Translated by: Taffy
Edited by: Frosty
Quiz 53: Mountain of Books
Whoever lost would have to pay money. The amount depended on how many books they used to play with in total. The more expert they were, the more books they’d need, and the higher the mountain of books would become, like the constantly increasing pile of academic tasks that pressed down upon every student’s back. No matter how stable they managed to support that weight, there would eventually come a day where it would collapse. In short, Bai Jiu had thought that Meng Ming was always amazing, and wasn’t concerned about the issue of him paying money. However, a lot of the spectators began jeering, “It’s Lin Xian Central High vs. Kui Yuan Central High—!” This increased X-seven shop’s popularity by quite a bit, although the people that had come hadn’t come to buy baked goods.
One only had 15 seconds to find a book and stack it. While this seemed quite relaxing in the beginning, it would become more pressuring as the game progressed. The people all consciously opened up a large path between the table and the bookstore so that going back and forth would only take a few seconds.
It had begun! Lu Xiao started first. In an instant, he chose a book and placed it on the bottom of the circular table.
“<Modern Chinese Dictionary> newest edition! ￥66.50!” He let the bookstore’s staff record the amount. The entire book, with its thick cover and clothbound spine, was carefully placed vertically in the center of the round table!
Seeing this, Meng Ming thought: He used a reference book straight away in the beginning, and even placed it vertically. He wants to win quickly…? Fine. Meng Ming also went over to get a book. “<Romance of the Three Whatever> Volume 1! Entire set ￥130.00!” The staff recorded this as well. This book was a very normal paperback. Meng Ming just placed it vertically next to the <Modern Chinese Dictionary>.
“What? You don’t dare to put it on top?” Lu Xiao arrogantly jeered.
“We can just play slowly, what’s the rush?” Meng Ming was extremely cautious. Based on what Huang Que had told him, if he placed this book on top of <Modern Chinese Dictionary>, it would most likely be a dangerous situation, as he still didn’t know what the other party’s tricks were.
“Based on what you said before, the second and third volumes of <Three Kingdoms> can’t be chosen anymore, right?” Lu Xiao asked. “But the price is for the full set.”
“That’s right,” Meng Ming nodded.
“Alright, this one!” Lu Xiao picked out another large book. “<China’s Book of Family Names Secret Edition> Volume 1! Entire set ￥200.00!”
It was another clothbound book. Its surface area was larger than <Modern Chinese Dictionary>, and it was placed horizontally opposite <Romance of the Three Kingdoms>
Seeing Lu Xiao place this book down, Meng Ming easily reached for a small book. “<The Book of Changes> Original Text! ￥10.00!”
“<General Overview of the World’s Major Events in the Last Seven Millennia>! ￥172.00!”
“<South America’s Art of Desserts>! ￥15.00!”
“<Comprehensive Collection of the First Old Verse in the Tang and Song Dynasties>! ￥190.00!”
“<Children’s Pinyin Learning Picture Book>! ￥13.50!”
“<The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes> clothbound version! ￥220.00!”
“<The Kindaichi Case Files>! ￥4.50!”
“Hmph, you read something that old?!”
“Oi, the one you’re holding is even older!”
“<Complete Introduction of Violin to Proficiency> clothbound book! ￥155.00!”
“<13 Tricks to Prevent Windows System Crashes>! ￥13.00!”
The pile of books grew taller and taller, alternating between each person. Over 20 rounds had passed already, and there were already over 40 books on the tower of books atop the table!
I still don’t know what kind of tricks Lu Xiao uses, so I need to act carefully. [Meng Ming]
Tch, he only knows how to choose those small books and volumes, so nerve-wracking! [Lu Xiao]
“<Advanced Physics> Volume 2! ￥30.00!” [Lu Xiao]
“Manhua <Fullmetal Alchemist>! ￥4.50!” [Meng Ming]
“<Golden Lotus> Volume 2 threadbound! ￥60.00!”
“Manhua <Learning From Lei Feng>! ￥4.50!”
“<Beasts 1, 2, 3, 4 Complete Screenplay Collection!> ￥83.00!”
“Manhua <Transvestite Princess>! ￥4.50!”
