Way of Choices

Chapter 198 – Mausoleum of Books

There was a river south of the capital and on the north side of the river, there was a straight path. Looking southwards from the the riverbank, a large, verdant and lush park could be seen. Deep within the garden, a green mountain was hidden. This green mountain was the legendary Mausoleum of Books——the stagecoaches stopped on the road, and the examinees peered through the curtains. They looked at that green mountain and revealed an expression of yearning.

During the first few days when Chen Changsheng had arrived at the capital, he had always stayed at the Plum Garden Inn, just outside of the Mausoleum of Books. Many times, he had observed the Mausoleum of Books from far away, so he was not as excited as the examinees, especially those peers from the south. The inn only had one room remaining.

The Green Vines of Li Palace, the Bridge of Lamentation, and the Mausoleum of Books were all well-renowned places in the capital, and the Mausoleum of Books was where all the tourists wanted to visit. It was also very lively like the Li Palace, and there were stalls lining both sides of the path on the riverbank. The stall keepers yelled constantly, and it was already crowded although it was still early in the morning. On the main streets slightly north, many offices of government officials could be seen, as well as the offices of many various academies and sects.

The stagecoaches did not stop on the street for too long. Under the direction of the officials and priests, they crossed a wide wooden bridge above the river, and they arrived at the green park outside of the Mausoleum of Books. They also did not stop here for too long, but instead they directly traveled down the path leading towards the tombs between the ancient and lush cypress trees. Under the one hundred and eight statues of virtuous people’s gazes from the older generations, they continued traveling towards the green mountain.

There were already many tourists in the Mausoleum of Books’ outer park, and many citizens of the capital were taking a stroll. They currently watched as the coaches traveled directly towards the Mausoleum of Books. They could quickly guess the identities of the people within the coaches, and they knew that they must have been the examinees of the top three grades. They could not help but reveal an envious expression.

The ancient trees obstructed the morning sun and formed shadows, making it seem extremely quiet and beautiful. The deeper they went, the quieter it became. And in the end, they could only hear the sound of the faintly green rocks grinding against each other under the wheels on the path leading to the tombs.

A stone gate was at the end of the dim path leading towards the tombs. The stagecoaches stopped in front of the stone gate, and the officials and priests walked out in front of the gate, carrying official required documents. They were responsible for the affairs regarding viewing the tombs in the Mausoleum of Books. They began speaking with the soldiers guarding the Mausoleum of Books, and the students all exited the coaches one by one, lining up and waiting for entry.

Not long after, the stone gate slowly opened, and the examinees could feel slight tremors from the ground. They could not help but be very startled. They wondered to themselves how this heavy, unimpressive gate was able to cause the ground to tremble. They also thought about what type of magic formation could open such a heavy gate.

With a low rumble, the heavy stone gate stopped moving, and the entire green mountain appeared in front of everybody’s gaze.

Thus, the Mausoleum of Books appeared in front of everybody.

A mausoleum normally referred to a tomb, but only the tombs of emperors or saints had the right to be called mausoleums.

The Mausoleum of Books indeed was like a tomb. The mausoleum was very clear cut and square, and it was overgrown with countless green trees. So it seemed like a green mountain. Due to those dense green trees, the examinees could not see those legendary stone monoliths and did not know where the Heavenly Tomes were hidden. However, they knew that the Heavenly Tomes were inside. So for just a moment, the path became abnormally silent, and everybody’s faces revealed a devoted expression.

As for Chen Changsheng, his current state of mind was wrought with a few problems. His thoughts were in a mess, and he had a difficult time calming down. He truly was not excited like the first time he had entered the city and seen the green mountain from far away in the inn. However, he still felt an indescribable reverent feeling as he actually arrived in front of the Mausoleum for the first time. He looked at those green trees around the Mausoleum of Books and stayed very silent.

The capital was always the center of the continent.

It didn’t matter which dynasty fell. When the flames of war raged on without stopping or when the time was filled with national peace and order, the capital was always the center. Those various sects and aristocratic families of the south also believed this. Even the Fae race in the White Emperor City and the people on the Great Western Continent agreed. The reason why the main altar of the Orthodoxy was here, as well as the Li Palace, was because the Mausoleum of Books was here.

TL: The book only mentions that there are five continents in the world. The Great Western Continent is not one of the five. It is mentioned later on in the book that the Great Western Continent was originally part of the Eastern Continent and split off later. That’s why you still have humans cultivating, which the Heavenly Tomes brought to the world.

Countless tens of thousands of years ago, the Heavenly Tomes descended in rolling flames from beyond, which the heavens had bestowed upon the lands. From that day onwards, the Heavenly Tomes awakened the intelligence of humans, which allowed them to learn how to use fire, how to create and use tools, and how to tie knots to record history. They invented the written language, and because they had invented the written language, it allowed them even to begin studying the mysteries of nature. This caused them to begin questioning their place in the world. They began to look up at the starry skies, began to guide Starlight for purification, and officially stepped onto the road of cultivation. This green mountain was the original source for all of this and everything else.

What was the Mausoleum of Books? Mausoleum did not mean “tomb” here, but rather it meant “flat”.

TL: The Mausoleum of Books (???) can also be known as a mound (?). In this case, it says ‘flat’ (?) is referring to a rather planar, flat and level mound.

When the Heavenly Tomes emerged, all of the directions “flattened”. The Mausoleum of Books was where the Heavenly Tomes were, and the center of the world was where the Mausoleum of Books were. The Orthodoxy could only originate from the capital where the human empire was founded. As a result, the southern religious sects fought with the northerners for many years. They were actually self-governing, but they still had to acknowledge the Zhou Dynasty as the main country due to this principle.

