Devil’s WarmthChapters List
Chapter 9: Exam score
The confusion on Bei Yao’s face was so obvious that Teacher Yu Qian was stunned for a moment. She was going to ask Bei Yao about her preference this morning, but since Bei Yao’s home was far away, she always came late to the class. And usually, one’s subconscious response would be that it was better to be at the same table with Fang Minjun rather than with Pei Chuan.
Pei Chuan drew a “38 line” and didn't talk to Bei Yao. Therefore, for the sake of protecting Bei Yao, they should let Bei Yao and Fang Minjun sit together. Thinking this way, Teacher Yu directly notified her after the class.
Bei Yao looked at the indifferent Pei Chuan. Her thinking was not mature enough. Although she was reluctant to leave. Bei Yao was always a good child who listened to the teacher.
She used her little hands to rub and wipe her eyes, put her textbooks and water cup into her school bag, and packed her stuff. During this time, Pei Chuan didn’t even look at her for once and just stared at the drawings of his Chinese textbook.
Bei Yao was afraid that he would be lonely. She thought about it and untied the little panda from her school bag.
She rubbed the little panda against her soft cheeks and reluctantly put it down on the Pei Chuan’s side of the desk.
Pei Chuan’s gaze shifted from the book to the round little panda sitting on his desk.
He knew that she liked this toy very much. Sometimes she would subconsciously pull the little panda’s ears in class, and every day she would make sure that the little panda was settled well before coming to the class.
When he finally raised his eyes to look at her, she looked rather reluctant to part. With such a pitiful look in her eyes, he pondered over whether she couldn’t bear to leave him or the panda.
Then he silently pushed her beloved little panda back while thinking that the probability of she couldn’t bear to let go of himself would not be much.
Bei Yao hugged her little panda while thinking sadly, neither he liked her nor her toy.
She carried her bag over towards Fang Minjun, who was looking at her arrogantly and then turned back to talk to the back table.
It took all the willpower of the five-year-old Pei Chuan to not turn around and look at her back as she walked past him.
Bei Yao sat in the bright sunlight and the golden light was gently adorning her little head. She put the bamboo dragonfly in her backpack on the opposite side of her, where the sun couldn’t shine.
The kids watching the show forgot about the seat change in a flash.
Bei Yao and Fang Minjun became the deskmates.
If Bei Yao had memories of high school, she would definitely find it awkward and weird. Fortunately, with the mindset of a child, she thought that the beautiful Minjun was also very cute.
Throughout the autumn, the first thing Bei Yao learned was to control her habit and began to drink less water. Because Fang Minjun wouldn’t give her own water as Pei Chuan did.
Fang Minjun was extraordinarily competitive. If Bei Yao’s hair was nicely combed, she wouldn’t look well all day long and would subconsciously go to fix her princess dress. In the end, she was just a child. Although her mother’s inculcated ideas kept in her mind, she wasn’t too hostile towards Bei Yao.
After all, Xiao Bei Yao was not as slender and delicate as her. Bei Yao was also easy to bully as she could be used to throw out Fang Minjun’s trash and she would also send Minjun’s homework to the group leader. Therefore, Xiao Bei Yao was very obedient and well-behaved.
Pei Chuan’s face was very unsightly as he watched all this.
However, this was the path he had chosen, and Bei Yao was no longer at the same table with him.
After the autumn, the weather turned cold. Zhao Zhilan dressed up Bei Yao as ‘a lucky doll’. She wore a big red, thick and flashy cotton jacket.
The jacket was not new, but Zhao Zhilan had modified it from old clothes. Although it was a little tacky, it was very warm. Bei Yao also wore an autumn jacket and two sweaters inside the big red cotton jacket, and her short legs were also thickly wrapped.
It just so happened that Zhao Xiu came downstairs then with Fang Minjun in her arms for a visit. Bei Yao called out in a small milk voice, “Aunt Xiu, Minmin.”
Looking at her, Zhao Xiu nearly burst out laughing, “Zhilan ah! From a distance, I thought that Yaoyao was a fireball.”
Upon hearing her words, Zhao Zhilan sniffed and subconsciously went to look at Fang Minjun. The little girl was dressed up neatly and beautifully. A brand new pink jacket was paired with a pink scarf. The style was foreign and was not at all bloated. Fang Minjun was lying on Zhao Xiu’s bosom, and Zhao Xiu also let her.
Zhao Zhilan rolled her eyes in her heart. On such a cold day, who cares whether it looks good or not, warming up is the main thing. Although she thought this in her heart, she had to be polite on the surface, “Yo, your family’s Minmin’s dress is not cheap.”
