The moment her butt returned to the seat, waves rocked through Jiang Lingzi.
The train had been running for some time before she finally reached the her last straw and opened up WeChat, going straight into the dorm group chat:
Spirit Sauce1 Her name is Jiang Lingzi and her WeChat username is Spirit Sauce. The difference between these two in their character forms are that the Jiang in her name means ginger and the Jiang in her username means sauce. The Lingzi here means spirit.: A super super super super super handsome-enough-to-blow-up-the-horizon xiao gege is sitting next to me!!!!!!!
Spirit Sauce: I’m finally starting to believe the fortune-teller’s words!!!!!!!
Bun bun has no tail: No picture, no proof.
Spirit Sauce: A picture? No way, I just want to eat it myself2 This eat is equivalent to enjoy or drool over. .
Bun bun has no tail: 8863 886 is number slang for bye bye.
Spirit Sauce: Hey, don’t leave. I don’t want to miss this xiao gege, teach me! Teach me how to hit on someone. I beg you all, seniors and fellow countrymen!
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Jwd cwd byp ds vykz: Idllz esod qsa xl.
Frkakv Fywnl: (Mball bwdeale pkmvu eltall jdllz.frt)
Jwd cwd byp ds vykz: Zsw xwpv qkapv nblnj kq vbl mkys tltl byp y tkazqaklde.
Frkakv Fywnl: Rq bl byp y tkazqaklde, osd’v bl ts bsxl okvb bla?
Jwd cwd byp ds vykz: Ebyv kq kv’p y zsdt-ekpvydnl alzyvksdpbkr, obyv kq bkp tkazqaklde elnkele vs pvyu yv pnbssz.
Frkakv Fywnl: Zsw’al aktbv. Tso es R nsdqkax vbkp?
Jwd cwd byp ds vykz: Xcplahl bkx qsa y zkvvzl zsdtla, pll kq bl nsdpvydvzu byp bkp blye esod yde pldep ElUbyv alrzklp. Bpwyzzu, obld tlvvkdt sd yde sqq vbl vaykd, vblu okzz kdqsax vblka tkazqaklde vbyv vblu’al pyql yde pswde okvbswv qykz.
Frkakv Fywnl: X98I4 X98I fwpv xlydp sjyu. Rv saktkdyvlp qasx vbl 98I pdkrla akqzl obknb kp rsrwzya kd WVF tyxlp. Rxytl vlmv: Ohlauvbkdt’p X98I = Ohlauvbkdt’p G-Xjyu
After setting down her phone, Jiang Lingzi straightened her back and sat still. She would occasionally peek out of the corner of her eye at the person beside her.
The young man reclined against the seat. He had put in earbuds at some point and his head was slightly lowered. He seemed to be scrolling through a web page rather than exchanging messages. His nose bridge was like a brushstroke on a masterpiece, tall and straight.
He’s so freaking handsome. Internally, Jiang Lingzi had one hand over her heart and even began imagining a future where she would be able to bump noses5 Bump noses means to literally bump or nudge noses. It’s like how you see lovers rub noses with each other. with this xiao gege.
Imagining such things, she once again returned to the group WeChat.
Spirit Sauce: He’s not chatting!!!!!!!
Bun bun has no tail: Then the chances of him having a girlfriend are 10%.
Spirit Sauce: But with how handsome he is, how come he still doesn’t have a girlfriend?
Bun bun has no tail: So he could meet you.
Spirit Sauce immediately broke out into a grin which spread from ear to ear: Hehehe.
Bun bun has no tail: The hell are you giggling about, can’t you be more serious while trying to hook a guy?
Spirit Sauce: What should I do next, he has earbuds in! He looks like he’s cut off from the rest of the world!
Bun bun has no tail: He has earbuds in? Looks like he doesn’t want to be disturbed by you.
Spirit Sauce: But he gave me the window seat! This was originally his seat!
Bun bun has no tail: Maybe he’s just trying to avoid trouble.
Jiang Lingzi recalled the mutter she had heard at the end. That really does seem to be the case.
Her hopes fell to rock bottom. Jiang Lingzi rubbed her nose as she continued to steal glances at the young man beside her. But she noticed he had taken out his earbuds and was now resting with his eyes closed.
She continued to send live updates in the group chat: His earbuds are out!
Bun bun has no tail: Even the heavens are helping you!
Spirit Sauce: But he’s going to sleep!
Bun bun has no tail: ……
Not knowing where to begin, Jiang Lingzi despairingly wondered if she should wait for him to wake up before she made any plans.
