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Chapter 8: Buckwheat Tea
My dream is to enter Class A, the pinnacle of Shiyi High.
I stood behind their door, peering into the room.
Once I see Jiang Muqinga��s seat, Ia��ll be satisfied. My heavy heart will finally shed off some weight.
But as I looked around, I didna��t see her at all. The first seat at the first row was empty.
I had an ominous feeling.
Right now, everyone should be reviewing their notes and getting ready for class.
But compared to the noisy classrooms beside them, nobody in Class A even touched their books.
The guys looked down silently. Some stared at the wall blankly. Most of the girls slumped on their desks, rubbing their eyes.
This atmosphere, is truly strange.
After morning announcements and the flag-raising *, I snuck behind Class Aa��s line when the class president was distracted. I scrapped my desire to prepare and review my notes, closely following Class A to their door.
*All schools in China have this weekly event (on Monday) where the entire school gathers on the field, and raise the national flag. A group of selected students are tasked to raise the flag while the whole school sings the national anthem (which is really easy, compared to Americaa��s anthem).
I clearly remember, this is about the time when the Assistant Head releases his statement about Jiang Muqinga��s death.
However, the one standing in front of the class, was not the Assistant Head, but rather one of Class Aa��s subject teachers.
a�?After discussion and debate, the school board has ruled that Honors Classes A and B will not have break on Dragon Boat Festival, due to the upcoming a�?Subject Test Competitionsa�? and final exams. Students, Ia��m truly sorry, I tried my best!a�?
The young teacher spoke in a sorrowful tone, expressing her defeat.
All school teachers are issued a set of formal attire. But because of the summer heat, she only wore a white, short-sleeved dress shirt and a black formal skirt.
The young teacher musta��ve been accepted into our school not too long after college graduation. She was probably a substitute, or an intern.
This teacher was the type to leak upcoming school events or changes within the school board, to struggle for holiday breaks, or assign less homework on holidays.
Do you really think the supreme head principal isna��t going to fire you, whoa��s supposed to be teaching the top students in China?
More holidays and less homework will only harm our nationa��s young blossoms! *
*Here, we can see the effect of nationalism and communism on Chinese people. Chinese government teaches their children to strive for the nationa��s success, rather than their own. However, in recent years, with Chinaa��s economy boom, people are starting to seek materialistic wealth rather than the Communist pride they were taught. But even so, Chinese education today is still weighted on propaganda and nationalism. A good example is how schools dona��t teach the fuck-up and dictator Mao Zedong was (he starved millions of people in the Cultural Revolution), but rather glorify him as the nationa��s hero, who built the Peoplea��s Republic of China.
Thank goodness, she failed, hmph!
In the heat of emotion, I didna��t realize the imminent danger behind me. A tall, looming shadow fell on the wall.
I became aware through the windowa��s reflection, but before I could do anything, his two meaty hands already grasped my shoulders.
a�?Ahem, Lu Fan, youa��ve taken my spot.a�?
Through the sea of classrooms and books, I felt like a leashed dog. Wherever that person went, I followed obediently.
a�?Come with me.a�?
The teachera��s voice was absolute and authoritative.
My head was blank, but my body followed him steadily. When I returned to my senses, I was at a singular office.
A long desk took up most of the room.
It was covered in manuals, tests, homework packets, and other numerous files. More papers filled the nearby file cabinets like lasagna.
Besides the desk, there was a water fountain, a sofa, a tea tablea��
Are those actual, genuine rosewood tea sets?
a�?Hahahaa��. Teacher, is there something you want me to talk about? If there isna��t any, can I go back to class?a�?
I put on an innocent, harmless look.
But my heart was racing and unsurea��.
This was the Head of First Years, the boss of our homeroom teacher.
Slight wrinkles dotted his temples due to his age. In teaching, hea��s said to be open and cheerful around students, and have a humorous attitude. His calculus classes are entertaining and enjoyed.
Nevertheless, male teachers are generally more violent than female ones. As the Head of First Year, does he need to be as forgiving as the young intern? Punishing students should have no consequence to him.
Now that I think about it, a paralyzing fear surged through my mind.
Because of me, Jiang Muqing finished her speech hoarsely. That matter still had to be dealt with.
a�?Student Lu, therea��s nothing to worry about. Please, come sit down.
The scratched wooden sofa pinched my legs.
This was the first time I privately spoke with Teacher Li, since I entered Shiyi High.
a�?Teacher, how did you know my name?!a�?
I lifted my head, and tried to make a cute expression.
a�?Did you forget what you did in the lecture hall?a�?
I lowered my head again, and didna��t meet his eyes.
a�?Teacher, the first perioda��s already started, I have to go back to class!a�?
a�?I told you not to worry, didna��t I? Isna��t your teacher Ms. Zhang? Ia��ll tell her when I go back.a�?
a�?Yes, it is Ms. Zhanga��. But Teacher, what do you need to talk about?a�?
Is he going to expel me?!
Jesus Christ, I feel like killing myself. Please dona��t do this to me, Ia��m a hardworking student!
a�?Dona��t worry, Ia��ll explain this slowly. Have some tea.a�?
Teacher Li smiled, but I was completely terrified. He poured a cup of tea from his rosewood set.
The color of the tea was an unusual yellow. It smelled like wheat and grain. I took a small sipa��.
Isna��t this buckwheat tea?!
Teacher, are you shitting me? Youa��re using a whole set of rosewood tea ware! Ita��s as if youa��re eating instant noodles on a silver platter!
But even so, buckwheat tea cools you down, calms your stomach, and lowers your temper. It doesna��t have a large impact like regular tea, but rather mild and pleasant.
As for why I know this much about tea, my surname is Lu, a descendant of the a�?Tea Sagea�? Lu Yu* in the Tang Dynasty. My grandparents still farm tea in the countryside.
*Hea��s actually real. Look him up.
a�?To be honest, ita��s nothing serious. But you are familiar with Jiang Muqing, yes?a�?
Teacher Lia��s sinister smile just deepened the misunderstanding between us.
But after something like that, ita��s not surprising that hea��ll be mistaken.
a�?Teacher, do you want the truth, or the lie.a�?
a�?No, Ia��m not familiar.a�?
a�?Then what if Ms. Zhang makes you copy the entire history textbook by hand?a�?
Teacher Li kept his smile.
a�?Yes, I am.a�?