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Chapter 220 - The First to Comprehend the Monolith
Viewing the monoliths of the Mausoleum of Books and comprehending the Dao. This was the fastest method for cultivators to break through into the next realm. This point had been confirmed countless years ago, so obviously none of the examinees from the Grand Examination needed to confirm it. In this tree-covered mausoleum mountain, it was very common to see monolith viewers break into the next realm. Occasionally, there would even be someone breaking through into the Star Condensation Realm, not even speaking of the Ethereal Opening Realm.
Logically, even if Zhong Hui only needed one night to break through, it still did not necessitate such a huge response, and yet besides those new entrants to the mausoleum like Su Moyu and Ye Xiaolian, those who had stayed in the mausoleum, as well as several senior Monolith attendants, all had serious expressions plastered on their faces. This was because if Zhong Hui succeeded, he would be the first amongst this new batch to break through. It was also because, regardless of any suspicious circumstances, he had only seen the first monolith of the mausoleum and obtained great benefits to his cultivation. Perhaps this was an indication that his powers of comprehension were astonishingly extraordinary.
Chen Changsheng did nott lock gazes with Ji Jin for long before turning to Zhong Hui, who still sat cross-legged before the monolith hut. As he watched the mist curl around Zhong Hui’s body and listened to the increasingly frantic sounds of boiling water, he thought to himself, in the end what had really happened? Last night Zhong Hui had not even found a method to comprehend the monolith, not even thinking about the possibility of breaking through. How could it be that over the course of one night, such great change occurred?
“Apparently Zhong Hui sat in front of the monolith hut for the entire night, I also heard…that senior Ji Jin guarded him for the entire night as well.” Su Moyu walked from the edge of the woods to stand by Chen Changsheng and Tang Thirty-Six.
Chen Changsheng frowned slightly as he thought of a certain incident that had been brought up in Xun Mei’s notebook. Around twenty years ago, there was once a Monolith Guardian that originated from the Heavenly Dao Academy that had used some sort of method to help a Heavenly Dao Academy student viewing the monoliths to break into the next realm. As he looked at Ji Jin’s face, he thought to himself that maybe this person had unstintingly used an enormous amount of true essence and spirit and transferred it to Zhong Hui.
“I’m thinking the same as you, but the problem is that it’s just a bit too wasteful.” Gou Hanshi walked over. He had seen Chen Changsheng’s expression and could guess what he was thinking. “Senior Ji Jin consumed, at the very least, half of his true essence, but Zhong Hui can only maintain it for half a day. After that, the true essence will disperse from his body.”
Chen Changsheng replied. “But you can still remember the sensations. At different realms of cultivation, what the eyes see in the monolith inscriptions will naturally be different.”
Gou Hanshi nodded in agreement. “If it’s to forcefully increase comprehension speed, then this course of action would actually make some sense.”
There were some people around the monolith hut that had taken note of Chen Changsheng’s arrival. Seeing him converse with Gou Hanshi caused their expressions to subtly shift.
In the eyes of those people, the discussion taking place was far too calm and collected. There was no sense of anxiety whatsoever. There were even some people who began to grow anxious on their behalf. Tang Thirty-Six and Zhexiu calmly watched Chen Changsheng. Guan Feibai and the other two from Mount Li calmly watched Gou Hanshi. None of them said anything, but their meaning was crystal clear: It’s time for you two to start working harder!”
Su Moyu said, “Breaking into Ethereal Opening and then successfully comprehending the monolith. If this really is what Zhong Hui did, then you from Grass Hut Seven will unavoidably be a little embarrassed.”
Chen Changsheng was taken aback by those words. “What is this Grass Hut Seven?” he asked in confusion.
Su Moyu looked at the group of seven and explained, “Amongst this year’s examinees, you seven are the ones that have received the most attention. After all of you entered the mausoleum, all of you ended up staying in the same grass hut. Some people feel that you separated yourselves from the rest of us on purpose. Some people feel that you’re all arrogant and aloof. I don’t know who started it, but this name has already begun circulating.”
Tang Thirty-Six proudly said, “Let them be jealous.”
Guan Feibai indifferently said, “To not cause jealousy in others is mediocrity.”
The two glanced at each other, then suddenly felt that something was not right. They turned their faces away from each other than simultaneously said, “But don’t think we’re on the same track.”
