[Little Eleven: …Thank you?]
[Little Eleven: You too.]
Chi Xueyan had just stopped the car and walked into the bar when he saw He Qiao’s reply.
The entire venue was decorated in a grisly manner. The wallpaper was mottled with blood, and there was a variety of large and small bloodstained utensils hanging such as scalpels, chainsaws, axes…
He enjoyed the party scene with a murderous air in front of him and couldn’t help laughing in a good mood when he remembered the hesitant thanks.
Wang Shaojing was busy decorating the bar counter with simulated blood plasma when he saw Chi Xueyan coming in and quickly beckoned. “Here!”
Then he saw Chi Xueyan’s expression clearly and couldn’t help joking, “Why did you come so late after work? Which child did you have to coax?”
“A fun child.” Chi Xueyan didn’t reply to the message and put away his phone. “Is there anything else to finish?”
“It is almost done. Oh, help me put up a poster. The ladder is over there. Go up and ask someone to help you hold it.”
Wang Shaojing pointed to the ladder to the side. Then he gestured to his considerable stomach and shook his head. “I’m worried that the ladder won’t be able to bear me.”
Chi Xueyan responded, “Okay.”
He stood on the ladder and as other people handed the poster over, Wang Shaojing watched from below and asked him, “Is your white coat in the way? Do you want to take it off first and wear it when you are done?”
After getting out of the car, Chi Xueyan had put on the white coat he brought with him when he went out in the morning. Now he was Dr. Chi again.
“No, I’m used to it.”
On the ladder, Dr. Chi spread out the poster. The dim light of the bar illuminated the top of his crimson hair.
The poster had a silhouette wearing a white doctor’s uniform that contrasted with the silver, shining scalpel. In the shadows, there was the faint movie title ‘SCALPEL’.
This was a fairly classic horror movie series that was deeply loved by fans. For example, Wang Shaojing who opened the bar was a fanatical, diehard fan. He not only named the bar SCA but he put a lot of movie merchandise in the store. He also held several SCALPEL-themed movie viewing parties every year.
The guests who came could dress up as any character in the movie. They played and watched the movie in a carefully arranged scene. It was a celebration with a cult atmosphere, which was still relatively rare in China.
Chi Xueyan had heard about this party when he was in college. He was brought by a friend to play once and quickly fell in love with the movie. He came every time after that and met Wang Shaojing.
The doctor and the scalpel on the poster were the main elements in the first part of the movie. It told the story of an exquisite and brutal revenge game of a doctor with a high IQ. The plot and killing methods varied in the next few installments, but the symbols were always the white coat and scalpel.
As for the villain, he had to be a surgeon who was proficient in the structure of the human body.
Chi Xueyan finished pasting the poster and pressed the corners flat. He stared at the white coat on the poster for a while before turning to ask Wang Shaojing, “Do I look like a villain?”
Wang Shaojing, who was covered in blood, raised his head. He thought the other person had already entered the role of the movie in advance and immediately grinned, showing a terrifying smile. “Doctor D isn’t a villain. He is obviously the protagonist.”
“……” Chi Xueyan saw his bloody teeth and was delighted. “Is this syrup delicious?”
“It is really sweet.” Wang Shaojing choked up and howled, “I’m going to die from the sweetness!”
The SCA Bar tonight was very popular.
The streets were full of people and the neon lights of the bar sign looked the same as ever on this hot and humid night.
Young people in groups of two or three came in together. Many were dressed up as doctors while others were dressed as the dead who appeared in the movie.
Among the bustling crowd, there was a ‘doctor’ with an indifferent temperament but a prominent appearance, who stood out the most.
His companions were all wearing the same white coats specially prepared for this event. Different surgical instruments were placed in their chest pockets and they looked like a gang committing crimes.
This set of surgical instruments was movie merchandise and made from plastic. In order to avoid an accidental injury, all guests could only carry imitation props. The decorations in the bar also weren’t real knives and guns.
Someone solemnly handed the plastic scalpel to the companion who had become the focus of the crowd, as if handing over a crown. “Old Lu, in order of height, this most important scalpel belongs to you.”
Lu Siyi remained motionless and his expression was cold. “How childish.”
