I’ve read enough about the wulin to know their method of refusing a request three times before they will grant it. In this way both parties demonstrate their sincerity.
“I won’t slow you down,” I say.
“I’m not worried about that,” she says. “Because you’ll be staying in Xichang.”
“Ah, but if I don’t stay with you, then your deeds will disappear. A stroke of my brush will make your accomplishments live forever! Nothing is real until it is written,” I say. It’s a very clever argument.
She is mulling on it.
“Ain’t spent much time in the real world, have you, Gao?”
I am amazed she deduced this so readily. But! Members of the wulin are known to possess a preternatural talent to assess one’s character. Indeed, it’s a matter of survival in their harsh world.
“It’s true that my entire life until this point was spent inside the walls of the Academy while studying for the civil service exam,” I say. “But thanks to the library’s wide array of books and pamphlets, I have no lack of understanding about the ways of the world!”