His spendthrift, foolish logic still made Ding Ji feel rather touched.
Even though Ding Ji’s guess was so accurate it made his heart jump, Lin Wuyu still persisted in his request: “Can’t you just calculate it?”
“You’re not even going to ask me how I guessed it?” Ding Ji looked at him. After a while, Lin Wuyu still hadn’t spoken, so he tsked. “Okay, I’ll calculate it.”
Then he went to the checkout counter to ask for a pen and paper.
“…This calculation of yours,” Lin Wuyu watched him, “are you going to use formulas? Using a pen and paper?”
“Don’t disturb me,” Ding Ji said.
“Oh,” Lin Wuyu answered, picking up a small cookie and eating slowly.
Ding Ji started drawing lines on the paper. After glancing at it, Lin Wuyu saw that he had drawn the Eight Trigrams . He didn’t know how to read the specific diagrams drawn, but he felt like Ding Ji could really deceive people.
“If it were my grandma, she could just close her eyes and calculate it. I’m considered an amateur and I have to use scratch paper.” After drawing for a while, Ding Ji stopped and stared at the paper for a bit, raising his head.
Lin Wuyu stuffed the small cookie into his mouth, somewhat anticipatory: “You calculated it?”
“Mm.” Ding Ji nodded, rolled the paper into a ball and tossed it into a nearby trash can.
“What did I come here to do?” Lin Wuyu asked.
“To find someone,” Ding Ji said.
Lin Wuyu didn’t say anything, grabbing his milk tea and taking a couple sips before turning his head and cracking up.
His laughter was a little unstoppable.
“You made me calculate it.” Ding Ji leaned against the chair and crossed his arms. “I already said I didn’t need to calculate it.”
“Alright.” Lin Wuyu reined in his laughter and cleared his throat. “What else did you guess?”
“This person was born in ’95, right,” Ding Ji said. “I’m not certain about anything else. I only confirmed this when you said that number.”
“Is that so?” Lin Wuyu thought for a moment. “I originally wanted to say 1995, but it was too obvious so I changed it to 95.”
“It was your hesitation for zero point zero zero zero zero zero zero…one seconds,” Ding Ji spun the pen in his hand, “that made it more obvious.”
“Then you still guessed it,” Lin Wuyu said.
“If I calculated it, it would still be this result!” Ding Ji yelled at him, turning his head and reaching his hand toward the trash can. “Here here here, why don’t you take another look, I’ll explain it to you…”
“Hey hey hey!” Lin Wuyu quickly grabbed onto him. “You calculated it, you calculated, you don’t need to explain it to me. I won’t understand it.”
Ding Ji glared at him, then sat straight again.
Lin Wuyu picked up the milk tea cup and lightly knocked it against the table: “Do me a favor.”
“How are you supposed to do a feudalistic, superstitious favor like this!” Grandma shook her head as she chopped up meat, even pushing him to the side.
“There’s got to be a general direction, right.” Ding Ji moved to the side a bit. “Didn’t you help that one family find their kid before?”
“Can this be casually calculated?” Grandma frowned. “If your calculation is accurate, of course that’s good, but it’s not one hundred percent accurate. If it’s not accurate, isn’t it just giving them hope and letting them celebrate over nothing? I’m not a money-scamming demigod on the streets.”
Ding Ji sighed.
“Weren’t you in the past?” Grandpa said laughingly, watching TV in the living room.
“You don’t understand a thing.” Grandma turned her head. “In the past, that was to survive! You can’t go on anymore now?”
“Argue later, you two.” Ding Ji stood between the two of them. “I’m talking business here.”
“Did you agree to them?” Grandma asked.
“I didn’t,” Ding Ji said. “I said I would come home and try.”
“A bungler like you, you’ll try.” Grandma was very disdainful. “If your mother knew, she’d say we didn’t bring you up right again…did you tell them that you’re not going home for dinner today!”
“I’ll tell them now,” Ding Ji said.
“This damn child,” Grandma sighed. “Let your grandpa tell them. If you only tell them now, you’ll probably argue again.”
