Chapter 5 – Enter the examination room

Liu Zhan said unhappily, “He only has quick thinking, but his memory is far from perfect. That can only be achieved by an Imperial Scholar. Besides, Jiangzhou has nine prefectures, and Dayuan Prefecture Academy is only one of them. If he really is a genius, the ‘Academic Master’ of the prefecture academy, Li Grand Academician, will definitely accept him as a child scholar and let him study with the top talented scholars and presented scholars in the whole prefecture! Do you think that’s possible? Li Grand Academician is a third-rank official like the governor, and his position in education is even higher. He is responsible for the education of millions of people in the prefecture. Without his approval, no one is worthy of being called a prodigy!”

The crowd chuckled. Last year, when Fang Zhongyong went to Lujia Town, there was a small poetry gathering. Fang Li asked Fang Zhongyong to write a poem at the gathering, and he outshone all the scholars present, making the students of Lujia Town lose face. Liu Zhan was there and had never been convinced by Fang Zhongyong.

Liang Yuan whispered, “Liu Zhan has a point. Fang Zhongyong is still too young, and his best poem is only at the county level, not even at the prefecture level. But given time, he may achieve higher accomplishments.”

Liu Zhan added, “Yes! He has at least one poem that surpasses the prefecture level and reaches the Mingzhou level to be considered a prodigy. As for the ‘Zhenguo’ level and even higher realms, that’s not something we can talk about.”

County, prefecture, state, and nation are administrative areas in ascending order of size in the Holy Origin Mainland.

Ge Xiaomao whispered, “Actually, it’s not bad to write a poem at the county level. Many talented scholars can’t even write a poem at that level. Even if a presented scholar can write a poem at the county level, it’s enough to hold a banquet to celebrate.”

Lu Lin, who had been silent, spoke in a deep voice, “The barbarians are causing trouble, and Qingguo is on the lookout. Instead of fighting for fame and fortune, we should think hard about resisting external threats!”

Liu Zhan and Ge Xiaomao looked ashamed, while Liang Yuan smiled and said, “Lu Shitou, we were just talking. You don’t have to be so serious.”

“Alas, the border troops have repeatedly suffered defeats at the hands of the barbarians, while some people ignore the country’s danger for their own selfish desires! If I can become a talented scholar, I will definitely join the army with my pen, not to serve the court, but to serve my fellow human beings!”

Lu Lin’s impassioned words silenced the nearby birds and made most people show their admiration, except for a few who sneered.

There are three barbarian tribes in the Holy Origin Mainland: the grass barbarians, the sand barbarians, and the forest barbarians. Each tribe has various clans, such as the wolf savages and the tiger savages, which are said to be the offspring of a mix of demons and humans.

Fang Yun took a careful look at Lu Lin. He had thick eyebrows and big eyes, a square face, and a resolute character. He was the most upright person in the private school, and when Fang Yun first entered the school, he was bullied by someone, but Lu Lin helped him out.

Although he didn’t talk much, he was the most respected person among the five.

However, even he dared not curse the Left Chancellor, Liu Shan, in public.

After finishing his speech, Lu Lin looked at Fang Yun.Fang Yun was taken aback, realizing he had made a mistake. Although the previous Fang Yun was not as upright as Lu Lin, due to his poor family background, he deeply understood the sufferings of the world and was determined to obtain fame and then bring peace to the nation. He was a staunch war faction member.

Fang Yun immediately said, “Lu Lin is right. A real man should aspire to make achievements on the battlefield and die an honorable death!”

Lu Lin showed approval, and Lian Yuan laughed and said, “Fang Yun, your flattery skills are getting better and better.”

The others chuckled lightly.

As they chatted and moved forward with the crowd, Fang Yun spoke very little and was constantly digesting his memories.

When they arrived at the gate of the Academy, two expressionless soldiers stood there, with one of them reaching out to Fang Yun.

“Exam card and documents.”

