Chapter 20 – Enrolled into School

Forensic Traversing Notes
Serendipity
47 Chapters

Chapter 1 - Calling for Someone Chapter 2 - Prince Si Zhao Chapter 3 - The Matter That Was Encountered on the Way  Chapter 4 - Fake Injury Chapter 5 - Entering Marquis WenYuan’s Household Chapter 6 - Past Events Chapter 7 - The Past Chapter 8 - The Future Chapter 9 - First-Born Son Chapter 10 - Saving Someone From A False Death (Drowning) Chapter 11 - Brushing By Each Other Chapter 12 - Lu Family Chapter 13 - [Wang Fu Case] Strange Dream Chapter 14 - Beat the Drum and Appeal for Justice     Chapter 15 - Opening the Coffin to Examine the Corpse Chapter 16 - Death From Illness or Homicide?     Chapter 17 - Inverted, Suspended, and Submerged in a Val Chapter 18 - A Rather Baffling Person Chapter 19 - Tattoo Chapter 20 - Enrolled into School Chapter 21 - [LiangJun Case] Tadpole Noodles Chapter 22 - Zhuang Zhong Felt as if He Had Seen God Chapter 23 - Magnifying Glass Chapter 24 - Insane Chapter 25 - Flour Chapter 26 - There Is No Story Without Coincidences Chapter 27 - Obsession Chapter 28 - [The Case of the Missing Silvers] Chapter 29 - An Army of Thieves Chapter 30 - Brewing Chapter 31 - The Will of the People Chapter 32 - Extraordinary Ability Chapter 33 - [Xu Sheng Case] Doubtful Points Chapter 34 - Night Watchman Chapter 35 - Homicide Chapter 36 - Jade Pendant Chapter 37 - To Die For Love Chapter 38 - Feng Huan snickered, “I found you more beautiful than many other young ladies. You are indeed worthy of being the son of the descended immortal.” Chapter 39 - Yu ZiAn Chapter 40 - Divorce Chapter 41 - Dripping Blood to Test Paternity Chapter 42 - [Jin Jiang Case] Letting Out a Big Move So Enter Cautiously Chapter 43 - Heavenly Thunder Is Frightening and The Author Who Was Struck Would Not Be Helping Out With the Collection of Corpses... Chapter 44 - Drunk Chapter 45 - King ZhenNan Chapter 46 - Attitude Chapter 47 - Bringing Misfortune to One’s Fiancée

Editor: mako

Proofreader: kllua

Actually, for GuoZi Xue to be incorporated into Tai Xue was not something unexpected. It was just that people had never once thought it would be abolished due to its long history.

GuoZi Xue was originally established for the benefit of the children of the capital officials, specifically for enyin1As a reminder, 恩荫 (enyin) refers to the act of conferring someone from the later generations as an official due to their ancestors’ meritorious service. and all the teachers there were famous senior secretaries2The author used “大学士” which refers to the high-ranking secretaries that help the emperor. who had excellent knowledge. Their students would undoubtedly benefit from it greatly as besides having talent, this would help one in their future career too. Essentially, it was precisely because the graduated students did manage to learn something from their time there that they were respected in court and their official career was much smoother than children of ordinary noble officials who were also granted enyin. Hence, this made many people scramble for a position to study there, hoping it would lead to a smooth future career as an official.

However, how could one predict that it would later develop in the opposite direction? All the sons of the officials who enrolled in GuoZi Xue had thought that after entering, their futures would be set for life. This, coupled with their status as children of the officials, meant they did not have to worry about their career as an official. Thus, they did not focus on their studies at all, acting as though it was a simple process that they could just walk through. They would also usually play truant frequently, not caring much about the exams and the teachers would just turn a blind eye to this. After all, only those with some power were able to enter, and those students would most likely rely on their fathers’ position as officials anywhere they go. Whether they studied or not was not that significant.

For a long time, there were already some in the imperial court who thought that GuoZi Xue had lost its original purpose and become unnecessary, as those officials’ sons who entered were just going there to muddle along. The famous teachers in the school also felt that they were not respected, and became unwilling to serve as a teacher. Notably, ever since Emperor Qian Xing ascended the throne, the total intake had reduced to 30, which was lesser by half than before.

Not too long ago, a sudden inspection by Emperor Qian Xing had uncovered that no more than five people were coming to GuoZi Xue! As most were either sleeping or reading unrelated books, no one was seriously listening in class, causing him to suddenly burst into a rage. Had it not been for the fact that the ministers would have admonished him, he would have given all the students a “warning of expulsion3As “夏楚” means something that keep students alert/vigilant and “屏斥” means removal, I took it that the author meant something like an expulsion warning., ordering them to drop out. Before that, the students would also have to undergo the most severe punishment that Tai Xue had – read out their charges in public and be flogged.

