Haishi No. 1 is a high school that values diversity. The school not only offers special classes but also holds many regular competitions every year.
This year, the school is preparing for an English speech competition for the second-year students.
Each class has two spots for registration, and the class with the first-place winner will receive an extra 20 points in the final class evaluation.
During class, the homeroom teacher, Lin Yue, announced the news and encouraged interested students to sign up with Cheng Chu after class.
However, the students lacked enthusiasm for the competition, and by the end of the morning, no one had signed up.
December in Haishi was already in the midst of winter. The plane trees outside the classroom were already bare, adding a touch of desolation to the surroundings.
When Cheng Chu arrived at the classroom in the afternoon, only a few scattered students were sitting inside.
The girl sitting diagonally in front of Cheng Chu looked around and turned to her, saying, "Cheng Chu, I want to sign up for the English speech competition."
"Okay," Cheng Chu nodded and filled out the registration form with her name.
The girl's name was Song Xinyu, and she sat with Lin Luo, also a member of their clique.
Cheng Chu didn't know them well and didn't want to talk to them much. After adding Song Xinyu's name, she silently lowered her head to review the afternoon's homework.
But Song Xinyu didn't turn away.
"Do you have anything else to ask?" Cheng Chu asked.
Song Xinyu shook her head, hesitated for a moment, and whispered, "Um, I want to ask you, besides me, who else signed up?"
Cheng Chu looked at the empty registration form and said, "No one, just you."
Song Xinyu's lips curled up slightly, and a hint of joy appeared on her plain face.
"Okay, thank you," she said.
Seeing her turn her head, Cheng Chu secretly breathed a sigh of relief.
The speech competition was next week, and the script needed to be written by oneself and then submitted to the teacher for revision, so time was a bit tight.
After school that day, Cheng Chu was called to the office by the homeroom teacher, Lin Yue.
"We only have one person signed up for our class?" Lin Yue frowned as she looked at the empty registration form.
She wore a pair of oval-shaped black-framed glasses, and her black hair was always neatly combed. When she frowned, she looked terrifyingly strict.
Cheng Chu was a little afraid of her, but just nodded silently.
"What's going on?" Lin Yue pursed her thin lips. "Each class needs to send two people. If there's no one else, then you'll have to go."
"???" Cheng Chu was taken aback and instinctively refused, "Teacher, I can't do it. I'll get nervous with so many people. Why don't you find someone else?"
She had no interest in English speeches, and with practicing the piano and studying every day, she simply didn't have enough time to think about these things.
In her past life at this time, she had already returned to the advanced class, where her classmates were very enthusiastic about this competition, so she was not needed at all.
It was already after school hours, and most of the teachers in the office had already left. Lin Yue tapped her desk heavily with her fingers.
"You played the piano in front of the whole school before, and you weren't nervous then." Lin Yue calmly said, "The class needs you now, and since I made you the class representative, it's only right for you to go to this competition."
Cheng Chu looked at Lin Yue's serious face and nervously clenched her fingers. She was about to argue, but was immediately shut down.
"Okay, it's decided then. You and Song Xinyu will write the draft before Thursday and give it to me for editing. After I'm done editing, you two can practice over the weekend," Lin Yue said.
"It's getting late now, go back," she added.
Cheng Chu knew there was no room for argument, so she could only nod in resignation.
The next day, Cheng Chu told Song Xinyu about the deadline for the draft, but her expression was strange.
The girl stared at her with a look of both grievance and resentment, "Didn't you say that only I signed up?"
Cheng Chu finally understood and explained, "Yes, it was only you. So, there was one remaining spot, and Teacher Lin asked me to take it."
Song Xinyu didn't say anything. Her charming and captivating eyes stared at her for a moment before she turned away, leaving behind a small, pitiful remark of "Whatever you say."
Cheng Chu was a bit confused. Who was she trying to show this pitiful look to? It was as though she was being bullied.
The classroom was cold on this winter day, but Cheng Chu felt a sudden surge of anger.
She took a deep breath and looked down at her textbook, suppressing her inner restlessness.
The surroundings were peaceful, with only the sound of pages turning.
"Don't mind her."
Cheng Chu was surprised and looked up. Under the winter sun, Gu Miao's dark eyes also had a hint of brightness.
He seemed shy under the girl's gaze, avoiding eye contact and clenching his hands.
"You, don't pay attention to her."
Cheng Chu's anxiousness dissipated and a smile crept onto her lips as she spoke in a clear and joyful voice, "Mmm, I know."
The girl's voice was crisp and pleasant, causing Gu Miao's ears to turn slightly red.
He nodded in a fluster and turned to look at his textbook on the desk, but several minutes passed and he hadn't turned a single page.
After spending these few days together, Cheng Chu had already figured out that the future Chief was now an easily embarrassed and occasionally stuttering young man.
He couldn't help but blush and fumble around when she spoke to him, his hands and feet unsure of where to go.
Cheng Chu turned her head and stopped teasing him, afraid that if she said too much, his face would turn red.
