February 8, 2022

Chapter 68: Evil Fire

Under the young man’s pure and faintly sentimental gaze, Yansheng felt that the hostility in her heart seemed to have been neutralized a lot.

It was cold in winter. After standing for a while, Zhiyuan’s nose was already frozen and began to turn red, and there was a faint white smoke between his breaths, which made his eyebrows look hazy and clean.

Yansheng had a soft feeling in her heart.

Heling sometimes made her feel this way. It seemed that Heling and Zhiyuan had something in common. But Heling was still too young, so it was not as clear as how Zhiyuan made people feel.

Yansheng smiled.

“Don’t think too much about it,” she said softly, “Actually, I’m just afraid of affecting you.”

Zhiyuan was confused.

Yansheng’s eyebrows were exceptionally soft at this moment, which was very different from her usual aloofness. He couldn’t help but hold his breath slightly and listen to her carefully.

Yansheng smiled and told him, “I have been paying attention to your grades. From the beginning of school to the present, your ranking has been moving forward and you have never fallen.”

She was often cold and her smile on this cold winter day was indescribably bright. The smile in her eyes was gentle and she just confessed that she had been paying attention to him, which made Zhiyuan feel that his heart stopped for a short time, followed by an accelerated pounding.

“Zhiyuan, I predict that you will go to the top class next semester,” Zhang Yansheng continued, “So, I think that I’ve been bothering you too often. Although everyone says that when you help others, you can get a refresher yourself, there’s a gap between my level and yours, so it’s too much of a waste of time for you. I have been wandering on basic questions while your time should be spent on tackling those difficult questions.”

Zhiyuan opened his mouth. “No, I—”

But Zhang Yansheng interrupted him.

She stared at him and told him, “Zhiyuan, I want to see you enter the top class, the sooner the better. There are only 900 days to go before the college entrance exam, so don’t waste time in Class 2!”

Zhiyuan was startled because Yansheng’s eyes were shining with expectation. What she said was not empty words to coax him, but rather a genuine expectation that had fallen to the ground.

Yansheng paid attention to him, cared about him, and had great expectations for him.

Zhiyuan smiled, showing his white teeth.

“I think Class 2 is particularly good,” he said, “but I will try my best.”

“You should be,” Yansheng said, “since Q University is your goal.”

Zhiyuan was slightly surprised. “How do you know?”

Yansheng pursed his lips and smiled. “You are so good in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, where else can you go but to Q University?”

“Then, I’ll borrow your good words!” Zhiyuan smiled. “But you don’t have to avoid me, you really don’t have to. The so-called difficult questions are just the accumulation and morphing of basic questions. In the end, you must have a solid foundation, and discussing these questions with you does not delay me.”

“Okay. If there are questions that Xiaoxiao and I don’t understand, then I will ask you about them,” Yansheng said, “and I have been thinking about hiring a tutor recently.”

“Tutor, huh? If you have a budget, it is best to hire a teacher instead of a part-time college student.” Zhiyuan knew about this. “The college entrance exam changes every year, so college students wouldn’t keep up. After all, we are in a test-oriented education system and the key is still on exams. Those cram schools also vary in quality. You can consider looking in our school, there are many special-grade teachers in our school, but you have to find them quietly. Now that the Ministry of Education is investigating this matter, the teachers are very low-key.”

The topic of their conversation just changed naturally. The two breathed white air and discussed the matter of hiring a tutor at ease, with smiles in their eyes.

When they waved goodbye at the school gate, both of them had relaxed eyebrows and smiles on their faces. There was only brightness and no ambiguity.

But for Lichen to witness this, really made him jealous.

The next day was January 1st, New Year’s Day, and the school was closed. It was a school holiday but only for one day. It was not as good as the weekend off. Before you could lie down comfortably, you would have to go to school again.

The two kids went to school with bad faces in the morning.

When Zhiyuan entered the classroom, everyone was taken aback. The corners of his eyes were bruised and there was a large dressing on his cheek. There were also bruises and swelling in places that did not have dressing, and you could imagine that the damage was worse under that dressing. In addition, a bandage was wrapped around his hand between the thumb and forefinger.

