Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 85: When the Variety Show is Filming
Although he said that, Chen Yi still reached out to ruffle Fu Xiu Nian’s head gently and walked into the kitchen to cook.
He was used to holding a sword in his hands from his previous life, but it was his first time holding a kitchen knife and the feeling was a bit weird.
Chen Yi dumped the rice into the pot, setting up the rice cooker before washing his vegetables.
He decided he would first make a cold mixed cucumber side dish.
His hands were moving nonstop and the second he lifted his eyes, he found Fu Xiu Nian hanging over the sofa watching him.
Looking so much like a soft kitten, his heart gentled and Chen Yi had the interest to ask,
“How are you feeling?”
Fu Xiu Nian thought about it and said as he smiled,
“It seems like this is the first time you’ve made me a meal.”
Chen Yi lifted his eyes and said with a half truthful tone,
“This is the first time in my life that I have made a meal for someone.”
Fu Xiu Nian smiled even wider, happiness bursting inside of him,
“Is that real or fake?”
Of course it was real……
But Chen Yi didn’t respond, letting him guess for himself.
Breakfast was very simple.
Basic congee with some small dishes, so even if it didn’t taste good, it wouldn’t be that hard to swallow.
Chen Yi had even specially prepared an omelette, albeit the look of it wasn’t great.
The thin areas were blackened and the thicker parts were not fully cooked yet.
Chen Xiao Meng lived downstairs and would occasionally come over for a meal.
She had forgotten that Chen Yi was filming for a show today and so the moment she opened the door and was greeted by the sight of Chen Yi cooking in the kitchen, she jumped into the air from shock.
She suspiciously asked,
“Chen Yi, have you gone crazy?”
Chen Yi was just fighting with the hot oiled pan and didn’t even turn his head back to reply,
“Being crazy is way better than you becoming dumb.”
Chen Xiao Meng gave him a childish ghost face and then went to find Fu Xiu Nian to play.
She had been very cold and calm towards Fu Xiu Nian but after a few meals together, they became closer and every day it was always Xiu Xiu this or Xiu Xiu that.
If someone didn’t know better, they might even think that she had switched brothers.
The two of them were having a discussion over something and came to sit together at the dinner table, watching him cook.
Chen Yi bit hard into the lollipop in his mouth, shattering it into shards, and then continued without breaking a sweat, frying his egg omelettes, although they were still a mess.
Chen Xiao Meng gave him a side glance,
“Chen Yi, why are you still smoking?!”
Chen Yi emotionlessly bit hard against his lollipop again,
“You can believe that I’m smoking, but you keep your late nights playing your games, you think you won’t make your eyes go blind?”
Fu Xiu Nian explained,
“He’s only eating lollipops, he doesn’t smoke.”
When breakfast was served, Chen Xiao Meng looked at it once before saying she had to leave.
Fu Xiu Nian reflexively asked,
“You’re not going to eat?”
Chen Xiao Meng faintly smiled,
“Ah, no thanks.
When I walked in, I had already ordered takeout.”
And so she had been sitting here just to watch the show.
“You finally realized that the food you cook is terrible to eat huh?”
Chen Xiao Meng glared at him, feeling an arrow hit the weakest part of her heart,
“Even if it’s terrible, it’s not as bad as yours!”
Chen Yi laughed and leaned down to kiss Fu Xiu Nian on the cheeks,
“I’m not even cooking for you.
It’s for my partner, right?”
The smile in his eyes was mesmerizing and his face devilish.
Fu Xiu Nian had not expected that he would kiss him right in the front of the cameras, and he immediately blushed from head to toe.
He nodded his head to pretend he was calm but in reality, his mind had blanked out, not even hearing what exactly Chen Yi had said.
A cold wave of dogfood1 was stuffed into her face and so Chen Xiao Meng pouted and left in a huff.
On the table, there was a mysterious plate of cold mixed cucumbers and another plate of terribly fried omelettes.
The only thing that looked normal was the congee in the bowls.
Chen Yi lifted up his chopsticks to taste each of the dishes and then picked up the parts of the omelette that weren’t burnt and passed a piece to Fu Xiu Nian,
“The cucumbers are a bit too spicy.
Eat the congee instead.
And this is ok too.”
Fu Xiu Nian used his chopsticks to poke at the cold dish,
“Look, I told you to mix it lightly and instead you mixed it until they have become a paste.”
Chen Yi raised his eyebrow,
“I said I can’t cook.”
Fu Xiu Nian: “And I thought you were being humble.”
Chen Yi: “How could that be.
Doesn’t exist in my book.”
It was Chen Yi’s first time cooking and just for simply making two dishes, he had taken an hour, from 7 to 8am.
His face and back were drenched with sweat, and he was eating congee as he was wiping the sweat off,
“How could cooking be so hard.”
