This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 6: Mental State
A burst of rain silently poured down, shrouding all of the Wu Mountain in an even thicker mist, as though it were a heavenly realm.
The carriages waited silently on the mountain paths that were turning muddy. Lu Siche stood next to one of the carriages and looked nervously in the direction Fan Wugou and Li Lingjun had departed.
As the sound of familiar footsteps came through the darkness, Lu Siche’s expression eased slightly.
Li Lingjun walked out of the forest without Fan Wugou, but his body felt clear as a crystal. The fatigue and dust of his long travels seemed to have been cleansed away leaving an unusual presence emanating from him.
In Changling, Li Lingjun had shown admirable abilities in many areas and a presence that people would follow. Yet, he had to carefully seek survival. But in this moment, in the eyes of the people in the caravan, Li Lingjun’s caution seemed to have greatly disappeared and his figure seemed to have grown larger.
With this change in presence many realized something, they became excited.
Li Lingjun knew what his faithful retainers needed at this moment so he coughed softly and spoke in a warm and clear voice. “We do not need to hurry to Cheng City. We are going to the Deer Mountains.”
Everybody stilled. Before most people could mull over the true meaning in the words, Li Lingjun continued slowly. “At Deer Mountains, before the start of the conference, Father-King will make me the crown prince.”
The Wu Mountains had yet to reach the period of spring storms, but Li Lingjun’s words exploded by their ears like thunder.
The Deer Mountains was a junction for multiple dynasties. Being dubbed the crown prince at Deer Mountains … Li Lingjun had yet to formally returned to the capital of the Chu Dynasty; for decades now, the position of the Chu Dynasty crown prince had been vacant … from every angle, this matter seemed unreasonable.
Yet, everybody in the caravan knew of Li Lingjun’s speech and conduct. They noticed that Li Lingjun had not added the words “if there are no accidents.”
He did not even say such words. This meant that the crown prince had already been decided and there would be no accidents.
Everybody in the world knew that the King of Chu was getting on in years and Li Lingjun was set to become the crown prince. This meant that soon, he would be the unrivalled master of the Chu Dynasty.
The lord they followed would become the king of a dynasty. Then what glory would come to the people that followed him?
This was the sweet coming after the bitter.
Most of the people in the caravan were so excited they knelt on the ground.
Only Li Lingjun was not completely overjoyed. He walked next to Lu Siche and said in an icy tone by his ear, “Kill Su Qin … no matter the cost. Do not let him leave Chu alive.”
Lu Siche’s brow furrowed deeply. He did not know at this moment why Su Qin had to be killed, but he could sense Li Lingjun’s unparalleled violent and poisonous emotions.
After evening time, Falling Parasol quickly grew quiet.
There were no customers in the wine shop. Ding Ning cleaned up the tables and prepared to close the shop.
Right at this time, Fu Su walked into the wine shop.
Seeing Ding Ning busy, he casually picked up a towel and started to help by wiping down tables.
“Since business is good, why not hire a few more people? This way, you can spend more time cultivating.” Fu Su said with a warm smile as he looked at Ding Ning who had not refused his help.
Ding Ning glanced at him and said calmly, “In many people’s view, the most important part of cultivation is time. It feels as though if they are born with a few centuries of life, they will definitely reach realm seven or eight. But in my view, they do not actually understand cultivation. If one purely wants to use time in order to have a breakthrough,often, they will not have a breakthrough. Many cultivators like this would be white-haired by realm five or six. At that time, they would feel that the heavens are unfair to not let them live five centuries.”
Fu Su frowned slightly. Inexplicably, he felt that Ding Ning’s words contained many useful principles.
“Then what do you feel is most important about cultivation?” he asked humbly, after a moment’s thought.
Ding Ning looked at him and said, “Naturally, it is the mental state.”
“When one is pleased, one feels anything one does is correct and has meaning. One would not suspect that what one does is useless and a waste of time. When one has no hesitation, one will naturally progress rapidly.” He paused, looked at Fu Su who was deep in thought, and continued. “In reality, even if one is crossing the river during the night, there are countless paths. But those that are unable to cross, usually suspect they are mistaken- walking halfway and stopping or retreating to set off on another path. They take detours but feel that they are still correct and will continue further than the cultivators ahead of them.”
