The moment Qi Shao’s voice fell, it wasn’t only the Chengde students next to him who were shocked. Even Lin Zihai and the others, who just had lunch with Xiao Jianping, had wide eyes.
They could see that Xiao Jianping and Bai Shuqiao had a good personal relationship and Xiao Jianping was the father of an exchange student called Xiao Xinchen. They naturally thought that Xiao Jianping was an ordinary teacher who came to visit his son and old friends and was a bit interested in artificial intelligence products like Xiao Mei. He never expected that this seemingly approachable and friendly middle-aged man was also a big boss.
On the one hand, it was because there was no teacher surnamed Xiao in the lecture brochure they received. Perhaps it was also because in their imagination, such experts must be distant and dazzling. They wouldn’t seem so ordinary.
Lin Zihai and Shen Yiming stared in a wide-eyed manner and couldn’t help pinching each other.
“It turns out that Teacher Xiao is Teacher Qi’s teacher… Ah, I took the initiative to tell Teacher Xiao that Xiao Mei might be stuck at noon. Haha, I’m so humorous.”
“…Haha, you are so humorous.”
The two of them were dizzy while the incredulous students from Chengde swore in low voices.
“D*mn, how is this possible?!”
“I vaguely feel that this teacher looks a bit familiar.”
Xiao Jianping ignored the reactions of the group of children next to him. He thought about it seriously and told Qi Shao, “It is quite good. For the second part when you talk about chips, I think it is a bit…”
Qi Shao listened intently and the surroundings gradually fell silent.
Xiao Xinchen took in the expressions of this group of peers and raised an eyebrow. He tried to clench his hands into fists in front of him and tried to control himself from laughing.
The classmate from the 1st High School next to him was stunned for a moment before shaking his head in sudden realization. “No wonder why you didn’t let us expose your father’s identity. It turns out that you were waiting for this.”
Xiao Xinchen smiled. “Isn’t it fun?”
“It is fun and cool.” The classmate didn’t hesitate to succumb to this simple and tough pleasure. “In the future, your father will be my father! If your father does anything, can you tell me in advance so that we can have fun together?”
“My father is my father! You are thinking beautifully!”
Mushroom listened to them and saw in all directions. He quietly rubbed against his host’s arms and meowed in a comfortable posture.
“Ruan Ruan, Xiao Xinchen is really naive.”
Pei Qingyuan responded in an indifferent manner.
If he hadn’t heard Ji Tong use the camera system to capture everyone’s expressions just now while smiling and commenting on how wonderful their disbelieving expression was, this sentence would’ve been more convincing.
His calm eyes swept over the emotionally rich faces, his face calm. However, he faintly felt it was ridiculous in his heart.
It was an inherent habit of these people to judge a person by external conditions. In daily life, this prejudice was often effective. So when the moment came when their arrogance failed, they were particularly reluctant to accept it.
However, the blow was far from over.
On the other side, Qi Shao finished speaking with Xiao Jianping and immediately set his eyes on Pei Qingyuan.
He chatted with Xiao Jianping and Bai Shuqiao at noon and knew that this future junior student was wearing a smart watch today and he was holding a beautiful white cat in his arms. This was very recognizable.
“Are you Student Pei?” Qi Shao took the initiative to smile and stretch out his hand. “Hello, I am Qi Shao.”
Pei Qingyuan got up and responded politely, “Teacher Qi, hello. I am Pei Qingyuan.”
“No no no, don’t call me Teacher. Then we would be in different generations.” Qi Shao continued to say, “If you don’t mind, call me Brother Qi.”
He was taught by Xiao Jianping from the undergraduate to the doctoral stage. Later, he stayed on to teach and became a colleague with his original teacher. Their relationship was quite close. He naturally heard that Xiao Jianping planned to teach only the undergraduates next year due to a potential student.
However, Qi Shao didn’t expect that he would be able to meet this future junior student when invited to hold a lecture. It could be called a surprise.
He had been curious about Pei Qingyuan for a long time, plus he had heard Xiao Jianping and Bai Shuqiao’s high evaluation of the intelligence Xiao Mei a few hours ago. His heart was itchy and he couldn’t stop glancing at the black watch with the screen turned off.
Wasting time with the so-called media wasn’t as important as having a conversation with an AI product with a unique design.
“Yes, Xiao Pei, can I…” Qi Shao’s smile was a bit embarrassed.
Pei Qingyuan understood and said kindly, “Brother Qi, the next lecture will start soon. I remember that there is a buffet dinner tonight. I wonder if you are free to attend? If I have the opportunity, I would like to ask you and Professor Xiao some professional questions.”
He had seen Ji Tong’s ability to pretend to be stupid and Pei Qingyuan could basically rest assured about Ji Tong talking to these experts and scholars. However, he couldn’t hand over the watch for people to study alone. He had to present.
