Chapter 1 — We Meet Again Due to Excellence
“Up next, a news interlude.”
“…yesterday, in a school zone street in the city, were reports of a youth gang fight. The police arrived in time to deescalate the fighting. In the warm weather, two students with the last names Xiao and Luo presented into their secondary genders at the same time; the police called ambulances promptly to bring both students to the hospital…”
“…both students presented smoothly in the city’s Central Hospital into alpha and omega respectively. Worth noting is their 0% pheromone compatibility. Due to natural biological attraction, the compatibility between most alphas and omegas does not go below 20%. 0% pheromone compatibility seldom seen nation-wide…”
“…journalists have learned from both students’ parents that Xiao and Luo have not been on good terms since childhood, often fighting. Despite this personal history, both parents were surprised to learn that they would present in the middle of a fight. In this case, Luo is believed to be mostly responsible for the conflict…”
Luo Zhiyu keeps his eyes half-closed the entire way towards the living room, turning off the TV left forgotten by who knows who.
“So dramatic.” It was just a fight with the dumbass, where he accidentally went through puberty. Who would have known it would make the news.
Good things do not even leave the house doors and bad things spread for miles.
He and Xiao Yan have not been on good terms since childhood. They are enemies who live in the same neighbourhood, so they get into a fight every time they see each other; most of the time it was Luo Zhiyu who started it. The good thing was that Luo Zhiyu will be starting school tomorrow at the First Metropolitan High School, a school with a good reputation and closed-off campus. He probably would probably never see Xiao Yan again while in boarding school.
He finally feels a little more awake after taking out a glass from under the coffee table and pouring himself a full cup of lemonade, downing it in one go. He is still sleepy from presenting the day before — after playing games, in the middle of the day, he had fallen asleep laying over his desk with the phone still in his hands.
The game had been over for quite some time, the screen stuck at “Defeat” with notifications of being reported and points deducted glaring from the corner. Luo Zhiyu opens Wechat only to see pained complaints from his teammates.
He decides to ignore these people’s whining and opens the new group chat at the top of his Wechat messages.
Someone added him to a group chat while he was sleeping.
[First Metropolitan Entrance Ceremony1 Overall Planning Group]
What is this?
Luo Zhiyu skims through the chat history and gets startled by screenfuls of stickers2 that only middle-aged and older people would use, accompanying all kinds of high saturation images of kindly faced shushu and a-yis 3 smiling back at him through the screen.
[Principal Zhang]: Cherishing this fated meeting.jpg
[Director Xu]: The prettiest flower for the prettiest you.jpg
[Director Wu]: Take care of yourself in the busy days.jpg
Luo Zhiyu: “?” What even is this.
[Not Zhiliao 4]: Don’t fucking test me like this panda face.jpg
[Not Zhiliao] recalled a message.
Amongst the profile photos of nature, birds and flowers is his own profile photo of an anime wild pig head; Luo Zhiyu jolts into awareness, finally cluing into what these ridiculous images are from.
His homeroom teacher had called him in the morning to tell him that he has to give a speech at the school’s Entrance Ceremony as the First Year Excellent Student Representative, and that he should prepare his script. This group chat was probably made for teachers to organize tasks.
The people sending best wishes stickers one after the other are probably teachers and academic directors in his new school.
Good thing that he recalled the message fast enough so that probably no one saw.
[Not Zhiliao] changed their nickname to [First Tear Excellent Student Representative]
Just as he was thinking, a new message was sent into the chat.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: You are the most successful in all of First Metropolitan.jpg
Luo Zhiyu: “?”
Someone on the same frequency?
He is going to First Metropolitan purely because he scored high on his Secondary School Exam, knowing next to nothing about this school; this is a good chance to flag someone down to see what is up.
[Not Zhiliao] requested to add [First Metropolitan Excellent Student Representative] as a friend, request note: “It is worth it for excellent you to get to know excellent me.”
This student is probably busy remarking on his straightforwardness and does not respond to him for a while. Luo Zhiyu massages the back of his neck that was still slightly sore, and then opens his suitcase to start organizing the clothes for his time living at school.
With the start of the new semester approaching, the First Metropolitan School Forum is quite lively —
[Damn, I am already a third-year, speaking of which, how are the first-years this year?] [New] [Hot]
1L: As the title says, a bunch of people graduated and left in June, and there will be new students at the entrance ceremony, are there any good-looking ones in the new students?
2L: Is Xiao Yan from Second year, Class 3 not handsome enough for you, he even presented as Alpha recently, so A 5 he could explode okay? Why don’t any of you punks know
3L: A few days ago I was helping the Director of Academics with class assigning forms and actually found a good looking one!
4L: Xiao Yan is the official school-grass6, thanks, there is no room for someone else in my heart.
5L: First year, Class 3 Luo Zhiyu, he’s so good looking from the ID picture already, must be ridiculous in real life.
6L: Luo Zhiyu? This name sounds so familiar, am I imagining things?
7L: …upstairs7, you are not imagining things, that’s the little despot from the Nineteenth Middle School, rumour says he is the one that threw a drawing board at someone and beat them up. Speaking of, with his age he actually is about to start high school.
8L: Not a rumour, that’s real, he even had to write a self reflection as punishment. I can only say, do not be fooled by his face! Luo Zhiyu is not as harmless as he looks, you would be correct in not testing him.
9L: That scary? I’ll just continue fangirling over Xiao Yan then.
