Credits for translations to dD. These are not my translations..I will take these down if she wishes
That afternoon, when I returned to my dorm room, I saw Lil’ Second in front of the computer, her eyes aglow as her fingers tapped away on the keyboard.
I put down my bag and asked her, “Writing another draft, Second?”
Don’t look down on Lil’ Second because she seems vulgar. She’s actually an internet writer, and supposedly, she’s pretty well-known on a certain site. Of course, everything she wrote was BL. I haven’t read any of it, and truth be told, BL territory kind of scared me. One night, Lil’ Second was watching gay videos in the dorm room. I glanced over and nearly had a breakdown. Lil’ Second passionately explained that for ordinary people, the first time they saw a gay video with real people could be overwhelming, and she suggested that I simply watch it a few more times… My gosh. It wasn’t enough that I vomited once. She wanted me to vomit several times more? Did she take me for a masochist?
But anyway, while I was in awe of BL and BL fans, it was Lil’ Second who I really admired. I heard that she’d already posted several million characters worth of stories online. I also heard that she couldn’t get to sleep the night before the college entrance exams, so she spent all night writing a BL novella which brought her first slew of readers… Her attachment and dedication to writing was something I, as a fickle1 student, could learn from. Out of curiosity, I once asked her, “Lil’ Second, what does it feel like writing a chapter?”
To this day, I still remember her plucky reply. “Writing these things is like XXOO2. When you first start out, you’re expectant. As you continue posting, you feel excited. And when you finish a story, you feel happy but also kind of hollow.”
Boss and Miss Fourth had been present too. The calm and collected Boss and the formidable Miss Fourth both seemed dumbfounded by Lil’ Second’s description. It took them a while to regain their senses, let alone someone like me. After that day, I didn’t dare look down on Lil’ Second again.
From then on, whenever someone asked us what Lil’ Second liked doing, the three of us uniformly replied: She likes XXOO.
OK, I’ve gone quite off topic. Lil’ Second, who I’d thought had been writing a novel, replied, “No, I’m posting on a forum.”
“Oh.” Of course. A proper geek had to frequent forum boards.
Lil’ Second suddenly turned around and explained to me, “You see, a pervert’s appeared on the campus.”
Just then, Boss and Miss Fourth returned and overheard Lil’ Second’s words. Boss walked over to look at the computer screen. Then she said, “There really is. But are they all the same person?”
I wasn’t interested at all. “I’m not worried about perverts. I’m just worried about my finals.”
Boss turned and gave me a pat on the head. My hair was not yet an inch long, but I was still content with it. However short it was, it was better than having no hair.
Then Boss said, “Right, you don’t have to worry about it. Even if you did, you’d just be worried about female perverts, right?”
Lil’ Second agreed, “Blockhead, you really do look like a young boy right now. One that could cause some to drool a bit…”
I fumed. This was clearly discrimination because of my hairstyle. I knocked Lil’ Second’s head and said, “You’d drool because you’re retarded. That has nothing to do with me.”
Lil’ Second pushed away my hand and smiled gleefully as she announced, “When it comes to dealing with perverts, I have quite the constructive method.”
Lil’ Second grabbed her chin and spoke seriously, “Find some boys as grand as Lu Zijian to round him up!”
The three of us were speechless.
This idea was too out of left-field.3
the evening, Zhong Yuan and I continued with our studying. I used to dream of studying with the boy I liked, and then while we studied, maybe some sparks or fireworks would show up. But now… Just forget it. Although, there was an advantage to studying with Zhong Yuan, and that was being able to ask him for help. Although we had different majors, this guy had participated in math and physics competitions before, and he’d even won awards. So, I could definitely ask him for help with those two subjects. As for my major courses, I only had the one ‘quantitative analysis’ class. Zhong Yuan actually spent an entire day looking through my textbook, and then he was able to help me review. I suspected that he was a spy that the chemistry school sent over to the business school. Other than hating him and feeling envious, I had nothing to say.
But sometimes I wondered, if it were Lu Zijian studying with me, he would surely be able to help me with my studies too, right? And he’d probably be able to explain things better than Zhong Yuan…
OK, enough with the idle chit-chat. Back to the studying. Zhong Yuan brought along his laptop to the study room that evening. Zhong Yuan’s a showy person, so it wasn’t a surprise that his laptop was also an eye-catching white color. I realized that this guy really liked the color white. He usually dressed in a clean, white shirt. With his neat, short hair, he really gave off the illusion of ‘I am very pure and kind’. But God knows how truly evil and sinister he is.
Zhong Yuan turned on his laptop and asked me, “What electives are you taking?”
I asked back, “Why are you asking?”