“Yeah, the jacket cost more than 30 yuans while the scarf was sent by her aunt.”
More than 30 yuans made Zhao Zhilan, who had no money in her pocket, shut her mouth. Looking at her being speechless, Zhao Xiu’s eyes were overflowing with pleasure.
When Zhao Xiu carried Fang Minjun home, Fang Minjun said, “Dad said the cotton jacket was for 26 yuans.”
Zhao Xiu glared at her daughter, “If mom said it’s thirty then it’s thirty. Forget this, It is almost the end of the term, you must do well in the exam, okay? Mom will give you a reward when you do well in the exam.” More than 30 yuans cotton clothes made her heart ache a bit too, but Zhao Xiu felt pleasant when she thought that after the final exam the two families would compare their grades.
In order to get the reward, Fang Minjun nodded her head like a chicken pecking at rice.
For the children’s first final exam in winter, even Zhao Zhilan was a little nervous. She was afraid that it could be a mistake to send Bei Yao to preschool early. Looking at Bei Yao’s innocent face, Zhao Zhilan sighed. ‘Forget it, the grades are not important. The child’s health and safe growth is the greatest blessing.’
On the day of the final exam, Bei Yao was sent to school early by Zhao Zhilan.
The preschool exam was not like the elementary school, where the teacher would change the seating. Everyone sat in the same seat to take the exam.
Bei Yao wasn’t nervous at all as her knowledge was of the third grade.
“Rebirth” concept was too far away for a child. She was sometimes at a loss as to why she could do all this and know what would happen in the future. However, a sense of urgency in her heart told Bei Yao that this was a very important secret, and she couldn’t tell it to her mother.
Teacher Yu Qian came to hand out the papers, and when she was finished distributing them, she watched everyone answering the questions. Teacher Zheng also came to help. In this year’s preschool exam, there was no distinction between Chinese and mathematics. There was only one paper for basic knowledge.
It was the children’s first exam, so their situation was very complicated. In just a short time, someone took a leave to pee. While someone’s pencil broke and the other had a poorly sharpened pencil. The teacher had to take care of them.
Fang Minjun’s one hand was curved into an arc as she wrote while covering the paper. Zhao Xiu said that she could not let Bei Yao copy her.
Bei Yao looked at the questions on the paper about counting. All questions were alike, some question was asking about a total of little flowers while another was of the present children.
Bei Yao, “........”
Pei Chuan tilted his head before writing. His dark pupils looked at a spot where there was sunlight. The little girl was writing her name carefully.
He couldn’t tell if she would do well or not. After a moment, Pei Chuan turned back his head, thinking it was none of his business if she would or not.
Bei Yao finished it quickly and thought it was so easy!
The children’s papers were marked quickly, and they could get their results in two days. Parents had high expectations for their children’s first exam.
In C City, the preschool class in 1996 implemented the exams on the percentile system.
The children sat in their seats. The teacher read their names one by one, and then the children went up to the podium to get their papers. For Teacher Yu, teaching grades didn’t have much importance as the preschool was just a transition. What surprised her were the results of two of the children - Bei Yao and Pei Chuan.
Fang Minjun got her paper first. She got a red “90” score on her paper. Fang Minjun couldn’t help but curl her lips in joy. However, remembering the image of “the Jade girl”, she suppressed the uplifting corners of her lips, but the joy in her eyes could not be stopped.
Then there was Pei Chuan’s paper, which he took a look at and put in his school bag.
Bei Yao was the penultimate one in the class to get the paper, and she couldn’t help but had her almond eyes curl when she saw the joyous numbers on it.
Fang Minjun thought to herself that her tablemate should be happily laughing on getting 70 marks.
She covered her score to prevent Bei Yao from looking at it, then asked, “Yaoyao, how many marks did you score?”
At the top of the paper, there was a “99” printed on top in red ink. Bei Yao’s drawing was not correct, so a point was deducted, otherwise the score should have been one hundred percent.
When Fang Minjun looked at the bright red 99, it was like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. It was as if a bucket of ice water had been thrown over her in the middle of winter.
Back home if Zhao Xiu got to know....
After the completion of the exam and obtaining the exam papers, children would go home for the New Year holiday. Pei Haobin came to pick up Pei Chuan, and they drove past from the school gate as usual.
When Pei Chuan turned around, the little red ball was standing in the first row. She was waving at him vigorously.
Her eyes were curved into two crescent moons. She was so good, and had no complaints or grudge against him.
