"Zijin, look at Qiao Nan, no matter how bad she is, she is very hardworking in her studies. You are as intelligent as me, if you put in more effort and time, you would definitely be better than Qiao Nan. I would do anything for you. You must strive and work hard so that I can stand up straight in front of your Dad!"
She has devoted everything into nurturing the elder daughter. She must be successful to prove that she was right all along.
"I understand, Mom. Don't worry, I will study hard. When I enter high school I will catch up on my my studies and I will definitely make you proud." Qiao Zijin felt a twinge of guilt at using up all the savings at home.
"Alright, school starts tomorrow. Remember to do more reading. Worst comes to worst, just memorize all the textbooks. If Qiao Nan can do it, so can you."
Ding Jiayi was brimming with confidence. It seemed that she could already see the day whereby the elder daughter enrolled into college.
"Okay." Qiao Zijin smiled happily. But she became depressed when she was back in her room.
It did not matter whether Ding Jiayi was unhappy or not, the study room ended up being Qiao Nan's new room, and Qiao Nan's old room now became Qiao Dongliang's study room.
Though Ding Jiayi bickered with Qiao Dongliang about this, seeing that he had made up his mind, that night she straightened and tidied up the new study room.
The next day Qiao Dongliang was home earlier than usual. As soon as he reached home, he headed for Qiao Nan's room, took a look inside and installed a lock outside her room. Ding Jiayi was boiling with anger.
What was this lock for? To guard against who?
It was definitely not to keep out thieves, it must be to guard against her!
Qiao Nan, who was at school, had no idea of this at all. Back in the classroom, people were discussing her unusual performance in the recent exams.
Teacher Chen had intended to have a talk with Qiao Nan. But when he saw how dejected she looked, he could not bear to say another word. "Qiao Nan, though you did not do well this time, you have a strong foundation, and your performance was still pretty good in the class. It's just that you did not maintain your usual standard. If you meet with any problems in your studies, feel free to come to me, understand?"
Qiao Nan had never scored below 90 points for her Maths exams, a full score was the usual case.
This time she scored 85 points; to others it was a pretty good result, but to Qiao Nan it was an unprecedented low score.
In this round of pre-testing, there were more than 240 students from secondary three. Qiao Nan used to be among the top ten, but now she was ranked at around 70th to 80th place.
If it had not been for Teacher Chen who noticed Qiao Nan's results and insisted on finding out the ranking for individual subjects, Qiao Nan would know her exact ranking among the cohort.
Teacher Chen pondered for a while and walked up to Qiao Nan. "Qiao Nan, how did you spend your summer break? Did you do some revision?"
In the past, Teacher Chen never had to worry about Qiao Nan's studies, but this time he was shocked by Qiao Nan's results.
Qiao Nan did not know if she should be sad or relieved. The best result in her class was a score of 92 points and her result of 85 points was actually considered above average.
Picking up what she used to study in school was really not an easy task. Qiao Nan could feel despair sinking in.
"All my textbooks are gone."
"Gone?" Teacher Chen looked at Qiao Nan in surprise. "Where have they gone?"
"My Mom sold them."
After the rebirth, Qiao Nan had sorted out her thoughts. She would no longer hide the deeds her mother has done. No, she did not wanted to gain sympathy, it was just that she felt it necessary for people concerned to understand her situation and to give her a helping hand when needed.
She really needed her teacher's help to give her some coaching in order for her to work on her results and to catch up to her usual standard.
Teacher Chen was rendered speechless. They would be doing revision in the second half of secondary three. There wouldn't be any new knowledge points. The middle school exams would cover a large portion of secondary one and two syllabus.
What kind of parents would sell all the textbooks when they knew that their child would be taking the exams soon? Was it intentional?
Thinking of what he overheard recently Teacher Chen asked, "Qiao Nan, I heard that your sister enrolled in the The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China?"
The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China was a good high school in the area, but it was not easy to enroll in.
"Yes, today is the enrollment, she will be starting school officially." Qiao Nan was stunned for a moment. The saying was right, good news went unnoticed while bad news travels fast.
The act of using money to buy results might not be news ten years later, but it was very rare now. Furthermore, her mother used that money to pull strings instead of buying results.
If father knew that mother went to look for that grandpa all because of Qiao Zijin, he would surely explode in anger.
Teacher Chen's countenance fell.
If one would say that Qiao Nan could enroll in the The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China, he would have no doubt about it; but Qiao Zijin? He did not believe it. Besides, it was hard fact that Qiao Zijin has always been an average student, there was no way that she could make it to that high school.
Teacher Chen did not wish to speculate about how Qiao Zijin manage to enroll in that high school, let alone make wild conjectures about Qiao Nan's mother purpose in selling her textbooks.
Teacher Chen was puzzled when Qiao Nan had only scored 85 points in the exams. But now he understood and felt sorry for her instead. "It's alright if your textbooks are gone. I will come up with a solution. Your foundation is good, there's still a year to go, you can definitely catch up. You know the way to my house. Whenever you have any questions, feel free to come looking for me. Understand?"
"Thank you, teacher." Qiao Nan no longer felt dispirited. She plucked up her courage and said, "Regarding my textbooks, I have already settled the problem."
"I went to the thrift shop to buy a set of textbooks. I have been reading up. I will definitely trouble you for areas that I am unclear of."
Teacher Chen smiled. "No troubles at all. Qiao Nan, don't give yourself too much stress. You must learn to strike a balance between work and rest, understand?"
"Alright, I will."
Maths results were out, next would be Chinese and English.
Qiao Nan's grade for Chinese was about the same as her Maths. She scored a few marks above eighty. It was an average grade. For those questions that required memorizing, she scored zero marks for them.
Those students who did not know the inside story were all shocked when they found out that Qiao Nan had not fared well for two subjects in a row. Some were gloating while some were speculating that something must have gone wrong with her, either she had become stupid or she had gone astray.
The top student that they all looked up to had fallen from grace in just one summer break's time?Top student to slacker in two months' time?
The Chinese subject was taught by a pretty and gentle female teacher. Teacher Lee was exasperated when she saw Qiao Nan's results. She did not get a good sleep last night, her mind was preoccupied with how she was going to knock some sense into Qiao Nan. She did not want her to feel that since her results has always been good, there was no need to put in hard work. She had thoroughly disappointed her with her results.