Sword Dynasty Volume One Chapter 24 “Parting The Mist”

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Chapter Twenty Four Parting The Mist

“What are you thinking?” Looking at Ding Ning’s faraway expression, Wang Taixu said calmly, “You doubt my words?”

“Nothing.” Ding Ning shook his head, thought for a moment, and asked, “Is there a relationship between Fish Market’s business, your Two Level Tower or Jinlintang?”

Wang Taixu stilled slightly. He did not understand why Ding Ning suddenly mentioned Fish Market but he still responded seriously, “No, that is truly upper-level business. Lower-level people like us cannot do business of such scale.”

Ding Ning looked disdainfully at Wang Taixu and said, “The person who supposedly has the majority of the gambling places and brothels is a low-level person?”

Wang Taixu shook his head. “Not so exaggerated. We just have a few fractions of the business. Also, the upper level and lower level I refer to is concerning the people who we do business with. We do business with the ordinary common people, and those of the streets. Fish Market’s business is related to the major sects, the court, the rebels and warlords. It is dangerous for us to tangle with people of such a level. Only people with great intelligence, courage, and ability can do great business like that where a dragon may pass by at any time. It’s based on one’s foundations, but has nothing to do with whether one has money or some powerful cultivators.”

“The dragons have their dragon path, the snakes have their snake path. Serpents naturally keep in the company of serpents. Even if the snake one day transforms into a serpent, if they did not accumulate enough at the start, they cannot join the pond of serpents. This is one’s foundation. So the noble youth and the common youth of Changling usually cannot mix together,” Ding Ning said seriously. “What I seem to hear is that those who can do business like that are at least people of that level of birth.”

Wang Taixu said patiently, “Those who can connect with the major sects and the people of court are naturally not ordinary people. The other gangs in Changling will not touch the business of Fish Market and do not dare to even eavesdrop. The rules of Fish Market are made by ‘Eldest Miss Shang.’ I only know that it is a woman, and an extraordinary one. However, I do not know her birth or how she got to her position.”

“As long as Jinlintang and Fish Market have no connection,” Ding Ning said calmly.

“It seems that you can really help me.” Wang Taixu misunderstood. He thought that Ding Ning was considering Fish Market’s connection as part of his considerations. His eyes shone with unusual light and he said, “Jinlintang’s primary business are horses and transportation. Other than this, they have some business on water and with the military. In terms of both wealth and foundation, they cannot compare to Two Level Tower. Maybe you do not understand … … the gang business do not have any laws, but many unspoken rules. Their actions this time ignore the rules. We have been in Changling for many years and our relations with other gangs can be considered harmonious. After investigating thoroughly, we thought of only two possibilities.”

Ding Ning’s brow raised slightly and he motioned for Wang Taixu to continue.

“One is that a dragon has suddenly come, and Jinlintang has a powerful cultivator. This has occurred before. Previously, the fight over Fengshui Pier in the north of the city was because Flying Fish Hall suddenly had some people from their home arrive. One of those coincidentally had the surname Feng and is a very powerful cultivator who had not yet become famous. In the end, Flying Fish Hall slaughtered enough of Apricot Wood Garden to the point they lost their daring.”

Wang Taixu coughed repeatedly. He waited for his breathing to calm before he said, “With such an example in front of me, I thought of a way to purposefully give them a chance to assassinate me.”

“So you became so fragile.” Ding Ning smiled slightly and said, “This is a good method … … the fights between street gangs is not like ones between cultivators. There are many ways to kill lone and strong cultivators. For example, crossbows, poison, traps, or assassination from the old and children. Right now, you are fragile but you are alive. What answers did you obtain from your test?”

“Other than some of the cultivators we are already prepared for, none of the dragons I worried about appeared,” Wang Taixu’s brow furrowed again. “So I feel there is only one possibility left. Someone in court wants our business.”

“This is very possible. Based on what you say, Jinlintang’s business is related to the water transport.” Ding Ning’s brow furrowed. “If that is the case, it is not terrible, we can fight.”

“I want to hear your opinion.” Wang Taixu was not surprised as he looked at Ding Ning and stated.

“In Changling, only Minister Li and Minister Yan do not have to consider what His Majesty the Emperor thinks. But they should not have the idle time to fight over a piece of meat like this. According to the stories about them … … if they did this, your family will either be suddenly completely executed, or they will send someone to do this.” Ding Ning looked at him and said seriously, “All other nobility will have to consider the opinions of the two ministers and His Majesty the Emperor. The cultivators of court are really the private property of His Majesty. Using the strength of the court and the cultivators to benefit oneself has always been taboo. The common people are still citizens of the Qin Dynasty. If one uses the strength of the court, and the cultivators who are the private property of His Majesty to fight, even if one is skilled, the nobility may not be able to withstand the punishment. So if a noble person from the court wants this piece of meat, it is not a terrible matter, you can still fight. The power they can impose directly is limited, and they are tied in what they can do.”

“As expected, I did not judge you wrong.” Wang Taixu’s eyes grew brighter. “What else do you need to know?”

Ding Ning asked, “I want tot know about the test that made you so fragile. What price did you make Jinlintang pay, and what actions of Jinlintang do you not understand?”

“They left behind fifty three corpses. Among them, six cultivators. Of the three from Jinlintang, only Tang Que did not appear. We killed Xu Jin and Lin Qingdie.”

“So Jinlingtang is the names of the three people?”

“Three brothers unrelated by blood. They came from the rural region from the north together to live in the streets. Jinlingtang has no other cultivators stronger than them. When they tried to assassinate me, no stronger cultivators appeared.”

Ding Ning listened to these matters about the low-level street gangs that he usually could not touch and had a difficult time understanding. He asked, “What is the cultivation of Xu Jin and Lin Qingdie that you killed? What about Tang Que?”

Wang Taixu said, “Xu Jin is realm four first class. Lin Qingdie is realm five third class. As to Tang Que, he should be realm four first class.”

“You are sure of Tang Que’s cultivation. There are no surprises?” Ding Ning said.

Wang Taixu shook his head confidently. “I am sure. The reason that he was not present was because he coincidentally was out of Changling and could not arrive in time. He does not have cultivation or status higher than the other two.”

Ding Ning nodded. “What about your losses?”

Wang Taixu looked at him. “We did not have much losses.”

Ding Ning said, “Then what did they do next?”

“Tang Que managed to persuade Fat Zhang of Thunder Rain Hall to negotiate with us,” Wang Taixu inhaled and said, “This is what I am most puzzled by. Because if it was me, I will either take who is left and flee Changling, or make one last attack by inviting some forces we do not know of. Thunder Rain Hall usually is at odds with us and want to get some business out of our hands but they usually obey the rules. The location of the negotiation is in our territory. We also made stringent demands of their people. If they do not fulfill our requirements, I will not appear.”

Ding Ning was silent for a long time and then said, “At the least, you have the benefit of location and numbers, if not the heavens. Asking another gang personage to ask for peace appears to be asking for your mercy in not killing them all. Then do they have any special demands to your people who come?”

Wang Taixu shook his head. “No.”

Ding Ning laughed. “They do not care how many people you take?”

Wang Taixu looked at him. “Since it is in our territory, we are the ones who set up the negotiation location.”

“That is the problem.”

Ding Ning looked seriously at him and said calmly, “I think I know why.”

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