When God Says Let There Be LightChapters List
Chapter 16: Night Market
Zhang Yukun quickly leapt out, matching his surprise. "Hey, it's Big Goose and Xia Yi!"
Wen Zhong's expression didn't look good.
Xia Yi's gaze shifted to the section marker where they stood, and Nie Qingzhou glanced at the sign that read "Children's Literature". He immediately strode over and said to Xia Yi, "We've been looking for the study guide section for quite a while, turns out it's right here. Are you both here to buy study guides too?"
Xia Yi nodded, and said, "They are the study guides for the first class."
Nie Qingzhou suddenly realized and brightened up, "Oh, I see! you are the study committee member of class one."
Meanwhile, Wen Zhong's mood contrasted starkly with Nie Qingzhou. He seemed as though he hadn't noticed Nie Qingzhou and merely furrowed his brows, turning to Xia Yi, "Now that we've found the books, if there's no issue, let's go find a store clerk to order them."
How could Zhang Yukun let them go so easily! He walked over and glanced at the study guides in Wen Zhong and Xia Yi's hands, before saying, "Oh my, ordering so many study guides, shouldn't the bookstore give you a discount? How about this – Xia Yi, you help us pick out a book, and in return, we'll help you bargain a better price for you."
Lai Ning pointed at Zhang Yukun, chiming in, "Yeah, yeah, Zhang Yukun is a master at bargaining."
Wen Zhong coolly stated, "We don't need that little bit of money."
Zhang Yukun retorted with a grin, "Oh, you can actually see me? When I talk to you, you respond. Just now I was addressing Xia Yi, you know."
Wen Zhong was taken aback by Zhang Yukun's response, and he didn't bother engaging with him any further. He just wanted to call Xia Yi, but when he turned his head, he saw Nie Qingzhou standing beside Xia Yi, handing her a few study guides.
Nie Qingzhou lowered his head, flipping through the pages while whispering, "The one we saw earlier was too detailed, it had a lot of unnecessary information that could confuse you. This one is much better, the knowledge improvement section is very practical."
Xia Yi nodded and handed him another study guide, saying, "Take a look at this one."
Nie Qingzhou flipped it open, his eyes lighting up involuntarily. He flipped through a few more pages and said, "This one is the best in terms of organization, the logic is clear. I used this one before..."
As he spoke, he lifted his head and saw Lai Ning, Zhang Yukun, and Wen Zhong all looking at him.
Zhang Yukun gazed at the study guide in Nie Qingzhou's hand, thinking, I just came up with an excuse, and Zhou-Ge, you're already in character.
Nie Qingzhou smiled and waved the book in his hand, saying, "Let's go find these two series. The first one is more suitable for laying a foundation, and I'll try the second one first."
Lai Ning and Zhang Yukun usually just copied their homework; study guides were naturally untouched territory for them. Lai Ning looked at the unfamiliar blue book, casting a glance at Zhang Yukun, as if saying, Are we really buying this?
Zhang Yukun waved his hand confidently and declared to Xia Yi, "Great! Since you're helping Zhou-Ge pick out study guides, I'll definitely negotiate the lowest price for you guys later!"
Xia Yi looked at Zhang Yukun and said, "Thank you."
Wen Zhong was taken aback; Xia Yi's attitude completely caught him off guard. He stood stiffly in his place, not too pleased, and told Xia Yi, "I just said, we don't need it."
"I do. I want to spend less money," Xia Yi calmly retorted.
Upon hearing this, Zhang Yukun felt refreshed. He raised his head proudly and provocatively looked at Wen Zhong.
Wen Zhong's complexion turned pale. He was usually all about saving face, but now he found himself unable to get off the stage in this situation. He couldn't maintain his usual air of superiority, and with a cold snort, he said, "What's the use of you solving more questions? It's better to steal the test papers to improve faster."
Zhang Yukun jumped up with a start, "What do you mean? If it weren't for you..."
