TOL Chapter 1

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VOLUME 1 – FLEETING GLIMMERS

Chapter 1


Author’s Note: Wishing that all readers of this work will be able to enjoy a relationship like this. Hope you’ll have the time of your lives, and live with affection. Wishing you all to be eternally happy, blissful, a life filled with pleasure, and to good health.


It was summer. Cicadas were singing and the sun was shining through the window onto Xie Meng’s face. He could not help but raise his hand to block the sun, and the back of his shirt completely soaked.

Swaying, the bus halted at the bus stop. Following the crowd, Xie Meng squeezed his way down the bus. He frowned and wiped the sweat off his face, and made his way to the school gate in the scorching sun.

On the first day of school at W High, a festive red banner was hung across the school gate. On it was an old-fashioned message, “Today I’m Proud of W High, Tomorrow W High will be Proud of Me!” As a school that was not considered to be top-tiered, the quality of W High’s teaching staff was not to be very diverse. As such, the enrolment numbers of new students were poor. There were only six classes in total for the first years, and each class had about forty students. Even on the first day of school, the campus did not seem very lively.

As there were only six classes, they were not divided in any specific manner. Xie Meng found his name and student number under Class Three’s roster. When he entered the classroom, he found that many people were already there.

W High did not have an affiliated middle school. Most of the students here had either done badly in the high school entrance examinations or had poor grades in middle school. There were even a few girls with light makeup on, and they were looking curiously at Xie Meng.

No air-conditioning was available in the classroom. Sweat was dripping down Xie Meng’s face, and his shirt was sticking to his body. His fair neck looked radiant in the light.

The whispers from the back row grew louder. As Xie Meng wiped his sweat, he took a seat. With his newly cut fringe, his eyes looked black and bright.

“Hey, Classmate.” A petite girl came up to him. “What’s your name?”

Xie Meng looked up, again wiping his sweat.

“I’m Wu Xiaomei.” The girl stuck her hand out, tilting her head adorably. “How about you?”

Xie Meng hesitated for a moment. He wiped his sweaty hand on his pants, then shook Wu Xiaomei’s hand. “Xie Meng.”

“I graduated from Q Middle School.” She pointed at the group of people at the back row. “They’re from L Middle School, and only Mimi is from the same school as me.” The girl referred to as Mimi was a little shy, from her seat, she smiled at the two of them.

Xie Meng was silent for a while before he slowly said, “I’m from S Middle School.”

“S Middle School?” Wu Xiaomei was surprised. “That’s the best middle school in the province. I remember that it has an affiliated high school. Isn’t that also the top school in the province?”

Xie Meng gave an imprecise acknowledgment. Wu Xiaomei studied him and was about to continue asking, but had to give up with the successive arrival of more new students.

“Would you like to sit with us?” Wu Xiaomei invited warmly. “The teacher isn’t here yet.”

As soon as she finished speaking, a fat man looking like the Maitreya Buddha walked in. With a booming voice, he laughed, “Who said I wasn’t here yet? Quick, go take your seats.”

Wu Xiaomei pouted a little and returned to her seat reluctantly. Although there were still a few students absent, Maitreya could not wait any longer and started giving them their seating arrangement.

“Oh, a little handsome boy.” Maitreya called out. “You’ll sit in the middle. What’s your name?”

“Xie Meng.” He brought his bag over.

Maitreya glanced at him. “I remember you. Your score was very high, you only needed a couple more points for direct enrolment in S High.”

Xie Meng shook his head, “I didn’t do my best.”

Maitreya patted his shoulder, “A person sometimes accidentally misses a step in life. Continue working hard, don’t be discouraged.”

Xie Meng nodded and said earnestly, “Thank you, Teacher.”

Maitreya was buoyant, repeating “no need to thank me”, he directed the rest of the students to their seats.

“Wu Xiaomei!” Maitreya was so loud that he gave people a shock. “Don’t always think of sitting next to a handsome boy! No puppy love allowed!”

