Credit for this translation to dD. This is not my translation. I will take it down if she wants

Serious Cohabitation Problem

The Environmental Alliance Club would be having its camping event over the May 1st Labor Day vacation. For the next half a month, every night at 9pm, we had to gather at the sports field for training. After all, hiking a mountain was a strength-intensive activity. Most of the people involved in the club were doing it in their spare time, so we had to prepare a bit. Even if we couldn’t change our physique, the training would allow us to adjust our energy consumption a bit.

The training consisted mainly of long-distance running, with the occasional stair-climbing exercise. My physique was ordinary, neither great nor poor. Though the training wasn’t so hard as to be life-endangering, it was still tough. Of course, we can’t talk about certain inhuman creatures the same way. For example, Zhong Yuan. The guy ran for half an hour straight and he still looked like he was going for a leisurely walk. Sometimes I really suspect that he’s a robot.

During training, Zhong Yuan didn’t bully me too much. Because he was constantly surrounded by a group of girls. Especially when we were running. But then he would speed up, leaving the girls sighing after him as they grew further apart. I felt a sense of success then. So I wasn’t the only slow runner after all…

Sometimes Zhong Yuan would pass me and then start running backwards. While he was facing me, he would pull out his phone and, with a smile, say, “Blockhead, smile.”

By that time, I was covered in sweat and panting for air. I didn’t even have the strength to yell at him, let alone smile.

And without missing a beat, Zhong Yuan would snap a picture of me looking my worst… How dark is that person’s mind?!

 

The day before we set out, we didn’t have any training. Instead, we gathered for a small meeting, to remind everyone about the things they should watch out for on our trip. And then Senior Ling Ling announced that there was a slightly troublesome matter to deal with.

There were three groups attending the trip, and they would be based in separate places. Senior Ling Ling, Zhong Yuan, and I were all in the third group. It just so happened that our group had 20 people, seven girls and 13 boys. Those numbers were the key bit here. In both of the other groups, there were an even number of boys and girls. But in our group, we had an odd number of each… It also just so happened that the tents we’d be using were all for two people, and our group was allotted ten tents…

In other words, a girl and boy were going to have to share a tent.

 

Senior Ling Ling said that she’d tried discussing the tent situation with the club, but it seemed that a lot of people were renting tents for that holiday… Her meaning was that we’d have to deal with the problem by ourselves.

I immediately raised my hand and asked, “Senior Ling Ling, can we squeeze three people into a tent?”

She shook her head. “That would be a pain for the people in that tent. And besides, we’re going to be exhausted by night time. If we can’t get a good rest, we won’t be able to move the next day.”

Just then, sitting beside me, Zhong Yuan spoke quietly so that only the two of us could hear. “It can’t be that bad. For girls like you, three people could fit into a doubles’ tent without a problem.”

I gave him a strange look and then whispered back, “Why don’t you bring that up with Senior Ling Ling?”

Zhong Yuan glanced over at her and then replied, “Can’t you tell? She’s doing this on purpose.”

I looked over at him in astonishment. Slandering my senior? Be careful that I don’t sue you!

Seeing the disbelief in my face, Zhong Yuan added, “Otherwise, why is she only bringing it up now? Even if there were other solutions, it’s too late now.”

And indeed… A first-year male student spoke up, “Senior Ling Ling, I have a single-person tent at home.”

Senior Ling Ling replied regretfully, “Aiya, why didn’t you mention it sooner? It’ll probably be too late to go get it now. We’ll be leaving very early in the morning.”

Still skeptical, I looked over at Zhong Yuan. I asked him, “What’s she going to do then?”

Zhong Yuan shook his head. “I don’t know.”

Around us, everyone was chatting about who would share tents. And it seemed to me that most people were more than willing to share a tent with the opposite sex. Was I possibly imagining things…?

Then Senior Ling Ling made a suggestion. The girls should take a vote about which boy would share a tent with a girl. Note, the girls were voting for a boy.

