Read chapter 1 first.
001 | 003
Chapter Two Live Longer, Walk Further
The black umbrellas carefully escorted the white-dressed woman as she walked and got onto a waiting carriage.
The youth, who had come out of the half-destroyed oil shop, continued to stare unblinkingly at the white-dressed woman. He only sighed after the white-dressed woman lifted the curtain and entered the carriage. “So beautiful.”
The black-robed swordsman who had fallen not far from him finally returned to his thoughts. Thinking of the meaning of the white-dressed woman’s words, an enormous joy and shock filled his body.
Then he started to reflect on the youth’s words. Bureau Chief Ye’s beauty was undoubted, yet it was blasphemy to describe the beauty of her, a titan of the country, a cultivator people looked up to, as “beautiful.”
Hoofbeats sounded and the carriage that carried the female bureau chief of the Qin Dynasty disappeared through the mist and rain.
The majority of the black-robed swordsmen disappeared silently from the street, just like how they came.
The street completely woke up. More and more people wanted to come out of their doorways and see what had occurred. But in the span of a few breaths, the sound of metal hitting the ground covered the sound of rain and wind.
In a flash, numerous incoming chariots formed walls of metal and blocked their view.
“You are Ding Ning, from Falling Parasol Wine Shop? Why did you come here to get sesame oil?” a slightly balding and fat middle-aged official handed a dry piece of cloth asked this question to the youth who was almost completely soaked. They were under a crude temporary shack.
This official had an extremely friendly expression. Due to the urgency, his forehead glistened with oily light, and gave people a feeling he was ordinary. However, most officials and soldiers deliberately maintained a certain distance from him. Anyone who had some knowledge in Changling knew that he was Mo Qinggong.
He was one of the most experienced “evil hounds” of the Divinity Bureau.
“Evil hound” was not a complimentary nickname but it contained many meanings. Other than viciousness, and a strong sense of smell, it frequently meant that this person had someone behind him powerful. “Evil hounds” like him were difficult to deal with and could not be beaten. The best method was to keep a distance.
For example, like this moment. When he arrived, before his breathing recovered, he held dozens of scrolls in his hand, one of them recording the identity of this puzzling youth in front of him.
This youth called Ding Ning did not realize the terror of the slightly fat and easygoing middle-aged official. He used the dry cloth that Mo Qinggong handed him to wipe away the mud and water on his face as he curiously examined the sculped chariots and armored soldiers on the chariots with the wolf patterns on their sword hilts. He did not immediately answer Mo Qinggong’s question and asked in response, “This is the Tiger-Wolf Army of our Qin?”
Mo Qinggong wiped away the beads of sweat on his forehead and answered, “Yes.”
“Who lived in that courtyard?” After wiping the dust and mud off, Ding Ning, who appeared even more delicate, asked with a serious expression, “To attract so many people?”
Mo Qinggong felt Ding Ning became even more interesting. He seemed to be infected by the other’s calm presence and calmed slightly. His eyes flashed with an odd light.
“Have you heard of the Sword Furnace?” he asked pleasantly, rather than become angry.
“The Sword Furnace of the country of Zhao?” Ding Ning was slightly dazed.
“Exactly.” Mo Qinggong looked at him amiably and said patiently, “Ever since our great Qin Dynasty started to war with the country of Zhao, the people in the world finally understood the strongest cultivators of the country of Zhao wasn’t the Blue Sun Sword Tower, but that seemingly unrmarkable blacksmith shop. The eight core disciples of Sword Furnace are existences who could wipe out entire cities with one blow. We have destroyed the country of Zhao thirteen years ago, but the remaining evil elements of the Sword Furnace are still a thorn in the throat of our Great Qin. If we cannot pluck it out, we will not be able to rest. The one we killed today is the seventh disciple of the Sword Furnace, Zhao Zhan.”
“No wonder … …” Ding Ning said thoughtfully as he saw through the gaps between the chariots to the destroyed courtyard that many practitioners were carefully flipping through.
Mo Qinggong smiled slightly. “Now you understand why I asked you such trivial questions?”
