[Chapter 056] It’s getting cold, let Zhang YanRong retire & Fei Fei’s birthday
Bian JinYuan smiled, “Seems like I can.”
“You cannot!” Lu YunFei held onto him, “Master, you can’t abandon your disciple! This disciple’s English depends on you! Only you!”
“Isn’t teacher Zhao good at teaching too? A blessing in disguise.”
Lu YunFei: …
This was the first time that Lu YunFei realised just how petty his master was that he didn’t allow others to be praised in front of him. And so Lu YunFei responded, “My words just now were said out of courtesy and politeness, they’re superficial and can’t be counted.”
“Then how would I know that your words now were not said out of courtesy and politeness, that they’re not superficial and can’t be counted?”
Lu YunFei wanted to wail.
Bian JinYuan smiled and used his other hand which had not been captured by him to rub his head, “I was teasing you.”
Lu YunFei: …
“Was it fun to tease me?”
Bian JinYuan actually nodded his head, “It is quite fun.”
Lu YunFei: …
Lu YunFei didn’t know what to say to this, and thought that perhaps he should bid his master an early new year✶.
After Bian JinYuan finished tutoring Lu YunFei, Lu YunShang had returned home. Seeing him leave, she said, “Get home safely.”
“Thank you jiejie, goodbye jiejie,” Bian JinYuan said.
Lu YunShang nodded slightly and saw him out the door.
“Let me see who’s come back, it’s our heroic female warrior!” Lu YunFei went over to Lu YunShang and said happily, “I’ve already received news of your success.”
“You’ll be receiving more good news soon,” Lu YunShang removed her coat and poured herself a cup of water.
“What do you mean?” Lu YunFei asked.
“First she was trying to gouge you, then she tried to frame you and even abandoned her teaching responsibilities. Does this kind of teacher deserve to be one?”
“So you asked the principal to fire her?”
Lu YunShang feigned surprise, “Xiao Fei, do I look like such a tyrant to you?”
“Was I wrong?” Lu YunFei felt that she was very much so. Despite her outward appearance of beauty and gentleness, her way of handling things could be described as a hurricane. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been roped in by his dad to assist him by his side even before she had graduated from university. After graduating university, she had immediately assumed the role of a department manager.
“Of course not,” Lu YunShang said serenely, “The Lu family isn’t one to use their power to oppress others. If word got out, we would be misunderstood.”
“Didn’t your Language teacher teach you, ‘To subdue the enemy without engaging them is superior∇’.”
Lu YunShang put down her cup, “I’m heading to my room, study hard.”
Lu YunFei watched her leave in confusion, wondering if his jiejie had switched from reading novels to reading military strategies now? Why were people reading military strategies now, is the Art of War that compelling?
Evidently, The Art of War was compelling. Not only that, it was also useful, because Zhang YanRong resigned.
Saying that it was a resignation wasn’t totally accurate. To be accurate, she had been fired by the school. After the parent-teacher meeting, teacher Zhao from Humanities became in charge of class one. That night, Zhang YanRong received a phone call from the principal and was harshly criticised. She had tearfully expressed her remorse and said that she would never do it again.
Her uncle had her back, and so the principal had wanted to close an eye to let this pass as long as she would change and teach the other classes properly. But who would have known that the parents of other classes heard of Zhang YanRong’s situation and called up their respective homeroom teachers. The next day, they brought this matter to the school grounds, each expressing their distrust at this sort of teacher.
“The class one results are so good and yet she refused to teach them properly. How would she teach our classes sincerely then?”
The parents were vocal and refused to budge down. Among them were the rich and powerful who had called the principal in person. In the end, the principal had no choice but to ask her to resign.
Zhang YanRong’s uncle had asked for leniency on her behalf, but that proved futile. Zhang YanRong now was like a street rat who was heavily-scrutinised by the parents from First High. Whichever class she appeared in, the parents from that class would start to barrage the school with phone calls. Despite her tears and pleadings, Zhang YanRong could not be saved.
On her last day, Zhang YanRong’s eyes were red. Students from class one who bumped into her at the stairs didn’t say anything, and simply went around her.
When Lu YunFei heard of Zhang YanRong being fired from the school, he had actually felt a bit sorry. From the beginning, he had never done anything untoward her. If she hadn’t dug a hole for herself, she wouldn’t have dropped to this point.
