I Rely On Beauty To Stabilize The Country (Chapter 1 - 10) - 010
- I Rely On Beauty To Stabilize The Country (Chapter 1 - 10)
- 010 - His Majesty’s Thoughts Contradicts His Words
010 – His Majesty’s Thoughts Contradicts His Words
Xue Yuan lay on the bed. The more he listened, the more he couldn’t suppress the smile, “That’s what he told you?”
Chang Yuyan slightly frowned, “Should address with His Majesty.”
Xue Yuan’s knees were wrapped with medicinal bandages, which faintly tinged with blood, but he looked as though he wasn’t in pain. He pointed to his wounds and said with a forced smile, “These wounds are the punishment from His Majesty.”
“That’s impossible,” Chang Yuyan subconsciously retorted. He frowned and thought, “Did you do something wrong?”
Xue Yuan darted a glance at him and asked, “Why did His Majesty summon you into the palace today?”
Hearing that, Chang Yuyan’s skin unconsciously tightened and his face felt a little feverish. “His Majesty summoned me into the palace to accompany and serve. Naturally, it was to have me accompany him admiring the snow scenery.”
“Admiring the snow?” Xue Yuan’s hands propped up on the bed. His arms gained force and his muscles taut as he directly supported himself to sit up. He tapped his fingertips on his thighs as if absorbed in thought, “Why took fancy of you?”
In Xue Yuan’s eyes, the Emperor was not someone who made useless efforts. The Emperor even dared to provoke him, the mad dog. Let’s forget about provoking him. At least, as the little Emperor said, he had a commandeering talent. But strange, what did Chang Yuyan have?
What was the use of Chang Yuyan as a scholar with a rotten sarcastic sense?
Yet, it was such a useless scholar that the Emperor invited to appreciate the snow. On the contrary, Xue Yuan, the future general, was punished until his knees bled by the Emperor, who did it without blinking.
Chang Yuyan heard this sentence crystal clear. He had a mirthless grin on his face, “Xue Yuan, what do you mean?”
Xue Yuan said in a leisurely manner, “Do you have a damn usefulness?”
Chang Yuyan was so angry he glared, “I’m not saying I’m famous in the country, but at least I have a little reputation. So many people came to congratulate me on my capping ceremony that even alarmed the local authority. And I’ve always been talented. When the palace examination is over, you can wait for me to grab the [title] Number One Scholar!”
After he finished saying, he “scrapped” the ground to stand, furiously flung his sleeve, and left.
Xue Yuan touched his chin. After Chang Yuyan completely disappeared, he sneered, “Number One Scholar?”
What’s the use of a fake scholar being the Number One Scholar to the little Emperor?
Xue Yuan’s legs left the bed and stood upright on the ground. With his hands behind him, he slowly walked to the window.
Tiny spots of blood oozed out from the white bandages on the knees. The taste of such pain was a novelty to Xue Yuan.
Xue Yuan, who grew up in the barracks when he was a child, knew that a fist was hard, yet strong military forces were the representatives of everything. Xue Residence’s three generations of loyalist sounded very good. In fact, it was a reputation that caused death. When he threw the bottle of wine, it wasn’t meant to smash the Emperor. It was only when the Emperor had passed that he let go of the bottle. He just wanted to see the Emperor’s attitude towards the Xue Family.
Xue Yuan stroked his chin and thought about it. He remembered the face of the little Emperor. Although the Emperor’s hair had not grown long1, he grew up more beautiful than the ladies.
It was just that the [emperor’s] temper that was too deeply hidden.
Was it because of the Xue Family that he was given preferential treatment, or because of the three generations of loyalists?
Chu Xun had already taken people to the Yellow River. The Supervision Bureau would provide Chu Xun with information from the front line. To train the people of the Supervision Bureau, Gu Yuan spent a lot of money. The people of the Supervision Bureau had not only learned to read and practice martial arts, but also learned horsemanship and archery as well as geography, arts of war, track-ambush, and various aspects of skills.
Besides education, Gu Yuanbai also paid great attention to their food, which he attached more importance than his army. The meal was meat and vegetable dishes; the rice was of good quality and the meat was essential. The whole Supervision Bureau was brought up to be a strong and powerful body. Their health represented Gu Yuanbai’s health. The role of this good body was essential to be able to travel for half a month of rain from thousands of li to the capital in such a fast period.
Gu Yuanbai put aside the matter of flood prevention for the time being and put his focus on the upcoming conference examination.
