Chapter 1: Gifted Weakling Student
“Tang Zheng, you penniless good-for-nothing, return the money you stole!”
“A few days ago, I heard that your grandfather was sick. You must have stolen the money to pay for your grandfather’s doctor visits. A poor wretch like you staying in our class is simply a humiliation.”
“You still think you’re some hotshot, first academically in the city like before? Right now you are the number one idiot, first only counting from the back. This school should have long since expelled you.”
Pointed at in a vile manner with endless insults entering into his ears, Tang Zheng clenched his mouth shut. “I did not steal the money!” he firmly said while he looked up with a flushed face.
“Why quibble, if you didn’t steal it, then who did? During the exercise passing period, you were the only student to stay in the room. Aside from you we are all rich people, so how can we place an insignificant amount of money in our eyes? Only a broke and penniless person like you would, so if not you then who? Unless, you are trying to imply that the money just grew legs and ran off?”
“Qiao Fei, you are speaking lies!” Tang Zheng said with reddened eyes. It’s true that he is destitute and that his Grandfather was indeed sick, but since he was little he has never stolen before.
Since he was a child, his Grandfather has taught him that even poor people have their own integrity. To not rob or steal, to straighten one’s back and to live life properly was the basis of how to be a man.
Tang Zheng is the child of an impoverished family, he can be considered a genius and has the learning capabilities that allow him to stand above his peers. That year during the tests he had earned first place within the entire city, allowing him be admitted to Peng Cheng International School with all his schools fees reduced.
Initially, Tang Zheng did live up to the expectations. After two years at Peng Cheng International School, he had always maintained his rank as number one in academic performances, and was a model student.
However, not long after senior year of high school had started, he was attacked by others and received injuries to his head while returning home from school. Since then, he was faced with a medical illness—causing him to have a headache whenever he tried answering a question. Furthermore, his memory became extremely bad, causing the previously easily memorized material to be easily forgotten.
This condition has continued till this day, and now, it is nearing the latter half of the senior year but there was yet to be any improvements. Every time there is a mock exam, he would place last.
He fell from heaven to hell, those who were friendly with him became distant, those who were jealous of him found joy in his misery.
Still, Tang Zheng did not give up. Again and again he would try to study, but every single time, he would feel his head splitting with pain to the point of almost fainting.
Today, during the passing period, six hundred dollars just abruptly disappeared, and at that time his head was hurting so he did not do any exercises. For this reason, the class representative, Qiao Fei, was adamant that he was the one who stole the class fees.
“Qiao Fei, Tang Zheng has always been an upright and honest person. How could he have stolen the money?” Fang Shishi’s pleasant voice, similar to that of a skylark, rang out as she walked over.
Tang Zheng sent a grateful glance, to which Fang Shishi gave a smile that was like a hundred flowers blooming, which made everyone’s breathing quicken.
Fang Shishi’s family background was not only renowned and influential, her academic records were outstanding. She who previously ranked second in the whole school became first after Tang Zheng’s injury.
But what really attracted the gaze of others was her beautiful appearance. For she was one of Peng Cheng International School’s two beauties, of which many students have dreamed of being her lover.
Qiao Fei also liked Fang Shishi; he once made public his desire to woo her but, was rejected. Even so, he still wouldn’t put down his evil intentions and has always coveted her.
Jealousy arose within him as he saw her protect Tang Zheng. Qiao Fei coldly said: “He is an upright person? How come I didn’t know that? How many poor people are truly upright, haven’t you seen all those poor people in the news who act like dogs and steal like cowards. Are the criminals few in number?”
“What Qiao Fei said is correct.” The crowd around them sounded out, filled with righteous indignation.
Peng Cheng international was a school of aristocrats, in the whole school aside from Tang Zheng, who is a commoner, the rest are all from families with resources, and were born with a sense of superiority.
Tang Zheng glared at them: “Qiao Fei, poor people also have integrity, I said I didn’t steal it, so I didn’t steal it!”
