Teaching Me Yourself?


The next morning, Ying Ruoyun arrived at work, feeling a bit drained.

His colleague, principal first violinist Tan Xiaoshi, handed him a bottle of milk and expressed concern: “Did you not sleep well last night?”

Ying Ruoyun thanked her and explained, “Mhmm, I'm a bit jet-lagged.”

In fact, he had virtually been up all night, his mind dwelling on those old events from the past.

“Don't take it to heart that Conductor Shu reprimanded you yesterday.” Tan Xiaoshi walked with him to the rehearsal hall: “You were just a bit nervous, I could tell that you are a very spirited kid.”

“No, it was really my fault in the first place.” Ying Ruoyun said, “Conductor Shu's request was justified, I mustn't ruin the integrity of the music.”

“Did you stay up late practising yesterday?”

“No, I can't say I stayed up late.” Ying Ruoyun rubbed his hair, “I just wanted to, to integrate into the orchestra as soon as possible.”

“What a hardworking child.” Tan Xiaoshi was a senior member of the orchestra, slightly older and with a gentle temperament, “New orchestra members will all have a mentor, has Conductor Shu arranged one for you?”

“Huh? No.”

“I quite like you,” Tan Xiaoshi smiled softly, “if you agree, I am willing to mentor you.”

“Okay, thank you.” Ying Ruoyun was a little flattered to be favoured by the concertmaster, “It's just that I'm afraid I won't live up to your expectations.”

“I've never been wrong in my judgement of people.” Tan Xiaoshi winked at him, “The children I bring forward will only be better principals than me.”

Ying Ruoyun was greatly encouraged, and the tiredness in his heart was swept away.
Tan Xiaoshi led him to Shu Jingzhi, who was reading the score.

“Conductor Shu, please excuse me for a moment while I report to you, ” Tan Xiaoshi smiled, “I have taken a fancy to this kid.”

Shu Jingzhi put down the score and gave Ying Ruoyun a glance, refusing simply: “No.”

“Why not?” Tan Xiaoshi was puzzled, “I am the principal first violinist, this child is very talented, let me take him, what are you unsure about?”

“He will be taught by me personally.”

Tan Xiaoshi was so surprised that she couldn't speak, she had never heard of Shu Jingzhi being willing to mentor a newcomer.

Ying Ruoyun's mind also went blank, he had planned to stay as far away from Shu Jingzhi as possible, how come they were still sticking together?

“Is there no room for negotiation?” Tan Xiaoshi still wanted to fight.

“No.” Shu Jingzhi refused again.

“To be honest, I do feel a bit regretful.” Tan Xiaoshi sighed helplessly and said to Ying Ruoyun, “However, Conductor Shu's mastery in violin is far above mine, so it's your good fortune to have his personal guidance.”

Of course, Ying Ruoyun knew that.

Back in his university days, Shu Jingzhi's fame had spread to every corner of the School of Music.
He was good at piano and violin, proficient in composition and conducting, and had won several international awards in a row, which was simply out of reach for everyone.

Tan Xiaoshi patted Ying Ruoyun's shoulder and said to Shu Jingzhi, “Then I'll leave this kid in your hands.”

After she left, there were only the two of them left in the room.

Ying Ruoyun immediately became nervous as he deliberated, “Conductor Shu, perhaps it would be better for me to follow Concertmaster Tan?”

Shu Jingzhi looked at him, “Tan Xiaoshi is already engaged, you are not suitable.”

“What are you talking about?” Ying Ruoyun blushed furiously, “I couldn't possibly have meant anything else!”

“I'm just reminding you, after all, you're good at this sort of thing, aren't you?”

Ying Ruoyun instantly fell into an ice cave.

After all, there was no way to explain the misunderstanding back then to him.

Besides, it had already been so long since then, and there was no longer any personal relationship between the two of them, so there was no need to explain it anymore.

Ying Ruoyun's lips were white, and his mood was low.

Shu Jingzhi asked, “Are you unhappy with my decision?”

“No,” Ying Ruoyun said, “it is an honour that you are willing to mentor me.”

After a while, he added, “I'm just a little disappointed that you've really changed so much from before.

Ying Ruoyun turned around, took hold of the handle of the heavy wooden door to the office and pulled it open just a little.

With a 'slam', the door was closed hard, and Shu Jingzhi's breath was close: “It was you who changed first.”

Ying Ruoyun stood still, barely able to think.

“As long as you stay in the orchestra, there can be no other mentors.” Shu Jingzhi leaned down and whispered in his ear, “I am the only one who can teach you.”


Arts Centre, music rehearsal hall, 4 PM.

“The pitch is wrong, start again!”

Double overtones are a difficult aspect of playing the violin, requiring four fingers on the strings at the same time, with varying spacing, interlocking reality with falseness, complex extensions and frequent grip changes.
When playing, not only do the fingers have to be placed very precisely, but the bow pressure also must be clear and even.

Sometimes the pitch of one of the overtones would change due to the different pressure on the bow, not to mention Shu Jingzhi's almost demanding paranoia about the music, and throughout the day, Ying Ruoyun hardly had a moment to spare.

“I think Conductor Shu has gone a bit too far, the pitch is already very powerful, at least much better than mine.” Onlooker A whispered and spat.

“It's not too far, it's simply perverted.
It's a good thing that he wasn't my mentor at the time, otherwise I would have been stripped of my skin.” Onlooker B chimed in.

