This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter 26: Gaze at Donghu
In the morning sunlight, when the mountainous Marquis Xu of Hengshan walked into the clinic where Ding Ning was, many people in Changling were looking up at the turrets of Changling.
After the night passed, they finally discovered the strength of this old person. They finally discovered that this old man may be the strongest cultivator of Changling below Emperor Yuanwu.
But when most of them looked at the turrets in the morning sun, the hate and anger in their eyes far surpassed their awe. Few were able to have access to this old man so few could understand this old man’s thoughts. Especially those people from cultivation places that had been forced to obey. They only remembered the number of people the old man had killed this night, and how many of the people they had known and respected had died at the hands of this old man.
“Teacher, I am unable to find clues to the Nine Death Silkworm.”
Under the morning light, Huang Zhenwei once again ascended the turret to the highest point. He looked with a pained gaze at the old man sitting on the rattan chair, indescribably aged after a night. “I am thinking now, did you deliberately give me hope like this so I will not stay by your side and stop you. The Nine Death Silkworm is too good at strategy. How can someone like me find it?”
At those words, Mo Shoucheng laughed and then said softly, “Do not belittle yourself. You are my student.”
Even the cold general standing behind him knew that these words were the greatest compliment, because all of Changling knew Mo Shoucheng only had two students, Emperor Yuanwu in his youth and then later on, Huang Zhenwei.
“Doubting me or yourself has no meaning now.” Mo Shoucheng slowly lifted his head. As his head rose, another crack seemed to appear in the sky, and another great power fell towards a certain place in Changling.
Huang Zhenwei caught a whiff of blood.
Mo Shoucheng’s blow landed very far away. Even though it created a similar bloody wave like last night, Huang Zhenwei would not be able to smell the blood scent from there.
The scent of blood now came from Mo Shoucheng’s body and the wrinkles in his face. Blood was actually flowing out of his facial wrinkles. His face seemed to have been sliced countless times like the sword essences from the grandmasters last night finally reached his body.
Huang Zhenwei looked at this scene in the morning light. He opened his mouth wide and struggled to breathe like a dying fish, but he could not breathe or speak.
The light in Mo Shoucheng’s eyes dimmed slightly but his expression did not change. Another powerful presence was exuded off his body and caused the blood seeping out of his face to fly in droplets.
“Do not!” Huang Zhenwei clearly sensed something and he finally made sound.
“This sword will have to be completed,” Mo Shoucheng said calmly and then spat a mouthful of blood.
A ball of blood splashed on his chest.
The sword essence in the sky finally formed and landed.
As the sword essence fell down, his body lay softly on the rattan chair behind him. His wrinkles were bone-deep and his remaining white hair all fell off.
He was like a candle. When he burned to the end, he turned to ash.
Where Mo Shoucheng’s last sword essence landed, there were some officials from the Principal Martial Bureau standing behind an army. When the sword essence landed, a tall wall in front of the army was abruptly cut down. Behind the crack in the tall walls, bloody mist rose.
These officials from the Principal Martial Bureau had slightly relaxed expressions. A military order was delivered to these officials.
“Min Mountain Sword Sect agreed? That wineshop youth also calmly accepted?” One of the officials who just relaxed was both shocked and joyed.
One official inexplicably started to feel sympathy for Ding Ning whom the people of Changling called the wine shop youth. He looked up and gazed towards the northwest.
At the end of the Qin lands there was an endless and desolate plain. Even though the heat of Changling had not yet faded, over there, the grass was frosted over and turning white. In the heavy cold, large groups of cavalry shouted and moved like the wind. They hunted the beasts on the plains and did not even spare the seeds of wild grasses.
For the Donghu people, this was their harvest. The vast plains originally had enough space for them to have repeated harvests and have enough to live on. But for some of the Qin armies, the battlefields the Donghu people travelled through meant a sweep.
There were not many cultivators among the Donghu, but they had all kinds of strange weapons that could kill cultivators. Even more importantly, the supply lines and some chariots could not keep up with the feet of the Donghu. It was difficult for reinforcements to arrive. At least, in the past, the Qin army did not have experience fighting Donghu and no experience at winning.
At this time, these officials of the Principal Martial Bureau were considering since the mad mistress of the imperial palace dared to make such a decision, this meant that the situation Ding Ning would face would be more dangerous than most border armies. So no one felt it was wrong for Ding Ning to take some people along.
The mist parted slightly on Min Mountain Sword Sect.
In a hall used for healing, Xie Changsheng opened a letter. After a quick read, his happy face turned to fury. Then he shouted. “Ding Ning, what do you mean! You let Nangong Caishu go with you to Donghu but not me! You look down upon me, you think my sister dead and you have thought about Nangong Caishu!”
His furious voice echoed in the hall. The Min Mountain Sword Sect grandmaster who had resided all this time in the hall frowned, but in the next moment, he froze.
“Someone come quick, I am leaving Min Mountain Sword Sect!”
The second time Xie Changsheng shouted, this Min Mountain Sword Sect grandmaster appeared in his sight.
“You are really leaving the Min Mountain Sword Sect?” Even though he was certain he had not heard incorrectly, this Min Mountain Sword Sect grandmaster was still stunned.
“He does not let me go to the Donghu border so I cannot go?” Xie Changsheng sneered. “Will I be unable to go?”
No one in Min Mountain Sword Sect stopped Xie Changsheng because he was not a student of Min Mountain Sword Sect. Everyone was just used to him freeloading here and forgot about him.
Ding Ning asked for a few days to recover and wait for some people. He was just a “wineshop youth” in Changling and did not have anything he needed to prepare.
A fast horse appeared in his sight. On the back was a dusty yet handsome young woman.
This was Nangong Caishu, who Xie Changsheng was angry with.
After the Min Mountain Sword Trials, Nangong Caishu and Ding Ning had not met. During this period of time, Ding Ning had done many stunning things. While the time was short, it seemed to have been years.
Nangong Caishu, on the way here, had been thinking what it would be like when she met Ding Ning again. But inexplicably, when she finally saw Ding waiting for her, she suddenly thought of that time outside Min Mountain Sword Sect when Xue Wangxu died. Her nose felt sore and she could not avoid feeling proud of Ding Ning.
Getting off her horse, she forced her tears back and squeezed out a smile. “Ding Ning, I am proud of you.”
“I am just doing what I want to do as best as possible.” Ding Ning smiled and said, “I have burdened many people.”
Nangong Caishu said, “That is their own choice.”
“You were not long in Min Mountain Sword Sect but you have grown much older.” Ding Ning looked at Nangong Caishu and smiled. But then his smile quickly faded and his voice dropped to a whisper. “Do you know why I want you to come with me to Donghu?”
Nangong Caishu shook her head.
Ding Ning looked at her and said seriously, “I asked Marquis Xu of Hengshan some things. He told me that your father will be an important general in charge of the Donghu border army.”
Nangong Caishu stilled.
Ding Ning continued. “I think that the empress sent him there because you and I are friends. I thought that if you and he are together, at least you will be reassured.”
Nangong Caishu took a deep breath and nodded. Then she gave a small smile. “No matter what, to be able to fight in Father’s army as one of his soldiers is something I will thank you for.”
“I want to know Min Mountain Sword Sect’s arrangement for everyone else,” Ding Ning looked at her and said.
Translator Ramblings: The nice thing about an absolute monarchy is you can move most people around like you please.