Li Yuanying was interested in the sunflower seeds. He poked Li Zhi sitting next to him and asked to borrow his textbook in a soft voice. Being familiar with his personality, Li Zhi has already asked for a spare set to be prepared beforehand and quietly handed it over to Li Yuanying.
The two children thought that their movements were subtle but Wei Zheng could see everything.
Seeing that Li Yuanying don’t even have his own textbook and needed to borrow it, Wei Zheng’s eyebrows twitch in anger and he wanted to give him an earful. But when he thought of Li Yuanying’s exhausting behavior, he decided to just save his saliva. After all, Li Yuanying has always been a troublemaker it was useless to reprimand him!
With Wei Zheng teaching the class, everyone was on their best behavior and no one dares look distracted.
Li Yuanying too was well behaved. He’s been holding onto the borrowed textbook and was concentrating on it. But of course, he has no intention of studying hard, all he wanted was to get close to Wei Zheng to get an opportunity to view the article
Although Wei Zheng is not eager to meet Li Yuanying but when a student has queries and wants clarification on he can’t turn them away.
Li Yuanying has already thought about it. First, ask Wei Zheng about his schoolwork then ask about <<The Book of Rites>> which he’s just read. The more annoying the better, so that he gets his chance to see the article that Wei Zeng wrote.
After making up his mind, Yuanying paid full attention to his schoolwork.
When Wei Zheng announced the end of class, Yuanying ran towards him to ask questions much to the surprise of his classmates.
Pretending to be obedient is Yuanying’s specialty. Not only did he ask lots of questions he even went the extra mile and offer Wei Zheng a glass of water. Pretending with conviction to be a model student.
Wei Zheng thought that it was truly bizarre and for a split second even wondered if croton powder was added into his drink. He answers both questions only to find Li Yuanying looking enlightened and asking about more.
Wei Zheng was amazed. Maybe this kid is trying to turn over a new leaf and change his evil ways.
Yuanying’s acting was thorough. After getting his advice, he even respectfully sent off his teacher to the school gate. “If I have other questions, can I ask you?”
Wei Zheng was pleased and nodded: “Of course.”
Yuanying respectfully watched Wei Zheng leave before wandering back into the lecture hall.
Seeing that he was back, Li Zhi couldn’t help asking: “Why are you so serious today?”
Li Yuanying had a serious face: “I’m not young anymore, can’t always be messing around. I must start gaining knowledge!”
“Yeah, right!” thought Li Zhi to himself.
Li Zhi didn’t believe it neither did Wei Zheng. He went on for his next duty feeling suspicious.
On the way, he met Kong Yingda who is in charge of the second half of the children’s lecture. Wei Zheng mentioned Li Yuanying’s bizarre behavioral changes and asked that Kong Yingda pay attention to him.
Regardless of who it is, if Li Yuanying really intends to change his ways then as educators they are ready to wholeheartedly teach him.
Kong Yingda after hearing about it couldn’t help but mutter to himself: Really? Li Yuanying has a heart for learning?
Kong Yingda is Confucius’s 32nd-generation grandson. Being a descendant from the Confucian family he has always been eager to learn and quick-witted. His talent was known throughout and some were even so envious of him that they attempted to assassinate him.
Since his early years, Kong Yingda was one of the eighteen scholars in Prince of Qin’s residence. After Li Er ascended to the throne he appointed him as the director of National Education. He was also in charge of being the editor of the education materials for the imperial examination and wrote <<Five Classics>> with his team.
As he accompanied the Emperor to Jiucheng Palace, he was requested by the Emperor to give the children a few lessons in hopes that they would one day become good vessels of the Tang Empire and benefit both the country and its people in the future.
Before Kong Yingda could reach the inner courtyard where the lecture hall was located, he heard someone shouting “Youngest Uncle, hurry up and get down. Ninth brother said that Chancellor Kong is coming over!”
This crisp, tender voice belongs to Princess Jinyang the Emperor’s favorite child!
When Kong Yingda heard the word ” Youngest Uncle” his eyebrows couldn’t stop twitching. He stepped in with a sullen face only to see Sizi and the children gathered under an old tree with their heads looking up.
The tree was tall with dark green branches and leaves and looks quite old.
At the same time, Li Yuanying was about to climb to the top of the tree.
Having no fear of death, Yuanying was standing on the slightly curved stem and was reaching out his hands towards the paper kite that was stuck.
While Li Yuanying and Li Zhi were in class, Sizi and the younger children were outside flying a paper kite. Suddenly a strong wind blew the kite away and it ended up stuck on a tree.
Li Yuanying was bored and saw that Sizi and the others were looking at the paper kite on the tree with sadness and close to tears. He immediately rolled up his sleeves and climb the tree to retrieve it.
Kong Yingda saw Li Yuanying’s boots thrown under the tree while the other princes were looking out from the window watching in excitement. His long beard trembled uncontrollably and he yelled: “Li Yuanying, come down immediately!”
Li Yuanying was startled by him and almost fell. He quickly hugged the branch tightly then steadily removed the paper kite before climbing down calmly as agile as a monkey.
