1.5 – If you think about it, you’ll die, can’t close your eyes
When Xue Ling arrived, the emperor who was watching the show from the back naturally also came out, so with a call of “the Emperor has arrived”, everyone was unified in kneeling to pay respects.
Xue Ling could also bend, his facial expression remained the same, looking particularly gentle and respectful, but inwardly he was cursing the emperor to death.
“Rise, beloved ministers.” The emperor’s laughter was hearty. He was a middle-aged man with a magnificent face. The years had left traces on his eyes and eyebrows, but they did not detract from the dignity of the man who represented country at all.
Xue Ling seems to see a huge golden dragon circling behind him. This emperor’s luck is not inferior to that of this world’s son of fate, the protagonist shou.
But, this has nothing to do with Xue Ling’s mission. Xue Ling will look into at other people’s luck.
Demons also have their own brand of honour and dignity, this is a point that Xue Ling insists on.
“In today’s Palace examination, I(朕) played a little trick in order to see what means our beloved ministers can employ in order to enter the palace, cannot help but admire the young men that can write these articles.” The emperor was full of smiles, and if Xue Ling hadn’t known that he would follow up with an attack, he would not have seen through the mask to the emperor’s real attitude.
Being an emperor indeed requires an excellent acting ability.
The young people below all laughed, after all, they were all at the age of complacency, not only was it the final examination presided over by the emperor, it has also given them fame and success. The emperor praised them so much that several people felt like they were floating.
Duan Xuyang did not know why, but he started feeling uneasy in his heart.
“The articles of our dear ministers have been carefully read. Some of the ideas on governing the country have benefitted me(朕) a lot. I have prepared two articles here for you to carefully read.”
Normally, the imperial examination process is definitely not like this, but all this is according to the emperor’s will. His subjects naturally dare not have any doubts about it, the palace workers first presented an article, opening it with his hands, Xue Ling quivered, realising that it is Duan Xuyang’s article.
The corners of his mouth raised slightly, making the little eunuch who sent him the article turn a little red, whole person wavering as he retreated.
Reading articles takes time, inside the great hall it was particularly silent, even the sound of a dropped needle would be heard.
Xue Ling also read this article with along them, and the more he read, the paler his face became. The system that was settled on his shoulder, upon seeing him standing unsteadily like a thin sheet of paper, looking like he he wanted to stand steadily, but his heart was too tired, too heart-broken, even occasionally sending Duan Xuyang regretful, hating iron for not being steel glances, suddenly felt that its host’s acting abilities were rather too good, it’s a perfect score!
The emperor’s eyes were always observing around the group of people, and the corners of his mouth were slightly raised. When some of the ministers looked up excitedly, seeming to want to say something, he waved for to them not to open their mouths and asked the palace workers to send another article.
Then, everyone was shocked.
Although it was incredibly hard to believe, but the people present still read the whole article, and then their expressions turned strange.
Xue Ling did not read his own article. He sighed and looked up at the sky. Then, as if he had inadvertently noticed Duan Xuyang’s eyesight, he looked back towards the other.
There are too many things in his eyes, helplessness, angry grievance, disappointment, regret, pity, all kinds of emotions entangled together, even if Duan Xuyang has endless hatred for him, at this moment, facing such a pair of eyes, he was also stunned in place for a while.
The gazes of the two men clashed with each other under the eyes of the emperor, and also the eyes of the general who was specifically invited back by the emperor.
The emperor sent a copy of these two articles to Cong Hui, even if it is an ordinary person, it would be a simple thing to judge who is the original owner of the article when he sees these two articles together. Therefore, Cong Hui’s gaze was a little curious, his eyes switching back and forth between Xueling and Duan Xuyang, not knowing how to describe his current mood.
One scholar angrily threw the paper on the ground and knelt directly in front of the emperor. “Your Majesty, such a dishonourable deed! Requesting a thorough investigation!”
This person is a famous scholar, attaching much importance towards articles, as well as the sanctity of literature, making it so that he can not stand for such a thing happen, his facial expression is livid, obviously very angry.
The emperor leaned on the dragon throne with his cheek propped up and said with a laugh, “Today, all our beloved ministers are here. Naturally, I want to thoroughly investigate this matter, returning justice to the world.”
The other two students also had bad expressions on their faces, hearing the emperor’s words, finally let out a relieved breath.
