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Chapter 57: What I Care About
As the yellow leaves made their way to the earth, a bright sun shone on the stone paths in the inner palace of Changling.
A man in yellow official robes embroidered with serpents, slowly walked to the study at the end of the stone pathway. This man looked to be in his thirties, had a radiant face, a wide forehead, and thick lips. Although of an ordinary build, he exuded a strange sense of power, an aura of great perseverance. As he walked slowly, it looked like his limbs were as strong as iron.
Several powerful and large copper puppets lined either side of the path. These puppets were battle-ready and deployed at a moment’s notice. At the other end in the study, was the empress of the Qin Dynasty, the most beautiful and powerful woman.
Any person summoned by this woman was bound to be nervous and terrified. But this man did not seem to have too much of those emotions. His gaze was constantly directed forward, and his steps steady.
The empress sat on the phoenix throne in the study. The living spring in front of her continued to give off a milky white spirit energy. The threads of spirit energy wrapped around that spirit lotuses that were as immaculate as her.
When this man slowly entered the study, she gently raised her head.
On days suchlike this, her beauty was even brighter, her eyes even more majestic.
The man in the yellow official robes stopped twenty paces from her and bowed slightly in a greeting.
To be able to enter her study, and stand twenty steps from her was a matter of honor to every official in the Qin Dynasty.
This man possessed such an honor because he was one of the most powerful generals in the dynasty’s military. He was one with almost full military service and the general of the Dragon-tiger North Army with the highest potential of becoming a marquis, Liang Lian.
“I have warned you already. Even if you want to grab that piece of meat from the streets, you cannot use those simple and crude tactics. You must be gentler and more careful.”
Without an extra word, the empress looked at Liang Lian and said, “You disappoint me greatly.”
Liang Lian was apologetic. “That was an accident.”
A tinge of coldness crept up the empress’ perfect face. “That was no accident, rather your choice. Had you not intended on killing a youth from a wine shop who has some connection to Wang Taixu , you would not have startled Wang Taixu. Even if you were not to kill the gangster immediately, he would have certainly met his end eventually.”
“If Xue Wangxu and Du Qingjiao were really so weak, they would have disappeared from Changling a long time ago. Would White Goat Cave have to be merged into Green Vine Sword School then?”
The empress looked at the silent Liang Lian and with slight disdain said, “Your desire to cut and uproot the grass so greatly that it lead you to ultimate failure.”
Liang Lian’s brow furrowed slightly. “One cuts grass to uproot them,” he said, solemnly.
“Therein lies the problem.”.
The empress looked at him, nonchalantly. “You only care about the matters ahead of you. You do not consider any of Changling’s cultivators as treasures for our dynasty. I hear that youth reached Profound Understanding in half a day and might reach Energy Refinement in a month … a youth like this might prove to be a great asset for the country in the future,” she said, slowly and icily.
“Many do not care if you want that piece of meat. You want to become a marquis, build enough power to become a marquis; everyone understands this.”
“However, your manner of handling this matter was very savage. None of this can remain a secret forever; even if Zhou Jianlin and the others are dead, and there is no proof implicating you. Yet, the impression you have left on them mean they do not require proof. In the eyes of the powers to be, ones can affect your future, Zhou Jianlin and that youth are no different. They are all cultivators of our dynasty. Even if they were to die, they should die on the battlefield, and not in schemes like this.”
The empress shook her head and then spoke in slightly common language. “Changling is so large … the Qin Dynasty has such vast territories. My Qin does not fear people fighting for meat. There is so much meat. Even if some more were to join the fight, they cannot finish it all. We only fear our people killing each other. Your attitude in dealing with your subordinates, your viciousness, will turn many a hearts cold, make them fear and be wary of you. You should understand that many have deeper scruples about you.”
“Perhaps, I was wrong. But most of the time, I am working for you and your family.” Liang Lian looked at her steadily. “Will I have a chance in the future?” he asked, softly.
The empress had averted her gaze from him. She stared at the spirit lotuses in the spring in front of her and nodded slightly. “Of course, there are chances. For example, the Lonely Mountain Sword Hoard, or that Nine Death Silkworm.”
Liang Lian said nothing else. He respectfully bowed and took leave.
When Liang Lian’s figure had disappeared from the path outside, a young imperial son, about the same age as Ding Ning appeared from the curtain behind the empress. His features were quite alike the empress’; extremely delicate, and almost androgynous. He appeared overly soft. However, his eyes were especially lively as though he was curious about everything.
“That wine shop youth, who had never cultivated before, reached Profound Understanding in half a day, and even managed to kill a military cultivator of higher cultivation than him. Are there any issues with his identity?” This imperial son appeared behind the empress was quite excited.
