Chapter 578 - Who Am I
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Who was Chen Changsheng?
He was a child of the river picked up by Daoist Ji from the middle of a stream.
He was a young Daoist from Xining engaged to the Heavenly Phoenix Xu Yourong.
He was the inheritor of the Orthodoxy, the successor of the Pope.
He was well-read in the Daoist Canon, of surpassing talent and a genius in the path of the sword.
But, just who exactly was he?
He stared into the eyes of the Elder of Heavenly Secrets and asked solemnly, "Am I Crown Prince Zhaoming?"
In the past year, this had been one of the most controversial and also most secretive of rumors in the capital.
No one knew the answer.
Everyone said that there was nothing that the Elder of Heavenly Secrets did not know. Then did he know of this?
This question was very straightforward and abnormally cold and stern, just like Su Li's sword or Wang Po's blade.
Even though the Elder of Heavenly Secrets had long since mentally prepared himself, his eyes still narrowed and he remained silent for a very long time.
After this long period of time, he finally spoke, "When the Empress requested for me to make a special trip to the capital to examine you, I also wanted to ask a similar question."
Chen Changsheng thought, this is also a question that I really want to know the answer to, so he said, "The result?"
The Elder of Heavenly Secrets replied, "There was no result, because…your and Crown Prince Zhaoming's ages do not match up."
Chen Changsheng did not relax at this reply for two reasons.
He had carefully calculated: even though his age did not match Crown Prince Zhaoming’s, his senior brother Yu Ren's just so happened to. Moreover, the Elder of Heavenly Secrets had concealed some deeper meaning in his words. There was no result because the ages did not match. Then didn't this mean that from every other aspect, he should be Crown Prince Zhaoming?
"If your age really could match Crown Prince Zhaoming's, then on the contrary, there would be something wrong with this matter."
"Because it's too correct."
Because it was too correct, so it was incorrect. This sounded rather mystifying, but Chen Changsheng could easily understand it. If his age really did match Crown Prince Zhaoming’s, the rumor circulating throughout the capital would very easily become the truth and those thunderstorms hidden away would inevitably burst out, perhaps tearing apart the black curtain of the capital, perhaps exploding his body into powdered flesh and shattered bones.
The next words of the Elder of Heavenly Secrets directly jolted Chen Changsheng from his stupor and caused his body to go somewhat stiff.
"I know you have a senior brother, and his age is actually a match for Crown Prince Zhaoming."
The Elder of Heavenly Secrets looked into his eyes and said, "There's no need to be nervous, I am not saying that he is Crown Prince Zhaoming."
Chen Changsheng asked, "Why?"
The Elder of Heavenly Secrets replied, "Because he is a complete match for Crown Prince Zhaoming."
Chen Changsheng didn't know what to say.
"I've always deeply admired Principal Shang's myriad Daoist techniques."
With a calm expression, the Elder of Heavenly Secrets said, "When the false is taken for true, the true becomes false, but it's a pity that this is not enough to deceive me."
Chen Changsheng did not ask what he could not be deceived about. At this moment, his mind was completely focused on other things.
He was thinking of a certain Daoist scripture. This Daoist scripture was called the Scroll of Time, and time…was age.
"Besides age…in other aspects, I'm a match for Crown Prince Zhaoming?"
"Yes, I'm very sure that you are a descendant of the Chen Imperial clan."
Upon hearing this, Chen Changsheng could no longer maintain his composure.
In the rumors and gossip that had been spreading throughout the capital for more than a year, before they spoke about how he might be Crown Prince Zhaoming, they naturally first brought up that he was a member of the Imperial clan.
"Why? Why is everyone so sure that I'm an Imperial? Is it just because my surname is Chen?"
He asked the Elder of Heavenly Secrets, not realizing that the pitch of his voice was somewhat higher than normal.
For him, his mind being in such a state of agitation was quite a rare sight.
The garden was pervaded by a thick mist, tightly isolating the sounds of their conversation within. Absolutely no one could eavesdrop on their words.
"How can I be sure you are of the Imperial clan?"
The Elder of Heavenly Secrets gazed at him, the expression in his eyes somewhat complex. "Because your body once contained a sun wheel."
Chen Changsheng was not completely unfamiliar with this term, even though it was scarcely mentioned after the Tianhai Divine Empress took control of the court and expelled all members of the Imperial clan from the capital.
The reason the Chen Imperial clan had been able to emerge from Tianliang county and pacify the country, and the reason they could continuously produce peerless experts like Chen Xuanba and Emperor Taizong, was precisely that the bloodline of the Chen clan was different from the masses. Their methods of cultivation were different from all the other sects. Of course, the specific differences were naturally the greatest secret of the Imperial clan, but the term 'sun wheel' still remained.
Chen Changsheng recalled his experience cultivating after arriving in the capital, especially the countless times in which he had performed Meditative Introspection, then shook his head. "No, I've never found something like a sun wheel in my body."
"That's because a long time ago, the sun wheel in your body was destroyed. To be more precise, it exploded."
The Elder of Heavenly Secrets quietly gazed at him. Perhaps he was seeing things, but Chen Changsheng felt that the elder's eyes seemed to be pitying him.
"How can that be? If it really is as Sir says, and my body really did contain a sun wheel that then exploded, why did I never feel it?"
"This is because when your sun wheel was destroyed, you were still an infant."
"…even if this is the case, why is it that no one has ever seen the traces of the sun wheel in my body? Why did Sir not discover it during Sir's last visit to the capital?"
Chen Changsheng still found it impossible to accept this conclusion, even if the one giving it was the Elder of Heavenly Secrets.
"Because at that time, your cultivation was not enough. Only after your cultivation gradually deepened and starlight entered your body, causing your meridians to show up more clearly, was I able to finally confirm it."
"Weren't we talking about the explosion of the sun wheel? When were meridians mentioned?"
"You…isn't it the case that your meridians are fractured and that you've always had problems circulating true essence?"
The Elder of Heavenly Secrets gazed at his eyes and asked.
Chen Changsheng was shocked speechless.
Just like his blood, the blockage, or fracturing, of his meridians was also one of his body's greatest secrets.
This secret was even more frightening, because based on what his master had said, this problem of his meridians would be the direct cause of his death at the age of twenty.
He did not expect for this secret to be so easily seen through by the Elder of Heavenly Secrets and then spoken aloud.
But…what did fractured meridians have to do with the claim that he was a member of the Imperial clan? What did it have to do with the sun wheel?
The Elder of Heavenly Secrets raised his right hand and pointed across the table at a certain place on Chen Changsheng's chest.
"When you were an infant, the sun wheel exploded at this position, then it spread out like a spider web and severed your nine meridians.
"You wish to ask what your fractured meridians have to do with the explosion of your sun wheel?
"Your fractured meridians are precisely the traces left behind by the explosion of the sun wheel, the most direct evidence.
"Of the countless people in the world, only your meridians can be damaged in this way.
"So you are a member of the Imperial clan.
"Of course, you are an extremely unfortunate member of the Imperial clan.
"Based on principle, when your sun wheel exploded, the infant you should have died.
"That you lived was in itself a sort of miracle."
The garden was quiet.
The mist was abnormally thick.
The spring warmth of the garden suddenly became as cold as the harsh winter.
For a long time, Chen Changsheng said nothing.
After this seemingly interminable silence, he asked the Elder of Heavenly Secrets, "But…I'll still die, won't I?"
This time, the Elder of Heavenly Secrets became silent.