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It was very quiet in the tower, whether be it on the floor above or the floor below.
No one knew what kind of evaluation should be given to this match; it wasn’t until after a long period of time, did His Eminence, Archbishop Mei Li Sha, sigh and say: “Amazing.”
This word was directed at Chen Chang Sheng and also Gou Han Shi – Chen Chang Sheng was amazing because of his tranquillity when facing the terror of death; to be tranquil to the point of being aloof and thus, fearsome.
Gou Han Shi was amazing because, when faced with the most important point of a cultivator’s journey in life, he could remain calm and collected, using reason to exchange the ardency of youth into a type of power, the power to relinquish.
As such, the last duel of this year’s Grand Examination drew to a close, with Gou Han Shi’s withdrawal from the match; the Grand Examination had its first upon the First Banner, however, the personages continued to have complex moods, complex and hard to articulate.
The drizzle slowly ceased, with a few wisps of clouds remaining in the skies of the Education Palace; morning rays gradually increased in intensity, spilling in from the windows and falling upon everyone’s faces.
Archbishop Mei Li Sha was expressionless, as if he was empty of thought.
Mo Yu was expressionless, unknown as to what she was thinking.
Xu Shi Ji was also expressionless; a lot of people could guess as to what was currently going through his mind.
The two Archbishops of the Holy Church had expressionless faces, because they didn’t know what they should be thinking.
Gou Han Shi walked out of the tower and stood atop the steps; he didn’t pay any attention to the gazes that turned towards him, neither did he rush to meet and talk to his junior brothers that were waiting ahead, instead, he directed his gaze towards the sky above.
In the real world, at a location deep inside Li Palace, His Holiness, The Pope, looked at the beads of water that were upon the Green Leaf, he shook his head, then took out a handkerchief from within his sleeve and carefully wiped away the water.
Accompanying the slow movement of His Holiness’ hand, the skies within the Education Palace also began to change.
Gou Han Shi looked at the rainclouds being swept away; the heavens once again returning to an azure blue, with this, his mind became widened anew and the depressive mood that had sprung from those last few sword manoeuvres in the tower, gradually dissipated.
Outside of the tower, all the examinees stared intently at the door above the steps.
They all saw Gou Han Shi walking out; momentarily after, Chen Chang Sheng also came out… more accurately speaking, he was carried out by the Li Palace clergy on a stretcher, then, the clergy announced the final result.
Chen Chang Sheng had won?
This youth from Orthodox Academy has really taken first upon the First Banner?
It was dead quiet in the area surrounding the tower; then, an explosive sound rang out.
For the remaining examinees at the match grounds, their expressions became extremely unsightly, especially for those who had mocked Chen Chang Sheng incessantly at the divine avenue some days ago, those students of Temple Seminary and Li Palace College.
That young junior from Holy Maiden Peak, Ye Xiao Lian, was especially shocked, to the point of not knowing what she could say.
From the woodlands, there suddenly erupted chaotic bawls.
Tang Thirty-Six, Luo Luo and Xuan Yuan Po ran towards the front of the tower.
After arriving at the tower and confirming the result of the match, Tang Thirty-Six remained silent for a moment, then started laughing boisterously. While he was laughing, he intentionally strut out his waist with his hands, gazing at those examinees below who had previous mocked Chen Chang Sheng, with his laughter being remarkably arrogant; because he really did feel very exultant, very proud.
Xuan Yuan was similarly also very excited, exuberant to the point of being gobsmacked, his face was dyed red, with his stubble seemingly wanting to pierce through his skin and sprout out. He raised his pot-sized fist towards Chen Chang Sheng’s chest, whom was lying on the stretcher, to bump upon it.
Chen Chang Sheng was currently suffering from heavy injuries, if he were to take such a blow, what kind of result will it have?
Luckily, Xuan Yuan Po’s fist was blocked by a small hand – Luo Luo crouched by the side of the stretcher and retracted her left hand; seeing Chen Chang Sheng, alongside his pallid face and blood covered body, her face was etched with worry.
“I promised myself and all of you that I will definitely win.”
Chen Chang Sheng grasped her right hand, looked at her and said: “I’ve won.”
When saying those words, the edge of his lips were raised very high; his smile very oafish.
