Fish balls’ note: Hello all you GDN and/or HTK readers and all of you other new ppls! I’d like to introduce our new novel called Global Evolution and our new translator Miso Ramen. I just wanted to ask you guys to try to have an open mind when reading these new novels; they might start off a little slow, but I’m sure that in the near future the action will ramp up and hopefully this novel will appeal to all of you. Anyways, thanks again for your support and enjoy!
Chapter 1: Examination Results
It was a hot summer when the college entrance examination results were released.
The examination results of 2014 didn’t have many differences from those of previous years. Chang Liu checked his grade online the moment it was released—519 points. A grade like that would just get him into an average college. In a small town in northern China, such a standing was neither good nor bad. It wasn’t worthy to show off, but wouldn’t be made fun of either. It was ordinary, just like he was.
Seeing the result, Chang was not pleased or saddened. He quietly clicked the cross on the upper right corner of the web browser, then subsequently threw himself onto his bed.
Ring ring ring …
The phone rang. Chang didn’t even set any fancy ringtones like his peers would usually do; he was just a person as boring as his ringtone.
He saw that the call was from his mother as he answered.
“Hey son, I heard that you can check the results today. I just saw Wang’s son from the convenience store. He got a score of…….”
“519 points.” Chang didn’t wait for his mother to finish the sentence, Chang emotionlessly reported his score, interrupting his mother’s lecturing. Then, he casually said a few words, then hung up. Without a second thought, he turned off his phone.
July and August were just the hottest months of a year, and even though the room was cooled down by air conditioning, the heat seemed impossible to drive away. Tossing and turning on his bed, Chang couldn’t fall asleep, so he got up and turned on his computer and watched a movie….
It seems like nothing could excite him; even the movie that he used to enjoy was now tedious for him to watch. “My life is monotonous and passionless,” he thought. He muted the computer and started to stare at the stained ceiling. For a moment, he couldn’t tell whether he was tired or just bored, and he eventually slowly fell asleep.
The sky was slightly dark when Chang was awakened by someone’s footstep. In summer, there were more hours of daylight, so the slight darkness in the sky meant it was past 7 o’clock.
His parent came home from work. This meant that a family meeting was about to begin.
On the table.
“It won’t be a problem for you to go to an average college with this grade, but what you can do in the future after graduating from there?” Apparently, Hua Wu, Chang’s mother was very attentive toward her son’s education and knew the cutoff line for renowned universities before anyone else in the family.
“Your dad and I…we respect your decision. Tell us what you are thinking. Do you want to just go to an average college and be an ordinary person for the rest of your life, or do you want to repeat a year in high school to improve your grade so you can go to a prestigious university?”
“Any college is fine.” Chang had just taken a bite of broccoli, then he put down the chopsticks.
“Think about it carefully.” Hui Liu, Chang’s father, waved his hand, and with that the meeting ended in silence.
Three days later.
“You know, our family has always been democratic. We never thought of interfering with your decisions and we respect your choice. But knowing the pressure in employment competition, being a graduate from an average college, you can imagine the difficulty in getting a job. Your dad and I aren’t resourceful either….”
Hua kept mumbling, “Tell me, which one you would like to go for, repeat a year or go to any college that accepts you?”
“I told you, any college is…”
His mother interrupted, “Think about it again.”
Two days later.
“The fact is, you have nothing to be afraid of when you’re young; few people are successful in their first attempt. You know that kid from our neighborhood? He’s 5 years older than you and didn’t get a good grade on his first try, so he repeated a year and ended up in a famous university. Now that he has graduated, jobs are hunting for him. What I mean is that the reality of this society is cruel, and having a diploma from a famous college will gain you access to everything. Think about it again, whether you want to repeat a year or go to a random college to…”
“I’ll go to any college.”
“Think about it again,” his mother sighed.
The day after.
“Son, you may think that I’m being annoying, but sometimes a decision you make will determine the fate of your life. Whether it’s heaven or hell is a very thin line…”
“Mom, I want to repeat a year of high school!” Chang clenched his teeth, ending his mother’s rant.
“Well, well, well, this is what you said; we didn’t force you!” As if she didn’t understand her son’s current mood, Hua finally cracked a smile.
