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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
After the division of spoils, no, the division of swords had concluded, Zhexiu no longer had any energy or interest in chatting with them, once again closing his eyes. Chen Changsheng once again took his pulse, confirming that his injuries were taking a turn for the better. He relaxed a tiny bit, then realized that there seemed to be a new problem in the meridians. The tempo of the Tide Rush of Blood seemed to be much slower than before. Was this an omen that Zhexiu's true essence was on the verge of exhaustion? Chen Changsheng did not dare to dwell on this possibility. He dimmed the lantern, returned the mountain of swords to his sheath, then indicated that Tang Thirty-Six and Xuanyuan Po should follow him out of the library.
"No problems, right?" Tang Thirty-Six asked.
Chen Changsheng did not directly answer the question, instead asking, "Zhou Tong, just what sort of person is he?"
This morning after leaving the office of the Department for Purging Officials and seeing Zhexiu's wretched state in the carriage, he had already secretly made a resolution. However, he could also clearly recall the mental pressure and terrifying feeling that Zhou Tong's crimson official's gown had given them as he stood amongst the snowy mantle of crabapple blossoms in that small courtyard. He really wished to know just how long he would have to wait until he could confront this terror head-on.
"Zhou Tong lied, he has no elder sister."
At noon, the Wenshui Tangs had sent over a report on this.
Tang Thirty-Six continued, "And he and the Empress didn't meet in front of some prince's mansion, but in the Hundred Herb Garden. Back then, he should still have been at Meditation, but later on, his cultivation grew by leaps and bounds and he very quickly succeeded in entering Star Condensation. It's said that this is because when he obeyed the Empress's decree to raid and exterminate the estates of those princes, he secretly obtained many treasures."
"And the Divine Empress did not care about this?" Chen Changsheng naturally knew that it was impossible for the Divine Empress to not know of this matter, so he said 'did not care'.
Tang Thirty-Six shook his head, then said, "Zhou Tong's most powerful technique is called the Great Crimson Gown. It's a sort of mental attack, said to be able to forcefully enter a cultivator's sea of consciousness."
Chen Changsheng and Xuanyuan Po remembered that sea of blood they saw in the small courtyard, and their bodies once again grew cold. Tang Thirty-Six continued, "With the Great Crimson Gown, Zhou Tong can very easily shatter our seas of consciousness. Of course, he wouldn't do this, but if we were to go now to take vengeance for Zhexiu, we would assuredly get a small sample of it."
This was both reminder and warning.
Chen Changsheng was somewhat confused. "Since he doesn't dare to kill us, why did he have to use his Great Crimson Gown in that small courtyard? To establish dominance?"
"Zhou Tong is a brutal and sinister man, but his ability to scheme is outstanding. It isn't logical for him to do something so meaningless."
Tang Thirty-Six was also unable to understand why. Suddenly, his straight eyebrows perked up. "Back then, I felt like he wanted to use that sea of blood to shake our Dao hearts, and then he wanted to see something."
"What did he want to see?" Xuanyuan Po commented on the side. "In any case, I'm not afraid. I don't have any secrets."
Chen Changsheng fell silent, because he had many secrets.
In truth, when he came to the capital from Xining Village, he only had the secret of his body, but as time flowed by, his secrets only increased. They now included the Heavenly Tome Monoliths in the Garden of Zhou, the obsidian coffin in the Mausoleum of Zhou, the Halving Blade Style written on the wall of the coffin, and…that the Garden of Zhou might not have been destroyed, and the path to the Garden of Zhou was within his sheath.
Returning to his residence, he took a bath to calm his body, then he began to calm his mind.
He walked up to his window and gazed up at the ocean of stars in the night sky. He crossed his legs to sit down on the floor, closed his eyes, and began to meditate. He began to do his nightly homework: guiding in starlight for Purification, and then once again attempting to use that illusion of a black monolith to find a path to the Garden of Zhou.
Yet perhaps because he had grown too used to cultivating in the library or because the psychological attack he had suffered in Zhou Prison was too powerful, he found himself in the rare situation where he was slow to steady his mind.
