Nightfall Chapter 1114
The skylight was located high up on the cliff with birds flying in and out freely. A two-storey wooden building stood on the gentle slope beside the cliff. A square desk was placed in front of the building while an old scholar with a head full of grey hair was sitting behind the desk.
Other than the Headmaster of Academy, no one knew how long this old scholar had stayed at the Back Hill of the Academy. Nor did anyone know about his name and age. From Ke Haoran to Ning Que, the people at the Back Hill merely knew that the old scholar was always here to copy, read and memorize from the books. Nothing could interrupt his routine, not even the rain and the storm.
The people of the Academy addressed him as the Bookman. He was the Bookman of the Academy.
The Abbey Dean stood in front of the desk and he stared at the old scholar as he breathed in the unpleasant smell from the ink and the Huangzhou paper. After a long pause, he suddenly grinned sentimentally.
This is the Academy.
“Good morning,” the Abbey Dean said to the Bookman.
As though the Bookman heard nothing, he was mumbling with an old scroll in his left hand and a balding pen in his right hand. Occasionally, he wrote a few words on the paper as if he was making annotations.
The Abbey Dean increased his volume as he asked, “Uncle, have you seen an old book?”
It was as though the Abbey Dean’s words woke the Bookman up. Startled and puzzled, the Bookman lifted his head to look at the Abbey Dean as he had no clue what the Abbey Dean was talking about. The next moment when the Bookman was more clear-headed, he furrowed his brows, irritated by the fact that his reading was disturbed.
The Abbey Dean was not angry. “A very old tome,” he repeated while he made a gesture.
The Bookman pondered the question for a moment before he lifted the balding pen in his hand and soaked the tip into the ink. Then, solemnly, he wrote a word on the Huangzhou paper.
The word was written delicately and was outlined distinctively.
It was the word “Tome.”
Before the ink on the paper had completely dried up, the Bookman handed the paper to the Abbey Dean and said, “This is the tome that you are asking for.”
The Abbey Dean stared at the paper quietly as he studied the word on the paper. After a brief silence, he replied, “This is interesting.”
He received the paper, slowly and earnestly.
His motion was extremely slow, resembling a moving mountain or the cloud that was shifting slowly at the peak of the mountain. After a long while, his finger eventually contacted the edge of the slightly rough paper.
Following a faint bang, the slightly yellowish paper was caught on fire.
The paper burned steadily while the flame spread along the edge of the paper and turned them into ashes. Both the Abbey Dean and the Bookman did not let go of the paper although the flame was approaching their fingers.
They stared at each other in silence.
“I’ve read a lot too.” The Abbey Dean made an unexpected statement. “Although I don’t read days and nights like you, I’ve lived a long time and have definitely read no fewer books than you.”
Time was a crucial factor for both reading and cultivation.
The Bookman did not speak while his gaze fixed persistently on the burning paper.
“Why is the tome not in Chang’an? Well, we were uncertain that Ning Que would return to Chang’an. The Academy is a safer place compared to the Chang’an without Ning Que.”
The Abbey Dean looked at the Bookman and said calmly, “Li Manman made the right choice to trust you with the Arcane Tome. However, his plan is pointless. Because… scholars are useless.”
The entire paper had stopped burning as he finished his sentence. There was nothing left in between the Bookman’s fingers. Inchmeal, the ashes fell on his shoes. On the other hand, a fragment of the yellowish paper was left between the Abbey Dean’s fingers.
The winner had been decided. The Bookman stared at the pile of books on the desk before he shifted his gaze to the well of inkstone that resembled the ocean. He responded with a prolonged silence because this was the first time in his life where he was skeptical about reading.
The Abbey Dean entered the cave with his hands behind his back. The book racks, that were not less than a hundred feet, were placed on the two sides of the cave. He scanned the innumerable numbers of books on the racks as he gently waved his sleeves.
A cold breeze wafted out from his green sleeve and blew across the cave like a soothing breath of air. The wind swept off the dirt on the books to a corner, leaving the books perfectly dusted.
