Chapter 6 — Better Safe Than Sorry?
The male Alphas in the dormitory of Building 1 observing from the balconies, and other students bystanders, all feel a foreboding chill and gasp together.
A boy on the third floor speaks: “Before, in the health class for alphas1, the teacher said pheromones are very important. I didn’t really believe it, but now I do. There really is no way for 0% to get along peacefully.”
Someone on the second floor: “My idea of 0% was like, the kind of people that won’t even look at each other because they are so disgusted. 0% in reality: absolute chaos, no peace for anyone.”
Fifth floor: “Who was it again that said they wanted to pursue Luo Zhiyu the other day? Luo Zhiyu is really something!”
Fifth floor, east side: “I wouldn’t dare, if I did I’d be scared of getting hit by a broomstick. I’m cool with just watching.”
Second floor, west side: “Not necessarily, Don’t give up just yet, Xiao Yan’s the only one he’d hit with a broomstick.”
Fourth floor: “The school-grass screwed it up hahaha, never thought I’d see this day.”
First floor: “No one is allowed to laugh, Yan-ge is the face of our dorm.”
Outside the dorm, next to the wall —
Xiao Yan: “……”
Director Wu: “……”
Director Wu has experienced the first flop in his moral education career. The second-year boy in the blue and white uniform stands, sprayed in the face with soda, hair drip-dropping with it, clothes soaked through. The refreshing scent of honey peaches permeates the air.
The one responsible for it all blinks, the corner of his mouth twitching, wanting to smile and forcing it back down. He avoids everyone’s gaze. Finally, he slowly lifts his hand and removes the small leaf stuck to the top of Xiao Yan’s head.
Luo Zhiyu lifts the can of pop to his lips rather regretfully, licking away the few drops of honey peach soda left on the edge: “Where did you buy this from? It tastes pretty good.”
“Luo Zhiyu, don’t you have military training tomorrow.” Xiao Yan wipes at the corner of his lip, “I’ll buy you another can tomorrow.”
Sweet but not sickening. It does taste pretty good.
Luo Zhiyu isn’t stupid; he understands what Xiao Yan means right away. His gaze travels away from Xiao Yan, stopping at the broomstick next to Director Wu, contemplating whether it is possible to wack Xiao Yan again a few times.
“Nevermind, nevermind.” Director Wu’s conflict resolution is turning out to be a lot for the heart. He moves in front of the broomstick to hide it from sight, “No need to bicker, it’s no big deal. Let’s not get into an argument.”
Fan Yue, walking over after eating at the cafeteria just now, is a witness to the entire Honey Peach Incident.
“Hi, Director.” Fan Yue greets Director Wu, and then faces the two legendary figures, “It’s almost one o’clock, why don’t the both of you go eat lunch? Don’t worry, Director, they are just playing around, it’s no big deal.”
Fan Yue is under the impression that Director Wu will penalize the two and tries to convince him otherwise, “They are actually…pretty friendly and united in spirit.”
Fan Yue says this with very little confidence, so he adds another reason: “Yesterday Xiao Yan helped Luo Zhiyu do his clothing measurements and delivered the new uniform to him. Just now he even let Luo Zhiyu borrow his meal plan card.”
“That’s good, then.” Director Wu seems very pleased.
Luo Zhiyu holds the broomstick over his shoulder, the lunch that was purchased with Xiao Yan’s meal card in his other hand, and leaves the scene with Director Wu.
In Building 1, Dorm 109, the smell of sweet honey peaches floats into every corner. Xiao Yan, freshly showered, sits at the desk while toweling his hair before hanging up the clothes he had just washed to dry on the balcony.
Zhang Shu and Tang Yuan are making the most out of the time left before the exams to study; Fan Yue is organizing the new students’ application forms for the Students’ Association. There is less than one hour before afternoon classes, so Xiao Yan plonks down on the desk, deciding to rest with his eyes closed for a bit.
“Luo Zhi….liao?” Fan Yue frowns at a form, “What relation is this person to Luo Zhiyu?”
Xiao Yan holds out a hand from the side, taking the form. The one responsible for spraying his entire body with honey peach soda smiles back on him from the attached identification photo. Luo Zhiyu’s chicken scrawl is all over the response boxes, not very readable.
“This is Luo Zhiyu.” Xiao Yan hands over the application form and then grabs a English mock test from the shelf, reading it over with his eyes half-closed, “Learn from my experience — don’t call him Zhiliao to his face.”
Fan Yue: “……”
In the hallway of Building 3, 101 dorm, Jing Ximing spaces out, staring at the broomstick just added there.
“Where is this from?” Jing Ximing asks.
“Found it on the sports field.” Luo Zhiyu gulps down a glass of water, “Pretty handy.”
“Seems like it.” Jing Ximing nods.
Second years undeniably know the cafeteria better; Luo Zhiyu thinks this meal, purchased with Xiao Yan’s meal card, is especially tasty. He pulls out his phone, pointing the camera at the food container and sending Xiao Yan a photo.
[Not Zhiliao]: I forgive you. [Photo attached].
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Fairy scrunching eyebrows.jpg.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: I haven’t forgiven you.
[Not Zhiliao]: You lump of chicken poop.jpg. We battle a different day.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: No need to wait for a different day.
[Not Zhiliao]: Huh?
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: The punishment for getting caught fighting is sweeping the sports field for two days. Are you telling me you’re going to bail? Fairy scrunching eyebrows.jpg
[Not Zhiliao]: Not fighting, just one-way beating you up.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Bring you and your broomstick to the sports field in the afternoon, or get your credits deducted. 2
[Not Zhiliao]: Oh.
