Chapter 316: Compete with Zhang Ye in couplets?
In the room.
"What are you muttering about?" Zhang Ye asked.
Chenchen looked towards the door as she mumbled in her mouth, "Someone more pretentious than you is out there."
"You can hear them too?" Zhang Ye was not angry this time, instead he said happily, "This person is really a little pretentious. Talking about his company, ancient books, and his dad and what nots. How's that even interesting?"
Chenchen said while doing her homework, "My aunt would not be interested in him."
Zhang Ye coughed a little, "Little rascal, then do you think your aunt would be interested in me?"
"You?" Chenchen looked at him for a while, "But you can't beat my aunt in a duel."
Zhang Ye shrugged, "Then if your Uncle Zhang can beat her in a fight one of these days?"
Chenchen's mouth twitched. "...Hur Hur. Let us talk when you actually beat her. Stop boasting. You never practiced martial arts. You can't even beat Little Lu."
Zhang Ye smiled, "That might not necessarily be true." He would definitely not be able to beat Rao Aimin, that was for sure, but her junior was obviously far more lacking than her. Without trying, Zhang Ye also did not know what his kung fu levels were like, he totally had no concept of his strength.
In the living room.
Rao Aimin said, "The first half isn't bad."
Lu Yuhu urged, "Senior Sis, give it a try?"
"I don't know such things, I've never learned about them." Rao Aimin only cared about drinking her tea.
Chen Feng's smile appeared on his face, "That's alright. I couldn't match the second verse myself either. We should discuss it together, who knows when inspiration might strike while we are at it."
Rao Aimin put down her teacup, "I'm not interested to discuss such things. It's getting late, Little Lu, Senior Sis won't be sending you off."
Lu Yuhu lamented. "Senior Sis, why are you so uninteresting? We're already here, at least give us some face. Old Chen's literary level is very high. You'd know it if you had a chat with him. Didn't you use to say that you appreciated talented people? Old Chen is one of the best out there. It's not that I am boasting for a buddy, but you won't find a few who could match his literary level in Beijing. He has even published an essay compilation before."
Chen Feng put on a false front of humility, "I'm not that great."
Lu Yuhu said, "Come on, this is not the time to be modest. My Senior Sis has even said before that she only appreciates two types of people. The first would be anyone who could beat her in a duel, another type would be those who are talented."
Chen Feng smiled a little, "I did do a few years of judo before."
Rao Aimin laughed, "Young man, are you meaning to spar with me now?"
Young man? Chen Feng knew that she did not treat him as an equal, so he got a little angry. He really did mean it now, if you want to spar, then let's spar. A guy like me can't beat you? Even if you had practiced the Eight Trigram Palms before, this Senior Sis status was still just a status. You don't even have muscles, of course I don't fear you. He had learned judo since he was young, but took a break in the middle for some years. His skills were still there. He had gotten to know Lu Yuhu at a gym and would admit that he was probably not his match, in fact he would be far below his level, but Rao Aimin was just a woman, of course he did not think he wouldn't win.
But when Lu Yuhu heard their conversation, he nearly vomited blood. He saw that Rao Aimin had already stood up, so he quickly stopped her, "Senior Sis, cool down, cool down. Old Chen doesn't mean it like that. Of course he's not intending to spar with you. Quickly, sit down. You really make me panic when you are like this!"
Chen Feng was stunned, "Old Lu."
Lu Yuhu was at a loss whether to laugh or cry. He looked back to him, "Old Chen, just forget it. With those judo moves of yours, you still want to spar with my Senior Sis? You're really great. Didn't I tell you before? She is our generation's Senior Sis of the Eight Trigram Palms. This is not a rank based on age, get it?"
Not ranked by age?
Then could it be ranked by skills?
Chen Feng did not really believe this. How could this woman be even stronger than Lu Yuhu?
Of course, Lu Yuhu also did not tell Chen Feng regarding some of Rao Aimin's things. He could not say it either. The Chinese martial arts world was not something that Chen Feng could understand anyway. After all, he was not from this circle and would not know what the three words, Rao Aimin represented in the Chinese martial arts world.
Rao Aimin sat back down.
Lu Yuhu wiped his sweat. "Let's not rough it out, we will get to know each other through culture, through culture."
