When God Says Let There Be LightChapters List
Chapter 21: Injured
—You can start thinking about it now.
During the lunch break while writing her biology assignment in the small garden of the school, Nie Qingzhou's words suddenly floated through Xia Yi's mind for no apparent reason.
She lifted her head and looked at the towering teaching building in front of her. The Zhixing Building was always noisy during lunch break, like a bamboo cage filled with chirping crickets. She repeatedly opened and closed the cap of her black ballpoint pen as she pondered.
Accompanying this rhythm, a melody began to play in her mind, faint at first then gradually becoming clear, like a flock of seagulls hovering and singing in her mind.
The strange metaphor of seagulls came from Nie Qingzhou.
He said that perhaps there was a flock of seagulls living in her head, after eating and drinking their fill they would sunbathe on the shore, and when in a good mood they would fly up and circle around while singing. She couldn't stop them from singing.
They were beyond her control, and she couldn't refuse; it was almost instinctual.
Her pen began naturally drawing strings of numbers on the draft paper. Usually she would draw musical notes when there were staff lines, when there were not, she would just draw simplified musical notation.
What did she want to think about and express? For her, music was something that didn't require "thinking". It happened naturally, recorded naturally, and she never thought about making anyone hear it.
"Zhang Yukun! Shut up!"
A familiar voice accompanied by an unfamiliar anger reached her. The seagulls in Xia Yi's mind flew away, and the movement of the black pen in her hand also stopped.
Recently at school, it seemed she kept running into Nie Qingzhou.
She stood up and walked around the vending machine next to her. Sure enough, she saw Nie Qingzhou in the woods nearby, and beside him stood the familiar Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning.
Today, there was also another guy standing in front of them, short and chubby, like a white ball. At this moment, the white ball's face was red with anger, he pointed at Zhang Yukun and said, "You... you dare scold my mother!"
"I'm just scolding you; what's the big deal! You brat, you're trying to mess with us just to get beaten, huh!?" Lai Ning rolled up his sleeves and was about to make a move but Nie Qingzhou pulled his arm hard to drag him back.
There were large stains on the front of Lai Ning and Zhang Yukun's school uniforms, and two bottles of coke were spilled on the ground. Xia Yi's gaze swept between these people, and could probably guess what had happened.
Zhang Yukun, pinned down by Nie Qingzhou, continued to shout, "What's wrong with scolding you! Like we've never seen your mom, you damn fat pig. A whole family of damn fat pigs, you're accumulating so much fat just to be weighed and sold, right?!"
The fat white boy's expression instantly distorted, he clenched his teeth so hard that the flesh on his face also trembled.
Nie Qingzhou's face turned cold. He covered Zhang Yukun's mouth, and stepped in between Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning, blocking their line of sight, and forcefully pushed them back. "Enough..."
At this moment, the situation suddenly changed.
Behind Nie Qingzhou, the short fat boy suddenly let out a short, sharp scream. Nie Qingzhou's eyes instantly opened wide, his face turning pale in an instant, and the arms that were using force to hold people back just now lost their strength.
He staggered, taking two steps, and then fell forward like a falling bird. With a "bang," he crashed onto the shoulders of Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning.
As his body toppled, Xia Yi saw the chubby boy standing behind him. The boy's face was full of fear and confusion, holding a blood-stained fruit knife, with blood flowing from the blade to his hand.
The fruit knife dropped to the ground, and the boy also collapsed.
In that moment, Xia Yi's thoughts froze, her body frozen in place, as if suddenly unable to comprehend the meaning of this scene. She saw Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning turn pale, the former opening his mouth wide, seemingly about to scream.
–Then an even paler hand reached out, tightly covering his mouth.
Nie Qingzhou raised his head, frowning intensely and said feebly: "Don't...don't scream."
Feeling a sudden pain and chill on his back, and his school uniform becoming wet and sticky, the words Xia Yi had said years later to Nie Qingzhou echoed in his mind—He is easily injured.
Here it comes again, unexpectedly fulfilling itself once more.
Was this a conclusion, a prophecy, or a curse?
Struggling to support himself on Lai Ning's shoulders, Nie Qingzhou turned around, Wu Siyuan who was paralyzed like a helpless victim on the ground. Anger surged within him.
"Now, you're scared like this. What were you thinking just now? How dare you bring a knife to school? Do you know it could cost lives! Do you want to go to jail at such a young age?" Nie Qingzhou scolded angrily.
Wu Siyuan turned pale upon being scolded by Nie Qingzhou, his whole body trembling. The courage that burst forth moments ago now completely dissipated, and he couldn't utter a single word.
The back of Nie Qingzhou's school uniform quickly turned a large patch of red, and the bloodstains continued to spread, becoming more and more obvious against the white background. For a time, Zhang Yukun didn't dare touch him, and could only tremble as he called out: "Zhou ge... Zhou ge..."
His voice was choked with sobs.
At this moment, a pair of hands supported Nie Qingzhou's arms. Zhang Yukun lifted his head and saw Xia Yi. She remained as calm as usual. She neatly unzipped her school uniform, took off her jacket, and draped it over Nie Qingzhou's back to cover the glaring red.
