He Nuo shifted slightly. He had just taken a step forward when he retracted his foot in midair. Not long ago, he had just returned from school. Today was the last day of waiting, and his last chance, which meant that his first choice had gone up in smoke. What next? Accept the allocation? He didn't seem to have filled in that column, and because he was sure of his success, his second choice was an institution of learning of the same level as his first choice. He Nuo tried to sort out all the thoughts in his head so that he could think clearly and plan his next step, yet he realised that his abilities were limited — his next and only step was to resign to fate. When Shi Yan appeared at this moment, He Nuo almost rushed towards him, but he had to force himself to stop.
Shi Yan didn't think too much about it. On his way here, all he wanted was to stay by He Nuo's side at this moment so that he would have someone he could lean on. Without saying anything, he walked over and held He Nuo in his arms. He Nuo was standing straight up at first, but after awhile, his hands went around Shi Yan's waist. There was no dampness on his chest, but Shi Yan could feel a pain that hurt even deeper than tears. Qiu Linsong was actually right behind them. He was silent now too as he watched Shi Yan gently pat He Nuo.
When he saw Qiu Linsong standing behind Shi Yan, He Nuo felt embarrassed so he pushed Shi Yan away and awkwardly asked them to sit. After that, the atmosphere felt a bit depressing. He Nuo forced himself to say, "Thank you for your concern, I think there'll definitely be a college that will accept me." His voice couldn't conceal the unwillingness and bitterness that even he couldn't convince himself of. Wang Feng then gave them a call and asked if he needed to make a trip down. Shi Yan saw how He Nuo was forcing himself to talk, so he asked Wang Feng not to come over for now.
Shi Yan and Qiu Linsong stayed until the He couple got off work. His parents knew that he hadn't been accepted and sighed. But because of He Nuo's excellent results, they knew that he still had a chance to get into a standard college, so they weren't too disappointed. For them, just being able to attend a college was already considered really good. They inadvertently blamed him by saying "the heart may be loftier than the sky, but one's life can be thinner than paper"1. They thought that He Nuo shouldn't have applied for such a good college, it was somewhat incompatible with his status. Shi Yan noticed that He Nuo's hand was trembling under the table.
After they left the He residence, Qiu Linsong suddenly asked on their way back, "San Ge, do you want to help He Nuo?"
Shi Yan asked back in surprise, "How?"
"If you want to help him, there'll definitely be a way. But I don't know if it'll be worth it to help him. What do you think?"
Shi Yan didn't say anything. When he heard that He Nuo didn't get accepted, he hated the trickery that was involved, and he hated how unfair the heavens were being. When He Nuo leaned against his chest, his heart was aching really badly for him too. But after accompanying him for the past few hours, Shi Yan couldn't lie to himself — in hindsight, he did feel a little happy. Shi Yan didn't want to have this sort of unscrupulous thought at this kind of timing, or else wouldn't he be a savage who's even worse than beasts? But he really did feel a bit more relieved.
Shi Yan couldn't answer Qiu Linsong's question, and he didn't want to answer it. In the end, he threw out the words, "How should I know if it would be worth it or not?" As a result, even after he had dinner, watched some television and was lying down on his bed now, Shi Yan still felt ill at ease. He probably forgot what he ate for dinner, or what had been played on the TV — all he had seen were the swaying male and female figures on TV. When he lied down on his bed, the reason for his unrest bothered him again — to help? Or not?
He Nuo's ruthlessness, cruelty and mercilessness were qualities that Shi Yan had personally experienced for himself. Because of the pride of his beloved, even if he did help him with this, there would still be no room left for negotiation between him and He Nuo. Shi Yan was very clear about that — He Nuo would definitely repay his 'grace', but he would never repay it with his own affection.
Shi Yan didn't want to let go of his hand, but he couldn't stop him from flying away either, so he could only watch on helplessly as He Nuo flew away from him. This was a heaven-sent opportunity: help He Nuo? Or help himself? Shi Yan engaged in an intense battle with himself. Or there could be a compromise: he could help He Nuo, but he would only do so in exchange for what he wanted.
After he thought it through, Shi Yan went to look for He Nuo. It's not like it was their first time meeting at midnight; but actually, he just needed the motivation from getting it done in one go right now, or else Shi Yan was afraid that he would lose heart. Because in the bottom of his heart, he rejected this kind of compromise, and disdained this kind of method. However, this was his only chance to hold onto He Nuo. Shi Yan persuaded himself to ignore everything else and to only focus on the end result. Shi Yan even came up with countless reasons for himself: He Nuo can only see his repentance if he came back to him; he can only make up for the harm he had dealt to He Nuo if he had this chance for repentance. Also, Shi Yan believed that after he had lost He Nuo once, he would cherish him even more in the future.
When he arrived at that familiar window, the room inside was pitch-dark. Shi Yan was about to knock on the window lattice when he heard a soft whisper.
"…….the heart may be loftier than the sky, but one's life can be thinner than paper. (sigh) He Nuo, you tried so hard, yet you didn't achieve what you wanted, I know that you're sad, and I know that you're upset, but now isn't the time to be sad. Get yourself together ba. In a world where you're alone, you can only rely on yourself. If you can't get into a good college then so be it. If worst comes to worst, you could always just learn more things in the future.
Actually, you're a little relieved ba, (soft, bitter laugh) at least it wasn't due to his obstruction. Shi Yan, I know that you aren't that insidious, but I couldn't help myself from suspecting if you were taking revenge on me. But, as soon as I saw you, all my doubts were proven to be ill-founded. Actually, how could I really doubt you? I was just trying to deceive myself. I can only say that I wasn't thinking about you if I twisted you in that way. You gave me the chance to go to college, so how could you bear to ruin my dreams?
