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Aerial Rain
Translating Web Novel

ATCF Ch 55 Part 3 – Didn’t Take the Preliminary Exam (III)

Once at the hotel, Jiang Li found that the school had booked double rooms. She and Wang Simin shared a room. Having already been roommates for over a month, Jiang Li didn’t mind and slept as soon as her head hit the pillow, much to Wang Simin’s envy.

The next morning, the students woke up early. Jiang Li and Wang Simin went to the exam venue together, though they were not assigned to the same classroom.

Arriving early at the classroom, Jiang Li saw other students coming in gradually, some of them quite sociable and striking up conversations immediately.

The boy sitting in front of Jiang Li was very talkative, going around asking everyone how much they scored in the preliminary round. When he asked Jiang Li, she shook her head, “I didn’t take the preliminary exam.”

The boy was shocked, “You didn’t take the preliminary exam? How is that possible?”

Jiang Li wondered, “Is it mandatory to take the preliminary exam?”

The boy nodded emphatically, “Of course. We first have to win our school’s recommendation for the preliminary exam, and only after passing it can we be here.”

A girl nearby muttered, “Could there be some insider manipulation?”

Jiang Li: “…” How did an idle gossip turn into a conspiracy?

As Jiang Li remained silent, the surrounding students began murmuring about “unfairness” and “insider manipulation.”

A boy in a white shirt suddenly spoke up, interrupting the speculations. “Not taking the preliminary exam is possible. Are you from Minjiang First or Minjiang Second High School?”

Jiang Li looked at the boy, not understanding his point.

The boy in the white shirt explained with a smile, “Yes, to be here, you usually need to pass the preliminary exam, but there are exceptions. Schools like Minjiang First and Minjiang Second, as well as Rongcheng First High School, have fixed quotas for the competition. Their students can directly participate in the second round without the preliminaries.”

The boy who had questioned Jiang Li scoffed, “That’s so unfair. How do we know what kind of students those schools are sending?”

The boy in the white shirt returned his scornful gaze, “Minjiang First has thirty spots, Minjiang Second has ten, and Rongcheng First has three. If you’re unhappy, take it up with the education bureau!”

As the boy in the white shirt spoke assertively, the others quieted down, though they still complained in a low voice.

“We wouldn’t dare go to the education bureau, but it’s still unfair!”

“Exactly! Why should those schools get special treatment?”

“We worked so hard for the exam, and they just waltz in through the back door. Does the academic world really operate like this?”

Amidst the growing murmurs, Jiang Li frowned and retorted, “You ask why? Well, last year, thirty students from our school participated, twenty-eight got first prizes, and seventeen made it into the provincial team!”

“And that’s not because your school has connections?” The boy in front turned around to counter.

The boy in the white shirt sneered, “Let me tell you this, if the talent class students from Minjiang First High School all participated, most of you here wouldn’t have had the chance to qualify, understand?”

After saying this, he stopped paying attention to the disgruntled crowd and turned his gaze to Jiang Li, “Which school are you from? Tell me, and I’ll tell you about me too. It’s only fair.”

Jiang Li gave the boy in the white shirt a nonplussed look, “You’re from Rongcheng First High School.”

The boy was curious, “How did you know?”

Jiang Li replied helplessly, “Because you just asked me if I was from Minjiang First or Minjiang Second, which automatically excludes Rongcheng First.”

“…” The boy in the white shirt was stunned. Communicating with smart people always led to unintended revelations. He was about to introduce himself when the invigilator walked in, prompting him to stop.

The morning passed quickly, and after the exam, Jiang Li prepared to meet her teachers and classmates at the gate. The boy in the white shirt, however, followed her, asking, “Hey, wait, which school are you really from? Just tell me.”

As he spoke, he tried to put his hand on Jiang Li’s shoulder but was swiftly avoided. Jiang Li looked at him coldly, “Don’t touch me; we’re strangers.”

