Chapter 59 A New Challenger
The night was deep but the most noble woman of the Qin was not resting. She was still sitting on the phoenix chair in her study.
In the spirit spring not far from her, the white and flawless lotus flowers had withered, forming numerous similarly white and flawless seed heads.
“Fu Su wants to attend the Min Mountain Sword Trials?” Hearing the report from a female attendant, she said softly, “This is nonsense.”
The palace attendant instinctively thought the empress would not allow it, but she looked up and saw a faint smile on the other’s face. She stilled.
“He has a young person’s spirit and cannot tolerate the boredom. Which of those true warriors has never made trouble?” The empress said coolly, “If he wants to, let him go. He will see more.”
The palace attendant acknowledged this. She hesitated and said, “The Holy One has made several decrees today. He confirmed the people going with him to the Deer Mountain Conference will be Marquis Xu, Bureau Chief Huang, Minister Li, and Imperial Son Hu Hai. The Holy One also sent a decree to the Fang Marquessate Establishment, hoping for Fang Xiumu to also come along, but the words were gentle and not an order.”
“Minister Li, Hu Hai and Fang Xiumu?” the empress said softly.
The palace attendant felt an inexplicable wave of cold.
In her way of thinking, since Fu Su was the empress and the Holy One’s most beloved child, then Imperial Son Fu Su should be the child taken along to the Deer Mountain Conference if any child had to go … or had the Holy One’s attitude towards Imperial Son Fu Su changed slightly due to the events at the New Year’s banquet?
Based on some rumors in the palace, the Holy One already had thoughts of making Fu Su the crown prince next spring. If the Holy One changed his mind, what kinds of storms would occur?
Yet unexpectedly, the empress once again smiled faintly and whispered, “This is good.”
The palace attendant bid farewell with doubts.
There were many people with similar doubts as her inside the imperial palace.
The Deer Mountain Conference concerned the fight between the Qin Dynasty, Chu, Yan, and Qi dynasties. This was the most important of matters. In the eyes of the powerful, the Min Mountain Sword Trials was just an event for young people compared to the Deer Mountain Conference that concerned the fate of the entire dynasty.
Because the Deer Mountain Conference was so important, everything about the event would show the nature of many things.
The people who came along would naturally be the most trusted of the emperor, and the people who were greatly valued and held great power in certain areas.
“Why was Fang Xiumu summoned?” In a certain part of the capital’s walls, two noblemen conversed in the dark night.
The features of the two could not be seen clearly in the darkness, but one person’s face gave off faint red light as though cinnabar was going to come out of his skin. His face was long and narrow, and he looked to be in his forties.
The other person seemed to be in the prime of his life, tall, broad and gave off heat like a wild beast. The cold air around him seemed to twist as though he was stepping on an extremely hot steam box.
“Fang Xiumu only knows to sit and comprehend the sword. The Holy One summons him not because he is interesting and can relieve the boredom during the trip.” the tall and broad man said casually when he heard the worlds of the other man who gave off red light.
The person giving off red light said, “Has Fang Xiumu become stronger than Ye Celeng and the others just by sitting for so many years?”
The tall man said, “This is the only possibility.”
The man giving off red light said with a sneer, “Fang Marquessate Establishment has risen, but we are in a bad situation.”
“Where is the bad situation?” The tall man shook his head and said, “You speak of the Holy One not letting Fu Su come along?”
The man giving off red light said, “Other than this, you think there is anything else worthwhile for me to come here to talk to you about?”
The tall man glanced at him and said, “You are mistaken in your understanding. When the monarch is away, he should be worried about the safety of himself. But the Holy One has such cultivation so he doesn’t have to consider his own safety after leaving Changling, but whether Changling will be stable. Who can destabilize Changling? The Holy One will take along Minister Li. The only person who has such abilities is Her Majesty the Empress. If he has such suspicions and takes along Fu Su … everyone knows the empress spoils Fu Su. If Fu Su stays to keep the empress company, the empress will not have any misgivings if she wants to do anything. So the Holy One’s arrangements are because he trusts the empress absolutely.”
The man giving off red light was silent for a moment before saying, “You have followed the Holy One and the Empress for many years. You see all this more clearly than I do.”
The tall man glanced at him and said slowly, “So we only have to wait, next spring, Imperial Son Fu Su that my Meng Family and your Duanmu Family supports will be the crown prince.”
In the morning, because most of the shops were resting after the new years, Falling Parasol appeared even more cold.
Ding Ning made porridge and opened the shop door. He originally wanted to go and ask Xue Wangxu what he wanted to eat today, but he immediately saw a carriage parked under the tree by the shop with two youths waiting there.
These two youths appeared to be of similar age to Ding Ning. One was dressed in a large red robe with a white fox fur collar. The other was dressed in purple robes. Both youths had white skin and their features were proud.
Seeing Ding Ning, these two youths changed expression. The youth dressed in purple robes who looked slightly taller immediately walked over, bowed his head in greeting and said, “This one is Zeng Tingan, greetings to Brother Ding.”
