You Are the One I Prayed For
You Are the One I Prayed For Chapter 1

Parents were bustling and gathering at the school gate. While many were chatting, their faces showed more tension and anticipation.

Shangnan County First High School, although just a county high school, ranks first among public high schools in several surrounding prefecture-level cities and is in the top five in the entire province. Last year, the school’s rates of students admitted to top-tier and second-tier universities even reached third place.

Therefore, parents from nearby prefecture-level cities would bring their children to try and take the entrance test for Shangnan County First High School.

There are two types of tests at this high school: the elite exam and the regular exam.

The former is a comprehensive test organized by several education bureaus, with the test questions set by the school itself. Candidates must have ranked in the top fifty in their middle school for three final exams, report their names three months before the entrance exam, and take the test at the school a month later.

About three thousand students from several surrounding prefecture-level cities take the elite exam, representing the best student resources. Unlike the regular entrance exam, which focuses more on overall basic performance, the elite exam is more challenging. Simply put, students who can consistently score ninety in the regular exam might not even pass the elite exam.

From these three thousand candidates, the top three hundred are selected and can be directly admitted to the high school without taking the entrance exam in two months, similar to being recommended for college without taking the entrance exam.

And today is the day when the list of these three hundred students is released.

Some parents with connections have already found out whether their children have successfully passed the exam, but they are also concerned about the rankings.

No. 1 High School is the top school in the county, with strict management and grading done by teachers from different schools. The final rankings won’t be known until the end.No. 1 High School will neatly write the names and scores of 300 students in calligraphy on a large red paper and post it at the school gate for parents and students to read.

However, it’s currently Monday, and the students who took the exam are still preparing for it. Only 300 will pass the exam, and those who don’t will need to take the regular exam.

“Jiang Ze from No. 3 High School is only ranked tenth?”

“My son is in the same school as Jiang Ze, and I heard he didn’t finish the last big question.”

“I heard Liu Xiaoling from No. 5 High School did well; she ranked third.”

Parents are even more familiar with which student is ranked first in each junior high school than they are with their own children.

“The top student is Dong Changyang?”

“Which school is Dong Changyang from?”

“I think I’ve heard that name before…”

A parent, hearing the familiar name, came over and squeezed into the crowd.

When they saw the name in the top spot on the red paper, they were stunned.

“Dong Changyang, she’s a student from School No. 13. If I’m not mistaken, she’s an art student. She was at the top of the list for art students exempted from exams at School No. 1 earlier.”

School No. 13 is widely recognized as the worst junior high school. While other junior high schools had 50 students participating in the exams, it only had 5. Not only is it located in a remote area, but it also has weak teaching resources. The education bureau is planning to merge it with School No. 5, making this the last batch of students from School No. 13.

The parents looked at each other in disbelief. They never expected that the top student in the exams would be an art student.

In 2007, before housing prices skyrocketed and the internet became as pervasive as it is today, people still held a somewhat envious view of foreign countries, thinking “the moon is rounder abroad.” As one of the subordinate counties of a prosperous coastal city, Shangnan County had its share of wealthy residents who spared no expense on their children’s education. Private international art high schools catering to these affluent families naturally became highly sought after.

Now, Dong Changyang, a girl who topped both the elite exam and the art student exam, was at home meeting two enrollment teachers from the provincial capital’s International Art High School.

“Dong, if you join our high school, not only will tuition be waived, but you’ll also receive free uniforms year-round.The school will provide a monthly stipend of 300 yuan for living expenses. If you rank in the top ten in mid-term and final exams, you can earn scholarships ranging from 2,000 to 500 yuan. Of course, if you perform well in the provincial entrance exam or get into a top art college, we’ll sponsor your university tuition and help you apply for provincial and county-level awards… Additionally, our school boasts top-notch faculty and advanced teaching equipment…”

The two enrollment teachers, a man and a woman, even brought some cute and delicate pastries.

After learning about Dong Changyang’s current top ranking in the exam, they had already grasped her family background.

Dong Changyang, sixteen years old, in her third year of middle school, on the verge of adulthood.

Before these two enrollment teachers arrived, Dong Changyang had already met with teachers from two other high schools.

Her mother remarried, and her father, originally a well-known painter in the province, unfortunately died early due to alcoholism. Dong Changyang’s grandparents on both sides have passed away, and her uncles and aunts have no relationship with her and cannot adopt her as they do not live in the county.

