Anyone get the reference in this chapter? I had to look it up lol.
Translated by: Taffy
Quiz 18: The Last Novel
Novels have a boundless amount of charm. Long stories in particular make people immerse themselves into reading for several nights. The book that Bai Jiu had recommended absorbed Meng Ming more the further he read. When he neared the ending, he stayed in his room and buried himself in the book until 3am. The ending had been so thought-provoking that he tossed and turned in his bed until 4am, unable to sleep. It could be said that this evil author had probably eaten up countless people’s precious youthful vigor.
When Meng Ming woke up, it was already noon. Only after Huang Qiao Yi pushed him to get up did he excitedly realize that it was fortunately the weekend.
Huang Qiao Yi asked him why he had stayed up so late. Meng Ming said “I finished reading”, and crawled up to grab <The Tent Under the Neon Lamp>. He tossed it at Huang Qiao Yi, wanting her to read it as well.
Huang Qiao Yi caught the book and flipped through it. But in the end, she showed an indifferent expression, and only said, “Little Qiao doesn’t like reading novels. I hadn’t imagined that Brother Meng Ming would. Is it…related to Bai Jiu?”
”No way!” Meng Ming forcefully explained that he really did love the novel itself. He even said in despair, “If Little Qiao doesn’t like reading, you can’t recommend any to me…” Meng Ming still wished to continue; the feeling of his immersion in the novel’s fantasy hadn’t yet faded.
Originally, he had read the book simply as a diversion during class. But to his surprise, the more he read the book, the more addicted he got, only if he didn’t have any other interests or hobbies…which perfectly described Meng Ming.
Huang Qiao Yi hadn’t imagined that Meng Ming would still want to read, and she could only sigh. However, she was rather moved by Meng Ming’s interest in reading. She said, “Ai, if Brother Meng Ming wants to look for books to read….Lin Xian has a library. We can look around there, and see if there are any good novels. We can also ask the librarians for recommendations.”
“Awesome! Let’s go!” Meng Ming jumped down from his bed in his pajamas.
“Not now, go down and eat lunch first. We’ll go later in the afternoon.”
He managed to endure through lunch with difficulty. The temperature outside was extremely high, but this didn’t dampen Meng Ming’s determination.
“Brother Meng Ming….it’s so hot. Do you really want to go?” Huang Qiao Yi complained. She didn’t actually want to go since she had absolutely no interest in it. But Meng Ming definitely didn’t know the way by himself. Thus, Huang Qiao Yi had no choice but to accompany him as they walked down the sidewalk.
Although it was extremely hot, the workers from the market streets nearby the library weren’t slacking at all! They wildly shouted─
“Private tutoring!!! No matter how bad your grades are, we guarantee that you will get into your dream college!!”
“Come to our cram classes! Nearly 12% pass the cutoff line every year! All the materials are up to date!!”
“XX repeater!! I’m great at helping English!!”
“X teacher! Every year, I get 10 examinees that test into international level universities!”
The sounds of advertisements and shouts were endless. Some had even set up stages, where the hosts would demonstrate how their goods best suited a student.
This is why I don’t like it here… Huang Qiao Yi hadn’t been here in ages, and had a bit of hatred towards this place.
There were quite a few signs on the streets that said “Tactics to get 120% on the college entrance exam!”, “Outstanding tutor for up to 30% off!”, etc in large writing. There were also people handing out flyers like, “Proficiency questions from past exams, please contact 15**********”, “X Eastern study method has a strong focus that suits all types of primary students”, etc…..
Meng Ming had never seen this kind of market before, and felt it was extremely strange. He asked Huang Qiao Yi what was going on.
Huang Qiao Yi explained, “This is because previously, these random, disorganized cram lessons were advertised so much that the propaganda was omnipresent, and pretty much filled all of China. It disturbed other occupations so much that they couldn’t work. Thus, a law was made: All cities must have a market area specially for college entrance examination related and study related matters, and are confined only to these market areas…that’s why people that want to raise their scores on the college entrance examinations will all come around here to buy reference materials, tutors, and sign up for cram classes. Although I think these things aren’t very useful…the tutoring business has always been prosperous, and is still increasing in popularity.”
