Chapter 80: Testing the platform
It was the next afternoon when Xu Tingsheng received Lu Zhixin’s call.
“Your dorm room’s famous,” She said over the phone, “The school forums say that your room’s the one that stands at the very top of the food chain.”
Xu Tingsheng felt a headache coming on. When outside in the future, he really shouldn’t be revealing that he was someone of Room 602. Still, peak of the food chain? ...That was because Bear Grylls currently hadn’t gained popularity yet. He thought: When he’s popular, you’ll know that the top of the food chain really isn’t all that good a place to stand at.
Bear Grylls would smile, cracking a bunch of insects like he was cracking melon seeds before telling you composedly, “Darkness cooking or whatnot-that’s really too simple.”
Before he could reply, Lu Zhixin suddenly changed her tone, continuing, “I really embarrassed myself yesterday night, didn’t I?”
Xu Tingsheng gave an awkward laugh as he denied it, “No, no.”
“I’ve found that song and listened to it.”
“So, the scarf...you actually don’t want it, right? ...It’s got nothing to do with that song. It’s just that you don’t want it, right?”
Lu Zhixin sounded like she had suffered an injustice. Listening to her, Xu Tingsheng could not help but feel a little guilty. At the end of the day, this had really been his fault. He had single-handedly brought about this misunderstanding.
Therefore, in order to pacify Lu Zhixin, he said, “Actually, it’s that I don’t dare...Let me put it like this. You’re too excellent. I originally didn’t think about you in that sense. That was why I was still able to communicate with you so comfortably and naturally, perhaps even a little shamelessly…”
“But now that I have to consider this matter in earnest, I’ve discovered that I will feel inferior. Therefore, I don’t dare to.”
“From your perspective, maybe it was because the other guys all didn’t really dare to get too close to you, with me really being the only one who was so thick-skinned. Because of that…”
Xu Tingsheng tried to explain himself using his mentality of his previous life, making this a little easier for Lu Zhixin to accept.
Of course, he couldn’t really know what Lu Zhixin might actually think about it as it was silent at the other end of the phone for a while before she said, “Let me think about it.”
Then, she didn’t give Xu Tingsheng a chance to speak, just directly hanging up the phone.
Still feeling guilty, Xu Tingsheng didn't know if the matter could be considered resolved with just that. His roommates had already bought air freshener and returned to the dorms. Old Wai, meanwhile, was still here. He had asked him to remain here.
Soon, Li Linlin arrived as well. Xu Tingsheng brought her and Old Wai along in looking around the third storey of the riverside residence that he had just rented.
He told them, “You can work here from now on. Also, Old Wai, try to find another two people who know programming. Linlin, you can also first look for two or three people amongst those you know who truly have to toil hard for their livelihoods due to their family backgrounds. We’ll officially begin work when next semester begins.”
“Next semester? What about now? I'm dying here...and my reputation is in tatters,” Old Wai said with an agonised expression on his face.
Xu Tingsheng thought for a moment before replying, “It'd also be fine to throw it up and test it out now. Still, it's already the end of the semester. We should properly focus on our examinations first. It would really be troublesome if we flunked a module.”
As the end of their first university semester neared, amidst a tense examination atmosphere, Hucheng Education Service Platform silently went online. The only thing Xu Tingsheng did was post a thread in the university forums as well as another in the public forums of Yanzhou City.
All of their work was premised upon not failing a module this semester.
The next day, a bored Xu Tingsheng casually entered the website as an administrator. Five. There were actually a total of five home tutors who had already registered. While there still weren't any registered users from the parents’ side, Xu Tingsheng still rejoiced happily over this for a while.
Xu Tingsheng joyfully called Old Wai to tell him the good news.
Old Wai said rather helplessly from the other end of the phone, “These five people are all Linlin's friends. They’d apparently all been working hard for money as home tutors together. They're basically all working already...consider this as them showing us their support.”
Alright, starting out was indeed difficult as he had thought. A basin of cold water was figuratively dumped over Xu Tingsheng's head, pulling him back to the cold reality of things.
A day later, the number of registered home tutors had increased to 13. There were still no parents who had yet registered.
This time, Xu Tingsheng did not give Old Wai a call. Looking around the backend, he immediately understood that these people were just here to show them their support as well.
The eight new registered home tutors were all from the English course, a whole pile of certificates listed under a few of their names, causing them to stand out greatly. If they were really willing to work as home tutors, they would surely be rather hot commodities. Still, were they really willing to do so?...Xu Tingsheng did not wish to give false information and cheat the platform users.
Amongst these eight people was one whom Xu Tingsheng was familiar with: Lu Zhixin.
Xu Tingsheng took the initiative to give Lu Zhixin a call.
