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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Chen Changsheng had never met Qiushan Jun before. He could only guess from the stories told to him by Gou Hanshi and the others, and the praise of the common people, what sort of person Qiushan Jun was. Gou Hanshi, Guan Feibai, Qi Jian, and the rest, were all very extraordinary people in his eyes, each having aspects that were worthy of learning from. However, when they talked about Qiushan Jun, they very naturally spoke of him with an absolute sense of trust.
This was a very frightening affair. That Su Li would now state that as long as Qiushan Jun was there, Mount Li would undergo this strife with no difficulties, this sort of trust was even more terrifying. It must be stated that no matter how outstanding Qiushan Jun was, he was still a young man that was not fully twenty years old. For what reason would Su Li be so assured that as long as Qiushan Jun was there, Mount Li would not fall into chaos? He didn't understand, or perhaps it was better to say that he began to lose confidence in himself.
Wang Po looked into his eyes and very earnestly said, "Qiushan Jun is truly very good."
The entire continent knew of Chen Changsheng’s engagement, such that even Wang Po found it very interesting. Many people wanted to know just what sort of story Chen Changsheng, Xu Yourong, and Qiushan Jun—these three most outstanding figures of their young generation—would produce in the future. Wang Po rather admired Chen Changsheng, so he wanted to inform this youth just how amazing this future opponent was.
Chen Changsheng didn't really know how to respond.
Su Li said, "He's not up to Qiushan's level, at least right now."
Wang Po replied, "Although he's not as good, he's also not too far. Moreover, whether he's good enough or not has never been our problem."
These words concealed a deeper meaning, but Chen Changsheng heard it loud and clear.
On a certain level, he and Wang Po shared a connection, even though they were still actually strangers to each other.
Wang Po clasped his hands in respect towards Chen Changsheng, and then bid him farewell.
Su Li abruptly said, "Somehow, I feel somewhat unhappy."
The Holy Maiden smiled at him. "Jealous?"
Su Li replied, "What are you saying?"
The Holy Maiden answered, "Chen Changsheng and Wang Po are people going the same way, but you are not."
Su Li somewhat helplessly replied, "That kid Qiushan is also not much like me."
The Holy Maiden replied, "There is a young person very similar to you."
"The Old Master of the Tang clan's grandson, Tang Tang."
Su Li said in disgust, "What I detest the most are people of the Tang clan."
The Holy Maiden stated, "What people detest the most is often themselves."
Su Li sneered, "Junior Sister has lived on Holy Maiden Peak for too long. Your words are becoming more and more uninteresting."
The Holy Maiden smiled. "Then wouldn't it be good if Senior Brother took me traveling through the four seas?"
Thus, there were no more words.
Wang Po also had nothing more to say. He turned around and began heading out of the city, his tall and thin body slightly crooked. He didn't seem at all like the expert that sat at the top of the Proclamation of Liberation, not at all like that courageous warrior that had just taken part in a majestic battle. He just seemed like an impoverished accountant.
Looking at his back, Su Li asked, "Do you know why he's called Wang Po of Tianliang?"
This question was naturally asked to Chen Changsheng.
Chen Changsheng replied, "I don't want to know."
Su Li was somewhat surprised and somewhat annoyed.
Chen Changsheng was more concerned about another problem. "Why is it that he seems to not really want to talk with you?"
Su Li got even more irritated. "That boy never liked me, so it's only natural that he doesn't want to talk with me."
Wang Po's blade cultivated the straight path. He didn't like Su Li, so he would ignore Su Li, not caring for the fact that Su Li was Su Li. Similarly, if he wanted to save Su Li, he would go save Su Li, even if Su Li was Su Li. Just as stated before, he focused on the situation, not the person.
Just as Chen Changsheng was preparing to say something more, he noticed that the Holy Maiden had been quietly standing by Su Li's side, not interrupting or making any movements. She was just like a little bird calmly resting on a wutong tree. Who could have imagined that Junior Martial Uncle of Mount Li, widely known as being cold-blooded and murderous, would actually have this sort of relationship with the pure Holy Maiden of the south?
