Books and Five Classics that Shao Yunan had known since childhood, let alone Tang and Song dynasties poetry. History was different here, so historic figures and classics were naturally also different. Many classic phrases that modern people were familiar with were very rare to hear here.
The phrase “pity the world’s parents” came from the Empress Dowager Cixi, which the people of the Great State of Yan certainly did not hear. It was this phrase that made the gatekeeper drop his guard and even show some appreciation for Shao Yunan. On the way there, Shao Yunan asked the guard some questions and learned that his surname was Zhuang. When they arrived outside the classroom, Shao Yunan already called the other party ‘Uncle Zhuang’ and the other party called him ‘Brother An.’
Stopping, Uncle Zhuang pointed to a big room in front of him and said, “This is it.” Although the day was bright, the windows of the classroom were propped up. Shao Yunan pretended to see Wang Zhisong and took a few steps closer. Seeing that he was almost at the door, Uncle Zhuang hurriedly shouted in a low voice, “Brother An, don’t go any closer.”
The door of the classroom was also open, so Shao Yunan could see that the master was also there. After listening for a while, he understood that the teacher seemed to be talking about an essay (understood as a modern composition) written by a certain student, so he just turned his head and bowed apologetically to Uncle Zhuang. “Uncle Zhuang, I am very sorry that I lied to you but I came here to look for the teacher.”
Before waiting for Uncle Zhuang to respond, Shao Yunan strode inside amidst Uncle Zhuang’s shocked expression. The students inside the classroom noticed an unexpected guest at the door, while the teacher also stopped his lecture.
The teacher put down the essay in his hand and turned his head, frowning. “Who are you? Why did you come into the classroom?”
Uncle Zhuang ran forward with a jolt to drag Shao Yunan away, but Shao Yunan already entered the classroom with big steps, saluted with his hands, and bowed to the forty-ish year old teacher sitting in classroom before saying in a loud voice without condescension, “Teacher, I came here to see you. As the saying goes, ‘It is difficult for an honest official to judge a family’s affairs,’ so I can only ask you to judge this family’s matters.”
There was an immediate uproar in the classroom. Wang Zhisong, who sat in the middle of the third row, had never seen Shao Yunan before, so he just assumed that a reckless man had come in and stared at him with both curiosity and disgust on his face. To barge into the classroom like this was simply lawless.
Standing outside the door, uncle Zhuang who didn’t dare to come in just said hurriedly, “Teacher Chen, this brother said he was here to…“
Teacher Chen just raised his hand to stop uncle Zhuang’s words and said to Shao Yunan, “Since this is a family matter, even if it is difficult for honest officials to make a decision, you should go to your elders or clan elders. What kind of matter makes you have to come here and regard this county school as your ancestral hall?” Although he was very surprised by Shao Yunan’s words, teacher Chen was still very upset. Anyone who became a teacher disliked unreasonable and reckless people.
But Shao Yunan was not afraid as he straightened his back and said, “If it were any other family matter, I would have asked the elders of my clan to judge. But for the family matter I came to see you about, I either have to go to the court or come to you. Because the most important party in this family matter is sitting in this classroom, as one of your students.”
“Wow!” The classroom became even more noisy. Teacher Chen picked up the paperweight and put it down, making the classroom instantly quiet, but there was a strong sense of gossip on everyone’s face.
At this time, the teachers and students in the classroom next door also heard something unusual. Teacher Guan from that classroom came out and asked in a loud voice, “Brother Chen, what’s the matter? Why is there so much noise?”
Shao Yunan turned around and bowed to another scholar of similar age to teacher Chen, who had just come to the door, but did not speak. Teacher Chen unhappily said, “This man said ‘It is difficult for an honest official to judge a family’s affairs’.”
“It is difficult for an honest official to judge a family’s affairs…” Teacher Guan couldn’t help looking at Shao Yunan a little more carefully. He saw that although this man was dressed in a simple coarse sackcloth, he looked magnanimous and proud, without a trace of vulgarity. In addition, this person’s red lips and white teeth give him an exquisite appearance coupled with bright eyes, and being able to say a sentence he had never heard before made him really curious.
Teacher Guan couldn’t help saying, “If that is so, then he might be worth listening to.”
With teacher Guan giving a stage, teacher Chen’s expression eased down. In fact, if Shao Yunan hadn’t spoken in an extraordinary way and his words did not have the dignity of a scholar, teacher Chen would already have had Shao Yunan expelled and charged him at the Yamen with disturbing the county school.