“Ah... you still dare to roar at me, poor people will be poor people, not an ounce of education. What? You’re still glaring at me? Do you want to hit me? Hit me then, hit me then!” Qiao Fei stuck out his head and arrogantly said.
The crowd stared at Tang Zheng in ridicule, he was always the docile student and had never stirred up trouble. They even viewed him as being a weak and feeble person.
Moreover, Qiao Fei’s bodily structure was tall and strong, standing at around hundred and eighty centimeters, while Tang Zheng was but a mere hundred and seventy centimeters, the difference was simply too large. Due to this reason, Qiao Fei thought that Tang Zheng would not dare make a move.
Fang Shishi wrinkled her delicate nose and advised: “Qiao Fei, everyone here is a classmate, don’t be like this.
“I haven’t done anything. Tang Zheng aren’t you going to hit me? I’m letting you hit me.” Qiao Fei said with an air of arrogance. He was sure Tang Zheng wouldn’t dare hit him, this way it would make him seem more formidable, like a god among men.
“Tang Zheng, just ignore him, I believe you didn’t steal the money.” Fang Shishi consoled him. However, as she turned towards him all she saw was a fist heading to smash Qiao Fei’s face.
Qiao Fei let out a pitiful cry as he grabbed at his nose, fresh blood trickling out from his nose.
The crowd sucked in a cold breath, staring at Tang Zheng as if they had seen a ghost, he… actually dared hit him!
“Give him a beating! A fierce beating!” Qiao Fei roared, a few of his lackey’s responded by charging towards Tang Zheng.
Tang Zheng hurried to protect his head as fists rained down upon his body. Biting down upon his lips with reddened eyes, he did not let out a single cry while staring directly at Qiao Fei.
“Kill him! I want this peasant dead, and I also want his grandfather dead!” Qiao Fei roared in anger. Having lived like a prince since he was young, when had he ever suffered this kind of treatment. Moreover, it was in front of Fang Shishi, this was really completely throwing away his face. If he didn’t get it back now, how would he continue on in the future?
Tang Zheng’s eyes suddenly grew bigger, grandfather was his only close relative. If anyone dared to do anything to his grandfather, he would never let them do it.
He was like a leopard charging out of the encirclement, heading straight for Qiao Fei. The height difference between the two of them was evident, but to Tang Zheng, with many years of training from long distance running, had a better quality body than Qiao Fei who lived like a prince. His strength was far greater and with both hands and feet at work, Qiao Fei was soon pummeled into looking like a pig.
The crowd was stupefied, Tang Zheng… when did he become so fierce?
Fang Shishi opened then closed her mouth, seeing Qiao Fei’s pig like face, she secretly felt some of her pent up frustrations released. This was because Qiao Fei has often harassed her to the point of testing her endurance.
“What are you doing? Stop!” Suddenly, a thunderous voice bellowed out, causing everyone’s heart to tremble, their hearts telling themselves that the old witch had appeared.
The old witch was the class’s teacher, Wu Cuihong. Not only was she fifty years old, she also had a large waist and thighs, along with a mean personality causing almost everyone to be afraid of her.
“Tang Zheng... What are you doing?” Wu Cuihong’s angry voice sounded out.
Tang Zheng stopped his fists and Qiao Fei immediately stood up, fear and doubt filling his eyes as he stared at Tang Zheng and said “You… you dared to hit me.”
“What the hell is going on?” Wu Cuihong’s angry eyes swept over them as she asked in an imposing manner.
“Teacher, Tang Zheng stole the class fees and also hit his classmates.” Several of the lackeys quickly said, adding oil to the fire.
“I did not steal the money!” Tang Zheng stubbornly refuted in succession.
Wu Cuihong immediately wrinkled her eyebrows and looked at Tang Zheng in annoyance. She previously thought that she had picked up a treasure, one who would bring her honor, since his previous test scores always took first place in the city. Even with that in mind, she still looked down upon him for being a peasant.
