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Chapter 215 - Viewing the Monoliths in the Night by Lantern Light (Part One)
The night was dark.
Unlike last night, there were no longer many people sitting intoxicated before the monolith unwilling to leave. Those who still remained in front of the monolith all had relatively strong spiritual senses, thus being able to hold out until now. Chen Changsheng looked as far out as he could and saw two students from the Star Seizer Academy: the senior sister from the Holy Maiden Peak, as well as that girl called Ye Xiaolian. There were also several examinees from the Grand Examination that Chen Changsheng had seen before, but had failed to remember the names or origins of. The most prominent ones were the three scholars from Scholartree Manor that had ended up closest to the monolith. In the dark, their plain white robes were especially eye-catching.
With only a glance, one could tell that there was a problem with this scene——the farther one was from the monolith hut, the stronger their level of cultivation was. He did not know if this was some hidden rule, or if some dispute had already taken place.
The three scholars from Scholartree Manor were closest to the monolith hut.
Zhong Hui stood in front of the hut, viewing the monolith in silence. His two schoolmates stood at his side, watching Chen Changsheng warily. Chen Changsheng was not surprised by this. In the Grand Examination, Zhong Hui had been defeated by Luo Luo, while Huo Guang had been severely injured by Chen Changsheng to the point where Huo Guang had been unable to continue. The Scholartree Manor’s hostility towards the Orthodox Academy was well-deserved.
Gou Hanshi and he had read the experiences that Xun Mei had concealed in his notebook. They had come to view the monolith by the starlight, so they naturally began to move towards the hut. To their surprise, their movement gave rise to another disturbance. A dozen pairs of eyes followed their footsteps, each filled with different emotions——in order to stand in front of the Heavenly Tome Monolith, they would have to take the places currently occupied by the three from Scholartree Manor.
Two Scholartree Manor scholars did not let them through. Looking at Gou Hanshi and Chen Changsheng, they coldly said, “First come, first served.”
These words seemed to be very reasonable, but the crowd outside the hut could only sneer. “Before, you wanted us to let you through because you said that your senior was on the Grand Examination’s First Banner. Why didn’t you say anything about ‘first come, first served’ then? Now, that the Grand Examination’s first and second place holders have arrived, are you really not going to let them through?”
The two scholars from Scholartree Manor were infuriated by these words.
Only now did Gou Hanshi and Chen Changsheng realize what had happened here. They both disapproved of the conduct of the two scholars from Scholartree Manor and continued walking forward, not even glancing at them. Proceeding directly to the front of the monolith hut, they took up positions behind Zhong Hui.
Those two scholars were even more enraged by this. Just as they seemed about to say something, they suddenly remembered the jeers from the crowd. They did not dare speak, much less personally take action.
Zhong Hui took his eyes off the monolith, then turned around and saluted Gou Hanshi. However, when he looked at Chen Changsheng by his side, his eyes did not carry any traces of respect.
No long-reputed young geniuses like Zhong Hui would ever have very good impressions of Chen Changsheng even if Chen Changsheng had broken through into the Ethereal Opening level during the Grand Examination, thus surpassing them in level of cultivation. Instead, they continued to feel that he had merely gotten lucky. It was either that or because he had received the care and attention of several powerful figures in the Orthodoxy.
“I didn’t see you during these past two days, is it that you’re confident you’ll be able to comprehend the monoliths? Or is it that you’ve realized that you’ve used up all your luck, like a fragile, damaged vase that has finally fallen to pieces?”
Zhong Hui looked at him with an indifferent expression. “In previous years, the first rank in the First Banner of the Grand Examination took, at the very least, five days to comprehend this first Heavenly Tome Monolith. You are this year’s first rank of the First Banner. If you spend too much time on this, it will cause the rest of us to lose face. I hope you don’t disappoint me.”
Chen Changsheng had been viewing the starlit monolith, his heart and soul engrossed in studying the changes amongst those complex lines. Chen Changsheng was very perplexed by what Zhong Hui had said, so he very casually asked, “We don’t really know each other, so even if I can’t comprehend this Heavenly Tome Monolith, what does that have to do with you? Why would you be disappointed?”
Zhong Hui was stunned by these words. Taking a deep breath, he could barely restrain his anger as he said, “It seems like you have quite the mouth.”
Chen Changsheng did not respond, instead walking directly to his side and saying, “Excuse me, could you move?”
