Credits for translations to dD. These are not my translations..I will take these down if she wishes

Challenge

I told my roommates about the deal I had with Zhong Yuan. After they heard, Lil’ Second summed things up, “In other words, you have a sugar daddy?”

!

I scratched my head helplessly. “Please. How could you say I have a sugar daddy? This is obviously the relationship between a creditor and debtor, a boss and his employee, the oppressor and the oppressed… It’s a tragedy…”

Before I could finish, Miss Fourth interrupted. “Not only is he your sugar daddy, you two have some unwritten rules?”

I was speechless.

These people just want to see the world burn! I pleaded to Boss for help, for the beautiful, noble, and kind Boss to speak up for me…

Boss rubbed the new layer of hair growing from my head. With a smile, she said, “Blockhead, you should hold a set of lectures. On how to pick up a quality, handsome guy.”

I wanted to cry but there were no tears. I knocked her hand away. “I will when I get together with Lu Zijian!”

At the mention of Lu Zijian, Lil’ Second stirred. She slammed her hand on her desk and wailed, “My poor Top Lu, what a bitter fate you have…”

Miss Fourth frowned. “Why are you crying? The kid’s not dead.”

Lil’ Second replied, “If he did die, you’d be the one crying, right?”

Miss Fourth raised her leg and kicked Lil’ Second’s chair.

I looked at the chaos before me and then quietly climbed into bed. Forget it. A rumor stops at a wise man anyway. They can think whatever they want. I just have to last 15 more months. Mhm!

Or maybe one day, I’ll accidentally end up with a boyfriend like Lu Zijian, and… Haha hahaha…

When I thought of that, I couldn’t help laughing foolishly as I went to bed.

 

I fully experienced the employer-employee relationship between Zhong Yuan and myself by the time school started. It really left me speechless. This was the fate of the oppressed.

Because of Zhong Yuan’s morning practice, I had to wake up half an hour earlier than normal. I was very upset about that point, but of course I only grumbled about it to myself. There was nothing else that I could do.

Zhong Yuan, the freak, dragged me out to go running in the mornings. I couldn’t even pull my eyes open that early. But it wasn’t only that. He even wore a super eye-catching white training suit; it was whiter than Snow White. And well, I guess he did count as good looking, so we naturally drew a lot of attention. Or rather, he drew a lot of attention. I was simply a background prop, and a wretched one at that.

And just so you know, I hate running. A lot…

I tried to appeal, “Zhong Yuan, can I make a request to not run?”

Zhong Yuan was jogging, his complexion and breathing even. He asked me, “For what reason?”

I came up with a very dignified response that most people wouldn’t refuse. “My calves will get thick.”

Zhong Yuan shot down my request without even feigning concern. “That’s OK, I don’t mind.”

I thought his words sounded weird, and after thinking them over, I finally realized what he was saying. “What right do you have to mind or not mind?!” I couldn’t believe that there was an employer who would dislike that his employee had thick calves. What a picky boss that would be!

Zhong Yuan stopped and looked at me. Displeased, he said, “I’d been thinking that I’d give you a raise if you did well, but here you are, on the first day, already singing a different tune.” Without waiting for a response, he turned away and continued running.

And just as if I had no backbone, I started running after him. “I’ll run! I don’t care if my calves get thick…!”

Zhong Yuan didn’t say anything.

Panting, I called out, “C-can you run slower…” This was the advantage of having long legs. I was definitely jealous…

Zhong Yuan remained silent, but his pace slowed a lot.

Touched, I turned to look at him, and I realized that his eyes were narrowed a bit and his lips were curved up, like he was smiling. The smile didn’t seem like his usual sinister smile, but rather refreshing. Refreshing, like the air at dawn.

That’s why they say that even bad guys can find a conscience. Zhong Yuan was an example of that.

Of course, even when bad guys find a conscience, they’re still bad guys.

From the way those three rotten girls were acting, I started to come to the realization that, with regards to my new work relationship with Zhong Yuan, things had settled into place. At the least, their tones grew a bit playful. As for everyone else that I ran into, they seemed convinced that Zhong Yuan and I had become a couple! Oh god, why?!

I asked Zhong Yuan what we should do about it, and he simply replied, “We’ll prove it to them with time.”

His words were reasonable. Mm, as time passed, the rumors would naturally become discredited.

But before we’d had enough time to prove things, a challenger came knocking.

There was going to be a meeting to showcase the club’s camping trip. Zhong Yuan was busy so he couldn’t make it, but as team three’s photography chair, I was, of course, honored to be present.

