Chapter 1 The Wrong Script
2008, 4th May.
Sun City No.1 High School, in the Year 3 Senior (4) classroom.
Fang Ping finally settled an issue after wasting half an hour of his life. He was not dreaming nor acting —for God’s sake, if acting in a movie could restore his youth, then the film crew deserved a trip to heaven now!
After verifying that he had reincarnated, Fang Ping felt a wave of panic before settling down and accepting the truth.
As one of the sinful youngsters of the new century, was there anyone who had not heard of reincarnation?
Even if he was not reincarnated himself, there was a whole lot of them online. At a glance, it was obvious that being reincarnated was the only way a member of the short-ugly-poor had a shot at toppling the tall-rich-handsome epithet!
Moreover, he had no money and no girl. Reincarnation just allowed him to live a few more years longer without actually doing anything. He was not at the short end of the stick anyway.
His painstaking wait for the recess bell ended at last. Familiar teachers tinged with a hint of unfamiliarity prolonged the classes and tried to make the best out of it before leaving reluctantly.
As for the final statement that his teacher threw at them before he left, Fang Ping decided that he misheard it.
“The registration for martial arts exam will begin next week. Interested students may start preparing for it.”
Fang Ping chucked the whole thing aside. He thought he heard “registration for social sciences” and everyone had to register early for their Gaokao. However, the school would usually register the students by default. Therefore, by right, the school need not remind the students about it.
Most importantly — the most important aspect among all other important aspects — Year 3 Senior (4) was a natural sciences class. What relation did they have meddling in social sciences?
However, in the advent of reincarnation, why would Fang Ping even care about such trivia?
At this moment, it was only apt that Fang Ping’s head was filled with thoughts on how to compete against Jack Ma or Pony Ma.
Although it was rather late for that in 2008, if someone who had reincarnated did not do something unexpected and leave his mark on the world, did he even deserve to be called a revenant?
Or should he focus on politics instead of business?
Fang Ping plotted away in secretive glee. He had no intention of chit-chatting with his classmates around him either.
How would these youngsters comprehend the grand life goal he conjured up? ‘From today onward, we are no longer of the same world, my friends!’ Fang Ping thought.
As Fang Ping formulated and consolidated his plans, his classmate, Yang Jian, who had a rough build and sat in the front row turned around suddenly asking, “Fang Ping, Chen Fan, are you signing up?”
Yang Jing had left a profound impression on Fang Ping, yet it was definitely not because of his amazingly good looks.
The only major hangout that happened after they graduated from university was when Fang Ping and his friends attended a high school gathering. The fresh-grad Yang Jian showed up with a short boxed beard covering his face. Fang Ping almost thought it was Yang Jian’s father who attended their high school gathering.
Since then, Fang Ping could never forget his classmate with the full-face beard because he stood out too much.
With thoughts bombarding every corner of his head, Fang Ping did not expect to answer him.
Sitting at the same table with Fang Ping, Chen Fan — one of the “Mediocre Duo” as other students dubbed him as a joke — shook his head and said, “I’m not signing up. It’s just a waste of money.
“It already costs ten thousand bucks to sign up and I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to pass. With this amount of money, it should be enough to cover my expenses and tuition fees of my first year in university.”
Yang Jian huffed in reply. “That’s true, but I can’t help feeling unhappy about it. I’m worried that I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I don’t give it a try.”
Sharing Yang Jian’s table was another male student whose name eluded Fang Ping. At this moment, he also turned around and joined in the conversation. He said with a dark expression, “This is the only chance to achieve greater heights. Too bad it won’t have anything to do with us.”
The trio’s regretful sighs and sobs confused the hell out of Fang Ping.
For the social sciences exam the teacher was talking about?
The registration fee costs ten thousand?
It was 2008. Last he remembered, prices of houses in Sun City would only go up to around four thousand every square feet. Yet it cost so much to sign up for an exam?
These lads could not be wrong about it, right?
Or were they being lied to?
Just as Fang Ping wanted to interrupt and inquire, his deskmate Chen Fan adjusted his glasses and replied with a face full of determination, “Just because we’re not taking martial arts, it doesn’t mean that we won’t achieve anything in life by taking the social sciences exam!
“There are martial arts training courses out there too. Once we graduate and earn enough money, we can study that too.
“We might not be as good as the martial arts majors, but there’s hope for us all at least!”
