Chapter 18: A newcomer on the Red Chart
The first afternoon period was Language by Old Zhou. With Language lessons rarely being held in the afternoons, also just being right after lunch, many students would usually use it to catch up on their sleep. Being ‘good to bully’, Old Zhou would also not hold it against them. However, with it being so close to graduation, everyone began thinking back on Old Zhou’s good points, not really being able to bear having to part with him.
With such a mindset, everyone was naturally the epitome of earnestness within his lessons. Even before the bell had rung, everyone would generally already be seated within the classroom in an orderly fashion.
Old Zhou walked into the classroom, putting down his lesson materials, but did not begin the lesson…he came before Xu Tingsheng’s table, taking his cup before turning and leaving.
A few minutes later, Old Zhou carefully carried a cup of tea in, placing it on Xu Tingsheng’s table. Hot steam rose from within it, the pleasant aroma overflowing as it suffused the air.
“This is a fine tea of my collection. I’d always been reluctant to drink it,” Old Zhou blinked as he smiled.
“Thank you, Mr Zhou,” Xu Tingsheng smiled knowingly.
“You’re not surprised?” Old Zhou asked.
“Very surprised,” Xu Tingsheng smiled.
“I’m unable to tell.” Old Zhou smiled.
The entire room of students was perplexed by the mysterious conversation between the two, “What flow is this? Care and comfort stemming from Old Zhou’s love? From the looks of it, Xu Tingsheng’s mental state is still pretty good.”
However, Old Zhou just didn’t say anything, not offering any explanation as he went to the podium at the front after having brewed the tea, calmly going into their revision of two Classical Chinese paragraphs.
The bell rung for the end of the lesson.
Old Zhou kept his lesson materials, walking towards the door whereupon he turned back to look at them, one hand against the doorframe for support as he said in an apparently casual manner that actually had some thinly-veiled pride visible within, “Chairperson, come to my office later to collect the overall results slip. Also, the Red Chart has already been pasted downstairs, you may want to go and take a look at it… hah.”
Everyone registered the hidden meaning in his words. Something was up, and it was a good thing. The last time Old Zhou had taken the initiative to mention the Red Chart, three students from the class had entered it.
After Old Zhou had left, some people raced downstairs, while others stared at the class chairperson. Of course, there were some who did not want to know their results, instead having their head buried within their desks as they pretended that they were isolated from the entire world.
Huang Yaming, Fu Cheng and Yao Jing included, some classmates gazed worriedly at Xu Tingsheng. He had already flunked one subject-Old Zhou must have been comforting him earlier? Or expressing support?
There were also some who attempted to think positively, that Xu Tingsheng had perhaps truly pulled off a splendid reversal. However, his Mathematics results of 62 marks heartlessly shattered such thoughts of theirs.
With it already being like this for Mathematics, if he flunked the next few subjects as well, they were afraid that he would not be able to bear it. After all, everyone had clearly seen his great diligence in recent days.
Perhaps Old Zhou shared the same worry. Everyone understood the boundlessness of his heart.
Libei Senior High’s had a tradition of pasting two ranking charts for the Science and Humanities streams after each of the monthly examinations for the students of the twelfth grade.
One chart would show the top 50 for the examinations, being dubbed the Red Chart.
The other chart would show the 30 students with the highest improvements, being dubbed the Little Red Chart.
Once in a while, someone from Class 10 would enter the Little Red Chart. As for the Red Chart itself, only three Class 10 students had ever been on it. The placings of these three students basically hovered around the top three positions within the class.
The best occasion to date had been when the three of them had entered the chart together, the highest being ranked in 32th place.
“Let’s go, to the charts,” Xu Tingsheng said to Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng.
Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng were taken aback for a moment. In the past, they had never cared about those Red Charts or whatnot before.
“Come on, I wasn’t the only one who said big words,” Xu Tingsheng smiled, egging them on.
“Perhaps we’ll get on the Little Red Chart,” Huang Yaming said to Fu Cheng.
The three descended the staircase. The area before the two ranking charts had long since been occupied by a bustling crowd. The three could only wait quietly by the side.
“Dang, this is too crazy.”
“His mother, how many marks must he have scored for his other subjects?”
“It’s crazy with Class 10 this time. It’s a whole six!”
“There are five newbies on the Red Chart, and three of them are from Class 10.”
“The Little Red Chart is even more interesting. Look at the top three; it’s all them.”
Amidst their lively discussions, the voices of the people crowded before the charts rose and fell, fluctuating greatly.
Finally, someone noticed the main characters for this, Xu Tingsheng, Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng, standing outside the crowd. The noisy crowds all looked back, suddenly falling silent.
This silent atmosphere persisted for a while.
Someone shouted, “Dang it, the three of you quickly get over here.”
The crowd unconsciously made way a little. The trio thanked them, and maneuvered their way in.
Of the 50 students on the Red Chart, six of them hailed from Class 10. The original three who had entered the charts before had all made it in again this time.
The other three were all new faces:
A Tan Qinglin, ranked 49th.
A Huang Yaming, ranked 48th.
A very lovable-looking pair of rankings.
And also a… Xu Tingsheng, ranked 11th. Having scored 62 marks for Mathematics, Xu Tingsheng was ranked 11th in the entire year.
Like someone had shouted just now, how many marks must he have scored for his other subjects?
Looking at Xu Tingsheng, Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng both felt as though a great weight had been lifted off their shoulders, their previous guilt and worry from his Mathematics score of 62 marks finally disappearing completely.
What followed was shock.
This was like if you were watching the news and saw someone walking across a tightrope wire a few hundred metres up in the air. You would say: How awesome. And that would be that. But if walking on the road one day, you happened to look up and suddenly discovered one of your closest, most ordinary friends currently walking on a tightrope wire a few hundred metres up in the air, you would find yourself in a state of disbelief.
