Chapter 7-A Photo
Room 601 of unit 1 of the first building in block A.
This was the dormitory that the Sky Academy allocated to Li Tianlan.
The freshman reception work of the Sky Academy was conducted in an extremely simple way. After confirming that the admission letters from Li Tianlan and Yu Qingyan were authentic, their senior female schoolmate, the person who was in charge of the reception work, simply archived their basic information and told them their respective dorm numbers. She had no intention of personally leading the way for them, so the procedure of giving directions was omitted.
Li Tianlan did not feel surprised. He knew from the very start that it was a Special Warfare Academy riddled with cruel internal competitions, so he didn’t expect to sense any human kindness from here. He took the free school bus together with Yu Qingyan to the dormitory area. And after saying goodbye to her at the gate, Li Tianlan went straight to his dormitory.
These dormitories, to be precise, were apartments with refined decoration.
The dormitories of the Sky Academy covered a large area of land. There were nearly 30 dormitory buildings with seven floors here and both their interiors and exteriors were exactly the same with old-fashioned apartments. These buildings were equipped with elevators and there were only two dormitories on each of the floors. Every dormitory had three bedrooms and a sitting room and one person could have one room. Compared to the situation in the outside world that four to seven people crowded into a room and tried to snatch a bed, the living condition here—a person could independently occupy one bedroom, was pretty good.
Li Tianlan’s dormitory was on the top floor of the first building in block A. Since it was about a week before the Sky Academy officially opened on April 15, the entire dormitory building was empty and void of life. He came here first and was arguably the only inhabitant currently. This meant he could at least choose a room he liked in the apartment as his dormitory, and he was quite satisfied with that.
Li Tianlan reached out his hand and fiddled with his wristwatch. In this way, he aimed the dial of the watch at the sensor on the security door in front of him.
He received the wristwatch at the freshman reception desk. It had many more functions than a normal watch and was a multifunctional device that integrated functions of locating, navigation, calling, scanning and recording. It was the standard equipment of every student in the Sky Academy and also the key to enter the dormitory.
In addition to the wristwatch, Li Tianlan received a chunky blue notebook at the freshman reception desk. There was nothing else he had received aside from the two items.
A small noise rang out when the wristwatch aimed at the sensor of the security door. Then, the security door opened automatically.
Li Tianlan pulled open the door and entered the apartment directly with a calm look.
The apartment’s decoration was not luxurious, but it was pleasing to the eye. The whole apartment was papered in light gold. Everything in the kitchen, the dining room, and the bathroom were brand new. The leather sofa in the living room looked old, but it made people feel extremely comfortable when sitting on it.
Every electrical appliance he needed was ready, for example, the TV set, telephone, air conditioner, and washing machine. Besides, they were placed in the most reasonable location and were something that Li Tianlan had never seen at the border. It was when he was at Qin Weibai’s house last night that he knew their names. But that was all. These appliances were still high-tech products for him now, and he didn’t know how to use them at all.
Since he was the first to arrive at the dormitory, he unceremoniously occupied the largest bedroom in the apartment. In terms of layout, this should be the location of the master bedroom in the apartment. It faced the sea and enabled him to enjoy the best scenery.
The bed in the bedroom was covered with clean quilt and sheet. There was a small desk on the bed whose top surface was quite clean. A thin volume was neatly placed upon it, with a pen and ink pressed on it.
Li Tianlan walked over to have a look and found that it was about the students’ regulations of the Sky Academy.
For the moment, he had no interest in watching it. He just sat on the bed in the quiet bedroom and looked out of the window at the scenery in a daze.
A melodious ringtone sounded suddenly.
Li Tianlan didn’t react to it for a second. He sprang to his feet and took the phone out of his pocket after the ringtone had sounded for more than 10 seconds.
Qin Weibai bought him this mobile phone and there was only her private mobile phone number on the phone. So it went without saying who the caller was.
Li Tianlan answered the phone and said hello.
“Where are you? I’m at the gate of the dormitory area.”
Qin Weibai asked him in a soft voice in the phone.
“Room 601 of unit 1 of the first building in block A. I’ll go downstairs to meet you.”
Li Tianlan stood up without hesitation and planned to go downstairs.
“No, I’m right here. I’ll go upstairs right away.”
Qin Weibai said straightforwardly and then hung up the phone directly.
Li Tianlan paused although he had planned to walk out of the door. The clear sound of high heels hitting the steps sounded in the corridor after a few seconds.
Li Tianlan stopped moving after hesitating for a while. Although he considered himself an innocent bumpkin, he was far from a fool. He could feel Qin Weibai’s attitude toward him, although he did not know what this attitude represented. But at least he was certain about one thing; Qin Weibai absolutely did not want him to be too polite to her. In that case, he would not do anything to invite a snub.
The sound of high-heeled shoes hitting the steps downstairs became increasingly clear. Qin Weibai walked out of the corner of the stairs and reappeared before Li Tianlan.
She was still holding the heavy blue notebook in one hand, and there was a bottle of mineral water in the other hand.
