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Chapter 860 – Parting Beneath the Peach Blossoms Outside the Nunnery

Translated by: Hypersheep325

Edited by: Michyrr

The second group to depart was the largest.

That the Tang Old Master had agreed to stay out of the conflict between the Imperial Court and the Orthodoxy was already the best that the Li Palace could hope for.

Archbishops Linghai Zhiwang and An Lin were taking the several thousand Orthodoxy cavalry and returning to the capital to deal with the new situation.

Linghai Zhiwang asked, "When will Your Holiness return?"

Chen Changsheng replied, "On the day that I should return, I will return."

Linghai Zhiwang and An Lin left. Countless plumes of dust were stirred in the plains to the north, gradually enveloping this old city.

As he looked at this far-off sight, Tang Thirty-Six suddenly said, "Don't believe that the Tang Old Master will always maintain a neutral position. He intentionally let Chusu go that day."

By now, Chen Changsheng had already learned the specific details of that battle on the shores of the Wenshui, so he nodded his head to indicate that he understood.

The Tang clan's Fivekind Man was truly terrifying, and they had fought within Wenshui City. No matter how formidable Chusu was, there was no reason that he should have escaped.

"Since that blind zither player was the last of the Longevity Sect's great elders, one could understand if he went easy."

The speaker was the Archbishop of Wenshui City.

As the Orthodoxy's top-ranking individual within Wenshui City, he had played an extremely important role in this matter and been very effective.

The Tang clan would probably not take out their anger on him, but if he stayed in Wenshui City's Daoist church, the Tang clan would presumably find him an irksome presence. Chen Changsheng and Linghai Zhiwang had already agreed that the Li Palace would soon dispatch a new archbishop to take up the post in Wenshui. The problem now was to arrange matters for the former archbishop.

Logically speaking, since the Archbishop of Wenshui had performed such a meritorious deed for the Orthodoxy, it was only right that he return to the capital and take an even nobler position. However, he had personally killed Daoist Baishi, so if he returned to the capital, he would definitely be regarded as an eyesore by some people in the Orthodoxy and encounter many difficulties. As a result, Chen Changsheng had still not made a decision.

"We're about to leave. Have you finishing thinking?" Chen Changsheng asked the archbishop.

The Archbishop of Wenshui replied, "This lowly one only wishes to attend at Your Holiness's side."

Tang Thirty-Six commented, "This position is truly better than any position in the Li Palace."

To the people of the Orthodoxy, what was the best position? It was naturally the position closest to His Holiness the Pope.

Whether the Pope was in the south, the north, or the desolate frontier of the west, as long as one could remain at his side throughout the year, they would assuredly receive the greatest benefits.

The archbishop faintly smiled, his expression meek. He did not refute Tang Thirty-Six's words, saying, "Sir speaks reason."

Tang Thirty-Six looked at him and asked, "This position is a shortcut to another position, so what is the position that you want the most?"

The Archbishop of Wenshui earnestly replied, "I have no hopes of reaching the Divine in my life. I only wish that before I return to the sea of stars, I can become a great archbishop."

Tang Thirty-Six curiously asked, "Which Sacred Hall?"

"The Grass Moon Hall."

The Archbishop of Wenshui returned the answer very quickly. It was evident that he had thought about this matter for a very long time.

Tang Thirty-Six couldn't help but smile at this answer.

The Grass Moon Hall was one of the Li Palace's Six Halls, the residence of the Archbishop of the Hall of Announcements.

The previous Archbishop of the Hall of Announcements, Mu Jiushi, had been banished from the Orthodoxy by the Pope, after which the Grass Moon Hall remained masterless.

The archbishop's goal was extremely certain, and it was also very reasonable.

"I quite admire you. Might I ask for Sir's esteemed name?" Tang Thirty-Six asked.

The archbishop was the highest-ranked representative of the Orthodoxy in Wenshui City and had lived in Wenshui City for many years, but Tang Thirty-Six still did not know his name.

The archbishop smiled and said, "The Old Master liked to call me Little Hu (户). Sir can also call me this."

