The news of this incident spread like wildfire. Within a day, everyone knew that there was a beauty in the International Class.
Someone secretly took a picture of Zhao Mingxi standing in front of her class this morning and used it to replace the existing one in the School Beauty Contest’s webpage.
Thus, everyone who was curious went to look at the forum.
A lot of people were instantly doubtful. “This picture has been photoshopped, right? Or else why haven’t I ever seen such a beauty in school before?”
There were even some who began to analyze it. “Look at how badly photoshopped are the frames of the door behind her. This beauty is too much. Never has there been a normal person with such perfect features. What’s the point in studying? She might as well go ahead and become a celebrity.”
“Exactly. If she really looks like this, she would’ve been very famous not only in our school but also in other schools. So how is it possible that this is only revealed now?”
These types of comments were endless. Those who did not see her with their own eyes retained their doubtful attitude. Even those who saw Zhao Mingxi this morning and commented ‘she is really that beautiful’ were attacked by the netizens.
Nonetheless, it couldn’t stop the uncontrollable rocket-like rise in Zhao Mingxi’s votes on the voting page.
Before school ended today, the popularity of the three words ‘Zhao Mingxi’ was close to surpassing Zhao Yuan’s.
E Xiaoxia leaned on her table and buried her head in her arms. She felt as if someone had taken off all her clothes and punished her. She did not dare to raise her head for the whole of today, moreover listen to what the teacher was saying.
Surprisingly, no one from the Evergreen Class mocked her. At most there were some girls who disliked her talking about her in hushed whispers.
However, E Xiaoxia was really sensitive. No matter what people said, she would take it as if they were talking about what happened this morning; as if they were all laughing at her.
After class, Miao Ran who was her close friend came to assure her. She patted her shoulder, “Don’t worry. This incident will blow over after a few days. It isn’t anything huge anyway. You’re just jealous of her. Every girl is bound to have such thoughts. It’s understandable.”
When E Xiaoxia heard such assuring words, she was on the verge of tears. She raised her head from her arms, “Exactly! Why is everyone blaming me? Who would’ve known that Zhao Mingxi was such a beauty when she wore that mask everyday? If everyone were to blame someone, they ought to blame her for leading everyone on!”
When the two girls who were sitting behind them heard this, they looked at each other. They both felt that E Xiaoxia was really brazen. Only she would still find excuses for herself at such a time.
However, in every class there would be a group of girls who were not to be messed around with. Aside from the prettiest and peace-loving Zhao Yuan, E Xiaoxia was the center of her small group.
They really didn’t have the need to mess with E Xiaoxia.
Thus, they continued to bury their heads in their homework, pretending as if they didn’t hear anything.
Even Miao Ran felt as if E Xiaoxia’s words were a little too shameless. Nonetheless, she didn’t comment on it. Instead, she continued to assure her, “Yeah. If it was me, I would think that she became ugly after her facial injury as well, and that she didn’t dare to show her face to everyone.”
E Xiaoxia wiped her tears. “I feel like a joke.”
“It’s alright.” Miao Ran continued to console her patiently.
It was only now that E Xiaoxia felt better and could calmly think of where things went wrong.
She looked at Zhao Yuan who was sitting in the first row with mixed emotions. Then, she whispered to Miao Ran, “But what I didn’t expect was for Zhao Yuan whom we’ve always placed on a pedestal to strike me when I’m down. She didn’t think of me as a friend at all.”
“Yeah...” Miao Ran didn’t know if she should agree with her on this. There was a crack in E Xiaoxia and Zhao Yuan’s friendship. If she were to agree, she would be made an enemy of Zhao Yuan.
Pu Shuang who was closer to Zhao Yuan had just returned from applying medicine on her boyfriend. When she walked over from the back, she coincidentally heard what E Xiaoxia said. She immediately slammed the bottle of antiseptic on E Xiaoxia’s table.
“E Xiaoxia, how shameless can you be? You were a fake friend who triggered Yuanyuan’s allergy! I was wondering why Yuanyuan wasn’t talking to you for the past few days. Turns out it was because something like this happened. If it wasn’t because of your embarrassing actions today that dragged Yuanyuan into the mire, Yuanyuan would still continue to keep this secret for you. I feel so bad for her— She’s already being a great friend. What else do you want?!”
