Ning Yiwei sometimes felt that certain individuals also experienced the time dilation effect of personal subjectivity. It was quite apparent to him that after the arrival of autumn, the perceived length of each day was gradually decreasing along with the dropping temperature.
Liang Chong didn’t take his theory seriously, stating that Ning Yiwei was merely experiencing “sluggishness caused by the cold” and “excessive sleep.”
Shockingly, Zhou Zirui agreed with Liang Chong and advised Ning Yiwei to eat more.
Zhou Zirui firmly believed that if Ning Yiwei ate more, he would feel like it’s summer again. However, Ning Yiwei had doubts and conducted a subjective speed calculation experiment with Zhou Zirui.
In his senior year, apart from attending classes and writing papers, Ning Yiwei started learning to drive.
Encouraged by his parents and attracted by the warm car during winter, Ning Yiwei passed the theory test and the second phase and began preparing for the third phase.
After the acquisition, Liang Chong had some free time, and on weekends, he would occasionally take Ning Yiwei out to the outskirts for driving practice.
Ning Yiwei was timid and didn’t have great coordination skills. Practicing with Liang Chong was completely different from the driving school. Liang Chong would constantly make Ning Yiwei overtake and change lanes, making him extremely nervous.
Every time Ning Yiwei practiced driving under Liang Chong’s guidance, he would be so scared that his legs would go weak. He would need to rest for a long time on the roadside, feeling completely exhausted. Liang Chong had to carry him when changing positions.
After a few times, Ning Yiwei started to come up with various excuses to avoid practicing driving.
As midterms approached, Kong Shenfeng returned to his home country for two weeks. He checked the progress of the research group there and gave two academic presentations at universities in the neighboring province. Ning Yiwei only managed to see him briefly at the center, barely exchanging any words.
On the day when he had another conflict with Kong Zong, Liang Chong insisted on meeting Ning Yiwei, who had dodged practicing driving three times already, at 3 p.m. by the entrance of the Physics Experimental Teaching Center.
Seeing that it was almost time, Ning Yiwei went to the second-floor lounge in the center to find Zhou Zirui and work on translating literature together.
Just a few minutes after sitting down, Ning Yiwei received a call from his mom.
“Weiwei,” Lu Jiaqin said, “Where are you?”
She sounded happy as she told Ning Yiwei, “Your dad and I are at your school. We just had a discussion with the person in charge of Cafeteria 2 about the food supply. Your dad wanted to talk to them for a few more minutes, and your mom wanted to come and see you.”
Ning Yiwei walked out and informed Lu Jiaqin of his precise location, guiding her to turn and go straight while he descended the stairs.
Upon hearing that Ning Yiwei’s mom had arrived, Zhou Zirui also accompanied Ning Yiwei downstairs.
The Cafeteria 2 wasn’t far from the Experimental Center. Lu Jiaqin made two turns and entered the pathway by the entrance of the center. She saw Ning Yiwei standing at the main entrance, holding his phone, and the stout chubby boy beside him.
“Mom,” Ning Yiwei walked over and waved at his mom, “Come here quickly. This is where I work on my assignments, and this is my best friend, Zhou Zirui.”
“H-hello, Auntie,” Zhou Zirui greeted Ning Yiwei’s mom with a hint of shyness.
Ning Yiwei sat with his mom on the sofa on the first floor of the Experimental Center, chatting for a while. They were discussing having dinner at home that evening when suddenly someone called out to Ning Yiwei in his most annoying dragging tone from behind him, “Ning Yiwei.”
Ning Yiwei turned around and saw Kong Zong again.
Lu Jiaqin was completely unaware of the unpleasantness between Kong Zong and Ning Yiwei. She had a smile on her face and greeted Kong Zong, “Is this Weiwei’s classmate?”
Kong Zong’s eyes were filled with disdain. He didn’t respond to Lu Jiaqin’s words but instead scrutinized her from head to toe, tugged at the corners of his mouth, and said, “A food delivery person?”
Lu Jiaqin’s expression changed slightly. She glanced at Ning Yiwei uneasily, not understanding why his classmate spoke in such a harsh manner.
“Y-You’re the delivery person!” Zhou Zirui abruptly stood up and loudly said to Kong Zong.
“You dare to come to the center and embarrass Professor Kong.” Ning Yiwei despised it the most when someone brought up his parents. He held onto Zhou Zirui, coldly staring at Kong Zong. “Did you even pay the remaining amount for the literature analysis work last time? You should hurry up and let him teach you about Fourier transforms.”
If Kong Zong had merely taunted Ning Yiwei himself, he could tolerate it like he did last time in the cafeteria. But now, Lu Jiaqin was greeting Kong Zong politely, and he was launching unwarranted attacks. Ning Yiwei felt dizzy with anger.
If only he knew how to fight, he would have rushed forward long ago.
Ning Yiwei hit a nerve with Kong Zong. They stared at each other for a few seconds. Then, Kong Zong shrugged his shoulders and smiled at Ning Yiwei, “Is it so serious? Isn’t she just your stepmother?”
As soon as he finished speaking, Lu Jiaqin and Ning Yiwei turned pale. Zhou Zirui was also stunned.
