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Chapter 60 Farce
Green Vine Sword School prepared a refined banquet beneficial for cultivation for the students who came to watch. The wine was made from the local Green Bodhisattva Fruit which could replenish energy and increase longevity. Rare herbs were added to the grains that were of great benefit to cultivation. One of the main dishes was Cold Serpent meat.
The Cold Serpent was an extremely rare serpent found in cold pond. Multiple cultivators realm six and above had to work together to kill one. The most valuable parts were the serpent horns and the serpent core, followed by the bones and skin. Even the meat, as it contained energies beneficial to cultivators, was a priceless product. Ordinary sects could only obtain it out of luck.
The dinner in Falling Parasol Alley was very simple. When Ding Ning pushed open the slightly ajar door to the wine shop, what welcomed him was a bowl of rice covered in pieces of preserved meat and lettuce.
This rice bowl had clearly just been made as steam was still rising.
Ding Ning looked at Zhangsun Qianxue, who was setting out the table, and gave a warm smile.
He sat down and started to eat.
“You returned earlier today than usual,” Zhangsun Qianxue looked at him and said.
Ding Ning make a sound of acknowledgement. He ate as he said, “Because tomorrow is the Green Vine Sword School’s sword trial festival.”
“Do you not find it troublesome to rush back and forth?” Zhangsun Qianxue seemed to think of something. Her soft features grew cold. “You do not need to come back everyday.”
“But if I am not here, I do not sleep well.”
Ding Ning looked at her and said seriously, “I do not find it troublesome, but Li Daoji and others do. Today, they sent three carriages to follow … so I have decided that after getting a good place in the sword trial festival, I will suggest I’ll cultivate outside most of the time in the future. This way, I will have more freedom in asking about matters.”
Zhangsun Qianxue said with a cold smile, “Even if it is a trial from a small sect, with your present strength … you should not be thinking about your place, but how to survive.”
Ding Ning said, after eating all the contents of his bowl, “The reason I want to place is because White Goat Cave is good, I really need that spirit vein to cultivate, and also because of you.”
Zhangsun Qianxue frowned slightly. “Because of me?”
Ding Ning looked at her and said, “Because the most important prize from Green Vine Sword School is the green suet jade.”
“You know that green suet jade can let cultivators accept some lifebond items better in addition to being of effect when reaching for realm four from realm three.” After a slight pause, Ding Ning said in a slightly heavier tone, “This is especially important for you.”
Zhangsun Qianxue was silent for a moment. Then she said, with almost no emotion, “You and your teacher are different people. He only knew to think of himself.”
Ding Ning was stunned.
In these years he had interacted with Zhangsun Qianxue, he had become extremely familiar with her. Unless it was a very special time, Zhangsun Qianxue would not mention that person of her own accord.
While she could not see obvious emotions on Zhangsun Qianxue’s face, he felt that Zhangsun Qianxue had different emotions in her eyes.
In this short few breaths, his body uncontrollably shook.
He recalled what today was to Zhangsun Qianxue.
There were many special days in a person’s lifetime. For example, the first meeting, the last separation … But these days that were special to a person were ones that other people would not know or remember.
Ding Ning’s body was slightly stiff. He looked at Zhangsun Qianxue and said softly, “Did that person only ever think of himself?”
“At least it was so in the eyes of others.” Zhangsun Qianxue looked at the flickering candle flame and said, “At least, in the eyes of others, he would do anything for his own philosophy.”
Deep autumn was only a short time away from the first snowfall.
Most of the tall trees in the gorge only had a few yellow leaves on their branches. When one looked down on the forest from a tall height, there were many less obstructions.
One could admire the wild chrysanthemums in the forest, and also swordsmanship.
This was a good time for viewing.
In the morning, the students of Green Vine Sword School and the students from the twenty something schools who came to watch finished washing up and waited for the arrival of White Goat Cave students.
But what interrupted the silence on the streets of Green Vine Sword School was not the carriages of White Goat Cave, but a wildly sprinting horse.
The short-haired dusty man on the horse was dressed in purple martial robes and had a fierce multicolored tiger on his chest.
