GOR Chapter 167: Return to Hangzhou
Chen Xiaolian was personally not too concerned about returning to school.
His academic performance was neither excellent nor bad. He was neither an academic high scorer nor a delinquent. He had considered it before – with his achievements, getting the first band results for the college entrance exams might be too much of a stretch. However, getting up to the second band should not be a problem.
He had never placed much importance upon these matters. After all, he had already found a relatively safe career – writing novels.
By writing novels, he had gained a considerable sum of income. Even if he were to stay at home and write novels for his career instead of going to school, he would not end up hungry. His royalties each year would go up to several hundred thousand yuans. That was enough to meet the needs of living for him.
Thus, academic performance had never been a source of pressure for Chen Xiaolian.
He still hated going to school.
As for the reason… if he were to say it out, many people would end up feeling dismal.
The reason was the school uniforms!
Due to many complicated factors and aspects, the majority of the public high schools in China made uniforms compulsory. This was especially so for those located within the city where the regulations were more stringent.
Once school was open, he would be required to wear the school uniform with coarse texture and loose cutting design. Its beetle-like style was seemingly made with zero aesthetics in mind. For Chen Xiaolian, it was a form of torture.
Wearing school uniforms was not the problem… as long as the design was somewhat beautiful; most people would not be opposed to it.
Take the Japanese school uniforms for instance… the more you look at it, the more attractive it would seem!
Be it the boy’s collared school uniforms or the girl’s sailor type uniforms, both exuded an atmosphere of youth.
Yet, the school uniforms for China’s high school were hideous – each more unsightly than the other. It was as though they were competing to see which of them could reach the lowest level of aesthetics possible!
According to an explanation found on the internet, there was a reason why the uniform for China’s public high school was designed to be so ugly. That reason was… to give the students wearing them an unpleasant image so as to prevent romance between adolescents.
What a preposterous reason!
Unfortunately for Chen Xiaolian, the school he attended was one of those high schools. Moreover, it was one with a strict level of regulation.
In the morning, just before he went to school; the two brothers Lun Tai and Bei Tai and also Xia Xiaolei watched as Chen Xiaolian stepped out of his room wearing a white and green striped uniform…
Both Lun Tai and Bei Tai held nothing back and broke into a riot of laughter.
That was especially the case with Bei Tai, who pointed at Chen Xiaolian while laughing to the point of convulsing. Anymore and the corners of his mouth would probably reach his ears.
“Guild Leader, do you know how pathetic you look in that uniform?” Bei Tai continued laughing raucously. “I truly feel sorry for those Special Assault Team members who were beaten by you back in the Tokyo instance dungeon!”
The cutting of the uniform was extremely loose with almost zero gender difference. The uniform for both boys and girls shared the same baggy look.
Chen Xiaolian sighed and picked up his bag before heading out. Before leaving, he turned to Xia Xiaolei. “If anything happens, give me a call.”
There was nothing much to talk about regarding the first day of school.
Chen Xiaolian’s class was in Year Three of the senior stage (Four) and the ratio between male and females in the class was quite balanced.
As he walked into the school, he saw the childish and inexperienced faces of those around him who also wore the green and white striped uniforms. The sight gave him the urge to turn around and make a break for it.
It appeared that… he was somewhat unable to adapt to it.
After handing over the tuition fees, he received the study materials.
Then, he went to his seat and sat there with a blank expression on his face.
In the class, his classmates were chatting – some were discussing where they went for vacation while others were discussing about cram lessons.
They were in their third year after all. For those students with high aspirations, this was the first major hurdle in life.
As for Chen Xiaolian – a blank expression on his face…
He turned to look at the vacant seat at the back of his row – that was Roddy’s seat.
The brat had not reappeared. Chen Xiaolian could not help but feel slightly worried about him.
The homeroom teacher was a rough looking middle-aged man – looking at his outward appearance, no one would believe that he was an educated scholar, an advanced Chinese language teacher with a solid foundation. Seeing his outward appearance, one would mistake him as a sports teacher.
Chen Xiaolian did not pay much attention to what the teacher was saying as it mostly pertained to the matters of the third year of senior stage and the upcoming college entrance examination.
Before the first lesson began, they had to participate in radio calisthenics.
Chen Xiaolian followed his group down the building and into the sports field. As he was relatively shorter than most, he had to walk in front.
Listening to the familiar music for the radio calisthenics activity, he felt himself becoming like a toad as he jumped around.
At that moment however, Chen Xiaolian discovered the appearance of two familiar figures!
Lun Tai and Bei Tai!
The two fellows were standing at the edge of the sports field, beside the school canteen. They held on to their arms and laughed with abandon. Bei Tai was laughing so hard he nearly fell down onto the ground!
