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Chapter 10 Changes Over Plans
As time passed and the winter grew stronger, the scenery in the Ba Commandery was completely different from Changling. One could see fields plowed out of the low hills. There were small towns everywhere, but no large cities. The tall peaks of the Ba Mountains stood like giants, shoulder to shoulder, but up until now, those places were unpopulated.
A thousand years ago, there were a few cultivators in the world. The cultivators who were able to comprehend or had some power were called earth immortals or sword immortals by ordinary people. Those people used the spirit veins in the mountains to cultivate. They were depicted as eating wind and clouds and left behind endless legends.
As the countries gradually grew stronger as dynasties, and the Qin Dynasty and Ba Mountain Sword Field prospered, the Ba Mountains area increased in population. However, the spirit veins in the Ba Mountains had been broken for hundreds of years. The ancient cultivation places had already disappeared for many years as though eliminated by natural selection.
The Ba Mountain Sword Field fell in that storm before the Yuanwu Emperor’s ascension. Compared to Changling, the capital, with many cultivators, the Ba Commandery area had very few cultivators. Ordinary people’s understanding of cultivators was about the same as before. They felt that cultivators were immortals who ate clouds and drank mist.
So Xue Wangxu only had to slightly display his power along the journey and could easily get the best horses, thus traveling faster.
On this day, when Ding Ning lifted the curtain, hardened by ice, he saw a military post city composed of thousands of wooden towers built along the mountains.
He knew this was Lian Outpost. Before the Ba Mountains was set up as a commandery and military stationed here, this area had been one of the largest gathering places for people of the Ba Mountains.
After passing here, and then a canyon, there was a valley within which Zhushan District was located.
As Ding Ning followed Xue Wangxu to Zhushan, in the Warden’s Office relay station in the Changling suburbs, Wang Taixu and Yu Gu were in the midst of a negotiation.
Yu Gu’s gaze stayed on the plum tree in the courtyard most of the time. His expression was still authoritative and cold and his mind was truly calm. He knew, based on the progress of the past days, this negotiation with the Warden’s Office must finish as early as possible today.
“It is cold. If the matter of clothing and armor suddenly changes hands, it would be delayed.”
Wang Taixu’s gaze also lingered on the plum tree. He slowly said, “So General was correct in your words before. Two Level Tower can give up the clothing and armor business, but we must have the warehouse business. In addition, I have heard that many prisons in Changling have not been fixed up for a long time. The inmates also need clothes for the winter, and help with some hardships. I think that General can decide if Two Level Tower can do these things?”
Yu Gu suddenly turned around.
His sharp eyes were directed at Wang Taixu. He said, “You are serious?”
This was completely beyond his expectations. The repair of prison buildings, the food, clothing, and bedding, and some other matters also had great benefits, but how could it compare to the shocking profit in the clothing and armor of the military?
Wang Taixu smiled slightly and said, “While I am just a common person and cannot send commands like General, I am true to my word.”
Yu Gu glanced at him and immediately misunderstood. With slight mockery, he said, “If you have the prisons, if Two Level Tower’s people were to enter in the future, I think they will receive great care. Even if they are innocent scapegoats, they will have a much more comfortable time in there. But the other gangsters of Changling would have to first think about what days their people would have in there if they were to oppose you … Wang Taixu, your move of advancing by retreating will mean you offend the Warden’s Office less. You will be able to gain more territory when fighting those powerful gangsters. Your plan is very good.”
Wang Taixu smiled again. He bowed humbly and said, “Thank you, General Yu, for the consent.”
Yu Gu’s expression turned slightly cold.
Of course he had not agreed, but Wang Taixu knew he would! He would agree because having the Judicial Office give up some interests was a minor matter to the Warden’s Office. What Wang Taixu demanded did not touch the Warden’s Office’s bottom line. He could be said to be giving the Warden’s Office a lot of face.
But on both the battlefield and in politics, he disliked and was wary of people who were too smart and saw through the thoughts of others.
So in this moment, the genuine bloodlust in eyes was justified.
“While I can satisfy some of your demands this time, you are a smart person and should know that the situation will change after this period.” Yu Gu breathed deeply and slowly exhaled. He continued in a cool voice. “After this winter, it will be best if you settle down.”
