Will not lend. Do not steal. If found must return to me.



Lin Wuyu cracked up: “This question you asked is pretty rash.”

“It’s not as rash as what you just said,” Ding Ji said.

“Then couldn’t you tell when you were reading my palm?” Lin Wuyu looked at his left palm.

“I didn’t look, and I didn’t think in that direction.” Ding Ji thought for a moment, then lowered his voice. “They’re not biological?”

“They’re biological,” Lin Wuyu said.

“Oh,” Ding Ji answered.

The two of them didn’t say anything else, looking at the baby carriage together.

A few minutes later, a police car drove over. Ding Ji jumped up and waved at the police car: “Here—”

A book stuffed in his back pocket fell to the ground.



Lin Wuyu would often put stuff like test papers and books in his back packet. He didn’t like carrying things in his hands.

But Ding Ji was different.

Lin Wuyu picked up the book on the ground. It was very old. The pages were yellowed and starting to brown, but it must have been preserved quite carefully, since the pages were all smooth without any curled corners.

There was a hand drawn on the cover, as well as the hand’s various lines. Without looking at the title, he knew that this was a palmistry guidebook.

He hadn’t expected the jianghu scammer to carry his reference materials with him…how dedicated.

“Your…” When Lin Wuyu handed the book over to Ding Ji, he had already gone to meet the police officer.

“I was the one who reported it.” Ding Ji pointed at the baby carriage. “A super tiny kid. He’s been sleeping the whole time.”

“This kid can only be two months, right?” An old officer frowned when he looked over. “How did this carriage get pushed over here? Did you see?”

Ding Ji and Da-Dong turned to look at Lin Wuyu together.

“I was just standing here.” Lin Wuyu walked to where he had previously been standing. “I was holding my phone and looking over there. I don’t know when this carriage ended up next to me, but when I turned my head I saw it.”

“I have to contact a few female colleagues at the station first, and the hospital too.” The old officer turned to say to the co-worker behind him. “This child is too young, and I don’t know how long he’s been hungry…”

“Then can we…go?” Ding Ji asked from the side.

“Cooperate for a second,” the old officer said. “We have to record this, and once we find a place for this child we still have to make an investigation.”

“Right now?” Lin Wuyu said.

“Yes.” The officer nodded.

“What’s wrong?” Ding Ji asked quietly. “Is there something you have to do?”

“I haven’t eaten yet,” Lin Wuyu replied, also quietly.



Ding Ji didn’t pay attention to him again.

From when they handed the kid over to the officer, then cooperatively went to the police station to be recorded, then finally were cleared to leave after answering a ton of questions, Ding Ji didn’t pay any attention to him.

He didn’t even look at him that much.

When they went through the police station doors, Ding Ji grabbed his friend, hopped on his bike, and left without even looking back. Lin Wuyu couldn’t even find an opportunity to return his reference materials to him.



He wouldn’t be able to go to Even Dogs Come and Go.

Lin Wuyu ate a bowl of noodles at a small shop next to the police station, then took the bus back to school.

He knew why Ding Ji suddenly stopped paying attention to him.

It was probably because he felt like he was cold and detached. Towards such a small, possibly abandoned child, he was only thinking about eating dinner.

He didn’t even have the tiniest bit of basic sympathy.



He had eaten noodles for dinner today, so he brought noodles for the people in his dorm.

When Lin Wuyu entered the dorms, carrying four shares of noodles, it took a bit of effort. The volume of the four boxes was about the same as two bags of barbecue, but there was soup inside. As he ran past the residence manager uncle’s door, he needed speed and his hands had to be steady at the same time.

“Don’t think I can’t tell who you are!” The uncle’s voice came from afar.

You really couldn’t tell.

Lin Wuyu had already run up to the third floor. He still had a lot of confidence in his speed.

There was a mirror on the first floor. Every time he ran past the mirror when he was carrying food, he would glance at it, and he had never recognized himself.

Just like lightning.



His roommates were still studying under their lights, but when Lin Wuyu came in, they all faced the door.

“I heard Uncle shouting downstairs,” Chen Mang said, laughing.

“He said he could tell who I was,” Lin Wuyu said.