"Hurry to the infirmary," Xia Yi said.
Zhang Yukun's eyes were filled with hot tears as he said, "Sister-in-law!"
Xia Yi almost let go, but Nie Qingzhou quickly steadied her shoulder. He winced in pain, inhaling sharply, he angrily said to Zhang Yukun: "Stop talking!"
This was a secluded corner, where usually no one came by. With the cover of trees, this sudden incident was only witnessed by the few people present. But Wu Siyuan's shout just now had already alarmed others, and Nie Qingzhou saw people poking their heads over in the distance.
He bent down slightly, and quickly said to Wu Siyuan, "The knife was brought by you to peel fruit. Just now, while you were peeling fruit, I slipped and accidentally bumped into you, knocking you and the knife to the ground. TIn this incident, my back was cut by the knife. Do you remember?"
Lai Ning was stunned, and shouted: "Zhou ge, what are you doing..."
Nie Qing Zhou's gaze coldly swept over as he said, "This is how this incident happened, there is no other version. Understand?"
Under his stern gaze, Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning eventually nodded. Nie Qingzhou then turned to Wu Siyuan, saying, "If you still want to go to school, remember my words, don't make a single mistake."
After saying this, he lost his strength. Xia Yi supported him in time. Nie Qingzhou was pale-faced as he whispered to her: "Don't get involved in these matters, go back to class. Having Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning is enough."
As he was about to take off Xia Yi's jacket, she held his hand down, "It's already stained with blood."
Pausing for a moment, she said, "I'll send you to the infirmary."
Nie Qingzhou looked at her for a while and sighed: "Alright, send me and then quickly go back to your class."
Turning to Zhang Yukun, he said, "Help me ask the teacher for leave, following the version I just said."
"Lai Ning, let's go to the infirmary."
When Teacher Li, the Class Teacher of Class 13 rushed to the infirmary in a hurry, Nie Qingzhou was lying on the bed. The young school nurse was using medical alcohol to clean his wounds. Nie Qingzhou's hands gripped the bed sheet tightly, veins bulging from his arm due to excessive force.
"No, no, the wound is too deep; he needs to go to the hospital for stitches," the school nurse anxiously said, looking at Teacher Li.
When Zhang Yukun told Teacher Li about this matter, Zhang Zihua happened to be in the office as well. That afternoon he only had one last class, so he immediately followed Teacher Li and rushed to the infirmary together. He frowned as he saw the situation.
Teacher Li hurriedly took out his phone: "Nie Qingzhou, give me your guardian's phone number."
"My parents are both working in the provincial city, and my aunt has been busy with a competition and classes these past few days, so they can't come over. Teacher Li, please don't bother them if there's nothing serious" Nie Qingzhou turned his head and said, his face was pale and his forehead was full of sweat, but his tone was relaxed.
"What do you mean, 'nothing serious'? Listen to what the school nurse said! Come on, let's go to the hospital," Teacher Li turned to Wu Siyuan who was dragged over by him and said angrily, "Bringing such a dangerous thing to school, what were you thinking? All you do is eat, eat, eat, now look at what have you eaten into"
A hint of displeasure flashed across Nie Qingzhou's face. He locked eyes with the absent-minded Wu Siyuan, who immediately averted his gaze in fear. Nie Qingzhou said, "Teacher Li, Wu Siyuan didn't do it on purpose. I think he got quite scared. Let him go back for now."
Teacher Li waved his hand: "Go, go, all of you go back to class first, Wu Siyuan, Lai Ning, and... Xia Yi, what are you doing here?"
Only then did he notice Xia Yi, who was sitting to the side with her head lowered, watching the school doctor clean Nie Qingzhou's wound. Xia Yi lifted her head, she wasn't wearing her school jacket, just a brown sweater, and said faintly: "Just passing by."
"She came to help as she was passing by, her uniform got stained," Nie Qingzhou explained on her behalf.
Teacher Li pinched his temples: "You all go back to class first, leave this to the teachers to handle. Lao Zhang, I'll need your help here."
Zhang Zihua observed everyone's reactions just now. At this moment, he glanced at Nie Qingzhou and Wu Siyuan and said, "No problem."
After dismissing the students, Teacher Li and Zhang Zihua picked up Nie Qingzhou and took him to the nearest hospital. After a few hours of hustle and bustle, when Zhang Zihua saw Nie Qingzhou again, he had already been stitched up and bandaged, sitting on the bed in a single piece of clothing. The hospital's heating was turned on early, so Nie Qingzhou, with his upper body bare, didn't feel cold, and even smiled a bit when he saw Zhang Zihua enter.
The nurse beside him grumbled: "You're still smiling? If it went any deeper, it would have been dangerous. How come you end up getting stitches every few days?"
"Has he been here before?" Zhang Zihua asked.
The nurse turned her face, surprised: "You are?"
"I'm his teacher, I bought him here."
"Oh, oh, he injured his shoulder too two months ago. This time, look, apart from the knife wound on his back, he has so many bruises from falls, he really needs to take better care of himself." The nurse said as she walked out, carrying a pile of medicine bottles with her.