After Tang Zheng fell from first to last place, her attitude towards Tang Zheng also drastically changed and she no longer had any good view of him.
Since Tang Zheng did not bring her any benefits, but instead brought her trouble and was a burden to her, she was constantly convincing the school to transfer Tang Zheng into another class or to expel him. However, the school has yet to make their final decision on this.
Wu Cuihong suddenly had a bright idea, realizing that this was an extremely rare opportunity for her to cast away this burden.
“Everyone back to your studies, a few of you come and help Qiao Fei to the infirmary. Tang Zheng, you step outside with me.” Wu Cuihong coldly ordered.
“This time Tang Zheng is done for, I wonder how the old witch will take care of him.” Someone said whilst finding joy in Tang Zheng’s misery.
Seeing Tang Zheng’s far off silhouette, Fang Shishi’s face was complicated. She gently bit her lips and ran to catch up, “Teacher, I trust that Tang Zheng did not steal the money, there must be a misunderstanding.”
Wu Cuihong stopped her footsteps, kindly looked at Fang Shishi and said: “Shishi, money will not abruptly grow wings and fly away. Since there are so many people saying that Tang Zheng stole it, then it must be true, you go return back to class.”
“No, there must be a misunderstanding!” Fang Shishi firmly insisted.
Wu Cuihong’s face slightly deepened, yet as before, amiably said: “Shishi, you have to trust teacher, teacher will take care of this matter.”
Fang Shishi looked at Tang Zheng and discovered that Tang Zheng was clenching his teeth hard, not saying a word, seemingly like he suffered greatly from being wronged.
Wu Cuihong did not say anything more and directly brought Tang Zheng downstairs.
“Tang Zheng, not only are your grades bad, you drag down the class. And now you steal money and hit others. Tell me, is this how a student is supposed to act?” Wu Cuihong fiercely and harshly criticized him.
“Teacher, I really did not steal the money, Qiao Fei was framing me and that is why I hit him.”
“Heng, he framed you? Why would he not frame another student then? Keep a clear conscience and you will have nothing to fear.” Wu Cuihong said with contempt.
Tang Zheng stared at her angrily and thought, as a teacher, you come to a conclusion without investigating, and to think I used to greatly respect you, but now you are simply turning a blind eye to things.
“You do not need to attend today’s class, go to the laboratory and sweep the floor.” Wu Cuihong gave him a loathing glance and said with a wave of her hands.
“The haunted floor?” Tang Zheng suddenly became terrified.
Wu Cuihong’s eyebrows jumped and said: “What are you blabbering about…. What haunted floor? If you dare speak such nonsense then I will call your family.”
Tang Zheng swallowed his saliva, not saying another word. Since his grandfather is already sick, how could he make him come to school? Moreover, he could not possibly tell his grandfather about his current situation, otherwise he would feel bad and his condition would worsen.
He did not dare tell his grandfather about his declining grades because he was always his grandfather’s pride, and he was unwilling to see his grandfather be sad. For this reason, he has tried his best to overcome his difficulties, so that he may once again stand at the top, this way, his grandfather can continue to be happy.
The laboratory floor, also known as the ghost floor, was located in the middle of the school. It was named the this way because a horrifying event once happened here several years back. A young student who was in the laboratory abruptly died, and it was said that all her blood was sucked clean, becoming dry as a mummy.
The police had investigated but they came up with nothing and the school even hired a Daoist priest to visit and perform his duties. In the last several years nothing else strange had happened, but the name ‘ghost floor; has already became well known. Students would not willingly go there unless they had laboratory class.
By making him clean that floor, Wu Cuihong evidently did not bear him any good will. She was either trying to scare him or maybe she hoped that he would end up like that female student.
“Heng, it’s not like I’m scared.” Tang Zheng’s guts were not small either. Since Wu Cuihong wanted to scare him, if he refused then wouldn’t he be playing into her schemes.
The basement door was pushed open, a flood of dampness, the smell of moss assaulted Tang Zheng’s nose as he shivered. It was a lot colder here than outside.