Nightfall - Chapter 82

Published at 9th of April 2018 09:20:59 AM

Chapter 82

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"What is Etiquette? This is a very broad question. However, we shouldn't stop studying it because it's very important. Etiquette is as mysterious and far away as the Firmament. But should we stop exploring and studying the Firmament? Should we stop being curious about it? The answer is no. On the contrary, we observe clouds and wind in the day and study stars and the darkness at night. We want to know what the firmament really is and what is above it."

"To answer a broad question in a way that we can understand, a concrete answer is needed, and that requires us to pay attention to the details. Just as when we study the stars, we focus on the movement of them and draw the beautiful and fixed lines down, which in the end becomes the subject of astrology."

"That is why to answer the question of what the Firmament is, we begin from studying every specific line and every Qi, then seek the end of the world and feel the limits of primordial Qi. The same goes for the studying of Etiquette. We should start from details. If you want to ask me, what answer we will get if we study details and specific aspects of Courtesy..."

"I can tell nothing but my own understanding, that is: Etiquette is about rules."

This lecturer who was in charge of teaching students Etiquette was the vice professor of the Academy. At 60 years of age, he spoke slowly, but clearly. His class was quite organized and logical. And students were all very attentive. However, Ning Que was very sleepy. The clearer the teacher was speaking, the sleepier he became.

At the Academy Entry Exam, his grade of Etiquette was the lowest of the fourth class; the Ding class. He was never interested in this course, especially when he was busy at writing, meditating, killing, gambling, and sleeping in the recent years.

Ning Que couldn't help but think, as he stumbled into sleep, of how miserable his life would be in the next few years if he had to waste every morning listening to these boring words.

But what happened next saved him from desperation and made him realize again how important the Academy was in The Tang Dynasty, where even lecturers here were no average people.

When the old lecturer mentioned that Etiquette was about rules, a disapproving voice said, "Sir, our The Tang Dynasty is the most powerful country in the world and our emperor the most respected. It was by admiring Etiquette rather than by following rules that we made such achievement."

Asking questions during the class was approved by the Academy. But it was after all the first day of school when this question was raised, thus, the atmosphere suddenly became very awkward, which even awoke Ning Que. Confused at the situation, he asked his desk mate Chu Youxian, "Who is this student?"

Believed that all students were equal and aiming to providing all students suitable education based on their different talents, the Academy enrolled a great amount of students coming from ordinary families. But a student who dared to question his teacher at the first class either came from a very powerful family, or regarded himself as a genius. Standing next to his desk and waiting for an snawer, the student who challenged the lecturer was a son of a general.

The lecturer looked at him coldly and asked, "So in your opinion, people don't need to obey rules?"

"Yes," said the son of the general in a husky voice, "Our country was founded on the basis of strong force. We keep winning wars by using our sharp weapons and neglecting those rigid rules. But, it doesn't mean that we don't admire Etiquette."

The lecturer stared at that student expressionlessly, his face wrinkles gradually smoothed out, "You mean that as long as you are strong, you are justified in doing anything?"

That student scratched his head embarrassingly, he then argued saying, "It's not wrong to understand it that way. It's like when our country defeat Yan Kingdom heavily. So frightened at us, they even want to send their prince to our country as a hostage. Although Suffering from such a humiliation, their emperor never dares to be even a little impolite to our emperor, he still calls our emperor Sage King. "

Ning Que heard the words at the back of the study, he knew this student's Etiquette score definitely would be lower than that of his.

The lecturer walkedtowards the student slowly and expressionlessly. When he reached him, he raised his skinny hand and forcefully hit the student. He was roaring with rage, "As long as one is strong he is justified to do anything? In that case I'm now justified in beating you!"

A scream was heard in the study. The general's son, for some reason, either scared of the Academy rules or he respected his teacher, didn't dare to fight back. After bearing all the attacks, he looked really miserable; his nose was bloody ,his face was swollen and his mouth full of blood.

Sometime later, the lecturer stopped beating the student. He stared at the student, panting, "If what you said was right, then I am right to beat you right now because I am more powerful than you."

Finished his words, the lecturer resumed beating the student even more heavily. By this time, the study was a mess, with all the students standing all around and shocked. But, no one dared to stop their angry teacher. Until, Situ Yilan said, "Master, you just prove he was right if you think you are more powerful and thus you can beat him!"

