[Chapter 005] Spelling what?? What vocabulary?
Quack Note: Text originally written in English will look like this.
Lu YunFei said coldly, “This question is too difficult, it’s so difficult that I’ve disintegrated.”
Bian JinYuan was surprised, but soon thought that perhaps it had not stored information on the English version of《Snow White》.
“Then what about an English song?”
Lu YunFei: “… This question is too difficult, it’s so difficult that I’ve disintegrated.”
Bian JinYuan thought that it needed a specific song title, so he thought for a bit and said, “Play《Mary Had a Little Lamb》.”
Lu YunFei placidly opened his mouth:
玛丽有只小羊羔 (Mary had a little lamb)
他雪白一身毛 (Its fleece was white as snow)
无论玛丽到哪里 (No matter where Mary went)
他总是跟着跑 (The lamb was sure to go)
Bian JinYuan: …
Lu YunFei saw his speechless look and was delighted. Hmpf, you have your schemes and I have mine. English translated to Chinese, understand?
Bian JinYuan mused that this Tmall Genie probably didn’t get input with English capabilities when it was manufactured, so it would sing an English song in Mandarin. No wonder Liǔ jie (elder sister) disliked it for being an artificial un-intelligence and gave this Tmall Genie to him.
Seriously speaking, Bian JinYuan didn’t actually understand what a Tmall Genie was. His living environment dictated that he spared neither the time nor money on such things. He had only noticed that time when Liǔ Mò received a package in the shop and saw how she had played with this small red square box.
At that time Liu Mo had said to him, “This is called a Tmall Genie, it’s artificial intelligence.”
The next time he saw this small red square box was when Liu Mo asked him, “Do you want this plaything? What artificial intelligence, it’s obviously an artificial un-intelligence.”
“No,” Bian JinYuan said in rejection.
“How about just accepting it, don’t you have a didi? This plaything may be stupid, but it can tell stories to him.”
Liu Mo managed to intrigue Bian JinYuan with her point. He thought about it for a while, and eventually accepted this Tmall Genie. He initially wanted to pay Liu Mo, but Liu Mo had angrily slapped the table as she said, “Don’t take it then, I’ll just throw it away later. You’re going to anger me to death!”
Bian JinYuan was afraid that she would really get angry, and so he accepted it without bringing up money — after all, Liu Mo was the boss of the cake shop that he was currently working at.
Shuang Shuang noticed that his gege wasn’t talking anymore and asked him, “Gege, what is Mai Rui Hai De (Mary had a)?”
Bian JinYuan heard his naive words and gently replied, “It’s an English children’s song.”
“Tmall Genie doesn’t know it?”
“It looks like it doesn’t.”
“Then gege you sing it.”
Bian JinYuan was silent for a while, then started to sing gently:
Mary had a little lamb
His fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go
His English pronunciation was very good, and his singing had a lilting quality to the melody, it sounded very hypnotising. Lu YunFei couldn’t help but be slightly startled when he heard it.
Until Shuang Shuang started clapping enthusiastically by his ears, “Gege you sang so nicely,” did Lu YunFei come back to his senses. He thought to himself, sure, He’s handsome, he’s smart, and he can sing. He’s a male god. However, Lu YunFei surveyed the house surrounding him, it’s just that this male god’s family situation seems to be quite difficult. A pauper prince, it’s not easy.
After Bian JinYuan finished singing, Bian Jie brought the food which had been heated up for him.
Bian JinYuan quickly cleared the table and asked Bian Jie, “Have you all eaten?”
“We’ve eaten, it’s just you left.”
“Business was good at the shop today, so I came back a bit later.”
“No problem, quickly eat.”
Lu YunFei noticed that Bian Jie looked good for her age, she still retained her charm. No wonder the two brothers grew up into such handsome boys.
Shuang Shuang had a child’s temperament, so when he saw his gege eat, he went over to eye his food. Bian JinYuan fed him a few bites with his chopsticks, until Shuang Shuang covered his mouth in satisfaction, “Not eating anymore, Shuang Shuang is full, gege eat.”
He said this, and then Bian Jie called him over to sleep. Shuang Shuang reluctantly said to Bian JinYuan, “Gege goodnight,” and then ran over to the Tmall Genie to say, “Tmall Genie goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” Lu YunFei replied.
Shuang Shuang then lifted up the curtain to enter the room within. Lu YunFei was unable to see how large the room was, but he saw how cramped this 30 square metre room he was in and guessed that the room was probably no larger than 20 square metres.
Bian Jie went to put her son to sleep, so the living room was only occupied by Bian JinYuan plus Lu YunFei who was hiding within the Tmall Genie. Lu YunFei saw that Bian JinYuan regained the cool composure that he usually had in school. He finished his meal quickly, washed the dishes, and sat on the sofa to continue writing.
His back was very straight, his sitting posture was excellent, yet he didn’t even have a proper table and chair.
Lu YunFei looked at the coffee table which was obviously mismatched with the sofa, as well as the desk lamp on it which looked like it had been patched over with tape a long time ago. His rival actually lived in such conditions. Lu YunFei felt a little sympathetic. He sighed internally, silently observing the nearby Bian JinYuan.
Bian JinYuan finished his draft, and then he took out the homework which he had not yet completed. He had school in the day time, work in the afternoon and night, and had to submit articles occasionally. Therefore he usually did his homework during class, and if he wasn’t able to complete them, he would bring them home to work on them. His speed in doing homework was very fast. Most of the time, all he needed to do was to look at them once, and he would be able to write the answers down.
