Chapter 243 – The Yellow Paper Umbrella
Every time the Pavilion of Divination issued a new ranking, it would always add a brief or a commentary. On this occasion, the Pavilion of Divination had probably guessed at the discussion that its decision would invite and they had also explained as to why Xu Yourong and Chen Changsheng had not entered the Proclamation of Golden Distinction. It was made known that the Divining Elder looked forward to two’s excursion to the Garden of Zhou.
At this point, the entire continent knew that Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong were entering the Garden of Zhou.
Ever since last year’s Ivy Festival, the story of Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong’s engagement had already spread across the entire world. This story was full of gratitude and grudges, childhood friendships, twists and turns. It was a story filled with turmoil, and its ending was hard to predict. Now, the lead actor and actress of this story would meet in the Garden of Zhou. This naturally caught the attention of countless people.
The other lead role in this story, Qiushan Jun, had not appeared, but his juniors were present. The gaze that Liang Xiaoxiao aimed at Chen Changsheng became increasingly cold. Qi Jian’s impressions of Chen Changsheng had changed somewhat because of what had happened in the Mausoleum of Books. Now when he heard the following discussion, his small face flushed with indignation.
“Even if he gets lucky once more in the Garden of Zhou, how can he possibly seize first place on the Proclamation of Golden Distinction? How can he possibly be discussed on the same terms as Qiushan Jun?”
“And why not? Although Qiushan Jun is already at Star Condensation, don’t forget that Qiushan Jun is four years older than him.”
Although this discussion did not bring up Chen Changsheng’s name, everyone knew that he was the subject.
Ye Xiaolian stood with her senior at the edge of the crowd, looking at Chen Changsheng’s back. Her eyes no longer had that loathing and anger that she first had, they only had some curiosity.
Chen Changsheng felt the gazes coming from all around him, especially the ill will from the southerners. He felt a huge pressure, and yet he also felt somewhat frustrated. In the eyes of the people, he and Xu Yourong were possibly childhood sweethearts. Perhaps they had a love-hate relationship. Only Chen Changsheng knew that none of this was true. He did not even know what Xu Yourong looked like, nor did he believe that Xu Yourong had any impression of him.
Departing from the south gate of the capital, the convoy took a break after a short while. Priest Xin descended from that carriage at the very front that was being pulled by the pegasus and walked towards Chen Changsheng.
Surprised, Chen Changsheng asked, “Could it be that His Eminence is in charge of the convoy?”
Priest Xin shook his head. “His Eminence’s health has not been too good lately.”
Chen Changsheng looked curiously at that imperial carriage in the front. “Which important figure of the Orthodoxy is in that carriage then?”
Priest Xin smiled at him. “I was just about to invite Your Eminence to board the carriage.”
Chen Changsheng was stunned, only after a while did he come to. Almost not daring to ask, he said, “Are you saying… on this journey to the Garden of Zhou, I’m the one in charge?”
Priest Xin firmly said, “Yes, His Holiness has handed this matter over to Your Eminence.”
Chen Changsheng thought back to the scene of those priests and teachers from the Temple Seminary and Heavenly Dao Academy coming to pay their respects and silently thought to himself, perhaps he had been the last one to know.
Leaving the capital, the convoy arrived at Wenshui city. The dozen or so carriages passed through the city gates one by one, each carriage bearing the crest of the Li Palace. The Orthodoxy in the city had been informed several days ago and they had made some arrangements. The guards at the city gates did not dare perform any inspections and they had long ago opened the gates. Both sides of the official road were crowded to the bursting point with spectators.
“Who is Chen Changsheng?”
“How many of the Divine State’s Seven Laws have come?”
“Phoenix Xu directly departed from the South River Temple, so she shouldn’t be in this group right?”
“Which carriage is Chen Changsheng in? Could he be in the first carriage? Oh! Look at how white that pegasus’s wings are… it’s about the same as the cotton bedding in our house.”
