Early morning, Paris Medical University, Human Anatomy Class.
“Protest, we must protest! The administrative office actually arranged a twenty-six year old professor for us. This is an insult to us!”
On the platform, an old man with two patches of graying hair on either side of his head shouted animatedly as he waved his arms.
This old man’s name was Dandy* (dān dí), and he was the headmaster of a third-rate medical university, as well as a famous scholar of human anatomy.
(TL note* I don’t even knowww; diminutive of the name Andrew)
Not long ago, Dandy had received an invitation from the Paris Medical University. On it, it read, “Headmaster Dandy, in the past few years, upon looking over the field of human anatomy, I’ve had a breakthrough in research. As such, I have specially established a class for advanced studies. If you are interested, please inform me by December 1st!”
Dandy was a bit displeased. To let a headmaster go and become a student, wasn’t this just bullying people?
However, Paris Medical University was the world’s best among first-rate medical institutions, and they were especially known for their academic program on human anatomy. Dandy felt that if he didn’t go, wouldn’t his fellow colleagues and peers of the same field think him unreasonable? Would the professors at Paris Medical University consider it as him not giving them face?
Following this train of thought, Dandy ultimately attended with extreme reluctance!
But then, when he went into the classroom, once Dandy saw the identities of all his other classmates, the grumpiness in his heart immediately vanished into thin air, and he instead got excited to the point that he couldn’t contain himself!
God, this advanced studies class only has thirty-six students: thirty-six people, twenty of them chairmen, twelve of them headmasters, three of them that enjoyed the reputation of an international anatomic authority, and the final one was amazingly the recipient of last year’s Nobel Prize in medical physiology!
This classroom was clearly only for the expert scholars and specialists to study!
To be able to become a classmate with so many prominent and distinguished people… face, face!
“Greetings, fellow students!”
Right at this moment, Dandy heard a voice resonate through the air, and lifting his head, he saw that it came from two educational assistants that walked in.
One assistant pushed a portable dissection table, and on it was placed two adult male cadavers. “Fellow students, this is anatomic subject we will be using for this class. Please pay close attention: this one is a thirty-six year old who died in a traffic accident, while the other is a twenty-eight year old who died from swine flu…”
The other assistant carried a stack of blue-bound booklets and handed it out one by one, “Fellow students, within this blue-bound booklet is a brief introduction of the professors for this term’s advanced studies class. To better learn the curriculum, we ask that all esteemed guests read it thoroughly and understand your instructors in advance…”
The main show has arrived!
To be qualified to teach so many scholarly authorities and experts, exactly what kind of person was this new instructor?
Dandy was incomparably curious, and reverently opened the blue-bound booklet to the first page…
“This term’s advanced studies class instructor, Head Professor You Jiang Nan: Jiang Nan, Chinese nationality, twenty-six years old…”
Reading up to here, Dandy’s expression changed, “What is the meaning of this? The educational administrative office actually arranged for a twenty-six year old instructor? Could it be that they have no knowledge of our identity? We’re professors, chairmen, headmasters, and one of us is even a Nobel Prize winner!”
“This is ridiculous, absurd! I’m already sixty-eight years old this year. I definitely cannot accept a twenty-six year old instructor!”
Another expert also stood up, and with a “bang” that booklet slammed onto the floor. “What kind of medical accomplishments can a youth of twenty-six years achieve? How much ability could he have to educate us?! Absurd, too absurd!”
Other self-confident experts, although they didn’t voice their objections, also revealed extremely unsightly expressions!
When Dandy saw that his voice of protest had unexpectedly lead a group of seven or eight other experts to echo him, he immediately grew hot-blooded and rushed onto the rostrum, “Fellow scholars, fellow seniors, originally I didn’t even have the qualifications to address you. But this time, the educational administrative office has truly gone too far! We must raise a protest! Furthermore, we should also send a proposal to the educational administrative office to make this Professor Jiang Nan youth to beat it! Who’s with me?”
“Count me in as well! Ai, this is simply too outrageous!”
The atmosphere in the classroom immediately reached a boiling point, and the two assistants exchanged a glance and laughed bitterly, “What should we do? Based on the identities of these long-time specialists, they are completely qualified to raise a protest, and are also completely qualified to drive this Professor Jiang Nan out…”
“What can we even do? I’m going to go look for Professor Jiang!”
One assistant already felt that the circumstances were already out of his control, and stealthily slipped out of the classroom.
