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The Academy that does not exist?
I tightened my grip on the Examination Entry Certificate.
I believe, those of you who have attended school can guess it correctly. The current me holding on to the Examination Entry Certificate, plus the title on the top, should give an indication as to what I’m about to do right now.
You are right, the me, who was in the final year of middle school, am going through the period where I’m receiving my Examination Certificate.
On the table, the transcript issued by the school with the neatly printed results on top seemed to have grown a mouth and was currently mocking me.
The student at the front seat turned around, totally ignoring the bright red results on the table, as he asked me, “Ming Yang, which school are you going to choose?”
At that moment, I really wanted to reply, ‘Do you think I will be the one to choose the school and not the other way round?’
My name is Chu Ming Yang.
I have no talent, My expertise is nil, but if you really want me to state one, my special quality is probably… I’m very unlucky.
This was no exaggeration. From the second I was born, my bad luck has never cease to happen. Have you ever heard of someone being born with their umbilical cord tightly wrapped around their neck? It was said the doctor and nurses had already given up, and were on the verge of bundling me up to be sent to my family for burial, when a nurse accidentally dropped me, who had already turned into a corpse, onto the floor. However, due to some unknown reason, the drop actually caused me to come back to life.
But after thinking about it, if I had known I would live a life full of such terrible bad luck, I would have asked the nurse to drop me harder. Even if she dropped me till I suffered major injuries, I would not resent her. Not even if my organs lay splattered on the ground.
As I slowly grew up, I obtained minor injuries daily and it has become commonplace, while the more extreme ones are happening one after another.
Who have ever heard of someone dunking the basketball during Physical Education and the whole metal hoop starts toppling towards him? Fortunately I was quick in dodging and only broke a leg, which was then reset later on.
Halfway through classes, the whole ceiling would suddenly fall down. The windows were also broken by the ball which was being used by the students having Physical Education outdoors (coincidently, I was sitting right next to the window, the extraordinary part was our classroom was on the fifth floor).
Similar phenomenon, over the past ten years of my life, have become mundane.
From my birth, the title “unlucky guy” was like a chewing gum obstinately stuck to my body and can never be removed. I’m so infamous that the whole school knows about my unluckiness. Even when I was sent to the hospital for emergency treatment, the doctors and nurses would ask “Why is it you again?” type of questions.
“Earth to Ming Yang.”
The one sitting in front of me was a lucky guy, who has never known what it means to have bad luck, suddenly took out a roll of paper and used it to knock my head. At one short moment, over ten years of my life seemed to flash in front of my eyes and I turned back into the person who was vexing over “how to fill in the school application form?” due to the bright red colored marks.
And it wasn’t because my grades were bad, but because on the day of the examination… I just had to have food poisoning!
Wasn’t it too melodramatic? The whole classroom ordered and ate all thirty-nine lunch boxes together, and it just had to be mine that wasn’t fresh.
I wholeheartedly believe the fate was deliberately going against me.
“Haha… of course, as long as I’m able to study, any school will do.” I turned over the first page which was filled with the names of famous schools. In fact, my mom had already given up hope of me entering high school. Instead, as long as there was a school who would be willing to accept me, she would be thanking the Gods.
“Oh I see. I’ve heard there’s a pretty good Engineering school somewhere in the middle of the country.” The lucky student swiftly turned his chair around, took a pen and started drawing circles on the blank spaces on my form. “If you are able to get into that school, we will be able to become schoolmates for another three years.” Nose and eyes appeared inside the circle, and then a drawing of Mickey Mouse emerged.
“Let’s discuss this later.” I said as a response to the lucky student.
I flipped through the thick book of School Information a few times, at the end of the book, there are small inconspicuous words printed out at the bottom of the last page.
So small that one could have easily missed it.
It’s the name of a certain school.
* * *
I filled it in.
I wrote the name of the strange school as the first choice amongst the other schools.
On the day the results were released, everyone was glossing through the newspapers and the internet to check their school data, and I was no exception.
Then a strange thing happened. That day, I was certain I checked through the newspapers, internet and even the reviews of all the school information handed out by the school. In the end, the result of the search was told me one thing.
… “Search Not Found.”
Even if you want to fool someone, please do it in a smarter way!
I filled out the name of a school that doesn’t exist, then why on earth was the name of the school written inside the book of School Information?!