“A natural disaster can be mitigated, but a self-imposed disaster spells doom⨁,” Lu YunFei said, as he continued doing his homework.
Class one could have been said to have been in the limelight after Zhang YanRong was fired, because that was when the other classes realised just how they had studied for the mid-term exams. As for Bian JinYuan who had attained deification in one battle♜, he had virtually become a new legend.
“Damn! That’s too cool. As expected of class one, the express class is just amazing!”
“Compared to that, I’m more impressed by Bian JinYuan. Is he even human? He’s too extraordinary, teaching class one and even raising their grades at that. Astounding!”
“He’s definitely a study god. You and I are mere common folk, JinYuan the study god!”
“I’m so curious to know how Bian JinYuan taught class one. I’d also like to listen, can I?”
The students from class one read the post and thought that it was such a shame, because it was impossible to listen in. Not just that, study god Bian was basically stone-cold heartless✚ now. After the mid-terms, whenever they looked for him to answer their questions, the study god was the same cool and aloof expression, as if they were strangers.
At each instance, everyone would be very envious of Lu YunFei. In fact some girls would secretly ask Lu YunFei, “Why does he treat you so well?”
Lu YunFei thought and answered sincerely, “Perhaps because I’m more handsome?”
The girls: ???
Lu YunFei waved them off, “A melon that is forcefully picked isn’t sweet. Find someone else.”
Actually, Lu YunFei had also tried to sound Bian JinYuan out, “Don’t be like that. People are social creatures. You could take this chance to make friends with everyone. The saying goes, ‘to depend on your parents at home, to depend on your friends outside’. Having friends is always better.”
Bian JinYuan asked him as he did his homework, “Aren’t you my friend?”
“But you can’t just have me as your only friend.”
“It’s sufficient,” Bian JinYuan replied.
Lu YunFei was worried. But thinking about it, that was fine too. He was able to get whatever he wanted, and wouldn’t be a burden on Bian JinYuan. Friendship was judged by quality and not by quantity. Having him as a friend was more than enough.
With that thought, Lu YunFei stopped talking to him about it.
As they entered the month of December, the air turned chilly. Lu YunFei and Bian JinYuan had also started wearing their down feather jackets. The streets were littered with Christmas decorations, as if constantly reminding Bian JinYuan that Lu YunFei’s birthday was approaching.
Lu YunFei usually celebrated his birthday with his family on the actual day, and would find a weekend before or after it to celebrate with his friends.
He asked Bian JinYuan, “Would you like to celebrate my birthday together with my family?”
Bian JinYuan pondered over it and eventually rejected the notion. He was, after all, unfamiliar with the other people in the Lu family, and it would be too awkward.
Lu YunFei had guessed that this would be the case, and so he didn’t press it, “Then you can celebrate it during the weekend with the others.”
“Okay,” Bian JinYuan agreed.
Once settled between the both of them, Lu YunFei quickly selected a weekend and informed the group chat to book everyone there and to discuss the celebration activities. Winter was cold, so people didn’t want to engage in a lot of activities. They decided on hotpot and karaoke. Lu YunFei asked Bian JinYuan, “Is eating and singing okay?”
Bian JinYuan nodded.
Lu YunFei thought, then I’ll have to make sure you sing. After all, he had not heard Bian JinYuan sing another song other than Mary Had a Little Lamb.
Very soon, it was Lu YunFei’s birthday. He had many friends, and about seven or eight came. Apart from Li YuanQing and Wen MingYi whom Bian JinYuan knew, there were also those who were Lu YunFei’s primary and middle school classmates. Everyone gave their presents and celebrated together with fervor.
There were too many people. Lu YunFei only realised later that Bian JinYuan had been silently sitting at a corner and didn’t sing at all. He slowly came over and asked, “Aren’t you singing?”
“You guys sing.”
Lu YunFei looked at his face, his expression which was obscured by the lighting, and whispered, “Are you uncomfortable in this sort of crowded atmosphere?“
He couldn’t be blamed for thinking so. He had always known Bian JinYuan as someone to do things by himself. This type of environment was probably his first.
“No,” Bian JinYuan said lightly.
“You’re really not?”
Bian JinYuan smiled, “I’m really not.”