Although all this was never carried out in the end, Emperor Qian Xing did order for the suspension of classes for several days. One had never thought that before the school could be reopened, it would have been incorporated into Tai Xue with many changes made to the rules. The truth was that GuoZi Xue had faced criticism for a long time and it was only because all the officials benefited from it that there was weak opposition, and it ended up operating for so many years. Hence, it was a surprise that only within a month, Emperor Qian Xing had made such a big stir.

Many tried to fathom the emperor’s intentions, thinking he must have always disliked GuoZi Xue. Now that the rules had become as strict as Tai Xue, how could those good-for-nothing young masters adapt? From now on, if they ended up breaking any of the rules and were expelled, they would really never be able to have a career as an official again. Thus, when GuoZi Xue was reopened, there were only 12 students left. Among them were five new students, including Zhuang Zhong and Lu balang.

Standing in front of the sermonition tablet4 I could not find a proper English translation term for this but it is usually a stone tablet erected on the group with certain rules carved onto it., Zhuang Zhong and the other students listened to the rules that were being recited word for word by the xuezheng5“学正” (xuezheng) is a title for ancient China’s civil official. They were usually responsible for implementing school rules, examinations, and instructions. . All of them wore a serious expression and were respectful. How could they not when Prince Si Zhao was watching from the side?

Besides, just now, when someone snorted upon hearing that they had to sign in every day at ShouShan Hall had led to the xuezheng wanting to punish him with three jiechi6 “戒尺” (jiechi) refers to the ruler teachers use to punish students (probably to hit their palms). for his improper attitude. However, the student actually did not cower and hollered out a very classic line used from the ancient times to the present: my father is XX, how dare you touch me. It was at this time that Prince Si Zhao appeared from nowhere like a ghost and expelled that student on the spot!

That student wanted to argue, but Feng Huan directly said, “It is also time for a change of person for your father’s position.”

According to Feng Huan’s ability and audaciousness, this sentence was not just a threat. Once, a second-grade official had offended Feng Huan and was later dismissed and sent back to his hometown. Besides, even if one wanted to fight back, they would not dare. After all, Feng Huan had 5,000 personal troops on hand! Hence, in the end, that student did not dare to argue further and left dejectedly. Before Zhuang Zhong was officially enrolled in the school, he had already lost a classmate and did not even get to know his name. So, after this, who would have dared not give their utmost respect when listening to the rules?

“Students must abide by the rules.” The xuezheng was finally finished.

They were then divided into their dormitories where many became extremely shocked that they did not have a single room and had to share it with others. If it were not for Prince Si Zhao still being present, they would have wailed mournfully.

One of the bolder students asked respectfully, “Xuezheng, why is there no single room? I cannot sleep at night if there is someone next to me.”

The xuezheng glanced at the man and said, “A pair of husband and wife have to share a bed. Are you planning not to get married because of this?”

That student choked and murmured, “Women are different from men.”

Prince Si Zhao hummed coldly, “It will be the same when the lamp is extinguished.”

Everyone was trying to hold in their smiles as xuezheng’s serious and rigid face could not help but twitch. The student also wanted to crack a dirty joke, but when he saw Prince Si Zhao’s eyes sweeping around, he did not dare to speak anymore, fearing he would offend this eccentric prince.

Zhuang Zhong was also not surprised that he had to live with others. According to the Tai Xue’s rules, only the students with the best grades in the upper-division could live in a single room. The rest would have to live with others; the students in the inner-division would have 3 in a room, while those in the outer-division would have 4. If there were any change in the ranking after the examinations, people in the dormitories would be shuffled around accordingly. This could be considered as a kind of special benefit for the top students only. Thus, for the students in GuoZi Xue to have only 2 in a room was already considered preferential treatment and comparable to those in the upper-division in Tai Xue.

The xuezheng also said, “If you all want to stay in a single room, it is possible. You just have to score well in the public examinations.”

Initially expectant faces fell after hearing that, as it was only easy for one to say they wanted to score well for the examinations. Looking at the present situation, the examination would not be as easy as before and would require real talent and ability. If there was really someone with true talent and ability, they would not have entered GuoZi Xue but directly enrolled into Tai Xue or participate in the imperial examinations. After all, those who graduated from GuoZi Xue rely on currying favor with others to open doors for them. It was only because of this that in the future, they would have a smooth official career even with their eyes closed.

Seeing that Prince Si Zhao was still present, the rest dared not to complain further.

