Chapter 15: P.
A Place To Take Him In


Su Hui pushed hard against the door to open it.

The sight inside stunned Ning Yixiao on the spot.
It was like he, who had never believed in fairy tales, had suddenly fallen into Alice’s wonderland from the muddy swamp of reality — into a beautiful dream.

The factory that looked so ordinary from the outside was filled with numerous beautiful unmatched art pieces — the first phrase Ning Yixiao could think of was this, even if he had never truly experienced art.

After these twenty-over years of poverty, hardship that left him hard to breathe, he had practically lost his ability to appreciate beauty.

But here, there was an overwhelming number of art pieces.
Just like Su Hui who first intruded into his vision, slammed into his life.

“Did you make all these?”

Weaving through a gigantic sea wave, thin but overlapping, he looked at Su Hui.

Su Hui nodded, whispering, “I just made them casually.”

He became a little bashful then, hands behind his back as he walked to the “sea wave”.
He squatted down and pressed a button.
Wind suddenly started up.
The fan that had been arranged in place activated the “sea wave”, smoothly creating the effect of layers of tides pushing forward.

“The one at the entrance is the sea that I made.
I really like the sea.
But so far, I haven’t seen it in person before.” Su Hui shrugged his shoulders with a smile.
“They don’t allow me to go out and they don’t like to take me far too.”

“So, you made one yourself.”

Ning Yixiao looked up at the blue textured tulle, the fixated folds.
Every upraised peak was sewn together with gold powder, just like a real glistening sea wave that came up and down freely in the wind.

“Yes.” Su Hui laughed, looking at this piece with him.
“But it might not look too alike.
I made it while referencing a photo and made a few attempts.
I also found many kinds of materials.
But it might still not be too accurate.”

Ning Yixiao remembered the sea — the terrifying sea — that he had grown sick of seeing when he was younger.
Only during the afternoons in summers, when the sun rays splashed on them, would it look this beautiful.
Just like how Su Hui made it look.

What he created was the most beautiful sea.
So beautiful that it could make him put up with every regret.

“It looks alike.” He said with a smile.
“It’s very pretty.”

These words seemed to have lit up a dark corner in Su Hui’s heart, making him feel warm and safe.

This was his first time bringing someone else other than his grandmother to his secret hideout.
He was very nervous and afraid that Ning Yixiao would find it incomprehensible.

Su Hui felt like he was just an immature child, anxious to shove his diary to someone the moment he was fond of them, hoping the diary would be read and understood, that he would be completely dissected.

Ning Yixiao examined every piece seriously and even maintained a very polite distance to appreciate them.
It made Su Hui increasingly elated.
He was a little excited, his speech rate becoming much faster too.

“This is a planet.
It’s made with glass.” Su Hui explained to him, gesturing cutely.
“There was a time where I just picked up abandoned glass products.
Many were shattered pieces.
When I came back, I shattered them into even smaller ones and painted them yellow before piecing them together into an empty ball.
The inside is a light bulb and outside the planet is a ring-shaped LED light.

As he spoke, Su Hui pressed a switch.
The light inside and outside lit up in unison.
The planet formed from broken shards of glass were peerlessly brilliant, as if they were real shining starlight.

“Doesn’t it look a lot like Saturn?” He looked at Ning Yixiao.

Ning Yixiao gazed at this planet piece, stilling before he turned to look at Su Hui, eyes finally resting on his hands.

“When you made this, did you injure yourself?”

Su Hui was taken aback.
He had never thought Ning Yixiao would react like this.
This gave him a sense of foreignness, the nervousness made him hold his hands together.

No one had asked him such a question before.

Ning Yixiao stared at his fingers and knew the answer.
He turned to attentively appreciate the art piece and gave his feedback.
“It’s very pretty.
It’s the prettiest planet sculpture piece I’ve seen.”

“But next time, protect your hands.” He added.

“Oh.” Su Hui revealed a small smile with his pursed lips.
He pulled on Ning Yixiao to continue forward and corrected him too.
“This isn’t a sculpture.
It’s an installation art.
All the ones I made are.
But I’ve never been professionally trained.”

“You can try.” Ning Yixiao had blurted out.
But he suddenly remembered what Su Hui said — that he could not choose the major he wanted to learn — and could not help but feel sympathetic.

He could not understand.
For someone like Su Hui, who had such a superior family background, why did he lack so much freedom?

His own lack of freedom originated from lacking material possessions, originated from having insufficient luck in his fate.
These were things that he had no way of changing.
They had been decided from the very moment he was born.

But Su Hui was different.
And he should not be like this.

Su Hui did not know what he was thinking and was still imagining a possible wonderful future.
“Actually, I secretly looked at many schools that were really amazing in this field.

