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Chapter 582 - When He Resolved to Break Through, Old Friends Arrived
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
When she had been heavily wounded in the Garden of Zhou, Xu Yourong had once leaned on Chen Changsheng's shoulder. Later on, she no longer acted so intimately with him, even on those snowy nights in the capital.
She was truly leaning on him now, placing all the weight of her body on his shoulder.
What was passed to him, besides the air and warmth of a young woman, was comfort and kindness.
Chen Changsheng accepted it and was no longer as downcast, saying, "Relax, I'm okay."
Xu Yourong softly replied, "But as Heavenly Secrets thinks this way, the Empress will definitely also be thinking in this direction."
Chen Changsheng said nothing for a few moments, then answered, "I can't prevent other people from thinking what they want."
Xu Yourong knew that nothing could be done about it. She was also powerless to prevent the Empress from thinking whatever she wanted.
Just as Chen Changsheng had said on that night, the Empress had never been a good person in the common sense of the word, and it was also very difficult to examine her in light of ordinary ethics and virtue.
"The rumors all say that when Emperor Taizong relegated the Empress to the Hundred Herb Garden, she became acquainted with my master and His Holiness, only then grasping the method to defy the heavens and change fate… If this is the case, they should have been kindred spirits who would trust each other through thick and thin, why…did the two sides later on become enemies that can't live under the same sky?"
"What happened before that bloody incident of the Orthodox Academy, nobody knows, but I've heard vague rumors that the Empress had made an agreement with Principal Shang. Later on, however, the Empress did not act according to her promise, so the two became enemies."
"That agreement…was probably about the position of emperor."
"That should be the case."
"Why isn't the Empress willing to return the position of the emperor to the Imperial clan?"
"I asked her this question many years ago. The Empress said it was because there was no offspring of the Chen Imperial clan that could shoulder the responsibility of emperor."
"Hundreds of descendants of the Imperial clan are scattered about the counties and provinces. Is there not one that can shoulder the heavy responsibility of the country?"
Chen Changsheng did not completely speak this question.
Xu Yourong understood his meaning. "There isn't."
Chen Changsheng said, "I hear that His Highness the Prince of Xiang, of the same blood as Prince Chen Liu, has a rather excellent reputation."
”"That's only exterior reputation." Upon discussing the Prince of Xiang, a hint of scorn appeared on Xu Yourong's brow. "In reality, this prince has been licentious and shameless since he was a child. He was originally born with excellent gifts in cultivation, reaching great achievement of his sun wheel at the age of ten, yet because of his own moral character, he doesn't have a hope of entering the Divine Domain in this life."
"Is entering the Divine Domain very important for succeeding the position of emperor?"
"Yes, it's extremely important."
"If one wants to become sovereign of humankind, what one first needs is not virtue, but strength."
In order to become sovereign of humankind, great strength was required.
This was not difficult to understand. The demons were in the north, their evil intentions never dying. At any moment, this world could be deluged by a flood that could overflow the heavens, and engulfed in the endless flames of war.
For a similar reason, if one wished to live a better life, to avoid unease and fear, one also needed greater strength.
Any sort of external things could only improve one's mood, reinforce one's confidence, enrich one's days, yet they could not address the fundamental problem.
Friendship and romance were beautiful, and on certain occasions, they could rescue one's life or soul, but one's own strength was still more reliable.
Entering Mount Han, encountering the Demon Lord, and learning many secrets from the Elder of Heavenly Secrets, Chen Changsheng was being confronted by an almost unimaginable pressure that was simultaneously an impetus.
He had to advance in power as quickly as possible. At the very least, he could not be like he was when encountering the Demon Lord on the mountain path, not even able to have a chance of countering. Despite how many magical artifacts and treasures he might have possessed, he could not use their full power, and so could only wait for death.
He decided that during the Boiling Stone Summit, he would seek an opportunity to break into Star Condensation.
Back when he received the Yellow Paper Umbrella from the Tang Old Master in Wenshui, he was only at the upper level of Ethereal Opening, yet he was able to take on the full-force blow of a peak Star Condensation cultivator. If he really could successfully break into Star Condensation, in front of the Demon Lord…and the Divine Empress, the Yellow Paper Umbrella might let him live for a period of time.
This period of time might not be too long—it might only be enough time for a few breaths—but to him, this time was extremely important.
Because besides the Yellow Paper Umbrella, he still had the ten thousand swords in his sheath, the Heavenly Tome Monoliths transformed into stone pearls, and importantly, he still had the Garden of Zhou.
After his breaking into Star Condensation, even powerful figures like the Demon Lord or Divine Empress would presumably find it difficult to directly snap his connection with that space.
Then if he could just fight for a very brief moment of time, he could escape into the Garden of Zhou.
These were external pressures and needs.
His decision to break into Star Condensation had even more to do with his mental needs within.
Only by getting stronger could he be calmer when confronting the fuzzy and indistinct path forward.
Those heavy mental pressures coming from both outside and inside were fierce and direct.
As for the words the Elder of Heavenly Secrets had said to him in the garden, he had long since deliberately forgotten them.
If he ceased cultivation and dispersed all the true essence in his body, he could delay the breaking out of his meridians' injuries for a time? How long was this time? One year? Two years? What was the difference between twenty years old and twenty-two?
More importantly, even if he wanted to struggle on death's door in this manner, would he that had lost all his strength be permitted to live?
After making this decision, Chen Changsheng used his nearly unimaginable willpower to cast off those frightening pressures and regain his composure.