I threw the booklet onto the table of the Recruitment Center, uh, let me rephrase my sentence, I’m not the one who threw it, it was my elder sister.
“What the hell are you guys trying to do? Printing out the name of a school that doesn’t exist for the students to fill in, then now it’s “Search Not Found”! Are you guys trying to make a fool out of us?”
I have to admit my elder is much bolder than I am. She is older than me by three years, and had applied to enter a famous university. We are obviously born from the same mother, in fact, I had once suspected all my good luck was given to my sister because she was exceptionally lucky. Even when there was a major earthquake a few years ago, she was apparently hit by the signboard but she was not injured at all, just a little frightened.
The main point was, the one who was injured was me, the one who went out with her and was right beside her.
A few of the office staff started passing around the book of School Information, and as soon as they saw the small printed words, every one of them revealed a startled expression, as if they had just seen a ghost.
Chu Ming Yue snatched the problematic book from the staff’s hands and heavily threw the book on the table again, “Call the person who makes the decisions to come out right now!”
Honestly, I feel my elder sister grew up to be a real beauty, the cold type of beauty. Even when compared to the artists and singers who appear on television, she would not lose to them. So when she starts losing it, her terrifying expression had double the normal effect.
More specifically, it should be kind of like being killed by a beautiful devil, yeah, just like the kind of movies shown on the television. Those people who are free can consider trying it out on their own.
After a while, the book of information was passed to another person’s hands. It was obvious this person had a higher position. He took out his handkerchief and started wiping his cold sweat, while trying to explain to my elder sister.
He said the error might be caused during the printing process due to an accident of printing the data of another booklet.
The higher positioned staff took out another similar booklet, flipped it open and of course the name of the school was really not there.
My elder sister was on fire again.
An accident during printing was still acceptable, but the school’s name and even the number was perfectly printed within the spaces along with the names of other schools. Even the borders were printed nicely.
This kind of coincidence was definitely more difficult to encounter compared to winning a lottery, I think.
It had already been more than three hours since we entered this building, and my elder sister yelled at every person she saw until they were so scared to even fart. The me who seems more like a passer-by did not even utter a single word. Time slowly trickled by while my elder sister continued cursing the staff.
This was so boring.
I yawned, lifted my head, and just so happen to see a silhouette passing by outside.
In fact, outside the building was a side walk. Even if there were hundreds of people walking by, I wouldn’t be surprised, let alone one person, since this building was fairly close to downtown.
The strange thing was, the person brazenly walked past the front of the automatic door.
The automatic door did not open.
Based on my three hour observation of the automatic door, even when a dog passed by the door, it would also open for a while and some newspapers or some other rubbish would be blown in. So why didn’t it open when this person walked by it?
As if it was trying to further confirm my doubts, the person appeared at the doorway again.
This time I’m very certain, the door really did not open.
This can’t be, right?
Was seeing a ghost in broad daylight also considered as one of the effects of my bad luck?
A loud “POP” resounded.
My elder sister, who was definitely bold but totally had no moral conscience, took a booklet, which was many times thicker, and slammed it down on my head. The force was so great that my brains almost flew out of my head through my eyes, nose and mouth.
“Are you deaf? I’ve been telling you to go and fill in the form several times!” A devilish looking face immediately enlarged in front of my eyes, the horrifying effect was doubled.
“Ah?” I opened my mouth, with a look of surprise.
At the end of the day, the final outcome was, since the organizers were negligent, my name was again entered and redelivered, hopefully there will be a school who will accept me.
Well, to put it bluntly, let’s see if there are any schools willing to accept the leftovers.
After all, my grades were very low, so low that my family was already prepared to have me enroll into a school that allowed students to study there as long as a large sum of money was paid.
In the end, when we left, I no longer saw the ghost outside the automatic door.
Later on, after listening to my story, one of my classmates told me my bad luck might be slowly corroding into my body, directly eroding my BaZi.
[T/N: Something to do with Chinese Feng Shui, which includes our birth date, day, time, place, etc. Normally fortune tellers will ask for our BaZi before he starts counting and sprouting nonsense about our troubles and our future.]
I’ve never heard BaZi would become light due to bad luck before.
But then, I later found out the student’s dad’s profession was actually a Shaman.
On the day everyone received their enrolment data, I also got mine. It’s from a very famous school. The school was famous because it allowed anyone to study there as long as they paid money, which was along the lines of what my family had expected.
