Chapter Seventeen That Cloud Pattern
The Qin people had direct personalities and fiery tempers. Fighting with swords for a minor disagreement was commonly seen. Yet how could the common people fight on a matter between two dynasties? This kind of conflict disappeared when tempers cooled. No one took them seriously. It would still be as usual.
Ding Ning did the same thing he did everyday. When he had free time, he would roam around Changling, and then cultivate at night before opening the shop in the early morning.
The weather turned colder. Ding Ning knew that autumn passed quickly in Changling. As the frost on the doors thickened in the mornings, one could count on the fingers for when the first snows would arrive.
Just after morning, Ding Ning finished eating a bowl of noodles and intestine. He washed the bowl that only he used. A group of students dressed in bright robes walked out of an alleyway as they chatted and laughed.
Looking at the student’s robe patterns, Ding Ning’s eyes lit up.
He raised his head and looked at the sky above the parasol trees already void of their leaves. He lamented mentally, “It really has come?”
The sword was the primary weapon of the Qin Dynasty cultivators.
The territories of the Qin Dynasty had been conquered by the cultivators slicing their way through the years of war.
After the Zhao Sword Furnace disappeared, the Qin Dynasty’s Min Mountain Sword Sect and the Spirit Void Sword Sect were unanimously the strongest sword cultivating sects in the world.
The two sword sects were very strict in how they accepted and taught their disciples. They would open be open on some scheduled days to accepting students and let their disciples leave the mountains. If disciples could not cultivate to a certain realm, they could only stay in the sect their entire lives to avoid being killed by others with a blow when they left the mountain. That would stain the reputation of the two sword sects.
Other than these two sects, there were hundreds of famed sword schools in Changling. With Min Mountain Sword Sect and Spirit Void Sword Sect as examples, these cultivating places naturally were strict on their disciples. Most cultivation places only let their disciples freely travel outside when they had realm three cultivation or higher. Those students, who were far from realm three, were only allowed to roam and play outside the school on rare holidays.
This group of students who appeared like birds flying out of the cage had different patterns on their robes and different swords. They clearly belonged to different sword schools. However, they were good friends so they were together.
Among these students, several students all had cloud patterns on their plain satin robes. Ding Ning’s gaze flickered around those cloud patterns.
People that could join the sword schools were the best young geniuses of Changling. The ones that could stay in the end were certain to become cultivators. Also, those that were so joyful and at ease on a school holiday naturally were the best of the schools. The students who did not cultivate and advance quickly would not dare to relax even on holidays. They would be working furiously in order to get ahead.
The person walking at the front of the group was a tall youth with stern features and walked with a predatory lean. This was the fifth young master of Nan City Xue Establishment, Xu Heshan.
The Nan City Xue Establishment was a major family from Guanzhong 1 in the previous dynasty and had produced many great generals who were ennobled with a thousand households. They could be considered to have a great foundation, and they had not weakened like many other families after the new policies in the first year of Yuanwu.
This generation of Xu Establishment members were all very accomplished. Other than a ninth young master who was ill from childhood and was unable to cultivate, all other members joined different cultivation places.
This Xue Heshan cultivated in Pine Sword Academy. Among the students of similar age, he did not have a match.
There was also a youth dressed in plain satin robes and a young girl dressed in purple satin robes who also had extraordinary backgrounds.
That youth dressed in plain satin robes looked only about thirteen or so. His figure was mid-sized. While his features were young, they were filled with pride, and he also had cloud patterns on his sleeves. This youth was Xie Changsheng. The Xie Family was a tycoon from Zhongnan 2. His mother was from a prestigious family of Zhongshan 3 from the Wei Dynasty. Before the Qin and Wei dynasties started fighting, his mother had urged many of her paternal family in Zhongshan to come to Changling and cut their ties with the Wei Dynasty. The Xie Family was able to possess a position in Changling because of that unusually farsighted decision.
As to the purple robed young girl, this was Nangong Caishu. They were new nobility in Changling. Her father was a general that was station at Lishi Commandery. Lishi Commandery was the biggest city nearest the Zhao Dynasty. Usually, generals that were stationed at such places were the Emperor’s most trusted subjects.
While they were talented young people who had good friendships, their family statuses were different. When they talked, the other people were always slightly wary or restrained. Out of worry of offending these three people, they deliberately maintained a certain distance from the trio. Consequently, the space around the three was much bigger than anyone else.
These three did not detect it. At the front, Xu Heshan had a smile and spoke eloquently. When he saw the wine flag up ahead, he turned slightly and see to the young people around him, “This should be the store. I hear that they are illogical in their wine-making, terrible, but the female storeowner is beautiful so their business is good. Today, I want to see if the rumors are true.”
