Inner Residence arc ー Chapter 3 (Part 2): First encounter with the Teacher
Today was firstly to check yesterday’s homework. Little Xie Lingjuan had some problems with her character but her homework was actually rather good. It looks like Eldest Brother’s upbringing was very strict. There were a few children who did not do as they were lazy and they couldn’t submit it at this time.
Using a popular terminology to describe, Song Zijing this person was a “lofty uke*”. He appears to be extremely delicate and unable to stand against the wind, yet his methods to fix others were both vicious and merciless. I only saw him speaking mildly like a gentle willow, “Make up for it tomorrow then.”
*T/n: A more literal translation would be “Queen uke”. I am not sure if I used the exact term correctly, but this term originated from BL stories and is referring to an uke who is full of vigor much haughtiness with a sense of grandeur.
Those few kids let out a sigh of relief. After that Teacher Song again added one one sentence, “All students are to copy yesterday’s homework fifty times and hand it up tomorrow.”
Afterwards it became a land of disaster victims and those few kids who did not submit their homework instantly became a target of criticism by everyone.
Kids, you know now, this is called implicating and also punishing the criminal’s associates, it is one of the representative culture of the dark side of a feudalistic society. Teacher Song Zijing is also doing this for the sake of you all, so that you all can know about the dehumanizing side of this society earlier.
I raised my hand. Song Zijing asked, “What’s the matter?”
I said, “Teacher, do I also need to submit?”
Song Zijing’s face stiffened and said uncomfortably, “Fourth Miss is new, so you don’t have to.”
I laughed secretly.
When he started lecturing, he was lecturing about the story of “Zhang Huai(Zhāng Huái) lying down on ice”. I didn’t know about this Zhang Huai person but I have heard of the story of “Wang Xiang(Wáng Xiáng) lying down on Ice to Fetch Carp for his Stepmother*” since young and it was not much different from the story Song Zijing was narrating.
T/n: One of the stories exemplifying filial piety. You can read about the stories in greater details if you wish.
Here is the link: https://www.pureinsight.org/node/2945
Song Zijing’s lesson was beyond my expectations and was extremely lively. The words he used and sentences he made were clear and easy to understand. He brought out a little bit of idioms of classical stories and the children remembered in a short while. I have to say, he is a rather decent educator.
After he finished narrating the story, he then told the children to discuss about their thoughts. The children all knew that was to teach children to be filial to their parents while there was only one small boy who popped up with a voice of discordance and said, “This Zhang Huai is really stupid.”
It is these voices of discordance that push history forward to improve. I looked over excitedly. That young boy who was wearing a crimson dress with rounded embroidery design was eleven or twelve years old, with a jade-like complexion, delicate features, pupils that resembled stars twinkling in the chilly night, cinnabar lips and was just like a porcelain doll.
Song Zijing smiled slightly and asked, “Xiao Lin(Xiǎo líng), come say why is that so?”
Xiao Lin spoke eloquently, “Zhang Huai used his own body to melt the ice. Maybe before the ice has yet to melt, he himself would have already frozen to death first. The gains do not make up for the loss. If I were him, I would go chisel the ice. That would save both time and effort.”
Me and Song Zijing happened to nod our heads. Then Teacher Song asked again, “Any other views?”
I also don’t know how exactly I have offended Xie Lingjuan. She suddenly pointed at me and said, “Little Aunt has.”
Song Zijing unexpectedly went along with the flow and said, “Fourth Miss may say a few words as well.”
I did not have a single preparations and I also could not say any profound ideas from this simple story. At that moment, it felt like I had returned to the university’s lecture and was picked by the teacher to recite the names of all the human body parts and acupuncture points where I had crows flying in my mind* until I didn’t even know how to say the names of the four limbs.
*T/n: The crows here may symbolize that it was not a good omen and that she needed help.
Xie Lingjuan just wanted to see me embarrass myself and was laughing at me.
