SWFM 119

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Chapter 119: Fu Cheng’s kneeling figure

 

Not having made a full recovery, Zhang Junming was forced to leave the hospital for the detention centre.

Xu Tingsheng never received the call that he had been hoping for. Currently, he was sitting in Vice Principal Lou’s office, waiting. Soon, the second morning period would be ending.

Next would be an exercise regime period that came between lessons.

Xu Tingsheng had once ascended the stage of Libei Senior High during this exercise regime period, having stood up there before everyone while being criticised for his terrible behaviour. Soon, he would be standing up there for the second time.

The bell for the end of class rang. The tenth to twelfth grade students as well as teachers all lined up neatly on the school field.

After the flag raising ceremony had ended, the member of the school committee under whose charge they had been the previous week did not routinely ascend the stage. It was instead someone else who took to the stage. Most of the people here were acquainted with this person. Even if they were not, they would also have heard about him to some degree before…

His name was Xu Tingsheng. He was a legend of Libei Senior High.

“I am Xu Tingsheng, a senior of yours. I have come here today to beg something of you,” Xu Tingsheng bowed deeply towards those standing before the stage.

Everyone here knew what it was that he was talking about. Many days earlier, he had pinned a public notice on the various bulletin boards of the school, leaving behind his handphone number. Many people were willing to help him, just that they were not able to be of help at all.

Therefore, people began shouting from within the crowd, “Whoever saw it, come out!”

“What’re you afraid of? Can you even have a bit of a sense of justice?”

“……”

Xu Tingsheng waited for a while before continuing, “You may already know what it is that I want to say. I know that there is definitely at least someone here who witnessed the attack that day.”

“The victim in this incident was my history teacher of three years. Perhaps she did not directly teach most of you. Still, she was your teacher as well!”

“As her students, I believe that all of us should be very clear on what kind of a person she is. However the rumours portray and hurt her, we all know how she is pure, kind and hardworking.”

“She is currently still lying on her hospital bed in a coma. Imagine our Ms Fang, currently struggling in pain amidst an infinite darkness.”

“Meanwhile, due to insufficient evidence, the one who hurt her remains outside the reach of the law.”

Those gathered on the field began to discuss the matter even more heatedly. Many of the students who were taught by Fang Yunyao had already broken down into tears, Xu Tingsheng’s sister Xu Qiuyi included.

Xu Qiuyi had gotten acquainted with Fang Yunyao even before having entered Libei Senior High. Having gotten drunk at the Xu Family home back then, Fang Yunyao had slept together with Xu Qiuyi that night. Afterwards, Fang Yunyao had become Xu Qiuyi’s teacher. Through their daily interactions, the two of them had eventually come to be very close to each other.

Xu Qiuyi and her classmates beside her were all weeping piteously together.

Yet, that person still did not come forward.

“Help us, help Ms Fang,” Xu Tingsheng said, “I don’t know why you’re not willing to come forward. Perhaps many of us are used to not getting involved in matters which are not related to us, used to acting indifferent in order to remain unaffected by things. I can understand that.”

Xu Tingsheng had lived through those times when an old man had fallen down yet no one had been willing to help him up. He knew that this society was currently lacking some things, such as social justice, such as compassion.

Feeling helpless, Xu Tingsheng continued, “Perhaps you are someone who’s used to quietly working hard behind the scenes. This incident being related to something as major as a human life, you feel scared, afraid, not daring to get yourself involved. I can understand that as well.’

“How about I give you a guarantee? I guarantee that your information will definitely be kept secret. You won’t receive any harm from it at all. Perhaps you are wondering on what basis it is that I am saying this. Believe me, I really can do it. I am the Xu Family’s Xu Tingsheng.”

“If you help me, you can call me in private after today…you will thereon be a friend of Xu Tingsheng, a friend of the Xu Family.”

Xu Tingsheng had the qualifications to speak like this in Libei. He seldom acted as ostentatiously as this, but now, in order to let that person come forth with an ease of mind, he could not help but speak like this, could not help but be ostentatious.

Xu Tingsheng didn’t know what he was supposed to say anymore. He was proficient in public speaking and the expressing of ideas, but for such an incident, there was really not much that he could say.

Another figure ascended the stage.

It was Fu Cheng. Having been held in the detention centre for such a long period of time, he currently appeared disheveled as well as dispirited.

“Zhang Junming doesn’t dare to continue biting me. My father temporarily bailed me out. Still, I have to stay behind and cooperate with their investigations,” Fu Cheng came beside Xu Tingsheng, continuing, “Hand me the mike. I’ll do it.”

As Fu Cheng picked up the microphone, there were many people who recognised him.

This time, the ongoing discussions took place in hushed tones. However, their opinions were much more complex. The relationship between Xu Tingsheng and Fang Yunyao was completely incomparable to that between she and Fu Cheng.

In Libei Senior High, in the entire Libei, there had recently been many rumours regarding Fu Cheng and Fang Yunyao.

