Chapter 60: Literary Competition - Preface
Lin Xiao said facing Long Yin, “Your Majesty, this competition should have ended a long time ago, but Lin Xiao would just like to shamelessly request some of Your Majesty’s and the audience's’ time, and make a request.”
“How is your wound?” Long Yin asked instead in a concerned tone.
Lin Xiao said with a grateful face: “Thank you for your concern Your Majesty, it is just a flesh wound, nothing serious. It will heal completely after a few days.”
“Then I feel relieved. What is your request, might as well be forward with it.”
“Yes!” Lin Xiao answered in a respectful manner then said, “I, Lin Xiao, for a long time have been a confident master of pen and sword. I am respected as Tian Long’s most gifted scholar and Tian Long’s best talent. But these are meaningless titles. Thinking myself the greatest among my generation, consequently has made me arrogant, immeasurably proud, but also lonesome. Today, after competing with Young Master Ye, I realized that there is always someone greater and more powerful than me. Before, I was ignorant and narrow-minded. Now, I am both ashamed and secretly delighted, seeing the others go hunting, one is excited by the thrill of the hunt. Young Master Ye not only has extraordinary skill, but also has incomparable wisdom, with sharp words and superior martial skills as well as great literary talent. In martial arts, I have been completely defeated, so I would like to compete in literary skills. I hope Your Majesty and Young Master Ye would agree.”
TL: Seeing the others go hunting, one is excited by the thrill of the hunt - one gets inspired by seeing others practice their craft/do what they love
After speaking, his eyes looked brightly at Ye WuChen, his expression implying provocation.
Suddenly there was an exchange of whispered conversations. Who among the Tian Long Nation does not know of Lin Xiao’s “Tian Long Number One Gifted Scholar” title? Even though his martial skills has reached great heights among his peers, considering Tian Long Nation’s myriad of older generation masters, he is only regarded as an above average talent. But his wisdom greatly surpasses his martial skills, so much so that a number of great scholars from the older generations conceded their defeat in front of him, proclaiming that they have not witnessed such talent in their whole life and that there is definitely no other person like him. Whether the four arts (zither, Go, calligraphy, painting), verse, songs, or poetic essays, all of them he has highly perfected. His skill level simply reached an unimaginable degree of talent.
Obviously, he was using his highly regarded talents to save the face of the entire Lin family. Could the Young Master of the Ye family meet him head-on? In front of His Majesty and the people, declining Lin Xiao’s invitation for challenge would mean victory for Lin family by default. If he accepted the challenge… would there be any hope of victory for the Young Master of Ye?
Long Yin nodded his head, “Two great talents testing their skills against each other would be marvelous to beyond beyond comparison. Even I am itching to get on with it. How can I not permit it. Everybody is aware of Lin Xiao’s talents, and Wuchen’s skills might also be out of the ordinary. Have you come to a decision, Wuchen?”
Ye Wuchen considered carefully for a little bit, then said in a helpless manner. “Since Your Majesty is expectant, I shall accept the literary challenge of Master Lin.”
Judging by his expression and tone, it looks like the challenge was accepted not because of lack of better option, but because…of the emperor’s eagerness. He appeared to have no interest in the challenge.
After giving his consent, the atmosphere around them became more enthusiastic. After all, an interesting spectacle was about to begin. Majority of the audience were excited to personally witness the great talent of Lin Xiao.
“Master Lin, how would you like to compete?” Ye Wuchen asked.
“I would like to know where Young Master Ye’s expertise lies” Lin Xiao asked in return, with a moderate tone, yet anyone could hear the conceited implication of this tone. He really had full confidence in his own talent. Not only among his generation, but even among the entire Tian Long Nation. He believed it would be difficult to find another person his own equal.
“I’ll follow as you wish. Since you are the one who suggested the literary challenge, you should be the one to decide.” Ye Wuchen countered the air of arrogance by standing his ground. A lesser man would refuse to give his competition any sort of advantage. If one intends to win, at least let their opponent be sincerely convinced to concede without any complaint.
“If that is the case, then let us allow His Majesty to make the decision?”
Ye Wuchen nodded, expressing his consent.
Lin Xiao turned around and said, “In order to be fair, Lin Xiao would like to boldly request His Majesty to host the competition between the two of us. Verse, songs, poetic essays, or the four arts (zither, Go, calligraphy, painting), are all acceptable!”
“Hoho! This was my intention. I will decide your competition. Literary challenge is different from martial skills challenges, numerous factors are involved. A single challenge couldn’t simply determine the winner and loser. I will give you three stages of competition, the one who wins two stages is the winner. Is that acceptable?” Long Yin said laughing, showing great interest in the competition to follow.
“As Your Majesty commands.” Ye Wuchen and Lin Xiao said at the same time. At this time, they both had the same unusual thought --- two stages would be enough. It will not likely proceed to the third stage.
“OK!” Long Yin nodded, slightly knitting his brows, thinking deeply for a moment and said, “My original plan after witnessing this competition was to go to the lakeside of the West City for a tour, then make a painting there as a passionate pastime. I happen to have brought two complete set of painting tools. Since this is the case, your first stage of competition is painting!”
Long Yin clapped his hands. The two attendants seated behind him immediately stood, each of them holding a very huge painting board made of sandalwood as well as different kinds of tools. They proceeded towards Ye Wuchen and Lin Xiao, raised the painting board, spread across the painting paper, painting brush and all kinds of inks, then left them to the two gentlemen before stepping down and retreating to their seats.
Painting in public…The people extended their necks, patiently waiting. Their thoughts secretly praising the emperor for having the forethought of bringing painting tools in his journey.
“This… this can’t be right, Chen-er had been sickly since he was small. He has never learned painting.” Wang Wenshu once again got anxious, she never cared about competitions, but she could not bear seeing her precious son lose his reputation in front of so many people.
Ye Shuiyao wanted to say something but halted. Fixing her gaze on Ye Wuchen, waiting for him to reveal his true colors. Today, she was once again trying to understand her brother, the one who she knew since birth.
“Don’t worry. No matter how crushing his defeat will become, after today, his fame will surely spread across Tian Long Nation! How’s that for defeat. We of the Ye family do not need those conventional poetry and essay anyway.” Ye Wei said confidently, his face bore no signs of being anxious but instead showed pride.
“You said it right.” Ye Nu also nodded. He evidently believed that Ye Wuchen was not even the least bit well-matched with Lin Xiao for literary competition. But, so what? Allowing Lin Xiao to take initiative suggesting literary competition clearly means that they’ve been pressured to rely on this last resort to regain their reputation. For Ye Nu, who had been fighting in the blood-soaked battlefield for many years, he looked down upon those scholars who had been nesting in their homes, reciting poems and essays. Heavenly Star was a continent that highly respected martial skills.
“The competition has not even started yet, and you’re already trying to absolve your grandson. If that’s the case, why don’t you admit defeat beforehand, isn’t that better?” Lin Kuang sneered at him.
“Your second brother is my grandson’s grandson, which also makes you my grandson’s grandson. When the elder is speaking, the younger generations have no right to interrupt.” Ye Nu snorted coldly.
“You!” Lin Kuang was furious. As he was about to stand up to argue, but he recalled the current situation. He forcibly suppressed his anger and refused to look at Ye Nu.
“There’s no limit on the content of the painting; you can paint whatever you like. But the time will be just for a quarter of an hour! After a quarter, whether you’ve completed or not, you must stop painting.” Long Yin said.