Wolf Cub – Chapter 29

After the monthly exam results were out, everyone crowded around the wall with the posted ranking table.

The top spot was secured by the math class representative, Chen Xiaoxin. Zhong Qi was 11th, Gao Jie was 29th, Mao Silu was 37th, and Ruan Zhikai and Lin Shiyu were tied around the 50th spot.

Gao Jie, looking incredulous, exclaimed, “You’re the biology class representative… but got a 58 in biology?”

His loud voice reverberated throughout the classroom, and Lin Shiyu, seated, snapped the lead of his mechanical pencil.

The pencil had been purchased by Zhong Qi when he bought transparent tape.

Gao Jie, intimidated by the gloomy aura exuded by Lin Shiyu, quickly retreated. An irritated Lin Shiyu organized the papers that had fallen on his desk, stacked them, and placed them in the drawer.

Zhong Qi saw Lin Shiyu’s English paper.

“63,” Zhong Qi seemed to see a number he’d never encountered before. “You didn’t write the essay?”

Lin Shiyu appeared insulted. “I did!”

“Zhong Qi, I made so many mistakes in my physics paper, can you explain it to me?” Mao Silu, holding his paper, approached. Upon seeing Lin Shiyu’s score, he was equally surprised. “A 63?”

Lin Shiyu was about to lose his temper when Ruan Zhikai returned to the classroom and walked up to his desk. “Mr. Li called you to the office. Bring your biology paper.” He added, “Oh, and your English paper too.”

The people watched sympathetically as Lin Shiyu left the classroom holding two papers.

After the monthly exam, the office was full of students who were either being scolded or praised by the teachers. Lin Shiyu stood in front of Li Zhong, who held his exam paper, looking at one side and then flipping it over.

Leisurely, Li Zhong spoke. “Do you want to study Liberal Arts next semester?”

Lin Shiyu was momentarily shocked and couldn’t say anything. Eventually, he mustered the courage and said, “No, I want to choose the science track.”

“Well then your mistakes are a bit excessive, aren’t they? You got all the experimental steps wrong and only scored 2 points on the major questions.” Li Zhong was both annoyed and amused. “Do you have an issue with me or something?”

“No, I don’t.”

Seeing Lin Shiyu in a state of complete inability to argue against his poor grades, Li Zhong sighed. “Forget it. It’s just a small test. It only shows that your foundation isn’t very strong at the moment, but there’s still room for improvement in the future. Don’t be disheartened. I’ll go through the paper in the upcoming class. Pay attention, and make corrections to the mistakes. If there’s anything you don’t understand, come and ask me. Understand?”

“I understand.”

“Go to the English teacher afterward. She’s looking for you.” Li Zhong didn’t have further intentions to educate him, and waved his hand. “Also ask Zhong Qi to come to my office after the next class.”

Lin Shiyu then faced another round of criticism, this time in the Language, Mathematics, and Science Office.

The English teacher for Class 7 was Jin Yezi, a slightly plump woman, porcelain-white like a doll. Her long, curly brown hair was tied into a thick low ponytail. Her voice was as melodious as a lark, but her demeanor was not as pleasant.

“Your English scores are really lagging behind, Lin Shiyu.” Jin Yezi circled several places on his paper with a red pen. “You’ve used tenses in a haphazard manner. Did I not emphasize the changes in verb tenses the other day? Did you take proper notes and memorize them?

“You often make many mistakes in your English homework, all of which were discussed during classes, but you forget them after class. Several times, I’ve seen you daydreaming in class and neglecting to take notes.” Jin Yezi frowned, looking at Lin Shiyu seriously. “How can you succeed with this kind of learning attitude?”

Lin Shiyu was silent under the scolding.

Jin Yezi marked several key errors in his paper with corrections and handed it to him. “After I’m done going through your paper, show me the corrected mistakes before you leave for the day.”

Lin Shiyu took the paper and nodded in agreement.

“Also, tell Zhong Qi to come to my office after the next class.”

In the next class break, Zhong Qi went to the Language, Mathematics, and Science Office.

“You did well.” Li Zhong first acknowledged his scores, advised him to improve his learning attitude, and further enhance his space for progress.

Then he said, “You and Lin Shiyu are seatmates, and you’ve seen his scores. I see that you two get along well, so help him appropriately.”

In the Language, Mathematics, and Science Office:

“Zhong Qi, your English scores are very good, and your handwriting is neat. Keep it up,” Jin Yezi said to Zhong Qi. “You and Lin Shiyu sit together, right? If you have time, you can tutor him in English, make sure he listens in class and takes notes. If possible, I hope you can study together with him.”

Zhong Qi returned to the classroom.

Gao Jie turned to ask him, “Qi, did the teacher praise you specifically?”

“No,” Zhong Qi replied calmly. “He’s appointed me as the dorm head.”

