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Chapter 44: Beat Them At Their Own Game
Jing Liuli was still immersed in Zhang Luyang and Palace Attendant Rong’s strange relationship as well as the past secret of Empress Zheng Xiu and Emperor Yuanwu that Zhang Luyang had exposed. Hearing Ding Ning’s words, she could not help but shake despite her strong mind.
“What do you mean?” She whispered.
Ding Ning glanced at the hut in the tea garden and said simply, “He made too many mistakes.”
Jing Liuli frowned deeply and said, “I did not even see even one mistake.”
Ding Ning said slowly, “His greatest mistake is that all his knowledge comes from Palace Attendant Rong’s sleep talking. No matter how many secrets they hold, how many realm six cultivators have you heard of that would talk in their sleep?”
Jing Liuli turned to look at him and did not speak.
“When one reaches realm five, their mind would be open. Vital Energy and primal energies will nourish the body better than most medicines in the world. One’s soul will be calm. If they speak in their sleep, I fear they will immediately wake up. How could they speak for so long?”
Ding Ning said calmly, “When one reaches realm six and seven, they can clearly hear the sound of insects in grass, and rain in their ears like thunder. Any unusual response in their body would be like lightning and thunder, causing the cultivator to wake up immediately. Unless this cultivator is seriously wounded or sickly, then their minds would weaken… but you and I have seen Palace Attendant Rong. She has a calm presence, but she is limited by her talent so she cannot touch realm seven. How can she frequently sleep talk?”
Jing Liuli’s expression grew more serious. She said coldly, “This is indeed an enormous mistake.”
“He takes advantage of us not being in realm six, and feels we are ignorant of what is in realm six,” Ding Ning looked up and said with a hint of coldness, “Just now, you saw his cultivation. He is realm six. How can a realm six not know about realm six.”
“Using something shocking to disturb people’s emotions will easily make them lose their usual judgement.” Ding Ning said slowly after a pause, “He said that Zheng Xiu disguised herself as another woman and had relations with Emperor Yuanwu, forcing Emperor Yuanwu to start his change. This matter is astounding. The fires of the Great Scholar Academy and One Path Academy should be true, and can be traced. People who listen to his words will be taken in by him and assume all he says next is true. This is a common psychological tactic. Many people, especially generals, will do this when directing troops in battle.”
Jing Liuli’s expression turned frosty. “You mean the entire matter is false?”
“It does not matter if the entire matter is true or not.” Ding Ning had a coldness he usually did not carry. “At least, some important details are false. Even if we make this matter reach Zheng Xiu’s ears, this matter will not have much connection with Palace Attendant Rong. Zheng Xiu will just feel that we are unscrupulous and have created something false to damage her reputation in order to gain revenge. At that time, we will not get a good outcome.”
Jing Liuli’s hands tensed. She could not help but want to pull the carriage to a stop.
“Do not stop. Maybe he is looking at us,” Ding Ning shook his head and said softly.
Jing Liuli took a deep breath and continued to drive. “So he really does not want Palace Attendant Rong to die, he wants to help her against us?”
Ding Ning smiled and nodded. “He also has a great flaw… when I said Min Mountain Sword Sect could protect him, and even implied that he could go into Min Mountain Sword Sect to avoid the calamity, he was not joyful, and his gaze seemed to avoid mine. When we left, he sighed in relief like he had finished something. He did not even ask when people from Min Mountain Sword Sect will come, and how we will arrange for him to go there. Those issues were not confirmed. We had no arrangements… but he does not worry about this matter of life and death.”
Jing Liuli was silent for a moment and said, “I understand what you say, but since you knew from the start he was lying, you did not expose him. You are unable to learn Palace Attendant Rong’s secrets from his mouth. Are you going to beat them at their own game?”
“I have no way of doing so.” Ding Ning looked at her, and an odd emotion flashed through his eyes. “But through our conversation, I thought of some things that are enough to deal with Palace Attendant Rong.”
Jing Liuli turned to look curiously at him. “What ways?”
Ding Ning looked in the direction of the distant imperial palace and said indifferently, “In Changling now, there are many things only Zheng Xiu and Palace Attendant Rong know… if a third person knows of this, Palace Attendant Rong would definitely be the one to have leaked it. Even if something like this does not reach Zheng Xiu’s ears, Palace Attendant Rong will be afraid.”
Jing Liuli looked in puzzlement at Ding Ning and could not think.
She thought, if this was something only the empress and Palace Attendant Rong knew about, how could other people know? If other people know, even if it was something that old Changling inhabitants like Forefather Zhou or Xue Wangxu knew about, why would only the empress and Palace Attendant Rong know of it?
“You do not need to understand now. Since you are learning from me, as long as you remember the processes, you will understand in the future.”
Ding Ning did not explain more. He faced her puzzled gaze and said, “Zhang Luyang used this shocking matter to get us to take the bait, risking the danger of angering Zheng Xiu. He is gambling with his own life and death… This means that he and Palace Attendant Rong are faking it, and have lied to everyone.”
Jing Liuli suddenly understood slightly and said, “So he and Palace Attendant Rong are truly in love.”
Ding Ning nodded and said with a hint of pleasure, “So there are ways of dealing with Zhang Luyang. At a key moment, Zhang Luyang can be the last piece to break through her mind’s defenses.”
Jing Liuli said after a moment of silence, “You seem to innately understand these things… Honestly, you are more suited than I at being the next master of Min Mountain Sword Sect.”
Ding Ning looked at her. She did not respond.
It was not because of Jing Liuli’s words, but because when he looked at Jing Liuli, he thought that Jing Liuli was really similar to a certain person from the past.
Their conversation stopped but the carriage did not.
From the remote and quiet tea garden, the carriage drove into some of Changling’s prosperous streets.
Ding Ning seemed slightly tired in the cabin and his eyes grew lidded.
Jing Liuli’s gaze suddenly grew sharp. But this time, she hid well and did not raise her head or unconsciously put her attention to her waist where her sword usually rested.
There was a large tea house ahead. At the door to the tea house, a youth in blue robes walked out towards their carriage.
She did not stop the carriage and advanced like she was unaware.
About a hundred feet away, this handsome blue-robed youth’s hand landed on his sword hilt. His body gave off a faint presence.
The dust on the street in front of him slowly floated forward, forming a sword that blocked the street ahead of the carriage.
This had a clearer meaning.
Even the idle people who were on the streets or eating sunflowers in the tea house immediately understood this youth’s intentions.
This blue-robed youth was going to challenge the people in the carriage.
Palace Attendant Rong’s face gave off a porcelain-like light.
She was walking on foot back to the palace. While she did not stop at all, the news about Ding Ning constantly reached her ears.
She knew about the waste carriage that had crashed towards Ding Ning. She also knew that Ding Ning had gone to the tea garden. She also knew that a blue-robed youth was challenging Ding Ning.
Her expression did not change, but cold flames burned deep in her eyes. She feared everyone in Changling would think that it was her behind that waste carriage and even the blue-robed youth.
Yet she knew this all had nothing to do with her.
Then who was doing all this. Was it Ding Ning himself, or those important people of Guanzhong?
She could not understand.
What she did not know was, in a teahouse on another street not far from the blue-robed youth, a general in ordinary robes was looking at the scenery.