There Is No One Like YouChapters List
Chapter 7: I Won't Eat You
The monthly exam scores came out on the first day after the National Day holiday.
Ruan Mian's consistent struggle with certain subjects continued. She aced mathematics with a perfect score, her combined science scores totaled 280, and by some stroke of luck, she barely managed to cross the three-digit threshold in English. However, her Chinese score hung precariously on the passing line, barely touching 90 points.
Following the release of the results, as expected, she was summoned to the office by her Chinese teacher, Zhao Qi.
Zhao, a teacher of provincial standing who had taught numerous honors classes, had witnessed imbalanced scores before, but never to this extent.
After reviewing Ruan Mian's composition, he pushed up the glasses perched on the bridge of his nose and remained silent for a considerable moment before speaking, "If I were the one grading this composition, I wouldn't even give you 30 points."
Ruan Mian lowered her head, revealing a sliver of fair skin on her nape. She dared not respond.
Zhao Qi turned her exam paper over and scrutinized it from start to finish. Finally, he pointed to the paper and queried, "Look at over a hundred students from the advanced classes. Is there anyone whose Chinese score is lower than yours? If you could dedicate even a fraction of the effort you put into math towards your Chinese studies, you wouldn't be scoring this low."
During her student days, Ruan Mian had learned that teachers could interpret any additional word spoken during a reprimand as defiance. Having encountered this situation often at Sixth Middle School, she had developed a strategy to navigate such interactions.
First, she let Zhao Qi scold her thoroughly, then she spoke up to admit her mistakes and promise to practice more diligently, aiming for a better score next time.
Observing her sincere apologetic attitude, Zhao Qi, considering that aside from Chinese, her performance in other subjects wasn't poor, realized she had potential. He refrained from pressing further, "I've heard from your other teacher, Mr. Zhou, that you transferred to Eighth Middle School just this semester. I won't concern myself with how your previous Chinese teacher taught you. As long as you study diligently here, aiming for incremental improvement each time, that will suffice."
Ruan Mian nodded and said, "Understood, thank you, Teacher Zhao."
"Studying isn't just about burying your head and working hard; sometimes you need to observe how others study. Listen, watch, and learn more – that approach is bound to yield positive results." Zhao Qi lifted his teacup for a sip, "Take your deskmate, for example. While his math and science scores are on par with yours, he scored 130 in Chinese. How did he manage that?"
Coincidentally, as Zhao Qi mentioned Chen Yi, he happened to walk past the office door. Zhao Qi, with sharp eyes, lifted his teacup and called out, "Chen Yi."
Subconsciously, Ruan Mian turned her head to look out the window.
The boy carried a stack of exam papers. His tousled hair appeared soft and fluffy under the sunlight, and his gaze, directed by Zhao Qi's enthusiastic call, landed on them.
His features were clean-cut and full of youthful vigor, his eyes carrying an inexplicable sense of confusion.
Putting down his teacup, Zhao Qi waved again, "Chen Yi, come here for a moment."
Watching him turn and step inside, Ruan Mian's entire body tensed. If Zhao Qi had asked her to return to the classroom first, she might have ended up departing with him.
Fortunately, Zhao Qi didn't, and Chen Yi swiftly entered the office. His tall and slender figure stood beside Ruan Mian.
His fragrance enveloped the surroundings—crisp and clean, akin to a torrential summer rain after scorching sunlight. It awakened the senses and simultaneously intoxicated the soul.
Zhao Qi picked up Ruan Mian's paper from the desk and handed it to Chen Yi. "This is your deskmate's composition. Take a look and share your thoughts."
Ruan Mian felt Zhao Qi seemed a bit out of touch. "..."
The paper lay on top of a stack of uneven textbooks. The wind from outside lifted one corner of the paper, and Chen Yi reached out to press it down. His knuckles were sharp and well-defined, and the veins on the back of his hand were faintly visible.
Ruan Mian's peripheral vision shifted from his fingers to his wrist. She then lowered her head, as though awaiting judgment as a criminal. She knew what lay ahead, yet she was still gripped by panic and unease.
Chen Yi quickly scanned through the paper, conveniently ignoring the massive "30 points" scrawled nearby. He chuckled to himself, "It's written quite well."
Zhao Qi widened his eyes, as if he wished he could glue Chen Yi's mouth shut.
"The handwriting is nice, but as for the content of the composition..." Chen Yi clicked his tongue and continued, "You went off-topic and still managed to get 30 points. Was the person grading this paper half-asleep?"
