Chapter 41: The search for one’s mom second spring 9/For the sake of my mother’s remarriage 9
T /N: This is MTL work. I tried to edit as best as I could, any mistake plz do put your comment and I will edit it ASAP. This is my first attempt on Chinese novel so please cheer me up! I hope you will find this novel as interesting as I do.
Additional Info: There are three levels of Imperial Examination in this particular arc. County-level (Shengyuan) à Prefectural-level (Juren) à Metropolitan-Level (Jinshi).
Exam candidate was known as Tongsheng (Not yet passed any exam) à Xiucai (who already passed at least the county-level examination). [I did not only google it but also read academic writing on it <Sigh>]
The news that Jiang Liu is going to participate in the county-level Imperial Examination this year soon spread out within the Qingyang Village. Even some people from the nearby villages had heard about it.
Even though there is no age restriction being imposed to the Imperial Examination’s candidacy, however, in general, the people who participate in the examination were teenagers or those who already aged more than twenty or so. Granting occasionally there were still some children below the age of ten who participated in the examination, but those children were from a large family or those scholar family who already been carefully cultivated since young.
For that reason, it was unthinkable for the son of an ordinary widow’s family, who had only studied for mere a year to actually go and take the exam.
Not only those people in the village waiting to see the jokes, but even the Jiang’s family in the village felt very puzzled.
Therefore, it was no wonder that people had been mocking Jiang Liu. After all, the concept of the imperial examination has already been deeply rooted in the hearts of these people. They had seen the students of their village who had tried repeatedly to take the test. Although Jiang Fangzheng had often praised the Jiang Liu’s abilities, he was also one of those scholars, therefore they did not put much trust in his words.
“Yun-niang ah, why don’t you persuade your son? Did he need to waste the money just like that?”
That morning, while Meng Yun-niang was washing the clothes by the river, a bunch of women came close to her as they tried to persuade her.
You have to know that it was not free for a student to take part in the examination. There were actually three procedures that one need to undergo in order to sit for the imperial examination, such as filling up the family lineage, mutual binding as well as a sign of undertaking.
The first two items are very simple. First, the candidates were required to fill up theirs’s age, birthplace, physique, and appearance characteristics. In addition, they also need to fill the information related to the candidate’s three generations of direct blood relatives. Mutual binding is a step where the candidate with another five candidates who also participated in the examination were required to write a guarantee slip for each other. Therefore, if any person of the group was caught engaging in corrupt practices, the remaining five candidates will also be treated as guilty by association.
The first two didn’t cost anything, the troubling one was the last procedure.
The so-called to sign an undertaking means that the candidates need to find a government officer to become the guarantor to ensure that the candidates will not take the liberty, will not hide, will not use a substitute or faking their identity. There were not many people who can be the guarantor to the candidate’s incorruptibility. Since this procedure was also a risk to the other party, so it was a default custom for the candidate to provide compensation when they asked someone to become their guarantor.
Generally speaking, it will take a lifetime for people like them to save one or two silver. Therefore, during the county test every year, some people did use this method to make a small fortune, but for the candidates who had repeatedly taken the test, this, without a doubt putting a strain to their own financial consumption. It makes people feel that it was a little hard to bear.
Everyone assumed that Jiang Liu wanted to play around when he decided to participate in this year’s examination. Since this was plainly just a waste of money, so, out of kindness, they wanted to persuade Meng Yun-niang.
“Da-lang is quite confident. In regard to this son of mine, since he wanted to take the test, then, of course, I have to support him.”
Meng Yun-niang was utterly confident in her son. Her Da-lang is the best of all people under the sky. Her son already guaranteed that he will definitely able to pass the county-level examination, of course, Meng Yun-niang needs to support him through all of it.
“Excess caring will definitely ruin a child.”
Looking at her being so positive, the other people decided that it was no used to persuade her any longer. They could only sigh, thinking of this son who was being raised by his widowed mother. He was being so pampered that they were afraid that this son will grow up to be unfilial to Meng Yun-niang in the future.
Su Panyun who had been listening to the conversation at the side was hammering at the big cotton jacket at the same time. She then quickly rinsed the clothes in the river before she quickly returned home in a nervous manner.
“I heard that Da-lang is going to participate in the county test. If he is lucky to pass, only to find out that we had calculated his mother, will it be troublesome to us?”
