Today’s 2nd High School campus was filled with an unusual restless atmosphere.
After the second class in the afternoon, the head teachers of each class hurried into the classroom and announced the news with a bit of excitement.
Moments later, similar cheers rang out in many classes.
At the same time, a high-end luxury bus stopped at the gate of the 2nd High School.
The dust and smoke cleared and the door opened. Sun Tinghao, who was tall and curly-haired, was the first to get out of the bus. He was wearing a pair of the latest limited-edition sneakers.
He looked at the campus in front of him and a disdainful smile appeared on his face. “The 2nd High School is so dilapidated, old and small. It would’ve been better to choose our venue.”
The team members behind him came down one after another. The captain Li Boyu couldn’t help saying after hearing his words, “It was done through a draw and it isn’t something we can choose.”
“Yes, who made Old Xue have such a stinky hand.” Sun Tinghao sighed. “I don’t know what the gymnasium of the 2nd High School looks like. Can it be used? If this match isn’t played well, can it be counted as the responsibility of their venue?”
Coach Xue walked down with the team doctor and frowned when he heard the words. He replied briefly, “The competition venues provided by each participating school have been reviewed in advance. There are no problems.”
After that, he ignored the basketball team members whispering and talking together. He looked at the school gate that was empty apart from the security guards.
Sun Tinghao noticed his gaze and immediately said with dissatisfaction, “Why isn’t anyone from the 2nd High School coming to pick us up? This is too casual. What quality is this…?”
Li Boyu glanced at him but didn’t refute it this time.
Two or three minutes later, Coach Xu wearing sportswear appeared in their field of view. He rushed to the school gate and said in a loud voice, “I’m sorry I’m late. The side of the venue was too busy.”
He arrived and shook hands with Coach Xue on the opposite side. His eyes swept over the team doctor and other logistics staff next to the coach and was inwardly surprised, but he just smiled politely. “Welcome to the 2nd High School. I will take you to the gymnasium.”
He came a bit late but there was nothing wrong with his attitude. Coach Xu nodded and asked, “Has the venue not been arranged yet?”
“Ah, no no. It has long been arranged. Rest assured, I was busy with other things just now.”
Coach Xu smiled and led the team from Chengde Private High School in the direction of the gymnasium without any further explanation.
Sun Tinghao followed behind and muttered to himself, “Then what else can he be busy with? He obviously isn’t ready but wants to save face. I will have Old Xue keep an eye on it. I don’t want to get hurt here and go back…”
Li Boyu couldn’t listen any longer and bumped against his shoulder. “Okay, talk less.”
This group of burly and tall team members wearing famous brand clothes walked through the slightly old but neat campus of the 2nd High School. Most of them were expressionless. They just wanted to win the match and go back.
However, they were taken aback when they came to the vicinity of the gymnasium.
Looking around, there were many people. The dark crowd was made up of students.
They knew that some students from the school would come to watch the match and help out. They just hadn’t expected there to be so many students from the 2nd High School. It felt like the whole school had come.
“Don’t they have to go to class?” Sun Tinghao clicked his tongue.
Coach Xu replied to him with a smile, “There is no way. The popularity of the basketball team is too high and everyone wants to come and cheer for them. The gymnasium is really crowded and they now have to pass a basic basketball knowledge quiz to enter.”
Sun Tinghao: “……”
He subtly read a taste of showing off.
He still wanted to speak again, but he inexplicably felt a bit unpleasant when remembering the matches he played at his school a while ago.
In Chengde, everyone was busy. There might be such a grand occasion if some bigshots and business elites came to give lectures, but wanting them to all run to watch the basketball team play a round-robin game that wasn’t even the finals? No way.
He paused and had to whisper, “There is enough free time…”
The smile on Coach Xu’s face faded a bit. “This is called unity. It only takes an hour to play a full match. There isn’t much time wasted.”
Before the atmosphere could become strange, Li Boyu grabbed Sun Tinghao’s arm and said in time, “Sorry, he is speaking nonsense.”
Coach Xu waved his hand and decided not to worry about this group of children. He calmly made the introductions. “When you arrive, enter the locker room from here. You guys rest first and get used to it. If you have any questions, you can contact me at any time or any teacher present.”
It wasn’t until they walked into the gymnasium that Sun Tinghao and the others thoroughly understood what Coach Xu meant when he said they had to pass a quiz to enter.
The seats around the small gymnasium were full of spectators. Even the aisles were full of people. Everyone looked excitedly at the center of the stadium before the match started and talked enthusiastically.
There weren’t only students and some parents present, but even many people who looked like teachers and school leaders.
They thought incorrectly. It wasn’t just the students of the whole school, but the whole school.
This unparalleled momentum instantly overwhelmed the natural arrogance of the Chengde players.
Sun Tinghao’s footsteps froze and he was in a trance. “Did I remember the schedule incorrectly? This obviously should be the finals, right?”
Everyone else looked at the grand scene in front of them in disbelief, but no one had the strength to deal with him.
Just as the Chengde players walked to the locker room with slightly messy steps, the basketball players of the 2nd High School also walked into the gymnasium.
