Chapter 166: The choice of an educator
On the 9th of June 2004, Hucheng Education Training Institute began recruiting students on a full scale. On the same day, Hucheng began charging fees for its platform in all the cities that it operated in, its intermediary fee being set at around one third of the standard market price.
A deluge of angry words instantly filled the internet, criticising Hucheng for being profiteering and having no conscience to speak of. Someone even expressed: Without our support back them, how would your platform have come to where it is today? Ungrateful scum.
Xu Tingsheng was viciously bombarded by admonishments as well.
This phenomenon was like Xu Tingsheng had told Lu Zhixin previously. As soon as people were used to something, they always thought of their taking advantage in that area as something that they were entitled to. At the same time, they imagined themselves to be messiahs, as if this fury of theirs would cause Hucheng to collapse.
They had never been as outraged as this even when they had been footing thrice this amount at home tutor intermediary organisations in the past.
“So, keep calm. Despite the scolding, they actually still love us,” Xu Tingsheng said that this was analogous to love relationships as he joked, “Even if they don’t love us anymore, their minds will still be thinking of us. At most, they’ll take a spin for a while outside and look at other ‘men’, next still returning in the end.”
Amidst all the admonishments, close to midnight, a full twenty-four hours after the platform had begun charging fees, joyful cheers and applause suddenly erupted from those who remained in Hucheng’s office at the riverside residence.
Hucheng’s income that day, originating from the intermediary fees, the supplementary teaching materials, the notes of graduates and the intermediary sale of secondhand books was nearly double of their set target, successfully breaking through the grand hundred thousand mark.
At the same time, Hucheng Education Training Institute having just began recruiting students on a full scale, it had successfully recruited close to half of the total student population that it would be able to sustain. Amongst them, Taekwondo and the other non-culture lessons had proven to be exceptionally popular. They were currently redoubling their efforts in hiring yet more coaches to expand the scale of the current classes.
After that, accompanied by the coming of the leisurely summer holidays in which the graduates from senior high would have nothing to do at all, accompanied by the continued holidays of the various junior high schools, there would be great room for improvement for these two figures.
Like this, subtracting the expenses, Xu Tingsheng would likely need only a few months or half a year to attain the status of the legendary multimillionaire.
Of course, he might still lack money, because this was still much too far from what he had in mind. Hucheng still had an expansion plan that would leave it bigger, more practical, more in need of money. For example, its services currently extended to only ten cities. Also, it had only established a training institute in just one of the cities it was in.
Similarly, it would impossible for Hucheng to distribute its profits in the form of shares within a short amount of time.
Huang Yaming, Fu Cheng and Song Ni who had come to accompany Xu Tingsheng in witnessing this finally understood why he had previously said that Hucheng could amount to hundreds of millions of yuan in the future. And back then, he had nearly decided to sell Hucheng at the price of just around a million yuan.
Facing away from Xu Tingsheng, Song Ni sent this information to Apple via text messaging. She waited for a while, but Apple did not reply. “Maybe she’s already asleep. When she’ wakes up and sees it, she’ll definitely be happy for Xu Tingsheng,” Song Ni thought.
Apple was indeed feeling happy for Xu Tingsheng. Still, she felt more of a sudden panic from being unable to stand level with him, her heart aching as she also felt helpless. Thus, she hid beneath the blankets of her hotel room, both crying and laughing at the same time as she held onto her handphone, not knowing at all how she should reply.
The intentions and schemes of her agency this time could already not be any more obvious. Then, extend a hand towards Xu Tingsheng and cause trouble for him? Always relying on his protection to walk on? This completely went against Apple’s intentions in having chosen this path in the first place.
Therefore, this time, she intended to grit her teeth and continue down this path on her own.
Old Wai and Li Linlin unconsciously clasped each other’s hands tightly as they gazed at the numbers on the screen. Thinking about the ten percent of the shares that they owned, they felt joyful and moved whilst also overwhelmed and uncomfortable.
