The healthy color of a hand is mottled. The color is lighter in the hollow of the palm and deeper near the bottom of the palm.
Ding Ji didn’t speak, his heart jumping.
Usually it was him seeing through strangers in one glance, sensing other people’s “hearts jumping,” but today he had suddenly been seen through by a stranger in one glance…strictly speaking, Lin Wuyu was a stranger…
But how did you know?
…Making me lose face like this!
“I saw eraser marks on the word prodigy,” Lin Wuyu said.
“No, that was just recognizing that I used to be frivolous and too unbridled when I was young.” Ding Ji didn’t admit it.
“Oh.” Lin Wuyu laughed and didn’t question him again, only turning and continuing to lead him forward.
From the nature of the smile on the corner of his mouth, Ding Ji could tell that Lin Wuyu didn’t really believe his denial, and to some extent, his denial had roughly let Lin Wuyu confirm the answer.
“You’ve kept this book for around ten years, right?” Lin Wuyu asked as he walked.
“Mm,” Ding Ji agreed. “I’m planning to make it a family heirloom.”
“Why were you so worried about losing it?” Lin Wuyu asked. “You’ve probably thoroughly memorized the contents of this book long ago…”
“I can’t remember it,” Ding Ji said. “I have to read it every day.”
“It can’t be that bad.” Lin Wuyu cracked up. “I more or less memorized it after reading it for two days.”
“Keep bragging, I’ll keep your secrets,” Ding Ji answered without thinking.
“The healthy color of a hand is mottled. The color is lighter in the hollow of the palm and deeper near the bottom of the palm.” After saying this, Lin Wuyu turned his head back and looked at him. “Indecisive people usually find it difficult to clench their fists tightly, and when they clench their fists, they often hide their thumbs in the middle of their palms.”
Ding Ji gazed at him too.
“Next to this sentence was written, ‘Not necessarily, it also might be from a lack of a sense of security.'”
The smile on Lin Wuyu’s face faded. His expression was very earnest. “It’s quite impressive for an elementary schooler to know these things. What books did you normally read?”
“Fuck,” Ding Ji said.
“Horizontal ridge marks indicate some sort of event happening with respect to health that once caused fingernails to stop growing.” Lin Wuyu smiled. “These are all contents that you annotated.”
“Do you want me to clap for you?” Ding Ji said.
“Sure.” Lin Wuyu nodded.
“There’s nothing underlined after growth stopping,” Ding Ji said.
“If I said it,” Lin Wuyu said, “could you verify it immediately?”
“…No,” Ding Ji said. “I only remember the general ideas.”
“General ideas are fine. I only remember the general ideas, too.” Lin Wuyu cleared his throat, turning around and continuing to walk ahead. “When ridgelines reach the tip of your fingernail, an illness will occur. It takes about six months for ridge marks to grow from the base of the fingernail to the tip, and when this situation happens, you must pay attention to health issues…”
Lin Wuyu continued to recite it, but Ding Ji didn’t continue listening carefully, having no choice but to admit that at this very moment, he admired Lin Wuyu.
These weren’t necessarily the general ideas. Even though he said he only remembered the general contents, he knew that the contents Lin Wuyu had said were word for word.
Even if Lin Wuyu had prepared in advance in order to pretend to be an impressive person with an eidetic memory…first passing over why he wanted to do this sort of boring and strenuous thing in the days when the college entrance exam was approaching and everyone felt like they didn’t have enough time…being able to memorize these details word for word was quite a remarkable thing.
Although it was very boring.
After all, Lin Wuyu didn’t necessarily know that he could recite it, and he also didn’t know which parts he could recite.
When they walked to the dorm entrance, Ding Ji slowed his footsteps. Dorm managers normally had astonishing recognition abilities, and at the least they could distinguish that this wasn’t their school’s student.
“I’ll wait here…” Ding Ji hadn’t finished speaking when Lin Wuyu had already grabbed his wrist, then pulled him forward.
Ding Ji was tugged by him into the dorm entrance with a stumble, and he hadn’t yet regained his balance when Lin Wuyu pushed the back of his head forward: “Run.”
“Fuck.” Ding Ji squeezed out one word from between his teeth and bent over, running with him under the sentry room window and rushing to the stairs.