Lai Ning didn't waste words either; he raised the basketball as if he was about to throw it at Wen Zhong. Nie Qingzhou, quick to react, grabbed Zhang Yukun with one hand and Lai Ning with the other, saying, "Alright, alright, no need for that, it's okay."
He gestured to Xia Yi, and she turned around and walked towards a store employee in the distance. She walked very fast, Wen Zhong was stunned for a moment, then immediately turned around to follow Xia Yi, and quickly moved away from their sight.
While filling out a form at the counter and writing down the mailing address, Wen Zhong's anger still hadn't dissipated. He said to Xia Yi, "How much do you need? I'll cover it for you. No matter how short you are, you shouldn't associate with these guys."
Thinking of the familiar atmosphere between Xia Yi and Nie Qingzhou just moments ago, Wen Zhong felt even more uncomfortable. He continued, "Xia Yi, Nie Qingzhou isn't on our level, he's not the same kind of person as us. You should socialize less with him, and don't spend your time on worthless people."
While he said all this, Xia Yi remained silent.
Wen Zhong looked up in confusion, locking eyes with Xia Yi's dark pupils. She looked at him for a moment before calmly speaking, "Us? Do you think I'm the same kind of person as you?"
Wen Zhong was taken aback.
"The rumors in the class about me are all true. My father is a murderer, I used to get into fights in middle school and even went to the police station. If you think we're the same kind of people, why do you pretend like you don't know me in class? Why do you only talk to me when there are no classmates around?"
Xia Yi rarely spoke such long sentences. Her tone was steady and her expression didn't change much. It was as if she had always understood everything, but she didn't care, nor did she feel the need to expose it.
It seemed that at this moment, she suddenly didn't want to comply with him anymore.
Wen Zhong opened his mouth but couldn't utter a word. He felt completely exposed under her gaze.
Suddenly, he realized that Xia Yi had changed a lot in these years, yet it seemed like nothing had changed at all. She was still like when she was young, she could always easily maintain the superficial peace and break it just as effortlessly, holding all beginnings, developments, and endings in her hands.
Xia Yi placed the study guide in her hand on the counter near him. Dressed in black, she resembled a quiet, aloof black cat. She said, "Things are settled now, I'm leaving first, Class Monitor."
The outcome of tracking Xia Yi and Wen Zhong was that Nie Qingzhou and his companions didn't play basketball, but they returned with a bunch of study guides.
Initially, Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning were indignant, but after seeing Xia Yi abandon Wen Zhong and help them choose study guides, they felt like they had achieved a major victory, and won back a city!
Although Xia Yi appeared icy, she took the task of picking study guides very seriously. Page by page, she flipped through them, asking about their habits and progress. But Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning didn't have any study habits, so they had to make up stories, relying on Nie Qingzhou to fill in the details. This left them feeling rather embarrassed.
The students of the experimental class, especially Class One, were quite extraordinary—yet remarkably polite. Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning were both convinced that this girl was genuinely remarkable and deserving of Nie Qingzhou's pursuit!
They each carried several study guides and waited for the bus at the station. Zhang Yukun winked at Lai Ning, who promptly grabbed the study guide from Nie Qingzhou's hand and said, "Zhou-Ge, I just remembered that Yukun and I have something to do, so we won't be going back with you!"
"I'll bring the books next week!" Zhang Yukun added with a meaningful smile.
Before Nie Qingzhou could say anything, the two of them darted into the crowd and disappeared.
...They are really working hard to do the job of the matchmaker.
Nie Qingzhou turned his head and saw Xia Yi sitting on the bench at the station. Her hands were braced on the seat, leaning her body at an angle as she looked in the direction where Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning had disappeared.
"Will they really read those study guides?" She asked.
Nie Qingzhou was taken aback, and Xia Yi raised her gaze to meet him. He stayed silent for a moment, then smiled gently, "I don't know. But they spent a lot of money on these study guides this time. When they get home, they'll definitely ask their parents for reimbursement, and their parents will probably be willing to reimburse them. That will create expectations, and once those expectations are slightly met, even greater expectations will arise."
