Chapter 26 Seeking Medicine
The wind and snow were angry. The snowfall in Changling continued for many days…
Many of Changling’s cultivators thought that this snowfall, that continued for an unusually long time, was related to the primal energies of the universe that Xue Wangxu and Liang Lian had moved during their battle.
The movement of large amounts of primal energies of the universe could affect weather for a brief time. In the memories of many old cultivators, after the battle where Emperor Yuanwu had destroyed the Ba Mountain Sword Field, the stunning movements of the primal energies of the universe caused constant rainfall over the Ba Mountains for three months.
Xue Wangxu and Liang Lian’s battle once again proved the truth that cultivators above realm seven were extraordinary existences.
Compared to the reality that the general of the North Tiger-Wolf Army Liang Lian was above realm seven, the strength that Xue Wangxu displayed stunned many cultivators in Changling.
But in this snowstorm, many other shocking things occurred.
An enormous fleet of the iron-armored ships unique to the Qin Dynasty came out of the Wei River Port outside of Changling in the wind and snow.
A carriage parked near a tall hill outside the city was hidden in the snow and wind.
The driver of this carriage was a deaf and mute old servant. The man dressed in red robes inside the carriage was naturally one of the most powerful people in Changling, Bureau Chief Chen of the Divinity Bureau.
He still looked dispirited. He lifted the curtain and looked towards the fleet heading out of port.
A black dot appeared on the snowy path behind the carriage.
The black dot grew larger. This was a black umbrella.
The woman under the black umbrella wore a white dress. Her waist was beautiful and she was extremely beautiful.
A woman who held the black umbrella of the Astrology Bureau and walked easily when close to Bureau Chief Chen with a presence that could rival him was naturally the bureau chief of Astrology Bureau, Ye Celeng.
Without any opening words, Bureau Chief Chen slowly spoke as he watched the fleet, “The leader of the fleet is Bureau Chief Xu of the Bureau of Ceremonies.”
In many stories of Changling, the masters of the Astrology Bureau and the Divinity Bureau were absolute enemies. In the eyes of the people closest to the two, these two important people fought both publicly and in secret. They stabbed and slashed at each other through many matters.
But at this moment, Ye Celeng, who had reached the carriage with her black umbrella, showed no enmity or murderousness in her eyes.
She frowned silently as she gazed at the cold and majestic armored fleet advancing through the waves in the wind and snow.
“Seeking medicines overseas has occurred since the previous emperor’s time. This is why the Qin Dynasty has such enormous armored warships that other dynasties do not have.” Bureau Chief Chen looked at her and said, “But ever since His Majesty reached realm seven, his desire to seek medicines overseas has grown greater. He had you conquer the surrounding island countries, and pioneer many new sea routes. This is unprecedented. His order for Bureau Chief Xu to lead an army on the sea is unimaginable.”
Ye Celeng looked for a while and said with a frown, “The ships sit heavy in the water and must be carrying great amounts of inventory. Even with thousands of students and armored soldiers, they will not use up the stores quickly.”
Bureau Chief Chen’s eyebrows rose. He said darkly, “If that’s the case, this fleet will not return soon.”
Ye Celeng slowly nodded and said, “Bureau Chief Xu is one of His Majesty’s most trusted.”
Bureau Chief Chen took a deep breath and slowly breathed out. He said softly, “You mean that something has occurred to His Majesty’s cultivation so he has a more urgent desire for spirit medicines.”
Ye Celeng shook her head. “The Deer Mountain Conference is soon. He has passed realm seven and reached realm eight. This is enough for the three dynasties to continue their alliance. Before the Deer Mountain Conference, he will use only the safest means and not take risks. So nothing has happened to his cultivation.”
Bureau Chief Chen thought silently with his head bowed. His eyes slowly shone with a strange light.
“You say nothing is wrong with his cultivation. This only means that nothing is wrong with his cultivation and health now.” He looked up at Ye Celeng. “Then it must be he feels there is a problem with the next realm.”
Ye Celeng’s beautiful eyes narrowed slightly. “Then that is really a major problem.”
Other people knew that Emperor Yuanwu was powerful, but not how powerful. She and Bureau Chief Chen were in the group of people in Changling who understood Emperor Yuanwu the best.
So she was certain that Emperor Yuanwu was already in realm eight.
For this kind of freakishly powerful people, encountering a difficult obstacle during their cultivation was not the greatest of troubles. For people like him who possessed the power of a dynasty, even the tallest mountain could be slowly ascended.
The greatest trouble would be being unable to even see the tall mountain.
Being unable to sense the next realm, or rather, what path to take to reach the next realm was the greatest of problems.
