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(TN: This is the same chapter title as the one for Chapter 235)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"The word 'traitor’ was truthfully not the most fitting, or perhaps it would be better to say that it was not accurate enough. In this story, it was much more appropriate to use 'spy' or some other word, such as this second set of words which broke the silence hanging over the crowd: "Chen Changsheng you scoundrel! You would actually collude with the demons to harm the outstanding talents of Mount Li, and now you have even hounded Lord Huanyu to death!"
"Hounded to death? I think some powerful figure used some shady method! This was a shameless assassination! It's too disgraceful!"
"Just what nonsense are you all blabbering?"
After viewing the monoliths in the Mausoleum of Books, Chen Changsheng was no longer the object of the capital's hatred and animosity. There were already many people treating him as the glory of the Great Zhou. There were some people who loudly denounced Chen Changsheng, and there were naturally even more people that loudly came to his defense. In a few moments, this great street of the capital had erupted into a massive argument, noisy and raucous beyond compare.
Chen Changsheng looked at the window curtain, listening to those noises from the outside in deep astonishment. On the road, he had finally learned through Hua Jiefu the particulars of what had happened outside the Garden of Zhou. The first thing he had originally planned to do upon reaching the capital was confronting Zhuang Huanyu, but who would have imagined that last night, Zhuang Huanyu…actually died?
The noise outside the carriage window was getting louder and louder, the disputes of the crowd growing increasingly intense, their words getting sharper. It was such a clamor that it made one feel troubled. Chen Changsheng wanted to say something, but he ultimately decided to say nothing. He lowered his head in silence, his eyelashes faintly trembling. The childish air about his appearance had finally almost completely dissipated.
Whether it was to ten thousand cheers or ten thousand pointed fingers, Chen Changsheng, under the gaze of countless commoners, returned to the capital. Only when the fleet of carriages pulled into Hundred Flowers Lane did the world outside of the window become relatively peaceful.
With the priests of the Li Palace guarding the perimeter around Hundred Flowers Lane, no one could approach. As Chen Changsheng gazed at the still-very-new gate of the Orthodox Academy and those still-very-old ivy vines, he felt the dignity and silence from his surroundings and found it rather uncomfortable.
It had taken one day to view all the monoliths of the front mausoleum, and one night to bathe the capital in starlight, after which the Pope had established him as the successor to the Orthodoxy. Not much time had passed since that day. In addition, after he left the Mausoleum of Books, he entered the Garden of Zhou, and in the Plains of the Unsetting Sun, time had seemed to drag on. After that, there were the ten thousand li of snowy plains, the rushed escape. There had simply been no time and no opportunity for him to absorb all these changes. Now, he couldn't help but feel that those were all things from another life.
Many things had changed. The Orthodox Academy that had once been surrounded by countless angry commoners of the capital had now become a place that no ordinary person could approach. Although it was still far from regaining the magnificence of its past, the atmosphere had been refreshed anew.
Thankfully, there were many things that had not changed. Jin Yulu still stood by the gate to the Orthodox Academy, and those silk clothes of his studded with copper coin designs, giving off a wealthy but unsophisticated feel, were still as glossy as water. Xuanyuan Po was still mighty and powerful, his arms as thick as trees. Being embraced by him still gave Chen Changsheng the illusion that he was being swallowed up.
Luoluo was still Luoluo, running into his bosom like a cool breeze. Her two arms wrapped around his neck while her forehead rubbed against his chin. Her petite face carried a contented smile.
Standing under the great banyan tree by the lake, Chen Changsheng and Luoluo spoke together for a very long time. Without missing out on anything, he told the little girl of everything that had occurred in the Garden of Zhou as well as everything he had encountered on the journey south.
"That elf girl…was she very beautiful?"
There were so many things—magnificent and grandiose scenes, schemes and assassinations, one sword being delivered ten thousand li, ten thousand swords unsheathing themselves, a metal blade breaking through a storm—but Luoluo only cared about this. With her eyes wide, she asked Chen Changsheng inquisitively.
Chen Changsheng would naturally not forget that girl called Chen Chujian, but somehow, he could not quite remember her appearance. For some reason, his body went cold, as if he was at this very moment losing something.
