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Chapter 11: The Attitude of the Feng Family
Xue Wangxu’s shout was something like a laugh and a scold.
“But good spirit.” Then he added, emotionally. “I remember that that person had said something like this as well.”
Ding Ning’s eyes flickered. After a moment’s thought, he said, “I want to hear your views on that person.”
“It seems that while you are young, you’ve also heard the story of that person.” Xue Wangxu’s expression grew serious. He looked at Ding Ning. “Before His Majesty ascended the throne, someone else had asked me for my opinion of that person. My reply was that I cannot evaluate that person because I do not qualify. Also, I would not speak of that person with anyone because I know His Majesty is wise and powerful. His Majesty is able to make the Qin Dynasty more powerful and prosperous. The cultivation sects of Changling need a powerful and more prosperous Qin Dynasty in order to survive in the world,” he said gravely.
“By now, everything has turned into stories,” Xue Wangxu slowly said, “so I will still not assess these past stories in front of you. Other than this reason, I also do not wish to have my feelings and thoughts influence you. You have a long road in Changling to walk. If you walk bearing some special emotions … this path will only grow harder.”
Voices sounded outside the carriage.
Ding Ning lifted the curtain and looked out. He saw more passersby on the road. Some were street vendors with push carts, others, clearly those visiting their relatives and friends because of this temple festival. They were all dressed in new clothing. Some were devout worshippers carrying many offerings ready to pay tribute to the deities and buddhas. 1
“I remember reading this in a book. They said that cultivation is divided into several major realms. First is to see the mountains and rivers, then the heaven and earth, then oneself, and then all the people.”
Ding Ning looked at the passersby. “Those that want to cultivate to a high level have to be able to see others but not be influenced by them. Do you think that this is correct?” He said, softly.
Xue Wangxu stilled. His brow furrowed deep as he thought intently for a minute before he solemnly said, “What kind of book did you read?”
Ding Ning shook his head. “I forget, likely a storybook.”
“It seems correct.” Xue Wangxu’s brow remained locked. He thought for a moment and sighed. “Pity. Even if I have heard of such a thing in my early years, I would not hold any special feelings before I reached realm seven. Now, I do not have enough time to ponder over and affirm if there is true meaning in this.”
They followed the government road through a natural canyon. In front of the carriage was a plain with slow moving streams. The farmlands gradually turned sparse, as more courtyards came into view.
Accompanied by a low shout from the road station, they formally entered Zhushan District.
“People from Changling?”
The soldiers who were making the inspection stilled when they saw Ding Ning and Xue Wangxu’s transit documents. Next they were shocked when they saw Xue Wangxu’s birth date, and his status in White Goat Cave.
The leader of the soldiers did not even ask a question before quickly letting them through.
Yet, just after they entered Zhushan District and found an inn with empty rooms, a steward dressed in blue brocade robes appeared in front of them before they could even finish drinking a pot of hot tea.
This middle-aged steward with a clear face bowed towards Xue Wangxu and Ding Ning who were sitting in a corner of the hall. His words held unusual respect. “This one is Feng Futang, a steward of the Feng Family. We did not know of Cave Master Xue’s arrival and have not welcomed you properly.”
The Feng Family had learned of his arrival rather quickly from the gates of the city and managed to respond this quickly. This showed how much power the Feng Family commanded in Zhushan District. Xue Wangxu just smiled unconcernedly and said, “My relationship with the Feng Family is not good at all. No need for such courtesy.”
“Cave Master Xue has a noble status. The Feng Family is the host and should fulfill the duties of a host.” Feng Futang’s expression did not waver. With unusual humbleness, he said, “This inn is unremarkable. If Cave Master Xue doesn’t mind, this one can arrange a courtyard for Cave Master Xue.”
Xue Wangxu smiled slightly and said, “No need. The worst inn is much more comfortable than my small stone temple.”
“Why has Cave Master Xue come this long way to Zhushan District, if …” Feng Futang said, humbly.
Xue Wangxu took a drink of tea and interrupted his polite words. “No need for such trouble. I only came with my student to gain experience and cultivate in the Ba Mountains. I am coincidentally passing through Zhushan District and will leave at noon tomorrow.”
Feng Futang’s voice grew even humbler. “Tomorrow is coincidentally the festival for the kitchen god and it is very lively. Our Feng Family has received the empress’ concern and she has bestowed upon us a painting. Cave Master Xue is knowledgeable and must know that Her Highness is skilled in both calligraphy and painting. She is a great cultivator skilled in seals. Her brushstrokes contain cultivation methods, the movement of the primal energies of the universe. That painting is full of different manifestations and is not commonly seen. Tomorrow, during the ceremony, that painting will be welcomed to the newly built Fire Virtue Hall to be worshipped. Would Cave Master Xue be interested in viewing?”