The local street office in Shangnan County simply helped her obtain a certificate for impoverished students, providing her with a monthly subsidy of 100 yuan, which, combined with the 10,000 yuan her mother sends back from abroad each year, allows her to get by.

Initially, these subsidies and the annual 10,000 yuan were enough for Dong Changyang to live on. She isn’t the type to spend money extravagantly. Unfortunately, she has a passion for art and has been learning painting with her father since childhood.

Although traditional Chinese painting isn’t as expensive as oil painting, it’s still an expensive hobby. Brushes, ink, paper, and inkstones all cost money, and Dong Changyang has talent. For the past three years, she has been studying and working half-time in an art class opened by her father’s former colleagues. Although she is underage, people turn a blind eye to it.

She chose to attend No. 13 Middle School because it has the lowest miscellaneous fees and is closest to Dong Changyang’s home.

With such a humble background yet outstanding academic performance, Dong Changyang naturally became the top student that these private art high schools were most eager to recruit. Although these international art high schools cater mainly to the wealthy, many of the affluent prefer to send their children to prestigious provincial high schools. To compete for students, these schools rely on high exam scores; even the newly rich in China recognize this!

Therefore, from several years ago, Tengfei International Art High School began aggressively recruiting impoverished top students, offering full waivers for tuition and fees, providing stipends for living expenses, and even awarding scholarships based on mid-term and final exam rankings. This strategy helped them regain some advantage in the high school entrance exam.However, the competition is fierce among private high schools, each trying to outdo the others. The situation escalated until the Education Bureau intervened to regulate it, bringing some semblance of order.Before these two enrollment teachers arrived, Dong Changyang had already met with teachers from two other high schools.

“I don’t want to live in the dormitory. I have my own way of studying, and I’m also afraid I won’t get along well with my classmates,” Dong Changyang, though only sixteen years old, seemed more mature than others of her age, perhaps due to her early experiences of hardship.

The female enrollment teacher felt a twinge of sadness hearing Dong Changyang’s story, but having managed admissions for so long, she had seen students in even worse situations. While being alone like Dong Changyang was pitiable, some students had parents who were truly worse off.

“That’s not ideal,” the male teacher forced a smile, “High school classmates can also provide a good network, and learning together with peers can help everyone excel. I believe with your personality, Dong, you’ll surely make good friends and have a pleasant three years at our high school.”

“No, I won’t live in the dormitory,” Dong Changyang firmly reiterated, her small, determined face showing stubbornness.

“If you agree that I can opt out of the dormitory or arrange a single room for me, then I’ll come to your high school.”

“Dong, you’re being a bit harsh with your words.”

“Before you came, I had already met several teachers,” Dong Changyang pointed to the gifts on the table, her expression calm. “They all proposed conditions like full exemption from tuition and miscellaneous fees with subsidies.”

“But that’s different. Our school’s art teachers are all award-winning and excellent!” The female teacher couldn’t help but advocate for her school. “We specialize in arts.”

“But what you need is my academic scores, right?” Dong Changyang affirmed. “Otherwise, being first in the art exam should exempt me as a specialized student. Why should I still participate in the elite exam?”

She just wanted to have more bargaining power.

“I can’t decide on this matter. It’s not impossible to arrange a separate teacher’s dormitory for you, but I need to go back and ask the headmaster,” the female teacher didn’t shut down the conversation.

“I will continue to participate in the high school entrance exam,” Dong Changyang’s face showed a hint of a smile. “I can’t say I’ll definitely be first, but if I can make it to the top three, then you can come find me.”

The two enrollment teachers exchanged glances, unsure of what else to say. They could only leave Dong Changyang’s home feeling somewhat disheartened.

“So, I dislike these clever students,” the male teacher sighed with some frustration. “Kids nowadays are different from when we were young.”

At this moment, she looked more like a student than ever before, a young girl who only needed to focus on her studies without worrying about life.

Now appearing before Dong Changyang was a man dressed in splendid ancient attire.

He was seated in a chair, calmly holding a cup of tea.

Unlike Dong Changyang’s simple mosquito coil, placed in front of the man were precious spices akin to gold, contained within an exquisite incense burner.

Da Yan Zhao, Chen Huanzhi.

Nineteen years old.

Companion reader to the crown prince.

A strand of incense was enough to allow two people from different times, ages, and genders to disregard the constraints of time and space, sharing the world seen through each other’s eyes.

This wasn’t magic from a girl’s manga nor an opportunity from a TV drama. In the mind of young girl Dong Changyang, this was simply a matter of fate, albeit a somewhat extraordinary one.

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