Lian Yuan handed Fang Yun the box of books. Fang Yun opened it and handed the wooden exam card and identity documents on top to one soldier, and then handed the box to the other soldier.

The soldier on the right received the box and looked inside. There were brushes, inksticks, inkstones, penholders, pen racks, paperweights, water containers, sugar cake cloth bags, and other items inside. The soldier nodded and handed the box back to Fang Yun.

The soldier on the left glanced at the exam card, then looked at the identity documents. There was a portrait of Fang Yun when he applied for the exam, as well as a description of his body and appearance. He looked at Fang Yun and then his gaze fell on the bandage wrapped around Fang Yun’s head.

“What happened? Are you the one who came by ox cart?” The soldier asked sternly.

Fang Yun replied, “I was attacked by four thugs with the accent of the Dayuan Prefecture last night. Fortunately, I survived and the bandage was applied by Doctor Li from Cisheng Hall. He can testify for me.”

The soldier nodded and said, “Every time there is an exam, three sages preside over the Holy Academy, overseeing the world. No one can hide from their sight. You know the consequences.”

“I understand.”

The soldier handed the exam card and documents to Fang Yun and let him in.

Fang Yun’s friends only found out that he had been beaten up when they entered the Academy and were very angry, but they dared not speak up in the Academy and could only suppress their anger.

The square behind the main gate of the Academy was spacious. Fang Yun looked up slightly and saw the blue sky nearby, which was circular in an irregular shape. Outside the circle, dark clouds were still raining heavily, as if a magnificent power was dispersing the nearby dark clouds, ensuring a smooth exam.

After all 2,000 candidates entered the Holy Academy, they walked to the front of the Holy Temple, with soldiers and yamen officials standing on both sides and three county examiners, including the county magistrate, the county Academy jun, and the prefecture Academy stud, standing in front.

On the Holy Origin mainland, “Academy” was an extremely important system, along with the military and civil officials, known as the three major systems of each country. It was responsible for educating the people, administering the imperial examinations, and was also the best school in each region. Once they were at war with the Demon Barbarians, the teachers and students of the Academy would rush to the battlefield.At the county or prefecture level, the position of the Academy Lord was generally lower than that of the county magistrate or prefect, but in each state, the Academy Lord was considered equal in rank to the governor, and their literary status often exceeded that of the governor.

The National Academy, also known as the “School Palace,” was overseen by one of the four imperial ministers, the “Minister of Literature,” also known as the “Successor of Confucius,” because only Confucius was qualified to be called “Master” in the world of scholars.

The true master of all the Academies and School Palaces was only Confucius himself. The Academy Lords and Ministers of Literature were just substitutes for Confucius in managing the Academies and School Palaces.

The Academy was the place where the saints spoke about the classics, while the various government offices were just a part of the nation’s court. In the hearts of many scholars, the Academy’s status was higher.

In front of the three examiners stood a half-meter-high bronze incense burner, and three thick sticks of incense were emitting blue smoke.

In front of the bronze incense burner was the Holy Temple, with red walls and black eaves, and a vermilion gate and pillars.

Inside was a statue of Confucius, and below it were six smaller statues of semi-sages, including King Wen of Zhou, Mencius, Hsun Tzu, Tseng Tzu, Zithi Zi, and Yan Zi.

Under the two semi-sage statues were dozens of holy plaques of the Half-Sages.

Fang Yun looked at the Holy Temple in surprise. He could clearly sense that this building was emitting a substantial but intangible power, like the might of mountains and the vastness of the sea.

“That’s probably the talent contained in the Holy Temple and the power that dispels dark clouds,” Fang Yun thought to himself.

The county magistrate shouted, “Bow to the Saint!”

Everyone bowed and paid their respects.

The Academy Lord shouted, “Bow to the Semi-Sages!”

The crowd bowed again.

“Bow to all the Saints!” The prefectural school official shouted loudly.

