Chapter 9 — Dorm Inspections
Luo Zhiyu lowers his head and sniffs at the collar of his shirt — there really is a lingering smell of oranges there.
This is probably what the Class 3 teacher meant by being a pervert.
After “liking” his Wechat Moment, Xiao Yan sends him a message.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Fairy scrunching eyebrows.jpg, first time washing clothes?
[Not Zhiliao]: ✔
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: My honour.
[Not Zhiliao]: ?
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Just got off class.
[Not Zhiliao]: Good for you, no need to report to me.
[Second Year Excellent Student Representative]: Fairy scrunching eyebrows.jpg, Luo Zhiyu, I think your school uniform is about 80% done for.
[Not Zhiliao]: Throw it out tonight once you get back, Covering my face crying.jpg.
Luo Zhiyu bids goodbye to his raggedy uniform in his heart before heading to the shower with his towel. Warm water cascades over his entire body, flowing against his neck, filling the entire shower with the faint smell of fruits.
“Do I still smell like a fruit salad?” Luo Zhiyu sticks his head out from the bathroom in his pyjamas.
Jing Ximing holds the fruit salad he just picked up from outside the dorms: “Better.”
The orange pheromones really stick to a person. It took some time to wash off; no wonder teachers warn against sharing personal belongings. Luo Zhiyu is not sure if it is just him imagining things, but the nape of his neck still feels kind of numb, slightly warm to the touch.
He takes out a new pheromone blocker, haphazardly doodling a wild pig head on top, and sticks it on his pulse.
In effort to discourage student cliques, even the distributed scent blockers are standardized and boring.
“Just heard people saying that there’s going to be an impromptu dorm inspection tomorrow.” Jing Ximing scrolls through his QQ 1 group chats while eating, “The teachers and the Students’ Association people are going to inspect first-year dorms.”
“Are there any specific requirements?” Luo Zhiyu is next to the washbasin, kneading Xiao Yan’s uniform a few times. There, that counts as washed.
“There are.” Jing Ximing reads off his phone, “No one on the bed, no garbage in the garbage can, door open, nothing on the desks.”
Luo Zhiyu: “?” What can be in the garbage can if not garbage? He has a lot of questions.
“Just these. Kind of confusing.” Jing Ximing lowers his phone, mournfully finishing off the last bite of his fruit salad, “Whatever. As long as we remember to put away our banned electronics.”
“Let’s do it tomorrow.” Luo Zhiyu’s been running around all day and is getting sleepy now. He unfurls his blankets and tucks himself in, “And it’s supposed to be a pop inspection, what are the chances.”
Even though the homeroom teacher already said that newly presented students don’t have to go to military training, Luo Zhiyu doesn’t like sitting around anyway, and only takes a break for one afternoon. The next day, in the morning, he wears his military training uniform — one shade lighter than everyone else’s — and shows up at the Class 3 squad.
The instructor even recognizes him, greeting him from afar: “Student, don’t you need some rest?”
“I don’t really need special treatment. New students should be a part of the group.” Luo Zhiyu stands very straight, words very admirable. “Yesterday was an accident, I don’t think that damn idiot will come again today.”
“Well said!” The instructor admires this kind of omega, not fragile at all, “Since you’re here now, focus on military training. It will pay off for sure.”
“Yes, sir!” Luo Zhiyu answers decisively.
And yet, that damn idiot shows up again.
The bell that signals the end of the last class sounds, and a familiar figure walks over from the other end of the sports field. He holds another red plastic bag, a little smaller than yesterday’s.
Luo Zhiyu: “……”
The instructor: “……”
“Don’t mind me.” Xiao Yan sits cross-legged on the grass. He takes out a small food container from the bag, then rummages in the container and extracts a small carton of ice cream. In front of Luo Zhiyu and everyone in Class 3, he quite elegantly finishes off an entire carton of ice cream.
“You’re asking to get beaten up again?” Luo Zhiyu speaks with his gaze.
“Am not.” Xiao Yan throws the empty carton back into the bag, “I’m just here to see how badly your military training uniform has faded.”
