Wolf Cub – Chapter 2.1

When Li Zhong once again entered Classroom 7, Lin Shiyu wasn’t in his seat.

Zhong Qi’s former desk mate, Gao Jie, turned around and asked, “Teacher Li, you’ve looked for him eight times today. What trouble did he get into?”

Gao Jie was tall and chubby and as he turned around, he bumped into Zhong Qi’s desk, causing it to jolt. Zhong Qi didn’t mind and straightened the desk, pushing the tilted water bottle back to its original position. Gao Jie had a loud voice and liked everyone to know that he had a lot to say.

Shen Ziyi, a girl sitting on the other side of the aisle, laughed at him. “You just want to gossip, don’t try to act righteous.”

“I’m telling you, my thoughts on ideology and politics are spot on.”

“Well, you know, I’ve been struggling for the past two days on deciding whether to choose humanities or sciences for next semester. Speaking of which, with my level of political consciousness, choosing humanities would be a no-brainer. But ever since I met you, I’ve deeply experienced the profound mysteries of the biological world. Now it feels difficult to choose, very difficult.”

Gao Jie was someone who talked a lot of nonsense and liked to make sure everyone knew he was saying it. Shen Ziyi sat on the other side of the aisle and teased him. “Just stick to gossiping,there is no need to elevate yourself.”

“I’m just concerned about our classmate,” Gao Jie said.

“Come on, are you and Lin Shiyu close? You’re concerned about him?”

“So what if we are? Look at Lin Shiyu, so thin and fair, like a girl. What if he becomes a target for bullies?”

Zhong Qi glanced behind Gao Jie.

“Who are you calling a girl?”

A cold voice sounded and Gao Jie shivered, turning his head around to see that Lin Shiyu had returned to the classroom at some point and stood behind him. A storm cloud covered his otherwise fair and clean face, and his expression seemed as if he would unleash thunder upon Gao Jie at any moment.

Gao Jie shut up, turned around, and pretended to pick up his textbook, engrossed in studying. 

Li Zhong patted Lin Shiyu on the back. “Let’s go, let’s talk.”

Lin Shiyu’s expression momentarily twisted, but he quickly regained his composure without showing any emotions. He then followed Li Zhong out of the classroom.

“How’s your injury?”

“I took some medication.”

Li Zhong nodded. Standing in front of Lin Shiyu with his arms crossed, he paused for a few seconds before saying, “After school tomorrow, I plan to go to your house for a home visit. What do you think?”

Lin Shiyu’s face immediately turned cold. Now he didn’t show even the basic courtesy towards his teacher as he replied in a harsh tone, “No.”

Li Zhong didn’t get angry with his response. He knew that being too forceful would only provoke a stronger reaction from him. Judging by his attitude towards the teacher in charge of the seniors, Li Zhong knew that this kid wasn’t afraid of teachers. If anyone was harsh with him, he would only bite back even harder.

Li Zhong didn’t consider himself a person with a great temper. However, he was an adult and Lin Shiyu’s teacher. He wouldn’t let his excess emotions affect his students.

“I have to go, Lin Shiyu. I’m not trying to pry into anything but I just want to solve the problem,” Li Zhong patiently reasoned with Lin Shiyu. “This involves three families—yours and those two students. Do you understand the weight of this? The parents are demanding answers from the school, but I don’t want to simply push you out to give them an explanation. You are my student, but they are also students. As teachers, we should try our best to treat our students reasonably. Can you understand what I’m saying?”

Lin Shiyu didn’t respond. He stood by the wall, tightly gripping his fingers, looking stubborn. Yet somehow, Li Zhong sensed a hint of loneliness behind that defensive posture.

A bit pitiful, Li Zhong suddenly realized, but he didn’t show it. He approached the situation with Lin Shiyu slowly, like a volunteer offering food to a wary wild animal. “I’m not here to report you; I just want to understand you.”

Lin Shiyu indifferently said, “What’s there to understand?”

