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Chapter 203 – Snow-Treading Xun Mei
TL: The name of the chapter (踏雪荀梅) is actually a pun of an idiom (踏雪寻梅). They are read the same (tà xue xún méi), and the idiom means “to walk in the snow to view the flowering plum”
The power that was transmitted from Zhexiu’s pulse was very strong like a flood that had broken through the rock blockade of a river. It subsided with a howl and rose in a gush. Chen Changsheng could imagine the amount of damage and pain this type of power brought to Zhexiu. However, Zhexiu’s expression remained unchanged, which meant that he had tolerated this type of pain all year round or even at all times. He had even become numb to it, but his eyes would still become gloomy. This meant that even though he had already acclimated to it, he was still unable to completely ignore this kind of pain. This kind of pain really seemed to be extremely scary.
Chen Changsheng stayed silent for a while before placing his fingers over Zhexiu’s pulse once again. This time, he channeled some true essence into it— He was somewhat lacking confidence in his own judgment. He was unsure whether Zhexiu’s problems with his meridians were severe or not, as he could not imagine how a person could withstand such pain and still live for so many years.
The grass hut became extremely quiet underneath the twilight. The oil lamps were not lit, and he focused on observing Zhexiu’s expression. Chen Changsheng only saw two eyes that were filled with feelings of stubbornness and perseverance. He waited diligently and did not miss any sudden changes in pulse. However, when that had time arrived, he was still thrown off guard.
With a soft pop, Chen Changsheng’s fingers were once again knocked away.
This time under the dual observation of true essence and spiritual sense, he had gained an even more precise understanding of the weird activities in Zhexiu’s meridians. He had some vague ideas in his mind, and his heart began to feel heavy from it. His eyebrows became tightly furrowed unknowingly. What exactly was the problem with that turbulent, tide-like shaking?
He pulled back his right arm and looked at Zhexiu. He did not know what to say.
Zhexiu’s expression remained the same as before, but his face was closer. Therefore, he could see that Zhexiu’s hair was vaguely soaked, glimmering from the reflected starlight that shone into the grass hut. It was early spring and only slightly cold. He was a teenager with such strong willpower that even in front of the Mausoleum of Books, he would not change his expression. However, he currently had sweat profusely. One could only imagine how difficult it was to bear with such pain.
At this moment, Zhexiu opened his mouth and said while looked at Chen Changsheng, “I never actually thought that your true essence would be so weak.”
Chen Changsheng had totally never thought that at this time, what he cared most about was not his own illness but such matters.
“Yes, it is too weak.”
A voice appeared from the side of the table. It came from the man whom Chen Changsheng and Zhexiu had almost forgotten was sitting there.
After that man pushed his messy hair behind his ear, his gaze moved from Chen Changsheng’s body to Zhexiu’s. He said, “Tide Rush of Blood. You are actually not dead yet?”
Chen Changsheng stayed silent. He knew that the Daoist Canons had these four words written in it, but it was Zhexiu’s problem.
There were no changes in Zhexiu’s expression. Four years ago, when Elder Tianji helped him diagnose the illness, he had also spoken in such a manner.”
“I won’t die.” He said while looking at that middle-aged man.
The slow speech of the teenager was abnormally forceful like the rubbing between two rocks. It was also like a sword cutting through bone. It was extremely definite.
That man shook his head and no longer paid any more attention. He stood up from the table and walked to the side of the bed. He collapsed directly onto it.
Originally, Chen Changsheng had wanted to speak with him about the matter of staying over for the night. However, he had never thought that in the next moment, he would hear a snoring sound from the bed, so he naturally could not mention it.
The snores echoed through the grass hut like thunder. What he did not understand was what the man did during the day to become this tired. He signaled to Zhexiu to walk out of the hut with him. They arrived in the sparse, small yard surrounded by wattled fencing. After borrowing the starlight, he looked at Zhexiu and paused to speak again.
“Even the Council of Divine Ordinance cannot treat me, but you might be able to treat me.”
Zhexiu said slowly as he looked at him. His tone could not be considered as rude, but the contents of what he had said was actually rather rude.
