Chapter 354: It isn’t that Xu…
Student Xiang Ning was actually jumping for joy inwardly as she felt very triumphant. Her efforts had not been in vain. Her parents and her grandmother would all feel very happy. Also, she had fulfilled her promise to Uncle as well. How good a thing this was!
Still, it wasn’t good for her to just leap and frolic about in front of so many relatives or seem too full of herself. Moreover, Uncle had added at the end of his text: Stay cool, my little flunkie girl.
“Your what, your what...huh, Uncle really is shameless!”
Therefore, Xiang Ning immediately went for the eggplant after setting down her phone...otherwise, how would she be able to keep from smiling?
The cool little flunkie girl was actually inwardly over the moon and trying hard to keep from showing it. This was really a difficult thing for she who loved to smile.
She still did not know that in a certain office of the same city, a certain person who had given another advice to stay cool and who usually loved to act cool himself too was already unable to stop himself from whooping for joy. Uncle was smiling in a truly foolish manner as he was so happy that he had already leapt away and thrown himself onto the sofa.
Zhicheng’s employees on that level felt chills as their hairs stood on end…
In truth, however composed Xiang Ning herself was acting, there was no way for the others around the table to remain composed. Over ten pairs of eyes were successively fixated on her.
Grandma who had always loved and been biased towards Little Xiang Ning the most, who had secretly given her money to buy a phone and would lie for her when she went out to play, was the first to break out in a wide smile as she was very happy indeed.
Chuckling happily, she picked up a chunk of fish with her chopsticks and brought this towards Little Xiang Ning’s bowl.
Little Xiang Ning stood up, receiving it with her bowl as she said sweetly, “Thanks, Grandma.”
As Xiang Ning who was 1.64m tall with a pair of bright black eyes on her little beautiful face and jet-black hair that passed her shoulders stood up now amidst all those gazes which were concentrated on her, her relatives seemed to realise only now that Little Xiang Ning who still had a skyward plait in their impressions had already grown up into a fine young lady, one who looked so pretty too.
So pretty, and you suddenly know how to study too? Unfair, unfair!
Eldest uncle’s wife felt rather uncomfortable with this.
As for the remaining uncles and aunties, their kids included, most of them were also not truly happy on the Xiang family’s and Xiang Ning’s behalf.
This did not mean that they were bad people per se who usually had bad conduct. It was just that they were far too accustomed to comparing themselves with others and being superior in whatever aspects. Suddenly seeing the one they had always showed off towards becoming so outstanding, vaulting over their heads to overshadow them...it would surely feel uncomfortable somewhat.
727 and 726, just a single mark’s difference. If not for this one point, eldest uncle’s wife would not be feeling so despondent...
Just this one point difference was so infuriating to death as she almost felt like vomiting blood.
Who asked her to have been comparing the results of Little Xiang Ning and her youngest son at least once every year from primary school to junior high, having been doing it for so many years while being all triumphant?
Just why had she even said ‘Little Ning should still be able to get into a second-tier senior high, right? That’s not bad too…’
Really...how embarrassing was that?
“No, how could she have improved so much all of a sudden...also, aren’t the results not out yet? Maybe she just gave some random number,” Eldest uncle’s wife consoled herself.
She immediately spoke, trying hard to make it sound not so deliberate, “Little Ning, isn’t it still not time to check your results yet? How do you know your score? You can’t just report any random number! Otherwise, it would be bad if your parents and Grandma are happy for nothing.”
Next, she stared at Little Xiang Ning with a greatly desirous gaze just like a beggar’s, hoping against hope that from that pretty little mouth could emerge the words, “Oh, I was just joking…”
There were actually quite a few others who had similar doubts, such as the two people here who most wanted to jump for joy, her parents.
When they parents had first heard their daughter announcing her results, they had basically been totally flummoxed. Even Mr Xiang who had been all convinced that his daughter could make it into a first-tier senior high had felt rather disbelieving upon hearing her score of 727.
After all, they had just heard a ‘726’, which her eldest uncle had said was enough to enter the experimental class of a first-tier senior high. Meanwhile, he had originally thought that it would already be a real cause for rejoice if she could just enter the first-tier senior high.
Also, Mr Xiang too could understand that simple mathematical sum, 727=726+1.
The two forcibly resisted the urge to jump for joy before they clutched each other’s hands under the table as if by some unseen rapport. This was no affirmation of their love. It was more like the mentality of ‘Dear comrade, we suddenly won in our war of resistance. Dare you believe it?’
It was also precisely because of this that the two of them who should be the most excited about this were rendered speechless, simply directing their hopeful, yearning gazes at their daughter.
Mr Xiang even silently located the wine bottle with his other hand, filling up the cups of he and his wife to the brim.
“If this is true, I’ll have to toast everyone, and ‘humbly’ add on some words too,” Mr Xiang thought.
After such a long time, this day had finally come. Having listened for so many years, it was finally his turn to speak.
