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  • The Flower of Youth Blooms when He Smiles

    Chapter 11

    To be honest, no one liked exams, and Meng Shengnan was the same.

    But that semester, she counted down the days every day. She kept on thinking about it, wanting to fly to the examination room in the next second, look up and see him. On the morning of the exam, she deliberately wore the new red puffer jacket Sheng Dian had bought for her. On the way to school, she met Xue Lin, the girl smiled with her eyes slanted and glanced at her several times.

    “What are you doing in such a good-looking outfit, Meng Shengnan?”

    She pursed her mouth and smiled shyly, worrying about others discovering her feelings, so she made an excuse to leave quickly. Whilst on the road, she walked very fast, only slowing down until she reached the door of the classroom, and became nervous again.

    She peeked in several times, he hadn’t come yet.

    Meng Shengnan breathed a sigh of relief, went in and pretended to find her own seat, walking around in a big circle, and discovered that he was sitting diagonally behind her. There was a seat number stuck on the wooden table, his name was written on top of it. She suppressed the excitement and anxiety in her heart and returned to her seat, staring at the direction of the door, concealing her inner nervousness and spinning her pen.

    It was the same opening scene.

    With some chaotic laughs, a few boys walked in with their arms on each other’s shoulders. All the examinees in this classroom were in the bottom rankings of the school, it wasn’t until the exam time came near that they rushed over one by one, looking carefree.

    The following parts of the text will be scrambled to prevent theft from aggregators and unauthorized epub making. Please support our translators by reading on secondlifetranslations (dot) com

    Yldt Fbldtdyd zsolale bla blye pzktbvzu.

    Rd vbl ykpzl, bl rypple cu bla plyv zygkzu okvb bkp bydep kd bkp rsnjlvp, oyzjkdt vs vbl zypv aso, vbl vos sq vblx olal yaaydtle zkjl y Ubkdlpl nblpp ryvvlad. Mbl csu dyxle Fbk Kkd pyv clbkde bla yqvlaoyaep. Mbl vlynbla oyp yzalyeu srldkdt vbl lmyx ryrlap, ulv vblu olal pvkzz nbyvvkdt. Rv oyp iwkvl kdvlalpvkdt, bla dlahswpdlpp eked’v nsxl qasx vbl wrnsxkdt lmyx, cwv qasx vbl rlapsd obs pyv ekytsdyzzu clbkde bla, fwpv y zso zywtb nswze xyjl bla czwpb yde bla blyav vwad shlaoblzxkdtzu.

    Fbl zsolale bla blye yde ralvldele vs zssj yv vbl elpj, zkpvldkdt vs vblx vyzj.

    Fbk Kkd alxkdele: “Nyvla obld usw’al eskdt vbl xwzvkrzl nbsknl iwlpvksdp, oakvl ckttla ps R nyd pll kv.”

    “Psd’v czyxl xl kq R yx oasdt.”

    “Gx R vbyv psav sq rlapsd?”

    Mbl csu zywtble: “Fsaau casvbla, R dlhla vbswtbv usw olald’v vbyv psav sq rlapsd.”

    “W*nj.”

    That exam was Chinese.

    Meng Shengnan answered the complete set of papers with a smile on her face almost the whole time. The invigilator went out after a while, and the classroom became noisy. 

    Although they didn’t dare to be too presumptuous, the whispering became louder.

    Shi Jin whispered: “What did you choose for the fourth question?”

    “Look for it yourself.”

    “Am I a clairvoyant?”

    Chi Zheng turned the paper to the first page, and then held it while shaking it. Shi Jin saw it all at once.

    “Damn, you did it very fast.”

    Chi Zheng sent him a faint glance.

    Shi Jin asked: “For the filling the verses section, what is the phrase before ‘Amorous heart poured out in a bird’s cry’?”

    “I don’t know.”

    Shi Jin frowned, looking around.

    Meng Shengnan was writing her essay when she felt a poke behind her back. She turned around and Shi Jin was looking at her with a smile.

    “Classmate, can I copy yours?”

    This was the first time Meng Shengnan had experienced this, and it was so brazen. She glanced at his paper, there was only one line in the ten empty lines, writing, ‘Silk-capped, with a feather fan, he laughed and jested while the dreaded enemy fleet was burned to ashes,’ and there was even one character that was spelt incorrectly.

    She blinked, afterwards she saw the boy diagonally behind her holding a pen and writing, not looking up even once.

    “Which one?” Meng Shengnan asked Shi Jin.

    Shi Jin chuckled, “I don’t know any of them.”

    She glanced at him, turned around and handed him the paper with her poem verses. Shi Jin thanked her directly in an excited manner and didn’t forget to call Chi Zheng after he finished copying.

    “Brother, hey, look here.”

    Chi Zheng lazily looked over and laughed.

    Shi Jin said: “If you want it, call me brother.”

    “F*ck.”

