Wu Xinjie had a fair standard on creating responses. She racked her brains recalling couplets she had seen before in an ancient book, then said: “Two boats side by side, the scull is not as fast as the sail.” The scull’s speed hinted at Lu Su, the sail’s swiftness at Fan Kuai. These two both were outstanding and famous generals several dynasties ago. The person’s name and the object’s name were overlapping homophones, which could be said to be clever.
The whole audience cried, “Good.”
The maid’s tone was very indifferent: “The eight instruments all together play music, the clear flute (low and young official) is hard to compare to pan pipes (Xiao He).”1
“Young Master, Sisters, let’s see yours?” Wu Xinjie helplessly surrendered.
Lin Yingmei said one: “Like dreams, like fantasy. Like bubbles, like shadows. Like revealed, like lightning.”
“Do not increase and do not decrease. Do not birth and do not die. Do not dirty and do not clean;”
An Suwen thought for a moment, then also said: “Inside the fortunate morning, for the time being go easy!”2
The maid was apathetic. This important couplet did not baffle her: “How can one help this matter, you must wait to return.”3 The Efficacious Star was also defeated in a flash. The Thief Star Shi Yuan was no longer confident, but she remembered a couplet she once saw inside a tomb. She opened her mouth and shouted:
“One mind and two tasks4 and three obediences and four virtues,5 five winters and six summers6 and seven up and eight down,7 nine descendants and ten ancestors,8 a hundred households and a thousand fingers,9 ten thousand deaths will not stop me!”10
This couplet completely was formed following numerical idioms. From one to ten thousand, this talked about a loitering married woman scared on the edge every moment of her life until finally she was utterly isolated and had been hounded to death. This could be considered an amazing couplet.
Whatever material Little Yi thought about for a bit, she unexpectedly actually made a response. (Author’s Note: I myself thought over this, and I still haven’t thought of a good response.)11
“The shopkeeper is indeed outstanding, for a maid in her employ to be this incredible.”
Everyone admired her.
“Any more?” Little Yi asked, seemingly very interested.
Wu Xinjie gazed at her sisters, already out of ammunition and no food left.
Little Yi nodded. Just as she was about to return to Li Shishi’s side, suddenly, she heard a voice speak.
“This one beneath you has an Absolute For All Eternity. I wonder if you can respond!”
Su Xing’s eyes lit up, lightly smiling as he spoke.
“Absolute For All Eternity?”
“You can come up with an Absolute For All Eternity? Big talk!”
“What a joke. She let a maid go respond to couplets. Unexpectedly, he thinks he can come up with an Absolute For All Eternity.”
“The hedonistic brat surely is a hedonistic brat, how arrogant!”
Everyone present made a racket. All those present were from literary families, conceited with great talent. Suddenly hearing the silent Su Xing say these grand words of “Absolute For All Eternity” after hearing the maid throw out every kind of high difficulty couplets, at once, those that felt they had been insulted loudly jeered.
“Please speak.” Little Yi showed a bit of interest.
Wu Xinjie was slightly worried.
Su Xing laughed, unconcerned. In terms of literary talent, he certainly could not be compared to the learned guests present, but saying an absolute for all eternity, Su Xing actually thought of such a thing. When he was on Earth in the past, there was such an absolute through eternity that up until now, no one had perfectly replied to. Thus, he did not believe the maid before him could reply. The couplet that could make Su Xing this self-confident was exactly –
“Willow pond locked in smoke!”12
Uttering this couplet, a few novice literati jeered: “It sounds very simple.”
However, they immediately discovered the entire Heavenly Prosperity Establishment had fell into a sort of frightening, deathly silence. Somewhat erudite scholars revealed shocked expressions. After seeing that Qin Shaoyou thinking a bit, they looked at Su Xing, dumbstruck.
Even Little Yi was shaken.
“Willow pond locked in smoke, is it very difficult?” Shi Yuan saw their shocked expressions as funny.
Wu Xinjie thought this over a second time and immediately smile: “This couplet of Young Master truly is absolute for all eternity.”
The Knowledge Star the explained. Willow pond locked in smoke appeared to be very simple, but it was actually very profound. The five words were formed from the five radicals of metal, wood, water, fire and earth.13 In addition, these five words formed from the radicals had an extremely artistic mood. How could this kind of couplet be easily responded to.14
Shi Yuan and the rest pondered briefly, then they also jumped in shock.
To respond to this kind of excellently artistic couplet indeed was not too possible.
“Big Brother, so amazing.” An Suwen covered her mouth, exclaiming in admiration.
“He always was this kind of surprising person.” Shi Yuan very quickly recovered, saying so proudly.
The maid Little Yi pondered, wrinkling her brow deeply as she reflected for a long while. That pair of apathetic red eyes gazed at Su Xing, filled with bewilderment and were at a loss.
Su Xing calmly drank his tea amidst this chaos, not caring for their shock.
