Chapter 239 – The Cinnabar Birthmark Between Her Eyebrows (Part Two)
Chen Changsheng really was very angry.
Right before the Grand Examination, he had succeeded in Purification, and had even achieved perfect Purification. Although he had been unconscious for the entire ordeal and could not recall what had truly happened, he knew that it definitely had something to do with the Black Dragon.
He had lived and was able to obtain the first rank of the First Banner in the Grand Examination. He had been able to enter the Mausoleum of Books to view the monoliths and comprehend the monoliths. He was able to bathe the entire capital in starlight. All of this had been bestowed upon him by the Black Dragon.
To him, the Black Dragon was even more important than the person that saved had his life. When he saw the wound between its eyes which still seemed to be bleeding, when he faintly made out the white bone, deep in the wound, when he imagined the pain it had suffered, he could not help but be moved.
Yes, it was as the Pope had said in the Li Palace, that legendary Black Dragon was an evil dragon. However, even if it had committed such monstrous crimes against the capital, and several hundred years of imprisonment underground was not enough to atone for its crimes, how could such abuse be allowed?
The Black Dragon calmly floated in the air, listening to Chen Changsheng’s angry question. Its eyes were incredibly serene. There was no pain or fear. It did not grow angry with him, nor was it deeply moved, only holding detachment and disregard.
Under its indifferent gaze, Chen Changsheng felt like an idiot. For some reason, he felt quite embarrassed. Could he have misunderstood something?
After a long time, he felt it was necessary to break the silence. He asked with some hesitation, “…this is the first time since that day that I’ve come to see you. Are you alright?”
The Black Dragon did not answer, nor did it give any other sort of response.
As he had said, although Chen Changsheng was not clear on what had happened that day he first attempted Meditative Introspection, he knew that it could only have been with the aid of the Black Dragon that he was able to escape calamity.
“I don’t know how to thank you, so I brought some things that you would normally like to eat.”
He placed the entire roast lamb that he had ordered on the floor in front of the Black Dragon. Its fragrant aroma and heat spread forth, only to be immediately frozen by the air.
“You should first quickly eat the lamb. We can take our time with the rest.”
He suggested this as he saw the congealing oil on the lamb leg.
He continued to take out more food. Roast chicken, roast deer tail, roast goose, beef hotpot with pickled vegetables, cask-soaked tofu, phoenix fruit…in a short time, the floor was densely packed with dozens of dishes.
The Black Dragon’s eyes seemed to gleam, but it still remained unmoving and unspeaking.
Chen Changsheng thought that it was somewhat strange. It was true that in the past few times he had come to this underground space, besides teaching him dragon language, the Black Dragon very rarely talked with him However, it had never been as quiet as it was tonight, perhaps due to disdain, or perhaps it found speaking to be very strenuous.
“What’s wrong? Are you angry because I haven’t come to see you in so long?”
He looked at the Black Dragon and explained, “After that night, I woke up in the Orthodox Academy. Apparently someone must have brought me back. I realized that I had succeeded in Purification and wanted to find you, but found out that someone had filled in the well…I think it was probably the person that brought me to the Orthodox Academy. Afterwards, I was busy preparing for the Grand Examination, and then this past month I was in the Mausoleum of Books viewing the Heavenly Tome Monoliths, so I really didn’t have the time to come and visit.”
In truth, he did not need to explain this much. However, he still wanted to explain.
His eyes were extremely clear and his expression was very sincere.
Perhaps it was for this reason that the Black Dragon’s whiskers lightly floated up. Amidst the brilliance of the night pearls, it waved twice. This signified that it would, in a short while, enjoy his offerings.
Chen Changsheng was content with this and began to chat with the Black Dragon.
“I really have to thank you. Without you, there would have been no way for me to obtain the first place of the First banner in the Grand Examination.”
He narrated the events of the Grand Examination, then described how at the announcement of rankings, the Pope himself had personally crowned him with the garland of thistles. He did not mention what had happened in the Pavilion of Ascending Mist, but he did describe in fine detail the sights he had seen in the Mausoleum of Books, as well as the events that had occurred in the monolith huts.
“I have seen many rubbings of the monolith inscriptions, but before I entered the Mausoleum of Books, I always had this sort of fantasy. I thought that maybe those inexplicable Heavenly Tome Monoliths were written in dragon language.”
Chen Changsheng smiled at the Black Dragon. “When I was small, I studied the dragon language, then I was taught by you for a few days. If the monolith inscriptions were really written in dragon language, then I would have had an advantage over the rest.”
The Black Dragon’s eyes were filled with ridicule and disdain.
Somewhat embarrassed, he laughed and said, “Only when I entered the mausoleum and looked at those inscriptions did I finally realize that I was overthinking it.”
This was a rather embarrassing matter, but his laughter was filled with joy.
He gradually brought his laughter under control, before he said a few words to the Black Dragon very sincerely. As he said these words, his expression was extremely solemn, even somewhat grave.
“After viewing the Heavenly Tome Monoliths for over twenty days, I saw all seventeen monoliths of the front mausoleum on the very last day. At the very end, I realized a secret…the stars can move.”
In the Li Palace, in front the Pope, he had not even mentioned this matter.
However, the Black Dragon viewed Chen Changsheng’s trust as being beneath its contempt, even to the extent that it saw his solemnity and graveness as so laughable that the ridicule and disdain in its eyes increased.
Chen Changsheng stared blankly, and only after a while did he come to.
Of all living beings in the world, dragons could fly the highest. They could break through the clouds and soar above the nine heavens. As for Black Frost Dragons, this supreme clan of royal dragons, legends said that once they were fully grown, they could fly freely through the galaxies. Even if the Black Dragon had been unable to fly amongst the stars itself, how could it not know that the stars could move?
