Nie Qingzhou discovered that apart from having golden hair, five ear piercings, hiding the accommodation fee, and wearing stinky shoes that hadn't been washed for half a year, the previous owner of this body had prepared an endless array of surprises for him. There was nothing this person couldn't do, he could do the unimaginable.

In the evening, as he tried to review his high school courses and tackle the towering stack of homework, he found it impossible to concentrate. He felt out of sorts, unsure of what was bothering him. It was as if a swarm of ants was running amok inside his body, expanding by conquering new territories.

Initially, he thought his brain had deteriorated because he hadn't studied for too long. Worried about meeting his goal of ranking in the top fifty of his grade, he searched through the memories of "Nie Qingzhou" and was shocked to find that this high schooler had been a smoker!

His discomfort was solely due to nicotine cravings.

This realization hit him like a ton of bricks, and he angrily pushed his pen aside, standing up from his desk. He wanted to unleash a barrage of insults on this foul little brat, but he didn't even know where the guy was hiding. Besides, with the walls being paper-thin, if he yelled his lungs out, it would be like performing an opera for the neighbors.

Frustration boiling inside him, Nie Qingzhou put on his coat and rushed out to the streets for a run.

Those who knew Zhou Bin, before he became Nie Qingzhou, praised his good temperament. He disliked conflicts and even when angry, tried to remain rational and polite so as to avoid hurting others.

However, even the most even-tempered person has moments when they can't control their emotions. When that happened to him, he would go for a run, running laps and laps until he found inner peace. On one occasion, he ran ten kilometers at once, completely exhausted and took a day off work the next day.

The early autumn night in Changchuan was quiet and cool. Unlike bustling big cities with intertwining lights and crowds, this town had small shops and narrow streets, lined with lush roadside trees. The scattered lights formed a halo of colors in Nie Qingzhou's fast-paced gaze, like a galaxy gathering around him.

Living in a high spot, he was practically overlooking the street as he ran downhill. The humid sea breeze brushed against him, and he felt as though he could take flight with the wind, soaring into the vast sky above the sea.

However, the relentless craving for cigarettes was like a shot ball tied to his feet making them lead legs, constantly dragging him back to the ground.

This reckless "Nie Qingzhou" was doing nothing but simply making a fool out of himself. Apart from everything else, why on earth would a young boy like him try to be cool by smoking? Didn't he know how harmful it was to his health?

He's never touched a cigarette in his life, and now he was about to quit smoking?

Nie Qingzhou pondered for a moment. He had never dyed his hair, pierced his ears, stolen money, and never had been slapped. The previous host had left him with plenty of messes to deal with, and there were already enough debts to worry about; he didn't want any additional burden.

He couldn't help but let out a long sigh, turning his gaze to the nearby convenience store. The brightly packaged cigarettes on the counter sparkled like diamonds, and the curls of white smoke wafting from the other customers' hands filled the air with an alluring scent.

Alluring, my foot!

Nie Qingzhou covered his eyes and pinched his nose. He chose a less crowded route and turned back towards home, determined to rely on willpower to overcome his addiction to cigarettes.

As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours. He chose a less crowded path to run back home, with dimly lit alleys on both sides and scarce streetlights. After running for a while, unexpectedly, a group of people emerged from the front. These youngsters were dressed in flashy and colorful clothes, sporting fancy flamboyant hairstyles, with dragon and phoenix tattoos on their shoulders and arms. At a glance, it was evident they were not upright individuals.

The one leading them had his head wrapped in bandages, was thin and short, with protruding cheekbones, and his walk showed a noticeable splay. He held a pool cue that seemed to have come from nowhere. When he spotted Nie Qingzhou, his eyes widened, and he instinctively took a step back.

"Nie Qingzhou?"

Nie Qingzhou was taken aback, and immediately launched an urgent search in his mind. A jumble of chaotic memories rushed through his brain like spilled beans. But in the blink of an eye, his face underwent a stormy transformation, becoming so dark it was almost unbearable to look at.

In short, the bandaged injury on this guy's head was the handiwork of "Nie Qingzhou" last week. Normally, "Nie Qingzhou" used to hang out with a guy named Zhang Qian, and this guy in front of him was a member of Zhang Qian's rival gang. The two of them had engaged in numerous fights.

The good news was that this guy, facing "Nie Qingzhou" one-on-one, would end up getting beaten up; the bad news was that he had brought along a bunch of people, and the current Nie Qingzhou had absolutely no fighting skills.

