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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Early in the morning on the third day, Tianhai Ya'er and that tall man promptly arrived in front of the Orthodox Academy's gate. Quite a few spectators from the capital had also already arrived.
In the previous two days, Chen Changsheng had severely exhausted his spiritual sense but had still failed to open that black monolith on the other side of the ocean of sword intent. Today, he was prepared to temporarily halt his endeavors for a day.
He sat in the library and began to read and study.
There was a sudden wind, then it began to rain. The sound of the wind, the sound of the rain, and the sound as he read through books mingled with the sound of cursing from the other side of the walls; as one sound fell, another rose, but none of them clashed with the others.
Chen Changsheng could shut out all disturbances from his mind, but other people could not. The common folk of the capital already had an extremely awful impression of the Tianhai clan, and they were completely lacking in favorable opinions of Tianhai Ya'er, who had obtained an evil reputation early on. By noon, when those spectators drenched in the rain realized that Tianhai Ya'er's obscenities were all the same old curses and had cycled around to the very beginning, someone finally booed, followed by a few mocking laughs.
Tianhai Ya'er sat in his wheelchair, his face getting increasingly pale and the expression in his eyes growing increasingly ruthless. He raised his right hand. As a result, a conflict erupted between the crowd and the Tianhai clan's followers. The priests of the Li Palace and the guards were a little late in rushing over. Two ordinary commoners were injured and one follower of the Tianhai clan had been beaten up by the crowd until he was covered in blood.
The priests were incensed and demanded that the guards immediately clear out Hundred Flowers Lane. Simultaneously, they were no longer prepared to wait for the discussion amongst their higher-ups to conclude, and decided to escort Tianhai Ya'er and that other person away. At this very moment, Tianhai Ya'er slapped his injured leg and shrilly shouted, "Murder!"
"The Li Palace is powerful, they're going to hound somebody to death! They hounded Liang Xiaoxiao to death, they hounded Zhuang Huanyu to death, and now they're going to hound me to death!"
"Come, I'll be watching you! If you hound me to death, just how are you going to explain it to my great-aunt!"
The Li Palace priests were all enraged, but they couldn't lay a hand on him.
Ever since the Divine Empress replaced Emperor Xian in reading memorials and took hold of the Imperial Court, in the following two hundred years, the Tianhai clan supplanted the Chen Imperial clan as the number one clan on the continent. The current Imperial Court of the Great Zhou was filled with the children and disciples of the Tianhai clan and their power had flourished magnificently. Crucially, all the juniors of the Tianhai clan shared a common great-aunt—the Divine Empress.
Gazing around him at the eye-catching and brightly-colored plum blossoms and then turning to the tired expression of the archbishop, Priest Xin felt a complex set of emotions. He said, "If they continue to make such a ruckus, it'll be too much of a loss of face."
Mei Lisha slowly opened his eyes and gazed out the window. "In any case, since the Tianhai clan has already lost their face for so many years, they won't care about it."
Priest Xin asked, "Just how do we take care of this matter? If there's really no other option, I will bring some people and drive Tianhai Ya'er away."
Mei Lisha emotionlessly said, "Could it be that you cannot see that this is all a smoke screen?"
"A smoke screen?" Priest Xin suddenly remembered that piece of news that had come from the Li Palace and asked in astonishment, "Is Your Eminence speaking of that matter the two archbishops brought up a few days ago?"
Of the so-called Six Prefects of the Orthodoxy, in terms of qualifications and status, Mei Lisha was without question the head of the Six Prefects, but the other five were all considerably frightening personages. Mao Qiuyu was no longer the Principal of the Heavenly Dao Academy. He had been appointed as the Archbishop of the Hall of Illustrious Persons and had become one of the Orthodoxy's Six Prefects. The two archbishops that Priest Xin was speaking of now were the archbishops of the Hall of Subjugation and the Hall of Shadow Steps. (TN: It was previously stated that Mao Qiuyu was appointed Archbishop of the Hall of Subjugation. From now on, the author states that Mao Qiuyu was appointed Archbishop of the Hall of Illustrious Persons.)
Several years ago, these two archbishops had grown concerned that the Demon race was flourishing by the day. In order that the Orthodoxy could increase the battle prowess of human cultivators, they put forth a proposal—amongst the Six Ivies, excluding Star Seizer Academy, the teachers and students of these academies could challenge each other as long as they were of the same cultivation level. Without ample reason or an exception from the Li Palace, the target of this challenge could not refuse. Of course, there were also many additional rules and limitations.
