After Liang Chong scolded Ning Yiwei, he became quieter.
Liang Chong didn’t mean it that way, but fewer words were better, making the world a bit quieter.
When they returned to Liang Chong’s house, the doctor checked Ning Yiwei’s wound, replaced the bandage, and then left.
The two of them silently watched the news for a while. Yawning, Ning Yiwei leaned on Liang Chong, holding his legs. Liang Chong put a waterproof plaster on Ning Yiwei and told him to go upstairs and take a shower.
Liang Chong went to his study and called his secretary, asking her to arrange a dinner with Professor Kong.
Shortly after, the secretary called back, sounding a bit embarrassed. She said, “Mr. Liang, Professor Kong asked what you will be donating this time. If you don’t donate, he will be very busy.”
Liang Chong was taken aback. “Didn’t we just donate recently?”
Two years ago, Liang Chong’s group signed a donation agreement with D University to build an underground laboratory for the placement of a new particle accelerator.
At that time, Ning Yiwei used to study at home every night for Kong Shenfeng’s research group. He would stay up all night, and Liang Chong couldn’t bear to see it. So he called his uncle, hoping he could secure a position for Ning Yiwei. Unexpectedly, when Kong Shenfeng heard about it, he made an outrageous request, implying that Liang Chong should provide a new particle accelerator.
Liang Chong hung up on him immediately. After a while, Kong Shenfeng called again, with a much softer tone, saying that they only needed the laboratory shell and he would think of a solution for the rest.
Liang Chong had someone calculate the cost and found it within his means, so he agreed.
At the banquet after signing the agreement, Kong Shenfeng had a few drinks and proudly revealed to Liang Chong, “Actually, undergraduate students won’t be of much use. It’s just a way for them to receive some academic influence within the research group. Whether there’s one more or one less doesn’t matter. And this Ning Yiwei, I was planning to recruit him anyway.”
Liang Chong was so angry that he almost crushed the wine glass, no longer showing any favor to this unfamiliar uncle.
Little did he expect that Kong Shenfeng, after not seeing him for a year, became even more insatiable, demanding a clear price for every meal.
“I’ll ask him myself.” Liang Chong said, then called Kong Shenfeng, who picked up the phone quickly.
“Xiao Liang,” Kong Shenfeng’s voice sounded younger than his actual age. He didn’t use any excessive words and naturally asked Liang Chong, “I wonder if you have heard of practical superconducting single-photon detectors?”
“Don’t you have a lot of funding?” Liang Chong asked sincerely. He knew that Kong Shenfeng’s research funding was well-known nationwide.
“Production is a money tree, while saving is a treasure trove,” Kong Shenfeng replied.
“……” Liang Chong closed his eyes, calmed his emotions, and directly said to Kong Shenfeng, “This is about Ning Yiwei again.”
There was a moment of silence from Kong Shenfeng’s end, and then he became serious., “What happened to Ning Yiwei? Just tell me directly.”
Liang Chong didn’t bother being polite with Kong Shenfeng. He briefly recounted the contents of Ning Yiwei’s email and mentioned the argument between Kong Zong and Ning Yiwei in the cafeteria that evening. He hoped that while focusing on academics, Kong Shenfeng could take the time to teach his son a bit and make Kong Zong understand some basic moral values. He didn’t want him to find joy in provoking and harming classmates.
After all, both Ning Yiwei and Zhou Zirui were the kind of clueless individuals who didn’t even understand how to protect themselves, and the construction of the underground laboratory had just begun.
Kong Shenfeng remained silent for a while and said he understood before hanging up the phone.
Liang Chong sat in his study for a while. His study no longer had much of his own belongings. Most of it consisted of Ning Yiwei’s books. However, it was different when he first met Ning Yiwei. At that time, he was in his second year of high school, living with his parents. When Ning Yiwei walked into his study and looked at the books on his wall, his eyes couldn’t move away from the bookshelf.
Ning Yiwei had always been simple, so simple that one could see through him at a glance. He would express dislike for things he disliked and express his likes straightforwardly.
He disliked unfairness, taking shortcuts, and playing the game of social niceties. He disliked falsehoods and bad behavior. He disliked refusing to admit one’s mistakes.
He liked concise theorems and anything that could generate or solve his questions.
Ning Yiwei and the world around him resembled a small ecosystem, operating in a relatively closed and orderly manner.
When Liang Chong first met Ning Yiwei, they didn’t have much interaction.
Lu Jiaqin was worried that Ning Yiwei would disrupt Liang Chong’s daily life, so during the day, she made him stay in the nanny room on the ground floor to do homework and read books. He wasn’t allowed to come out. The lighting in the nanny room wasn’t good, so she bought a small desk lamp for Ning Yiwei.
Fortunately, Ning Yiwei wasn’t particular. He could sit there from morning till night.
Liang Chong mentioned a few times for Ning Yiwei to come upstairs to the study, but Lu Jiaqin felt uneasy about it.
