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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
A fiendish intent emerged from the depths of the space between her eyebrows.
An incomparably terrifying and oppressive force appeared in the silent Hundred Herb Garden.
Chen Changsheng blankly stared at her face, feeling that fiendish intent emanating from her brow and the sea of oppressive might around him. He subconsciously ceased his struggles, vaguely guessing that something must have occurred.
She was looking at his eyes. Could it be that the problem was within his eyes?
No, the eyes were the window to the soul.
Through his eyes, she was seeing his sea of consciousness.
She couldn't see what he was thinking, but she could keenly sense that spiritual sense which was not at all his own.
This strand of spiritual sense was extremely indistinct, yet extraordinarily tenacious. Moreover, it was extremely cunning, hiding itself in the deepest depths of Chen Changsheng's sea of consciousness, quietly sitting on the seabed with those stones formed from subconscious thought and extraordinarily hard to differentiate from its surroundings. Putting aside Chen Changsheng, if she had not suddenly been taken by the urge to examine Chen Changsheng, to search his face and eyes for something and thus prove or reject her suspicions…if she had not examined with such focus and care, she would also have failed to discover that extremely thin strand of spiritual sense.
"Who is so audacious as to dare move against him?"
As she stared at the spiritual sense in the depths of Chen Changsheng's sea of consciousness, she gave a cold snort.
With this cold snort, a strand of her spiritual sense entered Chen Changsheng's sea of consciousness. Of course, this was just an extremely tiny portion of her complete spiritual sense. With the strength of her spiritual sense, the moment it entered Chen Changsheng's sea of consciousness, it might cause his head to explode.
Even though it was only a tiny portion, the moment her spiritual sense entered, Chen Changsheng's sea of consciousness was immediately engulfed in a raging tempest. Countless fierce and mighty waves constantly rose up from the sea and it frothed without end. Even the deepest depths of the sea felt the effects of the storm.
That strand of spiritual sense in Chen Changsheng's sea of consciousness had kept itself hidden for a long time, but it finally found it impossible to keep up the act. Accompanied by a mighty surge from the depths of the sea, the entirety of the sea instantly turned red.
An incredibly terrifying bloody scent inundated the world.
Chen Changsheng's sea of consciousness seemed about to become a sea of blood.
In the moment after revealing itself, this concealed strand of spiritual sense was actually so powerful. One could imagine that if it had not been discovered, if the owner of this spiritual sense wished to assassinate Chen Changsheng one day, it would be an incredibly easy affair!
Even now, this strand of spiritual sense was still seeking to kill Chen Changsheng.
Chen Changsheng still knew nothing. His sea of consciousness was already engulfed in countless storms, the blood beneath the fierce storms gradually creeping towards the horizon. But he was aware of none of this. He only felt somewhat absent-minded.
Fortunately, she sat across from him. Ultimately, both Chen Changsheng and that person were her affairs to handle. She would not permit another to lay a hand on him, even if that person acting against Chen Changsheng was that dog she had raised herself.
Yes, the moment that strand of spiritual sense rose up from the seabed, she knew just who had planted it within Chen Changsheng's sea of consciousness. That scent of blood was too distinct, too pungent.
She extended her hand and dipped it into a cup of tea.
In his dazed state, Chen Changsheng felt he had gone back to the past. At that time, she had also dipped her hand in tea to write the word 'ice' on the table, helping him to find New North Bridge and thus the Black Dragon.
But this time, she was not writing a word.
With a flick of her finger, a drop of tea fell in between Chen Changsheng's eyebrows.
With a hiss, the drop of tea turned into a puff of steam and vanished.
Chen Changsheng only felt a buzz in his sea of consciousness and then fainted.
The instant that drop of tea fell between Chen Changsheng's eyebrows, in that mansion within the principal alley of the Northern Military Department, a cup of tea fell to the ground and shattered.
Zhou Tong's hands stiffened in the air and his complexion turned abnormally pale. It was as if he had caught some serious illness in an extremely brief span of time. Then his fingers began to shudder, his entire body began to shudder. Because of this shuddering, that crimson official's gown began to twist, seeming extremely similar to a sea of blood being swept over by the wind.
Just a moment ago, he had steeped a cup of fine black tea and left it to sit until it reached the appropriate temperature. He had just been ready to bring it up to his mouth and take a sip when an intense pain abruptly running through his sea of consciousness took him by surprise.
That pain was so real that it was like someone had stabbed into the depths of his brain with a rusty knife. Even he found it impossible to bear this sort of pain. His fingers had released, causing the teacup to plummet to the ground.
And it was only he who had interacted with pain for half a lifetime that would be able to sit down on a chair. Although his face was pale and his entire body was shuddering as if he had suffered some terrible illness, he had not fallen unconscious.
The moment that pain bloomed in his sea of consciousness, Zhou Tong knew that something had happened.
That day in the courtyard where crabapples blossomed, he had borrowed the sinister pressure of Zhou Prison and didn't hesitate to consume his heartblood so that he could use a technique to conceal a strand of spiritual sense in Chen Changsheng's sea of consciousness.
The Great Crimson Gown was worthy of being called the strangest of all mental attack techniques. He had managed to commit this deed silently. Neither Chen Changsheng nor Tang Thirty-Six had been able to sense it.
However, even the strongest mental attack ultimately had certain limits. Zhou Tong's Great Crimson Gown could not let him know what was going on in Chen Changsheng's sea of consciousness at every moment. It was more like a spy, concealed in the grass behind enemy lines. It would record everything it saw, then when Zhou Tong called it back in the future, he would be able to know everything and everyone Chen Changsheng had met with in the past few days.
