Chapter 325: Stones From Other Hills Can Polish Your Jade
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
Looking at the song and dance in the Hidden Dragon Teapot, most spectators were bewildered, with little idea what was going on.
But Zhu Yi immediately recognized it.
Music, as in Rites, Music, Archery, Charioteering, Calligraphy, and Mathematics – collectively known as the Six Arts of Confucianism. Also known as the Six Great Music or the Six Great Dances – namely, the six types of ancient music, Yunmen, Daxian, Dashao, Daxia, Dahu, and Dawu.
Dashao was what Jiao Junchen was performing now.
Seeing that Zhu Yi recognized the origins of his performance, Jiao Junchen’s expression turned into one of joy. “Indeed, a kindred spirit!”
Zhu Yi, however, did not smile. Watching the song and dance silently, he nodded after a moment. “As the ancients said, ‘The merit has reached an apogee; truly great! Like the Heavens, there’s nothing it does not cover; like the Earth, there is nothing it does not bear. Great merit, having reached the peak, there is no more that can be added to this.’ They were right; it is truly deserving of this appraisal.”
“The saints and sages of yore said of it – ‘The limits of beauty, the limits of perfection’. They felt that the music of Dashao is completely separate from conflict and hostility, and is thus in accordance with the principle of ‘rule through rites’.” As Zhu Yi uttered these words, his tone suddenly changed. “But mister, you using it, here and now, is instead to erode my fighting spirit, to cause me to yield without a fight. Rather result-oriented, to the extent that the original spirit and grace of Dashao were lost, don’t you think?”
Zhu Yi’s eyes glowed bright. “If it is a fight you want, then let’s fight. It shall be a just battle – indomitable, invincible!”
As he speaks, Zhu Yi clapped his hands lightly. Two currents – one black, one white, rose into the air, forming a shield and a battle-axe. They danced a dance of war in the sky, radiating the raw, masculine beauty of strength.
A symphony of grand, powerful notes sounded. It has a strong rhythm, arousing the passion and fervor in listeners; but near the conclusion, it evoked feelings of peace and amity, like a warrior finally sheathing his sword.
The chant rising from Zhu Yi’s mouth was another one of the Six Great Music – Dawu.
Once Dawu emerged, Jiao Junchen’s Dashao immediately turned into a rout as it retreated and crumbled.
Jiao Junchen was not annoyed, though. With a wave of his hand, he recalled the cloud creatures and instruments as he quietly listened to Zhu Yi’s Dawu, calm and composed.
“The sages said that Dashao has reached the limit of beauty and perfection, while Dawu reached the limit of beauty but not perfection – clearly because they feel that Dawu did not completely retreat from conflict.” With the end of the piece, Zhu Yi said impassively. “But today, you and I were going to compete and fight anyway.”
“My Dawu – with just cause, fearless and unyielding – is far superior to your Dashao, pretentious and falsely peaceful. Once you have the desire to win in your heart, Shao is no longer Shao – how can it, then, triumph over Wu?”
“Indeed. There is much wisdom I have derived from those words.” Jiao Junchen applauded.
But unexpectedly, Zhu Yi offered another twist mid-sentence. “But even real Shao will not necessarily prevail over Wu.”
“The sages said that Shao is beautiful and perfect while they judged Wu to be slightly subpar – but that’s just their own view and does not represent the absolute truth.”
Hearing this, Jiao Junchen’s brows creased slightly. “My friend, that’s a little too much.”
“No such thing as too much. One must not be constrained by books; the sage is mortal too. Since he is mortal, there are limits to him – he could not be omniscient, naturally, he couldn’t guarantee that his words are definitely right either.” Zhu Yi answered calmly.
“In reality, this was what he himself did. Even when his hair was grey with age, he sought the advice of a child about the great truths and the Tao. ‘When many walk together, there must be one among them who can be my teacher’ – that is the rationale.”
“The more you debate the truths, the clearer they become. Even if the sage himself is alive and standing before me, I will seek his advice and guidance, but also debate and reason with him. If he is wrong, I shall refute him as well.” Zhu Yi dusted off his sleeve as he said nonchalantly. “For the scholars of our age, the truth is above all – not even the sage supersedes the truth. He cannot represent the truth; his words are not always the truth.”
“When the Emperor is wrong, he dares to admonish him. When the sage is wrong, he dares to refute him. That, is a true scholar.”
If Zhu Yi’s words came to the attention of some traditional scholars, it might very well trigger an earthquake – and he shall be regarded as a heathen as well.
But Jiao Junchen was not enraged. His eyebrows merely knitted up as he stared at Zhu Yi for a minute. “The truth is above all – well said! When the Emperor is wrong, he dares to admonish him. When the sage is wrong, he dares to refute him. This isn’t wrong either.”
“The sage taught and guided students, he passed down countless classics – it was precisely to educate the masses, instead of producing a world of yes-men. If someone was able to point out his mistake, the old sage would only be happy.”
Jiao Junchen, looking at Zhu Yi, said in a deep voice, “But, you daring to disagree with the sage do not mean that you are definitely correct and the sage is definitely wrong.”
“In the world, there are many who are stubborn, who are full of themselves.”
Zhu Yi smiled slightly. “The facts shall eventually prove that who is right or wrong. It is not something that can be erased by words – even if it can’t be proven now, in the days to come, the answer shall be revealed.”
Jiao Junchen’s face showed a smile as well. “True. Then, let us discuss something else first.”
He was previously sitting on the grass; now, he stood up and tapped his foot. White clouds, swirling, formed a chariot that lifted him up.
Letting out a long laugh, Jiao Junchen charged at Zhu Yi.