Zhong Hui had been standing in the best position. He was closest to the monolith and was not obstructing the starlight. At Chen Changsheng’s words, he could no longer suppress the anger in his heart and clenched his hands into fists.
To everyone there, Chen Changsheng’s first sentence was clearly to disregard Zhong Hui, while the second sentence was to politely put his foot down. Even those people that had previously jeered and ridiculed those Scholartree Manor scholars also believed that Chen Changsheng was humiliating Zhong Hui. Only Gou Hanshi realized by looking at Chen Changsheng’s expression that he was not setting out to humiliate Zhong Hui, but really just wanted Zhong Hui to move.
He shook his head and followed Chen Changsheng to Zhong Hui’s side.
His robe trembled in the night wind as Zhong Hui’s wrath reached a boiling point. His two fellow schoolmates were the same. The three were ready to attack Chen Changsheng at any time. However, when Gou Hanshi walked up between them and Chen Changsheng, they had no choice but to cool their tempers somewhat as they thought about the gap that lay between Meditation and Ethereal Opening…They were no match for Gou Hanshi. In other words, they were also no match for Chen Changsheng.
Since they could not beat him, their anger had no power. Although the two scholars from Scholartree Manor remained furious, Zhong Hui forced himself to calm down, then backed up several steps, letting Gou Hanshi and Chen Changsheng through. Looking at Chen Changsheng’s back, Zhong Hui said nothing, but the signs of a sneer appeared at the corners of his mouth. It was precisely as he had said before: these past two days, Chen Changsheng had rarely been seen in front of the monolith hut. To him, this was definitely all a pretense. He thought it impossible that Chen Changsheng would have the same sort of luck that carried him through the Grand Examination. Could it be that he would still be able to see a pattern in this monolith?
The starlight illuminated the Reflecting Monolith, making those complex lines seem lined with a layer of silver, as if mercury was slowly flowing through them. A vivid sensation that was hard to describe appeared before Chen Changsheng’s eyes. He did not use his spiritual sense, did not move his true essence through his meridians in accordance with those lines, nor did he attempt to extract some sort of sword form from the direction of the lines; he only calmly looked at it, perceived it, experienced it. He had confirmed that the picture he had seen at dawn was real, and that the picture made using his spiritual sense while daydreaming in the afternoon in that courtyard was also true. A smile gradually emerged on his face.
“Did you get something?” Gou Hanshi asked, somewhat surprised in his change of expression.
Chen Changsheng nodded. “I was originally a little hesitant because I felt it was too simple, but there were parts in the notebook that reminded me of something.”
“You’re still persevering on using the most primitive method of understanding?”
“It might be less intelligent it might be slower, but it fits me the best.”
Silence reigned around the monolith hut. Everyone was listening in, including Zhong Hui. Chen Changsheng and Gou Hanshi were publicly acknowledged as two of the world’s most erudite scholars of the Daoist Canon. When discussing the methods to comprehend the Heavenly Tome Monoliths, how could they miss the experience? Only, what was that notebook that Chen Changsheng had mentioned?
“What is this most primitive method of comprehension? To make the lines into numbers?” The senior sister from the Holy Maiden Peak, who knew Gou Hanshi well, asked curiously as she stepped forward.
Gou Hanshi glanced at Chen Changsheng.
“We think that the most primitive method discards everything about true essence, spiritual sense, and sword moves. It’s not turning lines into numbers, but…” Chen Changsheng turned around to look at the girl from Holy Maiden Peak as he seriously spoke. He was prepared to speak about his insights, explain his theories, that the true meaning of the Heavenly Tomes was hidden within the changes, when unexpectedly…
A cold admonishment rose up from the night.
A middle-aged man had at some point arrived, the expression on his face abnormally cold.
Upon seeing this man, Zhong Hui and the other two from Scholartree Manor suddenly became happy. They rapidly approached and paid him respects. “We have seen Martial Uncle.”
Chen Changsheng realized that the middle-aged man was the Monolith Guardian that had severely reprimanded him at dawn. Only now did he realize that this man had originally been a senior from the Scholartree Manor.
That middle-aged man walked to the front of the monolith hut. Staring at Gou Hanshi and Chen Changsheng, he sternly shouted at them, “Supposedly, your two juniors are masters of the Daoist Canon, but I didn’t think that you were actually just two ignorant children, only knowing how to talk a lot of nonsense!”