"Expectations can be a good thing in the initial stage. But fulfilling others' expectations becomes addictive if done too often." Nie Qingzhou stood a couple of arm's lengths away from Xia Yi, his left foot slightly raised, resting on the bar beneath the bench. His right hand was in his pocket, and he raised his left hand to rub the center of his eyebrows with the knuckle of his index finger.
The sun was setting low, casting dim light. His dark gray hair, ash-gray sweatshirt, and the black wristband on his wrist merged into a chaotic black hue, obscuring his expression.
Xia Yi gazed at him, almost merged into the darkness, and thought that he often touched his forehead with the knuckle of his left index finger, much like someone who habitually pushes their glasses up.
In this quiet moment, suddenly, the streetlights illuminated. The advertising boards behind him radiated a bright white, and the passing car lights flickered with red, yellow, and white lights. Lights lit up in shops of all sizes on the opposite side, bringing the entire world out of the darkness. It was as if a spark had fallen from the sky and ignited all the lights with a "pop."
The melody that had been faintly ringing in her mind grew louder, wrapping the gentle world illuminated by these lights in a clear and lingering embrace.
He, too, emerged from the darkness. All the lights illuminated his face clearly, and his good complexion, defined jawline, and attractive hazel eyes became distinct. At this moment, those eyes widened in astonishment, taking in his surroundings. Then, he lowered his head to look at her, revealing a dimple as he smiled.
"After making a rare trip to the city, how about we eat dinner here before heading back? My treat," Nie Qingzhou proposed.
Xia Yi looked up at him. "Why are you treating me?"
Nie Qingzhou snapped his fingers, bent down, and in the midst of the music that reverberated in her mind, he said, "Of course, to please my creditor."
Xia Yi didn't answer right away so Nie Qingzhou pressed on, "Is that okay, Xia Jie?" (Jie - Sister)
He had grown accustomed to asking her multiple times; she never answered promptly, but if he persisted, she usually agreed.
As expected, Xia Yi stood up and said, "Let's go."
After notifying Grandma Xia that they wouldn't be returning for dinner, Xia Yi and Nie Qingzhou strolled along the bustling streets of Yuping City. People chatted in pairs, passing them with laughter. The whole world was so lively that it inexplicably brought a sense of joy.
In their student days, moments like these bring the most happiness, as if amidst a packed schedule, they had gained some exciting and aspirational freedom.
Nie Qingzhou turned to Xia Yi. "Would you like to try street food? Any dietary restrictions?"
"I'm good with street food, no restrictions," Xia Yi replied briefly.
Nie Qingzhou pointed to a street ahead and said, "According to Zhang Yukun, there's a great street for snacks in the city. If we take a right turn from here, we should get there. Let's eat from one end to the other, how about it?"
At the end of the road, after taking a turn, a lively snack street adorned with colorful lights appeared before them. During meal times on weekends, this street was packed with people. Nie Qingzhou was afraid of losing sight of Xia Yi in the crowd, so after walking two steps he kept turning back to check on her, but she was pushed away in no time.
Becoming a bit anxious, Nie Qingzhou grabbed her arm.
Xia Yi looked up at him, and he immediately let go.
"You tug on my clothes! I'm afraid I won't be able to find you in a while, I didn't bring my phone," Nie Qingzhou raised his voice.
Xia Yi didn't move.
Just as Nie Qingzhou turned his head to examine a stall, he suddenly felt his throat tighten, nearly taking his breath away. When he looked back, he saw Xia Yi clutching his cap, and in doing so, tightly gripping his collar as well. Seeing him turn around, she also looked straight into his eyes.
"...Well, okay, just don't let go." He sighed in resignation, reaching to loosen his collar.
Thus, amidst the bustling crowd of Yuping's night market, these two young people walked down the street one after the other.
The slightly shorter girl behind was clad entirely in black attire, contrasting vividly against the colorful neon lights. In one hand, she held a box full of various snacks while using the other to tug at the cap of the person in front of her. The tall boy in front held another box of snacks and used his free hand to loosen the collar around his neck, ensuring he wouldn't be strangled.