Lu YunFei then relaxed, “Then do you want to sing? I’ll help you key it in.”
“No need,” Bian JinYuan said, “You guys sing.”
Lu YunFei didn’t feel good pushing him to sing, so he simply sat next to him.
After the group exited the KTV, everyone was surprised to find that it was snowing.
This was the first snow of winter. Had there been young girls in the group, they would have rejoiced at the romantic notion of the first snow. It was too bad that these were seven or eight boys who lacked romance cells, who could only think of one thing, “It’s snowing, there will probably be a traffic jam. It also won’t be easy to hail a cab.”
Lu YunFei agreed, “That’s true, quickly hail a cab and go home.”
The bunch of them hailed cabs and went home. Lu YunFei sent them off first before taking a cab together with Bian JinYuan, “I’ll send you home first, where will you drop off?” He asked.
Bian JinYuan said the name of a train station. Lu YunFei quickly noted it down, intending to look it up when he got home.
“Come to think of it, I still haven’t visited your home,” Lu YunFei turned to look at Bian JinYuan, “Let me visit your house some time.”
Bian JinYuan froze for a moment, before rejecting with, “Forget it.”
“Why not?” Lu YunFei asked in puzzlement, “We’re so close to each other now, I still can’t visit your home?”
“There’s nothing to see there,” Bian JinYuan said darkly.
Lu YunFei looked at him. The streetlights passing by cast lines of light before disappearing. Lu YunFei suddenly realised — was Bian JinYuan being self-conscious?
He looked on as Bian JinYuan sat in the car in silence, quiet, cool, as if he wasn’t concerned by anything, as if everything existed in his grasp. Yet, he had rejected him. This was the first time that he had rejected him.
He didn’t look like someone who was self-conscious. Usually, he would assume an air of confident indifference in whatever he did. Yet, going into the matter, he was still just a normal seventeen year old boy. He would be gentle and protective towards someone he liked, and would also want to retain his dignity in front of them.
No matter what kind of ‘like’ it was.
✶ 拜个早年 (bài gè zǎo nián) is internet slang said in awkward situations in order to diffuse the atmosphere. While it literally means to greet or wish someone a happy new year in advance, its usage is meant to convey that someone has no words to say in an awkward situation. This phrase gained viral traction apparently because some Italian soccer player wore a jersey which had this phrase?!?! Details on Baidu (Mandarin).
∇ This saying comes from Sun Tze’s Art of War – 不战而屈人之兵，善之善者也 (bù zhàn ér qū rén zhī bīng, shàn zhī shàn zhě yě). This line is actually half of the saying. The entire saying basically states ‘Winning every battle fought may not be the best. Winning battles without fighting at all is the best.’
⨁ This is a saying 天作孽犹可违，自作孽不可活 (tiān zuò niè yóu kě wéi, zì zuò niè bù kě huó), where the focus of the meaning is on the later half – anyone who invites disaster unto themselves won’t be able to escape it. Also, I’m so amused by Google Translate because I pasted the line to get the hanyu pinyin (the romanized reading), and saw that it translated to English as ‘Heaven is in violation, self-respect’. Huh that’s totally off! To be fair, most of these sayings are written in super condensed classical writing that I have to resort to referring to chinese dictionaries or wikis to understand what they’re saying too. But still, I guess it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that we all need a little self-respect in our lives today lol!
♜ The phrase used was 一战封神 (yī zhàn fēng shén). It looks like the term ‘封神’ means that someone is considered god-like level, as it turns out that ‘封’ has an older meaning, ‘bestow’ – as in the past where kings would bestow titles to an heir. In modern usage, ‘封’ means to ‘seal’, like in an envelope). So put together, this phrase literally means ‘one battle attain god-tier’ or something to that effect. I’m glad I dug a little deeper into this phrase because I was originally inclined to translate it as ‘sealing a god in a single battle’!
✚ I translated it as ‘stone-cold heartless’, but the term used in the original text was 拔Dior无情 (bá Dior wú qíng), which let me tell you, gave me a major runaround trying to figure out how exactly the luxury brand fit into this story. Turns out that the author used a popular self-censorship substitute phrase to write the phrase 拔吊无情 (bá diào wú qíng), which means to pretend not to know someone after being intimate with them (a one-night stand)!