“You know, our family has always been democratic. Since you chose you own path, you need to study hard this year. In order to support your choice, we have contacted a boarding school for you. There are fewer students in each grade, so it’ll be less chaotic. We figure that the time you wasted on commuting to school could’ve been used to study. Since you chose to pursue this path, every second is important. Some students who’ve repeated high school already have a head start…”
The next day, Chang packed his luggage, grabbed some utensils and a few sets of clothing and arrived in “Xing Zhi”, a small boarding school. As all the students there had repeated high school, their motivation to study was erased by the summer heat. After just 3 days, old habits were restored.
Three days was enough for the boarding students to get to know each other. After night class, Chang took a shower and laid on his bunk bed, chatting with his roommates.
“Hey, did you guys choose to repeat a year?” Chang said as he looked at the other three.
One man wore glasses and seemed like he never cared about his hygiene. His hair was always greasy. Most of the time, he held a thick book. Judging from his appearance, it looked like he was a hard working student, but apparently he went in the wrong direction – the book he read wasn’t a textbook. So obviously, he didn’t choose to come here.
“I’m not sure, I didn’t even pass the examination. I wanted to go to a technical school or something, but my dad disagreed.” The man wearing glasses responded; his gaze never left his book.
“Hey, kid, what do you read every day then?” A voice came from the upper bed. Pangzi was a chubby man and also a fan of web fiction, but he didn’t like whatever that man was reading.
“Come on, let me take a look,” Pangzi took the book away swiftly. Within a few glances he said, “Zombies again? Why does all apocalyptic fiction mention zombies? It’s such a joke!”
Pangzi returned the glasses man’s book while ranting.
“It’s been more than 10 years since the release of the Resident Evil series, yet everyone still thinks that zombies are a key element of apocalyptic fiction. They have no creativity at all! If viruses aren’t transmittable through the air, then zombies can’t be considered a threat to humans.”
“Breathing heavily, walking slowly, mental retardation and those stupid ‘ah, ah’ sounds they make. For any normal human, it’s impossible to be bitten by such a creature. Think of our ancestors from ancient times. Facing all kind of predators who were way stronger and more flexible than humans, humankind still managed to thrive.”
“I’m not bragging, but even if all the students in our school turned into zombies one day, I could still run out of here safe and sound, you see what I mean?”
Pangzi shook his belly while talking.
The last person in the dorm interrupted Pangzi’s lecture as he got arrogant.
“In fact, the zombie theme didn’t originate from Resident Evil series, but rather from European Medieval Literature. In 1968, the American movie ‘Night of the Living Dead’ set the tone for apocalyptic novels and movies. The concept of killing zombies by shooting their heads and viruses being contagious through zombie bites…that movie basically proposed everything we know about zombies today.”
Tao explained calmly. Within the four of them, he was the only one with a good academic standing. Tao was really close to getting into Peking University, which was one of the best universities in the country. Unsurprisingly, not only was he good at studying, but he also had extensive knowledge in different disciplines. From time to time, Tao loved to show off his mastery of all kinds of knowledge.
“Hence, the zombie theme has been boring ever since it was popularized four or five decades ago. And Pangzi, your opinion is correct; we don’t need to fear zombies. As long as they aren’t intelligent, their chances of being a threat to humans is infinitely close to zero.”
“Hey, I was asking whether or not you came here voluntarily. Stop changing the topic.” Chang interrupted the “good student” and brought the conversation back on track.
“Obviously no one came here voluntarily aside from me,” Tao concluded everything with a single sentence.
“Ah, these days, we never really get to make our own choices, even though our parents insist that they respect our decisions. From my viewpoint, it’d be better for me if they just said things straightforwardly.” Chang laid on the bed and recalled what happened a few days ago.
Right after he spoke, the door opened and a teacher wearing a pair of rimless glasses came in.
“Stop chitchatting and go to sleep, you have classes early in the morning.” He shut the door upon leaving the command, but his last statement snuck through the door, “In the history of evolution, small and medium sized predators who made heavy footsteps became extinct, not to mention those who moved slowly. There’s no significance in discussing this issue, so go sleep!”