At first I thought he was some big star.
The hallway the bathroom exited into was very long, and a bench was arranged against the wall.
The weather was poor, and the people inside the police station were few.
Often, the family members of police officers would pick up their children at some point and have them wait there until their parents got off work.
When Chi Qing exited the bathroom, there was a little girl sitting outside.
She pulled her stationary and practice book out of her small backpack with a skilled motion and sat on the bench, her legs not even close to the floor.
Looking at her age, she was most likely still in primary school.
As Chi Qing passed by the little girl’s side, the hand he hadn’t yet had time to pull the glove back onto was lightly tugged on by someone, “……Gege.”
(t/n: as seasoned readers of c-novels most likely already know, 哥哥(ge1ge)/gege literally means ‘older brother,’ but it is also used to address young men who are older than you, but are not necessarily your actual older brother.
Usually it is used with someone you are close to/familiar with, and it can be flirty (but not always, and hopefully it's clear from context that it's not flirty here haha…).
Anyway, since this girl is very young, it’s more just a polite way to call an man, like ‘mister,’ not a sign of any familiarity)
The little girl’s hand was plump and soft, her voice was sweet and childish, and even the distorted voice appearing by his ears became cute: [I can’t solve this question.
Baba taught me how just yesterday, if I go and ask him again, he’ll think I’m stupid for sure QAQ.]
(t/n: 爸爸(ba4ba)/baba means ‘dad’ or ‘daddy’)
Before the little girl had finished speaking, Chi Qing fixed his gaze on those two plump fingers, then looked again at the little girl who was embarrassed and hesitant and said without mercy, “You are stupid.”
The little girl’s childlike voice choked, in a split second suffering a massive blow and completely forgetting to consider how this gege had known what she was thinking.
Actually, she was a bit afraid of this gege and wanted to release her grip right then, but then she saw him sitting down by her side and pulling the practice book from her hand.
“Which question is giving you trouble?”
The girl, “The blank one.”
Chi Qing, “You left a lot of questions blank.”
The girl, “……”
Chi Qing, “After I teach you, can you guarantee that you won’t forget tomorrow.
I don’t want to be like your baba, spending time doing useless work.”
The girl, “…………”
Chi Qing, “It seems not.”
Chi Qing’s statement hit the nail on the head, but he still explained the blank arithmetic problems to her, despite the fact that by the time he’d explained to the end, the little girl’s thoughts were not at all on that subject.
“Gege, how did you know I pulled on you because I wanted you to help me with the questions?”
The girl’s eyes were big, the pure and innocent kind, bearing bewilderment, “I didn’t finish talking earlier.”
Chi Qing capped the pen, “I heard it, you said it in your mind.”
The girl blinked her eyes, “Like mind reading powers?”
“You could say so.”
“With just a touch, you can hear thoughts?”
“That’s about right.”
The girl swished the ponytail at the back of her head, a little envious, “If I also had mind reading powers, I’d be able to know where my dad hid my candy jar.
I’ve been looking secretly for two days, and I still haven’t found it.”
Chi Qing gave the practice book back to her, his words surpassing the little girl’s scope of understanding, “Kid, in the adult world, there are no candy jars to be found.”
The little girl clearly didn’t understand, “Why? You guys don’t like candy?”
Chi Qing didn’t answer her.
He pulled his gloves back on again.
Before entering the office, he lifted up a single finger and rested it in front of his bottom lip.
Contrasted with the black of his glove, the color of his lips was exceptionally strong.
Only, the words he spoke were cold, “What I told you today is a secret.”
The girl, “But you still told me.”
Chi Qing pushed the door open, “Because you’re too little.
Even if you were to say it, no one would believe you.”
The girl, “……”
Inside the office, the wood carving dispute was at long last nearing its end.
“I won’t pursue this matter anymore,” upon hearing that the man’s son xiao-Kang stole the item, Wang-a’po couldn’t bear to keep investigating a kid’s mistake.
She just said, “Go home and teach your kid properly, that he can’t just take people’s things willy-nilly because he wants to have fun……”
When Chi Qing came back from washing his hands, both parties had already reached a settlement for this matter.
The man wearing cargo repeatedly nodded his head, following behind Wang-a’po as she left, “I’ll teach him well for sure.”
Wang-a’po made it half-way, then stopped walking again.
Wanting to turn around and come back, she said nervously, “Police officer comrades, recently in this neighborhood we’ve had a lot of disappearance cases, I want to seek your assistance.”
Ji Mingrui was no longer the simple mediator who’d hurriedly dispatched police officers because he’d been fooled by Wang-a’po saying “a priceless family treasure” over the phone, “If it’s no trouble, could you please be a bit more specific?”
“It’s the stray cats in our neighborhood—”
“……” Sure enough.
“The past few days the cat food I prepared for them hasn’t been eaten, this type of thing has never happened before.”
Wang-a’po had a cat of her own, and her inclination towards them was always a bit soft.
She’d often prepare some cat food for the strays that snuck into her courtyard.
