, Su Hui’s mood improved a little.
“Grandmother, you look so good in these clothes.”

“By praising me, aren’t you praising yourself? You picked these for me.” His grandmother was gentle-mannered.

She had an interest in the arts and culture.
When she was young, she was deeply engaged with it too.
Now that she retired, she often traveled around the world and was rarely at home.

But as long as she was home, Su Hui felt a sense of safety.
His grandmother was different from everyone — she could understand him.

Su Hui gave a child-like grin, but had not expected his grandfather next to him to sternly order, “Su Hui, sit properly.”

So, Su Hui could only pull himself out of his grandmother’s arms and sat up straight.

“You’re not a child anymore.
Learn from your uncles.
You’re at this age, but you still seem like a child.
Not a shred of maturity at all.”

His expression was far too steely.
Even the people around could not help but try to mediate.
“Xiao Hui is still so young.
He’s only at this age.
Moreover, Mr.
Old Ji, you only have this one grandson.
Surely, he has a brilliant future ahead of him.”

“Exactly! When that time comes, won’t he be a well-known figure!”

“Then we’ll be under Xiao Su’s care.”

These people’s perfunctory praises made Su Hui feel increasingly awful.
He even couldn’t help but imagine how things would be if he had not been born in this family.
Or if these people would still behave like this if all  their wealth and status had vanished.

Not long later, another person walked in.
Su Hui raised his head and looked.
It was Xu Zhi.

The last time he saw this stepfather was a month ago.
He heard he had been assigned a very important job out of town.
When he came back, he would likely be promoted.

Looking at how flushed he was with triumph, he had likely already received the good news.

“Xiao Xu is here.”

Hearing a guest’s comment, Ji Tailu raised his eyes and nodded slightly.
Xu Zhi took off his jacket, apologies pouring out immediately.
He even provided tea as an apology gift.
Slyly considerate as usual.

Seeing that he had come, Ji Ya’nan smiled too as she came over.
Even when she had maintained herself extremely well and was born with good looks, time still left its traces at the corner of her eyes.
This was particularly more obvious when she stood in front of her partner who was eight years younger than her.

It was not that no one objected to this ill-suited match.
Ji Tailu was the first.
But Xu Zhi wasn’t just a simple man.
When he was just a small employee, he actually convinced Ji Tailu with his own power to agree to let him be together with Ji Yanan.

Su Hui’s eyes gazed at Xu Zhi’s feigned smile as he mentally thought that even his own biological father did not receive such acknowledgement.

The talk about this couple never stopped behind their backs.
A university student located in the valley who got on the nest of a phoenix and ascended all the way, changing his fate by relying on the sole daughter of the Ji family.
But as if Xu Zhi never heard of such comments, he wholeheartedly worked on his career and climbed up the ladder.

On the couch, Xu Zhi poured tea for Ji Tailu, the corner of his eyes catching Su Hui.
“Xiao Hui’s complexion has been looking quite good recently.
Your studies have been smooth, right? Did something interesting happen at school?”

Su Hui forced a smile.
Maybe it’s because it’s almost summer.
I prefer summer, so I’m in a pretty good mood.”

“That’s good.
Being in a good mood is the most important.” Xu Zhi himself sipped tea too.

“My office colleague has a daughter who recently got into a relationship.
Her feelings for him are so deep.
But sadly, the guy doesn’t seem like a good guy.
My colleague found him unreliable and told her to reconsider.
But who’d expect the girl to cry her eyes out.
She isn’t even eating anymore.”

His grandfather listened and shook his head, placing the tea cup on the table.
“How unbecoming.”

“Yeah.” Xu Zhi smiled.
“You date someone to be happy too.
If someone distresses and exhausts you mentally and physically, you’ll be putting the cart before the horse.”

A guest seemed to catch something, teasing with a laugh, “Xiao Hui should have started dating someone by now too, right? You’re so handsome.
Many girls must be pursuing you.”

Another one immediately chuckled.
“Right? My friend’s daughter had a crush on Xiao Hui, so my friend even asked me for his number.
But would I dare to do that? I quickly told him that this child is Old Ji’s only grandson whom he treasured like no tomorrow.
I told them not to have hope anymore.”

Ji Tailu chuckled.
“You’re exaggerating.
He’s not accomplished yet and it’s not time yet either.”

When it’s time, this uncle will be a matchmaker for you.
There are still many, many good girls in our circle.”

