It had never occurred to Badou that his such careless speech should have caused such a mess.
Even though Badou always seemed carefree, he was just a young boy. He was clear of whom he should ever never offend even for once.
In fact, he had to be careful all the time to not offend some people, such as those who were respectable, like Yu Ziyou and Hu Lianshen for they were good at learning with good reputation both in interpersonal relationships and personalities.
However, there were another kind of people that he should not offend, such as those like He Ming, who might be good at learning, while lack of integrity nor decent personalities. People like He Ming always spoke something ill and lacked of broad minds.
The conflicts between Badou and He Ming were out of that kinds of reasons as well.
“He Ming, shut your little pet up! Do not misinterpret my words.” Badou was angry.
“Ha, then what do you mean? We all have heard your words. You said this guy must be able to surpass Yu and Hu, and succeed in imperial examination. You are actually indicating the narrow failure of them in the past imperial examination!”
It might be inappropriate for Badou to call this short and stout as “little pet”. Anyway, this “little pet” was big, and not cute at all. This “pet’ was actually acute.
The same words said by Badou were turned into the opposite meaning by this rubbish. Ha.
Badou was outrage now, but he had no way to refute. The fellows of Yu and Hu were condemning him now.
“You are really self-conceit. Students in class B are really lack of both self-consciousness nor knowledge.” The short and stout continued.
“It’s right. How could they ever dare to compare the unknown new comer with Yu and Hu? Out of pride and ignorance!” A student commented.
“That’s why the old saying goes, the ignorant are always proud and bold.” Another student continued.
There were no dirty words in these comments, while all of the words were more insulting than the dirty words. You see, that was where the knowledge they had learned came into function.
What’s more, the students in class A were at the superior status in Qing Yuan School, and were respected and even worshiped by the students in class B. Nearly all of them were longing to make acquaintance with those in class A, so that they could turn to theose in class A for favors in the future.
Besides, if those students in class A should have succeeded in imperial examination, they would get advantages through such personal relationships.
Therefore, under such condition, those who were not good at learning, like Badou, were despised and looked down upon.
“Badou is really self-conceit. It’s no wonder why he was nearly expelled by school last year.”
“It’s said the master admitted him stay out of the mercy for his grandfather’s begging.”
“It is not said so. It is just so. I witnessed by myself. You can never imagine how ashamed it is when his grandfather begged master.”
Students were judging them with personal standpoints, selfishness, and the viciousness deeply rooted in their humanity.
Xue Tingxiang actually had experienced the similar things in the dream, for which he understood Badou would prefer to fight or quarrel directly rather than suffer from such gossips with righteousness.
Under such condition, Badou could not defend for himself, since he was not offended by the others.
Badou’s wrath was so fierce that made his face brash.
However, Yu Ziyou smiled with generosity, and said, “It’s not something deserve attention. May we take less consideration about that and have meals.”
“Agree. So wise and generous you are.” Hu Lianshen approved, threw a glance to Xue and Badou, and then move his eyes away indifferently, “Just someone who is so short-eyed while self-boast.”
Yu and Hu seemed to show their tolerance to them, while actually had satirized Badou and Xue.
Badou was getting even more agitated. It was not so disgusting to suffer from such comments by himself, but it was really terrible to have Xue get into such troubles.
“Please do let me apologize, and do let the vile slanders free from your honored hearts and minds. I was so careless that had made such mistake. But Xue has nothing to do with it. Do please forgive my carelessness.” Badou said sincerely.
However, the students in the two exclusive groups even had not spare a glance at Badou and his words at all. They talked and chatted joyfully, and froze Badou and his apologies in the air.
Xue sighed in his heart, and stopped Badou, “It’s enough, Badou…”
“I can demonstrate that Badou indeed hasn’t mean any sataireness to anyone of you. The three just playing jokes with each other, and they have said so out of the respects and admiration of you. Their words were used by others to defame them in purpose.”
The voice was hoarse. Chen Jian had kept silence, while spoke out at this moment. Xue and Badou even had not noticed him.
“Chen…” Badou turned back and stared at Chen with surprise. Never had he thought about that Chen should have helped him one day.
However, the students in the two exclusive groups turned to them owing to Chen’s uncommon speech.
“You demonstrate for them? With what?” He Ming sneered and said. His voice seemed loafing in the air, which sounded with satirizes.
The unspoken meanings indicated by He Ming made the other students laugh.
“Even Chen dare to demonstrate for others? Ha, they are really confident of themselves.”
Chen’s eyes seemed to be shadowed immediately. He clenched his hands under the table.
