Quality Check: Tezuka
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter Seventy-Six: The Correct Way to Use ‘A Man of His Words’
The interesting part was that instead of the main item in the picture, the first thing that Xiao Yu noticed was the background.
Why wouldn’t he? The background was all too familiar to him. It was Yan Jin’s desk; the place where his cage was previously.
Now that he and his cage had been shifted to the living room, the desk was emptied. He wondered what Yan Jin was thinking when he placed a squarish pillow on the spot where Xiao Yu’s cage was originally and took this picture.
Knowing that familiar background was one thing, but that pillow looked very familiar to Xiao Yu too – Isn’t that the pillow on Yan Jin’s bed?
So, Yan Jin wanted him to look at the pillow?
How could that be……
Xiao Yu remembered the last message that Yan Jin had sent, “Then can you tell me if you still remember this bell?” He squinted his eyes as he looked for anything similar to that object.
Indeed, he found it.
There was a sliver bell that was turning slightly black lying on the center of the pillow. The edges were particularly rusty, as if the bell had been rubbed repeatedly.
Xiao Yu somewhat understood the reason why Yan Jin had used the pillow. It was simply because if he had placed that broken little thing on the dark wooden surface of the desk, it could not be clearly seen at all. Hence, he had no choice but to find a white background for contrast.
When Xiao Yu first saw that silver bell, he thought it was something like a wind chime or a tambourine. He did not expect it to just be a simple silver bell.
Again, what kind of impression was he supposed to have for that broken little thing that was probably worth ten dollars a pack?
That was what Xiao Yu had thought.
But in reality, the moment he saw that picture, the locked memories seemed to be flooding out from a dam as it all gushed towards Xiao Yu like the raging tides.
He had seen that silver bell. The true worth of that silver bell… was not on its featureless surface.
Which meant that the issue was what was inside?
Something seemed to gush into his mind, but it was fleeting and surreal.
Xiao Yu gradually began to recall the things that had happened long ago.
It truly was a long time ago. He was still a university student back then, when the message-in-a-bottle event was being organized by the school. Back then, he participated in that event in order to make more friends from the design circle. If he remembered correctly, it was that very activity which pulled him closer to Lin Zhou.
That incident was far too long ago. Xiao Yu could not be blamed for forgetting it after so long.
However, Xiao Yu remembered now. The event allowed the designers to receive a request from the message bottles and they would come up with a design. The organizer would then provide a limited amount of financial support for the physical item, although the designers would eventually need to fork out their own money for the manufacturing process. As he had registered late for the event, he missed the period to choose his bottle message. Later,, when he realized that his roommate had two bottles, Xiao Yu made him hand one over.
The bottle that his roommate casually handed him had a meaningless question mark written on the paper. It was like a plot from some famous mystery. Xiao Yu almost wrote back an exclamation mark on the spot. Too bad, there was no method of replying to that unidirectional bottle message and he had to come up with a design no matter what.
This sort of idiotic bottle message was naturally despised by his roommate. But for Xiao Yu, who was designing for someone else for the first time, he was willing to give his own interpretation even if it was stupid.
Back then, he had nothing at his disposal. Even the basic equipments were borrowed from his roommate. Under the limitations, Xiao Yu thought of doing a simple design and borrowed a little bell that was meant for roommate’s end of term’s design project. Initially, he wanted to carve words on the surface, but he felt that it lacked creativity. For some unknown reasons, he ended up carving on the inside of the silver bell. He did not expect that unwise decision to cause him to destroy seven bells and waste more than two hours.
When he painstakingly finished one of them, Xiao Yu felt that an exclamation mark seemed to be hard to distinguish and it was difficult to see clearly. After thinking for an hour, he decided to change the exclamation mark to ‘YES’.
Thus, another two hours were used to crave the letters.
In the end, this half-assed item that Xiao Yu had casually created for the sake of completing an event caused him to use up his entire afternoon.
The side incident resulted in him accidentally carving on all the bells available, thus receiving a scolding from his roommate.
Thankfully, the final product did not disappoint Xiao Yu. Although it was a seemingly normal bell, he wondered how long it would take for the recipient to find the secret within.
It was like a harmless prank.
Xiao Yu looked at the picture on his iPad and entered a strange frame of mind.
That message bottle belonged to Yan Jin? Why would Yan Jin participate in that event?
But that was not important.
The more urgent question to address would be why had Yan Jin kept that bell until now?
As for Yan Jin, what did this bell mean to him?
The same went for himself– What did Xiao Yu’s existence mean to Yan Jin?
Right up to this day, Xiao Yu could not remember the details of that event; yet he realized that he could still remember the emotions that he had felt back then when he was carving the bell.
In the first ten minutes, he probably took it casually and put in some effort. However, as he failed again and again, his thoughts slowly changed.
At least for that moment, it was as if Xiao Yu had understood the meaning of that question mark.
They were separated by an anonymous bottle message. Perhaps someone else was just like him, troubled by the faintly indiscernible and imaginary future, hesitating because of the endless questions and rejections.
During Xiao Yu’s university days, he wasn’t even a design major. To him, designing was like a fabricated and expensive hobby. It might not even be his interest. He was like an orphan standing outside the glass window while looking at the price tag of a violin. He knew very well that no matter how spiritually satisfying it could be, it was still incomparable to a loaf of bread that could fill his stomach. Still, he couldn’t tear his eyes off that violin.
As he did the simplest carving, he questioned whether there was a need to hold on to hope.