Grandpa picked up the phone, put on his reading glasses and started dialing the number.
Today for his evening self-study session, Lin Wuyu was in the classroom, the table piled full with books and exam papers. His head was lowered, concentrating intently.
He was trying to stir a box of double-flavored ice cream in his hand evenly with a small stainless steel spoon.
“Cover it for a while. Won’t it be easier to do it when it’s soft?” Chen Mang said. “Your brain normally functions so well. How come it’s like you got vegetable oil into it right now?”
“I don’t want to eat melted ice cream,” Lin Wuyu said.
“Then you can scrape it from the buttercream side over to the chocolate side, then eat it together,” Chen Mang said.
“Read your books.” Lin Wuyu eyed him. “If you can’t process it right now, the two of us can compete by doing problems?”
Chen Mang went back to leaning on his desk: “I’m not looking to be oppressed. Your Lin-ge said that at a time like this, don’t specifically challenge me anymore. It’s easy to attack my self-confidence.”
Lin Wuyu cracked up, continuing to stir ice cream.
Ever since he spoke up about his request for Ding Ji to help him find someone, a night and a day had passed and there was no news from Ding Ji. Lin Wuyu guessed that because this matter didn’t have details, it wasn’t easy to deceive him, and Demigod Ding was worried.
It was a good thing he hadn’t really placed his hopes on fortune-telling.
But Demigod Ding still sent him a message on the second afternoon class of the second day.
— This person is definitely not in the area. One year ago and one year from now, all not in the area
After this message, there was even a video attached.
Lin Wuyu stood in the hallway and opened the video.
The camera faced him, but he could tell that it was at the mini-park, since the floor tiles looked the same.
Following that, a hand entered the frame, accompanied by Ding Ji’s voice: “Watch carefully, I’m not deceiving you.”
There were three copper coins placed in his palm.
Then the copper coins were thrown onto the ground, then picked up, then thrown again…
Because there were classmates coming and going around him, Lin Wuyu didn’t watch very carefully. In the end, after they were done being thrown, the video ended.
It was mystifying.
— Is there anything else you want to ask about?
Ding Ji sent another message over.
— You didn’t go to school?
Ding Ji looked at the message on his phone and took a long time to react.
— Do you know how to focus on the important parts?????
— Not going to work either?
When Ding Ji saw this message, he shoved his phone in his pocket and let out a sigh.
He wasn’t certain if the words Lin Wuyu would say next would be “you’re pretty smart, why aren’t you studying,” but he kept feeling that it would be something similar.
Even though he wasn’t really not studying, he also didn’t want to explain that. Too much work.
Greetings to this classmate Lin, I am studying, I go to San Zhong, my class ranking is within the top ten…then Dad’s voice would sound in his ears.
You’re this smart, you should be better, you’re just not putting in effort properly…
“Ah.” Ding Ji sighed and took out an exam paper from his backpack that was just issued today, spread it on the ground, lowered his head and started to read.
“An interval of time is worth an ounce of gold.” Da-Dong’s voice came from behind.
“Doesn’t your life start at 8 p.m. and end at 2 a.m.?” Ding Ji said. “How come you came out at this time?”
“I’m passing by. Here.” Da-Dong sat next to him, handing him a box of double-flavored ice cream. “I’m great, right. I saw that you were here and immediately went to buy your greatest love…”
“Say it.” Ding Ji looked at the exam paper at his feet.
“Say what?” Da-Dong asked.
“Your business,” Ding Ji said.
“Fuck, do I have to have business to buy you ice cream?” Da-Dong looked hurt.
“Is that not the case?” Ding Ji turned his head and glanced at him.
“…It seems like it really is.” Da-Dong thought for a moment.
“Before I take my college entrance exam, I don’t have time to busk with you all.” Ding Ji opened the box of ice cream and with great effort, used the little spoon to mix the two flavors together. “Find someone else.”
“Who’s busking!” Da-Dong shouted. “Who’s busking! Do you know how to speak!”