“Just keep saving! You only know how to choose those old and small manhua books. Don’t think that I don’t know what kind of game you want,” Lu Xiao suddenly shouted. “The taller this pile becomes, the less stable it is. Each book can only be chosen once. You first placed all these small books on the bottom to use them all up, so that they can’t be used once the books are higher. The remaining books are only large books, which are easier to fall. I’m right, aren’t I? But did you think I’d knock it over? <Appreciation of Various Gems!> ￥90.00!”
A large book was placed on top of the tower.
“Continuing like this means that Master will be at a disadvantage.” Boss Ma Que looked at the overall situation and said to the companions at his side, “Lu Xiao’s height is quite a bit greater than Master’s. If this continues, Master will have difficulty lifting the books to the top.” Huang Que and the others had all noticed this. Only Bai Jiu hadn’t noticed. She suddenly said, “Don’t worry.”
Don’t tell me that she knows Master has some kind of certain kill move? The Three Missing One Quartet all looked at Bai Jiu with the intention of listening to her wise opinion.
“Ah? Eh…” Bai Jiu said, “Don’t worry, if he loses, all he has to do is pay.”
The tower of books continued to grow taller. At the same time, it became more compact. The round surface originally with a radius of 20 centimeters now had a top that was shrinking, like a pyramid.
<Complete Works of Lu Xun>!” [Meng Ming]
<100 Questions About Cosmetics and Beauty!>” [Lu Xiao]
“<Judy’s Tarot Card Classroom!>”
“<The Five Court Factions: Fixed Collection of Original Drawings>!”
The books that Lu Xiao chose had also become smaller and smaller, since the area at the top had shrunk! Meng Ming had been fighting a slow battle because he’d been trying to figure out Lu Xiao’s tricks, so he’d been using small books the whole time. However, Lu Xiao never had any intention of revealing his ability. He continued to increase the height of the book tower firstly so that the overall value of the books would increase, and secondly so that he could display his strength at the critical moment!
Since he still won’t make a move…There was no longer any point in piling the books taller. Meng Ming could tell that there was practically no more room to place even more one book vertically on the top. There was a book in his hand, but he felt that there was no need to drag it out any further. Forget it, I’ll just beat him first…!
“<Demon King’s Duty>!” Meng Ming tossed this book upwards, marking the real start of the showdown! A finger thick <Demon King’s Duty> stood up vertically on the top of the tower, and stably remained there!
Lu Xiao’s waiting for Meng Ming to actually start had finally paid off. He knew that the book tower’s height had already surpassed Meng Ming’s height. He immediately grabbed another finger-thick book and stood it on his hand. He aimed at the correct position, about to place it upwards, but discovered that the weight on his fingertips had suddenly increased by a lot! He lowered his head to look…
“<Newest Advanced Oxford English-Chinese Dictionary>!! What…?” This heavy book had appeared on top of Lu Xiao’s hand for absolutely no reason at all!
Zhuge Style Cheating Technique—Secret Exchange! Meng Ming had taken advantage of when Lu Xiao was pondering how to place the small book up, and exchanged it with this large book. It was completely impossible to place this book on the tower of books. Moreover, there was a <Demon King’s Duty> standing vertically in the middle that served as an obstruction! “How despicable!” The 15 seconds were pressing down. Lu Xiao immediately tossed the book upwards, placing it horizontally on top of <Demon King’s Duty>!
“What…?!” Meng Ming, as well as all of the spectators, was stunned.
This was definitely impossible. The thin <Demon King’s Duty> could actually support the thick <Oxford Dictionary> without collapsing!
“Ha, let’s see what you do now,” Lu Xiao laughed. “Let me make a prediction, no matter how you place the book, that dictionary will collapse.”
It’ll collapse? It would be stranger if it didn’t… Meng Ming studied the strange scene. Balanced? Not possible. Even if it was, it’d still fall….or did he use some external force to support the <Oxford Dictionary>? If that’s really the case…
If that was the case, then Lu Xiao could cause this supporting force to disappear the instant Meng Ming placed his book down! This would cause the entire tower to fall apart.
“Hurry up. The 15 seconds aren’t going to wait for you.” Lu Xiao urged. At the moment, Meng Ming still held the book that Lu Xiao had originally chosen in his hand, the book he’d obtained from using Secret Exchange. Meng Ming brought the book up to look at it. It was the same size as a volume of <Demon King’s Duty>.