He had seen it as going against common sense, even so much as a new discovery contrary to the truth, but to the Black Dragon, this was probably a very common knowledge. When he so gravely told the Black Dragon that the stars could move, it was like seriously telling the fish that it was calm under water, or telling the birds that clouds were made of water vapor…
“It seems like I overthought things once again.”
He looked at the Black Dragon helplessly and was at a loss. “In this case, it should be that many people should know about it, so why is it that no one has ever brought it up before?”
The Black Dragon still paid him no attention.
Chen Changsheng had no other option but to talk about something else, something to be happier about. He cheerfully said, “Did you know? Right now I’m at the upper level of Ethereal Opening.”
In his view, the Black Dragon was at least several hundred years old. It was naturally the most senior of seniors——this achievements, that had been acquired under the care and guidance of a senior, should obviously be promptly reported.
The Black Dragon still looked upon him with contempt and ridicule.
Chen Changsheng continued to monologue to himself, “Right before this, I went to the Li Palace. I learned…that His Holiness is actually my martial uncle. Yeah, he said that I was their school’s sole disciple, so in the future the Orthodoxy will have me become its successor. Although I still think it’s quite preposterous, His Holiness seemed very serious.”
Hearing these words, the contempt and ridicule in the Black Dragon’s eyes finally disappeared. Even if it was a member of the most supreme and powerful dragons, even it had to pay an appropriate amount of respect to the successor of the Orthodoxy.
“Of course, the truth is…”
Chen Changsheng thought it over, then changed the subject again. “I’m going on a long journey to the Garden of Zhou. It might be a long time before I’ll ever be able to see senior again.”
“Yeah…my fiancée, Xu Yourong, is also going to the Garden of Zhou. I’m thinking that if I meet her, I’ll need to return the marriage contract. This is what her father has required of me.”
“I know that she doesn’t want to marry me, but if I return this marriage contract to her, she won’t necessarily be happy about it. Her handmaid, Shuang Er, came to the Orthodoxy Academy once to find me and I can guess at what she was hinting. She plans on using this marriage contract, naming me as her fiancé so we can be a fake husband and wife, allowing her to put all her efforts into cultivating the Dao.”
“On the surface, this sort of thing would do me no harm, but I don’t like doing things this way, so I don’t like her either. Due to this, I will directly relieve the both of us of this engagement.”
After Chen Changsheng spoke this most important decision aloud, he suddenly felt much more relaxed. Standing up, he prepared to take his leave. “After I return from the Garden of Zhou, I will come to visit senior again.”
The Black Dragon watched him in silence. Its eyes seemed to gleam, as if it wanted to say something, but in the end it remained silent. Perhaps it had wanted him to stay a bit longer.
Leaving the underground space, the place where he emerged was that same cold and cheerless abandoned palace, next to the pond that people rarely approached. Chen Changsheng was already experienced in this. Walking over to the edge of the pond, he took a towel and dried his body, before changing into a new set of clothes.
After doing all this, he realized that, in a cluster of flowers, there was a pair of eyes that had been staring at him this entire time. He could not help but recoil in surprise, then smiled and shook his head. “Luckily it was only you that saw me.”
The Black Goat slowly walked out of the flowers, proud and indifferent. Its meaning was very clear: And just what is there to see about a little man like yourself?
Chen Changsheng hurriedly followed him.
There was no key around the Black Goat’s neck. That key had always been in Chen Changsheng’s possession. The goat was only supervising him.
Passing through the numerous palaces and avoiding the patrolling guards, he finally arrived before the Imperial City’s ivy-covered secret door. Chen Changsheng used the key to unlock it, before passing through it.
He turned around and looked at the Imperial Palace, silently thinking to himself. Who was it that had always been helping him? Was it that middle-aged lady? Or was it the Pope?
In that underground space, there are many things that he had said many things that he would say to no other person to the Black Dragon. However, he did not bring up Senior Yuren, nor did he bring up anything about Xining Village’s old temple. This was because the Pope had already admitted that he had purposely let him meet the Black Dragon, so what did that mean? It was never wrong to be somewhat more prudent.
Chen Changsheng returned to the Orthodox Academy.
The Black Dragon remained in that cold subterranean space. It had nowhere to go, no home to return to. Several hundred years had passed since it had been locked away.
Of course its name was not Zhizhi. Its dragon name was incredibly long. If written in the words of humans, it would probably require a few dozen pages. Moreover, many years had passed since it had been called out to by a fellow dragon, so it had even forgotten parts of its own name.
The light of the night pearls gradually dimmed.
In the cold air, a strand of magical power slowly disappeared. It had been a magical power similar to a smokescreen.
The mountainous body of the Black Dragon floating in the air rapidly began to shrink. Accompanied by the scattering of countless motes of light, it finally disappeared.
A small girl dressed in black sat on the floor.
The floor was covered with snow. Similarly, her expression was as cold as the snow.
She , as enchanting as the night. On her brow was a red line, like a cinnabar mole.
Seeing that roast lamb covered with congealed oil, she knit her brow in displeasure.
She opened her mouth and spoke the human language. “This idiot, does he want to stuff me to death?”
She had still not recovered from the blood that she had shed that day, so it was still not possible for her to assume her dragon form. As a small girl, she could only look at the roast lamb, not eat it.
Then she saw the braised chicken wings wrapped in oil paper.
She took a piece and placed it in her mouth, quietly sucking on it. Her brows raised in delight, like a flower blooming.
Braised chicken wings were her favorite dish.
Chen Changsheng had also brought some fine oolong tea.
She poured herself a cup and slowly began to drink it.
For some reason, her expression became somewhat sorrowful.
At this point, a voice echoed throughout the underground space.
“A fine tea.”
Towards this voice, the girl’s expression subtly changed. There was some hate, but there was even more fear.