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  • The Flower of Youth Blooms when He Smiles

    Chapter 5.2

    She was still finding her inspiration day by day, the days passing by slowly.

    In a blink of an eye, it was already early November.

    The mock test mentioned by the head teacher, Old Wet, also came soon.

    On the previous afternoon, Meng Shengnan was reviewing Chinese literature, silently reciting Tan Sitong’s “I smile to the sky while facing the sword, leaving courage and strength to those left behind.” Xue Lin came up and asked, “Will they examine this for the memorisation questions?”

    “I don’t know.”

    “Why am I a little nervous now, Meng Shengnan.”

    “You’re nervous?”

    “Ah.”

    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

    Jlqsal Yldt Fbldtdyd alrzkle, Wwpsdt qykdvzu prsjl: “Jkszstknyzzu prlyjkdt, dlahswpdlpp kp nywple cu vbl elzyu sq vbl plnalvsau pupvlx, nywpkdt vbl dlahswp pupvlx vs cl wdyczl vs rashkel kdqsaxyvksd kd vkxl. Ms rwv kv pkxrzu, kv kp vbyv,” bl rywple qsa y plnsde yde pyke, “usw nyd’v qkv yduvbkdt xsal kdvs uswa caykd.”

    Dwl Nkd: “…”

    Yldt Fbldtdyd: “…”

    Mbl lmyx assxp olal cyple sd vblka alpwzvp aydjkdt yv vbl pvyav sq vbl ulya. Rd vbl zypv nzypp sq vbl eyu, Xze Elv nyxl shla yde rypple swv y pvynj sq yexkppksd vknjlvp qsa vbl nzypp nsxxkvvll xlxclap vs rypp swv. Lkl Kkdt zssjle yv bla lmyxkdyvksd assx: “Eblal yal usw?”

    Yldt Fbldtdyd pyke: “Mbl dkdvb lmyxkdyvksd assx.”

    Lkl Kkdt pyke ‘sb’, “R’x kd vbl qswavlldvb, blu, obknb nzypp kp vbl dkdvb?”

    Yldt Fbldtdyd pbssj bla blye. Lkl Kkdt vwadle yaswde ytykd yde ypjle Wwpsdt yde Dwl Nkd. Mblal oyp ds dlle vs ypj, Wwpsdt oyp elqkdkvlzu kd vbl qkapv lmyxkdyvksd assx. Dwl Nkd oyp yzps kd vbl pyxl lmyxkdyvksd assx yp Lkl Kkdt, Lkl Kkdt tsv lmnkvle yde ypjle qsa bla plyv dwxcla.

    Mbl nzyppassx oyp dsv vbyv iwklv, vbspl obs olal alyekdt, olal alyekdt, svblap obs olal nbyvvkdt, olal nbyvvkdt.

    School was over after the third period. Qi Qiao came over and went to the examination room with her. This girl kept twittering on, saying that Song Jiashu had promised her to go to Wuzhen1a village in China after exams, and then asked her: “How are you preparing for the preliminaries?”

    Meng Shengnan no longer knew how many times she had answered this already—no idea, zero words, no inspiration.

    Qi Qiao knocked her forehead.

    “Why don’t you go to Wuzhen with us, it only takes less than an hour to get there anyway.”

    Meng Shengnan rolled her eyes: “Why should I go, to be a third-wheel?”

    “Yes you can.”

    “Scram, you.”

    Qi Qiao smiled, and suddenly went, ‘hey’. She said, “Isn’t that your exam room?”

    They had already walked downstairs to the science department, and students were all looking for their examination rooms nearby. Meng Shengnan raised her eyes to look over and was stunned for a moment. On the big sign hanging outside the wall at the entrance of the classroom, the black font (10) was written sonorously and forcefully. She moved her gaze to the door, a large piece of white paper was pasted on it that said–the ninth examination room.

    She breathed out slowly.

    Qi Qiao said: “My examination room is in our class. Wait for me after the political history exam the day after tomorrow to leave together”

    “Understood.”

    Back home, Sheng Dian had just walked out of the back room, still wearing an apron.

    ” You’re back so early?”

    “Yeah, I’ve got exams tomorrow and the day after.”

    “Put down your schoolbag, aunt Kang just called, go take a look.”

    “Why?”

    Aunt Kang’s backyard next door was filled with boxes the size of Yinqiao yoghurts2 like this:银桥杯装整箱鲜牛乳乳酸菌原味酸奶

    , the fruits and vegetables were separately placed. Aunt Kang gave a box to the acquaintances in the alley. When Meng Shengnan passed by, Aunt Kang was already so busy that she was sweating profusely.