Having calmed down somewhat, Fu Cheng muttered, “The two of you are really not people.”
Xu Tingsheng and Huang Yaming had both entered the top 50. From this angle, only Fu Cheng had been unable to act on the ‘big words’ he had spoken previously. However, the truth was that he had not lost any face, because…
On the Little Red Chart, the top three were: Xu Tingsheng, Fu Cheng, Huang Yaming.
The trio had dominated the chart.
While Fu Cheng had not entered the top 50, his degree of improvement had been even greater than Huang Yaming’s. Although his original results had indeed been comparatively worse, his actual ranking would probably not be low.
No one would feel that they had the qualifications to mock Fu Cheng.
The two ranking charts had always been a focal point of the students. However, it had never been as popular as it was today. Even many people of the lower grades rushed over for confirmation upon hearing the news.
This matter which everyone considered to be inconceivable had not been any surprising to Xu Tingsheng at all. Himself aside, he had known of Huang Yaming’s and Fu Cheng’s potential, which could be seen just from their Mathematics results.
More potential for improvement existed within Humanities than with science, because more content had to be memorised, and when those with good memorising power worked hard in it, they would be able to improve immensely overall within a short period of time, as long as they were not terrible in both Mathematics and English. Fu Cheng and Huang Yaming were rather proficient in Mathematics.
The reason for their earlier poor results had been Combined Humanities and English. As careless, leisurely people, it was unlikely for them to have studied diligently.
“Your progress is great, but you just happen to be stomped beneath my feet.”
These words were said to Xu Tingsheng, but seemed more like it was directed towards the onlooking students here.
Xu Tingsheng looked at the speaker, Song Ni’s scumbag ex-boyfriend. He had still been hiding sneakily around during lunch, but was currently suddenly full of spirit, even releasing provocative remarks on his own accord.
Perhaps it was Xu Tingsheng’s weak performance during lunch that had given him courage. Perhaps his ranking on the Red Chart had caused him to get carried away, even though he had just taken a beating a few days ago.
But he was currently ranked first in the entire year.
This was also the first time he had ranked first.
Because of the earlier incident, he had already been bearing deep hatred and resentment towards the trio. Now, his limelight from having scored first in the entire year had been forcibly suppressed by them, with few even having noticed this matter.
How could he take this lying down?
Unable to stand it, regardless of the consequence, he felt that he had to remind Xu Tingsheng, remind everyone here that who they were discussing about and admiring over was but ranked in 11th place, while he was was ranked 1st.
With 10 names in each row of the Red Chart, with Xu Tingsheng ranked 11th, the one ranked 1st just happened to precisely be stomping him underfoot.
Xu Tingsheng raised his head to look at the chart, noting his name: Chen Yulun.
“What, want to go to the roof again?” Huang Yaming tilted his head, asking in a low tone.
Chen Yulun seemed to have suddenly discovered that being top in the entire year did not make him immune to being beaten up as he retreated a little, saying defensively, “It’s not like I said anything wrong; he is right below me.”
Xu Tingsheng smiled, “Chrysanthemum burst! Be a bit more careful.”
The phrase ‘chrysanthemum burst’ had still not yet appeared, and many people did not understand what Xu Tingsheng meant. Still, from his scoundrelly, wretched grin, it was obviously not a good thing.
As the bell for class sounded, the trio returned to the classroom. Currently, Class 10 had long since gone into pandemonium, the class chairman who was holding the overall results slip surrounded by a huge bunch of students.
The mystery behind Old Zhou’s cup of tea was finally unravelled.
The miraculous advancement of twelfth grade’s Class 10, the miraculous trio, the miraculous Xu Tingsheng.
“The three of you…”
Someone had just wanted to use some foul language to express their disbelief when their history teacher, Fang Yunsheng, wearing a long black skirt, appeared at the door, knocking it.
Ms Fang looked like a female celebrity called Xu Qing, but she was slightly taller than her, her demeanour elegant, her smile quiet and beautiful, appearing mesmerising even when she was angry and her brows were knit together slightly.
Ms Fang had always been one of Class 10’s most popular teachers. Upon her appearance, the students crowded around the chairman hurried back to their seats, the ones who had wanted to use foul language forcibly stopping in their tracks. The guys had always been very mindful of their image before Ms Fang.
Ms Fang had brought along the exam scripts for Combined Humanities, getting the class representative to help to distribute them.
However, Xu Tingsheng did not get back his exam scripts.
His exam scripts were in Ms Fang’s hands.
Rustling the papers in her hands, Ms Fang smiled, “There are many students that I have to commend, but first, as entrusted by the Politics and Geography teachers, I have to commend this person on behalf of the three faculties.”
Ms Fang was all smiles as she looked at Xu Tingsheng, “Xu Tingsheng, for Combined Humanities, full marks for multiple choice questions, total score 268, ranked…first in class, first in school, first in…the city.”
“Wa,” Shocked exclamations resounded with every segment of Ms Fang’s words.
Combined Humanities was such a subject. It was right to say that it was simple, but it was actually also not wrong to say that it was very difficult. With so many major questions, however one answered, it also seemed like some marks would be deducted from each question. Even if it were a teacher answering the questions, it would also be impossible for them to touch on each required point precisely and perfectly. Therefore, while getting full marks for the multiple choice questions was very significant, a total score of 268 was even more insane.
First in the entire city for Combined Humanities it was.
“Other than that, I heard that Xu Tingsheng also ranked 11th overall in the entire year having only scored 62 marks for Mathematics…Congratulations, you have fulfilled your promise.”
As Ms Fang smiled happily, ‘all lifeforms’ toppled before her.