# 17. To Regularly Argue with Auntie "Thud!" Xu Qi'an stood in the eaves of the small courtyard, throwing a prism-shaped hidden weapon casually without putting any effort to aim. The weapon accurately hit the red centre of the stake 20 paces[^1] away. This wasn't due to some special technique used by Xu Qi'an but because... He was lucky. "My body surely has some problem...", Xu Qi'an whispered to himself. He was too lucky. He had picked up 1-2 silver cash regularly over the past month, which was equivalent to half his monthly salary. This amount of money was equal to the savings of an ordinary family of three after three months. The strangest thing was, that every single time he always picked up one cash of silver. This wasn’t something pure luck could describe. You didn't need to ask Yuanfang[^2] to know that this was strange. "Father system? Come out, don't play hide and seek with me.", Xu Qi'an tentatively asked. The system ignored him. In the past month, He had made countless attempts to wake up the system. Reality told him that no such system existed. How could this strange luck be explained? *I don't think that an African Chief like me who hasn't won a lottery ticket of even five yuan since I was a child would evolve into a European Emperor one day. But the lifespan of this European Emperor was extremely short.*[^3] One certain thing was that the original owner didn't have this kind of luck at all. If he had the same luck, Auntie would treat him as an ancestor instead of disliking him. The whole family would stop struggling and depend on his money-picking abilities to live. "This kind of gift from an unknown origin is very unsettling and unreliable..." Xu Qi'an sighed, “Well, one step at a time then.” Taking a break that day, Xu Qi'an jumped over the one zhang high wall and went to his second uncle's house for breakfast. The small courtyard where Xu Qi'an lived was originally inhabited by an old housekeeper of the Xu family, and was separated from the mansion by a wall. Ever since the old housekeeper died, the small courtyard was left unused until Xu Qi'an fell out with his aunt and moved there angrily. The original owner was quite stubborn, He cooked three meals himself normally. Occasionally, the second uncle would bring wine and vegetables over the wall to find his nephew for a drink. Xu Qi'an didn't want to pay for the stubbornness of the original owner. He couldn't get out of bed in the morning to prepare breakfast if he wanted to make it by himself and it would be a waste of money to eat outside. Isn’t a much better use to listen to songs in the Goulan? Or, rather, mostly to be able to see the swaying buttocks of the satin-dressed ladies as they walked about. ... Inner Hall. Auntie, who was wearing a dark red dress with wide sleeves, saw Xu Qi'an come in, curled her lips, and drank porridge. Auntie wasn't the daughter of a big family. Her father was a *Xiucai*[^4] and so she barely counted as coming from a scholarly family. But auntie was very sensible and reasonable. She couldn't drive her nephew out of the house just after accepting his kindness. She was quite lax with her "Don't bully the young" nephew who was quite happy about it. Little Pea stood in front of a round stool. Her breakfast was on the round stool, three meat buns, two fried dough sticks, a stack of side dishes, and a bowl of porridge. "Big brother..." She yelled vaguely. "Why isn't Cijiu here?" Xu Qi'an asked. Cijiu[^5] “Saying goodbye to the old” was Xu Xinnian's courtesy name, and it acted as a supplement to his birth name “New Year”. "He's cooped up in his room writing poetry." Xu Pingzhi said. Xu Qi'an sat down. Lü'e brought a bowl of porridge, six meat buns, a stack of pickled radish, and a bowl of tofu. A martial artist in the Refining body realm had a much bigger appetite than an ordinary person. *This can only fill half my stomach...* Xu Qi'an glanced at Little Pea gently, "Lingyin, Is it okay to give a meat bun to big brother?" Everyone glanced at him. The youngest child didn't care about anything except for her food and she would fight with anybody that dared to take her food. "No!", Little Pea opened her arms as was expected, like a hen guarding her children, and protected her food. "Don't worry, Brother won't rip you off." Xu Qi'an picked up a meat bun and put it on her plate. Then, he pointed at the four meat buns and said, "Don’t we all have to share these four buns?" Xu Lingyin nodded. "Should we split the buns evenly?" Xu Lingyin thought for some time and nodded. "You have two steamed buns, and big brother has two steamed buns. Then, Big Brother will give you half a fritter. Did you make a profit?" "Yeah." Xu Lingyin was pulled into Xu Qi'an's rhythm and felt that she made a lot of profit. So, she smiled happily. Xu Lingyue, "..." Xu Pingzhi glanced at his nephew: (?