Chapter 369: Zhang Ye's Great Capacity for Drinking and Poetry!
A total of ten rounds.
Winning six rounds meant overall victory.
Quite a number of people on the team behind Master Wei could no longer sit still. This was no longer a competition where friendship came first, and competition came second. If the other party was a master, it was still alright. They would not say anything about it as they wouldn't feel ashamed of losing. However, with their opponent being some nobody, this made these calligraphers feel that they had lost face. It was too shameful.
"Heh, I don't believe it!
"If it were ancient melody poems, I'll go up myself!"
"If it's five word poems, leave it to me!"
"Just a kid, yet he doesn't give any face to us seniors!"
"Haha, Old Yu and Old Lu, the both of you want to go up? Sure, then count me in too. No matter what, we need to get serious, or there's no where to put our faces."
"I really don't believe he is so all-powerful."
"At such a young age, how deep can his knowledge be!?"
These calligraphers began to sharpen their weapons, ready for a fight.
When Zhang Ye saw this, he sought Wu Zeqing's view. "President Wu, should we lose a few rounds? Of course we will definitely have to win the rest, but in this process..." According to Zhang Ye's intent, he didn't mind. This was after all Wu Zeqing's birthday and it was her circle. Zhang Ye was afraid President Wu found it inappropriate, so he sought her opinion to see what her attitude was.
Wu Zeqing retorted, "Why should we lose?"
Zhang Ye said, "The other side are all seniors of the calligraphy world. I'm afraid you would..."
Wu Zeqing gave a faint smile and said, "In art, there is no modesty. If you are really lacking in ability, which results in your loss, then that's just too bad, but if you can win, why don't you win?"
Zhang Ye blinked his eyes as he said, "It's fine even if we win?"
"What problems would there be?" Wu Zeqing sipped her tea.
Zhang Ye got an idea of her attitude. "Alright, I was just waiting for those words of yours!"
Offend people? Since when was Zhang Ye afraid of that? This fellow had never concerned himself with this. He was afraid Wu Zeqing would eventually be put in a tough spot, however, President Wu's words wiped all his concerns away. He finally understood why he liked Old Wu so much. Just like back when she invited him to teach, any typical President of an esteemed school of higher learning would never dare to take such risks. Furthermore, he had such a shocking theory about 'Dream of the Red Chamber', yet Wu Zeqing did not even ask him about it before supporting him. She never doubted the person she chose. From a certain point of view, Wu Zeqing was even more bold than Zhang Ye. She was indeed very different from a typical woman!
That was of course not a problem!
If you want to win, I'll win it for you!
"I'll do the draw." Zhang Ye took the initiative and went over.
The fourth round's topic came out. An ancient melody poem, and the last word had to have the word 'liu' (flow).
This sort of topic was a little more difficult. If it was just the first word, it would have been easy. Just giving it some thought would allow people to recall one. After all, everyone read a poem from beginning to end. However, if it was the last word, even if it were a poem one knew inside out, not everyone would be able to remember it. They would have to go from the first word all the way down to the last word. This increased the difficulty due to the time constraints.
"Finally the number of words are limited. I'll do it!" Teacher Yu came forward.
However, Zhang Ye had already picked up a brush and began writing.
"Lady Yu, the Royal Beauty"
Spring flowers and autumn moon, O when will all these end?
How much of my past I comprehend?
Last night, to my loft once more, the vernal east wind came;
In moonlight, I could not bear to look back towards my homeland rid of my name.
Jade steps and carved railings may still as ever be there,
Though changed are the faces fair.
O how great, how grave, I ask, can my woe and sorrow be?
Just like the River's swelling spring-tide waters rolling east to the sea.
Zhang Ye put down his brush, having finished writing it. Then he looked at his opponent.
Teacher Yu came over with a smile while brimming in confidence. He was in no hurry, and took a cursory glance at the melody poem that Zhang Ye had written. Then, his smile transformed into another expression. His face alternated between red and green. In the end, it changed into an action as he smacked himself in the forehead!
You can even write melody poems?
And this is another impromptu creation!?
Teacher Yu wished he had not spoken just now. I'll do it? Doing nothing but fart! After a few seconds of silence, he turned around at a loss of whether to laugh or cry before running back dejectedly towards Master Wei's side.
Master Zhou was amused. "Old Yu?"
Teacher Yu waved his hand. "I'm not writing."
"Then you have abstained?" Master Zhou asked.
Teacher Yu felt that was nonsense. "It will be pointless to continue writing it, so forget it, I give up." This melody poem's literary value was too shocking. His calligraphy was also written very beautifully. Teacher Yu believed that even though his calligraphy attainment was higher than his opponent's, it was not much higher. However, no matter what he wrote, it would definitely not be better than his opponent's "Lady Yu, the Royal Beauty". It would only incur ridicule on himself.
The surrounding crowd was dumbfounded. Even Teacher Yu admitted defeat? He was a famous calligrapher who won first place at this year's calligraphy competition!
Master Zhou said, "Then let's begin the fifth round."
The fifth rounds topic was reminiscing and remembrance.
The topic was very broad, but the broader it was, the harder it became to come up with something appropriate.
No one from the other side came forward, as if they were waiting to see what Zhang Ye had to write.
Zhang Ye drank a mouthful of wine and without any further ado, he grabbed the brush and dipped it in ink without any thought.
"The Lavishly Decorated Zither"
The lavishly decorated zither, for no reason, has fifty strings; each string, each bridge, reminiscing a magnificent year.