His friends were familiar with his temper and someone immediately hugged him by the shoulder in a joking manner. “Cooperate a bit. You will definitely like this movie and it is good for decompression.”
Lu Siyi looked at the scalpel that was handed to him and kept resisting. “My experiment hasn’t yet…”
His companion quickly stuffed the prop into his pocket and pushed him inside without any explanation.
“Oh, how uncomfortable is it to work behind closed doors? Aren’t you stuck? Have a good time and perhaps you will gain new ideas. Even your mentor has advised you not to be bored in the laboratory all the time…”
The colorful neon lights shone over the white coat and it was another world once he entered through the door.
The first time guests were amazed by the atmospheric surroundings while regular visitors greeted each other and chatted with each other.
The noise became even louder once the movie officially started playing on the big screen.
Most of the people present had watched this movie series and many knew the specific plots and lines by heart. Every time a character who would die tragically in the near future appeared on the screen, the audience would give merciless evaluations.
For example, in a dark hospital building, an obese security guard was holding a paper bag of popcorn in his hand and a flashlight under his armpit. He patrolled slowly while the clear sound of popcorn being bitten and the metallic sound of the keychain dangling at his waist intertwined, creating a strange atmosphere.
“Brother, don’t eat and look back!”
“What is the use of the broken flashlight? Can you turn on the light?!”
The moment the security guard collapsed in a pool of blood, shouts and boos erupted in the bar.
Wang Shaojing, who was dressed as a security guard of the building, sat at the bar with the same keychain hanging from his waist. He gladly accepted the popcorn thrown by the guests before happily drawing a horizontal line on the small blackboard at hand.
This was the correct way to open a horror movie.
In the midst of a crowd that became crazier and crazier, the only doctor with red hair had a distracted expression.
Chi Xueyan had participated in many SCALPEL parties but today was the first time that he hadn’t been fully committed.
Doctor D on the screen left quietly after completing his first trial, leaving no trace except for the corner of his white clothes flashing in the dark.
Outside the screen, Chi Xueyan remembered the story he heard this evening.
The villain in the novel world lost everything due to a paranoid, unrequited love.
This was obviously impossible, but He Qiao’s serious expression when saying these words appeared in his mind.
Maybe it was because He Qiao was quite an interesting person but he felt a bit of regret when the two of them separated without chatting a bit more.
Chi Xueyan shook his head and decided not to think any longer. He tried to drive away these trivial thoughts.
His peripheral vision swept over an area not far away. Then he turned to look there in surprise.
In the high-spirited atmosphere of the dancing crowd, a tall young man dressed as Doctor D looked unusually calm. He was out of touch with the bustle around him and lowered his head, as if writing something.
Chi Xueyan took a few steps closer. He crossed through the flying popcorn and paper balls. Then he saw the other person using the plastic scalpel in his right hand as a support while he held a pen to write on a small piece of paper.
Based on Chi Xueyan’s excellent eyesight, he could vaguely see that it wasn’t a phone number or a count of the number of dead in the movie. Rather, it was a bunch of complex formulas.
This was a left-handed academic master with strong concentration and a superior side profile.
He was also completely unaware of the noise and peepers around him.
Chi Xueyan watched for a while. He first felt it was strange before the smile in his eyes deepened.
He was often attracted to strange, elusive people or things.
In the almost boiling bar, this strange place of silence expanded even more.
It wasn’t known how long it took until a clipboard with white paper was handed to the young man. The young man, who was deep in thought, raised his head and astonishment flashed in his eyes.
Chi Xueyan thought that the other person was in line with his aesthetics.
“It is more convenient to write with this.”
The young man hesitated before reaching out to take it. “Thank you.”
He had a more convenient tool and couldn’t wait to lower his head to start writing. He was dragged into a world full of puzzles by the formulas. Then after a moment, he seemed to remember the issue of politeness and abruptly withdrew from his thoughts.
He looked at the strange red-haired young man. “I will finish writing quickly and will return it to you after writing.”
Chi Xueyan shrugged. “It is okay. I’ll give it to you.”
He asked before the other person could lower his head again, “Were you pulled over by a friend to play?”
Chi Xueyan smiled. “Doctor D will kill someone with a clipboard in two minutes. It is a classic, famous scene.”
