Chapter 5: P.
Making Sheep’s Eyes
He seemed to have been caught by something instinctively.
Nearing the end of the semester, Ning Yixiao had been appointed as the new study council vice-president.
And thus, he prepared to take over the senior who was leaving school upon graduation.
After receiving the post, his first responsibility was to organize a Book-and-Movie event.
It was an activity that was not considered related to studying to him.
In truth, regardless of reading unnecessary books or watching movies, they were all activities Ning Yixiao never engaged in.
All of his available time was dedicated to studying—studying for the sake of exams.
Even his intention to join the student committee was to fight for extra marks and to build more connections.
The professors loved students who had excellent grades, and instructors in charge of committees like this secretariat one for the Communist Youth League would always love students who are great event planners.
Ning Yixiao disliked being an instructor for his peers.
But he was willing to endure anything that could be a stepping stone for his otherwise dismal future.
As for things outside of this, he did not even spare any time.
The club booked an activity room for the Book-and-Movie event.
The other club members went out of their way to purchase some books with the committee funds to decorate the venue.
It rained that day.
With this unpleasant weather, Ning Yixiao enthusiastically helped them move an entire box of books inside and then shelve them one by one.
“Thanks for your help, Yixiao.
If not for you, we’ll have to borrow a trolley from the block next door.”
A warm smile was on Ning Yixiao’s lips the entire time.
No need to be so polite.”
But she still did not stop praising him with kindness.
Ning Yixiao then told her to turn on the air-conditioning as an excuse.
“The room feels very stuffy.”
Now that he was the only one shelving the books, the smile vanished from Ning Yixiao’s face.
He tore away the plastic wrapping from the books in silence, listening to the abrupt thunder from beyond the windows.
When he bent down to take another book from the box, he noticed a rather obvious line of words on its belly band:
“My entire life would be reduced merely to a petty
battle to change my social class.” ①
Ning Yixiao gazed quietly at it for a moment before he took off the belly band, folding it in half before tossing it in the nearby trash bin.
“Yixiao, help us to pass out the opinion cards.”
“Mhm, sure.” Ning Yixiao put the book in place before turning to approach them.
Students attending the activity were coming in one by one.
When they had almost filled up the small theater, Ning Yixiao walked onstage.
With a smile, he introduced what they had planned for the Book-and Movie club while encouraging everyone to enthusiastically engage in the discussion, even though he could not compel himself to spare any interest—he’d rather spend another hour at his part-time job to earn money to pay off his debts.
But this top high-ranked school never lacked students with passion for the arts.
They were different from him.
The majority of the people here were born with the resources for the best education.
Geniuses had no need to struggle painfully in the sea of exam questions.
They had ample time for character enrichment.
The seated audience naturally split themselves into groups, sharing their books.
At this, Ning Yixiao relaxed.
He did not need to exhaust more effort in the book-reading segment in the first half.
While everyone was engaged in the discussion, he simply sat at the side, preparing his lesson plans using the computer in the activity room.
Math tutoring for second-year middle-schoolers paid off half of his daily expenses and was also the most relaxed source of income out of all his jobs.
“Yixiao, when will we put the movie on?” When it was halfway through the event, club member Li Cong walked over, inquiring in a whisper, “How about we wait 10 minutes?”
Ning Yixiao gave him a smile, eyes remaining on the computer screen as he responded with a light-hearted tone, “Sure.” After he typed the last formula, he closed the document and stood up to make space for Li Cong.
“Have you copied the file?”
I’ll do it now,” Li Cong answered.
When the preparatory work was done, Ning Yixiao got up to turn off all the lights, and Li Cong clicked play.
The projector lit up.
The movie had begun.
This was an enigmatic autobiographical film — The Mirror.
It began with a lengthy telephoto shot.
Like an oil painting, a vast open field of blue and purple flowers appeared, rural village’s thicket and houses, a woman smoking on the fence, a cryptic monologue in the background.
The movie utilized strong and powerful winds, the intensity making Ning Yixiao begin to ponder if this was simply a coincidence during filming or if it was man-made, and what method could be used to create such strong air currents.
The entire field undulated like a viridescent ocean.
Ning Yixiao and Li Cong stood at the side against the wall, occasionally peeking at the projector.