All at once, Yang Jian’s deskmate joined in the conversation excitedly, “That’s right! We should make our way into the best social sciences school. When we graduate, our salaries and work benefits won’t be bad either!”
“I still want to try, though…” Yang Jian said hesitatingly. His family was rather well-off. Added with the fact that he had a strong body, he would not be satisfied until he gave it a try.
In dealing with the fact that Yang Jian wanted to try, Chen Fan and the other did not bother talking him out of it. Despite having little to no chance at passing, there would always be someone who would not be satisfied because the opportunity was right in front of their noses.
Even though everyone was still young, they understood that if they stopped Yang Jian and made him lose his chance, they would have made an enemy out of him.
As the trio engaged in a fiery discussion, there was nothing but confusion on Fang Ping’s face.
What the hell was going on?
Gulping down a mouthful of saliva, Fang Ping stared at the trio for a while. He noticed a complete absence of humor in the trio. Then, it finally hit him that something was amiss.
As Fang Ping opened his mouth to ask, he was interrupted once again.
At the study desk next to Fang Ping and his friends, the two boys who were initially whispering to each other suddenly decided to add value to the discussion by butting in.
Once the ruckus at Fang Ping’s side died down, one of the boys with a flat top approached them with visible excitement. He asked, “Yang Jian, Chen Fan, did you see the news online yesterday night?”
Yang Jian and Chen Fan shook their heads. With the Gaokao around the corner, everyone was under strict parental supervision. Who had time to surf the Internet?
Upon noticing the blank stares that were passed between the duo and then to Fang Ping and another boy, Flat Top laughed. “What a pity! Something big happened last night!
“Do you know? Grandmaster Ma has broken through Rank-8!
“Although he hasn’t reached his forties yet, he has become a powerhouse amongst the younger generation.
“Yesterday, Penguin Group issued an official challenge against Tam, Google’s Asia-Pacific President who’s also an established Rank-8 powerhouse!”
“Is that for real?”
“Grandmaster Ma reached Rank-8? Didn’t he just have a breakthrough to Rank-7 a few years back?”
“Zhang Hao, tell us quick, is it an open challenge or a private one?”
“A Rank-8 battle. How I wish I could witness it. Unfortunately, we aren’t even qualified to watch…”
With the Gaokao looming over the Year 3 Senior students, not many of them would surf the Internet after school. Therefore, despite already causing an uproar, there were only a handful of classmates who knew about it.
Flat Top, who was also named Zhang Hao, was not exactly a soft-spoken person.
The moment he stopped talking — before Fang Ping and gang managed to reply — the surrounding students who overheard their conversation started to talk animatedly.
Flooded with joy from his newfound popularity, Zhang Hao continued excitedly, “It’s true!
“Grandmaster Ma really had a breakthrough! It’s not just us! No one expected him to reach a breakthrough to Rank-8 so fast!
“That’s why when they announced the challenge, the whole world shook in disbelief!
“If Grandmaster Ma defeats Tam this time, Penguin Group will be able to expand to various Asian countries and become one of the most dominant groups in Asia!
“Once Grandmaster Ma reaches a breakthrough to Rank-9 in another few years, Penguin Group would become one of the most dominant groups in the world!”
“God, he’s quick alright! A Rank-8 Grandmaster!”
“Have the rankings for Grandmasters been updated yet? It seems like Grandmaster Ma’s aiming to fight his way to the top thirty!”
“Whaaat. What top thirty? I think it won’t be a problem for him if he wanted to make it into the top twenty.”
“That isn’t possible, isn’t it? Grandmaster Ma just had his breakthrough, after all. How could he get into the top twenty so quickly? Unless something else happens after he defeats Tam.”
At this point, all the students were voicing out their thoughts on the matter separately. The look of excitement, awe, anticipation, and yearning was apparent on their faces.
Not even the girls were exempted.
Everyone, except Fang Ping.
At this moment, Fang Ping’s head was in a state of mush. His face was as blank as paper and his mind, empty.
‘What is this?’
He heard what everyone said. Every single word.
Yet, why could he not string them together into a coherent thought?
Who was Grandmaster Ma?
Of course, he recognized Penguin Group. In the year 2008, Penguin Group was already a dominant presence in the IT field.
He knew Google as well. It was impossible for him not to know.
According to what Zhang Hao said just now, Penguin was competing against Google?
But why… Why did it sound so unnatural?!
Fang Ping swallowed again, feeling the extreme dryness in his mouth. Somehow, he felt like he was handed the wrong script!