Chapter 11: Cold

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- THIS TRANSLATION BELONGS TO konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

After a long summer vacation, Pei Chuan's parents finally reached a compromise between themselves.

The most suitable age for a child to be fitted with a prosthetic was between seven and fourteen. Pei Chuan’s body was now too young to bear the pain of practicing prosthetics, so they finally decided to postpone the matter until Pei Chuan was nine years old.

The beginning of elementary school was much more crowded than preschool. In the early autumn of 1997, the children in the preschool class corresponded to the first class, while the children who were in the first class went to register for the second class.

Bei Yao was surprised to discover something amazing - now she had quite a few more memories that belonged to the fourth grade in her mind.

Two major events happened in the fourth grade - the first was the construction of a road from home to school. Because of this, the children in Bei Yao's neighborhood had to take a detour to go to school every day.

The second event was when her uncle hit someone with his car during her fourth grade and lost a lot of money. At that time, her mother cried and filled the bottomless pit by using her savings.

Bei Yao was too young to think clearly about these things, she only knew that both events meant bad.

However, what caught the little girl's attention now was the new class teacher. In the first grade of her last life, their class teacher was Hong Guanjing. She was a bad-tempered woman in her thirties. Bei Yao remembered being slapped by her once when she made a mistake in an assignment.

She was subconsciously afraid of this unfriendly Chinese teacher, who was also their class teacher.

Bei Yao uneasily asked her mother, "Mom, can I go to 2nd class?"

Zhao Zhilan hugged her and stepped over the puddle, "No, the students from the preschool class can only go to the first grade of the elementary school."

Bei Yao laid weakly in Zhao Zhilan's arms.

As a result, when she went to register, she realized that the smiling female teacher wasn't Hong Guanjing, but a thin and intellectual looking female teacher called Cai Qingyu.

Bei Yao was confused for a moment then she remembered that she left the kindergarten one year earlier than her last life. Now she was going in a completely different direction than before, as originally she was only supposed to be in preschool now. Therefore her teacher had changed.

This meant that everything in the future was now unknown to her.

Bei Yao wide-eyed stared at this strange class teacher. Cai Qingyu smiled and registered her. She then praised Bei Yao in front of Zhao Zhilan, "I've seen Bei Yao's grades in the preschool class, they're really good."

Zhao Zhilan hastily said, "Thank you, teacher. I'll have to trouble you in the future."

"You're welcome."

Cai Qingyu chimed in, and looked at the tiny girl beside her mother and asked Zhao Zhilan, "Are you guys from the same neighborhood as Pei Chuan?"

"Right."

"Alright, it's fine, the kids who signed up will come back to school tomorrow and we'll hand out textbooks."

Cai Qingyu knew in advance that this time, a hot potato was coming to her class. She also talked about him to the preschool teacher Yu Qian. Cai Qingyu would teach elementary school knowledge for the entire six years in the same session, so it was quite difficult for her. Chinese and Math teachers were all females, and no one was convenient to help the growing Pei Chuan take off his pants to go to the toilet.

Yu Qian sighed, "He is very sensitive, and has never once asked me to help him go to the toilet in preschool. If you can, please take care of him more."

Cai Qingyu was a little surprised inside.

She also knew that the growth trajectory of such a handicapped child would be curved because of him being too sensitive. Therefore, she paid extra attention to the few children in her class who were neighbors with Pei Chuan.

Chen Hu, Fang Minjun, Bei Yao, and Li Da.

There were 62 students in the first class, so no one would be singled out. So this time, Pei Chuan wouldn’t have to sit alone.

However, Teacher Yu said that this child had no amity with anyone, so it would be hard for any child to share a table with him.

*

Pei Chuan came very early on the day of his first year in school. Noticing his arrival, Teacher Cai waved at him. The child's eyes were silent in the morning light like the sky curtain at dawn. He paused for a moment then pushed his wheelchair to Miss Cai.

Teacher Cai, knowing his personality, quietly listed the four names on the paper and put it in front of him.

Teacher Cai smiled and said lightly, "Pei Chuan, teacher is going to play a game with you. You point to a name and that person will become your tablemate."

Teacher Cai knew that Pei Chuan, who had only attended preschool, could not read the names yet. She wanted to let the child choose a tablemate in this fair way.

Pei Chuan's pitch-black eyes quietly looked at the four names.

He really didn't know the names written on the paper.

Except for Fang Minjun’s three-character name that he could guess, the other three names became a multiple choice question for him.

(T/N: Fang Minjun- 方敏君)

He dropped his eyes and again looked at them.

He knew there was a character that denotes "big" in the word "Da". Therefore, he also guessed that the name was "Li Da".

(T/N: Li Da- 李达 and big stands for 大. Thus the character of “big” is in the character of “Da” in the name Li Da.)

There were only two choices left.

He couldn't rule them out anymore.

After silently sitting there for a long time, Cai Qingyu couldn't help but urge him on.

His gaze shifted slightly and quietly fell on the preschool results spread out on the table. One was 50, while another one was 99. He took a look at them and then withdrew his gaze, this time he knew which name was Chen Hu and which one was Bei Yao.

The first lesson preschool taught him was that if he wouldn’t fight for himself, he would get nothing.

Life wasn't good for him, and it was the selfishness of this world that would usher in the dawn in his life. His finger skimmed over the first name on the paper and landed on the third one.

*

Bei Yao again became a deskmate with Pei Chuan. She was so happy that her clear and watery, grape-like apricot eyes instantly turned bright.

