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EIF - Book 04 Chapter 066: Bring in the Wine

As Purple Subtlety and Longevity sat there, Archduke Xi Kang appeared unsightly. However, he could not say anything about it.

Between “The Army Returns on Arriving in the Han Nation” and “Chivalrous Legends,” one produced strong wind and rain accompanying the brush strokes, and the other produced crying supernatural beings. They are on completely different levels; the gap is simply crushing. Furthermore, with two hundred million people watching the broadcast, who knows whether I can come out looking good.

However, is my carefully constructed plan going to fail, wasting all my efforts?

Not only did I fail to suppress the Qian Nation envoy’s influence, I even embarrassed myself.

Furthermore, since this is broadcast live, I am also embarrassing the Yuan Imperial Dynasty.

Did I get caught in the trap of my own devising?

Archduke Xi Kang recalled Mo Yike saying, “I’m only worried that Archduke’s plan might backfire.” Now that his plan really backfired, he felt suffocated, a frustration he could not vent.

It was like someone calling one a fool, but one could only nod and acknowledge it, as one had just done something foolish.

This sullen feeling felt terrible.

This continued until an official muttered, “Stealing another person’s composition?”

Stealing another person’s composition?

This phrase burst like a flare in Archduke Xi Kang’s mind. In that instant, he felt enlightened and very comfortable.

That’s right. Did he steal another person’s composition? He did that? I was wondering how he could have composed something so excellent despite coming from an ordinary, mundane place. That has to be impossible. He is already skilled at the music Dao and the Go Dao of cultural cultivation. That is already the limit. How could he be skilled at the calligraphy Dao as well?

That’s right. I wrote my “The Army Returns on Arriving in the Han Nation” before this. Perhaps Gu Hai heard it and asked a calligraphy Dao expert to write a poem beforehand to humiliate me today?

Gu Hai came prepared? Does he actually not know how to compose poems?

Is all this Gu Hai’s plot?

“Humph!” Archduke Xi Kang snorted coldly, his earlier embarrassment transformed into anger.

Gu Hai is only a phony calligraphy Dao cultivator. This “Chivalrous Legends” is already his limit. To think that I nearly got tricked by him.

Archduke Xi Kang let out a long breath, and his gaze slowly turned cold.

At this moment, everyone at the banquet was already quiet and looked at Purple Subtlety and Longevity.

“These two are demons! Are they glutton spirits?”

“How much have they eaten? To think that they ate and drank so much earlier?”

“There wasn’t much food and drink in the first place, yet they are eating so much?”

The surrounding people watched with wide eyes. The two hundred million citizens in Major Metropolitan City also goggled at the two gluttons frantically consuming the food.

“Was Li Gang innocent?”

“It was not that Archduke Xi Kang was stingy, but these two gluttons really ate everything in Five Sacred Mountains Academy?”

“So was Mister Gu telling the truth, or was the archduke telling the truth? Why am I starting to doubt Mister Gu again?”

The many citizens and officials felt confused; only Archduke Xi Kang’s eyes lit up.

“Hurry! Bring more wine over. Why is it all gone?” Longevity called out.

“You are all too stingy. It is just a meal, and you are not letting us eat to our fill?” Purple Subtlety said while glaring.

Empty wine vats and bones piled up in front of the two.

“There is no more,” the attendants said anxiously.

“Why is there no more?” Longevity glared.

“The Qian Nation envoys provided the wine. Ten percent of it was served to the various officials; you drank the other ninety percent,” that attendant said bitterly.

“Hahahahahaha! What great warriors famous for eternity!” Archduke Xi Kang suddenly guffawed.

“Huh?” Everyone looked over.

Archduke Xi Kang showed a sarcastic smile as he looked at Gu Hai.

“Mister Gu, it looks like I did not accuse your two friends wrongly. Li Gang was also wronged by them. Ha! Great warriors famous for eternity? What a pity for your poem,” Archduke Xi Kang sneered.

“Oh? How is it a pity? Why do I not see it? Eating a lot means that they are not great warriors?” Gu Hai countered with a faint smile.

“Gu Hai, he is jealous of you!”

“Indeed. He can only write nonsense, and he is narrow-minded. Since you are more incredible than him, he picks on you at every turn!”

Purple Subtlety and Longevity piped up one after another with cold glares.

Archduke Xi Kang’s expression turned stiff. This is currently broadcast live. How can you two fools just run your mouths like that?