“I won’t just let it crash like this!” Meng Ming tossed the book, <Realm of the Death God!>
Idiot, as long as I let go of the support after you place your book, you’ll immediately fall! Lu Xiao was prepared to act at any moment.
This <Realm of the Death God> wasn’t tossed up very high. Instead, it flew towards the bottom of <Oxford Dictionary>. <Realm of the Death God> struck the supporting <Demon King’s Duty>, pushed it back a bit, and stopped itself when it was below <Oxford Dictionary> ! All movements ceased, and just like <Demon King’s Duty>, it became the <Oxford Dictionary>’s second support!
“Now it can’t fall down.” Meng Ming confidently retracted his hands. Even without any outside forces, these two books could support <Oxford Dictionary>.
The spectators were all shaken with shock. Meng Ming had suddenly used such a formidable technique, which had drawn the sounds of the observers banging tables and cheering.
“Not bad.” Lu Xiao grabbed another book, immediately placing it above <Oxford Dictionary>. This was to increase the pressure on Meng Ming.
Meng Ming also grabbed another book, and continued to add more support underneath <Oxford Dictionary>.
They went back and forth like this. The situation had become tense. However, the top kept going higher, and its surface area shrank further.
“<Historical Account of Unusual Stars>!” [Lu Xiao]
“Sorry, this is the last book. <<Ghost Maker III> Complete Game Guide>! There are no more small books~” After Meng Ming placed the last book down carefully, he immediately said to Lu Xiao, “You should watch out.”
“You’re the one that needs to be careful!” Lu Xiao also knew that the books with the appropriate shapes and weight that could be used for the book tower had already been used up. Now that it was his turn, there were no longer any books for him to use. “The rules only say that I have to grab a book. It didn’t specify that it has to be a book from the bookstore! As long as I complete my move within 15 seconds, it’s fine!” Lu Xiao went to another table and grabbed a menu. “This menu is small enough, <X-seven Western pastry shop menu>! Staff, record it!”
X-seven’s staff recorded this value as well.
“I told you to be careful as a warning that I’m about to move for real now.” Meng Ming took something from some random customer. “<Lin Xian City Map>! Record its price!”
“It’s free,” some unknown person replied.
It was Lu Xiao’s turn again. It looked as if there was nothing else to retrieve from the surroundings. “For real? If you want to come, then just come! Don’t forget, even if I have to place a large book on the top, it will stay as steady as Mt. Tai!” He picked up a very large volume of <Historical Account of Unused Stars>!
“I suggest you don’t take the risk, and just find a smaller book,” Meng Ming suggested.
“Hmph, I’ve already chosen this one!” Lu Xiao ignored Meng Ming’s words, and wanted to use this book to directly defeat Meng Ming. He placed the book on top; this <Entire Biography of the First Emperor> was stably placed on the top of the tower! —“How about it, it’s your turn!” Lu Xiao said.
“Don’t panic, 15 seconds aren’t up yet,” Meng Ming leisurely said. “According to the rules, as long as this tower of books falls after you place your book, you lost.”
“You must be joking. It’s so steady, how would it collapse?”
“Did you forget what book you’d just put on?” Meng Ming said. “It’s <Third Entire Biography of the First Emperor—Burning of the Books>!”
“Hm?….What?!”! Lu Xiao didn’t understand what Meng Ming meant for a moment. But before 15 seconds had passed, he noticed that the bottom of the book pile had suddenly ignited to form a great fire. Moreover, it seemed like it had been burning for a while now. This fire was like timber, and it caused the whole tower of books to begin tilting to the side!
“Fire, where did this fire come from?!” Lu Xiao began to panic. If this continues, it’ll collapse from the fire. That won’t do! Seeing the entire mountain of books begin to offset itself, he opened his palms to support it. However, he then recalled that the rules stated one couldn’t support the books. “….How despicable! How would it suddenly catch fire!”
Meng Ming said, “Originally, I’d wanted to slowly play a few rounds with you before lighting the fire, but I no longer see any need for it.”
The books were made from paper. Meng Ming had mastered his fire manipulation to the second level, so he’d igniting a roaring fire as great as he could. The bottom of the book tower had already been completely burned away. No matter how powerful any force was, there was no way these books could remain steady for 15 whole seconds!