Xue Wangxu frowned slightly. He looked at Feng Futang and said, “Steward Feng is talented in your speech … I have seen many stewards from the noble families of Changling, but none has reached Steward Feng’s level.”
The slight stiffness on Feng Futang’s face gave away his inner thoughts, nonetheless, his voice was still extremely polite. “Cave Master Xue is too complimentary.”
“Do not worry.” Xue Wangxu said coolly, “How can I not know how much concern and favor Her Highness gives the Feng Family. But we are in a hurry and I fear we will not be able to attend the festival.”
Feng Futang’s expression eased slightly.
Xue Wangxu waved his hand in apparent tiredness and said softly, “I like peace.”
“This one understands.”
Feng Futang bowed and left.
“So fake.” Ding Ning whispered, having witnessed the entire conversation, as he watched Feng Futang’s departing back.
Xue Wangxu glared at him. “Are you talking about me or the steward?”
Ding Ning chuckled. “About the same.”
Xue Wangxu grew serious. He frowned and spoke worriedly. “The Feng Family acts like this. They may have already heard that I have reached realm seven. Do you think Feng Qianzhuo would become wary and refine that appearance fixing orb overnight?”
“I think not.” Ding Ning looked at him and said calmly, “If so, he would not need to send a steward to use the name of the empress to pressure you. If someone feels that they can frighten you with the empress, then he is not wary, he wants to threaten you.”
Xue Wangxu’s worries disappeared. He smiled coldly. “You are right. The steward was not humble, he was threatening.”
Feng Futang entered the carriage marked with the Feng family insignia. Along the way, several passersby looked at the carriage with heated and reverent gazes. He headed towards a remote courtyard.
The courtyards here were all large and made from grey walls and black tiles. They followed the Changling style of architecture and were very different from the mud walls and bamboo tiles of Zhushan District.
This carriage stopped in front of the red gates of a courtyard. Feng Futang got off the carriage.
This steward, who had only just seemed humble, was unusually upright in posture now. He exuded sharp coldness, his kind face now cold and stern.
Two servants opened the red gates. A youth dressed in brocade, of similar age to Ding Ning, was waiting on the stone path behind the gates.
This youth had a handsome appearance, his hands were behind his back. He appeared vicious and dark like a young eagle about to attack at any second.
“How was it?” he asked Feng Futang, his face full of natural pride and disdain.
Feng Futang bowed slightly and said, “Xue Wangxu said he is just passing by. I cannot see whether it is true, and we should be wary.”
“If he really is passing by, my Feng Family will treat him with politeness. Just for his cultivation, we might even give him some conveniences.” The proud and dark youth smirked and said, “But if he wants to make trouble for Grandfather tomorrow, I will make him pay a terrible price.”
He paused and looked at Feng Futang who was in agreement. This youth asked, “Didn’t Xue Wangxu bring along a youth called Ding Ning? What do you think of him? ”
After a moment’s thought, Feng Futang said, “We only learned of Xue Wangxu’s arrival today. We cannot obtain accurate information on this youth from Changling in a day or two. We just know he is a cultivator in Vital Energy Realm. From Xue Wangxu’s expression when he looks at the youth, this should be a student he has high hopes on, and possibly his last student.”
The youth laughed, his eyes closing.
“If so, Xue Wangxu better not have any thoughts about tomorrow. Otherwise, I will first ruin his student.”
His face was handsome and young, but due to this, the words coming out of his mouth grew darker and colder.
He was Feng Qinghan, Feng Qianzhuo’s only grandson up to now.
Feng Qianzhuo had three sons, but none was accomplished. They gave him a pile of granddaughters, and only his youngest son, Feng Qingling, had a son.
Feng Qinghao was especially accomplished.
Half a year ago, he entered Vital Energy Realm, and now had Vital Energy Realm third class cultivation.
Based on his age, he would be exceptional even in Changling.
- Sword Dynasty Volume Six Chapter 56 “Chu Arrow”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Six Chapter 55 “Question”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Six Chapter 54 “Public Enemy”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Six Chapter 53 “Timing”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Six Chapter 52 “Smile”
- Buddhism is widely regarded as having reached the Chinese during the Han Dynasty, not the Qin Dynasty. ↩