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Chapter 61: Exactly So
Zhang Yi found it unbelievable. He rubbed his eyes, but the scene in front of him remained unchanged.
Su Qin stood there wearing the robes of Celestial Seal Sect. But compared to his own robes, there were some seal scripts embroidered with black thread on his collar and sleeves.
“You must really want to know why I am in the Yan Lands and are definitely thinking how I could have become a disciple of Celestial Seal Sect with my crippled body.”
Seeing Zhang Yi’s incredulous gaze, Su Qin laughed in pleasure. He raised his crippled hand which looked especially ugly and incongruous with his face and body. He looked disdainfully at Zhang Yi and said, “I can tell you the reason… because of the empress.”
“The empress, Zheng Xiu?”
Zhang Yi did not believe it. But he knew the empress Su Qin spoke of could not be the empress of the Yan. It could only be the cruel mistress of Changling.
Su Qin nodded and looked up at the sky above Zhang Yi’s head. As though the moon and star light in the sky were dazzling, he narrowed his eyes slightly.
“I can tell you, Li Lingjun was able to become emperor of Chu, and me leaving Chu to become a disciple of Celestial Seal Sect has all to do with her. I think it must be the arrangements of the old families in Changling that you were able to come here.”
After a pause, Su Qin looked scornfully at Zhang Yi and slowly said, “I tell you all this now because I want you to understand she is much stronger than you imagine. The cultivators in Changling say that she controls the rules of Changling but in reality, the farther you are from Changling, the more you will understand how terrifying she is. Do not assume that you are completely out of her control because you came here. Even if you come to a blessed land, do not think the old families of Changling helped you for no reason without asking for repayment.”
Zhang Yi looked dazedly at Su Qin. He started to sweat uncontrollably which soaked through his robes. His hands trembled involuntarily.
He did not dare to think… If Li Lingjun returned to Chu to become the emperor was within Zheng Xiu’s arrangements, if her thoughts could influence Celestial Seal Sect of the Yan, what would the future of the Chu, Yan and Liang dynasties be like?
“So even that person died at her hands.”
Su Qin looked at the pale Zhang Yi and said with slight scorn, “So I always thought the most terrifying person in Changling was Zheng Xiu and not that emperor who calls himself the Lonely One.”
“What do you mean?” Zhang Yi refocused and said, looking at Su Qin, “Why are you telling me all this?”
Su Qin’s scorn grew on his face. He laughed out loud.
His laughter grew somewhat shrill. His smile and even the scars on his hand grew hideous as he laughed.
“Because of hate, because of unwillingness and obsession, my eldest sect brother… In White Goat Cave, I always felt that a stupid person like you do not qualify to surpass me and receive more affection from more sect uncles and other junior sect brothers. If not for Ding Ning, I would have thought you would never have been a match for me this lifetime. Now, Ding Ning is not here. This is Celestial Seal Sect. Finally, no one will disturb us.”
Hearing the shrill laughter and the words that reached his ears, Zhang Yi was stunned. Seeing Su Qin turn and walk into the darkness, he instinctively called. “But I never wanted to compete with you.”
“But I do.”
Su Qin did not turn but his voice reached Zhang Yi’s ears.
Palace Attendant Rong did not rest.
She stood under the eaves until the dark night over Changling faded and the eastern sky started to turn white. She had been waiting for the latest news from the tea garden. In the end, she waited until no news came.
That person in the tea garden had left Changling.
Her body had stopped trembling.
Zhang Luyang had not died.
But inexplicably, his lack of death made her feel sadder.
She knew that she had finally lost him completely. He no longer loved her. He would no longer forgive her. He would not accept himself finding excuses for her.
Daoist Qian had also died.
In this city, she no longer had any more relatives and friends.
The dawn was usually when one was the sleepiest.
Even Jing Liuli had sunken into a deep sleep.
Sitting cross-legged on the couch, Ding Ning opened his eyes. His bedroom door was half-open and could easily be pushed open from the outside.
His gaze was still calm, but his heart started to grow eager.
Even if there were no sound of footsteps, just the familiar scent would let him know this was Zhangsun Qianxue.
In this unfeeling mighty city, any encounter was worthy of being treasured.
“You may need to use it so I will temporarily lend it to you.”
A cool voice sounded.
A slight breeze accompanied a black shadow that fell in front of him, then Zhangsun Qianxue turned and left him room.
Ding Ning looked at the black shadow curled up in front of him.
This was the black ice worm he was familiar with. But unlike before, there were many diamond-light crystal lights flashing on its body in the darkness, and it had two horns on its head it did not have before.
In Changling, Ding Ning rarely was truly happy. But at this moment, he smiled in true happiness, not because of the changes in the black ice worm, but because of the fact Zhangsun Qianxue had lent this black ice worm to him.
This worm still feared him greatly and trembled constantly.
The sound of roosters crowing came from the streets. Changling was slowly waking up.
Jing Liuli also woke up.
She washed up in front of an old well in Ink Garden. She thought back to the things she had comprehended before sleep last night before walking towards Ding Ning who was just leaving the bedroom.
“What are we doing today?” she could not help but ask Ding Ning.
Every time she drove the carriage, she would always gain something. Consequently, she was filled with anticipation towards cultivating each day.
“Yesterday, when we returned at night, I saw someone who wore a pair of extraordinary shoes.” Ding Ning smiled at her and said, “I left two letters with him. We do not have to do anything these days. We only have to wait for about a fortnight.”
Jing Liuli frowned deeply. Yesterday, she had driven the carriage back. But she had not noticed anything.
“Who was it?”
“How did you leave a letter for him?”
She looked at Ding Ning and asked these two questions first.
Ding Ning looked at her and asked directly, “One of Wang Taixu’s people. I just saw him for a moment. When the carriage was turning, I threw the two letters to the grass on the left. No one could see my movements at that position.”
Jing Liuli was still frowning as she asked, “How are you sure that he will get your two letters?”
“Because Wang Taixu left him for me.” Ding Ning smiled slightly and said, “Since Wang Taixu left him for me, I first looked meaningfully at him, then looked to his left. He will naturally get the two letters.”
Jing Liuli thought and decided to accept Ding Ning’s explanation. Then she could not help but ask, “What shoes did he wear? I did not notice anything different?”
Ding Ning laughed, one of true amusement.
“Wang Taixu told me that he would leave someone for me. That person’s shoes would be different from others, and I always pondered how it was different. When I saw, I understood what was different.”
Ding Ning could not stop laughing. “He was wearing Wang Taixu’s shoes, the ones Wang Taixu wore the last time he saw me… Even if the shoes fit, Wang Taixu did not fear giving him foot odor.”
Jing Liuli stilled. She felt the matter was amusing but she was someone who would not laugh because of a joke. So her expression grew more serious. “It was not a problem of my observation abilities, but because other than you, no one else could see what was special about his shoes.”
Ding Ning nodded and could stop himself. “That is an ordinary pair of shoes which may be very smelly.”
“Then who are the letters intended for?” Jing Liuli’s frown relaxed and she asked.
“One for her, telling him what he needs to help me do. Another to an important person in Changling. I have some things I need her to help me do,” Ding Ning looked at her and said.
Jing Liuli thought and said, “So you mean… you have used your last resort against Palace Attendant Rong? Once you have your breakthrough in a fortnight, Palace Attendant Rong will not resist coming to find you?”
Ding Ning glanced at her and thought, not just so. But for the first time, he lied. “Exactly so.”