Devil’s WarmthChapters List
Chapter 24: The Great Master
Pei Chuan ended the call immediately. After a short pause, he mentioned to the taxi driver, “Drive to the Third High School.”
The first autumn rain of September caught everyone off-guard. The pitter-patter of raindrops on the vehicles was irritating. He didn’t turn back to witness her expression. In reality, this was the first time in more than a decade that Pei Chuan had spoken to her this way.
Bei Yao stood beside the bus stop, with what seemed to be a blank stare.
She had her eyes fixated on her brand-new pink phone, and thought the way Pei Chuan spoke was nostalgic yet unfamiliar. At a place where she couldn’t see, he grew up in another cruel way, too.
Bei Yao watched the raindrops fall to the ground, upset. Though her mental capabilities were slower than others by a little, she wasn’t stupid. He lied to herself. He was not going to study at the Sixth High School with Bei Yao. Only she believed that both of them would study there.
Bus 522 had arrived. This time, she could no longer wait for him and immediately boarded it, heading towards the direction of the Sixth High School.
Within half an hour, the bus arrived in front of the Sixth High School.
Bei Yao saw the gate of the Sixth High School. Everything was still the same as it was in her memories. The silver fence gave off a huge aura, a new semester banner was hung on top of it -
”Warm Welcome to All New Students!”
Inside the school, an enormous LED screen could be seen, where main events and announcements would be frequently displayed. It was hung at a spot visible to students entering the campus so that it would be the first thing they see.
Two rows of willow trees welcomed them upon entering the school gate.
The teachers used to say that willow trees have the symbolic meaning of ‘stay’, in hopes that students would have a sentimental attachment to their past institutions, even after many years after graduating.
TL note: ‘stay’ in Chinese has the same pronunciation as ‘willow’ tree
Bei Yao gripped an umbrella in one hand and a heavy bag filled with clothes in another. Her school bag sat on her shoulders.
Bei LiCai was planning to send Bei Yao since Zhao ZhiLan had to look after the children at home. However, Bei Yao rejected her offer. She reasoned, “I register myself every year. This isn't a problem, so don’t worry. Pei Chuan wanted to go with me, and it’d be awkward if Dad followed us.”
Bei LiCai then gave up. However, he did not expect that in this year of high school, Bei Yao had no one to accompany her.
He heard that Fang MinJun also got into the Sixth High School, but Bei Yao didn’t meet her. Hua Ting got into the First High School, and Chen Hu left after middle school for a vocational school. Growing up can be harsh at times, and the first thing it teaches children is how to say ‘Goodbye’.
Bei Yao took a great effort in carrying those clothes while registering. She could only stay in the school dorm this year since her residence was too far from the school. One benefit of the Sixth High School’s management was that it was the most reasonable among the three high schools. Unlike them, her school allowed students to leave the premises.
The new form teacher has a surname of Li, full name Li FangQun. She looked like she was in her thirties, her hair tied up high. Her sleeve was rolled up to her elbow and she had a professional and respectable aura surrounding her.
When Bai Yao was registering, Li FangQun was first astonished by this new student’s beauty, while thinking about how their school didn’t separate practical classes from normal classes that year. It was the country's first year of conducting free-styled education. This radiant girl was the most attractive-looking student Li FangQun had ever set her gaze upon, and according to Teacher Li’s experience, these kinds of students usually have the worst grades.
Teacher Li took out the name list, “What is your name?”
“...” Teacher Li stared at register number two and sighed in her mind, experience cannot be trusted after all.
Teacher Li said, “Hello student Bei Yao, are you going to stay in the dorm?”
Once the admin work was done, Bei Yao arrived at dorm 615 with her whole body covered in sweat. The new students this year were unlucky, having their dorm located on level 6. Bei Yao thought the next batch after hers would be staying on level 3.
The worst part of the school was that it follows the rule in which an elevator wasn't allowed to go above level 7, so the school created ‘negative level 1’. In reality, level 6 is level 7. Bei Yao wasn’t bothered by this, since she exercises.
She lived further from school, so she got to the dorm much later than her other 3 roommates. They have already settled in long before she did.
A girl on the top bunk complained, “What is this? Didn’t they say that the new batch of students would be living in the new dorm? In the end, it’s still the old dorm! What’s even worse, is that we are at level 7!”
A chubby girl at the bottom bunk, Chen FeiFei replied, “Yang Jia, stop complaining, you’ve been at this the entire morning.”
“So? Can’t I still rant for a while?”
The third girl in the room was called Wu Mo. Wu Mo glared at Chen FeiFei, meaning to tell her to avoid conflict with Yang Jia. Chen FeiFei wasn’t convinced and pouted her cheeks, not planning to stop anytime soon. She opened her mouth, ready to say something, but saw Bei Yao at the door.
