After the appearance of the little monkey, Nie Bufan re-checked the eggs he had picked up and found two more fertilized eggs. Likely due to these days being the estrus period and the chickens were full of energy. Soon, he suspected that Chicken Nest Village will usher in a new wave of chicks.
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Nie Bufan happily put the two eggs into his pocket, no matter whether they turned out to be bad eggs ot not, he only thought about what species would appear after the shell broke.
To this end, he deliberately got up early and prepared himself, then led a group of idle chickens, ready to go to the mountains and forests to implement the plan of incubating eggs.
Before leaving the house, Zhang Junshi saw him and asked to follow him. Then Li Yi also appeared out of nowhere, and then Li Huai, Si Chenyu, and Chen Muran all followed.
Nie Bufan was not happy. The sacred and inviolable act of hatching eggs needed to be carried out when there was no one around. Was there any reason for them to follow along? However, due to the large number of people on the other side, he knew that he would not be able to win, so he could only accept the reality reluctantly.
The mountains and forests were full of vitality in the spring, and the breeze was equally as refreshing, lifting everyone’s mood.
“I find the face of vernal wind in easy way, myriads of reds and violets reveal only spring.” Chen Muran could not resist reciting a poem. (TN: poem A Spring Day by Zhu Xi)
“Returning to nature, profound grace contained in all things.” Si Chenyu also recited.
Chen Muran said, “Why don’t we have a poetry meeting along with the picnic later?”
“Good idea.” Si Chenyu folded his fan and asked the Li brothers and Zhang Junshi, “What do you think?”
Li Huai smiled and agreed.
Li Yi and Zhang Junshi also nodded, and then looked at Nie Bufan together. Everyone here knew that Nie Bufan was “unlearning and skillless” and reciting poetry held no connection to him at all.
But Nie Bufan had a smile on his face, as if there was no dissatisfaction with the idea.
After walking for about half an hour, everyone found a relatively flat height with spectacular scenery of overlapping mountains all around. It was very suitable for a picnic place, but the flocks of chickens running all around ruined any scenic atmosphere to be had……
Spreading out the cloth mat, Zhang Junshi laid out some of the desserts, wine and dishes prepared in advance, and everyone sat on the ground with a happy expression. Any pent up frustrations accumulated in Chicken Nest Village recently were all swept away.
“Such beautiful scenery deserves to be acompanied by a cup of wine, everyone make a toast first.” Si Chenyu raised his cup and toasted everyone.
The rest of the people raised their cups to toast each other, and even Nie Bufan was a rare sport and toasted along.
Chen Muran sighed with feeling: “The mountains and forests are full of beautiful scenery, we should have come out to visit sooner.”
Li Huai nodded repeatedly: “Yes, the streets are crowded, how can they be compared to the tranquility in the mountains?”
Nie Bufan pursed his lips secretly: such hypocrisy!
“While we are in the mood, let’s start with poetry?” Chen Muran suggested, “Chenyu, you are the most respected here, why don’t you begin?”
“Then I will throw a brick to attract jade.” (TN: idiom meaning I offer a humble remark, please give me your valued opinion) Si Chenyu looked at the rolling mountains in the distance, and recited, “The willows hang like silks, the flowers cover the trees, and the orioles in the mountains sing into the spring evening.” (TN: poem Fisherman’s Song by Li Xun)
Chen Muran looked at Li Yi, who was silent for a while, and then said: “Lower the hanging silks, pour a cup of fine wine, and point into the distance where the lonely village stands shrouded by the clouds.” (TN: poem Fisherman’s Song by Li Xun)
As soon as the voice fell, Nie Bufan suddenly stretched out his hand and pointed towards the distance with a leisurely expression.
Everyone involuntarily looked in the direction of his finger, only to see a gray chicken flying by.
Li Huai couldn’t help asking: “What’s over there?”
“Oh, nothing.” Nie Bufan withdrew his finger calmly.
Zhang Junshi couldn’t help but chuckle, and Li Yi felt exasperated.
