The Inverted Dragon's Scale Chapter 100
100 – Six taboos for drinkers
The drunkard’s age could not be determined, even his face was not clearly visible. His long hair was disheveled and his beard was full and grew long past his face, concealing almost half his face, only his muddy eyes and his alcohol-stained mouth could be seen.
He was clad in a long gown that its original colour was not distinguishable, only its current ash-grey colour was seen.
With a huge bottle of wine in his arms, he did not show any celebrity like style or looked like a skilled expert, reclining on a large stone with tiger stripes.
Drunkard’s eyes blearily looked at Li Muyang as he pointed with his fingers and said: “Boy, come and drink with me. I’ll let you up the mountain.””
Li Muyang instantly understood that this is the wine obstacle of the four cardinal vices that senior Wuyou mentioned to him.
Li Muyang felt as if his dreams were shattered, in his mind, a school like Starry Sky Academy—–although is not well-known, there should still be a skilled master like Li Taibai or Du Ruofu, showing up at this time. Performing sword dances amid blossoming flowers while reciting the famous piece of writing ‘Drink up’: Throughout time sages and saints will be forgotten, only those who drink leave behind a reputation next to their name—–
Why did they find a sloppy lazy guy here for? Do you know he is destroying the ambience and downgrading the Academy?
Also, this test is not that difficult, it’s easily understood with one glance.
Li Muyang trotted over to the drunkard, looked at him in the eye and said: “I don’t want to drink, how can I head up the mountain? ”
Li Muyang’s heart condition was not too good when he was young. He was not allowed to eat any irritating food. Let alone wine, he was rarely allowed to drink tea.
Therefore, he was not good at drinking.
“This is the alcohol test, then it obviously it’s alcohol-related. If you don’t drink how could you pass? Absurd. Absolutely absurd.” The drunkard was unimpressed with Li Muyang’s attitude.
“Wine, women, avarice, and temper, these four walls, everyone is hiding within; whoever can jump out will live a long and happy life.” Li Muyang bowed deeply at the drunkard: “I ask you to allow me to pass, I will be very grateful.”
In order to deceive him to let himself pass this test, he copied a verse from a classic poem that people from ancient times used to urge others to drink.
“You don’t have to drink, but you can’t insult alcohol. What would you know about wine? Drunk but suddenly overcome at a sudden stroke, recovering wide-awake, listening quietly to try to hear a sound of thunder, looking steadily he does not see the mountain’s towering majesty in the sunshine. He did not feel the burning heat and biting cold, or the lust of desires or the greed for gain. Overlooking everything of the world and the rivers bearing up the duckweeds. This is the supreme state. Only those at this state can then travel without restraint at Starry Sky. The drunkard’s emotions become more intense, he did not like Li Muyang describing the ‘wine, women, avarice and temper’ as four walls. “Wine is an oar that determines whether life is long or short. How could wealth or other sort of filth be compared to it?”
The drunkard gulped down most of wine before reciting in a loud voice: “To drink but not be drunk is heroic, to be in love but not be controlled by it is highly disciplined, if ill-gotten gains is taken, don’t take it, and to have feelings yet not be angry. Boy, you follow the rules too much, which causes you to fail instead. This method does not work, go elsewhere and think of other ways.”
Li Muyang’s brows furrowed.
Senior Wuyou only told him he will need to pass the four cardinal vices tests but he did not mention what exactly would be tested.
Is it assessing the students’ drinking capacity or assessing the students’ ability in adapting to changes?
Or is it assessing the accumulation of knowledge or evaluating the quality of wine or the personality of the student?
It is said that the quality of wine is the same as the character of a person. Does that mean the drunkard was able to determine his character from his attitude towards drinking?
He did not want to drink, so in his eyes he has a bad personality?
After he borrowed a verse of Buddhist Monk Fo Yin’s poem, that old man immediately struck back with a poem by Su Dongpo, Fo Yin’s close friend. This proves the man was not only not sober but also extremely knowledgeable——
Li Muyang was deep in thought, looking blank for a moment.
The drunkard took another mouthful of wine and muttered to himself, looking confident and at ease.
His lips smacking loudly, it seemed he was enjoying this bottle of wine.
After a short moment, the drunkard looked at Li Muyang sideways out of the corners of his eyes, shouting: “Boy, are you going to drink or not? If not then get out of here, don’t stand in front me blocking my view. You think too much, it makes me sick. Starry Sky Academy is getting worse, now they recruit anyone. It damages the school’s reputation.”
“It’s not that I won’t drink, but I don’t want to drink.” Li Muyang let out a light sigh. “I have six taboos with drinking.”
The drunkard also has a desire to learn. Especially any knowledge to do with wine, he was willing to understand more. He calls himself a wine immortal, how would he not know of everything about wine?
The drunkard’s bleary eyes immediately regain brightness, watching Li Muyang intently: “There are six taboos?”
