Chapter 63: Shui Sheng wins the contest

It turned out that Shui Sheng was sure that Song Qingshu was just pretending to be a master to save face. 

Sure enough, everyone in the audience looked back at Song Qingshu after hearing her words.

“Don’t just randomly guess a number.”

“This kid is just delusional. Everyone guessed so much before, but they didn’t guess right in the end.”


The presenter’s eyes lit up and he quietly winked. The old codger said with a smile, “So it is Master Wei, he is really talented, please tell me the answer, Miss Youyou will judge whether it is right or wrong.”

Hearing the cold words of the crowd, Wang Yuyan worriedly glanced at Song Qingshu. After having several contacts, she had a good impression of him. She couldn’t bear to see him embarrass himself. She was about to open her mouth and quietly tell him the answer, but Shui Sheng saw through her thoughts and didn’t give her that opportunity. She blocked between the two and said, “Miss Wang doesn’t have to worry about my master. He is very learned. He naturally knows about such simple topics.”

Shui Sheng sneered triumphantly in her heart, and the higher she held him up now, the heavier he would fall later. Wang Yuyan didn’t know the relationship between the two. Seeing Shui Sheng say this, she gave up the idea of ​telling him.

“This little demoness seems to be lacking proper training.” Song Qingshu stared at Shui Sheng fiercely.

Duo Long glanced at Song Qingshu enviously, winked his eyes and said, “Master Song, they treat you so well. This is a rare opportunity for you to impress these beautiful women.”

“Why don’t you say it already! Don’t waste everyone’s time.” The crowd below was already very impatient, and Shui Sheng also smiled and waited for the good show.

“After one hundred cuts, Miss Youyou’s embroidered handkerchief should be divided into five thousand and fifty pieces at most.” Song Qingshu said, looking at the lady in the palace dress behind the gauze curtain.

Wang Yuyan secretly nodded, thinking that Young Master Song was not only good at martial arts, but also capable of the mysterious arithmetic skills. He really was different from the ordinary people, and he was truly a scholarly man.

Miss Youyou finally spoke, her voice soft and sweet, and each syllable seemed to have a fascinating magical power, “Master Wei is really talented, may I know how he calculated it.” She was puzzled in her heart. Everyone knew that Wei Xiaobao was not an educated person and his looks were wretched. So, why is this person handsome and learned? He can even figure out this problem!

This charming woman was naturally Yuan Chengzhi’s wife Xia Qingqing. Many years ago, she was still a bit young, a tomboy, but for some reason, she became more and more beautiful after marriage, and it radiated in her every gesture. Her charm as a woman was truly glamorous nowadays.

If Song Qingshu knew her identity at the moment, he would definitely sigh, ‘No wonder Yuan Chengzhi was reluctant to go find Ajiu later. It turns out that Xia Qingqing has become so overwhelmingly beautiful!’

This particular question was found in an ancient book by historians. It was originally used to deliberately make things difficult for the scholars who were looking for fame and asking for fortune, so that they would retreat. She had been waiting for Wei Xiaobao. After Wei Xiaobao came, she had her own way to let him pass the test. Only she knew the answers, so Wei Xiaobao just had to guess a number and she would say he was right. Wasn’t it easy?

She didn’t expect  that Wei Xiaobao actually got the answer right when he opened his mouth. Xia Qingqing was surprised. Then she noticed the men and women behind him, and her heart moved, ‘Wei Xiaobao is a person in a high position. It is likely that his subordinates helped him figure it out.’

Even though Xia Qingqing thought so much, to outsiders it seemed to be in the blink of an eye, and they were still waiting for Song Qingshu’s answer.

Song Qingshu hesitated for a while, still said, “I guessed it.” And all the people in the hall suddenly cursed in their hearts.

Song Qingshu gave a wry smile in his heart, only he knew that this matter was truly accidental. In his previous life, when his company was recruiting, he accidentally saw the interview topic prepared by the personnel department, which also included this topic.

At that time, Song Qingshu was embarrassed to find that he couldn’t solve it, and he was too embarrassed to ask his subordinates. After going back, he quietly researched on Baidu for a while, and then he was deeply impressed by this topic.

As for the solution… ‘It’s Mathematical induction, will you be able to understand it?’ Song Qingshu looked at everyone with contempt, and was too lazy to say anything.

“Since Young Master Wei is unwilling to reveal his method, Youyou will not make things difficult for him.” Xia Qingqing quickly opened her mouth to help him out. After hearing her words, everyone thought that Song Qingshu had some unique skills, and he was unwilling to say it and share it with everyone, so they were relieved. 

“Master, please listen to the next question. If you can answer it, please come to the boudoir with Youyou.” Xia Qingqing smiled charmingly, her voice full of temptation.

This time, her words seemed have an effect of a bomb,

“Didn’t you say three questions, why are you letting him in with two?”

“Miss Youyou, do you fancy him?”

