Chapter 14 — Which One of You is Xiao Yan?
Xiao Yan: “……”
“I……” Fan Yue opens his mouth several times, but ends up unable to say anything.
The students’ task delegation charts are in the office, where Director Xu is marking exam papers from her own class. There are two knocks on the office door, and two Students’ Association members on inspection duty walk in.
“Hi, Director Xu.” Fan Yue finds the box with the Students’ Association inspections documents, adding in the form from today’s inspection on the top of the pile. “We have finished inspections for the day.”
“You’ve worked hard, just leave the forms where you found them.” Director Xu looks up and asks duly, “Have you found any rulebreakers today?”
“Yes.” The student from Class 7 nods.
“Tell me about it?”
Fan Yue joins the conversation: “There were a few students who skipped self-study block without a valid excuse, and a pair of AO dating — this was caught by the vice principal, he already told them off and deducted credits.”
“Just these few?” Director Xu has finished marking another exam as they speak. “Good, probably because it’s just the start of term, so everyone’s still aiming to be good. No students skipping the evening self-study block to eat takeout, good. You’ve worked hard.”
“……not at all.” The two Students’ Association members answer a little guiltily, kind of spaced out. They avoid making eye contact with Director Xu and turn to leave.
“You’ve just entered second year, is the schoolwork stressful?” Director Xu notices the students’ timid steps and asks.
“No, no.” The duo hurry to close the office door, finally heaving a sigh.
“The honey trap thing……” The beta from Class 7 asks.
“There’s no honey trap, we don’t do that kind of thing.” Fan Yue motions at him to lower his voice, and drags him away from the door to Director Xu’s office, “Pretend you didn’t see it, otherwise it’s an actual honey trap.”
In the First Year, Class 3 classroom, a well-fed and satisfied Luo Zhiyu makes two stacks of textbooks on his desk. He slumps over his desk as he listens to the teacher analyzing the exam papers. What happened just now seems like something out of a TikTok video, looping in his head multiple times already.
Back on the rooftop, Xiao Yan had looked at him for half a moment, lips tugged into an ominous smile. He used the bamboo stick to stab away the last takoyaki ball, then tossed the takeout container away in one go, landing it into the garbage nearby in a long arc.
It is hard to be productive in the evening study-block, and Luo Zhiyu does not like low-efficiency studying. He finds himself zoning out a little, the words on the chalkboard doubling before his eyes. He decides to give up altogether and lowers his head under the cover of his books, checking on the messages from earlier that he hadn’t replied to yet.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Smile.jpg, fellow student Luo Zhiliao.1
[Not Zhiliao]: Get my name right first.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: [Baidu link to the definition of “honey trap”]
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Fairy scrunching eyebrows.jpg
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Do I look like someone that executes honey traps to you?
Without rhyme or reason, a visual of Xiao Yan sitting in front of their military training squad, eating watermelon, suddenly presents itself before his eyes. As he thinks back to that day, he doesn’t realize that the corners of his own lips have lifted into a slight curve.
“Got full swallowing air? Or did you get hyped from listening to music?” Jing Ximing nudges him, “We’re in class, what are you smiling for?”
Luo Zhiyu lifts his head up from the stack of books: “This class is so interesting.”
Jing Ximing: “……”
[Not Zhiliao]: Yeah, you do, a lot.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Let’s fight this out.
[Not Zhiliao]: You’re picking a fight with an omega? Shameless.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: ……
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: The entire year last year, I was only deducted credits for being late and skipping class. You count for me, how many credits have you made me lose since you arrived at First Metropolitan. How many things have I been framed for?
[Not Zhiliao]: So it’s my fault? What is this….fake injury scam?
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: ……
[Not Zhiliao]: It’s your own problem, okay? You’re not as excellent of a student as I am. If it was me, I
“Student at the back, yes you, the one who’s been slumped over and hasn’t looked at the blackboard even once.” The teacher at the podium hasn’t learned all the students’ names, and did not bring the attendance sheet with her, either. She points at Luo Zhiyu’s seat, “Tell us, how do we solve this problem?”
Luo Zhiyu: “?” What? Where are we?
He stands, and only realizes then that there are already several students standing at their seats, probably because no one has been able to answer the question. The short student at the front sends him an SOS gaze. The math teacher seems to fully believe that he is able to answer the question, gaze trained on him only, a touch of encouragement and hope in her expression.
