Posted 2018.06.22
Updated 2018.07.11 (15:06)

7.1

Serious Cohabitation Problem

The Environmental Alliance Club would be having its camping event over the May 1st Labor Day vacation. For the next half a month, every night at 9pm, we had to gather at the sports field for training. After all, hiking a mountain was a strength-intensive activity. Most of the people involved in the club were doing it in their spare time, so we had to prepare a bit. Even if we couldn’t change our physique, the training would allow us to adjust our energy consumption a bit.

The training consisted mainly of long-distance running, with the occasional stair-climbing exercise. My physique was ordinary, neither great nor poor. Though the training wasn’t so hard as to be life-endangering, it was still tough. Of course, we can’t talk about certain inhuman creatures the same way. For example, Zhong Yuan. The guy ran for half an hour straight and he still looked like he was going for a leisurely walk. Sometimes I really suspect that he’s a robot.

During training, Zhong Yuan didn’t bully me too much. Because he was constantly surrounded by a group of girls. Especially when we were running. But then he would speed up, leaving the girls sighing after him as they grew further apart. I felt a sense of success then. So I wasn’t the only slow runner after all…

Sometimes Zhong Yuan would pass me and then start running backwards. While he was facing me, he would pull out his phone and, with a smile, say, “Blockhead, smile.”

By that time, I was covered in sweat and panting for air. I didn’t even have the strength to yell at him, let alone smile.

And without missing a beat, Zhong Yuan would snap a picture of me looking my worst… How dark is that person’s mind?!

The day before we set out, we didn’t have any training. Instead, we gathered for a small meeting, to remind everyone about the things they should watch out for on our trip. And then Senior Ling Ling announced that there was a slightly troublesome matter to deal with.

There were three groups attending the trip, and they would be based in separate places. Senior Ling Ling, Zhong Yuan, and I were all in the third group. It just so happened that our group had 20 people, seven girls and 13 boys. Those numbers were the key bit here. In both of the other groups, there were an even number of boys and girls. But in our group, we had an odd number of each… It also just so happened that the tents we’d be using were all for two people, and our group was allotted ten tents…

In other words, a girl and boy were going to have to share a tent.

Senior Ling Ling said that she’d tried discussing the tent situation with the club, but it seemed that a lot of people were renting tents for that holiday… Her meaning was that we’d have to deal with the problem by ourselves.

I immediately raised my hand and asked, “Senior Ling Ling, can we squeeze three people into a tent?”

She shook her head. “That would be a pain for the people in that tent. And besides, we’re going to be exhausted by night time. If we can’t get a good rest, we won’t be able to move the next day.”

Just then, sitting beside me, Zhong Yuan spoke quietly so that only the two of us could hear. “It can’t be that bad. For girls like you, three people could fit into a doubles’ tent without a problem.”

I gave him a strange look and then whispered back, “Why don’t you bring that up with Senior Ling Ling?”

Zhong Yuan glanced over at her and then replied, “Can’t you tell? She’s doing this on purpose.”

I looked over at him in astonishment. Slandering my senior? Be careful that I don’t sue you!

Seeing the disbelief in my face, Zhong Yuan added, “Otherwise, why is she only bringing it up now? Even if there were other solutions, it’s too late now.”

And indeed… A first-year male student spoke up, “Senior Ling Ling, I have a single-person tent at home.”

Senior Ling Ling replied regretfully, “Aiya, why didn’t you mention it sooner? It’ll probably be too late to go get it now. We’ll be leaving very early in the morning.”

Still skeptical, I looked over at Zhong Yuan. I asked him, “What’s she going to do then?”

Zhong Yuan shook his head. “I don’t know.”

Around us, everyone was chatting about who would share tents. And it seemed to me that most people were more than willing to share a tent with the opposite sex. Was I possibly imagining things…?

Then Senior Ling Ling made a suggestion. The girls should take a vote about which boy would share a tent with a girl. Note, the girls were voting for a boy.

More surprising, though, was when Senior Ling Ling read out Zhong Yuan’s name. The other six girls in group three were raising their hands in cheer. The first years at least looked a bit shy about it, but Senior Ling Ling’s eyes were shining as she stared at Zhong Yuan, the way a starving person looked at a platter of food…

Huh. I started to get an inkling for why Senior Ling Ling was acting this way… Zhong Yuan was like a scourge!

Senior Ling Ling asked me, “Mu Er, who do you pick?”

Although I understood Senior Ling Ling, I still felt that this whole thing was kind of strange. So I said, “Um… Senior Ling Ling, I think that we can actually fit three girls…”

“No!” she sternly rejected my suggestion. She seemed very excited then, so I decided to just be an obedient little lamb.

Then Senior Ling Ling continued, “Well, Zhong Yuan already has six votes, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t pick anyone, Mu Er.”

Zhong Yuan suddenly spoke up. “Can the chosen person refuse?”

Senior Ling Ling smiled slyly. “No.”

Zhong Yuan replied, “OK. Then can the chosen person choose their… um, companion?”

Senior Ling Ling hesitated, but then she answered, “Sure…”

It was then that the ordinarily aloof first years suddenly grew restless. Their eyes were hooked on Zhong Yuan, the scourge. Of course, I remained calm as ever. Though I still thought three girls sharing a tent was no problem at all.

Zhong Yuan’s eyes wandered back and forth between the girls. Finally, they landed on me, and with a smile, he said, “I pick her. Mu Er.” When he said that, all the boys looked at me with an ambiguous expression. Meanwhile, the resentment in the girls’ eyes had me nearly jumping out of my skin.

I promptly interjected, “I don’t agree to this! Senior Ling Ling, I still think that we can fit…”

She cut me off. “Zhong Yuan, Mu Er doesn’t agree to it. You’ll have to pick someone else.”

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