½ Prince Volume 4: The Buskers of Infinite City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 8: Dating Diary – translated by Raylight
“Professor, you really didn’t have to go to all this trouble…” In tearless grief, I looked at Professor Min Gui Wen as he sat across from me.
“Don’t worry. So long as I can settle my students’ problems, a small favor like this isn’t any trouble!” Gui’s smile spread across his whole face as he took a sip of his beverage.
Jing! You really will be the death of me. I never would have thought that in order to get Professor Min to go on a date with me, Jing would actually weave such an outrageous lie. Even I thought that her story was beyond logic when I heard it. What was even more incredible was that Professor Min actually believed it…
The story goes like this: Yesterday after class Jing pulled me over right in front of Professor Min.
“Professor, there is a very grave and urgent matter that I hope you can help us with.” Jing put on an expression of profound grief and distress. At the time, I wasn’t very sure what she was grieved and distressed about.
Professor Min, seeing that the matter looked quite serious, comforted Jing with his usual gentle smile. “What’s the matter? Say it slowly; don’t be nervous.”
“Actually, it is Xiao Lan’s problem. There’s a stalker who’s been harassing Xiao Lan. He has been bothering her for over a year, but still he refuses to leave her alone.” Jing knitted her eyebrows together, teary-eyed.
“Is this true? Xiao Lan, are you unable to accept that person?” asked Professor Min.
That person? Who is that person…? I was thoroughly puzzled and only stared with blank eyes.
Jing suddenly shouted loudly, “Professor, look! Xiao Lan has been scared out of her mind by that guy’s frightening harassment.”
“Oh?” Professor Min frowned. “No wonder Feng Lan has recently been looking a little absentminded in class and is always running off in a hurry after school.”
“…” I was looking absentminded because I was intimidated by the reporters outside trying to ask you where to find Prince… And if I don’t leave in a hurry after school, some reporter with far-too-keen eyes might realize that I look like Prince. Wouldn’t I be dead meat if that were to happen?
“That’s right. Professor, you don’t know how scary that guy is. Xiao Lan told him that she’d rather die than love him, but it was no use! Even kicking his ass with my karate didn’t work. After that, all that we could do was tell him that Xiao Lan already had a perfect man who was handsome, mature, and reliable. However, he says that he refuses to believe it, unless…” At this point, Jing’s face started to show signs of reluctance and embarrassment.
“Unless what?” Professor Min asked, extremely serious.
“… Unless he sees that man with his own eyes!” Jin sighed. “But where could we find someone to help us put on this show?” Jing shook her head in distress.
I suddenly had a look of epiphany. I finally understand what Jing is trying to do! But, but this lie is too lousy. Anyone with a bit of brain wouldn’t fall for it, let alone Professor Min Gui Wen with his IQ of 200!
“I understand. I will help to put up this show!” Professor Min let out a smile.
It can’t be! Professor Min, where did your IQ of 200 go? I was incredulous as I looked at Professor Min’s earnest face.
“That’s wonderful, Professor! Then tomorrow after school, you can take Xiao Lan out for coffee or go shopping or something. I’ll be responsible for bringing that guy over, so that he’ll finally believe Xiao Lan’s words!” Jing happily exclaimed.
“Okay.” Professor Min’s face still held the same gentle smile.
Thus explains how Professor Min and I happened to be sitting in this open-air café drinking coffee for no apparent reason. I continued to have doubts as to how Professor Min could have fallen for Jing’s story.
“Student Feng Lan, why hasn’t that person come yet?” Professor Min wore a smile on his face.
“I, I don’t know either…” That person had better exist! I cursed Jing, whose current whereabouts were unknown, behind her back.
Professor Min’s face suddenly became serious and he sighed. “Student Feng Lan, I don’t think that person is coming, is he? Or rather, that person doesn’t even exist.”
“You knew?” I said in surprise. Since he knew the truth, why would he still go out with me?
Professor Min put on a forced smile. “Ever since I started teaching, I have heard all sorts of reasons for asking me out. However, the reason that you two came up with was the most exaggerated.”