When they read the first article, they felt that they were not wronged in losing to it. But when they saw the second article, they fully understood the gap between themselves and the author of the article. Such an amazing article was shamelessly copied, and no scholar with strong character would stand for such a thing.
When comparing the two articles, which one is better or worse is not even an issue that needs to be thought about.There’s nothing wrong with these people’s indignation.
Duan Xuyang looked pale. He knelt down and kowtowed with a loud bang towards towards the emperor. “Seeking Your Majesty’s understanding!”
With a sneer, the emperor spoke, “Whatever injustice dear minister has, just directly say it, I will give you a answer.”
Xue Ling feels deeply that the emperor on the throne is really cunning. This tone of voice, is clearly playing tricks on people.
Duan Xuyang didn’t care about these things, but now his position is very unfavorable. He has to pull back, even if he has no chance of winning, he will not choose to sit and wait for death. Instead of letting the emperor drag him down and beat him to death, he should stand up and speak first to fight for his own life.
This is already the fastest method that Xue Ling can think of to resolve the protagonist.
As long as Duan Xuyang is guilty of cheating and lying in front of the emperor today, there will be no chance for him to turn things around again no matter what tricks he plays. After all, the punishment for such a crime is to be beheaded, he has not yet climbed up the big tree that is the general. At this time, if he was sentenced, that is really the end of the road.
“Your Majesty, the first article is the clumsy work of this common one, of which this common one can recite backwards every word, while the second article is only seen today, this common one has really been wronged ah!” Although he has completed the exams, Duan Xuyang is indeed a common citizen.
“Oh? Do you mean that the author of the second article copied your article?
“This common one dare not, although I do not know why our views and texts are so similar, but the second article is indeed more profound than this common one’s, whether or not it has been copied, this point, this common one dare not jump to conclusions.”
“In the imperial audience hall, under the Son of Heaven, Duan Xuyang, you lying like this without a manuscript, don’t you feel ashamed?” Xue Ling finally spoke up.
Duan Xuyang’s expression remains unchanged, unmoving, only saying: “I don’t know what the champion scholar means by that.”
“Looks like, you want to pretend that we do not know each other?” Xue Ling sneered. “Funny, I thought my family had supported you for decades, and I treated you like a true brothers. Even if I could not have you treat me as family, at least there should be some feelings. I did not expect you to be so extreme.”
Duan Xuyang gritted his teeth, thinking to himself, ‘Aren’t you the one that is being extreme? He even had the face to blame me here!’
“I haven’t met the champion scholar before, I don’t know what you mean.” Even if you bite him to death, he can’t admit to this, otherwise it will really be over.
At this point, everyone in the palace also know who the authors of these two articles are. Even if Duan Xuyang calls for his grievances to be addressed, the other students do not want to stand with him, first one and then another step away, and soon Duan Xuyang’s side is empty.
His face finally turned white. Even if he could get away with it today, his life is already ruined.
“Never seen me before?” Xue Ling laughed coldly and said, “Then how did you take my family’s jade token and go to the General’s Palace to ask for them to take you in?”
“That’s my family’s jade token! Champion scholar, don’t go overboard! “
“Duan family has me as its only son.” Xue Ling is expressionless, throwing a jade pendant at Duan Xuyang’s feet. “Apart from me, who dares to call himself Duan familys heir? You are also ridiculous. For the sake of power and dignity, do I also need to thank you for not taking up my name, so that I was not left without an identity?”
Duan Xuyang looks pale, but up to now, he still insists on clenching the bit between his teeth. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. My token is handed down from my family. Is the champion scholar also wanting to grab it?”
“In fact, it’s very simple to look into such things.” Xue Ling crouched beside him and whispered in his ear, reciting his masterpieces which were widely circulated in the capital before reaching out to touch his increasingly pale face. “Really disobedient. I clearly told you to burn all those poems, as they were all inferior works, but you even took them out to make people laugh.”
Being touched by him, the hair on Duan Xuyang’s body all stood on end. He fell on the ground and looked at Xue Ling as if he were looking at a devil. “You are not Duan Qian! You are not Duan Qian! Duan Qian cannot possibly like this!”
