But if he went to a boarding school now, he’d be apart from him for a whole seven years.
Throughout New Year’s, Yaoyuan continuously thought about this matter. But up until school started, Zhao Guogang never called that number again at home. Everyday he would look through Zhao Guogang’s bag while he was in the shower, checking his cell phone and other various things.
There were no abnormalities, and Yaoyuan began gradually relaxing. But then one day, he got caught red-handed by Tan Ruikang right after he finished looking through Zhao Guogang’s stuff.
Tan Ruikang: “Xiao Yuan, you…”
Tan Ruikang furrowed his brows and said: “What were you doing?”
Yaoyuan thought, oh no, what if Tan Ruikang thought that he was stealing from Zhao Guogang, would that lead to unnecessary trouble? He couldn’t hide something like this from him, he needed to explain it clearly, maybe he’d even gain an ally. He immediately pulled Tan Ruikang along, and said: “Listen to me, come.”
Yaoyuan dragged him into Tan Ruikang’s room, randomly chose two practice booklets and stuffed one into Tan Ruikang’s hands, kept the other one for himself, and told him the whole story in a small voice.
Tan Ruikang became increasingly bewildered. He hadn’t known why Yaoyuan was giving him a practice booklet, and the details of what Yaoyuan said next made his expression even more complicated.
“So I need to get to the bottom of this.” Yaoyuan said: “Who knows which woman is trying to swindle him for money…”
“Wait.” Tan Ruikang said anxiously: “Xiao Yuan, listen to me, you can’t do this to Uncle, do you understand!”
Yaoyuan: “What! Even if someone likes him it’s definitely not genuine, it’s all for his money!”
The bedroom door suddenly opened, and Zhao Guogang said: “Xiao Yuan? You’re in here?”
Yaoyuan furrowed his brows: “What are you doing! Can you knock?”
Tan Ruikang jumped, and right when he was about to say something Yaoyuan lowered his head and pretended to study using the practice booklet he had prepared. He said to Tan Ruikang: “What did you choose for number seven.”
Tan Ruikang took a look, and said on reflex: “D.” At the same time, he secretly thought, so it turns out that the practice booklets were a pretense! Yaoyuan really was a sage, so smart!
Zhao Guogang didn’t even realize that one of them had a literature booklet and the other had an English one, and merely nodded and closed the door on his way out, not daring to bother them. As soon as the door shut Yaoyuan threw away his practice booklet, and said quietly to Tan Ruikang: “Do you understand yet!”
“No, no.” Tan Ruikang said: “Xiao Yuan, listen to me.”
Yaoyuan furrowed his brows slightly. Tan Ruikang thought for a long time, then said seriously: “Xiao Yuan, when I was living with my dad before, I really wanted him to marry again.”
“What are you talking about?!” Yaoyuan almost couldn’t believe his own ears.
Tan Ruikang said: “My dad was all alone, there was nobody willing to marry him. I often thought about finding a partner for him, but unfortunately we were poor, and he had me, an oil pitcher to drag along. Plus there were grandparents we needed to take care of, so nobody was willing. Think about it, fathers are men too, Xiao Yuan. He needs to have his own life, otherwise who’ll take care of him when he’s old?”
Tan Ruikang said: “People in the past are in the past, we need to look forward.”
Yaoyuan stood up, but couldn’t think of anything to say for a long time. Right when he was about to leave, he couldn’t help himself from saying: “I don’t know what you think, but that’s my dad, I’ll take care of him! My mom told me to take care of him forever! That’s that!”
Tan Ruikang got up and grabbed Xiao Yuan, saying: “Xiao Yuan, think clearly, don’t be impulsive…”
Yaoyuan pushed Tan Ruikang off, he was about to explode from anger, he absolutely couldn’t see things from Tan Ruikang’s viewpoint. He angrily went back to his room and locked his door.
“Xiao Yuan!” Tan Ruikang followed him out, Zhao Guogang came out of his room to ask: “What happened? You brothers fought?”
