Chapter 36 - Chapter 36

Jiang Cheng felt that Old Xu was quite responsible, but he really didn't want to say anything, nor did he know what to say. Even if he did say something, to explain clearly why he acted that way, there were too many things that needed to be told at the same time, and he simply didn't want to face it all.  

Compared to that, he'd rather just quietly accept the punishment. He just felt a little sorry for Old Xu, who was so anxious for his students.

Old Xu spent half a class period earnestly advising him, trying to make him understand with reason and move him with emotion. Jiang Cheng felt that Old Xu was nearly in tears. In the end, he didn't get any information out of Jiang Cheng, so he could only let him return to the classroom.

As he was going downstairs, the loudmouth from Class 5 who had gone to the infirmary to get medicine happened to be coming back too.  

His injuries didn't seem too serious - mostly abrasions and bruises. The most obvious was the swelling. 

Jiang Cheng had kept punching him with his right hand, so the loudmouth's left eye was so swollen there was only a slit left, and his left cheek was also swollen, making him look a bit lopsided.

When he saw Jiang Cheng, his one and a half eyes seemed to spew fire.  

Jiang Cheng stopped in his tracks, standing two or three meters away from the stairwell without going any further.

"What's the matter!" The loudmouth spat on the ground. "Weren't you quite arrogant earlier? Scared now?"

Jiang Cheng didn't make a sound.  

The loudmouth glared at him with two and a half eyes again, cursing and swearing as he went upstairs. Jiang Cheng waited until he couldn't hear his voice anymore before entering the stairwell and slowly heading upstairs himself.

Old Lu probably hadn't taught this period. When Jiang Cheng entered the classroom, he was standing at the podium yelling at people, making plaster dust fall from the ceiling.

"The hero returns!" When Old Lu saw him, his teaching rod immediately pointed over. "Jiang Cheng, let me give you some advice!"

Jiang Cheng turned to look at him.

"Go write a thesis on how to cross between two fighting groups and get to the hallway unharmed!" Teacher Lu yelled. "When you finish I'll print it out and post it on the classroom board!"

"...Oh." Jiang Cheng responded with some resignation and returned to his seat.  

"It's not just me saying this," Old Lu waved his teaching rod around the podium, pointing to the right and left sides. "All of you! You only seem like decent people when you're asleep! As soon as you open your eyes, you're piles of shit! You exhaust your parents half to death just so they can send you piles of shit to school to fool around..."

"Did you go to the principal's office?" Gu Fei lowered his head, playing on his phone while asking.

"No." Jiang Cheng replied.  

"Then they'll probably catch everyone together after school." Gu Fei said.  

Gu Fei was quite experienced. In the last few minutes before the end of the last period, the principal, Old Xu, and the head teacher of Class 5 were all blocking the hallway entrance.

Everyone involved in the fight was pulled out without exception and brought to the principal's office.

The principal first scolded them, then asked them to explain the motive for the fight. The whole bunch of them couldn't give a reason, they just said someone hit first so everyone else joined in.

In the end, the principal focused on Jiang Cheng and the loudmouth. 

"He said you hit him," the principal looked at Jiang Cheng. "Why?"

"That's right, there must be a reason for this," Old Xu immediately said. "Jiang Cheng's grades are in the top ten of his year at a key high school..."

"Teacher Xu, I know he's a top student," the principal interrupted Old Xu. "Let me finish asking first."  

Old Xu shut his mouth.  

But Jiang Cheng remained silent.

When the principal was about to get angry, Wang Xu raised his hand: "I know."

"Speak," the principal glanced at him. "I've never seen you so well-behaved in class, even raising your hand. "

"He was running around cursing outside our classroom," Wang Xu said. "Saying stuff like 'Cheng Cheng, I'll f*ck your mom' and other nonsense in a mocking tone... Of course anyone hearing that would get mad."

"What did you say!" As soon as the loudmouth heard this, he started yelling. "When did I curse people!"

"During morning self-study," Wang Xu glared at him. "Why else would a top student like him hit you? You were asking for it."

"F*ck!" The loudmouth was furious, so angry that his left eye opened wide. "I..."  