With a loud clatter, an invisible blade hanging over Ruan Mian's head seemed to descend in sync with the half-serious, half-joking smile on the boy's face.
Killing with a single word, his casual joke had already devastated Ruan Mian. She felt like she was sitting on pins and needles, almost wishing she could dig a hole in the ground to bury herself.
Zhao Qi paid no attention to his jest and brought up the reason he had called him in, "Your deskmate's subject imbalance is quite severe. You should help her when you can. Share any study techniques you have, don't be stingy, especially considering you're a big guy."
Ruan Mian was still trying to recover from the previous comment when she heard the boy's groggy and languid voice beside her, "Sure, got it."
She felt puzzled and looked up.
But from this angle, all she could see was the boy's tall, straight nose and the curve of his long, curled eyelashes. His expression was indistinct, and his tone betrayed no emotion.
Ruan Mian couldn't quite grasp whether he had genuinely agreed or just responded absentmindedly.
Little did Chen Yi know that his offhand remark had become an enigmatic puzzle to her. He maintained his casual demeanor, "Mr. Zhao, if there's nothing else, I'll head back now."
"Sure, you can go." After Chen Yi left, Zhao Qi turned to Ruan Mian once more, "Make sure to study well with your deskmate. He's the only one who's won the first prize in the New Concept Essay Contest for three consecutive years."
Surprise was evident on Ruan Mian's face.
Zhao Qi laughed, "Surprised, aren't you?"
"Understandable. Chen Yi doesn't really come across as the artsy type. That kind of temperament is contradictory to him." Zhao Qi continued, "But he has two literary scholars in his family. He's been influenced by them since childhood, so his proficiency in writing is undoubtedly stronger than yours. Learn from him well; you're bound to make great progress in composition writing."
Ruan Mian nodded in understanding.
After leaving the language department's office, Ruan Mian headed to Zhou Hai's office to collect the biology answer sheets from this month's exam.
Although this time's comprehensive science test at Eighth Middle School followed the format of the college entrance exam, the answer sheets for the three subjects were separated. This was convenient for both the teachers to grade and for future review of the papers.
Knowing that she had been called over by Zhao Qi earlier, Zhou Hai took a moment to reassure her, "Mr. Zhao might be sharp with his words, but he's actually quite kind. If he said anything to you, don't take it to heart."
Ruan Mian nodded and said, "I understand."
"In this month's exam, your overall performance was quite good. Your math teacher praised you to me multiple times. Put in some more effort next time, aim to improve your Chinese score as well."
Ruan Mian replied, "Okay, I got it. Thank you, Teacher Zhou."
"No problem, you can head back now. It's almost time for the next class."
Just as Ruan Mian returned to the classroom, the bell for the next class rang. The group of boys who had been gathered around Chen Yi in the back of the room dispersed.
Returning to her seat, she found the freshly distributed physics answer sheet awaiting her – a score of 104.
Chen Yi's physics answer sheet was also spread out on his desk. Ruan Mian glanced up.
The grading teacher seemed to be afraid that others wouldn't notice, as they had written the numbers "110" in large, bold characters. The pen tip had even torn through the paper due to the force applied.
Sensing her gaze, Chen Yi picked up the answer sheet and placed it in front of her. In a casual tone, he said, "If you want to look, just take it. I won't eat you."
Ruan Mian always found herself at a loss when facing him. The English teacher had already entered the classroom with the answer sheets, and she had just managed to mutter a "hello" amid the classmates' chorus of greetings.
In truth, Ruan Mian didn't really have much to see. The gap between a 104-point paper and a perfect score paper often amounted to just a single multiple-choice question.
Nevertheless, she looked at it attentively. The boy's handwriting was incredibly elegant, with powerful yet restrained strokes. It carried an air of sophistication and subtlety. It was evident that he had dedicated special practice to his writing, something that most people wouldn't achieve.
From the podium, the English teacher, Song Wen, instructed everyone to take out their papers. Ruan Mian returned Chen Yi's answer sheet and thanked him again.
Chen Yi acknowledged with a simple "hm" and casually slipped the answer sheet into his drawer.
Teacher Song's pace in reviewing the papers was quite swift. By the end of the class, only the composition remained unaddressed. She spent a few minutes during the break briefly discussing the composition's direction and themes, stating, "For students who scored below 20 points on the composition, please come to my office during lunch."