Even though this rider was just dozens of meters away from the gates of Green Vine Sword School, the rider seemed to think the galloping horse was too slow. He jumped up and landed in front of the stone tablet at the gates of Green Vine Sword School in a few bounds.
Facing the numerous Green Vine Sword School students who had been waiting for the White Goat Cave students, this cold man with a weathered face said politely. “I have a matter to meet with Nangong Caishu.”
“A general from the military wants to see me?”
Nangong Caishu, who had been waiting among the group of Green Vine Sword School students, thought of a possibility the moment she heard the message. Her heart started to beat faster. She almost sprinted to the gates of Green Vine Sword School”
“Uncle Hua Qingfeng?”
Seeing the short-haired man standing by the gates, Nangong Caishu exclaimed out loud, “How come you came?”
“Your letters pressed me even more urgently than military orders from Changling!”
Looking at the shocked Nangong Caishu, this short-haired general smiled slightly and took out a jade box. He presented it to her. “This pill is very forceful. Your father fears that you will not pay enough attention if he just wrote. Coincidentally, I have military duties at Changling so he had me deliver this and tell you.”
Nangong Caishu’s breathing paused. The moment she took the jade box, her palms sweaty. “What pill medicine is this that you need to personally make a trip?”
“The Yellow Court Gold Pill of Yellow Court Pill Sect from the former Han Dynasty.” Hua Qingfeng put away his smile and said seriously, “The Yellow Court Pill Sect did not have much fame before the Han Dynasty was destroyed. Most of the pills they made were unorthodox, and unusually violent things. This Yellow Court Gold Pill is astounding in its effects of increasing cultivation. A cultivator who just entered realm two can reach the late stages of class two, Bone Washing. However, the medicine power in a pill like this is heterogeneous and becomes deeply rooted in the body. So when one reaches Vital Energy Realm, their vital energy is not so pure.”
Nangong Caishu hesitated slightly.
If cultivators had many impurities in the body that could not be expelled, this would bring along many problems. If one’s vital energy was not pure enough, it would affect production of vital energy, and lower the power of any cultivation method in an unseen manner.
“For ordinary cultivators, the disadvantages of this pill medicine is greater than its advantages. So you father had me come to see if you really had a breakthrough, or if this pill medicine is just for a trade, and not for your own use. He worries that you have become restless stuck at this point.” Hua Qingfeng looked at Nangong Caishu’s flush compliexion and his expression eased slightly. “I am reassured seeing you.”
“Ordinary cultivators …” Nangong Caishu had been hesitating but when she heard Hua Qingfeng’s words, her mood suddenly calmed.
She thought of Ding Ning’s health and how he did not much time. She thought of how Ding Ning seemed to only care about immediate matters, and not any future matters.
She did not say much. She nodded, and then opened the jade box in her hand.
She saw there was a white piece of sealed wax in the jade box. At the center of the wax piece was a yellow pill medicine the size of a cherry. It looked bouncy but also had a sense of heaviness.
This was a pill medicine that came much later than she had predicted, but was unusually on time.
Nangong Caishu and this general who watched her grow up in the army talked a few more moments. She asked about the recent situation of her parents, and spoke of her cultivation.
The general, reassured, left.
Nangong Caishu returned to the group of Green Vine Sword School students and the other spectators. She held this jade box in her hand. As time passed, she grew more excited and nervous.
Multiple carriages slowly passed through the mists in the mountain and appeared at the gates of Green Vine Sword School.
The people of White Goat Cave finally arrived.
Walking at the very front was Li Daoji.
Behind him was Zhang Yi and Su Qin.
Xue Wangxu and a dozen White Goat Cave teachers were at the end.
Ding Ning, who was not especially tall, was in the middle of a large group of White Goat Cave students. Yet numerous pairs of eyes gathered on him.
That thin and young looking youth was Ding Ning, who reached Energy Refinement in a month?
He looked so ordinary, unlike those freaks who were born with a halo of light … How could someone like this reach Energy Refinement in a month?
The noise of discussion suddenly rose.
Duanmu Lian, who was in charge of this place and carried two swords on his back, started to have an ugly expression.
