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Chapter 35 – Pervert? Piece of Trash?
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Upon returning to the Orthodox Academy, Chen Changsheng stunk of alcohol. With his squinted eyes and unsteady walk, his intoxication was evident. As for some business about the Ivy Festival, it had long since been cast out of his mind and he could no longer remember it.
The library had no lights. Without him there, the Orthodox Academy naturally became as deserted as it had been in the past. As he walked along the lake, his surroundings were quiet and devoid of people. There were only the stars bobbing up and down in the limpid waters of the lake, the indistinct reflections of the trees on the other shore, and the refreshing breeze of the late spring blowing against him.
He stood on a stone on the lake shore, raising his head and gazing at the stars in the night sky for a very long time. Then, he looked down at the stars in the lake and also gazed at them for a very long time. Finally, he closed his eyes and silently stood there for a very long time before suddenly yelling out several words akin to curses at the lake.
He always gave off an aura of silence and composure, a maturity that exceeded his age, and this sort of venting of emotions was extremely rare. Tonight, under the influence of alcohol, he actually realized that he was somewhat tired. He straightforwardly sat on the grass by the lake, fell backwards, and then his mind began to wander off.
The library was pitch-black. He did not go read, did not go draw in starlight for Purification, he just lay on the grass in a trance, a pure trance with no thoughts whatsoever. In these few years, especially after that night at the age of ten, this was the first time he had indulged himself in this way, the first time he had wasted so much time.
After some time had passed, he opened his eyes and realized that he was still lying on the grass, his two hands touching the slightly chilly dew on the blades of grass. His cheeks were also somewhat moist. Faint rays of sunlight could be seen on the distant horizon; it was probably around five o'clock. Even when he wanted to abandon all restraints under his intoxication, he still woke up so promptly. The strict, even inflexible, discipline of his daily routine and his method of handling things had already sunk deep into the marrow of his bones, becoming a sort of instinct. This made him feel very helpless.
Habit was a very powerful thing, such that even washing the marrow could not wash it away. Chen Changsheng returned to his house and went to the water barrel to carefully wash his face with a moist towel. On one side, he thought about some trivial concerns while on the other side, he kept the corner of his eyes on that new and tightly shut door in the wall, for some reason feeling somewhat expectant.
(TN: Note that ‘marrow-washing’ is the literal translation of ‘洗髓’, Purification.)
The heavens would never grant whatever one asked for, but today, they did. With a creak, the wooden door was pushed open and a girl jumped over the threshold like she was hopping stones to cross a stream. Then, she bounced over to him, her two black ponytails bobbing behind her very cutely.
Luoluo looked at him and happily said, "Lah, Teacher, don't you think it's very convenient?"
She was smiling very happily, but in reality, she was very nervous, afraid that Chen Changsheng would run off like he had yesterday.
Chen Changsheng did not run away. Perhaps it was because, today, he wasn't bathing naked in a wooden basin, or perhaps it was because he still hadn't awakened from last night's hangover, or perhaps it was because he had finally abandoned all resistance in the face of this girl's nagging. Or maybe, he also very much wanted to see this girl.
Walking out of the Orthodox Academy, he bought two bowls of wontons and passed the one that didn't have peppers in it to the girl. He then walked into the library, the girl following with quick and small steps while holding the wonton bowl, abnormally pleased.
After breakfast, Chen Changsheng began to read. With extreme proficiency, he found his objective amongst the bookshelves, sat down on the floor, and began to silently and attentively read, comparing the information in these more primary texts with the three thousand Daoist scriptures he had read in Xining Village. He called this method comparative study.
Reading was a very dull task, and watching someone else read was even more boring. When Chen Changsheng quietly read, he naturally would not speak. At the beginning, Luoluo found it very interesting, moving close to him and reading with him. When she realized that there were many books that she could not understand, she began to feel bored, feeling that waking up early was really not a great thing. Sleepiness began to encroach upon her like the ants under a tree, wave after wave, assaulting without end, making her head feel heavier and heavier…
After some time had passed, Chen Changsheng emerged from his state of forgetting everything but books and felt that his right arm was somewhat heavy, somewhat limp and numb. He instantly thought of that scene when he woke up from that night of meditation and turned his head. As expected, the girl was once more hugging his arm in sleep.
Her hand was truthfully not hugging his right arm, only lightly grabbing his sleeve. She was also not leaning on his shoulder—because of her small stature, she could only lean against his upper arm. This posture was truthfully not very comfortable, but she slept very soundly and sweetly.
Chen Changsheng gazed at her completely relaxed appearance, at the childishness completely revealed by this relaxation, and began to smile.
For her to be able to sleep so soundly, so sweetly, was naturally because she was very relaxed. She was so relaxed because she trusted him. To have someone's complete trust was an extremely fine feeling, especially to a person like him who had silently advanced through the capital all on his own.
Suddenly, a shadow fell over the girl's face.
The normal person did not like the light when sleeping, preferring the dark instead, but this girl was clearly different from the masses. That shadow caused her brow to wrinkle, her nose to also slightly wrinkle. She made two unsatisfied groans. It was possible that she might wake up in the next moment.