Harder and more tiring than practicing how to fly up and grab leaves.
Fu Xiu Nian thought to himself, so you finally know it’s difficult.
He smiled and was just about to say something when he heard Chen Yi say,
“Teach me later.
We will take turns cooking in the future.”
Fu Xiu Nian paused in surprise and thought Chen Yi was joking, but he turned around to see his serious eyes.
Chen Yi’s mother passed away quite early in his previous life and his father was also a “man’s man”.
From his youth until now he had only practiced martial arts, practicing and practicing, and he had never liked anyone before.
He didn’t even know how to like someone and so compared to Fu Xiu Nian’s detail oriented focus, he was mostly very dumb in these matters.
Fu Xiu Nian weirdly felt a joyful and satisfied sense of his own unruly kid finally understanding the hardships of the family, and he took a look at the dishes on the table.
He asked with a very faint smile on his face,
“Cooking is hard.
Are you sure you can handle it?”
Chen Yi hooked his foot around Fu Xiu Nian’s leg under the table,
“I can learn, as long as my teacher can teach well.”
If he can’t learn, then it’s on the teacher for failing in his teachings.
Fu Xiu Nian laughed in his heart but he only nodded his head externally,
Chen Yi: “……And you?”
Fu Xiu Nian smiled with his eyes curved up,
“I’ll watch you wash up.”
Switching roles after all.
Chen Yi chuckled, thinking that it really is a cycle of life and accepted his fate.
He collected all the dishes on the table and was heading towards the table when he suddenly lowered his head to whisper into Fu Xiu Nian’s ears.
Whatever he said to Fu Xiu Nian, it made him freeze up, as if he turned into stone.
He had only said one sentence: Do we need change at night too? Letting Fu Xiu Nian be on top.
Chen Yi washed the dishes like men going to war.
Non-stop clacking and clanging noises rang out from the kitchen, and Fu Xiu Nian was becoming more frantic the more he heard him.
He turned his head back a few times, almost unable to hold himself back from checking.
But in the end, he stayed where he was.
The TV was broadcasting a Korean romance drama and when Chen Yi was finished, he lay on top of the sofa to recover his energy.
Fu Xiu Nian tore open a bag of potato chips as he, out of habit, rested his legs on top of Chen Yi.
But then he realized they were still being recorded and he reflexively wanted to take his feet back when Chen Yi, without even looking, grabbed his ankles.
Fu Xiu Nian couldn’t pull them back no matter how hard he tried and so could only let it be.
The male and female leads were just in the honeymoon phase of their relationship, and the sweetness could even be tasted through the monitor.
The female was not very feminine and did not know how to cook but was willing to try for her lover.
The male lead didn’t want her to suffer so he lied and said that his favourite food was instant noodles.
“Jin Shi Can, are you for real? Not lying to me? How could there be anyone that likes instant noodles this much?”
The female lead was wearing an apron, busy in the kitchen while the male lead was leaning by the door and silently looking at her back profile.
His eyes were full of a gentle warmth and he smiled as he said,
“Although my taste is a bit weird for sure, what can you do when you really like it? The kind where there’s no saving me back from it.”
“Shi Can~ I’m asking you one last time.
It’s enough for you to only have instant noodles?”
“Hoh, dramas are dramas.
There aren’t as many of these kinds of good partners anymore.”
Chen Yi gave a devilish smile and then retracted his gaze back from the tv.
He patted Fu Xiu Nian’s leg and asked,
“What do you want to eat for lunch?”
Fu Xiu Nian was still eating his potato chips and slightly paused for a second when he heard Chen Yi.
Then he turned his eyes over to Chen Yi and then hesitantly replied,
“…… Instant noodles?”
Chen Yi said,
“We don’t have any packets.”
Fu Xiu Nian: “Oh.”
The two of them were resting on the sofa when the PD team sent their second mission card.
Chen Yi’s eyebrows were twitching and Fu Xiu Nian reached out to accept it.
It was an envelope and inside was a hundred yuan and two attraction park tickets.
The filming crew who brought it over said,
“If you two could please hand over your valuables and only use the program’s given fee and tickets to go on a date.
Use your own methods and communication to experience an unforgettable day.”
Chen Yi knew that nothing good could come out of this and he grabbed the tickets to take a look.
The attraction park was outside of the city, the kind that if you took the taxi, it would make you bankrupt.
He prod Fu Xiu Nian with his elbow and said,
“We’ll walk over there.
It will definitely be especially unforgettable.”
Why do you have to walk?”
The back of the tickets had a roadmap, just had to change buses three times and go through about 32 stops.
Chen Yi snorted,
“Definitely unforgettable already.”
The sun was high up in the sky when they headed out.
Fu Xiu Nian was wearing a black backpack with two sun protective jackets and a small fan inside.
