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Chapter 606 – The Downcast
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Someone turned to the spluttering pawnshop owner and angrily shouted, "With what pair of eyes did you see it?"
The pawnshop owner gave the man a disdainful gaze, saying, "My sister's son is a student at the Orthodox Academy. The disciples of South Stream Temple are in there, so how could he not see them? Not only him, many people clearly saw that the Holy Maiden and Chen Changsheng were standing at the window upstairs and chatting."
The street turned silent.
Under the twinkling stars, a young man and woman standing by a window, their figures outlined in the starry light—this was a very beautiful scene.
However, no person was willing to cheer at this sort of scene.
After quite some time had passed, the crowd finally awoke from their stupor, their leftover shock giving way to confusion. From last year, it had been constantly rumored that Chen Changsheng had forcefully annulled his engagement with Xu Yourong. Although it was said that Chen Changsheng had seemingly changed his mind after the battle on the Bridge of Helplessness…had the Holy Maiden so easily forgiven him? She had just gone and stayed in the Orthodox Academy—could it be that she was really preparing to marry him? Then where was the Xu Estate's face? Would not Divine General of the East Xu Shiji, known for his cold, aloof and stern manner, just become a joke?
In the early morning, Tang Thirty-Six, Xuanyuan Po, and Su Moyu were escorted by South Stream Temple disciples into their house to remove their luggage, preparing to move to the eastern part of the Orthodox Academy. Zhexiu was not one to do this sort of thing. His rather shabby luggage was carried by Xuanyuan Po.
Carrying their luggage, they stood in front of the tightly shut room door, looking somewhat downcast, somewhat pitiful.
"You still have to leave a little bit of face. After all, this is the Orthodox Academy and he's the principal," Tang Thirty-Six called out to the tightly shut door. "Even if it's for the sake of his own safety, you've acted far too wantonly. What need is there to surround this place with the South Stream Temple's sword array and even drive us out? This is the capital, not Mount Han. Even the Demon Lord wouldn't dare to come here."
This was Chen Changsheng's room, but he was talking to Xu Yourong.
A night had passed, and the disciples of South Stream Temple and the teachers and students of the Orthodox Academy knew that she had never left that room.
The door to the room remained tightly shut. It was not pushed upon nor did a voice emerge from it.
Xu Yourong sat at the table by the window, watching Chen Changsheng soundly asleep on the bed. Occasionally, she would extend her finger to lightly rub away the creases of pain on his brow.
The Tong Bow was held in her left hand and emitted a faint Qi that formed a barrier, ensuring that the external noises would not disturb Chen Changsheng's rest.
But she had heard Tang Thirty-Six's words.
She knew that her suddenly bringing the disciples of South Stream Temple with her back to the capital would inevitably attract all sorts of discussion and shock, but she did not care.
She had South Stream Temple's sword array surrounding this house and had even ejected Tang Thirty-Six and the others. Her actions seemed rather inhumane, but they were because with Chen Changsheng's current circumstances, in order to obtain true safety, it was best to not meet anyone. Her keeping out Tang Thirty-Six and the others was good for both sides.
Seeing the door still tightly shut, Tang Thirty-Six rather angrily turned and walked away.
Walking out of the house, stepping across the grass lawn and crossing that concealed and inactive sword intent, they suddenly saw a middle-aged man standing under a tree by the lake.
This middle-aged man had inky brows and a look of indifference, and was solemn and stern to the extreme. As his clothes were ruffled by the morning breeze, one could faintly smell the scent of blood.
Ye Xiaolian and ten-some South Stream Temple disciples blocked the middle-aged man's way. They all looked rather nervous, but none of them had any means of dealing with this man.
Because this was the temple master's father, Divine General of the East Xu Shiji.
"Returned to the capital, why didn't you return to the estate but instead stayed here? Truly throwing away all the face of my Xu Family!"
Xu Shiji looked at the haggard appearance of his daughter that her beautiful looks could not conceal. He did not feel any sort of pity, but actually felt rather uncomfortable. When he left the estate, he had already planned to speak as gently as possible, yet he could not suppress the indifference in his voice, his words so brimming with cold that they were like stern rebukes.
The grass lawn by the lake was very quiet, with a cloth curtain cutting off the distant prying gazes, but the South Stream Temple disciples could hear his words and grew displeased.
Even if you're the Holy Maiden's father, how can you use such a tone of voice to speak to her?
Some young female disciples such as Ye Xiaolian treated Xu Yourong as a god, holy and inviolable. Their emotions aroused, sword intent and hostile intent rose up together.
Xu Shiji sensed that hostility and sword intent. He turned once more to his daughter silently standing by the lake and he found his rage even harder to suppress. He yelled, "Could it be that you dare to commit patricide!"
Xu Yourong turned to her father and asked, "Father, where did these words come from?"
Her voice was very calm, very soft, very light, and so this explanation did not sound like an explanation. Of course, there was no admission of wrongdoing either.
Xu Shiji's complexion turned even more unsightly as he thought of many matters from the past.
When she was very small, Xu Yourong was raised by the Grand Minister and he and the Madam could not touch her. When she was five, the true Phoenix blood in her body awakened and she was brought by the Divine Empress into the palace. Then she also just so happened to encounter the Holy Maiden, who had come to view the mausoleum to relieve her boredom. Thus, Xu Yourong became the student of these two Saints, and so his turn to educate her was pushed further back.
