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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
For some inexplicable reason, whenever Chen Changsheng thought about how the first thing Xu Yourong did upon returning to the capital was challenging the Orthodox Academy, not even tarrying a single day, he felt rather depressed.
Once the three disciples from the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green and South Stream Temple saw that he received the letter, they bid him farewell.
It was rumored that Chen Changsheng had requested for the Pope to forcefully annul the engagement. Although no proof had yet surfaced, Chen Changsheng had never denied it either.
To South Stream Temple, this was without question an enormous disgrace, so that senior sister had never showed a good expression towards Chen Changsheng, even when he was now the Principal of the Orthodox Academy. On the contrary, that somewhat younger junior sister showed no enmity towards Chen Changsheng. Before she left, she even nodded her head at Chen Changsheng, as if there was something she wanted to say.
"That girl is a little weird," Tang Thirty-Six commented.
Chen Changsheng first put away the letter, then asked, "A rather clean girl, what's so strange about her?"
With a solemn expression, Tang Thirty-Six answered, "From beginning to end, that girl never even glanced in my direction. She just stared at you."
"She's called Ye Xiaolian. She should have entered South Stream Temple's outer sect just this year."
Chen Changsheng admonished, "Last year on the Divine Avenue of the Li Palace, you scolded her until she cried in front of so many people. It's only natural that she not have a good impression of you.""
Tang Thirty-Six finally realized just who that girl called Ye Xiaolian was. Shaking his head, he argued, "So what? The more this is the case, the deeper the impression I should have left her. As they say, hate begets love…"
Chen Changsheng could no longer keep listening. Turning around, he walked back to the house.
Tang Thirty-Six followed behind. Rather discontent, he continued, "In addition, just why did I scold her back then? Wasn't it because I wanted to help you vent your anger? In the end, just what was going on over there? She didn't look at me, but at you. With that enraptured appearance, how can it not be weird?"
Chen Changsheng did not turn his head as he replied, "Let's not talk about this. Help me think of ideas on what to do next."
"Didn't we already discuss it last night? Just fight."
Tang Thirty-Six quickened his steps and pulled up beside Chen Changsheng. Turning his head to look at him, he asked worriedly, "You aren't really thinking about conceding, right?"
Chen Changsheng contemplated the question, then shook his head.
Tang Thirty-Six warned, "Seven days from now at the Bridge of Helplessness, you'd better not decide to concede because you think she's beautiful…although I know how difficult that is, but with how you didn't seem to understand what flirting was last night, there's still a possibility."
Chen Changsheng was rather confused. Why was it that everyone, from Xu Shiji to Tang Thirty-Six, was all so sure that he would change his mind upon seeing Xu Yourong?
He had put this question to Tang Thirty-Six before. Back then, Tang Thirty-Six had given a very simple answer, but he seemed a bit more serious today.
"I've never met Xu Yourong, but I've met many people who've delayed their marriages after seeing Xu Yourong."
He looked at Chen Changsheng and said, "Just like your Stainless Sword, as long as it's sharp enough, sharp to the point of perfection, then it can enter the Tier of Legendary Weapons. One person, whether male or female, if they are beautiful enough, beautiful to the point of perfection, is very frightening. In the past, there was Zhou Yuren and the young Divine Empress, and now there's Xu Yourong. They're all this sort of person."
Chen Changsheng found it impossible to understand this sort of statement.
Tang Thirty-Six explained, "Just like a painting, a vase of plum blossoms, a lake of limpid water, a distant mountain…if someone wanted to destroy these, even you would feel it a sin."
Chen Changsheng recalled all the sights and people he had encountered on his journey from Xining to the capital and then to Hanqiu City, the Plains of the Unsetting Sun and the dark rains over Xunyang City, the young maiden of the plains and Wang Po in the rain, and he roughly understood.
This battle which had captivated the eyes of tens of thousands would begin in seven days. Even the waters flowing under the Bridge of Helplessness seemed to flow faster upon hearing this news.
The quickest to respond were still the Four Great Markets. This single match had far too great of an influence. Many powerful figures would definitely wish to see it personally. Perhaps even the Divine Empress and the Pope might be present. The streets on both the east and west sides of the Bridge of Helplessness began to be cleaned. It could be presumed that on the day of the match, the Imperial Court and the Li Palace would occupy their respective sides, leaving no space for the Four Great Markets to construct any sort of awning. However, the Four Great Markets would absolutely not miss out on betting for this battle.
There was still seven days of time before the formal opening of this battle, but it already had a formal name: The Battle of the Bridge of Helplessness.
It even seemed like everyone thought it a done deal that this battle would go down in the annals of history.
This had nothing to do with the cultivation levels of Xu Yourong and Chen Changsheng. The two could possess an even more inconceivable talent, they could be considered the two youngest upper level Ethereal Opening cultivators in history, but they were still just sixteen years old.
Without even bringing up the battle between Zhou Dufu and Emperor Taizong in Luoyang, this battle didn't even match up to the battle in the dark rain that had occurred not too long ago in Xunyang City.
But the two sides of this battle were Xu Yourong and Chen Changsheng, and this was enough.