All thanks to this laughter of her’s, I was brought back and returned a smile to her, “I don’t have any thoughts, but I do have one extended knowledge. The carp is the one of the most common fish in freshwater and “Shennong(Shénnóng)’s Herbal Classic of Materia Medica*” termed it as the “Head of All Fish”. Speaking from the perspective of medicine, the carp is mild in nature**, nourishing, effective for the spleen, aids the digestive system, strengthens the spleen and stomach, has effects such as inducing diuresis to alleviate edema, improves milk production and prevents miscarriage as well as for treating cough and relieving asthma. In particular, the fish head contains a rich amount of lecithin, this is beneficial to both maintaining the brain’s nutrition and enhancing memory. That is why when they say that smart people like to eat fish or gnaw on fish bone, this is not without reason.”
*T/n: A classic book by Shennong, also known as the Divine Farmer, he is thought of as the founder of Chinese Medicine.
**T/n: There namely four natures in Chinese Medicine. In this case, it should be referring to the food not being too heaty or too cooling. If you all want to know in greater details about the Four Natures, I guess you all can inform me and I will edit this post to add more information.
Song Zijing stared in amazement, as if I was guest from outer space. The children who were sitting were stunned but I believe that was due to them not understanding the things I said.
Xie Lingjuan muttered softly, “To be smart you have to eat fish?”
I nodded my head, “This is one method.”
Her expression was complicated and looked pensive, like Crayon Shin-chan* finding out that to chase girls, he has to eat green pepper.
*T/n: A Japanese manga series. It is also adapted to anime.
I smiled and asked Song Zijing, “May I know if Teacher is satisfied with this answer?”
On the contrary, Song Zijing did not make things difficult for me and said, “Although the answer was not according to the question asked, it also allowed everyone to gain knowledge.”
I delightedly sat down.
After the lesson ended, when I followed along with the children to leave, Song Zijing shouted out to stop me.
“Fourth Miss, the “Shennong’s Herbal Classic of Materia Medica” which you mentioned……”
I already knew early on that he would ask. I have already thought of an explanation and fooled him, “I only remembered that it was written in a medical books but didn’t remember which book it was so it was something I made up and blurted out.”
Song Zijing smiled, “So it was like that. However, this humble one did not actually know that Miss is well-versed in medical knowledge. When did Miss learn?”
That smile of his was really like the moon emerging from the clouds and jade radiating, causing my small heart to thump in disorder. I involuntarily smiled amorously and said, “I learned it from my dream.”
Song Zijing was astonished.
I laughed, then said, “Teacher Song, I see that your body isn’t too good and appears to be a little deficient in blood and asthenic. I’ll teach you a method to increase blood and nourish your stomach, it is suitable to be used for people like you who are thin and have a weak stomach. Soak fifty grams1 of Chicken’s Gizzard membrane2 for six hours3, add 100 grams of Codonopsis Pilosula Root4, cook it for one hour, add one carp of about 500 grams5, add condiments with discretion, stew it under gentle fire for about one hour then eat the fish and drink the soup. Learning and applying what I said today is the meaning of assimilating. Teacher should go try it for the time being.”
1. One liang is 50 grams in modern China. I will try to convert it to the more modern units where possible.
2. An ingredient used in Chinese medicine. If you are interested, I have attached a picture.
3. In ancient times, instead of hours, they considered time in “shichen”. One shichen hours. In future I will keep to using hours unless otherwise.
4. Dang Shen, also known as “poor man’s ginseng”. It is from the root of a flowering plant. It has the effects of improving blood circulation and has similar health benefits as ginseng. I have attached both the picture of the plant and the root (Dang Shen) for your reference.
5. One jin is 500 grams or 0.5 kilograms.
Song Zijing continued to stare blankly. I smiled and waved my hand at him before turning around to walk out of the courtyard while bouncing vivaciously.
