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Rebirth, top academic girl

  • Genre: Paranormal
  • Author: LLAg
  • Chapters: 33
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Age Rating: 18+
  • 👁 44
  • 7.5
  • 💬 0

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On the fringes of a glittering city, Zhou Xiaoman, like a fallen leaf, is torn away from what she calls home. Once a radiant gymnast with a hidden past, she is now an awkward label of the Zhou family, an existence marginalized. Until a sudden car accident sends her back to the summer of her thirteen-year-old self, back to those conflict-ridden and challenging middle school days. "Rebirth of the Scholar Goddess" is an inspirational novel of time travel and rebirth. The story narrates how Zhou Xiaoman transforms from a neglected ugly duckling of the family into an elegant swan, radiating grace in both academics and life. In this journey, she must confront not only the indifference of her family but also the bullying at school and societal prejudices. It is a tale of courage, love, growth, and self-redemption that resonates through tears and laughter, teaching the true essence of life.

Chapter 1

Zhou Xiaoman approached the villa, drenched in cold sweat. She tossed the empty cola bottle into the trash, leaning against the red brick wall, panting heavily until her knees gradually felt like her own again.

Dusk enveloped her, and finding the keyhole consumed much of her effort. The door creaked open cautiously, just enough for her to squeeze through. Her foot lifted with difficulty, the bag of lunch she carried almost hit the iron door. Swiftly, she resorted to using the palm of her hand.

Her hand stung, but she was grateful not to have disturbed the people in the dining room.

Zhou Wenzhong and his second wife, Jiang Li, sat poised at the dining table, seemingly unaware of the addition in the house. They continued their leisurely consumption of a nutritious meal.

As she entered, she tiptoed, cautiously making her way toward the small room behind the staircase.

Zhou Wenzhong seemed to glance her way, his habitual frown evident.

Without turning back, she could feel the disdainful gaze, as if staring at a pile of stinky mud.

Uneasy, she hurriedly shut the door, feeling temporarily safe.

Relaxing, Zhou Xiaoman sat heavily on the bed. It creaked and swayed, resiliently bearing her weight.

The cramped room provided her solace. Less than eight square meters, once a storage space for miscellaneous items, had become her sanctuary since she returned from graduation.

Struggling, she bent over, retrieving a plaster from the bedside cabinet and affixing it to her knee.

Back in college, an electric tricycle collision had left her kneeling on the ground. She felt an inexplicable shame, merely brushing off the bruise on her leg and waving off the middle-aged vegetable vendor who caused the accident. She got up, dusted herself off, and continued jogging in the park.

It wasn't until half a month later, when the pain hindered her from walking, that she sought medical help: a torn meniscus and water on her knee.

By then, she had been jogging for a semester, losing weight and gradually returning to a normal diet and sleep routine. She thought she was getting better.

The searing heat of the plaster pierced through her skin, drilling into her bones. Life seemed to flow back into her body. She took a deep breath, opened the last bottle of cola, cherished a sip, then smiled at the stuffed toys on the bedside, "Let's have dinner."

Three spotted dogs, two Garfield cats, a parrot, and a turtle toy obediently lay on the bed, watching Zhou Xiaoman with near-devotion as she took out a large lunchbox from the bag and opened it. It contained braised beef with potatoes, mouth-watering chicken, steamed bass, preserved egg with chopped peppers, stir-fried eggplant with green peppers, and half a box of rice.

Everyone in her workplace knew that despite living in a grand villa, she preferred regular home-cooked meals over pet food. Hence, she had to pack a substantial lunch from the cafeteria daily.

The food had turned cold. She rinsed it with hot water, repeating the process. Once the chopsticks were scalding hot, the most pleasant part of her day, dinner, began.

She felt content, truly content. Even with nothing accomplished, living life almost as lifeless as a lump of mud; having food and a bed was quite good.

She gulped down mouthfuls of rice mixed with green pepper and eggplant, unwilling to dwell on the afternoon's meeting with the office director.

The government aimed for efficient reforms, outsourcing labor, which meant temporary workers like her needed to find alternate paths.

At that moment, all she could think of was, "What will I do for three square meals a day?"

She wasn't as smart or beautiful as her half-sister Zhou Feifei, who seemingly had a bright future at a glance.

After finishing her final meal, Zhou Xiaoman leaned against the door, listening for any movement outside. She needed the couple upstairs to retire to bed or go for a walk, allowing her a chance to sneak out to wash the lunchbox and take a shower.