More surprising, though, was when Senior Ling Ling read out Zhong Yuan’s name. The other six girls in group three were raising their hands in cheer. The first years at least looked a bit shy about it, but Senior Ling Ling’s eyes were shining as she stared at Zhong Yuan, the way a starving person looked at a platter of food…

Huh. I started to get an inkling for why Senior Ling Ling was acting this way… Zhong Yuan was like a scourge!

Senior Ling Ling asked me, “Mu Er, who do you pick?”

Although I understood Senior Ling Ling, I still felt that this whole thing was kind of strange. So I said, “Um… Senior Ling Ling, I think that we can actually fit three girls…”

“No!” she sternly rejected my suggestion. She seemed very excited then, so I decided to just be an obedient little lamb.

Then Senior Ling Ling continued, “Well, Zhong Yuan already has six votes, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t pick anyone, Mu Er.”

Zhong Yuan suddenly spoke up. “Can the chosen person refuse?”

Senior Ling Ling smiled slyly. “No.”

Zhong Yuan replied, “OK. Then can the chosen person choose their… um, companion?”

Senior Ling Ling hesitated, but then she answered, “Sure…”

It was then that the ordinarily aloof first years suddenly grew restless. Their eyes were hooked on Zhong Yuan, the scourge. Of course, I remained calm as ever. Though I still thought three girls sharing a tent was no problem at all.

Zhong Yuan’s eyes wandered back and forth between the girls. Finally, they landed on me, and with a smile, he said, “I pick her. Mu Er.” When he said that, all the boys looked at me with an ambiguous expression. Meanwhile, the resentment in the girls’ eyes had me nearly jumping out of my skin.

I promptly interjected, “I don’t agree to this! Senior Ling Ling, I still think that we can fit…”

She cut me off. “Zhong Yuan, Mu Er doesn’t agree to it. You’ll have to pick someone else.”

Zhong Yuan looked at Senior Ling Ling helplessly. He replied, “I don’t really know who to choose, but honestly, I’d prefer to pick one of the first years.” At that, the first-year girls grew excited.

I glared at Zhong Yuan. Why would you drag me into this?! It’s obvious Senior Ling Ling’s been waiting for you…

When Senior Ling Ling heard that Zhong Yuan wanted to pick a first year, she immediately pulled a small box from her bag. She said, “OK, let’s draw lots. There are seven pieces of paper in this box. One of them has a check mark on it, while the rest are blank. Whoever picks the paper with the check mark…” Senior Ling Ling was excited. She swallowed and finished, “…will share a tent with Zhong Yuan.”

I wiped my sweat. So Senior Ling Ling, you really did plan this all in advance…

“In order to keep things fair, you girls pick first, and I’ll take the last piece of paper.” Senior Ling Ling held out the box to the girls. Everyone grabbed a piece of paper and unfolded it.

When Senior Ling Ling held the box in front of me, I glanced over at Zhang Yuan’s nightmare-inducing face and shook my head. I told her, “I think I’ll just stay out of it.”

As Senior Ling Ling pulled the box away, Zhong Yuan made an untimely interjection. “Mu Er, you’ll make things difficult for Senior Ling Ling if you don’t play along. What if the leftover piece of paper is the one with the check mark? The odds are only one in seven, so you’re unlikely to be chosen anyway.”

I glared at him again as I reached into the box to grab a slip of paper.

As I was about to open the paper, Zhong Yuan said, “Let me help you.” He grabbed the paper from my hand, and then quickly pulled out a small pen from his pocket and marked the paper.

I watched wide-eyed from the side. Zhong Yuan, did you go crazy or are you just an idiot?

 

Since the other girls were looking at their papers, and Zhong Yuan had moved swiftly and quietly, neither the girls nor Senior Ling Ling saw his awful acts. Before I realized what was happening, Zhong Yuan stuffed the pen into my hand and raised the piece of paper into the air. “OK, I was chosen by Mu Er.”