“Thank you. About that...how did you know?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
“Oh, it was really coincidental. One of my roommates works as a home tutor as well. She and Li Linlin are rather well acquainted; I heard about it from her. After that, I just helped you to promote it a little.”
Lu Zhixin had said these words very calmly and matter-of-factly, but if she had merely promoted the platform, many people would probably only just have listened. Xu Tingsheng felt that these people must have been convinced and pulled in by her one by one. Finally, even she herself had personally taken to the frontlines.
Xu Tingsheng hesitated for a moment, eventually still deciding to voice out his worries, “I'm really thankful. But...But, are these people all really willing to be home tutors? ...What I mean is that I don't want to provide false information.”
“They're all willing, really, myself included. You must know that many of us who're studying English want to be teachers in the future. In doing this, we can earn money to supplement our lifestyles whilst also tempering ourselves, building up experience...We all feel that it's fine like this,” Lu Zhixin said gaily over the phone.
Xu Tingsheng had actually been able to tell from their earlier interactions that Lu Zhixin came from a rather well-to-do family, really not needing to earn money through home tutoring to supplement her lifestyle at all. Still, since she had phrased it like this, there was naturally no reason for him to refuse her.
“Then...thank you, I'm really grateful,” Regardless of the results, Xu Tingsheng could only thank her now, with this debt already having been owed.
Perhaps hearing the uncertainty in Xu Tingsheng's tone, Lu Zhixin made an affirmative noise before asking, “You're afraid of owing me, isn't it? But you already owe me. Also, Xu Tingsheng, don't you feel guilty? A lofty great beauty of the foreign language institute like me...can I put it that way?”
“Of course. You are a great beauty.”
“Isn't that right then? A lofty great beauty of the foreign language institute like me took the initiative to confess to someone but was actually rejected...how embarrassing is that? How many people have been discussing this and mocking me behind my back? ...I haven't dared to step out of my room in days, you know?”
“Just being sorry alone isn't enough.”
“You're feeling grateful whilst also guilty towards me now, right?”
“Then, is it okay for me to make an unreasonable request?”
“Just say it. I'll do it as long as it's within my capabilities.”
As if her next words were going to be a little hard to voice out, Lu Zhixin hesitated for a while before finally steeling her resolve, “I remember that during our practices last time, you once mentioned that you are in our university's football team?”
Xu Tingsheng didn't know why she was suddenly bringing this up, but there was no way for him to deduce anything despite his suspicions, so he could only reply, “Yeah.”
“You have a very important match in a few days’ time, right?”
The match was a qualifying match of the University Football Confederations Cup. To Yanzhou University who had never yet managed to qualify for the main competition before this, it was indeed a very important match. Xu Tingsheng had once mentioned it during intonation practice.
“Yeah,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“Then I’ll be saying my request now...I will be there at that time, and my roommates, classmates, and many others will be there as well. I want you to get on the field and score, then confess to me in front of everyone...Then, then, I will reject you in front of everyone,” Pausing several times amidst her speech, Lu Zhixin seemed to have exerted great effort in making this request.
This was...making it even between them? Xu Tingsheng thought about it. He wondered who it was who had put this idea in Lu Zhixin’s mind. It was very vicious, whilst also very stupid.
However, it indeed seemed like it might be able to get back some face for Lu Zhixin, also putting a rather okay end to this matter.
“What, you’re unwilling? ...Actually, it’s fine even if you really are that unwilling. I know that this would be very embarrassing for you. It’s just me, I might just have to slowly wait for everyone to forget this matter, I guess. Never mind, it’s fine, I’m okay. I’ll go out less at most, or maybe wear earplugs when I’m outside. I’ll, I’ll be very strong…”
While Xu Tingsheng was considering it, Lu Zhixin thought that he was hesitant and conflicted as she came to sound increasingly wronged on the other end of the phone, even sobbing a little.
Embarrassing? It seemed like it would indeed be rather a loss of face for him. However, Xu Tingsheng actually didn’t really care too much about such things. It was fine anyway, since Xiang Ning wouldn’t be there to see it. The skin of an uncle was still sufficiently thick for such.
Other than that, as Lu Zhixin had said, he indeed felt grateful whilst also guilty towards her. Also, he had indeed caused her much harm and trouble. As a girl, the events of that night and the discussions and mocking that had followed must indeed be very hard for her to face.
Perhaps this could really solve the problem.
So, Xu Tingsheng said, “Okay, I’m willing to do it...Still, there’s a problem. I might not even be able to get on the pitch; I’m just a newcomer. Also, I might not be able to score even if I’m on.”
Light, pleasant laughter resounded over from Lu Zhixin, “I don’t care about that. Anyway, you just think of a way to do it. Get on the pitch, score, and confess...then I reject you. Afterwards, if you’re still willing, we can continue being friends, practising intonations together.”
Xu Tingsheng said, “I’ll try my best then.”
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