When had Lin ChengYu ever suffered this kind of aggravation from Jiang Xiao?

In his previous life, from the first moment they met he was held in the palm of Jiang Xiao’s hand.
Jiang Xiao put him first in everything.
He was well-known for his cheerfulness, warmth, and humanity, and for treating people well.
He had a lot of friends.
But for all the kindness he gave to others, it was only half of what he gave to Lin ChengYu.

Lin ChengYu was used to being Jiang Xiao’s one and only, the person he prioritized the most.
He knew he’d done wrong before.
He never should have let Jiang Xiao end up in despair, pouring out his heart’s blood for nothing in return.
Lin ChengYu had come to Houlin to repay the mistakes of his last life.
He wanted to make amends for what happened, but he also craved the love and care Jiang Xiao used to give him.

He wanted the person he liked to fall in love with him.
Wouldn’t anyone?

But now he saw Jiang Xiao treating other people better than himself.
Even worse, the first time they met Jiang Xiao had treated him with cold indifference as if he wasn’t even there.
When Lin ChengYu saw this, the jealousy and anger in his heart swept through him all at once.
He bit his teeth until he tasted blood, and only by clenching his fists could he suppress his emotions.

It’s okay.
It’s okay.

He tried to console himself.
They’d just met for the first time, and Jiang Xiao wasn’t alone like in his last life.
He was still in school.
With his personality, it was normal for him to have friends and classmates he knew well.

But why was he smiling at that boy like that! What were they passing back and forth? They were standing too close to each other, right in broad daylight!

Lin ChengYu thought that classmates ought to stay two meters apart!

He stood in place, furious.
When Jiang Xiao passed by, Lin ChengYu wanted to pull him away, but he did his best to suppress the urge.

How could a normal person have such a strong sense of possessiveness the first time they met? Only a mental case would act like that.
He’d frighten people.

Everything would be okay.
When Jiang Xiao transferred to Liujiang to be with him, this person wouldn’t come along.

After Jiang Xiao met Lin HeYuan, he really didn’t care about Lin ChengYu standing there.
He didn’t think about it again until he got home and they parted.

Forget it, let him be.
Anyway, Lin ChengYu didn’t follow them.

He and Xia WanWan had a new routine—the first person to come home would be the one to cook.
Jiang Xiao came back a little later this time.
When he arrived, Xia WanWan’s noodle soup was ready.
She’d also made two poached eggs for Jiang Xiao.
Leftovers from lunch accompanied the soup, served with crisp radish pickled a few days before.
With one bite, Jiang Xiao had no worries left at all.

It was good just to eat his fill.

When people return to their youth, their mentality is also young.
He could become happy just by eating until he was full.

Xia WanWan watched her son obediently bowing his head and eating noodles.
She couldn’t help but smile with her eyes.
After she learned he was going out to earn money, she’d cried several times.
But Jiang Xiao had a serious talk with her.

“Mom is the most important person to me now,” he said.
“I’m doing my best to make sure my mother can afford medical treatment and live a better life.
Mom, if you don’t want me going out and earning money, take good care of your health.
Then I won’t be so worried.”

Xia WanWan couldn’t persuade him.
After a while, she came to accept it.

Since then, she no longer shied away from doctors.
She went to the hospital for checkups and took medicine on schedule instead of trying to save money.
She also followed the doctor’s advice to get proper exercise when she had the opportunity.
Her mentality had improved and she kept up with the treatment.
She looked very different from two months ago.

Her son was so motivated and hard-working.
How could she leave him behind?

Jiang Xiao noticed she was reading professional books about accounting in her spare time.
Xia WanWan was trained as an accountant, and her current level of knowledge was sufficient for the small company where she was employed.
She’d worked there more than ten years, but her salary wasn’t high.
After she got married, she was pampered and never had to worry about money.
At the time she paid more attention to her family.
She didn’t expect to be promoted in the company, so she just finished her work and that was it.
Now she was nearly forty years old, and she thought about progressing in her career.

In fact, when Xia WanWan was young, it wasn’t easy to get into a vocational college.
Back then college students were rare animals.
She was a top student in terms of academic ability and achievement, but her family wasn’t supportive.
She also had to spend time working everywhere to pay tuition fees.
Jiang Xiao did well in school before, and probably inherited her talent.

Jiang Xiao’s mother supported him through everything, but now she didn’t have to worry about him as much.
She didn’t think about his activities any more.
As long as a person had a goal, he would be lively and energetic.

In the midst of all these things, only the sudden appearance of Lin ChengYu was a surprise.

