The first thing Mingxi did once she got back to her dorm room was to happily count the money, no, the buds in her flower pot.
Three buds seemed to have grown from the act of picking out coriander leaves; another five buds from buying him medicine and applying it on him. With the addition of the previous 15 buds, she should have a total of 23 buds… So why are there 38 buds right now?!
Wait a minute. Then is her face—
Mingxi happily took off her mask and looked at her reflection in the mirror.
It’s really gone!
She couldn’t even see any marks or scars despite the close distance. Whoa, this is amazing.
It was the first time since she came to this life that she almost cried out of joy.
System: “That’s because you held his hand.”
Mingxi calculated for a moment before replying in shock, “I can get 15 buds from just holding his hand?”
Then what was the point of her planning her actions so meticulously? She might as well have held a sign saying ‘520’* while running toward Fu Yangxi the moment she saw him and stuck their hands together with a loud clap.
ray’s note: 520 is an internet slang word used by the Chinese as a shortcut to say I love you.
System: “Didn’t you notice the time? Your fingers touched his fingers for a total of three minutes. That was the first time you’ve had such a long duration of physical contact with him, and the impact is usually stronger during the first time.”
To be honest, Mingxi wasn’t paying attention to the time. As Fu Yangxi kept on trying to pull his hands back while she was applying the medicine on him, she had no choice but to hold on to his fingers.
When the system said this, it made the whole situation sound so erotic.
The system wondered out loud: “I’m surprised that he wasn’t upset about it.”
Mingxi was shocked too. She wondered if it was because she kept on crossing the line with Fu Yangxi that he had gotten used to it already.
It was true that Fu Yangxi didn’t seem to hate her as much any more. There were even signs that he was gradually accepting her as a friend.
This was certainly a good thing for Mingxi.
Mingxi washed her face with tremendous vigor. Then, she squatted down and began to clean up the things lying around her feet.
As the items in the luggage were all stuffed together carelessly, when she first saw it in the library, she couldn’t exactly see what Fu Yangxi had given her.
Only when she finally sorted through them did she realize that they were all branded items. There were designer autumn and winter sweatshirts and coats. Mingxi was rather tall for a girl. She was also pale and thin, so any size would be wearable on her. She tried it on, and was surprised by how well it suited her.
Aside from clothes and shoes, there were also miscellaneous items like scarves, toothpaste and even a pillow stuffed in a corner.
Mingxi would never return these, because if she did, according to Fu Yangxi’s personality, he would definitely get mad. Then things would become even more troublesome for her.
Therefore, Mingxi quickly worked out the cost of these items.
She calculated based on the tags. A rough estimation came up to about 70,000 yuan*.
ray’s note: as of 23/1/21 it is 10,799.30 USD.
Looks like I can only work hard to buy and repay the same worth of items to Fu Yangxi.
I’ll just take these as an advance payment.
The next morning, Mingxi woke up early and went to the hospital. She wanted to consult a dermatologist.
It was the same dermatologist who was in charge of her previously. The other could still remember her. When he saw that she had come for a check up, he said, “I’m gonna need you to take off your mask so that I can examine your scar. Did you consistently apply sunscreen and the medicine I gave you? We wouldn’t want the scar to expand—”
But before they could finish, Mingxi had already taken off her mask.
“...” The doctor was stunned.
He distinctly recalled that when Zhao Mingxi came to him two weeks ago, the scar on the left side on her face was still substantially big.
He quickly walked over and held Mingxi’s face, turning her head from left to right. “How did it heal so quickly? Did you get it operated?”
But it was impossible for a surgery to produce such flawless results. It was as if there was no wound at all in the first place!
“I don’t know. Maybe it was because I consistently applied the medicine, hence the speedy recovery.” Mingxi was in an extremely good mood today, so much so that even the strongest winds would not deter her. A world where she didn’t need to wear masks anymore. She could finally breathe without any difficulty.
The doctor felt that this was a medical miracle. He had never seen a recovery so perfect.
While the two of them were talking, the nurse who came in to take something couldn’t help but to steal a few glances at Mingxi. When this girl came in with her mask on, others only felt that her eyes were really pretty. Who would’ve thought that the moment she took off her mask she would be so beautiful—
She was so fair that she seemed to be glowing. It was the kind of appearance that would immediately stand out in a crowd. If it wasn’t because she was wearing her school uniform, others would have thought that she was a young celebrity.
And not just any celebrity. She would be the kind that would be famous even with just her visuals.
Mingxi asked, “Do you think I can stop wearing my mask from now on?”