After the xuezheng finished speaking, Prince Si Zhao said, “Although GuoZi Xue is now incorporated into Tai Xue, anyone who desires the law, martial arts, medicine, or the arts colleges are fine. As long as you study seriously, the emperor will think highly of you in the future.”

When everyone heard that, their eyes lit up as they understood his words despite his vague way of speaking. It was also no wonder that he would appear here. Although he was sent to take charge of GuoZi Xue, he would not really interfere in the affairs, unlike what some believed – that this was a play for control. In the end, it turned out that Prince Si Zhao came just to convey the will of Emperor Qian Xing, and with this sentence, it could be regarded as a promise.

Essentially, the other colleges were less valued by the imperial court than Tai Xue, while those who graduated from GuoZi Xue had official careers inferior to Tai Xue. However, such words from Emperor Qian Xing changed the situation, causing many people to ponder in thought. In Tai Xue, there were more than 3,000 students, while other colleges had only two or three hundred. It could then be seen that the competition in Tai Xue was much greater than that of other colleges.

As soon as Lu balang heard this, he directly chose martial arts. DaYou’s martial arts studies were not only about learning martial arts but also about learning the art of war. Anyway, it was much better than letting him learn The Nine Classics7《九经》is known as The Nine Classics. It includes The Five Classics: 易經 (周易)-“The Book of Changes”, 尚書 (書經)-“The Book of Documents”, 詩經 (毛詩)-“The Book of Songs”, 禮記-“Records of Rites” and 春秋左傳-“The Spring and Autumn Annals and Zuo’s Commentary”. It was only later on that scholars added another 4 books, namely some other writings on rites and etiquette, the 周禮 “Rites of the Zhou” and the 儀禮 “Etiquette and Rites”, etc. If you are interested in Confucianism texts, you can read more at http://www.chinaknowledge.de/Literature/Terms/classics.html. or something along those lines. Meanwhile, Zhuang Zhong chose law studies, which mainly taught court trials, laws, and decrees. Among the others, there were two who chose martial arts, one for medicine, two for the arts, and so on, as the rest insisted on staying in Tai Xue.

Like this, Zhuang Zhong and Lu balang would not be able to live together. Even though all the colleges were situated in the same area, each had their own territory. It was also by chance that the rooms of the law college were insufficient, so Zhuang Zhong was eventually crammed into the nearest Tai Xue’s dormitory instead.

The dormitory was very clean, bright, and spacious. Although he had to sleep with someone else, the space given meant they would not be in too close proximity, as they could each just take a corner. It was much better than what Zhuang Zhong thought, with the exception of his roommate not being very friendly.

When Zhuang Zhong entered the room and had yet to speak, the man was already leaving with books in his arms. He just gave a cold hum and did not even glance at him. As the man brushed by Zhuang Zhong, he could hear him utter a sentence, “If things go on like this, the nation will be in peril. Heaven is unjust, so we can only rise up against them.”

Zhuang Zhong’s face turned into the “囧” character. What had he done to invoke such a strong remark? This had also shown him how lax the political environment of DaYou was. If such words were uttered in the Qing Dynasty, that person would have been executed along with nine generations of his family. Essentially, DaYou’s students did not have any qualms with directly attacking officials as high-ranking as the prime minister. In the past, they once struck a powerful minister too, creating a rumor that it was more terrible to be targeted by Tai Xue’s students than the imperial censors.

It was here that a man wearing a long green robe entered and said, “Brother Jiang Xun is an aloof man. When you get to know him, you will realize that he does not mean anything bad.” About 20 years old, the man had an outstanding appearance and a gentle disposition. When he gently smiled, it felt like the spring breeze.

Zhuang Zhong quickly bowed with his hands folded in front. “I am Zhuang Zhong, a law student. May I ask what is the name of this brother?”

The man returned the gesture and replied, “I am Tang BaiShan, a student of Tai Xue. If you do not mind, how about referring to each other as brothers?”

To that, Zhuang Zhong asked, “Despite Brother Tang’s words, are we not still unfamiliar with each other? I have just arrived and do not want to provoke anyone.”

Tang BaiShan said with a smile, “Brother Jiang Xun is full of wit, and his writings are often praised. If no accident occurs, he will be one of the top scorers among the upper-division in the next public examination. It is just that he was heading to the library at this time, so he was in a hurry.”

The public examination was held once a year and could be regarded as the promotional examination. However, there were no more than three people in DaYou’s Tai Xue who would obtain top scores that were as high as the top three of the imperial examinations. It could be said that they were the elite of the elite who would have a successful official career and be respected by the rest of the world.