“Is Zhao Yuan really as unproblematic as you say she is?” E Xiaoxia decided to just shed all pretense of cordiality. “Didn’t she silently agree whenever I said that Zhao Mingxi was ugly?”
Pu Shuang was enraged. “Don’t you slander her. When has Yuanyuan not stopped you whenever you said this? She would always tell you to not say such nonsense.”
As E Xiaoxia knew that she could not win this fight, she began to sweat out of anxiousness. She was on the verge of cursing out loud. “Are ‘don’t say such nonsense’ and ‘don’t say such a thing’ the same?!”
As their quarrel was getting increasingly loud, they attracted the attention of many in class.
The boys sitting in the back row had yet to talk to E Xiaoxia about how she triggered the fight between the two classes this morning. They couldn’t believe that she still had the courage to make such a fuss here. A boy got impatient and said, “Why are you guys fighting? Can’t you take this outside?”
When Miao Ran saw this, she tugged on E Xiaoxia’s clothes and whispered, “Forget it. Don’t pull Zhao Yuan into this anymore. The boys in class will definitely lean in favor of her because of how pretty she is.”
“I see how it is. No matter what happens, you guys will always be on Zhao Yuan’s side!” E Xiaoxia was disheartened. She glared at Pu Shuang. “Are you guys Zhao Yuan’s friends or my friends?”
Pu Shuang replied to her with a cold look before walking off.
E Xiaoxia sat down firmly on her seat. She felt helpless. Why was it that no matter what she said or how she tried to explain herself, her classmates and even her friends around her would still choose to remain by Zhao Yuan’s side?
Zhao Yuan was at her seat as she did her homework, but even after half a day of writing she still had no idea what she had written on the draft paper.
She was unsettled, and she did not have the mood to deal with E Xiaoxia and Pu Shuang’s fight.
Pu Shuang walked over and took a glimpse at the questions for the Tournament on her table. “Yuanyuan, are you preparing for the Hundred School Tournament?”
Zhao Yuan’s lips were pale as she replied, “Yes.”
Upon seeing how pallid she looked, Pu Shuang tried to console her. “This whole incident was solely caused by E Xiaoxia. No one thinks that it is related to you. You’re usually a really kind person, so don’t worry about it.”
Zhao Yuan smiled and raised her head. “Thanks, Pu Shuang. I know.”
Pu Shuang paused for a moment before saying, “You go ahead and prepare for the Hundred School Tournament. I’ll stop bothering you now—”
As she was speaking, she was reminded about how Zhao Mingxi’s votes were about to surpass Zhao Yuan’s on the forum. Although Zhao Yuan never expressed her interest in such matters, Pu Shuang couldn’t help but to give her a few assuring words.
“The School Beauty Contest is nothing, your results are the true achievements. Despite Zhao Mingxi’s beauty, her results are only so-so. She couldn’t even qualify for this year’s Hundred School Tournament. Yuanyuan, you are far more outstanding than her.”
“Agreed.” Another girl came and consoled her, “I think that mere beauty is useless. People would be more attracted to girls with brains. Otherwise, why wouldn’t Shen Liyao from the school’s representative team spare even one glance at Zhao Mingxi?”
As Zhao Yuan listened to these assuring words, her mood was gradually lifted.
However, she felt unsettled about one thing. Back then, the doctor said that the injury on Zhao Mingxi’s face would only heal after two or three winters, and she would also need to apply all sorts of sunscreen and chemicals. So why was it that her face had completely recovered in less than one year?
Zhao Yuan initially thought that Zhao Mingxi would have to keep on wearing that mask until they graduated from high school.
But now she had taken off her mask, and she was even prettier than before. The whole school was about to witness her beauty.
As Zhao Yuan didn’t feel so good, she couldn’t help but to stand up. She planned on going upstairs to the International Class.
She paused. After contemplating for a while, she picked up the paper containing the key areas that she highlighted for the Hundred School Tournament.
After all, even if she did help Zhao Mingxi point out the key areas, she would still be unable to participate.
E Xiaoxia had her eye on Zhao Yuan. When she saw that Zhao Yuan had stood up, she quietly stood up as well.
Mingxi was struggling to get used to how everyone was staring at her now that she had finally taken her mask off.
