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Chapter 681 – Matters of Death
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
This inexplicable world operated by its own rule: rigid, monotonous, repetitive. Perhaps there might be the occasional unexpected circumstance, but if one looked deeper, it would still be a reproduction of those same old events. There was never anything new, whether it was under the sun or the stars. Plots and betrayals gave off nothing but the nauseating scent of decay.
Those youths who still looked upon this world with anticipation and hope, who still bravely stood under the sun and confronted the starlight, who looked up to virtue and morality in the stars, could never develop any good impressions of this sort of world. An example of this sort of person was Tang Thirty-Six. However, in the eyes of that noiselessly laughing second master of the Wenshui Tang clan, in the eyes of those elders of the Tianhai clan, in the eyes of Zhou Tong, the ways these youths thought were always so childish and laughable.
"Your life can't be spent playing house forever." Chen Changsheng could imagine that as he was escorted back to Wenshui, Tang Thirty-Six would be told many phrases similar to this.
He could even imagine that right now, in the Divine General of the East's estate, Xu Shiji, with a solemn expression and an aura of righteousness, was sitting at his dining table, all the dishes cleared away, arguing forcefully with Madam Xu. "Everything this father has done has been for his daughter. If not for my prompt decision, my strenuous efforts to hold back the tide, do you still think she would be able to firmly sit on the Holy Maiden's position after the Divine Empress's death?"
Starlight slightly scattered, the darkness slightly thinned, and the area in front of the Orthodox Academy went through a minor unrest. Soon after, Su Moyu hurried over to the lake shore and delivered the news to him.
The news from Xuelao City was truly very shocking. Chen Changsheng spent a long period of time in silence.
The Demon Lord's death was an extremely good thing for him. In the Garden of Zhou, he and Xu Yourong had been almost killed by Nanke several times, so he had no good feelings about that demon princess whose eyes were slightly farther apart than usual. But he couldn't help but be a little disappointed that his once-irreconcilable foe had vanished amongst the tempestuous waves of this rebellion like a splash of water.
"Leave the capital. This is the best choice," Su Moyu said to him.
Chen Changsheng understood his meaning.
The Demon Lord's death and the internal discord amongst the demons had all been arranged by Shang Xingzhou, and he had ascended to a position of supreme authority. While his deed remained fresh in the minds of humanity, no one would have the courage to go against him.
Today, the Pope had taken an extremely tough stance to protect him and the Orthodox Academy, but it could only maintain a balance of power.
But just as the Pope said, he was old and about to die. If that day truly came, how could Chen Changsheng confront that person?
That person was about to become a god of the continent, and he was also his teacher.
Chen Changsheng continued his long silence.
He truly did want to leave the capital. While he had been sitting in the library over the past three days, he had wanted to start packing his luggage several times, ultimately giving up on the notion each time.
He knew that it was impossible for him to leave, because that person would never permit him to leave his gaze, unless through death.
Yu Ren also knew this, so he quietly sat in the Imperial Palace, playing the part of emperor.
Chen Changsheng silently awaited the passing of time within the Orthodox Academy.
The pair understood Shang Xingzhou more than anyone else in the world, even more than the Pope.
Even though the teacher who had only been an ordinary Daoist in their hearts was now an esteemed master of the Dao.
But whether he was an ordinary Daoist or a supreme master of the Dao, he was still their teacher.
On the fourth day after the coup of the Mausoleum of Books, shocking news came from Mount Han.
The Elder of Heavenly Secrets had peacefully passed away in a small room on the shores of the Heaven Lake.
The head of the Storms of the Eight Directions was of the same generation as the Pope and Shang Xingzhou. In the end, he had still been unable to withstand time and his wounds, and his soul had returned to the sea of stars.
After being momentarily shocked by this news, the capital fell once more into an orderly chaos.
It was chaos because dead people were piling up everywhere, houses being searched, and possessions seized. It was orderly because all this was under the forceful control of the Imperial Court. The extent of the ripples and their intensity were both at a level that most people could endure, and it was not so bad as to have an overly adverse effect on the common people.
