Lu Qi’an’s line of sight then landed on the workbook with the title, “First Year Subjects Basic Exercise Volume 1”. Judging by the thickness of the book, there were probably more than one hundred pages inside.
“You have trouble solving these?” asked Lu Qi’an.
Puzzled, Fu Jia replied, “Am I not allowed find it difficult? If I didn’t have trouble solving them, I wouldn’t be asking you to help me.”
Lu Qi’an then reached out with his hand. “Let me take a look.”
Fu Jia handed him the workbook. After Lu Qi’an swiftly skimmed through it, he said, “If you have trouble solving these problems, then you shouldn’t work on them. Read the textbooks first.”
Although Lu Qi’an wasn’t belittling him at all, Fu Jia still felt like he was calling him an idiot indirectly. He pulled the workbook back out from Lu Qi’an’s grip, shoving it roughly into his bag. “I’ll do whatever I want. Just tell me if you’re willing to help or not.”
Lu Qi’an took another glance at his watch and said, “It’s late.”
Fu Jia looked like he had been shot with a bullet, so his tone grew louder and sounded more threatening, “So you’re telling me to leave you alone?”
“I never said that.”
Upon hearing that, Fu Jia shut his lips tightly to avoid spitting fire the moment he parted them.
“What I mean is, it’s already late. It’s inconvenient for me to teach you now.” Lu Qi’an explained, “Tomorrow is a Friday so there are no late self-study periods at school. If the time is convenient for you, then you can come find me.”
Fu Jia was stunned.
He almost thought he was hearing things.
Lu Qi’an’s eyes didn’t avoid his and his expression was the same as before. Fu Jia, on the other hand… avoided his eyes, the unfounded anger burning in his heart was extinguished instantly at the speed of light. The corners of his lips were itching to curl up but he still composed himself and asked, “Then… I’ll come find you tomorrow?”
Lu Qi’an’s voice sounded especially low when he said it.
Then he left. Fu Jia wanted to stop him from leaving but he had said all there was to say. If he continued pestering him any longer, then he was being unreasonable.
On the way back to No. 16 High, the word “alright” kept resounding in his mind. Whenever he thought of it, it seemed like he was able to sense the vibration of Lu Qi’an’s throat.
He headed into a convenience store, bought a bottle of water, and drank half of it in one gulp.
The dorm was deserted as the trio was nowhere to be found once he got back. Fu Jia habitually took out his workbook to read it through, but before he could even start a question, he was suddenly reminded of Lu Qi’an’s words.
He tossed the workbook onto the pillow and took out his textbook instead. While he was deliberating whether he should start with Mathematics or English first, a knock sounded on the door.
Opening the door, he was greeted by the teacher who had sent him to the dorm yesterday standing in the doorway.
“Fu Jia, how’re you doing so far? Used to it yet?”
Fu Jia nodded continuously, “Yes. Everything’s fine.”
The teacher chuckled cheerfully. “That’s good then. I’m sure you’re getting along well with your roommates? Liu De has good grades and he’s nice too. I purposely assigned you two together so he that can take care of you too.”
Fu Jia smiled in response, “He takes very good care of me. Thanks, Teacher.”
“I feel so much more relieved,” said the teacher. “I’ve done the other paperwork for you other than the payment. Come with me to the administration office for a while.”
The personnel working at the administration office had already gone home for the day. Seeing that Fu Jia had yet to return to his dorm, the teacher specially waited until now for his return.
“Sure. Please wait for a while, I’m going to grab my card.”
The payment didn’t take up much time so Fu Jia soon found himself back at the dorm. Upon coming back, he realized the room was unlocked.
Liu De and the others were back.
He gave the door a push but it didn’t budge at all. Since the door was unlocked, that meant that it was bolted on the inside. Fu Jia said, “Open the door.”
Nobody came to open the door but he could hear the sound of faint laughter coming from inside.
Fu Jia started to heavily pound on the door. “Open the door! Or risk losing your sleep once I smash the door open and the supervisor comes running!”
This time around, the door was unbolted quickly. The person who came to open the door was Liu De’s lackey, while Liu De was lying on the bed with his legs dangling off the side, bobbing up and down.
Fu Jia didn’t care in the least about Liu De’s harassment towards him since they were in school anyway with the teachers and dorm supervisors around to keep order. So no matter what fuss Lie De raised, he could only pull nauseating parlor tricks like a girl who’d never grown up. As for the tricks he played, Fu Jia had already long known them by heart.
Fu Jia walked over to his own bed but took only two steps before he paused in his tracks.
Countless scraps of papers of all sizes were strewn everywhere on the ground, spreading from the edge of his pillow to the bed’s surroundings.