But Xu Yourong, Tang Thirty-Six, and Zhexiu, those closest to him, still found it impossible to relax, and even grew more concerned.
Because this sort of composure was somewhat without reason, it seemed rather terrifying, just like the sea on the eve of a storm.
The storm had not come, but the attendees of the Boiling Stone Summit began to arrive in succession.
According to reason, these cultivators attending the summit all should have arrived a few days ago, but because of that unforeseen event, the Heavenstone array had sealed off Mount Han for a period of time. As a result, these cultivators were unfortunately, or perhaps extremely fortunately, locked out of Mount Han for a period of time.
With Chen Changsheng's current status, he naturally did not need to welcome anybody. He remained in the house, calming his mind and recuperating, preparing to break into the next realm. Naturally, there were people that would collect and report the news to him.
Zhong Hui had been followed by two teachers sent by Scholartree Manor. What made Chen Changsheng feel somewhat regretful was that as expected, Wang Po did not come. It seemed that these Heavenstones of Mount Han could not provide many valuable insights to an expert of his level.
The people from the Mount Li Sword Sect had arrived. Qiushan Jun, who had not made a public appearance for quite some, failed to appear this time as well. For some reason, Chen Changsheng felt relieved. Presumably, he also did not know how he would react upon seeing Xu Yourong intimately chat with that proud son of heaven.
The people from Mount Li that had come were all old friends, or perhaps acquaintances.
Gou Hanshi, Guan Feibai, and Liang Banhu had all come.
Upon hearing this news, Chen Changsheng was rather happy. "It really is like the Ivy Festival or Grand Examination from two years ago. It’s the same people."
Zhexiu replied, "One person is missing."
Chen Changsheng vacantly gazed back and then noticed that Zhexiu's face was rather icy. He then realized that Qi Jian had not appeared…
Tang Thirty-Six patted Zhexiu on the shoulder to comfort him.
Chen Changsheng stood at the edge of the balcony, gazing at the excitement in the distance and hearing the indistinct voice of Guan Feibai. He wanted go over, but he could not. It was still those same words: his current status was no longer the same. As the successor of the Pope, whether it was an elder dispatched by this or that sect or clan, or young geniuses like the Divine Kingdom's Seven Laws, it was not convenient for him to take the initiative to visit them.
"It's nothing, Gou Hanshi has always acted dependably. He will definitely immediately come to visit you."
Tang Thirty-Six said, then he glanced at Zhexiu and warned, "I know what you're feeling, and I've also never liked those guys, but in a little while, can you not put on too unwelcome a face? After all, we're representing the Orthodox Academy, so we have to preserve Chen Changsheng's face."
Just as Tang Thirty-Six had anticipated, as soon as Gou Hanshi and the rest of the Mount Li Sword Sect disciples were welcomed to the lakeshore by the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets, without any rest, only a simple wash of the face and rinse of the mouth, they came to visit.
Similarly as Tang Thirty-Six had anticipated, Zhexiu's complexion was truly very ugly.
Guan Feibai's complexion was also very ugly because he was required to follow Gou Hanshi and bow to Chen Changsheng.
Liang Banhu's expression was rather complex, a result of the events of the Garden of Zhou. Although Liang Xiaoxiao had now been proved to have committed suicide, his death still concerned Chen Changsheng.
Chen Changsheng could have sat in a chair and received the bows of the Mount Li Sword Sect disciples.
In the span of a year, many changes had occurred.
But on the mountain path, when Zhong Hui had bowed to him, he had responded according to the etiquette one should show to fellows of the same generation, so why would he change now?
Seeing Chen Changsheng so seriously return their bows, and without the slightest reluctance as well, Liang Banhu's expression grew gentler and Guan Feibai's complexion somewhat improved. However, when he saw that Zhexiu's complexion was still as ugly as ever, his complexion also returned to its former ugliness, and the words he spoke were hard on the ears.
"I'm warning you, don't even think about overstepping your bounds with my junior sister!"
Before this, Tang Thirty-Six had advised Zhexiu to be more cool-headed, but when he heard Guan Feibai's words, he himself forgot the word 'cool-headed'. He sneered at Guan Feibai, "What does 'overstepping bounds' mean? Is your junior sister a princess? Even if she is the Demon Lord's granddaughter, no one in Xuelao City would recognize her!"
In terms of quarreling, there really weren't many people that were Tang Thirty-Six's match.
The primary reason was that he was the heir of an influential family and had a deep background, yet he possessed none of the demeanor of a noble family's heir, holding an utter disregard for the word 'reputation'.
The second reason was that his words were too sharp, specialized in striking at the weak points of an opponent and thus extremely difficult to defend against.
For example, his short retort just now had clearly been thought up just a moment ago, but it had taken a turn in the middle and then needed only one strike to pierce through the Mount Li Sword Sect's greatest secret and greatest annoyance.
Even someone as good-tempered as Gou Hanshi could not help but wrinkle his brow and glance behind him.
Even a person as accustomed to this sort of conduct as Chen Changsheng could not help but shake his head and aim a glance out of the reception hall.
The Orthodoxy priests and the accompanying Mount Li Sword Sect disciples that had followed Gou Hanshi and his group all hurriedly backed out of the house.
The two sides had just met, and yet there was already an omen that all considerations were about to be cast aside. Who knew just what would happen next in this house?
Perhaps the people involved didn't care, but these priests and disciples did not dare participate, or even hear about it.