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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
'Mount Han' was this line of unbroken mountain peaks, and it was also used to refer to the highest and most solitary peak.
Chen Changsheng raised the curtain and gazed at the lonely peak in silence, comparing it to the solitary peak behind Xining Village, but he could not determine which was higher.
He was familiar with the solitary peak in the middle of the Cloud Grave and knew that it occupied a vast amount of space, but he never knew how tall it was because it was always obscured by the clouds.
Suddenly, he began to miss the old temple outside Xining Village, to miss his teacher and senior.
Before entering Mount Han, there was a small village. It was said that this place was the final place ordinary people could permanently reside.
Perhaps because cultivators would travel to the Heaven Lake year-round, the village was not at all desolate. It was actually rather lively, home to some two thousand people.
Unlike the commoners of other places, the inhabitants of the small village were clearly informed on the Boiling Stone Summit. Upon seeing the convoy from the Li Palace and the Orthodoxy cavalry, they respectfully and solemnly yielded the way. They were under the care and jurisdiction of the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets, but they were also believers of the Orthodoxy and did not dare to show the slightest disrespect.
Somewhat surprisingly, the convoy stopped outside the small village.
After a moment, Chen Changsheng heard Mao Qiuyu's voice, "The people of the village heard that you were also in the convoy. They wish to see you."
Chen Changsheng was a little taken aback. He didn't think about it too much, thinking that if they wanted to see him, then he would go. He stood and prepared to exit the carriage but was stopped by Tang Thirty-Six.
You're prepared to go out just like this?" Tang Thirty-Six asked him.
Zhexiu looked at Chen Changsheng and also shook his head.
"What's wrong with how I am now?" Chen Changsheng said as he examined himself. Because of the long journey, he wore the most comfortable cotton school uniform of the Orthodox Academy. Given how long he had spent sitting, it had inevitably become somewhat wrinkled, but it was still very clean. He didn't feel that anything about his clothes was improper.
Tang Thirty-Six took out a brand-new set of clothes and threw it over, saying, "For this occasion, you should be somewhat more serious, because they're all very serious."
Chen Changsheng took the clothes and realized it was a Daoist robe that the Li Palace had sent over in the spring.
This Daoist robe was made with the finest materials and tailored meticulously. Most importantly, woven upon it was a complex design signifying his status.
He was currently not the Pope, so he could not wear the Divine Robe. This Daoist robe was special, representing his status as the future Pope.
The reason Linghai Zhiwang refused to show himself the entire journey was probably that he did not wish to see Chen Changsheng wearing this Daoist robe.
No one had imagined that Chen Changsheng had not worn it even once.
He put on the brand-new Daoist robe and, with Tang Thirty-Six's assistance, tidied up all the details. As all this was going on, Chen Changsheng's expression was becoming increasingly conscientious.
Tang Thirty-Six had spoken correctly. Those people waiting to see him were all very serious and solemn, so he really should be more solemn and serious.
"Is it okay?"
After he finished putting on the Daoist robe, he asked Tang Thirty-Six and Zhexiu.
Zhexiu nodded while Tang Thirty-Six noted, "You've still forgotten the most important thing."
Chen Changsheng's hand fell upon his sword hilt then slowly departed.
A wooden staff exuding a faint divine aura appeared in his hands.
"I'm going," he said to Tang Thirty-Six and Zhexiu.
Holding the Divine Staff, he stepped firmly out of the carriage.
The world outside instantly grew quiet. In the distance, the cry of a young eagle could be heard from the distant snowy peaks of Mount Han.
A tide of innumerable believers, a dense mass of people, kneeled down in worship.
The several hundred Orthodoxy cavalry also kneeled down.
Wearing a Daoist robe, the Divine Staff in his hands, Chen Changsheng stood before the tide, his young face somewhat nervous.
He did not know how he should address this sort of scene.
He strenuously recalled all those important figures he had met: the Pope, Su Li, and the Holy Maiden.
Finally, he thought of Xu Yourong and his nervousness gradually faded, transforming into calm and sincere gratitude.
As he gazed at the pious masses paying him respect, he used his calmest voice to say, "May the Sacred Light be with all of you."
"****, just where did he learn those words from? Really…I can't laugh at him this time."
Tang Thirty-Six had used his finger to raise the curtain a little and was viewing the scene outside in shock.
Zhexiu did not descend from the carriage because he had no interest in these sorts of things.
Tang Thirty-Six did not descend from the carriage for another reason.
In this sort of situation, he wouldn't go out even if he were beaten to death, because once he appeared, he would also have to kneel down in respect to Chen Changsheng.
Last year when the Pope affirmed Chen Changsheng's status, Tang Thirty-Six had called an emergency meeting in the Orthodox Academy. In this meeting, he explicitly stated that if there was no way around kneeling down and worshipping Chen Changsheng outside, then once they returned to the Orthodox Academy, Chen Changsheng would have to return a kneel to Tang Thirty-Six.
Zhexiu clearly understood why Tang Thirty-Six did not leave the carriage, but he was rather confused as to why he didn't mock and ridicule Chen Changsheng like normal.
Tang Thirty-Six gazed out the window at the scene, very calm and very satisfied, seeming to be thinking about something.
He was thinking about the conversation he had with Chen Changsheng on the Orthodox Academy's great banyan tree.
Perhaps it wouldn't be long before he had to return to Wenshui, succeed to the family, and bear his own responsibility, to be the wealthiest in the world but be trapped in one city. But before that, he had lived frivolously, he had strived and struggled together with his companions, and he had even fulfilled the promise he had made.