“Zhiyu!” Jing Ximing calls from the washing machine, “I’m going to do a load, do you want to wash your military training uniform? The teachers say since you just presented, you don’t have to go to training these few days.”
The military training uniform at First Metropolitan is a dark blue; the cut is very nice, but the quality is average. Luo Zhiyu had just chased Xiao Yan around half the campus, carrying a broomstick on top of that — he is covered entirely with dust and dirt, and a barely-there scent of honey peaches.
“Coming!” Luo Zhiyu hugs the clothes he just changed out of, throwing the whole bundle into the washing machine. “I’ll just throw it since you’re doing a load anyway.”
The First Metropolitan students are not allowed to walk around campus if they are not in uniform. There are two sets of the fall uniform, just enough for students to have one in the wash while wearing another set. Luo Zhiyu also throws the set he had worn to the entrance ceremony into the washing machine, changing into another set.
“The First Metropolitan uniform is so ugly.” There is quite a bit of laundry in the washer. Jing Ximing takes the broomstick from next to the doorway and uses its end to poke at their clothing in the machine, finally closing the door. “I nominate it for the National Ugliest School Uniform prize.”
The First Metropolitan school uniform is actually okay, the first year version very sporty with the white base colour and red trim. When it’s worn by students, it gives off a sense of youthfulness, generic but respectable — teachers and parents like it a lot, but students less so.
Now that Luo Zhiyu does not need to go to military training, he takes a nap into the early evening, when he receives a phone call from Xiao Yan.
“Where are you?” A voice sounds from the other end, annoying as if asking to get beaten up.
Luo Zhiyu had just woken up, for a second barely remembering where he is. He accidentally turns on the video in the call and startles himself with his own bedhead on the screen.
The person on the other end pauses for a second, and then opens his video too.
“I swept half.” Seeing as there is no one around, Xiao Yan holds out his phone unashamedly, pointing the camera at the sports field, “The other half I’ll leave for you, come here quick.”
“Got it,” Jing Ximing is still sleeping. Luo Zhiyu swings the broomstick at the doorway over his shoulder and, and in the golden sunset, walks towards the sports field.
Xiao Yan has indeed finished sweeping half the sports field, waiting for him next to the podium, a vocabulary book in his hands.
Luo Zhiyu holds the broomstick over his shoulder and stops in front of him: “Has your mother not taught you that it is really inefficient to study like this?”
Xiao Yan leans against the podium with another broomstick: “Has mother not taught you that teachers love it when you study like this?”
Luo Zhiyu finds out just now that the book in this person’s hands is held upside down; it is there purely for the aesthetic.
The two who were in a fight just this morning each carry a broomstick, sweeping up the sports field. As the sunsets, they have some temporary peace.
It is Luo Zhiyu’s first time using a broom, Xiao Yan following behind him perfunctorily; the duo carelessly sweep the entire sports field like this. There are the planters next to the field left: with quite a few kinds of foliage, the planters have a heavy layer of dust that is hard to get to.
Luo Zhiyu has felt like there was something off since earlier, finally realizing now that XIao Yan has changed uniforms. The set he wears now is the same colour palette as Luo Zhiyu’s, similar even down to the name tag.
0301 Xiao Yan
0301 Luo Zhiyu
“You’re wearing the first year uniform?” Luo Zhiyu stops in his tracks.
“Mm.” Xiao Yang says, “I messed up, I only brought one set of the second year uniform. It’s better than not wearing one at all.”
Or else he will get his credits deducted.
“Whose fault is it, anyway?” Xiao Yan gently pokes at Luo Zhiyu’s hand with the broomstick.
The foliage area is indeed hard to clean. As Luo Zhiyu talks to Xiao Yan, they have climbed onto the planter.
“You’re the stupid one, you can’t just blame me.” Luo Zhiyu swings the broom in his hands, “Accidents are always unexpected, so you should always prepare two sets of uniforms. One must always be prepared. Better safe than sorry.”
In a span of seconds, he describes the Honey Peach Incident as an “accident” and absolves himself of all responsibility.
The bushes grow unbridled and rampant. Luo Zhiyu focuses only on getting on Xiao Yan’s nerves, so just as he finishes his sentence, both of them hear the sound of fabric ripping.
Xiao Yan: “?”
Luo Zhiyu: “……”
The back of his school uniform has been torn open by a sharp branch, making a gaping hole.
Xiao Yan immediately steps away from the scene, removing himself from the incident entirely. He throws out sarcastically: “Accidents are always unexpected.”
“But I have two sets of uniforms.” Luo Zhiyu isn’t worried, “As long as I have a set to wear.”
Ordering a new set of uniforms takes about a week. It will cause a minor inconvenience at most, but it’s not like he will have nothing to wear.
He ties the jacket, now in tatters, around his waist. After he finishes cleaning up the entire sports field, bickering with Xiao Yan half the time, he heads towards the dorms. Just as he is about to open the door, he hears a screech of pain from Jing Ximing.
Luo Zhiyu’s hands shake, pushing open the door: “What happened?”
Jing Ximing stands next to the washing machine, waiting for the barrel to stop spinning, expression rather sad.
“Stay calm whatever happens, stop overreacting.” Luo Zhiyu takes off his beaten up jacket and walks over.
Luo Zhiyu: “……” His breath is caught in his throat.
It is their first time staying at a boarding school for the both of them. They stare at the washing machine dumbly; Luo Zhiyu’s dark blue military training uniform has bled, staining the entire load of laundry blue.
From Jing Ximing’s white dress shirt to Luo Zhiyu’s red and white uniform, everything is blue.
The First Year Excellent Student Representative Luo Zhiyu, third day into the start of the semester, has ruined every set of his school uniform.