Chapter 20: An Apricot from within the Wall
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
"Could I have Accessed Dao? Could it be so easy? Ha ha ha…" Fang Zhengzhi grinned happily as he thought. His large eyes scanned his surroundings, and quickly landed on a fist-sized rock in the courtyard outside his window.
"Wooosh!" He jumped out of the window and landed onto the courtyard.
Quickly, he made his way towards the rock.
"Alright, you are going to be my experimental subject!" Fang Zhengzhi brought himself into a stance he thought was cool enough, then channeling his "energy", he opened up his palms and brought it down upon the limestone.
Calm came before the storm.
Biting his lits, Fang Zhengzhi almost cried in pain. Yet, the rock remained the same as before, without a single crack.
What’s happening? Didn’t I already exhaust all my effort reciting a whole night’s worth of text? Why was there no progress at all? Fang Zhengzhi was vexed. What did I do wrong?
Wait a minute.
Talking about progress…
Fang Zhengzhi’s eyes suddenly lit up, there was indeed progress! The feeling of progress was real, but the type of progress wasn’t the same as what he expected.
What he thought initially was that after a night’s worth of hard work, his meridians and bones will be reformed, just like the characters in martial art novels. His skin and bones would become as hard as metal, and his strength would match that of a bull.
But now, things couldn’t be more different!
Meridians and bones, they were still the same as before. His strength was also unchanged. Yet, his ability to control what was happening inside his body seemed different.
The feeling was that of control, not dexterity.
It was an ability to control isolated parts on his inner organs. For example, he realised that he could control the contraction and expansion of his meridians. He could feel the flow of blood within his body, and was even able to increase the speed of its flow slightly…
Actually, this wasn’t something people normally considered hard.
For example, if one became agitated, his heart beat would naturally increase. During exercise, blood would naturally flow faster.
However, these are two completely different concepts.
This form of control is truly real!
Control? Control of one’s body? Fang Zhengzhi was filled with doubt. The practices of this world was completely different from what he thought. Could this also be the Dao of All Creations?
A few days later, in a huge house within a certain city in the Northern Lands.
A soldier knelt on one knee. Above him, Lolita, clad in bright-red armour, sat with her legs crossed, a few young girls standing by her side, carefully wiping the sweat off her forehead.
"Couldn’t provide an answer?"
Lolita frowned. Did she make a mistake? Was the incident of the Illustration of All Creation an illusion?
"What does this Li Huer look like?"
"Missus, Li Huer had a roundish head. He was slightly bulky and his lips were rather thick."
"Hmm?" Lolita understood. Standing up slowly, she lightly made her way beside the window and looked out at a blossoming flower, its petals white as snow.
It was indeed not that little bastard!
This doesn’t make sense, while the village chief of the Southern Mountain Village indeed doesn’t look too bright, but he should still be able to make a decent decision. This little bastard can read, with the age restriction set between six to eight years of age, how is it possible that another person was chosen instead of that little bastard?
Lolita couldn’t understand.
Where did the problem lie?
Could it be that the village chief of the Southern Mountain Village didn’t know that little bastard could read? Isn’t that even more improbable? They live in the same village, how could he not know something as simple as this?
Moreover, after this incident, that little bastard will definitely be more alert.
Men from the Divine Constabulary visiting the Southern Mountain Village would definitely have raised a commotion. That little bastard should have been the question, how could he contain himself and have given an answer?
His mental strength seems to be not too bad! If this was the case, sending more people after him would likely be futile. I shouldn’t act rashly and alert him any further. I’ll wait till he relaxes and loosens up, then think of a perfect plan to capture him!
Reaching this thought, Lolita’s eyes lit up.
Before taking, one must first give! I have to find something that little bastard won’t be able to resist, then, when the right time comes, lead him onto the hook and finally… Heh heh, bring him over to the Divine Constabulary and give his backside a good spanking!"
Fang Zhengzhi continued to work hard. Each day, he would recite texts the second he woke up, and right before he sleeps. When bored, he would carry his Fundamentals of the Law of Dao and Trimetric Classic as he walked around the village.
This attracted some attention from the villagers, sparking some discussion.
"Oh? Zhengzhi is starting to read again?"
"He’s really trying to learn this by himself?"
"Zhengzhi, come here quickly, come to auntie… Tell auntie, how many words did you learn within this timeframe?" A middle-aged woman sitting in front of her courtyard pulled Fang Zhengzhi to her side.
"I’m not telling!" Fang Zhengzhi instantly retorted.
"Is it because you can’t even recognise a single word? Ha ha ha…" The woman laughed out.
"Auntie, can you read the words on this book?" Fang Zhengzhi asked, looking expectantly at her with a serious look on his face.
"What did you just say? How can auntie know how to read?" The woman replied uncomfortably.
"You mean auntie doesn’t know how to read? Ha ha ha…" Fang Zhengzhi laughed loudly, then spun around and walked away, leaving behind a group of villagers staring blankly at one another.
After making his round around the village, Fang Zhengzhi would lie down on a large rock by the fence of the Hall of Dao, basking in the sunlight and playfully imagining himself as a student from within the hall.
"Look, Fang Zhengzhi is secretly trying to listen to the teacher again!"
"What can he hear from the outside? He can’t even see what’s being written by the teacher, how can he understand just by listening?"
"Only the Heavens know!"
Looking at Fang Zhengzhi secretly trying to join the lesson going on inside the hall, the villagers began to discuss again. Nevertheless, Fang Zhengzhi never made any noise, nor raised any commotions, hence as time passed the villagers had begun to get used to this.
As the days passed, Fang Zhengzhi’s self-reading had slowly stopped attracting the attention of the villagers. Seeing him make his rounds with his book became commonplace.
Gradually, the villagers had also began to consider Fang Zhengzhi as a scholar, just not the same as the real scholars within the Hall of Dao.
Fang Zhengzhi was still known to everybody as an intellectual.
Except, how many books had he read, were they of any use? Nobody knew.
One particular afternoon, when the sun shone brightly in the sky, Fang Zhengzhi was sleeping at his usual spot on the large rock beside the Hall of Dao. Suddenly, he noticed a tiny leaf sprouting out of the branches of a small tree, half of its surface peeking out from behind the walls.
Inspired by the sight, he recited a poem which is used to love alot.
"With so much spring in the garden, how can it be contained? A spray of red apricot blossom has already reached over the wall."
"Brother, I see you have been waiting for the apricot!" Just as he was about to fully close his eyes, satisfied, the light above his head seemed to be blocked by something. Opening his eyes, he saw a scholarly-looking middle-aged man standing right in front of him.
Fang Zhengzhi recognised him as a teacher from the Hall of Dao. His name was Wang Anhua. He was a decent, cultured man, but his face was a bit too large, blocking the sun from Fang Zhengzhi.
"Everyday I’ve been seeing you lying here under the sun, today I wish to test you a question. How about it?" Wang Anhua seems to not have heard the poem Fang Zhengzhi had just recited.
"If I can answer it, would you promise me something?" Fang Zhengzhi sit up slowly from the rock, and asked innocently.
Wang Anhua was taken aback. He had seen his fair share of students, each of them replying humbly and sincerely when he tested them. Who even negotiates conditions like this boy?
However, considering that Fang Zhengzhi intended to ask for the promise to be granted only after he had answered the question…
Curiosity took over. Is this boy really so confident?
"Ha ha… tell me, what are your terms?" Wang Anhua didn’t dismiss Fang Zhengzhi’s question, and instead asked, his interest perked.