Tang Thirty-Six turned and looked at his appearance, saying, in a worried voice: “He hasn’t been beaten silly right?”
At that moment, Guan Fei Bai’s voice suddenly erupted from the front of the tower: “How can this be?”
His voice was very cold and infuriated.
He couldn’t possibly accept that his second senior brother would lose to Chen Chang Sheng.
Previously, they had already seen a lot of phenomena outside of the tower, but no matter what, he couldn’t find the reason for his senior’s loss to Chen Chang Sheng… not to mention, Gou Han Shi currently didn’t have any major injuries and could still calmly stand atop the steps, while Chen Chang Sheng was laid on a stretcher, his body covered in blood.
Under these circumstances, how could it possibly be Chen Chang Sheng’s victory?
The paved area outside of the tower suddenly became exceedingly quiet.
Countless gazes gathered upon Gou Han Shi and Chen Chang Sheng.
There were a lot of people that had the same thought as Guan Fei Bai. Unless Gou Han Shi was to acknowledge that he had lost, or someone could bring out a reason that can persuade them all, they would all suspect that something dubious was going on for this match.
Gou Han Shi raised his right hand, indicating that his junior brothers need not say anything else.
Chen Chang Sheng, under the support of Luo Luo, sat up, looked at Gou Han Shi and sincerely said: “Thank you.”
Gou Han Shi remained silent for a long time, repeating the entire match from start to finish in his mind, confirming that there wasn’t anything he overlooked, before saying: “Your victory was logical, why would you need to thank me?”
Chen Chang Sheng said: “I’m not your equal, I only managed to take a small advantage.”
Gou Han Shi understood Chen Chang Sheng’s reasoning, he shook his head and said: “For a battle, all aspects are important; even if you were to have 99 aspects out of 100 in which you are inferior to me, as long as you have 1 aspect that surpasses me, it’s still a victory.”
Silence covered the area outside of the tower and confusion filled the faces of Guan Fei Bai, Qi Jian and Liang Ban Hu, not understanding what Gou Han Shi was referring to: how could one lose in 99 aspects, but be adequate by winning in only 1 aspect?
“Because that is the most important aspect.”
Gou Han Shi spoke as he looked at Chen Chang Sheng, explaining to his three juniors at the same time: “Akin to a wooden barrel, the most important part will always be the shortest board; being weaker than you in that aspect, I am inferior in all respects.”
What aspect was the most important? Gou Han Shi and Chen Chang Sheng were the only ones that knew it was their views on life and death. After hearing those words, Chen Chang Sheng remained silent for a while, before saying: “I still need to say I’m sorry.”
Gou Han Shi laughed, but didn’t continue the discussion, he looked at Guan Fei Bai and said: “I… feel a bit hungry.”
Guan Fei Bai still couldn’t understand what happened in the match, but since his senior had already conceded defeat, his prideful nature meant he obviously wouldn’t persist on the topic, he was only worried about his senior’s current mood; he tried his best to make his voice gentler and calmer, asking: “Senior brother, what do you want to eat?”
Gou Han Shi considered for a moment, then said: “Rice gruel.”
Liang Ban Hu said: “It should almost be dark outside; I don’t know if it’ll be easy to find any.”
Qi Jian said: “If it’s leftover from the daytime, then we have to worry about it being cold.”
Gou Han Shi replied: “Cold is delicious.”
With just a few, remarkably ordinary words, the four disciples of Li Shan Sword Sect had accepted this match’s result, heading out of the Education Palace; they were powerful and thus, prideful youths; the reason for their pride.
The Divine State’s Seven Laws were the Divine State’s Seven Laws.
“Let’s also leave,” said Luo Luo.
Tang Thirty-Six and Xuan Yuan Po took the stretcher off the hands of the Li Palace clergy.
It was at that moment, Mo Yu left the tower and arrived before the group from Orthodox Academy, she formally greeted Luo Luo, then looked towards Chen Chang Sheng and said: “Congratulations.”
Chen Chang Sheng replied: “Thank you.”
Mo Yu’s fine brows arched slightly, and she said, with much profundity: “I only hope this really is something to celebrate.”
By this time, all the examinees outside of the tower already knew of the identity of this enchantress that was garbed in court gowns, and they all began to conduct formal greetings in turn, yet, even before they could come up to greet her, Mo Yu had promptly taken her leave.