Was there a need? Could he do it? Would there be hope?
The questions that he had definite answers for, or even the ending where miracles couldn’t even save the situation– what was there to be bewildered with?
Yes, because everyone said no. They denied everything that belonged to someone else, using their experience as someone who had learned their lesson and made a pompous viewpoint.
But Xiao Yu insisted on writing that ‘YES’.
He was answering himself as well as the unknown asker.
Of course; we can; there will be.
Xiao Yu gave a lot of thought, but he ended up writing two words – I remember.
After he replied, he finally woke up from his endless memories.
Xiao Yu glanced like a thief towards the direction of the bedroom.
The sound of the tap had stopped, but Yan Jin still hadn’t come out. Maybe he was changing his clothes?
In that brief pause, Grey-white SS had already sent over a message.
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: I remember.
[Grey-white SS]: You admit it’s your design?
Xiao Yu hesitated for a moment before he turned the iPad to another angle with its back facing the bedroom. That way, Xiao Yu would directly face the bedroom. If Yan Jin was to come out all of a sudden, he would have time to react.
And so, the human and the hamster starting chatting while separated by an open door.
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: I did not deny it. I just didn’t remember it.
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: It’s a design that I did when I had just entered university. That’s too far back, okay?
[Grey-white SS]: This as well.
[Grey-white SS]: image.jpg
Xiao Yu looked at the picture and he immediately became happy. Wasn’t that the carpet underneath the bed in Yan Jin’s room? If Yan Jin had mentioned the carpet earlier, he could have remembered much sooner.
Hn, that Yan Jin, asking about the bell first.
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: Yes, that’s me too. There wasn’t much of a time gap between those two items.
Next, Xiao Yu thought Yan Jin would casually bring out some other works and photograph them. Little did he know, Yan Jin would not do that.
[Grey-white SS]: Thank you. I like them very much.
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: Huh?
[Grey-white SS]: My gratitude is overdue. Back then, you were anonymous. I left a headline notice on your school’s forum for a month, but I still couldn’t find you.
Xiao Yu was slightly puzzled. He couldn’t remember if he had done the work anonymously, but shouldn’t the organizers have gotten his name? Yan Jin put a notice up for a month and still couldn’t find him? How could that be…
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: Oh, I see.
Maybe Xiao Yu’s tone of disbelief was communicated over the screen, because the other person only replied after some time.
[Grey-white SS]: You studied at F University?
Xiao Yu was doubtful. Wasn’t Yan Jinjust talking about the design? Now he’s suddenly asking about the university?
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: Yes.
[Grey-white SS]: Oh.
[Grey-white SS]: Anyways, thank you.
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: You don’t have to exaggerate that much. It’s just a small thing that I did randomly.
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: Regarding the Autumn Release Conference, is there anything else? Otherwise I’m going offline.
[Grey-white SS]: Wait.
[Grey-white SS]: Actually, I have liked your designs from a very long time ago…
Wow. Xiao Yu felt that it was too significant for that sentence to come out of Yan Jin’s mouth. So, he sneakily screenshotted the message and sent it to his private album before deleting it.
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: In return for receiving your love,. I’ll devote everything to YL in the future.
[Grey-white SS]: That’s not what I mean…
[Grey-white SS]: I just didn’t expect it to be such a small world and I’m a little messed up now.
[Grey-white SS]: I really like you.
Xiao Yu’s heart skipped a beat.
Wait, what the hell?
If it wasn’t for the risk of getting his identity exposed, Xiao Yu really wanted to barge into the room and see if it was Yan Jin himself using the Grey-white SS account.
Since earlier that morning, this account’s writing style had completely changed– What the hell was going on?
Xiao Yu still remembered that when he first started to contact Yan Jin through his Grey-white SS account, the account gave him an impression that the owner was an unreasonable, wealthy second-generation heir. Every sentence he said was so childish. But when he had obtained Yan Jin’s trust, Grey-white SS seemed to change into the Chairman Yan he was familiar with; every word and action fulfilled his cold character setting.
As for now…
Xiao Yu couldn’t even find a suitable description right away.
What was going on with this eerie style of talking?
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: Hm… Chairman Yan, would you like to go wash your face and calm down?
The sudden loud crash from the bedroom made Xiao Yu jump in shock.
Next, he heard Yan Jin take big strides to the washroom, slam the door with a bang and flip the water tap to the furthest end. The sound of the gushing water was so loud that he could hear it even with a door in between them. Then, the water tap was turned off, the door opened again as Yan Jin walked back to his room and picked up the chair that had fallen.
Xiao Yu was feeling extremely complicated. It was so bad that he only turned back to look at the screen after some time.
[Grey-white SS]: Can we meet?
[Grey-white SS]: If it’s not convenient for you, I can go and find you.
Xiao Yu was amused by the urgent desire to meet.
Haha, Yan Jin probably didn’t expect himself to be just one step away from Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both.
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: That I really can’t agree with. I have my difficulties too.
[Grey-white SS]: Then video call?
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: Hm, not possible either. I’m sorry.
[Grey-white SS]: Not even that?
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: I already apologized.
[Grey-white SS]: Okay. I won’t force you.
[Grey-white SS]: But I want to ask, does that thing you said before still count?
[Fish and Hamster – You Can’t Have Both]: Although I’m a man of his word, can I ask what exactly I said?
[Grey-white SS]: It’s regarding your confession to me.
Xiao Yu: Excuse me? WTF? Meow? Nickyoungmeme.jpg