“Ha! I don’t know whether they are great warriors or not. I only feel that these two bring great shame to ‘Chivalrous Legends.’ They are not worthy of it,” Archduke Xi Kang sneered.

“Oh?” Gu Hai raised his eyebrows.

“You are not worthy, either!” Archduke Xi Kang said, his expression suddenly turning cold.

“What did you say?” Long Wanyu yelled while glaring.

This exchange immediately set the officials abuzz.

The two hundred million citizens were also shocked by this.

What’s going on? Why did Archduke Xi Kang say that Gu Hai is not worthy? Is he starting to pick on Gu Hai openly? Is he really a narrow-minded person who does not permit others to be better than him?

He just received a thorough face-slapping, and now he is trying again?

“Huh? How am I unworthy?” Gu Hai said coldly.

“I’m saying that you are not worthy of that ‘Chivalrous Legends.’ You weren’t the one who composed it, right?” Archduke Xi Kang sneered.

“Hah! Hahahahahahaha!” Gu Hai guffawed but did not explain.

Now, everyone looked at Archduke Xi Kang in shock.

The two hundred million citizens stared at Archduke Xi Kang in shock as well.

“Has Archduke Xi Kang gone crazy? That was a first-edition calligraphy Dao composition, a poem that Gu Hai composed!”

“Why did the archduke say that it was not Gu Hai’s poem? It was clearly composed by Gu Hai!”

Countless doubtful voices rang out.

However, Archduke Xi Kang said calmly, “The poem manifested crying supernatural beings. I acknowledge that ‘Chivalrous Legends’ is incredible. However, I do not believe that you composed it. This is a literary masterpiece, yet you do not even have to think about it but just came up with it on a whim?”

“Huh?” The many officials in the surroundings felt startled.

In Major Metropolitan City, the many citizens also felt startled. That’s right. Gu Hai seemed to have taken it out on a whim.

He did not seem to have put much thought into “Chivalrous Legends” before bringing it out. Did Gu Hai really compose the masterpiece?

Countless people pondered this.

“Ha! Just because I did not need to think deeply about it, you think that I did not compose ‘Chivalrous Legends’?” Gu Hai suddenly relaxed and showed a faint smile.

“That’s right. Humph! Every poem requires deep thought and plenty of time to revise it. You did not even think about it. Just from that, I can determine that you did not compose it,” Archduke Xi Kang said with an angry smile.

“Ha! Archduke Xi Kang, don’t you know? Composing poems requires talent!” Gu Hai smiled.

“Huh?” This rebuttal slightly startled Archduke Xi Kang. What does that mean?

“You need a long time to think about the poem? Ha! That is because you are not talented,” Gu Hai said while shaking his head.

You are not talented.

You are not talented.

Gu Hai’s last words seemed to echo continuously in the quiet plaza where the banquet took place.

The same also happened in Major Metropolitan City.

The two hundred million citizens gaped when they heard Gu Hai’s egotistical words.

Archduke Xi Kang has no talent? He has no talent even though he can bring out strong wind and rain with the brush strokes?

These words seemed even more impactful than any vulgarities or curses. Archduke Xi Kang felt stifled and nearly vomited blood.

“Talent? Humph! Prove it to me, then. Talent? I’ll write a poem for these two gluttons, and you also write a poem about how these two gluttons eat. If you can’t outperform me, then it is proof that you just copied your ‘Chivalrous Legends’ from someone else!” Archduke Xi Kang yelled.

“Oh?” Gu Hai narrowed his eyes.

This archduke has not embarrassed and humiliated himself enough yet?

“Prepare ink and brush!” Archduke Xi Kang yelled.

Lecturers of the academy immediately moved a table over and started grinding ink.

Archduke Xi Yang walked straight to the center of the plaza.

All the surrounding officials watched quietly, and two hundred million citizens watched with frowns.

Some people hoped that the archduke would expose Gu Hai as a fraud, but some people already sided with Gu Hai.

“Archduke Xi Kang is truly narrow-minded. He refuses to admit defeat and still wants to force Mister Gu to compose.”

As everyone in the city discussed this, Archduke Xi Kang had already started writing.

“The rats in the granary grew to five kilograms in weight, refusing to leave even when someone opened the gate. 

“The citizens starve, and the heroic soldiers have no supplies. Who is the one who feeds these rats on reprise?”

