This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 68: Excuse
“Senior Sect Brother …”
While the appellation was different, Shen Yi was just as sad as Zhang Yi when he said this.
“You and Eldest Sect Brother walk in the front. I can help Cave Master alone.”
Ding Ning tried to keep his tone calm. But his movements still showed that his mental state was very different from usual — he seemed to almost violently push aside Shen Yi and have Shen Yi and Zhang Yi walk ahead.
“Sorry.” Ding Ning softly said, not to Shen Yi, but to Xue Wangxu who he was supporting.
Xue Wangxu smiled bitterly at Ding Ning and said, “You almost lost your life, and still say sorry to me?”
Ding Ning’s throat moved as though he was having a hard time swallowing.
He was silent for multiple breaths. Then he looked up at Zhang Yi and Shen Yi ahead who were still trembling. He finally made a decision, and made his voice extremely low, “Remember when I returned from Wu Mountain and asked if you wanted to continue living? In reality, I wasn’t just asking.”
Xue Wangxu’s eyes had originally been dim and extremely calm like muddy water. But the moment Ding Ning spoke, waves appeared in his eyes. His heart jumped fiercely as though he had regained life. Shock pressed into all parts of his body.
This kind of shock felt even stronger than when he had just reached realm seven and felt the difference compared to realm six.
“So this was …?”
He sensed the energies inundating his body, and then the end of those threads of energy. He struggled to lift his head and looked at Ding Ning.
Ding Ning nodded.
“So you are …”
Even as Xue Wangxu looked at Ding Ning’s solemn eyes, he felt even more unreal and absurd within.
Countless memories and scenes charged into his mind and overlapped. He lost the ability to think. But the changes deep in his body caused him to quickly wake up.
“No,” he shook his head and said softly, “there is no meaning.”
Ding Ning was silent for a moment. He wanted to speak.
But Xue Wangxu looked at him and started to speak softly. “I say it has no meaning not because if you make me live and if we can escape after the Min Mountain Sword Trials … I know since you have made such a decision, there is the possibility of escape.”
Ding Ning pressed his lips together and maintained his silence.
Xue Wangxu looked emotionally at him and his gaze grew complicated. “I have never thought you would be his successor. I never thought that something like this would occur. Even though someone else had suggested this to me before, and had me imagine what I would feel after such an event occurred, I could not imagine it. Yet, when this event really occurred, other than my shock, the first thing I thought of was- what should I do?”
“I am of the Qin. I am loyal to the Holy One. Regardless of how many inglorious tactics the Holy One used to take the throne, he is a satisfactory emperor.” Xue Wangxu laughed bitterly. “You want me to live and display your true skill. You made the most important decision. To me, this decision is extremely important.
“I don’t know what you will do in the future. I am of the Qin … so my final decision is to not help either side.
“When you returned from Wu Mountain, I said to you life and death is fated.”
Xue Wangxu panted, weak but still persisting in looking up at Ding Ning. He said, “I die here, that is my fate. But you can still fight.”
“Not help either side?”
Ding Ning, whose lips had been pressed tightly together, smiled. “Old Man, why do you make such an excuse for me?”
“Do not forget the glory you promised me.” Xue Wangxu laughed and did not argue with Ding Ning. His eyes were filled with reluctance but also gentle calm. “If possible, win for White Goat Cave.”
Ding Ning took a deep breath and said slowly, “If you are unable to see, is there any meaning?”
Xue Wangxu nodded with effort. “Since you have such a status, as long as you promise, I think you can do it. Just thinking of that scene, I am very happy.”
Ding Ning grew silent again.
“This is fate.
“I have fate to meet his successor at White Goat Cave. This makes me feel the wonder of life and honored.”
Xue Wangxu looked calmly at him and said, “So you have no difficult choice at present.”
“Life and death is always easy for one to choose, but hard for others,” Ding Ning looked down and slowly said.
But as he said this, the invisible threads that had entered Xue Wangxu’s body retreated.
Enormous pain engulfed Ding Ning’s body.
Xue Wangxu grew even weaker. He could feel his body sinking, but he still smiled and patted Ding Ning’s back.
Behind the green jade doors of Min Mountain Sword Sect, most of the students were gathered on the mountain path facing the doors.
This mountain path headed high into Skyscraper’s peak. While the sword essence was blinding, and people unable to see the scenery higher up clearly, the path felt like a sword strike from the top of the peak to the base.
The entire mountain path was made from green jade. There was no hint of impurity. The sumptuousness was hard to imagine.
