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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The street below the inn grew absolutely silent. The passersby and traders looked up at Chen Changsheng, some people beginning to murmur in amazement, and then they heard his second sentence.
"I am Chen Changsheng. Su Li is in the room behind me. Whether you want to save him or kill him, all the people that want to come should hurry over."
Just like his previous words, these words also fluttered about in Xunyang City which basked in the lovely spring sunlight. They fluttered swiftly and far. Presumably, they would very quickly pass out of the city walls and flutter to every corner of the continent. Countless gazes landed on the inn's window, resting on Chen Changsheng's face. Silence once again settled over this street in Xunyang City, persisting for a while before finally being shattered by a tumultuous din, welcoming a scene of complete turmoil.
There was the sound of a porcelain bowl shattering on the ground into eighteen pieces, the sound of a window being roughly closed, and the sound of sobbing cries. There were the puzzled questions of a child, the scolding and chiding of the father and mother, the stomping of horse hooves as they rushed off into the distance, and even the distant vibrations of the city gate closing.
With just a moment's effort, the pedestrians and merchants on the street had all vanished. The long street became absolutely deserted, leaving behind only the wrapper of a doughcake floating on the street, as well as several strands of smoke that had come from the distant city gate. In a flash, it seemed like Xunyang City had become a vacant city—not all empty cities were planned to be that way. Sometimes, an empty city meant a dead city or a soon-to-be-dead city.
Chen Changsheng stood by the window, gazing at the still and lifeless street, hearing the gradually retreating and gradually disappearing sounds of human activity, seeing in the cracks of tightly closed doors those eyes that timidly peeked out. He was stunned and speechless. He did not understand. He had just yelled out that Su Li was here, so why had it brought about such a massive reaction? He could feel very faintly that he might have done something wrong, or perhaps had underestimated this matter.
In late spring, the wind that wound its way through the streets of Xunyang City possessed its own small warmth. However, now that the stoves on the side of the road had been extinguished and all signs of human life had disappeared, the wind grew somewhat chillier. Chen Changsheng subconsciously shut the window again. When he turned his head, he saw Su Li sitting on the chair. Somewhat helplessly and somewhat mockingly, Su Li asked, "Afraid now?"
Chen Changsheng's voice was somewhat tense. "It's just a bet."
At some point, Su Li's left hand had taken hold of the Yellow Paper Umbrella, his right hand gently tapping against the armrest of the chair. Looking into Chen Changsheng’s eyes, he said, "Then I can already tell you… you lost your bet."
‘Su Li is here.’ With unimaginable speed, these four words spread to every nook and cranny of Xunyang City. Not even the Great Zhou army's fastest Red Falcons and Red Geese could intercept this news. A deathly stillness hung over Xunyang City, but behind this deathly stillness was true chaos. Who knew how many bowls and plates in the houses of ordinary people met with disaster? Who knew how many people had sprained their ankles?
The place where the atmosphere was most tense was obviously the inn in which Su Li and Chen Changsheng resided. At the same time, this inn was the source of all the chaos. The customers who had been eating ran off as fast as they could, while amongst the visitors that had been staying in the inn, many of them had not even had time to bring their luggage with them. As the stream of guests faded away, even the owner and the waiters of the inn had taken the chance to furtively take their leave.
At the moment, the inn was silent and noiseless. There were overturned chairs and tables everywhere, making for a very disorderly scene. Only on the counter against the wall did someone remain. An accountant stood there. The accountant's eyebrows were drooped, and he seemed rather poverty-stricken. He wore a long gown that had been washed extremely clean, and yet this made him seem even more poverty-stricken. Perhaps because he was poor, he seemed to hate his work, and yet even now, he had not left the inn. He continued to stand behind the counter, moving around his abacus and calculating the accounts.
The news had gotten out, so very naturally, people began coming, one after the other. What made Chen Changsheng somewhat happy was that the very first person to come was someone from the Orthodoxy.
The bishop of Xunyang City was the Orthodoxy's northernmost bishop on the continent. His status was extremely high and his authority extremely weighty. The current bishop appointed to Xunyang City was called Hua Jiefu, and he was the Pope's most trusted aide. For this reason, Xunyang City was a greatly revered location in Tianliang County. Whether it was the lord of Xunyang City or that prince's palace, he rarely ever had to personally pay a visit. However, today, he absolutely had to personally come to this inn. Moreover, the attitude he displayed made all of Xunyang City feel that it was somewhat ill-fitting.
Hua Jiefu did not allow the dozens of priests attending him to enter the inn. He stood in front of the stone steps and tidied his scarlet garments, then walked into the inn alone. He seemed rather low-key, even faintly humble. If Su Li were not so heavily injured, with his life running out, then this respect would naturally have been for him. However, today, this respect was for Chen Changsheng.