    Meng Shengnan slowly laughed when she heard the swear word.

    As soon as the Chinese exam bell rang, the classroom went crazy. Meng Shengnan was packing up her pencil case when Shi Jin stopped her.

    “Thanks, classmate, which class are you in?”

    “Humanities (4).”

    “Oh, you study humanities?”

    Meng Shengnan nodded.

    The boy diagonally behind her walked over slowly. Meng Shengnan had just finished packing up so she turned around and left. Shi Jin gave a “tsk” and looked at the person in front of him.

    “You scared her away when you came.”

    Chi Zheng raised his eyes.

    “This girl is quite pretty with short hair and her writing looks good.”

    Chi Zheng was too lazy to reply, and the two chatted while walking out.

    Shi Jin asked: “By the way, how did you answer the last question for the reading comprehension?”

    “When did you love studying so much?”

    “That question was quite interesting so I wanted to ask you.”

    Chi Zheng lit a cigarette while walking: “Which one?”

    “Just that sentence about willow trees and peach blossoms, how does it reflect the author’s mood?”

    Chi Zheng laughed.

    “The h*ll are you laughing at?”

    Chi Zheng took a breath, “How the h*ll do I know how he feels?”

    “F*ck.”

    There were only two hours of break between the exams. Meng Shengnan ate a bowl of noodles at an off-campus restaurant and went back to school. There was no one in the examination room and she sat in her original position, it was already one o’clock.

    In the afternoon, the English exam was starting, except for memorizing some of the vocabulary, she was in a daze.

    It was not very cold that day, and coupled with the heating in the classroom, Meng Shengnan looked a little stuffy in the puffer jacket. When Chi Zheng and Shi Jin came, she looked up and found that they both were wearing very thin clothes. What’s more, Chi Zheng was still wearing a jacket with the zipper open and a thin gray shirt inside.

    The two were chatting.

    Shi Jin said: “It’s over.”

    “Are you sick?” His voice was dull.

    Shi Jin said: “I get overwhelmed when I see English, hey, let me guess, how many points do you plan to get this time?”

    Chi Zheng touched his nose and chuckled lightly.

    “Fine, don’t get another 27 points.” Shi Jin’s lips raised upwards.

    Chi Zheng didn’t speak, directly using his feet, “Scram out of my way.”

    “Don’t, how will you play1‘play’ as in R-rated play with Li Yan if you get so angry?”

    Chi Zheng smiled wickedly, “You’ll have to ask her about it.”

    “F*ck!”

    They smiled and played without any restraints, causing Meng Shengnan to blush and feel disturbed at the same time. After the English exam began, she gradually calmed down, making it to the end in one breath. There was still more than half an hour left, so she checked the questions at the start, filling them in on the answer sheet one by one, and then began to write her essay.

    “What stupid questions.” Shi Jin behind her said carelessly as he did the questions.

    After Meng Shengnan had finished writing the essay, she turned her head and glanced diagonally behind her. He was sleeping on the table. It seems that the 27 points were worthy of their name. Meng Shengnan turned her head back again, earnestly answering all the questions and waited for the bell to ring. Not knowing why something was wrong, she wiped her hand down her nose.

    Oh no, it was all blood.

    It was another rush to find some tissue paper.

    “That classmate, are you okay?” The invigilator had walked over.

    The nosebleed seemed to have opened up a hole and couldn’t stop. Meng Shengnan wiped the blood with one hand and tore the tissue paper with the other, trying to prevent the blood from dripping onto the exam paper and splashing on her clothes, it looked very awkward. Some people in the classroom were already watching, she wanted to find a hole to hide herself in.

    “Why don’t you go and wash it off?” the teacher said.

    Meng Shengnan thought for a while, nodded, grabbed her nose and stood up in a panic while rushing out. She washed herself many times under the faucet and stood there quietly. The exam was not over yet, the surroundings were too quiet. Meng Shengnan closed her eyes fiercely, she wanted to shout but held it back. It was really embarrassing just now, and she didn’t know if he had woken up and seen it.

    For a while, she didn’t have the courage to go back to the classroom.

    It was exactly at that time when Shi Jin glanced at Meng Shengnan’s answer sheet and copied it with great joy. As soon as the last stroke of his pencil was made, the girl came in. Shi Jin recovered like nothing had happened, and he whispered a word of concern.

    “Are you okay, classmate?”

    Meng Shengnan smiled, surprised from receiving concern, shaking her head. In her peripheral vision she glanced at the boy who was still sleeping on the table, and then looked away. The few exams after those two days were as calm and peaceful as water. The exam room looked as if it were unguarded, but the invigilator put a chair at the door to bask in the sun and glanced in from time to time. Almost everyone quickly changed from whispering to sitting upright and seriously.

    She still didn’t dare to face him directly otherwise her heart would thump.