Pei Chuan gripped the cold metal bar of the motorcycle and said, “Dad, let’s bring Bei Yao with us.”
Pei Haobin wondered, “What if her mother comes to pick her up later?”
“If you encounter her on the way, you can tell her then. And also tell the teacher, in case we don’t meet her, the teacher will inform her.”
Pei Haobin couldn’t help but look at his son. After losing his legs Pei Chuan turned silent and was very reluctant to speak. He rarely said so much. For Pei Chuan’s proposal, he was in agreement. A four-year-old little doll had to walk every day to and from the school for nearly two kilometers. He was not her father but he still felt a little distressed.
Pei Haobin turned the motorcycle around and asked Little Bei Yao, “Uncle will fetch you back home, okay?”
Bei Yao wanted to ride on a motorcycle, which she remembered her family buying, only when she was in the third grade. Sitting on it was like riding on the wind, and it would take her only five minutes to get home. She looked at Pei Chuan timidly, and Pei Chuan looked down at her without any rejection in his eyes.
She shyly nodded her head and said in her soft milky voice, “Thank you, Uncle Pei.”
“Yu Qian, then I’ll take Bei Yao back on the way. If her mother comes over, you inform her about it, ah.”
Yu Qian certainly assured her old classmate and nodded with a smile.
Pei Haobin asked Yu Qian to help carry Xiao Bei Yao onto the back seat, and tied her with a leather strap to secure her so that the child wouldn’t fall off.
The children in the back of the queue all looked on, they were somewhat envious of Bei Yao. Fang Minjun couldn’t resist pouting. Her father had a big bicycle and drove her home every day, but she had never ridden a motorcycle home before. Fang Minjun was a little aggrieved. Everyone lived in the same neighborhood, why did Pei Chuan’s dad only take Bei Yao and not her?
Since changing seats, for the first time, Pei Chuan was so close to Bei Yao.
It was as if the air was also steeped with her milky fragrance.
Pei Haobin started the motorcycle and softened his voice to ask Bei Yao, “How many marks did Bei Yao score?”
Even Pei Chuan couldn’t help but listen attentively.
Her voice sounded like a little bell ringing, “99 marks.”
Pei Haobin knew that she was young and probably the youngest child in the class. He originally asked Bei Yao for just amusement, but he didn’t expect such a small doll to score so well.
He sincerely praised, “Bei Yao is really amazing. Our Bei Yao is so smart ah!”
Bei Yao knew to be polite, “Thank you, uncle.”
Pei Chuan sat at the front, the winter wind was blowing through the boy’s short hair. He didn’t say anything the whole time, unbeknownst to himself, the corners of his lips curled up slightly.
Fang Minjun was being driven back by Teacher Fang Xin’s bicycle, her little face was pale-white, and she was very scared to go home.
What if her mother asked about her grades?
Before the test, she didn’t think that she would fail to get higher marks than Bei Yao. But, when the results came out, she was sitting on the crossbar of her father’s bike with an urge to cry.
Even though Fang Minjun was small, she could still feel her parents’ emotions.
Zhao Xiu was most concerned about the two things; the first was Fang Minjun’s similarity to the beautiful jade girl “Chang Xue” and the second was to beat Zhao Zhilan.
In the second case, Zhao Xiu had been far ahead for more than twenty years, and Zhao Zhilan couldn't beat her in anything, but now she had lost in her daughter’s achievement.
Fang Minjun held back the tears in her eyes. She couldn’t let her mother know.
She felt scared and humiliated.
Bei Yao was so stupid, why couldn’t she beat her in the exam? She would make sure to surpass Bei Yao in the next exam, this time it was just a mistake.
In her muddled state, father and daughter returned home.
Zhao Xiu was already waiting for them and immediately greeted, “How was it, Minmin? Show the paper to mom.”
Fang Minjun had to take out the exam paper from her bag, Zhao Xiu looked at the 90 marks and smiled widely, “My Minmin is awesome!” She gave Fang Minjun a hard kiss on the cheek.
Zhao Xiu then asked Fang Minjun, “What about that girl Bei Yao? How much did she score?” Zhao Xiu and her daughter had the same idea, Fang Minjun was so excellent, it was impossible for her to fail outshining Bei Yao in the exam.
Fang Minjun’s face went white, her small hands clasped tightly, and she bowed her head as she said, “66 marks.”
Lying made her very uneasy.
When Zhao Xiu heard it, she almost laughed out loud. She just thought it well, how good could Zhao Zhilan’s daughter be. She kissed Fang Minjun again, “Mama’s good daughter!”
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