When He Chao left, the piece of paper he left on the desk was still there. Yesterday evening, Wan Da had passed it around the class, and in the end, all the boarders admitted defeat. They had guessed and guessed, but they couldn't even figure out how many characters were on the paper, let alone read the ancient script.
Compared to that, He Chao's handwriting during the exam was already quite careful. At least they only felt it was ugly, and not to the point of being mistaken for ancient script.
Xie Yu only remembered it when he saw it, and casually threw the paper back to him: "What is this junk you wrote?"
"I won't come back for evening self-study," He Chao opened it and glanced at it, then said after reading it, "Can't you understand it?"
"..." Xie Yu really wanted to paste the paper on his face.
He Chao admired the note for a while and said, "How can you not understand? I wrote it very carefully. Look at these characters..."
Xie Yu was afraid that he would start talking about some grandiose story again, so he interrupted him and said, "Okay, shut up."
Other than when he was talking to Xie Yu, He Chao spent the whole morning either sleeping or playing with his phone. When Old Tang called on him to answer a question, he only said, "I don't know."
"What's wrong with Brother Chao today?" Liu Cunhao and the others usually looked forward to hearing He Chao's answers the most, as there were always unexpected surprises. After all, class was so boring. "Something seems off."
Wan Da turned around and looked at the back of He Chao's head. "Maybe he stayed up all night and is too tired."
He Chao bent over, his forehead resting on the edge of the desk.
With his phone in hand, resting on his lap, he typed in the chat box: "I went to find Er Lei before."
As he typed, he deleted each letter one by one, until he was left staring at the three words, "Your Grandpa Jun."
Lei Jun was right, in a way. It didn't matter what he said. It was useless.
The deed was done, and it was his fault. There was nothing he could do to change that.
After Er Lei dropped out of school, no one had heard from him.
He must be angry, He Chao thought. If it were him, he wouldn't be able to handle it either.
He searched for Er Lei everywhere, asking around the place where he used to live, until he finally found his home address.
He still remembered every word and punctuation mark that Er Lei had said to him.
"Brother Chao, this isn't all your fault, but I can't help but blame you a little.
"But I don't want you to do this either. You...you should go back to school. Dropping out is not a good idea."
"Me? I'm not going to school anymore, and I don't plan on finding another one...My family found a training program for me, hoping that I can start working and earning money soon."
He threw his phone onto the table and closed his eyes.
During lunch break, Luo Wenqiang and Liu Cunhao carried a cardboard box together and came in from the door. The distance from the academic affairs office to here was three buildings apart.
Liu Cunhao, the class representative, obviously lacked exercise. By the time he reached the classroom door, he was already out of breath and gasped, "Classmates, the prizes are here...from the sports meet. Excuse me, please let us through."
The efficiency of No. 2 High School was quite high. The prizes arrived right after the sports meet ended.
"What prizes?" Some curious classmates gathered around to take a look.
"The prizes for this sports meet were personally chosen by Head Teacher Jiang, and they are very unique. You will definitely..." Liu Cunhao paused before continuing, "not like them."
With that, Liu Cunhao used a small knife to cut open the cardboard box, revealing a neatly arranged box of extracurricular textbooks, ranging from "English After-Class Reading" to "Take You into the Magical World of Physics," covering almost every subject.
"Come on, come and choose, choose to your heart's content," Liu Cunhao said, "the first place winner has priority, who wants to go first?"
The athletes participating in the sports meet: "..."
"Brother Chao, don't sleep, you're our class's first place in push-ups, come and choose?" Liu Cunhao asked.
"No thanks," He Chao muttered without looking up, "whoever wants it can take it."
Liu Cunhao then asked, "Brother Yu?"
Xie Yu said, "Act like I never participated in the sports meet."
Not for nothing are they the first and second from the bottom, it's better to let them die than make them read and do exercises.
In the end, Xu Qingqing picked two famous books, while Luo Wenqiang chose a physics exercise book. The athletes were all reluctant, except for Xue Xisheng who looked on with envy and said in advance, "Sports committee member, count me in for the next sports meet, I can participate in any event."
As the class was in an uproar, Wu Zheng walked in with a stack of test papers under his arm.
"Don't think that it's just the beginning of the school year, count the days on your fingers, time is running out!" Old Wu put down the test papers, then pinched half a piece of chalk from the chalk box and accurately threw it at the head of the student in the back row while speaking, "Midterm exams are coming up, let's see what you can do."
He Chao didn't even react when he was hit, he just moved his fingers and continued sleeping in a different position.
Xie Yu saw Old Wu grading papers and kicked He Chao as a reminder, "Exam."
It was a pop quiz, an intensified version of the monthly exam, giving a glimpse of the upcoming mid-term.
No desks were to be moved, and the test would last for two consecutive classes.
With a few minutes left before handing out the papers, Wu warned, "Those who need to use the restroom, hurry up. Don't come to me later saying you have to pee urgently or frequently. I won't care. Hold it in."
The classmates dragged their feet to the restroom, feeling low-spirited, "Another exam? Endless exams."
During these few minutes, Xue Xisheng rushed over to frantically cram them with exam tips, causing He Chao to be unable to sleep.
Xue Xisheng adjusted his glasses as he spoke seriously, "Have you all remembered? This question is a must-answer question. Just memorize the formula I just taught you, and it will be very easy to get full marks. With this, our class average can increase by 0.5 points."
He Chao: "..."
Xie Yu: "..."
They definitely couldn't sleep anymore.
He Chao went to the bathroom to wash his face and came back to prepare for the exam. When the test papers were handed out, he realized that the black pen he used to leave a note yesterday was nowhere to be found.
