Chapter 21 - How can it be that big brother got number one?
The sky was not yet bright, and the sun had yet to rise. The east sky just began to turn bright, the dark colours in the sky slowly fading away, the smell of the night still remaining in the air.
The streets were empty, then came the sounds of quick footsteps. The early dawn mountain air was moist, yet Gu Yue Fang Zheng did not feel the slightest cold rush; his heart was full of surging enthusiasm. His face blushed red, and now he was walking swiftly toward the academy.
"I have been cultivating hard these few days, spending two primeval stones. I did not sleep at all last night, and I've finally successfully refined the Moonlight Gu. I am an A grade talent and I was so hardworking. No one can be faster than me, no one! Father and mother, I told you I won't let you feel disappointed."
When he thought of the moment where he told his aunt and uncle about the good news earlier, they expressed happiness and relief, making Fang Zheng feel a surge of joy and pride.
"Just wait, all you clanspeople who looked down on me, and big brother. From today onwards, I shall make you all look up to me, Gu Yue Fang Zheng!"
The more he thought the more Fang Zheng felt excited. He could not help but clench his fists, and his pace quickened a little more.
He came to the academy entrance.
The academy's two guards looked at him strangely. They asked him, "Umm, Gu Yue Fang Yuan, why are you back?"
"What, big brother was here just now?" When Fang Zheng heard them, his face showed a hint of surprise and puzzlement.
"Ah, whatever!" He would never have guessed that Fang Yuan would snatch away number one. He shook his head and cupped his hands together, his tone carrying a trace of proudness, "Two elder brothers, I am not Gu Yue Fang Yuan, but I'm Gu Yue Fang Zheng. I have already successfully refined my vital Gu, and I am here to come and take the top prize."
"You are Gu Yue Fang Zheng? You brothers are just too alike, no wonder the academy elder was mistaken," the guard on the left side shouted, his eyes widening. The guard on the right shook his head and said, "You came one step too late. Just last night in the late hour, your older brother Gu Yue Fang Yuan came and met with sir elder and took the top prize."
"My older brother!" Fang Zheng suddenly opened his eyes wide, crying out, "Wait, you said he’d gotten number one?"
How can this be! Isn't his big brother a C grade talent?
Getting number one, this has to be a joke right?!
"It's true. How could we possibly joke around with this matter?" Seeing Fang Zheng in disbelief, the guard seemed somewhat unhappy.
"This matter has been confirmed by the academy elder. In due course the name list will be released and announced. What's wrong, your older brother did not tell you about it?" The other guard added.
Fang Zheng just stood silly at the door.
The truth was so much different from his imagination; right now he just could not understand what had just happened. In Fang Zheng's heart, there were several illusions of his adversaries. Among them, the ones that brought the most threat were two – Gue Yue Mo Bei, and Gu Yue Chi Lian.
These two were of B rank talent. Behind them were the clan's two largest family branches, and each of them had a grandfather that carried huge authority as elders, as well as sufficient financial power.
If any of these two people won first place over him, Fang Zheng's heart and mind was still prepared. Even though he would feel a sense of loss, it was still acceptable.
But right now, the one who took away number one was not Gu Yue Mo Bei or Gu Yue Chi Lian; it was not even any of the opponents in his heart.
But it was Gu Yue Fang Yuan, his older brother!
That person who fell downhill and turned dejected after the Awakening Ceremony!
That person who was always heavily drunk and never turned home at night!
That person who always held him down, just like a shadow entrenched in his heart!
"How can it be like this? It can't be possible!" In a short while, Fang Zheng roared in his heart, "I was so hardworking, but he just drank everyday until he became drunk, and yet in the end he was the one who got number one, is this even fair? Why? Why?!"
The sun rose from the east, the birds chirped around, and the overflowing air of spring took over Qing Mao Mountain.
Gu Yue Fang Zheng bathed in the warm sunlight. He slowly lowered his head, gritting his teeth, looking at his own lonely shadow. The excitement in his heart had turned into a balloon that leaked air, long dissipating. Instead what took its place was the emotions of confusion, resentment, unwillingness, puzzlement, fear and other complicated feelings.