Su Li knew what he was thinking about and said, "No person truly lives cut off from others, besides that empress of yours."
This was already the second time he had made such a judgment, and Chen Changsheng didn't know if there was any sort of deeper meaning behind it or not.
The Holy Maiden had been observing Chen Changsheng all this time. She felt that when compared to Su Li, this youth seemed too overly dull, and similarly did not match up to Qiushan Jun's graceful manner. He could only be said to be barely satisfactory. But she soon after thought, perhaps this is my obsession causing trouble. Perhaps it's affecting my judgement? Thus, she had not conveyed her evaluation.
The thing called obsession could not be asked for.
Back then, for all sorts of complicated reasons, she and Su Li could not be together. It was impossible for them to be together, so much so that they hadn't even met with each other over these past few years. It was to the extent that in both the South Stream Temple and the Mount Li Sword Sect, no one knew of their relationship. So on Xu Yourong's engagement, she had always had a certain opinion. She felt that Xu Yourong could marry Qiushan Jun.
Because Qiushan Jun truly was sufficiently outstanding, even perfect. He was a perfect match for her own female disciple. In addition, the whole continent knew that, although there was nothing official, the true successor of Su Li in Mount Li was precisely Qiushan Jun.
To hope that the next generation could complete what she herself could not was also a sort of obsession.
With this thought, she inadvertently glanced at Su Li, her eyes still as complex as the sea of stars.
"Although I don't much like this kid, I have to admit, he's not any lesser than Qiushan." Su Li looked at her and smiled. "I got in an argument with Wang Po on purpose because I couldn't stand to see his lifeless face."
The Holy Maiden replied, "Qiushan is your successor."
Su Li looked at Chen Changsheng and said, "On this journey, I also taught him a few things."
The Holy Maiden had an acute understanding of just how proud Su Li was, just how lofty was his gaze, and so she couldn't help but feel somewhat astonished. Turning to Chen Changsheng, she smiled and said, "If that's the case, then I have to regard you even more seriously."
To receive these words from the Holy Maiden, anyone would feel proud. And if Chen Changsheng wanted to marry Xu Yourong, the meaning contained within the Holy Maiden's words would make him even happier. But now as he looked at the white clothes of the Holy Maiden, he subconsciously recalled those white clothes in the Garden of Zhou and that young girl. As a result, a sentence slipped out of his mouth.
"My lady has misunderstood. I have not made up my mind yet on this engagement."
As he finished saying these words, Chen Changsheng's mood became somewhat peculiar, as if he had returned to a year ago in the estate of the Divine General of the East back at the capital. He felt somewhat relieved, and yet for some reason, he felt a sense of disappointment, like he had lost something.
Perhaps he no longer needed to burden himself with any of this. It had always been the case that there would be those sets of emotions that were completely at odds with each other.
In that moment when the Holy Maiden's attitude towards him had just changed, he had brought up the matter of ending the engagement. The Holy Maiden would certainly be angry and he did not dare look at her in the eye. Turning to Su Li, he said, "Senior, once you return to Mount Li, I would trouble you to take care of that matter as soon as possible."
He was obviously speaking of the matter of Liang Xiaoxiao using his death to accuse those three people of colluding with the demons.
Su Li said nothing. Qi Jian was his daughter. It was a given that he would resolve this matter.
Chen Changsheng suddenly thought of another matter. He looked at Su Li and sincerely said, "Senior, I won."
They had gone from the snowy plains of the demon realm to the world of humans, and then there was that assassination attempt in the military fort, followed soon after by the pursuit of the Great Zhou Cavalry into the snow-covered woods.
At the time, Chen Changsheng and Su Li had a conversation and then discussed the same topic several times afterwards—a conversation concerned with the world and the hearts of people.
Su Li believed this world to be ice-cold. Chen Changsheng believed the world to be warm. Su Li believed the hearts of people to be sinister and vicious. Chen Changsheng believed that not all people's hearts were like so. They had not made any bet, but each knew what the other was thinking. Finally, in the middle of that lovely spring sunshine, Chen Changsheng had opened the window to the streets of Xunyang City and loudly shouted out those words, revealing the dice under the cup.
