Part of a Your Most Faithful Companion translation project at fruitydeer.com.
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Source: 不止是顆菜 by Bu Zhi Shi Ke Cai // Translated By: Xin (fruitydeer)
Edit: Sorry, end of week + weekend update isn’t happening. I’m not home at the moment and the internet speed where I currently am really isn’t cutting it. Will get back on it once I have some steady internet service!
Part two is here! It’s been busy, busy, busy over here, but I’m going to work on posting part three on Thursday so we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming by this weekend.
The Frontier Poet x Little Golden Canary:
Childhood Playmates Alternate Universe (Part 2)
Soon came the day in which exams were to be returned and results would be announced.
Before the exams were distributed, within Ji Ming Shu’s heart still existed hope for a fluke. She thought to herself: What if the teacher’s eyesight went bad and they didn’t notice that she didn’t even read the question correctly? Or how about, the teacher saw that she racked her brains and wrote out an entire 800 words, thus discretely chose to give her a low, yet still-passing score?
But once the exams were returned, her fantasies were thoroughly shattered by the words “See Me Later” circled in red pen on the top of her essay.
During literature class, the teacher even used her as a case in point, heavily criticizing the commonly occurring phenomenon of people not paying attention to the exam prompt. Then, they went on to rattle on about this for the entire class period.
In utter boredom, Ji Ming Shu twisted her pen with an expression of “please go on presenting your speech as you wish, consider it my surrender,” perfectly enacting a look of unaffected calmness.
But in reality, she could not have been more anxious. Not only did she have a lapse in her essay this time, but all her other subjects turned out disastrously.
Parent-teacher conferences were being held next week and she could already imagine the scene of her first and second uncle refusing to attend the the parent-teacher conferences after the exam scores were sent home, each pushing the responsibility onto the other so as to avoid facing embarrassment.
If they were not willing to attend and pushed responsibilities towards each other, then so be it. But the crux of the matter was that after they were done pushing, the brothers would be of one mind in targeting her with an onslaught of disapproval, listing out each of her crimes one by one with severe criticism.
Ji Ming Shu quietly simmered in worry for the better half of a day, all the way until the last section in the afternoon when the class meeting was held. As was customary, the class meeting this Friday would consist of the homeroom teacher coming over and making some concluding remarks about the exam before going on to distribute invitations for the parent-teacher conferences. It was evident that the students were all used to this sequence of events. All of their conversations revolved around this matter.
But after the homeroom teacher came in and finished summing up the exam, he suddenly leaned his hand against the podium and announced, “And there’s one more thing to tell everyone, the grade’s department has looked into it and decided that next week’s parent-teacher conference won’t be conducted for now.”
Right as he finished speaking, the little sparrows below began to soar, flapping their wings while chirping and chittering.
The homeroom teacher pushed his glasses back, striking the podium while scolding harshly: “What’s with the noise!” He stood straight, hands behind his back. “Not conducting them for now doesn’t mean they’ll never be held! Your grades are your own. It does not mean that your grades aren’t bad just because parent-teacher conferences are not being held!”
Even though the homeroom teacher’s words were indeed correct, as the proverb explains even better, when the boat reaches the the bridge, it will naturally straighten.1 Even if just for a day, a day is still a day.
After class, the little sparrows who had restrained themselves to a moment of silence after getting yelled at all began to chirp.
“Why are they suddenly not holding them anymore?”
“Who cares, it’s a great that they aren’t being held, ah.”
“Luckily they aren’t holding them, right now I sort of…sort of feel like I’ve escaped with my life, you know? I was honestly so scared.”
“Ai, I heard that today, the department head of the third year high school students came to cause trouble for our grade’s department head. Do you guys think it had anything to do with the parent-teacher conferences?”
Hearing this little sliver of news, Ji Ming Shu’s ears perked. Her motions of packing her schoolbag even slowed down.
“Even the principal came, did you guys not know?”
“No, what happened?”
“I don’t know, I’ll go ask Dong Yan.”
Dong Yan was the class’ sports commissioner, and an all-knowing one at that. With just a short moment of effort, he had already scuttled off to the another class and inquired after the gossip before scuttling back at top speed.
