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Chapter 23: The Flap of A Butterfly’s Wings
Geng Ren calmly returned the bow and said to Ding Ning, “Li Xixing just came. He originally wanted to bid you farewell. He has left.”
Ding Ning was silent for a moment and said, “He is a cherished friend.”
He asked after a pause, “Where did he go?”
“Outside the forts,” Geng Ren replied simply.
“That’s good.” Ding Ning thought and looked up at Geng Ren. He said, “Has Sect Uncle Geng Ren thought of a way for me to help make a great contribution to Min Mountain Sword Sect?”
Geng Ren looked at Ding Ning. He did not immediately answer and said, “Your eldest sect brother Zhang Yi went to the Yan Dynasty.”
Ding Ning frowned. “This does not appear to be her arrangements.”
Geng Ren nodded and said, “The ‘Night Owl’ met in person with Zhang Yi after he left Min Mountain Sword Sect. The ‘Night Owl’ is one of the leaders of the old nobility of Changling, so this must be their plan.”
Ding Ning thought silently and then asked, “So Min Mountain Sword Sect wants me to do something with the Yan?”
Geng Ren looked at him and did not answer directly. He said, “Your relationship with Wang Taixu is unusual. We want to borrow Wang Taixu’s power.”
Ding Ning looked at Geng Ren and said seriously, “What do you want Wang Taixu to do?”
“We want him to go to Yan, so he will no longer be the gangster leader of Changling, but of the Yan Shangdu.”
After saying this, he felt that Ding Ning would be shocked. It really was unlikely for a gangster who had established himself in Changling to travel far away to an unfamiliar capital to conquer it, especially when it was the capital of an enemy dynasty.
Unexpectedly, Ding Ning’s expression remained calm.
“Why do this?” Ding Ning asked calmly. “Why does Min Mountain Sword Sect have such thoughts?”
Geng Ren said slowly, “Emperor Yuanwu flattened a mountain with a blow at the Deer Mountain Conference and subdued three dynasties. Yet, we still have many doubts after looking at the overall situation of the Deer Mountain Conference. The Chu and Qi did their best, but not the Celestial Seal Sect of the Yan. Ordinary cultivators would think that Celestial Seal Sect is slightly lesser than our Min Mountain Sword Sect and the Spirit Void Sword Sect, but we know very well this is not so.”
Ding Ning listened seriously and unconsciously frowned. “You feel Zheng Xiu has other arrangements in the Yan?”
Geng Ren nodded and said directly in a plain tone, “In the Qin, there are no powers that can defeat the Min Mountain Sword Sect, but if the empress has a powerful hidden pawn, the result will be different.”
“I will convince Wang Taixu to go to the Yan Shangdu,” Ding Ning said, “he will heed to my suggestion.”
Hearing Ding Ning answer so directly and confidently, Geng Ren was slightly stunned, unable to react.
Ding Ning said, “In the conflict with the general last year, most of his brothers died. While he finally obtained his present status due to Cave Master Xue revealing his realm seven cultivation, the waters of Changling are too clean, and not suitable for someone like them to exist. Also, I heard that Shangdu is more chaotic than the Chu capital. The more chaotic, the easier to gain a foothold.”
Geng Ren nodded. “The Yan Emperor has seen the foundation of the Qin’s strength. He wants to copy the Qin reformation but he does not have those people the Qin had back then who could subdue the swarm of serpents. So the present Shangdu is more chaotic than Changling back during the reformation.”
He paused, and looked at Ding Ning. “We are not skilled in the channels and rules of the streets. You have a good friend in Wang Taixu, and going to Shangdu is coincidentally suitable. The Min Mountain Sword Sect will not interfere in this matter publicly, so all Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivators who are in Zheng Xiu’s sight will not go to the Yan. But this does not mean that Min Mountain Sword Sect has no swords that have gone to Yan.”
“I understand this.” Ding Ning looked at him and said, “Everyone hides a few swords.”
Geng Ren’s eyes flashed with rare light. He felt true affection and admiration of Ding Ning. At the same time, he was pleased at the success of the matter.
“If Wang Taixu departs for Yan, you can go into the Sword Tower to study the Heaven Replenishing Divine Art.”