Tan Ruikang rushed to say it was nothing, then returned to his room.
Yaoyuan’s heart was full of grief and anger and had nowhere to vent it, he just wanted to find something to smash. In the end he sighed, then sat down to call a friend.
Qi Huiyu picked up the phone, and lazily said: “Come sleepover at my house tonight?”
Yaoyuan had just wanted to talk to someone, but hearing this he did kind of want to go to Qi Huiyu’s house. He said: “Come pick me up, get Zhang Zhen too, how about we go to Lychee Park to get sodas first?”
School was starting in a few days. A pair of bikes leaned against the bottom of the pedestrian bridge, Zhang Zhen had just come from playing basketball. Qi Huiyu, Yaoyuan, and Zhang Zhen climbed up the bridge under the dim glow of night, sitting and chatting while drinking Coke on one side of the bridge.
“Got a dollar? Give him a dollar.” Yaoyuan had discovered a beggar not too far off.
Qi Huiyu tossed a coin out. It flashed in the light as it fell into the beggar’s bowl on a straw mat in the distance, clattering when it landed.
Qi Huiyu and Zhang Zhen’s families were a bit similar to Yaoyuan’s; Qi Huiyu’s father had caught onto the tail ends of the Reforms and Openness, taking the plunge to do business in the city, picking up a mistress as soon as he earned a bit of money and divorcing Qi Huiyu’s mother. Before, he’d just pay child support every month as an arrangement with the pair of mother and son while he indulged in his life of debauchery and hedonism.
Yaoyuan knew that the type of company Qi Huiyu’s father had started was a shell company, the kind that was started at the beginning of the Reforms when one could just register a company, take out a loan to swindle some money and look for partnerships with absolutely no actual business to speak of. During the financial crisis of ‘97 he became bankrupt along with the rest of the market and could no longer pay the child support fees, and ran off without a trace. Only Qi Huiyu’s accountant mother was left to take care of him.
Zhang Zhen’s father on the other hand, liked to play mahjong and gamble. When he was younger there was often domestic violence at home, whenever his father lost money he would yell and hit his mother and refuse to speak to him for days. If he won money he’d give Zhang Zhen a couple hundred, if he lost it was common of him to not give him a penny of living expenses for more than half a month.
Zhang Zhen’s money comes and goes, and usually he didn’t have the courage to ask his mom for more. In addition, he had a girlfriend he needed to spend money on, so most of the time if he was short on money he borrowed from Yaoyuan, whom he never paid back. Yaoyuan alone provided for his entire gang of friends.
Qi Huiyu listened to Yaoyuan’s story, and said: “Did your ge get his head stuck in a door or something.”
“That’s what I thought too,” Yaoyuan said, grudgingly.
Zhang Zhen said: “Kangkang has a point too, you can’t say that.”
Qi Huiyu comforted him: “Maybe your dad just got a text, saw that it was an unknown number, called them to ask, realized that it was an old friend and had a chat with them. What are you so on edge for?”
Yaoyuan was silent, drinking his soda with his head down. Zhang Zhen then said: “Even if your dad marries again… sigh, it’s hard to say. The sky has to rain, mom has to remarry, there’s lots of things in this world that you can’t do anything about.”
Zhang Zhen didn’t want to say too much, but Qi Huiyu said: “What’s hard to say, would you be willing? Easy for you to say, if it were me I definitely wouldn’t be willing. My mom said, when she got divorced from my dad, she definitely wouldn’t have let my dad take me. He was going to marry a new stepmom, so he’d definitely have to listen to that woman. No matter how close you are to your son he could never measure up to your wife, every night in bed your stepmom could be saying something about you to your dad, see if you’ll be able to bear it then…”
Zhang Zhen gave Qi Huiyu a look, hinting at him to stop talking, but Yaoyuan said: “It’s okay, keep going.”