“Don’t be deceived just because he is handsome, young and refined. That pretty boy’s face is his only worth, it is not useful. If you want a good companion who can pleasure women, you should have a man like this uncle, who is wealthy and rugged.”

Hearing the foul language in the scene, Xia Qingqing’s ears turned a little hot, and she bitterly thought, ‘If it hadn’t been for the purpose of catching Wei Xiaobao, how would this grand aunt be sweetly smiling here. If this group of stinky men dared to speak to me like this a few years ago, I would have killed them all with one sword slash.’

Xia Qingqing put aside her smile, her voice was a little more detached, “Listen well, Youyou once met a wandering expert and got an eternal absolute vow from him. It is said that a master’s vow lasts a thousand years. The masters here should be careful.”

As soon as she said this, everyone in the scene stopped talking. The scholars have always been lingering in the pleasure houses. The first question just now was out of their reach, but this time they wanted to show their strength. So, they asked her impatiently, “Miss Youyou hurry up and ask the next question. See if we can answer it, please give us another chance.”

Xia Qingqing smiled sweetly, and said, “Smoke locks the pond with willows!” (Goblin: It’s called Qianlong’s upper couplet. The beauty of this absolute is lost in translation. But it is a work of genius.)

Song Qingshu was startled to hear this couplet here. When he was bored in his previous life, he saw a novel “Finest Servant” on the Internet, and he was very addicted to it. The theme of the couplets in it impressed him, and he felt that it was a powerful weapon in wooing girls. So, he specially added up some knowledge in this area. The line “Smoke locks the pond with willows” from Miss Youyou was the most famous absolute in history, and it was the one he was most impressed with.

He greatly admired the talent of the author of “Finest Servant”, so he personally visited and recruited the author of the book to his company, so that the author would never be able to write a novel again, making other Internet readers regret it. This is something better left unsaid.

During the time when Song Qingshu was in a trance, someone in the scene already came up with something, “Cannon on the Zhenhai tower!” (Goblin: Again lost in translation. In fact the essence of the next few lines will also be lost in translation. Chinese characters are fundamentally different from English words.)

Sure enough, the brothel has always been a gathering place for melancholic literatos and poets. There really were some hidden dragons and crouching tigers here. It was very difficult to imply the five elements of “gold (metal), wood, water, fire and earth” in the form of a couplet in a poem, while maintaining that exquisite artistic conception.

This person’s “Cannon on the Zhenhai tower” just now also implied “Gold, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth”, but it was a pity that its artistic conception was slightly worse.

Sure enough, someone quickly criticized it, “It is far-fetched, although it barely matched, but the artistic conception is too far behind the upper couplet. It is not good.”

“Hmph, I’m right anyway. Then can you do better?” The first man looked very disdainful, and looked around, “If no one else will try, then I win.”

Although he was a little arrogant, he did have real talent, and he was absolutely right to do this in such a short time. While the others were still thinking hard.

“This poor monk also has a line, please listen.” Jiumozhi’s heart was moved and he was unable to restrain the desire to perform in his heart, and slowly said, “Dengshen village’s temple bell.”

When everyone heard it, they applauded. It also contained the five elements, but it was much better in terms of artistic conception, and the “Temple Bell” was also very consistent with his identity as a monk.

The first person who spoke out just now said with a weird tone, “Could it be that monks are now coming to find flowers and drink dew?”

Hearing what he said, the people in the scene roared with laughter, making Jiumozhi’s face become hot and he muttered to himself, “This couplet is so wonderful, this poor monk is just happy to join the exchange.”

“Red phoenix soars the heaven, all in earth acclaim.” Duan Yu said with a smile, and compared Jiumozhi’s wisdom  to that of Buddha. But seeing his fierce expression, he quickly said, “There is also another couplet, and I hope the master will comment on it. —— Boiling tea leaves and chiseling the spring wall.” (Author: There is a gold character in the traditional Chinese character for chiseling.)

The drunkards in the scene were not all illiterate people. Although many people could not make good couplets themselves, it did not mean that they would not appreciate it. They praised this as better than Jiumozhi, although Jiumozhi’s artistic conception was lofty, but it was flat and different. Duan Yu’s artistic conception was not inferior to him, and the contrast was neat, which was really top-grade.

“Young Master Duan is also interested in Miss Youyou?” Wang Yuyan blankly glanced at Duan Yu, no mood swings could be felt in her tone.

To Duan Yu her words struck like thunder, and he hurriedly explained, “Miss Wang, you have misunderstood, how can I be tempted by other women… It’s just… it’s just on a whim…Miss Wang, you must believe me!”

As Song Qingshu watched Duan Yu speak incoherently in front of his sweetheart, and a note was suddenly handed to him by the guard, “It seems that it was passed on by a girl from the Spring Beauty Pavilion.”

He opened it curiously, and saw that something was written in it consisting of five neat little characters, “A row of lanterns on the Yinhan Bridge.” Song Qingshu thoughtfully raised his head and glanced at the girl behind the curtain. She was also staring at him with her raised head, pursed lips, and with a hint of shyness on her lips. Song Qingshu wondered what it meant and he read it all once more. 