“The one leaving home is someone else, but you are the one learning the ultimate methods of the Min Mountain Sword Sect. Your business is doing well.” After Geng Ren left, Zhangsun Qianxue’s cool voice sounded behind Ding Ning. “Changling is far from the Yan, but if Zheng Xiu’s hand has stretched there, it will not be simple. There will also be dangers you do not know of.”
“While dangerous, to our situation, this is his best retreat.” Ding Ning turned to look at her beautiful face and said, “You know this.”
“Some things, once the first step is taken, cannot be stopped.”
Seeing Zhangsun Qianxue silent, Ding Ning continued. “If you win your gamble and Ye Celeng guessed who you are, she will quickly come to see you. If she does not appear, it means something unusual, and more danger. People who can leave and not get pulled in should go.”
Zhangsun Qianxue looked at him with a small disdainful smile. She wanted to ridicule him but inexplicably, she did not want to speak today.
She turned around and took a deep breath, her gaze falling towards the corner of the wall. There were a bunch of dark flowers there, and an ordinary yellow butterfly stopped there.
The yellow butterfly lightly flapped its wings. There was no wind, but in her mind, there was a storm forming.
“Ding Ning tossed the medicine into the ditch… the wine shop youth who just won the Min Mountain Sword Trials. Zheng Xiu had sent Palace Attendant Rong to see him, and he threw the spirit medicines she brought into the ditch in front of Ink Garden.”
Ye Celeng held a small paper roll with her fingers as she narrated the contents to Bai Shanshui. Then a strange expression appeared on her face.
“Last year, during that storm, I came back to see Zhao Zhan of the Zhao Sword Furnace. Starting from then, Changling, which has been calm for a long time, seemed to be in constant turmoil. I remember seeing that wineshop youth that day.”
The paper scroll became wet in her hand and then softened as it soaked through. It dripped through her fingers like pulp. She looked strangely at Bai Shanshui and laughed inexplicably. “Now that I think about it, it appears the source of all this turmoil seems to come from when I first saw the wine shop youth.”
Bai Shanshui did not speak. Seeing the other’s strange expression, she knew that she did not need to explain. Ye Celeng was close to the truth.
Because of that person, her country had been destroyed and her family killed. She had fallen among the lakes and rivers. Because of that person’s disciple, Fan Zhuo had been killed by Zhangsun Qianxue. Because of that person’s disciple, she met Li Yunrui. Even seriously injured, because of that person’s disciple throwing medicines into the ditch, she gained many benefits including learning mutually with Ye Celeng. Even her old injuries were healing, and her cultivation had advanced greatly.
Her life seemed to have fallen into this fate a long time ago.
“Your Changling’s structures and roads are too straight and square. Are your tombs also like that?” Bai Shanshui laughed inexplicably as she looked at Ye Celeng.
Ye Celeng looked at her smile, and then at the distant Changling roofs. She laughed. “You mean that all of Changling is like a tomb?”
“An enormous tomb with many heroes here. Those once invincible people have turned to dust and earth.”
Bai Shanshui laughed without any lady-like composure. Once again, multiple droplets of water appeared out of nothingness in front of her. But this time, sword lights seemed to flash in the droplets like invisible swords.
Ye Celeng’s eyes flashed as she said, “Bai Shanshui, your sword is very strong.”
Bai Shanshui glanced at her and said sincerely, “My strongest is my luck.”
Ye Celeng looked down at her hands.
In terms of comprehending sword arts and cultivation, she originally had not been slower than Bai Shanshui. She had become a cultivator far later than most people in Changling, but she had entered realm seven far faster than most people.
But since Bai Shanshui’s arrival, and she guessed that the beautiful woman in the wineshop who moved even Li Lingjun was Zhangsun Qianxue, who was closely related to that person, she was not as calm as she appeared.
Especially when she was certain that person’s heir could appear… her emotions were even more restless. Her hands were trembling but the energy around her hands rippled smoothly like water.
She thought she had experienced countless storms, even facing the bloody storms before Yuanwu’s ascension without changing her expression. But when her long years of wait were finally reaching a result, she found she could not remain calm. She was on the edge.
“How long will you need to recover your energy?” She looked up and asked Bai Shanshui.
Bai Shanshui looked at her and said, “In a few more days, I will be able to kill Shen Xuan.”