"Principal, listen to him!" Wang Xu got excited. "Listen, he's still cursing now! He was much louder during morning self-study, we all heard it. How could we not start a fight!" 

"Yeah! We all heard it!" The bunch of people pulled from Class 8 all chimed in agreement.

"Heard my ass!" The loudmouth's face turned red as he looked at his own classmates. "Did you guys hear it!"

"No! He didn't curse at all!" Class 5 banded together.

"Of course you didn't hear," Gu Fei was standing casually leaning against the desk at the back. "You're a whole classroom away. He cursed right by Jiang Cheng."

"Gu Fei!" The loudmouth pointed at Gu Fei, unable to get any words out for a long time.

"You were pretty loud when you were yelling later." Gu Fei smiled. "They must have heard that at least." 

"Enough." The principal shot Gu Fei a glare.  

Gu Fei took out his phone and started playing with it lowered.

The facts were already clear. The loudmouth cursed, got hit, and provoked a fight between the two classes. Although the loudmouth strongly protested, the principal still felt there was no problem with this version of events.  

In a school like No. 4 High School, none of those who started fighting were innocent.

Next was the two head teachers arguing back and forth, trying to push the blame onto the other class's students. Old Xu debated as if he was in class, without much momentum, but his relentless nagging wore the other teacher down. 

She was a female teacher who tried to interrupt several times but couldn't get a word in. Finally she waved her hand dismissively. "Forget it, I won't say any more. Teacher Xu really is wasting his talent as a teacher with that eloquence of his."

"You flatter me." Old Xu nodded politely. 

"Alright, alright, no need to argue anymore." The principal also looked exhausted.

The final handling was for everyone involved in the fight to write at least an 800-word self-criticism, clean the school bathrooms for a week, and the ringleaders Jiang Cheng and the loudmouth would have to stand on stage and read their self-criticisms at Monday morning assembly, as well as receive a warning punishment.

As soon as punishment was mentioned, Old Xu and the Class 5 head teacher became anxious at the same time.

"Principal, I don't think this incident is serious enough to warrant punishment," the Class 5 head teacher said. "Also, judging by the injuries, our class..."

"Yes!" Old Xu said loudly.  

At this moment, Jiang Cheng felt as if he saw Old Lu's spirit possess him.

But Old Xu's next sentence was back to his own self: "They're children in their teens. Some impulsiveness is normal. As educators and guides, we can't take this one size fits all approach to punish them. What effect would a punishment have? It would only leave a mark on their records, only reducing the workload for us educators. I don't agree with this approach. I think we should use our love and care, our patience and..."

"Teacher Xu, Teacher Xu, Old Xu," the principal held out his hand with a pained expression, his other hand looked ready to clutch his chest. "I understand, I know your good intentions..."

"As educators facing so many children, of course we'll feel overwhelmed at times, but this is the profession we chose..." Old Xu showed no intention of stopping. "Who wasn't impulsive at their age? Look, we were classmates, remember how you were in high school..."

"Xu Qichang!" The principal shouted his full name. "I said I know already!" 

Jiang Cheng was feeling pretty down earlier, but suddenly his mood lifted for some reason. Old Xu's words were quite funny, but he still felt moved. Having a teacher like this was a blessing, even if Old Xu could never find the right way to communicate with students due to his low EQ...

But now he really wanted to laugh. He definitely wasn't the only one thinking this, as he could already hear Wang Xu failing to hold in a few laughs.

"Alright," the principal drank two big gulps of water. "No punishment for now, but you'll be monitored. Any misbehavior this semester will lead to additional punishment, not a warning but straight to a demerit." 

"Reporting," Gu Fei said from the back. "Why do I need to write a self-criticism?"

"You didn't fight?" The principal slammed his cup on the table.

"No," Gu Fei said. "I was trying to stop it." 

"I told him to try and stop it." Old Xu nodded.  

"You hit me!" The loudmouth yelled, nearly jumping in anger.

"Who saw it?" Gu Fei narrowed his eyes and glanced around at everyone's faces. "Who saw me hit you?"

The loudmouth was so angry his hands were shaking, unable to get any words out for a long time.

