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Chapter 3: Vicious
The silent youth had already discerned an unusual presence from this carriage; but when he heard the voice, he was slightly unaccustomed to it, thus his delayed response.
It had been many years since someone called him by this name.
The voice was young, and sounded familiar. A person who knew him could only be one of his childhood playmates. But he only had the most terrible memories of his playmates. In his memories, these people only counted as enemies; it was only because they were quite young, they had been placed together.
“Who is it?” He just raised his head and asked coldly.
“Back then, we had had a fight. You cannot even recognize my voice?” Meng Qihai, dressed in ordinary brocade robes, walked out of the carriage, his posture challenging, as he smiled at Li Xixing.
As compared to childhood, his features had undergone a lot of changes. Li Xixing looked at Meng Qihai, listened to what he had to say before he recalled something. He smiled coldly, “I know who you are. You are the son of the Meng Marquessate Establishment.”
Meng Qihai said with slight disdain, “What? You drank so much wine in Yuzhi, your tone is even more blunt than before.”
Li Xixing was silent for a moment before saying coldly, “So according to you, after being forced into exile to Yuzhi because of all you people, I have to change my personality and return to fawn over you with smiles, even facing your insults?”
Meng Qihai frowned. “It seems that your personality is hard to change. Li Xixing, back then, Duanmu Jingzong was a year younger than you. You were six, he was five. Could he understand? Even if he pulled out two of your tree seedlings, you could have just beaten him up. Don’t you feel it was too cruel to break two of his ribs? Everyone has grown up these years. You should understand principles better than before. Do you still feel that what you did was correct? Why do you think that no one liked you back then? Everybody was making a mistake?”
Li Xixing suddenly erupted in anger and said, “You did not like me because you all feared me.”
Meng Qihai sneered and asked, “Feared you?”
Li Xixing sneered as well. “Because I was better than you in everything, reading, riding, swordsmanship, training, even hunting and recognizing medicine. I was much better than you. None of you could win a fight against me one-on-one. Of course you feared me.”
Meng Qihai’s face turned flat, but before he spoke, Li Xixing’s visage turned cold. He continued. “Just like now, you still cannot win against me. So do not think that you can lecture me? Move aside. Otherwise, why do you think I came back to Changling?”
“It must be because you are strong and performed well enough to enter a top tier sect of Changling for cultivation. Otherwise, it would be a waste of an exceptional young cultivator for the dynasty.” Fu Su pulled on Meng Qihai who was about to erupt and said gently, “But everybody has their strong points. Some people are skilled in fighting, others in reading and drawing, and even in understanding. Li Xixing, have you ever thought that you were better in all areas than those you played with was because they did not understand and find those things important to spend effort on?”
“Of course!” At Fu Su’s words, Meng Qihai laughed coldly. “A young child would have a hard time supporting a tree seedling. When everybody was thinking about was eating candied hawthorn and flying kites, who would want to compete on planting trees? Who would feel that one had to put effort and energy into doing such things?”
Li Xixing unconsciously frowned. He looked at Fu Su and seemed to find this person familiar.
“Sometimes, when the time is wrong, and the wrong person is targeted, it is a mistake.” Fu Su looked at Li Xixing and said gently, “I was not in frequently with you during childhood, but I felt that it was too harsh for you to go to the border due to a childhood mistake for so many years. Albeit, everybody felt apologetic and hoped that, upon your return, your personality would have changed slightly. Perhaps then, you would find that everybody is very happy to be friends with you.”
“So it is Imperial Son Fu Su.” Li Xixing finally recalled who this person was. His expression grew stern and he bowed.
Fu Su nodded in return and said with a smile, “If you will not refuse, I can call our childhood playmates for a gathering.”
After a moment of silence, Li Xixing shook his head and said, “Imperial Son Fu Su, thank you for your goodwill. But you are correct. People have their strong points. Some are skilled at making friends while others are not. I think that I am the kind of soldier suited for fighting in the battlefield. I have never accomplished making friends, and it is easy to make enemies after too much contact.”
Hearing the resistance in the other’s words, Fu Su did not make any demands. He said gently, “You have just returned, and may be unaccustomed. How about staying for a while and watching? But the youth of Falling Parasol …”
He hesitated slightly. “He had done me a great favor, so I hope you will not make trouble for him.”
