Chapter 227 – Thus We Shall Perceive Them (Part One)
Standing in front of the broken monolith, Chen Changsheng was not actually thinking about it, nor was he attempting to recall some story from long ago. Rather, he was thinking about his own problems.
What he understood was that not all monolith viewers would be able to come before this broken monolith.
In that case, he really wanted to know just what exactly having the ability to see this broken monolith signified.
It was just as some people in the capital had already realized, and also what the Divine Empress had said to Mo Yu on the Dew Platform. Viewing the entire front mausoleum in the span of one day truly did have few problems. He had comprehended the monolith inscriptions, but had made no attempt to extract any further messages. Thus, he naturally was not enlightened by any sort of true meaning outside of what was written on the monolith inscriptions.
He had very easily read through the Heavenly Tome Monoliths, but it seemed that he had obtained no benefits.
However, this was not the problem. At the very least, it was not the problem that he was currently pondering about and worrying over.
Disregarding any philosophical reasons, the reason Chen Changsheng had not used any of the three most common and most traditional methods of taking shape, taking ideas, and taking moves was very simple: his meridians were defective. His true essence had no means of flowing through his broken meridians. Thus, even if his true essence were to be even more abundant, it would have no meaning. Therefore, he had to find a new method.
He seemed to have achieved enormous success, having become the second person after Zhou Dufu to comprehend the entire front mausoleum in a day, but he had always felt that there was something wrong.
It was the same sort of hesitation and helplessness he had felt when he had decided to begin comprehending the monoliths.
The method that he had used was rather ingenious, but it was still a variation on the method of taking the idea.
He had originally thought that after he had finished comprehending the seventeen monoliths one after the other, he would no longer care about such a thing. However, now that he had seen this broken monolith, he finally understood: to be unsatisfied was to be unsatisfied. He could cheat the heavens and cheat the earth, cheat a king and cheat a saint, cheat his father or cheat his mother, but he could not cheat himself.
The front mausoleum of the Mausoleum of Books had always contained eighteen monoliths, but it was currently missing one.
Therefore, even if he deciphered seventeen monoliths, it would still be incomplete.
This sense of incompleteness weighed upon his spirit, making him uncomfortable.
It was just like his method for comprehending the monoliths. It was indeed very powerful, but in the end, it was only a type of compromise.
For the sake of going to the Garden of Zhou, he had deciphered the monoliths as fast as possible, thus renouncing those twenty odd days of persistent seeking.
To comprehend the entire front mausoleum in one day was truly impressive, but, in his view, was it not a type of failure?
The Dao he cultivated was to follow his heart, and in the end, the heart was hard to satisfy.
He stood in front of the broken monolith for a long time, but he ultimately was unable to come up with anything, so he began his descent from the mountain.
In the dim light of the night, the monolith huts by the path were exceptionally quiet. Not a single person could be seen.
Accompanied by the starlight, he soon walked past seventeen monolith huts, finally returning to the front of the Reflecting Monolith.
Outside the Reflecting Monolith’s monolith hut, a dense mass of people had gathered.
As it turned out, those monolith viewers who would have normally been sitting in front of the various monolith huts, had all gathered here.
They had been waiting for Chen Changsheng.
Seeing his figure appear from outside the monolith hut, the crowd grew restless.
Tang Thirty-Six stepped forward, looked him in the eye, and said, “Seventeen monoliths?”
Chen Changsheng nodded his head.
Tang Thirty-Six laughed heartily, then heavily patted Chen Changsheng’s shoulder several times. He turned around to face the crowd and shouted, “Seventeen monoliths!”
The murmur of discussion suddenly ceased, and the area around the monolith hut became silent.
The crowd looked at Chen Changsheng, speechless from surprise.
Ye Xiaolian opened her eyes wide and looked at Chen Changsheng, her mood somewhat strange. Could it be that there was someone in this world that could match up to senior Qiu? Seventeen monoliths, perhaps senior Qiu… would also find that difficult to accomplish? She thought of how, back in the Li Palace on the Divine Avenue, she had attempted to shame Chen Changsheng. She could not help but feel thoroughly embarrassed, and she lowered her head.
Chen Changsheng said nothing. Together with Tang Thirty-Six, he headed down the mountain path.
Countless pairs of eyes, full of admiration and even awe, followed him.
A normal person would no doubt become a little intoxicated under the gazes of so many people.
If he had departed like this, the gazes and the starlight that fell upon him would become his glory.
However, after a moment, he stopped.
Astonished, Tang Thirty-Six glanced at him.
Chen Changsheng stood still for a while, then suddenly turned around and walked back to the monolith hut.
“What’s wrong? Did you drop something in there?” Tang Thirty-Six asked in confusion.
Chen Changsheng did not respond. He walked over to the forest at the edge of the monolith hut, lifted the lapel of shirt, and just like that, sat down.
Just like he had done for the past twenty days, he once again began to view the monolith, sitting where he had always sat. That piece of limestone was already so clean that it seemed to glisten.
“Just what are you doing?” Tang Thirty-Six walked up in front of him and asked in surprise.
Zhexiu, Gou Hanshi and the others also walked over.
After a moment of silence, Chen Changsheng replied, “I feel that my method for comprehending the monoliths wasn’t correct, so I plan to try again.”
These words caused an uproar around the monolith hut.
They were all flabbergasted, shocked, perplexed, and at a loss.
Just what exactly did Chen Changsheng want to do?
Su Moyu asked, “Why?”
Chen Changsheng did not answer.
Guan Feibai said somewhat icily, “Just why?”
He still did not answer.
Gou Hanshi did not ask, because he had already vaguely understood.
From far away, Zhuang Huanyu jeered, “Show-off.”
Zhong Hui said nothing, but the Scholartree Manor scholar by his side mocked, “Just what are you playing at? Even if you are so amazing, is there any need to sit there and humiliate the rest of us?”
Chen Changsheng paid no attention to this talk. Addressing Tang Thirty-Six and the others, he said, “You guys will have to handle tonight’s dinner.”
It was just as the Divine Empress had said. Only Zhou Dufu had been able to truly understand the meaning of those monoliths after seeing them all within a day. Besides talent and perception, the most important trait was temperament. Zhou Dufu was domineering and arrogant. Even if Zhou Dufu had to tear open the sky to ask a question, so what? And how could Chen Changsheng ever have such boldness?
Yet what the Divine Empress did not know was that although Chen Changsheng’s temperament was steady, he was most conscious of what his heart desired. If he desired to ask a question, then, while he would seem rather calm on the surface, he would actually be burning with an intensity just as fierce as Zhou Dufu’s.
When the news that Chen Changsheng had once again sat down in front of the Reflecting Monolith reached the capital, many people were dumbfounded.
The Divine Empress was silent for a long time.
There were some people who wanted to see just what sort of trick Chen Changsheng was trying to pull, but they were turned away by Nian Guang, who would not allow any sort of disturbance.
Carrying a meal, Tang Thirty-Six came to deliver dinner.
Chen Changsheng continued to view the monolith.
He viewed the monolith under the starlight, its surface seemingly covered with snow.
He thought of a sentence in Xun Mei’s notebook, then recalled the words Gou Hanshi had said upon entering the mausoleum.
The Heavenly Tome Monoliths were pieces of a world.
Since these Heavenly Tome Monoliths were all once one, then was it not correct by viewing each monolith on its own?
Was it correct instead to comprehend all seventeen monoliths together?
He calmly looked at the Reflecting Monolith, yet it also seemed like he was simultaneously looking at the Bent Osmanthus Monolith, the River Guiding Monolith…
The seventeen monoliths simultaneously appeared before his eyes.