Chen Xiaolian nearly spat out blood due to anger!
Most infuriatingly, Bei Tai actually went so far as to produce a mobile phone to snap a few pictures!
When the time came for them to rest, Chen Xiaolian rushed out and met up with Lun Tai and Bei Tai at the edge of the sports field.
“Why did you two come over?” Chen Xiaolian dragged the two of them to the back of the sports field.
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha… it is too funny! Guild Leader! This is just too funny!” Bei Tai laughed as he waved his mobile phone around. “I could never have expected such a side from you!”
Within the photos taken through the mobile phone, Chen Xiaolian could be seen jumping around like a toad while wearing the beetle like green and white striped uniform.
“Those monsters killed by you in the Tokyo instance dungeon… if they could see this side of you, they will probably crawl their way out from Hell.”
“Did you two specifically come here to make fun of me?” Chen Xiaolian scowled.
Lun Tai replied with a serious tone. “That is correct! That is exactly why we are here.”
“… … …”
As Chen Xiaolian was messing around with the two of them, a cab came to a halt before the school entrance. A youngster stepped out of the cab while carrying a backpack.
After he walked into the sports field, Chen Xiaolian and his group turned over and cast their gazes onto the youngster.
Chen Xiaolian quickly loosened his arm, that was gripping onto Bei Tai’s neck and he shouted loudly before running over.
Roddy simply stood there. His face revealed exhaustion; however, he smiled and let his backpack fall down the ground. Then, after letting out a laugh, he walked toward Chen Xiaolian.
Chen Xiaolian hugged him tightly before giving a heavy blow on his shoulder, nearly knocking him down the ground. Roddy massaged his shoulder with an expression of pain. “We just met up. Must you be so cruel?”
“Where did you run off to?” Chen Xiaolian scowled, his expression showing agitation. “You even closed off your mobile phone! Do you know how worried we were?”
Roddy laughed, revealing a white set of teeth. “I am back now, aren’t I?”
He then greeted Lun Tai and Bei Tai and exchanged some words with them.
Chen Xiaolian looked into Roddy’s eyes and asked tentatively. “You… found her?”
Roddy turned silent for a moment and the smile on his face faded. Then , he slowly nodded his head. “I found her.”
Pausing, he gave a bittersweet smile. “She… she is doing well.”
Chen Xiaolian did not say anything. He only looked at Roddy while patting him on the shoulder.
According to Roddy, he had found Nicole in an old European country.
She lived in a small agricultural village where everything appeared calm.
Naturally, Nicole could not remember Roddy or anything related to her Awakened life.
For the past few days, Roddy had been like a stalker, secretly peeping at Nicole every day.
He watched her go through her peaceful life as she head to work every day. Occasionally, she would go to the town park to rest and feed the pigeons.
“You did not approach her?” Chen Xiaolian knitted his eyebrows.
Roddy sighed. “I really wanted to. However, after thinking about it, I decided not to.”
“… … …” Chen Xiaolian looked into Roddy’s eyes.
Roddy’s expression revealed his feelings of distress. “Even if I did approach her, then what? Strike up a conversation with her? Get to know her? Be friends with her? Then what? Our current state and life is one that is miles away from hers. She is already an ordinary person. Even if… what happens after that? I may have to enter an instance dungeon on that very day and die. We are now inhabitants of two different worlds. If I get together with her, I will only bring problems into her life.”
They sat inside a rock garden behind the school’s sports field. There, Chen Xiaolian sat by Roddy’s side while Lun Tai and Bei Tai sat on a piece of rock.
It was already time for class and there was no one else within the sports field.
“I did not expect you to return to school.”
“I did not expect you to return to school either.”
The two youngsters looked at each other and revealed a smile of tacit understanding.
“It seems that our choice is the same,” Chen Xiaolian sighed.
Roddy spoke in a whisper. “This is the only place where I can feel… truly alive.”
After saying that, Roddy stood up and said. “Come on; let us head back to class. I have yet to hand in my tuition fees. As for you, going absent on your first day, you are in for a scolding.”
The two of them laughed.
Lun Tai and Bei Tai informed them that the two of them will be heading back and bring Xia Xiaolei to continue his training in the fitness centre.
Chen Xiaolian and Roddy went back to the class together.
As expected, the first lesson was the language lesson by the homeroom teacher. Chen Xiaolian was thoroughly lectured by the teacher. Roddy on the other hand, smiled as he produced a medical certificate for sick leave that he had prepared beforehand. Thus, he was able to waltz through the hurdle.
Thus, Chen Xiaolian was punished to stand alone for the first class.
