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Chapter 107 – A Battle of Words
Translated by: bbkgs
Edited by: bbkgs
TLCed by: bbkgs
Having met eyes with each other, it was no longer possible to feign ignorance, Chen Chang Sheng lightly nodded his head in greeting. Under the Cedrus tree, an older disciple of Holy Maiden Peak lightly nodded in reply, though the motion was minute, it was enough to express courtesy, prompting the other disciples to return greetings to Chen Chang Sheng in turn.
A lone girl, whose face still conveyed remnants of childishness, remained motionless while maintaining a cold expression and cool gaze towards Chen Chang Sheng. The previous older disciple, who was probably her senior, whispered a few words to the girl, yet afterwards, the girl erupted in annoyance, stating: “Will senior You Rong marry this person? It’s obviously no, so why should I greet him?”
Upon hearing this, the other disciples were at a lost, how should they answer? The older disciple was just as bewildered and rushed to the side to reason with her, this fell upon deaf ears however and the girl turned to Chen Chang Sheng with a cold smirk while saying: “A little toad wishes to dine on the Phoenix? That type of delusional fool isn’t someone we should pay any attention to, Senior should be ignoring him too.”
Her words were intentionally loud and clear, in order to put Chen Chang Sheng’s group into hearing range. Initially, Chen Chang Sheng had presumed her to be just a little girl and did not need to care for her words, but upon the utterance of the last line, he had no choice but to stop; Tang Thirty-Six refused to continue forwards.
The girl had an exceedingly young looking face, and an age to match, yet who could have guessed she would be so callous with her words? Her voice carried a fair distance; the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green opposite were restrained in their reactions, conversely, students from Temple Seminary and Li Palace College who were situated farther away, all erupted in bouts of heavy laughter.
The Li Palace’s divine avenue was a long, straight path, Tang Thirty-Six had already endured the gazes of a multitude of students and the barbs from Temple Seminary students for quite some time, upon hearing the callous words of this girl and the subsequent mocking laughter; he had already reached his limit.
Hearing laughter from both sides of the divine avenue, the girl was further emboldened, delighting in the response. She turned to Chen Chang Sheng, made a sound of indignation, and then turned to her senior: “Do you hear that? Even these people of Zhou (country) agree with me.”
Early mornings at Li Palace are very quiet, causing the sounds of laughter to reverberate throughout the palace at an ear-piercing volume.
The reason for students of Temple Seminary and Li Palace College having such a strong reaction to the girl’s callous words was because the phrase, “a little toad wishes to dine on the Phoenix”, was currently the biggest joke in the city, alluding to the engagement between Chen Chang Sheng and Xu You Rong.
No one dared to approach the doors of Orthodox Academy to say these words and were thus also unable to say these words to Chen Chang Sheng’s face, for this girl to say these words today, students that enjoyed inciting incidents couldn’t let this chance slip by without fanning the flames.
“I daresay… such a phrase should be officially recorded, so that it may become a proverb for the people of this continent.”
A voice from amongst the Temple Seminary group sounded, it was unclear if it was the same person from before, yet nonetheless it aroused another burst of laughter.
Chen Chang Sheng shifted his gaze towards the girl under the Cedrus tree; seeing her childish face, he estimated her to be around 12 years of age, an age not too different from that of Luo Luo, causing him to feel hesitant.
The older disciple from Holy Maiden Peak expressed an apology towards him.
The girl met Chen Chang Sheng’s gaze indifferently and responded with a cold laugh: “What? Have I said anything that’s a lie?”
Chen Chang Sheng quietly considered for a while, then replied: “Your words are correct.”
The girl looked at him in disdain, “So where am I wrong then? In what way are you worthy of Senior You Rong?”
“She might really be a Phoenix.”
Chen Chang Sheng said.
“But I am most definitely not a toad.”
He was also going to express that the toad wasn’t interested in the Phoenix, but was interrupted by the girl, who mockingly said: “Oh, so you’re not a toad because you say you’re not? Then who were they all laughing at?”
