Chapter 566: Income & Expenses
The class leader nodded, “Auntie, so the school actually exists?”
“It does, but the teachers don’t get paid a lot. Everyone in the village thinks it’s better to work as a salesperson.”
Shu Zhe was inexplicably excited: “Sis, look, we didn’t lie, why don’t we head back at the next stop…”
“We’ve already been riding the bus so long, we won’t lose anything by taking a look.” The class leader insisted.
The older woman who was protecting her eggs was probably bored, so she explained to us:
“There’s nothing to see at the children’s center, but Cui Song Mountain that’s behind it can somewhat pass off as a tourist attraction. The problem is that it’s hard to get there, it doesn’t have a lot of publicity, so there aren’t many people who go… are you guys planning to go camping at Cui Song Mountain?”
We were indeed getting off at Cui Song Mountain stop, but not to go camping. Have you seen anyone climb a mountain in casual clothes and not even bringing any food? If the class leader and I climb to the top and we don’t have any food, are we going to cook Shu Zhe?
And as soon as I mentioned wilderness survival, I remembered that Xiao Qin cheated me out of my Swiss Army knife, damn, I have to find a way to get it back.
“We’re not going hiking.” The class leader said while looking at the edge of her skirt, probably thinking to herself: if I go hiking, I won’t wear a skirt.
The older woman frowned, “If you’re not going hiking, then there’s not much to see over there… the children’s center is just a bunch of idiots…”
The class leader cleared her throat with discontent and reminded the auntie that it was rude to refer to the handicapped children in the special education school as “idiots”.
The woman misunderstood the class leader and probably thought the reason the class leader was going there in the first place was because she had a relative that was going to be sent there.
The older woman looked up and down at the class leader.
She had firm eyes, a better than average appearance, well-spoken, and all her limbs, so she didn’t seem like she had an unmentionable illness.
Then she looked at Shu Zhe.
He also looked talented, so the word idiot didn’t really fit him.
Finally, she looked at me.
Why are you being so nosy? And why are you nodding your head with an expression that says “so that’s why”. Do you think that among us I’m the only one with mental issues and the class leader was taking me to sign up at the school?
We arrived at our destination two stops after the older woman had gotten off.
As we stood under the rusty sign of “Cui Song Mountain Station”, Shu Zhe choked on dust clouds from the dirt road and coughed, while the class leader also covered her mouth and nose.
In order to prevent me from suffering from a respiratory disease, I quickly guided the two of them onto a winding forest path according to my memories.
The white building in front of me on the left, hidden in the greenery, was the special education school I saw before.
“Why are there so many tactile pavings here, it’s really painful.”
After entering the school gate, Shu Zhe complained while chewing gum.
“You idiot.” I pulled Shu Zhe aside and reminded him quietly, “You’re currently playing the role of a loving and benevolent person, at least act like one in front of your sister.”
“I, I know…” Shu Zhe spat out his gum on a tissue, took a deep breath to change his emotions and then wailed with exaggeration:
“So many children are born without their vision, how unfortunate, how truly unfortunate.”
We came during class time, so the playground was silent. Compared to the city, the school that was surrounded by mountains, seemed more secluded and quiet, which had a calming effect on the mind.
The principal of the special education school personally came out of the building to greet us when he saw us walking through the school gates from afar.
The school’s financial situation wasn’t good, so they couldn’t hire too many people. He acted as a role model and took on the positions of both the security guard and janitor. He also personally received the occasional guests who came to the school.
The last time Peng TouSi brought me to visit, I played a game of Go with the school’s Go genius “Xiao Yu”, so I left a deep impression on the principal.
“It’s Ye Lin from 28 Middle, right? You even brought your two friends here, welcome, welcome.”
He enthusiastically extended his hand and shook hands with the three of us in succession and introduced himself. It was hard to find a principal like him, who didn’t put on any airs, these days.
When it was the class leader’s turn to shake hands, she looked a little embarrassed, after all an hour ago, she was still doubting the other party’s existence.
Next, like last time, the principal led us around the corridors of the school building w. Through the glass windows on the doors, we could see the students in class.
The pictures on the walls that had moved me, of teachers and students living and learning together, participating in performances and competitions, moved the class leader as well.
I had expected this, as the class leader had always been sympathetic to the weak.