“Thank you both very much, teachers.” Shao Yunan bowed to the two teachers again and thanked them before straightening his back.
Wang Shijing drove the ox cart to the county town in a hurry. When he arrived at the livestock depository and saw the small donkey, Wang Shijing’s head started to hurt. Sun Erjiang was shocked. “Isn’t this the donkey of Erguzi’s family? Little sister-in-law didn’t really go to the county school, did he?” Sun Erjiang and Wang Xing were both two years younger than Wang Shijing, so even though they were older than Shao Yunan, they still had to call him their little sister-in-law.
“Let’s go and find him!” Wang Shijing hurriedly paid some money and then took Sun Erjiang and Wang Xing to run toward the county school. The three of them, breathlessly ran to the county school’s gate but were stopped before going in.
“Ugh, what kind of people are you to just barge in? Do you know where this place is?” Wang Shijing asked anxiously, “Uncle, was there a 15-16 years old little brother here in gray clothes before? He is my wife.” The man said, “Yes. He said he was asked by his mother-in-law to send some money to a newly enrolled boy student. Why?”
Aah! He really went in! Wang Xing and Sun Erjiang looked at Wang Shijing in panic. Wang Shijing suppressed his anxiety and quickly asked, “Uncle, my wife was in a hurry and didn’t bring enough money, so I want to send it over. After giving money we will leave.”
The man looked suspiciously at the three men dressed as farmers with muddy legs and couldn’t quite believe that this one-eyed, disfigured man could be the husband of that handsome young man.
The man just said, “That little brother spoke well, just like a scholar, so how could he be your wife?” He looked up and down at Wang Shijing. “This is a county school, not a place that anyone can just enter.” It was not said without meaning that he didn’t look worthy of Shao Yunan at all.
Wang Shijing clenched his fist and said patiently, “That’s really my wife who just passed by.” He took out the money bag from his arm. “He left in such a hurry that he took the wrong money bag so I was in a hurry to catch up with him.”
Wang Xing and Sun Erjiang said boldly, “Uncle, that person is really his wife.”
The gatekeeper still didn’t believe it, so he pretended no to see the anxiety on the faces of the people before him. “This is not a place that can be entered casually. When your wife comes out, you can ask him to send it again. In half an hour, school will be over, so wait at the door.” With that, the man pushed Wang Shijing and the others outside. Wang Shijing looked inside anxiously, but he couldn’t really break in. He was not afraid of involving Wang Zhisong, but he didn’t know Shao Yunan’s specific situation. He was afraid of implicating Shao Yunan even more.
The three people were pushed out and Wang Shijing broke out in a sweat. Wang Xing anxiously asked, “Brother Shijing, what should we do?! Little sister-in-law will not be arrested, right?
Wang Shijing clenched his fist and told Wang Xing the same thing he told himself, “Yunan has many novel ideas, so he must have a way to protect himself. If he doesn’t come out when the school ends, I’ll break in and find him.”
“How can you do that? You will be arrested if you break into the county school.” Wang Xing and Sun Erjiang hurriedly advised. Wang Shijing was very anxious. “I can’t wait!”
Before Wang Shijing’s group arrived, teacher Guan sat down next to teacher Chen intending to listen to the problem together. Shao Yunan did not immediately say what family affair it was, but spoke to uncle Zhuang who sent him in. “Uncle Zhuang, although this younger generation is really helpless, it is this younger generation’s fault for deceiving you. I want to apologize to you once more. If I hadn’t been forced to this point, this junior would not have chosen this way. I hope you will be able to bear with me.” After saying that, he made another deep bow.
The two teachers planned to cut right into this family affair, so uncle Zhuang, who was not blamed by anyone, only waved his hand and said with a wry smile, “You are already like this, so how could I, an elder, not comply? You’d better tell the two teachers what is going on.” Shao Yunan made another bow and turned to the two teachers. At this time, someone outside suddenly shouted, “The Dean has come!”
At this call, teachers Chen and Guan immediately turned around and walked out, while the students in the classroom also all stood up. Uncle Zhuang just gave Shao Yunan a ‘Just be lucky’ look before hurriedly looking towards the Dean’s figure. After this, the students from teacher Guan’s class also left the classroom one after another. Shao Yunan also decided to leave the classroom.
Edited by: Jaisland