During the imperial court session these days, the ministers were laden with worries because of the cold wave in the capital. The cold wave this time was so fierce that many people presented petitions in hope that the candidates were allowed to bring more clothing, provided with more coals for warming, and then for the numbered rooms in the Examination Hall to be well repaired.
In particular, the parents, who had their successors participated in the conference examination, argued with reasons, and refused to retreat in the first half of the court session.
The Emperor was kind-hearted. The rooms were already under repair, and the petition for increasing the amount of coal was also approved. However, many officials disapproved of the petition for allowing the candidates to bring more clothing.
It was not that it hadn’t happened before. The winter in the capital was always long and cold. Sometimes, spring was comparable to winter. Many benevolent Emperors had once authorized the exam candidates to bring more than one layer of leather clothing.
However, many cheating notes were sewn into the clothes at that time. The more clothes they wore, the more troublesome it was to check. The benevolence of the Emperor was also regarded as a means to be exploited and defiled by these scholars with low-grade morality.
“Your Majesty,” a minister advised, “It is not that there was no cold wave in the past. The amount of coal has increased and the rooms are repaired – these are enough.”
However, this year’s cold wave was severe. The Great Heng Dynasty’s conference examination would be carried on for three days. If the temperature dropped, or rain or snow fell during those days, many people would suffer from the wind chill. Even worse, they might die within these three days.
Gu Yuanbai actually felt heartache for these talented people. Ultimately, he decided and ordered to allow the exam candidates to bring more clothes.
As soon as the edict was issued, the exam candidates in the entire capital cheered. They teared up, feeling grateful for His Majesty’s benevolence.
Those who were not in good health and could not adapt to the weather in the capital were more excited. They kept kowtowing and saying, “His Majesty is benevolence; His Majesty graces a great favor!”
A thin piece of clothing represented a warm hope in the cold and narrow of the numbered room. Despite the dissuasion from the ministers, the Emperor still decided to loosen the limitation. This clearly meant the Emperor cherished them.
The consideration and care from the Emperor made the hearts of the scholars – who had carefully studied the heaven-earth-sovereign-parent-teacher2 – seething with enthusiasm.
Of course, Gu Yuanbai’s benevolence to these people did not mean that they would take this opportunity to cheat.
If some people dared to take this opportunity to sweep along a slip of paper, the punishment that awaited them shall be more severe than losing their scholarly honor.
Gu Yuanbai didn’t want his philanthropic act to become a joke in the future.
It was finally the day of the conference examination.
Chu Wei woke up early in the morning and calmly practiced a set of martial arts in the courtyard. He didn’t stop until he was sweating. After washing up, he came out and his mother was recounting the items he had to bring into the Examination Hall again. This was the fifth time that she did it. Chu Wei felt somewhat helpless, “Mother, don’t be so nervous.”
“How can Mother not be nervous?!” Madam Chu retorted in a raised voice, and then tensely bowed her head and continued to count, “Scented handkerchief, papers, dried food…”
Chu Wei let her do as she pleases and finished his meal in silence. The manservant carried the things and accompanied the young master to the Examination Hall.
Madam Chu sent him to the door. She devoutly clasped her hands together and prayed for the blessing of the Gods, “May my son smoothly pass the conference examination.”
There were a lot of candidates coming to the capital to take the examination. Therefore, they were divided into different batches to enter the examination room. Chu Wei’s luck was very bad. He had to enter the Examination Hall early in the morning and had to wait in the Examination Hall for a whole day.
When he got to the front of the line, Chu Wei asked the manservant to go back first. He stood upright amid the crowd, carrying his examination case on his back.
His appearance was particularly striking, and his temperament was elegant like a clear and bright moon. Many people had noticed him. Between whispers, one then knew that this man was Chu Wei, the Number One Beautiful Man, whose good reputation had spread throughout the capital.
Li Yan, the Shizi of the Marquis of Pingchang, who was sending his good friend Tang Mian not far away, noticed the commotion for the first time and looked back. He patted Tang Mian on the shoulder, gloating over his misfortune, “Tang Mian, even Chu Wei takes part in the examination. Can you still get a good rank?”
Tang Mian also saw Chu Wei. He frowned and then relaxed, “He has not continued taking the examination for seven years. I don’t believe that his knowledge is as good as before. Chu Wei can take part in the examination; he isn’t a threat to me.”
At the back, Chu Wei’s ears perked up. All of a sudden, he turned to look at Tang Mian.
Neither Tang Mian nor Li Yan noticed. Li Yan asked, “You are one of the very best in the academy every time. This time, are you sure you will grasp the Number One Scholar?”