“I do not know who they were laughing at.”
Chen Chang Sheng suddenly shifted his gaze towards the deeper regions of the Cedrus trees, stating: “But I do know someone that will disagree with the idea of me being a toad.”
Unknown to all, the doors to a guesthouse had been opened and from inside, Gou Han Shi and his three junior disciples from Li Shan Sword Sect emerged, they crossed the woods and arrived at the divine avenue.
Gou Han Shi managed to hear the girl’s previous words and understood the allusions behind them, his expression was hard to read, as he shook his head and said: “You’re naturally not a toad, if you were, then what would that make me?”
The laughter suddenly subsided, leaving a wake of silence.
At the Ivy League gathering, Orthodox Academy triumphed over Li Shan Sword Sect, anyone that was present at the time, knew of the key figure behind that victory.
Though it could not be said that Chen Chang Sheng was stronger than Gou Han Shi, he was undeniably capable of standing up to him.
If he were to be a toad, then what would that make Gou Han Shi? What of the Divine State’s Seven Laws?
Laughing at Chen Chang Sheng was therefore no different from mocking Li Shan Sword Sect?
Subsequently, no one dared to raise their voice again, let alone laugh, the girl from Holy Maiden Peak became flustered while looking at Gou Han Shi and wanted to open her mouth to give an explanation, yet words would not come.
Amidst the Li Palace College group, Su Mo Yu who was watching from the side lightly crossed his eyebrows in a frown, he couldn’t understand, why did Gou Han Shi make an appearance to defend Chen Chang Sheng?
The reason for this was only privy to Chen Chang Sheng and Gou Han Shi; apart from needing to express the magnanimity of the Li Shan Sword Sect, considerations also had to be paid towards the state of Qiu Shan Jun. Chen Chang Sheng and Xu You Rong were betrothed to each other, all Qiu Shan Jun could do was to observe them from a distance, therefore this event couldn’t be allowed to become too much of a mockery.
A beautiful silence enveloped the evergreens.
Chen Chang Sheng and Gou Han Shi exchanged formal greetings (揖礼) towards each other.
Subsequently, no one paid any further attention to the girl from Holy Maiden Peak, including her seniors, but the quietness of the surroundings cause her to become anxious; offending a senior from the Longevity Sect was an unthinkable situation for her, further increasing her anxiety. Near bursting into tears, she said: “I… I didn’t mean that, this… this person can’t even cultivate properly, isn’t he nothing more than trash?”
Upon these words, the atmosphere once again turned heavy.
Guan Fei Bai raised his eyebrow, finding the actions of the girl distasteful; the fifth Law, Liang Ban Hu, shook his head; even Qi Jian, who only cared about cultivating The Way and cared little for worldly affairs, thought her actions crossed the line, he turned his gaze towards Gou Han Shi, hoping that his senior would handle this affair.
Gou Han Shi had a gloomy expression, yet did nothing. Though disciples from the Southern schools all referred to each other with the greetings of senior and junior, akin to being from a single body and school, they were still independent of each other. As the second disciple of the Longevity Sect, he had no right to interfere with Holy Maiden Peak and its matters.
Though there was someone that didn’t care about interfering.
“I’m rather curious as to why you loathe Chen Chang Shang so much… though admittedly, he is rather annoying at times.” Tang Thirty-Six suddenly interjected.
The girl only continued to glare at Chen Chang Sheng, ignoring the question.
Tang Thirty-Six continued, “No matter how gifted you may be, you cannot possibly be a match for the Phoenix, putting aside your personality, you’re still too young to be a disciple of the Nan Xi Institute, so you must be a disciple associated with Holy Maiden Peak? I would guess… a disciple of Ci Jian Temple?”
Hearing him mention her personality, the girl was mortified and wanted to refute him, what was wrong with her personality? Yet upon hearing those last few words, she felt stunned, Holy Maiden Peak had over a dozen schools and sects, how did he manage to guess that she came from Ci Jian Temple?