Su Panyun was a little flustered. Even though that Steward Liu was certainly the steward of Wang’s family, but he was still considered as a slave. She had never heard of a slave able to take the mother of a scholar who had passed the county-level exam as a concubine.
“Pah, not only those elders are being confused, you also wanted to be muddled like them? Do you really believe that a seven-year-old toothless child can actually beat all those talented people?”
Jiang Erchun also heard the rumours but he did not take this matter to heart.
“As far as I concern, the only reason he was able to become a Tongsheng (County-level exam’s candidate) is because he was lucky. As for whether he will be able to become a Xiucai (People who passed the county-level exam/Scholar), you don’t even have to think about it.”
The gap between being a Tongsheng and a Xiucai can be very big. The so-called Tongsheng, at least 7 or 8 out of 10 will crush to death before even able to get rid of their Tongsheng status. When his mother was shrouded with scandals, do you think that he will still be able to continue his path as a scholar? Therefore, is there anything that he should be afraid of?
“Woman will always be a woman. You all are too overcautious. I tell you, this time is a good opportunity for us to press our charge on them.”
Jiang Erchun heard that Meng Yun-niang was going to follow Jiang Liu, who is going to take the examination, therefore, this will be their opportunity.
Jiang Erchun squinted his eyes, his face was filled with ruthless expression.
In order to prevent any unwanted calamities, Jiang Fangzheng led the team of candidates to set off ten days in advance from the commencement date of the county-level’s examination.
One night, when everyone was asleep, two ghosts appeared in front of the Jiang’s family old house.
“Hey, put some strength on it.”
Su Panyun stepped on Jiang Erchun’s shoulder and spoke to him in a low voice.
“What did you ate to become this fat, even those sows are better than you.”
Jiang Erchun couldn’t help but complained a few words. No wonder that he could no longer hug his wife’s waist.
Contrariwise, Su Panyun was busy being anxious that other people will catch them in action, therefore, despite being angry, she could only swallow her grievance.
After a lot of work, the couple finally managed to climb over the wall as they made their way to the house.
Jiang Erchun took out a thin copper wire as he fiddled with the door lock. By the time it took for one stick incense to burn, these two people started to become impatient when the bronze latch finally unlocked itself.
“Don’t touch the money, anyway, those things will be us sooner or later.”
Jiang Erchun was afraid that his wife will become superficial at the sight of those things that he whispered to her a reminder.
Su Panyun was actually still miffed when she remembered her husband liking her to a sow. Therefore, she answered him impatiently. She went straight to Meng Yun-niang’s bedroom, and then opened the closet and started to rummage around.
“This coquettish fox. Contrariwise to her outward appearance, the bone is really flirty.”
Su Panyun pulled out a peony flower embroidered doudou as she gnashed her teeth and said. [T/N: Clothes equivalent to Bra nowadays]
The embroidered piece of this doudou was too revealing. The shoulder strap was thin and the fabric was not much bigger than the palm. It was even embroidered with a big red peony. Su Panyun put the piece of clothes to her body and found that piece of cloth could barely cover the two meats on her chest. She can’t imagine how it will be when one wore it on the body.
This was obviously not the types of clothes worn by a widow. Su Panyun started to remember the appearance of Meng Yun-niang. Now that she found this, she could be said to have that person’s weaknesses in her hand. She simply can’t wait to throw this cloth to Meng Yun-niang’s face.
But, the way man and woman thought of things were definitely different. Jiang Erchun was actually fantasizing the appearance of his elder sister-in-law wearing this doudou and suddenly the temperature of his body started to rise. When he thought that such a beautiful woman will be sold cheaply to an outsider, he suddenly felt a little distressed.
However, compared to the beauty, to Jiang Erchun, it was still more important to have those silver and tofu recipes.
“Apart from this, do you want to take a few more?”
They came here today to find some of Meng Yun-niang’s close-fitting inner clothes. When these things appeared in the hands of people other than his dead brother, even if Meng Yun-niang jumped into the yellow river, she will ultimately still unable to wash clean.
“One is enough. I want to see if that Meng Yun-niang actually dares to declare that she is innocent. Even those prostitute came from low-grade brothel will not necessarily wear this kind of doudou.”
