Chapter 27: School Begins



All of a sudden, the dorm room fell eerily silent.
Xiong Gang saw several tough-looking men in suits outside the door.
Cowed by this display of force, he scrunched down and didn’t say a word.

The two groups of people inside and outside the room exchanged glances.
Gu NingZhao nodded to his bodyguards.

And then… It was time to witness a miracle.

Making the bed, tidying the desk, installing the computer, cleaning the cabinets—the men in suits completed their tasks with incredible deftness, even a bit of a murderous flair.
They completed everything in the blink of an eye.
A nameless bodyguard even handed Shen Shao and the others a few boxes of gifts.

The team of bodyguards arrived without a word and departed just as decisively.
When the door closed, the three of them just stared.
Moments passed and no one said anything.

It wasn’t clear how, but Xiong Gang and Wang Hao reached an unspoken agreement.
Together they looked over at Shen Shao.
It seemed that only he could break the deadlock.

The emotions in their eyes were so strong that Shen Shao couldn’t pretend not to notice.
He turned to Gu NingZhao and cleared his throat.
“I didn’t think we’d meet again.”

Gu NingZhao, who was seated in a chair, looked over at him.
His gaze rested on Shen Shao for several seconds.
He finally said, “Mm.”

The atmosphere immediately cooled down again.
Wang Hao and Xiong Gang continued to stare at Shen Shao.
This person knew Shen Shao?

Wang Hao was confused.
Wasn’t Gu NingZhao that famous prodigy from No.
1 High School? He’d skipped several grades and participated in numerous international competitions.
It was said that several world famous universities had invited him to study abroad.
How did he end up at Hua U? How did he know Shen Shao?

“My name’s Shen Shao.
I’m majoring in information science.
Pleased to meet you.” Shen Shao took out one of the snack packets brought by Wang Hao and handed it to Gu NingZhao.
“Wang Hao brought some local specialties from his hometown.
Want to try some?”

After accepting the snack bag, Gu NingZhao said thank you.
He looked over at Xiong Gang and Wang Hao as if trying to distinguish which one had brought the snacks.

“Hi, I’m Wang Hao, majoring in art and design.” Wang Hao grinned at Gu NingZhao.
Then he pointed to Xiong Gang, who was standing next to him.
“This is Xiong Gang, biology major.
From now on, we’ll be brothers come what may, through thick and thin! If you ever need anything just let me know.
I’ll help however I can.”

“Thank you.” Gu NingZhao looked back at Shen Shao.
“Gu NingZhao, financial management major.
My family lives in the capital.” After a pause he added, “I can help you with anything also.”

What did that mean?

At first Wang Hao thought Gu NingZhao was being sarcastic and said this to mock him, but when he looked more closely at the other boy’s face, he decided he was overthinking.
According to the rumors, Gu NingZhao was the type who acted like every word cost him money.
If he could get away with not speaking at all, he wouldn’t open his mouth.
A moment ago he was willing to give them a brief self-introduction.
That meant he was being sociable, right?

When this thought crossed his mind, Wang Hao realized he was setting the bar pretty low, but this was none other than Gu NingZhao.
He wasn’t going to complain.

The atmosphere finally livened up.
Gu NingZhao didn’t say much, but that didn’t affect the excitement of the other three students who’d just arrived at Hua U.
Somehow they ended up talking about military training.
Xiong Gang said with some regret, “During military training, we’re divided into groups based on our major.
The four of us will have to be separated for the next two weeks.”

“I heard that our military training is held on an actual military base.
It’s a lot harder than schools that do their training on campus.” Wang Hao sighed.
“I asked about it before I came.
If your military training is on a base, everyone gets crammed in together.
We’ll have to sleep on the floor and follow a schedule to bathe and wash our hair.
You can’t even shower every day.”

Xiong Gang’s face looked like the world was about to end.
How in the world could there be something so merciless and unhygienic?

When Shen Shao saw the other student’s face collapse, he laughed.
“Wang Hao, don’t scare him.
It’s still early in the day.
Let’s all take a nap.
When we get up we’ll take a walk around campus to get familiar with things.”

Wang Hao chuckled and burrowed into his bed to go to sleep.

The dorm room grew quiet.
After ten or twenty minutes, Shen Shao heard some movement from the bed next to his.
Maybe Gu NingZhao was getting ready to sleep.
He thought to himself vaguely—the name ‘Gu NingZhao’ seemed familiar.
Where exactly had he heard it before?