His classmates who were reviewing before the morning test stopped writing one after another, and asked in surprise, “What happened?”

Zhiyuan also had broken skin on his lips and the corners of his mouth were also blue. He smiled helplessly. “I was just careless…” Then he refused to say more.

The bell for early self-study rang and everyone returned to their seats.

But Yansheng still frowned and glanced at him before turning her head.

From her perspective, those scars seemed to be caused by getting beaten.

After the morning test, the interval between the second class and the end of the first class was very short, only five minutes. After class, the boys rushed over and surrounded Zhiyuan to ask questions.

Soon Yansheng heard the second-hand information that Gao Xiaoxiao transferred to her. “He said that he had a conflict with someone on the way home, so they fought. Really, boys are so aggressive and always itch to fight. He usually looks very gentle.” As Xiaoxiao said this, she also muttered.

As Yansheng thought, he was beaten.

Although it was scary to look at the bruises, if you look at it from a professional point of view, it was all skin traumas, no muscles and bones were hurt.

Yansheng was a member of the mixed boxing gym and had seen injuries that were much more serious than this. Moreover, in the previous life, she and Lichen fooled around together. That guy had excess hormones and energy, and fighting was just a common thing.

Yansheng was therefore very calm about boys’ fights.

Xiaoxiao, who was sitting in front of her, said with a smile, “You are so calm.”

Because it was Zhiyuan who was injured, this remark was obviously meant to tease her. Yansheng twisted the fat on her cheeks. The pain made her scream.

When Yansheng went to fetch water after class, she ran into Zhiyuan at the water dispenser. She asked with concern, “Are you okay?”

“I’m okay,” Zhiyuan replied

He tried to smile at her, but he forgot about the wound at the corner of his mouth, and the pain was so painful that he hissed.

Yansheng hurriedly raised her hand to stop him. “Don’t smile, just bear it.”

She asked again, “How did you deal with it? Did you call the police?”

After being a classmate for almost a semester, she subjectively decided that it was definitely not the champion who caused trouble first, and he might have met a gangster. In this case, he should call the police.

“No, it’s not worth calling the police,” he responded.

Yansheng felt that his personality was a bit too gentle. But after all, not everyone had the character of fighting back like her and Lichen.

She shrugged and said, “If you apply cold compress more, they will heal faster.”

Yansheng thought this was the case and she never thought that Zhiyuan’s beating would be related to her.

But on Saturday, Xiaoxiao suddenly sent her a message that said: Did you know that Zhiyuan seems to have been beaten by Xu Lichen from Class 8?

Yansheng was startled at the time and immediately called her.

“Hey, why didn’t you use VX voice for making a call? This will add cost to your phone bill, such a tycoon,” Xiaoxiao shouted.

Yansheng asked in a deep voice, “What happened to Zhiyuan? How did you know?”

“It’s from our classmate, Qi Guanyu, guess who is he? You’ll never guess that our dean is his uncle! Uncle! It’s been a semester and we haven’t heard him mention it, he has hidden this key information! He’s so sophisticated!” Xiaoxiao sighed in admiration and explained the source to Yansheng, “Qi Guanyu told Huang Heng, Huang Heng told Li Shuqing, Li Shuqing posted it in their group chat, Ye Meng saw it and told Liu Keren. Didn’t I tell you that Liu Keren and Wang Siyu learn piano together at XXX? We have a small group…”

Yansheng pinched the center of her eyebrows. “Just get to the point!”

“Cough, the point is, my news is very reliable!” Xiaoxiao continued, “This is what happened…”

After Xiaoxiao’s explanation, Yansheng figured out what was going on.

It wasn’t that Zhiyuan had a conflict with some punk on the road. He was blocked halfway by Lichen on the way home to beat him up.

“Zhiyuan told his family that he had a conflict with a punk on the road, and then he refused to call the police. But his mother didn’t believe him and secretly went to the police herself later. The police station had set up the road monitoring system, and at first glance, it was shown on the video that the other party was also a student. The police said that the incident happened just after school. He was followed by another student from our school.