What Chen Changsheng wanted to see was all blocked by this sentence, so he could only stay silent. He stared into the distance at the Mausoleum of Books, which was like a black mountain and sighed quietly with emotion, “Fate indeed is unfair.”
Zhexiu said, “Fate gave me a powerful bloodline talent, which also brought along pain that was hard to live with and a gloomy future. When I look at it, it is very fair.”
Chen Changsheng said, “But you had no choice, nor could you deny the powerful bloodline, nor at the same time, could you deny such pain. I still believe it is unfair.”
Zhexiu stayed silent for a while before saying, “Yes, it was never fair.”
Perhaps, it was due to their extremely similar circumstances that closely afflicted people empathized with one another, but Chen Changsheng’s impression towards Zhexiu underwent a very large change. He had learnt that under the seemingly cold outward appearance, this Wolf Tribe teenager had hidden a lot of pain and unwillingness. Unwilling to let his mental state remain so cold, he said, “But there might be something counterbalancing fairness, such as us entering the Mausoleum of Books to view the monoliths. We will have to rely on ourselves for whatever we can comprehend.”
“The Mausoleum of Books is the unfairest thing.”
Zhexiu looked at the mausoleum under the starlight and said expressionlessly, “On what basis should humans be allowed to determine the rules to enter the Mausoleum of Books? On what basis is the demon race not allowed to see the Heavenly Tomes?”
Chen Changsheng had never thought that he who had killed an unknown number of members of the demon race would actually help the demon race cry out against injustice. He could not help but stare blankly.
“I am not crying out against injustice for the demon race. I am only questioning what is fair.” Zhexiu said, “Those stone monoliths within the Mausoleum of Books are actually no different from pieces of leftover deer leg. They are all meat, and everybody wants to eat those pieces of meat. Also, they are all greedy. However, only the strongest people can have the right to distribute parts of this meat.”
Chen Changsheng asked, “So you want to become even stronger?”
Zhexiu said, “No, I want to become stronger not because I want to distribute meat, but because I just want to eat meat.”
Chen Changsheng thought about it and was about to say something. Just at this moment, a shout was suddenly raised from far away in the night.
“Where are you? Chen Changsheng, you b*stard where are you?”
After hearing this voice, Chen Changsheng could not help but sigh. Even Zhexiu’s expression underwent some change——In the Grand Examination, this voice’s owner had left too deep of an impression onto him.
“I am here, Thirty-Six, I am just right here.” Chen Changsheng yelled into the woods at night.
The Mausoleum of Books was a holy ground, and it was extremely sacred and solemn. People who walked in it would often all hold their breath or lower the sound of their breathing. During the day, the mausoleum park was extremely quiet, but at night, there were suddenly two teenagers shouting aloud, flooding it with noise instead. Only after yelling did Chen Changsheng realize this, and he could not help but feel very embarrassed.
Accompanying the rustling sounds between his clothes and branches, Tang Thirty-Six found his way and pushed over the six or seven-foot tall wattled fencing with a single push. After arriving in front of Chen Changsheng, he heavily pat his shoulder, and said with lingering fear that was hard to extinguish, “I was really worried that the problem with your mind had not been fixed and that you had directly left the Mausoleum of Books. Luckily, you haven’t.”
Chen Changsheng was somewhat helpless and said, “Could you not yell so loudly? The Mutual Response of the Fisherman’s Song is a sword technique from the Lishan Sword Sect.”
Tang Thirty-Six said boldly and straightforwardly, “This place is so large, and yet the government hasn’t even installed a sound projecting array. Also, those Monolith Guardians aren’t servants, so they can’t be ordered around. Other than yelling, how else can I find people?”
What he had said made a lot of sense, so Chen Changsheng actually could not rebuke him in any way.
Just at this moment, Zhexiu said expressionlessly, “After entering the Mausoleum of Books, everybody will make best use of their time to view the monoliths and comprehend the Dao. Who will be like you, yelling out to friends like you haven’t forgotten anything?”