"If you didn't fight then what are you doing here!" The principal yelled at Gu Fei.

"You all dragged me here." Gu Fei said. 

"...You write a self-criticism," the principal said. "Write about how I caught you skipping class and climbing the wall this week! And read it on stage too!"

After leaving the principal's office, the mood was quite low in both classes. Old Xu escorted them all the way out the school gate to the parking area, wanting to say something more, but failed to get a word out.

Because the bunch of them were crouching in the parking area laughing uncontrollably, unable to stop.

Jiang Cheng still felt like laughing a bit even sitting in the little mantou car, and had to open the window a crack to get some fresh air and clear his head.

"We're taking this car to Ding Zhuxin's place?" He asked after driving for a while.

"Yeah," Gu Fei nodded. "Very convenient." 

"Hey, I was just wondering," Jiang Cheng said. "This car is for old people, how can you drive it as a young guy without the cops bothering you?"

"Why would they bother me, you think this is your neighborhood?" Gu Fei said. "If they do stop me, I'll just say I'm delivering the car to my grandpa. No big deal."

"Can your grandpa drive?" Jiang Cheng asked with a smile.  

"Don't know, he died a long time ago." Gu Fei said.

"Oh." Jiang Cheng paused briefly and didn't say anything else.

"Suicide," Gu Fei stopped at a red light, leaning back in his seat and speaking very casually. "Drank pesticide." 

"Why?" Jiang Cheng was a bit surprised.

"Because he had a scumbag son," Gu Fei said. He was silent for a while, then after the green light came on he drove another half block before speaking again. "There are too many f*cked up people and things in this world. You just didn't run into them before."

Jiang Cheng looked at his back silhouette without making a sound.

"Don't think too much," Gu Fei said. "It's much easier to live like an bystander." 

"Oh." Jiang Cheng responded. Then he closed his eyes.

Ding Zhuxin wasn't at the studio today. Amongst the piles of clothes, only a young girl was busy tidying up.

"Sis Ding's assistant, Xiao Lu." Gu Fei introduced her briefly. "This is Jiang Cheng, today's model." 

"So handsome..." The girl smiled. "Oh, I'm called Cia, but he couldn't pronounce it smoothly so he gave me a nickname." 

Then she pointed to the two racks of clothes on the shelf. "Today's outfits, already put together. I'll do your makeup in a bit."

While Xiao Lu did Jiang Cheng's makeup, he glanced over today's clothes with his peripheral vision. They seemed similar to yesterday's, mostly mage-style, or beggar-style. But not all were knitwear this time, a large portion was coarse linen...the beggar-style looked even more beggar-like.

But Jiang Cheng was willing to wear these, at least he wouldn't get aired from all sides.

"Done, you actually don't need much makeup," Xiao Lu stepped back two steps to look at him. "Your facial features should photograph very clearly, the contours are so defined." 

"You talk a lot," Gu Fei stuck his head out from the inner room holding a camera. "Hurry up and get changed, shooting until evening every day is tiring as hell."

"Good to go," Xiao Lu clapped her hands. "I'll leave the rest to you guys. I need to head to the warehouse, if anyone calls here please help pick up and tell them to call my cell."

"Okay." Gu Fei nodded.

Jiang Cheng waited until Xiao Lu left before going over to the racks, wanting to pick an outfit he found acceptable.

"We're shooting them all," Gu Fei leaned against the door. "You'll wear them all eventually, earlier or later."

"...I know." Jiang Cheng had no choice but to randomly grab one set.

Gu Fei turned and went back into the room. Jiang Cheng looked it over, this set had quite a lot of layers, not bad, it was warm.  

He just didn't understand why all of Ding Zhuxin's designs seemed indistinguishable between male and female, or rather looked goddamned feminine. 

At least this set had a pair of loose linen pants, but the top was a loose long tunic. Putting it on made him feel like he should be holding a string of prayer beads.

"Hmm," Gu Fei raised his eyebrows when he came back in. "This set looks good."

"Don't make me critique your taste." Jiang Cheng stood in front of the array of lights that had been set up, without the awkwardness from yesterday of not knowing what to do with his hands. After a whole day of shooting he was used to standing here now.