Facing all these gazes with their various underlying intents, Little Xiang Ning hesitated for a moment, not daring to say that it was Xu Tingsheng who had helped her to check her results. She stammered, “It was, it was a classmate who helped me check it…”
Just because of this stammered line of hers, the hopes of eldest uncle’s wife were rekindled.
“Classmate? But that isn’t very reliable,” She said, “Does your classmate’s family have some connections in the education bureau?”
Little Xiang Ning who was not proficient in lying said rather uneasily, “I think so. Maybe. I’m not really sure.”
Eldest uncle’s youngest son who was in the same batch as Xiang Ning, being less than a month younger than her, had never ever treated his older cousin as an opponent before. Always accustomed to emerging victorious, he was unable to hold himself back any longer.
This ‘study king’ cousin retorted, “Cousin, I don’t think there are any students in your school whose families are from the bureaucracy, isn’t it? They seem more like farmers and workers.”
The feeling of superiority from potentially getting into the experimental class of a senior high blatantly showed itself now. The cousin who had picked these things up from his parents real good even had a hint of mockery in his words. After all, he had just been feeling stifled to near death.
Xiang Ning smiled and simply focused on eating.
Eldest uncle’s wife’s confidence returned as she continued, “In that case, don’t I have someone I know in the education bureau anyways? I’ll call him and ask him to help check and verify Little Ning’s results, how about that? ...Well, if it’s true, everyone can feel happy for Little Ning, right?"
She directed her gaze at Mr and Mrs Xiang.
Xiang Ning’s eldest uncle agreed, “It’d be best to check.”
Mr and Mrs Xiang exchanged looks, thinking: Why didn’t you help check earlier then? Acting all enthusiastic now, would you really be happy for us?
Still, it would not be appropriate to show such feelings now as Mrs Xiang nodded, “That’s alright too. I’ll be troubling Sister-in-law then.”
Eldest uncle’s wife quickly dialled the number. A man’s voice could be heard on the other end. It was not loud. Eldest uncle’s wife said some things and the other party said that it was fine. Next, Little Xiang Ning reported her examinee number to them…
The other party said: Hold on for a bit!
Actually, this wait was not a very long one. Still, apart from Little Xiang Ning herself who trusted Uncle incomparably greatly, everyone else was rather nervous and anticipatory as they instead felt like more time had passed.
Eldest uncle’s wife carefully rushed the guy over the phone, “How is it? Have you checked it?”
“Ah, is it Xinyan Junior High? Name’s Xiang Ning…” Came the pleasant voice over the phone that everyone could hear over the speaker, “Not bad, 727 points! Another first-tier senior high. One stronger than the other, your family really is!”
The other party had surely meant this as well-intended words of praise, but this ‘one stronger than the other’ almost had eldest uncle’s wife in tears.
Mr Xiang clapped his thigh, smiling as he sighed, “Ohh...so happy.”
This father was truly tempted to lift his precious daughter up in the air like when she was little.
Beside him, Mrs Xiang was even more emotional as tears were almost welling up in her eyes.
Eldest uncle’s wife had only just hung up when Mr and Mrs Xiang’s wineglasses were already upraised.
“Well, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, look, thanks for helping...Little Ning was lucky, really lucky. Nah, we just feel happy. There’s only been good news in our family today, and Little Ning has benefited off this luck too. Come, we’ll give a toast first to show our sincerity.”
Not being such a habitual show-off like Xiang Ning’s eldest uncle was, Mr Xiang did not know how to leave questions overtly unanswered for people to follow up on as he simply finished it just like that before chuckling happily as he downed the wine. That smile on his face already spoke volumes of how triumphant and overjoyed he felt.
The other relatives basically downed some wine as well before setting down their wineglasses.
Grandma was especially happy as even at her age, she still happily drank a small cup of red wine, constantly praising, “Wah, my Little Ning. She’s just so obedient, always sensible since young.”
Who asked Little Xiang Ning to be pretty, a sweet talker and attentive too? However poor her results had been in the past, Grandma had always been biased towards her so deeply it was in her very bones, this being something no one could do anything about.
Eldest uncle smiled ingratiatingly, showing the flair of an elder brother, “Yeah, this is great. Little Ning’s become sensible too. She’s grown up...Whether this was by luck or your improvements, this is great nevertheless. Little Ning, let Uncle tell you, you’ve got to continue working hard in senior high! In a first-tier senior high, if you only depend on luck, you could just accidentally fall to the bottom if you’re not careful.”
Unconcerned with however many layers of meaning there might be in her eldest uncle’s words, the simple Little Xiang Ning simply replied, “Yep.”
Xiang Ning’s female cousin who was also from a first-tier senior high and had just finished her university entrance examinations truly felt happy on her behalf as she raised her cup that was filled with Sprite and asked Xiang Ning, “Little Ning, how did you suddenly improve so much? I was still thinking of finding time and tutoring you in senior high material when your results came out. In the end, you did so awesome, scoring even better than I did in my own entrance exams.”
