The group tiptoed down the stairs.
Halfway there, Wan Da's hand tightened on the railing and he exclaimed, "Fuck, there's really...there's really something..."
"What is it?"
"What did you see?"
"...There's a ghost."
Xie Yu glanced at his watch. The minute hand was pointing straight up at 12, indicating it was exactly 1am.
At the end of the second floor hallway, the motion-sensor light was off. A vague, human-shaped figure slowly moved towards them, its limbs indistinct in the darkness.
Its footsteps were light, like a slow-motion replay.
The only illumination came from the moonlight and the flickering streetlights outside, casting an eerie glow on the scene.
Xie Yu held the Ghost-Sealing Talisman and suddenly wanted to comfort the big idiot next to him. He was about to say, "Do you believe that a person wandering around with a bed sheet draped over them is really a supernatural event".
Just then, He Chao took out another piece of paper from his pocket. The ghost drawing and yin-yang symbols on it were almost identical to the one Xie Yu was holding. He Chao appeared calm on the surface, "It's okay, I have another one."
"Now what do we do?" Wan Da asked.
He Chao asked back, "You made so many battle plans, didn't you consider this step?"
Wan Da whispered, "Actually, I didn't expect us to really encounter it..."
Xie Yu leaned against the wall and casually said, "...what else can we do, why don't we go up and say hello?"
Wan Da fell silent.
"In my opinion, a man's adventure should be more daring," Wan Da said, but then took a sudden turn. "Otherwise, why don't we just go back..." Go back and sleep.
Before he could finish his sentence, Ding Lianghua suddenly dashed out from beside them without a sound!
Ding Lianghua's 100-meter sprint record must be impressive. They should recommend him for the next sports competition.
He ran like a whirlwind and even remembered to grab the fire extinguisher standing in the corner as he passed by, slamming it down on the object with a loud "bang."
Wan Da: "..."
He Chao: "..."
Xie Yu: "..."
"What's going on?"
"Is the life of boarding students really that exciting?"
"Your nightlife is really quite rich."
On Monday morning, as soon as Shen Jie stepped into the classroom, before he even had a chance to put down his backpack, he heard some strange rumors. He handed in his homework and didn't even have time to review before he ran straight to Class 3.
He leaned against the window and stuck his head in to ask, "I heard that the Mad Dog is about to explode in the office. What did you guys do?"
The class was in chaos, adjusting desks and chairs. Xu Qingqing had finished moving her own and was helping Liu Cunhao to arrange the desks and chairs for the other groups. "Luo Wenqiang, you go behind Wan Da, and then align your row with the one next to it...There are 32 people coming to take the exam in our class, and we don't have enough desks and chairs, so go borrow some from the next class."
They had to break up the seating and arrange them into the individual exam seats.
When the bell rings later, they will go to their respective seats to take the first formal exam of the first semester of their year.
The monthly exam.
Wan Da was focused on adjusting the position of the desks and chairs, not really wanting to answer Shen Jie's question. "This, it's hard to say in just a few words."
Shen Jie said, "Wan Da, are you still the same gossip-loving Mr. Know-it-all who used to pass notes and answers with me back in the day?"
Wan Da shook his head and replied, "People grow up, you know."
Shen Jie's grades weren't very good, and he wanted to do well on the end-of-term exam in his first year of high school so he could go home and celebrate the New Year with his family without them nagging him all the time. While the invigilator hadn't arrived yet, he tapped the shoulder of the person in front of him and asked, "Hey, friend, do you want to have a good New Year together?"
The person in front of him was Wan Da.
The two of them hit it off immediately.
At first, they were only passing around answers. After a few rounds, Shen Jie slammed the eraser onto the ground with his elbow, then bent down as if to pick it up. He grabbed the small piece of paper on the ground and opened it, only to find that in addition to the answers, there was also a line of text: "Are you in Class 5? Do you know He Chao? I heard he got into a fight with the teacher a few days ago?"
The piece of paper had turned into a gossip session by the end.
They didn't manage to cheat too much, but the content of their conversation covered almost the entire grade instead.
So Shen Jie turned his gaze to He Chao.
His eyes wandered around the class for a while before finally locking onto his target.
He Chao and Xie Yu's seats were relatively awkwardly placed, and they were assigned to whichever row was short on people.
He Chao was in the last row, sitting in the very back.
In the dimly lit corner, He Chao leaned against the wall with one hand in his pocket, casually playing with his phone.
"Brother Chao!" Shen Jie called out, raising his hand.
He Chao looked up at the sound and picked up the plastic bag on the table. As he walked over, he casually threw it into the trash can. "The exams are starting soon, why are you wandering around?"
Shen Jie: "Your dormintory building...."
"Let me sum it up for you in a few words: it was a men's adventure," He Chao replied.
Shen Jie looked confused.
Xie Yu's seat was nearby. Xie Yu was sleeping with his head on the desk, and He Chao patted him on the back of his head and said, "Right, Old Xie?"
Xie Yu: "..."
Xie Yu didn't even bother raising his head, his hand groping around and throwing something forward.
It was a calculator, and He Chao caught it just in time before it hit the ground. "Looks like this little friend's in a bad mood today," He Chao said as he took a step back.