During the long break in the afternoon, Gao Jie, Mao Silu, and Chen Xiaoxin after finishing his homework, all lay in a row, looking at Zhong Qi and Lin Shiyu.

“Verbs describing frequent actions and objective facts are in their base form. This sentence has ‘often,’ so there’s no need to change the tense.

“The subject of ‘of’ refers to the previous word, indicating possession. ‘For’ refers to the object, showing purpose. You’ve used them inversely.

“People is plural, you can’t use ‘a’ before it. You got this wrong, Lin Shiyu?”

Gao Jie couldn’t hold back and started laughing.

Lin Shiyu seemed on the verge of throwing his pen, but Zhong Qi, remarkably patient, corrected each wrong question on his test paper, explained the points, and asked if he understood. If Lin Shiyu showed a hint of doubt, Zhong Qi gave another example or referred to the book to help him memorize the information.

Throughout the entire afternoon break, Zhong Qi spent almost all his time painstakingly tutoring Lin Shiyu in correcting his appalling test paper, until the end of the school day, where he finally started correcting his own mistakes. Lin Shiyu, noticing his time-consuming efforts, felt somewhat embarrassed and, while correcting his mistakes, glanced at Zhong Qi writing quietly. “Sorry for taking up your time.”

Zhong Qi continued to calmly write. “No worries, I don’t have that much to correct.”

“…” Oh.

People in the classroom gradually left. Lin Shiyu went to the English teacher with his corrected papers and error book, returned, and sat down to continue writing.

Zhong Qi asked, “What else did they make you correct?”

“They want me to copy a sample essay.”

At that moment, Lin Shiyu appeared somewhat like an elementary school student who couldn’t sit still when it was time to do homework after school. While copying the essay, he occasionally murmured about the meaning of a particular word or wondered why two prepositions were placed together.

Zhong Qi remained composed, undisturbed by Lin Shiyu sitting beside him, and finished correcting his papers. He then closed the error book, leaned over with one foot on the crossbar at the bottom of Lin Shiyu’s chair, and rested his hand on the chair back. “Quiet.”

Startled by his sudden action, Lin Shiyu stopped writing and looked at him.

“If you don’t understand, look it up in the dictionary or check the Chinese translation of the answers,” Zhong Qi said, resting his chin on his hand. “You’re muttering to yourself while doing homework, but I’ve never seen you talk this much before.”

He was tall, and the way he turned put the two of them very close together, their breaths almost audible to each other. Lin Shiyu was nearly enclosed, yet he didn’t feel uncomfortable with the proximity. He felt embarrassed and ashamed by what Zhong Qi had said.

“I wasn’t muttering to myself… I think,” Lin Shiyu said with a lack of conviction. As he spoke, he turned his head, closed his mouth, and completely focused on copying the essay.

“You copied the word wrong,” Zhong Qi pointed to Lin Shiyu’s assignment book. “It’s ‘country,’ not ‘county.'”

Lin Shiyu took a deep breath, crossed out the word, and rewrote it.

“Tell me the truth, Lin Shiyu.” Zhong Qi, who had been watching Lin Shiyu copy the sample text with multiple mistakes, finally asked the question that had been on his mind. “Half of that 63 score was just guessing, wasn’t it?”

After being ridiculed all afternoon, Lin Shiyu’s pent-up frustration finally erupted. “I just can’t make sense of these symbols!”

“You don’t understand and yet you have the nerve,” Zhong Qi retorted.

Frustrated, Lin Shiyu couldn’t hold back. “If you find it troublesome, don’t teach me! My English is just this terrible.”

“The teacher asked me to tutor you. Don’t get upset. Hurry up and copy,” Zhong Qi assumed a tutoring style as if teaching an eight-year-old. “Once you’re done, I’ll walk home with you.”

After Zhong Qi relentlessly pointed out mistakes, Lin Shiyu awkwardly finished copying the essay and finally packed his bag to leave the classroom. The deep red autumn sun spread across the school square, and the coming and going of students gradually subsided. The vast school, quieter in the afternoon, was less bustling compared to the daytime.

When Zhong Qi retrieved his bicycle from the shed and pushed it towards the school gate, Lin Shiyu was waiting by the roadside, holding two servings of savory Chinese crepes, and handed one to Zhong Qi when he arrived.

Taking the serving, Zhong Qi felt the warmth emanating from the bag. “Payment?”

“Why do you talk so much!” Lin Shiyu exploded at Zhong Qi’s question, visibly irritated. “Can’t I eat in peace?”

With a lot to say, Zhong Qi remained silent, leaning on his bicycle, eating the crepes while they were still warm. The crepes were generously filled with egg and meat.

Lin Shiyu’s serving was slightly thinner.

Zhong Qi noticed this subtle difference and, looking at Lin Shiyu eating, suddenly said, “You should eat more.”

With cheeks puffed out while chewing, Lin Shiyu raised his head in a puzzled manner at Zhong Qi’s words.

