The girl in front of him was also wearing the blue and white uniform of Changchuan First Middle School, a loose-fitting uniform that was clean to the point of being glaringly white.

Her hair was cut short to the earlobe. Under the mottled sunlight of the bamboo leaves, her fair complexion and heroic features made her look more like a teenage boy in the true sense than the three of them.

– If you ignore the scars on her arms.

Her sleeves were rolled up to her elbows, and her hands were in her pockets. The section of her small arm that was exposed had a scar of about fifteen centimeters. The color was not very dark, it was like an old wound—this was a girl who could knock someone unconscious with a single punch.

According to Zhang Yukun, Xia Yi was always taciturn, solitary, but renowned for her fighting skills. She once single-handedly took on five burly men, not only defeating them but also sending two of them to the hospital. The scar on her arm was a result of that incident. Since then, few dared to provoke her.

-- But when it came to Zhou Ge, even Xia Yi had to back down.

Lai Ning flattered him like this.

At this moment, Xia Yi's black, almond-shaped eyes were fixed directly on Nie Qingzhou. She had fair skin, and her black irises were slightly larger and darker than others, resembling bottomless swamps.

Various thoughts swirled chaotically in Nie Qingzhou's mind.

Is this Xia Yi? A real living Xia Yi? Is he actually standing face to face with her?

He thought of Xia Yi ten years later, wearing a coffee-colored shirt in front of the camera, her black wavy hair cascading over her shoulders. Or in the middle of the stage at a concert, holding a white microphone on a high-rise platform, her eyelashes adorned with flowers, her singing voice was so clear as if piercing like an eagle soaring through fog.

Her composition style spanned various genres, including pop, rock and folk, making her one of the best-selling music creators in the world after ten years.

The person he remembered and the Xia Yi in front of him had almost no resemblance apart from their faces.

He must have entered a parallel dimension, right? Here, the delinquent Nie Qingzhou would not become a renowned author, and the tomboyish Xia Yi would not become a talented singer-songwriter. They also wouldn't participate in some lousy variety show after ten years, sharing stories of their friendship.

What friendship? Was there any friendship between them beyond Xia Yi knocking him out with a punch and him coming back for revenge?

Nie Qingzhou just wanted to turn around and leave, but as he turned, he caught a glimpse of Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning, who were standing like two door gods, glaring menacingly at Xia Yi.

His steps halted, and amidst the chaotic thoughts, his rationality began to slowly turn.

He couldn't just walk away like this.

Regardless of this bizarre dimension and the chaotic circumstances, no matter whether he could return to the future, he couldn't abandon Xia Yi, a young girl, at this moment.

Nie Qingzhou turned to Xia Yi and said, "Let's talk privately."

So Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning were reluctantly driven aside by Nie Qingzhou, forced to watch from a distance as Nie Qingzhou and Xia Yi had a face-to-face conversation.

Nie Qingzhou glanced at his two "good buddies" in the distance, then turned to face Xia Yi. He took a deep breath and said, "I'm sorry for what happened this morning."

Clearly, Xia Yi didn't expect him to apologize, her black eyes widened slightly, captivating him with their swamp-like gaze.

The blond boy still had bruises from the morning on his face. When he furrowed his brows, he seemed hot-tempered, but when he smiled, he appeared gentle, revealing a contradictory temperament.

He spoke earnestly, "Did I scare you when I grabbed your collar earlier? I really overreacted. Did the teacher punish you afterward?"

Xia Yi slowly shook her head.

Nie Qingzhou breathed a sigh of relief and said, "That's good. I'm glad you didn't get in trouble because of me."

After a pause, his motherly instincts, honed over many years as a class monitor, started to kick in. He whispered, "In the future, when someone asks you to come out, don't be so obedient. It's obvious they have ill intentions. What if they really hurt you? In situations like this, seek help from a teacher or a parent. Don't try to be strong."

The great concern shown by the victim towards the perpetrator was unusual and it made people suspicious.

Xia Yi blinked her eyes, quietly gazing at Nie Qingzhou as if she wanted to see something in his face.

"Is that all you wanted to say?"

It was the first time she spoke today, her tone calm and exactly the same as in the interviews he remembered from ten years later.

Nie Qingzhou nodded.

"Are you done talking?"

"Yeah, I'm done."

