First Published on Chaleuria
106 – The First Exam Venue
Old Tang finished talking about additional classes and opened his literature textbook. He thought he still had plenty of time and was going to go over a classical poem with the class, but little did he know that morning self-study was already almost over.
“Has it been so long?”
Old Tang was both confused and conflicted, but he had to pick up his tea mug and walk out. “I just said a couple things…”
He Zhao stretched lazily, his hand lifting and coming to rest at the back of his head. He smiled and said, “Sir, that was more than a couple things. You don’t know yourself very well yet.”
“Stop bullshitting.” Tang Sen smiled as well and said, “Remember to bring your and Xie Yu’s homework by later. I’ll grade them individually.”
He Zhao waited for Old Tang to walk out, then dropped his hand and knocked on Xie Yu’s desk. “I didn’t finish it. Where’s yours? Can I borrow it?”
At the mention of homework, Xie Yu frowned and said, “You think I did mine?”
He Zhao said, “You didn’t?”
How could I have done it.
How dare you ask.
Xie Yu internally cursed.
It had been very late by the time they finished watching the film yesterday. He Zhao had closed the door and gone on about ‘sleeping together,’ and Xie Yu had eventually relented since he couldn’t out-talk him. “All right, let’s sleep. Don’t make a fuss.”
His boyfriend’s approval wasn’t enough. He Zhao waited outside the bathroom door the whole time Xie Yu was in the bathroom and showering.
It was too dark in the dorm room.
The 1.85m tall boy turned on his phone’s flashlight, his back to the bathroom door.
“Are you done showering?”
“How about this? Can I go in and wait for you?”
Xie Yu was exasperated. He shut his eyes, water flowing down his face.
Then he turned his head and forcefully pressed the showerhead lever down. He reached for the dry towel he had put to one side and said, “Come in. Just try coming in and see if you get out alive.”
He hurried him so much just for a shower. Xie Yu, on the other hand, wanted to finish his homework before going to bed.
But had the idiot given him the chance?
He Zhao clearly remembered what he had done last night. He coughed lightly and changed the subject. “How about this? Let’s split the work. You do math and I’ll do the rest.”
Xie Yu had no objections to this division of labor.
They both did the homework quickly. By the time the first chemistry period was half over, they had finished most of the homework for the various subjects.
He Zhao was left with two English passages to translate and he still tried to explain himself as he wrote. “Ge is still a strong man, but there are many unexpected things in life. Maybe Heaven didn’t want me to be too perfect…”
Xie Yu was erasing his diagrams, about to start over with a new approach.
Old Wu had given them difficult questions recently, as if trying to give them a hard time. Xie Yu had been stuck on the last question for nearly ten minutes. When he heard He Zhao, he turned and threw the eraser. “Perfect, my ass. Can you shut up?”
The moment the chemistry teacher packed up his things and left at the end of the period, the last row of the classroom broke out in a fight.
“Fighting again?” Liu Cunhao was about to get up and collect homework, but when he heard the commotion he glanced at the back row. “Our two big bros are so passionate today?”
Luo Wenqiang folded up his mock paper and fanned himself. “Aren’t they warm?”
Liu Cunhao said, “Why don’t you go and turn on the fan for them, then?”
Near June, the weather was gradually growing hotter.
Another year, another summer.
He Zhao often really wanted to strip naked in his own dorm room, and walked about in front of Xie Yu all the time with his clothes in disarray. At first, Xie Yu had commented on it, but eventually he let him be.
He couldn’t beat him in shamelessness.
When Gu Xuelan occasionally called Xie Yu, she discovered that her son’s dorm room had grown much rowdier.
Before they could exchange a couple sentences, she would hear her son say, tone frustrated but also accommodating, “Don’t make a fuss,” or “Can you go away.”
Gu Xuelan paused and couldn’t keep herself from asking, “Who is that?”
“Roommate. My deskmate. He moved here a while ago.” Xie Yu lifted a hand to press at his forehead; he felt a headache coming on. Seeing Gu Xuelan still had no reaction, he continued, “—The one who always scored bottom of the year.”
Now Gu Xuelan remembered, somewhat.
He Zhao had finished sunning his clothes and walked back from the balcony.
He Zhao wasn’t shy around strangers at all. He opened his mouth to greet her and hearing Xie Yu call her ‘Mom,’ he nearly followed suit. Only when his waist was pinched did he change what he was about to say. “…Hello, Aunt.”
Gu Xuelan chatted with Xie Yu’s ‘roommate’ through the phone line.
He Zhao’s voice was bright and he was a good conversationalist, so people quickly warmed to him.
Xie Yu said, “Mom…”
Gu Xuelan was currently chatting up a storm with He Zhao and ignored her own son. “Let He Zhao come to the phone. I want to chat with him. You can keep doing your homework.”
Xie Yu: “……”
He Zhao stood behind Xie Yu, one hand on Xie Yu’s shoulder. When he heard this, he took the phone and said quietly, “Don’t be jealous. Your ge used to be famous for being friends with all the middle-aged ladies in a ten-mile radius.”
Xie Yu ignored him.
