Who Cares

Who Cares – Chapter 82

Chapter 82 Famous


Zhao Luli ordered a few servants to make several copies of Madam’s articles, and posted them on the eight-character wall when the officers of public security changed positions at noon. Recently, the emperor encouraged free airing of views, and scholars of all factions and schools were very active. Occasionally, when they have wonderful ideas, they would send them to Emperor Teacher for corrections, or share recitations with their classmates, and those who have the courage would directly post them on the public list in hope to make a name for themselves.

He asked a little servant to guard the wall to prevent other articles from covering it, and then stood not far away to watch. As he had expected, this article quickly attracted the attention of passers-by, especially scholars who studied Legalism, they even foolishly stood under the wall and couldn’t move.

After a while, several scholars began to recite word by word, attracting more passers-by to watch.

Had to admit that in terms of choosing words and sentences, Xu Guangzhi’s citations was very impressive, but compared with Madam, he was really inferior. His articles were written for scholar officials, and it was the privileged class he wanted to please, so there were many esoteric and incomprehensible allusions. Madam’s article was written not only for literati, but also for common people, explaining the truth in simple language, and citing examples that were easy to understand. She also analyzed “Confucianism and Law” in more straightforward words, pointing out its shortcomings straight to the point, so that anyone who listened to it, even children of eight or nine years old, could understand it.

Therefore, as soon as the scholar read a few paragraphs, more and more ordinary people came around, squeezing the neatly dressed scholars until they had nowhere to stand. When it recited that the foundation of establishing the law was to love the people and protect the people, and to show fairness and justice, before the scholar opened their mouths the ordinary people had already roared and applauded. For those who have been oppressed or have been wronged, tears streaming down their faces, they were weeping bitterly, and bluntly said that the Innkeeper’s every word and sentence had spoken out what’s inside their hearts, and just like the Emperor Teacher, truly plead for the life of ordinary people! Even when the most esoteric passages about establishing and revising the law was recited, they were reluctant to leave. Although their faces were full of ignorance, they shouted ‘good’ word from time to time, clapped their hands, and vowed to cheer to the end.

“Who is this Innkeeper? Is it really a little shopkeeper who runs an inn? This literary talent is simply outstanding, and it can be compared with the Emperor Teacher!”

“Xu Guangzhi’s previous policy theory was praised by the above as an outstanding article, and I still wonder why it’s outstanding, but it turns out it’s the voice for the powerful, to boost the arrogance of the noble family, and to provide a justifiable reason for the upper class to oppress the people. This man’s temperament is really difficult to change, still cannot eliminate his viciousness, but it has added some servility, and changed to praise the stinky feet of scholar-officials!”

“That’s right. Comparing his character with the Innkeeper, really one is a high-spirited breeze*, and the other is extremely filthy.”

“Don’t talk about characters, just this single article alone, he is also poles apart, cannot be talk about together!”

“The Innkeeper is really the bell and drum of the people, and the sound is really deafening! Which official can say what he said? Which commoner dares to say it? I listened to it from the beginning to the end, even if I don’t understand the last part, I feel extremely carefree!”

“Indeed, it’s really refreshing! This is the real outstanding article, Xu Guangzhi is a fart compared to the Innkeeper.”

“Hey, that’s not right! He doesn’t even count as fart!” As soon as the man’s voice fell, there was a lot of laughter next to him.

Zhao Luli slowly integrated into the crowd, read the article over and over again, and when he listened to their high praise for his wife, his heart was full of pride and regret. This was the madam he given up his self-esteem and went to the palace to beg for; it was also the madam he blindly suppressed and wantonly humiliated; and the madam who was cold to him and almost gave up righteousness in front of the Dengwen drum. If he had seen her goodness earlier and learned to understand, cherish, and love her, they would not have so much estrangement and indifference like right now.

Now, he didn’t even dare to say to others “Guan Suyi is my wife”, lest he would provoke ridicule of “not knowing happiness in the midst of happiness”. He found that Guan Father and Old Master Guan were walking towards this side after they left their post. His cheeks were burning red and he had no face to see them, so he hurriedly sneaked away with his head down. On the way , he was bumped by someone and almost fell, he then got into the carriage only to find that the manuscript in his arms was gone, he couldn’t help but cry blood.

Guan Father and Old Master Guan were not familiar with Xu Guangzhi’s writing style, but how they couldn’t tell the handwriting of the pearl in their palm? At first they were stunned, and then read it again and again.

After about half an hour, the two of them had already read the article thoroughly, and their hearts were full of stormy waves.

