This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 15: Hope
Zhang Yi looked at the black-robed man’s back. His restless emotions could not calm down.
The old nobility were a very special group of people to the entire Qin Dynasty. On one hand, they were not allowed to appear in the present Changling, but on the other, they had many properties, and even business with enemy countries. They had the pulse of some things in their hands, and the mistress of Changling could not easily tear them away from Changling.
This was the classic “whether to keep or remove” but in the end, it was that they were strong enough.
Right now, what should he choose?
The sun was on the horizon, the air had started to turn cold. Because of his emotions, he did not even notice the deliberate wind that the green robed Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivator created behind him.
This Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivator grew displeased and frowned.
“Your performance now is very far from during the sword trials. As a swordsman, you have to be alert at all times, especially outside of Changling. The people who want to kill you will not have to worry whether they can walk out of Changling, and have no constraints at all.”
Hearing this voice, a stunned Zhang Yi turned around.
Seeing the special green jade uniform the other wore and the unique piercing presence, he immediately realized the other’s identity. But his mind was in more chaos- What was going on today?
“Count intervals, five and sevens.”
The Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivator was used to seeing all kinds of top geniuses and was even more displeased when he saw Zhang Yi’s confusion. He took out a cold metal box from his sleeve and held it towards Zhang Yi.
Zhang Yi instinctively took the seemingly ordinary metal box. His heart involuntarily jumped and he could not help but ask, “What is this? What is counting intervals, five and sevens?”
“Think about it yourself. If you cannot understand…” This Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivator raised his eyebrows. He originally wanted to say: if even this could not be stood, Zhang Yi would not qualify to call himself a student of Min Mountain Sword Sect but at this time, he felt it was inappropriate. He paused and changed his words. “Destroy what is inside the box.”
Seeing the other’s displeasure, Zhang Yi thought of how Ding Ning said he was too sentimental and seemed to wake up. His gaze moved from the Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivator to the metal box in his hand.
Then he opened the box.
There was only a thin sheepskin paper in the box, folded simple, so he saw many ink lines at first glance. From the scattered and broken lines, he felt endless terrifying sword essence.
His eyes immediately teared up.
In the next moment, the sword essences pressed on his body, stopping his energies and blood from flowing properly and even momentarily gave him a feeling he was injured and bleeding.
Zhang Yi’s body shuddered and then he raised his head in shock.
He looked with amazement at the green-robed cultivator. He thought of the presence of Jing Liuli and even Tantai Guanjian. He felt they could not possess such sharpness and immediately understood. “This is Sect Master Baili’s own…”
The Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivator felt there was no need for an answer.
He turned and left.
“In your view, you are an insignificant person, yet three of the top people of Changling came to see you in person or gave you a letter in their own hand. So you are not an insignificant person. The disciples of Min Mountain Sword Sect are the same as those true disciples of Ba Mountain Sword Field, we are not insignificant.”
Hearing the words of the other as he disappeared, Zhang Yi’s body trembled involuntarily.
Borrowing the last light of the sunset, he struggled to unfold the sheepskin paper from the box. His eyes felt piercing pain as tears streamed down. He only saw the first few words when his breathing stopped momentarily and then sped up.
This was a sword manual.
Count in intervals, every five and seven was a reading method. Only those characters, multiples of five and seven, were the true contents of the sword manual for him to comprehend the true meaning.
For Baili Suxue to write in person and use this method to hide the true contents meant there was only one possibility. This sword manual was very important to Min Mountain Sword Sect, and in Min Mountain Sword Sect, only Baili Suxue knew of it. This meant it was a direct teaching of the sect master.
After understanding all this, Zhang Yi finally understood the meaning of the Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivator’s last words.
How could the direct disciple of Baili Suxue, the master of Min Mountain Sword Sect, be an insignificant person?
The last light faded from the sky. The wilderness around him fell into darkness.
If you do, then do it thoroughly.
Ding Ning’s voice sounded in his mind again.