Soon after, an extremely light and serene fragrance floated by his nose. Only then did he realize that the reason he could not calm his mind was not one of those reasons, but that he had a visitor.
Mo Yu floated out of the dark forest of the Orthodox Academy, floating right up to his window, and then floating right on in.
Under the starlight, her beauty seemed unstained by the mundane world.
She performed every one of these actions like they were especially familiar to her, as if she had practiced them countless times before.
Only she had not imagined that tonight, Chen Changsheng would be sitting cross-legged on the floor behind the bed. As a result, when she floated through the window into the building, she landed right in front of Chen Changsheng.
The two were extremely close, their noses practically touching as eyes gazed into eyes.
The scene was somewhat awkward.
Fortunately, Mo Yu smelled of orchids while Chen Changsheng was clean like the sky fresh after a rain. It wasn't so bad that either one of them would get angry.
With a gentle gust of wind, a strand of black hair floated by and landed on Chen Changsheng's face. It was rather ticklish, causing him to crease his brow.
Mo Yu flew onto the bed, her actions truly extremely practiced, as if she had performed this action countless times before.
Chen Changsheng knew of her eccentricity, but up until now, he still couldn't understand it. Of course, he was even less able to accept it.
"You aren't planning to sleep on my bed again, are you?" he asked.
"Is it not okay? In any case, you aren't even on the bed right now."
Mo Yu seemed very bold and confident, but under the light of the stars, it was faintly possible to see that she was slightly blushing.
Chen Changsheng said somewhat helplessly, "But I'm here right now, so why did you still come?"
Mo Yu replied, "You're normally in the library cultivating. I didn’t know that you would get some strange idea in your head today and come back so early."
Chen Changsheng felt himself be to very guiltless, thinking to himself, blaming me lah?
Then he once again thought of Luoluo, and how there hadn't been many opportunities to see Luoluo recently, much less talk. For some reason, his mood became rather depressed.
Mo Yu saw his expression and asked, "What's wrong?"
"Zhexiu's injuries are too heavy and he's recuperating in the library. I was worried about disturbing him, so I came back early."
Mo Yu looked at him, and then abruptly wrinkled her brow. "I expected that you would be very angry right now."
In truth, she and Chen Changsheng had not even met a few times. They couldn't be regarded as acquaintances. In that time before Chen Changsheng had exited the Mausoleum of Books, the difference in status between the two had been too great. However, for some reason unbeknownst to her, from the moment they had met in the Imperial Palace, she realized that Chen Changsheng was a person that easily provoked her ire. Anger was, in fact, a sort of emotion, and this signified that Chen Changsheng could very easily affect her emotions.
This was a matter that she could not comprehend.
She was even less able to comprehend just how Chen Changsheng, a sixteen-year-old-youth, was able to display such control over his emotions.
Chen Changsheng did not answer her.
Today's encounter in Zhou Prison, primarily Zhexiu's wretched state which had been discovered afterwards, naturally had caused problems with his emotions. But when he was small, he had learned a very simple principle from Senior Yu Ren. Later on in Xunyang City, he had comprehended this principle even more clearly. There were some matters that were perfectly fine being stored in one's heart. There was no need to display them, only to act on them. Impulse and passion were never synonyms and to be cool-headed did not in any way mean one was a coward. Even if everyone in the world believed him to be a coward, he would not care, let alone the fact that the person speaking right now was Mo Yu.
He and Mo Yu were not friends. He keenly understood just how frightening this famed beauty of the Great Zhou Dynasty was, especially after today.
The entire continent knew that Mo Yu and Zhou Tong were the two people the Divine Empress most relied on. Zhou Tong was terrifying, so how could she possibly be lacking?
"Shouldn't you be saying 'long time no see'?" Mo Yu asked.
By careful examination, it could be affirmed that after the conclusion of the Grand Examination, they had never met.
But Chen Changsheng did not believe that there was a need for this phrase because he never wanted to meet her in the first place. It was just that she would always appear before him.
Chen Changsheng had not responded to either of her two successive inquiries, causing Mo Yu's mood to grow rather sour. She narrowed her eyes until they were sharp…like the willow leaves outside the walls of the palace, very pleasing to the eye.
