In the second half of the third year, Tang Xu was no longer Tang Cuo’s teacher.
Without the role of class representative, Tang Cuo felt lost.
Furthermore, in May, Tang Cuo’s parents finished their project work outside, and he had to change the location for spending weekends from Tang Xu’s house to his own.
The opportunities for the two to meet decreased significantly, which was a fatal torment for Tang Cuo.

“Cuo Cuo, are you really not going abroad? Your grades are so good.
Although studying for a master’s degree in China is not a bad idea, to be honest, both your mother and I work in technical fields.
Considering the current situation, your father still suggests that you go abroad to study.”

Xiang Wan nudged Tang Yishan’s arm and said, “Cuo Cuo already said he doesn’t want to go; why do you keep meddling!”

Tang Yishan sighed and said, “He’s still young.
I’m afraid he might not make good choices.
Since he has the ability and opportunities, I just want to give him more options.”

“I think studying for a master’s degree in China is good too.
Why go to Tsinghua University? You’ll suffer if you go abroad…”

The third year of college was almost over, and at this critical juncture, almost everyone was planning for their future, and the options were generally limited to three: studying abroad, pursuing a master’s degree domestically, or working.

But for Tang Cuo, there was never a second option.

Tang Cuo took out two cups and filled them with water.
He took out a vitamin C effervescent tablet from the drawer of the coffee table and threw it into one of the cups.
The organic acid and carbonate reacted, and a large amount of carbon dioxide gas rushed into the water, making it boil and giving him a sense of satisfaction.

“Dad, Mom, have some water.” He handed the cup with the effervescent tablet to Xiang Wan.
“I bought a new flavour of effervescent tablet.
Mom, try it and see if you like it.”

Upon hearing this, Xiang Wan immediately softened her expression and took the cup from his hand.
As she lowered her head to drink, Tang Cuo noticed a few strands of silver hair at the temples of Xiang Wan.
These few strands of silver hair clashed with his memory of the always calm and smiling Xiang Wan, making it seem sudden and out of place.
He couldn’t help but lift his hand and touch the marks of time.

Xiang Wan had just taken a sip of water, and Tang Cuo’s movement made her momentarily stunned before she jokingly said, “I’m only in my forties and already like this.”

Tang Cuo came back to his senses and smiled as he hugged Xiang Wan, “It looks good on you too.”

Xiang Wan was amused by his words and raised her hand to pat his back, saying, “My son knows how to speak.
Oh, and this flavour of fizzy tablets is very tasty.”

When Tang Cuo returned to school after this weekend, he learned that Sunday was the last GRE exam in May.
Many students in the school planned to go abroad, and several of his classmates, including He Zhong, took the exam.

“Hey, I have to meet the standard in this test…”

He Zhong’s university grades were actually pretty good, but English has always been his weakness.
The TV in the cafeteria was broadcasting the German Cup final, and groups of enthusiastic young people were waving their arms and cheering.
Several male students were sitting next to their girlfriends, chatting and laughing.
This was a unique scene in the university cafeteria.

Tang Cuo withdrew his gaze from the TV and looked at He Zhong for a while before asking, “Are you going to the United States?”

“Yeah, I’ve been preparing for it all along.” He Zhong drank his cola bottoms up.
“How about you? Are you still in China?”

Tang Cuo nodded.

“Are you going to Tsinghua University?”

To his surprise, Tang Cuo hesitated for a moment before shaking his head lightly.

In an instant, several top-ranked universities flashed through He Zhong’s mind, but before he could ask, he heard Tang Cuo say, “I want to stay at our school.”

A goal was scored, followed by an uncontrollable burst of cheers.
He Zhong almost thought his ears were ringing from the noise in the cafeteria.

“What?… What did you say?”

Tang Cuo shifted his gaze from his plate to He Zhong’s face and pulled the corners of his mouth.
“I think our school is good enough.”

“I didn’t say our school is not good, but Cuo Cuo,” He Zhong said excitedly.
“Although this semester is not over yet, do you know how much your three-year GPA can rank you second? Now everyone is trying to climb higher and higher.
Look at my terrible English; I am still struggling to pass the English test.
How come you don’t have any ambition or aspirations?”

Tang Cuo didn’t seem to be in a hurry and finished the last bite of rice in his bowl.
He called out to He Zhong and casually said, “Everyone has their own aspirations.”

With just one sentence, Tang Cuo blocked all of He Zhong’s persuasions.

Despite being in the final period of his junior year, the atmosphere of parting had already permeated the campus due to the planning for the future.
The question that Tang Cuo encountered most often during this time was: “Where are you going for graduate school? He didn’t want his answer to draw too much surprise or amazement, so he simply said he hadn’t decided yet.

Tang Xu didn’t ask about these things either and continued to act as usual, occasionally taking him out to eat and staying overnight at his place on days without classes.

“There’s a technology exhibition this weekend; do you want to go?”

Without even thinking about it, Tang Cuo nodded while brushing his teeth in front of the mirror and mumbled unclearly, “I want to go.”

Tang Xu leaned against the door and watched him.
After he finished brushing, he approached him and reached out to pull his face towards him for a kiss.

“Don’t go home this weekend, then.”

Early on Saturday morning, Tang Xu drove Tang Cuo to the Science and Technology Exhibition Centre.
Tang Xu and Tang Cuo walked side by side into the exhibition hall, and there were more people inside than Tang Xu expected.

Tang Cuo exclaimed and turned to look at Tang Xu: “There are so many people; it seems like there will be fewer people in the afternoon.”

Generally speaking, there are more people in the morning for this kind of technology exhibition, but even so, it wouldn’t be as crowded as a car exhibition.