After departing the village, they quickly reached the mountain gate of Mount Han.
Chen Changsheng asked curiously, "Beyond this is the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets?"
The Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets was the world's most famous place, but quite interestingly, very few people knew of its actual location.
Given Chen Changsheng's current status, if he wanted to find out, he naturally could, but just like how he had been rather ignorant of the common sense of the cultivation world when he first entered the capital, he truly wasn't very interested in this sort of thing. Comparatively, the knowledge in books was far more important.
"Idiot, if the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets were here, every update of the Proclamations would be very slow."
Knowing without any need to ask, the only person that would still dare to speak to Chen Changsheng like this and also loved to talk was naturally Tang Thirty-Six.
Chen Changsheng pointed at the mountain gate and said, "But 'Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets' is written up there."
Tang Thirty-Six was quite fed up with Chen Changsheng's lack of intelligence on this subject, explaining, "Wherever the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets goes to manage some affair, that place becomes the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets. For instance, at the moment, the Boiling Stone Summit is about to begin, so this place is now the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets. If the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets needed to go to Dongchuan to open the auction, then Dongchuan would be the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets."
Chen Changsheng very seriously digested these words, but he still didn't understand what was going on.
On the side, Zhexiu commented, "Deliberately mystifying."
The Orthodoxy cavalry halted before the mountain gate.
Linghai Zhiwang gazed at Chen Changsheng and emotionlessly said, "Do not shame the Li Palace."
Saying this, he turned and proceeded back down the mountain path.
Chen Changsheng was somewhat confused.
Mao Qiuyu explained to him, "We can only send you up to here. You will have to walk the rest of the way yourself."
"Eh?" This was clearly the first time Tang Thirty-Six had heard of such a rule. He asked, "Why?"
Mao Qiuyu answered, "Those without invitation cannot be within five hundred li of Mount Han. These are the rules of the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets."
Chen Changsheng asked, "Could it be that other than the people on the list, no one else can go in?"
Tang Thirty-Six replied, "Of course not, back when my father attended the Boiling Stone Summit, the clan's Guardians were with him the entire time."
"Those without invitation cannot enter. The Elder of Heavenly Secrets did not invite us into Mount Han, so we naturally cannot enter."
As Mao Qiuyu spoke, his emotions seemed rather complex.
Chen Changsheng was even more confused, thinking, the Orthodoxy is the religion of the world. Even if the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets is powerful, how can it slight the Orthodoxy so?
Tang Thirty-Six blurted out, "There's definitely some problem between His Holiness and the Elder of Heavenly Secrets."
Mao Qiuyu glanced at him, then chuckled and shook his head. Turning around, he departed down the mountain with the Orthodoxy cavalry.
Upon entering Mount Han, one fell under the jurisdiction of the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets. Naturally, safety was also the responsibility of the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets.
Tang Thirty-Six had guessed correctly: there must have been some unknown grudge between the Pope and the Elder of Heavenly Secrets, causing the Elder of Heavenly Secrets to act very rudely to the Orthodoxy and forbid Mao Qiuyu, Linghai Zhiwang, and the rest of the Orthodoxy's convoy from entering Mount Han. However, he still displayed respect towards the future Pope.
A steward of the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets was already standing at the mountain path, his expression reverential.
Chen Changsheng recognized this person. It was precisely that Star Condensation painter responsible for recording the battles of the Martial Exhibition in front of the Orthodox Academy.
Today, Mount Han was opening and all the cultivators that had come from the various places of the continent were all on the path into the mountain.
Under the guidance of the steward of the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets, Chen Changsheng and the other two did not need to travel far before encountering quite a few other groups of cultivators.
As expected, forbidding entry to those without invitation was a rule targeted at the Orthodoxy. Amongst these cultivators, there were clearly experts who had come to help their juniors keep the situation under control.
But whether it was those senior experts of deep cultivations or those self-confident and proud young experts, whenever they met Chen Changsheng, they hurriedly yielded the path.
No ordinary person could enter Mount Han—each of them naturally possessed extraordinary vision. None of the cultivators had a guide, and they had to walk the mountain path on their own. However, Chen Changsheng and his group had a high-ranked steward of the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets leading the way, meaning that he was assuredly no ordinary person.
When Chen Changsheng passed them, someone seemed to recognize him and the mountain path was momentarily filled with suppressed cries and gasps. They all realized that simply yielding the way was insufficient and people hurriedly began to bow. There was even one pious wandering cultivator that kneeled down on the mountain path and kowtowed to Chen Changsheng.
Chen Changsheng was prepared to do something when he suddenly saw a person up ahead.
This person had a delicate and handsome appearance, an aura of cold faintly discernible on his face, and he wore a yellow gown. It was Scholartree Manor's Zhong Hui.
The young scholar that had taken part in last year's Grand Examination had become much more composed and the Qi emitted from his body was also much stronger.
The mountain path suddenly grew quiet
The story involving Chen Changsheng and the people of the Orthodox Academy against the students of Scholartree Manor at last year's Grand Examination, and even its continuation in the Mausoleum of Books, had long been known by others.
The mood became rather tense. No one knew what Zhong Hui would do and how Chen Changsheng would respond.
After quite some time had passed, Zhong Hui slowly bent at the waist and clasped his hands.
His posture was abnormally proper, his manners impeccable.