After all, she had her mask on for the past year. Whenever she walked in the crowd, most people would just think that this sick person had a really hot body. They would never look closely at her mask.
Thus, it had been a long time since she had received such an amount of attention.
Now that she had taken off her mask so suddenly, not only were the students in the International Class staring at her as if she was a new national treasure, even the students from beyond her class could not help but to come over to take a look.
Mingxi put down her pen. The moment she left her class, a few boys surrounding a tall, huge and rather good-looking guy pushed him to her, urging him to give the ticket in his hands to Mingxi.
“Zhao Mingxi, Li Haiyang wants to ask you out for a theater date!”
“Hahaha, be quick and accept him!”
Mingxi recognized them. They were the boys from the Evergreen Class. Two of them had even participated in this morning’s fight.
The boy called Li Haiyang was especially stiff. He did not dare to look at Mingxi. He turned to speak to the others around him, “Let’s go.”
However, although he said that, he still took out two tickets from his fists and coughed before giving them to Mingxi. “It’s at 6pm this Friday. Would you be interested?”
A few followers who were sitting by the entrance of the International Class shouted, “Leave! None of you from the Evergreen Class are good people. We just had a fight this morning, and now you’re trying to pursue someone from the International Class?!”
The fight was creating a lot of noise and it was becoming louder by the second. But Fu Yangxi had his noise-cancelling earphones on and he was sleeping on the Pikachu pillow that Zhao Mingxi had gotten him. The silver noise-cancelling earphones were worth a few tens of thousands of yuan, hence the quality was really good. The moment he put it on he couldn’t hear anything else.
Ke Chengwen was anxious. He quickly reached out and pushed Fu Yangxi’s back. “Xi ge, how are you still sleeping when the fire has already reached your eyebrows? Wake up!”
As Fu Yangxi was forcefully pushed awake, he was really angry and pissed. He slammed the earphones on the table and turned to glare at Ke Chengwen. “Are you sick of living—”
Before he could finish his sentence, he saw what was happening outside.
He immediately stood up, his actions so quick that his chair almost broke.
“Where the hell did these people get their courage from? Do they think I’m dead?!” Fu Yangxi clenched his fists and was about to walk there.
Ke Chengwen instantly pulled him back and whispered, “Calm down! If you go out and hit them now, the whole school will know that you like the transfer student.”
“I do like—” Fu Yangxi was enraged. “How is it possible for me to like her?! She’s the one pursuing me! Are you crazy? Since when have I liked someone? How dare you say such a thing!”
Ke Chengwen looked out and said, “Oh? I think the transfer student rejected him.”
“Xi ge, you know about the immersive theater’s tickets, right? You watched it last year. It was a show called ‘Sleep No More’. They sell for around a thousand yuan each, but the transfer student actually rejected him.”
Fu Yangxi tried his best to suppress the boiling anger within him. Due to his height advantage, he was able to look out the window.
As expected, he saw Mingxi tell that guy called Li Jingyu or whatever, “Sorry, I want to focus on my studies.”
After saying that, Mingxi didn’t even take the tickets before she turned and came back into the class.
Fu Yangxi took a glimpse at the guy who gave her the tickets. He saw how despite his apparent disappointment and awkwardness from such an embarrassing moment, he still tried to force out a smile.
Fu Yangxi felt relieved.
He scoffed as he was no longer anxious nor frustrated. He sat down in a manner as if he was her true partner, placing one leg on top of the other in happiness as he watched the disappointed group of people outside leave.
He didn’t even need to say anything. Little Mask could handle herself.
She wouldn’t even spare a glance at anyone else other than him.
Ke Chengwen scratched his chin in contemplation as he spoke, “But I think Zhao Mingxi really wanted to see that show. I saw how she stared at the tickets for a really long time.”
“That’s easy.” Fu Yangxi scoffed again before taking out his phone to book the tickets.
He recalled how Zhao Mingxi did everything she could to clean the toilets with him and how she was firm when she rejected that boy's offer just now.
When he compared the two, it affirmed his theory of how she treated him differently from others.
The more he thought of it, the happier he became. Even his lips had curled up to form an unconcealable smile.
At the same time, Fu Yangxi felt as if something was odd—
When she rejected him, why did she say “I want to focus on my studies” instead of saying “I already have someone I like”?