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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Before even reaching the age of sixteen years old, he had already managed to enter the upper level of Ethereal Opening, thus setting a record together with Xu Yourong. In this generation, Chen Changsheng was undoubtedly a genius. Even when compared to those peerless experts throughout history in their similar periods of youth, he was not one bit inferior. However, he was still merely a youth.
The distance between him and Su Li was incomparably far, like a vast ocean. If one were to take Wang Po of Tianliang, Painted Armor Xiao Zhang, Liang Wangsun—the experts on the Proclamation of Liberation—and throw them into this ocean, they still would fail to bridge the gap. In the world of cultivation, Su Li was a god, and he was but a mere mortal before a god.
To be lectured on high from such a godlike senior, any other young junior would have long ago bowed down and admitted their wrongs, or perhaps dared not speak out of anxiety. At this time, Chen Changsheng was also very nervous and his body was slightly shaking, but his voice was calm and firm. "I don't understand Senior's meaning."
He treasured his life and his time and felt that speaking lies was an exceedingly uneconomical means of communication, so he had always desired to speak to the truth. The words that he spoke were true. He did not know what "chance" Su Li was speaking of. That sword technique that he had been preparing to pass down to him? Or the chance to leave here alive?
Su Li looked at him and impassively asked, "Who am I?"
This time, Chen Changsheng had learned his lesson, so he naturally would not make the same mistake he had at the start. However, his mood was currently not too good, so he obstinately kept his mouth shut, unwilling to answer.
Su Li had clearly encountered this situation many times before. Without a hint of awkwardness on his face, he very naturally pointed at his own face and answered his own question, "I am Mount Li's Su Li."
His voice suddenly got louder and grew incredibly harsh and cold. "I only need a glance to see through Black Robe's methods, so how can I not see that you are Chen Changsheng! It's because I saw that you were Chen Changsheng that I did not want you to say that you were Chen Changsheng. I let you try again, so why did you insist on saying it! Just what is your meaning!"
In the face of this explosive shout that was like a sword, Chen Changsheng felt his entire body turn cold. Senior, just what exactly do you mean?
Su Li's eyes slightly squinted as he looked at him. "If you were not Chen Changsheng of the Orthodox Academy, or if you did not say that you were Chen Changsheng of the Orthodox Academy, then I could pretend that you were not Chen Changsheng of the Orthodox Academy. Then for the act of delivering me this umbrella, I could pass down a sword technique to you without worry. Regretfully, you've missed this opportunity."
Only after hearing these repetitious words did Chen Changsheng finally understand what this senior was thinking about. After a moment of silence, he replied, "I am Orthodox Academy's Chen Changsheng. Why can't I admit that I am Orthodox Academy's Chen Changsheng? This is more important than that opportunity Senior is talking about."
"Impossible!" Su Li swept his sleeves in rage. It was just that his sleeves were already in tatters, and moreover soaked by the waters of the hot spring, so they moved in a manner that was not at all free and easy, and actually seemed very pathetic. But Su Li cared not. He locked his eyes on Chen Changsheng and said, "To be personally instructed in a sword technique by Su Li, no matter what school's student, which sect's disciple, they would all be both surprised and elated, moved to tears, and bowing at my reverence! Who would be willing to pass on such a chance? That would be to spurn the starry sky itself!"
Chen Changsheng was truly without words. He thought to himself that this person's ego was such that even if Tang Thirty-Six were to live another five hundred years, he still would not be able to catch up.
Abruptly, Su Li calmed down, and his expression gradually grew icy. Gazing at Chen Changsheng expressionlessly, he said, "I get it."
Chen Changsheng continued to be speechless. I don't even get it myself, so what are you getting?
Su Li said to him scornfully, "Everyone says that amongst the present generation of juniors, your talent is exemplary and your experience is vast. How could you not know how difficult it is to have the chance to learn the sword with me? You purposefully admitted your identity so as to make it so I could not teach you my sword technique, thus… making me owe you a favor?"
Chen Changsheng thought to himself, and just what does that mean? This senior really does like to monologue too much. In addition, he's far too narcissistic—could it be that his one favor is so important?
