Chapter 818 – Singing in the Night Inside and Outside the Daoist Church
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Luo Bu stood by the zither player and listened for a while, then suddenly began to sing along with the music.
The zither player played an obscure tune, but he sang an extremely famous song.
He also had a very forthright voice, which produced a unique flavor when it intersected with the willow trees and leftover snow of Wenshui City. As a result, he instantly attracted the attention of many people.
"My sword comes from the west
Your dress gracefully moves
Such petite cuteness
Flowing past the courtyard
I copy scriptures in the temple
But tomorrow I will practice punches and change muscles…
The spring mountain loves to smile
Tomorrow my journey will be even farther
Horse hooves turn into butterflies
The bow bends, an arrow flies, walking past the green forest
I am that scholar who goes to the capital to take the exam but does not study
I have come to Luoyang to see your reflection
The final words in the water, your lost visage in the sky
Lamenting your petite thinness
Drinking down in a single ladle your petite fullness."
(TN: This is an excerpt from the song "Yellow River", which is a song from the romance novel "偶然" by wuxia author Wen Ruian.)
The blind zither player played for a very long time, and Luo Bu also sang for a long time. More and more people gathered around them, and copper and silver pieces piled up in front of the zither player, glistening with a pleasing luster in the last smear of twilight.
The twilight gradually deepened until it turned into night. The shops and inns on both banks of the Wenshui began to light lanterns which twinkled like stars in the water.
Suddenly, the crowd began to buzz with shocked discussion. Everyone's gazes were drawn away from Luo Bu and the blind zither player, and focused on the opposite shore.
Over there was the back garden of the Daoist church.
Luo Bu slightly arched his brow and also turned to look over.
The Daoist church was bursting with light, clouds drifting around the peak of the church while ritualistic music with lofty and upright tones slowly rose up.
This was an announcement.
His Holiness the Pope had come to Wenshui.
The people along the river once more stopped moving, quietly standing and looking in the same manner as the crowd on the main street in the daytime.
The seven peddlers ceased their hollering, the six government laborers put down the chains in their hands, the three fortune-tellers opened their eyes, the paper that the two elders used to wrap sesame seed candy lightly trembled in the wind, and the girl buying cosmetic powder went snow-white, as if she had already put five layers of powder on her face.
I didn't expect for him to be smart.
Seeing the boundless light from the opposite shore and hearing the ritualistic music coming from the church, Luo Bu thought to himself, Or perhaps he has a smart person at his side.
Wenshui City had an incredibly long history, and the Tang clan was even older than the Chen Imperial clan and the Liang clan.
As the head of the Four Great Clans and the richest clan in the world, the Wenshui Tangs led in countless industries: logistics, military armaments, foodstuffs, mining… as long as it was a truly important industry, one would always be able to see the Tang clan's subdued yet unignorable figure. It was this that established the Tang clan's status in the entire continent.
Up until today, no one knew just how much strength the Tang clan was concealing, as up until today, not a single faction had ever forced the Tang clan to use its full power. As a result, when discussing the Tang clan, people could only use a most ambiguous term to describe them: 'foundational resources'.
Foundational resources were at the foundation, just like the uncountable water grass at the bottom of the Wenshui. The common people only knew that it was there, but they had never personally seen it, leaving them only to imagine and speculate. As a result, the Tang clan became more and more mysterious, more and more terrifying.
But there was always some circumstantial evidence. For example, no one ever dared to swim or fish in the Wenshui, and both Emperor Taizong and the monstrously powerful Tianhai Divine Empress had always attempted to placate or appease the Tang clan. It was easy to drown in the Wenshui and moving against the Tang clan was certain to throw the whole country into rebellion.
Chen Changsheng was the present Pope, the most esteemed human on the continent, but even he was powerless against the Tang clan.
If he had revealed his identity upon leaving the Mount Song Army headquarters and attempted to visit Wenshui City, the Tang clan had countless methods of courteously refusing him entrance to the city. Thus, he could only conceal his identity and visit Wenshui City as an ordinary traveler, even if Wenshui City knew long beforehand that he had arrived.
But now he was in Wenshui City. If he still wanted to conduct himself as before, attempting to secretly rescue Tang Thirty-Six from his imprisonment in the ancestral hall, the Tang clan really might have made him vanish in the darkness of the Wenshui. After all, this was Wenshui.
Thus, light exploded from the Daoist church while clouds ascended to the sky.
He announced his identity to all of Wenshui City.
No matter how dark and gloomy the Wenshui was, no matter how terrifying the grass at its foundation, would they dare move against him?
This was a very simple and straightforward announcement, but many people, including Luo Bu and the Tang clan, thought it was a very wise move.
In reality, however, this decision did not have much to do with Chen Changsheng. He was just following the directions on the letter.
The Daoist church had been quiet for half a day, but it was not because he was discussing something. He had other important matters to attend to.
In the depths of winter, this forest was filled with verdant trees. It was clear that some sort of array was installed in the church that provided heat to the ground. Even in the capital's Li Palace, this way of doing things was rather extravagant. Only in Wenshui City was this sort of array rather commonplace, as this city was truly too prosperous.
A quiet and winding stone path ran through this forest. Starting from noon, the stone path came to be lined by bishops, separated at intervals of several zhang with one on each side, their expressions humble and solemn.
Farther along the path, the ranks of the bishops increased, until the holy gate leading to the rear hall, where four cardinals stood.
A pear tree was planted behind the holy gate, and underneath the pear tree was the door to the rear hall, outside which the Archbishop of Wenshui stood.
Several years ago, Chen Changsheng had visited Wenshui, and he had also stayed in the rear hall. He had already been appointed as Principal of the Orthodox Academy by the Pope and the entire continent knew that he was the future Pope, so the archbishop had naturally treated him with great hospitality. However, that treatment did not even compare to today's.
Wenshui City was not naturally a most important location to the Li Palace, and the post of archbishop there was assuredly a very cushy job. However, the Orthodoxy had not been very stable in these past few years, so this archbishop's ability to remain here for so many years meant that he was naturally no ordinary person. However, he quietly stood in front of this door, never showing any impatience regardless of how much time passed, or even moving his feet. He seemed so humble that it felt like he was about to lower himself into the earth.
Because Chen Changsheng was already the Pope.
Although they were well aware of this fact, the cardinals couldn't help but feel uncomfortable at this apparently deliberate disregard for their archbishop, though they dared not voice their complaints.
To their slight consolation, Zhexiu and Guan Feibai had also been barred from the rear hall and were currently whiling away their time in the forest.
Zhexiu of the Wolf tribe and Guan Feibai of Mount Li were naturally famous, and their relationship with the Pope was well-known.
Not even they could enter the hall, let alone anyone else.
Starting from noon, the door to the rear hall never once opened and not a single sound could be heard from within. No one knew what Chen Changsheng was up to.
Finally, at the period of deepest twilight, the trees lining the river and the roof of the hall seemed to simultaneously blaze, and then a real heat came from the hall.
This heat came from an actual fire, not from the array beneath the Daoist church. The leaves on the pear tree curled slightly.
The archbishop finally raised his head, his face showing a hint of anxiety as he looked towards the tightly shut door.