After Xie Yu said that, He Chao remained silent for a long time.
Just when he thought their topic had ended here, He Chao suddenly said, "I think I'm pretty handsome."
The two of them lay side by side on the playground, their postures a bit wild. They were too tired to care about their appearance. He Chao spread his arms out in a big "X" shape and realized that his body temperature was a few degrees hotter than the ground.
Xie Yu didn't have the energy to mock him. He had always been impressed by He Chao's thick skin. He moved his legs, wanting to kick him a few times, but didn't actually do it because He Chao suddenly sat up.
He Chao said again, "Seriously, have you ever seen anyone more handsome than me? In this vast sea of people, how many can compare to someone like me..."
Xie Yu interrupted him, "You're going too far."
He Chao said, "The pen fairy said there isn't one."
Xie Yu remembered the night they played with the pen fairy during self-study and suddenly felt like laughing.
"There is one, who said there isn't," Xie Yu joked, looking at him, then pointed to himself, "Your grandfather here."
"Grandfather?" He Chao asked.
Xie Yu casually replied, "Yeah, grandson."
"You punk, taking advantage of me," He Chao laughed and went to grab Xie Yu's collar, pretending to be fierce. But he didn't control his strength and didn't expect Xie Yu to just lie there and let him do it.
Accidentally pulling too hard, the collar opened wide.
Xie Yu's skin was already fair, and after running and being exposed to the sun, it looked slightly reddish. That touch of red gradually emerged from underneath. The young man's body was slim and pretty, even a bit alluring.
"Who's the one taking advantage?" Xie Yu patted He Chao's hand. "Let it go."
He Chao released his grip and sat there in a daze for a while before lying back down. He awkwardly blurted out, "You...you have a nice figure."
Xie Yu responded smoothly, "Thank you, you're not bad either."
He Chao's jumbled thoughts came to a sudden halt, and he almost forgot what he was upset about earlier.
But he still felt hot, a heat that started from his throat and spread to his chest, making it hard to breathe.
It was a strange kind of heat, almost like a fever.
He Chao didn't know what he was thinking, his mind went blank and he sneakily glanced down at his crotch.
Xie Yu had no idea that He Chao's thoughts had taken a few twists and turns and gone far away. He lay there and gazed at the sky for a while before closing his eyes.
It was quiet all around, and he could hear He Chao's breathing.
The other person's heart was still beating too fast and hadn't slowed down yet.
After a moment, Xie Yu asked with closed eyes, "Your heart rate is too fast, are you tired?"
He Chao wiped his face and didn't know what to say. "Ah, yes...I ran too hard."
Luo Wenqiang ran about ten laps and collapsed on the ground, halfway across the exercise court from them.
After resting for a while, he went to the convenience store to buy water and brought two bottles for the two crazy runners. He walked across the court, approached Xie Yu and He Chao, squatted down, and handed them the water. "Wow, you two ran fifteen laps? Really fifteen laps?"
The ice water was still emitting a cool mist.
Xie Yu said, "Thank you."
He Chao sat up and took the water, unscrewed the cap, and drank half the bottle in one gulp. "Aren't we strong, are you scared, if we say fifteen laps, we'll run fifteen laps."
"Amazing, amazing," Luo Wenqiang stated his purpose, "so, in the autumn sports meet, you two should join the long distance race."
The topic changed too quickly, and He Chao was too busy bragging to react for a moment: "Huh?"
It was the first time someone had invited Xie Yu to participate in a group activity. Joining the long distance race didn't matter, but this Class 3 sports committee member was too enthusiastic. If there were no issues, the sports meet would be at least half a month later, and there wasn't even a specific time announced yet.
But Luo Wenqiang shook his head and said, "Alas, life is but a fleeting moment."
Xie Yu: "..."
He Chao: "..." Brother, your ideological consciousness is a bit high.
After chatting for a while, the group got up and returned to the classroom.
Walking down the corridor, they found that every class was already in chaos, and the quiet facade could not be maintained, it was too noisy.
As he passed by Class 8, Shen Jie and his friends were still singing karaoke, and He Chao covered one ear with his finger, not wanting to endure the noise. He said, "Why is it that our class is so silent and has the curtains drawn so tightly? It's not like our usual style."
With that, He Chao pushed open the back door of Class 3.