The one in the lead was the captain who was 1.85 meters tall and a player with an outstanding appearance. The moment they appeared, the stands instantly let out earth-shattering cheers.
From 2nd High school to Fu Chengze and Pei Qingyuan… every team member’s name was read over and over again. It didn’t resemble a small city high school league at all.
Cheers came like a tidal wave.
Zhou Fang held the hand of a child wearing the No 7 jersey and sat in the front row of the audience. She didn’t care about the image of her class teacher at this time and cheered with everyone.
The same was true for Ji Tong. He spread out an old newspaper conjured from a small school bag on the seat and directly stood up to cheer for the host, striving to make his head pass the board and be seen by the host instantly.
There were too many people in the gymnasium today. Pei Qingyuan was worried about entrusting him to a student so he found the head teacher Zhou Fang and told her that the child he was tutoring also wanted to come and watch the match. He asked her to take care of the child and Zhou Fang readily agreed.
Just like last time, Pei Qingyuan still saw him immediately in the bustling crowd.
This time, he didn’t just smile. He reached out and waved to him.
Ji Tong immediately smiled like a flower. His eyes narrowed into curved arcs and he tried his best to stand on tiptoe and wave. Zhou Fang was afraid that the child would fall and quickly opened her arms to hug him.
In the stands behind him, the other students who saw Pei Qingyuan waving in this direction shouted in excitement.
…Were these people crazy?
Sun Tinghao only had this thought left in his head.
The members of the 2nd High School, who were watched by countless eyes, also walked toward the locker room. Chengde’s side subconsciously held their breath and waited for a close-range confrontation before the game.
But nothing happened.
There was no trash talk session or condescending looks. The members of the 2nd High School team just quietly passed by them, eyes looking straight ahead. They were full of fiery and focused fighting intent.
On the other hand, looking at the team members by his side who had different expressions after being affected, a vague idea flashed in Li Boyu’s mind.
It seemed like a match without any suspense.
Three minutes after the opening, the 2nd High School aggressively scored a rebound and the momentum of all the players was unstoppable. This forced the Chengde side to be almost at a loss. The defenders pulled their jerseys irritably and wiped off the sweat on their foreheads. The attackers couldn’t find an opportunity to attack at all and just stomped heavily on the clean floor.
Li Boyu, the captain and the only calm one on the field, knew that his hunch had come true.
He also knew that after this match, his teammates would blame the opponent’s obvious home field advantage for the defeat.
However, he was well aware that it wasn’t just that.
There was so much more that he couldn’t describe in words.
There were countless highlights throughout the game, basically all contributed by the 2nd High School side. No one could hold back the excitement in their hearts and sit honestly. The entire audience stood up and cheered.
Zhou Fang wasn’t interested in basketball at all. She never watched a game but now she felt good from the bottom of her heart. Seeing the radiant students on the field, for some reason, she was smiling but the corners of her eyes were a bit moist.
On the side, Ji Tong carefully observed her emotions. He gently pulled at the hem of her clothes and handed her a tissue.
Zhou Fang was stunned. After taking it, she gently rubbed his head.
Ji Tong let her mess up his handsome hairstyle. Then he quietly withdrew his gaze and looked at the fierce court battle again.
The scene just now was unforgettable.
He thought he would write about it in his diary.
Today’s match was almost a replay of the duel between the 1st and 2nd High Schools. Chengde’s tactics failed shortly after the start, their unbalanced mentality caused their positions to gradually become chaotic and the dirty actions that appeared when they were driven to a desperate situation… there was also a big win for the 2nd High School with an absolute advantage.
The only difference was that all the spectators present today were enthusiastically cheering for the 2nd High School basketball team and no one turned against them.
Once the final whistle sounded, Li Boyu gasped while silently looking at the harsh scoreboard.
Sun Tinghao unwillingly threw away the sweat-soaked towel at hand.
The frantic cheers and applause around them continued for a long, long time.
However, none of it had anything to do with Chengde.
After the excitement of celebrating with the basketball team, the first thing Pei Qingyuan did was to walk toward Zhou Fang and Ji Tong.
Zhou Fang happily patted him on the shoulder and congratulated him on victory. Pei Qingyuan answered calmly as he waited for the teacher to say something to him.
He liked the atmosphere of the game but he also knew that a round-robin match wouldn’t make the school teachers allow students to skip class to cheer for them.
Zhou Fang saw the expression on the face of the student in front of her, who wasn’t arrogant even in the face of victory, but was thinking about something. She couldn’t help thinking that he had a sensitive heart, just like the child who handed her a tissue.
“A few days ago, the school leader received a call from a university professor.” In the midst of the enthusiasm around them, Zhou Fang briefly explained the reason to Pei Qingyuan. “The school found out that your recommendation position was canceled by Chengde. Blame me, I know how good you are and I should’ve asked you if you participated in the Olympiad.”
Pei Qingyuan shook his head. “It’s okay. I didn’t say it myself.”
Ye Lanting regarded the recommendation qualification as a gift he had received from the Pei family and should be returned. Therefore, he notified the school to remove his name after his life experience was exposed.
