Chapter 16.1 – Reader: I have not betrayed you.
Once upon a time there was a bear child. He was ridiculed by a group of bear children, therefore he became a chuuni. (Once upon a time there was a naughty child. He was ridiculed by a group of naughty children, therefore he became a socially retarded otaku.1)
Du Ze was always a cute, silly little creature; he was born that way. Before he had a problem with his ears he was cute inside and out; after he had to wear a hearing aid, his face became impassive but inside he was still incurably stupid.
At birth his ears were not good, but it was in middle school that they really started to deteriorate. Because the progression of his hearing loss was extremely slow, at first Du Ze did not realize it was happening. He just thought that sometimes when people spoke, he couldn’t quite understand what they were saying. The only thing he could do was to ask the other person to repeat himself. But after this happened again and again, Du Ze discovered that people probably didn’t want to speak to him anymore.
Du Ze thought about it: if he was talking to someone and that person kept on interrupting him and asking him to repeat himself several times, wouldn’t it be annoying? But how can he stop himself from doing this? The moe Du Ze thus made his mind up: as long as he smiles, everything will be okay.
He never thought that his ears had a problem but when his parents found out about his troubles, they took him to the hospital to check out his hearing. Du Ze watched as his parents got a hearing aid for him. He felt incredibly panicked – just in the blink of an eye he was labeled “disabled?”
So Du Ze ran way from reality. He refused to wear a hearing aid, pretending that nothing happened.
If you can’t hear clearly, smile. If you don’t know how to react, smile. When other smile and say something, keep on smiling. He did not realize that his voice was becoming more and more unclear since he was unable to grasp the proper intonation and volume.
Because of his deteriorating hearing condition, Du Ze finally had to wear a hearing aid. The first day he wore it, he was suddenly in a world of clear voices. As he stood outside the classroom, listening to his good friend inside, Du Ze heard him say:
– Ah Ze, he is an idiot, always giggling and saying things that make other people laugh themselves to death.
A friend seemed to imitate a maliciously lengthened, funny, grating, and ugly tone of voice, making the others laugh.
“Right! I told him he was an idiot and he only laughed like a fool.”
“One more time!”
“You! Didn’t the teacher say ‘be nice to the disabled’?”
Du Ze opened the door. The classroom was full of laughing people who abruptly stopped and stared at Du Ze. He walked to his seat and sat down calmly, his face impassive. The people around him looked at each other in dismay. They didn’t know whether Du Ze had heard what they were saying.
“Ah Ze, you’re here …is that a new MP3 headset? Cool!”
Du Ze looked at his “good friend.” His chest felt as though something was squeezing it and he was suffocating. Suddenly, he felt that making a sound was an embarrassing and terrifying thing. That funny imitation lingered in his brain, the mocking parody of his speech let him know that his earlier behavior of trying to escape reality was a silly thing to do.
The teenager raised his hand to the hearing aid headphones, in front of his classmates, he nodded in silence, smiling stiffly: Yes, there are headphones, just headphones.
Therefore he hadn’t heard anything.
– That was probably the last time Du Ze smiled in front of other people.
From then on a stupid moe teenager installed the B route and insisted that he didn’t need anyone until he went to college. He buried himself in the internet, his social life was a mess, and his myopia was about to break through the sky.
Then Du Ze found the works of Yi Ye Zhi Qiu.
The author was like a cup, the protagonist was the tableware, and the reader a whole coffee table.2
In a daze, Du Ze stumbled and sat down. Leaning his back against the stone wall, he slept. Suddenly, he woke up. Xiu was quietly lying in his arms, in a deep sleep. The gnome looked like a cute, delicious, perfect human form dreamed up by an otaku. Du Ze reached out to touch Xiu’s forehead then breathed a sigh of relief.
Yesterday, because Xiu went out to find Du Ze, the gnome’s wounds had opened and he fell into a feverish coma. Du Ze has tossed and turned most of the night so at dawn he had barely rested. He did have the restore function so even if he never slept, he wouldn’t die, but the stress made him feel very tired. After seeing that Xiu was soundly asleep, Du Ze also closed his eyes to get some rest and dream of a happy past.
Du Ze looked up at the sky. It was cloudy but he thought it was past midnight.
Had he missed the appointed time of his transaction with Dan?
He looked at his headphones to check if there was enough charge. It only had half of its normal charge. If he leaves now, he can still make it.
What are you waiting for? Walk you ┏ (゜w゜) =?!
Du Ze carefully put down Xiu from his arms, having a bit of a fun fantasy that he was an adult pretending to be annoyed and helpless at the spoiled child who is tightly gripping his clothes: this sick child is so sticky, ah ~ (big misunderstanding here).
A silly, cute person didn’t want to wake Xiu up. In any case, after the deal with Dan is finished, he will quickly return. He tried to gently unfasten Xiu’s grasp on his robe but it tore. Luckily, not much harm was done since the robe was already in tatters anyway. Because his clothes were ripped, he lost some time, and was in too much of a hurry to return to Halphas City that he didn’t think deeply about what he was doing.
A pair of amber eyes opened and quietly looked at Du Ze’s back as he left. The eyes were gloomy and uncertain.
- Du Ze used the word chuunibyou to refer to what he became but it’s not like he went around saying he had supernatural powers. I believe he just meant he withdrew into the world of anime.
- That’s what the raw said. Something like “every day he sat down to a meal with the author and the protagonist (got obsessed with the novel)” maybe?