Chapter 22 – Sending Off

When they returned to the hotel, the entire group, teachers and students alike, were carrying vacuum-sealed packages of roast duck.
There wasn’t any variety to speak of, but was it their fault that whenever people talked about the specialty foods of the capital, the first thing that came to mind was Peking duck?

They’d just walked into the foyer of the hotel when they met the teachers and students of Jingcheng No.
1 High School coming out.
Compared to the sleek and fashionable suitcases dragged by the other group, the people from Furong No.
3 High School with their bags of roast ducks didn’t look cool or stylish at all.

Fortunately, there were gracious people on both sides.
They didn’t make rude remarks just because of winning or losing the competition.
After a few polite words, both parties left.

Xiao Ji’s eyes kept straying to Shen Shao, but he never said a word.

After they entered the elevator, Zhang Li put down the things she was carrying and shook out her fingers.
“So heavy.”

Shen Shao looked at the roast ducks and began to consider a serious question.
Namely, when they went through the security check at the airport, would the staff think they were roast duck maniacs? They traveled to the capital, but the only thing they brought back was roast duck.
When he thought about it, there really wasn’t anything to brag about.

The elevator went up one floor and stopped.
When the door slid open, two people walked inside.
After the teenager in the lead entered the elevator, his gaze swept past the pile of roast ducks and finally landed on Shen Shao.

Shen Shao had a slight impression of this person, although his clearest memory was of a fleet of Mercedes-Benzes and a group of handsome bodyguards in suits.
When he saw the young man looking at him, Shen Shao didn’t understand the reason, but he smiled and nodded to him anyway.

Then he saw the teenager avert his eyes and unobtrusively move a small half-step to the side.
Shen Shao silently touched his nose.
Was his smile that bad?

The man behind the young man pressed a lit-up floor button.
As the elevator rose, everyone was silent.

Ding ding. This was the floor where Shen Shao and the others were staying.

Their group of six walked out of the elevator with all their bags of roast duck.
Shen Shao was the last to exit.
When he left the elevator, he glanced back and saw the young man standing in the middle of the elevator, looking directly at him with an impassive face.

Seeming to notice that Shen Shao was looking at him, the teenager reached out and pressed the “close door” button.
The elevator quickly closed in front of Shen Shao.

Shen Shao: …

Inside the elevator, Gu NingZhao thought about his instinctive action just now.
He stared expressionlessly at the “close door” button on the elevator panel and pressed his lips together.

The next day, the group from Furong No.
3 High School departed the hotel with several cases of roast duck as well as a trophy.
They boarded a taxi and rushed to the airport.
Maybe because Shen Shao had won the championship, their mood was a lot more excited than when they came.
Or maybe it was because of all of the delicious roast ducks they were bringing back.

At the airport, there were another two hours before it was time to board, so they weren’t in a hurry.
They dragged their suitcases slowly towards the security check.
He didn’t know if it was a coincidence or fate, but Shen Shao saw the teenager from the hotel yesterday.
This time the young man was followed by a few more bodyguards.
He was nearly ten meters away, but the aura of a young master from an eminent family was palpable.

Maybe… This was the aura of mystery possessed only by the rich?

Shen Shao inwardly complained to himself and walked straight ahead with the rest of his group following.
Then, when he was waiting in line for the security inspection, a man in a suit came up to him.

Why did this scene somehow feel like déjà vu? Was he just imagining it?

The suited man offered him a wrapped package, and Shen Shao looked down at it.
He kept a polite smile on his face and asked, “May I ask what you’re…”

Vice Principal Yao and the two teachers, intentionally or otherwise, squeezed next to Shen Shao to prevent the suited man from suddenly doing anything.

“Hello, Student Shen.
The second young master of our family enjoyed your performance in the competition very much.
He heard that you’re leaving today, so he came to see you off.
This small gift is just a token of respect.
The young master hopes you’ll like it.” The suited man extended the package to Shen Shao with a serious face.
Given what he’d said, if Shen Shao refused, he’d be rejecting the young man’s good will.

Shen Shao thought this was all a bit mysterious.
He looked up and saw the teenager standing with a suited bodyguard not far away.
The suited man was dressed in a similar fashion to the bodyguard behind the boy.
Was he the one who sent the gift?

“Don’t accept things from random strangers” was a mandatory lesson in kindergarten.
Shen Shao didn’t want to accept it, but when he saw the young man’s expressionless face staring back at him, deadly serious, Shen Shao had to reach out and take it.

Even if the box contained illegal items, he was in a public place and could prove his innocence.
There was nothing to worry about.

Shen Shao saw that the people behind him were waiting for the security check.
He stepped away from the line and let the people from his school go in first.
He walked over to the teenager while holding the somewhat heavy box in his hand and stopped three paces away from him.
“Thank you for the gift.”

Gu NingZhao looked at Shen Shao.
His face was blank.
“You’re welcome,” he said in a flat voice.

Shen Shao saw that the teenager didn’t seem to like talking.
After thinking about it, he pulled a case out of his backpack.
It contained the pen that was his main reward for winning the competition.
“To reciprocate, this is for you.”

Gu NingZhao looked at the pen case with the Gu family logo, then slowly reached out and took it.
After clutching it for several seconds, he said, “Thank you.”

Although the other party’s tone was still dull and emotionless, Shen Shao didn’t mind.
With a smile, he waved at the boy.

As he watched Shen Shao walk into the gate for the security check, Gu NingZhao’s grip on the pen case grew tighter and tighter.
When he could no longer see Shen Shao’s figure, only then did he turn around and leave.

