Chapter 54 All Kinds of Lies
In front of the Painting Remnant Scroll, Zhou Xieyi, this proud Changling youth, had an ashen complexion. His heart felt numbed by the barrage of energy released by the painting.
Zhang Yi had enlightenment and caused a burst of rain in Ink Garden.
Xie Changsheng had enlightenment and so an explosion had rang like a bell above Ink Garden and echoed in the mountains.
Nangong Caishu had enlightenment, and some strange sword essences suddenly appeared in the ancient hall, creating splashes as they swam against the flow.
Xu Heshan had enlightenment and so there was an enormous intangible mountain high up in the sky with giant rocks rolling off with thunderous explosions. 1
They were all shocked speechless, and repeatedly thinking back to those lines and state of mind, fearing they would forget.
But Shen Yi was ashamed.
“Senior Sect Brother, I cannot see anything.” He turned and said to Ding Ning softly, “I have not sensed any spacious echoing valleys between the two mountains or enormous rolls rolling off the mountains. I used Xie Changsheng’s method and did not see anything special in the ink lines.”
“Everyone is good at different things.” Ding Ning looked at the ashamed Shen Yi and said calmly, “Being able to see other people’s strong points is a good trait, but just copying other people’s strong points is a mistake. Guanzhong has eight hundred miles of rich earth. You have seen much and your mind is broad. So you can see the wider situation. If you can only see the light and dark of the mountains, then you just need to see the light and dark.”
Shen Yi was stunned and murmured to himself, “Is there any use in seeing the density of the ink?”
Ding Ning looked coolly at him and said, “Right now, the sun has set and it is dark.”
Shen Yi was stunned. He did not know why Ding Ning said this.
“When we arrived, the sun was shining bright, but it is dark now.” Ding Ning continued calmly, “But look at the density of the two mountains, have they changed?”
Shen Yi’s body shuddered.
In his eyes, he could see a black mountain and an almost white mountain in the scroll. They did not look any different than at the start. In the dim light, they were still so distinct. The black had not turned blacker, and the white was still faint.
A light seemed to flash across his mind.
HIs sight suddenly became clear. He instinctively wanted to chase those ink lines that caused the unchanging black and white.
His entire mind was immersed within.
“I have never heard of this before.” A benevolent voice sounded outside the ancient hall.
“I have never thought that there would be such a way to understand the painting, and never thought that the young people of Changling will have such insight.”
Hearing this voice, Zhou Xieyi’s eyes filled immediately with reverence. When he thought how he was the reason that so many people had entered Ink Garden and benefited greatly, he was filled with terror. He turned and knelt towards the person outside the hall. He said in a trembling voice, “Forefather.”
A hint of coldness flashed through the depths of Ding Ning’s eyes. But in the moment he turned, the ice melted and turned into still water. He turned and saw the old man dressed in valuable silver fox fur at the doorway.
Other than Shen Yi who was immersed in his opportunity, Zhang Yi, Xie Changsheng and the others all turned in surprise to look at this old man who had suddenly appeared.
When Zhou Xieyi’s voice echoed in their ears and they saw Zhou Xieyi kneeling on the ground, Zhang Yi was the first to think of a possibility.
“You are …”
His expression filled with disbelief. “The honored Elder Zhou Rongmo?”
“What?” Xie Changsheng almost instinctively shouted out loud, “How is this possible!”
This seemed almost impossible.
The Zhou Family had a forefather called Zhou Rongmo. He had been the only person who was able to comprehend a cultivation method from the Painting Remnant Scroll and comprehend three sword moves.
But that person was several generations above Zhou Xieyi. In the time of the last emperor of the Qin, his age had already been unknown. It was rumored in the storms of blood in the years before Emperor Yuanwu’s ascension, someone had stabbed through the intestines of this old forefather of the Zhou Family, and the blood had splattered over several streets.
How could a person like this still be alive?
But hearing Xie Changsheng’s exclamation of shock, this benevolent and friendly looking old man smiled warmly and said emotionally, “Old but not dead, it is this old man.”
Nangong Caishu and Xu Heshan were also filled with shock. These two were children of military commanders and knew more about the past events of Changling compared to Zhang Yi and Xie Changsheng.
This was someone who had experienced two generations of Qin emperors, experienced the glory of the old prestigious families and their decline, and experienced the reformation until Emperor Yuanwu ascended the throne.
They even knew that in the reformation, this old person had once been Emperor Yuanwu’s enemy. But in that last storm before Emperor Yuanwu won and ascended the throne, he and the Zhou Family had accepted the last chance Emperor Yuanwu gave them and fought for the emperor.
