Chapter 10

The Spring of Prince Syndrome


The curve of Tan Ruikang’s back felt full of security just like Yaoyuan’s grandfather’s did...


Translator(s): Kapsoura

Yaoyuan didn’t want to celebrate his birthday this year, when Zhao Guogang gave him three thousand yuan for him to go out with his friends, Yaoyuan said: “No need.”

No need? Zhao Guogang thought that Yaoyuan must’ve been possessed by somebody else, and said, flabbergasted: “You’re not celebrating?”

“I’m not celebrating.” Yaoyuan said into his practice books: “Don’t bother me.”

Zhao Guogang said: “This money is still for you, as a reward for your midterm exam ranking.”

Yaoyuan said dismissively: “Leave it there.”

“Xiao Yuan, you did the sixth question wrong.” Tan Ruikang shouted from the room across the hall.

“Oh—” Yaoyuan flipped through his books in boredom.

Zhao Guogang realized that Tan Ruikang really had quite an influence, although he didn’t know what secrets Yaoyuan had with Tan Ruikang, but the two children have maintained an almost harmonious competitiveness between them. Yaoyuan was surprisingly not jealous of Tan Ruikang’s good grades, as if he viewed the other as his actual gege.

Although sometimes Tan Ruikang still acted uncultured, he had already assimilated into Yaoyuan’s friend group, just like a new immigrant.

Tan Ruikang has also started using napkins instead of the crumply tissues he stuffed in his bag, and knew that when comparing answers with girls the loser had to buy the winner Four Seas milk candy.

Yaoyuan received a lot of things for his birthday, at least half the class bought him a gift. He had school on the day of, and so Yaoyuan took everyone who gave him a gift to Genroku’s conveyor belt sushi for a meal, almost booking out the whole store for about twenty people. It was Tan Ruikang’s first time eating sushi, and he looked at the sashimi in horror.

“You just… just eat it like that?” Tan Ruikang said: “It’s raw.”

Qi Huiyu stuck out his tongue and put a piece of sashimi in his mouth. Tan Ruikang’s face turned green.

Everyone roared with laughter. Zhang Zhen spread a thick layer of wasabi on the sashimi and put it in Tan Ruikang’s bowl, saying: “Try it.”

“Hey!” Yaoyuan said: “Don’t do that!”

Tan Ruikang had already swallowed it before he finished talking. Immediately he covered his mouth, and Yaoyuan rushed to say: “Spit it out! Wasabi’s really strong.”

Tan Ruikang was streaming both tears and snot, Zhang Zhen said: “Buddy, you’re too brave, you actually ate it.”

Everyone fell over laughing, Tan Ruikang voicelessly waved his hands, and it was almost ten whole minutes later before he drank his tea, tears and snot and all, and shook his head.

People started playing clap sevens, with the losers having to eat a wasabi roll as forfeit. Yaoyuan lost once and his tears were flowing freely afterwards, having been messed with until he was cursed with unspeakable suffering.

Tan Ruikang pointed at him and burst into laughter, and punched at him as he held him in his arms. 

That day Yaoyuan took stock of his presents after he got home: stuffed toys, figurines, stationery, CDs, snacks, it filled a whole bag to the brim. None of the gifts were cheap, but after looking through them they don’t seem as interesting. Dully, he stuffed most of them into a box.

The only one he liked was the Swatch Qi Huiyu gave him.

It was a pair of Milk Boy and Milk Girl couple’s watches, it cost a whole twelve hundred yuan. He’d seen them once when he was shopping with Qi Huiyu and had been tempted to buy one for him and Chi Xiaojun. Milk Boy + Milk Girl, how well matched.

But it turned out that the relationship only lasted less than half a month, although Qi Huiyu had still remembered that he wanted it, and so generously bought them both. He gifted the Milk Boy watch to Yaoyuan and kept the Milk Girl one for himself.

Qi Huiyu’s family wasn’t particularly wealthy, he only got thirty yuan each day for his daily expenses. Most of the time Yaoyuan paid for his meals, and Qi Huiyu bought Yaoyuan milk tea and drinks. 

The twelve hundred probably came from his red pocket money, for a middle schooler it was definitely a lot.

Yaoyuan was very touched when he received this gift, he and Qi Huiyu really hadn’t been deskmates for three years for nothing. He was the one who really understood Yaoyuan, and it was precisely because Qi Huiyu wasn’t rich that an expensive birthday present like this meant so much.

