How Many Soldiers Ever Return Safe and Sound?
One of Divine Moon Cult’s old traditions was that, instead of the leader selecting a successor, the three Saintesses would elect the next leader. Long, long ago, the leader selected their successor – don’t take that as gospel. Several leaders passed on leadership to their incompetent heirs, which caused problems in the cult. Hence, the system was edited.
The sect elders nominated one Saintess each from among Bright Moon and Dark Moon factions based on various criteria – most importantly, their lineage. Aforementioned criteria were entirely up to the reigning sect leader’s whims. Though there were numerous ways of nominating candidates for leadership in Divine Moon faction, in the end, the three Saintesses had the final say.
The Saintesses may have been held in very high regard, but they didn’t have an official post. After all, low-ranked members couldn’t boss them around, while high-ranking members such as the three Guardians… Stuff it. My head hurts just thinking about it. In any case, they had another significant role.
In addition to having the final say on who could take up leadership, their other role was to act as backup successors. If an accident were to happen, such as the reigning leader being assassinated or passing away unexpectedly before a successor was elected, they had the authority to take the mantle until the three of them chose a new leader. This was where “lineage” became important.
Using Bright Moon faction as an example, the only possible Saintess nominees for them were blood-related relatives of the previous leader or the cult elders. This guaranteed that they wouldn’t choose a successor who’d harm the cult. Second, in the event that they really did inherit the leadership role, they would respect their blood-related predecessor’s wishes. It went without saying that the insurance policy had rarely been enacted in the history of Divine Moon Cult. The policy came to save the day once again in this generation.
Dark Moon Faction faded away once Bai Tianbin was gone, so they had no Saintesses to speak of. Ximen Chuideng’s status was unknown, but he never selected a Saintess prior to his downfall, so there was no way there could be three. As a consequence, the usual method of picking a leader was impossible to implement for both Dark Moon and Bright Moon factions. Therefore, it was most likely that one of the Saintesses would stand in as leader for Bright Moon Faction. In other words, the Zero imposter was possibly Bright Moon’s current leader.
“Wait a sec. I don’t remember her being your state’s Saintess.”
I mean, she shares some common features, but she’s too young to be the same person.
“Ah, yes, this one has not shared the good news with you yet. This one mentioned His Highness is married and has a child.”
“His Highness married that Saintess! She is now a Princess.”
Huh?! Wow, Uselesstong, you go, son! You managed to score a Saintess and have a kid with her? Hang on, hang on… I’m remembering this has something to do with me, but I can’t put my finger on what it is…
“You were the one who helped them get together.”
Oh? Ooooh, now I remember!
Uselesstong developed a crush on the Saintess and then fell into depression out of yearning. Everybody but I was against his crush for the sake of the spring in his heart and the sun to illuminate the noble earth. I didn’t and still couldn’t understand why the Western Regions’ people were so close minded about the whole thing, demanding an endless list of this and that. I despised the irrational adherence to traditions that the elders imposed on the young generation.
Under my tutelage, Uselesstong used every trick in the book to woo her. Most importantly, he beat her fiancé and captured her heart.
What happy news.
“Wait, wait, from what I remember, a Saintess gave up her rights to appoint a leader once she married, right?”
“That is correct. You have a really good memory. How about you remove your foot while this one explains?”
I grumbled, “Why should I?”
“This one’s skin is thick. He is worried your foot might get uncomfortable if you leave it on his head for too long.”
Okay, I accept your justification. See? My boys are different.
I removed my foot and helped myself to a seat.
Su Qi jogged over to my back and began knead my shoulders. “My Lord, is this the right amount of pressure?”
“Not bad. You still remember and haven’t lost your touch, either.”
With tears in his eyes, Su Qi conveyed, “This one has been diligently practicing all these years so that he could give you a decent shoulder massage when he met you again. Compared to this one, General Luosu invested far more time and effort, even seeking the instruction of an Indian massage therapist. They now nickname him ‘Fingers of God’.”
What sort of twisted motive motivated you morons to learn massage instead of martial arts, and how the hell did a massage therapist come into the picture?! Also, that’s a sleazy nickname!
“Tell me what I need to know, and save me the rubbish.”
“Ah, yes, right. This one apologies for digressing.”
So, the former Saintess went on maternity leave and, although she could’ve kept her title and privileges, lost her voting as well as stand-in rights. Coincidentally, the leader of Bright Moon Faction fell ill at the same time, while there was no appointed Saintess. In other words, no successor was chosen, either, leading to unrest. To quell the unrest, the younger sister of the former Saintess was elevated to Saintess status.
I’ve been under Uselesstong’s sister-in-law’s watch all this time?! For every time I meet you, Uselesstong, I’ll beat you twice!
“What are you guys doing in the Central Plain?”
I still hadn’t figured out why a Saintess would come to the Central Plain if she could enjoy life in the Western Regions, not to mention teaming up with Jiang Chen. Most importantly, where the hell did I fit into all of it?!
Su Qi lowered his voice. “Under His Majesty and His Great Majesty’s orders, we are here in search of the missing Guardians and Apostles. More importantly, we are searching for our great leader.”
I suddenly felt as though time was rewound back to that day six years ago, the day I did my absolute best but still failed to stop him from falling off Lawless Cliff. The time that stopped that day finally started moving forward again.
You’ve finally come, huh?