“Shao Ge, is that rich young master really your fan?” Zeng Ping looked at the box Shen Shao was carrying.
The outside was so beautiful that he wondered what was in it.

Shen Shao smiled.
“I guess he watched our competition and had a good impression of me, so he gave me a little something.” Maybe the other party was feeling bored and decided to send him off at random, but Shen Shao still felt grateful to the teenager for making a special trip to the airport.
Even if the gift wasn’t much, it was the thought behind it that counted.

The box was a little heavy, but it wasn’t big, so Shen Shao decided to carry it instead of checking it with his suitcase.
When he sat down in the terminal, Shen Shao couldn’t escape the curious stares of Zeng Ping and Zhang Li.
He had no choice but to open the package.

When Zeng Ping and Zhang Li saw what was inside, they were both confused.

There was nothing precious in the box, just some beautifully packaged snacks and three books.
One was a reference book for the college entrance exam, and the other two were from a children’s fantasy series that was popular at the moment.

“It seems that young man just now really is a fan of yours.” When Vice Principal Yao saw the things in the box, he relaxed.
It wasn’t anything valuable, so there was nothing wrong with accepting it.

Shen Shao smiled and distributed some of the snacks to his traveling companions.
As he closed the box he joked, “Maybe we’ll be fellow college alumni in the future.”

“Shao Ge, don’t joke around.
There are so many universities in China and there’s only a small possibility of your going to the same one.
But even if you go to the same school, you won’t be in the same grade.
And even if you’re the same age, you won’t necessarily be in the same department.
It’s extremely unlikely you’ll meet up that way.” Zeng Ping chewed the beef jerky and shook his head.
“The odds are just too low.”

“Low odds doesn’t mean impossible.” Zhang Li put the snacks that Shen Shao gave her into her backpack.
“When predestiny comes, it can’t be stopped.
Maybe Shao Ge and the hot guy just now will be in the same class someday.”

“That’s not how you use the word predestiny.
Don’t use it randomly.” The glasses Zeng Ping was wearing couldn’t conceal his derision.
“You only care because you think that guy was hot.”

They started quarreling again, but Shen Shao was used to it by now.
Whenever this happened, all he had to do was stand by and watch them go.

After returning to Furong City, Shen Shao and others didn’t report to school immediately.
They stayed home that evening and rested.
The next morning, as soon as he stepped into the classroom, he was greeted by thunderous applause.

“Shao Ge, you’re awesome!”

“Shao Ge, you were in the newspaper.
You saw it, right?!”

The whole class applauded, some people whistled, and a few of the girls joined in with high-pitched cheers.
Everyone was excited.

Shen Shao was embarrassed by all the fuss.
When he turned around, he saw Zhang JiaHe, the head teacher, standing at the podium.

“OK, students, let’s give Shen Shao another round of applause.
Student Shen Shao, please take a seat.” Zhang JiaHe noticed that Shen Shao felt embarrassed.
“If you want to say anything else, you can do it later.
We have to start class right now or the people next door will come over and complain.”

The students broke into laughter, and the class once again burst into warm applause.

Shen Shao hurried over to his seat and sat down.
He smiled at Liang Cheng, his deskmate, and took out a book from the drawer, as if he meant to listen seriously to the lecture.

When the other students saw this they stopped making noise and began to focus on the lesson.
However, Shen Shao’s attitude gave them a good impression.
No matter how they looked at it, they couldn’t help feeling that Shen Shao was always hard-working and down-to-earth.
What a good classmate.

Within a few days of Shen Shao’s return to school, some people from the Guo City local TV station visited Furong No.
3 High School.
They told the school that a lot of people from Shen Shao’s hometown were interested in his daily life, and they hoped to spend a day with Shen Shao on campus.
However, they were mainly going to shoot things that happened after school, and they wouldn’t interfere with class.
At most, they’d take a few shots outside the classroom.

Although the school officials knew this would be a good way to publicize the school, they didn’t agree immediately.
First they asked Zhang JiaHe to talk privately with Shen Shao.
Only if Shen Shao agreed would they allow the request.

Shen Shao didn’t think the Guo City TV station would be interested in a high school student like himself.
He was surprised until it occurred to him that maybe the people in his hometown had watched the live broadcast of the competition on the Capital City TV station.
That must be why the local TV station sent a cameraman to film him.

When he learned that the reporter from his hometown TV station traveled all the way here just to film him, and that the school was interested too, he agreed.
People live in the world, and they have to choose the path that’s most beneficial to them.
He wasn’t a saint who refused to eat the food of common mortals.
Naturally, he wasn’t going to turn down this kind of good publicity.

The next morning, when Shen Shao, Liang Cheng, and Zhou ZeYu arrived at the gate of No.
3 High School on their bicycles, a cameraman and reporter from the Guo City TV station were standing at the gate waiting for him.


TL Notes:

300!! This is the 300th chapter I’ve posted ゚・✿ヾ╲(。◕‿◕。)╱✿・゚

Thanks to everyone for reading ♥


Gu family logo – 顾氏华风LOGO – the original said Gu Family/Clan Huafeng logo

Even if the gift wasn’t much, it was the thought behind it that counted – 礼轻情意重 – goose feather sent from afar, a trifling present with a weighty thought behind it (idiom); It’s not the gift that counts, but the thought behind it.

predestiny – 缘分 – fate or chance that brings people together / predestined affinity or relationship / (Budd.) destiny

hot guy – 帅哥 – shuài ɡē – handsome young chap, handsome young man, cute guy

refused to eat the food of common mortals – 不食人间烟火 – lit.
not eating the food of common mortals / fig.
placing oneself above the common populace

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