Chapter 4. Cho Ryu Hyang’s Retest
The first thing Cho Ryu Hyang heard when he woke up distressed him.
“I heard you were having a retest.”
Cho Ryu Hyang felt that there was another meaning to Peng Ga Ho’s statement by instinct.
Sure enough, Peng Ga Ho immediately spoke with an annoyed tone.
“They said you were cheating during the test. Unbelievable.”
Peng Ga Ho was angry. He knew Cho Ryu Hyang got first place in the competition with pure skill. Would one not be angry if someone accused him/her of cheating, when he/she accomplished something with their own power? Because of that, Peng Ga Ho was furious at that moment.
“Why aren’t you saying anything?”
Cho Ryu Hyang was unexpectedly calm. No, he looked like he didn’t even care about it.
It wasn’t time to be concerned about such petty things. He was more concerned with the strange things that were floating in front of him.
Because Cho Ryu Hyang was unable to take his eyes off these objects, he looked like he was in a dazed state to Peng Ga Ho when he talked.
“…….That kind of test, I can always retake it.”
“Aren’t you angry? They’re accusing you!”
“Of course I’m angry.”
“An angry person has that kind of look on his face?”
Cho Ryu Hyang wasn’t being angry because there was no point in being that way. He disliked doing fruitless activities like such.
“I’m the one who’s getting pissed off.”
Peng Ga Ho smashed his chest with his fist in anger.
Peng Ga Ho admitted that Cho Ryu Hyang was indeed a genius. He also knew that this genius always worked ceaselessly.
That made him even angrier. The current situation where no one even recognized the amount of time Cho Ryu Hyang put into study, but even dared to look down upon it, made Peng Ga Ho furious.
Peng Ga Ho put his hand on Cho Ryu Hyang’s shoulder, and spoke seriously.
“Since it’s already like this, just go smash the old men’s noses in. Show off all of your skills.”
Cho Ryu Hyang smiled.
He knew why Peng Ga Ho was being so angry. And even if he didn’t say it, it was his every intention to rub his skill in their faces.
Cho Ryu Hyang, too, was bothered by the actions of the school, after all.
“You’re alright, right? You wouldn’t have any trouble at the retest tomorrow?”
Right now, his physical condition wasn’t what was important.
The strange things that he was seeing from before. It was bothering him to no end.
It was numbers. There were numbers floating in the air everywhere.
“You need books? Want paper?”
Cho Ryu Hyang was thankful towards Peng Ga Ho for rushing to him right from school after receiving word of his recovery, but right now, he wanted to be alone.
There were too many things to think about right now.
Compared to the things he had in mind, the test was a small matter.
‘It’s an easy task.’
It didn’t matter if he had to retake the test several times.
The importance of figuring out what these numbers were was far more important.
Peng Ga Ho, who was unable to vent all his anger, went out while complaining by himself.
Watching that, Cho Ryu Hyang closed his eyes. He called upon the old man in his mind. He couldn’t decide on what to call the old man, as he still was unable to decide if the old man really was Zhuge Liang.
‘Sir, I have a question.’
[You bother me.]
The old man appeared in his thoughts, and stared at him with a face of contempt.
Cho Ryu Hyang, looking at the old man, asked a question.
‘What are these numbers that I am seeing?’
[What do you think they are?]
‘I do not know.’
The numbers were everywhere, and they were constantly changing.
What did they mean?
Cho Ryu Hyang’s curiosity sparked just then.
He opened his eyes a little, and tried to touch the number near him with his hands. Then the colorless number took on a lifelike color.
The number immediately became colorless again.
“Wha, what’s this?”
Cho Ryu Hyang closed his eyes in confusion.
[Simpleton, you can only see the numbers at your current level. If you want to touch them, you need to train yourself, so don’t be greedy.]
‘What training to I need? What will I be able to do if I become able to touch the numbers?’
[Hoho, a boy who can’t even walk already dreams of running.]
The old man clicked his tongue, looking at the agitated boy.
[You yourself represents one of the smaller numbers that make up the whole universe. But the universe was created from the small numbers like you gathering together to become one. Right now, what you have to do is to be able to feel and sense those numbers around you. Performing tasks with the numbers come next.]
Looking at the numbers, no, to be specific, the old man taught Cho Ryu Hyang the way to be able to be able to correctly look at the origins of the world.
