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Chapter 33: Resolve Worries
“Resolve worries for me?”
Li Lingjun looked at Su Qin, his murderousness growing.
At this time, Su Qin was shrouded by the odor of horse manure, his hands unspeakably rough, looking no different from any other servant. While his left hand was no longer bloodied and his injures scabbed over, the flesh on his fingers and the entire arm appeared twisted and covered in marks.
Su Qin did not care about how he looked right now, but Li Lingjun cared greatly about the grey hair at his temples. Having white hair during the prime of his life meant that his worries were severe enough to affect his energies. It would also greatly influence his cultivation progress in the future.
For many years, Li Lingjun had emanated the vibe of being meticulous, personally tending to everything with an energy as great as the sun in the sky. Especially now, he could not let the outside world know of his weakness.
“While I do not know how you were able to avoid the people outside and get near my study, based on how you look now, do not blame me for thinking you cannot resolve my worries in any manner.” Because of the great murderousness he felt, his words lacked his usual gentleness and were full of disdain.
“Your study may have many retainers better than me, but I am able to appear before you today because I have observed their habits and paths for the past few days. This is my ability, but also a chance you gave me by letting me stay in the residence.”
Su Qin looked emotionally at his shoes soaked in manure water from the stables. Then he looked up at Li Lingjun who was looking disdainfully at his arm. “To be honest, you know that most of Ding Ning’s words are correct,” he said, calmly.
Li Lingjun’s brows instinctively furrowed when he heard that name. His eyes grew colder.
Su Qin seemed to have noticed this. He gave a smile like the one he usually had in White Goat Cave and said, “You demand too much perfection in your matters. There are not so many perfect things in the world. For example, your path to return home … why do you have to receive acceptance from both your father-king and Consort Zhao Xiang?”
Li Lingjun’s eyes narrowed slightly. In a cold tone he said, “What do you mean?”
Su Qin looked at him and coolly said, “Have you ever thought of letting your father-king and Consort Zhao Xiang have intensely positive feelings towards you or know your essentiality. Perhaps, that will be more useful than both of them having positive feelings towards you?”
Li Lingjun was not an ordinary person so when he heard Su Qin’s words, his expression softened as his brow furrowed. “Continue.”
“Your father-king’s relationship with Consort Zhao Xiang is most likely stronger than any of the relationships between the Chu nobility. If one of them recognizes you, the other will concede.” Now, Su Qin grew even more confidence. Though he wore the smelly robes of a servant, he shone as if he wore the grandest clothes in the world. He looked at Li Lingjun and said, “So you do not need to hesitate or consider other possibilities. You just have to persuade one of them.”
Li Lingjun took a deep breath. He lifted his head and his expression grew amiable and gentle again. “You bore for so long in my establishment for a chance to stand in front of me. So you have confidence?”
“I said I could help resolve your worries.” Su Qin bowed again and slowly said, “I am willing to be an envoy to go to the Chu capital and persuade Consort Zhao Xiang.”
Li Lingjun looked with admiration at him and said, “You came to join me. I purposefully had you go to the stables. You do not hate me, and want to help me?”
With a slight smile Su Qin said, “Those in high positions do not consider grudges, only interests.”
Li Lingjun stood up and slowly bowed. He said, “What do you need?”
The change in tone meant a change in status.
Su Qin knew that he had taken his first step towards higher places so he smiled even more brightly. “A promise of you as the monarch, I as the minister, above millions and below one in status.”
“If you can help me return to my country and take the throne, this request is not outrageous.” Li Lingjun did not hesitate as he looked at Su Qin and said, “When you do want to travel?”
Su Qin said calmly, “There is no time to lose. Today.”
What motivates people to advance is never just ambition, but at times also unwillingness.
In the tent of the general in the North Tiger-Wolf Army Camp, Liang Lian looked coldly at the middle-aged man in front of him.
The middle-aged man was in the garb and armor of his personal guard, but his aura was one of rebelliousness and arrogance.
Such imperious presence could only be nurtured in great rebels that dared to become enemies with an entire dynasty. A person’s presence would be determined by what he thought, and how he stood compared to his enemies. These words were not untrue.
This middle-aged man who dared to rebelliously stare directly at Liang Lian was one of the direct disciples of Cloud Water Palace, Fan Zhuo.
“They’ve used this kind of tactic to give you a warning, you are still unwilling?”
