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Chapter 77 – Telling a Story in Four and Nine City
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
(TN: The term 'Four and Nine City' is another name for the capital of China, specifically Beijing. It refers to the four gates of the Imperial City and the nine gates of the inner city, Beijing having once been divided into an outer city, an inner city, and the Imperial City.)
The silence in front of the palace was broken by Gou Hanshi. He looked at Chen Changsheng and asked, "This is a historical record from the Returning to the Origin scripture?"
Chen Changsheng nodded and added, "The endnote to the second book."
Gou Hanshi slightly raised his brows, saying, "The names of these four sword techniques truly were recorded, but the author did not explicitly state their order."
Chen Changsheng replied, "Miscellaneous Notes of the Western Capital and Records of the Youyang Region all mention a spectating Daoist and describe the stories told by this Daoist. In reality, what happens in those stories is precisely the ordering of the phrases in the Returning to the Origin scripture."
Gou Hanshi pondered this explanation. Such records certainly did exist in those classics, but before Chen Changsheng mentioned them, very few people had ever associated them with the story in the Returning to the Origin scripture. The most important reason was that the Returning to the Origin scripture had not been deemed as a scripture by the Orthodoxy. Several hundred years after this book's publication, the number of people who had read it was extremely small.
The crowd was confused at this conversation, completely mystified as to what he and Chen Changsheng were talking about.
Even figures like the extremely knowledgeable teachers of the academies and the Qiushan clan head felt like they were listening to a reading of the Heavenly Tomes.
The archbishop slightly frowned, asking Prince Chen Liu by his side, "What scripture are they speaking about?"
Somewhat unsure, Prince Chen Liu replied, "Apparently it's some Returning to the Origin scripture."
The archbishop was rather irritated, questioning, "How have I never heard of it before?"
Only Gou Hanshi and Chen Changsheng remembered that there was a story recorded in the long-forgotten Returning to the Origin scripture. In the distant past, some ancestor of the Wenshui Tang clan engaged in a bloody battle with a demon expert in Xinxiang County. When none of the spectators had any hope of his victory, this ancestor of the Tang clan displayed four sword techniques in succession, killing the demon expert on the spot.
These four techniques were: Falling Golden Flask, Heavy Sea Air, Shadow Cast on the Window, and finally Hang the Sword in the Tall Forest.
This battle only became a recorded story, handed down until the present day, because all the spectators of this battle could not understand just how these four sword techniques could be linked together. Why had those clearly stiff shifts and changes suddenly become so smooth and casual after confronting the demon expert's utterly chilling techniques?
"Why did you think about using these four techniques?" Gou Hanshi asked.
"The first technique being Falling Golden Flask was because of Tang Thirty-Six's personality. He likes these sorts of unorthodox techniques, but you immediately responded with Mountain Spirit Splits the Cliff…too unyielding."
Chen Changsheng explained, "Your three techniques contained both rising momentum and falling momentum, ending finally in splendor, a mountain range covered in frost, all its power resting on the word 'desolation'.
Gou Hanshi replied, "Correct."
Chen Changsheng continued, "I couldn't think of any sword techniques of the Tang clan that could firmly receive your three techniques, unless the Three Forms of Wenshui were used again…but you also probably understand Tang Thirty-Six's temperament. In these sorts of circumstances, he wouldn't do it even if you beat him to death, and I didn't have the time to convince him."
Tang Thirty-Six rather angrily asked, "Just what sort of personality do I have?"
Chen Changsheng ignored him, continuing his explanation to Gou Hanshi. "Now that I talk about it, it truly was quite the coincidence. I just casually called out the Falling Golden Flask, but your response was so unyielding and desolate that I didn't have many choices, so I naturally thought of the story in the Returning to the Origin scripture, thought of those four techniques the Tang clan's ancestor once used."
Gou Hanshi pondered this explanation, then replied, "The demon expert that so miserably lost to the Tang clan ancestor truly did walk the path of desolation, his techniques leaning towards the cold and melancholy, but they're still different from my Mount Li's sword style. I also remember those four techniques in the Returning to the Origin scripture, yet I never imagined that they could be used in the situation just now."