Qi Huiyu said: “Yaoyuan, if your dad gets a stepmom for you, you can come live with me, I’ll take care of you. My daily living expenses would be enough for us to eat at the cafeteria…”
Yaoyuan found that funny but felt touched at the same time: “Can you be more serious?”
Zhang Zhen said: “Yaoyuan’s dad won’t listen to a stepmom, don’t say that.”
Qi Huiyu said: “Maybe he won’t listen the first time, what about the second time? What about the times after that? What if she bad-mouths you everyday? A molehill will turn into a mountain. Yaoyuan’s family has money, she definitely has to complain until his dad doesn’t like him anymore, then she’ll get all the money in the future… to put it bluntly, if your dad gets sick and dies, the second spouse will definitely inherit everything. After taking her half of the inheritance, only then would the rest be split among the sons.”
Yaoyuan nodded his head.
Qi Huiyu thought some more, and said: “He treats you as his only son now, but what about when your stepmom gives birth to another one?”
Yaoyuan grunted in agreement, then thought that if Zhao Guogang had two sons, he’d definitely spoil the younger one. Children are so cute, they’re soft and obedient, they’ll call him “daddy” and ask to be spoiled… he also knew that he had a bad temper, if Zhao Guogang had an obedient little kid, Yaoyuan would appear insignificant. Plus, after his dad got remarried, he would be one family with his stepmom, what is he compared to that?
Zhang Zhen sighed, and said: “When I was little and my parents fought, my mom also said that she wouldn’t let me go with my dad. Divorce is divorce, but you need to clearly separate your finances. To let a woman she didn’t know come live in her house, sleep with her man, spend her money, sleep in her bed, and discipline her son… she goes crazy just thinking about it. She wouldn’t let me go with a stepmom, and didn’t want to become a stepmother herself. To be honest, just because you’re kind doesn’t mean you’ll get along with their kids, a mother’s nature will always be to protect her own children, it’s very hard to satisfy both sides.”
Those words immediately struck Yaoyuan’s weak spot. Yaoyuan said: “Yup.”
There were already tears spinning in his eyes. Watching the unending flow of traffic under the bridge, the criss-crossing round headlights morphed into endless hoops through his tears.
In the early evening when the lights are first lit, three teenagers sat by the street under the flickering neon. Nobody spoke, Qi Huiyu had one arm around Yaoyuan’s shoulders, and a phone began ringing.
Qi Huiyu took the cell phone that Yaoyuan had gifted him and pressed the call button, it was Tan Ruikang on the other side.
“Your dad said you have to go home and sleep.” Qi Huiyu said, annoyed: “Your ge is coming to pick you up.”
“I’ll go back then.” Yaoyuan took a deep breath and stretched. The three of them finished smoking, Yaoyuan crumpled the box into a ball, and threw it somewhere far away.
Tan Ruikang came, and said: “Xiao Yuan, let’s go home.”
Yaoyuan bade his friends goodbye. Qi Huiyu and Zhang Zhen walked their bikes with them until they called a cab, and when Yaoyuan got home he merely took a shower and went to bed without saying anything.
After turning out the lights, Yaoyuan stayed on the phone with Qi Huiyu under the covers until they were both yawning endlessly. After hanging up and preparing to go to sleep, he saw his phone begin blinking with a new message:
【Xiao Yuan, think about what I said. You have to grow up someday and face all your problems yourself.】
The sender was Tan Ruikang.
Yaoyuan thought, what a nutjob, they really weren’t people from the same world.
The new semester began, it was the last semester of the third year of middle school, and everyone was nervous. The homeroom teacher used to say everyday that they should “not shed a tear until they see the coffin,” and now the Grade Leader has finally come carrying the huge coffin—the direct recommendations quotas.
“Getting a direct recommendation to your home school is a form of honour!” The Grade Leader said with grandeur in the weekly assembly after the semester began: “It’s a recognition of your abilities, high schools don’t accept everybody…”
The Grade Leader repeatedly stirred up fervor for the zhongkao, immediately making everyone nervous, as if they were about to face a formidable enemy. For several days in a row, nobody left their seats after the end of class, all engrossed in their exercise booklets and self-studying, as if utilizing these couple of minutes would guarantee a good grade on the exams.
