Chapter 19: Other Side of the High Wall
The teenager’s voice echoed in the hollow hot spring pool and grew several times louder. It crossed the sanatorium’s high wall, then passed through to the other side.
Only separated by a single wall, the other side of the high wall was unexpectedly like a different world!
With dense mist, the other side was also clearly a hot spring. However, unlike the sanatorium’s hot springs that were like swimming pools that needed to be manually filled with water, the hot spring there was built based on the landscape. The land by the pool was full of greenery, and the surroundings were a picturesque disorder of all kinds of seasonal flowering trees. A natural and lovely appearance. A blue and white hot spring was hidden between the deep and shallow greenery. The plants intermingled with steam. No matter from which angle you looked, an outsider could easily lose sight of a person soaking in the hot spring. At most, you could only see an indistinct shadow.
At that moment, there was a shadow of a human figure hidden behind the steam of the water and a violet flowering tree.
Steam, accompanied by the fragrance of flowers, was hanging and rising in the air. The person in the pool was quietly soaking in the spring water. The only sound there was the occasional noise of someone disturbing the water.
The voices of Wang Xiaochuan and Ji Huan from the other side passed over at that very moment.
The moment of perfect tranquility was completely destroyed.
“Shu, Shuzu1, I’ll send someone over there right away to shut those people up.” Not waiting for the person in the pool to say anything, the middle-aged person, who had been waiting ashore holding a pile of clothes and items, spoke urgently in a low voice.
There was irrepressible irritation on his face. Shuzu loved silence the most. In order for his elder to recuperate with peace of mind, he had obviously ordered people below him to go buy that neighboring sanatorium. Why hasn’t it been done in several days!? Now they were disturbing his elder Shuzu. This, how could this be good!?
The middle-aged man trembled with fear. He lowered his head and thought surely that he would be scolded. Unexpectedly ——
“There’s no harm.” The person in the hot spring, however, stopped him.
The steam was heavy there. The voice coming from inside the hot spring was muffled by the heavy steam, as if it was being carried with the steam. All the information about the speaker – their gender, age and expression – were as if they were completely hidden within the steam.
The middle-aged man, as a result, stiffly put down his phone.
Within the quiet mountain, the elegant scenery, the song of cicadas in the distance, the vicinity full of water with the fragrance of flowers… Coupled with the voices of young men who had just reached the stage of their voice change, it was actually still considered to be a good experience —— Presumably his elder Shuzu also thought so?
The middle-aged man then narrowed his eyes slightly. However, at that very moment, Ji Huan’s voice came from next door:
“… My grandpa soaks his feet there every day. If you don’t want to soak in my grandpa’s foot water, don’t soak here…”
Soaks his feet?
The middle-aged man heard a thunderous noise. It was actually the sound of someone standing up from the pool.
It’s over! His elder Shuzu had an obsession with cleanliness…
It was with great difficulty that they found a beautiful spring in this backwater place for Shuzu. Shuzu had even wished to come a second time. As a result, the little fellow on the other side said nonsense…
It’s over! Shuzu won’t come to soak in the hot spring here again.
He stood stiffly by the edge of the poo. With a fragrance that he couldn’t describe, Shuzu climbed to shore.
Steam accompanied the fragrance. Shuzu was standing in front of him. Not daring to raise his head, the middle-aged man only had the courage to look down at his toes.
“… The people of the Wang Family have mixed dirty things into the pool. Ask them to send someone over to clean it,” came Shuzu‘s voice.
Looking at the empty hot spring, the middle-aged man finally could only softly answer with a “yes.”
Not knowing anything of what was happening next door, Ji Huan only seriously examined the scrubbed-clean hot spring pool. Finally, he shared a meaningful glance with Wang Xiaochuan in confirmation. Then, they turned on the water switch together.
Warm, flowing spring water then surged out of the faucet on the pool wall.
A very large amount of water came out. It wasn’t very long before it submerged the bottom of the pool and immersed just up to the soles of the teenagers’ slippers.
Ji Huan was staring at the faucet in front of him, motionless. Just when he wanted to get a little closer, a pained cry from Wang Xiaochuan suddenly came from nearby.
He turned around. Wang Xiaochuan was sitting on his butt in the pool.
“What happened?” Ji Huan then walked over towards Wang Xiaochuan. Bending over slightly, he gave a hand to Wang Xiaochuan.
“Hey! I don’t know what happened either. It seemed like something ran into me. The result was…” Wang Xiaochuan said as his hand was grabbing the hand that Ji Huan had offered him. Then, through Ji Huan’s pulling strength, he stood up.
When he moved his hand away, there was a black handprint neatly on the right hand that Ji Huan had just given Wang Xiaochuan.
Wang Xiaochuan and Ji Huan both froze.
Wang Xiaochuan’s eyes couldn’t help falling to his right hand that had just dropped down to his side. He stiffly lifted his right arm and hesitated for a moment. Finally summoning the courage to turn over his right hand, he looked at his right palm…
“Ah——” Wang Xiaochuan involuntarily cried out: “My hand! My hand——”
“It’s just black powder. Your hand is fine, it’s just stained with powder.” Before he could forget himself any further, Ji Huan stopped him.
Quickly finding the drain on the bottom of the pool, Ji Huan forcefully pulled out the plug. Then, he ran over and twisted the two faucet switches. After finishing all of this, he pulled Wang Xiaochuan up, who was in the middle of the pool not knowing what to do. Pushing him, they climbed up the simple ladder on the pool wall together.
Not knowing whether it was an illusion, Ji Huan felt something slippery and terrible under his feet. It wasn’t like stepping on the stone-paved pool floor, but as if stepping through aquatic plants. Not daring to think further, Ji Huan pushed Wang Xiaochuan, who was trembling and slipping every so often. Finally, they fell down on the edge of the hot spring together.
They panted heavily on the shore for a long time. After a while, Ji Huan heard Wang Xiaochuan say shakily:
“Handkerchief. My, my handkerchief is gone…”
“Buy a new one when you go back.” Ji Huan interrupted him with hardly any hesitation.
“But, but that one had Hei Dan’s urine on it…”
“I’ll let Hei Dan urinate again on a new one and give it to you later.”
After speaking, they both looked at the pool behind them at the same time.
The hot spring that they had been happily talking about before now looked like a huge black mouth, silently waiting there. Ji Huan had obviously pulled the plug of the drain before leaving, but at the moment, the water at the bottom of the pool hadn’t decreased at all. As if it was being blocked by something, there was a shallow layer of water.
“We’re finished here today. It’s time for us to get off work. Let’s go home for now.” Ji Huan stood up and pulled Wang Xiaochuan up, who was still kneeling on the ground. They left without looking back.
No one noticed that, behind them, when their wet feet set foot on the cement floor, there should have only been two sets of shoe prints on the ground. All of a sudden, a third set of wet shoe prints appeared.
whoo! we get our first (second?) glimpse of the ML… he will be making a proper introduction very shortly (i think i keep saying this, but this time, for real, LOL)! in other news, i started by summer classes this week and it’s awful getting up at 6am every day. _(´ཀ`」 ∠) _
i’m gonna try to get another chapter out over the long weekend, so keep a look out! thanks for sticking with me. 🙏
1叔祖 shūzǔ: younger brother of a paternal grandfather. more of a title than familial in this case.
“Look at my serious face: this really isn’t a ghost story.
Hei Dan sleeping on his stomach ← Actually sleeping facing the front… If his eyes are closed, it’s probably like this…… hm?
Thank you, Yu Shixuan.”