The bandaged man in front seemed to realize this too. After taking a subconscious step back, he immediately glinted with excitement, he raised his pool cue and pointed at Nie Qingzhou, "You're caught today, kid! Brothers, hit him!"

Without wasting a word, Nie Qingzhou turned and sprinted, gritting his teeth as he ran.

One generation plants the trees, and the next generation enjoys the shade; one generation digs the pits, and the next generation falls into them. The problem was that he had no idea how many pits his predecessor had prepared for him. He climbed out only to fall back in, over and over again, in an endless cycle.

In this sparsely populated alley, the deafening sound of pursuing footsteps echoed behind him, and he could easily imagine the beating he would endure once they caught him. Nie Qingzhou searched through the memories of the former host "King of the Pits" to figure out how to deal with this situation.

Smear some powder on your hands... ensure the crowbar handle doesn't slip easily... take off your shirt in a fight to avoid getting blindfolded... What kind of stuff is this? So he knows how to fight and doesn't know how to hide, right?"

Nie Qingzhou was frustrated that iron couldn't be made into steel, as he couldn't make any use of these skills at the critical moment!

Luckily, his body's basic fitness was still intact. He ran at full speed and, after turning a corner, he took advantage of the fact that they did not catch up, ducked into the piled up goods beside the road into a narrow alley.

As he pressed against the wall and finally squeezed to the back of the cargo, he was caught off guard by a pair of dark eyes staring at him.

Xia Yi stood in the alley, wearing the same gray hoodie she had on in the morning, with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows. She looked at him coldly.

Nie Qingzhou stood frozen in place, stuttering, "You... what are you doing here?"

Before Xia Yi could answer, the footsteps from outside the alley grew louder, and someone said, "Where's Xia Yi? Where did she run off to? You can't even catch a little girl in a chase?"

Nie Qingzhou looked at Xia Yi, and Xia Yi looked back at him. After a moment, Nie Qingzhou smiled wryly, "What a coincidence... too."

Xia Yi averted her gaze, turning to lean against the wall and hide in the shadows of the stacked goods. Nie Qingzhou did the same, keeping his back against the stack as he lowered his voice to ask her, "What trouble are you in? Why are those people chasing you?"

"You're quite capable, huh? After the incident last time, Yu Laosan warned his men to stay away from Xia Yi and her brother. And yet, you still dared to provoke her brother?"

Xia Yi didn't answer, but the people outside chatted first. Right across from the alley entrance was a street lamp, casting the shadows of the passersby on the opposite wall, like shadows in a puppet show. Nie Qingzhou turned to look, and under the dim yellow light, five or six figures moved erratically, with one figure kindly extending a hand, apparently offering and lighting another person's cigarette.

"Her brother's forehead doesn't have 'Xia Yi's Brother' written on it ah. Just some little cripple passing by, and we were just teasing him for fun! But Xia Yi came up and started fighting with me in front of so many people. How shameful it looked, ah! I had to get even! I know Yu Laosan doesn't have guts and is afraid of this little girl, so I came to find you, man."

"You know you've lost face, ganging up on a high school girl like that. Let me tell you, there won't be a next time."

Nie Qingzhou turned to look at Xia Yi, and their eyes met in the cramped space. Their arms brushed against each other, and he sensed her body tensing up, like a defensive beast on guard.

He wondered if she was contemplating the things he had just seen in "Nie Qingzhou's" memories. What on earth is this? Such young kids, why are they playing those hot-blooded high school games?

"Oh, Zhao Lao Zuo!" In the blink of an eye, the group chasing Nie Qingzhou also arrived. The man with bandages exaggeratedly called out, his tone carrying a hint of sarcasm.

The guy who had just lit a cigarette burst into laughter. "Ah, Qian Fengyang, your head is so fragile! The injury hasn't healed yet?"

The bandaged man spat and said harshly, "Where's Nie Qingzhou? Hand him over to me!"

"Where should I find Xiao Zhou for you? Besides, you, a grown man who has been in this business for years, were beaten by a high school student who just joined the scene. If I were you, I'd be too embarrassed to show my face. Look at you guys doing things, Yu Laosan is getting worse and worse these years."