The college entrance exam was ruthless, so countless people were naturally willing to spend large amounts of money on it. They didn’t really ever care about how effective it was. But Meng Ming was only interested in the library. “Oh, and where is the library?”
“It’s in the center of the market! Brother Meng Ming, let’s hurry up and get there so that we don’t get wrapped into other people’s marketing.” Huang Qiao Yi pushed Meng Ming, telling him that the inside of the library would be better.
Lin Xian’s library wasn’t very large, but it wasn’t the same as a typical library. There were tables and chairs there for people to study and read. It was the weekend, so there were quite a few people here to borrow books and study despite the scorching sun. In addition, they were all people that looked like L-types. This made Meng Ming, who had never entered a library before, feel extremely uneasy.
Huang Qiao Yi said, “I really admire these people. Aside from study, all they do is study….” She was slightly tired after walking under the sun for so long. Looking at the students in the library, she continued to complain, “…There’s only so much content. Even idiots would know it if they learned it over and over again.”
The academic pressure was extremely great, so it was indeed impossible to deny that there would be so many fervent and hardworking students in this world. Meng Ming also suspected that anyone raised here, aside from himself, would all be L-types without a doubt…..
He found the service counter, and wanted to ask for some book recommendations. Only after asking did he discover that after graduating, the librarians hadn’t really read any books either─
“Us?” We read many books when we entered college, things like “XX Testing King” or “New Compilation of XX”…..”
“Majority of teachers and students that borrow books get reference books. Recently, some teacher seemed to have published “Complete Teaching Materials for X”, and it’s been extremely popular!”
Meng Ming clearly wasn’t interested in these books; he wanted novels. Thus, the librarian cordially grabbed the library records for books and allowed Huang Qiao Yi to inspect them, as one could judge how popular a book was based on how often it had been borrowed.
Huang Qiao Yi typed away on their computer, and looked up the book most borrowed in the literature genre. The name of the book was <The Realm of the Death God>, and the author was “Baka D. Dogra.”
“Baka?? Such a weird name.” Meng Ming asked her to look up its summary.
After some clicking, Huang Qiao Yi pulled up the main points of the book─
“<The Realm of the Death God> is an immortal magnum opus that contains profound notions about things that hold important significance to society. The book includes the author’s reflections on reality, life, and class struggles…the author’s abnormal writing style, beautiful divisions, and exquisite emotions are all depicted in this moving story.”
Huang Qiao Yi was already covered with cold sweat just from reading the summary. However, Meng Ming cried out, “So interesting! How about I just borrow this one?”
“Brother Meng Ming…you…you really want to read this?” She hadn’t even yet wiped away her sweat before Meng Ming had already wandered through the library in search for the book by himself.
People that write works under pressure are just as strange as Brother Meng Ming’s tastes… Huang Qiao Yi could only run over and pull at him. “Brother Meng Ming….the literature section is over there. <The Realm of the Death God>’s serial number is I68-512.”
With the book’s serial number, the two easily found its general area. Afterwards, Meng Ming walked back and forth the bookshelves to search closely.
“I68-515…514，513…512!” Meng Ming discovered it. “I found it, there’s still one copy!”
The book had a blue cover, and the title was indeed <The Realm of the Death God> without question.
To think that only one copy is left, it really is popular.
Meng Ming hurriedly reached his hand out to grab it.
He finally had a new book to read! Meng Ming thought to himself: Next week’s classes won’t be boring anymore. But because he had been so happy, he had dropped his guard. Meng Ming’s fingers were too slow by just a fraction of a second!
Whoosh. A soft sound traveled past his ear.
The sole copy of <The Realm of the Death God> instantly disappeared from the shelf!
