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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The balcony was the balcony of a restaurant, the table was a restaurant's table, and the restaurant was the capital's most renowned and also most expensive Clear Lake Restaurant. This place was naturally meant for dining, and those individuals worthy to dine with Tianhai Chenwu were a scant few. As it so happened, Xu Shiji was one of these people.
Widely regarded as Chen Changsheng's nominal future father-in-law, Xu Shiji currently had a very complex impression of Chen Changsheng. Last year, the Divine General of the East's estate had gotten covered all over in dirt because of this young Daoist from the countryside, becoming the laughingstock of the entire continent. However, how could he have possibly known beforehand that Chen Changsheng was actually the highly-regarded successor of the Pope? And just how could he have known that Daoist Ji was actually the once incomparably magnificent Princ.i.p.al Shang…every time he thought of this engagement, he would think of many complaints against his father that had long since returned to the sea of stars. There were clearly so many things hidden behind this engagement. Why didn't you explain it all to me before?
His impressions were complex, so his thoughts were naturally also complex, and Xu Shiji's position on this engagement had also become rather difficult to pin down. Upon receiving the invitation yesterday from the Tianhai Estate, he began to think, this Tianhai clan head famous for his profound schemes and deep forethought perhaps wants to force me to take a stand. Consequently, upon arriving at Clear Lake Restaurant, he basically kept his silence, especially whenever Tianhai Chenwu brought up Chen Changsheng.
Tianhai Chenwu shot him a smile, as if completely understanding what was going through his mind. He indifferently continued, "Shengxue is in the north, diligently cultivating, using battle to improve himself. He has already broken into Star Condensation. At the year's end, he should be returning to the capital to once more view the Heavenly Tome Monoliths."
Xu Shiji did not understand why he would so abruptly bring up Tianhai Shengxue, even though Tianhai Shengxue was the most outstanding youth of the Tianhai clan's third generation and also one of the members of the junior generation most beloved by the Divine Empress.
"In the Grand Examination at the beginning of the year, Shengxue did some things that were simply impossible to hide, but this child was smart and didn't plan to hide anything. Now that I mention it, this is a rather excellent use of the open conspiracy…but his conduct in this matter still makes me somewhat unhappy. If the clan is too big, it's inevitable that everyone within has their own judgments and opinions, but when the clan faces a great pressure, those lonesome opinions have no meaning. We must bring all our strength together, and only through this can we protect the entire clan and continue on the correct path. It's that saying about the overturned bird's nest…if you can't even protect the nest, but are still thinking about protecting your own egg, isn't that just ridiculous?"
Hearing Tianhai Chenwu's easygoing and amusing monologue, Xu Shiji grew even more serious. It was impossible for him to not understand the ulterior meaning of these words. The so-called correct path was naturally the path where the Tianhai clan replaced the Chen clan and continued their reign over the human world. The so-called discontent towards Tianhai Shengxue was in fact a warning to him, telling him to not have too many other thoughts.
"My aunt has recently not said anything, causing many people in the capital to misunderstand." When he was in the Imperial Palace or at the Imperial Court, Tianhai Chenwu would always refer to the Divine Empress respectfully. Only in the most private of venues would he refer to her as his aunt. This was not some sort of hidden reminder, but a naked display of strength. He turned and stared into Xu Shiji's eyes, saying, "But they have forgotten one thing. My aunt carries the surname of Tianhai. How could she possibly bear to see her entire family be killed to the man?"
Xu Shiji knew that he could no longer continue listening. He commented, "I do not understand why His Holiness has continued to maintain his silence."
This was naturally a reference to that matter that had the entire capital abuzz with excitement: the Orthodox Academy and its matches with all the other schools. Tianhai Chenwu restrained his smile and said, "If everyone does not understand, then there must be a deeper meaning…I've always held the opinion that His Holiness is using this method to make Chen Changsheng mature as quickly as possible. There are even some times where I feel that His Holiness is acting too hastily, pulling up the sprouts in an attempt to help them grow."