“Are you performing on the streets,” Ding Ji asked.
“Yes,” Da-Dong answered.
“Are you charging for song requests?” Ding Ji asked.
“…Yes,” Da-Dong answered.
“Then you’re…” Ding Ji continued.
Da-Dong cut off his words: “Okay okay okay, if you don’t have time then you don’t have time…I’m just bewildered, you know that you have to take your college entrance exam? Before, I didn’t see you setting your heart on it. People who didn’t know better all that your occupation was a demigod.”
Ding Ji tsked: “Do you see me every day? Your words are so incautious.”
Da-Dong performed at the mini-park at night. In order to prevent being temporarily dragged to make up their numbers at the last moment, Ding Ji packed his things and left the mini-park.
Lin Wuyu didn’t ask him about the person-finding thing again, only saying that the mall had called to let him go pick up the induction cooker tomorrow when he had time. The two of them made plans to meet at 6 p.m. at Xinjia’s entrance.
But no matter if it was fortune-telling or physiognomy, sometimes they were all pretty mystical. Ding Ji half-calculated, half-guessed that the person Lin Wuyu wanted to find was his older brother or sister.
Of course, without calculating he could more or less guess it, with the small, difficult to perceive details when Lin Wuyu spoke of this person, as well as his reaction when he mentioned siblings last time.
Ding Ji even thought that maybe his cold and detached attitude toward the abandoned baby had to do with this.
It was just inconvenient for him to ask too many questions. No matter what kind of family it was, if someone went missing, it was a wound that no strangers could casually touch.
“I’m late?” When Lin Wuyu arrived at the entrance to Xinjia, he saw Ding Ji sitting on the stairs, looking bored to death.
It seemed that he had been waiting here for twenty minutes for him to have this sort of attitude.
He quickly glanced at the time.
“You’re not late.” Ding Ji stood up. “I arrived early.”
“Then let’s go in,” Lin Wuyu said. “I just need my ID and that voucher, right?”
“Mm.” Ding Ji nodded. “I took up your time, sorry for the inconvenience.”
“How come you’re suddenly so polite.” Lin Wuyu looked at him, slightly perplexed. “You only treated me to one can of Coke that day.”
“Do you have a conscience when you speak!” Ding Ji immediately raised his voice.
“As well as milk tea and pastries,” Lin Wuyu said.
“And I even told you a fortune!” Ding Ji said. “Later I told you another fortune! How many brain cells did that waste?”
Lin Wuyu didn’t answer.
To be honest, the message Ding Ji sent over that day made him a little disappointed.
He didn’t really have any expectations that he could really find him, but when he saw Ding Ji say that in the surrounding years, this person wasn’t in the area, no matter if it was real or fake, it was somewhat hard to take.
After they picked up the induction cooker and walked out of the mall, in the end Lin Wuyu couldn’t help but ask: “Was your calculation accurate?”
“That’s something I really don’t know.” Ding Ji hugged the induction cooker. “I can only say that what I could calculate was this result. If you want to know where this person is, I definitely can’t do it, I can’t help you. You can learn it yourself.”
Lin Wuyu laughed. He was just about to say something when Ding Ji turned his head towards him: “Let’s go drink water.”
“I won’t drink water,” Lin Wuyu said.
Ding Ji looked back at him: “Drink beverages, drink milk tea, drink…”
“I want to eat something,” Lin Wuyu said frankly.
“You want me to treat you to a meal?” Ding Ji asked.
“No.” Lin Wuyu sighed. “Nevermind, why don’t I treat you. Skewers. Are there any good-tasting ones around here?”
“You asked the right person.” Ding Ji raised an eyebrow. “I’m familiar from mingling around this area, let’s go.”
“I thought you just mingled around the mini-park.” Lin Wuyu followed him, walking forward.
“I mingle around lots of places,” Ding Ji said. “I have people I recognize in all the places you can name.”
“Is that so?” Lin Wuyu smiled.
