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IRNDGL - Chapter 34: Heart Goes Out to All Parents

Melissa's mind went blank as she stared at her arm that was pinned onto the table.

H-how can this be!

She looked up and noticed the bookstore owner had an expression that seemed to say that everything was within his expectations.

Lin Jie raised an eyebrow and smiled smugly at Melissa before releasing her hand, as if to say "I'm still quite good at arm wrestling".

But... Melissa had clearly sensed that his muscles and strength had been at the level of an ordinary man! At the age of six, Melissa could already take on ten fully grown men and pound them all to the ground. Now sixteen years old, there was no reason for her to be unable to win an arm wrestling match!

Although she was just an Abnormal-rank, her ability was already at Pandemonium-rank, just that the Truth Union hadn't yet published this year's ranking lists. 

But now, she had even lost in an arm wrestling match...

Melissa started to drown in self-doubt.

Could he have used the aether to cheat?

The bookstore owner opposite noticed Melissa's eyes and as if capable of reading her mind, he smiled and said, "I didn't cheat. At such close distance, I would be immediately found out if I did so."

That had indeed been the truth. This was such a narrow space and the two of them were so close together with their hands touching. Any changes in the aether, no matter how minute would have definitely been sensed.

Therefore, this bookstore owner was the genuine article. 

But as Melissa came to this realization, she got even more upset and disbelieving.

Lin Jie felt a little bad seeing the dejected young girl with her head lowered and thus consoled her, "Young lady, your strength at such an age is already very impressive. Actually, I found it rather tough. See, weren't we in a deadlock at the start?"

What he said was the truth and Lin Jie looked slightly apologetic. 

Yeah right, a deadlock for merely a moment. It makes me want to puke. Melissa clenched her fists tightly. Even if she was just an apprentice knight, Melissa had her own dignity and pride.

In the beginning, she had indeed come with an intent to provoke. However, she was aware that her arrogance had caused her to mistake things but still... she wasn't willing to accept this.

"Best of three, again!" insisted the young girl with a firm and unwavering gaze. 

Lin Jie was moved by her imposing attitude. Even though she was still a brat, this fighting spirit was laudable.

Lin Jie did feel like he was bullying a kid but he had been really surprised during the initial moments of their arm wrestling match. The rugged strength that this feeble little girl displayed was something he hadn't expected.

"Alright, let's have another round then," said Lin Jie with an earnest nod of the head.

The two of them extended their arms and grabbed the other. Lin Jie appeared calm while Melissa had a look of fixation for the first time.

"Three, two, one, start!"

The two hands trembled...

Melissa gritted her teeth as she exerted all her strength, grimacing as she stared fixedly at her own hand. Her fair slender arm had become lumps of tight muscle as bulging veins appeared on her forehead.

Lin Jie's lips twitched as he watched this scene.

Like father, like daughter...

But even so, the intrinsic quality of a female body is still a restriction. 

Lin Jie couldn't help chuckle as he accidentally increased his strength, resulting in the equilibrium being broken immediately.

Baam!

The second match was over.

Melissa remained dazed in her seat, her hands still on the table. Her face was pale and she wanted to cry but no tears came out.

"I should have known..."

Lin Jie smiled and said, "Alright, isn't it just arm wrestling? Is winning and losing that important?"

Lin Jie reckoned that having this child remember such a lesson would do her some good. Otherwise, what were to happen if she offended some unsavory individuals in the future with her personality and physique?

"If we were using knives, you would have already been dead. Fights aren't done this way," Lin Jie lectured as he tapped Melissa's forehead with an outstretched finger. 

A brute like Joseph won't do, I guess the kind-hearted me has to step out and help provide a guiding light for his child.

Given these tendencies, she might end up being some female gangster boss in school. 

That would be really terrible. I've got to nip it in the bud and get rid of her habit of randomly challenging others to an arm wrestle! Thought Lin Jie to himself.

Melissa puffed her cheeks and stared at Lin Jie as if she was miserable from being bullied by him.

Lin Jie withdrew his finger and casually continued the conversation, "Alright, I have already fulfilled your request. Now, perhaps you can tell me why you have come to my bookstore?"

Melissa answered obediently, "I wanted to borrow a book."

"Haa, you should have told me that from the start. What book do you want to borrow?" replied Lin Jie.

Melissa calmed herself down and mumbled softly, "I read part of the book that my dad borrowed in secret. However, I was nearly caught before even reaching the end... Do you have another copy here?" 

She reckoned the bookstore owner was getting back at her for her initial impolite attitude when she first entered the store. 

What a petty big shot. Melissa no longer had the misconception that this bookstore owner was ordinary. The being in front of her was a monster that was beyond the scope of logical reason.

Furthermore, Joseph had oftentimes said that a wise man submits to circumstances. An outstanding knight needed to know when to be flexible and apply appropriate compromise.

Lin Jie felt he understood the situation. It seemed like a father-daughter conflict had broken out.

This wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Many disagreements between parent and child often started over the tiniest of matters. Then, stifling parental pressure coupled with the child's rebellious tendencies would eventually lead to a full-blown war.

Lin Jie smiled, "Of course, there are even other editions. But... why didn't you try speaking with Joseph?"

Melissa rested her chin between her hands and sighed, "If he's aware that I know he reads this sort of book, he would surely kick up a fuss. How can I even get him to lend it to me?"

"From embarrassment?" Lin Jie asked earnestly. "On the contrary, I do not think that is so. As long as you show that you understand, I believe that he would understand where you are coming from. Actually, there is no such thing as an insurmountable gulf between parent and child. All that lacks is a little trust towards each other." 

Melissa was startled by Lin Jie's explanation but very quickly turned her head over. "He has never ever understood me and is always busy with his work. Whenever I get my practice results from school, he would just berate me for not being good enough and goes on and on about how he was like in the past."

Ah... so that's the case, the same old common root problem — Unsatisfactory results.

Joseph is always busy with work, and only has the time to only check his daughter's school work each day. But as a result of neglecting his child, her results start to fall.

As a retired veteran incapable of expressing himself appropriately, he could only spur his child along through scoldings and thinking himself as an example. However, he's the total opposite in the eyes of his daughter.

 Lin Jie suddenly had an epiphany.

Haa... My heart really goes out to all parents.

"Since you put it in this way, how about first achieving a standard that makes him sit up and take notice?" Lin Jie chuckled lightly as he turned around and pulled out a "Five-Three'' book from the shelf behind.



Full title — Five Years of Gaokao, Three Years of Practice

[TL Note:
Gaokao is the name of the college entrance exams in China
Five-Threes are a compilation of gaokao exam questions of the past five years and outstanding mock exam questions within the recent three years to serve as revision material, hence the name
How it actually looks like: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51BLwbsiNYL.jpg]

BeetleBarker's Notes:

Dealing With Problem Kids 101: Asian Style

Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing

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Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing
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Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/beetlebarker
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/beetlebarker
BeetleBarker's Discord:  https://discord.gg/bEr3QYN
IRNDGL Manhua translation by Zeroscans
Written by Great Calamity Of Fire (万劫火). Translated by BeetleBarker.