Ning Ning arrived at the classroom after school.
There were still people cleaning it up. She told them, “That’s enough for today, the few of you can go home now.”
Ning Ning and Wen Yu were the only people remaining in the classroom after that group of people left.
“Tell me.” She pulled out a chair and sat down beside him, “I’m listening.”
“Rumours.” Wen Yu looked at her and bluntly said, “Rumours regarding Teacher Yan Qing started spreading from you.”
It was the evening, the lights were not switched on in the classroom, the night scenery (outside) slowly transformed into shadows, sneaking in through the window. Occasionally, the rustles of the swaying trees could be heard, they sounded like whispers in the background.
“What did I say?” Ning Ning asked.
“You said Teacher Yan Qing’s way of doing things was not very good.” Wen Yu said, “Then not long after, there were a lot of photos of her kissing a man pasted in the school.”
“That man wasn’t her husband right?” Ning Ning muttered, she felt that she had touched the corners of the truth.
“It wasn’t. So everyone thought that the rumour you spread earlier was true, they thought that Teacher Yan Qing did not do things properly…but she was an unwilling party!” Wen Yu suddenly opened his school bag, he took out a folded piece of drawing paper, opened it and placed it on the table in front of her.
Ning Ning picked up the piece of paper and took a look. Wen Yu’s drawing skills had improved a little bit more, the drawing had skillfully imitated the photo to the point where it was almost indistinguishable.
The drawing was of the photo of a man and a woman kissing. It looked romantic at first glance, but upon closer inspection, one could feel uneasiness, but where did this uneasiness come from?
“They are not a couple at all. Teacher Yan Qing was most probably taken by surprise, that was why her eyes were that wide open while trying to push him away with both her hands.” Wen Yu analysed the drawing bit by bit, finally he concluded, “It was not like what you said at all.”
“Preconceived without context.” Ning Ning sighed.
These kinds of tricks might not be common in the current era she was in, but it was everywhere in the internet era she belonged to.
The photo you uploaded on the internet might be edited, your comments might be taken out of context, then they might get paired with others’ speculations anonymously, after which you would become the target of a witch hunt.
You would get hurt while the other person hid behind the internet as they laughed at you.
“If it was only a rumour, people would forget after listening.” Ning Ning muttered, “If it was only a photo, people would quickly realise that the photo doesn’t look right, you can only illicit a response by following the rumour with a photo, viciously choking the person to death…heh, this incident was obviously calculated.”
Yun Lin was not innocent.
If Yan Qing was really dead, Yun Lin had to take some responsibility.
Ning Ning felt that it was strange, what was the motive for doing this? Was it jealousy? Was it hatred? Was it anything deeper?
“…Why?” Wen Yu’s voice suddenly rang out beside her, it sounded somber and pained, “Why does everyone believe you but not me?”
“Because it’s much easier to incite a crowd compared to protecting a person.” Ning Ning said, “A lot of people don’t know the truth, they would just join in for fun, how many people would that add up to? They do not care, they do not need to take any responsibility anyway. It is much more difficult to protect a person. Unless it’s someone who really likes you, any other person would protect themselves, they would not risk themselves by coming out and speaking up for you…”
As she said that, Ning Ning turned and looked at him, “Do you…want to speak up?”
This short sentence struck Wen Yu like a lightning. He froze on the spot, his expression went through a few changes. It started from self-doubt, then slowly turned into a determination that did not belong to someone his age. He used all of his strength to clench his fist. It looked as if he was trying to squash his unease, like he was trying to hold onto his courage tightly.
In the end, he stood up.
He took the drawing paper back from Ning Ning and refolded it. He carefully placed it back into his schoolbag then flung the bag over his back and walked towards the door.
Ning Ning remained seated as she watched him leave.
As he walked out of the door, he suddenly turned back and looked at Ning Ning.
“Teacher.” He asked, “Why did you do that to Teacher Yan Qing?”
“Why?” Ning Ning leaned back on her chair and looked at the ceiling. She went along the lines of Yun Lin’s thinking, she murmured, “Maybe it was jealousy, maybe something happened between the two of us, maybe there was no particular reason at all and I was just trying to play a bad joke on her.”
That last line of reasoning was too disgusting, it was disgusting beyond Wen Yu’s imagination, he could not help but show his extreme indignation.
“Teacher.” He said coldly, “You might really have lost your memories, or you might have chosen to forget what you have said, the kind of joke you had played on Teacher Yan Qing, but…”
He slowly raised his hand and put it on his chest.
“But to the victim…this kind of hurt would always stay here.” His expression was equally in pain, it looked like he felt it as if it had happened to him.
Ning Ning was stunned for a moment.
The Wen Yu in front of her was overlapping with the Wen Yu on the movie poster.