As time went by, the sun climbed higher.
The academy bulletin wall had posted a new name list, and on the list were just two names - firstly Fang Yuan, and then Fang Zheng. Following the appearance of this list, the news gradually spread out.
After hearing the news, all those young students who had been bent on refining their Gu at home after receiving one were in an uproar.
"How can it be like this!"
"If it was Fang Zheng who got number one I would still have believed it, but it's Fang Yuan, isn't he a C grade talent?"
"Could there have been a mistake, the A grade talent Fang Zheng actually lost to the C grade talent Fang Yuan, is this Tales from the Thousand and One Nights(1)?"
The Mo branch family home.
The greenery in the courtyard was overflowing, the fragrance of tea dancing about.
One of the clan elders of the Gu Yue clan, Gu Yue Mo Bei was sitting in front of his desk, looking at the spring scenery outside his window. He leisurely drank his tea and said, "Mo Bei hasn't continued refining his Gu?"
The housekeeper standing at a side hurriedly replied, "After he heard about news concerning Fang Yuan in the afternoon, young master Mo Bei seemed to be deeply affected and has no mood to continue refining the Moonlight Gu. It is a pity, young master Mo Bei was just so close to succeeding. Actually, if Fang Zheng got number one it could still be ignored, but it just has to be that C grade talent Fang Yuan. So young master Mo Bei lost his interest, it can't be helped."
"Hmph! Do not excuse him." Gu Yue Mo Chen snorted coldly, his face stern and his tone hard, "A Gu Master's cultivation process is full of hardship each step, what is a small setback like this? That Fang Yuan is just a C grade, so to be able to get number one it is presumably because of luck. The Moonlight Gu that he chose must have had a weak will, so that is how he could snatch the top. If Mo Bei can't see through this and let such a small setback get to him, then how is he supposed to be in charge of our Mo family branch in future, how can he compete with the Chi family branch? No one is allowed to advise him, let him think about it by himself!"
"Yes, master." The housekeeper did not dare refute.
Almost at the same time, in the home of the Chi family branch.
"Sigh, Gu Yue Fang Yuan…" The clan elder Gu Yue Chi Lian gave a long sigh, his brows held down in a frown as he thought, waving his hand around. "Someone, call young master Chi Chen over please."
In a moment, Gu Yue Chi Chen walked into the room with a lost expression, kneeling down with respect, "Your grandson greets his grandpa."
"Seems like you already know about the news," Gu Yue Chi Lian stared at his only direct grandson, his tone gentle. He slowly said, "I called you over to prevent you from getting influenced by this matter. You see, when refining the vital Gu, firstly one looks at the talent, secondly at the Gu worm."
"Fang Yuan's talent is just C grade, yet he was able to gain number one this time. This means that the Gu he chose -compared to all the Moonlight Gu your peers have – has a will that is much weaker. This is entirely due to luck. So my grandson, do not be discouraged, this is nothing really. He is just a C grade talent, though he is the same as you, but his supply of resources is not as well as yours. His road to advancement will also be harder than yours, believe your grandpa, you will soon surpass him."
"Hence you should put away this trivial matter. Fang Yuan will not be your opponent, and is not worthy to be your adversary. Your real enemies are the A grade talent Fang Zheng and the Mo family's Mo Bei. Do you understand?"
"Yes, thank you for your advice, grandpa. I understand. I will go now and continue refining my Gu!" Gu Yue Chi Chen had lost the sad expression on his face, replacing it with a high-spirited will to fight.
"Mmm." Elder Gu Yue Chi Lian nodded his head, satisfied. A kindly smile emerged from his face and he said, "Good grandson. While your talent is only C grade, but you can be rest assured that grandpa will fully support you. Later on, I will come out and use the breath of a Rank three Gu worm to suppress your Moonlight Gu's will and help you refine this Gu!"
(1)天方夜谭 – I am not entirely sure what it means here, but I only got Arabian nights from looking up the word, Baidu tells me it is the title of Tales from the Thousand and One Nights.