“Young master, the new pen.” The young attendant placed the pen on the table with a smile on his face, “Shopkeeper Wu knew that you had become an official, so he sent the best of this year.”
Pens, inks, papers and inkstones of different materials, large and small, were lined up on the table. Even when the family was at its richest, Feng Yu had never experienced such a thing before. He put down the book in his hand and walked over to examine it all carefully.
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Feng Yu was one of the three scholars who had been given an official position. He was not old, twenty-five or so, with a white beardless face——growing a beard was a hobby and there were also people who didn’t have this hobby. He held a pen in his hand and rubbed it with his fingertips continuously. He never thought he would have today.
The Feng family was not any powerful big family. Other big families had hundreds of people, and even if they didn’t have much money or power, with their numbers, others would still give some face. As for a family like theirs, that kind of thing was difficult. The Feng family did not have such numerous descendants and Feng Yu was the only son of his parents. There were seven sisters above him. Although his parents also had brothers and sisters, his aunts and uncles also didn’t have many children.
People outside all laughed and said that their Feng family had given birth to seven fairies.
His seven sisters were all married to scholars, and they all tried their best to get books from their husband’s family for him to read, hoping that one day he would become successful and bring honor to their ancestors. That way they would also be able to stand with their backs straight at their husband’s house.
But Feng Yu never revealed this to his friends. If one studied just to be an official, then there was nothing lofty about this person.
People would say that he considered benefits and rewards too much. Could such a materialistic person be a good official? The imperial court’s examination was the same as furniture now, so for ordinary scholars, no matter how talented they were at literary works, they would still have no chance to achieve any success.
Over time, it seemed that being an official had become a shameful thing. How could you study the books of sages just to be an official? This reason was not decent! So these scholars gathered together, feeling that if they studied for the sake of becoming an official, it would be too vulgar, and such an official would not be a good official.
Until now, Feng Yu still felt a little dazed. He still remembered that day he attended the literary meeting.
Although the Feng family was not a big family in Pingjiang, it still had some reputation after several decades. The original invitation was for his uncle, but his uncle fell ill——it was so coincidental that he didn’t think about it too carefully when he left. He only felt excited for his uncle’s illness coming at such a right time.
Now thinking about it again, it should be a result of his father’s schemes.
He went to the literary meeting full of confidence. Feng Yu felt that it would be very simple to use his ability to suppress those former friends into being unable to raise their heads.
He even didn’t hold much regard for Song Shizhao. In the eyes of these young talents, Song Shizhao was just an official in charge of merchants. Merchants had been lower class citizens since ancient times. Even if the Yuan Dynasty showed disrespect for class superiority by raising the status of merchants, in their eyes merchants were all low-level people.
But after seeing the real person, Feng Yu realized how narrowminded he was.
The term “eyes being obscured by a single leaf” seemed to be tailored for him. (TN: unable to see the wider picture)
The knowledge they were so proud of was just like children’s play in front of the other.
Feng Yu watched Song Shizhao smile, and he didn’t know why, but his whole body stiffened. He felt that that smile was one of mockery, mocking at their stupidity.
Just like a tiger watching a group of kittens fighting, he was too lazy to bother with them at all.
His family members once said that he had a man’s body but a woman’s mind. He had always been prone to thinking more than others since he was a child, so after seeing Song Shizhao’s smile, the blood that boiled all over his body cooled down like ice had been thrown on him.
Feng Yu picked up a pen and wrote “to believe oneself infallible” on the paper.
His attendant was shocked when he saw these four words, but he didn’t dare to say anything or ask.
Feng Yu’s last stroke broke and the piece of writing was ruined. He put down his pen, turned his head and asked his attendant: “If the tiger goes down the mountain, what would you say would happen?”
The young attendant didn’t understand, but he still responded: “A mountain cannot tolerate two tigers, and tigers must fight for territory wherever they go.”
Feng Yu: “…..You are right.”
The South Bodhisattva was now a tiger descending the mountain. These scholars were just people who overestimated their own capabilities, wanting to compete with him for territory. However, the South Bodhisattva was still using gentle methods at this moment. If he did not see any results for a long time and felt that it had become troublesome, even if he truly raised the butcher knife, so long as he found an excuse, could anyone really oppose him?
The troops stationed outside the city were not for show and play.
At night, Feng Yu walked out of his house and walked towards Song Manor.
He would not think that it was because he had great skills and good luck that he was given an official position like the other two conferred officials.
He and those two people were the three targets prepared by the South Bodhisattvas. If the people below wanted to climb up, they must step on their heads. If they didn’t want to be stepped on, they could only turn against their old friends.
For the sake of profit, people could turn into beasts.
No matter how good the surface seemed to look, when the surface appearance was finally torn apart, what was underneath was only hideousness.
Feng Yu said to the doorman: “I hope you will inform Manager Song of my visit.”
The doorman said with a smile: “My lord, you came not at the right time. My master has gone to rest so please come back tomorrow.”
Feng Yu lowered his head, even facing the doorman of Song Shizhao’s house, he didn’t dare to be even a little arrogant. He said politely: “I have important matters to discuss with Lord Song. Since Lord Song is resting, this official will wait.”
He stood in the cold wind at the door of Song Shizhao’s house all night.