So while the Zhou Family was in decline now, they were still able to survive well in Changling and possess vast lands.
But the rumors said that the battle had been horrible and Forefather Zhou had died along with other experts … who would have thought that Forefather Zhou had survived and was living in Ink Garden?
Zhou Rongmo smiled benevolently. His gaze landed on Ding Ning. He said harmoniously, “Just now, I coincidentally heard you advising your junior sect brother. Even though I feel as though my mind has been opened … Allow me to guess. Are the people who have successfully comprehended in front of the painting related to you?”
Ding Ning frowned slightly. He didn’t know what to say.
Forefather Zhou’s eyes were filled with unusual light. He praised, “It appears so. Are you really able to understand the entire painting?”
While everyone present, other than Shen Yi who was closed off, knew that their comprehension came from Ding Ning’s guidance, they still felt that Forefather Zhou’s words were impossible.
Because no grandmaster in Changling would be able to understand the Painting Remnant Scroll.
Except possibly for the strongest emperor of the Qin in history, Emperor Yuanwu?
At this time, the silent Painting Remnant Scroll once again released a wave of energy.
Zhou Xieyi and the others, including Zhou Xieyi who had been on the ground, suddenly turned. As they turned, threads of unique primal energies of the universe had turned into bright lines of light.
Everyone in the ancient hall seemed to see a grand sunrise.
The transparent crystal wall enclosing the painting scroll seemed to burn in this moment, and turned into two bright balls of light. Then the entire hall seemed to turn into a transparent crystal, reflecting the pure and bright lights outside. The light spread across all the black and white energies in Ink Garden.
In the next moment, black and white disappeared for a moment. Countless colors seemed to return in this moment. The hall, the streams and the plants all recovered their true color. While it was after sunset and the sky was dark, the scenery of the world recovering its color was indescribably grand and moving.
Shen Yi’s joyful and tearful voice sounded. “Senior Sect Brother Ding Ning! I really seem to have comprehended something!”
Even now, he did not sense an old person in the hall.
Everyone looked at Ding Ning with a different kind of emotion.
“Of course I cannot understand the entire painting.” Ding Ning said at this moment, “I only borrow.”
“Senior Sect Brother?” Shen Yi stilled. He finally found the extra person.
Zhang Yi waved a hand at him, indicating for him to not miss the chance for more comprehension and to stop talking.
“Borrow?” Forefather Zhou looked at Ding Ning’s eyes, wanting to see something.
Ding Ning nodded and said, “My Senior Sect Brother Zhang Yi said he saw clouds, I then saw clouds and guessed there was rain. Nangong Caishu said she saw a river, then I saw a river. She said the splashes of the waves were not ordinary, so I guessed they were created by the tails of fish. Xu Heshan saw a tall mountain, and that the rocks appeared to be unstable on the mountain so I guessed that rocks were rolling down the mountain and had other meaning … I only saw things based on their foundation, and gave ideas. But what they have comprehended, I have not comprehended and cannot understand.”
After a pause, Ding Ning said calmly and with slight regret, “So they all have obtained something, while I have not comprehended anything at all. Not one sword move or seal essence. How can I understand the entire painting?”
“Junior Sect Brother, you just spent your time on helping us think of ideas so you had no time for comprehension. Otherwise, with your talent, how can it be you did not understand anything?” Hearing Ding Ning speak so, Zhang Yi’s face felt hot. He felt extremely guilty that he, the eldest sect brother, had not fulfilled his duties properly.
“Other people see, so you see, and can extend possibilities … this is a stunning talent.”
Forefather Zhou’s benevolent and harmonious features turned serious. He hesitated for a moment, and then he seemed to make a decision. He looked at Ding Ning with a sincere request in his eyes and said, “I have encountered a great obstacle in studying something. Even if your cultivation is lesser than mine, some of your ideas may be able to give new blood to my cultivation path. Will you spend some time and accompany me to see this?”
Translator Ramblings: You know those stories with the helpful omnipotent system that is bound to the main character? Ding Ning is that system.
- Sword Dynasty Volume Four Chapter 24 “The Same Morning”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Four Chapter 23 “The Flap of A Butterfly’s Wings”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Four Chapter 22 “Exactly What I Want”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Four Chapter 21 “Forgotten Matters”
- Sword Dynasty Volume Four Chapter 20 “Guests in Succession”
- I did not see the detailed comprehension for Xu Heshan described in the raw text so I’m not sure if the author forgot to write this or just that my text doesn’t have these paragraphs. But I also checked the audiobook and several text sources … so it may be that this wasn’t described. ↩