“Hey, doesn’t Senior Official Wang have a granddaughter too…”

Su Hui listened to them talk, and his ears began to ring.
His mind was buzzing, and he really wanted to throw up.

His grandmother was called away by his mother.
A short few words from Xu Zhi had already turned him into the center of the conversation.
He didn’t even have the time to escape even if he wanted to.

Su Hui sipped the tea again.
It still didn’t get better.
His state seemed to be getting increasingly exacerbated.

Almost everyone had arrived.
The appetizers were just served, and his grandfather’s old subordinates stood up and raised glasses, saying words of celebration.
But they had just begun to speak when Su Hui could no longer bear with it.
He sharply stood up, brisk walking out of the room to throw up in the washroom.

His dizziness was still persisting.
His legs were jelly too.
Su Hui noticed that something seemed wrong.
He didn’t eat anything bad.
It was lithium toxicity.

In the room, Ji Ya’nan smiled as she said that Su Hui recently had stomach flu and told everyone not to worry.
After the guests have said their words of congratulations, she used the excuse of urging for the dishes to be served faster to search for her son.
But she didn’t find him.

She turned on her phone and saw the messages from Su Hui.
There were many, the sentences disordered and illogical.

[Su Hui: I said I’ve already taken my medicine, but you guys won’t believe me and made me take it again]

[Su Hui: I got lithium poisoning.
Right now, I got it.
I got poisoned.]

[Su Hui: I know what to do.
You guys spend the birthday properly.
Don’t come to find me.
You guys are afraid of being talked about]

[Su Hi: Sorry, Mom.

When she called him again, Su Hui had already switched off his phone.

This wasn’t the first time this happened.
Ji Ya’nan knitted her brows together, holding back her emotions as she turned to call driver Feng Zhiguo and tell him to find Su Hui.

Having received the command, Feng Zhiguo drove around the places near the hotel but still did not see a trace of this willful little young master.
He immediately found himself terribly vexed.

This errand was not as easy as he thought.

In this massive city, people who got frustrated at their work were everywhere.
Ning Yixiao was one too.

On this day, he could have calmly ended his tutoring job for this semester at first, but he saw that Ding Xiaochen had received an even more severe wound.
The bruises on his neck were frightening, and his kneecaps were so swollen that he had to limp as he walked.

Halfway through the class, Ning Yixiao got up and left the room to call the student’s mother.
She was hesitant in the call and explained things vaguely.
When Ning Yixiao said “this really can’t go on anymore”, she began to sob helplessly.

He requested Ding Xiaochen’s mother to call the police, but she stuttered and stammered noncommittally.

Ning Yixiao knew that he was not in the place to do anything.
He wasn’t even a genuine teacher.
But he still told this mother a possible future that was even more severe, hearing her fall into a painful silence.

Ten minutes later, Ning Yixiao brought her child to the hospital while remaining silent on the way there.
Instead, it was Ding Xiaochen who reassured him, “Laoshi, don’t be angry.”

Ning Yixiao usually always donned a smile and rarely looked expressionless.
He knew that this would scare Ding Xiaochen, so he smiled.
“I’m not angry.”

When they waited for his turn at the hospital, he said again, “You should be angry.
You have the right to be.
When you grow up, you absolutely can leave this family.
Study well for this goal, understand?”

Ding Xiaochen nodded.
With his eyerims streaked in red, he whispered a “thank you, Laoshi”.

Ning Yixiao was not certain if he could still be his tutor after today, so he could only tell him, “He’s unworthy of being your father.

“I suggest that after you return home, let your mother bring you along to file a police report.
Even if they can’t give him a punishment now, you have to remember to grit your teeth and push through it.
You can return all of it to him in the future.”

Ding Xiaochen fought back tears as he nodded.
He could not even say thank you.
Ning Yixiao patted his shoulder and brought him for a check-up.

In the middle of it, he received a call from Ding Xiaochen’s father.
So, he went to the corridor to take it.

The man was admonishing him loudly in the call, nearly flying into a rage.
Ning Yixiao listened silently, eyes staring at the hospital slogan plastered on the wall: Gather all parental love in the world, and spread warmth throughout the human realm.

“Who told you to poke your nose in? I spent money for you to tutor my son.
Who the hell do you think you are? You even fucking made a complaint? You little shit, know your place!”

Ning Yixiao listened to the finish, a slightly mocking smile playing on his lips.

Ding, why are you so angry?”

At this question, he instantly turned mute.
He hadn’t expected to get such a reaction.

