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Chapter 212 - A Myriad of Monolith Comprehension Methods (Part Two)
One person stood on the broken fencing while watching the distant setting sun, his face filled with both sorrow and joy. Another person was pacing around the shabby thatched cottage, his mouth seemingly chanting spells, so he seemed to be deranged. This scene was truly rather odd. Who would have thought that these two youths were disciples of the heaven-shaking Mount Li Sword Sect and members of the Divine State’s Seven Laws?
Chen Changsheng had also initially been shocked, but then he had remembered that Liang Banhu and Qi Jian had most likely just come back from viewing the monoliths. They had likely been struck by some insight and were in the process of digesting it, so he did not bother them.
As twilight continued to darken the sky, more and more people were returning to the grass hut. Gou Hanshi’s expression was as calm as ever. It seemed that comprehending the monolith inscriptions had not done any harm to his mind. As for the forcefully abducted Guan Feibai, he was worse off than Liang Banhu and Qi Jian. Like a drunkard, he constantly shouted, “I can still hold on for a bit longer, I can still hold on for a bit longer!”
Chen Changsheng asked, “He’s fine, right?”
“He’s fine, it’s just that he’s used up too much spiritual sense. The shock inflicted by the monolith inscriptions on his sea of consciousness was too great.”
Gou Hanshi apologized for his junior’s lack of manners, and used his fingers to press a few pressure points to make Guan Feibai fall asleep, before tossing him into the hut.
Chen Changsheng had deliberately not used any of his spiritual sense when he had been viewing the monolith. Now that he had seen the state of Guan Feibai, he felt that it had been right to be careful.
Tang Thirty-Six returned, his face filled with fatigue. He could not muster the strength to say anything. He waved at Chen Changsheng, then immediately entered the hut and went straight to sleep. The last to arrive was Zhexiu. By then, the night had already turned pitch-black. The many stars in the sky shined upon Zhexiu’s abnormally pale face. It was very obvious that he too had also consumed an excessive amount of spiritual sense.
With the departure of the setting sun, Liang Banhu awoke from his stupor. Qi Jian had also grown tired of walking. Wiping his sweat, he returned to the courtyard. However, upon remembering what he had done, his face flushed red from embarrassment.
Chen Changsheng went to the kitchen to prepare dinner. Gou Hanshi brought Qi Jian along to assist. Before long, the house became filled with the smell of steamed rice, as well as other scents. Qi Jian went to wake up Guan Feibai and Tang Thirty-Six for dinner. Gou Hanshi and Liang Banhu sat at the table in silence, with two plates of dried meat in front of them.
“What’s wrong?” Chen Changsheng asked.
The cooked, dried meat had been sliced up and split between the two plates. On one plate, the dried meat had been fried with onions and oil, while on the other plate, it had been soaked in sugar.
Gou Hanshi replied, “I…didn’t think that sugar could be put on dried meat.”
Liang Banhu’s expression was somewhat fearful. “Will it taste good?”
“I had it twice when I was little, it tastes very good.” Chen Changsheng offered Gou Hanshi a pair of chopsticks.
Gou Hanshi took up a piece of the sugarcoated meat, and creased his brows as he placed it in his mouth. After chewing it around, his brows relaxed.
There was no way Liang Banhu would fail to interpret his senior’s expression. With gusto, he grabbed a few pieces of the sugarcoated meat for his own bowl, and then squatted over by the doorstep and gulped it all down.
After dinner, Qi Jian washed the dishes. Guan Feibai sat by the table, his face still gloomy. Clearly, he was still rather dissatisfied at being pulled away from the Heavenly Tome Monoliths by Gou Hanshi.
“Not happy?” Gou Hanshi calmly asked.
Guan Feibai’s expression suddenly became fearful. He quickly got up and bowed. “This junior would not dare.”
Gou Hanshi shook his head. “You still aren’t willing to leave the Reflecting Monolith.”
Guan Feibai helplessly replied, “Those people whose levels of cultivation are so much less than mine are still persevering in front of the monolith. Obviously, I can still view them for a bit longer.”
“What sort of things are the Heavenly Tome Monoliths? How can it be that studying and comprehending them is a one-day affair? Why should it occupy your every waking moment?”
Guan Feibai was somewhat vexed. “In one month, the Garden of Zhou will open. There’s too little time…Wang Po took one year to comprehend thirty-one monoliths. My cultivation is so far below his, and I only have a month! How many monoliths can I comprehend? Senior, I can only do my best to make use of every second.”
