Chapter 27: Events in life have always come in bits and pieces
Following Xu Tingsheng’s time in the quarantine ward, the days passed normally and uneventfully for him all the way till the university entrance examinations. He would think once in a while that really, rebirth wasn’t really all that shocking a thing, actually being rather anticlimactic.
Still, events in life have always come in bits and pieces.
SARS was currently in the midst of being quelled, with everything taking a turn for the better.
In his second mock examinations, Xu Tingsheng ranked 6th in the entire year. He had Wu Yuewei to thank for this, his mathematics having improved because of her. And more importantly, because of his improvements, Mr and Mrs Xu now had smiles on their faces every day.
Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng were continuing to improve as well, the latter finally making it into the top 50.
The relationship between Xu Tingsheng and Wu Yuewei returned to how it had been previously, and it was the same with Yao Jing as well. Once in a while, they would eat together, also exchanging a few words.
Apple still often came over to ask Xu Tingsheng questions, demonstrating her charm. She would bite her lips and gaze seductively at him, speaking to him amidst heavy breathing. In this era and with her current age, she was literally a devil, the kind that would have brought about stormy, calamitous events had she been born back in olden times.
Huang Yaming said, “How would it be possible to withstand that?”
Xu Tingsheng’s ability to resist her advances grew day by day. He treated this as a very interesting game that could add some spice and colour to his otherwise dull life, finding it to be pretty good.
Sometimes, he would say, “Apple, wouldn’t it be nice if you tried to apply to be a model, an air stewardess or something along that line? The requirement on grades is low and the work also isn’t bad.”
Apple would reply, “Are you praising me for having a good figure? There’s still more that you haven’t seen yet…”
Xu Tingsheng would be forced into a tactical retreat.
There were still two things before the university entrance examinations, one being a physical examination and the other being photo taking.
It was rumoured that the physical examination would see everyone lining up naked in rows. Actually, you would be allowed to keep on your underwear.
The situation for photo taking was slightly more complicated.
In Xu Tingsheng’s previous life, on photo taking day, Apple jumped onto the back seat of his bicycle on her own accord. On their way there, they had to traverse a steep, bumpy downslope. Apple hugged Xu Tingsheng’s waist, completely sticking onto his back amidst the bumps in the road that caused great turbulence.
Back then, Xu Tingsheng had been panicked yet helpless.
Apple had leaned over towards his ear, asking, “Want to come to my house to play tonight? My parents are both not in Libei.”
That day, Xu Tingsheng had paced around for two hours at that street Apple said her house was before gritting his teeth and returning home. Back then, he had only retreated due to an inexplicable sense of nervousness and fear.
What about this time?
As Xu Tingsheng rode out of the school gates with Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng, Apple said, “Xu Tingsheng, I’ve been waiting for very long.”
It was indeed still like this.
Apple jumped onto the bicycle, and Xu Tingsheng said before they descended that slope, “Be careful, this slope here is going to be a little bumpy.”
Apple tightened her grip on Xu Tingsheng’s waist and leaned her head over.
Unlike how it had been in his previous life, she now said one additional sentence, “Xu Tingsheng, can you tell that I am seducing you?”
Xu Tingsheng was momentarily taken aback before he smiled, “Aren’t such things better left unsaid? …During photo taking later on, you can stand together with me. Still, let me tell you that doing so is actually useless. Really, you…you really don’t have to make this kind of sacrifice.”
Apple said, “So you could tell, and also know what I am thinking. Is that really useless? But even the teacher said that it might work.”
Xu Tingsheng said, “It’s really useless.”
Apple said, “Forget about that. Anyway, I’ll continue seducing you regardless.”
As the bicycle wobbled amidst its forward progress on the bumpy downslope, she leaned forward…and asked, “Are they big?”
Xu Tingsheng’s face was bitter, “Apple, please don’t be like this. Whatever more you want, just say it.”
Apple said, “There isn’t anything else; I just want to seduce you.”
Xu Tingsheng answered, “My family is very poor, you know.”
Apple replied, “It is impossible for your type to be poor in the future, and it seems like I really do like you a little.”
Luckily, after traversing that slope, it was very close to their destination. Xu Tingsheng entered alongside Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng who were waiting for him at the door, Apple following behind them…
As they were lining up, the gazes in Xu Tingsheng’s direction began increasing. Regarding Apple who was standing together with the trio, some were disdainful while others mocked her angrily in low tones, but the person in question, of course, did not mind this.
