Chapter 51 The Opportunity Today
The old prestigious families of Changling needed to support too many people. They were used to spending their money. Once they went into decline and lost the support of the court, the speed at which they had fallen was unimaginable.
The past Nie Clan was the best example.
The Nie Clan had once been the most powerful family after the Gongsun Family in Changling. They were formerly in control of the Qin military. But once they lost power, and the strongest cultivator of their family passed away, the Nie Clan fell at astounding speed.
The family members tried all kinds of ways to sell their property. In the span of several months, some of the Nie Family’s valuable antiques, and even some articles useful to cultivators were sold away, leaving behind the enormous Nie Garden. Even the guards of Nie Garden stole what they guarded. Each night, the carriages came in a stream. In the end, all the precious plants were stolen, and even those beautiful stone statues were dug away. Many of the stone and wood statues that most of the large household used as decor now came from the former Nie Garden.
As one of the old prestigious families, the Zhou Family had not completely disappeared like the past Nie Family, but their situation was not good.
The carriage carrying Ding Ning and the other stopped outside the Ink Garden of the Zhou Family. Ding Ning and the others left the carriage and saw the surrounding scenery was bleak. Many of the black tiles on the walls of Ink Garden were damaged. Vines grew out from under the tilesand exposing the grout beneath.
Their gazes moved over the tall grey walls into Ink Garden. Some of the platforms and pavilions deep in Garden were mottled. The paint had fallen off and some cracked pillars had not been replaced.
Xie Changsheng was young but he had heard tales of the past glory and luxury of the past nobilities in Changling. He knew that those old aristocrats had been even more splendid than the marquises of present. He saw the layout of the pavilions and platforms seemed to contain meaning which the gardens of the wealthy now did not have. He lamented sincerely, “If one wants to completely repair this place, tens of thousands of gold is not enough.”
Zhou Yunhai smiled upon hearing this at the front and said, “If you want to give more, I will not refuse.”
This was clearly a joke, but Xie Changsheng nodded and said with a smile, “If I really benefit greatly from the Painting Remnant Scroll, maybe my sister and my father will be happy and repair the entire Ink Garden.”
“Then I hoe Virtuous Nephew will have an opportunity and comprehend more cultivation truths,” Zhou Yunhai smiled and said.
But inside, he thought disdainfully, how much could a country bumpkin from Guanzhong see in a day?
The Ink Garden was filled with old trees. The sunlight passed through the branches and leaves to form small marks on the slate tile path below in a serene and meaningful scene.
When they truly walked into Ink Garden and among the corridors, they finally understood why many of the platforms and pavilions had not been repaired for many years.
The walls, pillars, and eaves were all carved with flowers, inlaid with jade, painted with birds and flowers, and gilded with silver and gold. Many of the paints were extremely precious colors made from precious stones, or the extremely rare mother of pearl paint from overseas. Even today, the sumptuousness surpassed ordinary people’s imagination.
If ordinary materials were used, it would feel incongruous. Leaving the old decor here could make people feel a sense of time, and the glory of the past.
Like the private gardens of all old prestigious families in Changling, Ink Garden was vast in area. After they passed around a small man-made mountain, the scenery suddenly changed and everything became black and white.
Black chrysanthemums, black trees, white grass … all the odd flora in front of them were pure black or white of varying shades.
Looking at this pure black and white, Xue Wangxu made a soft sound and then said peacefully to Zhou Yunhai, “The Painting Remnant Scroll of the Zhou Family Ink Garden is greater than what they say. Even so, I will stop here. Have someone prepare a pot of hot tea for me somewhere ahead.”
Zhou Yunhai said respectfully, “Since this is the case, I will keep Cave Master Xue company to rest in the Peak Cloud Sea Pavilion. That is my study. We can see the scenery of half of Ink Garden.”
After saying this, he indicated for Zhou Xieyi to lead Ding Ning and the others to continue. He walked next to Xue Wangxu and released gentle primal energies of the universe to support Xue Wangxu.
Sensing the pure primal energies of the universe coming off Zhou Yunhai, Xie Changsheng’s expression grew grave. He was puzzled and couldn’t help but ask, “Cave Master Xue has not yet seen the Painting Remnant Scroll, why do you say that it is greater than they say?”
Ding Ning glanced at him. He did not speak, and calmly took several steps forward.
Looking at his movements, Zhou Xieyi’s gaze flashed. Wariness and admiration finally appeared in his eyes.
Xu Heshan, Zhang Yi, Nangong Caishu, Shen Yi, and Xu Heshan’s eyes widened.
There was no movement or wind, but Ding Ning’s body became absolute black and white. His clothes, his body, and his skin. All the places that were dark in color darkened to black, and the light and bright places turned white.