The fifteen-year-old girl, forehead covered with sweat, smiled at her, “Hello everyone, I am Bei Yao.”
The other two girls also looked at Bei Yao, astonished.
Wu Mo almost exclaimed, “You’re so pretty.” To her, Bei Yao looked like a fairy emerging from a forest where gardenias bloom after a heavy shower.
The fairy smiled till it reached her round eyes, “Thank you, you’re very pretty as well.”
Wu Mo didn't look half-bad herself. Nonetheless, she felt like blushing after hearing Bei Yao’s compliment.
Surprisingly, Bei Yao’s arrival had stopped a smokey war that was about to begin between the 3 girls.
Bei Yao settled into the last top bunk left for her.
The first year of high school was busier than expected. The First, Third, and Sixth High School had a competitive relationship. Even if the Sixth High School had toned down its activities, it was still a 2-day break once a month. Other than this, a break was offered every Sunday. On this day, students don’t typically go back home, they would instead stay in school, or go outside.
This was the first year Bei Yao got separated from Pei Chuan.
At first, she wasn’t used to it. The boy with his signature cold look left her with contempt. The girls around her were chatting non-stop, joyful and cute, and no one became randomly upset such that she needed to comfort them.
Bei Yao thought and apologised to her future self. I can’t fulfill your wishes, she thought to herself. Pei Chuan has grown up, and consequently, she does not have the right to control the boy’s life.
Ever since she started high school, her body had begun to grow every day as well. However, every year, memories of her past life hadn't revealed themselves to her.
In the first month of school, there was already a popular post pinned to the top of the school’s forum littered with countless comments.
The name of the post was [ Miss Junior in the First Year with Incredibly Good Looks ].
The post featured Bei Yao doing her morning exercise.
The morning sun rays poured from the sky, the current sky still dim, and Bei Yao was still half-awake. She followed the rhythm of the morning exercise and slowly moved her body. Her exhausted and sleepy, yet beautiful face is a beauty that cannot be compared.
When the post was first published, Bei Yao got popular instantly.
She replaced her second-year senior from the previous batch and became the Flower of the Sixth High School.
Originally, the school flower was Wan XianAi. People once called her ‘Beauty that Attracts Thousands’. She was loved for more than a year, but in the end, she was replaced by a new student who had arrived not long ago, more so by a face without make-up. She was extremely frustrated, yet couldn’t do anything about this.
The picture was too magnificent, and Wan XianAi couldn’t believe one could possess such aura and looks. She thought the new student had good tricks; the picture was photoshopped, right?
When the second month came, however, she met the junior by coincidence at the Yifu Teaching Building. This made Wan XianAi’s entire face turn ghastly pale.
She could no longer reassure herself that the picture was an edit because Bei Yao looks far prettier in real life. The picture of her was very striking, but Bei Yao herself was youthful and gentle.
She pressed her lips together, picked up her pace, and left. Due to her pride in being the previous school flower, she didn’t want to have anything to do with Bei Yao.
In the first year of high school, Bei Yao had an exceptionally good relationship with the people around her.
Although she was not extroverted, she was sweet-natured and had good grades. Everyone loved to seek her out to help them with all-things academic.
Bei Yao didn't keep her knowledge all to herself but explained it clearly to everyone. Not only did the boys in the class liked her, but most of the girls also admired her as well.
The top scorer in the first year fifth class was a short but decent-looking boy. Bei Yao came to this school being the second-highest scorer.
Life in high school was hectic. When the year ended, Bei Yao felt like it was surreal.
She went back home every month, yet never once did she meet Pei Chuan.
Everybody said Pei Chuan would never come back home.
The once lively neighbour was now quiet. Uncle Pei married a new wife, Cao Li. Bei Yao had seen Pei Chuan’s younger stepsister. She looked delicate, possessing a very slender figure which contributed to this impression of fragility. Her name was Bai YuTong.
The first time she met Bai YuTong was during the winter holiday. Bai YuTong was clutching onto her mother’s arm, playing around with a beaming smile. When both Cao Li and Bai YuTong saw Bei Yao and Zhao ZhiLan, they were astonished and couldn't take their eyes off Bei Yao.
They had never thought that this old neighbourhood could bear such a lovely girl.
Zhao ZhiLan greeted first, “Cao Li, XiaoTong. This is my daughter Bei Yao.”
Cao Li replied hastily, “Oh, so this is YaoYao! I've heard all about you, a beautiful face and excellent grades.” Her finger motioned towards Bai YuTong as if to tap her forehead, while saying, “If you can be as good as YaoYao, Mother won't be so worried.”
Though Bai YuTong felt uncomfortable, she still smiled and greeted Bei Yao.
