That period of math class passed by very slowly.
After getting through the class until the bell rang, Meng Shengnan laid on the table wanting to sleep. Out of curiosity, she still wanted to turn her head to look at the girl named Li Yan in the back row. She didn’t know whether this Li Yan was another Li Yan. It had been more than a week since she was put into this class, she didn’t know that many people.
It’s just that, she swept her gaze around the room and still didn’t find the unfamiliar face.
“Who are you looking for?” Fusong asked her suddenly.
Meng Shengnan raised her eyelids and glanced at him: “A beauty.”
Fusong also turned his head to look at the back row. After a while, a girl in the second-to-last row of the third group suddenly stood up and walked out the door. A girl in the seat shouted, “Li Yan, where are you going?”
The girl who was called turned her head and smiled: “Guess.”
Fusong turned back and asked Meng Shengnan, “Does she count?”
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Yldt Fbldtdyd oyvnble vbl tkaz oyzj swv sq vbl nzyppassx okvb y takd sd bla qynl, yde vbld alvwadle Wwpsdt’p osaep: “Fbl nswdvp.” Lsv sdzu eke pbl zssj clywvkqwz, bla hsknl oyp yzps pollv, yde pbl zssjle tsse kd bla pnbssz wdkqsax.
Wwpsdt: “Zsw yal dsv cye lkvbla.”
Yldt Fbldtdyd tyhl bkx y tzydnl pkeloyup.
Wwpsdt pyke: “Zswa oyu sq vbkdjkdt kp y ckv xlppu aktbv dso. Wasx vbl rlaprlnvkhl sq xyvlakyzkpx, kv aliwkalp y pvytl qsa uswa xyvlakyzkpx vs wrtayel vs uswa nsdpnkswpdlpp. Zsw byrrld vs cl pvwnj kd vbl nldvla sq vbkp pvytl. Mbkp kdekalnvzu zlyep vs kelyzkpx. Zsw xwpv xyjl yefwpvxldvp vs ldpwal vbyv usw okzz nsdnldvayvl kd vbl dlmv nzypp.”
Yldt Fbldtdyd: “…”
Tye kv dsv clld vbyv vblka alprlnvkhl vyczlxyvlp bye tsdl vs vbl cyvbassx vstlvbla, pbl twlpple vbyv vblu oswze byhl zywtble zsdt yts cu dso.
Yldt Fbldtdyd pvyale yv bkx hktsaswpzu: “Wwpsdt.”
“Are you sure you are an earthling?”
Fusong glanced at her with a particularly serious expression.
Meng Shengnan couldn’t help but say: “You know, I really, really admire philosophers in my life, and what they say is more truthful than the truth, and the key is, you can’t even understand what they’re saying.”
Fuaong waited for her to finish.
Meng Shengnan chuckled, “I will call you Philosophy Rat from now on.”
Fusong frowned slightly: “Why a rat?”
Meng Shengnan: “Squirrel1 squirrel in Chinese has the word rat in it, it’s in your name. Besides, the rat is the first in the zodiac, isn’t it a good name?”
“Squirrels are not the same as rats.”
Meng Shengnan said that of course she knew the difference, and then smiled again: “It’s almost the same, you Philosophical Rat.”
Fusong didn’t respond, it seemed that he had silently agreed to it.
After the third class in the afternoon, there was a one-hour break. Nie Jing was discussing a question about English imperative sentences with her. When they had arrived at modal verbs plus the base form of verbs, Qi Qiao came over to find her for dinner.
The two talked as they walked to the cafeteria.
“Song Jiashu is busy?” Meng Shengnan asked.
Qi Qiao went ‘yes’ and said, “So I can only come and bother you during this period of time.”
Meng Shengnan rolled his eyes: “You value sex over friendship.”
Qi Qiao chuckled, holding onto Meng Shengnan’s arm and said that she would treat her tonight.
The cafeteria was overcrowded, and the two of them finally found an empty seat to sit down on after getting their food. Qi Qiao was sweating, and kept using her hand as a fan, muttering and complaining: “There are too many people here.”
Meng Shengnan took a bite of the grilled sausage, looked around, and said to Qi Qiao: “Let’s not come too early next time, we can come later.”
Qi Qiao nodded.
After eating for a few minutes, Qi Qiao asked how Meng Shengnan’s manuscript was going.
Meng Shengnan shook her head: “I wrote a thousand words and then deleted it, I have no inspiration.”
Qi Qiao reached out to pat Meng Shengnan: “Be good, pat pat.”
Meng Shengnan dodged sideways before she could touch her. She said ‘Eh’ with a bit of disdain and lightly hit her wrist, “Oily hands.”
Qi Qiao: “Hmph.”
Meng Shengnan lowered her head to drink the millet porridge, raised her eyes at random, and saw a few students suddenly approaching from diagonally across the aisle from her. Each of them were carrying food in their hands, and there was only one girl in the middle, it was Li Yan.
Next to Li Yan, was a boy walking frivolously in a school uniform with an open zipper.
