Chapter 63 There Are No Perfect Plans
After his melancholy came disdain for himself. Shen Xuan thought, he had thought too optimistically. There were no such coincidences that he would encounter at just a thought.
“It seems that your investigation had no problems.” He looked down slightly and expressed his apologies to Mo Qinggong.
Mo Qinggong naturally did not think that he ranked equal to the other and bowed. He said, “Official Shen is too polite.”
Seeing the change in Shen Xuan’s expression, Ding Ning knew the greatest danger had passed.
At the same time, he decided to tell Zhangsun Qianxue everything that had happened today in the Great Floating Water Prison. She had to know that their enemies, powerful ones like Shen Xuan, were still wary even twelve years after Emperor Yuanwu’s ascension. When things worth their attention happened in Changling, they would subconsciously think of that person.
Shen Xuan turned around and indicated for Ding Ning to stand. He said slowly, “A cultivator’s resolve is much stronger than ordinary people, especially powerful cultivators that can even fool themselves and separate their senses from their bodies. At that time, their bodies become unrelated to them. No matter what you do to their bodies, it would feel as though someone else is being tortured. So in order to completely break their resolve, we have to attack them mentally. I have interrogated that cultivator that tried to assassinate you thoroughly, but I fear that I have missed something. This cultivator entered the Great Floating Water Prison because of you. If he sees you, his emotions will grow more unstable, and I will have something to use.”
Ding Ning stood up and nodded to indicate his understanding.
Shen Xuan turned and walked towards the wriggling figure that was groaning and hanging from the hooks. A light wave of energy came out of his body and filled that figure’s meridians.
Ding Ning carefully controlled his heartbeat and murderous intent. He looked at the cultivator who tried to assassinate him in Fish Market.
At this moment, the cultivator had become a terrifying red piece of meat, but half of his face seemed to have been purposefully preserved so his former appearance could be seen.
When that stream of power entered, this cultivator suddenly gave a displeasing inhale like a person drowning who finally got a breath of fresh air. His undamaged eye finally lit up and saw the shadows of the trio. Yet when he saw Ding Ning and Shen Xuan’s faces, this cultivator’s eye widened and filled with blood, the veins seeming they were about to burst.
He had an expression of terror, shock, regret and other indescribable emotions mixed together.
Before Shen Xuan spoke, this cultivator chanted madly, “I am Zhuang Younglie, from Jiaodong …”
Another wave of energy came out of Shen Xuan’s body and landed in this cultivator.
This cultivator immediately quieted as though even his emotions were frozen in this moment.
“Go out.” Shen Xuan waved at Ding Ning and indicated that Ding Ning could leave.
Ding Ning saw Xue Yi waiting outside when he walked out of the stone room. At this time, Ding Ning felt a wave of sorrow in his chest and his eyes were slightly wet. He knew that the deepest stone room was not far from here.
He even knew the position of that stone room, but tragically, he couldn’t even glance in that direction or even sense what extra defenses were over there. He couldn’t even show the tears in his eyes. He could only think, just as he wished, he had at least entered this Great Floating Water Prison that had changed greatly.
He followed slowly in Xue Yi’s footsteps. He pondered calmly, with so many powerful formations having been preserved, there seemed to be only one way to quickly enter the innermost room.
After entering that water cell, there would only be one way to leave here … four realm seven cultivators working together.
Thinking about the presence Shen Xuan gave off, his gaze grew colder. He was sure that four were not enough. He would need at least five realm seven cultivators. Yet in Changling at present, where would there be five cultivators that dared to attack here and fight the Qin Dynasty?
Ding Ning felt slightly cold and his body curled up slightly.
On the wall in the Falling Parasol wine shop, many of the flowers that had been drawn had faded over time. This painted wall connected many cultivators realm seven and above.
Yet just like Liang Lian, and the newly added Forefather Zhou … In his plans, those people might fight and kill each other, but there was no possibility they would work together for him.
