Chapter 6 – Astray Youth (6)

Zhou Kaiji got a ruthless blow for zoning out, his hair messed up in a tangle.

Chen Luosong withdrew his hand, his expression unchanged, and repeated the question. This time, Zhou Xiaoji didn’t zone out, listened attentively, and understood it completely.

Although this question was a big one, once you knew the method, it was simple. By following the steps from start to finish, one could arrive at the answer.

Chen Luosong watched the calculations quietly, raised his hand to slowly wipe his hair, and praised Zhou Xiaokai’s intelligence.

Zhou Xiaokai was indeed clever; otherwise, he wouldn’t have steadily climbed up, becoming the biggest villain in the book.

Upon hearing the praise, the original villain smiled somewhat shyly. He wasn’t used to smiling, and his smile was faint, but it was much better than his initial gloomy and quiet demeanor.

After finishing a big question, Chen Luosong waved his hand and let him go upstairs to rest.


After spending two days at home over the weekend, the high school students returned to school on Monday.

Upon returning, they had a small quiz. The winter sunlight streamed through the windows into the classroom, creating a quiet atmosphere with only the sound of pencil tips scratching against paper and pages being turned.

When the bell for the end of class rang, signaling the end of the quiz, the teacher at the back began collecting the papers from the back to the front.

Li Hua put down his pen and lay back, feeling completely drained as he slumped on the desk. He felt as though he were dead, making a sound like a corpse: “Even fighting for food in the cafeteria isn’t this difficult.”

Zhou Kaiji adjusted his slipping scarf and murmured in agreement, bowing his head.

The next day, the results of the quiz were released. Just before the papers were distributed, during the evening self-study session, there was a rumor going around that someone in the class had almost scored full marks.

A few minutes before class ended, the back door was already open. Zhou Kaiji put down his pen and started packing his bag.

His deskmate lay on the desk and quietly leaned over, asking, “Didn’t Brother Chen say he would pick you up later today?”

He said “Brother Chen” so smoothly that Zhou Kaiji didn’t comment.

Secretary Chen had told him earlier in the morning that he would be a bit late tonight due to some matters.

Even though the person was late, Zhou Kaiji still wanted to wait for him at the school gate as soon as possible.

When the bell rang, the person who was sitting in his seat disappeared in an instant.


It seemed like something had just flashed by.

One person near the back door involuntarily took a step back, then leaned forward to look into the classroom, scanning the room.

Standing outside the back door was Li Yue. He glanced around a couple more times but didn’t see the person he was looking for, so he asked, “Does anyone know where Zhou Kaiji is?”

The person lying at the back row like a corpse lifted their head slightly and said, “The one who just flew out is him.”


After a brief silence, Li Yue quickly thanked them and then ran down the corridor.

The person who had heard the sound from the back door earlier turned their head and only saw an empty doorway, feeling puzzled as they asked, “Did Li Yue from Class 1 just come here?”

The weak but enthusiastic person in the back row replied, “The one who just flew out is him.”

Classmate: “?”

Li Yue also ran downstairs and finally caught up with the person who was quickly heading towards the school gate.


The other person stopped in their tracks.

He bent over with hands on knees to catch his breath for a moment before straightening up again, speaking hoarsely, “Teacher Wang is looking for you, asking you to go to the office.”

Running too fast just now had filled his throat with air, making it a bit difficult to speak normally for a moment.

Li Yue had never looked so disheveled at school before. He always left himself some buffer space for tasks and hadn’t rushed like this in a long time.

Then he saw the person across from him clearly hesitate. He glanced at the time and then at the school gate, which was not far away.

—This person seemed to have a tendency to move towards the school gate.

Li Yue hadn’t fully caught his breath yet but managed to add, “Teacher Wang is waiting for you in the science department office.”

Teacher Wang was his class teacher and also the subject teacher for Class 3, this person’s class.

Tonight, to make up for taking up break time, Teacher Wang had ended evening self-study two minutes early and had asked him to pass on the message.

He hadn’t expected this person to run so fast after class. If he hadn’t ended self-study two minutes early, he might not have caught up.


Zhou Kaiji glanced at the school gate again before acknowledging and turning back towards the teaching building.

Watching the figure gradually disappear from sight, Li Yue completed the temporary task of finding someone. He then turned around, rubbed his throat, and slowly walked towards the school gate to leave.

Running all the way, it was the first time he had seen so few students at the school gate.

With fewer students and more parents, the school gate was crowded, leaving only a narrow path to pass through. Students in uniforms weaved through the crowd, and a few people who had been squeezed near the gate quietly left the crowd.

The school gate area was bustling, but as soon as one turned a corner onto another street, it became considerably quieter.

This was the route he often took. Because of students getting off school, many shops were still open under the lights, and you could even see the warm breath of people in the cold. There were small alleys on both sides of the street that were too dimly lit for people to walk through; Li Yue had never ventured into them.