“Although the Garden of Zhou is good, how can it compare to the Mausoleum of Books? Before we left the sect, master told us that regardless of what happened, the first thing that we should do is to grasp the meaning of those monoliths in the Mausoleum of Books…Sect Master definitely knew of the the Garden of Zhou’s opening, so this was probably what he meant. Of course, cultivating the Dao is all on the individual, so you can make your own decision.”
Gou Hanshi shifted his gaze to Qi Jian and Liang Banhu, who were currently washing the dishes, then looked back at the tightly closed door. “You should all think very carefully about this.”
“I also heard that even Mount Li Sword Sect’s Sect Master thinks the same way.”
Chen Changsheng looked at Zhexiu’s pale face and shook his head. He took out a few needles, used his fingers to press a few places on Zhexiu’s shoulders, then slowly and firmly pushed the needles in. His fingers kneaded Zhexiu’s stomach in a seemingly casual manner, but there seemed to be a rhythm to it. As he did this, he continued to speak, “This is only the first monolith, why so anxious?”
Zhexiu expressionlessly said, “It’s precisely because this is the first monolith that they are anxious.”
Chen Changsheng sent his true essence through the needles into Zhexiu’s body, keeping a close watch on the state of his meridians, as he asked, “And why is that?”
Zhexiu looked out the window. “In front of the Mausoleum of Books, there is a monolith. There were once many names on the monolith, but later on, they were all hacked off.”
Chen Changsheng knew of the monolith Zhexiu spoke of. That monolith held a ranking similar to that of the Proclamation of Azure Clouds. It ranked people by the speed at which they comprehended the monoliths. A hundred years ago, after the Divine Empress had acted in place of His Majesty to ascend the Divine Path and offered sacrifices to the heavens, she had seen that monolith. To view the monoliths was to glimpse the Heavenly Dao, and she had felt this ranking disrespected the Heavenly Dao, so she had ordered for it to be destroyed.
“Even though the ranking on that monolith is no more, who would forget those names?”
Zhexiu continued, “There were twenty-three people who needed only one day to comprehend the Reflecting Monolith. In the past, Zhou Dufu only needed to take a glance at the surface of the monolith before immediately moving to the second.”
Thinking about this legendary figure who had possessed a nigh unfathomable level of talent, Chen Changsheng could only remain silent.
Tang Thirty-Six was laying on his side in the bed with his furskin rolled up to his chest, watching as Chen Changsheng treated Zhexiu. Upon hearing those words, he could not help but be a little angry. “You’re embarrassed because you didn’t successfully comprehend the monolith on the first day? Then what about us who have already spent two days?”
Zhexiu could not turn his head, so he calmly looked out the window as he replied. “Idiots?”
Tang Thirty-Six was furious. “If you weren’t a sick patient, I’d kill you.”
Zhexiu emotionlessly replied, “If I didn’t need Chen Changsheng to treat my illness, I’d have killed you at the Grand Examination.”
Chen Changsheng removed some needles from Zhexiu’s neck. “The interlayer of your main governing meridian connecting your sea of consciousness to you has some problems, so every time your sea of consciousness surges, it causes the Tide Rush of Blood. You’ve always used the strength of your will to suppress it, but if your spiritual sense was excessively consumed and you became unable to hold it back, it is extremely possible that the problem within your meridians will erupt. At that point, who would be able to save you?”
Zhexiu understood that Chen Changsheng was advising him to not spend so much time viewing the monoliths or be overly absorbed into it. However, he paid it no attention.
Chen Changsheng continued, “You said before, that compared to getting stronger, living with a clear mind was far more important.”
After a moment’s pause, Zhexiu replied, “Yes, but if I’m not strong enough, I won’t survive for very long in the place I live in.”
It was just like Gou Hanshi had said, cultivating the Dao was all on the individual. Chen Changsheng could not give any good advice on this sort of matter. Turning to Tang Thirty-Six, he asked, “How was your progress today in comprehending the monoliths?”
Tang Thirty-Six casually replied, “I matched the lines on the monolith to my meridians, then I stimulated my true essence…Since ancient times, the Reflecting Monolith had always been understood in this way. Could there be another?”
Guan Feibai’s mocking voice came from outside the door. “It’s been several thousand years, but you northerners are still using this dim-witted method. No wonder the number of skilled people is becoming less and less. How could the Heavenly Tome Monolith inscriptions be the lines through which true essence travels? It’s obviously better to perceive them with the spiritual sense!”