Who was he kidding. He actually hoped for someone to respond to this kind of genuine Absolute For All Eternity in order to let him broaden his horizons.
“Your Distinguished Self, the sage presents as an ordinary person. Shaoyou does admire!” Qin Shaoyou cupped his fists, prostrating himself in admiration as he had nothing to say.
Pondering for a long time, Little Yi gave up.
“It seems the results are very clear.” Li Shishi resumed her clam, a smile across her whole face.
To be able to play with a thousand jin copper lion in his hand, and to be able to utter an Absolute For All Eternity, all the guests present felt ashamed of their inferiority. Not a word was said.
A token at this time flew into Su Xing’s hand.
“After seven days, we invite Young Master to again come to the Heavenly Excitement Building for a gathering. Prepare for the military slays six generals!” Li Shishi said.
With singing and dancing, the restaurant was a field of jubilation.
Su Xing did not stay at the Heavenly Prosperity Establishment for too long. Since he already obtained the qualifications, he very quickly took his leave.
Sitting on the carriage, Shi Yuan still continuously uttered that absolute for all eternity of Su Xing’s, “willow pond locked in smoke.” Although the Thief Star did not have interest in prose and verse sorts of things, seeing the man she liked boldly show himself, her heart still was contented.
“Su Xing, just how did you think of that? Truly too mysterious.” Shi Yuan said, worshiping him.
Su Xing naturally could not say he saw it on the Internet.15 Instead, a divine light had flashed.
“Did Big Brother Su Xing figure out a response?” An Suwen’s question aroused their curiosity.
“The difficulty in responding lies in the artistry.” Wu Xinjie said.
Su Xing also felt this way.
“However, Xinjie actually thought of one.”
The girls were startled.
“Let’s hear you say it.” Su Xing was engrossed.
Wu Xinjie smiled: “For willow pond locked in smoke, Xinjie responds ‘’clogged town building burned in fog!’”16
The cart’s inside was silent for ages. Su Xing clapped, giving her a big thumbs up, endlessly admiring her: “Xinjie, worthy of being called the Knowledge Star. This Absolute For All Eternity unexpectedly really was responded to.” Fog became rain, and rain became water, that was considered clever. A burning fog not inferior to locking smoke, it was as if the scenery was before them. A clogged town building made their eyes promptly see a crowded checkpoint tower. Smoke filled the sky as if it was burning on the tower, the burning fog like a blazing flame of war, indicating the pertinent building’s bitterness and desolation. Only in terms of artistry, if willow pond locked in smoke was like the grace of a humble family’s pretty daughter in the sunny south, then clogged town building burning in fog was a blood-soaked and valiant hero. Pretty good.
Shi Yuan was dizzy. “Apparently, the most talented and learned is still Elder Sister Knowledge Star.”
“Wu Xinjie, how did you think of that?” Lin Yingmei asked.
“How would Xinjie have any literary talent. Xinjie merely previously wandered Liangshan and happened to once go to the Forever Bloody Sand Pass,17 and seeing this place’s fort, Xinjie then thought of it.” Wu Xinjie smiled.
Everyone clearly understood.
The Forever Bloody Fort was one of the Great Liang’s extremely bitter mountain passes. Located in the Vermilion Bird Territory bordering the Ten Thousand Devils Mountain, that place waged wars year round. An inch of flesh covered the earth, and the earth became bloody. Every early morning, the fog was a blood red, just like a blazing inferno.
This time’s Language Passes Three Checkpoints made each of the girls experience the astonishing words of Su Xing and the different Knowledge Star.
“This Heavenly Star’s Master Recruitment truly is peculiar.” Su XIng said. “And we don’t know if this is real or not?” He had some doubts.
“The outcome will be seen after seven days. Xinjie thinks that this Heavenly Star is very extraordinary.” Wu Xinjie smiled mysteriously, seemingly guessing about seventy or eighty percent.
“However, me tricking her like this isn’t too suitable, right?” Su Xing wrinkled his brow.
The Knowledge Star smiled, unconcerned: “No need to worry. Since it is a public recruitment for a master, then we can assume so. There is no tricking or not of any sort.”
“Can Young Master truly sign a fifth sister?” An Suwen and Shi Yuan gazed at each other, feeling this matter was too mysterious.
“Yingmei, what do you say?” Wu XInjie very considerately inquired Lin Yingmei’s opinion. Put it any way, the Majestic Star Lin Chong was the first to sign a contract with Su Xing, and she was also considered the first and legal wife.18
Lin Yingmei shook her head. If it was before, she used to even have some conflicts with Su Xing. Nowadays, she already no longer thought this way. She was even brimming with anticipation.
Li Shishi returned to the Red Winding Apricot19 and let out a breath of air. Seven candidates finally were all collected. With things like this, she could be considered to have completed the mission that Heavenly Star assigned to her.
“Little Yi, could you make out that Yun Youzi’s background? Seeing those four young beauties at his side, it seems to be not simple. Could he be a Star Master?” Li Shishi asked the maid beside her, her countenance somewhat anxious.
