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Qin Guan was reborn and sent back eighteen years in time.
He was having a pancake at the dining table when he realized what had happened. He was so shocked, and the scallion pancake his mom had made for him was so resilient hat small pieces landed on his face as he tore at it with vigor.
A scallion escaped and landed on his hair, the sauce splattering right in his nostrils.
Qin Guan’s dad, who was sitting across from him at the table, glanced at him calmly and turned a page on the newspaper that stood between them like usual.
His dad looked really young. He had few wrinkles on his face as he was just over 40, the very prime of his life. He was reading a newspaper while eating. He seemed really good at multitasking, unlike 18 years later when he would have poked himself in the face with his chopsticks if he’d tried to do the same thing.
Qin Guan touched the sauce on his face and looked at the dishes on the table. There was fried oyster, shredded cucumber and millet congee. He turned towards his mom, who was making pancakes in the kitchen. He thought that she still looked attractive.
Qin Guan got up and walked to the bathroom. He turned on the tap and washed his face by the sink. When he’d cleaned all the sauce off, he thought to himself, “Take things as they come. That’s the spirit.”
Lifting his head, Qin Guan grabbed a towel off the shelf. He chanced a glimpse at the mirror and lowered his head, then raised it back up.
“Oh my God! Who is that?”
In the mirror, there was a man with thin rosy lips, pretty white teeth, and a Roman nose. If he ignored the scallion on his hair, he looked like a complete toy boy. No, a lady-killer.
Qin Guan grinned, and the man in the mirror smiled as well, revealing his bright white teeth. Qin Guan looked in the mirror and removed the scallion from his hair. He looked around, and then put his hands down his blue-and-white school trousers and touched his penis. “There it is! Good, I’m still a man.”
Qin Guan had always had more male hormones than most people. At 18, he already had whiskers on his face.
Thanks to his stubble, pot belly, his chest and leg hair, the fact that he wore a vest and shorts, and of course his favorite pastime of watching TV with his legs spreading wide, Qin Guan looked like the very definition of a sloppy guy.
Now his body had changed, and Qin Guan, who was just beginning to accept that he had been reborn, was confused once again.
“Was I reborn or did I travel through time? How come my appearance has changed?”
Before Qin Guan could think it over, his mom’s voice rang out through the house.
“Qin Guan, are you full? You’re going to be late for class!”
Qin Guan was aware that 18 years ago he had still been in high school. He popped his head out and took a look at the calendar in the living room. It was March, 1998. Jesus, it was only several months before the College Entrance Examination!
Qin Guan hastily toweled his face and ran to his bedroom. He grabbed his schoolbag and swept all the test papers that had been on his desk inside it.
Snatching his bike key off the desk, he walked into the living room, picked up the rest of his pancake and shoved it into his mouth, lisping, “Mom, I’m out.”
He put on his green cotton jacket and ran down the stairs.
Qin Guan reached the entrance of the building and got on his bike. It was an old 28-inch-diameter that made all kinds of noise but had a nonfunctional bell.
As he headed to school, he finished the rest of his pancake and thought to himself, “What were the questions on the College Entrance Examination? I can’t remember. Forget it. Should I ask Zhou Jing to come play a video game? Yes, definitely.”
Wow, did it feel good to be young.
Qin Guan’s high school was one of the best in the province. The campus was swarming with straight-A students.
Qin Guan had taken a lot of blows since enrolling there. He had gradually gotten used to it, but with so many straight-A students around, former straight-F students had to work extra hard. However, thanks to their influence, Qin Guan had managed to get accepted into a respectable technical college.
Although he would have to go through the suffering of the College Entrance Examination one more time, Qin Guan did not feel stressed at all. He would just follow the steps of the straight-A students like last time. He would need to change his major, though. There were hardly any cute girls at technical colleges, a fact that Qin Guan had always complained about before his rebirth.
Riding over another slope, Qin Ran could finally see the school gate. There were more students on the road, all in blue-and-white or red-and-white uniforms. Panting for breath, Qin Guan stopped at the base of the slope. He wheeled his bike up with one hand, while he used his other hand to push the last piece of pancake into his mouth.
If there was anything bad about his rebirth, it was his physique. He might be taller, but he was rather thin. Looking at his small ribs, Qin Guan let out a sigh. He decided his priority would be to work out.
Qin Guan was wheeling the bike forward when he passed by a group of girls. The girls giggled and ran alongside him for several steps.
One of the girls looked back and whispered to the girl next to her, “Wow, he looks so cute, even while eating a pancake!”
The other girl whispered back, “The school hunk? I sure envy that pancake!”
Qin Guan listened in. He was so surprised to hear the word pancake that he nearly spat out the sauce before swallowing it. From what he remembered, high school girls were quite shy. How come they suddenly wanted to switch places with a pancake?
When the girls walked away, Qin Guan wheeled his bike forward and entered the campus. He went to the bike shed, locked his bike and walked into the teaching building.
Qin Guan went to the third floor, into Class 8, Grade 3, and found his seat. It was the one by the window, in the second row from the back. He knew his way around well, so he reached his seat fast and dropped his schoolbag on the desk. How good it felt to relive that!
In less than five minutes, the bell rang. Watching the head teacher come in, Qin Guan felt his eyes water. He had not seen her in years, but the elderly lady was still as plump as ever.
Qin Guan took a look at the seat behind him. It was empty. Zhou Jing, who always sat in the back row, was late again. As Qin Guan was thinking about him, a tall boy rushed through the door and bumped right into the head teacher.
The teacher saw it was Zhou Jing and started yelling at him, “You’re late again, Zhou Jing! How many times have you been late? You know the rule, go stand in the corner!”
Zhou Jing did not say anything. He left his schoolbag in his seat and went to stand in the corner. Under the guidance of the head teacher, the straight-A students started their routine morning self-study. When the teacher was not looking his way, Qin Guan twisted his head back, pouted his lips at Zhou Jing and whispered, “Did you stay up late last night reading about martial arts and chivalry fiction?”
Zhou Jing looked shocked that Qin Guan would initiate a conversation with him. Stuttering, he answered, “Are you talking to me?”
Qin Guan felt confused.
“Yes,” he said.
Zhou Jing sniffled and said, “You’ve been buried in books for the past three years. You’re always ashamed to be seen with straight-F students like me, because you think we’ll damage your image and reputation. Now you’re talking to me first. Did the sun rise in the west today? Maybe it does once in a blue moon!”
Qin Guan felt horrible. How the hell had this version of Qin Guan behaved at school before his rebirth?
The way Zhou Jing had described him chilled Qin Guan to the bone. He turned to Zhou Jing again and said, “I had a brain fade for two and a half years, but now I’m feeling better. I’ll make it up to you. Let’s go to an arcade this weekend.”
Zhou Jing looked excited. “I’ll take your word for it. Your treat, though,” he added quickly.
Qin Guan grinned and formed the victory sign with his fingers before turning back to his book.
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