Minister Xin was originally translated as Priest Xin in my translation. The old translations had his position as an “official”, but he is a member of the clergy.
Chapter 116 – Declaration
Translated by: bbkgs
Edited by: bbkgs
TLCed by: bbkgs
Xu You Rong, that was a name known to everyone in the world, but no one else would have had the same turbulent emotions as Chen Chang Sheng did upon hearing that name.
In the past, at the old temple in Xi Ning village, upon first seeing that name on the betrothal vow, his age was still tender and he didn’t understand many things, but he knew what it meant to be shy, he naturally had a lot of thoughts about his future with her; a girl with such a name, what would she look like? Did she have long locks of hair and a kind, gentle heart?
Following on, due to the circumstances of fate, he stopped thinking about the betrothal, and the name slowly faded from his memory, until he came to the Capital and experienced many things; that name brought him much ridicule and hardship, causing him to find it unpleasant. At the inn, it started to infuriate him; at the derelict garden, or even at that most crucial moment in Wei Yang Palace, that name continued to appear before him.
He clearly understood, even though her letter assented to their betrothal, it wasn’t going to be so simple, it had another side to it, maybe his status as her fiancé was only an excuse, but she had helped him with this, therefore that name was no longer that unpleasant, but he still couldn’t bring himself to feel any inklings of fondness for it.
The experiences of ridicule and mocking he experienced this morning at the divine avenue was due to that name, he could no longer avoid that name intruding upon his life and the pressure or trauma it brings.
Should he actually feel gratitude towards her? No, his main concern right now was the Grand Examination. In this battle to change his fate, if he could surpass her, and break free of the influence of that name, he would be content, though the possibility of this in the eyes of others was near non-existent.
Luo Luo is already approaching you; how far is the gap between us?
Chen Chang Sheng’s retracted his gaze towards the Hall of Clear Virtue and turned it towards the far off Southern realm, quietly contemplating.
The broadcast from the Hall of Oration had stopped, this sudden update to the Proclamation of Azure Clouds during mid-autumn had come to an end, but the crowd that had gathered at the divine avenue did not disperse and the teachers didn’t start telling students to return to their classes.
… Chen Chang Sheng continued to stand upon the divine avenue.
Everyone at the Capital knew Orthodox Academy only had four students, and that in today’s update to the Proclamation of Azure Clouds, three of them were listed. Her Highness, Luo Luo, was the highest ranking one, rising from the ninth position to second.
Whether in terms of their student population in comparison to their ranking members, or the positioning of those ranked, Orthodox Academy was unquestionably the biggest victor in the most recent proclamation; neither Heavenly Academy or Temple Seminary from the Ivy League could match; schools that had been prominent in recent years, such as Scholartree Manor, the Nan Xi Institute or even the Longevity Sect could not compare with Orthodox Academy’s achievement.
Everyone looked towards Chen Chang Sheng.
He was the first student of Orthodox Academy; before his appearance, the academy was nothing more than a cold graveyard that was on the verge of disappearing within the annals of history itself from the long years of lacking any new students. But upon his appearance, Orthodox Academy was once again brought before everyone, with its transformation silently starting.
This youth couldn’t complete his Purification and was thus unable to cultivate, therefore he had no right to appear upon the Proclamation of Azure Clouds, but the evaluations from the Council of Divine Ordinance made it clear; things such as fortuitous circumstance, a brilliant teacher; what did they refer to? Orthodox Academy’s current splendour was all attributable to him.
Was this kind of youth really the trash that was being ridiculed from before? As Gou Han Shi had said this morning, if he were to be a toad, then what were the students that were currently here? Were all these people spongers as well? Does he really need the backing of Her Highness or the use of a betrothal vow in order to establish himself upon this world?
Su Mo Yu said he wasn’t truly strong; then what was the true definition of strength?
Tang Thirty-Six stared at the group from Temple Seminary, glaring at the student that had mocked Orthodox Academy the hardest this morning, gave out a cold laugh and said: “For visionless people, even if they were to crawl up to the top of the Mausoleum of Books, they wouldn’t be able to recognise a single word within.”
The student’s face turned pale.
“… this is what we call a proverb.”
Tang Thirty-Six looked at the crowd and continued with an expressionless face. It was clear as to what he was referring to; since the Ivy League gathering, a lot people mocked Chen Chang Sheng as to being a toad that wishes to dine upon the Phoenix; this was brought up this morning and joked as to being close to becoming a proverb.
The divine avenue was silent.
At this moment, Chen Chang Sheng suddenly spoke out.
“You were saying what it means to have true strength…”
While saying this, he looked towards Su Mo Yu. The students of Li Palace College had a drastic change in expression; thinking that he intended to follow Tang Thirty-Six and mock Su Mo Yu.
Contrary to their expectations however, he said: “Your words have merit; I may be able to help my companions become stronger, but if I don’t want to become a burden, then I need to become strong myself. I hope that I can become stronger by the time of the Grand Examination, we’ll meet again at that time.”
Upon finishing those words, he gestured a formal farewell and turned around, heading off along the divine avenue.
Su Mo Yu gazed at his disappearing figure, hints of respect evident on his face, returned the gesture of farewell and said: “We’ll meet again at the Grand Examination.”
Upon seeing the silence surrounding both sides of the divine avenue, Tang Thirty-Six felt an invigorating sense of glee; he laughed out loud and said: “It won’t be easy to meet at the Grand Examination, after all, his aim is to get…”
Chen Chang Sheng didn’t even turn his head, and just said: “Xuan Yuan Po, stop him.”
In the mind of Xuan Yuan Po, Chen Chang Sheng was now a classmate, a teacher and the benefactor that saved his life, not to mention his Grand Master from the perspective of Her Highness. Upon hearing those words, he had no hesitation in extending his fan-like hands and smothering Tang Thirty-Six’s entire face, before lifting him up and carrying him across his shoulders.
