Because of the suspicion that someone among them had snitched, the atmosphere in the dorm suddenly turned cold. During the self-study session that evening, the chemistry teacher asked those whose phones were confiscated to go to the teacher’s office and mentioned that their homeroom teacher was waiting for them there. The girls were reluctant, but they had no choice but to leave the classroom.
On the way to the office, Shen Mian grumbled again: “I still think Zhang Qingqing has snitched. Otherwise, why would she be the only person who has hidden the phone well in advance?”
The other three remained silent in response. Seeing this, Shen Mian turned her gaze to Jiang Li and asked, “What do you think?”
Jiang Li thought for a moment before shaking her head, “She also hid a phone in the dorm, didn’t she? If hers was the only one that escaped the disaster, she should have known that we would immediately suspect her.”
Shen Mian pondered, furrowing her brow, “Could it be Pang Ju then? I heard her say before that her parents only allowed her to have an old phone so that she wouldn’t be distracted in her studies. The teacher did indeed not confiscate her phone, but she doesn’t seem like the type to snitch, does she?”
Tang Rou softly agreed, “I also don’t think it was Pang Ju. She looks like she can’t keep up with the lectures and always throws herself into her studies. Where would she find the time to mind others using their phones?”
Shen Mian nodded, “Makes sense. And she also secretly studies in bed with her desk lamp on even after lights out every night. If she was the culprit, we could easily retaliate and report that she always stayed up late.”
Jiang Li joined the conversation, “With our phones taken away, we lack entertainment at night and will surely end up chatting before bed, which will disturb her study time. This is something she definitely wouldn’t want.”
The girls nodded in unison, feeling that this case was unlikely to be solved anytime soon.
As for Jiang Li, who had only one phone confiscated, she seemed to be suspicious as well, but no one suspected her. The reason was simple: the biggest issue they faced wasn’t the loss of their phones but the demerit points on their records. Whether one phone was taken or all phones were taken, there wasn’t much of a difference.
Soon, the girls arrived at the teacher’s office together and found their homeroom teacher, Teacher Qian, in the middle of correcting assignments. When they entered, he swiftly divided the enormous stack of notebooks into four piles and pushed each one in front of them. “Jiang Li and Wang Simin’s scores are both perfect, so your answers will be the standard ones. You two will check the remaining assignments according to theirs.”
The girls: …
Teacher Qian spoke as if it was a matter of course, making them feel like this was their responsibility. Nevertheless, no one protested. Correcting assignments was much better than being reprimanded as soon as they arrived, so the girls reluctantly took their assigned pile and a red pen to start grading.
Tang Rou’s movements were a bit slower, and she realized that there were no more red pens on Teacher Qian’s desk. She said hesitantly, “Teacher, I… I don’t have a red pen…”
Teacher Qian still smiling, said, “There are so many desks in this office; there must be a red pen somewhere. Do you want me to fetch one for you?”
Tang Rou shuddered, “No… it’s fine.” She hurriedly went to another desk to find a red pen and joined the others in grading assignments. However, she soon raised her head again and said, “Teacher, this… this student’s handwriting is too messy; I can’t make it out…”
Teacher Qian continued to smile like a Buddha, full of compassion and benevolence. “I’m very busy right now. Why don’t you ask them how they want to handle it? Is that okay?” After saying this, he continued to tap his phone screen.
Tang Rou nodded like a chicken pecking at rice, and then she used a pleading gaze to look at Jiang Li, who was standing beside her.
Jiang Li didn’t even raise her head and simply said three words, “Mark it wrong.”
“Are… are you sure?” Tang Rou hesitated.
Jiang Li comforted her, “It’s fine. Even if we mark it wrong, they will know it’s because of their messy handwriting, so they won’t dare to protest.”
Hearing this, Teacher Qian couldn’t help but laugh, “Clever.”
Pretending to be deaf, Jiang Li continued grading the assignments and quickly finished in less than ten minutes. Checking the progress of the other three, Jiang Li noticed that Tang Rou still had the most assignments to go, so she smoothly took some from her, earning Tang Rou’s grateful gaze.
Teacher Qian added with a smirk, “Oh, you’re quite loyal.”
Jiang Li continued to pretend she heard nothing, as she was on the side at fault. It was better to keep her head down and focus on her work.
Once all four had finished grading the assignments, Teacher Qian didn’t check the results but looked at them with a smile and asked, “Do you know why I called you here?”
Shen Mian responded honestly, “Because we violated the school rules by bringing our phones to school.”
Teacher Qian chuckled, then turned to Wang Simin and said, “How about you? What do you think?”
Wang Simin hesitantly responded, “Because using phones distracts us from studying?”
Teacher Qian hummed, “Not bad.”
Then Teacher Qian shifted his gaze to Tang Rou, “Your courage is so small, I’ll spare you from answering in case you burst into tears.”
Tang Rou: …
Teacher Qian then turned to Jiang Li and asked, “What about you, Jiang Li?”
Jiang Li furrowed her brows and thought for a few seconds before answering, “Could it be because when we use our phones, we disturb someone else studying?”
Hearing her response, Teacher Qian’s smile disappeared instantly. “Shall I praise you for being smart?”
Jiang Li quickly shook her head, “I just thought that you might see it that way, Teacher Qian.”
With so many students in the class, only their room had their phones confiscated. Most likely, they had been reported, and the person reporting them probably exaggerated, claiming that they were always on their phones, not only affecting their own studies but also disturbing others. The questions Teacher Qian asked earlier were likely for that reason.
Teacher Qian glanced at Jiang Li, who appeared unrepentant, and couldn’t help but feel amused. The angrier he got, the brighter his smile. “So you mean you don’t think you’ve been affecting others?”
Jiang Li nodded, “I bring my phone to stay in touch with my family and don’t use it much otherwise. I’m sure I never disturb anyone.”
While she did usually play on her phone for about half an hour before bedtime, she never made any noise. Even if she watched videos occasionally, she always used headphones. There was a possibility that someone couldn’t sleep because of the light from the screen, but that was even more unlikely. Among the six in the room, she was the earliest to go to bed, so if anyone was disturbed, it would be her.
Teacher Qian smiled and looked at Jiang Li. Then he turned his gaze to the other three and said, “She says she hasn’t been affecting others.”
The three girls nodded in unison, “Jiang Li goes to bed around 10 PM every night and never stays up late.”
Teacher Qian: …
Helplessly, he resorted to his trump card and asked with a smile, “So, do you know why I did a surprise check on your dormitory and confiscated your phones?”
Shen Mian said bluntly: “Someone must have reported on us.”
Teacher Qian chuckled, “Not too bad. In fact, the complaint is only about Jiang Li and Wang Simin. As for you two, I just checked it just in case and got an unexpected harvest.”
Shen Mian and Tang Rou: …
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