Cheating Craft 29

Last chapter of V3! This was one of the longest chapters I’ve ever translated, ~9.5k Chinese characters. It took a while, and it was somewhat depressing when I saw that it was only ~4.2k English words. Such is the way of translations….

Although this chapter took me quite a bit of time to finish, the last line was totally worth it xD

Look forward to V4~

 

Translated by: Taffy

Edited by: Jafz

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Quiz 29: Heavenly Eye Training

There are always holy areas outside cities that nobody knows of. It was an emerald-green hill without any flowers, but one could see some small streams trickling through the shallow valley. There were paved roads on top of the hill, and some small, unadorned white slabs of rock. This area was an abolished back garden a few hundred meters behind Carron’s office.  

Currently, Carron was leading Meng Ming and Huang Qiao Yi down a weed-infested hill road through the woods of the shallow valley on foot.  

“Old baldie, why did you bring us here?!”  

It was the weekend, and a rare chance to read some novels. However, Meng Ming had been forcefully dragged to this valley. There was still a week left before the midterm exams, and he’d been repeatedly practicing his control over flames for the past few days, having mastered the second level until he knew it by heart. He had strived so hard to get to that point, and he was already feeling extremely proud of himself. Meng Ming had truly felt that there were many interesting things around him, but he still didn’t show any willingness to be dragged around by Carron like that. 

“Oh, it’s here.”  

In the middle of the small woods next to the creek, Carron found a group of large trees and told everyone to stop there.  

Meng Ming lifted his head to look at the trees. Judging from their height and grandeur, he could tell that these trees were at least 80 years old. The trees stood side by side in the middle of the woods at certain distances from the small trees around them. There were different types of trees; from left to right, they were: Mango, Lychee, Peach, and Plum. Their leaves were lush, but their fruits had all been picked.

“Why are there old trees here?” Huang Qiao Yi asked. “And can different types of trees grow in the same place?”  

“Oh, because…” Carron rubbed his sunglasses and said loftily, “They were planted by me.”  

How is that possible… Meng Ming shot a sideways glance at the guy feigning stupidity, “…That lie is too overboard.”

“Ignore the trees for now. Let me ask you,” Carron walked towards the row of trees and turned around to ask Meng Ming, “What kind of methods do you normally use to cheat?”  

Methods? He means the cheating techniques, right… Meng Ming reflected on it for a bit. Aside from basic training, there were only 4 skills he was most familiar with that he used again and again:  

Brilliant Blossom—Cleverly hiding an item in one’s hands so others cannot see it. In gambling, it’s used to hide cards in one’s hands, and call upon them to use at any point in time.

Secret Exchange—Uses quick finger movements to retrieve an item that one desires from outside. In gambling, it’s used to steal or exchange other people’s cards.

Water Splitting Blade Draw—Splitting a piece of paper apart from the edge of paper. It is the most fundamental skill of Zhuge Style Cheating Technique, and is used for the most basic changes in cards. This is the first level skill in the Zhuge Style’s manipulation of paper.

Igniting Flames—Burns items. Although it is also a basic, it is a top secret skill in the Zhuge Style Cheating Technique that causes flammable items to suddenly decrease, or entirely vanish without leaving a single trace! It is the first level skill in the Zhuge Style’s manipulation of flames. It can light up the end of a pencil to sharpen it before a test… but aside from sharpening a pencil, what other uses does it have?

“Yes…what uses does it have?” Carron contemplated. The more he thought about it, the more he felt that there seemed to be something hiding in this information. “These just sound like useless arts, but…fire and paper…oh, as expected from someone with the name ‘Zhuge’.”  

What exactly is he thinking… Meng Ming couldn’t be bothered to explain, since he himself didn’t understand it.  

After roughly analyzing the information, Carron said, “There’s no time to train in your paper manipulation. There’s a more urgent issue that needs to be addressed right now…”

Carron began to speak extremely methodically. His appearance really didn’t seem a wacky artist’s—

“Oh, firstly, what do you use to cheat? Think about it, during an examination, how many methods to obtain the answers without knowing anything are there?”  

How many types? If it’s restricted to just during an examination… Meng Ming bluntly answered, “Copying!”  

