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Minor edits by bbkgs
“It seems like I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Chen Chang Sheng looked at the mid-aged woman and said “Since I didn’t do anything wrong, then why do I have to change so much?”
After saying this, his expression did not change but his breathing had unnoticably became slightly heavier.
Only those who knew him well enough would know that these details indicated he was already very angry.
The mid-aged woman’s face became serious and said, “Aren’t you afraid of death?”
“I…. am very afraid of death.” Chen Chang Sheng’s voice was as hard as iron, “…..therefore the first thing I planned to do when I came to the Capital was to cancel the engagement at the Divine General’s Estate. Even yesterday I was preparing to cancel the engagement after getting into Heavenly Academy or Star Taker Academy, but sorry, now I have truly changed my mind.”
The mid-aged woman stared at him. Her eyes became slightly cold.
Chen Chang Sheng looked back at her quietly and said, “Unless you realize what you did wrong, remember my name.”
The mid-aged woman remained silent for a really long time.
“Actually I favor you very much.”
She looked at Chen Chang Sheng. The emotion in her eyes was somewhat complicated “For these past few days I had always been observing your life, I have never seen a youngster who was so good at self-regulating, and in the four entrance exams, what you showed was very rare. You deserve praise…..I sometimes would even think, if I have a daughter, it should be a good choice to marry her to you.”
Chen Chang Sheng didn’t know what to say, but he was praised by someone. He felt that he should reply so he thought for a while and said two words, “Thank you.”
Picking this moment to say thank you was somewhat ironic, cute, and very respectable.
The mid-aged woman looked at the wall behind the school’s gate and said “But unfortunately, in the entire world no one thinks the young Lady should marry you.”
Chen Chang Sheng followed her sight and saw many names on the green stone wall. This was the back of the main entrance to the academy, therefore this couldn’t be the list of people who got accepted. Then what was this list? He suddenly remembered that he saw similar lists on the back of the entrance to Heavenly Academy and Star Taker Academy. There were many names carved on top of them.
There was a sentence carved on the topmost of the green stone wall – “The strong gale will offer strength, and I will enter the azure cloud.”
After reading this sentence, Chen Chang Sheng thought back to the records in the books, and knew the list of names carved on the green stone wall was the mythical Proclamation of Azure Clouds.
There were countless powerful cultivators on this continent, but geniuses always start when they were young – The Proclamation of Azure Clouds was the tier list for cultivators under the age of twenty. All of the people who entered the proclamation were either the core students of different countries, different sects, different academies, or geniuses who held special talents. If they didn’t die in the middle of seeking The Way, then these people would all become cultivators with true strength.
The reason for the academies in the Capital to put up the Proclamation of Azure Clouds was to use the famous names on the list and give the students a model to chase after and enhance the connection between schoolmates. But the effect wasn’t as well as they expected – the students knew they had no chance to enter the proclamation, so they were only respectful, jealous, or even fearful of those names on the list.
The Proclamation of Azure Clouds didn’t care about people’s knowledge, level, sect, gender, but only strength. The single limitation was that the people who entered the proclamation cannot be older than twenty years of age. There were a few times in the past where a lower level cultivator had won against higher level ones and were immediately placed in front – this condition was despised by many.
When the Council of Divine Ordinance first created the ranking, this condition was questioned many times, but the answer of the council was simple and powerful – no matter knowledge, level, or even manner and characteristics, all mixed together was strength. The condition of the proclamation was to test strength, and the best way to test it was victory and defeat.
Chen Chang Sheng glanced over the names on the proclamation. Those names were strange to him. Sometimes he could even see some weird names, and they probably belonged to young cultivators from Yao territory, and some genius from the southern forest. Suddenly, he saw Tang Tang’s name on the thirty sixth spot. Chen Chang Sheng thought back to Heavenly Academy and the blue shirt youngster explaining the story of his name, Tang Thirty Six, Chen Chang Sheng laughed happily. He was proud of him.
Finally, his eyes landed upon the highest point of the list, and saw the only name that stood there. The name on top appeared to be lonely, cold, and proud. He knew that name, he knew the name very well – Xu You Rong.
“The Proclamation of Azure Clouds lists all the young geniuses all over the world. The Zhou Dynasty is full of talented people. Even just in the Capital there are more than ten people on the list. Four people from Heavenly Academy, three from Star Taker Academy. But it’s not especially well, when comparing to the Longevity Sect and Scholartree Manor in the south. It wasn’t until the young Lady of the estate entered the proclamation did the North and South even out……”
The middle-aged woman looked at the list and her pride could easily be seen, but of course she didn’t need to hide her pride. She said, “Two years ago My Lady entered the proclamation for the first time and entered first place. From that day onward she never got lowered in her ranking. The young geniuses behind her couldn’t compete. No, it was too difficult for them to even approach her.”
Chen Chang Sheng looked at the name on top of the list and remained speechless. These four years he kept the marriage vow on him and he read it many times. He knew her name and knew how old she was. After calculating, this Miss Xu entered the proclamation at the age of twelve and was invincible…… The bloodline of Sky Phoenix was truly miraculous.
