Aerial Rain
Translating Web Novel

ATCF Ch 62 Part 3 – Birthday Present (III)

Before the third year officially started, Minjiang First High School had finished all new lessons and began revising. Jiang Li hardly forgot anything she’d learned, so she went through the revision with a breeze, allowing her to prepare for the biology olympiad calmly.

Once the third year began, the school held weekly tests and rankings, greatly increasing the pressure on students. Jiang Li often saw her peers in tears over poor test results.

“Back in junior high, even though we were also pushing hard for the entrance exams, I can’t recall feeling this much pressure!” Tang Rou remarked with a sigh. She initially wasn’t that nervous entering the third year, but seeing everyone else stressed, she started to feel the pressure too.

Shen Mian patted her shoulder, “That’s because we were at Minjiang International School before. It was a private school, and many students came from a rich family. As long as they crossed the minimum threshold, their parents could find a way to get them into good schools, so naturally, there wasn’t much stress.”

Zhang Qingqing commented, “I think it’s good this way. Everyone relies on their own abilities to get into university. If someone could use connections to get into a top university, imagine how strong those connections would have to be!”

Shen Mian agreed with this opinion, “Exactly. Anyway, if we have to be nervous, let’s be nervous together. If we study while others rest, it will soon become a habit.”

Wang Simin held back a laugh, “Not everyone is nervous, though. Look at Jiang Li and Qin Zheng; they’re as calm as if nothing’s happening!”

Pang Ju whispered, “That’s not a fair comparison. They’re both prodigy gods and have secured direct admissions. You shouldn’t be nervous either, since you’ve been recommended too!”

In their second year of high school, Jiang Li participated in the chemistry olympiad and took the highest score, while Qin Zheng, not to be outdone, did the same in mathematics.

Additionally, two seniors made it to the IMO finals and won gold medals.

When the list of awardees was announced, the school’s leadership and teachers were overjoyed. Minjiang First High School even trended online as ‘the most badass high school.’

As the best high school in the province, Minjiang First High School was already renowned locally, and being trended online elevated its fame to the national level.

The students who received recommendations for direct admission to top universities were the subject of envy from their peers.

Jiang Li, planning to pursue medicine, had chosen the Pharmacy Department at the Capital Medical University and secured her recommendation early on, sparing her the stress of exams.

After winning a gold medal, Qin Zheng opted for the Finance Department at Capital University. At the start of his third year, he signed up for the physics olympiad, likely aiming for another gold medal.

Wang Simin, having made it into the national training team, also received a recommendation. Though she continued to work hard, the pressure was considerably less on her.

Time flew by, and Jiang Li finally celebrated her eighteenth birthday. Her grandfather had wanted to organize a big coming-of-age banquet for her, but plans fell through as Jiang Li had to attend training camp on her birthday, making it impossible to celebrate at home.

Unexpectedly, Tong Yi made a special trip back to China to celebrate her birthday.

Tong Yi arrived on the night before Jiang Li’s birthday. After receiving his call, she informed her teacher and left the hotel.

When she arrived at the hotel entrance, she saw Tong Yi waiting there, wearing a white down jacket. Upon seeing her, he immediately walked to her and put his hands under her coat’s hood, smiling playfully, “It’s too cold outside. Let me warm my hands.”

Through the thick down jacket, Jiang Li couldn’t feel how cold Tong Yi’s hands were, but considering he had come all this way for her birthday, she generously tolerated his frivolous behavior today.

“You took another leave from school?” she inquired.

Tong Yi shook his head, “Your birthday falls on the Laba Festival, coinciding with Christmas. The school was already closing for the holidays and I had to return to China for some work anyway, so I took the chance to stop by and celebrate your birthday.”

“Then, where is my present?” Jiang Li extended her hands. Even though Tong Yi was still overseas on her sixteenth and seventeenth birthdays, he never failed to send her birthday presents. This time he came in person, but of course he still had to bring her a present.

Tong Yi chuckled, “Don’t worry, I didn’t forget it.” He took his hands out of Jiang Li’s hood, then retrieved a small box from his pocket and handed it to her, “Want to open it?”

Jiang Li reached out and took the box. After opening it, she found a delicate necklace inside, “It’s beautiful, did you pick it out yourself?”

For her sixteenth birthday, Tong Yi sent a beautiful wristwatch that suited her taste, and she has worn it ever since. However, on her seventeenth birthday, he sent 11 lipsticks, leaving her puzzled.

She asked her roommates about the meaning of number 11 but omitted any mention of the lipsticks. Eventually, her roommates reached the consensus that November 11th was Singles’ Day, and thus the number 11 should carry a similar meaning.

Feeling Tong Yi was mocking her for being single, Jiang Li called to give him a piece of her mind. Tong Yi wouldn’t admit the number was a jab at her, but he also couldn’t explain why he sent 11 lipsticks. Eventually, he ended up apologizing sincerely, admitting that the present was inappropriate.

Jiang Li, having no use for the lipsticks, passed them to her two aunts, keeping only the prettiest one for herself.

Her aunts were thrilled with the gifts and each transferred money to Jiang Li, telling her to she buy whatever she liked.

Feeling somewhat guilty about receiving the money, Jiang Li didn’t have the heart to tell her aunts the truth about the re-gifted lipsticks.

On her eighteenth birthday, Jiang Li, pleased with the necklace Tong Yi chose, thought his taste had finally improved. As Tong Yi saw her delighted reaction, he quietly breathed a sigh of relief and nonchalantly remarked with a smile, “Yeah, I just picked something at random.” Glad you like it.”

In truth, there was nothing random about the necklace. Tong Yi had designed it himself, but after commissioning it, he felt dissatisfied with the result, discarding 10 designs before settling on this eleventh one.

However, he dared not mention the number 11 again, lest Jiang Xiao Li would punch him on the spot!

Jiang Li took the necklace out of the box. Holding an end in each hand, she wrapped it around her neck, attempting to put it on, but failed to secure the clasp after several tries.

“Let me help you.” Tong Yi murmured. He extended his hands, reached around Jiang Li’s neck, and swiftly fastened the necklace for her.

Jiang Li asked in confusion, “Did you just run over here?”

“What?” Tong Yi didn’t understand what she was talking about.

Jiang Li pointed to the area around his heart, “Your heartbeat seems a bit irregular.”

“…” Tong Yi had confirmed it; Jiang Xiao Li was indeed oblivious. If he ever decided to confess his feelings one day, he must not be too subtle, or this dense girl would surely miss the point.

Jiang Li suddenly noticed the scarf around Tong Yi’s neck and said with some confusion, “Why do I feel like I’ve seen this scarf before?”

Tong Yi had a resigned expression on his face, “Of course you have. You knitted it yourself, remember?”

Jiang Li examined the scarf closely and muttered, “Did I knit it? But I don’t remember it being this ugly, and the one I knitted was darker in color.”

Tong Yi explained, “It got deformed and the color also faded after a few washes, but I think it looks pretty good, not ugly at all.”

“…” Jiang Li wasn’t sure how to respond. It seemed that Big Nephew had a rather questionable sense of aesthetics!

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