However, right as he went out the door, he saw a glasses-wearing youth leaning against the wall, on one hand gently cleaning a cane, and on the other calmly laughing…
“Professor Jiang, you*, you’ve already arrived?”
*addressing in a more formal, respectful manner
God, since you actually came, why didn’t you go in? The assistant hastily said: “Professor Jiang, hurry up and go in to take a look. The mood of those scholarly experts is already…”
“Calm down, calm down!”
The youth continued to clean the cane. Only until there wasn’t even a speck of dust left did he take his sweet time to reach the classroom entrance, “Alright, I’ll go settle them down.”
The assistant sighed and anxiously said: “Professor Jiang, be extra careful. The identity of these long-time specialists are in no way similar to those commonly seen. Don’t offend them by any means…”
The youth was already about to push the door open, but turned and laughed at the assistant’s words, “Mister, do you know why?”
“Why I can become a professor at just twenty-six years old, while *you, who are already thirty-two years old is still only an assistant?”
“This… please advise me.”
“Because in my perspective, those so-called specialists and authorities are meant to be offended, are meant to be surpassed, are meant to be conquered! Do you understand now?”
“Esteemed seniors, good morning!”
Jiang Nan pushed open the classroom door, walked onto the rostrum and spread his arms wide, “Let me give a brief introduction of myself, Jiang Nan. You may call me Professor Jiang, or Teacher Jiang!”
In that split second, the whole classroom went silent.
The specialists all measured this ‘Jiang Nan’ with suspicion, thinking, this is Jiang Nan? What refined and elegant bearing, what a perfect smile…
However, no matter how good his outward appearance, it did not hide the fact that he was only twenty-six years old!
Jiang Nan must be driven out!
Jiang Nan measured and took into consideration all the expressions of the specialists before him. Without even giving them a chance to speak, he used his cane and *waved it at his ear, “Alright. Everyone’s identities, everyone’s dissatisfactions, I’ve already heard it from the outside! Esteemed elders, you believe… that I am not capable of educating you all, is that correct?”
(*就用手杖拨了拨自己的耳朵 raw because I’m unsure, but I’m assuming he’s signalling them to be quiet because he’s already heard enough)
The specialists shared mutual glances between themselves, and finally Dandy stood up, “Correct, we believe that you don’t have the qualifications to educate us!”
“But, my qualifications, my capabilities… just because you’ve assumed so… does it mean it’s correct?”
Dandy was stumped.
“Alright. Esteemed elders, I will give you all an opportunity, an opportunity to authenticate my capabilities: this class’ originally planned curriculum is canceled. Within the period of one class, just within the anatomy category, you all may challenge any aspect of my abilities! If I fail, then you all won’t have to send a proposal to the administrative office. I will take the initiative to leave. But, if within your group none of you can prevail over me…”
Jiang Nan shook his head and laughed, no longer continuing to speak further, but those scholarly experts were able to understand the implied meaning, “If even your assembled group of thirty-six of the world’s most outstanding anatomy experts still can’t prevail over me, then please willingly and genuinely attend class, and sincerely call me… Teacher Jiang!”
Jiang Nan just sat beside the cadavers, “Right now, who wishes to be the first to challenge me?”
The scholarly experts suddenly began to hesitate. It’s not that they were afraid of losing, but based on their identity and status, to go and challenge a twenty-six year old youth…
After a long while, Dandy hastily put himself out in front of all the other experts, striding to stand before the dissecting platform, “This youngster who doesn’t know how high the heavens are and how profound the earth is, I, Headmaster Dandy of Sofia Medical University, have come to give you a lesson!”
Jiang Nan chuckled, saying: “Elder, what aspect of my ability do you wish to challenge?”
“As everybody knows, the speed at which one dissects a cadaver symbolizes the degree of understand an anatomy specialist has towards the structure of the human body. More importantly, it indicates the standard of anatomical experts. Jiang Nan, I will compete in dissection speed with you!”
Dandy grabbed a scalpel from the platform and took out a stopwatch, declaring arrogantly: “I don’t know how long you need to completely dissect a cadaver, but I only need three minutes! Jiang Nan, do you dare to compete with me?”
“I’ve already said, I will accept any kind of challenge.” Jiang Nan shrugged.
“Alright, then I’ll start timing now!”
Dandi used one hand to start the stopwatch to time it by seconds and brandished the scalpel with the other. Like lightning, he used the scalpel and pierced into the chest area of the cadaver!
The eyes of the rest of the specialists all revealed a sort of excitement!
