Chapter 146: Xishan Tower’s Xu Tingsheng (3)
The discussion inevitably deviated from the main topic for a time, also seeming like it would not be getting back on track for quite a while. This was because of the two ideas that were encapsulated within this situation: First year university student, Cao Cao.
A contested anti-hero of the ages, Cao Cao, Cao Mengde was one of the most popular figures of Chinese history, being portrayed in in actual history, theatre as well as dramatic productions.
As for the location of Cao Cao’s Mausoleum, it was a mystery that had lasted over thousands of years. There were many sayings about where it was, and these included outside Xuchang City, beneath the Zhang River, beneath the Tongque Pavilion as well as Pengcheng in Hebei. The most famous of all was naught but the the legend of the 72 fake burial mounds that Cao Cao had erected in fear of being grave-robbed, with him having instructed for seven coffins to be carried out of Ye City in four different directions to be buried in seven different locations by the Zhang River to bewilder and deter all attempts of intrusion.
Now, the one who had emerged as being the most likely to solve this several thousand year old mystery was actually a first year university student, and it also seemed not to be baseless…
This was really too interesting a thing.
A heated discussion began, two distinct ‘clubs’ gradually forming.
Those who came from Science streams were mainly in it for how interesting it was, chatting about Cao Cao as well as that overly courageous first year university student who knew not the height of the heavens and the boundlessness of the earth.
Those who came from Humanities were much more professional in their discussions. After all, Cao Cao possessed an extremely high status whether it was in History or Literature.
Their discussions were actually more of ‘doubts’ and ‘reasoning’, arguments often breaking out.
“What use is arguing like this? Let me find the thesis first.”
A Vice-Principal got up and walked outside. Seeing this, the provincial educators-in-charge did not stop him. On one hand, they too were very interested in this topic, also having partaken in the conversation. On the other, that person didn’t even fall under their jurisdiction. As the Vice-Principal of Jianhai University which fell directly under the central government, his presence here was itself already a voluntary thing.
Zhao Kangwen and the two beside him participated a little in the discussion as well, though they were still comparatively silent.
“What crap use is there in finding out this tomb?” Vice-Principal Niu who was a military man by birth felt rather indignant, “All those students of those whatever brand-name schools, just liking to fumble blindly about and make trouble. They should be more practical like those students of ours, just doing whatever it is that needs to be done.”
Zhao Kangwen couldn’t very well reply to this. While Vice-Principal Niu had been standing on their side in speaking, it had really been more in comfort that he had spoken those words. In truth, those words really couldn’t stand at all. How could the research of university students be considered fumbling blindly about and making trouble?
“It’s fortunate that no one else heard that. Otherwise, they would really be laughing at us for being sour grapes.”
“Students who can make trouble like this-I really want some as well.”
This was what Zhao Kangwen was secretly yelling within his heart.
Not far away from them, a Principal they were familiar with was just hanging up his phone. As he placed it in his pocket, he searched around in the crowd for a while, his gaze finally landing on Zhao Kangwen before he yelled towards him from some dozen people away, “Old Zhao, I just heard! It seems like that child is one of your Yanzhou University’s.”
Originally having been slouching, Zhao Kangwen bolted up straight in his seat, even falling at risk of toppling from his seat. The same was true for the two others from Yanzhou University.
“Am I hallucinating?” Zhao Kangwen wondered disbelievingly.
However, the room suddenly became greatly silent as a great many gazes fell on him. This…might it actually be true? Exchanging glances, the trio of Yanzhou University immediately came to a tacit agreement: Let’s not say anything, not get entangled in anything, lest we end up laughingstocks.
Now, the Vice-Principal of Jianhai University returned holding an academic publication, looking around as he walked and finally asking as he reached the meeting table, “Where are those of Yanzhou University?”
Zhao Kangwen raised his hand, saying, “Principal Gong, we’re here.”
The academic publication was slid across the table, Vice-Principal Gong of Jianhai University smiling, “Look, Principal Zhao, it seems like your school has been holeing up planning for this big move since long ago.”
Zhao Kangwen naturally caught the incoming academic publication, those around him crowding over as well. Due to his flustered emotions, Zhao Kangwen didn’t manage to flip to the corresponding page even after a few times. It was only with the help of another Principal that he managed to get to the page where that thesis was.
Yanzhou University, Chinese, Xu Tingsheng.
Zhao Kangwen didn’t even look at the contents, not even intending to do so. He just stared at the name of the author.
“It’s Xu Tingsheng, it’s Xu Tingsheng! It’s someone of my Yanzhou University!” Zhao Kangwen worked hard to repress his surging excitement, struggling to appear composed.
However, it was different for Vice-Principal Niu, the aged man who hailed from the military heartily clapping the table, “Hahahaha, outstanding! This is the tomb of Cao Mengde, people must have been searching for it for thousands of years? Hahahaha!”
Hadn’t this guy just been saying ‘what crap use is there in finding out this tomb?’ Zhao Kangwen tugged at his sleeve, shaking his head in indication for him to keep things down when he turned to look at him.
The academic publication was taken away by a few Humanities Principals who carefully analysed it for a while before one of them suddenly stood up, threw it down on the table and scolded in a severe tone, “Uncouth brat, thoughtless in his words…totally baseless, daring to come out and spout nonsense together with someone whose stench surges to the heavens.”
Zhao Kangwen’s first reaction to this was not to rebut, but to grab hold of the bullish Vice-Principal Lou and keep him in check lest he started a fight with that person.
