Chapter 799 – Spring Wind Greens the Two Shores
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The Daoist faith was the Orthodoxy of the Great Zhou, but it was not merely the Great Zhou's Orthodoxy. Long before the Great Zhou was founded, the Daoist faith had been the Orthodoxy for many dynasties.
The Pope wielded the divine authority of the Orthodoxy, and was the common master of all the believers in the world. From a certain perspective, the Pope had an even higher status than a sovereign.
How could one be a good Pope?
Chen Changsheng was well-versed in the Daoist Canon and had read about the deeds of countless Popes, but this was not something that could be taught.
Perhaps it was precisely for this reason that his martial uncle the Pope had never once taught him how to be a Pope, only attempted to influence him through words and actions.
Such lessons included placing the world above all, being patient and biding one's time, acting cautiously, not caring for a momentary loss, disregarding a slanderous reputation that might last for all ages, and working for the sake of all living things.
After leaving the capital, he, like many other young cultivators, went straight to the north, planning to contribute his strength to the battlefield. However, reality proved that he was of no use here. On the contrary, his presence on the frontlines was liable to cause chaos and shake the morale of the soldiers. As a result, he began to use his medical arts to save people, refining the Cinnabar Pill. He truly had saved many people, but it was still not enough.
In his notebook, Wang Zhice had said that positions were relative. In different positions, one naturally needed to choose different ways of doing things. He was currently the Pope, so if he wanted to make a contribution to this world, he could not act like a swordsman or doctor. He had to use different methods.
Su Li had decided that it was beneath him to associate with this dark and rotten world, or even look at it. If he was stained by its dust, he would use his sword to chop it away. The Tianhai Divine Empress, on the other hand, had used even darker and crueler methods of suppression, attempting to completely expel that rotten air, while his martial uncle the Pope had been gentler and more conservative.
In Chen Changsheng's view, all these methods were wrong.
He could not be like his martial uncle, continuously yielding for the sake of the bigger picture and willing to sacrifice himself. He was also not so estranged from this world as Senior Su Li. Although this world had no kindness for him, he still liked this world and the people living within it. He naturally could not do as the Tianhai Divine Empress did. After reading Wang Zhice's notebook in the Lingyan Pavilion, he had abandoned any desire to have the world dance to his whims.
His method, his way of doing things, was truthfully rather simple.
Since he did not want to submissively allow this world to be given over to those rotten and uninteresting people, he should stand up.
Just like how the spring wind greened the shores of the river, how wildflowers filled the mountain slopes: fair and aboveboard, upright and frank, making a declaration to the world.
If he were just by himself, it would naturally be very difficult. Fortunately, he had many peers, companions.
If that fellow had been willing to join him, it would have been even better. Alas, just why had he been so unwilling to leave the mountain?
Chen Changsheng gazed up at the distant room still lit by lanterns, and wondered what Luo Bu was thinking.
The demons had truly retreated, leaving no traps and making no efforts to preserve any of their gains. From the northern reaches of Tianliang County to the western foothills of Mount Han, an area spanning a circle of around two thousand li in radius was completely devoid of demons. Their only presence was two squadrons of wolf cavalry on the banks of the Lahu River, most likely to keep watch on the human army.
Many people were still perplexed over why the demons had withdrawn, but regardless, in every aspect, this was still a victory for the Human race. The ten-some army headquarters of the snowy plains in the north and the even more numerous strongholds began to celebrate, and relaxed smiles appeared on the faces of the people as if they were enjoying a festival.
The mood at the Mount Song Army headquarters was different from elsewhere. It was tense and oppressive, the two sides of its main street packed with people. The faces of the soldiers, merchants, and the small number of commoners were all covered in apprehension and anxiety. They were standing here not to celebrate the retreat of the demons, but to wait for the results of an investigation.
In the past few days, a succession of carriages had entered the Mount Song Army headquarters. Some carriages had come from Blue Pass and Snowhold Pass, others had come from Hanqiu City, and some of them had even come from the distant capital. Each carriage represented a truly important personage.
Because Ning Shiwei had died.
One night, he had brought his bodyguards and left his post, vanishing from sight. Later on, when his body was recovered, it was in an unbearably gruesome state. The crucial problem was that he had not died on the battlefield, but in an extremely remote mountain range.
A Divine General had died in a bizarre fashion. An investigation was naturally required.
The soldiers, merchants, and commoners packing the street also wanted to know what was going on.
They had no idea that many more people had died on that night. Zhu Ye, the newly appointed leader of the Zhu clan, Tianhai Zhanyi, the second-generation descendant nurtured by the Tianhai clan, and the Tang Seventeenth Master had, just like Ning Shiwei, died on that harshly cold night.
With the deaths of so many important people, it was only natural that even more important people would be needed to come and investigate.
Two Divine Generals had come respectively from Snowhold Pass and Blue Pass, and the Tianhai clan had sent a truly prestigious figure: Tianhai Chenwen, younger brother to Tianhai clan head Tianhai Chenwu. Yet not even he was the person at the Mount Song Army headquarters with the highest status today, as the Prince of Zhongshan, acting as imperial envoy for the court, had hurried over from the capital. The Zhu clan of Tianliang County, having suffered the successive deaths of two clan heads, was now bereft of any strong individuals and had suffered a severe decline in power, so they had randomly sent a person who would presumably only have the right to listen in during the investigation.
The first priority of these important figures in coming to the Mount Song Army headquarters was naturally to investigate why Ning Shiwei and all those other people had died, but more important was that position.
The position of Divine General of the Mount Song Army.
When the Divine Empress reigned, although the war with the demons did not proceed very smoothly, the military was still not inferior to its peak, having thirty-eight Divine Generals in total. During the coup of the Mausoleum of Books, the renowned Divine Generals Xue Xingchuan and Tian Chui had died, and then there was the equally intense internal strife in the court. When the storms died away, only twenty-three Divine Generals remained.
The capital and Luoyang required Divine Generals to oversee them, decreasing the number of Divine Generals that could be left in the north.
Currently, besides Snowhold Pass and Blue Pass, which had special status, the remaining military headquarters on the snowy plains had only one Divine General each. With Ning Shiwei's death, the position of Divine General of the Mount Song Army had become vacant, and it was not possible to transfer a Divine General from another army. This meant that the Imperial Court needed to appoint a new Divine General.
To the Great Zhou Army and the Imperial Court, the position of Divine General was one of the most critical.
Divine Generals had military authority, and were even endowed with the power to move troops without orders at critical junctures.
Regardless of the reason for Ning Shiwei's death, since there was now a vacancy, a new Divine General would be promoted. Not the Prince of Xiang's faction, the Tianhai clan, or any other faction in the court could miss this opportunity.
In the depths of the winter, no snow was falling over the Mount Song Army headquarters, yet a thick layer of dark clouds sat above the town and fort constructed in the mountains, and the light was very cold.
A similar expression could be seen on the faces of the important personages seated in the main hall of the army headquarters.
The Prince of Zhongshan sat in the middle. Just as was rumored, his face was suffused with a ruthless aura.
Tianhai Chenwen and Divine General Jian Xi of Snowhold Pass sat to his right.
To his left were the high official from the Grand Court of Revision who had come together with the Prince of Zhongshan, and Divine General Cheng Tao of Blue Pass.
The factions were plainly evident, as were their standpoints, or else the mood in the main hall would not have been so oppressive and gloomy.
Divine General Cheng Tao looked at the leading officer of Gaoyang Village and shouted with a very unpleasant expression, "The commanding general came to your camp, and yet you know nothing?"