Rao Aimin rebuked, "I do appreciate people with talent, but he's far from it. Do you think your Senior Sis has never seen the world? Am I so easy to fool!?"
Chen Feng could not take it anymore, he was raging by now!
Lu Yuhu immediately said, "If this brother of mine lacks the literary talent, then you won't be able to find anyone in Beijing. Of course, I'm talking about the younger generation."
Rao Aimin was getting frustrated, "So are you guys going to scram? Are you asking for a beating?"
Lu Yuhu knew his Senior Sis' temper, she had a sharp mouth but was very soft hearted. So he cheekily said, "Match the first verse and we will go. It's about getting to know each other through culture, so you should try to match it."
Rao Aimin glanced at him at him, "Alright, you're getting bold now, are you? Still trying to impose yourself here?"
Lu Yuhu said, "I brought a buddy along thinking that we could have supper with you, but we've just been here for a few minutes, so how could you ask us to leave? I've haven't tasted your famous Tremella porridge in such a long time, I really want to have some and also bring some back too."
"You said you wanted to discuss literature just now, right?" Rao Aimin sat with her legs crossed.
"Yes, my buddy's talent is not something you'd know nor understand. That's why I suggested it this way, if you...." Lu Yuhu was still intending to boast for Chen Feng.
Rao Aimin cut him off directly, "Little Zhang, come over!"
The door opened. Zhang Ye had heard what they were talking about initially, but then later on as he was chatting with Chenchen, he did not hear what came after, "Landlord auntie? What's the matter?"
Chenchen also followed along out to witness the commotion.
Rao Aimin sneered at Lu Yuhu, saying, "Kid, didn't you say you want to eat supper? Sure, if your friend's literary talent can match my tenant, I'll feed you the Manchu Han Imperial Feast, let alone Tremella porridge!"
When Lu Yuhu heard this, he was pleasantly surprised, "Senior Sis, you said it yourself, don't go back on your word!"
"Yea, I said it!" Rao Aimin lightly laughed.
Lu Yuhu smacked his thighs, "Haha, Old Chen, we're gonna have a feast tonight! My Senior Sis is a great cook. Once you've tasted her cooking, you will remember it for the rest of your life!"
Chen Feng was angered, but still put on a smile, "Sure, I would love to try out Miss Rao's cooking to see if it's really as good as Old Lu says."
Rao Aimin sneered, "We'll see about that. It's still too early to say."
Lu Yuhu and Chen Feng couldn't help but laugh. Compete with a random tenant of yours? What's there to even compete! Does he even know how a couplet looks like and how to match it correctly?
Compete with Zhang Ye in literature?
Compete with Zhang Ye in couplets?
When Chenchen saw this, she let out a Hur Hur.
Zhang Ye looked at the pretentious Chen Feng and completely lacked the interest. What's there to even compete, wouldn't he just be bullying him? "Landlord Auntie, let's forget it."
Rao Aimin stared at him and switched her crossed legs, "Don't talk nonsense!"
Chenchen also stirred him up in an encouraging manner. "Zhang Ye, you can do it."
What do you mean I can do it? Zhang Ye's bitter smile remained. Compete with an amateur in literature? He couldn't even get interested. "Alright, then I just need to match the correct couplet?"
Lu Yuhu said with a smile, "Right, come on bro."
Eh, Zhang Ye?
This name sounded familiar.
But Lu Yuhu and Chen Feng paid no attention and just looked on with smiles on their faces.
Zhang Ye walked over to the table to take a look.
1st Verse: Qián bāguà, kūn bāguà, bābāliùshísì guà, guà guà qiánkūn yǐ dìng
(Divination lot, Qian. Divination lot, Kun, 8 by 8, a total of 64 divinations*. The rules of the Universe are set).
Zhang Ye's face showed no expression, as if he was indifferent about everything. He knew that Chen Feng was just trying to find a topic to chat about with Rao Aimin. This was probably Lu Yuhu's idea, so they thought up of a Divination couplet as the first half of a verse. Zhang Ye did not even think before trying to pick up a brush, but realized that there was no brush.
"Use mine." Chenchen passed him a pencil.