These past few days, Cheng Chu had been busy to the point of exhaustion, having to write a speech and practice piano and study.
After submitting her script, Cheng Chu noticed that something was off in the atmosphere of the class. The people who used to cozy up to her were nowhere to be found, and those who always went to the bathroom with her were also gone.
At first, Cheng Chu didn't pay much attention to it.
But when she went to get water after class, several girls in front of her suddenly quieted down and one even glanced at her before whispering something to the girl next to her, as if they were afraid Cheng Chu would hear them talking behind her back.
Back in the classroom, Cheng Chu turned to Luo Qianqian and asked, "Has anyone been talking behind my back lately?"
"Huh?" Luo Qianqian's eyes were wandering, and she couldn't bring herself to look at Cheng Chu.
It seemed like something was definitely going on.
Cheng Chu then asked Zhou Ran, "Do you know anything about it?"
Zhou Ran chuckled awkwardly, "I have no idea about girls' stuff."
Gu Miao stood with his back to them, his fingers stiffening as she discreetly perked up his ears.
He had always been excluded, with only Cheng Chu willing to get close to him, but recently Zhou Ran and Luo Qianqian had joined in.
So as long as the three of them didn't say anything, he was almost oblivious to the gossip in the class.
It was the end of class and the noise level was high.
Cheng Chu's face turned serious as she said, "You guys know, right? Tell me about it. I can't be the only one who doesn't know about my own business."
"Ahem." Luo Qianqian cleared her throat and looked cautiously at Cheng Chu's cold peach blossom eyes. "Chuchu, we don't believe what others say."
"Exactly," Zhou Ran nodded along, "you know that Song Xinyu and Lin Luo's little group always like to isolate others and stir up trouble for no reason."
Cheng Chu also nodded, "So they were talking bad about me?"
After rejecting Lin Luo before and now offending Song Xinyu, it would be strange if they didn't talk bad about her.
The seats in front were empty, and the two culprits who isolated her were nowhere to be found.
Cheng Chu sighed and looked out the window at the bare branches without saying a word.
When she turned back, she found that Gu Miao, who was sitting next to her, had disappeared.
The cold winter wind howled, and there weren't many people in the hallway. Most of the students chose to stay in the classroom after class.
Gu Miao held a plastic water bottle in his hand, and his dark eyes were as cold as the winter wind. He walked down the hallway and saw the backs of Lin Luo and Song Xinyu.
The two girls were not very tall, wearing cotton coats over their school uniforms, which made them look a bit bulky. They stood in front and back, with Song Xinyu leaning her head on Lin Luo's shoulder, happily chatting away.
Gu Miao felt their smiles were a bit annoying, and he quietly approached and listened to their conversation.
"I think no one talked to her today except for Luo Qianqian."
"She deserves it. She's such a bitch. She clearly signed up herself and lied to you that she didn't."
"Hey, maybe the teacher really added her in?"
"Do you believe that? Xinyu, you're too naive."
Song Xinyu frowned, blinked her watery eyes, and whispered, "But her grades are better than mine. She should win this competition."
Lin Luo unscrewed the lid and placed the bottle under the warm tap without even looking back. "She's just good at exams, we don't even test speaking skills. I thought you read well last time, you must be better than her."
"Really?" Song Xinyu asked excitedly.
"Of course, let's see how she feels after the competition." Lin Luo turned off the tap and was about to close the lid when her shoulder was suddenly bumped.
The bottle flew out of her hand and warm water splashed onto Song Xinyu's coat.
"Ah!" Song Xinyu screamed in fright.
Lin Luo was also splashed with water and was about to scold someone when she saw Gu Miao staring at her coldly.
On a bitterly cold winter day, the deep, unfathomable eyes of the young man were even colder than the north wind, like a cold, venomous snake, cold and sinister.
Looking at the two of them was like staring at dirty garbage on the ground.
Lin Luo had been about to utter a curse, but it suddenly got stuck in her throat. She had never seen Gu Miao like this before.
In her memory, this silent young man always sat in the corner of the classroom, even when a few boys mocked him, he never reacted.
This was the first time she had seen him like this, so terrifying.
He was even more frightening than usual, like an evil spirit crawling out of hell. With just a flick of his finger, he could reduce their burning bodies to ashes.
The cold winter wind was howling, and the warm water in Lin Luo's hand had long since turned icy. She shivered from the cold.
Terrified by Gu Miao's gaze, Song Xinyu pulled Lin Luo's hand and whispered, "Let's go, don't worry about it."
With a strong demeanor, Lin Luo glared at Gu Miao before being dragged away by Song Xinyu.
Even as she sat in the classroom, Lin Luo couldn't shake off the fear she felt.
She couldn't help but think of the sinister and venomous look in Gu Miao's eyes, like a sticky snake hissing a warning.
It was clear that if he heard anything like that again, it wouldn't be as simple as a warning.
Translations during sleepless nights. I can sleep when I'm dead! ...Please let me sleep. Happy readers keep me awake, and lots of love and a huge thank you for supporting my hobby!
Give me feedback at moc.ebircssutol@ypeels.