_?) Auntie scolded, "How did I give birth to a stupid girl like you? You piss off your old mother sometimes." Little Pea felt very aggrieved. She earned half a fritter, Why was her mother scolding her? At the same time, Xu Xinnian came in while muttering words with his eyes wandering off into space, He sat down to eat while thinking. Auntie exhaled and ignored the stupid little girl in favour of the promising son. "Nian'er, why as good as you are are you trying to write poetry. People have strengths and weaknesses just as inches are short. Don't care about the rumours outside." "Cijiu, When can you break through and reach the eighth stage of cultivation?" Xu Qi'an asked suddenly. Xu Xinnian's path is that of Confucian cultivation. Cloud Deer Academy was founded by a disciple of the Confucian Sage and had a history of 1,200 years. As a holy place that graced the dreams of scholars all over the world, Cloud Deer Academy was transcendent not only because its founder was a disciple of the sage, but because it was the only academy for cultivating Confucianism. The ninth level of Confucianism: Awakenening; Awakenening could improve memory, reading speed, and enhanced learning ability, but didn't do much for combat. "I don't have a clue for the time being. The teacher said that I should realize the method myself." "You can refer to the Awakened Stage." Xu Qi'an said," How is the Awakened Stage cultivated?" Xu Xinnian recollected," Awakened Stage is the stage when you can memorize the sage's classics Front to Back and utilize them for yourself." *Front to back... Utilize for yourself... The former requires a lot of time for memorization and the latter depends on understanding.* Xu Qi'an nodded thoughtfully. This is the same as the refining body realm of martial artists, Which depends on years of developing qi and tempering the body. "To reach Self Cultivation, do you have to train your body?" Xu Qi'an asked. Xu Xinnian considered it, and said," A Confucian in the realm of self-cultivation is courageous and can convince people with their words and deeds along with inspiring fighting spirit. I tried to reverse the method of cultivation based on the abilities shown in the stage of self-cultivation." "Were you successful?" Xu Xinnian pretended to not have heard him, and turned to his mother, "An elder of the academy is going to Qingzhou. The journey is quite long. the students of the academy will see him off tomorrow and gift his poems." Xu Xinnian expressed his distress," I haven't written a farewell poem yet." Xu Lingyue said in a low voice," Second Brother doesn't have a talent for poetry." Auntie glared at her and said with displeasure, "Your second brother is very talented in poetry. He just didn't focus on it before." Xu Pingzhi scratched his head," Just write a few sentences. I think the poem you wrote that day was very bold." "Hurhur", Xu Qi'an laughed out loud. The corner of Xu Xinnian's mouth twitched, and he changed the subject rigidly, "The elder is a famous scholar and is good at poetry. Everyone who's seeing him off is a talented poet. In addition to admiring the elder, I have got the idea of making friends and networking." "If I were to be appreciated by that elder, It’ll be of great benefit." *Yes, finally he’s thinking of making connections.* Xu Xinnian's heart was arrogant, and he always talked about "Gentlemen's friendship is as light as water" and "Friendship but not forming parties" After experiencing the crisis, He finally realized the benefits of PY trading.[^6] Xu Qi'an was very pleased as an elder brother. He should be a big man if he inspired Erlang, who's not good at poetry, to work hard and make friends... Auntie was anxious, "How can this be a good thing?" Xu Xinnian said helplessly, "Mum, prose is already formed from heaven’s mysteries, and only written out by hand. The same is true of poetry." After finishing speaking, he said emotionally, "If I had good relations with this senior in the literary world, I might have been able to save you from prison. At least there would have been some help." Auntie suddenly frowned. She cared for her son's future more than anybody else. Real great scholars have strong personalities, and silver gifts weren't feasible. You had to do what they liked and make them feel that you were worthy of befriending. Xu Pingzhi frowned, "Your grandfather was just like you, He could only write prose and didn't have an ounce of poetry talent within him." Auntie wasn't convinced, and her pretty willow eyebrows were raised, "What do you mean, Is it my father's fault?" "Xinnian became a Juren because he followed my side of the family. Look at Lingyin, She followed you and hasn't even become literate yet." Xu Xinnian and Xu Lingyue took after their mother and their looks made others jealous. Little Pea Xu Lingyin has taken after her father and was cute and simple. Uncle Xu became speechless. Xu Qi'an wasn't convinced, "Auntie, You've said it wrong. Do you mean that my Xu family's genes are stupid?" Aunt didn't understand what genes were, she sneered, "If you were material for studying, you wouldn't learn martial arts." If Xu Erlang wanted to take initiative to PY with his arrogance, the status of the elder in the college shouldn't be low. Erlang's contacts are mine and my contacts are still mine. So, I have to help him. Xu Qi'an's thoughts flickered, thinking of masterpieces that would work as farewell poems from his previous life. Although he didn't plan to mix up with the Confucian scholars, Why couldn't he use the resources to exchange for benefits? Soon, He had an idea and selected a poem. Xu Qi'an furiously took a bite of the meat bun, "Poem writing, right? Today, Auntie will know that everyone in my Xu family is a talent." What he had to ponder over was the matter of the poem being too good. You should know that poems written in textbooks are usually handed down as masterpieces. --- [^1]: A “pace” here is an established unit of measurement, being equal to 5 *chi* (feet). [^2]: A character in *Detective Bao Qingtian* [^3]: Slang words from plays of a certain Chinese video game (that I can’t remember) - “African Chiefs” were players with extremely bad luck, whilst “European Emperors” were those with extremely good luck - and enough money to pay to win. Colonialism reference. [^4]: Someone who passed the imperial examination at county level. [^5]: 辞旧 [^6]: PY交易, 屁眼交易, “arsehole trading” more Chinese internet slang.