“That’s impossible. If he could tell he would have caught you long ago.” Luo Chuan got up and took a box. “You run past him at least three times a week.”

“You had noodles for dinner today?” Liu Ziyi said. “This isn’t your style. You went out and actually didn’t have a feast?”

“I ran into some stuff.” Lin Wuyu stuffed Ding Ji’s reference material book under his pillow. “I couldn’t have a feast.”

He didn’t really want to talk about how he had found a kid tonight, and the biggest merit of his roommates that put people in a good mood appeared at this moment. No one asked him.

The time that he had with such excellent roommates was slowly decreasing along with the numbers on the classroom countdowns. Sometimes when he thought about it he would suddenly feel very emotional.

“Is the last box yours?” Chen Mang asked.

“Four boxes were easier to carry,” Lin Wuyu said. “You can split it, I just finished eating. I’m going to read for a bit.”



The Mystery of Palmistry.

Lin Wuyu twisted the light by his bed on and put on his glasses.

This book looked like it belonged to a pirated collection of nonsense books laid out on the street. The title wasn’t something like Easy Peasy: Learn Palmistry in Five Minutes, Knowing People by Their Hands, or From Palm Lines to Human Life, seemingly taking the path of suspense.

Unique.

Huh. The author was a foreigner.

Out of habit, Lin Wuyu went through his regular studying process and first asked questions in his head.

For instance, where palmistry originated from, which cultural background palmistry was the most popular in, what the things that different palm lines corresponded to were based on…

Then he flipped the book open.

On the table of contents on the first page, there were two rows of large words written carefully with a ballpoint pen.

Little prodigy Ding Ji’s private book collection.

Will not lend. Do not steal. If found must return to me.



The diameter of each word had to be about two centimeters long. Lin Wuyu looked at it for up to ten seconds before he started laughing noiselessly.

There was a date below it. Based on the date, this should have been written when Ding Ji was in first grade or earlier…

Lin Wuyu paused, then more or less flipped through the book. There were some places in it with annotations, and the handwriting style was the same, so they were probably written around the same period.

It seemed that Ding Ji recognized quite a few words when he was five or six, and his comprehension skills appeared to be pretty good as well. He had his own way of thinking too, not feeling like books had authority like many other children. There was even a page with a place he had marked with—”Bullshit!!”

Interesting.

Lin Wuyu adjusted his glasses.



Ding Ji sat in front of his desk. There were completed test papers and exercise books in a mess on the table, and right now he was holding his phone with one hand, repeatedly flipping through the drawers with the other.

He knew that it was a little late right now and that Da-Dong was definitely sleeping already, but he still couldn’t wait until tomorrow.

“Pick up pick up pick up…” He stood up and paced another two circles around his room, pulling at his blanket to look under his bed.

“Fuck…” Da-Dong finally picked up the phone. “Are you insane? Do you know what time it is?”

“I know it’s a little late…” Ding Ji said.

“It’s not a little, it’s almost four, child,” Da-Dong sighed. “What is it?”

“The book that was stuffed in my back pocket.” Ding Ji furrowed his brows. “Did you see it?”

“Back pocket? What book?” Da-Dong was at a loss. “You brought a book outside?”

“It’s fine, you can sleep.” Ding Ji hung up the phone. Somewhat discouraged, he sat on the edge of his bed. He had originally been excessively sleepy, but now he simply had no sleepiness at all.

Depressed.



He had to live at home for this period, so he had gone to his grandmother’s house yesterday to grab the book and bring it over. But Lin Wuyu ended up finding a kid and was pretty infuriating about it too. When he finished up, he went home in a very bad mood to do problems, and he had only realized just now that his book was gone.

This book had followed him for many years, from first grade to now. He had finished reading it long ago, and there weren’t any particularly striking contents. Usually when he had it with him it was just to have it with him, and he rarely flipped it open.

But this book had accompanied him for many, many years. Just like a little girl’s doll, it could be considered a comfort object.

Sometimes it was an important way for him to feel a sense of security.

When he was still a tiny thing, this was even his method of improving his relationships with his classmates and freeing himself from bullying.

This book wasn’t really important.

This book was also too important.



But he still had to sleep, because he had to go to class tomorrow.