Seeing Li Tianlan standing at the door, Qin Weibai was slightly surprised. Soon after, she smiled gently and said, “What? Are you meeting me at the door? I don’t like putting on airs.”
“No, I’m not.”
Li Tianlan blurted out subconsciously and turned his gaze away.
He was not to blame for his lack of willpower. It was just that Qin Weibai’s charm was almost irresistible. He would feel dazed especially when she gave him a flirtatious smile. Li Tianlan always felt his mouth parched and tongue scorched when he was with her. Such an experience was both enjoyable and torturous.
Qin Weibai smiled and climbed the steps. Then she handed Li Tianlan the bottle of mineral water and said, “Are you thirsty? I just bought one bottle of water. Here you are.”
Li Tianlan said as he licked his dry lips. Smelling the natural body fragrance from Qin Weibai and looking at the bottle of mineral water that had obviously been drunk by her, he felt like he was possessed and an indescribable impulse continuously grew hot and clear in his heart.
“Do you think the water is dirty after I have drunk it?”
Qin Weibai turned her head sideways. She wore a faint smile and stared at Li Tianlan with her bright eyes.
“I didn’t mean that.”
Li Tianlan looked embarrassed. Since Qin Weibai had said that, there was no turning back. He simply took the mineral water from her hand without explaining and drank up most of the water in the bottle in one go. The mouth of the bottle seemed to still retain Qin Weibai’s faint smell. Not knowing whether it was because of thirst or some other reasons, Li Tianlan just thought that this bottle of water had an indescribable sweet taste.
“I’d like to go inside and have a look at your dormitory.”
Qin Weibai didn’t seem to have felt anything shady about her behavior at all and she dragged Li Tianlan straight into the apartment.
Li Tianlan was in a daze. His mind was occupied by Qin Weibai’s lovely voice and expression.
“It looks good.”
Qin Weibai asked, nodding her head as she observed the decor in the living room, “Which room did you choose?”
Li Tianlan led Qin Weibai into the bedroom.
Li Tianlan threw the blue notebook that he had brought back from the freshman reception desk on the big and soft bed in the bedroom causally. It looked almost the same as Qin Weibai’s.
Qin Weibai’s exquisite and flawless face had been filling with an intoxicating smile. However, she suddenly froze and was lost in thought as she saw the blue notebook on the bed.
Li Tianlan stayed calm and collected.
“The two notebooks are very much alike, aren’t they?”
Qin Weibai remained silent for a while. Suddenly, she waved the notebook in her hand and asked.
“Yeah, they are. The only difference is that I have a newer one on which I haven’t written anything.”
Li Tianlan replied calmly.
He felt it was very familiar the first time he received it at the freshman reception desk. It was exactly the same as the one in Qin Weibai’s hand, be it the size, the color, or the thickness. Undoubtedly, Qin Weibai attached great importance to that notebook. She took it with her when she went out, held it in her hand when she got on the car, and even put it in the nearest place to her when she had dinner. Thus, Li Tianlan was very impressed with this blue notebook. As soon as he received it, he thought of Qin Weibai’s.
“There is a hard and fast rule for all cadets in the Sky Academy; they have to keep a weekly diary and hand in them every month. The content of the weekly diary is various. They can write everything, including what they have learned from the training, their feelings about the improvement of their combat capability, their suggestions about the Sky Academy, and their reaction to a book or an article. In this way, the Sky Academy can keep a close eye on the growth, the mode of thinking, and the political stance of each student through their weekly diaries. Therefore, keeping a weekly diary is a must for everyone. This may seem like something unimportant, but it indeed is one of the most important tasks that the Sky Academy assigns every student. If they haven’t done that, their credits will be deducted.”
Qin Weibai held the blue notebook in her hand tightly. Because she had put forth her excessive strength, her slender knuckles appeared to be somewhat pale.
“Is the notebook in your hand someone’s weekly diary at the Sky Academy as well?”
Li Tianlan asked softly.
“Your guess is partly right. The Sky Academy only has three-year curriculums, but the owner of the notebook in my hand recorded the things that happened within 10 years. He had once studied at the Sky Academy, so he developed a habit to keep the weekly diary. He even kept this habit after leaving the academy. Until…”
Qin Weibai suddenly stopped speaking. A twinkle of complication and sadness flashed through her eyes, but this escaped Li Tianlan.
“I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
Qin Weibai said gently.
Li Tianlan nodded his head. When he listened to Qin Weibai speaking of another person in a distinctly unusual tone at this moment, he had a very subtle feeling. He did feel confused, but another weird feeling that he could not explain clearly took the upper hand.
“Don’t think about it too much. Many things are not necessarily what you think they are.”
Qin Weibai took a deep breath and went to the window. Looking out of the window at the boundless sea, she said to Li Tianlan as she turned her back to him, “Now, you should think more about how to rise in the Sky Academy or in the entire Huating. Given the present international situation, the outbreak of all-out wars between different countries is less likely to happen, but the secret warfares between them will get increasingly intense. It’s a competition between elites, so the influence of victory or defeat is much more far-reaching and the damage the secret warfares do to the countries is far greater than that of the all-out wars. Therefore, in the coming decades, the roles of the elites graduating from the Sky Academy and the Deep-sea Academy plays will be much more important.”