On the big screen, a movie was playing, just halfway through.
As the class representative, Liu Cunhao felt obligated to sit by the podium and shut off the movie with his mouse at any sign of movement outside.
"You scared me," Liu Cunhao said as he saw his classmates enter. He then resumed the movie and said, "I thought it was someone else. Come on, let's keep watching. If you want to bet, go to Wan Da and put your bet down."
With the curtains drawn tightly and the lights off, they had created a small cinema atmosphere.
Xie Yu didn't understand: "What are you guys doing?"
"We're guessing who the killer is," Wan Da introduced to them, "this is a suspense movie, only 50 cents per bet, care to join us, sir?"
"No, no, it's not fair for me and Old Xie here, we don't know what was said earlier," He Chao said, then praised, "but you guys have great business minds, I have to admit that."
This large-scale carnival lasted less than half an hour before it was broken by Head Teacher Jiang himself: "Good, I only went to grade some papers, and you guys want to turn the world upside down, don't you?"
The Mad Dog's scolding started from Class 8, saying: "Class 8 turned their classroom into a KTV, your class turns it into a movie theater, everyone has such great ideas. Do you know what kind of grades you'll get on this test? Why are you so happy and cheerful?"
He Chao leaned in and whispered to Xie Yu, "Since we're all going to die anyway, why not die happily?"
Head Teacher Jiang pointed to the back row and asked, "What are you two whispering about? Is fifteen laps not enough for you?"
He Chao was about to say "we didn't say anything," but his desk mate next to him betrayed him directly - Xie Yu repeated what He Chao had just said.
The whole class burst into laughter.
"If you want to die so badly, I'll grant your wish," Head Teacher Jiang was furious. "He Chao, get out and stand in the hallway."
He Chao was used to it and got out of the classroom with practiced ease.
Head Teacher Jiang seemed to have a few more essays' worth of scolding to lecture on, so he left He Chao waitig outside as punishment, while continuing to talk non-stop in Class 3. He Chao got tired of standing and took a few steps back, leaning against the back door to chat with Xie Yu: "Little friend, what you did was disloyal."
Xie Yu retorted, "You're very annoying."
"...We have also found a solution to the problem of dormitory students being late. All of you who live on campus will feel a force to wake up starting tomorrow morning," Head Teacher Jiang went from talking about class discipline to dormitory tardiness.
A force to wake up.
This was clearly a desire to kill.
The next morning, the dormitory building's loudspeaker blared, and a patriotic song exploded in everyone's ears.
"The beacon fires rise, looking north to the land, the dragon rises and rolls, the horse neighs~"
"I am willing to defend our land and expand our territory. Mighty China shall dominate all directions!"
This bold statement is filled with passion and ambition, enough to stir the soul of every patriotic man in the country! The sense of duty and the passion for learning are boiling within!
At six o'clock in the morning, the dormitory was already buzzing with excitement.
Everyone jumped out of bed, too rushed to even put on their slippers. They opened their doors and cursed in unison, "What the hell!"
"What's going on? What's the situation? It's six o'clock, can't people sleep?"
"Who the hell is playing music?!"
He Chao pulled his blanket up, intending to endure the duration of a song.
In the end, the radio broadcast was too much to bear, coupled with the constant noise outside the door. He couldn't take it anymore and sat up, holding his head in his hands, "...What the hell is going on."
After a night's sleep, the aftermath of running fifteen laps yesterday came flooding back, especially with his ankle that was recently injured, it was difficult to endure the high-intensity long-distance running.
He Chao rubbed his hair, got out of bed, and slowly walked to the door in his slippers. He opened the door and shouted a few words, "Is this the way they're doing it? Loyalty to the country, that's great."
He Chao's voice was not loud, but it was very recognizable. His tone always slightly rose, mixed with casual teasing.
Someone saw him and stopped their cursing, "Good morning, Brother Chao."
He Chao didn't say anything, yawned, raised his hand to wave to the person, then stopped at the opposite door. Out of the mentality of sharing good and bad times, he knocked on the door and shouted, "Old Xie, wake up...How can you sleep like this?"
He Chao's hair was messy and his clothes were not tidy. He knocked on the door but no one answered. Coincidentally, the song also stopped. Just as he was about to go back to bed, the door in front of him creaked open.
