Meng Hai Zhou and the others took the opportunity that followed Li You Ran's challenge, and started to jeer at Jun Mo Xie. They never realized that Li You Ran had put forth his challenge with the utmost sincerity.
"Young Master You Ran is indeed very funny," Kong Ling Yang didn't seem very pleased. "Perhaps the Young Master Jun… is an expert in some other aspects of life… However, his knowledge on literature isn't very eminently known…"
Some people couldn't help but laugh up their sleeves. Master Kong's tone had been very obscure. However, everyone had reached the conclusion that the Young Master Jun's areas of "expertise" were brothels, dog and c.o.c.k fighting, and other contemptible activities. What would this youngster know about the more important aspects of life? Everyone had started to think very high of the old Masters of the Inst.i.tute; [These old Masters are amazing. They can manage to insult people in such a refined manner!]
"Master Kong shouldn't have anything to worry about. He he… why don't we have one of your disciples contest against Jun Mo Xie. Then, we'll know if he's any match for Young Master Li… he he…" Meng Hai Zhou smiled and replied. His remark was aimed to incite Master Kong for a war.
Kong Ling Yang was annoyed at this. He thought, [I've nurtured these disciples with such meticulous care. I might as well tie a rope to the ceiling and commit suicide if my disciples are unable to beat this debauchee.] He didn't say anything in response. He merely waved his hand and appointed one of his disciples to take-up the challenge.
"Disciple Han Zhi Dong requests Young Master Jun for some advice," A young man stood up with a smile. He then cupped his hands in greeting and looked up. A trace of disdain flashed in his eyes; seemingly for his opponent.
"En… I don't give advice but I do have the time to teach you a trick or two. You'll be able to move about the Spirit Fog Lake unbridled after I'm done with you. What could be better than a demonstration of the profound mysteries of that universe? I'll take the lead if you don't mind."
Jun Mo Xie had seen the expression in that youngster's eyes. So, he was aware of the contempt that youngster held for Jun Mo Xie. Therefore, the Young Master Jun had winked as he stood-up, and laughed along with the crowd as he voluntarily put on his 'hat of shame'.
"This young disciple had shunned evil influences in his life. This young disciple shall never go near the Spirit Fog Lake's territory." Han Zhi Dong's voice was somewhat cold. He disdainfully thought, [he's the biggest degenerate. I've asked him for scholarly advice, and he starts by mentioning a brothel! Are you aware that this is public event? This is very humiliating!]
"You've never been to the Spirit Fog Lake? Then where do you go?" Jun Mo Xie's heart was br.i.m.m.i.n.g with disdain; [I'm not done with you yet.] He then crossed his legs, and continued in a leisurely tone, "Ah, that's right. This Young Master had neglected that Scholar Han isn't very wealthy and may not have been able to afford the prices of the services rendered in that area. It seems that he holds his pike in his own hands inside his tent as he imagines the battle formations. He must require to struggle up and down the battlefield. He must manage to relinquish millions of soldiers until he's too exhausted to continue…"
[What the h.e.l.l is this!] Han Zhi Dong's fair facial color turned as red as a dead chicken's blood. In fact, his neck turned red as well.
Jun Mo Xie's choice of words had been very elegant, yet very energetic. Suddenly, everyone present in the hall seemed to be a bit distracted. They carefully pondered on his words in the hope to interpret their true meaning. However, most people spat-out the food they were chewing and burst into laughter once they understood the meaning of his words… [This kid… is too much!]
Every man present in the main hall had understood Jun Mo Xie's remark in a matter of a few moments. However, the indecency of their laughter couldn't be conveyed in words…
Princess Ling Meng, Dugu Xiao Yi, Han Yan Meng and the other ladies of note looked-on with an amazed expression in their eyes. They couldn't understand the crowd's reaction. They could distinctly sense that this matter wasn't good. However, they couldn't figure what was wrong with it. [Jun Mo Xie's words seemed to have described a majestic general… but why does it feel weird?]
Several old men were making gestures at each other with their eyes. However, there were only a few men who were able to laugh-out unrestrained without bothering about the consequences. Some even patted their hand on the table, while some others patted their thighs in applause as their eyes closed-shut from the intensity of their laughter. Dugu Zong Heng's body trembled with laughter as he slapped Tang Wan Li on his shoulders. He then whispered, "Old Tang, I just remembered the time when the two of us had just joined the army. We were sent-off to the battle at the Heavenly Wolf Mountains… Old Jun was a young captain back then… We had caught sight of you when you had left the camp to fight your glorious battles at dawn…"
Tang Wan Li suddenly turned red with rage. He forgot about Dugu Zong Heng's fearsome reputation as he extended and grabbed his st.u.r.dy neck. He then roared in a whisper, "You old b.a.s.t.a.r.d! Go on, I dare you to say another word…"
Dugu Zong Heng started to cough. He seemed to be laughing as he begged for forgiveness. A few other Family-heads raised their thumbs in quick succession as they gestured to Tang Wan Li. It seemed as if many people had heard that remark…
Old Man Tang's face flushed red with rage. He stood-up panting and tried to exit the hall. However, several other old men got up from their seats in unison, and persuaded him to calm down.
Dugu Xiao Yi saw that her seven brothers were laughing with their lips sealed. Their overjoyed faces revealed the merry of their hearts as their shoulders trembled with laughter. She figured that it must've been something awfully funny. So, she couldn't help but ask, "What did that mean? Is it that funny?"
[Uh…] The seven brothers looked at each other in dismay. They realized the awkwardness of the situation and quickly readjusted themselves. They shook their heads in unison as they replied, "It's not funny; how's it funny? It's not funny!"
