Perhaps, in this world, the only person who had the right to pardon her or let her bear regrets was Shi Ni.
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Today, Yu Hao truly ushered in a new life -- it may be Shi Ni’s new life, but it was also his. Chen Yekai pressed him down as he changed his hairstyle, and he saw the person in the mirror become much more spirited. He couldn’t really hear what Chen Yekai was saying, he had been absent-minded the whole day.
Thoughts of his parting with General had filled up his mind.
“You will fall in love with the person you like……”
“You will go to many places……”
“And you will do what you want to do, and live how you want to live……”
“Today, when the sun rises, it will also herald your new life……”
“Ai!” Zhou Sheng called Yu Hao back to reality.
“How is it?” Zhou Sheng motioned for Yu Hao to look at his new hairstyle.
Zhou Sheng’s hair had been shaved into a decent-looking buzz cut, you could no longer see his dyed hair. The young hairstylist even took the initiative to carve two cuts into his eyebrows, and the way it was shaped happened to align with the shallow scar above his eyebrow, making the scar unnoticeable. His appearance with the cut eyebrow actually seemed quite handsome.
“It’s so damn ugly!” The corners of Zhou Sheng’s mouth twitched.
“Handsome!” Yu Hao and Chen Yekai both understood the proud Zhou Sheng very well, so they quickly racked their brains for compliments to shower upon him.
Yu Hao suddenly really wanted to go out and play, or just do something to commemorate how he had overcome his predestined fate and announce his rebirth after his 18 years of life. He left his past behind, and now his future was filled with limitless possibilities. There was a path before him that was waiting for him to dash through. Even though it was bumpy, and possibly crowded with thistles and thorns, he was still eager to traverse through it and start his journey.
But when night fell, he was shivering in the cold winds and didn’t want to go out anymore. Instead, he just really wanted to hurry back to his dormitory as soon as possible. This winter day was really too cold. Chen Yekai had also made a request regarding what he discussed with Yu Hao yesterday night -- to get him to free up some time to tutor Zhou Sheng and Fu Liqun on their English.
“I hope that in the final examinations this year, no one in the two classes I’m in charge of will fail.” Chen Yekai checked the course’s schedule. Zhou Sheng responded with indifference. After they sent Yu Hao back to his dormitory, Zhou Sheng looked at Chen Yekai’s receding figure and said helplessly, “It’s not easy being a form teacher either.”
Yu Hao smiled, “Did you hear that? From tomorrow onwards, I’ll be giving the two of you make-up lessons.”
“Hey, why don’t you consider my suggestion seriously? To move over to our place.” Zhou Sheng said.
Lately, Fu Liqun rarely stayed in their dorm. It wasn’t that Zhou Sheng felt bored and lonesome living by himself, but he was concerned that it would be inconvenient for Yu Hao to move around because of his injury. It would be better to get Yu Hao to move to their dormitory for the time being.
“It’s okay.” Yu Hao pushed the door inwards and answered, “I can take care of myself, don’t worry.”
Zhou Sheng didn’t press the matter further, “Then, bye-bye.”
Yu Hao returned to his dormitory. His roommates still acted as if he didn’t exist -- they just continued eating and chatting as if he hadn’t entered. But they would surreptitiously glance at him from time to time. Yu Hao propped himself up on the table as he shifted over bit by bit, then he took the bedsheet -- that Zhou Sheng had dirtied when he had eaten on it -- out to wash it.
Not one of them asked how his feet had gotten injured, but Yu Hao was indifferent. He washed his sheets and hung them out to dry, then read his books and listened to some songs as usual.
Before the lights went out, Shi Ni gave him a call. She had only briefly talked about her day when another person took over the call -- it was Shi Ni’s mother.
So you’ve finally shown up? Yu Hao thought. Glancing at his roommates, he put on his earphones and slowly hobbled to the corridor to continue the call. Shi Ni’s mother seemed to have cried recently. She apologised to him in a soft and anxious voice, and also thanked him profusely.