I quickly spoke up, “No, I…”

Zhong Yuan turned to me and said, “What are you trying to say? Are you suggesting that Senior Ling Ling rigged this?”

“That’s not what I meant.” I looked at Senior Ling Ling, wanting to explain the situation. But then I noticed how strange her expression looked. Not only was there disappointment, there was also a trace of confusion. Huh?

But Zhong Yuan cheated…

Suddenly, Zhong Yuan whispered to me. “That pen is in your hand. Go ahead and try telling everyone that I did this. See who will believe you.”

I looked down at the 5cm pen in my hand, dumbstruck. But what was worse was that when I looked up, I saw that Senior Ling Ling was also staring at the pen in my hand. And it was very clear how angry she was…

But after all this time, why hadn’t anyone exposed our fraud? Shouldn’t one of the other six girls have a checkmark on their paper? So why wasn’t anyone refuting my claim? From their expressions earlier, they all wanted to share a tent with Zhang Yuan.

I couldn’t quite understand it. I asked foolishly, “You… You all have blank papers? Who else has a check mark?”

I thought I could hear Senior Ling Ling clench her teeth right then and there…

 

After the meeting finished and we dispersed, I asked Zhong Yuan, “What happened with the lots?”

He replied, “You still don’t get it? Senior Ling Ling rigged it. All the papers were blank. That’s the only way she could guarantee that everyone else would pick a blank paper.”

I asked, “But what about her paper? Hers would be blank too.”

Zhong Yuan said, “After everyone else revealed their papers were blank, it would mean that Senior Ling Ling’s wasn’t.”

I wiped my sweat. Ah, I understand. How sinister of Senior Ling Ling. She actually tried to use this sort of method… What a waste it was to have followed her so loyally. So she did such disingenuous things.

But there was still something I didn’t understand. “How did you know all of this?”

Zhong Yuan gave me a look of contempt before answering, “I’m not a blockhead.”

I was speechless.

OK, you might be a tiny little bit smarter than me, but you’re so fucking arrogant!

I asked, “So why didn’t you want to share a tent with Senior Ling Ling?”

Zhong Yuan said, “I was worried she might molest me.”

I wiped my sweat and said, “Well, I’m worried you might molest me!”

Zhong Yuan glanced over me, and with utter disdain, he replied, “In your dreams.”

I was left speechless again.

My Dream Lover

The X Mountains were outside of B City, up at an elevation of more than a thousand meters above sea level. A professional mountaineer would hardly bat a lash at it, but for us students, it was very imposing!

I climbed out of bed bright and early in the morning because we were meeting at 6. I washed my face and brushed my teeth. Then I grabbed the bag I packed the previous night and set out. I borrowed the backpack from Miss Fourth. There was a lot of space inside, which I filled with water and some extra clothes, since supposedly it was still very cold at night in the mountains. Additionally, I packed a pocket knife, a whistle, and other small, essential items for staying in the outdoors. Food and other necessities were divided up between teams, and the boys were responsible for carrying it. The girls just had to make sure they took care of their own things.

With how far the destination was, taking public transportation would have been tedious and time-consuming, so instead, the club rented a coach bus. I arrived early, so there weren’t many people on the bus yet. I found a spot by the window and sat down. Then I pulled out a piece of bread to nibble on. The cafeteria wasn’t open that early, so everyone prepared their own breakfasts.

It was nearly 6 when Zhong Yuan and the other guys arrived with the food and equipment. The bags were gigantic, frighteningly so.

After they put all their bags into the luggage compartment, the boys got onto the bus. With a plastic bag in his hand, Zhong Yuan walked down the aisle, and under the girls’ watching eyes, he nonchalantly took the seat beside me. I turned toward the window and continued nibbling on my bread. Although Zhong Yuan wasn’t my type, and he probably wasn’t interested in me either, the stares from the other girls were really stressful.