In the rumours, the relationship between Fu Cheng and Fang Yunyao was described as extremely atrocious and immoral. Fang Yunyao had entered a relationship with her student in order to cling to riches and authority, forsaking her boyfriend in the process. Fu Cheng had stayed in the staff dormitory at night, making use of his father’s lofty status in the Trade and Industry Bureau to beat Zhang Junming up…

Rumours were just that scary a thing. It was such that many were already unable to discern truth from fiction. And now, the male lead of these rumours was standing up on stage.

Holding the microphone, the first thing that Fu Cheng that said was, “I am Fu Cheng. Three years ago, studying in tenth grade in Libei Senior High, I fell in love with my own teacher, Fang Yunyao.”

What astonished everyone was the fact Fu Cheng had admitted his feelings for Fang Yunyao so candidly, not having tried to conceal it in the least.

A massive uproar erupted on the school field. There were diverse reactions, including shocked exclamations, even hoots…There had never been a student who had professed his love for his teacher up on that stage before.

A few higher-ups of the student affairs office looked rather unhappy as they wanted to go up and stop Fu Cheng from speaking any further. Still, Vice Principal Lou stepped forward and barred their way.

“Let him speak,” Vice Principal Lou said.

Fu Cheng continued, “She is a teacher, and I am a student. I knew that such feelings were impractical.”

“Thus, over these three years, I only ever silently listened to her lessons, never speaking an additional word to her other than answering her questions and greeting her whenever we happened to cross paths outside.”

“It was only on graduation night when I was drunk that I said those words that had been hidden within my heart for the past three years. She took it as the drunken spouting of an insensible kid.”

“Yet afterwards was that football match, Some of the students and teachers here might have watched it. That day…”

As Fu Cheng mentioned that football match, many people naturally thought back to that day. On that day, this person here on stage right now had scored a goal. That day, Fu Cheng’s frenzied yells and confession towards the stands had moved many people. Yet, no one had known who exactly it was that he had been confessing to.

That was an unsolved case that Fu Cheng had left for Libei Senior High at the end.

Now, the truth behind the mystery had been revealed. The one whom this guy had fallen in love with was his own teacher. It was precisely because of this that he had been unable to express it directly, only having been able to yell out his confession towards an entire stretch of stands.

Thus, some remembered how Fang Yunyao had indeed been sitting in that corner of the stands back then. It was just that back then, the countless speculations regarding the possible female leads had never included her. No one had even considered that it might actually be her.

Now, Fu Cheng had admitted it himself.

What about the rumours then? Were the rumours real? This was what many were wondering.

“I know that there are currently many rumours regarding Ms Fang and I,” Fu Cheng continued, “Let me tell you about them…”

Fu Cheng detailedly described everything that had happened between them since graduation night.

When speaking of how he had secretly taken photographs of Zhang Junming, Fu Cheng took out the pictures he had snapped of Zhang Junming beating his own mother and scattered them before the stage.

“In having done so then, I was truly just hoping that Ms Fang would be able to marry a good man. Meanwhile, you all see how this man is like. How could I have done nothing and watched her leap into the fire pit?”

Fu Cheng described how he had fought with Zhang Junming in front of the staff dormitory back then and even how he had remained in the corridor of that building that night.

“This is the rumoured beating up and staying in the staff dormitory. Back then, I was just trying to protect Ms Fang.”

He continued speaking, even revealing those words that Fang Yunyao had finally told him, ‘Tell me about it again when you’ve graduated from university’. He did not conceal even that.

The atmosphere was rather silent.

“I managed to obtain a time-related agreement such that I might truly have a chance to confess to her in the future. This is everything between the two of us. To the me of the past, it was already sufficient for me to feel incomparably fortunate and joyful.”

“Now, however, she’s lying on a sickbed in a hospital…I regret it. I know that I’m wrong, that I shouldn’t have fallen in love with her.”

“No, I couldn’t not have fallen in love with her. It’s just that I shouldn’t have told her, shouldn’t have interfered with her life. She’s a teacher, and I’m a student. It was already destined that our relationship would be disapproved of. It’s only harm that I have brought her.”

“Just like those rumours that you guys have heard.”

“If I could live through it all again, I definitely wouldn’t say those things, definitely wouldn’t disturb her again. If I could choose again, I’d definitely choose to remain silent for those three years before then silently leaving her without a sound.”

At this point, Fu Cheng fell silent before suddenly plunging straight down onto his knees, his kneecaps slamming straight into the ground.

“Now, please, help me.”

Fu Cheng knelt there, no longer speaking. As discussions were rife before the stage, he knelt there. As the bell for class rang, he knelt there…

Unless it was out of filial piety, loyalty to a ruler or gratitude…kneeling, represented a man’s helpless submission. It was a show of weakness, of incompetence…Yet, Fu Cheng’s kneeling figure carried the unshakable, unyielding responsibility of a man.

Right, at this moment, he who had chosen to get on his knees was no longer a boy, but a man.

Perhaps it was ten minutes later, or perhaps it was even longer afterwards.

“Heck, your mother, I really can’t stand you people…it was us who saw it. Come, this old man will go testify for you.”


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