Chapter 866 – I Can Stand a Little Higher
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The dust settled and Zhexiu's figure appeared in front of Xiao Zhang.
He wore only a single layer of clothing, and his sleeves and pants had been cut very short, so it was impossible to conceal those needle-like hairs sprouting from his skin.
His fingers were tipped by ten incredibly sharp and tough claws. They gleamed with a cold light that caused onlookers to tremble in fear.
Even more frightening was that his face was also covered in fur, his teeth as sharp as his claws, his eyes overtaken by a bloody red.
At this sight, the crowd exploded in cries of horror, receding like a tide as everyone fled for their lives.
Zhexiu cared not for these things. His eyes remained fixed on those blue-clothed Daoists.
These blue-clothed Daoists were very powerful, and even more terrifying was that they were very dangerous.
Power did not necessarily mean danger. No one understood this principle more than Zhexiu.
So he chose without hesitation to use berserk metamorphosis at the first moment, confronting these foes in his most powerful state.
Several Dao swords buzzed, vibrating at high speeds beneath the morning light.
The blue-clothed Daoists looked at Zhexiu and slightly frowned. They did not say anything, nor did they attack.
Although Zhexiu had grown up fighting on the snowy plains on the northern frontier, he had always had a famous reputation in the central region of the Great Zhou.
The Daoists only needed a glance to recognize the young expert from the Wolf tribe.
Wofu Zhexiu was the most dangerous expert of the younger generation.
This was a publicly acknowledged fact, although it had been quite a few years since he had displayed that terrifying experience and perseverance in a battle.
If Zhexiu insisted on protecting Xiao Zhang, today would assuredly become a bitter battle, even a bloody one.
But the blue-clothed Daoists were only wary of him, not afraid.
They very coolly concluded that Zhexiu could not alter the final conclusion, that Xiao Zhang would still die.
They had stopped not because of Zhexiu's sudden appearance, but because they knew just where Zhexiu had gone after leaving the snowy plains, just who had been with him the entire time.
As expected, the crowd below them parted to the sides like a tide.
Chen Changsheng ascended the stone steps.
All of Fengyang City became absolutely silent.
No one here recognized Chen Changsheng, but all the subjects of the Great Zhou were believers of the Orthodoxy, so which one of them could fail to recognize the Divine Staff in his hands?
Just who in the continent had the right to wield the Divine Staff?
Finally, someone came to their senses, letting out a gasp that caused all of Fengyang City to wake from its stupor.
Still like a tide, the masses kneeled on the ground and prostrated to Chen Changsheng, their countless pious and reverent voices combining together, transforming into a thunderous boom.
"Paying respects to His Holiness the Pope."
Chen Changsheng came to Zhexiu's side, then turned to face the blue-clothed Daoists.
The Daoists also prostrated to Chen Changsheng, their expressions reverent, no unwillingness on their faces.
Chen Changsheng nodded.
The officials and experts from the Ministry of Justice also prostrated.
Chen Changsheng turned to Xiao Zhang. As he saw that shabby sheet of white paper, he recalled their first meeting in Xunyang City, and couldn't help but feel somewhat melancholic.
Even now, he did not even glance at the magistrate.
The magistrate's complexion fluctuated for a few moments, but he finally raised the front of his official's gown and prostrated.
Xiao Zhang did not kneel, as he didn't have the strength. Of course, even if he were brimming with strength, he would not kneel to Chen Changsheng.
Chen Changsheng had been the Pope for three years now. His prestige on the continent had risen higher and higher, especially with his recent reappearance and the matter of the Cinnabar Pill.
In Xiao Zhang's eyes, he was still that talented youth with a tough-enough personality that he met in Xunyang City, but also just as boring and uninteresting as Wang Po.
In brief, he saw Chen Changsheng as a junior, so why should he kneel?
Xiao Zhang asked, "How did you turn up here?"
Chen Changsheng replied, "I just happened to be passing by."
This was naturally an excuse. Nobody would believe it.
Xiao Zhang asked, "What do you want to do?"
Chen Changsheng answered, "I want to pardon your crimes."
After saying this, he raised the Divine Staff.
All that was needed now was for Xiao Zhang to kneel, and then he would use the top end of the Divine Staff to lightly touch Xiao Zhang's head thrice, and the pardoning ceremony would be complete.
"Hold!" The magistrate suppressed the fear in his heart and asked in a trembling voice, "When was the Li Palace able to involve itself in matters of the court?"
According to the laws of the Great Zhou and a few old and unwritten rules, the Li Palace normally did not involve itself in political affairs.
Chen Changsheng finally glanced at the magistrate, but still he did not speak to him.
"According to the Memorial on Punishment of the Great Zhou Laws, other than for crimes of treason, His Holiness the Pope has the right of special pardon."
Hu Thirty-Two had at some point arrived on the scene. He gave the magistrate an impassive look and said, "Just what rank did you get in the Grand Examination that you don't even know this?"
The magistrate's face turned abnormally unsightly. He was familiar with the laws of both the church and the Great Zhou, and so he naturally knew that the Pope had the right of special pardon. However, the previous Pope had never used it once in his centuries of rule, so let alone him, even the dukes of the court had probably forgotten about it.
Those words he had said earlier had carried such force and vigor that they had seemed to make a sound when they struck the ground, and even now seemed to be echoing.
"You slaughter innocents. Not even ten thousand deaths would atone for your crimes.
"Thus, you are wicked beyond redemption."
But not long after he had said those words, the Pope appeared and said that he wanted to pardon Xiao Zhang's crimes.
This was the special right of the Pope. 'Even if ten thousand deaths would not atone for your crimes, even if you are wicked beyond redemption, if I want to pardon you, you are free of sin.'
Tang Thirty-Six had also arrived. Pointing at those blue-clothed Daoists, he said, "If the Orthodoxy cannot involve itself in matters of the court, why do these Daoists of the Monastery of Eternal Spring dare to kill someone on the street? My lord magistrate, shouldn't you have these people arrested and sent to prison first?"
The blue-clothed Daoists appeared unaffected, but the magistrate's complexion continued to worsen.
At this moment, Xiao Zhang suddenly said, "I certainly won't kneel to you."
If he refused to kneel, how could the ceremony of pardon be completed?
No one could have expected that just as the matter seemed about to resolve itself, a new problem would appear.
Tang Thirty-Six was prepared to say a few harsh words to Xiao Zhang, but was stopped by Chen Changsheng.
"I can just stand a little higher."
Chen Changsheng walked up a few steps, then turned around.
He was now a few steps higher than Xiao Zhang, at just the right height.
Without any need for Xiao Zhang to kneel, he could raise the Divine Staff, stretch it level like a ruler and touch Xiao Zhang's head.
Without any sound, the tip of the Divine Staff lightly touched Xiao Zhang's head thrice, completing the ceremony.
From start to finish, Xiao Zhang said nothing, and no one could see what his expression was beneath the white paper. Was he astonished or furious?
After a while, he rubbed his head and said, "A little itchy."
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