And Tan Ruikang? He didn’t give him a present, but Yaoyuan didn’t care, he was family anyway so it didn’t matter. No matter what it’d be his dad’s money they were spending.

“Xiao Yuan.” Tan Ruikang came over after his shower and said: “I have a birthday gift for you.”

Yaoyuan was in the middle of admiring his blue Milk Boy watch, the more he looked at it the more he liked it. He said: “No need.”

Tan Ruikang smiled: “There is a need, it’s a token of my affection.”

The corner of Yaoyuan’s mouth twitched, and he looked to see what he could possibly take out. But Tan Ruikang just handed him an envelope, so probably a card or something. Yaoyuan nodded and said: “Thank you.”

He didn’t open it in front of Tan Ruikang, what if there was something sentimental like “Dear didi, I wish you… I wish you… I wish you…” inside, that would be awkward.

Tan Ruikang went back to his room, Yaoyuan threw the envelope aside, and each of them began their own studying.

After ten, Tan Ruikang asked: “Xiao Yuan, did you see it?”

Yaoyuan: “.........”

“Not yet.” Yaoyuan said: “I’ll look at it now”

He mulled over his feelings and got ready to say something touching, opened the envelope, and pulled out a sheet of newspaper.

What is this? After spreading it out Yaoyuan found that it was an old, yellowed newspaper—Special Zone Daily.

Tan Ruikang: “This was what happened in this city the day you were born.”

It was only then that Yaoyuan understood, and Tan Ruikang said: “I went to the Special Zone Daily office and asked them to let me buy a copy, but one of Uncle’s friends is an editor and gave it to me for free.”

Yaoyuan said: “This is so thoughtful, thank you.”

Tan Ruikang said, smiling: “A lot of things happened that day, like the new building for the Bay Port, a new trade agreement was signed, and the welfare housing condition bill being passed.”

There was admiration shining in Yaoyuan’s eyes, he smiled and said: “Yeah, let me see, there’s also ads… it’s the international version, what a unique gift.”

Yaoyuan spent the whole night reading the newspaper from that day, and in the end carefully stashed it away. This was the most meaningful gift he’d gotten in his fifteen years.

The yellow leaves finished falling, it was almost winter, and the Sports Festival was almost here as well.

Because the workload is heavy for the third year of middle school they didn’t have to put too much effort into marching the formation, those who are too tall or too short aren’t allowed to participate in case they ruin the class image. Tan Ruikang was filtered out for being too tall, but Yaoyuan was neither too tall nor too short and so was the perfect standard height, even though he didn’t want to march in the Sports Festival formation at all.

If you thought about it, that kind of chanting and marching back and forth was truly too appalling a behaviour. Zhang Zhen, being Yaoyuan’s good friend, finessed a few strokes and got him off the list, instead he just needed to sign up for a competition. There were no classes during the Sports Festival, making it akin to giving the third years a break.

But there were still quite a few people who chose to remain in the classroom to self study. Qi Huiyu bought breakfast from McDonald’s for Yaoyuan, and after doing homework for a while, he asked: “Let’s go down to watch the competitions, we have to move our chairs. Do you also have a competition this afternoon?”

“Yeah.” Yaoyuan glanced at his watch and said: “I’ve got a sprint and a 400 metre relay.”

Qi Huiyu had high jump. The two of them moved their seats down to the track, found their class and settled down in the last row. Many of their classmates had even brought practice booklets with them, when it wasn’t their class competing they would lower their heads and do the problems.

“The race is in a minute.” Zhang Zhen came to inform them: “Go do some warm-up exercises. After Milk Boy finishes the 100 metre sprint, get ready for the relay. Qi Huiyu, you’re running the second leg, Milk Boy is running the third.”

“I’ll cheer you guys on,” Lin Zibo grinned.

“Who’s running the fourth leg?” Yaoyuan asked: “Come practice passing the baton.”

Qi Huiyu and Yaoyuan were old partners; from their first year of middle school all the way up to their third, they always ran the two middle legs of the relay, but unfortunately have never ranked even once. If you thought about the athletic capabilities of the top class it was perfectly normal to not rank, it was fine as long as they weren’t dead last.

“I’m running the fourth leg.” Tan Ruikang was a little nervous, wearing an athletic tank top and shorts with a large sign stuck to his back that read  “Third Year (Class 1).”

The athletic uniform was extremely revealing; who knows where he got that tank top and pair of shorts from, most likely from Zhao Guogang. Yaoyuan choked so hard he almost spat up blood, frantically saying, “You don’t have to take this so seriously!”