Sounds of chairs scraping in the dining room were followed by slippers thudding up the stairs. It should be Zhou Wenzhong ascending. Jiang Li, akin to an oil painting, wouldn't make such inelegant noises.

After waiting for five more minutes, ensuring there was no sign of activity outside, Zhou Xiaoman stepped out of the room, silently.

As she passed through the living room, Zhou Wenzhong's voice unexpectedly came from the darkness, "Xiaoman, come here, I need to talk to you."

Zhou Xiaoman was almost startled into tossing the remaining fish soup-infused rice she had kept for the neighborhood stray cat, Meimei. She was on the verge of tossing it out when she saw the tension in the typically affectionate Zhou Wenzhong's face. This time, he wasn't cozying up with his beloved wife; instead, he sat on the sofa, a conflicted expression of deep-seated annoyance that he had to bear, visible on his face. His brow furrowed intensely as he stared at her.

His gaze seemed evasive, as if looking at her would cause him pain.

Zhou Xiaoman gingerly approached the sofa, listening as Zhou Wenzhong, with dramatic ups and downs reminiscent of a stage actor, expressed the sorrow of a father who was utterly disappointed with his eldest daughter's lack of achievements.

"If only, if only you had even a third of Feifei's dedication, I wouldn't feel this tormented."

Zhou Xiaoman stared at her toes in silence. They said that overweight people couldn't see their toes, but she had room for development.

She couldn't help but find it ironic. Why would Zhou Wenzhong be disappointed? He had Zhou Feifei, his talented and beautiful daughter, a testament to his success as a father.

She was nothing more than an unwanted memory from the "Rubik's Tower," just like Xia He's existence in the Xiahe Bank. Removing all the disgraceful aspects of the old Zhou family, he was the perfect husband and father in this new family.

Was he resentful because her failures proved that his genes, background, and everything else didn't match up to Jiang Li?

Weren't he and Jiang Li soulfully compatible? Why fuss over such mundane things?

The only time she returned home from college was on this very sofa in this villa. Zhou Wenzhong had a furrowed brow as he explained, seemingly reluctant to recall the past, why he divorced her birth mother.

Simply put, only like-minded individuals could sustain each other; souls without a common language drifted apart, preferring a quick end to prolonged suffering.

The LCD TV on the wall was playing "Shining Sword."

In a field hospital, Li Yunlong, with a raised voice and intense gaze, exclaimed, "To hell with arranged marriages! If you're unwilling, then don't get on the kang bed with them! You say you're unwilling, but on the bed, you birth kids, no delay. What's the matter, almost liberated, Colonel He ought to change wives!"

Twenty-year-old Zhou Xiaoman collapsed in laughter on the sofa, nearly breathless. Eventually, her laughter transformed into tearful sobs.

At thirty, facing the reproach of her blood relations, Zhou Xiaoman was unperturbed.

Zhou Wenzhong had acted as the anguished father for a while, but his sole audience remained stoically detached.

He only resorted to angrily and violently throwing the ashtray at her belly, which rebounded off her soft abdomen, landing back on the genuine leather sofa. She didn't feel pain but rather found it absurd. Her father, who had been acting all his life, even in his outbursts, was a coward.

Zhou Wenzhong didn't smoke because Jiang Li detested the smell. There were no cigarette butts in the crystal ashtray; the floor didn't require an extra cleaning.

He hadn't lied. Apart from this incident of hurling the ashtray in a fit of anger, he hadn't laid a finger on her. He had only used his omnipresent disdainful gaze, coupled with mocking sneers, to instill in her for over twenty years the idea that "you are nothing but an excess waste."

The staircase remained eerily silent; Jiang Li was nowhere to be seen.

Years ago, the elegant woman had calmly declared, "I won't meddle in Xiaoman's upbringing; I'm only responsible for Feifei."

How foolish must one be to hear, on the eve of the high school entrance exams, one's aunt saying aloud that she wasn't Jiang Li's biological daughter. Even today, some elderly people in the countryside believed the Japanese devils were good and gave children candies. It was despicable—all those second-rate devil deeds. Wasn't it so? Those involved in dirty business always quickly discerned others' intentions and hurried to execute them. Consequently, the benevolent Buddha statue looked increasingly like an elegant and dignified idol.

