Chapter 734 – Protector
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Before speaking, the girl had first cleared her throat. This made her seem very calm, like a rather witty child.
But Shang Xingzhou and Chen Changsheng were both able to hear the tremble in her voice.
This was not because she was excited to meet Chen Changsheng as her free self, but because she was uneasy.
She felt that she was too close to the middle-aged Daoist, that it was rather dangerous.
At this moment, she still did not know that this person was Chen Changsheng's master, but she could clearly tell that he had the ability to harm and even kill her.
The number of humans in this world that could harm and even kill her was very small, but she had managed to meet one on the same night that she escaped her centuries of imprisonment.
This made her feel a sense of defeat as if she was confronting fate, so much so that she did not even dare to look at Shang Xingzhou. She decided to just stare into Chen Changsheng's eyes, seeming particularly serious and focused.
She had no idea that in Shang Xingzhou's eyes, she was also an extremely dangerous existence.
Humanity had recorded very clearly in the Daoist scriptures that there was no such thing as being too vigilant against the Dragon race, the highest level of creature under the starry sky.
And this did not even take into account that she was a Black Frost Dragon, a member of the Dragon race with the purest and most powerful of bloodlines. Her tiny body was bursting with a power that human experts yearned for but could never obtain. If she could learn to use this power or if it were to just passively be used, it would certainly produce a terrifying energy and bitter consequences.
She feared Shang Xingzhou, Shang Xingzhou was wary of her, and Chen Changsheng was just shocked.
He had not expected that she was actually able to escape from the bottom of the well!
Even if the method he and Xu Yourong used was correct and his blood was currently quickening the pace at which the chains corroded through the refinement and urging of the Canon of Flowing West, it would take at least two years by his calculation for the chains to snap. Moreover, upon escaping the underground cavern, why had she not quickly left this continent filled with the scent of humans that she so detested and returned to her home in the warm archipelagos of the south? Why had she come to the Orthodox Academy?
Another variable had appeared in this negotiation, and it seemed to favor him, but Chen Changsheng was in no way pleased. He wanted no one other than himself to participate in this negotiation, whether it was the priests of the Li Palace, the teachers and students of the Orthodox Academy, Mount Li or Scholartree Manor, or his concerned senior brother in the palace. Moreover, just what had she meant by those words?
'Protector'? Chen Changsheng recalled a related record from the seventh book of the 'Treaty of Light', and then he recalled the old matters that the Pope had inadvertently mentioned on that night.
Whether it was the Orthodoxy or the religion of the Way that preceded it, in order to preserve the Daoist teachings over the generations, they both regarded succession with the highest importance. The then-Popes would often begin laying plans many years in advance, teaching and nurturing their successors. Those young disciples would often be extremely talented in cultivation and possessed astonishing potential. However, for them to grow into true experts that could continue to lead the Dao ever forward, a long period of time was needed, for many trials to be experienced. Moreover, there were very few legitimate successors to the Daoist teachings. For instance, in the last generation, there were only the Pope and Shang Xingzhou, and in this generation, there were only Yu Ren, Chen Changsheng, and Mu Jiushi, who Shang Xingzhou had confirmed through some unknown method.
Given the long and challenging path of cultivation and the extremely small number of successors, it could logically be concluded that the succession of the Daoist teachings might have been snapped at any moment. Yet over the countless years, the Daoist teachings had been passed on through innumerable generations and had never once been severed. Other than those successors' being extraordinary, like Yin and Shang, there was one other important reason. When these young successors were traveling the world and cultivating, the Daoist religion would often invite an extremely formidable and most venerable senior to act as Protector for a successor.
The Daoist teachings had continued for generation after generation without extinguishing, and this law had also persisted for many generations, even longer than the history of the Great Zhou Dynasty. If Chen Changsheng had lived in Xining Village's old temple with the identity of legitimate successor to the Orthodoxy, then he truly should have had a Protector, and this Protector should have been one of the strongest experts on the continent, probably one of the Storms of the Eight Directions. However, no one had known of his identity at the time, and now he was already Pope, so did he still need a Protector? And why was it her?
"So it was you that Yin spoke of."
Shang Xingzhou's expression was calm and unperturbed. It was plain to see that he had known of this matter beforehand.
He looked at the little Black Dragon and said, "After several centuries, you were finally able to leave that old well in New North Bridge and obtain freedom, so why did you not return to the Southern Sea?"
The Black Dragon stood in front of Chen Changsheng and seriously said to him, "Because this is the promise I made."
It was evident that Shang Xingzhou's presence was a massive pressure on her. Her small face was covered in anxiety, but she remained firm.
Shang Xingzhou suddenly asked, "You will protect him?"
She raised her face and very proudly said, "Of course."
Shang Xingzhou continued his questions. "Before the starry sky itself, are you willing to become one with him, to love, protect, respect, and comfort him as you love yourself? Are you willing to, in health and sickness, in wealth and poverty, in success and failure, always put his name before yours until you leave this world and return to the sea of stars?"
These words were like the slow wafting of the cool breeze and also like the unending crash of thunder.
These were some of the most ancient words in the scriptures of the church. This was the oath sworn by Protectors, a law of the Li Palace.
After a moment of silence, she answered, "I am willing."
Shang Xingzhou asked, "Even if you must pay your life?"
Without the slightest hesitation, she replied, "Yes."
Several years ago underneath New North Bridge, she had already paid to Chen Changsheng something even more valuable than her life, at least in her view.
Of course, this did not really mean that she was willing to die for Chen Changsheng with no questions asked, nor did it mean that she was unafraid of death. For a member of the long-lived Dragon race, death was something rarely considered. But it was precisely because their lives were so long that when they did occasionally think of death, they would feel a fear that far surpassed what an ordinary human would feel.
She stared into Shang Xingzhou's eyes and said, "Not even Wang Zhice dared to kill, only imprison me. I don't believe that you would dare to kill me."
In the general understanding of the cultivation world, the Dragon race was eternal. The reason for this impression that went against fact was primarily that the Dragon race was the highest level of being that existed under the starry sky, possessing an almost endless lifespan and unfathomable strength. Moreover, countless years ago when the Dragon race withdrew from the continent, they drew up a convention with all the worlds. This convention stated that any living being that offended the Dragon race voluntarily would die.
That this convention was passed down to this day naturally had nothing to do with how much demons or humans valued promises, but was because the Dragon race was powerful. Even the peak human or demon experts when confronting a lone and even weak dragon would rarely do anything. This was because every dragon's body contained a Soul Pearl, and once a dragon died, the Soul Pearl would shatter. When the dragon's relatives in the south sensed its destruction, they were certain to conduct a most crazed reprisal.
Even when Emperor Taizong reigned over the Great Zhou Dynasty, he was not willing to bear such a price. When the little Black Dragon wreaked havoc over the land, Wang Zhice used a stratagem to entrap her, but never once attempted to kill her. Besides the fact that she had some forgivable aspects, it was more importantly because it was not easy to kill her and it was not a good idea to kill her.
For countless years, the Dragon race had always lived far away from the continent and yet had always been an object of reverence.
But in certain moments of history, the unexpected would occur.