Zhong Yuan opened his plastic bag. Inside was his breakfast, which included bread, milk, eggs, sausage, beef jerky…

From the side, my eyes fixed on his assorted breakfast. Meanwhile, I sat there chewing on my dry bread, silently sighing with grief, ‘Why world, why…’

Then Zhong Yuan handed me a box of milk and asked, “Want some?”

I hesitated a moment before shaking my head. Meat pies don’t just fall from the sky. This guy obviously had something up his sleeve.

 

But then Zhong Yuan suddenly grabbed the bread in my hands and put it into a plastic bag. He twisted it a few times and then put it to the side. Then he put his breakfast in my lap and smiled. “Go ahead.” Without waiting for my reaction, he grabbed a soy egg and started to unwrap the packaging.

I looked down at the very enticing breakfast on my lap, and to my surprise, I realized that there were two servings of bread, milk, eggs, sausages, and jerky…

So I didn’t hold back. I picked up a sausage, unwrapped it, and started to eat. As I ate, I thanked Zhong Yuan. “You know, Zhong Yuan, you’re not so bad.”

Zhong Yuan raised his brows and smiled at me. Then he asked, “Am I very bad?” Although he was smiling, I felt a strange gust of cold air hit my back.

And then I started to chuckle a bit nervously.

Zhong Yuan smiled slyly and said, “You’re won over with just a bit of food? That’s no fun.”

I was chewing on a sausage when the flash of indignation made me speechless.

When I finished eating breakfast, the bus was already on its way. It would take about three or four hours to get to the destination. At first, I was awake enough to listen to the jokes people were telling, but later, my eyelids started to droop. I didn’t want to go to sleep because it wasn’t very comfortable. The backrest on the seats were very vertical and went past my head. If I fell asleep, my head would start tossing left and right, so if I didn’t want that, I’d have to stay awake. In the beginning, I’d nearly fallen asleep until the driver suddenly braked, which caused my head to hit the window, painfully waking me.

When I woke up, Zhong Yuan was laughing at me. He was leaned back in his seat, listening to music. There was a nice contrast between the ordinary, white headphone cord and his black T-shirt. The morning sunlight streamed in through the window onto his body. I squinted and looked at his blurry eyes and smiling lips under the light. A strange idea suddenly came into my mind: Zhong Yuan’s actually pretty good looking…

The hit to my head must have been serious.

I leaned into my seat and closed my eyes. I wanted to sleep but I couldn’t. In the end though, the sleepy feeling won out. I was so tired that my mind basically left me, and my head fell to the side. The last shred of reason in me told me what I was doing, but I couldn’t control myself anymore. The Dream God’s power was too strong.

My head seemed to hit something that was a bit hard but not painful. Whatever it was, it felt stable and firm. I unconsciously shifted into a more comfortable position, all the while leaning on this object.

I felt something being put into my ear, and then I heard an unfamiliar but calming melody. It felt like I was lying in a pool of soft, white feathers.

And then I fell into a deep sleep.

The bus stopped at the foot of the mountains. We got off and gathered our things a moment, and then we got ready to set off. I was given two cameras and was in charge of taking photos of everyone.

I was infatuated with photography, like Master Chen.1 But due to financial issues, I’d yet to own my own camera, and my phone didn’t even have the capability to take photos. I applied to be on the photography committee for this trip, and after a long battle with the other applicants, with my skills, I became one of the two photographers for team three. (Cocky one, aren’t you?)

1

Because we couldn’t charge the cameras, two cameras were prepared for each committee member. One of mine was an ordinary, red Sony camera. But the other was actually a Canon EOS 5D Mark II…

My eyes were glued to it when I saw it was a Canon. After inspecting it for a while, and coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t a knockoff, I couldn’t help sighing. My god, I used to think that I would only be able to touch this camera in my dreams. Who’d have guessed… The sudden joy nearly brought me to tears…

I wondered which rich club lent us the camera. I really wanted to know which club was so lovely and kind.

I carried this 20-plus-thousand yuan SLR camera and asked Senior Ling Ling excitedly, “Senior Ling ling, who did we borrow this Canon from?”