Later in the afternoon, Gu NingZhao didn’t express an opinion about their plan to stroll around the university.
Although he joined them, he didn’t say a word the entire time.

Some of the girls they passed on the sidewalk cast secret glances at Shen Shao and Gu NingZhao, calling out “So handsome” either quietly or not-so-quietly.
Shen Shao pretended not to hear, and Gu NingZhao’s face remained paralyzed the entire time.
It was like he viewed the girls they passed as carrots or cabbages.

Xiong Gang and Wang Hao, who followed these two, felt like they were facing an unfair level of competition.
They wished they weren’t walking next to these two “big men on campus” who relentlessly stole the attention of all the girls.

“This is the information science building.” Gu NingZhao, who hadn’t said a word the entire time, suddenly stopped and pointed to a beige building not far away.
“It’s very close to the College of Business and Finance.”

Shen Shao looked at the two buildings and nodded.
“They really are close.”

Gu NingZhao glanced at Shen Shao and a faint trace of a smile appeared on his face.

“The No.
3 cafeteria is over here.
Let’s go and put some money on our meal cards.” Shen Shao pulled Gu NingZhao’s sleeve.

Wang Hao’s expression flickered.
He’d heard that Gu NingZhao didn’t like people touching him….

Gu NingZhao nodded and instantly cast aside his previous suspicions that the food in the cafeteria wouldn’t be very good.

Wang Hao touched his face.
Once again he decided he was worrying too much.

The food in the third cafeteria had an inviting aroma.
After Shen Shao and the other three added money to their meal cards, they chose some food for supper.

If Shen Shao was forced to give his honest opinion, the best he could say about the food in the cafeteria was that the portions were OK.
The taste was just passable.

To his surprise, Gu NingZhao, a young master who seemed to come from an extraordinary background, actually finished the entire meal.

Gu NingZhao seemed to notice that Shen Shao was looking at him.
He wiped his mouth and said with a serious face, “It doesn’t taste very good.” In fact, after the first bite of his chopsticks, he didn’t want to eat it at all.
But Shen Shao had suggested coming here for dinner, so he grit his teeth and ate it.

“It’s really not very good,” Shen Shao said with a smile.
“I heard the cafeteria has a special stir-fry section.
We can go there next time.”

Gu NingZhao breathed an inner sigh of relief and nodded impassively.

Wang Hao and Xiong Gang agreed with Shen Shao’s suggestion.
Anyway, their families weren’t hard up for money.
Stir-fry was more expensive, but it was better than torturing their taste buds.

At night, when Shen Shao got up to use the bathroom, he heard the words “not doing military training” from inside.
Surprised, he stepped back and met Gu NingZhao coming out of the bathroom with a black cell phone in his hand.

Gu NingZhao put the phone into his trouser pocket, nodded to Shen Shao, and walked away.

Shen Shao entered the bathroom and closed the door.
Considering what Gu NingZhao said just now, it sounded like he originally planned to do military training, but now he’d changed his mind.

Was it because going off-base for training was too hard?

Shen Shao shook his head and decided he was being too nosy.
He soon forgot all about it.

The next day was the official start of military training.
The freshmen were assigned to buses according to their academic major.
After a two or three hour ride, they arrived at the gates of the military base.

Military instructors took charge of the students that were assigned to their companies.
They told the students to pick up their luggage and march on foot to their quarters.

The quarters for each platoon were the same.
After walking for ten minutes, Shen Shao thought that if they had to go much farther, they might never find their destination.
Not because they were tired from walking, but because the architecture everywhere was identical.
Even the trees on the side of the road looked like copies of each other.

Shen Shao was assigned to the 5th Squad of the 2nd Company of the 5th Platoon.
Every squad had eighteen people, and the room they shared was tiny.
Just as Wang Hao warned, the students on the second and third floors had to sleep on the ground.
As for the students on the first floor, they had actual beds, but the beds were jammed in next to each other.
Everyone slept crowded together.

At the end of each day of training, the boys in each squad would take off their shoes, which would kill all nearby mosquitos and flies.
After five days of this, Shen Shao thought his sense of smell had seriously deteriorated.
He’d become immune to bad smells and body odor.

To be honest, the first few days of military training were incredibly difficult, but he got used to it after that.
Although they sometimes had emergency drills at night, and it wasn’t easy to shower, and the food was barely edible, the students did their best to help each other, had fun, and chatted about things.
After less than a week, the eighteen students in their barracks had already become acquainted.