If a workbook consisting of more than a hundred pages was torn up properly, it could definitely be shredded enough to create a mess such as this.
Stunned, Fu Jia stood there for several seconds.
After a momentary pause as the gears turned in his mind, he clenched his fist and sent a punch flying towards Liu De.
Liu De was obviously surprised by his sudden attack, and he couldn’t react in time since he was lying on his back. Therefore, the punch landed squarely on his cheek.
“Hey, what the hell do you think you’re doing?!” The two lackeys jumped up with a start and immediately rushed to Liu De’s aid.
Hands gripping tightly onto Liu De’s collar, Fu Jia was about to give him another punch but was stopped by the other two kids and knocked off his feet. One of them was rather clever and gave Fu Jia a kick in the stomach. Taking advantage of the moment when he doubled up in pain, they pinned down his arms.
Liu De covered his face as he fumed in anger. “Are you insane?! There are three of us here! Do you have a death wish for hitting me?!”
Ignoring him, Fu Jia glared daggers at Liu De. The intensity in his eyes made the two lackeys cower slightly in fear.
Liu De rolled his eyes. “What’re you two staring at him for? Hit him! You can’t kill him just by looking!”
Soon, the lackeys reacted and began to shower Fu Jia with a multitude of kicks and punches. Their experience in fights made them aim for places where it hurt the most and where their victims were unable to fight back.
Fu Jia bit back his silence as he curled into a ball on the ground, attempting to protect the weakest parts of his body. The moment the two lackeys let up a little, he suddenly exerted all his strength and lunged at Liu De once more.
Caught off guard again, Liu De received another punch in the face. This time, the punch landed about one centimeter away from his eye so he was seriously getting pissed off. He jumped at Fu Jia and the number of people hitting the boy went from two to three.
“Are you nuts?! All I did was rip your book apart and you hit me twice for it? I swear I’m going to kill you for that today!” Eyes reddening, Liu De swore out of spite and fished something out of his pocket.
It was Fu Jia’s cutter.
Fu Jia finally spoke, uttering a word so foul that he greeted Liu De’s entire family generation with it!
With a loud, angry curse, Liu De shifted the blade out of its shell and plunged it into Fu Jia’s chest. Fu Jia retaliated by grabbing hold of his wrist to push it back, the tip of the blade hovering a very short distance away from his stomach.
Since the two of them were fighting with real weapons now, the lackeys were scared out of their wits, unable to move. They quickly released their hold on Fu Jia and backed away.
“You can try killing me. Let’s see if you can get out of prison in this lifetime,” said Fu Jia.
A vein pulsed furiously on Liu De’s temple. “I’m not of age yet so they won’t be able to lock me up for good. By the time I’m out of there after eight or ten years, nobody will have known where your body is buried.”
“There’s no need to go that far,” said Fu Jia.
Liu De raised his brows. “Now you know to admit defeat?”
Fu Jia closed his eyes and said, “Yes.”
Liu De was relieved beyond measure. He would never dare to murder someone cold-bloodedly even if he was forced to. The problem was that now that the situation had transpired into this mess, if Fu Jia were to fight against him again, making him lose face as a result, there was a chance that he might seriously do something crazy to teach Fu Jia a lesson.
He spat out a foul word and said, “None of this would have happened if you…”
Before he could finish, he froze. In a flash, Fu Jia seized the cutter and gave him a hard shove.
“You can’t hurt a fly by protracting the entire blade like that.” Fu Jia shifted almost half of the blade back emitting a series of clacks and explained, “This is a box cutter. The blade would have snapped before you could even stab it into someone’s clothes. The effect is definitely better when you only leave a small part of it out of the shell.”
“You…” Liu De stared at Fu Jia, a strong wave of alarm rippling through his body.
Without answering, Fu Jia only raised his hand and without hesitation, he plunged it straight at Liu De’s neck with absolute precision!
All of the muscles in Liu De’s body went stiff. He raised his arms to block the blade, but since Fu Jia’s movement was firm and decisive, he wasn’t able to grasp Fu Jia’s hand and could only hope he would be able to knock his hand away.
Perhaps because Fu Jia had used up too much energy when confronting Liu De earlier, or maybe he just didn’t want to seriously kill him, but his hand was smacked away by Liu De. The blade fell from his grip and was sent flying as a result, leaving a slash wound on the back of Liu De’s hand and a cut across Fu Jia’s right face.
Everyone fell silent at that moment.
Blood oozed from the wound. Fu Jia lowered his head, and used his hand to wipe it away. It was wet.
“Do you still want to fight?” he asked.
Liu De had yet to fully recover his wits so it took him a long while to reply to him.
His entire back was drenched in sweat.
Fu Jia knew the fight was over. Walking over to his own bed, he started picking up the scraps one by one.