Xia Yi didn't say anything more. She simply took two steps back, resembling a vigilant and aloof cat, before turning and leaving. Her figure passed through the shadows of the bamboo forest, disappearing through the back gate of the school.

Zhang Yukun and Lai Ning rushed over with astonished expressions, asking what they had said and how could he let Xia Yi go so easily.

Nie Qingzhou sighed and imitated the original owner of this body, saying in his tone, "Just ask her to apologize. Why bother with a girl? It's so boring."

Zhang Yukun shook his head in disapproval. With his mouth half covered, he said mysteriously, "Xia Yi isn't an ordinary girl. I heard her dad is a murderer, locked up in prison."

Nie Qingzhou was stunned. It was the first time he heard that Xia Yi's father was a murderer.

Was this Xia Yi the same Xia Yi he knew?

He remained silent for a moment, then raised a finger in warning and said, "No matter who she is, this matter is over. You are not allowed to bother her again."

His two little followers looked at each other in blank dismay, and reluctantly agreed in confusion.

When they returned to the classroom, the brief lunch break had already ended. Before Nie Qingzhou had time to sort out the clues about this timeline, he was forced to devote himself to the chemistry and mathematics exams in the afternoon.

Luckily, he and "Nie Qingzhou" were students from the same province, with "Nie Qingzhou" in Changchuan and he in the provincial capital, so their textbooks and exam questions were quite similar. Unfortunately, this province had one of the most peculiar college entrance examination systems in the country, where the college entrance exam scores were based on a total of 480 points for Chinese, math, and English, with other two elective exams being graded. There are still four subjects left in the second year of high school "mini college entrance exam" and all of them were finished, which were also graded.

He had chosen the science stream in his final year of high school, opting for physics and biology in the college entrance exams. In the "mini college entrance exam" of the second year, he took history, politics, chemistry, and geography.

In other words, after completing the simplified version of chemistry in the second year of high school, he never touched chemistry again.

Looking at the chemistry exam paper now, he had forgotten even the periodic table, let alone things like valence and balancing equations. All the hard work he had put into studying those things in the past had easily been returned to the teacher. The black pen twirled in Nie Qingzhou's hand as he bitterly stared at the clean, white paper, struggling to guess and write the answers.

Before the math paper was handed out, he had thought that at least he had studied advanced mathematics in college and should have no problem dealing with these high school-level questions. But when the paper arrived, he found that the terms in the fill-in-the-blank questions were so unfamiliar to him that he had almost forgotten their definitions. Moreover, he couldn't be sure if his knowledge could be applied here.

"In the first semester of the first year, did we learn differentiation? What was the derivation symbol again..."

He murmured to himself, trying to dig up some useful knowledge from the memory of "Nie Qingzhou." But just as "Nie Qingzhou" had a blank memory of chemistry, high school-level mathematics was also empty in his mind.

— What has this kid been doing in class since the start of the session?

The restless soul of the good, studious student inside Nie Qingzhou was fidgeted. He reluctantly filled in the blanks of the two papers and finally, dragging his exhausted body, buzzing brain, and bag full of test papers and exercises, he went home after school, welcoming the National Day holiday.

He really couldn't imagine that as a 26-year-old perennial social animal, he had fallen to the point of having to do high school assignments.

Changchuan was a small coastal county-level city, and the sea breeze brought moist air, bringing here four seasons of subtropical monsoon climate. Nie Qingzhou passed the coast on his way home by bicycle, he turned his head and saw the intense sunlight, seemingly boiling the sand on the beach, with golden light shimmering on the rippling surface of the ocean.

He watched the sea for a while, then parked his bicycle on the side of the road and sat on the warm sand by the coast. He cherished this precious free time, picked up a branch, and began writing and drawing on the sand.

"There are two possibilities at the moment. One is that I have returned to the same world in 2011, and the other is that I have arrived in a similar parallel dimension, which is also in 2011. The key to verifying this issue... lies in whether the original me, Zhou Bin, in this time and space is myself or not." He mumbled as he wrote.

After writing this, he put down the branch in his hand and fumbled through Nie Qingzhou's bag, taking out his mobile phone. Nie Qingzhou's phone was still an old-fashioned operator's contract phone—this kind of phone was still usable in a place like Changchuan.

He entered his own high school number in the dialing field, hesitated for a moment, and then dialed.