Ding Ning looked at this youth and returned the greeting. He asked, “Do you have matters this early in the morning?”
Zhen Tingan smiled slightly but his eyebrows rose and a slightly proud expression appeared on his face. “The ranking of the Book of Talents has changed,” he said as he looked at Ding Ning’s eyes.
Ding Ning’s brow furrowed lightly and he said, “So what?”
“You have risen to sixty first.” Zhen Tingan’s smile suddenly disappeared and turned into coldness. His voice quickly became cold and harsh. “My present ranking is sixty second. I really cannot understand how you qualify to rank in front of me so I have been waiting for you this morning.”
Ding Ning said calmly, “If you cannot understand, you can go ask Hongyang Academy. They made the Book of Talents, not me.”
Zhen Tingan said mockingly, “That is too troublesome for me. There is a simpler method.”
“You want to challenge me?” Ding Ning shook his head briskly and said, “I will not.”
Zhen Tingan stilled and instinctively asked, “Why?”
Ding Ning glanced at him and said, “I am not interested.”
Zhen Tingan laughed in fury and said, “This is something that concerns interest?”
Ding Ning nodded and said, “I do not want to waste words. You should leave.”
Zhen Tingan laughed out loud for a long time.
“In the new year, it will not be good if someone breaks down your door.” His gaze landed on the shop door behind Ding Ning. He said mockingly, “Even if I pay you, you will not be able to find a laborer quickly.”
Ding Ning glanced at him and then shouted loudly, “Senior Sect Brother Zhang Yi! There is a matter! Come quickly!”
Zhen Tingan and the youth behind him stilled. They thought, does this common youth not understand any rules and wanted to call his senior sect brother to fight together?
A tall figure quickly charged out of a nearby courtyard, his hands steaming and holding a hot towel.
“Junior Sect Brother, what is the urgent matter? I am helping Cave Master wash.” Zhang Yi looked at Ding Ning with a grimace and asked.
Ding Ning glanced at him and said, “I will trouble Senior Sect Brother and Junior Sect Brother Shen Yi to bring Cave Master over. There is something he would like to see.”
Hearing Ding Ning’s words, Zhang Yi was stunned. He looked at Zhen Tingan and the other youth with some realization.
“Why so early?” he said lowly before he turned and quickly went back.
“It appears that common people really have no sense of shame. I just have to force you.” Zhen Tingan smiled in satisfaction and turned to walk towards the carriage. He said, “I even brought the blunted swords. You don’t need to borrow any. This will spare you from more excuses.”
Facing Zhen Tingan’s arrogant attitude, Ding Ning waited in silence.
In the span of several breaths, Zhang Yi and Shen Yi’s figures appeared in his sight. The two carried Xue Wangxu over in his rattan chair. After putting Xue Wangxu down under the nearby eaves, Zhang Yi went back to bring out a thick blanket and a fire basin.
“Sect Brother Shen Yi, go get a large umbrella.”
Ding Ning said to Shen Yi as he watched Zhang Yi place the fire basin by Xue Wangxu’s feet.
“What do we need an umbrella for?” Zhang Yi was slightly puzzled. He looked up at the sky. At this time, the sky was clear, and the sunlight was bright. There was no sign of rain?
Zhen Tingan’s brow also furrowed and he wanted to say something.
However, Ding Ning looked at him and said calmly, “You are not a match for me, and my attacks are too powerful so I will not fight you.”
“Also, you cannot even defeat my senior sect brother Zhang Yi.” Before Zhen Tingan could speak, Ding Ning turned and looked at the dumbstruck Zhang Yi, saying, “Senior Sect Brother, this fight is yours.”
“Are you making sport of me? Or do you really want me to take down your shop door?” Zhen Tingan shouted loudly in anger and disbelief.
Zhang Yi also looked at Ding Ning and said in disbelief, “Junior Sect Brother, this …”
“You know I speak the truth. What if I accidentally kill him?” Ding Ning looked at him and said, “Also, two people on the Book of Talents is better than me ranking higher alone.”
“Are you driving a duck onto a perch?” Xue Wangxu stilled slightly but then he laughed in gratification and stroked his beard. He said, “But this is also good. Zhang Yi, you are too peaceful. You need someone driving you from behind. You cannot disappoint your junior sect brother.”
Zhang Yi did not dare to argue against Xue Wangxu’s words. He said hesitantly, “Cave Master, is this good?”
Zhen Tingan shouted angrily, “Ding Ning, you feel that a person who isn’t even in the Book of Talents is a match for me? If you do not dare, you just have to crawl between my legs. Why think of such tricks?”
Ding Ning’s expression cooled. He shot back, “What, you do not dare? If you can really win against my senior sect brother, I will await your fight at any time. You would not need to shout here and disturb the peace.”
“I will win against him today and see if you will still hide!”
Zhen Tingan was furious. He jumped, and a blunted sword flew towards Zhang Yi with a howl.
Translator Ramblings: Poor Zhang Yi. He’s never been so harassed for his personality before he met Ding Ning.