10L: Hehe, quiet down, look at this interesting news story. Link to article [Alpha and Omega secondary gender presentation due to group fighting? The one ultimately responsible is actually…]
13L: Um…”students with the last names Xiao and Luo,” are they the ones I am thinking of?
The school is not too far from home, so Luo Zhiyu does not bring a lot of stuff, planning instead to go home and grab more over the weekend. He had just finished packing his clothing when his phone received a new message.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative] has accepted your friend request.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Fairy scrunches eyebrows.jpg
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: It’s you?
[Not Zhiliao]: It’s me.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: You added me? Are you serious?
This person’s profile photo is also three question marks — very studious and inquisitive, it seems.
[Not Zhiliao]: What else would I be doing?
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Do you know who I am? Fairy scrunches eyebrows.jpg
[Not Zhiliao]: That’s not important. Don’t you remember the First Metropolitan’s school motto? Teamwork and friendship. We are schoolmates from now on.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Fairy scrunches eyebrows.jpg
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Okay, see you tomorrow. I hope you will not regret this.
[Not Zhiliao]: Nonsense, I have never regretted knowing you.
Other than towards Xiao Yan and stupid jerks, Luo Zhiyu is usually very friendly and warm towards most people. Case in point, he pulls this cold and withdrawn second-year friend into chatting for a whole afternoon, getting to know certain things about his new school.
Luo Zhiyu thinks this second year excellent student has probably been moved by his warm enthusiasm.
Luo Zhiyu knows it all now: how to order takeout from within the school, what dishes are the most tasty in the cafeteria, routes for leaving campus when it is not a day off, and even the school’s most secluded forums.
But it is getting late now and they have to go to the school’s entrance ceremony next morning. Luo Zhiyu decides on leaving the forums for now, packing his drawing board bag into his suitcase and turning the lights off to get some rest.
First Metropolitan is a reputable school with the teaching philosophy that a good start is the first step in success. As such, the entrance ceremonies at the beginning of each school year are especially grandiose. Luo Zhiyu arrives at school early in the morning and picks up his school uniform.
The base colour of the school uniform is white, with secondary colours varying depending on the student’s year. The set Luo Zhiyu is wearing is light red for first years, while second and third year uniforms are light blue and green respectively.
“Have you figured out what to say, Excellent Student Representative Luo Zhiyu?” Speaking was Jiang Ximing, someone who basically grew up with Luo Zhiyu and is now in the same class and dorm for high school.
“I’ll just say whatever off script.” Luo Zhiyu had just changed into his school uniform, a newly-affixed pheromone blocker peeking out from his neck as he lowered his head. “Trust me, barely anyone listens anyway, no one will remember whatever I say.”
“You are really something.” Jing Ximing says, “You were projected to present soon and still went out and got into a gang fight.”
“It’s not that bad, not a loss.” Luo Zhiyu says, “Dragged that stupid jerk into presenting with me.”
Except Xiao Yan is an alpha, so presenting was not as painful as it was for him.
The First Metropolitan school anthem plays within the school’s auditorium with new and old students present and ready. The auditorium’s first few rows are reserved for the school’s directors and teachers, and also journalists from the local morning news here to take photos and write reports.
The speakers’ chairs had not yet been filled, prompting the students in the auditorium to whisper amongst themselves.
“Who is the new student representative this year?”
“Not sure, we’ll find out soon, First Metropolitan is pretty practical. Whoever with the highest score will do it.”
“I’m new here, I heard that there is a super good looking dude in second year? A really handsome alpha.”
“The super good looking dude’s face got marred these days, you might have to wait a few days.”
“It’s starting it’s starting, everyone stop talking. Shh!”
The school anthem stops playing; the entrance ceremony officially starts. Everything goes according to plan, with the principal, vice principal, and the directors of each grade each expressing their hopes and wishes for the new students, accompanied by non-stop shutter sounds from the first few rows.
There is no placard placed on the student representative seats. One seat remains empty between Luo Zhiyu and the third year student representative, probably for the brother he was cottoning up to yesterday. The grade director is starting to make concluding remarks and this person has still not shown up — how bold.
“Bro.” Luo Zhiyu quietly gets the attention of the third year Excellent Student Representative beside him.
The addressed student looks at this new omega student confusedly.
“Help me out, sit forward a bit.” Luo Zhiyu gestures, lowering his voice.
The brother does not seem to understand, but still moves both himself and the chair forward by one decimeter, obscuring the line of sight of the bunch of school authorities on the left.
Luo Zhiyu glances left and right and takes out his phone. With the third year brother as cover, Luo Zhiyu starts to go on his phone right under the nose of the school authorities.
[Not Zhiliao]: Hey friend, how are you still not here?”
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Getting some documents right now, almost there.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Are you this concerned for me? Fairy scrunching eyebrows.jpg
[Not Zhiliao]: Scram.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Be there in one minute.
A minute later, First Year Excellent Student Representative Luo Zhiyu, under the applause from the crowd of students, lowers his phone and slowly starts to speak: “To the school directors, teachers, and students: good morning. I am…”
A sudden wave of cheers spreads within the auditorium; Luo Zhiyu discovers that there is now one additional person beside him. He turns his head without dropping his polite smile.
Luo Zhiyu: “…..”
The stupid jerk who was in a gang fight with him yesterday smiles back at him.
Xiao Yan obviously expected this reaction from him, quickly holding Luo Zhiyu’s hand down while freeing his right hand to point at himself, not even trying to cover up the taunting in his gaze: “So Luo Zhiyu, excellent you deserves to get to know excellent me?”