Chapter 2: Second Young Lady Ye’s Chance Encounter
While I was waiting for Uncle Zhao’s carriage to arrive at the school gate, my mind was still thinking about that new teacher, Qin Shiyue. I realized he was really special since I didn’t hate him even though I was forced to stand up all morning. Not even when I felt the soreness on my legs.
I estimated that he was only twenty-two or twenty-three years old. And to tell the truth, this teacher was truly a handsome man with beautiful eyebrows and eyes. Furthermore, considering our school only accepts girls, we seldom had any contact with men.
It went without saying that we had never seen such a handsome man in our school so naturally, everyone’s face was red as if painted with rouge. Not only was he pleasing to the eyes, but his voice when he read poetry to us was also nice to listen to. And he didn’t shake his head in disapproval when we made mistakes.
At this time, the boys from the opposite school were not afraid of whistling at us, their counterparts. Alas, when the girls heard their whistles, they scattered like birds. Only I was left still standing there in a daze, my mind still stuck on the new teacher.
Suddenly, the sound of a gunshot reverberated in the air. At first, the passersby and vendors were stupefied when they heard the sound, unable to immediately realize what exactly was happening. Soon they seemed to realize what it was and began to gather their belongings hurriedly.
The married women were running away with their children as they cried out in fright. The shops were also busy closing their doors in a rush. For a moment, everything in the street was in chaos as people ran for their lives to a place where there was no sound of gunfire echoing.
My heart thumped. I frowned as I accidentally walked toward the direction the gunshot came from. After all, although I had been studying at Ye Xin Girls’ Middle School for half a year, I was still unfamiliar with the surrounding environment. As such, I walked straight into a deserted alley.
However, I found that it led to a dead end. Realizing this, I stomped my feet and tried to walk out. When I turned around, there was a man standing there in the middle of the alley. The man was wearing a shabby white coat that had oil all over it. Aside from the oil, there was also a large amount of blood staining his clothes.
He then fell down, covering his chest. Seeing that, I didn’t have the time to think about anything. I immediately ran over and asked, “Are you alright?”
From what I had heard, the revolutionaries were being hunted and killed. Perhaps this man I had run into was also one of them.
The man’s voice as he spoke was very weak. Being soft-hearted, I tried to help him up, but he was covered with blood. If I took him away from the alley like this, his pursuers would find him for sure. After all, I could hear the sound of gunfire coming closer from far away. Just as I was wondering what I was supposed to do to get us out of this situation, the man suddenly smiled with relief evident on his face.
Before I could ask if he had thought up a way to get us out of this situation, he swallowed something, causing his body to convulse. Not a moment later, with two last kicks, he died. Everything happened so fast that I could only look with a dumbfounded expression.
While I was stunned, the sound of the gun suddenly seemed to approach closer and closer to me. It was also accompanied by the cluttered sound of horses’ hoofs and footsteps.
Suddenly, someone grabbed my hand. But, before I could see who it was, the person had quickly pulled me out of the alley and dragged me into a corner to hide there. Not a second later, the unknown person and I saw a few people riding on their horses looking at the trails of bloodstains on the ground. Following it, they soon entered the alley.
Without a doubt, they would find the dead body there. Sure enough, when they came out, they dragged the dead body along with them. I overheard a senior officer hurling curses at the dead body before he ordered someone to tie the dead man’s feet to the horse with a rope. Then, the body was dragged away as the officer urged the horse to move, leaving a long and wide bloodstain on the ground.
When they were gone, all the strength in my body seemed to escape as great relief surged into my heart. It honestly felt as if all my strength had been used up in the past few minutes. So, I sat down leaning on the wall, and patted my chest, trying to calm myself down and regain my strength.
I finally said to the person who had saved me.
“It was so dangerous just now. If they see you, those officials will probably take you as an accomplice.”
The voice sounded nice. It also sounded familiar to me. Thus, I couldn’t help but turn my head around to look at the face of my savior. And what I saw surprised me. It turned out my savior was Qin Shiyue.
“Were you following me?”
Qin Shiyue only let out mocking laughter as he said, “People run away from the sound of gunfire when they hear it. Instead of doing what is common sense, you go toward the sound where the chaos reigns. If it hadn’t been for the blood dripping all the way at the entrance of the alley, I wouldn’t be able to find you.”
Still, despite his disagreeable words, the fact that he involved himself in this kind of muddy water just to save a student he didn’t particularly like was enough for me to feel slight admiration for him. As such, I stood up, patted the dirt on my skirt, and didn’t feel burdened when I invited him.
”Mr. Qin, in order to thank you for saving my life, I’d like to invite you to dinner at my home tonight. Please—”
However, Qin Shiyue only pursed his thin lips at my invitation. He pointed at Uncle Zhao, who was looking around anxiously at the school gate and said, “The carriage of the Ye Family has come to pick you up. You go home early and attend classes on time tomorrow. And as long as you abide by the school rules, I will consider you to have repaid me.”
After he said that, he tidied his messy hair and walked out. His every movement was natural and unrestrained. And I was stunned for a long time, especially as I saw the afterglow of the setting sun shone on his light gray suit. With a pace that was neither fast nor slow, I had an illusion that the place he was heading to was a fascinating paradise.