“Ms. Zhang,” Luo Zhiyu starts, politely, “Sorry, but what question are we on?”
During the Monday evening self-study block, a row of students stand outside Class 3, nine in total, writing lines as punishment under the moonlight.
“Ms. Zhang just transferred here, she’s known for being strict.” Ling Ciyi says, impressed, “You actually dare to just not pay attention to her class?”
Without discrimination, students with good and bad grades have been sent outside. Everyone thinks it’s pretty fair, and takes the opportunity to really bond over the process.
“I didn’t mean to not pay attention.” Luo Zhiyu slumps over the railings, looking at the ground below, “I just think that evening self-study is really unproductive. It’s more efficient in the long run to use the time to take an actual break.”
The group of students mull over this school celebrity’s enlightened ideology, and then remember their own grades. They want to agree, but do not dare.
The bell signalling the end of class rings. Classes that got their self-study block taken up by other extra classes go on, and classes with regular self-study are dismissed one after the other. Xiao Yan wears his backpack, a book of practice problems in hand, and gets ready to go downstairs with Fan Yue and Tang Yuan. As they pass by the stairway entrance, he notices the row of people on timeout outside Class 3.
“What are you looking at?” Tang Yuan asks, “Are we not leaving?”
“This is too rare, I need to watch the fun personally.” Xiao Yan deviates from the original route down the stairs and waves at his dormmates, “You guys go ahead.”
“Ai.” Fan Yue isn’t able to stop his dormmate amidst the crowd of students, and watches helplessly as he goes against the hallway traffic towards the First Year, Class 3 classroom.
There is an additional student in the timeout line outside Class 3.
“Hi~” Xiao Yan shuffles over with a friendly greeting.
“Scram,” Luo Zhiyu glances at the uniform beside him, “You’re not even the same colour as us.”
“You’re such an excellent student, you have to do lines and stand in timeout?” Xiao Yan leans over to look at Luo Zhiyu’s notebook, watching them timeout in plain sight.
Xiao Yan: “Hm, your handwriting is just like you.” Both a mess.
Luo Zhiyu: “……” Motherfucker.
Does Xiao Yan think he has bought Luo Zhiyu with one takoyaki order? Dream on.
The early autumn evenings are rather cold; Luo Zhiyu has only one layer thrown over himself. He has been in the hallway braving the chill wind for a while now, fingers stiff from the cold. With Xiao Yan here, he suddenly wants to do some warmups.
“Do you get itchy if you don’t ask to get beaten up every day?” Luo Zhiyu rubs at his wrist, sore from copying lines, and shifts half a step towards the classroom’s side door.
“Hm?” Xiao Yan takes a step back, “No, I am just dropping by to visit you.”
“If it wasn’t for you setting me up, would I be here in timeout?” Luo Zhiyu picks up the broomstick beside the classroom’s side door, “Who told you to message me during class? Just as well, no need to leave now that you’re here.”
“What are you doing? Dragging me down with you?” Xiao Yan isn’t worried at all, not even dodging the broomstick anymore, “Then submit our chat logs, let’s get deductions for the honey trap thing while we’re at it. I don’t want my credits anymore, it’s not an L if I bring you down with me.”
“You don’t want them?” Luo Zhiyu asks, “That’s nice, I admire you.”
The students in the back of the classroom: “???”
Ms. Zhang has just finished class, and rushes out hearing the noise outside: “What are you two doing?”
She faces the student who’s actually in her class: “What’s up with you, not paying attention in class and not even copying your lines properly, do you want me to contact your parents?”
She then looks at the second-year student: “What’s up with you too, why aren’t you going back to the dorms after class? What are you doing in front of Class 3?”
Ms. Zhang tries to glance at the students’ name tags on their uniforms in order to report their names to their respective homeroom teachers. However, she stops when she finds the exact same names on both uniforms.
0301 Xiao Yan
Ms. Zhang: “?”
She tends to be very focused on her work, rarely paying attention to campus news, and only comes to campus when she has class, so she has no idea of what happened at the morning assembly. This kind of situation is beyond the scope of her teaching experience, and she is caught off guard without quite knowing what to do.
“Which one of you is Xiao Yan?” Ms. Zhang asks, a no-nonsense look on her face.
“Ms. Zhang.” Luo Zhiyu raises his hand, “I am.”
“I spaced out during class, got into fights on campus, truly a delinquent. I have fully recognized my own mistakes, please deduct a lot of my credits!”