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Published at 29th of August 2023 07:53:36 AM


Chapter 41

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How long can it take?

Midnight. The moon was dark and the wind was strong.

The faintly glowing streetlamps flashed a few times and went out. The man who had been strolling by was startled. When he came to he immediately kicked the lamppost angrily, cursing nonstop:

“Broken lamp, should have scrapped you a long time ago, scaring me in the middle of the night…”

As the man cursed at the streetlamp in his drunkenness, he failed to notice that two people had appeared silently behind him.

As a pair of hands came to rest lightly on his shoulders, the man felt his back chill. He slowly turned his head back:

“Ghost!!”

Ji Neng’s face was pallid, having broken out into a cold sweat. He sunk onto the late-autumn sidewalk, his body trembling non-stop: “Ghost, ghost! Don’t kill me! I can give you anything!”

With his hands behind his back, Bai Zhi quietly signaled the system to make his own face even paler. He pretended to cough a few times, purposefully lowering his voice a lot: “Ji Neng…You can’t even recognize your own brother?”

As soon as he spoke, Ji Neng was very visibly stunned: “Big…big brother?”

Bai Zhi didn’t even have time to reply, and it was as if Ji Neng had instantly found an opportunity to survive. He kowtowed towards Bai Zhi multiple times: “Big brother, big brother, I understand, is it that you are short of paper money? [1] I will definitely work harder in the future, big brother, for the sake of the brotherhood between us, forgive this little brother!”

“You still remember we are brothers?” Bai Zhi deliberately drawled, reading the system’s prompts word for word: “I forgive you, but have you forgiven my son Ji Guichen?”

Ji Neng could not stop cold-sweating. He hurried to speak: “Big brother, the way I treat Ji Guichen, they say to spare the rod is to spoil the child. It’s all for the sake of him reaching his potential that I strictly discipline him.”

“You still dare to argue with me!” Bai Zhi was infuriated by his shameless words: “Bastard! Do you think I’m blind!”

“The car accident back then was to save you and it lost Ji Guichen both his parents.” Bai Zhi remembered the plot the system provided, his hands trembling slightly: “And yet this is how you treat Ji Guichen who has always been helpless!”

“If you still dare to treat Ji Guichen unfairly and unreasonably, I will do everything in my power to come and drag you with me.” Bai Zhi viciously spat out these harsh words, pulverizing a stone with one hand.

Ji Neng was so scared his tears and snot flowed freely. No matter what Bai Zhi said, he would agree at once: “Yes yes yes big brother, I promise, I will definitely change who I am and start over….”

Bai Zhi snorted and then slowly left his original position. Ji Neng shivered all over and leaned against the lamppost for a long time before slowly getting up and shakily returning home.

……

Ji Guichen felt that something had been off recently.

Ji Neng had suddenly been cheerful towards him for no reason. In the beginning, Ji Guichen had wondered if this person had some plot against him, but as time went on it was as if Ji Neng had genuinely repented.

Not only did he stop beating and cursing him, he even occasionally said a few caring words. It was just that in doing these acts, Ji Neng always seemed a little fearful.

What could he be fearful of?

Ji Guichen was puzzled, but even after giving it more thought he didn’t understand. After thinking for a while, he simply gave up because he had other things to attend to.

Recently, Xie Siliu had been studying harder and progressing upwards day by day. Ji Guichen’s worries in the beginning about him not studying diligently had now turned into worries about him taking it too seriously.

“Did you eat lunch? How many hours did you sleep last night? You can’t study when you’re supposed to eat and sleep, have you been good?”

Sprawled on the table, Bai Zhi who was digging into the meal Ji Guichen had brought said vaguely through a mouthful of food: “I slept! I’m not hungry!”

“I said, no is no.” Ji Guichen slapped the table: “If I catch you staying up or skipping meals again, I’ll twist your head off.”

“…Oh.” Bai Zhi blinked: “You want to hit me.”

Ji Guichen was silent for a long while. Suddenly he snatched Bai Zhi’s Spongebob glove from the table and said while holding it:

“I won’t hit you, but would I dare to hit your toy?”

Having said this, he smacked Spongebob’s head: “Will you be good or not!”

“I’ll be good!” Bai Zhi reached out wanting to snatch back the glove from Ji Guichen’s hand, but Ji Guichen extended his arm rendering him unable to reach it at all. A certain demon collided straight into Ji Guichen, complaining non-stop:

“You’re so annoying!”

“But you’re still the one who chose this annoyance.” Ji Guichen was expressionless: “Endure it.”

Bai Zhi: “…!”