[TL Note: This is a seven-character-phrase poem called “Rats in the Granary” by Cao Ye, a Late Tang dynasty poet and official. While it talks about rats in a granary, it is actually criticizing the corrupt officials who fattened themselves with the lifeblood of the people, comparing them to rats. Then, this poem condemns the emperor for allowing this to happen.]

Boom!

When Archduke Xi Kang made the final stroke, noble spirit spewed out. However, it was much weaker than that of “The Army Returns on Arriving in the Han Nation.” It did not cause any change in weather, only showing noble spirit. Clearly, it was inferior to the previous “The Army Returns on Arriving in the Han Nation.”

However, this was already Archduke Xi Kang’s best, given that he composed it on the spot.

Clack!

Archduke Xi Kang tossed the brush aside and smiled coldly. “Mister Gu, this “Rats in the Granary” is for these two gluttons. I did not write this poem to prove how incredible I am. I just can’t take it when I see people copying from others and pretending it is their own. When my Yuan Imperial Dynasty receives guests, we always treat them with sincerity. However, we do not hope to see that the people we grandly welcome turn out to be frauds. That would only humiliate my Yuan Nation!”

In shouting, Archduke Xi Kang seemed to be venting all the frustration in his heart.

Archduke Xi Kang is exposing Gu Hai for the Yuan Nation’s sake?

All the citizens gaped at Archduke Xi Yang. No matter how picky one was, they had no way to criticize him. His actions appeared to stem from moral integrity, a willingness to go to great lengths for the Yuan Nation.

“Is he calling us rats?” Longevity demanded with a glare.

“Gu Hai, he is scolding you too. While he said that we ate the food of the soldiers and the citizens, you are feeding the food to rats every day, a heinous offender!” Purple Subtlety said with a glare.

However, Gu Hai narrowed his eyes slightly.

The calligraphy Dao? Indeed, Gu Hai had many poems that he recalled. However, he did not want to just casually take them out. Initially, he thought that “Chivalrous Legends” would be sufficient to scare the other party off, preventing the other party from bringing poems up again. Unexpectedly, Archduke Xi Kang still used poems to try and pressure him. This was purely seeking trouble.

“Archduke Xi Kang. Ha! I have no idea what to say about you. My two friends only ate a few of your cows and sheep. I even provided the wine. To think that you are stingy to this extent? Isn’t it just the wine running out? I’ll just send people to buy more; won’t that solve the problem? Why the need to write poems and criticize people again? This is supposed to be a friendly meeting between the two nations. Ha! I already said it. You have no talent. You really should stop embarrassing yourself,” Gu Hai said coldly.

“What did you say?” Archduke Xi Kang suddenly scowled.

“Purple Subtlety, Longevity, same as earlier. I’ll dictate; Longevity, you grind the ink; and Purple Subtlety, you write. Let’s show Archduke Xi Kang what it means to be talented,” Gu Hai said.

“Oh, alright!” The two stepped forward with murderous gazes.

Archduke Xi Kang’s head skipped a beat. Did Gu Hai really write “Chivalrous Legends”? Why is he so confident?

The surrounding officials looked at Gu Hai in shock. Could Gu Hai bring out another poem on the same level as “Chivalrous Legends”? No, even if it were half as good as “Chivalrous Legends,” Archduke Xi Kang’s earlier actions would become a great joke.

Many citizens in the city goggled as well.

“Can Mister Gu write another ‘Chivalrous Legends’?”

“That’s impossible. ‘Chivalrous Legends’ is a masterpiece that manifests crying supernatural beings. How can he so casually bring another one out? Mister Gu does not even have time to think about this!”

“Why do I feel some anticipation?”

“Me too…” 

Many citizens held their breath as they looked at the scene in the sky.

Gu Hai started speaking.

“This poem is titled “Bring in the Wine!” Gu Hai dictated.

“Have you not seen?
“The waters of the Yellow River come from upon the sky. They surge into the ocean, never to return, an eternal goodbye.
“Have you not seen?
“Grieving over white hair in a great hall, seen through mirrors so bright. Though silken-black in the morning, it turned snow white by night.”

DragonInWhite's Notes:

Chapters for December: 50 / 50

Only chapter for today and tomorrow due to adjustment for 50 chapters at the end of the month.

Also, no chapters tomorrow due to it being the 1st, my usual break day. Happy new year everyone.

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Written by Guan Qi — Watching Chess. Translated by DragonInWhite. Edited by Vampirecat.