Many teachers from other schools would be present at the lectures every day so the school arranged a buffet-like dinner after the day’s activities. All school personnel would participate and this would provide more communication opportunities for students.
“It is great that you have time.” Qi Shao reached out to pat his shoulder and said cheerfully, “Okay, you must come at night!”
He talked happily with the high school students in front of him with a fairly equal attitude. The exchange students had spent all of lunch with Xiao Jianping, who had a similar temperament, so they didn’t feel it was strange. However, other people were really dumbfounded.
They admitted that they were mistaken when seeing Xiao Jianping, but they were all too familiar with Pei Qingyuan’s background. How could such a person who had been removed from the upper class circle receive such preferential treatment?
The former Pei Qingyuan did perform in an outstanding manner, but it was obviously the bonus of his family lineage and identity. He had left this favorable environment and lost the benefits that money could bring. What could be left of Pei Qingyuan who returned to ordinary life? Could he still learn expensive art courses as he did in the past and could he live in the wide world like them?
He was left with a despicable mother and a dark and poor home. It was a life destined to be more and more unbearable.
Pei Qingyuan, who was beaten back to his original form, should’ve clearly been left behind by them, rather than becoming the focus of everyone’s attention again as he was and having many eyes filled with deep envy when looking at him.
The cat lying lazily in Pei Qingyuan’s arms raised his head as if observing. He quietly stared at these students with different expressions. There was a sly light in his sapphire blue eyes, as well as a bit of pride and contempt. There seemed to be two words written there:
“Ruan Ruan, it is my turn to show off again.”
Mushroom pulled at his arm happily.
Pei Qingyuan answered softly, not looking at anyone who didn’t matter.
Jiang Yao, who was sitting in the back row, saw everything that happened in front and her delicate face showed complicated emotions. A girl who was close to her pushed her. “Why are you still looking at him? I thought you had dismissed this idea a long time ago.”
The girl teased, “Don’t worry, you are people from two worlds. It won’t change anything even if he knows a few professors.”
Jiang Yao listened to her words and didn’t make a sound. She just lowered her eyes and thought a lot.
It was indeed two worlds.
However, everyone had completely different standards for measuring the world.
After the day’s lectures were over, the specially vacated restaurant came alive. Uniformed waiters came and went, replenishing food and drinks that were quickly consumed by people.
The restaurant was exquisitely decorated and full of flowers and desserts. There were the soft sounds of people talking and huge crystal chandeliers emitted bright light, reflecting familiar or unfamiliar faces.
Pei Qingyuan walked into the restaurant alone and happened to pass by a waiter carrying a plate. He caught a glimpse of the elegant bow tie around his neck.
The sight in front of him always felt familiar.
His reflection was shown on the clean French windows beside him. He was wearing a simple shirt and trousers with a black watch on his wrist, reflecting the clear night outside the window.
Less than two months had passed since that day in early September. It seemed that there was no time to change anything and he didn’t even have time to grow up.
But this time, the eyes cast by people when they saw him appear at the door of the restaurant already had very different emotions.
Some people who attended that party remembered Pei Qingyuan, who had been wearing a waiter’s uniform. Their expressions changed and they were about to say something, only to be blocked by several more eager voices.
“Xiao Pei, you’re finally here!” Xiao Jianping smiled and beckoned to him. “Come here. Let me introduce you to these professors. They are all my good friends…”
“Old Xiao, why call me professor? You usually just call me Old Li.”
It wasn’t just Bai Shuqiao and Qi Shao. Several professors and scholars from different universities had gathered together to chat and they were the most watched group of people at the entire dinner. There were many students who wanted to come forward to talk to them but they couldn’t find the right opportunity.
Now they all looked at Pei Qingyuan together.
Pei Qingyuan’s steps didn’t change in the slightest. He was walking toward them quietly when he heard a small voice in his heart.
“There are no lamb chops today.” Ji Tong quickly scanned the surrounding food and said regretfully. “But fortunately, I am already full.”
Tonight, Ji Tong wanted to be the watch Xiao Mei again. Pei Qingyuan packed dinner for him in advance to prevent him from starving, so he came a bit late.
“Ruan Ruan, that transparent snack looks delicious. Remember to taste it for me.”
He agreed while walking into the middle of the crowd waiting for him. Under the recommendation of Xiao Jianping, he greeted each unfamiliar face one by one.
Lin Zihai, Shen Yiming and the others who arrived before him were standing aside. They weren’t as calm as Pei Qingyuan and Xiao Xinchen. They were so nervous on that slightly solemn occasion that they didn’t know what to say. They could only silently listen to the conversations of the bigshots.
Once the topic came to Xiao Mei, Pei Qingyuan lowered his head and turned on the dial. The bean green little robot who had been silent for a long time jumped out at the right time. Then it said with a smile, “Humans, good evening.”