The crowd passionately discussed as they pointed at the convoy. The beautiful and mystical white pegasus was naturally the focus of their gazes. Of course, when the crowd realized that Chen Changsheng really was in the first carriage, they surged forward. The street suddenly became very noisy and teeming with people. Time and time again, one could hear cries of his name from the crowd.
A daoist youth from Xining Village, versed in the Daoist Canon. First rank of the first banner in the Grand Examination. In the Mausoleum of Books, he comprehended all seventeen monoliths of the front mausoleum in one day. Now, this youth had become the Principal of the Orthodox Academy.
No matter what angle it was looked at, this was all the stuff of legends. He was a legend.
Innumerable gazes rested on that carriage, their eyes burning with fervor, like that curtain across the window was going to burn to ash.
Even though Chen Changsheng had a similar experience moving through the streets of the capital after the Grand Examination, he still was not used to this sort of treatment, so he felt like his face was on fire.
Contrarily, Zhexiu who sat across him was as apathetic as ever. He seemed to be affected in the least by the noise from the outside, nor by the fiery gazes.
The convoy directly headed to the headquarters of the Orthodoxy in Wenshui City. Several of Priest Xin’s subordinate priests went to make arrangements. As the Principal of the Orthodox Academy and head of the convoy, Chen Changsheng was naturally not required to handle these things on his own. To phrase it another manner, he occupied a similar position as the door gods who stuck on the doors.
The Orthodoxy had already prepared rooms for their stay, and the various cultivators split up into their respective rooms. In the past few years, the Mount Li Sword Sect’s reputation had resounded throughout the world, so Qi Jian and Liang Xiaoxiao were able to stay in the eastern courtyard. The two girls from the Holy Maiden Peak were their neighbors. Chen Changsheng naturally had the best accommodations. The bishop of Wenshui City enthusiastically invited him into the main hall while Zhexiu followed silently.
After a simple bath and arranging his luggage, Chen Changsheng was prepared to rest when a priest came to inform him that somebody had come to pay their respects to Principal Chen.
After a moment surprise, Chen Changsheng guessed who that person was and he quickly changed into a clean set of clothes and walked out towards the front of the hall.
A man who looked like a steward stood in front of the hall. His clothes were rather plain. On his waist was tied a piece of jade that was absolutely not ordinary.
When that steward saw Chen Changsheng, he bowed with the utmost respect.
Seeing this scene, the priests of Wenshui city were extremely shocked.
The Wenshui Tangs had always been arrogant, such that they did not even respect the Tianhai clan or the Qiushan clan. On a normal day, this steward would not even give face to the bishop. So why was he so humble towards Chen Changsheng? It must be known that the position of Principal of the Orthodox Academy was an empty office. His status only had value in the Orthodoxy. Even if Chen Changsheng had a good relationship with the Tang clan’s sole grandson, that still did not warrant such respect.
Chen Changsheng apologized to that steward of the Tang clan, “Logically, this one is a member of the junior generation. No matter what, I should go and pay my respects to the Old Master of the Tang clan. It is just that this time the pace of journey is too rapid. In addition, His Holiness has put me in charge of this convoy, so it is inconvenient for me to leave. I ask the steward to give my regards to the Old Master.”
Saying this, he took out a small box that he had prepared in the capital and handed it over.
Inside this box was medicine. It was made up of the rare medicine and fruits that he and Tang Thirty-Six had stolen from the Hundred Herb Garden, as well as the rarely seen local specialties of the Red River provided by Luoluo. The priests of the Li Palace had refined these plants into pills. Besides the pills that had been used to assist in breaking through to Ethereal Opening, there still many pills left. While they were probably not very useful for cultivation, they were quite excellent for strengthening one’s physical constitution and extending one’s life.
Thanking him repeatedly, the steward took the box. Afterwards, he took a box from his bosom and offered it to Chen Changsheng with both hands. He said that it was a gift from the Old Master to commemorate their first meeting, then the steward took his leave.
