Wei Wuxian hopped ahead, delighted with himself and without a care in the world, while Jiang Cheng trailed behind as always. Nie Huaisang had been kept in the classroom by Lan Qiren for the time being, because his test had been that awful, apparently.
Not that Nie Huaisang had seemed actually concerned, even if he’d put on a pathetic expression and was already shedding a few tears when everyone left the room. Jiang Cheng was ready to bet that once he joined them after being scolded, Nie Huaisang would be back to his normal self, careless and refusing to put any effort into studying, slyly asking Wei Wuxian if they could go cause some mischief together. And Wei Wuxian would agree of course. He always agreed.
He could afford to agree.
“It really was an easy one this time,” Wei Wuxian proclaimed as they headed for the dining halls to have lunch. “I don’t know how Nie-xiong fumbled that one. I think he’s doing it on purpose just because he’s having fun here."
Jiang Cheng gritted his teeth, and said nothing.
"Honestly, I don’t see why everyone makes such a big deal of this place. Old man Lan Qiren says he’s going to make sure we learn, but in the end he only asks very simple stuff. It’s a joke, isn’t it?"
He laughs at his own comment, and Jiang Cheng stops, fists clenched.
"Do you really have to?” he snapped.
Surprised by his tone, Wei Wuxian stopped as well and turned to shoot him a surprise look.
“What’s wrong this time?"
”You!“ Jiang Cheng exploded. "Do you even listen to yourself? ’this is so easy, any idiot could do it’… Why do you always have to parade the fact that you’re better than me?"
Wei Wuxian blinked a few times, taken aback by that sudden aggressiveness.
"I didn’t mean…"
"You never mean anything! But while you were fishing or napping or whatever else it is you do when you disappear, I have to work my ass off to get a good grade, and I still didn’t do as well as you!”
“That’s not my…” Wei Wuxian started, before stopping himself and pouting like a scolded child. “What do you want me to do? I can fail the next test if you want, so you’ll have the best grade.”
Jiang Cheng’s fists were so tight that his nails painfully dug into his palms, his arms trembling with the effort of not punching Wei Wuxian in the face.
“It’s really that easy for you, isn’t it?” Jiang Cheng snarled. “You can fail or pass as you please, it really doesn’t make a difference, does it? It must be so nice, never having to care about anything, because you’re so good at everything that others’ opinions don’t matter!”
“You are! You’re not even trying, you’re not even paying attention and you… It really is that easy for you, isn’t it?” Jiang Cheng sighed, anger falling as quickly as it had risen. “You’re just… doesn’t matter. I’ll just try harder, and I’ll beat you at something, someday. Fair and square, I’ll beat you, so don’t you even think of ever failing on purpose! I don’t need your pity!”
Wei Wuxian snorted at his change of mood, but nodded.
“Only an idiot would dare to pity you,” he said with a grin. “You’re too proud and stubborn to be pitied.”
Jiang Cheng rolled his eyes at the accusation, because between the two of them, he really wasn’t the one who had a pride problem. Stubbornness he couldn’t deny though.
And so he was determined he would get a better grade than Wei Wuxian next time, no matter how many hours he’d have to spend studying for it, no matter how many times he’d have to try.
Someday, he’d really beat Wei Wuxian, he was sure of it.