“So the black and white here is not the true color?” Xie Changsheng said dazedly. He finally responded. The black and white here was only a change of light and color due to the emittance of a certain energy similar to the power of a formation.
Zhou Xieyi took several steps and passed Ding Ning who had stopped. He glanced back, his body black and white, and said coldly, “How would you know that black and white is not the original color? How would you know that the colors you usually see not a fallacy?”
Ding Ning’s brow imperceptibly furrowed. In reality, while Zhou Xieyi’s words were logical, Zhou Xieyi himself clearly did not understand something so profound. He only said these words to confuse Xie Changsheng even more.
Ding Ning’s gaze flashed. He wanted to say something but he stopped himself.
Nangong Caishu and the others could not maintain their calm.
The meaning in Xue Wangxu’s words just now seemed to be he had seen the Painting Remnant Scroll. Did this mean … the change in energies here were caused by the Painting Remnant Scroll?
A mere remnant scroll was able to cause this transformation just like a large formation.
No wonder those powerful figures wanted to view this Painting Remnant Scroll.
Zhou Xieyi continued to move forward. When each step landed, a wisp of black and white smoke would rise out of the ground. He seemed to walk within a painting.
A thread of pride appeared on his black and white face.
Even though he had entered here numerous times to study, and he was so familiar with the paths that he could walk them blind, he would still feel amazement each time he entered.
Xie Changsheng’s eyes were wide to their limits.
Numerous rivers and distant mountains appeared in front of him. They were bold and faint, and looked distant and vast.
How could the Zhou Family Ink Garden be so large?
This was the first thought in his mind. But when Zhou Xieyi stopped ahead, he suddenly realized.
That was the Painting Remnant Scroll.
An ancient palace slowly appeared among the black and white.
The wooden ancient palace looked like black jade stained with inky essence.
The ancient palace had no decorations, and only a crystal wall at the center of the stone floor.
This crystal wall was made from two extremely thin pieces of crystal pieced together. In the center was a remnant scroll about thirty feet long, and several feet wide.
He, Nangong Caishu and the others were shocked speechless.
Zhou Xieyi was surprised and his eyebrows rose slightly at Ding Ning’s unchangingly calm expression. “This is the Painting Remnant Scroll of the Zhou Family. You are free to comprehend but remember to not touch the crystal. If you activate the ward, they will kill any cultivator below realm five,” he said slowly.
Hearing this voice, Xie Changsheng instinctively took two steps forward. He wanted to immediately see the entire remnant scroll, and see what was on it. Yet when his gaze swept this remnant scroll, his breathing sped up.
Numerous mountains shallow and deep, and numerous rivers far and close seemed to press towards him in a flash. He suddenly felt dizzy and closed his eyes in shock. He found he had no memory of the entire painting as though he didn’t know what had been drawn. He even had no memory of where the painting was incomplete.
“Why is it like this?”
Nangong Caishu and the others felt similarly. They could accept that they were unable to see the meaning contained in each line and stroke. But the painting was in front of them and they could not clearly see the contents. After they looked, they could not remember a thing.
The group looked at each other and saw that Ding Ning was calmly focused.
Ding Ning could see the contents?
Everyone had this question. Yet seeing Ding Ning so focused, everyone felt that they should not disturb him. They took a breath and then focused to look again.
Ding Ning calmly looked at the Painting Remnant Scroll in front of him.
This was a cultivation manual he had known about but never had a chance to view before.
In the past, the Zhou Family had even expressed they would destroy this remnant scroll to resist the people they hated from entering the garden to view it. Im the end, that group of people had compromised in order for this treasure of the cultivator world to be passed down.
Min Mountain Sword Sect and Spirit Void Sword Sect were the same to him. If they knew his true identity, even if they had to destroy their sect, they would not allow him to see any secret manual useful to him.
His calm eyes finally showed a hint of emotion.
Light and dark inky mountains and rivers pressed towards him. But he did not even “see” these ink mountains and river. They seemed to fly through his body and dissipate behind him.
HIs perception ignored the presence given off by the lines, and he only looked at the fundamental lines. So in his eyes, the scroll was completely unlike what other people saw.
He saw a yellowed remnant scroll. On the crude straw pulp paper were just two mountains.
One thick in color, the other light in color.
A few wisps of cloud floated above the peaks.
A large river flowed in front of the two mountains.
The upper right corner of this painting was missing so the lighter mountain was missing a corner, and the large river was missing a section.
Hundreds of ink lines of various densities, or rather sword essences or seal scripts, formed this painting.
Translator Ramblings: Mother of pearl is beautiful but I’m not sure how exactly do you make paint out of it …