Passersby occasionally glanced at this strange combination, yet the two of them behaved completely naturally.
At every snack stall they arrived at, they would let go of their hands and begin to handle the food in their hands while they waited after ordering. Once they were done eating, the new snacks were ready again. They would return to their original state, taking the snacks to the next place.
Their coordination was seamless and efficient.
They literally went from one end of the street to the other. Standing at the end of the night market, holding the last two skewers of fried rice cakes, Nie Qingzhou turned his head only to find that Xia Yi had let go of her hand and was standing beside a stall, gazing at Yuping Railway Station across the way.
The Yuping Railway Station had aged a bit, but it was still the largest and most imposing building in the vicinity. Its somewhat Western architecture featured tall gray pillars and floor-to-ceiling glass windows that emitted a soft light.
The waiting hall was brightly lit, illuminating Xia Yi's face, turning it a snowy white. Her jet-black eyes seemed like opaque stones, mirroring the brilliantly lit station. She appeared to be looking at the hall, yet also peering through it at something beyond through the hall.
After a while, she turned to Nie Qingzhou, extending her hand to him in her usual manner. "My rice cakes."
Passing her the skewer, Nie Qingzhou gazed at the train station. He suddenly remembered, much later, when Xia Yi was answering rapid-fire questions in an interview. The host had asked her about her favorite and least favorite places in a city.
She said her favorite was the night market, and her least favorite was the railway station.
His cousin mentioned that Xia Yi disliked train stations; she never took high-speed trains.
He was trying hard to recall if Xia Yi had explained this at some point, but suddenly felt his throat strangled by fate. An intense force grabbed his cap and tightened around his neck. He staggered back repeatedly, and then an electric scooter of the high speed of a motorcycle sped past in front of him.
As the grip on his cap relaxed, Nie Qingzhou couldn't help but cough. Straightening up, he was about to thank Xia Yi for saving him when he noticed a soy sauce stain on her clothes.
He froze for a moment, looked at his hands; did something just fly out?
Where's his rice cake?
Lowering his gaze, he saw his rice cake lying at Xia Yi's feet, and her shoes had traces of the rice cake's struggle, wrapped in thick soy sauce.
Lifting his eyes, he met Xia Yi's cold gaze. In that instant, he realized he wasn't here to please his creditor; he was here to accumulate more debt.
Satisfied and full, they strolled around to aid digestion. Nie Qingzhou occasionally glanced at Xia Yi, thinking about the chance to make amends.
She seemed to be feeling a bit cold, so she pulled the zipper of the jacket all the way up and raised the collar. She was bowing her head, burying half of her face in the collar, revealing only the tip of her nose and a pair of dark eyes. The array of lights just came and went on her, she appeared as if she had turned into a colorful void amidst the darkness.
Even amidst the bustling surroundings, he felt as if he could hear a faint hum coming from her.
Turning his head, he noticed a piano store ahead. An idea struck him, and he said to Xia Yi, "Creditor, can I make amends now?"
Xia Yi looked at him, and he pointed towards the piano store. "Come with me!"
Nie Qingzhou straightened his clothes, pushed open the glass door of the piano store, and the wind chime on the door tinkled. The lady behind the counter greeted, asking him, "What are you looking for?"
Nie Qingzhou looked around the piano store. This piano store covered a large area and indeed had a variety of pianos. He politely smiled at the lady and said, "Hello, my sister wants to buy a piano. My mom asked me to bring her here to see if she can find one she likes."
The lady looked at the short-haired girl with only her eyes showing beside him. She asked, "Oh, is she just starting to learn or does she already have a foundation?"
"She learned it when she was young, and now she wants to pick it up again," Nie Qingzhou motioned for Xia Yi to try out the pianos while replying to the lady's question. He then turned back to the lady and said, "She was very young when she learned, so she doesn't have a strong sense of piano brands, and neither do I. Could you let her play a bit and try it?"