During that time, Pei Qingyuan had fallen into a tormented confusion. Sometimes he couldn’t help thinking along these lines. Was everything he had at this moment really stolen?
So after the transfer, he didn’t mention a word about his past experience.
Ji Tong looked up at him, as if seeing through his memories. Then he reached out to pull at Pei Qingyuan’s pant leg.
Pei Qingyuan’s mind immediately returned and he reflexively held the child’s hand.
In the hustle and bustle, the teacher’s voice clearly reached his ears.
“The teachers might not be able to do much about what has happened.” Zhou Fang looked at him with a smile. “But at least for today, we can support you in this gymnasium.”
No teacher who genuinely thought about their students would be able to agree with the indifferent attitude of the Chengde school leaders when they canceled Pei Qingyuan’s recommendation qualification.
Once this group of Chengde students came to the 2nd High School to play, the teachers hoped that Pei Qingyuan could feel silent support and strength.
This was what made the 2nd High School very different from Chengde.
Pei Qingyuan lowered his eyes and his voice was deep. “Thank you.”
“Your current student status is with the 2nd High School and Professor Xiao said that the 2nd High School can still recommend you. You can apply at any time.” Zhou Fang asked for his opinion. “Do you want this recommendation?”
Pei Qingyuan hesitated slightly. Then he soon heard Ji Tong’s voice in his mind. “Ruan Ruan, I checked and the city’s regulations allows recommended students to participate in the college entrance examination, or they can choose to give up on the recommendation procedures after obtaining the qualification.”
His system shouldn’t know what he was struggling with, but his words unexpectedly gave an answer to Pei Qingyuan’s question.
At this moment, the crux of his troubles suddenly disappeared.
“I want to,” he spoke briefly and forcefully.
This was obviously the qualification he obtained through his own efforts.
Zhou Fang wasn’t surprised by this answer. She nodded and was about to say that it was an honor for the 2nd High School when she heard Pei Qingyuan continue.
“But I will still take the college entrance examination.”
“Huh?” Zhou Fang looked at him in amazement. “You don’t need to take the college entrance examination. You just need to pass the recommendation exam…”
“I want to wait for next June like everyone else.”
Pei Qingyuan stared directly into her eyes and answered frankly.
He didn’t want to give up on the qualifications that belonged to him and he didn’t want to lose the right to freely choose where he wanted to go in the future.
Perhaps at the moment when these unfamiliar students from the 2nd High School shouted his name loudly, he suddenly had some kind of strange sense of belonging. He didn’t want to say goodbye to these newly familiar voices.
In addition, his system seemed to enjoy spending time at school.
The child in the basketball jersey didn’t participate in the conversation with adults. He just lowered his head and smiled slightly.
Zhou Fang quickly reacted and showed a happy smile. “If this is what you want then it is also good.”
“Among the students of the 2nd High School, there will be an Olympiad recommended student and a high scoring exam candidate. The leader will be happy.” She joked lightly but her expression was serious. “I believe in you. You will definitely be able to do it.”
“Wherever you want to go, you can do it.”
In addition to her trusting voice, Pei Qingyuan also heard a childish voice.
“I believe it too.”
The child nodded solemnly while agreeing.
Zhou Fang couldn’t help laughing.
Once the match was completely won, it was approaching evening. The basketball team could go home from school early to rest according to the custom. Coach Xu specially announced the news in front of the members of the Chengde team, directly causing their expressions to darken again.
The students left one after another, excitedly discussing today’s exceptionally wonderful match with similar pride on their faces.
In the joy that hadn’t faded yet, Ji Tong waited for Pei Qingyuan to change his clothes and tidy up. At the same time, he had a question.
He had been using the environmental surveillance function for a long time, especially in the basketball match where the opponent might mess around. The program automatically recognized the people around him and fed back the data to him.
At this game, Ji Tong found an unexpected audience member who stayed in the corner to watch the game the whole time and left silently with the flow of people.
Once Pei Qingyuan changed his clothes and came out with his bag on his back, he heard Ji Tong’s thoughtful question. “Ruan Ruan, will you forgive someone who has hurt you deeply?”
“No,” he answered quickly.
Ji Tong was a bit curious about the host’s decisiveness. “Why?”
“Maybe I will let it go one day.” Pei Qingyuan answered the system’s question seriously, “But in the face of deep hurt, there can be no true forgiveness.”
“It makes sense.” Ji Tong let out exaggerated praise without thinking. “The host has a very healthy view on forgiveness.”
It was almost as healthy as waking up at 5 o’clock in the morning.
Hearing this, Pei Qingyuan seemed to smile. He stared at Ji Tong with clear eyes and asked, “Did she come to watch the game?”
Ji Tong’s smile froze and he couldn’t help wondering if the host could read minds.
“Ah, what her? I was just asking…” He stood up, his eyes wandering around. Finally, he touched his stomach in a hurry. “Ruan Ruan, I feel hungry.”
Pei Qingyuan didn’t ask again.
He unzipped his backpack and took out a pack of small snacks. He opened it and handed it to the always gluttonous child. Then he took Ji Tong’s hand again and slowed his pace.
“Okay, let’s go home.”