“Hmm, I taught her Confucianism since young, but you secretly taught her the hundred schools of thought behind my back! This article combines the benevolence, virtue and fraternity of Confucianism; justice and punishment of Legalism; tranquility and inaction of Taoism. It sums the three without being abrupt. How much effort did you spend behind my back?” The old man seemed to be furious, but his eyes were full of proud smiles.

Guan Father was also very puzzled, and said modestly, “Son didn’t teach her much, just stuffed a few miscellaneous books, and didn’t even take regular examinations, just let her do whatever she wanted. Yiyi is exceptionally gifted, what can I do?” When the words fell he spread his hands out, as if helpless.

The father and son looked at each other, then laughed dumbly. But they could never have imagined that if there had been no house arrest in village estate in the previous life, there would be no Guan Suyi with great talent, who was now a standing bookcase*. Everything she had was bought with endless suffering, not at all worthy of pride and admiration.

At the same time, Xu Guangzhi tore the manuscript in his hand into pieces, and then brushed off the things on the desk, looking exasperated. County Prince Jing sat on the top and snorted coldly, “It’s useless to be angry at this time, why don’t you write another article to argue? Aren’t you the best at eloquence, so you can’t step on this Innkeeper?”

Xu Guangzhi was deeply scheming and his thought was also far, and said sullenly, “Your Highness doesn’t know, now it’s not whether I can refute him, but whether others are willing to listen. Do you know why his article spread so quickly, in just an hour, it has been heard in the streets, and everyone knows it? My article was written from the standpoint of the powerful and was written for scholar-officials, but his article was from the standpoint of the common people, and written for hundreds of millions of people in the Wei Kingdom. My article is a voice for the privileged, and his article is to plead for the life of ordinary people. Your highness, how many powerful people are there in Wei Kingdom? How many are the common people? If the common people had been bewitched by him and believed that I was a running dog for the powerful, they would never listen to me from now on! Even if I wrote hundreds or thousands of articles, it would be in vain. Do you remember the last time Prime Minister Wang incited civil unrest? The power of the people can overthrow even the imperial power, and even the monarch must be in awe, so how can the voice of the people be ignored or even blocked at will? To go against the people’s mouth is like going against the river, and if I write an article against him, it’s like standing on this gushing river, and destined to be drowned! I only hope that the emperor understands my painstaking efforts, and pays more attention to my strategies, can supports and reuse them. So now we can’t do anything but wait. ”

County Prince Jing recalled the man-made disaster that nearly split the Wei kingdom last time, and his heart was already timid. He was not Emperor Sheng Yuan, and he had absolutely no prestige to quell the civil unrest. If Xu Guangzhi and that Innkeeper person start a writing battle but fail miserably, not only would his literary name be destroyed, but himself could invite trouble.

The two sat silently, and after a while, they could only admit defeat with hatred, and wait for the next time to make arrangements slowly and regain their strength.


In the Weiyang Palace, after Emperor Sheng Yuan dispatched a secret guard to steal the original manuscript from Zhao Luli’s arms, he then infatuatedly read it, sometimes slap the table and shout with praise, sometimes suddenly realized, and reluctant to let go even for a moment.

“People come! Summoned Emperor Teacher, Chief of Ceremonies, Minister of War, Minister of Education, Minister of Works, and the others, and said that Zhen have an outstanding article that Zhen want to share with them!”

Half an hour later, the ministers were summoned, and when they saw the manuscript in the emperor’s hand, their heart were uncertain. As scholar-officials, they were naturally more satisfied with Xu Guangzhi’s policy theory, but the emperor was born in the rough and a non-Han people, so it was difficult for him to understand their obsession with patriarchal power and clan etiquette, but the court gradually started using poor official, and the pursuit of fairness and justice were unprecedentedly strong.

The publication of this article could be said to be in line with the mandate of heaven and in line with the people’s hearts. Although it hurt the vital points of the powerful, it also scratched the itch of the common people and even the poor officials, so it had an extremely large mass base. Now that the noble family was declining and the poor family was rising, on one side it affirmed the importance of the Confucian doctrine of benevolence and won over the common people’s recognition; On the other hand, it directly pointed out the limitations and disadvantages of dividing people by social classes, and won the backing and support of the common people all over the world. Immediately after that, the style was changed again, from simple and easy-to-understand white prose to a profound and refined legislative outline, which captured the hearts of literati.

If this Innkeeper was willing to become an official, he would be on the same level as Emperor Teacher!

Everyone’s thoughts were different. They walked slowly to the front of the hall to salute. Before kneeling down, they were summoned by the emperor, he happily said, “This article called “The Law of the People”, presumably all the beloved ministers must have read it? Come and tell me what you think.”

Old Master Guan and Guan Father took a closer look and found that this manuscript paper was actually their family’s beloved daughter’s handwriting, and they couldn’t help breaking out in a cold sweat.