He was contemplating in seriousness.
Could it be a helicopter?
Right at this time, the closed theater door suddenly emitted a loud creak.
The door gap slowly widened.
A boy walked in with delicate movements, turning around to close the door.
When he turned back, his drenched face was splashed with the fantastical colors of an oil painting.
Likely from running through the rain, he was panting slightly, chest heaving.
Lightning flashed beyond the window, illuminating clearly his damp brows and eyes.
Ning Yixiao seemed to have been instinctively captured by something.
In the film, the man was reciting a monologue in Russian without much rise and fall in his tone, the subtitles rolling by.
“We celebrated as an epiphany
Alone in the whole world
More daring and lighter than a bird
Down the stairs, like a dizzy apparition
You came to take me on your road
Through rain soaked lilacs
To your own possession” ②
Ning Yixiao missed the poem’s translation.
But his future self could never ever forget this scene where Su Hui had appeared in the dimly lit theater room.
Such that hereafter, in a myriad of thoughts and dreams, he re-created this scene repeatedly.
While the changing lights and shadows escorted the intruder in each step he took towards the back row, so did Ning Yixiao’s gaze.
He did not even notice that his stare lasted forever and a day — until Li Cong at his side elbowed him.
“Hey, did you see that person?”
Li Cong’s hushed voice was half-drowned by the film’s music.
Ning Yixiao lowered his head rather awkwardly.
It was two seconds later before he responded quietly, “What?”
“That person who just came in.
You know him, right?” Li Cong’s grin contained some mocking and teasing, but it was not obvious.
Ning Yixiao only shook his head and subconsciously grinned along with him.
“Is it possible for me to know everyone?”
You’re in computer studies.
Since your faculty is far away, it’s normal not to know him.
He’s a weird guy.
Li Cong’s word choices to describe Su Hui right off the bat was making Ning Yixiao a little unhappy.
But he did not show it.
Li Cong did not notice.
When a student in the front row gave him an eye, he took out his phone to message Ning Yixiao on WeChat.
[Admin-Li Cong: Hes the same school as me, but not the same major.
He does finance.
But our schools finance major is so stressful, the way they just wish they could have 48 hours to use in 24 hours every day
But him? He takes days off without warning and sometimes he just vanishes for two months straight.
Last year he even deferred his studies.
Idk if he has weak health or hates studying.
But its really weird.
He took exams and his grades were all pretty good.]
After reading the messages, Ning Yixiao looked up, subconsciously looking in Su Hui’s direction.
He was leaning back on the chair, wiping away the wetness from his cheeks with tissues, staring at the screen attentively.
His eyes were very big.
The light from the burning fire in the film was reflected on his face, in his eyes, powdering his far-too-pale face in a layer of amorous red.
[Admin-Li Cong: I heard he doesnt like this major.
I think he requested to transfer to another major and the request was accepted, but he didnt go.
I dont get it.
Maybe this is just a young master’s willfulness.]
[Ning Yixiao: A young master?]
[Admin-Li Cong: I heard that he was born in a family that’s already at the finishing line for others, having power and money.
Im not sure either though.
I just heard a little.
But anyway he just has a strong background.
Who knows if he even got into T Uni by himself]
Such speculation was already contradictory to the reality that Li Cong mentioned earlier, Ning Yixiao thought.
Since he received good grades in histhe examinations he took, then he was not someone who would get accepted to a school through family connections.
Albeit even if he himself detested this type of person the most.
There were all kinds and sorts of people in the world.
Beginning from the moment of birth, they seemed to have participated in a gamble with no going back.
And this gamble was not fair either as some would be given a set of good cards from the start, while others could only receive bad cards and even had no choice but to use them.
His phone vibrated again.
[Admin-Li Cong: Oh right.
Theres something really funny too.
This person… looks pretty okay.
Whats weird is that not only girls confess to him.
Theres plenty of guys too.
You know that anonymous confession page, right?]
Ning Yixiao replied that he didn’t.
He didn’t even have the time to look at those things.
Li Cong thought that was unbelievable and laughed.
[Admin-Li Cong: that cant be.
Youre a common name on there, you know.
I feel like other than you, its little young master Su.
Oh right, and theres that new first-year junior in your computer studies major with the surname Xia.
That one who doesnt like to smile.