This was the first time the students of White Goat Cave were entering Green Vine Sword School after White Goat Cave merging in Green Vine Sword School. In his original thinking, White Goat Cave, as the losers, would be in a submissive state.
Yet at this time, because of the cultivation Xue Wangxu displayed, because of this student who reached Energy Refinement in a month, the students of White Goat Cave came with a presence as though they were the hosts.
Di Qingmei clearly had predicted this. He had minimized the pomp and circumstance of the sword trial festival so they only waited at the back of the mountain.
White Goat Cave’s people came closer.
Xu Heshan couldn’t help but look towards Xie Rou. He didn’t know if the events of last night had reached White Goat Cave and didn’t know how Xie Rou would react now.
Yet unexpected to him, Xie Rou had a calm expression. Xie Changsheng suddenly took several steps forward, and then bowed to Ding Ning within the crowd. He said, “Greetings, Brother-in-law.”
This originally was a time with a strange atmosphere.
Xie Changsheng’s suddenly action stunned even Li Daoji.
Ding Ning naturally recognized Xie Changsheng.
However, he really did not know what had happened last night at the banquet. He was confused and looked around. Then he looked at the solemn Xie Changsheng, pointed at himself and said, “You are talking to me?”
“Of course.” Xie Changsheng looked very respectful.
An uproar rose.
Xu Heshan, Nangong Caishu and the others looked at each other in shock, and then couldn’t resist looking at Xie Rou. They thought, had brother and sister reached some agreement that they were going to seriously mention a marriage today?
Xie Rou’s face was flushed red and she didn’t appear to have made an agreement.
Ding Ning was shocked. He noticed Nangong Caishu in the crowd and looked for help towards her, wanting to understand what was happening.
“Yesterday, my elder sister swore that if you reached Energy Refinement yesterday, she will marry no one but you. So you are naturally my elder brother-in-law.” Xie Changsheng said.
“Are you joking?”
Ding Ning stilled. He wanted to laugh but couldn’t laugh. “This joke is a bit too much.”
“This is not a joke.”
A clear female voice sounded.
All the noise disappeared. This was the person of concern talking.
Everyone’s gaze gathered on Xie Rou. Even the majority of Green Vine Sword School members temporarily forgot about the sword trial festival and wanted to see how this matter would end.
Ding Ning looked dazedly at Xie Rou. He started to understand this was the elder sister Xie Changsheng spoke of, the eldest miss of the Guangzhong Xie Family.
Xie Rou’s red flush had faded from her face. Her face was white, and flashed with a porcelain-like sheen.
Xie Changsheng took a step back and retreated next to Xu Heshan and Nangong Caishu.
“What are you doing?”
Xu Heshan and Nangong Caishu whispered in his ear. They even felt that Xie Changsheng’s eyes were filled with schadenfreude.
“On purpose …”
Xie Changsheng lowered his voice. The schadenfreude spread from his eyes to his face. “The matter of marriage is not minor. Ding Ning does not know her. Even if Ding Ning agrees, she is not the one who can decide a marriage. This is a farce. Father will not agree with her actions … if this matter grows, maybe she would be called back and beaten up. Father felt that she has been reliable all these years, and has her manage me. Now, I will let Father know she is even worse, and it should not be her that manages me, but maybe she needs to get her money from me.”
Xu Heshan and Nangong Caishu immediately became speechless.
After several breaths, Nangong Caishu forced out, “So it is because you spend money mindlessly, you push your elder sister into the storm … is she your blood sister?”
“When she beat me, and stopped me from using money, I don’t know if she thought me her younger brother. For every ten times I was beat up, at least nine times, it was because she tattled to my father.” Xie Changsheng twisted his mouth. “This time, I did not make a mistake, she did it on her own. Otherwise, I would have made at least one thousand five hundred god. This way, she will remember.”
“You are younger than us, and more childish as well.” Nangong Caishu took a deep breath. She looked at him serious and said, “Lucky that I have no younger brother like you. Otherwise, I will beat you every day.”
Translator Ramblings: All that sibling rivalry …