Genius Fundamentals - Chapter 25
“How do you always know everything?” Lu Zhihao was very impatient, but after she spoke, he stopped and looked at her suspiciously.
The crowd suddenly quieted down, and, under the tree, the awkwardness was palpable.
Everyone looked at Lin Zhaoxi, including Mr. Zhang, the “king of mental arithmetic”.
The king of mental arithmetic stood at the center of the crowd, but he couldn’t see who was calling him a fraud. The voice was very crisp and sweet, sounding like a primary school girl. A primary school student, and a girl to boot, what is there for him to be afraid of?
“Miss, you’re being too impulsive. You’ll know when you grow up. Loose lips bring losses in society.”
After hearing what he said, people would normally think he held a lot of wisdom, and wouldn’t poke their nose in his business anymore. But outside of the crowd, the smiling voice did not stop.
“Since Mr. Zhang wants to benefit the students, why don’t you give it away for free?”
The king of mental arithmetic replied, “Miss, knowledge is power. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Would you value something you easily got ahold of?”
“Like Arthur Benjamin’s knowledge and Michael Shelton’s power?”
The girl’s voice was clear, like a sparkling lake in the sun, but it sounded extremely harsh to the king of mental arithmetic. He pushed up his glasses and saw a little girl coming out from behind the crowd.
He squinted, scanning the little girl from top to bottom. He thought it’d be a well-educated child of a rich family, but instead, he saw a shabbily clothed girl, with worn-out shoes and a tattered bag, that didn’t even reach his waist.
Her appearance suggested that besides poor, she was pedantic. But, interestingly, her black eyes, a pitch-black, shined with mirth and sheer scorn.
“What do you mean by that?” Asked the king of mental arithmetic.
Looking at the king of mental arithmetic, it seemed that he really didn’t know who the two people she named were, which meant that she couldn’t proceed as she had planned. She mentioned their names because they co-authored a book that summarized various arithmetic operations. She was once forced to look them over by Old Lin, so she remembered them well.
She glanced at the hesitant grandparents around her, wondering what to do to make them believe what she said next. But a moment later, she found that their suspicion was not directed at the king of mental arithmetic, but at her — or rather, at her back. She realized the words “Red Star Primary School” were branded on the back of her uniform, and that students from poor families may not be credible.
“Well, I’ve read a book about mental arithmetic written by these two people before. Xinhua Bookstore has it, and it’s only ¥17,5. I wonder, is there any difference between their book and Mr. Zhang’s?” She wasn’t actually sure that the King of Mental Arithmetic copied the co-authored book, but she looked at the equation “13 × 13 × 13 = 2197” on the blackboard and continued, “I remember there was a formula for cubic equations. I don’t know if the formula you use can reach the answer as quickly. 13 × 13 × 13 = (13 – 3) × 13 × (13 + 3) + 3 × 3 × 13, that is, 2197.”
The king’s face was no longer bright, and you could hear the people gathered murmuring to each other. She took a breath and asked with a smile, “there is also a way to multiply quickly using your knuckles. I wonder if your booklet teaches that.”
The king of mental arithmetic interrupted her, “Have you read my book?”
“No, I’m too poor to afford it. Your book is too expensive.” She said.
The onlookers were all elderly people, they cared more about money than the young.
“It seems to be a little expensive.”
“How many books can you buy with 100 yuan?”
The whispers grew louder. Some had even left, taking their grandchildren to Xinhua Bookstore.
The king of mental arithmetic, pale, was silent.
Lin Zhao Xi, seeing that her job was done, was ready to leave as soon as the king‘s attention waned.
However, her rhetoric was still no match for the experienced fraud.
As soon as she turned around, she heard the king of mental arithmetic say, “our little friend is impressive! But, did the book you read teach you how to divide 92.960.675 by 78?”
Lin Zhao Xi paused, a chill sweeping over her. Mr. Zhang has been around for many years. Of course, he’d have met a lot of troublemakers. He must have prepared various countermeasures, like memorizing the answer to a problem arbitrarily to convince everyone he had indeed mastered mental arithmetic.
She turned and looked up at the man’s smug face, unable to answer.
The wind rustled through the camphor trees. Everyone looked on, waiting for her to answer.
Lin Zhao Xi pursed her lips and frowned. Just as she was about to admit that she didn’t know, a clear and calm voice sounded from outside the crowd.
Hello, readers! I’ve passed the national exam and enrolled in a university to study actuarial science, the best major there is (I’m very biased). I should’ve been as happy as a free bird in spring, but damn, I’ve underestimated university life. The projects, essays, assignments… and with them, the stress! Not being able to read as much as I want is really draining my spirits. But I did have fun with my classes, and spent time with my friends even more in quarantine – we meet up on Discord or other platforms to watch movies and talk about everything going on around us.
How are you guys? I admit I haven’t reached my goals of posting more chapters and stocking them for a rainy day, but I hope the quality can somewhat lessen those sins. I’ll renew my efforts – after all, I love Genius Fundamentals and want to know what happens next as much as you (assuming you’re excited about the story… you are, right?). THANK YOU again for your support, I feel so appreciated knowing there’s someone here looking out for me.
P.S. I’m still volunteering at that cat shelter, and I still struggle when it’s time to leave. Can I really not take them all home…? Well, I love Mondays now. Perfect way to start the week!