“That’s right!” Carron said, “Copying is the only method. There are two types of copying: the first type is copying yourself, which also means bringing a cheat sheet. You can use your first move, Brilliant Blossom, to complete this. The second type is copying others. You should know that in large-scale examinations, the factors at an exam site are extremely uncertain. There won’t ever be an L-type willingly cooperating with you. You have to depend on your own abilities to find the correct answers in the exam site. However, all the students’ test papers are placed flat on their desks. With your height, there’s no way you can see them. Out of the skills you just mentioned, which one can give you the ability to copy others?”  

Meng Ming carefully thought this over. Relying on cheat sheets for all exams was definitely not possible, because he didn’t know the questions of the exams ahead of time! Only after Carron’s mention did Meng Ming realize that he indeed didn’t have a method of copying answers—although he knew that the Zhuge Style Cheating Technique definitely had a move to see others’ cards, he’d never learned it.  

“If you want to cheat, the first condition you need to fulfill is being able to copy others!” Carron said. “This is the most basic part of cheating methods.”  

Meng Ming understood, and began to get a somewhat basic idea of “cheating”.  

“In that case, let’s prepare just before this battle.” Carron turned around and faced the few, large trees next to him. “We’ll explore a bit, and find a simple method of cheating that’s suitable for you to use temporarily, then try to master it in this short period of time.”  

He knocked on a tree trunk and said to Meng Ming, “These large trees are actually a set of pretty cool things. They’re tools used to train C-types in copying methods. These passing years, the older these trees get, the more new C-types of each generation gradually become cheating experts…”  

“Like who?” Huang Qiao Yi asked. She didn’t believe that many people knew of this place.  

Carron fell silent for a moment before coughing in reply, “Me.”  

The western breeze blew a badly damaged leaf past. Carron then continued, “People have 5 senses: smell, hearing, vision, touch, and taste. All information passes through these senses and into the brain. There are very few people that use taste and smell to gain information during an exam. There are also people that use touch, and others that use hearing, but most people use…”   

“Vision?!”

“Right. In a peaceful exam site, vision is the easiest to use.” Carron asked again, “How’s your eyesight?”  

Meng Ming replied that it was no problem. He remembered that he’d done vision training before for quickly finding a desired item among a group of other objects; an instant sweep was enough for him to remember the order of all cards.  

“Really?!” Carron didn’t know Meng Ming had gone through such training before. When he heard this, his interest was immediately piqued, and he wanted to test it immediately. 

He walked up to one of the trees and pulled out a large wooden mallet.  

“Where in the world did he materialize that mallet from…?” [Huang Qiao Yi]

“It clearly wasn’t there when we came…” [Meng Ming]  

“I just made it, stop asking questions!” Carron said to Meng Ming, “Look, there are many stones next to your feet. You have to use those stones to split apart all the leaves that fall from this plum tree! You must not touch any of the lychee tree leaves!” Then, Carron fiercely hit the trunk of the plum tree with the mallet, and a large number of the leaves floated down. He then ran to the lychee tree and gave its trunk a hard whack as well. Both trees shuddered violently, and the loud rustling of falling leaves could be heard as countless leaves mixed together in the air.

Meng Ming quickly bent down to pick up some rocks. With the training he had received before, attacking the mixed leaves definitely wasn’t an issue! He aimed at the falling leaves and quickly threw out multiple rocks. The scene was like the firing of a machine gun as he struck multiple plum tree leaves in succession!  

Slowly, the leaves fell silent.  

After seeing Meng Ming’s performance, Carron walked next to some leaves and kicked a few as he said, “Oh, it seems that you’ve indeed gone through quite a bit of training. But… there are some plum tree leaves that haven’t been pierced.”  

What?! Meng Ming refused to believe it. “Did you see wrong?! I definitely hit every single one!” Before he had even walked up to check, Carron kicked some intact plum tree leaves into his hands.  

This… Meng Ming held these plum tree leaves and thought in bewilderment: Huh? How come I didn’t hit these….  

Carron walked forward a few more steps, then lifted up even more perfectly intact plum tree leaves and waved them in front of Meng Ming.  

Meng Ming couldn’t really believe the mistakes in his hand. He had been so confident, how could this kind of problem have occurred?!  

“No, that’s not right… ” Meng Ming mumured to himself, “These leaves… according to my memory, I didn’t even see them!”  

