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Chapter 37

Ji Ran looked at Shen Zhi, who was still lost in thought, and couldn’t help but reach out and gently shake in front of his eyes. Finally, the handsome man’s eyelids moved slightly, lifting gently, and his black eyes gathered again, looking at her.

“I’m done.” Ji Ran tilted her head. Although her tone was indifferent, there was an indescribable tone.

Because she was the first one to submit the test paper, she would most likely be the first.

Although this preliminary round was just a warm-up, it had been a long time since Ji Ran participated in a sudoku competition, and she was quite excited. Even during the competition, the excitement from the bottom of her heart didn’t stop.

Shen Zhi looked at her as she lifted her head slightly, with a somewhat arrogant look that amused him.

He reached out and lightly touched Ji Ran’s head, smiling and saying, “Impressive.”

Ji Ran suddenly gave him a light stare and murmured softly, “I found that you really like touching my head. Don’t do that in the future.”

Her voice was sweet and soft, with a girlish tone. Even her complaints sounded like coquetry.

Shen Zhi smiled again.

Ji Ran whispered, “Teacher Xu said not to leave early after finishing the game; we have to wait for others here.”

Originally, she meant for Shen Zhi to go first, but he nodded and said, “I’ll stay with you.”

“Or you can go back first…” Ji Ran hesitated.

Shen Zhi quickly understood her thoughts and asked in a low voice, “Are you afraid of being seen with me?”

Ji Ran looked up at him, and the youthful and handsome appearance gradually faded from his eyes, replaced by a growing coldness that seemed to turn into icy indifference, sending shivers down one’s spine.

Shen Zhi whispered, “Even now, are you still afraid of being seen with me? Or do you think I’m not worthy to stand with you?”

Do you still despise someone like me?

Ji Ran opened her mouth, but in the end, she chose silence. The cold wind blew by, and the atmosphere between the two was colder than in the winter.

Do you despise me?

Finally, Shen Zhi said in a low voice, “I’ll leave first.”

He walked towards the exit of the venue, and Ji Ran stood in place, watching his figure get farther and farther away. Various emotions filled her eyes, as if a thick layer of white smoke covered even her innermost thoughts.

She couldn’t see her truest feelings.

When Shen Zhi walked outside the venue, he happened to meet Xue Yirou, who had just come out of the competition.

Xue Yirou didn’t expect to meet Shen Zhi here, and a flash of surprise crossed her face. She blocked his way, saying in a low voice, “Shen Zhi, why are you here?”

Shen Zhi ignored her and walked past her.

Xue Yirou bit her lip. Even though Shen Zhi had shown such obvious dislike for her, she was still unwilling.

The affection one encounters in youth might only be a momentary thing.

But giving up took a very long time.

At least for now, Xue Yirou didn’t want to give up.

She followed behind Shen Zhi and said softly, “The matter with Tang Zhenpeng is that I believe you’re definitely not the kind of person who randomly hits someone. There must be a reason, right?”

When Shen Zhi heard this sentence, he suddenly stopped in his tracks.

Xue Yirou thought he was comforted by her words, immediately showing a joyful expression, ready to speak again.

But she heard Shen Zhi’s icy voice saying, “Do you know the reason I hit him?”

Xue Yirou was slightly stunned and shook her head gently.

She didn’t know.

Shen Zhi sneered, “I just didn’t like him.”

This statement clearly contradicted the reason Xue Yirou had given for him, causing her cheeks to turn red with embarrassment. Soon, Shen Zhi strode away, leaving Xue Yirou standing there, her face flushed.

After standing in the cold wind for a while, Xue Yirou turned around to return to the gym. After taking a few steps, she happened to bump into Ji Ran.

In a flash, Xue Yirou suddenly understood why Shen Zhi was here.

It wasn’t a coincidence; he was here to see Ji Ran.

So she stared straight at Ji Ran with resentment, hatred, and an indescribable sense of jealousy.

The two had not been on good terms since their time on the sudoku team, and Ji Ran could be considered to have entered the team by stepping on Xue Yirou’s toes. However, it wasn’t entirely Ji Ran’s fault, as Xue Yirou had provoked the situation.

