The thousand jin copper lions were on that youth’s left and right. The center of his hands released Star Energy, and the two lions were played around in his hands like balloons. His cultivation had reached Nebula Early Stage.
“Master Qin’s cultivation has greatly increased in half a year, truly a talented genius!”
Everyone cheered all at once, their praising voices up here and down there. This Master Qin’s reputation really was not small.
The youth slightly smiled and firmly set the copper lions on the ground. He cupped his fist, and a maid led him to the second floor.
At this time, Su Xing knew he could not hesitate any longer. Rising, he walked to the copper lions, four beautiful lotuses elegantly following him. The hundred guests that were discussing the youth stopped their conversations, indefinitely bewildered as they stared at Su Xing, particularly at the four outstanding beauties Lin Yingmei and the rest, and their eyes straightened.
The maid and that youth also turned their heads.
“Who is this hedonistic brat? Never seen him before?”
“An unfamiliar face. Perhaps he is on a scenic tour?”
“He looks that weak to stand up to the wind, yet he wants to go move the copper lions?”
“Wah, those four beautiful girls, this brat truly has luck with women.”
“Heh, heh. Seeing his weak complexion, he must have weak kidneys from the lustful nights he has every night? Unexpectedly wanting to move the copper lion, that hedonistic brat is just overestimating his abilities.”
The majority of the customers inside the restaurant were from powerful and influential families, not only within Stone Table City, but they held a great reputation in even the entire Calm Prefecture. The complex influences of the nearby prefectures were fairly clear, yet this unfamiliar face of Su Xing’s had never been seen before. Subconsciously, they felt he had rushed over from the central plains. The emperor high in heaven was far away, and the powerful dragon could not pressure the local bully. Also seeing Su Xing and his four beauties hold each other, jealous moods of every kind for a moment made everyone mock and ridicule Su Xing.
“Does this Young Master have any orders?” The maid asked.
Su Xing did not waste his breath speaking. His finger lightly forming a hook, Star Energy shot out. The two copper lions were played around in his hand completely without suspense, and launching it, the copper lions turned into flashes of light. They suddenly were reduced in size by several times, turning into a single decoration only several inches in size that fell into Su Xing’s hand.
It was an object shrinking art!1
The whole audience was absolutely silent, dumbstruck.
Shrinking object arts were specially cultivated arts for Star Cultivators, this was not strange. However, what Su Xing used could be said to be wonderful to the hair of the summit. Ordinary Star Cultivators’ object shrinking required long times to refine, and the resizing must guarantee that the object’s quintessence was not lost, and something like the copper lions were even more magic energy demanding. It was hard to imagine the resizing would go smoothly without two or three days. Su Xing merely used a martial art in the blink of an eye, and the copper lions turned into a toy in his hand, which could be considered to have scared this group of powerful nobles.
Su Xing threw the copper lion, and the lion grew back to its original size.
The maid was astonished.
“May I pass through?” Su XIng asked.
“Only Star Cultivators that have conducted a Star Duel qualify, are you one?” Qin Shaoyou2 sneered.
The blankly staring guests just slapped their thighs, having suddenly seen the light.
Seeing Su Xing control his Star Energy so perfectly, this simply could not be done with four or five years of effort,3 and Su Xing’s cultivation was not shallow. At once, they believed that he already had trained for a very long time, and each and every one revealed a “So it turned out to be this” expression of contempt, at last comforting themselves.
“Of course I am. How do you test this?” Su Xing flatly asked.
“You sure can talk big, careful you don’t pull your tongue.”
“Daring to proclaim yourself to be a Star Cultivator that went through a Star Duel, you’ve got thick skin, huh. Do you think you’re a genius?”
“Let’s see how the Heavenly Star fixes him up.”
They continued to jeer at him.
Lin Yingmei coldly swept her gaze over them, her eyes like lightning, a penetrating cold. The air temperature of the Heavenly Prosperity Establishment’s fiery lounged immediately plummeted to zero, and it was the tall and sturdy man who was frozen to the point his teeth chattered, looking at Lin Yingmei filled with fright.
This time, everyone was considered to have been silenced.
“Please, Young Master, quell your anger. This Slave Servant shall immediately go make a report.” The maid promptly said
Su Xing hinted to Lin Yingmei, and the girl lowered her chilliness. Subsequently, everyone sitting before them at a table drank their wine, and everyone hid far away, looking at each other in dismay. Their eyes showed restrained fear of the consequences, thinking, could this youth be a Star Master from legend that came for a Star Duel?