Zhong Yuan pulled up the school’s course selection program and signed in. “Why do you think?”
Sweat. I knew that his evil spirit still lingered. You want to pick the same electives as me, huh? So that I’ll have to fill in when they take roll call and I’ll have to do your homework, huh? Dream. On.
I told him, “I’m not telling you.”
Zhong Yuan stared at the computer screen and said calmly, “Don’t make me hack your account.”
I was speechless.
I felt that Zhong Yuan was tricking me. Well, it wouldn’t be the first time. Haha. I can’t fall for it every time, right? I decided not to believe him. You’re a business management student. OK, maybe you can get away with knowing some math and physics and quantitative analysis, but you can’t possibly have that many skills, right?
So then I scoffed, “Go ahead and hack me then! Tch!”
“Mm, you told me to hack you,” Zhong Yuan said. He tapped away on the keyboard a bit, and then he said, “OK, done.”
I stared at his computer screen in disbelief. R-really…
Zhong Yuan annoyingly added, “Your username was your student ID number, and your password was the system-generated PIN. You didn’t change it… I didn’t even have to hack you.”
I stared at him with wide eyes. “How did you know my student ID and PIN?”
Zhong Yuan answered, “I have your meal card.”
I was pissed.
Zhong Yuan found my schedule and motioned with his hands. “Without even realizing it, you managed to pick all four of the school’s hardest1 electives. Even if you wanted to torture yourself, you didn’t have to go to such extremes. Blockhead, you’re really some kind of genius.”
I wiped my sweat and looked at him suspiciously.
Zhong Yuan calmly clicked through the course listings and said, “This one, this one, and this one. These are better choices. Do you want to pick them?” He turned to consult with me. I guess you could call it a bit democratic.
Oh please, that’s bullshit. Even if I said I didn’t want to take those classes, he’d still pick them anyway, wouldn’t he?
Zhong Yuan wasn’t the least bit ashamed of his sham of a democracy. He boldly deleted all the electives that I’d previously selected and added the few he suggested. It is true though, that those classes ended up being better choices.
After adjusting my electives list until nothing of the original remained, Zhong Yuan continued on his merry way to change my physical education course as well, from table tennis to regular tennis. He reasoned that table tennis players were very alert and had very fast reflexes, and then… He looked at me with pity and shook his head.
What, was I really that awful?
After he was done with the course selection, Zhong Yuan pulled out a curious little object from his backpack that looked like a flashlight.
I tried to get a look and then asked, “What is it?”
Zhong Yuan replied, “A stun gun. I heard that the campus isn’t very safe recently.”
Sweat. This was the stun gun of legends? It was my first time seeing one. I looked at Zhong Yuan gratefully and said, “Thank you.” This guy may be rather devious, but his pros outweighed his cons.2 Old Mr Marx taught us to approach our problems logically.
“No need to thank me. Just do a bit better in the future. At the least, don’t get angry at me.”
I nodded. This counted as the approval and encouragement of a boss to his employee, right? Guess I’d been performing pretty well. As for not getting angry at Zhong Yuan, I found that a bit ridiculous. He was clearly the one intentionally angering me, OK?
I carefully inspected the small stun gun in my hands. I asked Zhong Yuan, “How do you use this?”
Zhong Yuan pointed to it and gestured. “Point it at the enemy and then push the button.”
“Like this?” I asked, involuntarily pressing the power button as Zhong Yuan instructed…
In just a second’s time, Zhong Yuan collapsed on the desk.
Exams will always be a weapon that tortures students’ minds and bodies. I struggled against the tumultuous sea of exams for quite a while until I finally made my way to the peaceful shore. After my last exam, I walked out of the exam room and let out a long and relaxed sigh. Then I got a call from Zhong Yuan.
Zhong Yuan said, “How were your exams?”
I told him, “The physics exam didn’t go great. I’m probably not getting the scholarship.”
Zhong Yuan replied, “It’s better that way.”
What. I should have guessed that he’d take joy in my misfortune. I held myself back. Then I said, “I probably won’t be able to change majors now either.” The school had a rule that, if you wanted to change majors, you had to maintain a top-ten position in your original major. My grades wouldn’t be good enough.
Zhong Yuan was quiet for a moment, finally saying, “That’s a shame.”
Although my exams would not be a source of joy, the days to come were enough to bring me happiness. Because summer break was finally here.
The first order of business for summer break was the practical training project, the one with Lu Zijian. This was truly a rare occasion. Lu Zijian, here I come!
The topic Lu Zijian organised was investigating the water pollution control process in an ecological region, Lake Baiyangdian,1 which happened to be located in his hometown. He didn’t live there now, but his family did have an old house over by the lake. For the duration of our project, we’d be staying there.