A passerby walked by.

Li Yue didn’t pay much attention, just glanced at them and continued walking forward.

—He couldn’t continue forward, as the person who had just walked past from the side blocked his way. He turned his head and saw that there were now more people beside and behind him. All three of them were staring at him, blocking out most of the light.

Before he could speak, the person blocking his way reached out and casually draped their arm around his neck like they were buddies, grabbing his neck with such force that it seemed like they could easily strangle him, yet they smiled, with a hint of stubble on their face, looking quite friendly.

Li Yue was completely certain that he didn’t know the person in front of him.

The man smiled and asked him, “The one you were just talking to…”

The person standing beside them said, “Zhou Kaiji.”

“Yes,” the man asked, “What class is Zhou Kaiji in?”

As another person walked by, the grip on Li Yue’s neck didn’t lessen. He didn’t speak or make any movements.

The passerby glanced at them and continued walking.

Seeing that Li Yue didn’t speak, the person gripping his neck increased the pressure and lowered his voice, saying, “You were just talking with Zhou Kaiji inside, right?”


As soon as Li Yue spoke, his throat felt dry and itchy again, and he couldn’t help but cough twice.

Thinking he was being careless, one person in the group signalled with their eyes, and the person gripping Li Yue’s neck gestured to move towards an area with less light.

“What about Zhou Kaiji?”

A voice suddenly appeared behind them. Li Yue couldn’t turn his head, so he could only glance sideways and see a slightly pale face.

A car swiftly passed by on the road, its headlights dazzling.

The person wearing a scarf who had suddenly appeared pressed down the hand gripping Li Yue’s neck and glanced sideways, saying, “I’m sort of like Zhou Kaiji’s half guardian.”

He smiled and said, “Shall we talk somewhere else?”

With a casual step, he positioned himself between the man and the high school student.

Bearded Man lowered his head and noticed a glint on the wristwatch of the person in front of him under the light. He smiled in response and said, “Alright, let’s talk.”

Standing from Li Yue’s perspective, he could only see the bearded man whose face was partially obscured and the back of the stranger who had suddenly appeared in front of him.

Regarding Zhou Kaiji’s situation, because he often frequented the office, he knew a bit about it. What he remembered most clearly was that Zhou Kaiji’s parents had passed away, and he had no relatives, and he had been living alone for years.

—Let alone having a guardian.

But this person did claim to be so. The other few people didn’t seem to have any objections either, or perhaps they had shifted their focus, regardless of whether this person was related to Zhou Kaiji.

After a brief conversation, the group prepared to leave. Bearded Man enthusiastically mentioned that his house was just across the nearby alley, where the ledger was, and they could sit down and talk there.

Li Yue was completely forgotten, and the bearded man and the others no longer paid much attention to him. He watched them leave and couldn’t help but reach out, grabbing the coat of the person in front.

Noticing his action, Bearded Man turned his head back, grinned as if he were laughing, but it sent a chill down one’s spine for no apparent reason, and said, “It’s not safe at night. Classmate, don’t go looking for people to chat with, and don’t take detours. Hurry home.”

The coat slipped from his hand as the group walked away, heading towards the dimly lit alley where their voices faded into the cold night wind.

“The watch you’re wearing should…”

The figures of the group disappeared into the alley, and along with them, the sound also became indistinct, leaving Li Yue standing alone in place.


The alley was dim, cluttered with various items and debris, quiet except for the sound of footsteps, rustling clothes, and occasionally kicking something by accident.

Bearded Man’s hands casually emerged from his pockets, as if chatting, and he said, “Why haven’t I seen you before, friend?”

At least until now, they had never heard of Zhou Kaiji having any guardian, nor had they seen this person before. This person had a striking appearance, the kind you wouldn’t forget after just one glance.

Yesterday, they went to the old residential area where Zhou Kaiji used to live, but they didn’t encounter anyone. They heard from the locals that he had probably moved away, as they hadn’t seen him for a long time, so they came to wait at the school gate.

They had waited here before as well, but every time they let the person slip away. This time, they planned to find out which class he was in and then go directly to him. Unexpectedly, they caught a big fish—although the bearded man didn’t have much money, he enjoyed studying various watches and could easily identify their value at a glance.

Chen Luosong said, “Newly appointed.”

“Do you know about Zhou Kaiji owing a lot of money?” Bearded Man asked.

Chen Luosong replied, “I have some understanding.”

They were now quite far from the entrance of the alley. Bearded Man looked down at where the person’s watch was in the darkness, stopped walking, and said, “He owes way too much. Let me tell you about it.”

Without mentioning the nonexistent ledger at the person’s home, the person standing loosely took off their scarf quietly and replied, “Sure.”

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