[Chapter 3 - The School of Chang Liu]
Epilogue – The Bet
Series: The Journey of Flower
Original Author: Fresh Guo Guo
Translation from Vietnamese to English by: missjade
Proofread by tlt
This is a fan translation. Do not copy and repost anywhere else.
Chapter 3 – The School Of Chang Liu
Dawn just arrived and Hua Qian Gu was already woken up by Sheng Xiao Mo to do her make up. Her face was covered in white foundation, even her lips were painted red; she wore new clothes, her hair decorated with a jade brooch; around her neck was a gold necklace, her wrist a jade bracelet. Hua Qian Gu felt like she was dressed like an old landlady but this old landlady was in such a rush that she couldn’t even eat 1 steamed bun before leaving.
Sheng Xiao Mo was afraid that she would escape from school mid-way so he purposely hired a sedan chair and had several tall and muscly men to transport her to the school of Chang Liu. Hua Qian Gu cried tearfully when she left.
When people saw her, they couldn’t help but whispered amongst themselves and laughed, wondering which wealthy family this white and chubby miss belongs to, whom could barely walk.
Hua Qian Gu lifted her head to see four large words newly painted in gold hanging at the top of the entrance – School Of Chang Liu.
Fine, she’ll study since she already did so in the past for a couple of days and her father also taught her a few words. Although she wasn’t a genius but as long as she doesn’t hate learning then it is fine.
All the students at the school ranged from 6 to 30 years old and mostly comprise of students of her age. She heard that this school was previously known as School of Bodhi and its headmaster was a senior scholar surnamed Qin. The number of students started to dwindle and the school was almost on the brink of closing down. Fortunately, the school recently received a large amount of funding and was able to invite a lot of high calibre teachers who were famous to come and teach. There were also a lot of high ranking officials who came for the inauguration and they also helped with the school’s promotions. This time there are a lot of rich businessmen from Hangzhou who have sent their children to come and learn; Hua Qian Gu also falls into this category.
She’s not sure why her father had taken studying at this school so seriously. She guessed that it must be because her father hated her now and wanted her to find someone nice at this school to marry her off. Besides, a good amount of people had the same reasoning for coming here.
About 100 new students have registered this year. They all gathered at the school’s main hall to announce their attendance. Later, they would be divided into 4 separate classes called: Plum Blossom, Orchid, Chrysanthemum and Bamboo class.
Although the school’s name had changed but the headmaster was still senior scholar Qin. He was quite old in age and seemed weak compared to the other invited teachers sitting next to him.
Headmaster Qin welcomed the new students first and expressed his hope for their future. He then started to introduce the teachers to the students. In this school, besides the Four Books and Five Classics which were compulsory to learn from, the students were allowed to choose other subjects as well.
“This is elder teacher Yan Wen Dao Yan who will be teaching you literature. This is Dong Fang Yu Qing who will be teaching you…”
“Calligraphy.” Dong Fang Yu Qing finished for him. He smiled gracefully and the students below drew a deep breath.
Hua Qian Gu was so hungry to the point that she felt dizzy and didn’t have the energy to lift her head. The morning sun wasn’t too much but it still caused her forehead to sweat profusely.
Afterwards, the teachers introduced themselves one by one and what they’ll be teaching.
“I am Lie Huo, my responsibility is to teach cooking.” The students below were all bewildered at this.
“I am Lei Yin, I will be teaching you medicine and acupuncture.” The students were once again bewildered at this.
“I am Qing Liu, I’ll be teaching you how to brew wine and drink wine.”
This time even headmaster Qin scrunched up his face in surprise, softly asking, “You’re teaching how to drink wine as well?”
“Of course, it’s an effective way to communicate and make connections with others.”
“Is that so…” Headmaster Qin said as his stroke his beard.
“I am Luo Shi Yi, I happily welcome you to participate in my animal farming program.”
“I am elder Luo He Dong, specialising in exterminating demons and subduing monsters.” His voice sounded like thunder. The students were all stunned, this school is really special - they teach everything!
“Immortal Mo Bing, I’ll be teaching you art.” The students all exhaled, finally a subject that was normal.
At this moment there was a red haired female who looked like a foreigner spoke, “Everyone can call me Bei Hai*. I don’t know what to teach you students right now…I’ll just open a swimming class.” Everyone had their mouths hanging open, they couldn’t believe there was a female teacher and not just the one either. Bei Hai had just finished her introduction when the other female teacher also spoke up.
*Bei Hai = North Sea
“I am Sha Qian Mo, things such as embroidery, tailoring, makeup, fashion design; anything that’s got to do with beauty, just come and ask me.”