Li Zhong felt a surge of anger, but he retorted, “You are my student. If I don’t understand you, then who will?”

Lin Shiyu grew impatient. “There are many other students here, try to understand them instead.”

“Wasn’t it you who sent two people to the hospital?” Li Zhong felt like he was talking to a brick wall and added, “So, do you want to just drop out like that? Would your parents be happy if you can’t continue your studies?”

He seemed touched by these words. Although he still wore a frowning and unhappy expression, his gaze dropped, and his tightly held fingers loosened slightly. Seeing him finally soften, Li Zhong seized the opportunity, took out his phone from his pocket, and said, “Alright, let’s stop being stubborn. I’ll come to your house tomorrow. Give me your contact number.”

Lin Shiyu remained silent for a while, then reluctantly gave a series of phone digits, muttering, “That’s my mobile number.”

“Okay,” Li Zhong saved the number and said, “Go back to class. See you tomorrow.”

Lin Shiyu turned and walked away.

Li Zhong watched his slender figure and remembered the visit he made to the hospital earlier to see the two senior high school students. The parents described over the phone how their children had suffered severe injuries, were unable to lift their hands, and almost experienced memory loss from hitting their heads. They demanded severe punishment for Lin Shiyu and insisted that the school expel this unruly student.

However, when Li Zhong personally went to the hospital, he discovered that the so-called “fractured hands” were just a twisted wrist, and the “concussion” was merely a scar on the forehead that didn’t even require a bandage.

Both boys were lying in bed, fully recovered, playing with their phones. When they saw Li Zhong, their eyes lit up, and they eagerly asked if he had given that violent guy a severe punishment.

Li Zhong had nothing to say so he just offered them a polite smile.

He realized that Lin Shiyu might be a child who didn’t know how to protect himself. Whether it was standing up against two older boys, the bad habit of not mentioning his injuries to anyone, or the lack of awareness to explain the facts and defend himself.

He needed to have great patience to uncover the truth beneath the surface.

Military training at Wenhe High School was about to begin, and the school had already distributed the training manual for students to prepare in advance.

The military training of Wenhe High School was different from that of other schools. It wasn’t about casually standing in military posture and marching under the sun and taking breaks whenever they were tired and making excuses to go back to the classroom. Instead, it involved taking all the young kids to the nearby stationed bridge training base and subjecting them directly to military-style management. They would wake up at five in the morning, train until nine in the evening. Marching was just a small part of it. It was said that they would also practice shooting in the mountains and roll in the mud. The disobedient kids would be taken to the kitchen to wash dirty dishes and pour out dirty water for an entire day.

The freshmen who have just entered high school, as first-year students, were astonished. Some speculate as to why an ordinary high school would conduct military training in such a strict and comprehensive manner. One explanation was that the school was in close proximity to a brigade training base, and the two places shared a revolutionary friendship nurtured by the historical Yangtze River. Another explanation was that the school principal had issues and instead of improving the teacher’s salaries and benefits, they spent money on building a library and school buildings, and even sending students for devilish training camp to get tanned.

“It’s just following the requirements,” said Chen Xiaoxin, the math class representative, pushing his glasses up. His eyes flickered, and he opened the manual, pointing to one of the sections. “The training and teaching outline from the Ministry of Education is written like this: There is nothing wrong with learning shooting, protection and self-rescue.”

Shen Ziyi was frantic. “How many kilometers do we have to run? Two kilometers?!”

Gao Jie slammed the manual on the table, clutching the fat on his stomach with a sense of hopelessness. “Why don’t we just leave right now?”

A group of people sighed and lamented as they flipped through the manual, but nobody paid attention to their math class representative who was acting very seriously.

After school, Zhong Qi went to the parking shed to find his bicycle and unlocked it, pushing it out. As the evening sun’s heat subsided, it gently spread over the earth, casting a splendid radiance between the leaves and the passing pedestrians and vehicles. The noise blended into the rich colors of the evening glow, forming a backdrop like brush strokes.


Edited by: Jaisland



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