Wolf Cub – Chapter 4.1

Li Zhong found Lin Shiyu to be quite troublesome.

It was impossible to scold or even be slightly harsh with him, for fear that he might ignite like a spark and recreate such a malicious incident as openly challenging a grade teacher from the podium.

“Rein yourself in a bit,” Li Zhong said to Lin Shiyu. “Even if you’re angry, you can’t say those kinds of things in front of the senior teacher. He’s so old, do you want to infuriate him?”

Lin Shiyu remained silent.

“During the military training, don’t get into fights, you hear me? Me dealing with you isn’t the same as an instructor dealing with you. If a soldier starts beating people, it won’t be a matter of bruises.”

Li Zhong tried to intimidate Lin Shiyu, but Lin Shiyu simply responded indifferently. “Got it.”

“Go, go!” Li Zhong waved Lin Shiyu away. “You just give me a headache.”

With his bag on his back, Lin Shiyu turned around and boarded the bus.

It was time for the annual military training at Wenhe High School. The bus parked in front of the school early, and the new students lined up and squeezed onto the bus. Li Zhong stood at the door, sending off the chattering youngsters one by one, reminding them with his hands on his hips, “Behave well over there, don’t cry as soon as you get scolded by the instructors. Make our Class 7 proud.”

“Teacher Li, will you come to see us?”

“I’ll come if you perform well. Why would I come if you don’t?”

“So heartless—”

Lin Shiyu found a seat by the window and sat down. Gao Jie, behind him, loudly shared the snacks he bought with him, and the others scrambled for them. Lin Shiyu sat alone in a row, casually taking out his phone from his bag and opening it.

His mother had sent him a message, reminding him to eat well, not to lose his temper during his stay, assuring him that she would take care of his younger sister and told him not to worry.

As Lin Shiyu read the message, he replied with a simple: ‘Got it,’ but then he heard Gao Jie shout behind him, “Zhong Qi! Come here, there’s an empty seat.”

Footsteps approached, followed by the sound of a bag and clothes rubbing against each other, then the empty seat next to Lin Shiyu was taken.

Lin Shiyu looked up and saw Zhong Qi sitting next to him, his long legs occupying the entire space in front of the seat. Zhong Qi was wearing an oversized white basketball jersey and sports pants, with a pair of sneakers. He seemed to have run all the way here, as there were beads of sweat on his forehead. He took out a bottle of mineral water from the side of his bag and took a sip.

So the empty seat that Gao Jie referred to was the one next to him?

Zhong Qi finished his water, turned his head to look at Lin Shiyu, and asked, “Is anyone sitting here?”

Lin Shiyu replied, “There’s no one here since you’re already sitting.”

Zhong Qi nodded, put the water bottle back, and tossed his bag onto the floor. Gao Jie tossed a bag of potato chips over while leaning against his seat. “Eat, eat, eat. Eat more now, so you can withstand the grueling training later.”

Zhong Qi felt somewhat uncomfortable and shifted in his seat. The seat was small, and his legs couldn’t stretch out much. He had initially wanted to adjust his seat, but there was Gao Jie sitting behind him, Mao Silu in front, and Ruan Zhikai on the other side. Only Lin Shiyu by the window seemed to take up less space. He wondered how the seats arrangement ended up like this.

“I ate too much for breakfast,” said Zhong Qi as he casually stuffed a bag of potato chips into Lin Shiyu’s lap. He then took out his phone, put on his headphones, and started listening to music.

Lin Shiyu didn’t understand why he gave him the potato chips. Did he look hungry? Lin Shiyu grabbed the chips and was about to throw them back to Gao Jie when he noticed that they were tomato-flavored, his favorite taste.

He hesitated for a moment, glanced at Zhong Qi, who had his arms crossed and eyes closed, and his fingers paused on the chip bag. Ultimately, he decided to open the bag.

With the music playing softly in his headphones, Zhong Qi just wanted some alone time and quiet. The bus was filled with noise from the groups of people, the seats vibrating with the engine. Zhong Qi closed his eyes again to rest when he suddenly caught a faint sound amidst the noisy environment.

It was the sound of someone chewing on something, like a small animal. Zhong Qi opened his eyes and looked to his left.

Lin Shiyu had his head down, which allowed Zhong Qi to see his hair and eyelashes. He held the bag of potato chips and ate them slowly, one by one, with a calm and quiet manner. His cheeks occasionally swelled with the motion of chewing, and a soft light fell on his nose bridge.

Zhong Qi watched him for a few seconds before averting his gaze.

The training base for the stationed bridge regiment was located in a camp on the mountain. The bus entered the base and dropped off the group of students. The instructors and a few teachers who came with them led the students in teams, explaining the arrangements and distributing the training uniforms.

They had to wake up at five in the morning and were prohibited from carrying phones until they finished training at nine in the evening. This alone dealt a heavy blow to everyone’s enthusiasm, turning their previously excited faces into disappointment. Moreover, the instructors all looked stern and imposing, but none of the students dared to raise their voice in complaints. Gao Jie even watched helplessly as the instructor confiscated all the snacks from his bag.

The accommodations were six people per room, but in the end, there were only five people, Lin Shiyu, Zhong Qi, Mao Silu, Ruan Zhikai and Gao Jie. Fortunately, although the place was remote and spartan it was also very clean.