Wu Xiaomei replied impatiently, “Who’s thinking of puppy love! Can’t I have some eye candy?”

The rest of the students burst out laughing. Everyone was well-intentioned, and no one jeered. Xie Meng smiled as well. Wu Xiaomei blushed as she looked at him, playfully sticking her tongue out.

Xie Meng followed a few other boys to collect his school books and uniform. The books were very very heavy, and a few trips had to be made to collect them all. On his nth trip, Xie Meng came back to find a few boys blocking the doorway.

Maitreya seemed to be scolding someone, but his tone was not strict, “Be a better student! You’re late for the first day of school!”

Then, he added, “You dyed your hair? Get rid of it by tomorrow!”

Xie Meng squeezed his way between two boys in the back row with an “excuse me”, and the boy standing in front turned to look at him.

“I was born with this hair colour.” The boy turned his head back very quickly. Tugging at his fringe, he spoke lazily, “Teacher, if I dye it black, that’ll be actual dyeing.”

Brought to agner, Maitreya rolled up the class list and smack the boy’s head with it, “Acting like a rascal, in what way do you look like a student?!”

Even after getting hit, the boy was not angry. With a rakish smile, he spoke to the person next to him then looked for a place to sit. When Xie Meng was going to make another trip for the books, he stood up as well.

“I’m Ji Qinyang.” The boy placed his hand on the corner of the table and introduced himself casually. He tilted his head to look at Xie Meng. With a smile on his face, he was very good looking.

“… Xie Meng.” He paused before he said his name. Ji Qinyang nodded, mumbling to himself, he repeated Xie Meng’s name.

Without thinking about it, Xie Meng looked up at him, and the other person smiled at him.

Someone came from behind and placed his hand on Ji Qinyang’s shoulder. He seemed to be very popular, and soon became one with the rest of the boys in the class. Xie Meng followed behind them, as they walked through the corridor, the wind blew in through the windows, and the blue curtains fluttered. Xie Meng stopped, he turned his head and shut his eyes, enjoying the cool summer breeze upon his face.

Military training began the next day. The schedule that was originally spread across three days was all compressed within a day. Lining up in formation, marching, standing at rest, within half a day, many students could not handle it.

Taking off his cap, Xie Meng went to wash his face, his fringe sticking to his forehead due to his sweat. Splashing his face with a couple of handfuls of water, as he was fanning his collar, he suddenly heard a loud whistle coming from the field.

The instructor happened to be playing basketball with several boys, and Ji Qinyang was one of them.

The boy was tall, and when he jumped up, his dark brown hair seemed to glow under the sun. Skilfully, he dribbled the ball past his opponent, and with a yell he shot the ball into the net.

Xie Meng looked at that bright smile, and silently replaced the cap back on his head.

Only when the lunch break ended were Ji Qinyang and his group of friends willing to come back. They were sweaty, looking as though they were steaming with heat. Just as Xie Meng was bending over to refill the water dispenser, he turned around to see Ji Qinyang behind him.

“Let me help you.” With a smile, the boy rolled up his sleeves. The sweat on his face had dripped to his neck. Just standing next to him, Xie Meng could feel the heat exuding off him.

They worked together and replaced the bulky bottle for the water dispenser. Xie Meng thanked him, then walked off alone with the empty bottle. When he returned, he saw Ji Qinyang talking to the boy next to him.

“You seem to know Xie Meng quite well?” The boy asked without any malice.

Ji Qinyang did not reply, shaking his head as he drank his water.

“People from S Middle School are very impressive. Not many people in the entire class would dare to take the initiative to talk to him.”

Ji Qiyang smiled with a cock of his eyebrow, “What an exaggeration.”

The boy punched him lightly, “He’s good at studies, and proud.”

“So what.” Ji Qinyang spoke indifferently. “He’s now in the same school as us.”

