That night, Han Zhenzhen and Chi Zhongyuan saw a very complicated expression of distress on their son’s face.
Chi Zhongyuan’s eyes lit up and was ready to show his skills. “Did you get into trouble at school again? But the teacher didn’t call.”
Han Zhenzhen’s eyes also brightened as she prepared to listen to gossip. “Is there someone you like who doesn’t like you?”
“……” Faced with his parents’ bizarre brain circuits, Chi Xueyan sighed. “It is neither.”
“Then what is it?”
Chi Xueyan thought about it for a while and decided to tell them. “I found that my deskmate has a crush on me but I don’t want this.”
Chi Zhongyuan frowned. “Little brat! Beat him up so he is honest.”
Han Zhenzhen laughed. “Then find the teacher to change seats. Didn’t you solve it like this before?”
This was precisely what troubled Chi Xueyan.
In the whole class, the person he thought looked the most pleasing was He Qiao.
He didn’t dislike He Qiao. On the contrary, he liked the other person a lot as a friend.
Chi Xueyan even hated his reasoning ability a little bit for the first time.
If only he hadn’t found out about it.
So Chi Xueyan blurted out, “We get along well and I can’t think of a good reason to give the teacher. I can’t say the real reason.”
When he uttered this word, there was a small electric tremor in his heart for no reason.
Han Zhenzhen seemed to catch something from his slightly irritated tone and smiled meaningfully. “Then what are you going to do?”
Chi Xueyan was silent for a while. Then he grabbed his bag and went back to his room. “He hasn’t said it explicitly. If he confesses then I’ll go and mention the matter of changing seats.”
This was the best solution Chi Xueyan could think of.
The emotion in the other person’s eyes was obvious but he didn’t say it clearly. Chi Xueyan couldn’t reject him directly and could only keep a distance as much as possible.
If He Qiao started giving him breakfast and love letters then that would be the time to maintain a complete distance.
Chi Xueyan encountered this tricky situation for the first time and secretly made up his mind.
Meanwhile, his mother in the living room looked at his back and the smile in her eyes became stronger.
“It is good to be young.” She smiled and looked at her husband next to her. “I want to watch a romantic movie.’
Old Chil reluctantly went to struggle with the popcorn machine and said in a muffled voice, “Which period of youth are you remembering again?”
“There is a lot. It seems my son’s youth will also be very exciting.”
Han Zhenzhen didn’t forget to add a knife. “Yours is the most boring, big fool.”
The scent of popcorn passed through the floor and walls, faintly entering Chi Xueyan’s room.
The person who was already sitting at his desk in a daze felt his thoughts drifting further away.
He recalled the conversation with his mother.
— “Mom, don’t worry. I won’t like someone. It isn’t interesting.”
—“What if you find it interesting again one day?”
—“There will be no such day.”
At this moment, Chi Xueyan still felt that there would be no such day.
The ordinary ways of pursuing him couldn’t make his heart move.
Chi Xueyan was thinking endlessly as he stared at a vacant place on the bookshelf. Suddenly, he remembered the mystery novel with a beautiful cover.
He also remembered the faint joy in his heart when he put the novel in his bag.
Magnolia flowers bloomed and faded, maple leaves turned from red to green and the days passed.
It took several weeks for He Qiao to return the novel to him.
“Was it good?”
“Ordinary. It isn’t as good as the cover.”
The deskmate didn’t hide his true feelings. “There are a few plots that aren’t bad, but I am a bit disappointed with the mystery after reaching the end.
Chi Xueyan laughed when he heard this answer. “Yes, I think so as well.”
He put away the novel and continued to stare down at the notebook. He supported his head with one hand and pinched the pen in the other, but the page was blank and he couldn’t fill in a single word.
He Qiao saw the smile that had been rarely shown to him recently and saw Chi Xueyan making his hair messy out of irritation. He hesitated for a moment before still taking the initiative to speak.
“Let me help you write that article,” He Qiao said. “It was originally my problem.”
He sensed Chi Xueyan’s alienation.
Chi Xueyan seemed to have discovered the liking he desperately wanted to hide.
This was indeed his problem.
It was his first time helping someone he liked with homework. He cherished it and accidentally exposed his secret feelings.
It also led to the movie impression, which should’ve been handled in a perfunctory manner, receiving strong praise from the teacher.
Since He Qiao imitated Chi Xueyan’s handwriting and style of writing so closely, the teacher didn’t think of the possibility of ghostwriting at all. He praised the fact that Chi Xueyan’s composition had made great progress.
To make matters worse, the teacher told him to expand and refine this feeling and to use it to participate in the movie review essay competition.
“You like this movie so much and the words are full of unfinished emotions. There must be many emotions that haven’t been written, right?”
Chi Xueyan didn’t like this movie at all but he couldn’t find any reason to refuse. He had to bite the bullet and agree.
He didn’t care about criticism but if he said he didn’t write it and directly exposed the ghostwriting, it would involve He Qiao.
So these days, Chi Xueyan had been troubled by this and he even wasn’t in the mood to read novels.
He Qiao could only secretly worry on the side.
…He was already very thankful that Chi Xueyan wasn’t angry with him.
He wanted to help Chi Xueyan write this article.
He also wanted to help Chi Xueyan write his thoughts on all boring activities in the future.
Chi Xueyan was pulling his hair with annoyance in front of the notebook. He was stunned when he heard these words and finally failed to refuse the proposal.
He really didn’t want to write it.
