Mia was indeed a genius with an excellent academic performance. Just by going through the presentation slides a few times in advance, she was able to give a proficient, error-free presentation.
She looked around the crowd, and the grin on her face grew wider when she saw Lu Yubai and the others’ faces quivering from exasperation.
There was no way Fu Zhi’s team could produce a second set of presentation slides that could deliver a clear message in 30 minutes. She was certain that they were doomed this time!
After she finished her presentation, it was time for the Q&A session. The judges all asked questions in turn, and she tackled all of them with practiced ease.
Then, it was time for the judges to discuss with each other the contestant’s score.
Mia got down from the stage, and her teammates approached her. “Cap, that was one hell of a presentation! Your message was clear and stood out from the others. I’m sure we will win this time!”
Mia smiled and she shot a glance at Fu Zhi.
Her teammate thought she did not know what was happening, so he said, “Cap, they lost their flash drive. They even asked the cameraman for the footage, but they still haven’t found it. They are done for this time!”
“What a shame. It’s the greatest disrespect to the judges to go on stage and speak without a flash drive,” Mia said as she returned to her seat. She kept sitting in an upright position, as the cameras were still rolling. “Fu Zhi is going to embarrass herself in front of everyone this time.”
Jiang Zong had come back after looking for the cameraman. Everyone had seen Mia’s presentation slides. However, since they did not have any evidence to prove that it was Mia who had stolen their work, they could not report this to the organizer right away.
Xia Tian’s eyes were red from anger. “What should we do now? Mia obviously felt threatened, so she stole our flash drive and let all our effort go to waste!”
Everyone fell silent.
Gu Yan couldn’t help chuckling. Then, she pointed at Fu Zhi and said, “If you had come earlier and kept an eye on the file, none of this would have happened!”
“You came early, but you didn’t see anything either,” Zhou Zihuai retorted in annoyance, his gaze looking cold. He noticed that Fu Zhi was rummaging for something in her bag.
“If I were a participant, I wouldn’t be as sloppy and careless as Fu Zhi! But since I’m not a participant, there’s no way I will pay for her mistake!”
Fu Zhi shot a cold glance at her, and Gu Yan choked on her words.
She had no idea why, but the way Fu Zhi looked at her and the light that gleamed at the depths of her eyes reminded her of a panther in the jungle. It caused her heart to leap into her throat, and she took a step back, ramming her leg straight into the pointy edge of the chair. Pain soon flared from her leg, and she yelped out loud in agony.
On the stage, the judges were nearing the end of their discussion. After they gave Mia’s group their score, it would be Fu Zhi’s turn to go on the stage.
Lu Yubai took a look at Fu Zhi and said without any hesitation, “Let me go on the stage. I will bear the brunt of the outcome.”
He had come up with something on the spot. However, since there was no extensive literature to support his points, he was certain that the effect would not be any better than the result of the participant with the lowest score.
“Nope,” Fu Zhi said as she closed her bag. Then, she looked at Gu Yan intently until the latter’s hair bristled before grinning and saying, “I’ll go.”
Lu Yubai grabbed her wrist tightly.
This was the last round of the competition, and everyone knew their defeat was merely being delayed. They might even lose the reputation that they’d earned during the first round, and when that happened, the people from their country would inevitably point their fingers at the speaker for losing the competition and disgracing the country.
Xi Tian chimed in, “Yubai is right. You should stay. We’re men, so we should go.”
Fu Zhi twisted her hand to break free from Lu Yubai’s grasp and opened her palm. Then, she used her other hand to pat the back of Lu Yubai’s hand.
Lu Yubai was stunned for a moment, and then his eyes widened in shock when he saw the thing on Fu Zhi’s palm.
It was a flash drive.
There was a smile on Fu Zhi’s face, and her pretty eyes were arched. She was truly one of the best-looking people Jiang Zong had seen. From his point of view, he could clearly see the dimple at the corner of her lips, and his heart skipped a beat.
It’s almost time.” Fu Zhi pointed at the stage. “Don’t worry.”
Well, it was true that there was nothing Lu Yubai should be worried about.
Since Fu Zhi had the flash drive, it was still anyone’s guess who would win.
Fu Zhi walked to the stage.
The judges had at last finalized Mia’s score. After the highest and lowest scores were taken out, Mia got a whopping 9.4 points in the end.
A commotion spread across the participants as all of them praised Mia.
Gu Yan held up her phone, took a picture of the score, and began editing her Weibo status.
Mia nodded gratefully at Gu Yan.
Sensing her gaze, Lu Yubai scoffed coldly. “Hah, what a thief. This is the quality of Country M!”
