Chapter 113: Zhang Ye’s Second Half!
In the square.
The preliminary round was coming to an end.
“Time is almost up?” Elder Qian said.
The second judge said, “Well, let’s wait another two more minutes.”
The third judge nodded, “Okay. If no one steps forward, we will be closing up. Hur Hur.”
The three judges announced the ending time, as the preliminaries could not go on without an ending. Everyone was still waiting for the opening ceremony over at the auditorium. Actually, they had not expected anyone to be able to match this couplet. There wasn’t enough time either. The key couplet’s second line was a very tricky one; every word had to be separated, broken down and digested before you could attempt to match the second line. There was just no other way.
Elder Qian looked at those who had given up and shook his head slightly. In his heart, he had hoped that someone could match this couplet, but he understood that there was no way anyone could.
Not far away.
Xiao Lu was getting anxious, “Quickly match it!”
Hou Di did not know whether to laugh or to cry, “How do you match question 50?”
Dafei also looked over at the couplet that was coined as one of the two most difficult questions, “Hai shui chao chao chao chao chao chao chao luo*? Was this couplet matching, or was this a tongue twister? What is this crap?”
Hou Ge also stared, “The words are written incorrectly, right? Why are there so many ‘chao’?”
Xiao Lu gave an idea, “Why don’t we just bullsh*t and try our luck? Let’s match it with ‘Da feng gua gua gua gua gua gua gua qi’.”
Man, with so many gua (Gusting), it had to be a typhoon. Zhang Ye could only smile bitterly.
Dafei nearly fainted as he said, “Why didn’t you match it with ‘Fu ben zou zou zou zou zou zou zou’ (copy cat go go go go go go go)?”
Xiao Lu also knew it couldn’t work. She looked down in despair, “Then what should we do?”
Just as they were discussing, Big Thunder was staring at Zhang Ye and laughed. He walked up and said, “Yo. Zhang Ye is here, too? Have you not matched any yet? But there’s only this one left.” Big Thunder was good at poetry and also couplets, otherwise he wouldn’t have received the runner up position in the last competition. He stood before Zhang Ye this time as a competitor in the couplet competition. Big Thunder was very confident; he knew that in terms of poetry, he might not compare to Zhang Ye, but in couplets? He wants to compete with me in couplets? You sure are funny! Big Thunder joined this year with the target to be the champion!
Zhang Ye looked at him, “So what if there’s only one left?”
“Then you had better hurry; there’s not much time.” Big Thunder laughed, “And are you even sure that you can match this couplet? This was given by Elder Qian. Before bragging that you can match it, why not read the first part of the couplet for us first? I’m afraid that you can’t even read it correctly. If that’s the case, then you can forget about matching it.”
Xiao Lu whispered, “Teacher Zhang, just bullsh*t your way through!”
“Right. Write anything. You might even get it correct!” Hou Di said, “Why don’t you just use the one Xiao Lu suggested earlier?”
The few of them discussed in whispers.
Big Thunder shook his head, “You are even trying to match the couplet collectively? Isn’t this cheating?”
Xiao Lu stared viciously at Big Thunder. This old bald donkey! What has it to do with you? Could it be that you were the one who did not allow Teacher Zhang to compete? Were you the one playing tricks?
The first judge, Elder Qian, looked at his watch, “Okay. Let’s call it a day.”
They were preparing to go off. The school staff were coming over to move the tables away and pack up.
At this moment, Zhang Ye said loudly, “Judges, please wait. I would like to give it a try.”
Big Thunder was stunned, and he was also happy. He wondered if Zhang Ye was even serious about matching this couplet? And he hadn’t even arrived for long? In such a short time, what could he match! Even if it was him, he might have had to spend an hour or two and it might not even be a good match, or he might not even be able to match it, so how could Zhang Ye?
The other contestants also stopped in their steps and paid attention.
“Who is this person?”
“This couplet must be an impossibility, right? Yet, someone actually wants to try it?”
“It cannot be considered an impossibility, but it is definitely very difficult.”
“Can he do it? I have never seen him before. Is he from this field?”
Big Sis Zhou, Auntie Sun and Zhao Guozhou were also observing near the square. When they saw Zhang Ye stepping up, they all cheered.
“Teacher Zhang, go for it!” Xiaofang shouted.
“Little Zhang! Show them what you’ve got!” Auntie Sun said
Zhang Ye turned around to look. Even Tian Bin and his wife were gesturing for him to do well. He nodded to them in acknowledgment and assured them.
With all the shouting, many of those who had given up were shocked!
“He is that Zhang Ye?”
“Shuidiao Getou was very well written. So that’s him.”
“I heard that he slapped the faces of those in the Writers’ Association the last time, yet he dares to step foot here today?”
A portion of the crowd still did not know of Zhang Ye, but there were still some who had heard of him before. They all gathered together and discussed about him, occasionally pointing at him.
At this time, the cameraman responsible for live streaming the event also pointed his camera at Zhang Ye. The preliminary round was not streamed live, but he still had to record it. There would be edits to create a highlight reel that was to be uploaded to the internet.
The three judges looked over at him, “Try it then.”
Zhang Ye did not mind the discussion around him and stepped forward.
Xiao Lu suddenly asked, “Are you really going to use that ‘gua gua gua gua gua gua gua’?”