Hearing this, Ruan Mian couldn't help but sigh in relief. She had been fortunate this time in her English exam. The composition topic was similar to one she had practiced in a tutoring class, and for the first time, she received a score starting with a "2."
The morning classes ended, and Ruan Mian went out for lunch with Meng Xinglan. During their meal, she mentioned the incident of Zhao Qi asking Chen Yi to help her with composition writing.
Meng Xinglan, chewing on a rib, mumbled with a mouth full, "Did Chen Yi agree?"
"He said yes at the time." Ruan Mian poked at the rice grains in her bowl with her chopsticks, "But I'm not really sure if he actually agreed or not."
"Ah, well, don't worry about it. If you want to learn, I can teach you. After all, I did win first place in the elementary school essay competition."
The two of them bantered back and forth, their words intertwined with laughter. They didn't notice the three boys walking down the stairs nearby, approaching in a line.
Suddenly, a hand reached out from the side and ruffled Meng Xinglan's hair. A teasing voice followed, "Meng Xinglan, still eating? You're turning into a pig with all that food."
Ruan Mian heard the voice and lifted her head to see Chen Yi and Shen Yu standing behind Jiang Rang. She quietly set down her chopsticks.
"You're spouting nonsense! You bastard, Jiang Rang!" Meng Xinglan exclaimed, swatting the boy's hand away. She turned around and, not seeing a familiar face, furrowed her brows and asked, "Where's Liang Yiran? He didn't come to eat again?"
"He's the vice president of the student council now. He's busy with stuff for the sports meeting. How would he have time to come out for lunch?" Jiang Rang placed the packaged lunch on the table. "We're going to get haircuts. Can you give it to him?"
"Forget it, I'm not going."
"What should we do then? Are you going to let Liang Yiran starve until we go back?" Jiang Rang smiled. "Are you willing to?"
"..." She knew it was a lie, yet Meng Xinglan couldn't help but be fooled. She waved her hand impatiently. "Fine, fine, go get your haircuts."
"Alright, we'll treat you to milk tea when we come back." Jiang Rang withdrew his hand and greeted Ruan Mian, who had been sitting across from him and hadn't said a word.
As they left the restaurant, Shen Yu leaned on Jiang Rang's shoulder and asked, "The girl sitting across from Meng Xinglan just now, isn't she Chen Yi's deskmate?"
Jiang Rang glanced at him, "Yeah, didn't you see her before?"
"I've only seen her a few times." Shen Yu patted Chen Yi's shoulder. "You know what, Teacher Yan praised your deskmate so many times in our class this morning."
Yan Heshan was the math teacher for both the first and second science experiment classes. This time, the math exam had been challenging, and Ruan Mian was the only one to get a perfect score out of the two experiment classes.
Chen Yi looked up, "What did he praise her for?"
"He praised how impressive she was." Shen Yu cleared his throat and imitated Yan Heshan's tone, "In the first class, Ruan Mian's approach to problem-solving for this specific question was exceptionally concise and insightful. If you know anyone in her class, you can ask them for her paper after class."
"That's true. She is indeed impressive. Even Chen Yi didn't get full marks in math this time." Jiang Rang didn't hesitate to shower Ruan Mian with praise, "Moreover, her total score for the science section was 280, leaving our class' other female students far behind. But it seems she's quite imbalanced in terms of her subjects. She barely passed the line for Chinese."
"She must have gone all the way to the Atlantic Ocean for that subject, right?" Shen Yu joked.
"Absolutely, because of this, Mr. Zhao even called her into his office." Jiang Rang mentioned this, and then suddenly remembered something, his expression changed, "No wonder. When we took the preliminary test at the beginning of the school year, I told her she was impressive. She said I wouldn't think so next time she takes the main exam. Turns out it was because of this."
Chen Yi, who hadn't joined the conversation much, suddenly remembered the composition he had seen in Mr. Zhao's office in the morning. He found it inexplicably amusing. It wasn't imbalanced to the extent of the Atlantic Ocean.
The composition had asked them to create a title based on the provided material. Yet, from beginning to end, she hadn't written a single sentence related to the material.
Who knew what she had been thinking at the time.
Author has something to say: The total score for the comprehensive science is 300, with a maximum of 110 for physics, 100 for chemistry, and 90 for biology (referring to the provincial comprehensive science scores of the year 2008).
Translator has something to say: Hold up a second! How in the world does anyone hit the jackpot with a perfect score? And honestly, can anyone truly master the art of handwriting that's actually readable? Does that even exist? It's starting to feel like I'm the only one who's just plain bad at it.
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