“Our dorm doesn’t allow outsiders to enter.” Lin Wuyu stopped when they ran to the second floor, saying, “Sorry.”
“Da-ge! I said that I would wait outside.” Ding Ji was incredibly dumbfounded. “I wasn’t going to come in!”
“I thought you wanted to come in and take a look,” Lin Wuyu said.
“Why the hell would I come in and look at male dorms?” Ding Ji said.
“Oh?” Lin Wuyu looked at him.
“I don’t have any interest in female dorms either,” Ding Ji amended immediately. “I don’t have any interest in student dorms.”
There was no one in the dorm. Lin Wuyu picked up the book by the headboard, flipping through it a bit before handing it to Ding Ji: “When did you buy this book?”
“First grade.” Ding Ji took the book and felt the cover. “I bought it at a book stand.”
“A book published in 1988,” Lin Wuyu said. “An elementary schooler would actually buy this, and the important part is that it was there to be bought.”
“It’s so interesting, you don’t understand.” Ding Ji held the book and flipped back and forth, the familiar feel making him more steady. “It’s even risen in value.”
“Hm?” Lin Wuyu didn’t understand.
“Do you know how much the original price was?” Ding Ji asked.
“Two yuan ninety,” Lin Wuyu said.
“…You didn’t even let that slide?” Ding Ji sighed.
“Of course. I already read to the publishing date. Would I not see the price next to it?” Lin Wuyu leaned on the desk.
“Now it’s risen by ten times. The lowest secondhand book price is twenty nine.” Ding Ji patted the book.
Lin Wuyu didn’t say anything, looking at him.
Ding Ji looked at him too.
After a while he couldn’t help it and cracked up first: “Didn’t it rise in value!”
“It did.” Lin Wuyu stuck up his thumb. “You have the brains for investment.”
“Thanks.” Ding Ji patted the book. “I’m leaving.”
“How about…” Lin Wuyu hesitated. “Lend me this book for a few more days?”
“Lend it?” Ding Ji looked at him.
“Didn’t you say it’s pretty interesting,” Lin Wuyu said. “Let me see how interesting it is?”
“You can already recite it word for word,” Ding Ji said.
“Not really. I was just betting that you couldn’t recite it, but you definitely would have an impression on the places you annotated, so I only read the two pages around the annotated content.” Lin Wuyu was actually very frank.
But Ding Ji noticed his phrasing.
He had only read it. Not only memorized. Furthermore, it was the two pages around it.
He opened the book and flipped to the page where he had written his name, pointing at the words on it: “Then didn’t you remember these ones?”
Lin Wuyu lifted the corner of his mouth.
“It’s written here,” Ding Ji said. “Will, not, lend.”
Ding Ji grabbed the book, grandly and spiritedly walking out of the dorm.
“I’ll see you off.” Lin Wuyu followed him out.
“No need to be so polite,” Ding Ji said.
A person came from the entrance of the stairs. When he saw him, he was startled for a moment, then quickly tilted his head to glance behind him: “Your friend?”
“Mm,” Lin Wuyu answered from behind.
This person didn’t say anything else, entering the neighboring dorm after smiling and nodding at Ding Ji.
He didn’t know why, but Xu Tianbo’s sudden appearance made Lin Wuyu feel somewhat embarrassed.
He felt like Xu Tianbo might have misunderstood something, but he couldn’t do anything about it and didn’t have a reason to explain it, and he didn’t even know what he wanted to explain.
Where was the point in explaining it?
He wasn’t willing to do pointless things.
“Why does this person look a little familiar?” Ding Ji said as he went down the stairs.
Because you two look alike, little prodigy. Can you not even realize this?
Lin Wuyu didn’t say anything, following behind him and going down the stairs.
“Ah.” Ding Ji lifted a hand and raised his index finger. “He looks a little like my cousin.”
He looked like a pretty smart person, but he hadn’t expected the speed of his IQ going offline to be so astonishing.
“Is that so,” Lin Wuyu said.
“Yes or no. Can you not even answer such a simple question?” His father stood at the doorway to his room.
“The options you gave are very simple.” Ding Ji didn’t look back, leaning against his chair and tilting his head back. “But the question isn’t necessarily simple.”
“Is this question that complicated? Do you plan on giving up on your college entrance exam?” his father said. “Are you insisting on personally bringing your life down a level?”