He thought of many past events, thought of Xue Wangxu’s death, thought of the scenes of the trials, and of the letter the mistress of the palace had written with her own hand after the trials. He thought of the glory he had traded, and felt that Ding Ning’s words were correct.
He took the sheepskin paper out of the box, and placed it next to his skin. He put away the box, looked up at the brightest star in the direction of the Yan and started to walk.
Hooves beat loudly on the riverside and startled many birds resting for the night. Torches lit up the entire rivershore. A general in black armor leapt off the galloping horse and landed on the ground as though he was weightless. But as he landed, he pulled and stopped the horse behind him.
This black-armored general looked around his surroundings and asked two children around seven or so sitting in front of a soldier.
They were a girl and boy, looking like siblings. From their clothes, they should be the children of the nearby fishermen.
Hearing the interrogatory tone of this general and the shining tiger and wolf insignia of the other’s black armor, the children were terrified. They opened their mouths, not answering, and started to wail.
This black-armoured general took a deep breath and felt even more irritated. But when he crouched down to look, his expression changed dramatically. Great coldness and murderousness unconsciously shone out of his eyes.
He saw white satin threads soaked through on the winding willow roots.
Almost instinctively, he was sure that this was where Bai Shanshui had hidden before.
There were an unknown number of ships and Qin cultivators on the Wei River looking for Bai Shanshui’s tracks. Who would have thought that Bai Shanshui would float under these old willow tree roots like a true corpse?
This was a place that all the ships passing on the river could see. Yet, in the end, only these two children coincidentally saw her.
Leaving it up to the heavens was the best escape method?
The Holy One had flattened a mountain with one blow at Deer Mountain Conference. If there was the heavenly fate, it should belong to Changling. How had this rebel managed to escape again!
This general thought of the Qin people who had died by Bai Shanshui’s hand in these years, and his anger burned higher. But when he saw the floating white threads, he knew he had missed the best opportunity to capture Bai Shanshui. He did not know what price it would take to defeat this great rebel again. Because he could not vent his anger, his powerful presence advanced forward, causing the river water in front of him to ripple outwards.
In the deepest part of the Great Floating Water Prison, Lin Zhujiu floated quietly in the water and sensed the ripples coming from the neighboring cell.
This was completely meaningless to other people, but the only chance in his dull and captive life.
“Young Person, you are extraordinary. Ever since this water prison was built, you are the second person that Shen Xuan is powerless against.”
He looked down at the ripples and praised sincerely.
The sound passed clearly and far along the flow of water but there was no response.
Lin Zhujiu looked at the still-moving water and knew the young person was not unconscious. He said, “I know you do not trust me, but I know you are different from the other people sent in to gain my trust. I have experienced what Shen Xuan has done to you… I know what kind of people manage to survive them. So you can not trust me, but I can trust you.”
A long time later.
A weak but clear voice came from the neighbouring cell. “Who are you?”
Lin Zhujiu said, “Ba Mountain Sword Field, Lin Zhujiu.”
The cell was silent for a moment. Then, “Impossible.”
Lin Zhujiu laughed and said, “Everyone feels that I am dead, but I am still alive.”
The other cell was silent again.
Lin Zhujiu said with a smile, “You have doubts. If I am Lin Zhujiu, why would I tell a person I have never known before.”
The other side did not refute it. “Yes.”
Lin Zhujiu said calmly. “Because no one feels that we are able to leave after entering this place. Just like Shen Xuan took you here so you can learn, even I, after more than a decade, cannot leave. He wants you to despair. Despair is the best way he can open the mouths of people like you and me.”
Lin Zhujiu raised his head and looked at the other cell. He said coolly, “But I think he will still fail. Also, I will give you hope. If you can last long enough, believe me that I will definitely take you away.”
The cell had no response, only an imperceptible grunt.
The water rippled even more strongly.
Lin Zhujiu knew that another round of torture had started.
Many punishments that even he felt terrifying to think off were being performed on that young person.
He had given that young person a promise and hope, but was there really hope?
Lin Zhujiu looked down at the rippling dark waters. He grew silent again.