Thawing the Glacier- Chapter 1
“How long are you going to stay?”
“I’ll leave before 12. Wait for me”
Carefully avoiding the crowd, Lin Zhiyang stood in the corner where the gifts were stacked and replied to her message on WeChat.
The nickname she gave to the person she was messaging was a string of numbers—226234. The cold digits matched the person’s profile picture perfectly, a dark blue solid background with a white handwritten “y” in the lower left corner, the initial of her family name. Even her tone in the message lacked warmth.
Still, Lin Zhiyang had read the message many times, imagining her expression when she typed those words and her voice if she was saying it to her in person, although she most likely wouldn’t have any expression, and her voice would be flat.
Lin Zhiyang was surrounded by colorful and exaggeratedly shaped balloons. Flowers and champagne flooded the hall. Men and women dressed in extravagant clothes were bouncing around the dance floor, exuberant and noisy.
Fortunately, the villas in the area were far apart and well soundproofed. Otherwise, they would have been reported long ago.
Lin Zhiyang put down her phone, feeling a dull ache from her temples to her toes. As a homebody who could sit at home for days on end, Lin Zhiyang was sure to feel out of place here.
Her college classmate, Ming Xiaojiao, sashayed over, clad in a low-cut dress, her skin fair and her dress tight. It seemed like her towering peaks were going to bounce out of dress. She was known as the “Princess.” But this princess was different from the others; the name was given to her because of her wealthy family, not as a mockery. The Princess was outgoing and generous. She didn’t try to hide her family or use it to boss people around. She made friends everywhere, and everyone loved her.
When Ming Xiaojiao saw Lin Zhiyang’s eyes sweeping over her, she not only didn’t feel embarrassed, but also puffed out her chest and asked proudly, “How’s that? I’m in good shape, right?”
Lin Zhiyang nodded with a smile and replied sincerely, “Not bad”
Ming Xiaoqiao thought her answer was lackluster and clicked her tongue. Then her mood changed, and she excitedly grabbed Lin Zhiyang’s arm and started gossiping, “Tell me, is our famous writer still single?”
Surprised by the question, Lin Zhiyang took a sip of her drink and pretended to be calm, hiding her emotions behind her smile, and lamented ruefully, “Are you trying to set me up again?”
Lin Zhiyang looked charming in the off-the-shoulder dress. Her peach blossom eyes looked like rainbows in the sky as they curved.
To be honest, if Ming Xiaoqiao hadn’t stopped them, all the men and women would have swarmed around Lin Zhiyang with her fatally attractive face.
Ming Xiaoqiao was very perceptive. She wanted to introduce someone to her, but when she saw the look on Lin Zhiyang’s face, she knew that Lin Zhiyang didn’t like it. So she changed the subject, “I’m just asking to see how you are. It’s been a few years since your last breakup, and you’re still single. You can’t still be hung up on her, right? Lin, just say the word and I can set you up with anyone, male or female.”
Lin Zhiyang chuckled and said, feigning gratitude, “Thank you for your kindness, Princess, but I’m good.” As soon as she finished, the double doors of the hall opened from the outside.
Guests had been coming and going all night. Everyone was busy with their own activities, so no one paid attention to who came in.
But Lin Zhiyang intuitively turned around, and her eyes were fixed on the person who walked through the door. With her long, wavy hair tied up into a bun, dressed in a black velvet dress with a cinched waist and matching thin high heels, that person looked like she was there for a business meeting in the midst of a flamboyant crowd.
Her expression seemed even more so. Her face was so impassive, and her eyes were cold and distant.
She seemed to be unaffected by the noise around her, her posture graceful and elegant, looking like a goddess from another world entering the world of monsters. Dazzled by the iridescent lights, she just tilted her head, not even a frown on her brow. Her calm gaze swept over the crowd, and then she walked straight towards Lin Zhiyang and Ming Xiaoqiao.
Lin Zhiyang was a little nervous and took a sip of her drink without thinking.
Ming Xiaoqiao dragged Lin Zhiyang over to meet her and called out to her at the top of her lungs, “Yu Che jiejie is here!”
Yu Che glanced at their intertwined arms. Quickly regaining her composure, she curled her lip and handed over a gift in a delicate gift box. “Happy birthday, Little Princess.”
