The Supporting Female Character Refuses to be Cannon Fodder Chapter 1

This is an orphanage in the outskirts of the city, very remote and desolate, with no signs of life around. It was the peak of summer vacation, and the cicadas in the woods were loudly chirping, inexplicably causing irritation and restlessness in people’s hearts.

However, the hot air and the noisy cicada chirps seemed to have no effect on the slender figure in the orphanage. She was just over five feet tall, with a dark and thin face. However, her eyes revealed a calmness different from others of her age.

At this moment, she was staring fixedly at the admission letter in her hand. It was the admission letter from the No. 1 Middle School in the city. Jiang Chan had just finished the high school entrance exam, barely making it to the No. 1 Middle School.

Looking at the bright admission letter, Jiang Chan’s gaze remained calm. The head of the orphanage, sitting across from her, looked hesitant, “Jiang Chan, there’s really nothing we can do in the orphanage. It’s already challenging enough to support children like you, and the orphanage hasn’t received any donations for years…”

“Director, I understand,” Jiang Chan interrupted the director, “I’m grateful that you’ve allowed me to finish junior high. I’ll figure out how to continue my education on my own.”

Even though it was supposed to be nine years of compulsory education, apart from tuition and textbooks, there were other expenses, all of which required money. Jiang Chan understood the director’s difficulties. Moreover, even if she miraculously got into a good school, she had never thought of asking the orphanage for more money for her education. The orphanage was already struggling financially, and she couldn’t make it worse.

Jiang Chan tightly pressed her lips together and picked up the admission letter, saying, “I’ll go back to my room now. Please don’t worry too much, Director. I’ll take care of the tuition on my own, and I’ll find a job during this summer break.”

The director hesitated but sighed when she saw Jiang Chan’s determined expression, “You’re a stubborn child. Well, go back to your room. If you can really figure something out, I won’t stop you.”

Jiang Chan nodded, “I understand, Director. Children like us can only rely on ourselves. I’m really grateful for your protection all these years.”

The director waved her hand, watching Jiang Chan disappear into the yard. She sighed, fanning herself with a bamboo fan. It was evident that convincing Jiang Chan to give up on schooling was a difficult decision for her.

The camera shifted to the director, a woman in her sixties. She had come to this orphanage in her youth and dedicated her prime years to it. She treated every child in the orphanage as her own, doing her best to fulfill their educational needs. Although she wasn’t highly educated, she understood the importance of knowledge in changing one’s fate.

Jiang Chan was a girl she particularly liked. Among the children in the orphanage, she was one of the few without physical defects. She was healthy, hardworking, and ambitious.

The child, in addition to studying, also takes on part-time jobs. Otherwise, with her level of intelligence, she would have already received a full scholarship to the No. 1 Middle School, and wouldn’t be lagging behind in her academic ranking.

The principal rubbed her eyes. She truly had no other choice. The orphanage needed to sustain itself, and the tuition fees for the prestigious high school were already exorbitant. The orphanage simply couldn’t afford it.

Now, all she could do was hope that Jiang Chan could somehow gather the money for high school within the orphanage. Otherwise, the director was contemplating whether to call the previous sponsors for assistance.

Jiang Chan was indeed unlucky. Most children in the orphanage had various physical defects, but she didn’t. She was healthy, and the director couldn’t understand why someone would abandon such a child at the orphanage’s doorstep.

The director remembered when she found Jiang Chan, a small bundle with decent clothes and a cicada-shaped pendant hanging around her neck. Since her appearance suggested a good background, the director didn’t dwell on the circumstances that led to her being at the orphanage. She simply reminded Jiang Chan to take care of the pendant, as it might be useful in the future.

In her room, Jiang Chan didn’t appear as calm as she did in front of the director. She carefully placed the admission letter in a small cabinet, locking it to prevent curious children from accidentally finding it.

As the oldest child in the orphanage, Jiang Chan didn’t think anyone would dare to enter her room. Still, it was better to be safe. She lay back on her less than a meter-long bed, and the squeaking of the iron bed in this hot afternoon inexplicably bothered her. Jiang Chan stared at the ceiling, contemplating how to earn enough money for high school in the limited two months.

Considering her academic performance, she shouldn’t have scored so low. However, she spent most of her time working part-time, leaving little time for study. Now, she couldn’t blame anyone but herself for the modest score.

Jiang Chan rested her hand on her eyes, wondering where she should work tomorrow. At the age of fourteen, if the director hadn’t lied about her age, she wouldn’t have been allowed to study. So, Jiang Chan’s ID now showed her age as sixteen. This age was awkward, not yet an adult, and ordinary employers were reluctant to hire her, fearing the accusation of employing child labor.

After a while, a voice echoed faintly in the room, “Ah, it’s tough to be a hero with just one penny!”

Jiang Chan touched the cicada-shaped pendant on her chest, calming her mind. Maybe she should go to Uncle Mo’s restaurant tomorrow? Although Uncle Mo’s restaurant didn’t earn much, it was better than nothing.

Decided on this plan, Jiang Chan took out paper and pen and started to plan step by step.

The next day, as dawn broke, Jiang Chan got up early. After freshening up and putting on her newest clothes, donated by a kind person last year, she headed to breakfast. The orphanage’s breakfast was simple—rice porridge, cucumbers grown in the orphanage’s garden, and a pinch of salt. Jiang Chan sipped her porridge without raising her head. The director, observing Jiang Chan’s attire, sighed silently.

A boy of about six approached Jiang Chan, “Sister, where are you going today?”

This child had a congenital cleft lip. Although it was a simple surgery, the orphanage couldn’t afford it due to financial constraints. The director could only hope for future support to enable the boy, An An, to undergo the surgery.

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6 Comments

  1. Is this orphanage only for the disadvantaged? Why the hell they got so many disabities and our Mc is the lucky one who doesn’t have one?

    1. Because all the “damaged goods” kids aren’t actually orphans, but were thrown away by parents who didn’t want (or couldn’t afford) to keep them. No idea if this is really true to life but it’s pretty commonly seen in fiction.

    2. As previous reply said, it’s common for disabled kids to be abandoned. This is unfortunately true in real life too— I believe something like 90% of orphans in China have a deformity of some degree. It’s not meant to be offensive, it’s meant to reflect the cruelty of life.

    3. As previous commenter mentioned, it’s common, but more importantly, it’s realistic. Estimates put 98% of Chinese orphans as disabled. Most of the time, people just can’t be bothered to care for a disabled child, especially in a China where the number of children you could have was limited. It’s a harsh reality, not some grand statement or disparaging remark for the disabled like you seem to be interpreting it as.

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