“I’m hurdling too.” Tan Ruikang smiled, waved at him and said: “Cheer me on.”

Yaoyuan realized  that people from other classes were looking at Tan Ruikang from afar and felt that he had truly lost all face, he was just too conspicuous. Tan Ruikang’s skin was a healthy bronze, making him appear slim yet toned; he was tall too, and handsome. Warming up by himself by the tracks, all the eyes were on him immediately.

“Okay, okay.” Yaoyuan practiced passing the baton back and forth a few times then shooed him over to the hurdles. Next to him, a girl from the neighbouring class grinned, “Your brother is stealing the show.”

Yaoyuan scoffed inwardly, and looked down to continue reading. The girl asked, “You’re not going to cheer him on?”

Yaoyuan tucked away his book, wanting to go yet not wanting to at the same time. Most people had already ran over to the hurdles; in the distance the sound of the starting pistol rang out with a bang, and a cacophony of voices erupted.

“Go—go!”

Since it had already started, Yaoyuan didn’t feel like bothering to go and spectate. Which place could Tan Ruikang get? He didn’t care one bit. But not going didn’t seem quite right either… it was better to go and give him some face.

Inside Yaoyuan’s heart, two little figures named “arrogance” and “manners” battled fiercely. He wanted to go, but he didn’t want to go. Finally, he got up lazily and made his way towards the race track to watch Tan Ruikang compete.

“Go—yeah—!” 

The area by the hurdling race course was already in chaos. Tan Ruikang barrelled past the finish line, setting everyone off into an uproar. Zhang Zhen rushed up to him to pat his head, and the rest of the class surrounded him in their midst.

“Nice one!” Zhang Zhen hollered. “You shook off second place by almost five metres!”

“Kangkang, you’re amazing!” some of the girls squealed.

Tan Ruikang grinned, looking all around him, still panting nonstop. He high-fived some of the classmates who came up to congratulate him, but when he noticed that Yaoyuan wasn’t among them, his face fell. 

Yaoyuan had walked halfway over when he realized the race had finished. A crowd of people had surrounded Tan Ruikang, congratulating him and putting him in the limelight. He then turned around and headed back, a bored expression on his face.

Tan Ruikang slowly made his way back to their class, Yaoyuan had his head down and his earbuds in reading a book. Tan Ruikang stood for a while before handing him a bottle of water. 

A girl from the neighbouring class had bought the water for him, but athletes were given water by the class as well so Tan Ruikang had gotten two, giving the other one to Yaoyuan. 

Yaoyuan took it from him, screwed the lid off, and took a sip without taking off his earbuds, so Tan Ruikang just settled down beside him silently.

A short while later, it was Qi Huiyu’s turn to high jump, and Yaoyuan went to cheer him on. He touched the bar several times and placed seventh, and the two of them returned talking and laughing with each other. Then Yaoyuan got ready for the hundred metre sprint. 

”Yaoyuan! Good luck!” Tan Ruikang yelled loudly.

The surrounding people chuckled, and Yaoyuan got into a runner’s lunge.

How annoying, Yaoyuan thought to himself. Originally he had planned to just casually and elegantly finish the race, but now that Tan Ruikang had come he had no choice, he’d have to actually put in effort. Just as he was getting ready, he glimpsed someone in the distance out of the corner of his eye.

Zhao Guogang was chatting with his homeroom teacher, and also waving to his son.

When did he get here! Yaoyuan clearly remembered not telling him about the school Sports Festival!

With a bang, the starting pistol went off, and Yaoyuan reflexively took off.

“Go! Go!”

Yaoyuan’s mind was completely blank, Zhao Guogang came to watch the race?! His heart was beating wildly and he spared no effort, running as quickly as he could.

“Xiao Yuan! Go!” Tan Ruikang hollered.

Everyone in the entire class shouted madly along with Tan Ruikang “Xiao Yuan—Go—Xiao Yuan—Go—”

Yaoyuan’s heart almost leapt out of his throat, and in an instant he dashed past the finish line, panting as he fell over with a stagger. Usually, he smoked every day, his body wasn’t in the same shape as it was during the first and second years of middle school. He hoped the results wouldn’t be too bad.

“Amazing!” Tan Ruikang yelled. “Nice one!”

Tan Ruikang pulled him up and Yaoyuan asked: “What place?”