Fu Su carefully considered the words and found that they were in complete concurrence with the words of his teachers; he couldn’t help but feel solemn respect and said, “No wonder they say that your comprehension can equal those freaks from Min Mountain Sword Sect and Spirit Void Sword Sect.”
“Why have you come so late?” After finishing the clean-up, Ding Ning moved over a basin of clean water for him and Fu Su to wash their hands. “You should not have come just to flatter me.”
Fu Su smiled and took out a blue jade wine pot from his sleeve, saying, “Last time, you invited me to drink wine. This time, it is my turn.”
The wine inside the blue jade pot was also blue. When it was poured into the cup, it formed a line that glowed with light.
After he drank a cup, he felt each droplet of the wine explode like those ocean fish roes the elite of court liked to eat,carrying a slightly fishy presence. The fishy presences went deep into his internal organs like flowers blooming. Many of the parts of his organs that had dried up due to an overabundance of yang energy seemed to be covered with a film of water.
He took a deep breath, looked at Fu Su and said, “This wine is slightly special.”
Fu Su smiled and said, “This is good wine, and it is not sold. The family has kept it for a long time. After you finish this pot, there is no more, so drink more.”
“He treats you special.” Deep at night, seeing Ding Ning return after helping Fu Su to the entrance of the alley, Zhangsun Qianxue said with cold sarcasm. “He even brought you life-saving wine made from seven-heart flower. This is something priceless. In ten years, Fish Market might not be able to harvest enough seven-heart flower from the ocean to make this much wine.”
“It can give me three years of time. I will use these three years to trade for cultivation.”
Ding Ning sensed the warm medicinal power that were nurturing the dry places in his body. He calmly spoke of cultivation to her. “This will let me get closer to realm three first class before the Min Mountain Sword Trials starts.”
Zhangsun Qianxue looked at him with displeasure and said, “He treats you so, but you use him. Do you not feel guilty?”
“Do not care too much about the process, just the results.” Ding Ning looked at her and said, “Even the best process, if everyone dies, is useless.”
“Do not always mention those old events to me.”
Zhangsun Qianxue’s expression turned frosty and she said slowly, “You say such things because you think that many things he did in the past were mistakes?”
Ding Ning nodded and said, “Naturally, he has many mistakes.”
Zhangsun Qianxue did not like to argue, so while these words would be the start for many people, it was a finish to her.
She turned and walked into the courtyard.
Ding Ning said nothing else. Just like usual, he washed up with hot water and got into bed.
The countless little silkworms in his body started to wake up and furiously consume the energies in the wine.
The places in his body that had been nourished became dry again but at the same time, astounding energy formed in his body.
The vital energy in his body grew stronger rapidly at a speed that ordinary cultivators could not imagine.
It was a waning moon now. The moon had become a small crescent line in the sky.
In Forefather Zhou’s eternally springtime room situated in the Zhou Family Ink Garden, Zhou Susang stood respectfully with her head held low in front of Forefather Zhou.
Looking at this young woman, Forefather Zhou’s eyes were filled with complicated emotions. He narrowed his eyes slightly and spoke in as harmonious tone as he could. “Your period has finished. What have you felt?”
Zhou Susang knew that Forefather Zhou asked only out of concern for the progress of the secret art he cultivated, but she still couldn’t help but blush and said embarrassed, “Forefather, I have not felt anything special.”
Forefather Zhou’s eyes flashed with light. Before she could react, his withered hands landed on her hands and moved up along her arms.
Her body shook slightly, and goosebumps instinctively rose on her skin. But she stopped breathing and didn’t dare to move.
Forefather Zhou”s vital energy slowly moved along the two paths in her body and carefully sensed the changes in hier body.
Yet, his expression grew uncontrollably dark.
She had not sensed any changes. He also did not sense any changes.
There were no changes … that meant that the wine shop youth’s understanding had been incorrect.
This was not a secret art suited for women to cultivate.
Or perhaps, that wine shop youth had lied.
In this moment, just like Li Lingjun, his heart filled with violent and malicious emotions.
Translator Ramblings: Ding Ning’s lie is quickly discovered. Also, as a commenter pointed out, Wu Zejian, the first empress regnant of China, was a concubine of the father before becoming empress consort of the son.