Yaoyuan had never been too concerned, since a direct recommendation to his home high school was guaranteed. That thing with Zhao Guogang had also passed, and having discovered no indication of anything fishy, he relaxed and began studying.
Tan Ruikang’s weakness in English finally revealed itself completely, he didn’t have a natural aptitude for languages. Last semester, he was only able to maintain an average of 120 through mindless memorizing, occasionally getting a high score by drawing on some of the excess glory from Yaoyuan’s practice problems.
Yaoyuan had excellent study habits, every time he finished a reading comprehension question he would go back to annotate the original text, so Tan Ruikang would wait until he finished and then cover up his answers and redo the questions himself, which made them much clearer. However, once the semester began, the six subjects of literature, math, English, chemistry, physics, and politics all bore down together, with the number of exams practically smothering the skies and covering the earth. Even Yaoyuan couldn’t really keep up, and definitely didn’t have any more time to studiously analyze them line by line.
Each exam passed like a flowing river, filling out page after page like a robot, most of the time the teachers didn’t even have time to lecture. This time, Tan Ruikang was truly suffering, English was like the heavenly tomes to him. He couldn’t understand the reasons that foreigners thought one way or another, and after comparing his answers with Yaoyuan he always got so many questions wrong that he just wanted to throw his head up and cry out to the sky.
Several teachers had even gotten into fights at work over who would lead the evening self-study session; apparently the new politics teacher even cried about it for a long time afterwards in secret.
On the last test before the regional mock zhongkao, Tan Ruikang only got three of the four reading comprehension questions correct and 15 points on his essay, and he almost gave up all hope.
Tan Ruikang: “Xiao Yuan, how exactly do you study for English, why am I so bad at it?”
Yaoyuan said: “You have to watch more English shows, speak English more often, use their colloquialisms, try using their language to express your own thoughts and think in English.”
Tan Ruikang: “?”
Yaoyuan asked: “What language do you think in when you think about the questions?”
Tan Ruikang looked at him blankly.
Yaoyuan said: “Let me put it this way, when you think about the questions, do you use standard Mandarin or vernacular? When I talk about the questions with my friends, I use Cantonese to think about the questions, what about you? What language do you think in?”
Tan Ruikang: “Hunan dialect.”
Yaoyuan said: “You need to think in English. When you’re doing a question, don’t translate it from English to Chinese first…. Oh, I see, you translate the English into Hunan dialect first, then answer the question in Hunan dialect, then you retranslate the Hu… Hunan dialect back into English as your answer, oh my god, hahahaha—”
Yaoyuan couldn’t help but almost laugh himself silly.
“When you’re thinking about a question, it’s not ‘为什么,’ it’s ‘why,’ then think about all the next steps in English in your mind,” Yaoyuan said.
Tan Ruikang seemed to have understood a little, but not completely.
Yaoyuan said enigmatically: “This is the secret key to learning English well, think in English. Don’t tell anyone else.”
The regional mock zhongkao began, everyone’s seats got scrambled up; and just like how it would be during the real exam, everyone was separated into many different classes. Tan Ruikang once again began endlessly running to the washroom.
The worst thing was that the tape recorder for their exam room was horrible, as it played, it started eating up the tape. When the listening comprehension section began, there was a full five minutes of dead silence. As the teacher proctoring the exam tore out a large pile of messy ribbons from the recorder and used a 2B pencil to begin rewinding the magnetic tape, Tan Ruikang even started considering death.
In the end, they refused to replay the tape, so he could only resign himself to being unlucky.
This time, the standard scores were used in the regional rankings, with 900 being the full score. Tan Ruikang only got 540 points in English.
When the rankings came out, everyone became anxious, seeing as it concerned direct recommendations to high school. On the day the rankings came out, the entire class was shocked.
