SWFM 136

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Chapter 136: Following the drawn bow

 

As Xu Tingsheng and Old Wai were leaving, they saw Tan Yao hastily rushing over.

“The fight was because of me. I should be the one to bear it. I’ll go find them,” Tan Yao said emotionally.

“Don’t. They don’t really care about the fighting incident. They’re basically targeting Hucheng itself. If you go, you’ll only be giving him one more person to threaten us with,” Xu Tingsheng pulled him along, walking away.

“He, the university, what…?” Tan Yao was panicked to the point of near crying.

“It’s not the university’s problem,” Xu Tingsheng said, “That Management Head Zhao must be one of those who usually receives benefits from Zhang Xingke. Having done this now, he should probably be receiving a sum of over 100000. Zhang Xingke’s formidable indeed, being willing to spare this money for connections.”

Xu Tingsheng and Old Wai returned to the riverside residence. Everyone was there, waiting for Xu Tingsheng.

Lu Zhixin quickly told Xu Tingsheng two things.

Firstly, Zhang Xingke’s ‘Xishan Academy City Working Students Association’ and all its associated intermediaries announced that in order to avoid being an accomplice of Hucheng Education, they would not accept their home tutors being simultaneously registered with both of them from now on.

This was actually very easy to understand. They wanted the university students to choose sides: If you want to continue looking for a job through Hucheng Education, we won’t provide you with intermediary services any longer…

With the situation Hucheng is in now, think about it for yourself.

Secondly, since noon, out of the 1400 registered home tutors on Hucheng, there had been a sudden wave of nearly a hundred people ceasing to use it at the same time.

Actually, ever since that incident with Gu Yan the previous day, there had already been home tutors who had deleted their accounts, just that these were few in number and scattered about as opposed to concentrated and intense as it had been today.

This wave of people having left together in such a neat manner, it need not be wondered for it to be known that Zhang Xingke had arranged for all of it beforehand. He wanted to make use of these people leaving to create the feeling of Hucheng Education mightily collapsing, thereby causing the minds of those who were standing by it to waver.

Xu Tingsheng came before the computer and looked at the data. The data proved that Zhang Xingke’s transition from ‘attacking the hearts’ to ‘attacking the city’ these last two days had been extremely successful. Be it the number of registered parents or home tutors, they were both in the midst of decreasing non-stop.

As Lu Zhixin finished, the still emotional Old Wai threw out another bombshell of what had happened to him and Xu Tingsheng in Yanzhou University’s Student Management Office, revealing how they had been asked to shut down the platform.

The reason for this was that the platform had already affected the reputation of the school, also having led to extreme instability. He didn’t even hide that Management Head Zhao’s threat.

Hucheng seemed truly teetering on the brink of collapse as though it might fall apart at any time.

It was under such circumstances that everyone, Lu Zhixin and Fang Chen included, directed hopeful gazes at Xu Tingsheng, waiting for him to flip his hand and create a miracle, mightily overturning the incoming frenzied tides.

Tears were even indistinctly visible in the eyes of Old Wai, Li Linlin and some others as they gazed at Xu Tingsheng.

Be they employees of shareholders, everyone present was unable to bear the thought of losing Hucheng. Hucheng was their lifeblood, was also their home.

The two female employees who had originally already ceased in their home tutoring due to their jobs with the platform walked over to Xu Tingsheng’s side, “Bro Xu, we’ve put our registered information back on again. If no one will teach, we will. We’re both great at it.”

“I can do it as well. I even want to be the first 5-Star,” Li Linlin said.

“Actually, I still haven’t taken on any jobs after registering,” Lu Zhixin said.

Xu Tingsheng patted the two girls on the head. They were clearly all first year university students, their ages being the same. Strangely, however, no one found this action that was like that of a senior to be any unusual at all.

They suddenly discovered that they had actually always had this impression of Xu Tingsheng all along. He was Hucheng’s support, resembling a parent who presided over the entire situation.