“I think so.” The doctor gave it some thought before continuing, “But I would recommend you to observe it for another two days. Wait till tomorrow. If there are no signs of itchiness or unusual heat, then you can take it off permanently. Nonetheless, you still have to apply sunscreen everyday.”
Two days. Mingxi felt that she could wait. She didn’t want any accidents happening in this life.
When Mingxi left the hospital, she was planning to continue revising at the library. However, it was at this moment when her phone vibrated.
The user whom she privately messaged the other day with regards to their post had actually replied to her.
That person only gave her an address and requested for her to meet them this afternoon for a chat.
Mingxi, who was standing by the bus stop, was so excited that she almost jumped. She said to the system, “This is the exact definition of double blessings.”
Could this be the good luck drawn in after her change in luck?
System: “I think this Professor Gao is on the list of people who you can freeload on as well. He’s even the kind with a weird personality. Although he is ranked at the middle, it would be good to come in contact with him. The only downside is that he might be a little harder to deal with, so you should be extra cautious. Don’t get scolded and kicked out by him.”
Mingxi said, “Understood.”
Professor Gao’s house was located in a rather secluded area. It was in an alley filled with hanging clothes.
When Mingxi found the house number, she politely knocked on the door twice.
A while later, there were sounds of footsteps shuffling. The moment the door opened, an old man with half grey hair wearing a white singlet put on his spectacles before proceeding to look her up and down.
Mingxi had only seen this Professor Gao once in her past life and it was before her college entrance examinations. He looked even more haggard back then. Although he didn’t teach the majority of students in her school, they have all seen him before. So if she were to pretend not to recognize him, then it would be too fake.
Thus, Mingxi feigned a look of shock. “Professor Gao?”
The old man took a glimpse at the uniform she was wearing. “You are a student from our school?”
“Yes.” Mingxi figured it would be impolite to keep her mask on so she quickly took it off. “I didn’t think that it would be you, sir. I’m working part-time while studying.”
“Senior Year 3?”
It was easy for a clean girl without any makeup on to leave a good impression on him.
Although the old man had an odd personality, he couldn’t allow Mingxi to continue standing outside. Thus, he said stiffly, “Come in first. I want to ask you a few questions.”
Mingxi followed him in. Only then did she realize why he retired so early in her past life.
The courtyard which was only about the size of a palm was overflowing with greenery, but it seemed quite barren. There was a pole where no grass grew, and on it was hung the dirty clothes of a child around 10 years old. The sun hasn’t been coming out recently, so if his grandson were to dirty his clothes, he wouldn’t be able to dry them on time.
It was undeniably challenging for an old man to take care of such a child.
If she didn’t take a closer look, she wouldn’t have noticed that at the corner of the patch of overgrown grass, there was a little boy who looked around the age of 12 to 13. His back was facing them as he stared quietly at the ants.
Seeing as how Mingxi had stopped walking and was looking in that direction, the eccentric old man with pulled a long face.
“This job isn’t as easy as you think. If you want to earn some allowance you might as well go take some tutoring jobs or work at the local arcade. You should leave now if you feel like you are uncomfortable with it.”
“I’m not uncomfortable. Go ahead.” Mingxi quickly picked up her pace and followed the old man to the living room.
What the old man wanted was for someone to do math questions with his autistic grandson. Only by doing this will his grandson enter into a quiet world of his own.
Obviously, it was impossible for him to hire a care worker from the hospital. Female care workers who are about 40 to 50 years old wouldn’t understand these. Moreover, it would be financially burdensome for the old man to hire someone who specializes in education. Thus, after some careful contemplation, he had no choice but to hire a student working part-time to come over every weekend.
Nonetheless, it was difficult for him to find a student suited for the job. No one in school knew that he had a grandson with such an illness. The old man was also prideful, so he wouldn’t ask for help from any of the students he taught.
When he casually posted about this in the school’s forum, not many replied. So the old man could only leave this matter aside and take some of his own time out to take care of his grandson.
To his surprise, half a year after he made that post, Mingxi showed up at his door.
The old man gave Mingxi a Sudoku puzzle and asked her about her schedule as he sat aside with a stern expression. Mingxi felt extremely nervous during the whole session, but she had no choice but to do her best while answering his questions.
After she was done, the old man examined it.
“Not bad. Your mind works fast, but you have a bad habit. You jump through the steps, making it seem as if your logic is unclear.” the old man casually remarked.
Professor Gao did not mention the shock that he was currently feeling. This child answered the puzzle in an unconventional manner— It was impossible for him to know her standards just by this one test.
But he was certain that she was above the level of the Normal Class.
Since she was so quick-witted, even if she had continuously failed to join the Tournament, she should be able to obtain rather outstanding results in school. So why had he never heard of her before?
