This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 20: Back Then
Lin Zhujiu looked at the beef soup that was already very thick in the pot. After not having eaten his favourite food for so long, the pot of beef soul was a great temptation to him. But he knew the beef soup had not reached its most delicious moment, so he waited patiently.
“The Qin destroyed three dynasties. The Ba Mountain Sword Field was recognized as the strongest sect in the world. Everyone in the world thought that I was the advisor to those people of Ba Mountain Sword Field at the time, and that many strategies came from me.”
Lin Zhujiu smiled and said, “But actually, most strategies came from him.”
Zhao Si frowned deeply. She looked at Lin Zhujiu and honestly spoke what she had said, “You know that in the past, among the Qin the Sword Furnace wanted to kill the most, you were third. Everyone in the world knew that many of the Qin military’s tricks came from you. But you say that these tricks have nothing to do with you?”
“Because this itself is a strategy.” Lin Zhujiu looked up at her and said emotionally, “Back then, everyone knew Wang Jingmeng was the strongest sword of the Ba Mountain Sword Field. They all knew that no one was a match for him one on one. If they knew that he was not just the strongest in Changling, and he was the advisor to the entire Ba Mountain Sword Field, then all the enemies would have one thought- kill him at all costs.”
Zhao Si and Bai Shanshui exchanged glances. They could understand the meaning in Lin Zhujiu’s words but they still did not believe it. There were too many stories about Lin Zhujiu, and they had experienced many of those events.
“You mean that this is a scheme to share the danger?” Bai Shanshui could not help but look at Lin Zhujiu and ask.
“In the views of many people back then, an advisor who could expect all was more terrifying for war than a pure swordsman who was invincible.” Lin Zhujiu smiled. “Also, to everybody, I was a much easier kill than him so more people attempted assassinations on me and not him. Those that assassinated him did not know how to set up the situation, but to kill me, they only had to find the opportunity, and find two or three cultivators stronger than me. In a certain way, I was a cover to attract many assassins to die.”
Zhao Si thought of the grandmasters who had died to assassinate Lin Zhujiu and felt increasingly ironic and sad.
“Ba Mountain Sword Field is really terrifying.” Bai Shanshui laughed mockingly and said, “What does the steward mean?”
“It means property.” Lin Zhujiu said without any intention of evading, “I have a good memory. My mind is an account ledger. I know which people are of Ba Mountain Sword Field, I know where some of Ba Mountain Sword Field’s things are.”
Zhao Si and Bai Shanshui now understood completely and said together, “You mean, Ba Mountain Sword Field has many … many things that Zheng Xiu and Yuanwu have not gotten control of?”
Lin Zhujiu could not help but laugh. “Swords and sword manuals are only things on the surface. Otherwise, why do you think that Zheng Xiu and Yuanwu did not bear to kill me after so many years?”
Zhao Si was even more confused.
Back then, Ba Mountain Sword Field had so many famous swords and sword manuals. In the decade, you created countless Changling experts. If a sect’s swords and sword manuals are not the most important, then what is the most important?
Lin Zhujiu knew she could not understand. He also knew that these people were trustworthy and there were not many like them.
The pot of beef soup had reached its most appropriate time. So he indicated for Zhang Shiwu to put out the fire. Then he filled a bowl of beef soup and slowly sipped.
“For example.” After tasting his long-awaited flavour, he groaned in pleasure. Then he said, “Zheng Xiu thinks the Chu Dynasty is hers now, but for Ba Mountain Sword Field, over a half is ours.”
Zhao Si and Bai Shanshui shook together. A wave immediately was created off the side of the boat, being crushed into fine powder by the pair’s presence, and then sprayed outwards onto the dark water like fine flour.
“After all this conspiring, one cannot win against one of their own.”
Lin Zhujiu looked at the reflection of the moon in the water. His proud expression disappeared without a trace. He sighed softly. “He did not die at the hands of so many strong enemies, but in the hands of his own. If he had not died, perhaps even the two remaining dynasties would be gone now.”
Zhao Si and Bai Shanshui were silent for a long time. They first pondered what Lin Zhujiu said about the Chu Dynasty.
Bai Shanshui took a deep breath and she managed to calm her emotions. She asked tentatively, “Demon Consort Zhao?”
Lin Zhujiu nodded.
Zhao Si said coldly, “How is that possible?”
Lin Zhujiu looked seriously at her and said, “Everyone has their own ways.”
Zhao Si wanted to argue, but when she thought of Zheng Xiu, she could not speak and wore an ugly expression.
Lin Zhujiu looked amusedly at her and said, “You probably would not have thought that Li Lingjun becoming the new Chu emperor, while related to Zheng Xiu’s arrangements, also is related to us because we did many things to smooth the way.”
Zhao Si had an urge to knock away the bowl of beef soup in front of Lin Zhujiu.
Fortunately, Lin Zhujiu spoke quickly after. “I used some of the property of Ba Mountain Sword Hoard so Lin Zhujiu grew quickly … Anything that was sent maturing too quickly has some shortcomings. So, we successfully caused Li Lingjun to enter her sight and become her pawn. For us, we hoped that the Chu would not have too powerful a ruler.”
“So Zheng Xiu hopes to use Li Lingjun to control the Chu, while you feel that Li Lingjun will easily be controlled by you?” Bai Shanshui laughed with admiration. “This is that person’s strategy?”
“No.” Lin Zhujiu shook his head. “You do not understand Zheng Xiu enough. Zheng Xiu’s conduct will always have her end with cruelty and blood. She has Li Lingjun return because the Chu controlled by Li Lingjun will be easier to deal with in future wars. As to this plan …”
After a pause, he laughed self-deprecatingly and said, “This is my idea. After he died, we had to do something. I only hope we did nothing wrong.”
Zhao Si could hear some other meaning and frowned deeply. “You do not know his heir, do not know his arrangements?”
“I am not the person closest to him. Even though we are brothers, we were not so close we could sleep under the same blanket, on the same pillow.”
Lin Zhujiu thought of that person’s last time. His smile grew bleaker than the moonlight on the water. “If I knew, then Zheng Xiu knew long ago. Back then, no one in Ba Mountain Sword Field thought he would have an heir. He was so strong yet he had not reached his peak. He was so invincible and young he did not have to rush to find an heir.”
Thinking of the outcome of this enemy once so hard to defeat, Zhao Si felt some dark pleasure. She looked up at the pure moon. She did not disguise her emotions and said, “Maybe none of you understand him well enough?”
Lin Zhujiu looked at her and did not speak. Zhao Si sensed something strange.
“When someone is about to die, they can see themselves and others the most clearly.” Lin Zhujiu finished the bowl of beef soup and said slowly, “He died in battle in Changling. Who did not understand him?”
Bai Shanshui said, “You are all sure he is dead?”
Lin Zhujiu said coolly, “He fought until the last drop of blood, until his body turned to dust. Nothing was left. How can he still be alive?”
Zhao Si thought of how numerous people had seen it and there were no doubts. So she thought and said, “You are all so smart, why did he fight to the death in Changling back then?”
“Because that battle of his really saved many people out of Changling.” Lin Zhujiu sneered and said, “Just like how Ba Mountain Sword Field burned itself up, there are many things you do not know about in the background.”