Chapter 18 — Skirts (6)
During a break between classes, Li Zi came alone to the second floor.
School had only just started, and it was rare for a pretty first-year junior to take the initiative and look for a second-year student. Many people in the corridor all stared at her, but Li Zi ignored them all. Still, it could be seen that she was a little nervous. Standing at the door of the elite class for a while, she finally seemed to make up her mind. Grabbing the person walking through the door, she asked, “May I ask if Lin Mu-xuezhang is here?”
The whole class was hooting when Lin Mu walked to the door. Without looking back, he waved at them to stop. “Don’t make a fuss out of nothing, or I’ll beat you all up.”
Li Zi was a little shy when she saw him, her expression a little stiff. “Hello, xuezhang.”
Lin Mu raised a brow, smiling. “Hello, xuemei.”
Li Zi did not know how to react for a moment. Perhaps she did not expect that Lin Mu would be so polite. With a little hesitation, she lifted her lids, glancing up at Lin Mu, weighing things over before asking, “Xuezhang, are you able to track IP address?”
Lin Mu understood right away. “You’re doing it for Mo Xiaoxiao?”
Li Zi nodded, her voice cold as ice, “I want to know who posted the photo on the forum.”
Lin Mu watched her for a little while, before shaking his head. “The moderators of Kunqian’s forum are all teachers, and they won’t allow us to track the IP addresses. Besides, what are you going to do if you find out who the person was? Are you going to make them apologize to Mo Xiaoxiao?”
Li Zi bit her lip, remaining silent.
Lin Mu sighed, continuing, “Furthermore, the person who uploaded the post was just one of them, and there were others commenting as well. There may be more people holding such malice than we thought. Are you going to dig them out one by one?”
Li Zi looked up. She was not the type of girl who cried often, but her eyes had started to redden. Calmly, she said, “No matter how many malicious people there are, none of them have the right to take Mo Xiaoxiao’s freedom to wear skirts away.”
Lin Mu looked at her and suddenly, he cracked a smile. Taking out his phone, he opened his Wechat and handed his phone over to Li Zi. “You’re right. So, let’s come up with an idea together and let Mo Xiaoxiao wear a skirt again.”
Lin Mu set up a Wechat group. For now, there was only Xu Yilu, Sun Hai, Lin Zhao, Cao Zhan, Li Zi and himself in it. When Sun Hai was added, he was a little baffled. A second later, the name of the chat was changed to “Skirts”.
Sun Hai sent a string of ellipses to the group chat. “What is this group for? Something artistic?”
Li Zi typed and typed, but in the end it was Lin Mu who sent a voice message first. “Little Heron is here, so let’s try to use voice messages as much as possible. My sister will be the exception, since she types super fast.”
Lin Zhao sent an emoji, asking if Lin Mu was seeking his own death.
Lin Mu sent another voice message. “This is why WeChat is so great and convenient! It has speech-to-text support.”
Lagging behind a little, Cao Zhan sent a text. “What are we going to do?”
Lin Mu responded, “Something big. Li Zi-xuemei, come, tell us.”
Li Zi explained Mo Xiaoxiao’s situation to the group. As a matter of fact, she did not understand why Lin Mu had added so many people to this chat. At the start, she had only felt that Mo Xiaoxiao admired Lin Mu quite a bit, and as the latter was someone famous in school, he might be able to find out who sent the photo, even consoling Mo Xiaoxiao as well. Yet, this senior did not seem to behave normally, but seemed to want to blow up this matter, and no one knew what was going on.
Lin Mu sent a message, “Even though we can’t track the IP addresses, we can’t just let things go so easily. We can’t have it out with them, but we should at least make Mo Xiaoxiao put on her skirt happily, right?”
Hearing that it had to do with this matter, Sun Hai immediately perked up, sending a long chain of exclamation marks. “We’re all here for the girl with the metal leg! Tell us, what are we going to do?”
Unable to restrain herself, Lin Zhao poured cold water on them. “Stop being so impulsive. You can’t just shout ‘Jiejie is here’ without any plan. We still don’t know what we’ll be doing.”