As Huang Yaming went over to Tan Qinglin’s side, some other students came over. Xu Tingsheng was indifferent regarding this, not rejecting anyone who came.
After photo taking was over, Xu Tingsheng, Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng hid in a corner for a smoke. After they had finished chatting and emerged, most of the people had already left. But as they arrived at the bicycle stands, they found Apple still standing there.
As Xu Tingsheng came over, she waved vivaciously, saying in a spoiled tone, “Sure took you long enough; my thighs are already feeling stiff.”
Apple’s long legs that were only covered up to her thighs were snowy white. As she raised them and shook them a few times, heads were left spinning and eyes bedazzled.
Xu Tingsheng remembered that she had left after photo taking in his previous life.
This time, Apple jumped onto the back of Xu Tingsheng’s bicycle once more, hugging his waist as she said, “Today, you have to send me home.”
Very disloyally, Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng did not wait for Xu Tingsheng.
Xu Tingsheng wiped his sweat. This was going to be a very great test for him.
Arriving at the street where Apple’s house was, Xu Tingsheng stopped his bicycle.
Apple asked, “Want to come to my house play? …My parents are both not in Libei; it’s just me alone.”
After saying this, she bit her lips as she gazed at Xu Tingsheng.
Xu Tingsheng struggled to say, “I live in a village; I’m in a hurry to go back to eat.”
Apple smiled like a fox, “It seems that it’s not like you don’t understand anything at all. Scared?”
Now, she pulled Xu Tingsheng beneath the staircase of a building, breathing heavily by his ear in a dark, gloomy corner as she said in a voice close to a whisper, “Never done it before?”
Xu Tingsheng considered before replying, “You could say that.”
Apple said, “You don’t like me? Or are you scared? …Or do you look down on me? I’ve done it before.”
Xu Tingsheng said, “…Really, don’t be like this. Actually, the chances of you sitting beside me in the university entrance examinations are definitely less than one percent-there is no meaning in you doing any of this at all. Alright, I’ll promise you. If you really do sit beside me, so long as it is safe, I will let you take a look as much as is possible. You don’t have to do anything at all.”
Apple said, “Right, but I’ve said that I’m seducing you now because I like you…so?”
Xu Tingsheng said, “I’ve got to get home.”
Apple said, “But it doesn’t seem like it’s convenient for you to leave.”
As she moved her hand over, Xu Tingsheng completely tensed up. Afterwards, she slowly crouched down, this entire process of crouching performed very slowly. Amidst all this, her head was raised, her eyes gazing at Xu Tingsheng, a smile on her lips.
How was this just a devil! No wonder she would marry a foreigner in the future.
“I’ll go home first,” Uncle Xu Tingsheng fled in panic.
At the final juncture, Xu Tingsheng still ran, even though it was difficult…very difficult.
Behind him, Apple laughed till she was almost unable to catch her breath, “Xu Tingsheng, you’re really too fun.”
Feng Yunyao’s thesis was unexpectedly published very quickly. Under Xu Tingsheng’s continued persistence, she was written in as the first author, with him as the second.
The next day, Fang Yunyao suddenly came to find Xu Tingsheng. After learning that he did not have a handphone, she asked for Fu Cheng’s number. That afternoon, someone called, looking for Xu Tingsheng.
It was a publishing company that contacted Xu Tingsheng. They were not interested in education philosophies and whatnot. Instead, what had caught their eye was the way in which he had sorted out the points of knowledge in his examples.
Xu Tingsheng knew that they must have looked for Fang Yunyao initially. Fang Yunyao could certainly have kept Xu Tingsheng in the dark on all this, but she had given the chance to Xu Tingsheng, meanwhile keeping herself out of things.
In his previous life, Xu Tingsheng had once come into contact with the publishing industry for education under the hands of some famous teachers, having come to understand the fine details within. Therefore, as soon as he opened his mouth, the other side unexpectedly found that this voice which still seemed young and tender actually belonged to an insider within their industry.
Recognising this, they tucked away any thoughts of trying to cheat him and things therefore became much easier to discuss.
The initial offer by the publishing company was a fifty thousand yuan initial payout followed by 5% in royalties afterwards. Such a price actually couldn’t be considered low in the year 2003.
However, Xu Tingsheng asked for a straight payout of 350000, not wanting any royalties.
The person on the other side of the phone let out some indistinct curses, then directly hung up.
Dismissing the call, Xu Tingsheng reminded Fu Cheng to properly charge his phone later at night, saying that it best not be out of battery the next day.