Xue Ling squinted, and the little fox beside him went back and forth in agitation. “Host, you cannot OOC to much! If the protagonist sees through your identity you will be automatically kicked out of the world. Although it’s a low levelled, the world itself still has its own self-consciousness. If you are kicked out directly, it’s all over!”
“Of course I am Duan Qian.” Xue Ling forced down the mouthful of blood that came pouring up because of the world’s rejection, and his lips were tinged with a little blood. “Without you, how did today’s Duan Qian come to be?” His laugh was a little ugly as he placed his hand over his chest, as if he were half about to die. “While I was stupidly trying to heal my sickness and waiting for you to bring people back, I refused to believe that I had trusted the wrong person. When I came to the capital and heard those poems, I comforted myself that it was just for self-protection, there must be some misunderstanding. Today I wanted to give you a chance.” He staggered on his feet and was about to fall, but his body was held by a pair of big hands.
“Take care of your body.” Cong Hui supported him, adding: “Duan family’s grievance has not yet been addressed, you can not fall here.”
Xue Ling reluctantly stood firm, raised his head to give Cong Hui a smile, and then looked down at Duan Xuyang. “Our acquaintance of many years, coming to this point, our sentiment, is over now.”
Seeing the general that suddenly appeared, Duan Xuyang felt really bad all over. The general was his last trump card. But now, obviously, all his back roads had been cut off.
The emperor, who had been watching the play since the beginning, finally spoke. “Nothing more to say? If there is nothing else, I will help you with your grievances.”
“…” Duan Xuyang looked at the face of the Son of Heaven without any spirit in his eyes. He only felt a sense of oppression that made him unable to raise his head. He bowed his head and finally accepted his fate.
The moment he lowered his head, the strong luck that was always surrounding him began to stir crazily, causing a great commotion. And then, unhesitatingly, rose directly into the sky and disappeared completely.
Xue Ling covered his chest, knowing that the protagonist had exhausted his all and had no more chances.
He sneered, motioned to release himself from Cong Hui, knelt in front of the emperor, and gave the emperor a great obeisance. “Thanking His Majesty for aiding this common one.”
The emperor directly stood up, descending the dais step by step, and lifted Xue Ling up. “Beloved official has such a talent for governing the country, he should not be buried by some small people.”
Xue Ling repressed a smile that wanted to come out, and then stepped back two steps, accurately fainting straight into Cong Hui’s bosom. Fresh blood flowed from his mouth, making his whole person look as frail as a thin piece of paper that could be blown away with a breeze.
Giving the man in his arms with an undecipherable look, Cong Hui directly picked him up in a princess carry, and spoke to the emperor, “Your Majesty, the family of the first prize champion was very kind to this subject in his youth. Before that, this subject had no eyes and had taken care of the wrong person. Now that the champion scholar is in bad health, it is better for this subject to take him back to his home and rest, which is also a reward for his parents’ kindness.”
The emperor touched his moustache, looked deeply at Cong Hui, and laughed, “Granted. Send a few imperial doctors to your house to help you look after him. The champion scholar is my future Prime Minister, he should be well protected by the general. If there is any mistake, I will hold you responsible.”
“This subject obeys the order.”
The episode of trial in the audience hall was like a stage. After a lot of noise, it was over and dispersed.
Xue Ling was taken back by Cong Hui, and the rest of them looked at each other. Then, with a laugh from the emperor, they were appointed and received their documents.
Only Xue Ling, as the champion, was given a reward but not assigned a rank. The emperor probably could see that he did not have much of his life left, and so he had no intention of enslaving him.
It is better not to force such a genius.
Some terms that got tossed out the window:
状元郎 zhuànɡ yuɑn lánɡ – number one scholar
the emperor and the past two chapters refer to Xue Ling with this name/title several times. i’ve translated it as ‘champion scholar’, ‘first prize champion’ etc. there isn’t really a comparable English term other than valedictorian… which is more for schools, right?
草民 cǎo mín – common people
this is used when Duan Xuyang and Xue Ling refer to themselves when talking to the emperor. Translated to ‘this common one’.
爱卿 ài qīnɡ – my dear/beloved subjects
I used ‘beloved ministers’ instead because the emperor doesn’t use ‘my’ very often
臣 chén – official under a feudal ruler
Cong Hui uses this when referring to himself to the emperor, TLed as ‘this subject’.
also, i hate, HATE the wordpress post editor. f** blocks. you make things so hard -_-