Yu Hao only listened to her quietly and uttered an “un” in response from time to time. He actually wanted to interject, “If you knew that this was going to happen, then why are you only now regretting your past conduct? You are an accomplice to everything that had happened too. The harm you caused Nini is no less than that of Shi Liang.” But the words were caught in his throat. Now that things have come this far, agitating her any further was meaningless.
“Forget it ba.” Yu Hao endured it until the end, not voicing anything that would provoke her, “I just hope that you’ve overcome the cowardice of a parent’s love, and that you wouldn’t hurt Nini anymore.”
“You don’t know…..” Shi Ni’s mother’s voice was trembling, “I tried, he not only hit me, but he also threatened to kill Nini……”
“So?” Yu Hao said coldly, “So you gave in?”
“What could I have done?” Shi Ni’s mother started crying, “I even thought about dying. I am a weak woman at heart……perhaps all of you would stop scolding me after I die.”
When he heard those words, Yu Hao was reminded of when he tried to use this kind of cowardly method to escape his life before. In the end, he didn’t have the right to criticise Shi Ni’s mother. Perhaps, in this world, the only person who had the right to pardon her or let her bear regrets was Shi Ni.
“Who’s Shi Ni’s guardian now?” Yu Hao asked.
The lights in the dormitory building all went out at the same time. Their college was constructed next to a mountain located far away from the city, so there was little light pollution in their area. After the lights went out, only the bright galaxy above remained in this wintry night . Yu Hao gazed up at the starry sky and recalled the clear, night sky in her dreamscape before the sun rose -- it was as clear as her eyes were today.
“My older brother.” Shi Ni’s mother stopped sobbing and answered, “They will take good care of her.”
“Un.” Yu Hao said, “She has my contact information. If anything else happens, she can reach out to me at any time. Even if she is in a place as far away as the edge of the heavens, I will not ignore her troubles.”
“Thank you. No matter what, I’d like to thank you……” Shi Ni’s mother said, “We’ve prepared a bit of money as a small gift, I know that you’re in a bit of a difficult situation……”
“No.” Yu Hao said, “I don’t need it, and I won’t accept it.”
Someone whistled from across the dormitory building. Yu Hao looked up and saw Zhou Sheng smoking on the balcony as he held his phone with his bare arms.
“Don’t catch a cold!” Yu Hao shouted.
Zhou Sheng went back in. Yu Hao said into the phone, “Just pay me my salary, don’t give me a single cent more.”
She allowed Shi Ni to take the call again, and seemed to have asked Shi Ni to persuade Yu Hao. Nini said, “I already told them that you wouldn’t want it. Let’s go to the amusement park together when I go back, Zhou Sheng promised me.”
Yu Hao smiled, “I’ll remind him of that. Good night, Nini.”
“Good night.” He could hear a slight hint of laughter in Shi Ni’s voice. From tonight onwards, she would no longer have any nightmares.
For several nights in a row, Yu Hao never dreamt of General again. In the beginning, he did have some intermittent, fragmented dreams , but he couldn’t remember anything after waking. The days after those were all dreamless nights. As time passed, his memories of General gradually became more and more obscured. He couldn’t help but begin to doubt whether everything that had occurred was real or not.
He wrote about the Great Wall, the lighthouse and the snowy fjord he had experienced in his dreams on his phone. He even wrote down the distinctive traits and details of General clearly, of when he appeared the last two times so that he wouldn’t forget about him -- but just like how General had stated “you will forget about me”, these words were like a curse, and as time passed, the more he looked at it, the more Yu Hao felt like he suffered from hysteria.
“Hey, Yu Hao? Why’re you a little absent-minded?”
Yu Hao raised his head from the questions he was working on and looked at Fu Liqun.
Chen Yekai had asked for an activity room from the college for them and reserved it under the name of their form teacher. The windows were clean and the lighting was good. The adjacent room was the Chess and Cards room of the Student Union. Every day, three groups of students would conduct make up lessons for one another in the activity room.
“Oh, is that so.” Fu Liqun spun the pen in his hand as he randomly answered, then buried himself in his books again as he flipped a few pages.
“You’re the one who’s absent-minded.” Yu Hao said.