Returning to his quiet and secluded room in the main hall, Chen Changsheng placed that small box on the table. Upon opening it, all he saw that there was a metal ball inside. This metal ball was about the size of a fist, yet it seemed extraordinarily heavy. Its surface was extremely glossy. The ball was covered with lines like those between fish scales that divided the metal ball into three parts.
Zhexiu walked over to the edge of the table and glanced at the ball, then his expression subtly changed and he said nothing for a long time.
Chen Changsheng asked, “What’s wrong? You seem to be very surprised.”
Zhexiu looked over at him and said, “Just what is your relationship with Tang Thirty-Six?”
Confused, Chen Changsheng replied, “We’re friends.”
Yes, Tang Thirty-Six was the first friend that he made after entering the capital.
“If you were just friends, would the Tang clan hand over such a precious treasure to you?” Zhexiu expressionlessly asked.
Chen Changsheng grabbed that seemingly ordinary and unremarkable metal ball and carefully examined, but he could find nothing special about it.
“What is this thing?”
Zhexiu walked in front of him and looked at the metal ball. His normally emotionless eyes seemed to glow with a strange light.
In every city of every country in the human world, the defensive spell formations were all created by the Tang clan. The best weapons for their soldiers were created by the Tang clan. The armors of every one of the thirty-eight Divine Generals were all created by the Tang clan. It was even said that the reason that the Red River wound its way around the White Emperor City was because an ancestor of the Tang family personally designed it.
Along the banks of the Wenshui, this clan had persisted for a thousand generations. They had so much money that even the Divine Empress was afraid of laying hands upon them.
If this was a treasure of the Wenshui Tangs, it would no doubt be no ordinary treasure.
Zhexiu said, “Of the one hundred divine artifacts of the Tier of Legendary Weapons, at the very least, seventeen of them were made by the Tang family. Although they can still make unusual weapons, because of the lack of rare ores, those weapon can no longer match up to those divine weapons, but their skill in design is unchanged from the past. All those legendary weapons have mostly been hidden away by the various sects and schools, or like the Frost God Spear, locked away in the Imperial Palace. Thus, the experts of this era most desire weapons created by the Tang family, so not even a crazy fool like Xiao Zhang would dare offend the Tangs.’
Chen Changsheng suddenly felt that the metal ball in his palm had gotten much heavier.
Zhexiu continued, “If I’m not seeing things wrong, that metal ball in your hands is the Yellow Paper Umbrella.”
Chen Changsheng repeated the name in surprise. “Yellow Paper Umbrella?”
He faintly remembered hearing this name before.
“Right. In the past, Mount Li Sword Sect’s Junior Martial Uncle Su had ordered a magical artifact from the Tang clan. After amending the original design, the Tang clan needed thirty years to create the weapon. That magical artifact is that metal ball in your hands. Its name is the Yellow Paper Umbrella.”
“Is that the martial uncle that Gou Hanshi and the rest always mentioned? … Since it was that legendary expert that ordered this tool, why is it still in the Tang family?”
“Because at the end, Junior Martial Uncle Su didn’t come to take it.”
“Because… he couldn’t afford it.”
The room was silent.
Chen Changsheng felt like the metal ball had grown even heavier. Even his voice became nervous. “This item… is very expensive?”
Zhexiu replied, “The Yellow Paper Umbrella was a name dubbed by the Old Master of the Tang clan himself.”
Chen Changsheng was mystified as to the meaning behind that.
“Yellow paper is paper money.”
(TN: Paper money is fake money that is usually burned during rituals.)
Chen Changsheng understood. The paper money was different from the silver notes circulating in the world. Any value could be written on paper money.
If the number written on the paper money was made real, how much money would that be?
Outside of the Tang family, was there anyone in the world that had that much money?
No wonder that legendary Junior Martial Uncle of Mount Li, who personally ordered the weapon, could only reluctantly give it up in the end.
This Yellow Paper Umbrella would cause the everyone in the world to feel poor.
Yet now it lay in his hands.