BXXD Chapter 6: No wonder I don’t have any friends

CW: descriptions of child abuse at the beginning of this chapter

During my childhood, whenever my mom thought that I had failed to live up to her expectations, she would hit me.

If she struck my hands, I wouldn’t be able to practice the cello, and if she struck my legs, I wouldn’t be able to walk. As a result, she usually hit my back.

She would make me kneel on the floor and hold onto a chair so that my back was exposed. Then, she would whip me with a belt until she was satisfied.

If my little sister saw me being whipped, she would always cry and try to protect me by latching onto our mom in an attempt to prevent her from moving. But what she didn’t know was that Mom was pushed to the brink of fury every time she beat me; she would only hit me when she was thoroughly disappointed in me. She was no longer the same person she was normally. She didn’t have any rationality left to speak of, and her blows would only grow all the more callous if someone tried to stop her.

Eventually, whenever I had a premonition that my mom was going to beat me, I would tell my little sister to wait outside for a while. Once it was all over, I would open the door and let her back in.

One time my mother beat me a little too viciously. She was so enraged that she didn’t have time to find a belt, so she thrashed me twice with a broom handle instead. Although the handle didn’t break at the third blow, the entire broom head flew off, and it was due to this that she probably felt as if she had gone a little overboard. Rather than continuing, she threw the remnants of the broom onto the ground and returned to her room, slamming the door shut behind her.

This generally indicated that she wouldn’t be emerging again for the rest of the night. By the time the sun rose the next day, she would be back to normal—no longer hysterical, no longer filled with boundless anger. All of her negative emotions would be digested, and she would pretend like nothing had ever happened.

I remember being in extraordinary pain, despite the fact that she had only landed two blows on me. It hurt so much that I was instantly unable to move my shoulders very well afterwards, and I even found it a bit difficult to open the door for my little sister.

At the time, my sister wasn’t even ten years old yet. Although she was small and skinny, she had quite a lot of strength, and she was an expert at rubbing in medicated oils.

Ge, why does Mom hate us so much?”

Ever since our dad passed away, any topics related to a “father” were forbidden in our household. This was for the sake of not affecting our growth and development, and also for the sake of breaking away from our dad’s shadow completely. Consequently, my little sister still didn’t know how Lao Ji had died or what kind of person he was.

Most of the time, I thought that things were fine like this. My little sister would be left solely with good memories, and she could believe that our father was an upstanding person, a great hero who did his best to save others from suffering—that was all well and good. But every so often, my little sister would express her discontent with our mother to me, and I would always think of her with pity.

She didn’t know why Mom had become like this, nor did she know who the cause of it was. She didn’t even know that Mom didn’t actually hate us; our mother simply despised seeing the reflection of that man on us.

“There’s an inherent difference between being strict with someone and hating someone. Mom is strict with us, but it’s all for our own good.” I lifted my arm with difficulty to rub my little sister’s head. “She just doesn’t want us to… go down the wrong path.”

My sister clearly didn’t find my words to be very believable. Brows furrowed, she said, “But the teacher said that it’s wrong to hit people. If it’s for our own good, Mom can use logic with us instead. Why does she have to hit you?”

I was a little stumped by her question. Back then, I was still just a high school student, and I couldn’t come up with any better reasons, so I could only use the same widely applicable excuse to muddle my way through.

“You’ll understand when you’re older,” I said.

I went to school injured the next day. Out of all my teachers and classmates, not a single one noticed that I was hurt.

I sat in my seat quietly the entire day, enduring the waves of discomfort radiating from my back. Once school was dismissed, I headed towards the empty classroom to practice my cello, just like I always did.

“Why does your cello sound so weird today?”

That was the first time Ran Qingzhuang ever took the initiative to speak to me, ever since I started acting as his supervisor.

I stopped playing immediately, but I didn’t reply to him. Instead, I just looked at him doubtfully.

He lifted his head from his crossed arms. His expression was devoid of any sleepiness, and he scanned me up and down before he guessed, “Someone hit you?”

I didn’t have a particularly great personality. Cello practice and studying took up too much of my time, so I hardly had the energy to socialize on top of that. Consequently, I didn’t really have any friends to speak of, and I always kept to myself at school.

