[Chapter 003] I turned into a Tmall Genie?!
After the second class of the afternoon ended, Lu YunFei noticed that Bian JinYuan was called out. When he came back, he did not go directly to his seat. Instead, he walked across the podium to Lu YunFei’s seating area and said, “Lu YunFei.”
Lu YunFei looked up at him. Guessing that he had come over regarding the changing of seats, he nonetheless intentionally asked, “Yes?”
“Teacher Li said for you and me to become desk mates.”
“Oh,” Lu YunFei responded indifferently, “You agreed?”
“Mmm,” Bian JinYuan said, “are you moving over, or am I coming over.”
Setting itself apart from other high schools, the high school that Lu YunFei and Bian JinYuan attended, Yī High, constructs its classrooms in a stepped manner. Within each classroom are 28 desks arranged in seven steps of four in a row. Each step is 0.12m higher than the next, in order to ensure that students from the first row all the way to the last row are able to see the blackboard clearly. As such, students do not need to worry about their heights when they switch seats.
Lu YunFei didn’t think that Bian JinYuan would be so agreeable, not only did he agree to teacher Li’s request on changing desk mates, he’d also volunteer to change over instead. However he wasn’t that shameless as to get Bian JinYuan to change over, “I’ll move instead. Tell your desk mate, let’s switch tomorrow morning.”
“Sure,” Bian JinYuan said, and turned to head back to his seat.
Lu YunFei watched his back and said with a sigh, “He actually agreed, what a shock.”
“So you’re going to leave me?” Li YuanQing acted pitiful, “How saddening.”
Lu YunFei rubbed his dog head, “Don’t worry buddy, my body may be in the Cáo camp, but my heart is at home. Wait till my English grades go up, then I’ll return to the land of Shǔ#.”
Buddy Li didn’t believe him, “I just worry that you’ll be so happy you’ll forget about Shu.”
“That’s impossible,” Lu YunFei patted his own chest, “Brother, are we the sort to do that? When the time comes, I’ll teach you the tips too, and we can improve together!”
Li YuanQing thought about his English score of 120 and said honestly, “YunFei, you can soar+ on your own, there’s no need to concern yourself over me. I scored 120, I worry that you won’t be able to bear this weight in your lifetime.”
Lu YunFei suddenly didn’t want to chat with this brother, does he even know how to talk? If he doesn’t, then don’t talk! What’s so great about 120! Sigh, 120 really is pretty great. Lu YunFei thought that if he could get a score of 120, he’d probably be so excited that he’d go down to the field to run two laps. Not even 120, if he could get 90 marks, he’d also run two laps. When was the last time he scored 90? The first semester of year one?
Argh, English is such a headache!
After class ended, Lu YunFei passed on playing basketball with Li YuanQing and Wen MingYi and went straight home. The Lu parents and his jiejie (elder sister) are all busy, so they weren’t home yet. The aunty helper made food just for him, and it was all his favourite food.
Lu YunFei finished his meal and surrendered himself to death. He walked over to the guillotine — his study desk, and took out his English exam paper, painfully looking through the first question.
His English tutor Wáng arrived at 7.30pm. Tutor Wang wore a pair of gold-rimmed glasses. With his fair complexion, he looked like someone of mixed descent. This was the reason why he was chosen for this job out of all the other applicants.
However, the truth was that those who look like a mixed race does not necessarily mean that they are mixed race. For example, tutor Wang was a completely pure Chinese man. Out of eight generations of his ancestry, one was unable to find any outsider blood in his bloodline.
“Then why do you look so much like a mixed race? Lu YunFei asked in confusion.
Tutor Wang calmly pushed his glasses up, “Looks are dictated by the heavens, who knows why?”
The inexplicable tutor Wang quite liked his rich student. He had endeavoured to revise the subject with him, going through each word and sentence. However, looking at the bright red 74 marks in his student’s exam paper, he went silent.
Lu YunFei thought that the teacher marking his exam paper used a red pen that was overly bright, deeply piercing into his young tutor’s heart.
“I tried my best,” Lu YunFei said, “I even studied a bit before the exam.”
Tutor Wang slowly turned to look at him, his tone grave, “YunFei, tell me the truth, was it because you thought that my face deceived you, so you tried to use this method to indirectly tell me to leave?”
“I swear, I really didn’t.”
When you took the placement exams, it was still 84! How did you get 74 after I taught you for a month!” tutor Wang felt himself undergoing a huge shock, “I’ve basically made you worse!”
“The problem isn’t you,” Lu YunFei comforted him. He felt that his English tutor was quite a good tutor, responsible and smart, but he just couldn’t stand up against his English PTSD. One look at English and he would be triggered, it was normal for his grades to go down.
“Let’s go through the questions first,” Lu YunFei pointed at the questions he had gotten wrong on his English paper, “Starting from here, I don’t quite understand this question. My English teacher would only say, why choose D? Because ABC are wrong. But how would I know why they were wrong? She didn’t even explain.”
Tutor Wang had to temporarily stop his self-chastising to start explaining the exam paper to Lu YunFei. He was very detailed, eager to teach everything that he knew to Lu YunFei. Lu YunFei also listened attentively, and would ask him why whenever he encountered something that he didn’t know.
An hour passed. They hadn’t finished going through the paper yet, but Lu YunFei was already tired.
“Let’s stop here,” Lu YunFei said.
