Chapter 10 – First class!

“Alas, what a pity.” Wang Yuanjun had said “what a pity” countless times in the past few days.

Everyone rechecked the exam papers.

Finally, County Magistrate Cai and two others came to Fang Yun’s exam paper and discussed it endlessly, but in the end, they couldn’t come up with a solution.

By lunchtime, County Magistrate Cai was still hesitant and had to temporarily leave to have lunch.

After lunch, everyone rested for a while and returned to the grading room.

County Magistrate Cai didn’t want to let the only Double-Jade Child Scholar in Jing Kingdom slip away from him.

Wang Yuanjun explained, “There’s no need to worry too much. With his talent from Mingzhou and his flawless saintly words, his future achievements will definitely surpass ours. The title of the number one Double-Jade Child Scholar is just a meaningless reputation. Even if he’s injured, he can still get the top score. Passing the exam is a piece of cake for him.”

County Magistrate Cai stood still for a moment and suddenly said resolutely, “We select talented individuals for our lord, our nation, our saints, and our human race. How can we be afraid of slander from others? Being cursed for a lifetime is better than being cursed for a hundred lifetimes!”

Wan Xuezhen and Wang Yuanjun were speechless as they looked at each other. They realized that County Magistrate Cai had seen that Fang Yun was destined for greatness, and was taking this opportunity to make a bet.

If he lost, it was just a fine, and the court wouldn’t punish him severely because giving Fang Yun the Double-Jade title would also benefit Jing Kingdom. But if he won, he would become the first county magistrate in Jing Kingdom to produce a Double-Jade Child Scholar. Although Wang Yuanjun was in charge of education, the county magistrate was the chief examiner and the highest-ranking official in the county. He would definitely be promoted.

Wang Yuanjun and Wan Xuezhen were immediately convinced. No wonder he was an Imperial Scholar. They couldn’t compare to his courage and boldness.

The two of them looked at each other and immediately said loudly, “Please make the final decision!”

The voices of the three people passed through the talent energy in the examination hall and into the void, finally arriving at Qufu, the Holy Academy located on the southern side of Mount Tai by the East Sea.

From afar, it was an upside-down mountain, thick at the top and thin at the bottom, with the peak pointing downwards into the ground. The top of the mountain was a huge platform with numerous buildings and white clouds floating above.

Confucius loved Mount Tai, but didn’t want to harm the main peak, Jade Emperor Peak. So he cut a 3,000-foot mountain from the side, brought it back to Qufu, and gently tossed it. Thus, the famous “Inverted Peak Mountain” was created, and Confucius drew a water and ink painting in the air, which hung in the sky.

When Confucius blew, the ink and paint buildings fell onto the top of the Inverted Peak Mountain, forming the Academy of Qufu, which was now known as the Holy Academy.

In the center of the Holy Academy was an extremely spacious hall that could seat 100,000 people. This was where Confucius gave lectures and was called the Hall of All the Saints.

Under the Hall of All the Saints was a holy platform with many statues of all the canonized saints from ancient times to the present.

Below the holy platform, three elegant old men sat in a row. At first glance, they seemed ordinary, but upon closer inspection, countless strange images flickered in their eyes.The stars rotate, the seasons change, there are quiet valleys and bustling cities. From the grasslands in the north to the rainforests in the south, from the deserts in the west to the shores of the East Sea, everything in the world is contained within.

At this moment, the most frequent scene in the minds of the three people is the scenes in the academies throughout the Holy Origin Continent.

The Holy Origin Continent consists of ninety states in ten countries, with nine prefectures in each state and nine counties in each prefecture. Everything in over seven thousand academies is within the sight of the three people.

One of them speaks up, “Possible A, possible B.”

Another person chimes in, “Tianzhi Mengsheng, injured but still took the exam, his pen name is Kelian, his aspiration towards the sacred is rare, A!”

The last person remains silent for a long time before finally saying, “Possible!”