"Walk around casually, turn, look back," Gu Fei held up the camera aimed at him. "Smile or not, whatever you like."

Jiang Cheng shuffled around in front of his lens a few circles. "Good?"

"Great," Gu Fei said. "One more close up of your face then go change." 

"Why do we need a close up of my face." Jiang Cheng looked at him.

"You have a little cut on your lips...don't tell me you didn't notice?" Gu Fei asked.

"I noticed," Jiang Cheng said. "What does that have to do with a close up?"

"It's pretty cool," Gu Fei clicked the shutter. "Alright, go change."

"No, why?" Jiang Cheng didn't move.  

"I'm taking a personal shot," Gu Fei said. "Didn't I take personal shots of you before too?"

"...Fine." Jiang Cheng walked out. His mind had been chaotic all morning, and he was too lazy to think anymore now.

He took another set from the rack. He didn't get a clear look at the top, but the bottoms were still pants, so he put those on first.

After putting them on, he was a little speechless. These were pants that were neither here nor there. 

But by now he could roughly grasp Ding Zhuxin's style. Whatever he couldn't understand, he should just go barefoot.

It was just clothes... 

"Gu Fei," Jiang Cheng came in shirtless, with a bundle of coarse linen in his hands. He had on the not-quite pants below. "You two are childhood friends, explain to me what the hell this thing is for?"

"Hm?" Gu Fei put down the camera and glanced over Jiang Cheng's body a few times. Jiang Cheng did indeed have a nice physique, especially that scar on his ribs...

Jiang Cheng shook out the item in his hand: "Is this raw material? Unprocessed?" 

Gu Fei laughed when he saw the large rectangular piece of coarse linen. "I see, give it here." 

Jiang Cheng tossed the fabric to him. Gu Fei gathered it up, folding it into a strip, then draped it over Jiang Cheng's shoulders and wrapped it around twice.

"What the f*ck, a scarf?" Jiang Cheng was stunned.

"...No, but you can think of it that way." Gu Fei pulled and tugged the fabric every which way for a while, making it look casually wrapped.

"If someone buys this I'll eat it." Jiang Cheng said.  

"It might not be for sale, just a display of the design concept," Gu Fei stepped back two paces. "There, very sexy."

"I feel like it'll fall off if I move at all," Jiang Cheng stood rigidly, propping up the fabric draped over his arms. "I can't move now."

“Just run past me from the front, don't worry if it falls or not.” Gu Fei raised the camera.

Jiang Cheng shuffled over robotically. Though the motion was silly, his smooth muscular back was still gorgeous. Gu Fei clicked the shutter.


“Are you sick?” Jiang Cheng turned his head, not fully turning likely to avoid dislodging the drape. “Personal shot again?”

“Yeah, not like I got your face,” Gu Fei said.

“You're just like Wang Xu,” Jiang Cheng stood still.

“If I'm the photographer, you'll look even more handsome. If it's him, the only reason it'll look good is your face,” Gu Fei said. 

“...Hurry up, it's slipping!” Jiang Cheng really didn't know what to say.

“Run,” Gu Fei said.  

Jiang Cheng darted past rigidly above the waist.

"Alright?" He turned his head to look at Gu Fei, the cloth on his body had already smoothly fallen to the ground. 

Gu Fei held the camera, looking at him without saying anything.

"Okay, I get it," Jiang Cheng sighed, "Is it a bit..."

"You just ran like a chicken." Gu Fei said.  

"Fuck," Jiang Cheng was a bit unhappy, "What the hell did you say?"

"Have you ever seen a chicken run?" Gu Fei said, "Its head doesn't move."

Jiang Cheng stared at him. After a few seconds, he squatted down and laughed at the ground: "Fuck, I'm not shooting this anymore."

"It's piecework." Gu Fei said with a smile, "Be diligent."  

He had to stand up again: "Okay, I'll try to run less like a chicken again."

Gu Fei came over and picked up the hemp cloth from the ground and re-wrapped it around his body.

Maybe because he was bare-chested, when Gu Fei got close, he felt Gu Fei's breath blowing on his shoulder...this feeling made his heart beat faster.