“Hmm, is it actually you?”
Only now did Tang Thirty-Six notice Zhexiu. After being vaguely startled, he walked up enthusiastically and said as he reached for his hands, “You have finally arrived. Have you come for your debt?”
Zhexiu was not used to this type of close interaction, so he took a step back and dodged his hands.
Tang Thirty-Six retracted his hands very naturally and then heavily pat Chen Chengsheng’s shoulders. He said, “If you can resolve the debt, then quickly resolve it.”
Chen Changsheng rubbed his shoulder. He thought that if he had not undergone perfect Purification under the Black Dragon Pond for some reason, perhaps, his shoulder really would have been broken today by Tang Thirty-Six. He said, “I will try, but I lack confidence.”
Just at this moment, that man walked out from the grass hut. His loose and messy hair covered up the fatigue on his face.
Chen Changsheng bowed and asked, “Senior, why do you not rest a little longer?”
That man looked at Tang Thirty-Six and said, “Too noisy.”
“Sorry, my friend came to find me. He is in a bit of a cheerful mood.” Chen Changsheng apologized and then introduced him to Tang Thirty-Six, “This senior is the owner of the grass hut. I thought that since I have to stay in the Mausoleum of Books for a month, I cannot live out in the open. It is bad for the body, so I wanted to ask for lodging…”
He minded his own business and spoke continuously until he noticed that Tang Thirty-Six was not listening to him at all. Instead, he was staring blankly at that man.
That man tied up his messy hair, which revealed his face. This was also the first time Chen Changsheng and Zhexiu had seen his full appearance. They only saw that this person was handsome, and he had eyes that carried a hint of coldness. However, this did not give people a cold-blooded feeling, but rather a clean feeling although he was not truly clean.
Tang Thirty-Six looked at that man’s face, and his expression became a little weird. He seemed slightly bewildered, and afterwards, he seemed to remember something. His eyes suddenly glimmered and said with astonishment, “You… you are…. You are Xun Mei.”
That man was slightly startled. He stared at Tang Thirty-Six and stayed silent for a very long time before speaking plainly, “Correct, I am Xun Mei. Who would have thought that there are still people who remember me.”
After hearing these two words, Xun Mei, Zhexiu raised his eyebrow slightly. It was very obvious that he was also remembered the identity of this person. Only Chen Changsheng still did not know.
“How can anybody not remember Senior Snow-Treading Xun Mei?” Tang Thirty-Six looked at the middle-aged man called Xun Mei and said with astonishment, “The rumors say that ever since after the Grand Examination that year, senior has always stayed within the Mausoleum of Books to view the monoliths and comprehend the Dao. Who would have thought that it was actually true.”
Xun Mei looked at the indistinct lights within the mausoleum. He revealed a slight disappointment and said, “So the Grand Examination this year has already ended. No wonder so many people appeared today.”
“Yes senior, today is the first day the top three grades of the Grand Examination have entered the mausoleum.”
Tang Thirty-Six thought of something and pulled Chen Changsheng in front of him. He said proudly, “This is my friend Chen Changsheng. He is the same as senior years ago and has also placed first upon the first banner.
“Oh? What academy are you from?” Xun Mei asked.
Tang Thirty-Six said, “Orthodox Academy.”
Xun Mei nodded and said, “It is common after all for geniuses to come out from under the Banyan tree.”
Hearing what was said, Chen Changsheng was slightly startled. He thought that when people normally heard that the Orthodox Academy was revived, they would always be slightly surprised. But this senior….only after thinking about it again did he suddenly fully realize that this senior did not know about the great calamity that had occurred to the Orthodox Academy a dozen years ago. Wouldn’t it be saying that this person had already stayed in the Mausoleum of Books to view the monoliths for at least a dozen years and had never left?
Tang Thirty-Six said to him, “Senior Xun Mei obtained first place upon the first banner in the Grand Examination thirty-seven years ago.”
Chen Changsheng was very surprised and thought to himself wouldn’t that mean this senior had already stayed within the Mausoleum of Books for thirty-seven years?