“For nutritional supplements, to grow taller,” Zhong Qi said in all seriousness.

“…” Lin Shiyu was almost choked by Zhong Qi’s remarks. “I’m 1.7 meters tall, where am I short?”

“1.7 meters isn’t towering.”

“I’ll still grow!”

“I don’t see that trend.”

Annoyed, Lin Shiyu attempted to kick him, but Zhong Qi swiftly dodged, disposed of the empty crepe bag in the trash, then naturally righted the bicycle. “Let’s go.”

“Go by yourself! I’ll take the bus.”

“Don’t be silly.” Zhong Qi halted Lin Shiyu’s angry storming off, leading him back to his original spot. “Hop on.”

Resentfully, Lin Shiyu was placed on the backseat, gripping the rear handlebar. “I buy you food, and you take a mile…”

Zhong Qi mounted the bike, a faint smirk on his face, pedaled away, and smoothly left the school.

When Lin Shiyu returned home, Lin Wan Yue came up and presented something indistinguishable. She held out a handmade bead craft that looked round and resembled a little pig.

Lin Shiyu examined it and realized it was a beaded pig, a craft Lin Wanyue had spent a long time making for him.

Lin Hui walked out of the kitchen wearing an apron, laughing. “A few university volunteers recently visited Little Yue’s school to teach them handicrafts. Little Yue spent a long time making this for you.”

Lin Shiyu held the beaded pig and patted Lin Wanyue’s head. “It’s very well made.”

Lin Wanyue took the pig and hurriedly dashed into his room. Lin Shiyu followed and saw her climb onto his chair, meticulously arranging the little pig on the desk.

During the rare moments when Lin Wanyue’s attention was entirely focused, it was often related to her brother. Sometimes, it was when Lin Shiyu was “talking” to her, teaching her some words or reminding her not to get distracted. And sometimes, like now, when she wanted to make a beaded toy for her brother, she sat obediently and concentrated for a long time on stringing the beads together.

The shiny charm on Lin Shiyu’s backpack also came about in a similar manner. The school organized a drawing competition with prizes for the top three. During those days, Lin Wan Yue sat at her desk intently drawing every time she returned home. Eventually, she won third place and received a glass pendant as a prize, something most little girls would love. Overjoyed, she promptly took it and hung it on Lin Shiyu’s backpack.

Lin Wanyue, being younger and even more difficult to communicate with compared to other Down syndrome children of a slightly older age, showed an exceptionally rare degree of focus and attention towards her older brother.

Even Lin Wanyue’s teacher occasionally teased, “Wanyue seems to have a ‘preference’ for her brother. He’s so handsome, that’s why she likes him so much, right?”

Lin Wanyue would only nod “uh-huh” at the mention of her brother.

As Lin Wanyue was engrossed in her play on her brother’s bed, Lin Shiyu put his backpack on the table and took out his phone, only to discover numerous unread messages.

Apart from class group messages, all the other texts were from Zhao Bin.

Frowning, Lin Shiyu remembered that he forgot to remove this person from his contacts list. He opened the messages and his expression changed slightly.

The first message sent last night read:

[My camera lens and screen were completely damaged when it was dropped. If I report to the police that you were the one who broke it, you’ll have to compensate me with 20,000 yuan. My jaw is still hurting, and I’ll go to the hospital tomorrow to get an X-ray. If there’s a fracture, you’ll have to pay for my medical expenses.]

Half an hour later, another message came:

[I just slightly touched your leg; I did nothing else, and you reacted so strongly. Was it necessary?]

[I have paid you every week for the photo shoots, yet you retaliate directly with a kick. Ha ha.]

[Let me tell you, it’s best not to tell anyone about this incident, I’m doing it for your own good. If you talk about it, I’ll directly inform your school about you hitting me, and let your school handle it.]

Then came the message sent during the day:

[No response? Are you scared?]

[I can give you another chance. Come back to take photos, and I’ll pretend nothing happened. But this time, you can’t take photos at the studio. I can provide my home as the shooting location.]

[I’m being tolerant by taking a step back. If you really want to report to the police or anything, I’ll demand compensation from you. Then it won’t be as simple as apologizing or making amends; you’ll face compensation in the tens of thousands.]

Then came the latest message just now:

[I advise you to come to my house this weekend and personally apologize to me. I didn’t want you to be too scared, but I’ll be honest with you.]

[There are cameras in the fitting room, I have the recordings of you changing, and your face is clearly visible. If you don’t want these videos to be posted online, you better heed my advice.]

When Lin Shiyu saw the words “cameras,” his fingers tightened around the phone.

He took several deep breaths, struggling to suppress the urge to smash the phone, and responded.

[Get lost, publish them if you want.]

Then he blocked and deleted him, then threw the phone into the corner of the bed. He turned around to lift Lin Wanyue off the bed. “Let’s go. Let’s go play outside.”


Edited by: Jaisland



Support translation:

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