Chapter 68 An Inexplicable Assassination
After the start of spring, all the cultivation sects in Changling had finished their vacations, but a youth, dressed in red robes edged with white fox fur, lightly scaled the tall walls of a cultivation place and sneaked out.
A soft cough sounded nearby.
This youth dressed in red robes edged in white fox fur immediately froze. He did not show the terror that ordinary sect disciples would have when they were discovered sneaking out, and only had a slightly embarrassed and irritated expression.
A soft voice sounded at this time, “Cousin, Auntie was right. You are not diligent in your cultivation.”
Hearing these words, the youth’s irritation immediately disappeared and his expression filled with joy.
He turned around suddenly and looked in disbelief at the person who had spoken, “Older Cousin, how are you here?”
The youth that was standing nearby was of similar age to him. Even with his teasing smile, he appeared exceptionally kind and gentle. This was the most favoured imperial son of the Qin Dynasty empress and emperor, Fu Su.
The empress Zheng Xiu only had one female cousin, Zheng Feiye, who had married into the Meng Marquessate Establishment. This youth dressed in red robes edged with white fox fur called Fu Su ‘Older Cousin’ so he naturally was the marquessate heir, Meng Qihai.
Seeing the joyfully surprised Meng Qihai, Fu Su also appeared extremely happy. He smiled and said, “Mother-Empress is allowing me to travel around. I am not familiar with the outside so I thought of you first. I heard that you are among the most unrestful students of the Fish Sun Sword School, and frequently scale the walls. I wanted to see how you look when you jump the walls. I hadn’t expected you to just jump right in front of me. Really, things come when I think about it.”
Meng Qihai did not usually have many chances to meet Fu Su, but the two had played together as children. Fu Su had an easygoing personality, and would accommodate him most of the time, even when they had been children. So he and Fu Su were extremely close and he called the other “Cousin” most of the time. In his joy, he jumped in front of Fu Su and held Fu Su’s hands. He said, “Cousin, you came at the perfect time. Things come when I think of it.”
Fu Su stilled slightly and said, “What do you mean?”
Meng Qihai said happily, “Cousin, you are the fastest at cultivating among the young people of Changling. You should have no problem defeating the people on the Book of Talents. You came at the perfect time. Help me give a lesson to someone.”
Fu Su looked curiously at him and said, “Give who a lesson, what is going on?”
“That wine shop youth from the White Goat Cave that was so famed a few days ago.”
Meng Qihai twisted his mouth and said, “A few days ago, Zeng Tingan and I heard some news detrimental to him. So out of curiosity, we went to find him. We thought if he performed well, we would tell him the information. But when Zeng Tingan challenged him, he refused and had his senior sect brother Zhang Yi fight. While his senior sect brother Zhang Yi won against Zeng Tingan, and it appears that the wine shop youth seems to be stronger, I do not like his attitude.”
Fu Su stilled. His brow furrowed slightly and he urged, “If there is news detrimental to him, you should tell him first. Challenging him and watching his performance is not the actions of a gentleman.”
Meng Qihai looked helplessly at Fu Su and said, “I am no gentleman. That person has no sense of shame in refusing a fair challenge so he is not a gentleman either. Cousin, you do not promise to help me, and even lecture me.”
Fu Su smiled slightly and did not respond to the words. He said softly, “I am also participating in the Min Mountain Sword Trials.”
Meng Qihai was stunned and exclaimed, “How is this possible?”
Fu Su smiled happily and said, “Mother-Empress has given permission.”
Meng Qihai woke from his shock. He was so excited he started to shake all over. “This is great. Those people are not a match for you.”
Fu Su shook his head seriously. “That may not be the case. Cultivation and victory is not the same thing.”
Meng Qihai thought and then smiled slyly, “Then you have more reason to help me teach that wine shop youth a lesson. Compared to those people ranking at the top, Cousin, you lack combat experience.”
“You still obsess about getting your revenge.” Fu Su glanced warmly at him and said curiously, “I’ve paid some attention to the matters of that wine shop youth. You say you heard news extremely detrimental to him. What news is it?”
Meng Qihai said, “I heard the Li Family is going after him.”
Fu Su frowned. “Li Marquessate Establishment? Why?”
Meng Qihai shrugged and said, “Aren’t the Li Marquessate Establishment and Si Konglian of the Bureau of Ceremonies at odds? Sikong Lian seems to have sent a valuable gift to the wine shop youth. The Li Marquessate Establishment probably feels that Sikong Lian wants to support the other to win the Min Mountain Sword Trials so they are targeting him.”
