Chapter 1622: Talents’ Pavilion
Translator: WQL Editor: Aleem
“The river comes from west in turns; I am startled by the featured scenery. Hundreds of houses gather here to form a county; although having no city walls, they lean against a mountain. The shadow of the sail is looming in the river not far away from the maple leaves. Water gurgled near my bed. In straw rain cape, I am close to Yan Ling; pitifully, I could only look at the crystal river and pass by…What a nice poem! This poem could at least stay in the list of Talents’ Pavilion for one year. It’s said that it was written by a talent surnamed Xu in Xintong City. Not bad! Not bad…”
“Look at this one. I feel this poem is more artistic. The wild wind blows my white coat; I move on the river by boat. As the sun sets in the distance, green contours of mountains undulate. Feeling cold, flowers drop their heads; being tired, birds twittered occasionally. After seeing smoke rising, I anchor my fishing boat and come to Zhuxi Temple…”
“I don’t agree with you, brother Ou. If this poem appears in a remote hotel or a residence of a hermit in the deep mountain, it would be amazing. However, it appears in the Talents’ Pavilion. Therefore, I think the poet perhaps want to show off his talent; instead of aiming to be a real hermit. I would not vote him…”
“You’re right, brother Li; you’re right…”
In the afternoon, after circling around the city for a few hours, Zhang Tie was finally sent to the Talents’ Pavilion in Datang City cordially by the taxi driver. Through the constant introduction of the taxi driver, Zhang Tie gradually learned more about Datang City and Xuanyuan Wuji and acquired a lot of useful information.
Xuanyuan Wuji’s position in Datang City was like that of Zhang Tie in Fiery-Dragon Bounty Territory. Each action of him would be eye-catching. Therefore, Zhang Tie easily got the message that Xuanyuan Wuji was in Datang City these days from the taxi driver.
According to the taxi driver, at the end of each year, the adorable third prince would host philanthropic campaigns like providing porridge and money and giving condolence to soldiers, civilians and students in the city. Therefore, Xuanyuan Wuji would always stay in Datang City in the entire December. After hearing this message, Zhang Tie finally felt relaxed.
After making a plan to pay a secret visit to the third prince’s mansion tonight and kill him when possible, Zhang Tie finished his lunch in a hotel before being led to the Talents’ Pavilion by the taxi driver. With the attitude of doing as the Romans do, Zhang Tie started to wander in the Talents’ Pavilion.
Talents’ Pavilion was a vast octagonal traditional Hua building. Being located in the west of Datang City, Talents’ Pavilion was in a hill not far from Datang Learning Academy. It was surrounded by beautiful scenery. No ticket was required to enter the Talents’ Pavilion. Instead, each one could get a ticket for free at the entrance. As many people came here, after receiving tickets, they would vote for their most favorite works, political opinions, poems or essays of those “talents” by putting their tickets into the ballot boxes under the creators. In each fixed period, the ballot boxes would be opened and the tickets would be counted. Those with more tickets would rank higher on the list and would win chances to be promoted to high-level officials.
On the taxi, Zhang Tie had been told about the game rules in Talents’ Pavilion. After entering it, Zhang Tie felt strange watching those literati concentrating on those works.
As for Zhang Tie, the so-called Talents’ Pavilion was just a trick that Xuanyuan Wuji used to buy the hearts of people at the bottom of the society and control the public opinions. As he wanted to fight for the throne, Xuanyuan Wuji had to act like a “sagacious emperor”. Such a trick would work more or less. However, the so-called talents in the Talents’ Pavilion were actually some bottom literati in Datang City and nearby provinces or prefectures. What about those knights of Taixia Country if these people could be called talents? Real knights always neglected these things. A real knight didn’t need to show off his literary talents for fame and wealth here.
These literati had a big say at the bottom of society, who could influence many people’s opinions. That might be the reason that Xuanyuan Wuji played such a trick.