Lin Mu replied, “It’s not ‘Jiejie is here’, it’s ‘Gege and Jiejie are here’. We don’t discriminate between genders here.”
Cao Zhan’s reaction was the slowest, and naturally, he was the last to reply. His text was also a repeat of others. “Then what are we going to do?”
For a moment, a thought had crossed Li Zi’s mind, but she did not know if she should say it out.
It was as if her mind and Lin Mu’s were connected. He took the initiative in asking her, “Li Zi-xuemei, do you have something good in mind? Let’s discuss it.”
“Xuezhang,” Li Zi typed slowly. Editing the message several times, she finally sent it out. “Are you willing to, uhm, wear a skirt?”
Lin Mu was stunned.
The next day, Jiang Tianhe was suddenly added by Lin Mu into a Wechat group called “Skirts”. Completely bewildered, he looked at it a few times, then left the group with no hesitation.
Lin Mu was left speechless.
Jiang Tianhe was again added to the group.
This time, Lin Mu struck first and took the upper hand. “If you leave the group chat again, you’re going to run around the sports ground and shout about you not having a dick!”
Jiang Tianhe nearly vomited blood out of anger. “Come out, let’s fight!”
“Are you sure about that? You really won’t be able to beat me, and if you lose to me again, you’ll owe me another favor.”
Jiang Tianhe dared not make a sound again. He actually had never fought directly with Lin Mu before, but he was aware of Sun Hai’s ability to fight. Sun Hai had been infamous as a bully in junior high, yet Lin Mu had beaten the crap out of him and even made him his loyal lackey. Thus, it was reasonable for Lin Mu to claim that he was good at fighting.
“As long as you help with this matter, the debt you owed during the basketball match will be wiped out,” Lin Mu started negotiating. “You don’t want to run around and shout that you don’t have a dick, do you?”
The force Jiang Tianhe exerted when he typed could even be felt through the phone. His messages either only had exclamation marks or there was no punctuation at all. “What exactly do you want!!”
Lin Mu sent a “:)”. He said, “Jiang Tianhe, let’s wear skirts together~”
Jiang Tianhe was astounded.
In truth, it seemed much more acceptable to wear a skirt than to run around the sports ground and yell that he did not have a dick. As for the reason, the boys’ logic was basically, “There’s only a difference between wearing a skirt one time, and wearing it a hundred times.”
Jiang Tianhe did see the photo of Mo Xiaoxiao on the forum as well. He had been ready to spew out all the vulgarities he had learned in his lifetime towards the person who replied Cao Zhan, but the post had been deleted too quickly, and he had no choice but to swallow them all down.
When he saw Lin Zhao scolding the uploader in the group chat, it was as though Jiang Tianhe had found someone just like him. They ended up scolding the person for half an hour.
The two of them went on vigorously, and Lin Zhao finally sent a thumbs up at the end.
“Don’t bully Dopey,” she said, “and we’ll be bros.”
Jiang Tianhe replied, “I’m the only one who can bully the fool. No one else is allowed to do so.”
Cao Zhan was wordless.
Jiang Tianhe said, “Fool, you must wear a skirt too.”
Cao Zhan was not repulsed by wearing one. He felt that it was a good thing as long as he could help, and so obediently agreed.
Lin Zhao tagged Sun Hai. “You’re not wearing one?”
Sun Hai blacked out. For the sake of his goddess, he could even cut his own throat! And so, he joined the team, “I am!”
Lin Mu thought that things were coming along well. Now, they were a group of crossdressers.
But surprisingly, the matter of “wearing a skirt” did not end here.
Jiang Tianhe had a group chat with his lackeys. Since their boss had to wear a skirt now, his loyal lackeys too had to do so, and they would bravely lead the way. As such, Jiang Tianhe formed another chat with the entire Class Three, with Cao Zhan as the admin, and Lin Zhao as the overall planner. Not only did the twenty-odd boys in the class joined in, the girls responded positively as well, offering up their skirts.