Luoluo could tell that his mood had changed. Somewhat sympathetic, she reached out, grabbed his sleeve, and softly said, "Teacher, don't worry. I will think of a way to send people to check."
From Xunyang City to the capital was quite the long journey requiring plenty of time. Besides organizing his memories and preparing for what he needed to do in the capital, Chen Changsheng had obviously not forgotten to have the people of the Orthodoxy help him check for any traces of that girl Chujian. Yet neither the priests of the Li Palace nor the people in Hanqiu City could confirm whether this girl really was amongst the Ethereal Opening cultivators that had entered the Garden of Zhou. So it was naturally impossible to confirm whether she was alive or not.
Chen Changsheng was somewhat soothed by Luoluo's words. The Elf race was extremely close with the White Emperor City and the Great Western Continent. Luoluo's mother was the Chief Princess of the Great Western Continent and her father was the White Emperor of the demi-humans. For her to have people investigate should be more convenient.
Luoluo once again spoke, "Zhuang Huanyu died."
She had long forgotten that back when she was at the Heavenly Dao Academy seeking lessons, she had once seen this genius schoolmate of hers at Principal Mao's residence. She brought this matter up now because she was concerned that Zhuang Huanyu's death would bring her teacher trouble.
Chen Changsheng didn't speak for a few moments, then said, "Yeah, I know."
Luoluo spoke again, "Teacher, I went to the Imperial Palace twice, wanting to get Zhexiu released, but I didn't succeed."
Chen Changsheng rubbed her head and chuckled, "Your fault lah?" (TN: This ‘lah’ is here for the same reason it is in Chapter 388, to evoke Luoluo’s name as the ending interjection of a sentence.)
Being rubbed by his palm and looking so strong and lovely, Luoluo looked extremely cute.
The sunlight fell upon the spring lake and then reflected onto the branches of the great banyan tree, turning into ever-changing dimples of light. One of them fell on Chen Changsheng's face. Luoluo stared at that spot of light on his face and began to chuckle. She was very happy, because her teacher did not blame her, nor did he thank her, but instead especially taught her how to talk in order to tease her and make her happy.
Afterwards, Chen Changsheng took one hour and three large basins of hot water to wash himself sparkling clean from head to toe. Then he and Luoluo headed together to the Li Palace.
The Pope was waiting for him in the Li Palace—
Not in the Great Hall of Light, but rather that quiet side hall.
The light in the hall was very faint. Only the tender green of the Green Leaf in the pot directly leapt into his eyes. After that, he saw that Divine Staff casually leaning against the wall, saw that clear pond and that ornate and grandiose crystal throne, as well as that Yin Yang Crown upon it that was impossible to describe with words. Finally, he saw that elder dressed in hempen robes. He was different from what his zealous worshippers imagined. The supreme Pope seemed just like an ordinary old man, not even as eye-catching as the Divine Staff and the Divine Crown.
Watching the Pope's back as he watered the Green Leaf, Chen Changsheng's emotions were somewhat disorderly. Everyone knew that he was the Pope's chosen successor, and some powerful figures even knew he was the Pope's martial nephew. In other words, he had always been the Pope's only successor in this world. But the problem lay in the fact that he had only met the Pope twice. He wasn't acquainted at all with the Pope, much less close.
The Pope took out a handkerchief and wiped his hands, then turned and smiled. "I remember that Su Li is a lover of fine foods. Being with him, did you eat anything good?"
The Pope plainly had an amiable expression and his voice was so gentle. He was just like an elder questioning a junior that had returned from afar, and because he didn't want the junior to be too nervous, began with a very trivial question…but Chen Changsheng felt like a massive mountain spanning heaven and earth was directly crashing down on him.
From the snowy plains of the land of demons to Xunyang City, many people wanted to kill Su Li. Behind those people stood a lofty figure akin to a god.
It was precisely the Pope.
But Su Li had lived, and to a very large extent, it was because of Chen Changsheng. Thus, it was impossible for him to not think that the Pope's words concealed some sort of accusation and it was impossible for him to not be nervous.