The old man furrowed his brows and looked at Mingxi. He said coldly, “Did you used to use your feet to take the exam?”
Mingxi thought that Professor Gao had a bad impression of her. Just as she was awaiting to fall in a pit of despair due to his impending rejection, the old man changed the direction of the conversation, “Come here once every Sunday. I’ll give you 200 yuan for each session, is that alright? I know the money isn’t much, but if you have any questions that you are unsure of, you can mark them down and ask me later. The only two conditions I have is that you cannot be late and you must not mention this to anyone in school.”
Mingxi was so happy that she immediately stood up. “Alright. No problem!”
Mingxi then spent the rest of her afternoon here at this old man’s house. She even made dinner before she left at night.
Her attentiveness was obvious, but it wasn’t to the point where it made one despise it. Instead, it would make others relate her to a tender bud that was trying its best to make its way out of the stone cracks in order to live under the sun.
The old man and his grandson were obviously amazed by Mingxi’s cooking skills as they actually cleared up all the food.
Mingxi even helped them clean up and washed the dishes after dinner.
Although the old man had a peculiar personality, he felt ill-at-ease at the thought of letting a little girl wash the dishes for them.
He quickly entered the kitchen. His expression was evidently gentler as compared to when Mingxi first came through their door. “Leave them to me. You can go home now.”
The moment Mingxi returned to school, she immediately went to the library to write down the reasonings that Professor Gao had unintentionally taught her while she was playing with his grandson.
When Mingxi thought of how she would be given preferential treatment from such an outstanding trainer, it was as if the thrilling sound of war drums were beginning to play in her heart. She had finally gained some confidence for the upcoming Hundred School Tournament.
Meanwhile, Mingxi who was currently working hard toward her own survival didn’t even notice that she was steadily moving up the ranks of the School Beauty Contest.
When Fu Yangxi saw how Mingxi was trying her best to hold in her tears a few days ago, he felt that she must have been really affected by how those gossipers said she was plain-looking— After all, there was not a girl in the world who didn’t care about their appearance.
It didn’t seem as if Fu Yangxi’s consolation was of any use as Mingxi was still ignoring him.
Thus, Fu Yangxi forced his followers to vote for Mingxi to the point that she reached the Top 20.
He thought that Mingxi would be happier when she sees this. She wasn’t inferior to anyone as she had around 500 votes.
However, Fu Yangxi didn’t think that he should continue voting for her beyond this point. He had a petty reasoning for this. If he voted for her to the point where she gets 1st place, what should he do if everyone notices how she has long eyelashes, fair skin and is good at making desserts?
The transfer student did not look like someone with a strong will. It could be possible that she might fall in love with another and give them desserts instead.
Fu Yangxi wanted to keep her for himself.
However, there was another batch of people who were fervently voting for Zhao Mingxi.
If the way E Xiaoxia treated Zhao Mingxi previously could be described as envy— Envious that she was promised to marry Shen Liyao since they were born; that she had the gall to appear in front of Shen Liyao when no one knew what she looked like since she always had that mask on.
Then right now, E Xiaoxia absolutely abhorred Zhao Mingxi. This feeling emerged when Shen Liyao brought E Xiaoxia to the back of the academic building with a cold and terrifying expression before mercilessly asking for the truth behind Zhao Yuan’s allergy incident.
She came to know Shen Liyao way earlier than Zhao Mingxi. She was also the first to appear before Shen Liyao. So why did Shen Liyao only speak and provide extra lessons for Zhao Mingxi?
E Xiaoxia did not have the courage to pursue Shen Liyao, but Zhao Mingxi actually had the bravery to openly express her crush toward Shen Liyao.
She hated this sort of gallantry.
When E Xiaoxia saw how Zhao Mingxi made it to the Top 20 of the School Beauty Contest, she felt disdained and irritable. Why was she everywhere? What qualifications did she have to even join this contest? Who knows what she looks like behind that mask?
Even if she had pretty eyes, it didn’t mean that the rest of her face was the same, right?
If she was truly beautiful, then she ought to be flaunting it. Who would wear a mask everyday just to cover up a small scar?
E Xiaoxia almost had the thought of buying a bunch of fake accounts to vote others up and pull Zhao Mingxi down so that she would stop becoming such an eyesore.
However, upon giving it further thought— Why don’t she just go with the flow and get her to the top??
If she manages to get to the higher ranks, the moment the judging is completed, everyone from within and outside their school would be curious as to how Zhao Mingxi looks. They would have the assumption that she is absolutely beautiful. Then, when Zhao Mingxi has no choice but to take off her mask, everyone would be so disappointed and leave immediately— How hurtful would it be to Zhao Mingxi’s self-esteem?
