Chapter 20

The Promise Sealed with Our Lips Guan Gai Man Jing Hua, 冠蓋滿京華 2022/9/13 16:52:31

“With the likes of your dinosaur bone-like body, you’ll collapse after just a few hits. I have tons of ways to kick you out (of school). Aren’t you good at transferring schools? Why not just run away again?” Shi Yan scanned over He Nuo’s skinny body with contempt.

Shi Yan’s words unintentionally hit He Nuo’s achilles heel; what He Nuo was most afraid of was offending Shi Yan and being sent to the village again; it’s not that he minded the arduous lifestyle in the village, but He Nuo was about to enter his third year. If he had to study in the village again, he wasn’t confident that he would be able to do well enough to enroll in university. So He Nuo hurriedly promised, “I won’t, I won’t collapse.”

“Ok, looks like you’re pretty smart after all.” He looked at his friends, “Brothers, time to get some exercise. This human sandbag looks good to practice on.”

He Nuo immediately jumped up in shock. He looked at Shi Yan, “Shi Yan, I…” He thought that he would only get beat up by Shi Yan once, he didn’t expect the others to join in.

“What? Wanna go back on your words?” Shi Yan asked gloomily, but a sly smile was plastered on his face.

In this kind of situation, how could He Nuo not know that Shi Yan was waiting for him to back out? He also understood that Shi Yan originally intended to make his life difficult anyway. By this point, it was too difficult to take his words back; if he backed out today, he would definitely have a hard time in school in the future.

“No, Shi Yan, but could you guys. .h.i.t in places that can’t be seen?”

“Why are you so troublesome?” one of the guys interrupted.

Another joined in, “Yeah, exactly. Where’s the fun in that?”

Shi Yan authoritatively declared, “We’ll compromise.”

He Nuo and Shi Yan’s friends were waiting for him to continue. Actually, Shi Yan was looking out for him and his friends. If they beat He Nuo up until his head swelled up like a pig’s head, everyone would notice, then wouldn’t that bring them even more trouble? Also, just hitting him this once seems like he was letting He Nuo off too easy, so he had an idea, “We have to purposely hit you in places that can’t be seen and hold ourselves back while doing so, so how could that reflect the sincerity of your apology? Did I say anything wrong, Dinosaur (He Nuo)?”

“So, we’ll just have to change the deal a bit. Since the quality isn’t there, we’ll have to make up for it in quant.i.ty. From now on, every after school you’ll have to come here!” Shi Yan proudly disclaimed.

It felt like thunder just clapped through the clear skies, He Nuo couldn’t have imagined that Shi Yan would be this vicious – his cruelty had far exceeded He Nuo’s expectations. Shi Yan’s friends, on the other hand, were all full of reverence for Shi Yan and were complimenting him on his amazing idea.

He Nuo felt like he had just digged his own grave. As he looked at the gang jumping around eagerly, he turned to the mastermind, “Shi Yan, could we finish with just this one time? Or I could help you with other things to compensate.”

“Compensate? What can you compensate with?” Shi Yan sneered.

Shi Yan’s words. .h.i.t the bullseye, so He Nuo couldn’t reply him.

“Once every two weeks, you either decide to come; or get lost, then I’ll have my fun with you in the future.”

He Nuo had no other choice. He once again walked over to Shi Yan.

Shi Yan extended his hand, and He Nuo pulled him up. The moment he stood up straight, Shi Yan lifted his leg and kicked He Nuo in the stomach which made He Nuo fall to the ground. Shi Yan patted the dust off the back of his pants, then said to his buddies, “Aren’t you guys gonna start? Or have you all suddenly gone vegetarian.”

He Nuo held his stomach and used one hand to support himself up. Shi Yan’s kick turned He Nuo’s insides upside down, and he felt a sudden sense of déjà vu – like something similar had happened in the distant past. The other guys didn’t all go up at once to start kicking and punching He Nuo; instead, they went up one by one while He Nuo stood in his original spot to be a human sandbag. After he collapsed when a strong punch landed on him or when he was sent flying with a kick, they would wait for him to rest for a bit before the next person would get his turn. After the gang finished taking their turns, Shi Yan squatted in front of He Nuo, grabbed a fistful of his hair and forced He Nuo to look at him, “How do you feel?”

He Nuo endured the screaming pain emanating throughout his body, calmed his breathing and replied, “I’m ok.”

Shi Yan stood up and kicked him, “Then why are you pretending to be dead? Push my bike over.” Their bicycles were all thrown to a side and were laying on the ground. He Nuo used his hands to support him up, took a deep breath, then stood up. He hobbled over to the pile of bicycles, picked all the bicycles up from the ground and stabilized them, then turned back to look at Shi Yan, “Which one is yours?”

After he pushed Shi Yan’s bike over for him, Shi Yan straddled his bike with one foot and smiled, “This is the first time so I’ll let you off easy. I’ll see you around, bye byeee~” then the group turned around and left abruptly.

He Nuo waited for them to cycle a bit further before he held his chest and bent forward. His insides were already fumbling about like crashing waves, and he felt like puking. He Nuo straightened his neck and puked – but he only puked out water. After a period of heavy breathing, he slowly squatted down and sat on the floor. His back, thighs and calves were all burning with pain, but luckily they kept their promise and didn’t leave any marks on visible places. He was worried that his family would see his wounds. Of course it wasn’t because he thought his family would worry about him, but he was afraid that they would think that he wasn’t studying seriously in school and was going around picking fights, then they would punish him again.

He Nuo looked at the sky and didn’t want to delay returning home for too long. After he recovered a bit of energy, he carried his bag and walked home. When He Nuo was staying in the village, his family had moved once. With the improvement in everyone’s standard of living, most people in his town had moved into apartment buildings. But because He Nuo had a big family, they didn’t stay in an apartment building, but instead they obtained two bungalows that used to house a family each. Which meant that he had one door to enter the courtyard, and two doors to enter his home.

He Nuo secretively sneaked back into his house which wasn’t very difficult for him – his presence had always been relatively weak. So even at the dinner table, his family wouldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. In the middle of the night, he turned on his nightlight to look at his wounds, then dipped a cloth in hot water and ma.s.saged his bruises. The next day, he realised that a part of his calf that he had ma.s.saged the night before had turned into a large, black patch, and looked even scarier than before he ma.s.saged it. He didn’t dare to use hot water to ma.s.sage his wounds any more, and decided to try using cold water instead.