Fu Liqun sighed again. Yu Hao heard that Fu Liqun rarely returned to his dormitory recently and was acting all enigmatic. Zhou Sheng hadn’t said anything, so it didn’t seem appropriate to ask about it.
After half a day, both of them had finished a set of questions before Zhou Sheng came over while yawning. He was quite annoyed with the fact that he needed to suddenly attend make up classes even though college entrance examinations were already over.
“Study ba.” Yu Hao urged.
For the next few days, Yu Hao tutored Zhou Sheng and Fu Liqun in English in the activity room. CET-4 was too inconceivable, at the very least they should aim to not fail their final examinations this year. While the two of them did comprehension questions, Yu Hao would rack his brains to study for his Higher Mathematics -- Math was really too difficult for him.
Zhou Sheng and Fu Liqun’s English was so terrible that it was even painful to look at their papers -- Yu Hao wanted to cry the moment he saw it.
“Even if you chose ‘A’ for everything, you wouldn’t get this many questions wrong!” Yu Hao had been driven mad.
“This proves that I did it very diligently.” Zhou Sheng answered.
Yu Hao could only explain to them question by question, and after they finished four passages, Zhou Sheng gave up. He had never studied for such a long time before. He asked Yu Hao to let them play some games to balance out the work with rest. Yu Hao only allowed them to play for 20 minutes. Fu Liqun immediately grabbed his phone and pulled Yu Hao in with them to play and added two other people as usual.
“This is our team.” Fu Liqun said, “You’ll be the healer ba, we lack a healer.”
Yu Hao, “……”
“Just follow me.” Zhou Sheng said, “Don’t run around to other places, and don’t do the tasks for newbies.”
Fu Liqun, “What did you choose?”
“Sun Wukong.” Zhou Sheng answered.
Yu Hao rarely played games. He felt extremely confused and disoriented, and he seemed absolutely flustered in-game. Fu Liqun played a warrior while Zhou Sheng played Sun Wukong, and they were introducing the roles to Yu Hao one by one. They selected Bian Que for him, then pulled an archer, Hou Yi, and a female mage, Angela. Yu Hao thought, is it Fu Liqun’s girlfriend? And he was about to greet her when:
Hou Yi:【Aren’t then slag students attending make up lessons?! Why are you guys playing?】
Sun Wukong:【Aren’t you playing too? Stop acting.】
Yu Hao: “……”
Angela:【Let’s play ba. We’ll talk after we’re done with two rounds, then we can go eat lunch afterwards.】
Hou Yi said to Angela:【You don’t need to work today?】
“The archer is Kaikai.” Fu Liqun said, “The female mage is Huang Ting.”
All Yu Hao wanted to do was throw his phone away, and thought: Are you guys kidding me?! He was about to explain himself to Chen Yekai when the game suddenly started. Yu Hao was disoriented again as he tailed Zhou Sheng, while Zhou Sheng shouted “milk, milk!” the whole time.
“I’m very stupid!” Yu Hao became frantic, “Don’t urge me! I’ll get anxious if you pressure me!!”
Zhou Sheng said, “It’s just a game! What’s there to get anxious over? Go!”
Yu Hao followed behind Zhou Sheng and tried his best to add blood for him, but Zhou Sheng said, “Don’t give me anymore milk! I’m already full! I’m going to burp and puke from all this milk!”
Yu Hao, “……”
Zhou Sheng was tapping away on his phone furiously, but he would also reach over to tap on Yu Hao’s phone for him. The two of them tapped here and there and finally ended up fighting. Fu Liqun shouted angrily, “He’s a newbie! Keep quiet!”
Yu Hao didn’t even know what his skills did, so he could only follow behind Zhou Sheng. Zhou Sheng laughed and suddenly stopped moving, then went to look at Yu Hao’s phone instead. Yu Hao was still running around randomly on the map as he sighed sorrowfully, “This game is too! Damn! Difficult!”
Zhou Sheng, “Didn’t you realise something?”
Yu Hao, “?”
“Gege has already died! That’s the enemy! Are you blind??”
Yu Hao, “……”
Zhou Sheng held his forehead with one hand. After they played for half a day, they still won in the end and Yu Hao thought thank god. He grabbed his phone and went to one side, “Give me some time to practice by myself, I’ll definitely get this down pat.”
