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Chapter 60-Part 1

Jiang Yi’s situation hadn’t initially prompted Ji Ran to strike while the iron was hot. Even when Jiang Liqi offered her an opportunity, Ji Ran didn’t plan on doing so. She found this mother-daughter duo rather displeasing, but as long as Jiang Yi didn’t provoke her, Ji Ran couldn’t be bothered to spare her a glance.

After returning to her room, Ji Ran turned on her desk lamp and took out some test papers.

While she was halfway through a paper, Shen Zhi’s call suddenly came in. She picked up her phone and answered it. On the other end, the boy’s voice spoke first, asking, “Ran Ran, are you resting?”

Ji Ran glanced down at the test paper in front of her. Ever since she realized her comprehensive science score was slightly lower than Shen Zhi’s, she has been focusing on improving in that area.

“No,” Ji Ran replied softly.

As if he had guessed, Shen Zhi laughed and asked, “Are you working on test papers again?”

Feeling a bit defiant, Ji Ran asked, “Do you not review when you get home?”

Actually, Ji Ran was quite curious about this. After all, at school, Shen Zhi seemed to be someone who wasn’t entirely present in class, though occasionally she would see him jot down a few notes. He had the demeanor of a genius, only noting down the key points.

Shen Zhi couldn’t help but laugh and say, “Is studying the only thing we can talk about?”

One had to admit that Ji Ran indeed had a certain tenacity. Once she decided to do something, she would give it her all. For instance, she genuinely studied hard to surpass Shen Zhi.

Occasionally, when Shen Zhi noticed Ji Ran turning to look at him, just as he was about to smile, she would earnestly discuss the final difficult problem on a math test with him.

Ji Ran was a bit confused by his question and asked, “What do you want to talk about then?”

Shen Zhi found her straightforwardness amusing. In fact, he really wanted to discuss romantic matters with her.

Ji Ran spoke up, saying, “Shen Zhi, I had a dream a few days ago.”

“What did you dream about?” Shen Zhi asked, continuing the conversation, glad they had a new topic.

Ji Ran gently scratched the desk with her fingers and said softly, “I dreamed of a parallel world. Do you understand? In that world, you not only didn’t like me, but you were always against me, always one step ahead.”

Actually, this wasn’t a parallel world but their previous life. Ji Ran had never talked about this with Shen Zhi, but tonight, perhaps because of the quiet night or his sudden little complaint, she brought it up. Even though she knew the previous life’s issues weren’t solely Shen Zhi’s fault, she also bore some responsibility for constantly making things difficult for him.

But thinking about those rumors about his demise white moonlight in the company, Ji Ran still felt a bit wronged.

In the previous life, he not only didn’t like her but also kept a white moonlight in his heart. It was infuriating.

Shen Zhi was amused by this unfounded accusation and leaned back in his chair. If Ji Ran were by his side now, he’d want to pat her head. How could he not like her?

Ji Ran would never know how long he had liked her since he was a child. Liking someone is a lifelong affair. Not liking her was impossible.

Ji Ran, feeling like she had finally found some leverage, said in a slightly angry tone, “Yes, you not only didn’t like me, but you also took my projects and blocked my promotions. Moreover, others said you had a white moonlight that you never got over, which is why you didn’t date even as you grew older, always thinking about that first love.”

Ji Ran was now making wild accusations, knowing he had no idea about any of this. Shen Zhi found her self-righteousness amusing and asked, “What are you thinking about in your dreams?”

Ji Ran wasn’t surprised by his reaction. Shen Zhi would never know how long they had missed each other in their previous lives. Seventeen-year-old Ji Ran didn’t know seventeen-year-old Shen Zhi, and twenty-seven-year-old Ji Ran saw him as her biggest rival. The decision she made back then seemed to have changed her life.

How long can the feeling of liking someone last? Ji Ran didn’t know, but she hoped her feelings would last a long time—very long.

As Ji Ran was still lost in thought, Shen Zhi suddenly said, “If there’s someone I hold dear in my heart…”

A current seemed to flow through the phone, his deep voice with a magnetic field gradually reaching her heart.

“Ran Ran, it’s you.”

Ji Ran’s heart felt like a little deer was leaping around. She gently squeezed her phone, feeling the heat spread across her cheeks. Even without looking in the mirror, she knew her ears were red.

Unable to resist, she softly called his name, “Shen Zhi.”

“Hmm?” His voice, coming from his nasal cavity, was particularly light, like a feather tickling her heart.

Ji Ran sighed.

“You’re spoiling me.”

With his intermittent sweet words, Ji Ran felt she was raising her expectations of him. Like a child, she couldn’t be given all the candies at once. At least, they should be given one by one.

But Shen Zhi had a way of making her feel fully satisfied all at once.

“Isn’t that good?” Shen Zhi laughed softly, genuinely not understanding what went through Ji Ran’s mind all day.