"Haven't you had enough?" Xie Yu took out the earplugs from his ears and leaned against the door, looking at him. "If you have something to say, spit it out."
Ignoring whether Xie Yu welcomed him or not, He Chao slipped past him and into the room. "I'm here to have breakfast with you."
Xie Yu didn't close the door and stood at the doorway, looking at him with eyes that seemed to say "get out".
He Chao pretended not to see it.
Although the song on the broadcast system had stopped, Head Teacher Jiang's speech had just begun. "Hello? Hello? Can you hear me? Good morning, everyone. The day starts in the morning..."
He Chao was shocked. "What the hell, it's not over yet?"
Xie Yu rubbed his forehead and sighed.
Given the situation, he knew he wouldn't be able to sleep anymore even if he wanted to, so he closed the door and went to wash up.
"Yesterday's math test was incredible. Even the math teacher would be moved to tears," Xie Yu was brushing his teeth, and He Chao leaned against the doorway while saying to him, "Just wait until he praises me. I've never felt so confident in my answers. I knew recognised single question..."
After finishing brushing his teeth, Xie Yu splashed some water on his face.
When He Chao said, "I'm sure I passed this time," Xie Yu had had enough. He threw the towel at He Chao's face.
Xie Yu didn't want to talk about the exam anymore. It was giving him a headache. He thought to himself, like hell you passed.
"What's wrong with you?" He Chao asked, removing the towel from his face. "Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?"
Xie Yu rested his hand on the edge of his pants zipper and pulled it down a bit, the intention clear: "Close the door and get out."
"Don't be shy, we're all men here," He Chao said, though he complied and turned towards the desk.
Xie Yu ignored him and unzipped his pants.
Yesterday afternoon during the math exam, Xie Yu had asked He Chao how he was doing to gauge how far he should control his scores.
The questions on the test were basically just the homework problems with a few minor changes, like changing 10 to 20. If he scored too low, it would be like being a complete idiot.
When He Chao said he was doing well, Xie Yu had believed him.
After all, He Chao wasn't completely skipping class. Since the last time he angered the math teacher, his life in the math classes weren't as easy, and he couldn't play with his phone anymore. He had to always look up at the blackboard.
It's unclear whether he understood anything, but he would always say a few words on the side, "So that's how it is, it's so simple. Do you understand this problem? I understand it."
He understood...nothing at all.
When it was time to turn in the test, Xie Yu glanced at He Chao's answers and knew that he had completely let him down.
He Chao paced around his room and finally sat on Xie Yu's bed.
After using the bathroom, Xie Yu cleaned it. When he finished washing his hands and went out, he saw He Chao, who had come knocking on his door for no reason and shouting about breakfast, lying on his bed asleep.
He Chao's shirt was rolled up at the bottom, and although he looked tall and thin, he had everything he was supposed to have.
The muscles around his waist and lower abdomen were well-defined, especially when he breathed, but the youthfulness of adolescence diluted its aggressiveness.
Half of He Chao's face was buried in the blanket.
Xie Yu moved his wrist a few times and really wanted to punch someone.
After the monthly exams, regardless of the results, everyone had returned to the relaxed state of loving life as before.
The students who entered the school gate in the morning were busy chatting about their idol stars and the popular TV dramas from last night. The Mad Dog waited for the morning reading bell and stood at the school gate to catch the latecomers.
The efficiency of the teachers at No. 2 High School in grading papers was surprisingly high. They would bring back the papers home at night and continue grading them, and the results would be out the next day.
During the entire break, Wan Da crouched outside the teacher's office with his head tilted and his ear pressed against the door. When Tang Sen opened the door to take out the trash, he stood up and quickly pretended to be heading towards the restroom.
"Wait a minute," Tang Sen signaled to Wan Da. He wasn't blind and had noticed his behavior. "Come here."
When Tang Sen first started his job, he had heard from other teachers that this child loved to listen in on conversations. Today, he finally witnessed it. Holding a garbage bag in his hand, he took a few steps forward and asked him, "What did you hear?"
Wan Da replied, "Our class is at the bottom, with the first and second places in the grade being in our class, but their places are counted from the bottom. Class 2 has the highest average score, with someone getting a perfect score in math, and Xu Qingqing did well in English...The Chinese teacher in the next class is getting married next month."