No matter which angle you examined it from, this proposal was very reasonable and necessary. As a result, when it was first suggested, it received the support of all the halls and schools. The Imperial Court also praised it and Star Seizer Academy even demanded to be added into it. The problem was that those two archbishops that had made this proposal had been the Pope's most loyal assistants, but now, the entire continent knew that they firmly stood on the side of the Divine Empress—yes, these two archbishops were exactly the two that Mei Lisha had said had not yet made the turn few days ago. Now that the entire continent, especially the priests of the Li Palace, were all focused on the ruckus in front of the gate of the Orthodox Academy, these two archbishops were once more preparing to promote this plan. Just what were they up to?
Priest Xin suddenly understood and his heart chilled. "His Holiness…will not agree."
"But is there a reason not to agree?" Mei Lisha's voice was rather exhausted.
"The Orthodox Academy currently only has Chen Changsheng and Xuanyuan Po. Even if Tang Tang comes out of the Mausoleum of Books, there are still too few students. According to the rules of that proposal, the Orthodox Academy is too disadvantaged…"
"Two years ago when this proposal was made, the Orthodox Academy didn't have a single person, so you cannot accuse them of deliberately targeting the Orthodox Academy."
Finally, Mei Lisha added, "Currently, the Orthodox Academy only has three and a half students, but that is the Orthodox Academy's own problem to address."
At night, Priest Xin went to the Orthodox Academy and relayed the situation to Chen Changsheng.
"That person is called Zhou Ziheng (自横). He came from the Temple Seminary and is a priest of the Hall of Subjugation. He is a teacher at the Temple Seminary as well as an honored guest of the Tianhai clan."
"No man at the ferry, the boat drifts there, on its own?" (野渡无人舟自横)
"Zhou (周), the Zhou from ‘careful’ (周密)."
"Which 'heng' is it?"
"It's that 'heng' (横)."
Chen Changsheng thought about that tall and thin man next to the wheelchair and remembered the faint sense of ridicule on his face. He thought to himself that this truly was a very arrogant (骄横) individual.
"Zhou Ziheng has three identities, and any one of them is enough for him to take action if you move against Tianhai Ya'er." Priest Xin said with heartfelt sincerity, "Since you've already endured for three days, you might well as bear with it for a few more. If the Hall of Subjugation's proposal passes, we'll talk about how to deal with it when the time comes."
"Because Zhou Ziheng is a priest of the Hall of Subjugation, it’s not convenient for the Li Palace priests guarding the Orthodox Academy to do anything against him…" Chen Changsheng fell silent for a few moments, then raised his head and seriously asked, "Then if that proposal really does pass and Zhou Ziheng challenges me, the Li Palace will also not do anything?"
Priest Xin affirmed, "Correct."
Chen Changsheng replied, "But he is at Star Condensation, one realm higher than me. According to the rules, I can reject it."
Priest Xin looked into his eyes and said, "He would challenge the Orthodox Academy and you are its principal. Or perhaps the Orthodox Academy has someone else that can take the challenge?"
Chen Changsheng looked back at him and said, "This position of principal was done by His Holiness and His Eminence. As for the Orthodox Academy having no other students, Sir most keenly understands the reason why."
Priest Xin felt somewhat embarrassed and said, "In short, as long as you endure for a few more days, His Holiness will definitely not leave you at a disadvantage."
Chen Changsheng said nothing more. After seeing him out of the academy, he walked back into the library and began to take in starlight and undergo Purification. He continued to cultivate his swordplay and continued his attempts to break through the secrets of the black monolith.
A night's time passed wordlessly and morning came once again. Tianhai Ya'er and that expert from the Hall of Subjugation called Zhou Ziheng also came.
Today, there was still a light wind, a fine drizzle, and also obscene language and abuse.
Chen Changsheng could bear it. In the end, those filthy obscenities were not heavily seasoned and fatty foods, and they were also not a bed filthy with dust. There was nothing in them that he could not bear. Yet at dusk, some rather unpleasant news came from the Li Palace. The proposal of those two archbishops had passed. Whether he could bear it or not was no longer important.
A letter of challenge was passed into the Orthodox Academy. On it was precisely the name of Zhou Ziheng.
