Chapter 134: Old Yu
Qin Jiu scratched the centre of You Huo’s palm.
He took out the brown wallet and passed the photo inside over to Wu Li, “You said you saw a group photo of the research team. Were they these people?”
Wu Li received it and only needed to glance at it before exclaiming with surprise, “Where did you get this?”
“It was kindly provided by that Mr Lee.” Qin Jiu asked, “So does this mean that those researchers really are the ones in this photo?”
‘Not just these people, there were more of them. This photo should be a photo of the main ones.” Wu Li carefully examined each person and came to a pause when she saw her uncle.
“Main ones….” Qin Jiu softly repeated.
“Of course, I’m only guessing. I could recognise these people because they appeared in many of the group photos.
Wu Li’s finger stopped in the middle.
At her finger was a man whose face had been burnt out by a cigarette, leaving a round burnt hole.
“This wasn’t your doing?”
“Of course not.”
Qin Jiu and You Huo had also asked Lee about this and the other party admitted without hesitation, “I did it. So what?”
But when they asked him who that person was and why he burnt him out, Lee was again confused.
He grabbed the photo and did his best to recall. “I don’t know, I don’t remember. But just looking at this hole makes me angry.”
“It was all him. It was all his fault.”
After that, Lee continued to mutter this sentence over and over again.
Based on his reaction, the reason why he had become like this likely had some sort of relationship with that person who was burned off.
“From the photos you have seen, have you seen anyone with a figure like this?” Qin Jiu pointed to the burnt hole.
That man’s body was slightly fat, and he wasn’t very tall. From the looks of his neck and arm, he should be quite old.
Wu Li originally was going to shake her head, but she suddenly stopped, “Ah, there is one.”
“He should be the leader of the entire research team.” Wu Li said, “I have only seen him in photos, and he would always be in the centre and the only one that is sitting. It doesn’t exclude the possibility that it’s because of his age but I’m leaning more towards the theory that he was the leader.”
“Do you have any pictures?” Qin Jiu asked.
“No. Being able to see the photos itself was just pure luck so I naturally didn’t have a chance to take a photo.”
Seemingly to have expected this answer, Qin Jiu nodded, “Then can you describe his appearance?”
Wu Li: “………..”
In the eyes of the rational and objective Miss Wu, humans are all like walking anatomical diagrams. Something like describing another person’s appearance through subjective means were far behind her scope of abilities.
She fell silent for a few seconds, she added, “But I remember his appearance. If I really see him, I think I should be able to recognise him.”
Qin jiu nodded, “Then that’s enough. Thank you.”
Qin Jiu took back the group photo.
In the photo, that woman who resembled You Huo was standing next to the man whose face was burnt off. Even in this photo, she wasn’t smiling.
Was she always like this, even to her own family?
Qin Jiu couldn’t help but wonder.
He hesitated for a few seconds before giving You Huo the photo.
You Huo looked down at the photo for a long time before turning it around and placing it on the coffee table in front Old Yu.
Ever since Wu Li mentioned the research team, Old Yu hadn’t made a single sound. His two hands were clenched very tightly around each other and he seemed to be extremely tense. The moment You Huo pushed the photo in front of him, his face paled in an instant.
Even Yu Wen noticed that something wasn’t right.
“Old Yu? What’s wrong Old Yu?” He patted Old Yu’s shoulder.
The other party didn’t react and just continued to stare at the photo in daze.
Yu Wen looked over and froze.
He saw You Huo’s mother in the photo, the woman he should call aunt.
This aunt of his had always been in poor health and passed away at a young age. Yu Wen only saw her a few times when he was very young and most of his impressions of this aunt came from the many photos Old Yu had.
Old Yu often said that their relationship as brother and sister was very good.
Every time he heard this, Yu Wen would ask, “And then?”
Old Yu would always answer, “She’s very promising.”
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His answer didn’t answer his question, so Yu Wen took it as his aunt being too amazing that she no longer got along with his not-so-great alcoholic dad.
After that, she passed away.
In fact, Yu Wen had always wanted to know what “very promising” referred to.
And now……He finally understood. The photo before him was proof.
What did Sister Wu say just now? Oh, she said that the people in the photo was the team involved with designing this harmful examination system.
His aunt was a part of it.
And as for Old Yu…….
Yu Wen looked at his father blankly.
Old Yu sat uncomfortably under You Huo’s silence. It took him a long time before he began to speak up with difficulty, “Xiao Huo…..”
He paused and opened and closed his mouth several times before finally saying lifelessly, “Forget it. Since it is already like this……..What do you want to know? Ask away.”
You Huo was silent for a moment. He then asked calmly, “You can tell me what you are willing to say.”
This sentence made Old Yu bury his head in his hands.
After a very long time, he said hoarsely, “Alright. After hiding it for so many years, it’s time to talk about it.”
“I in fact…….knew of this system very early on. It’s actually a little different to the time frame estimated by Doctor Wu just now. To my knowledge, this project started more than twenty years ago, about the same age as you. Your mother was a very amazing person and was a key figure at the time.”
“Remember how I have always said that I was once from the army? Altogether, I was in it for six years. The first two years were general service and I was then transferred the research centre for the latter four years. I wasn’t involved in the project and just stood guard outside. There wasn’t much to do, and it was quite an idle job.”
Old Yu held up the photo and seemed to be reminiscing as he spoke.
At that time, he felt that being involved with this project was something he should feel proud about and that his sister who was a key figure was even more amazing.
But at what point did everything change?
It was probably……..since the day he noticed that there was something wrong with his nephew’s eyes.
How old was You Huo back then? Four? Five?