Zhou Sheng leaned in to teach him. Yu Hao grasped a better understanding of the system, then said, “Playtime is over. Let’s continue working on the questions, everyone.”
Zhou Sheng & Fu Liqun, “……”
At first, they thought that after they threw Yu Hao into the pit as well, the three of them would be able to play games for the whole day. But they didn’t expect Yu Hao to be so mindful of his mission. He even pressed down on their heads to get them to finish their comprehension questions. Afterwards, Yu Hao made plans with the two of them to treat them to a buffet at night since he got his tuition salary. He wanted to thank them for their help.
After their make up lessons in the morning, it was Yu Hao’s turn to attend his own make up lessons in the afternoon. Chen Yekai personally brought his own notes over to tutor some students in Higher Mathematics. That was when Yu Hao knew that Chen Yekai studied mathematics before.His abilities as a teacher when compared to Yu Hao was like the difference between the heavens and the earth.
“Does anyone have any questions?” Chen Yekai said, “Don’t worry about your scores first, but everyone should at least pass.”
All the students responded with an “un”. Chen Yekai distributed a few papers amongst them -- these were all the final examination questions of last year’s Higher Mathematics examination. He probably got it through private means. After the other students left, Chen Yekai said, “Yu Hao, stay behind for awhile.”
The sunshine at dusk streamed in through the windows of the activity room. Yu Hao wanted to invite Chen Yekai to eat together with them too. All the students looked at Yu Hao with a strange gaze -- you could tell that there must be a number of rumours spreading around in their college. Chen Yekai looked at them and waited for them to leave.
Although Chen Yekai had just arrived at the college not too long ago, he had quickly established a good reputation for himself. He was extremely knowledgeable and came from a rich family as well. According to Zhou Sheng’s deductions, Chen Yekai’s family should be richer than all the rich second gens and kids of officials in their college, plus he had studied overseas, so the prestige of a curve wrecker like him could kill everyone else and no one dared to provoke him. Presumably, there must be a lot of speculation done behind his back.
He wore a sweater that looked very expensive today, and always looked very tidy and clean no matter when you saw him. He had the perfect male god appearance. Even if he was mixing around with a bunch of students, he would still pay immaculate attention to his manners and bearing.
Yu Hao guessed that for the past few days, Chen Yekai must have had something that he wanted to discuss. Not long afterwards, he breathed a sigh of relief and leaned back onto a chair. The glow of the sunset passed through the windows and illuminated them gently.
“Shi Liang withdrew his lawsuit. Huang Ting wants to conclude the case about the watch for you, so go through the process with him when you have some free time.” Chen Yekai said, “I’ve explained it to the leaders as well. There’s nothing much, I just wanted to let you know. This would serve as a conclusion to those matters. As for the other case, the hearing for it should be after your final examinations. You’ll have to testify as a witness then.”
“Thank you, Laoshi.” Yu Hao said.
“I won’t join you guys for dinner tonight.” Chen Yekai looked at his watch, “I need to go pick up my own Laoshi later.”
Yu Hao acknowledged him with an “ah”, then Chen Yekai continued, “Professor Lin, a teacher I respect a lot. You can become his postgraduate student next time.”
“Post……..postgraduate?” Yu Hao was shocked, “I can’t do math.”
Chen Yekai said, “You can learn. The postgraduate examination for Psychology isn’t difficult.”
Yu Hao had never thought that a slag student like him could ever become a postgraduate student. It was as if Chen Yekai knew what he was thinking, “You’re always thinking about the past, but have you ever seriously thought about your future?”
Yu Hao was startled, “I haven’t.”
The sunset glow shone on Chen Yekai. There were some people who looked as if they naturally shone with a noble light. Yu Hao sat opposite him, and only felt like an inconspicuous rock in comparison.
Yu Hao asked, “Laoshi, what you may not think of as ‘difficult’ is actually very ‘difficult’ for me.”
Chen Yekai took a sip of his coffee as he tapped his finger on the table rhythmically.