Completely dissecting a cadaver wasn’t just an average person’s understanding of ‘cutting a corpse to pieces’, as if ‘killing a pig then skinning and deboning it’ only.
A fully intact human body consisted of tens of complicated groupings and systems——the heart, the brain, the skeleton… Only by removing these organs and body parts and categorizing them into groups on the dissecting platform, while making sure that each individual organ was a single entity within the group, would this be considered a ‘complete dissection’!
Dandy’s boasting of only having to take three minutes, if he didn’t lie, then his understanding of the human body structure had already reached the level of ‘knowing it like the back of his hand’. As such, he would have no qualms in identifying himself as a ‘scholarly authority’ in regards to anatomy!
Jiang Nan faintly chuckled as he observed Dandy’s dissecting technique, then suddenly asked: “Elder, if my dissecting speed is slower than yours, then I’ll naturally excuse myself. But… what if yours is slower than mine?”
Dandy momentarily blanked out, then snorted: “If I’m slower than you, then from this day forward, no matter where I am or what situation I am in, I will refer to you as ‘honored teacher’!”
Jiang Nan laughed in satisfaction and moved to one side of the other cadaver, slowly extending out his cane…
Click! The cane split apart, and a set of master craftsman dissecting tools unexpectedly appeared!
“Good heavens, this is…”
The experts stood dumbstruck, and some even leaked expressions of greed. To an anatomy specialist, this cane was an absolutely priceless treasure!
“Esteemed elders, although the person who gifted this cane to me stated that this cane was supposedly constructed from a meteorite fallen from the heavens and conceals seventy-two different types of dissecting tools, and is truly marvelous beyond compare, can you all temporarily forget its quality please? That is because… I am about to begin dissecting!”
Jiang Nan attracted everyone’s gazes, then beamed as he looked at Dandy, “This esteemed elder said that he only needed three minutes to completely dissect a cadaver, which is very good. I am very content to fulfill the role of his instructor. But… to completely dissect a cadaver, I only need twenty-seven seconds!”
Only twenty-seven seconds to perform a complete dissection?!
The specialists exploded into an uproar, “Preposterous, this is absolutely impossible!”
“You all think it is ludicrous, impossible? But I only want to say this——that none of you understand doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist!”
Suddenly, Jiang Nan lightly flicked his cane, and an exquisitely sharp scalpel jumped into the palm of his hand as he spun and pierced it into the cadaver’s throat!
“Esteemed elders, how many of China’s historical anecdotes do you know and understand? Have you heard of a story by the name of ‘*Butcher Ding’s Bull Dismembering’?”
(*TL: It’s a fable, but I can’t seem to find any English translation of it, and I’m much too lazy to translate it. Anyways, it’s basically equivalent to skilled and magical craftsmanship, and being able to control your hand any way you want and understanding the object of craftsmanship to an unimaginable level.)
As he dissected, Jiang Nan also fixed his gaze on the group of scholarly authorities, his sudden words seeming as though they had no relevance.
One specialist muttered: “It’s a really famous story. It was said that Butcher Ding was able to dismember an ox in just ten some seconds.”
“If you take the concept of ‘Butcher Ding’s Bull Dismembering’ and apply it to dissecting a human body, could one completely dismember a human body?”
The specialist was stunned, “Could it be… that you are capable of Butcher Ding’s technique?!”
Jiang Nan laughed and didn’t answer him, “I’ll ask you another question, have you all heard of ‘interlocking blade’?”
“Nonsense! Interlocking blade is the fast dissecting technique in Western anatomy, of course we know! However, the interlocking blade technique has been long since lost in transmission!”
“Who said it’s been long lost?” Jiang Nan’s voice suddenly boomed!
“Butcher Ding’s technique, I’m capable of it! The Western interlock blade technique, I’m also capable of! Furthermore, by fusing these two techniques together, I’ve even developed my own dissecting method! I’ve named this method, ‘Golden Inch Blade’! Chinese people say that an inch of time is worth an inch of gold… in other words, golden inch blade means that in dissecting cadavers, I’m always efficient and economical with my time…”
Only after Jiang Nan threw away his scalpel and beamed as he pointed at the cadaver did the specialists shockingly discover that the cadaver in front of Jiang Nan… had already been completely dissected!
Only twenty-seven seconds to completely dissect a corpse!
