“Harry! Luo Bing feels deep repugnance toward us men right now! She only said that so that we wouldn’t worry about her, so that He Lei wouldn’t know that she’s a girl!” Raffles grabbed Harry by his collar and roared with rage, “Which guy would throw a tantrum like you?! If she acted out like this she’d seem too much like a girl! Don’t you understand that we can’t let others suspect her gender?!”
Taken by surprise, Harry could only look at me blankly.
Still furious, Raffles pushed him again. “You should’ve known that Luo Bing only let that… that bastard get close to her for our sake. How can you think that she was willing to?! You think she wasn’t disgusted?! Didn’t you want to know what she was thinking at that time? Take a look for yourself!” Raffles angrily slapped a piece of paper onto Harry’s chest.
“No!” I wanted to take it away but Harry had already picked up the paper and looked. My face was burned at once, while Harry stood dumbfounded on the spot.
I hurriedly snatched the paper from his hand and *rip! Rip! Rip!* I tore the paper into pieces and threw them back into the lake. The torn pieces sank from sight, swallowed by purple lake water.
Clenching my fist, I turned away and fixed my eyes on my reflection in the lake, which looked even more manly than ever. “I am fine now. It’s just that it was my first time coming across something like that and I was frightened. I’ll be okay. I’ll try hard to be more like a guy!” I raised my fist and cheered for myself, pushing any distracting thoughts out of my mind. “I won’t show any flaw. Acting like this now, I must look rather unreasonable and childish. Isn’t it laughable?” I pretended to be at ease when I glanced at them, but they lowered their heads and didn’t reply. As if they were in no mood to listen to my rambling.
The breeze stirred quiet ripples across the tranquil lake surface. Without our noticing, the moon on the lake had already disappeared and the sky to the east had begun to grow bright.
“I want to go back and kill that gigolo!” Harry suddenly roared in anger.
“Harry!” Raffles pushed his chest.
“Move aside!” Harry pushed Raffles away, causing Raffles to fall down.
I quickly grabbed Harry by his sleeve. “Harry! Don’t leave me!” I blurted.
Harry paused. Raffles, who had fallen on the ground, watched Harry and me, his eyes going to my hand that was holding onto Harry.
Harry slowly turned around and looked at me.
I felt the buzz in my head again. Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm myself down. Lowering my face, I continued, “Actually… I was not only frightened of that guy, but also of myself… I was frightened. Ever since I came back, that guy’s rotten face and falling hair keeps replaying in my head…” My hand that was holding Harry’s sleeve began to tremble. As I quivered, I tightened my grip on his sleeve. “I couldn’t forget his perfume … I couldn’t forget it…” The heavy rock that had been weighing on my chest began to crumble, melting into water that welled up in my eyes.
“I couldn’t sleep…. I really couldn’t sleep! I kept thinking about their rotting faces. I smelled his perfume and their puke, like the smell of rotten corpses…”
“Luo Bing…” Raffles stood up and walked up to me.
“But… But with all of you, talking to all of you… smelling the engine oil on you, made me forget about everything temporarily… I could forget about the rotting people, forget about their agonised groans, forget about that foul smell in the air, forget about them…”
“Stop it!” Raffles suddenly hugged me tightly, so tight that I felt like I was about to suffocate. “Stop it, Luo Bing… You are our girl, you are Noah’s girl. We couldn’t protect you… It’s all because we’re not powerful enough…”
“I’m sorry…” Harry turned to hug Raffles and me. He held the two of us tightly in his arms, but it felt like he was hugging me together with Raffles, keeping me well protected between him and Raffles.
My tears dampened Raffles’s chest; silently I wiped them away. I didn’t want to let them see me cry again. Finally, I’d managed to toss the filthy rock that’d been weighing my heart down to them. As I relaxed, I passed my pain to them.
If I’d been able to comfort myself by believing that I’d been freeing the people back in Kro, if I’d been able to convince myself that I’d been helping them to shake off their pain and that their murder had been justified, what about this time?
Although I understood that there would be a first time for everything, this first time had planted a dark shadow at the bottom of my heart, putting out thorned roots that stabbed deep into my heart.
I didn’t want to become like those bloodthirsty Ghost Eclipsers. Nor did I want to become the people from Silver Moon City, who had become numb from killing. I didn’t want myself to become wholly like the cruel people in this world.
Even if I had to kill my enemy, I wished that I could have just done it with a headshot or end their lives in one stab, instead of torturing them and letting them wail in pain in front of me as I watched them rot. That was without a doubt torture, to them and to myself.
I had belittled my superpower. Originally I had only intended to scare them. I’d thought they would only have blisters like Harry. I hadn’t expected it to be so harmful to them.
My superpower was telling me not to treat radiation like a child’s toy,
Slowly I extended my hand and tightly hugged Raffles, who stood in front of me. Just for a short while, let me put aside my toughness and lean on them just a little. Let my heart rest, and shelter me from the storm for a while, like a little sister hiding under her elder brother’s wings.
The pungent engine oil smell had concealed the orchid scent on Raffles too.
“I’m fine now…” I said gently as I let go of Raffles.
Harry and Raffles let go of me, and stood in front of me quietly.
I looked up and smiled at them under the brightening sky. “Thank you for lending me your shoulders.”
Their expressions became complicated. Raffles blushed and looked away.
Harry glanced at Raffles and smiled; he’d gone back to his usual light-hearted self. However, a tinge of seriousness remained in his amber eyes. “Like we said before, we will get through problems together, whatever it is. Next time you have something on your mind, tell Raffles first.” He patted Raffles’s back and Raffles turned away impatiently.
Harry playfully combed Raffles’ hair. “He’s like your caring sister and I…” Harry smiled and looked at me, “I’m just like your brother. Whoever has the guts to bully you, let me know and I’ll beat him up!” Harry raised his fist. Then, he hugged Raffles by the shoulders and grinned. “Raffles, why not we get married and become Luo Bing’s mom and dad?”
“Pfft.” I couldn’t help but smile. Not only was Harry my great brother, but he was also everyone’s happy pill.Previous Chapter Next Chapter