Ji Ran felt a bit sleepy and slowly stood up from her chair, falling onto her bed.

“Candies should be eaten one by one,” Ji Ran said softly.

Suddenly, she thought of Pei Yuan. When she was little, Pei Yuan used to say the same, keeping her expectations low so the surprises would feel greater.

Shen Zhi said calmly, “It’s okay; I have a honey pot.”

I can put you in my honey pot.

Ji Ran kept talking to Shen Zhi, not even realizing where the conversation went, chatting about everything under the sun.

So much so that the next morning, when she rolled over and heard a soft thud, she saw her phone still connected to the charger on the floor. When she picked it up, the phone was so hot that it felt like it might explode.


A sleepy voice from the phone startled Ji Ran so much that she almost dropped it again. Only then did she realize the call hadn’t been disconnected all night.

In these days, without the advanced chat apps of a decade later, people mostly relied on phone calls. Seeing the over-seven-hour call duration on her phone, Ji Ran felt a bit dazed.

She couldn’t believe she hadn’t hung up the phone all night.

Ji Ran couldn’t help but ask, “Why didn’t you hang up?”

The person on the other end had a reason, his voice still hoarse from waking up, casually replying, “I wanted to hear if you snore in your sleep.”

Ji Ran’s eyes widened.

She calmly stated, “Impossible; I never snore. How could a young girl snore in her sleep?”

But Shen Zhi yawned softly, his tone light but clearly amused, asking, “Do you want to hear?”

Hear… hear what?

Several thoughts crowded into her mind all at once.

She couldn’t possibly snore.

No way.

Definitely not.

As her brain was frantically denying it, Shen Zhi suddenly whispered, “Good morning, Ran Ran.”

Ji Ran fell back into her warm bed, biting the corner of the blanket to prevent herself from screaming. How could this man be so good at teasing?

No matter how anxious everyone was, the final exams arrived as scheduled.

If there was one thing that could comfort the students, it was the fact that after the exams, winter break would follow. The anticipation for the break somewhat offsets the horror of the final exams.

The day before the exams, everyone cleaned up the classroom and prepared the exam venues.

At 4th Middle School, the midterm and final exams were always conducted with the same rigor as the college entrance exams. If you asked why, the answer was simply that everything was done according to the college entrance exam standards and schedule.

This time, Wen Qianxia was even more devout in her preparations, not only bringing Oreo cookies but also apples. The grandiosity of the offerings showed the sincerity of her heart.

For Ji Ran, the main difference was that she had ascended from the last exam venue to the first one. At 4th Middle School, the exam venues for the finals were arranged according to the midterm exam results.

Ji Ran was the second-ranked student in the entire school.

Thus, the second seat in the first row of the first exam venue firmly belonged to her.

The empty seat in front of her naturally belonged to Shen Zhi, who always arrived just on time, never a second early.

Actually, Ji Ran was quite late when she arrived at the exam venue. As she stood at the door, she noticed the classroom was almost full. Being students of the first exam venue, their sense of time was much more punctual compared to those at the last venue.

In the previous exams, one student had even been later than Shen Zhi by a full twenty minutes and was caught by the strictest teacher, who scolded him loudly enough for the whole exam venue to hear, despite trying to keep it low.

Such a situation was not going to happen this time.

As Ji Ran entered, the students in the first exam venue looked up, their gazes generally friendly. After all, she didn’t have a bad reputation and was known as the school beauty.

Fortunately, the students in the first exam venue were not too gossipy. They merely glanced at Ji Ran before lowering their heads to continue studying.

They weren’t cramming; it was just their habitual studying.

Until someone else pushed open the classroom door. It was winter, so the doors were closed to keep out the cold. As he entered, Ji Ran clearly heard someone gasp.


This time, the looks from the students were more complex—curiosity, fear, and even some disdain.

Students in this high-score range were generally fixed, mostly from the top two classes. They were all familiar faces, either classmates or from the neighboring class, knowing each other by sight and by name.

Shen Zhi and Ji Ran, on the other hand, seemed like intruders among them.

Since the invigilator hadn’t arrived yet, Shen Zhi took the opportunity to turn around and look at the girl behind him, asking in a low voice, “How do you feel?”

Ji Ran sat next to him, so he knew how diligently she had been studying recently.

She had been determined to dethrone him, ready to seize the top spot.

Holding a pen, Ji Ran calmly said, “I checked the almanac before leaving home today.”

Actually, she hadn’t; it was Aunt Zhao who did. When Ji Ran saw the nearly torn-out pages of the almanac, she was a bit shocked.

Knowing that Ji Ran had her final exams today, Aunt Zhao, fearing she might be nervous, had specifically brought out the almanac during breakfast.

Worried that Ji Ran wouldn’t believe her, Aunt Zhao had shown her the pages herself.

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