Chapter 738 – The Exiled Pope
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Sadness was just an emotion and it in no way symbolized despair. The little Black Dragon lowered her head and looked at her trail through the snow as she began to ponder and calculate. That Shang Xingzhou had been able to easily defeat the Golden Dragon was naturally because he had the home court advantage, and he also must have made preparations in advance. How could she accurately assess his true level of strength through this battle?
Chen Changsheng guessed at what she was thinking and said, "You don't need to keep thinking about it."
The Black Dragon raised her head and stared into his eyes. "The Pope made me your Protector for a reason."
Both she and Chen Changsheng were unaware that the Pope had rescued her from beneath New North Bridge and made her Chen Changsheng's Protector primarily because of the complicated relationship between the Black Frost Dragon tribe and White Emperor City.
Upon hearing the term 'Protector' once more, Chen Changsheng fell silent. He suddenly asked, "Do you know who my master's Protector was back then?"
The little Black Dragon shook her head.
Chen Changsheng looked into the snow where that person had vanished, saying, "On that night, Martial Uncle told me…Master didn't pick a Protector."
A strange light flashed across the Black Dragon's eyes.
Chen Changsheng continued, "Master believes that one cannot rely on external things when cultivating the Dao, nor can one rely on other people. Just relying on himself is enough."
The little Black Dragon said nothing.
This sort of person was far too frightening.
After the black night was the dawn. The capital was still enveloped in a snowstorm as the continent welcomed a new year.
Many important events took place on the first day of the new year. For instance, the Great Zhou formally changed the era name, and the Li Palace welcomed a new master.
In the Li Palace's ceremony to celebrate the new year, something took place that shocked the entire continent.
According to the Pope's final decree and the Orthodoxy's announcement that had already been promulgated across the entire world, Chen Changsheng was the new Pope.
Yet he did not appear in the new year's ceremony and his figure was not seen in the Great Hall of Light. Naturally, there had also been no enthronement ceremony. This news attracted all sorts of surprised discussion. Whether it was the priests of the Li Palace, the teachers and students of the Ivy Academies, or the common people of the capital, they all felt utterly perplexed and deeply uneasy.
In this time of confusion, the Li Palace issued an authoritative explanation.
The announcement contained the seals of the Five Prefects and Chen Changsheng's personal signature.
Because the Pope was too young, he had not cultivated for long enough. As such, he had decided to enter the world to cultivate, comprehending the Heavenly Dao amongst the red dust of the mundane world.
And when would he return? Nobody knew, and the announcement did not answer this. It was just written very clearly that the Pope could return to the capital at any time to ascend to the throne.
The Pope was not in the Li Palace but instead had concealed his name and entered the world to cultivate?
This was the first time such an event had taken place in all of history.
Shock and bewilderment flooded the entire capital and continent, so much so that many people did not even remember what the new era name of the Great Zhou Dynasty was.
After these emotions were slightly diluted by the passage of time, people finally had the leisure to turn their heads and recall the past year. Upon recalling all the things the previous Pope had done, they began to vaguely understand: all this had been a part of the previous Pope's plan.
If Chen Changsheng remained in the capital, it would deeply unsettle the Imperial Court, which would assuredly lead to a war.
If he left the capital, it would make the Imperial Court…to be more precise, it would let Shang Xingzhou feel much more at ease.
However, even now, few people understood why Shang Xingzhou was so wary of, so repelled by, so vexed by the existence of Chen Changsheng.
As Chen Changsheng had understood long ago and as Shang Xingzhou thought with sorrow last night in the snow of the Orthodox Academy, since the two loathed each other, it was better to not meet.
Give this master and disciple a little time, a little space.
Give the Imperial Court and the Orthodoxy a little time, a little space.
Give this world and its millions of inhabitants a single chance.
There was no need for a war. This was not necessarily something that one needed to die for.
Chen Changsheng was still the Pope.
It was just that he could not remain in the capital, could not remain in the Li Palace.
Even if it would come down to two irreconcilable sides at the end, there could at least be a gap.
The problem could not be resolved right now, but in the future, perhaps both sides would have more wisdom to resolve this problem.
This was the plan of the previous Pope, and now it seemed like the best method to resolve this impasse.
Of course, the previous Pope's plan contained even more details that ensured that even if Chen Changsheng left the capital, the Li Palace could still safeguard its position.
This unprecedented situation had many extremely complex factors and circumstances, and perfectly embodied the previous Pope's intelligence and patience.
As his successor, all that Chen Changsheng needed to do was accept this arrangement and then continue to increase his intelligence, patience, and strength.
He needed to rely on his intelligence and patience to survive.
As long as he survived, he was Pope.
He would discuss it again once the mountains bloomed with flowers.
Not everyone could understand this matter, and even fewer could understand just how much thought and effort the previous Pope had put into this plan, or the resolve and daring the Li Palace had displayed. After all their shock faded, the reality that the people saw was very simple.
Chen Changsheng had become Pope, but he had been driven out of the capital.
Anyone could see that this was the Imperial Court's victory.
Many people believed that this result was because Shang Xingzhou did not wish for the Imperial Court and the Orthodoxy to come to blows, nor did he wish to reject the Pope's final decree, so he had expressed a magnanimous stance.
To be magnanimous was naturally to look down on someone.
Anyone could see that a Pope that could not be in the Li Palace was a Pope in name alone.
It was perhaps even a more dismal existence than being a Pope in name alone.
This was an exiled Pope.
The Zhengtong era formally came to a close.
The Tianhai Divine Empress's reign over this continent had become a page in history, and a new page had been turned.
The Great Zhou Dynasty had formally changed rulers, the confluence of the north and south had been declared a success. As spring returned to the earth, countless matters became realized. At this moment, many cultivators had received imperial orders and were leaving the south to head north and enter various armies.
The Demon Empress had been executed, the Demon Lord was dead, Xuelao City was in chaos, and the Pope had bid farewell to the world. All things were changing from old to new, and the future of the continent was awash with light.
It was certain that humanity was about to welcome the finest generation since Emperor Taizong's.
No one knew that on a normal and unremarkable winter day, the newly appointed Pope Chen Changsheng left the Orthodox Academy.
He left Hundred Flowers Lane and mingled with the crowd. He walked along the Luo River, crossed the Bridge of Helplessness and passed the stone pillars of the Li Palace, exited the city gate, and left the capital.
In his bosom was a letter, tied to his waist was a sword, and in his hands was an umbrella.
A girl dressed in black walked by his side.
The girl was clean and charming, but her face bore no emotion, making her seem particularly cold.
She held a potted Green Leaf at her chest.
Chen Changsheng did not walk very fast, but as the girl was very small, if she wanted to catch up, she needed to walk faster.
As she walked, her black hair bobbed up and down in the cold wind. The Green Leaf at her chest also bobbed up and down with it.
This was not two oars bobbing up and down in the spring wind, but the appearance that she and this world should have had. (TN: The part about two oars bobbing up and down is a reference to a famous Chinese children's song.)
(AN: When I was first writing about the Pope's Green Leaf, I was thinking about Leon, and this was precisely the sort of scene I wanted to write. So the little Black Dragon's name should actually be Matilda. TN: Leon and Matilda are characters from the movie 'Leon: The Professional'.)