Breathing on the face, on the ears, would not have such an obvious sense of ambiguity, the shoulders are in a region that feels private during this season because they are not usually exposed in this season. 

He felt a little uncomfortable, but he didn't move or say anything, because he could feel that Gu Fei was being very careful, and didn't touch him at all when pulling the cloth.

He didn't want to make himself look too sentimental and sensitive in Gu Fei's eyes.

"Done," Gu Fei looked at it, "Run from here, it's just right to get the scar shot."

"What's with the hobby of shooting scars." Jiang Cheng said.

"An experienced..." Gu Fei raised the camera, "little monk, with a mysterious past."

Just as Jiang Cheng was about to speak, he shouted again: "Run!"

Jiang Cheng had to sprint over there, because he didn't want to run a third time, this time he ran recklessly, halfway through he felt the cloth slipping down his body, but he didn't care, taking big steps and running over after a few steps.

Looking back, the cloth had fallen in the middle position.

Gu Fei looked at the camera screen: "Too awesome." 

Among the few snapshots was one where he was jumping up, his legs stretched out very smoothly, and the "scarf" on his body was in a half-slipped state, very sensational.

"Can I change now?" Jiang Cheng asked.

"One more static shot," Gu Fei thought about it, pointing to the single sofa behind, "Sit there, just casually wrap that cloth around, throw the extra behind."

"Okay." Jiang Cheng sat down.

"Put your arms on the armrests on both sides, relax, the lazier the better," Gu Fei looked at him through the lens, "Rest your legs on the other leg."

"I never cross my legs," Jiang Cheng crossed his legs, "Like this?"

"Don't do that, it's sissy," Gu Fei said, "Rest your calf and ankle there."

"Oh," Jiang Cheng propped his legs as he said, then leaned back into the sofa, throwing his head back, "How about this?"

After Gu Fei pressed the shutter, he held up the camera for a long time without moving.

"Done?" Jiang Cheng asked.  

"Done," Gu Fei put down the camera, "Can I edit this one and post it to my friends circle?"

"Ah?" Jiang Cheng was stunned for a moment. He knew Gu Fei often posted photos, of Er Miao, of the scenery, and many portraits of people he knew and didn't know.

"This one and the one before," Gu Fei glanced at him, "Is it okay?"

"Ah, okay," Jiang Cheng nodded, and then asked another sentence, "Do you often take photos of people for money?"

"Not often," Gu Fei said, "Long term."

"Oh," Jiang Cheng suddenly felt a little emotional. This was the first time in his life he had earned money for himself. Last year, Pan Zhi had told him to go hand out flyers to experience life, and he didn't even go. "You're fucking awesome."

"Bullshit," Gu Fei answered simply, "My family spends money in a lot of areas, relying on that shop really isn't enough, Gu Miao still needs medicine."

"Your mother... doesn't work?" Jiang Cheng asked.

"She's too busy, she needs to date," Gu Fei smiled, "She hasn't worked since my dad died." 

Jiang Cheng didn't say anything. This was the first time he had heard Gu Fei mention his father's death, as expected, he really was dead. did he die?

He remembered Li Baoguo's words, although he didn't believe them, but... he also couldn't ask, unless Gu Fei was willing to say it himself one day, just like with his own matters.

It was time to change into the next set of clothes, Jiang Cheng went out and quickly changed into the next set and came back in.  

Gu Fei took one look and felt like laughing for a moment. He really didn't know what Ding Zhuxin was thinking with this one.

"Crazy primitive man?" Jiang Cheng turned around very helplessly, then took out something from behind his waist and shook it, "It even came with a slingshot? Not to criticize, but this slingshot is defective, right? Anything shot from it will be crooked."

"Is that so," this outfit couldn't even bring out the look even on Jiang Cheng's figure and face, Gu Fei couldn't help it, put down the camera and laughed for a good while, "Then use yours."

As soon as these words came out, he and Jiang Cheng both fell silent at the same time.

The room was so quiet that even the gurgling sound of the water dispenser sounded like thunder.

Gu Fei had a feeling. 

That he was going to die.


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