Chapter Thirty Five Special Case, Special Treatment
The scene of a senior sect brother and a young junior sect brother greeting each other and the sect accepting a newcomer was heartwarming.
This kind of scene caused the grey-robed swordsman to feel indescribable shock.
He knew this wine shop youth would not be ordinary, but he had not expected the other to use such a stunning performance in front of the harassment he received to resolve the problem.
Su Qin looked silently at this scene, his thoughts hidden.
The dozens of students who had blocked off the gates, led by Shen Bai, had an expression as though they had been slapped. Many of the students, who had not been so extreme in their views and appeared later, went up to congratulate Ding Ning.
But no one had expected Ding Ning to bring more shocks today.
A figure slowly appeared on a mountain path inside White Goat Cave.
This was a middle-aged man with his hair in a bun. His expression was stern yet cold. His features were in cold and sharp lines that seemed to cut his own skin.
The sword at his waist was long and narrow, the scabbard made from green bamboo and about two fingers wide. However, the length of the sword surpassed ordinary swords, and even when hanging at an angle, the tip of the scabbard almost touched the ground.
The sword hilt was longer than ordinary swords and looked to be made from the red coral from the ocean. The entire sword was crossed in front of his body, the sword hanging on the left, and the sword hilt perfectly in front of the right hand.
“Sect Uncle Daoji.”
Seeing this cold middle-aged man walking over, all the White Goat Cave disciples gathered in front of the gates felt cold all over. They bowed to him.
Li Daoji was one of the strongest people in White Goat Cave and he possessed the punishment sword. If disciples disobeyed the rules of White Goat Cave, he would determine the punishments.
“What are you all lingering here for?”
Li Doaji’s gaze did not touch other people, only focusing on Zhang Yi as he said in displeasure, “Did you even forget what the cave master ordered you to do?”
Zhang Yi stilled and then immediately reacted. He looked apologetically at Nangong Caishu and the other Green Vine Sword School students next to Ding Ning. “I did forget. Zhang Yi has come with orders to take you to the Library Cave of White Goat Cave to study.”
To the Library Cave to study?
When the White Goat Cave students learned why Nangong Caishu and the others had come, they felt helpless and humiliated.
The Holy One’s edict had been sent down. White Goat Cave was to merge with Green Vine Sword School. The Green Vine Sword School students now had opportunities to enter the Library Cave of White Goat Cave to study. Nangong Caishu’s group was the first.
Li Daoji turned and departed. He seemed to only come to remind Zhang Yi of this, yet in the moment he turned and said coldly, “Cave Master has orders for Ding Ning to also enter the Library Cave to choose records to study.”
A burst of sharp inhales.
The words caused all the White Goat Cave students in front of the gate to sink into puzzled shock.
Li Daoji seemed to think the shock wasn’t great enough. He added, “Unlimited.”
The surroundings were deathly silent.
Other than a few secret arts of the sect passed down verbally, the Library Cave of White Goat Cave contained all the scriptures that White Goat Cave possessed, including the understandings many White Goat Cave cultivators had.
Even the sect disciples would only have one chance to enter and study after half a year of study beforehand.
The Library Cave was divided into outside and inside.
The outer cave’s methods were relatively easy to understand and did not have great limitations to their cultivation. Any disciple could read and study them. The inner cave’s records were more profound, especially when the predecessors were not completely sure of their comprehension of the method. One had to test for themselves. So only disciples who reached some requirements and had merit to the sect would be allowed to enter.
A loud shout filled with many emotions broke the silence. The one who had shouted was Shen Bai. He felt this was unjust. Even he had never received permission to study in the inner cave. So while he might endure the harsh punishment of Sect Uncle Li Daoji, he could not stand it.
Yet Li Daoji did not even look back, saying softly, “Special case, special treatment.”
Shen Bai was stunned.
He could not speak.
The surrounding White Goat Cave students were almost numb from the successive shocks, but when they heard Li Daoji’s words, they felt it was logical.
Ding Ning’s performance had caused them to believe Ding Ning was able to specially enter the White Goat Cave was due to the cave master finding Ding Ning’s unique talent, and not from some secret transaction.