He passed the money over to Chen Yi, his movements especially generous and open,
Spend it however you want to.”
Chen Yi gave him a look and then stuffed the money into his pockets,
“Be more on the down-low.
Why are you so loud.
If others didn’t know, they’d think you gave me a million dollars.”
The two of them walked to the nearest bus stop and split the hundred yuan into smaller change when they got on.
Because they were wearing masks, no one recognized them.
The entire time, the road was very rocky and bumpy, taking an entire three hours to get there.
Fu Xiu Nian’s legs were numb from sitting for so long, and he held onto the bus stop sign to take a short rest.
Chen Yi took a look around and discovered it was a vast open road, and he became unsure which way they should go.
In the end, he took out his phone for the GPS and it said to head east.
“About 1000 meters, we’re almost there.”
Chen Yi took off his hat to fan himself, with the cold air passing conveniently over to Fu Xiu Nian.
The two of them were currently hungry and tired, what with the little congee they ate this morning having already gone through their system.
But there was nothing around them as shops would only be gathered in and around the attraction park.
Fu Xiu Nian was wearing white, sun protective clothing and a black cap, highlighting his long and lean figure, bringing a feeling like he was a very young teenager.
He hung onto Chen Yi’s shoulders and weightlessly said,
“I’m so hungry.”
Chen Yi went to stroke his stomach,
“I’m not even hungry, how are you hungry already?”
Fu Xiu Nian said,
“Because I didn’t eat that much for breakfast.”
Chen Yi tilted up his eyebrow,
“Why didn’t you eat more.”
Fu Xiu Nian: “……Because it tasted slightly bad.”
Chen Yi was not angry and instead he was even smiling.
He reached out to fix Fu Xiu Nian’s hat and then asked,
“Then what do you want to eat?”
Fu Xiu Nian immediately reported a list of food without a pause,
“I want to eat fried chicken hamburger fries steak cream of mushroom spaghetti pineapple shrimp.”
Chen Yi said,
“Take your time.
After all it’s not like I can even afford it.”
Fu Xiu Nian: “……”
As the two of them conversed, they reached their destination.
As their bus stop was a bit further from the back of the attraction park, it was very deserted.
But the front entrance was quite boisterous and lively, filled with peddlers selling souvenirs, one of which caught Chen Yi’s attention, a backwards bicycle game.
The stall owner was an elderly lady who had drawn a white line with the ground.
She was riding it very smoothly down the line as she yelled out with a loudspeaker,
“Come take a look, come take a look.
As long as you can ride this bicycle down a straight line, you can receive a hundred yuan.
To join in, you just have to pay a five yuan entrance fee.
Don’t miss it.
This is basically free money.”
The bicycle she was riding was very different from a normal one.
There were two extra cogwheels at the front and if you leaned left, it will go right.
If you leaned right, it will go left.
Because people’s habits were too ingrained, those with no experience with such a bicycle configurationwould have it very hard to ride down a straight line.
Quite a few intrigued tourists wanted to try, but without a doubt, each and everyone of them failed.
Fu Xiu Nian took a look around,
“It’s a backwards bike2, so it is very hard to steer.
But if she met someone with experience, she would be losing a lot of money.”
Chen Yi said,
“You could win, but she definitely would not lose.
As long as she senses it’s not going well, she can immediately close up shop.
Who would still force her to keep her stall open.”
Everything at the attraction park would have inflated prices.
Subtracting the money they used to ride the buses, they still had about 80 yuan in their pockets.
Obviously this would not be enough and Chen Yi took a long look around.
Then he passed his phone to Fu Xiu Nian and went to the back of the line to give the game entry fee.
Fu Xiu Nian had his own knowledge about Chen Yi’s athletic background and silently gave him a “jia you” gesture,
“Yi-Ge, lunch depends on you.”
Chen Yi signalled that he received it,
“I will definitely buy you some instant noodles.”
Fu Xiu Nian was naturally very easily satisfied and his eyes not hidden by the mask were smiling like the curved moon, and he happily nodded his head.
There was not one bit of satisfaction because he had to eat ramen.
This kind of pure joy was easily transferred.
Chen Yi’s fingers twitched and he couldn’t help but reach out to touch his face.
He didn’t say anything, but his eyes held a tenderness no one had ever seen before.
The couple of tourists before him did not succeed, and when it was Chen Yi’s turn, with the cameras beside him, it led to quite a few people crowding around and looking.
But as both of their faces were covered up tightly, no one recognized them in this moment.
*1 Dogfood: As some of you may have seen this mentioned a million times, in particular for romance novels, this is internet slang for … showing off? Waving in front? Of people who are single of how loved you and your partner are.
Kind of like how Happy Valentine’s Day makes single people sad (S.A.D – single appreciation/awareness day)? Or according to urban dictionary, “self-pity of single people triggered by public displays of affection”.