Xiang Ning was on pretty good terms with this cousin of hers. Just as she was about to reply…
Eldest uncle’s wife appeared to have found a topic again as she interjected, “Right, Youmei, I think that Little Ning has had a tutor for the past one over year, right? Look, the two of you grit your teeth and spent the money, and it did turn out to be somewhat effective in the end, with it now effectively recouped.”
Mrs Xiang was the ‘Youmei’ eldest uncle’s wife spoke of, Shi Youmei. She was the youngest of the siblings.
Hearing her sister-in-law say this, Mrs Xiang thought to herself, “Like your son doesn’t have any tutoring. He’s even had this since primary school...my Little Ning has just been receiving tutoring for over a year...also, what do you mean by gritting our teeth?”
In other words, the Xiang family was not so well off as compared to them. Still, the money for Little Xiang Ning’s tutoring was really not much of a problem at all. Moreover, whether it was Li Linlin or Xu Tingsheng, both had always been receiving the lowest standard hourly wages for all university home tutors.
These two people, this price-if it was widely made known...other parents would just cry to death.
“Oh, right, I remember. That home tutor of Little Ning’s seems to be pretty famous. He’s called Xu…” Second Aunt interjected.
She held no malicious intentions as she was actually thinking that since this home tutor was so great, it would be a good idea to ask Mrs Xiang to help introduce him. Afterwards, her youngest son could have him as a tutor as well.
Eldest uncle’s wife suddenly had the same thought too as she hurriedly added, “Yeah, that tutor. Will your Little Ning still be receiving tutoring in senior high? If not, we can hire him...if you’re still continuing with it, well...together is also fine.”
Mrs Xiang was the most awkward person now. As soon as the word ‘Xu’ had emerged from the mouth of her second sister, she had begun feeling uneasy and guilty all over…
Little Xiang Ning really felt happy now, because: They’re praising Uncle...they want to look for Xu Tingsheng for tutoring. Ahaha, really...apart from me...let’s see if he’ll dare to not tutor me when he’s my boyfriend next time.
In the end, Mrs Xiang frantically denied, “It isn’t that person, it isn’t that Xu! You’ve got it wrong, he stopped teaching long ago. We also haven’t been in contact. It’s a female tutor who teaches our Little Ning. Her name is Li Linlin. It’s all thanks to her that Little Ning has improved so much.”
Mrs Xiang emphasised many things in that outburst. ‘Stopped teaching long ago’, ‘haven’t been in contact’, ‘female tutor’, ‘all thanks to her’...there was a strong vibe of wanting to clarify things.
Little Xiang Ning’s face fell all at once as she looked rather disbelievingly at her mother.
“How can Mum say that? What exactly did Uncle do wrong? ...What, how can you be such a bully? You were both just feeling happy and triumphant. Does this have nothing at all to do with Xu Tingsheng? Hasn’t he done enough? Also, don’t you know that Teacher Li Linlin doesn’t tutor anyone else in the first place, only having come to teach me because of Uncle?”
“Actually, you both know it, but you’re bullying Uncle like this...Just why is that?”
Biting her lips, Little Xiang Ning took out a few sets of revision materials of Uncle’s which she always brought around with her from her backpack, placing them on the table and deliberately saying very loudly, “My tutor’s really great. Just these final revision materials-he probably went some nights without sleeping to write it. It’s so detailed and helped me to score so many points. If not for this, I might not even have made it to a first-tier senior high, let alone scored this high.”
After saying this, Little Xiang Ning pursed her lips, looking like she wanted to cry as she met her mother’s eyes with an aggrieved, stubborn gaze and pointed at the lesson plans on the table, “If you don’t believe me, look at it yourself.”
Little Xiang Ning was rising against her mother now. You’re my Mum, but that sure doesn’t mean you can bully people like this?!
She could still remember how Xu Tingsheng had taken a beating and vomited blood to protect her back then. After he had sent her home, without even saying anything at all, he had been shooed away by her mother with a cold ‘You should go home’.
With her mother even saying things like this now…
The lesson plans were laid out right there and then. While Mr and Mrs Xiang might not be able to recognise Xu Tingsheng’s handwriting, they could both tell that that was not the handwriting of a girl. In that case, it could not be Li Linlin’s handwriting. Whose could it be then? He…
But these were several dozen sheets of paper, the words so clear, the sentences so detailed…
Mrs Xiang’s complexion turned pale.
The other relatives exclaimed in startlement as they looked through the lesson plans, especially Xiang Ning’s elder cousin who had just taken the university entrance examinations. She claimed that all this was even more meticulous than the revision materials of teachers from senior high…
Mrs Xiang was looking increasingly uncomfortable.
Mr Xiang sighed.
Xiang Ning’s Grandma said, “Since your tutor’s so good, you definitely must thank him properly.”
Little Xiang Ning nodded, replying, “You’re so good, Grandma. Not like…”
She ultimately dared not say anything against her parents in the end.
After carefully folding the lesson plans that had been passed around the table and keeping them in her backpack, Xiang Ning left the table, saying in a huff, “I’m full.”
Previous Chapter Next Chapter