“Why do you have to divide life into three, six, nine levels?” Ding Ji asked. “And it’s divided based on your standards? Then can I use my standards to divide a level?”
“Don’t be rebellious with me,” his father said. “If it wasn’t for your own good, where would your mother and I find the energy to argue with you like this every day!”
“Then if it’s really for my own good can you think on my behalf?” Somewhat agitated, Ding Ji sat up straight, turning his head to look at him. “How much do you actually love me? How much do I actually love you two? It’s a good thing that you’re both highly intelligent. If you don’t understand psychology you can read books. I have a bunch.”
His father looked at him, not saying anything.
“Before middle school, to me, Mom and Dad were just names,” Ding Ji said. “Names that didn’t have anything to do with me, and it was about the same for you. I, Ding Ji, your son, was said to be a prodigy. Literate at one, writing poems at three, reading Romance of the Three Kingdoms, nothing he couldn’t do, only things he didn’t learn…”
“It’s not…” His father furrowed his brows.
“I know it’s not that exaggerated. I’m just helping you summarize your image and expectations of me.” Ding Ji waved a hand. “But when you came back, huh? The prodigy is only ranked in the top five of his class? Sometimes only in the top ten? Wasn’t he supposed to forever be first place, defeating second place?”
“Shut up!” His father pointed at him.
“Let’s shut up together,” Ding Ji said. “I don’t want to argue, and I don’t blame you for not coming back, really.”
His father let out a sigh, seeming as if he still wanted to say something.
But Ding Ji didn’t give him the chance. His father had been well-educated for fifty years, but he couldn’t do things like argue with people, and he wasn’t willing to fight one-sided battles.
So he got up and walked to the door, closing the door in front of his face: “No one looked after me for ten years and I’ve already gotten used to being in charge of everything. You have to educate children from a young age. Once this sort of opportunity is missed, you will basically never have it again.”
After waiting for two minutes, Ding Ji opened the door again and looked out. There was already no one in the living room. His father and mother had returned to their own rooms.
In order not to affect his studies, as long as he was home, the TV in the living room would definitely not be on.
These sorts of intangible pressures and expectations that exceeded his actual abilities made him feel like he couldn’t breathe.
After returning to his desk and staring blankly for a while, Ding Ji straightened out his feelings and started to do problems.
He wasn’t necessarily a very hardworking person, but it wasn’t like he couldn’t tell what was important. When it was time to study, he could still force himself to. He wouldn’t try for quizzes, he would try a minimal amount for tests, and he would try as much as possible for the college entrance exam.
It was just that he didn’t need people to keep a close eye on him forever without stopping. He had probably gotten accustomed to freedom, and even if it was for his own good, he only wanted to follow his own rhythm.
Stop staring. Stare any more and he’ll flunk.
If he was swapped with Lin Wuyu, who was considerably cool-headed, self-disciplined, and incomparably self-confident at a glance, his parents would probably be very happy.
…Not necessarily. After all, he was still memorizing The Mystery of Palmistry at a time like this.
Oh, not memorizing. Reading.
His phone chimed with a message.
Ding Ji didn’t look. Once he started studying, he would try not to be disturbed. Even if his mind was wandering the four seas, there were still problems under his pen. As long as he stopped, he might be too lazy to start again.
— Can you confirm it? I don’t even know what he looks like now
— It’s precisely because I can’t confirm it that I’m asking you. Is it possible that he’s stayed in town? Or if he went out of town, have there been any relatively special dates that would make him possibly come back?
Lin Wuyu looked at the message on his phone, his fingers stopped above the screen. Even when the screen went dark, they didn’t land.
He couldn’t give answers for these two questions, and he didn’t even have a direction to guess.
In other words, he had always avoided thinking about any content related to “your brother.” Many times, this person only existed in distant, meticulously sealed memories, and he definitely couldn’t go analyze it.
— Do you think it’s because you’re about to take your college entrance exam?
His phone received another message from Gong Lan.
Lin Wuyu pondered for a moment, jabbing the screen a few times.
— We didn’t seem to have these sorts of brotherly feelings
— You were probably too young back then, he cared about you a lot
— I’ll go stay there for a day tomorrow, see if I can run into him
— …I can just go, are you not going to study?