Su Panyun pinched that flimsy cloth. She naturally did not miss the flash of greed and lust in her man’s eyes. Due to this her hatred towards this sister-in-law of hers increased to another point.
“If you are done, then let’s go quickly.”
Jiang Erchun was afraid that they will be discovered by people as he quickly urged his wife.
Because the sky was dark, the couple could not really examine that cloth closely. But even if they were careful, I am afraid that they will not be able to unravel the trick there.
After listening to her husband’s words, Su Panyun quickly rolled the apron into a ball and stuffed it into her sleeve.
When they left, under the moonlight, on that piece of cloth exposed from Su Panyun’s sleeve, there were two very small unknown glyphs were faintly visible written on it.
There were four levels of trial being conducted in the county-level examination. The first level was a commentary on events and happenings. The range of student who will pass this level were also comparatively large. As long as the answer is correct, the paper will go smoothly. This time, all nine candidates from the Jiang clan had passed the first level.
There was a day off in between each exam. This day was used to announce the list of candidates who had passed the previous exam. When the final exam was finished, there were still six candidates from the Jiang’s clan left within the competition. For Jiang Fangzheng, this was already a good result.
In particular, Jiang Liu, whom he had held the highest hope had persisted towards the last game. Hence, Jiang Fangzheng was particularly concerned about Jiang Liu’s placement in the ranking for the final exam.
In the examination room, the examiners were also arguing over the article submitted by one particular candidate.
County-level examination, prefectural-level examination and finally the metropolitan-level examination. Only by passing all stages of the Imperial Examination then one will be able to obtain the scholarly honour. But one still should not underestimate the initial county-level examination.
The county-level examination’s first placer was also known as [Xi’an Anshou / Xi’an County’s First placer]. This signified that this person was the ultimate champion among the entire candidate of this particular county. For this outstanding and talented person, generally speaking, they could even directly skip both prefectural-level and metropolitan-level examination by entering the prefecture school under the examination system after becoming a Xiucai.
In other words, [Anshou] was in fact already equal to a Xiucai who already passed all three level of Imperial Examination.
Of course, according to the situation in the previous years, there were very few counties’ first placers who did choose to directly enter the school and gave up the following two examinations. That was because, on account of being an [Anshou], they could not be laid back with their learning. The demand for themselves was obviously higher than the other scholars who instead sat for all three levels of examination. Hence, the value of [Anshou] as the representative could not be ignored.
For that reason, the examiners are particularly rigorous in judging the candidate’s work.
In fact, before the opening of the seal that hid the candidate’s detail, the examiners had already judged the most suitable paper for that position. However, the problem aroused after the removal of the seal.
“I don’t know if having a seven-years-old as an [Anshou] was being slightly absurd. His pen force seemed weaker. Even though he was able to fluently wrote his argument, however, in terms of his calligraphy, he was slightly inferior to the second and third candidates.”
Before the opening of the seal, the examiners were very satisfied with the case paper judged by themselves. Their chosen candidate’s basic skills were solid and the arguments were well-documented. Although the poems were lacking a certain aura, they were enough rhymes to flow right off the tongue. It can also be considered as a fine work.
The problem was that; the candidate was too young. For them to actually passed the seven-year-old child, will other people judge the examiners for being unfair?
“I don’t see any problem with it. The score was set before we removed the seal. That is to say, we all agreed with the value of this paper. Therefore, we should not have deprived his qualification for being the first placer just because of his age. Compared to the second candidate for the [Anshou], this one is clearly a child prodigy. Thus we need to be fair.”
Some people started to back up Jiang Liu. Anyway, after the results were announced, the top three papers will be publicized to the public. Whether they were sufficient for their rank or not, naturally all the readers will be able to judge it together.
Both sides couldn’t convince each other. They decided to turn their eyes towards the county magistrate who had been silent from the beginning.
The county magistrate at this time has already fallen deep in contemplation.
Seven years old [Anshou]. The examiner was tangled at the beginning whether this young prodigy could even serve the government at the moment. Due to this, the county magistrate could not help but contemplated it deeper.
Seven years old. For the vast majority of people, this is still the age for a child to play with the mud or the beginning of their enlightenment. To think that in the county under his jurisdiction, there is already a child prodigy that one could only meet once in hundreds of centuries.