“I hope my illness will stabilize soon, then I can convince them to let me study it.
I really want to leave this place and do what I want to do.”

Ning Yixiao wanted to say he would.
But he felt that that seemed far too easily said, like he was intentionally sucking up to him, when, in truth, he was well aware that this was not easy.
But he did not want to tear down the wings of hope in Su Hui’s heart.

After a moment of silence, he changed the topic.
“How did you find this place? Your family hasn’t come here before?”

Su Hui giggled and shook his head very obediently.
“This is a present from my grandmother during my sixteenth birthday.
A place that others cannot find.”

He shook the key in his hand.
“Other than her, no one has come here before.”

“Oh, no.” Realizing that he misspoke, Su Hui immediately corrected himself.
“Today, my secret hideout welcomed a new guest.”

He stood there, a gentlemanly smile on his face as he extended his arms like a little prince in fairy tales.

It was very difficult for Ning Yixiao to describe his emotions at this moment.
It was like every good thing in the world was happening within the same second — so good that it did not feel real.

Other than a humongous sea wave and a planet, it was placed with many little installations too.
Su Hui introduced each of them, from “a melted sunflower” to “colorful balloon storm”.
Everything was delicate and cute, and brimmed with creativity.

His speech was very quick, holding a liveliness and zeal that was a little different from usual.
Just like a small rabbit who led the way in fairy tales, every action exuded innocence.

Suddenly, Su Hui seemed to have seen something, pulling on Ning Yixiao’s wrist with excitement as he pointed at a small installation art at the corner, half-running over.

“Ning Yixiao, this is my shelter.”

Su Hui would always call him very solemnly and very sincerely, while heaving, while smiling.
It made Ning Yixiao detest this name a little less at this moment.

But he could not look straight at Su Hui’s smile, so he could only look at his creation, doing his best to  wholeheartedly be an exhibition-goer.

The shelter Su Hui mentioned looked much more like a gigantic cocoon created from balls of waste paper glued together.
Thick snow-white strings covered from the outside.
It looked expensive, but it was very cheap in its core.

All of the waste paper had been turned blue, the paint glowing with faint fluorescence.

Su Hui said that he designed it for himself.
Whenever he was not happy, he would try to hole himself in, just as if his life had returned to that starting point.
He turned back into that tiny fetus, and was very safe.

As he spoke, he parted the strings and actually went in, curled inside, looking out with his head half-lowered.
His gaze was very soft, very pitiful.

“Ning Yixiao, do you want to come in to try?” He stretched out a hand.

For some reason, Ning Yixiao’s first reaction was to reject it.
“The space inside doesn’t seem big.”

He felt like it shouldn’t be him.

But Su Hui said very firmly, “I want you to come in.”

He struggled internally for a moment, but finally conceded to Su Hui’s eyes that looked just like a small animal.
Ning Yixiao squeezed into his shelter — into that warm and safe cocoon of his.

There was certainly not a lot of space.
Ning Yixiao had to curl up just as he had expected and squeezed himself beside Su Hui.

They were extremely close.
Each part of the curves at the edges of their bodies seemed to be completely pressed against each other, with non-existent distance.

He occupied a part of Su Hui’s safety.

Blue waste-paper cocoon shone a faint glow on Su Hui’s pale face.
Fluorescent blue.
As if they were situated in the smallest, smallest aquarium.
There are no sharks here.
No whales.
Only the two of them.

“Don’t you feel a huge sense of safety? The feeling of being wrapped up.”

Su Hui looked above the cocoon, arm pressed against Ning Yixiao’s arm as he stared quietly.
“The moment I’m sad or upset, I’ll hide here, pretending to be an insect egg who hasn’t seen the world yet.
Being an adult that won’t make mistakes at any time is really so hard.”

Ning Yixiao looked at him, falling into a daze for a moment.

He had enjoyed a free exhibition but felt its worth was greater than everything.
It was so great that he grew increasingly aware that this did not belong to him.
And he couldn’t bear the cost either.

“Yeah.” Ning Yixiao could not help but admit it.
“It’s so difficult.”

Su Hui turned with a smile, childish naivety on his face.

“Ning Yixiao, thank you for taking me in.”

Their gazes touched.
His heart skipped a beat.

“I don’t know how to describe the feeling I get when you keep me company.
It’s like there’s no way for me to explain it clearly.
So, I want to bring you into this cocoon and let you feel it.”

Within the cramped shelter, fluorescent blue glow shrouded them.
Su Hui looked at him, gaze gentle.
When he spoke, the pink tongue pin in his mouth faintly appeared and disappeared, just like a certain rosily colored beautiful omen.

“Just like this.
It’s very safe.”

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