Tang Sen was just sitting inside, catching a glimpse of Wan Da's head, and didn't expect him to hear so much: "Your ears are quite sharp, how many ears do you have? Do you have any more?"
Wan Da replied quickly, "No, that's all. Report complete."
With class about to start, Tang Sen didn't have time to educate him and said, "Read more books when you have time, go to class now. Oh, and ask He Chao to come to my office at noon."
Wan Da quickly agreed.
Tang Sen walked a few steps out, then turned back and paused before saying, "...Ask Xie Yu to come too."
In the classroom.
He Chao and Xie Yu were playing a low-cost homemade paper game - Gomoku, which they had tied for 2:2 in the previous Chinese class.
He Chao had strong logical thinking skills and a long battle line. Every time Xie Yu's five pieces were about to connect, He Chao could always intervene and break it up. With He Chao's intelligence, Xie Yu didn't know if it was intentional or accidental.
Wan Da walked back to class as the bell rang. "Brother Chao and Brother Yu, Old Tang wants to see you both in his office at noon. The two of you...how can you guys always get the lowest scores?"
Upon hearing this, He Chao knew that Wan Da had found out about their grades. He put down his pen and asked, "Me? How low did I get?"
Xie Yu already guessed the outcome and didn't even bother to look up.
Sure enough, Wan Da said, "You got the lowest score, and your math is only a ten."
He Chao seemed to be deeply immersed in his dream of passing the exam, and was a bit surprised when he heard the word "ten": "Am I just one step away from a single digit score?"
Wan Da said, "Yes, you are. You're so amazing that you brought our class average down by two points."
After Wan Da finished speaking, he noticed that He Chao's mood had dropped a bit, so he asked, "What's wrong, Brother Chao?"
"Never mind him, he hasn't woken up yet," Xie Yu said. "He's still waiting for the math teacher to praise him...Go to sleep, anything can happen in your dreams."
Recently, Wan Da felt that he had become quite familiar with Xie Yu, so he blurted out, "Yu-ge, you got twenty points. You two are more or less the same, nowhere near good."
Xie Yu replied, "...Are you asking for a beating?"
After He Chao heard this, he burst out laughing, laughing harder and harder with each passing moment.
At noon, Tang Sen finished his lunch early and hurried back to the office, waiting for the two students who ranked last and second to last to come find him.
He had written several outlines for the conversation, but ultimately decided to improvise.
"Teacher Tang, these two have been like this since their first year of high school," the other teachers beside him watched as Tang Sen analyzed the two students' test papers for a long time and had also heard that he had scheduled a meeting with them at noon.
"Just teach normally, they really won't listen, there's nothing you can do. I'm not saying this to make you do anything, just give up on them, it's just that these two...really, there's no way, no solution."
Tang Sen continued to review the test papers of He Chao and Xie Yu, without directly denying the teacher's words. He didn't feel like he was doing something thankless, and said, "I teach normally and do my best. Isn't it just that I haven't tried hard enough?"
After more than ten minutes, the two of them finally arrived and knocked on the door, saying, "Reporting in."
Tang Sen closed the teaching materials in his hand and said, "Come in."
It's not hard to guess what Old Tang wanted to do with them - it was nothing more than criticizing their grades. When they were in their first year of high school, all the subject teachers had talked to them like this. It was just a talk, and after the talk, things would still be the same.
He Chao seemed relaxed, probably because he was used to this kind of situation.
"Both of you, sit down," Tang Sen placed the exam papers on the table. "I want to ask you, where do you find difficulties in your studies? Let's try to solve them together."
In other words, "Why exactly did you both score so low?"
Xie Yu couldn't come up with any reasons, he knew the correct answers and deliberately avoided them, but if he really said that it would frighten him.
On the other hand, He Chao answered without hesitation, "Everything is difficult."
"He Chao, I only just praised you recently for your good performance in class," the math teacher walked over after finishing his meal, holding a toothpick. "How did you end up with such a low score this time?"
He Chao remained silent.
Xie Yu spoke up for his desk mate, "During class, he also thought he understood the material."
This time, the math teacher didn't know what to say. He shook his head and returned to his seat, muttering to himself, "You guys...you guys are truly amazing."