The second stage of the competition was held in the banquet hall on the second floor of the hotel.
When Shen Shao arrived at the venue, an entire arena had been set up.
Lighting, sound, and cameras were all in place.
Instead of an academic competition, it was more like a TV station filming a program.

He understood why the participating schools had protested about the irrational nature of the competition process but hadn’t actually withdrawn.
Everything came down to money and fame.

The sponsors wanted to increase the exposure of their products, the TV station wanted to improve its ratings, and the schools wanted to raise their visibility.
That was why the competition was set up to be so slippery for the students.

“I don’t think they should call this competition a math league.
They should call it ‘Who’s A Genius?’ It’s even more brutal than the Math Olympiad.” Zhang Li’s sarcasm skills had been activated.
She added quietly, “Shen Shao, the face of our school depends on you.” Although she thought she could probably deal with the mental math competition, the third stage was completely beyond her.
After all, she hadn’t entered the mysterious realm of geniuses.

When Shen Shao looked back, he saw that both Zhang Li and Zeng Ping were wearing “I believe in you” expressions.
Feeling a little helpless, he touched his nose.
“Guys, don’t look at me like that.
I really don’t have a clue either.” Then he sighed.
“I just hope the questions aren’t too bizarre.
Otherwise it really will be embarrassing.”

“Shen Shao, Shao Ge, Shen Da Ge, you have to hold on ah.” Zhang Li put her hands together and pleaded.
“The whole school might be watching.”

Zeng Ping followed along, nodding again and again.

Shen Shao: …

Suddenly the pressure was so high.
Whatever happened to friendship first, competition second?

The competition was structured like a “wheel war”.
The participants took turns based on the number they drew beforehand.
If they gave the correct answer within fifteen seconds, they’d continue on to the next round of questions.
If their answer was wrong, they’d be immediately eliminated.
This would continue until only ten people were left.

Shen Shao drew No.
It wasn’t long before it was his turn to enter the arena.

He walked in front of the middle table, bowed to the three judges, and waited for the question.

“Are you ready?” the female lead judge asked gently.

Shen Shao nodded.

“Good, then we’ll begin.” The female judge gave him a reassuring smile and pressed the button on the table.
A random question popped up on the big screen.

“The countdown has started.”

Shen Shao finally understood why some of the participants’ faces were so unhappy when they came out.
The judges were staring, the cameras were filming, and the countdown was beeping.
If their psychological fortitude wasn’t good enough, their brain would turn to mush.
If that happened, how could they calculate anything in fifteen seconds?

The first round was relatively easy.
It was just a simple multiplication problem.

“Please answer the question.”



The three judges turned on their lights in unison, indicating that Shen Shao passed.
He bowed in the direction of the judges and quickly walked out.

After leaving the field and walking to the waiting area, Shen Shao was greeted by the applause of the five people in his group.
He smiled shyly and sat down beside Zeng Ping.
“Zhang Li, it’s almost your turn.
Go and get ready.” After saying this, he gave her a cheering gesture.

There was a big screen in the waiting area where everyone could see the people on stage.
When it was Zhang Li’s turn, all five of them became nervous.

Fortunately, although Zhang Li’s face was a little pale, she answered the question successfully.
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

What was more surprising was that after the first round of simple multiplication questions, seven or eight participants had already been eliminated.
Maybe these students normally had no problem with mental math, but they were nervous now and it affected their performance.
In a competition, no one cares how you normally do.
They only care about the result, which means mental strength is extremely important.

This round of the competition was all about mental math ability and mental fortitude.
Sometimes a person’s psychology meant success or failure, and that wasn’t empty talk.

After three rounds, most of the participating students had been eliminated.
The questions now involved addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division by decimal points, and the answer time increased to twenty seconds.
Unfortunately, the extra five seconds didn’t stop most participants from sinking into the sand.

By now, viewers who originally weren’t that interested in this boring TV show began to take more interest.
On Saturday and Sunday, a lot of adults and children were relaxing at home.
It was natural for families to gather around the TV and comment on each student’s performance.

“Oh, there are only twenty contestants left?” When Gu PingWen turned on the TV, the competition was already halfway over.
By the time he called his brother to sit down on the sofa, another two contestants were eliminated.

“Furong No.
3 High School has a pretty good school uniform.
It makes that student look really bright and energetic.
Compared to your school uniform it looks pretty good.” Gu PingWen took the fruit cut by the housekeeper and passed the plate to Gu NingZhao.
Seeing his brother silently take a piece, he added, “Didn’t you go to Furong City a while ago? Was it fun there?”

Gu NingZhao slowly shook his head, then nodded, and then focused on the TV.



As soon as the camera panned, there was a close-up of the name tag on the contestant’s chest.

“Shen Shao?” Gu PingWen said with a wry smile.
“That’s quite an advantageous name to have.”

Gu NingZhao turned to look at him but said nothing.

The competition on TV continued.

At this stage, the competition was no longer a test of psychological quality but IQ.
After all, contestants with poor fortitude had already been eliminated.
Everyone who remained had strong mental quality as well as mental math skills.