Li Xixing bowed slightly again and said, “Since that is your intention, my father would agree. Before the Min Mountain Sword Trials, I will not appear here. But as per my father’s wishes, I will participate in the Min Mountain Sword Trials. If we meet in the Min Mountain Sword Trials, I will not hold back.”
A smile of gratitude bloomed on Fu Su’s face as he said, “If you meet coincidentally, you are all future talents for the dynasty; so show mercy, if you are able.”
Li Xixing responded positively in acknowledgement and without another word, bid farewell.
Meng Qihai frowned at Li Xixing’s back. “It seems that he has turned worse.”
Fu Su said calmly, “Anyone who is exceptional usually has strange tempers.”
Meng Qihai said in slight sarcasm, “Because, the stranger the person, the more stubborn they are on their path?”
Fu Su thought about it and said, “It could be put like that. The stranger the person, the more difficult it is for them to be influenced by others and the easier it is for them to persist in their way of thinking. Everyone has their uses. His father has a similar temper. While disliked by many, not many can truly rival him in fighting and war.”
“Yes, in any case, they do not care if other people like them.” Meng Qihai glanced at Fu Su and said, “Let’s not talk about him … have you thought of a way of becoming friends with the wine shop youth?”
For Fu Su, helping Ding Ning by deflecting Li Xixing, was very simple. However,he did not know how to conceal his identity and get close to Ding Ning.
He was lonely in the palace because he did not have friends.
In his world, friends were a strange thing that he had no experience in.
“Since his family sells wine, then we will go drink wine a few times and become good friends? Later, I will go in alone. You have seen him before, and he should have a memory of you.”
After struggling for a while, Fu Su finally thought of a method he felt was plausible.
“You do not have many similarities to him.”
In the wine shop, feeling the two youths come close, Zhangsun Qianxue looked at Ding Ning who had returned to the wine shop and coldly said, “Even though he has fate in his hand and the ability to decide battles a thousand miles ago, he would never use friends.”
“So he died at the hands of friends,” Ding Ning said quietly. “One cannot be too pedantic at times.”
Zhangsun Qianxue could not stop her anger from erupting because she felt that this was not that person’s mistake.
Ding Ning’s words left her silent. “If he were not too much of a pendant, if he had not always been true to his word, if he had not trusted easily … if he had changed earlier, perhaps, he would have seen people clearly much earlier. He would not have made so many mistakes and would have chosen to be with you long ago. So, I do not blame him … I only hope that you do not blame him greatly.”
“What is the use of blaming?” After a long moment, she replied coldly.
Just then, footsteps sounded and Fu Su’s figure appeared in their sight.
Ding Ning shot him a fleeting glance, like he was an ordinary customer. He whispered at a volume only he and Zhangsun Qianxue could hear, “Do you find him similar?”
Zhangsun Qianxue only glanced at Fu Su and coldly said, “I can only see that whore’s features.”
Ding Ning took a deep breath and spoke slowly in a low tone. “You should remember that person’s features very well .. if Fu Su comes frequently, could you slowly make him look more like that person?”
Zhangsun Qianxue turned around and said, “Is that useful?”
Ding Ning said seriously and confidently, “You will not detect minute changes if you look at the same person daily. But after many days, this person would look different in other people’s eyes.”
Zhangsun Qianxue said, “I am not speaking of that. I mean, will Emperor Yuanwu distrust that person because of this?”
“This has to accumulate.” Ding Ning said, “Sometimes, a complete change just needs an opportunity.”
Zhangsun Qianxue said in revulsion, “This is disgusting.”
Ding Ning said, “I know you dislike doing something like this, but you must help me … you see simply and only need to consider cultivation. For you, if your cultivation surpasses Emperor Yuanwu, you can kill him. But you know that Emperor Yuanwu is not an ordinary cultivator. Your goal is to only fight him alone. But I am going to fight an entire dynasty.”
Zhangsun Qianxue did not say anything and walked into the courtyard.
In the world of her and Ding Ning, this indicated silent agreement.
“You want to buy wine?”
Ding Ning raised his head and asked slowly when he saw Fu Su walking uneasily into the wine shop.
Translator Ramblings: We are going to get into a whole new set of characters in this upcoming volume.