Ning Yixiao chuckled and spoke with a kind tone, “Is it because I advised your wife to call the police? Or because I taught your son how to deal with someone like you?”


Ding, these are certainly your family matters.
I’ve never been interested.
Of course, you can continue to hit Ding Xiaochen.
At worst, you’ll just beat him to death.
But do you really dare to carry a life on your back? As I understand, you are a technical staff at an outsourcing company.
You do not have much room for promotion, so it’s easy to be replaced by new hires.
And you still have a debt from large home loans too.”

The man on the other end clearly lost the confidence he had earlier, but he still forced himself to pretend he was not afraid.
“What the hell is your point by saying all these!”

Ning Yixiao was abnormally calm.
“You do not dare to really beat Ding Xiaochen to death.
And one day, he will grow up too.
You will become old.
You’ll become so old that you can’t even lift a hand and would become crippled with just a kick.”

“You pay me, so I will give you a final class.
For everything you do, you should ensure you have a retreat route, especially when it comes to your own son.
After all… people raise kids so that they can be looked after in old age, am I right?”

Ning Yixiao chuckled and ended the call.

He knew that after he did this, he would lose his job without a doubt.

Ding Xiaochen’s father is a weak and incompetent man.
When he was mistreated at work, he only dared to take out his anger on his wife.
Now that he had given him a metaphorical knife, he would undoubtedly think up all sorts of ways to complain about him.

Ning Yixiao saw this coming long ago.
So, he specifically chose to do this when the final class was over.

A mere two to three minutes after sending Ding Xiaochen to his grandfather’s place, the tuition agency’s rebuking call came, ordering him to leave his job.

But the tuition agency had no reason to do anything to his bonus pay [2] — it was as he expected.

It was raining outside, leaving only him.
On normal days, Ning Yixiao never hailed a cab.
If he could save money, he would save.
Today, he had paid a large sum of consultation and medicine fees for Ding Xiaochen, but was also clear that this was just a temporary help.
He could not do more than this.

At this time, Ning Yixiao remembered a sparse number of bad memories.
Just like putting on an old jacket that you had forgotten for a long time, you’d put your hands in the pockets and fish out some pieces of sun-dried tissues.

When he was beaten up when he was younger, he had no hospital to go to.
Hearing that salt could be a disinfectant, he ran to the seaside of the fishing village to clean his wound.
But it ended up becoming increasingly worse.
And he was almost mistaken as a thief by the villagers who were growing mussels.
Caught by them, he was given a tough scolding.

The sun that day was venomously tough.
Ning Yixiao remembered that very clearly.

Beijing rarely had drizzles of rain.

By evening time, the sun had completely vanished.
The sky was a gradually darkening ashen blue.
Ning Yixiao walked on the pedestrian paths, crossing under the bridge.
On his way were tall buildings flashing gold.
Lively neon was reflected in the water, turning it into a dirty oil painting.

He had no direction in mind.
He just wanted to be brought to a happier place by this rain.

Finally, Ning Yixiao reached a bus stop, and so, decided to return home finally.

The advertisement board at the bus stop was emitting a bluish-purple glow in the rain.
Dream-like, illusionary.

His gaze was focusing little by little.
Ning Yixiao faintly caught a familiar figure leaning on a rusted bench.
His white shirt had been doused in light blue by the light.
The outline of his figure was blurry, with many emptied mineral water bottles on the bench.
And on the floor too.
They lay haphazardly and seemed even more like a pile of melancholic wine bottles.

His collar was open, face void.
Shirt half-drenched, it looked a little translucent, just like a lonely painting.

That was Su Hui.
After Ning Yixiao confirmed this fact, he stood fixed to the spot.

Perhaps there truly existed a strange telepathy; Su Hui turned his head at this moment and met his gaze.

And reunited were two distraught individuals in miserable states.


The author has something to say:

Ning Yixiao, hurry and pick up Xiao Hui and take him back home.
It’s raining, and time to pick up a cat!

Translator Note:

[1] 自己不于任何一个性 is more literally “she was not inferior to any man”.
This was a reference to her original name “亚男” which could be interpreted as “inferior to men”.

[2] 课时费 (lit.
fee for the duration of class) specifically refers to the extra pay you get that is calculated based on how long you have continuously taught a specific student.
The longer you taught this student, the higher the pay.
This pay is on top of the usual pay you get for teaching students.

Cai: That last line! I’m love! I also wanna share this instrumental song I found that has the same name as this chapter’s title, 《Rainy Blue (藍色陰雨)》, 

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