Among the few people, only he had his hands in his pockets, he didn’t carry anything in his hands. Meng Shengnan slowly redacted her gaze and went back to drinking the porridge, maintaining her composure. She didn’t think it really was him…he was also a student at the No.9 High school. She had never seen him in her humanities classes, so he studied science? Those boys were a little loud, and they didn’t hold back their laughter, so much so that Meng Shengnan had to listen even if she didn’t want to. Looking back at Qi Qiao, the girl seemed to be extremely hungry and didn’t pay any attention at all.
There was still laughter and cursing and comedic banter over there.
A male voice said, “Hey, I say, Li Yan, you have to lock him up, this kid is wild.”
“Li Yan, I’ll take care of this matter for you as a brother. I will definitely watch him for you. In the future, will you introduce a pretty girl to your brother me?”
The group of boys laughed.
“Are you still eating or not?” It was him.
That voice was exactly the same as the lazy tone from the internet café when he said “do you want to try next time”.
A group of boys collectively went ‘Che’ and started to banter again.
Meng Shengnan finished her meal quickly and got up to leave with Qi Qiao. When she passed that table, she could vaguely hear his low laugh and Li Yan’s sweet and soft voice that could make one go numb.
She shook her head lightly to stop her random thoughts.
When she was at the self-study session, Old Wet came and wandered around. She then warned about some things related to their studies before finally leaving. As soon as she was gone, the classroom became bustling again with a bang. But before the excitement could last for a minute, Old Wet suddenly burst open the door with a serious expression on his face.
“Why is it noisy, do you still want to study?”
With English textbooks under her arm, she walked back and forth in the aisles of the classroom, the classmates did not dare to even take a single big breath. She went around a few times before slowly speaking, “There is a school mock exam in November. When the time comes, the seats will be arranged according to the results, and parents will be called if you regress too much.”
There was a collective sound of inhaling.
When Old Wet had finished reprimanding and everyone felt that she wouldn’t suddenly come back, they all slowly relaxed. Xue Lin patted her chest, “I was scared to death. Why is she like this? Other people sit casually in other classes.”
Meng Shengnan was writing down her English notes and also sighed for a while.
Nie Jing slowly turned to look at Xiang Fusong, and whispered, “Fusong, can you teach me this topic.”
Fusong looked up at her with a glance: “Be careful, she might be watching from the back door.”
Nie Jing pursed her lips and turned back around.
Xue Lin glanced at Nie Jing, then at Fusong, and couldn’t help but criticise inwardly.
The days during that time always passed by quickly without knowing, as if it was suddenly already the National Day holiday. That afternoon, Old Wet emphasized the safety matters. Everyone tried to conceal their excitement before leaving school and endured their annoyance while listening to her.
Meng Shengnan looked sideways at the window, there were blue sky and white clouds.
After school finally ended, the few people next to her were already packing their schoolbags. Seeing that she hadn’t moved yet, Nie Jing couldn’t help but ask, “Why aren’t you moving?”
Meng Shengnan was too lazy to squeeze out of school crowd before the holiday: “There are too many people, I will leave later.”
After a while, the classroom was quiet. Only now did Meng Shengnan unhurriedly clear out her desk, humming a little tune. From the day before yesterday, that girl Qi Qiao had already started to not leave with her anymore and had returned to Song Jiashu’s side. She couldn’t help but be a little bit sad–preferring sex over friendship, sigh.
She carried her schoolbag and walked slowly downstairs.
The school building was quiet, there were not many students left and there seemed to be the school security uncle downstairs shouting ‘The door is closing.’ Meng Shengnan speeded up her pace and went downstairs. She couldn’t help but look up when she passed the science building. However, before taking a few steps forward, she heard a few boys walking over from one side, chatting and bantering happily.
“I’m too lazy to go home, where should we go play?”
“Haven’t decided yet, what about the karaoke bar?”
“The one with the surname Chi, how about you?”
“Internet cafe.” He said without much care.
The voice was low and deep, there was an unspeakable laziness. She looked over, and those figures had long disappeared outside the building. The school security uncle was still shouting, Meng Shengnan immediately came back to her senses, turned around and walked out from the small sports field.
When she got home, she turned on her computer and went online.
Many message boxes popped out and Meng Shengnan was shocked.
Jiang Yan’s Talents Are Exhausted2this is an idiom that means to have used up one’s creative powers or to have a writer’s block – Jiang Yan was a famous writer in Ancient China who slowly lost his touch in his later years, which is where this idiom originates from: Xiao Meng3means little Meng, a nickname for our FL, how much have you written?
Zhang Yiyan: What theme are you thinking about this time?
It Keeps Raining When My House Leaks4an idiom that means when situations are not bad enough already, troubles keep coming one after the other: I’m on a writer’s block
Scribblings: Your brother, I, got entries from May to September, and sent one writing piece with each entry form. I don’t believe that I won’t be able to enter the semi-finals this time! ! !
Zhou Ningzhi: How’s your writing going?