Hearing this, I could only smile foolishly. That makes more sense!
“Student Feng Lan, I want to tell you that I already have someone in my heart, so…” Professor Min abruptly showed an awkward expression. “So I’m afraid I can’t accept your feelings.”
I sat there stunned for some time before I realized that he thought the reason I invited him out was to confess my feelings for him.
“Student Feng Lan, don’t be too upset. I truly have someone in my heart. It’s not that you’re not good enough…” Professor Min probably saw my dumbfounded look and started panicking as he tried to explain with everything he had.
“Pfft!” I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s not my fault. When Professor Min is flustered, he suddenly has Gui’s foolish look. Seeing Professor’s refined and serious appearance, wearing glasses and a white dress shirt, but revealing a look of foolishness is just too funny.
“Why are you laughing now? Women nowadays are so hard to understand,” Gui muttered to himself.
“Is Professor’s crush Prince?” I suddenly wanted to hear Professor Min say it out loud in real life, as himself.
“Yes, it’s Prince.” Although he wanted to feign calmness, Gui’s face still reddened slightly and he looked embarrassed.
After a round of silence, I suddenly blurted out, “Won’t you regret it? Prince is a man.”
When he heard my question, Gui’s expression suddenly changed into one of profundity. “Regret…? Prince is like a rose with thorns. If at first I had known about its thorns, then perhaps I would not have picked it up. However, I have already picked the rose up, smelled its fragrance and seen its beauty. If I put it down now, the suffering borne by my heart would be more painful than the pain of my bleeding hand, torn open by the thorns. Therefore, I cannot put it down.”
After a good while, Gui’s intense gaze faded away and he looked at me with a red face. “Sorry, that must have sounded strange,” he said.
Smiling, I shook my head and then said solemnly, “Professor, promise me one thing, then we can end it here today.”
“What is it?” Gui was noticeably trembling in fear.
Thus, after eating spaghetti with clams in white wine sauce and borscht to my heart’s content, Professor Min bewilderedly paid the bill, and my date with Professor Min came to a satisfactory conclusion.
That night, Jing and Yun excitedly dragged me out.
“Where are we going?” I asked uncertainly.
“What kind of nonsense are you spouting? It’s to meet your next date, of course,” Jing barked crossly.
“Over there!” Jing hid behind a lamp-post, her finger pointing at Zhuo-gege, who was standing some distance away. “Xiao Lan, I told Zhuo Ling Bin that you really wanted to visit the night market3, but I didn’t have time to accompany you so I asked him to go with you in my place. Understood?”
“Then hurry up and go! Remember to compare the two prospects.” Yun suddenly pushed me out from behind the lamp-post. I had no choice but to walk towards Zhuo-gege.
“You’re here, Xiao Lan.” Zhuo-gege smiled at me.
“Yeah.” I nodded my head.
“Where do you want to shop first? Or do you want to eat something first?” Zhuo-gege asked very considerately.
“Eat.” I never had any intention to shop around, so I can only say eat. It’s really not because I’m a glutton!
By the end of our stroll, I was holding fried chicken in my left hand, red tea in my right hand, and I was still chewing the french fries that I had just stuffed into my mouth… Zhuo-gege was even helping me hold the chicken kebabs and liquor escargots.
“Do you want anything else to eat, Xiao Lan?” Zhuo-gege asked attentively.
I shook my head, pointing to a park bench not far away. “Let’s just go sit down there and take our time eating.”
While I worked on the food, I thought of my mother’s words. She said Zhuo-gege likes me? Hmmm… I have to ask him. Thinking of this, I absent-mindedly opened my mouth to ask, “Zhuo-gege, do you like me?”
Zhuo-gege’s body froze rather noticeably. He slowly turned his head to face me, his eyes filled with the uncertainty of whether to feel happy or helpless. He was silent for a long time. Finally he only said, “Yeah, I have liked you for eight years.”
Eight years? My heart skipped a beat. Has he really liked me for such a long time?
“Liked me for eight years? Am I worth it?”
“Of course,” Zhuo-gege replied without hesitation.