Soon, the burned book tower collapsed.
“Master! Congratulations on winning!” Boss Ma Que led the Three Missing One Quartet forward to congratulate him.
There’s nothing to congratulate, the opponent wasn’t strong….
Although it could be said that Meng Ming had won pretty easily, the pressure he’d felt from never knowing the opposite party’s skills was quite great.
Bai Jiu also walked over, “Meng Ming is amazing, you won…” She’d originally thought that Meng Ming had gone to gift books away, and she hadn’t imagined that Meng Ming would actually win. She still didn’t understand: …Where had the fire from just now come from?
“Master! Exactly what kind of tricks did that Kui Yuan guy use?”
“That’s right, I also want to know! He was able to steadily set that large book just now. Had he used qigong?”
Bai Jiu also found it strange, but she felt more respect towards Meng Ming. “I never knew that Meng Ming could play this kind of thing so well, too…”
“Mhm…” Meng Ming had already obtained clues from the other party’s actions earlier. “That’s not qigong. I’ve seen that type of method before, it can allow the cards to adsorb each other. He manipulates something with a great energy, gathering them together to use. Moreover, this force is something that people cannot see. In such a dry, winter day, it can display even more outstanding results…”
The staff were currently busy extinguishing the fire and cleaning the area. Lu Xiao glared hatefully at the collapsed book tower. Not only did he have to pay for it, he couldn’t even keep any of the books.
“Although I don’t know how he’s using it, I can say for certain,” Meng Ming said, “That he induced an area with extremely powerful static electricity.”
Afterwards, Huang Que brought up the point that he’d heard there was an extremely amazing piano performance player in Kui Yuan Central High’s Year 1. However, he was an even greater expert in the electronic piano and electric guitar, and was a C-type. Rumors said that even when his stereo system was unplugged, his electric guitar would play music that gave the same effect as if the system was plugged in. “That person is definitely the Lu Xiao we met today.” [Huang Que]
“Why?” [Bai Que]
“You haven’t heard of the rumor about him? I haven’t personally witnessed him playing piano, but I heard that the strings he uses on the electric guitar aren’t ordinary strings, but electric wires,” Huang Que said.
So it was like that. He plays contemporary music, huh. Meng Ming thought about it. That meant the method that Lu Xiao used was using friction-induced static electricity!
By the time they’d finished speaking, it was already near noon. The surrounding people still hadn’t dispersed, as they were still talking about the interesting book stacking showdown just now. Lin Xian Central High’s Zhuge Meng Ming seemed slightly famous now.
This time, Lu Xiao took the initiative to walk over.
“You,” he pointed at Meng Ming. “I challenge you once again. Let’s do a formal competition.”
In the stacked layers just now, Lu Xiao had lost before even getting the chance to display his true strength. Thus, he naturally wasn’t willing to concede. Besides, those rules had been set by Meng Ming.
“Hey, piano player, you’ve already lost to Master. What else do you want to do?”
“That’s right, why are you just blaming others and refusing to leave? So shameless.”
“I’m not speaking to you guys!” Lu Xiao roared. He said to Meng Ming, “You should also know that X-seven Western pastry shop has a knowledge quiz competition at 12 starting soon.”
Meng Ming had indeed looked over the flyer, and indicated he did know about it.
“How about it? We can use that exam site as a formal competition site. This allows you to display your strength more effectively than playing stacking books as well, right?!”
Lu Xiao wanted to challenge him in this competition? However, the shop’s knowledge quiz…Meng Ming had absolutely never bought baked goods from this shop before. He was slightly hesitant.
“There’s no need to think it over,” Lu Xiao said. “This is also my first time here.”
So that was the case!
Meng Ming understood. He looked at Bai Jiu by his side and felt that…her line of thinking couldn’t possibly be bent any other way. She had completely imagined Meng Ming as a genius in her mind. Especially in these circumstances where there wasn’t any advanced surveillance around…
I have to be careful to make sure she doesn’t know I’m cheating. There’s indeed a lot of things to consider….
Meng Ming had heard of using static electricity before, but he didn’t really know how to counter it. He thought that he could take advantage of this opportunity, and properly participate in this fight to better understand the cheating methods of other school’s C-types.
“Is the Western pastry shop the exam site?” Meng Ming stood up. “Alright, I accept!”