Chapter 661: Leaving peaceful memories
That night, Xu Tingsheng sat in the living room at their home. Yet, it felt like that dilapidated motel in some random city in Southeast Asia where he had once stayed as he had roamed around for four years in his previous life.
He was similarly alone, thinking of the same person, similarly unable to sleep and helpless.
His assets and fortune were completely different. Yet, his mood was the same.
To be exact, it actually felt a little worse this time. At least over that period of time in his previous life, he had known that Xiang Ning was still waiting, that he still possessed that relationship.
This time, what he might lose was none other than Xiang Ning’s affections. This seemed even sadder than in his previous life.
Only when dawn was nearing did Xu Tingsheng call You Qinglan. He did not dare to call Li Wan’er directly as he was worried about her health and believed that this was definitely not orchestrated by her.
Xu Tingsheng asked You Qinglan over the phone, “Why?”
He knew that it was definitely impossible that You Qinglan had merely accidentally let it slip. Even Xiang Ning had been able to tell this.
You Qinglan did not deny it as she just said, “Whether you believe it or not...I was only doing that to protect Wan’er.”
Xu Tingsheng could basically guess and understand it as he asked, “So, she doesn’t know of this then? How is she doing now, and what about afterwards?”
“She says that her deposited happiness is already enough for until she has fully recovered. So, I’ll think of something after that. Sorry, Xu Tingsheng,” You Qinglan hung up.
There was no need to continue speculating about this. Virtually as soon as his conversation with You Qinglan ended, Xu Tingsheng received another call.
“Taking care of three women beside you in one fell swoop, the designer, the artiste and the little girl...haven’t I done wonderfully?” Zhou Yuandai laughed over the phone, “Right, there’s still a student of mine, our Libei’s female top scholar. She is probably a bit harder, being too smart while also too silly.”
Just as Xu Tingsheng had suspected, she was actually behind all of this. It was no wonder that everything had seemed so coincidental. Perhaps because she thought that Apple’s matter was still insufficient to push Xiang Ning to leave Xu Tingsheng, Zhou Yuandai had upped the ante, getting You Qinglan to appear to tell Xu Tingsheng about another matter.
She was very certain that Xu Tingsheng would have no way of explaining this to Xiang Ning.
“Why did you do this?” Xu Tingsheng asked weakly.
“Because only we are the same kind,” Zhou Yuandai said in a cloying tone, “Right, if a person has foreknowledge of the world’s future which is incomparably accurate...what do you think he should choose to do...that would be most successful?”
“I don’t know,” Xu Tingsheng had virtually never considered this in earnest before, having actually always been a rather easily satisfied person.
“It’s a religion. Build a religion which treats you as their god. If it’s impossible in China, do it overseas. Wealth, power, authority and absolute control...foolish fanatics, staunch believers, both legal and illegal forces from the lowest to the highest level...this is the only way one can obtain everything through the power of their foreknowledge.”
Zhou Yuandai’s narration was like that of an evil queen standing on a high podium and speaking to her believers. She did not have to be concerned about anything, because she controlled everything.
“When I looked over your history and found that you opened a supermarket, established an education website, went into real estate, started a social media platform, went into games…I found you extremely foolish, but very interesting too…”
“If the heavens really do exist, it really is a waste for the heavens to have given this chance to someone like you.”
“I should thank it, though. It might have been difficult to decide victory and defeat between us, otherwise...if you hadn’t been so useless. Somebody who has foreknowledge yet viewing feelings and people as of the highest concern. How utterly laughable, like a god being concerned about ants.”
“We are gods. They are ants. Have you ever seen gods thinking to sacrifice their lives for ants? Have you ever seen gods going all out to get on the good side of an ant? Even feeling sorrowful over their departure...how laughable, how many mistakes you’ve made. So, let me guide you.”
Xu Tingsheng was silent. There was too much information contained in these words. He still had to think about and analyse them. At the same time, he could not be certain what information any casual answer of his might convey to Zhou Yuandai.
So, he simply did not speak.
Zhou Yuandai actually hung up too just like that.
From her earlier tone and manner, Xu Tingsheng could judge that this woman who claimed to be a god seemed to be a bit crazed mentally. It was also very likely that that had always been the case.
To some extent, that absolute control could indeed very easily cause one to lose their way.