Almost at the same time, Dandy had completed his dissection as well…
And on his face was a blank expression. Yes, he and Jiang Nan had finished dissecting at the same time, but Jiang Nan had only begun dissecting after giving him two minutes and thirty-three seconds! Furthermore, Jiang Nan had simultaneously dissected and gazed at the specialists as he conversed with them, not even sparing a glance for the cadaver below the scalpel, so how much time did this waste?!
Just twenty-seven seconds to completely dissect a corpse!
This clearly implied that based on Jiang Nan’s comprehension of the human body structure, he already stood at the peak of humanity’s medical field, and absolutely had the ability to teach any scholarly authority!
“Honored… Honored teacher!” Dandy addressed him with extreme difficulty as he stated in the bet.
However, Jiang Nan instead went to the behind the rostrum, “Esteemed elder, I can’t accept this title of honored teacher. Human anatomy is a deep and profound branch of study. Just by contesting in dissecting speed doesn’t mean that you are not equal to me. From now on, if *you could please use your experience to aid me in fulfilling this academic term’s curriculum? As for our bet… How about just think of it as a bit of humor!”
(*more formal/respectful way of address)
The specialists broke out in thunderous applause. Such a humble youth! Triumphing over another, yet still preserving so much face for the other person. What fault could be found with this kind of instructor?!
Dandy, on the other hand…
Jiang Nan looked towards the scarlet-faced Dandy and snickered in his heart, thanks for serving as the backdrop for my glory! “Right now, are there any others who doubt my ability? Are there any others… who wish to take my place as instructor?”
The classroom was full of absolute silence.
Towards evening, it started to snow heavily from the sky, adorning this famously romantic capital with a thick blanket of silver.
It hardly ever snowed in this temperate, ocean breeze filled Paris, much less snow heavily. As such, the vehicles on the road didn’t neglect to make their preparations, and they all began to slow down and drive cautiously, afraid that they might hit a pedestrian on the side of the road.
Jiang Nan had already concluded one day of the academic program, and carrying his cane, he stood before the entrance of a coffee shop.
At this moment, he was completely different from the way he was in the classroom. Rather than being an energetic, driven young man, he was unsure of himself, ill at ease, and bewildered, as if he was an extremely inexperienced and shy large boy!
Every family has its problems, and Jiang Nan was no exception. In all of his twenty-six years of life, he had only one huge regret in his heart…
He was like any other man, and thirsted for love, longing to have a young and innocent girlfriend.
In his twenty-six years of life, he had confessed his love to eight women, and was rejected by all these eight woman in a row!
A twenty-six year old medical professor, annual salary of hundreds of thousands, and handsome, actually couldn’t find a girlfriend for himself. If this was spoken out loud, would anyone believe it?
Jiang Nan also didn’t quite believe it, but in reality, not only did he never have a girlfriend, he was still a virgin!
In order to say goodbye to his single life, he had just arranged to meet a with beautiful woman at a coffee shop: he determined that during this date, he would take a chance and confess his love.
He hoped that on his ninth confession, he would be able bid farewell to his single life!
As snow slowly drifted through the air, Jiang Nan pushed open the door to the coffee shop.
The cafe was very peaceful, and seven or eight couples sat opposite each other as they each whispered to each other. However, from time to time, a man would cast a glance towards the coffee table overlooking the window.
There sat a beautiful and fashionable woman, and her every movement and action stole the spotlight of all the women within the room!
She was the person Jiang Nan wanted to confess to.
Once she saw him enter the shop, the woman stood and called out to him with familiarity, “Jiang Nan, long time no see.”
“Don’t say anything, don’t ask anything. The reason I called you out today was just so I could ask you a question——you, can you be my girlfriend?”
Jiang Nan took a deep breath and said as he closed his eyes.
Too direct? The woman stared blankly, “This…”
Jiang Nan stealthily opened his eyes to dart a glance at the woman, then swiftly closed them again.
The seconds ticked by, and finally, the woman laughed, “I’m sorry, I don’t think we are suited to each other. We…can we still be ordinary friends?”
Ai, rejected again! Jiang Nan spoke stiffly and formally: “Why not? Is it because I’m not good enough?”
“No, you’re outstanding enough. In regards to outer appearance, there is nothing to criticize, and in terms of financial situation, you’re earning ten or so times more than me. As for education…”
“Then why would you still reject me?!”
He felt thwarted, and could no longer control his perfectly flawless smile, instead hastily interrupting her and bluntly staring at her!
The woman was a bit indignant at his staring, “Are you forcing me to speak the truth? Fine, I’ll tell you. It’s because I can’t accept your field of specialty!”