Zhang Zihua's gaze turned to Nie Qingzhou, who immediately pulled up the clothes he was wearing to cover the bruises on his body.
Nie Qingzhou smiled: "You know what I'm like, just getting into fights."
"Fights? You got stabbed by Wu Siyuan this time. Why didn't you fight back?"
"He didn't mean to, and with me injured like this, I couldn't fight back anyway."
Nie Qingzhou spoke lightly, downplaying things. Zhang Zihua sneered and sat by his bed: "Stop trying to dump dirty water on yourself. Those lies might fool Lao Li but they won't fool me. Lao Li is on the phone and will take a while to get here, it's just the two of us now, tell me the truth - what really happened?"
Nie Qingzhou's smile faded, and he slowly said: "I've said it already, it was an accident. Teacher, what do you want me to say?"
"Didn't Wu Siyuan hurt you on purpose?"
"Where would he have the guts to do that?"
"Even a rabbit will bite when cornered, and timid people can be scariest when they get courage."
Zhang Zihua took a step back, subtly distancing himself from Nie Qingzhou. He observed the pale young man in front of him and said, "How old are you? You still want to carry things all by yourself? Everyone has to be responsible for their actions. Today, you got lucky, but to be blunt, what if you ended up seriously injured or disabled?"
Nie Qingzhou fell silent for a moment, then chuckled softly, "If the school really wanted to take responsibility, they wouldn't let these things happen in the first place. It's not good for anyone if things get out of hand."
Zhang Zihua sensitively picked up on the implications in his words, saying: "You're saying the school lets things slide? How did the school neglect its duty? Say everything you want to say today, I'll listen."
Nie Qingzhou seemed hesitant to speak, but under Zhang Zihua's persistent questioning, he hesitantly opened up, "I just feel that the school turns a blind eye to isolation and bullying. As long as it doesn't cause trouble, they pretend as if it doesn't exist. It's the same for me, for Wu Siyuan, and for Xia Yi, whom you saw today. Everyone knows there's a problem, but since it's difficult to solve, no one wants to tackle it. They just want to whitewash it by keeping up appearances, let more and more schoolwork and academic pressure weigh on us, and bury these problems aside."
After a pause, Nie Qingzhou looked at Zhang Zihua and said seriously: "But the experiences and personalities formed in these three years shape a person's entire life. Life is about much more than just studying and exams; there are things more important than the college entrance examination. You, being older and more experienced, shouldn't turn a blind eye to things that could make our entire lives miserable. That, I believe, is the true meaning of education."
After finishing, he added: "That's just my personal view."
The way this kid spoke was articulate, his views sharp, but his attitude and tone were remarkably tactful and gentle. Regardless of his age, he sounded like someone seasoned in society. Zhang Zihua stared deeply at Nie Qingzhou, as if trying to see the soul behind those young, bright eyes.
Finally, he chuckled, patting Nie Qingzhou's shoulder, causing him to wince and yelp in pain.
"Not bad, not bad. The things you're saying don't sound like something a sixteen-year-old would say. If you told me you were twenty-six, I'd believe it."
Nie Qingzhou smiled noncommittally.
Zhang Zihua became more serious and said, "But concealing the truth isn't a good solution either. You say the school overlooks bullying, but will concealing it improve the situation? As long as no incidents occur, this logic will keep operating."
"But improvements can't come at the cost of others' lives." Nie Qingzhou immediately retorted.
"You just speak the truth, I can guarantee no one's life will be affected because of it."
Nie Qingzhou stared at Zhang Zihua, grasping the lapels of his outer garment as he sat on the hospital bed, seeming to be thinking things over. Zhang Zihua thought this kid was quite wary, so he said: "Is it that Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning were bullying Wu Siyuan, and Wu Siyuan retaliated, injuring you in the process?"
"When I first enrolled, I also bullied him." Nie Qingzhou didn't directly answer his question.
With him saying that, Zhang Zihua understood.
"Alright, stop shouldering everything yourself. I know your temperament and tolerance better than anyone, even Wen Zhong can't compare to you. With you around, Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning have become much more well-behaved." Zhang Zihua stood up and said, "I will discuss this with Teacher Li and handle this matter properly."
Nie Qingzhou sat up straight and grabbed Zhang Zihua: "Teacher, you promised me that no one will be punished or affected because of this."
Zhang Zihua laughed and patted Nie Qingzhou's shoulder again, using less force this time: "Rest assured. It's strange, though. Doesn't your injury hurt? Why are you so worried about Wu Siyuan? And about Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning, do you really enjoy hanging out with them?"
Nie Qingzhou let go of his hand, struggling to put on his jacket. A trace of a smile appeared on his tired face.
"I'm not made of iron, of course it hurts. We're all ordinary people, full of flaws and merits. I just feel that at this age, everyone makes mistakes, and there's still a chance for us to become better people."
He didn't want them to miss out on that chance.
He was older and more experienced than them.
So he couldn't turn a blind eye to something that could make their entire lives miserable.
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