The young man was stunned. He looked at the clipboard in his hand and then the big screen in front of him. Finally, he buried his head to calculate the formula. “I can finish it right away.”
Chi Xueyan also looked away and stopped disturbing the other person.
This was a very assertive person.
After the first part of the movie was finished, the lights came on and the intermission began in the bar. The young man put down his pen and sighed with relief. Even his usual cold expression softened a bit.
He took off the paper with dense writing on it, folded it neatly and put it in his pocket. Then he found Chi Xueyan, who was sitting at the bar and chatting with Wang Shaojing, to return the clipboard. “I am done using it. Thank you.”
Chi Xueyan saw that he was eager to leave and asked, “Are you leaving?”
“Yes, I’m going back to the laboratory.” There was faint excitement in his tone as he said softly, “I have a new idea.”
Before the other party turned to leave, Chi Xueyan reached out a hand to him and introduced himself. “I am Chi Xueyan.”
It was a suitable occasion to meet friends. There were strangers exchanging contact information everywhere around him so it didn’t stand out.
Therefore, this tall young man didn’t resist.
He stretched out his hand in response and his tone was flat. “I am Lu Siyi.”
The words fell and the dimly flowing lights in front of Chi Xueyan seemed to shake. He suddenly crashed into a terrifying dream world.
Chi Xueyan’s mind was blank for a moment.
He heard his own voice that suddenly became distant. “Which Yi? Is it the ‘firm and persistent’ Yi?”
There was an even more distant answer from the other person.
“It is the Yi of standing feather—standing upright and feather.”
He had also asked the same question when He Qiao told him the story of transmigrating into a novel.
It was because this was a less common character.
He got the exact same answer.
In the hazy, roaring noises, Chi Xueyan didn’t remember when Lu Siyi left. His original idea of wanting the other person’s contact information completely disappeared. He stared blankly at the world of light and shadow in front of him until people cheered loudly and the lights went out again.
Wang Shaojing, who was about to watch the second movie, patted him on the shoulder. “Why are you in a daze? It is about to start. Hurry up.”
Chi Xueyan stopped him and the faint helplessness in his voice was overshadowed by laughter.
He asked again, “Do I look like a villain?”
Wang Shaojing threw him a bag of popcorn. He stared at the big screen without looking back and his answer was loud. “You are the most handsome villain in the audience!”
Five minutes later, the entrance of the bar.
The neon lights illuminated Chi Xueyan’s side profile. The evening wind blew his short hair as he stared at the movie poster at the bar door. The white corner of his clothes was hidden in the shadows.
A long time passed before he took out his phone.
The invisible signal penetrated through the air. It jumped through the grand night and instantly poured into a clear and brilliant glass window.
The young man by the window was nestled on a soft sofa. His fingers nimbly manipulated the game controller while the light and shadow of the large screen TV in front of him changed. The game volume was turned up to the maximum and it was deafening. Even if the soundproofing of this room was excellent, the people outside the room could faintly hear the noise.
The shootout ended and an icon appeared on the screen, indicating that the mission was completed.
He Qiao looked at the flashing and disappearing pattern in an expressionless manner. He operated the joystick and drove to the next mission site.
He didn’t want to play games at all.
However, today He Xiao was home and was watching with his mother in the living room downstairs. Everyone in the family knew that ‘He Qiao’ liked to play games.
He was just driving on a rampage through the virtual city when the phone on the coffee table full of fruit and snacks vibrated.
It was a voice call from Chi Xueyan.
He Qiao didn’t notice for a while. Then the car that had been driving smoothly rolled straight down the slope, turning 360 degrees in the air.
In the dust and smoke of the vehicle crashing to the ground, he pressed the answer button while the last topic of their conversation appeared in his mind: dental care.
It wasn’t irrelevant but was clear.
There was noisy music and ambient sounds from the phone. Before he could speak, Chi Xueyan’s voice was heard vividly. “Mr. He, do you want to have a late night meal?”
The wanton tone of the person on the other end of the phone caused the dazed He Qiao to seem to see the color red.
“I regret the meeting in the evening.” The other person’s voice was bright and flamboyant, flowing close to his ear. “Do you want to come out to eat hot pot?”