Chapter 188 – Ascending Upwards on Stairs
Translated by: bbkgs
Edited by: bbkgs
TLCed by: bbkgs
“What is there inside Zhou Garden? Treasure?”
“There should be weapons or manuals for discipline arts from the supreme experts Zhou Du Fu defeated all those years ago, of course, the most important thing will be that his own legacy could very likely also have been left inside Zhou Garden.”
“Will everything found within Zhou Garden after entering, belong to yourself? You don’t need to hand it over to the government?”
“The basic principle is to base rewards upon merit, of course, even though Zhou Garden is enticing, wanting to probe deeply is a very dangerous task, not to mention there will also be many opponents of the same level. Therefore, the more important significance behind Zhou Garden is that it is the most appropriate testing ground for young cultivators.”
“Wouldn’t those elders or experts enter Zhou Garden in order to fight over the treasure?”
“The legacy disciples of those few scattered individuals, or perhaps old monsters, will take the risk and enter the garden, but they also have to keep in mind the attitude of The Five Saints, I trust they wouldn’t do anything overly excessive.”
Many years ago, during the legendary battle at Luoyang, Zhou Du Fu had defeated Emperor Taizong of the Zhou Dynasty. His Royal Majesty would have definitely lost something to him. At an even earlier time, outside of Old Snow City, he had defeated the Demon Lord that had once been renowned as to being the strongest.
The incredibly powerful Tian Luo that had been in the Demon Lord’s hands was severely damaged, causing it to continuously plummet on the Banner of Hundred Armaments, in the end, it was only useful for cloaking an assassination attempt at Orthodox Academy.
From just this point, it could be seen as to how much influence Zhou Du Fu had had on this continent, how deeply and how absolute. In his life, who knew just how many peerless experts had he actually defeated? If the weapons or discipline arts of those peerless experts were left inside Zhou Garden, they would be the biggest treasure there.
Not to mention, as with what Jin Yu Lu had said, Zhou Du Fu had already disappeared for hundreds of years; perhaps dead, perhaps having shattered the void, no matter what the situation was, his legacy was probably left behind in Zhou Garden.
The legacy of the continent’s foremost expert… even just the very thought would shake someone’s mind, causing them to be unable to calm down.
After listening to Jin Yu Lu’s account, Chen Chang Sheng and the others finally came to have a real understanding of this situation, the gatehouse became even quieter, the droplets of oil that were accumulating upon the tip of the tusks became ever greater in size.
A Zhou Garden as such, who wouldn’t want to enter?
For a great many years, Zhou Garden had opened as scheduled, shaking the continent, but its definite location wasn’t something that could be confirmed every time; this year, Zhou Garden’s location had finally been confirmed once again, as a result, this meant the Zhou Government would definitely send a large amount of people into Zhou Garden in order to explore, attempting to find the genuine treasures.
What Qiu Shan Jun had done, was only to find the door to Zhou Garden and obtain the key to the garden itself. The vast mist outside of Zhou Garden gradually faded away, yet the world within still remained secretive.
However, this miniature world that opens once every ten years, had a very strict requirement on the level of cultivators that wished to enter, but it wasn’t a difficult to understand criteria – only those who are in the realm of Ethereal Opening can survive within.
Tang Thirty-Six and Xuan Yuan Po subconsciously looked towards the direction of Chen Chang Sheng. In the final match of the Grand Examination, Chen Chang Sheng had inexplicably completed his Ethereal Opening, therefore, he naturally had the prerequisite to enter Zhou Garden.
Chen Chang Sheng shook his head, he was certain that the final number of young cultivators who could enter Zhou Garden, will definitely be more numerous than current, that’s because tomorrow is the date for entering the Mausoleum of Books to discern The Way.
“Tomorrow, prepare medicine and crystals, striving to be able to break through realm levels while inside the mausoleum.” He looked at Tang Thirty-Six and Xuan Yuan Po, then said: “At the time, we’ll enter Zhou Garden together.
Jin Yu Lu said: “Her Highness will also enter the Mausoleum of Books tomorrow.”
Chen Chang Sheng said: “Then all four of us will enter together.”
In truth, Chen Chang Sheng wasn’t overly concerned with Zhou Garden, that’s because it was too far away….in truth, counting the time, it wasn’t really all that far away, but his thoughts were on what was before him, on tonight.