Ding Ning nodded seriously. “With such a major enemy lurking here, you have to investigate everyone nearby. Especially someone like me who doesn’t live here, you have to investigate even more.”
Mo Qinggong nodded in praise. “Then will you answer the questions I asked you?”
Ding Ning smiled and said, “The truth is the sesame oil shop near my home wasn’t open these past two days so I had to come here, the next closest one. I hadn’t thought I would be delayed by a storm here and encounter something like this.”
Mo Qinggong was silent for a moment. Then he grabbed an umbrella and handed it to Ding Ning. “Since that’s the case, you can leave.”
Ding Ning was slightly shocked, and asked with bright eyes, “So simple?”
“You don’t bear to leave? Do not seek trouble!” Mo Qinggong scolded exasperatedly. He waved his hand indicating for the youth to leave quickly.
“Then your umbrella?”
“If I do not come for it, it’s a gift to you.”
Gazing at Ding Ning’s back, Mo Qinggong’s expression grew cold. After thing for a moment, he shouted in a low voice to the rain hut behind him. “Summon Qin Huaishu!”
A thin young person dressed in blue robes walked into this temporary hut not long after his shout.
Mo Qinggong raised his head slightly and looked at this young person who walked in front of him. His finger gently tapped at the scroll open in front of him. After tapping a dozen times, he slowly asked, “This youth Ding Ning from Falling Parasol, you made his case file, do you have any memory of him?”
The thin young person stood respectfully with a bent head as he replied firmly, “Yes.”
Mo Qinggong looked coldly at him. He said solemnly, “According to his file, he and his young aunt’s birth are extremely clean. However, why did you make such a file then?”
The thin young man seemed to have expected this question and answered without hesitation, “This youth is without a doubt a citizen of the Qin. His last few generations of ancestors are known. The reason the subordinate has prepared this case file is because the Fang Marquessate Establishment has been in contact with him. The Fang Marquessate Establishment has once invited Fang Xiumu to see him.
Mo Qinggong stilled. “Fang Marquessate Establishment?”
The thin young person nodded. “This youth has been in in the care of his aunt after his parents died from illness in his childhood. His aunt has a wine shop in Falling Parasol. The shop is small but famed. People from the Fang Marquessate Establishment had once bought wine from this shop and seemed to feel that this boy had potential. They invited Fang Xiumu to personally see him.”
Mo Qinggong frowned and his finger unconsciously started tapping on the table again.
“And then?” he asked after a moment of thought.
The thin young person answered seriously, “After Fang Xiumu looked at him, the Fang Marquessate Establishment never contacted this boy again. This subordinate speculates that Fang Xiumu felt that he cannot become a practitioner. As this boy has low status, and there are no doubts about his birth, this subordinate only prepared a case file and did not spend more effort in investigating.”
Mo Qinggong’s eyes showed slight praise. “Well done.”
The thin young man’s expression did not change. He said calmly, “This subordinate only is fulfilling his duties.”
Mo Qinggong thought for a moment and asked, “Wine from a little place like Falling Parasol can enter the eye of the Fang Marquessate Establishment?”
The thin young man shook his head. “The reason that his wine shop is famous is because his aunt is extremely beautiful.”
Mo Qinggong was stunned.
The thin young man still didn’t lift his head but an imperceptible smile played at the corner of his mouth. He thought, Sir, if you see that woman, you will be even more shocked.
Mo Qinggong smiled and laughed at himself. He suddenly looked seriously at the thin young man and said softly, “I put you on the list of recommended for Spirit Void Sword Sect this time.”
The thin young man had maintained his respectful and steady posture before this yet Mo Qinggong’s words caused his body to shudder and him to involuntarily shout.
Mo Qinggong’s expression did not change much. He patted the shoulder of this excited young person and said slowly, “Before you go to Spirit Void Sword Sect to cultivate, help me one more time. Investigate the backgrounds of him and the people around him. Help me find out what assessment Fang Xiumu gave of him.”
All the streets and alleys of Changling were straight and at right angles just as Zhao Zhan ha said. Even the towers were evenly spread out in the city.