Dong Yan had been chasing Ji Ming Shu all along, and right now his thoughts seemed to be set on impressing the girl with his god-like powers. Upon returning to the classroom, he sat near Ji ming Shu, his chin angled slightly towards her while feigning nonchalance as he announced to everyone: “It’s actually nothing much. The third years pressed for it, saying that us first years are too noisy and that we’re affecting their preparation for college entrance exams. Aren’t those guys all ancestors2 right now? The school is undoubtedly being completely deferential towards them. It’s said that the school is going to install soundproofing for them or something this weekend and that they won’t let us hold our parent-teacher conferences prior to the entrance exams.”
So that was what happened.
Everyone came to a sudden understanding.
In actuality, the prep school’s first year teaching building had always been left idle. The distance between the first year’s teaching building and third year’s teaching building was really just too close. Any time there was some sort of wind or noise on either building, there would be a disturbance caused to the other building. But Qin Si Hall, which had been used in place of the first years teaching building, was being renovated this year, so there was no choice but to once again utilize the decommissioned first year’s building.
It was said that once it started getting used again, the third year students’ complaints only grew louder and louder. Given that they likely needed some way to relieve the stress of the upcoming entrance exam, everyone could sympathize. Morever, it was thanks to them that their parent-teacher conferences were cancelled at the last minute. So nobody had complaints towards their academic seniors.
However, Ji Ming Shu felt that things were definitely not that simple. Though she was absent-mindedly packing her things away, she heard everything she needed to hear. It was when Dong Yan mentioned the third year experimental class that she instantly thought of the “I’ll think of a solution,” that Cen Sen had mentioned.
So this was the solution he thought of?
After school at the bike shed.
Cen Sen instinctually received Ji Ming Shu’s schoolbag, then replied with an “mn” in response to her question.
Ji Ming Shu was a little giddy, her index fingers hooked together behind her back as Cen Sen pushed the bike past the speed bump. Spirits high, Ji Ming Shu followed along on her tippy toes. Once they got to flat ground, she took the initiative of sitting sideways on the back seat.
Cen Sen turned his head slightly to the back. Seeing a dazzling flash of fairness, he suddenly furrowed his brows faintly.
Ji Ming Shu did not detect anything and even habitually hugged him at the waist. Cen Sen: “Let go.”
Ji Ming Shu blanked for a moment, but her body seemed to react faster than her brain and she obediently let go, arms awkwardly dangling in midair. In that moment, she wasn’t sure whether to turn back around completely or hold her hands up as if in surrender.
Cen Sen: “First get off the bike.”
Ji Ming Shu listened and got off.
At this point, she started feeling a little guilty for some odd reason. Just as she was about to start frantically thinking over whether she had done something to offend Cen Sen or if he had discovered that she was keeping something from him, Cen Sen also got off the bike.
The zipper to his uniform was pulled all the way down. He removed his jacket, then walked a little closer and slowly, meticulously tied it around her waist.
His voice was slow and refined, even carrying with it emotions that were hard to discern, “No more shortening your uniform’s skirt.”
Ji Ming Shu looked up. Immediately, she seemed to understand those feelings of his. At the height of midsummer, the evening breeze had a thread of refreshing coolness that swept over from the lakeside. She suddenly stood on the tips of her toes, her chin tilted upwards as she asked deliberately: “Why? Do my legs not look good?”
Cen Sen’s lashes swept downwards and his voice seemed to drop all of a sudden. It was even a little hoarse. “They look good.”
The two were looking face to face. Ji Ming Shu told herself to keep it together, but after only a few seconds, she could no longer keep the corners of her lips from curving upwards.
The tips of her ears began to burn, and she turned around to stand next to the back seat of the bike, replying blithely, “Fine, I won’t do it next time.”
There were many downhill slopes that were quite steep on the way from the prep school back to Nan Qiao East Lane. The glow of dusk left silhouettes all along the road as Ji Ming Shu prattled on from the back of the bike. Every time they reached a slope, she would hug Cen Sen tightly, even seizing the opportunity to lean against his back. Yet, this didn’t seem to be enough. At times, she would even nuzzle her little cheek against him in secret. Other times, she purposely used her chin to knock at him. That long road seemed to have no end. And for a moment, a strange thought even emerged in her mind, hoping that this road truly had no end.
Translator’s Note: Ji Ming Shu is so adorable in those last few paragraphs. Sure, she’s a young girl on the cusp of love. But she’s also just a young girl, so she’s bound to have bouts of immaturity and silliness