Zhang Ye laughed. He was thinking that not even a fool would use a crappy match like yours; the words didn’t even correspond. If this bro wrote it, he would have caused the professionals to die of laughter. This first verse had hidden tricks behind it, so how could it be easily solved with just luck? But Zhang Ye felt no pressure. Coincidentally, one of the two most difficult upper verses, the 50th and the last question, fell into the 20-30% of couplets that existed in his previous world. This couplet had even been completed by the capable predecessors of his world!
The question board was nearing.
Standing in front of it, Zhang Ye stopped and lowered his head. He picked up a writing brush, dipped the ink on its tip, raised his hand and started writing the second verse without a thought.
Big Thunder had a look. At first, he did not understand.
The other contestants also inexplicably watched Zhang Ye writing the second verse. Because they did not understand the first verse at all, a large portion of them did not even know how to read it. So when Zhang Ye wrote the second verse out, they did not seem to understand it either. They were all confused.
The only thing they knew was that this man’s calligraphy was very good!
Hou Ge exclaimed, “Good writing!”
Hu Fei eyes brightened, “Teacher Little Zhang, great calligraphy! The flicks are elegant, and yet doesn’t lack strength!”
Xiao Lu was also lost in admiration, “These words are so beautiful! Teacher Zhang Ye is even skilled in calligraphy?”
The other contestants and audience members also had a look at Zhang Ye’s writing. He was such a young man, yet his calligraphy was so good. It was not often that there was such a person!
Zhang Ye put down the brush. He had completed the verse!
Everyone then focused on the second half of the couplet Zhang Ye wrote: Fu yun zhang zhang zhang zhang zhang zhang zhang xiao*!
What second half is this?
What did it mean?
Nothing could be seen on the surface!
Big Thunder and a few accomplished couplet experts stared at the second half. They gave it some thought and tried to read it a few times, but they did not manage to.
It’s not right?
Did this second half match?
They were not sure either. The first and second half were both very vague, so they could hardly tell!
Even the second and third judges did not give it much thought at first glance. They felt that this young man was likely writing it blindly, but his words were very neat and tidy. Elder Qian’s first half of his couplet was definitely complicated, both in its profoundness and mood. It was impossible to match it.
Some booing was heard in the audience.
“What is this?”
“Haha, using these few words and it can be considered a second verse?”
“Right, then I can do it, too. The first verse can’t be that simple.”
“This must be blindly matched. Zhang zhang zhang zhang zhang? What and what!”
Only Elder Qian narrowed his eyes, “Lad, how do you read this second verse of yours?”
Zhang Ye smiled and responded with a question, “How do you read your first half?”
“My first half is…” Elder Qian recited, “Hǎi shuǐ cháo, zhāo zhāo cháo, zhāo cháo zhāo luò (the sea tide; it rises everyday; everyday it rises and everyday it falls).”
After reading them with the right pronunciation, these consecutive ‘chao/zhao’ made clear sense. A lot of the contestants and audience members were suddenly enlightened. So that’s how it was! That was how it was read! No wonder the previous runner up, Big Thunder, said that even professionals might not be able to read it right! The technique within was so profound! This was a couplet consisting of same characters, but different pronunciations! This kind of couplet matching was too damn difficult! Because it was very complicated! And it even required a second verse to match it neatly? Impossible!
Xiao Lu was speechless, “This first verse is too obscure!”
Hou Di sighed, “Teacher Little Zhang definitely didn’t manage to match it. Chang chang chang chang? It doesn’t correspond, right?”
Hou Ge said, “Forget it. There’s nothing to feel regretful about. After all, Teacher Zhang’s forte is not in matching couplets. He had even said before that he did not know much about couplets.”
The second judge looked at Elder Qian, “Let’s go, Elder Qian. Let’s go to the hall.”
“That’s right; we need to judge the finals.” The third judge, who was an old man, said.
But no one expected to see Elder Qian remaining motionless. He looked at Zhang Ye, “What about you?”
“Hǎi shuǐ cháo, zhāo zhāo cháo, zhāo cháo zhāo luò (the sea tide; everyday it rises; everyday it rises and everyday it falls).” Zhang Ye repeated it again, and then smiled before saying his second half, “Fú yún zhǎng, cháng cháng zhǎng, cháng zhǎng cháng xiāo (the cloud forms; it forms constantly; constantly it forms and constantly it dissolves)!”
The second and third judges, who had just turned around, halted in their steps upon hearing this. They turned their heads in shock!
Many spectators and contestants were about to leave, too. But when they heard Zhang Ye recite the second verse, one could tell with the naked eye that their expressions were that of shock!
Big Thunder was stunned!
Hou Ge, Hou Di, Xiao Lu and company stared widely!
At this moment, the entire Beijing University’s small square seemed to quieten down!
*海水朝朝朝朝朝朝朝落 (Hai shui chao chao chao chao chao chao chao luo).
The repeated character, 朝 (pronounced either zhāo or cháo), when pronounced as cháo, it means “the tide” (潮); when pronounced as zhāo, it means “the day”. Depending on the way the punctuation is placed, the sentence can mean something completely different.
*浮云长长长长长长长消 (Fu yun zhang zhang zhang zhang zhang zhang zhang xiao).
The repeated character, 长 (pronounced either zhǎng or cháng), when pronounced as zhǎng, it means “long/length/grow”; when pronounced as cháng (常), it means “always/often”. Depending on the way the punctuation is placed, the sentence can mean something completely different.