During the period of time between lessons, Chen Xiaolian complained to Roddy. “You cunning bastard, to think that you would have a medical certificate prepared.
“Be careful, going absent on the first day will surely earn you a spot in the teacher’s blacklist.”
However, during the second lesson… something unexpected occurred.
As the mathematics teacher was drawing a geometric pattern on the blackboard, Chen Xiaolian’s mobile phone suddenly rang.
The classroom was originally silent. The unexpected ringing sound from the mobile phone thus attracted a great deal of glances from the students. Several of the boys secretly gave Chen Xiaolian a glance, which conveyed the words ‘you’ve got guts’.
Sure enough, the thin female mathematics teacher slapped the ruler down onto the table and she furiously shouted. “How many times have I said it? Do not turn on your mobile phones when in class! Who is it? Hurry up and turn it off!”
Chen Xiaolian hastily pulled out the mobile phone. After taking a glance at it, he lost his composure.
The incoming call was from Hangzhou.
“Are you still not going to turn it off?” The mathematics teacher glowered at Chen Xiaolian.
Chen Xiaolian sighed inwardly and let out a bitter smile as he stood up. Then, he rushed out of the door. “I am sorry teacher, it is an emergency!”
“Hey! What are you doing? Where are you going? You!”
Chen Xiaolian stepped into the corridor and answered the phone.
“Hello, are you Chen Xiaolian?”
It was an unknown voice, but one that contained seriousness.
“Err, I am he,” Chen Xiaolian was momentarily surprised.
“I am calling from Hangzhou City XX District XX police station,” This person’s voice sounded grave. “Do you know of someone called Da Gang?”
Chen Xiaolian immediately answered. “I know, he is my friend.”
“Then, would it be convenient for you to come over for a bit? Something happened to your friend. There are some matters that we need you to help out with,” The other person said in a very cautious manner. “Your number is the only one we can find in his phone book.”
Chen Xiaolian’s heart gave a thump!
“Excuse me, what happened to him?” Chen Xiaolian frowned.
“He is involved in a physical injury case,” The other person spoke in a considerate tone. “He was hurt and is now in the hospital…”
“I will head over immediately! Please give me the address!” Without showing any hesitation, Chen Xiaolian decided.
As Chen Xiaolian was walking into the classroom, the mathematics teacher glowered angrily at him.
However, she then saw Chen Xiaolian walking to his seat to pack his things into his bag before quickly running out again.
“Hey! What are you doing?” The mathematics teacher became livid.
“Teacher, I have an emergency!” Chen Xiaolian replied without looking back.
Before the mathematics teacher could say anything, Roddy too grabbed his backpack and ran out.
“And what do you think you are doing?”
“Teacher! I may have to go save the world!”
Mathematics teacher: “… … …”
Save… the world???
As Chen Xiaolian was rushing out of the school building, Roddy managed to catch up to him.
“There has been an incident. I need to go to Hangzhou,” Chen Xiaolian thought about it. “Why did you come?”
Roddy looked at him and smiled wryly. “Hangzhou? It must be something to do with Han Bi then?”
“No, I made a new friend in Hangzhou. Something happened to him.”
Roddy sighed. “I will go with you then. Besides, there is nothing going on in school.”
Chen Xiaolian considered the matter.
However, before he could say anything, his mobile phone rang again.
It was an unknown phone number from Hangzhou.
“Roddy? Is that you?”
Chen Xiaolian was stunned.
However, he quickly recognized the voice as Yu Jiajia’s.
As to why Yu Jiajia had called him Roddy… he quickly recalled that it was his own doing.
“How did you get my number?”
“I…” Yu Jiajia’s voice was filled with anxiety and tears. “Something has happened to Da Gang. In the hospital – before he lost consciousness, I asked him if there is anyone who could help. He gave me this number. I… I…”
The girl was about to break into tears.
Chen Xiaolian’s face instantly distorted. “How is he?”
“The surgery had just finished. He is still in intensive care,” From her voice, it was clear that she was sobbing. “You… can you…”
“I am coming over immediately,” Chen Xiaolian took a deep breath. “Do not hang up first. Calm down and tell me what happened.”
As he spoke, he made a few gestures toward Roddy. Roddy quickly understood and pulled out his own mobile phone to buy train tickets for Hangzhou.
Through the phone, Yu Jiajia’s voice sounded flustered.
“Da Gang… he was stabbed. Wu wu wu wu… the doctor said that he lost too much blood. He is now in a dangerous situation. He might end up dying.”
[Trivia: The college entrance exam they take after Year 3 of the senior stage decides which college they will go to (or none) and is a very important turning point for public students in China.]