The crowd bowed for the third time.

Then, the county Academy Lord recited the “Sacrificial Rites for All the Saints.”

Fang Yun remembered this article, which was originally written by the Half-Sage Dong Zhongshu. The article listed the names of each of the holy people and a brief summary. After Dong Zhongshu’s death, it was added to by the direct descendants of Confucius, the “Yan Saint Duke.”

Then, the prefectural Academy official read out the rules of the exam.

Finally, the county magistrate announced the start of the exam, and the candidates entered the examination room under the guidance of the yamen runners according to their exam card number.

Fang Yun carefully looked at his exam card, which read “Earth, Fourth Year of the Chen Reign.” Then, he carried his book box and slowly searched for his exam room.

The examination room was a row of small houses connected together, with a road between every two rows wide enough for two carriages to pass side by side.

The examination room faced south, and the house was less than a zhang high. If Fang Yun stretched his arms out inside, he could touch the walls on both sides, making it very narrow.

Inside, there was a table, a chair, and a chamber pot. There was a pen wash with clean water on the table, but nothing else.

Fang Yun found his exam room and stood at the door, looking inside. From the moment they sat down, no matter what happened, once they left the exam room, the exam was considered over, and they could not re-enter the exam room.

Fang Yun couldn’t help but clench his fists and slowly walked into the exam room.

“I can do it!” Fang Yun said firmly in his heart.Fang Yun sat quietly, looking up at the sky. Due to the eaves, he could only see half of the sun.

The sunlight in the academy became particularly gentle, and Fang Yun felt no discomfort even when looking directly at the sun.

He thought of the aura of talent in the Holy Temple and became even more eager for this mysterious power.

The sound of a carriage came from the east, getting closer and closer.

Soon, a carriage appeared in front of the examination room, and a person handed Fang Yun a stack of slightly yellowed paper.

Fang Yun stood up and took the exam paper with both hands, saying, “Thank you.”

The paper deliverer nodded, glanced at Fang Yun, and continued to hand out papers to the next examinee.

Fang Yun put the exam paper on the table and looked at the familiar yet unfamiliar questions, revealing a strange bitter smile.

“Even in a different world, I can’t escape exams. I wasn’t a top student in my past life, I hope I won’t become a bad student in this life.”

Fang Yun thought to himself, not immediately writing, but flipping through the exam paper.

He had read a story before, where some people took an exam with many questions, but only had ten minutes to answer, making it impossible to finish. Many people hurriedly started answering, hoping to write as much as possible.

However, the last question on the exam paper read: only answer the last question.

After reading this story, Fang Yun would always check each exam paper, not just the last question, but also carefully checking for any damage or mistakes.

One time, Fang Yun found a problem with the second exam paper and had the teacher replace it early. If he had waited until after finishing the first paper, it would have wasted a lot of time.

Having tasted success once, Fang Yun developed a habit.

The exam paper was larger than the ones Fang Yun had taken before, with forty pages in total. Thirty pages contained exam questions, and the other ten were blank. If there was a problem with the exam questions on the previous pages, the examinee could manually copy the entire exam paper.

The paper and printing quality were extremely good, only lagging behind Earth’s level by a few decades. Fang Yun was not surprised, as this was a world of talent. If they fell behind in the basics of calligraphy, ink, paper, and printing, they would have been wiped out by the Demon Barbarians long ago.

Fang Yun quickly skimmed through the exam paper and got a general idea.

The first three pages were about the lives or deeds of the Saints, including the Sage Confucius and six Semi-Saints, which seemed simple, but the answers had to be the words from the classics of the Saints, and not the examinee’s own words, otherwise it wouldn’t count as a plea for the Saints.

The next three pages were about the poetry and songs of the Saints.

After that were fifteen pages, each with a sentence that needed to be filled in with the original text before or after it.

The last nine pages were all about memorizing large sections or even entire chapters of the works of the Saints.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *