Pandora’s Box

Table of Contents

Please READ disclaimer in Table of Contents.
Thank you and will correct my grammatical errors when I have a chance. 

If I was truly treated as a friend, then why the secrecy? Being the top student wasn’t something to be ashamed of, was it? Couldn’t one openly admit to it?

It was originally not a bit deal, but concealing made it so.
Did people with high IQ not understand this basic fact?

I dragged myself to the East gate of the school and found Zhuo Wenyang standing there, his form tall and upright, with his head held high, bright eyes, and glowing white skin.

At first glance, it was easy to tell that he was a smart man, a dragon amongst us normal people.
Why did I ever regard him as someone like me?

He smiled, “You are here.”

I gave him an up and down look.
He was a little overwhelmed with my behavior.
I stared at his no-brand bag for a while.

“Is this the Hemers Flash (means to indicate Hermes bag brand)?”

He was briefly taken aback and answered, “Yes.”

A bag worth around 60,000 yuan.
I asked, “So where do you work part-time?”

He hesitated before replying, “Zhuo Group.”

I glared at him.

Many people who had families that opened a small store, requiring them to return home to help out, would even claim that they were inheriting a family business.
Yet, he talked about Zhuo’s second generation as if they were merely sweet potato venders on the side of the road.

I was originally sympathetic towards him as he seemed to be like me.

But where was it the same?

It was not the same situation to be dependent on the elderly grandfather in supporting the family business as the first heir of the Zhuo Group, right?

The loneliness he felt while staying in a billion dollar mansion, pouring a glass of red wine, while overlooking the prosperity of T City was immensely different from the loneliness I felt while living under a fence, okay?

I asked, “Are you messing with me?”

He froze and retorted, “No, I’m not.”

“You graduated a long time ago and this is not the class you need to take.
What are you doing here?” I countered, frowning and folding my arms.

I continued, “You know I misunderstood, but you didn’t clarify? You deliberately misled me, was it entertaining?”

“It wasn’t intentional….”

“Then did you lie to me?”

He whispered, “Yes.”

“What else are you hiding from me?”

He instantly tensed up and his face lost all color.

I wasn’t actually that upset.
I was hoping that he could muster something nice like “I came to class to have a chance to talk to you” or “I wanted to be friends with you so I didn’t tell you about my family background” and make this romantic.
However, like the plot of a dramatic novel, the situation was reversed.

Thus, he couldn’t say a word.
After a long while, he said, “I’m really sorry.
Really sorry.”


“I won’t come here anymore.”



That’s it?

I was so…..

The disappointment I felt from my heart simmered, more and more violently, until I couldn’t hold back anymore.

“Screw you!”

I spat on the floor, turned around, and stormed off.

I blocked Zhuo Wenyang on WeChat out of anger, and stopped attending class altogether.
I thought about how I used to go to school in anticipation, but now I felt particularly stupid about it.

I didn’t understand Zhuo Wenyang.
He didn’t have any intention of making amends and before I could punch him, he already withdrew from the fight.

What else was there to talk about? Use my head to make friends? (***Hard to explain this phrase but it’s a rhetorical question of insult towards oneself, questioning one’s intelligence while performing an action that doesn’t always benefit oneself.)

The feeling of self-pity came back and I gave up on myself.
My habit of skipping classes worsened.
If I didn’t want to go, I wouldn’t go, and wouldn’t have to avoid anyone.

Cheng Yichen’s worry was understandable.
He attempted to reach out to me once, but I would cut him off, saying, “Everyone has their own aspirations in life so don’t worry about mine.” That phrase stopped him short from continuing.

I did not like him looking at me with such disappointment in his eyes.
I had seen that look too often in many, as if I would never be rid of that look in my lifetime.

Life had become a little depressing, but fortunately, April Fool’s Day was here.

This was my favorite holiday out of the year.
I could lightheartedly make fun of others and get teased in return.
On this day, anyone could forget about their burdens and act a fool.
What a joy it was.

However, before I could begin laughing at others, I was already fooled by the “physical examination notice” in my class group.
I ended up rushing to the hospital for nothing on an empty stomach.

When I found out that I was deceived, considering that I was the only one, I felt my ego take another blow.
Angered from embarrassment, I sent a message in Moments to my circle of friends, “I’m Lin Jing’s friend!! I’m texting with his mobile phone! I’m in XX hospital now!! Lin Jing actually was in a car accident and is seriously injured!!!!”

Ah see, I even started to curse myself.

After sending that out, I left to buy breakfast and returned back, waiting in the corner of the emergency room.
While eating fried dough sticks with soy milk, I watched to see if anyone would come and be my “fool.”

Unfortunately, I received all sorts of messages from my circle of friends, ridiculing me.

“Exaggerated acting.”

“Too many exclamation points.”

Lee also praised me, “The scourge lasted for a thousand years, and you still have more than 900 years to live.”

After all, I did make it up quite casually.

As I was close to finishing my two fried doughs, I suddenly spot someone rushing in from the hospital gate.
The middle-aged man’s face was completely pale and his shoes were even worn backwards.


When I made a post on WeChat Moments, I forgot to block Cheng Yichen.

But anyways, someone finally fell for this prank, which was better than nothing.

While he was frantically looking around, trying to find someone to help him, I jumped in front of him, “Happy April Fool’s Day!”

Cheng Yichen looked at my face with his mouth gaping wide open and froze there.

It took about 10 seconds for him to finally react.
His face slowly turnt from a shade of white to blue, and then from blue to red, as if he could not breathe for a while.

I was still smiling cheekily, “You’ve been tricked.
Today is April Fool’s Day…”

Before I could finish my taunt, he landed a hard slap across my face.
The force of it was so great that my face tilted to one side, and I could only hear buzzing for a while.

The rims of Cheng Yichen’s eyes were red.
He scolded me through his gritted teeth, “This is not the type of thing to joke about!!!”

I was still in a daze when he suddenly stretched his hands toward me again, hugging me tightly without saying a word.

I was even more confused.

I actually received a hug.

This hug took my breath away; my bones were squeezed so tightly that they even cracked.
I never imagined that his thin arms could have such strength.

He pressed his face against my cheek roughly, and his skin felt cold to the touch.
I could feel his hands slightly trembling.

I think I really scared him.

This joke was truly not funny at all.

He hugged me for quite a while before finally whispering, “I’m sorry.”

Although he didn’t say anything and hit me, it was the first time I felt his worry so sincerely.

I said, “I’m sorry, Uncle Chen.”

This was also the first time I ever apologized to someone.

I was cared for.

There were people in this world who would become so worried about me that they would even take such cheap jokes seriously.

I hugged him back lightly and buried my head into the crook of his neck.

I grew up this big, but it was the first time in my memory that I was beaten like this.
This truly was the first time and I felt this happy.

Cheng Yichen led me home, and I became obedient.
With a palm print on my face, I sat on the sofa and waited for him to rummage through his emergency kit to find ointment.

“Oh, look how heavy handed I was…”

As he applied medical ointment to my face, he hissed and gasped as if it was his own pain.
After applying the ointment, he looked at me, “Never make fun of yourself in such a manner again, understand?”


He sat down next to me.

“Do you hate reading?”



With how long the content was, I still didn’t understand why some people liked reading books.

I could only ask, “Uncle Chen, have you ever been a bad student?”

He let out a “huh” and replied, “No…”

“I have been a bad student.
I have been a bad student for many years and can only be a bad student.”


“My dad sent me back to school even though he knew I didn’t have the means to study.
Do you think he expects me to succeed? No, he just wants a place for me to stay properly.”

Cheng Yichen was dumbfounded.

“So for what do I need to read? No one expects anything from me.
Studying is not what I’m good at.
I’m just stupid, so why do I need to keep suffering for?”

He said, “No one starts out reading well.
As long as you work hard…”

“If you’re not suited to do something, will you persist at it? Persistence is not necessarily right.
Have you heard of the story about the whale that was stranded on the grassland? It was stranded 800 meters away from the nearest coastline.
It couldn’t have been washed there by sea, then why is it there? Because it has been trying to turn over to roll back to the sea, but it turned in the wrong direction.
If the direction is wrong, the harder you work, the more miserable the outcome will be and that will lead you farther away from success.”

After pondering for a while, he smiled and reached out to pat my head.
“Look, I can’t out speak you.
Xiao Jing, you are a very smart child.”

I was surprised.

“You make wise statements, I think it makes sense.
Indeed, direction determines the outcome of destiny.
But generally speaking, getting educated is not heading in the wrong direction.
If you want to determine whether or not you’re receiving the wrong education, you must logically observe and consider all aspects.
Don’t be rash and jump to conclusions.
I will help you decide together.”

I didn’t feel so excited for being acknowledged.
I felt comforted by the feeling of his fingers stroking the top of my head.
His eyes were also gentle.

“I also agree with you on another point.
Indeed, your father insisted you to study, not to become a big man or have a huge career.
He really didn’t intend for his son to become a dragon amongst men.”

I muttered, “Then why do I have to attend school?”

“But he definitely hopes that you can learn more, figure out your interests and hobbies, and live life seriously.
In your life, there will be at least one thing you’ll want to do and will be willing to work hard for.
If you don’t find one, won’t you feel empty?”

He looked at me, “Do you have your own goals right now?”

I thought about it and there was nothing.

“Not yet, right? If you suddenly entered society without being prepared for it, it will be very hard.
Like entering a battlefield with bare hands.
School allows you to slowly adjust and figure out the direction you want to head towards.
That’s why we want you study, so you can have a buffer.”


“Your father really wants you to stay in school for a few years.
None of us treats it like your shelter and you shouldn’t see it as a cage either.
You’ll eventually leave sooner or later, and you won’t be able to return.
Rather than a cage, you might as well think of it as an eggshell.
This is the safest place for you to incubate before you hatch, do you understand?”


“During the meantime, you really need to learn something useful as much as possible.
Learn something that can help you in the future.
Otherwise, what will you do when the eggshell breaks?”

I said sullenly, “But what if the professor teaches me something that is useless to me, and can’t help me?”

He smiled knowingly again, “You are right, it’s indeed possible.
However, education does not only teach you knowledge but teaches you the ability to actively learn and think logically.
This ability will definitely be useful in your future life.”

He watched me with bright eyes, “Xiao Jing, I truly think you are smart, sharp, and determined.
You have the capacity to think independently and are not easily shaken up by others.”

“You just haven’t grown up yet, but I’m sure you will grow up soon,” he continued, “You’ll become a very good adult, Xiao Jing.”


For unknown reasons, I immediately felt at peace.

No one had ever been patient enough to tell me this, and no one had ever been so patient to listen.
I seemed to have been waiting for such a person.

And that person finally came.

Cheng Yichen was still observing me gently, his dark and warm eyes put me at ease.

I think I liked him a little.

I also missed my father a little.

I also missed Zhuo Wenyang very much.

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