SWFM 61

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Chapter 61: Fu Cheng’s afflicted with a sickness

 

With Xu Tingsheng’s and Fu Cheng’s artistic appearances, they scared quite a number of female upperclassmen moving within campus. The two dared not return directly to the dormitory buildings as they ran out of the school grounds before going before the walls of C District and flipping their way back in.

Fortunately, most of the freshmen had gone to attend the party, with few remaining within their dorms. The two managed to make it back to Fu Cheng’s room tense but without incident.

After having tidied up, the two did not return to the hall, instead giving Huang Yaming a call and waiting at the entrance of the academy city for them to emerge.

Illuminated by the streetlights, many people walked by. Some couples were just returning from a long walk out in the city district, others just about to proceed forth on their dates together.

In his previous life, Xu Tingsheng had hereafter twice returned to the academy city for a look around after graduation.

When you are in your early thirties one day, the feeling upon returning to the academy city in which you once studied will be a very strange, miraculous one. A streetlight that you might never have noticed at all those four years, a completely ordinary path leading from your dormitory to the classroom buildings, the clock hanging high on the wall of the library, the bridge above the polluted river-all these would have been tinted with some special, unique hues.

As you walk there, it will be as though you can see the you and those others of your past, figures flashing by in a neverending stream as you head further forth, head into the cafeteria, head into the library, head into the classroom buildings.

Back then, you were youthfully resplendent, radiant in your smile, sprightly in your gait. He walked by you, holding the hand of that girl whom you still think about to this very day. Only now do you feel emotional: So she was so good, so beautiful.

Sadly, you were no longer able to return to those days.

Xu Tingsheng gazed dazedly at the streets for a time. Fu Cheng said nothing as well.

“Guys, did you see two people in great swarthy clothes, wearing masks and carrying guitars?” Someone asked the two of them.

“Musical Zorros who don’t fear the heat?….Friend, that’s a strange description you’ve got there. Regretfully, we haven’t seen them. If we do, we’ll most definitely go up to them and ask for their autographs,” Xu Tingsheng said.

Understanding from the descriptions of others how strange the two of them must have looked back then, he could not help but burst out laughing after the person making the inquiry had left.

Fu Cheng also began laughing.

“To tell you the truth, I’m still sweating all over right now,” He said.

Xu Tingsheng looked at him, asking, “How’re you feeling right now?”

Fu Cheng thought before replying, “I can’t really explain it. It’s a very strange feeling; you might not be able to understand it at all even if I say it. Now, all I can think about are pebbles. My brain is stuffed completely with them, and after that is water, with the pebbles flowing on top of it at a very slow speed.”

This was a very humanistic feeling, perhaps merely representing a chaotic state of mind. There was no way for Xu Tingsheng to understand it.

Huang Yaming, Song Ni and Fang Yunyao walked over.

The first to speak was Fang Yunyao, musing, “I wouldn’t have come if I had known. What am I supposed to do now?”

After saying so, she immediately burst out chuckling. This was actually a positive sign.

However, Fu Cheng earnestly walked before her, bowing as he apologised, “I’m sorry.”

He had killed the atmosphere again.

Song Ni asked, “Fu Cheng, have you been afflicted with a sickness?”

“What?”

“A sickness called definitely stiffening up the atmosphere every time you speak.”

Xu Tingsheng and Huang Yaming gave Song Ni a thumbs up, her statement really having been too pithy. Beside them, a smiling Fang Yunyao nodded in agreement as well.

Fu Cheng seemed to have realised this problem with himself as putting some effort into trying to change this bad habit, he asked, “Ms Fang, that song-did you like it?”

This was indeed a very brave question, but Xu Tingsheng really wanted to tell Fu Cheng: Firstly, it’s best that you don’t ask this question in front of us. Secondly, if you really are certain that you want to ask it, you shouldn’t be addressing her as ‘Ms Fang’ at the start of it.

Fang Yunyao already knew not how to answer him.

An exasperated expression on his face, Huang Yaming said, “Come, let’s go for supper. Ignore this fool.”

“Agreed,” Fang Yunyao said before striding off in a huff after him.

At this moment, she was more like a friend whom they could joke around with, like a girl studying in university. In actual fact, she was merely 26 years old this year.

Xu Tingsheng knew that there was hope for Fu Cheng now. This totally unreasonable confession had unexpectedly had the effect of rousing Fang Yunyao’s maiden’s heart.

A maiden’s heart could not resist the romantic, could not resist deep passion.

A maiden’s heart was most easily able to simple-mindedly move courageously forth without consideration of all that might possibly stand as a hindrance.