Fang Chen, Fang Yuqing and Yuqing were also present, Fang Chen saying triumphantly to her brother, “See? Aren’t my eyes discerning? Haha, Yuqing, your Sis’s gonna be rich. You’d best suck up to me when you still have the chance.”
Fang Yuqing rolled his eyes, “I don’t know who it was that was so shameless, swindling her own brother, also swindling her own brother’s bro.”
“Hey,” Fang Chen patted Fang Yuqing’s shoulder, “Don’t be petty. I already told Xu Tingsheng long ago. Of my fifteen percent of the shares, ten percent will be transferred under your name very soon.”
Fang Yuqing was suddenly rendered dazed as he looked at his elder sister, the old demoness Fang Chen who usually swindled people to death without recompense.
“Don’t look at me like that, you brat. However swindling I am, I’m still your sister,” Fang Chen said exasperatedly.
Fang Yuqing said, “Sis, I don’t want it. It’s of no use to me.”
“Oh, knowing how to call your Sis when you’ve seen money? It’s not old demoness anymore? Forget it, don’t be like this with me. Do you think I’m really giving it to you? I’m giving it to you because you’re from our Fang Family. I’m different. I’m a girl, and will have to marry away sooner or late. If I don’t give it to you, could it be that it’d just be freely taken by whichever family’s second gen asshole in the future?”
At the end of it, a rare feeling of resentment could be heard within Fang Chen’s voice, just that it disappeared again in a flash.
Being from the Fang Family, Fang Yuqing naturally understood what Fang Chen’s meant. While she seemed strong, she actually likely lacked even the most important freedom.
“Sis, I’ll think of a way,” Fang Yuqing said.
“Think the heck? You have a way that I don’t?” Fang Chen directly rebutted him.
“I know. Huh, it would be great if you were male.”
“If I were male, maybe we would be like how Dad and our uncles are, fighting back and forth, almost unable to even be brothers.”
“We wouldn’t. Sis, you also understand me. If you were male, I would really be able to go be an asshole in peace. How great would that be.”
Fang Chen stroked Fang Yuqing’s head just like when the two of them had still been little, smiling, “Actually, it’s not like there’s no way. Your Sis is considering whether she should take down Xu Tingsheng. If I could take him down, everything then would be settled with that.”
“Could he get our family to agree?” Fang Yuqing asked.
“It still isn’t okay now. Still, a few years later, he could get our family to beg me to agree,” Fang Chen replied with the utmost certainty.
“Say, Sis, you can’t be serious? Tingsheng’s my bro, can you not mess with him? Aren’t you…”
Fang Yuqing wanted to say how Fang Chen swung, but stopped.
Fang Chen directly admitted, “That’s right, I’m that. So, do you think I’d really be attracted by that Xu Tingsheng? It’s really his Apple this old woman wants to get, get it?”
“Still, I can use this guy to cover things up for me. Like this, our family, biological needs, the problem of my true love as well as birthing kids will be taken care of all at once. Great! Get it?”
Fang Yuqing swiped away Fang Chen’s hand that was on his head, leading Yuqing in escaping as that slight feel of siblinghood that had arisen within him earlier instantly vanished completely.
A demoness, was forever a demoness!
Fang Chen pursued him, saying, “Hey, I haven’t finished! Yuqing, remember to properly be bros with Xu Tingsheng, helping him out whenever you can and should. If you can’t, tell me about it. Then, remember to learn from me and take advantage of him when you can. Don’t ever be soft!”
“We are already bros. This has nothing to with benefits,” Fang Yuqing said in ill humour.
Meanwhile, still not knowing that he was being plotted against, Xu Tingsheng climbed atop a stool and declared, “It’s been tough on everyone. The bonus will be distributed along with this month’s wages. Then, for those who still don’t feel tired, let’s all go celebrate together. I already booked a hotel before this.”
Applause resounded throughout the entire room. No one would feel tired at a time like this. They all swaggered domineeringly to the hotel together.
