This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 53: A Marquis’ Subject
“Turn right at the alley ahead.” Ding Ning’s expression slowly calmed down as he said to Jing Liuli.
This was just a soft direction, yet Jing Liuli heard something unusual.
The icy anger in her eyes quickly faded. She nodded obediently like a true attendant and started to drive peacefully.
“Go ahead… and then turn left…”
Jing Liuli did not know where Ding Ning was going next, but she was certain he was not going back to Ink Garden.
Soon, those concerned with the movements of this carriage found that it was not returning to Ink Garden.
Today, Ding Ning had stunned all of Changling by defeating a realm five as a realm four. What was he going to do next?
Because it had been so long, even though he recalled some memories, those memories were still fuzzy. So his directions were given slowly and Jing Liuli drove the carriage slowly.
Ding Ning was extremely familiar with the present streets of Changling. He could accurately judge how long the armies stationed around Changling would take to reach a spot after one of the turrets sent a message.
But today’s Changling was not the old Changling.
He paid attention to the present but rarely thought of what these streets were like many years ago and what each courtyard was used for.
Many courtyards had changed completely. Some farm lands had become busy markets, wine shops, dye shops and dye shops brothels…
“This seems to have become a private property.” As his thoughts spread along these changed streets and courtyards, his memories slowly overlapped with the present Changling and he could not help but say.
“What?” Jing Liuli heard his voice and could not help but turn to ask.
Ding Ning looked up ahead and did not answer. “We are almost there.”
Following Ding Ning’s gaze, Jing Liuli saw a patch of grey eaves.
These grey eaves were not as dignified as most other grey eaves in Changling. The edges of the roof curved upwards like a pair of birds in flight.
Her brow immediately furrowed. She knew that this kind of roofing style was from the Jiaodong Commandery.
As the carriage advanced, everyone paying attention could see that the courtyard was Ding Ning’s destination.
But even the master of the courtyard was confused by Ding Ning’s arrival.
Facing Jing Liuli, who was likely to be the next master of Min Mountain Sword Sect, and a genius like Ding Ning, no owner could be unaffected. No one would dare to use a proud and negligent attitude unless he did not know Jing Liuli and Ding Ning’s identities at all.
When Jing Liuli brought the carriage to a stop at the gates of this courtyard, its owner slowly walked out.
This owner was a middle-aged man with a short beard who wore a black silk robe.
Jing Liuli did not know the identity of the middle-aged man but even she could see he had an unpleasant expression. It could be said he did not welcome her and Ding Ning’s arrival.
Ding Ning’s brow furrowed slightly. He knew the identity of the middle-aged man but did not think that they had ever had a conflict between them. So he did not understand why the other would have such an expression.
He got off the carriage and bowed slightly to the middle-aged man, saying, “Junior Ding Ning greets Palace General Liu.”
Palace Commander was an official position. This man’s surname was Liu, and he was one of the commanders guarding the gates of the imperial palace.
Ding Ning had performed the bow of a junior. A palace gate commander was not much higher than him and Jing Liuli so his attitude towards this middle-aged man was very respectful. Yet this middle-aged man had a sneer on his face.
He nodded minutely and said indifferently, “I did not know the skilled disciples of Min Mountain Sword Sect would suddenly visit. What is the matter?”
“In Falling Parasol’s wine shop, I heard many years ago that Golden Osmanthus Distillery was the most famous in Changling. Now, the Golden Osmanthus Distillery is gone, but the osmanthus woods have remained.”
Ding Ning looked at the unfriendly Palace Commander Liu and said calmly, “I request to enter the woods… and move an osmanthus tree to Ink Garden.”
“What do you mean?” Hearing his words, Palace Commander Liu stilled slightly and then asked with a frown.
Ding Ning looked at him and said, “Previously, when making wine, I always wanted to make some sweet osmanthus wine. I thought, since I left Ink Garden today and there is empty space there, I could come to the best osmanthus trees and ask for a tree to take back. If Palace Commander Liu is willing, I will do my best to repay you.”
Palace Commander Liu was shocked. Due to his great shock, the coldness on his face was reduced greatly.
Jing Liuli could not help but turn to look at Ding Ning. Even she felt Ding Ning’s words were absurd and unbelievable.
Ding Ning was not in a hurry and looked calmly at Palace Commander Liu, waiting for his answer.
It did not matter what kind of reason was given. The most important thing was that he had shown his attitude. He knew that Palace Commander Liu would know the weight of his promise to repay. Him stating these words right now were not much different from the Guanzhong Xie Family saying such a thing. Also, there was Min Mountain Sword Sect behind him.
“Apologies, I refuse.” Palace Commander Liu took a deep breath. His shocked expression faded, and his gaze turned cold again. He shook his head.
Ding Ning looked at him and said, “Even if you refuse, there must be a reason.”
“Reason?” Knowing that Ding Ning’s words also held weight, Palace Commander Liu sneered, and the scorn grew stronger. “The reason is actually very simple.”
This palace commander lowered his voice and slowly forced out in an icy tone between unmoving lips. “Not because I want to curry favour with that Palace Attendant Rong… I actually dislike her, a fox borrowing a tiger’s might. But pity, I am an old subordinate of General Liang. You should know what you and Wang Taixu mean to General Liang.”
Ding Ning’s gaze turned cold. He was a little surprised.
General Liang had been in his plans, but later on. He had not expected them to appear here.
“It seems that he is not as useless as many people think.”
Ding Ning looked at this palace commander and a faint sneer appeared on his lips. “Have you really considered the consequences of such a decision?”
“Do not threaten me. Repaying a favor is a normal thing.” Palace Commander Liang narrowed his eyes and raised his head to avoid looking at Ding Ning. He said coldly, “Even a great general like General Liang has suffered so. It’s already good for people like me to be a palace commander in Changling. I do not hope that I can advance again. Us soldiers are simple in our conduct, and I also know what tactics you are most skilled in these days.”
After a pause, this palace commander looked at Ding Ning and said scornfully, “If you dare to challenge me, if you can win against me, not one osmanthus, you can even move the entire garden out of my property. How about that?”
This palace commander’s voice was not quiet. Many people heard his words and they could not help but shake their heads.
“I know, with my cultivation, saying such a thing is shameless.” This palace commander looked at Ding Ning and then said scornfully, “But during the Min Mountain Sword Trials, you were also very shameless, including what you do now to force that palace attendant.”
Jing Liuli raised her eyebrows. She turned to look at Ding Ning. She did not know what solution Ding Ning had to a realm six second class palace commander who said such things.
Ding Ning was silent. There would be solutions, but right now, he could not think of a way to enter the osmanthus woods.
Yet at this time, a quiet voice sounded in the alley behind him and Jing Liuli.
This voice was simple.
Everyone looked and saw a long-haired youth in purple robes slowly walk over.
“Otherwise, I will challenge you.”
This youth had delicate features and long hair that fell freely down his back. He looked seriously at the paling Palace Commander Liu and said, “Then maybe we will die together.”
When the surrounding people saw this youth’s features, many people felt shocked and incredulous.
The Qin had thirteen marquises. This youth was a subject of one of the thirteen marquises. This marquis usually was not in Changling, and should be the one that had no connection to Ding Ning at all.
After many breaths, some people inhaled sharply.
They started to realize what had happened.