The Abbey Dean took the stairs and arrived at the racks that were placed at level four. He picked a book casually as though he merely intended to read a random book to pass time.
The book he picked was the Bright Volume of The Tomes of Arcane.
The snow in Chang’an had ceased. So did the wind. The clouds had disappeared and the red sun, once again, beamed at the human world.
The Abbey Dean appeared outside the city. It was his third visit to Chang’an.
Ning Que was standing at the city wall during the Abbey Dean’s two previous visits. Today was no exception. In silence, Ning Que looked at the Abbey Dean who was walking toward him steadily, leaving a trail of footsteps in the snow on the ground.
“He has acquired the Seven Tomes of Arcane,” appearing to be slightly frightened, Sangsang said as her face turned faintly pale.
Ning Que chuckled. “He will be able to summon Shehron if he collects seven dragon balls. But, what can he do with the Seven Tomes of Arcane? Can he summon Haotian with the Seven Tomes? If he really thinks so, I suggest you to ignore him.”
He did not remove the steel bow from his shoulder as he had used up his Thirteen Primordial Arrows. Moreover, he reckoned that the Thirteen Primordial Arrows might not be a threat to the current Abbey Dean even with the assistance of God-Stunning Array.
The Seven Tomes of Arcane had been assembled. What would be the consequences?
The entire Academy had been making conjectures regarding this event. Yet, they failed to come up with a conclusion. Other than the Abbey Dean, no one knew the real function of the Seven Tomes of Arcane. However, Sangsang was an exception. She knew exactly what the Seven Tomes of Arcane was for.
“Where did I come from?”
“You? Your mother gave birth to you.”
“It’s not the right time to joke.”
“I’m feeling a little nervous right now.”
After a brief pause, Ning Que continued, “You have to allow me to tell jokes.”
Expressionless, Sangsang replied, “No, I won’t allow.”
“Fine… if you’re talking about Haotian, it is a fusion of rules. It was born among chaos.”
“That’s wrong. I was born as a fusion of the objective rules and the subjective human religions.”
“The human made me.” Sangsang turned and looked at him as she continued, “If they chose to create me, how could the humans not reserve a method to curb me?”
Ning Que remained silent.
He knew that Sangsang’s words were true.
Years ago, the gambling addict who founded Taoism placed a bet on behalf of the human and trusted the world in Haotian’s protection. It was highly possible for him to have left himself room to maneuver.
Legend said that the Seven Tomes of Arcane Zhishou Abbey was the result of Haotian’s willpower. In other words, it was Haotian’s gift for the human. However, in actual fact, it was Taoism’s scheme to take control of the world.
The one who owned the Seven Tomes of Arcane would have the power to resolve the bet that was made in the days of yore. Subsequently, Haotian could be ushered out of the Divine Kingdom and returned to chaos. The chief of Taoism was the only one who would propose this idea.
The current chief of Taoism arrived at Chang’an with the Seven Tomes of Arcane.
“Is this Taoism’s final resort?”
With the Core Vajra of the Array in his hand, Ning Que looked at the Abbey Dean, who was standing in front of the city gate, and asked.
Calmly, the Abbey Dean replied, “Ke Haoran and Lian Sheng called us dogs. So did the people of the Academy and many others. They said that Taoism was a dog that was mastered by Haotian. However, no one realized that the chain actually acts two ways. Humans are Haotian’s dog. Likewise, Haotian is humans’ dogs too.”
He looked at Sangsang, who was standing beside him, and said, “We worship you and provide you with immortality. Then, you should accept your fate of eternal loneliness and quietly protect the human world in Divine Kingdom. You shouldn’t sneak into the human world recklessly purely for leisure. Isn’t that logical?”
Sangsang did not respond as her face turned more and more pale. She had been weak before. But, never had she felt this frightened as she could clearly sense that the Abbey Dean had the power to destroy her.
Abbey Dean took out a tome from his arms.
In the deep blue sky, thunder rumbled. The thunder came from the Divine Kingdom.