The Faultless View of The World (正觀法)
This was the first skill Cho Ryu Hyang inherited from the old man.
* * *
Eu Hyun Guk frowned.
It was good to have the test done in public.
Make the questions on the spot, and make him solve it on the spot. There were no possibilities of cheating.
This was a bit troubling. The child just solved all the problems with ease. There were not even the slightest bit of hesitation in his writings.
“This is truly amazing.”
Was his name Cho Ryu Hyang? He was only 11.
Eu Hyun Guk couldn’t understand why the child stubbornly stuck to mathematics with that kind of talent.
While he did look down on math, he did not look down on its difficulty. But in daily life, wasn’t it enough to just be able to calculate living expenses? He didn’t know why one had to memorize all these complicated equations and such.
Isn’t it truly foolish?
Mathematicians devoted their lives on a pointless subject and wasted their time away.
This was what most of the population thought, and this was why many looked down on math.
Jo Gi Chun took up Cho Ryu Hyang’s answer sheet with his, and showed it to the teachers.
Their answer sheets matched perfectly.
All the students that were watching nodded their heads in shock.
It seemed that everyone except Cho Ryu Hyang and his acquaintances doubted his skills.
In all honesty, how could they believe it? The answers were answers, but at that solving speed?
“I don’t think there are any more complaints that can me made, no?”
When Jo Gi Chun said this, Eu Hyun Guk nodded with a unsatisfied expression. He turned to Cho Ryu Hyang after doing so.
“I hear you study math, and only math. Is this true?”
“Why do you study such a thing? With that kind of talent, you should be able to make it big in the subjects that I teach. Earning fame shouldn’t be too difficult if you studied some other skill instead.”
Cho Ryu Hyang had a dumb expression on his face for a while, but he immediately recomposed himself, and glanced at Jo Gi Chun.
To say such a thing right in front of someone who devoted himself to math all his life… Even if they didn’t like each other, this was too much,
However, Jo Gi Chun’s face did not change one bit. From the start, he wasn’t one to display his emotions outright.
But Cho Ryu Hyang was furious. He didn’t know why, but he was just furious.
Cho Ryu Hyang put on his calm face, and opened his mouth.
“There is someone I respect. I wish to follow the path he treaded.”
Eu Hyun Guk’s face turned ugly.
“Could it be that person studied mathematics?”
“I pity your talent. How foolish, how foolish!”
Eu Hyun Guk sighed in sorrow.
It really was appealing.
To think there was a genius like Nangong Yubin! He wished to take the boy and teach him everything he knew.
But since the boy himself said that he didn’t want it, he couldn’t even say anything. Indeed, one could take his cattle to a river, but it wasn’t possible to force the cattle to drink.
Cho Ryu Hyang bowed a little towards Eu Hyun Guk.
He really disliked this man. At a public area, in front of so many students, how could he insult a fellow teacher like that?
‘Was mathematics looked down upon this much?’
To think even a scholar like Eu Hyun Guk would act like this towards it. Cho Ryu Hyang smiled a bitter smile.
And he looked at Eu Hyun Guk’s forehead at a glance.
A faint number was stuck onto Eu Hyun Guk’s forehead.
Cho Ryu Hyang whispered to himself.
Jo Gi Chun, who was standing next to Cho Ryu Hyang, heard what he said, but since he didn’t realize the significance of Cho Ryu Hyang’s words, didn’t do anything.
He later opened his mouth while looking at Cho Ryu Hyang.
“You can go rest now. You had to do something troublesome this time…”
It was indeed troublesome, but it was worth it. There was no one who would doubt his mathematical skills now. Life would be a little more comfortable now.
Cho Ryu Hyang took a step back, and took a breather.
He inhaled slowly for a long time, and exhaled fast, and rapidly. Then he took a look at all the teacher’s faces. And lastly, he looked upon Jo Gi Chun and smiled a bit.
It was as expected.
He turned back, and walked away.
A lone crane was bound to be bullied in a flock of crows.
The numbers that portrayed the worth of a human being.
Cho Ryu Hyang respected Jo Gi Chun even before he gained his powers. At first, Cho Ryu Hyang only respected him because of his title, but now, he respected the man’s whole self. The man’s passion for math didn’t decline even as he aged.
He even went through all this torture just to pass on his art to his students.