When he got to his English homework, Bian JinYuan inevitably thought of Lu YunFei, and how Li Li had told him, “Please help him. I know that year two is a crucial period for anyone. But I just can’t sit by when it comes to his grades, it feels too regretful.”
Bian JinYuan wasn’t someone who liked to waste his time on other people. He was very busy. He was busy everyday. He didn’t have the time or energy to spare on helping other people. Solitary perseverance in adversity, generosity with others in abundance#. Bian JinYuan thought that he was destined to have nothing to do with abundance, so he chose to persevere in solitude.
He had rejected teachers’ requests to be a class representative, and had also rejected their hope for him to aid his classmates, but he didn’t reject Li Li. He owed Lu YunFei a favour. Even though back then, if Lu YunFei hadn’t appeared, he would still have managed to settle it. But Lu YunFei had wound up helping him, so he was willing to help Lu YunFei.
Lu YunFei helped him once, and he’ll help Lu YunFei once. This way they would be even, Bian JinYuan thought.
This story was translated for free by m a n d a r i n d u c k t a l e s. d r e a m h o s t e r s . c o m
The alarm clock woke Lu YunFei up.
He stretched his hand to switch the alarm clock off, and sat up dispiritedly, prepared to wash up and brush his teeth to head to school. Wait a minute, Lu YunFei had just stood up when he immediately realised something. He looked down at himself, then looked back up at the room’s interior. This was his home. So, was it all a dream?
Lu YunFei headed to the bathroom in uncertainty. He looked over the familiar face in the mirror and pinched himself once, then immediately hissed. Shit! It really hurts! So it looked like it currently wasn’t a dream. Then was last night’s Tmall Genie a dream? Why would he have dreamt about turning into a Tmall Genie? And it even included Bian JinYuan and his family.
Lu YunFei went to the classroom as he harboured doubts and entertained all sorts of possibilities. Li YuanQing had already placed the breakfast that he had bought for him on his desk. Lu YunFei took out the jiānbing guǒzi and ate two bites, while sipping on the soy milk that Li YuanQing had also bought.
“Stop eating, you’ve got to change your seat now young man.” Li YuanQing reminded him.
Lu YunFei looked at his watch, swallowed the last bite of the jianbing guozi and finished the soy milk. And then he went towards his new territory.
Bian JinYuan had already talked to his deskmate about this matter yesterday, and the deskmate didn’t have any opinions about it. After all, he used to think that if he sat next to the top student of the grade, he could ask the top student a few questions from time to time, and thus his grades would rise. However the harsh reality was that expecting the top student in the grade to be friendly to his classmates was a delusion! Bian JinYuan this ass, he only knew how to fly solo, and completely didn’t want to help others soar.
“Trust me, it’s better to depend on yourself,” Bian JinYuan’s ex-deskmate patted Lu YunFei on the shoulder, “If the top student is dependable, then sows can climb trees.”
Lu YunFei heard this and calmly took out his phone to open his Weibo. He typed in some keywords in the search bar, and then presented his screen to the person he was going to take over the territory from, “I don’t know if the top student is dependable or not, but sows really can climb tree, look.”
Current deskmate Lu YunFei: “Do you know what four words encompass all of human wisdom?”
“Wait and hope+.”
Ex-deskmate looked at him in disagreement.
Lu YunFei patted him on his shoulder, “I didn’t say it, Dumas said it. Make a note, you could use it in your Language essay.”
Ex-deskmate silently moved to Li YuanQing’s side, feeling like his emotions were very complicated.
Lu YunFei had just sat down in his seat when Bian JinYuan arrived. Lu YunFei looked at him and thought of last night. He wasn’t sure if it was a dream, and wasn’t confident that what he saw was real. He looked at his deskmate and said in a friendly manner, “From here on we’re deskmates.”
Bian JinYuan made an “Mmm” sound.
Lu YunFei wanted to test him, but didn’t know how to go about it without being too obvious. He held his chin and thought, and thought, and thought. Just as he was prepared to ask Bian JinYuan, he heard the bell ring for morning reading★. The English teacher stepped into the classroom and said to the class, “For today’s morning reading, we’ll be doing English vocabulary spelling.”
Lu YunFei: ???!!!! Spelling what? What vocabulary??? Vocab-what-ulary???
Lu YunFei felt that his blood pressure had suddenly risen!
# This is apparently a common saying in China that was derived from philosopher Mencius: 穷则独善其身，达则兼善天下. The meaning roughly translates to: When one has yet to attain virtues, they are to concentrate on themselves and their discipline. When one has attained virtues, they are to share it such that everyone else can earn virtues.
Somehow this phrase has been changed slightly to be used commonly as: 穷则独善其身，达则兼济天下. This is the phrase that the author used in this text. The word for economy replaced the word for virtue in the later part of the phrase. It now means that when one is poor, one should take care of themselves. When one is rich, one can share their wealth with the world.
There wasn’t any official English translation of this quote, so I made one up based on the various explanations, and tweaked it to sound a bit less common speak.
This story was translated for free by m a n d a r i n d u c k t a l e s. d r e a m h o s t e r s . c o m
+ In the text, Lu YunFei said 等待 (děng dài, ‘wait’) and 希望 (xī wàng, ‘hope’), which are two words made up of two characters each.
★ Morning reading (早读, zǎo dú) is apparently a common practice in Chinese high schools. The belief is that early mornings are the ideal time for memorising and digesting knowledge, so there’s a special period at the start of the day (around 7am) for the entire class to read important notes, textbooks, anything that helps them with their studies. Sometimes, the class representative will lead the entire class to read aloud, and sometimes the act of reading is undertaken individually and silently. Morning readings at 7am? More like mourning readings hur.