The English section of the mock exam didn’t have an essay portion, and Yaoyuan was able to take first place in the whole district with a full score of 150. Including the foreign language schools, only twelve people got a full score out of all nine middle schools, and Yaoyuan was one of them.
On the other hand, Tan Ruikang had gotten a perfect score in math. One humanities and one STEM, two of the mock exam’s frontrunners were in this class.
After the final rankings came out, Yaoyuan placed top five in the entire grade while Tan Ruikang, dragged down by English, dropped to seventeenth place.
Both of them had a direct recommendation in the bag, but now the problem became whether or not they wanted to go to high school at their home school.
Each class had 17 slots for direct recommendation. Lin Zibo and Qi Huiyu had also gotten slots, and while Zhang Zhen had gotten a direct recommendation for his athletics, he wasn’t placed in the same class as them.
Based on Yaoyuan and Tan Ruikang’s abilities, as long as nothing went wrong on their zhongkao, it was entirely possible to go to an even better high school. The two of them each received a form, and on the way home, Qi Huiyu urged him on: “Don’t go to Sanzhong, try for Yizhong.”
Yaoyuan said: “You don’t want direct admission?”
Qi Huiyu said: “My mom told me not to stay at Sanzhong. You know, the Grade Leader wants us to stay in order to get into Tsinghua or Peking later. I’ve heard that if even one student gets into Peking, all the teachers who taught them will receive ten grand each as a reward and even get to go on holiday to Europe.”
Yaoyuan said: “Sanzhong is actually about the same as Yizhong, just a tiny bit worse. The situation there isn’t that much better, plus we’d have to live in the dorms.”
Qi Huiyu said: “Last year, a bunch of their students got into Peking. Only one from Sanzhong gets in per year, sometimes even none.”
Yaoyuan said: “But do you think you’ll be one of those who get in?”
Qi Huiyu shrugged his shoulders, and asked Tan Ruikang: “What about you?”
Tan Ruikang said: “I’m going to go back and ask for Uncle’s opinion.”
Qi Huiyu threw an arm around Yaoyuan’s shoulder, and said: “Go for Yizhong, my mom is dead set on me going there, a little better is still better.”
Yaoyuan was at his wit’s end, he didn’t want to go to Yizhong. Yizhong was too far, it was a forty-five minute car ride, plus he was unfamiliar with the environment there. Although they had the most qualified teachers in the whole city, it wasn’t that much better than Sanzhong.
All the students at Yizhong were hardworking and diligent students, most of them were like Tan Ruikang and climbed their way up on their own. It wasn’t like Sanzhong, where most people had good family backgrounds and knew how to have fun and study at the same time.
Plus, it was a confined boarding-style school, you couldn’t just be a day student. If he went to Yizhong, Zhao Guogang would definitely make him dorm with Tan Ruikang, and if he got hungry in the middle of the night and wanted a snack he’d have to flip over a wall.
Most importantly, he didn’t want to leave Zhao Guogang—although his dad came back very late each day, but they could still see each other and talk for a bit, ask him about his studies… even just being able to say a few words to his dad, knowing he was sleeping in the room next to his, and being able to say “Dad, we’re off to school,” in the mornings made Yaoyuan feel much more at ease.
To summarize, Yaoyuan didn’t want to go.
But he also loathed to part with Qi Huiyu. He said: “Stay at Sanzhong, why would you go so far away.”
Qi Huiyu said: “I don’t have a choice, I have to listen to my mom. I’m her only son, she’s counting on me.”
Yaoyuan said: “I’ll think about it.”
Qi Huiyu said: “Let’s go together, Xiao Yuan, you said once that we’ll be friends forever.”
Yaoyuan said: “Okay, I get it, don’t rush me.”
Qi Huiyu looked at Yaoyuan in disappointment at the intersection. He said: “Zhao Yaoyuan!”
