“Ah.” Caught in the act, Zhang Yang backtracked. “No, no…I wasn’t looking at anything in particular. Why were you laughing just now?”
“No, no,” Du Xue also backtracked. “I wasn’t laughing at anything in particular. Are you full? Do you want to eat more?”
“Eat eat!  Why wouldn’t I eat?” Zhang Yang stood and ran to the hall and heaped his bowl with more rice.
Du Xue gaped with wide eyes, an expression of disbelief on her face.
Zhang Yang laughed. “My body is growing. I can’t help it.”
“…Do you want a few more dishes?” she asked.
“No need, no need. See—just this tomato egg soup is enough to eat a bowl of rice.” Zhang Yang poured most of the soup into his bowl. “I haven’t eaten rice in a few days.” Zhang Yang groaned, obviously in ecstasy. “Rice is still really delicious.”
“I heard you’re from C City. Why don’t you go home to eat?”
“I’m not a native of C City. I moved here a few years ago, but due to work, my parents don’t live there. So, since I don’t feel like living at home, I rented out the house and live at school. It’s both practical and convenient.”
“Oh, okay,” she said.
The two once more fell silent.
Zhang Yang’s fixation over eating his food had slowed down considerably. He surreptitiously glanced at the girl several times, suddenly realizing that while this girl had originally just seemed like another pretty girl, she now seemed much more interesting and more to his taste. There was a naivety to her beauty that fascinated him. She was just like a lotus flower growing unsullied from the mud .
Zhang Yang couldn’t help but let out a small sigh to himself; unfortunately, his reputation at school wasn’t great. Otherwise, this would be a great chance to pursue her.
“Do you like literature?” Du Xue finished her bowl of rice and set down the empty bowl.
“No, I don’t.” Zhang Yang also put down his bowl and brought his cup of tea to his lips, taking a satisfying sip of the herbal drink.
“You don’t like it?” Du Xue considered him in surprise. “But you seem to have some understanding of poetry.”
“I don’t have all that much understanding or anything,” Zhang Yang said. “I just randomly said some things. I also like Yue Fei, but at the time I couldn’t escape, so I just said a bunch of random stuff. I feel a little sorry for that old man.”
Du Xue laughed. “Did you know our teacher had a super regretful expression on his face after you left? He said your thoughts were very exceptional.”
“Is that so.” Zhang Yang’s enthusiasm was rather halfhearted. At the mention of poetry, he suddenly wanted to go back to the library again. He still hadn’t finished that math book.
The two spoke one minute then quieted the next. Neither said they had to leave, almost as if a formless force held them there. Du Xue was filled with wonder over Zhang Yang while the man himself felt attracted to Du Xue. Despite it all, the two still couldn’t find anything in common to discuss. Because while Zhang Yang had deep knowledge about literature, he had difficulty sorting through such knowledge. Especially if he wasn’t interested enough to even attempt to sift through all of that information.
Just as the two were working their brain juices to try and find something to talk about, a man’s voice came from outside. “Xue Er! Xue Er!” 
“Ah…Brother Fei! I’m right here.”
A tall and skinny young man pulled back the cloth curtain that hung at the entrance of the room. The young man’s face was sickly pale. Zhang Yang recognized him. He was the guy who had sat in Zhang Yang’s seat at the Chinese Department.
“Xue Er, I’ve been looking for you for a while! You didn’t even pick up when I called!” The young man scolded Du Xue, not once looking in Zhang Yang’s direction.
“Oh…I forgot my cell phone in the dorm.” Du Xue stood and introduced the two young men. “Brother Fei, this is Zhang Yang. He’s from the Art Department.”
“Hello, I’m Zhang Yang,” Zhang Yang stood and extended his hand.
“Zhang Yang. I know of the pervert prince; he’s infamous.” He glanced at Zhang Yang, smiling indifferently. Then he turned back to Due Xue. “In the future, if you’re hungry, I’ll eat with you. Why are you eating with someone like him?”
“Brother Fei…” Du Xue stomped her feet.