Zhang Ye took it from her and then proceeded to write below the first half, "Luán jiǔ shēng, fèng jiǔ shēng, jiǔjiǔbāshíyī shēng, shēng shēng luánfèng hé míng. (The 9 cries of the Luan (Simurgh**), the 9 cries of the Feng (Phoenix), 9 by 9, a total of 81 cries. The melody of man and woman's union)." These couplets basically also existed in his previous world too.
When the second half of the verse was matched,
Lu Yuhu was stunned!
Chen Feng was also stunned for a moment, "This...." He had earlier said that he had no matching second verse to his first verse, but how could that be? Of course he actually had a second verse, but it couldn't be more matching than what was written by the young man before him. His opponent's second verse was much better than his and it looked like he did not even needed to think to come up with such a verse!
What was going on?
What kind of a person was this tenant?
Rao Aimin smiled, "Is the match acceptable?"
Lu Yuhu coughed, "Senior Sis, your tenant....."
Chen Feng did not concede and said to Zhang Ye, "Yóu xīhú tí xīhú xī hú diào xī hú xī hū xī hú (Touring the West Lake, holding a pewter flask, the pewter flask falls into the West Lake, a pity for the pewter flask)." This was not a couplet that he thought of, but one that he had asked from his teacher. These were the couplets that his teacher had not been able to match or match well. So he had brought them out now since he had been bragging so much earlier. He did not want to lose face in front of his friend and Rao Aimin.
Zhang Ye said with annoyance, "Yóu xīshān ná yīshān yīshān luò xīshān xī shàn yīshān (Touring the West Mountains, holding some clothes, the clothes fall off the mountains, a pity for the clothes)."
Lu Yuhu exclaimed, "Great match!"
Chen Feng's expression changed. "Kāikǒu biàn xiào, xiào gǔ xiào jīn fánshì fùzhīyīxiào (Beginning with laughter, past laughter, present laughter, everything can be faced with just laughter)."
Zhang Ye replied listlessly, "Dà dù néng róng, róng tiān róng de yǔ jǐ hé suǒ bùróng (Magnanimity can contain, contain the skies, contain the earth, so what can't it contain)?"
Chen Feng face darkened, "Bái shé guò jiāng, tóu dǐng yī lún hóng rì (A White Snake crosses the river, a red sun overhead)!"
Zhang Ye yawned, "Qīng lóng guà bì, shēn pī wàn diǎn jīn xīng (An Azure Dragon hangs on the wall, multiple golden stars it wore)."
Holy sh*t! That was a riddle type couplet! His first verse referred to an oil lamp, yet his opponent also answered with a riddle type couplet verse - A scale!
By now, Chen Feng was dumbfounded!
Lu Yuhu was also stunned!
Zhang Ye was feeling sleepy and said, "Is that about it?"
Yet Chen Feng was still unwilling to cede. He clenched his teeth and said, "Kàn wǒ fēi wǒ, wǒ kàn wǒ, wǒ yě fēi wǒ (I am not me when you look at me, when I look at myself, I am not myself either)!"
Zhang Ye wasn't too happy by now, didn't you say we would be doing just one couplet? Is there an end to this? So he immediately answered back, "Zhuāng shuí xiàng shuí, shuí zhuāng shuí, shuí jiù xiàng shuí (You look like who you impersonate, whoever impersonates whoever, whoever will become whoever)!"
It might seem like this second verse was referring to acting, saying that acting makes you become another person.
But when dissected further, why does it feel like this second verse was used to scold someone!
Who's acting now?!
Chen Feng's face almost turned green!
But Rao Aimin was tickled, "What's the matter? Do you still want to compete?"
Chen Feng did not say anything. Compete? Compete your sister! This person right here had matched them, and not only matched them with perfection, but he had also used it to sarcastically scold him! Even a fool could see that between the two of them, their literary skills belonged to two different realms!
*Qian Kun refers to the Universe.
**The "simurgh" a mythical bird with eagle-like features of Persian literary tradition, has been widely adopted by western sinologists to translate the analogous Chinese mythical bird, luan, following the lead of the late Edward Schafer. The luan should not be imagined, however as a raptor, since it lives solely on the fruit of the bamboo tree.