“Fourth!” Zhang Zhen came to clap him on the back, laughing, “You really outdid yourself! This time, our class can rank!”

Yaoyuan let out a breath. They were the last group, not ending up dead last was already pretty good, let alone placing fourth?!

Tan Ruikang’s expression was over the moon, looking even happier than when he himself had won first place. The two of them walked back to their class, Yaoyuan’s neck flushed crimson and his entire body drenched in sweat.

Zhao Guogang said: “Not a bad performance, Xiao Yuan runs that fast? Never heard you mention that before.”

Yaoyuan glared at him in annoyance while the classmates surrounding them excitedly discussed Milk Dad’s arrival.

Quite a few other parents had also come today, the majority of them on the bleachers on the other side. Zhao Guogang had found out last night that both Tan Ruikang and Yaoyuan were racing, and so came specifically just to watch them.

“Your dad is so handsome,” a girl in front of them turned her head to say.

Yaoyuan hummed in agreement, he also thought that his dad was very handsome. Zhao Guogang had a height of just over 180 cm, and before leaving his old job at Ansteel he was even on the factory basketball team. He was only 39 this year, and although he drank regularly, he still cut a pretty good figure.

Zhao Guogang, with his expensive suit fitted naturally to his body, his leather shoes shined an almost metallic sheen, and his male model physique gave off the vibe of a mature, sexy, successful businessman.

He had worn a pair of shades to come watch the race, and sitting in the last row chatting with his two kids, his suaveness immediately caused a majority of the girls from two whole classes to topple over. Everyone was turning to look at him, and several girls even secretly took photos on their cameras. 

“Water?” Yaoyuan went to grab a bottle for Zhao Guogang to drink.

“When did Uncle get here?” Tan Ruikang smiled.

Zhao Guogang said: “When the little speedster won the gold medal for the 100-metre hurdles.”

Tan Ruikang burst into laughter. Yaoyuan didn’t feel too happy about that, this was his dad, not Tan Ruikang’s. Zhao Guogang said: “I already knew that Ruikang ran fast, but how come Xiao Yuan is this fast as well, I’ve really underestimated you.”

Yaoyuan lazily replied: “I’ve always been like that.”

“Hello, uncle.” Qi Huiyu came to greet Zhao Guogang, and returned the watch he had been holding onto for Yaoyuan. Zhao Guogang smiled and greeted each of Yaoyuan’s friends, saying: “Xiao Yuan really likes the watch you gave him. I’ll help watch over your clothes, the relay’s about to start, right?

Yaoyuan’s face was a little red. Several people handed their things over to Zhao Guogang. The main act was about to begin, all six third year classes lining up in each of the track lanes to run. Yaoyuan felt extremely nervous.

All the third years left their seats to go down to the field to watch. This was an extremely critical moment, every year, the last relay was the most spectacular and the one that brought out the most class spirit. At times like this, every class seemed to be at its most unified, with a hot-blooded excitement.

The megaphone on the stage: “It is now time for the third years’ 400 metre relay. Going from the outside to the inside, the lineup is, Class 1, Class 2…”

Yaoyuan took a deep breath, Zhao Guogang flashed him a thumbs up from off the track, asserting confidently: “Baobao, good luck, friendship first, competition second. We don’t care about meaningless rankings, just do your best.”

Several people began hooting with laughter, joining in together: “Baobao! Baobao!”

Yaoyuan’s whole face flushed crimson, he wanted to find a hole in the ground and crawl into it. But he and Tan Ruikang were 100 metres apart, and yet Zhao Guogang didn’t pay attention to Tan Ruikang, instead he was standing by his side to cheer him on. This made him feel a little bit more at peace in his mind.

With a bang, the starting pistol went off.

“Go—Go—” The entire field went crazy.

The first leg began, everyone began shouting, and the racers dashed from the starting line across the tracks towards the other end.

“Currently in the lead is Third Year Class 5…”

“Qi Huiyu from Class 1 received the baton!” Lin Zibo’s voice sounded through the broadcast, shouting excitedly: “Go!”

The students laughed uproariously, Lin Zibo took control of the mic and shouted: “Class 6 is also doing very well…”

Qi Huiyu flew towards Yaoyuan, Yaoyuan flipped his hand behind his back, and Qi Huiyu clapped the baton into it. Lin Zibo shouted: “They passed it! They passed it!”

The girls squealed: “Passed a kiss—

Yaoyuan caught the baton, then shot off like an arrow. Their teamwork was perfect, and it absolutely stole the show. 