From then onwards, I was doomed to be separated from the lucky student.
Of course, this matter and this part of the story had nothing to do with my future; I just mentioned this in passing. The lucky student got what he wished for, which was entering the engineering school, congratulations.
* * *
However, my bad luck would not just end there.
“Yang Yang, a letter for you just arrived.”
As soon as I reached home, my bold sister was watching her TV show, while passing a brown paper envelope to me.
But I just got my acceptance letter in school just a moment ago?
I grabbed the brown paper envelope and saw the name printed on top of it. My first reaction was supposed to be throwing the envelope onto the floor, but then I decided otherwise.
Because the envelope had big red words written on its seal.
Honestly, I’ve never heard of any school writing this kind of message.
“Throw it and you’ll die!”
So simple and neat. It was so simple that it made me think it was not an offer letter, but a threatening letter sent to the wrong house.
The school’s name was the same school name where my search result was “Search Not Found”.
Carefully avoiding the unexpected big red words, I slowly removed the seal. Sure enough, inside was stuffed with admission information to the school, which was rather thick and different compared to the one I received today.
The thickest stack of papers, which was neatly fastened together with a blinder clip, was titled “Introduction and safety guide for new students “.
Most probably it would be regarding “traffic safety” or “beware of bad people” type of precautions. Gosh, how old do you think we are? Do you really have to repeat this every time we enroll into a new school? This school was even more exaggerated, such a horribly thick stack of papers!
What the hell.
I stuffed the stack of papers back in and took out the few pieces of paper, which contained the details of the tuition fees.
No matter how I see it, it was actually much cheaper compared to the “expensive” school, at least by half (Elite schools are more likely to eat up more money.)
There still seems to be something with some weight inside the envelope, as if there was something else inside. I avoided the safety guide and started rummaging inside. I discovered an incredible item inside the envelope and took it out.
A cell phone.
I rubbed my eyes for over ten times, but the cell phone was indeed still lying on my hand. It didn’t turn into a stone, leaf or what not, it was even less likely to for it will turn into a snake and bite me.
It’s a cell phone, a real life cell phone.
It couldn’t be the person who packaged this paper bag was stupid enough to have misplaced his phone inside?
It’s not that I wanted to think this was what happened because the very same thing happened to me before. I accidentally mailed a piece of rag together with a birthday present to a schoolmate, who after a few days, mailed the piece of rag back to my house.
“What on earth are you day dreaming about?” While the TV show was on a short advertisement break, my elder sister turned her head and asked, causing me to stuff the cell phone into the envelope hastily.
“Nothing, I was just wondering why this package was so large.” Almost as if it was a big parcel.
“Mhmm. Ah, it was even sent as a home delivery.” Seeing there wasn’t any problem, my sister turned her head back to focus on her TV show. Then she picked up the dessert and ate till nothing was left.
I was even more curious. What kind of school could be so generous? And how come this school did not yield any search results?
That night, my mom specially went to famous restaurant in Taichung. She bought a rather large roast duck and several exquisite dishes to celebrate my ‘finally being accepted to study in a high school’ (what kind of nonsense is this?). The food was exceptionally extravagant.
I told them about the important details of the admission form of the two schools. One of them was an expensive elite school. Another one was a school they did not know of and was not in the school distribution list. The most important point was, the school’s tuition fees was half the price of the elite school.
That night, my mom determined my sorrowful future based on monetary value. The elite school’s acceptance letter was thrown into the recycle bin. The unknown school had an overwhelming victory within whole family. I couldn’t utter even one meager protest.
Only God knows whether that damn unknown school was actually a school in the country. In the acceptance letter, it was stated that students were recommended to stay in the hostels provided by the school.
If it’s like this, I would rather attend the elite school. I heard one can get a better qualification for their resume.
The cell phone did not ring at all.
I originally wanted to wait for the owner to get it back, but it was unusually silent, no strange sounds came from it. Even when I tried to search the friend list, it was empty.
This person certainly has no friends.
“Yang Yang, do you want to stay at the hostel?” My older sister was biting onto the roasted duck roll while asking me, “Didn’t the offer letter recommend students to stay in the hostel?”
You’re a monster! Definitely!
My sister is such horrifying person, she definitely did not read the offer letter at all, but she could naturally just ask me about it, just as if she knew what was written on the letter.