Tang Mian cautiously said, “Uncertain. I heard that Chang Yuyan, the son of the Deputy Chief of Dali Temple, also takes part in the examination. I have read his essays and poems. He is a strong rival to me.”
Li Yan couldn’t help saying in jealousy, “Anyway, as long as you are in the top three, you will be summoned by His Majesty himself.”
Tang Mian also couldn’t help feeling excited and nervous. He laughed and pretended to be calm as he said, “I will definitely make His Majesty have a completely new appraisal of me.”
Since that Cuju match, he could only relive the face of the Emperor in the painting. But how could the appearance of the person in the painting compare with one-tenth of the real person?
The genuine Emperor was the light of his life. If he wanted to remember him all of his life, neither second place nor third place was enough.
In the name that he had yet reached 20-year-old if he won the Number One Scholar…
Tang Mian’s heart was burning hot.
Chu Wei quietly moved his gaze and lowered his eyes to cover his disdain and sneer.
The little rascal truly dares to think so.
When the conference examination in the Examination Hall began, Gu Yuanbai received the news in the Imperial Palace.
He carefully listened to the report. After quite a while, his undertone lips gently curved, showing a satisfied smile, “Good.”
Tian Fusheng brought him a cup of tonic soup. Upon seeing the Emperor was happy, he said, “Your Majesty’s care is not wasted. This year’s candidates are honest and sincere; the next generation of scholars can enjoy a little shade.”
Gu Yuanbai nodded his head and put the government affairs aside. “It’s time for Zhen to ponder over the topic of their [final] palace examination.”
Tian Fusheng fetched the archived book, which recorded thousands of essays on the current affairs submitted to the Emperor as policy advice. Gu Yuanbai flipped over a few pages and shook his head, “No matter how many times Zhen read them, it seems inconvenient to have no punctuation marks.”
Tian Fusheng doubtfully looked at the Emperor, “Punctuation mark?”
Gu Yuanbai: “It’s nothing.”
Punctuation marks were the pauses in reading unpunctuated ancient writings; sentence breaking3 as the ancients said. But this punctuation mark could not be easily taken out, nor could it be easily used.
Since ancient times, some of the only copy extant theories had been monopolized by the academic factions. What they monopolized was the sentence breaking. For example, there were two ways to break the sentence in the famous saying “People can be made use of but cannot be made to understand”. One: People can be, made use of; but cannot be, made to understand. Two: People can, be made use of; but cannot, be made to understand.
Different factions held different methods of sentence breaking, and their understanding of the meaning was naturally different. If punctuation marks were implemented, it was bound to make these academic schools tremored. The outcome would be: which was right and why others were wrong? Why should they let the world know their factions’ ways of sentence breaking?
The reason why the academic factions were called factions was because of the monopoly characteristic given by their unique cultures. Because of their unique characteristics, students were required to devote themselves to the faction’s name if they wanted to learn. When more people studied there, such a faction would become a scholar-tyrant.
Even if there were official schools, it could not stop the growth and development of the academic factions.
Those who studied at this faction of knowledge would all have a unified sentence breaking and a unified understanding of the words of saints. At this time, if the Emperor suddenly brought out punctuation marks, saying that the essay should be broken this way and read like that, the scholars in different factions and the factions with sentence breakings unlike the official sentence breaking would be dissatisfied. Why are we wrong? We spend time, energy, and money learning things. If this is wrong, doesn’t it mean that we are not getting any results and studying for nothing?
And the factions with the same sentence breaking as the official sentence breaking would be equally dissatisfied. Why is our private knowledge disclosed to all? How can the things we have accumulated for generations become common to all people?
As soon as the punctuation mark came out, it would be like taking their cake – these academic factions would never agree with it.
Punctuation mark was a good thing, but Gu Yuanbai couldn’t take it out at the moment.
When there was no strong enemy inside and outside, and when the Emperor could lift the table, it was time to shock the schools of thought and carry out academic reformation.
Gu Yuanbai turned over two pages of the archived book as he sipped a warm tea. When he realized what he was thinking, he couldn’t help laughing.
He said he wanted to accept his fate, but he was like a sugar addict, who said he wanted to give up sugar, or a smoker, who said he wanted to stop smoking. He talked big, but his body was very honest. It completely showed what it meant to be inconsistent and insincere.
The author has something to say:
Gu Yuanbai: I only have a career in my heart.
The future Xue Yuan: …Laozi begs you, please look at me.