As soon as the Emperor is done celebrating his birthday, someone came to inform Li Yuanying that the entrance exam will start in two days and he had to complete it before the end of the year. Once the new year starts in Spring it is time for school. This is so that students will not slack and forget all their knowledge. Hearing this, Yuanying thinks that old man Kong is quite considerate. He immediately updated his study plan and notified his friends who had agreed to take up this mission.
Wei Shu was the first to know about it as the Emperor told Wei Zheng directly to inform his grandchildren. Wei Zheng thinks that the Emperor’s decision to stuff Li Yuanying into the Academy was a bit whimsical but since his grandchildren were the source of this incident and they look forward to it, he didn’t comment much.
On the exam day, the children made plans to meet in front of the Academy. Di Renjie, Wu Mei, Li Zhi, Cheng Yang, Wei Shu and Wei Ying. All present! Originally, Wei Ying weren’t suppose to join them but since his sister insisted on following Li Yuanying and he wanted to keep watch, he had to follow behind “Li Yuanying’s Party”.
As soon as the gate opened they walked in. On the way in, there were many students, many who were familiar to Li Yuanying.
Not too long ago when Li Yuanying first returned to Chang’an, he came here often looking for trouble since he was bored. He purposely asked tricky questions to challenge the students. If they were unable to answer, Li Yuanying would rub it in: “You don’t even know this? Brother Wei is much better than you.”
In short, although Wei Ying is not a student yet, he has already gained much hatred, all thanks to Li Yuanying.
Li Yuanying greeted the students with good manners. “We meet again”, “Hey, didn’t we meet last time” and “Look, the one behind me is Brother Wei, the son of Wei”!
Wei Ying originally thought that walking with Li Yuanying wouldn’t be much of an issue but as he continued he had a hunch that something was wrong: Why is everyone looking at him with unfriendly eyes? Could it be that their fathers all had issues with his grandfather?
You can’t blame Wei Ying for being suspicious that the root cause was his grandfather. This is already the most sinister reason he can think of. After all, Wei Zheng do criticize others quite frequently and it is not uncommon to meet children of those officials here. With Wei Ying’s non-turning brain, it was impossible for him to relate this back to Li Yuanying who had visited the Academy several times to sow hatred on his behalf with the pretense of giving him “some challenge” in life.
Li Yuanying did something sinister and he was thinking that his plan was brilliant. He obediently followed the guide to the exam room. It was the middle of winter and the room had no charcoal fire, so it was cold and quiet.
Li Yuanying felt that this place was horrible and terribly cold. He sat down according to his number and urged the invigilator: “Hurry up and give me the questions. It’s too cold here, I want to leave as soon as I finish!”
After speaking, Li Yuanying smiled triumphantly at Wei Ying who was sitting next to him. It meant “I can leave this place after I have crushed you . But you will live the rest of this hard life here by yourself.”
Seeing Li Yuanying smile so wildly, Wei Ying was annoyed. He calmed himself down and waited sullenly for the session to begin.
Before starting, the invigilator gave each candidate a document to sign on. On it were statements like “I voluntarily participate in this exam” and so on. The invigilator in charged also explained politely: “Because in the past some candidates were forced to take the exam by their families and caused us much trouble, we now need each candidate to sign this as consent before they can be enrolled.”
Of course this were all nonsense cooked up on the spot. The Imperial Academy is a place were many were dying to get in. There’s no possibility of needing such paperwork. Whoever doesn’t desire need to try! This was something discussed between Kong Yingda and the Emperor. They want to manipulate Li Yuanying with this document. After all, the kid has a sense of responsibility and he must recognize a document he signed himself!
Li Yuanying weren’t aware that Kong Yingda, an old man, would dig a hole for him to jump in. He didn’t take things to heart. His brother wouldn’t sent him, a well known little demon king to the Academy. That’s impossible! Brother really cared about developing future talents at this place!
Yuanying didn’t look at the document carefully. He signed his name in a hurry and quickly stamp his fingerprint on it. Seeing that Li Yuanying had already signed the document, the other children naturally did not hesitate and followed readily.
Wu Mei was the only person who read the document carefully. Sh read through it and felt that this was no simple matter. This document doesn’t highlight the rules of studying in the Academy but instead on a clause that binds you to the Imperial Academy.”
But despite whatever doubts Wu Mei had in her heart, the test paper was quickly assigned to each of them. Since it was just an entrance exam, they were not asked to write articles. However the initial questions on classics were already difficult and after that candidates were tested on knowing the sources and also interpretation. The difficulty level is gradually increasing.
Cheng Yang started to frown and wrote more and more slowly. She was trying to seriously recall all the books she had read lately.
Li Yuanying was different. Since he was the one who recommended all the bibliography he started writing non-stop and could answer the questions quickly.
Li Zhi and Wei Ying who were sitting next to him, saw this and became nervous. Wei Ying tried his very best to not lose to Li Yuanying and answered calmly. Li Zhi who was influenced by Li Yuanying went blank. He stayed idle until Yuanying was almost done before coming to his senses and started writing vigorously in order not to rank last!
After Yuanying was done, he looked left and right. Everyone else still head their heads buried deep. Without a care about for others, Yuanying got up and handed in his paper. Someone then appear and brought him towards the waiting room. He was inform that Chancellor Kong would start reviewing his paper and would share his results shortly.
Li Yuanying loves the efficiency. He was surprisingly well-behaved and waited patiently in the adjacent room. The second person to join him was Wu Mei. She was still in deep thought about the consent form they signed and told the young prince about her concerns.
Yuanying listened and sat there frowning, thinking. Among the students here, he only knows Tang Xuan and his friend has never mention anything about signing paperwork ever. He didn’t see anything wrong with his actions just now but hearing more from Wu Mei he realized that the Emperor’s action of informing him about the exam timing was weird. The action was too considerate!
Yuanying wondered: “Could it be that Brother wants to send me to the Academy?”
No way! Isn’t he afraid that I would turn this place upside down?
Wu Mei did not join the young prince in speculating about the Emperor’s intention.
Next came Wei Shu. Seeing Yuanying sitting and frowning, she asked: “Your Highness, did you encounter any problems?”
“Sister Shu, you are done?” Yuanying invited Wei Shu to sit and told her about Wu Mei’s concern.
“Do you think Brother and old man Kong is conspiring something to trick me?”
Wei Shu pointed to herself and Wu Mei: “What about us?”
Li Yuanying thought deeper. Yes! His Majesty will not let Mei Niang and the other girls in! Even if the Emperor allowed them to, Kong Yingda would never agree!
“Then let’s observe first.”
He looked at the crude furnishings in the room and snorted with dissatisfaction: “I don’t want to stay in such a rundown, secluded place, not even willing to burn charcoal fire for warmth!”