LUCA | Chapter 15

Sep 2, 2021

《LUCA-夏日友晴天》 动画 第十五章 中文版↗

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  The day of the race arrived.

  And Luca had a plan.

  “You want to split up your team?” Signora Marsigliese asked, incredulous.

  Luca stood at the registration table, holding a rusty bicycle encrusted with barnacles. “Yes, if it’s allowed,” he said hopefully.

  “Luca!”

  He turned to see Giulia, who was on her way to the starting line. She ran over to him. “What are you doing here?”

  “Don’t worry,” Luca said. “We’ll race separately. You won’t get in any trouble.”

  “You can if you want,” Signora Marsigliese said with a shrug. “But I don’t recommend it.”

  Before Giulia could stop him, Luca ran off. “Thank you!” he called out.

  “But how are you gonna—I mean, what happens when—You can’t swim!” Giulia shouted at Luca.

  Giulia looked back at Signora Marsigliese, who gazed at her sympathetically. “Alone again?” she said.

  Giulia scowled.

  Daniela and Lorenzo were still wandering the streets of Portorosso, looking for their son. They had spotted Luca a couple of times, but hadn’t come close to actually talking to him.

  Suddenly, the priest grabbed them and pinned ribbons on their chests. Then he shoved them down behind a table. “Volunteers!” the man said. “You’re late!”

  Then Daniela looked at the table and saw rows of water cups. Apparently, this was all set up for the big race they had been hearing about, the one that was happening today. The priest must want them to be judges of some kind. This was perfect!

  “One cup for each kid,” the priest said.

  “Yeah, yeah, yeah. One cup per kid. Got it,” Daniela replied.

  Lorenzo wasn’t sure of what was happening, but he knew enough to trust Daniela, so he followed her lead.

  “Ohhh. . . yes!” Lorenzo said.

  Then the priest handed them a bucket with a scrub brush. “For when Giulia. . . you know.”

  They did not know. And something told Daniela they did not want to know.

  Giulia waited at the starting line, unsure of how this was all going to work out. She looked around but saw no sign of Luca. Her eyes drifted to the crowd of people that had assembled, and she smiled when she saw her father with Machiavelli.

  “Forza, Giulietta!” her father hollered.

  Then Ciccio and Ercole walked right up next to her. Ercole took out a container and poured something all over Ciccio.

  “Ciccio, hold still,” Ercole said, annoyed. Then he turned to look at Giulia. “Olio d’Olivia.” Olive oil. “He will cut through the water like a knife. An oily knife.”

  At that moment, both Giulia and Ercole spotted Luca. He stomped over to the starting line, wearing a full-body diving suit that he had taken from Alberto.

  “Oh, this makes me laugh,” Ercole said. “HA, HA, HA. I guess even your terrible friends don’t want to be friends.”

  Luca looked at everyone assembled at the starting line, but mostly Giulia and Ercole.

  “Luca! This is a very bad idea!” Giulia yelled.

  “Hey! Vagrant! Can’t afford a proper swimsuit?” Ercole jabbed.

  “Signore e Signori!” Signora Marsigliese called out. “The Portorosso Cup is about to begin! We know there’ve been a few sightings lately, but fear not! If any sea monsters show up today—we’re ready for them!”

  She turned and pointed to the harbor, at the fishermen in the boats, with their nets and their harpoons.

  Luca gasped. He looked over at Giulia, and she made a motion that said “Get out of here now!”

  But he didn’t.

  “Swimmers, take your mark!” Signora Marsigliese said.

  Taking a deep breath, Luca attached the helmet to his suit.

  Then the sound of the starting pistol echoed in his helmet, and all the contestants dove into the water!

  All of them, that is, except Luca.

  He just stood there, frozen, his pulse quickening, head shaking. Could he do this? He couldn’t do this. There was no way.

  No, wait. That was Bruno talking. “Silenzio, Bruno.”

  Then Luca dove into the water.

  Giulia was determined to win the race, and was swimming with all the heart she had to give. But Ciccio was ahead of her, and the other competitors, too. She wondered if maybe that olive oil really did give him an advantage.

  But then she noticed that fish started to swarm around Ciccio. And they weren’t leaving him alone.

  Aha! Giulia thought. The olive oil must have been attracting the fish. Maybe they were hungry. Maybe they would. . . eat Ciccio? There was no way they could be so lucky.