Yu Hao pondered for awhile before he said again, “My qualifications aren’t that good. In the beginning, I just wanted to get a degree, then find a stable job after I graduate to support myself.”
Chen Yekai said, “You’re not lacking at all, you’re a really good student. Yu Hao, I’ve always regarded you as my little brother, so I do hope that you can mature well. Your English is really good. Through your own efforts, you would not only be admitted to graduate school, but you could also go abroad for further studies. You can pursue the life you want.”
“Those are all things that I dare not dream of.” Yu Hao smiled a bit sadly.
“What you lack is just an opportunity for change.” Chen Yekai said, “One day, you’ll suddenly figure it all out and understand what it is that you want, what you want to do, and what kind of life you want to live……”
Yu Hao suddenly thought of General’s words.
“You will go to many places……”
“And you will do what you want to do, and live how you want to live……”
Chen Yekai continued, “......and I hope that moment will come soon for you.”
Yu Hao said, “But in this world, not everyone can abandon all their worries and completely let themselves run free to pursue their future. We are all bounded by the limitations of the environment we grew up in, that’s my outlook on life.”
Chen Yekai was slightly startled, then smiled, “The fact that you realised that means that a seed has already been sown in your heart.”
“Yes.” Yu Hao smiled, “I’m still trying my best to get my grades up. I hope that I can apply for a scholarship.”
“Your student loan will be approved before winter.” Chen Yekai said, “Oh right, could you do me a favour?”
Yu Hao answered, “Of course, I’m willing to do anything.”
His feelings toward Chen Yekai was practically at the point of worship, but the more time he spent with Chen Yekai, the more he felt like his brilliance did not come about by chance.
“There will be a literary arts performance for our college’s anniversary.” Chen Yekai said, “I remember seeing on your form that you can sing?”
Yu Hao, “……”
“Sing?” Zhou Sheng looked at Yu Hao doubtfully, “You’ll be singing on stage?”
Yu Hao, “Uh……..”
Yu Hao began to regret his promise to Chen Yekai. Although he sang some songs now and then, he had never performed on stage before. Just thinking about performing in front of so many people made him so nervous that he felt a gripping pain in his stomach.
“Come on, sing something for Daye!” Fu Liqun said, “Young Master Zhou, prepare some brocade headbands and some other stuff for this!”
Zhou Sheng, “You want to give him brocade headbands? What kind of era do you think we live in?! Sing one for us, host! Come on~ Roses! Rockets! Lamborghinis are waiting for you~!”
“Stop messing around!” Yu Hao went crazy, “What should I do aaaahhhhh!”
On New Year’s Eve, the three of them ate at a buffet. Zhou Sheng was extremely satisfied with the meal, “You can do it, just sing ba. Be more confident in yourself.”
The day after their final examinations ended would be the college’s anniversary. Before the Spring Festival this year, the college poached a superstar of the Psychologicy industry with a high salary. His name was Lin Xun, and he was preparing to move into the college. And next year would mark the start of the sprint of this third-tier college. Zhou Sheng, Yu Hao and Fu Liqun discussed it for half a day before they knew that Chen Yekai was the student that Lin Xun was most proud of.
When they connected him to this superstar Professor Lin -- the talent that the dean had personally poached over to oversee the college -- they realised it meant that Chen Yekai’s backer was no ordinary person. This was perhaps the reason why their grade’s counsellor and the Vice Principal weren’t willing to risk an acrimonious fall out with Chen Yekai.
“There are some people in your class who said that your case solely depended on your relationship with Chen Yekai.” Zhou Sheng said, “If he didn’t have a solid background, this matter definitely wouldn’t have been resolved.”
Yu Hao said, “Forget it, let others say what they want. Shi Ni also played a key role in this, didn’t she?”
“Do you guys know?” Fu Liqun poured beer for the two of them, “Huang Ting and the reporter that came the other day were both Chen Laoshi’s classmates.”
Yu Hao uttered an “oh” somewhat disappointedly, but Zhou Sheng said, “Un, it’s okay as long as everyone’s clear about it in their hearts.”
But why would such an outstanding person like Chen Yekai return to a third-tier college in Ying city to be a form teacher?
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Ellie.