It was only those who had truly come into contact with education-related publishing before who knew how valuable it was. In the year 2003 when the entire nation consolidated their university entrance examinations, the amount of profit a popular set of teaching material could bring annually was really far from what one might imagine.
It unquestionably instakilled the first-ranked book on the best-selling charts every year without fail, till even the dregs of it did not remain.
If Xu Tingsheng really chose royalties, in the long term, he might earn even more. Still, currently being in desperate need of money, now having unwittingly gotten a chance to earn his first bucket of gold, Xu Tingsheng’s originally discarded hopes of establishing a large scale supermarket had been rekindled.
350000 yuan was indeed a high price, high to the point of being a little preposterous. Still, Xu Tingsheng knew how much this set of materials he had was worth. Being ahead of its time by a whole ten years, if not for him being in desperate need of money, if not for him still having many other ways through which he might earn money, he actually wouldn’t even bear to sell it at all. Once it had the ability to operate on its own, this set of materials and and the education materials created with it as their basis would not just be like a golden goose that could lay eggs. Instead, they would be like a golden phoenix that could lay eggs.
Also, since the publishing company had called him so frantically over the thesis of some nameless individuals, they were definitely not carrying a ‘wait-and-see’ kind of attitude. Let’s not suspect the discerning abilities of these true insiders in the business; in that aspect, they were more reliable than even many experts.
Xu Tingsheng was sure that they had already come to the conclusion that they had to attain this no matter what.
The next day, Xu Tingsheng received another call from the publishing company.
The publishing company offered the price of 300000 yuan, requesting for Xu Tingsheng and Fang Yunyao not to leave their names or publicise themselves, meanwhile signing a non-disclosure agreement. Afterwards, the sum of 300 thousand would be transferred over in two phases. The first would come when Xu Tingsheng had handed in half the draft, with it having passed the inspection, and the second would have to wait till official publication.
Xu Tingsheng accepted the price, having already taken such adjustments in price into consideration when making his offer. Other than that, he had two additional requests:
First was leaving Fang Yunyao’s name on the materials. It was fine even if her name was placed behind that of the ‘famous teachers’.
Secondly, the second sum of money was to be transferred immediately after the draft had been handed in in full.
Other than that, Xu Tingsheng accepted all that they had asked. Not leaving his name, signing a non-disclosure agreement? Xu Tingsheng couldn’t be happier.
Just like this, things were set in stone. Xu Tingsheng began typing for a few hours in internet cafes every night. Hundreds of thousands of words of things that were all contained within his mind, with his long-trained finger speed, actually didn’t require much time at all. As the university entrance examinations drew near, Xu Tingsheng also pocketed the two sums of money.
Of course, what came together with this were some really dark eye circles, everyone commenting emotionally aside from those few who were in the know, “No wonder the guy’s been improving so much; he’s really been working hard.”
The seating arrangements for the university entrance examinations were announced. Indeed, Apple was not placed in the same examination hall as Xu Tingsheng. Fu Cheng was seated beside Xu Tingsheng, while Huang Yaming was allocated another examination hall. Other than that, Xu Tingsheng found that that Mathematics princess from his class was still seated beside him.
While Xu Tingsheng had improved in his Mathematics, his standard in it was still just average, far from comparable to Huang Yaming, Fu Cheng and those other ‘experts’.
On the night before the university entrance examinations, the students who wanted to go home went home, and those who wanted to return to their room returned to their rooms.
As Xu Tingsheng, Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng were openly smoking in their classroom, that girl suddenly walked in, saying, “Xu Tingsheng, for Mathematics…I won’t be blocking. If you want to look, you can look at mine.”
Xu Tingsheng remembered her dismal performance in the university entrance examinations of his previous life. Of course, he would not be copying her now. Still…the debt should be repaid?
After hesitating for a bit, he said, “Then, if you are able to see for the others, you can look at some of mine.”
The girl hurriedly waved her hands, “No, I’m not here to exchange with you. I won’t look at yours.”
Xu Tingsheng paused, not forcing her as he said hesitantly, “I have a postgraduate friend who says that this year’s Mathematics paper is going to be very hard. You should be mentally prepared for it; just relax and do it diligently in a good state of mind.”
The girl left, and Xu Tingsheng turned back, saying to Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng, “With this, it’ll be the university entrance examinations.”
“That’s right, we may not be able to be together any longer after this.”
“That’s why; tomorrow, whoever reaches the school gates first waits for a while. The final battle of senior high-we’ll face it together.”