The weather was fair, with blue skies and white clouds. Sunlight broke through the gloom of First High School, brightening the previous dreary atmosphere.
The name list for the three basketball teams was finalised. Three people from each of the seven class classes, including substitutes, made up twenty-one people altogether.
The twenty-one people were divided into three teams. The first team would play against the second team, the second team would play against the third team, and then the first team would play against the third team. It wasn’t so much about the score, but purely for the spectator’s viewing pleasure. The school stressed the importance didn’t lie in winning or losing—rather, it was the most crucial to look good.
Each of the three teams then chose the most athletic and skilled to be the captain. According to the school requirements, both sides needed to create opportunities for their captains to shine when the occasion called for it. After all, the higher-level educators couldn’t understand basketball anyway. They could only appreciate flashier stuff like driving the ball past the guard or slam dunks, which would leave a better impression of First High School on them.
So it was only natural for Zong Jiu, with his outstanding looks, to be crowned captain of the second team.
The captain of the first team was No. 2 Van Zhuo, whereas the captain of the third team was No. 8 Black Shaman. Due to the push for a good physique, the participants of the three teams were mostly half-vampires, which also gave Zong Jiu and Van Zhuo more room to play around, with less cause for worry about the plan flopping.
The only variable was Black Shaman.
However, Black Shaman had never been much of a meddler. He normally looked cold and aloof, and he was sparing with words.
No. 2 held a favourable opinion of him, feeling he wasn’t a bad guy at heart, even though his methods were more unorthodox. Furthermore, as leaders of two major forces, the Night Clan and the Witch Society often worked together in the infinite loop, and as such Van Zhuo would be the one conveying the situation to Black Shaman. How their communication went wasn’t known to Zong Jiu, but ultimately, though he wouldn’t be joining them, he also promised not to get in the way.
Zong Jiu was basically hands-off. He studied and slept as he should every day, only made a secret signal on the last day to confirm the plan was still a go, and then it was all settled for him. He hardly had to do a thing.
After the third period that morning, all trainees returned to the hostel to wash up.
As the educators were visiting in the afternoon, their lunch break was ruthlessly seized from them for a uniform check. The caretaker would be inspecting each one of them before they were allowed to leave the hostel.
The public showers were packed. A look across and all that would fill the sight was trainees showering.
The caretaker was very strict. If they did not pass her inspection, they would have to start from scratch all over again, and if they didn’t arrive punctually at the quadrangle, anyone held behind at the hostel would receive a demerit. It was precisely because of this that everyone was motivated to neaten their appearances and get through the uniform check on the first go.
Fortunately, room 101 had a bathroom to itself.
Zong Jiu was delayed on the way back so there was someone else showering when he returned to the hostel. Therefore, he sat on his bed and read while waiting.
Van Zhuo returned to the hostel with a few fresh brand-new canvas bags in his hands.
With a sweep of his hand, the two sets of basketball attire were tossed towards the lower and upper bunks.
A pale hand reached out from the lower bunk to firmly catch the canvas bag.
On the upper bunk, Zong Jiu undid the knot and found a set of ordinary blue, black, and white-themed basketball attire.
After showering and changing into the clothes, Zong Jiu stood before the mirror and looked at himself.
The young man was tall and slender, and his white hair was tied in a high ponytail on the back of his head. Steam still veiled his figure, turning his visage dreamy and accentuating his lips.
Balancing this out was the loose clothes he wore against his long and fair limbs.
Zong Jiu mimicked the motion of walking on the spot and found the basketball attire was airy and flowy.
"Are the clothes free size?"
"Ktfs rtbeiv yf."
Njc Iteb abbx boo atf rmtbbi pjmxfa, gfnfjilcu j ifjc kjlra, ktlmt boofgfv j qblca bo mbwqjglrbc obg atf ktlaf-tjlgfv sbecu wjc.
Ktf tjio-njwqlgf kjr ajii jcv kfii-yelia. Ktf rjwf rfa bo mibatfr ola tlw pera gluta, jcv atf ifur bo atf rtbgar vlvc’a fzafcv qjra tlr xcffr.
Zong Jiu turned his head over, looking puzzled.
He didn’t know whether No. 2’s height of nearly two metres was natural or induced by his conversion into the vampiric lineage, but either way, it was frustrating for him, with his height of 1.8-metres, to stand in front of him.
Let alone No. 1, even Black Shaman was just a little bit taller than him. No wonder the clothes ordered were free-size; who knows, perhaps the whole outfit had been stretched to accommodate Van Zhuo.
In the reflection of the mirror, a pair of green eyes nonchalantly shifted away.
All trainees that passed the uniform check took their seats at the quadrangle.
To liven the atmosphere, everyone was arranged to sit along the perimeter of the basketball court, crowding around.
Many trainees felt a chill scuttle up their spine at the thought of the many lives lost on the concrete floor their butts were pressed against.
Each class’ homeroom teacher stood in front of their classes, heavily reiterating the dos and don’ts they would adhere to when the educators visited later.
"If called upon to answer questions, you’re prohibited from any responses reflecting negatively on the school. Actively cooperate with them. If asked about the curriculum, First High School has two physical education periods, one art class, one music class, and one IT class per week. There are also leisure activities scheduled between classes, as well as clubs and societies…"
The system opened the live broadcast, and this scene evoked sighs from the bullet chat.
[Watching this instance reminds me of my high school time. Back then, our class had students who blew the whistle to report remedial classes conducted during the summer vacation to the Education Board. Sure, the classes were cancelled, but the students were also asked to quit after school reopened… Most schools have connections to the board; they ferreted out who made the call, and all of us obediently took our remedial classes after that.]
