This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 30: A New Record
A black gate of a courtyard opened from the inside. Wang Taixu, dressed in a white-foxskin jacket, walked out and stepped onto the waiting carriage.
Inside the hall of this courtyard were several dozen gangster bosses of Changling’s streets. They looked at his back in silence for a long moment.
Several weeks ago, this master of Two Level Tower sat together with them, but weeks later, the other received strong support from the powerful Warden’s Office. The Warden’s Office had used some unusually strong tactics to help smooth the road for him in Changling. Starting today, he would be determining many rules of Changling’s streets.
All the people present knew some things about the happenings of that bloody night. In their view, stealing territory and benefits from gangsters was not much, but daring to claim territory from the Warden’s Office deserved respect.
Once aboard his carriage, Wang Taixu rubbed his temples. Tired, he leaned on the cushion and closed his eyes to rest.
Setting down rules and re-dividing territory for these gangster bosses in Changling was not a simple matter. He knew that he could not completely rely on threatening people in order to establish himself from now on. He had to make people feel he was better than others in the past.
It was close to the end of the year. The streets of Changling were busier than at any other time, and happy children ran around everywhere.
Even Falling Parasol Alley, a poor place in the past, had a cheerful air.
When he saw Wang Taixu’s carriage appear at the entrance of the alley, Ding Ning went to welcome him.
After sitting down in his usual spot in the carriage, Ding Ning looked at Wang Taixu who had taken off his mask and said, “Getting revenge is tiring.”
Wang Taixu smiled.
Every time he saw Ding Ning, he felt very relaxed. This relaxation came from the fact that he did not need to work his mind to think about problems. Ding Ning usually did this better than him.
“It should be Liang Lian.” He put away his smile as he looked at Ding Ning.
To others, these words would be abrupt and bewildering. Yet Ding Ning knew all the messages contained in Wang Taixu’s sentence.
Ding Ning sneered. “Such a coincidence.”
Wang Taixu misunderstood, nodded and said, “His military service is full. He just lacks a foundation to be ennobled as a marquis. He has a status high enough in the military. Some clues also point towards him … in the last while, he was the only one the empress or the two prime ministers expressed discontent towards. A coincidence that Cave Master Xue was used to express the empress’ intentions.”
Ding Ning was silent.
For him, his grudges with Liang Lian was not just these present ones.
“Liang Lian cannot be dealt with so quickly. You lack the support of an adequately powerful cultivator.”
Many breaths later, Ding Ning looked up at Wang Taixu and said, “Previously, there was Cave Master Xue. now there isn’t”
Wang Taixu nodded. “How is Cave Master Xu’s health?”
Ding Ning said, “He will see next year’s Min Mountain Sword Trials.”
Wang Taixu smiled bitterly.
Ding Ning glanced at him and said, “However, you do not temporarily have to seek others. Perhaps, after next year’s Min Mountain Sword Trials, I will have enough importance.”
Wang Taixu immediately stilled.
“It is not that I will possess enough power. But if I am able to get first, my status in the eyes of the powerful and noble of Changling will be different. For example, no one in Changling dares to kill An Baoshi and Jing Liuli,” Ding Ning said, calmly.
“Win the laurels at the Min Mountain Sword Trials?”
Although Wang Taixu knew that Ding Ning joined White Goat Cave in order to attend the Min Mountain Sword Trials, but when he heard Ding Ning’s words just now, he still found it hard to believe.
Ding Ning glanced at him but didn’t explain. He only said, “If you are free, you can come pick me up tonight.”
Wang Taixu’s tired eyes immediately flashed with light.
He knew if there wasn’t a special reason, Ding Ning would not say such words. So he said without hesitation, “Alright, I will wait for you at the gates of White Goat Cave.”
It was near the year’s end and White Goat Cave let out for the year. Most of the students had left so White Goat Cave was even quieter than usual.
Ding Ning was sent by a teacher of White Goat Cave into a hidden hut in the cliffs. Closing the door, and sitting down on the meditation mat, he took out a pill bottle from his sleeve. He swallowed the slightly bitter yellow medicine fluid without leaving a drop.
