Three days later, the headteacher walked into the classroom with a doubtful look in her eyes. She asked the study secretary to give out the papers, during which she kept looking at Huang Xuan doubtfully and making him very nervous. When everybody had got their papers, she cleared her throat and said, "With only 18 students having passed all three tests and six having failed all of them, this isn't a satisfactory result. According to the rule, the names of the students who have failed the tests are going to be posted."
"Oh, no!" the remarks triggered an outburst of cries, among which Monkey's was the loudest. However, he looked better than the others. His father had gone to France and probably would stay there for a month, so now it didn't matter anymore what scores he got.
Huang Xuan flicked through his own three papers, then took his deskmate's and looked at them, he then realized why his headteacher was looking at him weirdly. His English grades used to be at least 30 points lower than his deskmate's, but now he had got a "70", which was higher than his. He thought that maybe he had been carried away by the joy.
He spread the Maths paper on the desk and compared it with his deskmate's, which was crammed with numbers. For most of the questions, his deskmate had got only half the points. Huang Xuan had got both ticks and crosses for the first few questions while for the difficult ones in the latter part he either had got full points or zero for each question. To get the right scores, he had answered the last question correctly. Furthermore, he had written many words for the geometric question but had drawn a wrong figure. A figure was the base for Geometry and getting the correct answer with the wrong figure was impossible; however, Huang Xuan did. It wasn't Rolin's fault but Huang Xuan's. He had been careless and answered the question before he made the lousy drawing. In addition, the draft was unclear either.
The bottom line was that he was inexperienced.
Huang Xuan managed a period under his headteacher's weird look. Before he could catch a break, the headteacher, Li Que, smiled strangely, took a pile of paper from under the podium and said, "Class, Mr. Zhu from the next period can't have the class, and I am going to substitute. Let's have another test." Ignoring the sorrowful cries in the class, she started giving out the papers. Huang Xuan raised his head and found the evil smile on her face.
"Idiot!" Huang Xuan's voice was loud enough to be heard. "Who are you referring to?" asked Monkey, who was wailing behind him.
Huang Xuan waved his paper and said, "Somebody." Then he started doing the paper: he wrote, and Rolin answered, of course. It was the second day of the new semester and felt endless. The morning classes were over. While Huang Xuan was going out to get something to eat, he saw Li Qing waiting anxiously at the school gate. Seeing him, Li Qing ran over and said, "Come with me."
"What's the matter?"
"Talk later." With the students around, Li Qing didn't say anything else, he grabbed Huang Xuan's hand and started trotting.
"Your grandfather specifically demanded your presence at the meeting, so I came to pick you up," said Li Qing while starting the car.
"The follow-up meeting of the anniversary."
Huang Xuan shrugged his shoulders to express his understanding. Since the anniversary lasted only three days, many substantial issues were settled after. But he couldn't figure out why his grandfather had asked for his attendance.
Huang Xuan opened the car window and breathed the air mixed with gas. He wasn't 16 yet and so wasn't entitled to attend the meetings. However, when it did happen, it usually meant something unpleasant, such as inheritance distribution.
Huang Xuan shivered and thought of his parents' being out of the house and busy. They were in a Hongqi1, which was fast, and it took them only about an hour to get to the parking lot of the ancient residence. The car door was opened by the helper who had been waiting there.
"Do I need to get changed?" Huang Xuan was still wearing his school costume, which looked weird, compared with Butler Zhou's suit.
Zhou Li looked serious. He said in a hoarse voice, "You don't need to. Come with me."
Fierce arguments were going on in the meeting room.
Huang Renming from the first branch was holding a cup of tea with one hand and waving the other. "Why do you get separated from the family and get the property first? Then we should all get separated and get our shares."
Huang Renming was Huang Jianxuan's father. Both of them were bad-tempered and troublesome. He didn't hold a high position in the family, and few people agreed with him. However, Huang Jindi had to respond. "As I've just said, I'm not dividing the family. I just want to steel them."
"He's just a kid. What's there to be steeled?" Huang Renming said, spitting. "He has ten-odd older female cousins? How come should it be him? All he knows is fighting! How the hell would that help?"
"Because he is the first grandson of the family," someone laughed and said.
The words "first grandson" triggered Huang Renming's anger right away. His face was all red like an explosive mine waiting for someone to step on.
Huang Xuan had been at the door. Hearing the dialogues, he knew they were about himself. He looked at Zhou Li, who smiled and said quietly, "Go in." Saying this, he pushed the door open.
It was quiet for a second in the room, and Huang Xuan walked in carefully as the 400-square-meter meeting room was filled with people. He bit his lips and smiled, "Good afternoon, grandfathers, uncles, aunts..." the greetings took about a minute. Huang Jindi smiled, patted on his chair and said, "Xuan, come and sit next to me."
Huang Liming looked at Huang Xuan resentfully. Since he was the fourth grandchild and the oldest grandson of the family, he was supposed to be the only grandchild entitled to be present at a meeting like this. However, someone's appearance had just broken his dream.
"All the people in the room are arguing over him. Why?" Huang Liming thought, clenching his teeth.
Huang Jindi's face was sallow and pale, looking weak and sickly. Huan Xuan sat close to him and held his hands, worried. His hands were still strong but cold, and the muscles were soft as if the joints could be felt easily.
Huang Renming sneered at Huang Xuan and sat down angrily. Huang Jianxuan was still in the hospital. If he had been beaten up like this by some hooligan in the street, he would have sought revenge by now.
Huang Jindi smiled faintly and ignored Huang Renming. He lowered his head and said to Huang Xuan, "Xuan, do you want to study abroad?" his voice was low as if he was talking to Huang Xuan alone; however, it was heard loud and clear by everybody present.
Huang Xuan knew it wasn't up to him. He saw his mom sitting beside his father who secretly winked her right eye and closed her left one, meaning agreement. Huang Xuan was familiar with his mom's tricks. When he had been little, his mom used to do this trick to get allied with him to get more votes.
Huang Xuan nodded and said, "Anywhere is OK. Grandpa, you used to say that Chinese people should see the world," that was a categorical answer which comforted Huang Jindi.
"Good!" he responded. Touching the teacup with his right hand and making the sound of a "Ding", he continued, "Then it is settled. Xuan is going to Brazil for school and will look after the family property there."
Huang Renming tried to talk again, but Huang Shugui, Huang Xuan's oldest grandfather, gave a cough.
It was settled.
Huang Jindi clapped Huang Xuan's hand and said, "Xuan, you must work hard and think more carefully after you arrive in Brazil. Do you understand?"
Huang Xuan nodded his head. Before he could figure out what had just happened, he was already escorted out of the room.
Hongqi: a Chinese car brand founded on May 12, 1958, making medium-end and high-end business cars.