Bei Yao asked in her sweet milky voice, "Pei Chuan, shall I bring the sticks to play together tomorrow?" Her memory was a few years beyond her age, but her brain was limited by this body, and her childish heart was adorably cute and vibrant.

Pei Chuan still remained silent and pursed his lips.

Pei Chuan thought everyone in the class had a new tablemate. He wasn't a good person as in the exchange of being with Bei Yao for the next six years, he deprived her of the three-fourths probability of getting a new deskmate like others.

Bei Yao was extremely happy because her deskmate had become Pei Chuan again. The next day, she brought the tiny colored sticks her mother bought for her, in her school bag and played with Pei Chuan after class.

The sticks were supposed to be used by the first grade Math teachers to teach addition, subtraction, and counting. However, Bei Yao knew there was also a game called “picking up sticks” that could be played with these sticks. At first, the sticks would be scattered all over the table, and then picked up one by one. But during this process, the other sticks must not be disturbed, and the one who picks up the most sticks wins the game.

In the age of material scarcity, it was a game that all children loved to play, just like the popular jumping ball game in second and third grade according to her memories.

She handed him the little stick in her little hands, "After you."

The first one to go would have the advantage, every child wanted to compete for this first. Pei Chuan looked at her innocent clear eyes then reached out to take the sticks from her.

It was the first time he had played such a game with a little girl.

And yet he was quite calm, unlike a small child. Bei Yao was clumsy with her small hands during the game, while he was able to pick them up calmly.

In the end, there were a total of fifty little sticks, 43 were picked up by him and 7 by Bei Yao.

Pei Chuan had a handful of colorful sticks, and when he looked at Bei Yao, he saw her adorably blink at the lone seven sticks in her hand. On the other hand, Bei Yao got to know for the first time that playing with Pei Chuan was no fun at all.

His expressionless face wouldn’t give her any pleasant gaming experience at all.

The young Pei Chuan didn't know how to give in. He was like the stubborn young bamboo tenaciously standing in the hailstorm of 1996. Facing the wind and rain’s beatings, he could only be broken by the wind.

Bei Yao grinned, showing her little baby teeth she said, "Pei Chuan is awesome."

Bei Yao continued to play with him, and then was abused by him all the way.

He didn't let her win, and she still couldn't pick up more than ten of them. They played until the math teacher came to teach simple addition and subtraction.

She was tender and soft, tolerating his coldness and indifference with the greatest tolerance that a child could muster.

However, in the hot summer of the next year, when the second grade came, Pei Chuan, who never drank water at school, began to bring an extra cup of water. Across the 38 line on the desk, the cup finally appeared on Xiao Bei Yao’s side.

***

Fang Minjun was devastated.

In the final results of the first grade, her Chinese and Math scores were 93, 94 respectively. While Bei Yao scored 95 and 100, so Fang Minjun was desperately studying during the whole second grade.

What made Fang Minjun even more devastated was that the first in the whole class was Pei Chuan, who had no legs, and that too with double of the hundred marks.

Fang Minjun almost cried frantically. When Zhao Xiu finally asked her about it, she cried and said, "Bei Yao peeked at Pei Chuan's paper, and Pei Chuan didn't cover it."

Zhao Xiu thought to herself, Zhao Zhilan's daughter is really promising ah, cheating at such a young age.

After she figured it out, she instead comforted Fang Minjun, "It's fine, later on, when the seats will be switched for the exam, I don't believe she can still copy others."

As for that first place Pei Chuan, although he was smart and had a good brain, in the end, he was just a cripple. No matter how good he was, he would have problems finding a job and marrying a wife. Which family would be willing to marry their daughter to such a person.

As for Chen Hu, he was stable at the bottom level in the entire community. He would rank last in every exam.

***

Pei Chuan hated two classes.

Music and Physical Education.

These were the classes that all the children loved except him. In the music class, they would learn singing. At sunset, the female teacher would play the organ and teach the children songs from music books.

This time, the music lesson sang "The Snail and the Oriole.”

Pei Chuan was now seven years old and was having his teeth replaced. He was missing two front teeth and he seldom spoke at home. Pei Chuan listened in silence because of his strong pride and shame.

His little tablemate had a clear voice, like a cheerful little bird chirping on a branch in the morning.

Bei Yao still hadn't lost her sweet milky voice, and her head still had two flower buns with ribbons wrapped around them. The teacher taught one sentence and she sang, "The snail carries its heavy shell on its back, climbing up the tree step by step~."

(T/N: Wōniú bēizhe nà zhòngzhòng de ké ya, yíbù yíbù de wǎng shàng pá~)

She also began to change her teeth, and while singing and talking, some air would pass from the gap between her teeth. Yet she was very good and sang whatever the teacher taught her. All the children sang along in their clear voices.

The music teacher, Teacher Zhu, frowned at Pei Chuan, who quietly sat by the third row near the window.

She stopped playing the organ and frowned, "Pei Chuan, why aren’t you singing along with everyone else?"

Pei Chuan’s pitch-black pupils quietly stared at the teacher.

This child did not have the fear that other children had towards their teachers, and his eyes were like dead water. He didn't even reply to Teacher Zhu's words.

Teacher Zhu felt humiliated and hated Pei Chuan’s cold and dark presence for no reason.

Teacher Zhu said, "Your legs aren’t good. However, you obviously can sing, but you aren’t singing. Do you know that you are disrespecting your teacher by doing this?"

Pei Chuan remained silent.

Teacher Zhu was so angry that she exerted her teacher's authority, "Now, I'll sing a sentence and you'll follow me!"

-

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

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