Xie Meng leaned against the door, only entering the classroom when they finished their conversation. When he walked past Ji Qinyang, he was sprawled across his table, and no one knew if he was asleep or not.

Most of the girls were already awake. Wu Xiaomei crept over to Xie Meng and poked him on his shoulder. Putting her hands around her mouth, she spoke mysteriously, “This Ji Qinyang is very famous in our school.”

Xie Meng was a little curious, and just like her, he replied in a low voice. “He’s from your school?”

Wu Xiaomei nodded. Under the boy’s gaze, her face reddened a little. Mustering up her courage, she started gossiping, “He only focuses on certain subjects, and he had won prizes with his chinese essays before. He can play many instruments… I heard that after school, he would go to that kind of places to play, but I don’t know if it’s true or not…”

“That kind of places?” Xie Meng could not help repeating. “What kind of places?”

Wu Xiaomei looked a little evasive, she hesitated. “It’s not any place good…”

Xie Meng blinked.

Wu Xiaomei hurriedly continued, “I’ve also only heard it from others. It may not be true.”

“Oh.”

Wu Xiaomei might have felt that she spoke a little too much, she gave an embarrassed dry laugh. The two of them spoke a little more, only separating when the instructor came in.

The afternoon was a repeat of the morning. However, the boys now had an additional activity, crawling forward. Twenty over boys were divided into two groups, and a few instructors set up the rope nets across the grounds. After a few practices, they were going to be timed, and the slowest group had to do a round of frog jumps around the field.

Xie Meng was the leader of the first group, and Ji Qinyang was the leader of the second one. The instructor suggested for them to decide the order with an arm-wrestling match, whoever who lost would crawl first.

Xie Meng pushed up his sleeves. Despite being in the sun for so long, his skin was still very fair. However, it did not look delicate, the lines of his arms had a youthful gracefulness to them. Ji Qinyang was already seated at the table, raising his arm with a smile on his face.

The both of them clasped their hands together. Ji Qinyang’s body temperature was a little higher, his palm was dry and warm. Xie Meng was lost in his thoughts, by the time he regained his wits, his hand had already been forced halfway down.

Enthusiastic cheers erupted around them.

Ji Qinyang was very strong, having gained the advantage, he tried forcing Xie Meng’s wrist down, but it was not as easy as he thought it would be.

The back of Xie Meng’s hand always maintained a safe distance from the table. He did not tremble, and his hand remained steady. Ji Qinyang raised his brow, with steady amusement, he looked at the person across him, and realised that Xie Meng was frowning at him.

Their eyes met, then Xie Meng suddenly relaxed. In the eyes of others, it looked like Ji Qinyang had successfully forced Xie Meng’s hand down, but only Ji Qinyang knew that it was the other person who had decided to put his own hand down.

Ji Qinyang did not express any special joy or displeasure after winning. He smiled cheerfully and patted Xie Meng’s shoulder. “Thanks bro.”

Xie Meng replied politely, “You’re welcome.”

In this moment, they probably would not have thought that in the years to come, arm-wrestling would become the best way for them to resolve their differences. Winning or losing did not matter, as most of the time, winning was not dependent on strength, just like how Xie Meng purposely lost to Ji Qinyang today.

Because, in their lives, winning or losing was not the only thing that was important anymore.

That day, the collective timing of Ji Qinyang’s group was two seconds slower than Xie Meng’s group. With cheeky grins, the youths did their frog jumps around the field. The rays of the setting sun shone across the red running tracks, and the shadows crept along slowly. Due to the long distance, Ji Qinyang’s face was blurry, but Xie Meng knew that he was definitely still smiling.

There was no reason for it, that was just how he thought it would be.

After the military training, their studies became more intense. The interactions between Xie Meng and Ji Qinyang were like raindrops falling into a lake, after a few ripples, they faded to nothing. Other than being in the same classroom, listening to the same teachers, completing the same homework, and being classmates, they did not have any other things in common.

