Striving for Science Chapters List

Chapter 6: It's Good to Believe in Science




"I say you cry if you want to cry, why are you crying with so many variations?" Annoyed by the green-haired kid, Shen Changan sat up and glared at him." Come on, tell me, what kind of miao (seedling) did I take from you?"

The green-haired kid trembled pitifully, with tears in his eyes, "It's not Miao, it's Miao Miao. He promised me a long time ago that he would be my best friend for the rest of his life and would not leave me alone."

Shen Changan felt that this dream was somewhat strange because it was too realistic. He turned his head to look out the window. It was clearly a late summer night, yet outside, a dense veil of thick night fog churned as if intentionally wrapping around his windows.

When he was very young, he once dreamt of evil spirits chasing him, leaving him frightened and unable to sleep without keeping the lights on. Then his father told him that dreams were his own territory that belonged to him only, and brave people would dominate their dreams, subjugating everything they feared to themselves.

"Daddy is a policeman, full of righteousness. No evil spirit would dare to come near our baby."

"Daddy, are there ghosts in the world?"

"Daddy doesn't think so. What do you believe?"

"I believe in Daddy's words."

"Then, when you go to bed tonight, do you still need to leave a light on?"

"I'm a brave man; I don't need them."

Ever since then, whenever scary things appeared in his dreams, he learned to face them bravely. As he grew older, he even started to catch and beat them up. In the past two years, he seldom had dreams, let alone nightmares having ghosts and monsters. Upon contemplation, he couldn't help but feel a tinge of regret.

Recalling that childhood memory, Shen Changan walked up to the green-haired kid. As he had expected, the child was trembling like chaff, not even daring to lift his head.

Just as he thought, these dream creatures were nothing but paper tigers.

"Alright, tell me what's going on?" Shen Changan tugged at the green strands of hair on the child's forehead. "Remember, kids should never lie; otherwise, their nose grows longer!"

"Liar! Miao Miao told me it's from Pinocchio's story; it's not real." The child murmured softly, "Miao Miao used to treat me so well when he was young. He told me stories, shared candies, and said I was his best, best friend."

"But later, he suddenly started ignoring me. He only focused on studying and doing homework every day. He even wanted to take the college entrance exam, and go to a place far, far away from me." The child's expression became gloomy." He once said I was his best friend, and that he would always be there for me. Why did he break his promise?!"

"So, Miao Miao is a person?" Shen Changan understood. He sat cross-legged in front of the child, who looked cute despite the unconventional hair color that was a bit out of the mainstream. "What you mean is that there's a kid named Miao Miao, who initially promised to be your friend, but later ignored you, focusing on studying and preparing for college entrance examination, and left, moving far away from you?"

The kid ducked back again, as if he wanted to shrink himself into the wall. "Originally, I kept his soul with me, but you released it today. When he recovers, he will become the same as before, no longer paying attention to me, no longer talking to me."

Hearing this, a whimsical idea popped into Shen Changan's mind. Could this child's "Miao Miao" be Sun Jia's nickname?

He lamented about Sun Jia's illness during the day. Could it be that his thoughts during the day manifested as this interesting and logical dream at night? It had been a while since he last dreamt, so Shen Changan felt intrigued, and continued this dream with great interest.

"Growing up is a price every human must pay. When he was little, he treated you as a friend because, at that time, he just needed to be a happy child." Shen Changan lazily observed the green-haired kid, "But as he grew older, he needed to study and mature, learn more knowledge, and become someone needed by this society."

"But he promised..."

"Young children don't even have a proper sense of right and wrong, so how can we take their words seriously?" Shen Changan cleared his throat, reminiscing about his own childhood when he even said he wanted to be the king of the Earth. Reality proved that the words of a young child could not be trusted.

"It's the humans who are untrustworthy!"

"Human lives are short, yet to survive and fulfill responsibilities, we must learn many things and work hard to make our lives and our family's lives better. You shouldn't take the words of a few-years-old child seriously," Shen Changan thought for a while, "Even the law stipulates that young children have no legal responsibility."

"Would it be bad to stay and play with me all the time?" The green-haired child asked, his eyes turning red. "When he's with me, he doesn't have to study or feel pressured or worry about his family. Isn't that good?"

"The reason we're called humans is because we have the instinct to learn and have a sense of responsibility. We cherish and love our families," Shen Changan paused, adopting a tone as if he were talking to a little toddler in an educational kindergarten. "You, let it go."

"But... we're friends too..." The green-haired child murmured.

"Moreover, I think he suddenly stopped interacting with you, not because he doesn't want to be friends with you, but because he can't see you anymore." Emboldened and bearing in mind that he was dreaming, Shen Changan continued to weave his story without any pressure. "We humans have a saying that children's eyes are the most spiritual, able to see things that adults can't. But once they reach a certain age, that spirituality disappears."

"So, you kids like you who tend to be impulsive, blame others when things go wrong. You feel that it's the other person who is sorry for you, and if you don't change this habit, you'll never make any friends throughout your life." Shen Changan pointed outside the window. "Now, go and cry your heart out if you want, but don't disturb my sleep, or else I'll beat you up so much that you can't cry anymore."

"You… Do you even hit children?" The green-haired child looked at him in horror.