On the day of Apple’s Grandma’s funeral, Xu Tingsheng had met Cen Xishan at the back of the spiritual hall. The two had not spoken a word that day. Cen Xishan’s assistants had been standing at the back and to the side of him, poised to hear even his very breathing.
Still, after Cen Xishan had left, Xu Tingsheng had seen a few rows of words written in water on the top of the coffin by him.
That was information he would definitely not dare to leak over the phone or by email.
In fact, since not long ago, he had become unable to contact Xu Tingsheng again even by phone and email.
After going back to school to stay for a few days, Xu Tingsheng drove over and stopped close to the entrance of Yanzhou’s first-tier senior high on Friday.
As Xiang Ning emerged with a few female classmates, he winded down his car window.
While Xu Tingsheng could not say for certain that Xiang Ning had seen him, she had indeed glanced in his direction. After that, she had not lingered as she had gone to the public bus stop with her classmates.
It was raining. The students left on their respective buses one after another. Xu Tingsheng hid in his car as only after seeing Xiang Ning get on the public bus for home did he drive away.
That handphone of his did not ring again…
This persisted into the end of the semester, into the winter holidays.
Xu Tingsheng returned to Libei in what were his loneliest, most lost days since his rebirth.
On the third day of the Lunar New Year, the oblivious Mrs Xu prepared a huge bunch of presents, excitedly urging Xu Tingsheng to pay the Xiang family a New Year’s visit. She said that while the engagement ceremony had been delayed, that had been caused by their family’s side. So, their family should treat it like it had already been formalised.
“This is formality. If you don’t do the required formalities, even if they don’t say it, your future in-laws will definitely be dissatisfied. We cannot let others find fault with our family. We must smoothly and properly bring Xiang Ning into our family.”
Mrs Xu thought about this matter in the simplest way. It was just as if she was still that village mother, smiling as she worked hard towards her son’s marriage.
Just like that, Xu Tingsheng had no choice but to bring the entire car’s load worth of presents along, returning to Yanzhou from Libei on the third day of the Lunar New Year.
He stopped the car more than thirty metres away by the road leading to the Xiang family home. There, leaning against the car window, he lit a cigarette.
He pretended that he had come.
Xu Tingsheng’s decision to go for an internship at a senior high in the second semester of his fourth year took many by surprise.
Of course, those in the know all felt that it was to chase Xiang Ning back.
Xiang Ning was one of those who thought this. When that teacher in charge of their class told their eleventh grade, humanities, priority class that they would be welcoming a new internship teacher, Xiang Ning saw Xu Tingsheng smiling as he walked into the classroom.
She was still very angry, still very upset. Still, she also felt something strange stir.
“This shameless guy...is he coming to the school to chase me back?”
“He’s so thick-skinned...just like in junior high, when he delivered noodles to me.”
“What to do? What to do?”
Xiang Ning did not know: If he pretended to be just a teacher to be concerned about her, lecture her or even call her to his office alone, what should she do then?
“This move is too shameless.”
“How can there be such a Xu Tingsheng…”
Still, against Xiang Ning’s worries and predictions and perhaps a small sense of anticipation that was unbeknownst to her as well, it was like Xu Tingsheng really didn’t know her at all.
From the students to the teachers, especially the female teachers, especially the young female teachers...everyone was in a frenzy over the arrival of this new internship teacher, the most legendary figure in Yanzhou over the past three plus years.
In the meantime, Xu Tingsheng was just calmly listening in on lessons everyday, helping to mark homework, helping to monitor physical exercises...once in a while, he would conduct lessons too...it was just as if he truly was only an internship teacher soon to graduate from university.
Xiang Ning did not want to listen to his lessons at all. Still, he really was very good at teaching! The students really liked him.
Virtually half the students in the class had already been called upon by him to answer questions. Xiang Ning was guessing if he would dare to pick her.
“Xiang Ning, please answer this question.”
Such a normal tone?!
Student Xiang Ning was very angry.
“I don’t know,” She said, not even standing up as she looked away from him.
“Let’s ask someone else then. Who knows the answer?”
A bunch of people raised their hands.
He picked one.
It was still very normal! “Gah, I’m dead angry.”
“You want to slowly whittle down my anger just like this? Dream on,” Xiang Ning thought.
Still, Xu Tingsheng really just wanted to go on like this, giving her the normalest interactions before the unknowable future arrived. At an appropriate distance, with an appropriate status, leaving peaceful memories.Previous Chapter Next Chapter