When the students bore nervous expressions and pushed each other into the ward, Zhang Juan Juan had already gone out beforehand. After he returned from Xiao Yang’s residence, Zhang Juan Juan regularly came to his hospital room with a grave look yet never spoke a single word. Although she was supposedly there to monitor his movements, she was not strict about it at all. More often than not, her shadow would not appear either and when it did, she would always disappear before Susu made an appearance. This time when Qi Xiu Yuan received a call from the front desk that a few students were here to visit him, Zhang Juan Juan also flitted away.
One by one, the students squeezed in the room and surrounded his bed. At first, they had on a serious expression as if they were participating in a funeral service but once they were clarified that Qi Xiu Yuan was not suffering from an incurable disease, they collectively let out a sigh of relieve. Then when they knew that his injuries were not severe enough to avoid being joked about, a lively discussion broke out in the room as they chat up a storm with him.
“Laoshi, just from looking at the size of this room, you’re actually a wealthy person!”
“Qi Laoshi, you’re just too much! It’s almost the end of the semester and you’re actually taking a leave of absence?!”
“Laoshi, you have to get well soon!”
“We all miss you a lot Laoshi! The substitute teacher is so boring!”
“Laoshi, you’re really extreme. You won’t actually fight with someone, right?”
Listening to all their comments, Qi Xiu Yuan couldn’t hold back his laughter and began to chat with them for a while. However, having not been able to sleep peacefully for the last couple of day and added that had no appetite for anything, he felt his energy depleting after joking with his student for a few minutes.
These students were exceptionally considerate, the moment they saw him expose just a slight hint of fatigue, they quickly said, “Okay, okay. Since we saw Laoshi, everyone won’t worry anymore. We should leave now so Laoshi can have a good rest.”
Having said that, the students piled all the gifts they brought with them on the table before each saying their goodbye and leaving.
Qi Xiu Yuan could only watch with his eyes as one by one they took their leave. He smiled for a while, then closed his eyes and lean against the headboard once exhaustion took control of him.
Suddenly, the door to the room lightly opened but thinking that it was Zhang Juan Juan, Qi Xiu Yuan did not bother to open his eyes.
A shadow sat down beside his bed then carefully called out to him in a small voice, “Laoshi……”
Hearing that vague voice, Qi Xiu Yuan opened his eyes to look at him, “Jiang Xiao Ning?”
Jiang Xiao Ning had his head hung slightly low and even his brows were lightly pulled in together, looking as though he had a difficult problem that he does not know how to resolve.
Having not paid attention to him for a period of time, he seemed to have changed tremendously from how he was before. He appeared more wan and sallow like a withering leaf being brush by the roaring wind. His sweet and pleasing round face was long gone and replaced instead with pallid contours. Even his feature doesn’t resemble a young and inexperienced youth anymore but rather a somewhat mature man.
Qi Xiu Yuan looked at him with furrowed brows and questioning eyes, recalling how a moment ago Jiang Xiao Ning has remained silent among the crowd of students. Since then, he knew that he might have some personal affairs he wanted to talk about privately so now he simply asked, “What’s going on?”
Jiang Xiao Ning hesitated for a moment before lifting his head to look at him, “Laoshi, do you remember Mr. Han from Jin Ting awhile back?”
“Oh,” Qi Xiu Yuan doesn’t know exactly what he was asking, but once he recalled the miserable condition that Han Jia placed Jiang Xiao Ning in the last time he encountered him, he cautiously asked, “Why are you asking this?”
“Then, you do remember?” Jiang Xiao Ning questioned as a reply before he said, “When you took me home that day, you said that the driver was the one who saved me. After I asked you who that person was but you never told me……Laoshi, you…are you able to get in contact with that person?”
Qi Xiu Yuan simply stared at him, his mood somewhat affected at the mention of Xiao Li, “What exactly are you thinking?”
Jiang Xiao Ning looked at him and bit his lower lips while wearing a hesitant expression before finally making a decision. Then he firmly said, “Laoshi, if you can get in contact with that person, I want to ask him about Han Jia. I…right now, I can’t find Han Jia at all……”
Completely unaware of his and Han Jia’s relationship, now that Qi Xiu Yuan saw his strange expression, he worriedly asked, “Why are you looking for him?”
Jiang Xiao Ning’s eyes brightened up, looking joyous yet endlessly sorrowful as he looked at Qi Xiu Yuan before he slowly spoke, “I love him.”
Even if the heaven suddenly descended down like a formidable blade, Qi Xiu Yuan would not be as surprised as he was now. And even after staring at him for a while, he was still unable to accept it and asked, “What did you say?”
Jiang Xiao Ning’s expression seemed to worsen because of his attitude, “Him and I, we’re dating.”
Qi Xiu Yuan’s eyes widened as he shockingly went silent for a long while then he opened his mouth to speak again, “Does Jiang Laoshi knows this?”