The last person’s voice travels across mountains and rivers, exploding in the grading room of Jixian Academy. Everyone feels as if they have just heard thunder in their ears, and their hair stands on end as if in a fierce wind.

The others are both shocked and delighted.

“A transmission from the Half-Sage? That’s worth a month of hard work!” A lecturer exclaims with joy.

Wan Xuezheng says, “Usually, if the Half-Sage agrees, he will only give his approval. But this time, he spoke up, which means he is afraid that we won’t give him an A. It shows that he strongly agrees, second only to being personally selected by the Half-Sage. This is a great thing.”

The magistrate of Caixian County thinks for a moment and says, “This matter of the Half-Sage’s transmission must not be leaked. Firstly, he is still young, and if he knows about this, he will inevitably become arrogant, which is not good for his future. It’s better to tell him after he becomes an Imperial Scholar. Secondly, if he already has two A’s, he will become a target of jealousy. If there is another transmission from the Half-Sage, who knows how many people will secretly slander him. I will report this to the Ministry of Education and have them issue an order to keep it secret. If anyone dares to spread the news, they will be punished with the same sentence as killing an Imperial Scholar and be dismembered by five horses!”

The magistrate’s eyes are icy, and his talent surges within him. His power can be turned into a sword that kills people, which is extremely terrifying.

The ten lecturers teaching in the academy quickly bow and say they dare not.

“We are all descendants of Jing Kingdom, and we are delighted to see such talent. How could we harm him?”

“I am a distant relative of Fang Yun, and I even taught him how to read. I would never harm him.”

“Hmph!” The magistrate snorts coldly. The lecturer who has yet to open the name seal on the exam paper already knows that it belongs to Fang Yun. It seems that these lecturers have been eavesdropping on the conversation between the three examiners.

Wang Yuanjun says, “The magistrate is right. He is still young, and we should not overly praise him. I have also seen Fang Zhongyong before and have been worried about him, but unfortunately, his father is too greedy and it’s hard to say what will happen in the future.”

The magistrate nods and says, “Since the rankings are now set, let’s open the name seals and write the gold list.”

So, they tear off the part of the paper that covers the names on the exam papers and take out five large pieces of yellow paper, which are the so-called gold lists.

The magistrate only glances at the fifty names of the Child Scholars and remembers them all. He writes “Fang Yun, A, A” in the upper left corner of the first gold list with a brush.

The second line reads, “Fang Zhongyong, B+, B-.”

“Poor timing.” Wang Yuanjun whispers as he looks at Fang Zhongyong’s name.

After writing the gold list for the fifty Child Scholars, the magistrate says, “I will write the invitation for today’s literary meeting.”

Wang Yuanjun and Wan Xuezheng remain silent.

Every time after the gold list is announced, the three examiners will hold a literary meeting on the same day, inviting local scholars and the top ten Child Scholars to attend. The main purpose is to discuss, comment, and appreciate the exam papers of this county exam.The invitation could have been written by someone else, but the magistrate of Cai County wrote it himself, indicating that he highly valued today’s literary meeting.

After finishing everything, it was already after three in the afternoon. The main gate of the academy was wide open, and there was a sea of people outside. A large number of examinees and their families crowded the originally spacious area in front of the academy, making it impossible to move.

Before the list was posted, a person hurriedly walked into the academy. Everyone saw that it was the county’s Lu catcher and guessed that something big had happened.

Lu catcher quickly found the magistrate of Cai County, bowed and said, “Reporting to the county lord, we have basically figured out what happened that night, but we have no evidence.”

“Speak!” The magistrate of Cai County was not tall, but his eyes were very sharp, and he looked at Lu catcher sternly.

“Yes! Liu Zicheng from the Lius of Dayuan Prefecture took a liking to Fang Yun’s child bride and deliberately befriended Fang Yun. However, Yang Yuhuan was a chaste and virtuous woman who was devoted to Fang Yun, and Fang Yun did not abandon her for money. Liu Zicheng was angry and frustrated when his plan failed, and he once threatened Fang Yun with words. Later, he ordered people to beat Fang Yun in the alley near the Jixiang Tavern.”