The seven-year-old [Anshou] was not only the glory to the candidate, but also indicating his political achievements as the county magistrate. If the other party can go the whole direction with irresistible force, succeeding in both prefectural-level examination and the metropolitan-level examination, he was afraid that even those in the capital will be alarmed by it.
When that time comes, his merit will sure be jotted down and his position might also move up.
As he imagined of his beautiful future, the county magistrate was no longer hesitate as he made the decision directly. The first placer for this county’s test was that seven-year-old little prodigy.
Since the county magistrate had decided on it, the two sides who had been arguing endlessly stopped their bickering. They quickly wrote the list of candidates who passed the county test and ready to hang it up tomorrow morning.
At the first glimmer of daylight, there were already a lot of people gathered in front of the county’s notice board. Thus, as soon as the red paper containing the list of name of successful candidates being pasted on, the notice board was immediately surrounded by people.
“Passed, I passed the exam!”
“Young Master, I can not see your name on the list.”
“How could you not see my name? You have to look at it several times, maybe you have missed it.”
Someone was happy while others were worried. Jiang Liu was calm as he listened to the commotion around him. He took a seat at the booth with his beautiful mother as he ordered two bowls of wanton.
When Jiang Fangzheng saw him like this, he deeply felt that Jiang Liu really does not have the temperament of a child. This kind of temperament was not something usual to a seven-year-old child. Even those people in their twenties and even someone with seniority in the clan will not be able to achieve such disposition as his.
“How come the first placer is a seven-year-old child? I haven’t even weaned from milk at this age.”
“Maybe it was wrong? It supposed to be seventeen, not seven?”
Another barrage of argument started reached the food stall. Upon hearing it, Jiang Fangzheng stood up and rushed to the bulletin board.
Seven years old! Seven years old!
He didn’t get it wrong, even if he had high hopes for Jiang Liu, he never thought that the other party could really become the [Anshou].
However, he knew that there was only one seven-year-old child who took the test this time and that was Jiang Liu. Therefore, it should not be a mistake. So, the county’s first place was really Jiang Liu from their Jiang family.
Jiang Fangzheng’s heart started to heat up. He slowly weaved his way through the candidates who were crowding in front of the bulletin board, and then looked at the first name on the red list. He carefully checked the other’s place of origin, name, and age.
He whispered a few more words. Their Jiang family may have risen.
“Ha ha ha!”
Jiang Fangzheng was too happy.
“See that, that seven years old [Anshou] is from my family. He already weaned and currently eating a bowl of wanton.”
While holding a random person, Jiang Fangzheng started to narrate excitedly.
The onlookers who were looking at the commotion turned to look at Jiang Liu who was currently blowing a hot wanton taken from the bowl in front of him. Suddenly they felt that their appetite diminished.
Jiang Liu looked up and was about to say a few words to his beautiful mother only to find out that unbeknownst to him, his mother who sat opposite him had already burst into tears.
The author has something to say: The process of county, provincial, and metropolitan examination was written by referring to the rules of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. But on this basis, little change was made, such as the interval between the three exams were shorter. This was done for the sake of the plot and by no means was it true.
Today, your author was kidnapped by the double twelve brothers. I ended up roaming around with my shopping cart all day. I have no choice but to be shameful with this late chapter. Another chapter will be uploaded at about nine o’clock. As for today lack of chapter, I will make up for it tomorrow.
T/N: I think what the author was trying to say was that she had been going online shopping all day. In my region, online shopping platform like Shopee or Lazada always has some kind of event sale during double day date like 7/7 or 8/8 or 9/9/ or 10/10. BTW this is a long 5k Chinese character’s chapter
Anyway, this month is my birthday month. Though I did not even manage to celebrate it. I was busy amending my thesis the day before, during and after my birthday ┐(￣ヮ￣)┌ . In fact, I have been on it since last month, therefore the lack of updates. *sliding dogeza (シ_ _)シ*. I already submitted my thesis, and hopefully, it will go smoothly for the Viva meeting and also my graduation. Sadly, I still unable to find any job.
Sad news aside, I will be updating every day until the end of this month to celebrate my birthday. Do expect the updates to be on a random time ε===(っ≧ω≦)っ .
This website is supported by the ads revenue. You do not need to click on any. I appreciated if you could turn off ads-block for this site. If you like things that I translate, do consider fuel me up with lots of bubble tea to pump me up |▽//)ゝ
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