Zhou Xiaoman didn't have many belongings—just a few clothes from her college days that she recycled. Two suitcases could contain everything about her.

She slipped out quietly. Zhou Wenzhong didn't symbolically try to stop her. After all, he was about to move soon; he didn't need to worry about his reputation in the neighborhood.

He had a loving wife and daughter; they were a happy family.

A snail without a shell had to find its own home.

Zhou Xiaoman took a few steps before Meimei silently appeared, approaching her until a faint "meow" was heard. Xiaoman crouched down, offering the lunchbox to Meimei with a gentle smile, "Eat up; this truly is the last meal."

Meimei's former owner had gone to the United States to be with her grandson. Before leaving, she gave the cat to the neighbor to care for, but the neighbor also moved away. Consequently, Meimei became a stray in the neighborhood. Zhou Xiaoman fed her every night, allowing her to dig into the corner of the socialist walls.

She stood up, gently touched her slightly sore knee, and sighed, "Meimei, I have to go now. Take care of yourself and don't get into fights anymore."

Surprisingly, Meimei stared at Zhou Xiaoman persistently, refusing to leave. Zhou had no choice but to bend down, picking Meimei up and placing her in the suitcase.

As she walked through the community square, a kind-hearted auntie approached her, advising her to quickly find a partner, figure things out, and at least secure a permanent position.

Instinctively, Zhou Xiaoman wanted to evade. People experiencing hardships in life feared sudden concern from others the most. Forced to stand in the middle of a crowd, she felt goosebumps all over her body.

"Don't act foolishly. You've been calling Aunt Jiang for decades. She can get your cousin a job at the bank, so why can't she help you? Talk about working for the government. Can a temporary job compare? She's given you a good-sounding excuse."

"Why discuss this in front of the child? Jiang Li didn't mistreat Xiaoman, did she?"

"Nonsense! She pushed the mom away and should've taken care of her child wholeheartedly. Feifei is pursuing a Ph.D. in the U.S., while Xiaoman is working as a temporary employee in the government office. Do you think we are all blind? I despise that cheating couple. To be truly proper, would Xiaoman's mom block the door to the research institute?"

"Enough, enough, enough of the old stories. Your husband didn't get promoted, it's not just Zhou's fault. Hey, where's Xiaoman?"

"Why is she like a lifeless soul now? She used to be so active, dancing and doing gymnastics. Now, she's wilted. Don't believe it. You came late, you don't know. Xiaoman used to be stunning; much prettier than that Sun Yan. She won awards in gymnastics. The coach wanted her in the provincial team for national competitions, but the surname Zhou refused. Otherwise, Xiaoman might have brought glory to the country."

Someone whispered nearby, "Didn't she stop practicing gymnastics after that incident?"

"Don't talk nonsense. Xiaoman had stopped practicing gymnastics since middle school. That incident happened when she was

When her pregnant mother was blocked at the door, Zhou Xiaoman quietly slipped away. With Zhou Wenzhong stepping down, others naturally took up her cause in righteous indignation. She didn't blame anyone for second-guessing; it just felt futile.

Tonight, she intended to make do with a self-service bank for shelter. Tomorrow, she absolutely must find a place to rent. She had beauty, companionship, only lacking a house to contain her home.

Zhou Xiaoman had no idea how far she'd walked along this road. Midway, a heavy rain began. She draped a blanket over her luggage, providing a makeshift shelter for Meimei, better than nothing.

Yet, she never found that self-service bank, even though she vividly remembered one within a kilometer of the neighborhood.

On that torrential night, she couldn't reach the end of her journey.

Chapter 2

Zhou Xiaoman blinked, slightly bewildered.

Last night, something seemed to have struck her head. She let out a faint "meow," and then her memory became a void.

The window was half-open, the electric fan whirred, blowing hot air. Outside, the English song melody of "show me that smile again" played— the theme song of "Growing Pains." It used to rerun every summer vacation before her high school years—a divine drama. They stopped airing it later on.

She called out, "Is anyone there?" The room remained silent, no response.

Again, she called out, "Meimei," but the clingy little thing didn't appear either.

Next door, "Growing Pains" concluded, and an advertisement began playing, "Fenhuang Cola, let's all rejoice."

Zhou Xiaoman, not the sharpest at the moment, began to sense that something was amiss. Fenhuang Cola, how many years had it been gone?

She took a deep breat

Heroes

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