Many people ended up getting drunk at the celebratory banquet, but Xu Tingsheng was not one of them. It was even less likely that Lu Zhixin would get drunk. As the two of them walked back to the riverside residence together, Lu Zhixin said to Xu Tingsheng, “Congratulations.”
“It’s been tough on you. Oh, no, I should be congratulating you too. You’re the joint second greatest shareholder, after all,” Xu Tingsheng smiled.
“Thank you. Thinking about Hucheng’s future, this ten percent should be enough to last me extravagantly for my entire lifetime,” Lu Zhixin smiled, “Those fourteen cups of wine were really worth it. Xu Tingsheng, if every girl understood your weak point, knowing that they would be able to get so much just by making you feel that you owe them, whatever would you do?”
Xu Tingsheng thought about it, “How is it as easy as you say? Not every girl can do that. Also, I’m not always as soft as that. I only ever let myself grow soft when I’m willing to let it happen. That’s actually not my weakness. As for my true weakness, I can’t tell you about it.”
Lu Zhixin pondered on it, not following up on the matter as she instead questioned regarding another matter, “Actually, there’s still something else that I don’t understand. Previously, you were always saying that the time isn’t right, thus not willing to start charging fees. But now, I can’t see how the time is any more right. Have the things you were saying would happen still happened all the same?”
“Otherwise, how would I have been able to display the depth of my unfathomable inscrutability?” Xu Tingsheng said.
“To be honest, I’ve already given up on that plan. Also, I can’t explain to you the reason for this.”
The plan that Xu Tingsheng had given up on was related to the university entrance examinations. The timing that he had been waiting for was also the arrival of the university entrance examinations. There was much that he could do regarding this matter, yet he had always been feeling conflicted over this.
The plan was actually very simple. Xu Tingsheng just needed to whip up a few ‘top secret’ mock exam papers and send them to the accounts of the parents of the senior high students who had found their home tutors through their platform before. Just like the papers he had once prepared for Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng, there would be one question in ten or even twenty that would focus on something that would really appear in the upcoming university entrance examinations. Like this, after the examinations were over, Hucheng would be able to sweep through the entire market for home tutoring and supplementary teaching materials, establishing an incomparably solid position as a hegemon of the industry.
Under such circumstances, it would be no problem at all even if Hucheng charged ten, even twenty times more than what they currently did. With that, Xu Tingsheng might really have wealth that rivalled a country’s someday.
Also, this actually wouldn’t be as dangerous as might be imagined. Such supplementary teaching materials were promoted almost every year. Even if he hit upon more than ninety percent of the examinations’ examinable points, no one would find it to be a stretch at all. Indeed, what was examinable were actually really just those same few things every year.
Also, what Xu Tingsheng wanted to do was ‘touch only upon the relevant points of knowledge without encroaching on the style of the question and the logic behind it’. Additionally, he would be hiding one within ten or even lesser, touching upon merely sixty to seventy percent of it all.
Like this, under the precondition that there would be no trouble, Hucheng would still be able to borrow its speciality of being able to hit upon the questions with a high efficiency to shock and win everyone over.
Yet, Xu Tingsheng had still decided to give up on this plan in the end.
This did not stem from a commercial point of view. Instead, it was the choice of an educator, by he who had once been a teacher.
Xu Tingsheng knew that as soon as he did that, it would result in immense unfairness. Many hardworking children would thus lose the opportunities and futures that should really belong to them. Also, many of these children who would have their opportunities stolen away from them would be those who lacked the money to hire home tutors due to their familial situations, those who strived to change their fates through their own painstaking diligence.
Xu Tingsheng had once been a teacher. He had once been such a child. He had also taught such children before…
Thus, his morals and his conscience made it such that even if it meant giving up some hundreds of millions or even billions, he would still not change his mind.
The university entrance examinations that many people only ever spoke negatively of-it actually might just be the final fairness amidst this society. It was the sole opportunity for those children with deficient backgrounds, that sole opportunity which was incomparably hard to come by.