"You're very hostile to me," she said.
Chen Changsheng answered, "You should be keenly aware of the current situation in the capital."
Mo Yu began to chuckle, and with a hint of derision said, "Do you think you really have the qualifications for the Empress to regard you as an enemy?"
Chen Changsheng retorted, "Even if I were qualified, I also wouldn't want to become the Empress's enemy, but it's obvious that the people on your side don't think this way."
This was naturally speaking about the new regulation of the All-School Martial Exhibition, the suppression of the Orthodox Academy by the Tianhai clan and the new faction of the Orthodoxy.
Mo Yu's smile vanished as she said, "What other people think and how you act have nothing to do with each other."
Chen Changsheng said, "I came to the capital thinking only about cultivating and studying. I've never even thought about participating in these great affairs, but do you think I can avoid it?"
Mo Yu's voice became slightly chilly. "Why can't you avoid it? Because you are the sole successor of the old school of the Orthodoxy?"
This was naturally ample reason, because it was impossible for one to reject their own teacher and school and the years of their past. That was tantamount to a rejection of the self. But this was absolutely not the whole reason, because in the past, Chen Changsheng cared the most about cultivating quickly and defying the heavens and changing fate, but later on, he realized that he couldn't help but think about whether Luoluo's meridians could be opened, if Xuanyuan Po's right arm could be treated, if Zhexiu's Tide Rush of Blood could be cured, when Tang Thirty-Six would finally get a name that he would be satisfied with, and most importantly…if the gate of the Orthodox Academy could be kept in good condition.
He had not forgotten the words Archbishop Mei Lisha had left him before his death.
Besides pursuing what one wanted and must obtain, wasn't the thing called growing up precisely accumulating one responsibility after another?
Mo Yu stood up and looked down at him from up high. With an indifferent expression, she declared, "The Empress can never be defeated."
She had now returned to her everyday role of a powerful figure that could silence one hundred officials through fear. Her attitude did not bring about any changes in Chen Changsheng. He was thinking about the storm-ridden Xunyang City, thinking about those words Wang Po had flatly declared after Zhu Luo and Guan Xingke appeared together: "…I want to try."
It was naturally impossible for him to defeat the Divine Empress, there wasn't even a need to try.
He just wanted to try, wanted to see, if he and the Orthodox Academy could ward off this raging wave.
Mo Yu was suddenly no longer in the mood to chat. She began to make her way out of the building. Of course, she was still used to treating the window as the front door.
As she walked past, Chen Changsheng suddenly thought of a possibility. He asked uncertainly, "Could it be that while I was in the Mausoleum of Books and the Garden of Zhou, you've always been sleeping in my bed?"
Somewhat angry and ashamed, Mo Yu yelled out, "And so what?"
Chen Changsheng was very helpless. He had no power to decide this matter, but it must be known that even though he was young, he was still a man. It was impossible to argue this matter with anyone, and he was also no match for Mo Yu.
"Then…" He hesitated for quite a while, finally saying, "Make sure to remember to bathe diligently in the future. It's best if you bathe before coming each time."
The moment he said this, he knew that it was inappropriate, because it sounded very scandalous.
Just as expected, Mo Yu's slender eyebrows rose up in anger and her beautiful face became that of a fiend. In a frigid voice, she asked, "Do you want to die?"
Chen Changsheng knew that he shouldn't have said that and repeatedly said, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
Mo Yu's expression became slightly more gentle. She asked, "If an apology is useful, then would you be able to not kill Zhou Tong in the future?"
Chen Changsheng very sincerely replied, "Of course not."
Mo Yu said, "So it is said, words are always inferior to gifts when expressing sincerity."
Chen Changsheng was stumped for words. He thought to himself, with your status in the Great Zhou, besides a guy like Tang Thirty-Six, who would dare say they were wealthier than you? Just what could I give you?
"I hear that you have a Yue Maiden Sword here?"
Mo Yu smiled sweetly at him. "Don't you think this is such a coincidence? When I was small, the Empress just so happened to teach me that sword style."