Chapter Forty One Qingmei’s Intentions
Falling Parasol was very quiet, with only the occasional barks of dogs echoing in the alleyway.
Ding Ning pushed open the wooden door to the wine shop and entered the unlit shop.
The furniture in the wine shop were the same as always yet Ding Ning’s brows quickly furrowed deeply. His heart felt threads of coldness.
Previously, when he and Zhangsun Qianxue had talked here and cultivated here, they appeared to be unguarded most of the time. That was because he knew in Changling, except for a few people, Zhangsun Qianxue would feel any person who walked into the alley.
And if those rare few walked into this alley, then being on guard or not did not make a difference.
But Zhangsun Qianxue did not walk out of the backyard this time. He also could not feel Zhangsun Qianxue’s presence … Zhangsun Qianxue was not in the wine shop.
The reason he had to return was out of fear something would happen to Zhangsun Qianxue.
For the past several years, he and Zhangsun Qianxue had become used to each other’s existence.
Zhangsun Qianxue’s cultivation was enough to kill countless people of his strength, yet this was Changling. Even the strongest cultivator had multiple possibilities of being killed.
She was as blank as a white piece of paper on how to live in Changling and move around it.
Ding Ning lifted the cloth to the back of the year. His heart felt colder.
Zhangsun Qianxue was not inside. Where had she gone?
Ding Ning stood motionlessly in the backyard. After several dozen breaths, he silently walked into the kitchen on the side and started to cook noodles.
When the water started to boil and the noodles were put in, Ding Ning saw his hands were trembling minutely.
He could not see his own expression but he was sure even under the warmth of the fire, his face was ashen pale.
He knew that at this time in Changling, he had a weakness.
Zhangsun Qianxue was his greatest weakness.
Nothing could happen to her.
So he lit up the fire and hoped that in the darkness, Zhangsun Qianxue could see the sparks coming from the smoke here, and understand that he had returned.
The white noodles floated up in the boiling water.
He did not add any seasoning. He fished the noodles into his large crude porcelain bowl and started to eat.
While he ate noodles in soup with a thick soy sauce each morning at the shop door, he was most used to the taste of noodles without any seasoning.
The noodle soup was hot but listening to the clear sounds of wind in the streets, his heart grew colder.
If Zhangsun Qianxue left now, how long would he have to spend to find her once again?
Hs features looked so young among the steam rising from the bowl, but his expression was filled with endless worry.
Suddenly, the steam rising from the bowl twisted.
Ding Ning suddenly lifted his head.
Zhangsun Qianxue seemed to appear out of thin air in front of him.
“You …” Ding Ning stood up. He thought he could not control himself from shouting yet when he saw her calm and clear eyes, his heart immediately softened. He said hoarsely, “You … where did you go?”
Zhangsun Qianxue frowned slightly.
She could see Ding Ning’s concern for her in his eyes. But there were some emotions other than concern that she did not like.
Ding Ning took a deep breath and quickly calmed. He looked at her and said, “You promised me you will not …”
“Just an accident.” Zhangsun Qianxue interrupted him before he finished speaking.
She glanced at him and said, “You said that Cloud Water Palace’s people may have obtained an important clue to the Lonely Mountain Sword Hoard.”
Ding Ning’s body tensed and he grew nervous. “You found members of Cloud Water Palace?”
Zhangsun Qianxue said coolly, “Should be.”
Ding Ning was more nervous and asked, “Did you fight?”
Zhangsun Qianxue said, “I only noted down that person’s presence and appearance.”
Ding Ning immediately sighed in relief, his body relaxing as well.
Each dynasty would always have some great sects in their vast lands, and some great people.
The Cloud Water Palace of the Wei Dynasty had died decades ago but was still remembered by each person in Qin. Greatness could be used to describe this sect.
While Cloud Water Palace had not produced so many terrifying people at a grandmaster level like the Zhao Sword Furnace, Cloud Water Palace had produced a mysterious and powerful Bai Shanshui.
The cultivators of the major dynasties were certain Bai Shanshui of Cloud Water Palace had passed realm six and become a cultivator of realm seven at the time of the Wei Dynasty’s defeat.