The four walked off ahead, finding a stall by the streetside and sitting down to eat wonton. A pitiful-looking Fu Cheng followed after them, standing by the side as he hesitated over whether or not he was allowed to sit down.

Xu Tingsheng knew now why he said his brain was stuffed full of pebbles. This guy was a real blockhead!

Still, there was at least one plus point for him. Currently, he looked pitiful enough.

A maiden’s heart was a soft one.

As compassion came, Fang Yunyao shifted to the side on her own accord, next pulling over a stool before looking up at Fu Cheng, “Sit then.”

“Thank you, Ms Fang,” Fu Cheng said.

Exchanging glances, Huang Yaming, Xu Tingsheng and Song Ni had the urge to tear out their hair in insanity.

“We really shouldn’t bother with him anymore,” Huang Yaming said.

Xu Tingsheng and Huang Yaming chatted for a while, completely ignoring all Fu Cheng’s attempts to get a word in. Soon, Huang Yaming’s attention fell on the lady boss of the stall.

Looking over, Xu Tingsheng found that she resembled a female actress whom he knew of, Xiao Song Jia. Her hair was casually tied back behind her head, a few stray strands hanging loosely out, moistened by her sweat which fell haphazardly onto the side of her temples, to be wiped off once in a while with the raising of her small arm. That picturesqueness…

“I can’t take it; I’m gonna die,” Huang Yaming buried the top of his head in Xu Tingsheng’s back, howling.

“Bro, don’t be like this. That’s my wife,” The young lad from the neighbouring stall came over and said.

Xu Tingsheng looked at him. He looked to be around 25 years of age, while that woman appeared perhaps 35.

Business was not very good over at that young lad’s stall that sold clothes. With the lady boss here busy, he came over to help wipe the tables and carry the plates, and after having finished doing all this, he still did not return, just sitting at Xu Tingsheng’s table and beginning to chat with the two.

Having hit it off well, Huang Yaming open-handedly bought a few cans of beer which they drunk as they chatted.

Time flowed by slowly. As the people in the town dwindled and business in the stalls grew idle, the young lad, already a little tipsy, began telling them a story.

A few years ago, in his early twenties and just having left the army, unable to find a job, he had set up a stall over at the large academy city where he had been born. There, he had met the Lady Boss here. The two of their stalls had neighboured each other, just like how it was now.

He discovered that he had fallen in love with the Lady Boss. Still, the Lady Boss had been married at the time. Her man had been a freeloading diehard gambler, going to her stall to ask her for money whenever he was in need of some and hitting her whenever she dared refuse.

Afterwards, that man sold their house and fled.

Following that, the young lad accompanied the woman in tiding through her most difficult times, the two growing closer and closer as a result.

Originally, while the woman had had many misgivings, things had generally been proceeding in the right direction.

However, the man returned after having squandered away all his money, and he heard of the matter of the woman and the young lad.

The man hit the woman in front of the stall. Unable to stand it, the young lad took an iron pole from the stall and brought it down on him.

“That hit was a pretty heavy one. I was sentenced for 4 years for it…Then, this crazy woman, she disappeared, you know? …Afterwards, leaving prison earlier with a year’s reduced sentence, I roamed the world looking for her.

It was half a month ago when I finally found her, right here, right in front of this very stall. As soon as she saw me, she asked: I’m already 35 this year; I have many white hairs; my hands are very rough from years of labour; I even caused you to be put in jail. I felt like I had not the face to see you again. You were still looking for me?

I said: Of course I had to look for you.

She asked: Do you still want me then?

I said: I thought you didn’t want me anymore.”

Huang Yaming asked, “What happened next?”

“Then she cried, weeping and wailing here as she crouched down on the ground.”

At this point, just having finished all her work, the Lady Boss came over, pulling his ear as she heard what was being said, “You’re saying more nonsense again? Come, say more nonsense.”

The young lad begged for mercy whilst smiling foolishly in bliss.

Finally, he pulled open his clothes and let Xu Tingsheng and the others see the many scars that densely riddled his body, “See these? All of these were from being beaten in prison. I was the one most bullied in the entire prison, because I never retaliated…I could actually have taken on 5 of them alone, do you believe me? …But I dared not retaliate…I was scared of committing a vice, I wanted a reduced sentence, I wanted to get out as soon as possible. I really missed her, missed her to death.”

The young lad began crying. The woman smiled awkwardly at Xu Tingsheng’s group as she embraced his head by her waist, reaching out and gently stroking his hair.

Xu Tingsheng knew that this was enough. With the addition of this story, it was enough for today. Even the very heavens were assisting Fu Cheng.

He footed the bill before saying to Fu Cheng, “You should send Ms Fang back to the city district.”


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