These people had all sorts of weird personalities, and they were all friends she had met when she participated in the New Concept Writing Competition last year. In the beginning, they all became close to each other through chatting online in the group chat. Later, in addition to her, Zhang Yiyan, Zhou Ningzhi and Jiang Yan’s Talents Are Exhausted were the only ones who entered the semi-finals. In the semi-finals in December, they met again at the hotel arranged by the organizing committee, played cards and drank together, talking about everything in the world. It felt like they were imperial examination candidates back in Ancient China, arriving from all corners of the country to Beijing to rush to the exam, coming from afar for the sake of literature.
However, Zhang Yiyan and Zhou Ningzhi were the only ones who won awards.
Now everyone was making a comeback.
Meng Shengnan replied them one by one, and only Zhou Ningzhi was online.
He immediately replied back: You don’t have any ideas?
Meng Shengnan: Well, I’ve thought of several topics, but none of them suit me.
Zhou Ningzhi: Then don’t think about it. You can consider going out to play this National Day holiday, and maybe the inspiration will come.
Meng Shengnan: Do you think I am you, a great god—
Zhou Ningzhi: Not a great god.
Meng Shengnan: Fine, just be modest then. How dare I, a romance writer, compare to your suspense genre.
Zhou Ningzhi replied after a while: Or how about you come to Nanjing during the holidays, I’ll host you.
Meng Shengnan stuck her tongue out: No way—I have to go to class.
Zhou Ningzhi: Go to class?
Meng Shengnan: My mother enrolled me into a guitar class—
Zhou Ningzhi smiled: Alright then, see you in December at No.675 street5TL’s note: I believe he is referring to where the competition is heldthis year.
Meng Shengnan: I’ll try my best, great god.
Turning off QQ6messenger app, Meng Shengnan thought quietly for a while, then opened Word, put her hand on the keyboard, yet still couldn’t write a single word. Zhou Ningzhi once said that as long as he still carried a belief, he would keep on writing. Scholar Jiang’s Talents Are Exhausted evaluated Zhou Ningzhi, saying that he will definitely be a distinguished figure in the suspense genre all over the world within ten years.
She didn’t know when, but it had become dark outside.
In the evening, she conversed with Meng Jin about all sorts of non-useful topics and then finally was able to roll into bed. Meng Shengnan turned on the small table lamp on her bedside table, and a warm yellow light fell upon the room, she laid in her bad reading the Count of Monte Cristo and fell asleep while reading it. When she woke up the next day, it was already half past seven.
Meng Shengnan tidied herself up simply and went out with a guitar on her back.
Sheng Dian shouted from the back: “Let your dad take you there.”
It was a small bungalow with its own courtyard, it looked quite old. But the owner took care of it well, and the house was spotless. This was the third time that Meng Shengnan had come here. Every time, the next class session was decided in the previous session, so it was very casual. She arrived by bus after half an hour from home.
The guitarist was a woman in her forties, she had maintained her looks very well and didn’t look her age.
The living room was very large, with around ten people in a circle.
“Let’s review what we learned last time first.” The woman was dressed casually, sitting on the chair with a guitar, her feet tipped back and they were leaning on the corner of the chair, there was an aura of an artist.
“Ms. Chen–I’ve forgotten.” A boy joked.
The woman smiled: “Then I will play it again.”
Her name was Chen Si, and she smiled very tenderly and kindly, Meng Shengnan thought, she was as elegant as her name.
Two hours passed by quickly, Meng Shengnan didn’t have much of a foundation base, so it was a bit difficult to learn. The other students were already gone, yet she was still thinking about the wrong note she kept playing. Chen Si came over with a gentle voice: “That’s a 4/4 beat, try again.”
After a few more attempts, she was satisfied, Meng Shengnan got up to put away her guitar.
“Why did you choose to learn the guitar?” Chen Si asked.
Meng Shengnan’s movements came to a halt, then looked up at her: “It’s pretty cool.”
Chen Si smiled, “It is pretty cool.”
Meng Shengnan smiled.
“You are in high school, right?”
Meng Shengnan went ‘yes’ and said, “I am in my second year at the No.9 High school.”
“No.9 High school?”
Chen Si smiled and said, “My son is also from that school, he studies science.”
“What a coincidence, but I’m in humanities.”
“Humanities is also good, as long as you like it.”
Meng Shengnan smiled and nodded, chatting for a while before getting up to leave. The wind outside was still blowing, and it early autumn had just arrived, the chill was just right. She lowered her eyes and moved the position of the guitar, and just happened to walk to the fountain at the gate of the neighbourhood. Then, she raised her eyes and paused.
A tall boy in a grey shirt and jeans in front of her was walking towards her, a cigarette still in his mouth, almost as if he hadn’t woken up yet. He looked dispirited, with his head drooping down. As he walked, he raked his hair carelessly, removed the cigarette and held it in his hand, his other hand still his in his trouser pocket, and then spat out the cigarette spit leisurely.
She was standing on the left side of the fountain, and he turned in from the right.
Under the blue sky.
The wind blew over eight thousand miles.
Translator’s Note: I will bold the names when they are messaging on the group chat so it’s not too confusing with the nicknames. Btw, our ML finally makes somewhat of an appearance!