ho exactly had sent him all this?

Shen Shao looked over everything again, but he didn’t find anything useful.
Even the mailing address was vague.
The only thing he found was a handwritten sentence on the title page of the traditional literature book.

Happy New Year.

“Never mind.” Shen Shao closed the book in his hand.
No matter who the person was or what purpose they had, he decided it didn’t matter.

Maybe it was the legendary Daddy-Long-Legs from the story.

Feeling a little happy, Shen Shao put the books on the shelf.
As for the jade Guanyin, he didn’t wear it.
He locked it with the box in his cabinet.

On New Year’s Eve, fireworks and firecrackers continually went off outside.
Shen Shao lay in bed and listened to the noise.
After a while he still wasn’t able to sleep, so he leaned on the window ledge and watched the fireworks.
They were beautiful, but after a long time, watching them alone felt a little boring.

The host of the Spring Festival Gala on TV was counting down the time.
When Shen Shao heard the number “3”, firecrackers went off everywhere.
The sound was so loud he couldn’t hear the TV.

The new century was here.
He looked at the fireworks exploding outside and yawned.

At last the year 2000 had officially arrived.

If his memory wasn’t wrong, after 2000, China’s economy would develop rapidly.
Prices would rise along with it.
Soon, the new currency that was issued in October of last year would replace the previous currency.
Countless people would sigh about spending more and more money and getting less and less for it.

After the New Year, the phrase “the 21st century” became a popular term, used so often it seemed like a required phrase in articles and newspapers, as if they weren’t keeping up with the times unless they included it.
It wasn’t until the end of 2000 that use of the phrase began to decrease.
But at least this type of brainwashing had one advantage.
People gradually understood they were living in a new era, and it was time to close the book on the 20th century.

Time often passes without a trace, and a year or two could disappear in the blink of an eye.
Shen Shao, who was in the top three in his grade, finally embarked on his senior year.

When the students divided into literature and science tracks at the end of the first year of senior high, Class 15 became a science class.
The students in the class didn’t change much, but after the split, they realized the mountain of the college entrance exam was truly approaching.

“Shen Shao, the results of the monthly exam are out.
You’re number one again!” Zhou ZeYu rushed into the classroom with an excited face and ran to Shen Shao’s desk.
“I heard the school’s going to send the top three students in the science monthly exam to the national math league.
Did you hear about it?”

“Math League?” Shen Shao knew that in previous years, the school sent seniors to participate in this competition, but they hadn’t done better than runner-up.

“Yes, you’re definitely on the list this time,” said Zhou ZeYu.
At first he was excited, but now he felt a little depressed.
“If there are students from Jingcheng No.
1 High School and Yanghe No.
3 High School there, our school will be lucky to get third place.”

Shen Shao didn’t know much about the grudges between various schools, so Zhou ZeYu’s words didn’t have much effect on him.
After the school released the list which confirmed he was included, he didn’t feel nervous.

Anyway, in his opinion, the important thing was participating.
Taking first place in the competition wasn’t a priority for him.

However, it was obvious the school attached a lot of importance to the competition.
To ensure the three students would be able to rest and perform well, the school purchased plane tickets and sent the vice principal and two teachers to accompany them to the capital.

Before they boarded the plane, the teaching director and the class teachers of the three students went to see them off personally.
It felt a little like giving a warm send off to heroes departing for battle.

Shen Shao was so calm compared to the other two students that Zhang JiaHe, his class teacher, didn’t know what to do with the words of encouragement and reassurance he’d prepared.
In the end, he just patted Shen Shao on the shoulder and told him to rest well.

As he watched Shen Shao and others pass through the boarding gate, Zhang JiaHe sighed.
As a teacher he felt proud, but he also felt a little ineffectual.
It was a bit of a contradiction.

Zhang, the student from your class has such a good mindset.”

“Not at all, he’s just an inexperienced kid.”

“Don’t be modest.
Back when Shen Shao was first admitted, didn’t he score first place on the external admission test?”

Zhang JiaHe laughed a little awkwardly and avoided the topic.
He didn’t want his colleagues to envy or dislike him.

The principal saw the teachers talking jovially and had no idea about Zhang JiaHe’s mixed feelings.
“I already heard that both Jingcheng No.
1 High School and Yanghe No.
3 High School sent students to the competition.”

The smiles on the faces of the three class teachers receded, and they sighed to themselves.
It seemed their No.
3 High School would have nothing to brag about once again.


TL Notes:

without a moment’s thought – 用脚趾头想 – thinking with his toes

Guanyin – 观音 – In Chinese mythology, the goddess of mercy, considered to be the physical embodiment of compassion.
She is called upon by worshippers in times of uncertainty, despair, and fear.
Guanyin was originally based on the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (Wikipedia)

transfer beads – 转运珠 – Round or oval beads made of gold, silver, or jade.
The beads are hollowed out and worn with red silk threads on the neck or wrist.
They symbolize good luck.
The specific number of beads is said to channel a specific blessing (such as good luck in life, wealth, etc.) (Baidu)

Daddy-Long-Legs – 长腿叔叔 – long-legged uncle – The name of a 1912 novel by American writer Jean Webster.
It follows a girl as she leaves an orphanage and is sent to college by “Daddy-Long-Legs”, a benefactor she’s never met.
It has been adapted to plays, TV, and movies in multiple countries (Wikipedia)


Transliterated names, places, and titles—new in this chapter:

Grandma Yang – 杨奶奶 – Yáng nǎinai – (informal) grandma (paternal grandmother) – A common way to refer to a woman two generations older than you

Jingcheng No.
1 Senior High – 京城一中 – AKA “Capital City” No 1.
Senior High, see the note in Ch 2

Yanghe No.
3 Senior High – 阳合三中

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