The rest of the people also reacted quickly, this guy was using his elegant body language to express the artistic conception of one who “point into the distance where the lonely village stands shrouded by the clouds”……
Chen Muran coughed, ignoring him as much as possible, and continued: “I’ll take the following sentence, the wine fills the goblets, the room is full of hanging vapors like clouds and mist, there is no human desires and conflict, honor or disgrace.” (TN: poem Fisherman’s Song by Li Xun)
“Superb.” Si Chenyu and others clapped their hands and applauded.
Next, Li Huai and Zhang Junshi also recited poems in turn. Although the poems were made up on the spot, they were all quite appropriate to the atmosphere and scenery.
Nie Bufan was still carrying the eggs, and was extremely bored as he watched them. Sitting on the side he began drawing circles with his feet from time to time.
When Li Huai saw this, don’t mention how happy he was! This guy had always been insufferably arrogant, and now it was finally time for his ego to deflate! Against the backdrop of a group of elegant people, he was like a sparrow at the feet of a phoenix, an ugly duckling beside a swan, a dung beetle among scarabs……
After a few verses passed, everyone was in even more high spirits.
Li Huai suddenly said: “Little brother Nie, why remain silent with such a beautiful scenery in front of you? How about you also recite a poem and express your feelings freely.”
Upon hearing this, Zhang Junshi and Li Yi glanced at him at the same time, and gave him both gloating and annoyed eyes. He could have provoked anyone, but out of all people he provoked this guy?
How could Li Huai understand all the underlying meaning. Right now he only thought about how to make Nie Bufan embarrassed.
But would Nie Bufan care about his face? When necessary, even if it’s something like streaking naked in public, he could even show off his majestic bearing without even batting an eye.
Nie Bufan responded: “Let me recite poems? I am a little embarrassed.”
Zhang and Li squinted at him: Excuse me? Who are you talking about?
Li Huai pretended to smile in a genial manner and said kindly: “Hehe, all of us here are modest gentlemen, who appreciate both elegance and commonness, and won’t laugh at you.”
“No, no, no.” Nie Bufan shook his finger and said in a calm voice, “I mean, I’m worried that you will be speechless in awe after listening to my poems, and cannot help but to feel worship and be ashamed.”
“……” Zhang, Li, Si, Chen.
Was there anyone in this world who was more XX (can’t think of an adjective) than him?
“……Then we definitely must hear what masterpiece you can make that can cause us to ‘feel worship and be ashamed!'” Li Huai gritted his teeth.
Nie Bufan looked around at them all and asked with ceremony: “Do you really want to listen?”
Everyone nodded with difficulty, conflicted as they were with both curiosity and anxiety.
“Okay.” Nie Bufan stood up suddenly, took out his egg, and with a solemn expression he looked into the distance. Slowly, he said, “What I want to create is a realistic poem, please listen carefully.”
Everyone raised their hands in a gesture conveying please go ahead.
Nie Bufan cleared his throat and recited in a rhythmic tone: “Chickens, chickens, chickens, you raise your heads up to the sky and sing, your sharp claws cut open mountains and rocks, your colorful feathers appear coquettish.”
The cold wind blew by, and it was quiet. Luo Binwang (author of “An Ode to the Goose”), in tears.
Immediately, the surrounding chickens flapped their wings and let out crows that shook the skies, dust flew, leaves fluttered, and the originally tranquil mountain forest instantly transformed into a chaotic and noisy marketplace.
Everyone stood there feeling as chaotic as the wind, and solemnly accepted the baptism of dust with diginity. Even the snacks on the cloth mat had wrapped themselves in a layer of gauze in shame……(TN: word for gauze and dust sound similar in Chinese hence being covered in dust=wrapped in gauze)
Amidst the noise, there seemed to be a sound of a heavy object falling in the forest. (TN: can anyone guess what (or who) that might be?😆)
Nie Bufan waved his hand at his surroundings in high spirits, and smiled modestly: “Thank you everyone for your support and praise, I am ashamed, I am ashamed.” In fact, from the top of his head and down to his chin, where was there any sign of an “ashamed” expression?
Fine, one must admit that Nie Bufan was right just now. As soon as this poem came out, it really made them “speechless with awe, feeling worship and shame.” And coupled with the embellishments provided from the environment, it was truly the style of a “king.” No one was his opponent.