“That’s right, I’m called Ye Xiao Lian, a younger disciple of Ci Jian Temple, once I’m old enough next year, I’ll be entering the Nan Xi Institute, what of it?”
She faced Tang Thirty-Six with her small face, not caring to temper her look of pride and guarded vigilance.
Tang Thirty-Six interjected: “Ci Jian Temple, is it not rather near Li Mountain?”
Guan Fei Bai was taken aback with these words, thinking to himself that this person wasn’t from the South, yet why did he know so much about the region?
“The Longevity Sect comprises of several mountain ranges, with Li Shan being the highest, situated besides Ci Jian Temple. I would presume you often get to see Qiu Shan Jun’s countenance?”
Tang Thirty-Six continued, not giving her a chance to reply: “A figure such as Qiu Shan Jun, it’s not hard to imagine someone falling for him after seeing him so many times. You’re still young, yet your heart has already been taken, so why do you hate Chen Chang Sheng? Well, the fact is, in this case, Chen Chang Sheng got the better of him.”
“Nonsense!” the girl countered, with mortified expression.
Gou Han Shi was also unable to continue listening, shaking his head and saying: “This is preposterous.”
Ye Xiao Lian, with a bright red face, responded in a reprimanding manner: “My loathing has nothing to do with Senior, I’m only angry about Senior You Rong getting tarnished.”
“There’s no need to lie, some girls may have such a caring personality, but you? I think not, rather, the thought of your Senior, You Rong, being married off to a toad would probably delight you enough to cause you to smile while sleeping.”
Ye Xiao Lian was stunned, “I couldn’t possibly be thinking that.”
She was undeniably still just a 12 year old girl, her expression before the eyes of others was already confirmation enough of her thoughts, causing the other disciples of Holy Maiden Peak to cross their eyebrows in a frown.
Tang Thirty-Six was expressionless throughout his conjecture, adding to the seriousness of his speech and enhancing its effect, “Only, Qiu Shan Jun is still your idol, for him to lose to Chen Chang Sheng in vying for a girl, if I were you, I would also be incensed.”
Upon hearing this, Chen Chang Sheng shook his head, thinking he had gone too far.
The expressions of Gou Han Shi and his group also became rather sombre.
“He’s nowhere near a match against Senior.”
Ye Xiao Lian’s voice became increasingly incensed, nailing Tang Thirty-Six with her eyes she replied: “I just don’t understand, why did Senior You Rong have to write a letter, a letter that places this trash on the same level as Senior Qiu Shan, didn’t she think that that’s nothing more than an insult to Senior?”
“Oh, so it’s not Chen Chang Sheng you loathe, but rather… your Senior You Rong”
Tang Thirty-Six didn’t feign an expression of sudden enlightenment, this was not his purpose, he calmly continued: “Then can you still deny liking Qiu Shan Jun?”
A silence enveloped the divine avenue, with gazes from the audience towards the girl being rather complicated.
Ye Xiao Lian flustered, before gradually coming to a realisation that her inner thoughts had been seen through, her face turned bright red, the corners of her eyes became moist, giving the impression of impending tears, she was evidently heavily disturbed.
“There’s no need to be upset, with a figure such as Qiu Shan Jun, it’s natural to fall for him.”
“Because you understand that you’re not worthy of having Qiu Shan Jun… in fact, for the past two years, amongst the human realm, everyone has been questioning this. It would seem that only Qiu Shan Jun has the qualifications to like Xu You Rong, and only Xu You Rong has the qualifications to like Qiu Shan Jun. Therefore the mocking of Chen Chang Sheng is correct, the current stares of those judging you are not.”
Tang Thirty-Six turned to face the crowd, calmly stating: “In truth, you are not in the wrong, liking someone is not a sin, the ones who are wrong are these people, what right do you have to deny love? Just because none of you dare to love, therefore others also lack this right? Preposterous.”