Fan Zhuo looked at Liang Lian and casually used a small blade to cut off a piece of meat from the lamb leg on the table. As he chewed, he said, “Perhaps Zheng Xiu feels you were the one in the shadows who manipulated the Changling Guards to forewarn us. People as callous as her do not need evidence to act.”
“I was not unwilling until recently,” Liang Lian said coolly, “…otherwise, why would I have sent a message to you? I could have watched as you being killed by Ye Celeng and the Tiger-Wolf Army. At the same time, I might have taken the chance to kill Ye Celeng and deepened the empress’ satisfaction in me .”
Fan Zhuo looked at him with interest and continued to slice and eat meat. “What do you want us to help you do?”
Liang Lian said, “Help me kill Xue Wangxu and that youth with him.”
Immediately, Fan Zhuo laughed coldly. “Even if you are unwilling to resign yourself, you should not give up. Is this necessary?”
“Of course it is!”
“After the Warden’s Office and that gangster negotiated, my two confidants were killed. I can disregard the wounds the empress has given me, but I cannot ignore the deaths of my subordinates. Otherwise, if I do not care about their lives, no one will put their lives on the line for me. We have waged war for so long, and know that we cannot always win. We know that people will die when there is a defeat. But if I cannot even deal with a gangster, my subordinates will doubt my abilities,” Liang Lian said, expressionlessly.
“I am not a lonely cultivator, I am a general with an army.” Liang Lian looked at Fan Zhuo who had narrowed his eyes. He said, “Also, the army is like water and will adapt to the enemy. When one is weak, pretend to be strong. When one is strong, pretend to be weak. Right now, no one will expect me to attack Xue Wangxu and the youth. If they are killed, people may even feel that others are trying to blame me and challenge the empress’ power. You can help me do this.”
“You do not worry that we are not resigned and will bite recklessly like a wounded wolf?”
Mockery suffused Liang Lian’s usually expressionless face. “The more I am like this, the closer I am to you; the stronger our alliance is, the safer you will feel I am.”
Fan Zhuo sneered. “You speak well, but you should know that we only want the Lonely Mountain Sword Hoard. We cannot risk it for this matter.”
Liang Lian coldly said, “You know more of the true outlaws unrelated to the powerful in Changling who can kill people. From when I arranged for you to enter the city, I have never asked about the Lonely Mountain Sword Hoard or what you are searching in Changling. What is the meaning in our alliance if you are not willing to do these minor matters for me?”
Fan Zhuo thought a moment. He decided that the more chaotic Changling would be, the more benefits they would reap.
Liang Lian glanced at him and continued. “That gangster has already gathered some of the factions I want to possess. Other than Fish Market, he is the leader of those gangsters. If we can control him, it will be easier for you to search for what you want. In the long run, I will be in the open, you will be in the dark, we each control a side. We may not have to be like we are now.”
Fan Zhuo laughed wildly. He felt that he had not eaten his fill so he threw away his knife and held the lamb in his hands. He said, “Those people do not come at low prices, especially when they are fighting for their lives in Changling.”
Liang Lian looked at him and slowly said, “To buy a life, no price is too great.”
The carriages with their gifts only decreased and disappeared in the afternoon.
All the households in Falling Parasol felt extremely honored that someone as exceptional as Ding Ning had come from this place but he acted the same as usual.
Because he had not gone to White Goat Cave to cultivate, and the wine shop had closed down several days ago, Ding Ning only read through the reflections that Xue Wangxu had written in the last few days and watched Zhang Yi play a weiqi match with Xue Wangxu in the evening.
Xue Wangxu had great cultivation in the past but his abilities in weiqi were less than Zhang Yi’s. He lost multiple matches and became angry from embarrassment. He slapped the board and said, “Do you know how to respect your elders? You won several matches but you do not know to purposefully make a few wrong moves so your teacher can win once!”
Looking at Xue Wangxu’s angry state, Zhang Yi was both embarrassed and puzzled. He bent his head and said, “Cave Master, the books say …”
“Books!” Xue Wangxu was so angry he almost acted to hit, but for some reason, he suddenly felt great worry. In the end, he sighed and looked seriously at Zhang Yi and warned. “You are benevolent in personality and have a gentleman’s conduct. But I worry you are too benevolent and will be taken advantage of by villains. So I want you to remember these words. Any book is written by people, any laws are made by people … etiquette and favors, you can consider for yourself which one is more important.”
Ding Ning looked at Xue Wangxu who was teaching intently and his eyes grew more respectful. However, his body imperceptibly froze.
Out of the corner of his eyes, a serene woman dressed in red was looking directly at him.