And thus time passed the two people by in their daily bickering and studying. In the blink of an eye they were both in their third year. The bright red countdown for national college entrance exams was hung on the wall. The classes that were previously filled with the bustle of noisy students had been infected with the thick atmosphere of cramming. At a glance, people could be seen buried being high piles of test prep books, and not even whispered conversation could be heard besides the sounds of pencils scratching and pages turning. This atmosphere that belonged only to juniors had spread through their entire grade.

Ji Guichen rubbed his eyes that were sore from overuse. Before he could even speak, a bottle of blueberry juice was handed to him.

With a pen in one hand and a drink in his other, Bai Zhi looked only at him: “Blueberry juice is good for the eyes, hurry and drink it.”

Ji Guichen accepted it and very smoothly poured half of it into Bai Zhi’s thermos: “One half for each of us, continue to work hard.”

“Okay!” Bai Zhi smiled so hard his eyes almost narrowed into slits. After he finished downing the drink, he turned back to continue studying.

“Let’s work hard together!”

In the juniors’ first mock exam, Ji Guichen outscored second place by ten points, taking the throne of first place in their grade. Bai Zhi was shortlisted into the top hundred and ranked sixty-sixth on the honor roll.

In the juniors’ first class meeting, Ji Guichen received twenty-six votes and tied with the hero Wen Feng for the position of academic affairs representative. [2] In the critical deciding moment, Wen Feng took the initiative to stand and cast his own vote for Ji Guichen. He ended by saying:

“You are very outstanding, and I admire you. I will work hard and not lose to you.”

Ji Guichen smiled at Wen Feng and extended his hand: “Work hard.”

In the juniors’ second mock exam, Ji Guichen continued to take the lead and sit stably on the throne of first place. Wen Feng was able to surpass six hundred sixty points and came in second. Bai Zhi stayed on the honor roll, taking thirty-first place. Luo Le also improved greatly, taking ninety-third place in their grade.

……

The day the college entrance exams ended, the weather was good the way it was after the rain stops. Bai Zhi put away his umbrella, looked back at the classroom he had struggled in for the past few years, feeling a rare bit of reluctance emerge in his heart.

Ji Guichen stood behind him, calmly waiting for him to turn back.

Bai Zhi gazed at it for a very long time, then abruptly turned his head back, picked up his bag, and ran towards Ji Guichen. Smiling, Ji Guichen caught the person that had rushed over, stepping forward in the glow of the sunset.

The street was very long, and the path home was longer. As he turned to look at the school bully munching on candy beside him, his heart couldn’t help but soften greatly.

Fate has been kind to him, letting him meet the person he was most willing to fight for at the age where he would have struggled most.

Ji Guichen held Bai Zhi’s hand tightly and strode forward.

Their teenage years did not have the ups and down of a movie. In this most youthful and charming time, Ji Guichen and Bai Zhi only held each other’s hands, sung their battle songs, strolled through flowers blooming and falling, and watched the clouds twist and drift away.

……

Many years later, Chu Miaomiao and Wen Feng would end up together happily ever after, Luo Le would also lose his immaturity and grow to be an outstanding soldier, Ji Guichen would spearhead the front line of scientific research in his motherland, and Bai Zhi…

Bai Zhi didn’t fill in his exam registration number correctly on his answer sheet during the national college exam that year, was held back a year, and was now warning children as part of an educational group in the mountains:

“One you must study hard, two you must take care of your health, and three do not forget to fill in your exam registration number!”

The children surrounded him and asked for candy.

Bai Zhi gave them out one by one, but he was so busy that later on he forgot who he had given candy to and who he hadn’t, so he ended up giving candy out multiple times. Only when the bag of candy was empty did a certain little demon get taken away by the person who came to pick him up.

Ji Guichen had changed out of his work clothes and was wearing a black mask. As he carried Bai Zhi’s teaching tools, he asked gently: “How were the results today?”

“Pretty good.” Bai Zhi smiled very proudly: “They really like me.”

Ji Guichen sighed: “Maybe it’s because you have similar IQ’s.”

Bai Zhi: “You jerk!”

“Even after all these years of name-calling you still only use that word.” Ji Guichen said with a face full of helplessness: “My little ancestor, grow up a little!”

“And if I don’t?” Bai Zhi said confidently.

“If you don’t want to grow up then don’t.” Ji Guichen thought for a while and said: “How long can it take?”

[1] Chinese people leave paper money (not real money), food, etc as offerings at gravestones, with the intention of them being able to use the money in the afterlife. Bai Zhi is impersonating Ji Neng’s dead brother (Ji Guichen’s dad), and Ji Neng thinks maybe he wants more paper money.

[2] “学习委员” (xué xí wěi yuán) is typically a student who is elected by their classmates to serve as the academic affairs representative. This student is responsible for communicating with the teacher regarding academic matters and passing on information about homework, exams, etc. to their classmates. They may also be responsible for organizing study groups, monitoring the academic progress of their classmates, etc.



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