Getting trapped in a swamp created by rumours, having difficulties speaking out with his own voice, before finally getting swallowed by the swamp…the same kind of pain, he had once experienced it, that was why he felt as if it had happened to him!
The difference was that he could not speak out at that time.
But now, he was ready.
Ning Ning could not help but smile. Wen Yu’s method of doing things was completely different from the people around him, but this was the true Wen Yu. He made her feel warm, because his existence was a ray of light.
“Go look for your father.” She said abruptly.
Wen Yu tilted his head and looked at Ning Ning doubtfully.
“A child’s voice is very small, but every child can control a colossal creature—a parent.” Ning Ning smiled at him. “Go ahead, I will be waiting for you.”
Wen Yu fixed his gaze on her for a long while before turning around and leaving.
“Hold on.” A voice rang out from behind him.
He stopped in his tracks as he listened to Ning Ning speaking from behind him, “Incidentally, I’ll tell you something. I’m not the only one who spread the rumours.”
There was also Li Ping Ping.
She previously said ‘the incident with Yan Qing was clearly done by the both of us’, the incident she was referring to was most probably the spreading rumours and planting of evidence.
There must be a mastermind among the two of them, was it Yun Lin or Li Ping Ping?
Based on their personalities, Ning Ning was inclined to think it was Li Ping Ping as she was always ordering Yun Lin around. On the contrary, Yun Lin could not deal with Li Ping Ping.
The motive was also very obvious, Pei Xuan.
Coincidentally, Li Ping Ping was in the dormitory when Ning Ning returned. She looked like she was in quite a good mood, she even took the initiative to greet Ning Ning, “You’re back.”
Something must be wrong. Ning Ning folded her arms as she stood in front of her, she asked, “You told Pei Xuan what both of us did?”
“Hehe, you can tell?” Li Ping Ping sat by the bed as she peeled an apple. Her old habits were back. She used Ning Ning’s knife to peel Ning Ning’s apple. She smiled proudly. “I can’t let you have him to yourself when it was both of us who did the deed.”
Someone knocked on the door as Ning Ning was about to delve deeper into the issue.
She opened the door and saw the last person she wanted to see at this moment—Pei Xuan.
“I have business with you.” He looked at Li Ping Ping from the corner of his eyes and hesitated, “Can I speak to you alone?”
“Go ahead.” Li Ping Ping answered for Ning Ning, her face was full of bad intentions. “Things like breaking up are better to be done quickly. The longer you drag it out, the worse it is for the both of you…”
Ning Ning glanced back at her, then walked out behind Pei Xuan.
The two of them walked around the empty campus.
Ning Ning waited for him to mention breaking up, but the first words to come out of his mouth were, “Is it cold?”
Then he took off his coat and placed it on her shoulders.
Ning Ning looked at him doubtfully. This didn’t seem like what someone who wanted to break up would do.
“I take it that you have not eaten?” Pei Xuan asked gently, “Where would you like to eat?”
“…We could eat anywhere nearby.” Ning Ning answered.
It was also like this at the dinner table. He politely helped her with food. He ordered her favourite spicy food. He choked so much that he had to drink water, but he did not complain. He was still as caring, as if he was still deeply in love with her.
Ning Ning trembled as the thought entered her mind.
…A malicious woman who conspired to frame his dead wife. It would be fine if he did not know what she did, but why would his attitude not change after knowing what she did? He smiled as much as before, treated her as well as before.
Ning Ning remained silent for a moment before asking, “Did Li Ping Ping tell you what happened?”
Pei Xuan smiled. “She did.”
…Then do you have the memory of a goldfish? Do you only remember things in the past seven seconds?
“But you’re so silly.” Pei Xuan shook the cup in his hand. Not only did he look handsome, his gestures were always elegant, a cheap cup looked like a wine glass in his hands. He smiled at Ning Ning. “Why did you pick her?”
Ning Ning was taken aback.
“Although she is the type to be easily incited and controlled, she easily loses control as well.” Pei Xuan sighed. “You have to pick someone who is more reliable.”
…What did he mean by that?
This simply seemed to be implying that she was the mastermind behind this.
Ning Ning did not dare to express the doubt she had. She could show her true self in front of Wen Yu, but she only wanted to act as Yun Lin in front of Pei Xuan. She had to act as Yun Lin.
“Someone who is more reliable would not take part in something like this.” Ning Ning said blandly.
“That is true.” Pei Xuan passed her the cup, “You can’t have the best of both ways, cheers.”
Ning Ning clinked cups with him, her thoughts twisted and turned in her mind.
This person looked like he knew everything.
What role did he have in this incident?
…The most important point was, what was going on with his dedicated but illogical love?
“…Anyway, are you not going to break up with me?” Ning Ning probed, “What should I tell Li Ping Ping when she asks about it?