Xu Shiji slightly creased his brow as he thought, that petty son-in-law of mine is publicly acknowledged as calm and mature beyond his years. He's not fully sixteen and he's almost at the threshold of Star Condensation. This is absolutely unprecedented in history, and besides my own daughter, there's really no one else that can compare. His Holiness is actually unsatisfied by this and wants him to mature even faster?
"Besides my aunt, who can comprehend His Holiness's intentions?" Tianhai Chenwu slowly said as he turned his head to gaze at the thin fog drifting over the lake.
Xu Shiji was even more perplexed. If the Pope intended to use the Tianhai clan and the new faction of the Orthodoxy to hone Chen Changsheng, why had the Tianhai clan continued to hold back its real methods?
"Starting with Mei Lisha, the Li Palace has always acted as Chen Changsheng's support. If I were to go against this, I would expend far too much energy. Then why don't I just go with the flow? I will let people continuously challenge the Orthodox Academy. If Chen Changsheng can endure through this period, then he will surely progress leaps and bounds in strength, cultivation, and even will. But what if he can't?"
With a derisive smile on his face, Tianhai Chenwu continued, "I know what you are thinking, what many people are thinking. You think that my Tianhai clan continuously sending people to challenge the Orthodox Academy is like sending offerings to Chen Changsheng, like continuing to throw firewood onto a bonfire. There's simply no way to extinguish it, and it's only making the fire burn ever more fiercely. But did all of you ever think, if there is one day when an enormous tree suddenly falls down, can that fire still continue to burn? Or perhaps, there is suddenly no more wood to add to the fire. This fire that has burned so fiercely for so long—will it be extinguished in such a brief span of time, or will it ravage the forest behind it? Since the Li Palace wishes to support him, I will help them push Chen Changsheng's prestige to the highest peak, then let him collapse with a bang. Until that moment, I wish to see just how Chen Changsheng can possibly bear such a fall, and whether the honing of His Holiness might just hone him into a pile of sand!"
Xu Shiji slightly arched his brow, saying, "To pour oil on the fire often does end with a miserable conclusion, but…if you really do move some powerful experts in the end, I'm afraid the Li Palace will obstruct you."
Tianhai Chenwu shot him a glance, as he thought mockingly, even now, you choose to put up this fake act? I really don't know why my aunt chose you back then.
"There is one person…that can definitely defeat Chen Changsheng, and not even His Holiness could say it is in any way improper, because she's actually a little younger than Chen Changsheng. Similarly, she has also not reached Star Condensation." He lightly said to Xu Shiji, "In a few days, your family's phoenix daughter will return to the capital. My aunt adores your family's phoenix. The whole world knows that the Li Palace wishes to support Chen Changsheng, why can't we support your family's phoenix?"
Xu Shiji understood that today's conversation had finally reached its most critical juncture. After a long period of silence, he lightly said, "She is still young, how can she bear the aftermath?"
Acting as the driving force to bring a halt to the Orthodox Academy's revival, even to bring Chen Changsheng's progress along the path the Pope had made for him to a sudden stop, was not too big a deal to his genius daughter. The problem was that hidden behind this storm over the Orthodox Academy was the struggle of two Saints. Even if Xu Yourong was the embodied reincarnation of the Heavenly Phoenix, she was still not fully mature. How could she possibly endure those storms?
"You must understand one thing! Although it seems like Zhou Tong and many other people have not been doing anything, in reality, they have been acting in coordination with that Saint of the south!"
Tianhai Chenwu stared into the vast and misty expanse that was the lake. When he thought of this matter, even with his high authority and weighty status, even with his callous temperament, he also couldn't help but feel a little yearning. Sighing emotionally, he said, "The confluence of north and south really might succeed this year. It is precisely because of this sort of backdrop that His Holiness and my aunt would appear so calm. The two sides can only bicker for power, but it's inconvenient for them to actually carry out their will, so there's no need for you to be too worried."
The banquet concluded and they descended the stairs.
Patrons of Tianhai Chenwu and Xu Shiji's status naturally did not take the routes used by ordinary guests. Clear Lake Restaurant had made a path especially for guests like them. Incredibly, in this path in which it was logically impossible for two parties of guests to meet, two parties really did meet.
Tianhai Chenwu and Xu Shiji ran into three youths.
The three youths of the Orthodox Academy.