His photo from the military training has spread everywhere]
Ning Yixiao remembered that junior.
He was the one receiving him back then too.
But right at this moment, his mind was just full of Su Hui, even if he was not looking at him.
[Admin-Li Cong: even without talking about the anonymous confession page, the little young master was wooed by a guy in the humanities school for a few months.
He was practically wooing him like a stalker.
Almost even stopping him in the washroom.
I just dont get it at all.
Why did he like him so much? What kind of charm does that dude have?]
Ning Yixiao locked his screen and did not continue chatting with him.
Li Cong didn’t talk about Su Hui afterwards either and just rattled off about mindless drivel.
For example, about how his phone screen was cracked to this extent but he still hadn’t changed it.
But Ning Yixiao’s attention had already completely shifted.
Under the dim environment of the theater, Su Hui, who took a seat in the back row alone, looked isolated from the others.
Reticent and conscientious.
He had a face that was very easy to remember.
In the past, Ning Yixiao believed that he would not use “pretty” or “beautiful” to describe a man, but now, he rectified his understanding.
These words could define Su Hui.
The emotions that arose as a result of the gossip left Ning Yixiao in no mood to appreciate the film.
When the film ended and everyone discussed in soft whispers, he finally recovered his mental faculties, handling the closing segment with a matter-of-fact air with the other members: he collected the opinion cards from the other membersm.
Perhaps it was out of a subconscious decision, but Ning Yixiao headed to the section where Su Hui was seated and started collecting from the first row before heading to the back.
A smile stayed on his face.
It looked sufficiently friendly and kind.
Until he finally stood next to Su Hui.
A book laid on the desk, as though Su Hui had just taken one from the shelf next to him.
“This student, have you written your opinion card yet?”
Su Hui looked up, gaze meeting his, eyes pure and honest.
“Oof, but I don’t have one though.”
His voice quality was incredibly charming to his ears, the last note rising slightly in pitch.
It sounded very innocent.
Only then did Ning Yixiao suddenly remember.
I forgot you only arrived afterwards.
I’ll give you one now.”
He turned, intending to head to the lectern, but hadn’t expected Su Hui to grab the edge of his shirt.
Ning Yixiao looked back.
First, he glanced down at his shirt that was grabbed and then peered back at Su Hui.
Su Hui let go and laughed.
“You moved too quickly.”
Watching him flip through the book in front of him, only then did Ning Yixiao notice that there was a piece of tissue tucked inside it.
“Here.” He gave the tissue written with words to him.
His smile was very adorable.
“This is my feedback card.”
“Thank you.” The soft napkin still held some moisture.
Like him, drizzled and hazy.
The words written by a ballpoint pen were beautiful and clear.
Ning Yixiao sharply caught sight of the written content.
[I like the wind in the movie very much.]
“No problem.” Su Hui’s tone was tender.
People were leaving the theater one by one, leaving behind a scarce few.
This time, Ning Yixiao did not immediately leave upon receiving the napkin.
He couldn’t explain why, but he just subconsciously stood at the same spot.
Until Li Cong called his name.
“Yixiao, have you collected them all yet?”
“Yeah.” Ning Yixiao turned back to respond.
In that instant he planned to leave, Su Hui stood up too.
He could hear Su Hui’s very soft question.
“Do you want my number?”
Ning Yixiao stopped mid-step.
He thought he had misheard.
He turned back to look at Su Hui, bewilderment in his gaze.
Su Hui did not reply.
He only gave him a very childish smile.
At this moment, Ning Yixiao seemed to be drawn into an illusion.
The two of them were standing in that vast grassland.
Above them, a helicopter’s propellers swiftly oscillated.
Fleeting gales of wind were fanning the scent of rain from Su Hui, along with his unapproachable elegance and beauty, towards Ning Yixiao’s chest.
“You were staring at me for so long earlier.”
The author has something to say:
It’s basically crush at first sight
(Xiao Hui is currently in a mania episode right now.
For the specifics, everyone can google bipolar disorder or manic-depressive illness)
①Originates from the Neapolitan Novels
②Originates from the movie “The Mirror” (Tarkovsky)
Cai: this whole chapter.
Cao: it goes like this:
NYX: I will hold myself back
Su Hui: I won’t let you
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