According to what Venerable White had said, the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ was something that scholars used to cultivate their moral character. It was roughly the same as a meditation technique, and one could also practice their calligraphy while they were at it.
Thereupon, Song Shuhang casually glanced at the golden text floating in the middle of the sky and memorized the first few verses, not paying any more attention to it afterward.
This golden text that had materialized from the statue hovered midair for around ten breaths.
During this period of time, Venerable White and Song Shuhang slowly descended.
After those ten breaths had passed, the golden text disappeared. In the next moment, the statues of the thirteen Tribulation Transcenders disciples of the Sage returned to their original state, and the strange phenomenon came to an end.
The scholars sighed with regret.
But right at this time, everything before Song Shuhang's eyes turned black.
After a short moment, just as Song Shuhang was recovering his eyesight, he discovered that he was now above a huge public square.
The public square was paved with square-shaped pieces of black flagstone. Beyond that, there was a towering statue in the center. It was the statue of the head disciple of the Sage that had materialized the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ in the sky earlier.
Aside from Song Shuhang, there were also other nine scholars in the surrounding area. Just like him, these scholars were also looking around with confused expressions on their faces.
One of the scholars asked in puzzlement, "What is this place? Wasn't I in the White Cloud City just a moment ago?"
Song Shuhang pondered for a moment. He was together with Venerable White just now... therefore, how strong was the person that had forcefully dragged him to this place? Apparently, Venerable White couldn't do anything even though everything happened right under his nose.
Or perhaps his body hadn't really been dragged to this strange place, and he had come here with his consciousness alone?
Just as he was in deep thoughts, Song Shuhang saw a familiar figure amidst the nine scholars. It was the 'Saber Wielding Scholar', Su Wenqu.
Just as the battle on the Grievance Settling Platform came to an end, and the hand-guided tractor competition was about to start, Song Shuhang met this scholar that had modified and transformed a broken immortal boat into a sports car, the 'lonely boat'. This man—the 'Saber Wielding Scholar' Su Wenqu—was True Monarch Eternal Fire's only son.
It was worth mentioning that Su Wenqu's real dao name was 'Jade Sword Scholar'. However, his nickname 'Saber Wielding Scholar' ended up becoming so famous that no one remembered his real dao name nowadays.
Su Wenqu: 😩
However, even though Song Shuhang recognized Su Wenqu, Su Wenqu didn't recognize him. Back then, Song Shuhang met him while he was inside Young Master Phoenix Slayer.
Anyway, even True Monarch Eternal Fire's only son had been dragged to this strange place. From the looks of it, he, too, seemed to have no idea as to what was going on. He also had a confused expression on his face.
Such being the case, what was the deal with this strange place?
Why do I feel as though I was dragged into a video game, with just the options 'Yes' and 'No' missing? Song Shuhang ridiculed in his heart.
But right at this time, Su Wenqu regained his composure and stepped forward, arriving in front of the statue, and then bowing and paying his respects to it. Aside from him and the others, there was only this statue in this place. Therefore, it was very likely that the statue was going to play an important role.
Once he was done paying his respects to the ancestor, a faint light flashed above Daozi's statue.
In the next moment, a table and a chair suddenly appeared in front of the people there. On the table were placed the 'four treasures of the study'—paper, writing brush, ink, and inkstone—as well as clear water and ink sticks.
Afterward, a dignified voice echoed in everyone's head. 'Write down from memory the complete version of the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯. You have five minutes of time'.
After the dignified voice disappeared, tall walls rose from the ground and surrounded Song Shuhang and the scholars, effectively diving them.
"..." Song Shuhang.
Was this to prevent cheating?
Had they just turned into 'examinees'?
Since finishing elementary school, very rarely had he written something down from memory. What a scary thing!
"The countdown has started." That dignified voice echoed again.
In the next moment, Song Shuhang heard a grinding sound; the scholars were rubbing the ink sticks against the inkstone. After a short moment, they started writing.
For scholarly disciples, the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ was the same as a meditation technique. It was the foundation of the foundation. Therefore, they would write it down several times every day.
Most of the disciples finished writing down from memory the complete version of the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ in less than one minute.
"..." Song Shuhang.
However, he was no scholar! He had briefly glanced at the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ while standing on Venerable White's flying sword, and didn't even remember the complete text!
But now, these guys wanted him to write down from memory the complete version of that text? Wasn't this the same as trying to make him do the impossible?
In addition, there was another problem... he had no idea how to make ink by rubbing an ink stick against an inkstone.
While he was in elementary and junior middle school, there was indeed a course that taught students how to write Chinese characters with a writing brush.
However, they used pre-prepared liquid ink back then, and didn't 'grind' it out themselves; they would directly buy the bottle, and that was it! He had never learned how to grind ink. At most, he had seen people doing it in some movies.
As soon as I get out of this strange place, I'll immediately go to learn how to write Chinese characters with a writing brush! Song Shuhang thought to himself.
After heaving a sigh, Song Shuhang grabbed the ink stick and imitated what he saw in movies. He added some water to the inkstone and used the ink stick to rub it. He was unsure if he was doing it correctly, but he had to grind out some liquid ink first.
