LUCA | Chapter 12

Sep 2, 2021

《LUCA-夏日友晴天》 动画 第十二章 中文版↗

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  “Hey, look who it is!” Ercole said, his voice full of mock camaraderie. “And with no Giulia to hide behind.”

  Luca watched as Ercole approached in the dark, Ciccio and Guido right behind him. He wanted to run, but Alberto had planted his feet. Luca knew there was no way his friend was going to leave.

  “Something’s fishy with you two,” Ercole said. “I mean, besides the smell. You’re hiding something.”

  “Is it that we’re smarter than you?” Alberto said. “I mean, we’re not really hiding that. It’s just kinda obvious.”

  Ercole glared at Alberto. “You know, people think I’m a nice guy. Always joking around.” He reached out and grabbed Alberto roughly, shoving him against a wall. “But really, I’m not.”

  “Stop!” Luca yelled.

  Ercole nodded, and Ciccio and Guido took hold of Alberto, keeping him against the wall. Then he shoved Luca to one side. “Wait your turn, Piccoletto.”

  Ercole turned his gaze to Alberto again. “I want to make myself very clear. This is my town, number one—” Then he punched Alberto. “And number two, I don’t want you in it.”

  “I said stop!” Luca thundered, and to his disbelief, he found himself holding the harpoon that Ercole had thrown earlier. It was right up against Ercole’s chest.

  Ercole grinned and took a step closer to Luca. “Put that down, Piccoletto. You’ll hurt yourself.”

  But Luca didn’t put it down. “Let him go,” he said, terrified.

  With a nod from Ercole, Ciccio and Guido shoved Alberto at Luca.

  “Go now,” Ercole said. “Before I change my mind.”

  The two boys backed off, then ran. Luca tossed the harpoon to the side.

  “Nobody wants you here, idioti!” Ercole shouted after them. “Keep running!”

  “Why did you make him mad? We should have left!” Luca insisted.

  Somehow, they had run all the way back to Giulia’s house without anyone following them. Luca was out of breath and angry.

  “We’re fine!” Alberto said, breathing hard, too. “I had it under control. All you gotta do is follow my lead, remember?”

  Before Luca could say anything, Alberto stormed into the backyard.

  The following morning, Luca was rudely awakened by Giulia doing her trumpet imitation, again.

  “Rise and shine!” she shouted.

  That day’s training regimen consisted of Alberto sitting in the family kitchen, filled with bowls and bowls of all kinds of pasta. And eating bowls and bowls of all kinds of pasta. With a fork.

  Alberto was frustrated, but determined to master the fork. He would eat all the pasta necessary to get that Vespa.

  After the pasta session, it was outside and on the streets for Luca to get in some bicycle practice. He was on the fish-cart bicycle, of course, struggling to stay ahead of some kids walking along, eating watermelon.

  The boys were ridiculously tired from their day of training and, after dinner, promptly fell asleep.

  They were awakened the following morning not by the sound of Giulia’s mock trumpet, but by Massimo. “Buongiorno!” he hollered from the backyard. “Andiamo, dai!”

  When the boys scrambled down the tree, they saw the fish-cart bicycle waiting for Luca. And for Alberto? Massimo held up a butter knife. His own knife!

  On the fishing boat, Alberto watched in amazement as Massimo pulled up the heavy fish net with one arm. He wanted to do it just like Giulia’s father, so Alberto tried to pull a net from the water with one arm.

  It was a lot harder than it looked.

  As he pulled on the net, Alberto saw a shadow in the water. He recognized it instantly. It was a sea monster!

  Before Alberto could do anything, Massimo was already in motion. For he, too, had seen the shadow, and reached for his harpoon. Alberto gasped as the fisherman hurled it into the water.

  “Sea monster!” Massimo shouted.

  A moment later, Massimo retrieved the harpoon, only to discover what he had captured was a large clump of seaweed. He sighed heavily—and so did Alberto.

  Alberto was about to get back to pulling up the fishing net when he got a good, close look at one tattoo on Massimo’s arm.

  It was a sea monster, getting harpooned.

  “Rise and shine! Only two days till the race!”

  Luca could have sworn he heard Giulia calling to him and Alberto from her window, but then again, he was so tired, it could just as easily have been some kind of waking dream. He resolved to get back to sleep even harder than before.

  Unfortunately, Giulia, who had actually called them, wouldn’t be so easily deterred. She marched right into the backyard and practically dragged both boys down from the hideout and into the house. Once inside, she handed the two zombie-like boys each a cup of hot, steaming something.

  “Espresso,” Giulia said.

  Like robots, the boys took the cups. With one sip of the super-strong coffee, they perked right up. From that moment on, training intensified.

  Luca was poring over the pages of a book called Advanced Techniques in Cycling. But he wasn’t just reading it. He was cycling. At least, he was pedaling. Upside down. Lying on his back.

  Nearby, Alberto was exercising his pasta-picking-up arm muscles, using Machiavelli as a reluctant weight.

  As Giulia looked around, she began to think they really had a shot at winning this thing. And for once, she wouldn’t be doing it alone.

  Another day went by, and Luca was once again training on the bicycle. This time, he was out on the streets of Portorosso. More confident than ever, Luca pedaled furiously, passing a group of kids eating gelato.

  Someone else was watching Luca.

  Ercole.

  When the gelato kids called, “Go, Luca! You got it!” Ercole grimaced.

  “Hey! Don’t cheer for him!” Ercole screamed as the kids ran away in fear. “Argh! A casa!”

  That night at dinner, Alberto was having a really rough time. He struggled to get pasta on his fork. It kept slipping off! The plate of spaghetti might as well have been a mountain, and he cursed the horrid thing.

  Massimo noticed, and he patiently showed Alberto the precise way to twirl the fork and wrap the pasta.

  Alberto sighed, then imitated Massimo’s motions with the fork perfectly. His eyes lit up when he saw that he now had a massive forkful of twirled spaghetti.

  Victory!

  He shoved the spaghetti into his mouth and looked at Luca to share his joy.

  But Luca didn’t notice. He was too busy reading a book with Giulia.

  Narrowing his eyes, Alberto grunted and returned to eating.

  The next day, Daniela and Lorenzo once again wandered through the piazza, searching in vain for their son. They sat down at the fountain, feeling completely hopeless.

  “I don’t know, Lorenzo,” Daniela said. “Was I too hard on Luca?”

  “No. You were just trying to keep him safe,” he said. “It’s my fault. I wasn’t paying enough attention to him.”

  “But I was the one who tried to send him away,” Daniela insisted. “I just never in a million years would have thought he’d do this. It’s like I don’t even know who he is. . .”

  As her voice trailed off, Daniela stared into the distance, her eyes growing ever wider. There was a boy, pedaling a bicycle, with another boy and a girl.

  “Dai forza! You can do it, Luca!” said the girl on the bicycle. “Go! Go!”

  The boy on the bicycle looked just like—

  “Luca!” Daniela cried.

  Daniela took off running after the bicycle. Lorenzo was right behind her. But as fast as she could run, Luca on the bicycle was faster. He went down a side street and was gone.

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