“Yes, your specialty, human anatomy! I can’t imagine accepting a boyfriend who’s a human anatomy specialist in any situation——these two hands of yours, everyday they touch numerous corpses, dig out numerous organs dripping with blood, yet late at night, you’re still going to caress my body with those hands? Furthermore, I don’t want to imagine that you, a passionate anatomist, will hoard various organs of different people, and every morning while I’m in the kitchen cooking soup for you, I won’t be able to help but think——God, just several feet below me are countless organs steeping in formalin, and even being preserved… I apologize, I got a bit emotional. But I’m speaking honestly——Jiang Nan, it’s natural for you to have a passion towards anatomy, but this only makes me feel repulsed. In fact, it makes me feel like no longer having any relationship with you! This is the reason why I’m refusing!”
After she was finished speaking, the woman stared at Jiang Nan with an icy expression, not flinching the slightest bit!
After a long while, Jiang Nan pushed up his golden-rimmed spectacles, and resuming that so-called perfect smile, he answered, “I understand now. Goodbye!”
His tone was a bit agonized…
The woman immediately walked off without hesitation, but after a few seconds, she suddenly stopped and returned. With a ‘bam’, she slapped down several crisp, green bills to Jiang Nan!
His eyebrows furrowed, then he used his hand to push back the money, “What’s wrong? You think I can’t settle the bill?”
“No, it’s not that I think you can’t settle the bill. I only wish to abide by my words——I don’t wish to have any sort of relationship with you, even being treated to a cup of coffee is unacceptable!”
At this, the woman turned and charged into the freezing, snowy world without a second glance. And Jiang Nan just sat there by himself, a cane for anatomy that was even more lonely than himself accompanying him…
This was his ninth rejection now!
There was once a person who jokingly said, men who study anatomy are unlucky fellows who ‘deserve to be incapable of finding a girlfriend’.
To Jiang Nan, this phrase was the truth…
In the twenty-six years of his life, he had confessed eight times——excuse me, nine times, yet he had been rejected a whole nine times!
Everytime, the reason for the rejection was frighteningly similar, “Jiang Nan, I’m sorry, I really can’t accept your specialty, that nauseating human anatomy!”
“Jiang Nan, you’re a disgusting bastard. Don’t even think about letting me see you again!”
“I beg you, just forget about me, it’s impossible for there to be love between us…”
Reaching this bone-chilling conclusion, Jiang Nan’s heart was extremely unreconciled, “Why, why aren’t there any women who are willing to accept human anatomy! Why, why aren’t there any women who will love the me as a human anatomist?!”
It’s not that he hadn’t thought about giving up human anatomy for a perfect love… but, could he truly do so? If he didn’t have any true love towards human anatomy, could he have achieved the accomplishments he had today?
Anatomy, cadavers, he couldn’t bear to part with these two things, couldn’t cut them off!
Even if he was facing an unmatched beauty!
Jiang Nan had a whirlwind of thoughts in his mind…
Suddenly, honk honk! A piercing horn resounded through the air behind him!
Turning around to look, it turns out that a sports car had lost control on the frozen road, and through the windshield, one could see that the driver’s face was full of alarm and panic. She thought that she had alerted Jiang Nan for quite a while, but his heart was no longer there and he failed to notice.
Bam! Jiang Nan’s eyes went wide as he watched himself get shot into the air, and as he floated at death’s door, his heart flooded with regret and unreconciliation!
“I bitterly studied anatomy for twenty-some years, and now, I can say the purpose of every single muscle as if listing my family’s valuables; I can completely dissect a human body in twenty-seven seconds; even, even completely assemble the human body from a pile of fragmented organs within three minutes… yes, these abilities have brought me success and recognition, won me the title of genius of the anatomy world, the number one researcher of the human body! But, they have also gotten me rejected nine times, made me deserve to be unable of finding a girlfriend!”
Jiang Nan’s body slammed onto the icy road, and in the last moments of his life, he used his hand to adjust his golden-rimmed spectacles and settled himself in an extremely elegant dying posture (TL: those priorities doh. but dying in style), and then… he laughed self-deprecatingly.
“Alright, alright! What use is there in being able to completely dissect a body in twenty-seven seconds? F*** me, I’m an unlucky guy who deserves to be incapable of finding a girlfriend!”
Jiang Nan slowly closed his eyes, so he didn’t see that right at the moment of death…
The cane he had been tightly gripping in his hand had disappeared!