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Chapter 20

“Sorry, classmate, could you please let us through?”

Embarrassed, two girls who had just returned from the restroom were trying to pass by Li Jiao.

She quickly stood up and said, “Sure, go ahead.”

As she spoke, she gripped the edge of her clothes and stood in the aisle, looking like a submissive wife.

After the two girls passed by, Li Jiao was about to return to her seat when, due to the dim lighting in the audience seats, she missed a step on the aisle stairs, twisted her right foot, and fell sideways.

In the midst of her panic, she grabbed onto Zhang Jiuling’s chair armrest to try to pull herself back up, but her legs gave way…

With a “thud,” Li Jiao fell to her knees, wishing all the audience grandfathers good health and longevity!


What’s going on? Why am I kneeling?

Wait, where am I kneeling right now?

Slowly lifting her head, Li Jiao grabbed the railing with both hands, while Zhang Jiuling looked down at her with a slightly lowered head and raised eyebrows, his cold, dark eyes deep and unfathomable.

He looked at her calmly, as if it were nothing, yet there was clearly something. It seemed like scrutiny, yet also like amusement.

Around them, people had noticed the commotion and turned their heads, only to see a girl kneeling in front of the instructor.

Shock ensued. A girl kneeling in the lecture hall on the spot—was this the collapse of humanity or the loss of morality behind it all?!

“What is she doing?”

“Who? Who’s kneeling?”

“What’s going on? Kneeling to greet His Majesty for eternal prosperity?”


The murmurs around her reached Li Jiao’s ears, but she seemed as if she were under a petrification spell, foolishly staring at Zhang Jiuling in front of her.

Sitting in front of Zhang Jiuling happened to be the instructor from Class 2, Liuzi. He turned his head, bewildered, to see Li Jiao kneeling on the ground.

Glancing at Zhang Jiuling, then at Li Jiao, then back at Zhang Jiuling, and back at Li Jiao, Liuzi took a while before turning his head and addressing Li Jiao.

“Young lady, stop kneeling; the boss won’t give you any money.”

“Here, let me give you some New Year’s money. Happy New Year.”

“Eh, but it’s not even New Year yet.”


Muttering to himself beside them, Instructor Liuzi, Li Jiao, stared blankly at Zhang Jiuling, unable to utter a word.

Oh my goodness, is there anything more embarrassing than this?!

Zhang Jiuling looked at her, the young girl with her fair face upturned, her eyebrows curved, and her eyes moist and shining like two pools of spring water, gently and timidly looking at him.

Hah, she knelt down by herself, yet it seemed as if he had bullied her.

A faint smile appeared at the corners of Zhang Jiuling’s mouth, his beautifully shaped lips slightly curving, as if he had chuckled.

Slightly leaning forward, his deep eyes gazed at the person with a hint of playfulness in them. His voice was slightly low, as if resonating from the throat, rich and husky, with a hint of granularity, lazy, and a faint accent from Beijing.

“At ease, stand up.”


After saying this and seeing no movement from the person, he furrowed his brows slightly and added.

“Happy New Year.”


The safety lecture ended, and Li Jiao came out, covering her face with her arms, feeling utterly embarrassed.

Why did she kneel down?

Although there weren’t many people around at the time, their classmates could clearly see everything.

As they came out of the lecture hall, one by one, they ran to Li Jiao, laughing and asking her.

“Jiao Jiao, did the instructor give you New Year’s money?”

“Jiao Jiao, did you wish the instructor a Happy New Year so early?”

“Jiao Jiao, was the floor in the lecture hall cold?”



Li Jiao spat out a mouthful of blood. Cold, yes, the floor was indeed cold, and she was also feeling cold.

Hah, she couldn’t remember how she mustered the courage to climb back up on her own in the end.

Oh no, my image is completely ruined.

“Jiao Jiao, what are they talking about?”

Su Linlin asked in confusion. She and Zhang Yue left halfway through the lecture to go to the restroom and only came back towards the end, so they had no idea what had happened.