“Fine, let’s go. You’ve finished eating anyway.” He gestured at the messy table and laughed, his voice filled with derision. “You invited a girl to eat like this?”
“Brother Fei, it was me who invited him to eat!” Du Xue’s face was flushed from anger, her hands clutching tightly at the edge of her clothes.
“What?” He laughed even harder. “You invited him to eat? A woman inviting a man to eat?” The young man’s laugh grated.
A cold gleam flashed in Zhang Yang’s eyes. “I’ll pay for it.” The previously silent Zhang Yang took out his wallet, slipped out a few bills, and then placed them on the table. Without another word, he strode away.
“Lǚ Fei, you went too far…”
As Zhang Yang left the restaurant, he heard Du Xue’s angry voice. Zhang Yang could imagine how red Due Xue’s face must be. How wide her eyes would be as she glared at the other guy.
Thinking of Du Xue’s angry look, the previously gloomy Zhang Yang couldn’t help letting out a laugh. As for that Lǚ Fei, Zhang Yang didn’t even pay him much mind. This kind of humiliation wasn’t a first for him, and it wouldn’t be the last time. Of course, this event had indeed given him a first. The only people who ever dared to humiliate Zhang Yang were the graduating students. Those in the lower grades never dared to bother him. Because the entire school knew Zhang Yang had a good friend named Liu Biao.
“Lǚ Fei…” Zhang Yang quietly uttered the name to himself. The name sounded very familiar, but Zhang Yang couldn’t remember where he’d heard it before.
After leaving the restaurant Zhang Yang jogged to the guard box and peeked inside, but he didn’t see Uncle Wang. Zhang Yang had originally planned on asking Uncle Wang how his pursuit of that dead professor’s widow was going. But whenever Zhang Yang stopped by, he never knew when or if he’d even find Uncle Wang. Zhang Yang had been studying at this school for 3 years, but he still didn’t understand Uncle Wang’s schedule. It was as if Uncle Wang was there 365 days out of a year, but then out of the blue there would be another old man working instead.
By now, night had descended. Zhang Yang didn’t want to head back to the dorm and go to bed. So, he decided that he might as well go to the library and finish reading that book on fluid dynamics.
A lot of people sat studying in the library, but, at least the Computational Fluid Dynamics book was still there. Once Zhang Yang grabbed the book, he went to sit in a corner. Within moments, he dove into the world of numbers and calculations, forgetting all of his troubles.
Zhang Yang himself didn’t know, but at that moment, he was like a sponge, absorbing everything before him. He may have obtained some highly intelligent memories, but, strictly speaking, it was more like these memories had blasted open Zhang Yang’s intellectual potential.
Those memories may contain rich knowledge, but it would require Zhang Yang to learn first before he could fully awaken them into something more useful and powerful. If Zhang Yang wanted to use that knowledge, there were only two ways.
The first way: Zhang Yang would need to be placed in an intense or dangerous situation so that his hidden talent would be forced out. An example of a situation like this would be when Zhang Yang had dealt with those robbers on the train, as well as that time during the Chinese Department’s lecture.
The second way: Zhang Yang would have to study and learn as he was doing in that moment—by reading a book. Just like when he found the math book, and the memories he’d obtained caused his interest to be piqued, which thus made him become naturally voracious for the knowledge held within the book’s pages. Zhang Yang’s interest in math was one such a phenomenon.
As Zhang Yang flipped the page, a piece of paper fell out. Zhang Yang picked it up. An unsolved math problem was scrawled across the piece of paper. Almost by instinct, Zhang Yang picked up a pen and started to solve it.
 “Eat eat!”— Basically Zhang Yang is saying “Yes yes” here, but in Chinese, it is common to show affirmation and emphasis by using the verb that confirms what you’re about to do as a response. So, in this case, Zhang Yang repeats the verb Du Xue had used in her question to show his intention.
 “a lotus flower growing unsullied from the mud” is a proverb that conveys something that is principled and incorruptible.
 Er comes from the Chinese character that means “child.” Er is often used as a term of endearment or address for someone who is younger. Used in the same way as the Japanese “chan.”