A moment later. Upstairs, the fragrant muslin was separated, and colorful flowers danced in the breeze. Everyone’s gaze had been attracted, and seeing a golden lotus phoenix hairstyle,4 colorful and bright beauty step down, her great beauty was full displayed. The people below sighed.
This was Li Shishi?
Su Xing was unconvinced.
“I, your servant, am Li Shishi, shopkeeper of the Heavenly Prosperity Establishment. I have heard there is a young master that can resize the copper lions at will?” Li Shishi softly smiled.
“This one beneath you is Yun Youzi. I heard there was a Heavenly Star recruiting a master, and I specially came for a try.
Su Xing rose blandly.
The two good-looking flowery maids were very attractive to the eye, wearing dark blue beautiful maid skirts, the white borders creased, golden armor, their heads stuck with corollas and dark red tassels. The particularly eye-catching maid had an exposed white back, carved with a gorgeous decorative design, they were extremely good-looking.
The two’s appearances also were totally different. Wearing a dark blue maid skirt, with a pair of vermilion red eyes equivalent to contempt, the other was a white maid skirt girl blinking her eyes, very enthusiastically.
“Are you a Star Master?” The enthusiastic girl asked.
“Passed three checkpoints and slayed six generals, that’s it.” Su Xing replied.
The girl looked at Li Shishi, and Li Shishi muttered to herself for a short time, then nodded.
“Since Young Master is so confident, I, your servant shall believe in the Young Master!” Li Shishi smiled.
She was just about to invite Su Xing upstairs. Suddenly, she heard people shout.
“Owner, since it’s the final candidate, it would be better to have a public showdown here, right?”
“That’s right. Also let us experience Master Qin’s talent.”
Li Shishi asked: “Two Young Masters, what do you think?!”
“Do you dare accept?” Young Master Qin sneered, somewhat indignant.
“As you wish.” Su Xing was not opposed.
“Then, good. I wish this time there will be a Young Master that can become the final general. The other six generals already are nearly blaming I, your servant.” Li Shishi had a lovely and pitiful expression, causing everyone to swallow their saliva.
The Heavenly Prosperity Establishment very quickly pulled open a battle array, issuing two tables. Li Shishi sat at an aromatic seat as the seat of honor, clutching a feather fan, overlooking them. Those rich and powerful nobles each and every one chuckled loudly, “Qin Shaoyou, you must start off leniently so as to avoid mistaking that Calm Prefecture’s genius took advantage of him.”
Passing through three checkpoints did not require a battle; what was tested was literary talent. A few arrogantly powerful Star Cultivators that often easily settled the copper lions were defeated under the checkpoint. Qin Shaoyou was Stone Tablet’s genius. Several months before, he could pass through three checkpoints, and the other people that passed through the checkpoints had literary talents not as exceptional as his. It was just that he could not hold up the copper lions continuously that he delayed for this long. This time, when he successfully raised the copper lions, everyone already thought the final position in the Heavenly Star recruiting a master was something he had in the bag.
That maid Little Yi walked out, her eyes indifferent. The lounge resumed its quiet.
The first checkpoint of Language Passes Through Three checkpoints was called “Taking Apart the White Orbit Character.”7 Take a character, tear it into two characters and speak them out in a sentence. For example, “so stuffy”8 can be taken apart into “You have only ever been with your woman who has a child by her side. How do you know I’m searching for my heart in my door.”9
Su Xing was a complete layman at this. Fortunately, this checkpoint of literary talent allowed a chamberlain to take the role of answering. Thus, Wu Xinjie stepped forward.
Little Yi spat out the first subject of the first checkpoint Taking Apart the White Orbit word
“Hiding in the door as you open your mouth to speak is proof lacking. Clear under autumn is the heart’s feeling!”11
Qin Shaoyou blurted out the first thing he thought of.
“Worthy of being called a genius, he doesn’t even need to think.”
Wu Xinjie pursed her lips, concealing her disdain, her clear voice: “Inside the door there is a mouth, yet it has difficulty speaking. In autumn, it is oversensitivity you are clearly seeing!”12 The Knowledge Star was also able and knowledgeable. She easily issued a response.13
Everyone present went blank. Their favorite had just stepped up, and he once again was suppressed.
“The first checkpoint is merely an appetizer. The second checkpoint definitely will not be that simple.” Qin Shaoyou’s voice sunk.
The second checkpoint was “Word Relay.”14 It was also a game that was most popular with scholars at the moment. The last word of a sentence had to be used as the first word of the following sentence.
“Heartbroken people write heartbroken words!”15
“Those without lovers write love poems!”16
Little Yi proceeded to say: “You may choose one, the format must be identical.”