Mia did not care about what he said at all. She just got to her feet, walked to the chairman, and said in a righteous, indignant manner, “They’ve accused us of stealing their flash drive. Although we also feel sorry for what happened to them, their behavior is truly shameful.”
The chairman squinted his eyes. “Alright, got it. You can go back to your seat now.”
Very soon, it was Fu Zhi’s turn to take the stage.
The crowd below the stage grew restless as everyone looked intently at Fu Zhi.
After all, she was their only hope to defeat Country M.
Xia Tian went backstage to talk to the manager of the hall about getting the surveillance footage.
Everyone knew they had lost their flash drive, but there was no way the manager would give them the surveillance footage, as they were only participants.
They needed Yuan He’s help.
However, Yuan He was reluctant to offer them her help. She said, “If you guys had let Yanyan lead the team, none of this would have happened! She knew how important this competition is, yet she was the last one to arrive. She’s so sloppy that it serves her right that she lost the flash drive!”
Zhou Zihuai was shocked. “Are you the saintly b*tch that everyone on the internet is railing against? The victim-blaming theory didn’t stem from you, did it?”
“You!!” Yuan He wanted to say something in return, but she did not say anything in the end. After all, there was no point in arguing with a kid. She got up and followed Xia Tian to get the surveillance footage.
On the stage, Fu Zhi walked up to the judges and greeted them.
“You’re Fu Zhi, right?” The chairman was the first one to reply. He said brusquely, “I heard that your team lost its flash drive and that you guys said the other team took it without providing any evidence?”
He was holding a pen and was prepared to deduce one point from Fu Zhi before she even started her presentation.
Fu Zhi raised her hand, revealing the blue-colored flash drive on her palm. Then, she met Mia’s incredulous gaze as she said softly, “I wasn’t notified that the flash drive was lost, nor did I see my team members smear any other participants. Do you have any evidence you’re basing that on?”
The chairman’s expression froze.
He had asked Mia beforehand to think of a way to destroy Fu Zhi’s presentation, and he could more or less guess that Mia was the culprit. After all, Mia had always looked down on China, so it was impossible that she would talk about the history of Physics development in China.
However, he had not expected that Fu Zhi would have a second flash drive, and that made his accusation unjustifiable.
‘Why would she have a second flash drive? Did she prepare it in advance, or is it something that she came up with on the spot while Mia was presenting her slides?’
The chairman could not tell.
Fu Zhi was the biggest threat at this competition, and for some reason, she reminded him of the seven-year-old little girl in China’s team that had come to their country to participate in the international Physics competition ten years ago.
At the time, he had been just a staff member. He could remember very well how she’d crushed the spirit of the participants from Country M with her strategy and confidence.
Yu Sui was sitting beside the chairman and saw the chairman write something in his scorebook before saying, “Maybe I was wrong. Well, you may proceed with your presentation.”
Fu Zhi nodded.
Under the stage, Zhou Zihuai was so nervous that his palms were full of sweat.
Fu Zhi inserted the flash drive into the computer, and a colorful yet simplistic presentation slide came into view. Holding the controller, Fu Zhi began her presentation. “Physics is an experimental science, but like any science, it involves logic derivations. The so-called history of the development of physics is inseparable from the development of mathematics. From the field of black technology…”
The slides were changing as she gave her speech.
Lu Yubai was right. Fu Zhi was truly a born orator. Her speech was always able to strike a chord in the audience. Each of her points was interconnected, and she was able to deliver her message to her audience clearly.
Initially, the crowd was a little restless. However, as the young girl’s gentle voice wafted into their ears, all of them began to settle down and turn their attention to her.
What she talked about was something they had hardly ever come across.
The chairman’s hand froze before he could even finish writing the number “7”.
The expression on his face transitioned from uneasiness to shock. Tightening his grip, he turned his head and glared at Mia.
Zhou Zihuai could not come back to his senses yet. “So, we win again?”
Lu Yubai threw him a cell phone. “You take pictures, and I will record a video. I want to post it on my WeChat Moments later.”
Just as Zhou Zihuai was about to say that he had a phone as well, Lu Yubai added, “I can show off my sister, but you cannot. After all, she is my sister. And don’t let me find her photos on your phone. Otherwise, I will tell your parents that you have a girlfriend at school.”
Zhou Zihuai did not know what to say.
‘Go to hell, you moron. I’m going to cut all ties with you!’
Fu Zhi’s presentation was still going on.
Jiang Zong rested his chin on the back of his palm as he looked at her.