“Un… un… un…”
With Tang Thirty-Six’s ability, he could have easily defeated Xuan Yuan Po, but he couldn’t bring himself to raise his hand; upon being covered by Xuan Yuan Po, he was immediately silenced and could only let out small sounds of struggling; not being able to declare the words he had put so much energy into preparing made him agonised.
Xuan Yuan Po on the other hand, wasn’t discomforted in the slightest, he was actually rather happy, being listed on the Proclamation of Azure Clouds made him uncontrollably jubilant, but he didn’t know how to express himself. With both, feelings of jubilation and vigour in excess, he didn’t know how to control himself and he started running faster and faster, while carrying Tang Thirty-Six and occasionally smacking him on the back; they very quickly approached the main gate of Li Palace.
Chen Chang Sheng gave out a laugh and followed behind; Jin Yu Lu also followed in suit while laughing.
Under a mild warmth, surrounded by the signs of Autumn, within the quiet Li Palace, three youths ran off into the setting sun, with occasional outbursts amongst them.
This scene, set within the eyes of those gathered here, remained a topic of conversation for many years to come.
Yet no one noticed, atop those never-ending steps, that was akin to the long path towards cultivating The Way, atop the highest reaches of the Hall of Clear Virtue, Luo Luo was watching them; with the evening mist upon her small face, a gleaming smile was present.
With the departure of the youths from Orthodox Academy, the crowds that had gathered around the divine avenue also began dispersing; apart from the sounds of footsteps, little else could be heard, everyone was still in the midst of shock or contemplation and thus, even the sound of discussion was absent.
Those who were shocked with the achievements of Orthodox Academy on the Proclamation of Azure Clouds, were mostly students, while those that were in contemplation, were mostly the instructors and clergy of Li Palace. As adults, they were more contemplative than the younger generation, and thus, had more questions, especially upon the reasoning behind the Council of Divine Ordinance’s evaluations, which they struggled to understand in full.
… they were not questioning its validity, but they found Elder Tian Ji’s evaluation of the three listed Orthodox Academy students strange.
Taking Xuan Yuan Po as an example, entering the proclamation without having battled, with the reasoning being expectations for his future; this was bound to raise speculation, yet the council didn’t seem to care. Yet another example, taking Tang Thirty-Six and Her Highness, Luo Luo’s reason for being listed, it was as if the council had purposefully used the evaluations to emphasise Chen Chang Sheng’s role and importance.
Some of the contemplators started to have inklings of some even more unthinkable possibilities.
… this fall’s sudden update to the Proclamation of Azure Clouds was due to Her Highness, Luo Luo’s stunning improvement, but at the same time, the council also wanted to make the entire continent aware of Chen Chang Sheng’s existence?
If this was to be true, what reasoning could there be behind it?
At the moment crowd had almost dispersed, an ancient sounding voice arose within the woods.
“Do you all want to know what Tang Tang was going to say? What he wanted to tell you was…”
Upon hearing those words, the people who were leaving, immediately stilled their steps.
The ancient sounding voice continued, “… Chen Chang Sheng’s aim is to become the man to take the first place amongst the First Banner in the Grand Examination.”
The woods erupted into an uproar.
Chen Chang Sheng wanted to take the first position upon the First Banner?
The crowd turned towards the source of the voice in a stunned stupor.
The Education Board’s Archbishop, His Eminence, Mei Li Sha, under the support of Minister Xin, emerged from within the woods.
This elderly person, who had lived for untold years, already had a crooked posture. A face full of age spots and wrinkles, partially obscured, but couldn’t hide the joy and satisfaction within his eyes.
This joy and satisfaction was obviously for Chen Chang Sheng.
Everyone hurriedly paid their respects in a formal greeting, taking care not to perform anything that might be taken as an affront, yet their faces still showed the shock and disbelief from hearing what the Archbishop had said.
Even if Orthodox Academy’s achievement today upon the Proclamation of Azure Clouds was attributable to Chen Chang Sheng; as Su Mo Yu had said, and Chen Chang Sheng himself had admitted to, the Grand Examination was something you had to participate in yourself. Chen Chang Sheng had yet to complete his Purification, how was he going to handle the Grand Examination that was imminent? No matter how you looked at it, even entering the Three Grades was impossible, let alone taking first place upon the First Banner.
Priest Huo had an expressionless face, but his eyes revealed a shred of awe; several clergymen, upon exchanging glances with the instructors, could tell the shock they all felt.
Their questions from before were seemingly going to be answered soon; that was the intention, certain parties felt that the display at the Ivy League gathering and the pressure on Chen Chang Sheng from his betrothal to Xu You Rong was still insufficient; some swelling movement from currents beneath the Capital were about to break through the earth.
Yet, what was the reason behind all of this?
The Archbishop looked at the crowd and said: “There isn’t any reason and there doesn’t have to be a reason; since he has already stated that he will take first place upon the First Banner at the Grand Examination, then I will trust his ability to take it.”
The people surrounding the divine avenue didn’t dare to raise their body.
Priest Huo and the other clergy of Li Palace were already prostrating.
Regardless of whether if they believed or not, the Archbishop’s word was something they could only acknowledge.
In front of the Archbishop, no one dared to question or doubt.
But this declaration that the Archbishop had announced in place of Orthodox Academy and Chen Chang Sheng, would quickly spread across the entirety of Li Palace, the entire Capital and the entire continent. Once that had happened, many would hold it in disdain, ridicule, scorn and anger, with all blame being held against Orthodox Academy and Chen Chang Sheng.
The question still lingered.
What was the purpose of this?