Bei Hai can be considered as a beauty already but if one was to compare her with the other female teacher then there’s still a big difference. Everyone below were astonished, especially the male students who had on the look of determination to choose the subjects that the beautiful female teachers were teaching.
Sha Qian Mo had been scanning the students below several times but still he could not see his lovely Xiao Bu Dian* anywhere. He had wanted to participate in the bet but he did not agree to use a normal appearance. In his eyes, normal is ugly and ugly means nothing special! He annoyed Dong Fang Yu Qing for more than half a day and finally he was able to negotiate a deal. He could use an extraordinary appearance but for the first 3 months, he must live as a female.
*Xiao Bu Dian = Small child = Little tiny thing = what Sha Qian Mo calls Hua Qian Gu
Sha Qian Mo’s thinking was quite simple. His Xiao Bu Dian had also mistaken him to be a female before; coupled with the fact that he had low expectations of winning this bet anyway. He only wanted to come play and annoy Dong Fang Yu Qing. He thought it was fine to lose to Bai Zi Hua (he can accept this reality) but if he was to lose to that silly scholar then no way in hell will he accept that. Therefore, if he was to use a female appearance then he, Sha Qian Mo, must be the most beautiful person compared to all the others.
Eventually a lot more teachers introduced themselves. All kinds of subjects were available: martial arts, law, planting, weaponry, sculpturing…not just the students but even Headmaster Qin continuously wiped his sweat wondering to himself what kind of teachers did he invite to come teach!
Hua Qian Gu was both hungry and tired. When she left the house, Sheng Xiao Mo had used up all his strength to fit her into something called a ‘corset’. It was tightened around her waist to the point of suffocation. She felt her head spinning when a kind female student next to her caught her in time.
“Are you alright?”
Hua Qian Gu waved her arms - even talking is hard. Her face swollen red like a pig’s liver when suddenly she heard a clear but cold voice speak up.
“I am Bai Zi Hua, I will teach you students what it means to be patient.”
His voice was like water flowing through her giving her a sense of calm but hearing the teacher’s introductions just now had given her indication that her future was bleak. She thought that coming to this school meant learning literature and art and learning the Four Books and Five Classics, who would’ve known this was what they had to learn.
There were about 30 teachers standing at the front. After the introductions were finished the drawing for the classes began.
At this point everybody at the front became more focused. This is because not one person was able to spot Hua Qian Gu anywhere amongst the students. Of course, save for Dong Fang Yu Qing who was currently waving his fan.
The student who was called drew his card and gave it to Luo Shi Yi.
“Plum Blossom class.”
The student heard his designation and quickly stood in the respective class line.
“Huo Xi, Bamboo class.”
“Liu Huo, Bamboo class.”
“Ru Shuang, Orchid class.”
Everything went according to plan. You Ruo, Huo Xi, Wu Qing Luo, Tang Bao and other students of Chang Liu were all arranged to be in the same Bamboo class as Hua Qian Gu. Unlike the ones who became teachers, all the ones who were students had their memory temporarily erased.
At the end, they all waited for a familiar name being called out: “Hua Qian Gu.”
Everybody at the front unconsciously held their breath, the game they waited for 15 years had finally begun.
Luo Shi Yi called her name twice but there was no movement so he repeated her name.
Hua Qian Gu was falling in and out of consciousness when she finally realized it was her turn to go up and pick her class. She tried her hardest to move her large legs, moving out of line and walked in front of Luo Shi Yi. Luo Shi Yi stared at her with wide eyes and mouth hanging open.
“Xiao Bu Dian!” The fan in Sha Qian Mo’s hand dropped to the floor and he abruptly stood up from his seat. He scrunched his face to analyse her. Although she had put on weight to the point of an unrecognizable size, but he could not go wrong with her face, who else could it be but Hua Qian Gu.
Sha Qian Mo tottered and almost fainted, thankfully Immortal Mo Bing was there to catch him as he also starred at her wide-eyed.
Her surroundings fell into a strange silence. Hua Qian Gu drew her card - Bamboo class.
Exhaling, her job done, she’s starving to death. She unsteadily went back to her line, not detecting all the hurting pairs of eyes looking at her from the front.
The sun also seem to not able to take it anymore and hid behind the clouds. A huge force of wind came blowing. Her nose feeling itchy, Hua Qian Gu opened her mouth.
The sound of material ripping sounded throughout the hall. She froze, realising a huge hole had ripped open at the back, her fat all came rushing out as the corset heroically sacrificed itself.
Instantly she felt her whole body relax. Hua Qian Gu took in a huge breath and then she fell down and subsequently fainted on the floor.