With no one around at the moment, Xue Yirou decided to unleash her domineering attitude.

Since nobody could see her, she didn’t need to maintain her image.

She glanced at Ji Ran with a sly expression and said, “So, Shen Zhi was brought over by you. You’re quite impressive.”

Just after Ji Ran had a not-so-small quarrel with Shen Zhi, she was feeling a bit off. As she approached the door, she was suddenly confronted by Xue Yirou’s verbal onslaught.

What, did she look so easy to bully?

Ji Ran casually glanced at her and said, “You should have known about my capabilities a long time ago. Do you feel unsatisfied with being my underling?”


Ji Ran didn’t pay any attention to Xue Yirou, coldly chuckled, and spoke in a low voice, suppressing her tone. “You’d better shut up while I can still talk to you nicely. Otherwise, I’ll make your last miserable experience seem like nothing.”

Xue Yirou, who usually relied on her innocent appearance, had never encountered a real opponent before. Good-looking people weren’t as academically successful as her, and those with better grades weren’t as attractive as her. Naturally, she had become the so-called all-around beauty, effortlessly dominating from middle school to high school.

However, what she didn’t know was that Ji Ran was the pride of the heavens, the most precious gem on the throne. From childhood to adulthood, she had always been a dominant force.

For someone like Xue Yirou, the so-called innocent beauty, Ji Ran had never bothered to pay attention.

Xue Yirou was still in the process of shock when Ji Ran reached out and pushed her aside, saying coldly, “You’re blocking my way.”

She walked out of the gymnasium, not knowing exactly why she had come out. It was quite cold outside. During the competition, her hands had been particularly cold, even though she was in an excited state.

However, her palms were still slightly numb.

But she didn’t want to go back to the gymnasium and see Xue Yirou’s face again. She stood by the flowerbed outside, lowering her head and using her foot to measure the length of the tiles on the ground.

The front of her foot was closely attached to the tip of her back foot, step by step.

While she was desperately rubbing her palms, trying to warm up her almost frozen fingertips, suddenly a hand reached out from the side, directly pulling her palm over, and then a warm object was placed in the palm of her hand.

When the scalding heat reached the center of her palm, she almost sighed from the bottom of her heart.

She looked up, and Shen Zhi was standing beside her, and in her palm was the hand warmer he had just handed over.

Shen Zhi’s face revealed helplessness. “Since it’s so cold, why are you standing here foolishly?”

Ji Ran didn’t expect him not to leave. The next second, Shen Zhi took out two gloves from his pocket and directly placed them on her cheeks, warming her so much that her heart trembled.

“Why are you still…” But when Ji Ran was about to finish her sentence, she closed her mouth.

Shen Zhi smiled and asked, “Why don’t you continue?”

Ji Ran gave him a glare and said softly, “Isn’t it just because I’m afraid that someone has a bad temper, didn’t even listen to the whole sentence, and just left?”

Shen Zhi looked at her quietly.

Ji Ran awkwardly finished her sentence, and finally, she felt a sense of relief in her heart.

When Shen Zhi said he would leave first because he didn’t want others to see them together, she didn’t deny having that thought. However, it wasn’t for the reason he mentioned, but rather because she didn’t want others to misunderstand that they were in a romantic relationship.

Even she herself didn’t know how to explain that kind of misunderstanding.

“Do you despise me?” Shen Zhi asked her in a low voice.

The girl looked up at him, her eyes clear and firm. “I never have.”

Even though she initially decided to stay away from him, it wasn’t because of his so-called bad reputation. It was simply because of their entanglements from their previous lives, and she didn’t want the relationship between them to become even more complicated.

But the more she tried to stay away, the closer they seemed to get.

So close that now, even if she exerted all her strength, she was about to push him away, unable to resist his closeness.

Shen Zhi nodded, chuckled softly, and said in a low voice, “I believe you.”

In fact, from the beginning, he knew she wouldn’t despise him. Even though he had experienced that kind of life, she had never looked down on him. The boy who used to be with the garbage on the street had forcefully stood in front of him to protect him.