Chi Xueyan pushed the notebook over, his tone serious. “I will trouble you one last time. We will sign this article together.”
After all, it was now for an essay contest and the name of the real author should be written.
If there were similar things in the future, he must be self-reliant and write nonsense. He absolutely wouldn’t give the teacher a chance to praise him.
He Qiao paused for a while as he took the notebook. He deliberately skipped the part about how it was the last time and focused on the second half of the sentence, “Okay, I will finish writing it by Monday.”
The notebook returned to his hand. Under the exact same heading as before, there were additional words in the author’s name column: Chi Xueyan, He Qiao.
The tip of the pen flicked across the paper, leaving lines of carefully arranged text.
He wrote for an entire weekend.
On Monday morning, Chi Xueyan walked into the classroom and saw the notebook that had appeared on the desk on time.
There was only the notebook, no breakfast.
Since the last time he casually asked He Qiao to help him refuse, Chi Xueyan hadn’t received such gifts.
…Now that he thought about it, it seemed like He Qiao shouldn’t have been given this power.
Chi Xueyan suppressed the subtle awkwardness in his heart and said good morning to his deskmate in a normal tone.
He put down his bag, took out his homework and stationery and opened the notebook, intending to take a casual look at the expanded movie review.
The deskmate next to him was holding a textbook and pretended to study by himself. He looked over casually.
A moment later, Chi Xueyan’s eyes were filled with deep surprise.
This wasn’t just a movie review to deal with the teacher.
He keenly found another narrative hidden in it.
Connecting the last words of each paragraph together formed a complete sentence.
Chi Xueyan was able to quickly discover it because the mystery novel used a similar method. The male protagonist used this method to leave love in seemingly ordinary letters and it was only discovered by the long-separated heroine many years later.
This was a rare love story in a mystery novel that wasn’t exciting enough.
But right now, the hidden sentence in the movie review wasn’t a confession but a description with unclear meaning.
[His lover said something to him and then he died.]
Chi Xueyan thought for a moment before raising his head and asking He Qiao, “Is this turtle soup?”
Turtle soup was a situational quiz where the questioner left a short and difficult puzzle and answered the guesser’s questions with ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘it doesn’t matter’ until the other person found the mystery through many clues.
He quickly found the hidden riddle and accurately judge the type of riddle it was.
At this tacit understanding, He Qiao couldn’t help laughing. “Yes.”
He was already starting the game’s exclusive answers.
Chi Xueyan involuntarily entered this game.
“Are there irreconcilable contradictions between them?”
“Did the lover do it intentionally?”
“Does the deceased have any other physical diseases that happened to occur?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Then this sentence is the only cause of his death?”
Chi Xueyan lost his train of thought after asking up to here.
The mystery of this turtle soup was short and there wasn’t much information to be asked. This made it difficult to guess.
After continuing to ask a few more questions, Chi Xueyan still had no clue and chose to give up decisively.
“I can’t guess.” He looked at He Qiao intently. “What is the soup base?”
In the classroom filled with the sound of morning readings, they whispered together almost shoulder to shoulder.
The distance between them, which had been deliberately alienated, quietly narrowed again.
He Qiao looked at him and his heart seemed to skip a beat.
In fact, he wanted to hide the soup base for the next activity experience, like the storyteller in One Thousand and One Nights. This way, the last time that ended completely would become the next time that wasn’t finished.
However, he stared at these bright eyes bursting with curiosity and couldn’t say anything about delaying it.
“I’ll tell you the soup base,” He Qiao said. “But don’t be angry.”
“Why would I be angry?”
As Chi Xueyan was feeling at a loss, he heard a quick answer.
He Qiao breathed out and said, “His lover is Mr Refrigerator and told him a cold joke.”
He was afraid that Chi Xueyan wouldn’t understand so he specially emphasized the logical relationship, “So he was frozen to death.”
The moment these words came out, a cool breeze blew through the window at the right time, gently brushing the annoying hair at his ears.
The thirst for knowledge in the boy’s bright eyes turned into shock in an instant before becoming anger. He seemed to grit his teeth as he emphasized every word, “He Qiao!”
The studying student in front of them heard this unusual tone, thought they had quarreled and looked back cautiously.
Then she was surprised to discover that the eyes of the person whose name was called out were very soft.
After discovering that the cold distance had disappeared, he wanted to collect the softness of this moment forever.
Chi Xueyan, who had carefully guessed for a long time, suddenly felt his fists clenching.
He didn’t know if Mr Refrigerator’s lover froze to death but he was about to freeze to death.
Chi Xueyan snapped shut the notebook with the mystery hidden in it and glared at the person beside him angrily.
“Is this a cold joke or turtle soup?”
“It is both.” The good student at the same table was sincere. “I’ll try harder next time.”
He Qiao took advantage of the situation and asked, “Can I?”
He asked so frankly and purely that Chi Xueyan didn’t know how to respond for a moment.
He Qiao’s tone was very sincere.
“I’ve only read one mystery novel that was somewhat bad so I haven’t learned much.”
The deskmate who was secretly in love with him talked about novels, puzzles and cold jokes with him, but hid his feelings about love.
“Will you still lend me other novels?”
The author has something to say:
Keen readers have noticed the secret linkage between this world and the world of Don’t Covet the Beautiful System (author’s other novel also translated on this website).
The background of this IF line happens to be high school like the system world so it was put together as a small Easter egg. It doesn’t affect reading if you haven’t read the other novel.