Chen Changsheng believed that he had won.
Su Li replied, "Just like Zhu Luo said, in the entire world, there was only a fool, a youth, and a ghost that can't even stand the light."
Chen Changsheng replied, "But ultimately, there was a fool, a youth, and in addition, that ghost that couldn't stand the light really did appear in the full light of day and stood in front of you."
That assassin that had followed them for several weeks, in Chen Changsheng's view, was a very beautiful thing, a very warm story.
He said, "The facts testify that human nature is good."
Su Li shook his head. "I still don't think that's true."
Chen Changsheng answered, "But at least there is a good side, just like how Senior is decisive and murderous, disdaining the world, but also has a good side."
Su Li arched his brows. "We're not frying rice cakes here, where did all these sides come from? Do you want to add an egg too?"
Chen Changsheng asked, "Then by that hot spring in the snowy mountain ridge, why did Senior try to deceive me? Why did you not hesitate to play the part of a vile man to enrage and threaten me so that I would leave? Senior could have just told me."
This was a question that he had asked Su Li at the very beginning, but Su Li had never answered.
Su Li gazed into his eyes and said, "It's not because I am a good person, but because you are a good person, because you are a real person. If I were to straightforwardly tell you to leave, you definitely wouldn't leave."
Chen Changsheng fell silent for a few moments, then said, "But Senior still wanted me to leave, not wanting to drag me down."
He believed that this was the best evidence.
Su Li was a good person.
For some reason, he was particularly obsessed with proving this point.
Su Li was rather annoyed by his pestering. He said, "I'm not a good person. I just believe that in the future, you young ones will definitely be stronger than our generation, so I don't want you to die too early."
"Humans are a very interesting existence. They always love to grow nostalgic over the old ways, thinking that old is good and the past is perfect. But I don't think this way. I believe that each generation will always be stronger than the previous. My master was stronger than the founding ancestor of the Mount Li Sword Sect, and I am stronger than my master, so I must be stronger than old man Yin and Zhu Luo's generation. Wang Po and the rest will definitely be stronger than my generation, and Qiushan and your generation will necessarily be stronger than theirs. Only by believing in this point and striving for it can humans continue to exist on this continent, and to live better and better."
The setting sun had not yet sunk below the horizon. Xunyang City was somewhat gloomy, but it didn't make anyone feel sad. On the contrary, it was very much like early morning and very much like Su Li's words, brimming with the vivid air of life.
"Which is why Senior has always been helping and instructing me."
"Yes, compared to those old things, I look even more favorably upon you young ones."
"Which is why back then, Senior did not kill Liang Wangsun and Liang Hongzhuang, and even allowed Liang Xiaoxiao into the Mount Li Sword Sect? Which is why previously in that dangerous situation at the inn, Senior did not use his final attack on Xiao Zhang and Liang Wangsun?"
"Maybe, but who told you that was my final strike?"
"But, why doesn't Senior like those old people?"
"Those old people…are old, rotted, lifeless. They don't know how to advance, only how to play around with schemes and plots. They aren't shining, they aren't open and honest, they aren't clear-minded, and so they aren't sharp. Without a sharp strength, they have no meaning to humans, so I will continue to watch them. And you people, you should quickly prop up."
"Yes, to prop up the heavens and stand firm upon the earth."
Saying these words, Su Li and the Holy Maiden, shoulder to shoulder, walked out of Xunyang City.
Chen Changsheng stood behind them.
Hua Jiefu and his priests stood at an even farther place.
The setting sun was like the morning sun, the night wind cool like the morning breeze, and the remaining drops of rain on the street seemed very much like the dew. These things he had experienced from the Garden of Zhou to Xunyang City were not at all like a dream. They were as vivid as the wounds on his body. However, he had this vague sense that he had forgotten one very important thing.
He did not know that back in the capital, a storm was waiting for him.
He only wanted to remember what that thing was.
And then, he remembered.
He faced the setting sun and yelled at Su Li's back, "Senior…that umbrella is mine."