“Concertmaster Tan, why don't you go and persuade Conductor Shu? Our Xiao Ruoyun can't withstand such violence.” Onlooker C couldn't bear it.

“Ahem, Conductor Shu, if I may interrupt,” Tan Xiaoshi interrupted, “you've been practising for so long, aren't you two tired?”

“There's one more movement,” Shu Jingzhi looked across the table, “do you need to rest?”

“No,” Ying Ruoyun was in high spirits, “I can continue.”

“Ruoyun ah, blink if you're being threatened.
Although practising the violin is important, you still need to take care of your health.”

“I'm really fine, thank you for your concern, Sister Xiaoshi.” Ying Ruoyun smiled, “There's still one final movement to go, and I want to finish it.”

“What is this called? One is willing to fight, the other is willing to suffer, the great sentiment and noble spirit of dedicating oneself to the art of music!” Onlooker D exclaimed.

The final movement is the essence of the whole piece.
Once known as the spirit of musical instruments, the violin is the most resonant and unique melody in a symphony orchestra.
The most difficult part of a piece of music is not the complexity of the technique, but the overall control of the movement and the perfect conveyance of the musical emotion.

Ying Ruoyun's performance of the piece was touching, subtly recreating the gentle theme of the composer's anguished cries of struggle against suffering and his fervent pursuit of life and love, majestic and willful, it was a tear-jerker.

The moment the music ended, the rehearsal hall erupted in a round of applause.

“Well done,” Shu Jingzhi said, “that's all for today.”

Ying Ruoyun put the violin away and put it on the instrument stand, then heard him speak again, “Come to the office.”

After the long hours of practice, his muscles were a little sore and swollen.
Ying Ruoyun sat down in the office, and Shu Jingzhi took a pair of Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote headphones and handed them to him: “Put them on.”

The first note leapt into his ears and Ying Ruoyun immediately exclaimed, “It's a Kreisler soundtrack!!!”

“En,” Shu Jingzhi sat down beside him, “the violin piece 'Joy of Love'.”

“It's fantastic, I've loved Kreisler since my university days, and I used this piece for my first recital.
I was particularly nervous that day, but it turned out surprisingly well, because you said to me…” Suddenly, Ying Ruoyun swallowed the sentence he had not finished, the melodious music drifting through his headphones, his heart in a tangled mess.

“What did I say?” Shu Jingzhi asked.

Ying Ruoyun vividly remembers that they had not established a relationship at that time, and that his comments on the music were like an invisible provocation that filled his mind with anticipation, like a hot air balloon floating through the wilderness.

At that time, he said to him:

the joy of love is more than just this moment and this night,

but in the dance of every note,

in the ebb and flow of every melody,

every tiny emotion that arises from you.

Old memories mingled with the present, but things have changed.

Ying Ruoyun lied: “I'm sorry, I don't remember.”

“I'm not surprised,” Shu Jingzhi said, “you've always had a poor memory, just as your promises have never been anything more than empty words.”

“Please, don't say anymore.”

“What? Recalling an unpleasant past?” Shu Jingzhi leaned closer to him and whispered, “Remember when you confessed your love to me so fervently, when you took the initiative to reveal your heart, and when, even though I rejected you repeatedly, you remained sincere and fearless with your undying admiration?”

stop it.” Ying Ruoyun clenched his right hand, his nails sinking deep into his palm, but still maintained his composure.

“When you approached me back then, you used such a righteous attitude.” Shu Jingzhi said, “It seemed like you were completely motivated by your obsession with music, your pursuit of art, and were a lofty idealist.
But that was just your disguise, and I only found out later that you were simply a self-serving liar with a lot of lies.”

It was as if a cold wind had been poured into his bones; he knew that Shu Jingji hated him, but he didn't know that it had reached such an extent.
His body trembled slightly, a sharp headache flooded his skull, and he could not defend himself; all he could say was, “I'm sorry…”

“I'm curious,” Shu Jingzhi looked him in the eye, “can someone like you really feel guilty?”

It was as if a sharp blade had sliced through his heart, Ying Ruoyun had never felt so unfamiliar with him, and it was quite unsettling.
He had never imagined that the lover he had once been so tender and devoted to would one day question him so coldly.

He couldn't breathe, and all he wanted to do was run away.

His chin was violently cupped, and a hot kiss landed forcefully.
Ying Ruoyun's mind went blank as Shu Jingzhi pinned him down on the sofa.

A soft, wet tongue pried open his teeth and brushed his palate and sensitive inner walls.
Without any words, it easily awakened a physical intimacy that had long been familiar to both parties.

No matter how long it had been, no matter how long they had been apart, he could always easily arouse the deepest desires and cravings within him, causing his sanity and composure, which he prided himself on, to crumble and sink in an instant, giving way to endless pleasure and delight.

'Knock, knock, knock.' Suddenly, there was a knock at the door: “Conductor Shu? Are you there?”

Ying Ruoyun immediately pushed him away, their lips and tongue linked with moisture, and after a moment of separation, Shu Jingzhi covered his lips again, even deliberately sucking on them, and then biting his tongue lightly at the end.

Ying Ruoyun's eyes misted up and his heart knotted in anger: what time is it, he's still playing such tricks!

At that moment, there was the sound of the door handle turning.


In desperation, Ying Ruoyun kicked him over, quickly put his clothes back together, grabbed a score and pretended to be reading it.

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