After the presentation, Senior Ling Ling called me back. I asked if there was something wrong, but then she spoke out sternly, “Mu Er, I want to challenge you.

I scratched my head, not sure what she was talking about. “What?”

The stragglers who were still around suddenly paused and slowed their departures.

Senior Ling Ling looked at me arrogantly and replied, “I want to challenge you. If I win, Zhong Yuan is mine. You have to let him go.”

I had such a headache from the rumors going around the past few days, but right then, I replied, not entirely respectfully, “Zhong Yuan isn’t mine. If you want him, feel free.”

Senior Ling Ling clenched her fists. An ominous glint in her eyes, she asked, “What do you mean by that? Are you looking down on me?”

Startled, I took a step back. “Senior, calm down. Zhong Yuan and I really aren’t…”

Senior Ling Ling waved away my words and impatiently, said, “You two have already done all the things you should and shouldn’t do. Can you honestly say that there’s nothing between you? Mu Er, I didn’t know you were so pretentious.”

This felt so unfair. What did the two of us do? We didn’t do anything… Also, how am I pretentious?!

Senior Ling Ling continued to tower over me as she asked, “Anyway, do you accept my challenge?”

 

I found Senior Ling Ling’s logic very hard to understand. Putting aside the fact that there’s nothing going on between Zhong Yuan and me, even if we were going out, if she liked him, she should pursue him on her own. If she really stole him away, then it would have been because I didn’t have enough charm. The problem here was, why was she so aggressively seeking me out, demanding a battle?

Senior Ling Ling continued staring at me, seemingly unwilling to rest until she bore a hole into me. A shiver ran down my spine, and then I chuckled. With a quick, “Goodbye, Senior,” I disappeared from the lecture hall like a wisp of smoke.

When I got back to my room, I told the girls about what happened, and they seemed rather understanding. What? How come I couldn’t understand it at all?

But this ordeal hadn’t finished yet. The next day, I received a call from a member of the club, Little Jie. She asked mysteriously what Senior Ling Ling and I would battle on.

I found it ridiculous and told her, “I don’t know.”

Little Jie was already lost in her own little world. She didn’t pay attention to what I said, instead, continuing, “Everyone’s betting on who will win between you and Senior Ling Ling. I want to make a bet, but I don’t know who to pick. What kind of battle can you have with Senior Ling Ling?”

Oh my god. Why did it feel like something was wrong with everyone in this club lately…?

When I didn’t reply, Little Jie continued, “Mm, everyone else is betting 20 yuan. Maybe I should bet 20 too. But the club president is betting 100…”

I swallowed. “B-betting… money?”

Little Jie said, “Yeah. Did you just find out?”

I wiped my sweat. Didn’t this just start last night? Who’d have thought that the Environmental Alliance members had a better news sense than the Journalism Club? If this group of gossips were to take over that tired, old club, it would turn into something truly unrecognizable…

No, wait, I’ve gone off track again. I made a quick calculation and asked, “Hey, what is Senior Ling Ling really good at?”

Little Jie thought for a moment and answered, “Taekwondo, probably? I heard that she’s a third-degree black belt and she’s even won competitions.”

Taekwondo… That sounded rather scary, no?

Whatever. Men died for riches the way birds died fo food. I clenched my teeth and said, “OK, then I’ll compete with her in Taekwondo.”

An alarmed Little Jie asked, “Are you crazy?”

“Listen, I’m not crazy.” I smiled a bit. “Little Jie, can you put in a 250 yuan bet, under your name? You know who to put the bet on, right?”

Little Jie was quiet for a long while, but she finally sighed and said, “Mu Er, you’re so ridiculous.”

A wicked smile appeared on my face. I just had to suffer a beating and I’d win some money. That wasn’t an opportunity that came every day!

And so, I very confidently told Senior Ling Ling that I’d accept her challenge. Moreover, I wouldn’t compete with her unless it was with Taekwondo. We agreed that, whatever the outcome, we would take on the consequences.

I didn’t dare tell Zhong Yuan about any of this. After all, he was at the center of this gamble, though the bet was a bit ridiculous. Fortunately, the club wasn’t so big that too many people would find out about the matter. There was no need for this news to get to Zhong Yuan.

Actually, I was worried that if he found out, he would deduct my wages.

We agreed to hold the competition on Saturday afternoon. It just so happened that Zhong Yuan would be at H University that day for an intercollegiate soccer match. Initially, he’d asked me to go to the game and cheer for the team, but when I said I had a headache, he didn’t force me to go.

I arrived at the practice room at 3 o’clock, where there was already a group of people waiting.

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