E Xiaoxia quickly put her thoughts into action.
It was easy for her to do this as she only had to spend tens of thousands of yuan to hire others to help with the voting.
While E Xiaoxia was voting, the neighboring school’s Kong Jiaze also noticed the fact that Zhao Mingxi’s votes were soaring in A High’s School Beauty Contest.
She was smart enough to pick up on it and immediately got the people around her to start voting for Zhao Mingxi.
With the help of these two sides, by the time it was Monday, Zhao Mingxi’s votes had already got her up to the Top 2.
As E Xiaoxia still wanted to continue being friends with Zhao Yuan, she did not dare to hire people to get Zhao Mingxi to the first place.
Thus, Zhao Mingxi’s votes were around 2,900 while Zhao Yuan’s votes were around 3,000.
Mingxi was unaware of all this. She just felt that when she entered the academic building on Monday, everyone was giving her odd looks.
She wasn’t the only one wearing a mask in school. There were many students with flu or rhinitis who would wear them too. Usually, no one would even spare her glance and she would blend in with the crowd completely.
However, for some reason a lot of girls were staring at her as she walked to school. Their gazes were of curiosity and they kept on muttering, “This? Just with this and she got into this year’s Top 2?”
Mingxi endured it all the way to the International Class. She noticed that Fu Yangxi wasn’t here yet. To be honest, Mingxi had already gotten used to his habit of arriving late and leaving early.
Mingxi directly sat down at her seat.
Maybe it was due to the label of ‘Fu Yangxi’s deskmate’ that the people who were staring at her in the International Class were way lesser than those outside. Nonetheless, there were still many curious looks.
“What’s going on?” Mingxi couldn’t help but to stop and ask one of Fu Yangxi’s followers.
That follower stuttered, “You’ll understand once you see the School Beauty Contest page.”
Mingxi turned on her phone in confusion. Just as the page was loading at a snail’s pace, there were already a bunch of curious people crowded outside the class by the corridor. They filled up the space outside the International Class.
As classes had yet to start, a lot of people came to watch the fun. There were even people from Kong Jiaze’s school among them.
There was someone in the crowd who said, “What a joke. This is the person in 2nd place from your school this year?”
Zhao Yuan who was in the Evergreen Class kept her phone with a furrowed brow. When she saw E Xiaoxia pushing for people to go join the crowd at the International Class upstairs, she felt a sense of foreboding. Thus, she hurriedly went there as well.
After E Xiaoxia and her group of friends arrived at the corridor outside the International Class, the noise of the crowd got evidently louder.
“Around 2,900 votes. How fake. Can you take off your mask for us?”
Ke Chengwen had just arrived upstairs and squeezed himself into class. When he heard this, he knew that something was wrong. He quickly called Fu Yangxi. “Xi ge, you have to get here immediately. There’s a crowd of people outside our class forcing the transfer student to take off her mask.”
Then, Ke Chengwen immediately hung up before the other could go into a fit of rage.
He leaned toward the windows and yelled at the people who were trying to get in, “Don’t you have classes as well? Why must you come to another class to look at their girls? Get lost!”
After Ke Chengwen said this, the followers in class began to drive people out.
Mingxi’s forum page was fully loaded. She finally knew what was going on.
“...” What the heck??? Could this be the legendary murder from adulation?
She heard someone in the corridor speak with a tone of mockery, “Ugly.”
Mingxi caught E Xiaoxia’s expression.
She felt as if this voice belonged to E Xiaoxia.
While Mingxi was not the kind who would cause trouble, she was also not one who would shy away from it.
Nonetheless, she could still hold her anger in from being called ugly. Honestly, as long as a girl doesn’t cry from being called ugly, it would be considered a very strong move.
She stood up abruptly.
Ke Chengwen didn’t know what she wanted to do. He was just afraid that she would start crying from all the bullying. So he quickly blocked off the entrance to their class. “Just wait a little more. Xi ge will be here soon.”
In the end, before he could finish his sentence, the students outside watched as the transfer student slowly took off her mask.
The air suddenly became quiet; eerily quiet.
Ke Chengwen still had no idea what had transpired as he continued to block people off at the door.
“How is she...”
Everyone was looking at Zhao Mingxi in shock, so much so that their responses became slow.
Her eyes were clear and beautiful, as if it was reflecting the stars of the morning sky. Her facial features were fair and enticingly gorgeous.
It was a kind of delicate beauty that well surpassed Zhao Yuan and Kong Jiaze. Such purity and flawlessness to the point that they could only gawk in awe as they could not think of any words to describe her.
Mingxi looked toward E Xiaoxia and asked callously, “If I’m ugly, then what are you?”