She glared at me with utter animosity and seethed, “Isn’t that Zhong Yuan’s? Did you really not know, or are you just pretending?”

Zhong… Zhong Yuan’s?

I was taken aback a moment, but then I hurried away from Senior Ling Ling’s despising stare, over to Zhong Yuan’s side. I held up the camera and asked, “Is this… yours?”

Zhong Yuan nodded, and then asked back, “Is there a problem?”

I gave a flattering laugh, but didn’t reply. Although I didn’t really like Zhong Yuan as a person, I couldn’t help but admit that he had some taste. Of course, having taste wasn’t all it took to buy a Canon EOS 5D Mark II; one also needed adequate capital. I remember that I asked Miss Fourth to check the online mall for it before. When I saw the functions and features of the camera, my eyes lit up with stars. But then when I saw the price, I could only cry.

At the time, the camera was priced at 19,900 yuan. That’s right, you didn’t mishear. That’s a five-figure camera. Nearly 20 thousand yuan. And what’s worse is that the seller called it a special price!

So, as you could imagine, as I held this treasure in my arms, I felt an utter sense of satisfaction!

Zhong Yuan noticed my idiotic look and laughed lightly. “Blockhead, if you do a good job, I’ll let you borrow the camera when you want.”

My eyes shimmered as I nodded. But then I asked with some reservation, “What do you mean by ‘do a good job’?”

Zhong Yuan seemed to consider for a moment, and then he replied, “That’s for you to think about. I’m just responsible for the judging.”

Well, you might as well not have said anything! His words pissed me off, but I also felt a bit helpless in the situation. And then Zhong Yuan smiled and added, “Anyway, you just need to keep me in a good mood, or at the least, don’t make me angry.”

OK, I think I get it… Fine, I just have to kiss up to him a bit. For my precious Canon baby, I can do it!

 

The X Mountains had already been developed into a national park, which meant that there was an official path up the mountain. But due to the irregular nature of a mountain, it goes without saying that parts of the path would be uneven.

The main peak of the X Mountains was more than 1.5 kilometers above sea level. Our plan was to look around some of the smaller hills and then hike halfway up the mountain. We would continue the climb the next day up to the top and then take a different path back down.

When we first started hiking, I was still very alert and not at all tired. After we walked around a bit, we had lunch at a rest area. The meal was simple. Everyone got a mantou, fermented tofu, and a sausage. I couldn’t help thinking about my precious Canon, so I pushed myself to give my sausage to Zhong Yuan. And that guy, he didn’t even reject the offer once. He just smiled and ate every last bit of that sausage.

After we ate, we started our trek up. The climb itself was rather boring, as we were just hiking up the steps. On the side of the mountain though, there were clusters of purple flowers that I couldn’t recall the name of. They were in full bloom and looked particularly lively against the sea of green. All kinds of bird calls could be heard from between the trees. Some were delicate and cheerful, like a lively girl yet to be betrothed. Some were deep and profound, like an old monk speaking of life and death. Every so often, small creeks would also appear, though they were dried-up since the rainy season had yet to arrive.

But hiking was a physical activity. Although the scenery around us was beautiful, when we were drenched in sweat and breathing unevenly, who would be in the mood to appreciate their surroundings?

What made things worse was that I was in charge of taking photos, which meant I had to run ahead and run back to get good shots.

And even worse than that, every time I was bent over, catching my breath, Zhong Yuan would snap a photo of me. He held up his phone and said, “Blockhead, you really look like a puppy here.” It made me so angry. I really wanted to grab the phone from his hand and stomp on it… Of course, that was only what I wanted to do, not what I actually did.

But worst of all was that I had to rack my brain for ways to kiss up to this awful person. When he sweat too much, I smiled and handed him a towel. When he was thirsty, I had to offer up water to him. When he said, “Blockhead, you’re too slow,” I had to hurry and catch up…

I was living through a fucking tragedy.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.