Undeterred, the boy said again, “No touching, fine. But I did help you just now, so asking for your phone number isn’t too much, right? I’m Chu Tianqi, a second-year student, indeed from Rongcheng First High School. You must be a first-year junior, right? You look like a good girl, probably never even had a boyfriend.”

“If you’re looking for a girlfriend, you’re barking up the wrong tree,” Jiang Li said bluntly.

Chu Tianqi persisted, “It doesn’t matter if you’re not looking for a relationship. Let’s just get to know each other. If you don’t give me your number today, I’ll keep pestering you until you do. If your team teacher sees us, they’ll definitely suspect we are flirting.” He said with a playful smile.

“…” Jiang Li took a deep breath. No need for the teacher to find them, she was already tempted to punch this annoying bug!

“Jiang Li.”

Suddenly hearing her name, Jiang Li instinctively looked up and saw Qin Zheng approaching.

He made his way through the crowd to her side, frowning at Chu Tianqi, then turned to Jiang Li, “Teacher Wu wants everyone to gather at the gate to go for lunch. He was worried you might get lost, so he sent me to fetch you.”

Jiang Li: “…” That excuse was a bit too contrived.

Chu Tianqi’s gaze flitted between the two, and then he burst into laughter, “So your name is Jiang Li, a pretty name indeed. Is this your boyfriend?”

Before they could deny it, he continued, “It’s fine if he is. Let’s just get to know each other. After you break up, you can come to me. We’ll meet at the winter camp, and I’ll take you to the CMO1 finals, then we can challenge the IMO together.”

Jiang Li: “…” How can someone be so persistently annoying?

“As I said, Jiang Li, just give me your contact information. If you missed this chance, there won’t be another. I…” As Chu Tianqi spoke, he reached out to grab Jiang Li’s sleeve. But before he could touch her, Jiang Li suddenly kicked his knee, causing him to kneel on the ground.

Without looking back at his pained expression, Jiang Li walked away, with Qin Zheng shrugging at Chu Tianqi’s misery before following her.

Although Chu Tianqi was thick-skinned, being humiliated in front of so many people was a blow to his ego. He tried several times to stand up, but couldn’t. The girl named Jiang Li had only kicked one of his legs, but for some reason, both felt numb and refused to cooperate. Finally, a boy from his school passed by and helped him up.

Catching up to Jiang Li, Qin Zheng couldn’t help but laugh, “I was about to step in, but it seems you didn’t need any help.”

Jiang Li frowned, “That guy was too annoying. Let’s discuss today’s exam answers instead.”

Qin Zheng nodded, “Sure!”

Both had good memories and quickly compared answers. Jiang Li smiled, “I think I’m pretty safe this time.”

Qin Zheng raised an eyebrow, “It’s not certain, what if we both made the same mistakes?”

“Normally, that’s unlikely,” Jiang Li stated confidently.

Qin Zheng smiled, “I find your trust in me quite mysterious. Why is that?”

“Because you have a male lead halo!” Jiang Li blurted out, forgetting for a moment that Qin Zheng wouldn’t understand what she was talking about.

Seeing Qin Zheng’s puzzled look, she asked, “What’s on your mind?”

Qin Zheng cleared his throat awkwardly, “I just didn’t expect you to be into those types of novels.”

Jiang Li: …


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  1. CMO: China Mathematics Olympiad. IMO: International Mathematics Olympiad

3 thoughts on “ATCF Ch 55 Part 3 – Didn’t Take the Preliminary Exam (III)”

  1. Its-MachiavellianCheese

    That CT was so weird! Maybe he’s supposed to be enthusiastic or something, but he made me want to run away. 😭

    Anyway, tank you for translating!

  2. JanyaCallisto

    Hi, I’m facing issues with the site. Could please fix them?

    Error code 520

    “There is an unknown connection issue

    between Cloudflare and the origin web server.

    As a result, the web page can not be displayed.”

    1. Yeah, sorry about that. The site has been error since yesterday. I’ve contacted my hosting provider, and the solution they provided me have been useless so far. Still trying things out 😕

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