Among the chief ministers of the three divisions, two came from official noble family, naturally they didn’t like the article very much, so they would hang their heads and drink tea after a few perfunctory sentences. But the Minister of Works, who came from a poor family, praised and highly admired them, and the mood of Guan family’s father and son who were originally fell to the bottom, slowly lifted up.

The emperor had never seen Yiyi’s handwriting, so it shouldn’t matter. Thinking like this, the two of them changed their faces to their usual looks, took a few sips of hot tea, and waited to enjoy Minister of Works’ praise before talking.

“Emperor Teacher, you are the best at writing article, please help Zhen to appraise this “Law of The People”?” Emperor Sheng Yuan asked with a wicked delight.

Old Master Guan reluctantly suppressed his pride and affirmed, “This article can be regarded as the introduction to establishing the law, and all officials should be ordered to study and understand it carefully. Xu Guangzhi’s policy theory has also been read by this minister, and its purpose is to ‘establish the national laws on the basis of etiquette and patriarchal law’, which seems to show benevolence and righteousness, benefiting all classes, but in fact it strengthens patriarchal power and weakens monarchical power; it strengthens the cohesion of clans and weakens the rule of the country. Within three to five years, the society can be stabilized, and within ten years, it can make people obedient, but twenty or thirty years later, noble families can flourish and the clan prosperous…”

As for the consequences of revitalizing the noble family and clan, presumably without him saying anything the emperor had already understand. They would try to eliminate each other, you advance I retreat.

Emperor Sheng Yuan’s eyes became sharper, and he turned to look at the two courtier, Minister of War and Minister of Education, and said with a fake smile, “No wonder Xu Guangzhi is so sought after by scholar-officials, it turns out that this is the reason. Concealment of relatives, officials shielding one another, if you violate the national law you can still go to court or become an official. It’s really easy, huh! You have obtained privileges to hold into a group, if you want to do anything, you have relatives or colleagues to help cover up, then where do you put Zhen? Xu Guangzhi is good, good mouthpiece for the noble families, running dog for the powerful!”

Minister of War and Minister of Education were trembling with fear, and hurriedly knelt down to plead guilty, and never dared to recommend Xu Guangzhi to become official. Anyone with a discerning eye could see that his policy theory was poking at the the emperor’s heart and lungs, which really disgusted him to the extreme!


T/N: I will break down GSY’s pen name here because, spoiler alert, it will be asked later. It’s 逆旅舍人(nì lǚ shè rén) as a whole it means Innkeeper, and I’m translating it as such because I think it meant to be a simple word like this but if it looked deeper it will have different meaning. The word ‘Nilu’ means inn or guest house but the literal translation of its character is ‘reverse travel’, ‘Sheren’ can means owner or the general term for relatives and guests of noble family’s house, but the literal translation of shè can means residence or give up (shě) and rén is people. So if we really see the literal meaning of each character, Innkeeper = reverse travel give up people. Please forgive the confusing explanation, I’m also confuse because I don’t understand Mandarin!!

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8 thoughts on “Who Cares – Chapter 82

  1. the meaning of her pen name has quite a simple interpretation: she’s turning back from “being a good person” to zhao luli (maybe even traveling backward in time, due to rebirth) and forsaking (abandoning, leaving) people (from the zhao family). smh, she’s such a rebel haha
    (btw i don’t think it takes a lot of mandarin knowledge to come to this conclusion – believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to make interpretations!)

    1. I think the literal translation should mean rebirth of a person that had given up which is herself. Nilu literal translation is reverse travel (travelling back in time), sheren as translator said literal meaning can be residence people or give up people (it is either meaning herself as a commoner/resident or how she once a depressed/given up people). So that is why it become her pen name – as someone that knew the “future” aka time traveller, she will light a way through pen for those commoner/ people that felt they had given up. Essentially, she is helping those people as a way to console her own inner demon of the past life. I felt like there is idiom that better convey this, but English is my 2nd language, so idioms really stumped me sometimes.

  2. Thank you for translating this novel.. I actually liked it so much that i couldn’t stop reading it once i begun.. ♥️

  3. For the footnote – I’m confused, you’re confused, everyone is confused. It’s perfectly balance so no worries XD

  4. Wow those last paragraphs hit human society on the head – even today, the rich and priviledged use their power and status to create more loopholes in the system for themselves, while disregarding the joys and sufferings of the common people.

    1. Exactly! I felt bewildered that there are many books out there depicting the horror of the rise of extreme wealthy and powerful people but nobody is calling out for justice on those they bulldozed on their way up or even learn from the stories or history. The common people still thinks the best way to get ahead is to be powerful and wealthy.

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