Seeing Ning Yiwei’s expression, Kong Zong knew that his information was accurate and wanted to continue poking at Ning Yiwei’s wounds. “I heard that your rural stepmother is infertile—”
Before he could finish his sentence, Ning Yiwei charged at him.
Kong Zong was caught off guard. His vision blurred, and he heard a strange muffled sound coming from his face. Then, he felt intense pain in his cheekbones and eye sockets. His legs weakened, and his body involuntarily leaned to the left. Just as his knee touched the ground, Ning Yiwei threw another punch towards his temple.
However, Ning Yiwei’s punches lacked technique, and Kong Zong had trained in boxing for over half a year. He swiftly reached out, grabbing Ning Yiwei’s fist and pushing him away. Catching his breath, Kong Zong stood up with the support of the tea table, pointed at Ning Yiwei, and cursed him with an extremely vulgar word.
It was nearly 3 P.M., the time when the security guards changed shifts. No one came down from upstairs, and there wasn’t even anyone in the lobby who could intervene in the fight.
Zhou Zirui overcame the psychological barrier from being bullied on campus when he was younger and tried to stand in front of Kong Zong. But Kong Zong forcefully pushed him, causing him to sway backward.
“Zirui, I’m fine. You don’t have to worry,” Ning Yiwei stared at Kong Zong and said each word, “Apologize to my mom.”
“What can you do if I don’t apologize?” Kong Zong released the grip on the tea table, rolled up his sleeves, and walked towards Ning Yiwei.
“Weiwei, let it go. Let’s leave,” Lu Jiaqin cautiously advised Ning Yiwei from the side. She was afraid that things would escalate and have a negative impact on him. Besides, it wasn’t the first time someone had said such things to her.
“No, Mom,” Ning Yiwei earnestly told her, “He needs to apologize to you.”
Kong Zong wasn’t highly intelligent, but he had a quick recovery. After only half a minute, he fully regained his composure. Taking a large step, he reached out to grab Ning Yiwei’s collar, but Ning Yiwei evaded him.
Ning Yiwei was smaller and leaner than Kong Zong. Kong Zong continued to approach him, and Ning Yiwei cautiously retreated. After a few steps, he backed against the wall, with no further room to retreat.
Kong Zong cornered Ning Yiwei in a corner of the lobby, observing the mocking and indifferent look in Ning Yiwei’s eyes. It ignited a deep anger inside him, feeling provoked by Ning Yiwei’s contemptuous attitude. All his pent-up grudges surged, and he ominously raised his arm.
At that moment, Kong Zong’s peripheral vision caught sight of someone entering through the main entrance. Subconsciously glancing over, he abruptly froze—surprisingly, it was Liang Chong.
Liang Chong noticed their confrontational state and paused his steps, his eyebrows furrowing.
Kong Zong was taken aback and momentarily forgot about Ning Yiwei. He stood upright and called out to Liang Chong, “Brother, why are you here?”
“My dad isn’t here today,” Kong Zong nervously said, “Whom are you looking for? I’ll take you upstairs.”
Liang Chong ignored Kong Zong and walked straight towards them. As he approached, Kong Zong noticed that his cousin’s expression was so grim it seemed like he was ready to kill. Liang Chong stopped between Ning Yiwei and Kong Zong, causing a bit of crowding in the corner. Kong Zong had no choice but to step back.
“Brother…” Kong Zong had a subtle feeling. He sensed that Liang Chong was angry, but Kong Zong couldn’t understand why Liang Chong would be angry.
“Kong Zong,” Liang Chong stood close to Kong Zong. Kong Zong had to slightly tilt his head to see Liang Chong’s expression. Liang Chong remained emotionless, silently gazing down at Kong Zong, and softly asked him, “What are you doing?”
Kong Zong had never seen Liang Chong like this before. He opened his mouth to speak, but before he could say anything, Ning Yiwei spoke first, “Kong Zong provoked me first, so I gave him a beating.”
Liang Chong glanced at Ning Yiwei, and Ning Yiwei corrected himself, “Just one punch.”
Kong Zong watched as Liang Chong reached out and grabbed Ning Yiwei’s wrist, gently pulling Ning Yiwei’s hand closer to his face. Kong Zong lowered his head to carefully examine Ning Yiwei’s hand.
Ning Yiwei did put some force into the punch he threw at Kong Zong. Kong Zong’s right cheek still felt numb. Ning Yiwei’s hand had turned red in response, with a bruise on the middle finger joint that had a slight oozing of blood.
Kong Zong’s temple throbbed rapidly. The corner of his mouth on the right side seemed immovable, but these were minor issues. What bothered him more was the way Liang Chong held Ning Yiwei’s hand. In his eyes, Ning Yiwei standing so close to Liang Chong was a direct insult to Liang Chong. He had to pull Ning Yiwei away.
He raised his hand, intending to grab Ning Yiwei’s arm. “Brother, how do you know this kind of—”
Almost in an instant, Liang Chong blocked Kong Zong’s hand.
He shielded Ning Yiwei behind him, giving Kong Zong a brief, emotionless but chilling gaze that sent shivers down Kong Zong’s spine.
“Kong Zong,” Liang Chong lowered his eyes, looking down at Kong Zong and said, “If you dare touch Ning Yiwei again, give it a try.”
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