Shui Sheng had been standing by his side, the words on the note and the flirting between the two was not hidden from her ears and eyes, and she couldn’t help but  sourly say, “It seems that this Miss Youyou fell in love with you at first sight. She was afraid that you could not answer. So she sent the answer for you.”

Duo Long and the others couldn’t help being taken aback, and they gathered around to look at it, even Duan Yu stared at it with slanted eyes. After reading the note in Song Qingshu’s hand, the group of men sighed, “Hey, we are out of luck! Brother Song, this Miss Youyou obviously likes you. Don’t disappoint her.”

Song Qingshu’s expression remained calm, but the pride in his heart was hard to conceal . After all, men had a natural tendency to compare in this aspect.

At that moment,  Miss Youyou’s voice was heard, “May I know if Master Wei has the answer?”

“I know!” Shui Sheng didn’t know what she was thinking. And she quickly shouted, “A row of lanterns on the Yinhan Bridge!” .

Xia Qingqing’s heart jumped, and she managed to maintain her calmness without changing her expression, and reluctantly smiled, “This Young Master spoke the best couplet so far.” 

Everyone in the scene nodded and agreed. They began to inquire about which Young Master this was. Not only did he look handsome, but his literary talents were amazing. Who was this genius?

Goblin: Please consider becoming a patron at Patreon if you enjoy reading my translation. The amount doesn’t matter, your gesture does. It keeps me motivated. Also, if you like the novel, please rate the it on Novel Updates.

There was a lot of famous poems in this chapter. Translating them was a headache, but I tried my best to bring out a fraction of their original essence. Truthfully, any attempt at translating them is stupidity, because you can never fully translate something without altering it in some shape or form, even more so for “Absolutes” such as these. Their beauty lies in the way the Chinese characters have been used to contain the five elements, from which the world was created. They are not lines, they are worlds.

18 thoughts on “Chapter 63: Shui Sheng wins the contest”

  1. Thanks for the chapter!
    Your translation is amazing, I hope you can continue with the translation for a long time and have this excellent level of quality.

    From your reader in Brazil.

  2. How does the first question make any sense? I must be understanding it wrong – if you cut a paper in half 100 times, the most number of pieces left is 2 to the power of n, n being however many cuts you do. Therefore the answer should be 2 ^ 100, a number so large that nobody there would be able to calculate. And yet, the answer was 5050 or something. I tried looking it up and couldn’t find any associated context. Either I’m misunderstanding the problem or this author’s a nutcase, it’s one or the other.

    1. It’s actually a trick question. As you have said the number would be so large that no one can calculate it. So just a random large number would do, and then it falls on the one who questions to determine if it’s right or wrong.
      As nobody can calculate it, so no one can challenge her choice. She can make the person of she wants to win….win. Get it?

      1. Humanity's Sorrow

        No, the author is clearly a reta*d. The author even wrote something along the lines mathematical induction.. what the f8ck does mathematical induction have to do with this problem?
        If stacking is allowed, then like MICH above said, the answer will be 2¹⁰⁰, or if stacking/folding is not allowed then the number will be 2601 since 50 cuts each horizotally and vertically will give 51 columns and rows, but in the question it is mentioned that 3 cuts = 8(it should be 6 with no stacking), so stacking is allowed.
        If it was supposed to be a trick question, then there was no need to mention the mathematical induction, interview shit

          1. Humanity's Sorrow

            Well, The author clearly did his research when writing Keyboard Immortal so I was surprised to see such a thing.

          2. Well…remember this is the first novel he wrote and KI is his second novel. You will be able to feel the change in his writing style and maturity as the novel progresses.

        1. Author is still wrong when saying that 3 cuts is 8.

          Formula is [1+n*(n+1)/2] because you start with a whole napkin.

          For those confused on how to cut, you cut through every prior cut with cutting prior intersections. This results in one more segment made per cut than the previous cut.
          First cut divides napkin into 2, second 4, third 7, fourth 11… all the way to the hundredth which would be 5051.

          1. its not an arithmetic progression but a geometric progression.

            use Sn = a(r^n – 1) / (r – 1)

        2. No wtf.
          1 cut = 2^1
          2 cut = 2^2
          3 cut = 2^3
          100 cut = 2^100 which is 1 then 30× zeroes (if we approx 2^10 to 1000 and not 1024)

          [n(n+1)]/2 is for arithmetic progressions (something like sum of all natural numbers) which is not the case for this problem. Clearly, this is a sum of geometric progression.

          Sn = a(r^n – 1) / (r – 1) will be the formula to be used here

  3. Duan Yu doesn’t have the protagonist’s dignity. It makes me wonder if he will become a leek in the future. The first time I read chinese poems was when I was reading 108 Maidens of Destiny. At that time I didn’t appreciate the artistic aspect of them. Now that I read one of the poems I found in that novel, I can somehow appreciate a little more those poems.

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