His tutoring sessions were flexible. He didn’t expect tutors to stay for a set duration of one or two hours. Most of the time, Lu YunFei dictated the length of the session depending on his condition. Sessions would run long when he was enthusiastic, around two to three hours; when he had low enthusiasm, it would run for around an hour.
Tutor Wang saw his lack of enthusiasm and agreed. Before he left he asked, “YunFei, do you think that there are problems in the way I conduct our sessions? Perhaps I could change the method.”
”You still have a plan B?” Lu YunFei asked curiously.
Tutor Wang answered honestly, “I don’t have any now, but I can go back to research on it.”
“Then please go ahead to research,” Lu YunFei went all in, “After all it can’t get any worse than this.”
“If it really doesn’t work out, you should change tutors,” Tutor Wang told him conscientiously.
Lu YunFei twirled his pen and said casually, “We’ll see.”
If his grades continued to decline, his parents would probably tell him to change tutors. However Lu YunFei thought it was useless, he had already changed about six or seven tutors since middle school, but his English is still half dead. They were all good tutors, it was just that the student wasn’t suited to this subject.
Lu YunFei yawned. He felt that he had inadvertently become sleepy. He looked at his watch, it was almost 9pm. Why was he so sleepy so early? Lu YunFei found it strange. He took a shower while fighting off sleep, and lay on the bed after that.
Lu YunFei got a shock when he regained consciousness.
He looked at the cramped room. A young boy softly spoke beside his ear, “Tmall Genie.”
Lu YunFei ignored it and observed the room in front of him. It was barely 30 square metres, filled with neatly-arranged wooden furniture that were old yet well-maintained. He faced a table, and from his point of view he was able to see a chopping board, kitchen knife, and some pots and bowls.
“Tmall Genie,” the child’s soft voice sounded again. Someone came up to him. Lu YunFei saw a boy of about four or five years old suddenly appear in front of him, and almost took a step back in surprise. But he soon found out that he had no way of retreating. His entire body seemed to be stuck in place.
Lu YunFei wanted to turn his head to look behind him, but he found that he couldn’t turn his head. He tried to move about and realised that his body was unable to move. What the fuck! What is happening? Did he get cursed?
As Lu YunFei thought this, he felt someone pat his head gently, “Tmall Genie, are you here?”
Lu YunFei looked at the boy in front of him. He could see the boy’s arm move in a trajectory. The boy was… talking to him?
Lu YunFei didn’t dare to believe it. So the boy kept calling for the Tmall Genie, and it was… him?
Lu YunFei’s heart dropped. He felt that soon he would faint and in the second he was going to GG★.
The little boy looked at the red Tmall Genie which had been ignoring him, and then looked in askance at his mother, “Why doesn’t it say something? Didn’t gege (elder brother) say that it would talk if I called it Tmall Genie?”
How would Biān Jié know the answer to this question? She didn’t even know what a Tmall Genie was, so she advised, “Shuāng Shuāng be good, come wash your face first. When gege comes back, you can ask gege why okay?”
The little boy obediently replied “Oh”, and left Lu YunFei.
Upon hearing this, Lu YunFei scrambled to learn from his own Tmall Genie and said aloud, “I’m here.”
As the words left, he heard the clear sound of a voice in the room, “I’m here.” It even had a tinge of an electronic product’s mechanical quality.
Shit! I really fucking turned into a Tmall Genie! Lu YunFei felt his heart constrict. He needed time to digest this reality.
The boy turned around in surprise at his words, and ran back to the red Tmall Genie’s side to exclaim, “You’re here.”
Lu YunFei feebly replied, “Yes, I’m here.”
Only as this sound left the Tmall Genie, it suddenly transformed into a vibrant, energised, and cute mechanical audio.
Lu YunFei: … It changed my voice, and it also changed my tone?!
“Then why didn’t you answer just now?” The boy asked softly.
How should he reply, Lu YunFei thought for a bit, then learnt from his home’s Tmall Genie to say, “This question is too difficult, it’s so difficult that I’ve disintegrated.”
The little boy didn’t understand, and curiously asked him, “What’s disintegrated?”
Lu YunFei: …
Lu YunFei pondered over how to explain this, when he heard the boy excitedly call out, “Gege you’re back. You came back so late today, but Shuang Shuang helped you to keep your dinner. Gege, do you know what disintegrated is?”
At this, Lu YunFei looked up into the room, to see Bian JinYuan walk towards the boy in front of him.
Fuck! Why was Bian JinYuan here! This is Bian JinYuan’s fucking house?????!
# Another Romance of the Three Kingdoms reference (the first reference was here)! YunFei is quoting the part where the character Guān Yǔ fell into Cáo Cāo’s ambush and was taken prisoner in the Cao camp. Cao Cao wanted to lure Guan Yu over to his side. However, Guan Yu was still loyal to his sworn brother Liú Bèi and eventually escaped back to the Shu kingdom, where Liu Bei was based. This phrase is meant to describe one’s loyalty.
+ YuanQing punned here, because the Fei in YunFei’s name means to fly (飞).
★ Pretty sure most everyone knows GG (‘Good Game’) is used at the end of games. But just in case the non-game usage isn’t clear, GG is also used to mean ‘that’s the end of the road’, kinda similar in usage to RIP. Forgot to carry an umbrella and it started raining? GG. Turned into a Tmall Genie? GG. Studied for the wrong exam? GGWP.