When he was living at his parents’ house, he couldn’t cut classes. At his grandmother and grandfather’s, he could do whatever. His grandmother used to think that he got out of school before four everyday like in elementary school, and he only came back at six or seven because he was working too hard at school.

He should sleep.

Like a thief, he groped his way to the bathroom and finished washing up, and when he returned to his room he grabbed a book from his headboard at random. It was one of the many books that his father had bought according to his own reading list. He didn’t look at what it was before stuffing it under his pillow and closing his eyes.



The first day his precious book left home.

He missed it.

The second day.

He missed it. He looked it up on a second-hand book website.

They actually had it.

Twenty-seven? That’s too evil!

The third day.

He missed it. He looked it up on the second-hand book site.

Thirty-six? Ten yuan shipping?

Before the teacher walked over, Ding Ji slid his phone into his pocket, maintaining his original position and not moving.

Only when the teacher lightly tapped his shoulder did he abruptly raise his head, rubbing his eyes at the same time.



“Didn’t rest well?” the teacher asked softly.

“I slept too late,” Ding Ji replied.

“If you’re sleepy, lie down for a few minutes,” the teacher said. “You have to pay attention to striking a balance between work and rest.”

“Mm.” Ding Ji nodded.

After the teacher left, he looked to his side.

Shi Xiangyang was currently gazing at him disdainfully: “How are you so good at acting?”

“Do you want me to teach you?” Ding Ji asked.

“No,” Shi Xiangyang refused righteously.

“I’m going to go out in a bit,” Ding Ji whispered. “If He-laoshi comes and asks about me, just say that I went to the sports field to memorize my lessons.”

Shi Xiangyang didn’t agree right away, contemplating for a moment and asking: “You’ve memorized lessons? Aren’t you someone with an eidetic memory like in legends?”

“Bullshit,” Ding Ji denied without a second thought. “When have I been in any legends about eidetic memories?”

“Then how do you normally take tests? Also memorizing lessons?” Shi Xiangyang asked.

“I don’t memorize. Speaking of…I chose the sciences just so I wouldn’t have to memorize lessons,” Ding Ji sighed. “I didn’t expect there to still be a lot of stuff to memorize.”

“Then how do you take tests and how did you get in the top five?” Shi Xiangyang asked again.

“I listen in class, da-ge [1],” Ding Ji sighed again. “I can pretty much memorize everything I need to memorize, and I can make things up too.”

Shi Xiangyang didn’t speak, just looking at him.

Ding Ji glanced at him and found that the expression on Shi Xiangyang’s face was very sorrowful and disappointed.

He abruptly came back to his senses, and in order to prevent Shi Xiangyang from starting to cut cake again, he rapidly added a sentence: “Sometimes I have to cheat too.”

“…Oh.” Shi Xiangyang nodded.



During second period in the afternoon, Ding Ji didn’t go to his classroom, slipping out of his school and going to the mini-park. Even though he had already taken detours over here several times in the last two days, with his determination to not abandon it and not give up, he took another trip in the afternoon.

Empty-handed.

He knew that he could buy old books online, but as far as he was concerned, it was meaningless.

He only wanted the book that had accompanied him and rebuked the world with him under his pillow for ten or so years. His personal signature and personal annotations were on it, decorated neatly and smoothly…

The last path he could take to find his book was to ask Lin Wuyu, that cold-blooded thing.

He had originally wanted to wait until the next time Lin Wuyu came to the mini-park to ask him, but with such a worn out book, what would he do if Lin Wuyu had thrown it away in passing? After all, when he was facing an abandoned child, Lin Cold-Blooded had only been thinking of his dinner.

So Ding Ji turned around and went to Fu Zhong.



Lin Wuyu sat at the edge of the sports field. Ahead of him were a few classes currently in gym class.

From noon to now, he had been on the sports field, walking around and sitting. At the moment, the number of students next to him was starting to grow and he intended to go back to the classrooms or his dorm.

As he picked up the book by his hand and prepared to get up and leave, he stopped.

Someone climbed over the wall by the grandstand across from the sports field in the distance.

The people who liked climbing over the wall here were the ones from the year two literature class one, led by Kou Chen [2], as if they wouldn’t be considered Fu Zhong students if they didn’t climb over it a few times a month.