Chen Changsheng enjoyed seeing this little girl sleep. Having it disturbed naturally made him very unhappy. He turned to the door of the library, subconsciously arching his brows.
The person that had appeared at the library door was Shuang'er. For some reason, a layer of frost seemed to cover her face and her gaze was almost frigid.
Shuang'er's mood today was extremely poor because the White Crane had returned once more from the distant south, carrying another letter from the young lady.
Her young lady was not one of those idiots whose brains had been muddled by those idiotic books on womanly virtue, and the Great Zhou Dynasty never placed such baffling requirements on their women as the south did. Shuang'er clearly understood this point, so she was all the more puzzled over the concern her young lady showed for this shameless youth.
Although there was that engagement, there would eventually come a day when that engagement would be torn to shreds, so why was her young lady so concerned about that guy? Well, the young lady had only written in her letter that she wanted to know about any recent developments with regards to that youth, which could hardly be considered concern…but, why did she want to know?
In fact, Shuang'er clearly understood that the young lady did not want that youth, because of the engagement, to become dust in the river of the capital, and so asked her to inquire on these matters.
She very obediently inquired and knew that Chen Changsheng had now become the first student of the Orthodox Academy in many years. Moreover, based on the attitudes of the master and madam, although that youth might not have any future prospects, there would no problems with keeping his life. In accordance with the young lady's instructions, she had made the journey to the Orthodox Academy to ask him if he still required any assistance, like in terms of money. She had not expected that upon walking into the library, she would actually see such a sight!
Who was this girl? Why would she be embracing that guy? Was this studying? Although the Orthodox Academy was run-down, it was still a place of education! This guy was actually embracing this girl in the library! How scandalous!
Upon seeing this sight, Shuang'er flew into wrathful indignation. You have an engagement with the young lady! Although this engagement most certainly does not count, since you still haven't ended it, your identity is still that of the young lady's fiancé! Or else why would the young lady be concerned over your safety despite being ten thousand li away, even inviting a powerful figure of the palace to come and protect your puny life? Although the young lady might not like you, she still cares deeply for you, and yet you consort with some other girl! Truly an adulterous couple!
Shuang'er had originally wanted to say these final four words out loud, but when she saw the childish beauty of the girl, she lost a little of her resolve. Instead, she glared at Chen Changsheng and hatefully yelled, "Pervert!"
With this word, she no longer had the mind to care about Chen Changsheng's situation. With a brush of her sleeve, she turned and angrily departed.
The Orthodox Academy was secluded and uninhabited. Although the grass by the lake was delightful, Lady Shuang'er was rather gloomy and becoming increasingly unhappy.
After returning to the Divine General of the East's estate, she began to write a letter to her young lady. The matters she had inquired about…especially the scene she saw today, were carefully described. Although she did not embellish, only writing what she had heard and seen, the denouncement in her words could not be completely concealed.
The White Crane left the capital and flew off to the distant Holy Maiden Peak in the south.
At dusk, when the setting sun illuminated the strange flowers and unusual grasses on the cliff, the White Crane descended. The girl extended her hand and took down the letter and after briefly looking it over, fell silent for a long time.
The White Crane once more brought up the brush in its mouth, dipped it with the perfect amount of ink and deposited it perfectly in her hands.
Grasping the brush, the young girl gazed at the snow-white paper for a very long time. Suddenly, she sighed and used the end of the brush to scratch her head, then turned to the White Crane and vexedly said, "I really don't know what to write. Based on how you described him before…that young Daoist shouldn't be this sort of person."
The White Crane could not speak, so it naturally could not help her answer. It lightly touched its neck to her wrist, indicating that she should quickly write.
'Pervert'? Chen Changsheng had heard the word Shuang'er had said before her departure. He knew that she must have definitely misunderstood something, but he did not care, much less leave the library to chase her down and explain. The engagement with the Divine General's estate had not been torn apart yet, but after all the shameless things they had done, he didn't believe they even had the right to misunderstand him, let alone be angry, but…for some reason, he was actually somewhat angry.
Luoluo woke up and rubbed her eyes. Smelling the scent of makeup, she asked curiously, "Teacher, who came just now?"
Chen Changsheng replied, "A maid from the Divine General of the East's estate."
When she heard 'Divine General of the East's estate', Luoluo's expression flickered. Just as she was prepared to say something, she suddenly stopped and looked out of the library.
Two men had arrived outside the library.
One of them strode into the library, his two hands behind his back. Entering without invitation, he seemed extremely arrogant.
This person was dressed in the apparel exclusively reserved for the education overseer of the Heavenly Dao Academy.
Chen Changsheng noticed that this person's expression was extremely cold, the gaze aimed at him extremely unkind.
The education overseer from the Heavenly Dao Academy glanced at Chen Changsheng then swiftly turned around as if his eyes would be dirtied by looking any longer. It was a stance of extreme contempt.
He looked at the man beside him and harshly rebuked, "The Orthodox Academy is already a ruin; what right does it have to be ranked amongst the Six Ivies? As for this person…a piece of trash that hasn't even succeeded at Purification, what right does he have to attend the Ivy Festival!"