    Humanities and sciences only had the same exam papers for Chinese and English. There were only seven humanities students in their exam room, and the teacher issued papers to them individually. So on the second day of the examination for political history, Shi Jin couldn’t copy a single word. He could only watch Meng Shengnan fill out the questions to the brim, having no power at all to do anything.

    The final exams were over, and the school suddenly became crazy.

    As soon as the bell rang, Meng Shengnan deliberately dawdled for a while. In the end, she couldn’t beat them at dawdling, so she came out of the examination room ahead of time after handing in her paper, and then took a sneak peek. The boy had his back to her and was chatting intensely with someone

    She waited for Qi Qiao in front of the school gates.

    The girl ran over with a smile and asked with her arms around her neck, “Shall we go out and let loose?”

    “Are you not accompanying Song Jiashu?”

    “He wants to play rock and roll with some classmates, so I won’t go.”

    Meng Shengnan looked at her several times, “You are a little strange today.”

    “How am I strange?”

    “Usually all you mention is Song Jiashu, have you two quarrelled?”

    Qi Qiao pursed her mouth, took her hand away from her neck, and her head fell with dejection.

    “It’s boring to be exposed so quickly.”

    Meng Shengnan laughed.

    “Dare to laugh?”

    “Should I cry instead?”

    “Are you even a friend?”

    “Yeah, what does that have to do with my laugh?”

    Qi Qiao: “……”

    Meng Shengnan patted her on the back.

    “Don’t worry, I guarantee that he will come find you tonight.”

     “For real?”

    “Yes.”

    “What if he doesn’t?”

    “Then break up.”

    Qi Qiao: “……”

    After going to the mall with Qi Qiao that day, Meng Shengnan went home early. Sheng Dian had already prepared a table of dishes, waiting for her. Meng Jin was sitting on the sofa watching the news, and the smell of fried chicken wafted out.

    Meng Shengnan walked to the dining table without putting down her school bag, and was caught red handed as she was about to grab it.

    “Eating without washing your hands?”

    She laughed.

    In the end, halfway through eating the chicken legs, the landline phone at home rang, she wiped her hands and ran to pick it up.

    “Hello?”

    A laugh was blooming on the other end.

    “Aren’t you afraid of becoming stupid on this night?” Meng Shengnan was speechless.

    “With him here, what is your sister, I, afraid of.”

    “Ah, you’re good now?”

    Qi Qiao laughed again: “He will take me out to play tomorrow.”

    In the atmosphere of the upcoming Chinese New Year, Meng Shengnan finally understood what it was like to have a boyfriend by his girlfriend’s side spreading dog food2dog food is slang to mean couples who show off their love and you’re there watching like a single dog every day. She looked back at Sheng Dian and Meng Jin sitting at the dinner table, smiling and talking about god knows what.

    “Are you going to be fine tomorrow?” Qi Qiao asked.

    “What’s wrong?”

    “Let’s go together?”

    “Little Qi Qiao, is your invitation sincere or fake?”

    “Just out of politeness.”

    “Che.”

    Qi Qiao laughed.

    The two chatted a few more words, and Meng Shengnan hung up the phone and went back to the dinner table. Sheng Dian stopped talking and put a fried chicken in her bowl.

    “It’s Qiao Qiao, right?”

    “Yep.”

    “You will receive the results notice next week, right?”

    Meng Shengnan nodded, “Next Friday.”

    “When the time comes, discuss with Qi Qiao where the two of you will go play.”

    Meng Shengnan thought for a while, “Let’s talk about it then.”

    That week, Meng Shengnan stayed at home. She wanted to read all the books she had borrowed from the library, and occasionally turned on the computer to write stories when she had inspiration. Sunlight came in through the windows, the rays filling both inside and outside the house.

    The penguin icon rang.

    In the group chat, Scholar Jiang’s Talents Are Exhausted and Scribblings were chatting, from Haizi’s3famous poet poems to Fourier’s4famous French philosopher hallucinatory realism theory, from Schrödinger’s cat5quantam mechanics experiment to Einstein’s parallel universe theory. This kind of IQ, Meng Shengnan felt ashamed. Thinking back to first time they met in the hotel arranged by the Shanghai New Concept Competition Committee, Scholar Jiang’s Talents Are Exhausted went from stating his gender and his sexual orientation, to talking about his goddess Audrey Hepburn. Scribblings, aka Lu Huai directly started talking about the hit drama- Legend of Dagger Lee, the reason being that It Keeps Raining When My House Leaks looked around 60 percent like the male character.

    Each of them were very interesting.

    Downstairs, Sheng Dian was talking to Aunt Kang across the wall, and there were children in the alley playing and firing fireworks.

    Listen.

    To the boundless seas and vast skies. 

    The sounds are noble and far-reaching.

    [Translator’s Note: I actually think Shi Jin is so funny lol, he cheating and then pretending he didn’t do anything when FL comes back. Thanks for reading!]


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