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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Men really are all perverts. Everyone says that Little Principal Chen is resistant to feminine charms, but now even this seems fake. Didn't he only need a glance at the Holy Maiden and see how beautiful she was to immediately be filled with remorse?"
The people speaking these sorts of words were all housewives.
"Who could see the Holy Maiden's true appearance and still maintain such an iron heart? Moreover, Little Principal Chen and the Holy Maiden originally had an engagement—how could he control himself?"
Those who cautiously explained Chen Changsheng's attitude but whose words were still rather teasing were all men.
"Tell me, why do you think that Sir Principal played the fool and insisted on ending the engagement?"
"Who said the Principal ended the engagement? Hasn't that always been a rumor with not a single shred of proof?"
"News came from the Li Palace long ago. Not even the shadow of that marriage contract can be seen in the Hall of Subjugation."
"And ending an engagement is done just like that?"
"I'm just curious to know just what happened back then."
"That's a very long story. It's said that two years ago in spring, the Principal arrived in the capital from Xining Village and knocked upon the door of the Divine General of the East's estate…"
"Tsk, tsk, to receive such humiliation from the Divine General's estate, to be suppressed in such a manner, even I wouldn't be able to stand it, much less the Principal."
"Later on, the Principal worked with stamina and diligence. For him to have such good fortune now, perhaps he had been provoked too much at the very beginning. Now that he's in such a position of authority, he definitely has to turn around and deliver a slap to the face of the Divine General's estate. Ah, so they say, don't bully the poor youths; as long as we put our efforts in study and cultivation, in the future, we too can act with such daring and boldness."
"But…based on those rumors, isn't the Principal regretting his decision? Isn't this slapping himself in the face?"
"You're the one that said it."
This above conversation was actually carried on between the students of the Orthodox Academy.
Advancing in cultivation brought with it many benefits, but also brought many unexpected annoyances. For instance, one's five senses would all become much sharper, so even if it was a housewife in the marketplace covering her mouth as she commented, even if it was the man from next door beaming with smiles as he quietly made fun of someone, or even if it was one's own students quietly whispering amongst themselves, one could hear them loud and clear.
Chen Changsheng sat in the carriage, gazing out the window at the drifting snow. He seemed very calm and only from his slightly clenched hands could one see that he was truthfully rather embarrassed.
Tang Thirty-Six had someone escort the dancing girl home, then sat across from Chen Changsheng. Looking at his expression, a smirk appeared on his face.
Chen Changsheng seemed focused on the snow, but in reality, he cared deeply about the reactions around him. From the day that rumor began spreading through the capital, he had become rather sensitive.
"What are you smiling about?"
"Smiling at your stupidity."
The carriage was once more silent, an embarrassed silence. Tang Thirty-Six said with extreme disdain, "Back in the Plum Garden Inn, I said to you that you and Xu Yourong were both people that made others speechless. Now it seems to me that the two of you are also models of how to bring disaster on yourselves."
Every time they talked about this, Tang Thirty-Six's very casual words would make Chen Changsheng speechless.
Since he had nothing to say about this matter, he could only change the subject. He very seriously asked, "Back then, I once asked Luoluo to help me investigate the elf girl from the Garden of Zhou. Now, since I know that it was a mistake, I want to write her a letter telling her this, but I also feel that it's very inappropriate. What do you think?"
Tang Thirty-Six looked at him and disdainfully said, "What do I think? If you didn't even think this inappropriate, then you really would be a pig."
"Then what should I do?"
"I'll write a letter to Princess Luoluo, and then you can mention it in the letter."
Tang Thirty-Six proposed his own idea.
Chen Changsheng thought about those whispers he heard outside the Prince's estate and still felt rather depressed. He asked, "Why won't she agree with me going to the Divine General's estate to propose?"
"Propose?" Tang Thirty-Six looked at him and asked, "And then?"
Chen Changsheng declared as if it was right and inevitable, "I go propose, and then she'll agree, and then won't these rumors and gossip come to an end?"
Tang Thirty-Six questioned, "For what reason do you believe she will agree to marry you?"
Chen Changsheng froze, thinking, is there still any need to think?
"If you go to the Divine General of the East's estate to propose, Xu Shiji will agree? Or are you saying you count on Xu Yourong herself to persist?" Tang Thirty-Six angrily said. "Back then, you were crying and calling to annul the engagement, and now you want her to cry and call to marry you? Why don't you think of just how shameless it will be if she does this?"
Chen Changsheng truly had not thought of this question. Now that he did, he truly did find it reasonable.
"Then…what should I do?"
"All these comments and jeers like dancing snowflakes—you have to bear them, endure them, until she thinks it's enough and begins to sympathize with you."
Because of the matter of the confluence of the north and south, and also because of those rumors spreading around the capital, it grew increasingly difficult for Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong to meet.
He was gazing at the snowy sky, somewhat in a daze as he wondered when these days would come to a close, when he received a letter with no name.
This letter was not Su Li's, but Xu Yourong's. As he stood by the snowy lake across from the newly rebuilt academy wall and finished reading the letter, the corners of his lips perked up, revealing a smile that came from his heart. He then went to the library and, under the surprised gazes of the students, took up a brush and quickly composed a letter.
This letter was not a reply, but a letter to the Pope.
