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Chapter 8 Departure
“Following Forefather to view an event like that will be of great benefit.” Ding Ning said, after a moment of silence, “But even though I am cultivating outside, I am a student of Green Vine Sword School. If I am going far from Changling to Deer Mountain, I need the permission of my teachers.”
“If there are no mishaps, the Holy One will depart today.” Forefather Zhou did not immediately answer Ding Ning and slowly said. Then he looked kindly at Ding Ning. “You naturally need permission from your teacher. But if you really want to come with me to watch, you have to be fast.”
“This junior understands,” Ding Ning said as he respectfully bowed his head.
Forefather Zhou smiled in satisfaction. “Then go. The Zhou carriages will wait here. If you are able to go, we can depart at any time.”
Meanwhile, Zhang Yi had been casting nervous glances at the alley entrance the entire time. Seeing Ding Ning return, he moved forward to ask softly, “Junior Sect Brother Ding Ning, What important matter caused Forefather Zhou to find you so early?”
After a moment’s thought, Ding Ning said, “He wants me to accompany him to Deer Mountain.”
Though Zhang Yi’s had an overly benevolent personality, he possessed an intelligent mind as well. He immediately discerned what this meant and reacted gravely. “The Deer Mountain Conference is a gathering of the strongest cultivators in the world. It can be said to be the greatest cultivator event of the world. These powerful cultivator will fight. Even just sensing that kind of realm will be of great benefit to your future cultivation. Everyone knows this. However, no one knows how many cultivators from the Qin, Chu, Qi, and Yan dynasties will gather around Deer Mountain and what will happen.”
Pausing, Zhang Yi looked at Ding Ning and said with even more gravity, “Because never before has there been a conference like this, there are no examples to consult from.”
Before Ding Ning could respond, an old voice came from the small courtyard behind him. “You said so much. Your Junior Sect Brother Ding Ning must already know. It depends on what he thinks.”
Zhang Yi immediately turned around. “Cave Master, you are awake?”
Xue Wangxu was sitting on the bed, slowly putting on his clothes as he said, “When you reach my age, you will learn even- if you want to sleep, any small noise will easily wake you up.”
Zhang Yi, who had reached the doorway, said shamefully in self-recrimination, “This disciple was too loud.”
“I am too old. It has nothing to do with you, come in.” Xue Wangxu waited for the pair to enter the room before he looked at Ding Ning and asked, “There are no examples for Deer Mountain, it depends on what you think.”
Ding Ning glanced at him and simply said, “I want to go.”
“Since you have decided, then go.” Xue Wangxu looked at Ding Ning and smiled. He said, “It seems that you only have to consider your safety.”
Ding Ning bowed deeply at Xue Wangxu and then also bowed to Zhang Yi with the same solemnity.
“Little Sect Brother … no, Junior Sect Brother Ding Ning, you are?” Ding Ning had rarely made such serious bows to Zhang Yi before, so he didn’t know what to do when he saw Ding Ning act like this.
“During the time I am not in Changling, I will rely on you and Junior Sect Brother Shen Yi to take care of Cave Master. You have to take care of Cave Master until I return.” Ding Ning looked at Zhang Yi and said calmly, “Deer Mountain is far. By the time the Deer Mountain Conference ends and I return, the Min Mountain Sword Trials would be due to start.”
Zhang Yi grasped Ding Ning’s meaning. He returned the bow with unusual gravity and said, “Junior Sect Brother Shen Yi and I will take good care of Cave Master Xue. We will wait for Junior Sect Brother Ding to return to shine at the Min Mountain Sword Trials and bring White Goat Cave true glory.”
“The sword essence of the Painting Remnant Scroll can rival any sword manual and the White Goat Sword Manual is also clever in its simplicity. I hope that Senior Sect Brother can advance.” Ding Ning thought seriously for a moment and said to Zhang Yi, “I will tell Senior Sect Brother something. The Morning Rain Dampens the Dust. While the morning rain is gentle, it can cleanse away all. The White Goat Hanging Horn means to lock into a stalemate. The two’s true meanings may have similarities.”
Zhang Yi stilled. He could not understand Ding Ning’s words in this moment, but in his subconscious, he felt these words were extremely important. Thus these words were clearly etched on his mind.
Xue Wangxu involuntarily frowned and then smiled as though he understood. He looked at Ding Ning and said, “It seems that I am not a grandmaster, you are.”
Ding Ning shook his head and said, “If this student is a grandmaster, than Teacher is a true grandmaster.”
Xue Wangxu laughed out loud.