"It's well known that Qiushan is my most favored junior. For you to make me owe you a favor today, when you and Qiushan kick up a fuss over that girl Yourong in the future, you want to use this favor to make me not say anything, or at least not take action?" Su Li smiled at him, "A youth like you… is very precocious, and very treacherous!"
It was a very cold smile, derisive and arrogant, as if it understood everything.
Chen Changsheng was silent and felt rather uncomfortable. He knew that he could not continue his speechless ways and explained, "Senior is overthinking it."
"Am I? So, you gave your name because you're noble and virtuous, not wanting to take advantage of my Mount Li? Or is it that you value your honor far more highly than learning a few sword techniques from me? If it really is this way, then there is nothing between us, so why are you still standing there?"
Su Li looked at Chen Changsheng with a false smile and an indescribable sense of ridicule. "You snatched away the first rank on the first banner from my Mount Li disciples, and then you want to snatch away my family's Qiushan's wife? If you don't want a favor from the act of delivering the sword, then what are you still waiting for? Are you waiting for my mood to turn sour so that I might behead you with one blow?"
These words were so harsh, so cold.
Su Li's behavior, while it could not be said to be like a dog that bites the hand of the man that feeds it, was still extremely overbearing and rude. Chen Changsheng's breathing grew a little rougher as he thought to suppress his anger. He wanted to say a few more words of explanation, but in the end said nothing more. After thinking in silence for a few moments, he wrapped his metal needles back around his fingers and turned and began walking away.
The snowstorm gradually stirred to life, in not much time obscuring his solitary figure.
"Yeah, beat it! If you manage to leave the demon territory alive, your luck isn't too bad."
Su Li looked in the direction that he disappeared and said mockingly, "Acting so lofty and stubborn, who is it for?"
For some reason, after saying these words, he suddenly grew quiet. He turned north and sighed into the snowy sky.
When that boy left the Garden of Zhou, he also did not mention if he made any inquiries about how that girl was doing. She was probably dead.
He took off his tattered clothes, leaving him with only a pair of underpants. He entered into the hot spring. He slowly sat down, then reclined his body.
Whether removing his clothes, walking, or even lying down, his actions were all very slow, as if even moving a fingertip was an arduous endeavor.
He leaned against the white rocks on the side of the hot spring. He extended his hand and plucked a sprig of jasmine that was growing out of a crack in the rocks, then brought it to his nose and gently sniffed it.
Who could have known that in this world ravaged by the wind and snow, there would actually grow a fresh flower? Even if this was a hot spring, just why was it precisely a jasmine flower?
He was a bit tired and could not be bothered to think about this question. Placing the Yellow Paper Umbrella on the side, he proceeded to close his eyes.
At this very moment, the tens of thousands of soldiers of the demon army, as well as those terrifying experts, were searching everywhere for his tracks.
Yet he was like a tourist on holiday, peacefully sleeping in the hot spring.
Crunch crunch. That was the sound of shoes stepping on the snow.
Su Li opened his eyes.
From the time Chen Changsheng had left and he had reclined in the hot spring, not much time had passed.
Chen Changsheng had returned.
Su Li turned his head and said emotionlessly, "Got scared?"
Chen Changsheng did not answer. He walked to his side and squatted, once again taking the metal needles from his fingers.
Su Li said derisively, "And what of your loftiness and stubbornness? How could the junior most admired by old man Yin suddenly become so spineless? The wind gusts and the snow is cold, the forward path is hard to walk; now do you know the meaning of fear? You'd go so far as to ignore the distinction between north and south and request that my Mount Li Sword Sect take you under its arm, and only then continue forward?"
Chen Changsheng continued to pay him no mind. He pinched the needles and stuck them once more into Su Li's neck.
The first time he had used needles on Su Li, he had sensed that it had been very easy to stick the needles into the neck. He had not encountered a single obstruction.
However, this time, he did not control his needlework, so naturally, Su Li felt some pain.
In pain, Su Li indignantly bellowed, "Just what is a bastard like you up to?!"
Chen Changsheng continued to ignore him. He took out a few medicinal herbs he had dug out from the mountain ridge and ground them into a powder. He spread the powder over the wound, then looked around. Picking up the long gown that Su Li had taken off, he ripped off a piece and then seriously and carefully began to bind Su Li's wounds.
"Just what are you doing?"