— My studying doesn’t depend on time or place, only my mood
— You really deserve to be beaten up
Lin Wuyu smiled, returned a goodnight emoji, and put his phone aside.
In these few years, Gong Lan had supplied Lin Wuyu with dozens of clues. Combined, her reliability rate was 0.
After all, her clues were mixed with too many private feelings.
But Lin Wuyu still planned to go try his luck. He needed to find the switch that made his parents press their intertwined expectations and disappointments on him simultaneously.
Furthermore, Gong Lan had said that this place wasn’t too far, at a business square near San Zhong.
But there were too many people coming and going. Even if it was real, he couldn’t necessarily find a face from ten years ago among the crowds.
Reality was indeed like this.
After eating breakfast, Lin Wuyu arrived at the business square and wandered around for three hours to no avail.
Countless stores formed a shopping center. Cars, bikes, electric cars, and pedestrians were like insects spread on the ground. There wasn’t enough time to look at them clearly before they had already overlapped with what was next to them.
Lin Wuyu felt like he probably hadn’t even wanted to search for a person, only finding an excuse to come out and walk around.
There was a fried rice noodle store on this side, delicious to the point of explosion.
He could eat three shares of the biggest plate in succession.
If he arrived early, he wouldn’t need to wait in line.
Holding two plates, Lin Wuyu found a two-person table by the window and sat down.
If he ate now, he wouldn’t need to fight for a seat.
As he ate, he would look out the window.
Looking at people, looking at faces. His brain would go over problems from yesterday night, writing in a small notebook he carried with him. He was too sleepy yesterday and he wanted to go to bed so he only looked at the subject once. He happened to do it now.
But from time to time his mind would wander, thinking about the parents that had spent ten years looking for their missing child.
What kind of love, how deep of a love, what kind of “irrational” love, could make people persevere like that?
His mother and father had searched too, but their searches had been very calm, without holding onto any hopes.
Their oldest son was too smart, with the ability to solve many problems and not get hurt. Their oldest son was too smart, and if he didn’t want to come back, no one could find him.
Lin Wuyu sighed.
With such a smart oldest son, they could probably only ask a demigod for help.
Like Demigod Ding.
Thinking of Demigod Ding…Lin Wuyu picked up his phone.
When Ding Ji had come to get his book, they had added each other on WeChat, but they hadn’t spoken.
Ding Ji’s WeChat icon was a photo of himself, and it was even a front view. This person was quite confident in his appearance.
But it really was pretty good, with a sort of stray cat boss energy.
…He couldn’t call him Chicken Bro. He would turn into tonight’s most brilliant electric spinning top.
Lin Wuyu lifted the corner of his mouth, opening Ding Ji’s Moments while he was at it.
Three days were visible.
But Lin Wuyu scrolled down a couple times and didn’t reach the end. He suddenly felt like he should consider blocking this chatterbox.
The newest Moment made Lin Wuyu pause, sent a few minutes ago.
— Xinjia has a basketball competition, the prize for first place is an induction cooker
Xinjia was a shopping mall, right next to him.
Lin Wuyu raised his eyes and looked out.
After hesitating for a few seconds, he sent Ding Ji a message.
— You’re at Xinjia?
Ding Ji responded in seconds.
— Right next to Xinjia, what’s wrong, does your family lack an induction cooker— I’m eating fried rice noodles
Ding Ji didn’t respond again, and Lin Wuyu continued to look out the window.
A minute later at most, Ding Ji appeared on the other side of the street, riding a Segway.
After that he floated over to him, nimbly maneuvering through the crowds, smugness visible to the naked eye. Lin Wuyu would bet ten Mysteries of Palmistry that he wasn’t normally this uppity. He was just showing off right now.
Lin Wuyu waved at him through the glass.
Ding Ji stopped outside, pressing up against the glass and saying something that Lin Wuyu couldn’t hear.
The number of people in the store started to increase. It was a little loud.
Out of the corner of his eye, someone holding a tray walked over to his table. Lin Wuyu pushed a plate of fried rice noodles in front of him to the other side: “Sorry, there’s someone here.”
Ding Ji cupped his face with his hands, pressed against the glass and looked in again.
“Come in.” Lin Wuyu pointed at the seat across from him. “What are you looking at?”
None this time!