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Chapter 631 – Tonight
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The Tianhai Divine Empress ascended the Divine Path paved with white jade.
The Mausoleum of Books was the continent's most unique location. In this place, the laws and principles of the world all had an enormous effect. Even supreme experts who had transcended the Divine Domain could not fly. They could only rely on their two feet to ascend. Of course, besides an unparalleled expert like her, other people simply didn't even have a hope of taking one step onto the Divine Path.
This was the first time Chen Changsheng had stepped upon the Mausoleum of Books' Divine Path, although his feet didn't even touch its surface.
This was a place that countless cultivators only dreamed of setting foot on, and he had once seen with his own eyes as Xun Mei attempted to charge into the Divine Path and died, leaving an even deeper impression upon him.
At this moment, seeing the Divine Path under the starlight, so sacred and pure that it did not seem to belong to this world, he had no time to feel emotional. What he first thought of was many questions.
Why had the Divine Empress brought him to this place? Why had she left Divine General Han Qing with those words at the bottom of the path? The entire world knew that the army of the Great Zhou Dynasty was under the command of the thirty-eight Divine Generals, and the vast majority of these thirty-eight were loyal to the Divine Empress, except…the one at the very top, Divine General Han Qing.
Divine General Han Qing was the sole remaining member of the Divine Generals from Taizong's era, even older than Divine General Fei Dian. When he was scourging the snowy plains, the Divine Empress was still deep within the palace, so there should have been no old friendship between the two. It was said that he had pledged his life to Emperor Taizong, and the reason he had guarded the mausoleum for six centuries without leaving was that Emperor Taizong had left behind a final order that he should do so. But previously, the attitude the Divine Empress assumed when speaking to him seemed to indicate that she was very sure he would obey her decree, so why was this?
The Divine General had probably gotten infinitely close to the Divine Domain many years ago and was widely acknowledged as the strongest if one excluded the Five Saints and Eight Storms. There was even a theory that if he had not been standing guard over the Mausoleum of Books for six centuries, perhaps he would have long since broken through that threshold and entered the Divine Domain! If he was actually an expert that the Divine Empress had arranged to be in the Mausoleum of Books, the Divine Empress's opponents would undoubtedly be extremely shocked.
The dark clouds formed again and the starlight vanished once more. The pure and sacred Divine Path also grew gloomy under the darkness, now somewhat chilling to behold.
Just as Chen Changsheng was thinking about these things, the Divine Path under the Tianhai Divine Empress's feet became a stream of clear water flowing west, flowing into the distance, and she had already come to its source.
The source of this river was the highest point of the Mausoleum of Books, as well as the highest point of the capital.
The Tianhai Divine Empress loosened her grip and threw him to the ground. Clasping her hands behind her, she walked to the edge of the Divine Path and gazed at the world below the Mausoleum of Books.
The altitude of this place was even higher than the Dew Platform. When she looked over this world, she naturally looked down upon it, naturally viewed it from high above, because this had always been her world.
Very few people were able to stand on the peak of the Mausoleum of Books. After Emperor Xian returned to the sea of stars, only the Divine Empress and the Pope had come.
Chen Changsheng was the third person to reach this place, but he felt no honor in it, because he had been carried up, and he was also in incredible pain, about to die at any moment.
On his first time in the Mausoleum of Books, Chen Changsheng had personally witnessed that Xun Mei had been willing to pay his life to ascend to the peak of the Mausoleum of Books. Seeing now that he had managed to reach the peak without effort, Chen Changsheng felt rather downcast, rather sorrowful.
Although he was downcast and sad, he still looked all around him, wanting to clearly see this place's scenery and remember it. It wasn't out of any desire for the Great Dao nor was it out of curiosity. He only wanted to see it in place of Senior Xun Mei, and if he truly could meet with those people who had passed away in the Divine Kingdom above the stars, he could tell Xun Mei just what this place looked like.
The summit of the Mausoleum of Books was very ordinary and unremarkable, just like the summit of any other mountain. The only difference was a stone plain.
But this was still the place that all cultivators dreamed of reaching, so it was impossible for it to be as ordinary as it seemed.
Chen Changsheng's meridians were currently all shattered and no waves could form in his sea of consciousness, so he could not send out his spiritual sense. Even so, he could sense that on this stone plain and the surrounding forest and rocks, profound and incomprehensible laws and principles existed. Moreover, these laws that should have been invisible and ethereal seemed to be nigh corporeal, but in his current state, it was impossible for him to see them.
This mountain was the Mausoleum of Books because of the many Heavenly Tome Monoliths upon it, so would the peak of the Mausoleum of Books also have a Heavenly Tome Monolith?
His gaze moved about the summit, finally resting upon a black object in the depths of the stone plain.
Tonight was cloudy and starless, and the lights of the capital could not shine upon the lofty peak of the Mausoleum of Books. Everything up here was dim and difficult to clearly see, so he could only judge by shape that this was a monolith. Was this Heavenly Tome Monolith just like the last section of the Essay on the Origin of the Dao, its surface recording the most abstruse and incomprehensible, yet most sublime Great Dao?
Chen Changsheng thought this way, yet he could not make out clearly what was written, or drawn, on this stone monolith.
"In the past one thousand years, the number of people who have truly been able to understand this monolith does not surpass five."
The Tianhai Divine Empress stood at the edge of the Divine Path, not turning around.
Chen Changsheng shifted his gaze to her back.
At the moment, he was sitting on the ground, raising his head towards her. From this angle, she seemed to be standing in the clouds, in the night sky, incomparably lofty and grand.