Psychologically speaking, people who consider themselves strong, treat the weak kinder. Only those who think of themselves to be weak will be cruel to the weak, Shu Zhe is a good example.
The principal wasn’t able to see the true face of Shu Zhe. He couldn’t stop praising the class leader for having a caring brother. He actually donated the money earned from part-time jobs to disabled children as a high school student, he could even be called a model of humanity.
The class leader became more embarrassed the more she listened. On one hand, she learned that her brother really donated money to the disadvantaged; on the other hand, her brother earned the money by cross dressing, so she really didn’t know what expression to make.
“Just smile at these times.” I advised the class leader.
“Even if it was done with good intentions, it’s not right to let my brother wear those clothes.”
“It can’t be helped.” I shrugged and stuffed my hands in my pockets, “It’s not my fault your brother cares so much about the ranking.”
“Yeah.” I told the class leader the lie I made up on the way here, “After he made a donation, he found out that Winnie was ranked above him, so he was very upset and vowed to surpass Winnie no matter what…”
“I told him: Winnie has an extremely wealthy friend, that’s why she could donate so much money. But he simply did not listen, he gave up his dignity and began taking more photos and even videos to increase revenue, I couldn’t even control him anymore as he was obsessed.”
This lie should be more in line with Shu Zhe’s character. After associating with Xiao Qin for a long time, my lying skills have improved. But it takes me a long time to perfect the lie, I can’t be like Xiao Qin and lie fluently on the spot.
“Is that the case?” The class leader inquired her brother.
“That… that’s right.” Shu Zhe replied with no confidence, while glancing at me, trying to get more confidence from my expression.
“Ugh, I don’t even know how to scold you.” The class leader’s gaze swept across the photos on the wall, “I’m not opposed to you doing charity, I’m even happy. It’s rare for someone as gifted as you to see the suffering of others.”
“But everything has to be done in moderation. You can’t want to climb to the top just because Winnie donated more than you. Besides, at your age, it’s not the right time to be working, but rather you should be studying.”
Shu Zhe isn’t lacking any knowledge, but he is lacking in morals.
“Then, I won’t do it anymore.” Shu Zhe lowered his head to admit his mistake, “Do we have to burn those costumes?”
“No need to burn them, give them all to Ye Lin’s family’s online store. Let’s see if it can be sold as second-hand goods, if it can, it will be your last donation.”
It sounds like the class leader has doubts if worn clothes would even get sold… but what she doesn’t know is that once I post it on the store, Popeye, Uncle Fireball, and Cilantro Buns will snatch it up.
The look on Shu Zhe’s face seemed to be attached to the women’s clothing, but I gave him a wink and told him to follow his sister’s wishes and not talk back.
“Mr. Principal.” The class leader suddenly stopped and said with a business attitude, “Relying purely on donations is not a solution to the problem… if my brother’s personal donations are ranked on the first page, that means there aren’t a lot of donations, right?”
The principal frowned and sighed.
“I also know I can’t rely on donations, but there’s really no other way to increase income other than raising tuition, but these children’s families aren’t rich….”
“Forgive me for being presumptuous, but isn’t the school next to Cui Song Mountain? Have you considered doing some tourism around the area?”
“I have but…” the principal smiled bitterly, “Because the land around us isn’t worth anything and the school owns a large area, we once converted the school’s extra dormitory to a simple hotel for tourists to rest. The problem was Cui Song Mountain’s popularity was too low, no one came other than a few bug enthusiasts.”
When the class leader and the principal were discussing how to increase income and cut costs, I passed by the door of the activity room and heard the sound of go pieces on the chessboard.
Although it seemed lonely to play chess alone, I didn’t want to lose so badly again. I think the doctor was wrong when they diagnosed Xiao Yu with cerebral palsy.
“Shu Zhe, you go in and play a game of Go with them, aren’t you a genius.”
I didn’t have any good intentions as I pushed Shu Zhe towards his death.
“I’m not going.” Shu Zhe didn’t fall for it, “I don’t know how to play Go and neither does my sister.”
I was surprised to hear the sound of the pieces being cleared, which meant that someone was already playing with Xiao Yu.
When I talked to the principal on the phone today, he did say that there was another guest here: are they the same person who was playing Go with Xiao Yu.