Yaoyuan didn’t reply, standing by the road and waiting for the bus. Tan Ruikang was squatting down like a dashing migrant worker, if you looked closely he had a special type of handsome quality to him. He was starting to gain face for Yaoyuan, when the two brothers were out on the street they always drew many appreciative glances. There was a clean sense of youthful beauty between their laughing and chatting.
Tan Ruikang smoothed out his sleeve and said: “Xiao Yuan.”
“Hm?” Yaoyuan glanced at him.
Tan Ruikang said: “Listen to Uncle, we’ll go to whatever school he tells us to, he has the most experience.”
Is there a point in asking? Yaoyuan knew that Zhao Guogang would definitely tell them to go to Yizhong. There were a lot of things that Yaoyuan was well aware of, but just wasn’t willing to think about. Qi Huiyu had a very good point, even a little better is still better. The smartest people would go to Yizhong.
And yet, after they got home, Zhao Guogang merely glanced at the form and said Got it, then told them to continue studying.
Yaoyuan had pretty much no desire to keep studying, if he chose direct admission then summer vacation would start now, and he could chill until high school started in September. Spring had arrived, and he couldn’t help but feel a little restless. He went to use the extension phone to call Lin Zibo, and when he picked up he heard Zhao Guogang on the other end talking to a friend from the Education Bureau about his direct admission.
A man’s voice: “Direct admission is fine too, Wang Guangcheng is doing a pretty good job with Sanzhong these last couple of years. Sanzhong’s teaching quality is enough, this year they even hired two top quality teachers, the rest comes down to the supply of students…”
Zhao Guogang: “Baobao, hang up the phone.”
Yaoyuan hung up the phone in boredom, then switched to his cell phone.
Lin Zibo’s grandpa was hard of hearing, and only handed over the phone after several rounds of shouting back and forth.
“I…” Lin Zibo said: “I’m probably going to go for direct admission, my dad wants me to do direct admission, it can save some tuition. Jiji wants to try for Yizhong, right? You’re going with him?”
Yaoyuan um-ed for a moment absentmindedly, said he hadn't thought about it, hung up, then went to ask another classmate he was close to. Most people were choosing direct admission.
“Xiao Yuan, Ruikang.” Zhao Guogang put down the phone, then spread out two direct admission forms on the dining table.
Yaoyuan was a little nervous, this was the first time he was participating in making an important life decision.
“Your ge said he didn’t mind, it’s mostly up to you.” Zhao Guogang muttered to himself for a bit, then took the pen that Tan Ruikang handed him and signed at the bottom without indicating whether they would be choosing direct admission or not. He said to his son: “Ask yourself first, do you want to try for Yizhong or get directly admitted to your home school?”
Yaoyuan hemmed and hawed: “It doesn’t matter to me either.”
Zhao Guogang said: “Be honest.”
Yaoyuan was really having a hard time deciding, his brows furrowing. Zhao Guogang said: “If you go to Yizhong, your gege will go with you, you can take care of each other at the dorm, and you won’t have to worry about being lonely. Yizhong has always had slightly better admission rates than Sanzhong on the gaokao, it would be safer to go there.”
“On the other hand.” Zhao Guogang looked pensive, his fingers lightly tapping against the table. He said: “You would only be able to come home once a week at most, you’d leave Dad early to experience communal life…”
Yaoyuan said: “Qi Huiyu wants me to try for Yizhong with him.”
Zhao Guogang then said: “Your deskmate has good grades as well. If you directly admit yourself to Sanzhong’s high school division, it wouldn’t be much worse than Yizhong. Your principal wants to increase admission rates, judging as a key school, the high school division will pay more attention to the work compared to the previous years.”
“The benefits of direct admission would be that you wouldn’t have to adapt to a new environment, and the two of you could come home every day. There’s a better environment for resting at home than in the dorms, it’s not noisy and you won’t be disturbed. We’ll get an Auntie to cook for you guys in high school, you can eat three meals at home every day. We’ll brew some soup every day, you can keep up with your nutrients, watch some TV when it’s appropriate to regulate your mental state, and not have to experience a life of confined studying.”