Chen Changsheng was the current Principal of the Orthodox Academy. Using Archbishop Mei Lisha's words, within the Orthodoxy, besides the Pope, he did not need to bow to any person. Other people should be bowing to him. It was just that when an honorable cardinal was respectfully bowing to him, he still felt that he was not used to it, and so he subconsciously inclined his body a little.
Hua Jiefu straightened his body, and without even glancing at the shut door beside him, said to Chen Changsheng, "We just recently learned of the news that Your Eminence was still alive, but we could not confirm it. For me to see Your Eminence today is truly a joyous occasion. I believe that once this news is brought back to the capital, His Holiness will also be very delighted. Countless people in the capital will raise up their heads in anticipation for Your Eminence's return."
Without even finishing his words, he had already spoken straightforwardly enough. The bishop had gotten straight to the point and invited Chen Changsheng to leave Xunyang City. If Chen Changsheng agreed, the Cathedral of Xunyang City would undoubtedly send a powerful escort, and even Hua Jiefu himself would take part.
Chen Changsheng turned to the closed door and silently thought for a few moments, then said, "You know that right now, I have a little trouble on my hands."
"I admit that this sir is truly an extremely large trouble, perhaps even the greatest trouble that has been seen in the past several centuries." Hua Jiefu glanced at the door, and then continued, "But this is not Your Eminence's trouble, nor is it the Orthodoxy's trouble. If Your Eminence insists on staying in the inn, this trouble will only get larger and larger, until it becomes so large that even I will not be able to resolve it."
Chen Changsheng asked, "Those… troubles—when will they appear?"
Hua Jiefu replied, "Very quickly. In addition, news has come from the capital that a person from the Scholartree Manor has most likely come north. At the moment, we cannot confirm their identity, but we can definitely confirm that it is very troubling."
After a moment of silence, Chen Changsheng asked, "Can I not bring Sir Su Li back with me to the capital?"
Hua Jiefu did not need to think about it, directly answering, "The Li Palace did not mention it."
Chen Changsheng once again fell silent, understanding his meaning. From the time they had encountered those first two assassins and Xue He until now, quite some time had passed. The Li Palace had most certainly found out that Su Li was with him, but they had ordered their subordinate churches to escort Chen Changsheng back to the capital. That they did not mention a word about Su Li already indicated the Li Palace's position.
"I might have to wait in this inn a little longer."
"We can definitely safeguard Your Eminence, but we have no means of protecting that sir in that room because Your Eminence wants to protect that sir. Your Eminence should understand that is not fair."
Chen Changsheng looked at Hua Jiefu and declared, "So you can pretend that you don't know that I am in Xunyang City."
Hua Jiefu replied, "But Your Eminence is in Xunyang City, and how long does Your Eminence plan to stay? Every person must solve their own troubles in the end, not even speaking of the fact that the sir within is himself a trouble."
Chen Changsheng pondered the question, then replied, "I want to wait until someone from the Mount Li Sword Sect arrives, or… someone he trusts, that has the ability to protect him, comes."
Hua Jiefu sighed regretfully, "The entire world knows that Su Li has never trusted anyone… he has no friends, not a single one. Your Eminence wants to wait until such a person appears—how long will that be?"
"Perhaps…but I always feel that there should be people willing to help him."
With these words, Chen Changsheng turned around and walked into the room.
Hua Jiefu suddenly began to say something behind him. "Your Eminence probably does not know… something happened outside the Garden of Zhou, and Your Eminence really must return as quickly as possible to the capital to resolve it."
Chen Changsheng stopped and asked, "What happened?"
Hua Jiefu replied, "Liang Xiaoxiao died."
Chen Changsheng did not think that he would hear this sort of news. After staring blankly for a few moments, he asked, "He was a spy of the demons—who killed him?"
Hua Jiefu's expression grew somewhat complex. "He said that Your Eminence killed him."
Chen Changsheng was incredibly shocked. "He said I killed him?"
"Yes, although he did not make himself clear before his death, everyone there understood his meaning." Hua Jiefu looked into his eyes and said, "He died under the final move of the Mount Li Sword Style. In the Garden of Zhou, only Qi Jian and Your Eminence know this move."
Chen Changsheng was at a loss, unable to makes heads or tails of what was going on.
Finally, Hua Jiefu said, "Liang Xiaoxiao said that Your Eminence and Zhexiu were spies for the demons. Zhexiu… has already been put in Zhou's prison."
Hearing these words, Chen Changsheng was quiet for a very long time. He knew that he had to return to the capital as soon as possible, but how could he leave? He looked at the closed door and felt that it truly was very troublesome.