“His mother went to the school with the surveillance video. When the dean watched it, he immediately recognized Lichen.

“They called Zhiyuan and Lichen over and asked them why they were fighting. Then guess what, both of them said in unison that they didn’t like each other, had some sort of disagreement, and then they started fighting. Hey, hey, think of it, think carefully—”

“What do I have to think of?!” Yansheng cut her off angrily. “Tell me, what did the school do about it?”

“Well, this is a bit troublesome,” Xiaoxiao said, “according to Guanyu’s news, because they both insisted that that’s what really happened, the responsibility was split in half. Wait for Monday, maybe both of them will be punished…”

Yansheng became silent.

Xiaoxiao rambled casually, “In fact, everyone knows that it must have been Lichen from Class 8 who started it first. We discussed it just now. He might really be up to no good. Hey, hey, he kind of looks good when angry. Although I know it’s wrong, he’s really a bit handsome. Let me tell you the truth, in fact, many of the girls from our class have a crush on him…”

This kind of bad boy looks often had some special attraction to these good girls who follow the rules.

“He is not suitable for you,” Yansheng said bluntly.

Xiaoxiao was discouraged. “Of course, it was just a thought. Hey, you know he is so handsome, so why doesn’t he study hard? If he is willing to study hard, the girls in our class will have to choose him as our current school prince.”

After hanging up with Xiaoxiao, Yansheng only felt an evil fire rushing up inside her.

Just before New Year’s Day, she was secretly happy that Zhiyuan was willing to study harder to get to the top class.

Now, she felt the hostility in her chest, that had melted after talking to Zhiyuan, had sprung up because of Lichen.

She took a deep breath, turned on her phone, and wanted to call Lichen—only to find that in this life, she did not have his phone number.

In her previous life, Lichen’s phone number was on her speed dial key ‘1’. She just needed to open the dial-up interface, press and hold ‘1’, and she could directly dial Lichen’s phone.

Then, she remembered that she had added Lichen to her friend’s list, although he stubbornly never sent her a message.

Yansheng initiated an audio call and it took a long time for it to connect with Lichen. “Yansheng?”

The sound in his background was noisy and the music was loud. Obviously, he was out partying in some kind of entertainment place.

Yansheng asked, “Where are you?”

She noticed that the sound of music was a little lower and it sounded like coming from the private room to the corridor. Lichen replied, “I’m outside, do you need something from me?”

Yansheng asked again, “Where is it?”

Lichen paused and replied, “Bao Chi, in Liudao South Road—”

Yansheng did not need an address. She knew where Bao Chi was. Before the Jinding Club where she died became popular, Bao Chi was the hottest entertainment club in K City. She used to go there often in her previous life.

She interrupted Lichen and asked, “Room 806?”

There was a second of silence on the line as Lichen couldn’t believe what he just heard. “How do you know?”

Of course, Yansheng knew.

Because Bao Chi was opened by a relative of Lichen and his family had shares in it. Room 806 was a private room reserved for him.

They used to go there to party. Lichen also gave her his black membership card before going abroad, so that she could use his private room at any time.

But since he was gone and went abroad to sleep with foreign girls, Yansheng never went there again.

She did not disturb her family, nor did she call their driver. She booked a car service by herself.

When she booked a car service, she usually asked for a luxury car, a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW. Automobile companies had strict requirements for drivers and they couldn’t casually strike up a conversation with customers because of their desire to chat, disturbing the tranquility of customers.

But Yansheng looked like a student at first glance. The driver looked in the rearview mirror several times, and finally couldn’t help his curiosity and asked, “Miss, what is that you’re wrapping in your hands?”

Yansheng focused on putting the strap around her fingers and answered the driver, “Hand wrap.”

The driver asked again, “What is that for?”

Yansheng explained, “It’s used to protect the hard bones and cartilage of the hands from fractures, protect the skin from abrasion, and protect the wrists from sprains.”

“But that—we don’t usually suffer that kind of injuries, right?” the driver asked puzzledly.

“Normally, you won’t.” In the car, the girl with a cold white face raised her head. “But when you hit someone, you will.

“The experts also call this thing a combat bandage.”