Ming Xiaoqiao didn’t expect Yu Che to tease her as well. Laughing, she pulled her hand out of Lin Zhiyang’s arm, cheerfully took the gift, and said, “Thank you, jiejie.”
She wasn’t expecting anything special in the box. It was either tea sets, an out-of-print book, or some exquisite jewelry—things that she didn’t lack, but she appreciated the thought.
Ming Xiaoqiao turned to ask Lin Zhiyang, “Do you remember Yu Che jiejie? I introduced her to you at my birthday party last year.”
“Yeah, I remember.” Lin Zhiyang had been left out of the conversation until now. She straightened up, gave a polite nod, and said reservedly, “Hello, Professor Yu.”
Yu Che was a promising young professor in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Huaizhou University and a family friend of Ming Xiaoqiao.
As for the exact background of her family, Lin Zhiyang had deliberately refrained herself from probing into it. The Ming family was already a prestigious family, and the Yu family seemed to have a higher social status. They weren’t in the same social circle, so Lin Zhiyang had no interest in prying.
Yu Che looked at her, emotion flitting across the corner of her eyes, and she replied politely, “Hello.”
Realizing that Yu Che was silently mocking her pretense, Lin Zhiyang didn’t continue the conversation.
As someone who was out of the loop, Ming Xiaoqiao wasn’t surprised by Yu Che’s reaction. Yu Che had always been like that, distant even to people close to her. It made sense that she wouldn’t be any more friendlier to strangers.
Ming Xiaoqiao knew that she had paid enough respect to her parents by showing up at her birthday party every year.
Lin Zhiyang was bored. She left Ming Xiaoqiao alone with Yu Che and went off to play with her college friends. She rarely went out to have fun, and with her bad luck, she kept losing and ended up taking quite a few shots.
After an hour, she got a little restless, so she pretended to be sick, holding her forehead and frowning as if she was Daiyu reincarnated. The group that had been messing around earlier started to feel sorry for her and offered to take her somewhere else to rest. She declined their offer and went to the bathroom.
When she came out of the stall, Yu Che was reapplying her lipstick, bending over in front of the mirror. The color made her complexion look cool and fair, and the bright shade washed away some of the indifference on her face.
At 5’7″ and with high heels, she exuded an unapproachable air. She lifted her head and casually glanced at Lin Zhiyang.
Lin Zhiyang looked at her graceful figure with drunken eyes and thought, damn, she’s always had a way of seducing people. She looked away, as if to hide it, and nodded politely. She didn’t say anything and went to wash her hands, looking down.
A hint of dissatisfaction flashed in Yu Che’s eyes when Lin Zhiyang didn’t talk to her, and her eyes landed on the slender fingers under the faucet. As if being scorched, she looked away awkwardly. As Lin Zhiyang was about to leave, she said softly, “Take it easy with the drinks.”
A moment ago, she heard someone say something about “a drunken beauty having her own unique charm.” Then she couldn’t help but follow her. She didn’t like this kind of occasion, but Lin Zhiyang couldn’t leave anytime soon, so she had to stay a little longer. The way those people looked at Lin Zhiyang made Yu Che feel very uncomfortable. It was as if she found out that a group of uninvited guests were planning to sneak into her garden.
“Okay.” Lin Zhiyang replied with a feathery voice. But just two steps in, she held onto the wall and bent down slightly.
Yu Che hurried over to help her and patted her back. She asked, frowning, “Are you okay?”
Lin Zhiyang was an average drinker. She had gotten a bit carried away while playing games earlier and had ended up drinking too much. Now, the alcohol was starting to hit her.
She felt Yu Che’s breath on her face. Her cold and faint scent soothed her. She said with a smile, “I’m fine. I’ll just need to sit down for a bit.” Then she dodged Yu Che’s hands and walked away, supporting herself with the wall.
The hand she had dodged hung in the air for a moment before she silently put it down. She thought she might have overreacted. She shouldn’t be too close to her in places like this.
Yu Che’s eyes caught Lin Zhiyang’s smile. It made her wonder, how could someone look so much like a siren yet have a bright and gentle smile. A perfect combination of innocence and lust. Suddenly, Yu Che didn’t want her to return to the crowd.
It had been raining a lot in Huai City since the beginning of fall. For a whole week, it had been sunny for half a day and rainy for the rest of the day. The rain continued into the night, as if the white noise had been turned on. It was a natural cure for insomnia.