Like usual, he closed his eyes and quickly entered his inner perception.
The yellow medicinal power spread through his body. Over time, his organs turned slightly yellow. The presence they gave off grew unusually strong, as though his organs were burning. The “little silkworms” hidden in his body started to wake up and quickly fed on the medicine power to spit out purer medicinal power.
His inner energies grew stronger. Under the control of his mental power, the countless “little silkworms” in his body grew more active. From the start, they started consuming the surrounding energies and inhale in great gulps.
The meditation mat under him started to give off quiet hissing sounds.
At the start, the small spirit vein underneath gave off energy naturally. Soon, it was like water being sucked out in great amounts. The energy merged with the energies in his body and then flowed into his energy sea. The physical energy of his energy sea and the countless “little silkworms” grew more viscous.
Ding Ning seemed to know that he had reached a certain boundary and an opportunity was coming. His mental power started to slowly spill outside of his body with a calm mind. His body and the surrounding air seemed to become a small pond.
If Nangong Caishu was able to sense his perception at this moment, she would be stunned.
In his perception were countless lines. The color of each line, and the direction and speed of flow for each stream of energy was so clear.
He did not wait like Nangong Caishu had. He gently passed his mental power onto the numerous lines.
The primal energy in these lines were neither frightened nor repelled. They seemed to become excited, as though they were meeting an old friend. They seemed to cheer and impatiently merged with Ding Ning’s mental power. They flowed quickly into his body and joyfully merged with his physical energy.
It was like they originally should have been here and had been waiting a long time for this moment.
Dots of light flashed on Ding Ning’s skin emanating a glowing light.
This process was almost uncontrolled for most cultivators. It was like snow falling from the sky. How heavy the snow was, and when the snow would accumulate was up to the heavens.
Yet Ding Ning was able to control this process!
Countless invisible silkworms seemed to climb to the surface of his body and thin strands stretched into the surrounding air.
Guided by the thin silk, the snowflakes fell in great amounts and at a faster rate. The dots of light on his body surface appeared even faster. The physical energy in his body merged with the primal energies of the universe, and the speed of the transformation accelerated. He seemed to be illuminated glowing like jade. All the vital energy in his body that was in a gaseous state disappeared to become the glowing liquid now flowing into his energy sea.
This was Vital Energy Realm.
His breakthrough was not just a matter of a canal forming where water flowed, but like a canal that was dug before the water even came so that the water would flow even smoothly.
The breakthrough did not take any time. The physical energy and condensed vital energy realm in his body caused him to reach the next realm directly.
The obstacles that hindered other cultivators did not seem to exist to him.
It was late at night, and so dark that one could not see their fingers. The White Goat Cave teacher waiting at the nearby rope bridge started to worry.
Usually, Ding Ning would have come out earlier than this time. Had he encountered some problems on his cultivation today?
Just as he took off towards Ding Ning’s hut, the door of the hut was pushed open.
The moment he saw Ding Ning walk out and saw Ding Ning’s unusually bright and clean face, this middle-aged White Goat Cave teacher uncontrollably trembled.
The chain bridge under him clanked due to the release of his presence.
Wang Taixu waited silently in a carriage by the gates of White Goat Cave.
In reality, since the time he brought Ding Ning here in the morning, his carriage had not left.
When he heard familiar footsteps, he lifted the curtain to see Ding Ning walk off the mountain. Wang Taixu was stunned.
Moments later, he looked at Ding Ning and whispered in admiration, “I knew something extraordinary would happen today. But had not expected such an unusual event.”
Wang Taixu paused and looked at Ding Ning. He said, “From the sword trial festival to now, it has not been eight months yet.”
Ding Ning and Wang Taixu had not even known each other for eight years. But Ding Ning understood why Wang Taixu would deliberately say eight months.
Because the record set by the young geniuses in Changling, An Baoshi and Jing Liuli, for realm two Energy Refinement to realm three Vital Energy was eight months.
So Ding Ning’s breakthrough today was naturally a new record in all of Changling.