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Chapter 247 - The Arrival of Rain Warrants an Umbrella
The rainbow that opened the Garden of Zhou arose from the distant Mount Li.
The Longevity Sect consisted of more than a dozen mountain sects. Amongst these, the Mount Li Sword Sect was the strongest and most resolute, specializing in the killing arts. It was not in the midst of the mountains, but instead, it was the northernmost peak. It was like the tip of the sword, ready to pierce the north.
At dawn, the principal peak of Mount Li was shrouded in mist. From the halfway point of the mountain, one could only see a flat plain of clouds, like a solitary island suspended in the sea of clouds.
The rainbow shot out of an dwelling perched on the very highest point of Mount Li's principal peak.
Several hundred ancient pines stood sentinel on both sides of the stone steps. Xiao Songgong himself sat cross-legged at the very top of the steps. He was accompanied by three elders of the Discipline Hall, swords at ready as they stood guard outside the immortal cave.
Seeing the power of this formation, the Mount Li disciples under the stone path could not help but discuss about it.
"Is that brilliant light the key to the Garden of Zhou?"
"Just what is the key? It could actually bring forth a rainbow and leap great distances to open the Garden of Zhou? Eldest Brother will be okay, right?"
“What could go wrong? You think that the demons will come to my Mount Li to seize the key?"
"Right, the Sect Master is personally protecting eldest brother inside the cave. Four elders are set up in a sword formation outside. Taken together with Mount Li's Myriad Sword Array, even if the Demon Lord himself showed up, what could he do?"
"Now that you mention it, I'm really curious to see what really is in the Garden of Zhou. If I could just go in and see, that would be great."
"Then you have to hurry up and cultivate, or else you'll be stuck at the middle level of the Meditation realm forever. You won't be able to enter the Garden of Zhou in your lifetime, much less think about catching up to our seniors."
"Even Seventh Brother is an incomparably dazzling genius, how could we ever catch up?
"Now that I think about it, could that youth called Chen Changsheng really have reached the upper level of Ethereal Opening?"
"Who knows? Northerners have always had a tendency for the preposterous, and their words are even more exaggerated. Even if the Orthodox Academy has already fallen into ruin, to let a child become its principal is absolute madness."
"Watch your tongue junior, it was the Pope himself that arranged it."
"I can't say it even if it's so beyond belief? Don't the elders usually speak this way when discussing this topic?"
"For that youth called Chen Changsheng to reach his level of cultivation in the short span of a year, there must be some exceptional qualities about him. Or else Second Brother would not hold him in such high regard."
"So what? Does that mean he's worthy of being discussed in the same breath as eldest brother? If eldest brother had not broken into Star Condensation and was able to enter the Garden of Zhou, I don't think that Chen Changsheng would be able grab anything. I also don't know what Senior Sister Xu is thinking. When a true dragon is right before her eyes, can she not tell who's the better and stronger one?"
In the past few months, as soon as the external disciples of the Mount Li Sword Sect got to talking about their seniors that had gone to study abroad in the capital or about their Eldest Brother's extremely famous love troubles, Chen Changsheng's name would naturally come up. Afterwards, the boring cycle of scorn, caution and scorn began again.
However in the next moment, all discussion had suddenly ceased as a distinct trembling was transmitted throughout the principal peak of Mount Li. Although it was not that big, the sea of clouds remaining as peaceful as ever, the faces of the people on the mountain were suddenly panic stricken, because something like this had never happened before.
On the perimeter of the sea of clouds, bright lights began to suddenly appear. Countless sword images wielding awesome power began to move amongst the sea of clouds. On the occasion, they would leap up like the rising sun, and at times, they would disappear into the clouds like a waterfall. The dense and innumerable sword images danced in the air with a mournful whistle. It was like seeing a vast school of swordfish searching for food in the ocean.
This was famous Myriad Sword Array of Mount Li from the legends.
After a while, the Myriad Sword Array could sense no sign of enemies. Following the rules of the array, the innumerable swords hid themselves away in the numerous sword cavities that dotted the peak.
The Mount Li disciples turned in panic towards the summit. They saw that the rainbow still remained, yet, there seemed to be something inside it now. Perhaps it was more accurate to say that the multi-colored ray of light had been thrown into disorder.
Seated at the top of the steps, the cross-legged elder Xiao Songgong suddenly opened his eyes. He stared at the rainbow that stretched off into the distance and harshly asked, "What's going on?"
The three elders of the Discipline Hall had even graver expressions. They turned towards the immortal cave from which the rainbow had arisen.
An extremely prolonged whistle resounded from the cave.
Along with this whistle, the disorderly rainbow very quickly restabilized.
However, Xiao Songgong and the other three Mount Li elders did not relax.
For the venerable Sect Master to have to use the long whistle of his true sword, just what could have happened?
In the next moment, the Mount Li Sect Master's calm and dignified voice rang out.
"Send a message to the Li Palace. There has been a change in Hanqiu City. It may be that the demons have moved."
Many tens of thousands of li from Hanqiu city was a snowy plain. There was snow as far as the eye could see. Although it was spring, the snow here still piled up high, like the plumage of the peacock. If the snow stopped for just a few moments, one would probably be able to make out the only city which could stand side to side with the Great Zhou capital, the imposing demon city.
A demon man cloaked in a black robe walked through the snowstorm, his back facing the increasingly distant Xuelao City. Only when the snowstorm had completely concealed the silhouette of the city did the man stop. He turned in the direction of the remote south, and an enchanting smile appeared on his lips.
From his walking speed and slightly crooked posture, this demon male was most likely very old.. It must be known that Demons had always been known for their incredibly strong bodies and almost perfect movements. When he had looked towards the south, his black robe had lifted. His deathly pale face could be seen. His skin seemed to be suffused with the sickly green color of death that all people loathed and feared, and yet, the smile on his lips was as enchanting as ever. This was because his charm had already surpassed any words, and could even rise victorious over the god of death.
