The time limit of the Rebirth buff finally ran out. Right before it did, Lan Xiang got halfway through Level 6.
"Ha, it's Monday. Time to go back to school, I guess."
He arrived at the front gate of GeSun High. His clothes were disheveled since they stayed at the closet for quite some time.
"Hey look, it's Trash Xiang."
"Trash Xiang actually came to school today? How long has it been?"
"It won't be long till he gets kicked out. He had horrible grades before, now that he missed 3 months worth of classes, he's gonna disappear."
Lan Xiang tuned out the comments from the students around him and headed to the principal's office.
He sat himself down and faced the principal.
"Lan Xiang, I understand that you're knowledgeable about your situation?"
"I sympathize with what happened to you, I really do. Accidents happen, and this was one of them."
"Hm." Lan Xiang replied.
"...But, you also need to understand that in real life, things don't wait for you."
"Even before the accident happened, your grades were at the bottom of the barrel - you weren't even trying."
"Please be informed that if you do not catch up to the term and your grades are still lower than average, you will be expelled."
"Thank you, principal."
"Okay, you may go now."
As soon as Lan Xiang left the room, the principal crashed onto his recliner, his forehead sweating profusely. He had been told by the Lan family head to specifically take care of his child, yet here he was threatening to expel that very child.
"I hope this stimulates him and he rises up the ranks..."
Lan Xiang looked at the sign on the door.
He entered and sat on his seat in the classroom, feeling a slight sense of familiarity yet filled with alienation at the same time.
The students all ignored him, just as they did 3 months ago. In fact, during those 3 months, nothing notably changed with his absence.
Only one person really treated him as a friend in this class, and that was the fat otaku girl, Ren Weiwei.
Both of them were treated like dead air from the rest of the class and found camaraderie from that similarity. Soon enough, they found out that they also had similar taste in the ACG world and built a real friendship from that.
He looked for Ren Weiwei, but couldn't seem to find her. With a dispirited expression, he turned his attention to his bag and took out his notebook and pen so he could listen to the class properly.
The teacher went inside, holding a laptop on his side. While the students shuffled to find their seats, the teacher took attendance.
The students were surprised.
"Lan Xiang is back?"
And were unsurprised.
The teacher continued taking attendance.
"So she is only absent, phew. I thought she transferred or something." Lan Xiang felt relieved.
Suddenly, a girl busted through the closed door, almost destroying the hinges that held it.
The teacher shook his head. "Student Ren, this is the 12th consecutive time you've destroyed the door. One more and I'll be forced to suspend you."
"Y, yes, sir!"
After a moment of silence, the students roared with laughter.
"This is the 12th time? Seriously? Hahaha!"
"Sorry guys..." With an embarrassed look, Ren Weiwei rushed towards her seat, ignoring her classmates' laughter.
Lan Xiang hid his head behind a book, leading Ren Weiwei to not notice him.
He was truly shocked this time.
The fatty otaku girl had... transformed into an incredibly beautiful, erm, otaku girl!
Lan Xiang's initial shock subsided.
A few hours passed. From time to time, Lan Xiang checked up on Ren Weiwei, and she was having fun talking with her seatmate, an unprecedented achievement in his eyes. Well, before they get caught by the teacher...
Taking out his lunch, Lan Xiang followed his body's routine and almost walked towards Ren Weiwei.
"Aiyo, Weiwei, you forgot your lunch again?"
"Yeah, let's go to the cafeteria. I brought some money anyway!"
A group of three girls surrounded Ren Weiwei until she wasn't in the classroom anymore. Lan Xiang felt an odd sense of desolation.
"...Hm, I guess she doesn't need me anymore. She made friends in the class now. She might not even remember me."
Lan Xiang felt happy for his friend, yet, at the same time, he wanted to be a bit selfish and turn her back into her old self... "That would be too much."
Heading back to his seat, Lan Xiang ate his lunch all by himself.
Another few hours passed, Lan Xiang paying no heed to Ren Weiwei anymore. Perhaps she was only forced by circumstances to become friends with him, and now that those circumstances were gone, he also went with it.
The last subject of the day, Maths. More specifically, Pre-Calculus.
The teacher adjusted his glasses and put down a thick sheet of paper, with a stench of "test" reeking from it.
"Guys, I hope you're ready for today's exercise! Woo-hoo!"