Master Zhuang lost himself in the morning dream of being a butterfly; Emperor Wang's amorous spring heart was entrusted to the cuckoo.
Deep under the vast azure sea, reflected the bright moonlight, pearls cry tears; In Indigo Mountain, bathed under the warm sunlight, jade releases smoke.
This feeling might have become something to be remembered later on; Merely, at that time I was already perplexed and lost.
When he finally put down the brush, there were already people giving their kudos!
Su Na exclaimed out and clapped forcefully. "Nice! Nicely written!"
This poem was liked by many of the women present. Their thoughts also seemed to float away a bit. "This feeling might be something to remember later on; Merely, at that time I was... already perplexed and lost?"
Many people were engrossed just by listening to it!
No one from Master Wei's side spoke a word!
What is this guy doing? One poem after another, how are you f**king throwing out all these excellent poems worthy of being classics out like they cost nothing? Can you at least write some poem that we are familiar with!?
Who's going forward?
Who can take down this round?
We can't have no one taking up the challenge, or not only would we lose, we would lose our stance!
They nudged one another and eventually, as there was really no one, someone from the team bit the bullet and came forward. He wrote a relevant poem, which was quite long. He took a long time to write the exaggerated tale filled with high-flown phraseology. A long poem allowed a time extension, so this person was probably trying to use his calligraphy skills to win this round.
However, when he finished writing, Master Zhou still announced that Wu Zeqing's team won. There was no other reason. No matter how high a calligraphy standard one had, it needed to be expressed through text. The poem the youth in shades wrote was enough to blanket out anything else. It even increased his calligraphy by an entire realm!
Another round was won again!
Wu Zeqing decided not to even stand up. She just sat there, drinking her tea and watching the bustle.
The surrounding people began to discuss in murmurs. Some women began pointing at Zhang Ye.
"He's so amazing!"
"This young lad is godly!"
"Why is he wearing sunglasses? I can't see his face!"
"I sure didn't come to this anniversary for nothing. I managed to experience such fun!"
Master Zhou announced, "The sixth round begins." After both sides drew their lots, he said, "The topic this round is Mourning Day, and it has to be used at least twice."
The topic was random. There really was no poem that began with Mourning Day.
However, the people on Master Wei's side were no ordinary people. Immediately, a young talent stepped forward. He stood in front of the table and with the brush in hand, began to compose something on the spot. Do you think you are the only one who can compose?
Zhang Ye was also writing.
A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Mourning Day;
The mourner's heart is breaking on his way.
Where can a wine house be found to drown his sadness?
A cowherd points to Almond Flower Village in the distance.
Before he was done, he ended a paragraph, and added his name out of habit.
When the youth from Master Wei's team had written half of his poem, he curiously gave Zhang Ye's side a glance. The moment he saw it, his eyes nearly popped out. With a few coughs, he lowered his head to look at the poem he composed. With a sigh, he placed the brush down, no longer wishing to carry on.
"I admit defeat." The youth was convinced.
Master Zhou asked, "Aren't you going to finish it?"
The youth said with a wry smile, "Forget it, I don't want to incur ridicule on myself."
Zhang Ye had won all of them!
Master Zhou said with a laugh, "There are still four rounds remaining, yet the victor has already been decided, so should we carry on?"
Wu Zeqing said, "I'm fine with anything."
Master Wei did not speak, but quite a few people behind him said,
"Why shouldn't we?"
"There are still four rounds."
Although they had already lost, the result was no longer important at this moment. So what if Master Zhou's calligraphy piece went to Wu Zeqing, what they needed to do was recover what was left of their face. At least, at the very least, they should win one round, right? We cannot let him wipe us out completely! If it spread out, it would become a joke!
Master Zhou smiled and said, "Alright, then let's carry on."
A young calligrapher said, "Master Zhou, I think this competition isn't fair. It's a calligraphy competition, but why has it become a poetry competition? We all know calligraphy cannot be void of expression and cannot do without text or poetry, but poetry is not everything in calligraphy. We have already witnessed the prowess of this friend's ability in creating poetry. He is indeed better than us, but that doesn't mean his calligraphy skills are better than ours, right?"
Master Zhou opened up his arms. "But, those are the competition's rules. Every anniversary has always had these rules."
Was it fair?
It was indeed unfair!
Master Zhou knew it, Master Wei knew it, and Wu Zeqing also knew it.
In previous calligraphy competitions, everyone's literary standards were about the same. They were neither too bad nor good. After all, calligraphers were not literary experts. Hence, this sort of competition was usually quite fair. Everyone was pretty much on the same level, but a godly person had appeared in this year's competition. Not only were his calligraphy skills excellent, his literary foundation was universe startling. This made the competition lose all suspense. Everyone knew that this youth in shades did not win due to his calligraphy but rather by his literary skills!
Calligraphy skills? He could only be said to have a chance against some of the calligraphers present. There were many here who were better than him.
But literary foundations? He alone was enough to steamroll dozens of calligraphers! Yes, steamroll. Steamrolling without any suspense!
One person was enough?
Now many people recalled through hindsight the meaning behind Wu Zeqing's words in the beginning! President Wu was not saying that she alone was enough. She was saying the youth alone was enough! President Wu clearly knew this youth from before, and knew his ability. Hence, when she saw the youth join her team, she declined on having other teammates. She had rejected the request of those who wanted to join her team out of pity! This was because Wu Zeqing knew this youth alone was enough! And that was indeed what had happened! This youth had really won over dozens of calligraphy seniors!