This letter said that in order to prepare for next year's Boiling Stone Summit, he wanted to stabilize his cultivation. In order to tamp down the foundation for Star Condensation, he wished to enter the Mausoleum of Books once more to view the monoliths and comprehend the Dao.
On the night of the very same day, he received the Pope's reply. In the letter, the Pope praised and was delighted at his eagerness to study, wishing him well on his re-entering the Mausoleum of Books to view the monoliths and comprehend the Dao. Finally, the Pope wrote that if, in the future, he wanted to enter the Mausoleum of Books, he only needed to record it in the Li Palace. There was no need to especially write a letter to the Pope.
Reading the words on this letter, Chen Changsheng finally felt a real sort of change.
The Mausoleum of Books was not a place one could enter just by wanting to. In order to obtain the qualifications to enter the Mausoleum of Books, the cultivators of the continent had two options. They could engage in bloody battle with the demons up north in order to slowly accumulate military merit, or they could strive for a high rank in the Grand Examination so that they might enter the three banners, but ultimately, very few people were able to obtain this qualification.
To the current him, the Mausoleum of Books was a place that he could enter whenever he wanted.
He was no longer the young Daoist boy from Xining Village.
He was the Principal of the Orthodox Academy, the martial nephew of the Pope, the future Pope.
He was still very young, but he was already an important figure.
The heavy stone doors slowly opened, causing the ground to shake.
Upon seeing that the mountain mausoleum before him was still green in the deep winter, Chen Changsheng very naturally recalled that time a year ago when the ground had begun to shake here.
When those priests and cavalry guarding the Mausoleum of Books saw the youth standing in front of several cardinals, they guessed at his identity and couldn't but have rather complex feelings towards him.
Chen Changsheng walked into the Mausoleum of Books, this time not as a tourist, nor as a monolith viewer, but more like an inspector.
Because of the respectful attitude displayed by those cardinals at his side, this feeling seemed all the more real.
He declined the residence that the Li Palace had prepared for him and went straight to the grass hut left behind by Xun Mei.
The grass hut had been uninhabited for a long time, the edge of the pot rather dusty. The dried meat suspended from the beam had not been completely eaten. On the other hand, the fence in the yard was much firmer than before, but he didn't know whether it was Tang Thirty-Six or Guan Feibai that had fixed it.
As he thought of those days of making meals, watching the sun, and viewing the monoliths, he began to feel a little longing. He could see Tang Thirty-Six and Zhexiu every day at the Orthodox Academy, but it had already been a year since he last saw Gou Hanshi and the others, and he didn't know how they were getting on in Mount Li.
A voice came from beyond the fence. Perhaps because the wintersweet in the forest was just beginning to bloom, it carried a clear and cold aroma.
"This is Senior Xun Mei's residence?"
Chen Changsheng awoke from his recollections and turned around, seeing Xu Yourong standing beyond the fence.
In the forest beyond the fence, the wintersweet was blooming. Standing there with the morning light spilling over her, she seemed as beautiful as a flower.
Chen Changsheng could currently enter the Mausoleum of Books whenever he wished. As the Holy Maiden, she naturally could as well.
He said, "Yes, at the time, we stayed here for a very long time."
Xu Yourong walked past the fence. Examining the rather dilapidated grass hut in the morning light, she calmly said, "There are times when I find myself very curious: at the time, you and my senior brothers from the Mount Li Sword Sect were like fire and water, but you had to live under the same roof. Could it be that you didn't fight every night?"
Chen Changsheng replied, "Gou Hanshi is a modest and cautious gentleman."
Xu Yourong replied, "But Senior Brother definitely doesn't have as good a temper."
Chen Changsheng thought about their first night when Tang Thirty-Six and Guan Feibai fought for a clean set of bedding and almost came to blows, and he began to smile.
"The Grand Examination doesn't begin until tomorrow. The Mausoleum of Books should still be very quiet."
He looked at Xu Yourong and praised, "This truly was a good idea."
The capital was abuzz with those rumors. Although they were mainly poking fun at Chen Changsheng, they still represented some complications to Xu Yourong.
It was rather difficult for the two to meet, and to quietly talk together was even more difficult. Her writing a letter inviting him to the Mausoleum of Books was truly a fantastic idea.
Of course, to use the Mausoleum of Books that the cultivators of the world had to struggle and strive to enter as a place for a date was truly rather preposterous.
It was also only something she and he could do.
Seeing that he had understood her meaning and had even said it out loud, Xu Yourong felt somewhat ashamed, but not angry.
Because when Chen Changsheng said these words, his eyes were very clean, his expression very sincere.
He burned with passion, but when he was calm, his eyes were bright, but did not burn others.
One could call Qiushan Jun a sun, giving off warmth and heat, open and honest to the extreme.
Chen Changsheng was a refreshing breeze.
Everyone loved the sun.
But she loved more the refreshing breeze that curled around her as she took a casual stroll.
The capital in the deep winter was ten thousand li of silver, but the Mausoleum of Books was still verdant and lush.
As they walked into the forest of the mausoleum, what confronted them was the spring wind, delightfully refreshing to the extreme.
Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong walked along the mountain path, heading in the direction of the Reflecting Monolith hut.
A middle-aged man appeared in the middle of the mountain path, blocking them from moving forward.
This person's eyes were deep and serene and his cultivation level was clearly extremely high. As he stared at Chen Changsheng, his eyes contained a limitless cold. If one carefully looked, one could even see a little hatred.