[Sigh, too real. Same situation here. Other teachers had clearly taken up all classes, but we’d still have to talk about all the enrichment activities we did between lessons when authorities came for observation or when being interviewed.]
[C’mon, stop watching that crap and turn the lens over there. Not only is there our beautiful Magician, but No. 10’s even leading a cheerleading routine. I’m dying of laughter here.]
While trainees listened to the teachers, the trainees preparing for the basketball competition were also doing warm-ups at the quadrangle.
Tsuchimikado’s head hung low as he stood to one side, holding two coloured balls in his hands.
In addition to the basketball team, every class also had to randomly pick someone for the cheerleading team. Tsuchimikado’s luck, naturally, never failed to work against him, and he was forced to take this responsibility.
The bullet chat was roaring with laughter, taking screenshots like mad, complimenting this Yin-Yang Master for his truly captivating hip twists.
While Zong Jiu bent to the side, his basketball jersey slid to the side, and he could feel the breeze inside his shirt.
The referee blew a whistle.
The first basketball game was between the first team and the third team. As the second team’s captain, Zong Jiu stood to the side to spectate the match.
Coming to this, it had to be said that although Black Shaman usually concealed himself behind his wide black robes, it became apparent after changing into basketball attire he was surprisingly one of those with lean muscles to show off. Apart from his skin being too pale, he was able to run nimbly and lightly.
Not long later, a strange noise came from the dusty school gates.
The cement-filled lock was chiselled away, and the school management immediately walked over, obsequiously welcoming the visitors with smiles on their faces.
Many trainees looked back in curiosity.
It came as no surprise that the educators who visited were similarly faceless people.
After glancing over, Zong Jiu averted his gaze.
Across the basketball court, he saw No. 1 standing in front of Class 9, and his heart settled slightly.
He and Van Zhuo brought Tsuchimikado, a psychic expert, into the fold. As long as their plan wasn’t deliberately sabotaged, it should go seamlessly.
As Zong Jiu pondered, pre-rehearsed neat applause came from the trainees.
Black cameras with long lenses aimed at the basketball court, faithfully recording the upcoming exhibition match.
Not far away, the headmaster was beaming widely, explaining to the educators, "You’ve come at the perfect time. Our school is holding a basketball competition today. Look, the students are currently spectating at the quadrangle.
The faceless cameraman was carrying his camera around, interviewing some of the trainees at random.
Although those trainees had twisted expressions, almost retching out last night’s supper, the words coming out of their mouths when facing the camera were still big and boastful.
The educators were immensely satisfied. "Not bad. I’ve always thought well of First High School."
They looked in unison with astonishment at the faceless trainees arranged at the very front of every class. "It must have been not easy for your school to produce such outstanding talents, future pillars of society, at such an early age."
This high evaluation would minimally double their bonuses, so the teachers leading the visitors were unable to suppress the smiles from their faces.
At this time, the referee blew his whistle, signalling the end of the match between the first and third teams.
The two teams high-fived each other. None of the half-vampires showed any signs of sweating, and hardly any were panting at all. This was especially true of No. 2, whose expression never flickered, not looking the least bit like a player who scored a few slam dunks.
Next was the match between the first team and the second team.
"May the captain of both teams please shake hands."
Zong Jiu and Van Zhuo walked up and shook hands.
They exchanged one final look, and walked back to their respective teams.
Under the blue skies and radiant sunshine, the reddish-brown basketball was tossed up high.
Both sides started by very flashily passing the ball around, taking turns to score. The match looked intense and the scores were tight.
At half-time, Zong Jiu stepped aside and haphazardly grabbed the hem of his shirt to wipe his face, exposing a pale waistline.
Although they called it an exhibition match, to make it look more exciting, the running and shooting poses were deliberately exaggerated, causing him to also work up a bit of sweat.
When dousing himself with cold mineral water, the redness rimming the young man’s eyes became even more pronounced. Even the skin at the corners of his lips, almost as pale as his hair, was suffused with colour.
He undid his hair tie and let down his hair, and droplets of icy water rolled along his long strands, dripping one by one onto the ground.
The critical moment for their plan came after half-time.
In the distance, the headmaster already led the educators over, and No. 1 who was roleplaying an eminent teacher coldly put his hands together in applause.
A faceless educator just happened to look over. "Why is there a student with dyed hair on the quadrangle?"
At this, everyone’s gazes shot over.
Turned away from them was a figure dressed in basic blue, black, and white-themed basketball attire. Owing to his overly slender physique, his jersey seemed to be flapping in the wind. His long white hair was bound with a hair tie, reaching his waist where it swayed with the movements of the boy. As if he was an immortal descending upon the mortal world to frolic on grassy plains.
Zong Jiu raised his hand, motioning for his teammate to pass the ball over.
The next second, the young man caught the ball passed to him from the far side of the court and easily evaded his mark. After levelling his feet, his calves suddenly tensed, and he leapt high from the ground.
The deep brown basketball flew from his hands, unerringly bouncing against the backboard.
The next second, due to the precision with which it was thrown, the ball spun perfectly through the hoop.
Seeing this, the educator who was about to ask further stalled.
Though it was an exhibition match, the ball still went in. This whole set of movements was executed so smoothly and gracefully that one could hardly tear their eyes away.
[Wahhhhh! Magician, mummy loves you!]
[Beautiful! Who would have thought I’d start becoming a face-con in the infinite loop.]
[Rofl albinos seriously get all the flak. He gets misunderstood for dying his hair every time!]
After recovering his wits, the school guide then wiped the sweat from his forehead, immediately explaining, "The grey-haired student is from an interracial family, and as for that white-haired student…"
"It’s a type of pigment deficiency."
The Devil interrupted him with his eyes, and no emotion could be read in his tone. "I’ve checked it personally."