“Didn’t see them? You, remember that?” Carron had originally planned on ridiculing him, but after hearing this, he suddenly thought of something. “Oh. If that’s the case, I get it…”  

Carron slowly walked up to the tree and patted the trunk. “These trees can quickly train one’s eyesight, and some vision-related skills as well. For you…according to the training you’ve received before, there’s only one type of original cheating method you can learn right now…”  

“What is it?”  

Carron rubbed his sunglasses, then turned around to lean his back against the tree. “Normally, students only crane their heads to copy adjacent examinees’ test papers. And even though they angle their heads, they may not be able to clearly see the paper flat on the desk. Based on your performance just now, I can see that are you indeed able to remember the order of cards from a quick sweep. This means that you can definitely remember a page of answers on a test instantly as well.”  

“I can. But I forget it after a while,” Meng Ming interrupted.  

“That’s right. After memorizing it, you can immediately write it down, ; you just need to master the timing,” Carron said. “Did you ever realize that during an exam, there are many instances where all examinees will voluntarily raise their test papers for you to see?!”  

“What?!” Meng Ming and Huang Qiao Yi simultaneously exclaimed in shock. They didn’t believe such an outrageous event existed. “When?!”  

Carron replied, “Tests are very large, and have multiple pages. That’s why after finishing a page, all examinees will always flip to the next page. At the moment they flip the page, they have to raise the paper into the air!”  

So it was like that…! Meng Ming suddenly realized. Huang Qiao Yi had mentioned before that all the exam papers had many pages. In addition, most examinees would check the exam in the beginning and at the end. Thus, the examinees next to him would definitely flip through the pages over and over. It was at these instances that he could use his eyes to capture a lot of information!  

“This is the most powerful type of early cheating method. But it requires very skilled capturing and instantaneous memory abilities, making it typically impossible to learn. But these are conditions that you just happen to be prepared with,” Carron said to Meng Ming. “This kind of vision skill allows you to directly look at other people’s test papers, and pretty much nobody will be able to obstruct your view. That’s why its name is Heavenly Eye Technique.”

He gave a rough introduction to the other vision skills used during examinations.

Tracing Eye—Locking one’s gaze onto the end of another party’s pencil, and determining their writing based on their pencil’s movements or their hand gestures. This move is very normal, and is only used on a single target.

Sky Eye—Looking at multiple people’s test papers at once from above. The user needs to meet certain physique conditions. Mainly uses skills that allow the user’s eyes to see from higher up.

Division Technique—Looking at the surrounding test papers laid flat on desks, mentally dividing them into blocks, then reproducing all these designs together onto the user’s own paper in order to analyze the answers. This move requires very powerful spatial imagery ability, resulting in basically rotating the test papers at various angles as a 3D image.

Digital Eye—Uses the reflected light from graphite to clearly discern the pencil markings on one’s test paper and scantron laid flat on the desk. It is like how a computer reads and scans scantrons. This move requires a strong ability in judging distance. The user must determine how far the reflected light is from the edge of the scantron to accurately determine the answers.

  ……

“Heavenly Eye…that…name sounds so cool,” Meng Ming said.  

Carron proudly stated, “Hmph, its effects definitely live up to its name. After you use it, you’ll understand. But very few people use the Heavenly Eye Technique because one, it is too difficult for people to grasp and two, because it has a limited field of vision. The furthest you can see is an examinee one desk away from you. In addition, you can’t make any obvious head movements during the exam. Aside from sitting in a corner or next to the wall, you can only see 12 people’s test papers maximum. —In other words, this Heavenly Eye Technique isn’t perfect, and you cannot achieve a ‘perfect cheat’.”

 

  × × × × × × ×

  × × ◎ ◎ ◎ ×  ×

  × ◎ ◎ ◎ ◎ ◎  ×

  × ◎ ◎   ME ◎ ◎  ×

  × × × × × × ×

  

12 people, should be enough…!  Meng Ming believed that he could just copy all 12 people, and then compare all the answers to see which ones showed up the most to choose the correct one on the answer sheet. He’d definitely be able to get majority of the correct answers.  

Carron said, “Although there are faults, this technique is the easiest for you to grasp in a short time period. Besides, very few people can learn it.”  

“Heavenly Eye Technique…I’ll learn it!” Meng Ming began to feel excited.  

Although he was eager to give it a try, Carron reminded him, “Oh, do you know where your problem was?”  

Meng Ming said he didn’t.  

