[Chapter 011] It’s spelling, be serious about it.
“Spelling,” Bian JinYuan said concisely.
“There are 50 of them!”
“It’s only 50.”
Lu YunFei blinked in confusion, “Classmate Bian, why are you doing this to me?”
Bian JinYuan said calmly, “A drop of water given in need, shall be repaid with a gushing spring. It’s time for my spring to gush.”
Who the fuck let your spring gush here!!!
“Did you forget that your spring has already gushed,” Lu YunFei kindly reminded him, “The basketball match.”
Bian JinYuan lifted the corners of his mouth and smiled. Lu YunFei thought that this morning was quite exceptional, he actually managed to see him smile twice.
And then he heard Bian JinYuan state, “Have you ever seen a fountain spout only once?”
Lu YunFei: …
Lu YunFei had a flash of inspiration, “Don’t we have such a fountain in school? It only spouts during the welcome ceremony.”
“Even though it spouts once a year at every welcome ceremony, since the school was established, it has spouted a number of times already.”
“Then you could also do it once a year,” Lu YunFei wholeheartedly recommended.
Bian JinYuan levelly said, “You still want to be deskmates with me next year?”
Lu YunFei said in his heart, it’s not impossible.
Nonetheless his mouth swiftly denied it, “I don’t, never did, don’t spout nonsense.”
“Then memorise your spelling properly,” Bian JinYuan concluded, not giving him a chance to refute.
Lu YunFei sighed in exasperation as he looked at the sheet of paper in his hands. He recognised every Chinese character on it, but he just wasn’t able to translate them into English. In despair he let his head drop onto the desk, feeling the gloominess of life and the bleak future which stemmed from the morning he had English spelling memorisation.
Lu YunFei anxiously and fearfully worked on writing down the 50 English words, before forcefully pushing the paper back to Bian JinYuan.
“I tried my best,” he said softly.
It was rare to see him so deflated. Bian JinYuan felt intrigued by the sight, and took the paper over to take a look at it.
“You call this doing your best?” Bian JinYuan almost couldn’t believe it. He shook the paper in his hand, “15 out of the 50 words are blank, this is your best?”
Lu YunFei said softly, “Wasn’t it because I just couldn’t remember them?”
“Did you really memorise the words after school?” Bian JinYuan asked suspiciously.
Lu YunFei nodded furiously, “I did memorise them, how could I not? Do I not have a measure of my English level?”
Bian JinYuan had a headache. This was the first time he had encountered a situation like Lu YunFei, and he didn’t know what to say.
Bian JinYuan took out his red gel pen. Lu YunFei immediately turned his head the other way, unable to face the rain of red directly, and was even more fearful of the gloomy results.
Very soon, the marks were calculated.
Bian JinYuan patted his deskmate. Lu YunFei looked at him in trepidation.
Bian JinYuan couldn’t bear to chastise him after being looked at like that. He coughed once and placed the paper back in front of Lu YunFei and said, “Memorise it again. I’ve helped you to write down the words that you couldn’t remember. Re-memorise them and we’ll test again during the noon break.
Lu YunFei heard his, “I’ve helped you to write the words that you couldn’t remember,” and was quite touched. He thought, what a nice person, nice people should enjoy a lifetime of peace. But when he heard the later part, “We’ll test again during the noon break,” he was just like what the fuck face#.
The fuck he had a retest??! Can’t you let people look forward to the noon school break!
“How about retesting in the afternoon?” Lu YunFei suggested.
However Bian JinYuan had his own idea, “There’ll be a retest in the afternoon, but that doesn’t interfere with the retest during noon break.”
This implied that after the noon spelling, there would be another spelling in the afternoon?! Lu YunFei wanted to faint and escape from this inhumane torture.
Bian JinYuan saw how he seemed unable to cope and sent him a rare encouragement, “Sincerity will split even metal and stone. When Heaven is about to confer a great office on any man, it first exercises his mind with suffering, and his sinews and bones with toil+. All you’ve got to do is to exercise your mind in suffering.”
“I thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Repaying a good deed with gratitude is a traditional virtue of our country.”
Lu YunFei: … Is this even your style? I see that you’re quite capable of talking nonsense. Weren’t you supposed to be indifferent and too busy? Why do you have the time for this!
Lu YunFei silently took out his English practice book and started to memorise vocabulary.
Lu YunFei’s memory was good. No matter the length of the text, or how difficult the Chemistry equations, he was able to easily memorise them. The only thing that he couldn’t memorise was English. 50 words – apart from the 16 words which he got right, Lu YunFei spent almost an entire lesson trying to memorise the other 34 words before he could consider them retained.
He spent another lesson to consolidate them before he breathed a sigh of relief, confirming that he really had them memorised.
At 11.30am, Lu YunFei was working on today’s Mathematics homework when he suddenly felt Bian JinYuan poke him. He turned his head and, as expected, what was due had arrived.
Lu YunFei received the worksheet with determination, and wrote the memorised English words next to Bian JinYuan’s Chinese characters. He wrote quickly, and after checking once for mistakes, he handed it back to Bian JinYuan and looked at him in anticipation.
Bian JinYuan looked over the worksheet, and then faced his anxious eyes and said calmly, “All correct.”
Lu YunFei’s eyes brightened, and he even had a tinge of pride and delight.
He pushed Bian JinYuan and said unsatisfactorily, “Then you’ve got to tick them and write a 100 marks. It’s spelling, be serious about it.”
Bian JinYuan who had randomly been labelled as unserious looked at his excited face and helplessly took his red gel pen to tick them, and then wrote a 100 under it.
“Is this fine?”
Lu YunFei held up the paper and looked seriously at all the red ticks on the English words, and also the 100 marks underneath. He was incredibly pleased and even wanted to find a place to mount this piece of paper.
Bian JinYuan saw how his eyes were all curved from smiling and thought that his personality was still quite child-like. He was so happy just from getting everything right. It was likely because of the English torture, Bian JinYuan thought, so he should probably help him out. After all, a drop of water given in need, shall be repaid with a gushing spring.
Due to him getting full marks, Lu YunFei’s mood was great all noon. Even when Bian JinYuan suddenly sprung another spelling test during the first afternoon class, he was still happy, and confidently finished it.
He got them all correct this time as well. Lu YunFei was delighted and carefully sandwiched both 100 marks spelling tests in his book.
Right before school let off in the afternoon, Bian JinYuan got him to undergo another round of spelling. Seeing that he hadn’t forgotten any words, he reminded him, “There’ll be spelling tomorrow too, remember to memorise them tonight.”
“Understood,” classmate Lu replied obediently.
The newly-appointed teacher classmate Bian had obviously felt his compliance in this aspect. He had initially thought that Lu YunFei would have rejected English, but since the spelling this morning, he realised that Lu YunFei had only talked about his unwillingness while his actions were accommodating. It was a case of an unwilling mouth and a straightforward body, and was quite endearing.
Bian JinYuan packed his school bag and prepared to go to his part-time job.
Lu YunFei quickly went home to memorise the words once more, and then completed his homework. When 9pm approached, he lay on his bed.
+ Bian JinYuan is quoting philosopher Mencius who basically said that man needs to overcome obstacles in order to become a better person. For anyone interested, here’s the translated text.
Honestly I never expected to learn so much about Chinese philosophy and poetry translating this. I think my Chinese and Chinese Literature teachers would faint if they knew I’m learning more from BL than their best efforts at cramming stuff into my head in school all those years ago.