"What is my lady waiting for? Just kill me and bring everything to an end," Chen Changsheng said to her.
"The problem is that I don't want to bring everything to an end so quickly." The Tianhai Divine Empress gazed at the world below the Mausoleum of Books, from the extremely distant coast to the night food stall across the river outside the Mausoleum of Books. She continued, "How many people want you to die, how many people want you to live—tonight is the best time to see all of them, and I would like to take a look."
Chen Changsheng asked, "Why do you want to see this?"
The Tianhai Divine Empress replied, "Tonight, everyone that wants to save you is my enemy, but the people that want you dead aren't necessarily my people. If they appear tonight, even if they're several thousand li away, furtively peeking like mice, then it means that their hearts contain a hint of rebellion, so then they are also my enemies."
"Why do you want to know who your enemies are?"
"Normally, those people hide themselves very well. Seizing this opportunity, I'll seek them all out, and then kill them all."
"And if the entire world is your enemy?"
"Then I'll kill off half the world, and then the other half naturally won't dare to be my enemies anymore."
Chen Changsheng fell silent, finally understanding what she wished to do.
Truly a terrifying woman that inspired fear in others.
He sat on the ice-cold ground, leaning against the steps, gazing at the seemingly quiet and beautiful world below the Mausoleum of Books, shrouded in darkness. He thought to himself, just how many people will die tonight? This depends on how many people appear today in the capital, or perhaps she said, it depends on how many people appear someplace in the darkness to stealthily watch the capital.
The Tianhai Divine Empress waved her sleeve and a clear stream of light flashed out. A surface of light several feet in radius appeared in the night sky in front of him.
This surface of light was not near or far. It was placed at the perfect distance so that the two of them could see it clearly.
The scenes in the night sky incessantly fluctuated: at times the Imperial Palace, at times the Orthodox Academy, at times the official road outside the capital, at times, a black silhouette barely visible against the darkness.
The scenes changed too quickly fo Chen Changsheng to see them clearly. He only knew that, in a little while, all the people that appeared in these scenes would be killed by her.
Tonight was an ordinary evening in early autumn.
But after tonight, this night would inevitably become the most important evening of the Great Zhou Dynasty's Zhengtong era.
Tonight, the people who had the qualifications, or the daring, to come to the capital and save Chen Changsheng were undoubtedly not ordinary people. Those people concealed in the darkness, watching the situation in the capital, were also not ordinary people.
The dark clouds in the night sky grew thicker and thicker, the lights in the streets of the capital growing dimmer and dimmer. The world grew gloomier and gloomier, the atmosphere more and more tense.
Certain places in the capital seemed to grow somewhat turbulent and then quickly calmed back down, ultimately returning to a deathly stillness.
Suddenly, in the night sky to the northwest of the capital, a light appeared. This light was not very dazzling, seeming like someone had torn out a chunk of the clouds in that place, revealing the many stars behind it. Behind these numerous stars was sparkling and translucent splendor, perhaps the moonlight rumored to only be visible to demons?
In the official road at that location, the willows on both sides rustled despite the lack of wind, as if bowing towards the center of the road.
There was no army in the center of the road, no convoy of carriages, only two people.
A man in a bamboo hat was pushing a wheelchair, seeming to slowly proceed along the official road towards the distant capital.
Traveling from the shambles of the Myriad Willows Garden in Tianliang County to this place required a very long time. To the man in the wheelchair, he had been already been walking for two-hundred-some years.
Two hundred years ago, Emperor Xian could not appear in court due to his illness, and so Tianhai began to formally manage the government. From that moment, the man in the wheelchair came to the capital no more, because he feared her.
Tonight, he had finally come, probably because he realized that he did not have much time left on this world. Before death, all other fears dulled.
Two of the Storms of the Eight Directions, Zhu Luo and Guan Xingke, had come to the capital.
Seeing the scene in the night sky in front of him, seeing Zhu Luo in his wheelchair, seeing the famous sword at his waist, Chen Changsheng very naturally recalled that battle in the rain at Xunyang City.
He remembered very clearly how Su Li had once jeered at Zhu Luo, saying that because he was afraid of Tianhai, he didn't dare take one step into the capital.
For Zhu Luo to come to the capital tonight, perhaps he had already resolved himself to die. Together with his fellow Storm Guan Xingke, although they were only two, the momentum they traveled with surpassed an army of a thousand soldiers and ten thousand cavalry.
"Guan Xingke's personality is too calm and tranquil, bearing no love or hate for anything in this world. His heart rests amongst the stars, so lonely as to make others feel sorrow. He can advance no further in this life and is not worth any anxiety."
The Tianhai Divine Empress held her hands behind her back as she examined the two people on the official road, saying, "Zhu Luo has had his courage frightened out of him by Su Li, yet he still dares to come to the capital. Perhaps this might change a few variables, but in the end, he has already been crippled. His coming is just sending himself to death and nothing more."
Zhu Luo and Guan Xingke were two supreme experts of the Divine Domain, ranking within the Storms of the Eight Directions, yet in her evaluation, they were completely useless people.
The scene in the night sky changed once more, the light falling upon the Divine Path following suit. Chen Changsheng's complexion flickered between bright and gloomy, his mood the same, because now, the scene had turned to a waterway to the southeast of the capital.
This was a canal between Luoyang and the capital, using for transporting grain. The canal was extremely wide, but according to the laws of the Imperial Court, boats were forbidden from traversing it at night. Now, however, an extravagantly large ship was traveling through this canal. As this great ship broke through the water, it raised wave after wave. The originally clear canal became a rather dark blue in the darkness, yet it could not obscure that dark red in the water.