The whole school was silent for 3 seconds before regaining composure. Luo Shi Yi and Immortal Mo Bing were the first to run to her.
Sha Qian Mo pulled up his sleeves and cursed out loud, “That damn Sheng Xiao Mo, I’ll murder him!”
When Hua Qian Gu woke up the sky was already dark and she was lying in her house.
“Father! I’m hungry!” She just woke up and already she’s yelling for food.
“Just a moment.”
Seconds later, Sheng Xiao Mo brought in a bowl of porridge from outside. Hua Qian Gu was happy to see a few grains of rice in the bowl and 2 pieces of food that she hurriedly devoured it.
“Father, I’m still hungry.”
“Hungry, hungry, hungry! You only know how to say that you’re hungry all day! I told you to be good and study. Yet school just started and you embarrassed your father like that!” Sheng Xiao Mo couldn’t help himself and knocked on her forehead with his hand.
Hua Qian Gu cried pathetically. She held onto her father’s long sleeve and conveniently also used it to wipe her mouth. Lifting up her head she noticed something strange. “Father, what happened to your face?”
There was a huge bruise on his eye!
Sheng Xiao Mo angrily clutched his chest and said, “I had an accident!”
Not knowing what embarrassment is and yet she still asked him what happened - wasn’t this all her doing?!
Sha Qian Mo had carried her home, the doors just opened and Sha Qian Mo immediately threw a punch at him.
Haizz…that’s right. Sha Qian Mo couldn’t carry her home properly. It wasn’t due to her weight but it was a matter of her size that he had to carry her home like a sandbag. Sha Qian Mo was so infuriated to the point of losing all colour on his face.
But how could they blame him for it? Whether she eats or not, it still becomes his fault.
He couldn’t believe that he is the upright Ri Zun but now he had to become someone’s nanny and he had to suffer being struck upon without a proper reason to counter attack, haizzz…
Hua Qian Gu returned to school the next day. It took a lot of coaxing but after eating a steamed bun she finally agreed to go to school.
In class, she continued to watch intently as other female students next to her ate baked sesame flatbread. She swallowed her saliva.
“You want to eat?” This was the student who helped caught her last time, she was a very beautiful girl.
Hua Qian Gu did not stand on ceremony and immediately reached for the flatbread and took a bite.
“I am You Ruo, you fainted last time, are you feeling better?”
“I’m alright,” Hua Qian Gu nodded, “I was just starving. My father wanted me to reduce weight.”
A bright girl wearing a green dress sitting at the front also turned her head around, “I have some peach blossom cake leftover, do you want some?”
Hua Qian Gu continuously expressed her gratitude for their kindness. So this school turns out to be really nice. She was sure that she would be punished!
“I am Tang Bao, what is your name?”
“Hua Qian Gu.”
“You want to reduce your weight?”
“Yes I do, but I love to eat more.”
“Then from today onwards if I have anything nice to eat I’ll share it with you.”
“Me too.” You Ruo chuckled, she leaned over and poked Hua Qian Gu’s chubby face. Where ever she poked, a hollow would form.
Moved by their kind gestures, Hua Qian Gu nodded.
It hadn’t been a few days and Hua Qian Gu already made a lot of friends. It turns out making friends was not how she thought it would be. Though there are those who looked down on her because of her weight, but when they saw her naive smile and easy-going nature, even if they mock her it would be useless. So all their energy was aimed at the teachers instead.
Most of the subjects taught at the school were self-chosen. Hua Qian Gu chose Lie Huo’s cooking class and Immortal Mo Bing’s art class. Later, Tang Bao persuaded her to register in Dong Fang Yu Qing’s class and then she was dragged by You Ruo to join Bai Zi Hua’s class. At the end, Sha Qian Mo came up to her and forced her to join his class. It was all quite overwhelming for her.
All the Immortals who wanted to use this chance to step in between Hua Qian Gu’s and Bai Zi Hua’s relationship was determined to use their best seducing skills to win. After all, it was their only opportunity to have the chance to win against Chang Liu’s Zun Shang. They decided to put all their energy to participate in the bet but when they saw Hua Qian Gu’s appearance about half of the participants gave up on the very first day. They opted not to chase after her and became spectators instead.
The ones who stayed and have a high chance of winning were Bai Zi Hua, Dong Fang Yu Qing, Sha Qian Mo and Immortal Mo Bing. Besides Sha Qian Mo who was around Hua Qian Gu all the time (sometimes he would drag her to watch musicals, fly kites, or take her to restaurants) the other participants had made no particular movements.
To uphold his promise, Sha Qian Mo could only tell Hua Qian Gu that he is a man after 3 months. So he thought to overcome this disadvantage by impressing her, hoping that the more time they spend together, the deeper the bond.