After searching for a while, he gave up and decided to ask his desk mate for a pen, "Old Xie, do you have an extra pen?"
Ever since Xie Yu discovered the pattern that bad students don't bring pens to exams, he had been eager to implement it and showcase his excellent professionalism. Finally, he found the opportunity during today's in-class exam and confidently declared, "I don't have one either."
This muddle-headed pair who didn't have a single pen on their bodies locked eyes for a moment before He Chao patted the shoulder of the classmate sitting in front of them and asked, "Hey buddy, can I borrow two pens?"
The student in front rummaged through his pencil case and replied, "I-I only have one." He had plenty of refills, but only one pen.
He Chao thought for a moment and said, "One is alright too, that's enough, thanks."
Xie Yu asked, "Enough?"
"You go ahead and write first," He Chao handed him the pen, "I haven't seen any questions I know how to answer yet, so I don't need it for now."
Xie Yu: "..."
Xie Yu answered the questions randomly, thinking to himself: with He Chao's level, what kind of score does he need to get on the midterm to push this idiot off the bottommost spot?
Xie Yu followed He Chao's pace of answering questions, but unbeknownst to him, his desk mate who ranked last in the grade was secretly observing him too.
After finishing the exam, Xie Yu roughly estimated his score and realized that he and He Chao's math scores were not that different.
He Chao finished his exam and casually placed it under his textbook, then leaned on his desk to secretly observe Xie Yu.
Feeling inexplicably stared at, Xie Yu asked, "What's wrong with you?"
Perhaps due to staying up all night, He Chao looked a bit tired. He paused before saying, "Just not in a good mood."
Looking at you makes me feel better.
If possible...I also want to hug you a little.
As He Chao was lost in thought, he suddenly felt the urge to ask this little cripple next to him: Are you still going to sneak out and go online tonight?
He Chao began to realize that his thoughts about this little friend were becoming more and more inappropriate, and the idea of "wanting to hug him" startled him.
The bell rang for the end of class, and Wu Zheng shouted from the podium, "Stop writing, put down your pens, don't look around...if you can't finish, just hand it in!"
"Brother Show-off, your test paper."
Xie Yu wanted to estimate his score again, so he lowered his head and reached out to ask He Chao for his test paper. After a while, He Chao didn't respond, so Xie Yu raised his head and asked, "What are you staring at?"
After estimating his score, Xie Yu found that He Chao had already left through the back door and then skipped the next two classes very decisively.
Instead, Shen Jie was happily in class when he received a strange text message from his Brother Chao. The message consisted of six incomprehensible words: Have you ever been in love.
Shen Jie thought about it for a while but couldn't figure out what it meant, so he replied: Does a crush count?
He Chao didn't respond after that.
Shen Jie still didn't understand and scratched his head. He felt like he couldn't comprehend the world of the big shots.
Meanwhile, He Chao went back to his dormitory intending to take a nap, but he couldn't fall asleep. He stayed up until it was time for evening self-study and decided to go back to the classroom. As he walked up the stairs, he saw Wan Da crouching by the window, looking around suspiciously. He looked really creepy.
He Chao walked over and stopped in front of the window. He curled his fingers and tapped the windowsill, asking, "What are you up to?"
Wan Da replied, "I'm on fire watch, theft watch, and Mad Dog watch. Sister Qing and the others are playing Fight the Landlord, and they asked me to keep an eye out."
He Chao looked through the window and saw that the little friend who had been on his mind was also playing Fight the Landlord inside.
Wan Da gave a brief report on the situation: "Brother Yu is like a gambling god, he's won almost every round. He's already won 30,000 yuan and Sister Qing is about to cry."
Although they were playing Fight the Landlord, they were using A4 paper cut into cards with crude drawings of hearts and spades. The small stack of cards was flimsy and difficult to shuffle.
It seemed like a spur-of-the-moment decision to play this. After getting to know each other, the students in Class 3 became quite mischievous.
Xie Yu was the banker.
He really did win 30,000 yuan - a black pen wrote a three on a white piece of paper, followed by four zeros.
He Chao stood in the hallway, leaning against the windowsill, watching with great interest.
One of the players, Xu Qingqing, felt like she couldn't continue playing. Playing cards with Xie Yu was no fun at all, and she felt sad and miserable. She really wanted to go back half an hour ago, before Wan Da had asked Xie Yu to join, and just strangle Wan Da to death.
Holding the remaining cards in her hand, she looked around and saw He Chao outside the window. Her eyes lit up and she blurted out, "Brother Chao, grab your desk mate away!"
Xie Yu: "..."
The word "grab" seemed to have become a sensitive term after what happened before, and he couldn't quite describe how he felt.
He Chao didn't react for a moment.
"Your desk mate is like a walking cheat in Fight the Landlord," Xu Qingqing continued, "the game experience is extremely poor."
Xie Yu put down his cards and wanted to salvage his dignity before leaving. "It's because all of your skills are too bad."
Xu Qingqing reluctantly admitted her poor card skills in order to bid farewell to the this Buddha. "Yes, we are really terrible," she said.
He Chao said, "So you still need one more person."
"Me!" Wan Da raised her hand. "I want to play too."
Xu Qingqing was now afraid that as soon as they sent one person away, another would come. She asked cautiously, "How good are you at cards?"
"I'm really bad. I've never won any money in my life," Wan Da said. "I only dare to play low-stakes games for Fight the Landlord. I wouldn't even dare to think about playing against someone like Brother Yu, who is a king of the game."