The middle aged woman looked at Chen Chang Sheng and said sincerely, “You are talented. Although you have yet to reach Purification you still have the ability to enter those academies. But, you are too different from My Lady….. It’s not about effort, it’s not about talent, and trying doesn’t matter either. You are continuing to climb up in your life, and I believe you will be able to climb to a very high peak. But My Lady has already left that place. If you want to stubbornly chase after her, then the only thing you will receive is raging lightning from heaven.”
Chen Chang Sheng was silent. He thought about Shuang Er, the maid he met in the forest, and the man she mentioned before. The genius who was the reincarnation of the Heavenly Dragon and was recognized by everyone on the continent as the perfect fit for Xu You Rong.
“Qiu Shan Jun…….”
The middle aged woman didn’t expect him to know the existence of Qiu Shan Jun. She said emotionlessly “Qiu Shan Jun had been the champion of the proclamation.”
Chen Chang Sheng asked, “Why did he leave the proclamation? Was it because he didn’t want to lose to Miss Xu?”
The middle aged woman replied, “Two years ago, Qiu Shan Jun past the peak stage of Meditation, now he is the champion of the Proclamation of Golden Distinction.”
Chen Chang Sheng sighed. He noticed that it was hard to find any relief from this information because the people on the proclamation are all above him. He himself couldn’t even go on the board of acceptance…. Speak less of the Proclamation of Azure Clouds. They were truly living in different worlds when compared to Chen Chang Sheng.
He asked, “Previously you said the difference between me and Miss Xu isn’t in talent or effort, then what is it?”
The middle aged woman answered, “……It’s destiny. Even if you are the best ordinary person out there, you are still just an ordinary person. When My Lady was born, she wasn’t an ordinary person. You were born as a human, but she was born as a phoenix. The difference between you two is that of the sky and the earth.”
“So……it’s destiny once again.”
Chen Chang Sheng sighed once again. After remaining silent for a long time, he looked at the woman and said seriously, “Perhaps you don’t believe me but the reason I came to the Capital was to change my destiny…. Although it’s not about the marriage, destiny has no believability to me.”
The woman was stunned. She didn’t expect that Chen Chang Sheng would still not let go of the marriage vow after she explained the situation clearly.
As the sun was setting to the west, Chen Chang Sheng followed the crowd and walked to the other side of the street.
The middle aged woman noticed, at first his head was a little low and his back a little bent. It seemed he was lonely and tired. But after a short period of time had past, his back became straight and he raised his head. Once again he looked at the crowd on the street and the setting sun far away.
The dawning light shone on the youngster. It seemed as if he was burning.
“I have never seen a youngster this self-disciplined. He controlled every aspect of his life. He has no harmful habits nor entertainment. He values time greatly. He values it so greatly that I feel like there was always someone chasing him. But he didn’t let anyone around him feel irritated or hurried. It’s easy to see that he enjoys living or life itself…… Except he has a little mysophobia. The first day, I saw him wash his hands a total of seven times and he probably has more than five handkerchiefs.”
At the Divine General’s Estate, the middle aged woman stood in front of Madam Xu and said expressionlessly. “Madam, I must say that this child is talented. If he has a chance, he will grow quickly. If he‘s lucky, then he will have a bright future before him.”
Madam Xu never thought that the loyal woman who had followed her for many decades would speak for the youngster. She wrinkled her eyebrows and asked, “What are you trying to say?”
The middle aged woman replied, “Of course our Lady won’t marry him…..But if we continue insulting and oppressing him like this, it’s better if we just kill him. If he actually got the chance and become strong, even if the mansion is not afraid of him, it’s still troublesome. In addition…..I really think that youngster is nice. Why do this to him?“
This logic might be difficult to understand for normal people, but Madam Xu understood her. She didn’t realize that the woman actually liked Chen Chang Sheng. and she thought back to the words Xu Shi Ji had spoken to her at night in the study room. Madam Xu looked deeply at her and said, “There are too many people watching the Divine General’s Estate… especially the stubborn elders. If there is any ugly news from the estate, even if it won’t affect our reputation, Her Divine Majesty would still not like it. Therefore this thing should be undertaken carefully. It would be for the best if we can use peaceful negotiations to obtain the marriage vow. But if that youngster still wants to maintain his pitiful pride to the very end, or if he wants to obtain more benefits from this, then he should die silently. Even if it will cause some trouble, it’s another way to get rid of the source of trouble.”
Shuang Er returned to her room and her mind went blank for a while. Thinking back to the conversation she heard outside of the Madam’s room, her felt irritated and insecure. Even after she drank half a bowl of cold tea, she couldn’t calm down. She knew the reason she could’ve heard the entire conversation was that the Madam allowed her to….. The Madam knew that she contacted the young Lady of the estate regularly, and thus, let her hear the conversation on purpose. The Madam wanted her to inform the young Lady of this matter. But even if the young Lady won’t marry that guy named Chen Chang Sheng, was it really necessary to do this? Would her Lady accept this?
Shuang Er walked to her table and laid a sheet of paper flat on its surface. She picked up a brush and sank it into the dark ink. After thinking a little, she started writing a letter.