# 39. That Xu Pingzhi Made a Grave Mistake!
"Brilliant! Ningyan has a peerless talent in poetry." Li Mubai clapped his hands vigorously.
He was extremely excited, being excited due to the poem as a scholar would, in addition to being excited about the reactions of the students after looking at this poem.
Zhang Shen didn't comment, but his gaze toward Xu Qi'an became more and more appreciative and proud as if the other party was a student brought up by him.
"The text is simple, but it hides deep meaning inside. *To third watch with lamp light, from fifth when roosters crow; are the times a boy should study in the day...* Brother Jinyan, do you still remember the days when we were young and studied at the academy?"
Chen Tai savoured this persuasive poem, feeling its deep meaning and long aftertaste.
Zhang Shen froze up for a moment, recalled the scene of studying in his early life, and sadly said,
"Isn't this like us in those days? When I was young, my family was poor, and I could only eat two steamed buns a day. Even at midnight when I was hungry, I used to persevere to study hard with the light from a lamp."
Li Mubai said quietly, "Is that why you stole my chicken eggs twice in three days?"
Zhang Shen said with displeasure," How could a scholar's business be called stealing? It's borrowing. Didn't I pay you back for those eggs later?"
Li Mubai blew on his beard and scowled, "A chicken egg in poverty is worth more than a thousand taels of gold today."
Chen Tai let out a cough to interrupt the quarrel between the two friends and looked at Xu Xinnian, "Cijiu, After the Imperial Examination, you're qualified to be an official irrespective of your ranking. Have you considered your future?"
Everyone felt uncomfortable after jumping into the topic suddenly. Zhang Shen and Li Mubai shut up and made plans for Xu Cijiu inside their heads.
Chen Tai looked at the two Great Scholars who were hesitant to speak, and didn't give them the chance to speak, "Generally speaking, Starting in the capital and going outside later is the best way to promote in officialdom. Within my capacity, I can have you stay in the capital."
As his teacher, Zhang Shen beamed with joy, "It's great. Cijiu, why don't you thank Brother Chen quickly?"
"No need for that, If you want to repay me, I do have an idea." Chen Tai laughed.
Zhang Shen and Li Mubai felt something was up, upon listening to the words of their old friend.
Nobody had said anything about repaying you.
Chen Tai smiled and said, "Ningyan, you're still a piece of rough jade. If you want to become a talent, You need to be polished. These two old men are very vulgar, you should switch to my tutelage."
"Get lost, shameless old thief." Li Mubai and Zhang Shen became furious.
Xu Qi'an seized the opportunity and said, "Two teachers, Ningyan indeed has a question to ask you."
This trip to Cloud Deer Academy was for getting freebies.
"This junior has been stuck in the Refining Body realm for a long time. Due to my lack of merit and my poor family, I never had the resources and opportunities to step into Refining Qi." Xu Qi'an did a full bow.
"Please help me to open Heaven’s Gate."
This was his second purpose for coming to the academy. Although he could sell the magic weapon given by Song Qing in exchange for money to open Heaven’s Gate, It wouldn't be a matter of joy. And Xu Qi'an was a person who pursued happiness.
Zhang Shen shook his head and laughed, "You're a ill person rushing to every doctor possible. We are Confucians, how could we open heaven’s gate for you? The method of circulating martial qi in the body is a matter that only a martial artist would know.
*The difference between systems turns out to be bigger than I imagined...* Xu Qi'an was a bit disappointed, and asked unwillingly, "This junior doesn't understand. Since opening heaven’s gate requires the help of experts above the level of Refining Spirit, How did the first person open his heaven’s gate?
"Do you think that the way of Martial Arts was created by a single person? Was it created overnight?" Li Mubai asked him before drinking his tea.
Xu Qi'an shook his head, indicating his lack of knowledge on the topic.
"It was created by the efforts of many generations." Li Mubai said slowly, "Perhaps, The refining body realm was the peak at the beginning, but someone coincidentally opened heaven’s gate, so the Refining Qi realm became the pinnacle of Martial Arts. It may have taken years for the Martial system to have been perfected."
"Coincidentally?" Xu Qi'an caught the keyword.
"Even if the easiest and most convenient way to open heaven’s gate is with the help of a Refining Spirit expert, it's not the only way." Chen Tai took over the conversation and said smilingly.
"A new-born baby has a stream of innate qi. As it grows older, ‘heaven’s gate’ is closed and the innate qi hides within their body. If you want to regain control over this qi, You have to open the closed heaven’s gate."
Xu Qi'an nodded. Humans eat grains, which produce impurities that block the heaven’s gate and the operation of internal qi.
His second uncle had taught him this theoretical knowledge before.
"There are many methods to open heaven’s gate. Apart from the familiar method of opening, there are two other methods: The first method is the Breathing Method."
"The breathing method needs to be practiced since childhood by soaking in a medicinal bath every day to cleanse the meridians and open heaven’s gate. Since it takes more than 10 years and a lot of money, this method was eliminated."
"The second method is to use External Force to open heaven’s gate, which was the stupid method used in ancient times. For example, swallowing a demon’s core."