“Just now, you weren’t able to see some of the falling leaves. In other words…it wasn’t that your aim was off, or that you couldn’t remember them, but that your eyes are only trained to observe a small, fixed perimeter. The space between these two trees is quite large, and the tops of the trees are also quite far from the ground. You were unable to grasp such a large space. Test papers and cards are different from each other; cards are very small, while test papers are whole, large papers. According to your current habits, you’ll find it very hard to accurately capture all the information on an entire sheet of paper, and you will easily get the positions of questions and answers wrong.”

Meng Ming immediately understood and said, “Then I’ll practice that!” He lifted his head to look at the trees.  

Carron raised his mallet to whack the tree trunks again, “Not bad. Today, we’ll start your training for observing a larger perimeter, starting from these two trees!”  

Meng Ming once again threw rocks, but he still missed some leaves.   

“Continue! Your aptitude is quite good, so you’ll pick it up quickly after practice. Try to train yourself so that your vision can observe the perimeter around three trees before sunset,” Carron said, then passed the mallet to Huang Qiao Yi. “You accompany him.”

Dinner that night was at Carron’s office. Meng Ming wolfed down his food like a glutton.  

“Oh, you’ve worked hard today…” Carron ate in an extremely refined way. “But I really never imagined that…”  

Huang Qiao Yi also seldom saw Meng Ming with such table manners, and was sweatdropping on one side.  

Although it was a cheating training in the last minutes before the battle…that little demon already managed to observe the perimeter around 4 trees in a single day. Carron felt some admiration towards Meng Ming’s natural aptitude. “Then, it looks like you’re already able to smoothly copy others. However, you cannot forget to continue practicing tomorrow to strengthen the Heavenly Eye Technique.”  

Meng Ming nodded, with no time to talk, and continued gorging himself.  

Huang Qiao Yi also wanted to say something, but she was a bit embarrassed to do so—Those trees already look like Uncle’s head by now… 

“The remaining thing is that the fight between C-types is at an examination site. There are problems with attacks and defenses between the two participants…” Carron said as he ate. Meng Ming was very interested in this segment—

“Basically, cheating has 4 skills: copying, interfering, counter-interfering, and communication. In regards to copying, you can now use your Heavenly Eye Technique. Interfering is an attack to actively disturb your opponent from cheating. Counter-interfering is the original source of interference being disturbed back as the opponent’s defense. Communication is the exchange of information between C-types during an exam. Your midterms will be solo duels, so you don’t have to worry about communication for now…although your original few skills are only up to the first level, they’re enough for counter-interfering. But using them for attacks isn’t very practical. The only one you’ve reached second level for is fire. You can use your expertise in flames to launch interference attacks.”

“Flames…?” Only now did Meng Ming understand why Carron had made him do the pot roast practice. It turned out that it was for training his attacks. “With pencils?”  

“Not entirely. There are only a few pencils given during an exam, so you can’t waste them like that…but judging from what I know, nobody has ever used fire at an exam site. If you use it well, fire can be extremely destructive. You’ve mastered the second level of fire manipulation, so it should be more than enough for an attack. Ah, I also need to ramble to you about something—the types of exam questions are different each time, so the cheating methods you use will also have differences. I’ll teach you that another day. Either way, there’s still a bit over a week until your midterm exam, so there’s still time…”  

Carron had originally planned on following these plans, and had even methodically finished speaking. However, Huang Qiao Yi’s phone suddenly went off just then. The caller was Lin Jing Xuan.

“Hello?” Huang Qiao Yi answered the phone, “Yea…ah?! …Oh, oh…yea, ok…got it.” She hung up. 

“What happened?” Meng Ming said with mouth full of food.  

Huang Qiao Yi closed her eyes and sighed. “Lin Jing Xuan just received news that the midterm exams were pushed earlier to next Monday, meaning tomorrow. All the schools’ midterm exams have been shifted to tomorrow.”  

“What?!!!” Meng Ming almost dropped the bowl and chopsticks in his hands. “How could they do that?”  

“This happens quite often…exams will often catch the examinees off guard according to the examinees’ adaptabilities…” Huang Qiao Yi helplessly explained, “Because college entrance exams will often suddenly change dates, especially when the schools want to test their students’ true grades, they do this to prevent students from seizing the opportunity to prepare last minute…I’ve encountered this in junior high before too. No matter how many times the exam changes, you won’t know until the actual day.”

Carron also nodded, indicating that he understood these kinds of matters as well.  