They didn't need their identities as the Holy Maiden of the south and the Principal of the Orthodox Academy, nor did they need the engagement, and that conflict between the Tianhai clan and the Li Palace didn't even need to be discussed. None of this had ever been forgotten, because as soon as those two names were mentioned, all these events of the past year would surface again in the minds of the people, and the entire world would become excited.
Everyone in the capital was awaiting the coming of this battle. Many people in the Imperial Court and the Li Palace were making their preparations for it.
As one of the participants, Chen Changsheng naturally had his own preparations to make. He had already fought with many Star Condensation cultivators, even faced off against the likes of Liang Wangsun and Painted Armor Xiao Zhang, but even though his opponent Xu Yourong was only at the upper level of Ethereal Opening, he would definitely not treat her with the slightest scorn or disregard. He was very sure that Xu Yourong was far stronger than those initial level Star Condensation cultivators that had lost at his hand.
If he wished to emerge victorious against a genius like Xu Yourong, to obtain victory in the face of the bloodline of the true Phoenix, he naturally had to prepare his most powerful techniques.
The moment the match's date was decided, he launched his first sword, the Intellectual Sword—with the assistance of the Li Palace and Wenshui Tangs, he obtained countless files and dossiers pertaining to Xu Yourong. Sitting by the window, he began to seriously study them, attempting to find the information he required from within. With enough information, he could calculate and deduce just how he should use this sword of his.
He first comprehended the techniques of South Stream Temple, the history of Holy Maiden Peak, how the Daoist techniques of north and south began to diverge after the schism of the Orthodoxy, and the fruits of the Holy Maidens' research into the Heavenly Tome Monoliths. For this purpose, the Li Palace had sent over countless books, even a notebook that Xu Yourong had written in the past two years of her study of the Heavenly Tome Monoliths. Then, he began to comprehend the Divine General of the East's estate, what sort of style Xu Shiji usually led his troops with, Madam Xu's temperament, what sort of life that maid called Shuang'er lived before entered the Xu Estate and also how she had been brought in by Xu Yourong. After he had comprehended and grasped all this information, he could finally begin the most important part: Xu Yourong herself.
There was an enormous amount of information concerning Xu Yourong. Besides the Li Palace, the Wenshui Tangs had also sent over two boxes. However, if all the commonly known information and those examples of battles were excluded, there was actually very little useful information in all of this. Moreover, the vast majority of the information was rumors from when she lived in the capital. There were not many records from her time in Holy Maiden Peak.
The more Chen Changsheng studied those files, the more impossible it was for him to understand Xu Yourong.
This wasn't to say that Xu Yourong was a very enigmatic girl.
In reality, when she was very small, many common folk of the capital had seen her with their own eyes.
They had seen her leap from the stone bridge into the canal. After rescuing her, they had asked why she had jumped. She said that it was because there was a moon in the water.
They had seen her going for a walk at New North Bridge and jumping towards that abandoned well. After barely managing to obstruct her, they had asked why. She said that it was because there was a dragon in that well.
There were many old people that even now had not forgotten a scene that used to take place very often some ten years ago in front of the Li Palace.
It was still the little girl Xu Yourong who would often climb up the stone pillars of the Li Palace to watch the sun, laughing very happily. Below, the Li Palace priests were both anxious and angry, yet didn't dare to do anything. Even their shouts for her to come down were warm and gentle.
She, who from the moment she was born had been determined by the Divine Empress and the Pope to hold the blood of the true Phoenix, was the cherished treasure of the entire capital and all of the Great Zhou. Let alone the hallowed pillars of the Li Palace, even the Princess of Ping who was several years older than her was often beaten black and blue. The Divine Empress did not care, so these Li Palace priests were powerless.
In brief, Xu Yourong in her childhood was a naughty and mischievous young monkey, a daring tomboy. No one could have imagined what she would become.
At the age of five, Xu Yourong's true Phoenix blood awakened.
This was two years earlier than calculated by the Divine Empress and the Pope.
From that day onward, Xu Yourong seemed to transform into another person entirely. Her white dress was no longer stained with dust, remaining beautiful and serene.
Her temperament also became beautiful and serene. No matter what situation she encountered, she remained calm and indifferent.
She no longer uttered nonsense like the canal containing a moon or the well holding a dragon, and she no longer messed around.
She began to quietly study, calmly cultivate, and she was still so small.
At that time, the common folk of the capital would occasionally see her entering the palace, and it almost seemed like they had seen a real fairy.
The capital's burning adoration and worship most likely began from that point.
Reading these files and imagining those scenes, Chen Changsheng entered a sort of trance.
As it turned out, when she was small, she had been that sort of person.
But why was it that when they were exchanging letters, he had never felt any of this? And why hadn't he felt any of the other her that was so admired by the common folk of the capital?
Gazing at the bamboo dragonfly on the bookshelf, he found himself rather perplexed.
Too many things had happened after he came to the capital, making it impossible for him to preserve any sort of favorable impression towards Xu Yourong. Those fancies that he presumably once had also vanished into nothingness. Furthermore, they were opponents. But even with all this, he was forced to admit that Xu Yourong truly was extraordinary. The moon in the canal, he could not understand, but he knew more than anyone else that under the abandoned well in New North Bridge…there really was a dragon. And she knew this when she wasn't yet five?