Fu Su was displeased inside. He thought, no wonder Mother-Empress did not like the Li Marquessate Establishment. The Li Marquessate Establishment would fight over minor things most of the times, and their teeth and claws were too sharp.
“Isn’t this wine shop youth blameless for being pulled into this kind of conflict inexplicably?”
Fu Su thought and asked, “The Min Mountain Sword Sect will not allow anyone to interfere in the trials. Does the Li Marquessate Establishment want to deal with him beforehand?”
Meng Qihai nodded. “According to my news, Li Marquessate Establishment has ordered Li Xixing to return.”
“Li Xixing is a wolf. Our group didn’t like to play with him when we were children. I remember that he broke two of Duanmi Jingzhong’s ribs for a minor matter. So the Li Marquessate Establishment had to send him to the Yuezhi Country.” Meng Qihai sneered and said, “He stayed for so many years in Yuezhi, and ate so much wind and sand. I think that he will not have a good temper. Falling Parasol is not the Duanmu Marquessate Establishment. If he wants to act, it wouldn’t just be two broken ribs.”
Fu Su frowned deeply.
He had grown very curious about this wine shop youth when Ding Ning had reached Profound Understanding in half a day, and had a breakthrough in a month. While he had listened to lectures from the empress and his teachers to know that he should not waste his energies on these low ranking cultivators, Ding Ning’s performance after the Book of Talents was published still attracted his attention.
He hadn’t had any ideas about Ding Ning on this trip out of the palace and he hadn’t expected to hear of such a thing.
“This does not concern that wine shop youth. Outstanding cultivators like him are the greatest treasure of the Qin Dynasty,” he unconsciously copied the empress’ tone as he spoke softly.
Meng Qihai heard the meaning and twisted his mouth. He said, “Cousin, you do not help me teach him a lesson. You also want to help him on this matter?”
Fu Su glanced at him and asked in response, “If Li Xixing’s personality has not changed over the years, and grew even more extreme after going to a chaotic place like the Yuezhi, who would you dislike more between him and the wine shop youth?”
Meng Qihai stilled and said to himself, “If I compare these two, of course it is Li Xixing.”
Fu Su looked at him and smiled slightly.
Meng Qihai shouted with slight gloominess, “Cousin, you are logical, I cannot win against you.”
Fu Su smiled and then said with a serious expression, “If anyone else is present, remember to not call me cousin. Otherwise, people can immediately know my identity. I do not want to cause extra trouble.”
Meng Qihai immediately felt that this was an urgent matter and nodded, saying, “I will remember.”
Fu Su smiled slightly. “Then will you take me to the wine shop?”
Meng Qihai had a rash personality so he immediately nodded. He said, “That’s best. Otherwise, Li Xixing may coincidentally be there.”
Falling Parasol was the same as usual. The morning when the households woke up to wash and dress was the busiest time of Falling Parasol. After this period, Falling Parasol would quickly quiet down. There were not many passerby in the alley. The shops rarely had customers, and business was just enough to get by on.
Yet Zhangsun Qianxue was the first to feel something unusual. Thinking about the possibilities that Ding Ning spoke of, her body quickly grew cold.
But feeling those people’s cultivation, she gradually relaxed. Those people should not have come for the Nine Hell King Sword because the disparity in power was so great they could not manage to capture her and Ding Ning.
She called out. When Ding Ning walked into the courtyard, she told Ding Ning what she had sensed.
Many cultivators had appeared around Falling Parasol, and they were not cultivators strong enough to capture a realm seven cultivator?
Ding Ning’s brow furrowed deeply. He could not think of a reason.
When he walked out of the wine shop again, and headed to Xue Wangxu’s small courtyard, the countless “little silkworms” in his body seemed to wake from hibernation and silently moved.
His perception immediately grew much more sensitive. He sensed the positions of some cultivators.
Then he quickly sensed that many cultivators were moving along with two cultivators. These two cultivators who were coming towards Falling Parasol were at the center of the circle made by these cultivators.
Suddenly, his gaze narrowed slightly. He could faintly make out an unusual reflective light on the eaves nearby. That was the cold light of metal wiped with large amounts of oil. That kind of light would usually appear on ballistae and crossbows.
So … this was an assassination.
Translator Ramblings: Fu Su is aiding and abetting truancy.