“First, the people-taboo for drinkers. When drinking, we first have to look at what kind of people we’re drinking with. Elegant, brave, frank, free of worldly concerns, friends, old friends, beautiful people, and capable people. These eight types of people are all acceptable to drink with. Not just to drink but to get drunk with. But wine elder——-You are sloppy and not elegant, you do not have the characteristic of a hero, you attempted to conspire and is not direct, and as to the other categories: free of worldly concerns, close friends, old friends, a beautiful or capable person, you are also neither of them. We have nothing to do with each other, why should we drink together? Even if we drink there’s no joy, so what’s the point? ”
“Wonderful.” The drunkard applauded greatly, after pouring a big mouthful of wine into his mouth he then continued: “Wonderful. This is wonderful, what are the other five taboos?”
“The place-taboo for drinkers. When we drink, we must first take a look at the surrounding. Being surrounded by flowers, bamboo groves, high rooms, decorated boats, quiet buildings, and pavilions are all good places to drink at. A couple of friends, reciting poems or simply talking are all wonderful things while drinking wine. ”
The drunkard’s eyes scanned around the surroundings, it was lush greenery all around, simple and unsophisticated. Suddenly he became a little restless as he stared at Li Muyang: “Kid you know something. Continue, please continue, what are the other taboos? Tell me them one by one.”
“The time-taboo for drinkers. Springtime, flowers in bloom, crisp autumn, inches of fog, winter snow, under the crescent moon, and cool evenings. What is it now? Where are we now? Are there spring flowers? Winter snow? Are there layers of fog or crescent moon? It is cold, gloomy and wet, we can’t drink here.”
“Kid—–” The drunkard felt the wine bottle in his hand was as heavy as thousand kilograms, the wine inside also seemed tasteless to him. Staring at Li Muyang, he said: “Kid you are the real wine immortal, please go on——What are the other taboos with drinking?”
“To drink because of a test, it would only be a glass of bitter wine. If we drink now it would spoil the good wine inside. If the first drunkard of the world Liu Ling knows that a good bottle of wine was wasted like that, how would he not be stamping with rage? ”
Drunkard discarded the wine bottle in his hand, stood up and straightened his clothes. With a serious expression, he bowed to Li Muyang and repeatedly said: “Thank you Sir for dragging me back from the wrong path. You helped me get back on the right path to become a wine immortal. No boy—–Sir you did not fail, but I did.”
Li Muyang was rejoicing secretly, the knowledge that came rushing out deep inside his head became really useful.
Then, he glanced at the drunkard and asked: “Wine elder, in that case, can I head up the mountain?”
“Of course.” The drunkard answered without hesitation. But then, he quickly stopped. “No, no. You can’t now.”
Li Muyang looked puzzled, asking: “Mister, can I go or not?”
In front of the magic mirror of the Water Moon Cave, were several men and women clad in robes with wide sleeves watching this scene with great interest.
“Such a spectacle I never seen before, it’s unheard of.” The man wearing a tall hat said.
“When have the wine elder ever called someone else ‘Sir’? This is the first time I heard him.” A man in a robe whiter than snow said with a look of astonishment.
“It has happened before. I’ve seen it in ancient books——” A fat man with triangular-shaped eyes added, sitting in the corner. He finally found an opportunity to talk.
“Bookworm, you’re the most knowledgeable——-” A voice interrupted.
Li Muyang obviously was unaware that he was being closely watched through a magic mirror as he was tested. He just thought this drunkard regretted allowing him up the mountain because he sees him as a friend that knows about wine, so he kept him behind to drink with him for a lifetime.
“No, no.” Drunkard repeatedly waved his hand. “Sir it’s not that you’re not allowed up the mountain. Sir you have passed the examination, of course you can make your way up the mountain. Sir you have profound knowledge regarding wine, I have come to realise that you are way above me. So I just want to—-hear you talk about a few other taboos before I send you up the mountain.”
“Is that so.”
Li Muyang pondered carefully for a while. “ Just now wine elder adopted a tough stance and would not budge. The taboos of drinking, forcing one to drink, losing oneself in alcohol, incoherent talk, feigning drunkeness, escaping from reality, pretending to feign admiration. You forced me to drink so I did not drink.”
Where is the fun in drinking? Where is the mood? Drinking some unknown wine with some people you do not know, no matter how good the wine it will only taste like bitter medicine. Wine elder, why force someone?”
“Wonderful.” The drunkard applauded enthusiastically. Turning around in circles was the same as drinking a big bowl of fine wine. “Too wonderful for words.”
He again brushed his clothes and bowed deeply at Li Muyang: “Listening to your words was better than drinking for ten years. No, no, no, better than drinking good wine for decades.”
He straightened his back and made a gesture of invitation: “I hope I can learn from you in the future. Sir, please go ahead.”
After he finished talking, the scene suddenly changed.
The drunkard disappeared; the big stone and the Cedar tree also vanished. All the scenery before was nowhere to be seen, as if nothing happened. Was it all a dream?
Li Muyang stood still at the steep dangerous dark mountain path, it was the route he passed by before.
He once again embarked on the long journey.