During the waiting period, the silent park slowly became noisy. Many tourists and citizens of the capital followed the stagecoaches here. If it was an ordinary day, they could not even approach the Mausoleum of Books at all before being stopped by the guards. However, as today was a special circumstance, they had the opportunity to approach the Mausoleum of Books’ front gate. Their faces were full of envy while looking at those youngsters who were preparing to enter the mausoleum.

The tourists and citizens could freely enter or leave the Mausoleum of Books’ outer park, but they could not enter the mausoleum itself at all.

Many years before, it was said that the mausoleum was open to the public, so anybody could enter, explore, and sit down in front of those stone monoliths. It would be overcrowded and overburdened everyday as the green mountain was flooded with people. Several thousand years ago, there was once an emperor who wanted to control the world by controlling the rights to enter the Mausoleum of Books. He had issued an imperial edict that only people who obeyed him could enter the mausoleum. Such an action offended all of the various sects, schools, and academies of the continent, and this emperor was very quickly overthrown by the anger of everyone in the world. Afterwards, the entire continent had reached a conclusion that the Heavenly Tomes from the celestial beings were objects to be shared, and nobody would be able to monopolize it.

Although it had never been said that the mausoleum’s stone monolithts were damaged, there was a different perspective, so the experts of the continent decided to set some rules for entering and leaving the Mausoleum of Books. In the previous dynasty’s era, only cultivators who had received special permission could obtain the opportunity to enter the mausoleum. However, this condition was extremely vague. After the Zhou Dynasty was founded, the rules for entering the Mausoleum of Books were simplified and was rumored to be strengthened. Only the examinees who had passed the Grand Examination or people who had great merit could be allowed to enter. As an alliance was formed with the Fae race to fight the demon race, the Fae race and the people of Great Xi also gained similar rights——the so called rules were actually just a compromise. Of course, since the Mausoleum of Books resided within the Zhou Dynasty’s capital, people who lived there naturally held advantages. Those various sects and aristocratic families from the south all raised this issue, so there were always many complaints.

The priests and officials led the young examinees to the area outside of the stone gate, and they remained there as they did not have the right to enter the Mausoleum of Books. After checking the examinees’ identities, they let them enter in a proper order. The ground once again began to rumble with a clear, loud sound, and as some people turned around to look, they only saw the stone gate slowly closing again.

After a deep rumble, the Mausoleum of Books and the outside world were separated once again.

Forty odd, young students looked at the Mausoleum of Books before them, and they all carried different expressions. Some were very nervous, and some were very excited. Some were very silent, and others were burning with eagerness. However, everybody had their eyes wide open——at this moment, they had arrived in front of the Mausoleum of Books. However, they still could not see the true appearance of the mausoleum properly as there were just too many green trees. This view of the trees had blocked too many other sights.

Just at this moment, several white robed males appeared in front of them. Many of them carried an indifferent expression, and their eyes did not reveal any specific attitudes either. They spoke with a very calm voice, and they spoke very slow, just as if they lacked the opportunity to speak on a normal basis. Looking at them, Chen Changsheng very naturally thought of that Wolf Tribe’s teenager, Zhexiu.

Tang Thirty-Six said: “These people are the legendary Monolith Guardians.”

Chen Changsheng asked: “Monolith Guardians?”

Tang Thirty-Six said: “Just like those Monolith Comprehenders from the southern Holy Maiden Peak, they aim to understand the secret of the Heavenly Tomes their whole lives. They have even sworn a blood oath to never leave the Mausoleum of Books even beyond a single step.

Chen Changsheng was a little surprised. He thought that spending one’s entire life in the Mausoleum of Books was just a little too lonely and plain. He then looked into the eyes of those white robed males and naturally began to feel a little sympathetic.

Tang Thirty-Six saw the expression of his face and sneered slightly: “They are perfectly happy to offer their lives to the Mausoleum of Books, so why would they still need your sympathy? Also, who knows how many cultivators in the world would rather be like them and have the opportunity to view the Heavenly Tomes whenever they wanted. They are beyond enviable.”

Chen Changsheng still could not understand. He liked to read books and explore the true meaning of the Daoist Canons, but was life not supposed to have freedom and joy? How could they devote almost all of it to this green mountain?

Perhaps, because they spent most of their time studying within the Mausoleum of Books and were not good at communicating with people, the several Monolith Guardians only muttered a few words. They explained the facilities around the Mausoleum of Books to the young students before preparing to turn around and leave. However, one Monolith Guardian thought of something and said: “Don’t forget, the Garden of Zhou opens in one month.”

After these explanations, the several Monolith Guardians left in a swift manner.

There was a period of silence. The young examinees were speechless at what had just happened. They were all at a loss for what to do.

That was it? What should they do next?

“Just don’t forget that the Garden of Zhou opens in one month.”

Guan Feibai said to those disciples of the southern sects indifferently, before stepping away quickly, and he followed Gou Hanshi towards the green mountain.

The four disciples of the Mount Li Sword Sect were the first ones to leave, and the examinees separated slowly, treating them as examples. In the beginning, those examinees still walked at a steady pace. Occasionally, a few of them hurried along, which was normal, but once people entered the wooded mountain, immediately there were countless loud sounds. They had actually used motion techniques.

After hearing the sounds echo from the green mountain, Chen Changsheng was confused and asked, “Why is everyone in such a hurry?”

“Didn’t you hear what Guan Feibai said just now? The Garden of Zhou will open in a month. If they wanted to enter the Garden of Zhou, they had to break through to the Ethereal Opening Realm. Every slow step was a delayed step. If they viewed the stone monoliths a little later than others, it could delay them by several dozens of years on the path of cultivation in the future. Obviously, everyone is using all their energy to be first.”

Tang Thirty-Six looked at him, and said: “Rather, you are the one who is weird. Why aren’t you hurrying?”

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