The fact that he was able to take on all the insults regarding math, and taught the students who didn’t know math well, was naturally admirable.
He didn’t know about other subjects, but regarding math, it became more and more profound as one got deeper into it. And Cho Ryu Hyang believed that his knowledge regarding math became more profound.
The knowledge the strange old man gave him truly did help him learn math faster, after all.
While Cho Ryu Hyang was thinking about this and that while he walked towards the dorm, Jo gi Chun approached him from behind.
“Can you come find me some time later?”
“Whenever you are free is fine.”
Jo Gi Chun nodded, and left to do his own thing.
Looking at that figure, Cho Ryu Hyang thought a bit.
Perhaps the teacher had a better view of him thanks to today’s events.
‘I might just be imagining things, though.’
Cho Ryu Hyang always had to suffer through punishments during lectures because of Peng Ga Ho.
It might be just his imagination, but he thought he saw a hint of benevolence in teacher’s eyes.
‘Let’s not hope for such things just yet.’
As he shook off that thought and walked out, he encountered someone waiting for him at the doorway.
“Congrats, math genius.”
It was someone he didn’t expect to see at all.
Cho Ryu Hyang looked at the person in front of him, with suspicion in his eyes.
“Don’t look at me like that, this event didn’t have anything to do with me.”
He was the child of the famous Nangong clan, and was called the greatest genius in the history of the school. To think this child, who he never exchanged words with, would congratulate him. Cho Ryu Hyang didn’t know how to respond to that.
And when he focused on his eyes and used his skill out of curiosity, he was genuinely shocked.
It was an astronomical number.
Most people had a value of 20-30… Nangong Yubin possessed a value about 3 times as much as other people did.
He didn’t know how that number got there, but if one was to simply look at it, Nangong Yubin had a talent that outstripped even Jo Gi Chun.
Perhaps there really were geniuses in the world.
“Actually, I was also one of those people that had doubts about your skills. I came to apologize for that.”
He was doing pointless things, Cho Ryu Hyang thought.
Cho Ryu Hyang didn’t know how to respond to such an action, so he just looked at Nangong Yubin with a slightly anxious face.
It seemed that his action brought great distress to the boy, so he panicked a little and spoke.
“No, to be a little more truthful, today’s test probably happened because I complained a little. I came to apologize about that.”
“The people around me doubted your skills, and I, too, doubted you. I think that somehow got into Eu Hyun Guk’s ear. Things became complicated because of that. Sorry.”
Now Cho Ryu Hyang realized why this fellow waited for him here.
And he was shocked once again.
Were all children in famous clans like this?
It was an apology that didn’t even need to happen. The boy also knew that, but he came to apologize anyways.
“If it’s for that, I’ll accept your apology.”
There was no reason to reject it.
It wasn’t anything troublesome to him anyways.
But it seemed Nangong Yubin didn’t think that way.
His face turned into that of relief the moment he heard Cho Ryu Hyang’s reply.
A face that implied he just got a load off his back.
“For real? You’re accepting it?”
“Fu~ That’s a relief.”
Cho Ryu Hyang was confused about what relieved him.
“I was actually really nervous, since it was my first time doing something like this.”
Nangong Yubin had a grin on his face as he said that.
“It was my first time seeing a genius, so I was curious, too.”
Cho Ryu Hyang fixed his glasses with an embarrassed expression.
He was being called a genius by a genius like Nangong Yubin. It made him feel a little awkward.
“I hope we get along in the future. I hoped to have a rival like you.”
“…….Did you, now.”
Cho Ryu Hyang suddenly felt uncomfortable.
The fact that the boy was approaching him all of the sudden like this weirded him out a little.
“I’m not going to lose next time. I was caught off guard this time, you know.”
Nangong Yubin smiled, showing his white teeth in the process.
“I’ll be expecting a lot from you next time, rival.”
Nangong Yubin disappeared after saying everything.
Cho Ryu Hyang watched the boy walk away in a daze for a while, then fixed his glasses, while uttering a few words under his breath.
“He might have a really shameless personality, seeing that he was able to say such a cheesy phrase like that…..”
He was a boy that Cho Ryu Hyang couldn’t understand.
Cho Ryu Hyang walked slowly.
His legs naturally drew him to the library.
“Ah? Is your body alright today?”