Hua Qian Gu also began to notice that suddenly there were a lot of people around her, making her feel a little uncomfortable. But besides eating she did not care much about anything else. Occasionally she would receive fresh flowers, presents or love letters but she felt that it was all a running joke. She kept anything that was edible and threw the rest of her presents away.
For this reason, everybody now knows the key to her heart. Anyone with delicious food will get Hua Qian Gu to follow them obediently. So every day they would bring her food to entice her interest. Hua Qian Gu wondered why there are so many teachers and students offering her food.
Today, after eating together, Hua Qian Gu, Tang Bao and You Ruo went home.
Normally to avoid any suspicions, people would invite all 3 of them together to eat – even Luo Shi Yi is no different. But You Ruo noticed that other people would spend all their energy to pick food for Hua Qian Gu; save for Luo Shi Yi who helped pick food for Tang Bao.
“Qian Gu, all the teachers in our school seem to like you very much.”
Hua Qian Gu nodded, “It might be because they know my father, or did some behind the door activities that made them to focus on me more.” Hua Qian Gu felt that this was the most reasonable explanation.
“Oh, where’s your father? How come we didn’t see him today?” You Ruo awkwardly asked. Every time she came to Hua Qian Gu’s house, she could see Sheng Xiao Mo’s lazy nature that her heart began to beat rapidly.
“Um, he must be out to play with his crickets, he’ll be back soon.”
“Qian Gu, where’s your mother?”
Hua Qian Gu shook her head, “I don’t know. I asked father but he was lazy to explain. He only said that she ran away with another man.”
You Ruo looked at her with tears in her eyes, “Your father took care of you by himself, the hardships he must have gone through. I find him to be still young, why doesn’t he find another companion?”
“He’s always playing around all day, even if he finds another companion they’ll probably run away too.” Hua Qian Gu was already full but she still nibbled on some melon seeds.
You Ruo thought, ‘No, if it was me, I will definitely not run away.’
Tang Bao asked, “Qian Gu, do you have a someone in mind? My family sent me to school to find a good man.” Of course her family that Tang Bao speaks of was acted by other Immortals.
Besides Hua Qian Gu and Sheng Xiao Mo, all the other Immortals have been on the mortal realm for no more than a year.
“Yes, did you not see Huo Xi and Wu Qing Luo from our class? I heard their family already approved of each other, they’ll probably be married.”
Hua Qian Gu tilted her head in deep thought, the people who made a good impression on her so far was only three people. One was Dong Fang Yu Qing who always smiled at her. Sometimes he would hold her hand to teach her how to write making her heart to beat faster. The other was Immortal Mo Bing whose art skills were beyond exceptional. He would draw a painting wherever he went. She usually felt the emotions behind his eyes, a painful emotion that befall on her from afar, making her feel like she had done something wrong. The last one was Liu Huo who was in her class. Other people would bring her food but only he remembered to bring her water to drink. Every time that she ate too much and choked on her food, he would become her saviour. Additionally, he was smart too, his academic records were superb. Anything that they learn, he would perform the best, making even someone stupid like her to be impressed at his ability.
“Speaking of a lover, I’m quite worried.” Hua Qian Gu wrinkled her eyebrows.
“Worried about what?”
“I’m worried that I might be married to a fool in the future.”
“What?” Tang Bao and You Ruo burst out laughing.
“That’s right, it’s true. When I was born, there’s a strange birthmark on my arm - it’s a sentence!”
Hua Qian Gu pulled her sleeves up for both of them to see. There are definitely 4 words written on her arm.
I Love A Fool.
You Ruo and Tang Bao immediately burst out laughing again, “It wasn’t you who wrote it?”
“Of course not. No matter what I do, it won’t wash off. Every time I asked father what it means, he just laughed, fell to the ground and kept praising that someone was great. I don’t understand it at all.”
“It is quite strange.”
“Exactly but also very interesting too. Could it really be that I will like a fool in the future?”
Tang Bao laughed, “As long as you like him, whether he’s a fool or not, it does not matter!”
“You’re right. Tang Bao, have you found the one already?”
Tang Bao did not shy away but nodded her head, laughing loudly as she declared: “I like Teacher Luo! I couldn’t believe that he knows I don’t like to eat meat but vegetables. A few days ago he even bought me jam and taught me papercutting (Jianzhi).”
You Ruo could not understand what Tang Bao was saying but Hua Qian Gu sympathetically nodded, “I just want my future husband to not criticize my weight and treats my father well. As long as he won’t stop me from eating, even if he may be a fool, it’s still okay with me.”