After another round, the remaining dozen or so contestants had a fine layer of sweat on their foreheads.
Shen Shao unscrewed the bottle of water provided by the organizers, took a sip, and waited for the next round.

When it was his turn again, there were still thirteen people left including himself.
He walked calmly up to the stage and continued to answer.

When the time was up, he accurately gave the answer, “15624.397”.

When Shen Shao responded correctly, the remaining twelve contestants couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
After all, if one more person was eliminated, it would make them that much safer.

Soon, another three contestants were eliminated.
The remaining ten advanced, waiting to participate in tomorrow’s memory competition.

The moment Shen Shao walked outside, he was surrounded by Vice Principal Yao and the others.
The three adults handed him water and wiped the sweat from his face.
Everyone was beaming.

“I almost couldn’t breathe just now,” Zeng Ping said with a sigh of relief.
“Thank goodness our school still has you in the running.”

Vice Principal Yao glanced in the direction of Jingcheng No.
1 High School.
This time, two students from Jingcheng No.
1 High School made it into the finals.
Their own school was at a disadvantage.
Moreover, there was no real logic to the third stage of the competition.
Even if they tried to do some coaching now, it wasn’t possible to master a new skill in such a short amount of time.
He didn’t feel optimistic about tomorrow.

Even as he thought this, he didn’t want to increase the psychological burden on Shen Shao, so he didn’t say too much to him about the competition.
Just let him have a good rest.
After all, tomorrow morning was the last stage.
No matter what the result was, they had to make a good showing.

“Vice Principal Yao, this student from your school is excellent.” The principal of Jingcheng No.
1 High School came over with an elder’s smile in his eyes and began to praise Shen Shao.

Vice Principal Yao smiled too.
“Not at all, not at all.
Everything depends on luck.
Your Jingcheng No.
1 High School still has two students in the competition.
It looks like first place will be yours again this year.”

The principal of Jingcheng No.
1 High School chuckled modestly.
Although he said there was little chance, the smugness in his eyes was obvious even to youngsters like Zeng Ping and Zhang Li.
Clearly he had a lot of confidence in the result.

After returning to their hotel room, Zeng Ping and Zhang Li were full of righteous indignation.
They gave Shen Shao all kinds of spiritual encouragement.
All they wanted was to beat Jingcheng No.
1 High School into the ground.

Shen Shao sighed.
If people who didn’t know heard them talk, they might have thought he was going to a Wulin master martial arts conference tomorrow.

After dinner, the Gu family usually gathered together to chat, although most of the time Gu NingZhao only listened without talking.

“NingZhao, I heard you watched the live broadcast of the math league today?” Gu ChongZhi sat down next to his youngest son.
When he saw the teen was holding a heavy foreign language book, Gu ChongZhi reached out and touched his head.

Gu NingZhao wanted to move away, but when he thought that this person was his father, he held still.

Gu ChongZhi didn’t seem to notice his son’s sitting posture had grown stiff.
In a gentle tone he said, “If you like, Dad will sponsor another one in the second half of the year.”

Gu NingZhao thought carefully, then shook his head.

“OK.” Gu ChongZhi lowered his hand.
“If there’s anything you’d like, feel free to tell Dad.”

Gu NingZhao turned the pages of his book more slowly, then shook his head again.


As he looked at his silent youngest son, Gu ChongZhi kept the smile on his face, but he sighed to himself.

Gu heard the conversation between her husband and son.
She brought over a plate of cut fruit and placed it in front of them.
“Come on, have something to eat.”

“Thanks, Mom,” Gu NingZhao said.
After thanking her, he took a piece of fruit from the plate and slowly ate it.

“You’re welcome.” Mrs.
Gu smiled gently.


TL Notes:

face – 脸面 – face; self-respect; sb.’s feelings

wheel war – 车轮战 – several persons take turns fighting one opponent to wear him down

beat (Jingcheng High School) into the ground – 满地找牙 – to be looking for one’s teeth all over the floor / (fig.) to get beaten up badly / to beat the crap out of (sb)

Wulin master martial arts conference – from 武林大会 – Wulin conference  – Refers to gatherings of martial arts masters held at certain intervals in fictional Wuxia novels.
The winner receives awards and titles such as “Wulin Leader”.
Wuxia is a genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists in ancient China (Baidu, Wikipedia)


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

Shao Da Ge – 沈大哥 – Big Brother Shao

Gu PingWen – 顾平闻 – AKA Eldest Young Master Gu

Gu NingZhao – 顾宁昭 – Gù Níngzhāo – AKA Second Young Master Gu – Our ML

Gu ChongZhi – 顾崇值

Gu – from 顾母 – Gù Mǔ – “Mother Gu”.
In China, women don’t take their husbands’ surnames.
Even though her surname is different, she’ll still be called things like “Madam Gu” or “Mrs.
I went with “Mrs.
Gu” here because “Mother Gu” or “Gu Mu” looked strange when the author didn’t use the male equivalent for Gu ChongZhi 

Mom – 妈妈 – Māmā

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like