Li Jiao hung her head in despair, feeling utterly dejected, with a small, dark cloud hovering above her head, ready to thunder and lightning.

Shaking her head despondently, she said, “It’s nothing; they’re discussing New Year’s matters.”

With that, she drifted away like a lost soul.

Behind her, Zhang Yue scratched her head, furrowing her brows in puzzlement.

“It’s still more than a hundred days until New Year’s. Why are they so eager to prepare for it? Is it a southern thing to start so early?”

Su Linlin shook her head, shrugging her shoulders, indicating she didn’t know.

The lecture ended, and it was only three-thirty in the afternoon. The new students trooped to the military training ground under the scorching sun.

The lecture might be over, but my duty isn’t. I am a little coal in military training.

“All of you, stand at attention for twenty minutes!”

The familiar command rang out, and the new students across the training ground stood straight, chin up, hands tightly against their trouser seams, eyes fixed straight ahead, their posture impeccable.

Each one stood like a sturdy poplar tree.

After so much military training, the results were evident.

On the stage, the stern chief instructor finally nodded in satisfaction. This batch of new recruits this year was good.

Twenty minutes passed, the instructors for each class took their positions, and training began.

As usual, Li Jiao’s class had to stand a bit longer. When Zhang Jiuling came over, without him saying a word, the whole class stood up straight, not a muscle moving.

Since Li Jiao fainted last time, Zhang Jiuling hadn’t singled her out while standing at attention.

There is no need to attract unnecessary attention. Li Jiao naturally breathed a sigh of relief.

In her own understanding, the instructor finally realized that she wasn’t a fragile little chicken needing extra training.

In reality, Zhang Jiuling thought, That girl is so delicate, I hope she doesn’t faint again.

“Eyes straight ahead, hands tightly against trouser seams.”

Zhang Jiuling walked around, correcting the students’ postures. After so long of military training, there weren’t any major issues with their standing at attention; just a few reminders were enough.

He reached Li Jiao, who had her lips tightly pursed and eyes wide open, exerting effort all over her body, as if trying her hardest to maintain the correct posture.

A little attention would reveal that Li Jiao’s whole body was subtly swaying. Looking down, she stood on one leg, her right foot slightly raised, stubbornly maintaining her posture with just one small foot.

She had twisted her foot in the lecture hall just now, and it had been hurting since the previous twenty-minute session. Now, she couldn’t bear it anymore.

She could only raise her right foot slightly to alleviate the pain.

The instructor probably couldn’t see, right?

Standing at attention on one foot for a long time, Li Jiao’s muscles were starting to cramp, and she was trembling slightly, as if she had been lightly shocked by an electric current.

Thinking about how she had been in the auditorium just now, Zhang Jiuling thought she might have hurt her foot.

He withdrew his gaze lightly and walked past her.

After a moment, that crisp voice rang out.

“Li Jiao, squat down.”

“Ah, okay.” Li Jiao looked bewildered but obediently complied.

Soon, she squatted down, holding her knees, while her classmates remained standing, casting shadows that shielded her from the sun.

She hugged her knees, squatting like a cute little mushroom. As her tense body relaxed, the pain in her twisted foot subsided.

Taking a small breath, Li Jiao glanced at her classmates still standing around, feeling puzzled.

Why did the instructor ask me to squat down?

Could it be……

Was he finding me too conspicuous??

Feeling inexplicably as if she had uncovered the truth, Li Jiao covered her mouth tightly, tears filling her eyes as she tried hard not to cry out.

I won’t cry, I must be strong, sniffle~

“Everyone, take a ten-minute break.”

With the command, everyone relaxed.

Some went to the restroom, some went to drink water, and some just lay down on the ground right where they were……

“Oh my, it’s so sunny.”

“Yeah, just these past few days, I’ve gotten three shades darker.”

“I feel like I’m becoming a black person. When will I get back to being fair?”


Several girls gathered together, chatting while they took out sunscreen sprays as if they were free, vigorously spraying them.

Looking at the brand of the spray, they were all expensive high-end sunscreens, now being sprayed around as if they were just ordinary water sprays.