This humorous dispute did nothing to dispel the mood around the monolith hut. Those people, whose gazes rested on the group of seven, held rather complex emotions.
Chen Changsheng clearly felt that Ji Jin had used that one night’s time to allow Zhong Hui forcefully break through, so that Zhong Hui would comprehend the monolith faster than him and Gou Hanshi. The Divine Empress’ words that Tang Thirty-Six had used last night essentially had no effect. To become the first among this year’s examinees to comprehend a monolith, that was the greatest glory.
Right then, something happened in front of the monolith hut. Ji Jin lightly moved over to Zhong Hui’s, gave a shout to wake him up, then stuck a pill in his mouth. Then, his hand began to path Zhong Hui’s back.
Gou Hanshi’s expression was somewhat apprehensive. “Scholartree Manor’s Crossing Heaven Pill?’”
Chen Changsheng did not know what this ‘Crossing Heaven Pill’ was, but the vast majority of the people in front of the monolith hut did. Hearing Gou Hanshi’s words, their faces could not help but change color. To think that Scholartree Manor would use such a precious medicine to help Zhong Hui break through. It was easy to see how much Scholartree Manor valued this youthful scholar, and it was also because of Ji Jin’s intense desire to see Chen Changsheng and the others thwarted.
Zhong Hui swallowed the pill, then used the true essence that he had obtained from Ji Jin to digest the pill. In a flash, his face took on a deep red complexion, then after a moment returned to normal. The mist that pervaded his body grew much darker. Then, like smoke returning to the mountaintop, it slowly made its way back into his body.
An extremely pure breath of Qi appeared around the monolith hut.
The oil lantern that was hung up on the tree had long since gone out, but now it suddenly began to sway back and forth. A cool breeze was blowing from some unknown place, and the flowers and plants around the Reflecting Monolith swayed with the wind.
Zhong Hui opened his eyes and stood up. He slowly turned around and looked at the crowd around him. His gaze seemed much more serene, much more profound than usual.
A Scholartree Manor student happily shouted, “Congratulations to senior for breaking through!”
Those monolith viewers that had stayed in the mausoleum voiced their agreement. One of them said, “Scholartree Manor’s hidden reserves are truly profound. Excellent, excellent!”
Zhong Hui was very tranquil. His handsome face bore not a hint of ecstasy and not a trace of arrogance. He clasped his hands in salutation to the crowd, his manner and behavior both unhurried.
One of the old timers praised, “Although he had outside help, in the end he still entered a new realm. To break through into a new realm after viewing only the first monolith is by no means an easy feat.”
“Many thanks to Martial Uncle for his assistance.” Zhong Hui turned to Ji Jin, clasped his hands, and bowed down to the ground, his voice filled with sincerity.
Ji Jin’s pale face showed a hint of red. He lightly stroked his hair and said nothing, extremely satisfied.
It was just as the crowd had said, if Zhong Hui did not have such excellent innate perception, then even if he had used up all the true essence, he would have been incapable of producing this scene.
The area around the monolith hut suddenly grew quiet.
Because Zhong Hui had begun walking towards the mountain path where Chen Changsheng and Gou Hanshi were standing.
Of the three people in the First Banner of this year’s Grand Examination, Chen Changsheng was first, Gou Hanshi was second, and Zhong Hui had placed third. When this result had come out, those who knew the details of the battle felt sorry for Gou Hanshi, and even more were surprised at how inconceivable Chen Changsheng’s growth in power was, but very few people thought about Zhong Hui. Even if they brought him up, it was usually with a hint of ridicule, saying that he really was extremely lucky.
Zhong Hui’s luck in the Grand Examination really had been too good. In the drawing of lots for battle, besides his final loss to Luo Luo, he had actually not faced any strong opponents. Guan Feibai, Liang Banhu, Qi Jian, Zhuang Huanyu; he had faced none of these opponents, who were not any weaker than him, and if he had matched up against the obviously stronger Zhexiu, he would most likely have lost. Perhaps he would have been defeated by Gou Hanshi or Chen Changsheng. It was luck that he had not encountered any of these opponents, or else it would have been very difficult for him to enter the top three.
