This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 55: Wedding Wine
The carriage returned to Ink Garden.
While Jing Liuli had not rested in several days, she was situated in a wondrous state on the way. She seemed to have forgotten her tiredness. There was a faint glow of light emanating from like how a powerful sword gradually grew gentle after first showing its edges.
She and Ding Ning were influential people in Changling right now. Countless powerful cultivators would look at her and Ding Ning along the way. Those who could detect the minute change in her presence were shocked.
They did not understand what had happened in Palace Commander Liu’s osmanthus woods which could affect such a change in Jing Liuli.
They saw the osmanthus tree placed in the carriage, and the large ball of evenly cut soil at the bottom of the tree. Many people did not understand how Jing Liuli managed to do this. Yet they were certain the changes in Jing Liuli’s presence since she entered Changling up until now, and her present state of comprehension, were all because of Ding Ning.
“Sometimes, one has to accept.”
A youth stood in an alley and looked at the carriage returning to Ink Garden. His expression grew more respectful, and in the end, he bowed seriously towards the carriage.
This youth was also in the Book of Talents but not near the top. He had been eliminated before the final test of the Min Mountain Sword Trials. Jing Liuli and Ding Ning did not notice his existence but he bowed so seriously towards Ding Ning and Jing Liuli out of pure admiration and respect.
Youths of his age admired heroes more.
While they had been competitors in the Min Mountain Sword Trials, after the trials finished, Ding Ning who fought for his sect and was now avenging Xue Wangxu was like a hero in his eyes.
His attitude also represented most youths in Changling at this time.
On the way, Jing Liuli did not make a sound. The glow around her finally faded when the carriage entered Ink Garden with the osmanthus tree. She turned around and looked at Ding Ning who was sitting calmly. “What is in the soil under the tree?”
Other people did not understand Ding Ning’s thoughts, and thought that entering the osmanthus woods and digging out a tree had to do with Jing Liuli’s cultivation. Yet through the previous details, Jing Liuli was certain there was something very important to Ding Ning in the soil under the tree concerning his cultivation breakthroughs.
Ding Ning glanced up at her and before he spoke, Jing Liuli could read his thoughts from his eyes. She said on his behalf, “I will know in the future, correct?”
Ding Ning could not help but smile, then nodded, and said, “I think what you need to consider most is not my matters.”
Jing Liuli also glanced at him, and said, “Do you want me to make medicine for you?”
“Let’s talk in three days.” Ding Ning shook his head.
Jing Liuli hummed softly, and said, looking at the osmanthus tree behind Ding Ning, “You will take care of it yourself?”
Ding Ning nodded and said, “I will handle it myself.”
Jing Liuli said nothing else. When the carriage stopped at the gates to the deepest courtyard of Ink Garden, she walked away from the carriage towards her own rooms without even looking back.
Ding Ning knew her personality well. He did not look at Jing Liuli who had not entered the room yet. He got off the carriage and looked quietly at the osmanthus tree.
Many of the tree’s roots had been damaged, and all the roots which had reached deep into the earth had been cut through. It was difficult for it to even survive now, much less bloom. But many years ago, this osmanthus tree had been the one with the fullest bloom in the entire wood.
Many years ago, a certain person had met a certain woman from Jiaodong Commandery in these osmanthus woods. That person had been stunned by the woman’s beauty and talent, and the woman fell in love with the man at first glance.
That person thought he and that woman could be together for a lifetime. Later, that person met many cherished friends, and frequently drank the osmanthus wine made from these osmanthus trees together at the wine shop .
They drank fine wine and fought the world.
Everything appeared so perfect.
One day, that person had a whim and stole the best jar of newly-made wine from the shop. He placed some spirit medicines that would make the wine taste even better, and then buried the jar of wine under the fullest osmanthus tree.
Wine would ferment over time.
That person wanted to wait until the wedding banquet of him and that woman before secretly taking out the jar of wine, and give a surprise to the wine shop owner and all of his good friends.
Yet before the wine could ferment, the people were no longer there. That woman from Jiaodong Commandery had become the mistress of Changling, the empress of the Qin Dynasty. That person and many of his close friends died in battle in Changling. The wine shop had disappeared as well.
Many much more important things could not be stood to be remembered, much less this fine wine that was insignificant and the result of whim. This was a jar of wedding wine that had been completely forgotten.
Perhaps, if nothing had changed back then, the jar of wine would not have been remembered. And yet, for revenge, the jar of wine appeared once again.
Ding Ning attacked. The tip of the Last Flower remnant sword turned into threads that gently went deep into the soil under the osmanthus tree.
These sword threads silently wrapped around a sleeping gray wine jar in the soil, and then dragged the wine jar directly out of the soil. The sword energy emanating from the sword threads removed all obstacles, and in the fine soil, grew countless white flowers.
The jar of wine was not small. It had to be enough for several dozen people to each have a bowl. It had been sealed well, no hint of fragrance escaped.
No matter the matter, that person pursued the extreme, but never could think of the future.
Ding Ning broke the mud seal with his hand. There was only half a jar left of the golden wine.
Ding Ning looked up.
Many matters and faces that had disappeared from memory flashed quickly through his mind.
“For you all,” he said softly. He put his sword away, raised the jar with one hand and poured the wine into his mouth.
He gulped down the wine. The taste of the wine was wondrous.
When the best osmanthus wine of the best melded with the magical fragrance of those spirit medicines, the wine felt sweet, clear and burned like fire down his throat. This was like the heavenly brew.
But Ding Ning’s mouth felt more bitter than when he was drinking medicine.
These spirit medicines had been just for fragrance and mouthfeel. For that person and his friends, the effects on cultivation were almost minimal. But to him at present, this was so important.
Powerful flows of energy spread along with the feeling of intoxication into his body, and charged into his energy sea.
Almost everyone liked the fragrance of osmanthus.
In the deep of the imperial palace, the woman who came from Jiaodong Commandery in the past sat on the phoenix chair. She listened to the report of the middle-aged yellow-robed cultivator and her perfect head slowly raised. Her almost emotionlessly gaze swept through a window towards the garden outside.
There were many tall osmanthus trees there. But her gaze was still cold and, except for a hint of surprise, held no extra emotions.
She did not understand why Ding Ning and Jing Liuli went to the osmanthus woods to dig up a tree. It was too far away.
Because many things from the distant past were insignificant, she had long forgotten where they had met. Time had erased this from her memories.
She had forgotten the osmanthus woods long ago.