Su Tang had known it would be like this, but she really couldn’t take a step back here. After all, if she were really to spend three years studying the Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance, there was no way her usual idle days would be able to continue.
In the first place, the key point behind having money was using it to enjoy a beautiful life where she wouldn’t have to look at this kind of boring thing all the time. More pointedly, she didn’t even want to know what her life would be like if she really crammed all those strange things into her head.
“You don’t like three years? Then what about five?” Song Yi directly raised the conditions.
Su Tang looked him in the eye and said, “Lend me a hundred taels. I’ll pay the full amount back within three months. But learning the Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance is impossible, I will never memorize it.”
“I’m offering you ten thousand taels here. Just how long do you think it would take for you to earn ten thousand taels? Also, isn’t it only three years? You’re only eight years old now, three years later, you will be eleven years old and have ten thousand taels in your hands. If you are doing business on your own during that time, how much do you really think you will be able to earn, you little fox? Can’t you do the math?” Song Yi pressed on.
“No, I can’t. I don’t want to borrow from master anyway. I’ll just find a loan shark and borrow from them, maybe I won’t be able to pay it back and end up being sold as a slave, but that would just be my fate. Anyway, I’ve always just been a poor orphan from the beginning, with a father that didn’t love me and a mother that died early, and then no father or mother at all after I was adopted, so this is just my lot in life. Even from young, I can only work to support my family and save any extra money I can to fund my brother’s studies. But it’s fine, I’ll be strong and keep moving forward. This is my life after all!”
Su Tang continued to act pitiful, eliciting a sigh from Song Yi. Eventually, he said slowly, “Tang girl, you should know that your master won’t do anything to harm you. In the first place, the Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance isn’t something that any scholar can see just because they want to. You really don’t want to study it?”
Song Yi dropped all pretense and stopped playing around. He knew that his little disciple liked to act mischievous and fool around like a little fox, but he also knew that she was a very thoughtful and mature person, despite being just eight years old. He knew that no one would be able to change her mind if she truly decided on something.
Of course, Song Yi could tell that she had no desire to study the Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance but, frankly, this was an excellent opportunity that few people would ever get the chance to have. In all the Qihuang Kingdom, there were only two copies of the document, and the process of writing them was still an ongoing process. Song Yi only had a chance to see it because of his position as an Imperial Preceptor and, in fact, it was something he was still seriously studying himself.
He had hoped that Su Tang could read and memorize it because, after interacting with her for a while, he had found that the little girl had a high ability to digest complex knowledge and a very special and unique point of view. Thus, his hope that Su Tang would read the Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance was, to some extent, due to his own desire to have a peer that he might be able to discuss the text with in a rewarding and meaningful way.
However, Su Tang’s attitude of refusal was really just too obvious, so Song Yi could only come out and ask her directly and seriously. Did she really intend to refuse no matter what?
Su Tang could sense Song Yi’s change in tone, so she replied with equal seriousness: “Master, do you really think it’s meaningful for this disciple to read such a text? Is it so that she might learn from history? However, if I may be bold for a moment, I can say that I have seen many changes in our history and that I know better than anyone that the only constant in this world is change.”
“This disciple is a person who has died once, so now this disciple considers each new day as something that was earned at a high price. So how should this disciple spend these hard-earned days? Should she pursue success and fame? Or perhaps some kind of life of wealth and splendor?”
“In the end, I only have this one life, ah, and this disciple has no ideas towards any of that. This disciple only wants to be happy. In pursuit of that goal, this disciple will not force herself to do anything that she does not want to do. If it’s something that will make her unhappy, then she will not do it. My only thoughts are on how to live more happily.”
“In truth, the Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance is a great text, and this disciple would probably have a lot of gains if she were to study it, be that for three or five years. However, regarding those three or five years, this disciple is unwilling. It would make her unhappy. And for me, that makes it just a waste of life.”
“This disciple works hard to make money because making money makes me happy, and spending money does too. However, this disciple really doesn’t want to spend three or five years of her life doing only this one thing. Doing so would be dull, boring, monotonous and, ultimately, a source of unhappiness.”
Su Tang knew that the reality of this world, of this time and this era, was that a person had to study and learn in order to get ahead, which was why she was so serious about ensuring Su Nuo could study. After all, he was a boy, so by learning these things now he would have something to rely on to get ahead in the future. But for her, she was different. She had already died once, and she was already tired of seeing that kind of life that full of nothing but desperately pursuing wealth and status, so just forget it.
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