“A few friends happen to be here in the morning, so I brought you here.” Tang Xu said as he avoided people and led Tang Cuo inside.
The hall wasn’t too noisy, so Tang Cuo easily caught a voice calling out for Tang Xu.
He looked over and saw a blond man with blue eyes wearing an official work badge on his chest.

Tang Xu waved to him and showed a cheerful smile.

As they walked to the booth, several people came over and chatted with Tang Xu.
The blond man was obviously the most outgoing, grabbing onto Tang Xu’s shoulder and continuously talking to him in broken Chinese instead of English.
Watching his actions, Tang Cuo didn’t feel too comfortable in his heart.
He secretly leaned towards Tang Xu but accidentally met the gaze of a man wearing gold-rimmed glasses on the opposite side.

The man looked cultured and refined, wearing a white shirt without a tie.
The collar was open, revealing two buttons, giving off an easy-going yet not frivolous vibe.
His entire being, coupled with the golden-rimmed glasses, was so attractive that, at first glance, Tang Cuo felt that his entire demeanour was the epitome of a young talent.

“Tang Xu, who is this?” he asked with a barely visible smile.

Tang Xu removed the big, golden-haired man from his body, turned slightly, and extended an arm to pull Tang Cuo to his side.
“He’s my little friend.”

As soon as he spoke, everyone except the golden-framed glasses man and the big golden retriever were stunned, looking as if they had just seen a ghost.

The golden retriever wasn’t sure if he had heard and understood correctly, while the man with gold-rimmed glasses remained calm and composed, as if nothing could shake him.

A friend seemed about to ask something, but Tang Xu didn’t give him the chance and started introducing them one by one.

“This is Shen Xihui, a PhD from MIT and an expert in artificial intelligence.”

For some reason, Shen Xihui raised an eyebrow at this introduction.

He reached out a hand to Tang Cuo and said, “Hello.”

After greeting everyone, Tang Xu put his arm around Shen Xihui and asked, “Can you tell him about your products?”

Then he turned back to Tang Cuo and said, “He knows much more than me in the field of artificial intelligence, which is very promising and interesting.
Would you like to listen?”

Tang Cuo nodded and bowed to Shen Xihui, saying, “Thank you.”

People nearby laughed, and a man shook his head and said, “The kid knows his manners.”

Their booth was of medium size, with not many products but all top-notch.
Shen Xihui was indeed worthy of the title of “young genius”, as he could extract the main points of very advanced technologies and provide precise explanations of key technologies.
After his explanation, Tang Cuo was able to understand most of it.
Moreover, Shen Xihui also introduced him to technological levels both domestically and abroad.
Despite his flat tone, Tang Cuo felt his blood boiling after listening to the explanation.

Before leaving, while Tang Cuo went to the restroom, Shen Xihui couldn’t help but ask Tang Xu with a smile, “Am I mistaken? Did you invite me to give a lecture to a little kid?”

As Tang Xu watched the figure walking towards the restroom, he chuckled, “Clearly a young eagle, yet afraid to spread its wings and soar.
Letting him meet you is like showing him how high the mountains are beyond the mountains.”

Shen Xihui smiled and leaned against the counter, but said nothing.

When Tang Cuo returned, Tang Xu and Shen Xihui were still chatting.
Tang Xu handed Tang Cuo a freshly poured glass of water and casually asked Shen Xihui, “By the way, I heard you’re planning to switch jobs?”

Shen Xihui lifted a finger and rhythmically tapped the glass showcase.

“It’s not exactly switching jobs, just moving to a different place for research.”

Tang Xu asked, “Are you finally going to start working for the country?”

Shen Xihui lifted his head with his chin slightly raised, but there was no hint of arrogance, only a lazy and laid-back aura.

“There’s so much lacking in this field domestically, and since it’s within my ability, of course, I have to do something.”

Tang Xu and he looked at each other in silence for a moment before Tang Xu stood up straight, lifted his arm, and patted his shoulder without saying anything.

Although Tang Xu didn’t say anything, Tang Cuo could read endless admiration in his eyes.

Shen Xihui smiled and tilted his head.
“Alright, you’re making me feel like I’m so noble.”

Tang Xu also smiled and asked him, “Will I still be able to see you in the future?”

Shen Xihui nodded.
“It involves confidential information; the duration and level are just a matter of course.”

“Then you must be at the highest level.”

Tang Xu joked with him for a while, then left with Tang Cuo to visit other booths.
After walking a few steps, Tang Xu asked Tang Cuo, “What do you think of what he said?”

“Although I don’t quite understand it, it’s very interesting, and I feel that he’s really capable.”

Tang Xu smiled and glanced at him.
“Of course he’s capable; with his current level, he can definitely create a miraculous company.”

For such a long time, Tang Cuo had never heard Tang Xu praise someone so directly and intensely.
He already had a good impression of Shen Xihui, but now, because of Tang Xu’s admiration, Shen Xihui had reached an unattainable height in his heart.

“In fact, his previous research direction and content were more suitable for civilian use.
What I admire most about him is that even though he had a choice that would benefit himself more, he chose another path that might require him to go into hiding, all because his motherland needs him.
Both in terms of professional level and character, he can be described as ‘outstanding’.”

As he spoke, Tang Xu kept looking at him.
Somehow, he remembered what Shen Xihui had said earlier: “Since it’s within my capabilities, of course I have to do something.”

When you face an outstanding person, it is easy to feel inferior.
Suddenly, Tang Cuo’s sense of shame was extinguished for his lack of ambition and his small-mindedness.

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