Tonight, he had to enter the palace to do what he must do, and he absolutely had to finish that task, only through that, would worldly events such treasure, such as legends, become important to him.
That evening, as twilight was at its deepest, a horse carriage slowly came to a stop in front of the Imperial Palace. Tang Thirty-Six hopped out first, following this, Xuan Yuan Po caused the ground to lightly tremble, then Chen Chang Sheng walked down from the carriage.
Before the Imperial Palace, it was filled with people. Nearby were the young students from the various academies and sects, farther away, were those from the populace that had come to observe the revelry; the wish of those from the Capital for merriment was something that couldn’t be affected by the time or the weather.
Seeing the three from Orthodox Academy, especially Chen Chang Sheng, the sounds of discussion from the masses immediately rose, the expressions on the young examinees also had some changes.
Tonight, from the Grand Examination’s Three Banners, a total of 42 examinees were all attending Her Divine Majesty’s banquet that was being held at the Hall of Brilliance, singing, dancing and drinking in celebration, they would then stay at the palace and directly head for the Mausoleum of Books on the second night.
Only Chen Chang Sheng, who had obtained first upon the First Banner, couldn’t participate in this banquet, but instead, had to quietly contemplate alone in the Pavilion of Ascending Mist for a night, because this was the rule.
The changes in expression for the populace and examinees was due to this. The Pavilion of Ascending Mist is a sacred edifice, and also a guarded and restricted location, only during the Great Rites or when the government has had something significant occur, would the sovereign enter the structure, apart from this, only the Grand Examination’s first upon the First Banner would be allowed to perform quiet contemplation inside for a night.
Outwardly, this naturally appeared to be a hard to come by honour, but in reality, no one considered this to be a good thing.
Within the Pavilion of Ascending Mist, there definitely would not be bedding; quiet contemplation for a night would likely require sitting on your knees; not mentioning sleep, even wanting to rest for a while would be something extremely difficult. Being as such for an entire night, by morning you would definitely be very fatigued and weary, being greatly affected when you enter the Mausoleum of Books to discern The Way.
No one could understand why Emperor Taizong had set this rule all those years ago, they could only conclude that the mighty ruler wanted to increase the loyalty of each Grand Examination’s first upon the First Banner towards the government through this method.
However, through the passage of years and moons, this kind of rule had become nothing more than a rule, being disremembered to the point of disregard by many; only for Chen Chang Sheng, was this rule not simply a rule, but was instead, an important event. Leaving Xi Ning Village, coming to the Capital, entering Orthodox Academy, participating in the Grand Examination and experiencing so many hardships and danger… all of these things were for this sole reason.
Under the escort of countless gazes, he walked through the lonely and cold palace door.
Under the lead of a head eunuch, he headed for the deepest part of the palace, passing the derelict garden and the Palace of Embodied Light. These were all places he had once been to; he then saw the towering palace wall to the West and the green ivy that climbed up on the wall, knowing that Orthodox Academy and the Hundred Herb Garden were in that direction.
The farther into the Imperial Palace they went, the quieter it became, to the point where it could perhaps even be called secluded; previously, they would occasionally see some palace maids and eunuchs, but now, none could be seen. The ceremonial music from the faraway Hall of Brilliance had also become increasingly faint, as if it had become the sound from a separate world. It finally completely vanished, a wake of silence.
That head eunuch had quietly left at some unknown time.
Only Chen Chang Sheng and a lone building remained.
That tall structure loomed ahead solitarily; there was no possibility of mistaking it, it was the Pavilion of Ascending Mist.
Even without guidance, he would not be lost, because there was only a single path to the pavilion.
The Pavilion of Ascending Mist is extremely tall, and the path, extremely straight, being formed from countless stone steps.
Night had already enveloped the Capital and a myriad of stars had once again arrived unto the human realm.
Starlight shone onto the stone steps, covering them with a faint layer of brilliance. Gazing at it from below to above, the steps seemed without end, as if they were to lead up into the highest reaches of the night sky.
Chen Chang Sheng didn’t have any hesitation, following along the steps and heading towards the pavilion that was within the darkness. His steps were very steady, yet not slow; the hands that were by his sides were lightly clenched into fists, representing his nervousness and anticipation.
A gust of wind blew in and his clothing fluttered; sounds of rustling abounded.