The young man before her appeared young, but his orderly and courteous manner of speaking made him seem like a well-mannered adult. The lady laughed and said, "Sure, oh my, the young lady has a good eye. That's a Steinway piano she's sitting at."
Nie Qingzhou turned his head and saw Xia Yi seated at the center of the store, next to a glossy black grand piano. Her hands were idly playing a few keys.
She fell silent for a moment, and just as the lady was about to continue recommending pianos to her, Xia Yi's fingers landed on the keys again. From that moment on, the lady forgot what she wanted to say next.
She had always known that her store's piano had an excellent sound, but for the first time, she realized that her piano could actually sing.
The girl clad in loose sportswear seemed to possess a magical touch, as her nimble fingers danced across the piano keys with skillful grace. With gentle and deliberate steps on the pedals, the piano sprang to life under her command, resonating a vibrant range of emotions that ebbed and flowed in her hands, whispering and singing softly.
As if carried by the melody, the piano seemed to float, riding invisible waves through the air until it drifted into the vibrant lights of Yuping, spinning in the eyes of onlookers.
The young man, who initially appeared courteous and reliable, found his smile growing gentler as the performance continued.
Finally snapping back to reality, the store owner lowered her voice and asked Nie Qingzhou, "The little girl is amazing. What piece is she playing? It's so beautiful."
Nie Qingzhou replied in a hushed tone, "It's not named yet. It seemed to be an impromptu performance."
For the first time, he truly heard her elusive singing, not through her voice, but through her piano.
He remembered years later, when his cousin first mentioned Xia Yi for the first time. Holding Xia Yi's album, she read aloud the music critic's review to him. It was Xia Yi's debut album, a blend of romance and vivid imagination. The review underscored the composer's solid foundation in classical music, revealing warmth amidst the detachment, much like the glow of autumn's lanterns.
In that album, he also heard the song Xia Yi had just played today, with subtle differences. He realized that he was probably the first person in the world to hear the demo of this song.
On the bus ride back home, Nie Qingzhou remained quite excited. They sat side by side, Xia Yi leaned against the window while his hand rested on the backrest of the vacant seat in front of him. With a smile, he said, "The store owner was completely dumbfounded just now. She told me that if you were a bit older, she'd want you to become a piano teacher. I told her that my sister's talent is too exceptional. With someone of your caliber, teaching ordinary students might not be feasible."
Xia Yi gazed at him, still burying half of her face in her collar, occasionally blinking her eyes. Nie Qingzhou described that when he listened to her playing the piano just now, it felt like sailing over an endless grassland where stars occasionally fell from the sky, landing on the meadow, illuminating it briefly before fading away.
"Have you ever seen the light rail at night? When the subway passes, it seems to be gliding through the night sky, each small window pane holding two or three people. I used to wonder how amazed people from ancient times would be if they saw this scene—so incredible and beautiful. When they saw the light rail at night, that feeling might be similar to what I experienced when I heard you play this song."
Xia Yi looked into his twinkling eyes. She felt like she knew why he scored full marks for his composition.
She said, "Don't you realize that you're a genius yourself?"
Nie Qingzhou paused, his hands that were gesturing in the air stopped.
"You can describe all these sensations so concretely, and in such a beautiful way. You're also a genius." Xia Yi stated it as if she were conveying an unquestionable and universally known truth.
After pondering for a moment, Nie Qingzhou chuckled, "Really? It's the first time someone has said that about me."
Leaning back against the seat, he spoke leisurely, "I once went to a place full of geniuses, and then I realized I'm not that extraordinary after all. I'm just an ordinary person."
"But I might be the more fortunate one among ordinary people."
Expressing it in this manner, Nie Qingzhou eventually burst into laughter.
The novel is receiving a poor response. It might be best to consider discontinuing it, as the analytics indicate low viewership, absence of comments, and limited engagement on NovelUpdates. Currently, we're planning to translate up to the 20th chapter. However, if the situation doesn't improve, we'll have no choice but to discontinue this novel.
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