The guard at the entrance of the library asked Cho Ryu Hyang worriedly.
Cho Ryu Hyang didn’t know if this was a banter or not, but he just said that he was alright, and entered the library building. And he looked for a certain book for a long time. The thing that was weighing on his mind for a while. He needed to confirm it.
‘There it is.’
The item he was looking for was found faster than he expected. That was because he could see the book where it was put last time.
As he pulled out the book, he could clearly see the name written on it.
『Moon Edge Flower Algorithm Magic (1)』
He didn’t realize last time, but it seemed that there were two volumes to this book.
He opened the book carefully.
And his eyes widened in surprise.
The contents of the book were wiped clean. No, to be more accurate, everything within the book, every single word, was gone. It was as if someone just forcefully dragged out all the characters in the book and threw it away.
‘Did everything in the book get inserted into my brain?’
Even now, if he thought of something, he could feel the immense amount of knowledge swimming through his brain. His brain was filled with decades of research at once.
But it was a useless thing.
To make the knowledge actually something that he could comprehend and use, it required a tremendous amount of work.
While he was thinking, he suddenly came up with a question, and shut his eyes immediately.
‘Is there a second volume to this book?’
Cho Ryu Hyang felt that he knew the answer even before he asked the answer.
It was actually a question he should’ve asked a long time back, but he just remembered to ask it now.
‘Does that book also contain elder’s great knowledge?’
[Child, it seems you are mistaken about something.]
‘Mm? What’s that?’
Was there something about his question he didn’t know about?
[Idiots needs an idiot’s language to understand things.]
It was a riddle-like phrase.
The old man spoke again a little after he said that.
[You think there are many who trained their mathematical skills to the point of being able to comprehend my knowledge?]
Cho Ryu Hyang contemplated upon that a bit.
Truly, an existence like him was rare. But he also felt that there were indeed more like him in the world.
There were many people like Jo Gi Chun, who dedicated their life to math, after all.
The old man affirmed his thoughts cooly.
[You’re right. There are indeed more like you. But what are the chances of them reading this one book? I presumed that there was almost no possibility for them to come across this. So as a backup, I created another text.]
The old man stopped there for a moment, and made a bitter smile.
And he changed the subject a little.
[I saw your performance at the stage today. It seems there still are a lot of idiots that look down on math.]
Cho Ryu Hyang scratched his head and smiled.
It seemed that the old man felt the same way he did.
The art of math was being neglected too much, past or the present.
It was something he was able to experience firsthand today.
[If I wrote my knowledge down on paper with numbers, of course these uneducated fools wouldn’t understand it. So I kindly wrote down my knowledge with letters and gave them what they wanted.]
What they wanted?
When Cho Ryu Hyang became curious, the old man answered immediately.
[The formation techniques. This is what I have given to my descendants.]
Cho Ryu Hyang was finally able to understand what the old man was talking about.
An idiot’s language for the idiots.
It seemed this was why he wrote the first book with numbers, and the second book with letters. A way to preserve his knowledge, even a little.
The old man smiled.
It was an evil smile that didn’t really fit the image of the old man.
[But there is a big difference between knowing how to catch a fish, and understanding how to handle a fish.]
Cho Ryu Hyang blinked a few times. He didn’t understand what the old man was talking about.
[You’ll understand the meaning behind my words in the future.]
Cho Ryu Hyang didn’t realize.
He didn’t realize that it would take him decades till he finally understood what the old man meant…
Right then, his head spun and his body lost all the strength it had before.
Cho Ryu Hyang opened his eyes quickly, and leaned his body against the library wall to regain his breath.
Talking with the old man took up too much power. It wasn’t easy to handle it yet.
Whilst recovering his body from the talk, Cho Ryu Hyang looked around the library. There were still many books to be read, but that was useless to him now. It wasn’t like those books would help him increase his powers, anyways.
It might’ve seemed like a boast to others, but Cho Ryu Hyang already had more than enough knowledge about math. Perhaps too much.
But there was something missing.
It seemed that missing something wasn’t just some simple knowledge.
He didn’t know what it was, but he had an endless desire to learn that something.
After thinking by himself a little more, Cho Ryu Hyang put the book back into the shelf and stood up. He forgot about the promise to visit the teacher. He decided to go resolve it now.
Little did he know that event would change the course of his life greatly.