Quality Checker: Isalee
First Published on Chaleuria.
After returning to the dorms, the chair I was sitting on barely had time to get warm before the head of the dorm came around, smiling gleefully at me.
“Whatcha do today? Didn’t see you at all the entire day. Tell me the truth, did you go out to pick up girls?”
I was exhausted from head to toe and didn’t have any energy left to play along. “What girls? Why are you always thinking about that stuff? I already told you yesterday that I had work today.”
“Work? You only just started the term and you’re already working?” the dorm head asked, full of curiosity. “What sort of work?”
At this, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. “Dispensing medicine,” I said, rubbing at my elbow.
“Oh? Pretty amazing, kid.”
“It’s not amazing at all,” I grumbled. “Got tricked into doing manual labor, that’s all.”
He smirked. “I saw you holding a little bag when you came back. It looked pretty dainty, so I thought it was a gift from a girl or something.”
“Me? As if I would have that sort of luck with the ladies.” However, now that he reminded me, I remembered that I had the small bag. I took it out from my pocket, unwrapped the handkerchief that was wrapped around it, and passed the round pebble over to him to have a look.
“Have you seen this stone before?” I asked.
My dorm head looked at me with suspicion written all over his face. “Of course I have. It’s just an ordinary cobblestone. If you go have a look at the banks of the North Tong River, you can find an entire basket.”
I sighed again and packed away the stone. I tilted my head back towards the chair, feeling a bit defeated.
“Bro, have you ever really wanted to find someone, but then had absolutely no idea how to go about it?”
Even though he couldn’t make heads or tails of my question, he still considered it seriously. “Ah. Well… I guess I have? I once met a super pretty girl on a train. She was in the same carriage as me and we chatted for ages, however, in the end, I never got a chance to ask for her QQ number before she reached her station. I’m still regretting it even now.”
I rolled my eyes when he couldn’t see me and remained silent as I crawled into bed.
After a quiet night, the temperature dropped slightly the next day and it wasn’t as humid anymore. I woke extremely early and crawled out of bed, got dressed and washed up. As I brushed my teeth, I began to consider how I was going to find this person that could not be found. Quite honestly, I was still feeling quite stubborn about the entire thing. Since Wen Jiubo was so blasé about it, then I would definitely find this person just to prove him wrong.
Although I was thinking that, how exactly would I go about it… As I turned over ideas in my mind, I walked out of the dorm building. However, I only took a few steps before I bumped right into someone.
The person I walked into yelped, rubbing his head, “Ouch! Why don’t you watch where you’re – eh? Gu Yu?”
It was only then that I raised my head and discovered that the person I ran into was no other than Shi Yitong. He was wearing a pair of bright, colorful runners and a pair of gray shorts together with a blue t-shirt. I couldn’t even be bothered to mock this guy’s fashion sense. However, I noticed with astonishment that Su Xiaoyun was following right behind him and both of them didn’t look so well with dark circles beneath their eyes; it was almost as if neither of them had slept well last night.
“Shi Yitong? Su Xiaoyun? What are you guys doing here?” I asked, surprised. “And look at the two of you… what happened? Both of you look completely worn out.”
“Fuck you!” Shi Yitong looked like he wanted to hit me. “How dare you insinuate something so filthy with that serious expression? I never thought you were that kind of person!”
As I laughed and ducked to one side to dodge, Su Xiaoyun took the chance to speak.
“It’s not what you think. Last night Coo had a problem with his stomach,” she said helplessly. “We spent the entire night with him at the veterinary hospital and didn’t get any sleep. We only just returned to school.”
I was taken aback and asked, “What happened?”
Shi Yitong scratched his head sheepishly. “That… was my fault actually,” he said, depressed. “Yesterday goddess Su said she was going to buy some cat food for Coo in the afternoon. I had just finished my essay, s-so I said I would come with.”
Su Xiaoyun sighed. “And then this idiot mistook turtle food for cat food, and fed it to Coo before I even realized.”
“That’s because the packaging for both was way too similar. I’m so sorry, my goddess!” Shi Yitong clasped his hands together high above his head and apologized in an exaggerated manner. “It was my fault that I didn’t take good enough care of little prince Coo! It’s all my fault!”
Standing to one side, I was torn between laughing and crying at this spectacle. Shi Yitong was being way too overdramatic.
“Just make sure to take extra care next time,” Su Xiaoyun sighed again. “Don’t worry about it, you already paid the vet fees and Coo’s more or less fine now. If you really want to make it up to me, then buy me lunch next time.”
Shi Yitong’s eyes lit up immediately as he nodded his head vigorously. “Of course, of course! No problem!”
“What about you? Where are you going this early?” Su Xiaoyun changed the subject, looking over to me. “Isn’t today the start of the weekend? Why aren’t you sleeping in?”
“That’s because…” I squeezed the pebble in my pocket tightly in my fist. “I need to find someone today.”
Curious, Shi Yitong asked, “Find someone? Who?”
I glanced at Su Xiaoyun, aware of this outsider’s presence, unable to fully divulge the request and actual story. I could only cobble together something that was half truth, half lie — casting Wen Jiubo into the role of a third-rate private investigator.
“…So, I need to help my boss find the ‘god’ that the old woman spoke of.” I shrugged, finishing my explanation.
Su Xiaoyun seemed quite astounded. “Do all investigators these days accept this sort of outrageous request?”
“Ah, about that. He didn’t personally accept it, I was the one who took the job,” I said slightly glumly, pulling the small pebble out from my pocket. “I think, whether or not the person that the old woman met all those years ago is a god, this is important to her. Even if there’s barely any information, I still want to try.”
“That’s true. Either way, this has to do with her daughter’s life.” Su Xiaoyun said in agreement. She also seemed slightly regretful. “It’s a pity that Coo isn’t available at a time like this.”
“What does it have to do with Coo?”
“Coo’s great at these sort of things.” Su Xiaoyun nodded. “Black cats are mystical, don’t you know? You have a keepsake with you, Coo could use it to find who you’re looking for quite easily. Unfortunately, the little guy is still lying at the vet.”
“Oh, is that so…” The glimmer of hope that was ignited was promptly extinguished. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
“How about this, we’ll both come with you to search!” Su Xiaoyun suggested.
“What?” Shi Yitong immediately objected. “But, goddess, neither of us got any sleep last night!”