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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Time flew by, and suddenly finals were around the corner!
For most students, no matter how dull or difficult their time in high school might have been, the days stretching on like years—as long as they could make it through their finals alright, then they could call it a Good Game.
Yu Luocheng hadn’t really been playing games for more than three months now. Once in a while, he might join Yang Qianqian for a few games over the weekend, always resulting in a one-sided steamroller victory.
Either Yang Qianqian was always getting trolled—or always trolling—but ever since pairing up with Yu Luocheng, she always seemed to be doing well, and the world was her oyster. Sometimes, she’d drag Yu Luocheng along for a couple of games even when it wasn’t the weekend.
It confounded Yu Luocheng to see how the girl always seemed to be playing around, and yet her grades were never less than tip-top, and every month her exam scores would somehow be ranked above his.
It was a mild day in June, and the sky was overcast with gloom. Like a lustful harlot not quite managing to conceal her nature, all it’d take was the slightest bit of excitement, and soon everything would be drenched.
Yu Luocheng slung his messenger bag over one shoulder, adjusted it in place, and made ready to march to battle.
Li Yun hurried out, muttering in exasperation. “Dear boy, take an umbrella with you. What will you do if it starts to rain?”
“Alright.” Yu Luocheng took the umbrella she’d brought him.
It was simply that he wasn’t in the habit of carrying an umbrella, not because he didn’t fear the rain, but because he shared the same problem as many young people—if he left home with an umbrella, he would probably return without it.
“Never mind, I’ll call in to say I’ll be late to work. Let me walk you there.” Li Yun couldn’t help feeling worried. She ran back into the house to change into something presentable.
“Mom, don’t make a fuss.” Yu Luocheng didn’t feel like going there with his mom.
It was just his high school finals exam—not such a big deal.
Li Yun went with him anyway.
When they got to the ground floor, one of the neighbors was just passing by in a brand-new, glossy black Audi.
The German car glided past in front of their apartment, and the window slid down with a stately grace.
“Madam Li Yun, would you be sending Yu Luocheng to the examination hall?” A middle-aged man looked out from within, and asked this with a smile.
“That’s right.” Li Yun returned the smile.
“Here, get on. I’m sending our Guijun there too. There’s no playing around with the finals, but there’s been some delay on the road ahead. It won’t do to be late.”
Yu Luocheng didn’t know how to respond to this. There was still more than an hour until the test began, and it wouldn’t take him half an hour to reach the place on foot. What was all this? Why the big show?
“I wouldn’t want to trouble you,” Li Yun said politely.
“It’s no trouble. We’re going the same way, right?” the man insisted.
Well, no reason to say no to a free ride. Li Yun acceded.
Inside the car, Zhang Guijun was found in the passenger seat. He was the quintessential prince from a wealthy family. He actually did alright academically, and wasn’t a terrible character.
Although they were neighbors, Yu Luocheng had never progressed beyond a nodding acquaintance with him.
“Guijun, Luocheng, the two of you must do your best,” Mr Zhang advised as he resumed driving. “See how nervous your parents are for you.”
Yu Luocheng and Guijun both grunted in reply.
Relaxing in the comfy seats, Li Yun whispered to Yu Luocheng, “Listen, child: These exams are of the utmost importance. If you can get into a good university, and find a good job, we’ll be able to afford a nice car like Mr Zhang here, too.
“Think of your father, slaving away in the factory the whole week through, squeezing into that broken-down company bus to get home on Fridays. If he gets off work late, he might miss the bus, and have to suffer through the weekend on the factory’s hard beds. You know he likes watching TV, but there are no televisions at the factory. A whole weekend stuck there, with nothing to do.”
Li Yun sighed, peering around enviously at the clean and inviting interior of the car. “With a car, your dad could come home anytime. He’d have no need to stay at the factory hostel at all.”
“Alright, I’ll do my best.” Yu Luocheng nodded for her to see, not knowing what else he could say.
“Your dad has it hard, too. You ran off to be a pro-gamer without his permission, and missed out on over a year’s worth of schooling. You probably can’t imagine how, the whole time, he had no appetite to eat, and he couldn’t get a wink of sleep.
“Since you came back, he may be growling at you all day, but he’s secretly been in a much better mood, and he’s never breathed one word of regret over spending all that money to transfer you out of that dead-end school and into a first-class one. It’s a good thing you’ve actually been able to catch up, bit-by-bit—ah, alright, alright… that’s enough of this kind of talk.” Fearing that she was putting too much pressure on Yu Luocheng, Li Yun relented.
Yu Luocheng had been listening to all this in silence, and now he nodded again. “I understand.”
“We know you’re a sensible boy, more mature than other kids…” Li Yun’s face creased into a kindly smile.
Gazing out the window, Yu Luocheng suddenly saw a familiar figure flit past outside. “Was that Dad? He was on a motorcycle.” He pressed up against the window to peer behind.
“He’s at the factory. There’s no way he’d be around here—and since when does he have a motorcycle?”
“Oh, right.” Thinking about it, Yu Luocheng figured he must have been mistaken.
As they arrived at the school, there was every kind of scene on display!
Most high-schoolers tried to avoid going to school by family car, in this generation where affluence was persecuted.
But on the day of the finals, there were all kinds of cars present, contesting for glory. Yu Luocheng noticed a silver car accented with blue, which felt familiar to him somehow.
Oh, that’s right. The only thing missing here were the words ‘Armed Escort’!
There was no way for their car to actually make it to the school gates, so Yu Luocheng, Li Yun, and Zhang Guijun disembarked here and walked the rest of the way.
This was where those families with motorcycles took the limelight!
Whether you’d come in a BMW, Mercedes Benz, or a security van, you could only hold back tears and watch as the bikes whizzed on ahead, leaving you choking on their dust!
“I’m going now, okay?” Li Yun said. “I’ll come get you after the test is over.”
“No need. I can get home on my own.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine.”
Yu Luocheng took the side entrance through the garden to get into school. He greeted a few familiar faces along the way.
It was normal for examination halls to be a scene of pandemonium. During rehearsals, Yu Luocheng had already found out which classroom he ought to report to, and made his way there at a leisurely stroll.
The classroom was devoid of its usual cheer and laughter. Instead, a grim pallor shrouded the room.
Even when someone made light conversation, it was obviously a forced effort, and the one speaking would himself glance at the wristwatch he’d bought last year.
Yu Luocheng found his seat. He didn’t spot anyone he knew, so he settled down to wait in silence. It was almost time to begin.
The examination invigilators walked past the windows outside, and Yu Luocheng thought he heard an austere female voice saying,
‘Thirty seconds until examiners spawn!’
It was a joke he’d seen on the internet, and it applied well to his current situation. Despite himself, a laugh escaped him, dispelling all the stress and tension.
A shifty-eyed fellow seated nearby noticed Yu Luocheng snickering to himself, and his eyebrows climbed his forehead, as though he was thinking, ‘A man who laughs alone by himself is the worst kind of fool! Copying from his test paper will do me no good!’
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