Who’s there?! Meng Ming was taken aback; he felt a person’s presence! But when he looked around, he couldn’t find any suspicious shadows. He didn’t see anyone when he looked behind him either…suddenly, he saw a pair of shoes hanging down from the shelves behind him. Meng Ming immediately raised his head, following the path of the legs to see a male student currently sitting on top of the bookshelf!
The student was a male that looked to be around Meng Ming’s age. He had fine, long hair, and had his legs arrogantly crossed. He looked at Meng Ming with a cold, piercing gaze. What made Meng Ming amazed was that this male student was actually holding the last copy of <The Realm of the Death God> in his hands!
It was taken away by him…?
The book in front of Meng Ming had been stolen, but he hadn’t even clearly seen what direction it had flown off to.
“Brother Meng Ming?” Huang Qiao Yi walked up to the bookshelf, and suddenly discovered Meng Ming currently staring at the male student sitting on top of the bookshelf.
Why is he sitting there? Huang Qiao Yi thought to herself as she stopped in her tracks.
Meng Ming wasn’t interested in where he was sitting. He was intrigued at how a book at his fingertips had been stolen by someone else!
For a few seconds, no one spoke.
He, did it on purpose…? Meng Ming felt the pressure from the boy’s gaze, stifling him from speaking for a while.
After a long time, Meng Ming finally broke away from the pressure and said, “That book…” He didn’t make any other movements, and just stood there, narrowing his eyes at the top of the bookshelf.
The boy sitting on the shelf with the novel in hand smirked, as if trying to provoke Meng Ming. He believed that Meng Ming was feigning his cool.
Meng Ming pretended to leisurely finish his sentence, “I found that book first.”
This strange boy hadn’t imagined that Meng Ming’s words would be so lacking in strength. “But, I got it first,” he replied. This was the first thing the boy said.
“That doesn’t count.” Meng Ming refused to acknowledge his loss, and he pointed at the other party, “You only rushed to get it after seeing that I was about to take it. On the other hand, I didn’t know you wanted to grab it, so I was slower by a step. It’s not fair.”
“Mm? Not discovering my presence means that your vigilance wasn’t enough.”
“As if! You sitting on the bookshelf to hide is going against the library’s regulations!”
When told off by Meng Ming, the boy couldn’t understand why Meng Ming was being so stubborn. He felt that Meng Ming was quite hard to deal with─
“Hey, even if I wasn’t sitting on the bookshelf, you wouldn’t have realized my presence.” He thought that it had clearly been him that was fast. In addition, he just so happened to want to read that novel as well. But when he saw Meng Ming’s gaze he could tell that Meng Ming was extremely unwilling to give him the novel as those eyes were filled with self-confidence, a type of “I don’t think it’s possible for me to lose” feeling. The boy began to have second thoughts. Since he believed that Meng Ming couldn’t beat him anyways...Why is he so confident? He can’t accept losing? Hmph, then I should play around with him some more…
Another period of silence passed.
“Do you want to read this book?” He asked Meng Ming.
Meng Ming obviously said yes.
“In that case…how about we try competing again?” He shut his eyes and held up the novel, agreeing that this round didn’t count.
“Great!” Meng Ming’s unyielding attitude before was for this purpose! He excitedly asked, “How do we compete?”
“There’s no need to do anything elaborate. We’ll just re-find this book one more time. Whoever finds it first wins, and the book will go to them.” He said.
Whoever finds it first gets it…in other words, he wants to compete in eyesight? Meng Ming analyzed.
When Meng Ming was training in cheating techniques at a young age, he had to go through an indispensable part of training: eyesight training. The objective was this: a deck of cards were quickly shuffled, and each card was only revealed for a short moment. Within this period of time, he had to identify all the cards, and memorize them in the correct order. That way, he’d be able to choose the card he wanted from the pile.