Xie Changsheng was young, but grinned when hearing this. He said, “If that is the case, how about you ask your father to first confirm this marriage, take her as a concubine to avoid other people getting there first?”
The surrounding youths laughed. The young girl, Nangong Caishu, in purple satin robes, frowned in distaste. Looking at Xu Heshan and Xie Changsheng, she sneered coldly and said, “I fear that if it is the case, Brother Xu’s father will have another concubine in the end.”
Xu Heshan immediately had an awkward expression. His father’s appetites were well known. He already had nine concubines.
Because it was a rare day for relaxation, these youths were all in good moods. Amidst the laughter, Xu Heshan, who walked at the front, finally stepped into this nameless wine shop in Falling Parasol Alley.
Ding Ning calmly looked at Xu Heshan who stepped over the doorway.
Xu Heshan looked around and then at Ding Ning who had not come to welcome him. He thought, the environment of the wine shop was the same as the rumors said. He smiled harmoniously, looked at Ding Ning and asked, “Young Proprietor, are you the only person in here?”
Ding Ning looked at these talented youths of Changling and said directly, “Did you come to drink or to see my aunt?”
Seeing Ding Ning react so, these Changling youths first stilled, and then realized that the other must have seen this often. Their anticipation immediately rose.
The young looking Xie Changsheng was the most experienced. He smiled. “So what if we are drinking or wanting to see your aunt?”
Ding Ning said neutrally, “If you want to drink, follow the rules, come here to pay and find a seat. If you want to see my aunt, not unless all the wine out here has been sold.”
“This is interesting.”
The crowd laughed.
“No wonder business is so good. I hope that this will not be a disappointment.” Xie Changsheng shook his head and smiled. He casually took out a coin from his robe and threw it onto the table.
The coin landed gently on the table, yet the youths behind Xie Changsheng were astounded inside.
This was a mica knife coin.
“If I am not disappointed, I will reward you with this mica knife coin.” Xie Changsheng casually said this, causing the young people around him to feel the indiscernible difference between them and him.
Nangong Caishu’s brow immediately furrowed deeply. Even though the Xie Family was one of the wealthiest families from Guangzhong, she was still displeased by Xie Changsheng’s conduct.
Even if he could shock this common youth right now, Xie Changsheng did not consider that most people might may not even use a mica knife coin in a year.
Those in the right have more support, those in the wrong are alone. Sometimes, it was these accidentally actions that caused people to feel great disparity.
Yet at this time, a calm voice sounded. “If you want wine, get it yourself.”
Nangong Caishu stilled.
She looked dazedly at Ding Ning as though she wanted to see something from Ding Ning’s face.
Everyone else was shocked.
Xie Changsheng did not expect this answer. He raised his head and looked in displeasure at Ding Ning, saying, “Can we just buy and not drink? One needs to know how to be flexible in business. Can you not move out a few more jars?”
Ding Ning immediately shouted towards the inner courtyard. “Auntie.”
Xie Changsheng stilled at such a swift response.
Xu Heshan and the others exchanged smiles. They all felt Ding Ning was interesting. The curtain that closed off the inner courtyard swayed gently, and Zhangsun Qianxue came out holding a jar of wine.
All the youths, including Xu Heshan, Xie Changsheng, and Nangong Caishu, felt their hearts jump when they saw Zhangsun Qianxue for the first time. This was a great shock than seeing the elders of the sword academy display their strength.
They were completely stunned. They did not believe there was such a debasingly beautiful woman in a place like Falling Parasol.
Xie Changsheng’s lips opened slightly. He, who usually threw money around, could not speak.
Zhangsun Qianxue looked at him with very cold eyes. His hands felt icy. However, all he thought about was how beautiful a woman like this would be when she smiled.
Bam. Zhangsun Qianxue put the jar onto the counter in front of Ding Ning.
Xu Heshan’s heart jumped as well and he came back.
Everything was as Ding Ning had imagined. However, at this time, his expression changed slightly.
The sound of hooves sounded. A carriage was slowly coming from one end of the alley.
- Sword Dynasty Volume Five Chapter 13 “What Should Happen”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Five Chapter 12 “Fear of Defeat”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Five Chapter 11 “Yin River Fire”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Five Chapter 10 “Splashes”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Five Chapter 9 “The Path Forward”
- Guanzhong is a plain area intersected by the Wei River and historically a very fertile land surrounded by natural barriers on all sides, making this area easy to defend. The name means “in the passes” and is a reference to its mountain passes. ↩
- Zhongnan is a mountain range that is a part of the Qin mountain range. The name means “central south,” and the naming might stem from the fact the Wei River valley is to the north of these mountains. ↩
- This is not the same Zhongshan city as the modern one in the Pearl Delta. ↩