When Shen Zhi arrived home and lay down on the sofa, his phone suddenly rang.

When he saw the phone number on the screen, he squinted his eyes. However, he didn’t answer the call and let the phone vibrate continuously.

Even though he had never saved this phone number, he had never forgotten it.

It was Cheng Hui’s phone number.

Shen Jiming’s wife.

In Shen Zhi’s eyes, Cheng Hui had always been just this person, and he was only under the same roof with her because of Shen Ji Ming. However, since he entered high school, he was no longer willing to stay at home.

Grandfather Shen really liked him and, surprisingly, did not object. He waved his hand generously and gave him a house on this side, not too big—only 160 square meters. However, it was large enough for one person.

Moreover, this residential complex was not only a land king but also a tower king. When the old master gave him the house, the other two houses of the Shen family were quite resentful. Both openly and implicitly, they said that the old master was biased.

After some disciplinary actions by the venerable old master, no one dared to complain.

However, now everyone in the Shen family knew that Shen Zhi, the grandson who came back halfway, was the one who caught the old master’s attention the most, surpassing all the other grandchildren of the Shen family.

Because of this, Shen Jiming was particularly indulgent toward him.

Even on Cheng Hui’s side, Shen Jiming consciously restrained her, and she wouldn’t easily bother Shen Zhi.

But today, Cheng Hui’s phone calls were relentless.

In the end, Shen Zhi simply turned off his phone.

On Monday, when they went to school, news about Tang Zhenpeng had spread. The hospital where he was admitted happened to have parents of students from 4th Middle School. They knew Tang Zhenpeng was a student, so parents instructed their children to be careful when leaving school during evening self-study.

Otherwise, being hit on the head like that could not only cause a concussion, but it could also break a few ribs.

This was a ruthless act.

As a result, this incident caused another round of discussions throughout the school. Everyone already knew about Shen Zhi hitting Tang Zhenpeng before, but no one expected Tang Zhenpeng to be attacked on his way home after evening self-study.

It sparked another wave of gossip.

Even the other students in Class 8 looked at Shen Zhi differently.

Xia Jiangming silently watched the nervous group leader. The homework assigned by the teacher over the weekend had to be collected and taken to the office on Monday morning. However, this English group leader didn’t dare to come over for half a day, looking as if she was afraid of falling victim to Shen Zhi’s wrath.

Xia Jiangming burst into laughter. “Do you have a brain? If Zhi-ge had done this, would he still be sitting here? He would have been arrested by the police long ago. You’re just here watching the show.”

That… seems to make sense.

Ji Ran, on the side, chuckled and organized her test paper in front of her, then directly picked up the paper in front of Shen Zhi.

Finally, the English group leader came over to collect the papers. She explained in a low voice, “That’s not what I meant.”

Shen Zhi didn’t even look up at her.

The strange atmosphere in the classroom had dissipated quite a bit. Ji Ran turned her head and glanced at Shen Zhi, surprisingly saying in a relaxed tone, “It seems that under the influence of our classmates, your infamous reputation has become even more formidable.”

She rarely joked with Shen Zhi like this. If it were any other matter, she probably wouldn’t care, but she just didn’t want him to bear it alone.

Clearly, he wasn’t the real villain; it was someone else.

Yet he had been continuously misunderstood, facing malicious gossip and criticism.

Just thinking about it was irritating.

Suddenly, Shen Zhi looked up at her, whispering, “Are you afraid of me?”

Ji Ran looked at him with a light smile. Suddenly, her dark, bright eyes blinked gently, and her eyelashes trembled. “Not afraid.”

“Then, will you keep sitting with me? Everyone else is afraid of me, but only you’re not.”

Ji Ran was stunned. Why did she feel like she was being set up…

“Ji Ran, is it okay?” The young man asked again persistently, as if he wanted to get her answer.

The bell for the morning class had already rung, and the classroom was gradually filled with the sound of students reading. Amidst the noisy and bustling sounds of reading, Shen Zhi suddenly heard the soft and pleasant voice of the girl.




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