Chen Changsheng gazed at that name in silence for a few moments, then he continued his Purification and continued to observe that black monolith.
At the moment, he could already clearly make out the lines on the monolith and had confirmed that it was the Heavenly Tome Monolith that Wang Zhice had left behind in Lingyan Pavilion. He could even distinctly sense that on the other end of the black monolith was truly the Qi of the Garden of Zhou.
Compared to the Heavenly Tome Monoliths and the Garden of Zhou, the tricks and plans of some people within the Tianhai clan and the Orthodoxy really didn't amount to much. However, when his spiritual sense strenuously crossed through that ocean of sword intent, he always felt like he could see a little boat in that vast ocean. That little boat swayed to and fro with the waves and seemed like it could be destroyed at any moment, yet it was not. It made him feel somewhat agitated.
He had always thought that the endless abuse being hurled out by Tianhai Ya'er and that incident last year where the gate to the academy had been knocked down were exactly the same. They were all disgracing the Tianhai clan.
But now he realized that even though he still believed his view to be correct, in the face of this sort of situation, just who wouldn't be angry?
On the morning of the next day, Priest Xin came with two more pieces of bad news.
Zhou Tong had refused to release Zhexiu; Zhexiu was still imprisoned in that sinister jail and nobody knew when he would come out. The entire continent knew that Zhou Tong was the Divine Empress's most loyal and most frightening dog. Compared to him, Xu Shiji was nothing much. Zhou Tong's unyielding attitude in this matter was an extremely ill omen to many people. A storm was about to engulf the city—could it really be that the Imperial Court and the Orthodoxy would come into open conflict with each other?
Chen Changsheng asked, "This is the desire of His Holiness. His Eminence personally paid a visit and Zhou Tong still refused to release Zhexiu? Just what does he want to do?"
Priest Xin then relayed the second bad piece of news. "His Eminence's health has not been good. It might be a few days before he can pay a visit to Zhou Tong."
There was still some good news.
Zhexiu had not come out, but a certain person was about to come out.
At five o'clock in the morning, Chen Changsheng promptly woke up and left with Xuanyuan Po out the academy's gate. At this time, Tianhai Ya'er and Zhou Ziheng had not arrived.
To travel from the Orthodox Academy to the Mausoleum of Books was quite the distance. By the time they had reached that small river and arrived at the front gate of the Mausoleum of Books, it was already well into the morning.
Gazing at the verdant and lush green mountain, Chen Changsheng naturally began to think back to the first time he had come here to view the monoliths and comprehend the Dao. And then, for some reason, he began to think of that mausoleum in the Plains of the Unsetting Sun. Soon after, he thought of that night several months ago, Wang Po and Mao Qiuyu standing where he was standing right now while he, Gou Hanshi and the others stood inside, carrying Xun Mei who was on the verge of death.
Mao Qiuyu was no longer the Principal of the Heavenly Dao Academy. He had been appointed Archbishop of the Hall of Illustrious Persons and his status and authority were even greater. And yet he had been quiet for a very long time and it had been many days since the capital had heard any news of him.
Thinking of Zhuang Huanyu's death and the recent silence from the Heavenly Dao Academy, he felt like he vaguely understood the reason why. His mood couldn't help but become somewhat serious.
A rumbling noise roused him. With the shaking of the ground, the heavy stone doors of the Mausoleum of Books slowly opened.
(TN: This chapter had quite a lot of wordplay which is difficult to convey through the translation. First, the title is a reference to a poem by Wei Yingwu, using the line 野渡无人舟自横, from the poem ‘The West River at Ch’u-chou’. This line can be translated as ‘No man at the ferry, the boat drifts there, on its own’. In the case of the title, the section about the boat is replaced with line about the mausoleum opening, 陵自开 replaces 舟自横. This line is referenced once again with the name Zhou ‘Ziheng’. The last characters of this line are also ‘Zhou Ziheng’, but the ‘Zhou’ character is different. The ‘Zhou’ in the poem means ‘boat’ while the ‘Zhou’ used in the name can be used as part of the phrase 周密, meaning careful. Thus, in that section, Chen Changsheng is asking for clarification on the characters making up Zhou Ziheng’s name, two of which happen to come from the poem. Lastly, the final bit of wordplay comes from the last character of the name, heng ‘横’. When used with the character 骄, it means arrogant/overbearing ‘骄横’.)