I didn’t know too much about Lake Baiyangdian other than it being a freshwater lake and having lotuses. And there was a lot of anti-Japan guerilla activity there during the War Of Resistance.22
Of course, the place itself wasn’t of importance. What was important was that it was where Lu Zijian grew up!
The lake wasn’t too far from B City, and it was easy to access by car. We took the 2pm bus to Lake Baiyangdian and arrived a bit after 4. Lu Zijian’s dad came to pick us up in a small van. He was tall and formidable looking, essentially a middle-aged version of Lu Zijian. Where they differed though, was that his dad was very good at engaging in conversations. He was nice and enthusiastic and kept the mood lively. On the twenty or so minute drive back to the house, he treated us like family. We found out that Lu Zijian’s dad had opened a few specialty restaurants in the city and business was pretty good. The family all lived in the city too, so he’d made this trip back especially to take care of us.
Additionally, Mr Lu brought along one of the top chefs at one of his restaurants. That evening, we had an amazing Baiyangdian meal. Both our bodies and spirits were filled to contentment.
Mr Lu had business to attend to, so he ended up leaving. But fortunately, he left behind the chef…
Everyone had spent nearly half the day traveling to get here. After we ate our fill and had some drink, no one was in the right mind to do anything else, so we all headed to bed early. There were four rooms total in the house, two large ones and two smaller ones. The chef took one of the smaller rooms, leaving the other empty. It worked out that the boys could take one of the larger rooms and the girls could take the other. When Lu Zijian’s parents found out we’d be staying in the house, they prepared two large beds, each enough for several people to sleep on. On top of the soft beds were bamboo mats, so lying on the bed was soft but cool. It was so comfortable.
The four of us girls lied on the bed and chat a little bit. Boss, Miss Fourth and I were rather tired, but Lil’ Second was curiously alert and spirited. She kept chirping on about ‘Lu Zijian and Zhong Yuan sharing a bed’ and other such comments. Because of her, when I fell asleep, I even ended up dreaming about Lu Zijian and Zhong Yuan tightly hugging each other as they slept. I suddenly broke out in a cold sweat.
I slept awhile more but was forced awake in the early morning when I had to go pee. I really didn’t want to get out of bed, but it wasn’t good to hold it for too long. In a sleepy daze, I climbed out of bed and made my way to the bathroom, which was in the courtyard. A half moon hung illuminated in the sky, but it was a bit hazy, just like my awareness.
I returned to bed after using the bathroom and immediately fell into a slumber. I could almost hear a fuzzy voice call to me, “Blockhead!” but it must have been my imagination, the deeply-inlaid fear for someone that was buried in my subconscious. I just ignored it. I reached around carelessly, trying to find a blanket, as the summer mornings were still a bit chilly. I couldn’t sleep comfortably because of the cold. But I couldn’t find the blanket. There was clearly a blanket last night. Did that rotten Lil’ Second kick it to the floor?
I had to wake myself a bit more. Just as I started to open up my eyes, someone suddenly pulled me into their arms and wrapped their limbs around me. A leg sat right on top of my waist, as if I were a pillow.
The embrace started to warm my body and my sleepiness returned. I didn’t care if it was Lil’ Second or Miss Fourth, and I just fell back asleep.
The next morning, I was woken by a soft chatter.
There was a faucet in the courtyard that currently carried along the sound of running water. Someone must be washing up.
Just then, someone asked, “Are the two of them still asleep?” The voice sounded a bit rough; it must have been the chef.
Someone replied, “Who knows. They must still be lingering in bed.” She laughed mischievously. That voice was clearly Lil’ Second’s.
Someone else said, “Please. Even if they had the desire, would they have the guts?” It was Miss Fourth.
“Hey, you guys, did you see something you shouldn’t have last night?” Boss.
A male voice, as wretched as Lil’ Second’s, replied, “No, no. We all just slept honestly.”
I couldn’t make sense of their words, but my half-asleep self was quickly jolted awake by a different discovery.
The girls were all outside. So then… Which holy being was wrapped around me like an octopus right now? I-it… It wasn’t a ghost, right…?
Calm down. Don’t be afraid. Usually, ghosts only scared people; they didn’t eat them. I restrained my fear and comforted myself as I looked down at the hand on my waist. It was very pale, with smooth skin and slender fingers. The fingernails were very pretty. This ghost had quite a nice looking hand. But it looked rather familiar.
My eyes traveled up from this beautiful hand, past the arm and the shoulder… An ominous feeling filled me.
And then I was met with a familiar face.
Zhong Yuan stared at me with dark, bright eyes and a sinister smile on his lips.