Zhu Yi did not dare to let his guard down for one of his opponent’s rare first strikes. He can clearly sense that Jiao Junchen was not being reckless out of rage, but rather excited. His mental state was at its peak, as if he has been pumped full of adrenaline and must make some sort of movement.
In this state, Jiao Junchen will doubtlessly exhibit himself at his strongest.
In reality, Jiao Junchen was indeed extremely hyped up. Partly because of the argument with Zhu Yi, and partly because of the Dawu that Zhu Yi performed previously. Obviously, Jiao Junchen knew this piece as well – he himself had derived a set of spells from each of the Six Great Music.
But somewhat unexpectedly, Zhu Yi imitated the move – as he faced his Shao, he retaliated with Wu.
Even though he has only previously observed Jiao Junchen using two Arts, Charioteering and Archery, in addition to feeling Music himself, Zhu Yi could already understand the essence of this spell.
As the original author, Jiao Junchen evidently knew that Zhu Yi’s Wu was actually different from his own Wu. Similar yet different – but fundamentally, they were identically, both originating from the Dawu of the ancient Six Great Music.
Apart from demonstrating Zhu Yi’s spell mastery and his exceptional intelligence, it showed that Zhu Yi himself has a profound grasp of the Six Arts of Confucianism.
This discovery made Jiao Junchen even more thrilled.
“There is no first in scholarship and no second in the martial arts.” Sometimes, contests between scholars were even more intense.
Jiao Junchen set out Archery and Charioteering, appearing as if he was on a leisurely hunt as he unleashed wave after wave of attacks at Zhu Yi.
At this moment, Zhu Yi did not imitate the spells for Archery and Charioteering to counterattack. Instead, he activated his own spells as he battled Jiao Junchen.
He took Lin Feng’s advice to heart and did not obsess about the minute details of spells, instead carefully contemplating the truths and concepts in Jiao Junchen’s spells and mantras.
From the two’s first clash through song and dance, the spectators outside the Hidden Dragon Teapot have been perplexed and disoriented by the events. This time, without Zhu Yi’s explanation and commentary, many in fact could not understand the intricacies and hidden meanings.
The more advanced cultivators, at the very least, were able to get a rough idea through the fluctuations and reactions of the two’s spells and Mana. The less advanced, though, were completely confused.
Shi Shaogan hailed from the Imperial Family of the Great Qin Empire; although he belonged to a cadet branch, but he received of the necessary education. It was just that he has been focused on cultivation since young, and was unenthusiastic about rites and culture.
Now, he felt like he was looking through frosted glass as he watched Zhu Yi and Jiao Junchen’s battle. He could discern more than other Foundation Establishment cultivators, but only a smattering of the whole picture.
“Sister, Mr. Jiao does not have the advantage?” Shi Shaogan saw Shi Xingyun frown and couldn’t help but ask.
Jolted, Shi Xingyun shook her head slightly. “No, Jiao Junchen has the upper hand now, seizing the initiative of the situation.”
“Then why do you look so worried?” Shi Shaogan enquired.
“Zhu Yi is more difficult, more outstanding than me, Jiao Junchen, or anyone else had thought.” Shi Xingyun sighed.
She raised her head and gazed at the light and shadows projected from the Hidden Dragon Teapot, murmuring. “He went far as to study Jiao Junchen’s mantras and spells when battling him – the key is that he actually learned something. This is really rather surprising.”
“He’s at a disadvantage now not because he’s weaker than Jiao Junchen, but because he’s dividing his attention – he’s doing something else too.”
Shi Shaogan was astounded. “He wants to learn the secrets of the Mantras of ancient Confucianism?”
“Not simply stealing the craft. Judging by his demeanor, he just wants to use it as a reference – stones from other hills can polish your jade.” A worried look flashed across Shi Xingyun’s eyes. “It is precisely this that is so frightening.”
Zhuge Guang was voice projecting with the Vivant Joy Holy Man as well. “This Zhu Yi has already accumulated a robust foundation. Now he is studying Jiao Junchen’s spells and mantras, as if completing the last step of the metamorphosis, breaking the pupa and transforming into the butterfly. To use the knowledge derived from Jiao Junchen’s mantra to pierce through that final layer!”
The Vivant Joy Holy Man nodded, looking grave. However, his gaze was no longer on the Hidden Dragon Teapot, but on Lin Feng at the other side.
To see Lin Feng appearing absolutely composed and impassive. As he watched the ongoing fight, a subtle, satisfied smile surfaced at the corner of his mouth.
“Everything that is happening now was within the predictions of the Leader of the Celestial Sect of Wonders. It might even be planned by precisely him.” The Vivant Joy Holy Man shook his head, his smile full of bitterness. “This Celestial Sect of Wonders…where exactly did it pop up from? There was never a moment when it did not surprise.”
In the Hidden Dragon Teapot, Jiao Junchen also sensed something. “Although I’m happy to help others succeed, but I would rather not become a stepping stone.” He smiled.
As he spoke, Jiao Junchen ramped up his attacks, until Zhu Yi, already disadvantaged, was struggling to react and respond.
“Hmm?” Something clicked in Zhu Yi’s mind. He suddenly realized that it was becoming harder and harder for him to neutralize Jiao Junchen’s attacks; eventually, even stretching himself.
As if he could see inside Zhu Yi’s mind, Jiao Junchen could preemptively prepare for his moves and even set traps for Zhu Yi to step into.
Concentrating, Zhu Yi observed that Jiao Junchen was mouthing words as his eyes flickered, as if he was continuously calculating something.
“Ah, so this is Mathematics?” Zhu Yi came to a sudden awareness. The last Art in the Six Arts of Confucianism was Mathematics – the Art of arithmetic, numbers and theory. The spell that Jiao Junchen derived from it, though, was an Abhijna that could continually calculate an opponent’s moves.