This chapter has been brought to you by me, and larkspur.
Chapter One: New Life
A carriage was passing through a mountain pass. At one end of the mountain pass were the lands of the Qin Dynasty, and the other the Chu Dynasty.
A Qin general was on his horse and looked at the carriages moving towards the Chu. His red cape flapped in the wind like a war banner.
“Previously, Changling was in chaos, was defeated by Chu and forced to give up Yangshan Commandery. This was a great humiliation for the Qin army. But in my view, today’s humiliation is even greater than Yangshan Commandery being given up.”
The Qin general looked down and said in a cold voice, “The wine shop youth’s cultivation progress in Changling, and everything he did before and after the Min Mountain Sword Trials, are worthy of admiration. On the Wuzhi battlefield, he made a great achievement, but after his death, his only relative is sent to Chu as part of a secret exchange. She really is cold, so cold that people cannot help but think, after one’s death, what would their relatives suffer.”
“I heard that Li Lingjun demanded this woman in Falling Parasol back then, but was humiliated by the wine shop youth in a few words. The wine shop youth was not even a cultivator back then, but was still able to keep this woman safe. Now, we are strong, but we have to watch this woman get sent to Chu. So pathetic and laughable.”
There were many generals behind this Qin general waiting on horseback. But hearing his angry words, they did not dare to make a sound. First, this was because they did not have such a high status, and did not dare to directly judge. Second, they knew, if they were unable to control their emotions, the general’s feelings would worsen, and harder to control.
In the carriage, Zhangsun Qianxue sat, as cold as usual. Going to Chu. This was her first time leaving the Qin Dynasty and entering the lands of another dynasty. To her, leaving Changling had a special meaning.
“I accept your arrangements because even Gu Huai died at your hands. But even though I accept your abilities, this does not mean I have forgiven you.”
The horse whinnied. Zhangsun Qianxue sensed a familiar presence and looked up slightly. Her face, so beautiful that it was unforgettable, shone with a layer of true frost.
There was a troop of the Chu army waiting there. After the documents were exchanged, a middle aged man who looked like an advisor stopped in front of the carriage heading to Chu. He lifted the curtain, glanced at Zhangsun Qianxue as to confirm before nodding at the Chu generals. Then he did not return to the chariot he had been riding before but daringly ducked to enter the cabin and sat down facing her.
The cabin was not wide for two people. The middle aged man only nodded in greeting. His emotional voice sounded, only echoing in the cabin: “Long time no see.”
This really was the tone of an old friend. So this was truly an old friend.
“I had not expected you to still be alive.” Zhangsun Qianxue did not look at the middle aged man who was graying at the temples. She turned in slight disgust to look at the window curtains blowing in the breeze. She said in a cool voice, “Lin Zhujiu arranged for you to meet me, he must have spent a lot of effort. But other than meeting me a few more times, what is the difference between you and them?”
The middle aged man smiled slightly. After a moment of silence, he looked at her and said seriously, “You should not hate him because you do not know some things.”
Zhangsun Qianxue frowned in even more dislike and said, “These are matters that have already been concluded. What is the meaning in mentioning them again?”
The middle aged man’s expression grew more solemn and he nodded. “Even though these are matters of the past, everything has right and wrong. Lin Zhujiu had me meet you not because I once studied with you, and count as your senior sect brother, but because you know I never speak lies.”
Zhangsun Qianxue remained silent. She knew the man spoke the truth.
The man also came from old nobility. He had once had the same master as her, but in the end, he became closer to Ba Mountain Sword Field. His name was Gong Suzhi. Originally, one of the two Prime Minister positions should have been his. Not because of his birth and cultivation but his straightness. He always spoke the truth and never lied.
“What you know about the past is incomplete, or rather, one-sided.” Gong Suzhi looked at her and slowly said, “The Shang Family supported the reformation because it was his idea, but the Shang Family offended the interests of too many powers. To placate the anger of some people and temporarily avoid chaos, the Shang Family was chosen as the scapegoat. But this has nothing to do with him. He was in Chu at the time, By the time he received the news and travelled day and night to return, the Shang Family only had one orphaned daughter left. Because of this, he was on the verge of breaking with Yuanwu.”
“Everyone in the world thought that he was unscrupulous to achieve his aims, but the mistake he made was only to believe Zheng Xiu.” Gong Suzhi looked at Zhangsun Qianxue who had tightly pressed her lips together. He said slowly, “That year, when fighting Wei, he had Zheng Xiu stay in Changling to restrain Yuanwu. At the time, he actually had pretty much finished discussing with your family, the Shang and the others. It was already down to specifics as to what each family will be responsible in the future Changling and the marquis titles.”
“As long as the Qin Dynasty’s lands will continue to expand, there will always be land to be titled.” Gong Suzhi looked at Zhangsun Qianxue whose eyelashes fluttered. He took a deep breath and slowly said, “Yet he did not think that Zheng Xiu would side with Yuanwu. In one night, four great families were destroyed and he did not know. And then it was the key to his split with Yuanwu. The last thing he planned with Zheng Xiu was to have Ba Mountain Sword Field peacefully leave Changling, but he did not expected Yuanwu and Zheng Xiu to attack first.”
Zhangsun Qianxue’s lips were tightly pressed together but the corners of her lips trembled. “You mean he did not know the things you spoke of?”
“If you do not believe my words, there is one other person who can prove it.” Gong Suzhi looked at her and said seriously, “Ye Xiao knows these things that are unrelated to him.”
Zhangsun Qianxue looked up. “What is the meaning in mentioning these matters that have been concluded?” she slowly said a second time.
This was the second time.
“Of course there is meaning.” Gong Suzhi looked straight at her and said softly in a slow voice, “He was in a hurry to return to Changling in fear that you would risk your life against Zheng Xiu … but in the end, he did not expect Zheng Xiu to be so cold to use the lives of so many people to force him to appear.”
Zhangsun Qianxue remained silent.
The cold wind slammed against the window curtains and caused the light coming in occasionally to be blinding to the eyes.
But Gong Shuzhi did not stop there. He looked straight at her and said, “You should know that he did not feel to you what he does to Miss Shang, guilt. He had always admired you. But because he met Zheng Xiu first, he could not accept your feelings and just regarded you as a confidante. At least, in my view, if Zheng Xiu did not exist, if he had not met Zheng Xiu … he would have liked you first.”