Su Li was very angry and raged, "Could it be that a little bastard like you believes that I've suffered injury and can't walk and so need your care?"
Chen Changsheng continued to take no notice of him, lowering his head and doing his own things.
Su Li felt this matter was far too absurd. In a wrathful mood, he laughed, "Do you know who I am? And just who are you? I need the care of a cripple like you!?"
Chen Changsheng said something, but it was not an answer. He gazed at the dreadful wounds on Su Li's body and wrinkled his brow. Somewhat annoyed, he said to himself, "If I had not lost so many things in the Garden of Zhou, your injuries would be much easier to treat."
Su Li was truly impatient now. He was just about to launch into an abusive rant when Chen Changsheng directly stuffed a medicinal herb into his mouth, pushing those profane words back down.
With great difficulty, Su Li managed to choke the herb down, then said in a fury, "You! If this father could move, I would definitely cleave you down in one blow! Not even old man Yin would show me such disrespect! I can joke together with Tianhai! And you dare act like this to me!?"
Chen Changsheng was truly angry. "Senior, how can you not understand? I am treating your wounds; can you please be quieter?"
Thereby, Su Li grew quiet.
He gazed at the snowflakes as they unhurriedly fell down to the ground. After a long period of silence, he suddenly asked, "My… was my acting no good?"
Originally, everything before had been fake, an act.
Su Li knew that he was so heavily injured that it would be hard for him to walk. With the demon army behind them in pursuit, he did not want to be a burden to Chen Changsheng. Thus, he had used these methods to purposely infuriate him so that Chen Changsheng would leave before him.
Chen Changsheng's body somewhat stiffened. After a long pause, he finally replied, "…it was pretty good."
Su Li laughed at himself, then said tiredly, "Then how did you see through it?"
"I… in truth, I didn't see through it at all."
After a moment's hesitation, Chen Changsheng sincerely said, "I don't like being wronged by others, so back then I was actually very angry. I felt that Senior was too overbearing, too unreasonable, too…"
Su Li coughed twice, then said with a chuckle, "Too lowly."
Chen Changsheng did not dare to repeat that word, so he said in a low voice, "There was always a sense of… an elder having no self-respect."
Su Li's smile gradually dissipated. He asked, "Then why did you come back?"
Chen Changsheng replied, "Because, Senior, your injuries really are too severe."
He said these words in a very ordinary manner, because to him, this truly was a rather ordinary situation.
But to Su Li, it was extremely unordinary.
"In other words, you found me very annoying, and with your pride hurt, you hurriedly took your leave, but because… you found even more annoying the severity of my injuries, you… came back to treat me?"
Chen Changsheng said nothing.
At this moment, he already knew that Su Li's loathsome words and bearing were on purpose, so he was naturally no longer angry. He was just moved.
What was the mark of a worthy senior? It was not a transcendent character, not a hero without equal, nor was it someone who would battle the heavens and struggle with the earth.
This was the mark of a worthy senior.
Even if he appeared to be so lowly.
Chen Changsheng once again carried Su Li out of the hot spring. He put him on his back, not forgetting to pick up the Yellow Paper Umbrella.
On his back, Su Li sighed regretfully. "Ah, Chen Changsheng, if you continue to be so good, I don't know if that girl Yourong will find things difficult, but it will definitely be very difficult for me."
Just as he had said before, it was well-known that Qiushan Jun was his most cherished junior.
Thus, those words indubitably indicated the admiration Su Li held for Chen Changsheng.
Chen Changsheng felt somewhat embarrassed and felt the situation to be rather awkward. He wanted to find some words to dispel some of this atmosphere when suddenly he looked at the Yellow Paper Umbrella in his hand. He said, "The reason I came back, besides the fact that Senior's wounds were too heavy, was also because I remembered that this umbrella was still here."
Su Li was displeased. "This is my umbrella, so how could you forget about it?"
Chen Changsheng earnestly replied, "Senior, this umbrella was gifted to me by the Old Master of the Tang clan."
Su Li was very angry now. "This is my umbrella!"
Chen Changsheng chuckled but didn't continue to argue. "We'll talk about it after we leave the demon’s territory."
With these words, he carried Su Li out of the snowy mountain ridge.
Not much later, the wind and the snow obscured their figures.