The empress seemed to have great affection for him and showed a rare smile. Her voice turned exceptionally soft. “If there were any, Fang Xiumu and the Divinity Bureau would have unearthed them a long time ago. Also, regardless of whether there are, you do not need to spare any thoughts over people like him.”
“Because you are not like others, Fusu. You are my son, the future crown prince of the Qin Dynasty,” she said, softly, with a smile. “You do not need to involve in minutiae. Even if he can reach Energy Refinement in a month, for Changling and the people in your position, he is but as small as an ant. You have only to look at the bigger picture, pay attention to and observe those who are already high enough. If you can understand how to interact with these people of high status in Changling, you will be able to establish yourself.”
“Like that Li Lingjun.” A slight smile of disdain appeared on her perfect face. “He is accomplished, and stands high enough. Yet he always has to do everything himself. Of course, with his abilities, if he looks over all minor matters, those matters would be dealt with more efficiently. But a person’s energies are limited. And if one is tired, one cannot handle everything with flair and ease.”
“Thank you Mother Empress for your reminder. This son-subject will ponder over these words.”
This imperial son laughed. “But if this person really reaches Energy Refinement Realm in a month and in a place like White Goat Cave, this son-subject will be persuaded,” he said, childishly,
“Sometimes, it is better to be persuaded.”
The empress’ smile disappeared. “Do not be like Liang Lian. Because he is not convinced, he has an obsession.” She pointed out clearly.
The imperial son became serious. “General Liang is talented. Mother-empress, if you have the time, do remind him a few times so that he will not make mistakes.”
The empress looked at his lively and innocent eyes. She smiled slightly.
Among the many imperial sons, only Fusu who had a kind persona, would say something like this. However, being too kind was the greatest weakness for the majority of the people. But for the future ruler of the Qin Dynasty, in the future Changling, being kind was the best merit.
But being overly benevolent, was just a woman’s virtue.
“You have to listen to Minister Yan’s lectures more often. He will teach you more on how to interact with people,” she said, seriously.
On the mountain paths outside Green Vine Sword School, numerous voices were commanding the horses.
Several carriages had driven in from various paths. If they did not steer clear from one another, a few could have even been shoved off the paths. As these carriages arrived, more appeared on the distant paths.
Perhaps, they found evading one another troublesome, some alighted and continued on foot towards the gates of Green Vine Sword School.
The arrivals were the students of cultivation places in Changling on good footing with Green Vine Sword School. Of course, they were here to spectate the annual sword trial festival.
For these schools who shared a good rapport with one another, such an opportunity to mutually appreciate served as a good chance to observe and learn. However, the number of people who could benefit from this was limited. Only the most exceptional students of the schools could qualify.
Since there were multiple occasions to meet each year, and some even had personal friendships, as the students made their way in, the usually peaceful Green Vine Sword School gates was bustling with activity..
Xu Heshan of Pine Sword Academy and Xie Changsheng of White Cloud Monastery were among the attendees.
However, among these talents from various counterparts, the most notable was Gu Xichun of Shadow Mountain Sword Cave.
Shadow Mountain Sword Cave and Green Vine Sword School were relatively stronger among these cultivation places. Gu Xichun was known as the student who had advanced the fastest in the last few decades in Shadow Mountain Sword Cave. He had reached Profound Understanding in a month, and realm two, Energy Refinement Realm, in three.
If one were to ignore those rare freaks, such speed, in all of Changling, was shocking.
At this time, the star student of Shadow Mountain Sword Cave was dressed in a crisp green brocade robe. He had strong sharp brows, thin lips and a straight nose. Standing among the crowd, as he talked, just his posture made him look like a crane among chickens.
The more exceptional youth were, the prouder they usually were.
Hearing his good friends discuss how White Goat Cave and Green Vine Sword School had merged together so the former would attend the sword trial festival tomorrow, and that youth who had reached Profound Understanding in half a day and could reach Energy Refinement in one month, he smiled unconcernedly and said, “Profound Understanding in half a day, perhaps he had detected the presence of the energy sea by sheer luck. But from realm one to realm two, the comprehension of the energy refinement methods has no shortcuts. One cannot say if one has reached Profound Understanding quickly, they would reach realm two quickly too. They say that he might have a breakthrough in a month, but the rumors of that breakthrough are yet to arrive. This proves that it cannot be as fast. This is just a beautiful dream of White Goat Cave.”
Hearing him speak, someone, half-jokingly said, “Gu Xichun, do you feel this wine shop youth cannot do it simply because you could not do it?”
“You think I am jealous?” Gu Xichun’s smile disappeared instantly. He was not angry though. “I do not care about these matters. I only care about the great trial of the Min Mountain Sword Sect,” he said, seriously.
Translator Ramblings: Look, we got another historical character. Fusu, the eldest son of the Qin Emperor, who committed suicide.