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Chapter 54: Dig A Tree
The Qin Dynasty had destroyed the Han, Zhao and Wei dynasties, and created thirteen marquises.
These thirteen marquises and their subordinates each guarded a region, like thirteen strong foundation stones supporting the unprecedentedly strong empire. These thirteen marquises had extraordinary status beyond court officials in the Qin Dynasty. Their status came from killing numerous enemy experts, their military accomplishments and the great power they possessed.
From a certain perspective, they had been the ones to conquer most of the lands the Qin Dynasty possesed now, so they naturally had extraordinary status.
For Changling, they were important people who could truly speak, and express their attitudes and opinions on certain matters.
This youth belonged to the command of one of the marquises. His appearance here naturally represented that marquis’ attitude. If he belonged to the Dugu Marquessate Establishment, maybe it would be because of Dugu Bai, but he belonged to the marquessate establishment that was most unlikely to have had a connection to Ding Ning.
Fang Xiumu had left before the Deer Mountain Conference. Fang Xiang’s meridians had been destroyed during the Deer Mountain Conference. The Fang Marquessate Establishment only existed in name now. The people present started to realize that this youth represented the attitude of all the marquessate establishments.
In the past many years, Empress Zheng had strictly controlled Changling but been extremely just, and never crossed an invisible line.
Now, all the marquises hoped that the empress could follow her previous doctrines. Even more importantly, they did not want to see the weapons hidden away after the birds were killed.
These marquises had not expressed any opinions in how Zheng Xiu treated White Goat Cave, yet after Xue Wangxu died right before the Min Mountain Sword Trials, these marquises started to express their opinions on the matter of Ding Ning and Palace Attendant Rong.
Palace Commander Liu was not a new cultivator, so he knew better than most spectators the meaning contained in this youth coming to stand on Ding Ning’s side. He could afford the risk of offending one marquessate establishment, but he definitely could not afford to offend all of them. Some of the marquises were extremely violent and cruel in their tactics.
His expression changed constantly and he did not speak.
The long-haired youth turned to Ding Ning and said softly, “He needs an excuse.”
Ding Ning bowed slightly in thanks and then turned to Palace Commander Liu. He bowed solemnly. “Please allow this.”
Palace Commander Liu was silent for a moment. He did not say anything and walked back to his own courtyard.
Everyone looked on silently as Jing Liuli and Ding Ning entered his courtyard. They did not understand what Ding Ning was going to do.
Jing Liuli did not understand what Ding Ning was going to do. In her opinion, if there was no young man who represented the attitude of all the marquessate establishments, Ding Ning would have suffered a great loss of spirit. She could not help but ask softly when she saw Ding Ning head directly towards the osmanthus in the backyard, “Do you really want to dig an osmanthus tree back?”
Ding Ning did not look back and said softly, “You will need to expend some effort when you dig up that osmanthus tree, and some of the soil as well.”
Jing Liuli slowly frowned. But she did not continue talking and followed Ding Ning with her head bowed like a true attendant.
Yet Ding Ning unexpectedly did not maintain his silence and asked again after a slight pause, “What did you learn after today’s events?”
Jing Liuli stilled and said, “What?”
“In all matters, one has to have reason.” Ding Ning said slowly without looking back, “Sometimes, people cannot be unreasonable just because they have the stronger sword. Most people will worry that this unreasonableness will land on them.”
The osmanthus woods in Palace Commander Liu’s residence were very large, and most of the trees were very old. Maybe because these trees were so old and rare, Palace Commander Liu had not changed the layout of the woods greatly. Even the small pond in the woods had not been changed.
But compared to many years ago, the trees had grown bigger. The lotus flowers were in bloom in the pond.
Ding Ning sat down on a stone next to the pond. He looked silently at the pond for a long time before standing up and kicking at the edge of the stone. He said softly to Jing Liuli who was waiting, “Cut up to here, six feet deep, do not damage what is inside, and raise the roots as well.”
Jing Liuli pondered Ding Ning’s words and then her gaze landed on the nearest osmanthus tree to the stone.
This osmanthus tree was very short but thick. It appeared this tree would have full blooms this fall.
“It is all right to damage the branches?” she looked seriously at Ding Ning and asked after a long moment.
Ding Ning glanced at her and said, “No problem.”
Jing Liuli’s gaze landed on the Last Flower remnant sword at Ding Ning’s waist. She said, “You did not tell me to carry a sword.”
“You do not need my sword.” Ding Ning’s gaze fell on the short osmanthus tree and said, “You can use it as a sword.”
Jing Liuli suddenly understood.
She was silent for many breaths and then she bowed gravely to Ding Ning. She turned around to face the osmanthus tree and then gripped a thin branch in front of her. Like pulling a sword, she pulled this thin branch upwards.
Several strange sounds came from underneath the soil like there were sharp tools cutting.
However, she frowned deeply. She sensed that she still could not control this kind of sword essence.
So she immediately made a change. She broke off this thin branch. It seemed to turn into a narrow sword in her hand. She swung it downwards, and vital energy gushed out from her body.
The thin branch only swung for a moment before turning to dust, unable to tolerate such terrifying power. Yet in this moment, the thin branch drew out an arc.
With a hiss, a sword light drew a perfect circle around the osmanthus tree and fell to the ground.
Jing Liuli took a step forward, and gripped a thin branch. She pulled upwards again.
The entire osmanthus tree was pulled out of the ground with the surrounding soil like a sword out of a scabbard.
Jing Liuli snapped this thin branch again. Her right wrist moved slightly and she flicked up.
This thin branch easily cut through the roots at the bottom of the soil, and then the entire tree with a ball of soil was picked up.
The finger-thin branch supported the entire tree and the heavy soil without even bending. However, Jing Liuli’s feet were sunk slightly into the earth and her sleeves were flapping. Her expression was not at ease.
“Free in your mind, do as you please. Your sword essence can be at ease with any sword. If you are too confident in your sword, you will naturally have thoughts of relying on the sword to win against your enemy. But this kind of thinking may not suit your sword essence,” Ding Ning looked at Jing Liuli and said clearly and slowly before starting to walk out.
Jing Liuli was in discomfort. Her body appeared stiff as she maintained her powerful vital energy output. But when she heard Ding Ning’s words, her breathing paused slightly and she bowed slightly to Ding Ning before she started walking. She asked, “Just put it into the cabin?”
“Right into the cabin. I can sit outside.”
Ding Ning did not look back and said, “Do not damage the soil.”
Do not damage the soil. This was a strange saying, yet Jing Liuli seemed able to completely understand his meaning.
The people waiting outside Palace Commander Liu’s residence looked in shock when they saw Jing Liuli carry an entire osmanthus tree by a branch.
They had not yet adjusted to such a scene when Jing Liuli walked in front of the carriage and the thin branch landed.
This thin branch easily shattered the cabin and then lightly supported the falling osmanthus tree. The ball of soil was still a ball of soil. It was lightly placed at the bottom of the cabin. Not even a piece of soil dropped.
“The most important part of using a sword is the result. Not all direct sword attacks represent being at ease. If each sword is at ease, then the result will be at ease.”
Ding Ning looked in satisfaction at Jing Liuli and sat down.
He sat in front of the tree. Because no soil had fallen off, his seat was still very clean.
Translator Ramblings: Sweet Osmanthus flowers look like this