After Jiang Xiao finished eating, he went to self-study in the evening.
Notes from Lin HeYuan were on top of the desk, and beef jerky from Lin HeYuan was inside the desk.
Jiang Xiao concentrated on studying and didn’t have time to care about other things.
He didn’t know someone stood outside the school building a long time, looking up at the lights in the classroom.
When self-study ended in the evening, the person left with reluctance.

The next morning, Jiang Xiao finally found out about Lin ChengYu’s “big surprise”.

During the morning study period, the head teacher called him out of class.
Jiang Xiao had been working hard lately, so the head teacher was pleasant to him.

“Something good is happening,” she told Jiang Xiao with a smile.
“After you hear everything, go back and discuss it with your family.”

When Jiang Xiao walked into the academic affairs office, he saw Lin ChengYu sitting in the middle, next to the teaching director and the vice principal of the grade.
When Lin ChengYu saw him come in, his smile became more obvious.

“Is this Jiang Xiao?” he asked.
“He looks so bright and motivated.
Coincidentally, I met him yesterday helping a stranger in the street.
What a compassionate person.
The Lin family has always had special funds for charity.
It’s also our pleasure to be able to sponsor such students.
Classmate Jiang, we met yesterday.
Do you remember me?”

His words were dignified and modest, and his smile was impeccable.
His last sentence was to Jiang Xiao.

Jiang Xiao glanced at him.
“Don’t remember, I forgot.”

There was a moment of silence in the office.

“That’s okay.
Classmate Jiang did a good deed without leaving his name.
It’s enough that I remember.” Lin ChengYu didn’t feel embarrassed at all.
His smile brightened.
“Let’s get down to business.”

The vice principal sitting beside him followed his lead and told Jiang Xiao about the funded project.
The envy beneath his words was obvious.

To be able to leave Houlin for Liujiang while Yongjiang Company picked up the tuition, fees, and living expenses—it was quite a lucky break.

Jiang Xiao listened, but his face wasn’t good.

“I’m not going,” he said.
“Thanks for your concern, but my family isn’t suffering, not enough to accept subsidies.
My grades haven’t been that good either.
To be the first person in junior high to enroll in such a program is a rare opportunity.
I think it should be given to someone more suitable.”

Lin ChengYu really was aiming for him.
Maybe he felt guilty after his rebirth.
After all, his death from cancer was quite tragic.
It probably was impossible to live with someone more than ten years and not have any feelings at all.

But Jiang Xiao didn’t need a handout.
He didn’t want to study in Liujiang, and he didn’t want to depend on Lin ChengYu in this life.
To put it plainly, Jiang Xiao didn’t want to see him again.

“Is there anything else?” After Jiang Xiao refused, he stood up and was ready to leave.
“I have to memorize this morning’s self-study lesson.
If there’s nothing else I’ll go back to the classroom.”

He turned around and left.
Lin ChengYu didn’t think he’d resist so much and suddenly felt overwhelmed.
He sprang to his feet.
The head teacher didn’t stop Jiang Xiao.
The balding teaching director followed him out while the vice principal urged, “He’s just young and rebellious.
Go persuade him.”

The teaching director lowered his fierce face and grunted lightly.

The vice principal turned to reassure Lin ChengYu, and only then did his face relax.
“Don’t worry, it’s a good idea.
Jiang Xiao will listen to his teacher.”

The teaching director also had classroom assignments.
Back when Jiang Xiao had good grades, he was in the teaching director’s math class.
When Jiang Xiao saw him following, he politely greeted Teacher Li, then repeated his position.
“I’m not going.
I like No.
3 Junior High and I’m staying here.”

“You don’t have to argue with me.” The teaching director, with his hands behind his back and a serious face, glanced at him.
“It’s good that you’re thinking clearly about what you want.
As for the scholarship program, Vice Principal Chen got a notice about it from the upper levels.
Of course they said a lot of nice things, but your head teacher is young and bought into it with just a few words.
To me it all sounds strange.
I don’t think it’s as good as it sounds.”

There were piles of supporting documents and all the formalities were complete.
Yongjiang Company was a big company.
It wasn’t reasonable to think they’d go to all this trouble to cheat a fifteen-year-old junior high student.
That’s what made it puzzling.

In this world there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and nothing ever comes cheap.


TL Notes:

pour out his heart’s blood – 心血 – heart’s blood, painstaking care or effort, the painstaking labor of one’s whole lifetime, expend all one’s energy

Transliterated names, titles, and places—new in this chapter:

Classmate Jiang – 姜同学 Teacher Li – 李老师 – Alternatively: Mr.
Li Vice Principal Chen – 陈副校 – Alternatively: Mr.
Chen, Deputy Head Chen, Vice President Chen

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