In truth, apart from making some decisions, Xu Tingsheng had recently already been interfering in Hucheng’s matters less and less. It was to the extent that one might even be drawn to feeling that this boss was one they could do without. Whether he was there really didn’t matter much.

At the same time, Xu Tingsheng remained calm and friendly in most of their interactions, never having put any bit of pressure on them at all. Even when Hucheng had received all those blows the day before, he had still been jokingly assuming the role of the mood maker amongst them.

All this gave rise to the feeling that he didn’t seem like the towering support of Hucheng that soared to the skies, didn’t seem like a boss who could calmly hold the helm amidst a storm.

It was only now when everyone had lost their footing and lost their way that they discovered that the one whom they still held expectations of, the one who could have them maintain that final bit of hope and confidence, was merely that one person, Xu Tingsheng. Because he seemed never to have been troubled before.

Even the ‘superwoman-esque’ Fang Chen and Lu Zhixin were currently also feeling like this.

From when Xu Tingsheng had led Old Wai and Li Linlin in creating Hucheng Education those few months ago to the advancement of Hucheng to the scale that it was at now, with it promising to be a money-making machine which gave them several tens of thousands per day as soon as they started charging money, they had never ever seen him troubled before.

Beneath those expectant gazes, Xu Tingsheng said, “Linlin, take over my home tutoring for me this weekend.”

“Huh? …Okay.”

Li Linlin felt rather puzzled over Xu Tingsheng having suddenly mentioned this. It was the same for the others as well. Still, they immediately made the connection. Since Xu Tingsheng was saying so, it must be because he wanted to counterattack, needing time to do so. There were many things that he needed to do…

Yet, Xu Tingsheng immediately left all of them feeling disappointed.

“Yeah, I’ll be troubling you. I’ll be troubling everyone as well, because I’ve got to go to Jianan University with the school team for a football match this weekend. We’ll be setting off the day after tomorrow, on Friday. Thus, over this upcoming period of time, I’ll have to trouble everyone to continue working hard for a bit,” Xu Tingsheng continued.

“This…”

Old Wai’s words got caught in his throat as no further words followed, but everyone knew what he was thinking because they too were thinking the same thing, “When Hucheng is swaying so unstably beneath the elements and teetering on the edge at such a time, you’re actually going somewhere else to play football?”

“You shouldn’t be leaving now,” Lu Zhixin said.

“Yeah, I’m not leaving now. There’s still tomorrow left, right?” Xu Tingsheng replied.
……

Xu Tingsheng did not appear at Hucheng at all the next day. He wasn’t together with Old Wai, and wasn’t in his dorm as well. Other than someone catching a coincidental glimpse of him out on the streets, he was virtually nowhere to be found the entire day.

No one knew what exactly it was that he had gone to do that day.

Back at the riverside residence for dinner that evening, the first thing that Xu Tingsheng said was, “It was tiring to death today.

Even so, he still personally cooked, smilingly calling everyone over to eat.

“Bro Xu, you’ve got a plan? What should we do?” Seeing Xu Tingsheng like this, Old Wai asked hopefully.

“Us? Let’s go back to the dorm to sleep. I’ve still got to pack my luggage,” Xu Tingsheng said.

“……”

The next morning, Xu Tingsheng arrived at the riverside residence again with a backpack on his back.

“I’ve come to say goodbye to everyone. I’ll be troubling you these next few days. Our school team’s bus will be leaving soon. Heh, I’m leaving to hide for a couple of days,” Xu Tingsheng laughed.

Silence befell as everyone instantly seemed to understand him. Maybe the pressure on him was really too great, and he was also feeling helpless about the current situation.

“Go then. Go out for a couple of days, and don’t worry about what’s happening here. I…we’ll take care of things here for you,” Lu Zhixin’s heart twinged in pain a little for this boy before her, at this moment really thinking as she had said before that they could just start all over again at the very most.

“Thanks. I’ll be troubling you. Also, has it been hard on you lately?” Xu Tingsheng asked concernedly.