He sat down in the snow and took out a black-colored square plate.
This black square plate was constructed of some sort of unknown material. It seemed to generate heat, for whenever snow would fall on it, it would instantly melt and turn into steam.
The steam became fog.
The black square plate was obscured by the fog. The demon male's face was also covered by fog, his face became indistinct. Only his two shining eyes were impossible to conceal.
On the fog-obscured black plate appeared all sorts of scenery. Compared to the real scenery, this scenery on the plate was of course much smaller. In the plate, one could see several mountains and river, a plain, as well as several gardens. Those gardens were constructed in a completely different style to the ornate style of Xuelao City. It seemed more similar to humanity's gardens in the south.
The demon male closed his eyes in thought for a while, then he lifted his head and once again looked south.
In the midst of this snowstorm, he logically should not have been able to see anything.
Yet he saw a rainbow.
His mood seemed to change as he sorrowfully said, "For decades I have not seen you, and still nothing has changed."
After saying these words, the demon male calmed down. With an indifferent expression, he stretched out his hand like he was going to seize the air.
The demons had a proverb about fetching the moon out of the water.
His current actions were very similar to the proverb, somewhat preposterous.
However, when he withdrew his hand, there was a sliver of rainbow in his fingers.
He had managed to tear away a piece of the rainbow that was heading towards the Garden of Zhou.
Next, he carefully placed that piece of rainbow on the northeast position of the black square plate.
When the fog surrounding the plate touched the rainbow, it disappeared, leaving a path.
Many thousands of li from Hanqiu City was a tea hill. There was tea wherever the eye could see. Since it was spring, the tea trees naturally flourished, like the plumage of the peacock. If the wind blew or that the sun shone for too long, waves of the fragrance of tea would assault the nose.
In the early morning, the depths of the tea hill was surrounded by fog. Within the fog, one could faintly make out a path that headed off into the verdant mountains and fields. An old man carrying a zither and a small girl of about ten years of age walked along in this path towards the center of the fog. The girl's face seemed very childish, and her appearance was picturesque, yet for some reason, she gave off an atmosphere that would make people tremble in fear.
The zither-carrying old man and the small girl disappeared into the fog. Ahead of them, the figures of several people could be made out. After a short while, a man and woman also walked into tea hill. By their appearance, they seemed like husband and wife, honest and straightforward. The husband carried a carrying pole while the wife brought along an iron pot. However, even if they planned to sit on the side of the path and sell food to the passersby, the pot was still somewhat too large.
No one knew what sort of truths were concealed by this fog that blanketed the tea hill. No one knew that this path that thrust into the fog had its final destination at a place called the Garden of Zhou.
Because regardless of who it was, nobody knew that a second door to the Garden of Zhou could be opened.
The snowstorm raged.
For that demon male to forcefully open the Garden of Zhou, he had clearly consumed much of his strength, both physically and mentally. His face was extremely paley, and the sickly green aura of death about him had grown thicker.
He silently prayed at the black square plate, and the scenery in the plate gradually grew more distinct. One could even see the several hundred human cultivators that had just entered the Garden of Zhou.
Amongst these several hundred human cultivators, he very easily found his objective. Extending his hand, he snapped his fingers over the heads of Qi Jian and Zhexiu, igniting two life flames. He then directed the life flames into two bronze flasks. The bronze flasks floated in the air, the ferocity of the snowstorm incapable of snuffing out the life flames.
The demon male calmly looked at the black square plate, searching for his next target. After a while, his gaze rested upon those maidens from the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green, accoutered in their ceremonial white robes.
A third bronze flask floated in the snowstorm.
Lastly, he looked at Chen Changsheng.
He looked at Chen Changsheng's figure for a very long time, then he chuckled.
He had handed Qi Jian, Zhexiu, and that maiden from the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green over to his subordinates, the people that had just entered the Garden of Zhou via the tea hill.
"I think that you need to continue to live, at the very least until you're twenty. I can't let you die so easily, so I'll keep my eyes on you."
His black robed figure was quite striking against the snowstorm as he said this to Chen Changsheng.
On the arched gate to the Garden of Zhou were written the two words "Ethereal Opening". This also represented the rule governing who could enter. Only Ethereal Opening cultivators were permitted, only they would not be destroyed by the rules governing this miniature world.
Several hundred cultivators filtered through the arched gate into the quiet garden, then they each began to go off on their own. The vast majority of the cultivators from the Orthodoxy's faction would bid farewell to Chen Changsheng before taking their leave, while the cultivators from the southern sects would notify Liang Xiaoxiao.
In a short time, the garden returned to its former tranquility.
Chen Changsheng stood on that small bridge, watching the water flow by. Suddenly, he felt somewhat uncomfortable.
Zhexiu stood behind him. He said, "It's not yet time to be grieving over the passing of the spring or advent of the autumn, yet, you seem to be doing it ahead of time."
Chen Changsheng chuckled, then he prepared to leave. Suddenly, he felt a strange sensation, like someone was watching him.
He looked around the garden but he did not see anyone. However, he continued to sense that something was out there.
He cultivated the Dao of following his heart, so he was in no rush to leave. Instead, he stood on the bridge for a very long time.
Suddenly, it began to drizzle. Dots of water began to appear on the bridge, while the water underneath began to be covered with tiny ripples.
He looked up at the sky in silence, then he took out the umbrella from his bosom.
The umbrella seemed very shabby, yet also very heavy.
It was the Yellow Paper Umbrella.
When he opened up the umbrella, the feeling of being watched suddenly disappeared.
He turned to Zhexiu and said, "Let's go."