During break time, a tall, lanky boy looked up at the dazzling sun.
“The thing I most look forward to these days is singing ‘Unity Makes Strength’.” He wiped the sweat on his forehead.
“Because we get to eat after we sing.”

During military training, the students were required to sing this song before every meal.
If they didn’t sing with enough enthusiasm, they had to sing it all over again or they weren’t allowed to eat.
The students had developed strong feelings about this song.

“What are you talking about?” The young man next to him pointed at the two students who were still training.
“Look at Shen Shao and Yao BoXuan.
They’re still practicing marching in formation.”

“The two of them are the leaders of our squad.
It’s normal for them to do extra training.” Not many people envied Shen Shao and Yao BoXuan’s position as “squad leader” because it was too much work.

On such a blazing hot day, they had to march with momentum and good looks.
If that wasn’t torment, what was it?

If only in this one instance, they decided that being handsome wasn’t necessarily a good thing.
Because if Shen Shao and Yao BoXuan weren’t so good-looking, they wouldn’t have to do the hard work of “leading the formation”.

Just light a prayer candle for those two.

After morning training, Shen Shao returned to his squad and drained half a bottle of water in one gulp.
He took off his hat and shook it.
“We’ve been in military training for almost ten days.
Why hasn’t it rained even once?”

” ”

“The sun shines during military training and rains constantly during vacation.
It’s one of life’s little miseries.
You should just give up.” Qian Bin sympathetically patted Shen Shao on the shoulder.
“You look really sharp when you march in formation.
You’re way better than Yao BoXuan.”

Although they all belonged to the College of Information Science, Shen Shao’s major was computer science and information technology, while Yao BoXuan was studying robotics.
Different majors naturally meant competition.
In addition, Yao BoXuan’s personality was slightly proud, and not many boys were close to him.
In contrast, Shen Shao, who was friendly as well as good-looking, was a lot more likable.

In the eyes of the other male students, Shen Shao was not only better-looking than Yao BoXuan, he was also the top scorer in his province on the college entrance exam.
It set him a level above.
Meanwhile he was also modest and polite.
No matter how they looked at it, Shen Shao was superior to Yao BoXuan.
As one would expect, they had a better opinion of him.

No one in the world would like a person who looked down on them.
What’s more, they themselves were excellent students admitted from all over the country, which made Yao BoXuan’s behavior even more insufferable.

Shen Shao didn’t know what the other students were thinking.
In his opinion, Yao BoXuan was an eighteen-year-old boy from a good family with good looks and good ability.
It was normal for him to be a little arrogant.
When he got older, he’d learn to be less obvious about his self-regard.
Maybe in time he’d regret the childish mentality of his younger years.

“Don’t think that if you say I’m handsome I’ll forget who volunteered me for lead marcher.” Shen Shao deliberately put on a cold expression.
“Even if you fall over, I won’t let it slide.”

“Hey!” The boys called out in protest. 

Qian Bin said more directly, “Shao Ge, we only did that because we’re so confident in you.
Even if we tried to nominate ourselves for squad leader, the instructor wouldn’t agree.”

“Qian Bin has a point.”

“What does it matter if a handsome guy gets a little more sun?”

Well, that sentence probably revealed the truth behind their sinister intentions.
Formation leaders got more training, which meant they got more sun, and the more sun they got, the darker they were.

Shen Shao squinted at his squad members.
“Have you no shame?”

All the students protested in unison.
If they couldn’t eat and couldn’t get a girlfriend, how were they going to survive?

Do you even know how few girls there were in the College of Information Science? They’re so rare that every woman looked like one of the Four Beauties!

Eliminating even one rival was a victory.
When it came to getting a girlfriend, every handsome guy was their enemy.

Yao BoXuan stood by the door of the 5th Squad and heard the conversation inside.
Through the crack in the door, he saw Shen Shao’s smile and the unrestrained grins on the faces of the other students.
Lowering his eyes, he silently turned around and left.

A classmate greeted him along the way.
When Yao BoXuan ignored him, the boy had no choice but to awkwardly continue walking.

It looked like Yao BoXuan was in a bad mood again, the boy told himself.
Didn’t it seem like he was in a bad mood pretty often?


TL Notes:

Four Beauties – from 貂蝉 – Diao Chan, one of the four legendary beauties from Chinese folklore


Transliterated names, places, and titles—new in this chapter:

Yao BoXuan – 姚博轩

Qian Bin – 钱斌


[ Project Page | Ko-Fi ✿ | Other translations by Confectioner ]


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