Cao Zhan’s mind could not move fast, but he was very earnest in everything he did. Surprisingly, his needlework was excellent. The physique of boys was much wider than girls, and thus the skirts had to be modified. Cao Zhan quickly used all the free time he had between classes to help everyone secretly modify their skirts. With such a big development in Class Three, the classes next door naturally heard about it as well. One by one, more and more people came asking about it, and the matter spread like a fire.
During the second-year committee meeting, An Jincheng was questioned by several class representatives. Therefore, he had no choice but to look for Lin Mu.
“We’re running an event, something like ‘Gege is here’.” Lin Mu no longer held Young Master An with as much enmity. He also did not want to offend him, and so explained nicely, “If even boys can wear skirts, of course Mo Xiaoxiao would be able to wear them. We’re just simply looking at the situation like that.”
As An Jincheng remained expressionless, Lin Mu was not confident in his reaction. “Young Master An, could you just turn a blind eye to this, and not tell the teachers?” His tone became a little softer, negotiating, “If the robber Zhong He were to find out, we won’t be able to carry out our plan.”
An Jincheng glanced at him and suddenly asked, “When are you doing this?”
“Any time. We’ll probably do it on a Monday when we all have to participate in the flag-raising ceremony.”
An Jincheng paused to think over, and then spoke with his indifferent voice. “You’ll be speaking on the podium next Monday. What do you think about standing there in a skirt?”
Lin Mu did not know how to respond to that.
He was a little alarmed, and prickles had crept over his scalp. Haltingly, he said, “There’s no need…”
“The effect would be best if you did it.” An Jincheng cut him off, looking very determined. He sounded very business-like as he spoke sternly, “Since you want to do it, you must do the best you can. If you’re just going to do it sloppily, you might as well not do it at all.”
Lin Mu was left wordless.
An Jincheng turned his head towards him, his pretty face pleasing to the eye. “Do you have any more skirts? Give me one.”
When Lin Zhao saw that An Jincheng had been added to the group chat, she was not very happy.
When he joined, he immediately gave a rundown of the plan, saying that all five class representatives of the second year had discussed it already. They would try to get all the boys to participate, and every class were doing their preparations, waiting for Lin Mu to speak on the podium next Monday.
When An Jincheng finished talking, the group chat fell into silence. A while later, Li Zi broke the silence with a text, faltering, “Would we be kicked out of school… if we blow things up like this?”
An Jincheng completely felt no sense of crisis despite being the leader of the school committee and yet stirring up trouble. He responded calmly, “It’s because there’s so many people involved, that’s why everyone will be safe.”
Lin Mu responded, “… You’re safe, but I’m the leader of this thing!”
An Jincheng replied, “You took first place in the final examinations, Zhong He wouldn’t make things difficult for you.”
Lin Zhao suddenly asked, “Are you wearing a skirt too?”
For a long time, there was no response from An Jincheng.
Lin Mu responded on his behalf. “He’ll be wearing one.”
“Oh.” Lin Zhao continued asking, “Want to wear mine?”
Just as Lin Mu was about to type that Lin Zhao’s skirt was his to wear, he heard something dropped heavily on to the floor. An Jincheng bent down in a fluster to pick up his phone. Since it was just a revision class, Old Yang made light of it and only gave him a small reminder, “Study properly, don’t play with your phone.”
“He dropped his phone and was found out by Old Yang.” Lin Mu kindly helped An Jincheng respond. “Jie, your skirt is mine to wear, don’t just give it away randomly.”
Lin Zhao replied with an “Okay” emoji.
An Jincheng who just retrieved his phone was left dumbfounded.
Lu Rong noticed that Li Zi and Lin Mu had been very close recently, but he did not say much about it. Instead, Chen Meihua was the anxious one, and she kept asking Li Zi why she was always looking for “Jiejie”.
“I want to see Jiejie too.” Chen Meihua put up a fuss during a break. “Meimei hasn’t seen Jiejie for many days already.”
Lu Rong could only quietly persuade her, “Jiejie is busy. Meimei has to be obedient; we can’t give any trouble to Jiejie.”