“I would like to attend the orientation and take a look first. If it’s not too far away, then I won’t be applying for the hostel.” You must be kidding me! Applying to stay in the hostel even before checking out the unknown school first. If I die, I won’t even know how it happened.
My sister nodded and stopped asking any more questions.
Sometimes, her expression while deep in thought was even more horrifying compared to the times when she was quiet.
For example, have you seen a witch before? I’m sure you have at least seen one in the movies or pictures. The type of expression the witch makes just before she was about to launch her black magic to kill (Attention! Not to harm but to kill!), her ghastly expression while thinking of how to cook up a pot of poison, was most appropriate to describe my sister.
“Yang Yang, when is the orientation for the school?” She lifted her head, using her pair of beautiful eyes, which were said to be able to capture the hearts of people but was usually used to murder me, to stare straight at me.
To be honest, it feels like I’m being stared at by a snake.
The last time I saw her with this expression was probably a few days ago when she was thinking of how to deal with the people in the recruitment center.
Don’t do this to me, Sis. I’m your younger brother…
“Next, next, Monday.” To avoid my heart from being stared till it weakened and self destructed, I immediately confessed.
It’s not I’m spineless, believe me, if you have this type of older sister, you will understand my current inner feelings.
Sometimes, mental torture can be more brutal compared to physical murder. And my sister is someone who is very good at practicing the former.
Then I saw that woman suddenly putting down her bowl with her left hand, and with her right hand, she reached into her pocket and took out several pieces of something with XX printed on it, it looked like safety charms from some famous temples, “To prevent you from being crushed by the big tower clock on your first day of school.” She revealed a strange smile, I swear I saw it.
This damn woman!
* * *
After pasting the last photo onto the registration form, I instantly collapsed backwards onto my bed.
In a few days, I’ll be attending an unknown school.
I rolled over and looked at the cell phone which was on top of my bookcase. It’s strange to say since, if a normal cell phone was not recharged, it will only last a few days before it perishes. Never thought this extremely strange phone was still alive after a week has passed. This was so unbelievable.
I narrowed my eyes and stared at the screen, the battery was actually down by only one bar.
When did the technology improve so suddenly?
This new type of phone can actually be so power-saving. When I start schooling I will persuade my mom to get one of the exact same model to use.
I rolled over and stared at the white ceiling.
Ah, graduated. To think I really graduated. I thought with my bad luck, I’ll still had to study for a few more years…
While my mind was in a mess, a knocking sound came from outside my door. I immediately jumped out of bed and opened the door. I was not surprised to see my sister standing outside in a sloppy manner.
My mom always said we were both born with the wrong gender, and I think so too.
The woman’s beautiful (as per what others say) mouth had a grape flavoured bubblegum bubble on it. With a pair of eyes, she stared at me for a moment, and then she slowly raised her right hand, “Cake.” She said, and on her hand was a small box from a famous dessert house.
This was a very common situation in my family since long ago. Since primary school, my sister never had any shortage of suitors. With the existence of suitors, there will be gifts. So this situation had been on-going for many years. From young, it was handkerchief and paper dolls. Even until now, while walking in the streets, passer-by A, B and C would even take out their wallets to buy stuff for her.
Oh right, I forgot to mention this earlier, my sister is a black belt in karate and she was the champion in the women’s karate in her university this year.
My mom always said she has no idea what my sister was thinking about, and I think so too.
“Do you want to eat it or not?”
The bubble burst, and the black belt devil issued her question impatiently. This time I’d better answer or the next thing that is going to burst will not be the bubble but probably me.
“Oh sure, thanks Sis.” Holding onto the little box, which was not too heavy, I estimated the cake inside to be about six inches. I wonder which idiot sent this tribute.
She snorted and then similar as to how she came upstairs, she went down without emitting a single sound.
I turned around and kicked the door shut, both hands were busy with opening the small box of cake. As expected, inside was a very delicately made vanilla cake. There was even a famous signature of the dessert house on top of the cake, written with dark chocolate. Looks awfully neat.
Back on topic, my sister actually hates cakes the most, which was the total opposite of me.
However, even though she hated it, every time someone sent her cakes, she would still accept it. Even when my mom nagged her about it, she just turned a deaf ear. So my family was currently living in a situation where there are cakes and biscuits as desserts daily.
In fact, I really do not understand my elder sister.