Yet, it was already too late. Actually, the one that Principal had spoken of whose stench surged to the heavens was the second author of the thesis who was a rather unique existence in the area of academia. Yet, Vice-Principal Niu had understood it this way. Xu Tingsheng being someone of our Yanzhou University, wouldn’t the one he teamed up with have been one of us from Yanzhou University? Are you saying that our stench surges to the heavens?
At this point, Vice-Principal Lou slammed the table, stood up and faltered for a while before declaring, “Bullcrap.”
A lofty university Principal actually having used a word like this, the entire room fell silent, some secretly amused while others were just dazed.
The one who had been scolded had his face turn red, but he still ultimately concluded: As a civilized person, could he really physically go at one who had insulted him? He couldn’t, and the other party’s physique wouldn’t allow it as well.
Thus, he slammed the table as well, “You’re the one who only knows bull. You’re in politics. Between you and me, if this uncouth brat really is right, if we really find the mausoleum, I’ll take the soil at one of the gravestones and swallow it down right in front of you.”
“If I’m wrong, I’ll swallow it. Like this old man’s never swallowed soil in the past.”
Vice-Principal Niu unrelentingly followed up with his support. Still, he actually just sounded like he was already mentally prepared to eat the soil, not really thinking anything of the matter itself. Was he really claiming they were right?
Muffled laughter resounded amidst the crowd.
“Alright, alright, let’s set this matter aside first. Back to the meeting,” Those of the provincial education board had to step in to clear up the atmosphere.
The meeting went on for over another hour. The trio from Yanzhou University really weren’t in the mood to participate in it at all, only being able to wait for it to end. There were really too many things that they wanted to inquire and find out.
From a standpoint of practicality, the value of discovering Cao Cao’s mausoleum might not be as great as those research results in physics or chemistry. However, in terms of newsworthiness, societal reception and promotional effectiveness…it would really be too great. If the theory could be verified, it would be sure to thoroughly rock the entire nation.
This was a rare opportunity for Yanzhou University.
Finally waiting it out till the end of the meeting, the first thing Zhao Kangwen did upon exiting the room was make a call back to the school, getting someone to find Xu Tingsheng’s mobile number.
Upon receiving Principal Zhao’s call, Xu Tingsheng came to know that the final mine he had buried over this period of time, the biggest mine, had finally erupted.
Actually, this arrangement had nothing to do with Zhang Xingke at all. Xu Tingsheng had actually already been planning for it in secret even before Zhang Xingke’s appearance, with the goal of acquiring a ‘legendary study lord’ status through detonating this bomb.
Hucheng Education Service Platform could be sustained by his identity of an entrepreneur from a third-tier university. However, it definitely wouldn’t be able to sustain just one, let alone several dozen large scale education training institutes that would be coming in the future. People just wouldn’t be able to buy into that.
Therefore, Xu Tingsheng needed to forge an identity, an identity that would be able to justify his position at the helm of an education mega-corporation.
Xu Tingsheng had no time to wait for embarking on postgraduate studies, getting a doctorate or even remaining with the university just for this. Thus, he could only ‘walk a deviant route’, or ‘seek an alternative path’.
Thus, he remembered his old trade, history. Xu Tingsheng had been a History student in his previous life, also having taught history in a senior high school for a few years thereafter. Additionally, he held true passion for history…a major incident like the discovery of Cao Cao’s mausoleum-how would he not have paid attention to and gained great understanding on that?
What Xu Tingsheng wanted was actually very simple. When someone asked who Hucheng’s boss was in the future, the answer to that could simply be: It was the guy who found Cao Cao’s tomb.
That would be sufficient.
Xu Tingsheng did not intend to participate too much and for too long a time in this matter. ‘Throwing a firecracker above the heads of the entire nation and then immediately running away’-Now, how fun would that be? How exciting and exhilarating?
After chatting with Principal Zhao over the phone for some time, Xu Tingsheng heard a coarse voice take over.
Vice-Principal Niu narrated how the matter of the bet had come about, next jokingly asking Xu Tingsheng, “Do you have any confidence, or am I doomed to eating that soil?”
Xu Tingsheng laughed, ‘You can rest easy, Vice-Principal Niu. If you’ve got to eat soil, I’ll eat it together with you.”
This was precisely the sort of answer that Vice-Principal Niu liked. However confident Xu Tingsheng professed to be, even if he repeatedly guaranteed that things would definitely not go wrong, there was no reply that would leave Vice-Principal Niu in a better mood than this.
The military man just liked how he was bearing responsibility along with him in this matter.
The happy old man continued, “Just based on those words alone, I’ll be your grandpa in the future.”
Xu Tingsheng was taken aback. He understood the meaning of the other party’s words: As long as this old man is here, I will be guarding over you in the future. Still, these words just seemed wrong however he looked at them…
“Vice-Principal Niu, you shouldn’t scold people like this,” Xu Tingsheng chuckled.
Hale, hearty laughter resounded from the other end of the phone.
After the conversation had ended, Xu Tingsheng hung up, next finding a name on his phone’s contact list and sending over a short message: Thank you, Professor Yan.
Soon after, a reply came: “You’re welcome, little friend.”
Gazing at the ‘Little Friend’ on the screen, Xu Tingsheng felt rather emotional: Professor Yan, in my previous life, I was your student! I was your unworthy final disciple who disappointed you so.
This time, Xu Tingsheng had another motive in risking the matter of Cao Cao’s mausoleum. He was adamant on doing so in order to help his former teacher, Professor Yan, ‘make a comeback’, reviving his reputation. He could not watch Old Professor Yan again die depressedly in the face of scorn, mockery and ill repute as he had in his previous life.