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It was a day in the classroom, and everyone was studying diligently during the evening self-study session. The usual whispered conversations were nowhere to be heard. It felt as if a pin dropping to the floor could be heard.

However, when the physics teacher, who sat at the front, temporarily left, a low buzzing sound filled the classroom.

Ji Ran, holding a pen, stared at her notebook with intense concentration, as if she were solving a complex math problem. She continued this until she gently set the pen down and sighed softly.

It’s too difficult.

Writing a self reflection is really difficult.

Ji Ran looked at the three words she had written on her notes: “self-reflection.”

In her previous life, Ji Ran was not only an outstanding student but also the study idol that teachers and classmates looked up to. To put it simply, if she wanted to rank first, she would definitely not rank second, especially in subjects like mathematics, where she consistently scored full marks on her high school exams.

Unfortunately, Ji Ran did not take the college entrance exam in the end. According to the plans made by Pei Yuan, she was supposed to go abroad for further studies after graduating from high school. She had been admitted to a foreign university before the college entrance exam, and later, due to Pei Yuan’s arrangements, she participated in various charity activities to build her resume, so she did not take the exam.

In her previous life, Ji Ran couldn’t even recognize anyone who had ever written a self-reflection, let alone write one herself.

Now, she realized that being a poor student was also this difficult. Just writing a self-reflection had already stumped her.

At this moment, Shen Zhi, who was sitting nearby, looked up from his phone and watched Ji Ran’s distressed expression with great interest.

Under the bright incandescent light in the classroom, she had a neat, single ponytail, revealing her soft and delicate profile. She seemed deep in thought, and her lips were lightly bitten by her teeth.

After a while, she raised her hand to support her chin, and her fingertips gently tapped her cheeks.

The buzzing sound in the surroundings continued.

But Shen Zhi was quietly gazing at her, as if his gaze had been enchanted. He first focused on her fingertips, and suddenly, his mind returned to a scene from earlier in the day.

When a breeze blew past him, the young girl in front of him blushed.

Shen Zhi continued to gaze at her cheeks, feeling a bit unrestrained, with a tumultuous feeling in his heart. Subconsciously, Shen Zhi wanted to get closer to her, to smell the faint and sweet fragrance on her, and to touch her once again.

Their proximity was like poison; once touched, it was hard to quit.

Shen Zhi had been trying to control himself, not wanting to approach her too quickly and scare her off. She was so cautious, like a little fox, always on high alert, and he had finally managed to get closer to her.

He was genuinely afraid of scaring her away.

But he couldn’t help it. When she smiled at him with her soft, adorable face, the taste in his heart was indescribably sweet.

He really wanted to get closer to her, and it wasn’t just about touching her hand.

He wanted to kiss her.

When Ji Ran noticed his unapologetic scrutiny from the side and turned her head slightly to look at the young man who was staring at her, she couldn’t help but murmur, “What are you doing?”

“I just want to see how far you’ve written.” Shen Zhi reached out to grab her notebook.

There was only a small distance between them since they were sitting at the same desk, so he could even tell how much she had written without taking her notebook.

Still, he took her notebook into his hands. The young girl’s notebook was beautifully decorated, with a macaron-pink cover featuring a cute unicorn.

It had a faint scent to it.

Shen Zhi suddenly burst into laughter, finding it somewhat incredible that the young girl’s notebook was so soft and cute.

Seeing him laugh, Ji Ran thought he might be making fun of her for not having written a single word so far. So she reached out and took her notebook back. However, in her haste, her fingers brushed against his wrist.

Shen Zhi didn’t grip her hand tightly, allowing her to take it back.

As Ji Ran lowered her head, no longer intending to pay attention to this eccentric person, she heard him speak softly, “How about you ask me nicely?”

Ji Ran turned to look at him, her big, bright eyes filled with confusion.

It wasn’t until Shen Zhi calmly said, “Ask me nicely, and I’ll teach you how to write a self-reflection.”

Ji Ran: “…”

How can there be such shameless people in this world?

She angrily held onto her notebook, perhaps wanting more to throw it at this person’s face, along with a lesson on not pushing one’s luck. But Ji Ran clenched the notebook, pinching her fingertips, and eventually obediently spread the book in front of her.

Ji Ran finally understood why she always lost to Shen Zhi. Perhaps the phrase “no shame” was engraved in his bones from the very beginning. Even the grown-up Shen Zhi, hiding this trait behind a handsome facade, was now displaying it more shamelessly in this not-yet-evolved version of him.

