The tungyou realm will be roughly translated as the “Ethereal Opening” realm, as heartseeking will sound weird in a later chapter, where it is explained that the location is the “Ethereal Palace”, which is where the heart is located (if my memory isn’t failing me).
Also remember to check out the glossary I have created, before starting to read my translations of Ze Tian Ji, especially if you have read the previous translations of Binggo&Corp.
Chapter 105 – Heading to Li Palace
Translated by: bbkgs
Edited by: bbkgs
TLCed by: bbkgs
Luo Luo had the bloodline of the White Emperor and its characteristic trait of ample True Essence (zhenyuan). Having instructed her at Orthodox Academy for the past few months, she had managed to reach the upper stage of the Meditative (zuozhao) Realm. If the yao race’s advancement is similar to that of a human’s, then she is probably also on the verge of entering a perilous stage of her cultivation.
Thinking up this point, Chen Chang Sheng began having feelings of regret and trepidation; if something were to happen to Luo Luo, he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself. He now had a deeper understanding of entering the Ethereal Opening (tungyou) realm, and more importantly, he also had medicine.
Having thought of this, he immediately got up and raced towards the small wooden lodging at the front entrance and asked Jin Yu Lu, “When will Luo Luo… Her Highness get to leave Li Palace and go outside?”
Jin Yu Lu, who was in the midst of drinking, found Chang Sheng’s actions to be rather puzzling. He lightly squinted his eyes while passing ginkgo seeds to his mouth and asked, “What’s wrong?”
Chen Chang Sheng saw Yu Lu’s expression and thought to himself that it must be troublesome to arrange matters and said, “I have something I need to tell her, therefore I need to see her… if it’s not possible, then could I trouble Your Grace to help me pass on a letter?”.
Jin Yu Lu threw the seeds into his mouth, and while chewing, he answered in a murmuring and muddled voice, “That’s all?”
Chen Chang Sheng was slightly confused, what did he mean by “that’s all”?
“If you want to see her, then just go, there’s no need for me to pass on a letter.”
Jin Yu Lu raised his wine cup and drank it in a single gulp and subsequently began clacking his tongue at the burning sensation.
Chen Chang Sheng became even more confused, staring blankly and questioning, “I’m… allowed to see her?”
“Her Highness is at Li Palace and therefore she cannot leave, this is for her own personal safety, but you are Her Highness’ tutor and therefore not a threat. If you want to see her, then go to Li Palace, who would stop you?”
“Your Grace, why didn’t you tell me this earlier?”
“You never seem to leave the grounds of this school, so I presumed you wished to concentrate on your own cultivation.”
“What is it?”
“I… thank you…”
“I’m not feeling any sense of gratitude.”
It was already late and therefore unsuitable for travelling to Li Palace, thus, the next morning, in the early hours, scant before the fifth hour, Chen Chang Sheng took a break from his usual routine and woke up early. He then roused Tang Thirty-Six and Xuan Yuan Po from their respective slumber and used rousing scents on Jin Yu Lu, who was still feeling the aftereffects of his drinking.
Metallic wheels, rolling upon the azure stones, sending out a clackety racket as a horse-drawn carriage rolled by, its passengers: two humans and two yao, headed towards Li Palace.
Li Palace was the residence of the Pope and the heart of the Orthodoxy, it had also long been held as an equal to the Imperial Palace. Situated in the Western sector, it covered a vast expanse that was visible from even a distance of over 10 li; from New North Bridge, you could still make its countenance.
The Orthodoxy was founded in the year 1573 of the Radiant Calendar; something that was already 800 years ago.
Yet, from the time the Heavenly Tomes descended, and the door to the Radiant Path first opened to the continent, its history could be considered over 10,000 years in length.
Li Palace, as a monument to the Orthodoxy, was naturally sublime.
The palace complex occupied an expanse that was seemingly endless, with a divine avenue that was wide enough to accommodate the passage of eight carriages running side-by-side. The main palace where the Pope resided was situated in the deepest region, with an expansive white stone clearing before it, littered with dozens of lesser buildings and structures that collectively formed the wider complex.