Countless tiny mist droplets sprayed into the air, dispersing everywhere, and the smell of chemical additives could be detected from far away.

Compared to the girls, the boys seemed too carefree, not bothering with sunscreen or any measures at all.

While the girls were chattering about how to whiten their skin in the future, the boys lounged on the ground, one leg crossed, shaking their legs.


“I’m telling you, what’s the point of using sunscreen? If you’re meant to tan, you’ll tan anyway.”

“Instead of wasting time applying that stuff, it’s better to rest a bit more.”

Speaking was a chubby boy named Huang Yuan, his skin all pale and tender, said to be from soaking in milk baths as a child.

Huang Yuan lay on the ground, his hands crossed on his belly, one leg raised, enjoying the sun happily.

“Oh, pretending this is California sunshine, feels good.”

“Damn, **,” a skinny boy beside him suddenly jumped up, shouting loudly.

“It’s so hot!”

“Huang Yuan, don’t you feel it?”

Huang Yuan took off his hat and covered his face lazily.

“What feeling? A warm feeling?”

“Fine, you’re awesome, you enjoy your warmth, I’m going to borrow sunscreen from someone.”

With that, the boy dashed off to the group of girls nearby, looking for sunscreen.

At this moment, protecting oneself was the most important thing, regardless of whether applying sunscreen seemed feminine or not.

Li Jiao sat cross-legged on the grass, hanging her head, looking listless, as if she were about to give up on life.

It’s really unbelievable, how did she end up kneeling?

Now, the whole class knows she wished the instructor a Happy New Year…

Maybe she’s just incompatible with military training. It’s only been a few days, and she’s already had so many incidents.

Throwing a “glass slipper” at the instructor, using the instructor as a shade, collapsing during push-ups, she even ended up in the hospital the other day, and now, she’s kneeling to the instructor…

She might have been the instructor’s “nemesis” in a past life. People are probably wondering, Why did she have to encounter him…


Li Jiao hugged her knees, feeling disheartened, and began picking at the plastic grass on the artificial turf, one strand at a time…

I really want to restart military training.

It’s still break time. On the spacious training ground, students dressed in camouflage dispersed, some chatting in groups, some going for water together, and a few playing and laughing…

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the training ground, in an inconspicuous corner, Li Jiao sat alone, hugging her knees, curled up into a small ball like a bullied child, solitary and pitiful.


The instructor from Class 2 hurried over, walking alongside Zhang Jiuling, and asked.

“Boss, what was that girl in your class just now doing? Why did she kneel to you?”

Upon hearing this, Zhang Jiuling couldn’t help but recall the scene just now. After he said “Happy New Year,” the girl looked at him blankly, her big almond-shaped eyes, so round and moist, glistening with water.

It was a bit like… like the white British Shorthair cat his parents kept at home. Soft fur, chubby, and well-cared for by his parents, with a big head and round face. At a glance, it looked like a big white rabbit candy.

Moreover, that cat was silly and particularly affectionate. Every time he went back home, the cat would come over, circling around him, very attentive.

Even when he threw food towards it and placed it in front of it, it still didn’t understand; it just kept looking at you silly. With its gem-like, clear eyes, orange in color, it would tilt its head dumbly, revealing a small question mark.

As if asking, Where’s my food?

Just now in the lecture hall, the girl’s eyes were just like that cat’s.

And, just like that girl, the British Shorthair cat also had short limbs.

Zhang Jiuling’s furrowed brows smoothed out, and a faint smile leaked from his pitch-black, deep eyes.

Clear and warm, he replied.

“It’s nothing; she was wishing me a Happy New Year.”

“Wishing, wishing you a New Year??”

The instructor from Class 2 furrowed his brows in confusion. “No, really wishing you a New Year, Boss. I just said it casually.”


Looking up, Zhang Jiuling had already walked several steps away. The instructor from Class 2 hurried over, relentlessly chasing after him, and kept asking questions.

“Is it really, really wishing you a New Year, Boss?”

“Where is that girl from? Such good manners, wishing you a New Year so early?”














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