In a world dominated by knights, literati who only thought about reading instead of cultivating their battle strength would not enjoy high positions. Even if these literati could make some achievements in literature, most of them could at most be some grass-root clerks and officials. Very few of them could become the trusted subordinates of third prince like Fang Qingming on His Majesty’s side. Right because of this reason, so many literati were longing for showing off their talents in the pavilion as they all dreamed to be the very trusted subordinate of the third prince and provide political suggestions to him.
Zhang Tie was not interested in poems and essays; however, he was clear about the function of Talents’ Pavilion. Standing behind those literati and listening to their comments, Zhang Tie revealed a despised look as if he was watching some kids building a castle using sand.
“Bro, I wonder about your noble opinion…” One of the literati in front of Zhang Tie asked when he caught Zhang Tie’s contemptuous look and became irritated. Hearing his words, all the other literati in front turned around and fixated onto Zhang Tie at a stroke.
“Haha, I have no noble opinion; I have no noble opinion. Now that these poems and essays could be displayed here, they are nice for real…” Zhang Tie replied with a big smile as he cupped his hands towards them and intended to leave. Because Zhang Tie didn’t feel like wasting time with these humble literati at all.
“Bro, you’re so presumptuous!” One of those literati was instantly driven mad by Zhang Tie’s response, although Zhang Tie didn’t have malicious intent. As a result, all of them were glaring at Zhang Tie as if Zhang Tie had insulted their belief. “These poems and essays are all top works among hundreds of millions of works. Bro, you might be erudite; how about showing us…We want to broaden our vision…”
“When I watched the snow last year, I got a poem by accident. Its name isFalling Snow . If you want to hear it, this humble man would read it for you…”
“Hmm, go ahead. I would like to appreciate your good piece…” a literati said with a sneer.
After looking around, Zhang Tie cleared his voice. After that, he read his poem under the gaze of all the others, “What is flying in the sky? There’s a pile in the east, another pile in the west. Is the Jade Emperor building the Imperial Palace? Screening lime yo, screening lime!”
After Zhang Tie finished his poem, all the onlooking literati were petrified as their faces turned purple, quivering all over…
It appeared that Zhang Tie’s interest was aroused. Before those people opened their mouth, he continued, “This humble man got another one when I watched the lightning bolt in the sky. Its name is Singing the Lightning Bolt . Glad to hear your comments about it. Ahem, ahem. I suddenly see a fiery chain in the sky as if the Jade Emperor is smoking; if Jade Emperor doesn’t smoke, why is there a fiery chain…Eh, brothers, brothers, don’t run away; I’ve got some more…”
Those literati who intended to make Zhang Tie embarrassed were severely injured by Zhang Tie’s two poems. Soon after Zhang Tie finished his second poem, those literati had covered their faces with sleeves and left there as they didn’t feel like talking with Zhang Tie any more.
Zhang Tie pretended to persuade them to stay; however, those literati paced up in case of being influenced by the bad luck brought by Zhang Tie.
Shaking his head, Zhang Tie smiled and was going to leave. Unimaginably, a burst of applaud sounded behind him.
“What nice poems! What nice poems…”
Zhang Tie turned around as he saw a hermit-like middle-aged literati in white robe clapping his hands.
“Young brother. Your poems look coarse; however, they’re of great charisma. If charisma only is considered, your poems are much better than all the others in the Talents’ Pavilion…”
After hearing the middle-aged literati’s comment, Zhang Tie knew that he was not jeering at him. Given his personality, Zhang Tie started to like him.
“Haha, to tell the truth, the two poems are not created by me; instead, I read it from a book by accident. The writer is a rude soldier of Hua people before the Catastrophe…”
“Oh, I see!” the literati replied as he continued, “Young brother, now that you could admit it frankly, you must be a straight-forward man. It must be your first time in Datang City. Me too! Young brother, how about traveling around the city with me…”
“Nice…” Zhang Tie replied with a smile too.