“But, I don’t know whether I like you or not… I can’t decide.” Seeing that Zhuo-gege’s mood was clearly a little downcast, I felt a bit at a loss of what to do. Isn’t this extremely unfair for Zhuo-gege? Eight years… That’s such a heavy burden that just hearing about it makes me gasp for breath.
“Never mind, I will wait for you.” Zhuo-gege replied in another simple sentence.
I hesitated a little. “You…don’t regret it? Maybe, maybe I…”
Zhuo-gege stood up with his back facing me, using a dreamy tone that I had never heard him using before. “The sunflower always faces the sun without regret or complaint. In the face of wind or rain, it always awaits the sun’s warm smile. Although the time spent waiting for the sun is always so painful, the sunflower has never regretted and will never regret it.”
Seeing Zhuo-gege’s broad and lonely figure, I abruptly realized that his ears were as red as a thoroughly ripe tomato.
“Sunflower, huh?” I quietly chewed on my food, not even noticing the taste inside my mouth.
“What do you think of yesterday’s dates?” asked Jing and Yun the next day, their eyes opened wide in excitement.
“Quite good.” I scratched my cheek.
“So how are the prospects on both sides?” Yun was itching to know.
“Hmm… On one party’s side, although he only paid once, the price for that one time was quite significant, and it left me with an endless aftertaste. On the other party’s side, he paid continuously. Although the price he paid each time was small, and even though the taste was inferior to the former, the combined total was still remarkable,” I said in accordance with the facts.
“What does that mean?” Yun asked in puzzlement.
Smacking Yun on the head, Jing said, “Dummy, can’t you even understand a metaphor? The meaning is this: although Professor Min loved her for a shorter time, he still fell in love with her even though he thought that Xiao Lan was a guy. This sacrifice is of course very impressive. In addition, Professor’s love is as passionate as fire. Thus, it definitely leaves a lingering aftertaste. On the contrary, Zhuo Ling Bin’s love is as gentle as water. However, it’s also like a slow and steady stream. His continuous sacrifices aren’t as impressive as the sacrifice made by the Professor, but when we take into account the total time that he had loved Xiao Lan, the sacrifice he made isn’t any less significant than Professor’s. Do you understand?”
“I get it now,” Yun realized with sudden comprehension.
“Yes. Isn’t that right, Xiao Lan?” Jing asked proudly, showing off.
“No… I was referring to the food.” I scratched my head.
“Food?” Jing and Yun stared at me with eyes wide open.
I nodded my head as if that were the most natural explanation. “Yeah, although Gui only treated me to spaghetti with clams in white wine sauce and borsht, the price of the meal was over eight hundred dollars4. It was really expensive, and the spaghetti was so delicious that I keep remembering its aftertaste. As for the night market snacks that Zhuo-gege treated me to, although they weren’t as delicious as the spaghetti, there was a great variety. I really ate to my heart’s content, so the total cost might not be less than that of Gui’s treat.”
“…” For reasons unbeknownst to me, the two of them began foaming at the mouth. Then, they glared at me with wide, white eyes.
Finally, Jing concluded, “Whoever falls in love with you will be cursed for eight generations.”
Achoo! Min Gui Wen and Zhuo Lin Bin simultaneously sneezed in two different locations.
Is someone cursing me? The two thought at the same time.
[½ Prince Volume 4 Chapter 8 End]
1 Spaghetti with clams in white wine sauce: This is what it looks like: http://i2.dpfile.com/2008-10-09/1031423_b.jpg. And here the recipe for anyone who is interested (and can cook): http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/spaghetti-with-clams-recipe/index.html.
2 Borscht: A soup of Ukrainian origin that is popular in many Eastern and Central European countries. It is usually made with beetroot and/or tomatoes, which give it a reddish-purple color. For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borscht.
3 Night Market: Also known as night bazaars, these are street markets which operate at night and are generally dedicated to more leisurely strolling, shopping, and eating than more businesslike day markets.
4 Eight hundred dollars: This is in New Taiwan Dollars, not US dollars. 800 TWD is equal to approximately 26 USD (as of December 2010).