Everyone's exhausted minds could not keep up with the teacher's enthusiasm.
"Student Gao, distribute these tests here. Do not pass them until I say so."
As he handed the papers to Gao Jiang, the teacher pointed at Lan Xiang.
"Student Lan, please come with me outside."
"Student Lan?" Ren Weiwei's eyes lit up. She looked at Lan Xiang's seat. "...There he is!"
With a yawn, Lan Xiang stood up and followed his teacher.
Ren Weiwei couldn't think of anything right now, even as the student in front of her passed the papers.
"Weiwei! The test paper!"
"Ah, oh, right, right..."
She grabbed the paper and laid it on her desk, reading the questions. As she attempted to think of the answers, her mind went blank...
Outside the classroom, the teacher gave Lan Xiang a special test.
"Student Lan, you need not worry about your result on this test. This is just to check where your progress is now."
Although I said that, I presume you won't even be able to answer the first question...
Lan Xiang's name was notorious in the school. Even among the Class D students, the lowest section, Lan Xiang ranked at the bottom.
The precal (Pre-Calculus) teacher monitored Lan Xiang's progress. Even after five minutes, he hadn't written a single thing on the paper. He just went and flipped through the pages frantically, probably looking for an easy question.
"Just as I thought, sheesh..." The teacher couldn't help but mutter.
Lan Xiang, on the other hand, was bewildered once more.
Looking at the test in front of him, he thought that it was so... easy. Too easy, in fact!
"Ah, the other me's memories!"
The other Lan Xiang was actually a genius of the century, getting his first college degree before he was even 16. What's more, he had gotten various BS degrees in multiple subjects, even a doctorate in some, with him investing one year each. He was well-versed in everything. That was why he was so bored in class.
In conclusion, the set of questions before him was child's play.
"How did I struggle with these questions before...? They're so easy."
"Student Lan Xiang, you better start writing. You have 40 minutes-"
"Oh. Wait, what?" The teacher grabbed the paper. "Student, even if you do not know the answer, you should not give up and scribble anything you like!"
"But, teacher, you haven't even looked at it yet!"
"Student, you still have 40 minutes! I won't pressure you, please don't give up on answering the questions. Tell you what, I'll just give this to you as a homework-"
"Teacher. I've already finished the test."
The teacher didn't believe Lan Xiang. Even though he was slightly angry, he didn't let it show. A teacher's job was to educate and correct students if they were on the wrong path. Clearly, in the teacher's view, Lan Xiang was already at the edge of that path and needed a lot of backtracking in order to go to the right path.
Still, it wouldn't hurt to take a glance. The teacher estimated there to be a 0.001% chance of Lan Xiang actually having finished the test.
As he looked at the first question, and Lan Xiang's answer, the teacher was thoroughly impressed. Even though the first question was the easiest one, it was an achievement for Lan Xiang. Not to mention, his solution was very clean and precise.
When he moved on to the second question, the teacher, once again, found Lan Xiang's solution and answer impressive.
The third question came along, and the teacher was starting to doubt his eyes. The fourth, and the teacher rubbed his glasses before continuing. The fifth, sixth, seventh...
The 25th question came, the last question. It hadn't been covered in class yet, heck, it wasn't even part of the curriculum. He only put that there for extra points - it was college level Calculus after all.
And yet, the solution and answer that Lan Xiang gave was the same as always - clean and precise.
Lan Xiang found watching the teacher's ever-changing expressions amusing.
"Wow, Student Lan, I must say, I'm thoroughly surprised by this result! You get a perfect score plus some!" The teacher put down the test papers and sincerely complimented Lan Xiang.
"...My first ever compliment from a teacher!" Lan Xiang was moved.
"I'm sorry I doubted your abilities! I've heard you only woke up about a week ago, yes? The self-study you put yourself through must've been grueling. But now, I acknowledge your abilities, that as long as you try, you can easily do it!"
Lan Xiang laughed superficially. He did not put himself to any hard studying sessions, nor did he have the ability to ace the test, even if he tried his best. He only took advantage of his other self's intelligence and past memories...
Well, whatever. Guess it counts as my own ability anyway!
"So, you must make sure, Student Lan, that you try your ability in every subject." The teacher gave Lan Xiang some advice before walking inside the classroom with his paper in hand.
"Hai, there's... half an hour left."