He no longer remembered. In any case, he was very young. So young, he would easy pass on if he got severely sick or injured.
It was also because of this that his reaction was so big when he found out about You Huo’s involvement with the project.
He found it horrifying and was infuriated.
What made it even more difficult for him to accept was that his sister should be aware of this…..
Not only should she be aware of this, she may even be the one who allowed it.
The other party however only answered calmly, “Objectively speaking, this shouldn’t bring any harm to the child. It will not cause any injuries and it’s essentially the same as wearing a smartwatch. You’re only temporarily unable to accept this because your emotions are getting in the way of your thoughts.”
But Old Yu couldn’t come to understand this no matter what. How could she speak of her child ‘objectively’? She was speaking as if she was talking about a lab rat.
At that moment, he felt that he had never truly known this sister of his.
For the first time this pair of siblings had a fight. Although it was called a fight, his sister was calm the entire time and only he was the one who was emotionally charged.
The calmer the other party was, the more fearful he became.
The Old Yu in his youth was even more reckless than he is now.
He couldn’t convince his sister and he couldn’t accept the other party’s actions. More importantly, as soon as he saw his nephew’s eyes, he would have nightmares all night. Unable to handle it, he quickly went through a wave of applications and retired from the army.
He thought angrily, “He’s not even my damned son so why waste my efforts worrying!”
But as it turned out, he was worried to death.
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Even after leaving that place and even after no longer coming into contact with anything related to the project, he would always be thinking about that little nephew of his. Extremely frustrated, he often called his friends out to drink until he was wasted.
That was how the alcoholic Old Yu came about.
Old Yu would sometimes think that blood relations really was a strange thing. He was just an uncle and at most took care of You Huo for a few years so why was he so bothered?
He then thought about it. If even he as an uncle felt distressed, how could his sister be so heartless?
Perhaps it may be better if it was out of sight and out of mind, over the next few years, he cut off all contact with his sister and because of the confidential nature of the project, he was unable to see both her and You Huo nor receive any information from them.
Over time, he thought and thought about it and finally felt that he could understand his sister.
To her, the birth of her son caused her life to be set awry. Her husband left, her work was affected, she didn’t have enough funds and resources and her body was left with various illnesses. She was never completely healthy again after his birth.
She probably never held any deep feelings for this child of hers.
But understanding didn’t mean that he approved of her actions.
Old Yu still resented this action of hers.
This pair of close siblings gradually became distant relatives who only see each other once every few years.
He had his own family and his own son but every time he saw You Huo, he couldn’t help but feel guilty.
He actually didn’t know what he should feel guilty for, but he couldn’t help it.
As that child got older, he became more indifferent, less talkative and he also didn’t grow close to anyone because many were afraid of him.
The others didn’t know the reason for it and just felt inexplicably afraid but Old Yu knew. And so, the more afraid he was, the more distressed he felt for his nephew.
And the more distressed he was, the more he was afraid of You Huo one day finding out about the truth, finding out about the thing in his eyes, and finding out……..that it was his mother who had pushed for it.
Throughout this entire time, Old Yu’s biggest worry was this.
And finally, it really happened.
Old Yu would always remember that day.
His sister who was sitting up in her bed said to him in her usual calm tone, “……The thing inside You Huo’s eyes can be taken out when he becomes an adult. It’ll depend on the situation. I know what you’ve always been thinking about but it’s better that you don’t interfere. The system’s development has been a little…..beyond expectations. It’ll be hard to predict what will happen if there is too much interference.”
She said, “I may indeed not be suitable as a mother. At first, I couldn’t help but throw all my resentment and disgust towards his father onto him and it was really difficult for me to like him. I’m originally not someone emotionally fuelled. Compared to that child, I was more enthusiastic towards the project. Do you know why I wanted him to be the systems learning target? Because I thought….that if he became a core component of the project I could possibly be more patient towards him, care for him more and like him more.”
“But I later realised that I was too naive. Over time, even I became afraid to look into his eyes. Sometimes he would stare at me for a while and I would wonder if he was the one looking at me or if it’s that thing in his eyes that’s looking at me.”
She fell silent for a moment after that and turned to Old Yu: “I know you feel distressed for You Huo but you should let it go. He will———”
That sentence of hers couldn’t be finished. At this moment, they saw someone standing at the door.
Even now, Old Yu didn’t know how much You Huo may have overheard.
He only remembered the shock at that time as well as that young boy’s expressionless and pale face.
That moment later became the main theme of his nightmares.
If he could, he wished that he could go back to that time to cover You Huo’s ears and hold You Huo back.
And many years later when You Huo was removed by the system and his memories were completely interfered with, Old Yu was actually happy about it.
Because it meant that he would forget about these things.
“Over the past two, three years……I actually knew that you have something you wanted to finish, and I also knew that someone here would try to get you back in. I have constantly been trying to avoid this by dragging you to places with lots of people and get Yu Wen to follow you around, but I didn’t expect the system to also drag us in together.” Old Yu said, “Your uncle wanted to be more selfish and just didn’t want you to return to a place like this again.”
He paused and added, “This was also your mother’s intention. She was very regretful when she realised that there was something wrong with this project and she asked me to take good care of you. If you get hurt or lose half your life, I won’t be able to face her when I go to the other world.”
Even now, he persisted—–
He would still try and modify his words and occasionally embellish, hide or skip over some details.
He still hoped that You Huo would never recall those things so that in his memory his mother was just someone who was cold in nature and not very good at expressing her emotions……
And not that she disliked him.
Old Yu felt that he as an alcoholic loser couldn’t be of much help.
The only thing he could do was probably to just be an uncle constantly worrying over him.
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