When Song Shizhao “heard the news” and came out to see him the next day, he discovered that after he was invited into the corner room by the doormen, he had fallen into a fever, speaking nonsense in his subconscious.
Song Shizhao leaned closer and heard him mumbling.
“My lord…..I want to resign…..I want to resign…..”
Song Shizhao said to his servants: “Send for a good doctor for Lord Feng.”
Among so many scholars, only this one could see clearly. Song Shizhao looked at that flushed face and felt that it would be a pity if he was told to die. Maybe he could still be a useful talent.
Feng Yu returned to being an ordinary citizen that night.
According to the better sounding rumors, because Feng Yu felt that his virtue was not worthy of his post, he insisted on resigning from his post, crying and making trouble until he was able to resign successfully.
This was how it was spread outside.
It was said that Lin Yuan liked Feng Yu very much, otherwise he would not be appointed as an official at just the first meeting. After all, there were not many officials appointed by the South Bodhisattva himself, and each of them held heavy powers, so as one who cherished talents Lin Yuan was quite courteous towards Feng Yu.
However, Feng Yu felt that he did not have this talent, and that he had unfairly taken the position. Since he could not do things well and let down the South Bodhisattva, he insisted on resigning. Lin Yuan tried to get him to stay countless times, but Feng Yu refused every time.
In the end, the two of them even cried together with their arms around each other——this last part was added by the common people themselves.
“Say, what is wrong with him! It’s so hard to finally have an official in the family! Even if there is no real power, whoever gets real power immediately after becoming an official?” Feng Yu’s father and uncles got together, all complaining with dissatisfaction as they looked at Feng Yu lying in bed drinking porridge.
“Do you know how many people outside are staring at this official post? How many people want it? There are so many scholars in Pingjiang, could it be possible that you will still have a seat in the future?”
“If not for you being ill, you should be kneeling now!”
“You don’t consider for yourself, but couldn’t you at least consider for your cousins?”
Father Feng had been in high spirits for the past few days, but his son went out for one night and the official position was gone just like that. His originally highly held head was lowered once again.
In order to pay for studying, there was not much money left at home. Becoming the disciple of a teacher required money. And a good teacher was not cheap. Visits to classmates also required money. Pen, ink, paper, inkstone and all kinds of books required money. Still, it was all spent so that the child could one day be an official and pull along the whole family.
Feng Yu listened quietly, and after a while, he said, “How many scholars are there in Pingjiang?”
The elders were taken aback.
Feng Yu also said: “Do you still remember, towards the previous decrees, just how loud was the opposition among the scholars?”
Scholars all had stinking habits. After reading too many books, they become arrogant. They feel that they know everything about the world without having to even go out the door and could even criticize and boss around the people above them.
“If I resign this official position, I can still keep this family safe.” Feng Yu’s eyes were empty and numb. “If I don’t leave, the Feng family will be over. Without me, the family still has my cousins. As long as they follow the South Bodhisattva, there will always be a day when success will come. Talk less and do more. The South Bodhisattva likes to do practical things, even if one does not have an official position, as long as one does things well and enters the eyes of the South Bodhisattva, why worry about no future?”
Feng Yu took a few deep breaths, his heart feeling painful.
It was not as if he really wanted to give up the chance he finally got with difficulty, did he?
Feng Yu: “You blame me now but it won’t be long before you can see the end of the Zhang family and Yuan family.”
The Zhang family and the Yuan family were the other two families who had been given official positions.
A few days after Feng Yu said this, there were countless rumors on the street.
The common people were actually not all that good at making stories.
These rumors were all manipulated by someone behind the scenes, saying that the Zhang family and the Yuan family bullied others because they had an official in the family. Therefore, their eyes grew on the top of their foreheads, committing things like oppressing the common people and humiliating their former classmates.
The rumors intensified, and with no one to stop them, the common people believed this to be true.
A few more days later, the Zhang family and the Yuan family carried out funerals one after the other.
It was said that the child who became an official in their family had contracted a disease and did not survive.
Only then did the Feng family understand what Feng Yu meant.
Feng Yu resigned and gained himself a good reputation. And it would be easy for the rest of the people in his family to gain an official position in the future.
However, even if the Zhang family and Yuan family cut their wrists and forced their children to die, there would still be no future for them.
When the scholars discussed this matter they all felt happy and refreshed.
They believed themselves to be no worse than the sons of the Zhang and Yuan family, so after seeing these two die, they all felt that breath of anger being let out.
People are very strange creatures, they envy those far from them, but feel jealous of those near them.
When one day an old friend became successful, they would be so jealous their heart and soul would feel like it was being clawed at. But if they didn’t know this person at all, they wouldn’t feel anything.
Feng Yu watched them shed a few hypocritical tears over the death of their former friends, and then begin to discuss who would be better to take over these seats. When they finished discussing, they would go to Manager Song and have him make recommendations for them.
Feng Yu lay on the bed with his eyes open, tears falling down the corners of his eyes.
He felt lamentable.
If he hadn’t resigned, he would also end up with the same ending today.
He would die, and the Feng family would be over.
Even if his parents would try to protect him, his uncles would force him to die for the future of his cousins.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
The Zhang family and the Yuan family were ruined, one stumble and they were unable to rise back up again. Perhaps after a few years, no one would remember that there were two young men who were once officials in their family.
TN: bonus chapter coming up!
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