Si Chenyu and the others simultaneously shot Li Huai with sharp, knife-like eyes, as if they were saying: It’s all your fault!
Li Huai lowered his head in shame: I was wrong, I was so wrong!
Nie Bufan flicked a strand of hair hanging on the side of his face with a finger, and said proudly: “How was it? Does this master’s talent make you feel like even the light of the sun and the moon have been eclipsed?”
Yes, you are very right, it truly was without light here. Everyone bowed their heads in silence.
“Therefore we say, there are talent beyond talent and heavens beyond heavens.” Nie Bufan peered condescendingly at Li Huai, and advised him, “Don’t think that just because you can make a few crooked poems that it’s anything to be proud of. Geniuses are everywhere, and only grassroots think highly of themselves.”
Li Huai’s head drooped even further, his face flushed like lava from the volcano’s bottom, ashamed and with no place to “melt.” (TN: pun on phrase “ashamed and unable to show one’s face”)
Si Chenyu turned his head away and couldn’t bear to look directly.
Chen Muran was stunned on the spot, feeling as if black and white were turning upside down before his eyes.
Zhang Junshi’s face twitched, privately laughing to himself, barely refraining from stomping his feet and beating his chest in uproarious laughter.
Li Yi looked at the sky, appearing like a statue, as his sense of self faded away.
“Forget it, seeing as you have a good attitude, I won’t say more.” Nie Bufan said earnestly, “Be humble and keep a low profile. Don’t pretend to understand when you don’t understand. Take it step by step and be down-to-earth. Don’t be too lofty and challenge authority……”
Your mother, didn’t you just say you won’t say anymore?
Li Huai almost cried: “Please, don’t say anymore, I admit my mistakes, I admit my mistakes!”
“You really admit your mistakes?” Nie Bufan still felt like he hadn’t enough, wishing to continue.
“Really, absolutely.” Metaphorical tears ran down his face.
“Ai, alright then, knowing the wrong and improving on it is the greatest virtue.” Nie Bufan sighed, looking far into the distance, “The heights are cold and lonely, mortals are just mortals after all.”
Si, Li, Zhang, and Chen all worshiped and paid tribute to him for his ability to reverse heaven and earth, making a deer out to be a horse, and possessing narcissism and shamelessness that surpassed mortals. Since this episode, no one dared to recite poems in front of him again——they could not take the shame of it. (TN: reversing heaven and earth and making a deer out to be a horse are idioms for distorting the truth and deliberatly misrepresenting the facts)
A beautiful outing ended in a hasty way, and everyone returned in defeat.
Nie Bufan waved his hand to send them off. He could finally hatch his eggs in the woods alone.
There were chicken guards, and even Wang Shichan, who was hiding in the dark, could not hold up against the enemy and quietly escaped.
Nie Bufan started a fire, then wrapped the eggs with a cloth and swayed them back and forth over the fire, turning them over occasionally.
Such a way of incubating eggs, even the gods would cry in shame.
But strangely enough, within the time it took for a stick of incense to burn out, the shells of the two eggs actually broke one after another……
Nie Bufan widened shiny eyes, staring straight at the eggshell without blinking, waiting anxiously for the birth of a new life.
Not long after, the little guy in the eggshell on the left broke out first. And it turned out to be a——bald chicken?
Nie Bufan was disappointed. He didn’t expect that this one was not a special breed. He pulled the bald chick aside and continued to look at the remaining egg.
This time it was finally different. A snow white little guy with a round face, a long neck, a fluffy coat, and short limbs emerged from the shell. No matter how he looked it appeared to be a——llama?
Nie Bufan hesitated, poking at its soft body, and muttered: “Is this a goat variant……”
It’s too fantastical!
Nie Bufan touched his chin, then snapped his fingers and said, “Okay, from now on you will be called ‘Little Root’, as for you……”
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He looked at the bald chicken again and said: “Since you were born in an extraordinary way, although you are just a chicken, but in the future you will definitely become capable and talented. Let’s name you ‘Big Weapon’!” (TN: phrase 必成大器 means to become talented and capable. 大器 by itself means Big Weapon)
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