Qian Nan became well known all around the school within a short period of time. There was no one who did not know her.
Even when she went to the canteen to have lunch, a male student from secondary two stopped in front of her, said "sorry", and ran off with a red face. Qiao Nan found it ridiculous.
Zhao Yu was fuming with anger. Wherever Qiao Nan went, everyone knew her name. It was as if she was a superstar at school.
There was nothing to be smug about. Her results had deteriorated so badly and yet she had the time to be concerned about other matters.
As a student, what was important was one's results. Just like the mock exams last time, she would continue to surpass Qiao Nan in the mid-term exams which would be coming in a month's time.
The reasons why all the teachers were nice to Qiao Nan was only because she had good results.
As long as she continued to do better than Qiao Nan, the teachers would surely favor her and dislike Qiao Nan.
"Zhao Yu, hurry up, if not no dishes will be left." Zhao Yu's good friend pulled her ahead. "Why are you standing here in a daze, what's on your mind?"
"Nothing much. Mid-term exams will be coming in a month's time. I have to do well for the exams."
"You have always been doing well, ranking in the top five in class. If Qiao Nan makes a blunder like before and you work harder, you might be in the top three." The words of encouragement and concern from her friend did not comfort her at all. In fact, she was offended by them.
"Hmph, Qiao Nan did not do well last time. I don't believe that it was just a blunder. That was lagging behind. If not, how could one make such a big blunder? It's easy to lag behind, but it would not be that easy to catch up. Let's wait and see, I will definitely do better than Qiao Nan!"
Without waiting for her friend's response, Zhao Yu walked off in anger.
Her friend paused momentarily and grunted, "What have I done to anger her? She must be sick. I am tired of coaxing her, I won't do it anymore!"
Qiao Nan who was absorbed in her studies had no idea what was happening. But Zhao Yu was determined to fight it out with her.
Even if she did know it, she would not give it much thought.
As long as Zhao Yu kept her distance and stopped blabbering, she did not care if she saw her as a target and used all sorts of methods to study.
In this lifetime, Qiao Nan finally managed to secure her chance to study and was making progress according to the designated routine. But things were different for Qiao Zijin.
After pooling all her money and borrowing from her friends, she had barely managed to gather enough money for her costume.
She had settled the issue of the dress costume. But she had no idea what to do with her monthly exams.
When she came back home after two weeks, gone was the troubled countenance. Instead she was all smiles, a joyful expression on her face.
"Zijin, you are back." Ding Jiayi who just came back from work was tired to the bone. But she beamed in joy when she saw her beloved elder daughter. "Are you drained from all the studying these two weeks?"
"It's alright." Qiao Zijin lifted her chin and said proudly, "Mom, we had school exams last week. It's called monthly exam. Just like the mid-term exams, it's very important."
"Is that so, how were your results?" This was the first time the elder daughter talked about her results of her own accord. All her tiredness seemed to have vanished, Ding Jiayi was in high spirits now.
"Mom, I was ranked in the eighth place in class. It's the eighth place. I would be able to do better in my exams next time."
"The eighth place, such a good result?!" Ding Jiayi had the intuition that there would be good news today. But she did not know that it would be such a wonderful piece of news.
The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China was a good high school. People who enrolled in to the school were all very smart and good in their results.
Her daughter could come in eighth place in such a good school among all the outstanding students. This was really a tremendous improvement.
As expected, she had spent the money well. Zijin's results improved by leaps after enrolling in The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China. The teachers at the school must have adopted excellent teaching methods!
Ding Jiayi did not realize that the fact that Zijin could spend money to enroll into The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China, the school might have other students, who like Zijin, did not do well in their exams but had the money to enroll themselves into the school.
Hence, the eighth place that Qiao Zijin had might not be the eighth place among the good students.
Naturally, Qiao Zijin would not provide these details to Ding Jiayi. She only had to say that she was ranked eighth place.
"Zijin." Ding Jiayi pulled her elder daughter to the kitchen, took five yuan from her pocket and gave it to her daughter. "You have worked hard, take this money and buy some good food to treat yourself. Don't shortchange yourself. Later you can get some more money from your Dad, understand?"
"Alright, Mom. You are so good to me. When I am successful, I will definitely be filial and treat you well!" Qiao Zijin was elated at the five yuan in her hands.
When Qiao Dongliang was back from his work, Qiao Zijin told him the good news that she came in eighth place in her exams. As expected, Qiao Dongliang was all smiles and he gave seven yuan to Qiao Zijin.
Both Qiao Dongliang and Ding Jiayi rewarded Qiao Zijin with money. The money added up to twelve yuan.
She remembered that Qiao Nan had only taken ten yuan from Qiao Dongliang last time. She could not help but smile that she had two more yuan than Qiao Nan.
She had said all along, she was the most important person in the family. Qiao Nan could not match up to her.
When her father had forgiven her, he would definitely treat her a million times better than Qiao Nan. After all, it had always been this way.
"Zijin, have more of the food." During dinnertime, Ding Jiayi could finally favored Qiao Zijin openly. She put almost all of the meat and fish dishes in Qiao Zijin's bowl, not leaving a single piece for Qiao Nan.
"Old Qiao, did you see? Everything that I have done was for the good of Zijin and the family. The High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China was such a good school. Their teachers are very capable. It was not a bluff. Of course, most importantly, Zijin is very smart. She had never ranked eighth in the past. Moreover the students at the school are very outstanding and brilliant. It was not easy for Zijin to rank eighth in class. Look, Zijin has grown thinner, she must be tired from the studying and revision. Old Qiao, I won't admit it if you insist that I am biased towards Zijin. As compared to lagging behind in the studies, Zi JIn has made such a big improvement, this is what we call a good and positive learning attitude."
Ding Jiayi was full of praise for Qiao Zijin. But she did not forget to pour cold water on Qiao Nan.
Even if she knew that there was no way that she could have made Qiao Nan quit school and start working, it would be good to pressurize her and make her suffer.
Most importantly, she had to make Old Qiao understand that Zijin was the smart daughter in the family. She was the only one who had good future prospects.
Even if she spent all the money at home, as long as Zijin made improvements in her studies, it would be all worthwhile. She was not self-assertive, everything that she did was for the family.