Ning Que was still sitting next to his desk, but even he was also very shocked. He never expected towitness such a scene on his first day of school. Then he heard Situ Yilan's contradiction and thought her words were quite reasonable.

But the lecturer turned around and glared coldly at Situ Yilan, "I just wanted to prove he was right, what is wrong with that?" he asked.

Situ Yilan pressed her lips together, she remembered her brothers' and father's warning. But unable to stand by in such a situation, she ignored what might happen, and said with a shivering voice, "If you think he was wrong, then you shouldn't punish him in his way. If Etiquette is about rules, as you said, then you should bond and punish him with rules."

With a sneer, the lecturer said, "Yunkui general, the assistant marshal wasn't good at reading and learning, but he taught his daughter well. I know you two General's Mansions get along well. But I assume you don't know him that well."

"This has nothing to do with our relationship. " Situ Yilan strove to suppress the embarrassing feeling and argued saying, "I only want justice."

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"Good, let me tell you what is justice then," looking at all the students, he continued, "no matter Yunkui General or whatever general, even if they are more powerful than me, they still don't dare to fight me. Why? Because I'm a lecturer in the Academy, and this is a rule in the Tang Kingdom."

"At the back of the study, Chu Youxian shyly said, "Why is the Academy so messy? Also, don't be so bold and silly to piss this lecturer off."

Of course, Ning Que didn't have the audacity, he looked at the lecturer who was wiping the blood stains on his hands, and thought, "Rules made by the Academy were the most powerful rules...This doesn't have anything to do with Etiquette. On the contrary, it only proves that in this place there is a guy who is most powerful. But, who is that powerful guy? This lecturer?"

The lecturer collected his book and looked at Situ Yilan, who still seemed very reluctant, "No matter if you agree with me or not unless you can break the rules here, you should obey my rules. And my rule is simple: Etiquette is about rules."

Etiquette was about rules and that was my rule! What a powerful, strong, and unreasonable announcement! Ning Que looked at the old, thin lecturer in a daze. He found himself lost and didn't understand at all what kind of a place this Academy was, but he knew that he liked this place more than before.

The class was finished right at noon when the lecturer tucked his book under his arm and walked out of the classroom proudly, with his beard flying in front of him. He was so proud. The students were stunned for a second, then the classroom burst into chaos, all of them converged together gossiping about what happened this morning. Situ Yilan rushed towards the beaten student and took out a handkerchief to clean his injuries. The student still had tears on his cheek and felt he'd been done very wrong.

"Chu Zhongtian! You are so useless!" Situ Yilan hit him with anger, "Your grandfather would die of anger if he saw you being like that. How dare you to argue with the lecturer without knowing anything!And when he was hitting you, you didn't even know to fight back! At least you could've run away from him! Why didn't you do that?"

The sixteenth guard general Chu Xiongtu had seven sons and thirty-seven grandsons in his life. Among them, Chu Zhongtian was the best at studying. If it wasn't for that, he couldn't have been enrolled in the Academy. But with all his mighty force, Chu Zhongtian was beaten heavily by the lecturer.

Chu Zhongtian wiped tears from his face, he looked at Situ Yilan and complained, "Yilan, this is not my fault. I do everything according to my grandfather's word: whoever hits me, I will hit back, even if he was a prince or a king. I really wanted to hit him...I don't know why, but I couldn't move at all."

At this time, Chu Youxian slovenly said, "The vice professor in the Academy, Cao Zhifeng, graduated from the course of magic skills in the seventh year of Shenfeng. He stayed in the Academy and has been teaching here for more than thirty years. He is a great psyche master at Seethrough State."

Hearing these words, all the students were silent. Situ Yilan widened her eyes and stomped after a while and said, "Even if he is a great psyche master...he shouldn't bully a child."

Chu Youxian walked towards them, looking at Chu Zhongtian's swollen face, he sighed and said, "You can't get justice in regard to this thing because professor Cao is from...Yan."

Out of the crowd, Ning Que heard what Chu Youxian said and shook his head. He thought, "You mentioned your country's winning and how the Yan prince was a hostage in front of someone from the Yan Dynasty. No wonder you were beaten so hard. You can't complain."

The Tang Dynasty was so powerful that its people were very proud. Ning Que admitted that when he was fighting against those barbarians from the grassland in the frontier fortress, he also felt quite proud of his own country. But judging by what happened today, this Academy was a melting pot, where not only students but also teachers were from different countries. Therefore, Ning Que felt that he really should mind his words and behavior from now on.

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