Xue had not planned to get involved. In fact, after the dream, he became more clam and mature. It was strange, since he should have get angry in such situation, while he was actually not. The disputations seemed to be childish.
But now things were different. Both Badou and Chen Jian were defending for himself and suffered from the satirizes of others. If he kept sitting around, it would be coward rather than tolerant.
“Since we all learn and read, we must know clearly what to listen to and what to believe. Those who talk nonsense deserve no attention. Those who are average worth no minute to be bothered. Besides, I and Badou have no intention to mean so. Even if we indeed have meant so, then so what? Should that be regarded as your excuse to tease and teach us so harshly and mercilessly?” Xue said without any agitation, while full with refutation.
The short and stout had been planned to argue, while had predicted that Xue should have challenged Yu and Hu by himself. He immediately caught this chance, pointing at Xue’s face and speaking, “Ha, you see, how nonsense my words are? He is the one who despises all the others!”
Suddenly, all the students were gossiping, discussing, and criticizing Xue’s arrogance.
Yu Ziyou and Hu Lianshen were covered with cold faces. How dare Xue challenge them in this way? What did he mean by “so what”? A new comer who even hadn’t learned the Four Books should have looked down upon them?
Xue continued his speeches and was un-swayed by even one word of the others. “As the saying goes, day line, the gentleman to self-improve. Is there anyone here don’t want to succeed in the imperial examination? If you don’t, then why you come here and study here?”
It was so blunt and honest. Nearly all of the students were touched by Xue’s words.
He was so right. No one would like to be inferior to the others. Even though nearly all the other students seemed to honor Yu Ziyou and Hu Lianshen, few of them were really appreciating the two. In fact, some of them even might tease the two by themselves since the two had learned so many years, while had not been able to pass the imperial examination for once.
They actually though by themselves that they would pass for once time when their time came. If asked, most of them would cover such despises, but today, such thoughts had been revealed and exposed to the public by Xue.
Even though Xue had said these to satirize the students who had teased and judged, the short and stout was the mostly aimed one.
The short and stout now could feel how embarrassing it was to be judged and insulted. However, he could not help but staring at Xue with shame.
“Those who are fool always like to fool the others. Those who are low always like to lower the others.” Xue said calmly with despises in his eyes.
Xue was just to leave, while Hu Lianshen stood up and said to him.
Hu stared at Xue with coldness in his eyes, “How ambitious you are! May I have you name?”
Xue stopped, and said humbly, “My name is Xue Tingxiang. I dare not to self-boast of ambition, but merely humility and modesty. The decent always consider while never compare. The vile always behave opposite.”
Hu Lianshen brushed immediately.
Xue obviously had satirized him that he was not decent and bully the others indecently.
Xue left these words for Hu Lianshen and went out without any words more.
Badou and Li Datian followed Xue right away, but to find Chen Jian stand there without a move. Badou dragged away Chen quickly.
“I don’t know you are such a good defender! You are so good at satirizes and irony. I talk more than you, while I cannot argue so powerfully and smartly as you!”
“Fine, fine. I know you are happy.” Li said to Badou.
“Could you please free my hand?” Chen Jian said as well.
It was not until at this moment that Badou realized he and Chen were hand in hand. He freed the hand of Chen immediately.
“Oh, for God’s sake.” Badou said.
Chen lowered his head gloomily, and was going to leave. Badou suddenly realized it was inappropriate to say like that, and explained, “Please don’t mistake my words. I don’t mean it. I just think it is not good to be hand in hand with another man. You know what I mean, right?”
But how could Chen Jian know what Badou really meant?
“Ha, by the way, thanks, for your words to defend for us just now.” Badou said to Chen, scratching his head with shyness.
“You owe no thanks to me, since I said those words not for you.” Chen said.
“Not for me?” Badou was in confusion, then he understood when he saw Xue, and said, “Ha, when you two become close friends with other?”
Xue seemed in puzzle.
Chen Jian hesitated, while eventually said to Xue, “Thank you for the egg.”
Before Xue could speak, Badou yelled with astonishment, “Just for one egg, you offended them all?”
Embarrassment fleshed in Chen Jian’s face, while disappeared soon. He said firmly and decisively, “It will make no differences for me to offend them or not, since I’m not welcome already.”
Badou understood what Chen Jian meant, and clapped his shoulder with a sigh, “Anyway, I’ve changed my opinions about you. No matter what you have done, it is ok to current them.”
Badou thought he had said something clever, while Chen Jian had no clue about Badou’s words.
Badou was going to explain the event about the stolen meal tickets, while suddenly stopped. He wanted to cover the event, but Xue directly spoke out and exposed all the things to Chen Jian with no detail hidden.