The six classes were all running extremely fast, each changeover from the second to the third leg had gone smoothly. Yaoyuan sprinted with all his might, and Zhao Guogang shouted: “Go! Xiao Yuan, go!”

When Qi Huiyu passed him the baton, they were already lagging behind. Yaoyuan exhausted his greatest effort and passed the baton to the last runner when a stumble made him fall over, draining all his energy and twisting his left foot. Tan Ruikang received the baton!

“Currently leading is Third Year Class 3, Tan Ruikang is catching up! He’s too fast!” Lin Zibo was already overly excited, shouting incoherently.

“Damn!” Yaoyuan raised his head to look at the track, Tan Ruikang really was too fast, the entirety of Class 1 shouting as if they had lost their minds. Tan Ruikang passed two others in quick succession, making up for their lag by storming into the top three, then immediately overtaking another!

“Go! Go!” Yaoyuan shouted, stumbling a few steps forward. Zhao Guogang also came over, the two of them stepping onto the field. Within these few seconds, Tan Ruikang passed another runner again!

“Class 1 is going to win first place!” Lin Zibo yelled into the megaphone: “Go, Tan Ruikang!”

No sooner said than done, Tan Ruikang and another student ran past the finish line at the same time, and everyone else also rushed over.

“This is too outrageous! How dirty!” A girl cried indignantly: “Isn’t that the Study Representative from Class 1? How can he steal the mic?”

Yaoyuan said: “Which place did we get? Are we in the top three?”

Yaoyuan squeezed his way through, clamorous people were everywhere, Tan Ruikang smiled as he panted, unable to even speak. Yaoyuan nervously yelled: “What place! Zhang Zhen! What place!”

From the midst of the crowd, Zhang Zhen raised his index finger. Everyone roared, Yaoyuan rushed up to Tan Ruikang in excitement, squeezing him in a tight embrace, and shouted: “You’re too good—!”

Tan Ruikang was elated, shouting: “You passed the baton well! Everyone deserves credit!”

The crowd dispersed, the middle school division’s competitions ended, and the high school division’s began. Yaoyuan limped back, and Tan Ruikang’s face darkened, asking: “Xiao Yuan, you twisted your ankle?”

“We got first!” Qi Huiyu yelled as he rushed over, hugging Yaoyuan, then Tan Ruikang, all of Third Year Class 1 screaming and laughing.

Yaoyuan smiled: “It’s okay, it only twisted a little bit, where’s my dad?”

Zhao Guogang had already gone back to his company. Yaoyuan put on his watch, sat down in his seat and drank some water. The others were still discussing the race, for the first time in their three years of middle school, they had finally won first place.

“No evening self-study tonight, let’s go to eat and celebrate!” Zhang Zhen came over, smiling as he said: “There’s prize money too.”

Yaoyuan whistled lowly, the whole class was still immersed in the excitement from moments before. The evening sun disappeared beyond the western horizon, the high school division’s relay ended, and the field bursted into song for the closing ceremony.

Yaoyuan got to his feet and stumbled again, his ankle was killing him, so he could only sit back down. Zhang Zhen brought some people over to take the chairs back to the classroom, and Tan Ruikang asked: “What’s wrong?”

Yaoyuan said: “I just twisted it a bit, it’s nothing.”

He hadn’t really felt it right after the relay, but after half an hour, it was painfully swollen. Yaoyuan took off his sneakers, the area around his ankle had swollen into a large lump.

Tan Ruikang knelt down to look at it for him, and Yaoyuan couldn’t help but scream: “Don’t touch it! That hurts!”

Zhang Zhen said: “Get up and move around a bit, see if you can stand up?”

Yaoyuan slung one arm around Tan Ruikang’s shoulder, and could only stand on one foot. Tan Ruikang said: “Wait here for a bit, after I bring the chairs back I’ll carry you.”

Yaoyuan immediately said: “Don’t! I can walk back by myself!”

It’d be too embarrassing, the closing ceremony wasn’t over yet; he’d rather straight up die than let Tan Ruikang carry him across the field in front of everybody.

Tan Ruikang and Zhang Zhen carried the chairs back up. Yaoyuan tested it out a few times, he could walk, so he walked and took a break every few steps, going along the edge of the field to go up and pack up his backpack.

“Why didn’t you listen?!” Tan Ruikang panicked when he came down the stairs, eyebrows knotted together.