With people his own age, He Zhao’s EQ was negative.
But he could establish a presence among middle-aged women.
Gu Xuelan took the rare opportunity to chat with someone Xie Yu’s age. “Xie Yu has a bad temper. If he’s offended you, you don’t have to take it… I know what he’s like.”
He Zhao glanced at him and smiled. “His temper is a little quick.”
Gu Xuelan said, “Yeah. I don’t know who he took after.”
It was not yet hot enough to need the air-conditioning, so Xie Yu got up to open the window.
Wind blew in through the cracks, gust after gust, and he felt much more clearheaded facing the breeze.
“All right.” Xie Yu snatched his phone and said, “Are you done?”
Before Gu Xuelan hung up the phone, she continued, “When are the end-of-term tests? Soon, right? Although your grades weren’t bad last time, you can’t get cocky…”
Counting the days on one’s fingers, the end-of-term exams weren’t far away.
Rumor had it the end-of-term tests would be even more formal than the midterm tests. A combined exam of all four schools was child’s play. This time, all the high schools in A City might be taking the same exam.
Early in the morning, to the sound of the fan turning in the broadcast room, Dean Jiang added to the hot summer heat. “Students, the end-of-term exams are upon us. Are you prepared? Competition is cruel and those who do not strive hard will be eliminated. You have to fight your hardest! Fight! Burn, like the sun!”
Groans filled the dormitory building. “I really have to thank you.”
“The weather is terrible. Even if I don’t move I might spontaneously combust…”
Xie Yu felt a headache coming on.
He stayed in bed for a while, then got up, about to go and wash up. He only got up halfway before a certain person still lazing in bed stretched out an arm and pulled him over.
“Sleep a while more.” He Zhao didn’t open his eyes and said in a hoarse voice, “…Don’t move so much.”
Mad Dog’s broadcast could be heard all the way from the dorm building to the classroom building.
“After the last exam, there were many changes to the exam venues. And the two students who massacred your way out of the last exam venue, continue with your momentum and rush forward! Work miracles! Nothing is impossible!”
The two students who had massacred their way out of the last exam venue were currently in a life-and-death fight on the bed.
At first, Xie Yu just wanted to push him away, but He Zhao refused to let go and, after a little back-and-forth, the struggle changed its tone.
He Zhao’s chest was half visible, the look in his eyes dark and indiscernible. His shirt fell downward and Xie Yu could see the outline of He Zhao’s abs hidden beneath his clothes.
“I said don’t move.”
“Then stop rutting.”
He Zhao sighed before levering himself up and off his boyfriend’s body.
Erzhong placed a lot of importance on the upcoming end-of-term exams.
In summer, the weather was hot and dry. On the food street outside school, the banners were burned beneath the sun, the gold words flashing.
They were still the same old phrases. The restaurants had gotten their exam banners all at the same time, and they brought them out and hung them up at the same time every year.
—Get good grades!
—Welcome the end of term! 20% storewide discount!
The pressure of the looming exams lasted until exam day. On the day itself, everyone silently arranged their tables and chairs and went to their assigned exam venues, to their deaths.
The process of moving seats was fairly calm and organized.
Xie Yu flipped through the questions he had gotten wrong before and considered it revision. It took no more than five minutes.
Over the intercom, the exam announcements were played twice.
“Hello, everyone. Before I go, I’ll read out my will.” Liu Cunhao had his exam materials with him as he stood at the podium saying weakly, “If I unfortunately pass away, my max-level mage in Genesis will be given unconditionally to my good bro Wan Da.”
Wan Da said, “Hao-zi, although you’re being ridiculous, I’m actually a little touched?”
Liu Cunhao continued tragically, “My No. 24 basketball jersey, my religion—will be given to my good bro Luo Wenqiang.”
Luo Wenqiang got up and bowed to the podium, getting deep into character. “…I’ll keep it safe!”
“What about Old Xie and I?”
He Zhao looked at the scene for a long time and was amused. He raised his voice. “We’re not bros?”
Liu Cunhao’s initially faint voice now increased 80% in volume. He exploded on the spot. “You, from the first exam venue, in seat No. 2, have no right to anything I bequeath! And the guy next to you, too! Neither of you have inheritance rights!”
He Zhao: “……”
Xie Yu: “……”
Liu Cunhao wasn’t the only person whose emotions were in upheaval. Everyone in the first exam venue felt that they were dreaming.
The first exam venue… the people in it were always the same, none of them cheated, and they faced every exam venue solemnly and sincerely. But this time they warily welcomed the two school tyrants.
The first exam venue was already full of people, aside from the first two seats in the first column, which were still empty.
The other students looked at the two empty spots and whispered, “It’s really the two of them?”
“My hands are shaking a little.”
“Students, take note. The exam will begin in five minutes. Please return to your exam venues…”
As the broadcast began, the sounds of chattering suddenly stopped.
Year 2, Class 1.
Xie Yu walked in front. When he got to the venue, he glanced at the sign on the door.
—Then he reached out and pushed open the door to the first exam venue.
The Fake Slackers Vol. 1 ebook has been released! Check it out on Amazon.