After Xue, Badou and Li’s explanation and narrations, Chen Jian got into silence for a while. Then, Chen said calmly, “I have never done these things no matter whether you believe or not.”
“Not you? Then who? Wang Qi? But his meal tickets had been stolen as well.” Badou said with doubts.
Chen Jian said nothing more.
At this moment, Li said, “Badou, I had told you that this event might be more complicated at the first beginning. You didn’t take it seriously. You remember Wang Qi had once talked secretly with Ma Xiu?”
It seemed clear. The short and stout who had defamed them in canteen just now was Ma Xiu.
Ma Xiu was the devoted follower of He Ming, but He Ming and Badou were rivals since their families had run the groceries in the same street. The two families had not kept harmonious relationships for many years, for which He Ming held hospitalities to Badou as well.
Chen Jian finally revealed the hidden details to Badou, “Ma Xiu once asked me to ruin your books. I refused.”
The books were those allocated by the school. As regulated, if the books were ruined by student, the student had to pay for the books. But the worst situation was not merely about the compensation. The student might even be expelled out of the school.
“How evil He Ming is! The last time I was narrowly expelled out of the school because he had someone report to the master that I got the obscene novels into the school!” It was at this time that Badou realized that Wang Qi had turned his back to him.
He was so angry that he walked out to argue with He Ming. But he was stopped by Li and Xue.
“You’ve got no evidence. Even though you know it is He Ming, he will not admit. If the thing gets worse and heard by the master, the situation will be more unfavorable for you.”
“I will not forgive him!”
Xue cleared his throat, and tried to calm Badou down, “You don’t need to forgive him, but you cannot give him any punishment.”
“Then what should I do? I just swallow the shit?”
“The best way to punish He Ming is to shame him with what he has been proud of.” Xue said coldly.
He understood the event happened in the canteen would not appease easily. If he didn’t want to be surrounded by the teases and vile laughers, he had to get success in the imperial examination. Only in this way, he would not be regarded as merely a self-boaster.
It was not easy to do that alone. He’d better to get someone as companion.
As predicted by Xue, the event was spread throughout the whole Qing Yuan School after just one meal.
Even Lin Miao, the master of Qing Yuan School had heard of the event.
When he was told of this event, he seemed a little disappointed. But it was unknown whether he was disappointed by Yu Ziyou and Hu Lianshen, or Xue Tingxiang.
Anyway, Badou was motivated by Xue, and studied hard with Xue. He stayed in dormitory or just went to the lecture room and canteen. Even Li Datian was influenced and persuaded by Badou.
This day, Chen Jian asked Xue, who was two beds away from his, with curiosity, “Why are you always transcribing? What are you transcribing?”
Xue stopped transcribing to relax his eyes, “The books.”
He continued, “For one thing, it will help me remember the content; for another, I can earn some money from it.”
“Earn money by transcribing books?” Badou was interested, and took the papers on Xue’s desk.
“Of course. You can get some earnings through transcribing.” Xue smiled. Badou and Chen were both no more than 16 years old. They even hadn’t learned the books well enough, nor would they thought about earning money through transcribing books.
He knew that owing to the dream. Even himself didn’t knew those when he was at the same age as Badou and Chen Jian in the dream.
“But your calligraphy is good enough to get earnings. Not me. Teacher Meng always criticized me for my poor calligraphy.” Badou was not interested by earning his own living through transcribing, but by the idea to but more novels.
However, he gave up such idea when he saw the beautiful calligraphy of Xue.
“The good calligraphy may sell good price. But the poor calligraphy also can be sold with prices accordingly.”
Badou and Datian knew clearly that their calligraphy would not be good enough for sell, and didn’t take it seriously. But Chen Jian was interested and concerned.
However, it was not until at the evening when Badou and Datian were out for washing water that Chen Jian asked Xue. “Tingxiang, could you please do me a favor? I want to get some earnings through transcribing as well.”
He sounded nervous and anxious, and added immediately, “If it’s not convenient for you, it is ok.”
Xue could understand Chen and his concerned. He smiled mildly, “Of course. Why not? It will not cost much time. Just be with me next time.”
Then Xue asked no more. He wanted to protect Chen’s esteem and pride.
Chen also understood Xue’s considerations. The reason why he would stand out to defend for Xue that day in canteen was not merely out of the of gratitude for the egg given by Xue, but also out of the blankness and honesty of Xue. Xue never regarded himself as the gift-giver
Even though it sounded too sentimental for him to think about all of those, it indeed had made Chen Jian at ease and even more gratefurl for Xue.
“Not at all.”
Soon, ten day passed, and it was the Bathing Day.