Liu De watched his movements, his face ashen. He seemed to have thought of something and ran out of the room in a hurry, closing the door shut with a loud slam. The two lackeys who were left behind exchanged speechless glances with each other and gave chase after him after a brief moment of hesitation.
As Fu Jia watched the door slam shut, he let out a sigh of relief when he heard the footsteps travel further and further away. Soon, the straight posture he held finally collapsed as he fell into a squat at the edge of the bed, burying his head deep in the pillow. He pressed a hand to his abdomen.
“Oww….” He wailed loudly in pain. It was fortunate that his cries were muffled by the pillow. Otherwise, if Liu De heard him, he would probably get into another fight.
Squinting his eyes, Fu Jia waited for the pain to subside a little before he continued to pick up the scraps of paper.
After he was done cleaning up, he ran down the stairs and bought a couple of rolls of tape before the boss unrolled the curtains to his kiosk.
Seated before his desk, Fu Jia patiently taped the torn papers together one by one. He was exceptionally terrible in arts and crafts. When the lights finally went out at midnight, Fu Jia had only managed to tape together a couple of pages. He went to Liu De’s desk to look and as expected, found a charged table lamp. He continued to stick the papers together under the light of the table lamp.
As the electricity was gradually consumed, the light shining from the lamp became dimmer and dimmer. When it completely died down, Fu Jia had only stuck about a dozen pages together. His eyes were already bloodshot to the extent where they ached with soreness and uncontrollable tears refused to stop cascading down his cheeks.
Fu Jia returned the lamp to its rightful place, collapsed back on the bed, and gave up entirely.
Even it was Lu Qi’an, it was more than enough to teach Fu Jia by using a dozen of pages. Even if there more pages were available, he wouldn’t be able to put them to use at all, so he might as well just tape them together next time.
With this in mind, Fu Jia fell into a deep sleep.
The next day in class, the moment Fu Jia entered the classroom, all eyes fell on him. To be exact, they were all staring at his face, which made him even more confused.
It was already time for the lesson to start, yet the student sitting in front of him was still staring at him with no signs of stopping. Fu Jia asked in a low voice, “What’re you looking at?”
In a state of panic, the person in the front desk hurriedly turned forward, as though Fu Jia was nothing more than a dangerous entity.
Fu Jia wanted to get to the bottom of things, but the teacher stepped in at that moment. Standing before Fu Jia, he asked anxiously, “Are you alright?”
All the students turned to look at them.
“Class is dismissed for now,” announced the teacher. “Fu Jia, come. Follow me to the office.”
Only then did Fu Jia realize that it was probably due to the wound on his face.
The teacher brought him to the staff office and handed him over to another teacher. All it took was one look at his face to make the teacher urgently bring him to the infirmary.
Only now did Fu Jia see the wound on his face as he stared at the mirror. He had ignored it for one night so it had indeed turned into a rather frightening state.
The doctor tended to his wound and asked, “What happened?”
Fu Jia randomly came up with an excuse. “I shattered a glass cup and cut my face by accident.”
The teacher cried out in disbelief. “How is that even possible? It wouldn’t have gone to the face.”
Giving it some thought, Fu Jia explained, “There was water in the cup. I slipped and fell when I stepped on it. That’s all there is.”
The teacher still had this nagging feeling that it sounded illogical in some sense, but Fu Jia was so adamant with his explanation that he could only answer with a warning, “Please be careful next time.”
The doctor helped him put a piece of gauze on his cut and said, “I can only help you treat it to this extent. Once school is over, you still need to get your parents to drop you off at the hospital to get it checked. Do you understand?”
Fu Jia nodded in reply. “Yes. Thank you, Doctor.”
The teacher butted in, “Do you want to borrow my cell phone to call your parents?”
Fu Jia shook his head in response. He didn’t have any parents. He didn’t even know the numbers to Lin Qing’s cell phone, nor did he know Aunt Chen’s number either. He’d lived at the Lins’ for the past ten years, but all he got was a written cell phone number of Lu Wanqing’s secretary. However, he didn’t take it with him when he left the villa.
“It’s okay, Teacher,” assured Fu Jia. “I’ll be heading back home after school.”
The teacher gave him a pat on the shoulder. “Not bad. Quite strong for a little guy.”
A grin emerged on Fu Jia’s face.
But of course, instead of heading home, Fu Jia went to No. 6 High.
He still waited at the same spot, but this time, Fu Jia was extremely patient. When he caught sight of Lu Qi’an, he did not instantly run over. Instead, he waited for the boy to finally come to his side.
Fu Jia had a sudden insight.
Lu Qi’an noticed the gauze on his face at first glance.
“What happened?” he asked.