At the mention of his father’s name, Jiang Xiao Ning was even more saddened as he lowered his head, “He doesn’t know,” and then he anxiously lifted his head back, “This has nothing to do with him. It’s my freedom to date whoever.”
Qi Xiu Yuan looked at him with disbelief, “You didn’t even mention safety, yet you’re talking about freedom? Did you forget how Han Jia treated you—”
“That was a misunderstanding!” Jiang Xiao Ning interrupted him and anxiously said, “At that time he didn’t recognize me. He……we……everything is really complicated. In short,” he stared at with directly without adverting and explained, “We’re really dating. But he disappeared and I can’t get in contact with him. I waited at Jin Ting and outside his house for a long time but he still didn’t appear……I don’t have any other way.” Jiang Xiao Ning leaned his head slightly to the side with difficulty, “The person that drove the car that day is the only one that I know can help……”
Looking back at him with a complex gaze, Qi Xiu Yuan honestly said, “I don’t know how to contact him.”
“Laoshi, please help me,” Jiang Xiao Ning begged, “I know that you’re familiar with him. I’ve seen you two shopping together before I also saw him waiting outside of the school gate waiting for you. Laoshi, I can’t go on without Han Jia. I beg you……”
Even though Jiang Xiao Ning’s soft voice continuously pleaded him, Qi Xiu Yuan could only shake his head and frown, “I cannot agree.”
“Even if I know how to contact him and know where Han Jia is, I still won’t tell you.” Qi Xiu Yuan firmly said.
“But why?” Jiang Xiao Ning asked with a louder tone that was still full of sadness.
“Why?” Qi Xiu Yuan seemed to think that it was ridiculous to repeat himself, “The last time I saw you two together he was still hurting you. Now, you suddenly tell me that you love him and hope that I believe you?”
“He won’t hurt me!” Jiang Xiao Ning depressing emotion was suddenly stirred as he tried to Qi Xiu Yuan, “After he recognizes who I was, he has never hurt me. Even when we’re……when we’re together, he……”
When Jiang Xiao Ning appeared to be a bit embarrassed and could not continue his words, Qi Xiu Yuan gave him a quick glance and bluntly asked, “He bottoms?”
At those words, Jiang Xiao Ning’s flushed face was drained white before he finally nodded his head.
Once Qi Xiu Yuan declined to comment and laughed, Jiang Xiao Ning’s face naturally reddens as he asked with a trembling voice, “I love him not because of that kind of thing. I’m not that kind of person…… Laoshi, you’re…you’re also someone from the same circle. You must understand this kind of feeling. We’re sincere, please believe me—”
“I don’t believe it.”
Regardless of Jiang Xiao Ning’s expression became even more desperate, Qi Xiu Yuan still heartlessly said, “Have you thought about it? That time you gave me a call and cried for help if I didn’t hurry there, what would have happened?”
“I’ve thought of it. Did you think I’ve never been scared before?” By now, tears were beckoning to flow from Jiang Xiao Ning’s red eyes, but wanting to prove himself, he restrained it. “Did you think that just because of him……just because I’m infatuated with him, I’ve forgotten those things? But, I can’t control myself. I don’t know how to not love him. I……” Seeming as though he wanted to hold his tears back, he stood up and took a deep breath.
For a moment, Qi Xiu Yuan fell into a trance. These words sound so familiar as if not long ago, he had said something similar to Zhang Juan Juan in this very room—
— do you think that I am only carried away by an impulse to pursue Xiao Li? Do you think I’ve never wavered and stepped back? —
No…it’s not the same……
Qi Xiu Yuan’s brows pulled together tightly and no longer able to control himself, he said, “Your words aren’t convincing. You mustn’t forget, he doesn’t do this with only you. How many boys and girls has he used this method on already? Others call him boss…how many business transactions has he done in order to become one? How can I be at ease and let you contact this kind of—”
“I know, I know……” Jiang Xiao Ning lifted his arm to shield his eyes but the tears still flowed down, “He’s not a good person and has done a lot of bad things. He will be punished! He will definitely be punished! I only want to stay with him……no matter what happens, no matter what kind of punishment he will suffer from, I only want to stay by his side and accompany him……”
This boy stood there frail and weak, and although his sobbing tone possessed the characteristic of a young man, Qi Xiu Yuan completely shocked by the sound. He looked at Jiang Xiao Ning in a daze, thinking that this young man’s shadow seemed to coincide with his own—separated by only a few months and only a few hundred miles away.
At that time, when Qi Xiu Yuan walked down the mountain in Yuncheng County, he silently repeated that name during the whole journey while his heart throbbed. He thought that even though his life was nourished by the darkness, he was mentally prepared for it all. He thought he had anticipated all the difficulties and obstacles. He thought that he will eventually overcome all the visible and invisible opponents, and ultimately have that person and also be owned by that person. Then with a smile, the Qi Xiu Yuan from that time, full of confidence and expectations dialed that person’s number.