"Zhao Lao Zuo, do you dare to mention Yu-Ge to me? You, Zhang Qian's business is the one struggling, right? Can you afford to pay your debts? I don't want to waste time with you today. Hand over Nie Qingzhou, and I'll settle the score for this injury on my head!"

"Is that grudge of yours against Xiao Zhou? Xiao Zhou works for Qian-Ge, so your grudge is directed at Qian-Ge. If you have the guts, then fight with us. We can afford to pay for your medical expenses."

"I'm not afraid of you!"

Nie Qingzhou watched as the shadows on the wall converged into a chaotic mess, creating a lively scene.

This unexpected turn of events left Nie Qingzhou stunned in place. Slowly, he turned to look at Xia Yi and gestured towards the outside. "I think we should wait for them to finish fighting before we go out."

Xia Yi silently took out her phone from her pocket—it was an old-fashioned flip phone. After pressing a few buttons, she put it to her ear and whispered, "Police station? There's a fight with weapons in the alley at the junction of Chaoyun Road and Gupi Lane."

Nie Qingzhou looked at the calm Xia Yi with a little surprise.

"Yes, about ten people."

From his perspective, Nie Qingzhou keenly noticed something crawling towards Xia Yi's shoulder on the earthen wall. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a centipede.

Nie Qingzhou was not afraid of anything, except that he was bitten by a centipede as a child, which made him dread any bug with many legs and wish to walk across the street when he saw them.

In that instant, everything seemed to go silent, and he could almost hear the deafening sound of the bug crawling. He raised his finger and pointed to the wall, trembling as he said, "Ce-ce... centipede..."

He didn't realize how loud his voice was. In the next second, Xia Yi came close to him, her feet intertwining with his, and she covered his mouth with her arm, pressing him firmly against the stack of goods.

For a moment, he almost punched back instinctively because of his body's stress reaction, but his rationality held him back tightly, his fist turning white from clenching.

Nie Qingzhou made muffled sounds, his gaze locking with the girl's eyes in front of him. The light from the phone illuminated Xia Yi's face, giving her dark pupils a faint touch of blue, like black opals. The sounds of the fight, cursing, and wailing outside faded into the distance, and the cicadas' chirping overhead was prolonged. Her eyes fixed on him with an unwavering strength, as if they had the power to anchor him in place.

In that moment, it seemed like nothing could move, except for her lips that kept opening and closing.

"...No knives, but they have something similar to sticks."

"...Hmm. Well, I don't know either."

"All right, thank you."

After answering the police's questions, Xia Yi closed her phone cover. She let go of the hand covering Nie Qingzhou's mouth and took a step back, turning her head to look at the centipede crawling leisurely on the wall with no expression on her face.

Nie Qingzhou explained in a low voice, "I didn't mean to, I just..."

Xia Yi lifted the corner of his coat and swiftly pressed it against the wall, putting an end to the untimely life of the centipede.


Nie Qingzhou stared at the dead centipede on the hem of his coat, unsure whether he should thank her.

Silent as ever, Xia Yi leaned against the wall again. Her eyes, which had been thrilling to him before, were now lowered, concealed by her eyelashes.

Nie Qingzhou thought that ten years later, she might not be much of a talker. His cousin said her interviews were always brief, answering exactly what was asked without elaboration or explanation.

He really wanted to tell his cousin that one should learn to be content. Your big star had already much improved as a celebrity. If she could see the sixteen-year-old Xia Yi, she'd truly get to know the real talent of the sayings "cherishing words like money" and "golden mouth."

But if his cousin-sister knew that Xia Yi had punched his chin and covered his mouth with her hand, she would definitely scream to the point of lifting the roof, filled with envy, jealousy, and hatred that she would be unable to sleep all night.

Nie Qingzhou couldn't help but laugh. He reached into his pocket and unexpectedly found a few lollipops he had bought this morning. Taking one out, he used the light to identify it as the strawberry-flavored one, pressed it into his mouth to suppress the urge to smoke, and offered the cola-flavored one to Xia Yi.

"Thank you for helping me just now." Nie Qingzhou shook the lollipop in his hand. "It's cola-flavored."

It was his last cola-flavored lollipop.

Xia Yi looked up at him and then glanced down at the lollipop in his hand, as if trying to discern the difference between this ordinary person with two eyes and a nose, and this plastic-wrapped lollipop.

To his surprise, when Nie Qingzhou's arm felt a bit sore from holding the lollipop, Xia Yi accepted it.

"Thank you," she said calmly and politely.


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