She sneaked in another two peeks and thought, The sun is now shining directly on his face. Will it disturb his rest? With this in mind, Jiang Lingzi leaned toward the window, raised her hand, and quietly pulled down the shades.
The young man hadn’t yet fallen asleep and this action made him open his eyes a crack as he looked over to the left.
At the same time, Jiang Lingzi turned around and coincidentally met with his line of sight.
Jiang Lingzi: “……”
Her tongue was in knots as she tried to speak: “I……I noticed you had fallen asleep.”
He smiled. His teeth were very white and he even had dimples: “Thank you.”
Aside from “tianmei”, another word, “tianshuai” should be created to describe this xiao gege. It’s perfect, so clever.6 Tianmei is a word which means sweet. It’s a combination of two characters, tian and mei, which respectively mean sweet and beautiful. Tianshuai is a made up word as mentioned before. It’s made of two characters tian and shuai, which respectively mean sweet and handsome. These two words differ only by a character and as you can see, they differ in their second characters. Mei, which means beautiful, usually is used to describe females. Whereas shuai, which means handsome, is usually used to describe males.
Jiang Lingzi’s face reddened and she dipped her chin: “No problem.”
But the young man didn’t close his eyes again and on the contrary, he asked her, “Do you attend University C?”
Jiang Lingzi paused: “Oh, do you also attend University C?”
He continued looking at her, the light reflected in his pupils, which were like a clear body of water. He nodded his head in a lazy manner.
Jiang Lingzi’s heart thumped against her ribcage: “What year are you?”
The young man straightened up, seeming to want to have a proper conversation: “Second year.”
Jiang Lingzi’s heart sank, game over. She was a third year, an old fox. She then immediately played dumb, and stopped responding.
In the end, the young man who had been thoroughly immersed in the pleasant surprise brought by meeting another student from the same university, asked her in turn, “What about you?”
Jiang Lingzi wanted to lie and say she was a first year, but no matter how you looked at it, her “matured” and “heavily made-up” face was in no way whatsoever even close to looking like a first year little sister. She could only quietly reply: “Third year.”
“I can’t even tell.” The young man smiled again. A captivating dimple appeared at the corner of his mouth.
Jiang Lingzi blushed as she thanked him and let out an embarrassed laugh.
Meanwhile, the train suddenly entered the tunnel. A wave of blackness enveloped them but the train lantern lit their surroundings with a bright light within moments.
It was like a spotlight of fate which, in a split second, focused itself for this one moment before her. Jiang Lingzi was stunned in place.
She decided right then and there; she had to quit hesitating and seize the moment.
After exiting the tunnel, everything was once again bathed in soft spring light.
There were wheat fields and rapeseed flowers, which were like a sea of greenish yellow coming into view, swaying to and fro.
Jiang Lingzi put away her phone. She didn’t want to rely on her friends for advice anymore. She clenched her hands and turned her gaze back to him, jumping back into their conversation and chatting about anything under the sun.
The young man also responded to each thing brought up. Leaving their schoolmate status aside, they had similar hobbies. They even had many things in common.
She asked for his name. The young man told her, “My surname is Jiang.”
Jiang Lingzi was shocked: “My surname is also Jiang!”7 Chinese characters can sound the same with the same tone but have different characters. Such is the case with the two people here. Their surnames are both Jiāng in pinyin. They are both pronounced in the first tone as Jiāng but their characters and meanings are completely different. The young man’s surname is 江, which means river, whereas Jiang Lingzi’s surname is 薑, which means ginger.
The young man laughed: “Is it the ‘Jiang’ in ‘Jianghai’?”
Jiang Lingzi: “……Eh, no. It’s the ‘jiang’ in ‘shengjiang’.”8 Shengjiang means fresh ginger. I left it in pinyin since it would make more sense when compared to her surname.
The young man laughed, “We can just barely count as being from the same clan.”
Jiang Lingzi laughed along with him.”
The two began chatting and time flew by.
The train reached the first stop—— Qingcheng.
The female announcer continuously repeated the announcement reminding passengers to get off the train.
The young man did not give any inclination of getting off. Seeing this, Jiang Lingzi also didn’t move.
As a matter of fact, Jiang Lingzi was supposed to get off at this stop. But seeing as the young man remained in his seat, she decided to shamelessly stay on as well.
The next stop was Yucheng, not far from here. Worst case, she would just book a car to take her home.
If new passengers came onboard, no matter. At worst, the train would just leave some people behind.