At a tower closest to Mo Qinggong’s rain hut, a wisteria chair was placed behind the sheet of rain. An old person dressed in plain ordinary robes sat on the chair, his thin white hair spread around his shoulders like roots of ginseng.
A young person with a healthy physique in yellow robes stood behind the old person.
The young person had a refined appearance and a peaceful expression. He was a type that people easily felt positive about at a glance. At this point, his hands were on the back of the wisteria chair, seeming humble yet intimate.
“What are you thinking?”
The old man’s gaze returned from the distance as he smiled and asked proactively.
The yellow-robed young person moved and walked next to the old person. He said respectfully, “Master, since Bureau Chief Ye was able to kill Zhao Zhan alone, it means that she has at least passed the doorway to realm seven second class. But I do not understand. At present in Changling … … other than Bureau Chief Ye, other people are able to kill Zhao Zhan by themselves. Why did His Majesty have to have Bureau Chief Ye, who was cultivating out in the ocean, come back?”
The old person smiled slightly and pointed with a withered finger out of the tower. “What do you see?”
The yellow-robed young person looked hard but only saw the straight alleys and streets in the storm. He replied apologetically, “This student is stupid and hopes for Master’s guidance.”
“You are too nearsighted. You only see these streets, you cannot see the borders of Changling.” The old man’s eyes were half-lidded as he slowly said, “But you should know, this city is the only capital city in the world without outer walls. The reason it doesn’t need the protective outer walls is because the sword of every one of us Qin are the city walls.”
The yellow-robed young person turned serious and became silent.
“His Majesty, or rather, Minister Li, sees much further than you do.”
The old person glanced benevolently at the yellow-robed young person and said with slight disdain. “There are at least two intentions behind summoning Bureau Chief Ye back. One is that while Changling does not lack for people who can kill Zhao Zhan, one more person is another increase in presence. While Bureau Chief Ye had a fearsome reputation in the past, most people doubt that she reached realm seven. Today, Bureau Chief Ye killing Zhao Zhan with one blow is like a thunderclap in autumn. The invisible wall around Changling is a bit thicker. On another level, Bureau Chief Ye has been gone for many years. Many, including me, have doubts and suspect that Bureau Chief Ye is not trusted by His Majesty and has been exiled. Bureau Chief Ye has suddenly returned to eradicate evil elements. This shows that His Majesty has been close with Bureau Chief Ye all this time. The rumors and doubts have been disproven.”
“Minister Li does see much further than me,” the yellow-robed young person sighed.
When he said the words “Minister Li,” his expression was both one of admiration and shame.
Minister Li was a distinguished appellation.
The Qin Dynasty had two prime ministers, one Yan, the other Li.
The two prime ministers were different in their age, appearance, habits and all other areas. But they were similarly mysterious and powerful.
Their mysteriousness and power meant that the great majority of places in Changling were under their shadow. Everyone was certain they were powerful cultivators but no one had seen them act, and almost no one qualified to see their true appearances.
Truly powerful … … as in many people who were extremely strong and fear-inducing were just their faithful subordinates.
People who were too strong usually had no friends.
So in Changling, when people mentioned Minister Li or Minister Yan, the corresponding emotions were unusually reverence, fear, anger and hate, but rarely true admiration such as in the tone of this yellow-robed young person.
“Master is most likely correct. His Majesty has focused primary on cultivation in this period of time, and Minister Li is most likely in charge… … however, the Deer Mountain Conference is coming soon, and he should have more ideas to have summoned Bureau Chief Ye back,” said the yellow-robed young person after sighing and thinking for a moment.
The old person smiled in satisfaction.
In his opinion, this last student of his was not especially intelligent, but his personality was as straight and honest as the streets of Changling.
He had no natural enmity towards any person, and he would learn from each person’s attitudes.
A person like this would live long and go far in the turbulent Qin Dynasty.
It was alright if he could not see far now, if he could walk far enough, he would see more than other people.
The rare storm showed no signs of stopping. The streets of Changling accumulated a layer of water.
Ding Ning, his face wiped clean but his clothing still dirty, limped towards an alleyway where many parasol trees had been planted.
001 | 003