This training had quite a few variations. For example, within a certain period of time, one had to find a specific branch depicted in a photo within a forest, or find a piece of stone depicted in a photo from within a pile of rocks; before one ran out of oxygen, they had to submerge themselves into water to catch a specific goldfish; before bees went into hibernation one had to quickly catch all the numbered bees sequentially with their bare hands…
After a long period of training, Meng Ming had finally been able to shuffle the cards as he searched and placed a certain card at a specific position with a speed that could be measured in microseconds! That’s why Qiu Min Ke’s bug-type attacks were of no avail to him.
Thus, Meng Ming had absolute confidence in his searching abilities. Besides, the book was already in that guy’s hands. If Meng Ming didn’t comply with the request, he wouldn’t have any other chance of getting the book.
“Fine!” He cheerfully accepted the challenge.
Fighting over a book, is there really a need to go to such lengths… Huang Qiao Yi had been staring blankly at them the whole time.
After they exchanged words, the librarian sent a broadcast, “Can the reader sitting on the bookshelf quickly get off so that the shelves don’t fall like dominoes?”
In order to fight over who would get to borrow the book, the two of them, as well as Huang Qiao Yi, all went to the reading area where everyone was reading at the tables and chairs.
The rules of the new competition were extremely simple: Huang Qiao Yi would hide the book on a bookshelf or anywhere else. When she came back and said to start, the two would begin looking. Whoever found it first would get the book.
“I…I’ll hide it?” Although Huang Qiao Yi felt that this matter was extremely childish, she still agreed. To her, this was definitely Meng Ming’s win. There was no harm in joining the fun anyways, so she took the book, <The Realm of the Death God>. Then, Huang Qiao Yi warned them “Don’t peek”, and ran off to the nearby bookshelves.
The reading area was extremely quite. The readers were all silently abiding by the rules. One could only hear the sounds of pages being flipped and the scratching of writing.
Meng Ming looked at the stranger sitting across him and wondered: What kind of person is he? He even stole my book…he suggested to compete this way and is still so calm and collected. It seems he’s confident that he will win…let Little Qiao hide it? Based on her character, she’ll hide it in the hardest place to look…..oh, a blue book means she would only hide it among a bunch of blue books! In that case, my eyesight will definitely locate it faster than anyone else. Letting Little Qiao hide it means I’m at an advantage…
“Stop thinking.” As Meng Ming was analyzing, the other party spoke. There was a clear, provocative expression in his eyes. “Even if you’re close to her, I’ll definitely find it first.”
“What did you say…?!”
Before he had finished speaking, Huang Qiao Yi had already returned after hiding the book. The competition to find the book had officially begun!
Meng Ming didn’t want to listen to the other guy’s nonsense anymore, and immediately charged into the books area.
As long as I look quickly, my conditioned reflexes will definitely find a book like that. Meng Ming began to inspect the books along the bookshelf.
“A bunch of blue books…blue books…” Meng Ming’s movements were extremely fast. One glance covered 10 rows, and he’d scanned the entire bookshelf in an instant before moving onto another one. On the other hand, his opponent…looked like he was leisurely walking around! He unhurriedly entered the books area, and step by step, seemed to be using his senses to probe the book’s location. He didn’t search left and right for it at all.
Huang Qiao Yi sat on one side, and watched the stranger’s indifferent actions. She found his manner extremely unfathomable. He….he’s walking so slowly, how can he find it? Does he plan on giving up? Brother Meng Ming is so fast, he’ll definitely find it before that guy!
“Blue…” Meng Ming was still searching the shelf without stopping, and he hadn’t yet discovered any trace of <The Realm of the Death God>. But before he had passed the eighth shelf and no more than a few dozen seconds had passed since the start of the competition…..
“You’re so slow, I’ve already found it.”
The opponent’s voice unexpectedly said first from not too far away! Meng Ming and Huang Qiao Yi both thought they misheard, and immediately ran over to look. The boy was leaning against the bookshelf, standing there indifferently as he swept a triumphant gaze over the two of them. Just as when he had first confronted them, the provoking glint in his eyes hadn’t lessened. The last copy of the book that he had just found was in his hand─it was <The Realm of the Death God>.