Chen Meihua was unconvinced. “But why does Li Zi get to go, and Meimei don’t?”
Lu Rong had no choice but to call Li Zi over. The girl acted mysteriously, pulling the two of them out of the class, deliberately avoiding Mo Xiaoxiao.
“Okay, so, this is the secret,” Li Zi specially reminded Chen Meihua. “Make sure to keep the secret from Mo Xiaoxiao until next Monday, okay?”
Chen Meihua’s eyes went wide, looking very solemn. “Meimei understands, Meimei won’t say anything.” She even clasped her hands over her mouth.
Lu Rong was a little stunned. He did not seem to believe it, and he confirmed it once again, “Is Lin Mu really going to wear a skirt on the podium?”
Li Zi nodded. “This is what xuezhang is planning.”
A few faint wrinkles appeared on Lu Rong’s forehead. His mouth opened and closed a few times, looking as though he wanted to say something, only to swallow it down as he thought it was inappropriate. In the end, he asked Li Zi, “Do you have Lin Mu’s Wechat contact?”
When Lin Mu received a friend’s request on Wechat, he thought it was an advertisement. Lu Rong’s profile photo was very plain and simple, it was Chen Meihua’s photo with a mobile number added to it.
His signature was: Alzheimer’s patient, if she’s lost, please contact: 138XXXXXXX
Lin Mu hurriedly accepted his friend’s request. Mulling over it for some time, he took the initiative and sent a greeting, “You have a mobile?”
Lu Rong only responded after some time. “Yes, I bought it very long ago. It’s an old model, and it’s in case Meimei wanders away.”
Lin Mu fell silent. This topic was a little too heavy. Lin Mu regretted mentioning it, but fortunately Lu Rong did not mind.
“You’re going to wear a skirt while speaking on the podium?” Lu Rong typed.
“Li Zi told you so?”
“Mn.” Lu Rong typed for a long time before sending another text. “You’re really very enthusiastic.”
Lin Mu was unable to decipher the meaning behind his words. After thinking it over, he decided to tease Lu Rong instead. “I’m even more enthusiastic towards you.”
A while later, Lu Rong asked, “How so?”
“Look how nice I am to Meimei.”
“That’s to Meimei, not me.”
Lin Mu’s fingers grew a little hot. Tapping on his screen, he edited his message multiple times before sending it out. “I can accompany you to the washroom too.”
“… I’m not a little girl.”
Lin Mu laughed, slowly typing, “I know you’re not.”
The secret event of “Gege is here” was in full swing. Lin Mu was so busy that he was unable to see Lu Rong, but they did chat regularly on Wechat.
Every day, he would take photos of the boys in skirts and send them to Lu Rong. Often, the entire screen would be filled with a hairy leg, and Lin Mu would even ask him to guess whose leg it was.
“… I don’t know any of the other boys other than you.”
Lin Mu answered his own question, “It’s Sun Hai hahahahahaha.”
The bully had no idea he had become their topic of conversation. Wearing the skirt, he even felt quite coquettish. He walked back and forth as if he were on a catwalk, causing others to start jeering at him.
Xu Yilu had a skirt too. His legs were fair and smooth, and after he put it on, all the girls in the class went crazy.
“Where’s your skirt?” Lu Rong texted.
Lin Mu took a photo and sent it to him, “It’s Lin Zhao’s.”
The two of them seldom talked about Lin Zhao these days, but whenever she was mentioned, the feeling of guilt would arise in Lin Mu again.
“Do you want my sister’s Wechat?” Lin Mu asked, “Since both of you are good friends, do you want me to send it to you?”
He sent Lin Mu a string of ellipses, and only after some time, he finally added, “No.”
Lin Mu felt as though he got snubbed, but he was also secretly delighted.
“Oh,” he responded.
Ever since Mo Xiaoxiao wore pants to the flag-raising ceremony on the first week, she had been rather listless. She would still spend time with Lu Rong and Li Zi, as well as accompany Meimei to the washroom. Yet when she waited by the door, her eyes would always fall upon the other first-year girls in skirts.