"Heh, I won't hesitate. I'm the one who beats people without blinking an eye." Shen Changan raised his chin, trying to intimidate. "Want to try?"

As soon as he finished speaking, he saw the child's hair spike up, extending outside the window, and then with a bang, the child disappeared, the fog dispersed, and the window closed shut.

Ha, these weird things in dreams are just scum that can't refrain from scaring someone, a bunch of scary rubbish that's hard to avoid.

The next morning after breakfast, as Shen Changan was heading downstairs, he bumped into the cool old man who lived downstairs. The old man glanced at him. "Up already?"

"Good morning, Grandpa!" Shen Changan stopped and greeted him warmly.

"It's not early anymore; I've already finished my morning exercises." Grandpa looked at him with half squinted eyes. "How did you sleep last night?"

"Thank you for your concern, I slept quite well," Shen Changan nodded, noticing the Tai Chi sword and loose practice clothes behind the old man.

The old man didn't pay him any more attention and opened the door again, entered and closed the door in front of him, shutting Shen Changan outside.

Growing up, Shen Changan had always been favored by the elderly, so he touched his face, suspecting that his charm had decreased, or else why would this grandpa always look at him with a critical expression?

When he reached the office building's entrance and saw the large tree swaying its leaves in the morning breeze, Shen Changan recalled last night's dream. He was about to go over and touch the tree trunk when he heard footsteps behind him.

"Hello." The person approaching was slightly chubby, and had a sincere smile on his face. Shen Changan felt that he knew this person from somewhere. "You are Mr. Dao Nian's... friend?"

He remembered when he had accompanied the disabled person named Dao Nian back to the community, two people came out to pick him up, and this person was one of them. At that time, this person even said he would have good luck.

"I wouldn't dare, we're just Mr. Dao Nian's helpers," the man's attitude became more modest. "My surname is Liu, Liu Mao. You can just call me Xiao Liu."

Shen Changan silently thought, you're a grown man in your thirties, and you want me to call you Xiao Liu? I can't even shout it out ah. He shook hands with the man, "Mr. Liu, is there something our department can help you with?"

Is it about family emotional mediation, a neighborhood dispute, or someplace haunted again?

"Well, thank you very much for bringing our Sir home last time. You left in a hurry, and we couldn't even thank you properly. Please forgive us for that," Liu Mao hurriedly explained. "Yesterday, when we were helping Sir sort his shopping bags, we found a pamphlet from your department. We felt that the words on the pamphlet made a lot of sense, they were especially good!"

"You mean the one saying, having boys and girls is the same?"

"No, it's about believing in science," Liu Mao said sincerely, "Instead of praying to gods and deities, it's better to have faith in ourselves and in science. If we can handle things on our own, don't bother the gods and demons, right?"

Shen Changan: "..."

No, the pamphlet's intention was clearly to oppose feudal superstition and promote belief in science.

"We think this kind of ideological awareness is excellent, truly remarkable, so we've decided to sponsor your department's promotional activities." Liu Mao asked enthusiastically, "I wonder if it's convenient?"

Hearing this, Shen Changan immediately showed a genuine smile. "I didn't expect Mr. Liu to have such a high level of enlightenment. It's truly admirable. Please follow me. For specific matters, you can discuss with our director."

"Society progresses with everyone's efforts," Liu Mao replied with a warm and radiant smile.

Shen Changan wondered what Liu Mao talked to Du Zhonghai. In the following days, Du Zhonghai submitted numerous reports to the higher-ups, and Shen Changan and his team wrote several proposals for social spiritual development. Within just two weeks, all the furniture and office supplies in their office were replaced with new ones. Even the promotional leaflets became more upscale, attracting elderly people at the square. Sometimes when they go to the square to promote, some grandparents come over and ask for leaflets, eagerly taking them to use as fans or give them to grandchildren to make paper airplanes.

On weekends, they even rented a conference room to hold a lecture on social ideological awareness, where attendees who listened could receive two eggs and a small bag of laundry detergent.

This was the first time Shen Changan felt how popular their department had become.

"Little Shen, we'll come again for the next event." An elderly lady held onto Shen Changan's sleeve and said to him, "But next time, can you change the brand of the detergent? This one isn't very good."

But can we change the brand of the laundry detergent in the give away next time? This one doesn't work very well."

Shen Changan nodded.

"Xiao Shen ah, the way you spoke, you looked so spirited on stage today. Do you have a girlfriend?"

Shen Changan shook his head, then nodded.

Finally, after seeing off the elderly crowd, Shen Changan and his colleagues packed up their materials. When they returned to the department downstairs, it was already evening. The beautiful, fiery sunset dyed the backyard and trees with a soft golden hue.

Under the largest tree, stood a young man dressed in a clean t-shirt and jeans, looking youthful and sunny.

Hearing their laughter, the young man turned around, his eyes clear and bright. "Hello."

Surprisingly, it was Sun Jia.

"Isn't that Sun Jia?" Chen Panpan whispered, "He looks... quite normal?"

Xu Ze and Ding Yang were also puzzled. They had seen Sun Jia several times before, but always in a confused and incoherent state. Sometimes, they would take him back to the Sun family, and other times, his family would come to take him back. But they had never seen him as sober as today.


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