“Tianlan, if you can seize this opportunity to rise, the veterans at the border will be able to live freely and go anywhere they want. As long as you are backing them, no one dares to bully them. Isn’t that what you came to the Sky Academy for?”
“Of course it is.”
Li Tianlan said calmly, “I’m sure I can get them all out of that primeval forest, and it won’t take long.”
“I believe in you.”
Qin Weibai turned around and looked at Li Tianlan with an earnest look.
She hesitated for a while and suddenly said, “I can tell you one more message. The case of treason related to your father seems to have been settled now, but it’s merely the superficial phenomenon. The case remains complicated and confusing in the eyes of the higher-ups and no firm verdict has been produced yet. If you want to investigate it, there are probably a lot of traces you can set about. So, your father might commit treason in those days, but maybe… he… he was framed.”
“Framed? Who framed him?”
Li Tianlan’s pupils suddenly contracted.
Although he looked as calm and serene as he always did at this point, he carried a trace of faintly discernible dangerous aura. He was like the wave in the deep sea. Although the sea surface was calm, the wave had already surged up deep inside the sea.
“That’s what you need to investigate.”
Qin Weibai said as she shook her head.
“What should I do? Do you have any clues?”
Li Tianlan asked subconsciously.
“I’m just a businesswoman in Zhongzhou State. How can I have any clue about it? The case of treason is a serious matter, so all the data was sealed up for safekeeping. No one can see it without special permission. Tianlan, climb higher to get a considerable position. At the very least, it should allow you to have access to the data. You will then be qualified to investigate it. I am willing to stand behind you all the time. I’ll offer you whatever you need on your way forward as long as I have.”
Qin Weibai looked at Li Tianlan and said softly.
Li Tianlan took a deep look at her and said in a deep voice.
Qin Weibai shook her head and said with a smile, “I’ll be leaving Huating for some time, maybe a few months, but not more than a year at the most. I hope you can make some achievements during this period. Well, if you can keep a foothold at the Sky Academy when I come back, how about I grant you a request?”
Li Tianlan looked at Qin Weibai with dilated pupils. Qin Weibai narrowed her big eyes and smiled more gently, saying, “I’ll grant you any request.”
Li Tianlan asked in a husky voice in order to confirm what he had heard. His mind was crowded with all sorts of thoughts which made his mind go blank.
“Of course. In Huating, those who know me know that I always mean what I say.”
Qin Weibai looked quite proud. She stretched out one tender and white hand toward Li Tianlan and said, “Let’s do a pinky swear.”
Li Tianlan walked toward Qin Weibai in a daze and stretched out his little finger. Their fingers hooked together.
Qin Weibai walked close to Li Tianlan. She took out her mobile phone, turned on the camera function, and directly pressed the shoot button.
The picture that they stayed close with fingers hooked together was immediately taken.
On the photo, Qin Weibai smiled tenderly while Li Tianlan looked a little silly.
Qin Weibai nodded with satisfaction. She sent the photo to Li Tianlan and set it as their phone screen.
They had both phones and screens that were exactly the same.
Qin Weibai waved the two mobile phones in front of Li Tianlan and asked with a smile, “Does it look good?”
Li Tianlan nodded blankly.
“You looked silly and ugly.”
Qin Weibai chuckled and reached out to pinch Li Tianlan’s face.
At this moment, goddess Qin, who had a reputation for being strong and domineering in the business circles of the entire Huating, seemed to have descended the high altar and walked into the secular world as well as Li Tianlan’s heart.
Qin Weibai put the phone back in Li Tianlan’s hands and took two steps backward. She suddenly said, “I’m going to hit the road.”
She turned and walked straight out of the room neatly before Li Tianlan could answer her.
Li Tianlan, who was in a daze all the time, finally came to his senses. He ran after her without hesitation and said, “Let me walk you out.”
They went downstairs and walked out of the gate of the dormitory area in silence.
On the road outside the dormitory area, a school bus was approaching from a distance.
“You are not allowed to change the photo on the phone screen. Do you know?”
Qin Weibai glanced at the bus coming from a distance and said to Li Tianlan as she turned around.
Li Tianlan smiled foolishly and added, “And I won’t change it.”
“H’m, I won’t change it either.”
Qin Weibai pulled Li Tianlan’s hand and said gently, “Fighting.”
After that, she let go of his hand, turned around, and stepped onto the school bus in front of her.
The school bus started slowly and drove away.
Li Tianlan stood where he was silently, watching the school bus to leave.
Qin Weibai, who had been appreciating her phone screen from the moment she got on the bus, sat on the back row of the school bus. She now put away her phone with a more gentle smile.
The school bus was about to swerve.
Qin Weibai suddenly looked back after putting away her phone.
The orderly road receded from her sight slowly. The thin and solitary figure still stood under the trees on one side of the road, as if he was a statue.