Chen Meihua came out from the washroom. Seeing Mo Xiaoxiao gazing at the checkered skirts, she also joined her. “Xiaoxiao should wear a skirt.”
Mo Xiaoxiao forced out a smile. “I don’t look nice in a skirt.”
Chen Meihua frowned, shaking her head. “Who said that?”
Mo Xiaoxiao also did not know. Sometimes, malice was like a net — it could be just an ordinary sentence to the person weaving the net, yet to someone else, it was a terrifying enormous net, clinging to them and causing them to be unable to breathe, striking fear into their hearts.
Behind that photo, how many people thought the same way, and how many people agreed? Mo Xiaoxiao felt as if she were a prey captured in the net, and at any moment, she would be devoured by malice. Her photo had been secretly taken, she had been commented on casually, and all this only happened because she was different from others, that she was missing a leg.
However, none of them knew that it was only by paying the price of her leg, was she then able to continue living. None of them knew that her father had sacrificed his own life and left the world to save her, the girl who had lost a leg.
No one liked listening to grievances and misery. Ever since Mo Xiaoxiao lost her leg, she understood this sentiment even more. She was afraid of the contempt behind the malice.
For her, it was enough that she herself understood that there was nothing to be ashamed about her missing leg.
During the flag-raising ceremony on Monday, Li Zi deliberately stood in line next to Mo Xiaoxiao. Mo Xiaoxiao turned to look at her.
“Xiaoxiao,” Li Zi said suddenly. “Let’s hold hands.”
Mo Xiaoxiao did not know what she wanted, but she still held out her hand and they clasped their hands together.
The second-year classes also arrived at the sports ground. With the boys walking in an odd manner, they attracted the eyes of the crowd.
Several first-year students started whispering to each other. “Did the second-year students change their uniforms? Why does it seem like the boys’ pants don’t fit?”
Mo Xiaoxiao too could not refrain from looking over, and Li Zi squeezed her hand lightly.
The girl’s sharp eyes were surprisingly soft, and she whispered, “Lin Mu-xuezhang is going up on stage.”
Mo Xiaoxiao looked up. Sure enough, she saw Lin Mu walking up the podium. His pants were very loose, and it seemed like there was something stuffed in it, with how the area around his buttocks bulged out.
Zhong He and Chu Lin were both standing below the podium, and all the teachers were gathered by the side as well. At first, the content of Lin Mu’s speech was just like usual, but it changed sharply towards the end.
“Everyone should know Kunqian’s motto.” Holding the microphone, Lin Mu stood up straight. “Kindness, Courage, Equality, Love.”
Mo Xiaoxiao recited silently along with him, and her eyes inexplicably reddened.
Lin Mu looked down at the students. He suddenly gestured, and all the second-year boys simultaneously bent down and started to remove their pants.
The first ones to notice something wrong were the teachers. However, by the time they wanted to stop them, it was too late — too many students were removing their pants, and they were too fast. In only a couple of seconds, most of the second-year boys were dressed in the checkered skirts they wore inside their pants, revealing many hairy legs. Jiang Tianhe and Sun Hai were even standing right up in front, hairs on their legs ruffling in the wind.
“Mo Xiaoxiao, are you seeing this?” Standing on the podium, Lin Mu took off his pants. He wore a skirt underneath, completely ignoring the dark expression of the principal, Zhong He.
Mo Xiaoxiao was struck dumb. The entire sports ground burst into activity, and many first-year students took out their phones and to capture shots of their seniors.
“Mo Xiaoxiao.” Lin Mu smiled. He said loudly, “Gege and Jiejie are here.”
The entire crowd shouted along, cheers of “Gege Jiejie” resounding everywhere.
Everyone was yelling at Mo Xiaoxiao’s name, and Li Zi wrapped an arm tightly around her trembling shoulders.
Lin Mu said, “Don’t be afraid, Mo Xiaoxiao.”
His smile was even brighter than the blazing sun. “You’re the most beautiful girl with the metal leg, and you have the coolest leg in the world.”