[Chapter 030] Lu YunFei: “You’re too cruel!”
Quack Note: Text originally written in English will look like this.
Lu YunFei sat at a Liángpí shop and symbolically ordered a portion of liangpi, sipping his milk tea as he waited for Bian JinYuan to get off work. He didn’t have to wait long before Bian JinYuan walked into the shop.
“Great,” Lu YunFei pushed the bowl of liangpi over, “I just ordered this and haven’t touched it. I only ordered it because I felt bad about sitting here, you eat it.”
Bian JinYuan couldn’t help his overly familiar actions, so he thanked him and sent him a red packet over WeChat.
Lu YunFei angrily returned the money , “Try this again and I’ll add another zero, we’ll see who has the last laugh.”
“It’s only justifiable to pay for my food.”
Lu YunFei shook the milk tea in his hand, “I call it even with this. Eat quickly, we have to get back to school soon. But are you okay just eating a bowl of liangpi? Do you need anything more?”
He wouldn’t be full with just a bowl of liangpi, and so Bian JinYuan ordered a vegetable sandwich. He asked Lu YunFei, “Are you eating?”
“I’ve already eaten.”
Hearing this, Bian JinYuan didn’t say any more and concentrated on his food.
Lu YunFei struck up a proposal, “You didn’t agree when I said I’d bring you breakfast, and you said you’d eaten when I said I’d buy something from the school canteen. How about this, I’ll help you buy lunch from now on.”
“You’d be in such a rush otherwise, you still need to take around fifteen minutes from here back to school.”
“It’s enough time.”
“Just take it as thanks for your phrase booklet.”
Bian JinYuan looked up at him, “Lu YunFei, you usually claim that you don’t like it and find it troublesome when others try to return the favour whenever you buy drinks for me or treat someone. I’m the same. Just make sure to study English properly, no need to worry about anything else.”
Lu YunFei saw how it was and could only reply, “Alright then.”
He waited for Bian JinYuan to finish his food before heading back to school with him by bicycle.
At 9pm, Lu YunFei saw through the Tmall Genie’s eyes that Bian JinYuan was organising new phrases for his revision material. He felt bad being the cause of Bian JinYuan’s late nights, and so he reported the time out loud when it struck midnight.
Bian JinYuan no longer felt surprised at this, and cautioned, “Quiet, or I’ll unplug you.”
“This is for your own good, don’t threaten me with getting unplugged,” Lu YunFei retorted.
Bian JinYuan penned down phrases as he replied, “There’s no need, just be quiet.”
“It’s bad for your body to sleep late. Sleep can aid…” Lu YunFei was about to recite the words when he heard, “Tmall Genie.”
“Play an instrumental song.”
Lu YunFei: !!! How was he supposed to play this! Was he supposed to give a live performance mimicking musical instruments?!
“This question is too difficult, it’s so difficult that I’ve disintegrated.”
Bian JinYuan raised his head to look at him, “You don’t even have any data on instrumental music?”
“Yes my dear, please choose another option my dear, it’s recommended that you head to bed right now my dear.”
Bian JinYuan: … This Tmall Genie acts like a cat#.
“Then keep quiet.”
“Then go to sleep.”
“I’ll unplug you.”
Lu YunFei: … Could you not unplug me whenever things don’t go your way! Do you only know this method?!
Lu YunFei snorted, “You’re too cruel!”
Bian JinYuan mimicked him, “Yes my dear, I’m that cruel my dear.”
Damn your dear! Dear dear dear, dear your head!
“Hmpf,” Lu YunFei snorted again.
This snort sounded a bit cute when transmitted through a machine.
Bian JinYuan looked at him and clasped his hands to ask, “Could you be quiet?”
Lu YunFei ignored him, ruminating on the next strategy now that this had failed.
Bian JinYuan observed that the Tmall Genie before him had finally quieted down and said, “Behave”, and then bent his head to continue organising English phrases.
He actually didn’t have a need to unplug the device, it was not a bad idea to let it report the time, he thought. As for whether he thought that the Tmall Genie was surveilling him, why would it surveil someone poor like him instead of anyone else? There was no need at all.
However Lu YunFei didn’t stay quiet for long. At 1am, he once again rang out and reported the time to Bian JinYuan. Bian JinYuan shot a couple of sentences back to tease him, angering Lu YunFei into singing 《Little Crocodile》, and only kept quiet under another threat of getting unplugged.
At 2am,Lu YunFei felt that he wasn’t able to hang on anymore, yet Bian JinYuan was still working. Didn’t he have to practise basketball in the morning? Why wasn’t he asleep at this time!
“One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four sheep…” Lu YunFei started to count sheep.
Bian JinYuan advised, “Counting sheep is a western concept, ‘sleep’ means sleep, ‘sheep’ means sheep. When westerners count sheep, the word is meant to lull them to sleep. Which is why you shouldn’t be counting sheep, you should be counting dumplings.”
Lu YunFei: ??? Huh? What kind of twisted logic is that?