But the person who had climbed in today wasn’t a Fu Zhong student.

It was…Ding Ji?

Lin Wuyu adjusted his glasses, wanting to determine if he had seen wrong.

But one second later he confirmed that he hadn’t seen wrong.



After Ding Ji landed, he said a few words to a girl sitting on the grandstand, and the girl pointed over in his direction.

Then Ding Ji rolled over like he had been harboring a grudge for years and had finally found out where his enemy was. 

This speed made Lin Wuyu have no choice but to stand up, alarmed.

“Don’t go!” Ding Ji shouted, pointing at him from about ten meters away. “Lin Wuyu!”

“…I’m not going,” Lin Wuyu answered.

His voice probably wasn’t loud enough. Ding Ji didn’t hear him, continuing to let out a series of shouts: “Don’t go don’t go don’t go…I have something to ask you…”

“You know where to climb over the wall?” Lin Wuyu waited until he was in front of him to open his mouth and ask.

“There aren’t school walls that can’t be climbed over,” Ding Ji gasped a couple times, “and there aren’t school walls that I can’t climb over.”

“Why were you looking for me?” Lin Wuyu asked.

“The day we found the kid, did you see a book?” Ding Ji asked.

The Mystery of Palmistry?” Lin Wuyu found this a little unexpected. He had originally wanted to go to the mini-park on the weekend to see if he could run into Ding Ji, but he hadn’t thought that this person would climb over the wall into his school to find him for this book.


This reply let Ding Ji abruptly feel relieved. He didn’t even want to say anything, cupping his fist in the other towards Lin Wuyu, sitting on the stone bench to the side and letting out a long breath.

“Just for that?” Lin Wuyu asked.

“Yeah, just for that.” Ding Ji was in a good mood. “When did you take it?”

“I picked it up,” Lin Wuyu corrected him.

“When did you pick it up?” Ding Ji asked again.

“When you were running toward the police officer in excitement,” Lin Wuyu said.

“…I dropped it then? I didn’t feel it at all.” Ding Ji extended his hand. “Give it to me. I haven’t even been sleeping well these past couple nights.”

“It’s in my dorm,” Lin Wuyu said. “I’ll get it for you.”

“I’ll come with you so you don’t have to run back,” Ding Ji said.

“Don’t you have to climb back out in a bit?” Lin Wuyu pointed at the wall on the other side.

“I’m going to strut out in a bit.” Ding Ji looked over there, following behind Lin Wuyu. “I wanted to walk through the main entrance just now but your guard is far too unreasonable, letting people out but not in.”

“It’s a good thing I was on the sports field. If I was in a classroom, you probably would’ve been driven out before you could ask where I was.” Lin Wuyu looked back at him.

“Unlikely.” Ding Ji waved his hand. “I asked a student who had just come out at the gate, who said if you weren’t on the sports field you were at the dining hall.”

“Oh.” Lin Wuyu laughed.

“Academic god,” Ding Ji said.

Lin Wuyu raised his eyebrows.

“What?” Ding Ji raised his eyebrows too. “That’s what someone from your school said. Ah, the academic god, if he isn’t on the sports field he’s at the dining hall. Original words.”

“Pretty much, I don’t like staying in classrooms,” Lin Wuyu said. “Little prodigy.”

Ding Ji suddenly stopped, his voice taking a bit of a turn: “…You read my book?”

“I read it, it’s not like you wrote that I couldn’t read it,” Lin Wuyu said. “You only wrote, won’t lend, do not steal, if found must return to you…”

“Don’t say any more.” Ding Ji sighed.

“Do you,” Lin Wuyu suddenly took a step back, asking quietly in his ear, “not like being called a prodigy by others?”


Footnotes:

[1] 大哥 literally means older brother but it’s something you could call your friends. It’s like bro. 

[2] Kou Chen (寇忱) is a character from Wu Zhe’s other novel, Qing Kuang/Reckless (轻狂) who also goes to Fu Zhong. Lin Wuyu shows up in that book as well. Many of Wu Zhe’s novels share a universe, notably Saye/Run Freely (撒野), Qing Kuang, and Unbridled.