“How come I’m the only one that didn’t know…?!!” Meng Ming said gloomily.  

This time, the news actually came in quite a timely manner.

  ……

The exam is about to start, so soon….?! Meng Ming’s expression changed. The exam was tomorrow, didn’t that mean that tomorrow was also when his duel against Zhou Lun Yi would take place?  

Tomorrow.  

“Such a short amount of time, I still haven’t practiced enough….”

“No problem,” Carron said, calming them down. “If your skills still aren’t solid, then you can practice them again tomorrow during the exam…since you need to take the test soon, I’ll just hurry and teach you how to attack now. Oh, I had originally planned on slowly telling you…”  

Carron stood up and flipped through his pile of junk as he said, “C-types that use their fingers normally have tools that they commonly use, or you could also call them weapons. These weapons must be things that can be easily brought into the exam.”

Meng Ming immediately understood this. In other words, the tool that Zhou Lun Yu is an expert in would be those red threads; Qiu Min Ke doesn’t use his fingers, but his bugs should also count as weapons. Then I…do I really need to use pencils?  

Soon afterwards, Carron walked back with a few wooden blocks in his hand. “Perhaps pencils wouldn’t be bad for you.”  

Meng Ming nodded.  

Carron said, “Oh. If it’s pencils, then there’s no question about whether or not they can be brought into the exam.” Pencils were distributed at the exam sites. Using pencils to initiate fire manipulation was really the most appropriate choice.

“There is only the evening left. If you’re willing, I can directly teach you my attack method.” Carron lifted the wooden blocks.  

Earlier, Carron had mentioned that using pencils was pretty wasteful, because the pencils weren’t in unlimited supply. The other issue was that pencils were too large, and they could be easily discovered by the proctors. As Carron explained this, he lightly used his finger to slice apart the wooden blocks in his hand to form sharp, small, and fine toothpick shapes with lengths of 3-4mm, something that the average person wouldn’t notice.  

“This is one of the weapons I used back then. I call them short arrows, or just ‘arrows’. They can be used during an exam to initiate a piercing attack,” Carron said, and passed a pencil over to Meng Ming for him to try. 

After seeing Carron carve out the little toothpicks, Meng Ming learned how to break the wood on the pencil into toothpick shapes that were quite similar in appearance to Carron’s.

“These are ‘arrows’?” Meng Ming looked at them, and felt the name was a bit crude.

Meng Ming lightly tossed out the short arrows he had carved, accurately hitting the center of the door’s keyhole.  

“Oh, very accurate. The arrow’s elaborate structure also makes it fly very straight!” Carron said. “A single pencil can be carved into many arrows, making it quite a good attack weapon. It just depends on how you use it. Also…”  

Carron carved another very small item, a thin, disk-like object. “This is the flying disk, or just ‘disk’. It can fly outwards in arcs.”  

Meng Ming learned how to carve this as well. He touched the pencil in his hand and sliced the pencil at its cross-section, making a very thin, round wooden chip, the disk. Carron told him, “The disk is mainly used for slicing attacks. Its power is greater than the arrow’s, but isn’t as fast. I normally only use it when the other party is defenseless.”

Meng Ming cut out a few more of the thin disks and flicked them out with his fingers. All of them flew into the keyhole as well—as accurate as his arrows and his poker cards.

After teaching Meng Ming only two basic carving methods, Carron could already tell that Meng Ming would definitely make some new breakthroughs with these basic wooden carvings as a base.  

“Brother Meng Ming, you’ve never touched these kinds of tiny things before, so how can you carve them so similarly and throw them so accurately?” Huang Qiao Yi asked.  

“Of course I can,” Meng Ming chuckled in reply. “My fingers weren’t trained for no reason. If I use pencils, I definitely won’t have a problem!” He picked up another pencil and asked Carron if he had any harder devices.  

“Oh, next is…” Carron carved another thing, about the same size as the previous two weapons.  

“This…this is!!”

The two students were shocked at the sight of Carron’s new carving. It was a triangular cup with beautiful designs on its surface. It looked exactly like ancient bronzeware! The cup not only had a long and delicate mouth, it also had an ergonomic handle for easy usage. Its curves seemed to be naturally formed, simple but elegant…it was really a rare piece of art!  

Carron introduced, “This is the cup, or just ‘cup’. It’s used to drink tea during the exam.”


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