Throughout the entire day, none of my teachers or classmates had noticed that I was injured. Yet Ran Qingzhuang could tell from the sound of my cello alone that someone had hit me.

With those ears, it would be a waste not to study music.

“No.” In the end, it was a family skeleton, so I instinctively denied it.

Ran Qingzhuang clearly didn’t believe me. He continued guessing, “Was it those delinquents from the vocational school next door?”

Our high school was considered a pretty good school in the area. It had a long, established history; the teachers were well-qualified; and its graduates could be found at all the famous universities, both domestic and abroad. There was also another school next to ours, a vocational secondary school that wasn’t particularly outstanding. Most of its students tended to idle away their days—not many took their studies seriously.

The two schools had been established for quite a few years now. At some point, one of the classes had started a “feud,” and both schools were still utterly incompatible by the time I graduated. My guess was that things would remain tumultuous for a long time.

They thought of us as falsely noble and virtuous, and we thought of them as truly low-class. Neither school’s students viewed the other’s highly. Conflicts occurred frequently between the two sides, and fights broke out because of the slightest disagreement. Ran Qingzhuang could be considered part of the main force of my high school. He had gotten into seventeen or eighteen fights since entering our school, the vast majority of them being with the students next door.

He seemed to clash with those people by nature; if they saw each other, the idea of walking peacefully past was abandoned. Since the teachers truly couldn’t do anything about him, they attempted to stagger his dismissal time so that it was different from the neighboring school’s, fundamentally and effectively preventing the conflicts from taking place.

This originally would’ve been somewhat difficult to accomplish, but to everyone’s satisfaction, I just so happened to be available. That was the real reason why I was “supervising” him.

“No!” I was afraid that he would think the students next door had hit me, giving rise to a misunderstanding, so I hastily told him the truth.

“It—it was my mom. Since my math score wasn’t very good this time, she got a bit mad, and she hit me…” I said quietly, head lowered. I set down my cello bow and plucked at the strings gently with the pad of my finger.

Ran Qingzhuang was somewhat surprised. “Your mom hit you?” Using the back two legs of his chair as support, he leaned slightly backwards as his tone of voice abruptly relaxed. “Oh, never mind then.”

After his interruption, I wasn’t in the mood to practice anymore, so I put away my cello and took out my homework to work on it.

In my peripheral vision, Ran Qingzhuang’s chair continued to sway back and forth. It never once settled down properly.

“If possible, I’d want my mom to hit me too, but I’ve never even seen her before.”

The tip of my pencil paused on the paper, and I inclined my head to the side to look dubiously at Ran Qingzhuang. Upon seeing his appearance—kicked back in his chair, hands folded behind his head, eyelids drooping, listless and dispirited—I couldn’t help but ask, “Where did she go?”

“She didn’t go anywhere.” He didn’t look at me. Instead, he gazed at the blackboard in front of him as he spoke at a volume that was audible for both of us. “My grandma said that she was most likely some unremarkable woman my dad met out there who ended up giving birth to me. But she didn’t want to raise me, so she tossed me to my dad and ran off. My dad didn’t want to raise me either, so he tossed me to my grandma.”

Learning about his family background so unexpectedly caught me briefly off guard.

“Ah… Well, at least—at least you have a dad. My dad passed away when I was eight.” I had never experienced such an atmosphere before, and I felt the need to say something, though I didn’t know exactly what. But thanks to my clumsy inarticulacy, I ended up picking the worst possible thing.

The disobedient chair immediately stilled, and Ran Qingzhuang’s gaze finally settled on me.

“When I was twelve, my dad… was shot to death.” There was a smile that wasn’t quite a smile on his face. After that, he grabbed his backpack from the belly of the desk and slung it over his shoulder before he started to make his way towards the classroom door. “I didn’t get to enjoy much more fatherly affection than you either.”

Once he was gone, I knocked my head against my desk in frustration. In doing so, I accidentally tugged at the injuries on my back, causing me to grimace in pain.

“Ah, no wonder I don’t have any friends…”

After our performance concluded at night, I went to change my clothes in the changing room with the other male members of the orchestra. All of a sudden, one of the violinists, Hu Wen, suddenly pushed open the door and rushed inside in a hurried panic, startling the men into hastily covering up their important parts.

