[Chapter 024] If the top student can be counted on, then sows can climb trees
On the last day of the national day holiday, Lu YunFei rejected Wen MingYi’s invitation to have a meal and also rejected Li YuanQing’s invite to play games. He concentrated on revising English at home, hoping that when he died, at least he would die with some grace.
As the saying goes, whatever is most feared to occur would happen. Lu YunFei looked at the paper that Bian JinYuan had handed to him. He thought, I’m doomed, I’m definitely doomed this time.
He spent two lessons worth of time to finish the paper before handing it back to Bian JinYuan.
Bian JinYuan very considerately asked, “Do you need me to use a red pen to mark this?”
Lu YunFei felt that he was simply trying to make things difficult for him!
“No, there’s no need.”
Bian JinYuan understood.
He took the paper and examined it carefully, while Lu YunFei observed his micro-expressions. It was too bad that Bian JinYuan had a natural poker face. Lu YunFei peered at him so long, yet he couldn’t decipher what he was thinking.
After a while, Bian JinYuan finally looked away from the paper and directed his gaze at Lu YunFei.
Lu YunFei smiled at him in embarrassment, “I failed didn’t I?”
“You’ve got a firm grasp of your abilities.”
“It’s been a long time since I’ve gained awareness of my skills.”
Bian JinYuan felt that his words held a tinge of regret.
“It’s okay, you’ll get there slowly but surely,” he said.
Lu YunFei sighed, “If only it were that easy. I’ve had English tutors since elementary school, and while I had spark of triumph in middle school, ever since high school I’ve dropped to the depths of the bottom. Sigh, it’s really hard.”
Bian JinYuan kept the paper and said, “Go slowly and grasp the correct method, and you will surely rise up.”
After he said that, he started working on his Mathematics paper. Lu YunFei looked at him and thought, so that’s it? Was it really just to get a feel for his level? Shouldn’t he take the opportunity to customise a set of mock questions? That was it?
“Hey, teacher Bian,” Lu YunFei poked him with his pen, “Do you have anything else to say?”
Bian JinYuan shook his head.
Lu YunFei was shocked, he had thought that Bian JinYuan would help him with his tutoring! In the end after all that fuss, he had only just gotten a feel of his level. Regarding all the frills which he had said yesterday, he was simply playing with his feelings!
Lu YunFei felt cheated. Scum, Bian JinYuan was such a scum! Lu YunFei huffily took out his Mathematics paper to work on it too.
In the afternoon, Bian JinYuan left the classroom early as usual to go to his part-time work. Lu YunFei, Li YuanQing, and Wen MingYi went out to eat.
Li YuanQing complained the entire way, “You don’t know just how badly my National Day went! My mum didn’t allow the aunty to make me food, I had to cook for myself.”
“Then just cook for yourself,” Lu YunFei said.
“Wow, master Lu says it so breezily. Can you cook for yourself?”
Lu YunFei looked at him, “I can’t, but I have an aunty.”
“So you starved for three days?” Wen MingYi asked.
“Nope, even though my birth mother wanted me to starve, I still have a godmother! My godmother caused me to grow a belly.”
Lu YunFei looked at him in askance, “You, godmother?”
“She’s not just my godmother, she’s everyone’s godmother,” Li YuanQing grinned, “The country’s goddess — Lǎo Gàn Mā (Old Godmother).”
“You mean you ate Lao Gan Ma for three consecutive days?” Wen MingYi asked in astonishment, “Did your blood pressure drop?”
Li YuanQing: …
Li YuanQing looked at him in annoyance, “I have my limits okay, it’s only at home where I hug the goddess and lay in the embrace of my godmother. Once I’m out of the house, I’m free as fish in the sea and a bird in the sky to eat whatever I want.”
At this point of the conversation, Lu YunFei suddenly thought of something, “Do you think that Bian JinYuan has time to eat lunch if he works part-time every afternoon?”
He remembered the time when he helped Bian JinYuan in his fight, and that Bian JinYuan had gone to eat after the fight. So just where did he work in the afternoon? It was definitely not the cake shop, it was too far from school and was impossible for him to include traveling to and fro together with his working hours.
“If you’re curious,” Wen MingYi said, “Then just ask him. I see that he treats you quite well, even helping to oversee your spelling memorisation.”
“Don’t bring it up,” Lu YunFei was annoyed just thinking about it. Since yesterday, he had made preparations to learn from him, but this teacher had only made a casual remark and simply wanted to gauge his level. He never intended to take him under his wing, it was so infuriating. It was then when Lu YunFei felt that what Bian JinYuan’s ex-deskmate said was right — if the top student would be counted on, then sows could climb trees✦.
Evidently, even though the sow had already climbed the tree, the top student still couldn’t be counted upon.
“Nothing. Let’s go, eat.”
At night. Lu YunFei saw tutor Wang once more. During National Day, tutor Wang had created a new set of tutoring methods.
“What do you think? Is this easier to understand?” Tutor Wang asked with hopeful expectations.
Lu YunFei glanced at his young and dependable English tutor who still seemed to have a headful of hair, and regretfully replied with his honest opinion, “You may not believe me, but no.”
Tutor Wang felt that he was becoming depressed.
“Don’t worry, this is only the first part. Let’s try it and see if there’s any improvement later on.”
Lu YunFei saw his look of perseverance and thought that if they continued on this path, it wasn’t sure that his English might improve or not, but it was definite that tutor Wang’s hair was going to be a lot thinner.
It would be terrifying if he didn’t become better yet tutor Wang became bald in the end.
And so Lu YunFei patted the shoulder of his cool and seemingly mixed race tutor, “You’ve worked hard.”
“It’s nothing, it’s nothing. I’m just working for the service of my countrymen,” tutor Wang replied with nationalistic fervour.
At 9pm, Lu YunFei once again woke up in the Tmall Genie. There were no other people in Bian JinYuan’s house this time. Bian Jie was teaching Shuang Shuang how to read, while Bian JinYuan was writing something.
Lu YunFei felt bored, and started to memorise English vocabulary.
After memorising for a while, he heard Bian Jie say to Bian JinYuan, “Shuang Shuang and I are turning in, you should sleep early too.”
“Mmm,” Bian JinYuan nodded, “I will after I’m done writing this.”
Bian Jie glanced over and asked, “You’re writing English?”
Bian JinYuan nodded.
Seeing this, Bian Jie didn’t probe further and helped Shuang Shuang to clean his face, hands, and feet before carrying him off to bed.
Lu YunFei watched as Bian JinYuan bent his head down to write English as he occasionally flipped through books and referenced the teaching materials. He thought about what kind of English it was that he needed to work on it for so long. IELTS?
He looked at the clock hung upon the nearby wall. When the clock turned twelve, he reminded Bian JinYuan, “The time now in Beijing is 12am.”
Bian JinYuan was surprised when he suddenly made a sound. He turned back to look at the Tmall Genie behind him and said in exasperation, “Tmall Genie.”