In the eyes of the teachers, Xie Meng was a model gifted student. He was calm and restrained, and even a little boring. He was not talkative, and the only person close to him was a boy called Zhang Ganggang, and the only reason for that was because their desks were next to each other.

At the beginning, Zhang Ganggang was a little intimidated by Xie Meng. Thinking that the other had graduated from S Middle School, his results were great, and he looked very aloof, he would definitely look down on him. However, after interacting with him, he realised that that was not the case at all.

Xie Meng was very gentle.

Although it was a little sissy to use gentle to describe a boy, but Zhang Ganggang felt that no one was more suitable than Xie Meng to be described as gentle.

Just like a pretty hard candy, so pretty that people were reluctant to eat it. Finally, after putting it in their mouth, they would feel that it was sweet, and then after biting into it, they would discover that even the heart of the candy was soft inside.

… Zhang Ganggang felt that his description was a little mushy, but that was truly how he felt.

Of course, Xie Meng did not know that his desk mate had described him like that. He was working on his algebraic homework, and once he was done, he placed it on Zhang Ganggang’s desk.

“I’ve calculated the problems already, take a look yourself.” Xie Meng was very patient. He had been deskmates with Zhang Ganggang for nearly two months, and nearly everyday he would have to do the mathematics class exercises and homework twice, not including the revision after each quiz.

Zhang Ganggang joyfully took the exercise book. Following Xie Meng’s calculations, he calculated them himself one more time, then erased Xie Meng’s work when he was done.

While erasing, Zhang Ganggang exclaimed, “The midterms are coming.”

Xie Meng was fairly indifferent. “Yes.”

“What am I going to do with maths?” Zhang Ganggang moaned. “Even you won’t be able to save me…”

“…” Xie Meng wanted to tell him that he had no intentions of saving him anyway.

“But it doesn’t matter.” Zhang Ganggang suddenly cheered up. Xie Meng could almost see his HP level recovering. “As long as Ji Qinyang is around, Maitreya won’t look for me. Not only is Brother Yang has high HP, he can also taunt very well!”

Xie Meng’s pen came to a stop. “Ji Qinyang?”

“Brother Yang had once got a score of 1 for Mathematics in middle school, and the only reason why he got that mark was because his name was written very properly on the exam paper and his handwriting was very neat.”

“… He handed in a blank paper?”

Zhang Ganggang shook his head, “No, he wrote a lot, why else would the teacher think that his handwriting was neat?”

“…” Xie Meng was incredulous. “He wrote so much, but they were all wrong?”

Zhang Ganggang looked as though he completely understood. “Yes, that’s right. He just didn’t know how to do it.”

… This was too unbelievable. Xie Meng thought as he twirled his pen. He turned around to look at the back row. Ji Qinyang was writing something with his head buried, sweeping his gaze across the rostrum, their eyes met. Ji Qinyang was slightly taken aback, before smiling at him.

Xie Meng looked at him, then looked away after awhile.


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0 thoughts on “TOL Chapter 1

  1. Ohhhhhhhh. I’m liking it very much! Ji Qingyan seemed interested at the beggining but now he’s Just a little indifferent?

    I liked Xie Meng’s description as a Hard candy that’s soft inside. Hehe.

    Thanks for the new story!

  2. Ooooo, this already looks promising. I’m looking forward to their interacting more, but I already like it. Thanks for bringing this to us!

  3. Hello BlackBox Translations Team!! I’m Jeff from Indonesia, I was so happy that this novel is translating into English and I’m very interested in this novel. Can I translate this novel from your translation into Indonesian and publish it in my wattpad acc (jeffery_liu)? Of course I’ll put your website link on the credit^^
    Thank you for your hardwork!!! And I’ll wait for your reply :))

    1. Yeah sure go ahead! Drop us a link to your translation here so that we’ll be able to update our TOC with it as well.

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