Above realm eight was Immortal, the legendary realm nine.
If a person like Emperor Yuanwu was bewildered with his future path and doubted this realm nine, then who in the world could reach realm nine?
Ye Celeng and Bureau Chief Chen sank into deep thought.
A long time later, when the majestic and might armored ships had completely disappeared into the wind and snow, Bureau Chief spoke first, “That day when Xue Wangxu and Liang Lian fought, a cultivator died in the woods by the river ten miles away from the North Tiger-Wolf Camp. He was Nangong Shang of the Bureau of Palace Scribes.”
Ye Celeng’s brow wrinkled deeply.
“I know that you were near the North Tiger-Wolf Army then. The reason none of you did not detect this was because the thing that killed him was the Nine Hell King Sword,” Bureau Chief Chen glanced at her and said.
Ye Celeng stilled. A strange look appeared in her eyes. “So even she has appeared in Changling. She is able to use the power of the Nine Hell King Sword now? No wonder she was able to kill someone like Nangong Shang without being detected by the Astrology Bureau.”
Bureau Chief Chen looked down at his slightly yellowed fingernails. He whispered, “Has the Astrology Bureau found any clues relating to that person’s heir?”
Ye Celeng turned around. Looking at him, she said with slight coldness, “If there is, I will naturally have already told you … why would you ask this?”
“This is unlike the past.”
Bureau Chief Chen looked up and met her gaze. He said with slight hoarseness, “In the past, in the eyes of any person in Changling including the Holy One and the empress, we are archenemies. If they think that, they will feel that we are easier to control and deal with and so we can live better in Changling. But this time, it really is different … because this time, it is related to that person. I understand you better than others, so even I have no confidence in you.”
“You fear I will do something stupid and drag you down as well?” Ye Celeng looked at him and said with slight coldness, “You do not have to worry about that at all. Everything is already so far away. This is the eleventh year of Yuanwu in the Qin Dynasty.”
Then she turned and quickly disappeared in the wind and snow without another word.
Bureau Chief Chen looked at the slowly fading footsteps she left in the snow. His expression grew more lonely and dispirited. He shook his head slowly and sighed, “I understand what you mean. That person died more than a decade ago. Everything theoretically has already been set. Many of the past principles of the previous dynasty cannot work now. But everyone knows that many things are still here. I fear that you will use the things of the past dynasty to do present matters.”
The snow was heavy and piled up at the gates of the households of Changling. In the alleys around Falling Parasol, each household was clearing snow away from their gates.
One of them was Ding Ning, who was holding a shovel.
“You do not care about the wine shop business so why waste such energy?” Xue Wangxu couldn’t help but say as he looked at Ding Ning who was working at shoveling snow. He sat by the stove and appeared slightly ridiculous wearing a thick jacket and a weasel hide hat.
Hearing his words, Ding Ning straightened and said, “That is not the same. Everyone is sweeping. If I do not, when the snow comes, and many carriages pass by, the melting dirty water will flow to other people’s doors. I am sweeping the snow now because everyone is sweeping now.”
Xue Wangxu immediately stilled.
“I did not understand such a simple reason.” He said emotionally after a long moment, “No wonder these cultivators all want to cultivate in the world. Small details in the world will frequently contain great truths.”
After the battle with Liang Lian, Ding Ning stubbornly did not allow him to return to White Goat Cave, and had Wang Taixu help him rent a courtyard in Falling Parasol to live in.
He increasingly felt that Ding Ning’s actions were correct. Since he had returned to being an ordinary old person, he naturally had to live like an ordinary old man, and experience life he had never experienced before.
A voice containing a sob interrupted the mood.
A tall figure rushed through the alley like wind and fell in front of him with a bang, two hands landing on his knees.
“Cave Master, why did you go duel a famed general? You are like this now, this is not good!”
The incomer had a face full of tears, and his features were unspeakably open and benevolent. This was the eldest sect brother of White Goat Cave, Zhang Yi.
Xue Wangxu didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Looking at this sincere student, he sighed in the end. “I have not died yet. Why are you crying, stand up!”
Zhang Yi stood up but still couldn’t stop sobbing. He thought, how could he not cry? A few days ago, he was a realm seven cave master, now he was an ordinary old man with a foot in the grave, and unable to even fend off the cold.
At this time, a proud youth appeared at the alley that Zhang Yi had just came through.
This was a youth from Guanzhong who carried a purple sword on his back. Behind him was a slightly plump middle-aged merchant with amiable features.
This youth from Guangzhon walked straight towards Ding Ning.
Translator Ramblings: And the famed historical voyages in search of immortality continues.