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838 Flower of Sin

 "You're not wrong. The teacher had everyone write an essay to reflect on what they'd done. This was nothing new for the bullies, but that was the first time that Yan Fei had done something like that. He was my deskmate, and I saw that he was crying. When we were back the next day, Yan Fei's clothes were rumpled. I heard he was accosted by the gangsters on the way to school. The bullying only escalated after that. His results became worse and worse. He moved from the second row to the third last row, sitting just in front of his bullies. He had no friends, and no one was willing to help him because they were afraid of being targeted.

"One afternoon, I saw that Yan Fei had bought a pencil sharpener, and that afternoon, he was sharpening some pencils. When the last class of the day was about to end, the student behind him stepped on the back of his chair. They had started to bully Yan Fei again, but this time, Yan Fei reacted calmly. When the bell rang and the teacher left, the group of people surrounded him. They pretended it was an accident as they splashed their water on Yan Fei's school bag and textbook. They laughed among themselves as they prepared to leave. Then I saw Yan Fei take out the sharpened pencil from his pencil case and barrel toward the person who bullied him.

"The boy's face was heavily scratched; they needed several people to help pull the crazed Yan Fei back and pin him to the ground. This incident quickly reached the headmaster's ears. The parents of the bullies came to school to apply pressure. The bullies brought masks with them, showing where they were attacked. They cried to the adults. If they didn't avoid it swift enough, they would be blind.

"This was serious. Yan Fei's parents were called into school. The honest father apologized to everyone. He bowed down to the bullies' parents and begged the school not to expel Yan Fei. With everyone watching, the father slapped Yan Fei. It was a loud slap. When that slap fell on Yan Fei's face, it shattered the last shred of his pride. From that day onward, Yan Fei stopped resisting; he became silent like a soulless doll. When the bullying escalated to a point, Yan Fei would choose to escape and run alone to the toilet. No one knew what he did there, but when the bell for class rang, he would return. No one understood the severity of the situation. Then again, no one really cared about Yan Fei before. This passed for some time until Yan Fei was one day bullied after class again. He escaped to the toilet but didn't come out.

"The teacher and students went to find him. When they did, Yan Fei had fainted inside the last cubicle of the toilet with a face like alabaster. Next to him was the blade that he had taken out from the pencil sharpener. They picked Yan Fei up. A student accidentally saw the arm under Yan Fei's long sleeve. He was so shocked that he let out a scream. At that moment, everyone understood why Yan Fei was always wearing long pants and sleeves no matter how hot the weather was."

Regarding Yan Fei's past, Lee Bing had explained everything. Chen Ge had a hard time calming down. This child was just a normal person. Perhaps he might have brushed shoulders with Chen Ge when he was walking down the street. Yet, a child like this had been forced to self-mutilation.

"Self-mutilation is a way to vent pressure. The physical pain helps lower the psychological pain, but this is not a correct method to deal with pressure." Chen Ge's fists tightened. He stood up from his seat. "Lee Bing, do you know where the nurse's office is?"

"What do you wish to do?"

"I wish to meet Yan Fei. Can you lead the way?" Hearing Yan Fei's story, Chen Ge's desire to meet him increased. He had a feeling that Yan Fei was one of the students that he was looking for. Compared to other students, Yan Fei did not come from a sad background. He was just like any other person, but he was flushed by the torrents of life to its edge.

"No." Lee Bing shook his head. Actually, he had been avoiding Chen Ge, and the conversation was carried out through passing of notes. Even if he had to speak, he kept his head lowered, and his reply was a whisper. He pitied Chen Ge and hated those bullies, but more than that, he was afraid of being seen interacting with Chen Ge. He did not want to be ostracized.

Seeing Lee Bing's reply, Chen Ge calmly nodded. He did not blame Lee Bing but understood his situation. The world behind the door would amplify the desires and various thoughts inside one's heart. Negative emotions would not be tied down by morality. They did not need to hide, and people could express their negative emotions without holding back. The bullies enjoyed controlling others, toying with the little pride that the bullied had left. The bystanders looked about from afar with a detached gaze or perhaps sometimes joined in the fun. In the end, only the bullied were left. They would become inured to the pain and even get used to their given identity. Chen Ge scanned the class; everyone was doing their own thing. The fight at the last row was just a show for them. They enjoyed it as bystanders, and no one dared step forward.

"The occurrence of school bullying is not the responsibility of the school but also the other students in class. During an avalanche, there is not a single snowflake that is innocent. Everyone just wishes that the tragedy will not befall them, and that gives the bullies the chance to act freely. When bullying happens and someone dares to stand up and say something or give the bullied some comfort, things might end up differently," Chen Ge said out loud. He had no idea how that would change the school's consciousness, but he felt like the school could sense what he was doing.

"During an avalanche, there is not one snowflake that is innocent. Habitual silence is a sad thing as well."

When Chen Ge spoke, Lee Bing's shoulders shook several times. He seemed to be hesitating as well, but in the end, he did not stand up.

The first door pusher pushed open the door due to school bullying, and the door has been looking for the souls of despaired children since then, creating this sad and scary school.

The painter and Chang Wenyu are both very strong, but they haven't become the new door pusher, which means that even if they have gained the school's approval, they have not ticked all the boxes required by the school.

A question rose in Chen Ge's heart.

If I was a despairing child, what would I hope to see after pushing open the door?

Red surroundings and the b*stards' escalated bullying-that's obviously not something I'd like to see. No one wished to have their wounds repeatedly pulled open.

Could this bullying be some sort of test? To get the school's approval, I need to stop all the bullying and stop it from ever happening again?

The deepest despair often buried all hope. After giving it some thought, Chen Ge wrote a note back to Lee Bing. Lee Bing did not take it. Chen Ge did not care. He placed the note on Lee Bing's table and walked out from class to find the nurse's office.

After Chen Ge walked away, Lee Bing silently opened the note. It read, "I will change this school completely."