The ringtone echoed leisurely as he anxiously fiddled with the brim of his baseball cap, contemplating his choice of words.

"Hello?" The call connected, and a young male voice came from the other side, slightly distorted, making it difficult for him to recognize if it was his own voice.

"Hello? Is this... Zhou Bin?" Unconsciously, he lowered the brim of his cap, as if unconsciously trying to hide something.

"Yes, it's me. May I ask who is speaking?"

The person on the other end spoke politely, and faintly, he could hear a crisp female voice beside him. The person asked, "Oh, Zhou Bin, have you bought an iPhone?"

At that moment, Nie Qingzhou shivered as certain memories surged from deep within. Incredibly, almost instinctively, he said, "You're... the biology class representative from Class 6, right? I... am the biology class representative from Class 3. I went to the teacher earlier today to get the assignments but didn't see them for our class... Did you mistakenly take them?"

"No, our class assignments have already been handed out, and they are correct. Maybe Class 10 took them by mistake. They've mixed up before," the person on the other end explained.

Nie Qingzhou opened his mouth, then closed it again. In the brief silence, it seemed like he had many things he wanted to say, but in the end, he only uttered, "Alright, then I'll ask them. Thank you."

"You're welcome."

After the person on the other end finished speaking, Nie Qingzhou overheard the girl beside him saying, "The new iPhone will be released in a couple of days..."

Nie Qingzhou hung up the phone silently, thinking that the iPhone 4S would be released in two days.

He remembered this phone call.

The other girl who spoke just now was someone he had a crush on.

He still remembered that they happened to go home together on the day before the National Day holiday. She saw his iPhone because he received a call, and then she excitedly talked to him about Apple, Steve Jobs, and her passion for industrial design aesthetics.

He thought it was because of her that he remembered the content of the phone call clearly, but he didn't expect it was because of today.

Nie Qingzhou rubbed his temples, took off his hat and put it on the sandy beach irritably, his blond hair instantly shone like the sparkling waves on the sea.

This is the same world.

This is actually the same world!

The call he received at the age of 16 was actually made by his 26-year-old self.

In the following ten years, there had been another him existing simultaneously as someone else, taking on a different identity, and he knew nothing about it.

As a 26-year-old, he even gossiped with his cousin like an outsider, discussing the television version of himself called "Nie Qingzhou" with great interest.

"What kind of thrilling story is this? Is it a real-life version of 'Tenet'? God, just strike me with lightning!" Nie Qingzhou ran his fingers through his hair, messing it up in frustration.

He immediately received a response from above as his phone suddenly rang, emitting a deafening roar, "Nie Qingzhou, did you dye your hair? Why aren't you staying at the dormitory? What about your accommodation fee?"

He quickly moved the phone away from his ear, rubbing his innocent ear that had suffered the consequences, and tentatively asked, "Auntie?"

"You still call me aunt? I should call you ancestor! Let me tell you, I'll be at your place in half an hour. If you're not there, just wait and see!"

The call ended, indicating that Nie Qingzhou's aunt wasn't calling to have a conversation but merely to inform him.

Nie Qingzhou felt something was wrong. A sense of unease filled his heart and he started searching his memories to decipher the meaning behind his aunt's words.

"He pocketed the accommodation fee, bought a phone... played games... and even dyed his hair. Now he only has... ten yuan and twenty-five cents left?"

How generous, leaving him just enough money for one meal.

Nie Qingzhou rubbed his temples and stood up from the ground, carrying his bag and cap, he hurried towards his bicycle.

"Do I deserve this injustice?"

📢 Announcement: Attention all lovely readers! 🌟✨ Brace yourselves for an absolute treat every Monday as we unveil the latest updates in this oh-so fascinating novel. Get ready to immerse yourself in not just one, but two beautiful chapters each week that will sweep you off your feet and leave you longing for more. 💖✨ We cannot express enough how deeply grateful we are for your incredible support. It's truly a joy to have you by our side as we embark on this enchanting journey together. So, mark your calendars, bookmark this novel, and prepare to be whisked away into a world of heartwarming moments and a heart-melting happily-ever-after (HE). Let the story begin, and remember, we're here to make your dreams come true, two chapters at a time! 📚🌈💕 Stay tuned and keep that smile shining bright! ✨🌸


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