Little Yi’s red pupils flickered rays of light, emotionless, not replying.
Stone Tablet City Public Square, Under the Devil Suppressing Stele
A youth raised his head to look at the script on the stone tablet. His face was white as jade, elegant and graceful. His cultivation seemed to only be at Nebula Late Stage, but in a fluid glance, an expression that looked down upon everything was released. The Jiang Yundao who stood guard at the Devil Suppressing Stele was respectfully nearby, completely without that overbearing attitude he had initially when he warned Su Xing.
There were an additional six masters clutching long swords. Metallic crossbow military generals stood on each side, each of their presences reserved, the middle of their foreheads full. In a moment, nobody dared approach within a few meters of the Devil Suppressing Stele.
“Father Emperor truly is skilled. This Palace does not know just when I will have the bearing of these words.” The youth opened his mouth, his tone insulting and arrogant. He was precisely the current Great Liang Dynasty’s Fourth Prince, His Highness Zhao Cheng.20
“Your Majesty, to reach Nebula Late Stage without contracting a Star General, this class of talent, any of the Star Cultivators in the Great Liang are far inferior.” Jiang Yundao said.
“This Palace practiced Demonic Arts, that’s all.” Zhao Cheng deeply sighed, gently stroking the characters on the stone tablet, with endless pity. “Sister and brother both have Heavenly Stars serving them. If This Palace did not take an alternate route, then there was no catching up.”
“Fourth Highness, could it be no Star General wants to sign a contract with Your Majesty??” Jiang Yundao was surprised.
“This Palace only wants a Heavenly Star. Those Earthly Stars, This Palace certainly does not have interest for.” Zhao Cheng haughtily said.
“Eh, then the Heavenly Prosperity Establishment’s Heavenly Star…”
“This Palace already assigned people to go investigate. If there is a Heavenly Star, then good. If not, hmph, just take that Li Shishi to join a brothel.” Zhao Cheng coldly smiled.
At this time, a spy returned with news that the Heavenly Prosperity Establishment contracted the final candidate.
Zhao Cheng suddenly exposed a trace of zealotry.
When he heard of Su Xing’s method to superbly control the copper lion, Jiang Yundao could not help but tremble in fear. This Star Cultivator indeed was seriously brilliant.
However, what Zhao Cheng actually cared about was another matter.
“Willow pond locked in smoke. Truly an Absolute For All Eternity!’
“Fourth Highness. Your humble servant has seen that person before. Nebula Late Stage, four beautiful girls, his background is not small.”
“Who cares who he is, no one can stop This Palace from contracting a Heavenly Star!” Zhao Cheng’s expression was ruthless. The Devil Suppressing Stone Table was suddenly surrounded by a black light, shook briefly, and terrified Jiang Yundao.
Fortunately, after Zhao Cheng calmed down, the Devil Suppressing Stele also fell back to tranquility.
Gazing at the fourth prince before his eyes, Jiang Yundao abruptly felt the surroundings briefly turn cold. His heart ineffably had a trace of fear.
Updated tonight, send more time.
- 八音齊奏，笛清（狄青）難比簫和（蕭何）This is a pun where the comparisons are parallel. 笛清 and 狄青 are both not as good as 簫 and 蕭何, a famous public official. ↩
- 幸早裡，且從容（杏棗梨，蓯蓉）another pun, 幸早裡 sounds similar to 杏棗梨, a bunch of fruits. 從容 sounds similar to 蓯蓉, a groundcone and a lotus. ↩
- 奈這事，須當歸（萘蔗柿，當歸）a direct response to An Suwen’s pun. 奈這事 sounds like 萘蔗柿, naphthalene, sugar cane and persimmon, though naphthalene is toxic to humans. 須當歸 and 當歸 is more direct, using the same characters, but meaning different things. 當歸 is also female ginseng. ↩
- 一心二用, multitask ↩
- 三從四德, Confucian injunctions for women ↩
- 五冬六夏, year round ↩
- 七上八下, all over the place ↩
- 九眷十親, really should be 十親九眷 and basically means family. ↩
- 百戶千指 ↩
- 萬死不辭 ↩
- This was literally in the raws. The author couldn’t figure out a response and said, “Fuck it, she managed to make one.” ↩
- 煙鎖池塘柳, from a very famous poem by Chen Zisheng. ↩
- 金木水火土 ↩
- Think of the usage of the radicals 火金水土木 in 煙鎖池塘柳. The Five Elements are themselves a profound theory, but think of, at the same time, the imagery presented in the poem. A tranquil lake, surrounded by willow trees, and shrouded in mist. This presents a very mysterious image, and it actually is very hard to come up with anything just as good. ↩
- LOL ↩
- 霧燃鎮塞樓 ↩
- 長血漠塞 ↩
- There we have it! ↩
- 紅杏宛 ↩
- 趙檉 ↩