Li Palace College was also situated within this palace complex, but it was structured slightly differently from what people would normally expect. Temple Seminary and the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green, which were fellow members of the 6 Ivy League schools were also located here. Neighbouring each other, like a single unit and body, caused the palace to be occasionally referred to as ‘Academy City’ by some.
A noted attraction of the Capital, the ‘Li Palace Ivy’, was partially referring to the three schools that were linked together by a single wall that was bounded in seemingly endless vines. Though the main attraction referred to the greenery surrounding the main palace of the Pope.
Chen Chang Sheng and the others left Orthodox Academy before the skies had even begun to brighten. By the time they reached Li Palace, it was half past five, which was the time for morning meals, Jin Yu Lu marvelled at the youth’s scheduling of time and couldn’t stop himself shaking his head while smiling in bemusement.
At the outermost perimeter of Li Palace, there were countless stone pillars of a height beyond 30 odd metres, with a width that would require several men to completely encircle. Each pillar was distanced hundreds of metres from each other and upon a cursory glance from afar, seemingly ordinary, yet from a close distance, the uniformity of the pillars gave a sense of indescribable grandeur.
Upon getting closer to the pillars, Xuan Yuan Po discovered that the pillars did not contain a single seam or joint, and became mildly slack-jawed with awe; each pillar was carved in whole from a single piece of rock. From where did the crafters of these pillars find such large, flawless rock in the quantities needed, and how did they manage to transport said rocks to the Capital?
With the morning wind flowing across, and rays of sunshine streaming from above; the stone pillars with nothing in between them; above the pillars was nothing except the empty skies, akin to nothing being able to obstruct their reach to the heavens above. Occasionally a stray bird would flutter across, yet this could do nothing to detract from the calm scene before them.
Yet, these pillars were the entrance to Li Palace.
If someone were to enter the palace grounds without permission, or after the grounds were closed, they would activate the wards that are in place, though what kind of wards were placed, is a mystery to all, since for countless years, no one has dared to trespass Li Palace, with the last time the wards were triggered being too distant for memory.
The stone pillars did not prevent the passage of Chen Chang Sheng’s group, upon handing over their documents, they were quickly granted entry. Those guarding the entrance did however pass strange glances over the group, their curiosity driven by the fact that Chen Chang Sheng’s documents indicated they were from Orthodox Academy.
Orthodox Academy, the name was an obvious indicator of its relationship to the Orthodoxy. But this was history of decades past; since the previous principal’s involvement in the Imperial Chen clan’s rebellion and the school’s subsequent repression by the Pope, this relationship had long since broken.
This was the first time in years that the school had appeared before Li Palace. The three students of this school were already infamous in the Capital, not to mention their equally infamous doorkeeper, Jin Yu Lu.
Morning rays blanketed the stone pillar’s upper region, faintly highlighting some patterns.
Chen Chang Sheng had previously applied at Temple Seminary, but the location was the River Wang (View) Branch, prepared especially for applicants, so this was his first time being here.
He retracted his gaze and followed Jin Yu Lu, heading forwards onto the divine avenue. Both sides of the avenue was lined a multitude of trees, though it was the height of Autumn, and fallen leaves had stripped branches bare, it was still difficult to gaze past the thick of trees to see the view beyond.
Half past five, the morning meal of Li Palace, was also the time when the students of Li Palace College, Temple Seminary and the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green would have their morning cultivation practice.
Far away, near the walls of the complex, faint sounds drifted by of book recitals, from the two sides of the divine avenue, sword qi swept through the air, alarming countless birds. Alternating auras of chill and heat also streamed through the woods.
Tang Thirty-Six upon seeing the flashes of swords, could feel the familiar presence, which roused his interest. Amongst the students practising their morning cultivation, there were a lot of talented individuals, amongst them, he could also sense the presence of a few that were by no means weaker than himself, only, he couldn’t tell which school they were from.
Chen Chang Sheng, as wont his appreciation of time and learning, was also interested in the scene before him, even going as far as to nudging slightly closer towards the place of interest. But upon remembering the matter of Luo Luo, he didn’t still his step so that he may observe further, but rather, increased his pace, heading towards the end of the divine avenue and the grand palace that laid ahead.
