Aerial Rain
Translating Web Novel

ATCF Ch 53 Part 1 – Pretend They Don’t Know Each Other (I)

After ending the call with her mudslide nephew, Jiang Li continued to delve into her competition class materials. It had been three days since the competition class started, and Jiang Li had noticed that the teaching methods differed from those of regular classes. Scheduled during evening self-study hours, the competition class was taught by various teachers that changed routinely, each covering different specialized topics and employing distinct teaching styles.

The stringent entry test was just the beginning: compared to regular courses, competition classes had a heavier workload and significantly higher difficulty levels. Fortunately, the school was considerate enough to provide all students with recording pens to capture the class content, allowing for later playback and review. Jiang Li made it a habit to transfer the recordings to her phone via Bluetooth right after each class and listen to them with earphones during her spare time.

This intensive study routine had become her new normal. She would use any spare time to consume class content and then find relevant practice questions. Fortunately, unlike other students, Jiang Li felt she had an advantage, as she wasn’t fighting alone. Her senior brother Zhao Qiang and her second brother Feng Song regularly asked her to send them the problems she got wrong and then collected similar types of problems for her to practice repeatedly.

Big Nephew Tong Yi, on the other hand, enjoyed discussing methods not covered in class with her, claiming it would help expand her thinking. Even her busy third uncle checked her daily progress every night and provided feedback.

As Jiang Li’s roommate, Wang Simin felt incredibly fortunate. “I’ve realized how lucky I am to be your roommate. You’re surrounded by geniuses and top students. We’re already winners at the starting line!”

Jiang Li asked curiously: “Aren’t your parents both special-grade teachers? They can also tutor you!”

Wang Simin shook her head. “I’d rather they didn’t. They prefer sending me to tutoring classes than teaching me themselves. Otherwise, it’s just chaos at home. It’s stressful for them and for me.”

“Why is that?” Jiang Li wondered.

Wang Simin sighed, “Not all parents have the patience of your uncle. With your uncle’s level of patience, I almost wonder if his temper is getting mellower with age, which is why he’s so indulgent with you.”

Jiang Li chuckled. “That’s not the case. My uncle isn’t even thirty yet.”

Speaking of which, Third Uncle’s birthday was coming up during the National Day holidays. She should prepare a birthday gift for him.

“Only thirty? Is he as patient with his own kids?” Wang Simin’s parents were quite patient with relatives’ children, but not toward her.

Jiang Li chuckled again, “My Third Uncle’s still single. He has no girlfriend, let alone wife or kids.”

Wang Simin was shocked. “Your grandparents never urge him to marry?”

Jiang Li shook her head. “My grandmother passed away long ago, and my grandfather never interferes with my uncle’s affairs. When someone brought up the topic to him, my grandfather said: ‘He spends all day in the research institute and has no interest in dating. If I forced him to date, it would just harm the girl involved. Better not do such an unjust thing.’”

“Wow, your grandfather is so open-minded! Unlike mine, who’s been pressuring my parents to have a second child since the two-child policy was introduced. He keeps talking about wanting a grandson to carry on the family line. My dad even argued with him over it, but he hasn’t let up.” Wang Simin usually wasn’t as chatty, but with Jiang Li, she seemed to have endless words.

As they were talking, Jiang Li’s phone on the desk vibrated. She picked it up to find another study pointer sent by Big Nephew Tong Yi. She showed the phone to Wang Simin, “Looks like my nephew is sending warmth again. Let’s continue our closed-door study session!”

Wang Simin teased, “You call him nephew, does he actually call you auntie?”

Jiang Li shook her head. “Not yet, but that doesn’t matter. Like it or not, once my brother and his aunt get married, he’ll have to call me auntie.”

As Wang Simin seemed about to continue the topic, Jiang Li quickly added, “Let’s focus on solving problems first and strive to make it to the provincial team together.”

Wang Simin patted Jiang Li’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, you’ll definitely make it. As for me, as long as I don’t get eliminated in the weekend tests, I’ll be fine.”

The competition class currently has 36 students. A weekly test was held every Saturday, and those who failed would be eliminated.

Hearing Wang Simin’s concern about being eliminated, Jiang Li reassured her, “Don’t worry, that won’t happen. We need to have confidence.”

After some more chatting, they resumed their serious study session. When Shen Mian and Zhang Qingqing returned with meals, they found Jiang Li and Wang Simin buried in Olympiad problems, Pang Ju listening to language tapes, and Tang Rou focused on her homework. It was a harmonious scene of dedicated students.

“Dear school prodigies, the food is back. Come eat while it’s hot. You know what they say: an army marches on its stomach!” Zhang Qingqing was the first to break the silence. With Jiang Li and Wang Simin busy with competition preparations in recent days, she and Shen Mian had taken on the task of fetching meals to save their roommates some time.

Jiang Li and Wang Simin were indeed hungry. They quickly finished their meals and hurried to the competition class. It was Saturday, and though there were no lectures, a test was scheduled. By the time they arrived, most of the students were already there, reviewing at their desks.

As soon as they found two open seats and settled down, a boy approached Jiang Li, “These are key points I’ve compiled. Do you want to check them out?” He pushed a notebook towards her.

The boy’s name was Lin Tian, a fellow first year. Since the first day of competition class, it seemed that he had taken an interest in Jiang Li, constantly attempting to curry favor despite her consistent indifference. On the contrary, he seemed to enjoy Jiang Li’s repeated coldness.

Wang Simin, noticing Jiang Li’s continued to ignore Lin Tian, glanced at his open notebook curiously. “Why do you think Jiang Li needs this?”

Lin Tian responded with a gentle smile, “I mean no offense. I heard Jiang Li hadn’t been exposed to competition before. As fellow first years, I thought I’d help if I could.”

Jiang Li looked up at him, “I don’t need it.”

Lin Tian, noticing the thick binder on her desk, said, “I know you’re working on problems too, but if the materials you studied aren’t targeted, it’s not very effective.”

As he reached for her binder, Jiang Li quickly moved it away. She looked at Lin Tian,​frowning, “I don’t like others touching my things.”

Yet Lin Tian persisted, “Jiang Li, I’m just trying to help. Why are you pushing me away?”

Fed up, Jiang Li raised her voice and asked back, “Can’t you understand human language?”

In the novel where Jiang Ruo was the heroine, Lin Tian appeared as a supporting character. He was a child star like Jiang Ruo, although less famous and his family wasn’t as wealthy as the Jiangs. In the story, Jiang Ruo enrolled in Minjiang First High School as planned and followed Qin Zheng in joining the competition class. Naturally, Lin Tian took a fancy to Jiang Ruo and incessantly tried to assist her, creating numerous misunderstandings between her and Qin Zheng. If not for those various misunderstandings, the main couple wouldn’t realize their feelings as quickly. In short, he was a plot tool that essentially served as a catalyst for the main couple’s romantic development.

From Lin Tian’s description in the novel, Jiang Li had no particular fondness for him, nor did she despise him. But now, with Jiang Ruo not attending Minjiang First, Lin Tian turned his attention to her, which Jiang Li found irksome. She was here to study and participate in the competition, not deal with annoying people.

Jiang Li kept a cold face the whole time. When she loudly asked Lin Tian if he couldn’t understand Human language, the students around burst into laughter, as they also thought that Lin Tian was too thick-skinned.

 

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  • Greetings, Ninth Uncle

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