Ji Ran looked dejectedly at the notebook with only the words “self-reflection” in front of her. She lost because she cared too much about her pride.

Since she knew that he had caused trouble in the broadcasting room for her sake, she decided to be lenient with the self-reflection.

So Ji Ran picked up her pen again, the tip of the pen resting on the notebook. Finally, the person next to her let out a sigh and said softly, “I won’t make it difficult for you anymore. I’ll say a sentence, and then you write a sentence.”

Ji Ran breathed a sigh of relief into her heart.

“I am Shen Zhi.” Shen Zhi lazily completed the four words, glancing sideways at Ji Ran.

Ji Ran held her pen and wrote these four words in the notebook. Her handwriting was particularly beautiful—not the delicate and gentle style of a girl, but rather bold and striking.

It has to be said that Pei Yuan’s training of Ji Ran was truly comprehensive. Ji Ran had been practicing calligraphy and brushwork from a young age. Whether it was Ji’s family elders or the Pei family elders, they all loved to have Ji Ran write couplets and “Blessing” characters during the New Year.

When she wrote essays, she always received extra points for her handwriting.

He stared at the name Ji Ran wrote, “Shen Zhi,” even though he had written it a million times himself. But this was the first time she had written his name.

Shen Zhi, one with strong determination.

Seeing that he had only said those four words, Ji Ran couldn’t help but look up and ask, “What’s wrong?”

Shen Zhi shook his head and continued, “I shouldn’t have intentionally caused trouble at the school’s broadcasting station during the break because I didn’t want to attend a meeting…”

Ji Ran listened to his deep and melodious voice, writing down each word he said, one by one. But as her pen glided on the notebook, she suddenly felt an indescribable sensation deep within her.

He took everything upon himself.

Shen Zhi did have quite some experience in writing self-reflection, whether it was from previous experience or some other reason, and he had almost completed several hundred words of self-reflection in no time.

As he was finishing up, the physics teacher happened to return and scold the students for talking in class.

Instantly, the classroom fell silent, and the buzzing sound gradually disappeared.

With others keeping quiet, Shen Zhi’s voice became more pronounced as he spoke. So, Ji Ran, while writing, kept her head down and watched the physics teacher to avoid his approach.

Shen Zhi slowly continued, “From now on, I will always…”

Suddenly, he paused.

Ji Ran didn’t pay much attention to it and continued to write the words. She took a brief look around, as sometimes the head teacher would check on the classrooms from the window.

“Like Ji Ran,” his voice abruptly stopped.

Ji Ran had just written the words “like” on her notebook when she finally came to her senses, realizing what Shen Zhi had said.

Ji Ran stared at her notebook; she had already written the first ten words of that sentence, and even the word “Ji” was half-written.

“From now on, I will always like Ji Ran.”

When Ji Ran returned home, she took a shower but had no intention of studying. She lifted her blanket and prepared to sleep. However, after lying in bed for five minutes, she faintly heard some commotion downstairs.

So, Ji Ran turned on the bedside lamp and sat up again.

She felt like she should have a glass of milk to calm down before going to bed.

Ji Ran, wearing slippers, slowly made her way downstairs. It was only when she approached the kitchen that she confirmed that the argument she had heard upstairs was indeed real.

She stood just outside the kitchen door and could hear Jiang Yi’s voice screaming at the top of her lungs.

“I told you I would be staying up late tonight to review my studies. Why didn’t you prepare the bird’s nest soup earlier? I’m hungry now. What do you expect me to eat?”

The aunt who was responsible for cooking in Ji’s family was surnamed Qian, and she replied in a very soft voice, “I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean it. Our bird’s nest ran out, and I haven’t had a chance to buy more.”

Jiang Yi sneered, “What kind of maid are you? Can’t you stock up on things at home that are running out? Or do you think I can eat whatever I want, and it doesn’t matter if we have it or not?”

Ji Ran didn’t immediately enter; she stood at the door, quietly listening.

She just wanted to see what more Jiang Yi could spew from her mouth.

Aunt Zhao, who was nearby, couldn’t help but interject, “Miss Yi, Little Qian didn’t do it on purpose. If you’re hungry, would you like her to cook you a bowl of noodles?”

“Noodles? You want me to eat noodles late at night? Are you trying to turn me into a pig tomorrow?” Jiang Yi refused to budge.

Ever since Ji Ran exposed Jiang Yi in front of Ji Qingli, although there were only the four of them in the living room that day, it’s hard to believe the two maids didn’t eavesdrop. Moreover, afterward, Ji Ran hired a worker to change the locks on her bedroom and dressing room doors.