Chen Changsheng answered, "I also did not know if these four techniques could be effective, but…you came too fiercely, Qi Jian wielded his sword too steadily, so I couldn't think of any other method to break it. I could only try."
"Very few people know of the Returning to the Origin scripture, and even fewer know of those four techniques, and there are even fewer who could think of them and dare to try them in the situation just now."
Gou Hanshi evaluated, "You're really quite good."
Chen Changsheng replied, "I was the first to call out techniques and also said one technique more. If you were to go first, the result might be different."
Gou Hanshi affirmed, "Correct. Fortunately, this is only the first match."
Chen Changsheng replied, "I heard Tang Thirty-Six say before that you are well-versed in the Daoist Canon, that you're an extraordinary person."
Gou Hanshi considered this comment. On this aspect, it was truly impossible for him to be modest. He replied, "Earlier, I said that I just read a few books."
Chen Changsheng replied, "Earlier, I said that I also just happen to have read some books."
Gou Hanshi gazed at him in silence for a few moments, then said, "It seems that you're very confident."
Chen Changsheng's expression was calm. Clasping his hands in respect, he answered, "Please grant me your instruction."
The breeze gently blew, and the starlight spilled upon his face.
Earlier in the hall, Gou Hanshi had also said those words to him.
Now, it was his turn to return these words to Gou Hanshi.
It was just the order that had changed, but it signified many things.
When Gou Hanshi and Chen Changsheng first began their conversation, some people in the crowd on the stone steps in front of the palace were still whispering to each other, but later on, their discussions grew softer and softer until they petered out of existence.
Gou Hanshi and Chen Changsheng did not deliberately play out this scene of two talents sympathizing with each other.
But to the crowd, Gou Hanshi's treating Chen Changsheng as his rival was already shocking enough.
The second match between the Mount Li Sword Sect and the Orthodox Academy calmly began under this sort of atmosphere.
The participant from the Orthodox Academy was naturally Princess Luoluo.
Because Tang Thirty-Six had triumphed over Qi Jian, for the sake of Chen Changsheng not stepping onto the field, she had to win the second match.
She was very confident in her ability to do this.
But it was very obvious that no one else in the crowd felt this way.
Even Jin Yulu creased his forehead, not optimistic that his princess would be able to win.
Because her opponent was Guan Feibai.
The Fourth Law of the Divine Kingdom's Seven Laws.
At the same time, he was also ranked fourth on the Proclamation of Azure Sky.
Guan Feibai walked onto the plaza, bowed to Luoluo, and then slightly raised his brow. He was not afraid, but instead rather depressed.
Luoluo understood what this person was thinking. She asked, "Are you not thinking that my fighting you is a very infuriating matter? Because you're worried about injuring me, you can't use your full power, and so you feel like your hands and feet are bound, completely out of sorts with your tyrannical personality? You feel that I am taking advantage of you?"
"I would not dare."
Guan Feibai expressionlessly said, "But Your Highness should understand very clearly that no matter what, I also do not dare injure you."
"I am a student of the Orthodox Academy. Since your Mount Li Sword Sect challenged the Orthodox Academy, it's only right that I stand up. It would be best if you treat me as an ordinary student and use your full power. If you can't do it and are overcome with misgiving when attacking, and I end up beating you like a dog, you can't blame me."
Luoluo stared at him and concluded, "Because that's your own choice."
The girl was very petite, much shorter than Guan Feibai, but when she raised her head to look at him, there was not a single emotion on her face, and she seemed to be looking down on him from high above.
A chill appeared on Guan Feibai's face as he replied, "Your Highness's words are reasonable."
In the Divine Kingdom's Seven Laws, his position was in the very center, yet his personality was the most narrow-minded, the most arrogant and unfeeling, violent and easy to anger. Even in front of Luoluo, he became furious.
"Everyone says that the ranks in the Proclamation of Azure Sky change at every moment, but they forget one thing: before these changes, the Pavilion of Heavenly Secrets will never make a mistake."
He stared into Luoluo's eyes, enunciating each word as he spoke, "Four is four, and nine is nine. No matter what, nine can never surpass four."