“What do you think?” Yaoyuan lifted his glance to look at Tan Ruikang.
Tan Ruikang smiled nonchalantly, and said: “I’m fine with either, I’ll go to whichever school you choose.”
Yaoyuan looked at Zhao Guogang, then thought about how when he left for university in the future, he would only be able to come home to visit his dad during the summers, and felt an unspeakable heartache.
Although they say that after graduating you enter society, he’d definitely still have to spend his days alongside Zhao Guogang, living with him and providing for him after retirement.
But if he went to a boarding school now, he’d be apart from him for a whole seven years.
Nobody understands a son better than his father, Zhao Guogang understood what Yaoyuan was thinking and said: “Xiao Yuan, you and your gege are both men, there has to be a day where you leave the nest. A good man aspires to travel far and make his mark, one day you’ll have your own wife and children…”
Those words irritated Yaoyuan, and he immediately said: “No thanks, I’ll go to Sangzhong.”
Zhao Guogang smiled, then nodded: “Then you’ll leave Dad a little later, and live at home for three more years? What about Ruikang, if you want to try for Yizhong you can definitely go fight for it, don’t be influenced by Xiao Yuan.”
Tan Ruikang smiled and said: “No, I don’t want to leave Uncle either, going to Sanzhong can save money too.”
Yaoyuan said to Tan Ruikang: “Go try for Yizhong, don’t let me influence you.”
Yaoyuan was just saying this, he knew that Tan Ruikang would definitely say no, does he even have to ask? He suddenly realized that Tan Ruikang was pretty good too, after staying at their house for the majority of the year, he’d become just like a companion he couldn’t part with, and he didn’t feel as repelled by Tan Ruikang as before.
But who would’ve thought that Tan Ruikang would reply: “Okay, then Xiao Yuan can go for direct admission by himself.”
“Huh?” Yaoyuan had received an expected response, and couldn’t help but stare blankly. Then, Tan Ruikang began laughing uproariously, like he’d just gotten away with a big prank, and went to watch TV on the couch.
Zhao Guogang couldn’t help but smile, and filled out the direct admission forms for the two youths. Yaoyuan put his head down on the table for a while, he felt like he’d let down Qi Huiyu.
He started regretting it a little, and said: “Qi Huiyu and I were deskmates for three years, now we’re separating.”
Zhao Guogang said: “There’s still your ge.”
“Mhm.” Tan Ruikang held the remote on the couch, and said casually: “I’ll still be there with you, Xiao Yuan.”
Yaoyuan thought: You? Can you compare to Qi Huiyu?
He secretly glanced at Tan Ruikang from the other side of his arm, then realized that he was actually rather poised. These past months, it was as if he’d shed his mortal body and exchanged his bones. If he’d grown up with Yaoyuan as children and they’d gone to kindergarten, elementary, and middle school together… maybe he would’ve been an even more intimate companion than Qi Huiyu.
He was good at understanding others, and had his own principles and viewpoints, and most importantly, he was very reliable.
Yaoyuan thought of what the math teacher once said about a special trait of Hunanese people.
Zeng Guofan had established the Xiang Army in Hunan, it was a place where talent came in large numbers. The people there were willing to go through hardship, they were powerful, they weren’t afraid of death, and were hardworking and diligent when it came to studying. All of them had the same fine qualities to them, and Tan Ruikang’s personality was the epitome of that.
I had to laugh when Yaoyuan was like “Can you compare to QHY??!?!?”…. LMAO he’ll be eating his words soon (well, in about 10 or so chapters) ?
My extreme apologies for being MIA!! This was a longer chapter and combined with school stuff I just… yeah… good news is next chapter isn’t as long so it should be out faster this time! Thank you so much for reading ❤️❤️
Many thanks to Lily for helping with the translation of this chapter!
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Kapsoura.