Chapter 10 — Youths (2)
Lin Zhao heard from Cao Zhan that her brother was once again being a busybody.
Cao Zhan did not know sign language, and so he wrote it down for Lin Zhao to read. His handwriting was messy and sloppy, his narration a little unclear, but if one read it a few times, they could still understand what he was trying to say.
“An Jincheng helped too.” Cao Zhan wrote down whatever he thought of. “Even Miss Chu came.”
Lin Zhao took the pen. “What else?”
Cao Zhan continued writing. “They were both praised by Miss Chu, and along with another new student.”
Lin Zhao had heard about the new student Li Zi too, as well as Mo Xiaoxiao, the girl with the metal leg.
“That one, Lu Rong,” Cao Zhan waved his hand above his head, putting on an expression of envy as he spoke earnestly, “he’s really tall!”
Lin Zhao recalled the day they met, then she wrote on the paper. “Is he as tall as Jiang Tianhe?”
The moment Jiang Tianhe’s name was mentioned, Cao Zhan became a little unhappy. He wrote down forcefully, “He’s even taller!”
Lin Zhao suppressed her smile. “Did Jiang Tianhe bully you again?”
Cao Zhan wrote furiously, erasing and rewriting it. The cycle repeated, and he seemed to be really angry. Finally, he pushed the paper away and spoke loudly, “He’s so annoying!”
Lin Zhao did not manage to read his lips clearly when he spoke. She wanted to write, but suddenly, a hand inserted between the both of them and snatched the paper away from the desk.
Jiang Tianhe had a hand in his pocket while holding the paper with his other. Looking at it for a while, he laughed, trying to create trouble. “I thought it was something fun, but turns out it’s just a fool and a deaf girl trying to whisper to each other?”
Cao Zhan was a little fearful of Jiang Tianhe, but he understood what he was implying, and responded, stammering, “I-I’m not a fool, I-I’m dopey!”
“Dopey?” Jiang Tianhe threw the piece of paper onto his head, sneering, “Why? Are you Lin Mu’s puppy? Lin Mu can call you Dopey, and yet you refuse to accept the nickname that I gave you?”
Lin Zhao could not hear what they were arguing over, but looking at it, Jiang Tianhe probably was not saying anything nice. She stepped forward, shielding Cao Zhan behind her, then succinctly flipped Jiang Tianhe off.
Jiang Tianhe spat, his voice was disdainful, “Both the sister and the brother are just the same.”
Cao Zhan’s eyes turned red from anger. He knew that Class Three and the elite class were different — most students here had paid a selection fee to enroll in Kunqian. Some students in this class were studious, but there were also many people like Jiang Tianhe, so much so that different cliques could be formed. Jiang Tianhe did not look like a student — he was very tall and muscular; his hair was shaved in a crew cut; he never wore his uniform properly, and the sleeves of his T-shirt were always rolled up and tucked in. With how loose his collar was, he looked as though he was wearing a sleeveless tee.
He had a group of so-called followers, but he was the only one who always bullied Cao Zhan.
It was not that Jiang Tianhe would beat people up, but his tongue was very wicked — he loved finding ways to agitate people with no rhyme or reason. Although Cao Zhan had a little problem with his intellect, he was an incredibly earnest person. To reason with Jiang Tianhe, he often butted his heads with him, but he had never won an argument. Instead, Jiang Tianhe would scold him even more harshly after each fight.
Jiang Tianhe would even snatch his books, but he never read them. Instead, he would mock Cao Zhan’s notes, asking him why he was still studying since he was so stupid.
Cao Zhan was about to burst into tears of anger. Again, he fiercely retorted, “I-I’m only just a li-little stupid! My mama s-said so!”
“Mama, mama~” Jiang Tianhe mimicked his tone, ridiculing him, “Did you pee your pants? Why are you calling out to your mother?”
Cao Zhan’s reaction was slow, and he really looked down to check his pants. He stated earnestly, “I-I didn’t pee on my pants!”
His words made Jiang Tianhe laughed even more, and for the rest of the day, he called Cao Zhan an idiot.
Lin Zhao passed Cao Zhan a note, it said, “Dopey, just ignore him, he’s such a bastard.”
Cao Zhan thought for a long time before writing his reply below. “Bastard is a vulgarity, and it’s not good. Zhaozhao, don’t learn from the bad examples.”
Lin Zhao was speechless.
Cao Zhan added another line. “It’s not right to put up your middle finger too, don’t do it anymore.”