The Tang Old Master could call him whatever he pleased, but Tang Thirty-Six did not have this right. He somewhat hesitantly asked, "Little Hu (胡)?"

"Hu, the Hu of 'peasant household1'," Chen Changsheng chimed in. "He's called Hu Thirty-Two."

Tang Thirty-Six's eyes glowed at this name. He quite appreciated this name and asked, "A good name; is it a rank or your place in your family?"

"When I was little, the place that I lived suffered an earthquake. In the entire village, only thirty-two households remained. My entire family died, with me the only survivor, so I was raised by all thirty-two households." The archbishop added, "I made my name this to remind myself that living is no easy feat, so I must not die early."

Their party left Wenshui City, heading southeast. A mountain stood before their eyes.

Even in midwinter, despite the constant snow over the last two days, this mountain was still lush and verdant.

This mountain was not very tall. Between the green trees, one could see ten-some peach blossoms blooming.

There was probably a hot spring in this mountain, or else there was an array like the one in Wenshui's Daoist church.

Seeing the peach blossoms and green trees of this mountain, Chen Changsheng recalled that one year of somewhat lonely but still tranquil and delightful life in the snowy mountains. He began to feel concerned for the little Black Dragon.

He had no idea whether her journey to the west was proceeding smoothly or not.

One could faintly see the roof of a Daoist temple in between the trees and peach blossoms.

Tang Thirty-Six silently gazed over there.

Chen Changsheng asked, "This is Chicken Crow Mountain?"

Tang Thirty-Six silently nodded.

This being so, his aunt was probably in that temple.

"Have you met?" Chen Changsheng asked.

Tang Thirty-Six shook his head, but after a few moments, nodded his head.

"When I was little, I didn't understand much, but I always remembered this matter. I secretly went to the mountain to see, and then I met…"

What happened after they met? Did she recognize who he was? Did they talk?

Was it just one meeting, or were there still many more seemingly unintentional, yet actually deliberate meetings? He had stopped speaking. Was it for the safety and peaceful life of the woman in the temple that they best not meet, or even mention her? Then they probably would not meet again, would they?

After flowing southeast for thirty-some li, the Wenshui flowed into the River of Hatred, losing its own name.

As one of the most renowned rivers of the continent, the River of Hatred originated from the depths of the Cloud Grave. After flowing through the fertile country of the south and through the vast Luomei Mountains, it took on many tributaries, building up a grandiose momentum. But only if one traveled upstream, traversing the canyons that the river traveled through, would one bear witness to the truly magnificent sights.

Chen Changsheng's party traveled in these canyons. High mountains thrust into the clouds on either side. The forests were dense, and other people a rare sight. The only sounds were the cries of apes and monkeys, and there was no need to worry about being followed, nor was there any concern over safety. This was not the northern frontier, so they could not meet some demon expert, and it was difficult to gather a large number of troops. This wasn't Wenshui City, which was filled with countless experts.

The farther they traveled upstream, the steeper the walls of the canyons became, and the more abrupt the course of the river. The water was no less rapid or forceful, its thunderous rumbling constantly resounding in one's ear. As they traveled upstream, the canyons gradually began to show signs of habitation. However, they could often travel for half a day and see only a few households. For the most part, all they saw was wilderness.

Before Hu Thirty-Two became Archbishop of Wenshui, he had preached in these canyons for many years, so he had a very deep understanding of the people and customs in this area. He spoke of them throughout the journey, so when Chen Changsheng and Tang Thirty-Six listened while looking at the sights on the banks of the river, they naturally would not feel bored. Nanke followed with a confused expression, her hand latched onto Chen Changsheng's clothes, and it was hard to tell whether she could understand what was being said. Zhexiu kept his vigilant gaze on the surrounding mountains and forests, looking for any sign of activity, bereft of any interest in this idle chatter.

As long as there were people, one would assuredly find people of the Orthodoxy, allowing news to be sent to them.

At a natural river crossing, they received the latest news.

Two days ago, someone saw some dripping wet monster kill and eat two shepherd boys outside Fengyang City.


1.'胡' and '户' have different tones, though they share the same pronunciation. '胡' means 'beard' while '户' means 'household/family'.↩

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