Ultimate Scheming System Chapter 187
"Smoke seals the willows over the lake? That’s it? So simple?"
The crowd were rather shocked by his lackluster answer!
Soon after, someone looked at Xu Que and saw that he was gazing out of the window, towards a house by the lake. He then laughed, "Haha, he must be looking at the house outside and the scenery and thus said the first thing that popped into his mind?"
"Ai? Seems like that is true. Look out of the hall and you’ll see the great lake. The rain has just stopped and its misty outside. Even the willow trees are being obscured by the mists!"
"Looks like this Li Bai has used up all his creative prowess and is at a loss for words now. What he said seems to be completely unrelated to our Fire Nations!"
"You can’t say that as well. The great lake is the scenery facing our Imperial City. However, his description of it was too little and insignificant. It cannot compare to our young master Zhao’s at all!"
"That’s for sure. Look at how brilliant young master Zhao’s couplet is. It completely portrays the strength and success of the Fire Nations!"
"The most important thing is that young master Zhao’s couplet is very difficult to continue. I would have to think for several days before producing a match!"
The crowd started shaking their heads in disapproval.
Some of them were filled with taunts, while others were regretful and sympathetic.
Based on whatever Xu Que had managed to come up with, was far too simple.
There were only seven words, and sounded like nothing more than a meaningless phrase. In fact, the students felt that Xu Que’s phrase couldn’t even be compared to young master Zhao’s. Additionally, Xu Que’s couplet didn’t even have any relation to Fire nations, and didn’t sound all that glorious.
Seeing all these students discuss his work with impunity, Xu Que leaned against the doorframe once more and took another puff of his cigarette before spitting the smoke out. He had a look of utter disregard on his face, as though he could withstand all the insults, because he knew that he had no worthy opponent on this planet.
It’s so scary to be ignorant!
And these people dared to call themselves students?
They can’t even recognize such a brilliant masterpiece?
Xu Que thought to himself as he laughed at these students, "Damned crippled retards! Is there… A single person here with at least mediocre standards? Do I have to stand up and explain every single word for you? But if I did that, it wouldn’t go along with my acting tough at all, because the main point is for the great realization!"
Under such circumstances, Xu Que could only cast his glance at young master Zhao, whom everyone thought was the absolute most talented individual here in the Imperial City.
The way he looked at young master Zhao was exactly how a teacher would point at the whiteboard, an easy question written on it, expectantly waiting for you to speak the right answer. It was that same look of encouragement and anticipation…..
"You…. Why are you looking at me this way for? You were the one who came up with such a simple and normal couplet. Hehe, do you wish for me to praise your wonderful work?"
Young master Zhao could feel the heat from Xu Que’s glare and assumed that it was because Xu Que needed a way to ‘step off the stage’ in a dignified manner. At this point, young master Zhao became more confident and satisfied. He had no intention of helping Xu Que from his humiliation, and stood by the side, laughing coldly.
After Xu Que realized that this young master Zhao didn’t understand his brilliant masterpiece, Xu Que cleared his throat and sighed out in disappointment. He then shook his head. His heart was aching with disappointment. It was way too painful.
Screw this! I wanted to act tough, but nobody would cooperate with me and assist me. Don’t tell me that in this life, the only way I can act tough is by doing it directly and openly and not expect people to read in between the lines?
Indeed, Xu Que was grimacing as though his heart truly heart. This caused young master Zhao to feel rather suspicious. Why did this Li Bai wear such a strange expression instead of looking ashamed and embarrassed?
Hence, young master Zhao thought about the seven words uttered by Xu Que once again.
Smoke seals the willows over the lake!
Right at that moment, young master Zhao who was smiling happily, a teacup in his hands, dropped it to the ground as it shattered into fragments!
The smile on his face was frozen, as his pupils dilated. His heart was filled with horror!
"How could this be? Smoke seals the willows over the lake, how did you do that? No wonder… No wonder you were looking at me as though I was a foolish idiot…."
Young master Zhao couldn’t contain himself at all, as he asked Xu Que, thorough taken aback.
His confidence was shattered like the teacup - into smithereens!
"Eh? Young master Zhao… What’s wrong?"
The students were all thrown into a wave of confusion, still unable to comprehend what had just happened.
