After saying that Su Tang nonchalantly turned back and continued to cook the next dish, and Song Yi really took a hard look at the disciple that he had accepted on a whim for the first time. It was a bit hard for him to imagine that this remark had been made by an eight-year-old girl.
There was deep reflection and some judgment on the meaning of life, but at the same time, it was full of a clear notion that everything was somewhat detached and free.
In addition, when Su Tang had said that he had not bothered himself with his disciples’ desire for success, he felt as if those words had directly hit him in the heart. After all, he had more than one disciple who had wanted to achieve something so badly that they had gone down the wrong path in pursuit of that goal.
It seemed that sometimes men who had lived in this world for several decades couldn’t see things as clearly as a little girl.
Song Yi smiled quite amusedly, and thought that maybe he had dug up real treasure by following his whims this time.
Su Tang, of course, hadn’t just said that at random. Yesterday, she had thought seriously about why Song Yi wanted to accept her as his disciple but, in the end, she concluded that it was impossible for her to know. All she could say for certain was that Song Yi meant her no harm.
And, in the end, this was an era where the relationship between a master and his disciples could even surpass the relationship between a father and his sons or daughters in some cases. So, although she did not quite like the way Song Yi had asked her to become his disciple, since she had already knelt down and acknowledged him as her master she was resolved to properly respect him.
She already knew Song Yi had a special identity, so she wanted to tell him upfront that she would not easily change her way of life for another person, either now or in the future.
And she also knew that Song Yi was an old fox, so he would soon notice that she was nothing like an actual eight-year-old girl at all. Instead of hiding it, it would be better to deliberately show that side of herself off once in a while, as opposed to trying to somehow act as direct, pure, and sincere as an actual child would.
By noon, Su Tang had made many dishes. There was shredded potatoes, fish ball soup with turnips, hand-shredded lettuce with cold cucumber slices, and the staple food, white rice.
When the spread was prepared Song Yi invited Su Tang and her brother to accompany him for lunch, so they all ate together. After they finished eating and the bowls and chopsticks were collected, Song Yi took Su Tang to his study and began to teach her.
Su Tang had already instructed Su Nuo on what to do before they arrived, so when he saw what was happening he quickly found Pengmo and asked for a small bench. Once he got it, he set it up at the doorway of the study, then sat down and listened to what was being said inside.
Song Yi saw the little guy doing this and glanced at Su Tang. But Su Tang just shook her head as if she had no idea why her brother was doing what he was doing. Song Yi shook his head wryly. In fact, there were two reasons why he had accepted Su Tang as his disciple despite telling people that he would no longer accept any more disciples. It was partly because she was similar to his wife and reminded him of his daughter, but it was also because she was a girl.
Knowing that this was his little disciple playing tricks, Song Yi just smiled and opened the first page of the Three Character Classic. He said, “Let’s start now. You said you already know a little bit about reading and writing, so let’s see how much you already know. Write something down for me.”
Su Tang glanced at the Three Character Classic in front of her and said. “I’m not too sure about this, but I’ll try.”
Then she picked up the brush and dipped it into the ink and began to write, “1, 2, 3…”
As he looked at Su Tang’s handwriting, Song Yi felt the corners of his mouth twitch. He had watched her write those characters out himself, but he could still barely read what was written. Then his eyes opened wide after he saw the four horizontal lines Su Tang had drawn after the character ‘3’.*
“Su Tang, who taught you that? What is this character that you wrote?” Song Yi had a look of disbelief on his face.
Su Tang looked up and smiled at Song Yi. “In fact, the characters for numbers are not that difficult. I can even write all the way up to a hundred!”
But before she finished speaking, Song Yi wrapped on her knuckles with a ruler. “Didn’t you say that you already understand some of this?”
“Master, don’t you think that I at least slightly understand? After all, this disciple is so intelligent and clever…” Su Tang’s knuckles were rapped again before she even finished speaking.
Song Yi gritted his teeth. This little fox, what does she mean by ‘slightly understand’, isn’t she just obviously fooling him?
A person who could say such wise words moments ago only knows how to write one, two, and three? Ridiculous. This little fox obviously knew much more, but she was playing dumb on purpose, how could he not see it?
*so clearly this gets lost in translation a bit, but to explain ‘1, 2, 3’ in Chinese is ‘一，二，三’. So a small child might mistakenly think that numbers are just an ever-increasing series of horizontal lines if they just judged by those first three, which is the ‘misunderstanding’ that Su Tang is laboring under here.