A few great ministers of Tianhai's court had died, but the vast majority of those who had been imprisoned had already been released. Only a few hardliners still bitterly endured. If they continued to endure past the autumn, perhaps they would be executed.
Perhaps because the Tianhai Divine Empress had used the true flame of the Heavenly Phoenix to burn Chen Guansong alive, and because Han Qing had left the capital after his true identity had been revealed, the Great Zhou Dynasty could not find a single general who was experienced enough to stabilize the situation. Occasionally, a fierce battle would take place amongst the armies of the counties and provinces. As a result, the purging of the army was correspondingly much crueler and fiercer.
Seven Demon Generals had died in the rebellion of Xuelao City, but the Great Zhou Dynasty had already lost eight Divine Generals, and several Divine Generals had been disheartened and retired to their fields. What chilled people's blood the most was that, according to a decree issued from the palace, Divine General Xue Xingchuan and the officers of the Imperial Guard loyal to the Tianhai Divine Empress had their corpses publicly exposed on the public road and were forbidden from being buried.
The entire world knew that the Divine General Xue Xingchuan and Divine General Tian Chui were the Tianhai Divine Empress's left and right arms, her most loyal subordinates.
The body of Divine General Tian Chui was already smoke, returning to the skies together with the Tianhai Divine Empress. Xue Xingchuan had not received a similar treatment.
Without even bringing up the fact that Xue Xingchuan had forcefully resisted the Demon Army in the north and had once achieved great merit for the Great Zhou Dynasty, even if he was just an ordinary general, what need was there to have him suffer such disgrace after death?
Many people felt that this wasn't right, but no one dared to oppose it, as this was a decree from the Imperial Palace. In addition, they knew that this was the unyielding response some important figures had made to a certain rumor in the capital.
In this rumor, Xue Xingchuan had died under the schemes of Zhou Tong.
Zhou Tong had betrayed the Tianhai Divine Empress, and he had also betrayed his only friend.
With the spreading of this rumor, the level of loathing and shame the people felt for Zhou Tong reached all-new heights.
At that point, the decree was issued from the palace, and the bodies of Xue Xingchuan and those officers of the Imperial Guard were exposed.
Those important figures wanted to use this cruel display to tell the world that as long as one was willing to cut ties with the Tianhai Divine Empress, that person would receive their benevolence and most unyielding protection. They did not even hesitate to use this method of disgracing the dead to show their will, to support Zhou Tong.
There had been a saying on the continent: if Zhou Tong were to die, only one person would be willing to bury him. That person was called Xue Xingchuan.
Now, Xue Xingchuan had died, died at Zhou Tong's hands, and it was even because of Zhou Tong that he would die without a grave.
This matter made people laugh in scorn, and many people were furious, but the entire capital still remained completely silent.
Perhaps it was because the news of the Elder of Heavenly Secrets's death had made the common people recall the words of the Pope on the night of the coup in the Mausoleum of Books. He was old and about to die.
If even the Pope died, who could endure the ire of that master of the Dao?
One person could endure it, perhaps because she had never even thought about whether she could endure it or not, because she was Xue Xingchuan's wife.
In the hours of the early morning, Madam Xue exited the city gate for the fourth time.
She came to the official road and gazed at those corpses randomly placed on the side, but she still could not distinguish which was the body of her husband.
Then she turned to the supervisor from the Ministry of Justice standing guard and said, "My lord, greetings, I wish to assist my late husband…"
Her face was somewhat pale, her expression tired, her lips dry, but she was still calm and possessed of a stern resolve.
The supervisor of the Ministry of Justice did not let her finish.
The crisp crack of a whip!
A corner of Madam Xue's dress was ripped away.
Perhaps because he had been intimidated by Madam Xue's composure and sternness and thus felt somewhat ashamed, the supervisor's voice was somewhat shrill and incredibly unpleasant to the ear.
"Xue Xingchuan followed the Demon Empress in committing evil. For conspiring against the state, his punishment is to have his corpse exposed for ten days, then fed to the dogs!"