I haven’t walked too far when I saw an immortal enshrouded in a ball of golden light. That was my elder sister Xie Zhaoke who is above Diaochan(Diāochán)* and surpasses Xi Shi(Xī Shī)*.
*T/n: Both Diaochan and Xi Shi were two of the Four Beauties of Ancient China. The other two are Wang Zhaojun and Noble Consort Yang.
When Xie Zhaoke saw that it was me, she was very surprised. When she was surprised, the appearance of her almond eyes will opening slightly wider and her long, shapely eyebrows furrowing gently was also extremely beautiful.
I explained for her to listen, “I was bored while cooped up in my courtyard. Mother told me to come learn some stuff from Teacher Song.”
Xie Zhaoke said “Oh” and asked, “Has Teacher Song left?”
“No, he’s still tidying up stuff in the study hall.”
As I was saying, Song Zijing came walking out and called respectfully, “Third Miss.”
Xie Zhaoke’s fluid glance was resplendent and moved about in a flash. If I were a man, I would instantly drown in those two rays of water. I only saw that she was bashful when trying to speak with the corner of her eyebrows slightly curved, her cheeks peach pink, her cherry lips slightly pursed and had a bearing of amorous feelings sprouting and coyness.
“Teacher Song……recently the weather has been cold, I have sewn you a cloak……During the night when you are reading, remember to drape it over your shoulders.”
Goodness gracious, so it was actually such a matter.
I suddenly realised. So I did not be a third wheel* anymore, found an excuse and left first.
*T/n: It is expressed as light bulb in Chinese.
When I returned to Yang Xin Pavilion, Yun Xiang welcomed me eagerly and asked, “How……how was it? Miss, what did Teacher Song do today?”
I sympathised with her a lot and stroked her head, “My obedient daughter, the situation right now is grim and competition is intense. Mother fears that you will only be disappointed. You should better have a change of heart and find someone else. Remember, it’s no good match*.”
*T/n: She is probably comparing to Xie Zhaoke and saying that they are no match to her.
Yun Xiang half understood and half didn’t, “Miss, did you go back to being silly? Are you saying that Teacher Song is not a good person?”
I shook my head and walked away.
Xie Zhaoke likes Song Zijing, there is no doubt. Then does Song Zijing like Xie Zhaoke?
Regardless whether he likes or not, before he attains fame for himself, it’s also impossible for him to have any progress with Xie Zhaoke. Xie Zhaoke is compatible with Song Zijing in terms of talent and appearance and the Xie Family also does not disdain the poor and favor the rich, but Grand Tutor Xie will offend the Empress’ brother due to this.
Speaking of it, I also feel a sense of crisis.
That great immortal one only said to wait until the appropriate time before sending me back. This is simply rubbish, then when must I wait until? Ten days, ten months or ten years? If he waits until I have already become an extremely old person to send me back to my body, then how should the time difference between the both sides be regulated? If I really have to wait that long, don’t tell me that I have to allow the Xie Family to appoint me a marriage and marry over covered in a veil to some unfamiliar person?
Although I did not hope that I’ll marry my sweetheart Zhang Ziyue, it doesn’t mean that I would marry a stranger.
With these train of thoughts, I also started to pay attention to my surroundings and search for an opportunity to leave the Xie Residence. Worst comes to worst I’ll go become a nun. In any case I have already been one for eight lifetimes and is an old acquaintance with Buddha. Everyone would look out for me.
Pondering over this here and there, it was going to be the New Year soon.
Quite a bit of T/n and images in this chapter. Do tell me if the images do not appear properly. In some of the T/ns I also asked about the translator style you all would prefer. For example, do you all want me to convert the units of measurements to modern units or to leave it in pinyin and leave a T/n?
By the way, *coughs* I sort of wrote a review for this novel for one of the posts under Recommendations and Reviews, so you can check it out if you like *coughs*
Can’t wait for the next chapter, the Second Elder Brother is finally appearing as well. It’s gonna be a shorter chapter, so keep updated for a faster release 😀