"A demon’s core is the condensed essence of a Demon's Cultivation, and it contains a lot of energy. If you swallow a demon’s core, Its power will forcibly open the eight extraordinary meridians, but due to its uncontrollability, this method puts you very close to death."
*So that's the case... Although I didn't get the knowledge for free, It was worth it and I didn't make a loss...* Xu Qi'an said gratefully, "Thank you to the teachers for their instruction."
Looking at the humble, polite, and nicely spoken Xu Qi'an, the three Great Scholars smilingly stroked their beards, very satisfied with him.
In the middle of the academy, the Sage Courtyard was located, also called the Sage Temple, where the founder of Confucianism was enshrined.
Outside the Saint Courtyard, the large stage made with bluestone slabs was large enough to accommodate all the students of Cloud Deer Academy.
The dean would gather students there every year when the spring and fall examinations were about to begin, and passionately mobilize the students to study hard, obtain honour, and devote their lives to service to society.
There was a low wall with mottled red paint on the large stage, and a layer of unpeelable paper was stuck into the wall.
The wall was the bulletin board of Cloud Deer Academy, which was used to post the articles, poems, calligraphy, and paintings of the teachers in the academy, along with the occasional excellent works of the students. There were also some notices from the academy.
Two book boys came to the notice board. One was holding a roll of paper, and the other smeared rice paste on the notice wall. Then, they worked together to spread the huge paper that was as tall as a person and pasted it up.
Such a move immediately attracted the attention of the surrounding students, especially the huge paper taller than a person, which was too eye-catching.
"What was posted? Let's go and have a look."
"Wow, It's not an article. It seems to be a poem... What's interesting about that?"
"Ever since Ziyang Jushi left the academy, reading the other teachers’ poems might as well equate to not."
While talking, the students gathered under the low wall in groups of two and three, staring at the huge paper containing the new notice.
The handwriting on the paper was flying like a dragon and phoenix, with the force used in the pen pressed firmly to show a swift and fierce meaning.
"They are Mr. Zhang's words." A student recognized the handwriting.
Most students were concentrating on the poem on the paper.
“*To third watch with lamp light, from fifth when roosters crow; are the times a boy should study in the day...* I’m ashamed, ashamed of myself. After the autumn examination, I never even studied at night once.”
“Though it looks simple and ordinary, the truth within it is profound, what a thought provoking work!”
“How is it so simple, *If with dark hair still he does not study now; Regret it, will he, when his hairs turn grey!* The grandest dao is the simplest, and the greatest truth is within those words.”
“*Regret it, will he, when his hairs turn grey!* I used to be too slack, and was addicted to writing letters, playing Go, and Travelling, and spent too little of my energy on reading. After reading this poem, I realized that I'll regret this in the future.”
"Which Great Scholar wrote this poem?"
More and more people crowded under the low wall looked up at the poem on the wall, and when they started to immerse in it, They had great resonance with its persuasion.
The scene depicted in the first couplet made the students feel ashamed. Although they had tried their best to study, who could study under a light until third watch, and get up with the morning rooster?
But this was not a lie, because such examples did exist. The Great Scholars and teachers of the academy often used similar examples to warn the students.
What made the students palpitate was the second couplet, "*If with dark hair still he does not study now; Regret it, will he, when his hairs turn grey.* "
It was like a warning for the future of some young scholars who had been lax in their studies lately. After inquiring within themselves, these scholars felt palpitations, fearing that they would regret this matter even when they were about to die.
The thought of studying hard rose in their hearts as if spring had emerged within.
Not far away, on the edge of the great field, the three Great Scholars were watching this scene.
Chen Tai stroked his beard and laughed loudly, "Everyone thinks that poetry is useless, but they don't know that poetry touches the heart most easily. Xu Ningyan is a peerless talent of poetry."
Upon seeing the persuasive poem actively mobilize the emotions of the students, Zhang Shen couldn't help but smile, "This is true, he only used a cup of tea’s worth of effort to write something at this level. Not just this era, He could be counted among the best in history."
Li Mubai suddenly asked, "He said that he had already abandoned his studies, do you believe it?"
The two Great Scholars nodded at the same time. Li Mubai couldn't bear laughing, "How did you see it?"
"He had Cijiu write his poem for him." Zhang Shen said.
"How could a scholar have others write his own poem." Chen Tai added, "Unless he's not good at calligraphy."
But all scholars were proficient in calligraphy, since it was a basic skill for them.
Li Mubai said with emotion, "It's a pity, He's already at crowning age. It's too late for him to switch to Confucianism."
Chen Tai was heartbroken, "Such a talent went over to learn martial arts, It's wasting heaven-sent talents."
A vulgar Martial System wasn't worthy of Xu Ningyan's amazing talent at all.
Zhang Shen seemed to have thought of something, and said with indignation, "I heard from Cijiu that when the two of them were young, his father decided to have Ningyan practice martial arts and Cijiu study."
"That Xu Pingzhi made a grave mistake, He wasted such a talent of Confucianism in vain. Truly a shameful and hateful act."
The two Great Scholars agreed with him.