Ding Ji brought him into a store with a rather large shop front, the fragrance of skewers rushing into his nose.
It was around mealtime, so there weren’t too many people in the store. The two of them found a small table and sat down. When the waiter brought the skewers over, Ding Ji requested a few cans of beer, then took out his phone and got ready to pay.
“I’ll do it.” Lin Wuyu extended his hand and blocked the QR code on the table.
“I can afford to treat you,” Ding Ji said. “I’ve got an induction cooker.”
“After you treat me, this induction cooker of yours might as well have been bought,” Lin Wuyu said. “Doesn’t your grandma only take free things?”
Ding Ji cracked up.
“You don’t have a job either, right.” Lin Wuyu took out his phone and scanned the code. “Save a little.”
“Then you have a job?” Ding Ji asked.
“I’m a student. I have a timely source of pocket money,” Lin Wuyu said. “I also have a side job.”
To be honest, even though Lin Wuyu had a deep misunderstanding of him, his spendthrift, foolish logic still made Ding Ji feel rather touched.
“Alright.” Ding Ji tucked his phone away and opened a can of beer, placing it in front of him. “Thanks.”
“I don’t drink alcohol,” Lin Wuyu said.
“Did you drive?” Ding Ji asked.
“…I just don’t drink alcohol.” Lin Wuyu let out a sigh. “Furthermore, I have to study later tonight.”
“How exhausting,” Ding Ji said without thinking.
“If you have time, find a job,” Lin Wuyu said. “Or learn a little something.”
“Why?” Ding Ji picked up the can and took a sip.
“Well, what do you use to earn money?” Lin Wuyu said. “Physiognomy and fortune-telling? People aren’t easy to scam these days.”
Ding Ji laughed, wiping beer foam from the corner of his mouth: “Don’t dismiss it, sometimes it’s actually pretty amusing. I’ll tell you something about my neighbor when I was younger.”
“Mm?” Lin Wuyu was rather interested.
“This old man was said to be a Daoist priest from Mount Mao  that could cure illnesses. In our hutong, there was a kid with a headache, so his mom brought him over to the old man’s place.” Ding Ji took a lamb skewer and started gnawing on it. “The old man wrote three words on the ground, fire, wind, and thunder. Then he took a stick and prodded a word, asking him, does it still hurt?”
“It hurts,” Lin Wuyu responded cooperatively.
Ding Ji nodded: “The old man switched a word and prodded it. Does it still hurt?”
“It seems like it’s a little better?” Lin Wuyu continued to cooperate.
“Smart.” Ding Ji gave him a thumbs up. “He prodded it a few times, then stuck the stick directly into the ground, and the kid said it didn’t hurt anymore.”
“Psychological cues, right,” Lin Wuyu said. “Little kids accept psychological cues easily.”
“At the time I thought,” Ding Ji propped his chin up, “what if I reversed it?”
“How would you reverse it?” Lin Wuyu asked.
“I told the kid that I could do it too. I was the old man’s last disciple,” Ding Ji said. “He passed on everything he had learned in his life to me. I even told him that his last teachings had all been pressed by the old man into the top of my skull.”
Holding a skewer of chicken wings, Lin Wuyu laughed so hard he had no way of eating it.
“Whoosh—” Ding Ji pressed his hand against the table, imitating the movement. “Pressed in, just like that. The kid immediately believed me, and I said that I would write him a few words.”
“What did you write?” Lin Wuyu asked, smiling.
“Big, medium, small,” Ding Ji said. “I was in preschool at the time and I recognized quite a few words. I just couldn’t write them. In any case, he didn’t recognize them either. After writing them, I prodded the words and said, does your head hurt a little?”
Lin Wuyu turned his head to the side and cracked up.
“The kid said, it seems like it kind of does?” Ding Ji cracked up too. “I actually just prodded it three times. The last time I prodded it, I said, right now, your head should hurt so hard it’s going to explode! Then I stuck the little stick into the dirt, whoosh! Poor thing, the kid ran off holding his head.”