While grinding out the ink, he operated his brain at full speed and tried to recall the content of the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ he had seen earlier.
But even if cultivators had great memory, Song Shuhang was able to note down only the first few verses of the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯. After all, his eyes weren't like a 'photo camera', and he couldn't instantly record down everything he had glanced at.
"Whatever. I'll try to write down as much as I can," Song Shuhang muttered to himself.
In the next moment, he grabbed the writing brush and dipped it in the ink inside the inkstone. Luckily, he had studied a little how to write Chinese characters with a writing brush when he was a child, and he still remembered how to use a writing brush.
After sighing again, he picked up the writing brush and wrote on the paper the first few verses of the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯...
Once he had finished writing the first few verses, he could only stare around blankly. He had no idea what came after!
What could he do?
Perhaps he should ask for help the nearby fellow daoists?
Thereupon, Song Shuhang said, "Fellow Daoist next door, do you know what comes after the verse 'A gentleman must cultivate one's moral character, and there is nothing better than sincerity and honesty'? Can you reply if you can hear my words?"
Well, the rules only stated that he had to write down from memory the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ within five minutes. They said nothing about not asking for help the nearby fellow daoists!
But, unfortunately for Song Shuhang, the walls that surrounded the various 'examinees' not only prevented them from seeing each other, they also prevented the sound from passing through.
Although the sound of the ink sticks getting ground and that of the writing brushes passed through them, words were apparently blocked. The nearby scholars were unable to hear his voice and lend him a hand.
Then, just like this, five minutes passed quickly.
"Rumble, rumble, rumble~"
The walls surrounding the 'examinees' lowered and disappeared into the ground.
Amidst the ten examinees, the nine scholars had a confident expression on their faces, and the white papers in front of them were full of characters.
After grinding the ink, the scholarly disciples had finished writing down the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ in less than one minute.
Song Shuhang gazed at the position adjacent to his—sitting there was True Monarch Eternal Fire's only son, 'Saber Wielding Scholar' Su Wenqu.
Song Shuhang subconsciously glanced at the paper with the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ in front of Su Wenqu.
In the next moment, he was dumbfounded!
Firstly, Su Wenqu's paper was full of characters... secondly, what he used to write were those 'ancient characters'!
Song Shuhang then looked at his own paper... filled with simplified Chinese characters after he translated the content.
He unexpectedly had to use those ancient characters to write the text down?
From the looks of it, this test was tailor-made for 'scholars'. As such, why had someone completely unrelated like him been dragged to this place, getting forced to take this test together with them?!
Was it possible that it was because of the lustrous scholar?
After noticing Song Shuhang's gaze, Su Wenqu turned his head around and looked at him. Actually, he had been paying attention to Song Shuhang since the very beginning. After all, amidst the ten examinees, only Shuhang wasn't a scholar.
Next, he glanced at the content of Song Shuhang's paper. Shuhang had used simplified Chinese characters to write down the content of the text, and he had written only the first few verses...
Su Wenqu's face couldn't help but twitch.
"Fellow Daoist, can I ask you something? What happens if you fail this test?" Song Shuhang was somewhat worried. He wouldn't get punished, right?
"Fellow Daoist, I'm sorry, but it's also my first time coming to this strange place," Su Wenqu said, somewhat embarrassed.
But right at this time, that dignified voice echoed again. "All those that successfully write down from memory the text will be able to leave this place, and they will obtain the 'Heaven and Earth Worshipping Brush', a scholarly treasure of the Third Stage rank. Those that failed the test will make a fresh start in twenty breaths and will have to write down the text again. The time limit is still five minutes."
Song Shuhang: 😳
F*ck, is this an infinite make-up test space?
He had no idea how to write the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ correctly. Even if he was given a hundred opportunities, he would be unable to write down the entire ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ using ancient characters!
How could he get out of here?
"Fellow Daoist, I'll take my leave first in that case. I wish you to swiftly finish your test," Su Wenqu said in a soft voice. At the same time, he spread out in front of Song Shuhang his copy of the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯.
He had only twenty breaths of time. Hopefully, this unfamiliar fellow daoist would be able to memorize the content of the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ within this period of time and successfully write it down from memory.
"Thank you." Song Shuhang stared with rapt attention at the content of Su Wenqu's ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯, trying to memorize everything he could.
However, the text was written using ancient characters, and the way these characters were written was completely different from simplified Chinese characters. Moreover, the content of the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯ that Su Wenqu wrote down didn't have the automatic translation feature.
Song Shuhang had a lot of trouble remembering everything.
Now, he could only rely on the powerful memory cultivators had and firmly keep in mind the shape of each one of those ancient characters.
Twenty breaths passed in the blink of an eye.
"Rumble, rumble, rumble~" The walls rose from the ground and surrounded Song Shuhang once again.
The test had started again.
And yet, Song Shuhang remembered less than one-third of the ❮Self-Cultivating Prose Poetry of the Sage❯...
It was over.
At this time, Song Shuhang remembered once again the fear of taking a test...