It was almost midnight. Lin Zhiyang used being drunk as an excuse to leave Ming Xiaoqiao’s private villa. Ming Xiaoqiao didn’t force her to stay and sent her off.
Unlike the bustle inside, the night outside was particularly quiet and cold. It sobered Lin Zhiyang up a bit. She took a taxi to the guesthouse. She kept her phone on call, even though the driver was a middle-aged woman.
She arrived at the guest house. Humming a song, she fixed her hair in the elevator, stretched her shoulders, and yawned with abandon. After getting out of the elevator, there was only one unit on the floor. Lin Zhiyang leaned against the door and knocked several times, ending the call as she did so. She heard the even footsteps of the person coming to get the door.
That person had already removed her makeup. She seemed colder without it. Her long black hair fell over her shoulders, and the long sash of the cyan nightgown cinched at her waist accentuated her beautiful figure. A damp scent wafted over from her, seductive and tantalizing, yet the beauty’s expression was mild. She was still holding the phone.
“Feeling better?” Yu Che asked in a gentle voice for once.
“Go wash up.”
Yu Che had already washed herself thoroughly and waited here patiently, listening to the phone the whole time. It was all for a simple intercourse of the flesh and the soul, but she seemed so calm and collected.
Suddenly, Lin Zhiyang wanted to crush the ice on her face so badly and trample on her usual aloofness and reserve. She knew that Yu Che’s body was warm. It warmed up so easily, and her voice wasn’t as cold when she was turned on.
The evil thought was just a flash across her mind. Lin Zhiyang didn’t do anything, a harmless smile still on her face. She took the clothes that Yu Che gave her. Standing by the bathroom’s door, she called, “Yu Che.”
Yu Che was walking towards the desk. She had lectures to prepare. When she heard her voice, she turned around and asked, “What’s wrong?”
Lin Zhiyang fell silent. She didn’t know what was wrong. She just wanted to call her name, wanted to talk to her more. But she didn’t know what to say, what Yu Che wanted to hear or maybe she didn’t want to listen to anything at all. Suddenly, her mood turned sour. She glanced at the clock on the wall. It was late. She shook her head and said, “Nothing. You go ahead and work,” she said as she closed the bathroom’s door.
Yu Che looked at where she had just looked at—00:53. She thought about what Lin Zhiyang was going to say, then she closed her laptop, put it away in her bag, and decided not to work.
Lin Zhiyang had rented this guesthouse on a long-term basis. Even though they only came here three or four times a month, she had made the house into a cozy place with the wooden furniture and warm yellow light, the romantic and soothing scented candles, the half-assembled “Frozen” Lego set on the table, the pale green balloon flowers in full bloom in the vase, and a half-read book on the bedside table.
She probably comes here more than once a week. What does she usually do when she’s here?
Yu Che’s thoughts spun out of control. She mocked herself for imagining things. Lin Zhiyang couldn’t be bringing other women here, could she? Then she thought, why couldn’t she? Considering how often they talked and saw each other, it would be easy for Lin Zhiyang to hide things from her. Or maybe it wasn’t a matter of hiding things from her, but rather Lin Zhiyang thought that there was no need to tell her anything since they weren’t even dating.
Lin Zhiyang had confided in her once when she was drunk. She ruefully expressed that she wanted to be in a relationship, but she didn’t have a girlfriend. At that time, Yu Che, who had to take care of her, had simply replied, “Remember to tell me when you find one.”
As Yu Che listened to the sound of running water in the bathroom, the song that Lin Zhiyang was humming on the phone, “Farewell Nichome” by Miriam Yeung, began to play in Yu Che’s mind.
Although her singing was off-key, it still sounded beautiful.
Life is long, and I’m still young.
 Jiejie, meaning “older sister,” is used to refer to women who are slightly older than the speaker.
 Daiyu is one of the main characters of a classic 18th-century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. She is known as a beautiful and fragile woman who is prone to occasional melancholy and often used to describe women who are delicate or sickly.
 It is a line of lyrics from the song “Farewell Nichome” by Miriam Yeung.
Hey, I’ve decided to translate this novel as a change of pace from my main project, The Witch Nichang. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to upload the next chapter. If there are a lot of readers who like this story, I might translate it more often. Hope you enjoy it!