The young man asked her: “What’s your stop?”
Jiang Lingzi lied with a straight face: “Yucheng.”
The young man curved his lips with a subtle look on his face.
After a moment, an old couple arrived beside them, checked the seat numbers with their tickets and then took another bewildered look at them.
Jiang Lingzi met their gaze with a stiff smile and while crying inside. It’s over, I have to get off here.
She squeezed the strap in her hand. Right then, the young man suddenly rose from his seat and pulled her up along with him.
(T/N: Hahaha~ I’m dying of laughter! He also stayed on the train because of her. This is just too cute!)
(Q/N: Imagine if they went on and on till the last stop…!)
Startled, Jiang Lingzi looked toward him.
He raised brows: “I saw your ticket.”
Jiang Lingzi swiftly blushed from her cheeks to the tips of her ears. She stuttered as she asked him: “Then, then what about you?”
The young man rubbed his nose and gave an embarrassed smile: “Me? I certainly don’t want to sit past my stop.”
The two exited the car, one in the front and one behind.
Jiang Lingzi’s face was bright red as she walked toward the exit. She didn’t have the courage to look back even when she was distracted. She could only feel Junior Jiang’s shadow looming overbearingly over her.
After slipping back into the turbulent tide of people in the station, Jiang Lingzi put her bag back on. Raising her eyes, she realized Junior Jiang had come up beside her at some point and was now strolling at her side.
She narrowed her eyes and glanced at his veined hands. She was inexplicably delighted, and after taking a moment to calm herself down, she asked, “You are also from Qingcheng?”
Junior Jiang cast a sidelong glance: “Yeah.”
It seemed they were not just schoolmates but also fellow Qingcheng residents. Jiang Lingzi pursed her lips and asked, “Then why didn’t you get off the train.”
Junior Jiang’s lips curled up: “I was waiting to see when you’d get off.”
Jiang Lingzi: “I……” She stopped talking. Isn’t it because of that unspeakable plan of mine?
She picked a random reason: “I forgot as we were chatting.”
“Oh…….” There was undisguised skepticism in Junior Jiang’s tone.
Jiang Lingzi’s ears reddened once again.
They were close to the exit and their moment of separation was within sight.
She hadn’t gotten his contact info yet and at this point, Jiang Lingzi began to panic. She braced herself and bluntly asked: “Which side of Qingcheng do you live in?”
Junior Jiang answered: “The south side of the city.”
The embers of hope she still had were promptly smothered. She lived on the northern side of the city, so it wouldn’t be convenient to share a ride.
Once again, they were back under the sunlight. A whole row of taxis were waiting at the intersection.
As they were about to bid farewell, Jiang Lingzi wrung her hands in nervousness. Every cell of her body urged her and shouted at her, “Ask for his WeChat! Hurry and ask for his WeChat!”
However, she had never been in a relationship, and her deep-seated social fears and shyness were like an invisible barrier, chaining the hand she desperately wanted to stretch out.
Ask, hurry and ask!
Jiang Lingzi! After passing this village, you won’t pass by this shop again!9 An analogy meaning if you don’t strike while the iron’s hot, you’ll lose out. In simpler terms, it’s saying opportunities are fleeting, seize them while you can because they won’t be there forever.
She nervously glanced at Junior Jiang. He was on his phone with his head lowered, seeming to have no inclination of continuing their conversation.
Jiang Lingzi turned her face to the side and cleared her throat. She mulled over the words to use, preparing to get it out all at once.
Not even two seconds later, a phone entered her field of view: “I’ll be leaving soon, should we exchange WeChats?”
Jiang Lingzi raised her eyes, before her was Junior Jiang with an eyebrow slightly raised.
“Oh, oh, okay.” Flattered yet bewildered, she scanned his QR code.
Above her head, the young man spoke with a voice which sounded like the wind rustling through bamboo leaves: “You can just note it as Jiang Sheng, with the ‘sheng’ in ‘shengyin’.10 Shengyin (聲音) means voice or sound depending on the context. Here, he’s specifying which character his name is.
“Oh.” Jiang Lingzi nodded her head like a sewing machine.
Junior Jiang took his phone back and glanced at her online name: “What about you?”
Jiang Lingzi was confused: “Huh?”
“Jiang Lingzi,” his smile deepened: “What’s your name?”
Her face lit on fire. Jiang Lingzi swallowed: “Jiang Lingzi.”
Her name was a tad unusual and piqued Junior Jiang’s interest: “Is it the ‘Lingzi’ in Spirit Sauce?”11 Recall, the pinyin for Spirit Sauce is Lingzi Jiang.