Yaoyuan thought inwardly, who are you, acting even more like a dad than my dad, and outwardly replied: “Ugh, don’t worry, it’s nothing.”

Tan Ruikang crouched down to look at his ankle, then simply scooped him up in his arms, and Yaoyuan yelled: “Don’t—”

Zhang Zhen cackled loudly from behind them, and Yaoyuan was carried bridal style all the way back to his seat in the classroom. Tan Ruikang said: “Don’t walk anymore, you twisted it really badly.”

Yaoyuan could only stay in the classroom and listen to music, taking out a practice booklet to do some questions and resting for a bit after having sweated all day. Entirely free of worries after the race, he didn’t want to study at all, he just felt extremely relaxed. If only he could go have a smoke and chat with his fellow delinquents, it would be perfect. 

After the closing ceremony ended his classmates came back to pack up their things. Qi Huiyu bent down to look at Yaoyuan’s foot, saying: “I’ll take you home on my bike? You need to apply some ointment.”

“Do you have to go to the hospital?” another classmate asked, worried.

Zhang Zhen, used to injuries from playing basketball, said: “It’s fine, just go home and spray on some Yunnan Baiyao, this happens all the time.”

Yaoyuan’s ankle was becoming increasingly painful, and Qi Huiyu said: “I’ve got some Huang Dao Yi wood lock oil at home, I can give it to you later. Ask your ge to massage it on for you, after three days you’ll be completely healed. It’s what my mom always does when she twists something.”

Yaoyuan couldn’t be any more embarrassed, and said: “It’s not a big deal! Don’t be so worried!”

Everyone came to offer their advice; while they were discussing, everybody who should’ve left had left, and the rest were getting ready to go eat in celebration. Zhang Zhen’s high school first-year girlfriend poked her head in from outside and said: “Baobao, your dad is so handsome.”

Everyone laughed so hard their stomachs hurt, Yaoyuan said, angrily: “Go back and tell the people from your class, stop being so smitten with my dad!”

With that, everyone laughed even harder. Tan Ruikang, returning after changing into his uniform, said: “I’ll take Xiao Yuan back, you guys go and eat, we won’t come with.”

They discussed it for a moment, and Zhang Zhen said: “We can’t let you do that.”

Yaoyuan said: “Jiji can take me back on his bike, you guys can go eat.”

“We’ll go together, we can just call a cab and go home.” Tan Ruikang said: “You guys go.”

Yaoyuan said, expressionlessly: “You’re the star today, how can you miss the celebratory feast?”

“Hey.” Tan Ruikang smiled: “What nonsense is that, why do you think I fought so hard to win first place?”

Yaoyuan: “?”

He suddenly felt that there was an ineffable implication behind Tan Ruikang’s words, something warm and endlessly tolerant just like Zhao Guogang. But he wasn’t able to understand the meaning in Tan Ruikang’s words, and didn’t ask either.

Qi Huiyu was back, and after they finished discussing, Zhang Zhen took seven people to go eat dinner. Yaoyuan gave Zhang Zhen 200 yuan to cover dinner in case they didn’t have enough, and then sent Qi Huiyu to eat with them.

The group dispersed; Tan Ruikang slung a satchel over each shoulder, and bent down with his back facing Yaoyuan.

Yaoyuan clung on, climbing onto Tan Ruikang’s back and saying: “Are you good.”

Tan Ruikang smiled: “It’s nothing, I used to carry you like this all the time when we were little.”

Yaoyuan: “That was such a long time ago, and you’re still bringing it up.”

Tan Ruikang: “Close the door and lock up.”

Carrying Yaoyuan on his back, Tan Ruikang locked the front and back doors of the classroom and carried him all the way downstairs. Most of the people were gone; the staff were cleaning up the school and the setting sun had dyed the basketball court red, the dying glow splendid and beautiful. The curve of Tan Ruikang’s back felt full of security just like Yaoyuan’s grandfather’s did; and his uniform suit jacket smelled nice, the smell of a boy.

“What did you mean just now?” Yaoyuan remembered, and asked Tan Ruikang: “Why did you fight so hard to win first place?”

Carrying him, Tan Ruikang walked out of the neighborhood road just outside the school. The paths were covered in crisp, fallen leaves, dyed a fiery red by the setting sun.

There was a smile in Tan Ruikang’s words; he said, matter-of-factly: “I wanted to make you happy. Once they give out the prize money, ge will buy you things.”


This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Kapsoura.

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