Chapter 42.1
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Time passed by day after day. In the blink of an eye, two years had already gone by since Jun Zishu and Qin Youran met.

When Qin Youran was in her freshman year, she thought that she was still a long ways away from reaching her senior year. Yet, when she eventually became a senior, she realized that it wasn't that far off after all.

Thinking back to her freshman and sophomore years, Qin Youran found that all of her high school memories included Jun Zishu in the picture. Even so, she still found these memories to be sweet and wonderful.

Even after becoming a senior high school student, Jun Zishu remained as calm as ever. Unlike her peers, she did not feel the pressure of becoming a senior at all.

However, ever since her sophomore year, Jun Zishu had stopped scoring full marks on her exams. Of course, it wasn't because she couldn't do so. Instead, she just wanted to maintain a low profile.

Jun Zishu would always make sure to control her score based on the test papers' difficulty, only scoring enough to place first in her year. This ensured that she didn't attract too much attention while maintaining her status as a genius in her teachers' and fellow students' eyes.

Qin Youran also did her best to maintain her second-place position. She strove to always sit right behind Jun Zishu during exams.

When they were still in their freshman year, Jun Zishu had already told Qin Youran about her ideal university. The university in question had a high entry threshold, so Qin Youran needed to study very hard to attend the same university as Jun Zishu.

Nothing special had happened when Jun Zishu and Qin Youran began their senior year. If Jun Zishu had to point out a noteworthy event, it would be that the scumbag male lead had returned.

The scumbag's full name was Gao You, and he looked very much like a rich and handsome young man at first glance.

Before flying back to the country, Gao You had messaged Qin Youran and asked her to pick him up at the airport.

Qin Youran didn't overthink the request and originally planned to do as requested. After all, her childhood friend was returning after studying two years abroad. It wasn't at all strange for him to make such a request. However, before she could agree to Gao You's request, Jun Zishu stopped her.

Of course, Jun Zishu didn't openly stop Qin Youran from doing so. Instead, she subtly asked Qin Youran to accompany her on a trip outside around the time the scumbag male lead's flight would land. Naturally, Qin Youran chose love over friendship.

Unfortunately, this small interlude wasn't enough to stop Gao You. Like in the original storyline, he immediately began his gentle offensive against Qin Youran upon his return. He kept striking up conversations with Qin Youran, showing great concern for her well-being.

One day, while Jun Zishu and Qin Youran were doing homework in the dormitory, Jun Zishu suddenly noticed Qin Youran picking up her phone and exchanging messages with someone on the phone.

[It's the scumbag, Host.]

Little Fairy reminded Jun Zishu.

This annoying fly is everywhere, Jun Zishu inwardly complained.

However, as Qin Youran wasn't aware of the ulterior motives hidden behind Gao You's gentle facade, she continued merrily chatting with the other party.

After pondering for a moment, Jun Zishu put down her pen and pretended to lean toward Qin Youran out of curiosity.

"Gao You's telling me about a situation he came across when he was abroad. It's so funny," Qin Youran took the initiative to explain her actions when she saw Jun Zishu leaning in. Then, she showed her phone's screen to Jun Zishu, giving her beloved a clear look at her chat window with Gao You.

Jun Zishu earnestly read the messages before nodding her head.

"Funny, right?" Qin Youran asked.

"Mhm."

"Gao You is quite the funny person. He's also exceptionally kind."

Yes, he's exceptionally kind to the point of stabbing you in the back, Jun Zishu inwardly thought. "Mhm."

"Why do I get the feeling that you're behaving strangely today?" Qin Youran asked as she kept her phone into the drawer and held Jun Zishu's hands.

"I don't like him."

"What's wrong?"

Jun Zishu did not speak. Instead, she straightened her body and picked up her pen again.

"What's… Wait… Don't tell me you're jealous?" Qin Youran grinned and linked arms with Jun Zishu. Jealousy, huh? The bookworm knows how to get jealous as well?

"From now onwards, I will stop speaking to you for a day whenever I catch you speaking to him. This includes online. You can choose to lie to me, but do it at your own risk."

Jun Zishu naturally wasn't feeling jealous. She was simply trying to keep the fly away from Qin Youran. Although her behavior might make her look willful, since Qin Youran had decided to misunderstand her actions for jealousy, she might as well go along with the flow.

"Wait, wait, wait… What's gotten into you all of a sudden?" Qin Youran asked in confusion. "He and I are just friends."

"He gives me a bad feeling," Jun Zishu earnestly said as she looked Qin Youran straight in the eyes, making it known that she wasn't causing trouble without reason.

Jun Zishu had considered the possibility that Qin Youran might not fall for the scumbag male lead now that she liked her. However, she was also worried that the scumbag might try to cause trouble in the name of friendship. After all, one couldn't underestimate how unscrupulous humans could be.

Thus, Jun Zishu wanted to sever all possibilities of Qin Youran coming into contact with Gao You. If Gao You didn't even have the chance to talk to Qin Youran, there wouldn't be any chance for him to develop any romantic relationships with Qin Youran.

Meanwhile, Qin Youran couldn't help but be perplexed by Jun Zishu's behavior. Never had she seen Jun Zishu express fondness or hatred toward someone so clearly before. However, it didn't seem like Jun Zishu was joking this time, either.

"I'll keep your words in mind. I also promise to stop talking to him. If I have something important to say to him, I'll make sure to get your permission first, okay?"

Qin Youran honestly didn't mind going along with Jun Zishu's willfulness. Although she shared a good relationship with Gao You, he wasn't part of the circle of friends she usually hung out with. Meanwhile, as he preferred studying, he didn't get along well with her group. Now that they hadn't seen each other for over two years, she had grown even further apart from him.

"Mhm." Jun Zishu nodded in satisfaction.

Qin Youran did not get angry with Jun Zishu. On the contrary, she even felt a little happy about Jun Zishu's behavior. After all, didn't this mean that Jun Zishu was concerned about her?

Gao You was confused. He didn't know what he had done, but Qin Youran had suddenly started ignoring him. She would neither reply to his messages nor answer his calls.

He hadn't even started flirting with her yet. All he had done thus far was trying to fill in the gaps that had formed during the past two years. So, why did Qin Youran suddenly started ignoring him?

Gao You initially thought that Qin Youran would only be upset with him for a short period. However, when he discovered that Qin Youran had not invited him to her eighteenth birthday, he got angry.

He hadn't even begun enacting his plans, so how could he fail already?

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When Qin Youran looked at the uninvited guest standing at her house's front door, she pondered what she should do in this situation.

After failing to think of a proper solution, she decided to look away first and give Jun Zishu a call to report to her about the situation. Only after gaining permission did she look back at Gao You.

Although the entire process lasted only half a minute, Gao You.

"Ranran, why have you been avoiding me since half a month ago? You haven't been accepting my calls or replying to my messages. We were chatting happily at the beginning. Did I do something wrong? If I made you upset in some way, tell me. Please don't leave me in the dark. I thought we were friends," Gao You said with a saddened expression.

"I'm sorry, Big Brother Gao You, but it's a problem on my side. Do you have anything else to say?" Qin Youran frankly admitted her fault and

Gao You was rendered speechless. He didn't think that Qin Youran would answer him in such a decisive manner. Moreover, she even showed hints of chasing him away. Although he felt aggrieved by this situation, he eventually chose to endure it.

"I came here to wish you a happy birthday. This is the present I prepared for you," Gao You said as he passed the paper bag in his hand to Qin Youran.

However, Qin Youran did not accept the bag. Instead, she simply said, "Thank you. Goodbye."

After saying so, Qin Youran promptly shut the door and clicked her tongue in annoyance.