“Therefore, you shouldn’t harbour any hate for Chen Chang Sheng, conversely, you should feel empathy for someone in the same situation as you.”
Ye Xiao Lian raised her head, rubbing away her tears and upon seeing the unfriendly stares directed at her, she finally understood his words.
The surroundings were blanketed with silence, for, even though Tang Thirty-Six was overly blunt with his words, they still rung true.
Only Chen Chang Sheng thought differently to himself, after all, he didn’t like Xu You Rong, though he was obviously not going to clarify this in front of everyone. Xu You Rong helped him on the night of the Ivy League gathering with her letter, he was not about to complicate things for her needlessly.
The early morning breeze brushed pass the trees, scattering the morning light; as the temperature slowly rose, the autumn air began tempering somewhat.
The gathered students looked at Tang Thirty-Six with lamentation in their hearts, thinking that he lived up his status of being from an established family, having the gentle and calm flair of the dignitary. Being able to placate the young junior from Holy Maiden Peak in such a simple manner, in turn, this caused the fervent stares of students from the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green to renew in their intensity.
Thus, everyone thought this incident would come to an end, a happy and complete ending…
Tang Thirty-Six turned around, and once again turned his gaze towards Ye Xiao Lian.
“But… to be honest… you’re not really the same as Chen Chang Sheng.”
“He has an engagement to Xu You Rong, not just liking, even if they were to hold hands and run off to see the sunset, no one would be able to say anything. But between you and Qiu Shan Jun there doesn’t exist a sliver of a relationship, not to mention the entire continent is aware of the fact that his heart already leans toward Xu You Rong. Just because of liking Qiu Shan Jun, you came to insult Chen Chang Sheng? Where’s the reason in that?
“If he were trash… then wouldn’t you just be… a little slut?”
His words were spoken as calmly as ever, with the last three words carefully enunciated to ensure there could be no mistaking what was said.
The entire scene, erupted in a massive outcry!
Ye Xiao Lian let out a single cry and covered her face as she ran back into the woods while sobbing.
The disciples of Holy Maiden Peak gave him a few hard stares, then turned and left. Students of the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green who had previously looked at him with adulation also had a change in expression. Who would have thought, that previous exchange, those moving words, all were naught but a preparation for those final three words!
Jin Yu Lu and Xuan Yuan Po who had been listening on the side all this time affirmed to themselves, humans really are cunning and shameless; unworthy of trust. After this incident, Xuan Yuan Po unconsciously edged closer towards Chen Chang Sheng, unwilling to remain too close to Tang Thirty-Six; Jin Yu Lu sighed and said: “You’re the real trash here.”
Chen Chang Sheng didn’t know what to say and turned to gesture his farewell to Gou Han Shi. Though the words of Tang Thirty-Six were callous and low, they didn’t concern the Longevity Sect, therefore Gou Han Shi only shook his head, and returned the gesture before taking his juniors and returning to their lodgings.
Though no one approved of the actions of the girl from Holy Maiden Peak, she was still just a girl of 12 years, seeing her race away in a fluster of tears was enough to draw pity from a lot of the younger male students. They felt like she had been wronged, and where there is a wrong, it is only proper to speak out against it.
“A person who only knows how to bully a child through their words.”
From the group of Li Palace College students, Su Mo Yu remained silent. In truth, he was feeling rather disappointed, talks had been abound of Orthodox Academy’s revival, yet from what he saw today…
Chen Chang Sheng who was afraid Tang Thirty-Six would delay them further, urged them onwards: “Let’s go.”
Tang Thirty-Six looked towards the group of students and quickly said, “After I’ve finished, I’ll be back, if you’ve the guts, stay here.”
The students were once again in an uproar, this is Li Palace, the location of their schools. This wasn’t Orthodox Academy, for him to bully a little girl and then continue to display such arrogance, was simply an invitation for them to beat him to a pulp.
At this moment, from the deeper regions of the complex, the clear sound of a bell could be heard chiming, within the chimes were the faintest hint of admonishment.