Kong Yingda was very angry and stared at Li Yuanying who handed the paper kite to Sizi.
The boy wasn’t afraid at all and even criticized Kong Yingda: “Chancellor Kong, this is not right! How can you yell so loudly when someone is at a high place? If your child climbs onto a tree and falls to the ground because of your yelling who is going to take responsibility?”
Kong Yingda snorted coldly: “The children of the Kong family won’t climb up a tree!”
He sternly asked Sizi and the other children to play elsewhere else and ordered Yuanying to stand outside to reflect on his behavior.
I must be stupid to believe Wei Zheng’s words!
How would this brat have even an ounce of interest in learning?
After completing a passage of classics literature with the children in class, Kong Yingda remembers that Yuanying was just a young child and wanted to let this incident past.
“Come back in!”
No response from outside the class…
Kong Yingda’s expression turned for the worst.
A child who was by the window poked his head out and looked around: “Chancellor Kong, he’s no longer outside!”
“This child can’t be taught!” He didn’t ask anyone to look for Yuanying but instead continued with the lesson. After all, even if that kid was in class he wouldn’t pay attention. Just let him go!
Li Yuanying was certainly not someone who would stand around obediently. He only stood at the door for a short while before seeing three small heads poking out from outside the courtyard with deep guilt on their faces.
I can’t let the three kids be sad! He slipped out immediately and happily accompanied them to play with their paper kite.
To the east of the lecture hall is a wide pasture full of grass, especially suitable for children to play.
The boy had lots of fun and even happily had snacks with the girls before telling them that he was going back to study!
It would be impossible to return to the lecture hall. Li Yuanying thus slipped back into his residence, took the book of Rites that he has finished reading, and went straight to look for Wei Zheng.
Wei Zheng and the Emperor have just finished their discussion and was arranging the manuscripts they have copied.
Seeing Li Yuanying outside, Wei Zheng frowned.
Shouldn’t this kid be in class listening to Kong Yingda’s lecture?
Wei Zheng has a thin face with droopy lips making him look fierce and serious. He scowled and yelled, “What are you doing sneakily? Come in if you have something to say!”
Li Yuanying strolled in unafraid of Wei Zheng’s black face and even complained about Kong Yingda, saying that that he almost scared him off a tree and punished him to stand outside the lecture hall!
He didn’t care that Wei Zheng was quiet and proceeded with his plan: “I thought that I shouldn’t waste a day in vain, so I read the remaining of the <<Book of Rites>>.
When His Majesty Li Er punished Yuanying and Li Zhi, Wei Zheng was also there. Naturally, he knew of their punishment.
“Have you finished reading?”
“After reading it, there are some things that I don’t understand.” Yuanying leaned close to Wei Zheng, spread out the book, and began consulting Wei Zheng on it.
Wei Zheng has been a part of the imperial court for many years. He has met many people and experienced many things. Naturally, he has good judgment and could tell if the boy was serious or pretending.
Since Li Yuanying wanted to learn, Wei Zheng pushed the manuscript aside and carefully answered his questions.
Somehow Yuanying found the right person to ask about this particular topic. When it comes to an in-depth understanding of this book, no one in the imperial court has more knowledge than Wei Zheng. When Wei Zheng wants to rebuke the Emperor for things he disagrees with he often uses the excuse that the Emperor’s doing is not aligned with cultural acceptance, thus using the <<Book of Rites>> to perfection!
Wei Zheng solved Li Yuanying’s questions articulately and the boy was enlightened.
Originally, he thought that he understood the content of the book but after hearing Wei Zheng’s in-depth explanation, he felt that he actually didn’t understand anything at the start.
More importantly, Wei Zheng was able to give him real examples using examples from the common people, matters in court, and records in historical books. Wei Zheng was able to put things into context with ease and he explained them thoroughly!
If I am able to learn this trick, I’ll be able to debate and win all arguments in the future!
Li Yuanying immediately became energetic and listened seriously.
One teacher and one pupil; one teaching and one learning. Soon it was time to eat!
Yuanying still had some ideas, so he put away the book and said that he wanted to go home with Wei Zheng.
Since the Emperor usually stays in the Jiucheng Palace for about half a year, the ministers were granted permission to bring their family along and living quarters were allocated according to rank. Wei Zheng hence brought his wife and children.
Hearing that Yuanying was to follow him home Wei Zheng quickly said, “There is nothing good to eat in my house.”
“Then I will ask someone to send us some delicious food!” Before Wei Zheng could object, Yuanying has already ordered a servant to prepare delicious food and send it to Wei Zheng’s residence.
The boy wasn’t the only one with unfinished business, Wei Zheng has also become excited about teaching him. Since he has already instructed servants to bring food over he could no longer refuse him.
This was during the time court was dismissed hence many officials were walking around.
Many noticed an old man and young boy were walking together and were secretly surprised: Why would that kid walk together with Wei Zheng?!
On any given day, wouldn’t this kid be hiding from Wei Zheng?!
Is the sun rising from the west now?