They had to change into their training uniforms and then head to the cafeteria for assembly. As soon as the group of big boys entered the dormitory, they started taking off their clothes. Lin Shiyu changed his pants first and hadn’t put on his upper garment yet when he lowered his head to fasten his pants.

“You’re so fair.” Mao Silu noticed Lin Shiyu’s complexion and blurted out foolishly, “Your skin seems fairer than many girls.”

Lin Shiyu just finished fastening his pants and gave him a cold look.

Startled by his glare, Mao Silu shrunk his shoulders and stammered, “Uh, I was just complimenting you.”

“No need for your compliments.”

Mao Silu didn’t expect Lin Shiyu to be so blunt. Fortunately, Mao Silu has a good temper and didn’t get angry at the comment. Instead, he awkwardly apologized. “Sorry, I won’t compliment you anymore.”

Ruan Zhikai frowned and glanced at Lin Shiyu.

Gao Jie patted his exposed belly and said, “I’m also fair-skinned. Look at this smooth skin, jealous?”

Mao Silu turned to Gao Jie and joked, “I envy your body full of flesh, that’s for sure.”

“Get lost, I have strong muscles. I’m not like you, skinny like a pole.”

“I’m also strong, okay!”

Gao Jie who finished changing his clothes and couldn’t stay still. He approached Zhong Qi and patted his shoulder. “Brother Qi, you have an amazing physique. Which gym did you train in? Introduce me.”

Ruan Zhikai: “Don’t go and ruin someone else’s reputation.”

While still touching Zhong Qi’s body, Gao Jie retorted, “I’m afraid I’ll make you all die from envy if I become too skinny.”

Zhong Qi said, “Are you done touching?”

Gao Jie smirked and withdrew his hand. Lin Shiyu finished changing his clothes and left alone.

Ruan Zhikai looked in the direction he left and said, “Lin Shiyu has a bit of a temper.”

“Based on my keen observation of his performance during the self- reflection at the flag-raising ceremony, I can tell that he’s an extraordinary person.”

Mao Silu was a bit slow to react, and asked, “Did he get angry because I said he’s fairer than girls?”

“Maybe. Some people don’t like being told that.”

“Then why does he dress like that? With the girl’s clothes and that cute rabbit-head backpack?”

Several boys become puzzled. If Lin Shiyu doesn’t like being compared to girls, why does he dress like one and carry such a cute bunny backpack?

Gao Jie patted Zhong Qi and said, “You’re his desk mate, don’t you know anything?”

Zhong Qi sat on the edge of the bed tying his shoelaces and casually replied, “I don’t know anything.”

“Really? You two don’t communicate at all?”

“No communication at all.”

Everyone gathered in the cafeteria. Tall and dark-skinned instructors stood on the makeshift stage and explained the rules and regulations of the military training to the students. Instructor Chen, with a stern appearance, spoke with a strong voice that made everyone’s eardrums buzz.

He concisely explained the upcoming training content and emphasized the management measures and punishment methods within the base. In summary, no phones are allowed during training, meal times shouldn’t be too long, no excessive noise after lights out, no unauthorized leave, and no slacking off. If anyone is caught breaking the rules they will either spend a whole day washing dishes in the kitchen or run ten kilometers around the mountain.

The students trembled in fear in the middle of the cafeteria while the instructors surrounded them, watching closely.

Lin Shiyu could understand these strict rules but it wasn’t until he stood in front of the large bathhouse in the training base that he truly questioned life.

Why do people from the south use bathhouses for bathing?

Lin Shiyu sat awkwardly on the bench in the changing room, holding a bucket, wishing to just walk away. Even so, not taking a bath wasn’t an option. Even if he managed to avoid it today, he would eventually have to take one.

Frustrated, he took off his clothes and marched towards the bathhouse, carrying the bucket with determination.

From a distance, he could hear the booming voice of Gao Jie, who adapted quickly and felt right at home in the southern-style bathhouse. He even struck up a conversation with the person at the adjacent showerhead. As Lin Shiyu approached the entrance, the room was filled with steam, making it difficult to see clearly. With a group of southern rookies taking their first bath, the novelty and excitement overshadowed any impact of exposed bodies.

Lin Shiyu took a deep breath and stiffly entered the bathhouse, found an empty showerhead and turned on the water.

The lack of partitions made him uncomfortable. Lin Shiyu didn’t like being exposed and naked in front of others, even though everyone was in the same situation. He felt insecure about it, perhaps because he thought his shoulders weren’t wide enough or his frame wasn’t big enough or some other ordinary reason like this.

Someone laughed and said, “Damn, why does this feel so refreshing when showering like this?”

“I guess showering alone is quite lonely usually, hahaha.”

“Your words sound so wicked, don’t mess with me.”

Mao Silu’s voice came out. “Why did my mom give me an almost empty shampoo bottle? I can’t squeeze anything out of it. Can anyone share some shampoo with me?”

“I didn’t bring any. I left it in the dorm,” said Ruan Zhikai.

Then, Lin Shiyu heard the voice of Zhong Qi beside him, saying, “Use mine.”

The voice was so close that its deep tone pierced Lin Shiyu’s eardrums. He turned his head and, through the thick mist, caught a glimpse of Zhong Qi’s figure.

Their proximity was such that if Lin Shiyu looked closely enough, he could see the wet black hair, distinct knuckles, and the evident muscular lines on Zhong Qi’s shoulders and arms. As the mist evaporated, the features of the boys became blurred by the steam, obscuring their distinct brows and eyes.




Edited by: Jaisland



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