Zhang Yi looked in incomprehension at the pair. Xue Wangxu’s smile faded slightly as he looked at Zhang Yi and said, “Ponder this well.”
Forefather Zhou had not moved too far from Falling Parasol. Since he had left Ink Garden, he could not easily return.
In his view, Ding Ning would not refuse his suggestion.
Since this wine shop youth had obtained a powerful method to condense the star fiendish energy, then the youth would naturally feel following him would have more benefits. This was a temptation that no cultivator could refuse.
Yet, he did not know that Ding Ning understood his temperament well.
Ding Ning walked out of Xue Wangxu’s small courtyard and went into a nearby shop to say a few words to a fellow inside.
Then he returned to the wine shop as though nothing had happened.
Zhangsun Qianxue was well-aware his intentions and ignored him.
An hour later, a carriage stopped at the alley entrance. Fu Su walked out of the cabin and hurriedly entered the wine shop.
“What is so interesting today that you had someone find me this early in the morning?” Fu Su asked Ding Ning with a smile upon seeing the other sitting in the wine shop.
“Not something interesting, something dangerous.”
Ding Ning waited for Fu Su to come over and sit opposite him before saying, “You know the Zhou Family?”
Fu Su frowned slightly, looked at him and said, “The Zhou Family you refer to should be the Zhou Family of the Ink Garden. You say it is something dangerous. Is the Zhou Family making trouble for you?”
Ding Ning did not answer his question and asked calmly, “Do you know Forefather Zhou?”
Fu Su did not answer. His expression grew slightly odd. “He hasn’t died?”
Ding Ning shook his head and said, “He passed me a way to condense fiendish energy. Now, he has invited me to Deer Mountain.”
Fu Su was shocked. “Deer Mountain?”
Ding Ning nodded and met his shocked gaze, saying, “You must also know that going to Deer Mountain is a dangerous matter. I found you because I wanted to ask if you want to go.”
Fu Su took a deep breath and said, “You want me to come along?”
Ding Ning did not explain, only nodded.
Fu Su was slightly moved.
He was of the belief that those who could support one another in life and death were true friends. He felt that Ding Ning thought of him as a true friend.
But then he said in a slight panic, his head hung low, “I do not know if my family will allow me to leave Changling for Deer Mountain.”
“Wait for me!”
He immediately raised his head, looked at Ding Ning and said, “I will go home and ask. If my family agrees, I will come along.”
Ding Ning looked at him and nodded.
Looking at Fu Su’s unusually clean features, he could not understand how complicated people like Emperor Yuanwu and Zheng Xiu could have a son so completely different from them.
Fu Su was going to ask his family. His question would naturally reach the study of the mistress of the palace.
At this time, the empress’ fingers were not wrapped with threads of light but in her perception, the pale white flames that did not belong to this world wrapped happily around the charred small sword high in the sky.
The seal scripts deep in the charred scrapped sword slowly absorbed the power in the pale white flames. Some of the damaged particles started to shine with pale white light as though rusty metal was going to turn into precious jewels.
Forefather Zhou has not died … he had hid in the Ink Garden for so many years. What does he want coming out now?
She thought coldly to herself upon hearing the report from the palace attendant in front of her.
“Since Fu Su wants to go, then let him go,” she said in the next moment, her features flawless.
A palace attendant that could report to her naturally was not an ordinary one. So upon hearing the words, the palace attendant did not immediately leave with her orders and said hesitantly, “Your Highness, this seems to go against the Holy One … would this be good?”
“What do you know?”
Though the empress reprimanded, she was not angry. An odd smile appeared at the corners of her mouth. “He takes along his people and he will not care about my arrangements. If I attempt to interfere with his arrangements, that would be not good. Also, Fu Su is too pure. It is good to let him see people’s maliciousness.”
The palace attendant did not understand anything except the last sentence.
The empress glanced at her and said coolly, “You should know our most important connection is one of husband and wife. Only by putting this connection above all else will everything be good and Changling stable.”
After saying this, she looked towards the outside sky. She said slowly and with some pride, “The Holy One must be starting his journey by now.”
The palace attendant shook slightly. She involuntarily looked up at the sky behind her.
The Holy One had departed. So the enormous Changling was absolutely in the hands of her mistress behind her.
Translator Ramblings: My lack of Chinese history is coming back to haunt me. I’m not sure if there was ever a Warring States summit where kings from different countries met each other in person. Envoys did visit the courts of different countries but it seems too much of a risk for monarchs to ever travel to meet in person.