“At first, you only want to stay with him,” Qi Xiu Yuan started to say indifferently as though he was really talking about someone else’s situation, “…and then you will have some requests. You will hope that he will respond to your feelings, even if it’s only just a bit. At the same time, you will have even more requests, and you will hope that he will not do those things, or hope that he is no longer bound by those things, but that is impossible. Those are the things in his past that he cannot break away from. It is a part of him. Those things made who he is today. Ultimately, you can only hate yourself…hate yourself for not having enough strength, courage, and resourcefulness to save him or save yourself, and then you find that, aside from becoming his burden, you’re meaningless. ” He paused and said, “In the end, you can only watch him let go of your hand.”
Just like in the end, he let that person pulled away from his hand, without expressing any words, any emotions, or any other action at all that could make that person change his mind.
Jiang Xiao Ning put his arm down and although the tears brightened his eyes, it made him looked even more despair.
“No, that won’t happen. I won’t become like that.” His voice suddenly rose, “You do not understand. Not only do I want to be by his side, but he also needs me……”
Qi Xiu Yuan was stung by his last sentence as he tried to steady his own heart. He could only sigh and said, “I really sympathize with you, but you’ve come to the wrong person, I can’t tell you how to contact him.”
“In the end……in the end, why?” Jiang Xiao Ning could not understand this and asked again.
“Because he is a pimp and you are a student,” Qi Xiu Yuan replied, “because I am your teacher and I’ve witnessed him torture you because your father and I are colleagues. If there is a chance that you might meet with danger, even if it’s just a small possibility, I cannot look on without saying or doing anything. And even more, I cannot encourage it.” He looked at Jiang Xiao Ning, his tone slowed down just a bit, “What you said are moving, but I have to be responsible for you.”
Jiang Xiao Ning bit his lips and stared at him with widened eyes. In seconds, countless expressions flitted across his face before he finally asked, “What if it’s my dad?”
“If I tell my dad,” Jiang Xiao Ning seemed to be frightened by his own words. He paused for a moment then continued to speak, “If my dad came to ask you, would you tell him?”
Qi Xiu Yuan looked at him in contemplation, and then finally said, “The odds are higher than me telling you.”
“……I know.” Jiang Xiao Ning wiped his tears and silently stood there for a while longer. After a moment, he quietly said, “I’ll leave first. I hope your health soon.”
He looked as though he wanted to say something else but in the end, he couldn’t word it and dejectedly walked out with his head hung low.
Qi Xiu Yuan watched as he shut the door then turned his head toward the small table beside his bed only to see that it was completely packed with brightly colored and flashy things. As he picked up a musical box and opened it for a look, a simple melody sounded off with a little ballerina slowly spinning in full circles.
There were also a few pieces of chocolate, a pair of cup, a transparent frame that was crudely drawn with the image of a man wearing a sailor’s hat and smoking a pipe and some words were written next to it:
“Laoshi, although you’ve often hit my head, I still hope that you recover quickly. And even if your strength is like that of this ferocious sailor, I won’t mind.”
There was also a crystal ball with snowflakes floating inside and another card that was smelt rather nice and written on it was a young girl’s beautiful handwriting with a cartoon image of a child throwing a tantrum……
Unable to look at it anymore, Qi Xiu Yuan lifted his head and peered outside at the sunshine for a while before he slowly sat up and picked up the crutches leaning at the side and carefully walked toward the window.
This was probably the life that Xiao Li thought he should have. One accompanied by the clear and cloudless sky with the sun that shined brightly, colleagues that wouldn’t suddenly want to kill him, and the kind of job that had a meaning.
He made his own choice, just as he had just made the same choice for Jiang Xiao Ning.
Lost in thought, Qi Xiu Yuan seemed to not care at all that the air conditioner was on as he reached out to open the window.
The summer hot air blew in, contrasting greatly with the temperature in the room and all he could see across the windows was the sun and blue sky. Who would have imagined with the humidly, the world would be so hot and unbearable like this?
Qi Xiu Yuan quietly stood there for a while but when he suddenly felt and unfriendly movement behind him, he quickly turned around only to see two young men had already rushed inside the room and shut the door. He recognized one among the two as someone that had participated in beating him up that day.
Then Qi Xiu Yuan watched as he nodded his head to the other person which caused that person to look him up and down, before saying, “Qi Xiu Yuan, obediently come with us. Qing Ye wants to see you. ”
Jiang Xiao Ning is still young and may need someone to make a choice for him, but I have already been an adult for a long time.
With that thought in mind, Qi Xiu Yuan faced those two robust men and smiled without much care.
“Really? What a coincidence.”
 The whole paragraph is just describing what Qi Xiu Yuan felt before he called Xiao Li in chapter 11, in case you’re lazy to go back, it’s this part at the end of that chapter:
He took out his cellphone and pressed that number he had already deleted yet had long memorized by heart. His finger was right above the call button but he didn’t press it yet. He hovered over it for a period of time, and then he suddenly smiled.