Currently, only Aunt Zhao has access to these two rooms; not even Ji Qingli has the keys. Ji Ran’s blatant anti-thief attitude not only made it unbearable for Jiang Yi but also cast a shadow on Jiang Liqi’s face.

However, Ji Qingli didn’t stop Ji Ran from changing the locks, leaving Jiang Yi to swallow her grievances. In these past few days, whenever she came home and saw the house staff, she felt that they looked at her with unusual eyes—the kind of eyes that mocked her.

Originally, she kept her feelings bottled up, but today, because there was no bird’s nest soup for her to eat, she took the opportunity to vent her frustrations on the housemaids.

Ji Qingli and Jiang Liqi had just flown to Europe a couple of days ago. It was said that Ji Qingli had business to attend to, but Jiang Liqi had tagged along, possibly for a leisurely trip. They probably wouldn’t be back for ten days to two weeks.

So, Jiang Yi could make as much fuss as she wanted at home, not afraid that the elders would hear. Furthermore, these housemaids were usually under Jiang Liqi’s supervision, and they couldn’t turn things around.

Aunt Zhao, feeling helpless, said, “Miss Yi, then what would you like to eat?”

“Miss Yi?” Jiang Yi had long been dissatisfied with this title. This Aunt Zhao was quite shrewd, addressing Ji Ran as “Miss” and referring to Jiang Yi as “Miss Yi.” This was basically telling everyone that she was nothing more than a freeloader.

Jiang Yi stared at Aunt Zhao with malice and said, “What’s the purpose of calling me that? Let me tell you, you need to understand the current situation. My mother is Mrs. Ji, and I am also a young lady of the Ji family.”

Aunt Zhao had known she would be difficult, but she didn’t expect her to reveal her true colors as soon as Mr. Ji left.

Aunt Zhao had worked as a maid in wealthy households for a long time and had seen her fair share of ups and downs. She had witnessed mistresses rise from being the third wives to the first wives, eventually being replaced by the fourth wives. People who suddenly became rich from being poor were one thing, but acting arrogant with someone else’s money was a different story.

What kind of nonsense was this?

Aunt Zhao’s eyes revealed a hint of disdain, but she was also shrewd. She whispered, “Tell me what you want to eat, and I’ll have little Qian make it for you right away.”

If she didn’t want to be called “Miss Yi,” they could simply avoid any address.

Jiang Yi, frustrated, was about to swing a slap, but her raised hand couldn’t come down because Ji Ran had grabbed her wrist from behind.

Aunt Zhao took a step back in fear.

Ji Ran held her wrist and looked at Jiang Yi. Her voice was cold as she asked, “Have you had enough of your madness?”

After saying that, she forcefully shook off Jiang Yi’s wrist. Her strength took Jiang Yi by surprise, and she also took a step back. Ji Ran glanced at the two other maids beside her and said in a low voice, “Do you think you’re someone special? Do you think it’s still a feudal society where you can just hit anyone you want? Even if they are just maids, they work for a salary, not to be humiliated by someone like you.”

Jiang Yi was burning with anger. She wanted to break everything in this place. When her mother returned, she would definitely make her mom fire these two maids. Absolutely.

“They’re on my side, aren’t they?” Ji Ran lightly chuckled and said casually, “You should know your place. You’re only able to stay in this house because you bask in your mother’s glory. Otherwise…”

A contemptuous smile appeared on Ji Ran’s face. “What are you, anyway?”

Jiang Yi was trembling with rage, and the two maids behind Ji Ran remained silent. They were indeed salaried workers, but at this moment, they couldn’t help feeling touched.

To be honest, they had been working for the Ji family for a while, but they had only interacted with Jiang Liqi and her daughter before. Although Jiang Liqi still put on a façade at times, her daughter often acted high and mighty, ordering around the housemaids and drivers.

She behaved like a little miss.

Originally, the maids assumed that the children of wealthy families were all like this.

However, after Ji Ran arrived, the young girl might not speak much, but she had a warm and polite personality. Talking to her always gave people a pleasant feeling, like basking in the warmth of spring.

The two maids working at the Ji household were aware of the complex family dynamics. Initially, they had tried to keep a low profile and avoid getting involved in family disputes. However, after this incident today, they truly understood the difference between a well-bred girl from a genuinely wealthy family and those who had risen from more modest backgrounds.

Indeed, a fake bird can never compare to a real phoenix.


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