Dugu Xiao Yi groaned. She turned her head away in anger. She suddenly felt annoyed at the sight of her brothers and Jun Mo Xie since they hadn't answered any of her questions today.
She secretly recalled Jun Mo Xie's words, and repeated them again to memorize them by heart. [You think I won't find out if you don't tell me…? I'll ask mother once I get home… I don't think she'll deny me…]
Han Zhi Dong took a deep breath. He was aware that this debauchee had gained the upper-hand as he said, "This Golden Scholarly Talent Feast is being conducted by His Majesty's grace. However, this young disciple is ashamed to be in company of his opponent. To pair this young disciple with Young Master Jun for a scholarly advice is the same as the accidental pair of Golden chrysanthemums and orange osmanthus!"
He didn't wait for Jun Mo Xie's reaction, and continued, "Chrysanthemums' fragrance, Orchid's fragrance, osmanthus' fragrance from the Imperial gardens… the fragrance of these fragrant flowers float in the Tian Xiang… Their heavenly fragrance floats for a thousand miles… and a thousand miles their heavenly fragrance floats… "
This poetic verse caught everyone's attention.
This poetry had sounded simple, but it wasn't. Especially that last part. He had repeatedly used the words "Heavenly Fragrance" as a metaphor to bless "Tian Xiang". Everyone started to rack their brains in search of a comeback in order to display their talent in front of His Majesty.
Everyone had nearly forgotten of Jun Mo Xie's involvement. [How could he possibly make a joke out of such a poetic verse? He wouldn't be able to conjure a come-back even if he was given two lives to try…]
"Young Master Jun, this young disciple's talent is humble, and knowledge is shallow. This young disciple can only come up with such shallow words. This shouldn't be much of a problem in your eyes?" Han Zhi Dong chuckled. He then humbly looked at Jun Mo Xie with a sincere expression on his face, "I hope that Young Master Jun will still teach me a thing or two!"
Everyone would have waited for Jun Mo Xie to come-up with an answer in case this last sentence hadn't been spoken. They would've looked down on him but wouldn't have blamed him for falling short since this poetry was indeed excellent and difficult to counter. After all, no one had considered him to be any match to this young scholar. Moreover, the young scholar would've left a special effect in the hearts of everyone present since his talent was original as well as amazing. However, this last sentence had left everyone sighing.
His unreasonable last line had exposed the savagery of his nature, and had lowered his prestige. [You've been studying at the Wenxing Heavenly Literature Inst.i.tute for many years. So what's there to be so proud of about being able to speak a few lines of poetry?]
[This so-called young scholar's future achievements are bound to fall short.]
The big shots may allow scholars to climb-up the ranks of their families. However, they would never promote such a person to the top. [What's the guarantee that he won't get rid of us once he gains enough power in the family?] Han Zhi Dong was unaware that he had declared the doom of his future political-career with that last line he had spoken. Therefore, he stood there with a sense of complacence in his heart.
Jun Mo Xie puckered his brows. Any verses he'd come up with in reply would merely be plagiarized. However, even plagiarizing poetry of such level was beyond his ability. [Ah… should I come up with nonsense poetry from my previous life? No… that won't do! This motherfuc*er!]
Master Kong Ling Yang narrowed his eyes. He seemed pleased with himself, "It is okay if Young Master Jun can't come up with a poetic verse to match this… the Young Master Jun wouldn't lose face because of this matter…"
Everyone chuckled. [This old man doesn't forgive easily. He's just using his usual method… he abuses a person without using abusive words…]
A burst of vigor rushed inside Jun Mo Xie's heart. He shouted in a harsh and loud voice, "What's so difficult about this? Wasn't that a s.h.i.+*ty poem? I will better him and walk all-over this Wenxing Heavenly Literature Inst.i.tute's chump!"
Several people issued sounds of displeasure. [This kid dares too much when he speaks. He's challenged to come up with a rival verse… he's lost his mind. He should think before he talks. Looks like he's going to get a tough lesson from that young disciple…]
However, Li You Ran and Jun Zhan Tian's expressions were very different from the rest of the crowd. Li You Ran was convinced he had the talent to come-up with a worthy reply. However, he himself had tried, but hadn't been able to so far. However, Jun Mo Xie had declared that he would reply with a fitting verse… [Is he better than me?]
Grandpa Jun was somewhat anxious. [Didn't we agree that he wouldn't make a complete fool of himself? How's he going to beat that?]
Kong Ling Yang sneered and he spoke, "Young Master Jun seems very confident of himself. I propose an arrangement. The inst.i.tute shall concede defeat if the Young Master Jun is able to come-up with a reply before the incense stick burns out. However, if he shall lose… Young Master Tang will have to act in order to mediate his losses. Thereafter, he would willingly return my poor disciple back…?"
He was obviously referring to the disciple Tang Yuan would bully into cleaning women's underwear — Scholar Zhao Cheng Song. However, Fatty Tang was worried about leaving such a presence un-monitored in his house. Therefore, Tang Yuan had bludgeoned him to death after he was expelled from his household. So where would he return that scholar from? His stinking bones probably wouldn't accept his soul even if it was somehow recovered from the depths of h.e.l.l.
"That's done!" Jun Mo Xie stretched his neck. [I don't have any problems in agreeing to that. We'll return his skeleton if I lose. You never said whether you want him back dead or alive…? So why should I even bother…]
"However, you will submit to my superiority if I win. Your Inst.i.tute will never mention the words 'poetry' is front of me after that. Agreed?" Jun Mo Xie smiled.
Native word play. Tian means heavenly. Xiang means fragrance. Tian Xiang means heavenly fragrance. He repeatedly uses the word 'Xiang' in the poetic pa.s.sage.