  Behind her, and behind everyone else, was Luca. He was also underneath them. The heavy diving suit he wore was meant not for swimming, but for walking on the ocean floor! So there he was, trudging along. No matter how much effort he put in, no matter how hard he tried to move forward, he just couldn’t keep up with the group.

  Even worse, Luca noticed that the suit had developed a leak. He picked up the pace, exerting even more effort.

  Above, Giulia had rounded the buoy and was already swimming back to shore. She passed Ciccio, who was having great difficulty in the water now, as fish were nipping at his skin. The fish actually were trying to eat Ciccio!

  Ciccio freaked out. The fish were really only nipping at him a little, in a way that couldn’t possibly do him any harm, but Ciccio didn’t seem to realize this.

  Giulia was the first one out of the water, and she ran right past Ercole. He looked back at the water and screamed, “Swim, Ciccio! C’mon! Swim!”

  Running right to the pasta stage, Giulia sat herself down, ready to go. The surprise pasta was unveiled, a narrow flat noodle, and she exclaimed, “Ha, ha! Trenette!”

  Meanwhile, beneath the surface, Luca’s suit was filling with water as he continued to move forward, one soggy step at a time.

  Back on the shore, the judges were getting nervous. They knew that Luca was still in the water, and they weren’t sure what to do. Maybe it was time to go in after him?

  They were just about to send people in to fetch him when he finally emerged from the water! He slogged his way past Ercole, who, of course, being a complete jerk, tripped him.

  Luca fell, and ducked under a table. He wiggled his way out of the heavy diving suit and used the tablecloth to dry himself off. A moment later, he transformed into his land monster form and took a seat at the table.

  He was sitting next to Giulia! She rolled her eyes at him like she couldn’t believe what he was doing and how dangerous it was.

  Luca stared at the plate in front of him, piled with pasta that looked like wide ribbons. He tried to get some on his fork, but it just wasn’t working.

  “Come on, come on. . .” he said.

  Giulia was eating as fast as she could, her mouth crammed full of pasta. She watched him fumble with the fork. She couldn’t take it anymore, and in a very exaggerated way, showed him how to twirl the pasta around the fork to eat it.

  “Thank you!” Luca said.

  “Don’t thank me!” Giulia said, her mouth still full.

  And just then, Ciccio emerged from the water, screaming because little fish were still hanging on to his oil-soaked skin, still nibbling.

  “Stop crying! Tag Guido!” Ercole yelled, as Ciccio screamed. “Imbecile!”

  Ciccio managed to do that as Ercole pushed Guido over to the pasta competition. “Andiamo! Run! Run!”

  Guido sat down and started to eat like a maniac.

  But Giulia had already finished. She slammed her fork onto the table, and the crowd went wild!

  Alberto sat there in his hideout, looking out the window. In the distance, he could see Portorosso. He knew the race was happening right now. The race that he was supposed to be taking part in, along with Luca and Giulia.

  Yet, here he was. Sitting in his hideout.

  Alone.

  His eyes drifted to the sky above, and he noticed the dark clouds rolling in. A storm. With a storm came rain.

  Alberto groaned.

  “Finito!” Giulia cried as she stood up from the pasta table. Immediately, she grabbed her stomach. She hobbled over to the bicycles, groaning with each step. Ercole glared at her angrily as she got on and rode off.

  “Per mille cavoli!” Ercole screamed. “Guido! Faster!”

  And faster was exactly what Luca was trying to be. He was stabbing and twirling pasta as quickly as he could and eating it as he watched the other kids finish their dishes, stand up, and tag their partners for the bicycle portion of the race.

  Luca was way behind. But if there was any saving grace to this situation, so was Ercole! There he stood, forcefully shoving pasta into Guido’s mouth.

  “Eat, idiota! Più veloce!”

  Guido groaned in response.

  Another kid who had just finished eating, face covered in pasta sauce, was slumped against a wall. He pointed at Ercole and Guido. “Hey! That’s not allowed!”

  “He’s done!” Ercole announced, ignoring the kid as he slammed the fork onto the table, picked up Guido’s hand, and used it to slap his own hand, tagging Ercole into the race. Ercole sprinted to his bicycle and got on.

  And, in last place, Luca managed to slurp up the final piece of pasta on his plate. He high-fived himself, dropped the fork, and ran to his bicycle.

  Then he let out a loud burp and rode off.

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