“It hurt?” Lin Wuyu strived to hold back his laughter.
“It hurt for a whole night. His mom came over to chase me and beat me up.” Ding Ji bit a mouthful of lamb meat.
“You should have told him that it would be better once he pulled the stick out of the dirt,” Lin Wuyu deadpanned.
“Fuck,” Ding Ji laughed. “Have you done this sort of thing! You know it so clearly.”
“I haven’t.” Lin Wuyu shook his head. “When I was younger I wasn’t as…clever as you.”
Ding Ji didn’t say anything, smiling as he bit another mouthful of lamb meat.
Lin Wuyu’s subtle pause was probably in order to avoid terms like smart, because he knew that he didn’t like being called a prodigy by people, likely guessing that he didn’t like being praised as smart either…
Ding Ji raised his beer can, lightly knocked it against Lin Wuyu’s chicken-wing-holding hand, and took a sip.
When Lin Wuyu returned to his dorm, he carried two bags of barbecue as usual, rolling past the sentry room like wind. The only thing different was that he had gained an additional book in his hand.
The Mystery of Palmistry that Ding Ji carried with him all the time for some reason.
Today, after they came out from eating skewers, he solemnly placed the book into Lin Wuyu’s hand: “Didn’t you want to read it? I’ll lend it to you to read it. Just three days. If it disrupts your studies I won’t take responsibility.”
Lin Wuyu looked at his expression, feeling like what he accepted seemed to be the last manuscript of a supernatural scamming book in the jianghu.
Holding the two bags of barbecue, when he came back to his room, the first period of the evening self-study session hadn’t ended yet. Lin Wuyu held up a bag and got ready to throw it on the neighboring dorm’s desk.
He had just opened his dorm door when the neighboring door opened too and Xu Tianbo poked his head out: “I smelled the kind of scent that makes people go mad in the night.”
“Your nose functions so well.” Lin Wuyu handed the barbecue to him. “You didn’t go to self-study?”
“I’m about to go,” Xu Tianbo said. “I just finished taking a shower, to avoid fighting over it with a bunch of people at night…are you going to self-study?”
“No, I’m going to read a book in my dorm for a bit,” Lin Wuyu said.
“What book?” Xu Tianbo asked.
“A studying book.” Lin Wuyu laughed.
“A book studying what?” Xu Tianbo laughed too. “This tone of yours sounds like it’s not a study book to review for the college entrance exam, right.”
“Physiognomy.” Lin Wuyu cleared his throat.
“…Not bad.” Xu Tianbo gave him a thumbs up. “You’re a legend.”
“Many skills will not harm the body. It opens up another path to take,” Lin Wuyu answered, deadpan.
“Alright.” Xu Tianbo patted his shoulder and walked toward the entrance to the stairs. “When you open up your business, remember to give me a twenty percent discount card.”
“No problem.” Lin Wuyu nodded.
After Xu Tianbo left, there was only Lin Wuyu remaining in the third year corridors. It was so quiet that it could make people feel the great pressure.
He leaned against the railing, watching Xu Tianbo jog over to the classrooms.
A good, self-disciplined, earnest and hard-working student with a sense of urgency.
He didn’t know if Ding Ji had tried reading faces before. For two people who looked pretty similar, there would be differences in their facial features. They clearly had similar appearances, but they had completely different personalities and lives.
Lin Wuyu leaned against the railing for a while. When he got ready to go back to his dorm, his phone vibrated in his pocket.
He fished it out and glanced at it. Somewhat unexpectedly, it was from Lao Lin.
“Lin-ge?” He answered the phone.
“Are you at school?” Lao Lin asked.
“I’m at the dorms,” he said.
“I’m coming over to find you,” Lao Lin said.
“What’s wrong?” Lin Wuyu furrowed his brows.
“Your dad came over this afternoon,” Lao Lin said. “I’ll come over and tell you the details.”
 Eight Trigrams (八卦) are eight divinatory symbols used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality. ↩
 A Daoist mountain in Jiangsu province. ↩