His words drove Lin Zhao crazy. Honestly speaking, she really admired the way her brother could interact well with Cao Zhan, and how he was able to hold a good conversation with him. She felt that her brother was like the sun, radiating golden rays of light like a saint upon the world.
Now, this sun was sitting on the sports ground, preparing to watch the first-year students’ military parade.
Sweat dripping down his face, Lin Mu looked down and sent Lin Zhao a text. “Can you request to be excused today? Skip the Go institute and watch Xiao Lu with me.”
Lin Zhao replied, “Why? Is he still ignoring you?”
Lin Mu felt no embarrassment after being exposed. “Well, you’re the one who has a better friendship with him after all.”
Lin Zhao sent a emoji of mocking laughter, along with another text. “I’ve already requested to be excused; I’m coming with Dopey.”
As though he had received an imperial edict, Lin Mu raised his head, looking around. Sure enough, he saw Lin Zhao and Cao Zhan walking towards the stands. He immediately stood up, crossing over the row before him, cupping his hands around his mouth as he shouted, “Dopey!”
Cao Zhan turned his head on hearing his name and saw Lin Mu waving at him. He then grabbed Lin Zhao along, sprinting to where Lin Mu was standing.
“Is it too hot?” Lin Mu was concerned to see his sister’s face turning red in the sun. “Why didn’t you apply any sunscreen?”
Lin Zhao looked at him scornfully, signing, “I did.”
Lin Mu then covered her head with his school shirt. “Use this to shield yourself from the sun.”
Lin Zhao pointed at him. “You’re all covered in sweat.”
Lin Mu wiped his sweat away, signing unconcernedly, “I’ve always perspired easily.”
Cao Zhan seemed to be very happy to be able to sit with Lin Mu. He held Xu Yilu’s hand and called out to him in an uncontrollably loud volume, “Little Heron!”
Xu Yilu acknowledged him in return, then asked, “Did you pay attention in class this morning?”
Cao Zhan snapped his legs together, looking like an obedient student answering a teacher. “Yes, I did. I learned about surface area in math, and memorized an ancient poem in language class.”
Young Teacher Xu Yilu asked earnestly, “Which ancient poem did you learn?”
Cao Zhan tried his best to remember, then replied guiltily, “I’m too stupid, I haven’t memorized it yet.”
Xu Yilu laughed and then groped around to pat Cao Zhan on the head. Discovering that Cao Zhan was a little too tall when sitting down, it took him some time before he was able to give him a pat.
“Dopey is just a little stupid,” Xu Yilu said, “Sixty-nine is only a point below seventy.”
It was rather conspicuous for the four of them to sit together, but it was mainly because of Young Master An sitting in the back row and staring straight at Lin Zhao. Lin Mu turned around, shooting him a warning glare, but An Jincheng glanced over at him with his expressionless face.
Sun Hai had run off to get some drinks. When he came back, he was only left with a seat beside Xu Yilu, and he was very upset about losing his chance to interact closely with his goddess.
While Lin Mu chatted with Cao Zhan, a frown suddenly creased his forehead. He pointed at Cao Zhan’s eyes, “Were you crying just now?”
Cao Zhan blinked, looking confused, “No, I wasn’t…”
Lin Mu was able to make some sense of what had happened. “What did that asshole Jiang Tianhe do this time?”
Cao Zhan was silent for a while, and then he spoke, “Asshole is a vulgarity, you can’t use it.”
“Oh.” Lin Mu took his advice. “So, what did that rotten apple do?”
Cao Zhan was wordless.
Lu Rong and Mo Xiaoxiao stood in Class Five’s contingent, going through their final preparations. During the break, Mo Xiaoxiao saw Lu Rong staring at the stands a distance away.
“What are you looking at?” Mo Xiaoxiao asked. She followed the boy’s line of sight and eventually saw Lin Mu and his friends.
“By the way, what’s the name of the senior who helped us out?” Mo Xiaoxiao could not help asking.
Lu Rong looked away from the stands, his response nonchalant, “I don’t remember.”
Mo Xiaoxiao did not seem to believe him. “I clearly remember seeing you speak to another female senior that look very similar to him.”
Lu Rong glanced at her and replied indifferently, “You’ve already said that it was a female senior, so why would I remember a male one?”
Mo Xiaoxiao had no response.
She was a little skeptical, and she asked dubiously, “Are you angry?”
Lu Rong pulled his cap back on. After a moment of silence, he said, “I’m not.”
“Then who were you looking at just now?” Mo Xiaoxiao tiptoed, looking at the stands. “The boy or the girl?”