Shen Jie wanted to ask more.
He Chao interrupted him. "We'll talk later. Go back to your own class now, the exam is starting soon."
In the past, the exam seating arrangement was random, so it was impossible to predict who would be in the same class. However, this semester, they changed the policy and arranged the seating based on the previous exam results. The top thirty students would be in one class, while the bottom thirty would be in another, and so on.
The school hoped that this new system would motivate everyone to work harder and climb higher. After all, progress is key, both in life and in exams.
Head Teacher Jiang said, "It's not shameful to have ambition in learning. For example, today I took the exam in Class 5, but next time I want to sit in the exam room of Class 1! I hope everyone has this kind of spirit!"
Shen Jie left reluctantly.
Wan Da hesitated and walked over, "Did the class representative not come to the exam today?"
He Chao replied, "With his condition...still taking the exam?"
"I heard his mother took him home to sleep. He only sleeps for two or three hours a day, and it's a wonder he hasn't had any mental problems."
When Xie Yu heard the words "class representative," he couldn't sleep anymore. The sound of dragging chairs in the classroom was constant and loud. He sat up and looked at Xue Xisheng's seat.
That night, Ding Lianghua bravely charged out with the fire extinguisher, spraying dry powder all over the hallway. The dust filled the air as he lifted the bedsheet off of "the ghost" to reveal Xue Xisheng lying peacefully on the ground.
"Who would have thought it was sleepwalking," Wan Da said. "This is the first time I've encountered sleepwalking on such a large scale. If the dormitory doors weren't locked, would he have wandered outside with his eyes closed?"
Their commotion in the middle of the night woke up the Mad Dog and Old Tang from the neighboring faculty dormitory. The two rushed over in a hurry, with Old Tang not even having time to zip up his pants and wearing his slippers on the wrong feet. "What's going on? Why are you making so much noise in the middle of the night? What are you doing?"
The exam preparation bell rang, and everyone grabbed their exam materials and headed to their respective classrooms.
Xie Yu didn't bring anything except for a black pen.
If he could, he wouldn't even want to bring a pen. Otherwise, he really didn't know how to surpass He Chao. Even blindly guessing would result in a higher score than what this guy got.
"Bring a 2B pencil, you'll need it to mark up the answer sheet," He Chao walked behind Xie Yu and handed him a pencil while sharing his experience, "Even though it doesn't matter if you fill it in or not, at least you can guess a few points."
"A few points?"
"Seven or eight points."
In the past, Xie Yu would strictly control his average score during exams. Although he made sure it was a low score, it wouldn't be too low to avoid giving the impression that he was a fool.
Basically, he kept it within the range of "this kid's brain is pretty smart, but he just doesn't want to study well."
Even Madam Gu had always believed that her own child still had hope.
Although the child skipped class, got into fights, and scored poorly on exams, it was all because they didn't pay attention in class. If they were willing to learn, their grades wouldn't be like this.
Xie Yu took the green pencil. To prepare for the right score later, he asked, "How did you do on your final exam last semester?"
As they walked past classes one through eight, they still had to go upstairs to their exam room. In the last class, according to Head Teacher Jiang's exam room arrangement, their exam room was basically a gathering place for poor students.
He Chao said, "Final exam? I don't remember too well, but I think I did pretty well and exceeded expectations."
Xie Yu said, "Oh?"
He Chao continued, "I think I got...around 40 points in English?"
Xie Yu: "..."
A group of twenty-something underachievers gathered together, each one a headache for their teachers. They were strong-willed and had the ability to bring down the class average with their individual scores. One person's score could determine the entire class's position in the grade.
As He Chao entered the room, several people greeted him, "Hey, Brother Chao."
He Chao glanced over and recognized quite a few of them. He stood at the door, with one hand in his pocket, looking like the leader of the underachievers. "Ah, long time no see."
Tang Sen happened to be invigilating the underachievers' class. He adjusted his watch according to the time on his computer, and other teachers were worried for him. "Old Tang, your class's average score this time might not look good." Especially since Teacher Tang had just been transferred here, if he didn't produce some results...
"Ah?" Tang Sen was still focused on adjusting the time. "It's okay, I'm not worried about this. Scores aren't the only measure of everything."
If there was one thing that affected these underachievers after the new seating arrangement - it was harder to cheat on the exams.
Everyone was more or less equally matched when it came to finding someone to cheat with.
However, there was still a difference between being "more or less" and "equally matched".
The student in the first row, the one with the highest final exam score among the underachievers, was given hinting looks by the others.
"I heard you can score 60 points in math, 60 out of 150 points. Wow."
"What? 60 points? Are you really that good?"
This was probably the first time this brother had encountered such a situation in his underachieving career, and he felt a little embarrassed. "Well...it's not that good."
Xie Yu pressed his palm against his forehead and lowered his head, trying hard not to listen to the group of people talking.
It's too damn...
Xie Yu's thoughts were complex and convoluted, and for a moment he couldn't find the right words to express his frustration. He then heard He Chao, who was sitting behind him, join in the awkward praise: "Sixty points, bro, that's impressive."