Later, Kang Minmin noticed that every time she returned home, Ning Yiwei was in the nanny room. So she directly took Ning Yiwei upstairs, called Lu Jiaqin who was cleaning, and told her not to be so restrictive. She also called Liang Chong and said he was being childish, and from now on, Ning Yiwei could use the study.
Liang Chong couldn’t be bothered to explain and didn’t mention his own attempt to persuade Lu Jiaqin. He simply said, “Okay.” It was Lu Jiaqin who felt embarrassed, holding her apron and explaining everything to Liang Chong.
However, even when Ning Yiwei went upstairs, he remained silent whenever Lu Jiaqin was around.
Once, when Ning Yiwei wanted to borrow a book from Liang Chong, he quietly closed the door when Liang Chong went into the study, then approached him and whispered, “Hello, I want to read that book, ‘Ultimate Theory of Dreams’.”
The voice was so soft, reminiscent of someone sneaking around.
At that time, Ning Yiwei was still a child, thin and short, with the same pale complexion. He seemed particularly timid.
Liang Chong admitted that he sometimes had a dark side in his mind. He found Ning Yiwei’s startled reactions quite amusing, so he deliberately asked Ning Yiwei in a voice loud enough but not too loud, “Can you understand it?”
“A little bit,” Ning Yiwei replied cautiously, keeping an eye on the door, and tugging at Liang Chong’s sleeve, betraying Lu Jiaqin. “My mom doesn’t let me talk to you.”
“Is that so?” Liang Chong pretended to be very interested and asked back, “Why?”
“Yes,” Ning Yiwei said solemnly, “Your voice should be softer. I’m afraid my mom might hear.”
Liang Chong stopped teasing him and gave Ning Yiwei the book, then left.
Kang Minmin liked Lu Jiaqin’s family very much. She felt they were warm and honest. She often invited Ning Yiwei to their home as a guest on weekends. However, Liang Chong wasn’t particularly fond of Ning Yiwei’s personality. Perhaps it was because all the education and people he had encountered pointed towards refinement, tact, gentleness, and smoothness, qualities that Ning Yiwei completely lacked.
Whenever Ning Yiwei secretly borrowed books or used the computer from Liang Chong, Liang Chong couldn’t help but subtly make things difficult for him. But Ning Yiwei usually remained completely unaware and said something seriously that Liang Chong found quite amusing.
Liang Chong was always more distant towards Ning Yiwei than anyone else. It was because communicating with Ning Yiwei was straightforward and didn’t require much thought. As long as Liang Chong didn’t reveal his true intentions too clearly and occasionally gave him a treat, Ning Yiwei would be oblivious to Liang Chong’s playful intentions.
It wasn’t until that evening at the dock, between the shipping containers and the riverbank, that Ning Yiwei, with a pale face, tightly gripped the rusted iron rod he found and forcefully struck the person fighting with Liang Chong on the head.
The person was injured by Ning Yiwei, and blood dripped onto the ground, but he remained conscious. He turned around and stared at Ning Yiwei. Ning Yiwei took two steps back, biting his lip, looking on the verge of tears, but he didn’t abandon Liang Chong and run away.
Liang Chong knocked the person unconscious from behind, and Ning Yiwei took Liang Chong to the warehouse behind his father’s newly opened small supermarket. There, Ning Yiwei found disinfectant cotton and adhesive bandages, and even tampered with his father’s purchase receipts, deceiving everyone.
Liang Chong asked why Ning Yiwei was so reckless today. With his head lowered, Ning Yiwei attentively disinfected Liang Chong while honestly answering, “Didn’t you say you would bring books and DVDs for me from the United States during summer vacation? You haven’t gone yet.”
Actually, Liang Chong had no intention of bringing anything for Ning Yiwei. It was just something he casually agreed to. He had initially planned to tell Ning Yiwei that he had looked for them but couldn’t find any, just to brush it off.
In the end, he had no choice but to truly carry a whole suitcase of books for Ning Yiwei.
Liang Chong’s father entered the emergency ward for the first time during Liang Chong’s junior year, on an evening when Kang Minmin was on a business trip in Europe. The ward was crowded with his father’s subordinates and relatives, and Liang Chong was squeezed in the midst of the crowd.
Everyone was comforting Liang Chong, but he didn’t hear anything at all.
Ning Yiwei probably heard from his mother and came with his family. At first, he didn’t approach Liang Chong, but later, when everyone else had dispersed, he emerged from the shadows of the stairs around 3 o’clock in the morning.
“Liang Chong.” Ning Yiwei, afraid of the dark, softly called out Liang Chong’s name and gently touched his head, resembling a young master.
And Liang Chong remembered holding Ning Yiwei for a long time, so long that Ning Yiwei fell asleep on his chest, and he didn’t let go.
Some people find comfort in warm enclosed rooms, others prefer to stay on flower-filled balconies, and some love empty playgrounds. But Liang Chong was different.
Liang Chong’s comfort zone was Ning Yiwei.
Only when Ning Yiwei was safely living by his side, Liang Chong felt complete and stable.
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