Aerial Rain
Translating Web Novel

ATCF Ch 55 Part 2 – Didn’t Take the Preliminary Exam (II)

Half an hour to midnight, everyone packed up the cards and started to arrange the cake and candles. Feng Qi watched as the kids earnestly lit the candles and sang the birthday song, then looked at him expectantly. He suddenly found the ritualistic nature of birthdays, which he thought cumbersome before, could also be quite fun.

“Third Uncle, make a wish quickly, then blow out the candles.” This was Jiang Li’s first time staying up late, and she was especially lively.

Feng Qi made a wish and blew out the candles. Jiang Li then busied herself cutting the cake.

Feng Bai curiously asked, “What did you wish for, Third Uncle?”

Jiang Li and Feng Song said in unison: “If you say your wish, it won’t work!”

“…” Feng Bai felt wronged.

Feng Qi chuckled and shook his head, amused by their childish antics. Under Xiao Lizi’s influence, even Feng Song seemed to have become quite childish. Could they really believe a wish wouldn’t come true if spoken aloud?

But then again, he secretly hoped his wish would come true.

The family had eaten dinner earlier, but Jiang Li’s cake looked so tempting that everyone was eagerly awaiting a taste. As they each took a bite, their eyes lit up, and Feng Bai couldn’t help but give a thumbs up, “Xiao Jiang Li, you’ve got a talent for being a chef.”

“Not a chef, a patissier or a baker,” Feng Song corrected his twin.

Feng Bai continued wolfing down the cake, “Whatever, it’s all the same.”

“Third Uncle, how do you like the taste?” Jiang Li asked expectantly.

Feng Qi smiled and nodded, “Very good. My daughter is the best!”

Jiang Li: …

It seemed this joke was going to stick.

Feng Song and Feng Bai exchanged looks, both were amazed at Feng Qi’s shamelessness. Could he really have fathered such a grown daughter?

But the twins, who had learned to fear their third uncle since they were merely but toddlers, didn’t dare voice these thoughts and kept them to themselves.

Jiang Li’s cake was quite large, but the Feng family was numerous, and they managed to finish the entire thing.

Old Master Feng yawned, “If you young people want to stay up, then go ahead. I’m off to rest. Xiao Jiang Li, you should rest too.”

It was Jiang Li’s first time staying up late. She felt quite awake and protested weakly, “Grandpa, I’m also young.”

Her grandpa smiled, “You’re not just young; you’re still growing. Early to bed, early to rise.”

Jiang Li nodded, “Okay, I’ll go to bed. Goodnight, Grandpa.” She then turned to Feng Qi, “Happy birthday, Third Uncle. May you have many more birthdays to come, celebrated by the whole family like today.”

Her second aunt couldn’t help but laugh, “Xiao Jiang Li, are you wishing your Third Uncle to stay single forever?”

Jiang Li: …

She had no retort for that and decided it was best to head to her room to sleep.

Back in her room, Jiang Li thought she might have trouble falling asleep, but within ten minutes of lying down after her usual night routine, she drifted off. Despite going to bed late, her internal clock woke her up at 6:30 the next morning.

Over the next few days of the holiday, Jiang Li stayed home and studied. Her Third Uncle had won a gold medal in his first year, and while she didn’t dare dream that big, she couldn’t lag too far behind either; she had to at least try to make it into the provincial team!

The first three days of the National Day holiday passed quickly, and Jiang Li returned to school to continue her competition studies.

After the holiday ended, the first monthly test since the school year began followed. Before Jiang Li could even concern herself with the results, the competition class underwent several mock tests. After each test, Teacher Sun would start scolding, which seemed to have become a regular occurrence in the competition class.

The students secretly kept account and found that besides the late-joining ‘Golden Triangle’, Jiang Li was the only one who hadn’t been scolded by Teacher Sun.

However, Teacher Sun occasionally did have a few words for Jiang Li, albeit in a comparably gentler tone.

With each mock test’s increasing difficulty and volume, Jiang Li initially felt pressed for time but gradually learned to manage it. She felt a significant improvement in her test papers, and the competition teachers’ glances became warmer and warmer.

When the monthly test results came out, Jiang Li was still first in her grade and Qin Zheng remained second, but Wang Simin had dropped to eighth.

Wang Simin looked at the two in horror, “You two have been busy preparing for the competition and still managed to score this well?”

Jiang Li replied honestly, “But I also paid attention in class!”

Wang Simin retorted, “You were secretly doing competition problems during class.”

Jiang Li declared proudly, “That’s because I pre-studied and knew I wouldn’t have problems.”

Qin Zheng added, “Same for me.”

Wang Simin: …

Alright, the geniuses will always be geniuses, and the realm of prodigy gods was the one she could only look up to!

In mid-October, the long-awaited National High School Mathematics League finally arrived. As the capital city of the province, Minjiang City was naturally the venue for the competition, which was held at Minjiang University. Located in the suburbs, it took over an hour to travel there from Minjiang First High School, so the school booked a hotel in advance and had two math teachers chaperoned the students there the day before the competition. This way, everyone could go directly from the hotel to the exam site the next day.

Jiang Li noticed that one of the math teachers, Teacher Wu, seemed to pay extra attention to her, even asking if she was confident about making it into the provincial team. After some thought, she asked in return, “If I say I’m not, would that make me look coward?”

Teacher Wu’s question was initially meant to gauge Jiang Li’s confidence because of the bet he had with Teacher Sun, but after hearing her response, he couldn’t help but laugh, “Yes, it would seem cowardly. So, do you have confidence?”

Hesitating for a couple of seconds, Jiang Li replied, “Then I guess I do.” After all, she had been doing well on practice problems recently, and her accuracy rate wasn’t worse than Qin Zheng’s. If nothing unexpected happens, she should be able to attend the winter camp.

Teacher Wu nodded with a smile, “Good, that’s the spirit. I wish you luck.” Then he turned to Qin Zheng, “I’ll be very disappointed if you don’t make it into the provincial team.”

Losing the bet to Teacher Sun wasn’t a big deal. Having one more student from the school enter the provincial team would actually make him quite happy. But if Qin Zheng, whom he had high hopes for, lost to Jiang Li and didn’t even make it into the team, that would upset him.

“…” For some reason, Qin Zheng felt like he was being treated as a racehorse Teacher Wu had bet on.

 

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