The common people's evaluation of Xu Shiji was not at all high, but that was primarily due to problems with his personal morality, like his stance towards the Tianhai clan and towards Chen Changsheng at the beginning. However, nobody would deny that his ability was a perfect match for his status as Divine General of the Great Zhou. In the snowy plains to the north, he had achieved much military merit. He managed his armies with extreme strictness, and managed his estate like he did his armies. Whether it was his deputy general with a special family background stationed at Snow Pass or the old people of his estate, they would all remain silent out of fear in front of him, not daring to voice any sort of objections, yet…he had no means of controlling his own daughter.
Because he did not have the right.
To any father, this fact would not bring the slightest joy, but since the Xu Estate wished to enjoy the glory and benefits brought by Xu Yourong, they had to accept this fact.
But in the end, he was still her father, she his daughter. He believed that she still had to give him some respect, just as she had in the last few years.
However, this morning by this lake in the Orthodox Academy, he realized that he had just been deceiving himself with these thoughts.
"What an unworthy daughter…"
Xu Shiji's voice was cold as ice. His right hand trembled as if it would strike Xu Yourong's face in the next moment.
Xu Yourong calmly gazed at her father. She would naturally not return a blow.
The gazes of the South Stream Temple disciples sharpened, and Ye Xiaolian and the other young girls even tightened the grips on their swords.
It was just then that a thin old man arrived. The sword array of South Stream Temple was of no use against this old man. Not because he was very powerful, but because he was the chief eunuch of the Great Zhou Imperial Palace, a member of the Divine Empress's inner circle who received no small measure of trust. Moreover, when he arrived, he held aloft an imperial edict.
"The Empress says, do not let a trifling matter like this influence the affection between father and daughter."
The chief eunuch expressionlessly declared to Xu Shiji.
The Divine Empress's words were clearly meant for two people, but the eunuch only gazed at Xu Shiji. The meaning was naturally crystal clear.
This was a warning.
Xu Shiji's expression turned even more unsightly as he thought, this sort of unfilial deed only amounts to a trifling matter?
Is she my daughter or the Empress's daughter?
He could only think of this and not show it on his face, and even had to force his face to grow calmer.
He glanced at Xu Yourong and said no more, leaving the Orthodox Academy.
His back was somewhat downcast, looking like a lion that had been expelled from its pride.
Xu Yourong gazed at her father's back in silence, her thoughts a mystery.
The chief eunuch turned to her with a much humbler expression and whispered, "The Empress invites my lady into the palace."
Xu Yourong received the edict and replied, "Wait for me a moment."
"I don't know how to confront her, and between her and the Orthodoxy, I absolutely cannot stand on her side."
Chen Changsheng refused Xu Yourong's idea to go together with her to the palace. The 'her' in this sentence naturally referred to the Divine Empress.
Xu Yourong said nothing. In truth, she also knew that bringing Chen Changsheng into the palace was an extremely risky endeavor. She knew what sort of arrogance and disregard these Saints who embraced the world and even more held towards these sorts of emotions. The Divine Empress had not done anything to Chen Changsheng in these two years because she had to consider the Li Palace, or also because she had found it impossible to be sure. Nw, all those clues pointed to that unresolved case from ten-odd years ago. No person could guarantee what would occur if she were to see Chen Changsheng in the Imperial Palace.
"You don't have to worry about me." Chen Changsheng had seen the look on her face and knew what she was thinking. He soothed, "You used the Sacred Light technique right before entering the capital, and yesterday, Martial Uncle used Sacred Water to bathe my body, creating another barrier. In this short time, there shouldn't be a problem, and won't South Stream Temple's sword array always be outside?"
Xu Yourong said no more and departed.
As Chen Changsheng stood by the window and watched her figure gradually fade into the distance, his expression became somewhat downcast.
He knew better than anyone else his current situation, better than her and better than the Pope.
His meridians had all been melted and ruptured by star radiance and could not be repaired.
His soul had seeped into flesh and bones along with his blood and was impossible to remove.
His injuries could be controlled, but his vitality was constantly being lost.
His body and fate had long been riddled with holes, tattered beyond belief.
Any other person at this time would have long since lost their wits and become downcast, but he still maintained his calm.
He went downstairs and walked to the Orthodox Academy on the other side of the curtains.
With Xu Yourong absent, the South Stream Temple disciples were utterly incapable of preventing him from leaving. Although the sword array was frightening, how could they allow it to fall upon his body?
There were many sculptures around the main hall of the Orthodox Academy that still showed signs of that heaven-shaking coup from ten-odd years ago. The fountain had been repaired, but the stone beasts were still somewhat damaged.
He looked at Su Moyu and said, "After today, I might have to hand this place over to you."
He turned to Tang Thirty-Six and said, "If possible, it would be best if you could delay your return to Wenshui for one year."
He then turned to Xuanyuan Po and advised, "You shouldn't keep thinking about how your injuries are already better, you still have to keep eating medicine."
Finally, he turned to Zhexiu and said, "It's impossible for me to keep treating you, but I'll try as quickly as possible to write out the case history. You absolutely can't give up on being cured."