Zhangsun Qianxue was standing in front of his painted wall at this moment.
She did not understand what Ding Ning’s flower like symbols meant. She was even unwilling to spend any effort on something outside of cultivation. She only wanted to turn herself in a sword that forgot many things to become simpler but stronger. So while this painted wall had existed for a long time, this was her first time studying it seriously.
She had changed today because she had heard Xue Yi’s words when he came for Ding Ning. She knew what kind of place the Great Floating Water Prison was.
After entering a place like that, Ding Ning was likely to be trapped within.
Her mood grew slightly fretful.
When she studied this painted wall that Ding Ning left behind for the first time, she found it extremely complicated at first glance. It was very difficult to memorize so many favors and grudges. But soon, her delicate brow furrowed, and she felt something unusual.
She could faintly discern the spaces between the flowers were the streets of Changling. One of the blue flowers was at the position of the wine shop she was in. Some grey flowers were at positions representing the corner turrets that kept watch over the straight streets of Changling. Once those positions were set, those seemingly chaotic and meaningless green leaves became the stationed garrison and the moving Tiger Wolf Army. Some of the purposefully empty places were the best paths to avoid the observation of the turrets and the Tiger Wolf Army.
This painted wall was also a map of how to escape Changling as fast as possible.
Ding Ning had easily drawn this map with its hints. He must have memorized all of it … so this map was for her. Even harder for her to believe was that all the pictures on the wall seemed to form the features of a person.
While it would be hard for anyone except for her to make this out, there was a similar presence. But just like practicing the sword, it was not hard to copy the movements, but hard to copy the aura.
“If I do not get specific information on you before midnight, I will attempt to leave.” Zhangsun Qianxue took a deep breath and said coldly to this wall as though she was speaking to Ding Ning.
Yet at this moment, her beautiful features turned frosty. She sensed a familiar presence.
A carriage was waiting on the street near a restaurant. The carriage driver, wearing a thick jacket, was nodding off as he hugged a copper hot water bottle. He was waiting for his employer. A soft wind blew behind him. This driver only felt his eyelids grow heavy. His head bent down and he sank into a deep sleep.
A gentle power spread from the carriage cabin which had originally been empty. It controlled the reins, turning the horses to slowly travel towards an alley outside Falling Parasol. This carriage quietly followed behind a man dressed like a merchant that passed by Falling Parasol. After following for many streets, the carriage driver seemed to lose control and stopped.
The sleeping driver suddenly woke up. When he saw the surrounding scenery, he broke out in a sweat. He cursed his drowsiness inwardly for making trouble and allowing the carriage to travel so many streets. Fortunately, he had not crashed into anyone.
At this time, the driver of another carriage in this street lowered his head and sank into sleep. A gentle power came out of the carriage and controlled the carriage to follow that man.
After passing through several streets, the man dressed like a merchant stopped walking. He was facing the closed door of a restaurant.
Yet in the senses of Zhangsun Qianxue who was slowly exuding gentle power in the carriage, there was a grey-robed man washing some horse equipment in the backyard of the restaurant. She knew this grey-robed man was Jing Mozong, one of Wang Taixu’s most loyal subordinates, and a person who had fought with Ding Ning in the streets.
At this time, she sensed the intentions of the man dressed like a merchant who gave off a familiar presence. After a moment of thought, she said clearly but softly as though she was speaking to Ding Ning, “Apologies, the plan has to change.”
In the next moment, her presence trembled. The energy controlling the reins grew stronger.
The man standing in front of the restaurant suddenly turned and his gaze landed on her carriage.
Zhangsun Qianxue’s features did not change and she controlled the carriage to continue advancing.
The merchant-like man narrowed his eyes slightly, and showed a hint of indescribable coldness and rebelliousness. A small disdainful smile appeared on the corner of his lips. Without any hesitation, he sped up his steps and followed Zhangsun Qianxue’s carriage.
Translator Ramblings: How to show your love … paint a map of escape routes.