Wang Taixu had not straightened up from his bow. “I will remember General’s teaching.” He said, respectfully.
Yu Gu was silent.
This negotiation which had been going on for a long time now had finally settled.
Wang Taixu was very humble in words and stance, but he knew when this person walked out of the relay station, accompanied by the promise and cooperation of the military, Wang Taixu’s Two Level Tower would quickly force dozens of gangs who relied on these business into a corner or a merger. .
Two Level Tower, which already was powerful, would become an enormous being that none of the other gangsters could rival except for that underground ruler of Fish Market.
It was only half a day from Lian Outpost to Zhushan District so after asking for Ding Ning’s opinion, Xue Wangxu and Ding Ning did not rest in Lian Outpost and continued to travel after a meal.
“We will soon reach Zhushan District. Do you have any plans?” Ding Ning rubbed his knees that were discomforted due to long periods of sitting as he asked Xue Wangxu.
He himself was always a person with plans.
For example, when to kill Song Shenshu, when to appear before Xie Changsheng and the others, when to reach the cultivation level that would enable him to join a cultivation place like Min Mountain Sword Sect. He had many plans and backups.
He would methodically continue to do these things.
After joining Min Mountain Sword Sect, he could obtain the Heaven Replenishing Divine Art that could work with the Nine Death Silkworm so he would not prematurely age, have a faster cultivation speed, and be strong in each realm.
After obtaining the Heaven Replenishing Divine Art, he could find those people on the wall based on his cultivation, and deal with them.
However, Song Shenshu’s secrets had disrupted his plan, and he had to have some matters advance in lockstep.
The Feng Family of Zhushan District was originally in some of his first plans.
“Feng Qianzhuo is like the local lord in Zhushan, Ding Ning, especially as he is a powerful cultivator. The locals here like to think of him like a deity that can protect this area.” Xue Wangxu looked at Ding Ning and explained. “He most likely enjoys this kind of reverence. So each year during the temple festival, he makes an appearance and lights incense, donates some wealth and say some words. If I challenge him in public then, he should not be able to find an excuse to refuse.”
Ding Ning said, “In any other place of our dynasty, everyone respects the brave and the strong. They will admire both sides of a public duel like this. But in Zhushan District, you challenging him at a time like this will incur disdain.”
“If I win, it would not be hate, but fear.” Xue Wangxu said with slight mockery.
“Even though you are certain he has not reached realm seven, some of the tactics of the Ba Mountain Sword Field are unique” Ding Ning said calmly.
“Of course I will be careful.” Xue Wangxu took the water bag and sipped the lukewarm water. He looked seriously at Ding Ning. “But you … you said you want to overpower all the young geniuses in Min Mountain Sword Trials. What plans do you have? I have not seen you practice the sword on this trip. Have you already comprehended the two sword manuals you picked?”
Ding Ning hesitated slightly and then nodded.
Xue Wangxu almost choked on his water. He started to cough violently.
Ding Ning glanced at him and then swiped his fingers casually in the air a few times.
It was just a few simple motions, but there seemed to be unique things forming in the air.
Xue Wangxu stopped coughing but he tore off a few more strands of his beard. The water from the open waterbag splashed on his chest.
“I know these sword manuals are difficult to other people, but they are simple to me.” Ding Ning looked calmly at him and said softly, “So according to my plan, I just have to enter Vital Energy Realm before Min Mountain Sword Trials. To be safe, I have to reach at least Vital Energy Realm second class.”
“I have never seen a freak like you in the past.” Xue Wangxu whistled softly after a long moment. He slowly said, “I really want to see those two freaks from Min Mountain Sword Sect and Spirit Void Sword Sect. I want to see how they are different from you.”
“Originally, I thought that the Wildfire Sword Manual was not difficult enough, but you are like this with these two sword manuals … it appears I do not understand enough about you.”
Xue Wangxu’s shock faded but his brow furrowed slightly. He asked softly, “Are these two enough? Some people might cultivate more powerful sword manuals in the Min Mountain Sword Trials.”
Ding Ning shook his head. “There is no strongest sword manual in the world, only stronger people.”
Translator Ramblings: Wang Taixu is a great partner.