Chen Chang Sheng and the others pondered over the words she had left behind; their originally exuberant mood was suddenly clouded over, but they didn’t have the time to muse over it more deeply, because closely following this, others had arrived.
Xue Xing Chuan and Prince Chen Liu walked out of the tower and came over, congratulating the four students from Orthodox Academy.
Prince Chen Liu expressing cordial wishes was understandable, but, as Her Divine Majesty’s most trusted Divine General, Xue Xing Chuan had no reason to do this at all; this caused Chen Chang Sheng and the others to feel all the more stunned.
Once His Eminence, Archbishop Mei Li Sha, left the tower and came to their location, everyone knew that there shouldn’t be any more personages making an appearance; because the elderly person directly said: “Let’s leave the palace together.”
It wasn’t a question, but counted as an invitation, prohibiting any sort of refusal, neither was there any reason to refuse.
By now, the entire continent knew that Chen Chang Sheng and Orthodox Academy are representatives advanced by the tradition faction of the Orthodoxy, not to mention, it had to be acknowledged that if this elderly person and the Education Board he controlled had not secretly provided assistance, Chen Chang Sheng would not have had any chance of obtaining first upon the First Banner.
Therefore, whether if he were to acknowledge it or not, Chen Chang Sheng and Orthodox Academy had already established an unbreakable relationship with this elderly personage, hence, all they could now do, is to accept.
Luo Luo’s situation was rather unique, at this rather sensitive time, she couldn’t possibly appear with Mei Li Sha before the crowds outside of Li Palace, this was because she represented the stance of the yao race; in the human race’s struggles and conflicts, she had to be very cautious, to the point where she couldn’t reveal any sort of position.
Chen Chang Sheng looked at her and said, in consolation: “It’s fine, you should return first, we’ll meet again at the academy.”
Luo Luo’s unhappy mood slightly lessened, she held his hand and said: “Then Sir, take care of your injuries.”
Having taken medicine and received a round of treatment, Chen Chang Sheng no longer had to lie upon the stretcher, he was supported by Tang Thirty-Six and Xuan Yuan Po as they followed His Eminence out of the Education Palace.
Luo Luo was currently staying in the Education Palace and thus, didn’t need to leave, she only needed to see them off.
Not long after, one elder and three youths, totalling four people, walked out of the Hall of Clear Virtue.
Taking in everything within sight, all that could be seen was the red tinted skies in the sunset, with the night fast approaching.
They discovered that it was actually already the second day’s evening; the Grand Examination had already continued for two days and one night.
Thinking of this, they couldn’t stop themselves from feeling fatigued; a sudden onset of lethargy.
Outside of Li Palace, it was teeming with people; a stretching dark mass.
The populace that were here to observe the excitement were loath to leave, with a lot of the crowd anxiously grasping onto the gambling slips in their hands, awaiting the final result.
Surrounding the stone pillars, a lot of teachers and Elders from various academies and sects were waiting for the examinees to come out.
The Grand Examination had finally ended and the final results had already been announced.
Those teachers and elders, in addition to being shocked, were in the end, most concerned with the status of their own examinees.
The examinees streamed out of the Hall of Clear Virtue one after the other, following the divine avenue towards the outside of Li Palace to meet their family and teachers; this gave rise to many different situations.
Some examinees yelled out repeatedly, their family crying from surprise and joy
Some examinees had dark expressions, whilst their family constantly consoled them.
Some examinees appeared dazed, with their academy teachers harshly reprimanding them.
With more and more examinees leaving the Education Palace, it gradually became quiet outside of Li Palace.
After leaving the Hall of Clear Virtue, the four disciples of Li Shan Sword Sect directly entered the guesthouse and didn’t appear again, but the crowd still continued to wait for something.
The slanting Sun sank to the West, as if the sunset was naught but a dream. Above the divine avenue, the stone steps towered.
Chen Chang Sheng was supported by Tang Thirty-Six and Xuan Yuan Po, slowly descending the steps.
His Eminence was to the rear, by the side.
Within and without Li Palace, it was silent.
The sunset fell upon the stairs, creating a span of tepid red; a stark contrast from the morning.