“A’po,” Ji Mingrui said, “These can’t be defined as ‘disappearance cases,’ and we also have no way of sending the police force to a neighborhood to catch cats.
Stray cats don’t have a concrete home, they, um, maybe they just went somewhere else, and they’ll probably come back real soon.”
As Ji Mingrui was sending off Wang-a’po, he saw that Chi Qing had returned.
Like showing filial respect for an older brother, he offered him a cup of tea, “Do you want some water? Are you thirsty? Look at you, coming here was already enough.
And you helped me meditate along the way too.”
Chi Qing received a glass of water, “At first I didn’t want to.”
Ji Mingrui, “Then afterwards it was because…?”
Chi Qing, “You guys were too inefficient, I was afraid if I waited any longer, I’d be able to go straight to tomorrow’s breakfast.”
After he finished, he added another sentence, “Can you get off work now, when can we eat.”
Of course, it was only because you were hungry that you sat up on the sofa.
Ji Mingrui glanced outside the window at the rainstorm that had no sign of stopping, then looked at the time again, then finally looked over the surrounding police officers who had accompanied him in working over time, “At this time of night, there probably aren’t many restaurants that are still open.
There’s a food stall nearby that’s pretty good, it’s open until two in the morning.”
The rain seemed to let up a little.
Although the food stall was still doing business, it didn’t have many customers.
A table of prices with a red background and yellow characters was hung up on the wall.
The smell of smoke and oil emanated directly from the kitchen in the back, accompanying the sound of kitchenware knocking together.
No less than eight people sat at their table.
The shopkeeper gave them two extra stools, and they effortfully crammed into one table.
Ji Mingrui rubbed his nose and explained, “What’s this, it’s this late and everyone is gathered together to have a meal! We all put in a lot of hard work.” Ji Mingrui slapped his head, “Ah, I forgot to introduce you.
We all graduated from the same group, just started working this year.”
He gave a simple introduction starting from the female officer directly across from him, Su Xiaolan.
The latter gave a bright smile, “It was originally your guys’ dinner plans, I really feel bad about squeezing in so many extra people, it’s a lot of trouble for you two.”
Although Chi Qing didn’t say anything, Su Xiaolan could clearly read one sentence from his expression: It is indeed troublesome.
After Chi Qing finished washing his utensils, he glanced at the gloves on his hands.
In order to avoid accidentally bumping into someone over the table while eating, he couldn’t take off those gloves.
Su Xiaolan waited and waited.
When he still hadn’t taken off his gloves, she finally couldn’t help but to ask, “You also……wear them while you eat?”
Chi Qing, “I pay particular attention to hygiene.”
Su Xiaolan, “……”
“Don’t bother with him,” Ji Mingrui was well adapted, and he took the lead in picking some food up with his chopsticks, “He’s just like this.
His mysophobia has already reached the degree where he’s not even willing to touch the dust in the air.
In the past, people gave him the nickname Chi ‘Don’t Touch’.”
(t/n: Unless I’m missing something, 池别碰/Chi ‘Don’t Touch’ is not a particular pun on his name or anything, it literally just means Chi ‘don’t touch.’)
“Yeah, he doesn’t allow people to touch him.”
Chi Qing admonished him, “How do you have so much to say while eating.”
Ji Mingrui, “……”
Outside, the rain was pitter pattering.
During the meal, Su Xiaolan thought of something else, “Mr.
Chi, you must be really busy with work.”
From her understanding, when planning to have a meal with friends, it was a must to pick a day with decent weather.
To choose such a stormy, out-of-luck day, it must have been that he was so busy with work he wasn’t able to be picky.
When picking up food, Chi Qing avoided the areas where other people had taken from before.
After eating a few chopstick-fulls, he picked up his water and took an unhurried sip.
His eyes were fixed on the window, the tone of his voice was relaxed, “I wouldn’t say I’m busy.”
After he put his cup back down, he added another comment, “The weather is nice today.”
Ji Mingrui gave an explanation on behalf of his friend with the abnormal disposition, “He likes rainy days.”
The main reason the two of them had planned to get dinner was actually to celebrate his smooth entrance into the Yong’an-district police station.
However, Ji Mingrui had almost been working for two months already, and the meal had only just been planned.
Ji Mingrui recalled the bumpy road towards making the plans.
First, Chi Qing had expressed, “I know.
I’ll pick a good day and then notify you.” Ji Mingrui waited and waited, waited until the weather forecast predicted that in two days time there would be two days in a row of stormy weather, and only then did he receive Chi Qing’s notification.
Chi Qing: The weather for the day after tomorrow looks good, what time do you get off work.
Ji Mingrui: ……Did you see the weather forecast?
Chi Qing: What the hell are you asking.
According to an ordinary person’s line of thinking, “the weather looks good” would undoubtedly refer to a day with clear skies, warm sunshine, and a gentle breeze.
But Ji Mingrui had already become well adapted to this, primarily because with Chi Qing, no matter where you looked he wasn’t quite like an ordinary person.
This special liking for rain wasn’t surprising in the slightest.