Her speech was smooth, and she looked really dazzling when she was serious. He could not peel his eyes away from her no matter how hard he tried, and everyone paled in comparison to her.
As he was thinking, something snapped and the screen went black.
The people in the hall became agitated and somebody asked, “What’s going on? Is the power out?”
Fu Zhi’s presentation came to a halt.
A staff worker emerged from the backstage area. He approached the judges and said, “The computer circuit is burnt out.”
“Ah, then get someone to fix it,” the chairman replied simply. “Since there was an emergency and the participant cannot go on, let’s stop the presentation and announce her score.”
Yu Sui’s face sank. After taking a deep breath, he smacked the table and said in a dangerous voice, “As the host of the competition, how can you not address the issue so that the participant can continue? Why are you stopping the presentation and announcing her score?”
Besides, the electrical devices in the hall were maintained regularly, so why would the circuit of the computer only burn out when it was Fu Zhi’s turn?
Lu Yubai tightened his hand that was holding the phone.
“Responding to unexpected situations is the basic quality of a participant. If Fu Zhi does not have this quality, what makes her worthy of a high score since we have so many excellent participants here?”
The rest of the judges nodded in assent.
The chairman picked up the microphone, but before he could say anything, the young lady on the stage took out some chalk and said, “Are you guys done? If you are, then I’m going to continue… Physics is about using logic to understand the natural world…”
As she was talking, she began to draw her presentation slides on the board. Her hands moved nimbly across the board, and very soon, a detailed diagram appeared before everyone’s eyes. The diagram was very clear, and her handwriting was neat. It was not difficult to see that she had made a lot of effort to master her art skills.
The chairman knew very well that this was something not even Mia could do.
Plotting and trickery had become nothing but a joke in front of real strength. Even the circuit burnout had turned into an advantage for Fu Zhi.
The other judges nodded.
It took Fu Zhi 20 minutes to finish her presentation. After she finished her presentation, she put the chalk back.
The judge that asked her a question first was the black man, who was followed closely by the other judges.
Fu Zhi answered all of their questions with practiced ease before getting off the stage.
Gu Yan’s face was dark.
Lu Yubai rubbed Fu Zhi’s head and said, “These presentation slides are even better than the ones that we prepared. I’m sure we’re going to get a good score!”
It took the judges 10 minutes to discuss Fu Zhi’s performance. Then, a staff worker walked to the stage and announced her score. “After taking out the highest and the lowest scores, the score that China’s team has gotten is…”
He pressed his lips, looked at Fu Zhi, and said, “7.4 points.”
The announcement caused a storm to take place in the hall.
As she was sitting on the chair, although Fu Zhi was smiling, her gaze was cold.
Mia’s teammate heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank God their score is lower than ours. I thought we were going to lose this time!”
Although Fu Zhi’s speech and content, including the performance on the stage, had been better than Mia’s, she was Chinese!
There was no way the judges would defend the interests of a Chinese person.
Mia did not answer. She just gave her teammate a forced smile.
She did not feel happy about their victory at all. Especially at this moment, as she faced the disdainful gazes of the participants from other countries, she just wanted to find a hole and bury herself in it.
“This isn’t fair!” Lu Yubai shouted, his voice thick with indignation. He smacked his phone on the table and added, “It’s very obvious that Fu Zhi’s presentation was better than any other participant’s here, so why is her score so low?”
He charged toward the group of judges, but before he could get near them, he was stopped by a staff worker from Country M. “Please mind your behavior, sir. If you can’t control your anger, then we’ll have no choice but to disqualify you and your team from the competition!”
“Disqualify our team? What’s the difference between this score and disqualifying us from the competition?” Lu Yubai’s hands were clenched into fists, and his eyes were red around the rims. “You have the guts to do this but not confess? Since you guys want to keep the champion’s title so much, why hold an international competition?”
He could not accept the result at all. A second later, he raised his arm under the relentless gaze of the staff worker. However, before his fist could land on its target, he was stopped in midair by a slender hand coming out of thin air.
“Take it easy. Let’s go,” Fu Zhi said, grabbing Lu Yubai’s wrist tightly. She was stronger than Lu Yubai, and before the judges canceled their qualification, she went closer to Lu Yubai and whispered into his ear, “This is to be expected. However, since Mia used our presentation slides and our flash drive was lost in the hall, all we have to do is get the surveillance footage back. I know how to recover the deleted footage, so we still have a chance to win. This is what we’re gonna do. You and I will go backstage. There’s no need for us to waste our time on them.”
Lu Yubai turned his head slowly, and Fu Zhi nodded again to calm him down.
The young man took a deep breath and let go of her hand.