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Chapter 61: A New Grave
The rapeseed flowers of his home were blooming. The strong yellow color seemed to burn the sky, and the faint fragrance filled Li Yunrui’s nose.
The fragrance made him feel as though his body was turning light, until he finally started to float.
He saw a herd of newborn lambs running on the field, and then a young boy happily running behind the herd, drawing closer to him. He could clearly hear the happy laughter of the boy, making him inexplicably happy.
But he was suddenly surprised. He felt this body’s features were growing more familiar.
The boy ran past him, disturbing the rapeseed flowers on the two sides of the field. Many yellow flower petals flew up in a golden wave.
Li Yunrui couldn’t help but go towards the village ahead, along the path the little boy had taken.
A farm cow was tied to the old locust tree by the village entrance. Light fell on him in mottled rays.
Li Yunrui continued to walk forward. He saw a wattle fence and then a woman in coarse robes washing clothes by the well inside the fence. There were radish dumplings being cooked on the stove in the room yonder.
Seeing him come in, the woman suddenly looked up at him with affection and anger, telling him to go wash his hands.
Li Yunrui looked in shock at his hands. He saw his hands were now covered in mud, and had become unusually white and small. He was even more shocked.
He found he had become the boy who had ran past the rapeseed field just now.
He finally realized where this was, who he was, and who this woman was.
He opened his mouth but choked.
The yellow color of the field grew blinding. He couldn’t help but close his eyes. Yet, he wanted to see this. So, with great effort, he tried to keep his eyes open. However, the yellow color filled his entire world.
He cried out in pain.
A cold voice rushed into his ears like a wave of cold water.
This voice was unusually unfamiliar. Li Yunrui’s sight dimmed, just like the old locust tree at the village entrance that was shading him. He gradually saw that the world did not have the boundless expanse of golden rapeseed, only an endless ocean. Above him, in the sky, was a woman in white robes.
He found he was lying on a slightly damp grass patch. As he raised his head and looked up, he discovered that this white robed woman was exceptionally tall.
“No matter the reason, expending your vital energy and sinking to the bottom is extremely stupid,” the white robed woman glanced at him and said expressionlessly.
Li Yunrui was silent for a moment. He slowly stood up and said, “You rescued me?”
The white robed woman looked at him and said calmly, “Yes.”
Li Yunrui said after a moment, “Thank you very much.”
The white robed woman frowned slightly.
Li Yunrui stood up and continued to walk towards the river.
The white robed woman did not stop Li Yunrui from walking back into the river, but had uttered this name.
Li Yunrui’s body suddenly froze.
“What did you hear when I was unconscious?” he turned and said to the white robed woman.
The white robed woman did not answer his question and turned to look at the distant Changling “You have such cultivation, but you expended all your vital energy to sink to the bottom. I want to know why?”
She had wandered on this river for a long time. In this period before and after the Deer Mountain Conference, she had been hesitating about entering Changling, contemplating if there was a need. But at this time, her hesitation disappeared.
She started to walk.
Li Yunrui’s body grew cold. He turned and saw the white robed woman heading towards Changling.
“I will go to Changling to find the answer,” the white robed woman did not look back at him, and said calmly.
A hint of bitterness appeared on Li Yunrui’s face. He did not say anything but started to walk and follow the white robed woman.
The palace attendant in ordinary clothing walked slowly out of Falling Parasol.
There was a carriage parked under a willow to the side. When she neared it, the curtain was pushed open from the inside. A man with a long beard walked out, and bowed towards her with extreme awe.
“He deserves the reward of the Zhou Gardens.” This palace attendant looked at the long-bearded man and said expressionlessly, “But this does not mean he will receive special treatment at the Min Mountain Sword Trials.”
The long bearded man frowned slightly and then bowed slightly to express his understanding.
A line of black clouds slowly drifted through the sky. Underneath the black clouds was the Qi Dynasty’s imperial cavalcade.
The Chu procession had stopped at Wancheng, but the Qi imperial procession was not heading towards their capital, but to the base of a black mountain.
The black mountain was not very large and did not have any thriving flora. It was covered with countless gravestones.
The imperial procession stopped at the base of the mountain while the black sedan continued upwards.
In a mountain valley near the peak, a youth was digging a hole with a shovel.
This youth was similar in age to Ding Ning and wore a black robe. His expression was extremely peaceful and focused. Even when the house-sized black sedan stopped behind him, and the emperor of Qi walked out, he did not stop, and did not even turn to look at the emperor of Qi.
The emperor of Qi waited quietly.
His expression even held a rare hint of reverence. He would only have such an expression when facing Yan Ying.
The black soil kept being tossed out. The hole the youth was in grew larger and deeper. He only stopped when his head was below the ground.
“You are Prospect Teacher’s disciple?” the emperor of Qi nodded slightly and asked in a genial voice when he saw the black robed youth turn around.
The black robed youth didn’t even look at the emperor of Qi. A gust of cool wind swept. His body disappeared from in front of the emperor of Qi and appeared inside the large black sedan.
Without any pause, he bent down and picked up Yan Ying’s remains. Then he fell back into the deep hole he had just dug.
He put Yan Ying’s body by his side and also laid down.
A hint of shock flashed through the emperor of Qi’s eyes. But he sensed something. Thus, without a word, he gripped the shovel the youth had just used and started to work on his own to fill the deep hole.
Shovel over shovel of black earth fell, gradually filling the deep hole, burying the black robed youth and Yan Ying’s body.
By the time he was done, the setting sun was as red as blood.
After a moment’s thought, The emperor of Qi took down the black jade coronet he wore, and inserted it like a tombstone for this new grave.
Translator Ramblings: I think I get why this story is strange to translate. We get less of Ding Ning’s thoughts compared to every other character. He’s the protagonist and the focus but the author doesn’t let us “connect” with him through his thoughts and motivations.