    “Shengnan, come and hold onto this box for your house.”

    “Aunt Kang, what’s all this?”

    “Your brother Kang sent it back, look at what he’s doing at the age of 22.”

    “He sent these back from school?”

    “That’s right. You say, Beijing is so far away from Jiangcheng, I can’t imagine how much the postage fees were!”

    Meng Shengnan was filled with emotions, holding a box of vegetables and politely saying goodbye to Aunt Kang before returning home. Sheng Dian was currently busy in the kitchen, and when she saw Meng Shengnan coming in with a large box, she was shocked, “What is this?”

    “Kang Kai sent it back from school.”

    Sheng Dian took a glance, “Hey, why is this kid sending over vegetables?”

    “Not just this, there were 20 boxes.”

    Sheng Dian was shocked: “Posted from Beijing?”

    Meng Shengnan put the box on the kitchen floor, washed her hands in the sink, and said ‘Yes’. Hearing this, Sheng Dian said, “Kang Kai is sensible, he is only five or six years older than you, and he went to Peking University at the age of seventeen. I wonder if he has a girlfriend.”

    After washing her hands, Meng Shengnan quickly slipped out while Sheng Dian was still pondering.

    Although it was early November, it was not cold because the winter solstice had not yet arrived. Meng Shengnan got up early the next day and put on a sweater. She reviewed Chinese literature at home and memorized some phrases for a while. Because it was an eight o’clock exam, she went a bit later.

    When she entered the No.10 science class, she was a little nervous. The invigilator was already in the classroom, and she bowed her head to find her seat­–number 19. Going through the first group of aisles, the S-shaped arrangement went down, her position was next to the window in the last row of the first group.

    The preparation bell rang, and the invigilator had opened the test paper and took a look at it.

    “No books are allowed in the drawer. Once discovered, it will be treated as cheating.” The voice was serious.

    Back then, the students in each class would clean up before the exam, so it should be very clean. Meng Shengnan didn’t care too much and glanced at the drawer casually.

    Oh–

    It was a mess, there were a bunch of books messily placed inside, and even a school uniform was stuffed in it.

    The teacher had already started to hand out the test papers, so she hurriedly began to pack them up, and walked to the place where the schoolbags were put on the side of the podium. The books were heavy, and the school uniform on top had a cigarette smell, Meng Shengnan struggled while carrying them. After finally putting them down properly, she was just about to turn back around when the school uniform slid off the pile of books. Meng Shengnan glanced at the teacher and hurriedly lowered her head to pick it up. An ID card fell out of the clothes.

    January 1, 1987, Chi Zheng.

    Meng Shengnan took in a sharp breath and moved her gaze to the photo of the boy. Looking at it, the photo seemed to be a bit dated, as it was different from his usual lazy demeanour. The person here looked very energetic, like a boy full of sunshine, teeming with a youthful spirit, his eyes brimming with radiating vigor. His hair was extremely short and he looked very naive.

    She didn’t have time to think more about it. She stuffed the ID back in, shoved the clothes into the bottom of the stack of books, making sure it wouldn’t fall before returning to her seat–no, it was his seat.

    After two and a half hours of the Chinese exam, Meng Shengnan had ten minutes left after finishing the essay section, so she laid against the table with all sorts of thoughts whirling around. But she didn’t think of anything too out of the blue, only one thought popped into her head – “fate was really too wonderful for words”. This idea continued to remain in her mind until the English exam in the afternoon, and it was once again validated. At that time, Meng Shengnan was filling in the answer sheet.

    There were still ten minutes till the end of the exam.

    She answered slowly, and when she filled in the 60th ‘E’ option, her stomach began to ache. She didn’t notice it at first, but it began to hurt more and more. When she finally finished filling the answers out, she was already lying on the table in pain, sweating while covering her belly with one hand. The invigilator came to collect the test papers and didn’t realize anything, only thinking that the student was tired from the exam and resting. After receiving all the exam papers and counting the number of students, he left. Soon, the students in the classroom also left one by one.

    The entire classroom was empty.

    Meng Shengnan laid there weakly, wanting to wait for the ache to pass. Because her whole head was resting on her elbow, the table was very close to her. It was close enough to smell the faint smell of tobacco, not too strong, and the residual masculine smell from the school uniform. She was focused in her thoughts.

    A low, nonchalant voice echoed into her ear.

    “Classmate.”

    [Translator’s Note: Do you believe in fate? Or is everything merely a coincidence, with us humans simply trying to find meaning within? Anyways, thanks for reading!]


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