Of course, no one would have placed him on the same level as Gou Hanshi and Chen Changsheng. The most important reason was because he was not at the same realm of cultivation. Chen Changsheng and Gou Hanshi were both at the Ethereal Opening realm, while he had been at Meditation. Even if he was only one step away from Ethereal Opening, he was still missing the most important thing, the immense gap of that step, so it was a matter, of course, that he was ignored.
But today, he had finally entered into Ethereal Opening.
Of the First Banner of the Grand Examination’s top three, at the very least they were now equal in terms of cultivation.
When those people around the monolith hut saw him walk towards Chen Changsheng and Gou Hanshi, they knew he would have something to say.
“After the Grand Examination, the Pavilion of Divination will make no changes to the Proclamations of Azure Sky and Golden Distinction. This is due to the fact that the Three Banners of the Grand Examination will all enter the Mausoleum of Books. Within this mountain mausoleum, there are countless chances for good fortune and countless setbacks. There were many examinees in the Grand Examination who would have performed poorly, but once they entered the mausoleum, they would soar like a dragon into the azure sky. There were also examinees who would have had a good showing in the Grand Examination, but once they entered the mausoleum they could do nothing but sit in front of the huts, moaning and groaning before the monoliths, using up the entire day with nothing to show for it. In the face of all of this, the previous rankings were meaningless. Everything depended on this moment, so the Pavilion of Divination would wait until the examinees had left the mausoleum before adjusting the rankings.”
Zhong Hui looked at Chen Changsheng and Gou Hanshi as he spoke. “Before I entered the mausoleum, everyone said that I was on par with the two of you. Luckily, I finally found my good fortune. Last night you told me, what does your ability to comprehend the monoliths have to do with me, that we were not familiar with each, so why would I be disappointed. What I want to say to you is this. If you can no longer keep up with me, then once we leave the mausoleum, perhaps you won't even have the qualifications to be my opponent, then I will truly be disappointed.”
Chen Changsheng gave no response while Gou Hanshi was as calm as ever.
Tang Thirty-Six coldly mocked, “Isn’t it just breaking into Ethereal Opening? Those two reached Ethereal Opening long ago. With such arrogance, a passersby might think that you had broken into Star Condensation.”
These words were actually very reasonable. Even if Zhong Hui had broken into Ethereal Opening, it could only be finally considered catching up to Gou Hanshi and Chen Changsheng, not worthy of speaking such words.
Zhong Hui paid no attention to Tang Thirty-Six. At the very end, he glanced at Chen Changsheng and said, “That’s all I have to say. I will be taking a step ahead of you.”
Upon hearing this, the two scholars from Scholartree Manor vaguely guessed at something and became extremely excited. They loudly shouted, “Respectfully sending off senior!”
Ji Jin was still running his hands through his hair. Though he said nothing, the smile on his face continued to grow.
Even those several monolith guardians surrounding crowd nodded their heads, as if in praise.
Saying these words, Zhong Hui walked back to the monolith hut, stopping in front of the monolith. He rested his right hand on the lines on the surface of the monolith.
A bright light appeared. A gust of wind swept through, causing the leaves on the tree branches to rustle.
Zhong Hui’s body vanished.
Seeing what had just happened, the new entrants to the mausoleum could not help but cry out in surprise.
However, those who had already been in the mausoleum for some time turned a blind eye towards this event.
Yes, the Heavenly Tome Monolith had been comprehended.
Among this year’s examinees from the Grand Examination who had entered the mausoleum, the first person to successfully comprehend the monolith had appeared.
It was not Gou Hanshi, nor was it Chen Changsheng. It was Scholartree Manor’s Zhong Hui.
Right now he was probably standing before the second monolith hut.
The cool breeze gradually calmed down. The area in front of the Reflecting Monolith also gradually calmed down and peace returned to the monolith hut.
Everyone subconsciously looked towards Gou Hanshi and Chen Changsheng. Particularly the gazes towards Chen Changsheng contained a variety of emotions.
It was just as Tang Thirty-Six and Guan Feibai had said. Many people were jealous of the so-called Grass Hut Seven. Of course the target of most of their jealousy was him, who had been barely known, who had suddenly risen to prominence in the Grand Examination, who was potentially going to marry Xu Yourong: Chen Changsheng. Seeing him, who would not secretly hold some resentment in their heart?
These people who had previously directed their jealousy and acrimony towards him, in their gazes now had a sense of understanding, filled with deliberate sympathy and pity.