Suddenly, he stopped.
Jin Yu Lu and the other two youths also came to a stop.
This was because something strange had occurred.
On the two sides of the divine avenue, parallel to their position, where there were originally a flurry of sounds from blades slicing through the air, was suddenly strangely quiet.
Chen Chang Sheng looked off the side of the avenue path and continued advancing forwards, with Jin Yu Lu and the others following on.
In step with their own, the sounds from both sides of the avenue also slowly came to a stop, wherever they went, silence followed.
Akin to wind through the woods, bringing along a message; akin to a strange atmosphere slowly spreading.
As the group reached the half-way point of the avenue, with a fair distance still separating them from the dome-like palace ahead, the two sides surrounding the divine avenue was already completely silent. Subsequently, a murmuring started, not the buzzing of springtime caterpillars feeding on the leaves of mulberry trees, but the sound of a multitude of footsteps.
Hundreds of young men and women came out of the woods, standing on the two sides of the divine avenue, gazing upon the group of Chen Chang Sheng.
These people were students from Temple Seminary, the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green and Li Palace College.
Their lining was obviously not a welcome, but observance.
The gazes were varied in their emotions, including curiosity, vigil, disdain or loathing.
At the Ivy League gathering, with Orthodox Academy having won against the Li Shan Sword Sect, alongside the revelation Xu You Rong’s betrothal, Chen Chang Sheng was already famous. Students that didn’t participate in the Ivy League gathering were incredibly curious of Chen Chang Sheng.
Since Orthodox Academy was off-limits, and Chen Chang Sheng’s group didn’t leave, there wasn’t any chance of approaching Chang Sheng’s group. Upon hearing the news of students from said school were visiting Li Palace, including Chen Chang Sheng, they were scantly going to let this chance slip by.
They wanted to see for themselves the visage of Chen Chang Sheng, what kind of person was he, to want to marry Xu You Rong!
Yet, there were also a lot of gazes on Tang Thirty-Six, though these gazes had different emotions behind them than those that were gazing on Chen Chang Sheng. The gazes were mainly filled with adulation, with the majority stemming from female students of the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green.
A young genius from the Proclamation of Azure Clouds, the young master of an established clan, dashing features, and an icy-cool attitude, no matter what angle you approached this from, Tang Thirty-Six was the manifestation of a maiden’s fantasy. If one were to also include the fact that the Wen Shui Tang family had a wealth that was even the envy of the government, Tang Thirty-Six’s status in the hearts of these girls was possibly even above that of Gou Han Shi.
Tang Thirty-Six’s expression was ice cold, with an unwavering gaze, a look of indescribable pride and elegance. Yet this look, aroused the fancy of several girls, almost prompting them to release excited cries. Chen Chang Sheng and Xuan Yuan Po were slightly surprised, being used to seeing his lazy and mischievous side, they had almost forgotten that he was celebrity.
The gazes of the girls filled with adulation, lessened the effect of any hostility that was creeping in and out of the gazes from both sides of the divine avenue. Chen Cheng Sheng calmed himself, ignoring the hostile stares landing upon him, and quietly carried on forwards, that invisible pressure was something only the one experiencing it can truly understand.
They first passed the woods directly outside of Temple Seminary, the gazes of students from this school were the most hostile.
Tian Hai Ya’er was not a particularly likeable person, but he was still a student of Temple Seminary, students and teachers alike of the school were relying upon him to stun the world in the following year’s Grand Examination. Yet the result was his crippling at the hands of Luo Luo, after the Ivy League gathering, discussions in the Capital were particularly harsh on Temple Seminary, it, alongside Li Shan Sword Sect, were the two biggest losers of the incident.
The teachers and students of Temple Seminary didn’t dare to touch Luo Luo, therefore their grudges could only fall upon Orthodox Academy, or more specifically, upon Chen Chang Sheng’s group.
Chen Chang Sheng ignored the gazes and passed by the grounds of Temple Seminary.
Suddenly, at that moment, a sound arose from the group of people at the side of the divine avenue.
“So it’s only someone that can’t even finish their Purification.”