Lu Zhixin did not speak. Of course things had been hard on her lately. While Xu Tingsheng had been facing eye-rolling and scolding, she had not been spared from it as well. It even somewhat surpassed what he had been facing simply because she was a girl.

The two confessions between her and Xu Tingsheng as well as the rumour of their cohabitation became ammunition with which she was attacked.

‘You deserve it’, ‘look at you being smug’, ‘shamelessly going in to share in the shame’…she had heard such disparaging comments countless times.

However strong Lu Zhixin’s heart was, she was still a girl at the end of the day.How would she not have been troubled?

“Want a hug?” Xu Tingsheng asked smilingly.

Originally having already been tearing up somewhat, Lu Zhixin stiffened up her face, “Sorry, but I’m not those warm, likeable women of yours. These methods of yours…No, anyway, you just can’t coax me with these anyhow. It won’t work on me.”

Xu Tingsheng was rejected outright, but he didn’t appear guilty in the least as he continued, “Alright, follow me to my room for a bit then.”

“Huh?”

This was what resounded in everyone’s hearts. This…was really too shameless.
……

On his room on the second floor, as he packed his remaining luggage, Xu Tingsheng told Lu Zhixin about some things and passed some things to her as well.

Lu Zhixin listened quietly to all of it and fell into a daze for a long time, smiling wryly after she had finally recovered, “I’m suddenly feeling glad that I’m not your enemy, Xu Tingsheng.”

Xu Tingsheng smiled, “Do me a favour and throw me that jacket, will you?”

“This one?” Lu Zhixin found the jacket and threw it over, next continuing, “Right, why me? I’m scared that I might not be able to do it well.”

“Because you are more suitable than Old Wai and Li Linlin! Old Wai is too reckless while Li Linlin has seen too little things…thus, you’re the best choice.”

“Also, where’s the not being able to do well with this? Just take it as though I’ve prepared a whole row of fireworks for you. All you’ve got to do is just go set them off one by one.”

“Otherwise, just take it like I’ve already drawn the bow and notched the arrow. All you’re responsible for is releasing the arrow,” Xu Tingsheng said.

“I’ve suddenly discovered that I actually might not understand you well enough,” Lu Zhixin suddenly said emotionally.

“So you originally thought that…you understood me very well?” Xu Tingsheng asked curiously.

“In terms of personality at least, yes.”

“Woah, then I’d better stay clear of you.”
……

After leaving the riverside residence, Xu Tingsheng found the big bus stationed at the entrance of the academy city with a large backpack on his back. This was the first time in the history of Yanzhou University that they had ever made it through the first round of the preliminaries, obtaining a chance to make it into the main competition. The university was rather good to them, having specifically chartered a big bus to ferry them over.

His teammates were not like him, already knowing that Yanzhou University would be going all the way over this time just to get thrashed. That being so, they were all in high spirits as they had arrived long ago, seated on the bus as they waited.

Xu Tingsheng was the last one to arrive.

There was someone unexpected standing beside the big bus.

Looking at Xu Tingsheng, Zhang Xingke made the motion of shooting him in the head as he mocked, “Weren’t you going to try? Running away?”

“I’m going to play a match. It’s the next round of the preliminaries; it’s very important. Right, your university was eliminated from the competition by us. Were you watching the match that day?” Xu Tingsheng answered very earnestly.

He was earnest to the point that Zhang Xingke was truly rendered speechless, very much wanting to curse: Nutjob.
……

As Xu Tingsheng got on the bus and sat down on the seat beside the captain that had been left for him, the captain said rather hesitantly, “I’d thought that you wouldn’t be coming. At a time like this, you’d probably be busy.”

Xu Tingsheng shook his head.

“If there’s anything you need our help with, just say it,” The captain said, his other teammates chiming in as well, “Right, if there’s anything that we can do, just tell us.”

Xu Tingsheng smiled, “I might really need to trouble everyone with something. Still, it isn’t really urgent. Let’s just focus on the match first.”


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