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ATCF Ch 56 Part 1 – His Low Sense of Presence (I)

Finding out that Jiang Li, just like any other student, also read online novels, Qin Zheng suddenly felt she became much more relatable. “Reading novels for relaxation is quite normal. I sometimes read them too,” he said.

“Long Aotian novels?” Jiang Li inquired.

Qin Zheng chuckled and shook his head, explaining, “I prefer detective and martial arts novels, but some guys in our dorm are into those Long Aotian-protagonist stories, and they often discuss them together.”

Jiang Li silently nodded, feeling that his interest quite fit his character as the male lead.

As he walked side by side with Jiang Li towards the school gate to meet up with their teachers and other students, Qin Zheng was unaware that Jiang Ruo had been standing not far away all this time, silently observing him.

Seeing Qin Zheng again after several months felt like a lifetime had passed for Jiang Ruo. She had already decided to give up on him, but she never imagined seeing Qin Zheng standing by Jiang Li’s side, chatting and laughing so closely together.

Jiang Ruo had been in a disturbed state lately. After the short drama she filmed during the summer vacation was released, she lost a significant number of fans. Among these fans, many criticized her acting in the drama as terrible, lacking any skill, and incomparable to her previous works. Many found it hard to accept such a drastic change.

What these fans didn’t know was that Jiang Ruo had never received professional training lessons. The praise she received for her acting skills in her previous works was because she had lived a carefree life since childhood, naturally developing a worry-free personality.

The characters in Jiang Ruo’s previous dramas were quite one-dimensional, requiring her to just be herself to fit the roles. But since Jiang Li’s appearance, her life turned chaotic, and her once carefree nature had gone forever.

Now, with Jiang Huai being too preoccupied with his own problems and could no longer afford to support her acting career, Jiang Ruo had to rely on herself. Participating in an academic competition was a way to gain recognition, establish an intellectual high school girl persona, and silence her agent’s dissatisfaction. She had indeed worked hard recently and felt confident during the exam, thinking she could probably win a provincial first prize.

But the moment she saw Jiang Li and Qin Zheng standing together, the joy in Jiang Ruo’s heart suddenly shattered.

Qin Zheng had always been the golden boy, the proud son of heaven, praised for his achievements since childhood, and Jiang Ruo never felt she could compare to him. But Jiang Li… despite growing up in a small county town, Jiang Li surpassed Qin Zheng and became the top scorer in the high school entrance examination, gaining instant fame.

With the level of education at Jiang Li’s previous school, it was improbable for her to have had experiences in competitions, and yet here she was. Jiang Li’s presence here today should mean she was confident in herself.

Could Jiang Li and Qin Zheng both make it to the provincial team, attend the winter camp together, and even join the national team?

Once that happened, would people still remember her existence, that she and Qin Zheng were once childhood sweethearts, dreaming of a future together and working hard side by side?

But all the beautiful moments she shared with Qin Zheng were just memories now. At this moment, the person by Qin Zheng’s side was Jiang Li.

Jiang Zhou stood beside Jiang Ruo, watching helplessly as her gaze followed Qin Zheng’s retreating figure, her eyes revealing a complex mix of emotions. After a while, he suddenly spoke, “That guy earlier said Qin Zheng is Jiang Li’s boyfriend, and Qin Zheng didn’t refute it.”

Hearing this, Jiang Ruo felt an emptiness inside, her voice wavering, “I’ve long had nothing to do with Qin Zheng. Can you please not bring this up, brother?”

Jiang Zhou: …

Was it truly over? Regardless of what she said, Ruoruo still couldn’t forget Qin Zheng. Qin Zheng was her unrequited first love, the only boy who ever made her heart flutter.

But still, Jiang Zhou believed time could heal all wounds. Even the seemingly most unforgettable memories could pass with enough time.

No matter how long it took for Ruoruo to forget Qin Zheng, he would wait, wait for the day she realized he wasn’t her real brother and had no blood ties with her.

Taking Jiang Ruo’s hand gently, Jiang Zhou softly said, “Let’s go.”

Jiang Ruo nodded silently, passively following Jiang Zhou’s lead. Her mind, however, kept replaying the scenes she had just witnessed.

After Jiang Li left the venue and reunited with the main group, Teacher Wu immediately started paying attention to her and Qin Zheng’s scores, urging them to discuss their answers. Another teacher teased, “When the senior students came out just now, you were so calm, I really thought you didn’t care about their results!”

Teacher Wu said with a smile: “These kids’ results are basically a foregone conclusion, what should I care about? Naturally, I am more concerned about these two potential stocks in front of me.”

Jiang Li and Qin Zheng briefly reported the questions and their answers, and Teacher Wu’s face lit up with surprise, “If there’s no accident, you two securing spots in the provincial team is a sure thing.”

At this moment, Teacher Wu had completely forgotten about the breakfast bet he lost, feeling genuinely happy for the two students.

Hearing Teacher Wu’s words, both Wang Simin and Lin Tian showed envious expressions. They had also compared answers with the senior students and had a general idea of their own performance. They already knew that joining the provincial team was out of reach, and even securing a provincial first prize was uncertain for them. Their goal now was to maintain a calm mindset and be content, like a salted fish who knows its place.

Wang Simin took Jiang Li’s arm, “Once you and Qin Zheng join the provincial team, you’ll have to devote even more time to the competition. I’ll make an extra effort to try to surpass you both in the final exams.”

Jiang Li responded with a smile, “Then you’ll have to work doubly hard because I won’t be letting up either.”

The group chatted and laughed as they went to the previously booked restaurant for lunch before heading back to school.

Back at school, after Jiang Li dealt with a bunch of inquiries about her score, she dove back into her studies.

Soon after, the results were announced, and the list of students who won awards and those who made it to the provincial team was published. Out of the thirty Minjiang First students who participated, all won provincial first prizes, and twenty-one made it to the provincial team, an outstanding achievement.

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2 thoughts on “ATCF Ch 56 Part 1 – His Low Sense of Presence (I)”

  1. Its-MachiavellianCheese

    He really believes he will have a relationship with her? Did he ever stop an. Think he that maybe, just maybe she would be disgusted by that? And I also believe they are half-siblings.

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