Decades had passed, yet no one had heard of Bai Shanshui having deeds as famous as the disciples of Sword Furnace who slaughtered a city with a blow. However, all knew he was still alive.
Being able to live well when chased by the armies and the cultivators of Qin meant he was stronger than before.
Bai Shanshui was not an enemy that he and Zhangsun Qianxue could face right now.
“Ignore this matter. I will investigate it.” Ding Ning thought for a moment, drank the remaining soup and said seriously as he washed the bowls, “The Astrology Bureau and the Divinity Bureau will put all their forces to pursuing Cloud Water Palace’s people as the matter concerns the Lonely Mountain Sword Hoard. Before Bai Shanshui finally appears, the best course of action for us is to silently observe this matter. Otherwise, if we are dragged in, we will not benefit at all.”
“I will describe that person to you.”
Zhangsun Qianxue thought for a moment and nodded in agreement of Ding Ning’s words. Then she turned and headed towards the bedroom. “I will wait on the bed for you.”
The ambiguous words were still as cold as always when she said it, even carrying a kind of murderousness. Yet Ding Ning’s body finally started to warm up as he looked at her back.
The night was cold in the mountains.
There was a group of green buildings on a hill not far from White Goat Gorge.
These buildings had originally been built out of grey stone. However, because of the green vines that wrapped around the outside for many years, they appeared green in the darkness.
The deepest green building which was covered by countless sword marks and the grand carpets woven from the best wool caused the entire building to appear warm in the coldness of fall.
A tall and thin old man with his grey and white hair coiled up with a green jade hairpin looked extremely clean. Even his fingernails were manicured.
His brows were slightly green, his eyes half-lidded, and his expression was calm but authoritative.
He was the principal of Green Vine Sword School, Di Qingmei.
At this time, he was looking at a note in his hand, a cold and disdainful smile at the corner of his mouth.
“Du Qingjiao and Xue Wangxu of White Goat Cave are muddle-headed, and have been stubborn all this time. Even after seeing the bloody matters of the first year of Yuanwu, they still do not know to regret and change. Now they have joined our Green Vine Sword School, the old fool Xue Wangxu thought of such a move. Since the two sects have merged into one, the Green Vine Sword School students and White Goat Cave students are the same. Thus the White Goat Cave students can attend our sword trial festival. They are scheming for our green suet jade.”
Di Qingmei sat facing a middle-aged man in green robes carrying two swords on his back.
This green-robed middle-aged person was his own true student so far, Duanmu Lian.
Hearing the authoritative old man’s scorn, Duanmu Lian’s brow furrowed slightly. He said, “Then, Master, will you consent to his request?”
“Of course I will.”
The authoritative old man sneered, “If I do not consent to a request like this from him, how can I reverse the situation and scheme after his spirit vein?”
“Spirit vein?” Light flashed through Duanmu Lian’s eyes.
“Du Qingjiao and Xue Wangxu are two fools. Before the empress stated her intentions, they damaged the White Goat spirit vein and split it into three. They think they can protect their spirit vein like that?
Di Qingmei smiled coldly. “The empress finally managed to find a mistake there, and gave White Goat Cave to us. If we let them keep those three spirit veins, will the empress be happy with us?”
“Xue Wangxu wants to leave those three spirit veins for the people of White Goat Cave. We cannot let him accomplish this.”
Di Qingmei looked at Duanmu Lian and said slowly, “Respond to Xue Wangxu for me. Tell him I will allow his request. But the three spirit springs will be used by Green Vine Sword School and White Goat Cave together. Only those who qualify can use them. So they will also be rewards for the sacrificial sword trials, and to be used by the victors of the sword trial festival.”
Duanmu Lian thought for a moment and said, “Master’s plan is good. Yet Zhang Yi and Su Qin of White Goat Cave’s students cannot be underestimated. Both from their time of entry and their age, they qualify to attend the sword trial festival.”
“Since you fear that our inner disciples cannot defeat them, think of a way to make them become one of ours.” Di Qingmei glanced at him and said, “I heard that Zhang Yi is very conservative and pedantic, but Su Qin is a talent and one at odds with Zhang Yi.”
Duanmu Lian’s eyes lit up slightly. He stood up and bowed to this authoritative old man who had the power of Green Vine Sword School. He said, “This disciple understands.”