Usually if you do gestures like this to people on social networks, it’s called throwing/spreading dogfood and those that target or purposefully do it in front of others, it’s called being forced fed dogfood.
Plum: I think part of it is how single people can be called single dogs and the PDA is like “giving them dogfood”?
*2 Backwards bicycle: If you aren’t sure what it is, I think it originated from this (not sure if there was anything that was the same from the Chinese interwebs that sparked this viralness or internet famous as they call it but from a very cursory search, most videos pop up (from Chinese sites) referring to the this)) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFzDaBzBlL0.
In terms of the phrase in Chinese, I would be more inclined to call it reverse bike (or opposite direction back) but just staying more true to what is most likely the originating source (from SmarterEveryDay) or just more commonly known as by what he calls it.
TL Tidbits (strap in for another bit of a read…):
Well here we are at the last 3 chapters for the volume incoming next week! It’s going to be weird without Chen Yi and Fu xiu Nian stuffing dogfood into my face on the weekends (or really, everyday), but their quiet story will be heading to a close…
Which means we are pretty much set halfway through the novel! This is definitely something I have not considered at all, and for literally almost passing half a year now (I think the date is next week).
I will say that’s such an accomplishment I am feeling right as I’m writing this.
Never in my mind would I consider just one day deciding to taking this plunge out of nowhere, on a whim, and have I ever been more grateful that I have done so
Good things aside, I’m writing this note with a bit of trepidation as I feel like I’m not really, or hmm, this is a bit hard to put in words.
Well, I guess just setting up the facts, as you might have seen or read the previous notes, I have been swamped up to my neck, from many things.
It’s gotten to a point where chapters are literally being translated to the last possible minute, the worst about I think half a day or less before handing it over to Plum to correct.
This would might have been okay (besides for making it to the deadline I technically set myself up for) if I was working on this translation by myself like I had in the first few chapters of volume 1 (weren’t those days such a dream where I output 1 chapter a weekday haha..
But with Plum joining in, and just making the translations way better, just having someone there to bounce off the word choices and why and to explain and all the fun logistic stuff, it’s not really fair to ask Plum to do that, and to always be working right before the “deadline” (I think I might have converted them to be less of a night owl haha).
Nor is it fair for you as a reader when I do that.
A bit of an implicit “rule”, if you will, I feel like has been set down almost.
Like when Plum usually uploads for me (because I don’t even have time to do that anymore) or like how the translations are sort of decent quality And it really just comes down to that, even though I can’t promise the translations are completely mistake-free, (especially in regards to “correct” grammar or word choices) I don’t want to be rushed like this and think that ok I will be fine with this, as long as it’s readable, gets the word or part of the meaning across, and meets the deadline, then it’s fine.
There are moments where I have to give up on working through that barrier of what is that meaning or what is that idiom/saying I am thinking of that would “perfectly”/near match this translation and just put some words that make sense and are similar enough to get it on time because I just don’t have that luxury of time as I once did (or even for footnotes explanations and not that these situations never happened, but I had at least some time to think or even bounce ideas off Plum).
And at the end of the day, translating feels less like the enjoyment of translating, of rereading this novel I like, of having the discussions with those of you who have all those insightful and thoughtful comments that you are willing to share with me and all the other readers (any comment really; I love reading every single one <3) and it feels more like a burden than of enjoyment (on a balance! Because if I never enjoyed it, I wouldn’t be here right now) because it’s being put on a back burner to all the other current priorities I have right now.
Even now, I have to set a schedule and rigorously follow it to even be able to make it to give at least one day for Plum to proofread and edit; otherwise, it wouldn’t even be possible.
So long paragraphs of words aside, this is just me going roundabout that I will be taking a longer break between volume 3 and 4, about 2 months.
As I explained, I don’t want to over stress myself into thinking I need to get this done one way or another, and put out something that I tell myself, oh I can just fix it later/in the future but I can’t even tell when that later/future is, or even feeling burnt out (which thankfully I’m just currently feeling more tired and stressed than that).
It’s a bit longer than I first anticipated as I originally planned for an earlier date, but when I sat down and kind of/sort of schedule my upcoming months, this was the date that felt the most comfortable.
Volume 4 (chapter 89) will be most likely released on May 3rd. I say most likely, only because I’m giving myself a leeway to possibly release earlier, but that depends on how the month of April goes where quite a few of the projects that I am currently swamped with concludes.
So I am hoping with the bit of time spared there, I might be able to release the chapters earlier, but we shall see.
The deadline I am giving myself is May 3rd, so hopefully by then I will have my life sorted out then lol (and prevents me from running away into the wind ahaha – no worries about that though.
My conscience won’t allow me to run until I finish this novel!)
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