“Hu Wen, what are you doing?”

With one hand braced against a locker, Hu Wen gasped for air as she said, “It’s bad, Xiao Fang’s husband… He—he’s fighting with Director Xin!”

I was in the middle of loosening my bow tie when she came in. As soon as I heard what was happening, I no longer had time to undo it properly, so I yanked it off in one motion and threw it to the side. Then I sprinted towards Director Xin’s office.

I could already see a group of people crammed into the corridor from afar. After I pushed through the crowd and squeezed my way to the door, I found Fang Luosu standing there in a dumbfounded daze. The door to the office was closed tightly behind her, and a few of Director Xin’s miserable howls floated out every so often.

Even though Nan Xian was more of a musically-inclined scholar, he was still ultimately a man. If he continued beating up Director Xin like this, it was hard to guarantee there wouldn’t be any problems.

“You should stay back for now.” I pulled Fang Luosu to the side and went to open the door, but right as my hand wrapped around the doorknob, Fang Luosu shoved me abruptly. I wasn’t expecting it at all, so I crashed into the wall.

Fierce pain instantly ripped through my head. All I could do was lean against the wall for support, and even my vision grew a bit blurry.

“Was it you? Were you the one who told Nan Xian?” Fang Luosu questioned me harshly. “I already said that I wasn’t going to compete with you anymore. If you want the principal cellist position, I’m willing to give it to you, so why did you have to do that?”

“Calm down a little first.” Since she was pregnant, it wasn’t advisable for her to get too worked up.

“You always… always act like this, as if you’re some untainted, upstanding gentleman. What are you pretending for? Do you not want to be the principal cellist? If you don’t, then why didn’t you just tell Director Xin to yield the position to me? I know that you look down on me, that you think I’m despicable.” Tears streamed down Fang Luosu’s face as she pointed at me. “But you’re not any better! Aren’t you tired, living like this? You hypocrite!”

So that was how she had viewed me this entire time.

The pain passed swiftly, but I was still stunned.


The office door abruptly opened to reveal an expressionless man with a neat and refined appearance. His hands were spotted with blood, and the lapel of his jacket was also torn.

Collapsed on the ground behind him was Director Xin. He was moaning weakly and crying for help, but it didn’t seem like he would be dying anytime soon.

“Nan Xian!” Fang Luosu started to approach him, but he ignored her completely and pushed her indifferently to the side.

Nan Xian headed straight for me and asked coldly, “Did you already know about this?”

Nothing was mentioned to him as the situation developed, and the various plans to inform him kept being postponed. It was true that I already knew about it—that much was undeniable.

“…I’m sorry.” I lowered my eyes; I didn’t dare to look him in the face.

Nan Xian laughed out of fury and gave me a thumbs-up. “Great, aren’t you something. Ji Ning, you’re really something else!”

He turned around and began making his way towards the stairs. The crowd of people automatically parted to the sides to create a path for him.

Fang Luosu took a few steps in his direction before she glanced back at me. In the end, however, she continued to chase after Nan Xian while calling out his name.

I slumped against the wall and recuperated there for quite a while, all the way up until Hu Wen approached me and asked how I was doing.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” I shook my head and shot a look at Director Xin, who was still inside the office. Then I suggested, “Let’s call an ambulance.”

Afterwards, no matter how many times I called Nan Xian, none of my calls ever went through. He must have blocked me.

I had no choice but to message him and Fang Luosu separately in the hopes that they would communicate properly like adults and refrain from acting impulsively.

I got a call less than two minutes after I sent the messages. Delighted, I thought that either the wife or the husband was calling me, but when I checked my phone, it was an unknown number.

I answered it, disappointed. “Hello? May I ask who’s calling?”

The other end introduced himself. He claimed to be the Jin family’s head butler, surnamed Feng.

“It’s like this. Your performance last time was superb, and the little young master enjoyed it greatly. Both Mr. Jin and the madam believe that the little young master requires a talented person such as yourself to teach him. Thus, I’ve come to inquire on their behalf if you have any interest in switching occupations.” Butler Feng spoke frankly and confidently. “We’ve arranged an even better position for you here on Lion King Island. When it comes to the salary and benefits, I can assure you that you will not find anything… better than this.”

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