In the clearing right before the path were many ceremonial items.
At the side of the mountain path, at a spot where everyone could just barely make out, a patch of white cloud seemed to have been brushed aside to reveal a yellow altar.
Anyone could imagine, this was the place that the Holy One would worship the heavens, speak to his ancestors, and establish the crown prince.
Even though the students were extremely far away from the altar, the majority of students wanted to be closer to the Holy One. So, while they were not allowed to climb the path right now, they did their best to get as close as possible.
However, a small minority was an exception.
Xie Changsheng was at the tail end of the group. Even the White Cloud Monastery teacher who had brought him here was ashamed to be with him and was walking far away. For Xie Changsheng, most of the people near the end were familiar to him, including his own sister Xie Rou.
But when Ding Ning and Xue Wangxu’s figure appeared in his sight, he ignored Xie Rou’s existence completely.
He did not know what had happened between Palace Attendant Rong and Ding Ning and the others. But when he saw Zhang Yi and Shen Yi from far off, and saw how Ding Ning and Xue Wangxu seemed to be supporting each other as they walked, an indescribable heavy power easily struck the softest part of his heart. His brow furrowed deeply and a painful feeling filled his body.
And yet, he was not the only one to feel such a thing. Even the numerous black uniformed officials behind the green jade door, had stopped breathing.
When Ding Ning and Xue Wangxu came close, the official in black robes who had been standing with his hands behind his back, frowned and raised his eyebrow when he sensed their presence. His pale face immediately flushed a light red. An almost uncontrolled fury spread from his body.
Xie Rou’s face had originally been red. But in contrast to this official, her face grew paler until she was stark white.
Standing next to her were Nangong Caishu and Xu Heshan. When they saw Zhang Yi and Shen Yi’s expressions, their hands uncontrollably trembled.
“You made your own bed.” At this time, a youth dressed in light blue brocade sneered from the side. “This is the result of thinking yourself clever.”
Xie Changsheng abruptly turned around.
If this was an ordinary time, he would use the worst words to attack this youth he did not know. Yet, the silent and heavy presence Ding Ning and the others gave off caused him to not even have thoughts of cursing. He was filled with restlessness and murderousness.
“Who is he?” he coldly asked Nangong Caishu and Xu Heshan.
“Zhou Wangnian. The person right below Ding Ning in the Book of Talents at this moment.” Nangong Caishu’s tone was hoarse as though her answer was difficult, but each word was like ice.
“What, you ask who I am in this kind of tone? You think you can retaliate in the future?”
Xie Changsheng did not immediately curse him, but when Zhou Wangnian heard his words, Zhou Wangnian immediately sneered.
His features were as young as Xie Changsheng, albeit much more arrogant than Xie Changsheng. This was not because his cultivation was much higher than Xie Changsheng, but his grandfather was a powerful person in the Bureau of Palace Scribes.
For children like him of powerful people, they were born looking down upon people from business families, and those from ordinary families.
Xie Changsheng’s breathing grew heavy.
A cold voice sounded at this time. “How do you qualify to mock him?
Zhou Wangnian, Nangong Caishu and the others stilled and looked towards the source. The middle-aged official in black robes had come closer to them at some unknown time.
This middle-aged official in black robes looked coldly at Zhou Wangnian and said coolly, “If you want to mock others for being insensible, think if you have the assets to do so. Think of no matter how unreasonable you are, the gaze of the important people in the palace would not fall upon you.”
“An eagle whose wings are broken in the sky is still an eagle, the chick in the coop is a chick no matter how it squawks.”
Saying so, the middle-aged official in black robes looked away from Zhou Wangnian. When Zhou Wangnian realized the meaning of these words, he could not say anything, his face extremely black.
“He Zhaoxi …”
At this time, Xie Rou and the others suddenly stopped breathing. A figure walked out from the side towards Ding Ning and Xue Wangxu by the green jade doors. This man did not say a thing, just turned and helped support Xue Wangxu.
This person wore the uniform of Green Vine Sword School. He did not look very healthy but he seemed to contain explosive power. He was the most outstanding student of Green Vine Sword School, He Zhaoxi.
While White Goat Cave had merged into Green Vine Sword School, he and Xue Wangxu did not have much of a relationship. But at this moment, his silent actions were expressing his attitude.
As Zhou Wangnian looked at He Zhaoxi who walked next to Ding Ning and Xue Wangxu, his expression grew uglier.