“Yeah, doesn’t it sound a bit like a Japanese name?”12 Lingzi is probably(?) and I’m guessing based on context as well as a lot of help from Potato and Lunaie, referring to a Japanese internet celebrity named Reiko-chan. This would explain why she asked if it sounds like a Japanese name. Jiang Lingzi fiddled with her bangs.
“Not at all,” Junior Jiang commented: “It’s definitely a Chinese name.”
Jiang Lingzi inconspicuously raised the corners of her lips.
He first called a taxi for Jiang Lingzi and sent her into the car. Only then, did Junior Jiang leave.
On her way home, everything was suffused with a radiant light, wind rushed in through the window, softly tickling her eyelashes.
Jiang Lingzi tucked her hair behind her ears. It felt like she had fallen into a dream, everything was just that unbelievable.
So much that she even opened up her WeChat and went to talk to her roommates while carrying heavy suspicions.
Spirit Sauce: What day is it today? Hurry and wake me up! I’m going to be late for class!
Bun bun has no tail: ???
Spirit Sauce: I’m so scared it’s all a dream QAQ
Bun bun has no tail: What happened?
Spirit Sauce: I added the xiao gege’s WeChat! He’s from our school! A second year! Studying civil engineering!
Bun bun has no tail: Hurry and check out if he has any selfies in his Moments13 This is referring to WeChat Moments, which are status updates, pictures and videos that users can share with their friends or a select group of friends in their Moments feed., send them over for us sisters to see.
Spirit Sauce: Wait a minute.
Jiang Lingzi left the chat and hurried over to Junior Jiang’s WeChat.
In the message frame, there was a great deal of empty space. There was only the notification from having successfully added a friend.
She stared at the system notification for a while, and her heart suddenly softened.
She didn’t start going through his feed immediately and instead, wanted to send him a message.
Spirit Sauce: Are you home yet?
Junior Jiang responded very quickly.
Junior Jiang: Not yet, you?
Spirit Sauce: I’m not home yet either.
Junior Jiang: The weather is pretty good.
Spirit Sauce: Yes, it is.
He suddenly sent a photo. It was one of the scenes he passed by on his way home. Flowers and trees were clustered like brocade and white doves dotted the skies.
Jiang Lingzi cupped her face, her eyes curved like moons. She was immersed in happiness.
She felt she had already fallen into the river of love and was close to drowning despite it only being just the beginning.
 Her name is Jiang Lingzi and her WeChat username is Lingzi Jiang, which, translated, means Spirit Sauce. The difference between these two in their character forms are that the Jiang in her name means ginger and the Jiang in her username means sauce. The Lingzi here means spirit.
 This eat is equivalent to enjoy or drool over.
 886 is number slang for bye bye.
 O98K just means okay. It originates from the 98K sniper rifle which is popular in FPS games.
 Bump noses means to literally bump or nudge noses. It’s like how you see lovers rub noses with each other
 Tianmei is a word which means sweet. It’s a combination of two characters, tian and mei, which respectively mean sweet and beautiful.
Tianshuai is a made up word as mentioned before. It’s made of two characters tian and shuai, which respectively mean sweet and handsome.
These two words differ only by a character and as you can see, they differ in their second characters. Mei, which means beautiful, usually is used to describe females. Whereas shuai, which means handsome, is usually used to describe males.
 Chinese characters can sound the same with the same tone but have different characters. Such is the case with the two people here. Their surnames are both Jiāng in pinyin. They are both pronounced in the first tone as Jiāng but their characters and meanings are completely different. The young man’s surname is 江, which means river, whereas Jiang Lingzi’s surname is 薑, which means ginger.
 Shengjiang means fresh ginger. I left it in pinyin since it would make more sense when compared to her surname.
 An analogy meaning if you don’t strike while the iron’s hot, you’ll lose out. In simpler terms, it’s saying opportunities are fleeting, seize them while you can because they won’t be there forever.
 Shengyin (聲音) means voice or sound depending on the context. Here, he’s specifying which character his name is.
 Recall, the pinyin for Spirit Sauce is Lingzi Jiang.
 Lingzi is probably(?) and I’m guessing based on context as well as a lot of help from Potato and Lunaie, referring to a Japanese internet celebrity named Reiko-chan. This would explain why she asked if it sounds like a Japanese name.
 This is referring to WeChat Moments, which are status updates, pictures and videos that users can share with their friends (or a select group of friends) in their Moments feed.