Chapter 172: So intelligent yet so foolish
Since he had already decided to return to Libei, Xu Tingsheng didn’t mention the matter of Wu Yuewei’s aspirations to her over the phone. They didn’t talk for too long. Finally, when about to end the call, Xu Tingsheng asked Wu Yuewei, “Can I find you through this number?”
Wu Yuewei said, “It’s the phone from the small store at the entrance of the village. You can call it and get them to yell for me.”
After Xu Tingsheng had hung up, he found that Sony Ericsson phone which he had prepared to give to Xiang Ning in compensation but she had refused to accept. He stuffed the entire phone into his bag, packaging at all.
It was a 5 hour bus ride to Jiannan and then a three hour bus ride to Libei. It was dinnertime when Xu Tingsheng arrived. Vice-Principal Lou was waiting outside the station for him in his car.
The car departed, getting further and further away from the county. Xu Tingsheng looked around the area, a winding mountain road soon becoming visible. He hurriedly asked, “Uncle Lou, this isn’t the way to the school! Where’re we going?”
“To Wu Yuewei’s house,” Vice-Principal Lou said, “The road ahead isn’t smooth. You put on the safety belt well.”
Hearing that they were going to Wu Yuewei’s house, a panicked Xu Tingsheng hurriedly said, “Uncle Lou, stop the car first. Listen to me. Can’t we talk about it another day when she’s in school? Going to her house isn’t good, right? Her parents are also there.You’re a higher-up of the school, and so it’ll definitely be reasonable. But how can I just go to someone’s house for no rhyme or reason? What do I say if her parents ask about it?”
Vice-Principal Lou didn’t show any intention of stopping the car at all as he chuckled, “You’ve already harmed their precious daughter, and you’re still not going over to take responsibility? Let alone questioning you a little, it would be understandable even if they beat you up.”
“I really didn’t do anything to her,” A pained Xu Tingsheng tried to explain.
“You yourself are the clearest on that. There’s no need to explain it to me. Anyway, just get things done for me. I’ve said it already-If Wu Yuewei doesn’t go to Qingbei, I’ll blow up your family’s supermarket. I’ve told your Dad about it too.”
“Uncle Lou, most people wouldn’t be able to tell that you’re a Vice-Principal at a senior high school, right?” Xu Tingsheng said, “Also, the aspiration thing isn’t that urgent, right? Everyone else should only have received their results just about now.”
“Isn’t that urgent? Do you think second in the entire province is worth the same as just those crappy results of yours? This is second in the entire Jianhai Province! I tell you, in just these few days, our phone lines were nearly blown up by the recruitment divisions of famous schools.”
A fallen scholar wasn’t worth even a single chicken. Having been mocked, Xu Tingsheng was unable to continue speaking. The car continued on the winding mountain road for more than an hour, finally arriving at a small village that contained around seventy to eighty people.
“Over there. I came over with the Principal just the day before yesterday,” Vice-Principal Lou pointed, striding on ahead.
Hearing the barking of dogs coming from all around, Xu Tingsheng hurriedly followed after him.
Wu Yuewei’s family was no different from what you would find in any usual remote village. A tile-roofed house of earth and mud, a small courtyard as well as a natural well. In front of the door was a field where crops were planted, a few villagers currently sitting and talking outside.
They entered the house. It was unexpectedly spick and span inside. Xu Tingsheng felt that it didn’t seem like it had been specifically tidied up just for the occasion. Instead, it should be a habitual thing for them.
This was actually very rare in villages of this era. This simple yet clean and earnest atmosphere in Wu Yuewei’s house had probably subtly influenced and shaped her personality somewhat.
Vice-Principal Lou greeted Wu Yuewei’s parents in a familiar manner, thankfully not digging a pit for Xu Tingsheng when it came to introductions as he said, “This here is my nephew. He’s also a graduate of our school, and he knows Yuewei too. We so happened to end up coming together.”
Facing Wu Yuewei’s amiable parents, Xu Tingsheng smiled and greeted, “Hi, Uncle, Auntie.”
“Yuewei, the Vice-Principal’s here! Hurry on out!” Mrs Wu turned and called over her shoulder.
“Got it! I’m here brewing tea.”
Following that soft voice of hers, Wu Yuewei carefully walked over with two cups of green tea. She was walking very slowly and gingerly for fear that she might spill it.
“Vice-Principal Lou, have some tea.”
“…Senior, have some tea.”
After bringing the cup before Xu Tingsheng, Wu Yuewei was smiling as she raised her head to look at him. She then lowered her head again as she asked in a low tone, “What’s senior doing here all of a sudden? Have you had dinner?”
Receiving the teacup, Xu Tingsheng exchanged glances with Vice-Principal Lou before they simultaneously said, “We’ve eaten.”
Vice-Principal Lou continued chatting with Wu Yuewei’s parents. Xu Tingsheng could indistinctly hear something about ‘local entrepreneur, hundred thousand yuan prize money’. Xu Tingsheng had no place in a conversation such as this, and it was the same for Wu Yuewei as well. As they were separated by a few people seated between them, there was also no way for them to talk.