If Jiang Xun was that talented and haughty, this would then be not something abnormal. After all, Zhuang Zhong was someone who entered through the back door and was also a monk in the past. Living together with someone like him must then be really intolerable for those arrogant and talented Confucian scholars.

“I see. It was I who had disturbed his peace.”

Tang BaiShan quickly explained, “Brother Jiang Xun is dedicated to his work, especially when he is feeling troubled. I am afraid that he had a lapse of composure for a while, so please do not put it in your heart, my dear brother.”

“If Brother Jiang does not dislike me, then it is fine.” Zhuang Zhong laughed while thinking that Tang BaiShan seemed like a pretty decent person. Anyway, Zhuang Zhong did not care much, as they would just have to mind their own business in the future if nothing worked out.

Tang BaiShan was a very warm-hearted person and brought Zhuang Zhong around. As several colleges were situated close together, it was very common to have crossed-over lectures. He was also very familiar with all the colleges, introducing them one by one to Zhuang Zhong, who quickly gained a general understanding without being at a loss. Regarding that, Zhuang Zhong was very grateful as Tang BaiShan had wasted his whole afternoon for him.

Essentially, Tai Xue did not have many classes, and it was mostly self-study. It also paid more attention to self-reflection and understanding. If a student had any questions, he could compile them and seek out a teacher for help. It may sound easy, but it was not. There were many kinds of examinations and assignments in Tai Xue. If one did not work hard, he would be eliminated. This was quite different from the former relaxed style GuoZi Xue had, as the requirements in Tai Xue were very stringent.

The public examinations which would determine Tang BaiShan’s future career as an official would begin in two months. Time was pressing, but he was still willing to do so much for a stranger, and it made Zhuang Zhong feel very touched.

“Brother Tang, it is all thanks to you today, and I have benefited a lot from what you have said. It is just that I have delayed Brother Tang’s studies. This is really…”

Tang BaiShan said with a smile, “It is like lifting a finger, something not worth mentioning.”

“Why don’t we have a drink over dinner?”

Tang BaiShan hesitated for a moment, “Might as well since I can treat my brother to a welcome meal.”

In Tai Xue, there was no need to pay for room and boarding; food provided was also fixed. If one did not like it, he could pay out of his own pocket. Alcohol was also offered, but they were not free and were costly. As all the literary people in DaYou were good at drinking, it was only when they were slightly drunk that they could let go.

At this time, Jiang Xun happened to pass by and said with extreme disdain in his words, “To fawn upon the rich and powerful is shameless, such a corrupted heart will make anyone sick.”

 

The author has something to say:

PS: The framework for Tai Xue is still in accordance with the Song Dynasty while the specific details were made up by myself. At that time, the students in Tai Xue were really brilliant, with some of them being quite reckless in their actions.

*Translator’s Notes:

-I have to say that Jiang Xun’s speech is really something XD So far, he never spoke in simple conversational speech but uses cryptic and flowery expressions (I guess it’s the general type of speech that past literary scholars use). I had translated it to the best of my abilities but I do have to admit that some of the beauty was lost in the process.

  • 1
    As a reminder, 恩荫 (enyin) refers to the act of conferring someone from the later generations as an official due to their ancestors’ meritorious service.
  • 2
    The author used “大学士” which refers to the high-ranking secretaries that help the emperor.
  • 3
    As “夏楚” means something that keep students alert/vigilant and “屏斥” means removal, I took it that the author meant something like an expulsion warning.
  • 4
    I could not find a proper English translation term for this but it is usually a stone tablet erected on the group with certain rules carved onto it.
  • 5
    “学正” (xuezheng) is a title for ancient China’s civil official. They were usually responsible for implementing school rules, examinations, and instructions.
  • 6
    “戒尺” (jiechi) refers to the ruler teachers use to punish students (probably to hit their palms).
  • 7
    《九经》is known as The Nine Classics. It includes The Five Classics: 易經 (周易)-“The Book of Changes”, 尚書 (書經)-“The Book of Documents”, 詩經 (毛詩)-“The Book of Songs”, 禮記-“Records of Rites” and 春秋左傳-“The Spring and Autumn Annals and Zuo’s Commentary”. It was only later on that scholars added another 4 books, namely some other writings on rites and etiquette, the 周禮 “Rites of the Zhou” and the 儀禮 “Etiquette and Rites”, etc. If you are interested in Confucianism texts, you can read more at http://www.chinaknowledge.de/Literature/Terms/classics.html.

Serendipity

Could be found lurking around BL novels. The translator for 法医穿越记事 (Forensic Traversing Notes), 纸活 (Living Paper) and 人人都爱裴即玉 (Everyone Loves Pei JiYu).

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