With this sudden revelation, the whole room fell silent. Li Yin had figured that the dragon king would try to get Zhong Jing Yi out of the Nine Heavens as soon as he was contacted by Qiang Yan so he had sent somebody to all the gates to stop that from happening.
He didn’t even know the outcome yet since he had immediately left for the Heavenly Emperor’s palace but he was sure that his idea had been right: Qiu Ling had indeed tried to have Zhong Jing Yi sneak out. Right now, he had just wanted to see how Qiu Ling would react if he indicated that he knew about that.
Qiu Ling’s reaction had told him what he had wanted to know: He had been right. Zhong Jing Yi had tried to flee while they had come together to talk. He didn’t know if his people had managed to stop him or not but, at this point, it didn’t matter anymore.
In fact, contrary to what he had thought before, it would be best if Zhong Jing Yi hadn’t been killed. Because no matter what the actual laws were that he was sworn to uphold, he also knew that sometimes, there were extenuating circumstances. And in this case, the consequences were too grave to be ignored.
It seemed that Zhong Jing Yi could — for one reason or the other — not be killed. No matter what he personally thought of that, he had to agree that this person was untouchable for the time being.
He raised a hand and rubbed his forehead, wondering what they were supposed to do now. In fact, there wasn’t much to think about it. They hadn’t had many choices in the first place. Now, one of those had shown to be off-limits for sure. What else was left other than to continue investigating and hoping to discover a way to solve this without bloodshed.
An Bai kept quiet for some time, giving everyone time to come to terms with this before he spoke up again. “As His Majesty just said, it has been several weeks. Our progress … hasn’t been much. Maybe there are some things that we can do. We don’t know what those are yet but I’m sure that with time, we will be able to figure something out.
“Be that as it may, this might take a long time. In my experience, when it concerns these kinds of things, it is a matter of years instead of just weeks or months. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it took us a whole decade even if we include not just the heavenly officials but other members of the titled gods’ palaces as well.
“I know that it has been a long-standing law to kill any ascended deities that resulted from a trueborn god’s trial. This is also a law that I understand. And as a dragon, it usually would not be my place to comment on this. But at the same time, the situation concerns us as well.
“In fact, I didn’t want to say this before but I feel our king shouldn’t be the only exception being made. This matter, it is able to kill dragons. It is an unlikely situation but nonetheless one that might happen. And I think that with a precedent being made clear in such an obvious manner, we should not just think about this case but about all others that might follow as well.”
Saying all this, he turned to Li Yin, his blue eyes seeming to shimmer. “God of Justice, if this were to happen again and if the dragon in question was not our king, what would happen?
“This is a question that will concern us as the dragon race as well. Because there is the possibility — however small it maybe be — that one of our people would die as well. In His Majesty’s case, it is slightly different because his soul was bound to His Highness and not Zhong Jing Yi originally. But who is to say what would happen if a dragon was bound to the human who ascended? That is a possibility that needs to be taken into consideration as well.
“Furthermore, I have consulted a lot of the ancient texts especially to find a solution. And from what I can see in what has been passed down among the gods, it doesn’t seem that the reincarnation for the trials is limited to only humans.
“A trueborn god will reincarnate as a human for their trial in most cases but they could also be reborn as something else. Maybe another trueborn god, maybe a dragon, maybe even a demon. It cannot be said for sure. In those cases, what is supposed to happen? You would not go and kill them, would you?”
An Bai originally hadn’t wanted to bring these matters up before the situation with their king and the Son of Heaven had been solved. In any case, he didn’t think that the likelihood of either of these cases happening was too high.
Even though there were many gods in all of the Nine Heavens, most of them did only up to three trials. There were some that would need more but it was unlikely and most of these trials would indeed be just the lives of normal humans. So having a god be reborn as something else or as a human that would then ascend was unlikely. It was even more unlikely that this person would be bound to a dragon.
But no matter what, since they were already talking about the complications of such possibilities, he felt that he might as well bring it up. This might allow the gods to see that there was more to this matter than they were currently realizing and that maybe they would need to make some adjustments to how they had done things before.