Amidst an engaging conversation, Vice-Principal Lou finally discovered this problem after some time. Remembering the purpose of this visit as well, he thought for a while before purposefully turning to Xu Tingsheng and asking, “Tingsheng, is this your first time here at Yueshan Village?”
Xu Tingsheng nodded.
“The scenery at Yueshan Village is great! How about this? Yuewei can take you out for a look around. We adults can chat on our adult matters, and you kids can talk amongst yourselves.”
Vice-Principal Lou crudely made up a random excuse just like that. This was right in front of the girl’s parents-wasn’t this even more straightforward than a matchmaker? Xu Tingsheng was nearly stunned by his words, unable to react for a time. When he next looked at Wu Yuewei, he still appeared to be rather at a loss.
“Go on, show your senior around,” Wu Yuewei’s father finally spoke.
It was only with that that an unsettled Xu Tingsheng followed Wu Yuewei out of the house.
“Do you want to look at the mountain or the stream?” Beneath the afterglow of the setting sun, Wu Yuewei turned and asked Xu Tingsheng.
“Both are fine,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“Let’s look at the mountain then. Our village is called Yueshan (Moon Mountain Village) precisely because of that mountain. How about it, isn’t it nice?” Wu Yuewei pointed.
Looking where she was pointing, Xu Tingsheng saw a small mountain in the shape of a half-moon. At the front was a hollowed precipice, a great jutted outcropping of rock that extended into a tall cliff.
“Let’s look at the mountain then,” Xu Tingsheng said.
As it was already dark, the two of them did not ascend the mountain. Instead, they found two neighbouring rocks at its foot and sat down on them. Amidst the mountain scenery and the evening light, Xu Tingsheng saw the nicest looking Wu Yuewei he had seen thus far. The simplicity and quietness of this girl was just so natural.
“This mountain’s pretty nice. You must’ve come here often to play when you were young?” Xu Tingsheng found a topic.
“I still come here often now. I come here when I’m happy, and also come here when I’m sad,” Wu Yuewei said, “There’s a burnt grassland behind the mountain that’s full of bracken fern. If it were during the day, I’d take Senior up the mountain for a look.”
Xu Tingsheng tilted his head and looked, but was unable to see the burnt grassland that Wu Yuewei spoke of as he instead changed the topic, “You should be very happy now then, having achieved such good results.”
“Yeah, I’m feeling especially happy now,” Wu Yuewei said, “Senior, why have you come back? This is really unexpected.”
Wu Yuewei always seemed willing to call Xu Tingsheng senior. In his previous life, it had been so even till her wedding. While the groom had reminded her that she should call him ‘cousin’ instead, she had said, “Senior, this toast is for you.”
In this life, it still seemed to be the same.
Xu Tingsheng thought: Isn’t it to persuade you to go to Qingbei that I’m back? There’s still an incident as strange as this in this day and age, where one must even be persuaded to go to Qingbei.
Xu Tingsheng thought for a while before saying, “We agreed on it. You’d score first in the entire city, and I’d be proud of you…in the end, you were so awesome, directly attaining second in the entire province…therefore, I’m back to give you a prize.”
With that, Xu Tingsheng retrieved the handphone from his bag and passed it to Wu Yuewei.
Wu Yuewei hesitated, not taking it from him.
“I’ll get you a phone card later on. Send me your number; it’ll be more convenient to keep in touch that way,” Xu Tingsheng said.
Hearing Xu Tingsheng say this, Wu Yuewei raised her head and looked at him before extending a hand and accepting the handphone, “Thank you, senior.”
Opening the case and pulling out the handphone, Wu Yuewei asked, “Senior, this must be very expensive?”
“It can’t be considered expensive. I’m rather good at making money now,” Xu Tingsheng smiled.
“I know. I went to a classmate’s house to use her computer to search for university information yesterday. Then, I searched for your name. So, I know all of it,” Wu Yuewei said.
Wu Yuewei having mentioned searching for university information, Xu Tingsheng thought about how he should make use of this to broach the matter of her aspirations.
In the end, however, it was Wu Yuewei who was first to speak, “Senior, actually…when you appeared together with Vice-Principal Lou, I already knew what you’d come here for.”
“Have you properly thought about it then?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
“Yeah, I’m going to Qingbei. Actually, after having searched for your name yesterday, I’d already decided to go to Qingbei. Senior, I don’t know all the stuff that you do. I only know how to study. Since that is so, I should study even better. If it’s like that, you’ll still be proud of me, right?”
Xu Tingsheng understood what Wu Yuewei meant. This girl was so intelligent, yet at the same time so silly as well.
“I will,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“Then, let’s keep in touch often?” Flashing the handphone in her hand, Wu Yuewei asked shyly.
“Yeah,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“Actually, I’ve never been able to understand why you like me. With your qualifications, you’ll definitely meet many people who are more outstanding than me in the future,” Xu Tingsheng asked, this being the first time that he was voicing this out to Wu Yuewei so directly.
“You should’ve asked me earlier,” Wu Yuewei replied, “I might still have known at the beginning. Now, I already don’t know anymore.”