Since even his entry had been an exception, as it hadn’t occurred during the annual test, what was the problem in letting him be special again and enter the library cave to cultivate?
Looking at Li Daoji’s back, Ding Ning’s eyes were also filled with unusual emotion.
He once again thought of this appellation, which was extremely distant due to the difference in status.
Then he thought of that white-haired old man with a sword like a goat’s horn.
A person able to offend the empress, adding on these surprises right now … this White Goat Cave did not seem as ordinary as most of the people outside thought.
Special case, special treatment. Ding Ning followed Zhang Yi past the stone. Everything was settled. No one stopped them.
The grey-robed swordsman was still filled with shock. When he drove the carriage away, he decided to tell Wang Taixu everything that had happened here.
Zhang Yi was a considerate person. Because it was just past noon, he even ordered people to prepare some rice rolls to send to Ding Ning, Nangong Caishu and the other people who had come in the gates.
“Food is not allowed in the library cave. When it is mealtime, people will deliver food outside the cave. According to the cave master’s orders, each group from the Green Vine Sword School can study one day. As to Junior Sect Brother Ding… the cave master has no orders. Just now Sect Uncle Li Daoji also has no detailed orders. Then I think your time is unlimited. You can stay inside until you want to come out and rest.”
“I will help you arrange your residence, do not worry … as to the cultivation classes. Your time of entry is unlike the other disciples. Since the cave master said you will get special treatment, I will go ask the cave master’s opinion.”
Zhang Yi led the way and explained. Ding Ning chewed on the rice ball mixed with wild vegetables and unknown meat as he examined the true appearance of this cultivation place.
In the Qin Dynasty, the first-class sects were Min Mountain Sword Sect, and Spirit Void Sword Sect. These two sects had thousands of inner sect disciples, and tens of thousands of outer sect and part-time disciples. The thousands of inner sect disciples they had accumulated in the decades had come from all over the Qin Dynasty, and even the subordinate countries.
No other sect could compare to them in their status.
Other than these two large sects, there were more than a dozen first-class sects in the Qin Dynasty. Of them, sects like Mount Heng Sword School prospered due to the support of the local nobles. Some, such as Black Void Sword Gorge and Orthodox Unity School, had deep foundations.
White Goat Cave only accepted a few dozen students with cultivation potential each year. Of the students who graduated, there were only a rare few that could achieve above realm four first class.
White Goat Cave would also attend the Min Mountain Sword Trials. They did not have the opportunity the Holy One gave to others to go to the large sects to study. This meant that White Goat Cave had been a third-class sect before being merged into Green Vine Sword School and could not compare to the outer sect of Min Mountain Sword Sect.
However, older cultivation places would always have unique scenery.
After truly entering the gates of this White Goat Cave, Ding Ning saw all of the buildings of White Goat Cave were built on the steep cliff faces of the gorge and supported by pillars.
Almost all the stone stairs were carved by hand on the cliffs and some buildings were connected using rope bridges.
Most of the buildings were just a large door, and inside were caves.
The trees and water at the bottom of the gorge showed no signs of human activity. There were no buildings and it had its original appearance.
Evidently, the first group of White Goat Cave cultivators had lived in the caves on the cliffs of the gorge.
“Our cultivation buildings and residences are all in the caves on the cliffs. The caves are warm in winter and cold in summer. Also, the caves of White Goat Gorge have a special kind of limestone that will absorb humidity so it is not as wet. But the wings are strong sometimes. Junior Sect Brother, you are thin and unfamiliar with the paths. If you are walking alone, be careful. The stone stairs will lead to places that inner sect disciples like us can go to. All the rope bridges lead to places that tone needs special permission …” Zhang Yi explained and described the matters of White Goat Cave.
Hearing this, Ding Ning suddenly added, “Senior Sect Brother, since I get special treatment, may I return on some nights to Falling Parasol to sleep? My aunt is alone in the Falling Parasol wine shop. I can go back and help her do some things.”
Zhang Yi stilled and then answered, “If it is anyone else, definitely not. But Junior Sect Brother … I will have someone ask Sect Uncle Daoji or the cave master.”
Translator Ramblings: Thirty five chapters in and he finally takes the first step.