“Oh, this animated image is too cute. Old Xiao, this is much better than the aesthetics of the people in your team…”
“It is improving, improving. Don’t worry about us and look at Xiao Mei. Xiao Mei speaks in a very interesting manner.”
Qi Shao, who had been waiting for a long time, was the most active one. He asked a difficult question to answer. “Xiao Mei, what do you think of humans?”
Xiao Mei’s round eyes were slightly wide. This was the iconic action designed by Ji Tong when encountering complex questions. “Human beings can eat. They are very happy.”
Qi Shao’s eyes lit up. “Interesting. I thought I couldn’t answer. I didn’t expect that the amount of information stored in its database would be so large. I don’t know if it is a direct reading of the specific answer or if it went through the steps of analysis and synthesis…”
Xiao Jianping took a question that was asked at noon and repeated the test with the exact same question. “Xiao Mei, I just had lunch. Are you hungry?”
Xiao Mei answered him in exactly the same tone and manner. “Xiao Mei isn’t hungry because Xiao Mei doesn’t need to eat.”
Then after he finished speaking, a cute smile appeared on the little robot’s face. He said with a cute attitude, “But it is evening. Why are you just having lunch?”
Xiao Jianping and Qi Shao exclaimed at almost the same time, “It has analytical ability!”
Experts watched from the doorway while the layman looked at the liveliness. As this pair of teacher and student constantly chased after Xiao Mei, Bai Shuqiao and the other people listened with great interest.
“This AI is really interesting. If it can be mass-produced then I will buy one, although it seems very expensive.”
“Pei Wei complained to me last time that Old Xiao has gone crazy again. Now that I have seen it with my own eyes, I must say that I understand Old Xiao.”
Bai Shuqiao was seeing it a second time. She had been curious from noon until now and she couldn’t help asking Pei Qingyuan. “Xiao Pei, who made Xiao Mei? Old Xiao is already a top expert in this field in China and even he said that he can’t understand Xiao Mei’s built-in data logic for the time being.”
Xiao Jianping and Qi Shao heard this question and also looked over.
“It is a gift.” Looking directly into these eyes full of pure enthusiasm, Pei Qingyuan paused for a moment before saying slowly, “I don’t know why it was sent to me but I am very happy to meet it.”
He wasn’t actually lying.
In addition, how this sentence was interpreted by others had nothing to do with him.
In the moment when everyone was thinking, Xiao Mei blinked and suddenly said, “Xiao Mei doesn’t know. There are always many things in this world that Xiao Mei can’t understand.”
Its light voice instantly diluted the slightly silent atmosphere, turning the supposedly serious question into a playful joke.
Everyone laughed, as if they had evoked countless memories from these words. “Xiao Mei is right. There are always many things in this world that we don’t understand.”
No matter in life or scientific research, there were always places that people couldn’t reach and interpreted temporarily.
The gentle air flowed again.
No one pursued Xiao Mei’s origins any longer. This group of experienced scholars was full of emotions and chattered freely. This became a unique scenery at the buffet.
Shen Yiming held the porcelain dinner plate and listened to them talk about various trivial matters in his life and academic field. It seemed to be full of unknowns and setbacks, just like what he experienced today.
Bai Shuqiao saw the confused expression of the child on the other side. She remembered the children’s conversation about the world when she came to Xiao Jianping after the morning’s history lecture.
At this moment, she was talking about the historical research she was doing recently. Her eyes stopped on the high school student who looked stiff and lost and she said softly, “…Widen the scale of time to years. Hundreds of years, ten thousand years, billions of years, etc. After that, everything in front of you will seem insignificant.”
Bai Shuqiao gently lifted a bright red cherry on the porcelain plate with a silver fork and smiled. “It can’t even compare to a speck of flying dust in the universe. But once it enters, it has a sweet taste that can fill every cell.”
“How wonderful is it to realize that you are an ant so small that you can just move a grain of rice.”
The listening Shen Yiming became stunned. He met this gentle gaze and an urge to cry suddenly surged in his heart.
Since he was a child, he had been taught to learn as much as possible, to get the highest scores and go to the best university to have the most secure future. He should always live a nervous and careful life, never daring to stop and always worrying that if he fell behind, he would be out of touch with his surroundings and no longer be able to catch up with those who were already walking ahead.
But at this moment, he seemed to have personally experienced a precious and subtle beauty.
Shen Yiming instinctively raised his hand to wipe at his eyes. In his peripheral vision, he saw a quiet smile appear on the face of the little robot close at hand.
Bai Shuqiao’s gentle and powerful voice spread through the air. Pei Yan, who was furthest away in the crowd, also heard it and he also had a confused expression.
Many people around them were listening to the conversation in silence with different moods. Some were quietly taking photos and taking down written notes while others walked away in disdain.
A few minutes later, a newly released post appeared on the campus form of Chengde High School.
[Today’s buffet dinner… from the content to the main protagonist, it is special.]