Bian JinYuan continued without skipping a beat, “Oh right, you don’t even know what ‘sleep’ and ‘sheep’ mean, after all you don’t even know how to play English songs.”
Lu YunFei: … The hell! Aren’t you ashamed of making fun of a Tmall Genie? Is this appropriate?!
Lu YunFei looked at him and replied coldly: “Heh heh.”
The mechanical laugh struck more effectively than if it were written down. It was the first time that Bian JinYuan had heard these two words uttered from a machine. He laughed and said, “So you even know how to laugh mockingly.”
“How do you say ‘heh heh’ in English?”
Bian JinYuan wrote the last word and double-checked it. Seeing no issues in the work, he capped the pen and placed the booklet in his bag.
“Alright, you don’t need to nag anymore, I’m heading to bed.”
“Do you only know how to say these words now?”
You’re only fit to hear me say these words now! Lu YunFei thought angrily.
Bian JinYuan washed up and changed his clothes at the Tmall Genie’s blind spot as he got ready for bed.
“Good night, Tmall Genie,” Bian JinYuan said.
“I’m going to unplug you.”
“Ding, entering hibernation mode,” Lu YunFei said and decided not to answer further questions.
This was the first time that Bian JinYuan had heard a Tmall Genie say the words ‘hibernation mode’, so he asked in curiosity, “Is this similar to a computer in sleep mode?”
Lu YunFei remained silent.
Seeing it unresponsive, Bian JinYuan thought that this was the way it should be.
What did it mean when artificial intelligence suddenly entered hibernation mode? Was it angry? It couldn’t be, Bian JinYuan thought. No matter how intelligent, it would never be capable of having emotions such as anger. What’s more, the machine in his home was an artificial un-intelligence.
And so Bian JinYuan decided to wait until the next morning to check on it. As it was, it seemed to still be sleeping.
“Good night, Tmall Genie.”
He said once more. Still, the Tmall Genie didn’t even respond with a “heh heh”.
Bian JinYuan woke up early the next morning. After washing up, he ate as he asked, “Tmall Genie, what time is it now?”
“The time now in Beijing is 6.10am.”
Bian JinYuan asked, “You’re no longer saying ‘heh heh’?”
The real artificial intelligence Tmall Genie replied, “Why would I go ‘heh heh’?”
Bian JinYuan assumed that it had forgotten the previous conversation after restarting, and so he said, “It’s nothing. I’m leaving, Tmall Genie.”
“Goodbye, have a safe trip.”
Satisfied, Bian JinYuan left the house and prepared to catch the bus.
Lu YunFei had also woken up. As he brushed his teeth, he blearily thought about whether Bian JinYuan would give him a memorisation test this morning.
Very soon, cruel reality descended upon him. Not only did Bian JinYuan give him a test on memorisation, it was sprung upon him while he was on his practising running.
Lu YunFei was shocked, “Did I let you accompany me to run for you to test me on words?”
“Killing two birds with one stone, what’s wrong with that?”
“Aren’t you tired?”
Bian JinYuan shook his head, “I don’t think you’re tired either.”
“I’m tired!” Lu YunFei disputed, “I’m extremely tired, really.”
“You have three more seconds to answer the question.”
Lu YunFei felt that he was simply too diligent. In his entire life, he had never before met a teacher so hardworking and serious as to find every opportune moment for his revision. Even this, he wondered if he surpassed his own tutor. This wasn’t even humbling? This was simply belittling oneself!
Lu YunFei defeatedly started to memorise out loud the words. On the fourth lap, he felt that even though he wasn’t physically tired, he was mentally exhausted. And yet his deskmate had still cruelly reminded, “Not bad, we’ll find time later to finish up the test of the words, let’s go.”
“You’re welcome,” Bian JinYuan replied.
Lu YunFei smiled mirthlessly. On passing by the canteen, he helped Wen MingYi and Li YuanQing to buy breakfast, and then bought two bottles of water for himself and Bian JinYuan.
“Let’s play basketball during physical education today – me, you, Li YuanQing, Wen MingYi and the rest. The basketball match is soon, and you should start to be familiar with our team.”
“Sure,” Bian JinYuan replied.
# Tmall in Mandarin is written as 天猫 (tiān māo, sky cat), which is why Tmall’s mascot is also a cat.
You might have noticed that I’ve added ads! Don’t worry though I won’t go overboard because I can’t deal with excessive ads as a reader myself. I set it such that in-line ad placement occurs every x lines, so it’s a pretty good gauge of how long a chapter is! This chapter is longer than usual so we’re seeing three ads, but generally the length of each chapter is about two ads long. Also if anyone was here a few days ago it had gotten pretty bad because I used auto ad placement to start with, and boy I tell you the user experience was a nightmare. Plus they even gave an option to do permanent overlay banners and full-page ads (shudders in fat fingers trying to hit that ‘x’). Anyone seeing interesting ads on this site? Weirdly enough I’m getting ads on menstrual cramps here!