Bei Yao nodded at her and replied, “Hello.” Bei Yao knew she was being cold. She couldn’t help but recall Pei Chuan losing his family when he was around ten years old. This made it difficult to bear this family’s new enthusiasm.
Pei Chuan was undoubtedly terrible, but they still grew up together.
The frustration she felt when Pei Chuan gave her attitude at the start of the school year dissipated as time flew.
When the second semester started in the first school year, Bei Yao still hadn't met Pei Chuan.
She didn’t know how he looked like now, if he was hungry, how tall he was, or if he was still unhappy...
There was a city standardised examination in the second semester for the first years. This meant that the grades obtained by all students from the First, Third, and Sixth High School would be compiled and ranked together.
When the results were released, they were all displayed on a red banner.
Bei Yao recalled something and rushed downstairs hastily. A surprised Chen FeiFei exclaimed, “YaoYao, wait for me!”
Bei Yao immediately looked at the name indicated in first place on the lengthy red banner.
“Zhang JieRui,” she whispered, “How is this possible?”
Bei Yao patiently scanned through the rankings in the name list, but Pei Chuan’s name was nowhere to be seen in the top 200.
Chen FeiFei said, “YaoYao, what are you looking at?”
“I had a friend with excellent grades who got into the Third High School. I’m looking for his name.”
“What’s his name? I’ll help you search.”
Bei Yao paused and replied softly, “Pei Chuan.”
The two girls searched again and again but never spotted Pei Chuan’s name.
Chen FeiFei said, “Is it possible that your friend couldn't adapt to high school, so he couldn’t maintain his grades?”
“No,” Bei Yao was certain, “He’s exceptionally smart, he could even solve high school questions while we were still in middle school. To the point of scoring full marks.”
“That’s badass…” Chen FeiFei gasped subconsciously, followed by a frown and a strange expression. “What is the name of your friend again? Which school is he from?”
“Pei Chuan, the Third High School.”
“...” Chen FeiFei dragged Bei Yao into a corner and fished out her mobile phone, accompanied by a complex expression. She showed her screen to Bei Yao after a few taps of the screen.
“You better brace yourself. Is this the person you’re talking about?”
Bei Yao was shocked when she saw the screen.
The picture shown was taken this summer, which was not too long ago. Pei Chuan was leaning on the pole of a basketball hoop, dressed in a bright red jersey, with a black number ‘5’ printed on the front of his chest.
He grew up and had changed completely.
The boys around him were all wearing shorts, and Pei Chuan was the only one wearing sports pants.
Under the July sun, his gentle eyebrows became sharp, the corners of his mouth lit up with a lazy, nonchalant smile, and in-between his slender fingers was a cigarette.
Everything had changed.
Before, he’d never show even the slightest of a smile and needed others to coax him out of his frustration. Now, however, this spruce boy graced with a smile was almost unrecognisable to Bei Yao.
Bei Yao held onto the phone, stunned.
Chen FeiFei said, “No way! He’s the friend you were looking for? Then do you know what he's like? He’s the fierce boss of the Third High. He rarely goes to classes and hangs out with troublemakers every day. Some even say that he’s part of a gang, smoking and fighting all sorts. All in all, he's quite a terrifying guy.”
Bei Yao was dumbfounded.
Chen FeiFei continued, “He’s filthy rich too. I heard he drove a Mercedes-Benz S350 last month. That’s at least worth more than a million! People in the forum were all discussing where he got the money from. Could it be through illegal means..?” When Chen FeiFei recalled that this person was still Bei Yao’s friend, and saw an unsettled expression on the latter, the former shared no more of this startling news.
Bei Yao pressed her lips, “Can you send me the link to this post?”
“Sure, but you need to save it fast. I’m afraid it will be deleted soon.”
“Alright, thank you, FeiFei.”
“No problem, this is nothing.”
That night after Bei Yao had finished washing up, she laid on her bed and took out her phone. Her phone was still the same flip phone that Zhao ZhiLan bought her last year.
The phone she held had lost to current trends. The internet connection in the school dormitory was weak, so Bei Yao had a hard time connecting as she tried to check out the link Chen FeiFei sent over QQ. It took a while as the buffering circle spun non-stop, but finally, the page popped up--
“Sorry, this post has been deleted.”
She recalled Chen FeiFei had told her to save the post as soon as possible. Bei Yao curled up inside her blanket, her mouth curved at its corners. One thing has remained the same -- nobody dares to pick on him.
She felt guilty and even wanted to apologise to herself for writing the journal. In the end, Pei Chuan was still terrible even after turning sixteen.
She did her best to become a gentle and sweet girl, yet all the while, he grew up to be a fearsome and terrible guy.
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