Of course, that strand of spiritual sense that was similar to a ranger, on certain special occasions, could also infiltrate the enemy camp and launch a suicidal attack against the general.
This was also a technique Zhou Tong had prepared beforehand. He wished to control Chen Changsheng's life and death with a single thought.
Yet against his expectations, his strand of spiritual sense had actually been discovered and then utterly annihilated!
The annihilation of the spiritual sense had caused a backlash on his sea of consciousness, causing him to suffer extremely harsh injuries.
Who? Who had been able to discover that strand of spiritual sense he had hidden in the depths of Chen Changsheng's sea of consciousness? And just who possessed such divine power to be able to so easily shatter his Great Crimson Gown?
Zhou Tong's complexion was deathly pale and his eyes streaked with blood. Shocked and perplexed, he thought with a chill: could it be the Pope?
There were very few people in the world that could see through the secrets of his Great Crimson Gown. There were only a scant few in the capital, and it was only right that the Pope was among them. It was just that he had specifically made arrangements to hide his technique from the Pope, so how could the Pope have seen through it?
Chen Changsheng woke up and realized that he had been sleeping on the stone table.
He raised his head and saw that the middle-aged woman had already departed. The teapot and tea cups had also vanished without a trace, as had the Black Goat. The dark forest of the Hundred Herb Garden was still beautiful and secluded, the lively cries of insects rising up from every direction.
This place was as beautiful as a dreamland, and he felt that he really had just been dreaming a moment ago.
He had not met that middle-aged woman by the pool, not followed her to the Hundred Herb Garden, and had not sat across from her and drunk tea.
He inadvertently rubbed the space between his eyebrows and realized that the spot was a little moist and cold to the touch.
He withdrew his finger and glanced at it, but it was impossible to tell if that moisture really was that drop of tea.
But that moist and cool feeling felt particularly good. Through his brow, it seeped into his mind, making him feel incomparably fresh and cool.
For some reason, he felt much more relaxed, and also much more clear-headed. It was as if something had washed him from the inside out, leaving not a speck of filth behind.
As he made his way back to the Orthodox Academy from the Hundred Herb Garden, Chen Changsheng recalled what had just happened. Somewhat uneasy, he began Introspective Meditation under the great banyan tree, yet found nothing strange. His Ethereal Palace, sea of consciousness, and meridians were all as usual. Those severed meridians were still blocked up, his true essence had not been consumed, his spiritual sense was no stronger. But…it seemed that there was now an extra sort of Qi.
If his spiritual sense could once be described as calm as water and heavy as a mountain, it could now be said to have been washed by a spring rain. The surface of the water seemed much more flexible and the mountain seemed to have grown moister.
Was this change brought about by that single drop of tea? Chen Changsheng did not know nor did he understand. He sat by the lake in a stupor for quite some time before finally getting up.
Upon returning to the house, he went as usual to Zhexiu's room. Inserting needles into the neck, sending a light pulse of true essence, helping the medicine spread—these were his methods of treating illnesses.
After so many days of treatment, coupled with the medicines requested from the Li Palace or stolen from the Hundred Herb Garden, Zhexiu's condition had greatly improved. Many days ago, he needed some support to walk a few steps. However, he still spent long hours on the bed, not even turning over unless it was absolutely necessary. Xuanyuan Po had once indicated his confusion over this, but only Chen Changsheng knew the reason for it.
Zhexiu's dark period in Zhou Prison had left far too many wounds on his body. Those wounds seemed to have gradually recovered on the surface, but the pain still remained within his body.
Injury was pain, and the phrase 'pain from injury' was impossible to separate. If Zhexiu moved, he would be afflicted by a horrifying pain, so much so that even this wolf youth famed for his willpower found it better to lie motionlessly on his bed in such a good-for-nothing manner.
(TN: 'pain from injury' is a single phrase in Chinese, 伤痛. 伤 means injury and 痛 means pain.)
Chen Changsheng knew how much pain Zhexiu was in, so he didn't believe that Zhexiu was a good-for-nothing. On the contrary, every time he saw Zhexiu's expressionless face, he would always sigh in admiration at Zhexiu's ability to endure until now without a single tear.
"After your meridians are repaired, we can invite the priests of the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green to come and use the Sacred Light technique."
Chen Changsheng said somewhat consolingly as he removed the needles from Zhexiu's body.
Suddenly, his fingers stopped. At this time, his thumb and forefinger were resting on the final needle in Zhexiu's neck.
He was keenly aware that below this needle was a meridian important to both human and demi-human, reaching from the Ethereal Palace directly to the lower edge of the sea of consciousness.
When Zhexiu was imprisoned in Zhou Prison, the first Zhou Tong did was use some secret method to sever this meridian and cripple Zhexiu's cultivation.
That meridian was far too important and far too sensitive. Let alone touching it, even gently brushing against it with the spiritual sense would make someone uncomfortable. If it were actually touched, that sort of pain…Chen Changsheng could only imagine it. Of all the people he knew, only Zhexiu had endured it, so whenever he placed a needle here, he would always act with particular care and precaution.
He clearly understood that this particular meridian could not be restored through any outside force, only time. As a result, he had never given a time for Zhexiu's complete recovery and had even mentally prepared himself for the fact that it might require three years, or even longer. Yet, just as he was prepared to remove this needle, he suddenly felt a faint vibration emanating from below the needle.