That night, Shi Yan never knocked on that window. He sat outside the window by himself and stayed with his beloved with a wall in between them. He never appeared even when he heard footsteps nearing the window, and stayed until his beloved fell asleep.
Early in the morning, Qiu Linsong saw Shi Yan standing in front of his bed. He rubbed his sleepy eyes, "Are you crazy?"
"Help He Nuo! What do I have to do?"
Qiu Linsong's father was the Public Security Commissioner2, so this made things convenient for them. File submission and filing personnel3 are isolated in an area that was sealed off, while armed police guards would be guarding them outside. Outsiders couldn't get in at all, and wouldn't know what was happening inside. But the Public Security Commissioner would be able to access it, of course.
It was easy to get things done with the right connections. Qiu's father first looked for the chief of the city who was responsible for the enrollment this year, then he went in to discuss things with the file submission personnel and consulted about the best way to remedy the situation. These people have been file submission personnel for a long time now, so they had a lot of experience and have all seen a great deal. And because of their dealings with the staff who came from each university to recruit students every year, they were actually quite familiar with them. Their final conclusion was: when the admission exercise of a key college ends and the admission exercise of standard colleges begin, a phenomenon would occur where a few key colleges would also conduct a supplementary recruitment exercise to fill in the remaining empty spots that they may still have4. He Nuo's results are outstanding, so he would possess a great advantage for the supplementary recruitment stage.
Shi Yan pulled Qiu Linsong over to stand outside the admissions office as they waited for news. Qiu Linsong was still okay, he chatted with the armed policeman who was on duty. But Shi Yan wore a stern expression on his face at all times as he stared intently at the window behind the railings. This made a few of the armed policemen misunderstand him as the examinee this year. When Qiu Linsong's father walked out, he explained the situation to them and asked them to go home to wait for a few more days, because there won't be additional places for the supplementary recruitment so early. They needed to wait for all the recruiters that the colleges had sent out to return and check the enrollment situation before knowing if the colleges have to supplement their recruitment.
How could Shi Yan have the patience to wait? He bombarded him with questions, "Will there definitely be additional places for the supplementary recruitment? And if there is a place, would He Nuo get it? What if He Nuo didn't apply for the college that's conducting the supplementary recruitment? Would he get a really bad major? Can he choose his own major? Will He Nuo be unable to submit his file if he gets accepted into a standard college now? Then what if he can't wait for the supplementary recruitment and misses this opportunity again?"
Qiu Linsong practically yanked Shi Yan onto the car to leave. With his kind of questioning that made it seem like he was interrogating a criminal, no one would be able to stand it, so he had to rescue his Dad quickly. But afterwards, it was Qiu Linsong's turn to have nightmares. His nightmare started as soon as he opened his eyes every morning. Every day, he would be sent to that recruitment building on a car that Shi Yan had asked his Dad to dispatch to his house. He felt like the two of them were even more loyal than the armed police in guarding the VIP file submission personnel who was inside. Fortunately, Wang Feng didn't manage to escape as he was caught by Shi Yan to come accompany them too.
As they waited with bated breath for the notice that never came, He Nuo's admission notice to a key college arrived. At the same time that Shi Yan thanked the heavens for its kindness, he also thanked all the immortals in the world for not forgetting him — A College. A major in the same department of He Nuo's first choice.
1. It means someone who is in low status(house maid /slave) wants to gain power or fame or keep pure, but fails and dies young. It usually refers to women.↩
2. A/N: In the early years, the local armed police were also under the supervision of the Public Security Commissioner↩
3. A/N: In the past, students submitted their aspirations form in June, take their exam in July and admissions start in August after their results are released. Admission is divided into two sides, on one sidde, the loccal personnel are responsible for submitting files, which meant that they would sort out the examinees' applications and give it to the corresponding schools. One the other side, recruiters from the colleges would choose which students to be admitted to the college from the applications that were sent to them — they are the filing personnel.
For example: If student A wants to go to a college, and 20 students had applied for this college while that major could only accept 2 people, then in reality, a lot of parents would have built a good relationship with the file submission personnel in advance. Because relatively speaking, file submission personnel are people in the same city, so it'll be easier to curry favour with them compared to those who came from the colleges. So, filing personnel from colleges probably only sees 10 or just 8 applicants, and within this applicant pool, there will definitely be student A and 20 other students who are less qualified than A. He Nuo's mistake was in choosing such a good college and popular major even though he lacked a background, which resulting in his application being left on the shelf and never seeing the light of day. He Nuo was just the top scorer of his school, not of his province, so it wasn't influential enough.↩
4. A/N: I'll give an example to explain the reasons for supplementary recruitment ba. A college accepts 40 people into a certain major, and this quota is distributed throughout the nation. Some provinces could have 1 spot, while others could have 3. If a certain province has 3 spots, but only two applications are qualified for the spot, then they would only accept 2 people first. Which is why there will be a supplementary recruitment afterwards.
Another reason: the better the college, the more special spots it will have for special people. So when these special people go for their other choices, then their spots would be emptied out, then supplementary recruitment would occur afterwards.↩
T/N: ….when translating the text isn't enough, and you have to translate the author's longass notes too flips table. Also, lmfao @ poor Qiu Linsong and Wang Feng
Next chap will be the last for vol 1.. ;_;