"Smoke seals the willows over the lake?" Madam Ya was somewhat shocked as well, as she repeated these words.
At the next moment, her expression fell as well, changing to something of astonishment. She raised her head and looked at Xu Que in utter disbelief.
How was this remotely possible? He actually managed to think of something that’s just plain genius in such a short amount of time. This… How could someone be so talented in this world? Poems recital, couplet matching, he excelled in everything.
Madam Ya was so stumped she fell into a daze.
Tang Liu Feng was beyond startled as well. He had just understood what Xu Que meant, "Smoke seals the willows over the lake", this phrase was so deep it was terrifying!
"I understand, I understand it now! My god! Brother Li’s couplet will never be matched by anyone in history ever again!" At this point, a student shouted out, catching the entire hall by surprise.
Before long, more students started regaining their senses as they opened their eyes wide in shock.
"Smoke seals the willows over the lake, these… These seven words were extremely intentional and arranged in such an order which derived a particular meaning!"
"The true meaning resided within this sentence if you look closely enough!"
"The first word smoke was a representation of the Fire Nations, because of the way it is written and was placed as the first word. The rest of the sentence each represented another nation, and comes after the word smoke. This meant that Fire Nations was the first out of the Five Nations! "
(T/N : The chinese characters for smoke, seal/lock, lake and willow are 烟锁池塘柳 respectively. On the left side of these words are 火, 铁 ,水, 土, 木, which also refers to the five elements, with Fire being the first)
"That’s not all. According to the meaning, smoke seals the willows over the lake, which means the smoke seals everything else beneath it. That also means that the Fire Nations is above, sealing and pressuring all the other nations below. This is simply amazing!"
"It is truly a masterpiece! I would’ve never guessed that the left side of the words could hold its own meanings as well and form a logical couplet!"
"Brother Li’s talents are too…. Scary!"
The crowd sighed out consecutively, their eyes were filled with astonishment!
At this point, nobody realized that he was ‘smoking’ a cigarette and another meaning could be derived from this as well.
If smoke was used to describe fire, hehe, then wouldn’t that mean that Xu Que was slowly sucking the smoke/fire away from the nation!
However, there was a student within their midst who was well known for his drawing skills. As soon as he realized what Xu Que meant, he was so astounded his eyes were gaping wide open. He was struck with a wave of inspiration.
Right at that moment, he opened a piece of paper on the table and started drawing Xu Que smoking his cigarette. When he was done, he titled it -
Xu Que didn’t notice this scene unfolding. If not, he would’ve kicked up a big fuss out of it! Li Bai smoking cigarettes? That would’ve been the biggest sabotage of his entire acting tough career!
The leader of the four great students, young master Zhao was completely humbled at this point. He sat slumped in his sit, gazing far into the distance, his presence of mind was no longer around!
He found it extremely hard to believe that he had lost just like that. In fact, he was beaten in such a landslide defeat.
Smoke seals the willows over the lake, this phrase was way too potent and vile! Nobody would ever find a matching reply for such a masterpiece. Even if he’d racked his brains and tried, it was impossible to find an answer as good as the opening sentence of the couplet, with all its hidden meanings.
Simply put, this phrase ‘Smoke seals the willows over the lake’, was unbeatable and unrivalled!
"Yo, young master Zhao, you’ve finally appeared! Let me see, it took you about the time it takes to burn two incense before you finally understood the meaning of my couplet. Not bad, not bad at all! As long as you managed to see it, it means you’re still teachable and not beyond redemption! Don’t look so sullen and glum. It’s impossible to determine who’re the best when it comes to academics and martial arts!"
At this point, Xu Que was smiling happily as he walked up to young master Zhao and spoke to him.
The crowd was stumped.
What’s going on? Why was this person being so kind hearted? He actually went to comfort young master Zhao?
Even young master Zhao was taken aback. It’s impossible to determine who’s the best when it comes to academics and martial arts? Does this sound like something this person was capable of saying? Is he really trying to become a gracious winner and a forgiving person?
Indeed, Xu Que explained himself at the very next sentence, "But when it comes to me, regardless of whether it’s academics or martial arts, I’m always number one! Men, retrieve the four precious equipments for every student. Young master Zhao needs to write something!"