“Are you sure it was the Lius of Dayuan Prefecture?”

“Absolutely not mistaken.” Lu catcher looked at the magistrate of Cai County carefully.

The magistrate of Cai County frowned and thought hard.

After a moment, Lu catcher whispered, “I also heard about an unusual thing that happened to Fang Yun. I don’t know if I should say it or not.”


“Fang Yun said that on the night he was beaten, he was rescued by a mysterious person who then took Fang Yun as his student and taught him a lot overnight.”

“Oh? How was Fang Yun’s literary talent and knowledge before this?” The magistrate of Cai County immediately asked.

“Very poor, even worse than me back then. He definitely couldn’t become a child scholar.”

The magistrate of Cai County looked at Lu catcher.

Two hundred years ago, the status of catchers and yamen runners was very low, and they had no ranks at all. But in recent years, with the growth of the population and the flourishing of talent, more and more people have obtained official positions through imperial exams. A large number of accomplished scholars and child scholars have filled various positions, and catchers have also obtained a ninth-rank rank and are responsible for maintaining public order. They even have literature treasures waistplates issued by the court.

This Lu catcher was an accomplished scholar who became a catcher because he had no hope of passing the imperial exam.

“I understand. Don’t tell anyone about this.”

“Yes, sir.”

Lu catcher was about to leave when the magistrate of Cai County took out an invitation and said, “This is an invitation to invite him to the literary meeting at Jixiang Tavern. You personally deliver it to him. Arrange for someone to monitor and prevent Liu Zicheng from retaliating. If Liu Zicheng dares to act, you will deal with him according to the Jing Law and protect Fang Yun the most. Do you understand?”

“I understand, sir.”

“Go and give Fang Yun a good impression.”

“Yes! I take my leave.”

Lu catcher’s heart trembled. He knew that the magistrate of Cai County was a man of literature and an archenemy of the Left Chancellor Liu Shan. But now, the Left Chancellor was so powerful that he almost forced the man of literature to retire to his hometown. At this moment, the magistrate of Cai County should not offend Liu Zicheng or anyone from the Liu family, but he was protecting Fang Yun, which proved that Fang Yun was extraordinary.

As Lu catcher walked out, he ran into a yamen runner who was going to post the list and asked, “Is that Fang Yun on the list?”

“Huh? Don’t you know? Fang Yun is this year’s top scorer! And he’s the top scorer in both the civil and martial exams!”

“Top scorer? What? Say it again! Both civil and martial? Are you not mistaken?” Lu catcher couldn’t believe his ears.”You can see for yourself.” The yamen runner opened the rolled-up golden list, and Fang Yun was listed as the first place on the first page, with two prominent “Jia” characters on it.

Lu the catcher took a deep breath. As a real talented scholar, he knew best the significance of being a double Jia child scholar. For two hundred years since the founding of Jing Kingdom, there had never been a double Jia child scholar!

He looked down and saw that the child prodigy Fang Zhongyong was only a double Yi.

Lu the catcher’s mind became active, and his footsteps unconsciously quickened as he quickly made calculations in his mind.

“No wonder County Magistrate Cai is not afraid of offending the powerful Liu family. It turns out that Fang Yun is a double Jia child scholar. This means that his plea to the emperor has no mistakes, and such a person is extraordinary. There must be a powerful figure behind him. Could that mysterious person be related to Wen Xiang? It is very likely! This time, letting me deliver the invitation is a great opportunity, and I must seize it!”

The yamen runner whispered, “I heard those gentlemen say that Fang Yun was also a child scholar before the saint.”

Lu the catcher took another deep breath. A double Jia child scholar before the saint, even without any background, was worth County Magistrate Cai’s full protection.

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