“Likely story.” Luo Zhiyu thinks he is about to be a real life fairy scrunching eyebrows.jpg.
With the blow of a whistle, Class 3 is dismissed for the day. Luo Zhiyu picks up a tree branch and charges over.
“Hold on.” Xiao Yan says.
Luo Zhiyu almost didn’t brake in time: “?”
“Don’t get mad, this is an actual pastime activity.” Xiao Yan says, savouring the moment, “You’ll understand once you get to second year.”
Luo Zhiyu does not quite understand. Xiao Yan’s pastime activity clearly comes at the expense of Luo Zhiyu’s dignity.
“There’s one left, it’s for you.” Xiao Yan flips the container over and dumps out another carton of ice cream, slapping it onto Luo Zhiyu’s hands. “I’m not here to fight with you, really.”
Luo Zhiyu takes the ice cream with his left hand, and throws the tree branch into Xiao Yan’s hands with his right. They exchange in an orderly fashion — one hand with the money and the other with the goods.
It is only the third day since the start of the semester, and he has swiped Xiao Yan’s meal card, worn his uniform, and now, he eats his ice cream.
“Where did you buy these, anyway?” The honey peach soda from yesterday, too — Luo Zhiyu looked for it in all the First Metropolitan shops and didn’t find the same brand.
“Brought it in from home, and kept it in the mini fridge in my dorm.” They pass by a garbage can, and Xiao Yan swings his hand, throwing the tree branch and bag in one go. “You want some?”
The teeth marks from that year show on his wrist as he raises his hand, like a stray peach blossom petal.
“No.” Luo Zhiyu says.
“What are you looking at me for?” Xiao Yan follows Luo Zhiyu’s gaze to his wrist. Probably also remembering the events from that year, he ohhhs, “All your fault.”
It isn’t some honour for Luo Zhiyu either, the fact that he bit someone that hard when he was three. So, he says without thinking, “If anything, you can bite me back.”
Xiao Yan: “…….”
“Luo Zhiyu.” Xiao Yan presses a hand on his shoulder firmly, “You really should’ve listened to the rest of my health class lecture last night.”
Xiao Yan walks towards the residential part of the campus, leaving Luo Zhiyu, standing in place with his ice cream, to think about his words.
What does he mean? Was he being a pervert in AO reproductive health contexts again?
According to the First Metropolitan tradition, all students will have an impromptu dorm inspection during the military training period. On one hand, it is to encourage new students to keep the dorms tidy, and on the other, it is a safety precaution to check on every dorm.
First Metropolitan is a prestigious school, so campus dormitories do not necessarily struggle to power basic home appliances.2 However, First Metropolitan also considers that the main thing a student should be doing is studying. Because of this, there are still bans on certain appliances in the dorms.
At 8pm in the evening, as Luo Zhiyu doodles and scribbles on his drawing stand, a knock suddenly sounds from the dorm entrance.
Luo Zhiyu: “?”
“Shh.” Jing Ximing says, “Hide the pot.”
“Open the door.” A voice very familiar to Luo Zhiyu sounds from outside, “You guys can’t be trying to hide a pot or something, right?”
This voice, Luo Zhiyu had just heard the day before.
Just as the two of them freeze in the middle of hiding away the pot, they hear the sound of a key in the lock.
“Shit, they have keys.”
“Stuff it in your bed, quick, get on there.”
Luo Zhiyu: “No people allowed in bed, did you forget?”
Luo Zhiyu: “No can do, it doesn’t fit.”
Luo Zhiyu: “The Students’ Association people are pretty chill, no worries. This is just a formality.”
The door opens from the outside, and Mr Xu, from the health class lecture at Class 3 yesterday, stands at the doorway.
From behind Mr. Xu meanders out another person. Xiao Yan, wearing the blue and white uniform, leans against the doorframe, and pushes a pair of newly-added, zero prescription glasses further up his nose: “Good evening, fellow students. I am Xiao Yan from the Students’ Association, and I am in charge of inspecting your dorm for this impromptu inspection.”