Qin Shaoyou thought for a while, then spoke at length: “Heartbroken people write heartbroken words, words written about the heart’s matters, matters in the end cannot help itself, itself pondering, pondering the past’s sincere aspirations, aspirations truly there were, were in love with who it seems, seems I am that person.”17
“Pretty good!” This time, even Su Xing nodded. The kind of thing of a Word Relay sounded to be an excessive headache. His continuations actually were purely aesthetic.
“Young Master, this Star General actually is indeed odd. Arranging such a simple language passes three checkpoints.” Wu Xinjie smiled at Su Xing, clearly saying without the slightest hesitation: “Those without lovers write love poems, poems inside conceal emotional words, words and irregular pearls penetrate thinking, thinking up until now, now this night the hopeful monarch knows, knows of recalling past events, events resembling, resembling the monarch’s homecoming time.”
Su Xing could not help but voice his praise.
“Sister Xinjie indeed has talent.” An Suwen exclaimed in admiration.
“Sounds very profound.” The Thief Star tweaked her ears and scratched her cheeks. She felt there was nothing left for this Knowledge Star to do, making things this complicated.
Lin Yingmei also showed an appreciative expression.
Those nobles and ladies present each were dumbstruck.
Little Yi’s face was still expressionless.
The third checkpoint, Absolute For All Eternity!18
“This time, you will say ten antithetical couplets, following in response to this slave servant. Should you be able to outmatch this slave servant or utter a fine couplet, that will count as a pass.”
With regards to antithetical couplets, these customers that were present were far too familiar, nearly ad nauseam. The moment they opened their mouths, a small restaurant maid also did not pay attention. Qin Shaoyou started as before. First of all was a strange couplet “Scholars and peasants, do re mi fa sol.”19 The first couplet portion had two parts: the four classes of ancient China,20 and do re mi fa sol.21 The former four were professions, the latter five were sounds, and one word was repeated. One word was a homophone.22
Everyone loudly cried, “Wonderful!”
Little Yi pondered slightly, then replied: “Cold warming and warm cooling, temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous.”23 The former “cold warming and warm cooling” was the four apprehensions, and temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous were the five kinds of morality of the Confucian gentleman.24 Unexpectedly, she was not fussy.
Qin Shaoyou went blank, not expecting her to respond this quickly. He continued speaking: “A water fairy grasps a jasper hairpin, slowly blowing out a sound in front of the wind!”25 Once again, it was a wonderful couplet, entirely following famous words.
“Expecting beauties to wear red embroidered shoes, at moonset come delicate steps.”26
Little Yi calmly replied.
Qin Shaoyou’s expression changed, “Flaunting hair draped over the shoulders and holding a mighty sword, where is the immortal Buddha’s ear.”27
“Having a method to vanquish dragons and tigers, turtles and snakes in the clouds.”28
The following few couplets were also ingenious, mysterious, but that Little Yi truly was formidable, easily responding. After ten sets, Qin Shaoyou himself was rendered stupid. He unexpectedly had difficulties defeating a maid.
Everyone once again all assembled their gazes on Wu Xinjie.
- Remember the on all the way back that he stole from Elder Xiu or whoever it was? ↩
- 秦少游 ↩
- Which is longer than the current Star Duels have been on for, being three years. ↩
- Not sure what this is. ↩
- 小甲 ↩
- 小乙 ↩
- 拆白道字 ↩
- 好悶 ↩
- 你共人女邊著子，怎知我門裡挑心 ↩
- 問愁 ↩
- 躲門裡口說無憑，在秋下心裡情明 ↩
- 門裡有口卻難言，秋下多心你可見 ↩
- Hers is clearly a jab at his. ↩
- 頂真續麻, very similar to the Japanese Shiritori ↩
- 斷腸人寫斷腸詞 ↩
- 無情人寫有情詩 ↩
- 斷腸人寫斷腸詞，詞寫心間事，事到頭來不由自，自尋思，思量往日真誠志，志誠是有，有情誰似，似俺那人兒 ↩
- 千古絕對 ↩
- 士農工（宮）商角徴羽, very hard to translate this. ↩
- 士農工商 ↩
- 宮商角徴羽, Properly, this is “gong shang jue zhi yu,” which correspond to do re mi fa sol ↩
- 工 and 宮 ↩
- 寒熱溫涼（良）恭儉讓 ↩
- 溫良恭儉讓 ↩
- 水仙子持碧玉簮，風前吹出聲聲慢 ↩
- 虞美人穿紅繡鞋，月下行來步步嬌 ↩
- 逞披髮仗劍威風，仙佛焉耳矣 ↩
- 有降龍伏虎手段，龜蛇雲乎哉 ↩