Chapter 817 – The Myriad Golden Leaves of the Wenshui
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
There were many people who used a sword, but if one were to talk about attainments in the path of the sword, the normal person would believe that Chen Changsheng was the best.
This was because Chen Changsheng knew countless sword styles, possessed countless swords, and had also studied the sword under Su Li.
In truth, although Luo Bu did not know as many sword techniques as Chen Changsheng, he was certainly not inferior to Chen Changsheng in his understanding of the sword, and was even slightly superior.
After walking along the river for some time, he saw that the icy river came to a sudden break. Here was an extremely precipitous cliff with a ten-some-zhang difference in elevation.
The ice covered the plains and river, but where the river came to a sudden stop, the water below the layer of ice surged out, rumbling as it dropped down the cliff.
The blue-clothed stranger walked to a massive stone in the center of the river.
The waters of the river carried fragments of ice and bits of snow as they flowed past the boulder and poured down in a waterfall.
Mu Jiushi sat at the very front of the boulder, watching the rather turbid river water while in a thoughtful mood.
The stranger exchanged a few words with Mu Jiushi.
Luo Bu, concealed amongst the frosted grass, quietly watched.
The distance was too vast and the roaring of the water too loud for him to clearly hear what the two were saying, but he could still draw what he saw.
The charcoal pencil moved along the white paper, giving off a soft scratching sound, quickly rendering the snowy river, the chaotic waterfall, and the two people standing on the boulder.
The blue-clothed stranger suddenly turned around, shooting a glance at the forests lining the river.
The hand holding the charcoal pencil stiffened.
Leaving the desert, Chen Changsheng continued his journey towards Wenshui City. This time, however, it was not just Nanke at his side, but also Zhexiu and Guan Feibai.
He was well aware that he would encounter many troubles on this journey south, and after entering Wenshui City, he would encounter even more.
Neither he nor Zhexiu had said why they wanted to go to Wenshui.
It was just like how several years ago, after Chen Changsheng had defeated Zhou Ziheng outside the Orthodox Academy, he had boarded a carriage and gone off to the alley of the Northern Military Department.
At the time, he and that fellow had also not said what they were going to do.
Back then, they were going to Zhou Prison to pick someone up. It was the same now: they were going to Wenshui City to pick someone up.
That fellow was in Wenshui City and it had been a long time since they had heard anything from him.
Regardless of whether or not the people they encountered on the road really did dare to assassinate Chen Changsheng, many people did not want him to go to Wenshui.
So he had to go to Wenshui.
It was a clear and ordinary day in the winter of the third year of the new era. The winter clouds had suddenly dispersed, allowing the world to bask in a rare and beautiful sunlight. Chen Changsheng's party arrived on the plains outside Wenshui City.
When he could see Wenshui City in the distance, Wenshui City had already seen him.
One could firmly state that at this point, the entirety of Wenshui City knew that he had arrived.
But nothing happened.
Whether it was the Tang clan guards at the city gate or the peddlers and pedestrians along the road, none of them revealed any sort of strange expression upon seeing them.
To put it more accurately, those guards and peddlers didn't even give them a glance, even when they were having their entry papers examined.
Wenshui City was bustling. All of its streets and alleys were connected and accessible, especially its main street, which ran from north to south. It was in no way inferior to the capital's Vermillion Bird Avenue and Luoyang's Avenue of the Eastern God. It was exceptionally wide, able to hold eight carriages running in tandem, and had a grand atmosphere.
But when Chen Changsheng's party appeared, the street suddenly seemed rather packed.
It wasn't that they were deliberately blocking those carriages and pedestrians. Instead, when they were still ten-some zhang away from them, the carriages and pedestrians would change their routes.
It was evident that these people were all going around them, keeping far away from where they walked.
They were like some massive rock within a river, pushing the water to the sides.
Other than a few curious children standing at the alleyways, no one even glanced at them. They even kept far away, like they were a flood or fierce beast.
The mood was very bizarre. Chen Changsheng even felt like the fragrance coming from the restaurants was shying away from them.
Zhexiu silently looked towards that white-walled, black-roofed building at the end of the street.
They were still very far away from this building, but they could already feel that ancient odor of history.
That was the renowned ancestral hall of the Tang clan. It was said that it was even older than the Imperial Palace in the capital.
Guan Feibai was also looking at that building, three fingers of his right hand slowly caressing the rather old hilt of his sword as his eyes slightly narrowed in thought.
If the information sent by the Li Palace was correct, that guy had been imprisoned there.
Two fingers were latched onto Chen Changsheng's sleeve. Nanke was not thinking of much. She just felt a little hungry and wanted to eat meat.
Chen Changsheng walked forward.
The crowd naturally parted, leaving a path down the middle, as if some divine force had parted a sea.
Chen Changsheng did not walk to that white-walled, black-roofed building at the end of the street. He stopped at a certain place, then turned and ascended a flight of stone steps.
Behind these stone steps was a secluded path that led into a forest. Deep within this forest was a Daoist church.
This church was the seat of Wenshui City's archbishop.
The door to the church slowly closed.
Chen Changsheng's party could no longer be seen.
The peddlers and pedestrians on the street suddenly stopped and looked towards the tightly shut door of the church.
For a moment, all was quiet, the only sounds being the distant barks of dogs and cries of children.
This was an even stranger sight, just like those nigh incomprehensible mime shows of Xuelao City.
After some time, the crowd turned their gazes away from the church and continued walking, returning to their lives.
The door to the Daoist church remained tightly shut, the forest silent.
No one knew what was happening within.
The people on the streets intentionally did not turn their gazes to the church within the forest again, but in another place, countless eyes were keeping watch.
The Wenshui passed through the city, and one part of it was very smooth and offered a sight of charming beauty. This part of the river just so happened to be the part behind the Daoist church.
On the opposite shore, seven peddlers, six government laborers, three fortune-tellers, two elders selling sesame seed candy, and one girl buying cosmetic powder were watching the back garden of the Daoist church.
There was also one bewhiskered military officer who would occasionally look in that direction.
The rays of the setting sun fell upon the mirror-like surface of the water, transforming into innumerable balls of fire that seemed to set the sky ablaze.
The reflections of this light fell on his face, transforming his beard into a burning bush.
Luo Bu recalled the Tang clan's famed Three Forms of Wenshui.
Those three sword techniques all had very pleasant names: Gathering Evening Clouds, Hanging Sunset, and A Stream of Maples.
Perhaps that famed ancestor of the Tang clan had seen just such a sight at this place and was deeply moved, creating this ingenious, beautiful, and moving sword style?
The Daoist church's back garden was serene as ever, with not even the shadow of a person visible.
Suddenly, someone began to play a zither, the strumming notes flowing out like water in a stream pleasant to the ear.
He turned his head and saw a blind zither player plucking his zither on the shore of the Wenshui.
Although it was dusk, the rays of light in the west seemed even brighter and rather dazzling. However, the blind zither player could not sense this. Unlike other people, he did not use his hand to block the sunlight, only squinted his eyes and lightly bobbed his head to the music, basking and intoxicated in the light.
At this sight, Luo Bu walked over and threw a few pieces of silver in front of the zither player.
The blind zither player seemed even more delighted at the clinking of silver. His eyebrows appeared to fly up and his fingers moved even faster across the strings. But the flavor of the tune suddenly changed, becoming more gloomy. No longer was it the myriad golden leaves on the river, but old friends meeting at the city gate as the sun set in the distance.
*Eyes zither player suspiciously*