Off to the side, someone chuckled to ease the tension, “This preference…it’s really special.”
After that male officer finished easing the tension, he wanted to take a look at the time.
But as soon as he touched his pocket he felt that it was empty, “Ai, my phone……”
“What happened? Lost your phone?”
His movement gave rise to a little bit of a stir.
Everyone shifted their chairs and dishes, trying to see if it had been left anywhere on the table.
Chi Qing’s gaze was still on the rain outside the window, as if he was appreciating the rain.
As he unhurriedly retracted his gaze, he made a passing comment, “Since coming inside, you’ve taken your phone out twice.
The first time was just after you came in the door; the second was five minutes ago, when you took your phone to the bathroom with you.”
The table of people was completely silent.
Following the man’s utterance, the movement of everyone else shifting places simultaneously stilled.
The male police officer gave his head a slap, “I remembered, it’s in the bathroom.”
This was a very small interlude.
Su Xiaolan sensed that something wasn’t quite right with her co-worker’s friend.
He was too perceptive.
Although, that likely wasn’t his original intention, because his comment was just as casual as if he were discussing the weather outside.
She then thought back on what had happened an hour earlier; all Chi Qing did was enter the office, and he noticed the shoes of the man wearing cargo.
Chi Qing was sitting in the corner with his back leaning up against the wall, and at that moment he sensed her gaze and looked back at her.
The air conditioning was on inside the restaurant, and he’d already taken his jacket off a while earlier.
On the inside, he was wearing only a simple, dark-colored tailored sweater.
The hair falling over his forehead was somewhat long, covering his eyes a bit in a gloomy manner, but you could still peer past it to see the color of his irises—the color of his eyes and his hair were almost identical, so deep you couldn’t see the bottom.
Perhaps it was because he had just drunk hot water, but his lips were even more red.
The contrast between the strong black and the color of his lips was a ghastly sight to see.
Su Xiaolan recalled how Ji Mingrui had introduced his friend: ……he studied film, completely unrelated.
At that time it went in one ear and out the other.
She had her hands full with other things, and wasn’t totally paying attention.
But thinking back on it now……
Film school? Then what the hell does he do for work?
Additionally, Su Xiaolan had thought that he looked a bit familiar.
But that thought was like a string she couldn’t quite catch hold of.
Their meal lasted for quite a long time, and the things Chi Qing said were also few and far between.
Most of the time, he was maintaining that vaguely gloomy appearance, sitting there and watching the rain.
When the meal was over, he and Ji Mingrui bid their farewells to everyone together, lifting up the transparent umbrella he had when he arrived as he pushed open the door and exited.
Ji Mingrui followed behind him, “I’m taking this one home……you guys better go home soon too, there’s still more work to be done tomorrow.”
After the two of them left, the male officer who had gone to the bathroom to look for his phone earlier also started packing his things, preparing to hurry home.
Before he left, he mentioned, “Earlier, when that Mr.
Chi was walking towards the police station but was still a ways away, a took a glance at him and at first thought some big star was coming to our little station to deal with something—”
Although that was just something the male officer had mentioned in passing, Su Xiaolan suddenly caught onto that string of thought.
Su Xiaolan had a very good memory, and occasionally she would watch television programs with her family when she had free time.
Due to the habit of her profession, sometimes she would look a few extra times at the supporting actors who only appeared once or twice……she thought she’d probably seen Chi Qing on TV.
But obviously, there was a considerable amount of distance between him and the title “big star.”
That name had the feeling of being almost non-existent in the show business; nobody had heard it before.
And not only had nobody heard of him before, but almost nobody had seen him on a big television station or a small entertainment publication either.
He was just like the thousands and thousands of actors who can’t get an appearance anywhere, who’s name never gets called when walking down the road.
And it was precisely because of this that he could eat at a food stall with people coming and going all around without being recognized by a single person.
Su Xiaolan took this vague impression of him and glanced outside of the restaurant.
She saw Chi Qing carrying his umbrella and standing by the side of the road as he waited for Ji Mingrui to drive his car over.
Separated by black fabric, his fingers rested on the silver handle of the umbrella, making that pair of gloves appear both icy cold and majestic.
Then, he once more walked towards the depths of the road, quickly vanishing under the downpour of heavy rain into the boundless night.
I think that for terms of address, I’m going to leave the familial terms like gege, a’po, baba, ect untranslated (for the feel, but also because some of them get used in ways they don’t in English), but translate things like ‘Mr.,’ ‘Doctor,’ ‘Officer,’ ect.
However, there are some teachers in this book later, and I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to go with ‘Mrs.
Last Name’ or ‘Last Name-laoshi.’ But that’s much much later, so I have time ^^;
Su Xiaolan (苏晓兰, su1 xiao3lan2):
苏 – a surname referring to a type of Chinese basil, or meaning ‘to revive’ (I had to look these meanings up haha, because I’ve mostly just seen 苏 used in proper nouns)
晓 – ‘dawn/daybreak’ (as a noun), or ‘to know’ (as a verb)
兰 – ‘orchid’
Side note: I think this name is really pretty
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